Jul 07 2014

Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

Absolutely amazing to think that simply peeling everyday tape can produce high energy bursts such as  x-rays, but it does. As the scientists suggest, this is the simplest and cheapest way to produce x-rays ever invented.

Peeling Sticky Tape Produces X-rays

May 19 2014

Sun’s twin

A team of researchers led by University of Texas at Austin astronomer Ivan Ramirez has identified the first “sibling” of the Sun…

Astronomers Find Sun’s ‘Long-Lost Brother,’ Pave Way for Family Reunion

 

May 19 2014

Earth’s biggest volcano

 

Covering an area roughly equivalent to the British Isles or the state of New Mexico, this volcano, dubbed the Tamu Massif, is nearly as big as the giant volcanoes of Mars, placing it among the largest in the Solar System…Located about 1,000 miles east of Japan…Tamu Massif covers an area of about 120,000 square miles.”

Scientists Confirm Existence of Largest Single Volcano on Earth

Apr 26 2014

Rediscovering the early images of space exploration

Once upon a time, NASA collected high resolution photos of the Moon and Earth on tapes, transmitted by early-generation satellites. Then they put the tapes away. Then the tape decks stopped working, and the companies stopped making them, and the engineers retired, and the tapes were forgotten.

And then one day someone found an old tape deck…

The Hackers Who Recovered NASA’s Lost Lunar Photos

Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project

Apr 10 2014

All the water on Earth, shown as a drop…

I don’t know, I assume when I look at maps that the oceans are deep. I mean, the Earth is ⅔ water, and maps give the illusion that Earth is mostly water by volume. It isn’t. It’s mostly water by surface area. By volume? Just a drop.

USGS Water Science School.

Mar 18 2014

Alan Turing was a genius in chemistry and biology, too

A theory of Turing’s regarding cell differentiation – all the more remarkable since he was a mathematician, not a biologist – has just been proved, 60 years after he killed himself following prosecution and conviction as a homosexual. This is the man who cracked the German WWII ciphers, devised the universally accepted test for artificial intelligence, and reinvented the definition of mathematical proofs that underlies all of modern computing. A true genius. First the crown awarded him an OBE – then it decided to persecute and destroy him. How profoundly stupid.

Turing’s theory of morphogenesis validated

Mar 17 2014

Historic confirmation of the Big Bang and cosmic inflation

Looks like the Big Bang theory has been essentially indisputably confirmed with the discovery of microwave echoes of “inflation”, the incomprehensibly rapid expansion of the universe from a dimensionless point to the size of a marble in a trillionth of a second.

Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

Nov 17 2013

“Tesla Motors may make its own batteries”

It was only a matter of time for Tesla to come to this conclusion. Buying batteries from a foreign supplier left them vulnerable in the long term to single-source risk: suppose Panasonic had a fire, or raised its prices exorbitently? Not to mention that Tesla has no real control over the timing of manufacture or the design of the batteries themselves. It’s too much of a risk for the major essential component of their product.

Tesla Motors may make its own batteries

Nov 12 2013

iOS vs. Android: why Steve Jobs blew his stack

Jobs was betrayed by Eric Schmidt of Google even as Schmidt sat on Apple’s board. So much for “don’t be evil” (Google’s motto).

Jobs had trusted Google’s cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt was on Apple’s board. All three had been telling Jobs about Android, but they kept telling him it would be different from the iPhone. And for some reason he believed them until he actually saw the phone and its software.

Steve Jobs On Android Founder Andy Rubin: ‘Big, Arrogant F***’

Nov 12 2013

Yet Another Inane Post: “Is Tesla Motors Doomed?”

It’s getting tiresome seeing lazy blog posters trolling for readers by posting wildly overdramatic headlines. Like this one.

One, Two, and Now Three Fires: Is Tesla Motors Doomed?

No, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) is not doomed…

So why read beyond the first 6 words?

Oct 25 2013

Five Billion Years of Solitude

Reviews of a new book on astrobiology, the history of the earth, and our future.

…in equal parts, a primer on the search for alien worlds, a biography of Earth and the life that inhabits it, and a story about how exoplanetology grew, and how, with the hour of its greatest triumph approaching, it fell short.

The Economist

…it’s really an amazing and entirely unprecedented time to be alive if you’re interested in the question of life beyond Earth. Right now is one of those strange moments where you have a singular confluence of brilliant minds and breakthrough observations that will become legendary in the history of science.

interview  with the author in The Atlantic

Oct 25 2013

Interactive clothing

Imagine clothes that change their look depending upon your mood – or the mood of your friend. Then read about Cute Circuit.

In 2002, Cute Circuit released a shirt allowing two people to send each other hugs in different places. After getting a notification on their phone, the hug-receiver, who is ideally always near his hug shirt, puts on the garment. When they put on the shirt, the hug is awaiting them. The shirt then begins vibrating warmly, tightening around them. Each hug is personalized by the hug sender’s grip and the amount of time they held on to their own hug shirt. [Cute Circuit article]

Oct 24 2013

Laser-mediated broadband from lunar orbit

[NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer has]…a series of lasers on the outer hull designed to shoot back data to three base stations here on Earth much faster than traditional radio data links – and the agency reports the first tests have been a roaring success 

 

So this is probably faster than my broadband from Comcast.

622 Mbps Broadband Found On Moon

Oct 22 2013

Ancient light on a long and winding road

 

Ancient light

The journey of light from the very early universe to modern telescopes is long and winding. The ancient light traveled billions of years to reach us, and along the way, its path was distorted by the pull of matter, leading to a twisted light pattern. 

