Saturday, May 26, 2007

World's oldest camera auctioned for 800,000 dollars

An 1839 daguerreotype camera, ancestor of modern photography, was sold at auction in Vienna Saturday for nearly 600,000 euros making it the world's oldest and most expensive commercial photographic apparatus.

An anonymous buyer paid 588,613 euros (792,000 dollars), bidding by Internet, said the Galerie Westlicht auction house here.

The opening price was 100,000 euros for the wooden box structure, which is in its original state and had been lying forgotten in a loft in Munich since the year 1940 until the present owner of the premises accidentally came across it.

Bids came from as far afield as South Korea, Japan, the United States and France, the auction house said.

Michel Auer, a Swiss photographer and photographic historian, carried out an expertise on the device and concluded that it was the only remaining known example made by a French firm, the Susse Brothers.

Before it resurfaced, the oldest known and most expensive daguerreotype apparatus in the world had been one also dating from 1839 but made by Alphonse Giroux, brother-in-law of the inventor Daguerre.

Only 12 remaining original Giroux daguerreotype cameras are known to be preserved in various collections around the world.

The daguerreotype, named after the French artist and chemist Louis Daguerre, is an early type of photograph in which the image is exposed directly onto a mirror-polished surface of silver bearing a coating of silver halide particles deposited by iodine vapour.

It was not the first-ever photographic process. But previous attempts had required such lengthy exposure that the daguerreotype became the first commercially viable photographic process. [Source]
Tree eats bicycle

[From Neatorama] On Vashon Island (near Seattle, Washington), a tree grows carrying a rather unusual passenger - an old bike. Apparently some kid chained a bike to the tree decades ago and never picked it up, leaving the tree no choice but to grow around the bike. The tree and island gained some level of notoriety when Berkeley Breathed, creator of Bloom County, wrote a children’s book inspired by the bicycle eating tree entitled Red Ranger Came Calling.

Infants stun scientists with ‘amazing' insights

Babies only look clueless — they know a lot more than you think

[From msnbc]:

Babies might seem a bit dim in their first six months of life, but researchers are getting smarter about what babies know, and the results are surprising.

The word "infant" comes from the Latin, meaning "unable to speak," but babies are building the foundations for babbling and language before they are born, responding to muffled sounds that travel through amniotic fluid.

Soon after birth, infants are keen and sophisticated generalists, capable of seeing details in the world that are visible to some other animals but invisible to adults, older children and even slightly older infants.

Recently, scientists have learned the following:
  • At a few days old, infants can pick out their native tongue from a foreign one.
  • At 4 or 5 months, infants can lip read, matching faces on silent videos to "ee" and "ah" sounds.
  • Infants can recognize the consonants and vowels of all languages on Earth, and they can hear the difference between foreign language sounds that elude most adults.
  • Infants in their first six months can tell the difference between two monkey faces that an older person would say are identical, and they can match calls that monkeys make with pictures of their faces.
  • Infants are rhythm experts, capable of differentiating between the beats of their culture and another.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Castro Blasts Bush As 'Apocalyptic'

HAVANA (AP) - Fidel Castro called George W. Bush "an apocalyptic person" on Friday, hours after the U.S. president signed a bill that will pay for military operations in Iraq without setting a timetable for troop withdrawal.

In the 12th signed statement released by the Cuban leader in recent weeks, Castro accused Bush of "faking rationality" and manipulating U.S. public opinion.

"Just yesterday, Bush bragged about having won the battle over his adversaries in Congress," Castro wrote in the wandering four-page statement. "He has $100 billion, all the money he needs to duplicate, however he wishes, the sending of American troops to Iraq and continue the slaughter."

The $120 billion bill approved Thursday by the U.S. House 280-142 funds the war through September and sets no date for a troop pullout to begin. The Senate approved it 80-14, and Bush signed it Friday.

"Meanwhile, the region's problems get worse," Castro wrote, referring to the Middle East.

"Bush is an apocalyptic person. Look at his eyes, his face and his obsessive preoccupation with pretending that all he sees on the 'invisible screens' is spontaneous," Castro wrote in an apparent reference to the use of teleprompters.

The 80-year-old Castro is recovering from a series of emergency intestinal surgeries and has not been seen in public for nearly 10 months.

His previous statements have been published the following day on the front pages of Cuba's two main state-run newspapers and read over and over again on government radio and television stations.

Most of Castro's recent editorials have blasted U.S.-backed plans to use food crops for biofuels, though Cuba's "maximum leader" on Wednesday revealed key details about his health and recovery. He wrote that he underwent not one but several surgeries, the first of which did not go well and has slowed his recuperation.

Castro stunned Cuba and the world in late July, when he announced he was seriously ill and was temporarily stepping aside in favor of a provisional government headed by his brother Raul, the 75-year-old defense minister.

Though his condition and exact ailment are state secrets, top Cuban officials have insisted for months that Castro is on the mend. He has given no indication of if or when he might resume his full presidential responsibilities. [Source]

Secret memo said to prove Israel knew occupation was illegal

A secret memo proves that the Israeli government knew that its occupation of Palestinian land was illegal after it won the Six Day War in 1967, a British newspaper reported Saturday.

Theodor Meron, who wrote the memo as the Israeli foreign ministry's legal advisor at the time, said "I believe I would have given the same opinion today," according to The Independent newspaper.

