Wednesday, July 31, 2002

"Whether or not you believe in the paranormal may depend entirely on your brain chemistry. People with high levels of dopamine are more likely to find significance in coincidences, and pick out meaning and patterns where there are none."
Monkeys cooperate to release an imprisoned fellow monkey. (Via Daily Rotten.)
"Research and Risks": Glenn Reynolds looks back at the earlier debates from the 1970's regarding research into recombinant DNA technology. Back then, critics of the research warned of dire Frankensteinian consequences, even as supporters predicted major scientific advances which would benefit mankind. Guess who was right? The implications for the current debate on therapeutic cloning should be obvious.
"Defenders of the Earth": Are humans Gaia's immune system?
What's the best way to get admitted to the University of California school system? Get good grades and do well on your SAT? Or score hardship points for having divorced parents or living in foster care? (Via Linkfilter.)
Picking your nose is good for your health. (Via Aberrant News.)

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

It would be frighteningly easy to smuggle one of these plastic-knives-hidden-in-a-comb onto an airplane. (Via BoingBoing.)
Ars Technica has a detailed review of Mozilla 1.0.
Going to jail soon? You can get your prison bitch name here. (Via Linkfilter.)
Water is 19 times more dangerous to kids than guns.
Boeing will be testing a controversial Russian "antigravity device" to see if it has any scientific merit and/or commericial applications.
Extra mousepads? Here's an idea of what to do with them. (Via Metafilter.)
Spam takes up 10% of your day.

Friday, July 26, 2002

GeekPress goes on vacation: I'll be out of town for a few days attending Diana's sister's wedding. No new posts until Tuesday, July 30!
Electronic football videogames are becoming so realistic that they are more like simulations and are points of real pride amongst the NFL players. It's gotten to the point that Steven Chiang, producer of "Madden NFL 2003", has to keep a low profile at NFL games lest he be mobbed by players looking to get him him to raise their performance ratings in the game.
Arnold Kling believes that a lot of the recent stock market volatility is due to a combination of the internet and "dumb mobs".

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Princeton admissions officers hacked into the Yale admissions computer system and gained unauthorized access about 11 students' admissions decisions. Stephen LeMenager, a dean of admissions at Princeton, claimed that, "It was really an innocent way for us to check out the security". The FBI is looking into the matter to see if any federal laws have been broken. (Via Metafilter.)
Flying bone fragments from suicide bombers might spread infectious diseases.
These are not your typical riddles. (Via Madville.)
The Top 25 Most Entertaining Sites on the Net.
Stuart Buck has some incisive comments about bloggers and blogging.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Invention of the day: Canned soda that cools itself. (Via Linkfilter.)
"Assisted Cognition": University of Washington researchers are developing artificial intelligence assistants for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
More reasons that I'm not too worried about global warming.
Is MS Word 2000 offensive to lesbians?

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

Yet another asteroid story: But this one is a little bit more disturbing. Asteroid 2002 NT7 is on a collision course with Earth, with impact expected on February 1, 2019. This is the first asteroid to have a positive (i.e., more dangerous) rating on the Palermo Impact Hazard Scale. The uncertainty factor is still fairly large, but scientists regard it as "the most threatening object in the short history of asteroid detection". If it actually does strike, the impact would be "enough to wipe out a continent and cause global climate changes". Fortunately, most astronomers expect that additional observations will show that the asteroid will probably miss us. If you can't wait until year 2019 for some excitement, Asteroid 2002 NY40 will be passing close enough to the Earth to be visible with binoculars on August 18, 2002.
Puzzled by current events? Consult the Liberal Magic Eight Ball. (Via Fark.)
Australia's best known brothel has launched an IPO. They hope to raise $12 million from investors and get a listing on the Australian Stock Exchange. (Their huge profit margin of 60% shouldn't hurt their chances too much...)
MIT computer scientists have invented a steganography-based system that allows users to reach websites blocked by software filters without leaving any traces. This could be very useful for people who live in countries with web-repressive governments such as "China and Saudi Arabia".
Google art: Here's an example of some simple ASCII artwork utilizing the Google Groups search word highlighting feature. (Via Metafilter.)
NPR (National Public Radio) explains their new linking policy and why they changed it.

