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Ten April Fool’s pranks of 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

April Fools’ Day pranks harmlessly pervaded worldwide again this year. Media outlets and internet sites have joined family, office workers, and friends to provide a wide variety of practical jokes. Ireland, France, and the United States celebrate April Fools all day, whereas a few countries celebrate jokes only until noon such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.

Car and Driver claimed that GM and Chrysler were ordered out of NASCAR by the White House by the end of 2009 in order to receive any more government loans. There are press releases about this short-lived prank which received controversial feedback.

The Swiss Tourism Board has announced that volunteers were desperately needed, The Association of Mountain Cleaners “makes sure that our holiday guests can always enjoy perfect mountains. Using brooms, brushes, water and muscle power, they clean the rocks of any bird droppings.”

This year Gmail produced a new autopilot feature for April 1, 2009 which can read your email and automatically respond to every message.

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BMW released its new Magnetic Tow Technology which allows your BMW to magnetically attach to the vehicle ahead of you. This enhanced technology allows the driver to remove their foot from the gas pedal and turn off the motor.

The Guardian proposed its move to Twitter, which would allow the newspaper to fit its article content into 140 character messages or “tweets”. Included in this venture was the archiving of past events reported by The Guardian, such as, “1927 OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*”

Google’s technological break through for April Fool’s Day was CADIE, (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity). By extracting internet search patterns combined with Brain Search, a part of CADIE technology, Google can now search your thoughts and memories.

Wikipedia even fooled Fox News who claimed that “every item on the home page of the user-generated site Wikipedia is fake. The featured Wikipedia article regaled the “Museum of Bad Art” in Boston.” However, each item on the main page was based on reality — even news articles such as NASA reports a shower of diamonds over the Republic of Sudan, which was based on a meteorite which passed over Sudan whose fragments did reveal diamonds upon discovery.

The Conficker Internet worm had been in the news warning of a worst case scenario when computers worldwide would be affected by the virus. Even the chief security adviser for Microsoft, Ed Gibson, didn’t want to make any predictions about what would happen. Experts just knew that it was set to go off on April 1. Several anomalous happenings were attributed to Conficker including Leroy “Mac” MacElrie who claimed to be the programmer of the Conficker worm and turned himself in to police.

Hotels.com ran an advertisement offering hotel room bookings on the moon which would be offered on European websites starting at £800 a night.

Qualcomm ingeniously revealed a new wireless networking technology called wireless convergence. Making use of the flight patterns of pigeons. They then use innovative solutions to converge the birds with wolves to protect the internal improvements.

Media outlets were not the only ones pulling pranks. Gaming websites across the internet Blizzard, Joystiq, and affiliates posted reviews and announcements of games with tongue in cheek. YouTube offered viewers a unique April Fool’s experience as videos were offered upside down. In Ireland, U2 fans received a U2opia concert on a shopping centre roof top concert rather than the real thing.

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Sep
27

A Kenya Safari Taking In The Offbeat Mara Camp}

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Submitted by: Peter R Stewart

An African Kenya Safari taking in the Masai Mara is an awesome experience which can only be enhanced if you choose the best place to stay for your needs. You should consider booking the Offbeat Mara Camp as one of the smaller and more unusual camps to go to.

The Offbeat Mara Camp is a seasonal camp hidden away in a prime wildlife area located on the shady banks of the Olare Orok River on the Koyiaka Ranch. It is carefully positioned so it doesnt affect the wild animals who walk undisturbed right through the area.

What you are going to get with the Offbeat Mara Camp is a really private and traditional safari right in the Masai Mara and a long way from other lodges and camps, so what you will get is fantastic game viewing without hordes of vehicles in attendance. In fact you will be unlucky to see another safari group during your stay at Offbeat Mara Camp.

The day to day activities includes Game drives, Bush Walking, Birding, Photography, and you will get terrific game viewing with regular sightings of lion, leopard, and elephants.

