Monday, November 16, 2009

Home page of the Meteor Shower Flux Estimator (FLUXTIMATOR)

Calculate the meteor shower activity at your site

A significant shower is expected this year when Earth crosses the 1466-dust and 1533-dust ejecta of comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. According to J. Vaubaillon, the narrow (about 1-hr) shower is expected to peak on November 17, 2009, at 21:43 (1466) and 21:50 (1533) UT, perhaps 0.5 to 1.0 hour later based on a mis-match in 2008, with rates peaking at about ZHR = 115 + 80 = 195/hr (scaled to rates observed in 2008).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Quote Details: Josh Billings: About the most originality... - The Quotations Page

About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.

Josh Billings US Humorist (1818 - 1885)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nook Reviews, eBook Reader, eBook Device - Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Introduces The Nook, A Game-Changing Ereader - Gartner
"The Nook is a game changer...and one that will force Amazon's hand"
Barnes & Noble's E-Reader Leaks, Surprises, Changes the Game - Fast Company
"Barnes and Noble may genuinely be about to tear to the top of the e-reader any one else's attempt at a glitzy e-reader hands-down"
Barnes & Noble Unveils Kindle-Killing, Dual-Screen 'Nook' E-Reader -
"If you just ordered a Kindle, stop reading now or you're in for a giant dose of buyer's remorse. Barnes and Noble unveiled a new e-book reader called 'Nook', and it is hot, both inside and out. Who would buy a walled-garden machine like the Kindle when the Nook has the same titles, cheaper, and you can borrow? The Nook is already starting to look like the real internet to the Kindle's AOL."
8 Reasons You Can Finally Love Ebook Readers (Thanks to Nook) - Gizmodo
"It's cost-effective. Yeah, at $260 it's the same price as the Kindle 2, but you're getting so much more for your money: Wi-Fi, native PDF support, an SD slot and that crazy second screen makes it seem out of the Kindle's league."
Barnes & Noble's Shiny, Sharing-Friendly 'Nook' eBook Reader -
"The Nook, with color icons, a wide selection of designer cases and color-customizable back panel, looks like a fashionista."
Chart: How the Nook Stacks Up In the Ereader Race - Washington Post/TechCrunch
"The Nook, Barnes & Noble's new ereader, has upped the ante. With a small, 3.5-inch LCD screen in the lower quadrant, the Nook adds touch capabilities that the Kindle definitely does not have."
The Barnes & Noble e-reader will be called the Nook, cost $259 -
"Finally! A company that gets that has embraced the fact that part of the magic of being a book lover is passing off a cherished novel to a friend."
Find a Nook - read, lend, kindle an e-book - Tech Generation Daily
"The Nook costs $260, but includes an ability to lend digital books to friends and also to use wi-fi to download books. That puts it in a different league from the Kindle."
Barnes and Noble nook hands-on - SlashGear
"Barnes and Noble's nook may not be the first wireless ebook reader we've seen, but with its dual displays, color touchscreen, compact form-factor and Android OS it's perhaps the most distinctive."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quantum computer slips onto chip

Researchers have devised a penny-sized silicon chip that uses photons to run Shor's algorithm - a well-known quantum approach - to solve a maths problem.

The algorithm computes the two numbers that multiply together to form a given figure, and has until now required laboratory-sized optical computers.

This kind of factoring is the basis for a wide variety of encryption schemes.

The work, reported in Science, is rudimentary but could easily be scaled up to handle more complex computing.

Shor's algorithm and the factoring of large numbers has been a particular case used to illustrate the power of quantum computing.

Quantum computers exploit the counterintuitive fact that photons or trapped atoms can exist in multiple states or "superpositions" at the same time.

For certain types of calculations, that "quantum indeterminacy" gives quantum computers a significant edge.

While traditional or "classical" computers find factoring large numbers impracticably time-consuming, for example, quantum computers can in principle crack the problem with ease.

That has important implications for encryption methods based on factoring, such as the "RSA" method that is used to make transactions on the internet more secure.

'Important step'

Optical computing has been touted as a potential future for information processing, by using packets of light instead of electrons as the information carrier.

But these packets, called photons, are also endowed with the indeterminate properties that make them quantum objects - so an optical computer can also be a quantum computer.

In fact just this kind of photon-based quantum factoring has been accomplished before, but the ability to put the heart of the machine on a standard chip is promising for future applications of the idea.