Monday, July 22, 2002

The kinder, gentler Pentagon is working on all sort of clever nonlethal weapons technology including directed energy weapons, noxious odors, and giant artificial spiderwebs.
Today's ironic technology story is about the would-be car thief who was locked inside the car he was trying to steal by its security system. (Via Fark.)
I'm not saying that Asians are good at math or anything like that, but here is a breakdown of SAT scores by race/ethnicity. (Via Madville.)
Uh, oh! They've discovered the our most closely guarded profession secret! (Via Solsberg.)
Splatology: The science of that yellowish thing on your windshield. (Via Plastic.)
Mathematical analysis of optimal batting order: Mathematician Bruce Bukiet has determined that baseball managers should place their best hitter 2nd in the lineup, not 4th. And the worst batter (usually the pitcher in the NL) should be 7th or 8th, not 9th. Here's why. According to his calculations, optimizing the batting order could swing as many as ten games in a typical major league team's season.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Doctors can track the spread of prostate cancer with firefly glow pigment.
Do we really want brainier mice?
Sleepwalking is dangerous enough, let alone sleepswimming.
True porn clerk stories.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

According to creator Matt Groening, Homer Simpson is Canadian.
Kisses can trigger allergic reactions.
Roll-up floppy TV displays are coming!

Friday, July 19, 2002

Scientific American has a nice review article on asynchronous computing.
Business as usual: Despite predictions to the contrary, there's no evidence of a post-9/11 baby boom.
Space travel is a lot easier if you use the Interplanetary Superhighway. (Article not complete without the obligatory artist's rendition.)
If you're a reporter covering a fire at a mental hospital, don't use the headline "Roasted Nuts". (Via Fark.)

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Making wireless calls with a "regular" phone.
Invention of the day: Nonstick aluminum foil, coated by a mystery substance.
Everything you wanted to know about wireless security.
Black holes are the thermostats of intergalactic space.
Some of the best gadgets in the world will be on display at the International Spy Museum, opening tomorrow.
The weirdest new sport is mobile phone tossing. (Via Fark.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

New Monty Python skits: Three previously unperformed Monty Python scripts will debut this summer in Edinburgh. (Via Fark.)
The "HotOrNot" guys are still hot and still making money.
A Nigerian e-mail scammer reveals the tricks of the trade.
Open source DNA available here under the standard GPL license.
This prototype Volkswagen car gets 235 miles per gallon of gas. (Via WonkoSlice.)
The Travelling Internet: Bringing the internet to rural Indian villages by motorcycle.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

If you don't like President Bush's Operation TIPS, then you can always join Operation RATS -- "A national system for paranoid nuts to report neighbors they don't like."
Engineer Richard Wool has filed a patent for next generation microchips made not from silicon but from chicken feathers.
Viagra can also save dying babies' lives.
Blogging will help stave off Alzheimer's disease.
Real-life xray vision is coming soon.
Over the long run, stocks always outperform bonds, right? Well, maybe not. A recent article in the Financial Analysts Journal questions this conventional wisdom and warns that this may be due to a misreading of history.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Nanotubes are the strongest material known on earth, and they have all sorts of interesting properties. And if these futurists are right, we'll live long enough to see them in action.
Women live longer than men because they're better sleepers. (I'd better start practicing with more afternoon naps in order to catch up to Diana...)
Tetris: A history. (Via Linkfilter.)
Scientists warn that an asteroid strike might trigger an unintended nuclear war.
I hate it when surgeons accidentally reattach severed limbs upside down. (Via Daily Rotten.)
Is the entire Universe spinning? Scientists are developing a quantum gyroscope which can determine if the entire Universe is spinning (or if I've just had a few too many beers.)

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Because of the dotcom bust many formerly rich Silicon Valley techies are being forced to pawn or return their expensive status symbols such as jewelry and luxury cars.
This is why I don't eat live octopus.
You too can become an informant for the US Government. Here's how to join. All in the name of the war on terrorism, of course. (Via Politech.)
No thanks, I'm full: Although the fate of Ted Williams' cryogenically frozen body has been the bizarre death story of the week, in a recent interview actor Larry Hagman stated:
"When I die, I want my friends to eat me," Hagman told celebrity researcher Baird Jones the other day. "I want to be fed through a wood chipper, be spread over a wheat field, then have a cake baked from the crop for all my pals to munch on."

Don't think he hasn't contemplated the alternatives.

"Cremation's fine, but it uses an awful lot of energy," Hagman says. "Burying someone in a steel casket doesn't do any good. I want to return to the earth as soon as possible."

Thus, the cake plan.

"I want the cake to be made of half marijuana, which makes people so much less violent than booze, and people should learn to eat pot rather than smoke it because it damages the heart and lungs less that way," Hagman opines.

