Saturday, 25 April 2009

The 1st Question 49 - 21 April 09


The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
B. F. Skinner

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.
Rollo May


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at SLCN

1) This island in the South Atlantic Anomaly is home only to 271 people, a small flightless bird, and a piece of land named Inaccessible Island. Now the world's most remote inhabited archipelago is host to a Danish Observatory designed to help improve our understanding of the Earth’s weakening magnetic field and the way this affects satellites. While the global magnetic field is weakening by 5% every century, the magnetic field in this region is lowering at ten times the speed. One of the effects of a diminished magnetic field is a higher exposure to radiation, which is disruptive to the operation of artificial satellites and orbiting spacecraft, including the ISS and Hubble What island is this?

2) For most of us, the world deep below the ocean’s surface remains a place we have only had the pleasure to experience vicariously, primarily through watching nature documentaries. It's not as if we can just hop in a submarine and go take a look. Well, perhaps we can, if a Russian company's plan to market a two-seater submarine driven by pedal power to the tourist industry is successful. The new underwater vehicle from Marine Innovation Technologies will not only be cheaper to buy and run than existing submersibles, it will be simpler to operate, requiring no special training or expertise. How much will it cost?

3) An autonomous robot scientist made its first discovery recently. It discovered 12 new functions for genes. This is the first time that a self-directed robotic system carried out each of the steps in the discovery process, effectively automating the scientific process. It hypothesized certain genes in baker's yeast code. The robot then devised experiments to test these predictions, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results and repeated the cycle. : What is this robot called, by friends?

4) It is known as the pound sign, the crosshatch, the hash and the number sign. But what is the printer or typographers name for this symbol?

5) He was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Reuniting the eastern and western portions of the empire, he was the last emperor of both the Eastern and Western Roman Empire. After his death, the two parts split permanently. He is also known for making Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Who was he?

6) Theodosius oversaw the removal of an Egyptian obelisk from Alexandria to Constantinople. It is now known as the obelisk of Theodosius and still stands in the long racetrack that was the center of Constantinople's public life and scene of political turmoil. What was the place it was moved to called?

7) It is a stream of charged particles—a plasma—ejected from the upper atmosphere of the sun. The stream of particles varies in temperature and speed during time. These particles are able to escape the sun's gravity, in part because of the high temperature of the corona, but also because of high kinetic energy that particles gain through a process that is not well-understood. It creates the Heliosphere, a vast bubble in the interstellar medium surrounding the solar system. What is this which is responsible for geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids on Earth, the aurorae such as the Northern Lights, and that makes the plasma tails of comets always point away from the sun.

8) These are a set of problems generally thought to have been devised by the man whose name is attached to them. They support the doctrine that "all is one" and that, contrary to the evidence of our senses, the belief in plurality and change is mistaken, and in particular that motion is nothing but an illusion. What are these arguments called, which are perhaps the first examples of a method of proof called reductio ad absurdum also known as proof by contradiction.

9) These contain astronomical tables of outstanding accuracy. Contained in them are almanacs, astronomical and astrological tables, and religious references. They contain predictions for agriculturally-favorable timing and are written on a long sheet of paper which is 'screen-folded' to make a book of 39 leaves, written on both sides. It has information on rainy seasons, floods, illness and medicine. It also seems to show conjunctions of constellations, planets and the Moon. It is most famous for its Venus table. What is this is a pre-Columbian Maya book of the eleventh or twelfth century called which has astounding accuracy for its astronomical records?

10) Scientists at the Singapore-based Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have made an unprecedented breakthrough in transforming carbon dioxide, a common greenhouse gas, into this, a clean-burning biofuel. Using "organocatalysts", researchers activated carbon dioxide in a mild and non-toxic process to produce this more useful chemical compound. A combination of silica and hydrogen – called hydrosilane – is added to the carbon dioxide, which is transformed into what through hydrolysis?

11) These can become autonomous underwater vehicles in the water pool and have self-guided navigation. Their 3D sonar is used to communicate with the environment and other robots like them. For example, in order to avoid collisions. An absolute novelty in the robot technology is a fuselage that moves in all directions. The hull design in the automation can be as flexible tripod arrangement, and so can also be used in handling equipment for factories or other applications. What bionic animal is this?

