links for 2009-07-15

  • The Unicorn Museum
    Why the name ‘Unicorn Museum’? Unicorns, a fantasy creature, are mentioned in the Bible a total of nine times, yet many Christian adherents still maintain that the Bible is a wholly accurate historical account. By focusing on the more implausible aspects of this reputed infallible document, the Unicorn Museum seeks to illustrate the $27 Million charade that is the Creation Museum and highlight the intellectual laxity that characterizes Creationism and Intelligent Design. Who Made This Unforgivable Heresy? The Unicorn Museum is brought to you by the folks at This Week in Science – a science news radio show/podcast focusing on the light-hearted side of science and technology.
  • Clothes could one day take snaps of everything happening around whoever is wearing them.US researchers have made smart fabric that can detect the wavelength and direction of light falling on it.The research team has found a way to accurately place sensors in each fibre and co-ordinate the electrical signals they send when light falls on them.
  • Winning the Long Peace
    The future of the nation state in the age of disaggregation
    or, why “be nice to people” is always a good idea.
  • DFFN (Design For Future Needs) This project is to conduct research into the tools, techniques and methodologies used in design forecasting practice in different industry sectors and in different geographical areas of the EU. These techniques, used to anticipate the needs of the future population, will enhance planning and foresight initiatives in industry, the public sector and government policy throughout the EU. The project consists of a study of current design forecasting practices, documentation of three case studies and definition of social, industrial and economic themes and trends.The results will be a report and website which describe the value of design forecasting practices to foresight initiatives to enhance our ability to anticipate needs and generate innovative proposals that will contribute to our future quality of life. The final conference will recommend strategies for embedding design forecasting into policy planning and foresight initiatives.
  • Australia has launched a multi-million dollar competition to build a new generation of military robots.The winning design must help soldiers fight by remote control in urban combat zones, defence officials say.The aim is to reduce casualties in urban areas where fighting is unpredictable and treacherous.
  • Buckminster Fuller Meets the Hippies / Counter Communities. Rare documentation of a conversation on utopian aspirations, rational design, and Spaceship Earth as ‘Bucky’ speaks to a group assembled on Hippie Hill, San Francisco, at the height of the counterculture movement. This excerpt from a much longer recording, probably made for public access or student TV, serves as a compelling, if lo-fi, glimpse of a very particular moment in time and thought.
  • The Robot Hall of Fame honours robots real and fictional that have made or inspired technical breakthroughs. Our ultra-high-resolution GigaPan image reveals four of the best at the world’s biggest permanent robotics exhibit, Roboworld, at Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh. You can zoom into the tiniest detail or annotate it here.
  • The Robot Hall of Fame recognizes excellence in robotics technology worldwide and honors the fictional and real robots that have inspired and made breakthrough accomplishments in robotics. The Robot Hall of Fame was created by Carnegie Mellon University in April 2003 to call attention to the increasing contributions from robots to human society.
  • Every regular flier has their favourite trick for kicking jet leg, from naps to caffeine. Now a computer program could take much of the guesswork out of these countermeasures, recommending precisely timed light treatments to reset the body’s circadian clock. The circadian clock acts like a pendulum. Over the space of 24 hours or so, the pendulum swings back and forth to complete a cycle. After an abrupt time change this cycle ends up out-of-whack relative to the new time zone. The circadian clock relies on light to recalibrate itself each day. But a poorly timed nap or cup of coffee has the potential to make things worse by pushing the pendulum further out of sync.

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