Mechanics, not microbes, are the menace to civilisation.
– Norman Douglas (1868 – 1952)
The Mobile Phone
My mobile phone or cell phone is now a part of my everyday life. I don’t know how I ever mananged without it.
Mine you, I am not a very techie person. I use my mobile phone to make a phone call and occassionally to send a text. If push, I would also use it to browse website, especially globalgranary.life. 😉
Anyway, I do not use my iPhone much but the battery drains so fast, it is unbelievable and charging it takes time. It takes ages and I can be a very impatient person.
I heard that if you charge the phone using the airplane setting, the charging will be faster! The only drawback is that you won’t be able to receive call.
I agree with Stephen Hawkings on this one. My smartphone alone will be the death of me. It autocorrects my messages. It automatically change my sometimes funny but nonsensical comments into downright stupid ones. It is killing my reputation and gathering me some very unhappy friends. 😉
I also find that machines, which are supposed to make life easier are anything but. I now have less and less free time as technology improves more and more.
My social life now consists of me and my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. 🙂 Of course I love every single one of them. Some of them give me gifts for my Farmville, Sugar Crush and help me with my Pet Saga, but surely there is more to life than a mouse, keyboard and a small screen and of course a capricious internet connection?
Artificial Intelligence – Death of Mankind
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.
But others are less gloomy about AI’s prospects.
The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak.
Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next.
Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said.
“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
But others are less pessimistic.
“I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realised,” said Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot.
Cleverbot’s software learns from its past conversations, and has gained high scores in the Turing test, fooling a high proportion of people into believing they are talking to a human.
Rise of the robots
Mr Carpenter says we are a long way from having the computing power or developing the algorithms needed to achieve full artificial intelligence, but believes it will come in the next few decades.
“We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can’t know if we’ll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it,” he says.
But he is betting that AI is going to be a positive force.
Prof Hawking is not alone in fearing for the future.
In the short term, there are concerns that clever machines capable of undertaking tasks done by humans until now will swiftly destroy millions of jobs.
In the longer term, the technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has warned that AI is “our biggest existential threat”.
In his BBC interview, Prof Hawking also talks of the benefits and dangers of the internet.
He quotes the director of GCHQ’s warning about the net becoming the command centre for terrorists: “More must be done by the internet companies to counter the threat, but the difficulty is to do this without sacrificing freedom and privacy.”
He has, however, been an enthusiastic early adopter of all kinds of communication technologies and is looking forward to being able to write much faster with his new system.
But one aspect of his own tech – his computer generated voice – has not changed in the latest update.
Prof Hawking concedes that it’s slightly robotic, but insists he didn’t want a more natural voice.
“It has become my trademark, and I wouldn’t change it for a more natural voice with a British accent,” he said.
“I’m told that children who need a computer voice, want one like mine.”
All gardening is landscape painting.
– Alexander Pope
Flower Pruner Gadget
I recently bought a new pair of gardening gloves in beautiful flowery pink and I noticed that it came with the above flower pruner as a special gift.
I love this new gadget, it is so useful now that spring flowers, especially from the bulbs, are beginning to wilt and past their best.
I have been using this pruner for de-heading flowers which have drooped. I read from one of my gardening books to de-head or cut off the wilting flowers to bulbs as they still use up nutrients that should be stored for next year’s show of blooms.
So with my new pink gloves, I have been pruning and de-heading flowers from our boarders, tubs, rose bushes and even trees in the garden with a vengeance using my little gadget which is now permanently residing on my gardening apron’s pocket; ever ready for any unwanted blooms. LOL
When we think of space and space age, we always assume that clothing will be of the tin-foil variety with bizarre geometrical patterns.
Well to start with our own Earth Spacemen did wear the galaxy ball look but over the years it changed to its more comfortable and less bulky look.
The space suits, also known as EMUs or Extra-vehicular Mobility Units, protect astronauts when they go outside their spacecraft.
Anatomy of the space suit:
* The outer layers protect against radiation from the Sun and other space particles and dust
* The inner side of the space suit is blown up like a balloon to press against the body which in effect acts as a space bubble wrap. The function of this is to ensure that the blood would not boil. 🙁 eck
* The inner lining of the space suit encapsulates tubings which contain water, that will cool down or warm up the body during space walk.
* The suit also includes mini apparatus which provide drinks or to collect urine.
* The helmet protect against radiation as well as micrometeoroids (meteor dusts); inside the helmet, oxygen is circulated to prevent the helmet’s clear visor from misting.
* The gloves have silicone-rubber fingertips which allow for a sense of touch.
* The backpack contains up to 7 hours of pure oxygen for the astronaut to breathe. It also functions as a machine to get rid of the carbon dioxide that the astronaut exhale.
As of year 2000, a space suit would cost about $11 million.
Behind the Fashion: What Astronauts Wore in Space
When astronaut Alan Bean went to space on the 1973 Skylab 3 mission, he wore the suit pictured here. It was designed with a spiral zipper, to allow astronauts to sit in the lunar rover without having their suits balloon out.
“The previous edition had a zipper which provided no mobility in the hips,” said Lewis. “To circumvent, engineers designed this suit with a spiral zipper, which starts at the right corner of the neck ring and goes around the side to build in the localization of air pressure in the hip.”
You may be wondering why the suit—like most space suits—is bright white. There’s a reason for that too. The color was designed with its reflectivity in mind—to help astronauts deflect solar radiation, swings in temperature, and even tiny particulates.
“It was designed to dissipate energy laterally,” said Lewis. “There are actually many layers which deflect particles and slow them down before they can puncture the pressure layer.”
