My company is a proud supporter of the international student team that’s planning to build and fly a small spacecraft to Mars. On board would be a two-inch-diameter titanium “time capsule of humanity” containing perhaps millions of digital photos, videos, audio files, and text messages from people all over the world — including you.
Your digital creations would be stored on new “quartz” media that, by some estimates, will survive on the surface of Mars for up to 300 million years.
This would be the world’s first interplanetary space mission led by a non-government team. Other key mission supporters include MIT and Explore Mars, Inc. Details of the mission can be viewed at this link.
While the students are working on the essential science, they are also looking for creative names for both the spacecraft and the Mars “time capsule” lander. The goal is to unleash the world’s creativity in every aspect of the program. The individuals who submit the chosen names will get special digital allocations in the time capsule’s quartz memory, as well as other unique tributes. To submit your name ideas, visit www.TimeCapuleToMars.com.
(PHYS.ORG) This is a photograph of the world’s first transparent speaker “…consisting of a thin sheet of rubber sandwiched between two layers of a saltwater gel, and it’s as clear as a window. A high-voltage signal that runs across the surfaces and through the layers forces the rubber to rapidly contract and vibrate, producing sounds that span the entire audible spectrum, 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. But this is not an electronic device, nor has it ever been seen before.
Published in the August 30 issue of Science, it represents the first demonstration that electrical charges carried by ions, rather than electrons, can be put to meaningful use in fast-moving, high-voltage devices. Ionic conductors can be stretched to many times their normal area without an increase in resistivity — a problem common in stretchable electronic devices. Secondly, they can be transparent, making them well suited for optical applications. Thirdly, the gels used as electrolytes are biocompatible, so it would be relatively easy to incorporate ionic devices—such as artificial muscles or skin—into biological systems. After all, signals carried by charged ions are the electricity of the human body, allowing neurons to share knowledge and spurring the heart to beat. Bioengineers would dearly love to mesh artificial organs and limbs with that system.”
For the full article, click here. Photo courtesy Christoph Keplinger and Jeong-Yun Sun, Whitesides and Suo Research Groups, Harvard University
Turn up your speakers for this full-length, unedited performance of rock’s ultra-classic “Stairway to Heaven” as performed by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Jason Bonham (son of the late drummer, John Bonham), and their combined bands HEART & Led Zeppelin Experience at the 4th of July “The Heartbreaker Tour” concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. My wife and I had the great pleasure of attending the concert, and I snapped this video with my amazing Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone in HD. Enjoy!
Here’s something fun (and educational for the kids) on this upcoming Sunday, the 26th: Look to the west in the evening twilight after sunset and you’ll see the triple conjunction of three planets: Jupiter, Venus, and Mercury. You’ll need an unobstructed view of the western sky, as the planets will be just above the horizon. Click here for an excellent article and animation from NASA Science News. Image courtesy of NASA.
(CNN) “MakerBot [has] unveiled a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects. Called a MakerBot Digitizer, it’s meant to complement the company’s Replicator printer by letting customers scan objects, then feed the resulting digital files to the Replicator to be printed. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to about 8 inches in diameter…. The process takes less than three minutes. Once the digital scan is completed, an object can be printed right away. It’s easier and faster than using software to design a digital printing model from scratch.” For the complete report, visit this link. Image courtesy MakerBot
Can’t get no satisfaction? Women in the German town of Luchow are upset with design of the urinals in a men’s restroom at a Rolling Stones museum. The urinals emulate the band’s famous red-lips logo. But, to some, the lips look too feminine. And that’s what has stirred the emotions.
According to Spiegel Online, Rolling Stones memorabilia collector, Ulli Schroder, opened the museum last October. Regarding the controversy, Spiegel Online reported that Schroder was “defiant and unrepentant.” He reportedly commented: “That’s not a man’s mouth or a woman’s mouth, that’s art. They were damned expensive and they’re staying where they are and that’s final.”
