Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The 1st Question 71 - 27 Oct 09

This week's panel

Gatsby Crumb, Marian Sapphire, Chrome Underwood, John Zhaoying.


In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.
Hugh Walpole

Never forget that the most powerful force on earth is love
Nelson Rockefeller

I have made good judgements in the past. I have made good judgements in the future.
Dan Quayle

Word-UP of the week – “Kleptography” - the process of lifting images from a myriad of sources in order to re-assemble them in a new form, usually as a work of art. Also known as Photoshoplifting.
Chrome Underwood

Audience Quote of the week – “Prepare to flatten your funk, fritter your feckles, and flip your flume!”
Troy McLuhan


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) That trees can “self-preserve” in such a humid climate as Norway and for centuries was news to scientists who recently dated trunks seeded in the early 1200s. The substance, responsible for that fact has been around for a very long time, and its conservation abilities have been known for millennia. It was one of the ingredients used in Ancient Egypt for mummification, a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, valued for its chemical uses, such as varnishes and adhesives, and also as an important source of raw materials for organic synthesis, or incense and perfume like frankincense and myrrh. Fossilized it is the source of amber.. What is this that also acts as a material in nail polish?

2) Scientists discover that this is the only known cancerless animal, and it has two-tier defense. Despite a 30-year lifespan that gives ample time for cancer cells to grow it has never been found with tumors of any kind. Its cells express a gene called p16 that causes cell proliferation to stop when too many of them crowd together, cutting off runaway growth before it can start. The animals are strange, ugly, nearly hairless mouse-like creatures that live in underground communities. Unlike any other mammal, these communities consist of queens and workers more reminiscent of bees than rodents. What animal might provide a breakthrough for cancer research?

3) A deep hole has been found in the Moon's surface; scientists believe it may be an opening into a vast underground tunnel. The moon seems to possess long, winding tunnels called lava tubes that are similar to structures seen on Earth. They are created when the top of a stream of molten rock solidifies and the lava inside drains away, leaving a hollow tube of rock. Their existence on the moon is hinted at based on observations of sinuous rilles – long, winding depressions carved into the lunar surface., The hole is thought to extend down at least 80 meters and possibly as wide as 370 meters across. Which space Agency just found them?

4)It is a new German newspaper - that's printed news, not online - that will print you a unique paper each morning according to your personal preferences. Philip K. Dick fans have their own name for a custom-printed newspaper; it's a homeopape: To create yours first choose from among a variety of print and Internet news partners, selecting the topics you are interested in and the sources you prefer. The resulting newspaper is printed out overnight and delivered to your mailbox first thing in the morning. The paper is being rolled out in the German capital on Nov. 16 The daily paper will cost under 2 euros.$. What is the first "customized" newspaper in Europe called?

5) Consider that 100,000 people around the world tomorrow will suffer epileptic seizures. That probably doesn't trouble you tremendously. Now imagine that one those 100,000 people will be you. In that case you probably would be troubled. We have a tendency to think that what we care about is important in and of itself.” A new book, "On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects," takes a distinctly different view on the fact that we care so much about ourselves, telling us something deep about the world: What is the word for the philosophical idea that one's own mind is all that exists?

6) Professor Kevin Warwick and his merry team at the department of Cybernetics, University of Reading have already created several versions of a rat brain-controlled robot. The rat brain-controlled robot has an actual, living brain consisting of rat neurons. The cells are removed from rat fetuses and then disentangled from each other with an enzyme bath. The next step in their research is to use cultures available on the open market, saying the ethical side of sourcing is done by the company from whom they are purchased. And they don’t need approval from the university or government - From what will the new neuron cell line come from, controlling the next gen of robots??

7) Crystals in gel are being touted for computer memory storage which could lead to densities one hundred times greater than today's technology. The development could allow users to store a terabyte of data in a space the size of a sugar cube within a decade. This would be enough to hold the equivalent of 250,000 photographs or a million books. Compared with the flat two-dimensional surface of a CD, three-dimensional units use many more layers, in which tiny crystals could act as storage points. Information would be recorded in a similar way as on CDs - by making marks in a pattern, which are read using light. At what university is this fantastic research being done?

