March 3, 2008
We here at Mostly for Me definitely enjoy our science fiction - but this article goes one better. Instead of guessing about how our futures might look, this article from the 1901 Ladies Home Journal describes how THEY thought things would look in 2001, a century after the article was written.
Some of the material is dead on target. People are now taller. Ready-made meals are bought from stores, no cooking required. We do, in fact, use "Air-Ships" for transportation, and "wireless telephone and telegraph circuits" certainly "span the world." According to the prediction, we should be "able to telephone China quite as readily as we now talk from New York to Brooklyn. By an automatic signal they will connect with any circuit in their locality without the intervention of a 'hello girl.'" And so we are. There has never been a single "hello girl" on my telephone line, and it's a crying shame. And although we don't purchase things from stores by pneumatic tube, I would say that shopping online is close enough for me. It's not pneumatic, but I hear there are tubes.
Other predictions were not to accurate. "Peas and beans will be as large as beets," for example: no luck there. The ladies also predicted that mosquitoes, flies, rats, roaches and other pests would all be eliminated. From the heart of New York City, I'm here to testify that we're not even close. And let me add to that, the prediction our large cities will be free of traffic, as all transportation "...will be below or high above ground when brought within city limits." Sign me up for THAT!
The article is well worth a read - see a (barely) legible version by clicking on the image above.
Full article: davidthedesigner.com
January 3, 2008
"The agency that regulates the city's taxi industry has adopted a new fuel efficiency rule that will require all cabs purchased after October 1, 2008, to get at least 25 miles per gallon... New York City cabs purchased after October 1, 2008 [must] get at least 25 mpg. Those bought after the fall of 2009 will have to achieve 30 mpg."
As a big fan (and frequent ZipCar patron) of the 40-50mpg Toyota Prius, demanding 25 or even 30 miles per gallon from taxicabs seems a little silly. If NYC wants to mandate that we all take a trip back to the 90s, why not start with regulating huge flannel shirts and enormous white socks? But the real shocker in this CNN article comes later:
"Right now, a majority of the city's 13,000 cabs are Ford Crown Victorias. But the Crown Vic's V-8 engine currently gets around 14 mpg..."
Really? 14 miles per gallon? How embarrassing. With our fancy "green" office buildings and hordes of local farmers' markets, how did we let this one slip, NYC? It's like finding out that-after all that complaining you did-it is your OWN fart stinking up the living room. So come on TLC, quit strong-arming drivers into putting in GPS systems, and let's move on to implementing rules that actually matter.
Full article: Rule will force NYC taxis to go green
September 2, 2006
While your PS3 sits idle, Stanford's "Folding at Home" project plans to harness its processor to run simulations of protein folding. The results should lead the team of scientists closer to answers about curing Mad Cow disease, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, and certain cancers including hereditary emphysema.
According to the Folding at Home web site:
...it takes about a day [for a computer] to simulate a nanosecond (1/1,000,000,000 of a second). Unfortunately, proteins fold on the tens of microsecond timescale (10,000 nanoseconds). Thus, it would take 10,000 CPU days to simulate folding -- i.e. it would take 30 CPU years!So, while you're at the office, sleeping, or a little bit of both, let your PS3 do something useful.
And when you get home, you can use your controller to zoom around a 3D image of the protein you just rendered. (check out a sample screenshot) All it requires is downloading some free software, and you're ready to help save the human race through sheer absenteeism.
To sweeten the pot, not only will this research cure the aforementioned horrifying battery of diseases, but "learning about how proteins fold will also teach us how to design our own protein-sized "nanomachines" to do similar tasks." Curing cancer AND making nanomachines? Sign me up!
Download the screensaver version for Windows, Linux or OSX.
Full Article: Folding at Home: PS3 FAQ
Posted by MostlyForMe at 8:10 PM
May 18, 2006
While I don't actually understand most of what they're trying to tell me, I am convinced that Recombinomics is definitely saying something wonderful and futuriffic.
From what I managed to comprehend, it seems that Recombinomics thinks they can predict how viruses currently on the loose (like HIV and SARS) will recombine their genetic material to mutate into slightly different viruses. Apparently, if you can predict this recombination, then you can make a vaccine that's ready to combat the virus before it actually turns into an epidemic.
