Apple Introduces their newest product the iRac :)

New Harry Potter Book - Deathly Hallows released

NEW YORK - What picture shows a dramatic gold and orange sky and a teenage boy in glasses reaching upward?


It's the cover to the seventh and final Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," coming out July 21. As always, the cover was designed by illustrator Mary GrandPre, U.S. publisher Scholastic, Inc., announced Wednesday.

"The structures around Harry show evident destruction and in the shadows behind him, we see outlines of other people," David Saylor, Scholastic's art director, said in a statement.

"For the first time, the cover is a wraparound. On the back cover spidery hands are outstretched toward Harry. Only when the book is opened does one see a powerful image of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, his glowing red eyes peering out from his hood."

J.K. Rowling's fantasy series has sold more than 325 million copies worldwide. "Deathly Hallows" has an announced first printing of 12 million in the United States alone.

The cover for the children's edition released by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Rowling's British publisher, shows an adult-looking Harry, Hermione and Ron. The adult edition has a photograph of a locket bearing a serpentine "S" — believed to be the "horcrux" in which Lord Voldemort keeps a fragment of his soul.

France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years

France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years

by Marlowe Hood Thu Mar 22, 10:32 AM ET

PARIS (AFP) - France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades.


The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported, catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists.

"It is a world first," said Jacques Patenet, the aeronautical engineer who heads the office for the study of "non-identified aerospatial phenomena."

Known as OVNIs in French, UFOs have always generated intense interest along with countless conspiracy theories about secretive government cover-ups of findings deemed too sensitive or alarming for public consumption.

"Cases such as the lady who reported seeing an object that looked like a flying roll of toilet paper" are clearly not worth investigating, said Patenet.

But many others involving multiple sightings -- in at least one case involving thousands of people across France -- and evidence such as burn marks and radar trackings showing flight patterns or accelerations that defy the laws of physics are taken very seriously.

A phalanx of beefy security guards formed a barrier in front of the space agency (CNES) headquarters where the announcement was made, "to screen out uninvited UFOlogists," an official explained.

Of the 1,600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25 percent are classified as "type D", meaning that "despite good or very good data and credible witnesses, we are confronted with something we can't explain," Patenet said.

On January 8, 1981 outside the town of Trans-en-Provence in southern France, for example, a man working in a field reported hearing a strange whistling sound and seeing a saucer-like object about 2.5 meters (eight feet) in diameter land in his field about 50 meters (yards) away.

A dull-zinc grey, the saucer took off, he told police, almost immediately, leaving burn marks. Investigators took photos, and then collected and analyzed samples, and to this day no satisfactory explanation has been made.

The nearly 1,000 witness who said they saw flashing lights in the sky on November 5, 1990, by contrast, had simply seen a rocket fragment falling back into earth's atmosphere.

Patenet's answer to questions about evidence of life beyond Earth was sure to inflame the suspicions of those convinced the government is holding back: "We do not have the least proof that extra-terrestrials are behind the unexplained phenomena."

But then he added: "Nor do we have the least proof that they aren't."

The CNES fields between 50 and 100 UFO reports ever year, usually written up by police. Of these, 10 percent are the object of on-site investigations, Patenet said.

Other countries collect data more or less systematically about unidentified flying objects, notably in Britain and in the United States, where information can be requested on a case-by-case basis under the Freedom of Information Act.

"But we decided to do it the other way around and made everything available to the public," Patenet said.

The aim was to make it easier for scientists and other UFO buffs to access the data for research.

The website itself -- which crashed host servers hours after it was unveiled due to heavy traffic -- is extremely well organized and complete, even including scanned copies of police reports.

To visit the website:

Perfect Date Candidate - Bobby Butronic

Ok here is a shot out to D4Date for finding this jem!

Bryan Baker's Blog - Running and Entrepreneurialism

Everyone should read Bryan Bakers latest post on the comparison of running with being an entrepreneur.

Read Bryan Bakers latest post here!

Ok as I said in the previous two posts, I am currently reading Aaron Wall's SEO Book, and part of it discusses Page Rank and how that is computed by Google to show what is called "Authority" to compute relevance for a given search term. In case you are new to SEO, it is the optimization of your site and creating relevant back links that enables you to place high within search engine results for given keywords.

