Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Eve - Santa Movement "Confirmed"

On Christmas Eve, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as Norad confirmed and tracked Santa and his reindeers across the world. Norad which has been tracking Santa for the past fifty years. How? With Santa Cams stationed across the globe and satellite, of course. Twitter users, for the first time followed the direction Santa headed from tweets, or Twitter messages from "Bitz the Elf," whose screen name is "noradsanta," according to Google, which has been giving Norad a hand in tracking Santa this year. Some web-based software which Google has used to help Norad include Google Maps and Google Earth. Below is one of the many video captures of Santa. Here he is shown at Beijing, China, travelling along the Great Wall and admiring some of the more well-known tourist attractions as well as some of the newer buildings made for the Olympics such as the Bird's Nest Stadium.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Regenerative Medicine Not So Far Away

The US Army has already developed a medicine to help regrow tissue and bone. Extracellular Matrix, he cream-colored crystallized powder, dubbed "magic dust," combines properties from the intestinal lining and the urinary bladder to make it into what it is. The medicine helps by giving the body`s natural healing powers a power boost, sort of tricking the body to think that it is back in the womb. One man who took part of the regenerative-medicine study after cutting off the tip of his finger in a model plane's propeller, had the substance applied to the wound, and after a month the body grew skin and tissue to renew the damaged finger. Whether it looked like a normal finger again, and to what extent the wound has healed was not told. Another medicinal breakthrough is a kind of engineered skin substitute. It is made from the patient`s own cells and about the size of a postage stamp. It could grow several times larger and can be used to prevent injection and can also placed over top of severely damaged skin to serve as new skin. The Army has also announced that a process to rebuild or regrow missing or damaged bone. A biodegradable scaffold is needed to be put in place of the missing/damaged bone to guide the regrowth. So far the only success the researchers have had is on test rats, which they have managed to restore 3cm of bone. They hope to achieve two more centimeters within two years. This technology is developped for injured soldiers and whether or not it will be available for the public was not told.

The picture to the right shows that the scaffold has already promoted bone regrowth in the rat. Before this, the bone was missing on the underside, and the new bone cells appears to be more greyish and transparent compared to the rest of the bones that were not damaged in this x-ray.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mekong, Vietnam - "Treasure Trove" of Undiscovered Wildlife

Last week, the World Wildlife Fund released a report saying that parts of Vietnam and five other countries, is home to 1068 previously unknown wildlife species, including mammals, plants lizards and fish. The report has a timeframe of discoveries made from 1997 to 2007. Currently, the WWF averages two new discoveries a week. One such discovery is a lizard known as cyrtodactylus phongnhakebangensis, which has a brown body with a bright yellow tail for the most part, and white at the tip of the tail. It was discovered in 2002. Another discovery is an odd millipede, discovered in Thailand in 2007. It is bright pink and produces hydrogen cyanide for protection. Not all the discoveries made were absolutely new. Some of them are considered to be 'rediscovered', especially the Laotion Rock Rat, also known as Laonastes aenigmamus, which is a living fossil, thought to have been extinct for 11 million years. Oddly enough, it was spotted at a food market. In the report a total of 519 plants, 279 fish, 88 frogs, 88 spiders, 46 lizards, 22 snakes, 15 mammals, four birds, four turtles, two salamanders and a toad were found. Below are some pictures and footages of the wildlife.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Archeologists find 2000 year old Brain

Recently at an archeological excavation at York Universi cty in northern England, archeolgoists have found a human skull in a mud pit. These types of findings are quiteommon. The only difference is, is that parts of the brain inside the cranium has been preserved. Rachel Cubitt was the person who found the skull and noticed that there was something inside. When she tried to see, she noticed an unusual yellow substance from the bottom of the skull. Recognizing what it may be, she remembered a university lecture on the rare survival of ancient brain tissue, and looked for a professional opinion, which turned out to be that the yellow substance was in fact, portions of a preserved brain. The skull was then taken a CT scanner at York Hospital, which produced an extremely clear image. The fact that no flesh or soft tissue except the brain is extremely rare, says Dr Sonia O'Connor, Research Fellow in Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford. York University was in the middle of expanding the campus when an extensive prehistoric farming landscape of fields, track ways and buildings dating back to at least 300 BC, was found. Since then archaeological investigations have continued.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Exam Week

