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.
BELIEVE it or not, it was a hard sell in the early 1980s to convince people to buy a computer for the home. The contraptions were insanely expensive, and they simply couldn’t do a whole lot. Something as simple as filing recipes was a tall order for an ’82 PC. Of course, we were happy with terrible graphics because we knew nothing better – yet, as enticing as having Pong in the living room did sound, the expense was simply out of the ballpark for most families.
Subsequently, it was time for advertisers to play hard ball. No longer were they selling you something that would be a nice asset to your home office or entertainment center. Those days were over. Now, it was being sold as a piece of equipment that was quite literally going to gob smack your very soul. This wasn’t a simple piece of hardware like a microwave – this was a trans-dimensional gift from the gods, and you will never – I repeat, NEVER – be the same.
The tactic worked, and the masses lined up to splurge their life savings on computers and games. Here are some of the images and adverts during the height of the digital penetration….
Behold the Answer to All Our Prayers. It’s reminiscent of the apes surrounding the 2001: A Space Odyssey obelisk. And notice the Holy Aura surrounding this gift from the Heavens. Never mind the fact that they haven’t figured out yet that it’s facing the wrong way. No matter. Timmy’s college fund was well spent.
The Guardian Erases Helen Sharman From History In The Race To Praise Tim Peake, The ‘First Brit In Space’
THE Observer salutes Tim Peake, “the First Brit in space”.
Only, he isn’t.
FLASHBACK to May 5th 1943:
Olive McDonald, branding the casing of a 3-inch mortar-bomb, at a factory somewhere in England, on May 4, 1943.
FLASHBACK to August 30, 1960:
Young girls at Japanese radio manufacturing plant in Tokyo, stretch in unison to the beat of a man blowing the whistle. The stretch break takes place twice a day and, according to company officials, raises the efficiency of the girls who assemble the miniature parts of transistor radios. The girls use microscopes to insert needle-like parts into the radios.
POLICE in Delhi did not reply to any of the 667 complaints sent their way because they forgot the password to their computer. One officer said the oversight was “a technical problem”.
So, nothing to do with human stupidity , then?
IN Jan 1942, the Nazis opened an entomological laboratory in the Dachau concentration camp. One aim was to combat the parasites living on soldiers. One other aim was to see if mosquitoes could be trained to attack enemy soldiers and infect them with malaria.
FLASHBACK to February 5 1972: the Stereo Chair.
Jennie Jaconello from Weybridge relaxes in a Stereo Chair on show at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, Feb. 5, 1972. The chair designed by Peter Banks is the theme of the display by Banks Heeley Plastics Ltd., at the furniture show, which opens at London’s Earls Court on February 6. The chair permits a stereo and radio unit to be fitted on to one of its arms. The addition of a pair of headphones enables the occupant of the chair to recline into his on her private world of music-and ignore the television, radio or record-player that may be operating in the same room.
WANT to live forever? One stem cells billionaire claims he is getting younger.
Bahamas resident Peter Nygard says he is receiving stem cell therapy and that a study from the University of Miami suggests he is getting younger, the Bahamas Tribune reports. “They are looking at me, and my markers have shown exactly that I have been actually reversing my ageing and getting younger,” the 70-year-old says.
He adds: “I am taking perhaps more stem cell treatment than anybody else in the world. I have been doing it for four years now, so I am sort of a testimonial that this stem cell really works.”
Bit creepy? Or great news for humanity?
Whole Foods, The Paleo Diet And The New-Kosher Vitamineral Earth Are Creationism For Stupid Liberals
ORGANIC food and whole foods are a big marketing con for the gullible who think they know better than the rest of them. Right? Michael Schulson muses on those right-on liberals who “get riled up about creationists and climate-change deniers, but lap up the quasi-religious snake oil at Whole Foods”. Modern science is not a path on the old truths:
At times, the Whole Foods selection slips from the pseudoscientific into the quasi-religious. It’s not just the Ezekiel 4:9 bread (its recipe drawn from the eponymous Bible verse), or Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, or Vitamineral Earth’s “Sacred Healing Food.” It’s also, at least for Jewish shoppers, the taboos thathave grown up around the company’s Organic Integrity effort, all of which sound eerily like kosher law. There’s a sign in the Durham store suggesting that shoppers bag their organic and conventional fruit separately – lest one rub off on the other – and grind their organic coffees at home – because the Whole Foods grinders process conventional coffee, too, and so might transfer some non-organic dust. “This slicer used for cutting both CONVENTIONAL and ORGANIC breads” warns a sign above the Durham location’s bread slicer. Synagogue kitchens are the only other places in which I’ve seen signs implying that level of food-separation purity.
