Virgle: The Adventure of Many Lifetimes

VirgleLooks like the mega corps of Virgin and Google have decided to reach higher than anyone has ever thought possible. They have she their goal on a journey to the red planet Mars

(from the PR page)

"Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Virgin Group today announced the launch of Virgle Inc., a jointly owned and operated venture dedicated to the establishment of a human settlement on Mars.

"Some people are calling Virgle an ‘interplanetary Noah’s Ark,’" said Virgin Group President and Founder Sir Richard Branson, who conceived the new venture. "I’m one of them. It’s a potentially remarkable business, but more than that, it’s a glorious adventure. For me, Virgle evokes the spirit of explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo, who set sail looking for the New World. I do hope we’ll be a bit more efficient about actually finding it, though." 
The Virgle 100 Year Plan’s milestones will include Virgle Pioneer selection (2008-2010), the first manned journey to Mars (2016), a Virgle Inc. initial public offering to capitalize on the first manned journey to Mars (2016), the founding of the first permanent Martian municipality, Virgle City (2050), and the achievement of a truly
self-sustaining Martian civilization with a population exceeding 100,000 (2108).Open source Planet
"Virgle is the ultimate application of a principle we’ve always believed at Google: that you can do well by doing good,” said Google co-founder Larry Page, who plans to share leadership of the new Martian civilization with Branson and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
"We feel that ensuring the survival of the human race by helping it colonize a new planet is both a moral good in and of itself and also the most likely method of ensuring the survival of our best – okay, fine, only — base of web search volume and advertising inventory,” Page added. “So, you know, it’s, like, win-win."
The original contingent of Virgle Pioneers will be selected by numerous criteria, including an online questionnaire, video submission, personal accomplishments, expertise in scientific, artistic, sociological and/or political fields of endeavor, and inadequate Google and Virgin personal performance reviews."

This is trurlly a banner day for the human race!
And if you want to stay a little closer to the cradle of mankind, you could opt for a position on the Google Copernicus Lunar Center.

Virgle: The Adventure of Many Lifetimes

(I love days like these)

1 GB, Then and Now

1GB in 1987 and 1GB in 2007When people say that things just keep getting smaller sure aren’t kidding. Seen here is a photo comparing 1GB of storage in 1987 and same amount in 2007. Wow! (click on the image for a larger version) I once owned a Burroughs B-20 computer system. It’s hard drive was the bigger than a shoe box and fit in the bottom of this wheeled cabinet that the keyboard, monitor, and communications box sat on. I was amazed at just how big a 5MB drive was. I’m so grateful for the miniaturization of technology.

[via gizmologia, digg]

DIY Canon Camera Firmware Enhancements

One of the greatest things about technology isn’t what it does, but it’s what it can do. This is a shining example of this very concept:

If you have a point-and-click digital camera made by Canon, you may be able to turn on all sorts of features usually reserved for more expensive SLRs. That includes live histograms, depth-of-field calculation, under and overexposure highlighting, and — best of all — shooting your pictures in RAW. The secret is CHDK, an enhanced, free software replacement firmware.

I’m going to have to disagree that the best part of this is being able to shoot in RAW mode. Don’t get me wrong, I love using RAW (or NEF as it’s called on my Nikon) but the best part of this enhancement is that fact that you can do scripting in a BASIC like language in the camera. Wow… This is like getting a computer that has predefined programs on it and then discovering the programming tools for it. With these scripts you can do such amazing things as automatically create a series of photos for HDR stacking that can later be run through software to extend the dynamic range of the images. You can run an interactive interval timer to take X number of photos ever X seconds, minutes, or even hours so you could do a time laps study of ice melting or a building being built. Those are just two examples of what can be done with the powerful feature.
One clever thing is that if you make a mistake and screw something up that chance of you ‘bricking’ your camera is quite low. To remove the firmware enhancement you simply remove the CD card and power up the camera. Bingo, everything is back to normal. I for one will be on the lookout for a camera that this will work on.

[via MAKE] :: How to give your low-end Canon digital camera RAW support

‘Glass Give Gas’ Artistic Hotplate

Glass gives gasI have very little info on this other than it is apparently made by Harry Thaler and is titled ‘GLAS GIBT GAS’ (German for ‘Glass gives gas’). It looks very attractive and quite functional. I wonder if this is a hack (used found parts) or he made everything from scratch.
UPDATE: I received a comment about this item: "Orboc can answer!
I’ve seen it in a show a couple of days in a design show in Paris. I can tell that it’s a prototype made from scratch and the creator is a student from an italian design school." Thank you very much Orboc.
[via notcot]
moN DieU qUe C’Est BeaU ! – ORBOC, a good source of protein!
(Translation by Google)

DIY GPS Jammer

DIY GPS JammerHackers listen up. Everyone understands and enjoys the utilitarian benefits that GPS has brought to our lives but what if it didn’t work any more? I suppose you could build some sort of surface to space missile robot that would systematically seek and destroy all the GPS birds in orbit, but that might attract unwanted attention by the authorities. No, your best bet would be to build a little portable device that just affected a small area. That is exactly what this does. It works by blanketing the GPS L1 frequency (1475.42 MHz) with noise rendering the receiver unable to get an acquisition code. Without one of those it can’t see any satellites. Pretty clever. Now, I have to say that I have no idea if this circuit is going to work, I’ll leave that up to you. I mean, it’s from Phrack magazine after all so that makes it pretty hardcore. Use some common sense in the operation of this device. It might be best used as a conversation starter and that’s all.

[via navigadget]
Low Cost and Portable GPS Jammer

Bicycle Electric-Motor-Assist Project (BEMAP)

An old friend of mine is undertaking a project to add an electric motor to his bike. He has been asking me a bunch of questions about motors and such because I have a bit of a background in building robots. I tried my hand at the old combat robotics thing a while back, had my own robot and even started a real competition. However, the sport turned out to be a great way to burn through money so I had to give it up. Anyway, I gained quite a bit of skill at scrounging for parts and how things like that work. I’ll be more than happy to help out even if is just as a sounding board for ideas.The BEMAP project looks to be pretty cool. So far he has a supply of DC motors from a disused car and some battery packs. Mike is a born scrounger so I’m sure his solution will be very unique.

Bicycle Electric-Motor-Assist Project (BEMAP)