You can turn nearly any object into a speaker by using a piezo disc and a handful of additional components. While this may seem like magic, there is actually a rather simple technical explanation. By driving a piezo disc using an amplifier, the disc vibrates and then resonates the sound wave through whatever object the disc is attached to. When the object vibrates, it disturbs the air and makes sound. This is not only a fun trick, but also allows for a lot of interesting experimentation and creative projects.
Daily Archives: May 18, 2017
NEWSER) – What’s it take for a cat to grow so long it’s in contention for a Guinness World Record? Good genes, a good home, and lots of raw kangaroo meat, apparently. “It’s the only meat we could find that he actually wants to eat,” Stephy Hirst tells the BBC. The Australian woman is the owner of a 3-foot-11-inch-long Maine Coon named Omar. The Melbourne resident created an Instagram account for Omar a few weeks ago, and one of his photos was shared 270,000 times on Cats of Instagram. Then Guinness came calling. Now, Hirst is waiting to hear if she’s officially the owner of the world’s longest cat, beating the record from another Maine Coon that measures 3 feet 10.5 inches. (According to the Independent, the myth about Maine Coons and their size is they are the result of semi-wild cats breeding with raccoons.)
We all have heard of various self-help books, motivational lectures, and gurus and they all share a common thought:Live in the present. If you are not, you are probably wasting your time and energy. While it sounds quite beneficial keeping in mind the life we life, neuroscience has a different take on it.Dean Buonomano, a behavioral neuroscience professor at UCLA and author of the recently-published Your Brain is a Time Machine, says that the human brain is an inherently temporal organ. “Not only does it tell the time, it also allows us to mentally project ourselves into the past and the future,” he says.To a certain extent, all animals have a basic ability to predict and prepare for the future. Even worms have circadian rhythms and so instinctively know when it’s daylight and when predatory birds are more likely to be around. But humans have a far more sophisticated ability to conceive of the future—to “sculpt and create futures that we imagine,” says Buonomano.“What’s fairly unique about humans is this aspect of mentally projecting ourselves into the past or the future—the degree to which humans can engage in what we call mental time travel,” he explains.
I also get excited every time I’m on the verge of getting in the Big Apple, but this is ridiculous.According to New York Magazine, a 48-year-old New Jersey man was arrested last Thursday after he allegedly parked his van in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel and started punching his clown.Naturally, this didn’t help what was already a shitty traffic situation, and police were quickly on the scene to do their part to get it moving in a positive direction again. They unfortunately stumbled upon the cause of the backup this time around, and that of course was Ismael Esquilin jerking off in his minivan while it was parked but still running.
(Credit: Newark California Police Department/Facebook)NEWARK, CA (WCMH) — Police around the country are offering their services to help check anyone’s meth for traces of gluten.Not only that, they’re offering the service for free.The police department in Newark, California made this offer May 4 on its Facebook page:“Is your meth laced with deadly gluten? Not sure? Bring your meth down to the PD and we will test it for you for free!”
A Danish brewery is drawing on 50,000 litres of urine collected from the largest music festival in Northern Europe in producing a novelty beer aimed at the more adventurous drinker.The beer named “Pisner” — wordplay combining pilsner with local slang for urine — contains no human waste, but is produced from fields of malting barley fertilized with human urine rather than traditional animal manure or factory-made plant nutrients.Study finds average pool has up to 75 litres of urineBeer prices have sports fans’ heads spinning”When the news that we had started brewing the Pisner came out, a lot of people thought we were filtering the urine to put it directly in the beer, and we had a good laugh about that,” said Henrik Vang, chief executive of brewer Norrebro Bryghus.
EATING a big meal and getting behind the wheel of a car is as dangerous as drink-driving, Independent TD Danny Healy Rae has claimed.The Kerry politician hit out at the Road Safety Authority today, saying it is on a “crusade to isolate people further in rural Ireland”.Mr Healy Rae, who is a publican, is objecting to plans to introduce a mandatory three month driving ban for motorist caught with a blood alcohol level of 51-80mg of alcohol per 100ml. Currently such an offence is punished with a fine and penalty points.Speaking at the Oireachtas Committee on Transport Mr Healy Rae said: “Can I say to you, and many people will agree with me. If you eat too much and get in behind the wheel of a car, then you’re a danger on the road because you are likely to fall asleep after eating a big meal.
Hollywood, with all its glitz and glamour, seems like the last place you’ll find the mighty penguin’s influence. Well thankfully for all Linux fans, the truth is quite the opposite. The open source operating system has played a key role in turning many directorial dreams into silver screen successes. What attracts the billion-dollar industry to this ‘free as in free beer’ operating system is not its price. In fact, it is Linux’s unmatched performance is what makes it the preferred choice over some of the top-of-the-line operating systems like Windows and Mac OS X. Be it screenwriting, animation, editing, or post production, Linux can be used in pretty much every department involved in the making of a major motion picture. If you’re wondering where exactly the mighty penguin has impacted Los Angeles, sit tight as we list some of the most prominent examples of Linuxian influence in Hollywood movies.Scooby-Doo (The Movie)Scooby-Doo was a popular 2002 flick by Warner Brothers starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. Adapted from the popular cartoon series, this was the first live action movie in the franchise. Since the success of the movie relied on portraying an animated dog, and not just any dog, but the mighty Scooby Doo himself, the pressures were high. And this, my friends, is the scene wherein Linux steps in to save the day. Animators of the post-production studio Rhythm & Hues used about a hundred Linux desktops to make the popular Hannah-Barbara look as realistic as possible. Using Film Gimp (now Cinepaint http://www.cinepaint.org/ ) and other proprietary Linux-based tools, the open-source desktop was a key contributor to the movie’s success. No wonder, Scooby-Doo was the 15th most successful film of 2012 with an official box-office gross of more than $275 millions.
