Sunday, November 28, 2010

Liquid in the beginning?

Hey guys, I have some more "questions of the universe" blogs for you guys.  This is for all you physics nerds out there, like myself.
After colliding lead ions at close to the speed of light, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) using the ALICE detector have discovered the Universe acted like a fluid in the moments immediately after the Big Bang. Also, the ATLAS and CMS detectors have observed a phenomenon known as "jet quenching" for the first time.
Until recently, the LHC only accelerated protons and collided them inside the particle accelerator mainly to search for the infamous Higgs boson and other exotic particles. But earlier this month, heavier lead ions were injected into the LHC. This is when the quantum party really got started.
SLIDE SHOW: Top 5 Misconceptions About The LHC
Smashing Lead
For three weeks, lead ions have raced around the accelerator ring at relativistic speeds, crashing head-on with other lead ions traveling in the opposite direction.
Lead ions are significantly bigger than protons, so they carry more energy. When they collide, they release so much energy that physicists often refer to the lead-lead collisions as "micro-Big Bangs."
Each ion collision can, quite literally, recreate the conditions just after the Big Bang, some 13.75 billion years ago.
For a brief moment, these mini-Big Bangs flashed up to an estimated temperature of 10 trillion degrees Kelvin (that's more than 500,000 times hotter than the center of the sun), giving the ALICE detector a peek into how matter would have acted right at the Universe's superheated birth.
INTERVIEW: The Higgs Boson Hunter: Jonathan Butterworth
Quarks and Gluons, That's All
It is already known that high-energy collisions in particle accelerators can produce a strange, primordial state of matter. A "quark-gluon plasma" can be created if the collisions are energetic enough, a state of matter that existed during the high-energy conditions just after the Big Bang.
During this time, the Universe would have been so hot and energetic that the particles making up the elements we know today were unable to form, leaving the constituents to float "free" as a primordial soup.
Quarks and gluons were only able to condense into larger particles when universal energy conditions were low enough. Hadrons (i.e. particles made from quarks; including baryons like neutrons and protons) were only allowed to form 10-6 seconds after the Big Bang.
But what was the nature of this quark-gluon primordial soup? Was it a gas or a liquid? What was the Universe actually like 10-6 seconds after the Big Bang (apart from being really, really hot)?
The ALICE experiment has confirmed the quark-gluon plasma is a ultra-low viscosity liquid at these energies. From this finding, physicists now know the newborn Universe acted as a perfect fluid.
Although the U.S. Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory has already carried out similar experiments to arrive at similar conclusions, the LHC has done it at much higher energies.
This result has surprised many scientists who predicted the LHC would generate a plasma that acted more like a gas than a liquid, but the results recently published show strong interactions within this primordial soup that resemble a perfect fluid.
WIDE ANGLE: The Large Hadron Collider
The "Big Bang Machine"
Although it's only been three weeks, the lead-lead collision experiments in the LHC have already ruled out some theories about how the early Universe behaved.
"With nuclear collisions, the LHC has become a fantastic 'Big Bang' machine," said ALICE spokesperson J├╝rgen Schukraft. "In some respects, the quark-gluon matter looks familiar, still the ideal liquid seen at RHIC, but we’re also starting to see glimpses of something new."
Other observations in the CMS and ATLAS detectors have provided a fascinating look at how this primordial matter interacts with itself.
Immediately after lead ions collided, jets were created by the quarks and gluons blasting away from the micro-Big Bangs. By monitoring how these jets formed, physicists were able to see how the intensely chaotic turmoil evolved.
During proton-proton collisions, these jets are very basic and often form in pairs. In ion-ion collisions, many more particles are generated, producing a huge number of jets. As they tangle together, jets lose energy through interactions scientists are only just beginning to understand. This loss of energy is known as "jet quenching."
I think we are only just witnessing the tip of the iceberg insofar as LHC discoveries, but as we collide particles at higher and higher energies, we peel back the history of the Universe one microsecond at a time.

This is quite amazing, how the LHC is discovering all this stuff.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Texas = Electric Cars?

Hey guys, got some eco-friendly news for you today.  If you live in Texas, this is affect you, unless you don't drive.
When power plant heavyweight NRG Energy announced yesterday that it would invest $10 million in the rollout of the nation’s first privately-finance electric vehicle charging network it also revealed that the city it would debut in would be … Houston, Texas.
Um, what?
Houston (pictured) is known as the nation’s oil capital, and as a resident, I can’t say I disagree with that assessment. It’s also in a state where oil is still cheap compared to other parts of the country, and the same is true for electricity costs. At nearly 15,000 square miles, it’s purported to be bigger than Maryland, and is known for bad traffic and long commutes. And despite its traffic and air pollution issues, Houston has been reluctant to adopt mass transit.
But NRG president and CEO David Crane tells me the company actually believes Texas is a better market for electric vehicles than it gets credit for, which I was skeptical about after test-driving the Ford Focus Electric in Dallas. In fact, Crane says they’ve been actively talking to Nissan about allocating more of its limited-supply, all-electric Leafs to Texas, which the automaker passed over when choosing its first-launch markets. (As part of the rollout, Nissan dealerships in Texas will sell NRG’s monthly charging packages to Leaf buyers).
Keep in mind that NRG is parent to Texas-based electricity retailers, Green Mountain Energy and Reliant Energy, so it has close Texas ties. Crane says he’s interested in pursuing and developing a similar network in California — after all, NRG is in the business of selling electricity, and more electric vehicles on the road means more electricity sales for power providers. All that aside, here’s Crane’s reasoning for why Texas makes sense for an electric car network:
This is could be the next step to saving the Earth, we will save a lot of oil.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Science changing Thanksgiving

