Links for 7th October 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Has the pill changed the rules of sexual attraction?

    "Women's preferences for certain male scents and features are thought to change during their cycle. For example, as they approach ovulation, women prefer men with more masculine features, possibly because these reflect high sexual potency and better genes. During non-fertile periods they prefer more feminine facial features and attributes, perhaps because such men may be more nurturing and therefore better at helping to raise children, even if they are not their own.

    The pill may throw a spanner in the works. It stops this cyclical release of oestrogen and progesterone, and so may interfere with women's natural choice of partner. Some studies have suggested that while women usually prefer the scent of men with immune profiles dissimilar to their own, those on the pill preferred men with similar immune profiles."

    Tagged with: sexualitycontraceptivesmenstrual-cycleattractionevolutioncompatibility

  2. The comfort of memorial websites

    "If our private lives are more public than ever, thanks partly to Twitter, Facebook and numerous other social networking sites, so it is with our deaths.

    But is this outpouring of grief, often for celebrities, but also for those in the news, such as Lafferty and Rowe, people the mourners might never have met, actually genuine? "It is, absolutely," says clinical psychologist Oliver James, "because they are talking about themselves. What is happening is that instead of gaining insight, they are acting out. Instead of properly apprehending their own difficulties, a large proportion of the people who leave these messages are identifying with the difficulties of someone else and emoting. Although the feeling is authentic and truly felt, there is a histrionic dimension to it.""

    Tagged with: internetculturepsychologymediamemorialweb2.0griefpublic

  3. Blasted into space from a giant air gun

    "… Hunter described a design for a 1.1-kilometre-long gun that he says could launch 450-kilogram payloads at 6 kilometres per second. A small rocket engine would then boost the projectile into low-Earth orbit.
    Huge g-forces

    While humans would clearly be killed and conventional satellites crushed by the gun's huge g-forces, it could lift robust payloads such as rocket fuel. Finding cheap ways to transport fuel into space will lower the cost of keeping the International Space Station in orbit, and in future it may be needed to supply a crewed mission to Mars.

    The gun would cost $500 million to build, says Hunter, but individual launch costs would be lower than current methods. "We think it's at least a factor of 10 cheaper than anything else," he says."

    Tagged with: orbitspacelaunchinertcargocannoncompressed-gasdelivery-system

  4. Cheap naked chips snap a perfect picture

    In a CCD, the contents of each bucket of charge are "poured" into the bucket next door, and then the next until the signal reaches the edge of the chip. There, an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) typically assigns it an 8-bit greyscale value, ranging from 0 to 255. In a CMOS sensor, the charge is converted to a voltage local to each pixel before being shunted off to an ADC at the edge of the chip – where it too is assigned a greyscale value between 0 and 255 (see diagram).

    A memory chip needs none of this conversion circuitry, as it creates digital data directly. As a result, says Vetterli, the memory cell will always be 100 times smaller than CMOS sensor cells; it is bound to be that way because of the sheer number of signal-conditioning transistors the CMOS sensor needs around each pixel. "Our technology will always be two orders of magnitude smaller," he says.

    Tagged with: cameraimagingtechnologysensorlightmemorysemiconductorelectronics

  5. Internet Archive: Free Downloads: Film Noir

    "Expressionistic crime dramas of the 40s and 50s: tough cops and private eyes, femme fatales, mean city streets and deserted backroads, bags of loot and dirty double-crossers."

    Tagged with: onlinevideoarchivenoircinemamoviescrimedramaclassic

  6. WordPress/Contact Form 7 – spinning arrow Javascript error

    A fudge fix, but it does the job for now. 🙂

    Tagged with: wordpresscontact-form-7pluginjavascriptajaxarrowserrorfixhack

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