Look, if homeopathic remedies make you feel better, take them. If the Paleo diet helps you eat fewer TV dinners, that’s great – even if the Paleo diet is probably premised more on The Flintstones than it is on any actual evidence about human evolutionary history. If non-organic crumbs bother you, avoid them. And there’s much to praise in Whole Foods’ commitment to sustainability and healthful foods. Still: a significant portion of what Whole Foods sells is based on simple pseudoscience. And sometimes that can spill over into outright anti-science (think What Doctors Don’t Tell You, or Whole Foods’ overblown GMO campaign, which could merit its own article).
Why are so many whole food believers picky eaters..?
FLASHBACK to November 30, 1962:
This mobile communications laboratory designed for demonstrating, checking and testing equipment, is demonstrated by Peter Robins, president of electronics communications, Inc., Mount Vernon, N.Y., which developed the traveling lab, at the International Communications Fair in New York on Nov. 30, 1962, displays of all new electronics communication equipment included mobile two-way radio for road, sky, ship and shore, ham radio, citizen’s band, short wave, intercommunication systems for factories, offices and homes, radio paging devices, Hi-Fi, MM multiplex, automatic telephone systems. Walkie-talkies, and closed circuit television.
File under: what we got from the Cold War.
THERE are indeed things wrong with this world and it behoves us all to pay attention and try to make the world a better place by solving such problems. However, whining about what Google puts in its front page as a doodle may not actually be one of these things.
Activists have accused Google of being racist and sexist in their choice of figures to create the firm’s much loved Google Doodles for.
Spark, which describes itself as a ‘girl-fueled activist movement’, said its analysis found the majority of Google’s doodles were of white males.
It said the accolade was the modern equivalent of being put on a stamp, and said ‘it’s uncommon for Google to celebrate historical women of color.’
ARE you planning to wear Google Glasses? If you are, let it not go unsaid that you have found a way to look even sadder than the knobs smoking electronic cigarettes that light up at the end. You’ve turned your face into a mobile CCTV camera, gathering and accessing data on friends and strangers like a police state snitch.
Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the nascent wearable technology. Some eight U.S. states are considering regulation of Google Glass, a tiny computer screen mounted in the corner of an eyeglass frame. Law enforcement and other groups are concerned that drivers wearing the devices will pay more attention to their email than the road, causing serious accidents.
FLASHBACK to April, 30, 1950: An elderly Bavarian inspects what is said to be the first robot in history, a soldier with an automatic bellows that blows a trumpet, made in 1810 by Friedrich Kauffman of Dresden. The robot is one of the many attractions of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
THIS is, of course, the moment that all Apple fanboys have been waiting for, the opportunity to get up close and personal with their now departed icon. The ability, even, to give his arse a good licking:
While Steve Jobs probably didn’t send much snail mail in his later years, the US Postal Service intends to honor the late tech icon by putting his visage on a commemorative stamp.
Stamp subjects are normally kept secret until just before printing, but the Washington Post obtained a document outing approved stamps for the next few years. The Apple co-founder’s stamp is already in design development for 2015, alongside stamps for music legends Elvis Presley and James Brown.
THIS will sound a little contrary, but bear with me: the purchase of WhatsApp by Facebook for $19 billion contains the seeds of what’s going to kill Facebook in the end. For it’s a sign that it’s both relatively easy to start a new messaging application and also that Facebook is going to have to keep buying up the new ones as they appear. And that way lies eventual bankruptcy.
The deal in essence is as follows:
The two men have known each other for years, but only began discussing the deal 12 days ago. They settled it for $19bn, including $4bn in cash, $12bn in Facebook shares and $3bn in restricted stock awards for WhatsApp’s founders and employees.
