Monday, March 31, 2003

Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age (Via Dave Barry.)
The relationship between military strategy, game theory, and no-limit poker.
This robot can do Tai Chi. The video is most impressive. (Via Linkfilter.)
The Museum of Unworkable Devices (Via GMSV.)
This week's Economist has a nice series of articles on biotechnology.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Technology from today's military hardware will become tomorrow's consumer merchandise. (Via Techdirt.)
Bill Whittle writes about war and the "what ifs" of history. Great essay.
I hate it when a mysteriously successful Wall Street trader turns out to be a time traveller from the year 2256. No word as to whether he was driving a De Lorean.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Humor piece of the day: "Pentagon Concerned Saddam May Turn In His Risk Cards"
Steven Levy on warbloggers. (Via Instapundit.)
Chicago has been hit with a meteor shower. Given that there were numerous fragments that struck cars and homes, shouldn't this be called a meteorite shower? (Via Transterrestrial Musings.)
Cleaning sewage with reusable magnetic bacteria.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

The Lemon: A pretty good parody of The Onion. (Via Instapundit.)
Michael Shermer proposes the Three Laws of Cloning.
Beware this new African e-mail scam involving stolen checks. (Via Techdirt.)

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Gulf War themed video games from the 1990's are making a comeback.
The newest NYC dating fad is "Dinner in the Dark", in which couples share a fancy dinner in a pitch black restaurant. Supposedly this helps loosen one's inhibitions. Ah, to be one of the restaurant waiters wearing night-vision goggles...
A nice survey of upcoming nanotechnology products. (Via Instapundit.)
Cell phones won't cause gas station fires. It's all an urban legend.
Transparent transistors.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Satire site of the day: Saddam's Cyber Palace (Via GMSV.)
Organic ink can be used to make tiny 3-dimensional tunnels in solid materials, a significant advance over conventional lithography techniques.
Rubies can slow the speed of light down to 57 meters/sec (128 miles per hour) at room temperature. (Usual caveats about group velocity vs. phase velocity.)
Are you a super-taster?
Why settle for a mere physical lens when you get get a metaphysical lens? Lenses made from "metamaterials" can have a negative refractive index, resulting a variety of useful optical properties.
American interrogation techniques: A little more scientific and a little less brutal than typically depicted on television shows. But not exactly pleasant, either...
"The effect of war on internet porno": (Unintentionally) funny article on this topic. My favorite quote is from one of the entrepreneurs, "I suspect it will not have a large negative effect since the sentence 'This war has me not wanting to look at naked women' has never been uttered." (Via Boing Boing.)

Monday, March 24, 2003

These bio-batteries can run on vodka. As Stephen Green says, "Vodka: It's not just for dinner anymore."
Medicated contact lenses may be helpful in treating eye diseases like glaucoma.
Scientists at Stanford have created an artificial synapse from silicon.
Prime numbers are not as randomly distributed as initially thought.
Tech support during wartime.
Another WarNewsBlog: Our old friend Bryce Wilcox-O'Hearn was kind enough to write in and recommend for rapidly updated war news. This site is run by a single person (as opposed to the multiple bloggers on The Command Post), so he does have to sleep sometime. Plus his slant is a bit different. Take a look and compare for yourselves.
Howard Kurtz on warbloggers. I've also added a link on the sidebar to The Command Post, a group weblog which is one of the best single sources for fast-breaking war news. (Links via Instapundit.)

Sunday, March 23, 2003

The Smoking Gun is a great website for news junkies who want the unexpurgated raw data that doesn't usually make its way to the mainstream news outlets. It's amazing what they can learn with a little legwork and the Freedom of Information Act.
High tech refrigeration.
The military field laptop is the GoBook MAX, designed to be ultra waterproof, vaporproof, and shockproof. The corporate website proudly states, "Could your notebook handle 54 repeated drops from 39" onto plywood over concrete? Could your notebook bake in a 140º F oven? Could your notebook operate at -4º F, be shaken like a can of paint, or handle being drenched in 4" of water an hour -- all while running? Get a GoBook MAX and it will." Not a bad choice for households with small children. (Via Boing Boing.)
Dr. Michael Persinger has invented a helmet that can induce mystical experiences in people by stimulating their temporal lobes with strong magnetic fields. (Via Linkfilter.)

