It’s the last night of the Perseids and I have yet to see a single streak of burning rock or ice or whatever falling from the edge of space!

Artwork by Seafh.

Today marks the last night the Earth passes through the debris of the comet Swift-Tutle and I haven’t seen a single shooting star to wish upon – not that I believe in wishes anyway. The problem is that I live in a city that literally glows with lights all over! Star-gazing is a hobby you can never enjoy in Riyadh! I have seen comets and the Milky Way back home in the Philippines when I was a kid but I have yet to see a meteor shower. I was hoping this year’s Perseids would be it but I was wrong. I guess I have no choice but to wait for next year or the one after that. I might just schedule my next vacation to have a chance at seeing and photographing a meteor shower. Damn I wish I lived in a place where I can watch the stars without the obstruction of city lights!

 

Curiosity rover is going through a “brain transplant”

Mars Science Laboratory

Curiosity is currently updating her smarts with a new version of its software optimized for its surface mission. The software will be installed on her redundant computers which started last August 10 and will complete on August 13. One key capability in the update is image processing to detect obstacles in her path. NASA dubs it a “brain transplant” which seems appropriate. I can’t wait for the next set of information and images from Mars but until the update is complete I should wait patiently.

Read more about the update at NASA’s press release.

Update: Oops! Forgot the title! My bad!

Samsung Galaxy S III and iPhone 4S gets “dragged behind a car” scratch test

I find it such a waste to drag two brand spanking new devices at the back of a car just to scratch test them. They should have just given me the devices instead so that I could review them. I expected the results but it still makes me sad. Really makes me sad. I guess there are some people who has some cash to spare for such a test…

On another note, that guy must keep his blood pressure in check! Hahaha!

Pulse finally has a web app, plays best with Internet Explorer 10

Pulse web app interface

One of the apps I first used on my Galaxy Tab was Pulse and I loved it. It allowed me to view my favorite tech news site updates with ease. Later on I learned more about Pulse and learned that I could add custom feeds as well. I started feeding it my favorite anime fansub sites so that I could get updated about new episodes without viewing each site one by one on my browser which I used to do. I was hoping to write my own app to automatically update me about new episodes but my laziness got over me! Haha!

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CryENGINE 3 is mind-blowingly awesome

CryENGINE3

Crytec creates one of the most beautiful game worlds, assuming you have a graphics card that can pump all those polygons to your screen. I’ve never owned a computer powerful enough to let me enjoy Crysis (the first one even!) in full beauty and therefore didn’t bother to play it but then here comes the third installation with the third version of the graphics engine. I’m mind-blown! Anyway, videos type faster than words so here’s the video for your viewing pleasure!

The new redesigned X-48C takes first flight

Artist's conception of X-48C superimposed over a photo of Edwards Air Force Base.

Artist’s conception of X-48C superimposed over a photo of Edwards Air Force Base.

I’ll make a confession. Some people like cars. I like planes. More like, I love them, especially when it comes to planes that do not follow current design conventions like the X-48 from Boeing Phantom Works and NASA. Why? I don’t know. I just like it when people try new things perhaps.

The X-48B first flew on July 20, 2007, reaching an altitude of 7,500 ft.

The X-48B first flew on July 20, 2007, reaching an altitude of 7,500 ft.

Anyway, the X-48 is an experimental technology demonstrator aircraft that was created to test the blended-wing-body (BWB) design. BWB aircraft has a flattened airfoil shaped body, much like a flying wing albeit having a definite fuselage, that produces much of the lift with wings contributing to balance. The futuristic design of a BWB has a lift-to-drag ratio of 50% compared to conventional aircraft which contributes to increased fuel-efficiency. The wider fuselage also improves the payload capability of the airplane compared to others of the same footprint. The design is also known to be less noisy than similarly sized aircraft. Using the design for commercial aircraft may introduce challenges with layout out emergency exit routes plus less windows for passengers to view from but the planes design would be great for air freight and military purposes such as aerial refueling.

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Flooding brings chaos to the Philippines

I am from the Philippines so, even though I’m currently working in Saudi Arabia, I’m still very affected by the amount of flooding that is currently happening back home. Rain is expected to decrease by tomorrow so the water level could still rise. There have been some deaths (I’m not sure about the current numbers). Some where caused by landslides and others by drowning. I hope the rain would stop soon before more people get affected. Please pray for everyone’s well-being. Thank you.