"The way people used to make this kind of circuit consumed square metres of laboratory space and took graduate students many months to align," said Jeremy O'Brien, the University of Bristol researcher who led the work.

"Doubling the complexity of the circuit often times turns it from being a difficult task to a practically impossible one, whereas for us to double the complexity it's really straightforward," he told BBC News.

The Bristol team's approach makes use of waveguides - channels etched into the chips that provide a path for the photons around the chips like the minuscule wires in conventional electronics.

While Professor O'Brien said he is confident that such waveguides are the logical choice for future optical quantum computers, he added that there is still a significant amount of work to do before they make it out of the laboratory.

The prototype version, finds the factors of 15 - three and five - a task that the team concedes could be easily accomplished by a child.

"To get a useful computer it needs to be probably a million times more complex, so a full-scale useful factoring machine is still at least two decades away," he said.

"But this is one important step in that direction."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens


Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens

A new generation of contact lenses built with very small circuits and LEDs promises bionic eyesight


Image: Raygun Studio


The human eye is a perceptual powerhouse. It can see millions of colors, adjust easily to shifting light conditions, and transmit information to the brain at a rate exceeding that of a high-speed Internet connection.

But why stop there?

In the Terminator movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character sees the world with data superimposed on his visual field—virtual captions that enhance the cyborg’s scan of a scene. In stories by the science fiction author Vernor Vinge, characters rely on electronic contact lenses, rather than smartphones or brain implants, for seamless access to information that appears right before their eyes.

These visions (if I may) might seem far-fetched, but a contact lens with simple built-in electronics is already within reach; in fact, my students and I are already producing such devices in small numbers in my laboratory at the University of Washington, in Seattle [see sidebar, "A Twinkle in the Eye"]. These lenses don’t give us the vision of an eagle or the benefit of running subtitles on our surroundings yet. But we have built a lens with one LED, which we’ve powered wirelessly with RF. What we’ve done so far barely hints at what will soon be possible with this technology.

Conventional contact lenses are polymers formed in specific shapes to correct faulty vision. To turn such a lens into a functional system, we integrate control circuits, communication circuits, and miniature antennas into the lens using custom-built optoelectronic components. Those components will eventually include hundreds of LEDs, which will form images in front of the eye, such as words, charts, and photographs. Much of the hardware is semitransparent so that wearers can navigate their surroundings without crashing into them or becoming disoriented. In all likelihood, a separate, portable device will relay displayable information to the lens’s control circuit, which will operate the optoelectronics in the lens.

These lenses don’t need to be very complex to be useful. Even a lens with a single pixel could aid people with impaired hearing or be incorporated as an indicator into computer games. With more colors and resolution, the repertoire could be expanded to include displaying text, translating speech into captions in real time, or offering visual cues from a navigation system. With basic image processing and Internet access, a contact-lens display could unlock whole new worlds of visual information, unfettered by the constraints of a physical display.

Besides visual enhancement, noninvasive monitoring of the wearer’s biomarkers and health indicators could be a huge future market. We’ve built several simple sensors that can detect the concentration of a molecule, such as glucose. Sensors built onto lenses would let diabetic wearers keep tabs on blood-sugar levels without needing to prick a finger. The glucose detectors we’re evaluating now are a mere glimmer of what will be possible in the next 5 to 10 years. Contact lenses are worn daily by more than a hundred million people, and they are one of the only disposable, mass-market products that remain in contact, through fluids, with the interior of the body for an extended period of time. When you get a blood test, your doctor is probably measuring many of the same biomarkers that are found in the live cells on the surface of your eye—and in concentrations that correlate closely with the levels in your bloodstream. An appropriately configured contact lens could monitor cholesterol, sodium, and potassium levels, to name a few potential targets. Coupled with a wireless data transmitter, the lens could relay information to medics or nurses instantly, without needles or laboratory chemistry, and with a much lower chance of mix-ups.

Three fundamental challenges stand in the way of building a multipurpose contact lens. First, the processes for making many of the lens’s parts and subsystems are incompatible with one another and with the fragile polymer of the lens. To get around this problem, my colleagues and I make all our devices from scratch. To fabricate the components for silicon circuits and LEDs, we use high temperatures and corrosive chemicals, which means we can’t manufacture them directly onto a lens. That leads to the second challenge, which is that all the key components of the lens need to be miniaturized and integrated onto about 1.5 square centimeters of a flexible, transparent polymer. We haven’t fully solved that problem yet, but we have so far developed our own specialized assembly process, which enables us to integrate several different kinds of components onto a lens. Last but not least, the whole contraption needs to be completely safe for the eye. Take an LED, for example. Most red LEDs are made of aluminum gallium arsenide, which is toxic. So before an LED can go into the eye, it must be enveloped in a biocompatible substance.

