Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Extreme Blogging!

:: Extreme technology deserves an extreme blog! It also deserves a TLD (Top Level Domain) name.
++ Blog Tech: USA / Don Cook / Extreme Technology Blog

Extreme Technology (ET) will soon have a brand new look and feel.

Also, ET will have the TLD (Top Level Domain) name of: The new and improved ET is scheduled to launch in May of 2010. ET is just a "baby" (about 3 years old), yet we have already had over 150,000 unique (first-time) visitors from 94 different countries.

The first step in launching our new Journal (Blog) was to launch Don's Digital Café. This has already been accomplished. You can check it out here.

Every single one of these visitors deserves the very best articles (that are well written and well researched), the very best graphics (photos, videos and animations), and the very best links. They will receive all of this and more in the newest evolution (and the next generation) of ET!

Note From Technophile: The technology involved in creating a world-class "Extreme Technology" blog is . . . well . . . extreme! To accomplish this, I will be using a Mac Pro 8-Core and an extreme custom PeeCee (that I built myself) with studio monitors, that are networked together in order to share extreme high-speed internet access by fiber optics cable (courtesy of AT&T U-verse). This requires an extreme dedicated server, that I also built myself. By the way, my Mac has eight browsers (Navigator, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Camino, Explorer, Mozilla, and iCab) in order to accommodate my extreme surfing needs. When I'm doing research, I always feel the need, the need for speed (each browser has its own strengths and weaknesses in that area). I will also be using the very best software, including the Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4), Aperture 2, Lightroom 2, Macromedia Studio 8 and other goodies such as the Art Directors Toolkit, the DigitalColor Meter, and countless Plug-Ins, Adobe Open Type Fonts (over $10,000 worth), Clip Art and Digital Stock Photos.ditor, Flash 8 for animations (and video), and Adobe Photoshop CS3 for photo manipulation and optimization.
:: Source: [Extreme Technology Blog]
:: Innovation: A world-class, International blog about technology and how it might affect our everyday life.
:: Available: Februaary, 2010.
:: Cost: Priceless (free to you)!

“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” ~Bill Gates

Friday, June 23, 2006

Extreme Memory!

:: How would you like to have an assitant with a perfect memory?
++ CompuTech: USA / Gorden Bell / Microsoft Bay Area Research

Humans naturally have the ability to remember almost two bits of information per second, or a few hundred megabytes over a lifetime. Compared with a DVD movie, which holds up to 17 gigabytes, that’s nothing. Worse, you might easily recall the 40-year-old dialogue from Hogan’s Heroes yet forget your mom’s birthday.

It’s a problem that’s been bothering Gordon Bell for almost as long as he can remember. In 1998 Bell, a senior researcher at Microsoft, began digitally capturing his entire life for a project he calls MyLifeBits. First, he scanned his old photographs, research documents and notes. He began recording his meetings and phone calls and cataloguing his new photos and movies he saw. Every e-mail exchange he had was digitally archived, and he started using the company’s prototype SenseCam, which he wears around his neck, to automatically snap photos throughout the day.

Upgrading our memory is a matter of improving our recording and retrieving abilities. At the current pace of miniaturization, camera components could be made tiny enough to fit in a contact lens (A) in just a few years. A high-precision microphone could fit in your ear (B). And the data could be downloaded to a searchable handheld gadget (C)
Note From Technophile: The biggest challenge to Bell’s vision is developing the software required to search your memory database effectively. So far, MyLifeBits pulls together more than 20 data types to link various memories to one another. Using a full-text search, Bell tracks down what he’s looking for in no more than 30 seconds. Soon, when searching through meeting notes, for instance, photos of people attending those meetings and their contact information will appear side by side. The effort could be pushed along by Columbia University researchers who are using statistical-analysis programs to automatically sort hours of recorded audio by time and location (office, café, etcetera). Next, they’ll tackle speaker recognition, which would allow for categorizing and searching conversation by who’s talking.
:: Source: [MyLifeBits Project]
:: Image Credits: [Big Sesh Studios]
:: Innovation: Miniaturization and the falling cost of image sensors and data storage will soon allow for unobtrusive recording, as well as on-person storage, of several terabytes—which means a vast upgrade in personal processing power, resulting in a surrogate memory that will create a freeing and secure feeling among all its users.
:: Available: 2021.
:: Cost: Unknown.
"To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward." ~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender
Dan Lelevier, ET Consumer Product Advisor (CPA)
Note from Dan Lelevier, ET (Extreme Technology) Consumer Product Advisor: Start "capturing" your life now! Free remote backup is finally here! Download and install PC Magazine Editor's Choice (and my choice), "Mozy" to ensure your photos, research documents, notes, audio and video files are safely backed up at a secure, remote location. Folks, "Mozy Free" is well . . . FREE! No setup fee, and no monthly payments for a whopping 2 gigabytes of secure (448-bit Blowfish encrypted) storage! You can help support this site by clicking on the banner below for this great (FREE service). Or upgrade to Mozy Plus (for just $4.95 a month) for an extreme amount (30 gigabytes) of safe and secure online storage!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Extreme Pest Control!

