Look Stupid: Cell Mate Hands-Free Cellphone Holder

11 01 2009

I could only think of one thing when I saw this hands-free cellphone holder called Cell Mate: Ahahaha haha HA! Apparently, they have a booth at CES—worth a Giz visit, methinks. [Craziest Gadgets]


Dell Mini 10 Has a 10-inch 720p Screen, TV Tuner

11 01 2009

The Dell Mini 10 was the other announcement at today’s Dell event that wasn’t the Adamo, and it actually has some decent features, which include a 720p screen with end-to-end glass and a TV Tuner.

The Mini 10 has a Z530 1.6 GHz Atom processor, and a smattering of relatively pedestrian features like 3G WWAN, GPS, 802.11n wi-fi, and a multitouch trackpad. Dell had no further info to provide, so price and release date is still a mystery.

Eee Keyboard: An Entire Touchscreen Home Theater PC

11 01 2009

By Mark Wilson7:33 PM on Tue Jan 6 2009

We spotted some Asus keyboards last week, but none were nearly as potentially awesome as the official Eee Keyboard. Featuring wireless HDMI, it’s a “fully functional PC” with full QWERTY and a mini secondary touchscreen.

Asus was vague as to if/when we’ll actually see the Eee Keyboard come to market (though we’re pretty sure it’s a semi-real product), but it’s a fantastic concept for a home theater PC if we’ve ever seen one. Through wireless HDMI you could potentially make any television into your monitor (complete with audio playback) without having some huge PC taking up space.

The keyboard is packing a 5-inch built-in display, a 1.6 GHz Atom proc, 1 GB of RAM, 16/32 GB SSD, WiFi, and Bluetooth. As far as ports, it’s got wireless HDMI, 2 USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, and audio in/out. It’s running Windows XP home, which is an odd choice for something that’s asking, nay, begging to be a home theater PC, although it’s not packing a TV tuner either. No word on price or release date, but the Asus CEO claims it’ll be available 

Pirates Say They Freed Saudi Tanker for $3 Million

11 01 2009

Associated Press

A U.S. Navy photo shows a parachute, possibly containing a ransom payment, dropped by a small aircraft on Friday onto the Sirius Star, a Saudi-owned supertanker.

Published: January 9, 2009

MOGADISHU, Somalia — A Saudi-owned supertanker held by piratesoff the coast of Somalia for two months has been released for a ransom of $3 million, according to one of the pirates and residents of Xarardheere, a pirate town on the Somali coast near where the tanker was being held.

The tanker, about the length of an American Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, is the largest ship known to have been seized by pirates, and it was fully loaded with two million barrels of oil.

The pirates were due to leave the ship after they received the money, paid by the ship’s owners, on Friday, according to the pirates and residents, who later said the ship had moved away from the coast where it had been anchored since November.

News agencies had reported that the pirates originally asked for $25 million for the oil tanker, the Sirius Star, but a pirate in Xarardheere who gave his name as Jama said, “They have agreed on $3 million.” He said he had spoken to pirates who had gone to the ship for the payment.

The International Maritime Bureau in London, a clearinghouse for piracy information and maritime safety issues, said it could not yet confirm that the pirates had freed the tanker.

“The information that we have from the owner is that the vessel is not yet released,” said Cyrus Mody, a spokesman for the organization. The owner, Vela International Ltd., could not be immediately reached for comment.

But a maritime group based in Kenya confirmed the release. Andrew Mwangura of the East African Seafarers Assistance program was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The last batch of gunmen have disembarked from the Sirius Star. She is now steaming out to safe waters.”

The Sirius Star was seized in November off the coast of Somalia, in seas where pirates have struck with increasing audacity in recent months, hijacking vessels including a Ukrainian freighter laden with armaments that is still being held.

China said last month that it would send naval ships to the Gulf of Aden. And on Thursday, the United States Navy said a new international force under American command would begin patrols to confront pirates off the Horn of Africa.

As for the supertanker, Abdi Ahmed of Xarardheere said, “The big fishes left Xarardheere on Thursday afternoon to the Sirius Star ship to get the ransom money and to set free the ship.”

The pirate named Jama said he was waiting for his share of the ransom. “When the pirates receive the money, they will divide in shares on the spot, so that they will disembark tonight from the ship with everyone’s share in pocket,” he said.

Mohammed Ibrahim reported from Mogadishu, and Graham Bowley from New York.

Getting a view of atoms in a crystal

11 01 2009

By Chris Lee

One of my pet topics here on Ars is microscopy. This may be a case of objective envy, but I like to think that it is just a case of admiring work in a related field. In any case, what I often forget is that when it comes to resolution, various forms of electron microscopy have us optics dudes beaten, hands down. That situation has become even worse, thanks to a new method that can reconstruct images from electron diffraction patterns.

An electron diffraction pattern is formed by electrons scattering off the atoms that make up a material. The electrons that happen to scatter in the same direction will interfere with each other, leading to bright spots, dim spots, and completely dark regions. Using this diffraction pattern, an image of the object that created the diffraction pattern can be reconstructed. In principle, the smallest feature that can be seen in the image is limited by how coherent the electrons are and the spatial resolution of the detector.

