Our Evil Sushi Squish was on Austin Fox News Wednesday November 2, 2011. Fox News covered jobs of the future and apps are a part of that future.
The interview will air on Oct. 23, the night before Isaacson’s Steve Jobs: A Biography hits bookshelves. Isaacson was given unprecedented access to Jobs and those who knew him. Jobs, who died earlier this month, reportedly told Isaacson that “nothing is off limits” when it came to chronicling his life.
In a special essay for Time subscribers, Isaacson shed some light on why the notoriously private Jobs was finally willing to open up about his life. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs reportedly told Isaacson.
CBS announced the interview segment on its Facebook page. We expect the clip will be available in the official 60 Minutes iPad app shortly after it airs on TV.
Isaacson Discusses Jobs’s Decision to Put Off Surgery
CBS News released a preview of its upcoming Segment on Thursday. The clip includes Isaacson discussing Jobs’s decision to put-off surgery after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The surgery could have saved Jobs’s life. Isaacson says that despite the urgings of his wife and surgeons, Jobs opted to try alternative treatments first. It was a decision he would later regret.
Here is a fun little animation with our Halloween charters. Everyone loves to dress up for Halloween and this app lets you enjoy many crazy combinations of costumes, along with traditional ones as well. Down load the app, and have some Halloween fun.
Today we had a special guest in our studio, the Fox News Team. Visible Contact has been developing web sites for the past 4 years ago. But last year we started developing apps. Our first app was developed as a countdown app for New Years Eve 2011. And on New Years Eve we had over 10,000 download. So from there we developed Evil Sushi Squish and haven’t look back since. Of course we will always work on web sites and other peoples apps but developing products for mobile devices is where the market is going and so are we.
Fox News is doing a story on jobs of the future. The interview will air November 1st.
How the Amazon Fire Compares to the iPad
Amazon’s new $200 Fire tablet could be the first device to make a significant impact on the iPad’s dominance of the market, thanks to innovative use of cloud services.
Let’s take a look at the reasons for this claim.
The Fire tablet is designed for shopping. Amazon is not only the biggest provider of cloud hosting in the world, but it is also the biggest online retailer. And it’s no secret that the Fire was designed from the ground up to make e-shopping as easy as possible –- specifically, shopping for content from Amazon. Users can buy e-books, movies, music, and apps through a convenient interface.
The iPad is similarly designed for easy shopping. Both devices are easier and friendlier to use than more utilitarian generic tablets. It’s like the difference between walking into a high-end store and your company’s office supply closet. The store’s sound system lulls you into a pleasant shopping stupor. The staff is friendly. The colors are the latest seasonal palette –- it even smells nice. The office supply closet –- not so much.
By pairing up its tablet with its popular e-commerce site, Amazon instantly makes its device comforting and familiar -– a major plus if Amazon is going after the same audience that buys e-readers. According to Nielsen, 65 percent of e-reader users are currently over 45 years of age, and 61 percent are women.
These are prime shopping demographics, especially when it comes to books. And Amazon is the No. 1 destination for book shoppers. According to the Book Industry Study Group, 70 percent of e-book shoppers bought on Amazon in May 2011, while less than 10 percent bought books through the Apple store.
If these shoppers are inspired to buy Amazon’s Fire tablet over the iPad, they won’t just be buying e-books, either –- they’ll have access to Amazon’s entire catalog, both of digital media and of actual physical objects they can have shipped to their homes.
The Fire tablet -– like the iPad –- also makes shopping easier by offering free cloud storage for all purchased digital products. This is a bigger deal for the Fire, which only has 8GB of storage, while the iPad starts at 16GB and goes all the way up to 64GB.
The Fire tablet focuses on the consumer. The iPad is difficult enough to use to create or edit documents –- the on-screen keyboard can be awkward, and an external keyboard forces users to switch back and forth between typing and tapping on the screen.
The Fire tablet, with its smaller size –- seven inches diagonal, compared to the iPad’s 9.7 inches –- is even more difficult to use for writing anything longer than a short email or text message. But the small size makes it a third lighter than the iPad -– perfect for holding in one hand while reading books or magazines or surfing the Web.
