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Lancia Stratos Zero (1970)
09.01.2009
02:08 am
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Lotus Esprit Turbo says, “The Lancia Stratos HF prototype was a styling exercise by Bertone, first show at the Turin Motor show in October 1970. It was a futuristic design with a wedge shaped profile and stood just 33 inches (84 cm) from the ground. It was so low, that conventional doors where not used. Instead, drivers had to flip up the windscreen and walk into the car, to gained entry. Visibility was restricted as the front windscreen was narrow, when inside. The car had a 1.6 litre V4 engine, taken from the Fulvia HF. To access the mid-mounted engine, a triangular shaped panel hinged upwards.”

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.01.2009
02:08 am
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Robot Listens and Responds to Human Drummer
08.28.2009
11:50 am
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“A robot listens and responds to a human drummer, improvising new rhythms. From Georgia Tech’s Gil Weinberg and Scott Driscoll.”


Haile, the interactive robot drummer

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.28.2009
11:50 am
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The Long-Range Taser Controversy
08.27.2009
11:55 pm
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Meet the long-range taser.  For when stunning your victims at close-range just won’t do.  As the accompanying promotional video testifies, the long-range delivers “true incapacitation” without wires, and from a “ground-breaking distance” of a 100 feet away.  Sweet!  But don’t expect to see your neighbor firing one at your dog—or you—anytime soon.  According to a recent article in New Science:

A team led by Cynthia Bir, a trauma injury specialist at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, found that some of the 275 XREP cartridges that Taser supplied for testing last year were capable of delivering an electric shock for more than 5 minutes, rather than the 20 seconds of shocking current they are supposed to generate.

Electric shock weapon expert (!) Steve Wright finds this particularly worrisome, “what happens when the weapons are fired at pregnant women, people with health problems or the very young?”  I’m with you, Steve.  Pregnant women, people with health problems and the very young should receive shocks of only 20 seconds or so—in the name of all that’s humane.

 
In New Scientist: Long-Range Taser Reignites Safety Debate

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.27.2009
11:55 pm
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Depression’s Evolutionary Roots
08.26.2009
08:03 pm
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Fascinating article in Scientific American that possibly answers why depression still plagues roughly 30-50% of all people, everywhere.  Since the brain plays such an essential role in promoting survival and reproduction, and depression can debilitate so thoroughly, why hasn’t mankind simply evolved beyond it?

Well, according to Doctors Paul W. Andrews and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., maybe it’s time we start considering depression a “useful” disorder.  One which is, “in fact, an adaptation, a state of mind which brings real costs, but also brings real benefits.”  The pair backs this up with some brain-confusing brain chemistry, then moves on to make some simpler sense:

This is not to say that depression is not a problem.  Depressed people often have trouble performing everyday activities, they can?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.26.2009
08:03 pm
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Up And Down With Backseat Meth, Abilify
08.25.2009
04:49 pm
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A double dose of alarming news today from the drug front.  First, I read the AP‘s account of a new, DIY approach to amphetamine production that “does away with the clutter of typical meth labs, turning the backseat of a car or a bathroom stall into a makeshift drug factory.”  The ingredients are few—cold pills, a soda bottle, some common household chemicals.  The method is simple—pills are crushed, then shaken in the bottle with the liquids.  After everything fizzes out, what’s left is a crystalline powder that users smoke, snort or inject.  And there it is: meth-making without the lighting of a single match.

A major plus since cooking it up Breaking Bad-style can sometimes trigger fires, explosions, and the release of byproduct ingredients similar to toxic waste.  But while this “shake-and-bake” method has caused a spiking in meth-related arrests throughout Oklahoma and Missouri, it’s by no means foolproof:

If there is any oxygen at all in the bottle, it has a propensity to make a giant fireball,” said Sgt. Jason Clark of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control.  “You’re not dealing with rocket scientists here anyway.  If they get unlucky at all, it can have a very devastating reaction.  One little mistake, such as unscrewing the bottle cap too fast, can result in a huge blast.”

Thanks, I’ll remember that during my next Palmdale picnic!

Because Big Pharma‘s involved, I find today’s second dose of news more alarming than the first.  While I was thumbing through the latest issue of Parents (I just read it for the articles!), I paused on an ad for the Bristol-Myers Squibb drug, “Abilify,” which seems designed to combat depression, even schizophrenia.

But Abilify’s not some run-of-the-mill anti-depressant like Prozac or Paxil.  No, because “approximately 2 out of 3 (!) people being treated for depression still have unresolved symptoms,” Abilify’s been designed to take ON TOP of those drugs, a supplement to the supplement you’re already taking.  An anti-depressant chaser, if you will!  Oh, Bristol-Myers, you’ve sure got your finger on the pulse of self-medicating America!  But where does it all end—chasers for the chaser?

