Sunday, March 31, 2013

Somerset to London, 31-03-13

See My Baby Jive - Wizzard
Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys
Snow Is Gone - Josh Ritter
Kool Thing - Sonic Youth
Radio Wall of Sound - Slade
Do Wah Diddy - Manfred Mann
Valerie - Steve Winwood
Do Anything - Otis Lee Crenshaw
Spiders And Snakes - Jim Stafford
Kitty In The Basket - Diana Dekker
Calling Baton Rouge - Garth Brooks
All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
Bones - The Killers
Ladykillers - Lush
In the Middle of Nowhere (Remix) - Dusty Springfield
On The Road Again - Bob Dylan
Open Your Heart - Human League
Downtown - Mrs Miller
Unwell - Matchbox Twenty
Animal Crackers In My Soup - Shirley Temple
Devil Gate Drive - Suzi Quatro
Freeker by the Speaker - Keller Williams
It's My Life - Talk Talk
You're More Than A Number In My Little Red Book - Drifters
Love On A Mountain Top - Robert Knight
Got My Beer In the Sideboard Here - Chas & Dave
Watching Xanadu - Mull Historical Society
New Daddy Now - Otis Lee Crenshaw
Let's Go Crazy - Prince And The Revolution
White Noise (feat. AlunaGeorge) - Disclosure
Entertainment - Phoenix
Helena Beat - Foster the People
Let Your Shoulder Fall - Matthew Jay
Help Yourself - Tom Jones
I Think I'm In Love With You - Jessica Simpson
Walmart Song - Otis Lee Crenshaw
Who Were You With In The Moonlight - Dollar
American Girl - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
My Dark Star - Suede
Golden Skans - Klaxons
Little Sister - Elvis Presley
Blue Monday - New Order
Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine
Discosis - Bran Van 3000
Mountain Sound - Of Monsters and Men

Saturday, March 30, 2013

London to Somerset, 30-03-13

Afterglow - The Crookes
Somewhere Out There - American Tail
When Will I Be Famous - Bros
Alphabeat - DJ (Madeon Remix) - Alphabeat
Primitive Painters (Featuring Elizabeth Fraser) - Felt
Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J
You Little Thief - Feargal Sharkey
You'll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties - Jona Lewie
Knights Of Cydonia - Muse
I Wanna Talk About Me - Toby Keith
Time To Pretend - MGMT
Crazy Crazy Nights - Kiss
Sega RIP (feat. Scroobius Pip) - DJ Yoda
Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
Silent Machine - Cat Power
Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above - CSS
Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
Dance, Love And Die While We're Young (Radio Edit) - Marc Johnce
The Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
Who's Zoomin' Who - Aretha Franklin
Cum on Feel the Noize - Slade
The Sound Of The Crowd - Human League
If I had a million dollars - Barenaked Ladies
Come Back My Love - The Wrens
It's Getting Better - Mama Cass Elliot
Gangnam Style (강남스타일) - PSY
The sun always shines on TV - a-ha
Let's Dance - David Bowie
I wanna Kiss You All Over - Exile
Just to Make Me Feel Good - Adam Green & Binki Shapiro
Miller's Cave - Hank Snow
Good Enough - Dodgy
Winter Trees - The Staves
Rio - Duran Duran
My resistance is low - Robin Sarstedt
Girlfriend (Radio Edit) - Avril Lavigne
I Love To Boogie - T.Rex
Here We Go - Christopher Owens
S Club Party - S Club 7
Falling - Haim
American Idiot - Green Day
She’s In Parties - Bauhaus

Friday, March 29, 2013

Seven Stanzas at Easter

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

John Updike

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 vs. iPhone 5

Gizmag has published a balanced comparison

Snippets follow:

"Though the iPhone 5's face is larger than any previous iPhone, it’s much smaller than Samsung’s huge Galaxy Note II. The Note is 22 percent taller, 37 percent wider, and 24 percent thicker than Apple’s latest. The iPhone’s smaller size makes it easily pocketable and comfortable for anyone to hold. The Note II, meanwhile, offers a much larger display while still fitting (if just barely) in most pockets."

"The iPhone 5 is 38 percent lighter than the Note 2. But the difference in size-to-weight ratio is minor, considering the Note’s much larger surface."

