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Support science and education with Wide Computing

Posted by Larry Dickson
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on Thursday, 18 July 2013
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Crawlspace3Larry Dickson's Kickstarter project intends to revive the neglected half of computing that is the most friendly to original science.

This countercultural Wide Computing brings raw data from multiple inexpensive sensors, and even robotics, within reach of anyone with a C compiler. Simple, independent programs handle transmission and postprocessing, including heavy data streams. "Hiccups" can be prevented even if latency limits are very tight. No complex GUIs or interface specifications are needed.

The beauty of this is that it brings real science within reach of volunteers. You can make original contributions without multi-million dollar budgets and corporate bureaucratic approval. This is really important, because it can restore honesty to science!

In addition it is an educational tool that is unequalled in the bureaucratic computing world. The friendly new concept of a graphics slave has roused particular interest. More information is on the web site LAZM.org.

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Now, That's A Smart Little Jacket!

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Monday, 11 March 2013
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

At the end of February Greenpeace celebrated the news that Royal Dutch Shell would not be conducting nediset-SINTEF-Ragnhild Lundmark Daaeoff-shore drilling in Alaskan Arctic waters this year.

Phil Radford, Greenpeace USA’s executive director said in a press release, “This is the first thing Shell’s done right in Alaska - calling it quits. Shell was supposed to be the best of the best, but the long list of mishaps and near-disasters is a clear indication even the ‘best’ companies can’t succeed in Arctic drilling. Secretary Salazar and President Obama gave drilling a chance; now the responsible decision is to make Arctic drilling off limits, forever.”

Off-shore drilling in the world’s pristine Arctic is not yet off-limits and despite the vilification of the oil industry, finger-pointing, and that “long list of mishaps and near-disasters” Shell is calling their decision “a pause.”

The NY Times quoted, Marvin E. Odum, the president of Shell Oil Company, “Our decision to pause in 2013 will give us time to ensure the readiness of all our equipment and people.”

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Futuristic Kitchen Comes With Robot

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Wednesday, 16 January 2013
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

The Dream Lab is a program sponsored by the British Council. In 2008 they asked universities in the UK tostandard-kitchen-mfile create competitions that would help develop science and design education in China.  Kingston University answered the call and was selected by the British Council to run their contest focused on how farming, cooking, and eating will change during the next four decades.

“The competition wasn't simply about food,"  said Professor Catherine McDermott, a Kingston University curating expert and the project’s leader, "It was also about biotechnology and the massive advances being made in farming techniques and considering how designers - the very people who create our restaurants and kitchens - react to these changes."

A team of students from Dalian Nationalities University, in northern China, took the theme and ran with it to design a contest-winning “eco-kitchen” that sounds less like an organic garden and sustainable kitchen and more like something out of the Jetsons.

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Felix Baumgartner Jumps From Edge of Space

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Monday, 15 October 2012
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Yesterday morning, after two delays due to wind gusts, Felix Baumgartner -a pilot, stunt jumper, bravefelix baumgartner landing redbullcontentpool.com and fearless to the point of possible insanity- jumped from 24 miles above the Earth. He free-fell for a grand total of 119,846 feet that lasted 4 minutes: the total descent time was 9 minutes (of terror). He broke three records, the sound barrier, and none of his bones.

To reiterate: while you were sitting in bed with the Sunday edition of the paper lazily sipping coffee and waiting for the slate of early football games to kickoff a man wearing nothing but a space suit- as if we all walk around in such garments everyday- jumped from basically the edge of space and into the record books.

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NOAA Celebrates 30 Years with SARSAT

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Wednesday, 10 October 2012
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NOAA is celebrating an anniversary today: the first use of their satellite system to help save a life- well, sarsataniv 300 catamaran trio USCGthree actually.

In a press release this morning NOAA relayed the tale of the first rescue aided by the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking system or SARSAT, a network of satellites developed by NASA but now operated by NOAA at the United States Mission Control Center (USMCC) in Suitland, Maryland- a Census- designated place.

Thirty years ago and approximately 300 miles off the coast of New England three passengers aboard a catamaran activated their emergency beacon when 25 foot waves began to threaten and sink the vessel. A satellite picked up the beacon’s signal and the Coast Guard responded to the emergency pulling the three sailors to safety.

