You May Be the Bomber Two weeks ago there was the woman whose cosmetics containers shut down a West Virginia airport, disrupted 12 flights and got her an interview with the FBI. Then there was the incident at O’Hare International when a security guard asked Mardin Azad Amin what the black grenade-like object was in his bag. “A bomb” may have been the wrong answer, even if he was trying to hide the fact that he was carrying a penis pump through security while flying with his mother (Mr. Amin faces a possible three years in jail).
But here’s my question: What if your Sony-manufactured laptop battery explodes or catches on fire during a flight? Who’s going to Guantánamo for terrorism? Dell is recalling 4.1 million Sony-manufactured lithium-ion batteries while Apple is recalling 1.8 million. Sony says that the problem is only with specific Dell laptops and not with other laptop models that use Sony batteries, such as certain portables manufactured by Fujitsu, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo Group.
Japanese Love Their Smell Where would we be without Japanese innovation? A couple of weeks ago my editor at the CN&R sent me an article about the Japanese smellovision project that synchronized scents to movie scenes. Now our friends across the Pacific are experimenting with an odor-recorder system. I will spare you the extensive operating procedures involving solenoid valves, oscillator circuits, a multichannel frequency counter and Quartz Crystal Microbalance sensors (mainly because I have absolutely no idea what these are), but scientists claim they can closely reproduce any smell using just eight base chemicals. This machine, which has been maturing in the Tokyo Institute of Technology labs for the past seven years, could soon be housed in our cell phones, allowing us to sample scents of flowers or food cooking at a restaurant and “text” them to friends around the world. Then again, it’s usually the porn industry that embarrasses new technologies, but I’ll leave that topic to your imagination.
USb-B-Q Geeks are figuring out all sorts of uses for the power that is delivered through their computers’ USB connections, such as running fans, lights, mini-Christmas trees. I’ve even seen a mini-missile launcher (toy, I believe), but these hackers take the (meat) cake. Using 30 USB ports sprouting from five USB PCI cards, this barbecue will nicely cook a one-ounce steak on its tiny grill. Might just be enough protein to get you through the Excel spreadsheet for work tomorrow, or more likely you won’t have to leave your PC two-thirds of the way through a 16-hour World of Warcraft binge. (One) shrimp is on the barbie. See the video on YouTube here: www.youtube.com/watch?v= uEicfylqKI.