"Do you want a small, discrete, just big enough display? Or do you want a screen that’s big enough that it potentially voids the need for a tablet? Those are essentially your choices here."

"The two phones employ different display technologies. The iPhone’s IPS screen provides great viewing angles and accurate color reproduction; the Note’s Super AMOLED screen has higher contrast and hyper-saturated colors."

"In terms of raw juice, the Note II’s battery trounces the iPhone’s. In terms of experience, it should also easily outlast the iPhone. In fact, the Note II offers some of the most impressive battery life of any smartphone.”

Here we have two über-popular devices, with two radically different approaches, created by two bitter rivals. The iPhone is simple, elegantly constructed, and minimalistic. The Galaxy Note II is a gigantic powerhouse that opens doors for productivity that Apple’s mobile devices can’t match.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mercedes 740HP SLS Electric Supercar

Wired reports: [edited]

While it’s visually indistinguishable from its fuel-burning counterpart, virtually everything beneath this two-seater’s skin is bespoke and bleeding edge. From the so-called “zero-intrusion” carbon fiber and aluminum housing that protects the liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack to the Porsche-developed stability control software that orchestrates the inboard-mounted motors which drive and brake all four wheels. Oh, and there’s also an F1-like pushrod suspension up front, which reduces unsprung mass to more deftly tackle handling duties.

Inside the cockpit, few clues beyond EV-specific instrumentation betray the electrically driven aspects of the SLS’s powertrain, which consists of four 99-pound synchronous motors, spinning at up to 13,000 rpm. Each draws power from a 1,208-pound, 60 kWh lithium-ion battery with a load potential of 600 kW and a maximum of 400 volts. The battery can be recharged in around three hours using a high-capacity 22 kW quick charger and this SLS is good for an estimated cruising range of 155 miles on the European cycle. Needless to say, your eMileage may vary.

Turn the dial to 'S' mode, and the SLS becomes something it has never been before: an imperviously flat, apex slicing track tool with a physics-defying ability to negotiate corners.

Thanks primarily to the aforementioned stability control software, each of the four electric motors know exactly how much torque to apportion or absorb from each wheel, effectively creating a perfect power storm of forward and lateral propulsion that helps whisk the car ahead as though it’s suction cupped to tarmac.

Price: €416,500

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Renault Zoe BEV

The Register has published an, erm, positive review of Renault's new leccy hatchback.

Excerpts follow:

"The Zoe is based on the same shared Nissan-Renault platform that underpins the new Mk. IV Clio. So everything is bang up to date and as safe as any other car in its class right down to the five-star Euro NCAP rating. The platform should also be a clue that the Zoe is a size smaller than the Nissan Leaf: a largish B-class rather than a C."

"Despite only having a 88bhp electric motor, the Zoe feels both quick and responsive. More importantly it feels light and agile which is quite an achievement when you remember that there is a 290kg battery pack slung beneath the cabin."

"The top speed may be limited to 84mph but the Zoe accelerates briskly with no fuss or drama. The actual 0-62mph scamper takes 13.5 seconds but in real world driving the 162 lb-ft of torque that’s available from the off makes it feel faster."

"Compared to the driving experience of the Renault Fluence or the Nissan Leaf, the Zoe is a big step forward. It’s just so much more fun to throw around the bends. It’s also completely silent. There’s not a hint of motor whine and road noise is well suppressed. Even by EV standards this is a very refined car."

"The seats are simply superb. I’ve never parked my backside on anything this comfortable in a B or C class car. All-round visibility is good too."

"To drive the Zoe is little different from any other car with a good automatic gearbox: just get in, push the start button, snick the console-mounted gear selector into D and away you go. The dash is very easy to understand and mercifully devoid of excessively patronising eco signage."

"Under the large Renault diamond on the Zoe’s bonnet is the now standard Type 2 power connector. It’s what Renault calls a Chameleon charger, meaning you can connect it to a 3kW, 22kW or 43kW power source for standard, accelerated or fast charging."

"The second and third options will charge the Zoe’s 400V, 192-cell, 22kWh battery from near flat to 80 per cent of maximum capacity in 60 or 30 minutes, respectively. In everyday driving the Zoe has pretty much the same effective range as Nissan’s Leaf: around 75 to 80 miles. A reliable indication of touring range is of course key to lessening range anxiety, and Renault seems to have cracked the problem with the Zoe. What you see on the dash is what you get."

