Friday, August 29, 2003

Admin note: GeekPress will be taking a brief hiatus for the holiday weekend. We'll back on September 2, 2003!
"The Onion is No Joke": A serious look at why The Onion is making money. (Via Metafilter.)
The WSJ has an interesting article on spyware, mirrored here at Cryptome. On a related note, don't forget to read the funny "I Really Do Trust the Gator Corporation". (Via IPList.)
ObPoliticalSatire: "Mississippi Judge Ordered to Remove Twelve-foot Burning Cross From Courthouse"

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Internet use varies widely in different parts of the country.
Computer games are good for a child's hearing.
The Great Driverless Car Race
Software engineer Dan Knights has won the world's Rubik's cube competition with a winning time of 20 seconds. (Via Ken Ogle.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

ObPoliticalPiece: Where have all the human shields gone? (contains mild profanity).
"Ya know, with all the bombings and destruction in Iraq, especially with the attacks on the infrastructure, like the oil lines, the electricity, the water...

Where the f-ck are the human shields? I thought they went there to make sure this kinda crap didn't happen. Where are the granola eating turdburgers who went bravely to pre-war Iraq and placed their bodies in harm's way so that a stray incoming round would hit them, rather than the baby milk factory?

I guess they just up and left, when they all survived the war. They need to turn right around, get their collective asses back, because someone's blowing up the water pipes and people are going thirsty. The infrastructure of Iraq is being destroyed! It's killing the chilllllllldren! Hundreds of thousands of innocents are at risk! Don't you CARE about the suffering of the Iraqi people from indiscriminant bombing and ruthless attacks? Come back! You are needed!

Bah.

The real reason is, of course, that they stand a greater risk of getting whacked by some crazed thug than getting hit by US military fire....but they knew that going in, didn't they?"

(Quote from PNIM via Neoflux.)
Some computer virus experts think that the motive behind the Sobig virus is money.
MIT's open courseware project has been a big success.
Attempted use of steganography to commit blackmail. Here is a brief description of the scheme and some anonymous commentary.
"Nano goes back to school for Ethics 101". More details here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

The toll-free number 1-800-DO-NOT-CALL is a scam according to the FTC. Somehow, the scammers got a much better number than the US government. (Via Techdirt.)
Lengthy review of the state of location-tracking software, with the obligatory discussion of privacy issues.
Where can I buy one of these powered robot suits? (Via EliteGeek.)
Tolkien movie marathon: Diana has posted a blog entry letting us know that extended editions of the first two Lord of the Rings movies will be re-released in theaters just prior to the release of the third and final film Return of the King. If you're a die-hard fan, you can also watch all three films back-to-back. I wonder what the odds are that I'll catch the flu that day and have to call in sick at work?...

Monday, August 25, 2003

The random Slashdot story generator has been revised. Check out Version 2.0 here. Hilarious! (Via BBspot.)
"A man whose sight was restored after 40 years of blindness had to shut his eyes when he began skiing again". Although he became an expert skiier when blind, when he tries to ski with his eyes open his visual system gives him a sense of "imminent collision". (Via Fark.)
How well do pop-up ads work? Depending on their timing within a browser session, they are sufficiently effective that we'll be seeing them for a while to come.
What exactly did the Architect tell Neo in Matrix 2? Here's the transcript. There's also an interesting Salon discussion on the movie. (Via Metafilter.)
Fake and real satellite images of the NYC blackout: A fake image has been making the rounds via e-mail, which looks like a Photoshop manipulation. The Snopes website has debunked it and has some pictures of the real thing.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

"Robot Shows Prime Minister How to Loosen Up"

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Movie watcher's guide to SWAT hand signals. There's also a so-so parody. (Via Metafilter.)