8)Possibly Europa's ocean may have enough oxygen to support life: a frozen moon is believed by scientists to have a liquid water ocean several miles underneath its frozen surface; the water kept in a liquid state by heat generated from tidal forces. Science fiction fans observe this with delight, having seen this idea popularized a quarter-century ago by Arthur C. Clarke in 2010: Odyssey Two. Clarke himself credits the idea of life in Europan oceans to a 1980 Star and Sky article by this man titled The Europa Enigma. Whose idea was panned by most planetary scientists and NASA as well. Who was it that Clarke enthusiastically supported immediately.

9) It is a new device by electronics giant Philips and ABN Amro, a financial corporation, designed to warn online traders about exuberant or despondent emotions that could affect their decision-making abilities. As a wearer's emotions grow more intense, lights flicker faster on the bracelet and the colors change from a soft yellow to orange to a deep cautionary red. Philips Design has long been investigating possible uses for emotional sensors. Last year it teamed up with ABN Amro, which wanted to educate its clients about how to make better investment decisions. 'Driven by fear, traders may sell too hastily when share prices drop. Driven by greed, they may be overenthusiastic.' Although there are no immediate plans to release the device for sale to the general public, Philips does expect this technology to emerge in the next few years. What is this electronic device called?

10) 3D printing technology has arrived big time. This leverages 3D source data, which often takes the form of CAD models that have quickly become the standard for nearly all product development processes... In addition to mainstream applications in mechanical and architectural design, 3D printing has expanded into new markets including medical, molecular, and geospatial modeling. 3D printers use standard inkjet printing technology to create parts layer-by-layer by depositing a liquid binder onto thin layers of powder. It claims a vertical build rate of about 1-2 inches per hour. But at $26,000, it's an amazing technology. The company claims that it has the world's only full-color 3D printer doing rapid prototyping in color.What is it?

11)It will open on November 12 and if there was ever a place that cried out for a Second Life counterpart this is it. . This institution, with its own unique financial instruments, is the brainchild of a conceptual artist and backed by private Swiss funding. It intends to offset materialism with modern science, by exploiting the economic potential of antimatter, which is the physical opposite of anything made with atoms, from luxury condos to private jets." The bank will serve as a hub for antimatter transactions worldwide, The new currency will be issued in three convenient denominations, ranging from 10,000 positrons to 1,000,000 positrons. The anti-money will be backed by antimatter stored in the bank's own vaults.. Antimatter being a natural haven for wealth when everything becomes worthless. Where will the First Bank of Antimatter be located?

12) Fashioned from 36 brass fins arranged in the shape of a hand-held fan, each fin is approximately 20 centimeters long and three millimeters thick. Ultrasound and underwater sonar devices could "see" a big improvement thanks to development of this, the world's first. Created by researchers with the DOE, it provides an eightfold boost in the magnification power of sound-based imaging technologies. The key to this success is the capturing of information contained in evanescent waves, which carry far more details and higher resolution than propagating waves. What is this ground breaking piece of engineering called?

13) This is not one of those pokey amphibious cars from the 1960's. It can do 0-60 in 4.5 seconds on land, and up to 60 mph on the water. Total cost: about $220,000. Boat manufactures using lightweight high-performance automotive-type engines and Car manufacturers incorporating light-weight marine-type alloy bodies and chassis. Gave Dave March vision to see high-performance cars that were also high-performance boats, an automobile capable of getting to plane on top of the water and reaching freeway speeds! What is the name of this amphibious vehicle?

14) A portable microwave generator and hand-held antenna are used to seal wounds, binding the edges of the wound together using a biodegradable protein sealant or “solder”. This method could be used for repairing wounds in emergency settings, by restoring the wound surface to its original strength within minutes. To date, over 200 tests have been performed. Once sealed, the effectiveness of wound closure was measured using a tensile strength meter. Welds stronger than the uninjured (uncut) muscle have been consistently and precisely achieved. Although this technology would have many applications, it is being developed as life-support technique for who, what or where?

