Iranian Drone Keeps Tabs on U.S. Carrier?

US aircraft carriers travel the seas in the middle of a Battle Group, protected by Cruisers, Iranian Drone videoFrigates, Submarines and fighter aircraft 24 hours a day when underway, there’s nothing more important than protecting the carrier. It should not be possible to penetrate this protective sphere without detection.

Defense Tech is covering an announcement from Al-Alam’s Iranian TV news that the Iranian Military successfully deployed a drone aircraft that stalked a US aircraft carrier recently and went undetected. You can watch the amazing 4 minute video on GOOG.

 Here’s a quote from Defense Tech:

The television’s anchor said the film, the property of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, showed a vessel from “the US fleet in the Persian Gulf”.

“A source in the Revolutionary Guard said the drone carried out its mission without US fighter pilots reaching it,” the television said.


Flat Light Bulbs!

CeeLite has developed a nifty new light emitting panel that with minimal AC application, will light up large volume area.

 CeeLite Light Panel

CeeLite even claims that their panels consume less energy per light hour, and produce more candle power than current incandescent, neon and florescent lighting.

Now I don’t know about you folks, but I find this incredibly cool.  With literally limitless applications for this technology, it won’t be too long before we see this as a common domestic light source.

[Found via Sci Fi Tech]

Top Super Computing Sites for November 2006

Looks like NEC’s Earth Simulator fell off the Top 10 list after topping at #1, now at #14.

Topping the list right now, and still reigning champeen, is the US Dept of Energy site in Livermore, Ca running the BlueGene eServer Blue Gene Solution from IBM with 131,072 processors.

Here’s the rest of the Top ten. Want to know more about how the list is compiled? Here’s the details on the process to determine the who, what and how.

History of Computer Chess (video)

It’s not ‘new’ news, but in 2004 the Computer History Museum in Mountain View held a panel discussion on the History of Computer Chess, you can watch the technical discussion on Google video here.

The thing that has always fascinated me about computer chess programs is their relation to AI advancements and the future possibilities in that area. I’m still waiting for my personal ‘agent’. If you have any interest in Computer Chess programming here’s the Beginners page at

Sargon IIIAnyone remember the classic Sargon on the Apple // or Z-80? Good times!

From the site:

Playing chess by computer began in the early 1950s, nearly as soon as computers became available.  As a human activity, chess is believed to require thinking, yet in 1997 a massively-parallel supercomputer, drawing on over four decades of continual advances in both hardware and software, defeated the best human player in the world.  Does playing chess require thinking? Or is human thinking perhaps a form of calculation, parts of which a computer can mimic? What is the tradeoff between knowledge and search? Was Claude Shannon’s 1950 prediction that studying computer chess might lead to applications in other areas fulfilled? This panel, comprising seminal contributors to the solution of this challenge including two of AI s leading pioneers will discuss these and other questions as well as the origin and development of computer chess and what it tells us about ourselves and the machines we build.

Mensa’s Holiday Gift Guide

Mensa is the organization that really does care about its members but especially its members lesser gifted friends and family. They have a Holiday Gift Guide to help you find that special something for your specially gifted ‘know-it-all’.

They’ve identified gifts for your brianiac child, food for your brain like chocolate sushi, cool gadgets, games and construction kits for gravity tools like a trebuchet ($29.95) and a catapult!

Of course they’ve got magic (though not Magic: The Gathering thank god) and IQ Tests. And last but not least, there’s the 365 Mensa Brain Puzzlers Page-A-Day Calendar for you to buff up that IQ. 😉

Microsoft Launches Social Networking Site for Devs

Microsoft recently launched a social networking site for IT pros called Aggreg8. The purpose of the site is to become a MySpace-like forum for developers to share scripts, tools, or best practices, or even to just connect with others within the profession.

Users can collaborate with fellow devs through existing workgroups, or they can create their own. Storage space will also be provided in the groups to allow users to post messages and files, and share events.

From Kevin Remde’s MSDN blog announcing the site:

Aggreg8 is a site for IT Pros to mix-n-mingle.  It’s like a “MySpace” (or a Windows Live Spaces) for IT Pros, complete with working groups on various topics that IT Pros get excited about.  You can setup a profile, join groups, enter posts, add favorites, share content, mix, mingle, and learn.”


Space Shuttle Computers May Not Gracefully Handle New Year Transition?

Wow, seems that as the shuttle Discovery is being hauled out to the launching pad to prepare for an early December launch, we learn that NASA has no idea what the on-board computers will do during a new year transition from Dec 31-Jan1.

They can not say with a high level of confidence that the computers will handle that transition gracefully, in fact there is enough worry that they are mitigating it by trying to ensure they land on New Year’s Eve. Or in case something happens and they need to remain in space ’till the new year, NASA is devising a strategy to hack together some procedures to work around the problem though they don’t indicate they know yet how they’ll do it. Here’s a quote to inspire confidence from a Discovery astronaut:

“We’ve just never had the computers up and going when we’ve transitioned from one year to another,” said Discovery astronaut Joan Higginbotham. “We’re not really sure how they’re going to operate.”


Overclocking out of the Factory?!

Remember back in the day overclocking was all the rage and it was a battle between the geeks trying to squeeze out more than the warranty justified and the cpu manufacturers trying to find ways to prevent you from overclocking? Then we learned that mom and pop shops were delivering generic PCs to customers with overclocked cpus and charging more?

Well look where we are now thanks to Gateway and their new FX530. Gateway will deliver to you an overclocked machine out of the factory! Here’s a quote from their page:

Just say no to DIY overclocking and let us do it for you! We’ll factory overclock your Intel® quad-core processor.  Yep, you read that right: factory overclock, which is something that most other major PC manufacturers don’t do.”