Racetrack Memory: The Future Third Dimension of Data Storage

Racetrack Memory: The Future Third Dimension of Data StorageA device that slides magnetic bits back and forth along nanowire 'racetracks' could pack data in a three-dimensional microchip and may replace nearly all forms of conventional data storage.

A device that slides magnetic bits back and forth along nanowire "racetracks" could pack data in a three-dimensional microchip and may replace nearly all forms of conventional data storage

By Stuart S. P. Parkin

ey Concepts

  • A radical new design for computer data storage called racetrack memory (RM) moves magnetic bits along nanoscopic “racetracks.”
  • RM would be nonvolatile—retaining its data when the power is turned off—but would not have the drawbacks of hard disk drives or present-day nonvolatile chips.
  • Chips with horizontal racetracks could outcompete today’s nonvolatile “flash” memory. Building forests of vertical racetracks on a silicon substrate would yield three-dimensional memory chips with data storage densities surpassing those of hard disk drives.
  • RM is up against several other new kinds of memory under development.

The world today is very different from that of just a decade ago, thanks to our ability to readily access enormous quantities of information. Tools that we take for granted—social networks, Internet search engines, online maps with point-to-point directions, and online libraries of songs, movies, books and photographs—were unavailable just a few years ago. We owe the arrival of this information age to the rapid development of remarkable technologies in high-speed communications , data processing and—perhaps most important of all but least appreciated—digital data storage.

Each type of data storage has its Achilles’ heel, however, which is why computers use several types for different purposes. Most digital data today, such as the information that makes up the Internet, resides in vast farms of magnetic hard disk drives (HDDs) and in the HDDs of individual computers. Yet these drives, with their rotating disks and moving read/write heads, are unreliable and slow. Loss of data because of so-called head crashes occurs relatively often. Regarding speed, it can take up to 10 milliseconds to read the first bit of some requested data. In computers, 10 milliseconds is an eon—a modern processor can perform 20 million operations in that time.

Maple Tree Power

IEEE Spectrum: If You Want To Power Nanoscale Devices, Maple Trees Can Do The Trick


I saw this catchy headline over at Scientific American: Tree Electricity Runs Nano-Gadget. Apparently the headline was inspired by research reported in the IEEE’s Transactions on Nanotechnology by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle who discovered they could derive enough electricity from a maple tree to run a device, as long as that device had dimensions of 130 nanometers.

Now I get why a science publication would pick this up as a cute little story to entertain its readers and even its listeners (it is accompanied with a podcast), but I am trying to figure out if there is any larger goal aimed at by the researchers. I admittedly could not locate the experiment on the IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology website to determine what the greater purpose was.

But I have been thinking that if you were able to hook up all the trees in the state of Washington into one macroscale device you might be able to power something like an iPod for an hour or so. Might make for an interesting experiment.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Visa payWave | Personal | Visa USA

Visa payWave | Personal | Visa USA
Progressive Payment OptionsVisa Card * Visa payWave feature offers cutting edge convenience and flexibility * Magnetic stripe also enables traditional paymentsVisa Mini Card * The first alternative Visa payWave payment device * Measures half the size of a traditional card * Includes Visa payWave and magnetic stripe functionalityVisa Micro Tag * The latest innovation in Visa payments, Visa's first payment device designed exclusively for Visa payWave payments * No more fumbling through your purse or wallet, the Visa Micro Tag is easily accessible on your key ring * Designed to be small, durable, practical, and convenient
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eclipse Errors on Mac OS X

“The eclipse executable launcher was unable to locate its companion shared library”

Try double-clicking directly on:
Hint: You may have to right-click on and select "Show package contents."

If that doesn't work, check in:
for a file named eclipse.ini

Check the file for file names or paths that no longer exist and change/delete them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

T Shaped People

The technology workers most in demand in the future, according to James E. Spohrer, a researcher and director of university programs for I.B.M., will be "T-shaped people." Such people, Mr. Spohrer explains, possess a deep knowledge in one technical discipline topped off by a wide portfolio of skills, from project management to industry expertise, that makes them more valuable to employers.