15) The enigmatic maple tree seeds (or samara fruit) - and the unique spiraling pattern with which they glide to the ground - have intrigued children and engineers for decades. Researchers first tried to create an unmanned aerial vehicle that could mimic a maple seed's spiraling fall in the 1950s. Now aerospace engineering graduate students have applied the seeds’ design to airborne devices and created what they believe to be the world's smallest controllable single-winged what?

16) “The great city bazaar crushed it country rivals with branch stores, and in the city itself absorbed its smaller rivals till the business of a whole quarter was concentrated under one roof, with a hundred former proprietors of shops serving as clerks “- From this famous 19th century utopian novel, aristocrat John West suffers from insomnia. He consults a hypnotist and sleeps until the year 2000. He finds many wonders there, among them a vast number of shops all under one roof. This is an amazing prediction of the rise of stores like Walmart. Published in 1888, it inspired utopian living experiments. Which book became so popular, in 1900 that it was only outsold by Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The 1st Question 70 - 20 Oct 09

This week's panel

Colossus Linden , Zinnia Zauber , Keystone Bouchard , Judi Newall


They that have lived a single day have lived an age.
Jean de la Bruyere

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
Oscar Wilde

Word-UP of the week - "Mumffuling" - wandering about aimlessly but happily, not doing much of anything.
Judi Newall

Audience Quote of the week – Best quote ever "Who the heck stuffs snow in to a chicken?!"
Zen Paine

What we do with the 90% of the brain we are allegedly not using -Mind is not limited to the brain - the remainder of the human electrical system interacts interdimensionally (the multidimensional human) We will learn to be more aware of this over time & generations.
Caprica McCallen


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

P:1) There is a new UK-based business website that provides you with four random camera feeds. Should you come to believe you are seeing a) shop lifting, b) burglary, c) vandalism or d) anti social behavior, you can press your alert button. Internet Eyes discourages the idea that their service "is creating a “snoopers paradise”, although users will be strictly anonymous and the person who catches the most miscreants will be awarded a 1,000 pound prize each month. Although there isn’t much in literature on citizens snooping on one another through camera feeds, a 1954 novel has a totalitarian, book-burning government looking for the novel's hero, who is on the run for reading books and directs its citizens saying – “The fugitive cannot escape if everyone in the next minute looks from his house. Ready!" set spy! – What very famous book is it?

X:2) He just makes his fellow billionaires look bad. His philosophy “I had one idea that never changed in my mind — that you should use your wealth to help people", led him to set up his charity. He also said “Money has some attraction for some people but you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time” – He transferred the bulk of his wealth to the foundation and gave it away. He made his billions in airport duty free shops. Up to 2005, his foundation had given away over are you sitting down? $3.5 billion- Who was the greatest donor of all time, an anonymous man?

3) In 1903, At 31 Horatio Nelson Jackson differed with the then-prevailing wisdom that the automobile was a passing fad, the plaything of rich men. While in San Francisco Nelson took a bet to prove that a car could be driven across the country. He accepted even though he did not own a car, had practically no experience driving, and had no maps to follow. The young mechanic he convinced to accompany suggested Jackson buy this car. So He did, a slightly used one, bade his wife goodbye, and left San Francisco. They arrived in New York City almost two months after they left. Their trip expended over 800 gallons of gasoline. There were only 150 miles of paved roads then in the nation total, no gas stations, road maps or mechanics. In what car did he drive?

4) This country’s car-makers push their plans to increase sales and give motorists more electric and hybrid-powered vehicle choices, and its Government has added its support by announcing intent to spend the equivalent of $2.2 billion on creating a battery-charging network for them across the country. The government says it will also make the installation of charging stations obligatory in new apartment blocks with parking lots. The money will come from a strategic investment fund. Which country is taking this great drive forward?

