Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Admin note: GeekPress will be taking a brief hiatus, but will be back Monday Dec. 1. Happy Thanksgiving!
Secrets of the upcoming third Tolkien movie, The Return of the King. (Via Madville.)
What if The Matrix were guarded by the Department of Homeland Security?
Space Invaders clones. (Via Tom McMahon.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Robot receptionist.
NASA has successfully tested a powerful new ion engine.
John Dvorak thinks that the blogging "revolution" will end as most blogs are either co-opted or abandoned. I disagree, but I did like this quote: "[M]ost blogs have an audience of about 12 readers. Leaflets posted on the corkboard at Albertsons attract a larger readership than many blogs."
"The Matrix in Six Minutes": Surprisingly well done Lego animation.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Clever use of Amazon's "search inside the book" feature.
"What Workers Are Really Doing During Conference Calls" (Via Techdirt.)
How accurate is ballistic matching of firearm bullets? Less accurate than you might think, despite TV shows like CSI.
This walking robot can carry a person.
The science of home runs.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

What would life be like if I were pro-spam? (Via Linkfilter.)
Spam rage.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Electronic sniffers for explosives and dangerous chemicals are becoming smaller and more reliable. The latest one is called the "dog-on-a-chip".

Friday, November 21, 2003

Mathematicians have discovered a perfect order-5 magic cube. (Via Boing Boing.)
Nanotech update: The first self-assembling nanotransistor.
A Florida woman suffered from a stroke, then when she recovered she started speaking with a British accent. This is apparently a very rare condition known as "foreign accent syndrome". (Via Obscure Store.)

Thursday, November 20, 2003

"CodeFellas": A Mafia hacker talks.
Ars Technica pointed us towards this rather harsh attack on the objectivity of one of my favorite technology news websites, Tech Central Station. Given that the subheading of the website is, "Where free markets meet technology", it's hardly surprising that the articles tend to reflect a certain political point of view. But this is not the same as the website being stooges for their corporate sponsors. Read it for yourself to decide whether the attack has any merit or not. (Disclaimer: I have no relationship with TCS other than being an interested reader who checks their site daily.)
Techniques of the TV "psychics".
Today's sign of the Apocalypse: Barbie and Ken as Arwen and Aragorn. Only $59.97. (Via Linkfilter.)
"Don't Worry, Be Angry". You'll live longer. (Via BottomQuark.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

"What Should I Do If The Internet Goes Down?"
Physicists are proposing creating a real-life version of Maxwell's demon.
The best chili is the average of all chilis. (Via Redwood Dragon.)
Yet another scam masquerading as an alert from PayPal. I've already received several of these.
Comparison: Drug dealer vs. software developer. (Via BBspot.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Current rules for fair use of copyrighted material.
Southern accents in Shreveport, Louisiana are too confusing for the police computer voice recognition system.
Will micropayments finally become practical?
"What to do if your Mom discovers your blog...": Blogger's official response (with many helpful tips) to the recent Onion article, "Mom Finds Out About Blog". (Via Quare.)
Physicists have discovered yet another puzzling subatomic article.

Monday, November 17, 2003

It's easy to fake fingerprints. The article author says it takes him only 30 minutes and $20. I feel much safer already... (Via IPList.)
"Acoustically, people resemble large eggs".
Dave Barry analyzes the proposed carbon nanotubule space elevator. (Via Howard Lovy.)
College football rankings can be calculated by virtual monkeys.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Scientists have created the first fully functional synthetic virus.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Songs inspired by spam subject lines. MP3s available for download! (Via Boing Boing.)
Top Eleven Things Geeks Say When Pulled Over for Speeding
"The 10 Most Overpaid Jobs in the US". Note the conspicuous absence of diagnostic radiologists on that list...

