GeekSpeak for 2009-10-24

Water Election Software Car

32 exoplanets Water Car and iPhone vs Verizon and much more.

Video: Wi-Fi Imaging Lets You See Through Walls

The first video shows how a person’s body blocks radio waves and creates differing signal strengths that researchers can interpret and mark with an “X.” That leads to the second video where a researcher shows the node deployment outside a building, and eventually shows up as an “X” walking around inside the building layout.

Element 114 verified at Berkeley

In the 10 years since researchers at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, first reported producing the superheavy element 114, some tens of other sightings of the element have been documented—but all by the same group. Now a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, led by Heino Nitsche and Ken Gregorich, has confirmed the results.

Yup, this is a few miles from Ben’s house.

32 planets discovered outside solar system

Thirty-two planets have been discovered outside Earth’s solar system through the use of a high-precision instrument installed at a Chilean telescope, an international team announced Monday.

The existence of the so-called exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — was announced at the European Southern Observatory/Center for Astrophysics, University of Porto conference in Porto, Portugal, according to a statement issued by the observatory.

Giant Ribbon Discovered at the Edge of the Solar System

NASA’s IBEX (Interstellar Boundary Explorer) spacecraft has made the first all-sky maps of the heliosphere and the results have taken researchers by surprise. The maps are bisected by a bright, winding ribbon of unknown origin.

Balloon Boy Helium Physics

“For reference purposes, you should know that a large tank of helium – the kind you find at a grocery store or party shop, holds approximately 250 cubic feet of helium. Based on the calculations below, you can see that 250 cubic feet will lift roughly 17 pounds. In our video test for KUSA 9News, we found that 250 cubic feet lifted about 8 pounds of potatoes, plus the string and the weight of the 45 large balloons (2.3 pounds). All in total, we lifted just over 10 pounds.”

Nation’s First Open Source Election Software

“The [OSDV|Open Source Digital Voting Foundation], co-founded by Gregory Miller and John Sebes, launched its Trust the Vote Project in 2006 and has an eight-year roadmap to produce a comprehensive, publicly owned, open source electronic election system. The system would be available for licensing to manufacturers or election districts, and would include a voter registration component; firmware for casting ballots on voting devices (either touch-screen systems with a paper trail, optical-scan machines or ballot-marking devices); and an election management system for creating ballots, administering elections and counting votes.”

Verizon Droid Is The Real Deal

Verizon and Motorola finally lifted the curtain on their new Droid Android phone yesterday.

No ZFS for OS X

“Word on the street in Cupertino is that dropping ZFS wasn’t an engineering decision, but a legal one, and it might have had something to do with Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. I don’t know if it was a problem with the terms of the CDDL license, general distrust/dislike for Oracle, or what — only that the word came down from legal that ZFS was a no-go.

“Update: Perhaps it was the NetApp patent lawsuit against ZFS.”

Wi-Fi Signals Can Be Used to See Through Walls 2

Time for everyone at 113 East 38th Street* to ditch the cameras, because researchers at the University of Utah have found a more subtle way to spy on your neighbors: Wi-Fi. By measuring the resistance to the radio waves that transmit wireless signals, the scientists can monitor whether or not someone is in a room at a given time.

So far, the team can only see about three feet through a wall, and can only sense motion, not generate an actual picture (sorry to everyone who just moved their router next to the neighbor’s shower). However, the scientist concentrated more on search and rescue than voyeurism.

The researchers envision a time when first responders to an emergency can use the same radio technology utilized by Wi-Fi to erect a sensor net around a building or disaster site. The radio waves will pass through the walls or rubble, revealing the location of victims or hiding suspects.

Still no explanation as to why the researchers decided to test the device next to the girl’s locker room. Better Wi-Fi reception, I suppose.

Pet Mini Digital Camera

This mini digital camera, rechargeable via USB, easily attaches to your pet’s collar and will then allow you to see what your furry little friend is up to when you’re not around.