Films in 3D without headaches

Without correction (image above) and with correction (image below)

Without correction (image above) and with correction (image below)

Films in 3D without headaches

The Disney Research Lab at the  Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) has developed a technology that is supposed to eliminate the unwanted side-effects like nausea and headaches resulting from watching films in 3D. 

To generate the 3D-illusion, the he human brain needs two slightly different pictures for the left and the right eye. The greater the difference, the stronger the 3D-effect. However, the risk of getting headaches or nausea also rises. The effect thus needs to be maintained in a certain comfort zone. The algorithm developed at the ETHZ allows for the 3D effect to be corrected after the movie has already been shot. 

Read more at ETHLife Online Magazin (note: the article is in German and while there is an English version of the Magazine an English version of the article is not available as of today) 

Quelle: Le Matin, ETHZ

Kazakhstan to join Swiss group at IMF and World Bank

Flag of Kazakhstan

Flag of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan to join Swiss group at the IMF and World Bank

Kazakhstan had declared and interest in joining the Swiss group at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) which consists – besides Switzerland – of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

During a conference call on Tuesday, 20.07.2010, the Swiss Federal Council has expressed his support of Kazakhstan joining the group.

The membership will formally be completed in the autumn, when the IMF and WB Executive Directors are elected. In the IMF, the Swiss group will then have voting rights of 2.05% of the total.

Sources: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, IMF

Swiss National Bank expects mid-year loss

SNB Zürich

SNB Zürich

Swiss National Bank expects mid-year loss

The expected loss is around CHF 4 billion and is mostly due to the appreciation of the Swiss Franc against the Euro.

Of the increase of CHF 132 billion in foreign currency investments the bulk was in Euro leading to a loss of over CHF 14 billion. The income from other currency positions and the rising gold price limited the SNB’s half-yearly loss to around CHF 4 billion.

The Stabfund results are not included but are expected to make a significant positive contribution.

The definite half-yearly results will be available from August 13, 2010.

Source: SNB

Seep found near BP’s blown out oil well

BP PARODY Logo

BP PARODY Logo

Today, this is all over the press. From AP:

A federal official says scientists are concerned about a seep and possible methane near BP’s busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico

Both could be signs there are leaks in the well that’s been capped off for three days.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because an announcement about the next steps had not been made yet.

The official is familiar with the spill oversight but would not clarify what is seeping near the well. The official says BP is not complying with the government’s demand for more monitoring.

The Oil Drum has the letter that Admiral Allen wrote to the BP brass:

Dear Mr. Dudley,

My letter to you on July 16, 2010 extended the Well Integrity Test period contingent upon the completion of seismic surveys, robust monitoring for indications of leakage, and acoustic testing by the NOAA vessel PISCES in the immediate vicinity of the well head. Given the current observations from the test, including the detected seep a distance from the well and undetermined anomalies at the well head, monitoring of the seabed is of paramount importance during the test period. As a continued condition of the test, you are required to provide as a top priority access and coordination for the monitoring systems, which include seismic and sonar surface ships and subsea ROV and acoustic systems. When seeps are detected, you are directed to marshal resources, quickly investigate, and report findings to the government in no more than four hours. I direct you to provide me a written procedure for opening the choke valve as quickly as possible without damaging the well should hydrocarbon seepage near the well head be confirmed.

As the National Incident Commander, I must remain abreast of the status of your source control efforts. Now that source control has evolved into a period beyond the expected 48 hour interval of the Well Integrity Test, I am requiring that you provide me a written update within 24 hours of your intentions going forward. I remain concerned that all potential options to eliminate the discharge of oil be pursued with utmost speed until I can be assured that no additional oil will spill from the Macondo Well.

You may use your letter of 9 July as a basis for your update. Specifically, you must provide me your latest containment plan and schedule in the event that the Well Integrity Test is suspended, the status and completion timelines for all containment options currently under development, and details of any other viable source control options including hydraulic control that you are

considering. You should highlight any points at which progress along one option will be impacted by resource trade-offs to achieve progress along another option. Include options for and impacts of continued twice-a day seismic testing versus once a day testing.

As you develop the plans above, note that the primary method of securing the source is the relief well and this effort takes precedence. Therefore, I direct you to provide a detailed plan for the final stages of the relief well that specifically addresses the interaction of this schedule and any other activity that may potentially delay relief well completion.

Have your representative provide results on the monitoring efforts and source control requirements described above during today’s BP and Government Science Team call at 8:00 PM CDT.

Sincerely,

THAD W. ALLEN

Now, I am puzzled. That gas and oil is seeping form the floor seems to be nothing new, judging from the news that has been out there for some time. For example, Alexander Higgins’ blog wrote on 28.06.2010:

There seems to be a great deal of skepticism over the possibility that cracks in the well casing and rock formation surrounding the BP Gulf Oil spill could lead to oil leaking from cracks in the seafloor.

However the chronology of the IXTOC blowout reveals that and underground blowout caused oil to leak from cracks in the seafloor.

Some experts deny that there are even cracks in the rocks surrounding the leaking oil well even though MMS documents show that BP has reports a series of cracks in the well casing and surrounding rock formation as far back as February.

Other experts contend that you can’t have cracks in the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico because the entire seabed is a layer of silt that has the consistency of pudding.

The facts are that there  BP has reports cracks in the sea floor and well casing and that there have been a series of well control events or blowouts that have occurred during the drilling of of the Macondo oil well that is now leaking millions of gallons of oil every day into the Gulf of Mexico.

The first report of cracks in the both rocks surrounding the well and in the well itself in February was only the first in a series of “well control events” or blowouts.

