Friday, May 31, 2002

Neoflux has compiled all the crazy "zero-tolerance" school stories in one place.
RISK 2210 A.D. — Not Your Father's RISK Game: The new version of RISK includes "underwater cities and moon colonies as obtainable territories, a futuristic military, and five decks of command cards for tactical surprises". Time to go conquer the world. (Via Plastic.)
The new official soccer ball for the World Cup is built from advanced synthetic high-tech materials and is supposed to be "the most accurate soccer ball ever produced." By the way, the players all hate it.
A lot of cars and minivans are coming equipped with onboard VCR and entertainment systems to keep the kids quiet. Unfortunately, this can create dangers of its own. As one busy LA commuter said, "I've had a person pull up next to me and say, 'Great movie,'... And that was the driver."

Thursday, May 30, 2002

I don't want to settle for a mere wearable computer when I can get a bullet-proof wearable computer. (Via Techdirt.)
Wireless technology in chips: Because integrated circuits are getting larger and faster, severe bottlenecks are developing in the flow of information between different parts of a chip. To solve this problem, some Florida researchers are designing chips with built-in wireless technology to send signals to their various internal components.
No more menstrual periods for women? A pharmaceutical company is developing a new oral contraceptive that will all but eliminate the monthly menstrual cycle for women. Assuming that this is proven to be medically safe, it could lead to very interesting psychological and cultural changes for women.
Marketing cellphones for teenagers requires savvy and "prepackaged individuality". I must confess that the airtexting feature does sound pretty cool...
Game of the day: Blast Billiards! (Via Linkfilter.)
Men do talk about relationships. We just do it in code.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Don't smile in public :-( Facial recognition software used to catch terrorists and criminals can match smiling faces more accurately than neutral faces.
The crack of a whip does not come from the tip of the whip as previously thought, but instead "from a loop traveling along the whip, gaining speed until it reaches the speed of sound and creates a sonic boom".
It's all around you: The Matwix has you. Eat the blue doughnut... (Via Solsberg.)
It's time for the post-9/11 baby boom.
Schools who run e-mail science experiments can get more than they bargained for.
John Hiler has written one of the best analyses of the Blogosphere and its relationship to conventional journalism that I've ever read. (Via Neoflux.)
Daniel Pearl murder video: According to this Wired article, "The unedited video of journalist Daniel Pearl being murdered is back online. An Internet hosting company in Virginia, which the FBI threatened last week with federal obscenity charges, said on Monday afternoon that it would resume distribution of the horrific 4-minute video." The ProHosters website explains why they've taken the position they did, citing the First Amendment. (Warning to readers: Diana and I watched the video, and portions are very gruesome. Minors and sensitive viewers should not watch it.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

"Microsoft Nearing Completion of Death Star."
The more older brothers you have the more likely you are to be gay. (The article is careful to note that correlation does not imply causation.)
High-tech eyewear has become much sleeker looking. The display systems from MicroOptical would make any Borg look fabulous...
Physics inside a microwave oven. The experiment with the grape is well worth watching. (Via Metafilter.)
I hate it when tiny airborne microbes perform weather control for their own nefarious purposes.
Anti-sexual harassment invention of the day: Women's panties with an alarm that beeps every time someone pinches the wearer's butt. (Via Aberrant News.)
How to make money from failed dot coms by looking for negative enterprise value. Let's hear it for the "carrion feeders" -- keeping markets efficient!

Monday, May 27, 2002

Send that special someone an Anthrax-O-Gram! (Via Madville.)
Maybe we should go ahead and develop the Moon.
How to fold a great paper airplane.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Power naps in the middle of the day are good for you. (When I was in kindergarten, I used to hate the obligatory afternoon nap. Now I would kill for a job that would let me take a quick nap after lunch each day.)
Scamming Amazon: According to this article, "This 'clever' author of a $3 Self Help PDF has written a program to put his book in as a recommendation 12 times, on every single top seller at Amazon (at least random collection I checked in the first 500 top sellers). As a result he is now the #3 best seller on Amazon."
Invention of the day: An electronic bra that detects breast cancer. Men shouldn't feel neglected, since scientists are also training dogs to detect prostate cancer. (My dogs sniff my crotch a little too much already -- I'm not sure I want to be encouraging them any more...)

