Technology | Anorak - Part 9

Technology Category

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.

The ‘Guardian Class’ Want Video Games Rated For Sexism

In light of “Gamergate”, Sweden’s “government-funded innovation agency” Vinnova are looking at rating video games by their “sexist” content.
The Local catches up with one Vinnova “manager” who “said it was unclear at this stage if all video games produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if companies developing games that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes… Video games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things.”
Job done. We think you’re an idiot who treats people who play video games as fools. These people who play video games will not grow up believing all women are sexually available 2D bimbos. Just as the elite tell us that football fans’ speech must be controlled lest they race riot, gamers do not need re-educating.
Every aspect of our lives is being politicised. Unwinding with a video game is now a moral issue. Escapism is not allowed. Where once the fearful right condemend video nasties, acid house and comic books, the authoritarian left is now commanding:

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Posted: 20th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

REM, Depression And Genius: The Twenty-four Hour Mind



In Rosalind D. Cartwright’s The Twenty-four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives,  she turns to a link between REM sleep and depression:

The more severe the depression, the earlier the first REM begins. Sometimes it starts as early as 45 minutes into sleep. That means these sleepers’ first cycle of NREM sleep amounts to about half the usual length of time. This early REM displaces the initial deep sleep, which is not fully recovered later in the night. This displacement of the first deep sleep is accompanied by an absence of the usual large outflow of growth hormone. The timing of the greatest release of human growth hormone (HGH) is in the first deep sleep cycle. The depressed have very little SWS [slow-wave sleep, Stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle] and no big pulse of HGH; and in addition to growth, HGH is related to physical repair. If we do not get enough deep sleep, our bodies take longer to heal and grow. The absence of the large spurt of HGH during the first deep sleep continues in many depressed patients even when they are no longer depressed (in remission).

The first REM sleep period not only begins too early in the night in people who are clinically depressed, it is also often abnormally long. Instead of the usual 10 minutes or so, this REM may last twice that. The eye movements too are abnormal — either too sparse or too dense. In fact, they are sometimes so frequent that they are called eye movement storms.

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Posted: 20th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

UK Crowdfunding Project Will Bury Your Hair On The Moon

SHAKE the tin and they will come:

A British-led consortium has outlined its plans to land a robotic probe on the Moon in 10 years’ time. Its aim is to raise £500m for the project from donations by the public. In return, donors would be able to have photos, text and their DNA included in a time capsule which will be buried under the lunar surface…

The project’s long term legacy will be a new way of funding space exploration”

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Posted: 19th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Septic Willies On Rosetta and Philae : Dr Matt Taylor’s Sexist Shirt Sell Out

MAtt Taylor

SO what the  European Space Agency landed the Philae spacecraft on that singing comet.  It was an awesome thing. Humanity is great. The names Rosetta and Philae are high on the news cycle. Space and the adventures imagained and realised is captivating.

Jonathan Freedland spoke for many:

…the fascination this adventure has stirred. Part of it is simple, a break from the torments down here on earth… For a few merciful days, the news has featured a story remote from the bloodshed of Islamic State and Ukraine, from the pain of child abuse and poverty. Even those who don’t dream of escaping this planet can relish the escapism.

But the comet landing has provided more than a diversion: it’s been an antidote too. For this has been a story of human cooperation in a world of conflict. The narrow version of this point focuses on this as a European success story. When our daily news sees “Europe” only as the source of unwanted migrants or maddening regulation, Philae has offered an alternative vision; that Germany, Italy, France, Britain and others can achieve far more together than they could ever dream of alone. The geopolitical experts so often speak of the global pivot to Asia, the rise of the Bric nations and the like – but this extraordinary voyage has proved that Europe is not dead yet.

Humanity is wonderful.

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Posted: 15th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment (1)

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Sounds Like Inuit Throat Singing: Listen To Rosetta

A model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday, Nov.12, 2014. Europe's Rosetta space probe was launched in 2004 with the aim of studying the comet and learning more about one of the biggest questions about the origin of the universe. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

A model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday, Nov.12, 2014. Europe’s Rosetta space probe was launched in 2004 with the aim of studying the comet and learning more about one of the biggest questions about the origin of the universe. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

THE Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander has picked up sound on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, upon which it now sits.

