Memtropy Signals from the Noise

June 11, 2008

Pangea Day

Filed under: Interesting,Video — Tomek @ 2:58 am

Jehane Noujaim, writer and director of Control Room won the TED Prize in 2006, an award granted annually at the TED Conference. She was granted a wish to change the world and $100,000. Her wish was to create a day in which the world came together through film. Pangea Day is her wish coming true. See her acceptance speech below.

Starting at 18:00 GMT on May 10, 2008, locations in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro will be linked for a live program of powerful films, live music, and visionary speakers. The entire program will be broadcast – in seven languages – to millions of people worldwide through the internet, television, and mobile phones.

The 24 short films to be featured have been selected from an international competition that generated more than 2,500 submissions from over one hundred countries. The films were chosen based on their ability to inspire, transform, and allow us see the world through another person’s eyes.

There are no embed links at so here is a link to a list of short films featured on Pangea Day. To get an overview, watch some highlights.

I can recommend the beautifully surreal, rather brazilesque film L’Homme Sans Tete (The Man Without a Head) by the Argentinian director Juan Diego Solanas.

June 10, 2008

A pizza of radius z and thickness a has a volume of pi z z a

Filed under: Interesting,Text/Link — Tomek @ 1:37 am


June 8, 2008

The Sounds of Colour

Filed under: Physical Universe,Thoughts — Tomek @ 6:48 pm

A440 is the 440 Hz tone that serves as the standard for musical pitch. A440 is the musical note A above middle C (A4).

Every time you double the frequency, the pitch goes one octave up. Starting from the note A at 440Hz, doubling the frequency six times, you hear five different As until the sound becomes ultrasonic and inaudible. Another 36 octaves up and the frequency is the same as that of visible light, in our case from A440 you get a frequency of 484THz, which is a wavelength of 619nm, which is red.

The frequency spectrum of visible light is a bit less than one octave. This can actually be seen, in that on one end of the spectrum is red and the other end is moving back from blue to red, giving violet.

June 6, 2008


Life from Space

Filed under: Life Science — Tomek @ 1:43 pm

Scientists from the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology collected particles from the stratosphere up to 41 km up using a specially designed and cleaned device attached to a balloon. They found hundreds of particles in their filters, among them living cells. Due to the nature of our atmosphere it is highly unlikely that any of those cells found their way up from the earth by themselves, implying that at least some must have come from somewhere else.

Link to the papers and more pictures.


Theories of panspermia are rapidly coming into vogue, with the possibility of the transfer of viable bacterial cells from one planetary abode to another being generally accepted as inevitable. The panspermia models of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe require the transfer of viable bacterial cells from interstellar dust to comets and back into interplanetary and interstellar space. In such a cycle a viable fraction of as little as 10-18 at the inception of a newly formed comet/planet system suffices for cometary panspermia to dominate over competing processes for the origin and transfer of life. The well-attested survival attributes of microbes under extreme conditions, which have recently been discovered, gives credence to the panspermia hypothesis. The prediction of the theory that comets bring microbes onto the Earth at the present time is testable if aseptic collections of stratospheric air above the tropopause can be obtained. We describe a recent collection of this kind and report microbiological analysis that shows the existence of viable cells at 41km, falling to Earth at the rate of a few tonnes per day over the entire globe. Some of these cells have been cultured in the laboratory and found to include microorganisms that are not too different from related species on the Earth. This is in fact what the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe theory predicts. The weight of evidence goes against the more conservative explanation that organisms are being lofted to the high atmosphere from the ground.

June 5, 2008

The Memristor

Filed under: Artificial Evolution — Tomek @ 12:54 pm

The fourth passive electronic circuit element, the memristor, has been build by HP labs. Like before the resistor, capacitor, inductor, it links two properties of electricity, in this case the magnetic flux and the electric charge that has passed through the device. In other words, the memristor is a charge-dependant resistor.

What is memristance?

Memristance is a property of an electronic component. If charge flows in one direction through a circuit, the resistance of that component of the circuit will increase, and if charge flows in the opposite direction in the circuit, the resistance will decrease. If the flow of charge is stopped by turning off the applied voltage, the component will ‘remember’ the last resistance that it had, and when the flow of charge starts again the resistance of the circuit will be what it was when it was last active.

There is an excellent 14 minute radio interview with HP Senior Fellow Stanley Williams, one of the discoverers of the modern memristor, where he talks about the find and its potential applications.

Although Leon Chua first proposed their existence in 1971, only now they could be build, because memristance effects come into play strongly at nano scales.

To the left is an image of a circuit with 17 memristors made from titanium dioxide, the wires are 50 nm – about 150 atoms – wide.

From what I gather, this technology will have a profound impact, where it will not only be possible to calculate something only using 0 and 1 (binary), but also using values between 0 and 1. Sounds like perfect hardware for fuzzy logic.

Welcome back to the analogue age!

June 4, 2008

God is an Atheist

Filed under: Interesting,Pictures — Tomek @ 11:59 pm

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