Author Topic: Metcalf's Eye on Technology  (Read 12547 times)

Offline Wise Son

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Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2006, 01:57:38 am »
Was I the only one hoping the woman with the bionic arm would have a huge afro?

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Offline KamiKaZee

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Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo Interior Concept
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2006, 11:14:31 am »
Virgin Galactic Unveils SpaceShipTwo Interior Concept
By Tariq Malik
Staff Writer
posted: 28 September 2006
10:37 am ET



Mock-up interior of SpaceShipTwo Credit: Michael Soluri, for SPACE.com


NEW YORK – Future passengers aboard Virgin Galactic spaceliners can look forward to cushioned reclining seats and lots of windows during suborbital flights aboard SpaceShipTwo, a concept interior of which was unveiled by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson Thursday.

“It won’t be much different than this,” Branson told reporters here at Wired Magazine’s NextFest forum. “It’s strange to think that in 12 months we’ll be unveiling the actual plane, and then test flights will commence right after that.”

Virgin Galactic’s spaceliners will be specially-outfitted SpaceShipTwo vehicles built by Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites and veteran aerospace designer Burt Rutan. The new spacecraft, designed specifically for space tourism, will be three times the size of Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, which won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for privately-developed piloted spacecraft capable of reaching suborbital space twice in two weeks.

The air-launched SpaceShipTwo is designed to seat eight people – six passengers and two pilots – and be hauled into launch position by WhiteKnightTwo, a massive carrier craft currently under construction by Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn said.

For an initial ticket price of $200,000, Virgin Galactic passengers will buy a 2.5-hour flight aboard SpaceShipTwo and launch from an altitude of about 60,000 feet (18,288 meters), while buckled safely in seats that recline flat after reaching suborbital space. A flight animation depicted passengers clad in their own personal spacesuits as they reached a maximum altitude of at least 68 miles (110 kilometers).

While the spacesuit designs are not yet final, they will likely be equipped with personal data and image recorders to add to SpaceShipTwo’s in-cabin cameras, Whitehorn said.

“If it was ready next week, I’d be there,” Alan Watts, who has traded in two million Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer miles for a ride on SpaceShipTwo, told SPACE.com. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceliners are slated to roll out and begin test flights by early 2008 in Mojave, California, with future operational spaceflights to be staged from New Mexico’s Spaceport America beginning in 2009.

“SpaceShipTwo is obviously designed as a commercial vehicle,” Whitehorn said, adding that the vehicle will have a double-skinned hull as added safety for the passengers and pilots inside its pressurized cabin.

Passengers will have several minutes of weightlessness during the spaceflight, and then have about 40 seconds to return to their seats, Whitehorn said, adding that the floor of SpaceShipTwo is also designed to be used during landing of spaceflyers fail to reach their spots in time.

WhiteKnightTwo carrier vehicles – which will be larger than a Boeing 757 jet – will also sport the same interior of SpaceShipTwo, and will be used for to help train passengers during a three-day orientation period before launch, Virgin Galactic officials said.

Stephen Attenborough, chief of astronaut relations for Virgin Galactic, told SPACE.com that the advantage of two SpaceShipTwo pilots not only allows for redundancy, but frees one pilot to handle any passenger emergencies or issues that pop up during flight.

Whitehorn and Branson both said that SpaceShipTwo will rely on a new type of hybrid rocket fuel, one slightly different from the rubber and nitrous oxide mixture that propelled SpaceShipOne into suborbital space three times in 2004.

The WhiteKnightTwo will also rely on new, cleaner-burning jet engines and bear a close resemblance to the Virgin GlobalFlyer aircraft, which was also built by Rutan’s Scaled Composites and flew around the world without refueling in 2005.

“If you’re going to build a spaceship, you’ve got to build a green spaceship,” Branson said, adding that the carbon dioxide output from a single spaceflight is on par with those of a business class seat aboard commercial aircraft.
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Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Cloaking Device
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2006, 08:15:36 am »
Science tripping the light fantastic
Ian Sample, London
October 21, 2006
http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/science-tripping-the-light-fantastic/2006/10/20/1160851137753.html

IT WON'T help you sneak around Hogwarts without being seen, but scientists have unveiled the world's first cloaking device, a technology designed to make solid objects disappear.

Cloaking devices are coveted by the military, which can see a new age of stealth technology that hides planes and other vehicles from radar.

More advanced versions could ultimately be good enough to make objects or people invisible.

The prototype was built and demonstrated in the US by US and British scientists only five months after proving it was theoretically possible to pull off the most famous of optical illusions — and without breaking the laws of physics.

The device works on the principle that an object vanishes from sight if light rays striking it are not reflected as usual, but forced to flow around it and carry on as if it was not there.

To make cloaks, scientists developed "metamaterials", meticulously patterned thin metal sheets that can bend light in precisely the right way.

In the demonstration, scientists showed that a small object surrounded by rings of metamaterials, in effect, disappeared.

The test involved firing a beam of microwaves at the object, the same radiation used for radar.

