Oh Great…

Science is awesome.  But slow down with the helping our future robot overlords.

Magnetic scout-bots to sneak on board ship
“Throwbots”, which can be tossed through a window or door, are standard equipment for many US police forces. These small robots – invaluable in sieges and hostage situations – are designed to always land right side up before being driven around by remote control, beaming back video from inside a building.
[full article]

And now… Science

It’s a slow, yet all over the show week this week…

Second experiment hints at seasonal dark matter signal
Feng suggests that the discrepancy among all the experimental results may simply be due to the assumption that WIMPs interact the same way with protons and neutrons. If this is not the case, that could explain differences in the signals from xenon and germanium detectors, which each have a different ratio of protons to neutrons (arxiv.org/abs/1102.4331). “These experiments may look inconsistent, but a small theoretical tweak can bring everything in to line,” he told New Scientist.

Sky survey maps distant universe in 3D
Past surveys have relied on galaxies to map the universe (bright dots in the image’s central region). Now cosmic cartographers have probed even greater distances – to about 11 billion light years away – using intergalactic gas clouds (pictured along the perimeter in blue). The gas clouds are detectable because they absorb light from even more distant objects called quasars, blazing beacons powered by supermassive black holes that are devouring surrounding matter.

Beating the traffic before it even exists
The Smarter Traveler Research Initiative blends real-time traffic data with past traffic patterns to predict congestion up to 40 minutes into the future. Drivers are then automatically sent an email or text message of conditions on their regular commute before their trip begins.

Martian landscapes

This is pretty neat-o…

Since 2006, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been orbiting Mars, currently circling approximately 300 km (187 mi) above the Martian surface. On board the MRO is HiRISE, the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera, which has been photographing the planet for several years now at resolutions as fine as mere inches per pixel. Collected here is a group of images from HiRISE over the past few years, in either false color or grayscale, showing intricate details of landscapes both familiar and alien, from the surface of our neighboring planet, Mars. I invite you to take your time looking through these, imagining the settings – very cold, dry and distant, yet real. (35 photos total) [full article]

Quick Articles Links…

The awesomest job requirement, a real life jewel heist, space stuff still rules and freaky gross nature video…

Shooting the boss (and getting paid for it)
To thank him for letting them spend the last two hours of their workweek playing video games on the company dime, Kevin Grinnell’s employees often single him out and shoot him in the head.
&nbsp &nbsp To be fair, the employees at Grinnell Computers aren’t firing real weapons at their boss but are instead releasing the stresses of their week in a multiplayer online game known as Combat Arms.
[full article]

>£1m reward offered over gems raid
A £1m reward has been offered for information leading to the capture of robbers who stole jewellery worth £40m during a raid in central London. [full article]

US probe captures Saturn equinox
Raw images of the moment Saturn reached its equinox have been beamed to Earth by the US Cassini spacecraft. [full article]

‘Alien scene’ of tadpoles’ feast
“Alien-like” scenes of tadpoles feasting on eggs emerging from their mother have been caught on camera. [full article]

A Frankenstien Monster Post

Well shit, I’ve taken a bit more of a break from blogging than intended, but ah well here’s the catch-up…

Been working well too much in the last week, balancing filming and working. Still have to work on actually combining the two into a one regular thing.

48 Hours continues to be prevailing. C4 is currently screening three 48 films from this year every night at 11pm on a weeknight. Starting Wednesday, they’ll be screening the regional winners, Friday will be the wildcards as picked by Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro (super cool) and Saturday will be the televised finals (at 9pm if you are interested in watching). Our film will be screened last on Wednesday night which will be really cool and you’ll get to see our retarded intro and possibly my retarded interview as well. Past that, we don’t have any illusions of actually winning the entire competition and while it is an international competition and there’s no telling who could be picked for whatever reason, I highly doubt we’d win anything and it’s basically just cool, if not still surprising, to have gotten this far again.

Oh and if you’re unable to watch any of the episodes of the 48 Hours tv show, they’re online at the C4 website here. It’s pretty much how I’ve been following the show as I’m working when its on and come to think of it, might not even be available to watch the finals when they screen.

There’s plenty of other things to mention, but I’ll save it for another post. This week shall just be catch up week really as I start sorting out what I need to do next. Room currently looks like a post-tornado site and the boot of my car is filled with just as much junk to go through.

In the meantime here are some videos:

A very cool ‘stop motion’ video with post its and computer who ha.