Hey guys, this is sort of a misleading title, I didn't know what else to call it.  So, its Thanksgiving for most of you guys; us Canadians have already had Thanksgiving. 

Since they were introduced 15 years ago, genetically modified foods have taken astonishing hold in North America. This time of year, the result is a Thanksgiving menu that may, on the surface, look much the same as the one your grandma cooked 20 years ago. But at the genetic level, it is very different, and it's a far cry from the fabled feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians in the 17th century. In celebration of Thanksgiving, the most food-focused day of the year, here's a look at how biotechnology is changing the way we eat.
Before it reached the grocery store — even before it reached the farm — your turkey, turducken or tofurkey likely started out in a lab, with scientists in white coats peering at PCR data and tinkering with plant genomes to produce traits that nature never intended.
Let's start with your morning coffee. Unless you buy organic, your milk and half-and-half most likely comes from cows that have been administered synthetic hormones. The hormones rBST and rBGH let cows grow bigger faster, and allow them to produce more milk. Do you use soy milk instead? It's probably from GMO soybeans. How about sweetener? Fully 95 percent of the U.S. sugar beet crop is genetically modified, and half the nation’s sugar supply comes from beets. What about high fructose corn syrup? Of course. About 85 percent of American corn is genetically modified. Even sugarcane is genetically altered.
Starting with breakfast and ending with dessert, if you live in North America, you most likely eat transgenic foods every day.
Genetically modified crops usually contain genes from other plants to produce unique traits. In most cases, splices of bacterial genes are used to insert the new traits, like pest or disease resistance. Companies such as Monsanto and Bayer alter plants to resist their proprietary blends of weed killer, while other crops are modified to resist pests, fungi or bacteria; produce higher yields; or survive environmental conditions like drought or salty soil. GM food advocates say it’s essentially no different than selective breeding to obtain desirable qualities.
Consumer groups and natural-food advocates, on the other hand, say bacteria-enabled “Frankenfood” has no place in a healthy diet. They say genetically altered crops have not been sufficiently studied, and they worry that their effects on the environment and human health are unknown. Several court cases are progressing that seek to prevent future plantings of genetically modified crops, or at least subject them to stricter federal review.
Some groups maintain lists of non-GMO food sources; the Institute for Responsible Technology even has a non-GMO shopping guide iPhone app, or you can download the printable shopping list.
The easiest way to avoid genetically modified food is to buy organic — foods labeled organic cannot intentionally have biotech ingredients. But note the word intentionally. Seeds blow in the wind, so even fields used for organic farming may contain genetically altered crops. In a study this summer, GM canola was found growing in the wild throughout South Dakota.
Despite opposition, the vast majority of North American row crops are now grown from genetically modified seeds.

Sorry for the "boring" post, thanks for reading it anyways.  Who here learned something like me?  Finding out that genetically modified foods have been introduced 15 years ago.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korea starting World War 3?

As most of you may know, North Korea attacked South Korea, well somewhat.  The South Korean president says he will respond with more than just words and US president Barack Obama will back up South Korea.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged the United States would defend South Korea after what the White House branded an outrageous attack by North Korea on its neighbor. Yet with its options limited, the U.S. sought a diplomatic rather a military response to one of those most ominous clashes between the Koreas in decades.
"South Korea is our ally. It has been since the Korean War," Obama said in his first comments about the North Korean shelling of a South Korean island. "And we strongly affirm our commitment to defend South Korea as part of that alliance."
The president, speaking to ABC News, would not speculate when asked about military options. He was expected to telephone South Korean President Lee Myung-bak late Tuesday night, and he met into the evening with his top national security advisers to discuss next steps.

Could this be the start of World War 3?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

North Korea Bombing USA?

Hey guys, got some SCARY news for you guys.  It's about more North Korea stuff and their nuclear shit.