So there you have it. Why risk overclocking your cpu and potentially hosing it when Gateway will overclock it on the factory floor *and* give you a warranty?

Billion Tree Campaign

Professor Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2004 and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, has planted more than 30 million trees in 12 African countries since 1977.  When a corporate group in the United States told Professor Maathai it was planning to plant a million trees, her response was: “That’s great, but what we really need is to plant a billion trees.

treesOut of that idea comes the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign with a goal of combating global warming (assuming there really is global warming :-) ).

I have to be honest with you, I’m no tree hugger, but I really like this idea!

Dominate The World!

Check out this new, entirely web-based Risk clone.  No downloads necessary!  This game is well designed, and executed with a style all it’s own.

 Grand Strategy

You play at your own pace, with games lasting anywhere from minutes to weeks!  It only takes moments to learn the interface, and is very user friendly. 

Join the struggle to conquer the world by wresting your enemies countries from their grasp, and stomping them into submission!

[Found via LinkSwarm]

Happy Birthday Intel 4004

The chip that started it all is approaching middle age. Back in November of 1971, Intel publicly announced the world’s first customer-programmable microprocessor and started an electronics revolution that changed our world. For more details, here’s the wikipedia page on the i4004.


Produced: From late 1971 to 1974
Manufacturer: Intel
CPU Speeds: 740 kHz
Architecture: pre x86
Socket: 16 pin

Adobe Donating Flash Code to Mozilla

From Betanews:

“Adobe announced today that it was donating its Flash scripting language engine to the Mozilla Foundation, where it will become an open source project called Tamarin as well as being integrated directly into the Firefox Web browser. Adobe is opening up its ActionScript Virtual Machine, which forms the core of Flash Player version 9. The most recent release in June added improved debugging, faster start times, full runtime error reporting, and better performance.”


Cup Communicator, A High Tech Throwback to String and Can

I found this interesting review on ‘we make money not art’ about combining the form and function of an old children’s toy with modern day walkie talkies. The site has a short interview with the creator of the Cup Communicator.

Its creator Duncan Wilson starts with a pair of small and simple walkie talkies, adapts them to his needs by disabling some of its functions, attaching custom controls and switches, reducing the battery size and finally changing the the configuration of everything else like the antennas, speakers and mics.

You lightly squeeze the polyurethane cup to activate the push to talk function and speak into the cup. The end of the rope (antenna) has a red LED that lights up to show you when you’re receiving an incoming signal from the other cup.

Cup1  Cup2

Flu Prevention Includes More Sunlight?

Nature is reporting on scientific studies (performed internationally) looking into the reasons for a sharp jump in influenza during the later part of the year each year, particularly after the Winter Solstice. The Flu kills about 1 million people a year worldwide so there is a lot of interest in understanding how to prevent it besides simply immunizing 6+ billion people.

They found numerous causes for the seasonal spikes including: “Low relative humidity favours influenza virus aerosols, and indoor crowding facilitates transmission. Autumn brings young children together in schools, and Christmas travel mixes up previously separated populations.”

But they also found a slight but interesting relation to Vitamin D deficiencies which could be due to reduced sunlight during the Winter months. You can read the full assessment of the studies in the article above, but it makes me wonder if suntanning salons provide the body with the vitamins necessary to help combat the flu.

Fishopolis: Revolutionizing Smartphone Arcade Gaming?

FishopolisRivia is a new software developer that focuses on Windows Mobile devices.  They have a new game out called Fishopolis with a unique controlling system which utilizes the phone’s camera to detect movement. A trial version with access to the first 3 levels is available from their site, or you can purchase it from Handango for US $12.95.

Here’s a more detailed description from the Rivia site:

Fishopolis is Real-Action Shoot’em Up game. Your task is to shoot fish, but what the real fun part is that you are using your whole phone to aim. Simply – to aim to the right, move your phone to the right. Fishopolis is using the image from the phone’s camera to detect movement. Now this is real action!

Go through the quest for Fishotreasure which consists of 11 levels with 8 different types of fish to shoot or try yourself in Time and Countdown challenges.

This is the game that will make you feel that your smartphone is really Smart!
– Unique controlling system, based on camera movement
– 3 game modes – Story Mode, Time Trial, Countdown Mode
– Story Mode with 11 levels
– 8 different types of fish with unique behavior to shoot at
Amazing Graphics and Sound experience
– Possibility to keep the high scores for each game mode

[found via msmobiles]

Ten Greatest Lego Creations

Working off of Andy’s earlier Halloween Lego submission, I came across this article on OddPeak about the ten best Lego creations they’ve come across.


Being a past Lego enthusiast myself, I find these creations very intuitave and enlightening.  Most of the constructions use or depict current technology, and are most impressive; considering they are built from what are mostly considered children’s toys!

Makes me wish I still had all my Legos from my childhood…

[found via OddPeak]

Anti-Virus SW now available for WM Devices

Though AV software has been available for some time on Symbian phones, looks like Windows Mobile is popular enough now to demand its own version! Symantec has released a version of this AV protection for Windows Mobile 5 devices on PocketPCs and Smartphones.

Their service also includes LiveUpdate Wireless service to automatically update threat protection signatures to ensure protection against new viruses, Trojans, and worms.

[found via msmobiles]

GOOG’s Gmail For Mobile Launches

GOOG just launched their mobile gmail service. It’s an application for your mobile that provides gmail service as fast on your mobile as it does from the desktop.

Amongh the expected standard seemless mail services you expect, you can also search the inbox, view attachments including pics and PDFs, click to call your gmail contact.