The Stones-inspired urinals were designed by female Dutch artist, Meike van Schijndel.
Discovery News: “Pop the red, cranberry-sized miracle fruit in your mouth and chew it for a while, allowing its juices to coat your mouth. It doesn’t taste like much. But what follows ‘is just a miracle or a kind of magic’ according to Keiko Abe, of the University of Tokyo, as you sample other foods. ‘Beer tastes like sweet juice. Lemon tastes like sweet orange.’
“Sour foods are perceived as trippily sweet when tasted for up to an hour after consuming the berry. This effect has led curious folks in the U.S. and elsewhere to seek the miracle fruit for ‘flavor-tripping’ parties: pop the fruit with friends, then sample a smorgasbord of sour-leaning snacks: limes, goat cheese, beer, grapefruit, vinegar, pickles and more.
“‘To me it was very exhilarating. It really is a very joyous experience,’ said writer Adam Gollner of trying the fruit. Gollner is author of The Fruit Hunters, which includes a chapter on the miracle fruit. “It’s almost like this thing that you can’t understand that is happening to you. That sense of incomprehensibility is a great feeling.’”
Until now, your options for flat-panel TVs really boiled down to LCD, LED, or plasma. But if you’re in the market for a large flat-panel TV, and you want to future-proof your selection, you may want to switch your sights to OLED — organic light-emitting diode technology.
OLEDs provide amazing clarity, contrast, and color saturation. In the not-to-distant future, they’ll be the technology behind the paper-thin TVs you’ll be able to affix to your wall like wall paper. In the meantime, manufacturers are ready to roll out more-traditional flat-screen TVs made of OLEDs — such as the stunning 55-inch TV by LG Electronics.
The soon-to-be-unveiled LG Electronics 55-inch OLED flat-screen TV is just 4mm thick (just a little more than an eighth of an inch). And the entire TV weighs just 16.5 pounds.
The LG Electronics 55-inch OLED TV is scheduled to be revealed at the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas on January 10th. For more information, visit this link: http://fxn.ws/tgDLlb
My brother-in-law, Larry, gave my wife, Elsie, a musical Christmas ornament 23 years ago — when he was just 8 years old. 23 years later, the Christmas ornament still plays its song — Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — with the ORIGINAL BATTERY. It would seem technically impossible. But, for some unexplained reason, the ornament keeps working.
Not even today’s advanced lithium batteries would function for 23 years. (Their shelf life is approx. 10 years.) And back 23 years ago, the battery that was glued into the ornament was the cheapest possible — as the entire ornament only cost Larry a few dollars. The battery should have lasted four or five years, at most. But now we’re just two years short of a QUARTER CENTURY.
You can also scroll down and click on the images below — to immediately play our 2010 and 2011 family YouTube videos.
None of my engineer buddies (in fact, no one who I’ve talked to) has been able to suggest a plausible reason why this ornament continues to play, year after year. Hence it’s why our family has named it our “miracle Christmas ornament.”
Now, I’m not saying that this ornament is divinely powered. For us, the phrase is simply a fun way to talk about our annual family tradition regarding this amazing, never-quit, holiday gift.
How long will it keep going? Will it make a full quarter of a century? Impossible to predict. We’re in uncharted territory. I’ll keep you posted through the next couple of years.
Let me take this moment to wish a heartfelt “Happy Holidays” to all of my readers — of all faiths — around the globe. Thank you for letting me be part of your world each week.
I come across all sorts of gizmos and gadgets. One that struck me as truly brilliant is the “iCADE” iPad arcade cabinet. Just pop in an iPad and — presto! — you’ve transformed it into a classic arcade (see picture) capable of playing dozens of your Atari favorites, like Asteroids, Asteroids Deluxe, Centipede, Missile Command, Battlezone, Super Breakout, and (one of my personal favorites) Tempest. (I spent way too many hours playing Tempest in the arcade at UConn. But I digress…)
I found the iCADE on sale at ThinkGeek for $69.99 (about 30 bucks less than other online stores). Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/s56vbe
And, yes, I bought one. Couldn’t resist.
