Dec 152008
 

As I sit here in my freezing home (24 degrees, and falling), I have come forth to entertain you once again.  Or, to at least massage your brain with this picture of some random mysterious object :)  Appearances may be deceiving, so don’t pop off with your initial answer without thinking about it!

WIT0243       WIT0243a

Drop your guesses in the comments, as usual….

Dec 152008
 

How do you keep this…           Asteroid Tara

From turning into this…?           Barringer Crater

 

Don’t bother talking to Bruce Willis for tips, for starters you talk to the Geophysics and Planetary Sciences folks at the Tel Aviv University.

They’re examining asteroids from the standpoint of learning what it will take to deflect or destroy an asteroid that is found to be the harbinger of doom to mankind. More specifically, they’re studying not just the makeup of asteroids and their rotations and direction of movement, but also more esoteric aspects like the “YORP Effect” which predicts an asteroid’s rotation and acceleration influenced by sunlight to gain more clues.

Read more about these scientists.

 Posted by at 12:07 am
Dec 152008
 

Microsoft released its first iPhone app, it’s called Seadragon and it brings the same smooth image browsing you get on the PC to the mobile platform. It allows you to Deep Zoom, view giga-pixel images or get really close in on a map or photo with a few taps of the screen.

Seadragon Mobile is available for free at the iTunes App Store.

Go to Live Labs to see a video demo. Or check out this CNet article for more details.

Seadragon Mobile

 Posted by at 12:02 am
Dec 142008
 

Gaming

WoW icon  World of Warcraft restaurant opens [WoW Insider] – A new restaurant has opened up with a Warcraft theme, from the decor to the food. The entrance is designed to look like the Dark Portal, and there’s a recreation of Tel’drassil in the center of the dining room.

Guitar Hero Icon  First look: Metallica gets ‘Guitar Hero’ treatment [USA Today] – The legendary hard rockers are providing the latest riff on Guitar Hero, with a game based on their music expected in stores during the first half of 2009 for Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3 and PS2. I used to scoff at this ‘fad’ until I learned The Guitar Hero franchise did around $1 billion in sales last year!

Wii  ‘Rock Band 2′ To Hit Wii, PS2 Before Christmas [RockBand PR] – Gamers who don’t own a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 — and aren’t expecting one under the tree this year — may still be in for a treat.

Gadgets

John McCain

Buy a BlackBerry and get John McCain’s number at no extra cost! [CSM] A Fox news affiliate in Washington DC bought John McCain’s BlackBerry at a ‘going out of business’ sale. The Blackberry had not been wiped it seems, so the Senator’s e-mail was still on it and some high profile phone numbers were in the contact list.

ATT - Radio ShackRadioShack To Offer $100 Netbook With AT&T [InformationWeek] –  The offering reflects an emerging trend among wireless providers to subsidize PCs and cell phones in return for customers signing service contracts. If you think it’s too good to be true, guess what?

Science

Holiday TreeFlame retardants prove ineffective on fresh-cut Christmas trees [Science Blog] – This Christmas season, think twice about spending money on a commercial flame retardant for your Christmas tree. The good, old-fashioned method—keeping your tree in a container of fresh water—is probably all you need to keep your tree green and healthy.

Breast Icon Why do women with dense breasts have more breast cancer? [ScientificaAmerican] – Doctors know that women who have dense breasts have as much as six times the risk of breast cancer as those who have less dense breasts. But they haven’t been quite sure why until now. Biopsies of healthy women showed differences in the cells of dense and non-dense tissue that may contribute to the development of tumors.

Medical Striking differences between brains of rich and poor [Science-A-Go-Go] – Measuring the brain activity of kids from a variety of backgrounds using an electroencephalograph revealed that the prefrontal cortex activity in the children from poor families resembled that of a stroke victim

 Posted by at 9:57 pm
Dec 142008
 

netflix

Good News:

Netflix adopted Silverlight to act as their platform for streaming movies via the browser on Windows and Mac PCs. One of their VPs recently announced on the company blog that the Silverlight adoption has resulted in a better user experience with fewer technical problems to be solved – that’s the good news.

Bad News:

As the VP reports, the bad news is that the improved user experience has resulted in Netflix needing 50 fewer Tech Support employees…so Netflix is trimming the support staff in January.

Merry Frakking Christmas! :-(

What an odd thing to announce in the company’s blog in the tone that it was given in (almost as a point of pride), I hope those 50 folks get an opportunity to stay on at the company in another capacity, that would be a better PR move than this announcement.

While the announcement is interesting yet odd, the comments responding to it are even better. Some of the anonymous comments seem to have more details on the layoffs and may be from insiders.

[found on Jim O’Neil’s MSDN blog]

 Posted by at 10:33 am