Archive for May, 2008

Crop circles

Posted on May 22, 2008. Filed under: History, Science and Technology |


Crop circles
is a term used to describe patterns created by the flattening of crops such as wheat, barley, rapeseed , rye, corn, linseed and soy.

Overview

The term was first used by researcher Colin Andrews to describe simple circles he was researching. Since 1990 the circles evolved into complex geometries, but by then the term had stuck. Examples can be found worldwide. Various hypotheses have been offered to explain their formation, ranging from the naturalistic to the paranormal. Naturalistic explanations include man-made hoaxes or geological anomalies, while paranormal explanations include formation by UFOs. Many circles are known to be man-made, such as those created by Doug Bower, Dave Chorley, and John Lundberg, and a 2000 study into circle hoaxing concluded that 80 percent of UK circles were definitely man-made.

In 1966 one of the most famous accounts of UFO traces happened in the small town of Tully, Queensland, Australia . A sugar cane farmer said he witnessed a saucer-shaped craft rise 30 or 40 feet up from a swamp and then fly away, and when he went to investigate the location where he thought the saucer had landed, he found the reeds intricately weaved in a clockwise fashion on top of the water. The woven reeds could hold the weight of 10 men.

There are also many other anecdotal accounts of crop circles in Ufology literature that predate the modern crop circle phenomena, though some cases involve crops which were cut or burnt, rather than flattened.

Crop Circle Designs

Early examples of crop circles were usually simple circular patterns of various sizes. After some years, more complex geometric patterns emerged. In general, the early formations (1970–2000) seemed to be based on the principles of sacred geometry. Later formations, those occurring after 2000, appear to be based on other principles, natural sciences and mathematics designs, including fractals. Many crop circles now have fine intricate detail, regular symmetry and careful composition. Elements of three-dimensionality became more frequent, culminating in spectacular images of cube-shaped structures.[more…]

Creators of Crop Circles

In 1991, two men from Southampton, England announced that they had conceived the idea as a prank at a pub near Winchester, Hampshire during an evening in 1976. Inspired by the 1966 Tully Saucer Nests, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley made their crop circles using planks, rope, hats and wire as their only tools: using a four-foot-long plank attached to a rope, they easily created circles eight feet in diameter. The two men were able to make a 40-foot (12 m) circle in 15 minutes.

The pair became frustrated when their work did not receive significant publicity, so in 1981 they created a circle in Matterley Bowl, a natural amphitheatre just outside Winchester, Hampshire – an area surrounded by roads from which a clear view of the field is available to drivers passing by. Their designs were at first simple circles. When newspapers claimed that the circles could easily be explained by natural phenomena, Bower and Chorley made more complex patterns. A simple wire with a loop, hanging down from a cap – the loop positioned over one eye – could be used to focus on a landmark to aid in the creation of straight lines. Later designs of crop circles became increasingly complicated.

Bower’s wife had become suspicious of him, noticing high levels of mileage in their car. Eventually, fearing that his wife suspected him of adultery, Bower confessed to her and subsequently he and Chorley informed a British national newspaper. Chorley died in 1996, and Doug Bower has made crop circles as recently as 2004. Bower has said that, had it not been for his wife’s suspicions, he would have taken the secret to his deathbed, never revealing that it was a hoax.[more…]

Paranormal Beliefs

Since appearing in the media in the 1970s, crop circles have become the subject of various paranormal and fringe beliefs, ranging from the hypothesis that they are created by freak meteorological phenomena to the belief that they represent messages from extra terrestrials.

According to material published by the BLT institute, anomalies found at some circle sites in England and the US are consistent with them having been created when localized columns of ionized air (dubbed plasma vortices/vortexes) form over standing crops. Other hypotheses attribute them to atmospheric phenomena such as freak tornadoes or ball lightning.

The location of many crop circles near ancient sites such as Stonehenge, barrows, and chalk horses has led to many New Age belief-systems incorporating crop circles; Including the beliefs that they are formed in relation to ley lines and that they give off energy that can be detected through dowsing. New Age followers sometimes gather at crop circle sites in order to meditate, or because they believe that they can use the circle in order to contact spirits.

UFOs and other lights in the sky have been reported in connection with many crop circle sites, leading to them becoming associated with UFOs and aliens. Some people claim to have seen images of UFOs forming crop circles or overflying them, though photographs have been dismissed by skeptics as being indistinct or clear hoaxes.

Scientific Analysis

In 2002, Discovery Channel commissioned 5 aeronautics and astronautics students from MIT to create crop circles of their own. Discovery’s production team consulted with crop circle researcher Nancy Talbott, who provided them with three attributes which she believed set “real” crop circles apart from known man-made circles such as those created by Doug and Dave. These criteria were:

  1. Elongated apical plant stem nodes
  2. Expulsion cavities in the plant stems
  3. The presence of 10-50 micrometer diameter magnetized iron spheres in the soils, distributed linearly

Over the course of a single night the team were able to create a stereotypical “man-made” circle which they then attempted to enhance using the three criteria. The team used lengths of rope to plot their design and trampled the wheat down in a spiral pattern using lengths of wooden board attached to loops of rope. To meet criterion 2, they constructed a portable microwave emitter; using it to superheat the moisture inside the corn stalks until it burst out as steam. To meet criterion 3 they built a device – dubbed the “Flammschmeisser” – which sprayed iron particles through a heated ring. However, the device proved to be too time consuming to use and they were forced to finish the task using a pyrotechnic charge to distribute the iron around the circle. The circle was later analyzed by graduate students from MIT, who declared it to be “on a par with any of the documented cases”. Their conclusion was later questioned by Talbott, noting that the team had only been able to recreate 2 of the 3 criteria. Talbott also expressed concerns that the iron particles were not distributed laterally. Furthermore, she felt that the team’s use of night vision headsets and other technologically advanced items would be out of reach for the average hoaxer.

The creation of the circle was recorded and used in the Discovery channel documentary “Crop Circles: Mysteries in the Fields”.

Slideshow:

Click on the slideshow and open in a new window to see original size HQ pics.

Crop circle research
Google book on Crop Circle Complexity
Crop Circle Makers
Google earth link— view the crop circles around the world

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New n Used Sports Car Reviews

Posted on May 21, 2008. Filed under: Auto |

New Sports cars Reviews:

Here are reviews of some of Consumers Guide’s favorite new sports cars:

The 2007 BMW Z4 was selected as one of Consumer Guide’s Best Buys.


