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February 10, 2009

The "Force" arrives to your home


Last month, the Official Blog reported a story about the new Force Trainer toy from Uncle Milton Industries that reportedly utilizes brainwaves to levitate a ball within a tube.

How does it work?

The wireless headset reads your brainwaves through dry sensor technology and can determine the differences between alpha, beta, gamma and delta waves. This allows a chip inside the Force Trainer to use an algorithm to interpret the data and translate it to physical action, which in this case moves the Training Sphere into different sections of the cylinder.

Will some people be able to produce brain waves more powerful than others? Can you consciously control them?

It depends on your midi-chlorian count! Ok, in actuality, it's not a matter of "more powerful" brain waves as much as "more focused." It's very much like the concept of practicing the Force as you see in the films. The deeper you are able to concentrate, the more you will 'feel the force flowing through you,' and the more you will be able to move the Training Sphere. The device will interpret different levels of focus rather than being just one big on/off switch.

How do you see this technology being applied in the near future?

The applications for the underlying technology are nearly limitless -- there have been discussions of using it in remote controls for televisions, stereos, video games, as well as some medical applications and other avenues for this type of technology.

The Force Trainer will be in stores and online in Fall of 2009.



February 5, 2009

Converting PDF files into image files with GIMP


Don't waste your time searching "pdf to jpg" on Google. With GIMP (freeware) you can easily convert pdf files into image files.

Whether we're doing a paper, a post for a blog, an article for a newspaper, a web magazine, or an academic report, in editing and formatting tasks, we are regularly confronted with the problem of converting a pdf file into an image file.There are many software on the Internet that allow you to convert pdf files into jpg, gif or png files. In most cases these software are not free. If they are free, there’re severe limitations (watermarks on images, pages number limited, adds, …). Don’t waste your time in searching “pdf to jpg” in Google, the solution is maybe already in your computer. Simply executes GIMP, then open the pdf file (be careful with the file name: avoid spaces and strange characters as è, é, à, … sorry for the French and Spanish people). Automatically GIMP asks you if you want to import the pdf. Take a look in options presented on the opened window and press “Import”. Then you can save each opened page of the pdf as you want. “Save as” jpg, gimp, png or any other option available.


February 3, 2009



IBM Pollyanna Principle:
Machines should work; people should think.

Law of Selective Gravity:
An object will fall so as to do the most damage.
Jenning's Corollary:
The chance of the bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet.
Klipstein's Corollary:
The most delicate component will be the one to drop.

Anthony's Law of The Workshop:
Any tool, when dropped, will roll in to the least accessible corner of the workshop.
On the way to the corner, any dropped tool will first always strike your toes.

Law of Annoyance:
When working on a project, if you put away a tool that you're certain you're finished with, you will need it instantly.

Sattinger's Law:
It works better if you plug it in.

Horner's Five-Thumb Postulate:
Experience varies directly with equipement ruined.

Cahn's Axiom:
When all else fails, read the instructions.

Jenkinson's Law:
It won't work.

Taken from Arthur Bloch's "MURPHY'S LAW, and other reasons why things go wrong" book.

'if anything can go wrong, it will'


February 2, 2009

El Eternauta llega a Francia


La editorial Vertige Graphic lanza la saga "El Eternauta" en Francia. 51 años tuvieron que pasar para que los franceses puedan al fin descubrir uno de las mejores historietas de ciencia ficción argentina. Para cuando Patoruzito ?

Tuvo que pasar medio siglo (y chirolas) para que los lectores francófonos puedan al fin descubrir “El Eternauta” de Oesterheld y Solano Lopez, un clásico de la ciencia ficción argentina... y segun algunos (la mayoría son habitantes de Buenos Aires) la mejor historieta del mundo !!

