Jun 30

OK, four hours later, I’ve downloaded/installed the Android SDK, the Java SE Development Kit and the Eclipse IDE.

Through the Android SDK Manager, I also installed the various platforms, samples and Android Virtual Devices (AVDs). This was perhaps the trickiest step because when I was installing an AVD – it just seemed to hang and when I restarted the Android SDK Manager, I got a “failed to parse properties error” – after some lucky Googling, it turns out that I simply had to wait for 5 minutes. (Since I have an i7 with 6GB, I wonder what it could have been doing in that time!)

With the last step being the configuration of Eclipse for use with Android SDK and general viewing/coding preferences, the basics are now complete. We can start with the next step of the process, which is to familiarize myself with the basic architecture of Android apps.

Sep 30

Excellent reference on Energy Use, with a focus on strategy to improve energy sourcing: http://cms.doe.gov/sites/prod/files/ReportOnTheFirstQTR.pdf

For example, this graph provided a very good high-level view of how energy is being used:

Sep 15

It always amazes me how nature’s own properties can be used to solve problems:

And it’s even more amazing that life has figured this out – a science called Biomimetics.

Jul 18

So it seems like there was a party 30,000 years ago and I suspect my Singh ancestors weren’t too happy that their progeny was cavorting with someone from the wrong side of the forest: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-07/uom-grc071411.php

Neanderthals, whose ancestors left Africa about 400,000 to 800,000 years ago, evolved in what is now mainly France, Spain, Germany and Russia, and are thought to have lived until about 30,000 years ago. Meanwhile, early modern humans left Africa about 80,000 to 50,000 years ago. The question on everyone’s mind has always been whether the physically stronger Neanderthals, who possessed the gene for language and may have played the flute, were a separate species or could have interbred with modern humans. The answer is yes, the two lived in close association.

Jul 08

Title is intended as pure sarcasm … this is world changing:

Jun 27

Apple Becomes World’s Largest OEM Semiconductor Buyer in 2010:

Apple in 2010 bought $17.5 billion worth of semiconductors, a 79.6 percent increase from $9.7 billion in 2009. This represented the highest rate of increase among the world’s Top 10 OEM semiconductor buyers, allowing Apple to rise up two positions to take the No. 1 rank in 2010. Apple in 2009 was the third-largest semiconductor purchaser, behind Hewlett-Packard Co. of the United States and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of South Korea; it was sixth in 2008.

Apple’s surge to leadership in semiconductor spending in 2010 was driven by the overwhelming success of its wireless products, namely the iPhone and the iPad. These products consume enormous quantities of NAND flash memory, which is also found in the Apple iPod. Because of this, Apple in 2010 was the world’s No. 1 purchaser of NAND flash.

My favorite line in the article:

In contrast, global PC shipments grew a relatively weak 14.2 percent in 2010.

Jun 22


This means capturing that perfect shot of your fast-moving pet or squirming child could soon get a whole lot easier. Instead of having to manually focus or wait for autofocus to kick in and hopefully center on the right thing, pictures can be taken immediately and in rapid succession. Once the picture is on a computer or phone, the focus can be adjusted to center on any object in the image, also allowing for cool artsy shots where one shifts between a blurry foreground and sharp background and vice versa.

For more information, see here: http://www.lytro.com/science_inside

Lytro - Science Inside

Lytro - Science Inside

Jun 21

These medical stories are initially counter-intuitive, but then after further thought, perhaps obviously intuitive:

Duct tape is a more effective wart removal technique than cryotherapy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12361440

Of the 51 patients completing the study, 26 (51%) were treated with duct tape, and 25 (49%) were treated with cryotherapy. Twenty-two patients (85%) in the duct tape arm vs 15 patients (60%) enrolled in the cryotherapy arm had complete resolution of their warts (P =.05 by chi(2) analysis).

Want to smell like a man, take it easy for a week: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12659241?dopt=Abstract

On the 7th day of abstinence, however, a clear peak of serum testosterone appeared, reaching 145.7% of the baseline ( P < 0.01)

Recover from serious gut issues by eating dirt (with roundworms): http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/2/60/60ra88.abstract

T. trichiura colonization of the intestine may reduce symptomatic colitis by promoting goblet cell hyperplasia and mucus production through TH2 cytokines and IL-22.

If you don’t want to be near-sighted, spend time outdoors when your young: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/opinion/21wang.html

Researchers suspect that bright outdoor light helps children’s developing eyes maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina — which keeps vision in focus. Dim indoor lighting doesn’t seem to provide the same kind of feedback. As a result, when children spend too many hours inside, their eyes fail to grow correctly and the distance between the lens and retina becomes too long, causing far-away objects to look blurry.

Mar 29

Very cool stuff.

I have to imagine the only reason that it misses is because of latencies between machine vision calculated trajectories (including changes due to wind, spin, etc.) and actual servo control of the flight system. I’m driven to think that this could be easily resolved by CPU power.

Now, it would be interesting to see exactly where on the racquet head the ball strikes and whether they are taking into account the opponent’s effect on the system (e.g., wind, spin).

Currently, it looks as if the algorithm is to return the ball to a safe position – would be cool if they tried to position the ball at a position not accessible by the opponent – kind of like a squash match. It would require each opponent to do a pre-calculation to prepare receiving in hard areas.

Feb 20

Defector admits to WMD lies that triggered Iraq war

The defector who convinced the White House that Iraq had a secret biological weapons programme has admitted for the first time that he lied about his story, then watched in shock as it was used to justify the war. More here.

Interesting exchange between Guardian researchers and readers:

Question from Reader: Having read the book Curveball by Bob Drogin, its quite clear that Curveball’s motivation for lying about WMDs was purely self-interest and had not a thing to do with Saddam Hussein. Curveball simply used the desire for WMD fairy tales to get himself asylum and a better life. Why wasn’t he challenged on his sudden discovery of a higher moral purpose so many years after the event? Its also obvious reading the book that the Bush administration wasn’t too concerned about the validity of his claims, the claims were enough. Again why this nonsense about the US being duped?

Response from Guardian: Firstly, we did challenge Curveball a lot about his justification for lying. We too thought he could well be rewriting his own history to cast himself in a better light. It’s a lot more noble to lie to save one’s country than one’s own ass after all […] Curveball’s story doesn’t quite add up.  He claims he had already been granted asylum in March 2003 by the time he started lying. Yet Drumheller and the RS report say most of his debriefing sessions were before that.

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