Ever hear people talk about the dimensions that we can't perceive? Like the fifth or sixth or whatever? It can be pretty confusing.
This site has a pretty neat video that attempts to explain it all, and does a decent job of it. It can be confusing at points though, but I think the nature of the material makes it impossible to perfectly clear all the time.
The video is worth a look. It holds the keys to unlocking time travel. And string theory.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Ever hear people talk about the dimensions that we can't perceive? Like the fifth or sixth or whatever? It can be pretty confusing.
Posted by Chris at 5/31/2007 07:57:00 PM
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
"Endangered, hunted, smuggled and now abandoned, 5,000 of the world's rarest animals have been found drifting in a deserted boat near the coast of China.
The pangolins, Asian giant turtles and lizards were crushed inside crates on a rickety wooden vessel that had lost engine power off Qingzhou island in the southern province of Guangdong. Most were alive, though the cargo also contained 21 bear paws wrapped in newspaper."
"When coastguard officials boarded the 25-metre craft, it was reportedly deserted and stripped of identification papers. They found more than 200 crates full of animals, many so dehydrated in the tropical sun that they were close to death.
The animals - which weighed 13 tonnes - were taken to port, doused with water and sent to an animal welfare centre. "We have received some animals," said an office worker at the Guangdong Wild Animal Protection Centre. "We are waiting to hear from the authorities what we should do with them."
According to the local media, the cargo included 31 pangolins, 44 leatherback turtles, 2,720 monitor lizards, 1,130 Brazilian turtles as well as the bear paws. Photographs showed other animals, including an Asian giant turtle."Almost all of these animals are critically endangered, and conservationist know that these large shipments are not rare.
Most of the animals were bound for restaurants in China, where the animals are kept alive until they are served up "fresh."
"A Guangdong chef interviewed last year in the Beijing Science and Technology Daily described how to cook a pangolin.
"We keep them alive in cages until the customer makes an order. Then we hammer them unconscious, cut their throats and drain the blood. It is a slow death. We then boil them to remove the scales. We cut the meat into small pieces and use it to make a number of dishes, including braised meat and soup. Usually the customers take the blood home with them afterwards."
Posted by Sterling at 5/30/2007 04:05:00 PM
More than 390 million Indian workers are not protected by unions - this is about 90 percent of the entire workforce. These workers, who are mostly farm labourers, construction workers, brick kiln workers or are self employed, survive on less than one dollar a day and do not have health insurance or disability benefits.
That could be about to change - from the BBC.
"The Indian government has announced an ambitious social security scheme which is aimed at benefiting about 390 million poor, non-unionised workers.
Once passed by parliament, the scheme will provide the workers with life insurance and disability protection."
"Under the new scheme, the non-unionised, casual worker will be entitled to life insurance and health and disability benefits by contributing just one rupee ( three cents Canadian) a day.
The government and employers will also contribute an equal amount towards.
Those earning less than 6,500 rupees ($160) annually will be designated as living below the poverty line, and their one-rupee share will be paid for by the federal government.
It is estimated that the government will need $22.2 billion to implement the scheme."
Posted by Sterling at 5/30/2007 03:41:00 PM
This is the TV Helmet that Walter Pichler designed in 1967. I am not sure if the artist was pushing wearable technology, or was speaking out against tv.
What ever the message, I think it looks like a 60's mecha-helmet, something like a very scary, militarized Snoopy.
To find out more go to the free pdf Italian design magazine Mousse Magazine (via we make money not art.)
Posted by Sterling at 5/30/2007 03:34:00 PM
Saturday, May 26, 2007
The "space race" had already been on the track since the 1957 launch of Sputnik, and Yuri Gagarin had already been in space. But, Kennedy's call for the moon mission forced the Russian and American space programs to amp up and build the necessary infrastructure to conquer space.
Amazing, to think that we went from first manned space-launch to landing on the moon within a decade.
And now NASA plans to be back on the moon by 2020, maybe, if they can get the funding.
What a waste.
NASA The Decision to Go to the Moon
Posted by Sterling at 5/26/2007 05:19:00 AM
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Nature abhors a vacuum, right? Well, why then did some marine biologists expect to find virtually no life in the waters around Antarctica?
Sure, there are penguins and seals and whales and etc... But I guess they thought there was very little tiny life. They were wrong.
BBC Science is reporting that a surprising (to some anyway) study has found differently:
It would seem that life is more resilient than they had thought.
Scientists have found more than 700 new species of marine creatures in seas once thought too hostile to sustain such rich biodiversity.
Groups of carnivorous sponges, free-swimming worms, crustaceans and molluscs were collected.
