Friday, 18 December 2009

The 1st Question 76 - 15 Dec 09

This week's panel

Mo Hax, Jianna Zerbino, Jessica Qin, Tomkin Euler


(Special Kudos to Gary Broono is is rapidly becoming our new King of Quotes! He got both this week.)

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.
Paul Valery

Word-UP of the week – A TIE! “Idslexia “ - Misreading a headline but realizing your subconscious mind is actually giving you the real story. Ex: it says "APD starts new anti-drug program" but you read "APD starts new anti-drug pogrom" -- or "President flies to summit committee" but you read it as "President lies to summit committee". Jessica Qin

“Chatatonic” - The appearance of your avatar when someone walks up to you in SL, tries to engage you in chat, bumps into you, but you're lost in 3 separate IM conversations, you're trying to find something in your inventory, and you have a couple tabs open in your web browser... then your antivirus software starts an update...-Tomkin Euler

Audience Quote of the week –“ You shoulda heard me cursive when I stubbed my toe”-MenuBar Memorial


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) When a baby plays with this, their actions are associated through gizmos on their first dashboard, a modified Fischer-Price toy which has been souped up with electronics. Yes, it will send an email when baby is looking at a picture of you- & if more than one baby is hooked up to it the baby can join a social net and activate the flashing lights on their peers machines too – sort of a virtual playgroup. What is this device called?

2) Faster and faster as a new unified wireless specification will provides data transmission rates of up to 7 gigabits per second – more than ten times that of current Wi-Fi. It will only work over short distances, so it's better as the perfect way to wirelessly connect home media devices. 30 companies including Dell, Microsoft, Intel and Samsung are members. It's aiming towards a single wireless industry for the first quarter of 2010 – What is this alliance called? A new speed for a new decade?

P3): Its on the Surface of Mars, and isn’t going away- Of interest to astrobiologists because organisms release much of this on Earth's through their digestion of nutrients, Scientists think there may be microorganisms living far below the planet's surface where liquid water may exist & Extraterrestrial life itself may be producing this. Scientists have shown that the level of it on the Red Planet can't be explained by meteorites in the atmosphere. What is it that NASA and ESA scientists who are planning a joint mission to the red planet in 2018 to search for?

4) A Top salesman for IBM he filled his year's sales quota in two weeks, founded Electronic Data Systems in 1962- and became the biggest individual loser ever on the New York Stock Exchange" when his shares dropped $450 million in a single day . He supported the Environmental Protection Agency and wanted to enact electronic direct democracy when he ran for president. But withdrew-We might never know the whole story but he remained in the public eye after the election and championed opposition to NAFTA, urging voters to listen for the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs heading south. He has dropped out of political debate but he does blog. Who is he?

5) This is a Robotic Weapon Designed for law enforcement situations like riot control or other hostile or covert situations, or when you can’t stand to see fear in the eyes of your victims. It boasts of affordable, remotely-operated, electric vehicles designed to go where it is difficult, dangerous, hazardous, lethal, toxic or just too messy for humans to go”, and has a wireless control range of around 700ft. For the next insurgency, what will be attacking the front lines, remotely driven and gushing out pepper spray, for a start, following up with rubber bullets?

6) Recently MIT found that this substances impurities could be manipulated for atomic scale magnetic fields, leading the way in spintronics - What is now being used to generate magnetic fields strong enough to consistently manipulate nitrogen defects in this crystal in just under one nanosecond, by purely electrical means opening the way to mass production of a true general purpose quantum computer?

7) Gender, was thought to be caused by environmental factors, such as passion of sex, nutrition and temperature. These theories had their roots in Aristotle over 2000 years ago. One of the first American women to be recognized for her contribution to science. Her discovery based on insect observation was the first of its kind linked to gender. Basically, sex dependency is signaled by the presence or absence of the Y chromosome. She did not start her research until her thirties and completed her PhD in 1903. Who was this early American geneticist?

8) The citrus grows on a shrub or small tree with long, irregular branches covered in thorns. The fruit has a thick peel, only a small amount of acidic flesh (if any) and is juiceless and sometimes seedless. It is very fragrant and is used predominantly by the Chinese and Japanese for perfuming rooms and personal items, such as clothing. It has fingers which open are like a goblin’ fingers another name for it, and which closed resemble hands in prayer. The fruit may be given as a religious offeringn its origin traced back to Northeastern India or China. What Deity is it named after?

9) It is an artificial intelligence program that autonomously seeks working equations to describe
data from experiments. The program begins by examining the data for numbers that appear to be connected, and then suggests equations that fit the connections. Of the proposed equations most fail, but some are less wrong than others, and these are selected and modified and then repeatedly re-tested again. It was able to calculate in hours equations that Newton took years to find, and hopes it can do the same for the interactions between proteins, genomes and cell signals, which are so complicated that describing them mathematically has so far been impossible. What is it called?