NOTE: To complete the iPad-to-iCADE metamorphosis, you’ll also need to download the games from the Apple App Store. Some are free (like Missile Command), some are 99 cents, and you can download the full collection of 100 Atari games for $14.99. Enjoy!
Has your cell phone’s autocorrect feature ever made a really screwy suggestion for the word you intended to type? Worse, have you accidentally sent the text with the nutty word, only to then have an OMG moment — wishing you could take it back?
The editors of “Damn You Auto Correct” have compiled what they believe are the 50 funniest messed-up text messages, as determined by Facebook shares, tweets, comments, and pageviews. Check out the LOL selection of text messages here: http://bit.ly/vxU90b
I’ve come across one of the most bizarre music videos that I’ve ever seen. It is a group of Chinese senior citizens performing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Picture scantily clad women musicians playing clear-plastic fiddles with seniors gyrating to the music in a life-size dollhouse. I’m not making this up.
If you dare to unlock a weird and freaky place in your brain, turn up your speakers and click on this article’s image and link. You’ve been warned…
Just when you thought scientific research couldn’t get any more bizarre, here’s a new benchmark: Researchers at the University College London have apparently discovered a link between the number of Facebook friends and the size particular of brain regions, such as the amygdala, where memory and emotion are processed.
The researchers do not suggest whether they believe it was Facebook activity that increased the size of these portions of the brain — or — if someone’s amygdala size, for instance, influences a person’s desire to acquire Facebook friends.
If you’d like to know more about this unusual study, check out the Reuter’s report here: http://reut.rs/rm6Apb. And, yes, feel free to share the details with your friends on Facebook.
Chime.in, a just-launched social-media site, claims it will pay all content posters 50% of the advertising revenue generated on their profile pages. This in stark contrast to Facebook, which has built a $65 billion empire by leveraging members’ content to attract advertisers and amass revenue.
To provide a first-hand report, I created Chime.in account (very simple to do), and explored the site. Although the site is still in beta, I must say the user interface is well thought out. Since the site has just turned on, you probably have a good shot to get your personal name as your user name. Hey, it’s free. Go for it. www.Chime.in
The following is a snippet of a Huffington Post article about Chime.In:
“While Facebook has earned billions of dollars selling ads next to the content uploaded by their 800 million members, users haven’t seen a dime from their posts.
Share with Chime.in and Chime.in will share with you. The site, which allows individuals to post photos, links, videos and text in two thousand character ‘chimes,’ will give users 50 percent of the revenue it earns from selling advertising on their profile pages.
‘This is a firing shot in social media,’ [Bill Gross, the founder] told The Huffington Post. ‘Finally, the interests of the content creators are aligned with the interests of the publisher because they get something for their hard work.”
Facebook has really messed up its News Feed. Overwhelmingly, people want the Facebook News Feed to function the way it was. Here’s a simple 1-2-3 to do just that:
(1) In the left-hand column, click on LISTS.
(2) Click on the “Create a List” button and type “Most Recent” as the name.
(3) Select all of the friends you’d like to follow by clicking on their pictures.
That’s it! Now when you want to see a “normal” most-recent list of the activities of your friends, just click on the “Most Recent” link in the left-hand column.
Bonus option #1: If you’d like the “Most Recent” link to conveniently appear in your “Favorites” at top of the left-hand column, simply mouse-over the “Most Recent” list name, click on the pencil icon that pops up, and then click on “Add to Favorites.”
Bonus option #2: If you’d really like to tweak the position of the “Most Recent” link, say to put it at the very top of your “Favorites,” that’s easy too. All you have to do (once it is in your “Favorites”) is mouse over the “Most Recent” link again, click on the pencil icon again, and select the “Rearrange” option. Now click and drag the “Most Recent” link to the position you’d like.
