Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Is there a point to Belgium?

The Economist looks at how an entrenched biculturalism is never transcended. It's always the butt of European jokes for it's not-really-anything-to-speak-of status, isn't it?

Vitamin D increases life expectancy

From a metastudy:

We had a reduction in all-cause mortality after a follow-up of about six years. So it means that may represent something like an increase of two to three years of your life expectancy...
From what I remember, vit D is fat soluble, so that damage from overdosing is a real possibility. The studies covered went up to 2000 IUs.

Monday, September 17, 2007

UNEP bringing solar power into India's rural mainstream

Well, rather than burning all that kerosene for indoor lighting microfinancing is allowing for photovoltaic kits to be installed.

OQO model 2 gets a solid-state harddrive

Remember, this UMPC has the power of a laptop, but fits in a jacket pocket. The big deal about an SSD, which is only 32GB at this point, is the lower power consumption. The battery on this thing doesn't last too long, so this should help some. Also, CPU specs are being bumped up and price is being brought down.
I would imagine that if they could get something like Intel's ultralow voltage chip, the battery would perform more respectably. But maybe that's negligible against the screen.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints apologizes for massacre 150 years ago

The official apology for the Mountain Meadows massacre of Arkansas immigrants on their way to California.
Previous post of trailer for September Dawn here.

Writing, sharing and protecting your life's story

Create timelines with milestones to note significant events in your and your family's life story.

Photonic laser thruster may shorten trip to Mars down to 1 week from 6 months

Still just proof of concept.

"For decades, rocket scientists have tried to overcome the inefficiency of photon thrusters by amplification based on optical cavities separated from laser sources, but failed," the institute said. "In contrast, Bae’s PLT (patent pending) places the laser medium within a resonant optical cavity between two platforms to produce a very stable and reliable thrust that is unaffected by mirror movement and vibration -- ideal for spacecraft control or propulsion."

Fading superpower? -- LA Times

Becoming mainstream now.
Empires have come and then most certainly gone. Why not America? That doesn't mean it has to completely disappear; some wisdom will guarantee at least some kind of decent place among the other nations.
More parallels here, like Athens pushing its democracy on others.

Residential and commercial hydrogen generation from electrolysis for heating fuel

In the U.K.

... the ITM electrolyser is designed to utilize off-peak or renewable electricity sources to create its own hydrogen fuel which can then be stored and used as a conventional gas to burn in central heating boilers as well as a fuel for cooking.

Stored hydrogen can also be reconverted to electricity using domestic fuel cells or generators to power lighting or other electrical appliances...

Antidepressant as good as antipsychotic for aggressive behavior in those with dementia

For Alzheimer's patients:

The researchers were surprised to find that the two drugs had similar efficacy in reducing psychosis (hallucinations, delusions, suspicious thoughts) and agitation. Overall, there was a 32 per cent reduction of symptoms with citalopram [the antidepressant] and a 35 per cent reduction with risperidone.

But citalopram was associated with significantly fewer side effects, such as sedation, tension and apathy. Total side effect burden scores increased 19 per cent for risperidone and decreased by four per cent with citalopram.

Bubbles in space

The floating blob of water goes wild when the antacid tablet is placed in it.

via videosift.com

Russian armor-piercing grenade proving very effective in Iraq

Links to a CBS video on the weapon. It has a parachute to get it vertical, allowing the blast to go down.

Windows process and dll library

Occasionally, instructions on how to remove if malicious.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Buildersite -- tradesmen and contractors put up profiles and get feedback

This one is just for the U.K., but it's certainly a fine idea for anywhere.

Hospital cutting deadly infection rate

Pre-admission screening ends up being cost-effective. Too many hospitals believe infections at hospitals just come with the territory.

OrbitzTLC Traveler Update -- real-time travel conditions provided by real travelers

U.S. only for major airports.

An internet romance gone loopy

A rather extreme variation on a theme. Speaks to general issues of cognition and epistemology. I am quite tired of hearing of falling in love as having to do with some intuited essence, soulmates and such.

Yakuza Moon -- memoirs of a Japanese gangster's daughter

Apparently, displaying your gang's name in a sign on your storefront window is old school and just not done anymore. Times are getting more desperate with public officials in the mood for crackdown. Ergo, the assassination of the mayor of Nagasaki.

Russian scientists discover radiation-absorbing material

They just call it 27-4, and it extracts radioactive substances from any water-based solution. Only a few grams so far. We need tonnes of the stuff, so they're hoping to chemically reproduce it to that scale.

How to tie a bow tie

The related videos column has others too.

13-step method for buying a car

You need to know exactly what you want, have already decided what you're going to pay and walk in essentially with an ultimatum. Be prepared to actually walk away.

The suicides and mysterious accidents of British SDI (Star Wars) scientists

Who knew that working on the Strategic Defense Initiative through the '80s would have been so dangerous?

Fence Defence for construction site security

So it seems that 75% of theft from residential and commercial building sites occurs at night or on weekends. The system presented here goes beyond fencing:

Additional zone boxes can be purchased to monitor inputs other than fencing, these include temporary house alarms; smoke detectors; site plant alarms; tilt alarms; and laser trip wire. For added protection each zone box incorporates an anti-tamper mechanism that guards against unauthorized interference.
These are the same people who sell the system that drives teenagers away with the 18-20kHz that only they can hear.

Cognitive therapy for mild cog impairment and pain

With the right stimuli and feedback (computer-mediated in these cases), use the brain's plasticity to heal itself.