Friday, February 22, 2008

Amusing hand-faces

Amusing hand-faces

From the May, 1933 ish of Popular Science: a bunch of amusing faces you can make by arranging your hands just so, while clutching various props.

Larger View of hand positions.

And Sometimes You Are Just Too Tired

And Sometimes You Are Just Too Tired
Monday, September 10th, 2007

In the years I lived in Tokyo i never quite got over how comfortable people where with their public roads and transportation. On morning strolls i would see people passed out in bushes, sleeping on benches, and slumped over on parked bikes.

Sometimes you are just too tired… and need some solid sleep.

(more photo of passed out, over-worked people…)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Star Trek's "White Rabbit"

Star Trek's "White Rabbit"

A comedy crackvid about the TOS crew (mainly Kirk, Spock & McCoy) to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". In no way am I implying anything about their use of mind-altering substances. *cough*wellmaybealittle*cough*

Brain control headset for gamers

Brain control headset for gamers

By Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website, San Francisco

Tan Le

Brainwaves controlling a video game

WATCH:Brainwaves controlling a video game

Gamers will soon be able to interact with the virtual world using their thoughts and emotions alone.

A neuro-headset which interprets the interaction of neurons in the brain will go on sale later this year.

"It picks up electrical activity from the brain and sends wireless signals to a computer," said Tan Le, president of US/Australian firm Emotiv.

"It allows the user to manipulate a game or virtual environment naturally and intuitively," she added.

The brain is made up of about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, which emit an electrical impulse when interacting. The headset implements a technology known as non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG) to read the neural activity.

Ms Le said: "Emotiv is a neuro-engineering company and we've created a brain computer interface that reads electrical impulses in the brain and translates them into commands that a video game can accept and control the game dynamically."

See how the headset works

Headsets which read neural activity are not new, but Ms Le said the Epoc was the first consumer device that can be used for gaming.

"This is the first headset that doesn't require a large net of electrodes, or a technician to calibrate or operate it and does require gel on the scalp," she said. "It also doesn't cost tens of thousands of dollars."

The use of Electroencephalography in medical practice dates back almost 100 years but it is only since the 1970s that the procedure has been used to explore brain computer interfaces.

See how the headset works

The headset could be used to improve the realism of emotional responses of AI characters in games
Tan Le, Emotiv

The Epoc technology can be used to give authentic facial expressions to avatars of gamers in virtual worlds. For example, if the player smiles, winks, grimaces the headset can detect the expression and translate it to the avatar in game.

It can also read emotions of players and translate those to the virtual world. "The headset could be used to improve the realism of emotional responses of AI characters in games," said Ms Le.

"If you laughed or felt happy after killing a character in a game then your virtual buddy could admonish you for being callous," she explained.

The $299 headset has a gyroscope to detect movement and has wireless capabilities to communicate with a USB dongle plugged into a computer.

The Emotiv said the headset could detects more than 30 different expressions, emotions and actions.

They include excitement, meditation, tension and frustration; facial expressions such as smile, laugh, wink, shock (eyebrows raised), anger (eyebrows furrowed); and cognitive actions such as push, pull, lift, drop and rotate (on six different axis).

Gamers are able to move objects in the world just by thinking of the action.

Emotiv is working with IBM to develop the technology for uses in "strategic enterprise business markets and virtual worlds"

Paul Ledak, vice president, IBM Digital Convergence said brain computer interfaces, like the Epoc headset were an important component of the future 3D Internet and the future of virtual communication.

Emotiv Epoc headset
Sensors respond to the electrical impulses behind different thoughts; enabling a user's brain to influence gameplay directly
Conscious thoughts, facial expressions, and non-conscious emotions can all be detected
Gyroscope enables a cursor or camera to be controlled by head movements
The headset uses wi-fi to connect to a computer

Return to story

Longest Walk 2 News

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Lakota freedom

Lakota freedom

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Neon Glow in the Dark Live Pigs

Neon Glow in the Dark Live Pigs

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that “glow in the dark”. They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through.

The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.

The researchers hope the pigs will boost the island’s stem cell research, as well as helping with the study of human disease.

The scientists, from National Taiwan University’s Department of Animal Science and Technology, say that although the pigs glow, they are otherwise no different from any others.

Taiwan is not claiming a world first. Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before; but the researchers insist the three pigs they have produced are better.

Transgenic pig

In daylight, their eyes and skin are green-tinged

They are the only ones that are green from the inside out. Even their heart and internal organs are green, the researchers say.

To create them, DNA from jellyfish was added to about 265 pig embryos which were implanted in eight different sows.

Four of the female pigs became pregnant and three male piglets were born three months ago.

Green generation

In daylight, the researchers say the pigs’ eyes, teeth and trotters look green. Their skin has a greenish tinge.

In the dark, shine a blue light on them and they glow torch-light bright.

The scientists will use the transgenic pigs to study human disease. Because the pig’s genetic material encodes a protein that shows up as green, it is easy to spot.

So if, for instance, some of its stem cells are injected into another animal, scientists can track how they develop without the need for a biopsy or invasive test.

But creating them has not been easy. Many of the altered embryos failed to develop.

The researchers say they hope the new, green pigs will mate with ordinary female pigs to create a new generation - much greater numbers of transgenic pigs for use in research.

Rare Chinese Monkey Picked Tea

Rare Chinese Monkey Picked Tea

Legend says that over ten centuries ago, upon seeing his master pick tea leaves, a monkey climbed up and collected the leaves and brought them down for his master.

Whether it be legend or simply a cheaper form of labor, the story has turned into a rare product that you can purchase and enjoy.

Monkey Picked Tea
is a rare tea that is carefully picked by specially trained monkeys in a remote mountain region of China.

It is claimed that none of the monkeys are mistreated or harmed in this process. They say that the monkeys are treated as respected members of their family.

We have not been able to find any pictures of any monkeys actually picking tea leaves, but we did find this one video that shows a girl whip a camera around and claim the monkey was picking tea… you be the judge.

I Want Top Tea Leaves

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Every so often we stumble across a really great commercial from Asia. In this case we found a wonderful Japanese tea commercial that we just had to share with you all.


Color the brain's fear system

(Click on image to see it larger BUT it will take you to a new page, use you BACK button) I went to the California Science Center with my four-year-old daughter and they had a great exhibit called Goosebumps: The Science of Fear. One station shocked kids at random intervals, another station made it seem like you were sticking your hand into a terrarium filled with poison snakes and spider, another one had a device that you strapped yourself into to simulate falling.

I liked this handout for kids to color the brain's fear system.

Another tip of the hat to

Eyeball Stickers

These fake eyeball stickers look like they'd come in handy, but The Museum of Hoaxes is having a hard time tracking down a place that actually sells them. They look easy enough to make yourself, though

Quite a few blogs are linking to these fake eyeball stickers, though I haven't been able to track down if any company is actually selling them. Nevertheless, they're a good idea if you want to take a nap at work while pretending to be working. Just place the stickers over your closed eyes, and no one will be the wiser.