Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.
IN 1881, the London St James’s Gazette reported on the end of life on Earth. The news was picked up by Australia’s Bendigo Advertiser:
The London St James’s Gazette writes :—
” This planet, it seems, is threatened with serious changes by the extension of the telegraphic system. A timely note of warning to this effect is given by one of the American papers. Polarity, it observes, depends upon a current of electricity passing at right angles to the direction of the poles. The polarity of the earth depends upon the electric or heat currents of the sun, and it is highly probable that the earth’s inclination to the ecliptic is governed by its polarity. If, therefore, there were instantly established sufficient electrical connection by wires around the earth, with the earth itself, to instantly equalize the current and produce a complete reduction of all electrical excitement, what would be the effect on the polarity, and secondly on the inclination to the ecliptic ? May there not be a sudden change of polarities — the Arctic region becoming equatorial, and the tropics suddenly changed to polar temperature? The sudden melting of the vast ice fields would produce another glacial flood ; the present race would disappear, and the man of the quaternary would begin life ever again at the antipodes. All this is to be accomplished by the continuation of complete circuits for telegraphing around the globe. Of course tremendous earthquakes would follow, as the polar diameter is twenty-six miles too short and the equatorial twenty-six miles too long. Whether this theory prove correct or not, there cannot be a doubt that something has of late gone wrong with atmospherical arrangements, and perhaps the telegraph wires are not wholly blameless in the matter.”
SOME people hate Earth so much that they’ve applied to live on Mars, even though Mars looks like an arid death hole. More than 78,000 people from 120 different countries have applied to leave Earth, which frankly makes them traitors and we should round them up and boo them into oblivion.
The openings come from a new reality TV series from Dutch non-profit organisation Mars One.
IN 1967, IMB hired Jim Henson to educate their staff. His Muppets were here to help. Cue the Cookie Monster:
TEXAS University law student Cody Wilson has printed and fired a 3D gun. The gun was manufactured on a 3D printer that cost $8,000 (£5,140) from eBay.
POLICE forces will be beating a path to Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s door. She collects stray hair, dropped chewing gum, and discarded cigarettes, extracts the DNA and constructs models of the faces of the comber, chewer and smoker. One say this technology will be used to identify the dog that dropped a packet in the wrong place, the Singaporean who defied the rules and chewed the Bazooka Joe and the man in the balaclava who held up the bank.
From this sequence, Dewey-Hagborg gathers information about the person’s ancestry, gender, eye color, propensity to be overweight and other traits related to facial morphology, such as the space between one’s eyes. “I have a list of about 40 or 50 different traits that I have either successfully analyzed or I am in the process of working on right now,” she says.
Dewey-Hagborg then enters these parameters into a computer program to create a 3D model of the person’s face.” Ancestry gives you most of the generic picture of what someone is going to tend to look like. Then, the other traits point towards modifications on that kind of generic portrait,” she explains. The artist ultimately sends a file of the 3D model to a 3D printer on the campus of her alma mater, New York University, so that it can be transformed into sculpture.
BEFORE the age of digital cameras in everything, buying a snapper was a call to loins. Men needed cameras for one reason: to record women (and in one instance below, other men). We’ve compiled 21 great images of what photography looked like before self shots and the internet.
Michael Landon did it was “flash”. The star of Little House on the Prairie was the wholesome and good Charles Ingalls, creating a myriad children from God’s will and hearty woodland walks. Then in the 1980s he got a Kodak Ektralite camera and went to film girls in their swimmers doing onto varnished hardwood flooring.
Going Beyond subtle.
Whipped hair and soup strainer, Tamon man was a serious photographer. The Playgirl ideal never smiled.
She’s looking at you. He’s looking to steal her necklace.
The name’s Bond. Basildon Bond. So shoot me!
Why flash at the beach? Because with brilliant light you can see through her swimsuit, that’s why. And you live in Bridlington.
It’s 1932. Women are free to watch.
The XL Addict has a raincoat and bins. He is a “man on the move”. He;’s looking at your “money maker”. He is the man your mother warned you about.
Five reasons. One… two… three… (or are they a pair?)… four…
Get a grip
An eyefull. Shoot.
