Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, documentary, environmental issues, film, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development, technology
Since I have not posted any articles in a long time I will post some of those who have been published so you can select those that are of interest to you.
By Sarah Laskow
We have seen a lot of solar chargers in our day. And among all of them, this is the first one we’ve seen that we will definitely run out and buy as soon as it’s made available in the U.S. It’s a portable socket that gets its power from the sun rather than the grid. You plug into a window instead of into the wall. It’s easy.
By Joshua Philipp
Epoch Times Staff
Watching the soft glow of fireflies could become a more common activity if researchers at Syracuse University have anything to do with it. They’re developing a method to artificially create luciferase, the chemical behind the soft glow of fireflies, and are working to create commercial lights that mimic the insects’ bioluminescence.
These migrants know why they keep moving
By Francisco Gavilán
When I was going to travel through Central Asia for the umpteenth time, I was looking for new and enriching experiences, including living for a while with the nomads of Song Kul, in Kyrgyzstan.
By Tara MacIsaac
Earth permanently deformed: Geologists have discovered that the Earth’s crust may not be as elastic as previously thought. Quakes in Northern Chile have permanently deformed the Earth.
Celebrating compassion and higher living across the globe
By Arshdeep Sarao
In India the full moon day of May 25, 2013, is being celebrated as Buddha Purnima or the birth anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni. This year the Buddha becomes 2,556 years old.
‘I didn’t take blood money from a government that is murdering its people,’ says Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, Silicon Valley inventorBy Matthew Robertson, Epoch Times
By Leonardo Vintini
Everybody longs for happiness, but it seems like a hidden treasure. One way or another—consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly—everything we do, our every hope, is related to a deep desire for happiness.
Tags: environmental issues, Science, Society, sustainable development, technology
Researchers engineer bacteria to produce first biofuel identical to commercial fuel
By Simon Veazey
Until now biofuels were not completely compatible with unconverted modern engines, working inefficiently and corrosively.
But researchers say they have genetically engineered bacteria, splicing in tree and algae genes, to produce hydrocarbons identical to those used in commercial fuel.
The research was carried out at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom (UK), producing modified E. coli bacteria that produce enzymes that convert sugar into fatty acids which in turn are converted into fuel.
Professor John Love at the University of Exeter said in a statement: “Producing a commercial biofuel that can be used without needing to modify vehicles has been the goal of this project from the outset.”
“Global demand for energy is rising and a fuel that is independent of both global oil price fluctuations and political instability is an increasingly attractive prospect,” he said.
The ecological credentials of biofuels produced from food crops are sometimes criticized. But Love believes that a scaled-up version of the process would enable them to adjust the genes to allow the bacteria to produce fuel from animal manure, not sugar.
The research was partly funded by Shell’s research division, Rob Lee from Shell Projects & Technology said in a statement: “ While the technology still faces several hurdles to commercialisation, by exploring this new method of creating biofuel, along with other intelligent technologies, we hope they could help us to meet the challenges of limiting the rise in carbon dioxide emissions while responding to the growing global requirement for transport fuel.”
Tags: China, Society, technology
China’s chokehold on minerals highlighted in report
Washington right now is supposed to be all about slashing budgets and tightening belts — but the Department of Defense has recently asked Congress for over a billion dollars. To buy rocks.
Specifically, to buy rare earth and other minerals that are crucial to the U.S. defense industry, and whose supply is currently at the mercy of China and its opaque political system. Japan, for example, was starved of rare earth elements during a maritime dispute with China in 2010. The United States wants to hedge that risk, given the damaging consequences an abrupt clampdown could entail.
The DoD has in previous years noted China’s near-monopoly on global rare earth metal production, but the present report, delivered to the House Armed Services Committee in late March, describes the risks in stark terms, and sketches out a range of scenarios.
One scenario has China embargoing exports of some key rare earth elements, and notes that currently the U.S. would be hamstrung.
Stockpiling some of the crucial elements is one of the proposed remedies for China’s control. It’s an idea that has hardly been heard since the later years of the Cold War, given the growth of globalized and largely unfettered trade that has characterized the last several decades.
