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XII-2005: 09 10 14 17 21 28 | I-2006: 04 15 17 30

New translation, the Magna Carta


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how to save the last remaining tea clipper
[flash presentation, recommended viewing]
Two GoldenYak (tm) award

Cutty Sark - how its structure is deteriorating. Image credit:

Part of the proposed rescue of the Cutty Sark, suspending the hull out of water without there being unequal pressures. The girdle would be made of kelvar. Image credit:

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Economics and money zone at




functional electronic book being developed by Sony

Full size image of Sony Portable Reader or e-book system.
Image courtesey of
Sony Inc

  • Sony® Portable Reader System PRS-500
  • 6” SVGA 800x600 4-level gray-scale display with E Ink® display technology
    (approx. 170 pixels per inch)
  • daylight readable, high contrast, high resolution, near 180º viewing angle
  • screen image can be magnified 200%
  • formats: BBeB Book / PDF / JPEG / MP3
  • up to 7,500 continuous page turns with a single full charge on internal rechargeable battery
  • average non-illustrated eBook file size of 800 kilobytes; internal memory with a slot for additional removable memory (Memory Stick® storage media and SD Memory Cards)
  • dimensions: 175.6 (h) x 123.6 (w) x 13.8 (d) mm
    6.9 x 4.9 x 0.5 inches
  • weight: 250g / approx. 8.8 oz, without soft cover. This is approximately the width and dimensions of a thin standard paperback. But as you can see from the illustration, there is not nearly as much space for text on the screen.
  • available Spring 2006, price expected to be $349

Note that the Sony website is not easy to navigate, with a substantial part of the detail on the reader being presented using Flash. We cannot find the Connect e-book store, the illustration on the Flash webpage appears to be a fake-up. Thus, we cannot find a list of titles that should be available. Also, Sony’s Connect music store is only available using Microsoft IE 5.5 and higher, and the e-book store will probably have similar access problems.

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all those people living in your guts

“An analysis of DNA sequences in samples of stomach tissue from 22 men and one woman (all of them military veterans treated at a Veterans Affairs hospital) turned up the DNA fingerprints of a slew of bacteria, ranging from H. pylori to garden-variety streptococcus.

“Ten per cent of these "phylotypes" had never before been characterized, including a Deinococcus-related organism, "relatives of which have been found in extreme environments, but never before in humans," says the study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“ "The most famous is a species called Deinococcus radiodurans," said Relman. "That organism is famous for its extreme tolerance of high levels of radioactivity. In fact, it has adapted so well . . . that it has the means of repairing its DNA genome after it's been fragmented into hundreds of pieces by intense levels of radiation.”

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she waves, she talks, just like a human can (humanoid robots) [mini-site map page] Three and a half GoldenYak (tm) award

“we endeavor everyday to develop a robot which ultimately can become hunman's [sic] partner in life.”

Hiroshi Ishiguru and his Intelligent Robots Laboratory at Osaka University are developing robots that are becoming close to indistinguishable for humans (from the waist up at least).

This page has a wealth of development information - on movement, sensing, skin... and is worth an explore.

Adult human android, Repliee Q1 and friends. Image credit: Intelligent robotics laboratory, Osaka University, Japan
Adult human android, Repliee Q1 and friends.
Image credit: Intelligent robotics laboratory, Osaka University, Japan

“An android needs to possess the same motion mechanisms as a human to perform humanlike motion. If an android has such mechanisms, however, it is difficult to balance with humanlike appearance. We developed Repliee Q1 in collaboration with KOKORO, Inc. Repliee Q1 has a humanlike appearance and 31 degrees of freedom in the upper body, so the android is able to reproduce humanlike motion. Repliee Q1 Expo has been upgraded to 41 degrees of freedom, allowing for a greater number of humanlike motions.”

marker at

“[...] designing the robot's appearance, especially to give it a humanoid one, was always a role of the industrial designer. To tackle the problem of appearance and behavior, two approaches are necessary: one from robotics and the other from cognitive science. The approach from robotics tries to build very humanlike robots based on knowledge from cognitive science. The approach from cognitive science uses the robot for verifying hypotheses for understanding humans. We call this cross-interdisciplinary framework android science.”

Familiarity plotted against similarity, showing the uncanny valley where robots resemble moving corpses. Image credit: Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, Osaka University
Image credit: Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, Osaka University

“One of the essential issue in android science is the existence of the uncanny valley. As robots appear more human, they seem more familiar, until a point is reached at which subtle imperfections create a sensation of strangeness or eeriness. Our important roll is to verify the existence of the uncanny valley and to explore how to overcome the uncanny valley problem with the androids.”

“The hypothesis which Mori advocated in 1970. It is called an "uncanny valley".This hypothesis says that the degree of intimacy increases with a robot's appearance and behavior. At a certain level of appearance and behavior, however, the degree of intimacy drops sharply.”

marker at

“Most robots have been used only in limited areas such as factories. They therefore didn't need to have any of the five senses (touch, taste, hearing, eyesight, and smell). But now, they must have senses in order to coexist with human. We research "robots' skin" which is the same as a human’s tactile senses”

[Article much truncated as many site links now dead - 08.2012]

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