:: A lean, mean extreme bug killing machine!
++ Outdoor Tech: New York City, USA / Hammacher Schlemmer

The Mosquito Mega-CatchEasily the best non-propane unit on the market, the Mosquito Mega-Catch is virtually maintenance free: just plug it in and turn it on. The trap uses a strip of octenol (to generate a scent that resembles breath), a UV bulb, and flashing LEDs (oscillating frequencies determined to coincide with spectral sensitivities of many mosquitoes). [Image credits: Mosquito Biting ~ Gabor Bibor (Budapest, Hungary) | Mega-Catch ~ Hammacher Schlemmer]

When mosquitoes get close to the trap, the patented airflow system that disperses the attractant sucks the insects inside, where they are collected in a mesh catch bag or a liquid catch pan that is easy and safe to empty.
Note From Technophile: In a USDA suburban test, the Mega-Catch trap captured up to 1,200 mosquitoes in a single night and diminished mosquito populations over an entire acre! The question is, will it trap ghosts? (Looks kinda like a Proton Pack from Ghostbusters.)
:: Source: [Hammacher Schlemmer, VIA OHGIZMO and uncrate ]
:: Image Credits: [Hammacher Schlemmer]
:: Innovation: High-tech bug trap.
:: Available: Now.
:: Cost: USD $199.95
"We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics." ~Bill Vaughan Hosting Banner

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Extreme Dreamliner!

:: A suite of new technologies has been incorporated into a next generation wide-body jet that will be the first ever to use composite materials in an attempt to build the most fuel efficient passenger transporter on the planet!
++ Aviation Tech: Seattle, Washington, USA / Everett Facility / Boeing Commercial Airplanes

Is big always beautiful? The new Airbus A380 commences service this year. It is a space guzzler. It needs more runway to clear the ground, more taxi-way for the sweep of its enormous wingspan, and boarding gates have to be re-tasked in order to deal with the logistics of deplaning 800 people from a towering double-decker.

Boeing 787 Beauty ShotBoeing believes large capacity aircraft flying to big, overcrowded, dispersal “hubs” to be things of the past. Travellers want speed and direct connections. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the result of Boeing’s new beliefs. The aircraft is swift and fuel efficient, it is smaller and can access regional airports.

Boeing 787 EntrywayWelcome to the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner! The interior designers understand fully that first impressions can be everlasting. Therefore, they've designed a larger, more open entryway with sweeping arches that immediately direct the eye upward.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner "family" (models 3-10) will carry 210 - 350 passengers on routes of 3,000 to 8,800 nautical miles (5,550 to 16,300 kilometers), depending on the model. The various models are expected to enter into service from 2008 to 2010.

The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today's similarly sized airplane. Yet it will also travel at speeds similar to today's fastest wide bodies (Mach 0.85). And it will do so with more cargo revenue capacity.

Passengers will also see improvements with the new airplane, from an interior environment with higher humidity to increased comfort and convenience throughout.

Boeing 787 InteriorThe Boeing 787 Dreamliner's new interior will create a new sensation for passengers inside the cabin. Illuminated by arrays of light emitting diodes, both the brightness and the color of the sky-like cabin ceiling can be controlled in flight by the crew. Flight attendants can give passengers a sense of daylight when desired, and when they want to help passengers rest, simulate a beautiful nighttime sky.

Other innovations include sweeping arches, wider aisles, larger lavatories, larger windows (extending above seatback height, the windows offer a view of the horizon to passengers seated anywhere in the cabin), and larger overhead storage bins. All these innovations are designed with the goal to make the passenger feel more connected and comfortable with the flying experience.

Another very cool innovation are the electrochromatic windows which require no shades and can be darkened at the touch of a button.
Note From Technophile: An open architecture will be at the heart of the 787's systems, which will be more simplified than today's airplanes and offer increased functionality. For example, the team is looking at incorporating monitoring systems that will allow the airplane to report maintenance requirements to ground-based computer systems. It is expected that advances in engine technology will contribute as much as 8 percent of the increased efficiency of the new airplane, representing a nearly two-generation jump in technology. New technologies and processes are in development to help Boeing and its supplier partners achieve unprecedented levels of performance at every phase of the program. For example, by manufacturing a one-piece fuselage section, they will eliminate 1,500 aluminum sheets and 40,000 - 50,000 fasteners. The Boeing board of directors granted authority to offer the airplane for sale in late 2003. Program launch occurred in April 2004 with a record order from All-Nippon Airways. Since that time, 29 customers have placed orders and commitments for 393 airplanes from five continents of the world, making this the most successful launch of a new commercial airplane in Boeing's history!
:: Source: [Boeing Commercial Airplanes]
:: Image Credits: [Boeing Photos]
:: Innovation: Unparalleled performance, fuel economy and passenger comfort in a next generation wide-body passenger jet designed by an international technology development team.
:: Available: 2008 - 2010 (depending on the model).
:: Cost: USD $120 million per aircraft.
"Qantas has committed a potential US$18 billion for up to 115 of the sleek B787s with the first 65 coming on line from 2008. " ~Smart Travel Asi
Note from Dan Lelevier, ET (Extreme Technology) Consumer Product Advisor: Just as Boeing is an innovative airliner designer and builder, WestJet is and innovative Airline. WestJet is Canada's leading low-fare airline offering scheduled service throughout its 34-city North American network. Named Canada's most respected corporation for customer service in 2005, WestJet pioneered low-cost high-value flying in Canada, and is known and respected for its modern, comfortable jets. To make a reservation, just click on the banner below. Happy and smart flying!