An online comedy video series thing that’s pretty funny and manages to keep being so in subsequent videos.

And my current favourite awesome, the latest N.A.S.A. music video for the tract “A Volta”. Totally brilliant.

Also a few New Scientist articles I’ve enjoyed and cause the tabs are still open…

Seven things that don’t make sense about gravity.

10 scientific objects that changed the world.

And the very cool article on The inside story of the Conficker worm.

More Science Loving and Tab Closing

Bizarre animals that are new to science
About 15,000 new species are still discovered every year, from psychedelic fish to pink millipedes, and from lungless frogs to the Dracula fish. Take our tour of some of the strangest species to be discovered in recent years. [full article]

Possible site of free will found in brain
Free will, or at least the place where we decide to act, is sited in a part of the brain called the parietal cortex, new research suggests.

When a neurosurgeon electrically jolted this region in patients undergoing surgery, they felt a desire to, say, wiggle their finger, roll their tongue or move a limb. Stronger electrical pulses convinced patients they had actually performed these movements, although their bodies remained motionless. [full article]

MI6 urged Churchill to nuke Berlin
The diaries of Guy Liddell, the head of the espionage “B” Branch of MI5 between 1939-1945, reveal that concern about the Nazis’ V2 programme was so great that the possibility of using the nuclear bomb as a deterrent was discussed with Winston Churchill. [full article]

13 things that do not make sense
No quotes or anything from this one. Just read the whole damn thing and go… the fuck? [full article]

Science Be Praised…

Lots of tabs left open, better blog a few of them…

Flat universe may be the new flat Earth

When it comes to the universe, “flatness” refers to the fate of light beams travelling large distances parallel to each other. If the universe is “flat”, the beams will always remain parallel. Matter, energy and dark energy all produce curvature in space-time, however. If the universe’s space-time is positively curved, like the surface of a sphere, parallel beams would come together. In a negatively curved, saddle-shaped universe, parallel beams would diverge. [full article]

Telescopes poised to spot air-breathing aliens

The Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have both detected gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour in the atmospheres of a handful of gas-giant exoplanets as they pass in front of their parent stars. The gas molecules absorb light at characteristic wavelengths, and this shows up as dark lines in the spectrum of the starlight which has been filtered through the planet’s atmosphere. [full article]

Women’s menstruation genes found

A UK-led team located two genes on chromosomes six and nine that appear to strongly influence the age at which menstruation starts [full article]

Scientists hail stunning fossil

The fossil, nicknamed Ida, is claimed to be a “missing link” between today’s higher primates – monkeys, apes and humans – and more distant relatives.
In addition, Ida bears “a close resemblance to ourselves” he said, with nails instead of claws, a grasping hand and an opposable thumb – like humans and some other primates. But he said some aspects of the teeth indicate she is not a direct ancestor – more of an “aunt” than a “grandmother”.
[full article]

The last article is pretty amazing stuff and there’s a few interesting videos to supplement it. Another recent surge in topic is the moon which BBC is doing a thematic cover over over the weeks. The lastest is on Lunar Orbital Rendezvous. Still have a soft spot for the moon and having recently reread the facinating book Moondust I’m still giddy all moon related stuff.

General Movie Jibba Jabba

Not content with just the robots taking over the planet, I’ve been reading up a lot of articles on the big bang theory and the ultimate fate of the universe, which, though long after the robots have enslaved our planet, stripped it of all its resources and took to the stars, is the theory that the universe is actually expanding at an accelerating rate and eventually will be nothing but redshift to radiation. Gotta love science.

Anyway, been pretty shit still at keeping this constantly updated, which I still maintain is a robot conspiracy. Caught up with some friends over the weekend and managed to stay conscious through the most of a friend’s Samurai movie marathon and got to watch a few films that I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time. In particular is Hari-Kiri by Masaki Kobayashi which was just great and something I’ve got to get my own copy of sometime. Wonderful lighting and intense performances from all, check out his other film Kwaidan if you can sometime.

Also caught Watchmen which left me at a loss for an opinion for a few days and even now I’m not as close to deciding if I liked it or hated it. On one hand, the adaptation of the comic in terms of visuals and dialogue have been done brilliantly well and the film looks amazing and lots of the scenes reminded me of bits exactly in the books, on the other hand, that’s almost just saying that comics are nothing but movies that don’t move and I think that’s the growing attitude towards graphic novels which is stupid. While this worked in Sin City and 300 cause there was this macho attitude towards everything in the comics and that attitude was there on screen, Watchmen the comic is full of nuances and subtext and themes that just weren’t there on the screen. It was like a hollow doppleganger or carbon copy of the general plot and no soul behind it.

