Link Dump 8/26/08

831361 (Random pic…nerd up)


NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Climbing Out of Victoria Crater [NASA]

No bull! Cows have a built-in compass [MSNBC]

Caesarean babies more likely to develop diabetes [Science Blog]

DNA Barcodes: Are They Always Accurate? [Physorg]


Like An Egyptian [Savage Chicken]

Pink Beer from Asahi Japan [3yen]

25 Hairstyles of the Last 100 Years [The List Universe]

The 10 Most Shameless Product Placements in Movie History – [Cracked]

Dragonball Trailer Coming in October [Superhero Hype]


Use your treadmill to play WOW [SlashGear]

Reverse Engineering Can Resolve Conflict Between Standardization And Competition [Techdirt]

Introducing Ubiquity – An experiment into connecting the Web with language. [Mozilla Labs]

Red Hat, Fedora Servers Infiltrated By Attackers [OSNews]

Kindle fails to set light to unsold e-book pile [Register]

Star Trek Fans in Costume

Here’s a sampling of folks Patrick and I came across at the Star Trek Convention in Vegas a couple of weeks ago. I’ll get everything posted to Flickr ‘real soon now’.

Among my favorites were Michelle and Francine as the Starfleet Cheerleaders (now that is original!), the blue bunny science office (bottom right), and Holly from (bottom left). Standing next to Holly is Dataest (warning, links to Myspace).

More photos coming…

HPIM0120  HPIM0133

HPIM0140 HPIM0160

HPIM0181 HPIM0182

 HPIM0201 HPIM0221

UFO Lobbyist Offers to Brief Obama on Extraterrestrials

obama ufo

Come on, give it up for more ghetto paint skills! :-)

Seriously though, this is the best news item to come across my RSS feed all day. Remember the due in Denver that claimed he had footage of an alien peeking through a window getting ready to abduct folks from their house?

His name is Jeff Peckman and now that the Democratic convention is occurring in his home town of Denver this week, he wants a sit down with prospective president Barrack Obama to give him an Extraterrestrial briefing.

Here’s the press release (pdf). For more info, go to the Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission web site run by Mr. Peckman.

From the press release:

In a televised primary debate last October, Sen. Obama was asked if he agreed that “there is life beyond Earth”. Obama replied, “…I don’t know and I don’t presume to know”. Peckman said, “Obama needs to know because in a recent AOL News poll, out of more than 135,000 online voters, 93% believed life exists elsewhere in the universe and 81% believed Extraterrestrial beings have visited Earth. Scientific polls on the same questions have shown similar results, and also that the vast majority of Americans believe the government is not telling the truth about the UFO/ET issue”.

Scientists Unravel Galactic Spaghetti Monster

NGC 1275

A collection of spidery filaments reaches outward from the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1275 as if they were a living cell branching toward neurons. These tendrils have puzzled scientists for a while because they normally would have collapsed under the pressure of the surrounding gas.

Until now, these tendrils looked solid, but with new Hubble photos allowing the big brains taking a closer look, these supposedly thick tendrils are actually made up of many very thin ‘threads’.

This is covered in National Geographic & Register. The pic on Register is even more interesting, it truly looks more like the Spaghetti Monster.

Short Shrift News Links – 8/21/08

 News and Coffee in the morning


Internet radio booming but threatened [Mercury News] – With a growing audience of 54 million monthly listeners, Internet radio is one of the biggest trends in digital music

Toshiba’s XDE DVD Player: A Threat to Blu-ray? [PC Mag] – A new faux HD DVD player could be the latest hurdle in Sony’s dream of world-wide Blu-ray dominance. What exactly is Toshiba thinking?

Copy-and-paste comes to the iPhone…and it’s open source [CNET] -Not surprisingly, it’s not from Apple


Lost Producers looking for large prop [Lost Spoilers] – Oh my, now if this is going to be in Season 5 then I’m even more excited because it’s either going to be The Black Rock or we’ve got Pirates….or both!

Iron Man Deleted Scene Online [Superhype] – The clip features Tony Stark throwing a party.

Midway Releases New Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe Teaser, below [Kotaku] : Woah! 

Open Source Singapore Pac-Asia Conference & Expo

I received the following press release a couple of hours ago:



OSSPAC now accepting speaker proposals

Presentations aim at highlighting the benefits and opportunities associated with Open Source technology.  

August 12, 2008 – The Open Source Singapore-Pacific-Asia Conference & Expo (OSSPAC) is now fielding proposals from speakers to present at what is expected to be the largest Open Source gathering in Southeast Asia. Present cutting edge business or technical proposals on the benefits of open source technology. All proposals must be in by September 30, 2008. Speakers will be notified by October 15 if they have been accepted or not.

Specifically, OSSPAC is looking for proposals that demonstrate how the speaker has leveraged Open Source to advance technology beyond the current state of the art; created truly visionary applications to solve today’s challenges; and established new business paradigms to save money, improve efficiency, and increase profits. If the speaker’s experience falls under any or all of these categories, then OSSPAC asks for a presentation for consideration.

“OSSPAC will offer a variety of sessions and tutorials dealing with the latest Open Source technologies and cutting edge solutions,” said Kent Barnard, OSSPAC executive director. “We are looking for visionaries who are technology-focused, and presentations that offer practical and proven solutions. We feel that one of the main objectives of the conference will be to present the ‘blending of visions’ between the Open Source IT community and the Singapore government.”

The inaugural Open Source Singapore-Pacific-Asia Conference & Expo will offer over three dozen hour-long sessions following a day of “hands-on” tutorials. The sessions will cover a wide variety of topics and skill levels, with sessions ranging from novice to intermediate to expert. “By offering three separate tracks, attendees will have a virtual buffet of technical and business options in choosing which sessions to attend,” said Barnard.

