The NewsDemon Blog

Newsgroup Spotlight: Astronomy Newsgroups

March 4th, 2009

The fascination to unravel the mystery of the sky has been set alongside human history since the dawn of time. The technology and progress that has been made since is accredited to the collaborative effort of many, building upon each other.

Through discussion and sharing their findings we continue to discover new aspects of our expanding universe.

Usenet hosts a variety of newsgroups that cater to the discussion of astronomy. Designated groups ranging from amateur astronomy newsgroups to astronomical research are covered on Usenet.

Other newsgroups, such as the Hubble Telescope newsgroup that was in recent news of being in peril due to the debris from a destroyed satellite as well as Planetary and Planetarium newsgroups cover other aspects of astronomy as they cover a variety of glimpses inside our galaxy and universe.

By way of these discussions and discoveries by communities like these we can continue to anticipate new discoveries to be made.

Below are some other newsgroups related to Astronomy you may be interested in with a Usenet account:

Flexible Image Transport System (sci.astro.fits)

Miscellaneous (sci.astro)
























CES 2009 Top 5 Best Gadgets

January 10th, 2009

The tech world’s focus shifted to Las Vegas from January 8th through the 11th as the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show kicked off. Expectantly, a parade of shiny, tiny, and wireless gadgets from CES exhibitors–including a 3G watch-phone from LG Electronics, a wafer-thin Samsung TV that’s 6.5 millimeters thick, and an emphasis on emerging fields such as environmentally friendly green technologies and Wi-Tricity, a technology that allows wire-free power charging of small devices.

As CES 2009 comes to a close, exhibitors presented some fantastic new products coming out throughout the year. Our top 5 favorites we’re watching are:

The Palm Pre – The Palm Pre goes well beyond updating the stale Palm OS platform, and brings an entirely new interface and hardware paradigm in the form of the Palm WebOS. The WebOS is a jewel of a touchscreen interface, and it includes some interesting synchronization options to allow users to seamlessly navigate between corporate mail, personal e-mail on Google as well as social networking on Facebook. The Palm Pre hardware itself packs all the high-end features you’d expect from a modern smartphone, all in a slim, rounded design

Ultra-thin TVs –  As expected, CES 2009 is awash with ultra-skinny TVs. All the top brands – Samsung, Phillips, Sharp and Sony – represented their own versions of their waife tvs.

Dishwasher-Safe Gadgets –  Seal Shield’s line of dishwasher-friendly gadgets and computer peripherals featured at CES 2009 is another collection that is long overdue. Not only are all of the products in the Seal Shield line boast antimicrobial properties, they come with a three-year warranty. Keyboards and mice come in both wireless and corded forms, and there are two remotes from which to choose. All are guaranteed to be waterproof and can even be tossed in the dishwasher to clean. Seal Shield keyboards and mice are meant for hospital settings, but I think they’re perfect for bloggers, students, gamers, and Internet fiends.

Next-Gen GPS – Ford showed off what its SYNC system might one day look like at the 2009 CES in Las Vegas. The video demos configurable controls and a personal assistant “avatar” named Eva. This is definitely targeted to a female marketplace, which is smart given the fact that women participate in a whopping 80% of purchases for all goods and services.Ford and Microsoft’s 3.0 version of Sync, due to be in every Ford by 2011, gives users true hands-free control of their phones. In addition to making hands-free calls over a Bluetooth connection, Sync can manipulate any smartphone applications compatible with it. So if your phone maker got on board with Sync’s open API, you could, for instance, have your new email read to you (in that reassuring GPS lady voice), get feed updates, or have anything else voiced out for you. For anyone who’s been tempted to geek while driving, it’s also a safety upgrade. Speaking of Microsoft products..

Windows 7 – Windows 7 is going to be big in 2009. From the millions of early adopters who’ll try out the public beta to the monumental Microsoft marketing machine that will continue to drive the point home – there will be no escape. Windows 7 already looks like it will be a lot better than Vista.


Newsdemon Usenet and Internet Activity Increases Brain Power

December 1st, 2008

Searching the Internet exercises the brains of older people by activating their neural circuitry, says UCLA’s Memory & Aging Research Center.

Internet searches activate regions in the brain that control complex reasoning and decision making, the Center found in a nine-month study of 24 neurologically normal volunteers, with similar education levels, ages 55 to 76.

