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New translation, the Magna Carta



triple view screen - multi-user, multi-purpose, multi-program - Xavier

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desk air conditioner

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triple view screen - multi-user, multi-purpose, multi-program - Xavier

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“Last year Sharp managed to create a dual view lcd, however I tend to think they really have hit the nail on the head this time with this new display. Thus allowing three completely separate images to be displayed on a LCD maintaining crisp and clear resolution. By "Using a proprietary parallax barrier on a standard TFT LCD, the screen splits light in three directions" which allows the display of three separate images on the same screen simultaneously. ”

Suggested uses for this screen so far seen:

  • “the driver using navigation to plot the quickest road while the passenger checks out restaurants and entertainment along the way. While the person in the backseat kicks back and watches the latest flicks.”
  • “for multipurpose signs in public: it could display three different ads for stores or restaurants, each aimed at people walking in a certain direction.” [Quoted from]
  • “connect three computers to the LCD and from the center you see Windows, Linux from the left and MacOS from the right.” [Quoted from]

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keeping up - leds for back lighting flat screens

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more keeping up - new transitional human fossil; and some comments by de waal on humman behaviour

“This suggests that the species lived on the cusp of the human familyís transition to a bipedal, ground-based existence, generally accepted as one of the most crucial events in the emergence of the modern anatomy.

“Selamís brain case also suggests that while her intellect was more similar to a chimp than Man, the brain of her species had already started to evolve in the direction that would produce modern human intelligence. Details of the fossil are published today in the journal Nature.

“Selamís leg and foot bones show her to have been already adept at walking upright at the age of 3, showing conclusively that A. afarensis was an accomplished biped.”

This will be featured in November’s printed issue of National Geographic [link to article on-line] - they usually do a good job.

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Comments on human behaviour from world class specialist, Frans De Waal. This is a bit shallow as it was a rush interview situation.

“De Waal: Wait a minute. I said that female bonobos keep the peace. The males are better at making peace.

“SPIEGEL: What do you mean?

“De Waal: Females avoid conflict. They are afraid of violence. The males, on the other hand, are less averse to strife. But once conflict breaks out, the males are much better at reconciling. In a study done in Finland, children who had quarrelled were asked how much longer they intended to be angry at one another. The boys proudly said: "Oh, at least one or two days." The girls said...

“SPIEGEL: Let's take a guess: "forever?"

“De Waal: (laughs) Exactly. ”

“De Waal: Of course not. The development of family entities has another, more important consequence. It enables men to cooperate far more effectively. Instead of constantly competing for the women with other men, each man essentially has a partner assigned to him, one with whom he can establish a family.

“SPIEGEL: He forces her to stay at home, while he goes out into the world with his buddies to build bridges and land on the moon?

“De Waal: Something like that. But there is still one problem. In this type of system, it becomes extremely important for a man that his wife not have sex with anyone else, which would mean that he ends up having to raise someone else's offspring. This is why men almost obsessively control their women. Extreme examples are the chastity belts of the Middle Ages or the burkas women wear in Islamic countries like Afghanistan.”

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Frans De Waal

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keeping up 1- claim of very efficient portable fuel cell research

Is this serious?!

“[...] A 30% solution of borohydride in water actually contains one-third more hydrogen than the same volume of liquid hydrogen.”
— “The borohydride solution releases its hydrogen as it flows over a catalyst made of ruthenium. The hydrogen passes through a membrane and combines with oxygen in the fuel cell, generating electricity and waste water.

“Theoretically, this could achieve an energy density up to about 2200 watt-hours per litre Gervasio says, compared to 200 watt-hours per litre for a lithium polymer battery.

“For the same size and weight you can make a lot more electricity, so your laptop or camcorder will run a lot longer," he says.”

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keeping up 2 - humans not the only ones to play make believe?

“The most impressive example of pretending occurred when a female chimp named Panpanzee, then 4 years old, pretended to groom a doll, says study leader Heidi Lyn of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Panpanzee then pretended to pluck bugs off her body and feed them to the doll, offering some bugs to the caregiver, Liz, as well. Liz offered some imaginary bugs back to Panpanzee, who pretended to eat them.”

