Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Jonathan Leake, Science Editor
Six months is all it took to flip Europe’s climate from warm and sunny into the last ice age, researchers have found.
They have discovered that the northern hemisphere was plunged into a big freeze 12,800 years ago by a sudden slowdown of the Gulf Stream that allowed ice to spread hundreds of miles southwards from the Arctic.
Posted by William Meloney at 5:50 AM
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Dr. Michael Spencer, co-founder & chief scientist
Semiconductor materials growth & device design
Widetronix was founded by Mike and several colleagues to commercialize innovative semiconductor technologies evolving from research at his lab at Cornell University. As a professor and director of Cornell's Wide Bandgap Laboratory, he investigates novel semiconductor materials growth and device applications in silicon carbide, gallium nitride, and graphene. Mike received BS, MS, and a PhD from Cornell University and has over 100 peer reviewed publications.
Posted by William Meloney at 8:49 AM
Monday, November 16, 2009
Mises Daily: Monday, November 09, 2009 by Clifford F. Thies
To say that antipoverty programs in the United States are perverted may be an understatement. When you take into account the loss of means-tested benefits (e.g., cash assistance, food stamps, housing subsidies, and health insurance), and the taxes that people pay on earned income, the return to working is essentially zero for those in the lower two quintiles of the income distribution.
For many of the working poor, the implicit marginal tax rate is greater than 100 percent. The long-run consequence of undermining the positive incentive to work is, of course, the creation of an underclass acclimated to not working; the supplement of cash and noncash benefits with income from crime and the underground economy; and the government resorting to negative incentives such as mandatory work programs.
Read more and see graphs HERE
From the marginal tax rate link...
The marginal tax rate is the rate on the last dollar of income earned. This is very different from the average tax rate, which is the total tax paid as a percentage of total income earned. In 2003, for example, the United States imposed a 35 percent tax on every dollar of taxable income above $155,975 earned by a married taxpayer filing separately. But that tax bracket applied only to earnings above that $155,975 threshold; income below that cutoff point would still be taxed at rates of 10 percent on the first $7,000, 15 percent on the next $14,400, and so on. Depending on deductions, a taxpayer might pay a relatively modest average tax on total earnings, yet nonetheless face a 28–35 percent marginal tax on any activities that could push income higher—such as extra effort, education, entrepreneurship, or investment. Marginal decisions (such as extra effort or investment) depend mainly on marginal incentives (extra income, after taxes).
Posted by William Meloney at 11:58 AM
"To Obama" in Japanese
19 Oct 2009 04:05 pm
"obamu: (v.) To ignore inexpedient and inconvenient facts or realities, think "Yes we can, Yes we can," and proceed with optimism using those facts as an inspiration (literally, as fuel). It is used to elicit success in a personal endeavor. One explanation holds that it is the opposite of kobamu. (拒む, which means to refuse, reject, or oppose).
Posted by William Meloney at 8:33 AM
Building capable robot end effectors, particularly high-complexity hands, can be a daunting challenge. In this article, we will examine the fabrication of a robot hand with compliant, under-actuated fingers that is rugged enough to bounce back from twisting, end-on and side impacts, falls, collisions, and even severe back-bending. The specific fabrication process explored is akin to shape deposition manufacturing using materials such as resins (epoxy / Delrin) and urethanes (a "rubbery" substance) of various durometer (hardness). This particular technique was used to build early hand prototypes for MIT's Nexi (or MDS) robot from the Personal Robotics Group, and further refinements resulted in the Meka Robotics H2 Compliant Hands, as seen on the Simon robot. Read on for details and pictures -- this should be of interest to robotics hobbyists and professionals alike.
Posted by William Meloney at 5:51 AM
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Are You Getting Scammed by Facebook Games?
Facebook games — Mafia Wars, FarmVille, Restaurant City — have become surprisingly effective at diverting time wasters among the social-networking crowd. More than 63 million people alone play FarmVille. But now accusations have surfaced that the games can lead some more gullible players, including children, into Internet scams, especially if they have a cell phone.
Here's how it works. You join FarmVille, a game on Facebook in which you can create a virtual farm by growing crops and livestock and tilling the earth. Through your toil, you earn virtual money, but to farm more efficiently or quickly, you can also invest real cash (through PayPal or a credit card) to buy virtual goods, such as seed or a tractor. Should you not have any real cash to spare on things that after all do not actually exist, you can instead accept an offer from one of the advertisers on the game site and get virtual cash in return.
Posted by William Meloney at 7:53 AM
Posted by William Meloney at 6:47 AM
Posted by William Meloney at 5:23 AM