Facebook creative director, Ji Lee, spilled the beans about Facebook’s upcoming Facebook Music service when he tweeted: “The ‘Listen with your friend’ feature in ticker is blowing my mind. Listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE.”
The “ticker” Lee referred to is the live scrolling updates of your friends, as implemented in the recent interface update of Facebook.
The graphic associated with this post is a snippet of a screenshot by quick-fingered Twitter users — before Lee and Facebook removed Lee’s tweet from public view.
What the Facebook Music feature will look like, and how it will actually function, is still a secret. Keep an eye on both the ticker and the general Facebook user interface over the next couple of days.
I’ve received a ton of requests to dig through my archives for one of my most popular & fun items from years ago. So, by popular request, “Rockin’ Rickie Rocket” — the virtual percussionist I first posted in 2004 — is back. I re-discovered Rickie on YouTube. It’s the same video clip from seven years ago. Turn up your speakers, click on the image, and rock out to Rickie!
Amazon just launched a new service called Kindle “Cloud Reader” that carries on the company’s “buy once, read everywhere” philosophy. You can read books directly from your Web browser. And you can pick up where you left off, just like with any other Kindle application.
It looks like the service currently only supports Chrome and Safari browsers. So, if you’re a fan of say Firefox (like me), you’ll need to download a version of either browser . But, hey, they’re free — so no big deal. Check out additional details at https://read.amazon.com.
Want a polite way to avoid certain people who want become your social-media friend? Gagetwise posted an interesting solution that I thought I’d pass along:
“Create a Google+ circle of people you don’t want to snub, but don’t want to share your life with, either. You can call it anything you want – Frenemies, for example — since Google+ doesn’t expose the names of your circles to others. When an annoying semifriend adds you on Google+, quickly add them to your Frenemies circle. They’ll get a notice that you’ve added them to a circle. Hurray! They’ll even show up on your profile page as one of the people in your circles.”
Look out, Facebook. The 500-pound gorilla just entered the room. Read the just-published “Is Google+ social media done right?” review by Joe Wilcox and Betanews. Includes videos of key Google+ features. Also read about the central Google+ functions:
+Circles — online places users create to socialize and interact with different groups of people, not everyone.
+Hangouts — multi-person video calling.
+Mobile — group messaging, location services, and photo and video uploads and sharing.
Google is set to roll out its own social media service, designed to compete with Facebook. Initial reports are that it will look and function similar to Facebook, with real-time updates (including posted photos) from your circle of friends. Google hopes to avoid a repeat of the social media debacle that occurred last year when they launched Google Buzz.
The date for the public launch of Google+ has not been announced. The service is already being used by Google’s own staff. So it is reasonable to assume that a phased public roll out could occur as early as the next few weeks.
If you’re in marketing, advertising, publishing, or media services — this is critical knowledge if you want to stay ahead of the curve. Two years from now, don’t say I didn’t give you a heads up….
The world is on the verge of a startling transformation in publishing. E-readers, like Kindle, only present existing content in a digital form. That’s blah. Child’s play. The true revolution in publishing is about to unfold before our eyes…and, in fact, all of our senses.
The future of publishing is an immersive, multi-media platform that allows users to interact with the content. Not just display it. But actually create an experience that’s unique to each and every reader (or, more appropriate, each participant).
From a marketing standpoint, the possibilities and opportunities are boundless….
For instance, imagine creating interactive “product placements” that are unique to not only the content of the material — but also tailored to the reader’s / participant’s unique purchasing habits. The information cloud — and now the publishing technology — will start making this very possible. And very soon.
You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us. Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired. I encourage spirited debate.
This is a specially crafted multi-pronged conduit. Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my e-mail broadcast system. It’s a global tightrope without a net. Oh, my.
No topic is off limits. If you’re looking for a site that is “politically correct,” you’ve come to the wrong place. Hit the back button on your browser now.
Lots and lots of new features are coming online. They’re all in various stages of development. You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.
This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.
Hang on tight. We may achieve orbit. Or we may sail off a cliff. But the ride will be exhilarating.