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seeking to replace platinum catalysts with enzymes - keeping up

“To date the catalyst of choice is platinum, but the price has already doubled and there are doubts over whether in any case there is enough in the world to meet demand if fuel cells become the power source of the future.

“I am convinced that hydrogen will be very important in the future as oil and gas run out. That is why my research has focused on finding enzymes to replace platinum as the catalyst," Armstrong said.”

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star wars comes another step closer - target intercepted in space

“Officials say a missile launched from California intercepted a target missile from Alaska 23 minutes after it was launched on Friday, in outer space somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.”

“General Obering was particularly gratified that this test involved U.S. military personnel, rather than civilian technicians who developed the system's components. The troops at a fire-control facility in Colorado received news of the target missile's launch from the same radar systems that would be used in an actual emergency, and followed normal procedures to launch the interceptor. "I don't want to ask the North Koreans to launch against us. That would be a realistic end-to-end test. Short of that, this is about as good as it gets," he said.”

“General Obering says the sea-based part of the system is more developed than the land-based part, but he expressed confidence that the overall system has what he called a "good chance" of intercepting an enemy missile, if that becomes necessary.”

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keeping up: simply reversible surfactant

“The liquid molecule could prove invaluable in mitigating the environmental damage caused by oil spills, [...]

“Such a chemical could also simplify commercial oil extraction from currently inaccessible deposits, its designers say. [...]

“Bubble carbon dioxide through a solution and the surfactant switches on, leading the oil-and-water mix to form an emulsion,[...]

“To switch it off again, you bubble air through it, and the oil and water separate again,[...]”

A loose definition of surfactants:
Surface-active agents. These are usually organic compounds. These molecules contain a hydrophilic (strongly attracted to water) group at one end and a hydrophobic (only slightly attracted to water) group at the other end. You can think of this like a magnet: water is the North Pole, not-water is the South Pole. The surfactant molecule lines itself up so that the hydrophilic end is pointing north to the water and the hydrophobic end is pointing to whatever else is lying around. Usually the ‘South Pole’ is some kind of hydrocarbon, like oil or a fat. Hence surfactants are heavily used in all kinds of cleaning products, as well as many other products such as glue, paint and foods - anything that requires a water-based emulsion. Because the south end (hydrophobic) is often used to catch fats, that end is sometimes described as lipophilic (‘likes fats’).

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keeping up: claimed as the fastest changing gene area between chimps and humans

“There are only two changes in the 118 letters of DNA code that make up HAR1 between the genomes of chimps and chickens. But chimps and humans are 18 letter-changes apart. And those mutations occurred in just five million years, as we evolved from our shared ancestor.

“"That is an incredible amount of change to have happened in a few million years," Pollard notes.

“Subsequent experiments looking at the brains of human and primate embryos revealed that HAR1 is part of two overlapping genes. One of these genes, called HAR1F is active in nerve cells that appear early in embryonic development and play a critical role in the formation of the layered structure of the human cerebral cortex.

“The role of the other gene, called HAR1R, is less clear, but it also appears also to be involved in cortex development.”

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keeping up: a statistical look at the situation in iraq - the auroran sunset

Approximately once a month for the last four years, the Brookings Instition puts out the “Iraq Index”:

“The Iraq Index is a statistical compilation of economic, public opinion, and security data. This resource will provide updated information on various criteria, including crime, telephone and water service, troop fatalities, unemployment, Iraqi security forces, oil production, and coalition troop strength.

“The index is designed to quantify the rebuilding efforts and offer an objective set of criteria for benchmarking performance.”

Their latest offering is a 66 page PDF, with much interesting background. Here are few excerpts:

“Insurgent attacks tended to be concentrated (85%) in 4 of 18 provinces. These provinces contain less than 42% of the Iraqi population. Half of the Iraqi population (12 provinces) lives in areas that experience 6% of all attacks. 6 provinces listed a statistically insignificant number of attacks bacsed on population size. 80% of all attacks are directed towards Coalition Forces. 80% of all casualties are suffered by the Iraqi population.”