The Offbeat Mara Camp sleeps 12 people in six tents, all overlooking the plains of the Masai Mara, in three doubles, and three twins, and the tents are large meaning an extra bed for a young child can easily be added. Each of the tents has an en-suite bathroom with hot bucket showers, wash basins and flushing toilets.

All the tents have hand made beds, permanent solar lighting, and high quality bed linen.

Meals are taken in the mess tent, and are informal, and quite often evening meals are around the camp fire in the open air under the stars. The meals are comprehensive and of good quality, featuring full English breakfasts, light lunches, and four course dinners. There is a bar and comfortable chairs with a writing desk and a library.

Essentially Offbeat Mara Camp is a traditional bush camp where sitting round the camp fire talking about the day is how the evenings pass. It is renowned for its personal service and very homely atmosphere.

Game reserves have rules, but guests at the Offbeat Mara Camp arent restricted by them around the camp so guests can go for daytime game drives as well as night drives. There are bush breakfasts and sundowners, walking safaris with armed guides and then of course there is the Game reserve itself with the possibility of a balloon flight..

The time to visit the Masai Mara and stay at Offbeat Mara Camp is of course between July and October when the wildebeest and Zebra cross the plains in the huge migration from the adjoining Serengeti. The animals draw in the lions leopards and cheetahs in huge numbers and Offbeat guests are ideally placed to take advantage of the sights.

Finally the Offbeat Mara Camp works closely with the local Maasai community, and the local people helped build the camp, and now have found employment on the camp.

For more information about In Kenya safaris go to

in-kenyasafari.com/pages/Site-Map.html

About the Author: Peter Stewart writes about

in Kenya Safaris

as well as authoring several articles about

Worldwide Vacation Spots

and he recommends

Caribbean Vacation Spots

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Sep
27

Weakening Dean makes landfall on Mexican coast

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Weakening Dean makes landfall on Mexican coast

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

After gaining strength in the western Caribbean last night, Hurricane Dean made landfall as a Category 5 storm on Mexico’s Yucatán coast at about 4:30 a.m. this morning (EDT).

The storm struck just north of Chetumal, the capital of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. However, hurricane-force winds were felt over 60 miles (~100 km) away from the center of the storm, and tropical storm conditions impacted areas 175 miles (280 km) away.

The Mexican government ordered the deployment of over 4,000 troops, and declared a state of emergency in the state of Campeche. Some areas braced for up to 20 inches (510 mm) of rain.

Dean made landfall as a category 5 storm, before being downgraded hours later to a category 3 storm. Later Tuesday afternoon, Dean was downgraded to a category 2 storm. Currently, the storm maintains category 1 status, with top sustained winds at 85 mph (137 km/h).

The hurricane moved towards modern oil installations of the Yucatan Peninsula, prompting evacuations of offshore oil rigs that produce most of Mexico’s oil and gas.

Forecasters warn the storm could pick up strength as it crosses the Bay of Campeche and turn into an even more destructive hurricane before making a second landfall on Wednesday.

A hurricane warning remains in effect along the Gulf Coast of Mexico from south of Progreso to Tampico.

Forecasters do not believe it presents a threat to the United States.

Dean is being blamed for 13 deaths already.

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Sep
26

American Indian Movement spokesperson dies, age 75">
American Indian Movement spokesperson dies, age 75

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vernon Bellecourt, once the primary spokesperson for the American Indian Movement, died recently at age 75. Bellecourt, an Ojibwa who fought for Native rights, was perhaps best known for his opposition to Native names and mascots for sports teams.

First in the headlines in 1972, Bellecourt organized a cross-country caravan of the Movement, to Washington. Once there, members of the group occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices. His goal of international recognition for Aboriginal nations and their treaties found him meeting with figures like Libyan Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Palestine’s Yasir Arafat. In 1977 Leonard Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the murder of two FBI Agents during a 1975 shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; Bellecourt led the campaign to free him.

Most recently, he visited Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, to discuss getting free or cheap heating oil for reservations.

