Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The truth about global warming - it's the Sun that's to blame (article)

The Telegraph reports: "Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research."

For years I have been saying the climate shifts that we have been seeing over the last few decades have not been caused by pollution like so many people believed. I have stated on more then one occasion that natural events can cause these shifts in the Earth's climate as well. I have even posted a few articles here of the last few months to make my point.

Although this story doesn't completely rule out green house gases as a possible contributor to the climate shifts we have been seeing in the last few decades. The primary culprit now appears to be an increase in brightness from the sun.

How The Da Vinci Code Doesn't Work (Article)

Have you seen the new Da Vinci Code movie or read the book? This publication has created a lot of controversy since it was first published, and to paraphrase and old quote, 'it has a lot of people's panties in a tight wad'. Personally I found the movie an enjoyable piece of fiction, but highly inaccurate from a facts point of view.

There are real facts in the movie, but they're tightly intertwined with a lot of fiction. So it hard to know where one begins and the other ends. Personally, I would not go around quoting facts from the movie. did a great article on some of the many problems found with the movie facts vs. reality. Here is an except from the article: "Since its 2003 publication, "The Da Vinci Code" has caused quite a stir. Since its debut to glowing reviews, it has sold more than 40 million copies in at least 44 languages [ref]. In addition to being a bestseller, it's sparked a lot of controversy. It's a work of fiction, but it presents itself as based in fact, and many critics have raised questions about whether those facts are accurate."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Stan Meyer (Fraud or Genius)

I recently discovered information about a person named Stan Meyer who created a device called a Water Fuel Cell (WFC). There is a lot of controversy surrounding his invention and whether it really works as efficiently as he says or its just a fraud.

The WFC is suppose to convert just about any type of water into usable hydrogen. So instead of carrying a tank of this explosive gas, all you have to carry is water. The technology was suppose to be adaptable to conventional cars that we have today. This technology can go a long way to solving the problem with our dependency on foreign oil.

I also believe in theory, this technology could have a dark side. It could create water shortage problems in places like L.A. where they're barely meeting the demands now. This technology could also put a lot of people out of work in the oil industry, and cause the value of oil companies to plummet. Although, there would still be a demand for oil in other areas like plastics and other petroleum based products.

Where is Stan Meyer now?
Stan Meyer died in 90s, and its not totally clear to what happened with all of WFC technology. Did the knowledge of how it works die with Stan or is it stored away some place?

Additional alternative fuel information resources:

Monday, May 29, 2006

New Heliodisplay M2i 3D Holographic Display

IO2Technology just released a new version of their Heliodisplay multimedia projector called the M2i. This new projector can support a display image up to 30-inch diagonal area with a 4:3 aspect ratio, 1280x1024 maximum resolution, up to 2200 lumens of brightness, and interactive cursor controls (i.e. virtual touchscreen).

Internet Help Desk (Video)

According to the video there are four basic essentials services in society: police, fire, ambulance, and Internet help desk. If you have ever worked at a help desk you might be able to really appreciate the humor. If you have ever called a help desk, then the secret is out.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

First baby in Britain cancer-free

Have you ever see the movie Gattaca, one of the main premises of this movie is that most of the babies that are born are genetically screened for sickness, cancer, and disease. If a baby is found to have any genes that have the potential to cause any of these sicknesses they would be aborted. Babies that are born without this genetic screening process became known as 'God's children'.

This eventually lead to two classes of people in society. If you were born with the genetic screening, you got to be part of the elite. The God's children were only allowed to work menial jobs like: maids, garbage collectors, janitors, etc.

The TimesOnline has an article titled, "First baby in Britain designed cancer-free". Here is a brief excerpt from the article: "A woman is pregnant with Britain's first designer baby selected to prevent an inherited cancer ... Her decision to use controversial genetic-screening technology will ensure that she does not pass on to her child the hereditary form of eye cancer from which she suffers."

Human genetics is a very controversial technological subject. I believe one day it holds the possible promise of preventing and curing cancer and disease. The problem is the same technology can be used for more controversial matters, such as: human cloning, creating more deadly biological weapons, or creating designer children.

For a controversial technology to gain mainstream acceptance, it needs to be an answer to a major problem that everyone in society wants to see a solution found. Then after the ethical use of the technology has been accepted, it opens the door for its other uses.

