Sunday, 30 May 2010

The First Question - 25 May 2010

This week's panel

Joey Aboma, SiteArm Madonna, Elf Ling, Meme Autopoesis


You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
-Albert Camus

Good players play to where the puck is, great players play to where the puck is going to be.
- Wayne Gretsky

Word-UP of the week –
Status Flux: The world as we know it.
-Meme Autopoiesis

Audience Quote of the week
Just don’t sleepwalk, and then dream of flying in SL
-Xanshin Paz


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) Sometimes a genius captures our notice, and not because he had a PhD: this man flunked everything except auto shop and art in High School and didn’t even go to college As a custom car builder, he was a key figure in the hot-rod movement of the 1960s & was the man who inspired the title story of Tom Wolfe’s first collection of essays, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. He broke new ground with fiberglass bodywork. And his works often whimsical were recreated in toy plastic models. He was also the first person to put a custom image on a T-Shirt. Got to love the man behind the Orbitron, the Beatnik Bandit and the iconic Rat Fink, who was he?

2) It nails it right about 77 percent of the time, which is remarkable for any automated system. While computers process verbal commands straightforwardly, humans tend to use more sophisticated speech, slang or symbols to convey an idea. So a research team from this nation developed a machine algorithm for sarcasm. SASI, a Semi-supervised Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification, can recognize sarcastic sentences in product reviews online. It could also benefit opinion-mining systems. From which country did this algorithm for sarcasm come from?

3) He popularized amateur "wireless." In 1908 his Modern Electrics, was the world's first magazine about electronics. Five years later he invented “science fiction”. His contributions as a publisher were so significant that he is called "The Father of Science Fiction Magazines"; and it is in his honor, the annual Science Fiction awards are named. "Amazing Stories", was his publication which played a key role in starting a community because he published the addresses of people who wrote letters to his magazines. The fan community became organized. One of the first inductees into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, was who?

4) Over the weekend this countries Prime Minister officially launched his country's new virtual world program to attract skilled immigrants, called MyWorkLife. The program was developed and uses Second Life to try and show skilled workers why they should consider immigrating to his country. Users can upload their resumes, enter here, and interact with avatar representatives of government-linked companies. Employees may be more willing to locate to a foreign country if it's easier to learn about the area before making the move. What country is using this space to highlight job opportunities?

5) This made its debut in one of my all-time favorite Science Fiction movies – THX 1138. The movie depicts a dystopian future in which a high level of control is exerted upon the populace and it featured these - a booth with a huge mid 15th century picture of Jesus intoning "Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy more and be happy" & "Work hard; increase production, prevent accidents, and be happy." What is the booth called where the people of this future world commune with OMM in a robotic confessional?

6) One man made a difference – In the Himalayas’ which receives as little precipitation as the Sahara, farming is possible only in valleys fed by glacial runoff. Three glaciers surrounded Stakmo a village, 30 years ago, but have vanished, leaving nothing but bare rock. Without water, crops have failed. A retired local engineer has been working on a method to create artificial glaciers storing water that would otherwise have flowed away. During the crucial sowing season, the artificial glacier began melting and previously barren fields were turned green. Harvests increased threefold. Who is this man who is continually improving his design, adding more glaciers higher up and near different villages?

7) QA, Dexter & Monty are considered his children – he also is busy with his new young ‘un – QB. He has been designing telepresence robots for quite a while. He also is the inventor of the Eunicycle, a one wheeled Segway. His startup funding firm is called Y Combinator but he is most known for the amazing telepresence humanoid robots he is creating with a 5 megapixel camera, forward-mounted display, WiFi and 3G connectivity, and a laser pointer. His company is called Anybots, and he lives in Silicon Valley, who is he?

8) He is one of the first to sequence the human genome, and it led undoubtedly to his latest venture – breakthrough miracle or breakthrough to the new world order? Possible a topic for debate but The Artificial Cell invented by this man is not going to take it lying down. This billionaire scientist has made a synthetic cell from scratch & stated, “It is pretty stunning when you just replace the DNA software in a cell and the cell instantly starts reading that new software and starts making a whole new set of proteins, and within a short while all the characteristics of the first species disappear and a new species emerges..” Now we have Mycoplasma Mycoides a synthetic cell proving genomes can be designed in the computer, chemically made in the laboratory and transplanted into a recipient cell to produce a new self-replicating cell controlled only by the synthetic genome. Who is behind it?