With Israel now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the war, the 76-year-old Meron, who went on to become a leading international jurist, challenges Israel's long-held argument that settlements do not violate international law.

The Independent said it obtained a copy of his legal opinion, which was marked "Top Secret" and "Extremely Urgent."

Quoting its author, the newspaper said the memo concluded "that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

Meron also told the newspaper that then foreign minister Abba Eban was "sympathetic" to his view that civilian settlement would go against the Hague and Geneva conventions governing the conduct of occupying powers.

But the Labour government at the time progressively approved the settlements in the captured West Bank despite the secret legal opinion which had been passed on to then prime minister Levi Eshkol.

Such actions paved the way for at least 240,000 Israelis to settle in the the West Bank.

Meron, who served as president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia until 2005, was also quoted as telling the Independent that the settlements have proven to be a real stumbling block.

"It's obvious to me that the fact that settlements were established and the pace of the establishment of the settlements made peacemaking much more difficult," he was quoted as saying.

In the Six Day War in June 1967, Israel captured the Sinai peninsula from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. [Source]

World's First Mobile Phone

[Source] The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was the first mobile phone to receive FCC acceptance in 1983. DynaTac was actually a abbrievation of Dynamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage.

The First Cellphone Specs:

Name: Motorola Dyna-Tac
Size: 9 x 5 x 1.75 inches
Weight: 2.5 pounds
Display: None
Number of Circuit Boards: 30
Talk time: 35 minutes
Recharge Time: 10 hours
Features: Talk, listen, dial

The Inventor of the mobile phone
[Source] Dr Martin Cooper, a former general manager for the systems division at Motorola, is considered the inventor of the first portable handset and the first person to make a call on a portable cell phone in April 1973. The first call he made was to his rival, Joel Engel, Bell Labs head of research.

AT&T's research arm, Bell Laboratories, introduced the idea of cellular communications in 1947. But Motorola and Bell Labs in the sixties and early seventies were in a race to incorporate the technology into portable devices.

Cooper, now 70, wanted people to be able to carry their phones with them anywhere.

While he was a project manager at Motorola in 1973, Cooper set up a base station in New York with the first working prototype of a cellular telephone, the Motorola Dyna-Tac. After some initial testing in Washington for the F.C.C., Mr. Cooper and Motorola took the phone technology to New York to show the public.

In 1973, when the company installed the base station to handle the first public demonstration of a phone call over the cellular network, Motorola was trying to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to allocate frequency space to private companies for use in the emerging technology of cellular communications. After some initial testing in Washington for the F.C.C., Mr. Cooper and Motorola took the phone technology to New York to show the public.

On April 3, 1973, standing on a street near the Manhattan Hilton, Mr. Cooper decided to attempt a private call before going to a press conference upstairs in the hotel. He picked up the 2-pound Motorola handset called the Dyna-Tac and pushed the "off hook" button.

The phone came alive, connecting Mr. Cooper with the base station on the roof of the Burlington Consolidated Tower (now the Alliance Capital Building) and into the land-line system. To the bewilderment of some passers-by, he dialed the number and held the phone to his ear.

Who is he?
Cooper grew up in Chicago and earned a degree in electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology. After four years in the navy serving on destroyers and a submarine, he worked for a year at a telecommunications company.

Hired by Motorola in 1954, Mr. Cooper worked on developing portable products, including the first portable handheld police radios, made for the Chicago police department in 1967. He then led Motorola's cellular research.
The 22 Worst Place Names in the World

22. Cockburn, Western Australia
Although this name is often pronounced "Coburn" by those who stand to lose from its awfulness, who actually reads that when they see this word? Oh, how it burns.

21. Twatt, Orkney, Shetland Islands, Scotland
The Shetland Islands, pronounced "Shitland Islands" if you have an accent like mine, make up a happy little area north of Scotland where it's too cold for trees to grow. I am related to approximately half the population of the Shetland Islands, share a last name with a quarter of them, and can probably trace my ancestry back to Twatt if I try hard enough. The pride!

[Full list here]
The 22 Worst Place Names in the World

22. Cockburn, Western Australia
Although this name is often pronounced "Coburn" by those who stand to lose from its awfulness, who actually reads that when they see this word? Oh, how it burns.

21. Twatt, Orkney, Shetland Islands, Scotland
The Shetland Islands, pronounced "Shitland Islands" if you have an accent like mine, make up a happy little area north of Scotland where it's too cold for trees to grow. I am related to approximately half the population of the Shetland Islands, share a last name with a quarter of them, and can probably trace my ancestry back to Twatt if I try hard enough. The pride!

[Full list here]
Funny Cursor

Check out this funny computer cursor
The World's Thinnest Notebook

[Link] When Intel asked designers to build a better laptop, its instructions were simple, really. The machine has to be fashionable, able to connect to all manner of wireless networks, and full of the latest, fastest computing capabilities. Oh yes, and make it as thin as Motorola's Razr. Its own engineers in conjunction with Ziba Design in Portland, Ore., rose to the challenge.

The result, code-named Intel mobile Metro notebook, is less than 0.7 inches thick—about one-quarter of an inch thicker than Motorola's (MOT) iconic cell phone, making it the world's thinnest notebook. And at 2.25 pounds, it's also one of the lightest small-sized portable computers. Other features include always-on Internet connectivity via various wireless technologies.