Friday, August 22, 2003

DARPA expert Robert Leheny explains why he is skeptical about the future of quantum computing. (Via Techdirt.)
Arguments for and against multiple universes theories.
How much difference will the name order make in the California governor's ballot? Quite a bit - as many as 2-6 percentage points according to this research.
"Using cellophane to convert a laptop computer screen into a three-dimensional display". (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, August 21, 2003

The car that parks itself. (Via IPList.)
The next generation of physicists may be becoming too enamoured of the aesthetic beauty of a theory, and not concerned enough with whether it corresponds to the facts of reality in the form of empirical data. (Via ALDaily.)
If you surf Usenet, then Microsoft's in-house sociologist may be watching you.
Best and worst country music song titles. These are real. (Via Linkfilter.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Spray-on nanocomputers.
Blueberry burgers?
Creatine is well known as a muscle building supplement. Recent studies show that it can also improve memory and mental performance.
Living off the grid is possible, just expensive.
The East Coast blackout as viewed from above by satellite. (Via BBspot.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

If you steal a Segway and don't want to get caught, then don't ask around on the internet for advice on how to hot-wire it. (Via Obscure Store.)
Lie detector accuracy or lack thereof.
Dave Trowbridge has a post on four possible futures of the internet.
This DNA computer plays tic-tac-toe. (Via Boing Boing.)
Casinos are using sophisticated software to catch card counters.
Will legal music copying in Canada defeat the RIAA in America?

Monday, August 18, 2003

DNA power computing.
"Galactic dust storm hits solar system".
Things I never knew about the penis: I thought the penis was merely a device to help deposit sperm. But some scientists also "believe the shape of the penis may have evolved to help men remove the semen of love rivals during sex". (Via Neoflux.)
How to spot an internet hoax.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

If you're one of the few gay men who needs grooming help, there's help from "The Straight Eye for the Gay Guy". (Via Linkfilter.)

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Best Nigerian 419 parody so far:
DEAR SIR/MADAM:

I AM MR. DARL MCBRIDE CURRENTLY SERVING AS THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE SCO GROUP, FORMERLY KNOWN AS CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, IN LINDON, UTAH, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I KNOW THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOUR BECAUSE WE HAVE HAD NO PREVIOUS COMMUNICATIONS OR BUSINESS DEALINGS BEFORE NOW.

MY ASSOCIATES HAVE RECENTLY MADE CLAIM TO COMPUTER SOFTWARES WORTH AN ESTIMATED $1 BILLION U.S. DOLLARS. I AM WRITING TO YOU IN CONFIDENCE BECAUSE WE URGENTLY REQUIRE YOUR ASSISTANCE TO OBTAIN THESE FUNDS.

IN THE EARLY 1970S THE AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH CORPORATION DEVELOPED AT GREAT EXPENSE THE COMPUTER OPERATING SYSTEM SOFTWARE KNOWN AS UNIX. UNFORTUNATELY THE LAWS OF MY COUNTRY PROHIBITED THEM FROM SELLING THESE SOFTWARES AND SO THEIR VALUABLE SOURCE CODES REMAINED PRIVATELY HELD. UNDER A SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT SOME PROGRAMMERS FROM THE CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF BERKELEY DID ADD MORE CODES TO THIS OPERATING SYSTEM, INCREASING ITS VALUE, BUT NOT IN ANY WAY TO DILUTE OR DISPARAGE OUR FULL AND RIGHTFUL OWNERSHIP OF THESE CODES, DESPITE ANY AGREEMENT BETWEEN AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH AND THE CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF BERKELEY, WHICH AGREEMENT WE DENY AND DISAVOW.

IN THE YEAR 1984 A CHANGE OF REGIME IN MY COUNTRY ALLOWED THE AMERICAN TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH CORPORATION TO MAKE PROFITS FROM THESE SOFTWARES. IN THE YEAR 1990 OWNERSHIP OF THESE SOFTWARES WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE CORPORATION UNIX SYSTEM LABORATORIES. IN THE YEAR 1993 THIS CORPORATION WAS SOLD TO THE CORPORATION NOVELL. IN THE YEAR 1994 SOME EMPLOYEES OF NOVELL FORMED THE CORPORATION CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, WHICH BEGAN TO DISTRIBUTE AN UPSTART OPERATING SYSTEM KNOWN AS LINUX. IN THE YEAR 1995 NOVELL SOLD THE UNIX SOFTWARE CODES TO SCO. IN THE YEAR 2001 OCCURRED A SEPARATION OF SCO, AND THE SCO BRAND NAME AND UNIX CODES WERE ACQUIRED BY THE CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL, AND IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR THE CALDERA SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL WAS RENAMED SCO GROUP, OF WHICH I CURRENTLY SERVE AS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER.

