Tuesday, December 31, 2002

A new unpublished Tolkien book has been discovered by an American scholar working in Oxford. According to the article, "The 2000 handwritten pages include Tolkien's translation and appraisal of Beowulf, the epic 8th century Anglo-Saxon poem of bravery, friendship and monster-slaying that is thought to have inspired The Lord of the Rings."
"Man Allegedly Uses GPS To Stalk Ex-Girlfriend" (Via Techdirt.)
Humorist Dave Barry has written the best "2002 Year In Review". (Via Fark.)
Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002

Monday, December 30, 2002

One problem with face transplantation is that lots of people want to receive a new face, but very few people are willing to become donors.
View cosmic ray tracks from the comfort of your own home.
Personalized billboard advertising: "In an advertising ploy right out of Steven Spielberg's 'Minority Report,' electronic billboards in the Bay Area and Sacramento are being equipped to profile commuters as they whiz by -- and then instantly personalize freeway ads based on the wealth and habits of those drivers."
More valuable than gold: Some drugs are more valuable than gold ounce-for-ounce. Find out which ones. (Via Linkfilter.)
Some Tolkien fans are upset at the plot changes between the book and movie versions of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. They might find this interview with Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens interesting, because it discusses their reasons for making these changes.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Christmas in the year 2050.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Why the hell is there an eBay Board Game? (Via Linkfilter.)
Online course notes on criminal profiling. There's also a link on how to perform an autopsy. (Via Linkfilter.)

Friday, December 27, 2002

Kevin Mitnick will be allowed to resume surfing the internet in January 2003.
"Woman shot in chest but saved by silicone implants"
Glenn Reynolds writes about "The Year of the Blog". He also links to the excellent Samizdata blog glossary.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

For sale: A town in Northern California. Here'e the eBay listing. Hurry -- the auction closes tomorrow!
Who's making money from the internet?
"Beware: The moon is full tonight. People will party. Dogs will bite. Robbers will steal. Murderers will kill." But no more so than any other time of the month.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Scientific explanations for the Star of Bethlehem. Feel free to pick your favorite. Merry Christmas from GeekPress!

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Watch out, Christmas travellers: Airlines lose someone's luggage every 90 seconds.
The police can learn an awful lot about you from your mobile phone.
A look behind the scenes of The Matrix: Reloaded. As the article says, "It’s going to make 'The Fast and the Furious' look like 'The Slow and the Dimwitted'."

Monday, December 23, 2002

"Scientists grow human kidneys in mice"
Last minute Christmas shoppers are buying online from the office.
Internet Law: The year in review.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Steven Den Beste has written an excellent essay on North Korea. The best line is probably this comment from one of his readers:
"It's Mordor! It's a technological Mordor!" A real-life Mordor with a million orcs with AK-47s. And forging a nuclear 'Ring of Power'.
Yikes.
Lots of juicy information about Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Saturday, December 21, 2002

The internet pornography catburglar has apparently been caught.

Friday, December 20, 2002

To sleep, perchance to dream: The Economist warns that we're not getting enough sleep.
The proposals for the World Trade Center reconstruction project are now available online. I must confess that I'm not particularly enthused by any of the finalists.
Top ten spam subject lines of the year. Yup, I've seen them all. (Via Techdirt.)
The Terminator 3 movie trailer. "She'll be back..." (Via Madville.)
It's easy for bloggers to get sued.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The US military is conducting research on ways to allow soldiers to function for 7 days straight without sleep. Methods being studied include both pharmacological and non-pharmacological.
Rat-Bot: The robot that runs on rat brain cells. (Via Boing Boing.)
"Guns and Freedom": A terrific blog post from Rachel Lucas.
High tech toilet sends elderly aunt to the ER. (Via Obscure Store.)
The arms race between telemarketers and anti-telemarketing technology continues to escalate.
Senate TV network shows porno movie.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

The NY Times talks nanotech.
"Virtual world will run on real cash"
If you want to become a fake psychic, you need to master the art of "cold reading". (Via Linkfilter.)
"High school student earns an 'A' in hacking". With the school's permission. By lowering his GPA from 4.0 to 1.9.
Can Google prosper and still maintain their moral principles?

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Still doing your Christmas shopping? Here are more geek toys.

Monday, December 16, 2002

Administrative note: Posting may be a bit light for the next couple of days.
Eric Raymond has written a terrific essay on courage.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Only in America... (Via Volokh Conspiracy.)

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Man survives for a week on Taco Bell sauce. (Via Aberrant News.)

Friday, December 13, 2002

HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) is ambivalent about being portrayed on television as a cash cow for the Mafia (ala The Sopranos).
Float like a butterfly.
The Bermuda Triangle is a dangerous place but no more so than the New Jersey Turnpike.
The virtual aging simulator suit helps young people experience the aches, pains, and creaks of getting old.
Segway owners love their scooters.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Unique tech support call: "Hello my computer was making a strange hissing noise last night and this morning when I turned it on there was a crackling noise and some smoke then nothing, if I bring it in can you fix it?" (Via GMSV.)
Physics trick of the day: A curtain wire can be made to defy gravity and stand upside down if subjected to rapid vibrations because of a phenomenon caused parametric oscillations.
Neuromarketing: "A company in Atlanta is scanning people's brains with MRIs, in an effort to record our subconscious thoughts about products and ads." Interesting (some would say diabolical) twist on using functional MRI as a lie detector. (Via Boing Boing.)
Star Trek updates: William Shatner doesn't mind being eternally typecast as Captain Kirk. Leonard Nimoy, on the other hand, has decided to quit acting to pursue photography.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Be careful when you upgrade your CD-ROM drive: According to laboratory tests, "At 52x CD-ROM speeds (27,500rpm) disks shatter in a 'rain of plastic particles', shooting out long, sharp, knife-like shrapnel at half the speed of sound..." Update: Matt Hartman wrote in with a cool picture showing how this happened to him a few months ago.
Take the Turing challenge: "As chief scientist of the Internet portal Yahoo, Dr. Udi Manber had a profound problem: how to differentiate human intelligence from that of a machine"
Marvel Comics will be introducing the first openly gay comic book title character hero in one of its comics -- the Rawhide Kid. Slap leather!
The science behind city-swallowing sand dunes.
Turkish Star Trek