Hace un poco mas de 3 años, la editorial Vertige Graphic se propuso de lanzar la saga “El Eternauta" en la lengua de Voltaire y Julio Verne. Casi tres años fueron necesarios para rastrear y encontrar la mayor parte de las planchas originales. Digo la mayor parte, pues veinte páginas no pudieron ser reconstituídas que a partir de reproducciones. Mismo así, la mayor parte de las viñetas permiten d'admirar las diferentes tonalidades de gris en el trabajo de Solano Lopez. Vertige Graphic anuncia que esta edición francesa es probablemente la mejor de todas las ediciones publicadas hasta el presente. Puede que no estén tan lejos de la verdad... es cierto que desde la publicación original sobre el papel de mala calidad del diario “Hora Cero Suplemento Semanal”, los Argentinos mismos, deben contentarse de re-ediciones mediocres. La saga "El Eternauta" sera publicada por Vertige Graphic en tres tomos. El primero ya esta en venta en Francia desde diciembre pasado al precio de 20 euros.

La publicidad de “El Eternauta” en Francia :

Un juego de cartas entre amigos es interrumpido de pronto: afuera comienzan a caer copos de nieve fosforescente mortales. Este es el comienzo de una pesadilla, el trágico preludio de una invasión extraterrestre que traerá muerte y destrucción en el mundo entero.

La saga “El Eternauta” cuenta la resistencia de Buenos Aires a la invasión extraterrestre, la destrucción de la ciudad, el intento de los seres humanos por conservar su bienestar, y la civilización construida hasta ahora. Con “El Eternauta”, el arte de la historieta ha producido una obra particularmente desconcertante, logrando anticipar el futuro, y en particular, el de América del Sur.

Este clásico de los cómics argentinos, "culto" en varios países, se llevó a cabo entre 1957 y 1959 al ritmo de tres a siete planchas por semana en un periódico semanal publicado en la Argentina.

Formato: 300 x 240, 128 páginas (blanco y negro).

La publicidad de “El Eternauta” en Francia (en francés) :

Une partie de cartes entre amis est brusquement interrompue : dehors ont commencé à tomber des flocons d’une neige phosphorescente mortelle. C’est le début d’un cauchemar, le prélude tragique à une invasion extraterrestre qui va apporter mort et destruction dans le monde entier.

La saga de L’Éternaute raconte la résistance de Buenos Aires à l’invasion extraterrestre, la destruction de la ville, la tentative des humains pour conserver leur bien-être, et la civilisation bâtie jusque-là. Avec L’Éternaute la bande dessinée a produit une œuvre particulièrement déconcertante, en parvenant à anticiper le futur, notamment celui, tragique, de l’Amérique du Sud.

Ce classique de la bande dessinée argentine, devenu “culte” dans plusieurs pays, a été realisé entre 1957 et 1959 au rythme de trois à sep planches par semaine publiées dans un hebdomadaire argentin.

Format : 300 x 240, 128 pages (noir et blanc), couverture souple à rabats.


January 29, 2009

Teleportation becomes a little more real…


Ok, they (Monroe's research group at Joint Quantum Institute) didn’t teleported captain Kirk or Spock, but quantum information of ions, and they did it over 1 meter!! A major implication for future quantum computation and quantum communication... and maybe more if we broke some technological barriers.

As indicated in paper “Quantum Teleportation Between Distant Matter Qubits” [1], Christopher Monroe and his team of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) in Maryland, reported the teleportation of quantum information between atomic quantum memories separated by 1 meter. A quantum bit (qubit) stored in a single trapped ytterbium ion (Yb+) is teleported to a second Yb+ atom with a measured average teleportation fidelity of 90% +/- 2% over a replete set of states. The teleportation protocol is based on the heralded entanglement of the atoms through interference and detection of photons emitted from each atom and guided through optical fibers.

Let me reminds you some basic concepts in order to continue.

What’s a Qubit? Just as a bit is a basic unit of information in the digital world, a qubit is a unit of information in the quantum world. You know very well that a bit ca be either a 0 or a 1. Qubit can be both 0 and 1 at he same time (superposition property).


What’s about quantum entanglement? Quantum entanglement is a quantum mechanical phenomenon in which the quantum states of two or more quantum particles (photons of light or atoms, for example) are linked together so that one object can no longer be adequately described without full mention of its counterpart (even though the individual objects may be spatially separated). You can then separate them as far as you like, and a change in one is instantly reflected in the other.

