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April 2005 Archives

April 1, 2005

La Vida Robot

This story is from the April edition of wired magazine. I wasn't going to post about it, but everyone I e-mail this article to ends up commenting on it. The full article is worth a read.

From Wired.com:

LA Vida Robot

Across campus, in a second-floor windowless room, four students huddle around an odd, 3-foot-tall frame constructed of PVC pipe. They have equipped it with propellers, cameras, lights, a laser, depth detectors, pumps, an underwater microphone, and an articulated pincer. At the top sits a black, waterproof briefcase containing a nest of hacked processors, minuscule fans, and LEDs. It's a cheap but astoundingly functional underwater robot capable of recording sonar pings and retrieving objects 50 feet below the surface. The four teenagers who built it are all undocumented Mexican immigrants who came to this country through tunnels or hidden in the backseats of cars. They live in sheds and rooms without electricity. But over three days last summer, these kids from the desert proved they are among the smartest young underwater engineers in the country.

April 4, 2005

Dionigi Tettamanzi: The Next Pope?

According to online betting sites, Dionigi Tettamanzi is the odds-on favorite to become the next pope. Dionigi Tettamanzi is known to be pretty conservative, and incidentally one of his claims to fame is his outspoken position against lotteries and gambling.

this article also pegged Tettamanzi as top draft pick back in 2002:

last month Pope John Paul II gave a hint to the outside world as to who should be his successor when he appointed the 68-year-old Archbishop of Genoa, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi as the new Archbishop of Milan, succeeding Cardinal Martini, - a man many had earmarked to be the next Pope. Cardinal Tettamanzi was born at Renate, Milan on March 14, 1934 and, from the age of five, wanted to be a priest.

He entered the minor seminary at the age of 11 and was ordained riest in June 1957 by the future Pope Paul V1 while he Archbishop of Milan.

He is quite an affable, humble man and looks a bit like Pope John XX111.

San Francisco May Regulate Blogging

From personaldemocracy

San Francisco May Regulate Blogging

Just when you thought the Federal Election Commission had it out for the blogosphere, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors took it up a notch and announced yesterday that it will soon vote on a city ordinance that would require local bloggers to register with the city Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs that exceed $1,000 in the aggregate.

Blogs that mention candidates for local office that receive more than 500 hits will be forced to pay a registration fee and will be subject to website traffic audits, according to Chad Jacobs, a San Francisco City Attorney.

April 5, 2005

Google Maps

For those who haven't seen Google Maps yet, you don't know what you've been missing, you have to check it out.

For those who have, Google silently released a new feature early on Monday morning. Their new satellite imagery feature is simply amazing. The detail on areas such as New York City is incredible.

I know this is not the first on-line satellite imagery product, but it is the first with neat navigation tools such as the slide rule for zooming, and the ability to click and drag your map to view areas around your search, all with out having to reload your page.

For added fun with Google Maps, check out Movin Gmap.

April 6, 2005

Star Wars Fans in Line at the Wrong Theater

From Variety.com

Inside Move: Fanatics laying it on the line

If a movie isn't playing at a theater, will its fans still line up outside? For "Star Wars" fans, the answer is a befuddling yes.

Saturday, 46 days before "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" opens on May 19, the trilogy's enthusiasts began their vigil outside Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Problem is 20th Century Fox doesn't plan to open the film at the Chinese, opting instead for the ArcLight a few blocks east.

'Transformers' Live Action Movie

From cnn.com:

Michael Bay may direct 'Transformers'

Michael Bay is in talks to direct the DreamWorks/Paramount live-action adaptation of "The Transformers," Hasbro's popular 1980s toy line of giant robots that morph into cars, trucks, planes, ships and other technological creations.

A November 17, 2006, release date has been set. Bay's credits include the two "Bad Boys" movies, "Pearl Harbor," "Armageddon" and "The Rock."

April 15, 2005

T.O. has 'sub-standard deal'

From espn.com

T.O. has 'sub-standard deal'

"I know I'm a top player in the game, and my current contract doesn't justify that," Owens said. "The fact that I signed this contract, that I'm under contract, doesn't factor into anything when it comes to the National Football League. [The Eagles] can cut me anytime they want to -- even if I'm performing well, I'm healthy and I'm putting up numbers, just because they don't want to pay a player that money.

"If they can do what's best for their financial future, then why can't I?"

Rosenhaus echoed Owens' comments, pointing to teams' ability to part ways with players despite signing them to long-term contracts.

"He was nothing short of remarkable last year with the Eagles," Rosenhaus told Patrick. "He absolutely outperformed his deal. I've had many players ... [who] have been cut when they underperformed despite having just did a multi-year deal the year before like Hugh Douglas with the Jaguars.

" ... Why can't we say that he outperformed this deal which was done under poor circumstances. What's wrong with that?"

Surprises Lurk in Satellite Snaps

From Wired

Surprises Lurk in Satellite Snaps

Notable surprises include a just-erupted volcano, violent scenes from Iraq (a bomb going off in Baghdad and a firefight in Najaf) and even a 747 landing in Tokyo, something difficult to capture given that the satellite is moving at 17,000 mph.

Click on the link to the full article to see photos.

Scientist Urges Dormant Eggs to Life to Test Evolution

From ABC News

Scientist Urges Dormant Eggs to Life to Test Evolution

They found that eggs that had been trapped beneath the sediment years ago had never hatched, but miraculously, were still alive.

A little incubation and bingo, the eggs hatched into animals not as they appear today, but long ago when the eggs were first deposited on the floor of the lake. How they survived all that time is a great mystery.


Furthermore, DNA analysis shows that the changes were passed on genetically from one generation to the next, until they were no longer needed, thus confirming that the researchers had caught evolution in the act.

