Yearly Archives: 2015

P.S – This Message Will Self Destruct: New Email App Allows Automatic Encryption

Remember how Inspector Gadget always got given those top-secret messages that would self-destruct upon reading? Well, a new app has been devised that can do just that for your emails.

Confidential CC is a free app, designed for both Android and iOS devices, that allows the user to send self-deleting, automatically encrypting files that can be viewed only once…And never again.

The app also prevents recipients from forwarding or printing the messages in question. In a very real sense, you can read it once and then its gone.

“You receive all your email like usual, we just add a new address line that lets you send a CCC self-destruct email,” said the app’s Co-Founder Warren Barthes, formerly an executive with French Telecom, at the Collision Technology Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada earlier in the year.

Of course, other secure email apps have been attempted before, but none has proven to be 100% safe. Could Confidential CC be the one that finally achieves it?

The app was created by co-founders Warren Barthes, Rachel Triggs and Jeremy Landau and their story (according to the group’s official website, anyway) goes something like this:

“Confidential CC was born when the co-founders realized they had a common need – to send an email without a trace. A short time later they set out for this goal. After working hard to confirm the technology, legal and execution were possible, the CCC team took their idea to the next level by striving to provide not only confidential email, but an updated, smart, and attractive user interface across all systems, catered to our users’ daily lives”.

Compatible with Yahoo!, AOL, Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook, amongst others, the app allows users to access all their email accounts from one place and has been designed to be as user friendly as possible. Confidential CC can also cancel accidentally sent messages and can be instructed to send email messages out at a specific time of day.

It looks good, but the customer reviews have been a mixed bag so far.

iTunes user Alukakum praised the usability and the continuing updates, but a customer named IT User Review panned it, calling the app “clunky at best” and pointing out that users can only synch one email account per provider to the app itself.

Of course, this app is new to the marketplace, so customer reviews are few and far between.

Nevertheless, it goes without saying that, if Confidential CC can deliver on its many promises, then it could become a very profitable enterprise indeed. Co-Founder Rachel Triggs certainly thinks so.

“It’s unacceptable that email, which is free and open for all, is presenting such huge risk to users. Maybe, in five years, people will use CCC lines in Gmail, Outlook, everywhere.” She said at the Collision Conference.

If all goes according to their plans, this could be the first chapter in the story of how a small start-up firm from the US revolutionized email security for all online customers. As with all things, time will tell.

Wrestling Legend Rowdy Roddy Piper Dies At 61

The world of professional wrestling is in mourning following the death of the legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper last month. Piper suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at his home in Hollywood, California. He was just 61 years old.

For many kids (including myself) that first became fans in the mid-late 1980’s, Roddy Piper was the definitive wrestling heel (industry jargon for a bad guy). Whether hosting his notorious Piper’s Pit segment, or facing off against Hulk Hogan & Mr. T (with partner Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorf) at the inaugural WrestleMania event, Piper was one of the industry’s biggest starts during one of its most popular and lucrative periods.

He was also instrumental in making the WWF (now WWE) brand the biggest in professional wrestling. In addition to headlining the very first WrestleMania event (a pioneering Pay-Per View extravaganza that could easily have ruined the company had it proved to be a failure), Piper also featured in one of WrestleMania II’s three main event matchups, thus securing his position as one of wrestling’s most bankable stars.

His undercard matches at WrestleManias III, VI and (the stone cold classic against Bret The Hitman Hart at) VIII are absolute highlights of a classic era of pro wrestling. He even acted as a guest referee for the main event of Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna at WrestleMania X. Younger fans, however, will undoubtedly remember Piper teaming with fellow veterans Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Superfly Snuka to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV.

In an era defined by outlandish babyface characters with bodybuilder physiques and sometimes questionable in-ring abilities, Roddy Piper stood out as a genuine wrestler’s wrestler, an authentic tough guy – and the necessarily evil counterpoint to the simplistic, superheroic good guys being featured at the time by the WWF.

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1954, Roderick Toombs was always an unruly personality. Expelled from school at a young age and subsequently falling out with his father, (a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) Toombs hit the road, staying in various youth hostels and earning a buck wherever he could. Eventually, the tempestuous youth wound up in a wrestling ring, making his in-ring debut at the tender age of just 15-years-old.

The kid was tough (he had a Black Belt in Judo), displayed a natural affinity for the ring and he had a roguish charisma all of his own. In addition, he really could play the bagpipes. After early stints jobbing in Verne Gagne’s AWA, NWA Houston and Fritz Von Erich’s Big Time Wrestling promotion in Dallas, Texas, Piper debuted for Mike and Gene LeBell’s NWA Hollywood promotion and soon became the outfit’s top heel. A slew of regional Championships followed.

Whilst working for promoter Roy Shire in the NWA’s San Francisco territory, Piper developed his character and ring work. In Los Angeles, he feuded with Chavo Guerrero Sr, Hector Guerrero and ultimately locked up against their father, Mexican wrestling legend Gory Guerrero (father of future WWE Champ Eddie). In The Pacific Northwest, he unseated former NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco for Mid Atlantic’s version of the World Heavyweight Championship, a title he would go on to hold twice more.

In the mid 1980’s, Piper entered Vince McMahon’s insurgent WWF. He was billed as being from Glasgow, Scotland and was well known for being the only wrestler to wear a kilt to the ring. Fans ate it up. Feuding with such stars as Hulk Hogan, Adrian Adonis, Andre The Giant, Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase, Jerry The King Lawler and Bret Hitman Hart, to name but a few, Piper always brought out the best in his opponents and it was with the WWF that he became a household name, as well as one of the industry’s biggest ever stars.

In the mid-1990’s, Piper wrestled for WCW (World Championship Wrestling), where he debuted as one of the company’s headline stars. He feuded, once again, with Hulk Hogan and also battled old rivals such as Ric Flair, Bret Hart and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Whilst working for WCW, he was even chosen to headline ‘Starrcade’, the company’s flagship Pay-Per-View event.

In his later career, Piper made sporadic reappearances for the WWE, briefly worked for TNA, enjoyed a reasonably successful acting career and also hosted his own podcast. He battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after being diagnosed with the illness in 2006, but had completely beaten it into remission as of last year. Despite the setbacks caused by his ill health, Piper wrestled his last match in 2011.

Although he never held a recognised World Heavyweight Championship, Piper will be remembered as one of the greatest WWF Intercontinental Champions of all time, a reign that was attested to during his appearance at this year’s WrestleMania XXXI, where he congratulated then-IC Champion Daniel Bryan on his victory. He also held other notable belts, such as the United States Championship, the WWF/E Tag Team Championship (with Ric Flair) and the NWA World Light Heavyweight Championship.

Piper was a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame, as well as the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the Cauliflower Alley Club.

On the August 3rd edition of RAW, the entire WWE roster, each member clad in Roddy’s signature Hot Rod t-shirts opened the show with a very moving ten bell salute in tribute to the fallen legend.

WWE boss Vince McMahon said, “Roddy Piper was one of the most entertaining, controversial and bombastic performers ever in WWE, beloved by millions of fans around the world. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.”

UFC Bantamweight Champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey dedicated her 34-second victory over Bethe Correia to Piper’s memory, “I just want to say that we lost a really close friend, Rowdy Roddy Piper, who gave me permission to use his name as a fighter (…) And so I hope him and my dad had a good time watching this today.”