Also, please note how the logo manages to illustrate recombination among red & blue lines. I'm not saying I love it, I'm just saying somebody was thinking.
Full Article: http://www.recombinomics.com
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:53 PM
October 27, 2005
There are several reasons why it's amazing that scientists have completed the map of human genetic variation.
Firstly, there's the science part. This not only a window into how and why human variety exists the way we see it today, but also human history. As these scientists examine populations from around the globe, the migration patterns of early humans become clearer than ever. They have traced the origin of the species to Africa, using evidence still found in modern African populations' DNA as compared that of populations of other geographic areas.
Then, there's the part where it's a key to fighting disease:
Although any two unrelated people are the same at about 99.9% of their DNA sequences, the remaining 0.1% is important because it contains the genetic variants that influence how people differ in their risk of disease or their response to drugs. Discovering the DNA sequence variants that contribute to common disease risk offers one of the best opportunities for understanding the complex causes of disease in humans. -- hapmap.org
Lastly, and most heartwarmingly, there's the cooperation part. This project is a collaboration among scientists from Japan, the UK, Canada, China, the US and Nigeria, which is why the site is viewable in English, Japanese, Chinese and Yoruba. The map is free. You can download it from the web site. This is working together, folks. This is the kind of sharing unhindered by patents and profits, and funded by the government. Now, if only we could expand these humanitarian efforts and concept of sharing into the arena of, say, the Oil for Food Program.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:35 PM
September 16, 2005
" Hi! I'm the Glove Master and this is my apprentice Little Digit. We're going to take you to a new dimension in game play; a dimension that puts amazing powers right in your hand. With the flick of a finger you can devastate an army of attackers or deliver a deadly blow to your enemy." &mdashMattel's Power Glove Instructions for NES
After setting the hype machine to eleven for the better part of a year, Nintendo has finally delivered the goods on its next generation gaming console, currently named 'Revolution'. Well, at least some of the goods.
At the keynote address for this year's Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata finally took the wraps off of the much ballyhooed Revolution controller. Here's the skinny...
In order to attract a wider audience to gaming Nintendo has opted to give the Revolution controller a less alienating and frightening appearance. The siren's call that Nintendo chose to lead the flocks of would be gamers to the Revolution? A TV remote.
With a slim, milky white, vertical aesthic the standard Revolution controller looks like a cross between an original NES controller and an iPod. The point though is to be able to use this controller with one hand. How is that done? Well the controller is more of a wand with buttons than a traditional game controller. Using special Nintendo magic motion sensing technology the user will be able to interact with his/her game by waving the controller around.
Swing your bat, swing the controller. Look around the screen, move the controller. There's also room to plug in other devices into the button of the controller, such as more traditional analog sticks. This combination apparently can allow for movement with the analog stick and free looking by waving the controller around.
Sounds really interesting. I thought we did this with the Nintendo Powerglove, like 15 years ago, but I guess it's time to revisit it. The big question is whether gamers and 3rd party developers will embrace the new technology. My money? I think a good portion of Revolution games will support standard controllers through the expansion ports. I'd like to see the new controller catch on, but the battle for developer and consumer money is not an easy one.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:07 PM
August 18, 2005
"...buyers will be able to purchase a no-frills version for $299.99 or a bells-and-whistles version for $399.99."&mdashMicrosoft sets price for Xbox 360 - Aug. 17, 2005
Well blow me down. Bells-and-whistles version? Apparently the 20GB hard drive (not standard on the $299.99 version) counts as either a bell or a whistle and, according to the article, you won't be able to play current Xbox titles without a hard drive. Backwards compatibility also a 'bonus' feature.
XBL out of the box? Well possibly not, unless you shell out the extra $100.
The Xbox live headset also only comes with the $399.99 version.
[Edit: Apparently a wired headset comes will come with the $299.99 version and a fancy wireless headset will come with the $399.99]
Oh this one is awesome. Wireless controller? Well the $399.99 'suped-up' version has one, but the $299.99 model only comes with a wired controller that needs to be plugged in to play.
