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Magnetic recording tape art
05.12.2010
01:49 pm

Topics:
Art
Music
Science/Tech

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Christian Marclay
Magnetic tape

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Speaking of doing interesting things with tape and tape recorders, here are a few engaging examples of art based on the nearly dead medium. Few are the recording purists who remain loyal to the magnetic stuff but Its tactile plasticity sure works well in these contexts.
 

 

 
(below) Christian Marclay‘s “The Beatles” (1989): Recorded music of the Beatles on crocheted magnetic tape. Oh how I love this, so many layers of meaning. Plus it’s just screaming to be worked over the by the analogue tape glove !

 
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Signal to Noise
Anis Haron
thx Robert Chrysler !

 

Posted by Brad Laner | Discussion
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How do astronauts sh*t in space?
05.08.2010
02:01 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
space toilets

 
You know you’re curious.  From NASAtelevision:

Mike Massimino helps answer the one question he and other astronauts get asked most often: “How do you ‘go’ in space?” Mike catches up with STS-132 Mission Specialists Steve Bowen and Piers Sellers as they get some “refreshers” on the use of shuttle Atlantis’ “Space Potty.” (Training includes an “alignment camera.”) Bowen, Sellers and their four crewmates are scheduled to launch aboard Atlantis for the International Space Station on May 14. The workings of a space toilet, on “STS-132: Behind the Scenes, Vol. 1

Update: Lenny Smith says:
 

 
(via Nerdcore )

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Call me: A ringtone that can give women bigger breasts?
05.06.2010
02:48 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
breasts

 
“Leave it to a man to figure that one out,” said my lovely wife to the news that a Japanese researcher has discovered that certain sounds—even ringtones—can have a physical effect on the body, even causing women’s breasts to grow larger. From Noise Addicts:

In Japanese cities, people use cell phones. A LOT. It’s not uncommon for people in Tokyo to hear their cell phone ring 20-40 times per day. Hideto Tomabechi, one of the guys who helped deprogram members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan, has embedded a sound in a ringtone that fools your mind into interpreting it as a crying baby. 

The hypothesis is that if women’s minds and bodies respond to the ringtone in the same way that they are known to respond to a real crying baby, then they will experience the same physiological effects as if they heard the real thing. If it’s heard often enough, over time their breasts will grow.

If you’re a man and aren’t to thrilled about the idea of getting larger breasts, he also has ringtones in the works that he claims will improve your memory, make you more attractive to the opposite sex, cure baldness, and help you give up smoking. It’s all about the ringtones, baby.

What, now you want a copy of the ringtone to secretly put on your girfriend’s phone (or maybe you just want to hear it)?  Here you go

I love how the ringtone is called “Rock Melon”! It’ll rock yer melons all right…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Sex Toys For Monkeys
05.04.2010
06:00 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

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Sex Toys
Monkeys

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Back in 1960, Jane Goodall observed her chimp subjects using blades of grass to better scoop termites.  That incident, famously, sparked the following comment from Goodall’s mentor, Louis Leakey: “Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as human.”

Well, that was 50 years ago.  I’m not sure what’s been redefined, or even accepted since then, but hey, monkey sex toys!  And while lacking the means to acquire batteries might preclude chimps from wielding, oh, a Butterfly Kiss, they can wield, well…leaves.  Or, as John Tierney in today’s NYT notes:

Ideally a dead leaf, because that makes the most noise when the chimp clips it with his hand or his mouth.

“Males basically have to attract and maintain the attention of females,” Dr. McGrew said.  “One way to do this is leaf clipping.  It makes a rasping sound.  Imagine tearing a piece of paper that’s brittle or dry.  The sound is nothing spectacular, but it’s distinctive.”

O.K., a distinctive sound.  Where does the sex come in?

“The male will pluck a leaf, or a set of leaves, and sit so the female can see him.  He spreads his legs so the female sees the erection, and he tears the leaf bit by bit down the midvein of the leaf, dropping the pieces as he detaches them.  Sometimes he’ll do half a dozen leaves until she notices.”

And then?

“Presumably she sees the erection and puts two and two together, and if she’s interested, she’ll typically approach and present her back side, and then they’ll mate.”

