Monthly Archives: August 2005

Get Moving!

People need to exercise more, but instead they just sit around and play video games. So why not combine video games and exercise? The high-tech NeXfit exercise bike hooks up to your XBox, Playstation, or the Internet, incorporating game controls into the handlebar. It has a force feedback system, which delivers 16 different shock levels based on explosions and collisions. And, since this is an exercise machine, it comes with an online health manager, which accumulates user’s exercise records after each game for accurate health management. It’s definitely a WTF about your health.

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Moon Invasion By Rocket Penguins Possible!

Defense contractor Raytheon has developed a robot, dubbed the Lunar Penguin, that could one day bounce across perilous craters and imposing mountains on the Moon’s craggy surface using a set of compact rocket boosters. Sounds like a cool idea, although the concept looks nothing at all like a Penguin. I guess they had to call it something, right? And who is going to want to work on a project called the Lunar Aardvark? Or the Lunar Road Apple? The Lunar Penguin is supposed to be able to leap up to a kilometer on a single bound, scouting out the landscape looking for minerals, water, and other natural resources for humans to recover.

New Scientist has the story here, and it’s just one of many programs aimed at getting people back on the moon after almost 40 years.

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Have You Seen This Monkey?

From Ohio police today:

The bulletin issued by police in the southwest Ohio town of Springdale describes the subject as two feet tall, weighing eight pounds, clad only in blue pants and prone to sleeping in trees.

It’s another week full of monkeys, and we have the latest.

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Department of Defense Agency Uses MAT for Six Sigma Effort

The Defense Commissary Agency, as part of their modernization, re-engineering, and process improvement efforts, has decided to use the Markham Assessment Tool to identify key areas for improvement.

“We plan on using the MAT to identify key elements of the Voice of the Customer,” says Victor Claar of DeCA, “getting buy-in and managing perception is a critical factor in project success.”

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Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Some more news is leaking out of NASA this week, with rumors that the new Crew Exploration Vehicle will be based on existing technology, either one of the military rockets or a modification of the shuttle engines already developed.

Congrats to NASA, for actually doing something that makes sense. Ever since the shuttle concept was developed, there have been many variations proposed on the design (some pictures below).

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T-Rays Offer Hope

Remember how Superman used his X-Ray vision? He could see through just about anything, save for lead. Well, we all got older and realized that X-Rays really don’t work that way. Anybody who has seen an X-Ray image knows it’s black-and-white, and dependent on the density of the material being X-rayed. It’s nothing like “find little Johnny in a well,” it’s more like “Check little Johnny for broken bones”

Well there is a new type of electromagnetic imaging that is raising a lot of eyebrows. It’s imaging by T-Rays, which exist in the terahertz (THz) region of the electromagnetic spectrum — defined by frequencies from 0.1 to 10 THz, just between infrared light and microwave radiation. All objects at room temperature emit radition in the T-Ray range, and scientists are just now getting able to use this radiation usefully. It has a lot of applications for things like homeland security. Who knows? One day it may power a real-life Tricorder, or give all of us Superman vision. Read more here.

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Cool Site of The Day

Look out in your yard and see a Skunk-Ape? How about an American Lion? Cryptozoology is the study of animals who are rumored to be around but nobody has proven it yet. Some, like the ivory-billed woodpecker of the American Southeast, have been proven to be real. Some, like Bigfoot or Sasquatch, probably are more legend than reality. But the study of “what might be”, or the edges of science, is always a fascinating one to me. Check it out!

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Salad Dressing? In a Spray Bottle?

Sounds kind of weird, eh? But once you think about it, perhaps spay-on salad dressing is a neat idea. Unilever is certainly betting on it: next month the concept should hit the shelves. What other inventions are on tap from this week? Hint: if you live in the USA, you might be fighting for living space with camels and elephants.

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Beware Geeks Bearing GIFs

I love watching the commercials for “Geek Squad”, which seems to be an on-call, pocket-protector-wearing thin white man with 1950s glasses. Have a computer problem? Call the Geeks, and they’ll hook you up. This self-deprecating business model has been around for a while — I toyed with it many years ago when I wrote a newspaper column called “PC Guru” But word from the New York Times today is computer skills alone aren’t going to cut the mustard anymore.

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