Jun 21, 2013

Incredible photos of the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico

posted by Larra Morris

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The jaw-dropping photo series “Tultepec” by Thomas Prior documents the fireworks-fueled chaos of the 2013 National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico. The nine-day festival celebrates the main industry of Tultepec—handmade fireworks—through firework competitions, a parade of pyrotechnic bulls, and apparently, loads of fireworks in the streets.
via Laughing Squid

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Jun 21, 2013

Spider furniture

posted by Larra Morris

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Bruno Freire's designs for the Brazilian furniture brand Oficina Polvo are inspired by the forms of the spider. They give a homey feel, don't you think?
via Neatorama

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Jun 20, 2013

Your vegetables’ nutritional content could be affected by jet lag

posted by Larra Morris

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When you buy vegetables at the grocery store, they are usually still alive. When you lock your cabbage and carrots in the dark recess of the refrigerator vegetable drawer, they are still alive. They continue to metabolize while we wait to cook them.

Why should we care? Well, plants that are alive adjust to the conditions surrounding them. Researchers at Rice University have shown that some plants have circadian rhythms, adjusting their production of certain chemicals based on their exposure to light and dark cycles. Understanding and exploiting these rhythms could help us maximize the nutritional value of the vegetables we eat.
via Ars Technica

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Image: Se Kim/Rice University

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Jun 20, 2013

16-year-old invents prizewinning clean algae-biofuel conversion process (video)

posted by Larra Morris

Evie Sobczak, who is presently 16, appears to have invented a completely chemical-free process for turning algae into a biofuel. Along the way her process appears to be about 20% more efficient than current chemical-heavy (and thus potentially polluting) processes. Her project just took first place and best in category at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
via Boing Boing

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Jun 20, 2013

Robots hallucinate humans to aid in object recognition (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Almost exactly a year ago, we posted about how Ashutosh Saxena's lab at Cornell was teaching robots to use their "imaginations" to try to picture how a human would want a room organized. The research was successful, with algorithms that used hallucinated humans (which are the best sort of humans) to influence the placement of objects performing significantly better than other methods. Cool stuff indeed, and now comes the next step: labeling 3D point-clouds obtained from RGB-D sensors by leveraging contextual hallucinated people.

A significant amount of research has been done investigating the relationships between objects and other objects. It's called semantic mapping, and it's very valuable in giving robots what we'd call things like "intuition" or "common sense." However, being humans, we tend to live human-centered lives, and that means that the majority of our stuff tends to be human-centered too, and keeping this in mind can help to put objects in context.
via IEEE Spectrum

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Jun 20, 2013

Adafruit smart helmet guides bike riders with Arduino-based light shows (video)

posted by Larra Morris

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Bike sharing systems like New York's Citi Bike may be taking off, but it's doubtful that many participants can find every station without checking a map. Thankfully, Adafruit has unveiled a smart helmet project that could help at least a few of those riders get to their destinations while keeping their eyes on the road. The DIY effort feeds locations to an Arduino-based Flora board and its positioning add-ons, which in turn use a string of NeoPixel LEDs on the helmet as turn indicators. Commuters just have to watch for blinking lights to know where to go next. While the system isn't easy to set up when cyclists have to manually enter coordinates, it is flexible: the open-source code lets it adapt to most any bike sharing system or headpiece.
via Engadget

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Jun 20, 2013

Diogene micro home pushes the boudaries for off-the-grid tiny living

posted by Larra Morris

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Italian architect Renzo Piano has gone from building Europe’s tallest building (the Shard in London) to one of its smallest. Finally completing his career-long dream of building a micro house that only measures 7.5 sq m (81 sq ft), Piano’s single-occupancy unit has been added to the gardens of the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany. Dubbed “Diogene,” the small structure is named in honor of the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope, who was said to have abandoned all worldly luxuries and conventions for the simplicity of living in a large ceramic jar.
via Gizmag

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Jun 20, 2013

Wireless restoration of sight to the blind (rats) (video)

posted by Larra Morris

Stanford researchers developed a retinal prosthesis that wirelessly transmits images from a video camera in a pair of glasses directly to a chip implanted inside the retina tissue. The innovations of lead scientist Daniel Palanker and his colleagues is that their system does away with any cable between the implant and the video eyeglasses, and buries the chip in the sub-retinal layers of the eye instead of on its surface to eliminate a kind of interference. They published their latest breakthroughs in the science journal Nature Communications.
via Boing Boing

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Jun 19, 2013

EADS unveils its vision for the future of aviation

posted by Laura Domela

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EADS has once again taken to the Paris Air Show to present a vision of commercial aviation in 2050. Developed in partnership with Rolls-Royce to increase the efficiency of future airliners, its E-Thrust concept is a hybrid electric propulsion system that EADS says could cut fuel consumption, emissions and noise. EADS and Airbus have baked the E-Thrust into an aircraft design, which EADS calls the eConcept.
via Gizmag

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Jun 19, 2013

John McAfee teaches you how to uninstall his antivirus software

posted by Laura Domela

John McAfee—founder of the McAfee antivirus software—has created a humorous, yet bizarre video that ‘teaches’ you how to uninstall his software from your computer. 

Uploaded onto YouTube, this ‘instructional’ video features John McAfee himself, scantily dressed women, smoking, drugs, bath salts and firearms.
via Design Taxi

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