Science & Technology

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ross Technology sees your 'waterproof' and raises you 'superhydrophobic'

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 8:33 AM

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Call this the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. Geek.com reports that Ross Technology Corp. has developed a liquid spray that repels water like nothing you've ever seen (probably).

The spray actually uses nanoparticles and is superhydrophobic. That means it repels water and keeps a surface completely dry and stain free. While it may keep steel dry, Ross also realized it could be sprayed on products to keep them clean, and also keeps objects free of bacteria and ice. The company even claims you can spray an iPhone with NeverWet and it becomes waterproof.

NeverWet is being turned into a consumer product and will see a release next year, but we should also start seeing it applied to products too. Shoes that can’t get dirty, ovens that don’t need cleaning, and clothes you never need to wash hopefully (a personal dream of mine).

Watch the video: There's a cool bit about stacking water molecules, besides other things that may make your head asplode.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chemistry Tuesday (time to dork out)

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 8:55 AM

My days of chemistry are long behind me, but after a reading about atoms in Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything last night, it's fondly coming back to me (sans flunked tests).

We're talking about the interface of chemistry and physics here, the strange structures of atoms and their behaviors, things like clouds of probability, the Schrödinger Wave Equation and math so complex as to prove fundamentals like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I'm tripping up over fractions these days.

All that said, while tooling around on the webs to refresh myself on orbitals, I found the Dynamic Periodic Table, probably the funnest thing I've ever seen today.

The DPT loads quickly and has multiple tabs and mouse-over options for revealing facts about the elements. From the basics of atomic number and weight, to the temperature at which each changes from solids to liquids to gasses, it's easy to navigate. A Wikipedia tab even gives encyclopedia information, in case you wanted to know what molybdenum is known for.

Wonder no more, the orbital structure of Rhodium is here.
  • Wonder no more, the orbital structure of Rhodium is here.

Likely, those of us no longer studying this field will have no inclination to review isotopes or learn a bit about all those scary elements that sit in two pull-out rows below the box proper. And yes, the site isn't at all new, but given the variable behavior of time in the world of quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity, I'd say that's a good enough pass.

But if you want to be ultra-Zen about it, and get super-trippy, there's this:

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Indy Minute

Posted By on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 12:47 PM

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The WHAT IF?! Festival sparks imagination this weekend, Cuban culture pays a visit to Pueblo, and local music takes center stage with the first-ever Indy Music Awards Festival, all in this week's Indy Minute.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Prediction: World Wide Web fad may become bigger than CB radio craze

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

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Now that you know about the return of MTV's 120 Minutes, it's time to further stoke the flames of MTV nostalgia with this clip of the network's 1995 report on the futuristic phenomenon known as the "World Wide Web."

Bolstered by interviews with such web-savvy visionaries as Sandra Bullock, Newt Gingrich, Perry Farrell and "cyber-journalist" David Bennahum, the report includes '90s rapper Coolio extolling the virtues of the "information superhighway" and a narrator who declares it the highest-profile "big-deal technological fad" since "the CB radio boom of the 1970s" — which is, of course, followed by footage of a semi driver blurting "All right, that's a big 10-4" into his citizens' band radio.

Stretching the trucker metaphor just a bit more, MTV goes on to describe the Internet's "proliferation of special interest truckstops called 'websites' and the arrival of 'network browser programs' that make the whole thing, if not idiot-proof, at least user-friendly."

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Spotify stung for spying

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 5:26 PM

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In an Indy article last week, we talked to musicians and industry folks about the pros and cons of Spotify, the new digital music service that launched in America on July 14. On the plus side, the company lets you stream more than 15 million tracks for free. On the downside, you have to listen to ads between songs, and the royalties paid to artists are unlikely to offset lost sales.

OK, then, get ready for Drawback No. 3. Turns out Spotify, along with Hulu and a number of other companies, has been using a particularly virulent online tracking service to mine information about subscribers' Internet habits — one that, as Berkeley researcher Ashkan Soltani told wired.com on Friday, uses "practically every known method to circumvent user attempts to protect their privacy."

Spotify and Hulu have since discontinued use of the service, which is provided by a Northern California company called KISSmetrics. Meanwhile, the good folks at KISSmetrics are insisting none of the data can be traced back to the individual visitors it spies upon.

All that might be somewhat reassuring, were it not for the prominent post that jumped out at me when I visited KISSmetrics' blog. Titled "7 Sneaky Ways to Use Facebook to Spy on Your Competition," it's a sequel to the company's previously posted "7 Sneaky Ways to Use Twitter to Spy on Your Competition."

"These days," begins the latter article, "spying on your competition is easier than ever."

But spying on customers? Why, that would be unthinkable.

Spotifys KISSmetrics: Trust us.
  • Spotify's KISSmetrics: Trust us.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Joyce's Ulysses: There's a tweet for that

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 5:02 PM

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As fans of James Joyce are well aware, Thursday, June 16, is Bloomsday, the anniversary of the events that take place in the author's epic novel, Ulysses — which was once described (incorrectly) as "the foulest book that ever found its way into print.”