WHERE is the world’s most dangerous place to drive a car? No need to guess. The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Initiative keep a tally of worldwide driving fatalities.
Avoid Namibia, Thailand and Iran. Rip up the tarmac in the Maldives:
THIS all sounds good: Apple Wants The iWatch To Predict Heart Attacks. “What if your wristwatch could tell you that you were about to have a heart attack? You’d be able to chew some aspirin to prevent it. You’d be able to call 911 and get the ambulance on the way. You’d be more likely to survive. Perhaps a large portion of the 600,000 people who die of heart disease every year — would not.”
And “for the first time, scientists have created human lungs in a lab — an exciting step forward in regenerative medicine, but an advance that likely won’t help patients for many years.”
Are human being becoming cyborgs?
The cyborgization of people with health issues, of course, is already under way. Diet computers are already in use. Some even weigh food before you eat it, and calculate its calories, fat content, etc. (I don’t use one of those, but I do use a Polar heart rate monitor when I run, so that I can keep track of my heart rate and make sure I’m not slacking off. As far as I know, nobody’s integrated the exercise computer with the diet computer to keep track of both calories consumed and calories burned in one device, but I may have missed it.) Then, of course, there are computerized insulin pumps that take the place of a pancreas by automatically releasing small amounts of insulin — some according to computerized blood sugar models not too terribly different in concept from the blood-gas models used by dive computers. The most sophisticated personal computerized medical devices today are probably the implantable cardioverter defibrillators that monitor heart rhythms and administer a shock if the owner’s heart stops or goes into fibrillation.
Praise be the engineers…
The changes that THC produces in the gut a process formally known as “microbial translocation,” isn’t as complicated as it sounds. During HIV infection, one of the earliest effects is that the virus spreads rapidly throughout the body and kills a significant part of cells in the gut and intestine. This activity damages the gut in a way that allows the HIV to leak through the cell wall of the intestines and into the bloodstream.
When THC is introduced into this environment, it activates the CB2 receptors in the intestines to build new, healthy bacterial cells that block the virus from leaking through the cell walls. In other words, the body works hard to keep bad stuff in the intestines and the good stuff out.
Put another way: HIV kills the cells that protect the walls— THC brings them back. Reducing the amount of the virus in the lower intestines could then help keep uninfected people uninfected.
Worth a try, no?
ANDERS Behring, the Norwegian who murdered 77 in 2011, is suffering. The Playstation 2 in his cell is out of date. He writes in a letter to the prison that such an antiquated machine is akin to “torture”. Video games have always been part of Behring’s life; he used Call of Duty to sharpen his aim and World of Warcraft to conceal his plans.
So. He ‘s going on hunger strike until he gets a newer Playstation 3 “with access to more adult games that I get to choose myself”.
“Other inmates have access to adult games while I only have the right to play less interesting kids games. One example is ‘Rayman Revolution,’ a game aimed at three-year-olds. The hunger strike won’t end until the Minister of Justice (Anders) Anundsen and the head of the KDI (the Norwegian Correctional Services) stop treating me worse than an animal.”
RADIOHEAD, sulkiest of the sulky, a band so pious that they’ve had their blood replaced with sour grape juice, have released a new thing. They’ve not bothered with vinyl or CD or even a download which pretends to be free. No, they’ve worked with studio Universal Everything to create a ‘living, breathing, growing touchscreen environment’.
It is called the PolyFauna app, which can download for nothing on your phone and has been made as a collab with the band, Universal Everything, producer Nigel Godrich and artist Stanley Donwood.
ONCE the Atari 2600 hit its stride in ’81, there was simply no stopping the tsunami of video game offerings. The transition from coin operated arcade games to systems you could play in your living room can’t be overstated – it was revolutionary. But with this influx of new entertainment came a cornucopia of bad games. Here are five of the worst offenders.
This TRS-80 game basically was about preventing other people from using up your toilet paper. Think about this for a moment: It was the dawn of the video game revolution, the prospects were limitless, the future full of possibilities…. and they make a video game about preserving toilet paper?