9) And our machines are mutating - The life expectancy of a popular type of ion engine has been almost doubled using software that mimics natural selection. Electrostatic ion engines are becoming popular in space missions. Instead of relying on burning large amounts of heavy liquid propellant for thrust, they use solar power to ionise a small supply of xenon gas. Using evolution-mimicking software, it randomly generate values thought of as analogous to genes. After 100 generations, it spawned a design that almost doubled the engines lifetime. What kind of algorithm is it called?

10) You want to compete in a toy design challenge but you need inspiration –so you meet a focus group of 3rd graders, and ask them what sort of toy they’d like. Then you invent this - A prototype electronic doodle pad that animates your drawings. Once you’ve drawn and saved your first image, the lines of that image change from black to grey. You can then draw your second image over the top of the first one, etcetera. Once you’ve drawn your whole sequence, the pad quickly plays them back creating the illusion of movement. And you can edit your work if you latest cartoon becomes a plagiarism of Captain Underpants – what is it called?

11) Diamonds are beautiful and of course forever, so is plastic but I’d rather have a diamond ring than a Ken Doll to be honest. This is a new material using Diamonds and Ceramics to create a composite material that combines the best of both. It offers maximum wear-resistance and with low values of friction, making it ideal for tools that are subjected to heavy strain. Created by scientists from four Fraunhofer institutes, the diamond coating extends the durability for each application by a factor of 4 to 1,000. What just won the Stifterverband Award for Science?

12) Making things smaller is a process known as miniaturization, this isn’t quite on nanozation scale but it smaller than a bread box. It’s a mini PC with ultra-low-voltage processor options from Intel. This model uses up to 90 percent less plastic and consumes up to 90 percent less energy than traditional tower PCs." And it is small, teeny at 1.5 x 5.1 x 4.5 inches with 2GB of memory in different processor options. What is it called?

13) General Motor's Joint-Venture partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation rolled out a concept at Expo 2010 which is revolutionary. The idea behind the car, the car mind you - is that it will photosynthesize, absorbing carbon dioxide from surrounding air and emitting oxygen back into the atmosphere. It has a roof made of solar panels and wheels of small wind turbines that harvest energy. GM first participated in a world Expo in 1931 and its futuristic visions are this time set in the year 2030. I’m learning how to drive just in time for its 2030 release- What is this concept car whose name means “leaf” in Chinese?

14) MySpace might be back in the game – well literally and figuratively as late last week it launched a pilot program to bring third-party developers to create games – yes MySpace wants its own Farmville which isn’t available yet there. MySpace worked with Google to develop its implementation of this interface. Social gaming was part of MySpace's development roadmap as early as July 2009, when more game-friendly Facebook began decisively overtaking it in terms of traffic and stickiness. What is the new feature called to bring in the social game developers?

The First Question - 18 May 2010

This week's panel

JoRoan Linden, Pebbles Hannya, Matthew Anthony, Zee Pixel


Man becomes man only by his intelligence, but he is man only by his heart.
-Henri Frederic Amiel

Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.
-Salvador Dali

Word-UP of the week –
“Passmode” -- the state we put ourselves in when we arrive at an airport. In passmode normal expectations about customer service, personal space, and privacy are disabled, but sufficient functionality remains for us to pass through security, navigate to the gate, find our seats, and stow our luggage.
-Pebbles Hannya

Audience Quote of the week
“et tu brute'? naw I aint et nuthin”
-Diff Redenblack


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) It is a new Japanese weather probe and daring solar sail concept to study one of the planets close to us. Its name means "Dawn" and it has a solar sail named Ikaros. The solar sail's design should provide the first test ever of solar sail propulsion based on harnessing the pressure of sunlight during an ambitious three-year journey to the far side of the sun What is this named?

2) In this corner – a Huge company & in this corner a worker who designed a product to make his employed life better. Seems like a good match yes? Unless the huge company steals the little guys idea. Which Home Depot had done with Michael Powell who crafted an simple, yet ingenious, way to keep Home Depot employees from slicing off their fingers while cutting wood for customers. A federal judge calling the company “callous and arrogant,” ordered them to pay the former Boca Raton man approx. $25 million in judgments. What is the name of the gadget that is now affixed to radial saws at nearly 2,000 Home Depots nationwide?

