How Woodpeckers Avoid Head Injury

woodpecker

Head injury is a leading cause of morbidity and death, it’s estimated that brain injuries account for 15% of the burden of fatalities and disabilities in people. It’s also a leading cause of death in young adults. However, the woodpecker does not experience any head injury at the high speed of 6 m/s with a deceleration of 1000g when it drums a tree trunk. It’s still not known how woodpeckers protect their brain from injury.

Slow-motion footage, X-ray images and computer simulations have shed light on how woodpeckers avoid injuries to their brains as they peck. The findings could help design more effective head protection for humans.

BBC Science has the details on the investigation, this is good stuff.

The BBC article is based on a paper “Why Do Woodpeckers Resist Head Impact Injury: A Biomechanical Investigation”. You can read the paper and it’s abstract here.

R.I.P Steve Jobs

Steve_Jobs

In honor of Steve Jobs passing away today, here’s a couple of his quotes that resonate with me.

“You’ve gotta find what you love”

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

New Geeky T-shirts

Sebastian from www.604Republic.com alerted me to some new tees now available.

The first one is called Beam This!, Batman vs. Star Trek? Please don’t make me choose one over the other in that battle.  🙂 The description at the page describes it as “This poor red shirted bastard had no idea what he was beaming into. Apparently into a massive uppercut. ”

beam_me_up(clicky)

The next shirt is called Intoxicate and is described as “This robotic destruction machine decided that getting sloshed would be preferable to his usual battle cry of extermination.”. Could it be a cross between a Dalek and the drunkeness of Bender?

intoxicate(clicky)

Zombie Head Bowlingballs

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Like a lot of you I find adverts on TV to be interesting to examine both for the technological marvel and for the entertainment, but especially look forward to those for the pure geek factor. I ran across this cool advert on adweek.com regarding a promotion being run on the top horror channel on German TV – Street 13.

In the ad, bowling balls are replaced in the ball return tray with a grotesque, decapitated head that you have to lift by its bloody, vacant eye socket and deformed nostril.

How cool is that?

You can see more photos of the art work here at behance.net, view the video below.

13th STREET – Bowlingheads (Case Video) from RUOK on Vimeo.

 

Here’s some link love for Justin D.:
www.wantitall.co.za
www.insurance.co.za

Galaxiki: A Sci-Fi Galaxy You’re Invited to Help Shape & Edit

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At Galaxiki.org, each star, each planet and each moon in this online fictional galaxy is represented by a wiki page that can be edited by its site members. Users can make changes to solar systems, add creatures and write stories. One of the main goals is to invent and write collaborative stories, which requires users to make sure their solar system histories remain compatible.

You can also edit most of the solar system physics, add or edit planetary rings as well. There are also social networking features including solar system ratings and comments, bookmarks, user awards and user status updates.

Galaxiki membership and editing community stars is free. Though some users want to own a personal solar system that cannot be edited by other members, you can get your own personal system by making a donation.

The Most Common Smartphone Passcodes

 

lock

Daniel Amitay collected passcodes from thousands of iPhones and provides some analysis of the passcodes people are using on the smartphone. This is really interesting stuff.

The Top 10 iPhone passcodes were: 1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 5555, 5683, 0852, 2222, 1212, 1998

Is yours listed?  🙂

A couple of things to note here, I think his sample size is probably large enough that the data is probably roughly applicable to Android and WP7 as well, not just limited to the behaviors of iPhone users themselves.

If you want just the analysis, head to the link above. If you want the backstory around how he collected this information, it starts with the Big Brother Camera app for the iPhone which reached #18 most popular iPhone application. Then leads to analysis of passcodes his app was sending back (not the screen unlock codes!), and eventually the back and forth with Apple as they removed his app.

In Space News This Week…

 

Gale Crater next landing site for Mars rover [NASA]
NASA’s next Mars rover will land at the foot of a layered mountain inside the planet’s Gale crater. The car-sized Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, is scheduled to launch late this year and land in August 2012.

Race to the Moon Heats Up for Private Firms [NYTimes]
Now that the last space shuttle has landed back on Earth, a new generation of space entrepreneurs would like to whip up excitement about the prospect of returning to the Moon.

Astronomers Find Largest, Most Distant Reservoir of Water [Int’l Business Times]
Astronomers found a reservoir of water measuring 140 trillion times the earth’s ocean water in space.  The reservoir of water is the most distant ever discovered in the universe. The water surrounds a giant feeding black hole called a "quasar" and is located more than 12 billion light-years away.

Comediva: Where the Funnygirls Are

Comediva.com is a brand new comedy site for women that has a bunch of new, original content they’re posting every day. This is a good time to get your geek on with Comic Con happening right now. They’ve got a “ton” of  high brow and low brow stuff, editorials, comics and much more.

I particularly got a chuckle out of this video where the Geek Counselor measures a client’s G.Q., or Geek Quotient, and discovers that even she can’t help everyone.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘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.