The ESA released tbgis audio clip of 67P/C-G singing. MNany sya it sounds a lot like Predator, the bearded Hollywood alien that tried to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Posted: 14th, November 2014 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Hart To Heart: Woman Marries Anonymous Sperm Donor Who Fathered Her Child

aminah hart


MODERN romance features Aminah Hart who wanted her daughter to meet her biological father – the one who sired her by donating his sperm.

A British-born woman who had a child through IVF is engaged to the anonymous sperm donor she tracked down and later fell in love with. Aminah Hart, 45, an Australian woman born in London, only met her fiance after she had given birth to their daughter Leila, it has been reported.

She originally selected Scott Andersen, an Australian cattle farmer who lives on an island off the south coast, from five possible sperm donors because she liked that he listed himself as “happy and healthy”.

Aminah discovered his identity through a series of internet searches based on his name as well as his profession as a cattle breeder and his role as a Aussie rules football coach.

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Posted: 11th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Obama Moves To Control The Internet

IN the USA, Barack Obama saya the way to keep the internet free is to, er, regulate it:

“So President Obama has announced that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility. He’s asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify internet service providers (ISPs) from “information services” under Title I as telecommunications providers under Title II regulatory guidelines. This is all being done in the name of ‘Net Neutrality,’ keeping the Internet free and open, prohibiting ‘fast lanes’ for certain services and sites, making sure no legal content is blocked, and all other horribles that…have failed to materialize in the absence of increased federal regulation.”

It’s about control, no?

Proponents argue that Title II regulation would ensure the free and fair flow of traffic across the Internet. Opponents, however, believe the reorientation would mean onerous rules that would limit investment in the infrastructure and in new services, and that toll roads of sorts would provide better service to companies that can support their higher traffic volumes. But that in turn has created widespread concern that ISPs could throttle service in some instances, intentionally slowing some content streams and speeding others.

Yep. It’s about control…

Posted: 10th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

New Drug Turns Your Fixed Adult Brain Into A Fast-Learning Child-Like Mind

NEW science means you can think and learn like a child…

Professor Carla Shatz of Stanford University and her colleagues have discovered a way to revert an adult brain to the “plastic”, child-like state that is more able to form new connections quickly. The technical term “plastic” implies the ability to adapt or shape itself to new conditions. The striking results were revealed through experiments on a protein expressed in brain cells known as PirB (this is the name of the protein in the animal model, in humans it is called “LilrB2″), which seems to stabilize neural connections.

Stability protects against loss of learned skills or information, but at the same time hampers the acquisition of new ones. The scientists found that interfering with the normal function of the neuron-stability molecule PirB had the remarkable effect of reverting at least one part of the brain to a more malleable state that could easily recover from damage, rewire itself and learn new skills. The study is exciting for not only its therapeutic implications, but also for the emerging field of brain and cognition-enhancing drugs.

Life is wonderful. It can’t come fast enough…

Posted: 10th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

I Can See The Music: Vinly Records At 1000 Magnification

vinyl stylus

EVER wonder what a needle on a vinyl record looks like at 1000x magnification?

vinyl stylus 1000

Here’s what it looks like in action:


Spotter: @marcrobichaud

Posted: 8th, November 2014 | In: Key Posts, Music, Technology | Comment (1)

Watch A Bowling Ball And Feather Race Inside The World’s Largest Vacuum Chamber

A FEATHER and a bowling ball dropped together inside the world’s largest vacuum chamber:


For the BBC’s Human Universe, Brian Cox went to NASA’s Space Power Facility to showcase the world’s largest vacuum chamber. In the video, he shows that without air, a feather and bowling ball dropped at the same time don’t fall as they normally would…

Spotter: io9

Posted: 7th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Idling: 70% Of Porn Traffic Comes From Office Computers During Work Hours

DO you work hard at the office? Roland Paulsen, author of Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance, counts the minutes:

Most work sociologists tend toward the view that non-work at work is a marginal, if not negligible, phenomenon. What all statistics point towards is a general intensification of work with more and more burnouts and other stress syndromes troubling us.