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Get your bioterror alert via your PDA.
Internet betting on how long Saddam will last.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Nanotech decoys for (biological) viruses.
The technology behind the new versions of the Patriot Missile.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

The US military will be relying heavily on GPS.
Random war news generator. Almost as accurate as the real thing! (Via Volokh Conspiracy.)
The Ganda e-mail virus spreads by taking advantage of people's interest in Gulf War news.
Body armor technology continues to advance.
Saddam or Evil Bert? You decide...
"Astronomers who flipped their telescopes to see a gamma ray burst 'live' said on Wednesday they witnessed the death of a gigantic star and the birth of what looks like a black hole." (Via Linkfilter.) Pics here.
Individual soldiers will soon have access to incredibly powerful thermobaric ammunition.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Play chess against your phone.
Network analysis of e-mail traffic patterns can show who are the real leaders within an organization. Or at least who sends out the most forwarded jokes.
Spider silk can be used to make extremely fine hollow optical fibers.
The History of Chemical and Biological Warfare (Via Plastic.)
Did a single genetic mutation 50,000 years ago enable the development of art, culture, and human social behaviour?

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

A Taiwanese company has created the first 20-inch OLED display. (Via Ars Technica.)
Why Google keeps growing.
New nanosphere-based photonic inks can change colors at the flick of a switch.
If you lose your mobile phone down an open-pit latrine, do not try to retrieve it.
"Le Matrix": A somewhat forced analogy between the Iraq war and The Matrix.
If the US were like the UN.
"Smart telephones may one day be able to sense when you are too busy to be interrupted and ask the caller to leave a message." (Via GMSV.)

Monday, March 17, 2003

Time-reversed soundwaves.
"Self-healing" minefields can move around in response to enemy activity. According to the article, "The munitions of the 'Self-Healing Minefield Program' use tiny radios and acoustic sensors to stay in constant communication with each other. If some of the mines are removed, the ones that remain can 'hop' hundreds of meters away, if needed, to rearrange themselves and to close the gaps. 'The minefield acts more like a fluid, and less like a static obstacle'..." More information here.
"Mobile phones are the new chocolate", at least according to advertisers targeting young women. (Via Techdirt.)
A pair of disturbing first-hand reports on the mysterious pneumonia that has swept Asia and has now reached Europe and Canada. No cases have (yet) been reported in the USA. These posts are written by Dr. Tom Buckley, an intensive care specialist in Hong Kong on the front lines. Note that the ICU staff are sufficiently alarmed that they are not going home to their families, and that many of the the hospital personnel are themselves becoming sick. Dr. Buckley states, "We now have 80 cases of atypical pneumonia in this hospital (64 yesterday) and over 50% are either Health Care Workers or Medical students... My impression is that even with minimal contact with an infected person people have been becoming ill." An extended excerpt is quoted below. (Link via Boing Boing.)

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website on this disease is here. Steven Den Beste has a very interesting analysis here.

[Dr. Buckley writes:]

Unresponsive to various combinations of cefotaxime, chlarithromycin, levofloxacin, doxyclycline and Tamiflu. All microbiology is NEGATIVE (after one week).

Physicians have started patients on ribovarin and steroids.

As of yesterday there were 64 patients with "atypical pneumonia" in the hospital - a large number of whom are staff.

Patient visitors, medical consultation staff, medical students visiting patients have all developed symptoms and to a large degree CXR signs.

While most of our cases revolve around the patient admitted to the medical ward we have admitted (to ICU) another patient from another hospital with atypical pneumonia.

In ICU we have twelve patients admitted so far.

Five are ventilated. Seven breathing spontaneously but very oxygen dependent.

My impressions CXR reveal progressive bilateral infiltrates starting at the bases. Patients invariably have a low WCC and maybe thrombocytopenic. Patients invariably have an elevated CPK. No ECG changes and Troponin T negative. Post mortem on an Indonesian maid (not in our hospital) showed evidence of ARDS and myocarditis.

So far 2-3 of our older patients with chronic disease have deteriorated fastest. Medical staff - younger and fitter have faired better. Their radiological findings have deteriorated in all but one case.

We receive 2-3 admissions per day. So far no-one has shown any improvement. Once intubated however they remain relatively static but very oxygen and PEEP dependent. Those ventilated have solid lungs. Interestingly one patient developed a pneumothorax on the medical ward and after chest drain and re-expansion his pneumonia involves only the side without a chest drain. Another patient (ventilated) has developed surgical emphysema.