Make/Model MSRP
2006 Acura RSX $20,325-23,845
2008 Audi TT $34,800-45,900
2007 BMW 6-Series $74,700-104,900
2007 BMW Z4 $36,400-52,100
2007 Cadillac XLR $78,335-97,460
2007 Chevrolet Corvette $44,250-69,175
2007 Ford Mustang $19,250-45,755
2007 Honda S2000
$34,250-34,250
2007 Jaguar XK $74,835-91,835
2007 Lexus SC 430 $65,455-65,455
2007 Mazda MX5 $20,435-27,460
2007 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class $94,800-186,000
2006 Nissan 350Z $27,650-41,000
2007 Porsche 911 $72,400-122,900
2007 Porsche Boxster $45,600-55,500
2007 Volvo C70 $39,090-39,090

Used Sports cars Reviews:

Used cars can be a great way to save money, and sports cars are no exception. However, before you hit the dealership, you should know which models hold up the best over time. Below you will find reviews and profiles to many Consumer-Guide-tested sports cars.


The BMW Z3 is a Consumer Guide pick for a reliable used car.

1991-2005 Acura NSX 2002-2006 Acura RSX 2000-2006 Audi TT 2004-2004 BMW 6 Series
1991-1997 BMW 8-Series 1996-2002 BMW Z3 2003-2006 BMW Z4 1993-2002 Chevrolet Camaro
2005-2006 Chevrolet Corvette
1995-2000 Dodge Avenger
2003-2006 Dodge Viper
2005-2006 Ford Mustang
2002-2005 Ford Thunderbird
2000-20006 Honda S2000
1997-2006 Jaguar XK8/XK
2002-2006 Lexus SC 430
1999-2005 Mazda Miata
2003-2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK
2003-2006 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
1998-2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK
2004-2006 Mazda RX-8
1999-2006 Porsche 911
2004-2006 Porsche Boxster
2003-2006 Nissan 350Z
1997-2002 Plymouth Prowler
2004-2006 Pontiac GTO
2005-2006 Scion tC
2000-2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder
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Worlds Smallest Gun

Posted on May 20, 2008. Filed under: Fun and Facts, Science and Technology |

Americans have a lasting fascination with guns. The perennially debated Second Amendment has guaranteed citizens of the United States “the right to bear arms” since 1791. And while what, exactly, that means is up for interpretation, the Amendment has never been abolished. There are federal and state laws that control guns in the U.S., however — even ones the size of an iPod nano.

Lots of guns
Harold Lloyd Trust/Getty Images
Prior to the 1920s, there were no gun control laws on the books in the U.S., a point understood by silent film star Harold Lloyd in
“An Eastern Westerner.”

It wasn’t until the 1920s that states began regulating firearms. As states passed gun laws, the federal government did, too. The National Firearms Act of 1934, the Federal Firearms Act of 1938 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 created and codified the restrictions on gun ownership in the United States [source: U.S. Department of Justice].

The relationship between gun laws and the Supreme Court has continued into the 21st century. The nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., maintains a law that bans handguns. The law is meant to prevent people from carrying easily concealed weapons. This regulation was challenged by a case before the Supreme Court in March 2008 [source: Washington Post]. But even if the court upholds the local law, it will still be a difficult task to rid the district — or any city — fully of handguns.

According to a 2006 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms report, a total of 3,614,452 handguns, rifles and shotguns were manufactured in the United States that year. Of those, 333,499 were exported outside of the country [source: ATF]. The United States certainly provides a major market for gun manufacturers. In 2005, the U.S. imported 1.84 million guns from overseas for sale — in addition to those made in America [source: U.S. Census]. As a result, there are more than 200 million guns in the U.S., and the nation has 44 million registered gun owners [source: The Globalist]

But there’s one gun that won’t likely show up in America. It’s been recorded as the smallest gun in the world. While its bullets only travel just over the length of a football field, because of its small size, the gun is illegal to import into the United States [source: Daily Mail].


The SwissMiniGun

According to Guinness World Records, the title of the smallest working revolver in the world goes to the Miniature Revolver C1ST, manufactured by SwissMiniGun [source: Daily Mail]. The tiny firearm measures just more than 2 inches and weighs less than 1 ounce. It fires bullets made by SwissMiniGun that are 2.34 mm caliber, rim fire cartridges and come as either blank rounds (which don’t produce a bullet) or live rounds (bulleted) [source: SwissMiniGun].

The SwissMiniGun.
Courtesy SwissMiniGun
The SwissMiniGun Miniature Revolver C1ST

Only a very small number of the guns have been produced since they were first manufactured in 2005. They’re largely collectors’ items. About 300 have been made — this tiny gun carries a big price tag. The standard steel C1ST model goes for around $6,200, and the company has been creating only 100 of them per year [source: SwissMiniGun].

There’s also a customized version of the revolver — the Nr. A1YG — made of 18k gold. The higher-end model can be outfitted with all manner of grips, from ebony to diamonds. This version comes complete with a tiny rocket launcher attachment, which fires luminescent rockets that explode in green, white or red. The company has fetched up to almost $60,000 for a custom Nr. A1YGs [source: Daily Mail].

The novelty SwissMiniGun will likely never be mass produced. The detail that goes into each one and the high cost prohibit widespread manufacturing. But that hasn’t kept concern among some law enforcement quarters from growing. The company says it can’t ship its firearms to the United Kingdom, and the guns are banned in the United States. The U.S. federal gun laws outlaw any working firearm with a barrel less than 3 inches long [source: Daily Mail]. This is greater than the entire length of the SwissMiniGun.

One reason the guns are outlawed in the U.S. is due to the small size of their bullets. Firing a cartridge essentially smashes the bullet, making it impossible to trace using ballistics investigation [source: WTVJ]. The SwissMiniGun is also small enough that it fits completely in the palm of the average adult’s hand, rendering it highly concealable — its holster even has a key chain ring on the end. This makes some federal agencies nervous: U.S. laws prohibit any firearm that can’t be detected at airports [source: ATF].

While Paul Erad, the owner of SwissMiniGun is complying with laws that prohibit him from selling the guns to these countries’ citizens, you could say he’s incredulous. In one interview he cited post-Sept. 11 “paranoia” as the reason for America’s unwillingness to import the guns [source: Daily Mail]. The official SwissMiniGun site points out that some pellet guns pack as much as 10 times the wallop of the tiny revolver.

The SwissMiniGun’s 2.34mm-caliber ammunition travels just under 400 feet per second. Its bullets pack a punch of about 0.71 foot pound of energy [source: SwissMiniGun]. By contrast, the Remington 300 Ultra Mag round carries 4,220 foot pounds of energy with it [source: Remington].

On the other hand, according to the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, it takes at least one foot pound of force to inflict a penetrating wound, like a gunshot injury. Anything less (like the force delivered by SwissMiniGun cartridges) “is incapable of penetrating even vulnerable parts of the body, such as the eye” [source: House of Commons]. But ballistic experts claim that even when fired at close range, a projectile with less than a foot pound of force can still penetrate the skin — especially the eye.

