Archive for March, 2011

Complexity of time zones explained

30 Mar

Brief history of time zones

Do you understand how time zones work around the world and when exactly you need to move your watch forward or back? Me neither. BBC News provides a brief history of time zones via interactive globe.

Theoretically, the world should be divide into 24 equal time zones, in which each zone differs from the last by one hour. But as the years have passed, the world has turned into a much more complicated place. Time zones are now much more irregular and sometimes seem positively eccentric, affected as they are by political, geographical and social changes in the real world.

Rotate the globe to see where each time zone lands. Some of the zones seem relatively straight, but even in some areas like the GMT-2 time zone, there's some crookedness. There must be some small islands there or something. It's either that or the Royal Observatory is fond of puzzles. No, there aren't any other options.

[BBC News via @kelsosCorner]


40 Eye Catching Single Page Website Designs

30 Mar

One of the appealing trends which I noticed recently is to showcase your work in single page design. It’s kind of ironic to see what designers can do with single pages as modern age designers love to experiment with things and observe how people interact with their work. It can be handy a charming for designing your portfolio or to market/sell any product


The Art of the Press Release: Special RAISING HOPE Edition!

29 Mar

Continuing his penchant for delivering press releases that cut through the clutter comes the latest from the genius behind RAISING HOPE, Greg Garcia. See for yourself, after the jump.

Dear Press Member,
Hello, friends. It’s your pal, Greg Garcia. I’ve got a problem I was hoping you could help me out with:  Not enough people are watching my show. Sure, we’re picked up for a second season and we’re doing a decent number in the demo most weeks. But we need more people to watch.
My problem is I don’t have the same kind of awesome luck other shows have. I don’t have a rock-star-tiger-blooded warlock going on every network providing non-stop promotion for my show. I’m stuck with a cast of amazingly talented actors who refuse to get into any trouble at all. I’ve begged them to throw a chair through a window at a morning show, steal a necklace, smoke a questionable substance in an online video or at the very least, rent a mansion and fill it full of adult-film stars. Alas, they refuse. My young star, Lucas Neff – who should be all over TMZ – spends his weekends at the library. THE LIBRARY!!! Seriously, the kid goes to the library. See what I’m up against here?
Anyway, that’s why I need you to help me out. If you think the show is good, keep telling people to watch. If you think these episodes we’re making available to you today are good, tell people to watch. If you see one of my cast members out in public, slip some drugs in their pocket and call the cops.

Thanks for your help,

Greg Garcia


The History of Web Browsers (Picture)

28 Mar

From the dark ages to this day.

The History of Web Browsers (Picture)

Via: WinBeta
Source: TechKing


Quadrocopter Ball Juggling

28 Mar


Markus Waibel from robotspodcast pointed us to this amazing video showing two quadcopters juggling a small ball. The video is made by the Control of Distributed, Autonomous Systems lab of professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), Raffaello D'Andrea. It is shot inside the Flying Machine Arena, a facility that provides a control environment for motion control research. The two quadcopters are based on the 'Hummingbird' quadrotor made by Ascending Technologies with new controls and custom made electronics fabricated by the institute. A vital component is a state of the art Vicon motion capture system that provides the localization data to the robots and makes extremely precise and dynamic control possible. You can learn more about the labs other projects here.
( Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea was interviewed by the robotspodcast about KIVA systems warehouse robots and another member of the team, Raymond Oung recently talked to us about an aerial modular robot called the Distributed Flight Array. )


Large file sending: Wetransfer and Sendoid

26 Mar

You must know wetransfer, which provides easy and fast server based large file sending. It's great for files smaller than 2GB if you don't mind the ads you have to look at while uploading and downloading. With wetransfer you must first upload your file to an amazon cloud server, then your recipient gets a link for the file download. The advantage is that the download is really fast and the service is free. For a fee you can get your own channel so your recipient can look at your ads instead third party ads.