Former WWE and WCW Champion (and Piper’s frequent in-ring rival) Bret Hart wrote, “I can’t find the words to describe the sorrow in my heart upon learning the news of my dear friend, Roddy Piper, passing away. He was my closest friend in the business, a man that schooled me and guided me throughout my career. In fact, if it wasn’t for Roddy Piper reaching out to help me, I’m sure I would’ve been a mere footnote in wrestling. He was always there for me. He was family to me.” Hart also recalled that, following his stroke in 2002; Piper was the only wrestler who visited him in hospital.

Hulk Hogan, another of Piper’s famous adversaries, said of Piper that, “He was my best friend. He is a legend. God’s gain is our loss. May his family in this time of need, find peace”

Other friends, colleagues and admirers of Piper’s included former WWF Champ The Iron Sheik, who said “Roddy Piper. I love you forever. God bless you Bubba” and multi-time World Champion Chris Jericho Tweeted, “Sorry to hear of the passing of my friend and Wrestlemania rival #RoddyPiper. One of the greatest who ever lived, but more importantly a legit sweet family man with a good heart”. Former WWE Divas Champion Paige called Piper a “legend” and Tweeted a picture of a broken heart, an image which reflected the feelings of many a wrestler and wrestling fan.

Roddy’s son, Colt, said that his father was his “best friend” and a “great man” saying that he would miss him forever and “always try to be the man he raised me to be”.

Rowdy Roddy Piper lived a life littered with accomplishments. Not many of us will ever be declared as legendary by our peers and fewer still will be able to stack 30+ Championship reigns anywhere on our resume, but those weren’t the man’s proudest achievements. Piper had been married to his wife, Kitty, since 1982 and is survived by her and the four children they lovingly raised together. My thoughts are with them, as well as everyone else who knew, worked with, or simply enjoyed to watch the late, great man work his magic in front of a capacity crowd. R.I.P Roddy.

Steven Moffat Reveals Plot of Every Upcoming Doctor Who Episode…Well, Almost

BE WARNED: There are some MAJOR spoilers in this article, so, if like Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza, you “like to go in fresh!” then you should stop reading here and go read something else.

Go on. We’re all waiting.

Thank you.

Now, as the three-nippled fortune-teller in Mallrats once quipped, “you guys still in? Good”

You don’t need a working TARDIS in order to be up on Doctor Who Series 9, it seems. This month, Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat gave an exclusive (and very revealing) interview to SFX magazine, whereby he gave non-spoiler-phobes a pretty detailed run-down of each and every upcoming episode – and it looks like we fans have got a pretty fun twelve weeks ahead of us!

So, here goes…

Episodes 1 & 2

“This is the opening two-parter. It features lots of Daleks and this time we mean it! Clara receives a mysterious summons and has to team up with Missy to search for the Doctor in a very, very old place.”

There have been a lot of rumors going around about this two-part story. Some have speculated that it is going to be a spiritual sequel to the 1975 classic Genesis of the Daleks starring Tom Baker, with The Doctor visiting Davros childhood. Some of these claims have been refuted since then, but at least we know that the part about Daleks is true.

PS: Don’t be surprised if we see The Karn Sisterhood in this story.

Episodes 3 & 4

“This two-parter is written by Toby Whithouse and features an underwater base plagued by creeping ghosts and an island that is about to be submerged in water. But who or what is doing this and how can the Doctor stop it? It’s very scary, atmospheric and claustrophobic, much like some classic episodes.”

This sounds like a love letter of sorts to the popular base under siege concept that was regularly used during the cash-strapped Patrick Troughton era of the show (1966 – 1969). The idea gave us some wonderful stories/monsters and often yielded strong, memorable performances from the actors involved, here’s hoping for more of the same.

Episodes 5 & 6

“Those two are exceptional! Doctor Who meets Game of Thrones! Well, only because Maisie Williams is in them. The first part features Vikings fighting mercenary robots (and a dragon!) and the second one sees a group of Highwaymen dealing with a Norse god”.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Doctor Who cashed in on the popularity of a big-selling American TV show or movie. With both Vikings and Game of Thrones experiencing huge levels of fan-devotion right now, it seems to make sense. The leaked on-set photos from this two-parter were visually stunning, so they should make for an interesting couple of nights in front of the telly at least!

Episodes 7 & 8

“This one is written by Peter Harness and Day of the Doctor acted as a prologue to it. In it, the Zygons made peace with the Humans, but not every Zygon decided it was okay so theyve been raising an army, silently and now they’re rising against UNIT! We’ve been planning this forever and Osgood is in it! But how is that possible you’d ask? Missy killed her! Who knows? Well, we know.”

Zygons! Zygons! Zygons! Ever since Tom Baker’s shape-shifting adversaries decided to let Zygons be Zygons in the 50th anniversary special, I’ve been anxiously awaiting their return. Lets face it; we all knew they’d be back. Zygons Vs. UNIT? Bring it ooooon!

Episode 9

“This is a very unique Doctor Who story from Mark Gatiss. It wasn’t possible to do such an episode ten years ago, when the show came back and Mark has been rewriting it over and over again to make it perfect. It’s a beautiful story, very eerie and special, I think it’s going to be an instant classic.”

Mark Gatiss is the only writer other than Steven Moffat to have written for every incarnation of The Doctor in the revived series. However, Series 8’s Robot of Sherwood was undoubtedly the season’s lowest point, so let’s hope he does a little bit better this time around.

Episode 10

“An episode which leapt out as “why haven’t we done this already? This is so Doctor Who we should be doing this immediately”. And when Sarah Dollard walked in with the finalised script, it was even better! Really, this is going to be a fan-favorite, everyone will want to re-watch it.”

Ooooh, cryptic! No idea about this one. Dollard has written for the popular BBC shows Being Human and Primeval, but she also wrote for Merlin (which personally, I hated) and, um, Neighbors. I guess we’ll all just have to watch it and see!

Episode 11 & 12 (Finale)

“A challenge. I won’t say anything else because it would be too spoilery, but when you’ll watch it, you’re going to ask how exactly the Doctor and Clara are going to pull it off.”

 Moffat has struggled with ambitious concepts before, often leaving story strands frustratingly loose and occasionally overlooking some mammoth plot-holes in the process (Asylum of the Daleks, anyone?). However, he is maybe the top sci-fi screenwriter in the world right now – and when he’s on top form, nobody can touch him.

The finale of Series 8 was a big, bold concept, which, while it may have been a little unwieldy for its own good, certainly provided more than enough bang for your entertainment buck. Will Series 9’s climax offer as much? We’ll have to wait and see.

Overall, this series sounds absolutely cracking. Moffat comes off in these soundbytes as energized, excited and optimistic (always a good sign) and Peter Capaldi has proved to be an excellent Doctor so far, so my hopes for Series 9 are certainly high.

In addition, a return to the cliffhanger endings that were such a big part of the series’ classic run should have the effect of allowing the writers a chance to better pace their stories (thus eliminating some of the anti-climactic endings that plagued Series 7), as well as encouraging stronger viewing figures throughout the run of the series (as opposed to just the opener and finale episodes).

Furthermore, the apparent increase in two-part stories should hopefully serve to weed out some of the lesser story concepts and overly gimmicky premises that might otherwise make it to production (Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, to cite just one example), placing a stronger emphasis on the best concepts and allowing the cream of the ideas to rise to the top, as it were.