And unlike other computer prototypes, including some from Intel, this one actually may line the shelves of a retailer before long. Intel hasn't announced an official release date but people familiar with the matter say a PC maker will announce plans to start manufacturing the machine later this year.

Hilarious Indian Superman and Spidergirl movie

[Via BoingBoing]: "This song and dance clip taken from a Hindustani film (I think) has got to be one of the weirdest ever to come out from the Bollywood studios. The lousy special effects used for the flying scenes - you can look through both of them - coupled with really horrendous Superman and Spiderwoman costumes, make this a real classic!"
Boy kills half-ton monster boar with pistol

Hogzilla is being made into a horror movie. But the sequel may be even bigger: Meet Monster Pig. An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.

If the claims are accurate, Jamison Stone's trophy boar would be bigger than Hogzilla, the famed wild hog that grew to seemingly mythical proportions after being killed in south Georgia in 2004.

Hogzilla originally was thought to weigh 1,000 pounds and measure 12 feet in length. National Geographic experts who unearthed its remains believe the animal actually weighed about 800 pounds and was 8 feet long.

Regardless of the comparison, Jamison is reveling in the attention over his pig, which has a Web site put up by his father— —that is generating Internet buzz.

"It feels really good," Jamison, of Pickensville, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's a good accomplishment. I probably won't ever kill anything else that big."

Jamison, who killed his first deer at age 5, was hunting with father Mike Stone and two guides in east Alabama on May 3 when he bagged Hogzilla II. He said he shot the huge animal eight times with a .50- caliber revolver and chased it for three hours through hilly woods before finishing it off with a point-blank shot.

Through it all there was the fear that the animal would turn and charge them, as wild boars have a reputation of doing.

"I was a little bit scared, a little bit excited," said Jamison, who just finished the sixth grade on the honor roll at Christian Heritage Academy, a small, private school.

His father said that, just to be extra safe, he and the guides had high-powered rifles aimed and ready to fire in case the beast with 5- inch tusks decided to charge.

With the pig finally dead in a creek bed on the 2,500-acre Lost Creek Plantation, a commercial hunting preserve in Delta, trees had to be cut down and a backhoe brought in to bring Jamison's prize out of the woods.

It was hauled on a truck to the Clay County Farmers Exchange in Lineville, where Jeff Kinder said they used his scale, which was recently calibrated, to weigh the hog.

Kinder, who didn't witness the weigh-in, said he was baffled to hear the reported weight of 1,051 pounds because his scale—an old, manual style with sliding weights—only measures to the nearest 10.

"I didn't quite understand that," he said.

Mike Stone said the scale balanced one notch past the 1,050-pound mark, and he thought it meant a weight of 1,051 pounds.

"It probably weighed 1,060 pounds. We were just afraid to change it once the story was out," he said.

The hog's head is now being mounted on an extra-large foam form by Jerry Cunningham of Jerry's Taxidermy in Oxford. Cunningham said the animal measured 54 inches around the head, 74 inches around the shoulders and 11 inches from the eyes to the end of its snout.

"It's huge," he said. "It's just the biggest thing I've ever seen."

Mike Stone is having sausage made from the rest of the animal. "We'll probably get 500 to 700 pounds," he said.

Jamison, meanwhile, has been offered a small part in "The Legend of Hogzilla," a small-time horror flick based on the tale of the Georgia boar. The movie is holding casting calls with plans to begin filming in Georgia.

Jamison is enjoying the newfound celebrity generated by the hog hunt, but he said he prefers hunting pheasants to monster pigs.

"They are a little less dangerous."[Source: breitbart via AP]

Coca-Cola Agrees to Buy Glaceau

The Coca-Cola Co., which has been looking to expand its water and energy drink portfolio and jump-start sales in North America, said Friday it has agreed to buy Vitaminwater maker Glaceau in a cash deal valued at $4.1 billion.

The world's largest beverage maker said the agreement to acquire privately held Energy Brands Inc., known as Glaceau, provides Atlanta-based Coca-Cola with a strong platform to grow its "active lifestyle" beverages.

The acquisition, Coca-Cola's largest ever, will be financed with debt, and is expected to add to Coca-Cola's earnings starting in 2008, but will slightly dilute profits this year, executives said.

Coca-Cola's chief financial officer, Gary Fayard, said in a conference call with analysts that Coke will take full ownership of Glaceau, which for now is 30 percent owned by holdings of India's Tata Group, a conglomerate with interests spanning steel, software services, hotels, chemicals and insurance. The Tata stake will be acquired later than the majority stake, Fayard said.

Tata paid $677 million for the stake last year, a deal that valued the entire company at $2.2 billion, Coca-Cola said.

The deal could reduce Coca-Cola's financial flexibility to buy back its own shares. Coca-Cola had previously said it would buy $2.5 billion to $3 billion of its stock this year; Fayard said Friday the company now expects to repurchase at least $1.75 billion to $2 billion in shares in 2007.

Fayard said the company expects cost savings from the deal to develop later, and he added that Coca-Cola will invest those savings in further growth of Glaceau's brands.

Formed in 1996 and based in Whitestone, N.Y., Glaceau is the maker of Vitaminwater, Fruitwater, Smartwater and Vitaminenergy.

The deal to buy Glaceau, which would operate as a separate business unit within Coca-Cola's North America segment, is expected to close in the summer. It is subject to regulatory review. The boards of both companies have approved the transaction.

