Home Blog Page 70

Welcome to Giant Springs State Park

The spring outlet is located in Giant Springs State Park, just downstream and northeast of Great Falls, Montana on the east bank of the Missouri River. Giant Springs was first described by Lewis and Clark during their exploration of the Louisiana Purchase in 1805.

Before that, the Blackfeet people utilized the springs as an easy-to-access water source in the winter. The springs were mostly ignored by settlers until 1884 when the town of Great Falls was established and the springs became the place for Sunday recreational activities. In the mid-1970s the park was established as a Montana State Park.

Today, some of the spring water is bottled annually for human consumption and some of the discharge is used for a trout hatchery.

The hatchery is a Montana state trout hatchery named Giant Springs Trout Hatchery and raises mostly Rainbow Trout. The spring serves as the headwaters of the 200-foot (61 m)-long Roe River, once listed as the shortest river in the world according to Guinness Book of World Records. The river flows into the Missouri River which is near the spring and borders it’s state park.

Robo-bugs are here!

World’s smallest bot takes flight.

Insect-sized robots have long held promise in the minds of sci-fi nerds.

They could poke through treacherous rubble in search-and-rescue missions, discreetly snoop on the guilty and innocent alike, and sometimes, just maybe, form into giant swarms that block out the sun and do the bidding of larger, less agile, robotic overlords.

“As far as we can tell, this is the world’s smallest flying robot,” Kevin Ma, a graduate student at Harvard’s Wyss Institute and a member of the robot team, told NBC News.

“It’s hard to argue that anything is more agile than a housefly — I think anyone who’s tried to swat one would agree,” said Rob Wood of the Wyss Institute at Harvard, and the lead researcher on the project. “This is the first controlled flight of an insect-scaled robot.”

Two mechanical muscles on the robots control the flapping and twisting motion of the wings. Previous versions of this robot would crash soon after they took off, but the most recent model has motion capture sensors and guiding algorithms that corrects its movements as it takes off.

In its current form, it’s mostly suited to help physicists and biologists study the dynamics of motion in a controlled environment. Woods estimates we’re still about 30 years away from being able to pack in the power and sensors required for a truly environment-aware robo-bug.

“This proof of concept design … gives us hope that we can develop insect-scale flying robots some day,” Vijay Kumar, professor at University of Pennsylvania who has worked with swarms of tiny quadracopters, wrote to NBC News in an email.

While bug-sized robots working individually or in giant swarms could be helpful — to serve as surrogate bees in pollination efforts, or sniff out dangerous chemicals in the atmosphere — they’d also make stealthy snoopers. This makes them a favorite target of privacy activists who frequently bring up stealthy miniature bots in discussions about technology and privacy.

“Presumably at some point you could have one the size of a mosquito that has a battery that operates for weeks and you could have the mosquito following you around and not be aware of it,” Al Franken, D-Minn, said. “God help us if an adolescent boy gets hold of one of these.”

It’s not just adolescent boys who dream of robo-insects. Sci-fi movies are full of them. There are the spidery critters that chase Tom Cruise after his eyeball transplant in “Minority Report,” the wriggling “bug” that invades the belly button of Keanu Reeves in “The Matrix,” and the wire-tapped cockroach that gets smushed a moment too late, in the cheesy Bruce Willis favorite, “The Fifth Element.”

But battery power and sensors pose gigantic hurdles for a pea-sized robot. For one, “You have to build everything from scratch,” Wood says, as motors and actuators aren’t manufactured in their size. The engineering also gets complicated. “When you scale things down like that things flex differently and experience forces that the material reacts to differently,” said Rick Cory, a roboticist at Disney Research.

For now, the robotic fly is powered and guided by batteries and sensors that aren’t built into its body. Instead, they are tethered to control and power systems by fine copper wire. While Wood’s group is developing a sturdy body that’ll stay in the air, collaborators around the country are busy shrinking sensors. Still others are working on ways to network them for the day when they will interact as a swarm. “It’s roughly broken down into: body, brain and colony,” Wood says.

And they’re toiling towards the same goal. When the “brains” of the bot are small enough and powerful enough to be hoisted onto a tiny robot frame, Woods and his team hope to have a ready, steady, unswattable robo-fly on their hands.

Should there be a price to pay in the form of a tip, even for bad service?

By now, the workers at the La Fisherman restaurant in Houston, Texas are probably wishing they would have just let the whole thing go. But they didn’t, and now the story has been splattered all across the internet.

In case you missed it, a family went into the establishment for dinner and decided that the service they received was not worthy of the required 17% tip for parties over five. When Jasmine Marks informed the waiter that she wasn’t going to pay the gratuity, the staff responded by locking the doors and calling the police.

Is it illegal not to tip?

