Choosing a vacation by smell

Most of us today choose a vacation based on interest.  Perhaps the geology of a place like the volcanic region of Hawaii fascinates us, or maybe its the foods of a city like Paris.  We might like to take an easy drive to places next door, or fly to a remote land with incomparable beauty.  But what if you desire a smorgasbord of smells?

Cambridge University scientists and other researchers have been creating “Smelly Maps” for London and Barcelona.   No doubt others will be available in the future.  With such a map, one can not only locate the pleasant aroma of nature, but also the pungent odor of some animal smells.  The Washington Post recently did an article about the research.

So, possibly in the future, some people might plan their vacation based on what aromas they might encounter.  At the least, you might want to check out a smelly map to know what places to avoid.

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Pong enters World Video Game Hall of Fame

The Strong National Museum of Play recently inducted the first selected group of games — DOOM, Pong, Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and World of Warcraft into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

Although all of these games are old now, they are NEWWorthy once again.  Pong may be particularly deserving, since when it was introduced no one had any idea if there was a market for video games.

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First computational imagination

MIT Technology Review blog asks “Is This the First Computational Imagination?”  One facet of the University of Tokyo research was to produce “image generation from natural sentences.”  They use a bag-of-visual-words technique to identify objects.  Below is a short video explaining the bag-of-words technique, which has now been extended into visual analysis.

If a computer can eventually take sentences from a novel and interpret them as pictures, maybe — as Phillip K. Dick’s story proposes and is depicted in the movie “Blade Runner” — androids will be able to “Dream of Electric Sheep”.

Spiky-headed dinosaur discovered

The Scientist reports that researchers have “unearthed” a new species of dinosaur — Regaliceratops peterhewsi.  Its spiky head gives it a regal appearance among dinosaurs.  The only known specimen was found about 100 miles south of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Regaliceratops lived just before the better known Triceratops (outline below) appeared on the scene.

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Vegan Pizza

Vegan pizza is OLDWorthy, especially since Daiya and other non-dairy cheeses have been around for almost 10 years now. Even Domino’s launched its first vegan pizza (in Israel) a couple of years ago.  And keep in mind that vegan pizza does not even really require cheese, so get the right crust and veggie ingredients and sauce and you’ve got a vegan pizza.

But recently PETA listed “32 Pizza Places That Let You Have It Your (Vegan) Way“.  Perhaps now that vegan pizza is becoming almost mainstream — at least among vegans — it can be called NEWWorthy.

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Does a $1,000,000 home look like a $1,000,000 home?

MSN lists 10 homes around the country (U.S.) that are worth around $1,000,000.  Do you think any of them look like they are worth $1,000,000?  After all, if you are spending that kind of money for a home, you kind of want it to look like it’s worth a million.  I’m not sure that all of these do.

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Taking pictures through clouds?

Ghost imaging would allow a satellite or other airborne vehicle to take pictures through clouds.  According to Wired Magazine, the Air Force reports that they’ve made a breakthrough in ghost imaging capability.  This is not NEWWorthy, because it’s been talked about since 2008, but it is nevertheless fascinating.  TouchablePhysics has a recent blog this year on the subject of compressive ghost imaging.

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