GeekSpeak for 2010-12-11

A Railgun for Ada

Miles and Lyle celebrate Ada Lovelace’s birthday, discuss the Week in Geek, and take your calls.

Guy Who Surgically Implanted a Camera in the Back of His Head

Remember Wafaa Bilal? He was the guy who was going to surgically implant a camera into the back of his head. Well, he did it. And here’s what it looks like:

To be fair, Bilal actually “only” implanted a camera dock (titanium disc) into his skull, not a camera. The camera will attach to the disk magnetically to complete the trick.

His head is very sore right now (from the surgery) but when it heals, he’ll start snapping pics of his life at 1 minute intervals. Basically, it’s on to the boring part now. [CNN]

Apple engineer re-creates ancient computer with Legos

Until today, I was unaware that engineers at Apple enjoyed spare time.
However, somehow Andrew Carol, one of Apple’s software engineers, decided that it was about time he eased back from designing the computer of the future and thought a little about re-creating a computer of the past.
The Antikythera Mechanism, is, allegedly, the oldest version of a scientific computer. The Greeks, who used to be so clever that they never endured too much of a financial crisis, built it around 100 B.C.
Somehow, it disappeared into history’s cracks, until it was unearthed from a shipwreck in 1901. It took imperfect humans another 100 years to work out that its purpose was to mechanically track the bodies that are in outer space in order to anticipate events up there that might affect life down here.

Flying device with object avoidance using Kinect

Freenect // is a blog covering the latest programming and hacking news on the amazing Kinect sensor Microsoft developed for the Xbox 360 gaming console. Check regularly for the newest Open Source Kinect projects and applications.

How an RC airplane buzzed the Statue of Liberty, with no arrests

The video is absolutely stunning: a remote-controlled plane flies over and around the Brooklyn Bridge, buzzes the Statue of Liberty, and explores New York from a point of view even “real” airplanes rarely see. While the police were curious about what was happening, no arrests were made, and the creators of the video praise the police and the TSA for their professionalism.

This is the story of how one group of enthusiasts made flying a plane around New York City fun again.

The video was shot with a remote-controlled aircraft that has one video camera feeding images back to the operator, along with a second, passive camera taking the video that was edited together for the official release. The video was shot between 7 and 8am, those being the only hours they could safely avoid air traffic. If you’d like more information about the aircraft or the build itself, there is a thread on RCGroups with a wealth of information.

The video speaks for itself.

Funding of NSF Projects to Text Message Votes

“Anyone concerned about the fate of scientific research funding in the new Congress has yet more reason to worry.”

Ada, The First Programmer

“Happy Birthday, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace.”

Google has revealed his first Netbooks Called Cr-48

“Google has revealed his first netbooks called Cr-48 that works on the Chrome operating system.”

Arsenic-associated bacteria (NASA's claims)

“Here’s a detailed review of the new paper from NASA claiming to have isolated a bacterium that substitutes arsenic for phosphorus on its macromolecules and metabolites.”

Navy test fires electromagnetic cannon

“The US Navy announced a successful test Friday of an electromagnetic cannon capable of firing a projectile 110 nautical miles (200 kilometers) at five times the speed of sound.”

Can you defame someone with a hyperlink?

“Newton is on his way across Canada this morning to Ottawa, where Canada’s Supreme Court will tomorrow consider a key question for the Internet age: can a mere hyperlink be defamation?”