The test subjects showed richer sensory experience and heightened attention when conducting Internet searches, as opposed to reading book-like text on computers, said Gary Small, the Center’s director, noting the brain activity was recorded in MRI results.

Not enough research yet exists to show whether Internet use can ward off dementia, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday, noting Alzheimer’s cases in the United States are expected to quadruple by 2050.

Considering the simililarity in application and its sources, searching Newsgroups through Usenet is likely to cause the same reaction as well.

The Center’s findings are to be published next month in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.


Scientists ‘Use The Force’ to Combat Cancer Cells

November 23rd, 2008

A revolutionary laser which could fight cancer has been developed by British scientists.

The device, which has been compared to a Star Wars light sabre, could be routinely used on patients in NHS hospitals within the next five years, according to the researchers.

The machine – a couple of millimetres square – fires a laser beam so accurately that it can puncture a hole in an individual cell, allowing drugs to enter and do their work much more effectively.

Drug companies are often confounded by the problem that it can be easy to get a medicine into the body by injection or pill – but much harder to get the drug molecules into the cells themselves.

It could mean, for example, that the cells surrounding the spot where a tumour has been removed by surgery would be holed by the device.

This would allow chemotherapy drugs to enter and kill any remaining cancer cells.

It would be particularly useful for hard-to-reach cancers such as that of the pancreas.

The team from the University of St Andrews has managed to mount the ‘light sabre’ on an optical fibre.

The next step is to develop it for use on endoscopes, the tubes used by surgeons to pass miniature cameras through the body.


Newsdemon – Star Trek XI 2009 New Trailer Released

November 17th, 2008

If you saw the new Bond movie this weekend, you probably saw the new trailer for next summer’s ‘Star Trek’ reboot. While a bootleg recording of it quickly made its way to the Web, Paramount today finally made a high-quality version available. Unfortunately, it’s hosted by Apple, which tends to not give out codes for embedding it on a page.

You can see the trailer at You want Trailer 2. (Trailer 1 was the one that was attached to ‘Cloverfield’ earlier this year.)

As Kirk and Spock, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectively seem to fill their roles well, but the idea of assembling the Enterprise on Earth seems ludicrous. The ship isn’t meant to land on planets, so wouldn’t you want to assemble all the pieces in space and zero gravity?

Technorati Profile


More Than Meets The Eye – Artist Wants Robot Eye

November 17th, 2008

Before and After?

Before and After?

Tanya Vlach a San Francisco artist who lost an eye in a 2005 car accident, wants a Web cam installed into her prosthesis. Vlach, who now wears a realistic acrylic prosthesis says she’s issued a challenge to engineers on her blog: build an “eye cam” for her prosthesis that can dilate with changes of light and allow her to blink to control its zoom, focus, and on/off switch.

“It is possible to build a wireless camera with the dimensions of the eyeball,” said Want, a senior principal engineer at Intel. “You can find spy cams or nanny cams designed to fit into inconspicuous places in the home.”

Want also saw the potential for a system like this to serve as a personal memory back-up saying, “You’d never lose anything. You could ask it, ‘Where was the last time I saw my keys?'”

Once she’s captured some content, Vlach wants the freedom to move it to a PC by Bluetooth, Firewire, USB or memory card. The eye would be powered with a wireless charger. Uploading the content to Newsgroups could be a great channel to share and communicate her content.

Vlach’s challenge, first reported by tech blogger Kevin Kelly, has inspired blog posts from around the world and e-mails to Vlach from dozens of eager engineers. We’ll be keeping an eye out for more details [sic].


Microsoft Has It’s Head In The Cloud

October 28th, 2008

Microsoft is taking another step into the world of Web-based computing with a new system it’s calling Windows Azure.

Microsoft says it’s joining and other rivals in selling information storage space and computing power “in the cloud,” distributed across massive data centers worldwide. That will let companies build Web-based programs without having to manage their own data centers.

Microsoft’s chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, described Azure to software developers at a conference in Los Angeles. Ozzie said that managing Microsoft’s own Web sites and Web-based programs has made the company adept at anticipating Web traffic spikes and knowing when to ramp up some computers and dial down others.

Want to know more about Microsoft Azure and other Microsoft news? Did you know that Microsoft has over 100 Newsgroups relating to every product they’ve released?  Check out just some of these Newsgroups as an example:


To name a few.