Daniel McGroarty, principal of American Resources, a policy group, and president of U.S. Rare Earths, a mining company, referred to a reflection made by Adam Smith, the ideological father of free markets, over two hundred years ago: that when it comes to strategic items like sailcloth and gunpowder, “it might not always be prudent to depend upon our neighbors for the supply.”
Rare earth metals are to the the modern world what gunpowder and sailcloth were to 18th century Britain, McGroarty says, which explains the DoD’s concern.
“I think we lost sight of the geopolitical or strategic element that might cause countries to intervene in industry for reasons of advantage that are not just economic,” McGroarty said in a telephone interview. “I think we just didn’t see that. And now when we do see it, the situation has changed drastically.”
Two decades ago, McGroarty said, the rare earth market was split between the United States and China. “Now it’s become extraordinarily lopsided,” with China producing over 90 percent of supplies of rare earths.
The Department presents its report on Strategic and Critical Materials Report on Stockpile Requirements every other year. In the past it has noted China’s predominance in the rare earth metal space, but had not previously evinced the concerns seen now.
In a strategic risk assessment given in Appendix 12, the possibility of China cutting off rare earth exports was assigned a mean probability of only 4 percent, though with dire consequences. “Gross domestic product losses would be high, and the consequences would extend over a significant timeframe,” the report said.
It continued: “Economic consequences of war with China are high based on the mutual dependence between the two countries. Militarily the conflict would be violent, but quick; and we would get the better of it, at least in the next ten years. Politically, there would be some loss of credibility on both sides, due to the failure to prevent the war. Trade disruptions would also have major Chinese domestic political consequences.”
A scenario where China cuts off exports of some key minerals for a year “in an effort to coerce or punish the United states… as well as to drive up commodity prices,” was also considered. There would be a $1.2 billion shortfall for the 72 minerals considered.
Complicating the assessment is the sometimes haphazard and fragmented nature of how rare earths are obtained from China: in the south of the country, tens of thousands of metric tonnes of rare earths are thought to be wrung from the ground, and refined and exported, by a chaotic chain of fly-by-night mining operators — none of those figures go into the official books. Estimates for that illicit activity range from 10,000 to 40,000 metric tonnes per year.
At the height of its production, Molycorp, a U.S.-based miner of rare earth elements that was hit hard by China’s rock-bottom prices, says it planned to produce 20,000 metric tonnes of product in 2012. This means the underground Chinese supply component could be as much as double the entire U.S. supply, which goes some way to illustrating the opaque and potentially volatile nature of Chinese supply.
“Think about how nervous that would make a Pentagon planner,” McGroarty says.
Tags: archaeology, Chinese culture, funny things, Science, technology
By Xin Guo
Epoch Times Staff
Ancient Chinese science and technology were very advanced. The Ancient Chinese knew more about science and technology than any other culture. For instance, the yin-yang fish bowl that is part of the collection of the Hangzhou Museum in China’s Zhejiang Province cannot be explained by modern science nor replicated by modern technology. It remains a mystery to the world.
Among the collections of the Hangzhou Museum, there is a bronze spouting bowl named the “Yin-Yang Fish Bowl.” The bowl, which is about the size of a washbasin, has two handles and a decoration of four fish at the bottom. There are four clear parabolas drawn between the fish, just as those described in the Yi Jing (The Book of Changes). If you fill the bowl half-full of water and rub the handles with your palms, instantly the water in the bowl will tumble and the vibration will cause water to spout four two-foot-tall fountains from the mouth of each fish on the wall of the bowl. Moreover, the bowl will make the same sound as chanting the ancient divination words in the Yi Jing.
Bowl Cannot be Replicated by Any Modern Technology
Physicists from the U.S. and Japan have used all kinds of modern scientific instruments to examine and investigate the bowl trying to find out its construction principles of heat conductivity, sensoring, self-propelling, and spraying and making sound, but have not succeeded.
In October 1986, a replica bronze spouting bowl was made in the U.S. It looked identical to the yin-yang fish bowl but was a failure, as it could not function properly: It could not spout water, and the sound it made was very dull.
Modern science can only lament its insignificance before the miracles created by ancient Chinese technology and treat it as an unsolved mystery.