Fire users are more likely to be consuming content from the cloud rather than creating it. This means that it’s unlikely that the Fire tablet will become popular in business environments as a laptop replacement or presentation device.
The Fire tablet is WiFi only. Fire users have to find WiFi hotspots in order to take advantage of the tablet’s Internet capabilities. That means that kids won’t be surfing the Web from the back seat of the family minivan –- and their parents won’t be checking their email or downloading new e-books while at the beach.
The alternative to WiFi is 3G –- which typically requires a data contract from a cellphone company like AT&T or Verizon. Amazon’s Kindle devices are available in both WiFi-only and WiFi plus 3G configurations, as is Apple’s iPad. The 3G-enabled tablets are fully functional everywhere -– well, everywhere with cell coverage. There’s a monthly fee for the 3G service on the iPad, but no monthly access fee for Amazon’s Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Keyboard 3G, and Kindle DX.
Of course, those devices aren’t designed to download, say, full-length movies and TV shows –- both of which the Kindle Fire can handle.
Cat people love their kitties as much as dog lovers love theirs. But it’s a shame dogs have more toy choices when it comes to the pet store. But with the iPad a new line of cat toys is emerging. Playing with your cat can be a wonderful way to unwind, or just a short break from work. I use the special cat sound effects in the app Sophie the Circus Cat, to call to mine, so these new iPad apps are a lot of fun. Here are a few that you might also enjoy.
Games for Cats: iPad and Free
This is a great app with an automated laser light for your kitty to chase. Also included is a cute mouse that wisps in and out of a piece of cheese. A fun little app for your kitty. This app also has the ability to keep your kitties score on catches and they just added a new level, chase the butterfly. A must for those with iPads and kitties.
Cat Fishing: iPad and Free
Remember Friskies the cat food? Well they are taking on the cat gaming idea and have developed several iPad games for the kitties. Check out the web site for the full list but my favorite is Cat Fishing. This app turns my iPad into a little pond of fish and drives my cat crazy.
Sophie the Circus Cat: iPad and .99
Not just a cat toy but 3 different things for you and your kitty to enjoy. First is a wonderful story of a kitty wanting to be a circus performer and you go through her challenges to watch her successes. A heart warming story. Also included in this app is a section of recipes and activities for you and your cat to enjoy. And finally a remote control cat toy and sound buttons that will bring any curious cat to you.
Written by Amanda O’Brien
‘Oldest’ woolly rhino discovered
By Jonathan Amos Science correspondent, BBC News
A woolly rhino fossil dug up on the Tibetan Plateau is believed to be the oldest specimen of its kind yet found.
The creature lived some 3.6 million years ago – long before similar beasts roamed northern Asia and Europe in the ice ages that gripped those regions.
The discovery team says the existence of this ancient rhino supports the idea that the frosty Tibetan foothills of the Himalayas were the evolutionary cradle for these later animals.
The report appears in Science journal.
“It is the oldest specimen discovered so far,” said Xiaoming Wang from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, US.
“It is at least a million years older, or more, than any other woolly rhinos we have known.
“It’s quite well preserved – just a little crushed, so not quite in the original shape; but the complete skull and lower jaw are preserved,” he told BBC News.
The rhino was found in Tibet’s Zanda Basin. The area is rich in fossil beds, and this specimen was unearthed along with examples of extinct horse, antelope, snow leopard, badger and many other kinds of mammals.
It has been put in a new species classification – Coelodonta thibetana.
Dr Wang and colleagues say it displays some very primitive features compared with its counterparts that lived through the later great glaciations of the Pleistocene Epoch.
Judging from marks on the skull, the creature’s horn, which has not survived, would likely have been quite flat in construction and leaning forward.
This might have allowed the animal more easily to sweep snow out of the way to get at vegetation, a useful behaviour for survival in the harsh Tibetan climate, the team says.
“We think it would have used its horn like a paddle to sweep the snow away,” Dr Wang explained.
