Satellite Broadcaster BSkyB, has demonstrated its new three-dimensional television (3DTV) system. The new system can broadcast 3DTV into homes using existing high-definition TV infrastructure.
Three-dimensional viewing is on a roll. Games systems are pushing the development of 3D screens. Nvidia’s newer graphics cards use Stereo Gaming technology to enhance some of the most popular PC games.
The magic specs were back in the cinema this year with ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and ‘Beowulf’ both doing well at the box office. Other 3D movies such as ‘Toys Story 3’ and ‘Ice Age – Dawn of the Dinosaurs’ are due out in 2009.
According to BSkyB 3DTV is not far behind. Sky engineers have so far broadcast sporting events and the TV show Gladiators.
The BSkyB system requires viewers to wear special 3D glasses. Technology allowing viewing of 3D shows without special glasses will be cheap enough to use in the home in five to ten years time.
The system also requires a special television set capable of converting the dual pictures sent over the satellite link, into a 3D display. Mitsubishi launched a 73-inch 3D television receiver in June 2008. Other companies are expected to follow in 2009 with prices in the £2,000 range (US$3000).
The ambitious Europeana digital library opened on Thursday Nov. 20, only to be overwhelmed and crash. Its objective is to bring Europe’s cultural heritage out of its museums and libraries and onto the internet.
The site was designed to handle up to five-million users per hour. But it was receiving 10-million hits an hour when it crashed at 11:30 am. Despite increasing the number of servers from three to six, the site crashed again early evening. It is now offline and displays the message, “We are doing our utmost to reopen Europeana in a more robust version as soon as possible.”
Europeana currently holds some two-million paintings, photographs, sound recordings, maps, manuscripts, newspapers and documents. According EU commissioner Viviane Reding Europeana will, “enable a Czech student to browse the British library without going to London, or an Irish art lover to get close to the Mona Lisa without queuing at the Louvre.”
Europeana has 14 staff and an annual budget of 2.5 million euros (US$3.15 million). The aim is to have 10 million works available by 2010. It will be back online by mid-December 2008.
Last week, Bebo poked Gliese 581, one of our stellar neighbours. The social networking site collected 501 messages from members then beamed them into space. Site members selected the messages by vote. The messages include images of landmarks, famous people family snaps and short messages. One simply says, “You are not alone,” another “Welcome to planet Earth.”
The giant RT-70 radio telescope in the Ukraine sent the message on Oct 9. It is now over 100 billion miles from Earth. The target star Gliese 581 lies 20.1 light years from Earth. The Bebo team selected it because it has planets orbiting within the habitable zone. The region from the star where liquid water can exist.
Yelling into the Jungle
There could be risks involved for the Earth by bringing ourselves to the attention of alien intelligences. Sending signals into space like this has been compared to, “yelling into an unknown jungle.”
On the Message from Earth page, thethe Bebo website the team point out that, “The Earth has been sending unnatural signals into space from military radars and telescopes conducting radar astronomy for decades.” However, there is a great deal of difference between a carrier wave leaking into space and an information dense signal focused on a possibly inhabited planet.
When a similar scheme was proposed two years ago by Yahoo, it caused considerable concern and was abandon when Mexican officials refused to allow a laser transmitter to be mounted on an ancient pyramid.
If there is anyone or anything out there and they reply straight away, we can expect to be poked back in 40.2 years. Anyone for a game of interstellar-vampires?