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Music

Software Enables Re-Creation of 'Lost' Instrument 136

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that the Lituus, a 2.4m (8ft) -long trumpet-like instrument, was played in Ancient Rome but fell out of use some 300 years ago. Bach even composed a motet (a choral musical composition) for the Lituus, one of the last pieces of music written for the instrument.. But until now, no one had a clear idea of what this instrument looked or sounded like until researchers at Edinburgh University developed software that enabled them to design the Lituus even though no one alive today has heard, played or even seen a picture of this forgotten instrument." (Continues below.)
Image

Voting Drops 83 Percent In All-Digital Election Screenshot-sm 156

For the first time ever, Oahu residents had to use their phones or computers to vote with some surprising results. 7,300 people voted this year, compared to 44,000 people the previous year, a drop of about 83 percent. "It is disappointing, compared to two years ago. This is the first time there is no paper ballot to speak of. So again, this is a huge change and I know that, and given the budget, this is a best that we could do," said Joan Manke of the city Neighborhood Commission. She added that voters obviously did not know about or did not embrace the changes.
Transportation

Green GT's All-Electric Supercar Unveiled 196

Mike writes "Swiss auto company Green GT recently released the first details on a svelte all-electric supercar that is being heralded as the most powerful electric race car ever built. Designed with the 2011 Le Mans race in mind, the Twenty-4 will boast a sleek carbon fiber chassis and twin 100-kw electric motors totaling 400 hp — enough to push the vehicle from 0-60 mph in 4 seconds flat, and to a top speed of 171 mph. GreenGT's head engineer Christophe Schwartz has stated that 'The GreenGT Twenty-4 design study could become our 2011 Le Mans Prototype electric racer, or it could even become an electric road-going supercar. There is a possibility to do both!'"
Power

The Great Ethanol Scam 894

theodp writes "Over at BusinessWeek, Ed Wallace is creating quite a stir, reporting that not only is ethanol proving to be a dud as a fuel substitute, but there is increasing evidence that it is destroying engines in large numbers. Before lobbyists convince the government to increase the allowable amount of ethanol in fuel to 15%, Wallace suggests it's time to look at ethanol's effect on smog, fuel efficiency, global warming emissions, and food prices. Wallace concedes there will be some winners if the government moves the ethanol mandate to 15% — auto mechanics, for whom he says it will be the dawn of a new golden age."
Biotech

Hacking Our Five Senses and Building New Ones 290

ryanguill writes "Wired has an article about expanding your five (maybe six) senses to allow you to sense other things such as direction. It also talks about hijacking other senses to compensate for missing senses, such as using electrodes in your mouth to compensate for lack of eyesight. Another example is a subject wearing a belt with 13 vibrating pads. The pad pointing north would vibrate giving you a sense of direction no matter your orientation: '"It was slightly strange at first," Wächter says, "though on the bike, it was great." He started to become more aware of the peregrinations he had to make while trying to reach a destination. "I finally understood just how much roads actually wind," he says. He learned to deal with the stares he got in the library, his belt humming like a distant chain saw. Deep into the experiment, Wächter says, "I suddenly realized that my perception had shifted. I had some kind of internal map of the city in my head. I could always find my way home. Eventually, I felt I couldn't get lost, even in a completely new place."'"

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I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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