And, if life can live there, just wait until we get to Europa.
Posted by Chris at 5/20/2007 12:35:00 AM
Friday, May 18, 2007
Eight questions answered about the Earth through the use of "moving diagrams" - Flash enabled illustrated lectures.
Yeah, moving diagrams sounds way cooler (in Japanese at least.)
The site goes from where we are in the Universe to the concentrations of elements the make up the Earth.
Check out Earth Guide.
Gotta love the Japan Science and Technology Agency.
Posted by Sterling at 5/18/2007 01:59:00 AM
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Simplifying a poorly written research paper: Scientists at the Free University of Berlin may have found the basis of free will by studying the flight of fruit flies.
Researchers tethered flies in a white container, giving the fly no visual cues. Then they recorded the flies movement.
The researchers thought that they could then model the fly's movememt in a computer - but they couldn't.
Why? The researchers were testing the hypothesis that insects are simple bio-mechanical automatons (lttle protein robots.) If that was true, then there movement should have been random, like background noise.
What they found was that the non-random movement of the fly suggested choice - free will.
The scientists think that "free will" is somewhere between chance and neccessity - so instead of the question "Do I have free will", we should be asking "How close to free will am I?"
Posted by Sterling at 5/17/2007 02:36:00 PM
You can not read this blog in China - I just checked it out on the Great Firewall of China.
The 300 million-plus middle class internet users in that country aren't reading this site.
That's why barely anyone is visiting us.
Here is how it works:
(Great Firewall of China) opened a website in China and route your url request on greatfirewallofchina.org through to our server in China. The server in China opens the url and the result is send back. Our testing is only based on one server on one location in China. We have different backup servers in different locations in China might one go down.
Other locations and other servers may give you different access to the various websites.
They also say that a site can be blocked due to technical issues - but I am guessing futuresoon.com is blocked because of blogger.
I guess Chris and I will just have to start criticising China - I want a legitimate block, darn it!
Posted by Sterling at 5/17/2007 02:21:00 PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Imagine a high-rise that produce its own power through converting wind to energy - not through wind turbines on the structure, but by being a wind turbine itself!
David Fisher wants to build a high-rise that makes each floor a wind turbine.
Watch this and see.
Fisher claims that the building will produce all its own energy, as well as enough for ten other tall towers. I don't know how he figured that out, or if anyone will actually build this beauty, but even the idea is revolutionary.
Imagine a bank of these towers on the windward side of a city, a slowly spinning forest of towers producing the energy that sustains urban life.
Worth a shot, anyway.
And hopefully the people who live/work in the towers won't be prone to motion sickness.
Found on ecogeek via inhabitat
Posted by Sterling at 5/16/2007 08:14:00 PM
I found this video on Wired's Gadget Lab blog.
This replication of an Edo Period mecha boggles me - wood, springs and porcelain firing a bow.
These robots are know as karakuri - they are usually designed for peaceful pursuits like pouring tea or waving a fan.
Imagine if there had been clockwork-ninja-karauri wielding little kusarigama's.
No wonder the Japanese love robots!
Posted by Sterling at 5/16/2007 03:26:00 PM
Now, this post is not an add for Areva, a French nuclear energy provider.
But this little film is - so don't get angry.
My favorite part is the "supply train" of nuclear energy: Uranium ore in Canada to enrichment in France to powering discotheques in China.
Struttin' your stuff: that is what nuclear power is all about.
Areva via infosthetics
Aside - awesome music. Do you know what it is?
Posted by Sterling at 5/16/2007 03:20:00 AM
From New Scientist:
A new species of hummingbird has been discovered in the mountains of Colombia, but environmentalists fear the discovery will be short-lived – the bird is already threatened with extinction.
First seen by naturalists in 2005 during a species survey, the gorgeted puffleg is the newest hummingbird to science.
But its habitat is being destroyed in it's territory in the Serrania del Pinche, an mountainous area in south-west Columbia. The naturalists says that groundcover is being destroyed by slash and burn agriculture and the planting of new coca fields.
Posted by Sterling at 5/16/2007 02:52:00 AM
Monday, May 14, 2007
I found this image on Make blog, and I immediately thought of Chris.
If you are among the tens of people who occasionally read this blog, you'll know Chris has a big thing for animal intelligence, particularly the wiles of the common crows.
Chris isn't alone in this pre-occupation - Joshua Klein has taken it to the extreme. He has designed a "crow vending machine," that will train crows to pick-up spare change from around the city and get "corvid snacks," through positive reinforcement. I guess the spare change will be donated to charity.
From Josh Klein's "Crow Vending Machine."
