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September 2, 2008

Enhanced Vehicle Acoustics — Because to a blind person a Prius is invisible

Nick Bunkley featured this new company in the August 24, 2008 New York Times, as follows:

    Making a Hybrid Heard

    Automakers have spent decades trying to make their cars quieter than the competition's. Now two entrepreneurs have formed a business around the notion that some cars are just too quiet.

    Everett Meyer and Bryan Bai, two recent Stanford graduates, have formed Enhanced Vehicle Acoustics in Santa Clara, Calif. They soon hope to begin selling a module that can be installed in hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius to create artificial engine noise through speakers mounted near the wheels. Normally when hybrids travel at slow speeds on electric power, they are silent, which safety advocates say poses a danger to pedestrians — particularly blind ones.

    A bill introduced in Congress this year and supported by the National Federation for the Blind would set minimum sound levels for hybrids. Regardless, Mr. Meyer and Mr. Bai are optimistic about their invention.

    “People who drive Priuses are generally pretty conscientious and aware,” Mr. Meyer told the Stanford News Service, “so it seems like a good beginning market.”


I'm convinced.


September 2, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Kosher Lamp — Made in China


Why are we not surprised? I mean, what isn't?

Dan Levin's article in yesterday's New York Times explored the brave new world of kosher mashups which enable even the most strictly Orthodox of Jews to use 21st century technology to stay connected yet still remain within the rules.

The lamp, pictured above, is from Kosher Innovations, whose president, Rabbi Shmuel Veffer (below, holding one),


invented it in 2004.

The lamp has a shade that can be twisted to block out the bulb's light but that does not turn it off, making it street legal — erm, kosher.

Veffer told Levin that in the past four years he's sold "tens of thousands" of his lamps.

They come in Black, White, Bronze or Silver.


September 2, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nightmare in Geneva: What if the Large Hadron Collider Beam Becomes Unstable?


Long story short: "Even the slightest malfunction could lead to a catastrophic accident.... Each unimpeded beam is capable of melting a 500kg (1,100 lbs.) block of copper."

Here's Sally Adee's August 13, 2008 spectrum.ieee.org article about how CERN plans to stop the beam should things head south.

    CERN to Start Up the Large Hadron Collider. Now Here's How It Plans to Stop It

    This week, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) — the world’s most powerful particle accelerator [above] — began test runs, sending a stream of protons around a quarter of its 27-kilometer circumference. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (known as CERN), in Geneva, Switzerland, where the LHC is housed, says the tests are part of the preparations for the machine’s projected 10 September start-up date.

    The experiment will hurtle two hair-thin beams of hundreds of trillions of protons around a ring-shaped accelerator at 99.99 percent the speed of light, knocking the beams together 11 000 times each second. According to CERN LHC accelerator physicist Rüdiger Schmidt, who is in charge of machine protection systems, each unimpeded beam is capable of melting a 500-kilogram block of copper.

    Even the slightest malfunction could lead to a catastrophic accident, so CERN has spent nearly two decades devising an interlocking system of fail-safes. One of these is a method of safely purging a proton beam, which has a higher chance of becoming unstable the longer it is whipped around the circular accelerator. Every 10 hours the accelerator gets fresh beams. But first the old ones are dumped into specially designed absorbers called beam dump blocks.

    The two beam dump blocks are located at the ends of two straight tunnels tangentially diverging from what CERN scientists refer to as Point 6 on the circular accelerator. At 15 strategically located positions around the underground accelerator tunnel, so-called kicker magnets deflect the speeding beams out of their opposing circular paths and into these tunnels.

    Having been kicked out of its circular racetrack, a newly freed beam is now steered via “septum” magnets toward its beam dump. No longer constrained by the bending magnets inside the LHC tunnel, the beam travels in a straight line down the 700-meter tunnel.

    Next, the 0.2-millimeter proton beam passes through 10 dilution magnets, which cause the protons to fan out until the beam has thickened to a lower-intensity diameter of 1.5 mm.

    Now fattened to the width of a human hair, the beam continues down the tunnel to the beam-dump cavern. Inside waits a cylindrical block of a dense, absorptive graphite composite that is 8 meters long and 0.7 meters in diameter [below].


    The 10-ton graphite cylinder is encased in 1000 metric tons of steel and concrete. Why not just make the whole thing out of lead or another heavy metal? It turns out that graphite is the only material whose low density and high melting point can resist the ravages of the proton beam. In experiments, researchers found that an 86-microsecond exposure of the beam would bore a hole 40 meters into a block of copper.

