How Effective Is Body Armour Against An Assault Rifle?

This question is like a Russian roulette version of popular website Wikihow, anyway, body armour is deployed with the aim of being an essential form of protection against the most violent of circumstances, quick but interesting fact on this, the term “bullet proof vest” is not actually correct, manufacturers describe their products as “bullet resistant” and by doing so this places a mental caveat that ensures the user feels aware that they are in fact not indestructible.

Back to the original point, how effective is a body armour-plate? To test this in a practical way, a Youtube channel by the name of “Demolition Ranch” decided to shoot at a piece of body armour while using an ARAK-21 XRS gun, if you’re wondering, this gun is a hybrid of both the AR-15 and AK-47. The Facebook page of Demolition Ranch describes itself as “making you smile with guns” only in the US.

Below is the video, after conducting the experiment it was found that a piece of ceramic body armour could absorb 8 rounds before finally being breached, this is theoretically impressive but the effectiveness would depend on factors including distance etc. Body armour has a ceramic layer that is designed to break up the bullet and a composite layer of fabrics to hold the bullet from wounding the individual.

Body armour does indeed work and offers a good level of protection against, well death, but as good as the armour is, it can still be penetrated with dire consequences. The maker of the gun that was used in the experiment is a company by the name of Faxon Firearms; according to their website it states the company are “proud defenders of the 2nd Amendment”, too bad this cannot be amended, oh wait.

Thank you gizmodo and faxonfirearms for providing us with this information.

Hitchhiking Robot Is Vandalised After Just Two Weeks in the US

You did indeed read this correctly, a hitchhiking robot which was created by a team of intelligent minds with the aim of experimenting with artificial intelligence and human interaction, has become unstuck after entering and travelling through the US.

Below is a full length image of Hitchbot, which sounds like a futuristic Will Smith dating movie, was vandalised in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City.   Ironically all went well for the robot when it previously travelled through Canada; the US, on the other hand, was less kind.

The team behind this experiment has vowed to continue this innovative project and will also analyse the very nature of human and AI interaction, more details of any future plans will be detailed on the 5th August 2015.

The design of the robot may look slightly malevolent, but I do think this experiment has so far allowed for research to be undertaken within the effects of a machine has on the general public. The website for Hitchbot is written in first person as if the robot is narrating his story; this includes “Family” for the team which created it. As humans we have become accustomed to interacting with technology on a more human level, from Apple’s Siri to battle warzone robots which are being developed with the aim of “thinking” for themselves.

It will be thought-provoking moving forward when the day arrives for both calling a robot “Him or Her” rather than it and also how we interact with a non-human entity.

Thank You to both Hitchbot and Instagram account for providing us with this information.

Scientists Use Weird Laser-Flower Device to Gather Data on Nuclear Experiments

While this might look like a nightclub disco light, it is not. The device is called a Wide-angle Optical Multi-channel Probe and it comes straight out of the research halls of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

It looks like the scientists created the device in order to gather relevant data on nuclear experiments without the need to physically detonate a nuclear warhead. The gadget is said to be able to provide a lot of data without the critical mass of plutonium. Below is a short description of how they intend to use it.

“This specialised laser instrument allows Los Alamos scientists to perform sophisticated nuclear experiments and gather significant amounts of data without a critical mass of plutonium. The data is used to help validate the extremely complex computer codes that reside on the laboratory’s world class supercomputers. These codes along with thousands of experiments conducted across the laboratory allow Laboratory staff and ultimately the Director to assess the state and health of the Nation’s nuclear deterrent and report those findings ultimately to the President of the United States.”

For people who want to know more about the Los Alamos invention in regards to safety, reliability and performance, their website provides more detailed information.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Ever Wanted to Make Your Own AA Battery?

Have you always found going to a shop to buy AA batteries for remote controls, toys or clocks a labourious and wasteful task? Well now you can make your own with this handy tutorial!

Just be sure to have plenty of lead, manganese dioxide, potassium hydroxide, carbon powder, and zinc sheets in your cupboard. You know, all of those essential items each and every one of us has to hand. All you then need to do is get a plastic syringe and put it all together!

Now this really isn’t intended to be cheaper or easier than buying some batteries, but of course it’s a fun experiment to try out for yourself.

See the video from NurdRage on YouTube bellow.

Source: Gizmodo

OkCupid Follows in Facebook’s Footsteps, Admits to be Experimenting on Humans

After the Facebook fiasco and their little research on human behaviour, it seems that its time for OkCupid, the online dating service, to do the same. The service is said to have admitted that it too had manipulated what is shows users in order to see what would happen.

Three examples of the experiment are said to have been posted by OkCupid’s co-founder, Christian Rudder, in an article entitled “We Experiment On Human Beings!”. It can be viewed over at the site’s OkTrends blog.

“OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing,” said Rudder. “Neither does any other website. It’s not like people have been building these things for very long, or you can go look up a blueprint or something. Most ideas are bad. Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how you sort all this out.”

It is said that when talking about Facebook and its experiment that involved manipulating users’ news feeds in order to study their real-life reactions, Rudder stated the following:

“Guess what, everybody,” he says, “if you use the internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work.”