- THE DEVICE -
I'm in the process of making a sturdy device consisting of a box from which protrudes a perch, a food tray, and a funnel. I intend to make the whole thing out of sealed wood so as to minimize noisy clanging which might result from using metal components while retaining the ability to leave the thing out in the rain.
The goal is to be able to deploy the device wherever corvids are found and to have it designed such that it will train the corvids to deposit coins in exchange for food. The device should do said training on its own without human intervention.The Crow Vending Machine debuted at the ITP Spring Show, a design faire that invites young designers and inventors.
They had this little tidbit of info:
Crows are uniquely well-suited for this project as they're naturally attracted to shiny objects, have an unprecedented ability for logical thought, and are being selectively bred for intelligence by the pressures of human expansion into their natural habitats. Their population is skyrocketing along with this expansion, with an estimated upper limit of 2-6 crows *per city block* over the entire urban United States.
At the same time, upwards of $215,529,091 USD a year (an average 5.5% attrition rate for the $1,185,410,000 in coins issued in 2006) is lost in the US alone, the majority of it in urban environments.
If we are exercising evolutionary pressure on a species to adapt to us, doesn't it make sense to incorporate them into our society rather than to attempt to eradicate them?
But why stop there - get the crows picking up trash! For every piece they get fed! Sure, it may push crow numbers up, but it would sure be cool.
But maybe numbers could be controlled through the use of aviaries placed throughout the city, and access by the crow's would be controlled by garbage-deposited.
Picture a garbage drop, with an automatic door - the crow places the garbage, and is let into the aviary. Then any eggs laid can be removed.
I'm liking this idea.
But I do like crows - let us pay them and let them run wild while they clean our cities.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
As anybody who's been reading this blog (maybe 2 people?) will already know, Sterling and I have recently finished our journalism degrees. We are now typical of the people who work in our field. That is to say that we are richer than kings, wearing monocles and being chauffeured in solid gold Bentleys and BMWs every time we go anywhere.
When we were young and poor and starting our journey into this lucrative field, our school made us take a course on research. One of the first things we were told in that class is that we should never trust Wikipedia for information on anything.
Wikipedia, we were told, is horribly unreliable.
If you're looking up topics that might make religious types antsy (see the entry on evolution,) there's a chance you'll be looking at an untruth someone inserted so that Wikipedia fits their personal world-view better than it previously did.
Overall though, I think Wikipedia is a fine resource, and it can usually be trusted.
So, what about science entries then?
Thomas Goetz has written an excellent post about how a lot of science entries are almost too accurate.
Goetz argues that some Wikipedia entries have become the battlefield for scientists engaged in a sort of scientific competition where they have to prove that they're smarter than the last guy who posted on a specific topic.
This is, in many ways, the opposite of the tragedy of the commons - it’s the tragedy of the uncommon, meaning topics that the common folk just don’t get - and thus can’t help in editing the entry on. What happens when you get something written by a bunch of geniuses? Well, something written by a bunch of geniuses.Found via Wired Science.
Posted by Chris at 5/13/2007 12:11:00 PM
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I found this video on the Wired blog Table of Malcontents.
The band is called Kiss Kiss.
I love the animation, especially the little bunny-burgers.
And the message? A little bit of youthful paranoia - which is always refreshing.
Or maybe the song is dead on.
Posted by Sterling at 5/09/2007 03:01:00 PM
Masdar will be a zero-emission, zero-waste, pedestrian walled-city. Architect Norman Foster will be building this city outside of Abu Dhabi.
The city of Masdar will be car-free: people will travel around through narrow shaded streets, covered walkways and what appears to be rail-pods. The pictures of the project remind me of old desert cities, using the structure of the city to bring in wind and keep out the sun.
I hope it gets built.
Inhabitat has a great piece about this project.
Posted by Sterling at 5/09/2007 02:44:00 PM
Monday, May 7, 2007
In my day you used to slave away at building on-line collateral, and then try to barter/trade your virtual product in a nebulous internet bazaar.
Well, that hasn't changed. But, now there has been an official "dip-in" into this wild west economy by VISA. You can now get a World of Warcraft credit card. Although you can only earn gametime with your purchases, how long until that gametime becomes cash?
And when will Second Life get a card?
Posted by Sterling at 5/07/2007 12:06:00 AM
Friday, May 4, 2007
OR changed my view of architecture.
I used to spend a lot of time in my own head. Actually, I mostly still do.
Anyway, my "when I grow up"plan was to build self-sufficient eco-habitats (did I say I spent a lot of time by myself?) Self-contained units that could be combined into a whole: building blocks that could sit by themselves on the frozen ice-flows of the glacier, or be combined together to hug the kilometre deep cliffs of Mars.
