Category Archives: concept


Fraunhofer Diffraction Means You Can’t See Properly

It’s depressing as you get older and your vision seems to get worse with every passing year.  But in reality the human vision is pretty poor anyway.  You might be able to see a passing ship on the horizon but you won’t be able to read the name on the side at any distance.  Our eyes have pretty useless resolution so images get blurred the further the distance you are.  Of course we can use binoculars to magnify an image but why can’t we see this stuff with the naked eye?

The reason is basically down to the size of our pupils also known as their apertures.  Our eyes need to be open wide enough to let through enough light to make sure that the sensors in the eyes start working.  However the more open the aperture is the more the light entering the pupil will blur.  The reason is that  all the light arriving into our eyes comes from a variety of directions, again the wider open the more directions the light will come from.

 

Most of the light waves come in parallel and form a bright clear central spot.  But the width of this ’clear spot’ is blurred at the edges by light waves arriving in different phases and hence cancelling each other out.  The result is that the edges have a series of light and dark alternating bands but looks very much blurred.    The width of the clear spot is actually what regulates the finest level of detail that our eyes are able to pick up.

Fraunhofer diffraction describes the blurred images that will be observed when the light rays arrive on a lens or aperture like the eye in parallel routes.  It is also known as Far-field diffraction and is easiest seen when we pass a light source from a long way away (perhaps the Sun) through a lens.  It doesn’t matter if the lens is in our eyes or a telescope the effect is the same.  The diffraction effect will also smear the final image for a camera, eye or telescope.  The limit of clarity is imposed when the light is passed through any sort of optical lens.  To learn more about science subjects like this, make a habit of watching the best science programmes.  I’d particularly recommend some of the superb ones being shown on the BBC recently, you can watch on the Iplayer.

If you’re outside the UK you’ll need to change your IP address to view the Iplayer – try this site for downloading from the BBC – http://www.iplayerabroad.com/2017/04/28/download-bbc-iplayer-videos-abroad/   It’s quite easy to do, routing your web connection through a British server takes minutes and gives you full access to all the wonderful BBC Iplayer programmes.

The Electronic Barriers of the Internet

The internet certainly has the capacity for change.  It has the potential for political change, to overthrow dictators, implement social improvements and a myriad of other benefits.  The problem as always is that many people are being put at a distinct advantage when using the web.  It used to be irrelevant where you lived when online, however that is certainly not the case now.  Many countries increasingly used filters or firewalls on their nations internet access. There are of course the extreme cases like North Korean and China where access is highly regulated and monitored.  Although these countries aren’t ideal examples as there is little pretense to providing much more than a glorified intranet.  The Chinese restrictions grow stronger every year and they also have a growing ability to restrict these workarounds including these VPNs and proxies too.  The Chinese want to control where people get their information and their news from – i.e. not from UK TV channels online but State controlled sources.

But on a lower level social sites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked in many other areas from time to time.

If it wasn’t bad enough now commercial barriers are being instigated in the form of geo-targeting.  This technology is used to deliver or restrict access dependent on where you are located. Companies like Hulu for example only want users based in America to access their content so if you try and watch from outside the USA you’ll get blocked.  Even less commercial organisations are doing like the BBC who restrict access to the wonderful iPlayer to the United Kingdom.

However it’s not just media companies either, any large business with and international presence is likely to do the same.  Usually this is down to profit maximization due to a method called price discrimination.  Basically a company needs to be able to offer it’s goods and services at different prices depending on location in order to make the most money.  The internet blasted away these barriers, but they are slowly being rebuilt.  A simple example is the online games retailer – Steam, which offers computer software but at vastly different prices depending on where you are physically located. However they obviously have to stop people from the expensive areas buying from the cheaper ones.

Of course there are ways around it – this post about a Euro VPN server for example illustrates a method to watch BBC Iplayer from anywhere.  But that method involved a subscription service which may well be un-affordable for a huge sector of the internet’s population.  These restrictions stop open access, allow companies to operate shady price discrimination mechanisms and basically just rip the heart out of the internet for many of us.

In the USA there are even more worrying actions – statutes being proposed like Protect IP act which would make web site owners liable for links and content put on their sites. Good luck on running a forum on free speech if that every gets though !  You’d spend more time at the local court defending yourself than running the site.

