Saturday, May 30, 2015

Robo Cheetah can now see and jump over obstacles



This is the latest update from MIT about their Cheetah robot. Cheetah can now see with LiDAR and jump over obstacles.

 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a lot of robotics development in progress. The company Boston Dynamics was spun off from MIT by Marc Raibert in 1992. They have a lot of scary advanced robots.

Here is a list of 9 Boston Dynamics Robots

Their technology is becoming more and more advanced and scary with every update. Google bought Boston Dynamics on 13 December 2013. But that was only one of the 8 robotics companies that Google bought in December 2013.

Himba people from Namibia see more greens and less blues

Which green square is a different shade ? Himba people would know.
Researchers  found that the Himba people from Namibia can identify different shades of green easily, but find it difficult to differentiate Blue and Green. This is a common situation in many cultures where green and blue are not separately named like Ancient Japanese, Ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Vietnamese. They use a single term for both blue and green - which researchers have called Grue or Bleen as a portmanteau of Green and Blue.


The OvaHimba use four colour names:

  • zuzu stands for dark shades of blue, red, green and purple
  • vapa is white and some shades of yellow
  • buru is some shades of green and blue
  • dambu is some other shades of green, red and brown
It is theorized that this may increase the time it takes for the OvaHimba to distinguish between two colours that fall under the same Herero colour category, compared to people whose language separates the colours into two different colour categories. A decade old study showed as much.

Himba poeple do not have blue in their dictionary


The situation is the opposite with Russians, who have different words for shades of blue in Russian. They can differentiate different shades of blue better and faster than English speakers and much much better than the Grue people.

Russians find difficulty in this due to the stroop effect
It is now thought that even in people with normal color sensing cones in the retina of their eyes, color vision is partly a learned skill which can be improved with training.

Stroop Effect, XKCD comics and The BDLPSWDKS Effect

An XKCD comic poking fun at comibations of scientific effects


XKCD is a very popular webcomic which makes lots of nerd jokes and meta humour. It is by a former NASA engineer called Randall Munroe. It is basically a stick-figure comic strip featuring humour about technology, science, mathematics and relationships. A new one published thrice a week.
  • The Stroop effect refers to the phenomenon in which it is easier to name the color of the ink in which a word is written when the word refers to the same color as the ink than when the word refers to a different color.
    • This is referenced by the stick figure diving out faster if the driver screams "red!" than if the driver screams "green!", as the firetruck is red and therefore it may create a moment of confusion for the person if the driver shouts "green!".



The Stroop effect makes it difficult for a person who knows to read the language to name the color when doing it quickly. For reference, here is the Stroop effect in Russian. It works only on those who can read Russian.

Посмотрите на картинку и назвать цвета они написаны. Не сказать, что написанные слова


Coming back to XKCD, if you find that the XKCD comic jokes are going over your head, this wiki based website should help explain it to you.

5 Amazing bike trails in New Zealand


New Zealand is a beautiful, mostly undiscovered country. Most people go to Australia for a vacation but forget about New Zealand. Well, New Zealand is the place where The Lord of the Rings was shot and there are tours arranged to the movie set locations.

Another thing you can do is go on a biking or cycling trip in New Zealand. Here are five amazing cycling trails in New Zealand.

SEE TE ARA AHI

Brilliant sightseeing tour on a two wheeler, Te Ara Ahi is a 50-kilometre trail winding between the geothermal fields that bubble and boil around the pungent Rotorua.

Beginning in town, the ride incorporates four of the area's major geothermal fields: Whakarewarewa, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waikite Valley Thermal Pools.

The cycling is quite gentle (if rather sulphuric), but it's only part of the experience on this pedalling glimpse into the Earth's power. Check out the steaming, orange-rimmed Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu; watch the geysers blow at Whakarewarewa; and stop for a soak in the thermally heated waters of Kerosene Creek.

Shuttle buses run from the trail's end back to Rotorua, or you might prefer to cycle back.

More information at nzcycletrail.com/te-ara-ahi

ALPS to OCEAN

This 312-kilometre ride is a very alluring prospect. Beginning near the foot of New Zealand's highest mountain and heading to the coast at beautiful Oamaru, Alps 2 Ocean descends almost 800 metres across its journey. But there's far more to this rural ride than blessed descents.

From Mount Cook Village it follows a chain of glacial lakes and hydro canals across the foot of the Southern Alps before turning towards the coast. Along the way there are Lord of the Rings film locations, Maori rock-art sites and the surreal karst landscape at Elephant Rocks. Factor around six days of pedalling.


More info at  alps2ocean.com

HAURAKI RAIL TRAIL

As flat as a New Zealand vowel, and yet cutting through one of the country's most spectacular gorges, this 60-kilometre ride offers a couple of easy days in the saddle. This trail begins in the town of Thames, 90 minutes' drive out of Auckland, and heads south along the Hauraki Plain.

At Paeroa, home to the uniquely Kiwi Lemon and Paeroa soft drink, the trail swerves into the Karangahake Gorge through New Zealand's longest cycling tunnel.

The gorge walls close around the trail and there are gold-mining relics, walking tracks and a waterfall to entice you to slow the pace. For variety, you can finish the ride on a heritage train between Waikino and Waihi.