The scientist, Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who previously directed the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in an interview that he had been “stunned” by the sophistication of the new plant, where he saw “hundreds and hundreds” of centrifuges that had just been installed in a recently gutted building that had housed an aging fuel fabrication center, and that were operated from what he called “an ultra-modern control room.” The North Koreans claimed 2,000 centrifuges were already installed and running, he said.
American officials know that the plant did not exist in April 2009, when the last Americans and international inspectors were thrown out of the country. The speed with which it was built strongly suggests that the impoverished, isolated country, which tested its first nuclear device in 2006, had foreign help and evaded strict new United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed to punish its rejection of international controls.
A delegation of American experts that included Dr. Hecker has already reported that it confirmed satellite photographic evidence of another new advance by the North — a light-water reactor being built on the site of a facility the country had dismantled as part of an agreement with the international community to end its nuclear weapons program.
Dr. Hecker did not initially mention the surprising discovery of the uranium enrichment operation as he left North Korea. He privately informed the White House a few days ago.
The White House is clearly eager to use the new information to show that North Korea, in violation of United Nations mandates, continues to make significant progress toward advancing its nuclear program, even though it remains under international sanctions for its past violations.
American officials were sent to China, Japan, Russia and South Korea, the other members in the moribund “six-party talks.” The Obama administration also hopes to persuade China, by far North Korea’s most important source of political and economic support, to put more pressure on the government of Kim Jong-il, which has shown signs of becoming more militaristic as it undergoes a leadership transition.
China has been hesitant to cut off trade or fuel to the North, and it appears determined to support its longtime, if difficult, ally during its succession process. But in the past China has taken modest steps to support a tougher line when North Korea has tested nuclear weapons or missiles, defying international commitments.
Dr. Hecker said he was forbidden from taking pictures during his tour of the uranium plant on Nov. 12, and was not allowed to verify North Korean claims that it was already beginning to produce low-enriched uranium. He also said he had doubts that North Korea would fulfill its promise to build a light-water reactor to utilize the fuel. “There are reasons to question whether that’s true,” he said.

Are you guys scared this might happen?  I know I am, this will affect me even in snowy Vancouver.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Universe Before Big Bang?

Hey guys, and physics nerds! I've got more "questions of the universe" blogs for you.  Like the topic on the "Vacuum" from Fringe,  this is about the start of the universe.

           
The Big Bang model holds that everything that now comprises the universe was once concentrated in a single point of near-infinite density. Before this singularity exploded and the universe began, there was absolutely nothing - indeed, it's not clear whether one can even use the term "before" in reference to a pre-Big-Bang cosmos, as time itself may not have existed yet. In the current model, the universe began with the Big Bang, underwent cosmic inflation for a fraction of a second, then settled into the much more gradual expansion that is still going on, and likely will end with the universe as an infinitely expanded, featureless cosmos.

Sir Roger Penrose, one of the most renowned physicists of the last fifty years, takes issue with this view. He points out that the universe was apparently born in a very low state of entropy, meaning a very high degree of order initially existed, and this is what made the complex matter we see all around us (and are composed of) possible in the first place. His objection is that the Big Bang model can't explain why such a low entropy state existed, and he believes he has a solution - that the universe is just one of many in a cyclical chain, with each Big Bang starting up a new universe in place of the one before.

How does this help? Well, Penrose posits the end of each universe will involve a return to low entropy. This is because black holes suck in all the matter, energy, and information they encounter, which works to remove entropy from our universe. (Where that entropy might go is another question entirely.) The universe's continued expansion into eventual nothingness causes the black holes themselves to evaporate, which ultimately leaves the universe in a highly ordered state once again, ready to contract into another singularity and set off the next Big Bang.

As alternative theories go, it's not without its merits, but there's no evidence to support it...until now. He says he's found evidence for his ideas in the cosmic microwave background, the microwave radiation that permeates the universe and was thought to have formed 300,000 years after the Big Bang, providing a record of the universe at that far distant time. Penrose and his colleague Vahe Gurzadyan have discovered clear concentric circles within the data, which suggests regions of the radiation have much smaller temperature ranges than elsewhere.

So what does that mean? Penrose believes these circles are windows into the previous universe, spherical ripples left behind by the gravitational effects of colliding black holes in the previous universe. He also says these circles don't work well at all in the current inflationary model, which holds all temperature variations in the CMB should be truly random.

Here's where the fun begins. If the circles are really there and are really doing what Penrose says they're doing, then he's managed to overthrow the standard inflationary model. But there's a long way to go between where we are now and that point, assuming it ever happens.

The inflationary model has become the consensus for a good reason - it's the best explanation we've got for the universe we have now - and so cosmologists will examine any results that appear to disprove it very critically. There are also a couple key assumptions in Penrose's theory, particularly that all particles will lose their mass towards the end of the universe. Right now, we don't know whether that will actually happen - in particular, there's no proof that electrons ever decay.

Do you guys think this could be true, that there were universes before ours, before the Big Bang?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cure to Prostate Cancer?

