Friday, February 28, 2020

No iPhones For Movie Villains

"Apple won’t let bad guys use iPhones in movies".

(So if you were watching the murder mystery Knives Out and you saw a character using their iPhone, you could deduce they weren't the killer.)

Black Sign Language

"How America developed two sign languages -- one white, one black"

Small Victory For Privacy

Ars Technica: "Removing a GPS tracking device from your car isn't theft, court rules"

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Pandemic Prep Items

Australian virologist Ian Mackay offers recommendations of items to purchase and preparations to make in anticipation of potential Coronavirus pandemic:
The list included extra prescription drugs and over-the-counter fever and pain medicines; feminine hygiene products; toilet paper and tissues; and vitamins "in case food shortages limit the variety in your diet." He also advised buying items including soap, alcohol hand rub and household cleaning products.

In terms of food, he suggested purchasing cereals, grains, beans, lentils and pasta; tinned food such as fish, vegetables and fruit; oil, spices and other flavorings; dried fruit and nuts; powdered milk; items for pets; as well as soft drinks, candy and chocolate for treats.

Mackay also provided a list to be used in the event that a "severe" pandemic cuts access to fresh foods. The products "should be the last things to buy if you have a hint of when supplies might slow or stop for a (hopefully short) time."

Those include bread and wraps, meat for freezing, milk, eggs, yogurt, and fruit and vegetables. Car fuel should also be bought at this time, he said.

"But don't panic buy and don't hoard!" said Mackay.
Original article by Mackay, including some risk analysis: "So you think you’re about to be in a pandemic?"

McD's Candles

"McDonald's to sell 'Quarter Pounder' scented candles"

Smithsonian Images

"Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Signal App And Public Officials

"Mayor de Blasio joins encrypted messaging app Signal, raising legal and ethical questions".

I (and several friends) use Signal, and we like it. However, there's an interesting question of whether public officials should use the secure app for conducting government business in a way that violates Freedom of Information Act.

Related story from Wired: "Signal Is Finally Bringing Its Secure Messaging to the Masses"

More Trek

"Exclusive: Captain Pike And The Enterprise To Be Star Trek's Next Show"

Human Echolocation

"How humans can echolocate like bats"

Friday, February 21, 2020

Mysterious Aerodynamic Lift

"No One Can Explain Why Planes Stay in the Air":
[T]here is actually no agreement on what generates the aerodynamic force known as lift. “There is no simple one-liner answer to this,” [aerodynamics expert John D. Anderson] told the Times. People give different answers to the question, some with “religious fervor.” More than 15 years after that pronouncement, there are still different accounts of what generates lift, each with its own substantial rank of zealous defenders. At this point in the history of flight, this situation is slightly puzzling.
Click through to see lots of diagrams and theories!

Tricking A Tesla

"Hackers can trick a Tesla into accelerating by 50 miles per hour"

RIP, Larry Tesler

"The Computer Scientist Responsible for Cut, Copy, and Paste, Has Passed Away"

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Amazon And Third Party Sales

"Who's responsible for what you buy on Amazon? A court is about to decide". (Via N.L.)

Fooling Driverless Cars

"Driverless cars can't tell the difference between projections and real objects"

Science Emojis

“Scientists ♥ Their Emojis, But It’s Complicated

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Space Tourism Update

"Ready to buy a trip to orbit from Elon Musk?"
Up to four passengers will be able to hire SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft for a joyride around the Earth, Elon Musk’s company said today.

The experience will be brokered by SpaceAdventures, a US tourism firm that helped eight wealthy enthusiasts visit the International Space Station between 2001 and 2009.

The cost of the experience is not disclosed and likely negotiable.

Olympics Hacking Warning

"Hackers will be the weapon of choice for governments in 2020":
The 2020 summer games will be held in Tokyo, and the Russians have already put a bull’s-eye on the event with several successful hacks on relevant organizations. 

Coronavirus Questions

"These 2 questions will determine if the coronavirus becomes a deadly pandemic"

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bad Price Guessers

"Why are people getting worse at 'The Price Is Right'?"

CS Education

"The Missing Semester of Your CS Education"

UK Airbnb Scam

"I stumbled across a huge Airbnb scam that's taking over London"