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Using the Bee to Make a Robot

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Monday, 01 October 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

What do you think of when you hear the term “green brain?”  Whatever you have envisioned it’s probably is this a bee or a robotnot what scientists at two universities in the United Kingdom have on their minds and are going to build in a laboratory.  

Thanks to substantial funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) the team will use the honey bee brain as inspiration to build a computer model that will hopefully be a part of the first flying robot that can smell and see like the bee without needing to be programmed.

“The development of an artificial brain is one of the greatest challenges in Artificial Intelligence. So far, researchers have typically studied brains such as those of rats, monkeys, and humans, but actually 'simpler' organisms such as social insects have surprisingly advanced cognitive abilities,"  said Dr. James Marshall of the University of Sheffield in a statement this morning about the project dubbed “Green Brain.”

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Another Way to Recycle Your Cell Phone

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Monday, 17 September 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Disposing of old cell phones keeps getting easier. You can mail your old phones to a non-profit like Cell gen 3 ecoATM plaza bonitaPhones for Soldiers, an upcycler like TerraCycle, drop the obsolete devices off at a big box store, or skip all that hassle and use a kiosk.

San Diego based ecoATM has been improving the capabilities of their e-cycling kiosks after the National Science Foundation (NSF) gave the company their second Small Business Innovation Research grant- the first was awarded two years ago. Extra funding from interested parties like Coinstar (the kiosk you go to when you need pizza money) helped the company launch their first kiosks in 2011.

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A Smart Carpet for the Smart Home

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Tuesday, 04 September 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Stand in the place that you live. Now look down, think about the carpet, and wonder why you haven’t rugs rolled roganjoshbefore!

A team of researchers in the United Kingdom have created the carpet of the future. They presented their study today at the Institute of Physics Photon12 conference in Durham-the largest optics and photonics conference in the UK.

Dr. Patricia Scully from Photon Science Institute at the University of Manchester led the team that designed a smart carpet that can tell when a person has fallen, and can detect changes in walking patterns to help with recovery after a fall or maybe even prevent accidents.

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Tackling Toilet Technology

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Thursday, 16 August 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

blue green toilet blondieb38You’ve heard the phrase “re-inventing the wheel” and this week innovators from universities around the world were  “reinventing the toilet” in Seattle, after the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sent out a call normally reserved for plumbers: “We need the toilet fixed.”

Last year the foundation issued the Re-invent the Toilet Challenge to: “design toilets that can capture and process human waste without piped water, sewer or electrical connections, and transform human waste into useful resources, such as energy and water, at an affordable price.”

“Innovative solutions change people’s lives for the better,” said foundation Co-chair Bill Gates in the statement about the challenge. “If we apply creative thinking to everyday challenges, such as dealing with human waste, we can fix some of the world’s toughest problems.”

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Disney Says: "Touché"

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Friday, 04 May 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

doorknob jppiThere are several memorable scenes in Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland released in 1951 but everyone should recall Alice’s frantic and weepy encounter with the talking doorknob. The angry doorknob prevents her from leaving the room she has landed in after falling down the rabbit hole.  Alice takes the first logical step when faced with a door: she tries opening it only to find it locked.

Perhaps it was this scene the team at Disney Research in Pittsburgh had in mind when exploring a form of smart technology known as ”capacitive touch sensing” or the same magic responsible for smartphone touchscreens. They have applied it to a doorknob that knows when to lock or unlock depending on the way it is touched.  Alice is probably stamping her little Mary Jane clad foot that it’s 61 years too late for her to utilize this magical doorknob instead of the one she encountered.

They call their new toy Touché and the Disney scientists partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to develop the technology.

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Smart Homes Are Ready to Serve You!

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Friday, 30 March 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Utilizing technology to make life easier is not uncommon.  Some appliances have emergency shut-offs jade living roomwhen they become too hot and practically everything is programmable from the coffee pot to the television.

What happens when the phone and home are both smarter than their owners? When the appliances are all considered efficient? Do we gain efficiency and knowledge with them?

Diane Cook, a professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Washington State University, hopes that smart homes will be the next big thing courtesy of the artificial intelligence field. Bill Gates has had one for a while so it’s about time the rest of the country attempted to keep up with the Gates’.

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Smart Paint Could Improve Safety Monitoring

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Tuesday, 31 January 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Everyone has heard the saying: “If these walls could talk.”  Two researchers at the University ofBridge_Over_Frozen_River_Indiana Strathclyde in Glasgow want to get walls, bridges, wind turbines, and other large structures talking with a coat of smart paint and nanotechnology. But this set of researchers aren’t interested in the secrets of humans - they want the surfaces of buildings to talk to prevent accidents.