Cheap Flights at!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Extreme Cop Car!

:: A Lamborghini Gallardo has been donated to the Italian State Police (Polizia di Stato).
++ Auto Tech: Bologna, Italy / Italian State Police / Lamborghini

If you hope to evade the police, the last thing you want to see in your rear view mirror is this Italian police car. This is the first (and only) V10, 520 horsepower, 196 mph extreme cop car! (It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4 seconds.)

It is equipped with apparatus to transmit and receive information and images in critical situations such as road traffic accidents, fires and other disaster situations. It will also be fitted with the Italian police's Provida system which records traffic violations and sends images in real-time, and has a direct connection to the police database as well as the Elsag "Autodetector" system for number plate recognition. [Image credit: Automobile Magazine (please note: this image has been modified from the original)]

The Lamborghini Gallardo police car will be used by the traffic police (Polizia Stradale) during emergency situations on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway in southern Italy. [Image credit: Automobile Magazine (please note: this image has been modified from the original)]

The police's use of their Lamborghini Gallardo won't be limited to fair-weather driving: as well as the benefits of the Gallardo's permanent four-wheel drive, during winter months it will also sport special "Sottozero" snow tyres developed by Pirelli for Lamborghini.
Note From Technophile:In addition, the Gallardo is equipped with first aid equipment including defibrillator apparatus with the capability to perform electrocardiograms, and automatic diagnosis of arterial pressure and the presence of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. The car will also be used for the transportation of plasma and human organs for transplant. By the way, because Ferruccio Lamborghini (founder of the famous super car company, Automobili Lamborghini) was born under the zodiac sign of Taurus, he gave to it the symbol of the fighting bull. Honoring this tradition, the Management of Automobili Lamborghini have decided to baptize their latest model with the name of a fighting bull’s breed: the Gallardo (pronounced: ga-yardo). Most people probably are not aware that the origins of the fighting bull proceed from five main breeds, that is: Cabrera, Navarra, Vasquena, Vistahermosa and Gallardo. The Gallardo breed was created in the XVIII century. It draws its name from Francisco Gallardo and his brothers – cattle breeders at Santa Maria, Cadiz – who, thanks to the good results obtained by their bulls’ behavior in the arena, reached a considerable prestige in the most important "Plazas de Toros".
Lambo LadyLambo Lady: Laura Ciano is one of the team of eight Italian police officers who crew the Lamborghini Gallardo. (No doubt, one of the fastest women on earth, but the real question is: Is she a Taurus?) [Image credit: (please note: this image has been modified from the original)]

:: Source: [Lamborghini]
:: Image Credits: [Automobile Magazine]
:: Innovation: A high-tech, high-horsepower, high-speed police multi-purpose vehicle that an exremely few Italian (or any other) motorists can outrun.
:: Available: Now (sorry, one model only).
:: Cost: USD $165,900 (for the Italian State Police, nada, as it was donated).
"Maverick: I feel the need...
Maverick, Goose: ...the need for speed!" ~Top Gun

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Extreme Camera!

:: The world’s first, and only 270 degree panoramic fisheye camera!
++ Photo Tech: USA / Scott Aichner / The 270 Project

Scott Aichner with this 270 CameraIt’s the brain child of renowned surfing photographer Scott Aichner. It has 2 fish eye lenses facing at 90 degrees from each other and the images it produces are truly spectacular.

Scott Aichner Photo
This is a Scott Aichner photo taken with a normal "fisheye" lense. Not bad.
Scott Aichner Photo
This is the same photo taken with Scott's revolutionary camera. Incredible!
Note From Technophile: Scott has been asked, why not use a panoramic camera? For two reasons, first the angle of view from a normal panoramic camera wasn't even close to what he wanted to achieve. Second, the shutter speed was too slow to capture action scenes. The original goal was to be able to capture a surfer in the the tube and see out of the tube in the same photograph. I would say that Scott has accomplished his goal! Special note: I am a photographer also - this accounts for my interest in Scott's "Extreme Camera" (you can check out my photos here - I have 26 photos (at this site) that have been downloaded 6,662 times - as of today).
:: Source: [The 270 Project]
:: Image Credits: [Scott Aichner]
:: Innovation: A camera with two lenses set at 90 degrees allowing an image that covers 270 degrees of view!
“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” ~Dorothea Lange

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Extreme Trek Tech!

:: Will the real world evolve to resemble the Star Trek universe, or is it all just extreme-tech escapism for people who can't deal with reality?
++ Trek Tech: USA / David Allen Batchelor / The Science of Star Trek

On March 11, 1964, Gene Roddenberry wrote a 16-page draft pilot for a show he told network executives would be a "Wagon train to the stars," in homage to the many popular Westerns of the time.