But what Ulysses devotees may not realize is that this landmark work, which some of us have spent years trying to get through, will appear in a variety of forms on Twitter tomorrow.

As far as I can tell, no one out there has announced plans to celebrate Bloomsday by tweeting the entire 265,000-word novel in sequential 140-character installments, which I'm guessing would do for Twitter's servers what Lady Gaga recently did for Amazon's.

But I do know of two potentially interesting Twitter commemorations that microblog-inclined Joyce fans can check out.

The first comes via Frank Delaney, the Irish author whose Joyce obsession has led to what's turning out to be a life-long podcast devoted to analyzing Ulysses sentence-by-sentence. Delaney has issued a Bloomsday challenge, inviting followers to summarize the entire novel in a single tweet. For search purposes, participants are asked to include the hashtag #FDBloomsday, and Delaney will award prizes to his favorite three.

Those who prefer a slightly more detailed approach can try @11ysses, which will be tweeting CliffsNotes-style summaries of each section, described as follows:

The @11ysses Twitter account is the stage for this "tweading" of Ulysses. The Bloomsday tweaders are you, anyone in the world who would like to volunteer to take a section of the novel and condense/congeal/cajole it into a string of 4-6 tweets that will be broadcast as a quick burst on @11ysses. "Bloomsday bursts" will be posted every quarter hour starting at 8 o'clock in the morning (Dublin time) on 16 June and continue for the next 24 hours.

Here's hoping the copyright-fixated Joyce estate doesn't figure out a way to sue everyone involved ...

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Indy Minute

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 3:40 PM

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Legendary musician Tim Reynolds brings his electric power trio TR3 to Colorado Springs, the Humane Society brings a "Pit Boss" to town, and the Steampunk Ball arrives from an alternate future. Check them all out in this week's Indy Minute.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.

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PPLD hAPPiness

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 7:22 AM

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If you, like me, are addicted to checking out books, DVDs and such from the Pikes Peak Library District, and if you, like me, are attached at the palm to an iPhone, you're going to love this news.

Though it actually released March 16, I just this week saw an ad on PPLD's homepage for its new, free iPhone app.

And though I've only used it for two days, I have to say I'm impressed.

Everything you can do on the website, you can do on the app: search the library's catalog, check your account, renew books you've already checked out, ask a librarian a question, etc. You can also ask the app to find the closest library to your current location and show you on a map where the facility is. (I did think it was a bit funny that the app told me the "Mobile Library Services" was 6,493 miles away, but, you know. It's possible.)

My favorite function to have mobile? Reserving books. I've been known to add books I want to read to my GoodReads account on the fly, jot a book title down on the back of a receipt I try desperately not to lose, even write an author's name on my hand — just so later I can open up my laptop at home and use these as reminders to put titles on hold through the library's website.

Now my hands stay (mostly) ink-free.

The only thing I can't do via the app? Pay my fines. Or as I like to call them, donations.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Church makes kids fat

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Religion: Making kids fat throughout the ages.
  • Religion: Making kids fat throughout the ages.

In the old days, before science provided increasingly bizarre study results, children had to rely on their own imaginations to get out of going to church.

There was playing sick or pointing to a supposed mountain of homework that needed to be completed. And, of course, there was my personal favorite childhood cop-out: "I think I'd rather just stay here and read the Bible." (Translation: Wahaha!)

Anyway, kids today can just say, "No thanks, mom, I'm really trying to watch my weight." Yep, science has proven it: Church makes young people fat.

Is it all that talk of fish and loaves? The cookies the old ladies pile onto the coffee table? The after-church Sunday breakfast at the local pancake parlor? Is the "body of God" more fattening than any of us ever suspected?

Hard to say, hard to say. But one way or another, statistics show that little Danny and Suzy are getting replenished with more than the glory of god in your local house of worship. Their cup is being filled, so to speak, likely with full calorie soda. A mighty fortress is not their mouths.

... OK, I'll stop. Here's what MSNBC had to say:

The study, presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, followed 2,433 men and women starting between the ages of 20 and 32 for 18 years. Study subjects were all of normal weight at the beginning of the study. By the end, however, those who had attended a religious function at least once a week were more likely to be obese, posting a body mass index of 30 or higher. Previous research by Northwestern Medicine has found a correlation between religious involvement and obesity in middle age and older adults.

Read the full article here.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

See it tomorrow: Supermoon

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 2:01 PM

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According to NASA, the full moon tomorrow night will be special, because it's going to be 31,000 miles closer to Earth than usual.

So be prepared to see one big-ass wheel of cheese in the sky.

The moon travels in an oval orbit around the Earth, and when the short side of the oval passes over us during a full-moon phase, you get a "perigee" moon, which is 14 percent wider and 30 percent brighter. The last time this happened was about 20 years ago.

Click to expand.
  • Click to expand.

And even though the moon will be closer to Earth, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association say it won't cause any natural disasters; tides may be just an inch or so higher than usual.

For more information, click here.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Can I go to the metaverse now, please?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Romantic, not at all ridiculous. A Second Life wedding.
  • Romantic, not at all ridiculous. A Second Life wedding.