April 18, 2005

Flying Cars Ready To Take Off

From CBS News

Flying Cars Ready To Take Off

Have you ever dreamt about the day you can buzz around in your very own flying machine? Well, that day may be sooner than you think.

The folks at NASA have built something called “The Highway in the Sky.” It's a computer system designed to let millions of people fly whenever they please, and take off and land from wherever they please, in their very own vehicles.

And here’s the good news -- a lot of people are building machines you’ll be able to buy.

One of those people is an inventor named Woody Norris. This week, he will receive America’s top prize for invention. It’s called the Lemelson-MIT award -- a half-million dollar cash prize to honor his life’s work, which includes a brand new personal flying machine. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.

It's called the AirScooter, and self-taught inventor Woody Norris says it goes on sale later this year.

AirScooter's website

Star Wars: Revelations

Panic Struck Productions has just released their first Star Wars movie, 'Revelations.' It is available for download on their website: Star Wars: Revelations.

For those of you who haven't heard about this project yet, here is a brief description from their website:

Revelations was started with a hope and desire to create a low-budget independent film with a big-budget production value. With affordable technology and a pool of talented artists around the world, we wanted to see how far Panic Struck Productions could take it. Everyone involved in the film is a volunteer and no one was paid to work or be involved in this project. The film is a combined effort to artists, industry professionals, and fans, all working together in a dedicated effort to produce a high-end film.

First off, "Revelations" is a non-profit film. That's right, we cannot make money from "Revelations" nor would we want to. Star Wars is a registered trademark of Lucas Film LTD. and it is through George Lucas' kindness he allows young filmmakers to play in his wonderful world. Being huge fans ourselves we would want, if anything, to promote and share the magic and love of the star wars films and what it's creator brought to the industry and audiences around the world.

Revelations will be FREE for everyone to download (and hopefully enjoy) here online.

The film is over 40 minutes long. I haven't watched it yet, but if you do get a catch to view it, post your comments about it.

Boston vs New York: Poker Challenge

From boston.com

PartyPoker.net’s Boston vs. New York Poker Challenge

NESN is taking the rivalry between Boston and New York from the field to the felt with PartyPoker.net’s Boston vs. New York Poker Challenge at Turning Stone Resort & Casino. It’s a unique team based no-limit Texas Hold’em challange where six poker players from each city play for both individual and team cash prizes.

April 22, 2005

Inventor Creates Soundless Sound System

From yahoo.com

Inventor Creates Soundless Sound System

Elwood "Woody" Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter — an aluminum square — was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player.

"There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall," said the 63-year-old Californian.

And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.

Norris' HyperSonic Sound system has won him an award coveted by inventors — the $500,000 annual Lemelson-MIT Prize. It works by sending a focused beam of sound above the range of human hearing. When it lands on you, it seems like sound is coming from inside your head.

Norris said the uses for the technology could come in handy — in cars, in the airport or at home.

"Imagine your wife wants to watch television and you want to read a book, like the intellectual you are," he said to the crowd. "Imagine you are a lifeguard or a coach and you want to yell at someone, he'll be the only one to hear you."

April 28, 2005

Lifesize LEGO Han Solo in Carbonite

From Nathan Sawaya's website:

Wanting do a Star Wars model, and also wanting to do something never been done before (to my knowledge), I decided to make Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Life size. It took about 10,000 bricks, almost all dark gray, and about three months of on and off building. I built the sculpture so it can break down easily into smaller parts, thus making it mobile. Because, like most people, I like to take large sculptures of people frozen in carbonite with me whenever I travel.

See the 70" x 30" x 10" model for yourself at his website:

Funny Quote

I can never get enough of Gov. Arnold

From nytimes.com

"Californians can't get from place to place on little fairy wings," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in announcing a plan in January that could allow private investors to build toll roads. "We are a car-centered state. We need roads."

April 29, 2005

Pam Anderson Releases Explicit New Video

From kentuckyfriedcruelty.com

Pam Anderson Narrates KFC Exposé

You won't find Pamela Anderson's new release at your local multiplex--the former Baywatch star and longtime animal advocate's latest project is "Kentucky Fried Cruelty," an undercover exposé blowing the whistle on the cruel treatment of animals at KFC's factory farm and slaughterhouse suppliers. The video details just how horribly KFC treats chickens—birds are so crippled that they can't even walk, live birds are forced into tanks of scalding-hot water while completely conscious and able to feel pain, and Moorefield, W.Va., slaughterhouse workers kill birds by slamming them against the wall and stomping on them.

Dutch plans for iPod tax

From theregister.co.uk

Dutch plans for iPod tax could kill MP3 industry

The idea of all levy based legislation is that some form of copyright collections agency collects tax by imposing a surcharge at the point of sale for any storage devices that could possibly be used to store pirated works. This certainly extends to the iPod which has up to 60 GB of storage, and which can store MP3 files.

Because of the fact that the great bulk of iPods are used to store legitimate iTunes files which are Digital Rights Management (DRM) protected, this means that copyright is being purchased twice over for these devices if a levy is also paid.

The charge will be levied against every MP3 player, and is effectively a tax on the MP3 format. Some efforts to place MP3 files under DRM protection will also mean that these will pay copyright twice over.

Levies are an outmoded and unfair way of rewarding existing monopolies and are only ever put in place to keep ancient publishing copyright agencies in business.

In almost every case the organization itself that carries out the collection is lavish and well funded, the proceeds are distributed only to large multinational music publishers, bolstering their revenues unfairly. It is little more than a club of companies that "have a right" to make money.

If this legislation comes into play, the surcharge will be as much as €3.28 ($4.3) per gigabyte. This might put €180 ($235) to the price of a top end iPod.

About April 2005

This page contains all entries posted to The Inane Asylum in April 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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