5) Nanobees are nanoparticles laden with this peptide, an ingredient in bee venom that is known to have therapeutic uses. Its use in medicine has been minimal due to the fact that it does damage to healthy cells as well. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis came up with the nanobee idea as a way to get it directly to tumor cells. This also exhibits potent anti-microbial activity on the bacteria that causes lyme disease and yeast infections. What do the nanobees deliver?

6) An organism in a cryptobiotic state can essentially live indefinitely until environmental conditions return to being hospitable. Tardigrades are known for their virtual indestructibility on Earth. Scientists have reported their existence in hot springs, on top of the Himalayas, under layers of solid ice and in ocean sediments. And can survive in a vacuum and a European Space Agency experiment has also shown them enduring ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays. They are the first animals known to be able to survive this and might be made to behave like quantum objects too soon What are these tiny but very mighty creatures also called?

7) Legend has it that the Irish warrior Finn McCool built then to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner. It is a remarkable geological configuration, of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and recently named as the fourth greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Managed by the National Trust, it is the most popular tourist attraction in Northern Ireland, what is it called?

8) He turned to medicine at 16, achieving full status as a qualified physician 2 years later. A polymath in Islams. Golden Age, he wrote the Canon of Medicine, a remarkable medical book known for its introduction of quarantine, experimental medicine, clinical trials, neuropsychiatry, risk factor analysis, diagnosis of contagious diseases & more . He viewed color to be of vital importance in diagnosis and treatment, and also developed a chart that related color to the temperature and physical condition of the body. The first color therapist, and a legendary doctor- who was he?

9) You couldn't ask for a more accurate description of a hologram than the one in this book “The telestereo, a glass disk, inserted in the room's floor, was initiated by a switch. Instantly there appears, the image of a man in the blue and white robe of the Supreme Council, a lifesize and moving and stereoscopically perfect image, flashing across the void of space by means of etheric vibrations. Through the medium of that projected image the man himself could see and hear as well as Jan Tor could see and hear him." From what 1928 novel does the telestereo derive?

10) Ever since the Rubik’s cube took the world by storm in the 80’s there has been a steady stream of puzzles looking to capture the public’s imagination. The latest brainteaser to take a stab at puzzling glory is this, a cylindrical device that has been individually milled from a solid block of metal, and that features an internal labyrinth which must be navigated to remove the metal core. You must solve a maze that you can’t see, relying on your memory of incorrect moves to get you through to the end. What is this fun for the whole family device called?

11) This country has the only fully rotating hotel building in the world - and the way they've done it is fascinating. Its smaller "revolving loft" is an engineering marvel and a pinnacle of luxury. Featuring only 24 rooms, this cylindrical tower cost $12 million to build & to accomplish this; the entire building is floated in a special pool system containing 470 tons of water. The lower three floors are submerged under the water, while the upper 3 floors are treated to a slowly rotating panoramic view of the area. In what country is this floating hotel?

12) The competition concluded this weekend, and its pretty big for user created content, NASA, offered the prize. Their motivation simple: being able to dig on the moon. Future lunarnauts will “live off the land” by excavating useful materials, such as oxygen and even recently discovered water. Home-built moonbots raked, scraped and dug their way across an artificial lunar landscape in California pursuing a half-million-dollar prize. Hobbyists from Los Angeles became the first ever to meet the minimum qualification & a group of students from Worcester tech took the prize the first since it was launched 3 years ago. What was the challenge?

13) In the mid-1800s neuroscientists discovered cells in the brain that are not like neurons (the presumed active players of the brain) and called them thus, the Greek word for “glue.” Even though the brain contains about 10 times as many as neurons—the assumption was that those cells were nothing more than a passive support system. They are really busy multitaskers, guiding the brain’s development and sustaining it throughout our lives. They also listen carefully to their neighbors, and speak in a chemical language of their own. . What does the brain contain a trillion of that have many different functions from immune system to scaffolding?

