Friday, November 25, 2011


From the article:

Insects have served as the inspiration for a number of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that could be deployed to monitor hazardous situations without putting humans in harm’s way. Now researchers at the University of Michigan College of Engineering are proposing using actual live insects enhanced with electronic sensors to achieve the same result. The insect cyborgs would use biological energy harvested from their body heat or movements to potentially power small sensors implanted on their bodies in order to gather vital information from hazardous environments.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Accents of English from Around the World



Yepymology: The Book of Yep


Click to better behold That Yeahmang. Cuz hyeuhz:


Transcribed from an email sent around January of '09 to a fellow Yepper:

Yepenese underwent an evolution between 2003 and 2007 with the introduction of dipthongs. Well, maybe just the one 'ae'. I lobbed out a 'de jep wah paeon' in an email to a friend which was cited as 'iffy' to which I responded 'You're lucky I didn't throw in a boo-daja-jeza-jep-wah-priapism on your ass.'

But the etymology is substantiated:

A Brief and Abridged Excursion into Yepymology and the Fundamental Building Blocks of Yepping


You Too Can Yep: A Primer


"The ApoloJepics"

-or simply-

"The Book of Yep"

While there may be other conventions that have been omitted from this primer, this is a decent first round up. I have been meaning to create my own reference with audio tracks, but for now, it helps to preserve what has become a somewhat monopolistic oral tradition and for the unindoctrinated to see the actual text.

Rudiments of Yep

Here below, we see how 'doo' is substituted and abbreviated liberally, aggressively, or interchangeably with 'de' or 'duh'. The origin being an impression from Mexico, blended with central and south american, and even some Portuguese - an occasional lingering pause of '...em..used instead of 'um' to represent the hesitation of thought processing. That's what the Brazilians do. Perhaps this use of 'd' in place of 'th' reflects the triangular trade and african roots in the mix. The Latinos are known for switching their j's and y's. And we certainly nod to the nizzle, as with a 'bazza muh dazza muh jezza muh jang'.

1. The Yeah Mang = de jeh mang = duh jay = DJ (also branching to and from de jep MUN)

2. Moody > Moo-dee-zee-A > doo dee zee A = doo dee jay = doo dee jep (muh jang)

3. The Yeah Mang = de jep jang = de jep muh jang (possessive-affectionate, 'my yeah mang') = de jep ahn = de jeppy-ohn = dee jaypeon (a bridging between 'yep', 'yay' and 'mun'). This one can also be spoken with an Irish accent - think about it. Moving forward, this has become Dee Jay Peen which sounds a lot like I'm saying you-know-what and opens up a new door of possibility which could be uncomfortable for the uninitiated. A fun loop is to just fidget repeatedly, like a public schooler in the lower reading level trying to settle on the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word, like so: 'peon, payon, pieon (but we think of it with a dipthong 'paeon') This absurd loop begins in a searching manner and then we go into a rhythm which ultimately becomes a full yallop of 'Rock Around the Clock' by Bill Haley and the Comets. A favorite free verse is 'Yay-O-Peen, Yay-to-myeuh, Yay-indee-ud, ain' (or if repeated again, really emphasize and fully pronounce 'AND' with the ahh sound).

4. Obvious variations on Yes = Yep, Yeah (yay), hence our favorite caucasian iteration of simply 'Yes Man' with a neighborly, nod and shit-eating smile.

5. Use of 'Bubba' as root. Bubba was the placeholder name used prior to the declaration of the name Moody. Variations include Bubba Doo > Bubba Doo Daja, Boo-dajah, Boo daja jeza jep (muh jang) and that crowd pleaser, DI ZI JEP which cannot stop and must become Di zi jep (haaaaa!!!) wah peon. The haaaa!!! or 'hiya' part should sound like a frightened yodel, as though some has been thrown from the roof of a high rise.

Thematic Extensions and Conventions

The recurring themes of Yepmology involve outpourings of enthusiasm without inhibition, sometimes derision of a gullible and even captive consumer, showing that Yep his reflection in a mirror to make him aware of himself (thereby disproving the notion of homo sapien sapien, cuzuthu that Yap certainly knew his own reflection and liked riding in elevators), and general praise. But, Yepping involves other recurring conventions and themes. Here are a few:

1. Use of 'ain' as in 'Oh mun, oh, you, oh mun, oh too, oh mun OH DOO!...ain'...

2. The Evangelist includes circular speak and furvor:
Yeah to you...and to you, YAY-YUH.
I said to muh-say-yulf, to muh-sayulf I said, to-mahhh-sailf I sayud to muhsailf I

3. The monotone (My bubbadoo, that's you. You are Yep Man, oh, too. Duh Jep.) The rhythm is usually '12345...1-12345...1-2.' This was handy once when I had to improvise a metered rhyme and it became 'My bubbadoo dats yoo YepMun youre always having so much fun'.

4. Delay without consequence. Prolonged use of either 'em...' and 'eh...' as though carefully sorting out a thought, only to arrive at the conclusion of either 'You' or 'Mun'.

5. Submission and Dominance: Beotch and Metal God speak. Yepping tips its hat with a 'myeuh' in substitute for frequent reference to 'me' which can be either as wanna-be powerful as James Hedfield meets Mumm-Rah or it can sound like the voice over in a 1950s educational film. The word 'Too' often connotes a general feeling of almost syrupy sympatico and general conformity for the sake of acceptance, and may introduce the character who always insists on coming along much to the dread of the party. However, the Yep may assume the dominant position and represent a transformational force as if to say 'take your medicine'. We temper this with the sympatico 'Teeyoo' but alternate with the commanding 'Tow'. Is it an annoying request or an imposing conviction? Listen to that Yap. Use of 'oh, too' can often be trailed by '3-4'...'5-6'...'7-8', etc. just to generally confuse and create further absurdity.

6. Reference to Mun. Most names are preceded by either 'The' or 'That' as in The Yeahmang or That Yep. Mun is a stand alone utitlity.

7. Use and variations of 'Cuz hyeeuz'. The thought is ' that Yep. Because that's him. Heeeeeyaz. Heeyazatha. Behold that Yap. Go evangelist and say 'Hyaeyuzutha Yahpahn!' or simply 'YyyyAYYYyyyy'. One should hold out both hands, palms up and slightly to the side, as though it were Vanna White presenting the Lost Ark of the Covenant.

8. Derived from rudiment #2, any word ending in 'y' is appended with 'eee-zee-ay' and variations thereof (ee-zi-jay, ee-zi-jep, ee-zi-jepon, etc.). This can serve to celebrate, decorate, mock, and also to camoflage or make more oblique names and words that deserve special attention. For example, 'Moody' becomes 'Moo-deeeee-zeeay', with the first syllable short and emphasized by a pregnant pause, followed by a long and reactive second syllable, then blend the ending with a flourish. Abbreviation of the second syllable to a normal duration may achieve a degree of masking, but exercise caution. 'Koo-cheezeeay'.

A typical outgrowth of this convention would be to incorporate a rollout, such as 'Hyeuz a bubba doo' before the emphasis on the word itself, then a build up of variations.

Hyeuz. The. Boo. DEE-ZEE-ay.(pause)
'Hyeuz a bubba doo DAE ZAE-JAY. (pause)

'Sez um and he SEHHZ UH-YAY. (pause).

...and so on until the energy is lost and the yepper runs out of interest in generating variations.

9. He says um er um and he says uh yay. This notion, again, underscores that the Yep was a thinkin mun, and quite the stoic. He was not anxious or reactionary, rather, he would calmly look you in the eye and let you stew in it.

10. Yep utility: Yepping is a great way to make an impression of someone without using actual words. Politicians, celebrities, friends and foes, all may be exposed independent of their words, and stripped down to their tones, inflections, attitudes, manners and gestures.

11. Cuz he says 'Yeah-wah' or he says-o-yeh-wah...cuz heez that bub (really emphasize yeh-wah and sing out bub).

12. Separation of double vowels e.g. 'dream' = 'dree-um'. Sometimes for delayed emphasis, the word with the double vowel will end a sentence, and then be revisited with emphasis. For example, 'We'll finish our work soon (upward tone). Hiya, sooo-wun! The tone is flat, deliberately separated, and delivered sometimes harshly.