Even if you want to ignore the ethical problems with the technology, the human genome is very complex and even with all out current knowledge we don't completely understand it. For example, our body's have safeguards built-in to the genetic systems that protect us against certain sicknesses and diseases. These systems are not perfect, but for the most part they work.

As a society we have achieved a lot of technological advancements in the last few decades and probably lots more to come in our future. Some of these advancement came at the cost of the environment, animals, and/or human lives.

By playing around with the human genome, we are playing with a very advance biological system which we don't totally understand. The human genome controls everything about how we are made. By turning on or off the wrong genes, we are potentially creating a life that could suffer a horrible fate in years or decades to come. We might not even be able to see the problems for several generations to come.

Unfortunately this is just the ways genetics work. So, like the nuclear genie that was released several decades ago when we exploded the first atomic bomb. Are we ready to release the genetic genie too?

Nintendo Wii launch details "announced" (video)

Microsoft's Xbox 360 was released late last year with a list price of $299 and $399 depending on the model you purchase. Sony's PlayStation 3 will be out later on this year or next year with a list price of $499 or $599 depending on the model. The Nintendo Wii (formerly known as the revolution) is expected to ship before the end of the year, and cost around $250.

I have seen very little real data or pictures on the Nintendo Wii, and its motion-sensor-controller. Now, CNet has a short video, showing the Wii and its controller in action at this year's E3.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Free Online Storage (for now)

ElephantDrive is providing an unlimited amount of online storage for free that you can access from anywhere at anytime. You can use this storage to store or share your photos, music, video, documents, and more. This service also uses military-grade encryption to protect your files.

ElephantDrive is currently beta, and that is why they're offering this free trial. Once the trial is over normal rates will apply...

Startup Pitches Free, Nationwide Wireless Broadband (Article)

PC Magazine reports: "Startup M2Z Networks on May 5 submitted a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license to a vacant 20-megahertz band in order to broadcast free high-speed broadband Internet across the country."

Its free 384Kbps of broadband bandwidth that is suppose to work around the country. But in order for M2Z Networks to do this, they want the FCC to grant the spectrum they need for free. And they will support themselves by displaying ads while you're surfing the Internet.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Top 10 Best Commercials of All Time

I saw a few commercials from Google on some site, and I decided I wanted to create my list of the top 10 best commercials of all time. I could not just leave it 10, so I added an honorable mention category. If you have you're own suggestions, please post a comment, I would enjoy reading them.

One note, some of these ads promote beer or show cruelty to animals. I don't promote either of these activities. As far as I know, no animals were hurt in the creation of these videos. So if you're offended by this stuff, please don't watch some of these videos.
  1. Apple: 1984
  2. EDS: Cat Herder
  3. FedEx: Stick
  4. John: West Salmon
  5. Trunk Monkey (just one of a few)
  6. Budweiser: Romantic Ride
  7. Terry Tate: Office Linebacker (just one of a few)
  8. Carlton: Big Ad
  9. Honda Accord: Cog
  10. U.S.S. Montana vs. the Lighthouse
Honorable Mention

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Scanner playing Fur Elise

If you have ever owned a flatbed scanner, you may know they are not the quietest device ever created. Well someone took the time to get a scanner to play the Fur Elise. I am pretty impressed with it as a technical hack, because what they did would not be easy.

Watch the video if you want to see what I am talking about.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Take the BBC 'Senses Challenge'

This is a fun online test that can challenge your different senses (such as sight, hearing, etc.). I do need to warn you that some of these tests are a lot harder then you might think to get the correct perspective.

Water Powered Car...

Watch this newscast, and see how a guy created a water powered cutting torch that can cut metal but not burn you (its really hydrogen from the water + electricity) . He also converted a Ford Escort to use the same fuel source (right now its a hybrid that runs hydrogen + gas).

I have a few questions, is this technology as good as it looks or is there a catch to the technology. For example, does the cutting torch use so much electricity that its not practical. Or, can the car really run on water alone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Web Address for a Phone Number? Do .Tel

Do you know what a Top Level Domain name (TLD) is? If you don't you're in good company most people use it everyday, but they might not realize that they are. TLDs are the .COM, .ORG, .NET, etc. that we use everyday when we enter a domain name.

The ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), recently approved a new TLD called .TEL. According to eWeek here is how it is suppose to work: "The idea here is to use a Web address that ends in .tel as one would use a telephone number. Steering a Web browser towards, for example, would activate an Internet phone call to someone at Hertz."

Read the article for more information.

Happy Blu-Day! (Article)

Sony recently had an event where they were boosting the great benefits of their new VAIO notebooks with a built in Blu-Ray drives. They claimed the new notebooks was playing one of the first Blu-Ray movies, called 'The House of Flying Daggers'. Lance Ulanoff PC Magazine Reviews Editor opened the Blu-Ray drive, and discover that they were playing an older-style DVD instead of the Blu-Ray title. The whole event was captured in pictures.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

BMW’s ‘CLEVER’ concept completed

LeftLane reports "For the last few years, BMW and University of Bath have been hard at work on the CLEVER - a compact fuel-efficient vehicle for city driving. ... BMW on Friday released the first images of the completed CLEVER. As the name - Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport - suggests, the aim of the project was to create a vehicle that was practical, safe, and environmentally-friendly."

BMW was not the first to create a MWV (Man Wide Vehicles), one of the best ones I have seen is from a Dutch company. This MWV is called the Carver, its a tilting 3-wheel vehicle. In fact the Carver tilt up to 45 degrees to each side.

If you want to know more, watch this video from TopGear.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Secret Worlds: The Universe Within

From the web site: "View the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons."

This is a great Java-based animation that starts out millions of light year from Earth, and then zooms into quarks inside of a leaf. The whole trip takes about minute or more depending on your settings.

An Old Farmer's Advice

I really enjoy the advice below, there is a lot of truth in it no matter what you believe. (Note: I tried to find out who the author was to give credit, but I could not find that information.)
  • Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
  • Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
  • Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
  • A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
  • Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
  • Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
  • Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
  • Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
  • You cannot unsay a cruel word.
  • When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
  • The best sermons are lived, not preached.
  • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
  • Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
  • Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
  • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
  • The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'
  • Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
  • If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
  • Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Congress may slap restrictions on SSN use (Article)

CNet reports: "WASHINGTON--Democratic and Republican politicians on Thursday both promised to enact new federal laws by the end of the year that would restrict some commercial uses of Social Security numbers, which are often implicated in identity fraud cases."

This law has been a long time in coming, and I wish they would have enacted it several years ago. Lets hope and pray this doesn't some how just die on the vine.

Some of the proposed legislation includes: limiting the sale and purchase of Social Security numbers (SSNs). Also restrict the display of SSNs on credit reports and other types of government-issued documents and identification tags.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

PlayStation 3: $499, $599 versions hitting worldwide in November (Article) reports: "Sony kicked off the 2006 E3 show with a bang on Monday by providing pricing and configuration details on the PlayStation 3. The system will be available in $499 and $599 versions in North America on November 17. The main differences between the two versions as highlighted by Sony will be the size of the internal hard drive: 20GB on the less expensive PS3 vs. 60GB on the step-up model." Read the article for more information.

Google Press Day (New Stuff)

Google announced it was releasing four new products yesterday at its 'Press Day' conference in its Mountain View, CA headquarters (AKA GooglePlex).

  • Google Trends: Allows you to monitor trend statistics of keywords and search terms by date and geographic location.
  • Google Desktop (v.4): The next version of its Google desktop sidebar application, includes several new features and updated Gadgets (add-ins for Google Desktop).
  • Google Co-Op: This one is a little strange, its not very intuative. Basically You subscribe to different data sources (i.e.:,, etc.) and when you search you will see related information for the data sources you subscribed to.
  • Google Notebook (will be available next week on the Google Labs page): Its a plug-in that allows you to store notes of text and other media types, such as: pictures, sounds and more.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gone in 60 seconds--the high-tech version (Article)

CNET reports how new state-of-the-art vehicle anti-theft systems are able to be quickly defeated by a car thief with a laptop. IMHO, its really bothersome to see how quick some of these systems can be defeated. So if you have one of those expensive new cars with an RFID systems, make sure that you have your insurance premium all paid up.

Monday, May 08, 2006

HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray Format Wars

Depending on how old you are, you may remember the VHS vs. Betamax format wars. Between the two formats, Betamax had far superior picture quality, but VHS eventually won out. Not because it was better, but JVC was more liberal with its licensing, and the tapes met more of the customers needs (i.e.: like longer recording time).

