Monday, August 25, 2008


Piracetam (brand name: Nootropil, Qropi, Myocalm, Dinagen) is a nootropic. It is a dietary supplement which is claimed to enhance cognition and memory, slow down brain aging, increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, aid stroke recovery, and improve Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, dementia, and dyslexia, among others. Piracetam's chemical name is 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide; it shares the same 2-oxo-pyrrolidone base structure with 2-oxo-pyrrolidine carboxylic acid (pyroglutamate). Piracetam is a cyclic derivative of GABA. It is one of the racetams. Piracetam is prescribed by doctors for some conditions, mainly myoclonus,1 but is used off-label for a much wider range of applications. However, some treat it as a food supplement rather than a drug.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Inertial navigation systems in detail

INSs have angular and linear accelerometers (for changes in position); some include a gyroscopic element (for maintaining an absolute angular reference).

Angular accelerometers measure how the vehicle is rotating in space. Generally, there's at least one sensor for each of the three axes: pitch (nose up and down), yaw (nose left and right) and roll (clockwise or counter-clockwise from the cockpit).

Linear accelerometers measure how the vehicle is moving in space. Since it can move in three axes (up & down, left & right, forward & back), there is a linear accelerometer for each axis.

A computer continually calculates the vehicle's current position. First, for each of the six degrees of freedom (x,y,z and θ x, θ y and θ z), it integrates the sensed amount of acceleration over time to figure the current velocity. Then it integrates the velocity to figure the current position.

Inertial guidance is difficult without computers. The desire to use inertial guidance in the Minuteman missile and Project Apollo drove early attempts to miniaturize computers.

Inertial guidance systems are now usually combined with satellite navigation systems through a digital filtering system. The inertial system provides short term data, while the satellite system corrects accumulated errors of the inertial system.

An inertial guidance system that will operate near the surface of the earth must incorporate Schuler tuning so that its platform will continue pointing towards the center of the earth as a vehicle moves from place to place.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Planet (software)

In computing, Planet is a feed aggregator application designed to collect posts from the weblogs of members of an Internet community and display them on a single page. Planet runs on a web server. It creates pages with entries from the original feeds in chronological order, most recent entries first.

Planet is written in Python and maintained by Jeff Waugh and Scott James Remnant. Released under the Python License, Planet is free software.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Google Earth

Google Earth is a virtual globe program that was originally called Earth Viewer, and was created by Keyhole, Inc, a company acquired by Google in 2004. It maps the earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS 3D globe. It is available under three different licenses: Google Earth, a free version with limited functionality; Google Earth Plus ($20 per year), which includes additional features; and Google Earth Pro ($400 per year), which is intended for commercial use.

The product, renamed Google Earth in 2006, is currently available for use on personal computers running Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, or Vista, Mac OS X 10.3.9 and above, Linux (released on June 12, 2006), and FreeBSD. Google Earth is also available as a browser plugin (released on June 02, 2008) for Firefox, IE6, or IE7. In addition to releasing an updated Keyhole based client, Google also added the imagery from the Earth database to their web based mapping software. The release of Google Earth in mid 2006 to the public caused a more than tenfold increase in media coverage on virtual globes between 2006 and 2007, driving public interest in geospatial technologies and applications.