Archive for June, 2007

damn that sounds familiar

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

haven’t we all heard this claim before?

MIT neuroscientists explain deja vu

i am certain that i have heard claims to scientifically explain this eerie sensation that is ironically so banal, but apparently “forming memories of places and contexts engages a part of the brain called the hippocampus.” duh, but these guys “have been exploring how each of the three hippocampal subregions — the dentate gyrus, CA1 and CA3 — contribute to learning and memory”

yeah, yeah, yeah

but honestly, i was disappointed by this guy’s weak-ass example:

“[He] described his own occasional experience of finding the airport in a new city uncannily familiar. That occurs, he said, because of the similarity of modules — gates, chairs, and ticket counters — that comprise airports worldwide. It is only by seeking unique cues that the specific airport can be identified”

of course all airports look similar — there are entire international agencies whose raison d’etre is to ensure just that, so we cattle don’t get lost and so planes don’t need to figure a dozen sets of signage

duh — that ain’t deja vu

i recently experienced a chain of events (noticing a scientific article) that motivated me to post to a blog i maintain and while i was composing the the post i noticed the strange sensation that i have done this before.

weird, hunh?


artificial star clears the sky

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

the blurring effect of the earth’s atmosphere is in large part the reason the hubble space telescope is well, a space telescope. land based telescopes have had to rely on a technology known as adaptive optics in which a reference star is used as a point of reference to adjust for the rivers of air they must see through to observe the heavens beyond.

the drawback to this is the relative shortage of good reference stars in the skies — in particular over the southern hemisphere.

enter the good folks of european souther observatory over at paranal observatory in chile — they have developed a new technique by which they create their own reference star using lasers.

The Laser Guide Star System installed at Paranal uses the PARSEC dye laser developed by MPE-Garching and MPIA-Heidelberg. The laser beam takes advantage of the layer of sodium atoms that is present in Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 90 kilometres. Shining at a well-defined wavelength the laser makes it glow. Despite this star being about 20 times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen with the unaided eye, it is bright enough for the adaptive optics to measure and correct the atmosphere’s blurring effect.

Full article at ESO here
Full adaptation from Science Daily here

convert heat to electricty via sound

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

so many processes we employ in our modern world generate heat that goes to waste — from cpu in laptops to nuclear power plant

Orest Symko from the university of utah has found a way to create sound from waste heat and then use that sound to generate electricity

very cool tech

legalized gange just wasn’t enough, hunh?

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Reuters is reporting today that Dutch students have concocted a powered alcoholic beverage that when mixed with water becomes a “a bubbly, lime-colored and -flavored drink with just 3 percent alcohol content.”

called Booz2Go, the target audience is clearly hikers who want to party after a long day but don’t wanna carry all that fluid around.


article here