Sunday, November 30, 2008

New ways of spreading God´s Word

How about a glossy magazine? The Bible Illuminated is a just one of the novel ways to spread the New Testament to the modern world. It was never this exciting when I was at school. Apparently Jesus Loves Porn Stars too. Still, although I can agree with the basic Christian principles (which are pretty much the same as every other religion), I don´t feel a need to belong an organised church. That´s when the whole power system of ideology kicks in, and I don´t want any part of that in whatever form.

Robots take to the stage

The Japanese have this thing about robots, trying ever more to make them more socially responsive and acceptable. Now theyŕe taking part in stage plays. To me this isn´t so much cutting edge (programming steps into a computer is nothing new), but the application is interesting.

NASA´s Lost Toolbag

The toolbag that a NASA astronaut dropped while repairing the ISS during a spacewalk has been filmed from earth. The thing is worth about $100,000 dollars so as a result there´ll be some procedural changes to ensure that they remain tethered in the future.

Compulsive Gaming

It´s official. The Smith & Jones addiction clinic in Amsterdam say that people who are compulsive gamers are not true addicts. The virtual world simply provides a method of escape from the cruel, real world and many young people who feel drawn to it do so for social communicative reasons. In the virtual world you can be a hero and feel a sense of belonging and accomplishment, and not be judged or bullied by your physical appearance.

Even the Pentagon isn´t safe from worms

The Pentagon are looking to ban the use USB sticks after having been infected by a worm. It happens to the best of us, though might expect something like The Pentagon to set an example in office network security.

New anti-malaria drugs

Trials start in February 2009 of a new synthetic drugs, based on new sources of artemisinin, the active ingredient in anti-malaria pills. The University of York is using a fast-track breeding program to grow plants and produce a more affordable source of the drug which may in the future help eradicate the disease.

Rats return to Hamelin

Rats are thriving again at a disused allotment site on the outskirts of Hamelin. The land is private property so the local council cannot enter the property and have set up traps in the area instead. Can anyone play a flute?

Syria´s Bombed Reactor

Israeli jets destroyed a facility in Syria in September 2007. Following the attack both the Israelis and Syrians were farely quiet about the purpose of the site. Now the International Atomic Energy Agency have found traces of Uranium and do not exclude the possibility that the site was indeed a nuclear reactor.
With the current state of world instability these are frightening prospects. How long will it be before a middle east nation fires something in a fit of rage and kicks off the next world war.

Minority Report Style OS is a reality

Oblong industries have developed the g-speak operating system built around spatial concepts, not unlike that seen in the movie Minority Report. It remains to be seen in how far organising and operating on information in 3D space is suited to applications, and whether waving your arms around is good for you from a health and safety perspective, but it is certainly a novel idea.

Dead Parrot Sketch is 4th Century

Monty Python´s parrot sketch has a 4th century greek ancestor. Hierocles and Philagrius were jokers of the time and manuscripts have been found that reveal that sense of humour doesn´t differ too much from what we know now, like farting and jokes about the missus. The rediscovred manuscripts have been published here.

Diamonds from Tequila

The University of Mexico have figured out a way to create synthetic diamonds from Tequila vapour. Although too small to be used for jewelry they have potential for industrial applications. The brand doesn´t matter either, with even the cheapest bottles being good enough to produce them.

Lost Nuke

On 21 January 1968 a B52 bomber crashed in Greenland. The plane was armed with nuclear warheads which needed to be recovered to prevent an environmentally catastrophy and to prevent them falling into Russian hands. Turns out there´s still one nuke unaccounted for, buried in the snow somewhere. Thule air force base is at the top of the world of immense strategic importance which is why the base was being protected. The concern now is more towards environmental health rather than the old cold-war enemey.

Blind pilot

All credit to RAF Linton-on-Ouse for assisting a pilot who was struck blind following a stroke, by successfully guiding his Cessna in to land.

The Final Guest

India seems to be having its fair share of violence recently, the Mumbai attacks this week bringing terror to a new level there. But also Pakistan is waging war against the Taleban. This report tells of how the idyllic Swat valley is slowly being taken over and how nature´s beauty contrasts sharply with the sound of gunfire and heavy artillery. The one remaining hotel in the region is still open but the once popular tourist destination has been quiet for a long time, with the reporter being the only guest at the luxurious hotel. Will people be able to dance carefree in the streets again?

Bletchley Park

One of the birthplaces of modern computing, Bletchley Park was where the British cracked the German communication codes during the second world war. The place is falling apart apparently and this year a host of academics wrote a petition to The Times expressing their disgrace. According to the BBC, IBM has donated to repairs and The National Heritage have pledged 100,000 pounds per year for the next three years provided enough sponsors are found to match the same amount.