3) students from NYU’s Courant Institute are looking to take on Facebook . They aim to address privacy concerns by giving users complete control of their details and content. To cut out the middleman, it will be a distributed network where separate computers connect to each other directly, instead of relying on a central hub plus it will aggregate content to the regular channels. They raised their 10K capital from Kickstarter in 12 days and plan to make the service available soon. What is it called?

4) You may recall a Nokia cameraphone application called Shoot to Translate from 2008, which worked only from Chinese to English- Today there is more & it’s from Google. Traveling in a foreign country means you carry your translator with you – but what if you want to know what a foreign language text like that huge sign over the bathroom door means? “Beware of Alligators in the toilet? “ “Do not use?” “Right this way for a massage?” You need to know! Google has a new feature that will help you with this - Point your phone at a word or phrase. Use the region of interest button -Press & If it recognizes the text, it will give you the option to translate in most western languages & soon Chinese, Hindi and Arabic – what is it called?

5) LED lights have not been able to achieve this color and it has proven a challenge. The U.S. Department of Energy predict that tungsten and fluorescent light will be phased out in four and ten years respectively, saving the U.S. as much as $120 billion over the next 20 years, leaving LEDs virtually the only player in the market. They need this color to create a white LED. When scientists applied their expertise in solar cell technology they solved this long-standing technological problem. What color LED has been recently accomplished?

6) This is an atmospheric electrical phenomenon, the existence of which is disputed. The term refers to reports of luminous, usually spherical objects which vary in size. It is usually associated with thunderstorms, but lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a bolt. Many of the early reports say it explodes, sometimes with fatal consequences, leaving behind the odor of sulfur. Is it real – a hoax or a hallucination brought about by the fluctuating magnetic fields which can make neurons fire in the visual cortex. Serious burns and deaths attributed to it need a material explanation. What is it?

7)Invisibility cloaks have been around longer than Harry Potter --Ray Cummings had one in his 1931 story Brigands of the Moon. An invisible dress has been created by University students in Taiwan. It is a textile-based display with an integrated camera in the back- When activated; the camera records the scene behind the wearer of the dress and then displays it on the textile display on the front. This design won what award at the first AiQ Smart Clothing Design Contest?

8) Working on an assembly line seems so 20th century but an alternative approach uses information-containing molecules . The "nanobots" are molecular machines made to "carry" different sizes of gold particles to create up to eight different products. And they don’t waste time talking on the assembly line about unnecessary things – like last night’s episode of LOST. These molecular machine nanobots are made out of programmable, what?

9) Lego has made its mark on us, and now we are internalizing Lego principles with some research MIT has done with artificial organs. Tissue engineering that encapsulates living cells in polymer cubes and assembles them like Lego blocks is taking place and the process solves one of the biggest problems facing tissue engineers: Getting cells grown in a lab to assemble into three-dimensional shapes. The new technique, involves tiny blobs of a gel-like material which stick together in a desired structure. What is it called?

10) It ordinarily guides visitors in museums and exhibitions, but has been upgraded to be a robot minister. Pronouncing man and wife last week. The groom remarked, “robots are what caused us to first begin going out, and as suggested by my wife, we decided that we wanted to try this sort of wedding," the bride said she wanted to use her wedding to show people that robots can easily fit into their daily lives. "I think having a robot minister is a great idea," said Bill Ingraham, pastor at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Ann Arbor, MI. "In some cases, it might be an improvement. What robot just performed a wedding in Japan?

11) It can tell you where you are, now the Department of Homeland Security is examining whether mobile phones can be adapted to do this. San Diego is working overtime and has successfully finished the first phase and It works a little like our nose, "We have a set of sensory cells that detect specific chemical properties. What will the smartphone be able to do next if the Dept of Homeland security has its way?

12) By creating specific kinds of tiny structures on a material’s surface, researchers can make a liquid spread only in a single direction. This has potential HUGE implications and this new system developed by a team at this University say that in principle such systems could provide new ways to manipulate biological molecules. As the components on a chip continue to get smaller and thermal management becomes ever more critical. Which school is behind this liquid management system? (MIT)

13) German researcher, Sami Haddadin, is concerned with robot & human behavior. He was actually behind a study to find out what happens when a robot punches a human in the face. He now is conducting a study to see what would happen if robots suddenly started slashing, poking, stabbing, puncturing and cutting people. The intent of this study is to understand what happens when you give robots sharp objects when in the vicinity of human beings. Where do robots currently carry knives in the line of duty?