Visit haurakirailtrail.co.nz

OTAGO CENTRAL RAIL TRAIL

The trail that spawned New Zealand's cycling revolution is a 150-kilometre ride that horseshoes gently through the once gold-rich valleys between Clyde and Middlemarch. The trail journeys past character-rich towns and pubs, and brings the disused railway to life as you pedal across former rail bridges and through darkened tunnels.

The gradient never exceeds 2 per cent, making this a great introductory ride, especially if ridden over three or four days.

At the Clyde end, the trail skirts the vineyards of the Central Otago wine region. Sam Neill's Two Paddocks winery is just a few kilometres off the route and there's the chance near Ranfurly to detour for a game at the southern hemisphere's only indoor curling rink.

Website is otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz.

The Great Taste Trail

This 175-kilometre ride is a taste of many things: wine, cafes, coast, mountains, an island, a national park. Looping out from Nelson, a town billed as the sunniest place in New Zealand, the Great Taste Trail heads out across boardwalks along the edge of the birdlife-rich Waimea Estuary and onto Rabbit Island.

Returning to the mainland by boat, the trail ventures to the edge of Tasman National Park before cutting back inland to Nelson. There are vineyards around Motueka and Wakefield and good views of the spectacular Western Ranges ... without the effort of having to climb into them.

Taste nzcycletrail.com/tasmans-great-taste-trail

Swedish dronographer Kalle Ljung to videograph New Zealand after Antarctica



Click here to read this website in Swedish
Klicka här för att läsa denna webbplats på svenska


Kalle Ljung
Using a drone and a commercial drone, Swedish filmmaker Kalle Ljung had made a beautiful 8 minute video of Antarctica this month. He now plans to make a video of the lavish, beautiful fjords and mountains and valleys of New Zealand, the land of Middle Earth.

The Aerial video of Antarctica was filmed on a boating trip with his father from a 14 meter sailing boat. They toured Antarctica for around 16 days and recorded around 250 minutes of awesome video.

New Zealand is a beautiful country to visit. Don't miss this amazing place. The video will be amazing too,



Friday, May 29, 2015

Kuchinoerabu island in Japan evacuated after Mount Shindake volcano erupts



Click HERE to read this article in Japanese
日本でこの記事を読むには、ここをクリック


Today, on Friday, 29th March, 2015, Mount Shindake on Kuchinoerabu island suddenly erupted.
TV footage captured the moment Mount Shindake exploded, sending columns of thick, black smoke high into the air. Mount Shindake, located about 650 metres above sea level, erupted in August 2014 for the first time since 1980.

Japan’s meteorological agency raised the alert level to five – the highest on its scale – and ordered the island’s 140 residents to evacuate.

The agency said no injuries or damage had been reported following the eruption, which occurred eight months after 57 people died after Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted without warning.

Pyroclastic flows, dense currents of rock fragments and hot gases from the volcano had reached the island’s north-west shore.

Shindake Volcano eruption

In Tokyo, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, set up an emergency response team and dispatched a self-defence forces to the island. Abe said he had instructed local authorities to do “everything possible” to ensure the islanders’ safety.

Yoshihide Suga, the government’s chief spokesman, said a coast guard vessel had also been sent to help residents evacuate.
Photo taken from the neighboring island of Yakushima by Itaru Takaku

Kuchinoerabu island is located about 80km (50 miles) south-west of the main island of Kyushu, and can be reached only by a once-a-day ferry from Yakushima island, 19km (12 miles) to the east.

Paul Kraus from Austria and Barry Knowles from Australia - longest survivors of mesothelioma



Paul Kraus and Barry Knowles are not the only long-term survivors of malignant mesothelioma. There are some people who survive beyond all odds for quite a while. Most of their survival seems to be due to a better immune system conditioning. Some used alternative or complementary therapies (under guidance from licensed clinicians) in addition to the chemotherapy, while others participated in clinical trials of immune therapy.

Paul Krauss from Austria


Paul Krauss from Austria has written a book on surviving mesothelioma called "SURVIVING MESOTHELIOMA: A PATIENT’S GUIDE" In 1997, Kraus was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos.  Despite his "terminal" diagnosis Kraus is considered to be the longest known mesothelioma survivor in the world. Today, Kraus is a well known Australian author and cancer survivor whose writings focus on Australia, health, and spiritualism. His book Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient’s Guide is a best-selling book on the subject.
Get your free hard copy snail-mailed to you today.

Barry Knowles from Perth, Australia

Barry Knowles from Perth, Australia also wrote a book of his experience of surviving the cancer called " Reflections through Reality"

Immigrating to Western Australia with his family in 1952 as a ten-pound Pom, Barry Knowles was fourteen when he took up an apprenticeship as a carpenter and joiner.

His skills and his honest, hardworking approach made Barry a respected and valued member of the WA building industry until his retirement in 2007 – but Barry paid the ultimate price.  Diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2010 and given six months to live, Barry Knowles has defied the odds and now, with the support of his wife, he shares their darkest hours.

Barry’s despair gives way to hope as he discovers a new purpose and a deeper determination founded on his faith, and buoyed by the love of those around him.

$86M worth of Armstrong stock sold by Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust

The Asbestos Personal Injury Settlement Trust was created when Armstrong World Industries emerged from a bankruptcy reorganization in 2006. It takes care of asbestos related lawsuits and claims against Lancaster-based Armstrong, which had asbestos in insulation it stopped selling in 1969. Asbestos is now banned due to its association with asbestosis and mesothelioma.