The cynics say that technology is addictive, and that our obsession with it, fueled by the ever-more portable gateways to it, is breaking down our ability to deal with the real world.

To this I say: eh.

Getting distracted by my Blackberry Twitter app and nearly plowing over one of my coworkers doesn't indicate to me an unhealthy obsession. I could have just as easily gotten distracted by a passing conversation, or by my internal bitching that The Social Network didn't win the big prize last night. That walk from my desk to the commode this morning was enriched by my ability to scan dozens of tweets.

So, yes, I'm in love with the future, and I'm happy I live in it. I look forward to the day when I get to jack in and go to exclusive parties in the metaverse. (My only problem with Second Life was that it wasn't Second Life-y enough.)

And while most Americans share my love for connectivity, they are also conflicted by it, according to an Intel poll over at Fast Company.

We've long heard people complaints about PDA, or public displays of affection. "Get a room!" is the typical response. But now it's the other kind of PDA—the personal digital assistant, the smartphone—that's leading to public displays of an even more unfortunate sort. According to Intel's survey, 91% of American adults say they've seen people misuse mobile technology (which seems a little low, actually), while 75% think the problem is worse now than it was in 2009. One in five 'fessed up to engaging in bad behavior themselves. People are seeing about five such "mobile offenses" every day.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fossil beds' parking lot is snowier than last time

Posted By on Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Periodically, we like to drop in on the Florissant Fossil Beds' webcam, and just verify how things are going in their neck of the woods.

Since last checking this compelling specimen of web-based observation, it seems there's more snow in the parking lot, while the flag is hanging down this time, as opposed to billowing in an outwards manner.

Have you ever seen its like?
  • Have you ever seen its like?

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sorry, money actually can buy happiness

Posted By on Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Actually, I feel happier just looking at this picture.
  • Actually, I feel happier just looking at this picture.

The romantics among us will scoff, but the science is clear: Money brings happiness. And in fact, the more money you have, the happier you're likely to be.

According to a Today Show article:

After poring over data from 140 countries, researchers from The Wharton School concluded that the more money you have, the more satisfied you are with life — and that relationship holds true whether you are a citizen of the United States or of Burundi. As it turns out, the happiness effect isn’t relative; it’s based on a person’s absolute income.

What that means is that your happiness is very dependent on the economic prosperity of the country in which you live. As a general rule, the wealthier a nation is, the happier its citizens are.

Any of you other poor jerks feeling depressed right about now?

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

SXSW pre-event mixer coming to Boulder

Posted By on Thu, Jan 27, 2011 at 4:36 PM

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Austin's South by Southwest conference, widely regarding as a Twitter tipping point after attendees critically overloaded AT&T's network in 2009, has steadily grown from an indie music festival into a sprawling music/film/interactive behemoth.

And if you're among the emerging technology geeks who are planning to attend the March 11-15 interactive portion of this year's 10-day event, you can mingle with like-minded Coloradans at a newly announced official pre-event mixer up in Boulder.

The free meetup will take place next Monday, Jan. 31. It begins with a 6 p.m. "Town Hall," during which SXSW staffers will answer questions about the conference. After that, you and fellow techno-freaks can par-tay from 7 to 9, after which you must go home.

Email iarsvp@sxsw.com to RSVP for the event, which will take place at Bacaro Venetian Taverna, 921 Pearl St., Boulder. No word yet on whether Mountain Dew Throwback will be served.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who wants to start a radio station?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 4:49 PM

In case you missed this on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman interviewed Hannah Sassaman, a representative from Prometheus Radio Project, about the Senate's recent passage of The Local Community Radio Act. Once this bill finally becomes a law, it will expand the opportunity to capitalize on low-power FM service by thousands of new licensees.

What does that mean? According to Prometheus, it means that "non-profit organizations, local governments, churches, schools, and emergency responders" and so on will be able to apply for a license from the FCC to run a radio station that broadcasts to the immediately surrounding community.

The Local Community Radio Act will expand the low power FM (LPFM) service created by the FCC in 2000 — a service the FCC created to address the shrinking diversity of voices on the radio dial. Over 800 LPFM stations, all locally owned and non-commercial, are already on the air. ...

The bill repeals earlier legislation which had been backed by big broadcasters, including the National Association of Broadcasters. This legislation, the Radio Broadcast Preservation Act of 2000, limited LPFM radio to primarily rural areas. The broadcast lobby groups claimed that the new 100-watt stations could somehow create interference with their own stations, a claim disproven by a Congressionally-mandated study in 2003.

Congressional leaders worked for years to pass this legislation. As the clock wound down on the 111th Congress, they worked with the NAB to amend the bill to enshrine even stronger protections against interference and to ensure the prioritization of full power FM radio stations over low power stations.

Imagine, the public's airwaves being opened back up to the public.

AMY GOODMAN: How do people apply for these stations?

HANNAH SASSAMAN: So the FCC will open up what’s called a licensing window. We’re not sure exactly when. We at Prometheus are very excited to be working at the FCC to make a window happen as soon as possible. But now is the time to organize your group to think about what a community station can truly do in your town.

It will be exciting to see who in our community takes advantage of this new opportunity.

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