Geek News Links June 2014

NEWS 

Scientists Create Shatterproof Phone Screens [MDConnects]
Too many of us are carrying shattered phones because screens we can’t afford new screens. However, scientists from the University of Akron may have discovered a solution to save fragile phones their dilapidated doom.

World first: Australian solar plant has generated “supercritical” steam that rivals fossil fuels’ [ScienceAlerts]
A solar thermal test plant in Newcastle, Australia, has generated “supercritical” steam at a pressure of 23.5 mpa (3400 psi) and 570°C (1,058°F). CSIRO is claiming it as a world record, and it’s a HUGE step for solar thermal energy.

Big Bang blunder bursts the multiverse bubble [Nature]
Premature hype over gravitational waves highlights gaping holes in models for the origins and evolution of the Universe

How El Niño temporarily slows the Earth’s rotation [arsTechnica]
The El Niño Southern Oscillation is a major source of year-to-year variability in Earth’s average surface temperature and, it turns out, its rotational velocity.

Engineers build nanomotor that can fit inside a human cell [ScienceDaily]
Engineers have built the fastest, smallest and longest-running nanomotor to date. The nanomotor is capable of drug delivery on a nanoscale. One day, nanomotors could lead to the development of tiny devices that seek out and treat cancer cells.

Check out the best deals for gadgets, gearbest cool gadgets [GearBest]
Great deals on Android Phablets, Phones, Tablets, tons of A/V gear and more.

Six Life Lessons From Marvin The Paranoid Android

Marvin the Paranoid Android - Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

To celebrate the life and work of Douglas Adams, as we must always do on May 25, we should all make an effort to be better, cleverer people, taking the words of one of his finest, noblest characters as direct inspiration: Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Here’s an example of those lessons from BBC America:

A ‘Can Do’ Attitude:
Arthur: “Marvin, any ideas?”
Marvin: “I have a million ideas. They all point to certain death.”

Trillian: “Marvin… you saved our lives!”
Marvin: “I know. Wretched, isn’t it?”

Marvin: “I’ve calculated your chance of survival, but I don’t think you’ll like it.”

Gambling for the Gold!

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What do you think of the current trend to take risks in your games?  To some, an annoyance that they can easily ignore to a point or avoid.  To others, a welcome addition to enhance play and add that uncertainty into the your game that may produce a reward or a lemon!

One example is the character “Kadala” within the game Diablo 3.  With your hard earned blood shards from completing  Nephalem Rifts, you may bet with her for rare and exotic pieces of gear for your characters.  Most times you get ordinary gear, but sometimes your bets are rewarded with coveted Legendary or Set pieces of gear that make you even stronger.  Another example is WoW’s Black Market Auction House, where you can bid your in-game gold to purchase anonymous packages, that when won, can contain anything of value.  Maybe a pet or mount, or if you’re unlucky, a stack of turnips!

Then, there’s the people that enjoy nothing but betting.  They go straight for the gold, leaving no stone unturned and hoping for untold glory.  Gambling sites are nothing new, but they provide that rush to win big, or go home from the comfort of your own home.  Who needs the smoky atmosphere, the constant jangling of thousands of bells and whistles from the other slot machines around you?  Speaking for myself, I prefer the comfort of my own computer chair, a cold coke by my side, and the background music of my choice while playing a favorite themed slots game online.

Are you adventurous enough to try it out?  Can you sweat through a loss and get back on your feet to try again and win it big?  Let’s see if you’re telling the truth.  Try my usual hang out, Casino Midas, it’s slick, has tons of features, friendly and fun games.  If you’re not rolling in the gold and begging for more later, then you’re not trying hard enough!

Jane Austin, Game Theorist

Jane Austin 

Jane Austin, a game theorist? Oh yes, apparently she was exhibiting in her stories some of the traits we value in game theory today…and this is 100+ years before the concept became science.

The Freaknomics podcast talks to Michael Chwe.