12) This Swiss company creates the most expensive chocolate in the world. Their chocolate pralines are covered with 24 carat edible gold leaf hand-applied to each chocolate. The Intimacy Box costing US$36.90 and containing two pralines, For centuries gold has been used in culinary creations across the world for its esthetic qualities, its symbolic power and sometimes for its alleged magical properties. India is the world's largest consumer of gold in food products, eating its way through 12 metric tons of gold per year. What is the name of this company which also produces the worlds only 24K chocolate Easter bunny, and the gold lollipop?

13) In 1861, the first commercially exploited telefax machine, the Pantelegraph was invented by the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli, introducing the first commercial telefax service between Paris and Lyon even before the invention of workable telephones. in 1924, Richard H. Ranger invented the wireless photoradiogram, or transoceanic radio facsimile, the forerunner of today’s "Fax" machines. A photograph of who was sent from New York to London in 1924 becoming the first photo picture reproduced by transoceanic radio facsimile.

14) This is an organism that thrives in, and even may require physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to the majority of life on Earth. Some examples of these are the Pompeii worm, and the Antarctic krill. Hypoliths that live inside rocks in cold deserts and Radioresistant organisms which are resistant to high levels of ultraviolet and even nuclear radiation are different classes. Astrobiologists are of course interested in them, what are these organisms called? A recent discovery of a subglacial ecosystem of them surviving without oxygen in Blood Falls, Antarctica, was just announced?

The 1st Question 48 - 14 April 09


When walking through the "valley of shadows," remember, a shadow is cast by a Light.
Austin O'Malley

The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
James Jeans


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at SLCN

1) He is an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer. He received the Turing Award in 1988 for the invention of Sketchpad, an early predecessor to the sort of graphical user interface that has become ubiquitous in personal computers. With the help of his student Bob Sproull he created what is widely considered to be the first virtual reality and augmented reality head-mounted display system in 1968. Who is this fellow at Sun Microsystems?

2) The peoples of the goddess Danu are a race of people in Irish mythology. In the invasions tradition they are the fifth group to settle Ireland, conquering the island from the Fir Bolg. They came from four northern cities, where they acquired their occult skills and attributes. They arrived in Ireland, on or about May 1 (the date of the festival of Beltaine), on dark clouds. They are said to have brought chariots and druidry to Ireland. Who are the mythic race of Irish?

3) His best-known work is the Parallel Lives, a series of biographies of famous Greeks and Romans, arranged in pairs to illuminate their common moral virtues and vices. As is explained in the opening paragraph of his Life of Alexander, he was not concerned with history so much as the influence of character, good or bad, on the lives and destinies of men. Whereas sometimes he barely touched on epoch-making events, he devoted much space to charming anecdote and incidental triviality, reasoning that this often said far more for his subjects than even their most famous accomplishments. WHo was this earliest of moral philosophers?

4) In what year was income tax was abolished as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

5) In ancient Anglo-Saxon myth, She is the personification of the rising sun. In that capacity she is associated with the spring and is considered to be a fertility goddess. She is the friend of all children and to amuse then she changed her pet bird into a rabbit. This rabbit brought forth brightly colored eggs, which the goddess gave to the children as gifts. From her name and the festival of Easter is derived." Isn’t it ironic the holiest day in the Christian faith, dedicated to celebrating the Son of God, is named after a goddess. Who was she?

6) A precursor to the alarm clock was a water clock built by the ancient Greeks around 250 BC where the raising waters would both keep time and eventually hit a mechanical bird that triggered an alarming whistle. The first mechanical alarm clock, capable of striking an alarm at any time specified by the user, was invented by Taqi al-Din. His alarm clock was capable of sounding at a specified time, which was achieved by means of placing a peg on the dial wheel to the time one wants the alarm heard and by producing an automated ringing device at the specified time. What empire was Taqi al-Din a member of?

7) What science has done is to genetically engineer these plants to produce medicines that could assist in the treatment of several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including diabetes. Transgenic plants are attractive for the production of therapeutic proteins because they offer the possibility of large scale production at low cost, and they have low maintenance requirements. What plant has recently been discovered to be all that?

8) Robotic surgery allows doctors to operate on patients by controlling a machine that is far more sterile, precise and flexible than the human hand. By calculating the movement of a heart with millimeter accuracy and shifting its instruments accordingly, robot can operate on a beating heart as if it was frozen. This robot has been operating on pig’s hearts since 2004, with a claimed 95% accuracy. In what country is this taking place?

