Be A Mind Blower

Imagine this: you’re blowing imaginary soap bubbles, smoothly … Now there’s a twist: it’s not your yoga class, and instead of bubbles, you’re moving virtual digital objects. In other words, you’re scrolling, zooming, panning, moving, setting volume levels, skipping tracks… and so on.From anywhere you happen to be in the world, judge others’ ideas and win a Motorola Droid™ Smartphone or a Samsung Go™ Netbook. You will select the most mind blowing ideas in the fields of gaming, PCs, phones, assistive (tech for a better access to computers), music, etc.
This is today made possible thanks to a beautifully intuitive and intelligent sensor developed by Zyxio be embedded in a million things, from the boom of your gaming headset to the collar of your snowboard jacket, as well as Bluetooth® accessories and more.

Now what do I need from you? well this:

STEP 1: Sign up there please.

STEP 2: Now and enter your sign up details (if you aint logged in already)

STEP 3: search by: ‘MB Field of Interest’ and selectMultimodal, Virtual Reality’ in the box.

STEP 4: Find the username ‘philmetz’ in that column and click on philmetz, The click RATE THIS CONCEPT and give me 5 stars.

STEP 5: Vote for me again as you got 2 votes each day, now repeat this every day for 37 days, dont be lazy

NOTE: When you vote you enter the chance to win a Samsung Go Netbook or Motorola Droid Smartphone. Keep it up!


Data Compression

Todays world is an on line world. Those on line seek to share their experiences with others via images and videos. But this would all not be possible if it wasn’t for the data compression techniques. The reasons for this compression arise from the fact that there are transmission bandwidth limitations in place in order to give everyone fair access to the World Wide Web. Web administrators also look to cut as many costs as possible such as storage capacity in order to hold more for less.

So how do we compress data then? Well the aim is to obtain a more efficient representation of the image while preserving the essential information  contained in the data. This is done by using clever information about how we perceive our environment. In images, not all the information is needed to represent it on a computer screen. This is due to the fact that the human eye is less sensitive to fine color detail than it is to fine brightness details due to the densities of receptors in the eye. The human eye is also good at seeing small differences in brightness over large areas but not exact strengths of high frequency brightness variations. This all simply means that the eye does not see all the colors in the environment and is also more sensitive to different brightness variations. Therefore by removing duplicate and redundant information, we can compress an image or video. However audio is a little more difficult due to the fact that our ears have a far more dynamic range of sounds than the eye has to pictures.

There are two main types of compression being Lossless and Lossy. Lossless compression retains more data at the expensive to lower compression. It also offers the advantage that the image can be encoded/decoded without loss of information. Lossy on the other hand provides higher compression ratios though poorer image quality. Despite the loss of information, the lossy algorithms can encode and decode images without any “visual” difference (for the human eye) from the original image.

To compress data, there are 5 main algorithms that exist. These being Run Length Encoding, Chain Coding, Vector Quantization, Arithmetic Coding, Predictive Coding. I shall not go into how each of these work, but if any of you need an explanation, leave a comment and ill be happy to explain it to you.
In terms of compression, the choice of algorithm depends on 3 factors: compression efficiency, compression complexity and the distortion.

Image Compression
A picture is worth a thousand words. But without compression techniques, how would we display the trillions of images on the WWW today.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) is the most popular image compression technique designed for gray scale and full color images of natural world scenes due to the fact more data can be removed and can be either simple or progressive for web pages. JPEG uses a lossy compression technique to exploit the known limitations of the human eye as mentioned above. It allows a trade-off between quality and size. The main disadvantage of this algorithm is the fact that repeated compression and decompression results in increased degradation. Gray scale images compress less than that of color images as the human is more sensitive to the brightness variations than to hue variations. Compression ratios of up to 20 to 1 are possible. The algorithm proceeds as follows:

  1. Translate the image into a suitable color
  2. Group the pixel values into 8×8 blocks (experiment prove thats the best section size)
  3. Apply a Discrete Cosine Transformation (DCT) – I assume you know what that is, if not drop me a comment
  4. Divide each block by a separate quantization coefficient based on luminance and round the result to the nearest integer
  5. Next to more encoding using either Huffman or arithmetic coding.
  6. Output the image

Video Compression
MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group) is one of the best compression techniques for videos and draws its inspiration from JPEG. It is used to represent video and audio signals exploiting more perceptual redundancies and allows for up to 30 to 1 compression ratios however audio is less due to the fact explained above. The algorithm basically predicts the  motion from frame to frame in the temporal direction, and then uses discrete cosine transforms to organize the redundancy in the spatial directions.