What were the principles upon which ancient people made the bronze fish bowl? As developed as it is today, why can’t modern science and technology make a replica of a bronze ware bowl made by people in ancient times?
According to experts’ analysis, modern science is analytical science. Characterized by high accuracy and strict quantification, it has reached the level of micro quantum technology. The so-called “Nami Technology” may very well represent the achievements of today’s high-tech. Yet modern science has a fatal weakness: linearism. Linear science still dominates today’s modern science and continues to apply a simplified approach to natural phenomena as always.
The real world and Mother Nature do not conform to linear principles, but in most cases non-linear theory instead. Modern science and technology are nothing but man-made simplification against the truth of Mother Nature.
Fountains of water that are similar to those in the bronze spouting fish bowl are called “solitary wave” or soliton phenomena. Different from ordinary waves, solitary waves do not disperse when occurring, and therefore can last a long time. The existence of solitary waves is a non-linear phenomenon.
Thus the construction principles of the yin-yang fish bowl are far beyond the scope of modern science, and it is therefore impossible for modern technology to replicate.
Tags: Body & Mind, Children, psychology, technology
Physical therapy moves to the cloud under the Fifth Element project
The ambitious Fifth Element project aims to support the more than 60 million people who suffer from autism by using none other than the Microsoft Kinect, originally designed for video games on the Xbox 360.
The Fifth Element project is being led by Italian Ingenium, a four-man team with a passion for technology. Their project is already being used in rehabilitation centers, and is poised to spread across the globe in the next several months.
Kinect is a player-recognition system. Resembling a large webcam, the Kinect is placed on top of a television set and detects a player’s movements, which can then be used as commands for a video game. Yet, thanks to Web-based remote assistance services, even those who cannot physically access a rehabilitation center can learn and undergo therapy using Kinect.
“It’s a simple idea, and we can immediately see its potential impact on people,” said Matteo Valoriani, a 26-year-old student at Politecnico di Milano (Polytechnic University of Milan), and a creator of the Fifth Element project.
Matteo came up with the idea in December 2011 during a friendly chat with a friend who works in physical therapy. The friend told him how difficult it was for rehabilitation centers to meet with autistic children in need.
Specialized technology for similar purposes is very expensive. Yet, with Fifth Element, all that’s needed is a television, an Xbox 360, and a Kinect. The program itself is also simple, creating an interactive platform with standard images, voice, and text.
Each game and activity is developed with a specific therapy in mind.
Every game can be directly customized by the therapist to use different features and different levels of difficulty. The therapist can also change settings for the game remotely while interacting with the child over the Internet and from anywhere in the world.
After a session is completed, it can be saved so that parents can reuse it with their child on their own time.
“We are working to allow the child to see the therapist on screen real time, and they can interact on the screen thanks to the Kinect,” said Valoriani.
The Fifth Element project won the July Health Awareness Award during the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012, out of 350 students from more than 200 countries. Willing the first prize at the competition in Australia helped the team get global attention for the new concept.
Connecting with the Kinect
The Fifth Element also gives autistic children the opportunity to connect with other autistic children—children who are often isolated from others. Controlling the game is also simple, since it’s based on actual movements. “It doesn’t seem like you are having control of an object,” Valoriani said. “It seems like you are the object.”
The game creates virtual characters that children can recognize as their digital avatars, and they can use the avatars to develop relationships with other children. “In some cases, it happens that the child teaches another child how to play,” said Valoriani, who is noticeably pleased with the results.
While the system is built to allow interaction regardless of distance, it can also be used by two children in the same room, or at a rehabilitation center under the supervision of the therapist.
Parents also have a level of control. They can update the statistics on the child’s progress, which the therapist can use as notes for the next treatment. The data is saved for other doctors who may do therapy for the child.
At the center of Benedetta d’Intino of Milan and the association Astrolabio, doctors have welcomed the experiments and have helped refine the system through feedback. Much of this refinement is used to improve interactive activities and to quickly develop new games.
The system’s custom platform, Azure, gets better every week, and its uses are already being considered for uses in other fields—including in education.
Valoriani says the name, Fifth Element, is based on the ancient theory of the five elements that constitute the world.
