Man impales fish – fish impales him right back

CNN has the details on this one.  Apparently, while fishing, a man hooked a blue marlin.  Unhappy with the situation, the feisty little critter attemped ot hook the man in return.

HAMILTON, Bermuda (AP) — A fisherman was recovering from surgery after he was speared in the chest and knocked into the Atlantic Ocean by a blue marlin during a fishing competition off Bermuda’s coast.

. . .

Card and his father, Alan, both operators of a charter fishing boat and experienced marlin fishermen, had just hooked the fish Saturday when it suddenly leapt out of the water, impaled Ian Card just below his collar bone and knocked him into the ocean.

“The fish all of a sudden changed direction and jumped. The fish made a leap and Ian just happened to be in the way,” Alan Card said.

The younger fisherman managed to struggle free while his father cut the line and helped his son get back into their boat, the Challenger.

For the record, the marlin is estimated to have weighed around 800 pounds (363 kilograms, for those of you using a more sensible measurement system).  That’s a lot of force to be exposed to.

[tags]Blue marlin, Fishing competition, Ow[/tags]

Worth1000 – Earth Canvas

Earth Canvas photochop is a hard one to explain briefly in an article title, so we’ll just rip the contest description from the Worth1000 page.

Are we supposed to believe that Italy was ‘accidentally’ shaped like a boot? That Mt. Rushmore just ‘happened’ to contain the faces of four American presidents? Obviously God was feeling a little artistic with nature. Now it’s our turn.

The rules of this game are thus: Use nature and geography as your canvas. (i.e. Make a lake shaped like a teletubbie, or volcanic rock look like a dragon, constellation patterns that seem to look like images, or rock shapes that seem to resemble actual things). So long as it is inanimate (i.e. no animal print patterns) it is fair game for your pictures, patterns and symbols. Manmade objects are allowable too if they are extremely large and unconnected in nature (i.e. the lights of North America seen from outerspace) otherwise stick to ‘natural’ occurences. As always, quality is a must. We will remove poor entries no matter how much we like you. You’ll have 48 hours for this contest, so make your submission count.

Hit List: Spacescapes. Use it and get disqualified.

As always, there are some well done images and some not so well done images. They are all better than what I could do, but some really stuck out to my eye as especially well done. Here are a couple of samples. Be sure to hit the contest page to pick out your favorites. I really like the earth and air spirit images, too, but decided that you might need some incentive to head over and view more.

Siren of the Stones:


Beauty and the Beast:

[tags]Worth 1000, Earth Canvas, Photochop[/tags]

New feature – sideblogging

I’ve been looking for a good way to do short posts that are not much more than a few words and a link – what the blogging world calls asides.  None of the themes I’ve tried over the past few months have handled the previous ‘asides’ tool I was using very gracefully, so I finally shut it off.  This week, I’ve found, installed, and been using the sideblogging tool for WordPress.  If you check out the right sidebar, you’ll see a new category at the bottom labelled “Asides” for all these short posts.  I’ll be playing around with this over the next few days.  One thing to note is that any post which is tagged for sideblogging will not show up in the main page’s posts.  I doubt much will change in this as I work on it, but you may occasionally see a change or three until I get the sideblogs how I want them.

[tags]Sideblogging, New site feature, WordPress[/tags]

Anti-RFID techies are here to protect you

(via Engadget)

With the recently announced RFID passports we’ll be getting here in the states soon, some folks are wisely concerned about their electronic safety in a world were RFID signals are easy to pick-up.  Given a desire to protect RFID identities in the coming age where you will not be able to be sans RFID, the folks at RFID-guardian have worked on a device to protect you and all your RFID-ness.

The Guardian has three main components: an RFID tag emulator (that consists of a receiver part, a transmitter part, and an antenna), an RFID reader (also with antenna), and an embedded computer.

. . .

The Reader that is built into the Guardian is used to perform periodic scans of all tags that the Guardian owner carries around with her. If tags keep turning up in those scans, they will probably belong to the Guardian owner, so they must be protected from interrogation or corruption by unknown RFID readers. The Guardian decides this for itself, but it can (of course) be overridden by its owner.

. . .