In saying all that actually, I think I’m getting closer to not hating Watchmen. Other gripes I had were that the pacing of the film was very off, the soundtrack (apart from the wonderful use of Dylan in the opening credits) was awful, the changed ending was terrible, most of the action scenes were boring and unnecessary and what the hell was up with Nixon’s nose? It was hard to pay attention to anything else when the damn thing was on screen.

I wanted to like the movie, I really did, and I admire Snyder for “staying true” to the comics, but in doing so, he’s just made a hollow moving picture version that made me want to go back to the comic and stay there.

Really, I should have posted this semi-review separately, but meh. Here’s a version of Watchmen I’m certainly glad they never did and yet strangely would have still watched it anyway…

Just Science and Music today

Ryan Adams was great. Though I’m not the biggest fan of his latest album, he still put on a great show and played a lot of personal favourites from previous albums. Well worth it.

I’m not going to Kings of Leon and just to save my sanity for that decision, I’ve convinced myself that they won’t play as many of their awesome songs from Aha Shake Heartbreak (which I still love and play constantly) and will instead perform more from their later albums which are nice, but not as awesome.

Meanwhile what I’m really looking forward to is The Kills in March. I just love this duo and their album Midnight Boom was one of my favourites of last year. Should definitely check it or… fuck, anything of theirs.

So onto the interesting stuff of the internet…

Is the Roman Pantheon a colossal sundial?

During the six months of winter, the light of the noon sun traces a path across the inside of the domed roof. During summer, with the sun higher in the sky, the shaft shines onto the lower walls and floor. At the two equinoxes, in March and September, the sunlight coming in through the hole strikes the junction between the roof and wall, above the Pantheon’s grand northern doorway (see diagram). A grille above the door allows a sliver of light through to the front courtyard – the only moment in the year that it sees sunlight if its main doors are closed (see diagram). [full article]

Alien world is slimmest and fastest known

Astronomers have found an extrasolar planet with the smallest diameter yet measured – it is no more than twice as wide as Earth. The rocky body is also the fastest known, whipping around its star in less than a day. [full article]

Giant Titanoboa snake ruled the earth after the dinosaurs

It weighed 1.25 tonnes and with a length of 45 feet or more it would have been able to take on and eat pretty much any other animal it came across.

The newly discovered type of snake, named Titanoboa in honour of its immense size, was for 10 million years the largest land predator on earth.

At least 28 individual specimens have been uncovered in Colombia and, with all of them being around 40 feet long, researchers said it is likely the species could have reached much further than 45 feet. [full article]

Bill Gates Unleashes Mosquito Swarm

TED, the annual gathering of the most pretentious people from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design, just got punk’d. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates released a swarm of mosquitos into the crowd.

Ending malaria is a particular passion of Gates’s, whose Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent millions fighting the disease. But he apparently didn’t feel like TED attendees were taking the threat seriously. “Not only poor people should experience this,” Gates said as he let the bugs loose on his audience. [full article]

More Doom It’s True

I’m going for a record number of frequent updates. Someone should give me medal.

New Scientist has an article on the 6 mysteries of our solar system. Depending on what you many or may not know, there are some obvious ones in there, but then again, the ones that you might not have known about can really make you go whoa, when the hell are those alien bastards gonna abduct me?

Actually, the damn aliens better abduct us soon cause there are now robots being built that are designed to eat pretty much anything and that are pretty much spells our doom…

A new type of autonomous robot will soon be loosed upon the land. A robot that forages, grazing on weeds and shrubbery, on rotten logs — even on dried out roadkill and other carcasses. This is DARPA’s EATR (Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot), by RTI. It will be fueled by the Cyclone external combustion engine that can run on virtually any type of dry carbonaceous material.

Can read the full article here. But mark my words, when the robots learn to breed (which I’ll bet their learning how to behind closed doors this very second), they’ll begin to develop an army of rat brain powered robodogs, robot snakes and chair climbing robot snakes that can also make use of their robot regenerating technology to take over this planet. You heard it here first.

And no, I don’t find it strange that I’ve bookmarked so many different articles that when pieced together, map out the future robot invasion.