Archive for the ‘The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events’ Category

Lolcat of the Day

Posted on July 3rd, 2008 in Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

The Cardboard Bike

Posted on June 27th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Science!, Site of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of | 1 Comment »

“Phil Bridge, 21, of Sheffield Hallam
University, said the bike was strong enough for a rider weighing up to 12
stones and would not go soft in the rain, although it has a life expectancy
of only about six months.”

One one hand, I want to really applaud this design for being very affordable, and I could easily see this as a means of transportation for people who don’t have the resources to afford standard metal bikes, but need a means of getting around other then walking. I’m thinking along the lines of One Laptop per Child, or the person-powered water pump we blogged about a few months ago. I mean, whats better then a bike thats made of cardboard, could be easily shipped and stored, or carried on a bus, boat, by hand through non-bikeable conditions? And its cardboard. Who’d really want to steal it? Its not like you could sell it for scrap.

On the other hand, I’m ready to say that this is just another embodiment of our use-for-a-while-and-throw-away society. I mean, who buys a bike they know will last them only 6 months? Granted, it IS only cardboard, so it will decompose in landfills, and the metal parts are supposed to be recyclable.

What I think would be a really interesting design would be to make metal parts as well as cardboard parts – this way, people in poor countries could buy the cardboard bike to get around, and buy the rest of the bike in metal form piece by piece – you could litterall buy it wheel by wheel, then get a real metal frame, a real seat, real handlebars, and then you’ve worked your way up to a real bike. It couldn’t be that hard to break the design down into four or five individual parts that places could stock in metal.

Read the rest of the article here

Lolcats work to save the environment

Posted on May 13th, 2008 in How To's, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

An Engineer’s Guide to Cats

Posted on April 13th, 2008 in How To's, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Site of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on An Engineer’s Guide to Cats

Web could collapse. . . .or will it be replaced. . . or is this a pointless discussion?

Posted on April 7th, 2008 in The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | Comments Off on Web could collapse. . . .or will it be replaced. . . or is this a pointless discussion?

Okay, I wasn’t going to say anything about this earlier, until I found a pair of links that just don’t make any sense to me at all. Both articles in question are from Telegraph’s website, and the “main link” on each article links to the other one.

The first article I found says that a superfast internet may replace the World Wide Web. When I first read it, I was like “woah,” what advance, new breakthrough have they come up with now? Especially when an article says “The invention could signal the end of the dreaded ‘frozen screen’, when computers seize up after being asked to process too much information.”

Wow. That would be great. Then I read the next paragraph.

“The latest spin-off from Cern, the particle physics centre that created the internet, the grid could also provide the power needed to send sophisticated images; allow instant online gaming with hundreds of thousands of players; and offer high-definition video telephony for the price of a local call.” Sounds good to me. So whats the catch? They still haven’t said HOW. But what does Cern and a particle accelarator have to do with commercial internet? So I kept reading.

“The power of the grid will be unlocked this summer with the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new particle accelerator designed to investigate how the universe began.

The grid will be turned on at the same time to store the information it generates, after scientists at Cern, based near Geneva, realised the internet would not have the capacity to capture such huge volumes of data. ”

And then it hit me. There’s no “new” internet. The folks at Cern simply realized, that like the original internet, and the early waves of DSL, that sometimes you’ve got too much information to push across a system that just can’t handle it. These guys didn’t do anything special.

“The grid has been built with fibre optic cables and modern routing centres, meaning there are no outdated components to slow the deluge of data, unlike the internet.”

All they did was build a network out of all-new components. It’s basically a giant LAN, just spread across a few countries, with dedicaed fiber optic lines. The only thing stopping us from doing that this very second is the billions and billions of dollars that it would cost to put in all new routers, servers, and fiber optic lines down every street in every city in the country.

Now, this Cern network so far is only going to give universities access – so that they can have a portal to access the massive amounts of data that the Large Hadron Collider generates while it smasher atoms, parts of atoms, and hopefully not large chunks of itself together. NOT EVERYONE WILL HAVE ACESS to this network.

Now I come to the link right under the byline for this article. And what does it say?
“Web could collapse as video demand soars.”

Uhhh. . . .no duh. We’re CONSTANTLY calling more and more information over the internet.
The second paragraph of this article says :

“Experts warn that unless billions of pounds is spent on upgrading the web’s infrastructure, it could slow down or even collapse. An internet meltdown would have a disastrous impact on the economy.”

Is it just me, or do the authors of these articles need to stop, take a deep breath, and read each others work?
They’re really just saying the same stupid thing.