Glaceau is attractive for Coca-Cola because of its position in the enhanced-water and energy drink categories, which Coca-Cola is betting will make up a large portion of the beverage industry's growth in North America through 2010.

Coca-Cola said Glaceau's top three executives - founder and CEO J. Darius Bikoff, President Mike Repole and Chief Financial Officer Mike Venuti - intend to lead the business for at least three years, and that other key managers will remain in the business.

A spokeswoman for Glaceau, Nina Fiddian-Green, declined to discuss her company's corporate structure and financial information, and she referred questions to Coca-Cola. Glaceau does not release annual sales figures.

Coca-Cola has been trying to improve sales in its key North America unit, which has been a weak spot. The company's 14 percent increase in first-quarter profit came on a double-digit rise in overall sales, but in North America, unit-case volume declined 3 percent in the quarter.

Coca-Cola shares rose 62 cents to $51.86 in morning trading Friday. [Via AP]
Sony develops film-thin, bending display

Sony unveiled what is billed as the world's first flexible, full-color OLED display built on organic thin-film transistor (TFT) technology. The 2.5-inch prototype display supports 16.8 million colors at a 120 x 160 pixel resolution, is 0.3 mm thick and weighs 1.5 grams

In the race for ever-thinner displays for TVs, cell phones and other gadgets, Sony may have developed one to beat them all - a razor-thin display that bends like paper while showing full-color video.

Sony Corp. released video of the new 2.5-inch display Friday. In it, a hand squeezes a display that is 0.3 millimeters, or 0.01 inch, thick. The display shows color images of a bicyclist stuntman and a picturesque lake.

Although flat-panel TVs are getting slimmer, a display that's so thin it bends in a human hand marks a breakthrough.

Sony said it has yet to decide on commercial products using the technology.

"In the future, it could get wrapped around a lamppost or a person's wrist, even worn as clothing," said Sony spokesman Chisato Kitsukawa. "Perhaps it can be put up like wallpaper."

Tatsuo Mori, an engineering and computer science professor at Nagoya University, said some hurdles remained, including making the display bigger, ensuring durability and cutting costs.

But he said the display's pliancy is extremely difficult to imitate with liquid crystal displays and plasma display panels - the two main display technologies now on the market.

"To come up with a flexible screen at that image quality is groundbreaking," Mori said. "You can drop it, and it won't break because it's as thin as paper."

The new display combines two technologies: Sony's organic thin film transistor, which is required to make flexible displays, and organic electroluminescent display.

Other companies, including LG. Philips LCD Co. and Seiko Epson Corp., are also working on a different kind of "electronic paper" technology, but Sony said the organic electroluminescent display delivers better color images and is more suited for video.

Sony President Ryoji Chubachi has said a film-like display is a major technology his company is working on to boost its status as a technological powerhouse.

In a meeting with reporters more than a year ago, Chubachi boasted Sony was working on a technology for displays so thin it could be rolled up like paper. He had predicted that the world would stand up and take notice.

Some analysts have said Sony, which makes Walkman portable players and PlayStation 3 video game machines, had fallen behind rivals in flat-panel technology, including Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea and Sharp Corp. of Japan.

But Sony has been marking a turnaround under Chubachi and Chief Executive Howard Stringer, the first foreigner to head Sony, by reducing jobs, shuttering unprofitable businesses and strengthening its flat TV offerings. [Via AP]

Your Eye Gaze Has Power

She’s sitting across the room. She’s beautiful. You’ve got the skills to approach her. Maybe it’s a nightclub or a a bookstore and nobody knows each other.

Or maybe it’s a social circle situatoin. Maybe a house party. Maybe a dinner party. A seminar. A yoga class. An improv comedy class. A work function. A dance class.

In a non-social circle situation, you can approach the girl right away. Or you can talk to other people in the room. It’s not as big a deal.

But in social circle situations, sometimes you want to bide your time. You still want to be the most social guy in the room, but there’s no need to show interest right away. Biding your time can be in your favor.

At this point, I believe that body language is paramount. What you do with your eye gaze and body language orientation will demonstrate your power in this situation.

If you guys are like me, you love to look at beautiful women. I check out hot girls all the time.

Men are built differently. We get gratification from visual stimulation.

That hot girl walks by and I check her out. She walks by again and I check her out again. I keep looking. I enjoy looking.

Not that women don’t like looking at men, but it’s not as huge an urge. They don’t get as much pleasure as men do. Multiple studies have shown that the brain is not as visually stimulated seuxally in women as in men.

So what do I do in a social situation? I check the girl out. And I keep checking her out. Even though I already have the information.

I know she’s hot. I know I’m attracted to her.

This is the point at which I advise to NOT keep checking her out. After you initially look at her, do not keep looking her way.

Do not continue to “steal glances.” Do not continue to look at her without speaking to her. She can sense it. And so can everyone else in the room.

Your eye gaze has power. You gain confidence from people looking at you. And you get people looking at you when you are confident.

Lance Mason, founder of Pickup 101, talks about this concept as well. The manager of a restaurant will get attraction from all the waitresses in the restaurant simply because whenever he walks across the restaurant, all eyes are on him. Everyone is watching to see what he’s doing.