This is really important because in order to generate a lot of relevant traffic - read traffic that does not bounce but converts (signing up members, selling produts, etc...) you need to focus on linking with certain keywords. What does this have to do with Page Rank? Well Google assigns a page rank to every single page on every single website it indexes. And many people have downloaded the Google Tool Bar which allows you to see a site's page rank. Here is where the myth begins.

The Google Tool Bar, I have discovered, is really misleading for several reasons:

1) Page rank - which is listed as 0-10, is actually a floating point number! A floating point number is a number with a decimal point that represents fractions. So actually there are really fine gradations between all page ranks.

2) Google does not update their tool bar very often! Actually it happens about once every three months or so. However, the real page rank - the one stored in the Google search algorythm is CONSTANTLY CHANGING, and as I said before is actually a number with a decimal point. So a PR 4 website may be listed in the Google index as PR 4.01334. Which means that not all PR 4 pages are equal!

3) I have a PR 0 site that is now getting a lot more traffic from Google than a PR 3 website that I have, which means that Google has not updated their tool bar, and in fact my PR 0 site may have a higher internal page rank than my PR3 one.

I had come to these conclusions on my own recently after looking at my traffic logs, but I also confirmed my suspicions when I did a search to find comments from Matt Cutts - a Google employee who had the following comments to make on Page Rank.

Page Rank as a floating point number - "It’s more accurate to think of it as a floating-point number. Certainly our internal PageRank computations have many more degrees of resolution than the 0-10 values shown in the toolbar."

How Google's Data Centers Transfer Page Rank which may cause a delay - "The latter. I think most data centers are running the newer infrastructure for things like info:, related:, link: and PageRank, and I believe every data center that has that newer infrastructure has the recent snapshot of PageRank now. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took at least 1-2 months for the other data center IPs to get the newer infrastructure in some way. (Yes, this is smaller, different infrastructure than the stuff that made site: queries have more accurate results estimates.)"

Page Rank is computed continuously - "I believe that I’ve said before that PageRank is computed continuously; there are machines that take inputs to the PageRank algorithm at Google and compute the resulting PageRanks. So at any given time, a url in Google’s system has up-to-date PageRank as a result of running the computation with the inputs to the algorithm. From time-to-time, that internal PageRank value is exported so that it’s visible to Google Toolbar users (see the question below for more details on the timing)."

You can read the full article here

You can buy Aaron Wall's SEO Book Here

Gates vs. Jobs

Borat does Baywatch

Ok I have to give credit to Dan's Blogfor digging up this gem! Thanks Dan!

Speed Painting Scarlett Johansson

Ok this one is a lot shorter than the hacker video ;)


Hacking the X-Box

This was a really interesting video on how people were able to hack the X-Box to install linux and other things.

Scientists show thought-controlled computer

Forget speech-recognition software: How about typing a letter just by thinking it?

In a quiet corner of the CeBIT trade show a small Austrian company is showing a "brain-computer interface," a technology that could one day transform how we use computers, play video games and even talk to each other.

It sounds like science fiction but is a clever application of science and technology. The system does not really read thoughts; rather, it measures fluctuations in electrical voltage in the brain and translates them into commands on a computer screen.

The system consists of a cap that fits over the user's head, with a few dozen holes through which electrodes are attached so they rest on the scalp. The electrodes are connected via thin cables to a "biosignal amplifier," which transmits the signals from the brain to a computer.

Different parts of the brain are used to process different types of thoughts. Vertical and horizontal hand movements are handled in an area called the sensory motor cortex, for example, said Christoph Guger, CEO of g.tec, which built the BCI system shown at CeBIT.

To use a BCI to move a computer cursor, the electrodes are placed over the corresponding part of the brain, where they read tiny fluctuations in voltage and feed them into a software program that analyzes them to figure out what the person is thinking.

The software needs to be trained to read the signals, which takes several hours to do properly. The subject responds to commands on a computer screen, thinking "left" and "right" when they are instructed to do so, for example. Another test involves looking at a series of blinking letters, and thinking of a letter when it appears.