MY ASSOCIATES AND I OF THE SCO GROUP ARE THEREFORE THE FULL AND RIGHTFUL OWNERS OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM SOFTWARES KNOWN AS UNIX. OUR ENGINEERS HAVE DISCOVERED THAT NO FEWER THAN SEVENTY (70) LINES OF OUR VALUABLE AND PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODES HAVE APPEARED IN THE UPSTART OPERATING SYSTEM LINUX. AS YOU CAN PLAINLY SEE, THIS GIVES US A CLAIM ON THE MILLIONS OF LINES OF VALUABLE SOFTWARE CODES WHICH COMPRISE THIS LINUX AND WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD AT GREAT PROFIT TO VERY MANY BUSINESS ENTERPRISES. OUR LEGAL EXPERTS HAVE ADVISED US THAT OUR CONTRIBUTION TO THESE CODES IS WORTH AN ESTIMATED ONE (1) BILLION U.S. DOLLARS.

UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY EXTRACTING OUR FUNDS FROM THESE COMPUTER SOFTWARES. TO THIS EFFECT I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE MANDATE BY MY COLLEAGUES TO CONTACT YOU AND ASK FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE. WE ARE PREPARED TO SELL YOU A SHARE IN THIS ENTERPRISE, WHICH WILL SOON BE VERY PROFITABLE, THAT WILL GRANT YOU THE RIGHTS TO USE THESE VALUABLE SOFTWARES IN YOUR BUSINESS ENTERPRISE. UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE NOT ABLE AT THIS TIME TO SET A PRICE ON THESE RIGHTS. THEREFORE IT IS OUR RESPECTFUL SUGGESTION, THAT YOU MAY BE IMMEDIATELY A PARTY TO THIS ENTERPRISE, BEFORE OTHERS ACCEPT THESE LUCRATIVE TERMS, THAT YOU SEND US THE NUMBER OF A BANKING ACCOUNT WHERE WE CAN WITHDRAW FUNDS OF A SUITABLE AMOUNT TO GUARANTEE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS ENTERPRISE. AS AN ALTERNATIVE YOU MAY SEND US THE NUMBER AND EXPIRATION DATE OF YOUR MAJOR CREDIT CARD, OR YOU MAY SEND TO US A SIGNED CHECK FROM YOUR BANKING ACCOUNT PAYABLE TO "SCO GROUP" AND WITH THE AMOUNT LEFT BLANK FOR US TO CONVENIENTLY SUPPLY.

KINDLY TREAT THIS REQUEST AS VERY IMPORTANT AND STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. I HONESTLY ASSURE YOU THAT THIS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL AND RISK-FREE.

(Via GMSV.)

Friday, August 15, 2003

Element 110 will finally get a name.
Whale flatulence captured on film. (Via Boing Boing.)
"What Do Dogs Want?" (Via ALD.)

Thursday, August 14, 2003

The bizarre world of internet prison penpal dating services. (Via Plastic.)
Designing quantum electronic devices with an electronic Etch-A-Sketch.
"The New Diamond Age": Inexpensive mass produced diamonds could be used to make very speedy microprocessors. They're also scaring the living daylights out of the DeBeers diamond cartel.
Why settle for a boring 3-D bar graph, when you can display your data with this slick diamond graph?
Nuclear waste that buries itself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

"Confessions of a Baggage Screener"
The physics of skipping stones on water. With practice, I can get a stone to skip 7-8 times, but the world record of 38 skips is astounding. (Via Cosmic Log.)
98% of people have reported suffering from "earworms", which is the technical name for songs and jingles that get stuck in one's brain. (Via Techdirt.)
Twenty Things you'll never see on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
I never knew that Google had a built-in calculator.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

The science behind hypnosis.
It's not easy to make a robotic head look like a human. Excellent article on David Hanson's work.
The private spacecraft SpaceShipOne has successfully complete its first solo test flight.
How to make a real-life living selling virtual world artifacts.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Philosophers on the Moon: Diana has blogged this funny story demonstrating how little science even well-educated students at a good university understand. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's entertaining.
Forget Arnold -- here's my choice for California governor! Simply precious...
If you're going to pretend to be a destitute beggar, don't forget to turn off your cell phone first. (Via Fark.)
The Rubik's Cube is making a comeback. There's a lengthy discussion about "speedcubing" -- trying to solve a cube in the fastest time possible. My favorite quote from the article:
Indeed, a live speedcubing demonstration (there are dozens of videos online) can be almost too dorky to describe -- harking back to junior high and all those negative feelings toward the kids who blew the curve in algebra. A world-class speedcuber's skills are a wonder to behold, if you can suppress the urge to chuck an eraser at his head.
(Via Linkfilter.) If you don't have your own Rubik's cube handy, you can practice with this online version.
A surprisingly high percentage of Britons would snoop on their significant other's e-mail if they thought he or she was cheating on them.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Writing with Elvish fonts. "Ash nazg durbatul√Ľk, ash nazg gimbatul..."