The beauty of Doctor Who, of course, is that whilst other shows in their ninth year might be struggling with cast and crew leaving, ageing and possibly even dying, Doctor Who simply doesn’t have that problem. Like the titular Time Lord himself, the show can always regenerate, staying perpetually fresh, new and exciting and thus pleasing its audience, again and again.

BAE Systems adapts bone conduction technology to aid soldiers on the battlefield

Bone conducting Technology has been with us for many years, taking sound from your inner-ear to produce the best transmittable communications. As this Article shows BAE have been clever to adapt this technology to Military Helmets. This technology works perfectly in loud environments so it is the best suited technology for the military. 

BAE Systems has developed an innovative communication device to aid armed forces personnel on the battlefield.

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The prototype system is designed to improve soldier safety and drive mission success by harnessing the body’s natural ability to transmit sound through bone conduction, transferring messages directly from the soldier’s helmet to the inner ear. It is being developed as part of Company-funded research which aims to reduce the burden on the dismounted soldier through wearable technology.

Soldiers need to be able to receive audio communications to maximise their awareness and understanding of the challenging environments they are working in, whilst also protecting themselves from extremely loud noises such as gunfire.

To address these conflicting requirements, BAE Systems engineers have adapted existing bone conduction technology often used in commercial headphones and hearing aids for the military domain.

The resulting solution significantly improves the performance of the device and minimising the size and weight of the transducer to the size of a five pence coin. Leveraging off-the-shelf technology to engineer the prototype has allowed the team to significantly reduce development time and costs.

Mohammed Akhmad, Principal Scientist at BAE Systems, said: “We recognise that on the battlefield, auditory situational awareness is essential for armed forces personnel. With this system, the soldiers can safeguard their hearing with ear protectors whilst still clearly receiving military voice communications, to enable them to perform their roles efficiently and safely.

“Through collaborating directly with our customer, we are able to understand their operational challenges and translate them into technical solutions. The key to this concept is that we have been able to utilise off-the-shelf technology and apply our specialist engineering expertise to greatly reduce the time it takes to develop a new prototype. In doing so, we have developed an audio system that offers enhanced capabilities for the military domain.”

In the future this technology will be incorporated into future integrated helmets. A concept demonstrator for BAE Systems’ bone conduction technology will be on display at DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International), in London this year.

What Exactly is a Covert Earpiece?

A covert earpiece is designed to go unnoticed in a person’s ear. Typically, the iconic image of the bodyguard or FBI agent always springs to the forefront of the imagination when the subject of covert earpieces is brought up, but they are often used by live on-air television personalities to take cues and direction from the production team as well. Politicians will also use them when making live speeches to get immediate feedback and change the course of the dialogue if needed.

Not all covert earpieces are designed for two-way communication, but during sensitive surveillance operations or security details a microphone is often used for real-time communication. The presence of a low-profile microphone becomes a necessity in these types of operations to keep the security forces hands-free at all times. They also allow the user to blend into a crowd without using a conspicuous walkie-talkie or other form of hand-held device.

Covert earpieces are designed not to have any visible wiring and to fit neatly inside the ear without being observable to any passers by who may be in the general vicinity. There are even devices made to fit on an ordinary pair of glasses, which amplify sound inside of the wearer’s ear.

An Earpieceonline acoustic tube earpiece has the features of a thin tube that helps to transmit sound. The tube fits snugly behind the ear, while the bud goes inside the ear. The acoustic tube ear piece is commonly paired with a microphone when used in security or covert operations, but there are some civilians who prefer to use it with their personal devices, such as mobile phones and personal audio devices. The ability to efficiently eliminate background noise in loud areas makes them a top choice for use in television and media as well.

The sturdy tubing of the acoustic tube is vital in protecting the delicate wiring involved in the listening device. The ability to protect the most crucial aspects of the earpiece makes the acoustic tube preferable over other devices with exposed wiring and even wireless devices, as the acoustic tube earpieces are known to outlast others. Anyone who will be performing rigorous activity while wearing a covert earpiece will choose the most durable option.

Many earpieces will be connected wirelessly to a handheld device called a main board, usually kept in the pocket or hidden somewhere on the person. Typically, there will be a beeper button on the main board, which sends a beep noise to connected devices when pressed. It can be used to send covert messages and sometimes has other uses, like connecting to Bluetooth with a long press of the button. Covert messages can also be sent by tapping the microphone, usually discreetly placed on the shoulder or wrist.

A neck loop will is also attached to the main board. This loop will transmit sounds wirelessly from the main board to the earpiece. The loop is worn loosely around the neck under the clothing, so it is not noticed in the collar area by anyone in the close proximity.

So, whether you’re a bodyguard on the job or a jogger listening to music, covert earpieces will fit the bill for any covert listening situation.

World’s first truly wireless headphones unveiled

The world’s first “true wireless” in-ear headphones have been unveiled at the IFA technology show in Berlin, by Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer Onkyo.

Most in-ear headphones that are advertised as “wireless” actually have a cable connecting the two earpieces. They are known as wireless because they do not require a cable to connect to a media player or a smartphone.

The W800BT headphones, developed in partnership with audio group Gibson Innovations, consist of two earbuds that work independently from each other and deliver a balanced sound across a frequency range of 20Hz-20kHz. They connect to each other and to a smartphone wirelessly, using Bluetooth.

Onkyo claims that the headphones offer a clear and accurate audio experience with passive noise isolation. The right earpiece also includes a microphone to enable hands-free calls and can be used with any Bluetooth-enabled device.

World’s first truly wireless headphones unveiled – Telegraph

They come with a charging case for storing the headphones with its own internal battery, providing up to 15 hours of talk time and 12 hours of music reproduction.

“The W800BT allows you to immerse yourself in audio in a free and natural way,” said Sebastiaan Gruijters, Onkyo Business Leaders at Gibson Innovations. “We’re proud to showcase this genuine breakthrough innovation here at the IFA in Berlin.”

The W800BT in-ear headphones are priced at €299.99 (about £220) and will be available in Europe from November 2015.

Onkyo also unveiled a pair of high-resolution on-ear headphones at IFA, in partnership with Gibson, as well as a new range of portable high-resolution audio speakers.

Gibson has been an investor in Onkyo since January 2012, when it acquired a majority share of Onkyo USA.

“We strive to achieve an optimum balance between the ideal acoustic design and a deep understanding of how we, as humans, interact with technology,” said Matthew Dore, sound and acoustics engineering lead for Onkyo products at Gibson Innovations.

President Obama Signs Up For Supercomputer

US President Barack Obama has signed an executive order that calls for the creation of the world’s fastest computer by 2025.

The order calls for the new supercomputer to be 20 times quicker than the current world’s fastest, which is in China. The Chinese supercomputer, known as Tianhe-2 is capable of performing quadrillions of calculations per second, and is almost twice as fast as its closest rival, which was developed in America.

In addition to being able to make one quintillion (that is a billion billion, in case you wondered) calculations per second, this new supercomputer would be capable of running intricately complex simulations as an aid to scientific research.

Some practical applications could include improved methods of cancer diagnosis (based on X-Ray analysis), increased accuracy of weather forecasts and the eventual elimination of the costly wind tunnel testing used by NASA (due to the computer’s ability to accurately design more streamlined aircraft).

Experts have also suggested that the computer could be used to tailor personal medications to the physiologies of individual medical patients, something that would greatly improve the effectiveness of any prescription drug. It has even been put forward that this new computer could be used to create very accurate climate models, with a view towards analysing current trends and anticipating the resultant changes in climate.