The software "learns" what the brain's voltage fluctuations look like when those directions or letters are thought of, Guger said.

The system today is also quite slow -- even a trained system can "read" only 18 characters per minute, or three or four words. Still, that may be helpful for a disabled person who cannot communicate through speech or movement. About 200 disabled people worldwide are using the software at home to communicate, according to Guger, although they need professional help to set it up.

Another issue is accuracy. In a test at a conference in Austria about two years ago, 300 attendees were trained on the system for 30 minutes. After that time the system could figure out simple binary responses from most of the people 60 percent of the time -- or "better than random," Guger said. For 7 percent of the people, the accuracy was more than 90 percent, he said.

The technology is advancing. Five years ago the system was too bulky to be transported easily, and now the various parts can fit in a shoebox. In 10 years it could be fast and accurate enough to commercialize in home PCs or games consoles, according to Guber.

"Ultimately you could have wireless contacts embedded in the brain, and communicate with others just by thinking," he said. "But then you really would have to worry about your wife finding out about your girlfriend."

At CeBIT, a colleague of Guber's donned the BCI system and played the game "Pong" against a reporter. It has also been used to write letters, operate artificial limbs and steer a wheelchair. "It's not safe enough for wheelchairs today though; if it reads a command wrongly you could veer off into the road," Guger said.

The study of BCI took off in the 1990s, primarily at three laboratories, in Austria, Germany and the U.S. There are now 300 laboratories working on it, Guger said. He completed his Ph.D. in BCI at the Graz University of Technology, in Austria, in 1999, he said.

He sells his BCI systems mainly to scientists for research work. They are priced from €20,000 (US$26,000) to €100,000 depending on their sophistication. The company is showing a smaller, Pocket PC-based device at CeBIT that starts at €3,000. More information is at g.tec's Web site.

Measuring the brain's electrical activity like this is called electroencephalography, or EEG. It is noninvasive, meaning the electrodes are placed on the scalp without surgery, but it produces weaker signals and is subject to noise interference.

Invasive techniques produce better results but are tried only on patients who require brain surgery in any case, and on monkeys and other animals.

An engineer in the U.S. holds a patent on the general BCI concept, Guger said; other patents are held by universities for specific software algorithms used to decode the brain's signals.

G.tec's BCI is among the nominees for the European ICT Prize , the winners of which will be announced Friday. There are three grand prizes of €200,000 each.

So I gues that eventually everyone will have a computer integrated into their brains and look something like this...

Cool F22-Raptor Video

One of my MyBlogLog members visited my page recently and he had an avatar of an F22 - Raptor. It remided me of this cool video so I decided to post it. Enjoy!

And this video reminds me of another cool video of the Joint Strike Fighter CLICK HEREOne of my friends who is a visual effects artist did this video.

UFO science key to halting climate change: former Canadian defense minister

UFO science key to halting climate change: former Canadian defense minister

OTTAWA (AFP) - A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change, a local paper said Wednesday.

"I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation ... that could be a way to save our planet," Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Alien spacecrafts would have traveled vast distances to reach Earth, and so must be equipped with advanced propulsion systems or used exceptional fuels, he told the newspaper.

Such alien technologies could offer humanity alternatives to fossil fuels, he said, pointing to the enigmatic 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico -- which has become a shrine for UFO believers -- as an example of alien contact.

"We need to persuade governments to come clean on what they know. Some of us suspect they know quite a lot, and it might be enough to save our planet if applied quickly enough," he said.

Hellyer became defense minister in former prime minister Lester Pearson's cabinet in 1963, and oversaw the controversial integration and unification of Canada's army, air force and navy into the Canadian Forces.

He shocked Canadians in September 2005 by announcing he once saw a UFO.

Bio-artists bridge art-science divide

Bio-artists bridge art-science divide

TROY, N.Y. - Adam Zaretsky once spent 48 hours playing Engelbert Humperdincks's "Greatest Hits" to a dish of E.coli bacteria to determine whether vibrations or sounds influenced bacterial growth. Watching the bacteria's antibiotic production increase, Zaretsky decided that perhaps even cells were annoyed by constant subjection to "loud, really awful lounge music."