14) Researchers have succeeded in building a molecular computer that, more than any previous project of its kind, can replicate the inner mechanisms of the human brain, repairing itself and mimicking how our brains process information like no silicon-based computer can. . A computer is made of organic molecules instead of silicon. Chips built this way are not only potentially much smaller but also, because of the way they can be networked, able to do things that no other traditional computer, regardless of its speed, can do. What is this new kind of electronics called?

15)This is the first experiment to show that a sense of body ownership can be transferred to an entirely virtual one. Over 10 years ago, body-transfer illusions were first demonstrated using a false hand. In the so-called rubber hand illusion , researchers found that if they put a rubber hand on a table in front of a person, and then stroked the rubber hand and the person's own hand at the same time and in the same way, they could convince the volunteer that the rubber hand was their own. More recently, the illusion was replicated using full-body manikins and it works! Volunteers' skin conducted more electricity when their manikin double was attacked with a knife, indicating fear. The experiment which also included stroking of the arm, demonstrated the strong connection the volunteers felt to their new, virtual bodies. At what university was this just carried out?

16) Dog and cats eliminate and how to turn that into a harvestable product isn’t easy. UNTIL NOW! This allows you to pickle your pet’s poop, turning it into a harmless plant fertilizer –it consists of two airtight containers, a liquid fermentative accelerant, and a dry culture mix made from wheat bran, molasses and microorganisms. Once full, you allow the container to sit for a few weeks Et voila What you should end up with is innocuous, nutrient rich soil. What is this?

17) Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is not good-- it’s in plastic and causes health problems. A new study, however, indicates that fungus could be used to eat it. Researchers discovered that white rot fungi could absorb BPA as a source of energy instead of being released into the environment. If the fungus decides to grow, get spray on skin, plastic muscles and a rat neuron controlled brain we might be in trouble but so far we are just looking at less BPA from Scientists Trishul Artham and Mukesh Doble, of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, which conducted the research. And they just published in the journal Biomacromolecules. Who publishes this journal?

18) Robots and people - the love that dares not speak its name okay, I exaggerate- but robots do need to learn manners. Beeping & insistent ringing isn’t going to get you on the Robot welcome wagon. Behavior modification might be in order - Where a human trying to deliver a message to a colleague might pause if the other is on the phone, for instance, robots do not, and robots don’t even say “I’m sorry,” when they push you out the way. Can you drop a robot untrained into the real world but equip it with the smarts to study and mimic the behavior of those around them? Possibly Peter Henry and Christian Vollmer’s team at what school will try to do this?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The First Question - 4 May 2010

This week's panel

Andrew Hughes, August Lusch, Jay Ackroyd, Paley Westinghouse


Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.
-Georg C. Lichtenberg

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.

Word-UP of the week -
Scrutz - the dirt and worse that accumulates on a computer screen
- Jay Ackroyd -
Telequila - The shot you should take when your client crashes mid teleport. The Telequila game can be deadly on Sundays.
- August Lusch -


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) He is known for bringing a historical approach to the philosophy of science. He defended realism about science, on pragmatic grounds: the electron is real because human beings use it to make things happen. From 1990, his focus shifted to psychology, aware of the modern schism that affects probability with personality which is of course subjective. He penned Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Sciences of Memory, Who is this Canadian?

2) They are among the best-understood prehistoric vertebrates known to science in terms of anatomy, one has the feeling they would be welcome in any zoo. They had lots of hair which helped them in the freezing temperatures they favored – & something else. - A form of "anti-freeze" blood to keep their bodies supplied with oxygen. Nature Genetics reports that scientists "resurrected" their blood protein to come to this finding and found special kind of hemoglobin their modern ancestors don’t have. What animals was it?”

3) He started off “working on the problem of making boats go faster”. It is not only the anniversary of the post it note but of the Hovercraft- which was invented by this man whilst he owned and worked at Ripplecraft. He was attempting to make boat propulsion more energy efficient and one of his experiments was to inject air under the hull of his launch. He got it in front of Lord Mountbatten and the National R & D backed the project, Sir Christopher Cockerell the inventor saw it cross the English Channel in what year to widespread acclaim?