Greek Government Reallocates Research Funding

The Greek government is having to make some tough choices to survive with every penny spent being accountable to their Euro and IMF bailout partners. However it is a very short term and in many ways retrospective measure to start taking funds from educational and research budgets.

The money seizure was authorized in a crisis decree passed by the Parliament in a heated and intense session in Greece last week. The decree powers government as well as other state bodies that are local to transfer their cash reserves to the Bank of Greece to be able to cover pensions and wages of public sector workers. As Science went to press, it remained unclear when it will be taken and just how much cash will be targeted, but researchers expect the authorities to snatch resources set aside to buy overheads. These amount to as much as 20% of the worth of grants and purchase expenses which are not covered by research bureaus and temporary staff in addition to utility bills.

“We do expect a reasonable deal in the on-going discussions for the Greek debt is likely to be reached shortly, by the end of June,” he said in an email. “Subsequently this measure will likely be waived.”

To decrease the amount of confiscations, many research workers are anxiously changing or spending as much of the overhead reservations as they can, in a few instances by stocking on consumables and paying Ph.D. pupils’ wages for several months in advance or investing in such technology or software like this residential VPN system.   “I ‘ve little doubt that the substantial activity in concealing research funds in the authorities might be under way,” says Costas Synolakis, a marine scientist now in the University of Southern California in LA.

On another front, researchers and educational reform will also be fighting the authorities declared without public consultation on 17 out of the blue. The reform entails fighting universities’ governing boards, removing present rectors, and giving pupils a sizable share of the votes to name rectors that are new. As a result, it overrules many changes brought in by an 2011 law that sought to restrict the powers of administrative staff and pupils.

That earlier law activated tremendous student demonstrations and proved highly contentious. Nevertheless, parliamentarians approved it by a big bulk and it was seen by professors as a confident part of lessening the ability of political parties. “Since the 1980s, university managements are voted, not on merit or administrative art, but on party qualifications,” Synolakis says. In effect, he maintains, the most recent reform–expected to be voted on by Parliament inside the the next couple of weeks–will “transfer Greek higher education back about 30 years.” Other scientists are likewise essential. He adds that it also fights electronic voting in university elections, which, he says, may enable pupils intimidate voters and to steal ballot boxes, as they’ve done before.

The brand new law also seeks to alter functions and the makeup of the National Council for Technology and Research, an 11-member panel that advises the authorities on financing and the business of research.

Further Reading:
James Addams – How to Get a Netflix IP Address

Academic Research and Web 2.0 Opportunities

Regular as clockwork, every year brings about a rite in Research Universities that is dreaded by certain Assistant Professors on the Tenure Track. Welcome to the Tenure Review process, a rite wanting to gain the ‘Holy Grail’ of tenure and the associated permanence at their universities of the employment contract. Originally conceived as a way of guaranteeing academic freedom, the advantages and disadvantages of the tenure system are endlessly debated by both academics and non-academics alike.

Regardless of one’s perspective of tenure, the critical success factor for the tenure process in most schools is research. Most universities aspiring to the more lofty strata of the rankings system put a massive emphasis on research-all kinds of research, whether funded or released.

A recent BusinessWeek interview with Drew Faust, President of Harvard University (Businessweek, 12/10/07) along with a follow-up public letter by several eleven public university provosts testify to the strength of emotions that research evokes in academia and also the competition which exists between universities. In 2006, over $47 billion was spent by universities on research and development (NSF, 2007), while competition for top journals was more extreme than before. If you want to access these reports, they are available to US readers free of charge or internationally by using a US proxy service like this.

In this competitive research climate and culture, there’s a marked contrast between high-flown research ideals and also the actions of research itself. Despite progress and computerization of the tools and increasingly advanced methodologies, there have not been comparable advances in the organization, reach, and range of research collaborations.

One would find his/her collaborations to be mainly local, upon scanning the curriculum vitae of a professor that is typical. Quite simply, most research professors compose grant proposals and articles with other professors who they already know. Included in these are graduate students and their colleagues down the hall, and previous co-workers or professors from their own doctoral program. Just in rare cases does the set of collaborators expand to incorporate other research workers they may have encountered at seminars.