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Make your workday go by faster with the Office Drinking Game.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Technology success stories are still possible: This 17-year old boy is expected to gross $1 million from his computer startup company. (Via ObscureStore.)
New amino acid discovered: Scientists have discovered a 22nd amino acid, "a discovery that is the biological equivalent of physicists finding a new fundamental particle or chemists discovering a new element." Medical students everywhere groan in dismay at the prospect of more test questions...
Genetically modified grass has been planted in 14 secret golf course locations in the US in an effort to produce greens that are very high quality, yet inexpensive to maintain.
Game of the day: Mini-Golf. (Via Madville.)
Quantum wormholes could carry people.
A new twist: Japanese scientists have grown crystals in the form of a Mobius strip. They still have no idea what they'll use them for...

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Do HOV (high occupancy vehicle) highway lanes work? In a word, "no".
The Google toolbar is offering all sorts of nifty new options including a pop-up ad killer.
Turn your laptop into an intelligent personal robot with a kit from Evolution Robotics.
Mike Langenberg reviews the Poma wearable computer and gets a lot of stares from friends and strangers.
FightCloud.com sells free CDs, but still turns a profit because of a shrewd business model.
Computer dating for parrots.
Human cloning can't be stopped.
One of the architects of the notorious Echelon global electronic surveillance system gives an interview. He doesn't divulge any classified secrets, however. (Link via Megarad.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The US Army is looking for a few good videogamers.
Because so many TiVo and Replay users are skipping the commercials, advertisers are coming up with some special techniques to entice viewers to watch their commercials.
Trekkies Bid on the Holy Grail: "One of the most coveted items in Star Trek lore, Captain Kirk's chair, is expected to be auctioned off next month."
Forget the Nigerian spam scam: Now it's the Afghan-war-scam!
A Hacker Whodunit: Computer crackers have apparently tampered with a key shareholder vote for the Vivendi company. But given the weak security of their system, the article states that "the real mystery is that such an incident didn't happen sooner".
The FCC does not need to allocate broadcast frequencies if this article is correct and there is actually no shortage of usable spectrum. (More information is available on David Reed's Open Spectrum page.)
AT&T's spam filter blocked out its own rate increase notice to its customers. (Via Techdirt.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Factual error found on the Internet.
Invention of the day: A bald chicken which does not require plucking.
Spend some time on the International Space Station: A 13-day trip is up for sale on eBay, with the current high bid a mere $6 million. (Via GMSV.)
Drug gangs are using cell phones to spy on the police.
Google is looking for a new logo, with the help of Dilbert. In this interview, Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams said, "This partnership exceeded my wildest dreams... I hoped I would get a free Google shirt, and I got three of them plus a mug".
What's it like to pop a water balloon in zero-gravity? These NASA scientists show you here. (Via BBspot.)

Monday, May 20, 2002

"Copy-Proof" CDs cracked with a 99-cent marker pen.
What exactly is deja vu? This explanation sounds haunting familiar, as if I've heard it somewhere before. Either that, or it's a glitch in the Matrix...
The Top 10 Biggest Lies Told on the Internet.
There's enough fuel in the Arctic to power the Earth for centuries in the form of hydrates. According to the article, "gas hydrate reserves may well represent more than twice the energy value of all other fossil fuels–gas, oil, and coal–combined".
Wired has a detailed review of Steven Wolfram's new book, A New Kind of Science. I at least have to give him credit for boldness. Business Week has a good review, too.
China is planning to build a base on the Moon.
IBM scientists have developed carbon nanotubule transistors that "substantially outperform" the best silicon counterparts. Moore's Law marches on...

