Nov 24 2010

German Physicists Create a “Super-Photon”

Posted by PAgent in Current Events, Technology, science

Researchers in Bonn have cooled photons to a temperature where they spontaneously condense, forming a ‘photonic Bose-Einstein condensate’.

So, what’s it good for?

This photonic Bose-Einstein condensate is a completely new source of light that has characteristics resembling lasers. But compared to lasers, they have a decisive advantage, “We are currently not capable of producing lasers that generate very short-wave light – i.e. in the UV or X-ray range,” explained Jan Klärs. “With a photonic Bose-Einstein condensate this should, however, be possible.”

Read the article at

Nov 11 2010

Quote of the Day

Posted by PAgent in Blogs and Bloggers, Prose, Technology

“Back-ups. Oh, my god. Burning your stuff to CD or DVD is not good enough. Trust me on that. Things go wrong. Understand that Storage Will Always Fail. Always. I have a ruggedised, manly and capacious 32GB USB memory stick that can withstand fire, water, gunshots and the hairy arseteeth of Cthulhu itself — but my daughter decided she wanted to liberate one of my bags for her use, took the stick out of it and put it ’somewhere safe.’ It has never been seen again. Storage Will Always Fail.”

– Warren Ellis, on “What I Use”

Oct 25 2010

Good Things

Posted by PAgent in Games, Technology

I have done the bulk of the actual recording for the next audioblog, now I’m trying to use the magic of editing to make it suck less. But soon, very soon, I’ll be posting it.

In the meantime, there are a couple of tidbits I earnestly wish to share with you, because they’re awesome: Free audiobooks, and an addictive little browser-based trading sim.
Read entire article.

Sep 09 2010

Best of TED

Posted by PAgent in Links, Technology, science

You’ve probably heard of the TED talks, those short lectures by brilliant people sharing startling or fascinating new ideas. You’ve probably even seen one or two of them on YouTube. You know there are probably some great TED talks out there, but you haven’t been willing to spend the time to track them down.

Fortunately for you, Fast Company has compiled a list of TED’s Greatest Hits.

Go watch them. You’ll learn something.

Aug 16 2010

This is your brain on e-mail….

Posted by PAgent in Technology, science

What do you get when you send five neuroscientists rafting down the San Juan river? Hopefully, some additional understanding of how omnipresent technology effects our brains.

It was a primitive trip with a sophisticated goal: to understand how heavy use of digital devices and other technology changes how we think and behave, and how a retreat into nature might reverse those effects.

Cellphones do not work here, e-mail is inaccessible and laptops have been left behind. It is a trip into the heart of silence…

Read the whole article at the New York Times online.

Aug 06 2010

Using Gamers to Optimize Protein Conformation Calculations

Posted by PAgent in Games, Technology, science

This is really cool. Researchers tweaked an existing program that calculated energy-minimizing protein conformations so gamers could manually assist the program past potential dead-ends. But turns out human beings (or gamers, at least) can have special insight when looking at 3-D protein structures:

For example, people were very good about detecting a hydrophobic amino acid when it stuck out from the protein’s surface, instead of being buried internally, and they were willing to rearrange the structure’s internals in order to tuck the offending amino acid back inside. Those sorts of extensive rearrangements were beyond Rosetta’s abilities, since the energy changes involved in the transitions are so large.

Read the story at Ars Technica