4) In 1973, the first phone call from a handheld cellular phone was made in New York City. The call connected with a base station that in turn connected to the land-line telephone system. The man who invented it stated that he was personally inspired by watching Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise use communicators on Star Trek in the late 1960's. Although Robert Heinlein wrote about a pocket-sized portable telephone 1948 ‘s Space Cadet. The inventor of the Dyna-Tac made a new prediction and I don’t think he saw this on Battlestar Gallactica - Who just said this-"The cellphone in the long range is going to be embedded under your skin behind your ear along with a very powerful computer who is in effect your slave."

5) This new garment by Vanessa Sorenson. is a wearable that visually displays the moods of your twitter stream If you've been sending out angry tweets, the LEDs on your sleeve will radiate red. If your spirits suddenly brighten, the colors will shift to a "happy" green. The project was intended as an exploration on "how social networking, more specifically Twitter, can demonstrate personalities in the real world via the virtual world." What is the name of this garment that broadcasts your mood?

6) Last week we mentioned Stephen Hawkins suggesting we not put out the cosmic welcome mat for ET & his Teeny weeny band. Now this former Defense minister fired back at Hawkins. In what could evolve into nasty twitter war this man basically said that it was too late. They are among us and that aliens probably brought humans technology such as LCDs and fiber-optics. That wasn’t enough, he went in for the smack – down with this comment "Hawking is indulging in some pretty scary talk there that I would have hoped would not come from someone with such an established stature'' Who believes that alien craft leftovers have seemingly triggered the IT and microchip revolution of today?

7) You think you are being watched, don’t we all? So, you look up and you don’t see anything but a flock of small, UAV’s have flown quietly into your city, maneuvering among the buildings. They communicate as they search for places to land, not on streets or flat rooftops but on the sides of buildings and under the eaves, where they can cling, bat or insect-like, in safety and obscurity , creeping along to get a better view. When finished, they launch themselves with a jump and become airborne again, ready for their next mission. What project from Stanford do you hope doesn’t have a drone with your name on it?

8) A new table-top card battle game designed by two physicians’ combines’ sorcery and creatures with a real-world knowledge of infectious diseases and therapeutics. As you and your opponent seek domination through conquest, you must vie not only with brute force, but astute understanding of microbiology and medical therapeutics. This card game – think Pokemon, let’s you Summon living manifestations of diseases, or counter-attack with antibiotics in the form of powerful warriors. Two doctors invented it struck by the complex nature of gaming and decisions to proscribe certain anti-biotics. What is this new card game for aspiring doctors called?

9) I know you don’t want to hear this but we just might have to clean up our atmosphere of debris so visiting aliens don’t think we are complete slobs. A space-flight engineer from Japan has a suggestion- how about A laser thruster firing pulses into a mass of solid propellant attached to space junk. The resulting force could push the object, altering its orbit and plunging it into the Earth's atmosphere, burning it up. This is reminiscent of the 1977 TV series describing the activities of the United Galaxies Sanitation Patrol Cruiser. Richard Benjamin and the Doublemint Twins starred in this series called what?

10) Traffic tickets issued, not in outer space, well not yet anyway, are a way to deter reckless driving. Car confiscation laws are now in place in many countries raising the price of a speeding ticket. From a $200,000 Lamborghini in Australia to a Bugatti Veyron worth 1.8 million euros that a 20-year old borrowed from his dad. The previously most expensive speeding ticket on record was handed out earlier this year in this country and cost $290,000. In what country was this ticket given where speeding fines are calculated on your net worth?

11) I love magnets, I think that the use of magnets in new ways will be a hallmark for the future. So did this man, but he died in the year 2000. He was a French physicist and co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1970 for his pioneering studies of the magnetic properties of solids. His contributions to solid state physics have found numerous useful applications, particularly in the development of improved computer memory. About 1930 he suggested that a new form of magnetic behavior might exist above a certain temperature (named after him) He also made possible the study of the history of Earth's magnetic field. Who was he?

12) You want to talk to someone who speaks a foreign language but you aren’t in Second Life and you don’t have your translator on. What can help you outworld in a situation like this? This is the name of a new app that will soon become available which is claimed to turn your iPhone into a double ended language translator. It's one of the most innovative uses of the iPhone's form factor, with both people able to type on a keyboard in their own language at the same time and have the words translated and displayed for the other to see.. With 51 different languages and keyboards what is this called which will indeed make the world easier to understand?

