Wednesday, July 31, 2002
"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.
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Boeing will be testing a controversial Russian "antigravity device" to see if it has any scientific merit and/or commericial applications.
Friday, July 26, 2002
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.
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.)
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Wednesday, July 24, 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.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
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".
Monday, July 22, 2002
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
Saturday, July 20, 2002
Friday, July 19, 2002
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Monday, July 15, 2002
Sunday, July 14, 2002
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."The interview is towards the bottom of the page. (Link via Khava.)
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.
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.)
Saturday, July 13, 2002
Friday, July 12, 2002
Future astronauts will have nanosensors implanted within their white blood cells to monitor for radiation exposure.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
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.(Via Boing Boing.)
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.
It takes a lot of hard work to provide IT support for the leading Colombian cocaine cartels.
Tuesday, July 09, 2002
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.)