Armstrong World Industries, Inc. is a Pennsylvania corporation incorporated in 1891. Created in Pittsburgh in 1860, the company originally made wine bottle corks. By the 1890s, Armstrong World Industries was the world’s largest cork company and leveraged its size and success to expand its product line. Armstrong soon made insulating corkboard, fiberboard and other similar products. It also began a linoleum flooring business, which led to the production of vinyl and other flooring materials. Although this 20th century growth was profitable for Armstrong, use of asbestos in its products eventually led to its bankruptcy filing in 2000. They filed for bankruptcy in December 6, 2000, and reorganized on August 18, 2006. Armstrong is a designer and manufacturer of floors and ceilings. Based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Armstrong operates 32 plants in eight countries and has approximately 8,500 employees worldwide.

The trust has a value of over $2 million when it was established in 2006. The corporation had approximately $2.9 billion in revenue in 2011 and is the world’s largest manufacturer of hardwood flooring.

Armstrong’s asbestos-related court battles began in the 1970 landmark case of Borel v. Fibreboard Paper Products Corporation. Clarence Borel sued Armstrong and 10 other manufacturers of asbestos insulation after developing an asbestos-related disease following his many years of working with their products. This was the first case that recognized it was a manufacturer’s duty to warn of asbestos dangers and the case became the foundation for all future asbestos claims.

Over the next few decades, thousands of new asbestos claims were brought against Armstrong and the company paid millions of dollars as courts ruled they knowingly disregarded the health of its employees and consumers by using asbestos in its products.

Miller v. Armstrong World Industries, Inc., decided based on Colorado law in 1991, turned into a precedent-setting case for asbestos litigation. Raymond Miller was an insulator from 1946 to 1951 and knowingly handled asbestos products from Armstrong, but he did not know asbestos was dangerous. In his claim, he said he learned of the dangers in the 1970s while reading about asbestos. Miller developed asbestosis. Armstrong's summary judgment victory was overturned on appeal.

The case set precedent under Colorado law because it held that discovery of an initial asbestos-related disease did not trigger the running of Colorado's statute of limitations on a separate disease that manifested later. In this case, for example, the discovery of asbestosis-related pleural thickening did not trigger the two-year statute of limitations that would have prevented Miller from filing an asbestosis claim.

By 2000, the cost of asbestos litigation forced the company into bankruptcy. As part of their emergence from bankruptcy and reorganization in 2006, Armstrong established the Armstrong World Industries Asbestos Trust, which was intended to settle all current and future asbestos-related claims. In its first two years, the trust received more than 200,000 claims.

UK study of mesothelioma patients in England, Wales finds variation in treatment and survival

A new study on survival of mesothelioma patients entitled "Demographics, management and survival of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma in the National Lung Cancer Audit in England and Wales" has been published in the Lung Cancer journal.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2015.03.005

It was quite a large study, with 8740 cases of mesothelioma from the UK National Lung Cancer Audit. That is quite a large sample size to draw the conclusions that they drew with a good confidence interval.

It details the difference in survival of a specific lung cancer(Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma) patients in England and Wales. Of the 8,740 mesothelioma patients studied, 87 percent received a definitive diagnosis based on advanced histo-cytological test results. Only 67 percent receive anti-cancer treatment. The types of treatments used tended to reflect the findings of the most recently published mesothelioma trials; use of chemotherapy appeared to be on the rise from year to year while use of radical surgery appeared to decline.

The overall median survival among all the mesothelioma patients studied was 9.5 months with a 1 year survival rate of 41.4% and a 3 year survival rate of 12%. Median survival had improved by about a month between patients treated in 2008 and those treated in 2012. As has been the case in previous mesothelioma studies, survival was closely linked to PS and histological subtype. However, there was a significant range in the median survival rates between various cancer centers – from 209 days to 349.


The BBC had just released news of probable exposure of 30,000 London Metropolitan Police Officers to asbestos, the causative agent for mesothelioma, during their firearms training since 1980.


Even though newer medications are being tried, like Defactinib and VS-5584, treatment of mesothelioma has poor survival and high costs. Workplace exposure to asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma and victims are eligible for compensation. A good mesothelioma lawyer with adequate documents can get enormous compensation for the victims of this cancer. The UK government has also made 2 schemes available for thos mesothelioma victims who do not have proof of workplace exposure or do not want to sue. The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme was started in UK in 2014 and it is better than the older 2008 scheme.




International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) studies Defactinib clinical trials for treatment

The drug, Defactinib, is a focal adhesion kinase (FAK), which works by inhibiting the proliferation of cancer stem cells. It can thus disrupt several downstream signal transduction pathways, ergo stopping tumor cell migration, proliferation and survival. Defactinib is currently proven to be beneficial for ovarian cancer patients and is expected to be beneficial in mesothelioma too.


The International Mesothelioma Program (IMP) is based in Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. The specialists at the International Mesothelioma Program bring more than 20 years of clinical and research experience into focus to achieve one goal – providing quality life extension leading to a cure. Their team includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, intensivists, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, nutritionists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, psychologists, and other clinicians.


Another drug in trials for Mesothelioma is VS-5584(journal article), a novel and highly selective PI3K/mTOR kinase inhibitor. It was recently given FDA approval as an orphan drug. These are drugs which are expensive to develop and required by few patients, so they are given special funding and status byu the government. The designation often helps the development of experimental drugs for rare cancers by giving the manufacturer exclusivity for an extended period and critical tax credits.