Thursday, November 13, 2003

"20 Things That Only Happen In Movies" (Via Tom McMahon.)
Surround sound can now be created with a single speaker.
Update on airport security camera technology. Beware the exaggerated hype.
"Mom Finds Out About Blog"

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Microsoft, Netscape, Sun, Iraq, and World War II: What links all these together? Read Steven Den Beste's latest essay to find out.
The company MyLastEmail.com will let you compose messages to loved ones (or to hated enemies, I suppose) that will be sent out only after you're dead. Here's the company website. (Via Techdirt.)
1001 Things To Do With Liquid Nitrogen (Via Linkfilter.)
Computer viruses are now 20 years old.
E-Z Pass problem: Humorous anecdote via IPList:
After moving to Nashville from New York recently, it occurred to me that I no longer had a pressing use for my E-ZPass. Following the E-ZPass instructions, I filled out a few forms and dropped my pass off at United Parcel Service, destination Staten Island service center.

Two weeks passed, and I received my normal E-ZPass e-mail statement. I entered my account and, lo and behold, my recently surrendered pass had been used by someone to go from Newark Airport to Exit 18 on the New Jersey Turnpike.

I was incensed.

I immediately called E-ZPass and informed them that someone had stolen my pass. I explained that I had mailed the pass and that now someone was running up and down the turnpike using it.

Very calmly, the E-ZPass representative said, "Sir, your E-ZPass was not stolen, it is in the UPS truck, and every time that truck goes through an E-Z Pass toll booth, it is going to register another toll."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

American cities are competing fiercely with each other for young well-educated tech entrepreneurs. Who are the winners and losers? According to this interesting article, the big winners (the "brain gain" cities) include Seattle, Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, Ann Arbor, MI, and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., whereas the biggest losers (the "brain drain" cities) are Cleveland, Baltimore, Buffalo, Detroit, Hartford, CT, Milwaukee, Miami, Newark, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Stockton, CA, with predictable effects on their respective local economies.

According to the article, the winning cities "tend to have a high percentage of residents who are artists, writers and musicians, as well as large and visible gay communities. They often have pedestrian neighborhoods, with good food, live music and theater. The percentage of foreign-born residents is also high in these cities, reflecting a significant population of college-educated imports." (Via IPList.)
Cower before the Lego Cthulu! (Via Gravity Lens.)
"Technology is Ruining Movies". Yet another savaging of Matrix: Revolutions as well as some recent trends in movie-making.
Comedy Central is planning a new show, "Straight Plan for the Gay Man" in which "a team of straight comedians -- the 'Flab 4' -- teaches a succession of gay men how to pass as heterosexuals. The make-overs include lessons in such areas as spartan home decorating, oafish manners, less-than-fashionable wardrobes, and an overdeveloped ego to mask all personal failings"...

Monday, November 10, 2003

Traditional adult magazines are facing stiff competition from online porn websites.
Specialized brain scans may be able to distinguish false memories from true ones.
Eric Raymond has proposed the Life "glider" as the new hacker emblem. As a longtime Life fan, I like it.
The political compass of bloggers, arranged in the usual 2-dimensional graph. One axis denotes left-right and the other axis denotes libertarian-authoritarian. (Via Linkfilter.)

Sunday, November 09, 2003

"Masturbation is like owning a Ferrari and driving only in first gear, a senior Catholic theologian said... 'Driving only in first gear, not only do you prevent the Ferrari expressing its full power, but gradually you wear it out and thereby ruin a masterpiece of technology,' Father Giordano Muraro wrote in the magazine Vita Pastorale. Muraro was responding to a reader who asked whether it was sinful to masturbate in the absence of one's spouse in order to reduce sexual tension." (Via MBWHA.)

Saturday, November 08, 2003

What's your Middle Earth name? (Via BBspot.)