9) Wearable computer imaging systems was described in 1945, by Vannevar Bush in his essay "As We May Think". However this man is called the world's first cyborg", from his early work wearing video-enabled computers since the early 1980s, and book Cyborg: Digital Destiny... He covered Ethics, Law & Technology of anonymity, authentication, surveillance, and sousveillance, in addition to issues related to cyborg-law. He calls it the anonequity project and it is ongoing, though not the first on implantable technologies. Who is the Cyberman?

10) After years of wearing a patch to hide his disfigured right eye, damaged as a child in a shooting accident, Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence was forced eventually to replace the eye with a prosthetic one. The camera on Spence’s cell phone, though, gave him a rather novel idea. What if he could build a miniature, wireless video camera into his prosthetic eye? The progress of which can be now followed online what is this called?.

11) As protector of women, she's often described as a cow, but she is far more than that: she is seven cows all at once. She was certainly a Goddess of great complexity, associated with love, fertility, naughtiness, moon, music and cavorting. She has more associations with whatever was going on than you could shake a sistrum at. Who was this Egyptian goddess of happiness?

12) A new report by an international team of scientists has suggested that the largest mass extinction in the history of the earth may not have been caused by volcanic eruptions, methane hydrate or the impact of an asteroid as previously surmised. It may actually have been triggered by these, whose emissions of halogenated gases changed the atmospheric composition to such an extent that vegetation was irretrievably damaged. What is emitting highly volatile halocarbons such as chloroform, trichloroethene, and tetrachloroethene, even today?

13) He was an Hellenistic-Egyptian god in Antiquity. His most renowned temple was at Alexandria, Efforts were made to integrate Egyptian religion with that of their Greek rulers. The Macedonian general who became Paroah of Egypt in 305BC wanted to find a deity that should win the reverence of both groups. So he found a figure resembling Hades or Pluto, and it also had what appeared to be a serpent at its base, fitting the Egyptian symbol of rulership. With his (i.e. Osiris') wife Isis, and their son (at this point in history) Horus he won an important place in the Greek world reaching Ancient Rome, with Anubis being identified as Cerberus. Who was this god of many cultures, even worshipped by Christians at the time?

14) The marriage of mathematics and origami harkens back to his own childhood. As a first-grader, this boy proved far too clever for elementary mathematics and quickly became bored, prompting his teacher to give him a book on origami. His acuity for mathematics would lead him to become a physicist at the California Institute of Technology, and the owner of nearly fifty patents on lasers and optoelectronics. Now a professional origami master, he practices his craft as both artist and engineer, who is he?

Friday, 10 April 2009

The 1st Question 47 - 7 Apr 09


An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy to be called an idea at all.
Elbert Hubbard

Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.
Doris Lessing


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at SLCN

1) In 2006, this company announced the intention of digging up the garden of the parents of spammer Davis Wolfgang Hawke in search of buried gold and platinum. They had been awarded a $ 12.8 million judgment against Hawke, who had gone into hiding. The permission for the search was granted by a judge after this company proved that the spammer had bought large amounts of gold and platinum. The next year, they decided not to proceed. What well known company had originally planned to do the digging?

2) The term literally means "love of life or living systems." It was first used by Erich Fromm to describe a psychological orientation of being attracted to all that is alive and vital. Edward Wilson used the term in the same sense when he suggests that it describes "the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life.” He proposed the possibility that the deep affiliations humans have with nature are deeply rooted. What is this term?

3) When he was almost ready to enter Yale , sumac poisoning weakened his eyes and he gave up college plans. He got a farm in Staten Island after his stint as a seaman. He had a great career in journalism; his dispatches to the Times were collected into multiple volumes which remain vivid first-person social documents of the pre-war South. Journeys and Explorations in the Cotton Kingdom were published during the first six months of the American Civil War. It helped inform and galvanize antislavery sentiment in the Northeast. In 1865, he co founded The Nation. Thankfully, he believed that the common green space must always be equally accessible to all citizens. This principle is now fundamental to the idea of a "public park". His tenure as park commissioner in New York was a long struggle to preserve that idea. Unpopular at the time. One of The greatest landscapers of all time, who was he?

4) He came to prominence with his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, which popularized the gene-centered view of evolution and introduced the term meme. In 1982, he made a widely cited contribution to evolutionary biology with the theory, presented in his book The Extended Phenotype, that the phenotypic or observable effects of a gene are not necessarily limited to an organism's body, but can stretch far into the environment, including the bodies of other organisms. Who is this prominent critic of creationism and intelligent design?

