Page 6 - Technology Facts

A gamer group is still trying to uncover the final mystery of a 2005 video game. Have you played it?

"Shadows of the Colossus" is a 2005 video game that has attracted its share of passionate fans. As the title of the game suggests, there were a number of Colossi in the game that had to be defeated. The designers intended to have 48 Colossi, but they drastically downsized in the end.

One man named Michael, who also goes by the username "Ozzymandias," would talk to other gamers online about strategy, but then he became intrigued for different reasons. In particular, there was a hidden garden at the top of the Shrine of Worship that could be glimpsed by jumping in the sky at the right time. It made him wonder if there was more to the game than met the eye and if there were other places that could be reached.

Michael and his fellow secret-seekers used a forum to speculate about the possibilities.Over 500 pages have been filled since the thread was first started. Many times the discussion turns to the possibility of an additional and final, yet unseen, Colossus. If nothing else, the discussion shows the dedication of the fans. The thread was started two years after the game was first released and still gets the occasional update today about a new discovery or theory.


What was really behind Microsoft's $150 million investment in Apple shares in 1997?

There is an urban myth that Microsoft 'saved' Apple from bankruptcy in 1997 to ensure that Microsoft did not become a monopoly. Microsoft invested $150 million in non-voting shares and this started the rumor that it was done to rescue Apple from certain demise.

The truth is that Microsoft's substantial investment was actually the result of a settlement of a lawsuit that would be settled over a couple of years. The $150 million was just the initial payment. The exact amount of the settlement is not known but has been estimated between $500 million to more than $1 billion.

The legal action was described in an article in 'MacWeek' and excerpts of it read: "Charges of copyright infringement and wrongdoing were raised last week by Apple, which filed an intellectual-property suit against The San Francisco Canyon Co., a small third-party contractor for Apple. But the scope of the court action encompasses industry giants Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp."

When Steve Jobs made the announcement at Macworld in 1997 that Apple and Microsoft was entering into a 'partnership' the crowd was less than happy. Suddenly the two companies were all cozy. Knowing the facts one has to ask: Who saved who? Yes, Apple could do with $150 million at that time, but it also gave Microsoft a chance to save face.


Starpath is a cement and tarmac coating agent that uses light from the sun during the day to glow along pathways at night!

It is costly to keep pathways in parks well lit to ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, but Pro-Teq (a British based company) has developed a product that can drastically cut back on those costs. 'Starpath' is a spray-on coating of light-absorbing particles that harvests ultra-violet rays from the sun during the day and dramatically lights up at night.

It is anti-slip and waterproof and can be applied to various surfaced like cement, wood and tarmac. 'Starpath' comes with added benefits. Its non-reflective surface doesn't contribute to light pollution, which not only limits views of the night sky, but has negative consequences for local nocturnal wildlife due to the constant illumination.

"Our surface works best over tarmac or concrete, predominantly tarmac, which is the main bulk of the U.K. Path network," says Pro-Teq's Neil Blackmore. "When it's coming to the end of its useful life, we can rejuvenate it with our system, creating not only a practical, but a decorative finish."

It is, however, not yet determined whether 'Starpath' will be illuminating enough to also deter crime to the extent that overhead streetlights do. Neil Blackmore suggests that for larger urban parks where the possibility of crime is higher, his technology could be used in conjunction with overhead lighting, if not replacing street lights completely.


Some awesome lists!

The top nine Apple executives made as much in 2011 as 95,000 Chinese workers making Apple products.

The executive leadership team of Apple (nine members in all) was compensated a total of $441 million in 2011. In contrast, it took a total of 95,000 Chinese factory workers at Apple's supplier, Foxconn, to earn an equivalent amount in wages. Those numbers vary slightly from year to year but are expected to be similar.

To accentuate the different worlds in which the workers and executives seem to live, the Fair Labor Association decided to do some investigation. 64% of the factory workers did not consider their salaries sufficient, despite working for an average of 56 hours per week and in questionable conditions. At the end of the year, the average Chinese factory worker earned $4,622.

All nine members of Apple's executive team made over $1 million each in 2011, but two of them made substantially more. Timothy Cook alone made $378 million, making him the highest paid of any CEO. In a distant second was Eduardo Cue, who made $53 million as senior vice president of the company. The vast majority of their earnings came in the form of restricted stock awards.

Note: The figures given are for the fiscal year of 2011, which doesn't correspond exactly to the calendar year.


This type of power plant releases more uranium into the air in one week than a nuclear plant does in 50 years!

Everybody is aware of the possible dangers, health risks to humans, and harm to the environment that nuclear power stations hold, but what are the risks of coal-fired power plants? Bernard L. Cohen, Professor-Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy and of Environmental and Occupational Health at the University of Pittsburgh, gives us an idea. Spoiler: It's not good.

Coal-fired power plants generate over half of the US' electrical power needs. The coal burnt in those plants generates approximately 274,000 tons of waste every day, which contains nearly every element known, including sulphur, chromium, mercury, lead, arsenic, and uranium!

Coal-burning power plants generate about 3.3 tons of uranium waste every single day in the US, and that gets released into the environment. On average, the amount of uranium coal plants discharge into the environment every week is much higher than the total amount of uranium released into the environment by the nuclear power industry over its entire 50-year history. That includes the disastrous accidental release at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl!

Professor Cohen feels that we have the technology to eliminate air, soil, and water pollution now, and he believes we need to put that technology to work now. He says that nuclear power can provide the electricity needed to end coal power pollution.



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