Scientists: Stinky Sock Smell Helps Fight Malaria

Virus-medicine

From Seattle Times:

The smell of old socks can help fight malaria by attracting mosquitoes to a trap outdoors, scientists have found, and on Wednesday donors announced new funding to help develop the device.

Traps scented with the odor of human feet attracted four times as many mosquitoes as a human volunteer, said Dr. Fredros Okumu, the head of the research project at Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute. Mosquitoes who fly into the trap are then poisoned.

This is a big deal because according to the World Heath Org there are 3.3 Billion people at risk of malaria infection. Of those, 250 Million malaria cases occur per year and about 1 Million deaths result from it.

Home Depot’s Latest Small Wind Deal

Green Power

CNET blogger Candace Lombardi alerts us to the fact that Home Depot has a new Wind Power turbine available for installation on your personal property. The unit is called the Skystream 3.7 Personal Wind Turbine by Southwest Windpower and costs between $15-20,000 (includes installation).

This is a nice “little” unit to tell the truth. The rotor diameter is 12 feet, produces power at 8mph wind (3.5m/s), can generate as much as 400kWh/month and has a wireless monitoring system so you can view the health of the system from the house.

Of course, before you venture down this path the first thing you should do is check out their free wind energy assessment for your property. You could do the quick and dirty self assessment by examining a wind map for your region. It seems my locale is a “Poor Resource Potential” based on my property’s location, which is just as well because I don’t think our Home Owner’s Association would take kindly to me erecting a 30-40ft tower in the backyard. 🙂

  – View the spec page on the Skystream 3.7.

  – Download and read the Spec Sheet (pdf).

Disclosure: I’m very bullish on the Alternative Energy sector and I invest in this area as well (PWND, Wind Energy ETF). Even though my results in the last year have not faired well due to some heavy hitters giving up hope, I shall continue to believe. 🙂

Geek News Links (and MERMAIDS!) –June 22, 2011

 

News flash

Top_SecretNSA Declassifies 200-Year-Old Book [Wired]
A cryptology instruction book… 202 years old. A photograph of the U.S. Army’s cypher bureau… from 1919. A breakdown of Russian electoral districts… circa 1948. Schematics for a magnetic tape memory system… nearly half a century old. These are just some of the items that, had you seen them, would have irreparably damaged U.S. national security.

cat visionNight Vision Contact Lenses? [Defense Tech]
Were the Seal Team 6 commandos that took out Bin Laden were wearing “cat vision” contact lenses? This is pure speculation in the article but interesting nonetheless.

popcapMystery buyer for game developer PopCap Games? [CNET]
PopCap Games, the company behind the hit titles Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, is reportedly in the process of being acquired for more than $1 billion.

WarningBaltimore IT Admin Hacked Porn Into CEO’s PowerPoint Presentation [ExtremeTech]
Do you really need to read this article to understand the story? Just let this be a lesson to those that unceremoniously fire the IT Pro.

BONUS:

I see from the traffic to Geeknews that a lot of you are coming here to see Mermaids. Hookay, so here’s another mermaid for you…

Mermaid22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(clicky)

‘Lost’ Bats Found Breeding, Today’s Ejaculation Advice, Energy Drinks Lead to Substance Abuse

I’m a fan of ScienceBlog, it covers everything from nanotechnology to entropy in the universe and everything in between. If you are into science in general I highly recommend this site. Here’s a sample of articles I read today from their RSS feed. I’m subscribed:

Energy Drinks Linked to Substance Use in Musicians

Frequent use of energy drinks is associated with binge drinking, alcohol-related social problems and misuse of prescription drugs among musicians, according to researchers at the University at Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions.

Is Today’s Ejaculation Advice Right for Our Species?

For the last half-century, Western sexologists have advised men to ejaculate as frequently as the urge arises, on a par with nose-blowing. But what if this advice is not supported by the data biologists are turning up?

‘Lost’ bats found breeding on Sicily

A University of Exeter biologist has discovered a ‘lost’ species of bat breeding on the Isles of Scilly (UK). A pregnant female brown long-eared bat is the first of its species to be found on the islands for at least 40 years. It was discovered by Dr Fiona Mathews, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, a postgraduate student and a team from the Wiltshire Bat Group.

Booth Babe of Red Angel

AMy Vitale

Meet Amy Vitale, arguably one of the best Booth Babes that have graced these pages and also a “jack of all trades” and very talented individual.

Ms. Vitale is a pro wrestling diva, actress with quite a few credits and a fitness guru. She is also the inspiration for the heroine of Red Angel, a steampunk scifi comic by What the Flux comics. How cool is that? 🙂

LEGO Super Star Destroyer coming in September 2011

Star Wars Lego

The next Star Wars model to be released for LEGO will be the Super Star Destroyer coming in at a whopping 3000+ pieces and carries a price tag of US$399, 399.99 €, UK 349.99 £.