  1. Convert the image to YUV space
  2. Apply the discrete cosine transforms (DCTs) to 8×8 blocks and use the luminance channel to predict the motion
  3. Quantize the DCT coefficients
  4. Encode the DCT coefficients + parameters using Huffman/arithmetic coding

There are many other compression techniques out there but I prefer to narrow it down to the mainstream techniques. For any other questions or more information related to this topic, please do not hesitate to drop us a comment.

    Earth From Afar

    “It’s hard to appreciate the Earth when you’re down right upon it because it’s so huge.
    It gives you in an instant, just at a position 240,000 miles away from it, (an idea of) how insignificant we are, how fragile we are, and how fortunate we are to have a body that will allow us to enjoy the sky and the trees and the water … It’s something that many people take for granted when they’re born and they grow up within the environment. But they don’t realize what they have. And I didn’t till I left it.”
    —Jim Lovell, Apollo 8 and 13.

    When astronauts return from space, what they talk about isn’t the brute force of the rocket launch or the exhilaration of zero gravity. It’s the view. And it’s mankind’s rarest view of all, Earth from afar. It’s hard to explain this and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so scroll down and be amazed.

    Earth and the Moon

    Earth and the Moon

    Step back for a few seconds and take a look at Earth from 31 million miles away. What were you doing on May 29th? On that day, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft was wandering around space at 23,000 miles per hour, taking a time-lapse photo of the moon passing in front of the earth. Though 31 million miles sounds like a long way away, in the grand scheme of things, that spacecraft was right next to us.

    Earths and Jupiter as seen from the Mars Global Surveyor on May 22, 2003. When the Mars Orbiter Camera snapped this unique view, Earth was 86 million miles away, and Jupiter was 600 million miles away. Yes I got the numbers correct, shows you really how small Earth is

    Earths and Jupiter as seen from the Mars Global Surveyor on May 22, 2003. When the Mars Orbiter Camera snapped this unique view, Earth was 86 million miles away, and Jupiter was 600 million miles away. Yes I got the number's correct, shows you really how small Earth is

    Earth and Jupiter

    Earth and Jupiter

    Here's a closeup of Earth from that shot, where you can almost see North and South America.

    Here's a closeup of Earth from that shot, where you can almost see North and South America.

    The World of Biometrics



    For more than 4000 years, man has devised the means for securing important objects. Way back in the 1400 BC, the Egyptians devised a simple yet effective lock and key mechanism to protect the Pharaohs from grave robbers. Not only were the tombs secure, but traps were devised which would fill a room with sand if incorrectly unlocked. Now in the 21 century we still search for the strongest protection means possible – with biometrics being the key (pardon the pun) for the 21st century.

    So what is biometrics? Well it is the automated use of physiological or behavioral characteristics to determine or verify identities (from Biometrics, 1999). It can be used for many applications from simple door locks to access control to a computer.
    The traditional authentication methods were the use of passwords and lock-key mechanics. Yet these methods without luck can be easily cracked using simple brute force. However biometric data cannot be guessed or stolen in the same fashion that passwords and locks can. They can be broken under certain conditions though BUT today’s technology is highly unlikely to be fooled by a picture of a face, an impression of a fingerprint or a recording of a voice. Though biometrics seems like the solution to all our problems, it may not be for all applications based on factors such as cost, risk and privacy. What biometrics does is bring the greatly simplified authentication process  and in most cases, increased accountability, and the fact that they are next to impossible to be forgotten or fooled.