Hey guys, more medical/bio news for all you bio nerds!  So, they found that soybeans can help with prostate cancer. Here is the article

     Researchers at Northwestern University have found that genistein, a natural chemical found in soy, inhibits prostate cancer cells from becoming metastatic and spreading to other parts of the body.
Advocates of holistic living have long championed the fact that food can be used to fight serious illnesses and diseases, including cancer. For the most part, traditional medicine has cautioned against these claims, but this new research might be proof that they can’t avoid.
The study examined 38 men that were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. When administered once a day in pill form, one month prior to surgery, it was found that the soybean drug had beneficial effects on the prostate cancer cells.
When examined after surgery, researchers found that patients that received genistein enjoyed an increased expression of genes that suppress the invasion of cancer cells and decreased the expression of genes that enhance invasion.
Although the results are promising, scientists say that another phase of the study is needed to determine if the soybean drug can really prevent cancer cells from moving out of the prostate and into the rest of the body
If additional phases of the study are successful, it will be the first instance of a non-toxic drug that targets and inhibits cancer cell movement.
“If this drug can effectively stop prostate cancer from moving in the body, theoretically, a similar therapy could have the same effect on the cells of other cancers,” said Raymond Bergan, professor of hematology and oncology at Northwestern University.

This can mean a lot of people will be saved, and just like the technology to turn skin into blood, another way to keep humans alive longer!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

iPad most wanted?

Hey guys, since it is almost Christmas, I have a presenty blog today.

Two separate consumer surveys came to the same conclusion: the iPad is on top of everyone's gift wish list. 3D TVs? Not so much.

Fortunately, your chances of getting an iPad are pretty good -- as both of those studies also said that people plan to spend more on gifts this holiday season, mostly on consumer gadgets, compared to 2009.

Indeed, a report on planned holiday spending by Retrevo said that people are willing to give up their holiday travel so they can buy cool electronics. Of the 1,000-plus respondents, 16% said they will spend more on electronics while 28% will spend less on travel.

The No. 1 desire? A tablet -- and that means the iPad for most people. "Unless Android gets it together in the tablet department, Apple could have a very good holiday season. When the study asked what was on consumers' wish lists this year, the product on the top of most people's electronics wish lists was a tablet followed closely by a laptop, HDTV set, and smartphone. Netbooks and 3DTVs were lowest on the lists," the Retrevo report said.

The thing that Is most shocking for
me is that people want iPads the most. iPads aren't even that great, and it isn't even talking about the iPad 2. I don't see why people don't have the 3d tv as their top item on thir wishlist.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uh oh Black Hole?

I've got some scary news guys!  Astronomers think they have seen a black hole.
     X-ray observations suggest the supernova, called SN 1979C, is a black hole in the making, a team of U.S. and European astronomers said.
"If our interpretation is correct, this is the nearest example where the birth of a black hole has been observed," Daniel Patnaude of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts, who helped lead the study, said in a statement.
Amateur astronomer Gus Johnson of Maryland spotted the supernova in 1979 at the edge of a galaxy called M100 and astronomers have been peering at it since. Light and X-rays from the collapse have taken 50 million years to travel to Earth at the speed of light -- 186,000 miles a second, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km) a year.
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton and the German ROSAT observatory have seen that it emits a steady source of bright X-rays.
Analysis of the X-rays support the idea that the object is a black hole and that it is either being fed by material falling back from an initial supernova, or perhaps from a twin star, the astronomers said.
Scientists believe black holes can be formed in a number of ways -- in this case by a star about 20 times the mass of our Sun going supernova and then collapsing into an object so dense that it sucks surrounding material into its core.

If this is true, then what if it kills all of us. And the coolest(or worst) part is that we won't even be able to see it because light gets sucked into black holes!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wasting Food

Hey guys, I have an environmental post today!

You probably recycle, reuse bags, carpool, use energy efficient appliances and try to take the bus.  One of the best ways of helping is to stop wasting food!
ll you need to do is minimize your food waste. If you buy it and bring it home, eat it. That alone is one of the easiest ways to aid the environment.
About 40% of the food produced in the United States isn't consumed. Every day Americans waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. And our national food waste habit is on the upswing: We waste 50% more food today than we did in 1974.
Squandering so much of what we grow doesn't just waste food; it also wastes the fossil fuel that went into growing, processing, transporting and refrigerating it. A recent study estimated conservatively that 2% of all U.S. energy consumption went to producing food that was never eaten. To give you a sense of perspective, every year, through uneaten food, we waste 70 times the amount of oil that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico during the three months of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
That waste of resources continues after we throw away food. There is the energy required to haul the discarded food to the landfill. And once there, food decomposes and creates methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent a heat trapper than carbon dioxide. Landfills are the second-largest human-related source of methane emissions, and rotting food causes the majority of methane there. It's climate change coming directly from your kitchen.
Not only will cutting your food waste help the planet, but it also will make you a slightly more ethical person. The number of hungry people, in Los Angeles and the state, is steadily increasing. From 2005 to 2009, the amount of Los Angeles County residents receiving food assistance swelled by 46%. Meanwhile, Angelenos throw away about 18 million pounds of food every day. At supermarkets, restaurants and, of course, our homes, we're discarding a potential solution for our neighbors' needs.
With those stats, we might want to rethink about wasting food.