There is also a new player in town when it comes to large file sending. Sendoid uses P2P technology, which means your and your recipient's computers are connected directly without a server in between. Once you select the file to be sent you get a download link instantly which you can share with your friend or colleague and they can start downloading instantly. Optionally you can also set a password for added security. Here the download speed is limited by your upload speed, so it's a bit like sending files through Skype or other chat service, however there is no size limit if you use the Sendoid desktop AIR application. Sendoid is also free and there is no pay option at present.


Religion diet may make you obese

25 Mar
NORTHWESTERN (US) — Young adults who frequently attend religious activities are 50 percent more likely to become obese by middle age as young adults with no religious involvement. By tracking participants’ weight gain over time, the study shows that normal weight younger adults with high religious involvement become obese, rather than obese adults becoming more [...]

Flawed Diamonds Could Store Quantum Data

25 Mar

DALLAS — Scientists have developed a new way to manipulate atoms inside diamond crystals so that they store information long enough to function as quantum memory, which encodes information not as the 0s and 1s crunched by conventional computers but in states that are both 0 and 1 at the same time. Physicists use such quantum data to send information securely, and hope to eventually build quantum computers capable of solving problems beyond the reach of today’s technology.

sciencenewsFor those developing this quantum memory, the perfect diamonds don’t come from Tiffany & Co. — or Harry Winston, for that matter. Impurities are the key to the technology.

“Oddly enough, perfection may not be the way to go,” said David Awschalom of the University of California, Santa Barbara. “We want to build in defects.”

One of the most common defects in diamond is nitrogen, which turns the stone yellow. When a nitrogen atom sits next to a vacant spot in the carbon crystal, the intruding element provides an extra electron that moves into the hole. Several years ago, scientists learned how to change the spin of such electrons using microwave energy and put them to work as quantum bits, or qubits.

In search of a more stable way to store quantum information, Awschalom has now figured out how to link the spin of a electron to the spin of the nearby nitrogen’s nucleus. This transfer, triggered by magnetic fields, is fast — about 100 nanoseconds, comparable to how long it takes to store information on a stick of RAM.

The technique has “a fidelity of 85 to 95 percent,” Awschalom said March 22 in Dallas at a meeting for the American Physical Society.

In contrast to some other quantum systems under development, which require temperatures close to absolute zero, this diamond memory works at room temperature. The spins inside the diamond can be both changed and measured by shining laser light into the diamond. This could make diamond an attractive material for scientists developing nanophotonic systems designed to move and store information in packets of light.

Unlike a diamond itself, this quantum memory isn’t forever. But it lasts for a very long time by quantum standards. The nuclear spin remains coherent for more than a millisecond, with the potential to improve to seconds.

“You can only do your quantum magic as long as you have coherence,” said Sebastian Loth, a physicist at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif. “If you have a lifetime of milliseconds, that lets you do millions of operations.”

In addition to stability, diamond may also overcome another hurdle that has faced quantum computing — it can be scaled up to larger sizes. In a paper published last year in Nano Letters, Awschalom developed a technique for creating customizable patterns of nitrogen atoms inside a diamond, using lasers to implant thousands of atoms in a grid.

Awschalom’s diamond quantum memory could also be useful for building large quantum networks. Currently, quantum information is transmitted by connecting, or entangling, qubits. This scheme is limited to distances of kilometers. Quantum repeaters could potentially use small chips of diamond to catch, store and retransmit this information to extend the range, enabling quantum networks to work over much longer distances.

Image: Jurvetson/Flickr

See Also:


What was a South American herbivore doing with saber teeth?

25 Mar

Some extinct animals have anatomical oddities that seem destined to be confined to the marginalia of history. Questionable characters, such as the single-fingered dinosaur and the flightless, club-winged bird , ultimately died off despite--if not because of--their idiosyncratic adaptations. [More]


I always wondered…

25 Mar

I always wondered is a beautiful side project by Jarrett Green in which tries to answer questions that pop up in his curious mind. Wonderful!