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?

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