All of the astronauts in the Apollo program were provided with repair kits in case of a tear, but all of them say the repair kits were never used, said Lewis. The astronauts wore the suits both outside the spacecraft and during entry and re-entry—which created a tricky balancing act for engineers trying to make safe and comfortable gear.
“On the Apollo missions, you had to fit the suits inside the spacecraft but still make them vigorous enough to work outside on the lunar surfaces,” said Lewis. “The Apollo spacecraft looks relatively small when you have to protect shoulders and give mobility so that three healthy-sized men can sit in it abreast.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of the experimental EXI-A space suit is its lack of zippers. The earliest space suits had zippers, but now joints are made of hard seals.
“Zippers are unreliable,” said Lewis. “Even the best ones are only okay for several pressurizations.”
Suits today are designed to last much longer, she said. And every return from space means a deep cleaning and inspection, with new seals and O-rings applied.
The result is a suit that is air-tight, for the protection of the astronaut. That also means the suit can get kind of hot.
“It’s like being in a plastic bag,” said Lewis. “Of course, there are comfort layers—usually long johns—and the astronauts are also given diapers.”
This wasn’t always the case. When Alan Shepard became the first American in space during the Mercury mission, he wasn’t given a diaper because the entire mission was supposed to last 15 minutes.
That was before a problem with the launch pad required Shepard to sit in his shuttle for six hours before launch. And sure enough, nature called. There were two options, he was told. Abort the launch or … urinate in his suit.
As Lewis puts it: “They didn’t have any amenities for Alan Shepard, but they learned quickly.”
Above, a photograph of the prototype Mark V space suit, which was designed in the early 1960s to help astronauts achieve a fuller range of motion while performing delicate tasks in the vacuum of space.
This photograph, one of several on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., helps paint a fuller portrait of what astronauts wore to survive entry and spacewalks.
The photographs are part of a larger exhibit called “Suited for Space,” which traces the evolution of space suits over the past 60 years through photos, x-rays, and artifacts. (Related: “Photos: Space Suit Evolution Since First NASA Flight.”)
Cathleen Lewis, a historian and curator of international space programs at the museum, explained that the asymmetrical shoulders on the Mark V space suit were designed as a test.
“The right arm is the traditional shoulder design,” she said. “But on the left arm, you can see bellows, which would allow the astronauts to localize air displacement and restrain the pressurization of outer space.”
In other words, if an astronaut lifted his or her arm in space without these specialized joints, the arm of the suit would balloon up—making it impossible to do work.
The traveling exhibit will remain in Washington, D.C., through December 1, when it will continue to stops in Tampa, Philadelphia, and Seattle.
Looking at astronaut Alan Shepard’s suit—which he wore in space—it’s clear just how complex a space suit really is.
“There were communication wires and wires throughout the chest that would send measurements like an astronaut’s heart rate back down to Earth,” said Lewis. “You can see the constraints in the hips and the knees.” (Related: “What’s Inside a Space Suit? X-Rays Reveal All.”)
Pointing lower, she said, “The boots are thick and heavy, to absorb radiation on the bottom of the soles.”
A suit like Shepard’s weighed about 56 pounds (25 kilograms), sans life-support gear and helmet. Add those components and the weight almost triples, to 182 pounds (82 kilograms).
On Earth, the astronauts had technicians to help them into the suits. But during the later Apollo missions, the astronauts had to help each other.
“After landing on the moon during Apollo 11, the astronauts prepped for three hours,” said Lewis. “They were dressing and then double- and triple-checking along their checklists, to make sure everything was in place.”
Published August 9, 2013
There is a spoof ad going round claiming that the new iOS7 app makes iPhone waterproof.
Unfortunately some university students took the ad as gospel and had been busy testing the app. Presumably there will be increase in insurance claims for water-damaged iPhones?!!!
Just to recap, IT IS NOT TRUE, IPHONES ARE NOT QUITE WATERPROOFED!
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 · 11:09 am · 8 Comments
Under the highly-questionable headline, “iOS 7: users destroy iPhones after fake waterproof advert,” Ben Riley-Smith reports for The Telegraph, “A spoof advert suggesting Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system made handsets waterproof appears to have fooled some users into destroying their iPhone
MacDailyNews Take: “Appears.” Not necessarily actually happened.
“The fake commercial appeared almost identical to Apple’s real poster advertising with images of the iPhone on a white background accompanied by neat text.
‘Update to iOS 7 and become waterproof,’ the poster read,” Riley-Smith reports. “‘In an emergency, a smart-switch will shut off the phone’s power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry,’ it explained.”
MacDailyNews Notee: As an aside, Apple would never use the word “delicate” to describe “iPhone’s circuitry.”
Spoof ad claiming Apple’s new iOS 7 makes iPhones waterproof
“After being shared on social media sites by users encouraging people to try the new feature soon angry complaints appeared from those fooled by the joke,” Riley-Smith reports. “‘Whoever said ios7 was waterproof **** you,’ wrote one user on Twitter. ‘Wtf iOS7 isn’t waterproof!! Now my phone’s at the bottom of the river,’ another said.”
MacDailyNews Take: Again, “appeared.”
Those tweets could easily be – and probably better – interpreted as humorous replies from people who get the joke. Obviously, even if you believed the ridiculous spoof ad, throwing your iPhone into a river for it to settle on the bottom as a test of the spoofed feature would introduce further issues beyond simply dunking it into a glass of water.
Riley-Smith reports, “The prank is understood to have been started by controversial forum 4Chan which has a chequered history of hosting faked material.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: If concocting “news” from random tweets is the best you can do, perhaps you should try another line of work.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]