Archive for September 22nd, 2011
Some people have days where everything seems to go wrong. Robert Brodnick, of Washington, Pa. is one such person, who got into trouble with the cops.
Police have charged Brodnick with driving drunk twice in the same night — the second time about 15 minutes after they released him into the custody of a friend.
If it’s true, it will mark the biggest discovery in physics in the past half-century: Elusive, nearly massive subatomic particles called neutrinos appear to travel just faster than light, a team of physicists in Europe reports. If so, the observation would wreck Einstein’s theory of special relativity, which demands that nothing can travel faster than light.
In fact, the result would be so revolutionary that it’s sure to be met with skepticism all over the world. “I suspect that the bulk of the scientific community will not take this as a definitive result unless it can be reproduced by at least one and preferably several experiments,” says V. Alan Kostelecky, a theorist at Indiana University, Bloomington. He adds, however, “I’d be delighted if it were true.”
The data come from a 1300-metric-ton particle detector named Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus (OPERA). Lurking in Italy’s subterranean Gran Sasso National Laboratory, OPERA detects neutrinos that are fired through the earth from the European particle physics laboratory, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland. As the particles hardly interact at all with other matter, they stream right through the ground, with only a very few striking the material in the detector and making a noticeable shower of particles.
There’s no denying it: every Tron fan pictured himself on one of those amazingly designed, super-fast bikes from the movie. Parker Brothers Choppers turned that dream into reality a year ago, when they created the first Tron Lightcycle, but now they’ve taken it a step further and turned the gas-guzzling beast into an electric bike.
The all-new Electric Tron Lightcycle is powered by a 96 volt electric motor and lithium ion batteries. Its top speed is in excess of 100 mph, and its range is 100 miles on a single range, with a mere 35-minute recharge time.
As for practicality, we’re not experts on motorcycles, but it does seem a bit hard to ride. We guess it’s a small price to pay for the looks you’ll be getting when riding this beauty — especially at night, when the bike lights up just like the one in the movie. .
Pricing and availability are unknown at this point, but as a reference, the old, gas-powered version costs close to $55,000. Check out a video of the Electric Tron Lightcycle in action below.
Available until cuteness becomes an act of terror
Via Maggie Stott
A hundred and fifty years ago, adults were incensed about child labor. Low-wage kids were taking jobs away from hard-working adults.
Sure, there was some moral outrage at seven-year olds losing fingers and being abused at work, but the economic rationale was paramount. Factory owners insisted that losing child workers would be catastrophic to their industries and fought hard to keep the kids at work–they said they couldn’t afford to hire adults. It wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place.
Part of the rationale to sell this major transformation to industrialists was that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence–it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.
Large-scale education was never about teaching kids or creating scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.
Of course, it worked. Several generations of productive, fully employed workers followed. But now?
Say what you will about the quality of Chevy Chase’s movies, but you have to admit his influence on modern American comedy is vast. As Saturday Night Live’s first breakout star, he was largely responsible for the show becoming a surprise hit, paving the way for every comedic actor and actress that followed in his footsteps by transitioning from castmember to movie star.
On SNL, Chevy Chase co-created (with writer Herb Sargent) and hosted the segment Weekend Update, which has gone on to become the longest-running sketch on what has become arguably the most influential comedy show in this country’s history. Although fake TV news had existed prior to this on the BBC’s That Was the Week that Was and Laugh-In’s “News” segment, Weekend Update was the earliest fully-formed incarnation of modern American faux-journalism and it came to shape The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and even The Onion in the decades that followed.
Like a specter rising from the grave, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark is back and doing what she does best – providing her signature, unflinching, tongue-in-cheek commentary of some of the “greatest” B-movies of all time!
While the ghostly corpse of a beautiful victim haunts her killer’s wedding, Elvira is paralyzed – not by fear, but by a poisonous spider-bite!
Recently, I gave a talk at the 2011 Open Hardware Summit. The program committee had requested that I prepare a “vision” talk, something that addresses open hardware issues 20-30 years out. These kinds of talks are notoriously difficult to get right, and I don’t really consider myself a vision guy; but I gave it my best shot. Fortunately, the talk was well-received, so I’m sharing the ideas here on my blog.
Currently, open hardware is a niche industry. In this post, I highlight the trends that have caused the hardware industry to favor large, closed businesses at the expense of small or individual innovators. However, looking 20-30 years into the future, I see a fundamental shift in trends that can tilt the balance of power to favor innovation over scale.
If you can understand electronic and circuit schematic, this is pretty interesting.