Michael Chwe is an associate professor of political science at UCLA whose research centers on game theory and, as he puts it, “its applications to social movements and macroeconomics and violence — and this latest thing is about its applications maybe to literature.”

The literature in question? The novels of Jane Austen. Chwe discovered that Austen’s novels are full of strategic thinking, decision analysis, and other tools that would later come to be prized by game theorists like those as the RAND Corporation just after World War II.

 

Fun Activities for Geeks

Geek

I was asked recently what I and my friends like to do in our spare time, so I thought I’d write a top ten list of some of the fun geeky things you can do in your spare time.    Most of these don’t require any money, so try them out and let us know what you think!  I’ve included a URL for each, so you can check them out.

#10  TV/Movies –  Who doesn’t like a good movie or TV show to get the juices stirring?   Whether it’s Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Horror or Thrillers, a good show is a great way to spend time!  IMDB

#9    Games –  I have a lot of geeky friends, and let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than a good game to have fun in.  Board games, video games and even card games are favorites among many.  For video games – Steam  For board games – BoardGameGeek

#8    Comics/Books –  Waaaay too many to name!  A good read is a good read.  Simply put.  Immerse yourself in another universe to take your mind off your troubles!  For books –  GoodRead’s Geek Books  For Comics – Den of Geek

#7    Gambling –  Yes, I said it.  Who doesn’t like to take a risk with a chance of great reward??  Lot’s of casino games out there.  Here’s a favorite superhero game of mine – Marvel Jackpot

#6    Cons –  Attending a good Con can be a otherworldly experience – truly!   ComicCon, DragonCon, GenCon and Star Trek conventions are going on the world around all year long.  Check your schedule, and choose a good Con to attend for some great fun with your friends!  Geeky247 Events and Cons

#5  Baking –  Yes, baking.  I have met many a cake and cupcake artist that have made some pretty spectacular pieces of art with food.  What kind of baked goods would you want for your birthday?  How about a World of Warcraft themed cake?  Or Super Mario cupcakes!  Take a tour of this place –  Geeky Chef  Too many options!

#4  Cosplay –  No it’s not just for Halloween.  I’ve seen some pretty elaborate costumes in the past, some of them better than the originals!  Whether you like Furry, or dressing up like your favorite superhero, a costume is a labor of love for those that like to wear them.  Check out some awesome cosplay here!  Trendhunter – Geeky Costumes

#3  DIY – Do it yourself?  Why not?  Your imagination is the limit when it comes to solving problems, and many a geek minded person have done just that.  Most DIY projects are not costly and just take time to piece together.  Why buy a laser pointer, when you can build one from the parts from an old CD drive?  DIY.org

#2  Beta Testing –  You know you want to get your hands on that latest game!  Plenty of companies are looking for experienced gamers, casual players, and even total noobs to try out their newest software.  Jump on the bandwagon and get your game on!  Check out Centercode and sign up to be a beta tester today!

#1  Create a blog –  Shameless plug here.  Writing a blog can be extremely fulfilling, and a great way to share your latest exploits with your family and friends!  Lots of ways to begin a blog, why not try here?  WordPress

So these are just a few of the plethora of activities you can immerse yourselves in when you’re not too busy at the 9 to 5 job!  Do you have a favorite activity?  Why not tell us about it?

In Medical News

 DNA Robots in Roaches Tiny, Logical Robots Injected into Cockroaches [Popular Mechanics]

Scientists have built robots that mimic cockroaches and even implanted electronics to remote-control these bugs. Now researchers have devised DNA nano-robots that prowl around inside cockroaches, the first time such DNA robots have found use in living animals.

DNA origami nano robots could one day carry out complex computer programs in the human body, helping to deliver cancer-killing toxins only to cancer cells while leaving the rest of the patient unharmed, according to their paper in Nature Nanotechnology.

3D printed skull 3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted in Woman [NBC News]

Another day, another advance in 3-D printing technology.

Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human’s skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman’s life in the process.

Here Come The Night Vision Contact Lenses

Those night-vision devices used by hunters and soldiers may soon get a lot smaller — small enough, in fact, to be built right in to contact lenses.

From the Navy Times:

Night-vision goggle technology has become more effective, streamlined and nimble in the past 10 years. But what if you could ditch that bulky headgear and pop in a pair of night-vision contact lenses?

It may sound like science fiction, but such dime-sized, lightweight optics may be possible in the future, thanks to researchers at the University of Michigan who have created a material that absorbs infrared rays at room temperature and translates them into an electrical signal, much like a silicon chip works with visible light inside a digital camera.

Old Bones Found Along Rail Line Yield Secrets Of The Black Death

human bones

Black death was not spread by rat fleas, say researchers.

Evidence from skulls in east London shows plague had to have been airborne to spread so quickly.

From the AP:

You can learn a lot from a tooth.

Molars taken from skeletons unearthed by work on a new London railway line are revealing secrets of the medieval Black Death — and of its victims.

This week, Don Walker, an osteologist with the Museum of London, outlined the biography of one man whose ancient bones were found by construction workers under London’s Charterhouse Square: He was breast-fed as a baby, moved to London from another part of England, had bad tooth decay in childhood, grew up to work as a laborer, and died in early adulthood from the bubonic plague that ravaged Europe in the 14th century.

Recent Research into Anal Gas Expulsion (“Farting”)

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Via Real Clear Science

Until recently, there hadn’t been formal studies to prove which foods would reduce anal gas expulsion (aka farting). The intent of recent research is to document the causes of extreme flatulence, flatulence-free foods and bacteria in the large intestine where the gas is generated.

Spanish researcher Fernando Azpiroz bolsters our scientific knowledge on passing gas. He published two new papers, one published in the journal Gut in June 2013, and the other just published to Neurogastroenterology and Motility. In his most recent paper, he documents how different diets affect flatulence.

It’s a good read, but you may prefer the summary, so i recommend you go to Real Clear Science for a great overview.

Trailer for Evolve

Though it doesn’t feature real gameplay, this is a pretty cool trailer for the game Evolve. This trailer is titled “Happy Hunting” and features the cover of Danzig’s Mother, performed by Lissie. The music aligns well with the atmosphere in the trailer.

 

Here’s more action…

 

Dr. Horrible Sequel Is In The Works!

Dr. HORRIBLE

My favorite supervillian, Dr. Horrible, is making a return after 5 years!

Entertainment Weekly caught up with the creator and director of the webseries, Joss Whedon, and asked him what’s the latest update on making progress to a long awaited sequel. Here’s a snippet of his reply, head on over to EW to read the full story:

“We know we have spoken publicly about a sequel in the near distance and our passion to create it, and I promise we have not been insincere. Horrible is still one of our favorite creations by humans who were also us. We have many songs written and the plot outlined, but needless to say, we’ve been busy…” –read the rest @ EW’s blog.

via – Nerdist

Majestic Sombrero Galaxy

This snap shows the Majestic Sombrero Galaxy, it’s my favorite galaxy out of the hundreds of billions out there. A brilliant white core is encircled by thick dust lanes in this spiral galaxy, seen edge-on in this view. The galaxy is 50,000 light-years across and 28 million light years from Earth.

Do you think there’s someone over there looking back at us? 🙂 Visit the SETI Institute to learn more on that subject.

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Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Scientists Develop Light Bulb That Provides Access to Wireless Internet

Lightbulb

Shanghai’s Fudan University scientists have created an affordable and efficient one-watt light bulb that produces its own Wi-Fi signal. Scientists found that the prototype that uses a technology called Li-Fi, works faster than the average connection in China. The Li-Fi bulb featuring a microchip generates around 150 mbps, 20 times faster than average broadband connection in China.

Read more at University Herald