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?

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