Published: August 19, 2009

“Technical expertise by itself is not sufficient, and that is more true now than it has ever been,” said Bhaskar Pant, executive director of professional programs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s school of engineering.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Beginner's Guide to VMware Fusion

VMware Communities: A Beginner's Guide to VMware Fusion (12 July 2009)
(re-posted from:

For non-boot Camp virtual machines, Fusion puts virtual machines (VMs) in "/Users/yourusername/Documents/Virtual Machines/" by default. Boot Camp virtual machines are located in "/Users/yourusername/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/Virtual Machines/". You can also see the location of a virtual machine in the Virtual Machine Library by hovering the mouse over the listing - the location should pop up in a tooltip.

Another simple way to locate your VM while open is to Control-Click on the VM windows icon. This will bring up a pop-up box showing all of the enclosing folders to your virtual machine. Clicking on its proximal containing folder will open it in a new Finder window.

VMs are packaged up in bundles a.k.a. packages, which is OS X's way of showing things that really belong together. Other examples of bundles include most applications and installers. Fusion bundles have the extension ".vmwarevm" (OS X may hide this by default). You can examine the contents of a bundle by going to the bundle in the Finder, ctrl-clicking it, and choosing "Show Package Contents"

By default, bundles contain the files that describe a virtual machine. These files include:
  • A virtual disk file (*.vmdk)
    • This can be a single large file or many 2GB chunks, depending on how you set up your disk. If you have a snapshot, there will also be more of these.
  • A configuration file (*.vmx)
    • This is a plaintext file describing the virtual machine, such as which files it uses, how much RAM it gets, and various settings. Since it's a plaintext file, you can use your favorite text editor to modify it, but be sure that the virtual machine and Fusion is not running when you do this. Note that editing the .vmx file is not supported and can cause problems if you don't know what you're doing.
  • A BIOS file (*.nvram)
    • This contains information such as the virtual machine's boot order
  • Log file(s) (vmware.log)
    • This is a plaintext file that contains information on the most recent run of the virtual machine, and corresponds to the vmware-vmx process. The next-most-recent is called vmware-0.log, then vmware-1.log, and finally vmware-2.log. If you ever have a problem with Fusion, you may be asked to provide this file.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS

Introducing the Google Chrome OS

7/07/2009 09:37:00 PM
It's been an exciting nine months since we launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. We designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

How to Succeed by Trying

1. Be clear about what you are trying to accomplish and what are the business drivers.

2. Involve business and IT groups early (planning stage) in the process.

3. Take every opportunity to improve the business processes and keep technology innovation as a lower level objective.

4. Keep projects short so that you can measure success/failure.

5. Base transition strategies on investments that are already necessary.

6. Get sponsorship/buy-in from senior management.

7. Do not forget/underestimate the people issues.

8. Overinvest in end-user support.

9. Use information technologies as enablers and not as drivers of change.

10. Pay special attention to reuse of existing resources including legacy.

Umar, Amjad. 1999. "Application Reengineering: Building Web-Based Applications and Dealing with Legacies." (Accessed June 28, 2009).

Saturday, June 20, 2009

web: WebServices - Axis

"Open Source means that you get the source, but that there is no formal support organisation to help you when things go wrong. " (20 June 2009) or

WebServices - Axis

Open Source means that you get the source, but that there is no formal support organisation to help you when things go wrong.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

web: Introduction to ebXML

href="" target="_blank">

XML has the following advantages:
  • It is simpler than EDI.
  • It has many more uses than just data exchange between companies.
  • It is fairly easy to find developers who are familiar with it.
  • It is a platform-neutral language.
  • You can build applications to read and send XML virtually anywhere.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

ADHD meds can improve math and reading scores, study suggests

Pediatricians and educators have long known that psycho-stimulant medications can help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) concentrate on learning for short periods of time. But a new study from UC Berkeley has found evidence that grade schoolers with ADHD who take medications can actually improve their long-term academic achievement, and make greater gains in standardized math and reading scores than students with ADHD who do not take medications.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

YouTube - Vint Cerf at U Maryland

Vint CerfImage via Wikipedia

YouTube - Vint Cerf at U Maryland: "On Friday, April 17, 2009, Vint Cerf gave a talk entitled 'Tracking the Internet in the 21st Century' at the University of Maryland"

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Google Voice

Google Voice is currently open only for GrandCentral users Learn More Get an Invite
Voice features - More cool things you can do with Google Voice
©2009 Google

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Using water to create nanoscale power cells - Ars Technica

Using water to create nanoscale power cells - Ars Technica: "Using water to create nanoscale power cells

Chemists use computational modeling to figure out why a hydroelectric voltage is generated when water is pushed through a single-walled carbon nanotube.
By Yun Xie | Last updated April 22, 2009"

== Summary == A diagram showing the types of c...Image via Wikipedia

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Apache Ant - Frequently Asked Questions

Apache Ant - Frequently Asked Questions: "Why do you call it Ant?