The internet is a crowded place. The demand for it is starting to exceed what we can supply. We’re running DSL over copper lines designed to carry phone calls, not youtube, IM, and email. Unless we either curb internet use, or greatly expand capacity, we’re up a creek without a paddle. Its no wonder the folks at Cern had to build their own super-fast network : ours stinks! What no one seems to take into account either, however, is that if we ALL got on Cerns network, even it would probably get bogged down. Even out newer technology has its limits. If you give people the chance to dowload more, they will. Its like giving someone washing their car with a bucket filled from the kitchen sink a garden hose. If they’ve got the hose, they’ll use it, even if the bucket worked just fine.
Its like this pair of articles managed to touch upon two issues : What we have is reaching its limits, and we could have something much faster. This pair of articles completely fails, however, to provide any information on anything in between.

The scary thing is that the internet could be close to collapse. Granted, this article is from across the Atlantic, but the internet is a global thing. Even here in the US we face problems. How many articles have you read about bandwidth throttling and capping by Comcast? As we spread DSL to rural areas of the country, the rest of us will take on the burden of added internet traffic.

I guess I want to say that the guy who wrote the first article was moronic in its claims. We’re nowhere near getting a super highspeed replacement for the internet. The example cited is purpose-built for a project thats all ready cost oodles and oodles of money, and they can afford to spend another oodle on heir network. As for the rest of us. . .The cost would be unbelieveable. New servers. New routers. New switches. New fiber optic lines – on every street. Will it happen? Probably. We’ll at least get a lot closer to it. Is it about to happen anytime soon? No way.

Happy Bunnyday!

Posted on March 23rd, 2008 in Dumb Things That Happen, How To's, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Site of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Happy Bunnyday!

Just a humorous Happy Holidays from FLB!

PSA : Wear Your Seatbelt!

Posted on March 10th, 2008 in How To's, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, PSA-Types, Science!, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | Comments Off on PSA : Wear Your Seatbelt!

I’m not going to list reasons why you should wear your seatbelt.
I’m simply going to show you what happens when you DON’T wear your seatbelt.

If you’d like to have an impression of your face on the steering wheel at 30mph, thats up to you.

And, if you must have them :

In 2005, 43,443 people were killed in the estimated 6,159,000
police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, 2,699,000 people were
injured, and 4,304,000 crashes involved property damage only.

It is estimated that seatbelts saved 15,632 lives in 2005.


Seventy-three percent of the passenger vehicle occupants who were in a
fatal crash in 2002 and were restrained survived; of those who were not
restrained, only 43 percent survived. [NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts
2002, October 2003]

In fatal crashes, 73 percent of all
vehicle occupants who were totally ejected were killed. Only 1 percent
of restrained occupants were ejected. Safety belts are effective in
preventing total ejections. [NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts 2002 –
Overview, July 2003]

In 2000, safety belts prevented nearly 11,900 fatalities and 325,000
serious injuries, saving $50 billion in medical care, lost
productivity, and other injury-related costs. [NHTSA, Economic Impact
of Crashes, May 2002]
In the year 2000, the total economic cost of
motor vehicle crashes in the United States was $230.6 billion. This
represents an amount equal to 2.3 percent of the gross domestic
product, or $820 for every person living in the United States. [NHTSA,
Economic Impact of Crashes, May 2002]

The lifetime economic cost to society for each fatality is over
$977,000. Over 80 percent of this amount is attributable to lost
workplace and household productivity. [NHTSA, Economic Impact of
Crashes, May 2002]

[Ed. comment – Even if YOU wear your seatbelt, and your buddy DOESN’T]

Overall, those not directly involved in crashes pay for nearly
three-quarters of all crashcosts, primarily through insurance premiums,
taxes and travel delay. In 2000 these costs, borne by society rather
than by crash victims, totaled over $170 billion. [NHTSA,Economic
Impact of Crashes, May 2002]

Stats from THIS page.


Posted on March 2nd, 2008 in Lacking a Category, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | 5 Comments »

Here’s just a small celebratory note about the blog…we’re page rank 5 now!
There was a PR update a few days back and we got moved up in the rankings 🙂
So, thanks to all the readers out there, we hope to continue providing you guys with random tidbits of news.
G’day 🙂

Site Reconstruction

Posted on January 22nd, 2008 in The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events | 4 Comments »

Please bear with us while we redo the site from the bottom up. The blog may have drastically different layouts and colors for the next few days as we get the kinks out 😉

Naps May Help Boost Memory

Posted on January 15th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, PSA-Types, Science!, Site of the Day, Sleep/Naptime!, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on Naps May Help Boost Memory

Although not exactly a computer tech post, I think this is at least just as important, if not more so 🙂
Besides, a computer is only as good as the commands and programs that the end users tries to run on it.

“New research conducted by brain researcher Avi Karni of the University
of Haifa in Israel explores the possibility that naps help lock in
sometimes fleeting long-term memories. A 90-minute daytime snooze might
help the most, the study finds.

“We still don’t know the exact mechanism of the memory process that
occurs during sleep, but the results of this research suggest the
possibility that it is possible to speed up memory consolidation,”
Karni said. “In the future, we may be able to do it artificially.””

Read more about these promising developments, and what you can currently do to help improve your memory, and feel better and more awake, here :