Tomorrow will be the first exam for Notre Dame. After this, a whole week of exams will follow and then a back-to-normal-school friday. Good Luck!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dragonball Evolution

The new Dragonball Z movie is set to come out in the summer of 2009. A trailer was just leaked or realeased and named Dragonball Evolution. It appears to be a poorly thought-out movie. Everything that made Dragonball Z what it was has been entirely changed. For example, Master Roshi, originally an old and balding man in the Dragonball Z series, is now a much younger looking Chow Yun Fat with plenty of hair. The masculine Goku, the main character of the whole show, is now a feeble looking teenager played by Justin Chatwin. For all those Dragonball fans out there, I suggest having a look and deciding for yourselves whether this movie might actually be really big hit ( just as many people had thought that Transformers would be lame because it was a movie based on a toy ), or become a major flop. Click here to see the trailer or go to

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Kiss of Deaf?

Yesterday in Zhuhai city in Guangdong province, China, a woman in her 20's had a slightly too passionate kiss in which the super suctioned kiss "reduced the pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear." Because of this, newslines dubbed it the "Kiss of Deaf." Though the woman completely lost her hearing in her left ear, she is expected to make a full recovery in a couple month's time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Hong Kong's HUGE Computer Fair

Thousands and thousands of people are attending the the Sham Shui Po Computer Festival. Sham Shui Po is well-known as a computer hotspot. A few of the products sold there include components like motherboards, RAM, and CPU's, complete systems, and various peripherals, along with other technology related gadgets and gizmos. Not only are the prices cheap, but because right now the Computer Fair is taking place, everything is heavily discounted on top of the already cheap price. The fair lasts for four days, ending this coming monday. Yesterday an estimated 120,000 people visited the fair, and today is expected to bring more people looking for some hi-tech toys.

Right: The digital hub logo of Sham Shui Po

Microsoft - The next fashion statement?

Microsoft will be launching a new line of clothing called "Softwear by Microsoft." It will be mostly concentrated on graphic t-shirts that will feature designs based on ancient 1980's MS-DOS fonts. Pictures of a much younger Bill Gates mugshot will be on some of the t-shirts as well. Common, the rapper who also grew up in the 80's will be the celebrity spokesperson for Softwear and also made contributions some of the designs on the shirts too. Reportedly, the Microsoft line of clothing is expected to hit select stores on December 15 of this year.

To visit the Microsoft Softwear website click here or go to

Friday, December 5, 2008

NFL: Live and 3D

Yesterday's NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers was played in 3D in private theaters to audiences in Los Angeles, New York and Boston by the Burbank, Calif., firm 3ality Digital. 3ality chairman David Modell said it was more of a test run to show to the NFL that 3D technology is already here. Howard Kat, who is the NFL senior vice president for media operations, says the whole thing was just a "proof of concept." The amazing thing about all this is that it was shown live AND 3D, something not normally heard of. Now the bad part is the 3D glasses. By now, one would think that there would have been some improvements to 3D viewing, and its true, there probably are, but the glasses still remain the same, unchanged for decades.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Facebook Attacked by Koobface Virus

Attention Facebook users: today Facebook has been attacked by the Koobface virus. This virus is similar to old worms from years ago which spreads through infected friend lists. How it infects a computer is that it will tell the Facebook user something like "You look funny in this new video," and prompt the user to open the link. After doing so it will show that a Flash update is needed. Letting the "Flash Update" to begin is the key for the virus to get into the computer. But not to worry, even if anyone did get tricked, there is a solution which Facebook has posted that can be found here or go to

9 Year Old Writes Dating Book

Alec Greven, a nine year old, who attends Soaring Hawk Elementary in Colorado, has written a book called "How to Talk to Girls". It first started off as a $3 dollar pamphlet at his school book fair, and when it became a "bestseller" there, it went onto bookshelves in bookstores. Though it is clearly written by a child of young age, people of all ages can find it very entertaining. On one of the pages, "Pretty girls are like cars that need a lot of oil." can be found. In chapter three, Alec writes "It is easy to spot pretty girls because they have big earrings, fancy dresses and all the jewelry." When asked whether or not he has a girlfriend he said "I'm a little too young."