Monday, November 15, 2010

More double down news

Hey guys, I have bad news for all you Vancouverians. I am dissappointed because now I will never try another double down.

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - After selling more than one million of the bun-less sandwiches, KFC has pulled the Double Down off menus. It featured two pieces of chicken, two pieces of bacon, cheese, and the Colonel's savoury, secret sauce and was available here for less than a month.

Yes, you read right. This slobbering piece of meat, basically death solidified, is now removed from Vancouver!! I am very sad, maybe I can get it when I go Seattle or other cities...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

China limits dogs

Hey guys, been really busy so I didn't post yesterday. Today I have some pretty cool news about China!

Thirty years after China imposed a one-child policy to limit population growth, authorities are turning their attention to overcrowding by man’s best friend.

The residents of Shanghai are facing a new limit over the size of their household, Authorities are now considering the one-dog policy.

The law would allow one dog per family and require owners to register their pets at a cost of about $45 a year. Residents would also be required to neuter or spay their dogs, and give puppies up for adoption by the time they’re 3 months old. If passed, the measure would go into effect next year.

But as with many policies in China, it was not clear how officials would be able to enforce their new policy. Many Chinese simply do not bother to pay the licence fee for their dogs even though it is technically a crime to do so.

Supporters say it’s necessary because of limited dog-walking space in the congested, densely populated city. Nearly 20 million people live in Shanghai, alongside nearly 1 million dogs. An average of at least 100,000 dog attacks are reported each year, and 2009 had nearly 140,000 cases of dog-inflicted wounds, spurring local authorities to propose the new law, China Daily reported.

But some pet lovers are conscerned that the new policy could lead to more strays and end up harming the animals.

I don't own a dog but my relatives in China do, and some have more than 1. I wonder what they are going to do. What do you guys think about this?

Friday, November 12, 2010

More Fringe!

Hey guys.  So, yesterday, I was watching the new episode of Fringe "6955 kHz".  The frequency part of the episode was not the thing that intrigued me though.  It was the talk about the Vacuum.  People believed that before the time of the dinosaurs, humans lived in advanced ways we could not even imagine in the 21st century.  The civilizations from ancient times had this device, called the Vacuum.  The people of our time believed that this device created everything and can destroy everything, sort of like the big bang and the big crunch theory.  The characters Fringe believed that the Vacuum destroyed everything, and that's why the civilization disappeared, and the cavemen came.  In the episode of Fringe, the frequency part of the show, it talked about number radios.  It broadcasted hidden numbers and was later discovered that the numbers represented areas around the world.  At these areas, parts of the Vacuum are buried really deep under the land.  I wonder if this theory was true, that there were extremely advanced civilizations before us, before the time of the dinosaurs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Skin to Blood

Hey, bio nerds.  I have some interesting news for you today!  Researchers from Ontario, Canada may be able to turn human skin into blood cells.  What does this mean?  It means that doing operations like blood transfusions will be infinitely easier because of this technology.

Canadian researchers at the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University in Ontario have made the major step of reprogramming human skin cells into blood cells. Their research was published in the most recent issue of Nature. Up until now, scientists have been focusing research on the conversion of embryonic stem cells into blood. But those efforts have been problematic, both because it's difficult to turn the stem cells into mature cells that can be transplanted into adults and because of the controversy over the use of embryonic stem cells in research as well as their finite availability.

The research team in Canada, however, has found a way to bypass all these concerns by using growth factors that can reprogram skin cells into blood cells, allowing for the development of adult blood cells for immediate transplant. They successfully changed skin cells into blood cells several times over the course of two years, using human skin from old as well as young patients.

This is exciting for everybody, especially the bio nerds.  Breakthroughs like this in science will help us live better and longer.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Steak!

Hey guys, found something interesting about steaks today.

Women who want to calm down their husbands after a stressful day at the office should serve him a big steak, scientists said today.
Contrary to popular opinion that a hunk of red meat may make men aggressive, experts said it actually has a calming affect.
Psychologists said they were shocked by research findings which show that far from bringing out the 'caveman instinct' in modern men, seeing meat lowers any aggressive tendencies because it reminds males of friends and family at meal time.
 
This makes me happy, knowing that steak will make me feel better.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twinkies good for you?

A nutrition professor lost 27 pounds by eating Twinkies for 60 days.

Kansas State University nutrition professor Mark Haub has been making headlines lately for his two-month Twinkie stunt. For 60 days straight, Haub ate a snack cake for every meal, with Doritos, Oreos and sugar-soaked cereals for snacks between meals.
The crazy part? He lost 27 pounds, and his cholesterol dropped.
Those results are so dang counterintuitive, the questions flood to your head—like a sugar rush.
In short, Haub's theory about caloric intake held up. He burned more calories than he ate, and that caused him to shed pounds. As for the other health improvements, like lowering his "bad" cholesterol and upping his "good" cholesterol? "When you lose weight, regardless of how you're doing it—even if it's with packaged foods, generally you will see these markers improve when weight loss has improved," explained Dawn Jackson Blatner, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

I think this explains why I am still skinny from eating so many Oreos.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Business in Africa

Hey guys, found something interesting today.
BOSTON — Is there money to be made in Africa? You bet.
Just ask Walmart, which is offering more than $4 billion to buy a South African retail chain as its foothold into the fast-growing African market.
And Coca-Cola has announced it will spend $12 billion over the next 10 years to improve its production and sales network across the continent. KFC and Subway are already selling their meals to Africans. Top European and Chinese banks are competing for business in Africa, too.
This new scramble for business in Africa has made Wall Street take notice: Africa can be profitable.

The interesting thing about this is that it is a very good thing for Africa. It will help the economy and will help Africa better than donations. Now Africans can enjoy some Subway and WalMart like we do in North America, all while helping their economy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Donnie Yen

Hey guys, going to talk about my favourite actor, Donnie Yen. Known for his famous role in Ip Man and Ip Man 2, he is one of the most famous actors in Hong Kong.

Basic bio: Donnie Yen (born 27 July 1963) is a Hong Kong actor, martial artist, film director, action choreographer and film producer.
He has worked with other famous Chinese stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, which makes him even cooler than he already is. This guy is also badass like Bruce Lee. This dude will kick your ass for the slightest disturbance you bring upon him. In Ip Man, he fought 10 guys at once and broke all their bones. That wasn't acting, he actually did.

LHC

Hey science nerds, I've got more Large Hadron Collider News for you.
The Large Hadron Collider has been busy destroying protons by the billions. But now it's set to do something completely different: generate miniature Big Bangs.
Scientists and researchers at CERN in Geneva are gearing up to launch experiments that attempt to recreate, as accurately as possible, the conditions immediately after the Big Bang, Discovery News reports. That could shed light on a state of matter that hasn't existed in the known Universe for over 13.7 billion years.
Specifically, scientists are planning to begin shooting lead ions around the 17-mile-long LHC beginning later this month. The theory goes that when accelerated to relativistic speeds, and then collided head-on with protons in the other direction, the resulting energy explosion will cause the production of brand new particles, the report said. Call it E=mc squared in its purest form.

Science nerds like me are excited, more pieces of the universe puzzle are going to be solved but there is one thing I am worried about.  When the real big bang occured, the entire universe experienced Planck temperatures for fractions of a second.  What if the LHC creates near Planck temperatures?  Everything on Earth will incinerate instantly and everybody will die.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Using Coupons

Hey guys, I learned about coupons in money management and I'm going to share with you some tips.

Effective Coupon Usage:
   First of all, keep a 3 months’ supply of non-perishable food and condiments.  If you do this, you only need to buy things when you have a coupon for it or if it's on sale instead of being forced to buy them because you need it.  Make sure that the coupon will save you more money than what it would cost to buy generic(no name) brands.
  Exercise coupon stacking.  That is when you have a manufacturer’s coupon for an item and the store has it’s own coupon for that same item.  You can get manufacturer's coupons at places like their sites, newspapers or even in the mail.

Extra Tips
   Never buy for convenience.  You are paying for your convenience and that price is not worth it.

   Don't buy convenience foods like chopped up carrots, buy the whole carrot and chop it up yourself.  It will save you a lot of money

Transhumanism

Hey guys, was watching the tv show Fringe last night and it got me thinking. In the theme song it talked about transhumanism and I was curious.
Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes. Dangers, as well as benefits, are also of concern to the transhumanist movement.[1]
Basically, transhumanism is to enhance ourselves. Transhumanism is going to be a big thing in the future. In Fringe, there is an alternate universe that is slightly more advanced in some areas, but also less advanced is others. In their universe, they have technolgy that is like transhumanism, where they repair themselves perfectly and rapidly, even after getting caught in an explosion.
Some theorists, such as Raymond Kurzweil, think that the pace of technological innovation is accelerating and that the next 50 years may yield not only radical technological advances but possibly a technological singularity, which may fundamentally change the nature of human beings

Question of the day: How amazing do you guys think transhumanism will be in the future?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I have good news for all you Toronto people! There is a sale at Dairy Queen in the Greater Toronto Area. Unfortunately, only 3 Dairy Queens are participating and on different days.

Where and When:
1040 Broadview Ave - Sat, Oct2/10
2916 Eglington Ave E - Sat, Oct16/10
1910 Kennedy Rd. - Sat, Nov6/10

This might be bad for some of you, as the drive distance may be long for you. The following items will be on sale.

