Saturday, February 23, 2008

Teenager defends PS3 with samurai sword

USA - A 15 year-old boy has attacked a burglar with a samurai sword after a bungled attempt to steal his PlayStation 3.
Damian Fernandez and his sister Deanne were at home alone when two burglars entered their house in Miami. They took some household items, and began to search for the console after spotting an empty PS3 box.While his sister hid in the closet Fernandez, a brown belt in karate, decided to attack."I jumped off my (bunk) bed and I grabbed my sword... and I just waited for him," he told Fernandez lunged at the burglar with his samurai sword, striking him in the chest. "He freaked out," Fernandez said.The 15 year-old then chased the burglar down the street while his sister called the police. A police dog found the burglar hiding behind a bush in a nearby house.Javier Cotera was arrested and released early the next morning on bond.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Hurricane Machine in Ottawa

Want to know how you would withstand a hurricane? This wind tunnel at the Canadian Research Council's research facility in Ottawa can test what happens to an object (or a person) when water drops are smashed into them at 150 km/hour. Let's get a little closer to those wind blades.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Damaged rubber can heal itself

French chemists on Wednesday announced they had created rubber that heals itself after it has been cut, a breakthrough that could lead to clothes that self-mend if torn and toys that repair themselves if damaged by a tot.

The molecular concoction -- described by other scientists as having "a touch of magic about it" -- can self-heal at room temperature in around 15 minutes by simply pressing the damaged pieces together, they report in the British weekly science journal Nature.

Conventional rubber typically comprises long, cross-linked chains of polymers that can stretch and then recover to their original size and shape.

The new formula made by a team at France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and a private firm, Arkema, achieves the same elasticity by using a mixture of two different kinds of smaller molecules.

Some are ditopic, which means they can hook up with two other molecules, and others are tritopic, meaning they can associate with three molecules.

The network is meshed together by weaker hydrogen bonds, which get broken when the rubber is cut but also provide an atomic "glue," recombining into chains to bridge severed parts.

The ingredients comprise fatty acids made from ordinary vegetable oils, combined in a stepped process with diethyline triamine and urea, both cheap and common chemicals.

The result is a substance that at eight degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit) becomes a translucent glassy plastic that, like soft rubber, can be strained five times its length before breaking.

Unlike rubber, though, the pieces can be mended at room temperature (20 C, 68 F) without the need for them to be heated or even pressed together strongly. And the substance can be easily reprocessed.

"If you drill into a rubber sealing in a wall, the hole will repair by itself," said lead researcher Ludwik Leibler, of the CNRS' Soft Matter and Chemistry Laboratory.

"Anything involved with compression, such as joints and rubberised coatings, can be fixed. The fracture and healing process can be repeated many times."

Arkema and CNRS have already worked on other "self-healing" materials, including paint that smooths itself out if scratched, Arkema researcher Manuel Hidalgo said.

The first products from that research should be on the market "in a year or two," he told AFP.

In a commentary also published by Nature, synthetic materials scientists Justin Mynar and Takuzo Aida noted that when the Spanish conquistadores first witnessed the Aztecs playing a game with a bouncing rubber ball, they thought such balls must be possessed by evil spirits.

"Imagine their reaction if, on cutting the ball in half, it was made as good as new simply by pressing the two halves together," they write.

"Even today, such a feat would have a touch of magic about it. But this is what (has been) achieved."


Undersea saboteurs may have been responsible for cable cuts

It has been nearly two weeks since the last reported cable failure in the Middle East, but questions continue to swirl regarding the cause (or causes) of the failures. For those of you who haven't followed the story, here's the quick rundown: From January 30 to February 6, various undersea cables responsible for much of the Internet traffic into and out of the Middle East were cut or broken. This led to major traffic congestion, created communications problems, and cut some areas off the Internet entirely. Repair ships were dispatched immediately, with the twin goals of repairing the damage and gathering information on what might have caused it.

Reports from those vessels have apparently indicated that the may not have been caused by accident or through natural events. According to the ITU's (International Telecom Union) head of development, Sami al-Murshed, "We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago,"

"Do not rule out," doesn't carry quite the same weight as "have proof of sabotage," but of the five cable cuts, only one (the link between the UAE and Oman) is definitely established to have been an accident. There are doubts regarding the others, as some experts feel that the cables were too deep to be cut and lie outside of normal shipping lanes. The short period of time between the other four failures may also be indicative of deliberate action, as its unusual for multiple critical cable breaks to occur that close together. Four of the five cables have been repaired at this point; the repair status of the fifth cable is unknown.

Regardless of whether or not the tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists actually managed to get one right, these cable-cutting incidents highlight just how dependent vast areas of the world are on a series of (relatively) thin cables stretched over thousands of miles of ocean. Cable redundancy and satellite communications were able to keep certain businesses online throughout the Internet brownout, but it wouldn't be surprising if the nations affected push for the development of better redundant systems in the wake of the crisis. Ironically, if the cable cuts were the result of sabotage, the saboteurs may have set in motion a chain of events that will strengthen the very global communication network they meant to disrupt.


Sony Ericsson SO905ics: Why only in Japan??

I wish this handset would be released for North America, looks great. This was released in Japan in January of this year.


  • Dimensions: 113×50x24 mm
  • Weight: 150 gr
  • Continuous Stand-by time: 520 hrs (3G)/300 hrs (GSM)
  • Continuous Talk Time: 200 min (3G)/180 minutes (GSM)
  • Continuous Video Calling Time: 130 min
  • Continuous Music playing time: WMA file, approx. 10 hrs
  • Main Display: 2.7″ (480×864 dots); Full wide VGA TFT transparent LCD; 262,144 colors
  • External Memory: microSD
  • Main camera: CMOS with AF, Effective resolution 5.1 mpx, recorded resolution 5 mpx
  • Secondary camera: CMOS, 330 000/310 000 pixels
  • Colors: Silver, Pink, White

Monday, February 18, 2008

This is what happens when you show a cuttlefish a video of himself

Beijing to get new tube-like building nex year

As part of Beijing's efforts to look good for the summer Olympics, its central TV station, CCTV, is getting brand new headquarters. It'll be the first of 300 buildings to be completed in the city's new Central Business District. The 5.9 million square foot building is actually a continuous loop of horizontal and vertical sections, making the building into a giant square tube instead of a traditional tower. Its designers--Rem Koolhaus, Ole Scheeren, and a team of international hot shots from OMA--made the facade an irregular grid to portray the crazy amount of TV work that goes down inside.

New Codenames from Sony Ericsson

Time for new codenames to be leaked:

• Linda
• Alicia
• Shiho (also mentioned long ago) also mentioned by prudent
• Paris
• Ying (Yang)
• Oceania

Those are 100% sure to come
There’s a high possibilty that we’ll see a UIQ-powered Cybershot phone. It’s also likely to have some more megapixels than current devices. A lot of new innovations are waiting for us - more to come later.
P1i will stop shipping from September. You can imagine what its replacement will be