Although the extinction of the Pleistocene beasts, such as woolly mammoths and rhinos, great sloths and sabre-tooth cats, has been intensively studied in recent years, much less is known about where these giants came from and how they acquired their adaptations for living in a cold environment.
The argument made in the Science paper is that perhaps they got those adaptations on the Tibetan Plateau.
“When this rhino existed, the global climate was much warmer and the northern continents were free of the massive ice sheets seen in the later ice ages,” Dr Wang said.
“Then, about a million years later, when the ice age did hit the world, these Tibetan woolly rhinos were basically pre-adapted to the ice age environment because they had this ability to sweep snows.
“They just happily came down from the high altitude areas and expanded to the rest of Eurasia.”
The Los Angeles-based researcher concedes that many more fossil finds will be required to underpin the Tibetan hypothesis.
Andy Currant, an expert on the Pleistocene (1.8 million to about 11,000 years ago) at London’s Natural History Museum, says this is not straightforward in the case of woolly rhinos, and good specimens can sometimes be hard to come by.
“Woolly rhino were preyed on by spotted hyenas and they were eaten pretty thoroughly; the hyenas liked the bones,” he told BBC News.
Coral could hold key to sunscreen pill
By Michelle Roberts Health reporter, BBC News
Scientists hope to harness coral’s natural defence against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays to make a sunscreen pill for humans.
The King’s College London team visited Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to uncover the genetic and biochemical processes behind coral’s innate gift.
By studying a few samples of the endangered Acropora coral they believe they can synthetically replicate in the lab the key compounds responsible.
Tests on human skin could begin soon.
Before creating a tablet version, the team, led by Dr Paul Long, plan to test a lotion containing the same compounds as those found in coral.
To do this, they will copy the genetic code the coral uses to make the compounds and put it into bacteria in the lab that can rapidly replicate to produce large quantities of it.
Once we recreate the compounds we can put them into a lotion and test them on skin discarded after cosmetic surgery tummy tucks”
Lead researcher Dr Paul Long
Dr Long said: “We couldn’t and wouldn’t want to use the coral itself as it is an endangered species.”
He said scientists had known for some time that coral and some algae could protect themselves from the harsh UV rays in tropical climates by producing their own sunscreens but, until now, they didn’t know how.
“What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae.
“Not only does this protect them both from UV damage, but we have seen that fish that feed on the coral also benefit from this sunscreen protection, so it is clearly passed up the food chain.”
This could ultimately mean that people might be able to get inbuilt sun protection for their skin and eyes by taking a tablet containing the compounds. But for now, Dr Long’s team are focusing their efforts on a lotion.
“Once we recreate the compounds we can put them into a lotion and test them on skin discarded after cosmetic surgery tummy tucks.
“We will not know how much protection against the sun it might give until we begin testing.
“But there is a need for better sunscreens.”
Another long-term goal of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council-funded study is to look at whether the processes could also be used for developing sustainable agriculture in the Third World.
The natural sunscreen compounds found in coral could be used to produce UV-tolerant crop plants capable of withstanding harsh tropical UV light.
Space debris: Time to clean up the sky
The US National Research Council’s report on space debris is not the first of its kind.
A wide range of space agencies and intergovernmental organisations has taken a bite out of this issue down the years.
The opinion expressed is always the same: the problem is inescapable and it’s getting worse. It’s also true the tone of concern is being ratcheted up.
There is now a wild jungle of debris overhead – everything from old rocket stages that continue to loop around the Earth decades after they were launched, to the flecks of paint that have lifted off once shiny space vehicles and floated off into the distance.
It is the legacy of more than half a century of space activity. Today, it is said there are more than 22,000 pieces of debris actively being tracked.
These are just the big, easy-to-see items, however. Moving around unseen are an estimated 500,000 particles ranging in size between 1-10cm across, and perhaps tens of millions of other particles smaller than 1cm.
All of this stuff is travelling at several kilometres per second – sufficient velocity for even the smallest fragment to become a damaging projectile if it strikes an operational space mission.