"If you want to venture further afield, all Renault main dealers will soon have free charge points installed. Looking to the longer term, Renault’s battery lease scheme includes a clause that once the maximum recharge capacity drops below 75 per cent, or if the battery ever becomes “non-operational”, Renault will fit a new one."

Monday, March 25, 2013

Free Font - Mathlete

Font Squirrel is hosting this quirky 'hand-drawn' skinny typeface, available in two weights with complementary italic versions.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Canon EOS 100D, world's smallest/lightest APS-C DSLR

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Canon has announced the EOS 100D/Rebel SL1, the world's smallest, lightest DSLR. It shares the 18MP resolution, DIGIC 5 processor, 3" touchscreen and 1080p30 video capability of the mirrorless EOS M.

The camera introduces much wider scene coverage of Canon's Hybrid AF system and shoots at up to 4 fps. The 100D has a recommended price of $799.99/£799 with the co-announced EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM kit lens.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Robot salamander crawls and swims like the real thing

New Scientist reports: [edited]

Salamandra robotica II mimics a real salamander's way of moving by using a digital neural network that is instructed to swim, crawl or walk based on the intensity of electrical signals running through its 'spinal cord' circuits.

A remote 'brain' laptop mimics the signals that a real salamander brain sends to its spinal cord, letting the robot change its speed, direction and gait by triggering a simple electronic signal.

As well as being an interesting platform for robotics, Salamandra robotica II is a useful tool for understanding the systems that vertebrates use to move, and what can go wrong. It is to be presented at Innorobo in Lyon, France, this week.

Image: Kostas Karakasiliotis, Biorobotics Laboratory, EPFL

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Davidope's Optical Illusion Animated GIFs

Web Design Mash reports: [edited]

Davidope (dvdp) is the creative director and founder of the design atelier volll and Fredlig. Dvdp is planning a big colorful site but until then you can find a daily dose of inspiration at his Visual Chinatown.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

PowerGen Dual USB Car Charger

I bought this a week ago.

- It is cheap (£7.99 inc. delivery)
- It is powerful (15W/3.1A)
- It has two ports
- It is adequately built
- The (red) LED isn't too bright
- It fits securely/releases easily

The 'A' port is designed for Apple devices. It charged my iPad faster than my standard Apple mains charger, and my iPhone 5 went from 50% to 95% charge in under an hour.

The 'NA' port is intended for 'non-Apple' devices, however it was happy charging my iPhone 5 while my iPad was plugged into the 'A' socket, albeit with both charging at a noticeably slower rate.

Also available in white.

Monday, March 18, 2013


CloudOn reports: [edited]

There’s nothing left standing between you, your work and your team. Distance and device no longer matter. CloudOn keeps you productive with the full power of applications like Microsoft Office, the convenience of cloud storage and and more—all in your very own workspace in the cloud.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

London, Nottingham, Lincoln, Nottingham, London, 16-03-13

London to Nottingham
Crying - TV On the Radio
Baby's coming back - Jellyfish
I'll Kill Her - Soko
Tonight's The Kind Of Night (RAC Mix) - Noah and the Whale
He Reigns - Kirk Franklin
Fight The Power - Public Enemy
Banquet - Bloc Party
Hand Held in Black and White - Dollar
Beaten Up In Love Again (Album Version) - The Doves
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
Sally MacLennane - The Pogues
Foux Du Fafa - Flight of the Conchords
Sweet Child O' Brightside (Guns N' Roses vs. The Killers) - DJs From Mars
Call Me - Spagna
Too Young - Phoenix
Too Fake - Hockey
Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money) - Pet Shop Boys
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
I Like Bananas, Because They Have No Bones - Hoosier Hot Shots
11th Dimension - Julian Casablancas
Yes Sir I Can Boogie - Baccara
Judy Teen - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
Killer - Sparkle Moore
Never Miss a Beat - Kaiser Chiefs
I Just Can't Help Believin' - Elvis Presley
Mrs. Worthington - Noel Coward
Dirty Dishes - Jeani Mack
Two Sevens Clash - Culture
After You - Pulp
Don't Take The Girl - Tim McGraw
Skylarking - Horace Andy
Animal Nitrate - Suede
Another Brick In The Wall - Part 2 - Pink Floyd
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap
Flash Delirium - MGMT
You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette

Nottingham to Lincoln
Step Up for the Cool Cats - Palma Violets
River & Lights - Fissunix feat. CLT
The One That Breaks The Stand (Katy Perry vs. R.E.M. vs. DJs From Mars ft. Fragma vs. Chelley vs. Queen - DJ Schmolli
Men's Needs (single) - The Cribs
San Francisco - Foxygen
Give It (Radio Edit) - X-press 2 featuring Kurt Wagner
Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix) - deadmau5
Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National
Reunion - M83
Ziggy Stardust - Bauhaus
Speedy Gonzales - Pat Boone
Let's Go Swimming Wild - Sweet Baboo
Stella - Ida Maria
You Can't Judge a Book By the Cover - The Strypes
Harper Lee - Little Green Cars
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys

Journey to/from Ask
Pompeii - Bastille
Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep - Middle of the Road
You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
Sandstorm - Darude
Mirror Mirror (Mon Amour) - Dollar
Hey you Rocksteady Crew - Rock Steady Crew
Have I The Right - The Honeycombs
Call Me A Hole - pomDeter

Lincoln to Nottingham
Shuriken - Madeon
Green Garden - Laura Mvula
Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
Good Boys (Scissor Sisters' Gyad Byas Myax Ya Mix Extended) - Blondie
I'm Not Alone (Radio Edit) - Calvin Harris
Daddy Cool - Boney M
Girls Girls Girls - Sailor
Big Yellow Taxi (featuring Vanessa Carlton) - Counting Crows
Red Dirt Road - Brooks & Dunn
Wordy Rappinghood - Tom Tom Club
(Feels Like) Heaven - Fiction Factory
Ca Plane Pour Moi - Leila K
Pass This On - The Knife
Rat Trap - Boomtown Rats

Nottingham to London
Long Cool Woman - The Hollies
Cinnamon Girl - Prince
Sk8r Boy - Avril Lavigne
My Name is Bob (bob the builder v eminem) - Diffusion
If I Had A Photograph Of You - A Flock Of Seagulls
Carnival - The Cardigans
Baby, Now that I've Found You - Foundations
The Gift - Way Out West
Since Yesterday - Strawberry Switchblade
Trouble - Shampoo
Do The Hucklebuck - Coast to Coast
Hey Matthew - Karel Fialka
The Hustle - Van McCoy
Come back my love - The Darts
Metarie - Brendan Benson
Not About to Lose - Ron Sexsmith
Straight Up - Paula Abdul
when you look at me - Christina Milian
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
I Want You To Want Me - Letter To Cleo
More Than A Feeling - Boston
New Project - Athlete
Please Mr Postman - The Marvelettes
Up Up And Away - Fifth Dimension
Help Yourself - Tom Jones
The Bad Touch - Bloodhound Gang
Take Me Away - Christina Vidal
Futurama Theme - Danny Elfman
Are you Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
Up Town Top Ranking - Althea And Donna
Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight) - Lonnie Donegan & His Skiffle Group
sugah - Ruby Amanfu
This Kiss - Faith Hill
Captain Of Your Ship - Reparata And The Delrons
Astounded - Bran Van 3000

Photo by Sky Jordan

Friday, March 15, 2013

Battersea Power Station Proposal

web Urbanist reports: [edited]

An abandoned power station that has been an iconic part of London’s skyline since 1933 is transformed into a playground and museum in the “Architectural Ride London” proposal by Atelier Zündel Cristea. The concept makes use of the Battersea Power Station, which was decommissioned in 1983, preserving its history while making it both an educational and recreational attraction.

“Our project puts the power station on centre stage, the structure itself enhancing the site through its impressive scale, its architecture, and its unique brick material. Our created pathway links together a number of spaces for discovery: the square in front of the museum, clearings, footpaths outside and above and inside, footpaths traversing courtyards and exhibition rooms."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Graphene Earphones

ExtremeTech reports: [edited]

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have created the first ever graphene audio speaker: an earphone. In its raw state, without any kind of optimization, the graphene’s superior physical and electrical properties allow for an earphone with frequency response comparable to or better than a pair of commercial Sennheiser earphones.

