tekgoblin writes "Wow, I would never have thought to try and cook food with the power that a standard USB port provides, but someone did. A standard port provides 5V of power, give or take a little. I am not even sure what it takes to heat a small hotplate, but I am sure it is more than 5V. It looks like the guy tied together around 30 USB cables powered by his PC to power this small hotplate. But believe it or not, it seems to have cooked the meat perfectly."
andylim writes "recombu.com is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."
I am a physicist at the UK's National Physical Laboratory and I am involved in the redefinition of another unit - the unit of temperature. The work concerning the redefinition of the kilogram is >much more philosophically fraught and technically difficult. I understand many of the rather skeptical comments expressed here The current situation is unsatisfactory because the mass of the kilogram is changing, albeit by a small amount - a few micrograms in 1 kg - i.e. a few parts in 10^9. The aim of the work is to replace this artefact with (essentially) a procedure. Effort onne (using the silicon sphere) is essentially trying to build a link between a macroscopic mass, and the microscopic masses which we expect to be fixed. The other effort not mentioned here is called the watt balance which is a machine which can exhibit the same inertial mass as a kilogram - or any other weight. At the moment the two watt balances disagree with each other and they both disagree with the silicon sphere result. There is still a lot of work to do on both approaches. Incidentally, the reason is it is a sphere rather than a cube is because of edges. Edges are amazingly fragile, hence the sphere. ALl the best M