Yet there are more-detailed surveys reporting that the average time spent on private activities at work is between 1.5 and three hours a day. By measuring the flows of audiences for certain websites, it has also been observed that, by the turn of the century, 70 percent of the U.S. internet traffic passing through pornographic sites did so during working hours, and that 60 percent of all online purchases were made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. … Even if the percentage of workers who claim they are working at the pinnacle of their capacity all the time is slowly increasing, the majority still remains unaffected. In fact, the proportion of people who say they never work hard has long been far greater than those who say they always do.

Slacking off, jacking off and clocking off…

Posted: 4th, November 2014 | In: Money, Reviews, Technology | Comment

Pianist Uses EU ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Rules To Censor Bad Reviews


WHEN did the internet become all about promoting censorship?

In 2010, Dejan Lazic got a mildly critical review in the Washington Post and now he wants it taken down so people who google him won’t see it anymore.

Lazi adheres to the EU’s “right to be forgotten”. In August 2014, Google removed 12 BBC News stories from its search engine under the EU’s controversial ‘right to be forgotten’ law. Robert Peston, the BBC’s former economics editor, criticised Google in July for removing a blog he had written.

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Posted: 4th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

The Universe Will End When A Tiny Bubble Appears Under Your Chair

PA-20833834 (1)

IF the Big Bang started the Universive, how will it all end? Cosmologist Alex Vilenkin knows. It will go ‘pop’:

All of a sudden a tiny little bubble will appear. It can appear anywhere—under your chair, or somewhere in Andromeda, very far away—and this little tiny thing starts growing at a speed that’s pretty close to the speed of light. And as it expands, all things that it engulfs turn into an alien form of matter. It may be approaching us right now. Say it nucleated at Andromeda some millions of years ago, it may be expanding toward us at the speed of light. But we don’t get much of a warning. So the good thing about it is you don’t really have to worry about it.

So what would happen to the Earth? It would just go, “FLOOP!” and not exist anymore?

Yeah. Inside of this bubble, ordinary matter as we know it does not exist. It’s made up of different kinds of particles. So everything will be turned into some other stuff that we just don’t know about. But aside from the fact that the end will come very quickly, the other piece of good news is that the probability of the universe ending at any given moment is extremely low.

Like how low?

We can’t really tell. It depends on particle physics at very high energy, so we can’t reliably calculate it. But back-of-the-envelope estimates give you extremely low numbers, like trillions and trillions of years from now. The probably of it occurring while our sun is still active and burning is almost nil. So most likely it will happen when the sun is already gone and, you know, we might not be around.

Cold comfort…

Posted: 3rd, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Virgian Galactic: Getting There Is Dangerous



Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two:

“This was a test flight. This is what test flights are for. The desert around Mojave has a decades-long history of smoking holes in the ground and test-pilot funerals, though most of them usually originate from Edwards AFB, a few mile to the south. The company won’t be flying passengers until they’ve had many successful consecutive test flights, with whatever new vehicle they develop, assuming they follow through on pledges at the press conference yesterday, and move forward.”

Reaching space is dangerous…

Posted: 2nd, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Fetch The Generator: A Huge Spot On The Sun Is Acting Weird

The bright light in the lower right region of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hour. Image by NASA/SDO

The bright light in the lower right region of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hour. Image by NASA/SDO


AS I write, it’s 23 degrees Centigrade in London. On Halloween.

PBS has news:

By the time the giant spot on the sun rotated into view on October 18, it was already 80,000 miles wide, big enough to fit all of Jupiter, big enough to lay 10 Earths, side by side, across. It is the largest spot the sun has harbored in 24 years.