Car Dealership's New Sale - Buy One Get One Free

It's not something usually seen at a car dealership, and also probably the first of its kind of sale. As of late, car dealerships have had to close down because of the economic crisis. It is because of this that now people, especially families, are not putting vehicles on the top of their to-buy list. Just last year, cars like pickups, suv's, sports cars, and regular cars were quite popular. Today it isn't as much as a high priority thing to get anymore because people have to save more. So, car dealers had to come up of a way to start sales again which have dropped from 1.18 million last year to 747,000 this year. Rob Lambdin's University Dodge in Miami thought that the best way was a Buy One Get One Free sale. Theres just one thing though. To get the second vehicle, a Dodge truck at full retail price. You can get the second truck for about $3,000 in tax, tags and dealer fees, after buying the first one. Most of the cars are of US automakers. Even still, with this amazing sale going on, there still arent enough people coming into the stores.

iPod Touch - TruPhone, Now make calls using the Touch

TruPhone, in the beginning (way back in 2006) allowed iPhone users to make calls across the internet without having to pay any long distance fees and whatnot. It was something that troubled many cellphone operators and companies. But now, it is something that can be added to the iPod Touch as an application. With the application, anyone can now make calls and SMS, through WiFi through their Touch, as long as you're connected to the internet of course. Another limitation is that to use the new phone capability, you'll need a headset attached to the Touch. Calls made to other TruPhone users and GoogleTalk IM PC users are completely free of charge. Landline calls are charged seperately. With this, it might just be better to stick to the Touch and not get that iPhone everyone's been wanting, since the only difference between the two shortly ago was the phone capability, and now thats shrinking as well. What makes the TruPhone really good, is that it can be downloaded for free by clicking here or visit

New JK Rowling Book - The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The new book titled "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" was just published to the public today. This book, is supposedly the same story book mentioned in the extremely popular "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Prior to its public publishing, JK Rowling had made seven hand written and self-illustrated versions by herself. These were bound in leather and mounted with semi-precious stones. She gave six of these to six people who were very involved with the Harry Potter series. The seventh book went for auction which sold for $4.5 billion with proceeds going to charity. The 'regular' edition royalties that would normally go to the author is to be sent to Children's High Level Group, a charity she co-founded to support institutionalized children in Eastern Europe. Although it is expected that it would not be nearly as popular and as big of a hit as the Harry Potter series, it would still be expected to hit No.1 in book charts.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Teacher Putting Up Advertisements on Exams

Tom Farber, a high school calculus teacher, recently had his class budget cut. He needed more and so he sells ads on his tests and exams. People, usually parents and students, can sponsor an ad to be put on the front of the test. The cost of an ad is $10 for a quiz ad, $20 a test and/or $30 for one to be put on the final exam. So far, there were five quotes put up on the test and two ads for local businesses. One of the ads were "Brace yourself for a great semester! Braces by Henry, Stephen P. Henry D.M.D." an ad for braces. The other one was for a haircut at a barbershop. Teacher Tom Farber has collected over $300 already and is aiming for $1000. He says that although he likes the idea, he doesnt want to do this every year because the government should give more funding to schools instead of cutting them, and that it shouldnt become a standard for schools to raise enough money just to have enough tests to be printed. The students are liking it as well. "It raises money for the teachers and it's amusing for the kids, so it seems like a win-win," said Luke Shaw, a student taking one of Tom's classes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jupiter, Venus and the Moon to Unite

Last night, Jupiter, Venus and the moon aligned in the night sky across many countries around the world. In some places they appeared close together in random positions, and in other places people saw either a happface or a frown. The 'smile' or 'frown' is no doubt caused by the curvature of the Earth when the sun, Earth and moon aligned so the sun's rays would shine onto the earth and beyond to the where the moon was. It was a magical moment which wont happen again until November 18, 2052. Photographers around the world took many pictures of this once (or twice, for the younger astronomers out there)-a-liftime event. Here are several of the pictures taken.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Visually Impaired-Friendly iPhone

Yanko Design featured a concept for which the visually-impaired may be able to work with an iphone much easier. The silicone case features engraved with bas-relief buttons which provides tactile feedback to visually-impaired individuals. An application would need to be have downloaded seperately so that the case would work with the iphone. So far this is just a concept and has not been mass produced yet, but would be interesting if it were.