These statistics aren’t convincing U.S. authorities to lift the ban on the SwissMiniGun, though. One airport security official told Miami’s NBC 6 station, “I think anything that shoots a projectile is dangerous” [source: WTVJ].

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The 3 mistakes of my life

Posted on May 19, 2008. Filed under: Books |


Chetan Bhagat the biggest-selling English-language novelist in India’s history is back with his new book ‘The 3 mistakes of my life“-based on real events, from the bestselling author of “Five Point Someone” and “One Night @ the call centre”, comes another dark, witty tale about modern India..The book was released in May 2008.

On a saturday morning, an author in singapore received an email. It started like this.

Dear sir, This email is a combined suicide note and a confession letter.

This mail came from a boy in Ahmedabad.

He said he had made some mistakes in his life and could not find a reason to live.

He said he was popping a sleeping pill every time he finished typing a sentence.

The mail had nineteen full stops.

The
3 mistakes of my life-A story about business . cricket . religion


Synopsis

In late-2000, a young boy in Ahmedabad called Govind dreamt of having a business. To accomodate his friends Ish and Omi’s passion, they open a cricket shop. Govind’s wants to make money and thinks big. Ish is all about nurturing Ali, the batsman with a rare gift. Omi knows his limited capabiltiies and just wants to be with his friends. However, nothing comes easy in a turbulent city. To realize their goals, they will have to face it all – religious politics, earthquakes, riots, unacceptable love and above all, their own mistakes. Will they make it? Can an individual’s dreams overcome the nightmares offered by real life? Can we succeed despite a few mistakes?


Q & A with Chetan

What is ‘3’ about?
3 is short for the ‘The Three mistakes of my life’. It is a story about three boys who start a business in Ahmedabad. The main protagonist Govind makes three mistakes in his life. I really don’t want to reveal more, though I have provided an excerpt.


Why is it called 3?

There are so many links to the number 3 that it became the obvious choice for the name. Apart from the story being of three boys and the protagonist making three mistakes, the book has three main themes – business, cricket and religion. What’s also fascinating is that the number 3 resembles ‘Om’, representing religion and when written in roman numerals resembles a set of cricket wickets, tying in with the theme of the book.

And of course, it is my third book.


The IITs first, then call centers, what is it this time?

This time it is business. I found the spirit of entrepreneurship in Gujarat fascinating and thought the country should know about it.
However, I’ve written a more universal story this time and not targeted one particular set of people. My audience is pan-Indian now, and I wanted to write a story that is relatable to all.


What style is the book written in?

It is written in the style that comes naturally to me, which is in a light hearted manner with some dark themes in the background. I can’t write any other way.


So even though we have business, cricket and religion – there is other stuff, romance for instance?

Yes absolutely. The book is a lot of fun and the love story this time is easily the best one of my three books. I’d love to share more but I don’t want to take away the fun of reading the book.


How are the films based on the books coming along? What is your involvement with these films and Bollywood in general?

My involvement in Bollywood is related to writing projects, mostly related to the adaptations of my books or select, exciting straight-to-script projects.

I am currently involved with four films:

i) ‘Idiots’, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor will go on the floors in June 2008. Inspired by ‘Five Point Someone’, this will be directed and scripted by Rajkumar Hirani who has also added his own take on the story.

ii) ‘Hello’, starring Salman Khan, Sharman Joshi, Katrina Kaif, Gul Panag and others is in post production. Directed by Atul Agnihotri, the film is based on ‘One night @ the call center’ and will release in June 2008. I’ve done the screenplay and dialogues for this film.

iii) There are some talks on for the film adaptation of ‘3’, though I haven’t finalized anything yet. More details will come in the following months.



Five point someone-what not to do at IIT
-know more about this book here

One night @ call centre-know more about this book here

For Chetan Bhagat’s Official site click here

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Ten Alien Encounters Debunked!!

Posted on May 19, 2008. Filed under: History, Science and Technology |

With alien encounters, we find that often an explanation lies not necessarily in the skies but in our minds. Humans are pattern-seeking creatures, and our brains try desperately to make sense of things we don’t immediately recognize. Often we are correct in our assessments of what we see and experience, but many times we simply misperceive, misunderstand, or misremember.

Those who claim to encounter aliens and see UFOs are sometimes ridiculed as crazy, but in fact we are all hardwired with the same fallible brains. While some people seek out the skeptical or scientific explanations, others decide that since they can’t explain something, no one else can either, and therefore that experience is mysterious or inexplicable.

So with that, here are 10 alleged alien encounters—those brushes with aliens (or supposed aliens) that have been definitively debunked over the years.

Benjamin Radford

THE TEN ENCOUNTERS STARTIN FROM 10


Alien Engineers

Story/Myth
Science can’t explain how the Great Pyramids of Egypt were constructed; because they are so precisely aligned and designed, aliens must have had a role in creating them thousands of years ago.
The Real Story
While many people assume that those living in earlier times (such as the ancient Egyptians) were not resourceful enough to possibly have created impressive engineering feats without extraterrestial aid, this is not true. Actually, the methods by which the pyramids could have been constructed are well documented, and have appeared in many places including National Geographic magazine and Mark Lehner’s book The Complete Pyramids. The only real mystery surrounding the pyramids is why anyone would still think aliens were involved.

Cattle Mutilations

Story/Myth

When alien visitors are not abducting people or implanting things in them , or making circles in crops , they butcher cattle, either for research purposes or perhaps sadistic amusement. Since the 1970s, hundreds of animal corpses have been found with unusual or inexplicable features, including being drained of blood and having their organs removed with “surgical precision.”
The Real Story
Livestock predation has plagued ranchers and farmers for millennia, but it wasn’t until the last few decades (during the public’s peaking interest in UFOs) that anyone thought to attribute the deaths to aliens. Research has shown that the “mysterious” features are in fact quite ordinary and are caused by natural decay processes and scavenger attacks. Curiously, exactly the same phenomena has been attributed to not only aliens but also to Satanic cults and the dreaded chupacabra creature of Hispanic folklore.

Area-51

Story/Myth
Area 51 is where the U.S. government stores and studies extraterrestrial bodies and aircraft, including the unfortunate (and apparently poorly-trained) alien pilots that crashed in Roswell. Some even say that it is an officially-sanctioned landing base for spaceships.
The Real Story
The simple fact of the matter is that the public doesn’t really know much about what goes on at the military base near Groom Dry Lake, Nevada (popularly but not officially called Area 51). It is a top secret military base, and there are of course perfectly legitimate government and military reasons for keeping the base’s purposes secret that have nothing to do with aliens or UFOs; 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl suggested that the area may be a dumping ground for toxic waste. There’s no reason to think that anything alien is going on there, but where there is secrecy, there will be conspiracy.

