Archive for Science and Technology

T-Mobile Shortcodes

Dial these codes on your phone and T-mobile will send you back your usage data:

  • #MIN# (or #646#) for voice minutes used
  • #MSG# (or #674#) for messages sent/received
  • #WEB# (or #932#) for data used
  • #BAL# (or #225#) for current balance due


Google Nexus 1

Google and HTC released their new phone today called the Nexus One. A lot of info was leaked out about it. A few thoughts comparing and contrasting to the iPhone:

  • Form factor is very similar. I think the iPhone got people away from a physical keyboard (for better or for worse) and the Nexus One is continuing that trend.  Less moving parts = less creaky and more reliable hardware
  • New app marketplace. Since Apple created the App store, if you are going to create a wireless platform, you better have a place for 3rd party developers to sell their wares. Hopefully some of my most used apps will be ported over — Scramble, etc
  • Apple is a hardware manufacturer that keeps a tight leash on its OEM’s, both to drive down cost and time to market, but also to keep a consistent look and feel. I’ve always balked at how much accessories for the iPhone costs, but they tend to just work. I use the iPhone a lot for it’s video output and I hope the accessory market for this phone is comparable.
  • Lack of mult-touch is a big dissappointment


Social Engineering

That is what the government aims to do with its legislature.

After writing that last post, I’ve been thinking about putting down some more thoughts…

So why not help us reduce our dependency on crude oil? Lobbyists. Old money. It’s really too bad that power corrupts. Because here’s what someone who really wanted to buck the trend could do:

  • Significantly raise taxes on gasoline. Why? Cause it would lower demand for it. Simple economics. Europe’s been doing this for years. Gas prices are like $7-8/gallon over there.
  • Create incentives for fuel miserly cars. Along with the tax increase on gas, this would encourage a lot of us to start using more fuel efficient cars. That right there would lower our consumption.
  • Fund research for alternative biofuels. Ethanol from corn is not the be-all, end-all cure. In fact, as we’ve seen recently, it creates more problems than it solves. First off, by using a human food source as a fuel source, we create supply problems. Corn farmers race to grow more corn because it sells better, which in turn causes them to abandon other crops. This raises the cost of food for everyone. Rice is at record prices right now. Second, there are more efficent biofuels out there. We need to reduce the leveraging power of lobbyists. And get people who know what’s going on to help solve this problem.
  • Fund research for more green technologies to generate electricity. Put more funding into solar-cells. There’s so much energy from the sun. And we don’t have to mine for it, refine it, transport it. Just convert it into electricity. We need more research in storage of solar energy. Just one example of a benefit: During summer months when electricity demand is at its peak due to cooling needs, solar power is also at its best in keeping up with this demand. IMO wind and hydro aren’t as viable because there just aren’t many sources of either. You need specialized locations. But with solar, anywhere there’s sun (basically everywhere) you can generate electricity. We just need to increase our funding to make more efficient, economical, robust technology.
  • Fund research into alternative energy storage systems. This ties into the solar power entry above. If we can generate a significant amount of our energy from the sun, we need better methods to store that energy when the sun is not shining. Currently, it’s very energy inefficient to create hydrogen, but with the right methods, hydrogen generation could be a very viable way to store the energy generated during the day from solar panels. Our cars at that point in time could be hydrogen powered, and that would be another method to eliminating our vehicular pollution.

We have the money, we have the scientists interested in doing this research, we just need our politicians to give us the respect and integrity we the people of earth are entitled to. Do what’s right for us, your constituents and not those that line your pocketbooks. Yes, in the short term raising taxes would make you unpopular. We would suffer as well. But in the long run, this is what’s necessary! We’re so focused on the short term these days, we don’t know how to make decisions for the future. Look at the Bush administration. There’s no long-term planning. There’s no big picture. Just deferring the debt til the next president has to deal with it. Do what’s RIGHT. Not what’s easy. Not what’s popular, but what’s truly right.


Bombadier Embrio

Old story (2003) about a single wheeled bike(?) using the same gyro principle as the Segway. Wheelie anyone?
Bombadier Embrio


Of Science and Trivia

-The reason you see flicker off a CRT monitor when you’re looking at it from the corner of your eye is due to the rod cells in your retina. They are sensitive enough to detect a single photon. The cone cells which are primarily used for foreground vision, need several magnitudes more photons to trigger.-

note: I think I’ve lost the ability to coherently convey ideas through writing. (I can’t write well anymore…)

Here’s the outline version:

Why we see flicker on monitors and TVs:

  1. There’s something called the flicker fusion threshold
  2. Depends on two things:
    • It depends on brightness of light source
    • Also depends on where the light falls on the eye
  3. Rod cells
    • Are on the perimeter of the eye
    • Are very sensitive to small amounts of light
    • Therefore you can notice movement/flicker better within your peripheral vision
  4. Cone cells
    • Located on the “fovea” or the center of the eye
    • Not as sensitive to light
    • This is why you don’t see flicker as much when you look straight at the particular light source


  • Wikipedia
  • My curiosity
    1. Started w/ reading about hard drive failure on ars
    2. Then searching for S.M.A.R.T. utilities
    3. Remembering I already had a free one through SpeedFan
    4. Reading Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) article on that website
    5. Going to Wikipedia for more info
    6. Reading about power delivery

Comments (1)