Thus, when there is a researcher midway throughout the planet with strikingly similar research interests, regrettably, there is scant hope of the research professor ever actually working with her or him. Even if the initial researcher is not unaware of the other researcher through bibliographies, there is no simple ‘social’ means of connecting, short of directly e-mailing or calling. Of course, few professors initiate contact in this manner. Maybe they think the other researcher might not be amenable to work with them, or perhaps they need extra information about the researcher and getting this could be too boring. Most commonly therefore, it is only better to go with the ‘known’ quantities of reachable colleagues in what could be called “cooperation of benefit”.

So the obvious questions to ask are: can the action that is Web 2.0 toolset for academic research what are the tools that might facilitate this transformation? and what it’s done for social and business networking, Millions of previously unlikely business and social relationships and opportunities are created through such tools as Facebook and MySpace (social relationships), and LinkedIn and Ryze (business networking). Thus the question of the potential of Web 2.0 technologies is a useful one not only for universities looking to add to their arsenals in the research “arms race”.

What would a Web 2.0 portal look like? What tools might be on offer? What changes will be required in the mindset and practices of today’s academic research workers? Is there appearing tools in this class that may foretell the future for the actions of university research in the long run?

Web 2.0 portals for academic research workers must contain elements from the sphere of social networking. These would contain searchable professional profiles, newsgroups, and assorted way of communication, like instant messaging. Business networking tools might also contribute meaningfully through their approaches to contact management, referrals, and communication, to portals for research collaboration. In addition, while their knowledge taxonomies for classification of businesses and are somewhat rudimentary, these concepts may be useful in arranging the much more profound knowledge taxonomies crucial for the research communities. Maybe afterward, instead of collaborations of convenience, researchers might transition to global “cooperation of chance”.

While still inside their infancy, Web 2.0 research portal sites are sure to become important tools in the never-ending research “arms race” that characterizes research universities. They provide the advantages of collaborative international research – more extensive and better -fitting international collaborations, better-quality information for researchers, improved content for research papers and grants, and increased quantity of publications and grant proposals. Put simply, Web 2.0 tools could bring about a complete transformation of the practice of research and with it, major productivity gains.

Modern Web 2.0 research portals such as this enable researchers to collaborate on the site itself, handle actual documents and also network with co-workers and other potential research workers. It enables powerful web-based the categorization of results as well as searches into personal taxonomies.

The portal site uses their research interests and abilities as well as complete knowledge categorizations for categorizing users, which translates into having the ability to find research collaborators that are ideal with truth. It employs skilled article postings, sites, forums, advanced project management and news feeds of the latest research news. Moreover, it integrates specialized research tools that professors use most frequently, including survey creation/deployment tools, citation tools, bibliography direction and others.

These brand new web portals seem to point to the way. As traditional as the academic research culture may be, it appears unavoidable that universities will ultimately embrace the sea change brought about by the Web 2.0 paradigm. The challenge for Vice Presidents, and Deans, Provosts of Research is rapidly embrace these tools for the substantial increases they are able to bring to university research output and the best way to alter the research customs that is present. The entire world is flat and new synergies from international collaborations can’t be discounted. Certainly the early adopters will have the potential to advance their research rankings by investing in Web 2.0 toolsets for their research workers. In any event, the influence of Web 2.0 on academic research will be exciting to watch over the next several years.

John Simmons

Author, Netflix Fan and IT Blogger

Can Alcohol Improve your Memory?

It sounds extremely improbable, after all when do ‘bad things’ ever have beneficial effects. Indeed even if you consider the typical post drunken experiences – a vivid and accurate recollection of events is rarely high up on the list. Yet the latest of those strange trivia type surveys that Universities seem to enjoy suggest that perhaps it’s the case that a few drinks makes you remember more.

The study has come from the University of Essex and the results suggest that drinking does help the human memory. It concluded that people who drink alcohol after studying specific information are more likely to remember what they have learnt. The study asked 88 people to try and complete a task involving learning words. They were then split into two groups, one being asked to drink as much alcohol as they wished – just over four units was the average. The other group were given no alcohol at all.

The next day, the tasks were repeated and it was found that those who had drunk alcohol performed much better than those who hadn’t. Furthermore those participants who had indulged in a few drinks were actually able to remember more of the lessons they learnt.