Critics of the decision have suggested that, in addition to being very ambitious, the electricity required by this project will cost at least £60Million a year.

The outgoing President, who has served two terms in office since first being elected in 2009, has always been a strong supporter of technological innovation within the US. In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, the then-Senator from Illinois discussed a trip to Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, in which his fascination with computers and information technology was made abundantly clear.

“Larry (Page – Co-Founder of Google) asked the young Indian American engineer who was working nearby to explain what we were looking at. ‘These lights represent all the searches that are going on right now,’ the engineer said. ‘Each color is a different language. If you move the toggle this way’ – he caused the screen to alter – ‘you can see the traffic patterns of the entire Internet system’. The image was mesmerizing, more organic than mechanical, as if I were glimpsing the early stages of some accelerating evolutionary process, in which all the boundaries between men – nationality, race, religion, wealth – were rendered invisible and irrelevant, so that the physicist in Cambridge, the bond trader in Tokyo, the student in a remote Indian village and the manager of a Mexico City department store were drawn into a single, constant, thrumming conversation, time and space giving way to a world spun entirely of light”

 But don’t get too excited, because even if all goes according to plan, this incredible feat of technology will still take at least a decade to design and build.

New York Nutter Files Stupidly Large Lawsuit Over Dog Bite, Chinese People And Overpriced Coffee

Anton Purisima, a New Yorker known for filing abnormally large lawsuits over trivial things (even by American standards) and generally for being nuttier than squirrel sh!t, has achieved what is probably his lifetime ambition of filing the world’s largest lawsuit.

Apparently, before he was overcharged for a cup of coffee (oh, the horror!), Purisima was photographed without his permission by Chinese tourists and then got bitten by a dog (nice one, Fido!). For these (ahem) injustices, he is asking for the grand sum of (wait for it) $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 in damages.

Two undecillion Dollars (a two with 36 zeroes after it) is more money than presently exists on the entire planet, of course.

Frankly, we hadn’t seen this many zeroes since the last Conservative party conference…

According to the loony litigator, the dog was rabid (we can only hope) and it bit his middle finger. The funniest thing about this case, then, is that every time Mr. Purisima is asked to present his evidence, he will likely be found in contempt of court.

Defendants named in the suit include the Au Bon Pan store (whose La Guardia airport outlet apparently sells overly expensive coffee), The New York Transit Authority and Hoboken University Medical Center (who may, or may not, have botched some sort of experimental brain surgery upon Purisima. Admittedly, that’s guesswork on my part, but it would certainly answer a lot of questions…)

I mean, who goes to an airport for cheap coffee!? If American airports are anything like their British counterparts, you’d have to take out a second mortgage on your home just to afford a ham and cheese sandwich…

Apparently, his pain and additional damages “cannot be repaired by money”, which seems especially odd considering he is asking for so much of it, really. That’s a bit like saying that hunger can’t be cured by food, whilst queuing up in a McDonalds…

Purisima’s previous activities include attempting to sue The People’s Republic of China (no, really), as well as several major American banking chains.

Purisima filed his (hand written) lawsuit to a federal court in April and is (somewhat unsurprisingly) representing himself. Reports do not say if he was wearing a tutu and honey-glazing his own nipples at the time, but it seems likely.

Boys From The Dwarf: Classic Sci-Fi Comedy Show To Return For Two New Series

The boys from the Dwarf are back! UK TV channel Dave has announced that it has commissioned two new series of the long-running science fiction comedy, the first of which (series XI) will be set to air in 2016.

Series co-creator Doug Naylor, who has been in sole charge of the franchise since 1997’s seventh series, said, “[We were] originally asked for more shows back in 2012 (…) but frustratingly it’s taken until now to get our ducks in a row and all the boys available at the same time. Now they are, we’re all absolutely delighted.”

Craig Charles, who portrays Dave Lister on the show, has reportedly left his long-running role as Lloyd Mullaney on British soap opera ‘Coronation Street’ in order to better commit to the part.

“Lloyd has become a huge part of my life and I’ve had an absolutely fantastic ten years,” the poet-turned actor told Empire Online. “…But I feel I owe it to my colleagues on Red Dwarf to join them in filming the new series and finding out what is in store for Lister and the others.”

The BBC initially aired 8 series of Red Dwarf from 1988 – 1999. From there, Dave optioned the rights to the series and produced a three-part special entitled ‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’ in 2009. Fan reaction to this new series was mixed and many saw it as a creative miss-step. However, both viewing figures and DVD sales for the specials were strong and so Dave commissioned a new series, ‘Red Dwarf X’ in 2012. This time around, with the characters returning to the original ‘sit-com in space’ format, the fan reaction was much more positive, which left many fans hungry for more.

Although the viewing figures for Series X were not as strong as they were for the ‘Back To Earth’ specials, the series was still Dave’s highest rated show of 2012.

Since then, however, it’s been a long wait. Having said that, three years between series is nothing for fans of Red Dwarf. After Series III wrapped in 1989, fans had to wait until 1991 for Series 4. Then, after Series VI ended (on a cliffhanger, no less), viewers had to wait four years until Series VII kicked off in 1997. Two years passed before 1999 saw the release of Series VIII and from there it was a decade before Dave aired the three part special, ‘Red Dwarf: Back To Earth’. Even after that venture proved to be (financially, if not entirely critically) successful – it was still three more years before fans saw any new episodes coming their way.

The two new series will be shot back-to-back towards the end of this year and are being co-produced by Baby Cow Productions. Welcome back, Dwarfers, the slime’s coming home!

Ancient Chinese Statue Contains Mummified Remains …And Those Remains Contain Fascinating Artefacts.

A 1,000 year-old Chinese statue of the Buddha, which contains the mummified remains of a long-dead Buddhist master, has been scanned to reveal hidden artefacts that were tucked inside the body centuries ago.

The statue was scanned prior to being exhibited in the Netherlands as part of an exhibition of mummies, receiving multiple CT scans, DNA testing and an endoscopy, some of which revealed a few unlikely surprises hidden within the corpse.

The team that scanned the remains included Buddhism art and culture expert Erik Bruijin, gastrointestinal and liver specialist Raynald Vermeijden and radiologist Ben Heggelman, all of whom were fascinated to discover the presence of an unidentified material (in place of the internal organs) within the abdominal cavity, this material was joined by mysterious scraps of paper with Chinese writing upon them.

The body is known to be that of a Buddhist monk named Liuquin, a follower of the Chinese Meditation School who died around the year 1100.

Experts have suggested that the mummy of Liuquin may be a case of self-mummification, a slow (and presumably rather painful) exercise that included starvation, poisoning oneself and ingesting materials designed to aid in the preservation of the body after death.

One ancient Japanese method of self-mummification known to historians would entail a 1,000 day diet of nothing more than nuts, seeds and water, this was then followed by another 1,000 days of eating nothing but roots and pine bark and drinking a special tea made from the sap of a Chinese lacquer tree. The tea was toxic, but it apparently repelled maggots and destructive bacteria, thus aiding the preservation process. At the culmination of this severe diet, the monk would be sealed in a stone tomb and effectively buried alive.

1000 days after the monk had passed on, the tomb was then opened and if the had been preserved, he would become a venerated temple relic.

Those that had decomposed simply remained sealed in the tomb.

