Friday, March 30, 2001

Io Reveals Towering Volcanic Plume Never Seen Before

Thursday, March 29, 2001

dead post
How to compost your yard and kitchen wastes at home ...

Cornell Composting Resources

The Sunday Times: Business:

The Silicon Graphics Refrigerator Project

Daily Press: Real-life 'HAL' signals major step

To See, Brain Assembles Sketchy Images Eyes Feed It

"The eye as a camera has been a powerful metaphor for poets and scientists alike, implying that the eye provides the brain with detailed snapshots that form the basis for our rich experience of the world.

Recent studies at the University of California, Berkeley, however, show that the metaphor is more poetic than real. What the eye sends to the brain are mere outlines of the visual world, sketchy impressions that make our vivid visual experience all the more amazing.

"Even though we think we see the world so fully, what we are receiving is really just hints, edges in space and time," said Frank S. Werblin, professor of molecular and cell biology in the College of Letters & Science at UC Berkeley. Werblin is part of UC Berkeley's Health Sciences Initiative, a collaboration among researchers throughout the campus to tackle some of today's major health problems.

The brain interprets this sparse information, probably merging it with images from memory, to create the world we know, he said.

In a paper in today's issue of Nature, doctoral student Botond Roska, M.D., and Werblin provide evidence for between 10 and 12 output channels from the eye to the brain, each carrying a different stripped-down representation of the visual world.

"These 12 pictures of the world constitute all the information we will ever have about what's out there, and from these 12 pictures, which are so sparse, we reconstruct the richness of the visual world," Werblin said. "I'm curious how nature selected these 12 simple movies and how it can be that they are sufficient to provide us with all the information we seem to need."

While scientists have known that the eye forwards several parallel representations of the world to the brain, what these are and how they are produced has been a mystery.
"What we have done," Roska said, "is show that the retina creates a stack of image representations, how these image representations are formed and that they are the result of cross-talk between layers of cells in the retina."

The results are a big step toward producing a bionic eye employing a unique computer chip that can be programmed to do visual processing just like the retina. The chip, called a Cellular Neural Network (CNN) Universal Machine, was invented in 1992 by Roska's father, Tamás Roska, and Leon O. Chua, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley.

"The biology we are learning is going into improving the chip, which is getting more and more similar to the mammalian retina," Roska said. "Nevertheless, a bionic eye is a far-fetched notion until someone figures out how to connect it to the neural circuitry of the brain."

Over a period of nearly three years, Roska painstakingly measured signals from more than 200 ganglion cells in the rabbit retina as he flashed pictures of a featureless square or circle. Ganglion cells are the eye's output cells, forming the optic nerve connecting it to the brain.

"We made very simple measurements on retinal cells, recording excitation and spiking when we flashed squares and moving spots in front of the eye," Roska said.

From these, he and Werblin determined that there are about a dozen different populations of ganglion cells, each spanning the full visual space and producing a different movie output.

One group of ganglion cells, for example, only sends signals when it detects a moving edge. Another group fires only after a stimulus stops. Another sees large uniform areas, yet another only the area surrounding a figure.

"Each representation emphasizes a different feature of the visual world - an edge, a blob, movement - and sends the information along different paths to the brain," Werblin said.

The two researchers shared these detailed findings with software designer David Balya in Hungary, who modeled the visual processing on a computer, a preliminary step before actually programming a CNN chip to simulate the image processing that goes on in the eye. The computer model precisely mimics the output of the ganglion cells of the retina, vividly showing the difference between the world we see and the information that actually is sent to the brain.

"We now are looking at the predictions the model makes when viewing natural scenes - Frank's face or leaves on the ground - and comparing them with what we measure in actual retinal cells, to learn how good these predictions are," Roska said.

Though scientists realize that the eye is not merely a camera providing digital input to the brain, the general consensus has been that the world projected onto the retina and detected by cells called photoreceptors got sent to the brain after some relatively simple processing.

Roska and Werblin showed that retinal cells do a lot of processing to extract only the essence of the picture to send to the brain. The anatomy of the retina is layered to facilitate this.

Light initially impinges on the light-sensitive cells of the eye, the photoreceptors, which fire off signals to a layer of horizontal cells and thence to bipolar cells. Since 1969, Werblin has been recording from all retinal cells and has detailed how each cell type processes data from the photoreceptors.

The bipolar cells funnel signals down their axons - the outgoing wires of the nerve cell - and relay them to the dendrites or input wires of ganglion cells, which send the processed information to the brain. All these cell types are arrayed in unique layers, stacked one atop the other.