According to Ant's original author, James Duncan Davidson, the name is an acronym for 'Another Neat Tool'.

Later explanations go along the lines of 'ants do an extremely good job at building things', or 'ants are very small and can carry a weight dozens of times their own' - describing what Ant is intended to be."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dijkstra's algorithm

Dijkstra's algorithm, conceived by Dutch computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra in 1959, [1] is a graph search algorithm that solves the single-source shortest path problem for a graph with nonnegative edge path costs, producing a shortest path tree. This algorithm is often used in routing.

For a given source vertex (node) in the graph, the algorithm finds the path with lowest cost (i.e. the shortest path) between that vertex and every other vertex. It can also be used for finding costs of shortest paths from a single vertex to a single destination vertex by stopping the algorithm once the shortest path to the destination vertex has been determined. For example, if the vertices of the graph represent cities and edge path costs represent driving distances between pairs of cities connected by a direct road, Dijkstra's algorithm can be used to find the shortest route between one city and all other cities. As a result, the shortest path first is widely used in network routing protocols, most notably IS-IS and OSPF (Open Shortest Path First).

Monday, April 20, 2009


Java (programming language)Image via Wikipedia

"Groovy is like a super version of Java. It can leverage Java's enterprise capabilities but also has cool productivity features like closures, builders and dynamic typing. If you are a developer, tester or script guru, you have to love Groovy.'

Groovy is a relatively new language which emerged in about 2003. It has attracted a large following of Java programmers/developers who appreciate the enhanced, advanced features which extend Java. Groovy is not commercial software but open source software supported by a large community of developers. As indicated above, it is a way to simplify and enhance Java Programming."

Groovy facts:
  • Since the passage of JSR-241, Groovy is the second standard language for
    the Java platform (the first being the Java language)
  • GROOVY “A situation or an activity that one enjoys or to which one is especially well suited (found his groove playing bass in a trio). A very pleasurable experience; enjoy oneself (just sitting around, grooving on the music). To be affected with pleasurable excitement. To react or interact harmoniously.” [Leo]
  • Groovy can give you relief and bring back the fun of programming by providing advanced language features where you need them: in your daily work. By allowing you to call methods on anything, pass blocks of code around for immediate or later execution, augment existing library code with your own specialized semantics, and use a host of other powerful features, Groovy lets you express yourself clearly and achieve miracles with little code.
  • Groovy's relaxed Java syntax allows you to drop semi-colons and
  • Everything in Groovy is public unless you state otherwise.
  • Groovy permits you to define simple scripts without having to define a
    formal class object.
  • Groovy adds some magical methods and shortcuts on normal everyday
    Java objects to make them easier to work with.

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Twitter jilts Ruby for Scala

"For this sort of heavy lifting, languages like Java and C++ may be as fast as Scala. But Payne wants more than speed. He prefers Scala because it combines functional and object-oriented techniques. 'Functions are objects, and objects are functions,' he said. 'Scala asks can you have the best of these two worlds together? And you can.'

But he also prefers Scala because it's, well, beautiful. 'It's a fuzzy thing. But we like writing beautiful code, code that you're proud of, code that you can show to non-programmers and they get it.'

When Twitter made the Scala switch, it wasn't using Java Virtual Machines (JVMs). But, Payne argues, the language is that much more attractive if you're already running Java.

'The biggest selling point for certain organizations is that Scala is 100 per cent compatible with your existing JVM code. There's no wrappers. There's no bullshit. You just load up your JVM code and call in to it, and there's no performance penalty. If you have a big investment in Java infrastructure, Scala is the ideal language.'"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

G.M. Conjures Up a People-Moving Pod - Wheels Blog -

G.M. Conjures Up a People-Moving Pod - Wheels Blog - "G.M. Conjures Up a People-Moving Pod
By Jim Motavalli
P.U.M.A. prototype G.M.’s P.U.M.A. prototype in Manhattan.