13) A team at this school has developed a new thin film technology that can convert infrared light into visible light. Current night vision devices use huge amounts of electricity and heavy glass lenses. Adapted from flat screen television technology, the new film uses energy-efficient, organic LEDs. This keeps weight down, with a full scale device potentially weighing as little as 10 grams it may revolutionize night vision goggles and other military applications, not to mention eye-glasses and cars, think windshields . What school is behind this ground breaking tech which could even be adapted to measure heat?

14) The Marshmallow Challenge is a remarkably fun and instructive design exercise that encourages teams to experience simple but profound lessons . The task is simple: in eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top. The man who invented it is passionate about fostering design thinking, visual collaboration and team creativity. Who is he?

15) It costs 30$ a month and has of course, others doing things for you – You send an email of what you need done and an algorithm will assign your task to the best team member carrying out 15 personal administration tasks for you with efficiency and discretion. Started by a man in the R & D dept. of the New York Times, this is his side project. He has about 100 retired lawyers, between-job actors and others. They won’t pick up or even do your laundry but they can help with writing tasks and content creation. If you have to think about it twice, as the founder, Ted Roden says – just put it here? Into what?

16) You need to get into town, but the traffic is so bad, that last few miles, will take you an hour. Yes traveling at the speed of snail is not a future kind of thing. So the concept of “last few mile mobility” is one which we will all see grow. In the last year alone we've seen Toyota's Winglet, Honda's U3-X, Nissan's electric skis, and now Volkswagen has shown a micro mobility concept an electric bike with one of the most ingenious folding mechanisms ever – It has a range of 12 and half miles, can charge from the car its driving in on – & a top speed of 20 kmh because this means it can be ridden in Germany without a helmet- What will the new vehicle within from Volkswagen be called?

17) Nature has developed extremely efficient water-splitting enzymes – called hydrogenases – for use by plants during photosynthesis; however, these enzymes are for plants not humans. Our activities demand a stable metal catalyst that can operate under non-biological settings. Researchers have discovered an inexpensive new one- seventy times cheaper than the platinum commonly used at $2,000 an ounce.. This can significantly reduce the costs of producing hydrogen using electrolysis to split water. Metal catalysts are commercially available, but their high costs make widespread use prohibitive. In what state did this research occur?

18:) Nanopatches are fingernail-sized dermal patches that use microscopic projections to cells just below the surface of the skin. The influenza vaccine was dry coated onto some of these and applied to the skin of mice for two minutes. Transdermal drug patches were not commercially available until 1979. When compared to a needle and syringe a nanopatch is cheap to produce and it is easy to imagine a situation in which a government might provide vaccinations for a pandemic such as swine flu to be collected from a chemist or sent in the mail. In what country has the naonopatch been developing? (Australia) Not to be confused with the cabbage patch.

P:19) Swiss researchers have reported laser-powered cloud seeding success, both inside and outside the laboratory. Inside the lab, the powerful infrared laser caused visible clouds of vapor to follow in its wake when fired into a water-saturated chamber and sensitive weather apparatus recorded spikes in water droplet density when it was fired into the skies of Berlin. The pulses stripped electrons from atoms in the air, encouraging the formation of water droplets. It might not mean rain on demand, at least not yet but this actor was arrested in a 1985 video in the Kate Bush video for 1985's Cloudbusting. Who was he?

20) Detecting rust before it’s too late has been an ongoing challenge for engineers and scientists. Experts at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed an early-warning system for rust. By installing this in the concrete to measure the extent of corrosion, a magnetic field is used. This means it does not need to be replaced and can remain within the concrete structure permanently,” It may seem a little primitive, but until now the most effective tests to determine how deep the ions have penetrated the concrete and what damage they have caused is conducted by construction workers hammering on the reinforced concrete in search of cavities, which are conclusive signs of corrosion damage. What is being tested to see if it can really wirelessly transmit data on the condition of the bridges internal structure?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

The First Question - 27 April 2010

This week's panel

JB Hancroft, PB Recreant, QTPieMixemup, Q Linden


"I believe that man will not merely endure. He will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance."
William Faulkner

"Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you'll see the way to fly."
Richard Bach

"A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders."
Lord Dunsany

Word-UP of the week -
“Primify” - To reduce any complex design to a set of simple shapes - in plywood, of course.
-JB Hancroft
“Rezbian:” - One who has a complete collection of anatomically correct Second Life body parts.
-Q Linden

Audience Quote of the week
"I miss grandma already......hey ! What's in this soup?"
-Xanshin Paz


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) There are people who are ahead of their time and then there are those who right on time. At 16, he had an idea that took him to his parents’ garage, strapping together a rectangular steel frame and a canvas sheet. He called what he made, a bouncing rig. That was in 1930. In 2000 the inaugural gold medal in trampolining was awarded. he once rented a kangaroo to bounce with him in Central Park. During the Second World War it was used to train pilots. The trampolines inventor died this month at the age of 96?