Later that year, shooting began on the first "Star Trek" episode. In June, 1969, the last episode aired a little more than a month before the first man walked on the moon. In syndication, Star Trek became one of the most successful franchises in the history of the entertainment industry! [Image Credit: Franz Joseph / Vektor / Ivor The Engine / Don Cook's Digital Café]

"Star Trek" has influenced a generation of engineers and scientists, inspiring them to "boldly go" forward in an attempt to participate in the utopian future they saw on TV.

"When I designed the UI (User Interface) for the Palm OS back in '93, my first sketches were influenced by the UI of the Enterprise bridge panels,'' said Rob Haitani, product design architect for Palm-One Inc., the Milpitas firm that makes the popular handheld personal computers. "Years later, when we designed the first Treo (a combo phone and wireless PDA), it had a form factor similar to the communicators in the original series. It had a speakerphone mode so you could stand there and talk into it like Capt. Kirk.'' [Image Credit: Kim Komenich / Chronicle | Don Cook's Digital Café]

"I went to Star Trek conventions. During my Apple design days I’d come home to my apartment, from work at nearby HP, to watch Star Trek (reruns) and then head back to HP to work late . . ." ~Quote from a "Techie" who is a "Trekkie": Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-founder! [Image of Steve Wozniak: John Todd / AP | Image Credit: Don Cook's Digital Café]

"On Star Trek, computers were ubiquitous, running everything from life-support systems to long-range sensors. The voice-activated computer gave any crew member instant access to a database containing the recorded histories of Earthlings, Vulcans, Romulans and other known life forms. Episodes contemplated technology that could create an artificial reality. This was hugely inpiring to me, and it’s one of the things that drove me into exploring computer graphics, motion capture, and audio perception." ~Steve Perlman, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and founder of WebTV. [Image of Steve Perlman: Kurt Rogers / Chronicle | Image Credit: Don Cook's Digital Café]
No article about the "Tech of Trek" would be complete without reference to the influence that Star Trek has had on interior design. One example is the coolest apartment on earth (and maybe in the 'verse)! Designed and built by interior designer Tony Alleyne, of 24th Century Interior Design, this Star Trek Apartment has made world news and been featured on many television and radio shows around the world. Note: This apartment is for sale! Price: A cool $2 million (and, of course, you will have to move to the UK). [Image credit: Tony Alleyne]

Another designer who is doing great SF interiors is Julie Bolder. She is a production designer with over 10 years experience designing sets for episodic TV, features and commercials. [Image credit: Julie Bolder]

Trek Tech: Universal Translater. Whenever a new alien race was discovered, a device built-in to the ship's computer and their personal communicators, called a Universal Translator, would allow them to communicate with species that have different languages, vocabularies (and dialects).

This was an important plot device, since the majority of episodes would involve communicating with alien species.

Today our own military communicates with a different type of "alien" (Afghans and Iranians) using a translation device called the Phraselator.

Various dialects are programmed into the device, and when an "alien" speaks into it, a computer voice translates their speech into English and vice versa.

Trek Tech: Non-Invasive Surgery. McCoy was able to perform surgeries without cutting into someone's body. Blade-free surgery is now possible with equipment like the CyberKnife, developed at Stanford University. (There are also non-invasive laser surgeries for treating kidney stones or prostate inflammations.) [Image credit: CyberKnife Society | Don Cook's Digital Café]

Data - Brent SpinerTrek Tech: Yellow Eyes. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was a short story by Philip K. Dick, that the exceptional movie "Blade Runner" was based upon.

An important research organization for robotics is the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. At a recent conference on cybernetics, the president of the Association was asked what is the ultimate goal of his field of technology. He replied, "Lieutenant Commander Data."

Creating Star Trek's Mr. Data would be a historic feat of cybernetics, and right now it's very controversial in computer science as to whether or not it can be done.

Maybe a self-aware computer can be put into a human-sized body and convinced to live sociably with us and our limitations. This is far in advance of our current computer technology, but may be possible.

By the way, Data's "positronic" brain circuits are named after the circuits that Dr. Isaac Asimov (the inventor of the three laws of robotics) imagined for his fictional robots.

Dan Lelevier: Beam me up Scotty!Trek Tech: Spooky Action. In the future universe of Star Trek, transporters can make a precise image of every particle in a person or object, convert these into a stream of matter (or energy), focus this stream on a precise destination and reassemble these particles in its original form. [Image Credit: Tony Alleyne / Don Cook's Digital Café]

Lawrence Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek, claims that transporting a person is not possible.

However, researchers at the California Institute of Technology, Aarhus University in Denmark and the University of Wales have all achieved real teleportation. What they transported wasn't any person or object - it was the quantum property of a photon or light particle.

Quantum mechanics is the study of things that are very, very small. In the Quantum universe, things can go against everything we know about physics. One particularly strange feature is called "entanglement". When you create two particle twins from a single sub-atomic particle, the quantum properties of each particle will always be opposite, no matter how far apart they get. Change one, you instantly change the other - even if the particles are at opposite sides of the universe, the change will be instantaneous. Albert Einstein called this "spooky action at a distance."

