International Intonation – Oct. 31, 2012

Mark Hendricks, Contributor Ω

New ski goggles will change the way you look at a mountain

The new Airwave ski goggles by Oakley give you instant information of the mountain and your run via a built-in heads-up display (HUD).

The Airwave goggles use what Oakley is calling “prism” technology to give you a wide range of information that will show up in the bottom left-hand corner on a small screen. The screen will look as large as looking at a 14-inch screen at five feet.

A built in wrist controller will allow you to manipulate the information you’re receiving. The screen will show you a map of the mountain along with the runs on it and the location of all your friends currently on the mountain.

The goggles will also contain information on your speed, both maximum and time for runs, airtime and height for jumps and comparisons on all these metrics to your previous runs.

The goggles also links to your smartphone so you can manage your music and texts via the wrist controller.

The goggles go on sale Oct. 31.

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Deciphering the oldest mystery in writing

Crowd sourcing could be at the heart of understanding the oldest untranslated writing system in the world.

The written language, known as proto-elamite, is 5,000 years old and belonged to a Middle Eastern society based in southwest Iran. Proto-elamite is believed to have been inspired by the Mesopotamian language but the symbols have all been changed.

The key to unlocking this mystery is the new way in that these stone tablets, which the writing is on, are being photographed. These tablets are being placed inside a device called the reflectance transformation imaging system, which uses 76 separate photographic lights to record the tablets.

The result from this process is an extremely clear digital image of the tablet that can be rotated and viewed from every angle.

The images will be made publically available online with the intent of using the widespread academic audience to help crack this 5,000 year old code.

Where you can find out more:

Genetically modified bomb detectors

Laboratory mice are being genetically modified to be able to search out TNT-based explosives.

Scientists in New York City have modified mice to have a sense of smell that is 500 times more susceptible to DNT, a closely-related chemical to TNT. The mice will then have a microchip implanted under their skin that will wirelessly report back to a computer.

The idea of having mice searching out explosives to save human lives is not new. A Belgian company has already trained giant African pouched rats to search out landmines.

The advantage these new mice bring is an inherent super-sensitivity to DNT, thanks to genetic modification. Combined with the ease of breeding mice this could result in large quantities of easily trainable, tiny, bomb detectors.

Where you can find out more: