April 2011

  1. Science

    Jell-O as You’ve Never Seen it Before [Video]

    You've probably been around Jell-O at some point in your life, and observed how they jiggle and jostle in an amusing (though not always appetizing) way. You probably haven't seen Jell-O like this, wiggling around in slow motion filmed at 6,200 frames per second. It's rather astonishing to see the familiar cube of gelatinous deliciousness seem to splash outward like falling fluid, only to rebound and reform in midair. A veritable flubber ballet. (via Gizmodo)

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  2. Geekolinks

    Geekolinks: 4/30

    8 Creepy Video Game Urban Legends (That Happen to Be True) (Cracked) The Fight Against Dark Silicon (/.) Severe storms over U.S. seen from space (Discover) Space Adventures plans tourism missions around the Moon (for just $150 million!) (io9) Portal turret plushie is interactive, adorably awesome ( Inception Folder (BuzzFeed) Google faces $50 million lawsuit over Android location tracking (Ars Technica) (title pic: an impossible landscape created by Microsoft's photo stitching software, via Reddit)

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  3. Science

    Fighting Cancer With Specially Trained Cells

    Researchers looking to treat cancer patients without subjecting them to the ravages of chemotherapy have published some promising results in the journal of Science Translational Medicine on "adoptive T-cell therapy." Using this technique, researchers removed cells from nine melanoma patients immune system that fight disease, called T-cells. They then "trained" the cells, by exposing them to genetically engineered cells that carried tumor antigens, which signaled the T-cells to attack. The new, smarter, more experienced cancer-fighting cells were then multiplied and re-introduced to the patient's body. After two weeks, the cancer in four of the nine patients had stabilized, neither growing nor shrinking. In one patient, the cancer had disappeared entirely and was still cancer-free after two years. Five of the nine patients also responded much better to cancer drug treatments later on. Though this is only an early study, and will require many more experiments before it can be considered for widespread use, it does bode well for researchers. Especially, since previous T-cell training experiments failed when the cells died off when put back in the body. With any luck, future research will be just as promising as this study. (via Discover, image via Wikipedia)

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  4. Tech

    X-Ray Origami

    Artist Takayuki Hori takes the art of origami to another level of poignancy in her work Oritsunagumono, which uses skeletal views of endangered animals printed on transparent plastic, and folded into animal shapes. The work is beautiful, but undeniably grim. In addition to the skeletons of the animals, Hori has added images of the manmade objects these species often ingest. Keep reading after the break to see more images of Hori's work.

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  5. Science

    Study: Bubbles Behave Like Sand

    Sand, or other granulated material, seems to pour and flow just like a liquid. There are even some animals that have adapted to these properties, and can "swim" through the sands of deserts. However, it doesn't always work that way. From the New Scientist:

    [...] if the grains are packed so that they fill 64 per cent or more of the chute, they jam up and behave like a solid. The grains are thought to start moving with their neighbours, forming temporary "necklaces" that resist flow, although it is unclear why the transition occurs at this point.
    This lead Rémi Lespiat, a researcher with the University of Paris-East to wonder if bubbles behaved in a similar fashion. To test the behavior of bubbles, he shot nitrogen gas through a water tank creating bubbles. He then watched their progress through a tube, observing their movements. When the number of bubbles was low, they flowed quite normally, but as soon as they occupied 64% of the tube, the flow jammed to a halt. Though it's very preliminary research, it is quite surprising to see such startlingly similar results. In fact, it may be suggestive of a hard and fast rule for flowing bodies, and could prove useful for designing systems were a continuous flow of objects is important. (via New Scientist, image via Brian Smith)

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  6. Tech

    Trimensional App Turns iPhone into 3D Scanner

    Georgia Tech researcher Grant Schindler has come up with a pretty clever use for the iPhone 4: Use it to create 3D models. It's a simple process that proves that while there are over 350,000 apps, there's still plenty of new ideas for the iPhone platform. Schindler's app, called Trimensional, works by shining light on a person's face from four directions, and recording the results. These are compiled into a single image that users of the advanced version of the software can export to a 3D printer and create a model of their face, or whatever they scanned. Cleverly, Trimensional does not require any additional equipment to perform the scan, such as a light kit. Instead, it uses the iPhone's screen as a light source, and records the images with the front-facing camera. Schindler describes the scanning process as answering a series of questions. From the Georgia Tech Digital Lounge:

    If I take a scan of my face, the app asks ‘what does the image look like if I shine the light from the left side, what does it look like from the right side,’ and so on. There’s one three-dimensional answer per pixel, and combining all those answers results in the full 3-D model[.]

    Read on after the break for a video of Trimensional in action.

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  7. Entertainment

    Dog With Steve Carell’s Voice From Bruce Almighty is Way Freaky [Video]

    This is a dog barking like a lunatic, but dubbed with the voice of Steve Carell from Bruce Almighty. It is freaky. It is also Friday. Have a happy weekend.

