links for 2010-06-13

  • The X2 uses a coaxial main rotor system, eliminating the need for the tail rotor that typically counters the torque of a single main rotor. In place of a tail rotor, the X2 has a propeller at the back of the aircraft that generates thrust in a similar manner as a fixed-wing aircraft.
    (tags: helicopter)
  • The building's exterior is comprised of a massive arboretum – a greenhouse, which is maintained at the climatic conditions expected to be prevailing in France in 2050. The French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) operates a research centre there, growing plants from around the world to investigate which will be viable to grow when climate change's effects are starting to be felt in the country.
  • The OLPC slate may actually get made after all. Nicholas Negroponte of the One Laptop Per Child foundation has promised to get his XO-3 tablet computer into prototype form by December this year for a showing at CES in January 2011. The super-slim all-touch tablet will have a 9-inch screen and sell for just $75 (£50).
    (tags: olpc)
  • Asustek has announced, at the Computex fair in Taipei, that its next major product will be a tablet PC. Specifically, it'll be two of them — a 10-inch and a 12-inch "Eee Pad", both running slightly different editions of Windows 7. The company will also be releasing a monochrome digital notepad called the Eee Tablet.
  • Getting a book deal isn’t easy (I can personally vouch for that), and Apple is now an alternative to the traditional publisher. The company this week opened a new portal for independent authors to self-publish their books for the iBooks Store open to iPad (and soon iPhone) customers.

    Apple’s iTunes Connect program has a section where authors can self-publish their work under certain formatting requirements, MacLife first reported. Basically, the books must be made in the ePub format like the rest of the offerings in the iBooks Store.

  • Adobe has rolled out an application for the iPad that it hopes will convince print publishers to create digital magazines, and Wired helped to build it. The digital viewer technology is designed so that publishers can make interactive editions of their print titles, which work across a variety of platforms.

    The Wired Reader app, which is available now in the app store and costs £3, shows off the various features of the platform using the June issue of US Wired. It lets users see slideshows, video content, 360-degree images, and the ability to rotate content in vertical and horizontal modes. It also lets you control the magazine using pinch-to-zoom touch controls that'll be familiar to iPhone and iPad owners.

    (tags: ipad)
  • New fossils have provided a snapshot of proto-human diets during a critical evolutionary moment, when better fare helped our small-brained ancestors boost their cognitive capacity.

    Two-million-year-old bones that belonged to fish, crocodiles and turtles — aquatic animals rich in brain-fuelling fatty acids — were found together with stone tool fragments near Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

  • Follow the events of 1940 day by day and week by week, seventy years later:
    (tags: WW2)
  • People act like the worst accusation you can hurl at storytellers is "They made it up as they went along." As if having a Master Plan is the same as good storytelling. In fact, it's frequently the other way around.

    Often the best storytelling is improvisational, like jazz or chess. Whether you're talking about books, television, movies or comics, the cleverest and most fascinating stories often come out of a writer's desperation in the face of a roadblock.

  • My neighbor had a lot to say. She had a MESSAGE. She talked longer than anyone, and over everyone and through everyone. Her message, as far as I could determine, was that the internet is all about getting out there and SELLING yourself.

    “I’m a brand,” she said, every minute or so. “I’m always thinking of ways to promote my brand.” It was all brand, brand, brand, brand, brand.