Average amount of electricity generating capacity nation-wide: prewar estimate 3958MW, July 2006 4400MW. Average hours of electricity/day: pre-war estimate 4-8 hours, July 2006 11.8 hours.

Iraqis seem to be becoming more pessimistic about their short-term future:

Those thinking “that things will be worse or much worse in six months”: April 2005 4%, July 2005 14%, September 2005 14%, October 2005 16%, November 2005 13%, March 2006 26%, June 2006 26%.

No doubt this pessimism relates to the recent prolific murdering of civilians carried out by the various criminal gangs that aim to overthrow the democratically elected government.

Iraqis seem to believe their own troops responsible for the gradual improvements and to be contemptuous of the US and Coalition troops:

“Whom do you trust to protect your personal safety?”: “Multinational Forces” 1%, “Insurgents/Resistance” 6%, “Iraqi Army” 35%, “Iraqi Police” 43%.

“What is your overall support for attacks?” “On US-led forces” 47%, “on Iraqi government security forces” 7%, “on Iraqi civilians” 1%.

In general the Sunni are out of step with the general population. The Shia are apparently more confident than the Kurds:

“Do you approve or disapprove (strongly or somewhat) of attacks on US-led forces in Iraq?” Approve: overall 47%, Kurd 16%, Shia 41%, Sunni 88%.

“Do you think that Iraq today is generally headed in the right direction or wrong direction?” Right direction: overall 64%, Kurd 76%, Shia 84%, Sunni 6%.

“Thinking about any hardships you might have suffered since the US-Britain invasion, do you personally think that ousting Saddam Hussein was worth it or not?“ Worth it: overall 77%, Kurd 91%, Shia 98%, Sunni 13%.

Note: I am highly suspicious of the “overall” numbers quoted above and on the reliability of these reported polls. It makes no sense to me that 47% of the population can support attacks on coalition forces (US-led forces), while the vast majority of the population outside the Sunni (ex-dominant) population are reported as regarding the ousting of Saddam Hussein as “worth it”.

Iraqis seem to feel surprisingly secure, even in Baghdad:

“I feel safe in my neighborhood“: Iraq 63%, Kurdish Areas 91%, Shi'ite Areas 82%, Baghdad Area 70%, Sunni Areas 21%.

Religious freedom seems to be popular:

“Do you prefer an Islamic government or a political system where citizens are allowed to practice their own religion?”: Own religion 59%, Islamic government 34%.

The report contains much much more and is worth a scan.

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keeping up: on methane hydrates and global warming - another small step

“Bubbles provide a highly efficient mechanism for transporting methane and have been observed rising from many different hydrate deposits around the world. If these bubbles escape singly, most or all of their methane would dissolve into the deep-sea and never reach the atmosphere. If instead, they escape in a dense bubble plume, or in catastrophic blowout plumes, such as the one studied by UCSB researchers, then much of the methane could reach the atmosphere. Blowout seepage could explain how methane from hydrates could reach the atmosphere, abruptly triggering global warming.”

“ [...] The next important step is to measure the frequency and magnitude of these events. The UCSB seep group is working toward this goal through the development of a long-term, seep observatory in active seep areas.”

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Fossil fuel replacements

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a recorder for smells

“So he has done away with pre-prepared smells and developed a system that records and later reproduces the odours. It's no easy task: "In video, you just need to record shades of red, green and blue," he says. "But humans have 347 olfactory sensors, so we need a lot of source chemicals." Somboon's system will use 15 chemical-sensing microchips, or electronic noses, to pick up a broad range of aromas. These are then used to create a digital recipe from a set of 96 chemicals that can be chosen according to the purpose of each individual gadget. When you want to replay a smell, drops from the relevant vials are mixed, heated and vaporised. In tests so far, the system has successfully recorded and reproduced the smell of orange, lemon, apple, banana and melon. "We can even tell a green apple from a red apple," Somboon says.”

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