But while most erupting sunspots lob chunks of plasma outward in events called coronal mass ejections, this one’s keeping its plasma close to the surface.

To rewind, a sunspot is a darker, cooler area on the sun’s visible surface that stores intense magnetic energy. (Note: Cooler, in this case, means roughly 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit, down from about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.)

The sun is not a solid body. It’s a ball of hot, hot ionized gas called plasma that’s threaded with magnetic field, created by charged particles moving around. The sun spins faster at its equator, and the result is that some of that magnetic field drags, getting twisted and knotted up in the process. As this happens, these knots of magnetic field gain energy, pressure and buoyancy, and some of them float to the surface, and penetrate it, popping out…

Releasing this pent-up energy typically takes two forms: a solar flare or a coronal mass ejection, and this is key to what makes the behavior here unusual. A coronal mass ejection is made up of balls of gas ejected from the sun’s outer atmosphere, consisting of charged particles and magnetic field. The fastest CME’s travel up to 93 million miles a day, or millions of miles per hour. A solar flare is a burst of x-rays and energy, typically smaller and shorter-lasting than a CME, and rather than being launched out into space, it is caused by material accelerated back into the sun…

When a solar flare erupts, it lights up the side of the Earth that’s facing the flare, and heats up the Earth’s upper atmosphere, or ionosphere, which can temporarily change its properties. Solar flares pose less danger than CME’s, but they can affect short-wave radio communication used by pilots and ships, since the radio waves are bounced off the upper atmosphere.

Sunspots, first seen through a telescope by Galileo, are classified by how complex they are. Similar to a mole, a clean, round sunspot is of less interest to sun watchers.

“Imagine the doctor says you’ve got a nice little round mole,” Young said. “But when it starts to break up into pieces and change color and get jagged and complicated, that’s when you start to become concerned.”

Read it all…

Posted: 31st, October 2014 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Journalism: Verizon’s Makes Pravda Look Open And Neutral

JOURNALISM is dying. Verizon has a new news website:

The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.

There’s just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today.

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Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

A Lovely Time-Lapse Video of Braces Straightening Teeth

Video: time-lapse of braces straightening teeth:   Spotter: The Kid Should See This

Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Watch the NASA’s Antares Rocket Blow-Up From Loads of Angles!



THERE’S something in the human psyche that loves seeing things blow-up. Explosions are even better when there’s no casualties, because you can just enjoy the show without wanting to vomit with the weight of it all.

Yesterday, NASA launched the unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket as part of a $1.9billion contract, however, it didn’t make it out of the atmosphere as it turned into a huge molten fireball seven seconds above the ground, before crashing back into the earth, blowing up everywhere.

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Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Face of The Day: ASMIO At The WIRED Conference in London

FACE of the Day: Honda’s ASIMO:



ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility) Honda’s humanoid robot, ascends a staircase as it makes its UK debut at the WIRED Conference in London.  Honda’s development of humanoid robots began in 1986 and many developments have been made since ASIMO first launched in 2000.


Posted: 17th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment Is For Sale: A Booming Industry In Death And Fear Needs You

HOW capitalism works: the domain name is for sale. You can buy it for $150,000. Jon Schultz is selling. He also owns and, which is nice.

Schultz, of Las Vegas-based Blue String Ventures, looks at domains through the lens of a gambler. It’s not what a domain is worth today, he advised in an interview with the Washington Post. It’s what it is worth tomorrow. “Our domain,, is worth way more than We’re definitely holding onto that one for the event,” he said, referring to an outbreak he contends could be way bigger than Ebola, turning the owner of into a very rich man. “That one’s airborne and Ebola would never go airborne in the United States like bird flu can.”

Schultz bought for $13,500, in 2008.

It’s boom time, baby!

Posted: 15th, October 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment

Who Drew A Huge Penis On A $2.5m Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport?

penis car


WHO in Seattle drew a big penis on a $2.5m Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport (the world’s most expensive production car).

