Interesting things I've bookmarked (old posts, page 13)

Apple iPad first hands-on! (update: video!) -- Engadget

First hands on's with the iPad are out and about. Looks like Apple have once again made an awesome bit of hardware then lumbered a restrictive and cumbersom user interface on it. Will be interesting when someone "jailbreaks" one.# It's not light. It feels pretty weighty in your hand.# The screen is stunning, and it's 1024 x 768. Feels just like a huge iPhone in your hands.# The speed of the CPU is something to be marveled at. It is blazingly fast from what we can tell. Webpages loaded up super fast, and scrolling was without a hiccup. Moving into and out of apps was a breeze. Everything flew.# There's no multitasking at all. It's a real disappointment. All this power and very little you can do with it at once. No multitasking means no streaming Pandora when you're working in Pages... you can figure it out. It's a real setback for this device.# The ebook implementation is about as close as you can get to reading without a stack of bound paper in your hand. The visual stuff really helps flesh out the experience. It may be just for show, but it counts here.# No camera. None, nada. Zip. No video conferencing here folks. Hell, it doesn't have an SMS app!# It's running iPhone OS 3.2.# The keyboard is good, not great. Not quite as responsive as it looked in the demos.# No Flash confirmed. So Hulu is out for you, folks!

A Proposal For Establishing a Settlement in New South Wales

By the discoveries and enterprise of our officers, many new countries have been found which know no sovereign, and that hold out the most enticing allurements to European adventurers. None are more inviting than New South Wales.Capt. Cook first coasted and surveyed the eastern side of that fine country, from the 38th degree of south latitude down to the 10th, where he found everything to induce him to give the most favourable account of it. In this immense tract of more than 2,000 miles there was every variety of soil, and great parts of it were extremely fertile, peopled only by a few black inhabitants, who, in the rudest state of society, knew no other arts than such as were necessary to their mere animal existence, and which was almost entirely sustained by catching fish.The climate and soil are so happily adapted to produce every various and valuable production of Europe, and of both the Indies, that with good management, and a few settlers, in twenty or thirty years they might cause a revolution in the whole system of European commerce, and secure to England a monopoly of some part of it, and a very large share in the whole.

Journal of a Voyage Round the World (1877)

During this voyage, Magra became acquainted with (Sir) Joseph Banks, and their friendship lasted until his death. The Endeavour returned to England in July 1771. Circumstantial evidence has identified Magra as the anonymous author of A Journal of a Voyage Round the World, which appeared two months later, and which offered some details of Cook's voyage not found in other accounts.

Matra, James M. (1746 - 1806)

Matra became a leading proponent of the idea of establishing a convict colony at Botany Bay. He presented his schemes for settlement to the Portland and Pitt administrations in 1783 and 1784. One of the very few Europeans then alive who had actually visited New South Wales, he testified to the House of Commons committee enquiring into the resumption of transportation in May 1785.As Nepean's 'Memo of matters to be brought before Cabinet', about December 1784, indicated, when Pitt's ministers considered 'The Erecting a Settlement upon the Coast of New South Wales which is intended as an Assylum for some of the American Loyalists, who are now ready to depart and also as a place for the Transportation of Young Offenders who[se] crimes have not been of the most heinous nature', they were considering Matra's plan. His proposal to colonize New South Wales accorded well with the government's interests in disposing of the convicts, in building strategic resources in the Pacific Ocean and in establishing a trading network linking Asia and the Americas to Europe.Disappointed in his hopes for a post in his proposed colony, in July 1786 Matra accepted the appointment of consul at Tangier, Morocco, where he was to remain (with some respites at Gibraltar when the plague ravaged North Africa) until his death. His later life exemplified the common lot of American Loyalists who, displaced and poverty-stricken, had to eke out precarious existences. 'I occupy but a small place on this Globe', he wrote plaintively in 1781, '& yet there is not room on it for me'.

The Tote; I Never Knew You

Presumptions about the Tote's clientele being high risk are unfounded. The local police have made it clear they have never had a problem with the venue. On Sunday afternoon they happily blocked off the intersection of Johnson and Wellington streets to give the 2000 or so protesters outside the hotel ample room to vent their anger and hear speeches from people including Milne and comedian Rod Quantock.

Google Hacks China

Last month, when Google engineers at their sprawling campus in Silicon Valley began to suspect that Chinese intruders were breaking into private Gmail accounts, the company began a secret counteroffensive. It managed to gain access to a computer in Taiwan that it suspected of being the source of the attacks. Peering inside that machine, company engineers actually saw evidence of the aftermath of the attacks, not only at Google, but also at at least 33 other companies, including Adobe Systems, Northrop Grumman and Juniper Networks, according to a government consultant who has spoken with the investigators.

Jugglers have rewired brains

'We tend to think of the brain as being static, or even beginning to degenerate, once we reach adulthood,' says Dr Heidi Johansen-Berg of the Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, who led the work. 'In fact we find the structure of the brain is ripe for change. We've shown that it is possible for the brain to condition its own wiring system to operate more efficiently.''We have demonstrated that there are changes in the white matter of the brain - the bundles of nerve fibres that connect different parts of the brain - as a result of learning an entirely new skill,' explains Dr Johansen-Berg.