Mesothelioma awareness Ribbon


Metropolitan police officers in UK in asbestos alert - Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme

Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer which is very rare. But it has been found to be associated with a long duration of exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a building material which was used earlier for roofing and has since been banned due to the association with asbestosis and lung cancers like squamous cell carcinoma and mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma sufferers are eligible for compensation from the UK govt scheme DMPS


The London metropolitan police have now, in May 2015, been found to be at risk of asbestos exposure. According to the BBC, around 30,000 metropolitan police might have come into contact. with asbestos during firearms training between 1980 and 2007.

The Independent UK, also quoted Chief Superintendent Mike Gallagher, from the Specialist Firearms Command, saying, “Clearly this is not just an issue affecting the Met, with asbestos present in many industrial and residential properties built prior to 2000."


Mesothelioma usually develops after around 10 to 20 years of exposure to asbestos, so this is about time for symptoms to develop for those who might have been exposed.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma ?

  • Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma (mesothelioma of the chest) includes:
    • Pain in the side of the chest or lower back
    • Shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Excessive sweating
    • Fatigue
    • Weight loss (without trying)
    • Trouble swallowing (feeling like food gets stuck)
    • Hoarseness
    • Swelling of the face and arms

  • Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma includes:
    • Abdominal (belly) pain
    • Swelling or fluid in the abdomen
    • Weight loss (without trying)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Constipation
These symptoms can be caused by mesothelioma, but more often they are caused by other conditions. Still, if you have any of these problems (especially if you have been exposed to asbestos), it’s important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.


Compensation for mesothelioma in UK


The British Broadcasting Corporation also recently mentioned that victims of mesothelioma are to receive an average of £123,000 compensation from a newly created fund. Those diagnosed with this cancer after July 2012 and who cannot sue former employers as they have become bankrupt or insurance details have disappeared are eligible.

What is the Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme ?

The so called Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme is for diagnosed patients of mesothelioma in the UK who can’t find the employer responsible for their contact with asbestos, or their insurer.

Those under the 2008 scheme are eligible for a single payment according to the age at which their mesothelioma was diagnosed.

The newer DMPS pays more, and the amount depends on the details of your mesothelioma. You can claim from DMPS even if you were paid under the old 2008 scheme earlier.

According to the UK government website,

Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (DMPS)
You may be able to claim if all of the following apply:
  • you were diagnosed with diffuse mesothelioma on or after 25 July 2012
  • your mesothelioma was caused by exposure to asbestos when working in the UK
  • you can’t trace the employer that exposed you to asbestos, or their insurers
  • you haven’t made a civil claim against any employer or insurer
  • you haven’t received damages or a specified payment for mesothelioma and you’re not eligible to a specified payment
You may also be able to claim if you were the dependant of a sufferer who has died.
You can claim for DMPS even if you have already claimed from the 2008 scheme or under the 1979 Pneumoconiosis Act. If you’ve already got a payment from the 2008 scheme or the Pneumoconiosis Act, it will be deducted from the amount you get from DMPS.
You may still be able to claim from the 2008 scheme even if you are unsuccessful in your DMPS claim.
You can check the eligibility of a patient to apply for the UK Mesothelioma scheme here.



You can apply online at the DMPS website.

You’ll need:


  • your National Insurance number
  • your full employment history, with evidence - eg P60s
  • evidence of unsuccessful attempts to trace your employer or insurers
  • the date of your diagnosis
  • evidence of diagnosis
  • details of any previous claims
  • a witness statement

Contact Gallagher Basset for more information on the DMPS and how to apply.

Gallagher Basset
DMPS@gbtpa.com
Telephone: 0131 331 9090
Find out about call charges

PO Box 17405
Edinburgh
EH12 1FX

How to make an Ambigram - a few Ambigram creator apps, websites and software



An Ambigram is a word or symbol which looks different when seen from different directions or perspectives. You might have seen ambigrams in the logos of certain companies, or as plot devices in certain books like "Angels and Demons" by Dan Brown. In that book, the Illuminati has several ambigrams for the elements of nature.


Robert Langdon, the protagonist in the book, is named after John Langdon, a famous ambigram artist.

Some ambigrams are to be viewed upside-down, some are to be seen in a mirror.
All these ambigrams make for cool tattoos or even just a logo to print on your stuff.
Use a mirror to see this right and wrong ambigram reverse

Android M is Milkshake - 6.0 revealed today at Google I/O today - Milkshake not Muffins/Mango/Marshmallow/Macaroon

While many Android folks are still using devices based on Ice Cream Sandwich and Jellybean, some on KitKat and a few on Lollipop, Google has today released a Developer edition of Android M.

Android M 6.0 is Milkshake

What does M in Android M stand for ?

There is still no official word on what the M is going to stand for.

But the latest rumor is that it will be Milkshake.
Here's a photo from Google I/O showing an Android Wear watch worn on stage by Google's vice president of engineering, Dave Burke, clearly showed a picture of a glass of milkshake as he demonstrated features during the conference. He even fiddled with the device a few times, almost deliberately drawing attention to it.

Clues to Android M being Milkshake



Previously the name was suspected be Milkshake/Muffins/Marshmallow/Macaroon/Mango or even brand names like Mentos/M&Ms like Google did with Kit-Kat.