So really people, make no mistake the Xbox 360 costs $400. I'm not so much miffed at the price point, but marketing a watered down $299.99 'Lite' version seems like a slap in the face. Keep in mind that consoles have never broken the $300 mark on launch, so Microsoft is probably trying to say "Look we're competitively priced", but really it's not the system they've been advertising.
Kids make sure you put "Dear Santa, I would like 1 Xbox 360 (the $400 one only, don't go cheap on me now!)" on your Xmas list this year.
Image Courtesy of http://bastien.pons.free.fr/
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:49 PM
August 17, 2005
Although not actually new, it's certainly news to me: apparently there's a whole set of gene activators & deactivators called epigenomes, or Demethlyation agents. So, even though you start out with a certain genetic package (pre-disposed to pancreatic cancer but immune to chicken pox), these epigenomes can either activate or deactivate what you've been given. The good news is that they might be able to activate the cancer-suppressing gene, but the bad news is that in the domino setup of your genetic makeup, turning on one light could mean inadvertently knocking out the electricity for a city block. At the moment it seems like a great big mess of unknown, but with amazing potential. They're starting to map it all out, though. So, hopefully the answers will be clear sooner rather than later.
Here's more information than one human can possibly assimilate. And that's just gene 6.
Posted by MostlyForMe at 5:55 PM
"Game Boy micro measures just 4 inches wide, 2 inches long and 0.7 inches thin. It weighs 2.8 ounces, about the weight of 80 paper clips." - Nintendo Press Release
Nintendo released more information today about its creepy, premie-birth handheld the Game Boy Micro (apparently named after Nintendo's latest console market share). After years of trying, they have finally gotten the Game Boy to weigh the same as 80 paper clips, which resulted in Microsoft buying the copyright on things that weigh more than 80 paper clips but less than 97 thumbtacks. Sony basically ignored the news and opted to buy a portion of Saturn with its PSP returns.
Along with an MSRP of $99.99 (the same price as the Gamecube, mind you) Nintendo also states that:
The edgy hardware will come in both silver and black versions, each with three removable, fun faceplates so users can personalize their Micro depending on their mood.
WAIT!!.OMGZ!!1!!1 Please make one with FLAMES (and/or skulls)!!!
The black Game Boy micro will include one faceplate with a "Flame" design...
!!!!!!! GGGGGGAALAKJLJKL!!! Now only if it had sick, like totally l337 blue neon lig...
...and Start/Select buttons that glow with the cool, neon-like blue found on many cell phones.
BLLLARRRGG!!1!!1!SHIFT+1!! Oh thank you Nintendo GODS. I've finally found something to replace that gaping void since calculator watches went out of style. Man, Nintendo you truly are GAMERZ! ROxXoR! Crap, be right back, my Nintendog is wiping his ass all over the screen.
GB Micro Press Release: (Via Nintendo.)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 2:43 PM
"Warren Smith, the publisher of an evangelical Christian newspaper in Charlotte, N.C., compares the movie 'Jesus' to the jawbone of an ass."
The New York Times has an interesting little story about a group called the Jesus Video Project America that is distributing (spamming) America with a free DVD of a movie chronicling the life and times of everyone's favorite martyr. A movie for which no other title could do save Jesus: A Man, a Corndog and a Dream (later shortened to just Jesus).
Yes, Jesus has returned, and on DVD no less. Apparently the group shotgun-blasts this DVD all over town hoping that the locals realize high definition Jesus love is for real this time. Unlike that No-Money-Down-Real-Estate-Jesus horse doodie that came in the mail last week. The Devil is a clever fellow...
Putting Jesus in Every Mailbox - (Via: New York Times)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:32 AM
August 16, 2005
Look you've found Queens!
I remember Amazon's little search baby A9! Awwwh look, now it has maps!
Where Google has gone the Enemy of the State "we combine the tiny chip in your head with fancy satellite technology to show your location" route, A9 seems to take a more "your mom with a digital camera" vibe. Now you can see just how crappy your destination will be before you even leave!
(Via Hack the Planet.)
Posted by MostlyForMe at 11:10 PM