In studying social geometry in primates, Michael Chance reveals that in any social interaction

There is a persistent focusing of attention by all subordinate members of rank-ordered primate groups toward the alpha or dominant animal, usually without its taking specific action to attract this constant attention.

And this makes sense. Everybody watches the leader to see what he’s going to do next.

Think about this in a social situation. Instead of you stealing glances at the attractive girl, every once in a while you catch her looking at you.

How do you feel at that point? Pretty good, right? You start to gain confidence in that situation.

I’m not saying you should never look at an attractive woman. If and when you do look at her, look deliberately and slowly. Do not look away if she looks at you. Let her look away first.

And there are other aspects to being attractive in social situations, such as speaking loudly, being the most fun guy in the room, taking the lead. But pay careful attention where you place your gaze. Your gaze has power and should be treated as such.

Once you finally speak to the girl, whether you are introduced to her or take the opportunity to walk up to her and say “I don’t believe we’ve met,” your interest in her will be seen as interest from an equal or from an attractive cool guy, rather than someone already completely sold on her for her beauty. [Via ApproachAnxiety]

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scientists make 'healing super-water'

US scientists have developed "super-oxidised" water which they say speeds up wound healing.

Oculus, the Californian firm which developed the water - made by filtering it through a salt membrane - says it kills viruses, bacteria and fungi.

It is also effective against MRSA and UK trials are being carried out on patients with diabetic foot ulcers, New Scientist magazine reported.

Experts said wound healing was a major problem for people with diabetes.

The key ingredient of the water, called Microcyn, are oxychlorine ions - electrically charged molecules which pierce the cell walls of free-living microbes.

The water can only kill cells it can completely surround so human cells are spared because they are tightly bound together in a matrix.

It is made by taking purified water and passing it through a semi-permeable sodium chloride membrane, which produces the oxychlorine ions.

One study showed that patients with advanced foot ulcers who were treated with the water, alongside an antibiotic had an average healing time of 43 days compared with 55 days in those who received standard treatment

Bleach-resistant bacteria

The results were presented at a Global Healthcare biomedical conference in Monte Carlo.

Bleach also contains a number of electrically charged molecules such as hypochlorite but in much higher concentrations than in the water.

However, US studies have shown the water kills 10 strains of bleach-resistant bacteria.

Professor Andrew Boulton, from Manchester Royal Infirmary, who is conducting one of the early UK trials, said the treatment seemed promising.

"Hopefully it will confirm our initial good experience."

About 15% of diabetic foot ulcers result in amputation.

Diabetes UK care adviser Tracey Kelly said: "The healing of wounds is a major problem for people with diabetes who do not have good blood glucose control or have circulatory problems.

"We would welcome any safe effective treatment which could help people with diabetes make a swift recovery.

"This research is very interesting and we look forward to the trial results."

Help the Aged spokesman Mike Foster said: "The team involved is a credible one and wound healing is a major area in the health of older people.

"There is an urgent need to understand the biology of our repair systems so that we can improve treatments that will help to restore more people's health and independence."

[Newscientist via BBC]

Handheld Blog? Sony's 6M digital camera has huge LCD & Wi-Fi

Sony displayed its 6M digital camera ‘CyberShot DSG-G1’ during P&I Show 2007, which adopted extra-fine LCD, Wi-Fi and 2GB built-in memory.

It is possible for up to four camera users of the DSC-G1 to send each other photos in real time and by adopting 2GB built-in memory, it can store up to 7,500 VGA images or 630 6M photos. Photos can be organized by 50 different labels and sorting functionality with which users can manage their images effectively. A company official said that the DSC-G1 could be considered as a 'handheld blog'.

Pregnant doe becomes impaled on metal fence, dies, baby is born unharmed

An orphan fawn is taking some wobbly steps at a rehabilitation home in central Iowa, an encouraging feat for a newborn that endured a rather unusual birth.

The fawn was born Sunday near a home in Des Moines, the lone survivor of a grisly event that killed its mother and twin when the pregnant doe became impaled on a metal fence.

A homeowner called Des Moines Animal Control to remove the carcass but didn't realize that one of the twin fawns had dropped out of its mother's torn abdomen and was still alive, though extremely weak.

"It was pretty terrible," said Tristin Bauer, Des Moines animal control officer. "It breaks your heart.

"It hadn't had the nourishment that it was supposed to have when it was born."

Officials called wildlife rehabilitator Terry Jones, who agreed to bring the fawn to her farmhouse south of Redfield. As the fawn gets stronger, it will go outside and join a squirrel with bad eyesight, some motherless raccoons and a variety of other dependent wildlife.

"This little baby has no idea what he is," Jones said. "He hasn't had a chance to know that there is another life other than this."

For now, the fawn needs a lot of special formula and more time to gain strength. The fawn's legs are still unsteady, especially the back ones, which seem too long for the thin, frail body.

"He already follows me all around," Jones said. "Where ever I go he follows me."

By Wednesday afternoon, the fawn's instincts were kicking in. After sucking on a bottle for a few minutes, it put its head to the ground as if to graze.

If Jones has opinions about the state's burgeoning deer population, she keeps them to herself.

"What I do is give them a chance," she said. "That's all I do, just give them a chance."

The fawn was off to a shaky start because it was deprived of colostrum, the first protein-rich fluid produced by the mother just after birth. At her own expense, Jones has been feeding the fawn a nourishing formula.