Normally the beam would penetrate and bounce off the rings, but measurements showed the waves split and flowed around the centre.

"The wave's movement is similar to river water flowing around a smooth rock," said David Schurig, a scientist at Duke University.

Although the lines of stealth bombers make them hard to spot on radar screens, they can leave a "shadow" that gives them away. The military hopes that cloaking devices could render them almost totally invisible.

Sir John Pendry, the theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, who developed the idea, said cloaking devices to hide vehicles from radar were only a matter of years away.

"It's already been quite an achievement designing this cloak," he said.

"But next we want to develop a thin skin that can cloak a plane without interfering with the aerodynamics. If you wanted to cloak something big and clunky like a tank, that's feasible in the medium term."

A cloaking device that makes objects invisible is a tougher prospect. Radar waves are about three centimetres long, and to cloak objects from them, metamaterials need to be designed with features a few millimetres across.

Visible light waves are far shorter — less than one thousandth of a millimetre — meaning a cloaking device would need metamaterials with much finer features to bend light properly.

GUARDIAN
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Offline Toya

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Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2006, 06:26:50 pm »
I was reading this yesterday in an article on Yahoo! It spoke of an opticial material that uses heat(from the body) to make it see through. I think it is a cool invention but can't think of any beneficial use of it outside war. And, I don't like wars.
...Rassclaat.

Offline Wise Son

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Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2006, 01:41:41 am »
I think it is a cool invention but can't think of any beneficial use of it outside war.
Sneaking and creeping.

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Offline Toya

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Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2006, 04:23:40 am »
lol @ Wise. Who would spending so much $$$ to get a lil something on the side? Scores of men and women have been plenty successful without it.
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Offline Toya

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Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2007, 08:39:50 am »


Wow, I wonder if it's scratch resistant.
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"Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going."
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Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Connecting Your Brain to the Game
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2007, 01:06:32 pm »
Connecting Your Brain to the Game

Emotiv Systems, an electronic-game company from San Francisco, wants people to play with the power of the mind. Starting tomorrow, video-game makers will be able to buy Emotiv's electro-encephalograph (EEG) caps and software developer's tool kits so that they can build games that use the electrical signals from a player's brain to control the on-screen action.

Emotiv's system has three different applications. One is designed to sense facial expressions such as winks, grimaces, and smiles and transfer them, in real time, to an avatar. This could be useful in virtual-world games, such as Second Life, in which it takes a fair amount of training to learn how to express emotions and actions through a keyboard. Another application detects two emotional states, such as excitement and calm. Emotiv's chief product officer, Randy Breen, says that these unconscious cues could be used to modify a game's soundtrack or to affect the way that virtual characters interact with a player. The third set of software can detect a handful of conscious intentions that can be used to push, pull, rotate, and lift objects in a virtual world.



Complete article here.

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Offline zeraze

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Black Panther's Panther Rocket for REAL!!
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2007, 03:26:35 pm »
Scientists are developing technology similar to that which enables T'Challa's spaceship to launch into space via magnetism:

http://space.newscientist.com:80/article/dn11375-spacecraft-may-surf-the-solar-system-on-magnetic-fields-.html

So, once again, real science emulates comics whether scientists know it or not.

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Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Music Xray
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2007, 03:44:02 pm »
Predicting Popularity: The Math Behind Hit Music

Talk of the Nation, May 25, 2007
Can math help record companies score hit singles? Mike McCready is CEO of Platinum Blue, a company that tries to crunch the numbers to figure out which tracks on an album will top the charts. He talks about equations that might help record companies predict what music will be popular.


From the Platinum Blue website:
Quote
Music Xray™ is a new technology that allows music professionals to see their music and their market in ways that were impossible until now. With these new insights, better decisions can be made regarding the potential market success of a given song.

It has long been known that music and math are closely related and that in a sense, music IS math. Recent research has shown strong evidence that most hit songs conform to a limited number of mathematical patterns. These patterns cannot be detected by the human ear much in the same way the doctor cannot be see with the naked eye that which the medical Xray reveals.

More than 90% of singles that are released and promoted by music labels do not chart and do not provide the labels with a return on their investment in spite of sounding and feeling like potential hits. This leaves label executives, producers and musicians themselves scratching their heads wondering what went wrong. Now, we are able to point to the mathematical properties of the song as a strong indicator of potential success.

Music Xray™ does not tell you if a song sounds like a hit. That’s an evaluation for the human ear and mind. It also doesn’t tell you if the artist is appealing or if the label knows how to get a single into the market. It does tell you however, if the song has the "optimal mathematical patterns" to become a success, a necessary but not singly sufficient condition for having a hit.


Interesting notion.  They have done some regression analysis of hit music and abstracted a few dozen characteristics that indicate hitness.  Sounds like they are trying to figure out how to make money with it.  The music companies are not exactly known for being enlightened when it comes to new technology and new thinking. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 03:52:12 pm by Curtis Metcalf »
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
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Offline Curtis Metcalf

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What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2007, 09:04:18 am »
Malcolm Gladwell on Platinum Blue and some other folks applying a similar approach to predicting box office receipts from movie scripts (!).   
It's a long and fascinating article (IMHO, of course).