Friday, November 07, 2003

Diana and I went to see Matrix: Revolutions yesterday and were very disappointed. Apparently, we're not the only ones. Even more negative reviews are available here.
The latest in logo trends. Thank God we're past the ubiquitous "swooshes" of the dotcom era. (Via BBspot.)
Climate change has been good for recent wine vintages.
This wristwatch mobile phone uses your own finger as the earpiece.
Antagonyms are words that can have two different and opposite meanings. (Via Tom McMahon.)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The FBI has paid a little visit to Cryptome, a website that specializes in intelligence and national security. According to the post, "Cryptome said it will publish a report of the visit, including naming the agents. Both agents expressed concern about their names being published for that might lead to a threat against them and/or their families -- one saying that due to copious personal databases any name can be traced." But one of the FBI agents apparently had no problems with his name being publicized earlier on CNN after a successful sting operation. (Via DefenseTech.)
How to build the world's tallest house of cards.
Compendium of spam techniques. (Via Linkfilter.)
Random Wisconsin City Name Generator. (Via Metafilter.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

"Who falls for e-mail scams?"
Allowing employees to do personal websurfing while at work can be good for them.
Ophir Tanz has written a slick real-time map showing all the Wi-Fi users currently connected to the Carnegie-Mellon wireless LANs. (Requires Flash.)
"The Matrix Explained". Some of these "explanations" seem pretty speculative, albeit interesting. (Via Linkfilter.)
Virginia Postrel has a nice link to "How Not to Behave During a Movie Sex Scene".
A proposed new spam filter would go on the offense against spam, launching (potentially illegal) denial-of-service attacks against the spammers.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

"What's Google Really Worth?" The Economist has its own analysis.
Mobius strip architecture.
Random Maze Generator. (Via Linkfilter.)
"We're Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore": Interesting analysis on three big trends that have developed over the last few years which have shaken up the culture wars -- (1) the rise of cable TV (including South Park, and FoxNews), (2) the Blogosphere, and (3) conservative book publishing. (Via Tom McMahon.)

Monday, November 03, 2003

More harsh critique of the validity of the Rorschach Test. If you want to take a look at the infamous inkblots for yourself (along with the supposedly "correct" answers), click here. (Via ALDaily.)
"Worst Album Covers Ever" (Via Linkfilter.)
Secret codes to get out of recorded message hell and to a live customer service representative.
Some scientists believe we'll make first contact with an alien intelligence by the year 2025. And that it will more likely to be an artificial machine intelligence rather than a biological intelligence.
High-end gamers are at increased risk of developing some odd physical ailments such as Nintendonitis and HAVS (hand-arm vibration syndrome).
Unfortunate advertising juxtaposition. (Via BBspot.)

Sunday, November 02, 2003

South Park on file sharing:
Detective: This is the home of Lars Ulrich, the drummer for Metallica. [they approach a bush] Look. There's Lars now, sitting by his pool. [he's seen sitting on the edge of a chaise longue, his face in his hands, softly sobbing]

Kyle: What's the matter with him?

Detective: This month he was hoping to have a gold-plated shark tank bar installed right next to the pool, but thanks to people downloading his music for free, he must now wait a few months before he can afford it. [a close-up of Lars sobbing] Come. There's more. [leads them away. Next seen is a small airport at night] Here's Britney Spears' private jet. Notice anything? [a shot of Britney boarding a plane, then stopping to look at it before entering] Britney used to have a Gulfstream IV. Now she's had to sell it and get a Gulfstream III because people like you chose to download her music for free. [Britney gives a heavy sigh and goes inside.] The Gulfstream III doesn't even have a remote control for its surround-sound DVD system. Still think downloading music for free is no big deal?

Kyle: We... didn't realize what we were doing, eh...

Detective: That is the folly of man. Now look in this window. [they are at another mansion, and they look inside a picture window] Here you see the loving family of Master P. [He's shown tossing a basketball to his wife while his kid tries to catch it] Next week is his son's birthday and, all he's ever wanted was an island in French Polynesia. [his mom lowers the ball and gives it to the boy, who smiles, picks it up and drops it. It rolls away and he goes after it]

Kyle: So, he's gonna get it, right?

Detective: I see an island without an owner. If things keep going the way they are, the child will not get his tropical paradise.

Stan: [apologetically] We're sorry! We'll, we'll never download music for free again!

Detective: [somberly, dramatically] Man must learn to think of these horrible outcomes before he acts selfishly or else... I fear... recording artists will be forever doomed to a life of only semi-luxury.
(Via GMSV.)
Quantum computing continues to advance.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Harry Potter vs. the Nigerian 419 scammers. (Via GMSV.)