Staff at US-based Smithsonian’s National Zoo use telemetric devices, such as this one, to record important information about how birds incubate their eggs. The electronic egg is put under the adult bird and records incubation temperature and the rate the parent birds turn the egg. The data is sent from the egg to a receiver and recorded throughout the day. This information is vital to better understand the complete biology of bird species
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
London: An artificial big toe attached to the foot of an Egyptian mummy could be the world’s oldest prosthetic body part, British researchers said Friday.
The fake toe, which is made of wood and leather and is currently on display at the Cairo Museum in Egypt, dates from between 1000 and 600 BC.
Researchers at Manchester University in north-west England hope to prove it was used to help someone who had lost their original big toe to walk.
If they do, it could mean that prosthetic body parts were in use up to 700 years earlier than was previously thought.
The oldest known prosthesis is a bronze Roman leg, dating from about 300 BC, which was kept at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during a German bombing raid in the Second World War.
A second false big toe, which is on display at the British Museum, will also be tested by scientists in Manchester.
“If either one is functional, it may be interesting to manufacture it with modern materials and trial it for use on people with missing toes,” said Jacky Finch, a researcher working on the study.
She added that the Cairo toe is the most likely to have been a prosthesis, because it shows signs of wear and is attached to a “well-healed” amputation site.
The London toe, by contrast, does not bend and is, therefore, more likely to have been cosmetic, she said.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Edwards Air Force Base, California: An experimental jet that resembles a flyingwing flew successfully for the first time in a program that could lead to morefuel-efficient, quieter and higher-capacity aircraft, NASA said on Thursday.The remotely controlled, 230-kg, three-engine jet with a 21-foot wingspan tookoff July 20, climbed to an altitude of 7,500 feet and landed about a half-hourlater, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Centre said.The X-48B Blended Wing Body aircraft was controlled by a pilot at a groundstation. NASA and Boeing said data from the flight are already being comparedwith data from wind tunnel tests.The aircraft and a duplicate were designed by Boeing Co’s Phantom Works incooperation with NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory at WrightPatterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA.Built by Cranfield Aerospace in Bedford, England, they are 8.5 per cent-scaleversions of a future full-size design.The X-48B resembles a flying wing, but the wing blends into a wide, flat andtail-less fuselage, NASA and Boeing said.The design is intended to provide more lift with less drag compared to thecylindrical fuselage of a traditional aircraft, reducing fuel consumption whilecruising.The engines are located high on the back of the aircraft, which should meanit is quieter inside and less noise reaches the ground during flights.The planes are initially flying at low speeds to gather information about thestability and flight-control characteristics of the design, particularly duringtake-off and landing.Another X-48B used for wind tunnel testing is available as a backup for flighttests.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Menlo Park, USA: A well-known hacker claims to have overcome restrictions on Apple’s iPhone, allowing highly technical users to bypass AT&T’s network to use the phone’s Internet and music features.
As of now, the iPhone, can only be used in conjunction with service providers AT&T in US states where the telecom provider runs its network. Apple has yet to reveal network operator deals in markets outside the US.
In a post dated July 3 on his blog, Jon Johansen, 23, a prolific Norwegian hacker of electronics gadgets, said “I’ve found a way to activate a brand new unactivated iPhone” without signing up for AT&T service.
“The iPhone does not have phone capability, but the iPod and Wi-Fi work. Stay tuned!” he wrote on his blog, which is combatively named “So Sue Me.”
The site contained technical details for other hackers, as well as links to software necessary to complete the process.
One potential use would be for an iPhone user living or travelling outside the US to access the iPhone’s music player and Internet service over Wi-Fi connections without using the phone.
AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said it was necessary to activate the iPhone on AT&T’s network to ensure optimum performance.
Using the phone without AT&T’s two-year service contract was unauthorised under the phone carrier’s exclusive network service contract with Apple, Siegel added.
“We’ll monitor situations like this and if necessary we will take appropriate action,” he said. “Our terms and conditions are very clear.”
Neither Apple nor AT&T have disclosed iPhone sales figures since it went on sale in the US on June 29, but some analysts have estimated sales of up to 7,00,000 units.
Johansen became known as DVD Jon” earlier this decade for helping to reverse engineer the code used to protect DVD movies against piracy, saying he did so in order to play them on his Linux computer.
The computer activist has engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with Apple to bypass copyright controls on various Apple products, including QuickTime, iTunes and Apple TV.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Profits in the past three months were hampered by costs stemming from repairs to the Xbox 360 computer games console.
Microsoft said its core businesses were "healthy" and it would continue to invest in growth opportunities.
Microsoft acknowledged this month that it is facing a bill of more than $1bn to cover the cost of offering extended warranties to Xbox 360 owners after problems with the console.
Kevin Turner, Microsoft
Sales from the division which includes Vista, launched in January, rose 14% to $38.1bn in the past three months.
Total sales rose 13% to $13.3bn over the same period.
Microsoft said it had had an extremely strong year.
"Surpassing $50bn in annual sales is a testament to the innovation and value that our product groups delivered into the marketplace," said chief operating officer Kevin Turner.
In the upcoming year, Microsoft said it expected sales to rise to between $56bn and $57bn.
Microsoft shares rose nearly 2% before it announced its results but fell in after-hours trading amid concerns it had only met market expectations not exceeded them.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Rights group Privacy International rated the search giant as "hostile" to privacy in a report ranking web firms by how they handle personal data.
The group said Google was leading a "race to the bottom" among net firms many of whom had policies that did little to substantially protect users.
In response Google said the report was mistaken and that it worked hard to keep user data confidential.
The report by the veteran cyber rights group is the result of six months' research which scrutinised 20 popular net firms to find out how they handle the personal information users gave up when they started using such services.
None of the firms featured in the report got a "privacy friendly" rating.
Yahoo and AOL were said to have "substantial threats" to privacy as were Facebook and Hi5 for the allegedly poor way they dealt with user data.
Other net sites, such as BBC.com, eBay and Last.fm were described in the report as "generally privacy aware but in need of improvement".
But Privacy International singled put Google at the bottom of its rankings for what the group called its "numerous deficiencies and hostilities" to privacy.
"We are aware that the decision to place Google at the bottom of the ranking is likely to be controversial," the group said in the report.
Privacy International placed Google at the bottom of its ranking because of the sheer amount of data it gathers about users and their activities; because its privacy policies are incomplete and for its poor record of responding to complaints.
"While a number of companies share some of these negative elements, none comes close to achieving status as an endemic threat to privacy," read the report.
Responding to the report Nicole Wong, general counsel for Google, said in a statement: "We are disappointed with Privacy International's report which is based on numerous inaccuracies and misunderstandings about our services."
Ms Wong added: "We recognise that user trust is central to our business and Google aggressively protects our users' privacy."
Privacy International said it planned to release a more detailed report in September produced after detailed consultation with the firms covered in the first draft.