This sense of humor is a huge component of Zaretsky's work in the growing field of bio-art, a broad term for the blend of art, technology and science that is attracting artists, scientists and controversy. Having recently taught at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Zaretsky has become a prominent figure in the realm of bio-art and RPI is becoming a Petri dish for the cultivation of new works.

Bio-artists use live tissues, bacteria, living organisms and life processes to create works of art that blur the traditional distinctions between science and art. Most of these works tend toward social reflection, conveying political and societal criticism through the combination of artistic and scientific processes.

An exhibit of bio-art works by Kevin H. Jones went on view Feb. 16 at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Mass. Jones' work explores how biotechnology and other sciences are changing and being redefined. Almost every piece in it is alive, and the media used includes bioluminescent bacteria and rotting fruit. According to Montserrat College Assistant Curator Shana Dumont, the exhibit seeks to make the achievements and implications of biotechnology more accessible, a goal shared by most bio-artists working today.

Brazilian artist Eduardo Kac, an Art Institute of Chicago professor and a leader in bio-arts, once had a microchip implanted in his body to make people contemplate the relationship humans have with technology.

"(Bio-art) is a way of looking where we interface with ourselves, human culture and the rest of the living world," said Zaretsky.

At RPI, bio-arts is a growing curriculum through its iEAR program (Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer).

"Through iEAR, it's helping us make alliances and build connections as we develop the bio-art program," said Kathy High, an RPI professor and chair of the program. "We're fortunate here because there's so much going on (around us) with nanotechnology and bioengineering."

High said she originally became involved in bio-art through her interest in women's issues and much of her previous work focused on the birthing process and reproductive technologies.

Zaretsky taught his course, "VivoArts: Art and Biology Studio," at RPI in the fall 2006 semester. The course guides a mix of artists, scientists and medical students in the exploration of life sciences through projects that examine the human connection to living systems.

The VivoArts courses are meant to expose artists to laboratories, which he says are often the most "intimidating and foreign sites." In one assignment, a student might "paint" with genetically modified bacteria; in another, a student incorporates his or her self into a work of living art.

Much of the art involves tissue-culturing and transgenics, a catchall term for a variety of genetic engineering processes through which genetic material from one organism is altered by the addition of synthesized or transplanted genetic material from another organism.

One of the original examples of this type of transgenic art was Alba, a living phosphorescent rabbit created by Kac in 2000. By inserting the fluorescent protein gene from a jellyfish into a fertilized rabbit egg cell, Kac eventually produced a rabbit that glows bright green under blue lights.

RPI alum Julia Reodica incorporated her own body as well as animal cells in her 2004 project, "hymeNextTM." Using rat tissue samples and her own vaginal cells, Reodica combined new media and sculpture methods with tissue-cultivating to produce a series of artificial hymens. Reodica's pieces aim to confront modern sexuality, and provoke thought on the female body and the emphasis placed on virginity in our culture.

Reodica, who was originally a medical student, turned to commercial art before later looking for a way to explore science through art while also illustrating social messages and issues.

An exhibit last October at RPI, called "Prototype," detailed the processes that have gone into the development of "hymeNextTM" and her other works, including an enormous replica of muscle cells that allows the viewer to walk around and through the faux tissue. Other projects on which she is working include a series she calls "Living Sculptures," creating a collection of synthetic embryos of mythical creatures.

Not everyone is cheering this blend of art and science.

Kac and many others have faced opposition from animal rights groups accusing them of unfairly manipulating living creatures for selfish purposes, and from conservative groups who question the morality of transgenics and tissue-culturing.

"Transgenic manipulation of animals is just a continuum of using animals for human end," regardless of whether it is done to make some sort of sociopolitical critique, said Alka Chandna, a senior researcher with PETA in Norfolk, Va. "The suffering and exacerbation of stress on the animals is very problematic."

Chandna also warned that scientists can't always predict what other health problems the animals will suffer from their alterations. "We're all in support of creativity but we're opposed to all suffering."

For other bio-artists, their work has led to national legal scrutiny.

