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August 07, 2007

UK firm invents cheaper, easier more eco-friendly way of disposing of corpses

ScienceDaily: UK firm: Don't burn bodies, boil them

LONDON, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A British company says it has an eco-friendly alternative to cremation: boiling bodies into dust.

In the process, called resomation, the body is encased in a silk coffin and submerged in water mixed with potassium hydroxide. It is then heated to 302 degrees Fahrenheit, which rapidly turns it into a white dust, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The process is more eco-friendly than cremation, during which a body is heated to 2,192 degrees Fahrenheit, letting off harmful fumes such as mercury, according to Resomation, the firm selling the boiling process. Instead, the company says, it is essentially a much faster version of natural decomposition.

Resomation also is affordable, costing about $600, the same as a cremation, the company said.

Scottish scientists crack secret of levitation

Researchers crack the secret of levitation, hoverboards imminent? - Engadget

a couple of gurus at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have reportedly created an "incredible levitation effect by engineering the force of nature which normally causes objects to stick together." In layman's terms, the scientists have devised a way to reverse the phenomenon known as the Casimir force so that it "repels instead of attracts." Ultimately, the discovery could lead to "frictionless micro-machines with moving parts that levitate," and in theory, devices could be created to transport humans.

Is this bunk, or legit? What do you thnk?

How to: Hack a Coinstar kiosk to avoid fees

Hacking a CoinStar machine to bypass transaction fees - Engadget

We've seen a number of somewhat innocent (and equally wily) hacks that save the little man a dime or two, but the latest ploy is especially satisfying. CoinStar machines -- best known for charging a whopping nine-percent or so for the convenience of counting our coins for us -- have finally been outsmarted, and now you can make that greedy green machine convert your coins to dollars gratis. The process is incredibly simple: you just insert your change, inform the about-to-be-duped device that you'd like all of that placed on an iTunes gift card, and before continuing on, reach around back and unplug the jack that connects the thing to the internet. As you may expect, the flabbergasted gizmo will spin its wheels for a bit whilst trying to reconnect, and after a number of failed attempts, it will resign to trying and spit out a cash voucher for 100-percent of your change. Brilliant, we say.

Homeland Security deploying new weapong: the Pukelight

Homeland Security's latest non-lethal weapon: the pukelight - Engadget

Someone in Homeland Security's R&D department must have a sense of humor, because the agency is hoping to soon deploy an LED flashlight that causes uncontrollable vomiting. The light, which is being developed for DHS at Intelligent Optical Systems, first shines a high-intensity beam to stun the target and then begins flashing a series of pulses that change color and duration -- inducing "psychophysical" effects that that include nausea, vertigo, and vomiting. While the concept isn't that far-fetched -- similar symptoms have been seen in helicopter pilots affected by sunlight strobing through spinning blades -- you've got to wonder how many thousands of dollars have been spent developing a weapon that can be defeated by simply looking away.

August 06, 2007

Turns out official claims our bridges are safe are stone bullshit

Wikipedia | I-35W Mississippi River bridge | Aftermath | Reactions...

4.3 billion IP addresses are not enough

So you will pay more for Internet connections because your...

August 05, 2007

Never trust web photos again: automated photo-manipulator created

Web Photos Now Have Zero Credibility: Science Fiction in the News

Well-meaning researchers from Carnegie Mellon University destroyed the credibility of all photos on the web today. Alexiei Efros, assistant professor of computer science and robotics lead the team that created two related systems that, together, will do what governments and corporations could only dream of (until now).

The first program, called Photo Clip Art, uses thousands of labeled images from a site called LabelMe. These images can be added to photos. The system analyzes the geometric context of a photo, and place objects within the scene, adjusting its size as necessary to put it in proportion to other objects of equal distance from the camera.

The second program is called Scene Completion. It draws upon millions of photos from the Flickr website to fill in holes in photos. These "holes" are created when editors decide that some part of a picture is unsightly, and wants to remove it.