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The hot new Christmas "toy" is kiddie cell phones.
Classic Winston Churchill quotes.
The Google economy: A lot of people depend on Google for the bulk of their income.
IBM has created the world's tiniest transistor, which is a tenth the size of those used in current microprocessors.
The swords and armor of "The Lord of the Rings" (Via BBspot.)
Best Excel games. (Via Madville.)

Monday, December 09, 2002

A funny letter supposedly from a little boy to some sailors in the Navy. (Via Linkfilter.)
Mathematicians have calculated pi out to 1.2411 trillion digits, exceeding the old record of 206 billion digits by a factor of six.
"TiVo" is turning from a brand name into a common everyday verb, just like "to xerox" did before it.
Is this an example of real-life optical camouflage?
"The World According to Google"

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Nine Things Strom Thurmond is Older Than (Via RWN.)
The 10 Best Mars Images Ever.

Saturday, December 07, 2002

"Visitors to a off-beat Berlin arts center thought a dead woman on the ground was a performance art act rather than a suicide..."

Friday, December 06, 2002

Update on the "telco powered products": A couple of readers have pointed out that this might just all be a hoax or a joke since the referenced patent number at the bottom of the page has nothing to do with the products.
Poetic justice: Spammer gets taste of his own medicine. (Via BBspot.)
Remote control for bacteria.
Eugene Volokh has an interesting analysis of the legal status of internet speech and weblogs in libel cases.
Middle Earth gangsta rap. (Via Metafilter.)
A patient who had been undergoing treatment with radioactive iodine for thyroid disease has been setting off anti-terrorism sensors in the NYC subways, resulting in two strip searches by police. Here's the case report.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Haiku Enterprise. (Via BBspot.)
The telephone company provides free, unmetered electricity to houses through the telephone jacks. Here's how you can take advantage of that. (Via Boing Boing.)
An Australian mathematician has figured out the optimal way to lace one's shoes.
Weapon of the Week: The microwave phaser. (Via Linkfilter.)

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Sean Kreck takes some pretty awesome photographs of the Colorado landscape and other parts of the country. (His commercial website is available here.)
In the 1980's, the BBC recorded a nearly-indestructible "digital archive" showing daily life of the times. But then the reading technology became obsolete, and only now have researchers been able to recover the lost data..
Speaking of criminals, police in Wyoming are looking for a burglar who's been breaking into other people's houses and using their computers to surf for porn. He apparently doesn't steal anything from the houses, but just uses the computers to sign up for membership on porno sites, then surfs for a while before making his escape. (Via Techdirt.)
Are criminals using "out of office" e-mail responses to figure out when to break into houses left empty by people going on holiday vacation?
During the Thanksgiving travel rush, airport security personnel across the country seized a number of contraband items, including a total of 15,982 pocket knives, 98 boxcutters, 6 guns and a brick.
Microscopic diamond fragments (aka "diamondoids") found in crude oil may be very helpful in nanotechnology development.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Wearable computing displays are getting slicker and sleeker.
"An Austrian electrician has invented the world's first tattooing robot."
Immobotic robots utilize a rudimentary form of "self-awareness" to help them solve problems. The key is that they "have a commonsense model of the physics of their internal components and can reason from that model to determine what is wrong and to know how to act".
"Toddler swallows transponder that is required to start car. Mother can't start car. Mother holds todder up to steering wheel and starts car. This is the BBC." (Via the Daily Rotten.)
The Flip-Pad Voyager laptop folds into 4 quarters. When unfolded, the display surface consists of two 13.3" screens yielding a total resolution of 1536 x 1024, but when folded it's only a little bit larger than a big notebook computer. Cool!
The NY Times has a nice article on night vision devices, and the tremendous advantage it gives to the US military.
The biggest battle in the online game EverQuest is not between players and monsters but between Sony and cheating hackers.

Monday, December 02, 2002

A Canadian biologist has found a huge 60-acre spiderweb in British Columbia containing "tens of millions of spiders". (Via Linkfilter.)
Mike Langenberg makes his 2002 predictions on what life in be like in year 2012. (His report card on his 1992 predictions of life in 2002 is here.)
Math question of the day: "Suppose you are limited to figures bounded by straight lines (polygons) and you are allowed only one straight cut. Using a fold-and-cut process, what shapes can you produce?"

The surprising answer: "[A]fter an appropriate sequence of folds, any polygonal shape can be cut out of one sheet of paper by a single straight cut. In other words, one cut suffices -- whether the drawing consists of a single polygon, adjoining polygons, nested polygons, or an array of disjoint polygons." More information about this remarkable theorem is available here.
The Einstein Papers Project is revealing a lot of interesting personal information about the man.
The Onion's guide to chatroom shorthand.
Molecular storage: "An image composed of over 1000 of bits of information can be stored in the atoms of a single molecule".

Sunday, December 01, 2002

No professional courtesy: Shark bites California lawyer. (Via Transterrestrial Musings.)
Quantum computing continues to advance.