This twisted pattern of light, called B-modes, has at last been detected…

Long-Sought Pattern of Ancient Light Detected

Oct 14 2013

Iconic: a photographic tribute to Apple innovation

OK, say you’re an Apple devotée. No, say you’re an Apple fanatic. No, actually, say that Apple has changed everything you do, that Steve Jobs is one of the most influential people in your life, and that it is inconceivable that you could imagine functioning day to day without at least one Apple product in your hand, your pocket, or your purse.

Then you need this book.

Iconic.

Aug 30 2013

Charging the Model S

I’ve created a small spreadsheet to calculate the charging times at various stations for the Tesla Model S, and the optimal kW/m usage to maximize range.

 Tesla-charging

Jul 18 2013

Eek. Biggest virus ever. And it’s alien.

Thank God it only eats amoebae.

Perhaps most striking, 93 percent of pandoraviruses’ 2,500 genes cannot be traced back to any known lineage in nature. In other words, they are completely alien to us.

Biggest Virus Yet Found…

Jun 22 2013

ZFS: some day my prince will come…

Lost

Many of us believe that filesystem integrity is the single most important component of computer systems. Disk drives fail, computer systems are upgraded, networks improve and and morph from wired to wireless – but the data files that represent the accumulated work and knowledge of users remain. It’s bad enough that, as applications become outdated, proprietary file formats become unreadable: who now can read an old WordStar doc? (Even NASA has learned, to its chagrin, that failure to have a policy regarding collected data can result in historic losses. For example, the original video transmission tapes from the Apollo 11 moon landing are gone, nowhere to be found; and telemetry from the first lunar orbiter satellites were stored in an uncertain file format on tapes that could only be played on machines no longer made.) We will probably never entirely overcome these kinds of issues. But it would be absolutely stupid to compound them, by using filesystems inherently vulnerable to data loss.

Anyone who has used Macs or PCs for more than a minute has erased a file they wished they’d kept. Or had a disk crash and become unreadable. Or discovered that a long-unread but valued image file now contains junk.

Over the years, OS designers have come up with various methods to prevent this from becoming a disastrous Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 21 2013

Tesla phones home

This weekend, my Signature Model S P85 sent out a cry for help.

Not to me, mind you. I never heard it. Instead, Essie went all ET-like and phoned home: she powered up her cellular 3G antenna and transmitted an alert to her Mom and Dad at the Tesla engineering labs in Fremont, California. “Help me,” she whined. “Isolation fault!”

Now, I don’t keep my Model S isolated at all. I love this car, and pay her all kinds of attention. If she feels isolated, it’s obviously something deep inside her, someplace I can’t reach. But she wasn’t talking to me, and I had no clue how she felt.

But Mom and Dad did. On Saturday, they called me. “Mr. Allan?” they said. “We need to see your car. She’s sending out a fault alarm. Can you either bring her to us, or can we pick her up?”

Getting Amped in Dania Beach

Getting Amped in Dania Beach

I was damned if I was going to drive my uncommunicative vehicle all the way to Dania Beach just because she was feeling, well, faulty; so instead the Tesla geniuses arranged for a specially-trained tow service to send a flatbed to my home to pick her up. Specially trained, indeed: the driver is one of the only operators in S. Florida who understands Teslas, and how they need to be lifted into jack mode and driven at a 30-degree angle onto a flatbed tray, secured not with hook tie-downs but with web loops around the wheels, and conveyed like fairy princesses down the Interstate to the shop. Shades of John Broder, I thought: now everyone is going to see how my Tesla is leaving me, running away with a tow truck and looking broken down.

But the next day, the Tesla geniuses called me. “No worries,” they said. “Yes, she was having issues with isolation. But we gave her a brand-new battery pack, and she feels young and healthy again.”

“What happened?” I asked. “What did I do?”

“Oh, nothing!” they replied. “Hard to why or who’s at fault. But rather than try to analyze it too deeply, we just decided a new pack would fix it quickly.”

And a day or so later, back came Essie, clean and bright and shiny on a Tesla trailer, home to my front door. I was admittedly a little concerned when Tesla Genius handed me a five-page document to sign. But as I read it I became positively cheerful. Not only was Essie recharged and rejuvenated; they had cleaned her, and filled her tires, checked and changed the lift gate seals, inspected the A/C and re-routed the system harnesses, replaced the rear axle nuts, checked the PSRCM calibration and J1772 adaptor, and – most delightful of all – replaced the front floor mats and installed a new rear mat as well. It was like coming home from the hospital with a new set of clothes and a haircut thrown in. I’m lucky at Mercedes if they wash the car; forget new floor mats.

Now, just last night, even as Essie was sitting happy and content again in my garage, Elon Musk announced a new battery-swap program. It takes all of 90 seconds. Phew. That’s almost faster than I can find my credit card at Sunoco to start with. It certainly is faster than the 2 days that my Model S was in the shop. But, then again, they don’t give you new floor mats, and I’ll bet that PSRCM calibration takes a little longer. So I’m happy. Essie is happy. And all is right with the world.

Jun 18 2013

1990 WWDC swag

Found this buried in a storage cabinet. Blast from the past. When WWDC was in San José, and Mac programmers were Real Men, not wimpy iOS code monkeys. Does anyone remember HyperCard? MacApp? MPW?

 

1990 WWDC briefcase

1990 WWDC briefcase

 

1990 WWDC briefcase label

1990 WWDC briefcase label

 

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