The RFID Guardian could eventually be integrated into a PDA or a cellphone, but our research prototype is currently built on a breadboard (the next one will be on a single PCB). The current prototype consists of three separate parts:

  • some electronic circuit boards, one for its tag emulator receiver, one for its tag emulator transmitter, and one for its reader (plus some voltage translator boards)
  • a number of radio frequency antennas
  • an embedded computer that performs all the software tasks. This is an XScale PXA270 (an ARM descendant manufactured by Intel) on a development board, the Triton-270 sold by Karo.

There is no estimate yet on how much this will cost.
[tags]RFID, anti-RFID, privacy[/tags]

Anna Konda – firefighting snake robot

(via Engadget)

When I first read about this earlier in the week, I was going to skip it. It sounds pretty cool, but I wasn’t sure it was Blah-worthy — it just didn’t seem interesting enough to me to makeannakonda.jpg a post about it. But I’ve run into this news item some 6 or 8 times since I first ran across, it. So, when I saw it on Engadget while catching up with my news-reading there, I decided I had better just post it and get it out of my head. That said, here’s some of the details on the newest robot that’s not likely to someday destroy you puny humans in its bid to take over the world.

Try to picture a snake-like robot that can move into places that are too dangerous for humans to enter. The snake can climb up stairs, force past beams and twist itself round corners. Imagine that it has a built-in advanced water tap that not only can be turned on and off, but can allow the direction of the water flow to be altered.

. . .

The snake contains 20 water hydraulic motors that move the robotic joints – and a similar number of valves to control the water flow to each motor. Each module consists of two hydraulic motors and two valves. The outer layer is comprised of a strong steel skeleton containing the joint modules,which can rotate around two orthogonal axes. The joints are controlled by custom-built electronics.

. . .

The energy to move the joints comes from 100 bars of hydraulic water pressure. “This pressure is strong enough to lift a car up off the ground, something that again explains how the snake can in principle break through a wall. But both the hydraulic pressure and the use of pure water without additives in the hydraulic system have posed challenges”, Liljebäck says.

. . .

The steel skeleton and motors are being custom-built at local workshops in Trondheim, partly because the research scientists needed to take a novel approach in the construction of the water hydraulic valves.

“The lack of space has been a major challenge,” says Liljebäck. “We needed power valves that were small, water tolerant and capable of controlling both the direction and the amount of the water flow. The closest thing we found on the market that met the criteria was valves used in Formula One racing cars, but these cost NOK 100,000 each and didn’t tolerate water. As a result, we decided to manufacture our own valves and, in co-operation with a local workshop, we built a prototype from scratch.”

Wow. Lift a car or break through a wall? Maybe this snake will one day crush you puny humans in an attempt to take over the world.

[tags]Robot snake, Firefighting robot[/tags]

Wait, there are people not actively seeking that?

According to ArsTechnica, the just passed Internet SAFETY (Stop Adults Facilitating the Exploitation of Youth) act includes provisions for prison sentences to people who deceptively link to p0rn. So anyone who links to p0rn and attempts to pass it off as other legitimate web link can be penalized by this new law. So anyone who accidentally find p0rn online could possibly get the link provider in trouble. This doesn’t worry be, as I neither link to p0rn nor get to it accidentally – I get all my p0rn from quality sites, so I have to actively seek it out.

The bill deals mostly with sex offenders, though it also includes provisions for stopping the sale of the “date rape” drug and boosting the National Police Athletic League. For our purposes, the end of the legislation is the most interesting. Section 703 deals with “deception by embedded words or images,” and rehashes the idea found in the Internet SAFETY Act.

(a) In General- Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a person into viewing material constituting obscenity shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 10 years.

(b) Minors- Whoever knowingly embeds words or digital images into the source code of a website with the intent to deceive a minor into viewing material harmful to minors on the Internet shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for not more than 20 years.

The bill purposely leaves the provisions vague. What constitutes “deceit,” for instance? The law is worded loosely enough to allow prosecutors to use their discretion, and remains broad enough to deal with future changes in technology that might render a more specific bill obsolete.

Though the bill obviously applies only in the US, the government has recently shown a willingness to go after foreigners who operate web sites that are largely used by Americans.

[tags]Internet SAFETY Act, Online pr0n[/tags]