Marks wanted to know if it was against the law not to tip, but when the HPD arrived, even they didn’t know what to do.

In the end, Marks took the high road and paid the bill, gratuity included, just to end the stand-off.

Obviously, the folks of La Fisherman forgot that we’re living in a world of immediate and widespread news … thank you very much internet!

Regardless of who’s in the wrong, this couldn’t have been a positive PR move for the headstrong restaurant.

Rewarding bad service is a bad idea

Personally, it’s hard not to side with the consumer here. If you’re going to assume that a mandatory, predetermined tip amount is necessary, then you better make sure your service is up to that expectation.

Marks claims the wait staff messed up their orders and were rude in the process. So fine, losing track of what someone ordered is one thing , but the rudeness needs to be addressed, and most certainly shouldn’t be rewarded.

The opposition will claim that a business has the right to enforce it’s own policies, and if you don’t like it, eat somewhere else — but is that really the point?

What’s the point of tipping?

Tipping used to be defined as a social custom, and voluntary, depending on how you felt about the service provided to you.

I understand that in the present economy, those working in the customer service business are feeling the same strains that we all are feeling, and most likely, many waiters and waitresses are working for far less than they should.

The flip side is, consumers are more careful with spending, and less likely to pay for something they don’t feel is deserving of their hard earned money.

So what about the cops?

Well, although the law was unclear in Houston, the Bethlehem Township police department in Pennsylvania had a different interpretation of the law in 2006 when they arrested a couple for denying a mandatory tip due to their dissatisfaction in service.

What was the charge?

The charge was theft, but eventually the case would be dropped by the police department, but the young couple still got to experience being handcuffed and booked for their trouble.

Should there be a price to pay in the form of a tip, even for bad service?

Feel free to sound off in the comments below.

Science confirms: Don’t go to sleep angry

“Don’t let the sun set on your anger”

The old anecdotal saying that you should never go to sleep angry just got backed up by science, thanks to UMass Amherst neuroscientists. Their study concludes that if you have a negative emotional response—their examples were for viewing an unsettling picture or experiencing a traumatic event—the response is reduced if you stay awake afterwards. If you go to sleep immediately, the response is “protected,” meaning that when you are exposed to the effect again, your negative response will be just as negative as the first time.

Read more on LifeHacker

Sleep preserves and enhances unpleasant emotional memories

UMass Amherst neuroscientists Rebecca Spencer, Bengi Baran and colleagues say this response could make sense from an evolutionary point of view, because it would provide survival value to our ancestors by preserving very negative emotions and memories of life-threatening situations and a strong to incentive to avoid similar occasions in the future.

“Today, our findings have significance for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, or those asked to give eye-witness testimony in court cases,” Spencer says.

“We found that if you see something disturbing, let’s say an accident scene, and then you have a flashback or you’re asked to look at a picture of the same scene later, your emotional response is greatly reduced, that is you’ll find the scene far less upsetting, if you stayed awake after the original event than if you slept. It’s interesting to note that it is common to be sleep-deprived after witnessing a traumatic scene, almost as if your brain doesn’t want to sleep on it.” The study is reported in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Read more on Medical-Xpress

Vangelis – La Petite Fille de la Mer


Vangelis developed an interest in music at age four, composing on the family piano and experimenting with sounds by placing nails and kitchen pans inside it and with radio interference.

At six his parents enrolled him for music lessons, but Vangelis later said that his attempts to study “failed” as he preferred to develop technique on his own.

Vangelis – Ευάγγελος Οδυσσέας Παπαθανασίου

He considers himself fortunate to have not attended music school, as it impedes creativity. He learned to play from memory. “When the teachers asked me to play something, I would pretend that I was reading it and play from memory. I didn’t fool them, but I didn’t care”, said Vangelis.

Vangelis studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts.

Vangelis found traditional Greek music as particularly important in his childhood, but at twelve developed an interest in jazz and rock.

At fifteen, he started to form school bands, not to cover other musicians but to have fun. Vangelis acquired his first Hammond organ at eighteen. In 1963, Vangelis and three school friends started a five-piece rock band The Forminx (or The Formynx), playing cover songs and original material largely written by Vangelis with English lyrics by radio DJ and record producer Nico Mastorakis. After nine singles and one Christmas EP, which found success across Europe, the group disbanded in 1966.

In 1980, Vangelis agreed to record the score for Chariots of Fire (1981); he accepted because “I liked the people I was working with. It was a very humble, low-budget film.”

The choice of music was unorthodox as most period films featured orchestral scores, whereas Vangelis’s music was modern and synthesiser-oriented. It gained mainstream commercial success which increased Vangelis’s profile as a result. The opening instrumental title piece, “Titles”, later named “Chariots of Fire – Titles”, was released as a single which reached No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week after a five-month climb.