Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hanna Rosin: New data on the rise of women

Hanna Rosin reviews startling new data that shows women actually surpassing men in several important measures, such as college graduation rates. Do these trends, both US-centric and global, signal the "end of men"? Probably not -- but they point toward an important societal shift worth deep discussion.

Rachel Botsman: The case for collaborative consumption

At TEDxSydney, Rachel Botsman says we're "wired to share" -- and shows how websites like Zipcar and Swaptree are changing the rules of human behavior.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Lego Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism: is the oldest known scientific computer, built in Greece at around 100 BCE. Lost for 2000 years, it was recovered from a shipwreck in 1901. But not until a century later was its purpose understood: an astronomical clock that determines the positions of celestial bodies with extraordinary precision. 

In 2010, we built a fully-functional replica out of Lego.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Geek's Guide to Last-Minute Holiday Gift Giving in 2010 reports: "As the holiday season draws closer, there's always a scramble to get that perfect last-minute gift for the special nerd on your list. With an ever-growing mountain of electronics and portable devices such as Apple's iPad and other tablets crowding the marketplace, it can be difficult to find something unique that is also affordable. Thankfully, the explosion of geeky gifts at a reasonable price offers consumers an alternative to pricey PCs and still-nascent big ticket items such as 3D televisions. This list includes a wide variety of gifts, ranging from the more expensive and cutting-edge options to clever plug-and-play baubles for home and office fun. Who says a USB device has to look like a boring black brick, or a wall clock can't require some mathematical equations on the part of the recipient? If your geeks are anything like the nerds we know, a little braininess goes a long way in producing the perfect holiday present. Whether you're swinging for the fences with a brand new MacBook Air (be on the lookout, Mom!) or are simply looking for a snazzy stocking-stuffer, our geek's guide should give you a hand in making that perfect purchase."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Google Chrome OS Cr-48 Barebones Netbook to Test Market

eWeek reports: "Google Dec. 8 began rolling out the Cr-48, an unbranded notebook equipped with its Chrome Operating System, the Web operating system that enables Web applications run on Google's Chrome Web browser. The Cr-48 lies at the heart of the Chrome OS Pilot Program, Google's effort to seed the market with the notebooks, get feedback and polish the product prior to launch on branded machines from Acer and Samsung in mid-2011. Google is issuing the gadgets—which run on WiFi networks and also sport 3G radios with 100MB a month of data free for two years—to partner companies, friends, some lucky consumers and the media. In December, eWEEK got its hands on one of these plain, black no-frills notebooks. It sports a 12.1-inch screen, delivers 8 hours of use time and allows no internal data storage. The notebook is a true cloud machine, which has its limits. There is as yet no capability to port photos from cameras and smartphones to the Chrome OS netbook. But this is compensated by a raft of possibilities. For example, Google has created its Google Cloud Print solution to give the Cr-48 access to Web-based printing. Take a look at this run-through, and see a review here."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Star Size Comparison

Manslator: Female Language Lranslator (Humor)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Windows 7: USB Installation (Video)

This video walks you through the process of installing Windows 7 from a USB flash drive.

In this video, you'll learn how to :
  • Set boot priorities in the BIOS
  • Configure USB hard-drive emulation
  • Troubleshoot possible issues and implement solutions for images > 2GB
  • Perform the installation
  • Windows 7 Installation DVD (with Product Key)
  • 4GB USB flash drive

Google Chrome OS for Netbooks: 15 Essential Features - Cloud Computing

eWeek reports: "Google Dec. 7 didn't shock anyone with the announcement that Chrome Operating System netbooks wouldn't arrive until 2011. But that doesn't mean that the Chrome OS update event in San Francisco didn't come with some surprises. There was the unveiling of Crankshaft, a new compilation infrastructure for V8, the Chrome JavaScript engine responsible for making the browser so speedy. There was the formal launch of the Chrome Webstore, which has more than 500 Web applications, including two programs from Amazon and one each from The New York Times and Sports Illustrated. Think of the Chrome Web Store as Apple's App Store, but for Chrome OS netbooks (and, eventually, Chrome OS tablets) instead of iPhones and iPads. Finally, in the biggest surprise of all, Google launched a pilot program using black, unbranded Chrome OS netbooks. Google is passing out thousands of these machines to media, friends of Google and business partners, including the U.S. Department of Defense and American Airlines. Here is a run-through of the news using slides from Google's Dec. 7 demonstration."

