Archive | September, 2015

DARPA test artificial arm that gives man his sense of touch back

30 Sep

Any of us that saw the 1980 sci-fi movie “The Empire Strikes Back” will remember at the end of the movie we see Luke Skywalker aboard the medical ship getting his hand replaced with a realistic looking prosthetic. We were all amazed at how Luke could feel the pain of the needle as it poked each finger of the artificial hand. We wondered how long it would be before actual artificial limbs would be able to restore the sensation of touch? Apparently the answer to that question is 35 years.

Now, 35 years after that movie, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) has created such an artificial arm that can restore the sense of touch. The arm was successfully tested earlier this month allowing the recipient to feel the sensation of touch after a spinal cord injury he suffered a decade ago.

We’ve completed the circuit,” Justin Sanchez, Darpa program manager, said in announcing the most recent results of the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program earlier this month at a conference in St. Louis, according to a press release from the agency.

The arm, that was developed at John Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, works by a sending electronic impulses through an array of sensors that are connected directly to the brain. Those signals are then sent through the spinal cord to the artificial limb. The process created by the sensor array mimics the same electronic pulses sent through a healthy nervous systems.

Prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by thoughts are showing great promise, but without feedback from signals traveling back to the brain it can be difficult to achieve the level of control needed to perform precise movements,” he said. “By wiring a sense of touch from a mechanical hand directly into the brain, this work shows the potential for seamless bio-technological restoration of near-natural function.”

After successfully attaching the arm they tested it much the same way that the robot medics test Luke Sywalker’s hand back in that 1980 movie.
“At one point, instead of pressing one finger, the team decided to press two without telling him,” said Sanchez, who oversees the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program. “He responded in jest asking whether somebody was trying to play a trick on him. That is when we knew that the feelings he was perceiving through the robotic hand were near-natural.”

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5 things you didn’t know about Damon Wayans

26 Sep

Damon Wayans has been entertaining us as a stand-up comic, writer, actor, and producer for over 30 years. He started his career in the early 1980’s but it was when him and his brothers created the show “In Living Color” that Damon Wayans was thrust into the spotlight. It was on that show that Mr. Wayans was free to show his comic talents with characters like “Homey D. Clown, Head Detective, Handi-man, Reverend Ed Cash, and more. After that show ended he went on to star in several movies and television shows that he usually co-wrote with his brothers.

Eddie Murphy gave him his big break

Damon Wayans had already had a good stand-up career going but it was in 1984 that he had his first big break. That year Eddie Murphy gave him a small role in the movie “Beverly Hills Cop”. In the movie Mr. Wayans played a worker at the Beverly Hills hotel that lets Eddie Murphy’s character Axel Foley have a few bananas, off of a food cart, that Detective Foley used to stick in the tail pipe of the police officers sent to drive him out of town.

He has a company that creates apps

After going to a tech show and getting several business cards Mr. Wayans saw a need for an app. He formed a company with some developers to create “Flick dat” as a way to create business cards, that can have embedded video, and share thm on your smartphones. His company also has an app called “Diddeo” that turns your smartphone into a editing studio.

He has four children and one grandchild

Damon Wayans has four children from his 16 year marriage to Lisa Thorner that ended in 2000. Two sons, Damn Jr. and Michael, and two daughters, Cara Mia and Kyla. As of 2014 Mr. Wayans is also a grandfather to Ava Marie Jean the daughter of Michael and his girlfriend Vanessa.

He was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes

In 2013 Mr. Wayans was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes. After the diagnosis he was forced to cancel some of his tour dates when he was told not to fly. Since the diagnosis he has also had to make some other changes to his life. One of those changes was beginning a paleo diet to reduce his sugar intake. No fruit, alcohol, soda, cake,” he says. He was off insulin within a month.

I honestly don’t know if (my doctors) were impressed,” Wayans says. “I was at the hospital, and they said, ‘Don’t worry about nothing. You can still eat whatever you want, just take your insulin.’ I’m from the streets of New York. I know a drug deal when I hear one.”

In 2010 he became in author

In 2010 he wrote a fictional novel about a woman who’s life is changed for the better when the Red-Hat Society, a real women’s organization, come to her aide. The book has several good reviews including one by a lady of the real Red-Hat Society.

Georgia honors Otis Redding

20 Sep

On the evening of September 18,2015 at 7:00 p m EST the city of Gary, Georgia will honor Otis Redding. They will unveil a 7 foot x 7 foot banner that will be displayed on the corner of Highway 129 & Highway 11. The marker that looks like a giant album will have an interactive panel where fans can stop and hear some of the songs and see photos of the late R & B singer/songwriter.