“We happen to live in a world where we have more technology than we need,” said Valoriani. “In the past, research was done until there was a realization that a project could move no further due to technological boundaries. Today it is totally different—we have the technology, but we don’t know how to use it.”
Tags: environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development, technology
Several tons of fruit that used to go to waste daily in a small Indonesian town are now being turned into biogas to produce electricity, thanks to foreign aid from a city in Sweden whose success in waste management is setting a global example.
The fruit market in Sleman on the Indonesian island of Java, the world’s most populous island, used to dump four tons of fruit every day. In the heat, with no means of refrigeration, the fruit brought there in the morning would go bad by the following day.
That presented a challenge but also an opportunity when two waste management experts from the University of Boras, Sweden, visited the island and studied the situation.
Professor Mohammad Taherzade and Olle Engstrom, coordinator of the Waste Recovery Project in Indonesia, decided to arrange for two students from Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University to come to Boras to learn about waste management.
At the university’s School of Engineering, the students learned about biogas production and how to build facilities to produce this source of energy.
“That meant that dealers at the market could generate their own electricity and wouldn’t have to buy it,” Engstrom said. “Also, it would get rid of the stink from the fruit waste and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The environment would improve.”
Upon their return to Sleman, the students became project managers and designed a local biogas facility for the town to transform its waste into useful energy.
The Waste Recovery Project did not only involve the Gadjah Mada University, but it also started working with local authorities, business owners, and the fruit dealers themselves in Sleman to educate them in the fundamentals of environmental science.
The Swedes taught them the Boras model of collaboration, enabling all the parties to share experiences and knowledge and solve problems together.
Success from Collaboration
“Our model is based on mobilizing the citizens and helping them to understand why it is important to recycle,” said Par Carlsson of Boras Energy and Environment, one of the partners providing support to the Waste Recovery Project in Indonesia.
The small city of Boras in southwest Sweden first formed a group in 1980 to push forward its work on energy recovery, recycling, and waste management. The group consisted of representatives from the local university and other academic institutions, as well as the local government.
Involving all of these stakeholders turned out to be a recipe for success. The group found that it was able to make big changes with small means, and the resulting model has given the town not only a cleaner environment but also improved living conditions for its citizens.
Of the 200,000 tons of garbage collected annually, only 4 percent now ends up in dumps; 30,000 tons of pure, biological waste is turned into 3 million cubic meters of biogas, which is used to power the city’s buses, garbage trucks, and taxis.
Anything that is recyclable is recycled, and the burnable waste is used to heat water that is distributed through an underground pipeline system to homes and buildings in Boras.
Thus, Boras has become something of an international authority on waste management, with its model now spreading across the globe.
Sweden government agencies funded the Waste Recovery Project in Sleman as a foreign aid effort, and the project has since become a partner for waste management in other Indonesian jurisdictions and institutions as well.
For example, there are many garbage dumps in Indonesia, which presented another opportunity for energy recovery from waste.
While the garbage is not sorted but just put in landfills, “we have established proper biogas facilities as well as gas-production facilities at landfills in a number of Indonesian cities,” said Carlsson.
The waste recovery work in Boras is not only a success in waste management, but also in various aspects of local community building.
The synergy has produced many beneficial effects in different sectors of society in Boras, including industries, Carlsson said. And this experience is helping Indonesia as well, where, for example, experts from Boras are helping the city of Palu build a sustainable city for the future.
Annika Siwertz of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) lauded the Waste Recovery Project when its first collaboration began in Indonesia last year. She called the Boras model one of the best examples of foreign aid she had ever seen, noting that SIDA only had to invest “very little money.”
Apart from Indonesia, the waste management experts in Boras have established partnerships with universities in Nigeria, Brazil, the United States, and Vietnam, and they are currently involved in talks with interested groups in numerous other countries.
Related Articles: Study: Americans Waste 40 Percent of Their Food
Tags: environmental issues, Nature, Science, sustainable development, technology
Report kept secret for 2 years
The French government, since 2010, has kept secret that Mururoa Atoll, the site of French nuclear testing in the Pacific, is in danger of collapsing, according to Mururoa e Tatou MET, the Nuclear Association in French Polynesia.
“In the soil of Mururoa, if something happens there is about 150 holes containing very dangerous radioactivity.”