14) The magnetic equivalent of electricity, dubbed "magnetricity", has been demonstrated experimentally for the first time. Just as the flow of electrons produces electrical current, individual north and south magnetic poles have been observed to roam freely. Magnets normally have two poles, north and south, that are inseparable. That is true all the way down to its individual atoms, since each behaves as a tiny bar magnet with two poles. - Many of physic’s grandest theories require single, freely moving magnetic poles to exist and in this type of magnetic solid monopoles not bound in pairs move independently of one another, forming inside a crystalline material called what?

15) Before him, everyone assumed that cells got their energy using straightforward chemistry, generated from food by a series of standard reactions. This man thought otherwise. Life, he argued, is powered not by the kind of chemistry that goes on in a test tube but by a kind of electricity. He dubbed his theory chemiosmosis, and it is not surprising that biologists found it hard to accept. It might be counter-intuitive, but this has turned out to be ubiquitous in the living world. Living power drives not only cell respiration, but photosynthesis: energy from the sun is converted into a proton gradient in essentially the same way as the energy of food. A British biochemist, he was awarded the 1978 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Who was this genius?

16) These shipping container disaster relief houses are just too good to waste on terrible natural catastrophes. They are easy to deliver, easy to set up (just 90 minutes) and are even self-sustaining. The units come complete with a kitchenette, a fold-out bed, dried foods, and everything else needed for a family to be able to move right in that day. There is also a solar array that powers batteries for off-grid power. But a fully charged battery comes with the unit when it arrives so power is instantly available. What company has created this self sustaining home?

17) Science-fiction becomes science fact with the development of an exoskeleton suit inspired by the one Ripley wore in her climactic battle in Aliens. And, just like in the movie, the suit is designed to give its wearer superhuman strength for lifting of heavy objects. And has plans to release a version to the market by the 2015. What is this PowerLoader suit constructed from?
18) Making a living thing do two things at once is more than a physicist's tour de force, or Pooky’s dream of shopping and writing at the same time. It could answer fundamental questions about the nature of quantum theory. Both the Yaqi sorcerer Don Juan of Carlos Castenada's books and R Buckminster Fuller said this was entirely feasible. In quantum theory, a single object can be doing two different things at once. This is a delicate state, destroyed by any contact with the outside world and only molecules have done it so far. Now, lasers can alter the energy state of a virus by reflecting and transmitting it into both its ground state and next vibrational energy one. What kind of position is it that does two different things at once ?

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The 1st Question 69 - 13 Oct 09

This week's panel

Lorin Tone, Harper Beresford, Reslez Steeplechase, AgileBill Firehawk


Chance favors the prepared mind
Harlan Ellison

To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.
Bertrand Russell

Word-UP of the week – “Inventoil” – Sorting through one’s extensive inventory.
Harper Beresford

Audience Quote of the week – "Heroin was invented to keep soldier away from cocaine...and it succeeded"
Roger Amdahl


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) He is a theoretical physicist specializing in string field theory, and a futurist. He is a popularizer of science, host of two radio programs and a best-selling author. Presently, he is engaged in defining the "Theory of Everything", which seeks to unify the four fundamental forces of the universe. Which we have covered in the show. He has publicly stated his concerns over nuclear power, and the general misuse of science. His latest book, Physics of the Impossible, examines the technologies of invisibility, teleportation, precognition, star ships, antimatter engines, time travel and more - In this book, he ranks these subjects according to when, if ever, they might become reality. Who is this genius among us who has lectured at the City College of New York, for more than 30 years?

2) Devices will use special gel pads to "swipe" a person or crime scene to gather a sample which is then analyzed detecting the presence of chemicals within seconds, much quicker than current analysis methods. This will allow better, faster decisions to be made in response to terrorist threats. Raman spectroscopy involves shining a laser beam onto the suspected sample and measuring the energy of light that scatters to determine what chemical compound is present. What country is developing this technology they also hope will be employed for roadside breathalyzing?