13. Examples of the possessive form mixed in with applications that are a reach to justify with any clear explanation: Hazatha, Cuzutha, Shazatha - (he's, because, she's) and reference to oneself (muhsayulf, myeuh).

Common Fodder: NPR

Everyone on NPR has been Yeppified. The latest target -I mean source of inspiration- has been that marble-mouthed Peter Overbee with his foaming siliva curdle whot sounds like that Yap lickin' his lacka doo dads. Actually, he has NOT been yeppified, he has simply been mocked. Along with my favorite, Pat Duggins, who loves to be really enthusiastic about NAAAAASA. What will become of him now that uh, Buh, uh, rack, ah, O, uh, bam, uh has commercialized that whole venture? And Robert SEEEI-gal who also delivers the new-is. And the locals, we know to thank Rob Holmes for his famous ' that was....An-drew (huhhhhh) Scar....llllloteeeee....coming up...Lahhh-tee-NO...U.S.A. We love to yep in his affected manner.

Starting Yep employs the Socratic Method via a fill-in-the blank, rhythmic rhyme:


JEP...wah peen

Cuz hyeah says whom?

(ANSWER: YEP to Myeuh)

the ending goes:

Cuz hyeaz the Bu-bba-doo-dee-jepon...AND the DOO...deezee (02)...

and if you are feeling it, you can throw in 'ain when noone is expecting it.

Yep Parodies

I'm really reluctant to start this because it's truly opening Pandora's box. Any song is Yepable, although certain parts are more fun and lend to greater inspiration than others, examples include The Bonanza Theme, Alouette, certain parts of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and If I only had a Heart, Green-Eyed Lady, Blue Moon, Take Me Home and Don't Lose My Number by Phil Collins and No Reply at All by Genesis, parts of The Barber of Seville, music from Benny Hill, basslines from Jean Luc Ponty, that whistle song from Stripes, a version of 'I pledge allegiance" (to the flag) which starts with the way I used to call The Bub (You Comuthuh Yeah Mang), Pass the Dutchie, Camptown Races, and very often the intro music that starts an episode of the Brady Bunch (not the main theme but after that, when the show has started and they show the exterior of the house and a few producer credits), the Honeycomb Commercial, Turkey in the Straw, and The Heart of Rock and Roll by Huey Lewis maybe from listening to too much Neal Boortz. At some point, I intend to record examples. The first would likely be a multi-yep version, beats included, of "Got More Rhymes" by Young MC which sampled Ben E. King's "Supernatural Thing". Obsession by Animotion, Staying Alive by the BeeGees, Locomotion by Little Eva, and Magical Mystery Tour.

Barry Mann's song becomes 'Who put the Bub in the Yep Muh Yep Muh Yep Who put the doy in the Bubbadoo dejepajanga.

Metal Yeps have included 'Shout At the Yeahmang' and 'For Those About to Yep' (we say Yep to you).

Improvisational Scat Yeps

Circus music, blues riffs, flushing the toilet, things that pass on the side of the road, anything that makes a meter or a rhythm.

The Dickinson - power yeps mixed with falsetta. Try 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear'.

A few good phrases:

Yepun, dee-jepun, and doooo dee jep un. (or substitute 'un' for 'fun' if you care to break up the monotony). Actually, this is sometimes a way of pointing out three dipshits walking together in a group. Otherwise, it's an incantation of praise-o-mun, and an enumerating of titles. Be sure to roll out the doooo as long and holy as possible in a worshipful way.

Dee Jep Wah Peen Cuz he says yep to me cuz hyeaz the buh ba doo dee jepun and the doo dee zee
(sound familiar? this one is known as what?...The Socratic...what...that's right, the Socratic..Yep)


yep yep muh yanga
daza muh
jep jep muh janga

(slow) and oh mun. and oh you. and oh mun. and oh too.
(faster) and oh mun oh you oh doo oh too oh you AND.
(emphatic) say yep to that jahpun. becuz he haza plan.
be-cuz thats him, he says yep to PEEN! hyeeuztha bubba doo dee jep AND the DOO dee zee. and oh you mun.


Yep Yang!

He says O YahWah! To da Bub. Cuz Hyeuz. (to da Bub cuz Hyeuz).

Song - (slow) cuz hyeuz dat (fast) bubbadoodeejezzajepmuhjangadidjamanga hiza bubbadoodeejemuhjang yoo...   ...manotoo...

this one is done almost like the lone ranger. I may have to add this to the book of Yep
It's a gallop - 123, 123, 123, 1-2, 1-2 - then repeat a few times:






Mixing Yep bits with beats. Here's a short starter list:

1. Start with a dopey or 'sploosh' sounding 'Dowey' followed by a beat sequence, then 'Dowaaauh' - beat sequence - repeat with some variation on the dopey 'Dowey' including distortion / wag to the 'weh'. Then, increase energy with 'doo doweh', mix in more Yeps between beats such as 'Mun', 'Dats you', etc.

2. Yeppon (beat) Yeppon (double beat) Yeppon (beat) Yep-mon (triple). (repeat).

3. Yep (highhat-beep) Deejep (highhat-beep beep)Deejemang (highhat-beep: 123456)

4. The Spacelines Yap:

5. Too da Bub, cuz hyeuz. (tooda bub cuz hyeuz da bub say yehwah tooda bub cuz hyeuz dat buuub.)

6. The rhythm of the old electronic drum kit toy commercial: 1-2,3,  1-2,3,  1.

7. Doy (beats) Dow-aaaah (beats)

8. 123456...cuz yoo duh yeh mang...123456...cuz yoo duh yeh mang...
bub doo dah di zi jape...cuz yoo duh yeh mang

9. And. Variations.

10. It came upon a midnight clear - cuz hyeuz the bub. he sez yawah. too myeuhhh-(go dickinson)

11. Dowee duh dooey dowey do dow dooweuh


Advanced Yepping

You are not authorized to access this Yep.

Clients yep in here.

Yep o' the Day 

As Dusty Rhodes once said:

"...and remember, Boo dazza muh jezza jep janga duh jay.

Bubba doo dazza muh jep janga deh jay, it doesn't matter.

Yep yep muh yanga dazza muh jep jep muh janga.

Muh yep yep yanga duh jay, makes no difference.

Yep Happens.

Have you Yepped your Yang today?

(or better yet, Have you stranged your creach today?)


Got Yep?

Order in the court muthuh fukuh doo doweh - order in that court fukuhdoo dowehhh

I'm seeing the world through Yep-colored glasses.

You couldn't Yep your way out of a wet paper bag. (to my friend who guesses that anything goes in Yepping as opposed to a living language with structure).

 Who led Louis and Clark across the American wilderness? Sack-uh-juh-Wyeuh.

(pronounced Nyeabah Chud Nyea-zzah, as in 'Wussup muh Nyeabah Chud Nyea-zzah')

The tyrant who sent the Jews AWAY and worshiped golden idles,
unlike Sakuh Jaw Wyuhhh, who led Louis & Clark INTO the frontier,
which eventually led to the gold rush.


What Yep Tomorrow What You Can Yep Today

Carpe Yep

One Giant Yep for Mankind

The People's Yep

One day, I'm convinced that enough yeppers will exist due to the power of the Yep meme. At that point, a Yepcollective could conduct a People's Yep in a public forum. And at least we know that these folks would poop with discretion, just like That Yep. This would be an effective and non-violent way to bring attention to absurdity. The distinguishing characteristic of the People's Yep is that the lead yepper would be loosely echoed and not simply mindlessly repeated because Yeppers would throw in their own variations and it would create a tremendous wash of white noise. In fact, it might be a powerful enough movement to draw a variety of scatters and freestylers and it would become either constitute a very chaotic jazz festival or it would introduce yet another form - a Yeporian chant.


Yepping is a gateway into another dimension that anchors to the core of something plunged beneath a deep sea trench, regardless of how many of the catacombs I might have scrawled with notations or strung with miles of yarn in hopes of finding my way back. I am but an unconscious spectator of that Yep, with mere glimpses of hyeuhz' conscious meaning, that whot is stated point blank in his eyes (behold above, cuz hyeaz talking to CHOO mun. That Yep).