The graphene earphone’s frequency response is superb. The reason for this is down to the graphene diaphragm’s simplicity: Whereas most diaphragms/cones must be damped (padded, restricted) to prevent undesirable frequency responses, the graphene diaphragm requires no damping. This is because graphene is so strong that the diaphragm can be incredibly thin — and thus very light.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Free Font - Archive

Font Fabric reports: [edited]

Archive is contemporary font constructed with strong geometric forms.

Designed by Slava Kirilenk.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quantum Fridge

Wired reports: [edited]

Nanotechnology researchers have built a microscopic fridge that can cool objects millions of times more massive than itself.

The prototype solid-state device takes advantage of the way quantum physics operates in micro- and nanostructures to cool comparatively-vast objects to sub-cryogenic temperatures.

Project leader Joel Ullom said that the cooling power is equivalent to a window-mounted air conditioner cooling a building the size of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, and added: "It's one of the most flabbergasting results I've seen."

He explained: "We used quantum mechanics in a nanostructure to cool a block of copper. The copper is about a million times heavier than the refrigerating elements. This is a rare example of a nano- or microelectromechanical machine that can manipulate the macroscopic world."

It works by sandwiching together a metal, an insulating layer just a single nanometre thick, and a superconductor. When a voltage is applied, the electrons with the most energy (the "hottest" ones) tunnel through the insulator to the superconductor, making the temperature in the metal drop dramatically.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Send a text message to charge your cellphone

New Scientist reports: [edited]

AT THE Konokoyi coffee cooperative on the edge of Uganda's Mount Elgon national park, Juliet Nandutu is trying out a new toy: a solar-powered cellphone charging station that is activated by text message. She is offering the service to her village. "I charge 18 phones a day, sometimes 20," she says.

How many phones she charges depends on the local electricity supply. When it's there, people can charge their phones at home, but that's not very often. "It's not so reliable," she says. "It's on and off."

A patchy or absent power grid poses a conundrum for rural areas in the developing world, particularly in Africa and Asia, where the use of cellphones is rapidly rising. Farmers, for instance, use cellphones to get up-to-date pricing information for nearby and distant markets, allowing them to better manage the sales of their crops.

In Kenya, people without access to banking services exchange money using their phones. Still, an estimated 500 to 650 million cellphone users are off-grid. Now London-based company Buffalo Grid and its portable charging station is hoping to step into the gap.

The lack of access to grid power means that people have to trek for kilometres to a nearby town to find a charging station, powered by diesel generators or solar panels. More importantly, it's not cheap. In Uganda, charging a cellphone can cost 500 Ugandan shillings, or about $0.20. That's a huge burden for those who earn less than a dollar a day, especially when you have to charge the phone two or three times a week.

Rural areas need stronger signals from cellphones because there are fewer cellphone towers nearby, a further drain on power. "In rural economies, about 50 per cent of the money spent on mobile phones is actually spent on charging them," says Buffalo Grid's Damon Millar. "That is some of the most expensive electricity in the world."

Buffalo Grid's basic technology, which was recently trialled in Uganda, should help cut those costs. A 60-watt solar panel charges a battery that is taken to the village on the back of a bicycle. The battery extracts power from the solar panel using a technique called maximum power point tracking (MPPT). A solar panel's power output is dictated by environmental conditions, such as temperature and the amount of sunlight, as well as the resistance of the circuits connected to it. MPPT monitors the conditions and changes the resistance to ensure the maximum possible power output at any given time.

The innovation lies in how the stored power is released to charge a phone. A customer sends a text message, which in Uganda costs 110 shillings, to the device. Once it receives the message, an LED above a socket on the battery lights up, indicating that it is ready to charge a phone.

At the Konokoyi coffee cooperative, each text message allows a phone to be charged for 1.5 hours. A fully charged Buffalo Grid unit can last for three days, has up to 10 charging points and charges 30 to 50 phones a day.

To bring the cost down further, Buffalo Grid hopes to co-opt the cellphone network operators into subsidising power for charging the phones, or even making it free. What's in it for the network operators? "When you bring power to phones that don't have any, people will use them more," says Buffalo Grid's Daniel Becerra. "Instead of paying for the charge, people will spend more on airtime."