In the Monroe's experience, two ytterbium ions were trapped in two different cavities separated 1 meter away. The first has a qubit of information and then, thanks to a laser pulse, it was entangled with the second ion present in the other remote ion trap.

Looking at the first ion, a superposition state is destroyed, causing the emission of a photon which can have two possible states of energy. The information carried by the first ion is then destroyed, but because of the entanglement of this ion with the second, the status of the second ion is changed in order to registers the information found in the first ion.

Depending on the photon energy emitted by the first ion, we know what kind of operations can be subjected to the second one to return information about the first ion. The researchers found that there had been teleportation of quantum state of the ion on the first second.

A similar experiment was already conducted in 2004 with ions but teleportation had been made on microscopic distances. Teleportation of quantum states had already been implemented, too many years ago, over long distances but with photons. It is therefore the first time a teleportation of quantum states with the matter on macroscopic distances has been conducted.

If we talk about the applications of entanglement and quantum teleportation, we could imagine (1) teleporting quantum information instantaneously at any distance (quantum communication faster than light), (2) to achieve the exponential processing speed-up promised by quantum computation, (3) to conceive unbreakable encryption.

You noted that I didn't mentioned the quantum teleportation of non living objects or living beings. The quantum teleportation has been done for microscopic distances with large molecules, similar in size to a bacterium, so it’s possible that we could teleport something living. Someones says that it won’t work with something as big as a person. You would have to scan every single molecule in the body and reassemble at the other end, which doesn’t look like it’s every going to be practical [3].

Factually, the teleportation as we know popularly from Star Trek will not be possible (at least in the short run). Teleportating a human being would require an enormous calculation capacity: in a human body of 70 kg there're ~7 x 10^27 atoms, that's seven billion billion billion atoms, that's a 7 followed by 27 zeros! [4]. Today's fastest parallel computing operations are capable of teraflop speeds (as the computer used for lattice QCD computations). So for a computer that can handle 200 teraflops (that's 1 x 10^12 operations per second) to simply pass this much information would require a little more than 1 million years (1109843 years). Another problem, storing and retrieving data : assuming that 1 atom implies 1 byte, even with the best hard disks (2 Tera-byte of capacity) we would need 3,5 x 10^15 hard disks !!

Finally, if we broke these technological barriers in the future, maybe the teleportation of human beings will be possible. As Michio Kaku writes in his book "Physics of the Impossible", applying the process of quantum entanglement to larger objects like people is just a scientific "engineering problem", that is likely to be solved in time.


[1] Quantum Teleportation Between Distant Matter Qubits, S. Olmschenk, D. N. Matsukevitch, P. Maunz, D. Hayes, L-M. Duan, C. Monroe. Paper available at and publied in SCIENCE ( 23 january 2009 (Vol. 323).

[2] JQI News. Available in

[3] Interview to Brian Clegg (The God Effect : Quantum Entanglement, Science’s Strangest Phenomenon) at

[4] Nanomedicine, by Robert A. Freitas Jr (1998). Available at


January 28, 2009



Could we speak about the 1st and 2nd law of thermodynamics in philosophical terms? The answer is NO. But we can let go our minds for a little while and think about “energy”, this unluckily-non-seen kind of machinery that give us life and may be will give the key to the interplanetary doors.

The First Law of Thermodynamics says that energy is conserved in every process, however it does not tell us whether any particular process can actually occur. Nevertheless, The Second Law of Thermodynamics tell us in which direction the process occur. And the physical quantity which describes the ability of a system to do work is called Entropy. These concepts have a very rigorous mathematical background, that create a sceptical and hermetic circle, pulling away every non-scientific thought we could throw in it. But we can build some philosophical tendencies using these laws, showing how magnificent and more complete could be a simple thought if we use a little bit of maths and in this case, physics.