His work as president of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media made a much wider known mark, though. Bellecourt emphasized that he believed such names perpetuated racial stereotypes, clouding the real identities and problems facing natives.

Teams with native-related names could almost guarantee on Bellecourt showing up at major games. He twice burned an effigy of Chief Wahoo, the Cleveland Indians baseball team mascot, and both times was arrested. When the Washington Redskins of the National Football League made the Super Bowl, Vernon was there to protest. The United States Commission on Civil Rights was critical of such names by 2001, calling them “insensitive in light of the long history of forced assimilation”. Some newspapers have stopped using the names of teams with Native origins.

None of his “big four” targets have shown any indication of changing: the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cleveland Indians or the Atlanta Braves.

Post-season use of American Indian mascots were banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2005, suggesting the names are “hostile or abusive”. Bellecourt was pleased with the NCAA sanctions, but suggested such actions were only going “half way”.

The Florida State Seminole and the Illinois Illini were among the 18 colleges affected by the ban. Florida president T.K. Wetherell threatened legal action in response. The Florida Seminole tribes have endorsed the University’s usage of the name, but some out-of-state tribes were “not supportive”, according to the NCAA vice president for diversity and inclusion.

Born WaBun-Inini, Bellecourt died from complications of pneumonia on October 13, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

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Sep
26

FDA issues proposed rules requiring calorie content on menus">
FDA issues proposed rules requiring calorie content on menus

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued proposed calorie labeling rules requiring most retail food vendors to display the calorie counts in items on their menus and menu boards. The proposed rules, issued Friday and expected to be finalized in 2012, would apply to most restaurants, snack bars, vending machines, coffee shops, drive-through restaurants, and convenience and grocery stores.

The US Congress required the rules in the health-care reform law passed in 2010. The rules proposed by the FDA must undergo a public comment period before they are finalized and take effect, said Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Director for Foods at the FDA.

The proposed regulations pertain to businesses devoting more than 50 percent of their floor space to the sale of food or that consider themselves restaurants, specifically food-selling chains with at least 20 stores nationally. Included are candy stores, bakeries, and ice-cream parlors.

The FDA’s proposed guidelines specify that chains post the calorie counts of foods and drinks on menus and menu boards or next to the food item, such as at a salad bar. The menu is to prominently exhibit the calorie content of each item in a way customers can see easily, giving them the same information packaged foods prepared at home currently provide. The information must be displayed in “clear and conspicuous” print and colors.

Giving consumers clear nutritional information makes it easier for them to choose healthier options that can help fight obesity and make us all healthier.

Many cities and states have passed laws requiring calorie labeling on menus, beginning with New York City in 2008. California implemented a similar law in January, although many counties are waiting for the release of the federal guidelines before they begin enforcement. Some fast-food chains there, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, are displaying calorie counts on menus in some of their stores.

The rules are intended to curb the national obesity epidemic since, according to FDA estimates, one third of the calories people consume yearly come from food eaten out. In a statement issued yesterday, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services said, “Giving consumers clear nutritional information makes it easier for them to choose healthier options that can help fight obesity and make us all healthier.”

Excluded from the rules are businesses whose primary product is not food sales but that sell it, such as bowling alleys, airports and airplanes, amusement parks, hotels and movie theaters. Alcohol is also excluded.

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Sep
26

Prince Laurent of Belgium testifies in marine fraud case">
Prince Laurent of Belgium testifies in marine fraud case

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

This article features in a News Brief from Audio Wikinews:

Prince Laurent of Belgium, the youngest son of King Albert II of Belgium, has been questioned last night by the federal police and is attending today’s court session in Hasselt in a marine fraud case that has gripped Belgian media since last December. He arrived in a Smart car and was accompanied by his lawyer and former politician Fred Erdman. The case turns around funds of the Belgian Navy that have been used to beautify the Prince’s villa in Tervuren. The Prince is expected to testify this afternoon.

