Proportions of the Turkish Empire
The first pie chart ever appeared in Playfair’s Statistical Breviary (1801). It showed the proportions of the Turkish Empire located in Asia, Europe and Africa before 1789.
M.I.T. Computer Program Reveals Invisible Motion in Video
A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed an image-enhancing software program that can reveal subtle fluctuations in colors and motions once thought to be invisible to the naked eye. Head over to the New York Times for more details on this story.
[The Daily What]
Meet the scientific accident that could change the world
Last year, researchers at UCLA made a rather fantastic, if serendipitous, discovery. A team of scientists led by chemist Richard Kaner had just finished devising an efficient method for producing high-quality sheets of the Nobel-prize winning supermaterial known as graphene… with a consumer-grade DVD drive. That was groundbreaking in and of itself, but the real surprise came when Maher El-Kady, a researcher in Kaner’s lab, wired a small square of their high quality carbon sheets up to a lightbulb. Then something incredible happened.
As the video above explains, Kaner and El-Kady had stumbled upon an energy storage medium with revolutionary potential. Imagine filling your smart phone with a long-lasting charge in just a couple seconds, or an electric car in a minute. Future applications, first described in a March 2012 issue of Science, looked very promising.
Fast forward one year, and Kaner and El-Kady are even closer to realizing a tomorrow rich with supercapacitor technology. In a paper published in a recent issue of Nature Communications, the researchers report that El-Kady’s original fabrication process (highlighted in the video) can be made even more efficient. More efficient production of high quality graphene means it’s scalable. And scalability, of course, can lead to manufacturing and wide-scale technological implementation. As the researchers note in the abstract to their paper:
Here we demonstrate a scalable fabrication of graphene micro-supercapacitors over large areas by direct laser writing on graphite oxide films using a standard LightScribe DVD burner. More than 100 micro-supercapacitors can be produced on a single disc in 30 min or less… These micro-supercapacitors demonstrate a power density of ~200 W cm−3, which is among the highest values achieved for any supercapacitor.
The upshot? The supercapacitors that Kaner and El-Kady are producing with freaking DVD burners could find their way into consumer tech way sooner than many might have originally guessed. (While minute-charge electric cars may still be a ways off, the fact these sheets are as unobtrusive and flexible as they are bodes well for their incorporation into plenty of near-future technologies — roll-up displays, for instance, or e-paper.) According to Kaner, his lab is already courting partners in industry. Color us excited.
The above video, by Brian Golden Davis, is a is a Finalist in the GE FOCUS FORWARDFilmmaker Competition. Read the papers from the Kaner lab in Science and Nature Communications.
[UPWORTHY via KCET]
So this is what time zones look like in Antarctica
Pretty trippy, right? Given that Antarctica rests on every line of longitude, you might be tempted to think the continent observes every single time zone, but this is not the case. In fact, as the maps featured here illustrate, even regions that lie along the same meridian don’t necessarily observe the same time zones, due in large part to the range of territorial claims on the continent. Some places — labeled in red — have no time zone, and just observe Coordinated Universal Time, by default.
So much for running in a circle around the South Pole and traveling back/forward in time*. More info, including hi-res versions of the maps below, here and here.
* NOTE: THIS IS NOT HOW TIME TRAVEL WORKS.
Ceefax Is Dead: Teletext Switched Off For Good As ‘Goodbye Note’ Discovered On Twitter
Ceefax is dead.
The BBC’s teletext information service was a world first when it launched in 1974, and initially provided just 30 pages of information. The data was carried in a previously unused part of the spectrum allocated to analogue television.
The BBC has produced an interesting documentary about the service - complete with the cheesy music that used to play behind the ‘Pages From Ceefax’ service overnight.
But Ceefax also has a goodbye message of its own. A (spoof) picture posted on Twitter gives us a clearer idea of the bitter, sad and heartbroken Ceefax service facing its own demise[.]
Still there is life after death for Ceefax. Many of its most popular elements, including the trivia game Bamboozle, live on via their own iPhone and Android apps. Which you’ll be able to download over 4G, which will run on… the spectrum previously used to carry Ceefax.
[Huffington Post UK]
The Cassette To iPod Converter
This is the device that converts audio tape cassettes into MP3 files and stores them directly onto an iPhone or iPod touch. It accepts most iPhones and iPod touches, and normal or chrome cassette tapes. With its free app, conversion to MP3 is as simple as inserting a cassette, docking an iPhone or iPod touch, and pressing play. Tapes can be listened to using the headphones jack (headphones required) or by connecting its audio output to a stereo system for scanning forward or reverse to select tracks for conversion. Cassettes can also be converted to a PC running Windows 7, XP, or Vista or a Mac using the included software. Its small footprint allows easy portability for conversion anywhere at anytime. Requires two AA batteries. 4 1/2” L x 3 1/4” W x 1 1/4” D. (8 oz.)
[Hammacher Schlemmer, via Inkiostro]
Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate
[…] If you simply stick to the Star Wars films, there is no news media of any kind. Despite the fact that we see cameras circling around Queen/Senator Amidala in the Senate, they don’t seem to be actually feeding this information anywhere. Are they security cameras, like the ones that recorded Anakin killing little tiny Jedi kiddies? This theory achieves a little more weight when you consider that the conversation in The Phantom Menace Senate scene is all about how Queen Amidala can’t verify the existence of a coming invasion. She’s got no pictures, and stranger still, no reputable news source has even written about the blockade of Naboo. Even if we put forth that cameras in Star Wars are only for security and not for news, that still leaves the question of why there are no journalists. A possible answer: it’s because most people don’t read, which means that over time most people in this universe don’t ever learn to read.
“But wait!” you might be saying, “I remember seeing little pieces of text on the screen that Artoo sends to Luke to read. Also there is writing on the tractor beam controls, and people in the ships are looking at buttons with letters on them!” Well, I’d like to point out that even in the case of Luke Skywalker, these letters and pieces of writing are directly related to tasks. Pilots for the Empire are probably functionally literate, because they go through some kind of training academy. However, I think the visual evidence suggests a culture much more reliant upon technology and droids than is immediately apparent.
Uncle Owen needs a droid who can speak “bocce,” and then says something about the binary language of load lifters. Okay, so Uncle Owen needs a translator and someone to do math for him. This doesn’t sound like a guy who has gotten a suitable education. I suppose it’s possible that Luke picked up some reading here and there, but we don’t see any books or any evidence to suggest he’s a fluent reader. It seems like all the characters in Star Warslearn how to do is punch certain buttons to make their machines do what they need to do, and everything else is left up to droids. […]
[Ryan Britt on Tor.com, via io9]
This Is What The Future Looks Like of the Day
This itty bitty sliver of glass, recently unveiled by Hitachi, can apparently store data forever.
Able to withstand temperatures up to 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s also waterproof, chemical-resistant, and unharmed by radio waves.
No degradation of the data over time means these magic squares could preserve the information of our civilization for eons to come.