Thursday, June 26, 2003
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
NASA's proposed MXER space tether consists of "miles and miles of cart-wheeling cable in orbit around the Earth." Operating "like a giant sling, the cable would swoop down and pick up spacecraft in low orbits, then hurl them to higher orbits or even lob them onward to other planets."
Monday, June 23, 2003
Sunday, June 22, 2003
This nanoguitar is only 10 micrometers long. Plus, "[t]he guitar has six strings, each string about 50 nanometers wide, the width of about 100 atoms. If plucked -- by an atomic force microscope, for example -- the strings would resonate, but at inaudible frequencies." (Via Linkfilter.)
Saturday, June 21, 2003
Friday, June 20, 2003
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
One step closer to "Smart Dust": UC Berkeley researchers have created a wireless sensor chip only 5 square mm in size. The chip incorporates "a micro-radio, an analog-to-digital converter, a temperature sensor, and the TinyOS operating system onto a piece of silicon 2 by 2.5 millimeters square".
Monday, June 16, 2003
Videophones can be used to commit vote-buying fraud in elections because the party purchasing the vote (in this case the Italian Mafia) can now demand proof that the voter did indeed cast his ballot in the desired way before making payment. As a result, the Italian Interior Ministry is considering banning video mobile phones from polling centers. (Via Cryptogram.)
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Saturday, June 14, 2003
Friday, June 13, 2003
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
"Canary on a chip": California researchers have developed a toxin sensor that merges a living cell with micro-electronic circuitry. If the cell dies, it changes the electrical properties of the circuit, immediately notifying the users.
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Children are being warned that they should not flush their pet fish down the toilet thinking that they'll survive and make it to the ocean like in the hit movie Finding Nemo. The JWC Environmental company which makes sewage treatment equipment is warning that any pet fish would be shredded up into tiny particles long before it reached the ocean: "In truth, no one would ever find Nemo and the movie would be called 'Grinding Nemo'". (Via BBspot.)
Monday, June 09, 2003
Hanah Metchis, one of the rising young stars in the technology policy analysis field, and Solveig Singleton, both of CEI, have co-authored an excellent white paper on the spam problem, including an extensive discussion of the merits/demerits of various technical, contractual, and legislative solutions. Here are links to the executive summary as well as the full length paper (23 pages in .pdf format).
Sunday, June 08, 2003
Saturday, June 07, 2003
Friday, June 06, 2003
Government in the Sims world: The lack of effective government in some of the online Sims world cities have led them to be taken over by the equivalent of The Mob. They're not quite as bad as Tony Soprano, but they do have a juicy "protection" racket going. (Via Techdirt.)
Thursday, June 05, 2003
Three teenaged girls have received a letter of commendation from the FBI for teaching their agents how to more effectively pretend to be 13-year old girls on internet chat rooms in order to catch pedophiles. During their training, many of the (adult) FBI agents were quite surprised at how outdated their knowledge of teen pop culture was. Very entertaining article. (Via Techdirt.)
Glenn Reynolds has written a nice essay on how Google would have been inconceivable 10 years ago. Here's an excerpt:
Just try this thought experiment: Imagine that it's 1993. The Web is just appearing. And imagine that you - an unusually prescient type - were to explain to people what they could expect in the summer of 2003. Universal access to practically all information. From all over the place - even in bars. And all for free!
I can imagine the questions the skeptics would have asked: How will this be implemented? How will all of this information be digitized and made available? (Lots of examples along the line of "a thousand librarians with scanners would take fifty years to put even a part of the Library of Congress online, and who would pay for that?") Lots of questions about how people would agree on standards for wireless data transmission - "it usually takes ten years just to develop a standard, much less put it into the marketplace!" - and so on, and so on. "Who will make this stuff available for free? People want to be paid to do things!" "Why, even if we start planning now, there's no way we'll have this in ten years!"
Actually, that final statement is true. If we had started planning in 1993, we probably wouldn't have gotten here by now. The Web, Wi-Fi, and Google didn't develop and spread because somebody at the Bureau of Central Knowledge Planning planned them. They developed, in large part, from the uncoordinated activities of individuals.
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Computer security experts have discovered a method to knock a computer off of a network by forcing it to calculate extremely complicated hash functions. And no, it's not the same technique the Captain Kirk used against rogue computers by asking them to calculate the last digit of pi.
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
"House of Lords email debate reveals 'spam' confusion": During a recent debate in the British Parliament about email regulation, non-techie Lord Renton asked, "Will the Minister explain how it is that an inedible tinned food can become an unsolicited email, bearing in mind that some of us wish to be protected from having an email?" (Via Politech.)
The two-headed tortoise: According to the owner, "[O]ne of the heads controls the front pair of legs and the other the back. 'When the tortoise gets a fright, the heads each want to move in its own direction, and then the feet get all tangled up'." Article and picture here.