MET, an organization working to secure restitution for victims of French nuclear testing in Tahiti, has been trying to raise the issue with the French government and public, Mr Oldham said.
He was disappointed the French government hadn’t released the report earlier.
He said the implications if only one part of Mururoa collapsed were “really frightening” and would impact the international community as well.
“I think it would be a really big problem to the environment if this nuclear radioactivity is to be diluted in the ocean and from there we have no control over what would happen next,” Mr Oldham said in the Pacific Beat interview.
There have been concerns that part of the Mururoa Atoll could collapse into the sea due to atomic tests from the 1960s to the late 1990s. Back in 1997, one year after the final, highly controversial nuclear test, an official report referred to the risks, Newsweek UK online reported.
Yet, the leaked report, Mr Oldham says, makes no mention of radioactivity.
“In this report we got not too long ago, they’re not even talking about radioactivity,” he told Pacific Beat. “The way they present it, it’s like it’s not very dangerous.”
In a video recorded last month with Breaking the Nuclear Chain, Mr Oldham was cited as saying that Mururoa and other atolls were the site of atomic explosions up to 170 times stronger than that used in the bombing of Hiroshima.
Related Articles: World Powers Commit to Nuclear Security
Tags: Body & Mind, design, funny things, technology
GOTHENBURG, Sweden—In Sweden, wearing a bicycle helmet is optional for adults—and most adults opt not to wear one. Two industrial design students, preparing their degree project, wanted to know why. The answer set the wheels in motion to create the seemingly impossible.
It was the spring of 2005 that Lund University students Terese Alstin and Anna Haupt decided to collaborate to improve the concept of the bicycle helmet, so that adults would want to use them. There had just been an intense debate in Sweden over helmet legislation, which resulted in making them mandatory for children up to 16 years old.
It was clear from the social dialogue that while adult bicyclists did want to protect their heads, they were reluctant to use helmets.
The two young women began researching the reasons why people would not wear helmets. They got survey answers like, “It looks geeky,” “It gets too warm,” “It messes up my hair,” and “It should be invisible.” The last answer might sound unrealistic, but Anna Haupt explains that they reacted differently.
“We thought it was a brilliant idea. That was exactly what we wanted ourselves, because we weren’t using traditional bicycle helmets either,” she said.
The word “invisible” from the survey spawned their revolutionary idea: an airbag bicycle helmet.
Their project supervisor was a professor at the faculty of engineering at Lund University in southern Sweden.
“He was very impressed with the fact that our idea was so radically different from your usual idea of a bicycle helmet,” Haupt explains.
Tags: archaeology, astronomy, Body & Mind, CCP, Children, China, Chinese culture, Falun Gong, Food, health, human rights, human rights lawyers, Nature, persecution of dissidents, Shen Yun, Society, technology
The blog is now taking its annual summer break.
I wish you all a really nice summer with sun, sea, forest, togetherness and everything you need to fill yourself up with, before the short days of wintertime that unavoidable will be here. Here in Sweden we really enjoy our light season and the nordic light!
See you all in August. Rainy days I might fill in with links to articles. But no musts, otherwise it isn’t a holiday Please check out Twitter, in the sidebar to the right, as well.
Have a really nice Summer
Links to interesting articles:
Tags: Body & Mind, IT and Media, psychology, relationships, Society, technology
This is a very good talk, I hope you take your time to listen to it
“As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication — and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.
Sherry Turkle studies how technology is shaping our modern relationships: with others, with ourselves, with it.”
Tags: IT and Media, Society, technology
The online world has integrated itself into our lives, with email, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs where we share with our friends. We have grown accustomed to using the Internet to share updates of our activities, talk about news, and catch up with those we haven’t seen in a while. It’s a wonderful tool to update, inform, and record all the things we are involved in, doing or going through.
But it also does something else, something we may not have intended to happen—universities, potential employers, and law enforcement can use those very tools as windows into your world, and get a sense of your true character.
According to a Careerbuilder survey conducted in 2009, 45 percent of employers use social media sites to research job candidates. This is up from just twenty-two percent the year before.