The Youtube video below from LEGOClubTV has a closer look at this monster with terrific detail.

Recall, the flagship of Vader’s fleet was the Executor. Now it can be yours to assemble, maybe something to consider for a Christmas gift?

 

Geek News Links June 17 2011

News flash

 

poop_burgerJapan scientist synthesizes meat from human feces [Digitaltrends?]

It’s being called the "poop burger". Japanese scientists have found a way to create artificial meat from sewage containing human feces.

PhysicsFDA Releases Draft Guidance Toward Nanotech Regulation [Nanotechnology Now]
The Food and Drug Administration is now opening a dialogue on nanotechnology by publishing proposed guidelines on how the agency will identify whether nanomaterials have been used in FDA-regulated products.

Solar System - PlanetsNASA Spacecraft Confirms Theories, Sees Surprises at Mercury [NASA]
NASA scientists are making new discoveries about the planet Mercury. Data from MESSENGER, the first spacecraft to orbit Mercury, is giving scientists important clues to the origin of the planet and its geological history and helping them better understand its dynamic interior and exterior processes.

apple logo NEW StyleRichard Dreyfuss Performs a Dramatic Reading of the iTunes User Agreement [CNN via Neatorama]  I love these dramatic readings by Dreyfuss. Head to CNN to listen to a few choice snippets.

robotKilobots bring us one step closer to a robot swarm [Physorg]
These small robots are able to communicate with each other by blinking lights mounted on their cases. While each individual unit may not seem that advanced or impressive the real impact is what happens when the robots work as a system. You can read the Harvard technical report here (pdf)

youtubeThe Worst of E3 2011 [YouTube video via  Reddit
Compilation of the “worst of” E3 2011 incidents for your enjoyment.

StarfleetOngoing Star Trek Comic To Launch This Fall [SuperheroHype]
IDW Publishing and CBS Consumer Products have announced a brand-new ongoing comic book series to be based on J.J. Abram’s rebooted Star Trek universe. Teaming with the film’s writer/producer Roberto Orci, the new monthly series will tie into both the 2009 film and the upcoming untitled sequel.

Where No Man Has Gone Before

If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area there’s a cool new improv comedy you must go see called “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. It’s a long form improv comedy parodying the original Star Trek series and it runs June 23-July 2 at Seattle’s Odd Duck Studio which is near the I-90 / I-5 interchange.

One of the actors is Cheryl, (pictured below in costume and w/an alien rock), she writes about some of the nuances of the show and the hidden Star Trek community at her blog.

You can also check out more details, pics  at their Facebook page . They also have a challenge for us at FB that could get the alien girl in the show to dress in green paint and play the part of the Orion slave girl. 😉

Get your tickets here, they’re only $12. I’ll see you there next week on the 24th!

 

Geek News Links – May 20 2011


For fruit flies hooked on meth, sugar wards off death [MSNBC]
Fruit flies on meth experience less drug toxicity if they’ve been snacking on a sugary diet, a new study finds.

Informatics robots protect, cuddle, serve [ISDNEWS]
Developers chose to make Paro a baby harp seal rather than a cat or dog so people could accept the robot without preconceptions.

Shock to skull can improve gaming [VGACHARTZ]
In one of the more unusual video game-related studies to emerge recently, a DARPA-funded experiment has found that running electricity through your scalp can help make you a better game player.

Dead ‘space alien’ in Russia is really bread and chicken [EXAMINER]
For a few days, the Internet was abuzz over a Youtube video that reportedly showed the corpse of a space alien being discovered in Siberia. However, a mere 3 days after the video was posted online, it has been revealed to be a hoax.

Facebook adds two-factor authentication [CSOONLINE]
Facebook enhances security of the site with two-factor authentication, improved HTTPS. But is it enough for security pros?

Meet the new Porsche Panamera S Hybrid [MotorTrend]
380 horsepower, a 0-to-60 time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 167 mph. And it’s a hybrid.

The best place to play poker online is Party Poker.

Boy Scouts Get Robotics Merit Badge

The 101 year old para-military organization known as the Boy Scouts is trying to remain relevant in the 21st century by updating their merit badges. One change is the recently added Robotics badge, shown above (actually the Pathfinder Mars rover). This badge increases the relevance of math, engineering, computer science as important skills as opposed to pitching a tent, building a camp fire, archery and canoeing.