Biologists noted earlier that all ganglion cells were not alike and that they fired off different information to the brain, though the details were hazy. Part of the reason is that the axons from the bipolar cells synapse with or touch the dendrites of the ganglion cells in a tangled region (the inner plexiform layer) that made biologists despair of making sense of the connections.

Roska discovered, however, that this region of tangled axons and dendrites is really laid out in orderly strata. By staining the cells from which he recorded, he found that bipolar cell axons converge on 12 or so well-defined layers, where they synapse with the dendrites of the ganglion cells. Each layer of dendrites belongs to a specific population of ganglion cells.

Without interaction between layers, though, the signal emerging from the tangle would not be much different from the original 12-channel output of the bipolar cells. The critical element is another type of cell, the amacrine cells, which send processes to the various layers of dendrites and allow the layers to talk with one another. This cross-talk is what allows the layers to process the visual data and extract the sparse information that the ganglion cells send up to the brain.

"Previously, when people studied ganglion cells, they would look at the cell and flash lights. One of Botond's major contributions to this was, he thought about this not as the cell, but as the layer of processes from which the cell is reading. So, we began to think in terms of layers, and all of the activity we measured corresponded to what happened in a particular layer," Werblin explained. "Then it became clear that these layers were actually talking to each other. Previously no one had even thought that these layers talked to one another, even though 100 years ago the picture was there. No one had really looked at that picture."

The work was supported by grants from the Office of Naval Research and the National Institutes of Health. - By Robert L. Sanders

[Contact: Frank S. Werblin, Botond Roska, Robert Sanders]


Monday, March 26, 2001

Mars Polar Lander Still not Found

Mars Polar Lander:
"NIMA researchers used high resolution imagery from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, now in orbit around the Red Planet, in their effort to locate the lander and its components, including a protective aeroshell, heat shield and parachute. One of the principal challenges in locating the missing lander using images from the orbiter is that the Mars Polar Lander is only somewhat larger -- about six and a half feet across -- than the smallest objects the orbiter's camera can see on the surface of Mars. In an initial analysis, NIMA researchers reviewed and assessed features seen in several images that they believe could be indicative of the lander and its protective aeroshell. An alternative view presented by NASA is that these features could be noise introduced by the camera system, so further work between NASA and NIMA will be conducted to address differences of interpretation."

It was Legion of Drunken Master.

p a r o d y c h e c k - I consider that remark to be damning with faint praise.

bAKa GAiJiN - Naughty Doujin and So Much More - Updated Mon.-Fri.
I'll check this out later.

"The Inquirer", this is not the Enquirer.

Friday, March 23, 2001

Scientific American: Reviews: Do Animals Have Culture?: April 2001

"De Waal begins by laying out the reasons that we Westerners have such an uncomfortable relationship with animals, especially primates. By historical and religious tradition, Europeans and Americans embrace the idea that humans are different from--better than--all other animals, establishing a dualism between us and them. "Whenever their abilities are said to approach ours, the reaction is often furious," de Waal points out."

Complete coverage of Mir's Fiery Finale, ending a 15-year life in space as the space station is deorbited by the Russians.

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Club Overclocker Overclocking and hardware reviews.

Wednesday, March 21, 2001

This is a dead link. (found 9/27/05) : A New Face in Human Evolution

March 21 — A 3.5-million-year-old, flat-faced early human skull, which paleontologists found poking from the crumbling Kenyan earth, could push "Lucy" out of our ancestral family tree.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Thinking Outside the Box (

"What we should say is that copyright, like access to the airwaves, is something that brings responsibility. The government should give you copyright. But in exchange, you owe me a buck if your software crashes.

"There'd be different legal categories of software. If you want to rush it to market, and have first-mover advantage and see what happens, fine. You could label it creative software. But much of your code will be open to the public."

If you want to build a business empire, however, and you want the government to throw itself into protecting your copyrights, in Lanier's scheme you would then have to label your product "firmware."

"If you see this thing is taking off, you have the right to say: This is no longer creative software. This is functional. This has utility.

"But once you do that, you owe me a buck every time it crashes."

And the powers of Washington's enforcement tentacles would hound buggy software writers to the ends of the Earth.

"Instead of hunting down people who smoke pot, they'd be hunting down people who sell business software that crashes. They'd owe people a buck or go to jail. That's what Washington should be doing."

Spy Agency May Have Located Mars Polar Lander : Celebrating Five Millennia of the Word

Google Search: Zoe Ball
I don't have time to check this out while at work. I'll do it later.