The unveiling will be part the city’s spoons & tunes festival. The festival is catered by local restaurants and features local bands. This year the Redding family will attendance as tribute is paid to the cities favorite son.

My father loved Jones County just as we do,” said Redding’s daughter, Karla Redding-Andrews. “We work in Macon, but when we leave Macon, we are so ready. We’re ready to get back to what we call ‘God’s country.’ ’’

Mr. Redding was born in the small town , in Georgia, on September 9, 1941. He then became one the biggest names in Rhythm & Blues in the 1960’s. He was best known for his hit “Dock of the Bay” that was released after his death in 1967. In his short career he had 6 albums and another 5 that were released after death.

In 1967 he was named vocalist of the year before a plane crash tragically shortened Mr. Redding’s career. Since that time he has had several honors. Among those honors was being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriter Hall of Fame. He has also been honored by the United States Post Office when they released a commemorative stamp in the mid 1990’s.

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman announces more layoffs

17 Sep

Last year, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman announced a two year plan to layoff 50,000 employees and split the company in two. After the first round of the layoffs Ms. Whitman said that even more layoffs might be on the way. Those more layoffs she hinted at back then become a reality on Tuesday when Ms. Whitman announced 25,000 – 30,000 additional layoffs would be needed in their restructuring.

HP CEO Meg Whitman said the latest job cuts will “enable a more competitive, sustainable cost structure” for the new company.

Hewlett-Packard hired Ms. Whitman in 2011 to turn around the struggling company. Upon her hiring she went to work on a plan of action that would once bring the company to the promonant level they enjoyed for much of their almost 8 decade history. A little over three years since her hiring she announced that plan that her & her staff had been working on.

“We’ve done a significant amount of work over the past few years to take costs out and simplify processes and these final actions will eliminate the need for any future corporate restructuring,” Chief Executive Meg Whitman said.

Ms. Whitman will retain control of the business software & cloud storage parts of the business. That part of the business will be renamed Hewlett-Packard Enterprises. The PC &mobile devices along with printing will become the second business called HP Inc that current Vice President Dion Weisler will become CEO.

Before Hewlett-Packard Ms. Whitman spent 10 years as the CEO of Ebay, the online auction site, before leaving in 2008. She then became a candidate in the 2010 California gubernatorial race where she lost to former governor Jerry Brown.

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5 things you didn’t know about Paul Lynde

4 Sep

For over 30 years Paul Lynde was one of the biggest names in comedy. He started his career in the late 1940’s as a stand-up and went on to do Broadway, Movies, and television. He was a highly sought after guest on talk, variety, and game shows and appeared in numerous sitcom during the 1960’s & 1970’s. He was best know though as the wise-cracking, practical-joker uncle on “Bewitched”, center square on “Hollywood Squares”, and Templeton the Rat in “Charlotte’s Web”.

The laughter that Paul Lynde gave us was just part of the man. The following are 5 facts that most people didn’t know about him:

Was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity

Paul Lynde joined the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity when he was attending Northwestern University where he was studying drama. Like many fraternal organizations their activities are secretive. According to the official charter the objective of the fraternity is to promote good fellowship and social virtues.

He had some runs with the law

In the mid 1970’s Paul Lynde was faced with a couple of failed shows. His drinking was also getting worse by that time and co-workers were starting to complain about being a problem. Despite those problems he was still a weekly guest of “The Donny & Marie Show”. That came to an end for him as well when he was arrested outside of a gay bar in Utah for obstruct an officer in an investigation. It was not the first run in with the law but this latest one cost him that job.

He was a guest weatherman in Ohio

By the late 1970’s Paul Lynde’s troubles had brought his career to only a trickle of what it use to be just a few years early. So, in 1979 he jumped at the chance to guest host as a weatherman in Toledo, Ohio. The results were one funny weather spot as he would make some of the quips that made him such a hit in the past.

He died from a heart-attack

Paul Lynde died in 1982 at the age of 55. On the surface his death was straight forward that he was discovered in bed where he had a massive heart-attack. Like most celebrity deaths there is some controversy on some of the circumstances leading up to his death. Where drugs & alcohol the cause of the heart-attack? Was he alone at the time? Along with a few other unanswered questions.

He is still influencing people

Over 30 years after his death, Paul Lynde is still influencing people in Hollywood. There are several cartoon artist that do an impression of him for the voice of their characters. One such example is the alien character in the animated series “American Dad”.