My first reaction, as a chauvinistic human, was to dismiss the technology as laughably primitive — too crude to even qualify as a proper sex tool.  But Dr. McGrew said it met anthropologists’ definition of a tool: “He’s using a portable object to obtain a goal.  In this case, the goal is not food but mating.”

When It Comes to Sex, Chimps Need Help, Too

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Discussion
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Computer Love
05.04.2010
08:20 am

Topics:
Amusing
Science/Tech

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(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Noah’s Ark was not recently ‘discovered’ despite what you might have heard
05.03.2010
05:32 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
archaeology

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You wouldn’t know it from the coverage of the most recent “discovery” of Noah’s Ark, but there is rather a huge difference between an archaeologist and an “ark-eologist.” Fed up with seeing their field’s legitimate discoveries lumped in with such ludicrous events as the umpteenth discovery of Christ’s tomb, the Ark of the Covenant or Jimmy Hoffa’s body, a group of scientists have begun to fight back. Exhibit A is this debate, naturally, this latest “discovery” of Noah’s Ark by a group of overzealous Chinese Christians, with spades in one hand and bibles in the other:

“There are certain biblical artifacts—like the Ark of the Covenant and the Ark of Noah—that just seem to bring out a lot of amateur searchers,” says Bill Crouse, president of Christian Information Ministries, who has spent years searching for Noah’s Ark. “My concern is that well-meaning Christians jump the gun, and this thing becomes viral on the Internet. A lot of Christians are confused because they thought the ark was found two years ago, or two years before that.”

Scholars acknowledge that amateurs can make important discoveries: a Bedouin goat-herd found the original Dead Sea Scrolls cache while searching a cave for a missing member of his flock. The problem, they say, arises when these amateurs try to interpret what they find instead of passing it along to scholars for investigation and publication in scholarly journals.

When they “publish by press conference,” Cargill says, the ark hunters betray their real motive: cash. “Noah’s Ark quests are always about the money—always,” he argues. “This group was put together to do one thing and one thing only: make money and spread ideology by pimping both archaeology and religion.”

He points out that one member of the recent expedition, Yeung Wing-Cheung, has directed a documentary about the hunt for the ark and is selling the DVD online. The Media Evangelism Ltd., meanwhile, operates a Noah’s Ark theme park that needs to sell tickets.

All this, Cline says, makes the lives of real scholars more challenging. “The gullible believers and evangelicals, along with other faiths, throw money at these expeditions not knowing whether they’re going to produce anything,” he says. “Every year we have to scrounge for money to run a real excavation that may shed some real light.”

In any event, Cargill says, if Noah’s Ark existed, it would have been taken apart years ago for its wood—which long since would have decomposed. “It’s just one big scam. The ancients were great recyclers,” he says.

“In my opinion, there is no Noah’s Ark. And if there is, it’s not there anymore.”

Scholarly Squad Debunks Biblical ‘Discoveries’ (AOL News)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Jet Propulsion Labs Brings AI to Space
05.03.2010
12:42 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
NASA
Mars
Artificial Intelligence
h+

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I have the cover story over at h+ magazine today, about the new artificial intelligence upgrades to the space program. (Jet Propulsion Labs has upgraded the Mars rover with artificial intelligence firmware… could intelligent AI nanoclouds be far off?) Read on at the link below for the rest of my reporting live from NASA’s labs.

Though we may not have found intelligent life on Mars, NASA has just beamed up its own.

As announced at the end of March, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories has upgraded the Opportunity rover (already stationed on Mars) with artificial intelligence firmware, code-named AEGIS. Short for Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science, AEGIS allows the Opportunity to identify high-value photography targets — making its own decisions about which Martian rocks to photograph and send back to Earth. As the rover has limited downlink capacity, this is expected to greatly increase its productivity, allowing it to retrieve more data in fewer trips across Mars’ surface. AEGIS isn’t the first artificial intelligence application developed for space, or even at Jet Propulsion Labs — JPL has been in the game as far back as the Deep Space 1 craft in 1998.

I visited JPL on a recent rainy afternoon. Nestled in the mountains near Pasadena, California, the NASA campus dates to the 1940s, and was an early stalwart of the United States’ rocketry and space programs. Beyond security checkpoints, rows of polished, glass-and-steel buildings house the facility’s various projects — major foci at the moment are the Mars rovers and Reconnaissance orbiter, the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn, and the Spitzer space telescope. Further up the hill is a simulated outdoor Martian landscape, with volcanic rocks resting in red sand. It’s an eerie thing to see through a gray LA fog.

