Researchers at UW-Madison have been working on an energy harvester that they say can deliver watts of power. And not just one or two watts, but up to 10 or 20. This is a huge amount of power to get from a “free” energy harvester; we’re talking thousands of times more powerful than the current generation of pizeoelectrics. An iPhone, for example, typically consumes under five watts. This means that 10 watts could power two iPhones, and 20 watts could power four of them! Four iPhones! Imagine the possibilities! (via Liquid metal shoes harvest massive amounts of power | DVICE)

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Before sticking us with a title card, cast credits and John Williams’ famous score, Bryan Singer had another intro in mind. He filmed a sequence where Superman was flying in space trying to find what was left of his home planet Krypton. (via Check out never-before-seen Superman Returns $10 million opening | Blastr)

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Since 1999, the editors of Technology Review have honored the young innovators whose inventions and research we find most exciting; today that collection is the TR35, a list of technologists and scientists, all under the age of 35. Their work—spanning medicine, computing, communications, electronics, nanotechnology, and more—is changing our world (via TR35 2010 - Technology Review)

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"I don’t know whether the authors are just bad scientists or whether they’re unscrupulously pushing NASA's 'There's life in outer space!’ agenda,” wrote University of British Columbia Prof. Rosie Redfield on her blog about the study, which was published Dec. 2 in Science. (via CBC News - Technology & Science - NASA’s arsenic microbe science slammed)

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2001: A Space Odyssey
slagheap via Flickr


via 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Q. Did you deliberately try for ambiguity as opposed to a specific meaning for any scene or image?

Stanley Kubrick: No, I didn’t have to try for ambiguity; it was inevitable…But it’s the ambiguity of all art, of a fine piece of music or a painting - you don’t need written instructions by the composer or painter accompanying such works to “explain” them. “Explaining” them contributes nothing but a superficial “cultural” value which has no value except for critics and teachers who have to earn a living. Reactions to art are always different because they are always deeply personal.

Q. The final scenes of the film seemed more metaphorical than realistic. Will you discuss them — or would that be part of the “road map” you’re trying to avoid?

Kubrick: No, I don’t mind discussing it, on the lowest level, that is, straightforward explanation of the plot. You begin with an artifact left on earth four million years ago by extraterrestrial explorers who observed the behavior of the man-apes of the time and decided to influence their evolutionary progression.

Then you have a second artifact buried deep on the lunar surface and programmed to signal word of man’s first baby steps into the universe - a kind of cosmic burglar alarm.

And finally there’s a third artifact placed in orbit around Jupiter and waiting for the time when man has reached the outer rim of his own solar system. When the surviving astronaut, Bowman, ultimately reaches Jupiter, this artifact sweeps him into a force field or star gate that hurls him on a journey through inner and outer space and finally transports him to another part of the galaxy, where he’s placed in a human zoo approximating a hospital terrestrial environment drawn out of his own dreams and imagination. In a timeless state, his life passes from middle age to senescence to death. He is reborn, an enhanced being, a star child, an angel, a superman, if you like, and returns to earth prepared for the next leap forward of man’s evolutionary destiny.

That is what happens on the film’s simplest level. Since an encounter with an advanced interstellar intelligence would be incomprehensible within our present earthbound frames of reference, reactions to it will have elements of philosophy and metaphysics that have nothing to do with the bare plot outline itself.

Q. What are those areas of meaning?

Kubrick: They are the areas I prefer not to discuss because they are highly subjective and will differ from viewer to viewer. In this sense, the film becomes anything the viewer sees in it. If the film stirs the emotions and penetrates the subconscious of the viewer, if it stimulates, however inchoately, his mythological and religious yearnings and impulses, then it has succeeded.

-1969, via Stanley Kubrick: Interviews

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Reblogged from Old Hollywood

A motley gang of anarchists, free-love advocates, and banana-rights agitators have hijacked The Love Boat out of Puerto Vallarta and are threatening to sink it in 7 days with all 616 passengers and 327 crew members unless their demands are met. The demand? A million dollars in small unmarked bills, and a GPL implementation of WATFIV, that is, the esteemed Waterloo Fortran IV compiler. (It’s surprising how few things the free-love people can find to agree on with the banana-rights people.)

Falling Material Kicks Up Cloud of Dust on Dunes (PSP_007962_2635) Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona HiRISE | Falling Material Kicks Up Cloud of Dust on Dunes (PSP_007962_2635)
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During a suit test in 1968, engineer Bill Peterson fits test pilot Bob Smyth with a Lunar Excursion Module restraint harness. With the development of the Apollo suits, engineers faced brand-new challenges. Astronauts needed protection against the lunar environment but also needed the mobility to explore. (via Technology Review: A Look Back at U.S. Space Suits )

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Tumblr MP3 Player


Anyone that knows me knows that the first thing I do with new technology is figure out how to make it play music. So it makes sense that a week-or-so in to my Tumblr blog, I would create an mp3 player for it. So here is my first stab at it. You can see it in action at the bottom of this blog.

To include it on your page, follow these directions:

  1. Go to your Dashboard
  2. Click Customize
  3. Click Theme
  4. Enable Custom HTML
  5. Copy the script code below:

6. Paste it before the closing head tag, like so:

streampad tumblr setup

7. Click “Save Changes”

That’s it! This will enable visitors to play back all your posts in most recent order. They can skip ahead, pause, and click on the link to go directly to the post page.

Please leave any feedback in the comments section. Thanks!

UPDATE : Added a bookmarklet version

UPDATE : Hack the player by passing parameters to it. Check out the hacks here. I’ll document all hacks in that post.

Changelog :

8.13.09 : added support for last.fm scrobbling

5.13.09 : added full screen mode. added ability to see what others on aim buddylist are listening to in real time

3.26.09 : added ability to save listening history to aol music profile. added ability set aim status with current song.

1.28.09 : volume setting saved from session to session

1.23.09 : added automatic metadata detection to display artist, album, track and cover art

1.14.09 : added volume control

12.16.08 : added pop-out player, playlist drawer, integration with AOL Music

10.23.08 : added autoplay param. Put autoplay=true and the player will start playing when the page opens

9.23.08 : Added new params - clicktext, bgcolor, poweredbycolor, trackcolor, progressfrontcolor, progressbackcolor and clickimg. Clicking on progress bar skips to that point in the song. Last 20 songs are kept in history at streampad.com

7.31.08 : pass api parameter to the player to tell it where the Tumblr blog is. Useful to put the player on other pages or blogs and point back to your tumblr blog.

7.28.08 : fixed bug where clicking on ‘powered by STREAMPAD’ would start playing songs

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Reblogged from Dan Kantor

What do you suppose are the most well-kept secrets in the world? The launch codes for the American nuclear arsenal? The location of Jimmy Hoffa’s bones? Not even close. Below are secrets that only two people on planet Earth know. Sometimes they have very good reasons to keep these secrets so fiercely. Other times, not so much.