5) The human body is a veritable powerhouse. Every minute of everyday it generates energy. What if this energy could be harnessed to do something really useful – like charge your iPod or mobile phone? Technology that does just that - converting mechanical energy from body movements or even the flow of blood in the body into electric energy is here by converting the low-frequency vibrations generated into electricity by using zinc oxide nanowires. These nanowires are able to produce electricity as they are piezoelectric - they generate an electric current when subjected to mechanical stress. The diameter and length of these wires are the diameter of what?

6) The last Antarctic expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton and the final episode in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration took place onboard this ship, a small converted Norwegian whaler. Before the expedition's work could properly begin, Shackleton died aboard ship. What was the name of this ship upon which he died?

7)Not quite the Rosetta stone, but still very fascinating, There have been numerous attempts to decipher this script of Easter Island since its discovery in the late nineteenth century. As with most undeciphered scripts, many of the proposals have been fanciful. Apart from a portion of one tablet which has been shown to deal with a lunar calendar, none of the texts are understood, and even the calendar cannot actually be read. What is the name of these texts written on pacific rosewood?

8) He presented a useful tool for astronomical calculations in his Handy Tables, which tabulated all the data needed to compute the positions of the Sun, Moon and planets, and which provided the model for later astronomical tables. He wrote famously, “Almagest” and he wrote in Ancient Greek and is known to have utilized Babylonian astronomical data. He also wrote on geography, music, optics and astrology. He was the most influential of Greek astronomers and geographers of his time. He propounded the geocentric theory that prevailed for 1400 years. Who was he?
P: 9) This U.S. Senator announced that in spring 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. This occurred during a time of great concern about overpopulation and when there was a strong movement towards "Zero Population Growth." Rising concern about the environmental crisis was also sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that matched discontent over the war in Vietnam. So a national day of observance of environmental problems began as a. nationwide environmental 'teach-in'.Who was this Senator who coordinated Earth Day?
10) The 1960s had been a very dynamic period for ecology in the US, in both theory and practice. It was in the mid-1960s that Congress passed the sweeping Wilderness Act, Who was this man who asked, "Who speaks for the trees?"

11) Pre-1960 grassroots activism against DDT in Nassau County, New York, had inspired Rachel Carson to write her shocking bestseller. What was it called?
12) Genius, dancer, bohemian and original, she is considered the mother of modern dance. When the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées was built in 1913, her likeness was carved in its bas-relief over the entrance. In 1922, she acted on her sympathy for the social and political experiment being carried out in the new Soviet Union and moved to Moscow.
In her last United States tour in the early twenties, she waved a red scarf and bared her breast on stage in Boston, proclaiming, "This is red! So am I!" She died tragically at 50, and yes, a scarf was involved. Who was she?

13) Psychology is what he thought directly linked on to biology, for sensibility, the fundamental fact, is the highest grade of life and the lowest of intelligence. All the intellectual processes are evolved from sensibility he wrote, and sensibility itself is a property of the nervous system. The soul is not an entity, but a faculty; thought is the function of the brain. Just as the stomach and intestines receive food and digest it, so the brain receives impressions, digests them, and has as its organic secretion, thought. Who was this very early pioneer of Psychology?

14) Now this exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around 5 million. The various forms all share moral and metaphysical ideals, which include, in most cases, a constitutional declaration of belief in a Supreme Being. It uses the metaphors of operative stonemasons' tools and implements, against the allegorical backdrop of the building of what, to convey what has been described by both Masons and critics as "a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols?”

15) The structural model was first discussed in his 1920 essay "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" Freud is perhaps best known for his tripartite model of the mind, consisting of the id, ego, and what?

16) The Super-ego strives for perfection. The Super-ego strives to act in a socially appropriate manner, whereas this just wants instant self-gratification. The Super-ego controls our sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps us fit into society by getting us to act in socially acceptable ways. What works in contradiction to the super ego?

Friday, 3 April 2009

The 1st Question 46 - 31 Mar 09


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
Arnold H. Glasow


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at SLCN

1) It is billed as a "light-emitting material" that consists of less than an inch thick tile that is composed of four layers of spatial glass, a rare gas and serigraphed phosphors. It should last for about ten years. The result of over six years of research, this technology offers specifications that make it the world's first light-emitting material. This marks a true revolution in the lighting industry, as light no longer radiates from a light bulb or any other light source, but from the material itself. What is it?