Crop Circles

Story/Myth
Aliens are the most likely explanation for the mysterious circles and other designs that occasionally appear in farmers’ fields. They are some sort of sign or message that humans have not yet deciphered.
The Real Story
Despite films like Signs, there is no evidence that crop circles are made by alien intelligences. Hoaxing is by far the best explanation for crop circles—far more so than aliens who supposedly travel across the vast universe to reach Earth, only to flatten wheat in rural English and American farms as some sort of information. (You’d think that aliens with superior intelligence would realize their messages aren’t getting through, and be a little more direct.)

Face on Mars

Story/Myth
Proof that intelligent alien life exists in the universe can be found on Mars—or so claims Richard Hoagland, author of the book The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever. According to Hoagland, NASA photographs of the Cydonia region of Mars show a human-like face. According to Hoagland, this must have been constructed by intelligent beings and indicates that there are (or were) alien cities on Mars.
The Real Story
The “Face on Mars” is an example of imagination and wishful thinking. The photographs that show an area vaguely resembling a face on Mars were taken by the Viking 1 Orbiter in 1976. Since then, far better photographs have been taken of Mars (for example, by the Mars Global Surveyor in 1998). They show that the area is heavily eroded, and the “face” was simply a combination of low image resolution and tricks of light and shadow.

The Alien Autopsy Film

Story/Myth
The 1947 “Roswell Incident” got a boost of credibility in 1995 when a grainy, black-and-white film surfaced. The top-secret film (shot by the military and showing a post-mortem dissection of an alien body) was touted as evidence of what some UFO buffs had claimed all along: that alien bodies had been recovered by the U.S. government.
The Real Story
Soon after the alien autopsy footage was broadcast on Fox television, serious doubts were raised about the authenticity of the film. Skeptics (and even many UFO researchers) branded the film a hoax, pointing out anachronisms and inconsistencies in the film. Yet because the Roswell story is so short on evidence, others clung to the autopsy footage as real. Earlier this year, the special effects artist who created the alien confessed that it was in fact a hoax.

Flying Saucers

Story/Myth
On June 24, 1947, the modern UFO era began when a man named Kenneth Arnold saw nine “flying saucers” moving at high speed near Mount Rainer, Washington. Soon others began reporting seeing similar UFOs, spawning a “flap.”
The Real Story
The phrase “flying saucer,” so familiar to Americans and UFO buffs, is the result of a reporter’s error. After interviewing Arnold about his sighting, a reporter from the Eastern Oregonian newspaper reported that Arnold saw round, aerial objects (in fact he said they were “crescent shaped”). Arnold stated that the objects “flew erratic, like a saucer if you skip it across the water”—not that what he saw resembled an actual saucer. Yet that “saucer” interpretation stuck, prompting many eyewitnesses to repeat (and hoaxers to duplicate) Arnold’s nonexistent description. This strongly shows the role of suggestion in UFO sightings; as skeptic Marty Kottmeyer asks, “Why would extraterrestrials redesign their craft to conform to [the reporter’s] mistake?”

Alien Implants

Story/Myth
As part of nefarious experiments, aliens have implanted various objects in human abductees. Victims have found small foreign objects in their bodies and come to realize they had been abducted. Several alien implants have been recovered, and when they are scientifically tested, they are found to be indestructible or of materials not found on Earth.
The Real Story
Joe Nickell, a columnist for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, noted that “Since 1994 alleged implants have been surgically recovered but they’ve become remarkably diverse: one looks like a shard of glass, another a triangular piece of metal, still another a carbon fiber, and so on. None was located in the brain or nasal cavity, instead being recovered from such extremities as toe, hand, shin, external ear, etc.; some were accompanied by scars while others were not. As physicians know, a foreign object can enter the body unnoticed, as during a fall, or while running barefoot in sand or grass—even as a splinter from a larger impacting object.” People find all sorts of weird things in their bodies, but so far none are of alien origin.

Alien Abductions

Story/Myth
Hundreds of people claim to have been abducted by aliens, especially during in the 1980s. They were subjected to rape, experiments and implantations (see number 3), and other bodily intrusions. Several prominent researchers, including Harvard’s John Mack, supported the claims and wrote books about these victims.
The Real Story
There may be several causes of the alien abduction experience. Many of these experiences are only recovered years later, during psychological treatment for other issues. Research has proven that false memories can be created in the course of therapy by careless psychologists. People can actually come to believe they were abducted or abused when they were not. Other researchers have shown that a common psychological process called sleep paralysis may be misinterpreted as an alien abduction.

The Rosewell Incident

Story/Myth
The most famous UFO crash in history occurred in 1947, on a ranch just outside of Roswell, a dusty New Mexican town. Mysterious debris and alien bodies were recovered, spirited away in a government cover-up.
The Real Story
There was indeed a cover-up of what crashed outside Roswell, but authorities were hiding not a crashed alien saucer but a weather balloon from a secret spy program called Project Mogul. The debris described by the original eyewitnesses exactly matches the balloons used in the program; the fanciful stories of alien bodies did not appear until much later. The Roswell Incident was in fact only one of many similar (and clearly folkloric) stories of crashed vessels containing alien bodies and debris—some dating back nearly 100 years earlier.

source:space.com

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Could Salt Water Fuel Cars?

Posted on May 18, 2008. Filed under: Auto |

You may have heard about an invention created by a 63-year-old named John Kanzius that claims to create an alternative fuel out of salt water. Through sheer serendipity, Kanzius, a former broadcast engineer, found out something incredible — under the right conditions, salt water can burn at high temperatures.

salt water burning
Image courtesy WPBF-TV
Yes, you’re seeing water burn.

Kanzius’ journey toward surprise inspiration began with a leukemia diagnosis in 2003. Faced with the prospect of debilitating chemotherapy, he decided he would try to invent a better alternative for destroying cancerous cells. What he came up with is his radio frequency generator (RFG), a machine that generates radio waves and focuses them into a concentrated area. Kanzius used the RFG to heat small metallic particles inserted into tumors, destroying the tumors without harming normal cells.

But what does cancer treatment have to do with burning salt water?

During a demonstration of the RFG, an observer noticed that it was causing water in a nearby test tube to condense. If the RFG could make water condense, it could theoretically separate salt out of seawater. Perhaps, then, it could be used to desalinize water, an issue of global proportions. The old seaman’s adage “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink” applies inland as well: Some nations are drying up and their populations suffering from thirst, yet the world is 70 percent ocean water. An effective means of removing salt from salt water could save countless lives. So it’s no surprise that Kanzius trained his RFG on the goal of salt water desalinization.

During his first test, however, he noticed a surprising side effect. When he aimed the RFG at a test tube filled with seawater, it sparked. This is not a normal reaction by water.

Kanzius tried the test again, this time lighting a paper towel and touching it to the water while the water was in the path of the RFG. He got an even bigger surprise — the test tube ignited and stayed alight while the RFG was turned on.