The answer to the Riddle of That Yeahmang grants instant access to That whot cannot be repeated or revealed through words. It is That whot can only be Yepped.

* It is possible that the riddle may have to do with strongly suspecting whether or to what degree Moody was in fact self aware. He was commonly put in front of a mirror and told 'My Bub. Dat's Yoo. Yooooo da Yeahmang.' Unfortunately, a true mirror test was never conducted to confirm.

Inspired Additions


yoo should hear how she yeps about you

yoo should hear her say 'YAY'

(cuzzuh thuh)

SHEA sayuz shy'ud byeuh LIZOST wiffout choo, mun

SHEAZ half out of her hizead

(out of her hizead)

I picked this version for the intro by Rex Whatshiznutz, the male dancers, and the overall quality.


Public Outcry

Two doubters have now used the word "iffy" in relation to this blog entry.  As mentioned in the Prologue, the original skeptic - or should I say heretic - was an old girlfriend who had learned a good bit of Yepaneze (she could understand it in a pinch but had not yet come to speak or read it). She didn't think 'DeeJepWahPeen' qualified as a legitimate part of the form. Being a living language - and she had been away for several years at grad school while I continued to work on my doctoral dissertation, 'Solving The Riddle of the Yeahmang' - I was understanding that she wasn't yet able to behold That Yap without averting her eyes.

Fortunately or unfortunately as the case may be, there are no if, ands, or buts about it. I actually say or have said all of this on an ongoing basis, and have even been awakened by a good Yep in the night that came to me in a dree-um. I'll just have to record and demonstrate. Though I've not carved any stone tablets yet, truly, the blog entry is a means of catalog primarily for my own reference, so as to keep up with the flood from the muse which is typically not consciously summoned. I guess you could say I'm speaking in Muns. But, you never know, there could be a Second Yepping.


Uncharted Territory: Yup 

If he'd been from Chicago, he would have been Yup Mun. But hipsters say it too, because they love to take on affectations from other places, so maybe hipsters are Yup Mun.

I realized today that I've never used a Yup or variations thereof and I didn't quite know what to do. Yup Pup? He doesn't need a side kick. But Deh Jup Wuh Pup is awfully hard to resist. Maybe that's how to say something is cute. Aw shit.

I do use Yap which I love - Yap Mun -the contrast is great. Try it without the consonants and exaggerate - you'll make a pretty good retard impression.

Or just Dah Jup. Maybe 2 Ps - Duh Jupp.

These idiots who like to say Ya and Yup in email. They really are just deejepwahpeens, but I guess I can call them Yup Mun.


To the chorus of "Abra Cadabra" by Steve Miller Band
(Watch this video first for the full effect)

Yep mun, Yep Mun, Deh Jep Mun
Yep Yang De Jep Muh Jang Have Fun

Yep mun, Yep Mun, Deh Jep Mun

Yepon Dah Yepon

Another One Bites the Dust (by Kwee-un)
(to the fast part)
Bubba doo dee jezza jeppon yoo say yay-0-wah to me, Yeppon
(muh yep yanga)
Yeppon, Dee Jeppon, and Doo Dee Jep Peen say yay-0-wah to me, have fun
 Boo dee jeppon, boo dee jezza muh jang say yay-o-wah to me, yepeen
Bubba Doo de jezza jeppon yoo, yay-o-wah to yoo mun, to me
Yep Yep Yep
Boo dazza Jep Yep Muh Yang

Big Country by Big Country - (Bee-ahhhg)
Say yay-o ah wah
to the dizi my cha pang jay...

Yepmus Songs

Song selections:

The first yeoweh
12 days of yepmus
Yahweh in Yepmanger
little yepper boy (say yay o wah to myuh, doy dizi jep munnnnn)
Doo-jep, the Yep-Nosed mang, yeuh
Oh Little Doy-deh-Jep-Wah-Peen
Jingle Bell Mun (Boo-deh-Jep Mun) * previously Yepped, fuh ray-yull, indee-ud
Here come Santa Claus (Doy-deh-Jep-Wah-Peen) * previously Yepped, fuh ray-yull, indee-ud
Yay ride togyeuthah with yoo
Carol of the Yayuhs

12 Day-ah-Yuz of Yepmus

On the doy DIZI Yepmon
my bub sed Yeuh to myuh:

Doy DI ZI Jeppon
Hyeuzza Moody Yeppon

Say O Yay O Wyeuh
Bubba doo deh zheuh

Doy dee JEP muh janga
Moody too yep yanga

Jeh muh Janga Jay ain'
DI ZI Yep, HIYA! Wah Peeeee-ah-yonnn!

Bubbeh doo dee jep
Yeppa Yang Yay
Doo Dee Jep Wah Payon
a Par-tree-ahdj in a Pear Tryeuh. INDEEEUD. AND.


Pat's Yep O the Day:

Yepping for a cause.
Return of the yep.
Another one bites the yep.
To yep, or not to yep. That is the yep.
The only thing we have to yep, is yep itself.

Latest Yep

Yoo are once

Thruhhh ti-umzzz a Yeah Mang
And I say "AHHHHAAAAHHHHYAAAAAA" too yooooo.


Why Yep Tomorrow What You Can Yep Today
Carpe Yep

to which Pat sez:

Yep. It's a lifestyle choice.

to which I say:

God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Yep.

Yep Pattern

To Strange the creech. To Say yehwah. To Poop yu paintz. And do a daintz.

Weeuh Waeuh Weeuh Wayuh Weeuh.

Didjerido = Didj Dooey


More horse shit

Yay o weuh. Doo dee jeuh. Yoo and Myeuh.

So very very Nah-styeuh to Myeuh...In-dee-ah-yahd. Pyon...
DiziMyJepaJangJay Yep Peen
DiMyZiMyJepJang Duh Jay Indeeyud

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Augmented / Blended Reality


Combine Kinect, camera-heavy wireless network, real-time rendering, smart glasses.

Contexts: Virtual fashion show, theater/performance, arena-style gaming, fantasy tours, e.g. rollercoaster rides, simulations, reenactments, training simulations - preset linear or dynamic simulation.

Bionic Implants and Medical Networks

The battle over scarce radio spectrum that has embroiled the mobile broadband world even extends to a little-known type of wireless network that promises to reconnect the human nervous system with paralyzed limbs.

At its monthly meeting next week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will consider whether four sets of frequencies between 413MHz and 457MHz can be used by networks of sensors implanted in patients who suffer from various forms of paralysis. One intended purpose of these MMNS (medical micropower network systems) is to transmit movement commands from a sensor on a patient's spinal cord, through a wearable MCU (master control unit), to implants that electrically stimulate nerves. The same wireless technology might be used in devices to restore sight or hearing.

However, broadcast engineers are fighting the proposed rule that would allow this, saying TV and radio stations already use one of the bands to broadcast live from news events and this might interfere with the body networks. The main proponent of MMNS, the nonprofit Alfred Mann Foundation (AMF), says tests have proved that these systems can cope with interference as long as all four blocks of spectrum are available.

At the Nov. 30 meeting, FCC staff will present its proposed rules for MMNS in the spectrum and turn them over to the commissioners for a vote and possible modifications. If approved, the rules would go into effect as soon as they are published in the Federal Register.

Frequencies are a battleground

As mobile devices drive up demand for wireless data networks, carriers, broadcasters and technology giants are fighting over limited radio spectrum. Access to frequencies is at the center of complex disputes over would-be hybrid network operator LightSquared, AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, and unlicensed "white spaces" between TV stations. Though recent advances have led to networks that use spectrum more efficiently, faster connections do require more spectrum. The FCC's National Broadband Plan calls for allocating 500MHz of additional frequencies to mobile broadband over the next decade.

Whereas most of the spectrum debates have cited demand for mobile video and social networking applications, in the rancor over MMNS, there arguably is much more at stake. The microstimulator implants being developed by AMF could be used to treat neuromuscular disorders including spinal-cord and brain injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. The use of wireless networks between implants and MCUs could eliminate the need to implant trouble-prone networks of wires underneath a patient's skin, said AMF CEO David Hankin.

