Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for December 19th, 2011

Chinese Actor Is Arrested After Changing Name And Spending 13 Years On The Run From Police

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011

The actor, Zhang Guofeng (nee Ji Siguang)A Chinese actor who played a detective in a television drama has been arrested after spending 13 years on the run from the police.

Ji Siguang is accused of attacking a policeman in the city of Qiqihar in northern China with three other men. The officer’s gun was stolen during the assault.

Since then, Mr Ji is alleged to have gone on the run, changed his name to Zhang Guofeng, and built a career as one of China’s most successful character actors.

He has appeared in more than 30 television dramas, including a hugely popular series named Lurk in 2009.

Other roles included a spy in the series The East is Red, 1949, and a Qing-dynasty eunuch in Miracle-working Doctor Dadaogong.

According to China’s state media, Ji Siguang was generally cast in parts with few lines, but was much loved by directors for his loyalty.

Mr Ji was finally tracked by police in southern China where he was filming a new costume drama named Shaolin Tigers in which he portrays a Buddhist monk.

He has reportedly admitted his involvement in the 1998 assault and confessed he had always been scared he would be recognised.

via Chinese Actor Is Arrested After Changing Name And Spending 13 Years On The Run From Police | World News | Sky News.

This kind of story scares, especially when I think of Obama signing the 2012 NDAA, because it could be 100% false. Perhaps this actor actually spoke out against the government at a party, or insulted some official, for example. A government that controls the media and for which there are no checks and balances could make up this story, including his confession, and haul him away to prison forever. Being famous will offer no protection against a corrupt government.

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UFOs from a train window

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011



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Touchless smartphones and TVs could be on sale in 2012

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011

Gesture-controlled tabletSo you’ve lost your TV remote control. Again.

Not to worry, says a tiny Israeli start-up company called XTR3D – soon you’ll be able to flick through channels and adjust the volume using only… your hand.

You’ll just have to turn your palm towards the screen, and zap away without ever getting off the couch.

And no need for under-the-skin electronics or fancy microchips.

Instead, the TV – or rather gesture recognition software installed inside – will “read” your moves and execute appropriate commands, without any need for physically pressing any buttons.

Based in Tel Aviv, XTR3D is one of the developers of such motion capture technology, and it has just received $8m (£5m) investment bound to give “touchless” tech another push – and according to the firm, bring the first motion control smartphone into the market as early as next year.

US electronics giant Texas Instruments is among the investors. …

Ordinary 2D cameras and XTR3D software turn your tablet into a motion-control device

Ultrasound sensors are there for close range “no-look” gesture control – they pick up movements with help of a microphone instead of an optical camera, explains Qualcomm’s director of technology Francis MacDougall.

“One issue the Kinect has is an inability to track close to a device. The default design can track no closer than 50cm – great for TVs but not so good for tablets and smartphones,” says Mr MacDougall.

“So Qualcomm has placed multiple audio sensors – microphones – into their handset designs to isolate the voice location in 3D space while filtering out everything else.

“This technique is extremely low power and can track the hand within one to 15cm of the phone.”

via BBC News – Touchless smartphones and TVs could be on sale in 2012.

I had this idea years ago, that you could one day point at a light and gesture it on or off. Neat.

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Last US troops to leave Iraq cross Kuwait border

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011

Last convoy of US troops in Iraq prepares to cross Kuwait border. 18 Dec 2011The last convoy of US troops to leave Iraq has entered Kuwait, nearly nine years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

The final column of about 100 armoured vehicles carrying 500 soldiers crossed the southern Iraqi desert overnight.

At the peak of the operation there were 170,000 US troops and more than 500 bases in Iraq.

Nearly 4,500 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died since the US-led campaign began in 2003.

The operation has cost Washington nearly $1 trillion (£643bn).

US forces ended combat missions in Iraq in 2010 and had already handed over much of their security role.

“(It’s) a good feeling… knowing this is going to be the last mission out of here,” said Private First Class Martin Lamb, part of the final “tactical road march” out of Iraq.

