What is the greatest medical milestone?

BBC News informs us that the British Medical Journal is launching a competition to decide the greatest medical breakthrough. You can vote at the article choosing one of the categories. The categories are:

Anaesthesia, Antibiotics,Chlorpromazine, Computers, DNA, Evidence based medicine, Germ theory, Imaging, Immunology, Oral rehydration therapy, The Pill, The Risks of smoking, Sanitation, Tissue culture, Vaccines

Below is a drawing showing the chloroform inhaler developed by John Snow in the 1850s.
Chloroform Inhaler

Jetcast Broadcasting

Jetcast Logo

The folks over at Jetcast have developed a new service that provides a nifty way to broadcast audio and video over the internet. With their simple player, anyone can become a broadcaster, minus the costly equipment and massive bandwidth.

Jetcast is an optimized network, which is great for broadcasting. Every viewer in the Jetcast network is also a broadcaster or partial broadcaster. The original broadcaster provides bandwidth bursts for the first level viewers, and the first level viewers share their data that feeds other viewers. All the viewers construct a mesh network. Each viewer has a couple of neighbors who established a direct connection with it and shares data with its neighbors. All the while, everything is optimized using the Jetcast server farm.

After several hours of viewing audio and video channels, it seems that Jetcast lives up to its name. I didnt experience a single inturruption in service, nor any of the traditional “net-burps” or extensive loading times.

Although this service is still in its infancy, and by no means overshadows similar popular services, I’d keep an eye on them. I have a positive feeling that Jetcast will surprise us all in the near future.

Will The Real iPhone Please Stand Up?

Finally the iPhone is a reality. Well, it hasn’t really shipped yet so at least it’s confirmed for delivery on a future date. But over the last year and half or so there has been a lot of speculation among the Apple and mobile phone enthusiasts, so much so that they’ve been working on some concept designs in an effort to anticipate what the iPhone would look like.

At the bottom is a pic of the real iPhone, but immediately below is a gallery of concept pics found through an image search for ‘iPhone’. Some are pretty imaginative, others simply borrowed from what Apple has already shipped and they mashed together several Apple products. But if Apple has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for the unexpected and to have your socks knocked off. Needless to say, the real iPhone is much much cooler than these concept devices.
Check these out.

iphone1 iPhone3. iPhone4

iPhone6 iPhone7 iPhone8

iPhone10 iPhone-9 iPhone2
iPhone5 iPhone8

The real iPhone that you can purchase this summer:

Real iPhone

Ugly Gadgets At CES

Tired of hearing about all the glitz and cool shiny new toys that will make it to your Chirstmas wish list in 12 months being demo’d at CES? Tired of seeing the latest slick, ultra-hip Apple *pod product of the year?

Take a tour of Wired’s gallery of ugly gems of mediocrity they’re seeing at CES right now like this VenMill Industries’ Skip-Away (i think it buffs out the scratches in your CDs). Now that i’ve been looking at it for a while it kind of has a 70’s retro thing going on.
CES Gadget

Word of the Day: Blibbet


Blibbet is the name of the O-like symbol in the original Microsoft logo. A lot of old school Microsofties have fond memories of the blibbet. It’s been memorialized in the “Save the Blibbet” campaign and honored by the “Blibbet Burger” served in the MS cafeterias.

Here’s a mouse cake of the blibbet for ex-Microsoftie Rick Saada celebrating his birthday and some products of the time he worked on back in the day (like ‘Money for Bob’!).

From a cursory search of the net on the Blibbet, we learn that this was the second Microsoft logo and was itself replaced in 1987. Also, some blibbet fans like Larry Osterman recall thatwhen Microsoft announced that they would be retiring the blibbet, a number of employees mounted a fruitless “Save the Blibbet” campaign to retain the corporate icon.’

Microsoft Logo

Save Blibbet

Primera BravoPro SE Review

It’s 6am Monday morning, you’re exhausted from the all night brainstorming session with your co-workers, guzzling the nasty coffee from the company cafeteria, and you’ve got less than an hour until you have to stage a full presentation to company board members, complete with enough CD/DVD copies of your material to spread around.  What’s a tech to do?  Burning copies one at a time on your computer simply won’t do.  Time is of the essence here!

BravoPro SE

Enter the new Primera BravoPro SE Autoprinter.  This sleek, compact unit saves the day by rendering a small portion of your desktop into a crazy fast mass producing CD/DVD factory.  With a few clicks on your computer, this disc duplicator produces stunning color, highest quality discs that scream professionalism and organization second to none.  Whether you just want one copy or dozens, the BravoPro SE can independently fabricate unique disc tasks while you’re away taking care of other business. 