News of the experiment was generally met with allegations of it being a hoax, but after Penn State University chemists got their hands on the RFG and tried their own experiments, they found it was indeed true. The RFG could ignite and burn salt water. The flame could reach temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and burn as long as the RFG was on and aimed at it.

But how could salt water possibly ignite? Why don’t careless litterbugs who flick lit cigarette butts into the sea set the whole planet aflame? It all has to do with hydrogen. In its normal state, salt water has a stable composition of sodium chloride (the salt) and hydrogen and oxygen (the water). But the radio waves from Kanzius’ RFG disrupt that stability, degrading the bonds that hold the chemicals in salt water together. This releases the volatile hydrogen molecules, and the heat output from the RFG ignites them and burns them indefinitely.

So will our cars soon run on salt water instead of gasoline?


Hurdles to Overcome:-

Since the oil crisis of the 1970s revealed the danger of our dependence on fossil fuels, chemists, engineers, physicists and charlatans alike have tried to come up with alternatives. In this search, John Kanzius is not the first to come up with water as a potential fuel. In 2006, a company out of Clearwater, Fla., called Hydrogen Technology Applications debuted Aquygen, a gas made up of hydrogen separated from water through an electrical shock. This hydrogen gas, when mixed with regular gasoline, creates a more efficient fuel than gasoline alone by burning what is normally emitted as waste and using it for power. HTA’s president, Denny Klein, claims the mixture improves gas mileage by as much as one-and-a-half times and reduces pollution [source: World Net Daily].

Klein created a hybrid vehicle out of a 1994 Ford Escort. This vehicle used electricity from the alternator to create the impulse needed for hydrogen separation. It then sent the gas into the fuel tank for mixing. But while the hydrogen gas produced was fuel-efficient, it was also highly volatile, meaning it could easily explode.

There is another design flaw in Aquygen, one that it shares with the Kanzius RFG. Both struggle with the energy input to energy output ratio — or efficiency. This huge stumbling block causes many to view inventions like Aquygen and the RFG as useless science. While the RFG produces a hydrogen flame that burns stably, the amount of energy it puts out is less than the amount of energy needed to power the RFG. In this sense, any energy that comes out of the salt-water flame cannot be considered a source of power. It’s just a manifestation of the energy being put into it, only in a lesser amount. This makes it unlikely that the RFG could produce a real, viable source of fuel.

ship in ocean
Corey Davis/Getty Images
It’s possible that someday the salt water that carries ships laden with
fuel sources like coal will be a fuel source itself.

Just about any electrical or chemical process puts out some kind of energy, for example, in the form of heat. In power sources, the goal is to create more energy than is used in the process. Once you consider how few sources of energy can produce more energy than their process requires, the difficulty of such a quest, and the maddening frustration that accompanies it, becomes clearer. It’s a little like alchemy — the quest to turn ordinary metals into precious ones.

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­ But it’s encouraging that Penn State chemists experimenting with the RFG discovered that Kanzius’ process produces different amounts of heat energy from different salt water concentrations. Perhaps the answer to the energy ratio lies in the amount of salt. Another hopeful sign is that the process doesn’t require sea water; it works with salt added to fresh water, too. If we use salt water as fuel in the future, landlocked nations wouldn’t find themselves battling coastal countries for it.

–> Like Isaac Newton and his falling apple, or Alexander Fleming and his accidental penicillin spores, John Kanzius stumbled onto his discovery. But unlike Newton and Fleming, Kanzius is yet to be validated by history. Until the energy input versus output ratio can be overcome — if, indeed, it can — Kanzius’s exciting discovery will remain just that: an exciting discovery. But with a major university behind it, Kanzius’s RFG isn’t down for the count. The RFG’s inventor can also look forward to further research into other applications for his machine.

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Premonitions n some famous Prophesies

Posted on May 18, 2008. Filed under: History, Science and Technology |

Premonition refers to a situation when future events are foreknown or forecast. They are attributed by some people to the presence of supernatural or paranormal abilities. However, the distinction between precognition and ordinary evidence-based predictions is sometimes not made sharply. “Premonition” may be defined to include or exclude ordinary predictions, and this means a fallacy of linguistic ambiguity can lead to an overly supernatural explanation for the accuracy of predictions.

The phenomenon is characterized by such sensations as anxiety, uneasiness, a vague feeling of disquiet suggesting impending disaster to actual visual or auditory hallucinations. Premonition is sometimes referred to as a “gut-level” feeling. The sensation tends to occur prior to disasters, accidents, deaths and other traumatic and emotionally charged events.

The sensation of premonition may be considered precognition at times because there is no clear-cut line between them. However, generally premonitions are sense-oriented, dominated by a syndrome of physical uneasiness, depression, or distress that is without discernible source or reason. It is an unexplainable feeling that “something is going to happen.” Precognition, on the other hand, is more precise, involving visions or dream of the event that is to occur in the future.

For some investigators premonitions can include actions of patients and individuals in magnetic and mediumistic trances who prophesy that their malady or some terrible event, to them, will occur within a certain period of time, and may subconsciously wish to fulfill that prophecy. It might be question whether the similar phenomena might occur in a veridical dream or hallucination. This is theorized on the conclusion that a post-hypnotic person generally weaves his action into the surrounding circumstances, even though the very moment of its performance may have been fixed months before. Therefore this raises the possibilities that fulfillment of dreams and hallucinations might be suggested through telepathic communication to a person from another agent, which may not be far-fetched or impossible.

Another consideration is coincidence. The dream or hallucination of an event could possible coincide with the incident. Also, it is possible that impressions, whether they remain vague forebodings or are embedded in dreams, must at times be subconscious inferences drawn from an actual, if obscured, perception of existing facts. Such premonitions are by no means to be disregarded. However, frequently premonitions, no matter how impressive, prove to be absolutely groundless, where a ghostly visitant issues the warning.

In 1948, the prominent Soviet psychic Wolf Messing traveled to Ashkhabad to give some demonstrations of his abilities. Prior to his performances as he walked the streets of that city he was seized with a terrible dread and an intense desire to leave as soon as possible. He canceled his performances, the only time he did so in his life, and left. Three days later a massive earthquake leveled Ashkhabad, killing 50,000 people. Messing’s premonition saved his life; however, he had no specific forewarning of the earthquake.

On October 21, 1966, twenty-eight adults and 116 children were killed when a landslide of coal waste tumbled down a mountain in Aberfan, Wales, and buried a school. According to three surveys taken afterwards up to two weeks before the disaster about two hundred people experienced both premonitions and precognitions. The premonitions included depression, a feeling that “something bad” was going to happen (some people accurately pinpointed the day), sensations of choking and gasping for breath, uneasiness, and impressions of coal dust, billowing black clouds, and children running and screaming.