Your conduct at an interview and the information you presented in your application are not the only things being used to screen you. Now, all the information you posted, liked, and shared with others—including pictures, videos, and web pages—are also part of that screening.
Your digital life has crossed over and is very tangibly interconnected to your real life.
One element that’s looked at is your list of connections. You are not just an individual anymore. You are a walking, talking, breathing brand, and what you do reflects on the schools you attended, the places you work, and the organizations you belong to. It is important to them that you represent them well in any and every setting—including the digital setting.
According to the latest Jobvite survey, 89 percent of U.S. companies will use social networks for recruiting. This number is up from the previous survey. Other parts measure the quality of candidates—and social networking determined seven out of the ten possible points measuring the quality of the candidate.
It is easier to see how your online social presence is now becoming your personal branding platform. It is no longer about updates to what you did last night, or last week, and it is becoming more a place where you can market yourself to potential schools, employers, and volunteer groups. And the way things are going, there may be many more people in the future checking your Facebook status to see what you are up to.
Related Articles: Facebook Helps Researchers See How Friendships Form
Tags: environmental issues, Science, sustainable development, technology
Imagine an ultra lightweight material so buoyant that a one-pound boat constructed from it could carry 1,000 pounds–equivalent to five kitchen fridges.
This amazing technology has now been derived from plant cellulose by Finnish scientists. It is also environmentally friendly, strong, flexible, and one of the lightest solid substances in the world.
The material was designed to mimic the feet of a water strider, an insect capable of walking on water, and is made of a nanocellulose-based “aerogel.” Aerogels can be produced from a variety of sources, such as silica in beach sand, with some being so light, they are referred to as “solid smoke.”
“These materials have really spectacular properties that could be used in practical ways,” said researcher Olli Ikkala at Helsinki University of Technology in a media release.
Suggested applications range from toys and miniaturized military robots to sensors for detecting pollution and devices to clean up oil spills. The material can absorb vast amounts of oil without sinking.
According to Ikkala, the material is environmentally sustainable as cellulose is the most abundant polymer on Earth. Cellulose is the main component of plant stems, leaves, and roots, and is what gives wood its strength.
Traditionally, cellulose has been used commercially to produce paper and textiles. But the development of highly processed nanocellulose has expanded its application to advanced structural materials similar to metals.
“It can be of great potential value in helping the world shift to materials that do not require petroleum for manufacture,” Ikkala explained. “The use of wood-based cellulose does not influence the food supply or prices, like corn or other crops.”
“We are really delighted to see how cellulose is moving beyond traditional applications, such as paper and textiles, and finding new high-tech applications.”
The findings were presented at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. The symposium focused on an emerging field called biomimetics, in which scientists draw inspiration from nature, adapting biological systems in plants and animals for application in fields such as medicine and industry.
Related Articles: Biomimicry: Turning to Nature for Answers
Tags: Society, technology
New online software brings the dressing room into your living room
You coveted those adorable jeans on the website for so long, yet you can’t tell if they’re going to fit you. Wouldn’t it be great if you could try them on before buying them? The Berlin-based company UPcload says that now you can.
Initiating a new era of e-fashion, the UPcload passport allows users to create an online profile of their dimensions and styling preferences, ensuring that “clothing items bought online fit ‘offline,’” according to the company’s press kit.
Using a webcam and an ordinary CD, the photo-recognition software determines the customer’s sizing and dimensions without requiring any fancy scanning equipment. Best of all, creating the passport takes 10 minutes and only needs to be done once.
The company says that this deceptively simple body-measuring system will give a perfect fit each time, no matter what the brand, eliminating the hassle of returns by taking the guesswork out of sizing. The customer’s profile acts as the “passport” to participating online retailers, which offer recommendations based on the measurements.
It will also allow consumers to buy clothes for family and friends, see a visualization of the buyer wearing the items through the Dutch program MimicMe, and even help determine which items go together.
Two friends and graduates of Berlin’s Humboldt University—Asaf Moses, a 29-year-old Israeli, and Sebastian Schulze, 25, who is German—developed the idea in January 2010 after they discovered their mutual frustration from buying poorly fitting merchandise online and not being able to return it.
UPcload, a blend of the words “upload” and “clothes,” has since been voted start-up of the year and has won over $200,000 in prize money and government grants, according to a press release.