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Over 300 purported "proofs" for the existence of God are nicely encapsulated here.

Friday, August 08, 2003

What are all those mysterious processes in your Windows Task Manager? This handy guide will tell you what they do. (Via Madville.)
"E-mail experiment confirms six degrees of separation". Here's a related article.
A technology-geek-turned-car-salesman tells the inside secrets on how car selling works.
The robot doctor will see you now...

Thursday, August 07, 2003

FBI Guide to Concealable Weapons: The FBI has issued a fascinating document for law enforcement officers demonstrating ways that someone could sneak a weapon past a security checkpoint, such as at an airport or courthouse. The document includes images of what these weapons would look like to the naked eye as well as with an x-ray machine. These are all commercially available. Many of these are legitimate tools, but some of the items are quite ingenious and clearly designed to disguise their true nature as weapons. (Warning -- lengthy .pdf file.)
Is aging curable? The Speculist has an interesting interview with Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey who believes exactly that.
Excessive internet surfing could be classified as a new psychiatric disorder. (Via Techdirt.)
Should nanotech be subject to the "precautionary principle"? Howard Lovy argues, "no".
"Dial-a-Dolphin on Your Mobile"

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Space elevators are getting closer to reality. (Via Steve Lanasa.)
Humor site of the day: "How to install Windows XP in 5 hours or less"
Scenes from the third and final installment of The Lord of the Rings movie, The Return of the King. (Via Linkfilter.)
I never get cool spam like this.
One step closer to self-assembling nanodevices.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Whatever happened to HavenCo, the off-shore data haven based on the artificial island nation of "Sealand" which was featured in a Wired magazine cover story from July 2000? According to former chief technology officer Ryan Lackey, the company has since fallen upon hard times. Here's the latest update. (Via Techdirt.)
Quiz of the Day: "Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer?"
What time is it? Apparently, this is not as simple a question as one might believe because there is not a single universal agreed-upon standard. Instead, there are multiple standards including Coordinated Universal Time, International Atomic Time, GPS time, and Greenwich mean time that don't quite agree with one another. (Via Boing Boing.)
Ars Technica has an excellent review article on anti-spam solutions for Windows users.
More on why videogames are good for kids.

Monday, August 04, 2003

A promising new blog launched today -- The Speculist. Take a look.
One of the coolest display technologies I've ever seen is this walk-through fog screen. The system generates a thin screen of dry fog which allows users to project images that appear to float in mid-air. Plus viewers can literally walk through the display "wall". (Via Metafilter.)
The AccelGlove will translate the hand motions of American Sign Language into speech.
If you want to live longer, you should study engineering, science, or medicine, rather than the arts.
Holographic memory storage is very close to reality now.
Jim Gasperini has found a clever method "to present stereo images on the screen by simply putting the right and left images in an animted .gif."

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Crash your browser with these evil links. (Via BBspot.)

Saturday, August 02, 2003

"Teen turns cell phone camera on stranger trying to lure him into car". Resourceful use of technology.

Friday, August 01, 2003

The internet futures markets have predicted the California governor Gray Davis will be recalled. Traders at one (overseas) market are estimating "the odds that Davis still will be in office by the end of September at about 35 percent as of Thursday".
Virtual reality simulators can now replicate the taste and "mouthfeel" of food. This solves the classic problem posed in The Matrix -- "How did the machines really know what Tasty Wheat tasted like, huh?. Maybe they got it wrong. Maybe what I think Tasty Wheat tasted like actually tasted like oatmeal or tuna fish."
The Bow-Lingual device is supposed to translate dog barks into English. How well does it work? According to this review, not very. (Via Obscure Store.)
Yahoo! is looking for a new yodeler. They're hosting a nationwide talent search in which the winner will receive $10,000. The previous yodeler won a $5 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Yahoo!, so the new yodeler will be a bargain by comparison. (Via Techdirt.)