Now don’t get me wrong, those older “classic” skills, while dated, could still play a role in saving your skin when the zombie invasion begins. So they do have a place if survival skills are a priority for you or your son. 🙂

Read more at the SF Chronicle

BTW, I was a Boy Scout, I only advanced to Life Scout rank.  I wish we had the Robotics badge back when I was a kid. 😉

In Your Face(book)

The following is a guest post from Lokesh Vishwakarma, an IT graduate from KC College, Mumbai, India. The topic is the role of social networking in the recent historical events occurring in some Arab countries.

From Morocco to Yemen the Arab world is burning, and fueling this fire of change is the 21st century panacea ‘The Social Networks’. These agents of change helped the Arab civilization achieve what they couldn’t, for decades, in just a few days or weeks. Be it Facebook, Twitter, Google or usual blogosphere, they have found themselves central to the action in an unprecedented way. Lets us take a look at how some of these new found tools have spurred the actions on the ground.

Facebook and Twitter – The cradle that rocked the despots

#Sidibouzid, this twitter hashtag gave rise to a movement which toppled not only the Ben Ali regime but also inspired a dozen other mutinies. The picture of Mohammed Bouazizi, the youth who set himself on fire in the Tunisian town ‘Sidi Bouzid’ in protest against the unemployment spread like wild fire on youtube and other social media. This was for the first time the internet spawned a feeling of enough is enough among the Tunisians.

Soon after Tunisia happened, Egypt was getting ready to herald in to the new dawn of democracy, the first salvo being “We are all Khaled Said” facebook page. Khaled Said was the young Egyptian man who was beaten to death by police in June 2010. The online activists began protest groups with Khaled as their ‘martyr’, some anonymous activist also came up with the Arabic version of the facebook page, who was later revealed as Google executive Wael Ghonim. #Jan25 made its presence felt on twitter, the day Wael called for young Egyptians to take to the streets. Twitter was abuzz with videos, pictures, data and links tagged with #jan25, which became an effective way to group together online information about the protest. The influence of social networking was such that, an Egyptian man named his newly born child as “facebook”. By now one thing was very clear, that the social networking websites have become a force to reckon with.

The events in Tunisia and Egypt inspired a whole lot of generation and Yemen was no different. The “Yemeni Anger Revolution” group has almost 20000 members on facebook, those who were not bitten by the social network bug were encouraged to pass on the word via traditional methods like SMS and cards. After the Yemeni government cracked down on internet, many nonresident Yemenis settled outside Yemen shared their contact numbers with their friends and relatives in Yemen in wake of internet shutdown, to help them share news about Yemen, many of NRYs tweeted and retweeted news and also links with the international media.

The hashtag #feb17 has categorized the Libyan movement and given a fresh identity to the Libyan protest amid unrest across the Arab world. Feb 17 is the date when the Libyan protest against the megalomaniac colonel began. Information – what little is accessible from the country – has been pouring in on Twitter and Youtube, where activists are uploading news the minute they are able to get online. A dedicated facebook page for the Libyan revolution has more than 82000 members and another key facebook page by the name of ‘RNN Libya’ has 22000 members. Libya being the most oppressed and closed nation of the region has caught the fever of Internet-driven dissent passed on from their friends in Tunisia and Egypt, as young Libyans are been exposed to the power of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter to voice opposition to the regime.

Just like the #feb17 Libyan protest, the Bahraini activists have #feb14 as their identity on twitter. Internet providers were shut down and facebook accounts were deleted across Algeria as thousands of Pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested in violent street demonstrations. President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s government first cracked down on the internet to nip the protest in the bud.

In Morocco, the facebook group “Movement of freedom and democracy” has attracted more than 90000 members. The Iraqis had their own twitter tag as #iq4c but many of them tagged news of protest in Iraq with #feb25 so as to reach a larger audience of the internet by linking their cause with other popular revolts.

In Syria, the case is bit different; people are still learning about the arab revolution through facebook, media, twitter, newspapers and blogs. The facebook page “Syrian Revolution 2011” has received more than 25000 followers. People in Syria have slowly started to come out in open against the Syrian authorities.

As the crusade for democracy and basic human rights rages on, Today’s youth have a lot of tools at their disposal which the earlier crusaders didn’t posses. The Internet has become a conduit for disseminating the idea of democracy which was till now alien to the Arab civilization. For a change the Internet is applauded for its power to influence and change history for the better.

Robots Become Self-Aware

robot

Scientific American:

Cornell University’s Hod Lipson is developing robots that can reflect on their own thoughts by equipping them with two controllers. One controller was rewarded for chasing dots of blue light while avoiding red dots, and the second controller modeled how the first behaved and how successful it was. This technique, known as metacognition, enabled the robot to adapt after about 10 physical experiments, as opposed to the thousands of experiments needed using traditional evolutionary robots. "This could lead to a way to identify dangerous situations, learning from them without having to physically go through them–that’s something that’s been missing in robotics," says University of Vermont’s Josh Bongard.