It is likely that master Liuquin preserved himself using similar methods.

Although this may sound unfathomably grisly to modern ears, it should be kept in mind that, to the practitioner, such an action was likely considered to be among the highest level of meditation and the monk’s colleagues may well have viewed his statue as a sort of ‘living Buddha’ for a great many years.

At present, Liuquin will be on display in the Budapest Museum of Natural History, but there are plans to send him over to Luxemburg in the summer.

This mummy-housing statue is the only one of its kind ever discovered. The piece offers scientists, theologians and historians a privileged insight into the spiritual practices of the supremely dedicated Chinese monks that lived and died a thousand years before us.

Submerged City Reveals Its Secrets

For centuries, scholars dismissed the ancient Egyptian port of Thonis-Heracleion (Thonis to the Egyptians, Heracleion to the Greeks) as nothing more than a myth.

Vanishing beneath the waves of the Mediterranean some 1,200 years ago, the city was once a bustling hub of activity, both commercial and religious. In fact, the ancient port is thought to be the gateway though which all trade from Greece and the Mediterranean entered Egypt.

Thonis-Heracleion may even have been the city that Helen of Troy and Paris, being relentlessly pursued by King Menelaus, sought refuge in during the events that led up to the famous Trojan War of antiquity.

Thonis-Heracleion stood for roughly 1,000 years before its eventual slide into the sea, where it was swallowed whole by sand and mud. To this day nobody knows exactly what caused such a disaster to happen.

Theories range from an Atlantis-like series of natural disasters, to a gradual rise in sea level, which may have caused the sediment beneath the city’s foundations to collapse, but of course, nobody knows for sure.

Thonis-Heracleion was discovered by underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, following a survey of Egypt’s North coast in 2000. Since then, underwater archaeologists have learned a great deal about the everyday lives of the people living in the city, and they’ve uncovered some truly astounding artefacts into the bargain.

Giant 16-foot statues, beautiful gold coins, large stone slabs bearing ancient writing and the wreckage of 64 seafaring vessels (together with some 700 anchors) are just some of the treasures that have been pulled up from the seafloor. It is thought that these, and other marvellous finds have remained in such good condition due to being protected by sand and sediment and thus, untouched for centuries.

Even though the site has been in the process of excavation for so many years, amazing photos continue to (ahem) flood the web, some of which are genuinely astonishing.

The finds hint that not only was the city an important centre for trade and commerce, it may also have been a site of great spiritual significance as well.

“We are just at the beginning of our research”, says Goddio, “We will probably have to continue working for the next 200 years for Thonis-Heracleion to be fully revealed and understood.” Who knows what sunken treasures the site will yield as the investigation continues?

Walkie Talkie Headset for Events

If you have ever been involved with the planning or organizing of an event then you’ll know just how important it is to keep everyone informed with what’s going on. Failing to properly communicate with other event planners can have disastrous consequences and the whole event could fall apart.

Walkie talkies have a wide range of applications, but they are used primarily at events — whether it’s by event planners and organizers or the security personnel at the door.

A Quick Introduction to Walkie Talkie Headsets

A walkie talkie can be a great way to communicate, especially during events. The majority of events are now held at large venues, have a lot of attendees, and require proper communication amongst planners and organizers.

Walkie talkies are a standard way to help you communicate with everyone involved with the planning and organizing of the event. A headset takes it a step further and allows you a hands free operation of the walkie talkie, which is crucial in many circumstances.

Walkie talkies have two main uses: to ensure proper communication with event planners and organizers, and to ensure that security personnel can handle threats accordingly.

Where Can Walkie Talkie Headsets Be Used?

When it comes to events, walkie talkies have a wide range of uses, including the following:

• Nightclubs

• Festivals

• Sporting events

• Charity events

• School/college events

• Shopping centres

• Outdoor activities

Finding the Right Headset for You

The best important thing when it comes to choosing the right headset for your walkie talkie is brand. Two of the most reputable brands are Sordin and Peltor. These two brands offer headsets to suit just about any occasion , whether you need an aviation headset or an in-ear device.

If you are anticipating loud noises at the event then you’ll also want to think about noise cancellation for your headset, you have two options here: active noise reduction and passive noise reduction. We won’t get into technicalities, but active noise reduction will give you the best results.

Also, don’t forget about accessories for your walkie talkie. Depending on the type of event you are planning, you might want to think about accessories such as earpieces, microphones, carry cases, spare battery packs, headsets, and more. Make sure that any walkie talkie you are planning to use is compatible with the accessories that you need.

Not Quite Ready to Buy?

So, after reading all of the advice and guidance provided for you above, you probably have a good idea about the headset you are planning to purchase. However, what if you’re not quite ready to purchase it just yet? Well, that’s completely fine!

The vast majority of two-way radio retailers will allow you to hire your chosen radios and accessories. This is an ideal option for anyone who wants to try before they buy or just need the equipment for a few days.

Closing Notes

Hopefully you now have a much better understanding about walkie talkies and how they are so important for events. You should also know that just any standard walkie talkie won’t get the job done right, you need to have a specific criteria so you can be sure that your equipment will be good enough.

The information provided above will help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing a walkie talkie headset for events. It should also help you decide whether you should rent the equipment or buy it.

Motorola Walkie Talkie Radios: Effective and Secure Communication on your Business and Home

Motorola is the established market leader when it comes to communication solutions for coordinating how your on-the go workforce go about their operations. The company’s array of two way communication devices, from pagers to two way radios; give you the means to efficiently coordinate operations on a secure and dependable platform.

For instance, MOTOTRBO is just the radio communication device for enhancing the operational efficiency of your mobile work team. In addition, you can trust the dependability of Motorola’s TETRA solution, a platform designed to offer efficient and reliable communication, custom made to suit the needs of different markets. This solution complies with the Project 25 network standard, allowing for interoperability within a diverse set of agencies or communities whether this is in terms of routine every day communication or in times of emergency disaster response.

Other than the basic equipment, Motorola offers a complete set of accessories including batteries, chargers, headsets, chargers, speakers and many more to ensure you have everything you need to keep communication lines open and performing at optimal levels around the clock. This is a commitment based on the understanding that secure and clear audio communication capability is at the very heart of all mission critical industrial operations. Whether the scenario is all to do with accelerating productivity or ensuring a rapid response team is always alert and equipped for emergencies, Motorola has a fitting two way radio solution that is a custom fit for your operational enterprise and environment.

It is little wonder then that MOTORBO two way radios are so ubiquitous. You will find them in use by someone at the office desk, on the factory dock and even while on a leisurely walk around the campus. It is all about providing instantaneous, secure and dependable communication solutions. With information flow so instantaneous and feedback relevant to the real time situation, the decision making process in an organization becomes effective and reliable. As a direct consequence, productivity increases. Other benefits will be felt in terms of improved customer satisfaction and timely delivery of services.

Motorola’s range of communication devices incorporate all manner of designs and technologies. You will find both ultra-thin and others with a more robust construction for use in the field. There are some with integrated Bluetooth connectivity as well as a whole range of top-of-the-line industry leading technologies. In short, there are Motorola two way radios that fit your communication needs today and with inherent adaptability to incorporate evolving performance features for the future.

With well over a million corporate bodies trusting their secure communication on the Motorola platform , there is no doubt that these radios have stood the test of time and the company’s pedigree in the field is unmatched. The Motorola catalog includes dozens of devices, all with a robust mix of features for increasing the efficiency, dependability and productivity of your workforce.