2) Mix Kraft Foods' contributions to a WWF-managed tiger conservation program, Animal Crackers and Barnum’ circus. Add 2010, the Chinese "Year of the Tiger" and you get -1 million special boxes to save endangered Asian tigers. Who designed this box giving it a "fresher, fashionable" look and an updated, environmentally conscious image with existing brand fans, as well building awareness among prospective buyers?

3) As a fan of meatricity, I report on this with great pleasure - It's estimated that one hour of pedaling at about 18 miles per hour will produce about 100 watt hours of electricity so. This hotel has installed two electricity-producing bicycles which are connected to the hotel's main supply. Guests who pedal hard enough score a complimentary meal once you reach the goal of 10 watt hours to earn your free meal. At what hotel in the UK can you pedal your way to the buffet?

4) Printing 3D objects is also something we are fans of here. And This can generate a building four times as fast at only half the cost . 3D printing of a building was something I thought only existed from the roadrunner cartoon & only available from ACME- nope!- this machines next challenge might be building moon bases. Its inventor is currently in talks with the European Space Agency about creating a version of the device that could use lunar dust to build structures on the surface of the Moon. The layers of sand are held by a binding agent said to be a magnesium-based solution. What tis the name of the machine or building process that is behind this?

5) Who ever invented twitter I’m sure didn’t think that thousands of tweets about what you ate for breakfast would be a bulwark of social media broadcasting, but it is. Even though legislation is pending to make those “I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch,” tweets illegal in some states. (I joke, I had a fajita for lunch) This new site is very investigative to say the least. –This is- the social network that instantly updates all your friends on what you're buying on your credit card -- updates include the location and the amount of each credit card purchase, and members can add extra information including photos of venues and comments on their purchases. Why anyone would want to do this well, I am frankly at a loss. What is the name of it?

6) Sometimes just wearing underwear isn’t enough, you want it to record important information for you & no I am definitely NOT talking about any new social network in my pants. But As the focus on healthcare shifts from centralized hospital-based treatment to home-based management, there are growing needs for developing reliable, wearable healthcare monitoring systems. Such on-body monitoring devices are also of interest for defense or sport applications. Direct screen-printing and Mechanical stress studies have indicated that textile-based printed sensors survive. What is the name of the brief that is part of this trend of documented evidence from our clothing?

7) There is a new multimedia search engine in the house, and they need room. Text-based searches might be great for hunting down relevant chunks of text, but searches for multimedia content can be tougher. It was the brainchild of an EU-wide joint project developed by researchers at the FranhoferInstitute, it can be used to detect similarities between different video or audio contents as well as genre. And it’s suitable not only for searches on the Internet and in archives, but also for TV programs, to check whether a contractually agreed advertisement has been broadcast. What works its magic by examining the digital fingerprints of multimedia files?

8) Its full-size USB keyboard broken into four connected quarter segments, allowing it to be folded over into a pocket-size rectangular shape. With the growing popularity of portable notebooks and tablets with smaller, cramped keyboards, having a full-size keyboard like this to tote around in your pocket might be a nice complement. It's fairly lightweight as well, weighing in at just over 8 ounces. The keyboard works with standard Windows and Mac operating systems. What is the name of the Japanese gadget giant that brought this to market?

9) The as yet unnamed PC was announced at a demonstration in Japan where a prototype was on show. It was revealed the 3D PC would feature a Blu-ray player and an LCD display that would display 3D content using polarized glasses - which are less expensive than the active shutter glasses. The computer reportedly uses software to convert 2D photographs or movies into 3D and includes a media player for 3D visual software. Which company will release before years end the 3D all-in-one desktop PC? (NEC) And 1000 Lindens for the first person on the web right now in treet talk -who can tell me how many times I said 3D in that last question?