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Spice up your marriage with these sex tips from Donald Rumsfeld! (Via Neoflux.)
How many moons does Jupiter have? We're up to 39 now. Astronomers have discovered 11 more moons.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

"Meat is good food", according to PWEETA (People Who Enjoy Eating Tasty Animals). (Via BBspot.)

Friday, May 17, 2002

"Can a Child Love a Robot?": So far, children seem to be able to tell the difference between a robotic dog and a real dog. But this may change as such toys like the Aibo become more realistic. The article notes that It's already been shown that elderly nursing home patients who cannot keep real pets still get many of the health benefits (such as lowered blood pressure) by holding and caring for mechanical dogs as they would for caring for real dogs.
Everything you know about Star Wars is wrong: Jonathan Last argues that the Empire should be considered the good guys and that the rebel alliance is just a bunch of terrorists. (Via Neoflux.)
Did your computer help distribute pirate copies of the new Star Wars movie? It might have, if hackers were able to create a hidden folder inside your recycle bin open to the rest of the internet.
An asteroid impact probably started the era of dinosaurs before another asteroid ended it.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Fingerprint sensors can be easily fooled by gummi bears. Then once you've used the fake gummi finger to get past the security checkpoint, you can just "eat the evidence". More details here.
Napster is finally dead.
Only in Ireland can you get free drink vouchers via SMS.
MIT researchers have shown that it is possible to create extremely realistic forgery videos of people saying things that they've never actually said. This should be a boon to political propagandists around the world.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

I shouldn't be surprised that The Onion frequently gets angry e-mails from clueless AOL users who can't tell the difference between satire and serious news.
Unmanned "snipers in the sky" could change the nature of warfare by giving the US government the capability to assassinate individual bad guys from a mile up in the air. (These would clearly fit on the high end of the "Top Murder Weapons by Income".)
"Spintronics": An excellent review article from Scientific American.
Top 10 Things we want to hear Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) say in the new Star Wars movie. (Via Fark.)
Napster is on the verge of death. The CEO has quit, and the "remaining employees were offered two unappealing options: Quit now and receive severance pay, or take one week of unpaid leave, hoping somebody will revive the once powerful file-trading company". Almost all of the employees are choosing the first option.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Spacewar, the first computer videogame turns 40. An online version is available here.
MSNBC has a very favorable review of Abiword, the free open-source cross-platform word processor.
Google AdWord Poetry.
The first starship powered by solar sails is scheduled to be launched in the autumn of 2002.
US space war capabilities are pretty damned impressive but we should watch out for these counterstrategies.
For the ultimate in pithiness it's hard to beat the Four Word Film Reviews. (Via GMSV.)

Monday, May 13, 2002

I always thought this was a myth, but apparently reading too much as a child can damage your eyes.
Identity thieves can get all sorts of juicy information from jail websites.
Smart cards are vulnerable to "an inexpensive attack that employs a $30 camera flashgun and a microscope."
Don't use any of these misleading emoticons!
Is the Earth being bombarded by strangelets? Some physicists believe that the Earth is being bombarded by "strangelets", which are "tiny cosmic missiles weighing tons and travelling at 900,000 mph. They are only the size of a pollen grain but so dense they can rip through the planet and exit on the other side in seconds." Two explosions in 1993 are felt to be caused by these strangelet impacts. (Via Slashdot.)

Sunday, May 12, 2002

NASA needs to buy some of its spare computer parts from eBay because they are becoming increasingly scarce and obsolete.
Antigravitational "lifters" might actually work.
Can you handle the Tobasco Challenge? (Via GMSV.)

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Today's game is a thinking game: Laser.
The Bowlingual will translate dog barks into human speech. (Via Techdirt.)