FES (functional electric stimulation) has been used for many years to cause unresponsive muscles to contract, Hankin said. It's one application of the merging of electronics and the human body, called bionics. The new microstimulators are about the size of a small fuse, so they can be implanted right next to a nerve, under local anesthesia, he said. Because of its greater precision, the new technology can gather more accurate input about how the patient wants to move and communicate that to specific nerves. The focused electrical charges hurt less than earlier ones, so patients who have sensation in their disabled limbs feel a tingling sensation at most, he said.

The MCU, which picks up and processes inputs from the spine or another source and passes it on to the microstimulators, can be carried in a backpack now, Hankin said. Eventually, the MCU may be as small as a cellphone, or even be built into the patient's own cellphone. Though the same type of technology can be used in physical therapists' offices, miniaturization and wireless links make it more practical for use as people go about their lives, he said.

Away from wired networks

Today, some patients have networks of microstimulators linked by wires implanted underneath their skin. This requires two or three days of operations and can lead to infections that travel down the wires, leading to another long operation to replace the wires, Hankin said. Wireless networks allow doctors to bypass that technique, he said.

MMNS requires very low frequencies in order to communicate with implants through the patient's skin, Hankin said. AMF looked to the 413-457MHz band, despite the fact that others were already using it, because it had the ideal characteristics for the job and AMF couldn't afford the billions that exclusive spectrum licenses cost at auction, he said.

The three lowest sections of the band are used by the federal government for defense radar and other purposes. The Department of Defense will allow MMNS in those bands, and the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) is coordinating with the FCC on its own review of them, according to Hankin.

But AMF wanted one more band, 451-457MHz, to make sure that MMNS would have spectrum to use in situations where the other three bands were occupied. It's intended for use mainly in rural areas, according to Hankin. This band is home to many wireless devices, including land mobile radio (also called walkie-talkies) and broadcasting trucks that send live feeds back to their stations.

Broadcast engineers and others say MMNS need to stay out of this band. The Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE), a smaller group called Engineers for the Integrity of Broadcast Auxiliary Services Spectrum (EIBASS), and walkie-talkie pioneer Motorola have all filed statements with the FCC opposing AMF's proposal. They said the foundation hadn't established that MCUs or implants could overcome interference from those nearby devices.

A different kind of interference

Broadcasting trucks using RPU (Remote Pickup) systems can transmit at thousands of times the power of MMNS, from antennas relatively close to the ground, said Dane Ericksen, co-chairman of EIBASS. AMF isn't asking the FCC for any legal protection from interference, saying it will coexist with other uses, but Ericksen thinks the MMNS proposal may be a Trojan horse.

"Neither SBE nor EIBASS have opposed this on the grounds that it will cause interference to RPU operations," Ericksen said. "Our concern is that RPU operations will wipe out MMNS, at which point the FCC will say, 'Oh my goodness, this is a medical application, and we're going to put restrictions on where RPUs can operate.'"

If the FCC were to restrict use of the frequencies around health-care facilities, that might include retirement homes and many other locations, he believes.

"That would be a real burden, to force all RPU licensees to identify every health-care facility in their market and make sure they don't do any remotes within a half-kilometer, maybe, of that," Ericksen said.

AMF said tests by the DOD and defense contractor Aerospace Corp. proved that there are adequate mechanisms in MMNS to avoid interference. The medical devices can shift to another channel where there is less interference, and if there are no free channels, the system can carry out a "graceful shutdown." That would include an audible or vibration alert for the wearer, Hankin said.

Opponents say those tests didn't include a simulation of a radio transmitting continuously at high power for a long period of time, as a remote broadcast would. Hankin said he believed that was included.

In any case, the nightmare scenario of someone falling to the ground because interference caused his MMNS to shut down is not on the horizon, Hankin said. Because of the complexities of human gait, patients won't rely on MMNS to walk for many years, he said.

Walking through doorways causes forgetting, new research shows

by Susan Guibert

We’ve all experienced it: The frustration of entering a room and forgetting what we were going to do. Or get. Or find.

New research from University of Notre Dame Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky suggests that passing through doorways is the cause of these memory lapses.

“Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an ‘event boundary’ in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away,” Radvansky explains.

“Recalling the decision or activity that was made in a different room is difficult because it has been compartmentalized.”

The study was published recently in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Conducting three experiments in both real and virtual environments, Radvansky’s subjects – all college students – performed memory tasks while crossing a room and while exiting a doorway.

In the first experiment, subjects used a virtual environment and moved from one room to another, selecting an object on a table and exchanging it for an object at a different table. They did the same thing while simply moving across a room but not crossing through a doorway.

Radvansky found that the subjects forgot more after walking through a doorway compared to moving the same distance across a room, suggesting that the doorway or “event boundary” impedes one’s ability to retrieve thoughts or decisions made in a different room.

The second experiment in a real-world setting required subjects to conceal in boxes the objects chosen from the table and move either across a room or travel the same distance and walk through a doorway. The results in the real-world environment replicated those in the virtual world: walking through a doorway diminished subjects’ memories.

The final experiment was designed to test whether doorways actually served as event boundaries or if one’s ability to remember is linked to the environment in which a decision – in this case, the selection of an object – was created. Previous research has shown that environmental factors affect memory and that information learned in one environment is retrieved better when the retrieval occurs in the same context. Subjects in this leg of the study passed through several doorways, leading back to the room in which they started. The results showed no improvements in memory, suggesting that the act of passing through a doorway serves as a way the mind files away memories.

Contact: Gabriel Radvansky, 574-631-6473,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bionic contact lens 'to project emails before eyes'


See also Sensimed

By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News

A new generation of contact lenses that project images in front of the eyes is a step closer after successful animal trials, say scientists.

The technology could allow wearers to read floating texts and emails or augment their sight with computer-generated images, Terminator-syle.

Researchers at Washington University who are working on the device say early tests show it is safe and feasible.

But there are still wrinkles to iron out, like finding a good power source.

Currently, their crude prototype device can only work if it is within centimetres of the wireless battery.

And its microcircuitry is only enough for one light-emitting diode, reports the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

Our next goal is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens”

Lead researcher Professor Babak Praviz

But now that initial safety tests in rabbits have gone well, with no obvious adverse effects, the researchers have renewed faith about the device's possibilities.

They envisage hundreds more pixels could be embedded in the flexible lens to produce complex holographic images.

For example, drivers could wear them to see journey directions or their vehicle's speed projected onto the windscreen.

Similarly, the lenses could take the virtual world of video gaming to a new level.

They could also provide up-to-date medical information like blood sugar levels by linking to biosensors in the wearer's body.
Delicate materials

Lead researcher Professor Babak Praviz said: "Our next goal is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens."

He said his team had already overcome a major hurdle to this, which is getting the human eye to focus on an image generated on its surface.

Normally, we can only see objects clearly if they are held several centimetres away from the eye.

The scientists, working with colleagues at Aalto University in Finland, have now adapted the lenses to shorten the focal distance.

Building the end product was a challenge because materials used to make conventional contact lenses are delicate.

Manufacturing electrical circuits, however, involves inorganic materials, scorching temperatures and toxic chemicals. Researchers built the circuits from layers of metal only a few nanometres thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and constructed light-emitting diodes measuring one third of a millimetre across.

Dr Praviz and his team are not the only scientists working on this type of technology.

A Swiss company called Sensimed has already brought to market a smart contact lens that uses inbuilt computer technology to monitor pressure inside the eye to keep tabs on the eye condition glaucoma.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Darpa: Do Away With Antibiotics, Then Destroy All Pathogens

By Katie Drummond

Last year, federal officials warned that Americans were on the verge of “a post-antibiotic era.” And that’s exactly what the Pentagon’s far-out research agency is after.

As long as they’ve got a replacement at the ready, of course. In the military’s latest round of small business solicitations, Darpa is making a long-shot request for an all-out replacement to antibiotics, the decades-old standard for killing or injuring bacteria to demolish a disease. In its place: the emerging field of nanomedicine would be used to fight bacterial threats. The agency’s “Rapidly Adaptable Nanotherapeutics” is after a versatile “platform capable of rapidly synthesizing therapeutic nanoparticles” to target unknown, evolving and even genetically engineered bioweapons.

