VnutZ's Articles, Page 10 of 66
Physicists are always creating the darndest things. In the past few days, a video created at the Tel Aviv University demonstrates the flux pinning effect that’s now being called quantum locking. This differs from typical demonstrations in that it’s not simply magnetic levitation. As can be seen in the video, the suspended object is locked into place regardless of it’s orientation or the orientation of it’s reference point. It works similar to the Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect but differs in that the suspended object is intentionally super thin to allow magnetic flux-tubes through the object instead of repelling them. The superconducting material then “locks” into place within the magnetic field.
It would appear that lawmakers just find the military easy to push around. As yet another source for recouping the $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, VA benefits have been proposed for the chopping block. In the bipartisan words of congressional veterans’ committees, “We believe no constituency better understands the challenge America faces, and no constituency is better suited to, again, lead by example by putting country first.” Currently, no specific cuts have been proposed but the committee supported themselves by citing prior cuts to the VA from previous budget showdowns.
Two legends of the computing age have passed recently. Shortly after Apple’s Steve Jobs passed away, the legendary Dennis Ritchie has died as well. Ritchie created the C language, which essentially is at the core of everything today, and was the co-developer of the first UNIX operating system which in some permutation exists in nearly all operating systems today.
Anybody having issues with the upgrade to iOS 5 and the Apple iCloud?
Thus far, I’ve noticed most of my music files no longer play properly in the renamed Music app. The player just sits at 0:00 while indicating that it’s playing or it just skips through tracks before hanging like that. I’ve noticed it seems to have no problem with iTunes purchased, DRM-crippled music. In various Google searches, this problem has been reported by others in addition to various issues regarding cloud syncing causing duplications and other problems with contacts, the calendar, etc.
So the USA, Saudi Arabia and Iran walk into a bar …
The latest international scuff between these countries involves the FBI’s discovery of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington DC. At the center of it all is a 56 year old Iranian-American named Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, a Quds Force member. Supposedly, Arbabsiar was to solicit a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the plot. He just happened to make contact with an informant to the DEA. The United States has begun engaging the international community for increased sanctions and political isolation with 100 diplomats invited to the State Department for a full briefing on the details along with briefings to the United Nations from the State Department, Justice Department and CIA. However, many pundits and experts are already declaring the whole situation laughably absurd as Iran denies the entire incident. Analysts can’t fathom Arbabsiar, a used car salesmen from Texas, as a probable agent nor do they believe Mexican drug cartels want to get involved with heat from the Global War on Terror.
The unmanned Predator drones flying over Afghanistan have proven themselves to be formidable weapons and intelligence gathering platforms. Recently, it’s come to light that the UAV ground control stations (GCS) seem to be infected with a key logger. Some believe the virus made its way onto the GCSs via removable flash drives despite a DoD ban on the practice. Despite following removal instructions from the Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky, the key logging software keeps reappearing on the GCS. It hasn’t yet been traced to a point of origin and a damage assessment is allegedly underway. To add insult to injury, the 24th Air Force, responsible for network security, learned about the infection by reading the story on the Internet as opposed to internal reporting channels.
Not too long ago, researchers at Cern were puzzled over measurements showing neutrinos traveling faster than light speed. In a nutshell, the team was measuring the time it took for neutrinos to traverse 732km from Cern to Gran Sasso through solid rock using OPERA. They were perplexed to find the neutrinos arriving 60 nanoseconds too early and repeated experimentation continued to produce the same result. Not being able to figure out the anomaly, the community at large was queried looking for fault with the experiment to which many physicists have already responded. The prevailing debate now rests with clock synchronization and whether relativity itself was affecting their ability to time the neutrinos properly.
Researchers at the University of California Berkeley are improving the science behind mind-reading. Much like reverse engineering an encryption algorithm using both the cipher and plaintext, their machine begins with a known library of images and attempts to map brain activity to them. Subjects were shown video from YouTube movie trailers (roughly 18 million seconds known to the machine) while an fMRI mapped their brain activity. Their algorithm then attempts to correlate those activities to particular shapes, colors and movements to recreate video of what a subject is thinking about. “You’re reconstructing a movie that they saw using other movies that they didn’t actually see,” says neuroscientist Jack Gallant, to which he caveats, “We’re trying to understand how the brain works … We’re not trying to build a brain-decoding device.” [Be sure to watch the embedded video]
I’ve been a homeowner for nearly a year and have a question for all the other homeowners out there. If you use an appliance warranty company – who do you have and do you recommend them?