2) Robot Land, a robot theme park planned for this country is finally getting started. It’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy has convinced the government to set aside $559 million for construction work.. It is hoped that the park would open in 2013. What country will this park be in?

3) This specially-equipped Roomba robot can now sense human emotions. "Using Bio-electrical Signals to Influence the Social Behaviors of Domesticated Robots." Is out now from Calgary! When a person shows high stress the robot enters its cleaning mode but moves away from the user so as not annoy them. When a person is relaxed, the robot (if cleaning) approaches the person and then stops, simulating a pet sitting next to its owner. What kind of cleaning does the Roomba perform?

4) HRP-4C is a robotic woman lately unveiled to reporters in Japan. This cybernetic human sells for about $200,000. and is able walk and follow some basic commands. The robotic woman is about the same size and weight as an average young woman. Thirty motors in the body help it to walk and move; eight motors power facial expressions. In film, the female robot has been around for almost 80 years. In what early movie does the robotic woman make her debut?

5) Physicists have created a laser weapon that targets mosquitoes. It is hoped that by finding an effective weapon against mosquitoes, the incidence of malaria could be reduced. Today, malaria kills about one million people every year around the world. We'd be delighted if we destabilize the human-mosquito balance of power," says Jordin Kare, an astrophysicist who once worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the birthplace of some of the deadliest weapons known to man. He worked on the mosquito laser, built from parts bought where?

6) A recent survey of women leaders in information technology shows that 92% of those surveyed believe that this is key to their overall success, and view their approach as very different from the style of their male colleagues. What is it that almost 100% of Female Chief Information Officers cite as their most important leading edge?

7) What monarch acceded to the throne of England and Ireland, becoming James I of England and unifying the crowns of the three kingdoms for the first time? This was in 1603

8) He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his tuberculosis findings in 1905. He had some fiasco over his ineffective TB cure "tuberculin", although his pupils found the organisms responsible for typhoid, pneumonia, gonorrhea, leprosy, bubonic plague, and tetanus, syphilis, among others, by using his methods. And he has a crater on the moon named after him. Who was one of the founders of microbiology?

9) The licensed Force Trainer from Uncle Milton uses a wireless headset that reads alpha and beta waves via electroencephalography (EEG) technology. Alpha and Beta waves are the names given to electrical activity in the brain between 7.5 and 30Hz - - which for the purposes of the game identifies when you are relaxed and concentrated. When the player achieves this state of inner calm a fan at the bottom of the unit kicks-in and a ball rises up a clear plastic tower giving the player the sense that they are indeed manipulating it with their mind. What famous movie series holds the license name?

10) It is the name given to a recently-discovered, large-scale electronic spying operation, based mainly in China, which has infiltrated at almost 1,300 computers in 103 countries. Computer systems belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as the Dalai Lama's Tibetan exile centers in India, Brussels, London and New York City were compromised. What is the name of this global electronic espionage system?

11) Ecotricity is a green energy company based in England specialising in wind power. Its wind power only car recently set a new land speed record for a wind-powered vehicle at blistering 126.1mph. What is the name of this remarkable all carbon fiber land yacht?

12) The land yacht mentioned is a very high performance sailboat that uses a solid wing, rather than a sail, to generate movement. The aerodynamic design and light weight allows the vehicle to achieve speeds three to five times faster than the wind speed which was just 30mph, thanks to a phenomenon known as what?

13) last fall, NASA launched this to observe the edge of our solar system from a 200,000-mile Earth orbit and determine whether or not we’re, well, doomed. Over the next two years, it will study the area of space where solar wind hits the wider galaxy – hopefully it will also find out why the solar wind, which shields us from harmful cosmic rays, has decreased by 25% in the last ten years, part of NASA’s low-cost data-gathering missions. What is this 23-inch high octagonal craft called?

14) This aims to top airborne opulence by equipping a four story converted heavy lift aircraft with 18 luxuriously-appointed room hotels. Including soundproofed rooms, each boasting a queen-sized bed, a mini-bar, coffee machine, wireless internet access, and all the luxurious appointments you’d expect from a flying five star hotel - there's even the promise of room service. It will be ready for its maiden flight in June 26th. What is it?

15) A Solar car called Power Of One (Xof1) claimed a new unofficial world distance record for a solar powered car when it arrived in Los Angeles on March 6th having driven over (20,000 km) using only sunshine as fuel. The Guinness World Records Longest journey by a solar electric vehicle is still held by The Midnight Sun solar car team from where?
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