General Motors may be so short of cash that bankruptcy is among its dwindling options, but the company is still in the business of creating dreams."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jython Programming

  • Rapid application development - Python programs are typically 2-10X shorter than the equivalent Java program. This translates directly to increased programmer productivity. The seamless interaction between Python and Java allows developers to freely mix the two languages both during development and in shipping products.
  • Dynamic compilation to Java bytecodes - leads to highest possible performance without sacrificing interactivity.

  • Ability to extend existing Java classes in Jython - allows effective use of abstract classes.

  • Optional static compilation - allows creation of applets, servlets, beans, ...

  • Bean Properties - make use of Java packages much easier.

  • Making Jython Scripts Executable

    To make a jython ".py" file executable on a Unix system:

  • Make sure that jython is on your standard PATH.
  • Make the ".py" file executable. Typically, this is done with the command chmod +x
  • Add the following line to the top of the file:

#! /usr/bin/env jython

About performance
Because Jython is interpreted, it can be slower than a compiled language such as Java. In most applications, such as scripts or GUIs, this difference is hardly noticeable. In most cases, Jython's increased design and coding flexibility more than makes up for any small performance loss.

Because Jython code is dynamically converted to Java byte code, the latest enhancements to the Java platform (such as JITs and Sun's HotSpot JVM) can also eliminate many performance issues.

For an additional performance boost it is possible to implement code sections in the Java language and call them from Jython. For example, you could prototype your programs in Jython, test them out, and (in the case of performance issues) convert the critical sections to Java code. This technique is a good combination of the powers of Jython and the Java language, as prototyping is much easier in Jython than in Java.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Get Latitude and Longitude values from Google Maps | Google | Tech-Recipes

Get Latitude and Longitude values from Google Maps | Google | Tech-Recipes:
"Looking up an address in Google Maps will center the map on that address if it was found. Because this trick provides the latitude and longitude of the center of the map, moving the map around manually after that will change the center position and this technique will not work accurately.

When the location you want is in the center of the map, copy and paste this code into the location bar of your browser and press enter:


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Now You CAN Give One

Cursing: Remote-Controlled Flying Fuck Takes Things Pretty Literally

Lie to Me - The Inpiration Behind the Show

Dr. Paul Ekman, whose ideas are the basis for Lie to Me, the popular TV show.

LIE TO ME's scientific advisor Paul Ekman, Ph.D., breaks down the real science in each episode.

Dr. Ekman is the world's foremost expert on facial expressions and a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. Ekman has served as an advisor to police departments and anti-terrorism groups (including the Transportation Security Administration). He is also the author of 15 books, including "Telling Lies" and "Emotions Revealed."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kraken | National Institute for Computational Sciences

Kraken | National Institute for Computational Sciences: "Kraken

The new Kraken is a Cray XT5 system, consisting of 8256 compute nodes, each with two 2.3 GHz quad-core AMD Opteron processors, totaling 66048 compute cores. Compute nodes run Compute Node Linux (CNL) 2.1, an operating system designed to minimize overhead, thus allowing scalable low-latency global communication. Each node is connected to a Cray SeaStar router through HyperTransport, and the SeaStars are all interconnected in a 3-D-torus topology. The resulting interconnect has very high bandwidth, low latency, and extreme scalability."

Apple, .Mac, and the Need for Improvement

I am always amazed at how Apple computers OS, and most software can be surpassingly wonderful, but at the same time how their signature software offerings, like the .Mac Web based email, and their whole .Mac experience, can be so terrible. Are they not watching what Google is doing?

Also frustrating, but more understandable, is the lack of certain software, such as Google's Chrome browser, for Mac.