Gravity ensures that everything that goes up will eventually come back down, but the bath is currently being filled faster than the plug hole and the overflow pipe can empty it.
Man and nature are also conspiring in unexpected ways to make the situation worse. The extra CO2 pumped into the atmosphere down the years has cooled some of its highest reaches – the thermosphere.
This, combined with low levels of solar activity, have shrunk the atmosphere, limiting the amount of drag on orbital objects that ordinarily helps to pull debris from the sky. In other words, the junk is also staying up longer.
Leaving aside the growth in debris from collisions for a moment, the number of satellites being sent into space is also increasing rapidly.
The satellite industry launched an average of 76 satellites per year over the past 10 years. In the coming decade, this activity is expected to grow by 50%.
The most recent Euroconsult analysis suggested some 1,145 satellites would be built for launch between 2011 and 2020.
A good part of this will be the deployment of communications constellations – broadband relays and sat phone systems.
These constellations, in the case of the second-generation Iridium network, can number more than 60 spacecraft.
By and large, everyone operating in orbit now follows international mitigation guidelines. Or tries to.
These include ensuring there is enough propellant at the end of a satellite’s life so that it can be pushed into a graveyard orbit and the venting of fuel tanks on spent rocket stages so that they cannot explode (a major source of the debris now up there).
The goal is to make sure all low-orbiting material is removed within 25 years of launch.
I say “by and large” because there has been some crass behaviour in the recent past. What the Chinese were thinking when they deliberately destroyed one of their polar orbiting satellites in 2007 with a missile is anyone’s guess. It certainly defied all logic for a nation that professes to have major ambitions in space.
The destruction created more than 3,000 trackable objects and an estimated 150,000 debris particles larger than 1cm.
It was without question the biggest single debris-generating event in the space age. It was estimated to have increased the known existing orbital debris population at that time by more than 15%.
A couple of years later, of course, we saw the accidental collision of the Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33 satellites. Taken together, the two events essentially negated all the mitigation gains that had been made over the previous 20 years to reduce junk production from spent rocket explosions.
There are lots of ideas out there to clean up space. Many of them, I have to say, look far-fetched and utterly impractical.
Uncertain futureIdeas such as deploying large nets to catch debris or firing harpoons into old satellites to drag them back to Earth are non-starters. If nothing else, some of these devices risk creating more debris than they would remove.
It has been calculated that just taking away a few key spent rocket stages or broken satellites would substantially reduce the potential for collision and cap the growth in space debris over coming decades. And in the next few years we’re likely to see a number of robotic spacecraft demonstrate the rendezvous and capture technologies that would be needed in these selective culls.
The German space agency, for example, is working on such a mission called DEOS that is likely to fly in 2015.
Dr Robert Massey, Royal Astronomical Society: “It is a serious issue”
These approaches are quite complex, however, and therefore expensive. Reliable low-tech solutions will also be needed.
There is a lot of research currently going into deployable sails. These large-area structures would be carried by satellites and rocket stages and unfurled at the end of their missions. The sails would increase the drag on the spacecraft, pulling them out of the sky faster. Somehow attaching these sails to objects already in space is one solution that is sure to be tried.
“There are a number of technologies being talked about to address the debris issue – both from past space activity and from future missions,” says Dr Hugh Lewis, a lecturer in aerospace engineering at Southampton University, UK.
“I think we are a long way off from having something which is reliable, relatively risk-free and relatively low cost.
“There are number of outstanding and fundamental issues that we still have to resolve. Which are the objects we have to target and how many do we remove? Who’s going to pay?
“It is also worth remembering there are a lot of uncertainties in our future predictions. Reports that you read typically present average results; we tend to do ensembles in our simulations and some outcomes are worse than others. So, many issues still need to be addressed, but that dialogue is taking place.
“This report paints quite an alarming picture but I think we can be a bit more upbeat, certainly if we are contemplating removing objects.
“Fortunately, space is big and collisions are still very rare. After all, we’ve only had four known collisions and only one involving two intact objects. It’s still not a catastrophic situation, and we need to be careful about using phrases like ‘tipping point’ and ‘exponential growth’.”