Friday, March 08, 2013


Otixo reports: [edited]

Manage all your clouds from one login with Otixo. Connect services like Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, Google Docs, SugarSync, Picasa, CX, Amazon S3, FTP sites and WebDav drives... all from one simple app.

Free 14 day trial available. Monthly subscription $4.99 per month/$47.90 per year.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

NYC Past

Want to browse through hundreds of beautifully photographed historical monochrome images of New York City? If the answer is, 'Yes please', click here.

via kottke

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Toyota i-ROAD

Wired Autopia reports: [edited]

It’s a reverse trike, similar to the Can-Am Spyder, but features a fully enclosed cockpit with seating for two and a footprint that Toyota claims is about the same size as a traditional scooter.

A pair of 2kW (about 3hp) motors drive the front wheels, enabling a top speed of 28 mph, while a lithium-ion battery allows the driver to motor on for 30 miles and charge up on a standard power outlet in three hours.

But it’s the Active Lean technology that’s most notable. Based on speed, gyroscope angle and amount steering input, the i-ROAD’s onboard computer calculates the exact amount of lean required to make a turn thanks to an actuator mounted on both sides of the front suspension. Turn into a left-hand bend and the right wheel pushes down while the left suspension compresses.

Additionally, the system is tuned to compensate for rough road surfaces, supposedly making straight-line driving more comfortable in spite of the i-ROAD’s minuscule wheelbase.

For now, the i-ROAD is strictly a concept, something Toyota envisions could be used in dense urban areas in the next decade.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Brain-to-Brain Interface Established

io9 reports: [edited]

Researchers have created an electronic link between the brains of two rats, and demonstrated that signals from the mind of one can help the second solve basic puzzles in real time — even when those animals are separated by thousands of miles.

Here's how it works. An 'encoder' rat in Natal, Brazil, trained in a specific behavioral task, presses a lever in its cage it knows will earn it a reward. A brain implant records activity from the rat's motor cortex and converts it into an electrical signal that is delivered via neural link to the brain implant of a second 'decoder' rat.

Rat number two is in North Carolina. The second rat's motor cortex processes the signal from rat number one and — despite being unfamiliar with the behavioral task the first rat has been conditioned to perform — uses that information to press the same lever.

Untrained decoder rats receiving input from a trained encoder partner only chose the correct lever around two-thirds of the time. That's definitely better than random odds, but still a far cry from the 95% accuracy of the encoder rats.

"These experiments demonstrated the ability to establish a sophisticated, direct communication linkage between rat brains," he said in a statement, "so basically, we are creating an organic computer that solves a puzzle."

Monday, March 04, 2013

Nokia 105

The Independent reports: [edited]

The £13 Nokia 105 is a basic text-and-call phone aimed at the developing world, but it is likely to prove a hit in the west too as a back-up or emergency device.

The 105, which is set to go on sale in the next few weeks, comes with a colour screen, torch and FM radio.

But the key feature of the new Nokia is its battery life which, according to the Finnish company’s press spokesperson Pekka Haverinen, is around 35 days on a single charge.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Freescale Semiconductor Kinetis KL02

Wired reports: [edited]

The Kinetis KL02 measures just 1.9 by 2 millimeters. It’s a full microcontroller unit (MCU), meaning the chip sports a processor, RAM, ROM, clock and I/O control unit — everything a chip needs to be a 'computer'.

The KL02 has 32k of flash memory, 4k of RAM, a 32 bit processor, and peripherals like a 12-bit analog to digital converter and a low-power UART built into the chip. By including these extra parts, device makers can shrink down their designs, resulting in tiny boards in tiny devices.

The KL02 is part of Freescale’s push to make chips tailored to the Internet of Things. The KL02 is intended to be at the heart of a network of connected objects, moving from shoes that wirelessly report your steps to pipes that warn you when they are leaking.

One application that Freescale says the chips could be used for is 'swallowable computers'. Both the Fitbit and OmniPod insulin pump use Freescale chips. It’s not hard to imagine a new generation of devices designed to monitor your internal health or release drugs and medicine from within your body.