It’s the latest of several Darpa programs to improve we deal with bacterial infections, viruses and bio-threats. The agency is already funding tobacco-based vaccine production, prescient viral infection detectors and insta-vaccines to inoculate against unknown pathogens.

Right now, antibiotics work by interfering with bacterial function or their spread. Some meds target a ton of different pathogens, while others are more highly specified. Both varieties, however, are increasingly vulnerable to bacterial resistance — bacteria that carry a genetically enhanced ability to thwart the medication survive, and continue to spread, rendering that medication useless. It means even if scientists develop new antibiotics, which they continue to do, the meds will be “prone to the same issues and may ultimately meet a similar fate” as their once-potent peers. Not to mention that where “engineered” bacterial threats are concerned, most conventional antibiotics would be useless from the get-go: Genetic tinkering can turn even benign gut bacteria into lethal, untreatable bioweapons.

Instead, Darpa wants researchers to use nanoparticles — tiny, autonomous drug delivery systems that can carry molecules of medication anywhere in the body, and get them right into a targeted cell. Darpa would like to see nanoparticles loaded with “small interfering RNA (siRNA)” — a class of molecules that can target and shut down specific genes. If siRNA could be reprogrammed “on-the-fly” and applied to different pathogens, then the nanoparticles could be loaded up with the right siRNA molecules and sent directly to cells responsible for the infection.

Replacing a billion dollar industry that’s been a medical mainstay since 1940? Far fetched, sure, but researchers already know how to engineer siRNA and shove it into nanoparticles. They did it last year, during a trial that saw four primates survive infection with a deadly strain of Ebola Virus after injections of Ebola-targeted siRNA nanoparticles. Doing it quickly, and with unprecedented versatility, is another question. It can take decades for a new antibiotic to be studied and approved. Darpa seems to be after a system that can do the same job, in around a week.

Then again, if anybody can design a new paradigm for medicine, and a new way to mass-produce it, our money’s on the military. After all, we’ve got them to thank for figuring out how to manufacture the medication that got us into this mess in the first place: penicillin.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Study Finds People Know More Than They Think

from the article:

The art of magic plays on the human powers of perception, but a new study finds that the brain has its own tricks: People observe more than they think.

The research was presented November 12 at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. In it, Luis Martinez of CSIC- Miguel Hernandez University in Spain and his team “read minds” with the Princess Card Trick, an act invented by magician Henry Hardin in 1905. Participants in the study mentally picked out a playing card from a group of six cards, which then disappeared. When a second group of cards appeared, the researchers had amazingly figured out which card a person had in mind and removed it. Very few people caught the trick: All of the cards in the second set were different, not just the card that people had chosen. This trick is well-known to confuse the masses, even via the Internet a magician’s sleight of hand can make it seem as though he/she legitimately “read your mind”.

A few moments after viewing the two panels of cards, volunteers were asked which of two new cards was present in the first set of cards. None of the volunteers could actually recall which card was present. Despite claiming that they had no idea, when they were forced to choose, people got the right answer around 80 percent of the time. “People say they don’t know, but they do,” Martinez said. “The information is still there, and we can use it unconsciously if we are forced to.”

Working With Objects
To determine whether this unconscious memorization works for real objects as opposed to just cards, Martinez and his team performed a very similar experiment with pictures of men’s faces. A very similar kind of short-term memory helped people pick out which face they had seen before, even when the volunteers didn’t realize that they knew the correct answer.

These unconscious, short-term memories are unpredictable. If the scientists talked to the volunteers while they were performing the trick, the ability to pick out the card that had been present got much worse. (Magicians may make sure to keep up a bit of noise for this reason.) And if the scientists unveiled the trick, participants didn’t perform any better than chance at identifying the card.

Neuroscience and Magic
Neuroscientists have researched magic before – often in awe of how the human mind reacts to experiencing something that it knows is physically impossible or has had no witness of before. Magicians have had a very advanced grip on the human psyche for years, albeit probably unknowingly. They are experts are bending perception, though they themselves probably don’t know the areas of the brains that they’re manipulating with their dazzling tricks – it would seem quite unlikely that they do since neuroscientists are just now beginning to catch up with what goes on in a person’s mind while watching a magic trick.

Let’s just hope that neuroscientists don’t advance their “magic” studies too fast, lest we lose all enjoyment in watching magic tricks.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pentagon successfully tests hypersonic flying bomb

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound and will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the "Advanced Hypersonic Weapon," or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific "at hypersonic speed" before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.

Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 -- or five times the speed of sound -- 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour.

The test aimed to gather data on "aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies," said Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

The US Army's AHW project is part of the "Prompt Global Strike" program which seeks to give the US military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.

On August 11, the Pentagon test flew another hypersonic glider dubbed HTV-2, which is capable of flying 27,000 kilometers per hour, but it was a failure.

The AHW's range is less than that of the HTV-2, the Congressional Research Service said in a report, without providing specifics.

The Pentagon has invested 239.9 million dollars in the Global Strike program this year, including 69 million for the flying bomb tested Thursday, CRS said.

Real time animation at Dreamworks

DreamWorks announce they’ve found the “Holy Grail” of Digital Animation

This week while speaking at this year’s Techonomy conference, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told audience members that they’d formulated the solution for real-time rendering of animation for video. Katzenberg told the audience that they’d been working hand-in-hand with Intel in order to rewrite their software to take advantage of scalable multi-core processors, this allowing them to achieve advances that will, for lack of a better term, revolutionize the animation process. While before recently DreamWorks had been considered mostly a story-telling company, Katzenberg now says they’ve becoming “as much a technology company as we are an animation company.”

DreamWorks for those of you unfamiliar is a group responsible for such blockbuster digital animation films as Antz (their first animated film from 1998), Shrek, Madagascar, and more recently both Megamind and Kung Fu Panda. As the group certainly has a bunch more films in development and coming soon, everything from How to Train Your Dragon 2 to The Grimm Legacy to the everloving classic Captain Underpants, they’ve got more than a little incentive to make their animation process streamlined and improved.

What Katzenberg calls the holy grail and is saying they’re on the verge of using is the ability to work in real-time. Where animating just a few seconds of video can take even the most skilled animator a week to make a reality now, a 50 to 70 percent speed increase in the whole process can be expected with the methods DreamWorks and Intel are working on now. Artists will be able to do effects and color work in real time, while the implications Katzenberg says are revolutionary can be seen to be working with any type of high-end rendering, from oil simulations to airplane design to medical imaging.

DreamWorks and Intel are on a four-year effort to make this software re-write a reality and Katzenberg said today that they were just about two-thirds done at the moment, with the product already having been used on a number of products. Real-time digital animation rendering is and has been a goal of any dreamer in the animation industry for more than anyone’s fair share of time sitting around waiting for a scene to fill itself out and the characters to start moving.

If DreamWorks and Intel succeed here, there will be much rejoicing.

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had some exciting news for the desktop computer at Techonomy Monday. According to the head of the animation company, new collaboration with chip-maker Intel is leading to rendering that is 50 to 70 times faster than anything being used today.

This has far-reaching implications that go well beyond the world of animation. According to Katzenberg it takes an experienced 3D animator a week to animate three seconds of finished product. This is due to the amount of time waiting for images to render. The holy grail of animators, Katzenberg said, is to be able to work in real time. The collaboration with Intel is bring us just that.
Cutting Wait Time: DreamWorks-Intel Partnership to Revolutionize Rendering
Adrienne Burke Adrienne BurkeContributor
Dreamworks: Katzenberg Says New Software Makes Animation 50-70x Faster
Eric Savitz Eric SavitzForbes Staff

This will certainly have an impact on the multi-billion dollar gaming industry. Currently gaming graphics lag well behind the animation you see in a movie like Puss in Boots, the latest film from DreamWorks. This is because an animated film has been rendered already, whereas games have to render images in real time requiring powerful graphics chips.

But if Intel and DreamWorks have developed technology that can render animation in real time, think of what that means for games. If gaming consoles and PC’s could render 50 to 70 times faster than they do now, games could have far better graphics in the very near future.