Friday, May 10, 2002

Hiding a backwards voice in one's music is so passe, now that some musicians are hiding pictures of "devilish faces" in their songs.
There is no natural limit to human life expectancy according to some Duke researchers. In the developed countries such as US, Japan, and western Europe, life expectancy is "steadily increasing by three months a year, per year[sic]". I'm just waiting for medical science to advance to the point that life expectancy increases by one year per year -- then I'll never die! (Malignant cackling in the background...)
Toilets are cleaner than your workstation. (Via Megarad.)
Salon has a pair of articles on blogging that don't just rehash the usual tripe about blogs-vs-"real journalism". Take a look at them here and here.
Today's tasteless game: Russian Roulette. (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Dead cell phone saves a man's life.
Banner ads we'd like to see. Some more banner ads we'd like to see. And a third batch. (Via Madville.)
An astronomical catastrophe will almost certainly destroy all life on earth. Fortunately, it won't happen for about one hundred million years.
Londoners love using e-mail to stab their coworkers in the back. In a related article, Salon describes how office e-mail wars work in the US.
Stupid people (aka "Persons of Density") need to stand up for their rights! (Via Ryan Edwards.)
Airbus is planning to install hidden cameras on its airpanes in the light fixtures above passenger seats -- in the name of passenger security, of course. (Perhaps I missed it, but how exactly does this stop a dedicated suicide hijacker? And unless these cameras are also planted in the bathrooms, this leaves a bad guy an obvious place to prepare any weapons or explosive devices unobserved by the flight crew.)

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

The bionic retina has helped restore partial sight to several blind or near-blind patients.
Robofalcon: Wilfred Emonts has invented a 7-foot robotic falcon that can scare away real birds from airports. Given that airplanes are more likely to be brought down by a "bird strike" (when a bird gets caught in an airplane engine) than by a terrorist attack, this seems like a very useful invention.
The Midwestern Mailbomber was traced because he turned his cell phone on.
When one computer virus infects a second computer virus, you end up with a very "nasty piece of code".
Some Aibo owners get a little too obsessive about their robotic dogs.
The latest conspiracy theory is about the "rash" of recent mysterious deaths among the world's leading microbiologists. Of course, the skeptics insist on taking all the fun out of it...
Today's tasteless game: Boy Band Blast-a-rama.

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Thermogenerators can tap the temperature differential between a human body surface and the clothing a person is wearing to generate enough electricity to run "smart clothes"
Undetectable "Son of Cookies": Scottish Enterprise is developing a new, advanced "sensor" system to monitor websurfers without relying on computer cookies. These "sensors" can monitor individual keystrokes, can be altered remotely, and are "almost impossible to detect". But privacy advocates should fear not, for the developers assure us that "[s]afeguards to prevent misuse of the software will be developed at the same time as the program itself." Ok, I feel much better now. (Links via The Register.)
Sweden the socialist paradise? Sweden is often portrayed by American leftists as an enlightened example of compassionate socialism. However, recent figures from Swedish Research Institute of Trade published in the "liberal Dagens Nyheter newspaper" show that if Sweden were a US state, it would be the poorest state, ranking below Mississippi. The article also states that "Black people, who have the lowest income in the United States, now have a higher standard of living than an ordinary Swedish household." And according to figures from the United Nations Crime Victimization Survey, Sweden has more crime than the US. (Via Plastic.)
The FBI kept a very extensive file on Albert Einstein because of his "left-wing associations". You can look at it here.
Are you still using circulating blood to sustain your life? Hip nanotech enthusiasts in the 21st century will instead rely on vasculoid, "an aggressive nanomedical device that lines your blood vessels and replaces the blood". More details here.
Hypnosis: How much is bogus and how much is real?
I swear that I didn't take any perverse pleasure in playing AntCity.
The Top 10 Worst Pick-Up Lines For Geeks.

Monday, May 06, 2002

A lawyer in Glasglow claims to own the Sun. (Via Madville.)
How are other countries approaching the cloning issue? This informative article is full of surprises, including the claim that in China "scientists have cloned dozens of human embryos with few ethical qualms".
How to cheat at Solitaire and Freecell. (Via Fark.)
After 9/11, online dating has now become socially acceptable.
Those little bars of soap in your hotel room can add up to $50 per night to your hotel bill.
Today's tasteless game is the suicide bomber game. There's even a big uproar about it already.
Are computer games a form of free speech? Excellent article on a current court case in Missouri.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Racial profiling can be good in medicine. (I'm amazed that someone even has to actually make this point, but Dr.Satel does it quite eloquently.)
The secret to George W. Bush's power. (Via BBspot.)
Deconstructing the Blog: John Dvorak gives his Eight Rules for the Perfect Blog. (Not for the easily offended blogger...)

