Disney Research Zurich has won the Tell Award for most significant Swiss Technology and Innovation Investment in 2009, the Walt Disney Company, ETH Zurich and the Greater Zurich Area AG jointly announced. Receiving the Tell Award is a mark of recognition to the Los Angeles-based company for successfully launching operations of its Disney Research Centre in the Greater Zurich Area in collaboration with ETH Zurich. The Tell Award is an annual celebration of Switzerland's most significant inward investment projects. Disney Research Zurich (DRZ) is the only research lab that Disney operates in Europe.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
1. Learn How to Take Screenshots
This has been covered elsewhere but without a photo of which buttons to press. For visual reference, here's an image of which buttons to press to take a screenshot:
This capability should not be used to perform a related screenshot prank.
Monday, October 25, 2010
The conclusions that while blue, pink or patterned yellow might have positive emotional associations, when it comes to negative emotional associations "uniform color does not matter".
Which is to say white is probably OK.
And from a previous publication with N.M. Albert as the primary researcher, white might also be perceived as being more professional. All of which perhaps contribute to the question: "Should White Uniforms Be Standard for Hospital-Based RNs?"
Sunday, October 24, 2010
"Haraldsdottir, a violist, and myself, a violinist, worked on building interfaces that incorporated an accelerometer and buttons with our bows. Haraldsdottir’s controls allowed for live looping and various audio effects, and my controls consisted of real-time alteration of filter effects and varied response of color intensity in RGB LEDs (lights)."
One wonders what they could have done with a gyroscope on the violin bow...
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Turns out with some chicken broth (and some agar) you can use soil bacteria, like Streptomyces coelicolor, as a biopigment for all your educational and/or artistic projects.
For other research on biopigments, see "Biopigments from Monascus: strains selection, citrinin production and color stability" by J. Cesar de CarvalhoI, B.O. OishiI, A. PandeyII and C.R. Socco for color from fungi.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
After 11 years of drilling, yesterday at 2:17 PM the third Gotthard tunnel was pierced. 300 trains per day will travel in the 57 kilometre-long Gotthard base tunnel at 250 km/h. Freight trains will be able to carry twice the weight compared to the old tunnel.
Friday, October 15, 2010
The White House just announced the winners of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The press release can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-and-releases.
We are particularly delighted the inventors of the microprocessor are being recognized. In particular, Dr. Federico Faggin was also coinventor of the artificial retina and cofounder of Foveon. Congratulations, Federico!
You may say "water is transparent," but this is not necessarily true. Color is not a physical phenomenon, it is an illusion happening in our mind. The color of water depends on the context. For example, little air bubbles make water appear white, reflecting sky makes water appear blue, etc.
The Latin word for water is aqua. In the X11 window system this term was introduced to designate the color with RGB coordinates (0, 255, 255), or #00FFFF in hexadecimal. In the print industry the color term corresponding to this RGB value is cyan, thus in the context of computers aqua is a synonym of cyan.
We have to explicitly mention the context, because the term aqua is used also in the printing industry, where it does not refer to cyan but is short for aquamarine. Aquamarine, in turn, does not refer to sea water but to the gemstone of the same name. Its color is more greenish than cyan, in X11 exactly RGB (127, 255, 212) or #7FFFD4 in hexadecimal.
Finally, we can ask the on-line color thesaurus what crowds think aqua looks like. Crowds converge on the RGB value (66, 218, 211) or #42DAD3 in hexadecimal. This is a quite different color.
Returning to the Latin word for water, it remains in the Italian acqua, the Japanese アクア and the German aqua. A propos German, let us look up aqua in the German thesaurus:
Quell des Lebens (umgangssprachlich); blaues Gold; Wasser; das nasse Element (umgangssprachlich); kostbares Nass (umgangssprachlich); H2O (fachsprachlich); Nass
Indeed, wet it is, but it also is precious like gold, it is the blue gold, and it is the source of life.
Water, transparent but of so many different colors. And so precious.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The Egyptian pillars, that can be seen in both the slides and 3D fly-through, were first used around 1640. Thus, I'm left wondering if Newton, like Dirac 300 years later, also covertly owned a special pocket watch [2, p.10].
 The pocket watch was a very novel device in C17. Robert Hooke had a lot to do with developing the coiled spring, which improved both miniaturization and accuracy.
 J. Van Vleck, "Travels with Dirac in the Rockies," in A. Salam and. E. P. Wigner, eds., Aspects of Quantum Theory, Cambridge U. Press, 1972.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Caveat: this is about ad hoc groups, not well honed teams nor aggregations of individual contributors happening to work in adjacent cubicles.
People who are good at solving one type of brainteaser tend to excel at a variety of mental calisthenics—support, many psychologists say, for the concept of general intelligence. A study published online this week in Science extends this concept to groups of people, arguing that groups have a "collective intelligence" that predicts their performance on a range of collaborative tasks.
The researchers, led by Anita Woolley, an organizational psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University, reached this conclusion after studying 699 people working in small groups. They also investigated why some groups appear to be smarter than others. Surprisingly, the average intelligence of the individuals in the group was not the best predictor of a group's performance. The degree to which group members were attuned to social cues and their willingness to take turns speaking were more important, as was the proportion of women in the group.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
X-mas is coming up and it is time to shop for gifts. While tycoons of the financial industry like to splurge in Swiss tourbillons for $400,000 a piece, here in the Silicon Valley the Christmas bonuses are a little more modest. We were looking at the Leica M9 Neiman Marcus Edition Camera, his and hers just $35,000 for the pair. Nathan suggested that the cost might be in hand carving those 18 million pixels, but I think matching ostrich leather trim to the ostrich leather strap might be a larger cost factor.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The technical report is available here.
The raw data used in the report is available here. There were multiple requests for the data when the experiment was first posted so it has been posted here for general usage.
The result is about 2.36, which is quite close to the sRGB specification.
In some ways the result is perhaps not that unexpected. One of the anonymous manuscript reviewers pointed out that we have "just confirmed what we already know which is that most display manufacturers design their devices to have an sRGB gamma to fit into pre-existing workflows." Fair enough. But hopefully a rigorous and systematic confirmation of this common knowledge is useful nonetheless. Likewise it would also appear that most display users are presumably using some sort of sRGB workflow, at least when they surf the web.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
When I was a pupil in elementary school, there were several big steps through which we progressed, as from writing vertical bars to writing letters. The biggest step, though, was graduating from the pencil to ink. Our school tables had ink wells, carefully refilled every morning by the teacher. The writing implement was a pen with a delicate nib (later adding the redis nib for titles).
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The Automobile Association of British Columbia is betting that you would.
What they might not have appreciated fully is that, depending on the contrast with the road surface and ambient lighting, checking against the Color Thesaurus could be a good idea.