Romance lives in upskirt shots.
Your Kodak dealer has lots of photos. You just need to aks the right questions.
That sort of man. And it’s not “small”, ok.
Also cooks, cleans, communicates with Mars and deflects Russian atom bombs. The camera is merely huge.
The man on the floor is a keen observer of the human condition.
The Nikkormat FTN is “bait”. Be the master of bait…
See that girl in the distance? Now take a look through a Soligor 80-200. Yeah, she’s that close.
Camera woman wears ideal photography kit.
It’s just like being there.
With the Vivitar Super 8 women are easy meat.
BEHOLD the two-thumb operated keyboard. Evolution rules. Scientists at the University of St Andrews, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and Montana Tech have worked out what they say is the most efficient keyboard layout. It turns out that QWERTY is dead. On a tablet, the eight fingers are only useful for holding the device while the two thumbs type.
The boffins have called it Kalq, writing in a research paper:
An error-correction algrithm was added to help address linguistic and motor errors. Users reached a rate of 37 words per minute – with a five per cent error rate – after a training program.
Words like “on, see, you, read, dear, based”, frequently used in texts, have to be typed on a split-QWERTY layout with a single thumb only. This makes the typing process cumbersome and slow. This insight initiated the process to develop a layout for two-thumb text entry that could speed up typing and minimise strain for the thumbs.
FACE of the day: Patrick Kane 16, has become the first person in the UK to receive a revolutionary bionic hand which can be manipulated by remote control. He can control it with a smart phone app, which programmes the hand into a raft of pre-set grips.
Patrick, from London, lost his hand when he was a young child. He was fitted with the i-limb ultra revolution yesterday and has described its functions as “priceless“. It costs around $50,000.
It’s the little things that are important, like being able to hold a glass while you pour into it, or being able to cut up the food on my plate, rather than having someone else do it for me.
Says the company behind the wonder, Livingston’s Touch Bionics:
Utilizing its pulsing and vari-grip features, the i-limb ultra is the only prosthetic hand with the ability to gradually increase the strength of its grip on an object. This can be very useful in situations where a firmer grasp is required, such as tying shoelaces tightly or holding a heavy bag more securely.
We’ve come a long way, baby:
These prosthetics made by Felix B. Weinberg, in Baltimore, Md., include a manÂ’s hand, a womanÂ’s hand, two eyes, and an ear, shown May 10, 1951. The lifelike portions of the body are made of soft pliable plastics for use by the patient. Date: 10/05/1951
AS we in the know know, the 1969 moon landing never happened. But in case what never happened, never happend badly and the mission failed, speechwriter William Safire wrote to President Nixon’s Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman. He wanted to outline a plan should Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin reach the moon’s surface but fail to return home. Buzz had a prayer. But the US needed a statement.
THE new iphone. It’s coming! Aren’t you excited too? I know I am because it’ll be just fabulous allowing me to pose even more effectively as a cool and in touch sort of person. You know, rather than the fat middle aged man I actually am.
The knowledge that the new iPhone is coming is revealed to us by the Wall Street Journal:
TAIPEI—Foxconn Technology Group has resumed hiring assembly-line workers in China after a postholiday freeze, in the latest sign that customer Apple Inc. is gearing up for production of a new iPhone.
YOU FACEBOOK friends want to wish you a happy birthday. Dan Hopper saves them the bother. This is what your Facebook wall looks like on your birthday:
THIS can only go well for anyone interested in controlling human thoughts. Researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a tiny device for triggering happy thoughts. It’s a tiny wireless injectable LED device that shines light on mice brains to generate a reward.
“Using a miniature electronic device implanted in the brain, scientists have tapped into the internal reward system of mice, prodding neurons to release dopamine, a chemical associated with pleasure.”
What could go wrong?
“If people could print off … sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they’re at at that time, that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense… In the near future we will need to protect a digital border instead of just locating physical objects as we do now. If it’s made of atoms, you’ll be able to print it… [it] will change the very existence of mankind beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations”
PEOPLE who say old-folks are useless clearly are idiots aren’t they? For a start, old people are the main source of institutionalised racism and without pensioners, the makers of fig rolls would go out of business overnight. Pensioners are so useful that they even help us all when they’re dead.