10) As the United States raced to build its first atomic bombs near the end of World War II, scientists wanted to know more about the hazards of this. Testing began on April 10, 1945 with injections into the victim of a car accident in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to see how quickly the human body rid itself of the radioactive substance. That was just the first of over 400 human radiation experiments. Common studies included seeing the biological effects of radiation with various doses, and testing experimental treatments for cancer. Records of this research became public in 1995, after the U.S. Department of Energy published them. What were the injections of?

11) It is a moldable silicone modeling clay that sets tough and is flexible allowing users to modify or repair just about anything. Coming in a range of colors this Play-Doh-like material boasts the potential to be used to modify and fix. it is self-adhesive, waterproof, flexible, dishwasher-proof and is highly temperature resistant. Its creators say this can help decrease your carbon footprint on the world by countering the disposable society and letting you repair things that previously would have ended up discarded. What is this new miracle clay called?

12) A five-foot-wide pipeline with an intake hundreds of feet below the sea will pull in cold water, which will circulate through air-conditioning units around this city. A $240 million project, will expect its technology to cut air conditioning electricity usage by up to 75 percent while slashing carbon emissions and the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants. Cold deep-sea water will be used to cool buildings where?

13) The Neurostar Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation system is a nonsurgical device that uses a magnetic coil in a headpiece to stimulate the left prefrontal cortex....the mood center...with electromagnetic waves using short pulses to stimulate nerve cells in this area. The treatments stimulate the production of dopamine. It seems to work in clinical trials. It's the first of its kind to recieve FDA approval. And will run you $6000 for a full course of treatment. Ren and Stimpy first brought us the concept in the 90’s What was their original cartoon concept called?

14) The U.S. Navy wanted to boost sailors' night vision so they could spot infrared signal lights during World War II. However, infrared wavelengths are normally beyond the sensitivity of human eyes. Scientists knew this contained part of a specialized light-sensitive molecule in the eye's receptors, and wondered if an alternate form of it could promote different light sensitivity in the eye. They fed volunteers supplements made from the livers of walleyed pikes, and the volunteers' vision began changing over several months to extend into the infrared region. Such early success went down the drain after other researchers developed an electronic snooperscope to see infrared, and the human study was abandoned. Other nations also played with it during World War II. What was fed to Japanese pilots as well improving their night vision by 100 percent in some cases?

15) He was a passionate smoker, and a martial arts fighter, themes that ran through his science fiction novels for which he won the Nebula award three times –Part of The New Wave that included Philip Dick, he was Ohio – born. He also worked the lost, god-like father theme. He was a member of Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of Heroic Fantasy authors founded in the 1960s.. His crisp, minimalistic dialogue also seems to be somewhat influenced by wisecracking hardboiled crime authors, such as Chandler or Hammett. This tension between the ancient and the modern, surreal and familiar was what drove most of his work. Who wrote the Amber series?

Monday, 14 December 2009

The 1st Question 75 - 8 Dec 09

This week's panel

Onder Skall, Doctor Rodenberger, Paolo Rousselot and AmericanActionHero Janick


All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every man dies. Not every man really lives.
-William Wallace

Word-UP of the week – “Transfixia” – The feeling after you come out of a really really intense movie, when you walk outside and you still feel that you are in the movie.
-Doctor Rodenberger

Audience Quote(s) of the week
“There were people in South America before 20,000 yrs ago”
-Delia Lake
“Let me ask my dad, he might know, he's real old”
-Gary Broono


For the answers go to The 1st Question blog at

1) Today a new game to raise energy awareness among young people has just been launched. Called Facebooks first serious game, EnerCities just went beta. However, the fastest growing social game in history, is a real-time simulation. It allows members of Facebook to manage a virtual farm by planting, growing and harvesting virtual crops, trees, and livestock. Created by Zynga, and not without controvesy, what is it called?

2) True to California’s goal of increasing its reliance on a diverse supply of renewable energy at reasonable costs and risks to ratepayers, Pacific Gas & Electric is agreeing to buy power generated from the first-of-its-kind project. A Space-based solar power has been researched in the U.S. for several decades. The experimental technology uses orbiting satellites equipped with solar cells to convert the sun's energy into electricity and converts that into radio frequency energy that can be transmitted to a local receiver station. Which California-based company is actually faced with the task of getting the out-of-this-world project up in the air, to provide 1,700 gigawatt-hours of energy per year?

3) Cory Doctorow is a Canadian blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He dropped out of four universities without attaining a degree.. He was named a Fellow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And recently became the first Independent Studies Scholar in Virtual Residence at the University of Waterloo. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Doctorow's first novel, was published in 2003, and was the first novel released under one of the Creative Commons licenses. The original “Down & Out in “novel was written by a genius of Science Fiction, his first novel too. It is a story in two parts on the theme of poverty in two cities.- what is the full name of that title from 1933 and who wrote it?