This paradox has existed on paper for more than 50 years. But it wasn't until more recently that researchers were able to prove this process actually works, that it's been happening in nature since the dawn of time and that it could be exploited by humans to achieve bona fide teleportation!

Nissan TerranautTrek Tech: Shuttlecraft. Nissan of Europe has designed a Star Trek shuttlecraft inspired concept car, called the Terranaut. If your office is the great outdoors, this vehicle might be the perfect one for you. Designed for “scientists, geologists, archaeologists, and adventurers” (which pretty much describes a good portion of the Enterprise crew), it seats three people and features a spherical laboratory that has a seat that swivels 360 degrees in order to give the intrepid scientist (and/or explorer) access to all of the vehicle's workstations.

Terranaut has enough refrigerated storage space to house food, water and other provisions for stays of upwards of a week out in the field. Lightweight tents, and sleeping bags built for extreme conditions and simple cooking facilities are carried in storage compartments in the doors. [Source: Nissan Europe]

Note From Technophile: The Star Trek series was probably the only SF series crafted with respect for real science and physics (although sometimes they did get the scientific details wrong), with ideas designed not only to entertain, but to expand the mind as well, and stories written intelligently with an effort to be faithful to humanity's greatest achievements. Star Trek has had probably the greatest influence on real-world science and technology, and ET (Extreme Technology) of any SF series.
:: Source: [The Science of Star Trek]
:: Image Credits: [Kim Komenich | Julie Bolder | Tony Alleyne | Kurt Rogers | John Todd | Franz Joseph | Vektor | Ivor The Engine | Don's Digital Café]
:: Innovation: To "boldly go where no one has gone before" and shape future technology based on ideas from popular SF!
:: Available: Now and into the foreseeable future.
:: Cost: Unknown.

". . . a dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars" ~ James T. Kirk (from the episode, "Whom Gods Destroy")
More to follow on the "tech of trek" (as I have time): Star Trek punk rockers, matter-antimatter power generation, impulse engines, alien beings, sensors (and tricorders), deflector shields, tractor beams, artificial gravity, subspace communications, phasers, healing rays, replicators, holodecks, warp (interstellar) drives, and time travel!
Regards, Technophile

Dan Lelevier, Consumer Product Advisor

Note from Dan Lelevier, ET (Extreme Technology) Consumer Product Advisor: This year, "Star Trek" celebrates its 40th Anniversary of the Original Series. The "Star Trek Store" is the official "Star Trek" franchise e-commerce site, and contains the largest selection of official and licensed "Star Trek" items available online. Items range from DVDs, collectibles, clothing, books, autographs from cast members, comics, action figures, model kits, etc, etc., etc. This "Super Star Trek Store" includes items from ALL the television series and movies. Experience more "Extreme Trek Tech" by clicking on the banner below:

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Extreme ET Search!

:: A leading astronomer at the SETI Institute in California, estimates that advances in technology will enable humankind to discover intelligent life somewhere else in our Galaxy within 20 years!
++ Radio Astronomy: California, USA / Scott Hubbard / SETI

For every exceptional person who believes that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, and believes in the search for ET (Extra Terrestrial) intelligence, you will most likely find another exceptional person who believes that man is alone in the universe (and that searching for ET intelligence is a waste of time and money). However, I believe most people will agree that the following is an enormous (and important) question: Is life a rare happenstance, or a cosmic commonplace?

Scott HubbardOne exceptional person who believes in the search for ET intelligence, is Scott Hubbard, an 18 year NASA veteran and Director of the NASA Ames Research Center from 2002 to 2006. He has been interested in the broad question of life in the universe since he was 12 years old. He has recently assumed the Carl Sagan Chair for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute.

By 1997, Scott had established a new way of doing business at NASA as manager of the successful Lunar Prospector mission. He helped spearhead the discipline of Astrobiology at NASA and was the initiator and first Director of NASA's "virtual institute", the NASA Astrobiology Institute. He became NASA's “Mars Czar”, taking on the task of successfully restructuring the agency's Mars Exploration Program in the wake of two major mission failures. Scott was frequently in the papers during the Shuttle Columbia accident investigation, running the test program that demonstrated the definitive physical cause of the accident. He developed a reputation as a leader in innovative collaboration, establishing the NASA Research Park at Ames as well as being the driving force behind that Center's supercomputer initiative, Project Columbia, a 10,240-CPU SGI Altix supercluster, with Intel Itanium 2 processors. Very recently he initiated a high-profile, long-term cooperative agreement with Google.

FrankAnother exceptional person who believes in the search for ET intelligence, is Frank Drake, the developer of the "Drake Equation". As Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics (who also just happens to have Engineering and Physics degrees from Cornell University, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard), and the founder of the scientific search for extraterrestrial civilizations, Frank Drake believes that a minimum of 200 highly developed civilizations exist somewhere in our Galaxy. (His followers estimate the actual number ranges most likely from 10 thousand to 1 million!)

Part of the Extreme Technology involved in the ET intelligence search, is the world's largest computer network. Anyone who downloads a computer program from SETI@home will be able to process data provided by the world's largest radio telescope located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. More than 5 million PC's all over the world are taking part in the project!

