Archive for the ‘Science & Technology’ Category

Chomped Moon

Eclipse of the Moon

It was a wonderfully clear night tonight, perfect for standing out on the lakefront watching the moon get swallowed by the great wolf Fenris eclipsed by the Earth. Perfect except for the fact that it was about -100°. I came in after an hour when I started to lose feeling in my fingers. So I only have photos of the first half of the eclipse (and a nice little hacking cough). Science!

Automated Crime Detection?

It sounds pretty futuristic–entrusting law enforcement to the machines–but the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is working with IBM to spruce up Operation Virtual Shield which is the ominous name for the network of video cameras being deployed around the city to fight crime. Apparently, IBM is going to be developing some software to analyze the video footage and automatically detect “suspicious behavior”.

I’m sure that will give peace of mind to those paranoid about crime in the city, in spite of the fact that recent studies have suggested that London’s extensive camera network doesn’t really help solve crime. Phew, that’s a relief… I mean, I sure would hate to give up my civil liberties for a costly and ineffective system! Er…

Getcha iPhone

So after quite a bit of hype, the iPhone comes out this Friday at 6 pm at Apple and AT&T Wireless Stores. Are you going to wait in line (or pay someone to do so)? If so, here’s our too-clever-by-half Google Map of the Chicagoland Apple and AT&T Stores:

//

Apple Store North Michigan Ave
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.816050,42.152067);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

Apple Store Northbrook
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.950124,41.852102);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

Apple Store Oak Brook
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-88.041281,42.049731);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

Apple Store Woodfield
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.747780,42.061291);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

Apple Store Old Orchard
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.626260,41.896692);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Chicago Ave
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.627923,41.885065);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store State St
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.634325,41.880644);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Monroe St
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.638386,41.905121);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Sedgwick St
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.639199,41.868263);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Canal St
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.643621,41.932821);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Diversey
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.667660,41.866778);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Roosevelt Rd
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.718532,41.844249);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store 26th St
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.576247,41.766235);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Jeffrey Blvd
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.712317,42.011722);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Touhy Ave
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.804872,41.887766);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Harlem Ave-Oak Park
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.805729,41.911973);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Harlem-Elmwood Park
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.807136,41.956786);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Harlem Ave-Norridge
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.604839,41.737342);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Cottage Grove
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.679352,42.046458);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Chicago Ave-Evanston
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.741435,41.754262);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Cicero Ave
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.746670,42.057704);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Skokie Blvd
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.749614,41.719883);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store 95th St
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.869791,41.818109);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store La Grange Rd
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.778985,41.696729);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Ridgeland Ave
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.836236,42.052724);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store Milwaukee Ave-Niles
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

var point = new GPoint(-87.939663,41.918430);
var marker = createMarker(point, ‘

AT&T Store York Rd
website

‘);
map.addOverlay(marker);

//]]>

(many thx to Tom Bridge at the DC Metblog)

RinseCam 9000

Dishwasher

Coudal Partners use some innovative technology to investigate the pressing(?) question of whether you can clean a computer keyboard by washing it in a dishwasher.

Baby/Spaceman Monitor

A Chicago mom was diligently watching her baby monitor, when suddenly she started getting live video of astronauts.Because I’m all about gadgets, I went and got my hands on one of these bad boys. Sadly the transmitter does not include an escape velocity feature. I throw it up and it just falls back down.

C4: Indie Developer Conference

Wolf Rentzsch’s C4 conference for indie software developers will be taking place in Chicago on August 10-12 and registration is now open. If the prospect of seeing geeky superstars like Adam Engst (TidBITS) and Wil Shipley (Delicious Library) isn’t enough to draw you, there’s always the possibility of a fistfight.

(via Daring Fireball)

Fossil Forest

forest-fossils.jpg

National Geographic and LiveScience have the story of a complete 300-million-year-old rain forest found fossilized intact, thanks to an ancient earthquake, in an Illinois coal mine.

Miners in Illinois are used to seeing a few plant fossils strewn along a mine’s ceiling, but as they burrowed farther into this one, the sheer density and area covered by such fossils struck them as phenomenal, Elrick said.

That’s when they called paleobotanist Howard Falcon-Lang from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom and William DiMichele, a curator of fossil plants at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

“It was an amazing experience. We drove down the mine in an armored vehicle, until we were a hundred meters below the surface,” Falcon-Lang said. “The fossil forest was rooted on top of the coal seam, so where the coal had been mined away the fossilized forest was visible in the ceiling of the mine.”

Photo by Howard Falcon-Lang
(via BoingBoing)

The Step It Up Rally

The Step it Up Rally is Tomorrow. For those who don’t know, and are too lazy to click the link, Step It Up is a movement to get Congress to pass legislation that will mandate an 80% reduction in US carbon emissions by 2050. Instead of having the supporters of this type of legislation fly to DC, thereby increasing carbon output, the organizers are encouraging people to follow the adage of, “Think globally, act locally.”

Whose going and how are you getting there?

Technorati Tags: ,

U of C 16th most Piratey University

I had been noticing a lot of eye-patches down in Hyde Park… The MPAA has compiled a list of the 25 most “pirate” universities, based on their P2P tracking. The University of Chicago is number 16 on the list, with 575 copyright infringement notices. The university has disabled around 40 student accounts this year for alleged copyright infringement.

(via Daring Fireball)

Tappity: A Chicago Web Developer’s New Toy

Tappity is the brainchild of Chicago web developer Scott Robbin. It culls mobile home pages (web pages designed to look more fluid and concise on a phone’s minimalist web browser) and allows you to make your own mobile home page. It’s a cool as hell free service, and he’s testing some even cooler ideas like making a premade one for visitors of the SXSW Festival.Once you sign up, it’s completely customizable and you can add sites to a greater pool. Have a mobile version of your own site that you want to give some exposure? Add it and supply the right tags and people will find it!Right now it has over 600 users and it’s gotten some cool mentions on technology websites, so it may be close to getting huge. But it’s also still in beta, so if you have a PDA and a craving for geek toys, let him know what you think.*Disclaimer: Scott is a friend of mine, but I am not a business partner of his in any way and even though his site is free, I gain nothing from his company being bought by Google or whatever glory this mighty post affords him.

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