CSI : Zoomed image


Here's a poll from a few weeks back which showed the top contenders where the favorite was Marshmallow.

So, hope you all get an update to Android Milkshake when it is available for non-developers.

Android Milkshake will have USB type C support - the reversible, high speed, high powered USB port. (that the new MacBook Air has only 1 port of)

Singing Happy Birthday in Public is Really Copyright Infringement


The ever present, evergreen "Happy Birthday to You" song is said to be under copyright. Any public singing of the song, or displaying of the song on TV or radio can be done only after obtaining permission and paying licensing fees to Warner-Chappell Music, a divison of Warner brothers.

Happy Birthday song is under copyright - says Warner-Chappell - but it is NOT really

The copyright of the song continues to be enforced and Warner Brothers continues to collect more than $2 million each year in royalties. 

This is a true story, verified on snopes, not just an urban legend.

Happy Birthday is Really copyrighted.
There is no doubt about that.

But is it really a real copyright ?
In recent years, some legal scholars have pointed out a number of potential problems with Warner/Chappell's claims to copyright ownership of "Happy Birthday to You," namely that there is little or no evidence that Patty Smith Hill actually wrote the lyrics to the song, that the first authorized publication of "Happy Birthday to You" bore an improper copyright notice (resulting in forfeiture of copyright protection), and that the copyright renewals filed in 1963 by Summy-Birchard covered only particular arrangements of the song and not the song itself.

In June 2013, a film company working on a documentary about "Happy Birthday to You" filed a class action lawsuit which seeks to invalidate Warner/Chappell's claim to copyright ownership of the song and force the company to return millions of dollars they have collected over the years for wrongfully asserting copyright ownership

Do you know what this would mean ? Every restaurant in the world would be singing "Happy Birthday" instead of some lame locally made up song. We would be hearing "Happy Birthday" at every TV show birthday party! That song will inundate society more than it already does. At present, many restaurants make up their own "Happy Birthday" songs to avoid copyright issues.


According to United States copyright law in United States Code, Title 17 §106, authors of works such as musical compositions have the exclusive right "to perform the copyrighted work publicly." In United States Code, Title 17 §101, the law defines publicly performing a work as "to perform or display it at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered."

Additionally, United States Code Title 17, §110(4) states that singing the song among a group of people "without any direct or indirect commercial advantage" will not constitute infringement either. But keep in mind: "indirect commercial advantage" is very broad. Courts have found that restaurants, camps, and other venues benefit indirectly from performances of songs like Happy Birthday. Unless the song has been licensed in these situations, it's infringement.

This means that if you sing Happy Birthday to your family at home, you're probably not committing copyright infringment. However, if you do it in an restaurant — and if the restaurant hasn't already worked out a deal with ASCAP — you may be engaging in copyright infringement.

The website UnHappyBirthday.com tells you exactly how to deal with this situation

How Can I Help Stop Infringement?

The best way to stop infringement is to tell the authorities and the owners so that they can follow up and arrange for a license and for royalties to be paid. Licenses for Happy Birthday are controlled by ASCAP. While monetary royalties will be negligible for a single restaurant performance, it is the principle that is at stake.
If you have seen someone singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant, a park, or at a school, you should tell ASCAP so that they can arrange for a license. If you are an offender, you should apologize and offer to pay whatever is due — a nickel, a quarter, a dollar — whatever ASCAP demands.
There is an overwhelming amount of copyright infringement of Happy Birthday. Let's right the balance and tell ASCAP about every one of these violations!
There are many ways to get in contact with ASCAP:
Email
licensing@ascap.com
Mailing Address
ASCAP - New York
One Lincoln Plaza
New York, NY 10023
Phone
1-800-505-4052
It would also be a good idea to keep the song's owner — Time Warner — in the loop. Here is their contact information:
Mailing Address
Time Warner Inc.
One Time Warner Center
New York, NY 10019-8016
Phone
1-212-484-8000
If you're going to send a message, here's a sample letter. (Before sending such a letter, you should know that some restaurants, nightclubs, etc., pay for blanket ASCAP catalogue licenses that might exempt patrons from copyright liability for singing during dinner.) You'll want to modify yours to include correct details on the infringement:
Dear ASCAP,

The copyright status of "Happy Birthday To You" and the law
related to public performances of copyrighted works have recently been
brought to my attention. I am very concerned by the public's apparent
disregard for copyright law demonstrated by rampant infringement of
"Happy Birthday To You."

It is with this in mind that I wish to bring to your attention a
recent unauthorized public performance:

 -->> WHEN (e.g., December 10, 2004)
 -->> WHERE (e.g., at the Vol De Nuit at 148 West 4th Street in New York)
 -->> WHO (e.g., a group of patrons and the barstaff)

I hope that you are able to quickly follow up on this and to enforce
your copyright and extract the necessary royalties or licenses from
the offenders.

It is, in part, because of your lax and selective enforcement of your
copyright that most people do not realize that "Happy Birthday To You"
is even copyrighted at all.

In the event that you choose to continue selectively enforcing the
copyright in "Happy Birthday To You," for whatever reason, please
consider asking Congress to change copyright law to reflect the way that
most people view and interact with copyrighted works such as "Happy
Birthday."