(h+: Extraterrestrial Intelligence)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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Flying Humvee: Worst Idea Ever?
05.01.2010
12:13 pm

Topics:
Science/Tech

Tags:
Military
Humvees

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Weren’t you excited that they stopped making Humvees? Didn’t you breathe a sigh of relief that perhaps some sanity had slipped into the world sideways? Well, hm. Now they’re making a FLYING one.

Generals may be notorious for always wanting to fight the last war but if true, there will be no shortage of tomorrow’s weaponry they’ll be able to choose from. At least in the U.S.
Earlier today, the New York Times ran a big piece on a new class of weapons that can hurl conventional payloads with precision accuracy at a target from thousands of miles away. Or at least that is how it’s being billed at this point.

For obvious reasons, that could turn into a very big deal. But with all the attention lavished on Prompt Global Strike, another story got lost in the shuffle that has the capacity to have an equally transformational effect on the U.S. military.

The Defense Advanced Projects Agency, or DARPA, the Defense Department’s research arm, has decided to go ahead with what it calls the Transformer (TX) program. The idea is to enable soldiers to go into battle riding a four-person flying car that also function like an airplane. The vehicle, which will be able to drive 250 miles on a tank of fuel, will not need a runway to get airborne.

(CBS News: Flying Humvees in Military’s Future?)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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Snuggling up to the Better Marriage Blanket

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Question: in the above photo, is it the wife or the husband sleeping in the blanket?  Either way, it’s made by a science teacher from activated carbon—how could such a miracle device not save a marriage?!  As The Better Marriage Blanket site stresses, “This is a real product, not a joke!”

Experience the Fresh Air!

Every Couple Should Have One!

A Fun Solution to a Common Problem!                                                                 
                                        
Almost everyone knows the silent but deadly effects of flatulence on relationships.  For couples, nothing can spoil the romantic aura more quickly!  It can be funny but it can also be a nuisance.  The Better Marriage Blanket is made using the same kind of activated carbon fabric found in Military Chemical Suits.

As a science teacher, I had used activated carbon in my laboratory lessons and was aware that chemicals and gasses are absorbed in millions of microscopic pores in each tiny particle of activated carbon.  This principal is what makes The Blanket so effective!  Activated Carbon is well known in Science and Industry for its odor absorbing properties.  It is safe and non-allergenic.

This beautifully made, soft, warm, medium weight, 300 thread count comforter will work for many years.  It can be machine washed normally and is dry cleanable.  Simply drying in an electric dryer or in the sun will re-activate the odor absorbing qualities of the carbon.

And if there’s some married couples out there still on the fence, by all means check out the testimonials.  And you Dangerous Minds readers in, well, unconventional relationships, call in for your group discount!

 
The Better Marriage Blanket
 
(thanks, Tara!)

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Discussion
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A star is born
04.30.2010
11:34 am

Topics:
Science/Tech

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Lawrence Livermore Labs, aka “terrifying military-industrial complex facility hated by all Bay Area hippies,” has apparently just created a miniature star. They plan to use these to solve the energy crisis. Makes about as much sense as building a freaking Hardon Hadron Collider…

It may be an American project, but it has the potential to greatly affect not only the EU, but the entire planet. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory believe they have come up with a way to permanently cure the planet’s energy woes - to create a star on Earth.

Now immediately, the entire plan sounds like ‘science-fiction gone mad’ and throws up some rather important questions - how can you create a star on Earth? Won’t having a sun so close essentially toast the planet? And how is this possibly a good idea? However the scientists at the government lab in California are entirely serious.

Using the world’s largest laser, which is the size of three football fields, the scientists propose to “set off a nuclear reaction so intense that it will make a star bloom on the surface of the Earth.”

If that didn’t sound terrifying enough, the group are hoping to go ahead with the plan late this summer with the aim of harnessing the energy generated by the mini-star to solve the global energy crisis.

While nuclear fusion has been pitched as a ‘miracle power source’ for almost half a century, scientists have yet to sufficiently harness it. To make things worse for the team, the US Government Accountability Office has stated in an audit that delays and mismanagement may delay the fusion reaction this year.

(EU Infrastructure: Star Power)

Posted by Jason Louv | Discussion
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