Friday, 7 August 2009

The 1st Question 61 - 4 Aug 09

This week's panel

Ronnie Rhode, Mike Burleigh, Gentle Heron and Lowri Mills


Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
Erma Bombeck

Word-UP of the week - “ Lindenary” - having a clever future vision though presently somewhat disorganized.
Gentle Heron

Audience Quote of the week – “I’d believe Mousezilla before I’d believe Inferno”
Fearchar Enoch


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) You play for 16 hours a day. You’ve lost your job, your friends, and you hardly eat or bathe anymore. Obviously, you need help but you’re unwilling to tear yourself away from your PC and see a counselor. Well, if you’re not going to them, maybe they can come to you - Dr. Richard Graham, a consultant psychiatrist in London, would like therapists to join in order to treat addicted gamers right where they’re spending all their time. The project is scheduled to be launched by year’s end by which time Graham hopes to convince the makers to waive costs for psychiatrists. This is not the next episode of shrink-wrapped - but Where will this take place?

2) When this company bought Skype from Joltid in 2005, the whopping US$2.6 billion price tag didn't include the Global Index peer-to-peer software that the world's biggest Internet Telephony system is based on. And now, Joltid is trying to cancel Skype's license on the Global Index technology in a move that threatens to shut Skype down once and for all. Is it just a canny commercial chess move to force the owner to sell Skype back to Joltid at a huge discount - or is it the end of Skype as we know it? Who bought Skype from Joltid in 2005?

3) Psychohistory, according to Isaac Asimov's , says that "while one cannot foresee the actions of a particular individual, the laws of statistics as applied to large groups of people could predict the general flow of future events., Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi leave behind detailed traces of our lives, sensors and tags generating data at micro levels give a wealth of data to examine & help accurately forecast the effects of phenomena like catastrophic events, mass population movements or invasions of new organisms into ecosystems This capability will be possible thanks to the collection of information from machine-sensed sources to provide knowledge about aggregated human behavior. What is this term called?

4) This could provide a cheap, renewable fuel source for vehicles. It’s abundance makes large-scale production of hydrogen as fuel a more viable prospect. And, most importantly, it’s actually a lot easier and cheaper to extract hydrogen from this than water. The hydrogen atoms in it– are less tightly bonded than those in water. So much less power is needed to break the molecule apart. –its biggest drawback is that it hydrolyses into ammonia very quickly. Aztec physicians used it to clean wounds. It’s been used in the manufacture of saltpeter for gunpowder. And, most famously, German alchemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorous while trying to create the Philosopher’s Stone from it - what is the world’s most abundant waste product?

5) He was a six-year-old child who disappeared in lower Manhattan in 1979. After convincing his mom he wanted to walk the 2 blocks to the school bus alone, she never saw him again. He most likely met, was abducted by and then killed by his baby-sitters friend. At the time, news coverage of his disappearance was made into a media circus. He is arguably the most famous missing child of New York City. His disappearance helped spark the missing children's movement, including new legislation, new awareness, and various methods for tracking down missing children. Who was this boy whose face was on the cover of countless milk cartons?

6) Ever wonder how an insect with such a tiny brain can thwart your attempts to catch it nearly every time? Apparently scientists do, too. To find out how the common blowfly manages to process visual images more than four times faster than humans, researchers have built the bug a flight simulator. After immobilizing each insect with a fly-sized harness and attaching electrodes to its brain, biologists from the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology placed blowflies in front of a semicircular LED screen displaying various moving patterns. The German scientists hope what they discover about insect vision will help build better flying robots. And they’re not the only ones studying flies in a flight simulator —what is the California Institute of Technology using to learn about muscle coordination and visual processing in fruit flies?

7) In 1769, Hungarian inventor Wolfgang von Kempelen saw a magic show at the Imperial court, proclaimed he could create a more compelling spectacle and did. He called it the Automaton Chess Player. It resembled a robed man sitting at a table in front of a chessboard, smoking a pipe, one movable arm extended over the board, ready to play. The display had various panels which could be slid open to reveal impressive looking machinery. The device, like its creator, showed a sophisticated understanding of science, showmanship and the public mood. When Kempelen announced that his mechanical man could beat any person at chess, he was capitalizing on the perceptions of an audience living at the cusp of the Industrial revolution.. A fast, aggressive player, it beat most people within half an hour. Its victims included Ben Franklin and, in a dramatic showdown, Napoléon Bonaparte. In particular, it captured the imagination and the king of Charles Babbage, who was, at the time, contemplating the possibility of mechanical calculation. He built the Difference Engine, after playing it. What was this automon more commonly known as, the possible great grand daddy of IBM's Deep Blue?