Saturday, May 04, 2002

The New York Times has finally discovered weblogs.
The history of World War II would be much more interesting if we included the magical superpowers. (Via Memepool.)
TV studio technicians watching a pornographic videotape accidentally hit the "send" button and broadcasted it to thousands of viewers instead of the scheduled miniseries. (Via Fark.)

Friday, May 03, 2002

Frequent flyer miles currently in circulation exceed $500 billion in value, making them the second biggest world "currency" after the US dollar. And at their current rate of growth, flyer miles "could overtake the dollar within two years". Where will we spend them? According to this related article in the Economist, "US Airways has launched a deal where, for a mere 10m miles, you can buy a seat on the first private spacecraft to take passengers into space, scheduled for 2004."
Cool photographs of aerogels are available at this NASA website. My favorite is the flower floating over a flame insulated by the aerogel. (Via ThreeRiver.)
How to Hack Your Mobile Phone: "Changing the ID number of your phone is as easy as swapping the font in a word processing document."
Despite the recent Supreme Court ruling, John Ashcroft and the Justice Department still want to outlaw "child pornography" that doesn't actually involve any real children having sex. Here's how they plan to do it.
A software geek's guide to coffee.
"Fly the Copter": Today's time-waster is this game in which you have to navigate a remote-controlled helicopter through a maze of barriers. What's deceptively simple about this game is that at any time you only have two choices -- either press the left mouse button or not. (Via MetaFilter.)

Thursday, May 02, 2002

"US Sailors Wear Out Sex Workers": In yet another example of the stress caused by the War On Terrorism, prostitutes in Perth, Australia were "reeling from exhaustion" after dealing with an influx of US sailors from warships coming off of tours of duty in the Middle East. According to the article, "Mary-Anne Kenworthy said she was forced to close the doors of her famous Langtrees brothel for only the third time ever yesterday because her prostitutes were so worn out they could no longer provide a quality service." (Via WonkoSlice.)
Will the future belong to biotechnology or nanotechnology? Or both?
Unbreakable quantum cryptography could become commercially available in the next couple of years.
The Ultimate Summer Job: Nintendo will pay fifty people $100 a day to play computer games all day long this summer. "Strong thumbs required." You can apply here.
Because good passwords can be so hard to remember, computer scientists are trying to devise easier ways of authenticating users in a secure fashion. One novel system uses patterns of clicks on a picture.
There's quite a bit of science to shooting a rubber band. (Via MadVille.)
You, too, can break out of jail with just dental floss and toothpaste.
Amateur astronaut Mark Shuttleworth says that his 8-day trip to the International Space Station has definitely been worth the $20 million he spent. I guess his last name is appropriate...

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

Remote controlled rats: Scientists have imbedded electrodes into rat brains in a fashion such that the rats could be controlled remotely over 1600 feet away. The rats could be instructed "to turn left or right, climb trees and navigate piles of rubble".
Finally, a useful robot: A University of Florida student has invented a robot that opens beer bottles for you. The inventor noted that he had to go through 134 beers "for calibration and testing purposes".
Scientists have invented surgical sutures that tie themselves.
If you are going bald, the Hairogenics company will preserve a sample of your hair in its underground vault (for a fee of course) until science comes up with a cure for baldness. Just in case this future cure requires a sample of your present hair and you don't happen to own a freezer of your own. Um, sure.
"Zip" compression programs call also be used to identify the author of a text file.
GeekPress returns: Diana and I have returned from our firearms course. All I can say is that this was the coolest class I've ever taken! I'll post a separate, more detailed description later once I've had time to gather my thoughts.