(Source: nzherald.co.nz) Imagine if you could create a virtual version of yourself that not only replicated your physical presence, but also included information on how you functioned and socialised.

It sounds like Facebook on steroids, but in fact it’s already being done, with the aim of predicting what our future capabilities might be.

At Auckland’s Bioengineering Institute (ABI), Duane Malcolm is one of 150 people developing virtual bodies that might eventually be used to help people “try on” shoes and clothes online, plan a surgical process, plan and track an exercise programme, or predict the aging process.

(Source: BoingBoing) September 2, 1969: Forty years ago today, in Leonard Kleinrock’s UCLA lab, a group of computer scientists managed to pass bits of data from one computer to another over some some gray cable. In doing so, they created the first node of what we now call (long dramatic pause)… the Internet.

Kleinrock and colleagues were working with the government-backed Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), without which I would not be blogging these words today.

Now, some folks believe the actual “birthday” was October 29, 1969 – when Kleinrock sent the first message between two nodes, UCLA to Stanford. The message? “LO.” As in “LO AND BEHOLD, THE INTERNET.” Well, okay, not really. It was supposed to be “LOGIN” but the system crashed after Kleinrock typed “L” and “O.”

Video: Kleinrock talks about that first connection. Here’s an AP item. I was a guest for a discussion about this anniversary on the NPR show “Tell Me More” today (segment link).

(Source: NYTimes) Spider-Man and his Marvel Entertainment cohorts will join the Walt Disney Company in a $4 billion deal announced early Monday.

Disney said in a statement that it would pay a combination of about 60 percent cash and 40 percent stock to acquire Marvel, which has a stable of some 5,000 characters that includes the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor.

Marvel has aggressively exploited its most popular characters through motion pictures and consumer products, and has a thicket of deals with various studios that will stay in place. Twentieth Century Fox will continue with the “X-Men” franchise, for instance, while Sony Pictures Entertainment will keep “Spider-Man.”

If you’re a photo student, chances are you balk at contemporary digital photography’s over-processed, airbrushed, way-too-clean aesthetic. You want to be real, damn it! And you probably want to create pictures that have the dramatic effects of a view camera’stilt-and-shift selective focus and the organic randomness of plastic shooters like the Holga. Awesome! Consider taking the Lensbaby Composer for a spin.

Essentially a digital SLR lens that’s fitted into a ball-and-socket-style housing, the Composer also has interchangable optics: a single lens, double lens, plastic lens and pinhole/zone plate combo can be swapped in and out depending on the photographic effect you want to achieve. Depending on aperture these four options yield images that range from fairly sharp with a large sweet spot (double glass) all the way to the very gauzy and ethereal (pinhole).


(Source: Wired.com) An ambitious group of hardware hackers have taken the fundamental building blocks of computing and turned them inside out in an attempt to make PCs significantly more efficient.

The group has created a motherboard prototype that uses separate modules, each of which has its own processor, memory and storage. Each square cell in this design serves as a mini-motherboard and network node; the cells can allocate power and decide to accept or reject incoming transmissions and programs independently. Together, they form a networked cluster with significantly greater power than the individual modules.

(Source: BoingBoing) San Franscisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced the beta launch of DataSF.org, a website designed as a clearinghouse for the City of San Francisco’s public data. TechCrunch has this launch statement from the mayor. Here’s a snip:

datasf.jpgThe new web site will provide a clearinghouse of structured, raw and machine-readable government data to the public in an easily downloadable format. For example, there will be updated crime incident data from the police department and restaurant inspection data from the Department of Public Health. The initial phase of the web site includes more than 100 datasets, from a range of city departments, including Police, Public Works, and the Municipal Transportation Agency.

(Source: examiner.com) Question: What’s hotter than the burning sands of Tatooine? Answer: Actual fire.

Laugh all you want, but last Thursday, filmmaker George Lucas had a close encounter of the very, very, hot kind when a brush fire crept dangerously close to the Star Wars creator’s beloved Skywalker Ranch (think Neverland for talented filmmaking wizards minus the weird factor.)

We can’t travel to any of the other 100 billion galaxies in the universe yet, but their photons can travel to us. Capturing those photons over a ten-day period results in the most profound and humbling image ever created, the 2004 image known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Now it’s brought to life in 3D, letting you fly through 10,000 galaxies as they were 13 billion years ago.

(Source: Engadget) Wondering why you keep getting followed by shadowy figures in trenchcoats and fake moustaches? Worried that those snipers on the rooftops always seem to know exactly where you are? We think we know what’s going on: it’s the Pre in your pocket. Turns out that Palm has code tucked away in webOS that’s uploading your location periodically — once a day or so — along with a list of applications you’ve used and how long they’ve been open. Here’s our take on the situation:

(Source: Wired.com)

1 Sea mammal blowhole. Any animal that spends appreciable time in the ocean should be able to extract oxygen from water via gills. Enlarging the lungs and moving a nostril to the back of the head is a poor work-around.

2 Hyena clitoris. When engorged, this “pseudopenis,” which doubles as the birth canal, becomes so hard it can crush babies to death during exit.

3 Kangaroo teat. In order to nurse, the just-born joey, a frail and squishy jellybean, must clamber up Mom’s torso and into her pouch for a nipple.

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