3) It is a method of measuring a civilization's level of technological advancement. The scale is only theoretical and in terms of an actual civilization highly speculative; however, it puts energy consumption in a cosmic perspective. The three levels can be quantified in units of power (watts) and plotted on an increasing logarithmic scale. It has three measures -Type I — a civilization that is able to harness all of the power available on a single planet: Type II — one that is able to harness all of the power available from a single star: & Type III — a civilization that is able to harness all of the power available from a single galaxy. At present we are below Type 1 on what scale?

4) He wrote many philosophical papers on ethics and aesthetics. He synthesized the thoughts of Kant and was friends with Goethe. He developed the concept of the Schöne Seele (beautiful soul), a human being whose emotions have been educated by his reason, so that duty and inclination are no longer in conflict with one another; thus "beauty," has morals. He wrote The Robbers considered the first European melodrama and he was an important part of Weimar theatre. This play strongly criticizes the hypocrisies of class and religion and the economic inequities of German society; it also conducts a complicated inquiry into the nature of evil. Beethoven set his poems to music with Ode to Joy- who was he?

5) The experiment was conducted in 1971 as Twenty-four undergraduates were selected to play the roles of both guards and prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the university’s psychology building. Those selected were chosen for their lack of psychological issues, crime history, and medical disabilities. Roles were assigned based on a coin toss. Prisoners and guards all too rapidly adapted to their roles, stepping beyond the boundaries of what had been predicted and leading to dangerous and psychologically damaging situations so much so that the experiment was terminated after six days. The experiment's result has been argued to demonstrate the impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a legitimizing ideology and social and institutional support. What was this experiment in human behavior?

6) The Soviet Union launched the very first earth-orbiting satellite in 1957, and the world looked on in awe as Sputnik flashed through the sky. Fifty years later, you’d be lucky to see anything. The U.S. Space Surveillance Network says there are almost 20,000 man-made objects in orbit, ninety-four percent of which are non-functional debris. And that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of bits of junk too small to track. DARPA has put out a call for someone – anyone – to come up with a way to effectively remove orbital debris. There are about nine hundred operational satellites that are in constant danger of smashing into things. With the reality of space tourism drawing ever closer, the need to clean up around the earth has never been more pressing. There have been lots of ideas in the past but none, obviously, has struck DARPA as quite right.. In 2003, an inflatable set of “space tongs” that could grab and tow objects was proposed by which company? So, if you’ve got a concept for the removal of space debris, it might be worth submitting –But, hurry – you have to get your brilliant idea to them before the end of October.

7) What is it with scientists and robotic animals? Did they not have pets as children? This year alone, we’ve seen robot ferrets, penguins, dogs, locusts, moles and bats. And now, scientists at MIT have come up with a robotic what? A fish. Way back in 1994, MIT ocean engineers built “Robotuna”, a four-foot long monstrosity controlled by six motors. the new fish is less than a foot long, powered by a single motor. This new model has a flexible, single-piece polymer body that mimics biological locomotion through the use of controlled vibration. The latest model swims like a tuna. This allows a greater range of movement. Name one of the many reasons to create a robot fish, sushi for robots is not an option.

8) Curators of King Henry VIII's flagship, a Tudor time capsule likened to a British Pompeii, have just revealed thousands of artifacts never before seen by the public. In 1545 the vessel sank off England's southern coast during an engagement with the French fleet. The vessel was spectacularly raised from its watery grave in front of a global audience of some 60 million in 1982. -That must have been when people still watched TV. What remains of the hull has been on display behind glass ever since, but the thousands of personal items found in the wreckage have been hidden from public view due to lack of a suitable space to show them. The artifacts include, well preserved leather "manbag" complete with compact mirror and cut-throat razor -- the height of Tudor fashion, a giant 4 foot long wooden spoon used to stir the crew's porridge pot what every tudor manbag should have of course and 70 nit combs. What was the name of this fabled vessel?

