A Dose Of Genius
- Dramatic increases in the numbers of students using “smart pills” to increase
- and short-term memory.
- used to treat attention-deficit disorder.
- Sales up 3,135 per cent in the last 4 years.
- used to treat narcoleptics, who fall asleep uncontrollably.
- Sales up 359.7 percent in the last 4 years..
- These “brain steroids” are cheaply available, with those having legitimate perscriptions selling or giving away the pills to their friends.
- Study published in an international biomedical and psychosocial journal noted that 7 million Americans used bootleg perscriptions in 2002 and 1.6 million were in the student age group.
- In May, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America issued its annual attitude-tracking study on drug use
- it concluded 2.25 million kids of middle school and high school age are abusing stimulants.
- This represents 1 in 10 students in that age group.
- These represent the first geneneration of brain pills, memory drugs may soon be on sale pending the results of clinical trials.
- Four US companies are racing to bring drugs for Alzheimer’s patients to market.
- Researchers expect those drugs to slowly filter into use by a population sick of forgetting what they meant to buy at the shops and students looking for an edge.
- One new drug boosts the activity of glutamate, a key neurotransmitter that makes it easier to learn and encode memory.
- For the future:
- Will business see it as a way to get more out of the average worker.
- Certainly in jobs where mental endurance matters it will creep in, especially as those who take them at school move into these roles.
- What about the side effects?
- Cleaner student accomodation.
- Strattera — the ADHD medicine can result in liver failure
- a form of Adderall was pulled from its markets as a result of sudden unexplained deaths in children with cardiac abnormalities.
- How long before it becomes common over here?
- Points race and pressure to succeed placing greater pressure on students.
- Will those who cannot attend grind schools use these drugs to keep up?
The Last Radio
- The GNU programmable radio
- Capable of grabing most of the electromagnetic spectrum
- Most devices that use wireless communications utilize single purpose radios which operate over a narrow band of frequencies.
- A general purpose radio that can be reconfigured offers greater flexibility and economy of scale.
- Imagine being able to recieve or transmit any kind of signal using one device.
- Eric Blossom & Matt Ettus teamed up to develop a HDTV reciever.
- While they have yet to decode HDTV they have gone on to build the a software-defined radio.
- The system consists of the:
- Universal Software Radio Peripheral, or USRP motherboard
- the daughterboards that allow it to transmit and recieve over various parts of the electomagnetic spectrum.
- The device is already being used to track shopper movements within a closed area using triangulation of the GSM signals.
- Blossom is working on a passive radar system which will use ambient radio waves to track flying objects up to 50 km away.
- System opens up vast possibilities for researchers and amateurs, Ettus is selling the kits from his website starting at $550
- Popular WEb2.0 online desktop / portal netvibes have launched Netvibes Ecosystem
- The ecosystem is a cleverly designed one way mirror of RSS content, widgets created with the netvibes API, and flash content
- You can alter how netvibes works, subscribe to feeds created by users, add a clock, games etc
- With integrated POP3 mail, mouseover feed preview, and built in RSS viewer, Netvibes is rapidly becomming a top notch alternative to separate RSS feed viewers
Gesturtek outdo the Wiimote
- New camera software from Gesturetek should enable X360 and PS3 to replicate all the functionality of the Wiimote and more
- Gesturetek showed off their Software development kit at E3
- It is used to program for the as-of-yet unannounced XBox 360 camera.
- This is not a slightly better EyeToy which could only identify motion and direction.
- The SDK allows for the identification and tracking of a single person’s face.
- It also tracks limbs in 3 dimentional space.
- It can in fact identify and track individual fingers.
- This allows for very sophisticated gesture recognition if the hype is to be believed.
- The SDK is also being ported to the PS2 and PS3 and should be ready by the end of the summer.
- The question is – will software support the peripheral?
- Writer makes the point that Nintendo Wii is all about the controller.
- Game makers have no incentive to incorporate gesture control into their games.
- It’s much easier to churn out generic sequels to popular titles.
- Those that do might do so poorly.
- Nintendo on the other hand incorporate gesture recognition by default.
- It’s the unique selling point of the Wii.
- For developers it is much more likely to be fully incorporated into games for the Wii.
- Gesture games are hugely popular, Guitar Hero allowing air guitar afficionados everywhere to strut their stuff.
- If the system works then it would be nice to see other uses of it.
- no more seaching for the remote control, simply control every device in the room via gestures.
- Googleblogger – Spreadsheets for everybody else
- Will not replace advanced corporate functions
- But – multiuser / post online / all basic functions – fine for home / small business use
- Only major feature missing = charts
Google Browser Synch
- Google have launched a tool for those of us forced to skip from Desk to desk
- Google browser synch lets users carry their settings with them
- bookmarks, history, persistent cookies, and saved passwords are kept up to date
- handy, but do you trust google with this info?
NSA Lawsuit will go ahead
- Judge rules that the lawsuit against the NSA over their illegal wiretapping can go ahead
- Lawsuit filed by the ACLU in Detroit and the Center for Constitution Rights in New York in January.
- Claim was that the wiretapping violated American’s rights to free speech and privacy.
- Plaintiffs asked the judge in March to declare the wiretaps illegal.
- The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requires a visit to a secret court to authorize spying within the United States.
- The NSA had not done this, making their wiretaps warrentless and illegal.
- Government filed a motion saying no court can consider the issues as it may harm national security.
- Judge said she will hear the government’s motion only after proceeding with the hearing on the plaintiff’s motion to declare the spying illegal.
- The Justice Department has yet to respond to the legal challenge.
- Link:: Boston.com
Hitch – iPod to iPod without PC
- Finally – rip to and from portable devices without a PC
- Link:: Sima Products
- Man vs Flash
- Observer Chris Morris Special
- The Amen Break Video
- The Establishment – Ultimate Peter Cook Fan Site
- Amazing RC Piloting
- Powers of 10