    So let us know move on to describing the main types of system that have been developed. These systems are based on behavior and physiological characteristics and are almost always done automatically by computers due to the increased processing speed. In this article I shall separated biometrics into 7 types those being:

    finger-scan                retina-scan
    facial-scan                voice-scan
    hand-scan                 signature scan

    There are 2 main goals in biometrics, that being to identify (The computer finds the identity of a person without that person first claiming an identity) and to verify (The computer verifies a given identity that the person claims to be) and are used to restrict access to either physical or logical access.

    So how does biometrics work? Well to put it simply, the user first creates a template which is stored in a database. The next time the user tries to access the system, the new template is compared to the stored one and accessed granted if the score is within a confidence method as the data will never completely match again. When the user submits some biometric information such as a finger print, it is not usually stored as an image due to the size, think about it – over 10 million finger prints would require a tremendous amount of space, but as a template with features such as curves extracted out. This storage of data has some people worried however what they have to understand is that it would cost enormously to save all the raw data in its current form. Templates are small files that have distinct characteristics for each user.

    Finger Scan
    Finger scans are probably the most common form of biometric authentication. Police stations all over the word use it to identify criminals, a reason why some people refuse to use it under normal circumstances – they see themselves like criminals. The basic process is as follows:
    > Image Acquisition – The finger print is acquired by some sort of device such as chip based cameras or ultra sonic imaging. Hight resolutions are needed in order to see the detail clearly.
    > Image Processing – The captured finger print is then converted to black and white to simplify the process and are thinned as much as possible to bring out the features clearly. Image processing such as erosion can be used. After this a template is extracted with swirls, loops and ridge endings all being stored.
    > Template Processing – The template(s) are processed to store the correct information.
    Many finger print technology now checks for blood flow so that an intruder cannot just cut off someones finger. The popular discovery channel show, Mythbusters, have shown that these systems can be fooled with simple cut outs of photocopied fingers and molds by simply licking the mold which inhibits an electric charge.

    The advantages of finger scans are the facts that it can be used in a wide range of environments with already existing proven technology that is easy to use and cost effective. However there are a small percentage of users that would have trouble using the system (EG: The Polynesians are known to have feint finger prints). Accuracy may also decrease over time.

    Facial Scan
    Facial scanning technology extracts features from a users face such as distance between eye sockets and the placement of these features. Nose shape and cheekbone structure can also be used. But using the mouth as a feature is not usually done due to the fact that growing a beard can affect the accuracy. There are several different approaches to face recognition which I will not all go into. One example is the Eigen Faces in which information is broken into principal components that are used to derive the template used for matching. The general algorithm used is to first train the system using a variety of poses of a person. Eigen vectors are then determined. The recognition stage involves calculating the distance between features for example and storing them in a template.

    The advantages of facial recognition is that existing image capture technology can be used and no physical contact is needed. However there are numerous problems with this system in the fact that the environment can deeply affect the accuracy due to changes in lighting among others.  Also as one ages these features can become less distinguished.

    Iris Scan
    The iris scan is one of the most accurate and secure systems around. The processing done involves finding the iris’ outer edge and then finding the inner edge of the iris. It performs by dividing the iris into a number segments and a      count is kept of the frequency of the features as well as their position. The process though can be difficult if one has very dark eyes which makes feature extraction difficult. With the outer and inner parts determined, the system them extracts features such as color tones.

    The advantages of this system is that it provides a high level of accuracy and is generally stable over long periods. However due to hardware costs this option may not be viable to everyone. This is due to the complex image capturing devices and algorithms.

    Retina Scan
    Retina scans are even more secure than iris scans as it involves features within the user’s eye such as blood vessels. But due to the complex task of mapping the blood vessels, specialized equipment is needed making this option again complicated.

    The advantages are the high accuracy and stable physiological trait. However as the equipment is specialized it is expensive and the user may be discomforted due to the eye technology.