In total, 2.2 million was supposedly diverted from the marine’s purchasing services using false invoices. Roughly € 185 000 was allegedly used to paint the Prince’s villa, install lights in the garden, for the purchase of carpet and furniture, and for his secretariat and for animal clinics the Prince supports via his Foundation. Twelve marine officers and contractors are being accused of document fraud, collusion, bribery, embezzlement of government money etc. and could face 10 years in prison. The money was part of the budget that wasn’t spent at the end of the year, and which would flow back to the government if the army didn’t spend it.

The Prince, who is also an officer in the navy, is being treated only as a witness in this case, there have been no charges against him. The Attorney General in Hasselt Marc Rubens has said that there are no elements in the investigation that point to the fact that Laurent was aware of the affair, however several accused have contested this in the press. Technically, the villa is not the property of the Prince himself, but of the Royal Gift, which manages the real property of the Royal Family.

During his interview by the police last night, Prince Laurent stated that he needed funds to renovate his villa, and that Noël Vaessen, his adviser, told him the Navy could help him. The Prince stated that he thought it was legal, and that he had no reason to doubt his adviser.

Ex-Colonel Noël Vaessen was an adviser of the Prince between 1993 and 1999. Vaessen has declared in the media during the last month that the Prince actively participated in the fraud, and that he fears a cover-up. He said that the Prince was a demanding party in the operation, and that “he knew that we were arranging things to make his life and his work as comfortable as possible.” According to Vaessen, the Prince was in need of money to support a royal lifestyle, and “didn’t even have enough money to buy food.”

In 2001, Vaessen was discharged with honour from the army “for medical reasons”, but Defence Minister André Flahaut is investigating if there was no agreement to give him his pension in exchange for the fact that he wouldn’t incriminate the Prince. Vaessen also accused the Prince of other things, such as racing against the high-speed train TGV on a French highway. He has also incriminated Admiral Herteleer. Captain Johan Claeys, one of the accused, studied with the Prince and worked at the facturation services of the Navy in 1998 and 1999. One of the accused contractors, Marc Luypaerts, has told the press that the judge responsible for the investigation in Hasselt had forbidden him to speak about Prince Laurent.

Laurent’s status as a Prince has several judicial consequences for the trial. In Belgium, it’s against the law to incriminate the Royal Family during a trial. Also, the Prince is protected from judicial pursuit because he is also a Senator by law. Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx has issued a Royal Decrete, which the King has signed while on holiday in Napels, which would make it possible for Princes to testify in a trial.

However, Public Prosecutor Erwin Steyls has chosen to have Laurent interrogated by the police last night in Hasselt. This was the first time during the last six years of the inquiry that the Prince was questioned. Today in the court, the Prosecutor defended the act of having him questioned outside the trial, saying that there were several procedural issues. First, the subpoena for the Prince wasn’t issued in time to be legal. Second, the details of the protocol to hear the Prince in court were not explained in the recent Royal Decrete, making it worthless -something Minister Onkelickx denied. Thirdly, nobody can be forced to testify against himself, and if the Prince were to make false statements under oath, he could only be sued for perjury. However, the court has decided to let him testify anyway this afternoon.

Quote

Nobody is above the law and the Justice Department must be able to complete its task in full independence. When the courts find embezzlements, it seems fair to me that they would be compensated by anyone who profited from them.

During the last month, the case has caused a several spin-off discussions in Belgium. One of the surprises during this period was the King’s Christmas Message, in which he referred to the case. The regional governments are now investigating and discussing their donations to the IRGT/KINT, an environmental organisation supported by Prince Laurent. But there is also an ongoing debate over the position of the Monarchy in Belgium. Some politicians are suggesting to limit the role of the Monarchy, and other think that only the King and Queen, the Crown Prince or Princess and the widow(er) of the King or Queen should receive state funding.

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Sep
25

Ford’s US auto sales spike, surpassing GM">
Ford’s US auto sales spike, surpassing GM

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that its sales in the United States rose 43% in February compared to the same period last year, as the automaker outsold rivals Toyota and General Motors.