Sincerely yours,
-->> YOUR NAME
-->> YOUR ADDRESS
[/ end Sarcasm]


Unhappy Birthday - The Smiths



This article by law professor Robert Brauneis has raised some important  questions about the history of Happy Birthday. 


Have a Happy Birthday

Here's a website which gives personalized birthday songs. Check if your name is there.
Otherwise, you can request a song for yourself free.

Funny Customer complaints received by ThomasCook

I'm not sure how true these are, but they are a good read.


THESE ARE ACTUAL COMPLAINTS RECEIVED BY "THOMAS COOK VACATIONS" FROM DISSATISFIED CUSTOMERS:

1. "They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax."

2. "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food."

3. "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."

4. "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price."

5. "The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."

6. "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."

7. "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallartato close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."

8. "No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared."

9. "Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers."

10. "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."

11. "The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun."

12. "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."

13. "I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."

14. "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the resort.' We're trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service."

15. "When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners."

16. "We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning."

17. "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."

18. "I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes."

19. "My fiancée and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked."



Thomas Cook (22 November 1808 – 18 July 1892) of Melbourne, Derbyshire, England founded the travel agency Thomas Cook & Son (popularly nicknamed Cook's Tours) that became Thomas Cook AG before eventually becoming Thomas Cook Group in 2007.

Thomas Cook Group plc is a British global travel company listed on the London Stock Exchange. It was formed on 19 June 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG, itself the successor to Thomas Cook & Son, and MyTravel Group plc

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wakie App lets a Stranger wake you up over the internet on your phone

There are way too many alarm apps, many with their innovative take on how to wake you up - from doing calculations, to shouting at you to making you walk to making you take photos of your kitchen table to waking you up gently based on your sleep cycles. But those are still not enough.

Wakie on Android, Windows and iOS



This particular app - called Wakie, allows you to call someone(via internet) who has set an alarm(on this app) and talk to them and wake them up. When you set an alarm, anybody, from anywhere in the world may call you through the app and wake you.

It may or may not be a good thing, but it would give you an unforgettable wake-up call.

Here are a few experiences of Wakie users on reddit. Unforgettable ?


Wakie
  • "The other day I got woken up by a very drunk sounding Russian guy, apparently in a loud bar. I don't think he knew how to say anything other than "Wake Up" in English."

  • "Set an alarm to go off two minutes later and got "woken up" by a nice sounding lady saying, "Awwwww, wakie wakie kissing sounds. Then woke someone up by saying "THIS IS AGENT NICK FURY FROM SHIELD. WAKE UP, YOUR PLANET NEEDS YOU." Probably never uninstalling this."

  • I've been woken up by screaming teens asking if I love them.

  • "I think I just ended a relationship... Tried the app, woke two people up. The first was cool, said I'm awake thanks, and the second not so cool. I could hear a man and a woman, and when she realised that I could hear them too, she started freaking out on the guy. I tried to explain, but the one minute timer was up. :-/ "

  • "I was awakened by a sultry Russian voice a bit slurred with fatigue or alcohol or sex, hard to tell. She breathlessly wished me a good morning and emitted a long, luxurious yawn that ended in delighted giggles. This is Maximillian, she said. He is naughty. Very, very naughty. The naughtiest little dog in all of St. Petersburg. I agreed. Yes, in all of St. Petersburg. The call went dead, and I stared into the darkness of a Seattle morning. I am Max, I thought. And he is me. And we will be naughty all the day long." - MochiMochiMochi

Tangrams or qī qiǎo bǎn - the Chinese puzzle for kids with challenges and solutions

Tangram is a dissection puzzle made up of 7 shapes (or Tans), which have to be placed together to make a particular shape. The challenge is to use all 7 pieces, not overlapping any of them, and to make a particular challenge shape in the shortest time. It is a fun thinking game for kids to learn geometry and learn to understand spatial orientation.

All the letters in TANGRAMS have been made using tangrams

It is very simple to make on your own, and provides hours of fun.
In case you want to do tangrams on your computer, there are websites with tangram software.

A few websites with more tangram challenges and solutions
A few facts about tangrams
13 convex tangrams

  • Fu Traing Wang and Chuan-Chin Hsiung proved in 1942 that there are only thirteen convex tangram configurations (configurations with no recesses in the outline)
  • Over 6500 tangram puzzles were created from 19th century texts alone and more are being made.
  • There are some Tangram paradoxes - 2 problems which look almost the same, but one appears to have an extra piece. This is done using different combinations to get slightly larger or smaller shapes.
Paradox tangrams

There are also tangram Apps for smartphones (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc)

Tangram alphabets

Tangram shapes - challenges

Some Tangram solutions

Best Free and Paid Alarm Apps for iPhone and Android




  • Sleep as Android
    • "an alarm clock and sleep cycle tracker, wakes you gently in optimal moment for pleasant mornings"
    • Developer's Website
    • Google Play Store
    • Pebble App store
    • Free version - Trial version of Sleep as Android will work with no restrictions for two weeks after installation. After that, the sleep tracking functionality will be disabled for sleeps starting on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat. If you want to continue using full sleep tracking functionality after your trial expired, please consider buying a full version from the Android Market for ~2 EUR and in addition you will get more nature sound ringtones and lullabies. 