Monday, March 19, 2001

Scientific American Presents: Feature Article: Your Bionic Future: Muscular Again: September 1999
I don't know whether to look forward to this or be terified, I think I'll choose to look forward to it.

Scientific American: News In Brief: How to Keep Mink Happy: March 1, 2001

Scientific American: News In Brief: Shakespeare on Drugs?: March 2, 2001

You may have noticed that I do not have all that much of a personal nature in here. Well a number of my friends have made it clear they do not want details of their lives posted, and what is anyone's life but the sum of their interactions with others?
I have actually gone back and deleted prior posts because of their requests. The lession I have learned, do not let anyone else know about this blog.

I got it wrong. It was not Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, that she did not want to see, she practicly dragged me to it, it was, a Jackie Chan film she did not want to see, I just got the names mixed up.

New Scientist | Web Links | Site of the Day

New Scientist: Deadly import

"A study of leukaemia cases during World War II adds to evidence that the disease is caused by an infectious agent."

New Scientist: Chip chop

"A flaw in a widely used "gene chip" has stopped some research projects dead and set others back many months."

Sluggy Freelance © 2001 Peter Abrams

Alright Gwynn survived.

Muslim destroyers reach for the heart of Jewish holy sites - - World

What's to say, this is religious intolerance, understandable given that it's the product of a provincial culture coming into contact with a global one. That's not to excuse it, just to understand how difficult any solution will be. It's just unfortunate that it is alway easier to destroy than to preserve or create.

Argentine outbreak covered up by authorities - - World

Now this is scary. I will never buy corned beef again, (it's from Argentina.)

Burn your own CDs — your way

Thursday, March 08, 2001

Reason magazine

Showdown In the DNA Corral

Squirrel Bait © 1995-2001

Who’s Blogging Now?

An Unbreakable Code?

The Onion's A.V. Club | September 17, 1998

Harlen's profile

A Robot That Works in the City Sewer

New multiprotein AIDS vaccine prevents disease in monkeys

Second bacterium confirmed as cause of tooth decay, shows different pattern of virulence than S. mutans

A new class of nanostructure: semiconducting 'nanobelts' offer potential for nanosensors and nanoelectronics

Darwinian Selection Affects Fertilization Process

This cracked me up. Avalon is one of the strips I read on a regular basis.

Avalon - An original, daily comic strip by Josh Phillips


You don't know how many times I have dragged to a chick flick, and I have already been told she has no interest in seeing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Gene-Trapping Method Powers Discovery of New Brain-Wiring Signals

Software agents get smart

Pig Latin encoder tricks Napster

Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Clay Shirky's Internet Writings

The Register- The open PC is dead - start praying, says HD guru

Aimster Download

The Register - Aimster tells Napster file filter to 'pig off'

Aimster tells Napster file filter to 'pig off'
By: Tony Smith
Posted: 07/03/2001 at 15:04 GMT

Aimster, the Napster-across-Instant Messenger software developer, has released what it reckons is the solution to Napster's filename filtering system.

Napster now monitors the names of shared files in order to block songs for which it hasn't been given permission to allow to be shared on its network. The move is part of the company's plan to avoid being completely toasted by the music industry and the courts.

Aimster's developers reckon this is tantamount to an invasion of privacy. What you call the files on your own hard disk, whether it's shared or not, is your own business, not Napster's. Hence what they're calling the Aimster Pig Encoder, which simply shuffles around the characters in an MP3's filename while still ensuring downloaders can figure out what they are: "It takes each of the file names of the mp3 files in your Napster directory and encodes the file names so that the name cannot be easily monitored," it says on Aimster's Web site.

Aimster implores users not to let on how the name shuffling works, presumably lest those crafty buggers at Napster figure it out and block the shuffled name to.

Aimster even goes as far as to threaten anyone considering letting on the secret of the encoder with legal action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act - irony of ironies, the same legal foundation the music biz used to swat Napster.

As we don't know how it works, we can't tell you anyway. Not that Napster coders needs us or anyone else to tell them that - they can look at Aimster's site and download the code themselves.

Of course, if they try to use it to block juggled filenames, they'll be contravening the DMCA, too, which will make for an interesting situation: Napster sued simultaneously by both the music industry and users.

The DMCA makes illegal the act of circumventing copyright protection systems. ®

CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS - energy requirements of bicycling


Welcome to the wonderful word of chakumero, which is short for chakushin (arrival) melody. I think you'll agree that the term chakumero is preferable to the rather ungainly term we use in English: downloadable ringing tones. Chakumero are one of the newest fads to capture the imagination, and pocketbooks, of Japanese youth and they've fast become an integral part of Japanese pop culture.