ICU is now closed for all but atypical pneumonias. All our other "clean cases" have been transferred to other ICUs. All elective surgery is being cancelled and wards are being closed and evacuated. All ambulances are being diverted.

We are taking strictest possible isolation procedures available to us including hand washing, gloves, gowns, N95 masks and visors.

Masks are worn throughout the hospital. Staff are not going home to children.

Please take the warning below seriously. My impression is that even with minimal contact with an infected person people have been becoming ill.
The science of flirting. (Via Linkfilter.)

Sunday, March 16, 2003

The Bibrog-B e-mail worm disguises itself as a shooting game to lure the unwary. According to the article, " While the shooting game is running, the worm is copying itself across the user's hard drive and preparing to forward itself to all contacts in the Outlook address book, or via file-sharing networks. In a particularly devious twist the worm makes changes to an infected user's Internet browser so that it can display fake versions of genuine Web sites such as Hotmail, Citibank, MSN and Yahoo. Security firms believe this is an attempt to steal usernames and passwords." More information is available here.
Computer modelling of societies shows that cooperators need punishers to protect them against defectors.
The Periodic Table of Haiku. (Via Metafilter.)
These US Government emergency signs might be a bit too ambiguous. (Here are the real meanings.)
"qqqqab,HomDaq jIqab!": That translates to "B-B-B-B-Bad to the bone!" at Klingon Karoke night at the Bodacious Classics nightclub in Portland, Oregon. (Via Linkfilter.)
Airport security screening procedures can become quite embarrassing. My favorite quote: ''Every time I fly and am forced to remove my shoes, I'm grateful Richard Reid is not known as the Underwear Bomber...'' (Via Redwood Dragon.)

Saturday, March 15, 2003

Newspaper Headlines For the Year 2035
Beware the new reality TV show: "Joe Nigerian" (satire)

Friday, March 14, 2003

The threat of "cyberterrorism" has been overhyped.
Cities may start expanding underground due to advances in digging technology.
Over 40% of all e-mail is spam. It could be worse -- Hanah Metchis has calculated that her percentage of "real" e-mail (not counting spam or "automatic" mail such as from mailing lists) is a mere 4%.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

The Hubble space telescope has found an evaporating planet.
"'Google Stalkers' Troll for Lost Acquaintances"
Bar code art. (Via Boing Boing.)
Some stores are modifying product names and changing "French" to "Freedom", as in "Freedom Fries". But this sign in a Nevada brothel is getting ridiculous. (Via Boing Boing.)
Who needs American Idol when this software can spot upcoming pop hits? (But I doubt it can critique the losers as brutally as Simon Cowell.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Udder-seeking robots will help cows milk themselves.
Will hydrogen save America?
The first artificial brain prosthesis will be implanted soon in rats. If initial tests of the artificial silicon hippocampus goes well, then testing in primates and humans will follow. One of Diana's old philosophy professors was quoted in the article: "Any device that mimics the brain clearly raises ethical issues. The brain not only affects memory, but your mood, awareness and consciousness - parts of your fundamental identity, says ethicist Joel Anderson at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri."
What really happens to young directors fresh out of film school. Warning - lengthly download. (Via Linkfilter.)
These new military food rations are not your father's MREs.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

How to set up your own home surveillance system with inexpensive webcam technology.
The meaning of the various recent man-vs-machine chess matches. (Via Techdirt.)
Onion story of the day: "Ted Turner Sends Self Back In Time to Prevent AOL Time Warner Merger"
"Post-Boom Life in Silicon Valley"
Silly molecule names. (Via BBspot.)
Beware of the indoor helium blimp. This is one of the funniest things I've ever read. (Via Eric Jaakkola.)

Monday, March 10, 2003

The giant crater caused by the impact from the dinosaur-killing asteroid is visible in these cool new satellite images.
Humor piece of the day: "Who's Hu in the Oval Office?"
This home remote control device costs $1700. But it sure does a lot.
If the Universe began with a Big Bang, will it end with a Big Rip?

Sunday, March 09, 2003

A pair of identical twin Israeli scientists have devised a new facial recognition software algorithm that's so good it can even tell the two of them apart.
Philosopher Daniel Dennett talks about postmodernism and truth. (Via A&L Daily.)

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Administrative note: GeekPress will be taking a one week break. We'll be back on March 10, 2003!