AUSTIN - Just as SXSW attendees were landing in Austin and heading to their first conference sessions, news and images of the terrible tsunami that hit Japan were hitting the Web. Organizers acted quickly to create a site (sxsw4japan.org) that not only accepts contributions, but also enables attendees to do what they do best, share the news and create their own support networks.
The goals of sxsw4japan.org are simple:
- DONATE: Make a donation or text your donation to 90999
- SHARE: On the Web, on Twitter, mention it in your SXSW talks with #sxswcares and #sxsw4japan
- CREATE A FUNDRAISING PAGE: Start a page so your friends/family can donate to disaster relief.
The original goal of $10,000 has been doubled to $20,000. So far the site has raised more than $15,000 with two days remaining.
SXSW organizers are also encouraging attendees to like the Facebook page of DogBlessyou.org. The site, which is affiliated with the Annenberg Foundation, is donating $1 for every person who "likes" they page over the next few days.
As the devastating images of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis in Japan come in via cable news, newspapers, blogs, and homemade videos, tech giants like Google, Apple, Twitter, and more are donating funds and using the power of tech to help those in need.
In the wake of the earthquake, Google set up its Person Finder Web site to help people locate the missing or post data on those who had been found. In a Saturday blog post, Google Japan's Ken Miura said his team started working on Google's Crisis Response page within minutes of the quake.
Miura was in Tokyo, about 250 miles away from where the first quake hit, but the Google Japan office – located on the 26th floor – "started shaking slowly," he wrote.
"Although alerts from the building urged us to evacuate via the emergency stairs, I couldn't help but stay and search for information about the earthquake's epicenter and scale," he wrote. Miura said he was a university student when the Kobe earthquake hit 16 years ago and he recalled "the immediate desire for information."
With that in mind, the team launched Person Finder in Japan within an hour of the earthquake, pulled together public information from local governments about affected areas, and posted tsunami warnings on the Google homepage.
Miura also said Google will donate $250,000 to Japanese relief agencies.
The space shuttle Discovery undocked from the International Space Station for the last time this morning and started its two-day journey back to the Kennedy Space Center.
The shuttle fired its jets to separate from the ISS at 8:37am Eastern, NASA said. Discovery is scheduled to land at 11:58am on Wednesday; at this point, weather conditions are favorable.
Overall, the astronauts engaged in seven days, 23 hours, and 55 minutes worth of joint activities with the ISS crew. This is Discovery's 39th and final mission.
The crew received a special wake-up call at 3:23am this morning: the theme from "Star Trek" and a recorded message from actor William Shatner. "Space, the final frontier. These have been the voyages of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Her 30 year mission: To seek out new science. To build new outposts. To bring nations together on the final frontier. To boldly go, and do, what no spacecraft has done before," Shatner said.
Inamo is a futuristic restaurant in the Soho district of London. The fusion of technology, and Asian-inspired interior design makes Inamo a destination restaurant on the bleeding edge of innovation. Inamo’s interactive dining experience is like nothing you've ever seen or tasted before. The illustrated food and drink menus are powered by E-Table technology, and Canon projectors display mouthwatering menu options on the Corian tables. The tables include round preview screens shaped like plates, allowing customers to interact with any menu item before placing an order.
Allowing customers to preview menu options is not the only trick in Inamo’s digital dining bag. Customers can watch the kitchen webcam, change the table background, watch movie trailers from Paramount Pictures UK, browse information about the local community, play games, watch short films, and even call the “I drank too much" taxi, directly from their E-table.
75 Years of DC Comics from Paul Levitz covers, well, 75 years of DC Comics through 2000 images in 720 pages.
You can order it from Amazon now for $126, in all its 15 pound glory!
We're big fans of what Powermat has to offer here at Gear Live HQ, and that's why we think it's appropriate to feature them in our 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. What you've got here is a little panel with a built-in battery pack that lets you wirelessly charge your mobile devices. It folds up and is small enough to throw in a bag, and won't take up much space at all on a desk. On a full charge, you can charge an iPhone five times. The Powermat Travel Mat comes with adapters that allow you to charge any USB device, Nintendo DS, a few proprietary phone connectors, and iOS devices. The cool part here is that you just set your device on the mat, and it starts charging.
They typically sell for $130, but Amazon's got 'em for $69 right now.
Read More | Powermat Travel Mat
New from Tokyoflash Design Studios is a watch that will test your vision and make you look sophisticated at the same time. It’s so ‘00s to tell someone who struggles to read an analog clock that they can’t tell time, but with this tricky digital watch you can pretty much call anyone out. Hiding in plain sight within a green and black optical illusion, the time can be revealed to the less perceptive eye with the touch of a button. But don’t tell anyone the secret when they ask you for the time in the mall. Who knew that being nice to someone who doesn’t have a watch could be so much fun?
Read More | Tokyoflash
Scientists at the Imperial College London have devised a way for you to give your clothes that authentic skin tight look that seems to be all the rage these days, with a product called Fabrican. With a simple spray can that looks like any old aerosol can, you will be able to spray a shirt directly onto your body. The amazing aspect of it all is the fact that the material is actually a cotton/polyester/plastic blend that dries up and can be removed from the skin in a non messy fashion. You can even wash it after you take it off and wear it again. We’ve got video of Fabrican in action after the jump.
Read More | Fabrican
It’s always good news to hear of a military device intended for war that isn’t branded “death from above,” and that actually saves lives instead of taking them. This can be attributed to the researchers at the University of Michigan who have created a new way to protect helicopters from incoming missile up to 1.8 miles away. What’s different about this missile defense is that it uses a laser based technology to “blind” incoming missiles instead of destroying them. This is done by using a mid-infrared super continuum laser that takes on the heat properties of a helicopter, confusing the missile and causing it to lose “sight” of the helicopter. The device has no moving parts, giving it a long life span on the adverse conditions of aircraft operations. Mohammed Islam, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science stated: “The laser-based infrared countermeasures in use now for some aircraft have 84 pieces of moving optics. They couldn’t withstand the shake, rattle and roll of helicopters. We’ve used good, old-fashioned stuff from your telephone network to build a laser that has no moving parts.” This technology has enabled University of Michigan to start a company called Omni Sciences, funded up to $1 million from the Army and DARPA, to develop a second generation version.
Read More | Gizmag
Lockheed Martin has at least brought us into the era of exo-skeleton suits with their Human Universal Load Carrier, or ‘HULC’ for short. HULC works by transferring weight carried on the soldier to the ground by way of its titanium (sorry, no adamantium just yet) legs. While the exo-skeleton itself weighs about 53 pounds, it also manages to transfer its own weight so the user hardly notices the exo-suit is there. The suit is also tauted as having a wide range of natural movements, managed by an inboard computer that mirrors every movement of the wearer. This means that soldiers can run, jump, and crawl without being restricted by the exo-skeleton. HULC allows for the soldier to move heavy loads across rugged terrain without breaking so much as a sweat, hence the name ‘HULC’ (Hulk). We don’t know if this name was intentional, but the similarities are striking. Perhaps we can get some adamantium claws and regenerative shields too while we’re at it, Lockheed?
Check out a video after the break.
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