    Even though the beam’s damage potential has now been reduced by its increased girth, the beam would still handily eat through the graphite composite cylinder. So instead of letting it burn a single 1.5-mm-wide hole into the cylinder, CERN engineers designed the system to “scan” the beam onto the face of the cylinder, much as the electron beam is scanned in a cathode-ray-tube television screen. To ensure that the intense beam never lingers too long in one place, it is scanned as a pattern — which vaguely resembles the letter e [below]


    — onto the cylinder.

    Though the graphite beam dump becomes very hot (about 750 °C), it does not melt. In fact, after it cools down it can be reused a few hours later.


[via Milena]

September 2, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Articulated Wearable Sleeping Bag — Episode 2: New and Improved


From Lippi comes Version 2.0 of their wearable sleeping bag, Version 1.0 of which was featured here on January 7 of this year.

The latest iteration costs about 50% more ($228.95 v $148.95) but features a raft of improvements over the original.

From the website:

    Lippi Selk Bag #2 Sleeping System

    Don't worry about having to get out of your sleeping bag in the middle of the night anymore — just leave your Selk Bag on for those late night star gazing missions.

    The Selk Bag will make all of your friends jealous.


    • Made of durable nylon taffeta 310T/66D — soft-touch shell

    • Micro-fiber polyester insulation (2 x 100g/sm)

    • Double frontal zipper with drawcord

    • Small compressible stuff sack

    • Extended right hip zipper

    • Reversible hand zippers

    • YKK zippers throughout

    • Reinforced nylon soles

    • Hood w/ drawstring

    • Leg vents



    • Temperature rating: Comfort 47ºF; Extreme 14ºF

    • Maximum user height: 5'3" (M); 5'10" (L); 6'3" (XL)

    • Size: 62"L x 68"W with arms extended (M); 72" x 78" (L); 80" x 86" (XL)

    • Carry size: 13" x 8" (M); 13.5" x 8" (L); 14" x 8" (XL) (including stuff sack)

    • Carry weight: 3.2 lbs (M); 3.7 lbs (L); 4.2 lbs (XL)


Royal Blue/Navy Blue (top) or Teal/White (above and below).



September 2, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Twimosaic — Videre est credere


Yo, joe, speak English, will you?


From the fertile, wildly inventive brain of Marcus Reimold comes his latest creation, Twimosaic.com.

As best as I can determine using the limited analytical power possessed by my 17 remaining functional neurons, the site is a mashup of Twitter and Social Oyster, his most recently featured production.

Oh, to understand the difference between a petabyte and a pet that bites....

Maybe someday.

Shades of milliondollarhomepage.

September 2, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

September 2, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

'This is not a language school' — Jelena Jankovic


The great Serbian tennis player (above), who'll become number one in the world if she can win the ongoing U.S. Open, was quoted thus by George Vecsey of the New York Times in a piece which appeared on the front page of yesterday's sports section.

Jankovic was referring to the uproar recently occasioned by the L.P.G.A., whose powers-that-be decreed that all players on that tour must be able to speak adequate English by the end of next year.

Of course that decision, roundly criticized around the world, has nothing to do with the fact that 45 of the 121 international players in this year's L.P.G.A. events are South Korean.

Or that 11 South Koreans currently rank among the top 30 money winners.


Jankovic's comment to Vecsey in its entirety: "To be honest, I don't think it should be that way. We are foreigners, and we are athletes. My language is Serbian. This is not a language school."


September 2, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

mini Microwave


Good news, bad news.

First, from a website, the good news:

    iWave Cube Personal Microwave

    Forget all those trips to the kitchen or treks to the cafeteria — now you can reheat coffee right at your desk.

    Or nuke some soup from your brown bag lunch or even pop some 'corn.

    The iWave Cube is your own personal microwave oven, so small it takes up less than a cubic foot (10.5" x 12" x 10" — 26cm x 30cm x 25cm).

    It's small enough to fit almost anywhere, so plug it in anyplace that's handy: work or home office, home gym, family room, nursery, wet bar, dorm room, work bench, pool house ... anywhere.



Now the bad news: it's vaporware, coming real soon now — in their words, "this fall."

You could look it up.

I guess that's a little better than yesterday's brain-dead 01 Phone post.

Just a teeny, tiny bit?

[via Milena]

September 2, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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