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Ford Announces More Vehicles to Offer EcoBoost™

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Thursday, 26 January 2012
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Ford Motor Company sure does love their EcoBoost technology. Have you recently seen a Ford commercial that hasn’t mentioned the EcoBoost? If that guy they use as a spokesperson, with the hat and non-confrontational manner, appears you know he is certainly going to mention it. At least that set of Ford commercials are more tolerable than the “Drive One” surprise press conferences set which could lead a viewer to wonder: Is there a Ford driver out there too busy to participate in a fake press conference and has pushed the cameras away?

But back to the EcoBoost and why does a mall shopper in one of the commercials love the sound of it even if she doesn’t know what it is. 

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SDG&E's Green Button and Green Building

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Friday, 20 January 2012
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has been a busy little public utility lately. The company is launching green programs for the 3.5 million people it provides electricity and gas services to faster than you can say “corporate sustainability.”

This week alone SDG&E announced their “Green Button” tool for customers and opened their Energy Innovation Center in San Diego. It all looks like a lot of fun so let’s go in for a closer look!

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The Gyro Motorcycle

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Monday, 12 December 2011
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Why do most energy-efficient concept vehicles look like they rolled off the set of a Sci-Fi movie the likes of which only a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan could love? There really isn’t an answer to that question. At this point in time we are mostly concerned with this question: How energy-efficient can we make our everyday vehicles before we have depleted the Earth’s available resources? Optimum efficiency should be the top priority for any vehicle maker with aesthetics being the second priority.

Thrustcyle Enterprises LLC, a company located in Honolulu, Hawaii, announced that their prototype gyro motorcycle has been improved. 

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Gliding the Waves

Posted by Samina Cabral
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on Tuesday, 22 November 2011
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

little_boat_pacific

The Pacific Ocean covers a third of the Earth’s surface. As the world’s largest ocean it must hold deep secrets. Secrets that might help us understand not only the ocean and its inhabitants but what role it plays in the environment. Since the year 1513 when the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa first saw the Eastern shore of what he called Mar del Sur, what we now call the Pacific thanks to Ferdinand Magellan, conquistadors and explorers have been navigating the cold waters in search of new worlds and glory.

Manned watercraft can only travel so far before needing to stop to refuel or to give the crew a break. Liquid Robotics Inc. has a little machine they call a Wave Glider, an unmanned vehicle pushed along by the waves and aided by the sun to collect scientific data. If all goes as planned Liquid Robotics will go down in history just like Balboa and Magellan.

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Which came first, the robot or the bug?

Posted by Andrew Rossillo
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on Monday, 17 October 2011
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

Better understanding of the Evolution of Flight through Winged Robotic Bugs

Engineers at the University of California Berkeley outfitted a robotic bug with wings, and in doing so answered some questions regarding the evolution of flight.

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New Artificial Muscles Have Virtually Endless Possibilities

Posted by Andrew Rossillo
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on Sunday, 16 October 2011
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

A new artificial muscle has the potential to revolutionize many industries, including medical science, movie making, solar power and many others. The new artificial muscle, called a carbon nanotube, can twist and rotate, mimicking the natural movement of arms. Other applications for the technology include microfluidic pumps, valve drives, and mixers.

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Cloning Technique Tried for Producing Important Stem Cells

Posted by Andrew Rossillo
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on Tuesday, 20 September 2011
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Stem cells are cells that the body can use to grow into other types of cells. Researchers point to the possibility of replacing diseased or damaged organs and curing diseases like diabetes. Opponents of stem cell research point to the use of embryos (usually obtained from aborted fetuses) for stem cell research. A group of scientists has made an important step toward better stem cell research without the use of aborted embryos.

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Keeping Troops Safe: Detecting Roadside Bombs

Posted by Andrew Rossillo
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on Saturday, 17 September 2011
in Classic & Cutting-Edge Technology

On January 29, 2006, ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman were seriously injured while reporting on the war in Iraq. This tragic event was widely reported in the news, but less attention was given to the hundreds of soldiers killed since by the same dirty devices: Roadside bombs or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). One of the most dangerous threats our troops face in Iraq and Afghanistan are IEDs, accounting for about 60 percent of their deaths.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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