  • Step Out
    • Set your alarm programmed with either how many steps you have to take before it will turn off, or a QR-code scanner so you have to scan a printed paper in your house(keep  on your bathroom mirror) to turn it off.
    • You actually have to OPEN the app and click "start walking" to even count the steps. You'll definitely be awake after that.
    • Review - Step Out does what it advertises. However, it does have a few problems that I’ve encountered. For one, the app seems to be prone to unresponsiveness and crashing after a while. At times, I attempted to tap on buttons and nothing happened, forcing me to quit the app and reopen it. I also wish that the app allowed you to change the background image to something else of your choosing, as it seems to only have this one background at the moment.
    • Apple App Store

  • Walk Me Up! Alarm Clock
    • Walk Me Up! is unlike any other alarm app you would have used. It stops ringing only when you have walked a certain number of steps. That’s right, it 'walks' you up from sleep!
    • And this app also has intelligent algorithms to detect shaking. So, if you try to cheat, the app wouldn't hesitate to punish...you gotta try it to believe it. This is the best alarm clock for all sleepy heads who find trouble getting out of bed early morning.
    • Google Play store

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Aeromobil 3 flying car crashlands in Slovakia - pilot-inventor Stefan Klein lands it with vehicle's parachute


Click here to read this article in Slovak

Kliknite sem a prečítajte si tento článok v slovenčine




Earlier this month, a promising flying car suffered a moderate setback with a crash-landing. The Aeromobil 3.0, the latest prototype, was being piloted by co-founder and inventor Stefan Klein on a test flight when it seems to have stalled and fell into a tailspin.

Photo of the crashlanded Aeromobil - pilot safe

The company released a press statement and said development will continue as planned, but there was no mention of the release date of the commercial version which is expected to be in 2017. Aeromobil was designed to be primarily a light aircraft with moderate road capabilities. It is best for those who can drive to and from a local airfield and can keep the vehicle at home.

There have been other car-plane attempts in the past, but this is the most promising one at present.

Aeromobil on another test flight
Aeromobil has released fact sheets of what the Aeromobil's capability, capacity and other features as Aircraft and as a Car separately.

Check your pulse or heart rate with just your old iPhone and these free apps

Your friend's smartwatch may be having a heart rate monitor, and you might be feeling left out.
But don't worry, your old smartphone can do it too. Some genius came up with the idea of using the iPhone's flash and camera together to see the pulsations of blood in your veins and capillaries.

iPhone Pulse Or Heart Rate Recorder

There are quite a lot of Apps which do this. And most of them are free.

Of course, these types of apps are not restricted to iPhones. Android and Nokia(Symbian) users have also had these apps for quite some time.

Here are a few you could use.

Also check out Best iPhone and Android Alarm apps.

Free Heart Rate Apps

Paid Heart Rate Apps
Try the free apps and see !

Interesting facts about The Kingdom of Norway - Norge (Bokmål) or Noreg (Nynorsk)