But what would these blocks look like?
Kisho Kurokawa's Capsule Tower is built of self-contained units. Sure, they are small, but revolutionary. Each of the 140 capsule is suspended from the central core by high tension bolts.
Anyone of them could be taken down, reconfigured, updated, and replaced. The only solid piece of structure is the central shaft.
This is the capsule building that had haunted the dreams of all pre-fab room and home designers for almost the last forty years.
The dreams of many space stations have been based on this building.
And now they are going to tear it down - the company that manages the building is going to tear it down and put up a building that they say better uses the site.
Although cities are not yet modular, and space stations don't yet dot the sky and traverse the planets, this little building has done its part.
Wikipedia article on Metabolists, the Japanese futurist architectural movement.
Posted by Sterling at 5/04/2007 04:50:00 AM
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
BBC Science has a nice to followup to their previous article that I posted about yesterday.
Their new feature brings up many cases of animals who can communicate with each other through signing (the apes written about yesterday), verbal means (dolphins, whales and lower primates), and those who have a deep understanding of human language, such as Rico the border collie (pictured.)
Rico can understand and differentiate between over 200 objects and has a basic understanding of syntax.
The article also touches on a possible explanation as to why only humans have developed such complicated speech so far.
... some think the Fox2p gene may be key.
Humans with a defective version of the gene have a great deal of trouble with speech.
Professor Fischer says: "When you look at the evolution of this gene, there are only three changes between mice and men - that's 70 million years - and two of them occurred after the split between chimps and humans.
"Maybe this constraint in articulating has had something to do with this gene."
It's worth a read if you're at all interested in this sort of thing.
Posted by Chris at 5/02/2007 03:46:00 PM
On Monday, the B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell announced that the Province will put $45 million dollars into 20 hydrogen-fuel cell buses and refueling stations in Whistler and Victoria.
Well, Hydrogen fuel cells are great, and it is nice to see that the provincial "Liberals"are doing something green.
But is it really green? I was chasing a story for CBC and I talked to a few people in the field - Todd Littman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute and Chris Foord, former BC Transit spokesperson.
Littman's research concerns the benefits of using an integrated view of transport 9i.e walkable communities, living close to work, building better transit systems and getting ridership.)
Chris Foord was one of the people who invited Ballard fuel cells to outfit a BC Transit bus in the mid- nineties with a fuel cell.
So what did they tell me?
1. Hydrogen fuel cells are efficient.
2. Such a large scale test will provide needed data to quantify this new power source.
But both Littman and Foord said that we can spend money on infrastructure changes with today's technology, and meet Kyoto standards and get more people on transit. In a way, we have the power to make things better right now.
So where do I stand? Hydrogen fuel cells are the technology of the future, and a shift to this technology will decrease pollution. But, we should not be looking at only one side of the issue; we should be looking at how we work, how we travel and how we live. Bad transit and air pollution are symptoms of a problem, not the cause.
As for greenwashing? I trust Campbell about as much as I could out drive him if we were both under the influence, or about as well as he comes off like a reasonable human being.
So not much.
Maybe focusing on the "Hydrogen Highway"is just another legacy institution that Campbell tries to set up before he finally is forced out of the party? But I kind of think that the Liberal government sees this announcement of hydrogen powered buses as a "Green Vote"grab and something good for the environment.
Let's just hope it becomes part of a better plan that disregards the pressure to open up off-shore drilling, pressure to decrease the agricultural land holdings of the province, and cutting down logs for raw transport.
Sadly, I think that we might be missing an opportunity to look at the problems of concerning proper city planning.
Posted by Sterling at 5/02/2007 05:30:00 AM
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
BBC Science is reporting new research which suggests apes can communicate through the use of gestures, like a sort of primitive sign language.
Researchers in the US say they have firm evidence that apes communicate using gestures - shedding light on the development of human language.I have always been a big believer in animal intelligence. I know some (especially religious) types like to say that animals work purely on reaction and no thought occurs in their brains at all. It's fine for them to say things like that, but when they do they are ignoring all evidence to the contrary.
This ability to learn gestures distinguishes apes from monkeys and most other species on the planet, says Dr de Waal.
What about Koko, the ape who was taught American Sign Language?
And what about Betty the crow? This simple crow can create tools to solve problems she is faced with!
Disrespecting animals is a serious pet peeve of mine. In fact, I sometimes think that some animals should be higher on the evolutionary chart than humans.
I'll leave you with a White Ninja comic that loosely ties in with this post...