Existentialism was formally studied by philosopher Jean Paul Sartre in his novel La Nausée, in which the character becomes convinced that inanimate objects and situations encroach on his ability to define himself, on his intellectual and spiritual freedom, evoking in the protagonist a sense of nausea. It is widely considered one of the canonical works of existentialism. He talks about existence of non-living things, about the weight and paradigmatic sense of pain about all the things that surrounds him. Jean Paul Sartre, further than a simple novel, says that the characteristic anguish and forlornness of existentialism are temporary: only a prerequisite to recognizing individual responsibility and freedom. By the other hand, he just take the existentialism in a one dimensional way, which leave us to say that this anger and pain about the existence of all that surround us, is resumed in a simple instant of time. Time turns this existentialism far beyond a simple emotional state in to a deeper and more complete philosophical crossroad.

For example, if we look at a light bulb, we see its light washing all over our room, it has a function and it works. Sartre’s existentialism, make us stuck in that object and make us think about it in terms of essence and responsibility. But how long that light bulb will exists? How long his energy will spread his light? Well we know, until the bulb ran out of filament. However, we do not know when this object will cease to exist. Now we can find the answer looking for thermodynamics. Energy conserves in the universe. Returning to our light bulb, we can smash it to ground, throw in to the waste bin, even if we melt the glass, the light bulb probably will not have the shape of it, but the energy contained in it because the First Law of Thermodynamics, will not disappear under any circumstance. And that is a fact for all living and non-living beings, our energy and the energy of all the things that we see, or we saw, or we ever seen will not cease to exist. So, if we see our world with the eyes and senses of Sartre’s existentialism we will pay a large tax and a huge emotional weight for the existence of things, that by the way it is unlimited and infinite if we see it from the two dimensional point of view…


(1) Resnick, R/ Halliday, D. Physics for students of science and engineering. John Wiley & Sons. 1961
(2) Sartre, J.P. La nausée. Losada. 1997


January 27, 2009

Camouflage wants to go to the stars ?


It's about the complete lyrics of the Camouflage's song "On islands" from the album "Methods of Silence" (1989). And we remind you to check for an exclusive free mp3 available only this week.

On islands - From album Methods of Silence (1989)

On islands
we all run
onto islands
in the sun
and the sun too
is an island
with islands
all around
We're all islands
in the sea
and the islands
want to reach
other islands
passing by
an island
in the sky
On islands
all the islands
ever there
are all waiting
on an island
that island
stands alone
on islands
on islands
on islands
on islands
Somos todos iguales,
nacidos sobre nuestra propia isla, que se aleja siempre mas lejos

En la mas oscura profundidad del espacio buscamos
Todas las respuestas a los secretos que jamas aprendimos
Espero que haya una manera de encontrarlos
Tiene que haber otros mundos, otras islas
Tiene que haber... (*)
on islands
on islands
on islands
on islands

We are all born equal,
on our own island, which ever further away

In the darkest depths of space we are looking for

All the answers to the secrets that will never learn

I hope we have a way to find them,

There must be other worlds, other islands
There has to be ...

Just in case if you have forgotten this excellent techno band, let me tell you that last 23 january, Camouflage has released the pack (2 DVD + 1 CD) "Live in Dresden". Coinciding with the long awaited release of this pack, is presenting the exclusive free mp3 download of the song "The Please Remains (Live in Dresden 2006)" for one week only. This track is not available on the audio CD that accompanies the DVD!


January 26, 2009

All around is just vacuum fluctuations


Recent lattice QCD (Quantum ChronoDynamics) simulations madden at the John von Neumann Institute for Computing in Jülich, Germany, confirms that most of our mass comes from virtual quarks and gluons fizzing away in the quantum vacuum. This last statement is reinforced by the fact that with this lattice QCD method, calculations on the proton mass are wrong by 2% only wrt the value measured by experiments.

According to particle physics, the atoms are made up of protons and neutrons (more than 99% of the mass of the visible universe is made up of protons and neutrons), which are themselves composed of smaller particles known as quarks, which in turn are bound by gluons. Problem is that the mass of gluons is zero and the mass of quarks accounts for only 5%. So, where is the missing 95%?

Quark and gluon structure of a nucleon
© Jean-Francois COLONNA – hhtp://

Once again, theory indicates that the energy coming from interactions between quarks and gluons accounts for the excess mass (thanks to Einstein's E=mc2 equation). Gluons give the strong nuclear force necessary to maintain three quarks together to form one proton or neutron. These gluons are constantly popping into existence and disappearing again and the energy of these vacuum fluctuations has to be included in the total mass of the proton and neutron.