    (via reddit)

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  8. Tech

    A World Without Facebook [Infographic]

    Search and social blog Single Grain reminds us what the world would be like without Facebook. A cruel and desolate place, no doubt, where one has to send emails to show off pictures and call people on the phone if one should plan an event. Head on past the break to see the full graphic, and be thankful we no longer have to force our previous night's exploits into a conversation and can simply post them on Facebook for all to see.

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  9. Weird

    Groundbreaking Research on “That’s What She Said”

    The surprising effectiveness and longevity of the now legendary "that's what she said" joke, recently popularized again with the help of The Office, has done more than provide millions with a knee-jerk response to casual conversation. It has now reached a new level of social significance, by inspiring serious linguistic research. It comes in the form of a research paper called That’s What She Said: Double Entendre Identification, authored by two computer science students, Chloé Kiddon and Yuriy Brun. In their paper, the pair outline their creation of the Double Entendre via Noun Transfer or DEviaNT approach that automatically identifies "that's what she said" (TWSS) jokes. They call their approach "metaphorical analysis," which carries a double-meaning all its own, and is based around weighting certain words as "sexier" than others. The team weighted several "sexy" nouns and verbs, and then ran their algorithm.

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  10. Tech

    The Dangers of Using the “Polaroid Effect”

    The so-called "Polaroid effect" is the darling of many an iPhone photo app. Just by messing with the image's coloring and slapping that iconic white border around it, would-be photographers can give their pictures a vintage hint without the trouble of owning an actual Instamatic-style camera. It's all just innocent fun, though. No one could get hurt...right?

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  11. Geekolinks

    Geekolinks: 4/29

    Amazon apologizes for their outage, explains their mess (Amazon)

    The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (

    GeoHot speaks out about the PlayStation Network fiasco (GeoHot Got Sued)

    The origins of the famous Mudflap girl (Jalopnik)

    Leaked documents show RIAA's plans for Limewire settlement (Techdirt)

    How do you make your own Pop Rocks? Very carefully. Ha ha. Also, read this. (Instructables)

    It's the Week of Hate over on GamesRadar, so, take this, Portal 2! (GamesRadar)

    (title pic via The High Definite)

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  12. Tech

    Mini Quadrocopter Makes a Great Spy for the Robot Revolution

    We've been documenting the extremely neat, super creepy quadrocopters for some time, so we all know they'll aid the machines in overthrowing humanity some day, but now they can do so without taking up much space. Arnaud Taffanel, Tobias Antonsson, and Marcus Eliasson have helped the robot revolution along a smidge by creating the CrazyFlie, a miniature quadrocopter.

    The adorable little mechanical spy weighs only 20 grams and measures 8 centimeters from the end of one motor to another. The quadrocopter runs on a Cortex-M3 CPU that takes input from an accelerometer and uses a couple of gyroscopes to keep balance. The quadrocopter is controlled by a 2.4Ghz radio transmitter, uses a small 110 mAh LIPO battery pack from an R/C plane and uses a PC to handle the telemetry. Head on past the break to check out a video of the tiny little spy copter in action.

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  13. Science

    Man Struck By Lightning Stands Up, Dusts Off, Walks On [Video]

    While crossing a road, one very lucky (or very unlucky) gentleman is suddenly struck by a bolt of lightning. Seconds later, he stands up and seems completely unphased by his experience. He likely came out better than the fellow in another lightning strike video making the rounds these days, who appears to be struck twice within seconds. Considering a human population in excess of six billion, an average of 100 lightning strikes per second world wide, and the ubiquity of digital recording devices, these videos could very well be legitimate. But as with most things dredged out of the bowels of the Internet, we can't positively verify their authenticity. Let us know your thoughts, and in the meantime I'll be standing outside with a metal pole trying to recreate these farfetched scenarios, in the name of journalism. (via Daily Picks and Flicks)

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  14. Science

    Researchers Receive $100,000 Grant to Turn Human Feces Into Energy

    Associate professors at the University of Calgary Schulich School of Engineering, Ian Gates and Michael Kallos, won a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges Explorations initiative to help them produce electricity, fertilizer, heat, methane gas and purified water from human feces.

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  15. Science

    Using Lasers to Extract Chemical Information from Single Hair

    Scientists have developed a new forensic laser-ablation technique that allows them to extract chemical information from hairs by blasting them with lasers. Jim Moran, a geochemist with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, developed the process, and authored an article on it for Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. Using this fine-grain approach, researchers could glean much more information from single hairs. Using Moran's method, an individual hair is targeted with an ultra-violet laser, which has less power than a conventional laser and breaks up the sample rather than completely destroying it. While the laser is firing, the gasses emitted are captured and analyzed by a mass spectrometer. This allows scientists to better understand the chemical make up, and possibly the history, of extremely small samples.

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