    So what method is right for you? well that all depends on what you are protecting. If you a protecting a computer lab of US$200,000 worth of equipment then a US$1 million dollar retina scan system may not be what you are looking for. Selecting the right system depends on your needs. There are many examples of these system in operation today from banks in Puerto Rico using finger prints for authorization, to cameras in casinos protecting their interests by recognizing frequent gamblers. One thing is for sure, biometrics is here now and is here to stay.


    The Smallest to Largest

    Smallest to Largest

    Smallest to Largest

    Have you ever looked around at everyday objects and wondered what they are made of? Easy some may say, wood for a desk, rubber for a tube, but then what is the wood and rubber made of? It is like an infinite path down the road of no return. But for everything as we know it, there is a beginning and an end – life and death. In this article I shall increment from the smallest proven known, and I emphasize on the words known and proven, particle, the photon, to the largest known proven object in existence, the universe. It turns out that this topic is more complicated that can be imagined and will be left open for discussion and review, and please note not all these particles and objects can be measure on the same scale system.

    Photon: size 0
    This is the beginning of our journey. A photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic field and the basic “unit” of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. The mass of a proton is zero but yet can still be observed at both microscopic and macroscopic level due to it not having a rest mass. They exhibit properties of both waves and particles in the sense that they can bump off each other yet behave normally like waves and are diffracted. The photon is massless, has no electric charge, and does not decay spontaneously in empty space. During a molecular, atomic or nuclear transition to a lower energy level, photons of various energy will be emitted, from infrared light to gamma rays with a speed of ‘c’ (speed of light) in open space. There is however a theorized smaller particle, namely the Higgs boson, aka the God particle. But we shall not divulged into that just yet until the folks at CERN make a hopeful discovery.

    Neutrino: close to 0
    Closely followed to the photon is the neutrino which as well has a mass of near 0. These particles are created as a result of radioactive decay or nuclear reactions such as those in the sun. Neutrinos are very difficult to discover as they pass through objects nearly unnoticeable. Only experiments deep underground where nothing can interfere have scientists observed these particles. Heres a fun fact, more than 50 trillion solar electron neutrinos pass through the human body every second.

    Electron: 9.11 × 10^−31 kg
    An electron is a subatomic particle that carries a negative electric charge. It has no known substructure and is believed to be a point particle with a mass that is approximately 1836 times less than that of our next particle, the proton. Electrons also have quantum mechanical properties of both a particle and a wave, so they can collide with other particles and be diffracted like light. Electrons are the particles that circulate around the nucleus of an atom. The electron has a mass of just 9.11 × 10^−31 kg.

    Quark: < 1.67 × 10^−27 kg
    The quark is a fundamental constituent of matter making up stable particles namely hadrons such as protons and neutrons.

    Protons/Neutrons: ~1.67 × 10^−27 kg
    Protons and neutrons usually form the nucleus of an atom and the majority of an atom’s weight (99.9%). They have a mass of around 1.67×10^−27 kg. The two particles are bound by nuclear force into atomic nuclei.

    Atom: 1.67 × 10^−27 to 4.52 × 10^−25 kg
    The atom is a basic unit of matter consisting of a dense, central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons and a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons at the centre. The masses of atoms range from 1.67 × 10^−27 to 4.52 × 10^−25 kg. More information can be seen in a periodic table.

    Molecule: > 1.67 × 10^−27
    A molecule, the smallest particle of a substance that retains all the properties of the substance, is composed of one or more atoms. A molecule may consist of atoms of a single chemical element, as with oxygen (O2), or of different elements, as with water (H2O). Most molecules are far too small to be seen with the naked eye, but there are exceptions such as DNA, a macromolecule, that can reach macroscopic sizes. Single molecules cannot usually be observed by light (as noted above), but small molecules and even the outlines of individual atoms may be traced in some circumstances by use of an atomic force microscope.

    Red Blood Cells: 6-8μm
    Red blood cells are the most common type of blood cell and the vertebrate body’s principal means of delivering oxygen to the body tissues via the blood. They take up oxygen in the lungs or gills and release it while squeezing through the body’s capillaries. There is no standard size for them, but average estimates put them at standard size of about 6-8μm.