9) RoboBee is the latest buzzword at these two universities which received a $10 million grant to create a swarm of entirely mechanical flying insects. The work will likely be based on the earlier research of the robotic fly micro air vehicle Bees and bee colonies have long been held up as models of efficiency. Using a host of different sensors, unique communication protocols, and a precise hierarchy of task delegation, thousands of bees can work independently on different tasks while all working toward a common goal--keeping their colony alive. So let’s create robotic bees that fly autonomously and coordinate activities amongst themselves and the hive, much like real bees. Furthermore, the RoboBees created will provide unique insights into how Mother Nature conjures such elegant solutions to solve complex problems. Name one of the 2 schools that got the grant to start the electronic hive?

10) A radioisotope battery the size and thickness of a dime can provide power density six orders of magnitude greater than that of ordinary chemical batteries. And a new form of internal structure could mean that these nuclear batteries could be as thin as a human hair. Nuclear power is already used in batteries in pacemakers and space satellites, so they can be safe. This recent innovation is not only in the battery’s size, but also in its semiconductor, this battery uses a liquid semiconductor rather than a solid one to help preserve itslef. Who was an early proponent of the idea that nuclear power could be provided in very small packages, as incredible as it might have seemed in 1952?

Saturday, 10 October 2009

The 1st Question 68 - 6 Oct 09

This week's panel

Elliot Eldrich, Schmilsson Nilsson, Dj2Deillos Supermarine and Crayden Lohner.


An idea is salvation by imagination.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.
Bertolt Brecht

Word-UP of the week – "IMstorm" - what happens when I log in and get hit with thirty Instant Message's at one time.
Elliot Eldrich

Audience Quote of the week –" has a certain j'ne sais quoi amongst the science set"
Shenlei Flasheart

For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

P:1) Meatricity has held its fascination for me for awhile, the ability to use the human body to generate power, okay like a hamster, but I like hamsters, makes me want to start off with this question- This inspired design is intended to travel in a 15-minute circuit around New York, it offers a range of exercise equipment capable of converting energy derived from human motion into usable electric energy stored in batteries. As well as the obvious benefits of exercise and eco-credentials, spectacular panoramic views offer unique variety for passengers that far surpass the bland tedium of a conventional gymnasium. What is it?

2) If there’s one thing there seems to be an endless supply of, it's garbage. The idea of turning landfill trash into fuel to combat the growing energy crisis and tackle carbon emissions isn’t new. But now scientists are saying that replacing gasoline with biofuel derived from processed waste biomass could cut global emissions by as much as 80%. Second-generation biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol derived from processed urban waste, (paper and cardboard) may do it. Name one of the 2 countries this new study on garbage for fuel is from (

3) A rebuilding exercise is underway but it’s not one that uses bricks it uses digital images – maybe even ones you provided unwittingly. A new computer algorithm uses hundreds of thousands of tourist photos to automatically reconstruct an entire city in about a day And could provide visitors with an on-line virtual-reality 3-D tour of them. This particular digital city was constructed in just 21 hours. Using this, a viewer can fly around and to it's great landmarks. Some of the earlier photo-stitching technology, known as Photo Tourism, was much slower. What city has been rebuilt digitally, better and faster?

4) Michael Bennett-Levy's extraordinary collection of early technologies went under the hammer at Bonhams in London- A huge success 748 lots selling for over a million dollars. It was the largest privately held collection of early televisions in the world. One rare 1958 one is a hallmark in style and also one of the earliest examples of high-definition TV - it sold for under $4,000 and features a 19-inch screen, a tapered-hood case in deep purple with a gold trim. The set is also "dual standard", with capability to show 441 lines (which became the standard from 1952) along with HD facility of 819 lines, meaning it is high-definition even by today's standards. It was designed by the same person who designed this remarkable car. Who was the designer or what was the car?

5) A wrist-bound sensor that gathers information about pollution as the wearer walks about town was a surprise hit with visitors at a conservation festival in Amsterdam last month. La Montre Verte (The Green Watch) follows the example of similar projects in London, New York and San Francisco and puts ozone and noise pollution detection in, or rather on, the hands of citizens... In terms of personal technology there is also The bikini that tells you when it’s time todo what?