Another part of the Extreme Technology involved in the ET intelligence search, is the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) in Hat Creek, California. The ATA is the first of a new generation of radio telescopes. It is a radical departure from the traditional radio telescope design and construction.

When completed, the ATA, with 350 six-meter dishes, will be among the largest fully-steerable telescopes in the world. This number of antennas yields approximately one hectare (10,000 square meters) of geometric collecting area, about the same amount as the 100 meter telescope at Greenbank, West Virginia.When the signals from all 350 antennas are combined in one set of processing systems, the array is transformed into sixteen virtual telescopes, each with the sensitivity of a 114-meter diameter antenna and the resolving power of a 900-meter antenna.

These virtual telescopes (called "beams"), can be pointed anywhere in the field of view seen by the six-meter dishes. Another processing system, called a correlator, acts as a “radio camera” that can image that entire field of view. The ATA will have two correlators. It will also be able to operate over a wider range of frequencies than any other telescope in the world, processing four independent frequency bands simultaneously. This gives the ATA the potential for eighteen different projects to use the telescope at the same time (extreme sharing)!
Note from Technophile: The outputs are sent to either a correlator (which takes all of the signals and makes an image) or one of several phased-array back-ends (PABE's). Some of the planned PABE's are: (1) SETI detectors, (2) pulsar processors, (3) astronomical spectrometers, and (4) RFI monitors. (In other words, "extreme sharing".)
In the 70's, NASA proposed a new project (at a potential cost of $10 billion), called Cyclops, with a thousand telescopes installed at 15-kilometer intervals from one another. The telescopes would be tuned to the reception of signals traveling within a range of 1,000 light years (9,500,000,000,000,000 kilometers)! A more advanced version would put Cyclops on the dark side of the moon, greatly increasing its range (no atmosphere and no light to interfere with sensitive instruments).

After NASA dropped the ball on Cyclops, the SETI League picked it up with an even more ambitious project, called Argus. Composed of about 1,300 enthusiasts, this "league of their own" has worked hard to establish a network of amateur SETI observers, each operating their own radio dish. Eventually, the SETI League hopes to have 5,000 SETI observing stations worldwide.

The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM)The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), to be launched early in the next decade, consists of multiple telescopes placed along a 30 foot structure. With an unprecedented resolution approaching the physical limits of optics, the SIM is so sensitive that it almost defies belief: orbiting the earth, it can detect the motion of a lantern being waved by an astronaut on Mars!

The SIM, in turn, will pave the way for the Terrestrial Planet Finder, to be launched late in the next decade, which should identify even more earth-like planets. It will scan the brightest 1,000 stars within 50 light years of the earth and will focus on the 50 to 100 brightest planetary systems.

The year 2001 marked the 40th anniversary of humanity's quest to find intelligent life in the universe (what I refer to as the search for ET intelligence).

Humans have repeatedly tried to draw attention to themselves by sending various messages and objects into deep space: Capsules containing the earth's coordinates within the Milky Way; basic physical constants, and the human DNA code; recordings of music by Bach, and pictures of the Egyptian pyramids were all launched into space aboard various spacecraft.

So far, all efforts to find any intelligence in space have ended in failure.

Does this mean that, after 45 years of trying, we should give up? A radio signal can take tens of thousands of years to reach earth from some of the most promising star clusters like "Tau Whale", "Eridan's Epsilon", and a spherical mass, "No. 13", in the constellation of "Hercules", and therefore it is not logical to be impatient. Besides, there are 200 billion stars that we need to check out in the Milky Way galaxy alone.

The time required for resolving such an enormous global question, as to whether or not ET intelligence exists elsewhere in the universe, will most likely depend on progress made in microelectronics and by the technology of radio telescopes - although we may very well locate ET intelligence by a means other than radio - maybe by using a technology that hasn't been developed yet, or by looking for heat emissions.

Esther and Freeman DysonAnother exception person who believes in the search for ET intelligence, is Freeman Dyson (shown above with his daughter, cyberspace visionary, Esther Dyson). A physics professor at Cornell University in the '50s, he later worked on the Orion Project (which proposed the possibility of space-flight using Nuclear Pulse Propulsion), and has published a number of collections and observations about technology, science, and the future. As of 2003, Dyson is the president of the Space Studies Institute.

In 1960, Dyson theorized the Dyson's Sphere, a structure that could be built by a technologically advanced society completely surrounding its native star in order to maximize the capture of available energy. This was illustrated in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which retired engineer Scotty (from the original Star Trek series) was found to have crash-landed on an abandoned Dyson Sphere.

Larry Niven's novel Ringworld was also based on Dyson's concept, and was a scientifically detailed attempt to visualize a much simpler structure.