Mexico (Sputnik) – A new global survey has named Mexico the second deadliest area in the world after Syria, due to the Central American nation’s violent ongoing drug war.Syria’s six-year war came in first for most dangerous conflict for the fifth consecutive year, as 2016 saw 50,000 casualties in the area, by some estimates.According to the The Armed Conflict Survey 2017, an annual report analyzing global conflicts and casualties, there were 23,000 deaths in Mexico in 2016 connected to the fight against drug cartels. Published Tuesday by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), the survey found that “scant attention” has been paid to Central American drug wars, with 16,000 deaths combined coming from Honduras, Ecuador and El Salvador.IISS Director General and Chief Executive John Chipman said in the report, “The death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is all the more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation.”According to the report, 80 percent of casualties worldwide could be attributed to just 10 conflicts in Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Mexico, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Turkey and Syria.The arrest of cartel leaders from brutal groups like Los Zetas helped contribute to a drop in Mexico’s homicide rate in the three years between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, the number crept back up, and men in Mexico saw three years shaved off their life expectancy.
Patrick Lin started it. In an article entitled ‘The Ethics of Autonomous Cars’ (published in The Atlantic in 2013), he considered the principles that self-driving cars should follow when they encountered tricky moral dilemmas on the road. We all encounter these situations from time to time. Something unexpected happens and you have to make a split second decision. A pedestrian steps onto the road and you don’t see him until the last minute: do you slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid? Lin made the obvious point that no matter how safe they were, self-driving cars would encounter situations like this, and so engineers would have to design ‘crash-optimisation’ algorithms that the cars would use to make those split second decisions.In a later article Lin explained the problem by using a variation on the famous ‘trolley problem’ thought experiment. The classic trolley problem asks you to imagine a trolley car hurtling out of control down a railroad track. If it continues on its present course, it will collide with and kill five people. You can, however, divert it onto a sidetrack. If you do so, it will kill only one person. What should you do? Ethicists have debated the appropriate choice for the last forty years. Lin’s variation on the trolley problem worked like this:Imagine in some distant future, your autonomous car encounters this terrible choice: it must either swerve left and strike an eight-year old girl, or swerve right and strike an 80-year old grandmother. Given the car’s velocity, either victim would surely be killed on impact. If you do not swerve, both victims will be struck and killed; so there is good reason to think that you ought to swerve one way or another. But what would be the ethically correct decision? If you were programming the self-driving car, how would you instruct it to behave if it ever encountered such a case, as rare as it may be? (Lin 2016, 69)There is certainly value to thinking about problems of this sort. But some people worry that, in focusing on individualised moral dilemmas such as this, the framing of the ethical challenges facing the designers of self-driving cars is misleading. There are important differences between the moral choice confronting the designer of the crash optimisation system (whether it be programmed from the top-down with clearly prescribed rules or the bottom-up using some machine-learning system) and the choices faced by drivers in particular dilemmas. Recently, some papers have been written drawing attention to these differences. One of them is Hin-Yan Liu’s ’Structural Discrimination and Autonomous Vehicles’. I just interviewed Hin-Yan for my podcast about this and other aspects of his research, but I want to take this opportunity to examine the argument in that paper in more detail.
In a scheme that sounds as though it might have been lifted from the plot of Minority Report, Chicago Police is using sensors, big data, machine learning and predictive analytics to help combat the gun crime plaguing the city by trying to predict it before it happens, according to a report from BBC Click.With murders in the US city of Chicago during 2016 at a 19-year high, 2017 began with everyone from the press to the president demanding change.Superintendent Eddie Johnson unveiled CPD’s solution at a press conference, a new system representing “an investment in technology and data-driven enforcement that will help us reduce violent crimes across the city of Chicago”.
The most senior academic at Oxford University has attacked the institution’s “safe space” culture.Professor Louise Richardson, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said that “cossetted” students need to learn to face up to political views which might differ from their own.Richardson, an expert on terrorism, blamed indulgent parents and the echo chamber of social media for acclimatizing students to an atmosphere where they always get their way.Her comments emerged in a recent interview with the Irish Times, where she also spoke disapprovingly of the “no-platforming” movement to ban controversial speakers from campus.She said: “It may be that middle-class children have been too cosseted by their professional parents… and it may be in part accentuated in social media where we tend to operate within an echo chamber of like-minded people.”Her intervention comes as another high-profile university head took the opposite stance.