All Frozen Cakes 1/2 Price
All boxed novelties 1/2 Price
16oz Blizzards (any flavor) & Double Burgers 1/2 Price

I hope you guys enjoy the savings. Thanks for reading, don't forget to follow me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Double Down review

Today, I had the double down from KFC and I have a lot to say about it.

Stats:
calories: 540
fat: 32g
sodium: 1380mg

The amount of calories surprised me the most. It only has 540 which is really not that much for all that. The amount of fat, isn't surprising. The worst thing about this product is that the amount of sodium is super high. 1380mg of sodium is half the daily intake of sodium you are supposed to get. You are eating half of the amount of sodium you need in just one burger. This is why some people call this burger the 'manifesto of death'.

You can get this in just the burger or add a meal to it.  The chicken can be crispy of grilled as well.

Bacon:  in my double down, all i got was 2 strips of bacon.  the problem was that i could not even taste the bacon and didn't realize it was there until i opened up the sandwich.  In the grilled version, there was also bacon in it, meaning there is NO healthy version of this burger.

Cheese:  i liked the cheese a lot, because it wasn't just ordinary cheddar or mozzarella.  ** my friend said that he had one with just Kraft dinner cheese so i don't know about the consistence of this.

Chicken:  basic 2 pieces of chicken instead of buns, which makes this burger unique from every other one on the market.  *chicken is available in grilled or crispy, where grilled is more healthy.

In my personal opinion, it wasn't as horrible as people say it is. The burger tasted phenomenal and it felt like my taste buds were on Jeffrey(a drug from Get Him to the Greek).  The only problem was that it costs A LOT for a burger that is only about 4" x 5" big.  Also, after i finished eating it, it felt like there was a layer of oil on my tongue. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

iPad 2!

finally, can blog on computer.  today, stupid GARY got me in trouble because he kept FIDGETING and teacher thought it was me.  I think his rashes are making him a bit crazy and feisty.  Thank god i don't have rashes.

So, the iPad 2 is coming out soon and there will be many things to upgrade in order to compare to the iPhone and iPod Touch.  First of all, it will need to have what the current iPhone and iPod Touch have, retina display and FaceTime.  Nobody is going to want to have an iPad that isn't as good as previous apple products.  With the retina display, the iPad will be better than almost anything for watching movies on the go,  For example when you are in a couple hour long car ride. Right now, there are not many products that you can FaceTime with; having it added in the iPad 2 will make FaceTime even more popular.  The other thing it must have is multitasking and better app switching support.  The iPad will let you do many things at a time and if the snap feature from Windows 7 is implemented, you will need multitasking to have it work.  Maybe you will be able to watch videos while surfing the web with the new iPad.  This will make it a very hot item because no other product like this can do that and it makes everything just so much more convenient.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hey guys typing from iPhone again. Today was pretty plain, got home and just played on the computer while doing some homework. Luckily for me, I had enough time today to watch Inception without pausing it. It was a nice movie that was very exciting and included some mind fuck moments. The most important thing that happene today was the release of DotA 2 Q&A with IceFrog.

Here are the questions from www.dota2.com for those of you who are too lazy to open another link.

Q: Is there reconnect support for DotA 2? (by Vanes-UT)
A: This was actually one of the very first things we added early on, before the game was stable, in order to help with testing. You’ll also be able to have a friend of similar skill level substitute for you in case you have to leave. Players that want to improve their reputation in the game and community will also be able to help out by joining ongoing games that are missing players.

Q: Can I still play with my friends from America even though I am European? (by Adam Mosley)
A: Yes, a lot of people have friends in different regions and we want to allow them to easily interact. One of the things that makes DotA special is how big the community is, so we will do our best to make it easy to connect and communicate with one another.

Q: How are you going to handle delay and lag between players? (by Alex)
A: This is something we are putting a lot of time and resources into. Minimizing delay to servers, along with optimizing networking code, is very important to being able to enjoy DotA on both a casual and competitive level. We’re expanding the Steam infrastructure around the world so the matchmaking service for DotA 2 is able to provide the lowest possible ping wherever you are playing. There will also be some uniquely located servers that are optimized regionally for handling longer distance matches.

Q: What kind of hardware requirements will the game have? (by S.Hong)
A: We don’t have an official minimum spec just yet. The goal is to make sure that people with older computers and the PCs at LAN centers will be able to support the game, while also allowing for newer computers to scale well.

Q: I heard there was going to be an AI feature for when a player leaves. Is there going to be an option to take direct control of the hero? (by Stephen)
A: The AI features will be optional to the players in the game. You can have teammates use it, send it to the base, or give it AI modes and behaviors to follow.