Burning and printing media for business has never become easier.  Simply select the files you want to copy and print, choose the amount of discs to be produced, and lets the job runs its course.  With high speed 16x DVD+/-R and 40x CD-R recording, and integrating dazzling high color 4800i printing capacity, you’ll have state of the art quality media ready to be distributed at a moment’s notice.

The BravoPro SE doesn’t stop there either, oh no!  Primera pulled out all the stops with first rate internal componentry, such as Primera’s patented “Accudisc” Technology.  This includes precise electronic coding and software that carefully control the disk picking, using a modern LED optical system, opting out of conventional mechanical componentry.  Benefits of this unique technology include preventing feeding more than a single disc at a time into the recording drive; a common problem plaguing other comparable disc picking systems.

Primera outdid themselves this time.  Being the big brother to the BravoPro II was no small issue, and this unit pulled it off in no uncertain manner.  In my opinion, the BravoPro SE delivers amazing professional results at a price you can’t beat. ($1400)

Read the excellent review by Lonewolf over at ExtensiveMods.Com.

Visit Primera and check out disc printing nirvana! 

Star Trek: The Animated Series, Remastered

Star Trek The Star Trek animated classic from 1973 is back, digitally remastered and features the voices by William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan and George Takei. You can read the excellent and lengthy review on Scifi.com, then go out and drop your US$55 to get these 22 episodes.

Snippet from the review:
“Star Trek: The Animated Series is the last of Star Trek’s episodic television adventures to make it to DVD, and the resulting digitally remastered four-disc set is a time capsule—one with 22 more journeys of these legendary characters, frozen in time asST_TAS two-dimensional animation cells. The 22 episodes immortalized here offered a way for Kirk, Spock and McCoy to gallivant through the galaxy once more, before the events in the movies.”

Here’s the link to Amazon for the DVD.

An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion

Is an alien attack possible? Of course it is. Statistically speaking, almost anything is possible. The better question to ask is “what is the possibility of an alien attack”?

That is the beginning of a serious scientific book called “An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion (links to Amazon). It contains a lot of the strategies, tactics and alternatives to assemble missions to mount an effective defense on a planet-wide scale in the case of an alien assault.

The authors and contributors all have experience and/or degrees in aerospace and involvement in some aspect of the space program, from the SpaceLab to designing experiments in space for the Space Shuttle crews. So all four authors bring an incredible amount of serious space science to these questions. Dr. Taylor has a variety of experiences working for the Department of Defense and NASA. Dr. Boan has been an active member of the space community for over a quarter of a century. Dr. Powell is a professor with specialties including space trajectories, attitude dynamics, and numerical analysis

This book provides a serious look at defending the planet in the event of an extra-terrestrial invasion. Travis Taylor, et al, have written the definitive book on the defense of earth against a potential alien incursion. Whatever your beliefs on the subject, the book serves as an important primer on the potential future of warfare on every level. It is tightly grounded in current day realities of war and extrapolates thoughtfully but closely about future potentials. It should be on the reading list of anyone who is serious about national security and the future of war.

The authors carefully make their case from every angle beginning with the statistical probability of an alien invasion. Chapter two discusses possible weapons, tactics and strategies for defense. This is followed with a look at what might motivate such an attack. And finally, who should know about preparations for defense, what a first and subsequent responses should be, and how we should be preparing and funding our defense.

Planetary Defense

NES Retro DVD Player

Amidst my random wanderings on the net, I came across this website featuring a very cool NES MOD.  One of the website owners, Brandon, decided one day to rip the guts out of an old NES and replace it with the internal workings of a standard DVD/MP3 player.  The results, while mudane looking on the outside, are quite ingenious.  The DVD tray pushes out through the NES cartridge flap, and closes the same way.  While controlled by the original DVD player remote, Brandon wired the on/off switch to the NES power button.


I’ve had a bunch of ideas for modding equipment in the past, but I just don’t have the patience or the dedication required for such endeavours.  My hats off to you modders out there…go on with your bad selves, and show us how it’s done!

Are you a Mod Junkie?  Do you have an awesome new Mod you’ve made and want to show it off to the world?  E-mail us here at GeekNews, and tell us all about it!