10) It isn’t the most legal way to dispose of a body yet, but with ashes leaving a big carbon footprint and land becoming scare in places for burials – this just might be the coming thing. Its inventor, Sandy Sullivan, turns the human body into dust – which can be kept by grieving families – and a coffee-coloured liquid which is flushed down the drain. Glasgow-based Sandy has sold machines to Canada and the US, where five states allow the process, which is seen as being environmentallyfriendly. He said: “I am getting a lot of requests from families and we hope it will become legal in Scotland within the year. What is the name of this new way to deal with the Body after the soul has departed?

11) One of Britain’s best known and most controversial scientists, widely recognized as the "Sage” He pioneered X-ray crystallography and determined the structure of graphite. He is also famous for having firstly proposed a type of space habitat intended as a long-term home for permanent residents. After an influential Marxist account of the work of Isaac Newton changed his world-view he published The Social Function of Science, probably the earliest text on the sociology of science. From 1959-1965 he was chairman of the World Peace Council

12) His father operated a hand laundry while encouraging his son to get his education. It worked. Attracted to physics because of the clarity of its logic, he got his PhD at Columbia. Among his achievements are the discovery of the muon neutrino in 1962 and the bottom quark in 1977. He wrote a book with a great title, “The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?,” and described The history of atomism as one of reductionism - the effort to reduce all the operations of nature to a small number of laws governing a small number of primordial objects." Who was the man that undertook this quest?

13) The composition of algae is changing, as a result of which its nutritional value for other aquatic life is decreasing. As they are the first link in the underwater food chain, the algae ultimately influence the entire ecosystem, climate change is exerting an effect on underwater life. Experiments were performed with micro-algae in a higher concentration of this . Their faster growth was associated with a change in its composition - it had less nutritional phosphorous.. What did the micro algae grow faster but not better with?

14)A talking and singing robot which adaptively learns vocalization skill by means of an auditory feedback is being developed. It mainly consists of an air pump, artificial vocal cords, a resonance tube, a nasal cavity, and a microphone connected to a sound analyzer, which, respectively, correspond to a lung, and Vocal cord. Add a vocal tract, a nasal cavity, and an audition of Lady gaga singing and where can you find this being built?

15) You want to rough it but not really really rough it. You want to go to a remote undisclosed location but you don’t want to sleep in a tent and aren’t Dick Cheney with an underground hideaway at your beck and call. What to do? This 50 year old German company operates a hotel on wheels service. By day passengers sit in the front of the coach and take in all the sights, and by night they adjourn to the rear of the vehicle to enjoy their semi-private sleeping quarters. What is it called?

16) It has been estimated that 1.5 million barrels of oil are used annually for the production of one-use water bottles. About 38 million of those get tossed out each year. Then of course, there’s also the whole matter of wondering if you’re a sucker for paying to drink what is likely just filtered tap water. That’s where this contraption comes in handy.You just fill it from the faucet, and it filters the water as you drink. The filter is good for at least 300 bottlefuls, which should work out to about two months. What Is the name of this?

17) Students from Malardalens University in Sweden hope to send a robot tothe moon to deploy a tiny white house. The students are collaborating with artist Mikael Genberg, who is known for alternative living environments. The main idea of the project is for the robot to drop a small barn red house with white trim on the moon by 2012. The robot named Roony is being designed to deploy a tiny house on the moon. What is the robot called?

18) What timepiece would let you show off how green you are? It would have to be something that incorporates low-impact, sustainable and biodegradable materials, that doesn’t contain hazardous substances, and that supports recycling. These watches claim to be 80-86% eco-friendly by weight, depending on their size. Some of the features that make them eco-friendly include: Biodegradable corn resin bodies and buckles, Organic cotton bands and Mercury-free batteries. What is it called?

19) Scientists at this Institute for Production Technology have devised a carbon fiber fabrication process that they say is considerably quicker and easier than conventional ones. Traditionally, carbon fiber products are made through several tedious and time consuming steps. This doesn’t do that. This process utilizes carbon fibers that are integrated into kilometer-long strips of meltable resin tape. The tape strips are laid down over the form, side-by-side and on top of one another. Once in place, they’re compressed, and joined together by the heat of a laser melting the resin. It’s fast and precise. What country is prototyping this remarkable carbon fiber assembly?
#navbar { display: none; }