When we bought our house, the seller included a year of basic coverage with First American which has been … okay. I’ve got about a month to either renew with them, pick a new coverage company or go at it solo. I’m inclined to have coverage as several things have already gone wrong with the house and its definitely saved a ton of money thus far. I found a website that offered reviews on these companies and wasn’t impressed to find that nobody scores well. First American scored a dismal 1.5 stars but nobody really scored any better than 3 unless they had a mere handful of reviews (probably fake). Perhaps its just the nature of the business that customers only complain.
Wall Street has seen a different kind of activity over the past two weeks. A social movement called Occupy Wall Street has been massing around the financial sector protesting the destruction of America through poor decision making activities by the free market. Protesters have been lurching around with white painted faces and suits mocking corporate zombie behavior. Inspired by Arab Spring’s ability to motivate the general public, Occupy Wall Street is aiming to get as many folks involved to show their distaste for how the finance industry has gotten away scot-free with its damage to America. Speaking for the group, Patrick Bruner states, “Our main concern is the way that democracy is hijacked through wealth inequality.” Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, producer of Capitalism: A Love Story, is no friend to the industry either and commented in an interview, “The rich are getting away with a huge crime. Nobody’s been arrested on Wall Street for the crash of 2008. They’re not paying their fair share of the taxes.” While the movement thus far has been relatively quiet, it has produced scuffles with the NYPD after an arrest of 700 protesters blocking the Brooklyn Bridge to include many reports of pepper spraying.
In a translation posted to CNN, the Islamic Republic News Agency of Iran reports “The Navy of the Iranian Army will have a powerful presence near the United States borders.” Although no Iranian warships are anywhere near the American east coast, last February, two of their Navy vessels traversed the Suez Canal (which none had done since 1979). The action was announced by their Navy Commander, “the same way that the world arrogant power is present near our marine borders, we, with the help of our sailors who follow the concept of the supreme jurisprudence, shall also establish a powerful presence near the marine borders of the United States.”
There’s an old saying about a million monkeys hammering away at keyboards such that eventually, one of them will randomly produce the works of Shakespeare. Some people refer to it as the infinite monkey theorem and in the past various feasibility studies have looked into how valid it is. Well, the theory has been put to the test using Amazon EC2 distributed computing resources by Jesse Anderson.
“For this project, I used Hadoop, Amazon EC2, and Ubuntu Linux. Since I don’t have real monkeys, I have to create fake Amazonian Map Monkeys. The Map Monkeys create random data in ASCII between a and z. It uses Sean Luke’s Mersenne Twister to make sure I have fast, random, well behaved monkeys. Once the monkey’s output is mapped, it is passed to the reducer which runs the characters through a Bloom Field membership test. If the monkey output passes the membership test, the Shakespearean works are checked using a string comparison. If that passes, a genius monkey has written 9 characters of Shakespeare. The source material is all of Shakespeare’s works as taken from Project Gutenberg.”
So what’s next for NASA with the retirement of the space shuttles? The recently released Global Exploration Roadmap outlines a path for manned exploration to Mars. Along the way, NASA will build the necessary technologies by testing manned exploration to an NEA (Near Earth Asteroid) or by returning to the moon. The roadmap is a continuation of the Global Exploration Strategy previously released in 2007 representing NASA’s continued recognition of international participation and growing commercial technology as critical components to success.
“International coordination and cooperation expands the breadth of human space exploration beyond what any one nation may accomplish on its own and increases the probability of success of human and robotic space exploration initiatives. More importantly, it will enable the complex and challenging missions to the Moon, asteroids, and Mars. Achieving the vision of sustainable human space exploration, including human missions to Mars, requires political support and resources over an extended period of time.”