The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers

Ford said that total sales improved to 142,285 units, compared to 141,951 units sold by GM. Additionally, Ford said that its share of the total US car market rose to 17%, up from 14% a year ago. The increase was better than analysts had predicted, and Ford’s stock rose to a five-year high in morning trading, before declining later in the day. Ford’s sales were significantly influenced by a 74% increase in fleet sales to businesses. Rental car agencies alone accounted for around 30,000 units sold. Sales to retail consumers increased only 28%.

The increases were led by sales of two sedans, the Fusion and Taurus, which rose 166.5 and 93.3% respectively, although sales of other models such as SUVs and pickup trucks also increased. Both models were significantly redesigned last year, and analysts said that improved quality from such cars were driving the increases.

Other companies also reported February sales today, nearly all reporting sales gains as well, although none as large as those of Ford. Toyota was the sole exception to the sales gains, as their sales declined 8.7%, as the company was faced with a global recall during the month that led to a temporary stoppage of production for some models.

“The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing. However, he believed that traditional Toyota customers were not buying rival autos, but rather awaiting the results from the recalls.

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Sep
25

Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak">
Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 25). Three candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Blair, Robertson Boyle, Tony Dickins, Cliff Jenkins (incumbent), and Peter Kapsalis.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

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Sep
25

Choosing Luxury Accommodation}

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Submitted by: Manish Sharma-1

When choosing a luxury accommodation for your break, it is important to consider many factors before booking. This is the most important choice you make when booking your vacation – a bad choice could ruin your holiday and a good choice and your vacation will be one to remember. So what are the factors you should consider when choosing your accommodation?

First, select the location. If you are in search of a peaceful break where you can escape the hustle and bustle of busy days then you need someplace thats calm. So be sure to choose a hotel isolated from the bustle of towns and, more importantly, away from traffic in the evenings when youre trying to rest and recuperate. If you have difficulty sleeping, even the smallest amount of traffic in the vicinity can interrupt a good night’s sleep. Make sure that your luxury accommodation is close to all the activities or events you plan to attend. There can be nothing worse than planning your break around an event, only to find that your accommodation is too far away! If youre going to be flying soon after your arrival at the hotel ensure it is located near your airport, or a local bus station route if you plan to travel by public transport during your stay.

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Check the price. It is obvious that the room price is an important factor here, but what about the other costs – what about other supplements? There is often an additional cost burden to consider such as extras for catering, the use of facilities, late departure, car parking and in-room entertainment. It is important to always check what you get for the general tariff you will be charged – are meals included and if so which ones? It can be heart breaking to see that the evening meal you enjoyed is not been included in the standard charges. It is usually standard to include both bed and breakfast in the cost of the room, but this is not always the case. So check!

Make sure your luxury accommodation has the facilities you expect. Most luxury hotels will provide an endless list of facilities it provides, but upon arrival you can find that many of them are located outside the hotel and sometimes a goodly distance away. Luxury accommodations often form partnerships with leisure centers and spa and this practice is becoming increasingly common, so always check the facilities that are available on site and those that are in the vicinity. Check if there is an additional cost for using any of the facilities. Ask what the size of the pool is: do NOT rely on pictures alone as they can give a highly distorted perspective.

Finally, ask how long the hotel has been in full operation and how long the manager and senior staff have been working in the industry which can give you an idea of their levels of experience. This has two impacts; first, it gives you confidence in knowing that your choice of accommodation has been up and running for a long time and second, it is rare for prospective clients to ask questions of this nature and you can almost guarantee that senior staff will be informed and they will ensure you are welcomed and cared for during your stay.