Lab squeezes HDTV into standard TV channel

Hesiod, Theogony

Gallery of CSS Descramblers

New superconducting material packs an applied punchThe jolt of excitement from the January discovery of a new high-temperature superconducting metal, magnesium diboride, may get another voltage boost this week with evidence that the material can carry electrical currents at high density.

Computer talks like a toddler

Tuesday, March 06, 2001 -- Used pcs, used notebooks, used laptops, used systems, used computers, new computers, used pc, used notebook, used laptop, used computer, new computerEvery third Saturday of each month we host a warehouse sale of all of our inventory. You can come and take a look at something you are interested in, before you make your purchase. Come see our monitors, at reduced prices for our local customers. Every purchase of a system comes with either a free keyboard /w mouse, or laptop carrying case.
Free pizza and soft drinks are provided
We are be open from 9am to 2pm on the next saturday sale, March 17.

I am looking foward to just going home tonight and relaxing. Watch a little TV, Buffy and Angel are on tonight, then get to bed early.

Windows XP: 10 things to know

Elimination of household allergens and pollutants could reduce asthma nearly 40 percent

"Baldi" the virtual tutor helps hearing-impaired children to learn speech

Griesbachian Stage - encyclopedia article from - ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!


Ok, after coming across the upteenth referrence to All your base are belong to us, I decided to create a search and see what I find.

Search for All your base are belong to us on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

All your base are belong to us

BetaNews - Inside Information, Unreleased Products

BetaNews - Scope - Interesting New Web SoftwareScope - Interesting New Web Software
By Aaron Dobbins, BetaNews
March 5th, 2001, 4:51 PM

A BetaNews reader sent word over the weekend about a new Internet browser hitting the net dubbed Scope. What makes Scope unique is its ability to show you what the same Web page looks like when rendered by both the Mozilla and IE engines. Using a simple tab interface it allows developers to check both simultaneously without having to load several programs all at once. You can also save groups of sites to be opened at the same time under one single command. This lightweight browser also features tools to block annoying popup advertisements. For more information check it out here.

Still having to do my searches here.

Search for Brasserie Lipp on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

“ World-famous chic Brasserie in Saint-Germain des Prés, Paris ”
Brasserie Lipp

Rogov's Ramblings - Daniel Rogov - Home Page

It is undeniably true that the professional wine, restaurant and travel critic has to eat some pretty bad meals, drink some awful wines and spend some nights in some fairly grubby hotels. All of which is fine with me, for as a person who has earned his living by wining, dining, traveling and writing about those experiences for many years, I have had so many really great experiences that I am willing to forgive the bad ones.

Join me, if you will, as I sample the very best of what the world of wine and gastronomy has to offer. You may not agree with all that I have to say, but I think you will enjoy yourself as we travel together.

Turns out Shadow netWorkspace is something interesting, but not something I can use. It is for educators.

My website is down. I wanted to do a search on something I found, Shadow netWorkspace, so I created a search here.

Search for Shadow netWorkspace on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

Scientific American: Feature Article: Making Sense of Taste: March 2001

Flavor is a complex mixture of sensory input composed of taste (gustation), smell (olfaction) and the tactile sensation of food as it is being munched, a characteristic that food scientists often term "mouthfeel." Although people may use the word "taste" to mean "flavor," in the strict sense it is applicable only to the sensations arising from specialized taste cells in the mouth. Scientists generally describe human taste perception in terms of four qualities: saltiness, sourness, sweetness and bitterness. Some have suggested, however, that other categories exist as well--most notably umami, the sensation elicited by glutamate, one of the 20 amino acids that make up the proteins in meat, fish and legumes. Glutamate also serves as a flavor enhancer in the form of the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Umami, is a new taste I have heard of before. Lets see what a search turns up for it.

Search for umami on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

Here is a guy who wrote an article on umami, Strat's Place - Daniel Rogov - The Noise About Umami

Scientific American: Feature Article: A Sharper View of the Stars: March 2001

Supramolecules: Architecture On A Nanomolecular Scale

Buck Rogers, Watch Out!NASA researchers are studying insects and birds, and using "smart" materials with uncanny properties to develop new and mindboggling aircraft designs.

Monday, March 05, 2001

CyberPatrol bans The Register - a journal, click on all the opt-out links that has thoughtfully collected.