The technology behind the company is anything but simple. Developed for the military and semiconductor industries by the Israeli company Imagu, the image-analysis algorithms hone in on images at the subpixel level, which is more precise than standard object-recognition software, giving measurements that “are on average more accurate than those taken by a professional tailor,” Moses told BusinessWeek.
Launching next month, UPcload has already partnered with The North Face and has plans to expand to other stores and markets, like shoes.
Retailers that choose to use the software carry a widget on their sites, linking them to UPcload’s confidential database. Users will be able to log in to the UPcload box on the retailer’s website and will then be told whether the items they are considering are likely to fit. For example, if UPcload knows the buyer has a 34-inch waist and likes loose-fitting pants, it will know to suggest that the jeans would be too snug for that person’s taste.
If that’s not enough, Moses and Schulze are not just tackling the Internet—up next, they will be sending body measurements via mobile devices like smartphones. This innovation will help shoppers avoid taking multiple items to the changing room. Instead, they can scan the bar code to know which items will fit best.
Of course, many shoppers will still want to see, feel, and try on their clothes in person, but UPcload is banking on it that many may increasingly venture into online shopping when there’s less risk involved.
According to a press release, 40 percent of online clothing purchases wind up as returns. UPcload hopes to bring that number down and increase clothing sales, a very promising prospect for companies and customers who are willing to try it on for size.
Related Articles: GRAPHISOFT: Visualizing Data Into 3-D Models
Tags: Body & Mind, cell phone, Children, environmental issues, health, technology
The use of mobile phones is increasing among children and adolescents. Experts warn of the dangers, since children are more vulnerable to radiation.
In a recent study, an international research team concluded that mobile-phone use among children does not increase the risk of developing brain tumors.
Parents who might be breathing a sigh of relief at this should think twice. According to one Swedish expert, we cannot trust these results, and she is not the only one saying so.
According to professor Maria Feychting, Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institute (KI), who led the Swedish part of the Cefalo study, the results show no increased risk of developing a brain tumor among young cell phone users.
The basis for this study is standardized interviews with 352 children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 19 in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland who have developed brain tumors between 2004 and 2008.
Participants were asked about their mobile-phone habits. The responses were then compared with the cell-phone habits of 646 healthy control individuals of the same age. The results from the study were published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Results showed that children who had their own cell-phone subscriptions for more than 2.8 years were more than twice as likely to develop brain tumors.
Journalist and author Mona Nilsson has followed cell-phone risk studies for many years, and she does not find the results of the Cefalo study reassuring.
On the contrary, the results are very worrying. The study shows the opposite, that mobile-phone use increases the risk of brain tumors, even at relatively low use by today’s standards.
Nilsson believes that the scientists dismiss their own findings in the study and that these are the same scientists who tried to smooth over the increased brain-tumor risk in the international WHO study a year ago.
Tags: CCP, censorship, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, technology
Reporters without Borders released on Wednesday a collection of recent Chinese Communist Party attempts at Internet censorship.
The techniques range from unleashing cyber-attacks; forcing Internet cafes to purchase expensive software or swear off the Internet; planning a children’s censorship program; closing blog accounts of unwieldy users; ordering the private sector around; and arresting netizens.
The report cites the first piece of evidence that the Chinese military engages in cyber warfare. Initially reported by The Epoch Times, the evidence is found in a July 17 CCTV documentary. The documentary briefly showed a screen with writing on the top that says “Select Attack Target” and a drop-down list of Falun Gong websites.
Internet cafes in China now have to choose between paying around $3,100 to get a severely censored version of the Internet, or becoming regular cafes that run without Wi-Fi.
Several netizens were arrested this year, including Hu Di, who went missing in March. Despite being healthy, he was placed in a mental hospital—one of the Chinese regime’s methods of silencing dissent.
A Chinese lawyer lost his wife and his house after he posted a Jasmine Revolution message on Twitter.
Ding Mao and Chen Wei are two other netizens who are still detained. Liu Geng-song, a fourth netizen, was released on August 23 after a four-year prison term.
Reporters Without Borders calls for the release of all arrested netizens and mentions that China is on the their list of Enemies of the Internet.