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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