Since advanced civilizations (Type II, or Type III) use a lot of energy, they must, by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, emit waste heat. Because of this, Dyson has proposed looking for infrared emissions (rather than radio and/or TV).
Note from Technophile: Should we debate about whether or not ET intelligence exists? Such a debate would be as pointless as arguments were over whether or not the Earth was round, or that the Earth revolved around the Sun, or that our solar system is part of the "Milky Way" galaxy. Countless arguments and debates did not answer any of these complex questions (and these questions pale in comparison to the question about whether or not ET intelligence exists). Scientific investigation did! However, if you wish to read an excellent debate on the subject (between Carl Sagan and Ernst Mayr), just click here.
:: Source: [SETI]
:: Image Credits: [SETI]
:: Innovation: The discovery of intelligent life beyond our solar system.
:: Available: Predicted 20 years to first contact.
:: Cost: Millions, if not billions.
"You could be happy here, I could take care of you. I wouldn't let anybody hurt you. We could grow up together, E.T. " ~Elliott
Dan Lelevier, Consumer Product AdvisorNote from Dan Lelevier, ET (Extreme Technology) Consumer Product Advisor: "Alienware" has rapidly developed into the leading manufacturer of high-performance desktops, notebooks, professional workstations, and media center systems. Consumers requiring the latest innovations, cutting-edge designs, and award-winning customer support turn to "Alienware" to meet their demands. Already a powerful force in the gaming industry, "Alienware" has emerged as a strong presence in a diverse set of markets including the home and home office, creative professional, home entertainment, business, and government industries. Stunning, fast, mobile, versatile, cool, impossible, high performance . . . just some of the words that describe "Alienware" design!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Extreme Cuisine!

:: A Chicago Chef is using technology to change the way people think about food!
++ Food Tech: Chicago, USA / Homaro Cantu / Moto | Cuisine

How many times have you been to a restaurant where the menu is edible? How many chefs do you know that use a Class IV laser, tanks of liquid nitrogen, and a vacuum chamber filled with carbon dioxide as important cooking tools? Or use helium, superconductors and a hand-held ion-particle gun to levitate food, making whole meals float before awestruck diners?

Homaro Cantu, executive chef at Moto in Chicago uses his own combination of childlike humor, high technology, shock value, flavor, and haute cuisine to turn the fine-dining experience on its head! [Image credit: Dan Winters | Fast Company]

In Cantu's skilled hands, liquid nitrogen becomes a tool for coalescing a pureed head of romaine lettuce into flavorful Pearls of Caesar Salad (chilled to -273 degrees fahrenheit). Carbonation adds fizz to real fruit (an orange bubbles like orange crush soda when squeezed): The result of hours of compression in a carbon dioxide tank at 60 pounds per square inch. Sea bass arrives raw in a heat retaining polymer box heated to 350 degrees, cooking to perfection on the table while two other courses pass by.

Dessert is the most impressive course of all. Cantu fills a sphere with the juice of yuzu (a japanese citrus) and spins it while it is chilled with another dose of liquid nitrogen. What emerges is a thin, spherical shell, almost like an edible balloon. (All that is missing is helium to make the balloon float, and Cantu hopes to add that touch someday soon.)

Cantu's menu offers the adventurous a bizarre-yet-tasty combination of food and science, of high and low culture, and of the comfortable and the absurd.

Case in point is his version of "Surf & Turf": Hawaiian sea bass and duck cooked sous vide (in a vacuum), with mushrooms, a foamy puree of foie gras (duck liver), and apple butter.

Accompanying the dish is synthetic champagne injected into your glass with a giant medical syringe, and a sketch inspired by M.C. Escher (the mind-bending surrealist), depicting a sea that morphs into a sky. The drawing is edible, and if you eat it, you will find the top flavored like a bird and the bottom flavored like a sea!

Another case in point is Cantu's take on the PB&J with milk (photo). The peanut butter is hidden inside a hemisphere of jelly, which rests on a dab of whipped milk. [Image credit: Dan Winters | Fast Company]

Cantu's "sous-chef" is an inkjet printer that he calls the "food replicator" (in homage to Star Trek). He prints images of fish on pieces of edible paper made of soybeans and cornstarch, using organic, food-based inks of his own concoction. He then flavors the back of this special paper (which is ordinarily used to put images onto birthday cakes) with powdered soy and seaweed seasonings, rolls the paper up and stuffs it with fish and rice, in order to create his own version of "sushi".

He also prepares edible photographs flavored to fit a theme: An image of a cow, for example, might taste like filet mignon. On the set of Iron Chefs of America, he took a digital photo of himself and his two sous chefs drinking a cocktail flavored with horchata (a Mexican rice-based beverage). He then poured his cocktail into his "food replicator" and it printed out a horchata-flavored picture, which he served to the judges along with a dessert of Mexican chocolate pudding with beets and caramelized popcorn.

On a Cantu-designed plate (photo), diners use pipettes to add flavors to their desserts. The choices are: Chile-mascarpone, milk-chocolate-sesame, and orange-olive-oil. [Image credit: Dan Winters | Fast Company]

Make no mistake that Cantu has not lost sight of what brings us all to the dinner table – great tasting food. While guests may be positively shell shocked with some of the mind boggling creative creations of Cantu, rest assured that this young chef can cook. Having grown-up in Portland, Oregon, Cantu graduated from Le Cordon Bleu. He then worked his way up the ranks in nearly 50 kitchens on the West Coast before moving to Chicago to work at Charlie Trotter’s. Cantu spent four years there attaining the coveted title of Sous Chef before leaving to open "Moto | Cuisine".