CamWorld: Thinking Outside the Box March 2, 2001: An XHTML Roadmap for Designers

Weblog Madness

The San Jose Mercury News April 18, 1994

Ethel the Blog

Those silly, overly emotional, anti-science luddites are at it again! The benevolent corporate overlords at AstraZeneca have gone and spent $100 million to splice a daffodil gene into white rice to create a golden colored variety of rice. But the big deal is not the spiffy new designer color but rather the beta-carotene - a nutrient the body can convert into vitamin A - produced by the new variety. And vitamin A can, in the words of the altruists, "help prevent blindness and infection in millions of children." So it's a no-brainer, right? Especially seeing how although farmers in developed countries will have to pay royalties, those in the "third world" earning less than $10K per year will not. So what can even the most unreasonable of ultra-lefty tree-huggers have to gripe about?

Pushing the Envelope on Robots Virtual life-forms get more impressive all the time
By Fenella Saunders

Nupedia, the open content encyclopedia

We are building the world's largest international, peer-reviewed encyclopedia. It is free.

Karenika's Blog

I especially like her pictures of Japan.

otaku blogs

QuickBase | the web database

Robo Mower

In Diablo II my main character is at lvl 52. I still have not decided if I should develop Double Swing/Frenzy or Wrildwind. In the meantime I have been uping my defensive skills.

Search for clip art on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

TrekToday - Exclusive: Full Series V Character List The next Star Trek Series

Interesting People (200103): IP: FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH -- Prof. F

Asynchronous Design Home Page
The Asynchronous Design Group explores the potential and works to understand the problems of the asynchronous design style. Our work to date leads us to believe that asynchronous systems offer:
Improved performance or price performance;
Reduced design cost and time through re-use of specifications and designs;
Lower power consumption because no energy-consuming transitions happen unnecessarily;
An easy upgrade path to take advantage of incremental technology improvements because different parts may run at different speeds;
and A way to reason about the correctness of a design.

Aimster fights record industry with its own fuel - Tech News - In addition, Aimster is attempting to shield itself behind the very law the entertainment industry has used to go after file-swapping company Napster. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a controversial law backed by music companies and other large copyright holders, prohibits anyone from cracking code designed to protect copyrights. Aimster, which incorporated an encryption scheme into a new version released Wednesday, hopes that provision applies to it as well.

PC | A CD Burner for Music Lovers It's a CD-RW drive that doubles as an audio-CD player. The $399 Digital Relay--available later in March and in retail stores in April--records to CD-Recordable and CD-Rewritable at 4X, and reads CDs at 24X. It also plays CDs with MP3 files. Digital Relay is priced at about $100 more than most portable USB CD-RW drives, its cost is less than the combined prices of a CD-RW drive and an MP3-capable CD player.

Friday, March 02, 2001

Had a day off. Nice.

Thursday, March 01, 2001

400-mph train

Search for maglev trains on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

Search for Inductrack on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

A proof-of-concept model of an Inductrack train rises to the occasion during a test at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Sci Amer page 02



Magnetic Levitation (Mag-Lev)

Magnetic Levitation - Background

Technical Research Institute

State Polytechnic University, Pomona - Electromagnetic Transportation

National Laboratory

Argonne Community
of Teachers

Railway Technical
Research Institute

Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center

in Context

Maglev Initiative

Federal Railroad Administration-
High Speed Ground Transportation

Speed Surface Transport (HSST) - Japan

Maglev Star (AMS) and Maglev 2000 Infopage

Perspective on Maglev Transit and Introduction of the PRT Maglev

Transportation Technologies

- A Physics Viewpoint

Aerodynamic Design of High Speed MAGLEV Vehicles Using MDO Design Methodology

Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory
- Technical Assessment of Maglev System Concepts

Space Flight Center - News Release

Transportation Issues and Opportunities: The Case for High Speed Ground
Transportation Systems

of Superconducting Maglev

Middle School
Magnetic Levitation Contest

High Speed Ground Transportation


High Field Magnet
Laboratory, University Of Nijmegan, Holland

For Applied Learning Technology Education Department - Magnetic Levitation

The Official Transrapid Homepage
of MVP


Linear Chuo

Mechanics - Track to the Future

CyberTran Information Page

Geocaching - The Official GPS Cache Hunt Site

Search for Paleolithic Technology and Human Evolution on:  All the Web - AltaVista - Deja - Google - HotBot - Infoseek - Lycos - Northern Light - Yahoo

Building Planets at PSI: The Origin of the Solar System

News @ Digit-Life

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