The new HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray format wars, is just heating up. Personally I am putting my money on HD-DVD, not because its a superior technology to Blu-Ray. HD-DVD will win out because it will have better industry support, and its easier to produce the discs. Although, Blu-Ray has a few technical advantages over HD-DVD, mostly its higher capacity.

Ultimately what will win out is the one that is the most compatible with the existing equipment and media, and best price. When CDs and DVDs were first introduced, they provided such technical advantages over the existing technology at the time that people were willing to update their media collection.

Although, I don't believe HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray is compelling enough for me to want to replace all my movies with it. If I buy into this technology, I would be willing replaces some of my existing DVDs (for example Star Wars) with HD versions of the movie if the quality was that much better.

For more information on the HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray, check out the following Wikipedia article. Here is an excerpt: There are many advantages to the fact that HD DVD discs will be the same size as current DVD discs. Backward compatibility will be available with all HD DVD players allowing consumers to only require a single player in their homes to play both HD DVD and DVD discs (also true with Blu-ray). DVD disc replication companies can continue using their current production equipment with only minor alterations when changing over to the format of HD DVD replication. Due to the structure of the single-lens optical head, both red and blue laser diodes can be used in smaller, more compact HD DVD players. Additionally there is a hybrid HD DVD which contains both DVD and HD DVD versions of the same movie on a single disc, providing smoother transition for the studios in terms of publishing the movies.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rivals Agree On 802.11s Wireless Mesh Proposal (Article)

ExtremeTech reports "The Intel-and Firetide-led SEE Mesh, which had put forward a proposal to compete with Nortel's Wi-Mesh Alliance, resolved their differences and moved forward with a joint proposal that should be voted in as the draft standard for 802.11s, the IEEE mesh networking standard. ... A final standard might not be due until early 2008"

So are you confused by all 802.11 standards, such 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, etc. I have decided to include a brief breakdown of the different 802.11 standards:
  • 802.11: up to 2Mbps, uses the 2.4GHz frequency (1997)
  • 802.11b: up to 11Mbps, uses the 2.4GHz frequency (7/1999)
  • 802.11a: up to 54Mbps, uses the 5GHz frequency (7/1999)
  • 802.11g: up to 54Mbps, uses the 2.4GHz frequency (6/2003) [802.11b compatible]
  • 802.11n: up to 600Mbps+, uses the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz frequency (2006) [has MIMO (Multiple-Input Multiple-Output), uses multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to allow for increased data throughput.]
  • 802.11s: Mesh networking. A mesh network is a network of WAP (Wireless Access Points) that act like one big network. If one of the WAP fails, the other WAPs will automatically compensate for it. See the following article for more information.
  • 2.4GHz equipment can incur interference from microwave ovens, cordless phones, and other appliances using the same radio signaling frequency range.
  • The higher frequency 5GHz equipment signals has more difficulty penetrating walls and other obstructions.
  • The 802.11n standard has not yet been finalized, only a draft specification has been ratified as of January 2006.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Ethanol explained (Article) reports: "Most people know that it comes from crops and that it's been around for a while. But advertisements touting ethanol, sponsored by General Motors and others, leave out a lot of the basics. "

This article provides a brief introduction to the alternative fuel known as Ethanol. It's written like an FAQ (frequently asked questions), so it might provide answers to some basic questions that you might have about the fuel.

Here is some additional reference material, if the article doesn't answer your questions:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Self-Assembling Chair (Video)

The self-assembling chair is a robot in the shape of you guessed it a chair. This chair can spontaneously fall apart and then literally reassemble itself. Conceived by Max Dean and built by Raffaello D'Andrea, the creators of "The Table: Childhood," another robotic art installation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ryan vs Dorkman (Google Video)

This video was originally pointed out to me by a fellow associate, when we got into a discussion of some of the Star Wars fan films. If you don't know what a fan film is, its generally a unauthorized, and very low budget recreation or parody of a movie created by fans.

One of the grand daddies of these films is the original Hardware Wars. IMHO after Hardware Wars, there have been a few great fan films, like:
The Ryan vs. Dorkman video started out as a friendly rivalry between two effects artists on the, for the lightsaber choreography competition. I would say its one of the best amateur lightsaber battles ever done in a fan film.