Premonitions occurring in a waking state are more predominant that those that occur in dreams because in the latter they are frequently disguised as symbols, and tend to go unnoticed. However, when theses symbols frequently reappear in dreams, the individual may learn to recognize distinguishing symbols or emotional tones.

Premonitions can give early intuitive warnings that occur frequently but are too subtle to register on the conscious mind. Some of these intuitive warnings apparently register on the subconscious and cause the person to unknowingly alter his plans, which some evidence indicates. In the 1960 W. F. Cox examined passenger loads on trains involved in accidents between 1950 and 1955. By comparing the number of passenger on the train the day of the accident to the number of passenger on the same train for the preceding seven days, the preceding fourteenth day, and the twenty-eighth day, he found that on some accident days, but not all, there was a dramatic decrease in passengers. One example was the Chicago & East Illinois Georgian, it just had nine passengers on the accident day of June 15, 1952; whereas five days before it carried a more typical sixty-two passengers. Cox concluded that many of those intending to travel the disaster-bound trains had unconsciously altered their plans or missed the trains by being late.

A the similar or same factor may relate to doomed ships. The Titanic carried only fifty-eight percent of its passenger load on its disastrous maiden voyage when colliding with an iceberg in April 1912. A group of twenty-two stokers were late and the captain declared the ship would sail without them, a fact which may have saved their lives. The psychiatrist Ian Stevenson recorder more than nineteen incidents of premonitions and precognitions concerning the Titanic in England, America, Canada, and Brazil, which occurred within the two weeks prior to the ship’s sailing date of April 10. Some cancelled their reservations after dreaming of the ship’s doom; others said it was bad luck to sail on the ship’s maiden voyage. Some of the survivors said they had felt uneasy but sailed anyway; the later is questionable because some sensation might have been prompted by after the fact thought.

Following the Aberfan disaster, a British Premonition Bureau was established in January 1967 to collect and screen early warnings in an effort to prevent disasters. A year later the Central Premonition Bureau was established in New York for the same purpose. Both bureaus did not progress too far because of low budgets, poor public relations, and much inaccurate information.

The functioning of premonitions is not exactly known, that is, why some people possess them while others do not. One theory is that some people are more open or prone to psychic suggestion. A cause for the diminishing of this psychic ability in people is that a larger portion of the population has become less intuitive. With the advancement of the scientific age people have began to rely less on their sensations; it is just in recent years that science is investigating the importance of human intuition and sensation

Famous Premonitions

  • Abraham Lincoln’s prophetic dream of his death and funeral, which he related to both his bodyguard and his wife mere hours before his assassination.
  • Otto von Bismarck predicted the beginning of the First World War, by saying (shortly before he died in 1898) to Mr. Ballen: “If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans” . Note that this is a good example of a premonition that could easily be due to a good intuitive understanding of politics, rather than being precognitive.
  • The novelist Mark Twain predicted that Halley’s Comet would be seen on the day of his death, just as it was when he was born. Twain died weeks before Halley’s 1910 appearance on May 18th.
  • The French apothecary and seer Nostradamus is also believed to have predicted his own death and the date in which his tomb would be opened.
  • Julius Caesar’s wife Calpurnia had a dream the night before he died that he would get stabbed by a friend, and she warned him not to go.

Premonition Culture

  • In the Final Destination series, the protagonist of each film has a deadly premonition of an unfortunate accident. Throughout the films, these premonitions continue in a more subtle manner, similar to fate hinting at them.
  • In the WB television series Charmed, one of the main characters, Phoebe Halliwell, has the power of premonition.
  • In the television series Supernatural, Sam Winchester has the power to see the future.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Bardock – The Father of Goku, Bardock, the parent of the main character Son Goku, is given the power of premonition. He has a premonition and sees his own death and the death of his home planet.
  • In That’s So Raven the protagonist (Raven Baxter) has a premonition in every episode.
  • In Alias (TV Series) the fictional 14th century prophet Milo Rambaldi is credited with predicting the start of events ranging from the start of World War II to the exact day that certain people will die.
  • In ABC Studios’s Lost (TV Series) the character Desmond Hume sees the death of Charlie Pace before it happens as well as other events, resulting from a near death experience while in the Swan.
  • In the 2007 movie Premonition, starring Sandra Bullock and Julian McMahon, the protagonist has premonitions, including her husband’s death.
  • In the novel series Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, one of the main characters, Alice Cullen, has the ability to see decision-based futures.
source:themystica

Further reading

Wiki link
Premonitions of 9/11
Source of Premonitions
What to do with ur Premonitions
Central premonitions Registry
Premonitions–The Movie
The study of Premonitions
Precognitions

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Astral projection

Posted on May 18, 2008. Filed under: History, Science and Technology |

Astral Projection—-Most of the people associate this word with the famous Israeli Psychedelic Trance outfit, and infact am no less either. But when I tried to understand as why their band was named after this word “Astral Projection” I learnt this…..

Astral projection (or astral travel) is a paranormal interpretation of an out-of-body experience achieved either awake or via lucid dreaming or deep meditation.


Overview

The concept of astral projection assumes the existence of another body, separate from the physical body and capable of traveling to non-physical planes of existence. Commonly such planes are called astral, etheric, or spiritual or . Astral projection is often experienced as the spiritastral body leaving the physical body to travel in the spirit world or astral plane.Astral projection is controversial. Skeptics say that there is only anecdotal evidence that anything actually leaves the body.

The Three Schools of thought

Seperation model

The separation model includes a large variety of belief systems, which say that astral projection takes place outside of the physical body. In this model, an astral or etheric body carries the consciousness outside of the physical body. Some, such as those who believe in Theosophy, say that the higher astral planes are reached through the progressive projection of subtler energy bodies from previous projected bodies, much like a Russian doll, while others believe in less complicated systems.The subtle body is attached to the physical body by means of an energetic connection which usually takes the appearance of a silver cord ‘plugging’ into the chakra system.

Phasing model

According to the phasing model, defined mainly by Robert Monroe, no “movement” actually occurs during astral projection. The astral planes and the physical world are points on the spectrum of consciousness. When a person projects, they actually “phase” into another area of consciousness and the locales it contains. This can be likened to tuning a radio to another station. The phasing model does not say that the mind is dependent on the brain, but only that our concepts of space do not necessarily apply to astral travel.

Skeptical model

This model argues that astral projection is an experience which takes place in the mind/brain of the experiencer. Thus, it is not truly a model of astral projection, but an explanation of astral projection as hallucinatory or imaginational experiences. The exact mechanisms are unknown, but experiences somewhat similar to an Out-of-body experience -though without any experience of astral planes- can be induced with drugs or brain stimulation.

