Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bitcoin and Venezuela

"Venezuela has a serious food shortage, but electricity is subsidized. People are mining bitcoins because it's worthwhile to use bitcoins to buy food across the border. Bitcoin is a way for Brazillians to get around currency controls and tarriffs." (Via Metafilter.)

Chatbots That Read Your Facial Expressions

"Customer Service Chatbots Are About to Become Frighteningly Realistic"

Skateboarding on Frozen Sand

Video: "Skateboarding on frozen sand"

Monday, March 27, 2017

Surgery While Awake

"More surgery is being performed with the patient awake and looking on, for both financial and medical reasons. But as surgical patients are electing to keep their eyes wide open, doctor-patient protocol has not kept pace with the new practice."

Mars Rocket

"These Scientists Sent a Rocket to Mars for Less Than It Cost to Make 'The Martian'

Big Mammals

"How Big Can a Land Animal Get?"

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cooking At Your Desk

"Watch This Chinese Woman Make the Most Insane Desk Lunch Ever"


"Researchers are using Darwin's theories to evolve AI, so only the strongest algorithms survive"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Aristotle And Computers

"How Aristotle Created the Computer":
The history of computers is often told as a history of objects, from the abacus to the Babbage engine up through the code-breaking machines of World War II. In fact, it is better understood as a history of ideas, mainly ideas that emerged from mathematical logic, an obscure and cult-like discipline that first developed in the 19th century. Mathematical logic was pioneered by philosopher-mathematicians, most notably George Boole and Gottlob Frege, who were themselves inspired by Leibniz’s dream of a universal “concept language,” and the ancient logical system of Aristotle...

Pandemic Prep

NPR: "How To Prepare For A Pandemic"

Monday, March 20, 2017

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual this week due to external obligations.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Test For Hidden Hearing Loss

"How well can you hear in a noisy background? Try it here":
You will be asked to repeat a series of sentences. The exercise begins in quiet, but then it will introduce background noise. The noise comes in six levels, faint at first but eventually louder than the words.

People with hearing loss start to have some trouble understanding the words at the second or third level, according to Robert Fifer, director of audiology and speech pathology at the center. That doesn’t mean that they can’t understand anything, but they show increasing difficulty understanding accurately what is said compared to someone with normal hearing abilities, he said...

Fake Friends Market

"Japanese company offers fake friends photo service to help customers look popular on social media".

The article notes:
However, there’s one weakness to such schemes that’s pretty glaring. If you don’t have enough friends to get together for a birthday party, is anyone really paying attention to your social media posts? However, Family Romance is also billing its Real Appeal service as a way to affect a specific group or individual’s perception of you. If you want your coworkers to think you’re a more sociable person than you appear to be under normal working conditions, or if you’re romantically interested in an acquaintance with whom you’ve got an online connection and want to present yourself as someone who’s fun to be around, Family Romance can help you craft images that make it look like you’re having an absolute blast on the weekends.

The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake

Numberphile: "The Scientific Way to Cut a Cake"

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Numberphile on Terry Tao

Numberphile has a great profile of legendary UCLA math professor Terry Tao.

CIA Board Games

"The CIA uses board games to train officers -- and I got to play them"

Spider Silk Update

"In the Future, We'll All Wear Spider Silk"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

When The Wife Likes Ikea But The Husband Doesn't

Photo gallery: "My wife and I visit IKEA again and I try to figure out why".

My favorite line: "Our other measuring spoons do not strike me as structurally unsound."

(Make sure you click the "Load 11 more images" button to see the full saga.)

DNA Computing Update

"A DNA computer has a trillion siblings and replicates itself to make a decision"

Dogs Are Good Liars

"Trick or Treat: Conniving Behavior Discovered in Dogs"