10 Glaring Flaws of the Latest Tablet PCs

eWeek reports: "When it comes time to evaluate the important computer product news of 2010, the vast majority of annual roundups will point to tablets as some of the hottest products of the year. After all, when Apple released its iPad earlier this year, the tablet craze officially began. And an increasing number of computer makers decided that the time was ripe to expand their own product lines with new tablet designs. That's precisely why, as of this writing, Apple is joined by Samsung, Dell and several others in the tablet space, all vying to grab a hefty share of this rapidly growing market. But due to the sheer number of tablets that are both available and on the way, it's much easier now for consumers and enterprise customers to see what's missing in that space. As popular as tablets are and as successful as Apple's iPad might be, the devices still fall short in some important ways. The manufacturers must consider fixing those problems in 2011. Not only will it make customers happier, but it will also improve those companies' chances of selling more products."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Race Is On to 'Fingerprint' Phones, PCs reports: "Advertisers no longer want to just buy ads. They want to buy access to specific people. So, Mr. Norris is building a "credit bureau for devices" in which every computer or cellphone will have a "reputation" based on its user's online behavior, shopping habits and demographics. He plans to sell this information to advertisers willing to pay top dollar for granular data about people's interests and activities."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dan Nocera: Personalized Energy

MIT Professor Dan Nocera believes he can solve the worlds energy problems with an Olympic-sized pool of water. Nocera and his research team have identified a simple technique for powering the Earth inexpensively by using the sun to split water and store energy - making the large-scale deployment of personalized solar energy possible.

Willie Smits: Saving Rainforests

Biologist Willie Smits has spent the last thirty years searching for ways to restore fragile ecosystems. From his home in Indonesia a leading producer of greenhouse gases Smits has discovered a method of sustainable energy production: using the forest to generate biofuels with a carbon-positive impact.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A skyscraper like no other: Taiwan to build 390-meter tower with floating observatory blimps

gizmag reports: "It might look like something out of Isaac Asimov's imagination, it might look like it could never stand up, but this bizarre concept building is about to go into construction. 'Floating Observatories' is Stefan Dorin's winning entry in the recent Taiwan Tower Conceptual International Competition – and in return for his US$130,000 first prize, now he has to actually build the thing. The new tower, standing more than 300 meters tall with its helium-filled observatory 'leaves', will be the crown jewel of Taechung, the third largest city in Taiwan."

Wiley Vs. Rhodes

A live action short film with a real life Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.

Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

Fox News reports: "The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.

But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe."

Very detailed article on the Stuxnet worm. This worm is really a game changer as the article states. It was highly targeted, and very sophisticated.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Botnet Boon: How Scammers Cash In

eWeek reports: "There are several well-known botnets, including Kneber, Rustock and Koobface, pushing out spam and malware each day, clogging up inboxes and compromising Websites. For cyber-criminals, botnets are just business tools that help them make money. Malware is a lucrative business, as Melih Abdulhayoglu, founder and CEO of Comodo, likes to point out—the money is no longer only in drugs, but in creating malware, and the goal is to spread it as far and fast as possible to catch unsuspecting victims. According to Symantec Hosted Services, a botnet's rental fees can range from $9 an hour to more than $65 an hour. How do the criminals renting the botnets to spread their malware make their money? Here is a rundown of some of the more common botnet-based attacks, as described by Martin Lee from Symantec Hosted Services. Just remember: The scammers don't need everyone to fall for their attacks. Considering the hundreds of thousands of messages pushed by the botnet, if even 1 percent falls for the scam, they've made back the cost of renting out the zombies and gotten a tidy little profit as well."

Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?

Marcel Dicke makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone's diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and eco-friendliness.

Bart Weetjens: How I taught rats to sniff out land mines

Bart Weetjens talks about his extraordinary project: training rats to sniff out land mines. He shows clips of his "hero rats" in action, and previews his work's next phase: teaching them to turn up tuberculosis in the lab.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy for 2010-11

Biofuels Digest reports: "In Florida, renewable fuels and chemicals developer Amyris took the #1 spot in the 2010-11 “50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy” rankings, published today in Biofuels Digest, the online daily bioenergy news service."

If you're into Bioenergy here are some companies to watch.

Weaving a Dangerous Web

Channel Insider reports: "Another year passes and even more security issues crop up on the Web. In an unsurprising report from Websense Security Labs recently, it seems that the number of malicious websites has multiplied more than two-fold from 2009 and data stealing attacks on the Web are on the rise as well. The most significant findings? The fact that many of the Web's 'nice neighborhoods' are going rogue as well. Many seemingly legitimate sites are hosting malicious content due to undetected attacks that plant malware to infect unsuspecting visitors. “What should organizations be most afraid of?' Patrik Runald, Websense security researcher, said in a statement. 'You no longer have to go to dark corners of the Internet to find bad stuff.”"

Scary stuff...

Dan Phillips: Creative houses from reclaimed stuff

In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he's built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Luis von Ahn Harnesses Brainpower

Computer scientist Luis von Ahns programs harness the human brainpower to solve complex problems. von Ahn invented ReCaptcha, a program that uses squiggly characters that humans easily decipher but blocks spambots and helps digitize millions of old texts. The CMU professor also makes games that use human knowledge to improve computers. Find them at

Nick Bilton: Smart Content

Nick Bilton, Lead Technology Reporter for The New York Times Bits blog, says that digital media has resulted in a "new form of storytelling." Bilton, who is also a designer and user interface specialist, is co-founder of NYC Resistor, a hacker collective in Brooklyn, and is currently writing a book called, I Live in the Future: & Heres How It Works.

H. Sebastian Seung: Connectomics

Computational neuroscientist H. Sebastian Seung conducts pioneering research on the wiring of the brain, and what it reveals about genetics, personality, and memory. Seung suggests that complex maps of neural connective structures, or connectomes, will reveal that our experiences literally shape our brains.

Jay Rogers: Open Source Your Car

Jay Rogers is revolutionizing the automobile industry. The former U.S. Marine and co-founder of Local Motors has created the world's first crowdsourced car. Rogers believes that making car production local - and personal - holds the key to fostering a sustainable car culture that also tackles our dependence on oil.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Web Site: InnoCentive

As web sites go, I really like this idea. InnoCentive works on a Crowd-sourcing concept. Companies are looking for solutions to tough problems and are offering great cash prizes for a solution, and people with great ideas can make some pretty good money.

Dwayne Spradlin, CEO of InnoCentive, discusses the power of crowdsourcing innovation at the BRITE '10 conference. He shows how InnoCentive's global network of independent experts has solved critical innovation challenges for organizations like SAP and SunNight solar.

Dean Ornish: Healthy Connections

For more than thirty years, Dr. Dean Ornish has demonstrated the power of a healthy lifestyle as the best kind of preventive care. These choices, Ornish reveals, can "turn on disease-preventing genes and turn off genes that promote illness. Dr. Ornish has published a number of best-selling books on the subject; the most recent is The Spectrum.

Reihan Salam: New Conservatism

Reihan Salam, a fellow at the New America Foundation, writes on politics, culture, and technology. At PopTech 2009, Salam argues that America has been growing steadily more diverse, and divided by massive inequalities, a trend that will lead the country down a path of increasing social conservatism. Salam is also co-author of Grand New Party: How Conservatives Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.