    Home Sapien: 100µm to 2.72m
    The great home sapien, oh what a wonderful creature, James Sweitzer once said: “As much as we have progressed in science, we are still finite creatures with limited conceptual abilities and imperfect observational tools – but add one thing, we are curious at that”. We as a creature are the most highly evolved that lives on this planet Earth. What makes us is our highly developed brains, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. We humans range in size, but the minimum and maximum is ambiguous, for at what stage do we become human once the little sperm enter the egg. Or are we only human once we are born? If we begin at the stage of the egg then we are 100 and 200 µm in diameter so to speak. The tallest human to determined was a man in USA namely Robert Pershing Wadlow at 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 inches), but of course who knows, there could have been taller people back in the days.

    Great Pyramid of Giza: 3.8 million metric tons
    Located outside Cairo, Egypt, the great pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids located in the vicinity. Construction began around 2540BC and concluded around 20 years after. The pyramid was once 146.6 meters (480.97 feet) tall, but due to erosion is shrank down to a still impressive 138.8 m (455 feet). It is roughly 2,500,000 cubic meters. With an estimated weight of 3.8 million metric tons.

    Three Gorges Dam: 34 million metric tons
    Next on our list is the Three Gorges Dam, spanning the Yangtze River in China. The dam weighs about 34 million metric tons, has a length of 2,335 meters (7,661 ft) a height of 185 m (607 ft), and width (at the base) of 115 m (377.3 ft). The dams main structure was completed in 2006 for an estimated us$39 billion.

    Mount Everest: 3.04 x 10^5kg
    Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, and the highest point on the Earth’s crust, as measured by the height above sea level of its summit, 8,848 meters (29,029 ft). The mass is estimated as 3.04 x 10^5kg. The mountain, which is part of the Himalaya range in Asia, is located on the border between Sagarmatha Zone, Nepal, and Tibet, China. Everest has claimed 210 lives, including eight who perished during a 1996 storm high on the mountain. Conditions are so difficult in the death zone that most corpses have been left where they fell. Some of them are visible from standard climbing routes.

    Earth: 5.97 × 10^24 kg
    Earth is the third planet from the Sun. It is the fifth largest of the eight planets in the solar system, and the largest of the terrestrial planets (non-gas planets) in the Solar System in terms of diameter, mass and density. Its Mean radius is 6,371.0 km and has an estimated mass of Mass 5.97 × 10^24 kg.

    Jupiter: 1.90 × 10^27 kg
    The next heaviest planet in our solar system is Jupiter with a mass of 317 Earths (1.90 × 10^27 kg). It is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass slightly less than one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all of the other planets in our Solar System combined.

    Star: 2100 solar radii or 7 quadrillion Earths
    I have groups all stars as one as they vary dramatically in size, our sun is a star and is in fact tiny compared to all others which really does get you thinking, first have a look at this image (notice the sun in that image is not even a pixel!) and then this video – that video should really get you thinking. Our sun has a diameter of 1.39×10^9 m with an estimated mass of 1.99×10^30 kg (332,900 Earths). Now to put that into perspective, the largest known star is VY Canis Majoris with a size between 1,800 and 2,100 solar radii (basically 1800 of our suns can fit in its radius). Assuming the upper size limit of 2100 solar radii, light would take more than 8 hours to travel around the star’s circumference, compared to 14.5 seconds for the sun. It would take over 7,000,000,000,000,000 (7 quadrillion) Earths to fill the volume of VY Canis Majoris.

    Galaxy: 200 million LY
    A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system that consists of stars and stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, and an important but poorly understood component tentatively dubbed dark matter. Typical galaxies range from dwarfs with as few as ten million  stars up to giants with one trillion stars, all orbiting the galaxy’s center of mass. These galaxies each consist of million to trillions of solar system, which makes you wonder, we cannot possible be alone, especially taking into account that fact that there are 100 billion observable galaxies. In 1961, Dr. Frank Drake developed an equation that estimates the number of technologically advanced civilizations that might exist in our Galaxy alone. Frank Drake’s own current solution to the Drake Equation estimates 10,000 communicative civilizations in the Milky Way.