"We're hoping this is going to be successful, but you never know," Jones said. "It's wildlife. When you put them in a different place it's hard to know if they are going to make it or not."

In the meantime, Jones has no plans to name the fawn.

"You just don't want to get too attached," she said.

[Via AP]

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Samsung's Ultra slim 8mm-thick mouse

Samsung to present its 8mm thick slim mouse 'Ultra Slim Mouse8.0' in Korea market. It is equipped with a wheel that scrolls horizontally and five buttons.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Paint explosions: Spectacular Sony Bravia ad

[From Bravia-advert]:

70,000 litres of paint
358 single bottle bombs
33 sextuple air cluster bombs
22 Triple hung cluster bombs
268 mortars
33 Triple Mortars
22 Double mortars
358 meters of weld
330 meters of steel pipe
57 km of copper wire

Full high-def video here

Monday, May 21, 2007

Man sleeps through gunshot to the head

Michael Lusher apparently is a sound sleeper. A small-caliber bullet struck the 37-year-old Altizer man in the head as he slept Sunday morning, but he didn't realize it until he awoke nearly four hours later and noticed blood coming from his head, said Cpl. R.H. McQuaid of the Cabell County Sheriff's Department.

The bullet that struck him was one of five that someone sprayed across his mobile home and truck at about 4:20 a.m. Sunday, McQuaid said. The one the struck Lusher apparently lost velocity as it traveled through two walls.

"We're just glad he didn't suffer any life-threatening injuries with a head wound," he said.

Lusher came home from a night on the town about an hour before he was shot while lying in bed, McQuaid said.

He remained hospitalized at St. Mary's Medical Center on Monday. His condition was not immediately available. [AP]

Smithsonian alters exhibit on climate change in fear of angering the Bush administration

The Smithsonian Institution toned down an exhibit on climate change in the Arctic for fear of angering Congress and the Bush administration, says a former administrator at the museum.

Among other things, the script, or official text, of last year's exhibit was rewritten to minimize and inject more uncertainty into the relationship between global warming and humans, said Robert Sullivan, who was associate director in charge of exhibitions at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

Also, officials omitted scientists' interpretation of some research and let visitors draw their own conclusions from the data, he said. In addition, graphs were altered "to show that global warming could go either way," Sullivan said.

"It just became tooth-pulling to get solid science out without toning it down," said Sullivan, who resigned last fall after 16 years at the museum. He said he left after higher-ups tried to reassign him.

Smithsonian officials denied that political concerns influenced the exhibit, saying the changes were made for reasons of objectivity. And some scientists who consulted on the project said nothing major was omitted.

Sullivan said that to his knowledge, no one in the Bush administration pressured the Smithsonian, whose $1.1 billion budget is mostly taxpayer-funded.

Rather, he said, Smithsonian leaders acted on their own. "The obsession with getting the next allocation and appropriation was so intense that anything that might upset the Congress or the White House was being looked at very carefully," he said.

White House spokeswoman Kristen Hellmer said Monday: "The White House had no role in this exhibit."

In recent months, the White House has been accused of trying to muzzle scientists researching global warming at NASA and other agencies.

The exhibit, "Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely," based partly on a report by federal scientists, opened in April 2006 - six months late, because of the Smithsonian's review - and closed in November, but its content remains available online. Among other things, it highlighted the Arctic's shrinking ice and snow and concerns about the effect on people and wildlife.

This is not the first time the Smithsonian has been accused of taking politics into consideration.

The congressionally chartered institution scaled down a 1995 exhibit of the restored Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, after veterans complained it focused too much on the damage and deaths. Amid the oil-drilling debate in 2003, a photo exhibit of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was moved to a less prominent space.

Sullivan said the changes in the climate-change exhibit were requested by executives who included then-museum Director Cristian Samper and his boss, former Undersecretary for Science David Evans. He said several scientists whose work was used in the exhibit objected to the changes.

Samper, now acting Smithsonian secretary, said he was not aware of scientists' objections, and he emphasized there was no political pressure to change the script. "Our role as a museum is to present the facts but not advocate a particular point of view," Samper said in an e-mail.

Evans refused to comment.

Randall Kremer, a spokesman for the natural history museum, said atmospheric science was outside the Smithsonian's expertise, so the museum avoided the issue of what is causing the Arctic changes.

Many leading scientists have come to believe that human activity is contributing to warming of the planet.

"I see it in some ways as similar to the sort-of debate that has taken place with regard to the science of evolution," said Professor Michael Mann, director of Pennsylvania State University's Earth System Science Center. "Just as I would hope that the Smithsonian would stand firmly behind the science of evolution, it would also be my hope that they would stand firmly behind the science that supports influence on climate. Politically, they may be controversial, but scientifically they are not."

Some curators and scientists involved in the project said they believed nothing important was omitted. But they also said it was apparent that science was not the only concern.

"I remember them telling me there was an attempt to make sure there was nothing in there that would be upsetting to any politicians," said John Calder, a lead climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who consulted on the project. "They're not stupid. They don't want to upset the people who pay them."