It seems that the United States research ship Thomas Jefferson has collected data and compiled a graph to document where oil is seeping (see more at blog alexanderhiggins.com):

In other words, the information that gas and oil may be leaking around the well is nothing new, it has been around for quite some time now, nevertheless, BP was allowed to proceed with its ‘fix’, possibly making the situation worse.

Press TV: ‘Saudi harbors, trains Iraq terrorists’

Car wreck

Car wreck

As Press TV reports:

Saudi security forces are reportedly involved in training terrorists operating in Iraq, where political leaders are pushing to form a ruling coalition.

Reports from Saudi Arabia say militants are assembled in a base set up outside Abha in the Red Sea province of Asir where they receive training on how to carry out suicide attacks and bombing operations.

The participants, mostly crossing into Iraq via Jordan and Syria, receive theoretical courses which portray Shia Muslims as “infidels” who only deserve to be killed. Under such theoretical approach supporters of the government are also considered as infidels.

The question is how credible are those claims. Let’s have a look at some other sources. The claims that Saudi Arabia supported terrorism are not new. In 2008, the LA Times wrote:

Saudi Arabia remains the world’s leading source of money for Al Qaeda and other extremist networks and has failed to take key steps requested by U.S. officials to stem the flow, the Bush administration’s top financial counter-terrorism official said Tuesday.

Stuart A. Levey, a Treasury undersecretary, told a Senate committee that the Saudi government had not taken important steps to go after those who finance terrorist organizations or to prevent wealthy donors from bankrolling extremism through charitable contributions, sometimes unwittingly.

“Saudi Arabia today remains the location where more money is going to terrorism, to Sunni terror groups and to the Taliban than any other place in the world,” Levey said under questioning.

Even back in 2005 there were concerns about Saudi’s financing of terrorism:

‘Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists’ agenda’, Levey told lawmakers yesterday.

‘Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq,’ he added.

Abha, it may be noted, is the capital of Asir Province which borders Yemen. In fact,  Asir Province was once part of Yemen:

By the Treaty of Ta’if (May 1934), Yemen lost ‘Asir to Sa’udi Arabia but won British and Sa’udi recognition of its independence. However, incursions by the imams against the UK protectorate in Aden continued until 1962.

There may be still some tribal ties across the border from that period. And Yemen is, as they tell us, another hotbed and rallying point for Al-Qaeda, but Al-Qaeda was founded and financed by Osama bin Laden who is a Saudi of Yemeni descent. Saudi Arabia has a long history of involvement in Yemen too:

In 1962, a revolution in Yemen ended over 1,000 years of rule by Zaydi Hashemites, who claimed descendance from the Prophet Mohammed.

Zaydism is a branch of Shia Islam, though its practices often appear closer to Sunni Islam than traditional Shia belief.

Saada, in the north, was their main stonghold and since their fall from power the region was largely ignored economically and remains underdeveloped.



During Yemen’s 1994 civil war, the Wahhabis, an Islamic group adhering to a strict version of Sunni Islam found in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, helped the government in its fight against the secessionist south.

Zaydis complain the government has subsequently allowed the Wahabis too strong a voice in Yemen.

It seems that Saudi Arabia is intervening everywhere to establish its version of Islam, Wahhabi Islam – which bin Laden preaches also –  and that one of the obstacles to its domination of Islam are the Shi’as and, of course, Iran.

Shi’ites are regularly targeted in Pakistan and Afghanistan by pro-Taliban militants. Sixteen were killed only recently in Pakistan, women and children among them, eleven were killed and beheaded in Afghanistan a few weeks back. Not to mention the regular attacks on Shia mosques in Pakistan, Iraq and now Iran.

Wahhabi Islam is making progress elsewhere too, namely in the United States, where from the rubble of the 9/11 attacks a 13-story Mosque will rise.

Somehow, it just doesn’t look like Iran is the real problem here. The only question that needs to be answered is, why is it in the interest of the United States and Israel to spread an intolerant fundamentalist Wahhabi/Salafi Islam all over the planed including in their own countries? It looks rather like a self-defeating strategy, in which Western values like democracy, freedom and human rights are sacrificed on the altar of power in the quest of world domination.

Google provocation – or just sloppy employees?

Google Translation

Google Translation

As Fars News writes:

When in the Google translation the word “Allah” is typed in the Farsi section, the word «Israel» will appear.

I checked, it’s true (see attached screenshot). However, the translation works correctly in Arabic and Urdu.

In general, the translation from/to Persian and Turkish are of bad quality when whole sentences or paragraphs are translated. It’s usually unintelligible what comes out and you’re better off translating it yourself by using a traditional dictionary.

Oh, and Fars News also thinks that this has something to do with Zionism, probably because Sergej Brin is Jewish:

Google is a search site, which belongs to Zionists who have as direct goals international Zionism as a plan. (mine)

Google is a search site, which belongs to Israel in the international Zionist goals has been designed. (Google’s)

Both translation are not perfect, but mine is closer to the original which is surprising, because I am a beginner and still learning and Google should supposedly be working with native – or fluent – speakers of Persian.

Swiss Ambassador to Theran released

Swiss Ambassador to Tehran, Lidia Leu Agosti

Swiss Ambassador to Tehran, Lidia Leu Agosti

Swiss Ambassador to Theran released

According to news from Press TV, the Swiss Ambassador to Tehran, Livia Leu Agosti, has been released a few hours after she was arrested.

Apparently, she was arrested on a trip – which was announced to relevant authorities – to the north of Khorasan Province, because “her identity was not established at that time”.

At this time there is no further information from the Swiss Foreign Ministry available.