Sunday, June 28, 2009

First round in Internet war goes to Iranian Intelligence

Subtitle could be "Welcome to a new type of 21st century warfare"

Excerpt from article: "Wednesday, June 24, when the extent of the damage the Iranian Internet invasion had inflicted on American interests was brought home to him, US secretary of defense Robert Gates ordered a special cyber defense system set up to protect the US armed forces' 15,000 Web sites, which encompass seven million computers. Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, was put in charge of getting the new system up and running by the end of 2010.

Tuesday, June 23, a group of US senators led by the Republic presidential candidate John McCain and independent Joe Lieberman initiated legislation to fund a cyber defense system capable of combating Internet assaults like the one mounted by the Iranian government."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

First impressions of Dallas

  1. It's hot.
  2. McKinney Avenue is nothing like when I lived there in an apartment in the 1960s. It is now an older upscale neighborhood with lots of new condos and chic restaurants.
  3. It looks like the first nationwide glimpse of the new Cowboy Stadium will be via American Idol:

    Now I must cram for my classes next week…

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Trimper's Rides & Amusements

According to the National Amusement Park Historical Association Trimper's Rides & Amusements in Ocean City is the oldest continuously owned amusement park in the United States. Trimper's opened in 1890. Trimper's Rides is open again this summer but the future of Trimper's is in doubt. As Ocean City has exploded into a megaresort, property taxes have soared for Trimper's, which operates on the last chunk of undeveloped land on the town's three-mile boardwalk. In the past three years, Trimper family members report that their assessed property tax assessment increased by 163 percent from $29 million to nearly $80 million. As a result, taxes on the property increased from $387,000 in 2004 to a staggering $914,000 in 2007. In addition to property taxes, insurance and energy costs are up. So the Trimpers are facing reality and making the decision each year whether to continue operating the historic amusement park. They are probably holding on because there are efforts to turn the amusement park into a historic district. That would have the effect of freezing the tax assessment at the 2004 rate.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

First day at Ocean City

It was a crazy day. Rained all the way from Fairfax to OC. The sun came out soon after I arrived about 3:00 PM so we hit the beach. NOT. Within one hour we had a severe thunderstorm. The rest of the day alternated between sun and thunderstorms. We were under tornado warnings until about 9:00 PM. Tomorrow is supposed to be better.

It has been many years since I have been to OC. Happily some things haven't changed: Trimpers Amusement Park (will do a separate post on Trimpers), Thrashers Fries, Bull on the Beach, Phillips Crab House, Candy Kitchen, the Doughroller, Dumsers Ice Cream Parlors, etc. The clerk at my hotel said the locals preferred Cravens Pit Beef instead of Bull on the Beach for beef and BBQ. I tried it – their beef sandwich was about what I remembered from Bull on the Beach.

Tip for my Fairfax friends heading for OC: Try the Harris Crab House, 433 Kent Narrows Way N, Grasonville, MD. It is about half way to OC and about 10 miles after you cross the bay bridge. It serves all the regular seafood entrees, with an emphasis on blue crab of course. The second floor dining room looks onto the water where you can see the bay bridge and fishing boats crossing paths with luxury yachts that frequently dock at the restaurant.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Famous People Painting

Subtitle: Painting with Wikipedia Links & Mouse Over Tagging

Thanks to Richard Belt for this incredible link (he was also the source for the "Just For Fun" post). I can't say it better than Richard: "I can't believe how much work has gone into this painting. The painting itself is great but as you run your curser over the people in the painting, it tells you who they are and provides a link (if you double click) to get more information on each person. This could keep you occupied for hours."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Printing New Organs

The US Department of Health and Human Services predicts: "Within 20 years regenerative medicine will be the standard of care for replacing all tissue/organ systems in the body." Work to make this a reality has already begun in the US:

and Japan:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nanomedicine & Nanorobots

Nanomedicine is the medical application of Nanotechnology. The approaches to nanomedicine range from the medical use of nanomaterials, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology in the form of nanorobots. Nanomedicine research is directly funded, with the US National Institutes of Health in 2005 funding a five-year plan to set up four nanomedicine centers. In April 2006, the journal Nature Materials estimated that 130 nanotech-based drugs and delivery systems were being developed worldwide.

Nanorobots: Some medical scientists are researching the possibility of using nanorobots in medicine. Advocates say this would totally change the world of medicine once it is realized. Nanorobots would be introduced into the body to detect or repair damages and infections. Most likely nanorobots would initially be used to monitor body functions and deliver medicines (such as substances used for cancer treatment) with pinpoint accuracy. For more information see Breakthroughs & The Future - Medicine

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Windows tips

Using the mouse wheel to zoom: if you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, simply hold down the "Control" key and slide the scroll wheel up to enlarge and down to shrink the window. This feature works with web pages and most applications, including Microsoft Office applications like Word. I know this works with XP and Vista – not sure whether it works with older versions of Windows or not. I use this a lot when viewing newspaper articles on the web. And of course it works on my blog.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Still home in Fairfax – next stop Ocean City, Maryland

Universal ‘Rubik’s Cube’ Could Become Pentagon Shapeshifter

A DARPA project is trying to develop "programmable matter" that can be ordered to "self-assemble or alter their shape, perform a function and then disassemble themselves." One day, that could lead to "morphing aircraft and ground vehicles, uniforms that can alter themselves to be comfortable in any climate, and 'soft' robots that flow like mercury through small openings to enter caves and bunker complexes." A soldier could even reach into a can of unformed goop, and order up a custom-made tool or a "universal spare part."

Intel, which has done a bunch of programmable matter work on its own, is looking beyond those basic steps. Way, way beyond. The malleable stuff could one day "mimic the shape and appearance of a person or object being imaged in real time, and as the originals moved, so would their replicas," according to their website. "These 3D models would be physical entities, not holograms. You could touch them and interact with them, just as if the originals were in the room with you. "

The complete article is available at

And of course you know that any technology that DARPA develops for our military will inevitably end up in the private sector. That's how we got the Internet and GPS satellites.

Making Water From Thin Air

Aqua Sciences Inc., a company that has developed technology capable of creating water out of thin air nearly anywhere in the world, is now under contract to nourish U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq. The machines reduce the cost of logistical support for supplying water to the troops in Iraq by billions of dollars, said Stuart Roy, spokesman of the DCI Group, Aqua Sciences' public affairs firm.

The cost to transport water by C-17 cargo planes, then truck it to the troops, runs $30 a gallon. The cost, including the machines from Aqua Sciences, is reduced to 30 cents a gallon, Roy said.

Several systems on the market can create water through condensation, but the process requires a high level of humidity. Aqua Sciences' machines only require 14 percent humidity, Roy said. "That's why this technology is superior and why they are getting the contracts."

This solves a BIG PROBLEM for military deployments and emergency operations. And if the technology can be scaled up to factory size I can see it eventually replacing desalinization plants in places like the Middle East.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

My favorite Fairfax restaurant

Coastal Flats calls itself “A casual 1950s Florida inspired seafood house.” Don’t miss it if you’re ever in Northern Virginia. Great American Restaurants has seven restaurants in Northern Virginia: Artie’s, Coastal Flats, Carlyle, Mike’s American Grill, Sweetwater Tavern, Silverado and Jackson’s. Each has a different theme and menu and they’re all very good.

Just for fun

Pinball - The person who wrote this has too much time on their hands…