“Part of history, you know – we’re the last ones out.”

As the last of the armoured vehicles crossed the border, a gate was closed behind them and US and Kuwaiti soldiers gathered there to shake hands and pose for pictures.

The only US military presence left in Iraq now is 157 soldiers responsible for training at the US embassy, as well as a small contingent of marines protecting the diplomatic mission.

The low-key US exit was in stark contact to the blaze of aerial bombardment Washington unleashed against Saddam Hussein in 2003. …

via BBC News – Last US troops to leave Iraq cross Kuwait border.

Wow, really? Great! (As long as those troops aren’t going to now be used to detain American citizens without trial a Obama’s new law permits…) I heard the cost is closer to $4 trillion which we now owe from this war… and that Obama is leaving a huge contingent from the State Department along with 3,500 to 5,500 armed private contractors?

Posted in War | 3 Comments »

Self-cleaning cotton nanoparticle coating invented

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011

Girl washing clothes by riverEfforts to create self-cleaning cotton fabrics are bearing fruit in China.

Engineers have created a chemical coating that causes cotton materials to clean themselves of stains and remove odours when exposed to sunlight.

The researchers say the treatment is cheap, non-toxic and ecologically friendly.

Retail experts say the innovation could prove a hit with retailers thanks to a growing demand for “functional clothing”.

The research was carried out by engineers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Hubei University for Nationalities, and is published in the latest issue of the Applied Materials and Interfaces journal.

The study focuses on titanium dioxide – a chemical known to be an “excellent catalyst in the degradation of organic pollutants”.

The substance is already used in self-cleaning windows, odour-free socks and stay-clean kitchen and bathroom tiles. …

The team’s breakthrough was to create a nanoparticle alcohol-based compound made up of titanium dioxide and nitrogen.

The mixture was added to triethylamine, an acid neutraliser commonly used in dyes. After being stirred for a 12 hours at room temperature, the liquid was heated at 100C (212F) for a further six hours.

The cotton fabrics were then immersed in the mixture before being squeezed dry, heated and immersed in hot clean water.

Finally the coated materials were treated with silver iodide particles, which aid light-based reactions.

To test the effectiveness of their invention, the engineers marked the fabrics with an orange dye stain and exposed them to the sun. After two hours in the light, the team said 71% of the stain had been removed – a “dramatic” improvement over previously trialled techniques. …

via BBC News – Self-cleaning cotton nanoparticle coating invented.

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Sun stops chickenpox from spreading

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011

The Simpsons Chicken Pox picturesExposure to sunlight may help impede the spread of chickenpox, claim researchers.

The University of London team found chickenpox less common in regions with high UV levels, reports the journal Virology.

Sunlight may inactivate viruses on the skin, making it harder to pass on.

However, other experts say that other factors, including temperature, humidity, and even living conditions are equally likely to play a role.

The varicella-zoster virus is highly contagious, while it can be spread through the coughs and sneezes in the early stages of the infection, the main source is contact with the trademark rash of blisters and spots.

UV light has long been known to inactivate viruses, and Dr Phil Rice, from St George’s, University of London, who led the research, believes that this holds the key why chickenpox is less common and less easily passed from person to person in tropical countries.

It could also help explain why chickenpox is more common in the colder seasons in temperate countries such as the UK – as people have less exposure to sunlight, he said.

via BBC News – Sun ‘stops chickenpox spreading’.

Posted in Health | Leave a Comment »

Twitter sells $300m “strategic stake” to Saudi prince

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2011

Twitter has secured $300m in funding from Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, with the well-known tech backer – who counts Apple shares among other firms in his portfolio – grabbing a “strategic stake” in the microblogging platform. “Several months of negotiations” culminated in the deal, which values Twitter at around $8bn overall Businessweek reports, and comes on the heels of a comprehensive redesign unveiled last week.

via Twitter sells $300m “strategic stake” to Saudi prince – SlashGear.

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