The Formula
Articles from the New Yorker
October 10, 2006
Annals of Entertainment

What if you built a machine to predict hit movies?
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"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Spider-man Suit
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2007, 07:21:44 am »
Now it’s not just Spiderman that can scale the Empire State Building

Institue Of Physics Press Release

29 August 2007
Physicists have found the formula for a Spiderman suit. Only recently has man come to understand how spiders and geckos effortlessly scuttle up walls and hang from ceilings but it was doubted that this natural form of adhesion would ever be strong enough to hold the weight of real life Peter Parkers.

Recent research concluded that van der Waals forces – the weak attraction that molecules have for each other when they are brought very close together - are responsible for creepy crawlies’ amazing sticking power. It is the tiny hairs on spiders’ feet that attract to the molecules of surfaces, even glass, and keep them steady.

This discovery however has been taken one step further by research published today, (Thursday, 30 August, 2007), in the Institute of Physics’ Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter to make sticky human suits.Professor Nicola Pugno, engineer and physicist at Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, has formulated a hierarchy of adhesive forces that will be strong enough to suspend a person’s full body weight against a wall or on a ceiling, while also being easy to detach.

Carbon nanotube-based technology could be used to develop nano-molecular hooks and loops that would function like microscopic Velcro. This detachable, adhesive force could be used in conjunction with van der Waals forces and capillary adhesion.

Pugno said, “There are many interesting applications for our theory, from space exploration and defense, to designing gloves and shoes for window cleaners of big skyscrapers.” The theory is all the more significant because, as with spiders’ and geckos’ feet, the hooks and hairs are self-cleaning and water-resistant. This means that they will not wear or get clogged by bad weather or dirty surfaces and will be able to withstand some of the harshest habitats on earth, including the deep sea.

Pugno continued, “With the idea for the adhesion now in place, there are a number of other mechanics that need addressing before the Spiderman suit can become a reality. Size-effects on the adhesion strength require further research. Moreover, man’s muscles, for example, are different to those of a gecko. We would suffer great muscle fatigue if we tried to stick to a wall for many hours.

“However now that we are this step closer, it may not be long before we are seeing people climbing up the Empire State Building with nothing but sticky shoes and gloves to support them.”


You can get the paper here.
Various news articles:
BBC News
Guardian Unlimited
Times Online
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Offline Curtis Metcalf

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"Blade Runner" Barred From Olympics
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2008, 09:13:06 am »
"Blade Runner" Barred From Olympics
Double-Amputee Sprinter Told Prosthetic Racing Blades Give Him An Unfair Advantage
MONTE CARLO, Monaco, Jan. 14, 2008

(AP) The IAAF ruled Monday that double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is ineligible to compete in the Beijing Olympics because his prosthetic racing blades give him a clear competitive advantage.

The International Association of Athletics Federations had twice postponed the ruling, but the executive Council said the South African runner's curved, prosthetic "Cheetah" blades were considered a technical aid in violation of the rules.
...
The IAAF endorsed studies by German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who conducted tests on the prosthetic limbs and said they give Pistorius a clear competitive advantage over able-bodied runners.

"An athlete using this prosthetic blade has a demonstrable mechanical advantage (more than 30 percent) when compared to someone not using the blade," the IAAF said.

Pistorius worked with Brueggemann in Cologne for two days of testing in November to learn to what extent the j-shaped carbon-fiber extensions to his amputated legs differed from the legs of fully abled runners.


Complete article here.
Not quite bionic but wow. This kind of raises the stakes on the whole performance enhancing aids discussion.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 09:14:49 am by Curtis Metcalf »
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Offline Wise Son

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Re: Metcalf's Eye on Technology
« Reply #29 on: January 30, 2008, 01:25:37 am »
Scientists discover
way to reverse loss of memory

Don't knwo if anyone has a relative suffering from Alzheimers, or, like me, just has a damned awful memory, but this is pretty interesting, and they did it by accident!
Quote
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Scientists performing experimental brain surgery on a man aged 50 have stumbled across a mechanism that could unlock how memory works.


The accidental breakthrough came during an experiment originally intended to suppress the obese man's appetite, using the increasingly successful technique of deep-brain stimulation. Electrodes were pushed into the man's brain and stimulated with an electric current. Instead of losing appetite, the patient instead had an intense experience of déjà vu. He recalled, in intricate detail, a scene from 30 years earlier. More tests showed his ability to learn was dramatically improved when the current was switched on and his brain stimulated.

Scientists are now applying the technique in the first trial of the treatment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. If successful, it could offer hope to sufferers from the degenerative condition, which affects 450,000 people in Britain alone, by providing a "pacemaker" for the brain.

Three patients have been treated and initial results are promising, according to Andres Lozano, a professor of neurosurgery at the Toronto Western Hospital, Ontario, who is leading the research.

More in the link at the top.

"Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going."
-Harriet Tubman
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