Of course, the usual disclaimers warning you of the possible meltdown of your bodily functions haunt the Abilify print ad (as well as the following video).  Above all else, these ads warn, “Talk to your doctor.”  Hmm…I’m pretty sure millions of Americans are now finding it utterly depressing to be without heathcare.  Hey, Bristol-Myers: to whom should they be speaking to?!

 
As seen in The Huffington Post: New Do-It-Yourself Meth Formula Flys Under The Radar Of Anti-Drug Laws

Via TWBE: Saddest Calvin And Hobbes Ever!

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.25.2009
04:49 pm
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Freaky Optical Illusion
08.20.2009
01:53 am
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They’re hollow! Sikhote says, “We produce dogs, cats, wolfs and other animals and people. All items are high quality painted by Russian artist Avakyan and other St-Petersburg full time professional artists. Can be made by porcelain, wooden carvings and gipsum.”


Thanks Winslow Robertson!

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.20.2009
01:53 am
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The (Real) Smell Of Death
08.18.2009
03:20 pm
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As the recent earthquakes in China and Italy showed us, tragedy can keep unfolding far beyond those first few seconds of violent shaking.  In the China quake alone, vast number of people were either killed or buried, still alive, under mounds of earth, steel and concrete.  Locating these bodies can take days, even weeks.  With this in mind—and as an occupant of quake-prone Los Angeles—I’m very much encouraged by the progress made in “chemical profiling” which

could eventually lead to a portable device for detecting human bodies at crime scenes and disaster areas.  To develop such a device, scientists must identify what gases are released as bodies decompose under a variety of natural environmental conditions.  In addition, they must detail the time sequence in which those odorant chemicals are released in the hours and days after death.

How far off is such a death-sniffing device?  Well, researcher Dan Sykes is currently affixing sensors to decomposing pigs, “They go through the same phases of decomposition as humans, as well as the same number of stages.  And those stages last about as long in pigs as they do in humans before complete decomposition occurs and only the bones remain.”
 
Via Physorg: New Insights Into The Smell Of Death
 
The Aftermath: How To Embalm A Body

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.18.2009
03:20 pm
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Swine Flu Fever: Then And Now
08.17.2009
11:55 am
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Before you or a loved one get jabbed, better read this report from The Mail Online which suggests a link between the new swine flu vaccine and the unpleasant-sounding Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS).  According to a warning authored by the Health Protection Agency (HPA)—and withheld from the public until it’s leaking to The Mail—GBS “attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.”  The warning goes on to draw parallels between the current vaccine and the U.S.-issued batch from ‘76 which went on to claim the lives of more people than the flu itself.  As one senior HPA neurologist put it, “?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.17.2009
11:55 am
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Octopus Mimics Fifteen Different Species
08.15.2009
11:51 am
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The Indonesian Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus. This fascinating creature was discovered in 1998 off the coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia, the mimic octopus is the first known species to take on the characteristics of multiple species. This octopus is able to copy the physical likeness and movement of more than fifteen different species, including sea snakes, lionfish, flatfish, brittle stars, giant crabs, sea shells, stingrays, jellyfish, sea anemones, and mantis shrimp. This animal is so intelligent that it is able to discern which dangerous sea creature to impersonate that will present the greatest threat to its current possible predator.


Diving with Mimic Octopus

(via Presurfer)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.15.2009
11:51 am
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Inside The Gun Camera, Peeping Tom
08.12.2009
02:39 pm
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Behold the DORYU 2-16 “pistol camera.”  According to World Famous Design Junkies, it’s a 16mm, Japanese police-issue camera and is not at all a “toy.”  It doesn’t seem capable of firing bullets, either.  Yet.  Or until they roll out the inevitable update of Michael Powell‘s career-killing film, the relentlessly creepy, Peeping Tom.  In it, camera-crazy Carl Boehm stalks and murders women with a knife concealed in one of his tripod’s legs.  Why the camera?  Well, how better to capture his victim’s dying screams?  Yeah, all this from man who gave us such celebratory fare as The Red Shoes, and Stairway to Heaven

For your viewing pleasure, YouTube hosts in its entirety the Criterion version of Tom—albeit broken into 12 parts.  You can start with Part I below.  Oh, and interesting bit of movie trivia: Tom also features the first bit of nudity in a British film—from legendary “glamour model,” Pamela Green.

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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08.12.2009
02:39 pm
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