Nov 11

China Docks To Their Own Space Station

A still image from a Chinese broadcast on Thursday of the docking of the Shenzhou 8 capsule with the Tiangong 1 module.

China has achieved an unmanned space docking with their Tiengang 1 module.

The Shenzhou-8 capsule was launched early Tuesday and docked with the already orbiting Tiengang-1 module early Thursday morning. The docked pair will orbit the Earth for 12 days, before the Shenshou 8 capsule will return to Earth on November 17.

China launched its own space station program after being turned away in its repeated attempts to join the 16-nation International Space Station. That was largely on objections from the United States, which is wary of the Chinese space program’s military links.

All the parts of the docking mechanism and the more than 600 onboard instruments were designed and made by Chinese state-owned and private companies.

Two more docking missions with the Tiangong 1 model are planned next year, one of them manned. China will set up a space lab by 2016, Wu said, and its actual station will be launched in three sections between 2020 and 2022.

Thousands of Chinese citizens expressed their pride through Internet postings in what many referred to as the country’s first “space kiss,” remarking how far China had come since its more impoverished days.

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Oct 11

Robotic Umpires? Why not?

Since its inception a decade ago, K Zone has won over many, but many still remain against an official role in pitch calling.

Is It Time For Professional Baseball To Adopt Robot Umpires?

by Peter Murray October 20th, 2011

It’s one of the important questions facing American society today. On the one side are the liberal-minded who want more regulation; on the other side, conservatives who despise any proposals put on the table.

I’m speaking, of course, about the debate of whether or not technology should be used to call balls and strikes in baseball.

This same question was posed recently on Slashdot with an invitation for readers to comment – and comment they did, 141 times. The original question entertained the use of “robot umpires” to “either replace or enhance the human umps’ work on the field.” And it considered how to go about developing technologies such as “touch-sensitive bases/foul lines, etc.” rather than simply calling balls and strikes. But I’m going to limit our own peregrination on this topic to the strike zone simply because the technology’s already here to potentially improve this central part of the game.

And yet we’re not using it.

Not surprisingly the Slashdot discussion centered mostly on the question of the strike zone. Is there really a need for an upgrade at the umpire position? If so, would the current “robot umpires” do a better job than their human counterparts? I’ll get to the comments, but first let’s take a look at what the human umps are up against.

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Oct 11

Steve Ballmer… Microsoft’s wacky CEO

Microsoft CEO On Android: “Only A Computer Scientist Could Figure Out How To Use It”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took his appearance at the Web 2.0 Summit as an opportunity to publicly press the dislike button on Android, Google apps, and the iPhone.

Microsoft is planning to release new Nokia phones powered by its Windows Phone operating system at Nokia World on October 26 and Ballmer told Web 2.0 interviewer John Batelle that he thought iPhone was the main competition. Though Google’s Android software has gobbled up market share to become the most popular smartphone operating system in the United States, Ballmer was dismissive of the competitor.

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Oct 11

What the Hell Magnets? Why Are You So Amazing?


You don’t need to be a physicist, a PhD student, a geek, or even a member of the Insane Clown Posse to appreciate the awesome capabilities of superconductors and magnets as demonstrated in this video by Tel-Aviv University.

An unidentified member of the university’s Superconductivity Group School of Physics and Astronomy shows off the quantum locking, or quantum trapping, effects of a magnet that’s been super cooled with liquid nitrogen. Now we’ve probably all seen demonstrations of super cooled magnets floating above a track before, with promises of them facilitating high-speed trains zigzagging across the country. But this video goes one step further, showing how the position and angle of the magnet can be locked in a magnetic field while it’s in motion. The moral of the story is that it makes for an impressive demo, and I better see hoverboards popping up in toy stores by Christmas.


Oct 11

Use a QR Code for Your Vcard

If you have a Barcode/QR code scanning app on your smartphone, scan this QR code and it will create my contact info for your address book.

Transferring business cards to your smartphone address book can be a real pain. Those tiny keypads work well, but it still requires some dexterity. QR Codes are a quick and easy way for your contacts to add your own contact info to their smartphone address books. Without typing!

I generated the QR code to the left and added it to my business card. All the recipient has to do is scan it with the smartphone’s scanner app. Most apps will take the info and create a new contact entry in the address book. It also works well on a website, social network, email, or even printed on a scrap of paper.

You can easily generate your own for free at several websites. I created this one at
http://snapmyinfo.com/vcard. You simply enter your contact info and the site generates the Vcard code and the QR code. Right-click on the QR code and save the image to your folder of choice. Simple as that!

My info created the following Vcard and converted it to the QR code seen here.

ORG:James Milstid Photography

I’m using a barcode scanning app called QuickMark on my iPhone. It’s also available for Android-based smartphones.

~James Milstid~

Oct 11

Ahhh, good ol’ days…

Oct 11

Thank You to Dennis Ritchie, Without Whom None of This Would Be Here

Kernighan and Ritchie, Second Edition

Paul Adams

This morning the news came over the internet: Dennis Ritchie has died.

Dr. Ritchie doesn’t have the mainstream adoring following of Steve Jobs, but he can take considerably more credit for the creation, and even the aesthetics, of the computer world we live in. It’s almost impossible to find a personal computing product or paradigm that doesn’t owe a direct debt to Ritchie.

At Bell Labs in the heady 1970s, Dennis Ritchie created the C programming language and co-developed the Unix operating system. Before C and Unix came along, the computer world was fragmented in a way that’s hard to imagine — there was no such thing as software written to run on a variety of computers. Everything was custom-coded for its particular platform, and every platform had wildly different standards for such fundamental things as “how big is a byte?”

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Oct 11

Cloud-Powered Facial Recognition Is Terrifying

By harnessing the vast wealth of publicly available cloud-based data, researchers are taking facial recognition technology to unprecedented levels

“I never forget a face,” goes the Marx Brothers one-liner, “but in your case, I’ll be glad to make an exception.”

Unlike Groucho Marx, unfortunately, the cloud never forgets. That’s the logic behind a new application developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College that’s designed to take a photograph of a total stranger and, using the facial recognition software PittPatt, track down their real identity in a matter of minutes. Facial recognition isn’t that new — the rudimentary technology has been around since the late 1960s — but this system is faster, more efficient, and more thorough than any other system ever used. Why? Because it’s powered by the cloud.

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Oct 11

Hack a Soda Bottle into a Solar Light

The video above shows how a man in an impoverished urban area in the Philippines created a solar light to brighten the densely-packed windowless homes that are dark inside even when the sun is shining brightly. The method involves making a roof cutout to support the bottle and filling the bottle with water and a little bleach. This solution can also help add some light to garden sheds and any other type of small outbuilding without electricity.

Once a cutout is made in the metal roofing material the soda bottle is attached and a sealant is applied. Then the bottle is filled with water and a teaspoon or so of bleach to kill any bacteria in the water.

The Filipino man serves as an example that life hacking can exist anywhere. Because of one bright idea he has a business and hundreds of people have a cheap way to bring light into their lives. Video by Marlon Bucsit.

Via: LifeHacker

Oct 11

Nanoparticles seek and destroy glioblastoma in mice

Scientists have combined a tumor-homing peptide, a cell-killing peptide, and a nanoparticle. When administered to mice with glioblastoma that could not otherwise be treated, this new nanosystem eradicated most tumors in one model and significantly delayed tumor development in another.

Read the full article…  Nanoparticles seek and destroy glioblastoma in mice.