The first experiment is said to have happened in January 2013, when the website removed all user images and called it “Love is Blind Day”. The user count is said to have been low on that day, but those who were online proved to have responded 44% more often to messages.

The second one involved the user’s rating, a score given to them by other users. Rudder attempted to see how much the user’s profile image counts when rating someone by presenting a small subset of users with their profile text hidden. He stated to have found that only 10% of the typical user’s score is based on what they write about themselves, while 90% is based on the profile image.

The final experiment is stated to have been more “controversial”, having OkCupid tweak with the users’ “match” rating. It is basically used to show people’s “compatibility” rating based on the information given by the user.

“In the back of our minds, there’s always been the possibility: maybe it works just because we tell people it does. Maybe people just like each other because they think they’re supposed to? Like how Jay-Z still sells albums?” Rudder stated

OkCupid has then tweaked the compatibility ratings for most of its users and noticed how many single messages led to a full conversation. The experiment noted that most users do not talk to each other due to the low compatibility ration, for example 20% or 30%. Change those to a 90% and it seems that ‘weird things happen’.

All in all, what Facebook and OkCupid did are far from ethical, but it still underlines a solid truth in all. When information is available on the internet, we tend to trust it more than we trust ourselves. Do we really need a webpage or app to tell us who to love or what to believe in?

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Guardian

Facebook Policy Agreement Allowed Emotional State Study on 600,000 Users

When signing up for a Facebook account, the majority of users do not read the Facebook Data Use Policy and consider that their private user data is secure. While this is true, this does not mean that Facebook itself can’t use the data you post. This is where Facebook has gathered some data from random account feeds in order to use it in a little social experiment.

Facebook apparently has tweaked the content seen by more than 600,000 users in order to determine whether or not it would affect their emotional state. The study paper has been published under the name of “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” at The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. Users who like to view it would find how Facebook data scientists tampered the algorithm managing which posts appear on users’ news feeds, having it manage the number of negative and positive posts appearing on users’ news feed. Future posts from users ‘participating’ in the experiment were then analysed over the course of one week in order to determine if they would respond with increased positivity or negativity of their own and thus determining whether emotional states could be transmitted over a social network.

The result turned out to be positive, having users respond to the negativity or positivity of the content manipulated. The scientists have proved that the ‘mood’ can be changed over a social network and the overall point about modern psychology. Also, for concerned Facebook users, the paper states that the data gathered has been within the “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.” agreement which everyone had to agreed with before signing up for a Facebook account. In addition to the latter, all personal and private data gathered has been done using the policy’s liberal constraints, having a machine analyse and pick out positive and negative posts.

Adam Kramer is listed as being the lead author for the paper, having him state in an interview that the reason he had joined the social network is that “Facebook data constitutes the largest field study in the history of the world.”. The latter statement proves the sad truth that while users view Facebook as a fun and loving place to post pictures, quotes, places you have been to and personal experience, it is without question a huge ‘research lab’ for some higher-ups as well.

Thank you A.V. Club for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of A.V. Club

The Machine To Be Another Uses Oculus Rift For Gender Swap Experiment [NSFW]

An interesting experiment has been held by the design team at BeAnotherLab, using the popular virtual reality headset Oculus Rift they’ve set up a thought experiment; what would it be like to see through the eyes of another human being?

The Machine to be Another project sees both users wear an Oculus Rift headset, the feeds from the two cameras and then linked to each others headset and see what they see. The team hopes that it could help the users develop empathy for the other person, but it’s not a perfect experiment in practice as it does require both users to synchronize their movements for the full effect.

Of course it isn’t the most in depth scientific experiment we’ve ever seen, but it is an interesting concept on how virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift can be used to help better understand someone. The ideal of walking a mile in someone’s shoes to see what they’re going through could be something we’re perfectly capable of doing within the next few years. It’s also a far cry from the much more intimate intentions of the Google Glass project we saw the other day.

Check out the video below, but please keep in mind that it does contain naked people at some points, obviously NSFW.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/84150219[/vimeo]

Thank you Popsci for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Popsci.

Experiment By High School Students Prove That Plants Don’t Grow Near Wi-Fi Routers

Wireless routers and Wi-Fi is deemed necessary by many people all around the world, but it appears that the impact on health is severe. There have been multiple studies in the past suggesting the negative impact they may have on humans but the latest research could be the most compelling yet. And it comes from a group of high school students.

Five students came to the conclusion that sleeping near their cell phones at night caused them to have problems concentrating during school the next day. Intrigued, the students asked if they could study the effects of cell phone radiation on humans but the school simply didn’t have the resources to make it happen.

Instead, the students opted to perform testing on a Wi-Fi router which is comparable to the radiation levels put out by cell phones. They placed six trays of lepidium sativum seeds, a garden cress grown commercially throughout Europe, in a room with two Wi-Fi routers. In another room, the same number of seeds were placed without routers.

Over the next 12 days, the students examined an interesting phenomenon. The seeds in the room without the routers had blossomed into healthy plans while those in the room with the routers were either dead or hadn’t grown at all.

The students received top honors in a regional science fair but more importantly, a professor of neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden was so impressed that he wants to repeat the experiment in a controlled scientific environment.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information