A useful guide to help you in choosing luxury accommodation for your trip is http://www.luxuryaccommodation.us

About the Author: Manish Sharma-1 is copy writer for luxury accommodation, provider of luxury accommodation and luxury family hotels.

luxuryaccommodation.usluxuryaccommodation.us/luxury_family_hotels.htm

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Sep
25

Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall">
Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A new historic physics record has been set by scientists for exceedingly small writing, opening a new door to computing‘s future. Stanford University physicists have claimed to have written the letters “SU” at sub-atomic size.

Graduate students Christopher Moon, Laila Mattos, Brian Foster and Gabriel Zeltzer, under the direction of assistant professor of physics Hari Manoharan, have produced the world’s smallest lettering, which is approximately 1.5 nanometres tall, using a molecular projector, called Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) to push individual carbon monoxide molecules on a copper or silver sheet surface, based on interference of electron energy states.

A nanometre (Greek: ?????, nanos, dwarf; ?????, metr?, count) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre (i.e., 10-9 m or one millionth of a millimetre), and also equals ten Ångström, an internationally recognized non-SI unit of length. It is often associated with the field of nanotechnology.

“We miniaturised their size so drastically that we ended up with the smallest writing in history,” said Manoharan. “S” and “U,” the two letters in honor of their employer have been reduced so tiny in nanoimprint that if used to print out 32 volumes of an Encyclopedia, 2,000 times, the contents would easily fit on a pinhead.

In the world of downsizing, nanoscribes Manoharan and Moon have proven that information, if reduced in size smaller than an atom, can be stored in more compact form than previously thought. In computing jargon, small sizing results to greater speed and better computer data storage.

“Writing really small has a long history. We wondered: What are the limits? How far can you go? Because materials are made of atoms, it was always believed that if you continue scaling down, you’d end up at that fundamental limit. You’d hit a wall,” said Manoharan.

In writing the letters, the Stanford team utilized an electron‘s unique feature of “pinball table for electrons” — its ability to bounce between different quantum states. In the vibration-proof basement lab of Stanford’s Varian Physics Building, the physicists used a Scanning tunneling microscope in encoding the “S” and “U” within the patterns formed by the electron’s activity, called wave function, arranging carbon monoxide molecules in a very specific pattern on a copper or silver sheet surface.

“Imagine [the copper as] a very shallow pool of water into which we put some rocks [the carbon monoxide molecules]. The water waves scatter and interfere off the rocks, making well defined standing wave patterns,” Manoharan noted. If the “rocks” are placed just right, then the shapes of the waves will form any letters in the alphabet, the researchers said. They used the quantum properties of electrons, rather than photons, as their source of illumination.

According to the study, the atoms were ordered in a circular fashion, with a hole in the middle. A flow of electrons was thereafter fired at the copper support, which resulted into a ripple effect in between the existing atoms. These were pushed aside, and a holographic projection of the letters “SU” became visible in the space between them. “What we did is show that the atom is not the limit — that you can go below that,” Manoharan said.

“It’s difficult to properly express the size of their stacked S and U, but the equivalent would be 0.3 nanometres. This is sufficiently small that you could copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the head of a pin not just once, but thousands of times over,” Manoharan and his nanohologram collaborator Christopher Moon explained.

The team has also shown the salient features of the holographic principle, a property of quantum gravity theories which resolves the black hole information paradox within string theory. They stacked “S” and the “U” – two layers, or pages, of information — within the hologram.

The team stressed their discovery was concentrating electrons in space, in essence, a wire, hoping such a structure could be used to wire together a super-fast quantum computer in the future. In essence, “these electron patterns can act as holograms, that pack information into subatomic spaces, which could one day lead to unlimited information storage,” the study states.