Is this a positive effect of drinking alcohol? Does this break some of the stereotypes that alcohol has negative effects on memory. Of course it’s difficult to say in such a small survey yet it has surprised the researchers. Obviously alcohol is rightly associated with all sorts of damage to physical and mental health but perhaps in moderate levels there are some benefits too.

It’s only right to look at the results objectively and there was no doubt the positive correlation present. Those who drank alcohol after the task definitely performed better and remembered more of the information than those who didn’t.

So did the researchers have any explanation for this unexpected benefit? Well not really, but one theory suggest that alcohol actually blocks the learning of information into short term memory. This then causes the brain to access other resources to try and complete the task including laying down information into their long term memory instead. This might explain why people who drink too much forget short term events due to over-consumption of alcohol.

There’s no doubt that alcohol has very real impacts and effects on the human brain, but these are often difficult to distinguish. Indeed one study has been looking at the powerful release of endorphins into the brain when alcohol has been consumed. Indeed many believe this may be the cause of alcoholism and medical tests have suggested a possible cure too. A drug called Selincro which you can read about here, is actually designed to block those endorphins being released when alcohol is consumed.

It is not known if this drug for example would have a different effect on the Exeter study. Perhaps these endorphins have an affect on the brain’s function and capacity for learning too. In the study, the test was actually repeated with images instead of words and with the task being performed after drinking alcohol. There was no discernable difference in the results in this case.

John Harbinger
http://cipec.org/

New .Art Domains Released

The world wide web is all about to have a little more crowded (and ethnic) domain options with the debut of a brand new .Art domain specializing in the creative business.

UK Creative Thoughts Small (UKCI) signed an agreement with ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, in late March, to start and function as the exclusive operator of this new . ART top-level domains (TLD).

Found in late fall 2016, . ART is brand new, undeveloped Internet property specializing in serving the culture and arts communities by supplying the infrastructure to improve and maintain the art industry’s internet presence. It’s expected that most famous brands in the arts and media sectors will invest in these new top level domains. So expect to see some famous new art domains on the web soon, perhaps even split domains for multinational maybe you won’t need a new IP address for American Netflix access anymore.

UKCI said benefits of this new domain comprise more title selection, shorter titles, precise match for searches, and instant identification with all the artwork.

“We are extremely fortunate to have secured . ART for its long term,” countries Ulvi Kasimov, Founder of UKCI. “We’re in the start of an exciting new stage of invention for artwork on the web, and . ART will be a significant facilitator for future and existing players in the culture and arts community”

“Our objectives are to encourage present museums, museums, galleries, auction houses as well as others at protecting and improving their own brands, to motivate new establishments to build on . ART property, and also to earn domains accessible to younger gamers into this art arena whose names are no more accessible in different TLDs and wish to instantly be identified together with the art world,” states John Matson, CEO of UKCI.

The practice of securing . ART started in 2012 once UKCI submitted a program to function . ART into ICANN, the worldwide nonprofit responsible for regulating and managing the Net’s domain name coverage.

At 2014, ICANN enlarged the amount of standardized top-level domains such as major cities like . nyc and . London, industry-specific domains like . Lavish and . Guru; and brands such as . axa, . bmw, and . google. Currently with this new arrangement set up, the release of this . ART domain will happen in late 2016.

James ‘Italian’ Joyce

Is the Web Getting Smaller?

When you talk about the growth of the internet, there’s one word that you don’t expect to use and that’s contraction. However although the web does continue to grow at an exponential rate, it can easily be argued that access to quality content is in fact doing just that – contracting.

If you look at this in a simple way, there’s little doubt that every day the web grows by millions of pages. However much of this is of limited value to most of us. On YouTube videos are added every second, but many barely gain anything in terms of audience. The same is true of the web, millions of pages in websites, blogs, e-commerce stores and so on appear every minute some of it barely ever looked at. There’s also the increased use of automated content generated or scraped by software simply to add pages to establish sites in lieu of the perceived SEO benefit (Search engine optimisation).

In short much of the content on the internet, is either ignored or pretty much junk. However where is this contraction? Surely if the web grows by millions of pages it all can’t be rubbish. Well this is true, but there is a problem with the increasing amount of filtering, censorship and restriction of access to web sites.