The interview is towards the bottom of the page. (Link via Khava.)
Liverpool, England has banned city employees from using e-mail on Wednesdays in an effort to get them to talk to each other face-to-face. (Via Newstrolls.)
"L is for Lawsuit": When their kids are flunking school, some parents aren't taking the obvious step of encouraging them to actually study more. Instead, they're suing the teacher.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Extraterrestrials are apparently big fans of George Michael's new music video, "Shoot the Dog".
"Bill allows pilots to carry guns: Now two things in the cockpit will be loaded" (SatireWire)
"Frodo Baggins charged with war crimes."

Friday, July 12, 2002

Mainland China's postal service will offer a new service -- hand-delivered e-mail. (Via Megarad.)
The "Mesh" has you: The concurrent evolution of nanotechnology and wireless communications will eventually lead to pervasive computing.
Future astronauts will have nanosensors implanted within their white blood cells to monitor for radiation exposure.
Viagra spill revives Lake Michigan.
Sperm cells aren't loner individualists. Instead, the most successful ones work in teams even though only one sperm cell will win the ultimate prize. Kind of like "Survivor".

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Computers that heal themselves.
A 19-year old college student has successfully used the "I was sleepwalking" defense in court and as a result was found "not guilty" of 18 counts of sexual assault. (Via Plastic.)
Game of the day: Battleships!
"Understanding CPU Caching and Performance": Ars Technica has another terrific explanatory article, this time on CPU caching. If you want to learn all about L1, L2, locality, and eviction policies, this is the place.
Wasting time at work -- then and now.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

The late Gene Kan once wrote:
People are restrained into spaces less than 3 feet square, less than 50 cubic feet, often for more than 10 hours at a time. It is nearly impossible to sleep, given the restrictive confines. The space is so small people are unable to lie down or even turn or stand erect. They are forced to breathe foul air, ripe with the exhalations and bodily emissions of those with whom they share their fate. Detainees are frequently fed little, and only occassionally. Drinks are also given only in infrequent intervals, often hours apart. There are few common toilets which may not be used at liberty due to the tightly stacked humanity. This often causes extended discomfort among detainees.

Some detainees have died of blood clots caused by such extended immobility and its accompanying lack of exercise.

Recent global economic contraction has caused the appalling conditions to erode further.

People worldwide are subject to these awful conditions today, and shockingly, they must pay for their keeping! Needless to say, the rich are able to bribe their way to improved conditions, including more space and better feeding and watering. But even they are prevented from questioning the tyrannical rule of their gaelors for threat of law.

This is not a description of any prison. This is modern air travel.
(Via Boing Boing.)
It takes a lot of hard work to provide IT support for the leading Colombian cocaine cartels.
Is the world going to end in 2050 is the WWF claims? Uh, probably not. Two refutations to their controversial claim are available here and here. (Update: Some readers have e-mailed us that they've posted their counter-arguments to the TCS article on its website.)
Will quantum computing destroy current encryption methods before quantum encryption saves the day?
Now these are crop circles. (Via Fark.)

Tuesday, July 09, 2002, the offshore data haven based on the artificial island nation of Sealand is still turning a profit.
Nanotechnology in the form of carbon nanotubules can be used to make ultraportable x-ray machines. Here are some sample images as well as more technical information.
Is Google acting too slow for you? Then try the Google mirror. (Via Memepool.)
The much-hyped million-dollar high-tech bomb-detecting devices at airports can't distinguish between chocolate, peanut butter, and plastic explosives. I feel much safer now. (Via Madville.)
Space propulsion with a giant slingshot. Just don't let go at the wrong time. (Via Solsberg.)

Monday, July 08, 2002

Do you have an extra $10 laying around? Then you can invest in this mutual fund for time travellers in hopes that visitors from the future will help you out today. (Via Boing Boing.)
This NYC taxidriver has a second job as a computer consultant. That wouldn't be too unusual except that he practices his second career while behind the wheel of his cab during waits at stoplights.
I hate it when my friendly local in vitro fertilization clinic screws up and a white couple gives birth to a pair of black twins. Here's more info. (Via Solsberg.)
Beer builds strong bones.
Light can be made to act like a liquid. Scientists hope to be able to harness this capability in optical computing.
"The Physics of Time Travel": Scientists say it should be technically possible if you follow these simple directions. (You also need ready access to a black hole...)
Caltech scientists have invented a superstrong alloy which they call Liquid Metal. Now all we need is an "advanced prototype" T1000 Terminator.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Everything you wanted to know about the Riemann Hypothesis. It's one of the prize problems worth $1 million to the first person who publishes a solution. (Via PostPolitics.)
The US map for pop-vs.-soda looks an awful lot like the Bush-vs.-Gore 2000 map, even down to the level of the nearly-even split in the state of Florida. Radley Balko has an intriguing analysis. (Via Fark.)