Which leads me back to the question of the uncanny valley. If you’re not familiar with that concept, it’s the hypothesis that the closer replicas of the human face and form get to reality – whether in animation or robotics or other attempts by tech to replicate humanity – the more disconcerting they become.

The closer to perfection they get, the more we feel a sense of revulsion to them. Whereas when you see an obviously cartoonish attempt to mirror the human face you hardly think twice, when you see a graphic that looks almost real you notice all the ways it isn’t real.

This could also apply to AI or voice recognition software like Siri, and I’ve heard it suggested that the Uncanny Valley can occur the closer movement comes to actually replicating human movement.

But what if animators start working in real time? What if games can render dozens of times faster than they used to be able to render? Can we cross the uncanny valley? Or will that valley, as it narrows, become all the more discomfiting and bizarre?

You can watch the speakers and follow the events at the live-stream Forbeshas set up here (a schedule of events is also at the link.) Or read about Techonomy as it happens at the Forbes Techonomy channel. On Twitter follow the conference with the hashtag #TE11.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

MIT Creates Chip to Model Synapses

By Sebastian Anthony

With 400 transistors and standard CMOS manufacturing techniques, a group of MIT researchers have created the first computer chip that mimics the analog, ion-based communication in a synapse between two neurons. This is the bleeding edge of brain-like (neural network) processors, but let’s put this into perspective: The human brain has around 100 billion neurons, and each neuron can be connected to thousands of others with synapses. There are trillions or quadrillions of synapses in the human brain.

There are three ways in which you can attempt to model the human brain in silicon: You can throw more and more processing power at the problem until you reach brain-like capabilities; you can make a learning crossbar switch that simulates the multiple connections between neurons (but this gets very big very quickly); or you can go the whole hog and use analog technology to actually mimic the chemical, ion-based communication channels that flow between synapses. It is this last category which the new chip from MIT falls into.

Contrary to the highschool (and House) education that you may have received, the neurons in animal brains, including the fantastic sample ensconced by your skull, do not simply “fire.” Every neuron has thousands of synapses, and the flow of electricity over those synapses is controlled by the flow of ions; charged molecules of sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium. It is the concentration of these ions, the timing of the electrical pulses generated by the neuron, and myriad other factors, that ultimately govern the massively-parallel computational power of a brain.

Lt Commander Data

Scientists and engineers have tried to fashion brain-like neural networks before, of course, but transistor-transistor logic is fundamentally digital — and the brain is completely analog. Neurons do not suddenly flip from “0″ to “1″ — they can occupy an almost-infinite scale of analog, in-between values. You can approximate the analog function of synapses by using fuzzy logic (and by ladling on more processors), but that approach only goes so far.

MIT’s chip — all 400 transistors (pictured below) — is dedicated to modeling every biological caveat in a single synapse. “We now have a way to capture each and every ionic process that’s going on in a neuron,” says Chi-Sang Poon, an MIT researcher who worked on the project. The next step? Scaling up the number of synapses and building specific parts of the brain, such as our visual processing or motor control systems. The long-term goal would be to provide bionic components that augment or replace parts of the human physiology, perhaps in blind or crippled people.

Of course, with truly analog processors comes real artificial intelligence, too — and not the kind that requires megawatts of power and a hangar full of server racks. With current state-of-the-art technology it takes hours or days to simulate a simple brain circuit. With MIT’s brain chip, the simulation is “faster than the biological system itself.” Gulp.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pitch a Tent

China Building Spy Satellite Targets In the Middle of the Desert

By Natalie Wolchover

Published November 17, 2011

| TechMediaNetwork

Newfound Google Maps images have revealed an array of mysterious structures and patterns etched into the surface of China's Gobi Desert. The media — from mainstream to fringe — has wildly speculated that they might be Chinese weapons-testing sites, satellite calibration targets, street maps of Washington, D.C., and New York City, or even messages to (or from) aliens.

It turns out that they are almost definitely used to calibrate China's spy satellites.

So says Jonathon Hill, a research technician and mission planner at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, which operates many of the cameras used during NASA's Mars missions. Hill works with images of the Martian surface taken by rovers and satellites, as well as data from Earth-orbiting NASA instruments.

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The grids of zigzagging white lines seen in two of the images — the strangest of the various desert structures — are spy satellite calibration targets. Satellite cameras focus on the grids, which measure approximately 0.65 miles wide by 1.15 miles long, and use them to orient themselves in space. [Photos: Mysterious Structures In China's Gobi Desert]

The existence of these calibration targets may seem suspicious or revelatory, but Hill said it really isn't; China was already known to operate spy satellites, and many other countries (including the United States) do so as well. In fact, the U.S. also uses calibration targets. "An example I found just now is a calibration target for the Corona spy satellites, built back in the 1960s, down in Casa Grande, Ariz., [at coordinates] 32° 48' 24.74" N, 111° 43' 21.30" W," Hill told Life's Little Mysteries.

The 65-foot-wide white lines that make up China's grids are not made of reflective metal as many news sites have suggested. "They have gaps in them where they cross little natural drainage channels and the lines themselves are not perfectly filled in, with lots of little streaks and uneven coverage. I think it's safe to say these are some kind of paint," Hill said, noting that if they were made of white dust or chalk, the wind would have caused them to streak visibly.

The calibration targets are larger than might have been expected, he said, suggesting that the satellite cameras they are being used to calibrate have surprisingly poor ground resolution.

strange stuff in China desert

Another strange image taken not far away shows a Stonehenge-like arrangement of objects radiating outward, with fighter jets parked at its center. "This is almost certainly a calibration/test target for orbital radar instruments," Hill said. "Since a significant amount of radar return is due to differences in surface roughness, they're probably testing ways of making the areas around planes 'bumpy' enough that the planes are partially masked."

In other words, the Chinese military probably uses radar instruments to send signals down at the target from above, and determine how much radar bounces back to the instruments from the fighter jets, and how much gets scattered by the Stonehenge-like arrangement of bumps surrounding them. From this, the country's radar experts can learn how best to hide China's military operations from other countries' satellites, and possibly get clues for how to find carefully hidden objects in other countries. However, the fact that the planes are made out of metal will increase their radar return and make it very hard to completely mask them, Hill said.

Since the initial reports of these structures became widespread, industrious readers of the gadget blog Gizmodo have spotted a few more interesting structures in China. One, Hill said, appears to be a weapons testing zone, perhaps for evaluating explosives. Elsewhere, a giant grid resembles a Yagi antenna array. Instruments like this can be used for any number of things, such as weather tracking, space weather tracking and high-altitude atmospheric research.

Hill noted that most of these structures are quite closer to each other. "I think we're seeing some sort of military zone/test range, which explains the large amount of equipment and technology in an otherwise remote area," he said. "Sometimes the truth can be just as interesting, if not more so, than the conspiracies that people come up with."

Read more:

"...located in Dunhuang, Jiuquan, Gansu, north of the Shule River, which crosses the Tibetan Plateau to the west into the Kumtag Desert. It covers an area approximately one mile long by more than 3,000 feet wide."

View on Google Maps


Friday, November 11, 2011

Electric Unicycle

from the article:

If you love turning heads when you take a ride around town, then the Ryno electric unicycle is probably for you. Designer Chris Hoffmann had his eyes set on the Segway crowd when he started work on the Ryno, and he has come up with quite the interesting looking one-wheeled auto. The cost for a pre-production Ryno is a whopping $25,000 and Hoffmann already has five orders, but he expects the market model to cost about $3,500. The production model will have a top speed of 25 mph, a range of up to 30 miles and an impressive 25-inch thick tire. Hit the jump for video proof of this gadget in action!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Drivelapse USA - 5 Minute Roadtrip Timelapse Around America

Angry Birds VS Kitty Cannon


Chrome is advertising Angry Birds. I don't have a smart phone, so I gave it a look and it's even less than what I expected. If this is what people want, I really need to find another planet. For me, Kitten Cannon was far better conceived and much more entertaining, long ago.

Angry Birds for Chrome

Kitten Cannon

After someone showed me, I played Kitten Cannon a few times, showed a few friends and got the joke. But it was free and I didn't lose time over it. It was about like passing along a funny email, or showing someone a JibJab cartoon. It would be fun to MAKE.

