Aug 26, 2012

What I'm Willing to Bet About the iPhone 5

There have been literally thousands of rumors and photos of "leaked parts" of Apple's new iPhone (which should all be taken with a bug pinch of salt), slated to be released as soon as September. 

I've listed the things that I think are accurate about Apple's much-rumored iPhone 5 and how much I'm willinh to bet on it. (let's make $100 the highest bet) Of course, I'm not gonna really put my money at stake, but just think of it as a measure to see how plausible the rumor is. 

 $100 The new iPhone will have a much smaller connector jack. 
The stories about this are everywhere. It makes a lot of sense that Apple will get rid of the 30-pin dock connector that's been on their products for more than a decade. 

 $60 The iPhone 5 will have a dual-core processor. 
It looks like people are wishing for quad-core chips, but in my opinion dual-core should be fast enough for a smartphone. Also, more cores mean more power to run the chip, and having a quad-core would have a huge impact on battery life. (unless Apple does some fancy programming to make it all work)

 $70 It will have 4G capabilities
It's pretty obvious, looking at how the new iPad has the capability. 

 $40 It will have the same screen aspect ratio as the current iPhone 4S
Some say it will have a taller screen, but it looks quite- unidealistic to me. The elongatated body doesn't look as cool, and also developers will have to update their apps to fit the new ratio if that happens. So, I'd say it will have the same 3:2 aspect ratio. Can't say anything about the screen getting larger, though. Maybe. 

 $70 The camera will be on the right side of the phone (when seen from the back)
I don't think a lot of people have thought about it, but a feature that lets you take photos by pressing the "volume up button" was added in iOS 5, but you realize it's a little awkward taking photos like that in landscape. 

Normal cameras should have both the shutter button and the lens on the top part of the phone, but you can't do that with the current models. The button is on the right side of the phone, and the camera on the left(again, when viewed from the back). Either the button or the camera has to come to the bottom.
If the lens on the iPhone 5 is placed closer to the button, we'll be able to take pictures, more like a normal digital camera. 

 $100 The iPhone 5 won't be called the iPhone 5. 
My guess is, it will be called "the new iPhone", just like the new iPad launched a few months back.
Even if it's not called the new iPhone, it probably won't be called the iPhone 5 because, it actually is a 6th generation iPhone. (the iPhone 4S was the 5th.) So I guess it will be called the iPhone 6 if it's not "the new iPhone", but I'll be betting on "the new iPhone" if I had to. 

Words to Neil Armstrong, the First Man on Another World

Neil Armstrong. The first man on the moon.
He left us with perhaps the most famous quote ever, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind".

I found out about his death through Facebook.
I was dumbfounded. It's true I worried a bit about his health, since the news that he went through heart surgery a few weeks ago.

But I never figured it had to be so soon.
Neil Armstrong is the white figure in the reflection of the helmet visor. Only Neil Armstrong had a camera, so he couldn't take one of himself.

But now, let's celebrate his greatest achievement, stepping foot on another world for the first time.

It still outstands me how makind was able to go to the moon just a decade after it went to space for the first time.
Let's not forget his (and everyone involved in the space program's) achievements.

The sky is no longer the limit.

Aug 24, 2012

Honda Doesn't Want You to See Asimo Broken

I went to this Honda showroom a few days ago, and there was a demo of Asimo, the humanoid robot that's the car manufacturer, Honda's pride.

I noticed that the model was a little outdated. But I didn't predict the show would be cut off short by "mechanical troubles".

Right after I took the photo of Asimo being carried away(the one on the lower right) the staff announced "please do not take pictures of the robot at this moment. Also, for your safety, please do not come close to the robot.(as if it might start running around knocking people down :D ) Thank you."
Well yeah, it was a little awkward moment when I took the pic, I guess. I'm sure it's because Honda doesn't want photos of their robots malfunctioning on the Internet. But here it is, anyway.

Aug 22, 2012

The Curiosity Rover on Mars won't Recognize Life if it was Right Under its Nose

I know it's a really long title for a blog post, but I wanted to make something clear.
The Curiosity rover is NOT looking for living organisms, alive or dead. I know a lot of people are hoping Curiosity is gonna find traces of life on Mars, but in fact it's not.

Instead, here's what it's looking for.

"The Mars Science Laboratory is going to take Curiosity with its set of instruments, to figure out if Mars could ever have supported microbial life."
So instead of looking for life itself, they're trying to look at the environment of Mars and see if it was capable of supporting life.

Why aren't they looking for life when finding one on Mars could be a ground-shaking(which is an understatement) discovery?

In the 1970s, the Viking landers were launched to the red planet by NASA. One of Viking's mission goals clearly stated, "search for evidence of life on Mars". It actually did have instruments to detect life there, if it existed.

But the results were negative (though raising some arguments), and seeing there was probably no life on Mars, the public attention was turned elsewhere.

It was a long time before a lander was able to go back to Mars after the Viking missions(in 1997 with the Mars Pathfinder). So the space agency couldn't afford to look for life again in its Curiosity mission and fail again, which would lead to budget cuts for Mars programs.

So, long story short, we are not going to find any Martians this time.
But it's a heck of a cool mission still!

Aug 19, 2012

What We Can Find in Japan's Infamous "Suicide Forest"

Maybe it's not a very appropriate topic to talk about (especially since this is my first post in a while), but I was really inspired by this one video about a "suicide forest" in Japan and I couldn't wait to share it.

I was bewildered when I found this video, because it came to the top of the results when I searched "Japan" on Youtube. Why the heck is this video doing at the top of the list? Is this what Youtube ranked as being the most related to Japan? Surely Japan has things that are less darker than "suicide forests". But results are results, and I  decided I should better watch this video since it was supposed to be so closely linked to my country. (or at least Youtube thinks so)

Honestly, I was just thinking it was some kind of video to give you the chills, one of the typical horror clips on Youtube. But i realized that wasn't the case at all once I got a few minutes into the video.

You gotta see the video to truly understand what I am going to talk about, but for people in a rush, here's a summary-

It is a documentary of the Aokigahara forest near the foot of Mt. Fuji where a lot of people come (around 100 per year) to commit suicide. It's a jungle of trees, so you can get lost easily. In fact, it's considered to be the most "popular" suicide destination in Japan. People come here from all over the country to commit suicide!!
This video follows a geologist who studies plantations and such in the forest, but he does often find bodies, some decomposing and some already skeletons, as he's researching.

It really made sad that so many people end up slowly decomposing in the forest just because they were unable to fit into the society. Of course there are many reasons for their commiting suicides, but it's just sad nontheless.
But what surprised me was his story about the time he actually encountered a man who already had his neck through the noose.
The geologist stopped him, and convinced the man to reconsider. He said that just a simple conversation seemed to cheer him up, and he was able to make the man realize thst he wasn't alone in this world, and they walked out of the forest together.
This should sound like a happy story, but what it really means is that most of the suicides that happen here (well, also anywhere else actually) can be stopped or prevented once they know they still have a chance.

I know I'm not an expert at all about these things so I have to be careful when I say it, but I do think these kinds of suicides are preventable with proper counseling.

So it's really depressing to know that people who still should have a chance to recuperate and take a second go at the society, still choose to take their lives in places like this forest with no one to stop them.