This strong nuclear interaction is very well known, it's described by the equations of QCD (Quantum ChronoDynamics), but there are very difficult to solve in order to obtain actual numbers. Even with the method called lattice QCD, the calculations on virtual quarks (pairs of virtual quarks and antiquarks completes the model of the quantum vacuum) involves a matrix of more than 10 000 trillions numbers and there's no computer on Earth that could store such a big matrix in its memory as told Stephan Dürr, team member of the John von Neumann Institute for Computing in Jülich, Germany. Instead of simulates a three quark proton, Dürr's team has used a two-quark proton. In order to obtains some results, a parallel computer network that can handle 200 teraflops, has been used for almost 1 year. Without the quarks, earlier simulations got the proton mass wrong by about 10%. With them, Dürr gets a figure within 2% of the value measured by experiments.

Thus, Jürr's team present a full ad initio calculation for predicting accurately the masses of protons, neutrons, and other quark based particles using lattice QCD. They suggest that QCD is the theory of the strong interaction, at low energies as well, and furthermore that lattice studies have reached the stage where all uncertainties can be fully controlled. Furthermore, this study confirms the Standard Model (thanks God!) and the fact that most of our mass comes from virtual quarks and gluons fizzing away in the quantum vacuum.

What's next? To confirm another piece of the Standard Model puzzle, that is, to confirm that the Higgs field add also a small amount of mass to individual quarks, electrons and some other particles in the form of virtual Higgs bosons. The Large Hadron Collider will search for these Higgs bosons when it starts up at the middle of 2009. If the "God particle" is not observed next months in the LHC, that will not radically change the Standard Model (it’s just a model and we can adjust it if necessary) or our vision of the Universe; but if it exists, then we could concentrate our efforts in a new vision of the matter: the supersymmetry.


Ab Initio Determination of Light Hadron Masses
S. Dürr (1), Z. Fodor (1,2,3), J. Frison (4), C. Hoelbling (2,3,4), R. Hoffmann (2), S. D. Katz (2,3), S. Krieg (2), T. Kurth (2), L. Lellouch (4), T. Lippert (2,5), K. K. Szabo (2), G. Vulvert (4).

(1) John von Neumann–Institut für Computing, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron Zeuthen, D-15738 Zeuthen and Forschungszentrum Jülich, D-52425 Jülich, Germany.
(2) Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Gaussstrasse 20, D-42119 Wuppertal, Germany.
(3) Institute for Theoretical Physics, Eötvös University, H-1117 Budapest, Hungary.
(4) Centre de Physique Théorique (UMR 6207 du CNRS et des Universités d'Aix-Marseille I, d'Aix-Marseille II et du Sud Toulon-Var, affiliée à la FRUMAM), Case 907, Campus de Luminy, F-13288, Marseille Cedex 9, France.
(5) Jülich Supercomputing Centre, FZ Jülich, D-52425 Jülich, Germany.


January 24, 2009

About this blog


Yeah, another blog... because 175,000 new blogs every day is not enough... Not enough for me and Zopenco. There are so many blogs that probably you will never comes here to read this words, or maybe you will arrive accidentally because you typed "Zestfully" in Google. In that case, just let me tell you that you are welcome, that you will learn a little more about Science, Physics, Mathematics and Technology. That's the final goal of this blog, but we are not only Nerds, we love music also, we love Star Wars and Science Fiction. So one day you will probably find a post about advanced propulsion concepts but next day you will read a music post or a post related to our favorites movies. Anyway, in this blog you will find maybe some interesting articles, maybe not. We don't reach money, spectacular statistics or a large number of readers. We only want to post for share some of our passions, our scientific spirits and nothing more. And if you think we are a little selfish, don't worry you have another 174,999 blogs to read :-)

Just another thing, our spoken language is not the English but french and Spanish, so if you think we wrote the Shakespeare's language badly, you're right ! We're very sorry. French and Spanish friends, don't worry, we will post some articles in your spoken languages.


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