Steven Kurtz, a professor at SUNY Buffalo, was arrested on federal terrorism charges nearly three years ago after police discovered certain types of bacteria and other biological materials in his home. Kurtz maintains that the specimens were for his bio-arts pieces and that he has been unfairly targeted for his choice of artistic expression. Kurtz's trial is still pending in the federal court system, nearly three years later.

Part of the problem with bio-art, explained RPI faculty member and Kurtz's colleague Rich Pell, is that much of it seems shrouded in secrecy because of the laboratory setting. Pell and Reodica are working to combat this through the creation of the Center for Bio-Media, a gallery, lab and educational facility that will be open to the public.

"With bio-art, rather than just freaking out about it, you can then go into a lab where things are actually happening and then have an 'educated freak-out,'" Pell said.

Brain Man - A man who can do anything with numbers!

Brain Man

I just watched this 60minuts on "Brain Man". Toally amazing! Take a look for yourself.
As I said in a previous post, I am reading Aaron Wall's SEO Book, which has given me a lot of new insight into how to successfully build and market a site or product online. In this post I want to talk briefly about posting to directories and how they can help you drive traffic and stabilize/build your PR - Page Rank with Google.

In case you don't know, Google assigns a page rank to every website page. A PR value is one of the measures the search engine uses to measure "Relavancy" or how important a given source is. Basically a source/website that has a lot of relevant backlinks - links from other similar type websites will have a higher PR value than one that has less. Anyway by listing your site in some of the larger directories such as Yahoo, Gimpsy, and, you can help improve both your traffic to your site and your Google Page Rank (PR). So I want to talk about a personal experience I had with some of these directories and some pitfalls to avoid when listing in them.

First off, the larger directories such as Yahoo, Gimpsy,, and Bestoftheweb, charge what is called a "review" fee. For Yahoo it is currently an annual fee of $299. It ain't cheap. So before you go and list your site and pay for a "review" which DOES NOT GUARANTEE A LISTING. You should be aware of several important factors:

1) Most of these directories DO NOT GUARANTEE A LISTING for the fee paid. In fact most of them have very stringent guidelines that must be followed in order to be listed, and even then your site may be rejected if they deem it to not fit or not be good enough.

2) READ THEIR EDITORIAL GUIDLINES CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU SUBMIT YOUR SITE - For example, only accepts B2B or business to business type websites. So B2C sites such as a dating website or a blog will be rejected!

3) KNOW THIER REFUND POLICY For exmaple did refund my money after they rejected my site, but Bestoftheweb tried to not refund my money and I had to raise a big stink before they finally decided to give me my money back - more on that later ;)

4) DO NOT USE ALL CAPS LIKE I AM DOING NOW Most directories will reject your listing if you use titles or descriptions that are in all caps or that have a "call to action" like "Buy this now!" or "Join today!". So avoid doing this.

5) Make sure you choose the most relevant subdirectory to submit your site to Most directories require you to search their directory to find the most relevant category or subdirectory where you site should go. Make sure you choose the best one before you submit.

I submitted my site to, Best of the Web and Gimpsy. Gimpsy luckily accepted me into their directory and and Bestoftheweb rejected me. was nice enough to refund me my submission fee without any hassle after they explained to me they only list B2B websites - i.e. busineses that sell to other businesses - wholesale.

Gimpsy - luckily accepted my site! Whoohoo!

BestoftheWeb rejected my site after I spent $80 and gave me a one sentence "review" that was: "not enough original content" which makes absolutely no sense for a community site where the "content" is its members and their profiles. So I had a bloody fight with BotW to get my money back! And they kept refusing saying that I was paying for a "review" not a "listing" and I said bullshit - I paid for a listing not a review.

And it went back and forth a lot. Finally I threatened to cancell payment throughh my credit card and report them to the better business bureau for offering fake "listings" and paying for one line "reviews". They finally caved and refunded me my $70.

Key Learnings

Anyway you should probably note before you submit to these directories that they don't accept anyone with a website and a credit card - you have to meet their very rigorous editorial guidelines and then you need a really really good site to be approved. So take extra care when submitting to these high profile directories.

You can purchase Aaron Wall's SEO BOOK Here: