2010/08/04

Steganography: Hidden in Plain Sight

All of us have asked our best friend to keep a secret, but if our best friend is a geek, he might have thought of encrypting the information. Encryption is the process of transforming clear text into something that cannot be understood without the right key. For instance, Julius Cesar used a simple cipher (i.e., encryption algorithm) which is to replace every letter by the third following letter in the alphabet (the key is "third letter" and it could have been any other number). There is a lot to be said about encryption but today's topic is even more interesting because steganography is the process of keeping the information in clear but in a way that, if you don't know what you are looking for, you won't find it. Ancient greeks used it, Al Qaeda uses it, and flickr and twitter can use it.

2010/07/21

Pachelbel, Oh, Pachelbel

Today, it's all about interesting music videos. First we will show how wild a electric guitar can go playing classical music and then a hilarious rant about famous Pachelbel's Canon in D. Then, a little oddity about the longest song ever, a six centuries long concert. 

2010/07/14

Music is Hardwired in our Brains

Music can put a smile in your face
Have you ever had a tune stick into your brain? Which are those songs which make you feel happy, relaxed, excited, nostalgic, ...? It is not new that music affects our feelings but here I bring you the first of several musical entries and, to begin with, I'm introducing a musical scale (3:04) which was (and still is) spontaneously used all over the world throughout time and by very different cultures. A proof that we all share some common musical sense. In addition, and marginally related, I'll tell you about the first officially recognised cyborg which turns out to be a painter which can only see in black and white but, in his case, he sees colours through music hardwired in his head.

2010/07/07

Sonic 3: 3DSound, Sonic Flashlights and Sonic Weapons

My favourite three sonic challenges: you all have seen 3D movies with heavy glasses and tired eyes but, what about 3D sound? Is it possible? Yes it is, and 3D sound (4:41) works with just a regular pair of headphones! Ok, that was easy but what about whispering and only be heard by the person you're looking at 20m away? Directional sound (3:14) is there and can be quite handy during exams. Ok, and what about if I want that person to suffer? Well, it's not pretty, it's not elegant but it's even easier than the other two and it's done better by shrimps (1:37) than the police (1:06). If you forgave the Nintendo easy tricks in the title, just keep reading... 

2010/05/17

Personal advices to give a presentation to small groups

I'm sure that everyone that had to talk face-to-face to an audience experienced the same half nervous half excitement feeling. You start talking, the presentation begin low, slow, like humbly asking for permission to talk. Then, if you are lucky, you begin feeling more confortable, you connect with your audience, let yourself go and the event go smoothly. Otherwise, if you do not get over the initial shock, this is going to be an unpleasant experience to everybody, specially you. Here I give you my own advices to fall within the first category and end up enjoying the rewarding experience of presenting your work. 

2010/05/12

Autopilot for Bullets

Have you ever wondered why bullets seem to go so straight? Or why James Bond's gun has helical grooves? Or how does the autopilot of airplanes work? Ok, in FlashForward every plane without conscious pilots crashes after roughly two minutes but, let's face it, pilots are overestimated these days and the autopilot (aka "George") would have stand in just fine. Well, if you haven't guessed so far, let's talk about angular momentum.

2010/05/05

Lost and Numbers stations

 Most of the fans of Lost, which are not yet lost in the details of every new enigma, still remember the strange distress signal presented during the first season. A radio emission where the omnipresent numbers were broadcasted and we could hear a woman speaking in French. The thing is that this is a clear example of actual numbers stations. Today I came across with a great entry in cabovolo, related to our previous entry, that tells the strange case of one of these stations: a unknown shortwave station that has been broadcasting from Russia since 1982. The emission has been, and still is a buzz, and something else...