Kitten Cannon is now available on iPhone, but possibly the gore prevents it from reaching the success level of angry birds, which is almost the same concept. Not sure which made it to market first. It's like the Christianized retelling of the Arthurian legend, or maybe equates to when Gary Larson took B. Kliban's approach and went after syndication. Kitten Cannon is funny in the same vain as Don Martin cartoons. And the actual game play in Kitten Cannon is much more straight forward. Angry Birds strips down the ballistic concept using innocuous symbols, so there isn't much of a reward in terms of a gag. Yes, I read that the pigs were inspired by swine flu. So what.

It's all about sharing - iPhone is a mobile, viral medium for a highly captive, social audience. He with the best party trick wins. Perhaps the key for a creator is to target with niche conversation pieces.

Similarly, the iPad is now a market place and destination for interactive children's stories, exactly what Broderbund was making for personal computers in the early 90s. Nothing new but the medium, and the accessibility of the price point. These interactive games cost a dollar or two compared to $40-60 for software. This is also how direct publishing on Amazon gives writers a way to make a lot of money.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Emerging Markets 2009-10

% GDP growth 2009-10:

Mexico - 5.4%

Mexico has a free-market, export-led economy accounting for 12% of all imports into the U.S. The country's major industries include tourism, food and the production of motor vehicles. Falling global demand led annual growth to contract by 6.1% in 2009 before rebounding to grow 5.4% in 2010. A further lapse in global demand is expected to slow Mexico's economic growth to 3.6% in 2011.

Colombia - 4.3%

Colombia is South America's second most populated country, with 44 million people. Its economy is primarily export led and it is a major producer of oil, coffee and emeralds. Exposure to the fluctuations of the global markets drove growth into the low single digits after the U.S. and European recessions, before rebounding in 2010. The country's economic growth is expected to hit 5.1% in 2011.

Brazil - 7.5%

Brazil is South America's powerhouse, dwarfing the economies of other nations on the continent. Its agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors contribute to economic growth hitting 7.49% in 2010, although this is expected to drop to 3.6% in 2011 in part due to slowing global demand. It is currently led by President Dilma Rousseff, the country's first female leader, who is carrying on a poverty reduction program initiated by her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Argentina - 9.2%

Argentina's economy collapsed in 2001 after it defaulted on its debts, leading to one of the most volatile periods in the country's history. Economic progress has since grown steadily, under the guidance of the late president Nestor Kirchner and his successor and wife Cristina Fernandez. The country's rich natural resources fed growth of between 8% and 9% in recent years, with the economy expected to grow by 7% in 2011.


Nigeria - 8.7%

Nigeria, with its population of more than 155 million people, is Africa's most populous nation. It has faced significant problems with corruption and ethnic tensions, which have dragged on its economic progress. Goodluck Jonathan won the election earlier in 2011, and is under pressure to implement change on issues such as unemployment and corruption. The country's economy, driven by oil, is set to grow by 8.5% in 2011.

South Africa - 2.8%

South Africa emerged from its apartheid regime in 1994, when the first multi-racial elections delivered power to Nelson Mandela's African National Congress party. While the transition was difficult, the country's infrastructure is modern and its economy developed. It has won recognition as one of the 'BRIC' nations, originally made up of Brazil, Russia, India and China, which are eyed as those with the greatest growth potential. South Africa's economy is expected to grow by 3.4% in 2011.

Kenya - 5.6%

Kenya, with its population of just over 41 million, has acted as a trade hub in the African region, but has faced problems with corruption. Its last elections were marred by violence, and it has suffered through the financial crisis in part due to remittance payments dropping. It is tracking toward growth of 5.8% in 2011, after slumping through 2008 and 2009.

Egypt - 5.1%

Egypt is still emerging from an Arab Spring revolution which toppled its long time president, Hosni Mubarak, in February. The revolution has not delivered changes as fast as protesters hoped, and the country remains unstable. Its economy, which feeds off exports and tourism - the country's famous pyramids long being a draw for visitors - is expected to grow by just 1.4% in 2011.


Saudi Arabia - 4.1%

Saudi Arabia, a deeply Muslim country, has a population of just over 26 million and is ruled by an absolute monarchy. Its economy is based on petroleum, accounting for a huge 90% of its export income. The government is trying to diversify the economy into sectors such as telecommunications, and it is expected to grow by 6.6% in 2011.

India - 10.1%

India, made up of 1.2 billion people, has accelerated its growth in recent years, and is likely to clock up 7.7% in 2011. The services industry has become a major driver in its economy, and is now much more valuable than its more traditional manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

Sri Lanka - 8%

Sri Lanka, an island nation with a population of just over 21 million, struggled with more than two decades of conflict with the Tamil separatist group before a ceasefire was signed in 2002. The country's infrastructure has since undergone rebuilding and its economy, which is based on services, has begun to recover. Its growth is expected to be 8% in 2011.

Pakistan - 3.8%

Impoverished Pakistan has come under intense international scrutiny. Its ties with the U.S. have become increasingly strained since Osama bin Laden was found living outside Islamabad in May 2011. It maintains a tense relationship with India and struggles with internal insurgency and border disputes. The country's economy, based on textiles, manufacturing and services, has continued to grow despite the conflicts, but it is expected to slow in 2011 to 2.4%, from 4.1% in 2010.


China - 10.3%

China, Asia's powerhouse, is being leaned on to lead the world back to prosperity as the U.S. and eurozone struggle with huge debt burdens. The communist state has broadened its global economic reach under premier Wen Jiabao. Its economy is now focused on industry and is expected to grow by 9.3% in 2011.

Vietnam - 6.8%

Vietnam emerged from the Vietnam War in 1975, and has slowly returned to prosperity. The country, which remains a communist state, is now heading toward growth of 5.8% for 2011 as it diversifies from its agricultural base into manufacturing exports and tourism.

Taiwan - 10.9%

Taiwan, an island nation of 23 million people who are largely Buddhist and Taoist, has an open, export-led economy which is driven by electronics and machinery. It is known as one of the East Asia economic tigers, with growth booming in 2010 to more than 10%, but expected to settle back to 4.6% in 2011.

Indonesia - 6.1%

Indonesia, a southeast Asia archipelago, has stabilized since it signed a historic peace agreement with separatists in Aceh. Indonesia has a strong domestic economy, based around agriculture and services, but it has also been attracting billions in foreign investment in recent years, pushing its expected growth for 2011 to 6.5%.

Malaysia - 7.2%

Malaysia, a constitutional monarchy, has diversified its economy, shifting from a raw materials exporter to one which supplies manufacturing and services. It is also a tourism destination, which has helped drive its economy toward an expected 4.2% of growth in 2011.

South Korea - 6.2%

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, has faced increased tension with its communist neighbor, North Korea, in recent years. However, President Lee Myung-bak has been engaged with global partners and the country, which has an export economy based on electronics, is expected to grow steadily. Its GDP growth is expected to hit 3.5% in 2011.


Russia - 4%

Russia's economy has undergone dramatic change since the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s. The economy subsequently underwent reforms including extensive privatization. Its economy is based on commodities including natural gases and oil, but the government has been attempting to wean itself off the industry by promoting sectors including high technology. Russia -- which defaulted on its debts in 1998 -- has been severely impacted by the financial crisis. After consistently strong growth following its default, Russia's economy slumped. It is expected to grow by 4.3% in 2011.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Khan Academy Gets $5 Million to Expand Faculty & Platform & to Build a Physical School

by Audrey Watters on 04. Nov, 2011 in News

Khan Academy announced this morning that it has raised $5 million from the O’Sullivan Foundation (a foundation created by Irish engineer and investor Sean O’Sullivan). The money is earmarked for several initiatives: expanding the Khan Academy faculty, creating a content management system so that others can use the program’s learning analytics system, and building an actual brick-and-mortar school, beginning with a summer camp program.

The $5 million marks the latest in funding for the non-profit, which has received over $2 million in grants from the Gates Foundation and from Google.

Part of the lure of the Sal Khan narrative is this idea that he is single-handedly educating the world through his self-made YouTube videos. No doubt, you can point to page and video views to make a case about his impact.