The steel hips, plates and screws from legs and skulls can be collected after they’re cremated and the metal is sent off for recycling, used by automobile and aeronautical industries.
IT’S 1983. The first video game “World Championship” is underway. Twin Galaxies remembers when it was all lacquered whipped hair and lettering ironed onto T-shirts. In the best traditions of US-based ‘World’ sporting event, only North Americans entered:
Twin Galaxies first Coronation Day Tournament is recognized as history’s first video game “World Championship”—held January 8-9, 1983 at the the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard in Ottumwa, Iowa, USA.
Co-sponsored by Twin Galaxies and ABC-TV’s That’s Incredible, the event featured nineteen of North America’s top players competing on five current titles: Frogger, Millipede, Joust, Super Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong, Jr.
The top three finalists won complimentary subscriptions to Joystik, RePlay and Playmeter Magazine and were invited to compete on the “That’s Incredible” finals in Los Angeles.
The show was aired to an international TV audience on February 21, 1983.
NOKIA made the game, Snake, as popular as Tetris and infuriated mobile phone users the world over. Controlling the near formless blocky greedyguts was a nightmare once you got stuck into it for a couple of minutes, constantly chasing a lifeless square of food in a cold, desolate environment.
The snake, of course, wasn’t allowed to touch its own tail or it would die, so what happens when you complete the game? Once you run out of space, surely the only thing left for the snake to do, is to devour itself?
GAMERS are derided for their social skills, often depicted as lonely people, sat in their mum’s spare room, pale and wan. However, that’s a complete nonsense. That’s like saying movie fanatics are all 3 feet tall and live inside tinfoil pyramids eating socks.
People who play video games, believe it or not, have sex. But which gamers are the best in the bedroom? Well, thank god someone did a survey to find out exactly that!
IN space no-one can hear you scream. But can they see you sob? Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted it “hurts to cry” in space. Then he showed us why. The tears have nowhere to go. They just roll around your face.
IN Roadrage Instant Karma, the Volvo driver moves to undertake the bikers who are spread across the road. The Volvo ends up in a bad place. The bikers give him the finger and drive on. But karma is not about retribution and punishment. It’s about intention. The Volvo driver never meant to injure the bikers. He just wanted to get by. And they weren’t letting him pass. If the bikers’ brand of karma is right, it is they who’d best watch out:
IN London a Lamborghini Miura SV burns. The fire brigade were in no hurry. And no-one in London has a fire extinguisher:
GOOD new for women in Chennai, India, who have their knickers stolen to order by perverts. Scientists have placed GPS tracking devices in lingerie. Manisha Mohan, co-developer of Society Harnessing Equipment (SHE), says her gadget has other uses:
“The lingerie, laced with modules of global positioning system (GPS), global system for mobile communications (GSM) and also pressure sensors, is capable of sending shock waves of 3,800 kV as well as alerts to the girl’s parents and police.”
Touch her knickers and get a shock. And if she touches, them, say, to got to the toilet, she also gets a shock. Great idea, Mohan. But why no camera? She adds:
“The shocks can be emitted up to 82 times.”
ON the Guardian ‘s Comment Is Free site – oh, the irony – Bob Garfield says people who consume news for free on the web are “looters“.
Those consumers cheerfully using the web to sample content from all over the world via news websites, blogs and aggregators are essentially picking the inventory clean. Oh, and when they get the stuff home, the goods aren’t what they used to be. And some of the stuff has a sour smell to it.
Anyone who cares deeply about quality, independent journalism should pray for paywalls and other subscription models to take hold. Because in the world of the smart and the desperate, desperate always has the last word.
Because news is a commodity? Opinion is only worthwhile opinion if it is paid for and sanctioned by a big brand? So says the man in the Guardian, the paper that loses a fortune, supports State-control of the media, doesn’t pay its interns, wants to colonise the world, is confused about economics, and won an award when the profitable News of The World (Britain’s best-selling newspaper) died.
Now read on. Or don’t.