Found via [MilkMyCow.com]

Robotic Dog Treat Dispenser, triggered from IM

Make magazine profiles a fellow (by the alias ‘Nbolt’) that wanted to be able to remotely give his dog a treat. So he came up with an interesting solution that includes a robot, an audio converter and MSN instant messenger running on a laptop in the house with the dog. When you see this thing you won’t quite think of it as a ‘rube goldberg machine‘ type device, but it is, erm…interesting.

When a user types ‘treat’ into the IM window, the other end of the IM conversation is running on a laptop tied into this configuration, then a device connected to the laptop is activated to generate a tone. That tone is the ‘trigger’ for the Lego MindStorms NXT robot to activate; it will then pick out a dog treat from a bin, then drop it from a table into the dog bowl, resulting in “one happy dog”.

The inventor says “I have also setup some basic commands so you can IM “sit” “come here” and “speak,” and see if she does them before giving the treat, but so far she doesn’t listen to any of them”.

Here’s the YouTube video of the end to end demonstration, with dog.

The Coolest Chair In History

The picture speaks for itself, folks.  This has got to be the most fascinating chair i’ve ever seen.  I would be proud to have this in my home, and show off to my friends and family as vigorously and often as possible.  For war enthusiasts and gamers alike, this would be the crown jewel or throne of any collection.

AK-47 Chair

This Throne of Weapons is a chair made entirely from decommissioned AK47 rifles that had been used in the Mozambique civil war. It was exhibited at the Herbert as part of a British Museum touring exhibition last year.

The pure fact of its coolness aside, I find this a remarkable tribute to the men, women, and children that fought for the right to maintain their land, and keep free of the tyranny that loomed before them. 

Found via [Hellinahandbasket.com]

CSI:Rome, Solving a 400 Year Old Murder

As rulers, art connoisseurs and financiers of kings, one family, the Medici family, survived for hundreds of cut throught years wheeling and dealing and forming alliances in old Europe, providing four popes and ruling first Florence then Tuscany from about 1430 to 1737.

Its most famous members include Lorenzo de’ Medici, or “Lorenzo the Magnificent”, who supported Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli. At least two Medici women — Catherine and Maria, who was Francesco’s daughter — married kings of France, and the Medicis’ former home, Pitti Palace, now houses an important art gallery.

Francesco de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, ruled from 1574 until his death at age 46 on Oct. 17, 1587, 11 days after he fell ill and a few hours before his wife also died.

Rumors abounded that Francesco’s brother, Ferdinando de’ Medici, poisoned his brother and sister in-law, but the official cause of death was malaria after an autopsy had been performed.
3 scientists have looked into this mysterious death recently, collected evidence from the grave site and have announced their findings. Read the LiveScience article with all the backstory from the 16th century, the scientific studies, the evidence discovered and what the new official cause of death appears to be.

CyberDefender Corp. Donates Proceeds to Kim Memorial Fund

I just received a press release that you can also view here. It explains how and why the CyberDender Corporation is donating the first 30 day’s direct sales of its Early Detection Center Security Suite to the James Kim Memorial Fund.

From the release:

“Mr. Kim’s sudden passing is a reminder to us all of how important life and family is,” said Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Alan Wallace, who was a friend of James Kim. “And, as James honored us all with his sense of purpose, we now honor him and his family with an award that we hope will carry on his sole mission – to care for his family.”

Officially launching at Showstoppers during CES/Las Vegas on January 8, 2007, the Early Detection Center is CyberDefender’s ad-free Internet security suite designed to provide rapid detection and protection against the latest fast-moving online security threats.

MySpace Gets Goatse’d!

Jason Scott of textfiles.com found some happy go-lucky folks were hotlinking to a picture (see below, i’m not hotlinking 🙂 ) on his site of a cheery Grim Reaper and figured, no big deal and considered the bandwidth to be a little donation back to the community.

Around April it was d/l’d 16,000 times, June 118k, July 150k, August 212k….December it was up to 414,000 times. That’s 414,000 in just December alone. Obviously it was going to get much much worse if something wasn’t done.

Read his account of what happened, it’s fairly long but his analogies of the situation, the fallout and effect he’s potentially had on thousands of newbs is just hillarious. I giggled and snickered throughout.

Enjoy. (oh, and if you’re reading this Mom, for the love of all that’s holy, be careful of the links you click on if you read his post :-))

Grim Reaper

Blasphemy Challenge On YouTube

Snippets from this MSNBC/Newsweek article: “Hi my name is Lindy and I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit and you should too.