The Projection Types

Astral Projection

In astral projection the traveller finds him- or herself in an apparently real domain, which has no parallel to any physical setting. This is termed by New Agers and occultists among others as the astral plane or “the astral”. Environments here may range from populated to unpopulated, artificial to natural to completely abstract environments and from beautific to horrific. Here, normal physical laws often do not apply. The quality of detail ranges from crude to vivid and fascinating. Projectors may gain access to visions of the past or future of Earth, and to the Akashic records. It has been said that space and time do not exist on the astral plane in the same way they do on earth, or that they can be transcended. Many travelers have theorized that people having dreams travel to the astral realms. Travelers have reported seeing dreamers enact dream scenarios on the astral plane, unaware of the more extensive and varied non-physical environment surrounding them. Some also claim common movements in dreams, such as falling or feeling like you are walking through quicksand, is the astral body in action. The astral environment is often divided into levels or planes. There are many different views concerning the overall structure of the astral planes, and many different numbering schemes applied to them. These planes may include heavens and hells, places where people go immediately after death, transcendent environments for those who are “more enlightened,” and other less-easily characterized states.

Etheric Projection

Though closely related to astral projection, in etheric projection a projector encounters mainly that which exists physically, moving about in a (usually invisible) etheric body. The term was used as far back as the 1940s, by Dion Fortune in her book Psychic Self Defence. In contrast to astral projection, during this type of experience, there are no fantastical worlds, or self-absorbed encounters; the majority of the experience can -hypothetically- be validated.

The world encountered during etheric projection may seem to be at variance with physical reality if strict mind control is not maintained. Robert Monroe describes this type of projection as a projection to “Locale I” or the “Here-Now”, and describes it as containing people and places that actually exist in the material world.Robert Bruce refers to a similar area as the “Real Time Zone” (RTZ) and describes it as the nonphysical dimension level closest to the physical.

In Western theosophy, each subtle body is functionally distinct. Since the etheric body and astral body are not the same, they cannot represent the same kind of psychic activity.

According to Max Heindel, the etheric “double” serves as a medium between the astral and physical realms. Ether, also called prana, is the “vital force” that empowers the Physical forms in order for change to take place. This means that when one views the physical during an OBE, they are not technically “in” the astral realm at all.

Research

Dr. Robert Crookall published case studies of astral projection in 1960. He divided these into naturally-occurring out-of-the-body experiences (people who nearly died, people who were very ill, people who were exhausted, etc, and people who were quite well) and enforced OBEs, from anaesthesia, suffocation, accidents and hypnosis.

Dr. Charles Tart tentatively concluded that etheric projection may have objective validity. For example, in a 1967 study, a subject was unable to discover a five digit number written down and placed face up in an adjoining room, but did provide some details of the activities of the technician monitoring the experiment. Tart summarizes, “Thus, there is some indication that ESP may have been involved with respect to the technician’s activities, but it is not at all conclusive.”

Robert Monroe, founder of the Monroe Institute, published several accounts of his experiences of astral projection, including Far Journeys. Monroe developed a method called “Hemi-Sync” to induce mental states that are favorable for projection. Hemisync is a method of altering brain waves using sounds, together with meditative instruction, listened to on headphones. The process is based on a concept called binaural beats.

Bruce Moen began as a student of Robert Monroe, but has developed the process of mentally exploring through ‘projection’ in such a manner as to frequently override the need for sound wave support such as Hemi-Sync.

Want to try out “The Out Of Body Experience”???

Quiet your mind. Clear your thoughts.

In your mind say:

“I’m going to count down from 3 to 1, visualizing each number on a white orb suspended in the air above my head. When I reach the third and final “1” my body will be deeply relaxed. I will have no awareness of physical sensations. I will not perceive any physical discomfort. My consciousness will be focused on my astral body.

Now visualize a white orb suspended in the air above your head. Mentally focus on the orb I visualize a number “3” on the face of the orb. The numbers can be any color. They may vary with each experience. Visualize the 3 –three times: three number “3’s” on the orb. Your body is completely relaxed. You are losing awareness of your physical body.

Then repeat the visualization with three number “2’s.” You are into greater relaxation. Now visualize the “1’s.” You are losing awareness of physical sensations. Your consciousness will be in your astral body.

Repeat this using the number “1’s” three times. Your consciousness is now in my astral body.

This could involve training of several sessions. You may also find audio tapes that take you down into these altered states as well. You getting better and faster as you go along each time.

There is no set agenda for how often you practice astral projection or any other out-of-body technique. It soon becomes fun. It is like a deep meditation.

Now the key is to remain conscious while my body is asleep. Different thoughts may pull you from your focus as the mind loves to chatter. Just push these thoughts away.

Further Reading

Astral Voyage
Skepdic
Academy Of consciousness
Astral Projection–You can do it!!
Mastering Astral projection in 90 days — Google books
Astral Pulse
spiritual.com
Out of Body Experience

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Is the XBOX most powerful gaming console…check out?

Posted on May 17, 2008. Filed under: Electronics, Entertainment |

The game consoles that are available today are never enough for video gamers; their attention is always focused on what the next great thing will be. In 2000, it was the PlayStation 2. The game console wars heated up as Nintendo unveiled its latest console, called GameCube. But the big news was that the computer software giant Microsoft entered the multi-billion dollar game console market with the Xbox.

The console is a black box with a large “X” imprinted into the top. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has said that the Xbox has more power than any console currently on the market.


Photo courtesy Microsoft
Microsoft unveiled the Xbox’s final industrial design at the 2001 Consumer Electronics Show. See more Xbox pictures.

Microsoft says that its marketing for the Xbox has been the largest effort ever for one of its products. In fact, the Xbox’s marketing budget is the largest for any game console in history, easily surpassing Sega’s $100 million campaign in 1998.

On paper, the Xbox has more brute power and speed than any game console on the market.

Inside the X

In March 2000, rumors that Microsoft was developing a game console were confirmed when Gates took the wraps off the Xbox demo unit. In January 2001, the demo model, a big chrome “X” with a green-glowing light in the middle, was replaced by a more traditional black box. As analysts predicted, the only part of the demo model to make it into the final design is the glowing green light on top of the box. The sidewinder controller pad used with the demo unit was also altered for the final Xbox design.


Photo courtesy Microsoft
The final design of the standard Xbox game pad, as shown off at the 2001 CES

A lot has been made of the Xbox’s design, but it takes more than a cool look to sell gamers on a product. Just like a book, it’s what’s inside the cover that really matters. One advantage that Microsoft has enjoyed is that it has been able to sit back and watch what other game console manufacturers have done. In doing so, Microsoft’s designers have examined what has worked and what has failed in recent game consoles.