Take for example my favorite site on the internet, the BBC web sites. Packed full of up to date content, music, TV programmes, documentaries and radio shows – the list is huge. I use it every single day and yet if I was accessing the internet from outside the UK 99% of the site would be inaccessible. This is because it uses something called geo-blocking, restricting access to the site based on your physical location. It may be one the best websites on the planet but it’s not available outside the UK. The same is true for loads of other huge websites especially those in the media business.

Of course, there are workarounds, technology is available to change ip address online and bypass these blocks. However these generally cost money and is often a barrier to large parts of the world’s population. So there maybe thousands of these sites adding fantastic new content every day but if you’re in the wrong location none of it is accessible.

This combined with the increasing use of filtering on commercial, political or ideological grounds mean that the web is actually getting smaller for some people. The facility to spoof my ip is something that is available at a cost but not for everyone. It is unknown how long these technical ‘fixes’ will work though, as they tip the balance of control back to the user themself. Certainly commercial sites are always looking for ways to block these applications and certainly governments will be likely to use these too.

Choosing a Domain Name for your Business

If there’s one decision that you should not rush in taking your business online – it’s choosing a new domain. For many established brands and companies it can be quite straight forward, as long as there are suitable options available. One thing is for sure, it’s a decision that should be taken carefully after considering the possible consequences.

It is very tough to get the domain name you want for your business unless you are willing to pay somebody for it. Of course that is really just a silly dream that pops in and out of your head. But there is no need at all for that kind of torture when you can locate an ideal name that will work beautifully. The most powerful domains will have an effect and also be a good marriage to the site. In this article we will share some useful tips for finding the perfect domain name for you.

There are little things with domains you don’t know, and here is an excellent example of this. For example, you know that short domains are better than long, convoluted names. It’s great to have a name that is not long, but it must be a word that people understand. Don’t try and stuff too many keywords into the name either, for example if you sell high quality US proxies, then it’s tempting to stuff all those words into a domain name for SEO purposes – this unfortunately is no longer effective,

This is something that more local businesses are guilty of than anyone else and it’s a real fail. Plus, they tend to be very awkward to read which makes them completely impossible to remember.

If you want to have a serious business, then it’s really best to do things the right way. Keyword phrases used in domain names is nothing new, and now with Google you have to be careful about too much SEO. So you will lose that totally different effect with keywords even though you do benefit in some ways. Perhaps the best place for you to start is deciding on the importance of branding and your primary marketing methods. One always solid piece of advice is to avoid trying to game the domain name by using something closely related. If you play domain name tricks, then you will maybe lose the type-in traffic when people know your domain but make a mistake with it.

Perhaps you have heard of sniper sites. They are also called small or “thin” sites. They are very targeted and are used for many reasons. Usually created to target a particular product with a model number, these websites do very well at attracting people to them on the SEs. You can still do that, but you have to make sure you are not using any company names or brand names in your domain. It is in your best interest not to do it, mainly because of legal issues that may arise. It is important to respect the fact that the lawyer could actually charge you with infractions, and fine you for doing this. Locating a domain name for your online or off-line business is actually very easy as you can now see. Now that you know what to do in regard to finding a domain, we also recommend doing your own research to complement this information. It is in your best interest to not be lazy and do as we have recommended, or else your business may suffer. So it is important to know that your domain has more of an impact on your potential visitors than what you may have thought. And by choosing the right domain, you can find success with your online business much more quickly.

James Holden
Choosing VPN or Smart DNS

Writing Killer Headlines Online

Which type of content is yours? Sales letters? Articles about how to do things? Blog post? The answer isn’t important-what’s important is that you need to come up with a good headline to make it work. Whatever you’re doing, a headline is probably the most important line of text mostly because it’s the most visible.

The reality is that many more people will read your headline than the rest of your content. It’s true, even video content has headlines from a simple YouTube video to streaming news from the BBC.

It’s true; if the headline you write is boring, so will your results be. When you want to get your content’s response rate up a level or two, it is important to put some work into honing your headline writing skills. And how do you make that happen? By reading this article! We’ll be discussing 3 effective tips to help you get results…

You should always identify your unique selling point before writing your headline. You don’t want to talk about something minor or irrelevant in your headline, but about the most valuable aspect of your offer or product. When you clearly state the benefit in your headline, your conversions shoot up. This is how you motivate people to keep reading. Readers don’t want to hear about your product in general, but only about what it will do for them. Headlines give you the opportunity to summarize this benefit in a few well chosen words. This will make your headline seem urgent to your prospects.