Whether relaxing on the beach, monitoring security at a well attended outdoor event or just out and about for fun, Motorola’s two way radios are just what you need to keep in touch. The devices have a working range of up to 10 kilometers from the receiver making them essential tools for anyone with a sense of adventure and need for a dependable communication channel. The high spec radios are designed for portability, easy to slip into your apparel or gear so that you have ready access to the ears of your team members, family or friends.

The convenience offered by Motorola two way radios mean you always have access to immediate, effective and completely secure communication avenue. They are also cost effective and adaptable to different business operational environments. Motorola’s line of Unlicensed Business Radios in particular have a guaranteed range of 6.5 miles (10 kilometers) ensuring your team has ready access to secure communication which does not saddle you with call charges. It doesn’t get more convenient than that.

Review of the DP3400 Earpiece

Anyone who is looking for a reliable, robust and high quality earpiece that boasts incredible depth of sound and clarity will be hard pressed to find something better than the DP3400 from Motorola. Given the fact that this is a high quality push to talk earpiece built specifically to deliver crystal clear sound, any instructions delivered even by people suffering from laryngitis or those with very coarse voices are going to sound crisp to the ear.

Transparent design

However, there are a lot more great things to say about this earpiece. While other earpieces on the market are fitted with a visible tube, the one on the DP3400 is transparent and therefore it’s very hard to notice. In fact, the transparent design was considered in order to improve discretion and make it as less noticeable as possible. On top of that, there’s even a micro-speaker that is hidden away at the base of the middle of the push to talk switch. Talk about ingenuity in design.

Durability and weight

While a lot of similar products of this caliber are indeed available for great prices, they seem to have nothing on the DP3400 not only in terms of quality, but also in terms of weight. This earpiece is so light that you’ll barely even feel it when you wear it and given the fact that the push to talk housing/microphone clips to your vest, it’s hard for it to be displaced. On top of that, you don’t need to grab a hold of the earpiece in order to press it.

Great for anyone working in the security industry

If you’re someone who plans on working as a guard at a private security company or are already working as a store detective, covert police, security office, a doorman or maybe a close protection officer, having a high quality earpiece is mandatory in order to do your job as best as possible. In this case, the DP3400 is definitely one of the best choices out there not only because its performance and build quality are great, but because it’s also very light.

The wire length is 110 centimeters plus ear tube and microphone.

Compatibility

Anyone who is serious about their job and wants to get their hands (or ears) on the best earpiece out there should certainly get the DP3400. Compatibility wise, the earpiece can be used with many Motorola radios, such as the DP3401, DGPTM 6150, but also DP3600, mth850s and the motorola dp4400 and many others.

All in all, this is by far one of the best earpieces you can currently get and given the fact that it has a functional and cool design makes it a much more attractive option for anyone working in the security industry. Pricewise, you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank to get it and it’s definitely quite affordable for what it offers. In fact, most people are so satisfied with the DP3400 that after they start using it they’re going to wonder why they didn’t get it earlier.

Review of the Motorola DP2400

The Motorola DP2400 is designed to make it easy for individuals to

stay connected to one another. It is ideal for construction sites and

manufacturing lines where employees need to be in constant

communication. It is one of the best digital radio solutions. This

portable radio provides best-in-class audio. It comes with a variety

of intelligent voice and audio announcement components that help to simplify communication in difficult work settings.

There are 16 channels on this portable radio. It is powerful and

versatile and integrates two-way radio operation and advanced digital

technology. This device can change the way people communicate at your

workplace and help you to improve safety and productivity. It is a

non-display model that comes with 3 programmable buttons. It is

available in both VHF and UHF frequencies.

Benefits

There are several benefits that you can enjoy when you purchase this

portable radio for your workplace.

Audio Clarity

One of the main benefits of the Motorola DP2400 is its outstanding

audio clarity. This radio offers quality digital audio all over your

coverage region. It comes with unique features that are included to

assist your personnel to speak and hear clearly in spite of their

location.

Automatic Volume Adjustment

The intelligent audio feature adjusts the radio’s volume

automatically. This helps to make up for any background noises that

can make it difficult for your personnel to hear and speak. With this

portable radio, you do not have to adjust the volume. You will be able

to hear a call even when there are loud noises around you. If you are

in a quiet environment, the radio volume will reduce automatically,

ensuring you do not disrupt the people around.

Analogue and Digital Modes

This radio allows you to switch between analogue and digital to suit

your specific situation. The Motorola DP2400 has a mixed mode repeater

that is designed to update automatic changes between digital and

analogue calls. With this portable radio, you only need a single

repeater to use these two modes.

Capacity Plus

This portable radio comes with an optional single-site digital

trunking that enhances the capacity of the MOTOTRBO system. You can

take advantage of this system for high volume data and voice

communication. It can be accommodate more than a thousand people on

one site. You will not need additional frequencies to accommodate

several users.

IP Site Connect

This portable radio relies on an IP network to extend data and voice

capacities. The IP network can be used to connect about 15 sites to

allow communication among personnel that are in different geographic

locations. This network also comes in handy when a company wants to

increase area coverage in one site if there are physical barriers.

Linked Capacity Plus

This is an optional feature that is available on the Motorola DP2400.

It is a multi-site digital trunking configuration designed for

MOTOTRBRO platform. The feature is used to control the enhanced

capacity offered by Capacity Plus. It also boosts the increased area

coverage capacity offered by IP Site Connect to ensure employees who

are in different locations remain in contact.

Transit Interrupt

This optional feature allows users to cut short other radio

conversations to send critical communication precisely where and when

it is required.

Privacy

There are two privacy options to choose from when you purchase the

Motorola DP2400 including enhanced and basic privacy. These are

optional features that come with in built scrambling to give you

additional security.

Missed Calls Alert

You do not have to worry about missing calls when you do not have the

portable radio on your person. The device has a feature that allows

you to receive missed calls alerts.

Busy Channel Lockout

If you are busy on a certain channel, you can lockout other calls from

coming in to ensure interrupted communication during crucial moment.

Hardy Design

The Motorola DP2400 is designed for outdoor use. It is sealed tightly

to protect it from dust and wind. It also has an IP55 water protection

rating to prevent damage in case it comes into contact with water.

If you are thinking of upgrading your communication systems, the

Motorola DP2400 is an ideal choice because it will allow you to use

your current analogue system before you can migrate to a digital one.

It a good choice to if you want to ensure a smooth transition.

Twelfth Doctor To Battle Vikings (And Other Series 9-Related Rumours)

Just a few short weeks after series 8 of the long-running sci-fi show garnered a Craft Award at the BAFTAs (for ‘Deep Breath’s excellent T-Rex sequences), shooting is already under way for Block 3 (that’s episodes 5 6, in case you were wondering) of Series 9. Phew! Don’t these guys ever take a break?

According to www.doctorwhotv.co.uk, series 9 will see everybody’s favourite Time Lord and his trusty companion having a Viking-themed adventure, guest starring Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams. Cast and crew have begun filming at Cosmeston Medieval Village, and leaked on-set photos appear to show crewmembers hard at work building period-specific boats. Other leaked info points to a showdown between The Doctor and the Norse God Odin. Should be fun.

The village will also be the setting for the brand-new monster that was officially unveiled by the BBC last week. Looking like a giant Warhammer figure brought magically to life, the monster may (or may not) be called The Cyclone and the teaser photos already have online fans buzzing.