On the inside, the Xbox is fairly similar to a PC. But Microsoft maintains that it is not a PC for your living room. There’s no mouse or keyboard to go with it. The Xbox does boast:

  • A modified 733-megahertz (MHz) Intel Pentium III processor with a maximum bus transfer rate of 6.4 gigabytes per second (GBps)

    The Xbox possesses the fastest processing speeds for a game console to date. For comparison, the PlayStation 2 has a 300-MHz processor and a maximum bus transfer rate of 3.2 GBps. The Nintendo GameCube has a 485-MHz processor and a 2.6-GB maximum bus transfer rate. See this page for a comparison of the Xbox, GameCube and PS2.

  • A custom 250-MHz 3-D graphics processor from Nvidia that can process more than 1 trillion operations per second and produce up to 125 million polygons per second

    Polygons are the building blocks of 3-D graphic images. Increasing the number polygons results in sharper, more detailed images. The graphics processor also supports high resolutions of up to 1920×1080 pixels. For comparison, the PlayStation 2 has a 150-MHz graphics processor and produces 70 million polygons per second. The GameCube has a 162-MHz graphics processor and produces 12 million polygons per second. It should be pointed out that the PlayStation 2 and Xbox figures are theoretical top speeds — it’s unlikely that your system will reach that limit. Nintendo’s figure is considered a more realistic number for its console.

  • A custom 3-D audio processor that supports 256 audio channels and Dolby AC3 encoding

  • An 8-GB built-in hard drive (Having a built-in hard drive allows games to start up faster.)

  • 64 MB of unified memory, which game developers can allocate to the central processing unit and graphics processing unit as needed (This arguably makes the Xbox more flexible for game designers.)

  • A media communications processor (MCP), also from Nvidia, that enables broadband connectivity, and a 10/100-Mbps (megabits per second) built-in Ethernet that allows you to use your cable modem or DSL to play games online

    As of November 15, 2002, the Xbox online gaming service is active. It requires a broadband connection and a $49.95 subscription to Xbox Live. Click here to learn more.

  • Other Xbox features include:
    • 5X DVD drive with movie playback (functional with addition of movie playback kit)
    • 8-MB removable memory card
    • Four custom game controller ports (one controller sold with the unit)
    • HDTV support
    • Expansion port

See this page for a detailed comparison of the features of the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube.

The Games

Game superiority ultimately decides who wins the battle in the video game console industry. You could design a machine with 10 times more power and speed than the Xbox, but, if the games stink, you can forget about selling it. Having better games is what vaulted Sony over Nintendo in the late 1990s.


Photo courtesy Microsoft
Screenshot of Project Gotham Racing for Xbox

Like the PS2, the Xbox uses proprietary 4.7-GB DVD games. Microsoft has signed deals with more than 150 video game makers who have committed themselves to developing games for Microsoft’s Xbox game console. These game developers include id Software, maker of the popular Quake series, and Eidos Interactive, which makes the Tomb Raider games featuring Lara Croft. Other Xbox game manufacturers include Bandai, Capcom, Hudson, Soft, Konami, Midway Home Entertainment, Namco, Sierra Studios, THQ and Ubi Soft. Microsoft, itself a PC game publisher, is producing about 30 percent of Xbox’s games.


Photo courtesy Microsoft
Screenshot of NFL Fever for Xbox

One of the most impressive qualities of the Xbox is its realistic environments. For example, characters cast shadows on each other, making for some pretty realistic scenes.

The momentum of the PS2 might be too much for the Xbox to overcome — but then again, in 1995, no one thought that Sony would surpass Nintendo in popularity.

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Comparing PS2 – GameCube – XBOX

Posted on May 17, 2008. Filed under: Electronics, Entertainment |

Comparing Consoles

When You Shop Here’s a Video Game System Feature Comparison chart for you to use as you research various game systems. The chart is available to you as a PDF. You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it.


Just like the world of computers, video game systems are constantly getting better. New technology developed specifically for video game systems is being coupled with other new technologies, such as DVD. Here are some system specs:

Sony PlayStation 2

  • Processor: 128-bit “Emotion Engine”
    • 300 MHz
    • Floating point unit (FPU) co-processor
    • Maximum bus transfer rate of 3.2 GB per second
    • Includes current PlayStation CPU core
  • Graphics: “Graphics Synthesizer”
    • 150 MHz
    • Embedded cache
    • 4 MB VRAM
    • 75 million polygons per second
  • Audio: SPU2 (+CPU), 48 channels, 44.1- or 48-kHz sampling rate, 2 MB memory
  • RAM: 32 MB RDRAM
  • Game medium: Proprietary 4.7-GB DVD and original PlayStation CDs
  • Drive bay (for hard disk or network inteface)
  • Controller: Two controller ports, “Dual Shock 2” analog controller
  • Other features:
    • Two memory card slots
    • Optical digital output
    • Two USB ports
    • FireWire port
    • Support for audio CDs and DVD-Video

Nintendo GameCube

  • Processor: “Gekko” IBM Power PC microprocessor
    • 485 MHz
    • Cache:
      • level 1: 32 KB Instruction and 32 KB Data
      • level 2: 256 KB
    • 32-bit address, 64-bit data bus
    • Maximum bus transfer rate of 2.6 GB per second
    • 0.18 micron copper interconnects
  • Graphics: “Flipper” ATI graphics chip
    • 162 MHz
    • 1 MB embedded texture cache
    • 3 MB Mosys 1T-SRAM (This static RAM uses a single transistor per cell, like DRAM.)
    • Approximately 12 million polygons per second
  • Audio: Special 16-bit digital signal processor, 64 channels, 48-kHz sampling rate
  • RAM: 40 MB (24 MB 1T-SRAM, 16 MB of 100-MHz DRAM)
  • Game medium: Proprietary 1.5-GB optical disc
  • Controller: Four game controller ports, Wavebird wireless game controller
  • Other features:
    • Handle for carrying
    • Two slots for 4-MB Digicard Flash memory cards or a 64-MB SD-Digicard adapter
    • High-speed parallel port
    • Two high-speed serial ports
    • Analog and digital audio-video outputs

Microsoft Xbox

  • Processor: Modified Intel Pentium III
    • 733 MHz
    • Maximum bus transfer rate of 6.4 GB per second
  • Graphics: Custom nVidia 3-D graphics chip
    • 250 MHz
    • Approximately 125 million polygons per second
  • Audio: Custom 3-D audio processor
  • RAM: 64 MB (Xbox has a unified memory architecture — the memory can be allocated to graphics, audio, textures or any other function as needed.)
  • Game medium: Proprietary 4.7-GB DVD
  • Modem/network: Media communications processor (MCP), 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, broadband enabled, 56K modem (optional)
  • Controller: Four game controller ports
  • Other features:
    • 8-GB built-in hard drive
    • 5X DVD drive with movie playback
    • 8-MB removable memory card
    • Expansion port
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