One consultant, University of Maryland scientist Louis Codispoti, said he would have been less cautious. "I've been going to the Arctic since 1963, and I find some of the changes alarming," he said. [AP]

10 Animals That May Go Extinct in the Next 10 Years

Iberian Lynx Lynx pardinus The world's most endangered cat species, the Iberian lynx once thrived in Spain, Portugal and southern France. Today, its numbers have dwindled to some 120 individuals divided between small populations in Spain's Andalusia region. Habitat destruction, collisions with vehicles, poaching and a collapsing rabbit population have all contributed to the decline of this feline. As part of a conservation effort, the Spanish government has decided to release rabbits (the lynx's favorite cuisine) into the wild. If the Iberian lynx disappears, it will be the first feral cat species to go extinct in some 2,000 years.

Sumatran Orangutan Pongo abelii There are no more than 7,500 Sumatran orangutans left in the world, and they are declining at a rate of roughly 1,000 per year, says Adam Tomasek, director of the World Wildlife Fund's Borneo and Sumatra Program. At this rate, the species will be wiped out within a decade. The primary cause of this population slide is rampant habitat loss from logging, fires and other human activities.

Northern Hairy-Nosed Wombat Lasiorhinus krefftii Wombats are Australian marsupials with burly builds, stocky legs and powerful claws for burrowing underground tunnels. The northern hairy-nosed variety is the largest wombat, growing as long as one meter and as heavy as 40 kilograms. It also has exceptionally soft fur and a clumsy, waddling gait (yet can run as fast as 40 kilometers per hour). A mere 100 individuals survive in a small, protected area in Queensland.

Wild Bactrian Camel Camelus bactrianus This shy ancestor of domesticated camels lives in the arid Gashun Gobi region of the Gobi Desert in northwestern China and southwestern Mongolia. Unlike Arabian camels, which are distinguished by one prominent hump, Bactrian camels have two humps. Although the camel survived a 45-year period of nuclear testing in China's Gashun Gobi, it may not be able to withstand current pressures, which include mining, hunting, wolf predation, industrial development and genetic mixing with domestic camels. There are only about 650 individuals remaining in China and 350 in Mongolia, according to John Hare, chairman of the U.K.-based Wild Camel Protection Foundation. Some experts predict an 84 percent population decline by 2033.

Dama Gazelle Gazella dama This antelope species is on a fast track to extinction. In the last decade, some 80 percent of the wild population vanished, primarily the result of unbridled hunting and habitat destruction. Populations of no more than 100 are sprinkled throughout north Africa—in Chad, Niger and Mali. Life does not appear to be improving for these gazelles, as caravans of foreign hunters continue to cross borders and mow them down with automatic weapons.

Seychelles Sheath-Tailed Bat Coleura seychellensis There may be only 50 to 100 of these furry flying mammals left on the planet. They are endemic to Silhouette, Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, islands in the Seychelles archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar. Researchers believe that only two substantial roosts remain, both in boulder caves on Silhouette Island. The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles is monitoring these populations closely.

Chinese Alligator Alligator sinensis This secretive mini-alligator, which rarely grows longer than two meters or heavier than 40 kilograms, dwells in the wetlands of the lower reaches of the Yangtze—the same river that sheltered the rare and probably now extinct Chinese river dolphin. The Chinese alligator spends a great deal of its time burrowing tunnels, much to the chagrin of local farmers. Although thousands of Chinese alligators have been bred in captivity, experts estimate a mere 150 to 200 individuals persist in the wild, making this reptile the most endangered crocodilian species in the world.

Black Rhinoceros Diceros bicornis Black rhinos, like their larger white cousins, are actually grayish in color. Their horns are highly valued for use as ornaments and for their "medicinal" properties, even though they are simply made of keratin, the same protein found in fingernails and hair. At the start of the century there may have been hundreds of thousands of Black rhinos roaming Africa but now there are only few thousand. Among the four Black rhino subspecies, the west African is the most threatened and may have already gone extinct in the wild. Poaching and habitat loss continue to threaten the species's survival.

Pied Tamarin Saguinus bicolor Often called the "bare-faced tamarin" for its hairless face and ears, the pied tamarin inhabits only a small area of land surrounding Manaus, a city of two million in northwestern Brazil. Urban expansion, cattle ranching and agriculture have eroded much of the tamarin's rain forest home, which extends no farther than 40 to 50 kilometers from Manaus. Worse, the monkeys are being out-competed by their close relative, the golden-handed tamarin, in areas where the two species overlap.

Leatherback Turtle Dermochelys coriacea Leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles, measuring as long as eight feet and weighing as much as 2,000 pounds. They are also the deepest divers, plunging to depths as great as 1,200 meters as they hunt for jellyfish. Leatherbacks are distributed in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, as far north as British Columbia and as far south as Argentina. They migrate between continents, making both transatlantic and transpacific journeys between feeding and nesting sites. Populations have crashed over the last two decades—the result of poaching for egg and meat consumption, destruction of nesting sites from beachfront development, disorientation of hatchlings from the artificial lighting created by those developments, accidental capture by commercial fisherman and other factors. In 1980 the global population of nesting females was estimated at 115,000. Now that number has dropped to between 26,000 and 43,000.

[Via ScientificAmerican]
The Birth Control of Yesteryear

[From DamnInteresting] Approximately 2,600 years ago– around 630 BCE– the Greek island of Thera was plagued by drought and overpopulation. According to legend, an assortment of settlers were selected to sail south to establish a colony in more hospitable climes. The men and women apprehensively put to sea, and the gaggle of enterprising Greeks eventually erected the city of Cyrene on Africa's northern tip. There, the settlers encountered a local herb which would ultimately bring them and their progeny fantastic wealth.