    1. “Norway” means “path to the North”.
    2. Norway has over 20,000 km of coastline.
    3. Norway's Top Level Web Domain is .NO ( e.g. www.google.no )
    4. The Laerdal road tunnel is the world’s longest road tunnel at 24.5 km (15 miles)
    5. Norway along with Sweden and Denmark make up Scandinavia.
    6. The Jostedalsbreen, in Norway, is the largest glacier in Northern Europe.
    7. Petroleum prices are among the highest in the world, even though Norway is one of the biggest exporters of oil in the world.
    8. Norway also has the world’s deepest underwater tunnel at 287 meters deep.
    9. Norway is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
    10. It is also the most peaceful country, according to the Global Peace Index.
    11. The official Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square in London has come from Oslo for over the last fifty years.
    12. The cheese slicer was invented in Norway.
    13. Norway is the 6th largest country in Europe, but only ranks 28th as far as population.
    14. Ever wondered why Noble peace prize are awarded in Oslo, Norway every year? It has been since 1901 because of their outstanding efforts in keeping peace. The Norwegian King Harald V is also present at the award ceremony in Oslo.
    15. Gulf Stream and warm air currents caused by the Coriolis Effect leads to much milder weather than expected. Temperature along the coast of Norway is 5-8°C higher than at comparable latitudes elsewhere.
    16. It is the sixth largest country in Europe, but ranks only 28th as far as population is concerned.
    17. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and according to the global Peace Index, the most peaceful too. Inspite of being one of the biggest exporters of oil in the world, gas prices are amongst the highest in Norway. Also, food prices are so high that many people choose to travel to Sweden to buy their groceries in bulk.
    18. When in Norway, don’t even think about drinking and driving. Strict laws and their enforcements have been successfully kept crime at bay. For example, if caught driving under the influence, there is an automatic 30 days in jail, lose your license for a year, and pay fines up to 10% of your annual income. Binge drinking on the weekends is a well-established tradition. Just don’t drive home!
    19. Norway is a beautiful place to be. It is a host to a whopping 450,000 lakes. 200 or so are about 4 square miles or more in size.
    20. Remember this fact if ever you wish to visit Norway! Grandiosa pizza should be on the top of your ‘must eat’ list. It is the unofficial national food of the country. Nearly 25 million Grandiosa pizzas are eaten by small population of 5 million people.
    21. The Viking festival: The festival offers activities and entertainment for all ages. Visitors are invited to participate in craft activities, join a historical sports competition or row a Viking ship. There will also be opportunities to watch a magician, learn how Viking warriors prepared for combat, listen to lectures and learn about life during the Viking Age.
    22. Norway has the world’s deepest underwater tunnel at 287 meters deep.It is also the birthpace of cheese slicer and modern day skiing. The word ‘ski’ in Norwegian means for ‘piece of wood’.
    23. There are a few rules which might puzzle you, for example- If you own a TV in Norway, you have to pay an annual fee of $300 USD.Food stores cannot be open on Sundays. If you need groceries then, you have to get them at the local gas station, which are allowed to sell food on Sundays.Prisons in Norway are amongst the most glamorous in the entire world. In fact, most Norwagein prisons are higher class than most hotel rooms found in the United States. Having no death penalty and no life sentences one would think that the country would have high crime rate. However, they have one of the lowest in the world. Around 72 inmates per 100,000 people!
    24. Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun
    25. Head of State: His Majesty, King Harald V of Norway
    26. Head of Government: Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (since 2013)
    27. System of Government: Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary democracy
    28. Won independence from Sweden in 1905
    29. Area: 148,747 square miles (similar in sq. miles to the size of Montana)
    30. Population (2014): 5,109,059
    31. Capital city: Oslo [Population: 624,000 (statistics 2013)]
    32. Languages: 2 official Norwegian languages: Bokmål and Nynorsk), in some districts, Sámi is also an official language Sámi (spoken by the Sámi people), 100% literacy
    33. Education dates back as far as the 12th century
    34. In 1827 Norway introduced public education (Folkeskole)
    35. In the 1970s and 80s the Folkeskole was abolished and the Grunnskole was introduced.
    36. Education is free, even higher education.
    37. Ministry of Education, Research & Church Affairs prepares the national curriculum for grunnskole (primary & lower secondary education) and videregående skole (upper secondary school)
    38. Compulsory education: 10 years (Grade 1-10)
    39. Upper secondary school is 3 years after 10th grade and divided into general/academic studies track or vocational and apprenticeship tracks
    40. Norway has seven universities, nine specialized university institutions, 22 university colleges, two national colleges of the arts and a number of private higher education institutions. Norway’s University of Oslo ranks 89th in the 2013–14 QS University World Rankings, and the University of Bergen at 151st
    41. The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII. 
    42. It is illegal to spay or neuter your dog in Norway except under specific circumstances regarding health, quality of life, or utility. 
    43. Norway has the World’s biggest sovereign fund, where it has been saving almost all the money it gets from the sale of oil and is worth almost a trillion dollars Source: Norway: Is world’s largest sovereign wealth fund too big?
    44. To encourage more men to assume a greater share of care-giving responsibilities, Norwegian law states that 14 weeks of parental leave is reserved for fathers. Norway is the first country to introduce compulsory paternity leave Source: Father’s leave still a burning issue
    45. King Harald of Norway vowed to remain unmarried for life unless he could marry his true love; the daughter of a cloth merchant. They both later married with help from the Government of Norway and she became the Queen of Norway
    46. Norwegian prisons are known to be the most luxurious prisons in the world. Norwegian prisons have also won a design award. Though accommodations may be ultra luxurious, the criminals on release demonstrate the lowest rate of re-offending in Europe, if not the world.
    47. A valley settlement in Norway that lives in shadow for nearly half of every year has installed giant mirrors on an adjacent mountain to redirect sunlight into the town’s square, all based on a plan that was thought up 100 years ago
    48. If you own a TV in Norway, you have to pay an annual fee of $300 USD.
    49. Wondering how much your co-worker, boss, neighbor, friend, or cousin makes? It’d be no secret in Norway where income and wealth are public record; a practice shared by other Scandinavian countries. Making the data public demonstrates the Scandinavian tradition of jantelag, which translates roughly as nobody is better than anyone else.
    50. You can only buy alcohol from stores called Vinmonopolet. There are only one or two in each city, and none in the countryside towns.
    51. If caught driving under the influence, there is an automatic 30 days in jail, lose your license for a year, and pay fines up to 10% of your annual income!
    52. Binge drinking on the weekends is a well-established tradition. Just don’t drive home!Instagram
    53. Food stores cannot be open on Sundays. If you need groceries then, you have to get them at the local gas station, which are allowed to sell food on Sundays.
    54. Food prices are so high in Norway that many people travel to Sweden to buy their groceries.
    55. The Grandiosa frozen pizza is the unofficial national food dish.22 Interesting Facts About Norway
    56. Norway is the birthplace of modern skiing. The word “ski” is Norwegian for “piece of wood”.
    57. There are about 450,000 lakes in Norway, 200 or so that are 4 square miles or more in size.
    58. There are as many Norwegian descendants living in the US as there are Norwegians living in Norway, especially the states of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
    59. If you own a TV in Norway, you have to pay an annual fee of $300 USD.
    60. Norway is the world’s 7th largest exporter of oil and the 2nd largest exporter of gas.
    61. More than 2.0 million barrels of oil per day (including NGL and condensate) per day. 
    62. Seventh largest oil exporter and the fourteenth largest oil producer in the world. 
    63. Norway has the world’s largest per capita hydropower production, and is the sixth largest hydropower producer in the world. In a year with normal precipitation, hydropower generation is around 120 TWh, corresponding to approximately 98 percent of Norway’s total power production.
    64. 'Deadliest Catch' Star Sig Hansen is from Norway. He is apparently more famous than King Harald V of Norway.



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