6) This company managed to obtain data which contained most of the 34million-strong driver details held by Britain's Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. By identifying the make, year, engine size and model has enabling this company to specify the lubricant suitable for each car. Roadside cameras outside London recorded license plates right next to five giant digital billboards. The billboard then flashed the driver's registration number right on the ad next to the sales pitch: What company is selling motor oil to millions of motorists in a Minority Report-style ad campaign this week?

7) The American Heritage Dictionary describes it as: "A mechanical agent, such as a gripper arm, controlled by a human limb." Real-life ones were developed for the nuclear industry during WWII; named after the inventor of a scifi story by Heinlein. Its essence is the journey of a mechanical genius. The hero’s physical weakness channels his intellect, and his family's money, into the development of a device that is strong for him. This and other technologies he develops make him a rich man, rich enough to build a home in space. This technology is known today by the more generic term "telefactoring"; it is used in a variety of industries, what was the story & man called?

8) Taking a look at a leaked Microsoft Courier video offers a very intriguing look at how we might be using computers in the near future. Use a stylus to write in a search query to look through your tablet. Use a rolodex-style selector for your favorite websites Drag graphics straight from the web to your diary pages or presentations – and Instant sharing. The idea of a tablet of this sort was introduced In Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age, What is the code name for the Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, an educational computer?

P: 9) A giant cylinder will splash into the water off the coast of this country all in the hopes of harnessing the energy of waves and converting it to electricity. The sea snake, as it’s called, is being developed and represents a serious investment in marine power. The World Energy Council has estimated the market potential for wave energy at more than 2,000 terawatt hours a year—or about 10 percent of world electricity consumption—representing capital expenditure of $790 billion. The company, E. On is hoping the current project will fare better than their first, a commercial wave project in Portugal that flopped after one of the partners ran out of cash. What coast will see this project in the Spring?

10) He was a Norwegian-American sociologist and economist. He was an impassioned critic of the performance of the American economy and scorned what he termed “conspicuous consumption” and waste of the gilded age. His most important intellectual influences were Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer. In 1919, along with John Dewey and others, he helped found the New School for Social Research in NYC. He developed a 20th century evolutionary economics His best known work stated conflict resulted from those who enhanced their social status through predatory claims to goods and services. Who wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class and meant it?

P:11) This is a 1965 photographic book by Swedish photojournalist Lennart Nilsson. The book consists of photographs charting the development of the human embryo and foetus from conception to birth; it is reportedly the best-selling illustrated book ever published. Nilsson's photographs are accompanied by text, written by doctors. The images were among the first of their kind to reach a wide popular audience. Their reproduction in Life magazine sparked so much interest that the entire print run, of eight million copies, sold out within four days; they won Nilsson awards, and reached a sufficiently iconic status to be chosen for launch into space aboard the NASA probes Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. What is it called?

12) Most of today's telecommunication data is encoded at a speed of 10 Gbit/s, but we are constantly looking for new ways to push this speed limit. A group of researchers at this university have recently come up with the "time telescope," a sophisticated system that can speed up optical communication to an outstanding 270 Gbits/s by squeezing more information into a single flash of light. The device developed includes two silicon chips called "time lenses". Because of its small size, it could be used in optical chips inside a computer, as well as for speeding up Internet connections over long distances. What university is behind the “time telescope"?

13) The book, the movie and the Internet combines. CSI creator Anthony Zuiker has come up with, a crime novel that apparently tries to get readers to interact with movies on a website- "Just doing one thing great is not going to sustain business," he said. "The future of business in terms of entertainment will have to be the convergence of different mediums.” I have to say, as a proponent of Viewer log in entertainment, I approve. Zuiker goes on to say. "Just watching television for one specific hour a week ... that's not going to be a sustainable model going forward." What is the name of the digi-novel that converges three media into one experience?
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