March 16th, 2007


When I was 17

...I was writing bad poetry and translating Latin and doing a bit of ecological studies and arguing about German literature. Which makes me very impressed with the projects in the Intel Talent Search. Some of these sound graduate level and far beyond what I've learned of American high school through TV! We need more education systems that promote pure, blue sky research...

The top award, a $100,000 scholarship from the Intel Foundation, went to Mary Masterman, 17, who built an accurate spectrograph that identifies the specific characteristics – or “fingerprints” – of different kinds of molecules. Spectrographs have wide applications in research and industry and can cost as much as $100,000. Mary’s invention cost hundreds of dollars. 

The rest of the top 10 winners are listed below:
Second Place:  John Pardon, 17, of Chapel Hill, N.C., received a $75,000 scholarship for his project that solved a classical open problem in differential geometry. John showed that a finite-length closed curve in the plane can be made convex in a continuous manner, and without bringing any two points of the curve closer together.

Third Place:    Dmitry Vaintrob, 18, of Eugene, Ore., received a $50,000 scholarship for his sophisticated investigation of ways to associate algebraic structures to topological spaces. Dmitry proved that loop homology and Hochschild cohomology coincide for an important class of spaces.

Fourth Place:   Catherine Schlingheyde, 17, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., received a $25,000 scholarship for her research on microRNA repression, a basic mechanism that regulates cell function.

Fifth Place:    Rebecca Kaufman, 17, of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., received a $25,000 scholarship for her study of the effects of male hormones in a model of schizophrenia.

Sixth Place:    Gregory Brockman, 18, of Thompson, N.D., received a $25,000 scholarship for his mathematics project that provided a thorough analysis of Ducci sequences, also known as the “four number game.”

Seventh Place:  Megan Blewett, 17, of Madison, N.J., received a $20,000 scholarship for her analysis of a protein that may be implicated in multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Eighth Place:   Daniel Handlin, 18, of Lincroft, N.J., received a $20,000 scholarship for developing an accurate, low-cost method of determining the position of geo-stationary Earth-orbit (GEO) satellites.

Ninth Place:    Meredith MacGregor, 18, of Boulder, Colo., received a $20,000 scholarship for her research on the fluid dynamics of the “Brazil Nut Effect,” in which shaken particles separate by size with the largest on top.

Tenth Place:    Emma Call, 18, of Baltimore, Md., received a $20,000 scholarship for the fabrication of 3-D microcubes, which have potential use as novel drug-delivery devices

Just how do they write Photoshop?

I can't take much of the credit for writing Adobe edits the development cycle - what I did was think that what Russell told me about the switch in development style (to an incremental, bug-delimited method) was worth writing about, persuade my editor of the same thing, ask Russell about what I thought was interesting and then see where it went. I find it fascinating to see behind the scenes, to understand the process of how people having ideas turns into features thousands of people use everyday. This one is particularly interesting because Russell has joined in the reader discussion too... Now that's my favourite kind of interview subject ;-)


From the wind-up gramophone to the iPod Shuffle

Covering the history of portable music players for Tom's Hardware has been fascinating; sbisson did a lot of the research and we turned up some fascinating details, from the inventor who took his stereoradiogram to the beach (reminded me of Tony Levin putting an expresso machine in a flight case) to the MP3 player company who went out of business after handing out free players at the Academy Awards. I got to see the first car radio at Motorola's headquarters last year; I wish I knew what happened to the portable wind-up gramophone I once had; I still remember the Hango PJB-100 (the first hard drive MP3 player) with fondness.

So how far have we come? I've just looked at two midget music players. I don't like the new iPod Shuffle at all (on consideration I think I was too polite about it in the review, but I do try to bear in mind that some people want just that kind of cheap, convenient reduction ochoice - sorry, simplicity) and I actually like the Samsung YP-U2 quite a lot; find out why...

food cooking tomato

Sushi me

Yo - sushi?
YOSushi is doint a half price thing this month - who wants to go for sushi and when? We'd be up for Bloomsbury one evening... you get up to ten plates at half price and you have to print your own copy of the voucher from the link...

The offer says:
Come and get some YO! Sushi - half price - from Monday 12th March at 2 of our newest and funkiest restaurants - Brunswick Shopping Centre in Bloomsbury and Brent Cross Shopping Centre in North London. Both venues serve the tastiest, freshest sushi all day long and make great shopping pit stops. But hurry as this fabulously yummy offer must end on Saturday 31st March. So what are you waiting for? </span>

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Just sign up here to get your voucher and enjoy!