Meanwhile, other on-set photos (leaked by Twitter user Amberlabamba) appear to show star Peter Capaldi in a new outfit, specifically, a pair of Tartan trousers that knowingly remind us of Twelve’s innate Scottishness, whilst also recalling some of the outfits worn by Second Doctor Patrick Troughton.

…He’s keeping the Doc Martens, though.

The costume change is also interesting because Capaldi’s initial series 8 outfit, a stylish, scaled back Crombie coat (designed specifically with cosplay in mind), also recalled an outfit worn by Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor during the 1970’s. It certainly looks like the BBC costume department are taking a bit of inspiration from the show’s early days. Its all good, just as long as he leaves the six-foot scarf at home – some things aren’t meant to be touched!

…And that goes TRIPLE for any Technicolor dream coats that the costume department might be planning to unleash on us.

In other Who news, it appears that director Hettie MacDonald, best known by Whovians for her sterling work on the Tenth Doctor episode Blink, will be returning to direct a couple of U.N.I.T-related episodes entitled The Magician’s Apprentice and The Witch’s Familiar, which are set to act as a two-part series’ opener. The adventure will probably feature the return of Jemma Redgrave as Kate Stewart, daughter of the legendary Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

Other cast members announced (or rumoured) for series 9 guest slots are Game of Thrones and Ripper Street actor Paul Kaye, comedian Rufus Hound, The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Kelly Hunter (who may or may not be reprising her role as The Shadow Architect from Series 4’s The Stolen Earth) and Clare Higgins, who recently appeared in the Eighth Doctor mini-episode The Night of The Doctor as The High Priestess of The Karn Sisterhood.

Michelle Gomez will also return as Missy – the female incarnation of The Master, as seen throughout series 8.

A particularly juicy rumour (apparently started by The Daily Mirror) has the series returning The Doctor to the Dalek homeworld Skaro, whereupon the Time Lord must contemplate whether or not to murder his nemesis Davros, creator of The Daleks, during childhood. The episode, if indeed it is an episode at all, would therefore re-tread philosophical ground first walked during Terry Nation’s classic Fourth Doctor serial Genesis of the Daleks.

The story may also pick up on the as-yet unused Davros origin story written by former series boss Russell T. Davies, which was cut from series four’s The Stolen Earth/Journeys End two-parter (it can be read in Davies’ Doctor Who companion book The Writers Tale). If this is the case, then this proposed episode might also explain the return of Kelly Hunter to the Whoniverse, for obvious reasons.

Of course, you can never trust the rumour mill too wantonly, but if the idea of a series that features The Sisterhood of Karn, The Shadow Proclamation, Davros, The Master and Odin doesn’t float your (long)boat, then, quite frankly, I’m not entirely sure why you read this far…

New Technology May Double Radio Frequency Data Capacity

A team of Columbia Engineering researchers has invented a technology—full-duplex radio integrated circuits (ICs)—that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio. Up to now, this has been thought to be impossible: transmitters and receivers either work at different times or at the same time but at different frequencies. The Columbia team, led by Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy, is the first to demonstrate an IC that can accomplish this. The researchers presented their work at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco on February 25.

CoSMIC (Columbia high-Speed and Mm-wave IC) Lab full-duplex transceiver IC that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio

“This is a game-changer,” says Krishnaswamy, director of the Columbia high-Speed and Mm-wave IC (CoSMIC) Lab. “By leveraging our new technology, networks can effectively double the frequency spectrum resources available for devices like smartphones and tablets.”

In the era of Big Data, the current frequency spectrum crisis is one of the biggest challenges researchers are grappling with and it is clear that today’s wireless networks will not be able to support tomorrow’s data deluge. Today’s standards, such as 4G/LTE, already support 40 different frequency bands, and there is no space left at radio frequencies for future expansion. At the same time, the grand challenge of the next-generation 5G network is to increase the data capacity by 1,000 times.

So the ability to have a transmitter and receiver re-use the same frequency has the potential to immediately double the data capacity of today’s networks. Krishnaswamy notes that other research groups and startup companies have demonstrated the theoretical feasibility of simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency, but no one has yet been able to build tiny nanoscale ICs with this capability.

“Our work is the first to demonstrate an IC that can receive and transmit simultaneously,” he says. “Doing this in an IC is critical if we are to have widespread impact and bring this functionality to handheld devices such as cellular handsets, mobile devices such as tablets for WiFi, and in cellular and WiFi base stations to support full duplex communications.”

The biggest challenge the team faced with full duplex was canceling the transmitter’s echo. Imagine that you are trying to listen to someone whisper from far away while at the same time someone else is yelling while standing next to you. If you can cancel the echo of the person yelling, you can hear the other person whispering.

“If everyone could do this, everyone could talk and listen at the same time, and conversations would take half the amount of time and resources as they take right now,” explains Jin Zhou, Krishnaswamy’s PhD student and the paper’s lead author. “Transmitter echo or ‘self-interference’ cancellation has been a fundamental challenge, especially when performed in a tiny nanoscale IC, and we have found a way to solve that challenge.”

Krishnaswamy and Zhou plan next to test a number of full-duplex nodes to understand what the gains are at the network level. “We are working closely with Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Gil Zussman and his PhD student Jelena Marasevic, who are network theory experts here at Columbia Engineering,” Krishnaswamy adds. “It will be very exciting if we are indeed able to deliver the promised performance gains.”

This work was funded by the DARPA RF-FPGA program

Thankyou to columbia.edu for the tireless research, this really is an exciting invention, the possibilities if this can be brought to our industry are unbelievable.

Now Hear This

Advances in circuitry and Bluetooth have made hearing-aid alternatives cheaper and more powerful 

One night in June 2010, New York composer Richard Einhorn went to bed in a motel feeling stuffy and woke up almost completely deaf. At the time, Einhorn, who wrote the oratorio Voices of Light, had limited ways to deal with his nightmare condition, known as sudden sensorineural hearing loss. He visited an audiologist and bought a hearing aid for $3,000. (His insurance plan, like most, didn’t cover it). Unhappy with the expense and the limits of the earpiece’s technology, which struggled to adapt to different noise levels, Einhorn began searching for alternative gadgets that could restore more of his hearing for less money.

Today, he has a backpack full of them. To supplement his old-school hearing aid, he favours a $350 iPhone-linked earpiece made by Sound World Solutions, a hearing-h ardware maker in Illinois, for whom he’s begun to consult. With the Sound World device on, he can amplify phone calls and streaming music as well as his surroundings. A third, $500 earpiece was custom-made by Ultimate Ears in California, to help him detect a wider range of musical tones while composing. For restaurants and theatres, he has a $45 directional microphone that pairs with a $5 app to isolate desired voices. And for especially cacophonous places, he has spare $700 microphones, made by Etymotic Research in Illinois, that he can strap to companions.

Einhorn credits the audio patchwork with saving his career and his life. “It’s incredible”, he says over lunch in a busy restaurant, as he toggles the proper setting on his phone.

The Bluetooth-connected earpieces aren’t classified as hearing aids by the US Food and Drug Administration. They’re called personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs. Basic versions of such devices have existed for more than a decade in lonely RadioShack aisles and a handful of other places. But in the past 18 months, advances in circuitry and low-energy Bluetooth transmission have helped developers radically improve the designs to make high-quality, long-lasting alternatives to hearing aids while keeping prices at a fraction of the industry standard.

