Monday, August 19, 2019

AI Can't Distinguish California Legislators From Criminals

"Facial recognition software mistook 1 in 5 California lawmakers for criminals, says ACLU".

The jokes practically write themselves.

Tolkien Series On Amazon

"The Tolkien Estate has banned Amazon from using certain storylines in its billion dollar Lord of the Rings series"
[Tolkien scholar and series consultant Tom] Shippey says that the series will be confined solely to Middle Earth's 'Second Age', the period prior to the 'Third Age', which was seen in Peter Jackson's movies, and that the 'First Age' is 'off-limits'.

“Amazon has a relatively free hand when it comes to adding something [to the Second Age], since… very few details are known about this time span,” Shippey said.

“The Tolkien estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenorean expedition, is returns to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenoreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same.

Real Flying Saucer

"Someone Built a Flying Saucer That Actually Flies And We're So Here For It". (Via H.R.)

Friday, August 16, 2019

RFK And Cuban Missile Crisis

"RFK's Secret Role in the Cuban Missile Crisis"

Self-Driving Trucks In Use

"UPS Has Been Delivering Cargo in Self-Driving Trucks for Months And No One Knew"

AC-Powered LEDs

"AC-powered LEDs Could Cut the Cost of Lighting". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Hsieh Forbes Column: "Pooping Less Frequently To Save The Planet? Really?"

My latest Forbes column is now out: "Pooping Less Frequently To Save The Planet? Really?"

I'm totally letting out my inner 10-year old.

School Bus Routing

"How One City Saved $5 Million by Routing School Buses with an Algorithm"

New Electric Motor

"HET electric motor massively boosts power, torque and efficiency, reduces weight and complexity". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Clever Teen

"Teen's tweets from her smart fridge go viral after mother confiscates phone". #CantStopTheSignal

Falling Space Debris

"No one has yet been killed by re-entering space junk".  The key word is "yet".

Regulating Biohacking

"Is it time to regulate biohacking? California thinks so."
California wants to make it clear that tinkering with your own genes is a “don’t try this at home” sort of thing. 

The state is making it illegal to sell a do-it-yourself genetic engineering kit unless it comes with a clear warning stating that “the kit is not for self-administration.” This is a notable escalation of an effort to regulate biohacking, a movement that’s gotten people interested in hacking their genomes — although it bears noting that right now, nobody appears to actually be selling the sort of kit California prohibits.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Moon Base

"IEEE Special Report: Project Moon Base"

Hacking Canon Cameras

"Canon DSLR Cameras Can Be Hacked With Ransomware Remotely"

Artificial Whiskey Taster

"Artificial tongue's nanoscale tastebuds can sort real whisky from counterfeits more than 99% of the time"

Monday, August 12, 2019


"A new tool uses AI to spot text written by AI"

IOT Insecurities

"Russian hackers are infiltrating companies via the office printer"

Machine-Made Art

"Metal and Wood Drawing Machines by James Nolan Gandy Form Mesmerizing Multi-Color Ellipses".

They look like high-quality "Spirograph" drawings. I especially like this one.

Friday, August 09, 2019

Alien Abduction Insurance

"Florida company offering 'alien abduction insurance' has sold nearly 6,000 policies"
Policyholders should read the fine print before they buy, though. In the event of an abduction, the plan's $10 million coverage pays out at a rate of $1 per year for 10 million years. 

Compelled Decryption Update

"The debate over 'compelled decryption' is likely headed for the US Supreme Court"

Path-Traced Movies

Pixar: "The Path to Path-Traced Movies"

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Hidden Galaxies

"Scientists find huge world of hidden galaxies, changing our understanding of the universe"

Better Lens Equation

"A Mexican Physicist Solved a 2,000-Year Old Problem That Will Lead to Cheaper, Sharper Lenses". (Via H.R.)

Cell Signal Boosters

"Ars reviews three cell signal boosters -- and they actually work"

Wednesday, August 07, 2019