Friday, March 23, 2018

Handling In-Airline Disputes

"What Should You Do if a Flight Attendant Tells You to Put Your Dog in an Overhead Bin?: A guide to arguing on an airplane when you know you’re in the right."

Japan Condom Update

"Japan condom makers hope for 2020 Olympic lift". The jokes practically write themselves.

Race-Specific Emojis

NPR discusses whether it's ok for a "15-year-old queer, white girl" to use dark-skinned emojis.

Their answer is basically, "no": "By trying on black skin when it is fun, safe and convenient, your daughter is inadvertently trivializing the experiences of real black people."

I'm curious whether they'd be ok with me (a "yellow"-skinned Asian) using either a darker or lighter skin tone emoji -- or whether they'd tell me to "stick to my own color".

Or what their response would be to a male teenager wishing to use a female emoji (or vice versa).

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Blockchain Used To Hide Contraband Images

"Child abuse imagery found within bitcoin's blockchain":
Since mining is essential for the function of bitcoin, as the process records the transactions into the blockchain to verify trades and generates new bitcoin in the process, having illegal content such as child abuse imagery within the blockchain could cause significant issues for the currency. 

Chinese Government Face Scanning

"China's New Frontiers in Dystopian Tech"

Beer In Space

"How Do You Make Beer in Space?"

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Any Study Of 'Gun Violence' Should Include How Guns Save Lives

[Off topic] My latest Forbes column is now out: "Any Study Of 'Gun Violence' Should Include How Guns Save Lives".

I discuss three key principles that should be included in any kind of "gun violence" research, including:
  • Firearms save lives as well take lives. 
  • The value of firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens should be measured in terms of lives saved or crimes prevented, not criminals killed.
  • The right to self-defense does not depend on statistics and numbers.
Legal use of firearms in self-defense happens a lot more often than most people realize.

Any public health research that studies only the negative effects of criminal misuse of guns while ignoring the positive lawful uses misses a critically important part of the picture.

Literal World Map

"The literal translation of country names".

Here's the Asia map, click on the map to see larger version. (Click through to the main article to see all the other continents).

Hidden Document

"High-Powered X-Rays Reveal What's Beneath 11th-Century Religious Text".

I especially like that the hidden document turns out to be a "a translated text of the ancient Greek medical philosopher Galen".

Voyager 1 Lives

"NASA Gets Response From Spacecraft 13 Billion Miles Away".

No word from Star Fleet Command on whether a super-powerful alien probe is on its way to the Solar System. (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Edison Bug

"Thomas Edison Was an Early Adopter of the Word 'Bug': In an 1878 letter, he uses the term to refer to a technological glitch"

Graphene Superconductivity

Nature: "Surprise graphene discovery could unlock secrets of superconductivity". (Via H.R.)

PDF Appreciation

"Why the PDF Is Secretly the World's Most Important File Format"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Automaker 3D Printing

"Porsche and Bugatti turn to 3D printing for complex or rare parts"

False Confessions Update

NYT: "False Confessions, Mistaken Witnesses, Corrupt Investigators: Why 139 Innocent People Went to Jail".

Particularly chilling:
In just under half of the exonerations last year, defendants were wrongfully convicted in cases in which no crime was committed. This included more than a dozen drug possession cases, 11 child sex abuse cases and nine murder cases.

In one case, Rodricus Crawford, who was on death row in Louisiana, was exonerated. The state dismissed all charges against Mr. Crawford last year after officials acknowledged that evidence suggested his infant son died with pneumonia and bacteria in his blood, implicating sepsis in the death rather than murder.

Tiny Inductors

"The Last Barrier To Ultra-Miniaturized Electronics Is Broken, Thanks To A New Type Of Inductor". (Via H.R.)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bad Relationship

Washington Post: "She found a dating app on her boyfriend's phone. Then she bought a samurai sword."

AI-Run Economy?

Alex Tabarrok: "Will an AI Ever Be Able To Centrally Plan an Economy?"

Short answer, "no". Click through for the longer answer.

Feeling In Prosthetics

"Scientists Create a Way for People With Amputations to Feel Their Prosthetic Hands". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Mirror House

"A Mirrored Mexican Home Hides Among a Lush Forest".

Click through to see more pictures.

Brain Uploading Startup

"A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is '100 percent fatal'".

Only $10,000 to get on the waiting list!

How To Tie Your Shoes

A video classic: "How To Tie Your Shoes". (Via G.F.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Secret Flying Taxis

Today's 21st century headline: "Google founder's flying taxis secretly tested in New Zealand".

Affordable 3D-Printed Homes

"This cheap 3D-printed home is a start for the 1 billion who lack shelter":
Using the Vulcan printer, ICON can print an entire home for $10,000 and plans to bring costs down to $4,000 per house. “It’s much cheaper than the typical American home,” Ballard says. It’s capable of printing a home that’s 800 square feet, a significantly bigger structure than properties pushed by the tiny home movement, which top out at about 400 square feet. In contrast, the average New York apartment is about 866 square feet

Songs You Know But Can't Name

"Here's a Playlist of Songs You Know But You Can't Name"