Whatever regulators or insurers call them, PSAP manufacturers are angling to expand the $6 billion global market for hearing technology. Largely due to the cost, 75 per cent of the 34 million Americans with hearing loss don’t use aids, says David Kirkwood, the editor of industry blog Hearing Health Technology Matters. “A lot of people will continue to pay for traditional hearing aids,” he says. “But there are now inexpensive, easy-to-get alternatives.”

Part of the reason PSAPs are cheap is that they’re unregulated. Hearing aid fittings and audiological calibrations account for much of the cost of aids from the big six makers—Siemens, Sonova, Starkey Hearing Technologies, William Demant, GN ReSound, and Widex. A midlevel pair that retails for $4,400 costs about $440 to manufacture, according to AARP. Research and development spending is also a factor: Unlike the free Bluetooth standard used by upstarts such as Sound World, oldschool hearing aids run on proprietary signal processing and transmission technology. Siemens, Sonova, and Widex declined to comment; GN ReSound, Starkey, and William Demant didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Still, being kept out of doctors’ offices has been a huge problem for PSAP makers, says Venkat Rajan, who tracks medical devices for researcher Frost Sullivan. While the size of the market can be difficult to gauge given the lack of regulation, anecdotal evidence suggests sales have been soft, he says. It doesn’t help that, according to industry journal the Hearing Review, the average American buying a hearing aid is 71 years old. “Trying to find that customer base has been difficult,” Rajan says.

The origin of this article can be found here, why are hearing aids so expensive, it is a old technology! In 2011 10 million people had hearing loss and it’s expected that 14 and a half people will be suffering. This is a market that is being exploited.

How Do Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones Work

It is quite unfortunate that for most music lovers, there is a myriad of ambient noises and sounds that can really interfere with the music coming from your earphones, Now, if you have ever once tried to listen to music on a bus, train or airplane, then you are intimately familiar with this problem. The engine’s roar and/or the incessant chatter from fellow passengers, make extremely hard to hear the sounds coming from your speakers, even if they are on or inside your ear. Fortunately, to combat this dilemma, innovators have come up with far more enjoyable way of listening to your music- Noise canceling headphones of which there are two types:

– the active- the passive types.

HOW PASSIVE NOISE CANCELLATION WORKS

The simplest type of noise cancellation is the passive noise reduction, sometimes called noise isolation. From a technical perspective, just about any kind of earphones are able to provide some degree of passive noise reduction (though some are designed for it more than others). This is mostly as a result of the materials used to make the headphones which block out particular sound waves, mostly those of a higher frequency. The absolute best type of passive noise canceling headphones are however the circum-aural types which are specifically engineered to maximize the amount of noise it filters. We will take a look at this some more in a bit. Essentially, where passive noise isolation, the head phones are so designed that they will fit snugly into or around each ear. This makes it significantly harder for noise to escape and bother others in your immediate environment, and it also prevents the noise in your environment from making it hard for you to listen to your music. Passive noise cancellation earphones tend to have very large ear pieces, with large pieces of foam wrapped around them. You need to squeeze the foam into your ear which them provides a perfect seal for the ear canal, or they fit just right around your ear.

All this is saying that passive noise cancelling earphones in essence imitate what happens when you choose to cover your ears with your hands or put some ear plugs in. The excess padding is always done with materials that naturally act as sound barriers- fitting into your ear and sealing off the ambient noise.

Supra-aural headphones, which are earphones placed over and around the ear, instead of in or around it, are probably the very worst at any form of sound cancellation. They tend to be low density, small and very light, as such there is really not much padding to block and outside sound or ambient noise from entering the ear. Furthermore, because they are only placed on the ear, there is a great deal of space for any external noise to travel around them and into the ear canal. It is on very rare occasions that you actually find a top quality supra-aural earphone, because they are simply unable to provide the kind of noise cancellation that circumaural or in ear headphones provide. Supra-aural earphones are lightly manufactured and as such are usually marketed for customers who are not particularly focused on headphone quality, but mostly looking for basic functionality.

Take for instance, most desktop or video game headsets tend to be supra-aural. They are mostly preferred because they are light and as such are suitable for the long, extended hours they will be used. Additionally, in cases like these audio quality is not of great importance since it they are mostly used for spoken communication, where clarity is the focus and nothing else really matters.

When it comes to passive noise cancelling headphones, circumaural or around the ear headphones provide a significantly better noise cancellation quality. They are bigger in size and as such they include more noise reduction material. This in turn creates a far better buffer against outside noise- think beats headphones. Essentially this means that they are heavily packed with layers of high top quality high density foam,, or some other sound absorbing material. Admittedly, this then makes them a bit heavier than the average headphones, but since they completely block the ear off, they keep out up to 95% of outside noise. Well, this is assuming that the circumaural earphones you choose, fit your ears snugly. If they are either poorly designed or not the perfect fit then ambient noise will still be able to make its way in.

Are Your Headphones Causing Your Acne?

We all take reasonable care of our stuff, particularly when we wear it, we wash our clothes regularly, we shower, more than twice a week! but when was the last time you cleaned your headphones? they might not look dirty, or do they? this article seemingly does.

Headphones are a necessity for the modern music-lover or phone user but your gadgets could also be taking a negative toll on your skin.

Some things in life never seem to last as long as we want them to: Your last paycheck, free cookies, or (perhaps most disappointing of all), clear skin are all relatable examples. Sure, we know that there are tons of prescribed, over-the-counter, and even some go-to natural ingredients that can treat an annoying blemish in a flash, but wouldn’t it be less frustrating to know why our pimples are, well, popping up in the first place?

While genetics and hormones play a huge role, there are certain sneaky, everyday habits that could be irritating your skin too. Like coveting those beloved gadgets of yours.

For instance, think about how your headphones go everywhere with you—school, work, the subway, the gym—and you slide them on without giving it a second thought. Cranking up the music is totally therapeutic (and yes, great for drowning out an annoying sibling), but it turns out if you’re seeing spots on your temples and jaw line, the headphones you use for your daily jam sessions to Taylor Swift might be the culprit for recurring breakouts.

“Wearing over-the-ear headphones is a perfect setup for causing an increase of acne breakouts and skin infections,” says dermatologist and Simple advisory board member Dr. Debra Luftman. “This is especially the case when you wear them during and after a workout, or if you keep them on for long periods of time. Sweat and moisture collect on and around the headphones, compressing the skin and therefore encouraging bacteria and yeast to multiply.” Gross, but true.

Luckily, a blemish-free complexion doesn’t mean retiring your giant pair of Beats or new Frends headphones for good. To keep them gunk-free, Dr. Luftman recommends giving them a daily rubdown with a makeup remover wipe. (Simple’s Cleansing Facial Wipes are so easy to toss in your bag!) Then, remember to use another wipe to clean the areas around your ears, hairline, and jaw before the next time you toss your headphones on again.

If you find that your headphones get discolored or grimy particularly often, you can also keep a stash of anti-bacterial cloths handy in your purse or backpack. Feel free to pick these up during your next drugstore run. Just be sure to let the earphones dry completely before using them again. The same bacteria that develops from sweat and moisture, can build up from any dampness that stems from your cleansing tools. Come on, putting whatever you’re listening to on pause for 10 minutes isn’t too much to ask now, is it?

Dealing with acne is never fun, but preventing it with these simple tips is music to our ears—literally!

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