OSSPAC coordinators urge developers, CEOs, CIOs, and government officials that have implemented open source technology to submit their talks.

“Even though we won’t be able to accept every submission, we understand the contribution that all the potential speakers can add to the conference,” Barnard said. “And we would like to see everyone who submits a paper attend OSSPAC. It’s amazing how many speaker led ‘birds-of-feather’ sessions pop up at these types of conferences. The networks you build at a conference like this can truly transform your career.”

The Open Source Singapore-Pacific-Asia Conference will take place at the Grand Hyatt Singapore from February 16-18, 2009. For more information, and to submit a call for papers, please visit


For more information contact:

Kent Barnard – Executive Director

KB Conferences LLC                            

(01) 425-397-6683

ScienCentral Re-launches its Website


This seems to be the week of press releases. Usually I get 1 or 2 a month, but I’ve received 4 in the last 24 hours, what’s up with that?

In any case, Fallon Parrish (what a great name!) from ScienCentral sent me a press release on the re-launch of their web site. Not knowing who they are, I checked them out by navigating to their site and clicking the link to their About page. Guess what, their About page directed me to an advert that counted down for 10 seconds before sending me onto the About information. What the heck is up with that?

It seems they’re a production company that was co-founded in 1996 by scientist and CEO/President Eliene Augenbraun to increase the number and quality of science stories broadcast to the public. And they produce several features per week that air on ABC News local TV affiliates.

I found this recent example below that piqued my interest: “Wearing Red: An Olympic Advantage?” (if you can’t see the video in IE, try this link: Red Olympic Advantage). It’s regarding a new study that shows referees may tend to subconsciously focus more positively on competitors wearing red as opposed to other colors.

BTW, the full press release is copied at the bottom, just in case you’re into that kind of thing. :-)

New York, NY – Monday, August 18, 2008: ScienCentral, specializing in
science and technology content, announces the re-launch of its news and
community website, Visitors can now actively engage in
discussions with the community, easily share ScienCentral
videos and articles, and shop for science-related products without ever
leaving the website. Visitors of the site will now have full access to the
archive, which hosts over 1,000 originally produced videos with accompanying
articles.  With the re-launch, will feature a new online
series titled ³Street Corner Science,² where well-known scientists sit on a
street corner and answer questions from passers-by.

ScienCentral¹s mission is to increase the number and quality of science
stories being broadcast to the public. is distinguished
from most other science websites by its large volume of originally reported
and produced science news videos. ScienCentral¹s independent news bureau,
ScienCentral News, produces several features per week that are not only seen
on and competitor websites, but are also aired on hundreds
of local TV news stations, reaching millions of Americans.  Each featured
story is not just news — it¹s groundbreaking research on the medical,
environmental, and technological issues that affect daily life.

ScienCentral’s journalists have a track record of combing through the vast
amount of research published in any given week and picking the stories that
they think you shouldn’t miss.

ScienCentral has grown tremendously since its foundation in 1996 and
continues to grow by producing interesting, non-biased science and
technology content. ScienCentral is a small company with big ideas.  From
broadcast news to full-length features, ScienCentral not only knows how to
communicate complex ideas about science, it also knows how to tell a good
story. ScienCentral makes sense of science!

About ScienCentral: ScienCentral, Inc. is a production company that was
co-founded in 1996 by scientist and CEO/President Eliene Augenbraun to
increase the number and quality of science stories broadcast to the public.
ScienCentral produces science and technology content for television,
industry, and the web, in addition to working with museums and educational
publishers to develop multimedia educational products.   Current and past
partners include The National Science Foundation, National Academies of
Sciences, ABC News, Discover, The Franklin Institute, and the Institute for
Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  Visit
<> for more information.
Fallon Parrish
212-244-9577 x106

How One Man With No ‘Leet Skills Became A Soldier in the Georgia-Russia Cyberwar


I just read a story on Slate that is scary because just any old rag tag group of patriots can form their own ad-hoc coalition to wantonly attack gov’t web sites and hide behind the skirt of anonymity. This is akin to tossing e-Molotov Cocktails. Of course when you break it down, it’s not much different than script kiddies getting their rocks off by attacking a site that they think wronged them in some way.

I guess one simple answer may be to quickly block http requests from the attacker’s country at the backbone to try to protect your own infrastructure.


My experiment also might shed some light on why the recent cyberwar has been so hard to pin down and why no group in particular has claimed responsibility. Paranoid that the Kremlin’s hand is everywhere, we risk underestimating the great patriotic rage of many ordinary Russians, who, having been fed too much government propaganda in the last few days, are convinced that they need to crash Georgian Web sites. Many Russians undoubtedly went online to learn how to make mischief, as I did. Within an hour, they, too, could become cyberwarriors.

Read contributing author Evgeny Morozov’s confession and details on Slate.

Wonder Woman – Animated Movie Trailer

The direct to DVD animated Wonder Woman movie is scheduled for release in Feb 2009.

Plot: Ares (the god of War) has escaped his imprisonment at the hands of the Amazonians and has decided to exact his revenge using the mystical “Hand of Rage,” an ancient artifact with the power to raise armies from the dead and infuse them with a thirst for blood. Ares intends to start a world war that will not only last for centuries – but will wipe out every living being on the planet, starting with the Amazons. It is up to Princess Diana to save her people and the world – by using her gifts and becoming the ultimate Wonder Woman.

Of course WW is joined by Army fighter pilot Steve Trevor.