Q: Will there be anything like the AI maps in DotA or a “training mode” with difficulty levels? (by L.Pham)
A: Yes there will be bot support if you just want to play by yourself, or you can create a party of friends and fill the rest of the slots with bots. There are a variety of different settings you can use in order to configure the bots, ranging from selectable difficulty levels to specific behaviors that you want to practice against. For example, if you want to practice your lane control, you could configure the bots to be stronger at denying, last hitting, and harassing. We’ll also have some specially crafted challenge scenarios, similar to things like Pudge Wars, which I’ll elaborate on in the future.

Q: Will the replay system allow me to move freely backwards and forwards in time rather than having to watch a whole replay? (by Luciando)
A: You’ll be able to jump around to any point in the replay, add bookmarks for easy referencing, view detailed stats and graphs while the game is going, and watch through a specific player’s view (with regards to their camera movement). You’ll also be able to watch replays with friends if you want to review a game or learn from your mistakes. To aid videomakers, the replay system will have flexible camera angle and speed controls. There will also be a bunch of commentating and editing features you can add to your replays.

Q: Don’t you think you should make a lot of changes to the gameplay? (by Robert)
A: Significant changes would not necessarily make it a better game. There are countless features we are building around the game that will make the experience a much better one. The gameplay itself, though, has always evolved step by step, and it will continue with that methodology. We consider this a long term project, in the same way DotA has always been. We want to provide a quality experience and not just change for the sake of change. You’ll naturally see additions and improvements to the game as time passes, but it would be a natural progression aimed at improving the game for the players and not for other arbitrary reasons. Valve and I strongly believe that the player focused development process the game has gone through is what will allow us to continue making the best decisions with regards to where we spend our development time.

Q: Can you spectate an already ongoing DotA 2 game? (by Valo)
A: A lot of the game will be built around spectating and shoutcasting support. You will be able to join most ongoing games (unless the players marked it as private) and just watch them. You can join a game your friend is in, see what your favorite clan is doing, or simply pick a skill level and a hero you like and it will find you one to watch. We also have a system in place that automatically distributes the load to multiple servers so that the game itself won’t be affected by users joining to spectate. Our distribution network will allow us to support any number of users that want to watch, by dynamically assigning more servers to the task. There will also be special tags and search options to help you find live or old shoutcasted games. Shoutcasters will be able to operate as directors, so anyone watching will have his camera looking at the same things the shoutcaster is viewing. There is also an optional anti-cheat mechanism built in so that the game you are spectating can be time delayed by any amount of time to reduce potential abuse.

Q: Will you keep loyal to casting times like Torrent and will it still be possible to do the advanced tricks, like animation canceling, fog of war tricks we’ve learned, etc? (by Lycan)
A: Yes, those mechanics are implemented. They are a very integral part of the game and it wouldn’t feel the same without them.

Q: How will we manage replay files? (by Nikos)
A: They will be automatically saved with your identity online utilizing the Steam Cloud storage system, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. You’ll be able to use the replay browser tools to search, sort, tag, rank, and favorite them.

Q: Are you going to work on DotA after DotA 2 is released? (by Jack Lee)
A: I plan to keep DotA updated for as long as the community wants. That being said though, I think that DotA 2 represents the long term future for the game.

Q: How will development change with regards to your role, current beta testers, community feedback, etc? (by Basel)
A: All that stuff will remain the same, except that now I also get to work with the developers at Valve. All of our current playtesters and even contributors like Kunkka are helping. One of the most important things for me has always been getting input from the community. There will be a lot of opportunities, throughout the next year, to give your feedback on all the things we are working on, ranging from features to visuals.

Q: Are the upgraded graphics going to be distracting? New graphics are great, but when there’s too much, you can’t see what’s going on anymore. (by Lycan)
A: Gameplay is definitely the most important aspect, everyone on the team understands this concern. The number one priority is making sure players can quickly and easily tell what’s happening on the screen at all times. Fine tuning the right visual balance with each ability, effect, hero, etc., will be an ongoing process as the game is playtested and we get your feedback. A clean and understandable visual representation of the action is important to everyone from experienced players, spectators, to new players.

Q: Will I be able to help test DotA 2? (by Sing Liu)
A: There will certainly be an opportunity to get involved with beta testing DotA 2 and help us with your feedback. We’ll release more information about how to sign up in the future.

Q: Are you going to do anything to make it easier for new players to get into the game and feel welcome? (by Arvin)
A: Some of what makes it hard, in current DotA, stems from the lack of services around the game that can help foster a better relationship between players and that it’s hard for players to be matched up with equally skilled allies and opponents. Things like tutorials, matchmaking, AI bots, identity, coaching, and community contribution will go a long way to making it easier for new players to fit in.

Q: What hotkey setup will exist in DotA 2? (by Stany Kaff)
A: We have a few default templates that cover the most popular configurations, but you’ll also be able to fully customize them to your liking. You can customize it on a global level or on a per hero basis if you choose. The hotkey configuration will include everything, not just heroes and items, but also how you navigate in the game, control the camera, autocast, set control groups, etc. Your settings are saved to your identity online, so if you go to a LAN center you will not have to reconfigure your keys.