The prized plant became such a key pillar of the Cyrenean economy that its likeness was stamped upon many of the city's gold and silver coins. The images often depicted a regal-looking woman sitting in a chair, with one hand touching the herb and her other hand pointing at her genitals. The plant was known as silphium or laserwort, and its heart-shaped fruit brought the ancient world a highly sought-after freedom: the opportunity to enjoy sex with very little risk of pregnancy.
Jellyfish lake

Description from youtube:

"The jelly fish came to this lake in Palau through a tunnel which connected the sea and the lake long time ago. Now the tunnel have closed, and the jelly fish came to have no poison in an environment where there's no predator. They live by photosynthesis because they cannot feed on anything in this lake. This lake is such a heaven to them that there are just so many of them living here."

44lb camera lens unveiled

Saeki Professional(, Korea retailer of Sigma, unveiled its 20kg over weight ultra-telephoto zoom lens ‘APO 200-500mm F2.8 EX DG’ in Korea market during Photo & Imaging Show 2007.

Are U.S. soldiers wearing the best body armor?

In a segment aired on may 20th 2007, NBC looked at the possibility that current body armor used in Iraq by US forces is not the best possible. An interview with the army shows their reluctance to properly test what seems to be a better and safer alternative: Dragon skin.

[From MSNBC] "
An NBC News investigation — including independent ballistics tests — suggests there may be something better called Dragon Skin. Military families and soldiers have tried to buy Dragon Skin believing it offers better protection. But the Army banned the armor last year even before formally testing it."
120-inch multi-touch display

In case you missed it, everyone, and we mean everyone is talking multi-touch these days. Few however, can muster a multi-touch panel in sizes of 100-inches and beyond. The panel above is a 120-inch, rear-projection jobbie from DAHAN T&S offering a 10ms repsonse. Sure, it's running XP at the moment, but with some of the wildest speculation citing a new multi-touch interface as the reason for Leopard's delay, who knows what that panel might be sporting come October. [Engadget via Aving]

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Color Psychology

[Source] Like death and taxes, there is no escaping color. It is ubiquitous. Yet what does it all mean? Why are people more relaxed in green rooms? Why do weightlifters do their best in blue gyms?

Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. And even in Western societies, the meanings of various colors have changed over the years. But today in the U.S., researchers have generally found the following to be accurate.


Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be overpowering, or make the wearer seem aloof or evil. Villains, such as Dracula, often wear black.


Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in fashion because it is light, neutral, and goes with everything. However, white shows dirt and is therefore more difficult to keep clean than other colors. Doctors and nurses wear white to imply sterility.


The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It is also the color of love. Red clothing gets noticed and makes the wearer appear heavier. Since it is an extreme color, red clothing might not help people in negotiations or confrontations. Red cars are popular targets for thieves. In decorating, red is usually used as an accent. Decorators say that red furniture should be perfect since it will attract attention.

The most romantic color, pink, is more tranquilizing. Sports teams sometimes paint the locker rooms used by opposing teams bright pink so their opponents will lose energy.


The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. It causes the opposite reaction as red. Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing. Fashion consultants recommend wearing blue to job interviews because it symbolizes loyalty. People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms.


Currently the most popular decorating color, green symbolizes nature. It is the easiest color on the eye and can improve vision. It is a calming, refreshing color. People waiting to appear on TV sit in "green rooms" to relax. Hospitals often use green because it relaxes patients. Brides in the Middle Ages wore green to symbolize fertility. Dark green is masculine, conservative, and implies wealth. However, seamstresses often refuse to use green thread on the eve of a fashion show for fear it will bring bad luck.


Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. While it is considered an optimistic color, people lose their tempers more often in yellow rooms, and babies will cry more. It is the most difficult color for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow enhances concentration, hence its use for legal pads. It also speeds metabolism.


The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. It is also feminine and romantic. However, because it is rare in nature, purple can appear artificial.


Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. Light brown implies genuineness while dark brown is similar to wood or leather. Brown can also be sad and wistful. Men are more apt to say brown is one of their favorite colors.

Colors of the Flag

In the U.S. flag, white stands for purity and innocence. Red represents valor and hardiness, while blue signifies justice, perseverance, and vigilance. The stars represent the heavens and all the good that people strive for, while the stripes emulate the sun's rays.

Food for Thought

While blue is one of the most popular colors it is one of the least appetizing. Blue food is rare in nature. Food researchers say that when humans searched for food, they learned to avoid toxic or spoiled objects, which were often blue, black, or purple. When food dyed blue is served to study subjects, they lose appetite.

Green, brown, and red are the most popular food colors. Red is often used in restaurant decorating schemes because it is an appetite stimulant.

Net Censorship on the Rise

Twenty-five out of 41 governments studied block or filter Net content, says a survey by the university-backed OpenNet Initiative (ONI)

Government censorship of internet content is widespread and on the rise.

Twenty-five out of 41 governments studied block or filter internet content, according to a survey carried out by OpenNet Initiative (ONI), which is made up of groups at Cambridge University, Harvard Law School, Oxford University and the University of Toronto.

This compares to just a few countries filtering content five years ago, said the researchers.

The governments are not just blocking websites but also services and applications such as Google Maps or Skype.

[Full story via Businessweek]