So, why don’t we have grainy pictures of a proton waving at us? The problem is that principles of the technique have been let down by our instrumentation. In reality, the sheer size of the contrast between really bright spots in the image compared to dim spots is about 7 orders of magnitude, while detectors have a dynamic range considerably smaller. The missing information corrupts a key step in the image reconstruction process, called phase reconstruction. The detectors only record the intensity of the light field (in this case electrons), which destroys all knowledge of the phase.

This is why a coherent source of electrons is important. A coherent source allows scientists to reconstruct the phase from the intensity pattern by requiring a self-consistency between recorded and simulated patterns. You might think that many different phase patterns could generate an observed intensity pattern, and you would be right if this were a one-dimensional system. Luckily for us, higher dimensional systems almost always—you can expect the universe to expire before the “almost” bites you in this case—converges on the right phase pattern. With the phase known, the full field is known and the image can be reconstructed. Well, poorly reconstructed.

The problem is that the limited dynamic range of the detector reduces the difference between the bright spots and the dim spots, which, in turn, increases the tolerances on phases that fit the image. This cascades through to reduce the resolution of the image. What we need is an additional constraint to shore up the phase retrieval.

The researchers achieved this by taking a “low” resolution picture of the image (resolution ~0.3nm). They then use this image to further constrain the phase retrieval process. The result is an image with about four times the resolution of the original picture (0.08nm). The researchers demonstrated that this allowed them to resolve the individual atoms in quantum dots, where the separation between pairs of atoms was just over 0.08nm.

Apart from the intrinsic coolness of seeing pictures of atoms in a crystal, this method has other nice properties. It works with any diffractive imaging system, as long as you can get an ordinary image to constrain the phase retrieval. I am now wondering how this would work in highly disordered systems like cells at optical frequencies… /me wanders into the boss’ office.

A broadband invisibility cloak: where is my spare dimension

11 01 2009

By Chris Lee | Published: January 09, 2009 – 11:39AM CT

In late 2008, I wrote an article about using plasmonics to develop a broadband invisibility cloak. The authors of that paper concluded that you could either have perfect invisibility at one color, or imperfect invisibility at three colors. Now, a new paper, published in Scienceshows that broadband invisibility may well be possible.

These results were obtained using the idea of transformation media, which I also discussedin late 2008. The basic idea is that optical elements are really just ways of bending space as far as light is concerned. If we then concentrate on what bends are necessary to achieve particular optical effects, then designing a corresponding optical device becomes much much easier—although the theory says nothing about how to actually construct such devices.

Even using transformation media, broadband invisibility was thought to be impossible because, at certain locations, light is required to have an infinite speed, something that might be difficult to physically realize. Undeterred by such findings, researchers from the recently opened Physics Department at the National University of Singapore have pursued the problem and have come up with a broadband invisibility cloak.

Their solution is ingenious but not simple. In a two dimensional example, the researchers construct a plane that causes light to converge on a specific region of space. At this point, a mirror reflects the light from the planar space onto a spherical space. The light then travels around the circumference of the sphere and, no matter what direction the light enters the sphere surface, it always ends up at the same location. A second mirror can then divert the light back onto the planar space, where it exits as if nothing had ever happened.

Note that the two dimensional example required a three dimensional object. As the authors note, their three dimensional example involves a four dimensional hypersphere. Here’s the thing: I can’t picture how to make a three dimensional object that bends space in four space-like dimensions… I just can’t do it, and I can’t see how it is possible.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting finding, which someone much cleverer than me might be able to implement. However, don’t expect to learn much from the two page paper—to actually see how the results were obtained, you need to read the 20 odd pages of supplementary information.

How to Flatten Your Tummy

3 01 2009


Written by PureFairyPoison
Learn how to get a flatter tummy without having to join a gym, bare in mind that you will need to stay consistent and not give up easily.



Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Eat at least 6 almonds every morning. I know it sounds stupid but as well as being one of the healthiest snacks you can eat, almonds are rich in protein which is essential when burning fat.


Boost your metabolism by walking/jogging or sprinting for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week, going shopping is a great way of doing this.


Stop eating refined carbohydrates like white bread, pastas, potatoes, and start eating complex carbohydrates like brown rice and whole wheat bread instead, refined carbohydrates take longer to burn.


Make obvious choices, If you drink whole milk, drink skimmed milk. When you go to a resturant order something high in protien so it repairs muscle.


Drink plenty of water. This will help digestion, drink at least 8 glasses a day.


Do not eat with in 3 hours of sleeping and rather than eating three big meals eat 4-6 small meals and snack on fruit.


Get yourself a pilaties/yoga DVD. These are great because you can do them at your own pace and both work on toning up your entire body.


Write down a list of 5 goals everyday. They don’t have to be very aggressive goals, just simple tasks you feel are within your reach. Here’s an example… Monday, January 22 1. Jog for 20 minutes 2. Eat 4 foods high in protein 3. No sweets after dinner 4. Drink 6 glasses of water 5. Eat 3 servings of vegetables When you create a “To Do” list you can visualize, it helps you stay on track and focus on your goals. It’s also important to check off each task as you complete it. This creates a sense of accomplishment that keeps you motivated.