4) It could one day be used as a lightweight battery to power devices now enabling the printed word to be eclipsed by e-mail, e-books and online news. Scientists at Stanford reported last week they have successfully turned this substance coated with ink made of silver and carbon nanomaterials into a battery that holds promise for new types of lightweight, high-performance energy storage. This type of battery could even be useful in powering electric or hybrid vehicles, would make electronics lighter weight and longer lasting, which has been an obstacle to commercial viability. What is this new battery made out of?

5) When transforming thermal into mechanical, the efficiency of a heat engine is the percentage that is transformed into work. That heat emanating from your computer as you are watching this show is wasted energy. More than half of the energy consumed worldwide is wasted, most of it in the form of excess heat. In experiments involving new technology, an MIT research team has been able to demonstrate much higher efficiency ultimately in waste-energy harvesting in everything from computer processors to car engines to electric powerplants. What It is the 19th century principle, the basis of the second law of thermodynamics, which sets a limit on the maximum amount of efficiency any possible engine can obtain?

6) Interactive telecommunications researchers have designed a soil-moisture sensor device that can allow a house plant to communicate with its owner. The device can send short messages to a mobile phone or even Twitter. The messages can range from reminders to water, a thank you or a warning. To communicate, probes in the soil emit electric waves. A voltage level based on the moisture content is sent through two wires to a circuit board. A local network receives this data and allows the plant to send a message. What is this little micro-controller hooked up to your plant named?

7) Stationed at the European Marine Energy Center Billia Croo site near Stromness, it was installed this year and is, at present, the world’s only hydro-electric wave energy device which is producing power. Pumping high pressure water to its onshore hydro-electric turbine which feeds into the national grid to power homes. There are minimal moving parts and all electrical components are onshore, making it robust enough to withstand the rigors of Scotland’s harsh seas whose waters hold around ten percent of Europe’s wave power and as much as a quarter of its tidal power potential. Marine energy might meet up to 20 per cent of the UK's energy demands producing sustainable zero-emission electricity to power homes. What is the world’s largest working hydro-electric wave energy device called?

8) Citrus waste is usually a complete write-off in the compost game because it contains an antibacterial substance which slows its breakdown, but a team in Sweden has discovered that these acidic skins have more uses than they receive credit for. Limon, an antibacterial agent, pectin, a gelling agent, biogas, and ethanol, can be produced from new patents. Florida is also developing plans to build a commercial plant that will convert orange and grapefruit waste into ethanol that will be sold to Florida motorists at gasoline pumps. The plant is expected to produce about how many gallons of ethanol a year?

9) This versatile humanoid robot can see (via two cameras), will react to touch, can surf the Web and can interact with others of his kind. He can speak (in English or French, so far) by reading out any file stored locally or from a RSS flow. The bot is fitted with an accelerometer and gyrometer so he won't fall down.. His software even lets you recover photos and video stream of his vision. Let us not even go into his hardware. He can interpret his surroundings & detect faces and shapes, even recognizing the person talking to him. Who is he?

10) As art museums go, it has a very small collection. Literally. Presented by the Institute for the Promotion of the Less than One Millimetre, it is an online “portrait” collection of mini- and micro-organisms photographed through a microscope. Inside the virtual museum’s halls you can find a zooplankton family portrait next to the glowing image of a mother copepod posing with her children (Okay, her children are actually egg packages). Each collection features an array of exhibits with titles such as “The Hall of Arthropods”or the “Water Flea Circus”. All of the tiny subjects were photographed alive. What is this museum called?

11) Solar Impulse's HB-SIA solar-powered airplane was runway tested last week. The prototype aircraft is made of lightweight materials, weighing only 3,500 pounds and it has a wingspan of 210 feet. It is powered entirely by the 11,000 solar cells covering its wings. It is intended to fly at only 28 miles per hour to keep energy consumption low. It will store solar energy for night flight The Founder of Solar Impulse is a former astronaut and the first man to circle the world nonstop in a balloon. He hopes to perform the same feet in a solar-powered plane-Who is he?

12) Neuroscientists have demonstrated how brain waves can be used to type alphanumerical characters on a computer screen. By merely focusing on the "q" in a matrix of letters, for example, that "q" appears on the monitor. A mind-machine interface from electrodes placed directly on the brain are much more specific than data collected from EEG, in which electrodes are placed on the scalp. At what clinic are brain waves telling us the secret letter?

13) This power plant guides sea water and fresh water into separate chambers, which are divided by an artificial membrane. Salt molecules pull the fresh water through it, increasing the pressure which is then utilized in a power generating turbine. Statkraft claims this has the global potential to generate clean, renewable energy equivalent to China's total electricity consumption or half of the EU's total power production. In theory, such power plants could be located wherever sea water and fresh water meet, such as the mouth of a river. They run without producing noise pollution or polluting emission, what is the principle behind this membrane technology?
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