Since opening "Moto | Cuisine", Chef Homaro Cantu has attracted much attention with his interpretation of Postmodern Cuisine. While Postmodern Cuisine is in its infancy in America, it seems that many diners and critics weighing-in on this new style of cuisine still view it as the "Wild West of whimsy". And this is true at "Moto | Cuisine", because the sky is the limit as Cantu stretches known scientific and gastronomic boundaries.

Moto CreationPostmodern Cuisine, often times referred to as Avant-Garde cuisine, found its roots in Spain with Ferrán Adrià of El Bulli leading the evolution. With the exact definition of Postmodern Cuisine still open for interpretation, it is safe to describe this culinary movement as one that reacts against earlier modernist principles. It reintroduces traditional or classical elements, typically carrying modernist styles or practices to extremes. [Image Credit: Moto | Cuisine]
Chef Cantu simply describes it as, “The human race has been eating the same way for hundreds and hundreds of years. At Moto, we strip away the rules, stretch the imagination and entice guests with never-before seen dishes. It’s about being open-minded and having a lot of fun with food.”
For Cantu, edible paper is just one of his many creative ideas. Another idea will be to use nanotechnology to create time-release foods that expand to fill your stomach.

Already, Cantu is part of a group working with the Institute of Advanced Concepts, the futurist arm of NASA, to help rethink notions of food in space.

Cantu is obsessed with patenting his ideas in a world in which the battle for intellectual property can make or break a business. With the help of his patent attorney, Charles Valauskas, a partner at Baniak Pine & Gannon, he has 12 patents pending, including the polymer cooking box, a utensil that can deliver an entire dish (from within its handle) with the push of a button, a prototype for a combination fork-spoon-knife, and his edible paper (with many others ideas on there way).

At Our Table: Moto
"Moto’s cuisine is such a unique combination of culinary expertise, artistic ability, chemistry, and technological innovation. The food is delicious, visually appealing, and every course challenges your senses and gives you something new to think about and experience." ~Linda | At Our Table [Image Credit: Linda | At Our Table]
If you are not fortunate enough to live near Chicago (I live in California), you can still visit Moto, by taking a "virtual" tour via a blog titled "At Our Table", from a fellow food fan, Linda (who lives there). Linda visited Moto for a birthday celebration, and she has the photos to prove it! She chose to experience this unique restaurant through their Grand Tour Moto ("GTM" - $240 per person) menu choice, featuring 18 (with gusts up to 20) courses and an accompanying 13-step wine progression (with champagne - if it's your birthday). You can enjoy Moto vicariously by reading her article, titled "Have you had Doughnut Soup?: 18 Unique Courses at Moto".
Note From Technophile: Behind the scenes, Cantu continues to experiment: A medical centrifuge, designed to separate blood proteins, could clarify rich, thick meat stocks. A high powered laser could cook beef with a precision impossible on a grill. It could also be used to burn a hole through a piece of sashimi tuna, cooking the fish thoroughly inside but leaving its exterior raw. And it could be used to create "inside out" bread (where the crust is baked inside the loaf and the doughy part is the outer surface). Cantu meets with DeepLabs, conveniently located around the corner from the restaurant, on a weekly basis to strategize on what he calls his “Star War’s stuff” to make his dreams a reality. Cantu also sees a humanitarian end to his culinary trickery. He envisions dispensing vitamin-enriched edible books in regions where people suffer from malnutrition; each page would be both food and information about when and how best to eat it.
:: Source: [Fast Company Magazine, May, 2006]
:: Image Credits: [Dan Winters | Fast Company / Linda | At Our Table / Moto | Cuisine]
:: Innovation: Using humor, technology, shock value, and flavor to redefine the nature of food!
:: Available: Now (at Moto, in Chicago).
:: Cost: $240 per person for a 20 course tasting menu with wine.
"The only difference between a madman and me is that I am not mad." ~Salvador Dali (from the huge photo of Salvador Dali mounted above the stairs leading into the basement kitchen of Moto Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois, USA)
Note from Technophile: My name is Don Cook, I am the author of this blog, and one of my hobbies (for the last 25 years) has been gourmet cooking. I have won several cooking contests including a clam cook-off and a chili cook-off in Mexico, and have taken classes at 4 different cooking schools.

If you do not live near Chicago, or if you don't feel like going out to eat, you can still enjoy a fabulous meal in the privacy of your home. One of our sponsors, Legal Sea Foods is proud to report to us that they are still at the #1 spot in Boston’s Zagat Survey for 2005/06. This award illustrates their dedication to serving and delivering the absolute freshest fish in the seafood industry (which they have for over 50 years). Legal Sea Foods has set the standard for quality and freshness with seafood and gourmet products that you will love. Their popular food items include live lobsters, salmon, filet mignon, jumbo shrimp, clam chowder, gourmet chili, oysters, desserts (like Boston cream pie), sauces (like chipotle marinade), and spices, just to name a few. You owe it to yourself to check out their extreme site and their extreme cuisine!

Legal Sea Foods