The more beneficial your offer looks, the better it is. Leverage the power of questions in your headlines. The only rule is that your question has to be something your audience will care about. You’ll find that questions are very effective at getting your readers interested. The idea is to make readers eager to know the answer to your question. We are naturally inclined to look for answers. Asking a relevant question, then, can be very effective. Remember that you have to avoid confusing your prospects. A good headline makes people curious, but it also informs them. Make your questions targeted and purposeful. Brief and clear questions are best. Curious readers are likely to have greater interest.

Is the headline you’ve created short and on target? If it isn’t, it may be helpful to shorten it. Use facts and make the minimum use of adjectives. Refer to the solution you’re offering, and that’s it. Give your readers something they can dig on. Don’t confuse them but rather give them value. Headlines are actually the most critical part of any sales copy. That’s why you have to put a lot of effort into them.

Content is the center of the Internet. Information is what matters most for content. And your headline is just the summary of all of that information. If you’re good at writing content, you should be good at creating headlines too. It is okay if you have failed before now. Failure is something everyone must accept but don’t let it keep you from practicing everything that you have learned. You need to take what you’ve learned here and put them to work.

It’s important to have headlines that will offer you the attention that you want and get you the response you deserve. The more you work on the attention part of your headlines, the better it is. Irresistible headlines are what you want to achieve. And that can only happen when you apply the basic foundation laying tactics in the best possible way.

Further Reading: Watching UK TV Online in Spain

Relaxation and Meditation Techniques

When you move away from the big Western democracies and see life in rural, less developed societies there’s a calmness and tranquility that still exists. We may have a more wealth and material possessions yet this can come at a huge price to our health and wellbeing.

Currently, we live in a world that is always changing and moving an increasingly faster pace. While these changes can do us good us in many ways, an increasing number of people are becoming stressed and losing their interest to live. This is because there are aspects of our lives that are becoming less certain such as job security and having enough money to live on. This could lead to relationship and health problems that should be recognized before they become too serious. This article will talk about how learning to meditate can help us cope with stress daily.

It used to be that most people imagined meditation was something that people do by themselves in a place that is isolated. This is not the case these days, of course, as numerous meditation techniques are now mainstream and used daily by people throughout the world. All you need to do is take some time to go to a quiet place and be there alone. The actual technique you employ does not really matter as long as it feels right for you and you practice it on a consistent basis.

There are sites and places where you can find help with these online, and many are free. Unfortunately some are restricted to specific locations for some reason and you may need to buy a US proxy to access some of them.

When you begin to meditate on a regular basis, you’ll get a general sense of being less stressed as you go about your daily activities. You may observe that minor things no longer annoy you and that you don’t let things get to you as much as they used to. This can be due to the fact that numerous meditation techniques teach you how to breathe more slowly and it is natural to experience less stress when you are breathing in this way. Alternately, you may have noted that you are having an anxiety attack as you breathe more shallowly as a result of the stress in your life. Any meditating that you do can therefore aid to counteract this.

You should also experience more vigor and once more find enjoyment in daily activities. Meditation teaches your body to loosen up in a different way than you do when you sleep each night. Naturally, getting good sleep is essential, and meditating will help to see to it you get the best sleep that you can. It could help to replace a few of the hours of rest you have missed if you have had an uneasy night as well as making you feel quieter before the nights ahead.

One benefit that a number of people practicing meditation observe is that their creative mind begins to work better and inspirational thoughts oftentimes appear during or after a meditation session. This is probably due to the fact that the normal chatter that is going on in your mind is diminished allowing for these insights to surface. You may find this to be very advantageous if you need help resolving a problem in your life. It’s a good idea to write down any good ideas that come to mind so you can think about them more later.

It is not hard to make meditation a part of your daily life and if you do this, you will soon begin to feel healthier and more relaxed.

Further references: http://bbciplayerabroad.co.uk/how-do-i-get-bbc-iplayer-in-france/

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