Khan has long kept full control over the “instruction”, or rather the video creation — all the content has been created by him. That changed last month, as I reported here, when Khan Academy struck a partnership with SmartHistory, bringing on that organization’s Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker as art history instructors. The money from the O’Sullivan Foundation will be used in part to expand the Khan Academy further, to at least 5 full-time-equivalent teachers.

The O’Sullivan Foundation grant will also be used to build what’s described as “a crowd-sourced content management and curation system.” Details are sketchy on exactly what this entails, but the press release compares it to Wikipedia, saying it’s a “similar outlet for dedicated professionals to develop quality instructional content.” The system will also enable others to tap into some of the tools and analytics that Khan Academy is developing.

Khan Academy intern David Hu offered some great insight this week into what these analytics look like. In a blog post entitled, “How Khan Academy Is Using Machine Learning to Assess Student Mastery,” Hu detailed the efforts underway at Khan Academy to rethink how its model for student proficiency works. Currently, it relies on a “streak” — that is, students must get a certain number of questions right in a row in order to move on. Hu proposes an alternate approach to ascertaining whether or not a student has gained proficiency (defined as a 94% or greater likelihood of correctly answering the next question asked involving that skill) using a logical regression model. Hu hypothesizes that with this new proficiency model, learning outcomes should increase, in part by moving students off of problems that they’re good at more quickly.

With its current level of funding, no doubt Khan Academy has been able to attract some real super-star engineering talent to its team — a team that has remained fairly small. There are, I think, under 20 employees, including the recent SmartHistory additions. But it’s worth noting that while the engineering brainpower is sizable here, the number of teachers (past or present) on board is small.

“Teachers don’t scale,” I remember Sal Khan saying to me when I interviewed him last year. What can scale, he argues, is the infrastructure for content delivery. And that means you just need a handful of good lecturers’ record their lessons; the Internet will take care of the rest.

But online instruction clearly isn’t enough, and as “blended learning” becomes the latest buzzword — that is, a blend of offline and computer-mediated/online instruction — Khan Academy is now eyeing building its own school. The money from the O’Sullivan Foundation will go towards developing a “testbed for physical programs and K-12 curricula,” including an actual physical Khan Academy school. This will begin in June 2012 as a series of summer camps.

“The school of the future will not resemble the school of today,” Khan says. “In the past, the assembly-line, lecture-homework-exam model existed because that’s what was possible in the no-tech and low-tech classrooms of their day.” His team now have $5 million to take that lecture-homework-exam model into the high-tech classroom… or something.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pattern-free music

Scott Rickard set out to do what no musician has ever tried — to make the world’s ugliest piece of music. At TEDxMIA, he discusses the math and science behind creating a piece of music devoid of any pattern.

Scott Rickard has degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering from MIT and MA and PhD degrees in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Princeton University. At University College Dublin, he founded the Complex & Adaptive Systems Laboratory, where biologists, geologists, mathematicians, computer scientists, social scientists and economists work on problems which matter to people. He is passionate about mathematics, music and educating the next generation of scientists and mathematicians.

Laser Spacetime

From slashdot:

"Those pesky physicists are at it again; they want to build a laser so powerful that it will literally rip spacetime apart. Why? To prove the existence of virtual particles in the quantum vacuum, potentially unravel extra dimensions and possibly find the root of dark matter. The $1.6 billion Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility (known as ELI) will be built somewhere in Europe by the end of the decade and physicists are hoping the ten high-powered lasers — delivering 200 petawatts of power at a target for less than a trillionth of a second — will turn up some surprises about the very fabric of the Universe."


A Laser to Give the Universe a Hernia?

Analysis by Ian O'Neill

Think back to 2008, when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was about to be switched on for the first time. Remember all those "micro-black hole," "spacetime-ripping," "stranglet-creating" doomsday headlines?

TOP 5: Misconceptions About the LHC

Although much of the hype was complete nonsense, those pesky physicists are at it again; they want to build a laser so powerful that it will literally rip spacetime apart. (Keanu Reeves, over to you.)

The headlines write themselves.
WATCH VIDEO: Discovery News investigates how and why the Large Hadron Collider is smashing protons together at record energies.

What's more, by giving spacetime a hernia, it is hoped that theorized "ghost particles" may spill from the fissure, providing evidence for the hypothesis that extra-dimensions exist and the vacuum of space isn't a vacuum at all -- it is in fact buzzing with virtual particles.


Such a laser could also help in understanding the nature of dark matter, the "missing" mass that is thought to pervade the entire observable Universe.

Big "Frickin' Laser Beams"

As we all know, all good megalomaniac plans for world domination start with lasers (not necessarily attached to sharks' heads). But the lasers planned by the Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility, known as "ELI," would concentrate 200 petawatts of power -- that's 100,000 times the world's power production -- and fire it at a single point for less than a trillionth of a second.

The combined power of 10 separate lasers would be focused down to a very small volume, creating conditions more extreme than in the center of our sun. It is hoped (yes, hoped) that this immense energy will punch a hole through the fabric of spacetime itself, heralding a new era of exotic physics discovery.

ANALYSIS: Colliding Black Holes Twist and Stretch Spacetime

Needless to say, a novel means of energy collection would be needed to operate the facility, and their electricity bill will be gargantuan, so why start shooting holes through spacetime in the first place?

"We are taught to think of the vacuum as empty space, but it seems even a true vacuum is filled with pairs of (particles) that come into our universe for an extremely short time," said Wolfgang Sandner, coordinator of the Laserlab Europe network and president of the German Physics Society.

"An extremely powerful laser should be able to pull these particles apart and keep them in existence for longer."

In other words, the term "vacuum of space" is a misnomer. As is taught in degree-level physics, one of the bedrock theories of quantum dynamics is that space is anything but empty.

WIDE ANGLE: Surfing Spacetime

There is a buzz of energy throughout the Cosmos -- whether that be in my atmosphere-rich office, the center of a star, or the frigid "void" between the galaxies. However, this "buzz" is rather exotic, like nothing we can physically experience.

In a nutshell, pairs of particles -- particle/anti-particle pairs -- are spontaneously created by the vacuum, "borrowing" energy from spacetime. However, these "virtual" (or "ghost") particles must return their energy to the vacuum within a minuscule period of time. Within that time period, the pair will collide and annihilate, thus returning energy to the Universe.

So these virtual particles pop in and out of existence like ghosts... until something very massive, or very energetic, interferes with their annihilation dance.

One of the most famous, massive things that could interrupt them is a black hole.

Lasers and Black Holes

As predicted by Stephen Hawking, black hole evaporation is caused by virtual particles. Right at a black hole's event horizon -- the point at which even light cannot escape the extreme gravitational warping of the black hole -- virtual particles will pop in and out of existence as normal.

However, one of the pair of virtual particles may get sucked into the event horizon while the other is ejected. With no partner to annihilate with, the ejected particle keeps the borrowed energy all for itself, and becomes a real particle -- like Pinocchio turning from a wooden toy into a real boy.

ANALYSIS: Scientists Catch First Glimpse of 'Pseudo' Hawking Radiation

As this newly-real particle is ejected, it is effectively stealing energy (and therefore a tiny bit of mass) from the black hole -- this effect is known as Hawking radiation. Over time, the black hole shrinks. Hawking radiation will therefore eventually cause black holes to fizz out of existence!

It is hoped that the ELI lasers will also be able to pull these particles apart -- not to make them "real" (à la Hawking radiation) but to keep them around long enough so we can detect their existence.

"There are many challenges to be over come before we can do that, but it is mainly a matter of scaling up the technology we have so we can produce the powers needed," added Sandner.

So, sensibly, prototype lasers are being built in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania in the hope of seeing them commissioned in 2015. The final decision on the location of the fully-functional ELI site will remain with the European Commission, and many European nations are bidding to be hosts of the $1.6 billion project.

SCIENCE CHANNEL: Large Hadron Collider Photo Gallery

"ELI is going to take us into an uncharted regime of physics. There could well be some surprises along the way," said Thomas Heinzl, an associate professor of theoretical physics at Plymouth University.