8) In 1926, Westinghouse created the first robot, Mr. Televox, a cardboard cutout of a humanoid figure which was connected to various devices via phone lines, and allowed users to turn equipment off and on using voice commands. Televox was followed by Rastus, a “mechanical slave” However the most famous robot Westinghouse created was this. On debut at the 1939 New York World’s Fair the seven-foot, 265 pound golden giant walked, talked, and smoked cigarettes. Like the Turk, it captured a surging public sentiment that the future would contain technological marvels which it did. Alas, The robot was last seen in the 1960 film “Sex Kittens go to College” where it starred as “Thinko”, a funk machine accompanied by an entourage of four strippers and a monkey. Following Sex Kittens, it was decapitated and his body sold for scrap. Its legacy lives on, what was its name?

9) A remote-sensing mechanism that examines the content of blogs to measure the emotional levels of millions of people purports to give an indication of happiness. The system works by searching new blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling.” It records the full sentence and identifies the “feeling” expressed in that sentence. Each sentence then receives a happiness score based on a standardized “psychological valence’ For example, “triumphant” scores 8.87 on the happiness-unhappy scale, while “suicide” scores 1.25. What is this site which contributes to the Journal of Happiness Studies?

10) The iPhone has many different applications, some are useful, some are hilarious, this one might be both, or neither.. This application rates your sexual performance based on duration, power (as measured by the iPhone's built-in accelerometer) and loudness of orgasm, giving you a score out of 10 for your efforts. You can then compare "high scores" with other couples (or singles) around the world.. Turn the app on, stick it on the bed, explain to your partner that you're looking for an empirical ranking of your boudoir skills, and go to town - if they're still interested. And all this for only $4.99! What is this app called?

11) They have no interest in actively pursuing women, are nonchalant about career and find cars a bore. They call themselves by the anonymity of their online handles. A growing group of men rejecting traditional masculinity when it comes to romance, jobs and consumption is an apparent reaction to the tougher economy. Forget being a workaholic, corporate salary-man. These men, raised as the economic bubble burst, are turning their backs on Japan's stereotypical male roles in what is seen as a symptom of growing disillusionment in their country's troubled economy. What have the media dubbed them?

12) ) The name means Primeval God of Hell, and the place of ultimate punishment. One of the first Gods to arise from the void of Creation, , like his siblings NYX and CHAOS, he personifies ultimate formless gloom. Little is known of his personality but as the first God of Hell we assume he had to be depressing. Presumably HADES rents the Underworld from him on favorable terms. If he was in Second Life he might charge double for tier. Who gives his name to the dark places of punishment for those that have been judged guilty of unspeakableness?

13) According to the company, Allen Stoltzfus had learned German through immersion while living in Germany, and found it relatively easy. In the 1980s, Stoltzfus began learning Russian in a classroom setting, but discovered it to be much more difficult. He wanted to simulate the German experience, and he decided to use computing technology to create a similar learning experience. By 1992, CD-ROM’s made the project possible. Its title and its logo is an allusion to this artifact inscribed in multiple languages that helped Jean-François Champollion to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics –what is the name of this popular learning tool?

14) Mankind seems to have a compulsion to get off the ground. America went crazy for the pogo stick in the 1920’s, where even chorus girls in NY performed on them, and marriage vows were exchanged on them. And, in the 60’s, trampolining took off as a competitive sport, with the first world championships held in 1964. These however, are a cross between stilts and a pogo stick that harnesses energy in the same way as a trampoline. A German aerospace engineer apparently studied the movements of kangaroos in order to develop his original prototype –what is it called?

15) It is non invasive surgery, on a specific point in the brain--that absorbs the energy and converts it to heat. The entire system is integrated with a magnetic resonance scanner, which allows neurosurgeons to make sure they target the correct piece of brain tissue. Performed successfully on nine human patients, in Switzerland, the groundbreaking finding here is that you can make lesions deep in the brain--through the intact skull and skin--with extreme precision, accuracy and safety, How has recent non invasive surgery been performed?

16) She was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. She was a writer and a renowned lecturer on women's rights, and social issues, attracting crowds of thousands. She planned to assassinate Henry Clay Frick and failed. Spending years in prison for conspiring to "induce persons not to register", and for handing out birth control as well as being blamed for influencing McKinleys assassination, she eventually founded the anarchist journal Mother Earth. Who was this legend who died in Toronto?

17) Recently, as the world celebrated the first lunar landing, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins both called for NASA to make Mars its next goal. But the chemical propulsion system that took them to the moon would take six months, at least, to get a man to Mars and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. However, a new ion plasma rocket being developed by another former astronaut, could potentially reach Mars in just 39 days using a fraction of the fuel. This astronauts prototype promises specific impulses extremely high Well, his rocket doesn’t achieve propulsion by combusting fuel but, rather, by superheating atoms to create and expel a plasma plume. Who is he?

18) In the broad sense pluripotent refers to "having more than one potential outcome." News last month has spread about research out of China. Two teams used mouse fibroblasts, a kind of cell found in this connective tissues, which were then used to create living mice. Their breakthrough research suggests that cloning full animals from these cells are a current reality. To be able to create those which act like embryonic stem cells, without the embryo part, opens to door to a fascinating and less-controversial field of medical research, including organ repair or even full organ replacements that are guaranteed to match the host's body. What kind of cell was taken from the mice?

No comments:

#navbar { display: none; }