    In 2005, Japanese astronomers have discovered what they call the largest object in the universe: a colossal structure 200 million light-years wide that resembles a swarm of giant green jellyfish. This young galactic blob could reveal how and when the earliest galaxies formed.

    Universe: 46.5 billion LY
    The universe is the theoretical limit, the all encompassing region that holds everything together. The age of the Universe is about 13.7 billion years, but due to the expansion of space we are now observing objects that are now considerably farther away than a static 13.7 billion light-years distance. The edge of the observable universe is now located about 46.5 billion light-years away. It contains about 10^80 atoms, with the vast majority of the energy density contributed by the mysterious dark matter and dark energy. Some theories however state that the ‘World (meaning everything possible in this context)’ consists of many galaxies. Picture them as sheets of paper next to each other flowing in the wind. A theory developed from this was that two of these papers struck each other and started off the development of out universe from the big bang.

    What really got me thinking is that atoms are somewhat like solar systems, with the sun as the nucleus and planets as electrons. Now atoms make up molecules in the same way that solar systems make up galaxies. Galaxies compose the universe along with the mysterious dark matter the same way that quarks and electrons, protons and neutrons make up atoms. So from this sort of ratio the universe contains all the galaxies and solar systems etc. what if the so called God particle is a universe?

    The upper and lower boundaries of this list are not static and are just known facts we currently have. So lets summarize the scale line:
    Photon – Neutrino – Electron – Quark – Proton/Neutron – Atom – Molecule – Red Blood Cell – Homo Sapien – Three Gorges Dam – Mount Everest – Earth – Jupiter – Star – Galaxy – Universe.


    Large Hadron Collider


    Large Hadron Collider

    The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located in a tunnel 27 kilometers (17 miles)  in circumference beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland, is the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator intended to collide opposing particle beams of either protons at an energy of 7 TeV per particle or lead nuclei at an energy of 574 TeV per nucleus in an attempt to re-create the Big Bang.

    It was built with the intention of testing various high energy physics, such as the existence of the Higgs Boson (the massive scalar elementary particle, commonly portrayed as the “God Particle” in the media) and extra dimensions predicted in the relatively new science of String Theory.

    Before the LHC even begun work (before it had its first fault), many skeptics believed that it would create a black hole that would engulf the planet and eventually our solar system of course. But scientists have unanimously agreed that this is a near impossibility, yet slight chance a minute black hole could be developed. Concerns are based on fear of radiation (no danger 328 feet underground), fear of “strangelets,” exotic material that can pop up enough gravity to turn the planet into a giant sucking sound (if such strangelets existed, they’d be unstable and decay in a zillionth of a second), and that most ominous one, black holes (no way, they’d be too small and unstable to do any harm). The concerns are based on fear of radiation (not a problem at over 100 meters, 328 feet, underground), fear of “strangelets,” exotic material that can pop up enough gravity to (though if they existed they would be too unstable and exist, well, you can’t even blink that fast, and that most ominous one, black holes. But Professor Stephen Hawking did theorize that black holes need a certain minimum size in order to survive and gather more energy then in uses. In the LHC case the black holes, if at all, developed would be far too minute to hold any danger at all.

    One things for sure, it will blow our minds away (hopefully) in the following ways:

    • Accelerates particles faster than, albeit atomic-sized, 99.9999991% the speed of light. And for those tiny particles, time slows down for them (another immortality solution?).
    • Give us a whole new meaning on cold. The temperatures needed to steer particles around the tunnel are well below those found in deep space (-270 Celsius/-454 Fahrenheit), at a cost of $100,000 worth of electricity every day.
    • Might find the Higgs boson. Researchers think if they find it, it may help them explain exactly why things have any mass at all (Did you ever stop to think about that?).
    • The whole cost of the scientific experiment exceeds that of the cost of Iceland, having currently spent $20 billion for a few decades now. It is expected to rise quite a bit during operations and with $100,000 a day, why not?
    • Might prove string theory. Some of the scientists working on this project believe in string theory, which posits that atoms and molecules aren’t particles at all, but vibrating strings that seem to be in two (or more) places at once (extra dimensions with 14 estimated).
    • Could discover a whole new group of particles. The string theorists are especially interested in finding supersymmetric particles (the relationship between matter particles and force carriers. For example, for every type of quark there may be a type of particle called a “squark”, and this may unify gravity if proven) or sparticles, to help prove their tangled theory.
    • It’s going to get even bigger. Plans are in the works to make this behemoth even more monstrous, and by 2012 it could be called the Super Large Hadron Collider (SLHC), giving scientists an even better chance of seeing rare particles and building on their research with the LHC.
    • Unlock secrets about dark matter and dark energy. There’s something out there in the universe that’s pulling galaxies around. All the stuff we can see only accounts for 4% of the total matter in the universe. But that’s not even the half of it. Visible and dark matter together might only account for 25% of the universe’s mass. The other three quarters? Dark energy, alleged contributor to the expansion of the universe — and we don’t even know if dark energy exists yet.
    • This thing sucks, big time. In fact, it contains the largest volume of a vacuum ever created by man, and it’s a super-vacuum, sucking 10 times less pressure than you’d find on the moon. It contains fewer particles than the emptiest parts of the solar system — we wouldn’t want any stray atoms getting in the way of those light-racing protons, now would we?
    • Might develop black holes and engulf the planet. But all credible scientists say the collider poses no threat to the world, except to smash old physics theories that are incorrect. Even if it does, it will be so fast we wouldn’t even be able to complain
    • Test whether hyper-drive is possible based on the idea that a stationary mass repels a relativistic particle that’s traveling faster than half the speed of light. We may yet be on our way to other stars.

    In anyway, when the project restarts in mid November 2009, it should be really interesting to see what has been proven and debunked. Stay tuned!


    Googles search for a beautiful mind

    Googel-job-codeBack in September, Google had started putting up banners around the MIT campus, and for some reason in the gym also, with the phrase “If you figure this out, you may have a future with Google”, following by a seemly rather random sequence of numbers and letters: 8MLDQ6 T UI 6TFML RH AA NRA6Q 8EFL DMQ86II2 O3 2S5J 13JXOJ (see diagram to the right). If they crack the code, which is a fairly simple substitution cipher (or not), it reveals a phone number where they can leave their contact information.

    The solution, which now I will reveal, is as follows:
    In a nutshell, the sequence is a substitution cipher that you get by writing out 0-9 then A-Z, then using the keyword “JOBS” to shift the letters.
    What you have to note about the sequence is that the last 13 characters were not present in the beginning set and that spaces do not matter. Another thing you may notice is the two I’s just before the number 2. This could possible be LL as in LL in caLL.

    This said could then mean that 8 is C and 6 is A. Using this knowledge and substituting into the sequence you get the following:


    An avid eye could see the word ‘congratulations’ (note the atula). Further substituting this would solve it as follows:

    So what have we got so far?
    I=L, 8=C, 6=A, M=O, L=N, D=G, Q=R, T=T, U=U, F=I, R=S

    Further substitutions would produce the following (with spaces included):

    Again you can see a possible word in ‘searching’ and so substitution gives:

    I=L, 8=C, 6=A, M=O, L=N, D=G, Q=R, T=T, U=U, F=I, R=S, A=E, E=H, H=K, N=P

    we’re almost there just for what is almost certainly the number. Let us first list out the alphabet and numbers and see what we have determined:

    ______A_C_E__GHI_KL__NOP___RS_TU______ (Notice a pattern anyone?)

    So fill in the gaps, but be aware it does not follow the exact alphabet as you will notice:

    (This is more of a guess which leaves the letters B, J, O, S, can anyone spell JOBS :P, and the number’s 0-5)

    Seeing JOBS was the key because that changed the order of 0123 to 2013 (based on the positions of BJOS) producing:


    Finally the shift (of 4) is performed with the final substitution cipher being :


    From there on the solution to Googles puzzle is (drum roll....):
    “Congratulations Keep Searching or Call 617-639-0570 x10” with the X probably meaning extension.