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Posted: 9th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

Now We Can Grow A Penis In A Laboratory Too

Soccer - 2014 FIFA World Cup - Qualifier - Group A - Belgium v Scotland - King Baudouin Stadium

Exciting news for the spam filters on our email: scientists have revealed that they can now grow a penis in a laboratory. Just think what’s going to happen when the mass marketers get ahold of that idea: if you thought that pills to increase size were heavily marketed you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Scientists have successfully grown penises in a laboratory and say they could be tested on humans within five years.

The organs would be used to help men who have suffered a serious injury to the region, had surgery for cancer or are suffering from a congenital abnormality.

The work is being carried out the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, North Carolina.

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Posted: 7th, October 2014 | In: Money, Technology | Comment (1)

New Jersey Man Arrested For Shooting Neighbour’s Spy Drone

This Tuesday, June 24, 2014 photo shows the Draganflyer X4-ES drone, a professional, GPS guided, four-rotor UAV helicopter capable of autonomous flight, video and digital still images, during a demonstration for the media in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

This Tuesday, June 24, 2014 photo shows the Draganflyer X4-ES drone, a professional, GPS guided, four-rotor UAV helicopter capable of autonomous flight, video and digital still images, during a demonstration for the media in the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

TO New Jersey, where a man has taken badly to being spied upon. He used a shotgun to shoot down his neighbour’s drone.

The droner was using his spy in the sky to check out a nearby home undergoing renovations.

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Posted: 6th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment (1)

Scott and Mark Kelly Are Twins In Two Different Worlds

 In this May 28, 2008 file photo, space shuttle Discovery commander Mark Kelly, right, gestures as he walks with his twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and mission specialist Ron Garan, after arrival at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

In this May 28, 2008 file photo, space shuttle Discovery commander Mark Kelly, right, gestures as he walks with his twin brother, astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and mission specialist Ron Garan, after arrival at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

TWIN astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are ready to be in a novel twin study:

In March, Scott – a former International Space Station­ commander and veteran of the space program – departs on a one-year mission to the ISS, alongside Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Meanwhile, Mark, who is now retired from NASA, will stay on the ground, at home in Arizona. A group of researchers will track Scott in space, and his genetic doppelgänger on Earth, to get a fuller picture of the myriad effects of long-term space travel – crucial information if we hope to send astronauts to Mars and beyond.

The twins study brings NASA into a new realm of science, what Craig Kundrot, at NASA’s human research program, calls “21st-century omics research.” This includes genomics (the study of the Kellys’ DNA), metabolomics (their metabolism), microbiomics (the bacteria in their guts), and more. “The twin study is really a baptism for us,” says Kundrot, who’s based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. But there’s another reason NASA has largely avoided this type of research, until now. “NASA has never been in the genetics game for one simple reason,” says Fred Turek of Northwestern University, one of the investigators on the twin study. “Astronauts have only one fear in life: that some scientist is going to find something wrong with them.”

That and finding their twin repulsive…

Posted: 5th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Apple’s Watch Could Earn You A £100 Fine

HERE’S a bit of a problem for Apple’s new Watch: looking at one while driving could earn you a £100 fine. And yes, that is even if it’s just a watch that you’re looking at. Because while you might just have it set up to show just a watch face the police aren’t to know that: and thus they can assume that you’re checking your emails or whatever. And that will be punished just like texting while driving will be: so this is all going to be most interesting really.

Here’s the proof:

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has warned that anyone caught using a justWatch when driving will be be hit with the same punishment as if they had been using a mobile phone.

This cautionary missive was backed up the Department for Transport, which said that anyone caught Apple wrist-watching while driving would be clobbered with three penalty points on their driving licence and a £100 fine.

The thing is that it’s a real problem. People being distracted by their mobile phone while driving killed some 110 people in the UK last year. And as that Apple Watch is more akin to a mobile than it is just to a watch then it’s going to get covered by those mobile phone rules, not the ones that say we’re allowed to glance at our watch while driving.

That’s a bit of a problem for the new product launch, isn’t it?

Posted: 30th, September 2014 | In: Technology | Comment