The “Conclusion” of the Stanford article goes as follows:

According to theory, a quantum state can encode any amount of information (at zero temperature), requiring only sufficiently high bandwidth and time in which to read it out. In practice, only recently has progress been made towards encoding several bits into the shapes of bosonic single-photon wave functions, which has applications in quantum key distribution. We have experimentally demonstrated that 35 bits can be permanently encoded into a time-independent fermionic state, and that two such states can be simultaneously prepared in the same area of space. We have simulated hundreds of stacked pairs of random 7 times 5-pixel arrays as well as various ideas for pathological bit patterns, and in every case the information was theoretically encodable. In all experimental attempts, extending down to the subatomic regime, the encoding was successful and the data were retrieved at 100% fidelity. We believe the limitations on bit size are approxlambda/4, but surprisingly the information density can be significantly boosted by using higher-energy electrons and stacking multiple pages holographically. Determining the full theoretical and practical limits of this technique—the trade-offs between information content (the number of pages and bits per page), contrast (the number of measurements required per bit to overcome noise), and the number of atoms in the hologram—will involve further work.Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, Christopher R. Moon, Laila S. Mattos, Brian K. Foster, Gabriel Zeltzer & Hari C. Manoharan

The team is not the first to design or print small letters, as attempts have been made since as early as 1960. In December 1959, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, who delivered his now-legendary lecture entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” promised new opportunities for those who “thought small.”

Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model).

Feynman offered two challenges at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, held that year in Caltech, offering a $1000 prize to the first person to solve each of them. Both challenges involved nanotechnology, and the first prize was won by William McLellan, who solved the first. The first problem required someone to build a working electric motor that would fit inside a cube 1/64 inches on each side. McLellan achieved this feat by November 1960 with his 250-microgram 2000-rpm motor consisting of 13 separate parts.

In 1985, the prize for the second challenge was claimed by Stanford Tom Newman, who, working with electrical engineering professor Fabian Pease, used electron lithography. He wrote or engraved the first page of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, at the required scale, on the head of a pin, with a beam of electrons. The main problem he had before he could claim the prize was finding the text after he had written it; the head of the pin was a huge empty space compared with the text inscribed on it. Such small print could only be read with an electron microscope.

In 1989, however, Stanford lost its record, when Donald Eigler and Erhard Schweizer, scientists at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose were the first to position or manipulate 35 individual atoms of xenon one at a time to form the letters I, B and M using a STM. The atoms were pushed on the surface of the nickel to create letters 5nm tall.

In 1991, Japanese researchers managed to chisel 1.5 nm-tall characters onto a molybdenum disulphide crystal, using the same STM method. Hitachi, at that time, set the record for the smallest microscopic calligraphy ever designed. The Stanford effort failed to surpass the feat, but it, however, introduced a novel technique. Having equaled Hitachi’s record, the Stanford team went a step further. They used a holographic variation on the IBM technique, for instead of fixing the letters onto a support, the new method created them holographically.

In the scientific breakthrough, the Stanford team has now claimed they have written the smallest letters ever – assembled from subatomic-sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. The new super-mini letters created are 40 times smaller than the original effort and more than four times smaller than the IBM initials, states the paper Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The new sub-atomic size letters are around a third of the size of the atomic ones created by Eigler and Schweizer at IBM.

A subatomic particle is an elementary or composite particle smaller than an atom. Particle physics and nuclear physics are concerned with the study of these particles, their interactions, and non-atomic matter. Subatomic particles include the atomic constituents electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are composite particles, consisting of quarks.

“Everyone can look around and see the growing amount of information we deal with on a daily basis. All that knowledge is out there. For society to move forward, we need a better way to process it, and store it more densely,” Manoharan said. “Although these projections are stable — they’ll last as long as none of the carbon dioxide molecules move — this technique is unlikely to revolutionize storage, as it’s currently a bit too challenging to determine and create the appropriate pattern of molecules to create a desired hologram,” the authors cautioned. Nevertheless, they suggest that “the practical limits of both the technique and the data density it enables merit further research.”

In 2000, it was Hari Manoharan, Christopher Lutz and Donald Eigler who first experimentally observed quantum mirage at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. In physics, a quantum mirage is a peculiar result in quantum chaos. Their study in a paper published in Nature, states they demonstrated that the Kondo resonance signature of a magnetic adatom located at one focus of an elliptically shaped quantum corral could be projected to, and made large at the other focus of the corral.

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