With that five-second submission to YouTube, a 24-year-old who uses the name “menotsimple” has either condemned herself to an eternity of punishment in the afterlife or struck a courageous blow against superstition. She’s one of more than 400 mostly young people who have joined a campaign by the Web site BlasphemyChallenge.com to stake their souls against the existence of God. That, of course, is the ultimate no-win wager, as the 17th-century French mathematician Blaise Pascal calculated—it can’t be settled until you’re dead, and if you lose, you go to hell.

The Blasphemy Challenge is a joint project of filmmaker Brian Flemming, director of the antireligion documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There,” and Brian Sapient, cofounder of the atheist Web site RationalResponders.com. Their intent was to encourage atheists to come forward and put their souls on the line, showing others that you don’t have to be afraid of God. The particular form of the challenge was chosen because, by one interpretation, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, a part of the Christian Trinity, is the only sin that can never be forgiven. And once something you’ve said gets posted on YouTube, as any number of celebrities can attest, you never live it down.

You can get details from the Blasphemy Challenge website. Their tagline: “Do you have a soul you’re not using?”

Top 10 F/X Scenes in Movie History

Popular Mechanics has their top 10 list of biggest breakthroughs in digital F/X history.

Here’s two from the list:

#6 Forrest Gump (1994)
While most filmmakers in the early ’90s used digital effects to create fantasy, the creators of Forrest Gump altered history. Using Kodak’s Cineon system, they digitized archival footage, and composited Tom Hanks’s character into historical clips.

#8 Lord of the Rings (2001)
For the huge battle scenes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the filmmakers created Massive, a computer program that generates crowds of artificially intelligent individuals “who make their own decisions based on behavior patterns,” Knowles says. This makes for more realistic battles.

Found via Digg

Apple Security Flaw Exposure Begins

As of Jan 1 2007, two security researches started posting a bug a day related to Mac’s OSX. They’re doing this in an attempt to force Apple to be more transparent and active wrt their flaws and fixing their flaws. As of Jan 2 they’ve posted one Media Player Format String Vulnerability and one Quicktime Buffer Overflow in its URL Handler.

This work is being carried out by independent security researcher Kevin Finisterre and a hacker known only as LMH.

While some of the bugs might be lower security risks, some will be significant risks, including exploits in the kernel. Besides OSX, they will also be targeting iTunes, Safari, iPhoto and Quicktime.

For more details you can check out this PCWorld article, or even better yet check out the MOAB’s FAQ page (MOAB == Month of Apple Bugs).

Word of the Day: Heisenbug

A heisenbug is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when it is researched.

One common example is a bug that occurs in a release-mode compile of a program, but not when researched under debug-mode; another is a bug caused by a race condition. The name “heisenbug” is a pun on the “Heisenberg uncertainty principle,” a quantum physics term which is commonly (yet inaccurately) used to refer to the way in which observers affect the measurements of the things that they are observing, by the act of observing alone (this is actually the observer effect, and is commonly confused with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle).

One common reason for heisenbug-like behavior is that executing a program in debug mode often cleans memory before the program starts, and forces variables onto stack locations, instead of keeping them in registers. Another reason is that debuggers commonly provide watches or other user interfaces that cause code (such as property accessors) to be executed, which can, in turn, change the state of the program. Yet another reason is a fandango on core. Many Heisenbugs are caused by uninitialized variables. Once you have identified the problem as a Heisenbug, it is usually easy and trivial to find the error and fix it.

In an interview in ACM Queue vol. 2, no. 8 – November 2004, Bruce Lindsay tells of being there when the term was first used, and that it was created because Heisenberg said, “The more closely you look at one thing, the less closely can you see something else.”

From Wikipedia

Undark and the Radium Girls

Alan Bellows on DamnInteresting.com has a terrific historical/medical article called ‘Undark and the Radium Girls‘. Here’s the setup below, if intrigued, go check it out!

In 1922, a bank teller named Grace Fryer became concerned when her teeth began to loosen and fall out for no discernible reason. Her troubles were compounded when her jaw became swollen and inflamed, so she sought the assistance of a doctor in diagnosing the inexplicable symptoms. Using a primitive X-ray machine, the physician discovered serious bone decay, the likes of which he had never seen. Her jawbone was honeycombed with small holes, in a random pattern reminiscent of moth-eaten fabric.

As a series of doctors attempted to solve Grace’s mysterious ailment, similar cases began to appear throughout her hometown of New Jersey. One dentist in particular took notice of the unusually high number of deteriorated jawbones among local women, and it took very little investigation to discover a common thread; all of the women had been employed by the same watch-painting factory at one time or another.