I love my MacBook Pro, especially because I can run VMware Fusion and have the best of both Windows XP and Mac OS X (or Linux, or whatever else I want) - VMware's software engineers should rightly win the Nobel prize for something - I just wish that there were more software written for the Mac platform, and that the .Mac experience didn't suck quite so badly.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Nanotech Buzz (Creative Weblogging)

"The density achievable with the technology we've developed could
potentially enable the contents of 250 DVDs to fit onto a surface
the size of a quarter," says UC Berkeley assistant professor Ting

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A few tidbits about Mail’s fancy data detectors in Leopard | MacYourself

A few tidbits about Mail’s fancy data detectors in Leopard | MacYourself: "So what are the downsides to data detectors in Mail? A lot of people don’t like how they interfere when you attempt to select certain areas of text. I can understand this frustration — it has happened to me a number of times. While I choose to keep them enabled, others may be interested in learning how to disable Mail’s data detectors. There’s no setting in the application preferences to turn this functionality off, so we’re going to venture into Terminal to get the job done. If you’ve never used Terminal before, you can find it in the Applications folder under Utilities or by searching for it via Spotlight. Once you’ve got it open, copy and paste this code in the Terminal window and press Enter/Return.

defaults write DisableDataDetectors YES

If Mail is currently open, you will have to quit and relaunch it for the change to take effect. Disabling data detectors using this command isn’t permanent, so you can reverse it at any time by replacing the YES with NO.

defaults write DisableDataDetectors NO

For those who are a bit more ambitious, you can even use a Terminal command to get data detectors to (kind of) work in iChat. The reason I say kind of is because they tend to randomly start and stop working at any given time. This instability is undoubtedly why Apple has them disabled in iChat by default. Still, if you want to give it a shot for giggles, here’s what you need:

defaults write EnableDataDetectors 1

Replacing the 1 with a 0 will reverse the change. I wouldn’t recommend messing with iChat due to the erratic behavior of its data detectors, but nonetheless it might give us a little insight into what Apple has planned for future software updates or versions of Mac OS X. Hopefully they get iChat squared away and bring Safari into the picture to compliment Mail’s useful implementation of the feature."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Clean Tech

"Let's wipe out toilet paper
by Christian Wolmar
Latest news, sport, business, comment and reviews from the Guardian |

Using tissue after you've been to the loo is bad for the planet. Washing is the greener option – and it's more hygienic too

Toilet paper is a serious issue. But the minute one starts talking about it, the giggles start. So let me get my position out clearly first. Three years ago I went to India and discovered botty nirvana. While I was suffering from one of those inevitable bouts of Delhi belly, I was staying in a room with a spray attachment that allowed me to clean my anus – let's call spades spades here, it is not my bottom – without having to touch it or use paper.

It saved me from piles and rash, and definitely avoided a lot of pain. The first few times I checked whether I was clean with toilet paper but soon I realised that was unnecessary. I was spotless every time in both senses of the word.

So when I got back to Britain, I found that fortunately I had a shower attachment that reached over to the toilet and I could perform the same task. Result: large amounts of toilet paper saved, and a far cleaner and refreshed feeling that was far more hygienic. As for the wetness, there is a choice – either dab off with a small amount of toilet paper or use a towel specially for the purpose. Remember the towel is nothing more than drying off clean buttocks, pretty much the same as coming out of the shower, but obviously I change it regularly. Of course in the Indian heat, a bit of dampness did not matter.

Enough of my personal hygiene. Now for the wider points. If everyone in the world used as much toilet paper as people in the UK, let alone Americans, there would not be a single tree left. It is all very well talking about the sustainability of different brands, but in truth we should all be using water sprays. They are increasingly being fitted in India, replacing the rather more difficult jug and left hand technique which requires rather more contact than most westerners can contemplate.

Of course, on the continent they have bidets whose purpose has always been a mystery for the British – but it suggests that they have a better understanding of cleaning their private parts than we do. Indeed, you can never get properly clean by simply wiping, since you are, effectively, pushing the stuff into your skin. Would anyone dream of cleaning their hands by simply wiping them on tissue paper?

The ideal would be a toilet designed to spray and dry. The brilliant hand air sprays developed by James Dyson, which dry your hands in 10 seconds, are rapidly taking over in public toilets in hotels and restaurants. His next task should be to design the environmentally friendly loo with water and air spray built in. I have heard they exist in Japan already. The only downside might be that men will stay on the loo even longer to read their papers, enjoying a draught of hot air up their backsides.

Above all, though, we need to talk about this issue. There are serious environmental considerations at issue. The fact that it is so difficult even to mention this subject is down to our Victorian prudishness. A few years ago, dog doo-doos were in the same unmentionable category but now owners have to get used to the idea of picking up the brown stuff, a far more yucky task than using water spray to clean one's anus.

This should be the next area where massive environmental gains can be made with very little downside, except for Kimberley Clark and those irritating puppies that waste a forest of trees in every Andrex advert.

* Forests
* Waste
* Recycling
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