Saturday, July 31, 2004

Invention of the day: Scientists have finally developed an effective shark repellant. The key chemical is based on an extract from dead sharks.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Scientists have created artificial prions (the same kind of proteins that cause mad cow disease) in the lab. Here's more information.
Supposedly the Afshar experiments show that both the Copenhagen and Many Worlds interpretations of quantum mechanics are wrong whereas the Transactional Interpretation is consistent with the experimental evidence. (Via Metafilter.)
Miracles happen all the time.
Is fanning yourself energy-efficient?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Who will be the next James Bond? Pierce Brosnan says he won't make any more Bond flicks. Reportedly Orlando Bloom (who played Legolas in Lord of the Rings) "has been signed by Miramax to play young James Bond in his new movie which is based on the college days of this widely popular secret agent." Assuming that you aren't tired of seeing him in the extended extended version of LOTR. (Via Fark.)
Yawning is contagious for chimpanzees as well as humans.
The scientfic basis of deja vu: What we currently know. Some of these new theories would be hauntingly familiar to early 20th century psychologists. (Via ALDaily.)
Top 10 Funniest IT Stories. (Via BBspot.)
How To Turn your iPod into a Universal Infrared Remote Control
What it's like to have no sense of smell. Or super-sensitive taste. (Via Linkfilter.)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

NASA's Cassini probe photograph of the Saturn moon Mimas looks an awful lot like the Star Wars Death Star.
Beware the *72 call forwarding scam.
Quantum computing comes even closer to reality as researcher develop ways to transmit qubits either via a chain of particles known as a "quantum wire" or with improved quantum teleportation.
After a Delaware man chose a personalized license plate that read "NOTAG", he received a flood of parking tickets caused by other people whose tickets read, "Notice of violation. License number: no tag" because the city computer system finally had an address for those vehicles. (Via Obscure Store.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Vehicular homicide by DVD: Prosecutors in Alaska have filed the first-ever charge of second-degree murder because the suspect was allegedly watching a DVD while driving his vehicle instead of watching the road, which then led to his striking and killing the driver of another vehicle. The movie he is accused of watching is "Road Trip".
Ship-destroying "monster waves" are real after all.
Caught in the middle of a flame war? Use this handy list of conversational cheap shots. (Via MeFi.)
Gadget of the day: Wearable television wristwatch.

Monday, July 26, 2004

SETI researcher Seth Shostak believes that we will make first contact with intelligent aliens in the next 20 years due to "advances in computer processing power and radio telescope technology".
Advances in LED technology may lead to the widespread replacement of incandescent light bulbs within the next 5 years.
A new drug for treatment of congestive heart failure is gaining a lot of attention because it works extremely well for African-American patients, although it has had disappointing results for Caucasian patients. Some doctors don't like this, because they don't believe drugs should be prescribed on the basis of race. (As a physician, I believe this view to be ridiculous, given that there are well-established physiological and genetic differences between the races. Of course, it would be optimal to discover the exact genetic markers that would predict a good response to this drug, but until such markers are identified, race is a reasonable first approximation in this case.)
Webmail services: Here's a review of the various 1 GB providers and another review of free webmail services.
Top 11 Unlikely Tech Headlines

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Krispy Kreme introduces the glazed doughnut frozen beverage.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

"Hi, My name is Kerry Edwards"
Two years ago I registered this domain name to put up photos for my family and friends. Now the site is the center of a flurry of interest from people and organizations around the world and of all political affiliations.

I decided that the only fair thing to do would be to put the domain up for auction. By purchasing this domain name you'll be acquiring one of the hottest pieces of Internet real estate in the political sphere, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every single day.
The current auction price is now $150,000.
Top 25 Celebrities Turned Politicians. (Via MetaFilter.)

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Hilsch Vortex Tube: If you blow ordinary compressed air through the Hilsch Vortex Tube, you get hot air from one end and cold air from the other end. Here's how it works. (Via Erik Albrektson.)
Four Word Film Reviews. Some of my favorites are:
Titanic: "Icy dead people"
The Matrix: "Dude, I'm Christ? Whoa!"
Passion of the Christ: "Gory, gory, hallelujah"
(Via Linkfilter.)
Man raised by chickens. No, really. (Via Rand Simberg.)
10 Laws of Bad Science Fiction. (Via Gravity Lens.)
Top 11 Geek Bumper Stickers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The new IPv6 internet naming and number protocol will make it possible for every person (or device) on Earth to have their own IP address. More information is available here. (Via IPList.)
Invention of the day: "Food scientists working for the US military have developed a dried food ration that troops can hydrate by adding the filthiest of muddy swamp water or even peeing on it."
44% of large corporations pay someone to read outgoing e-mails. (Via Ars Technica.)
Google circa 1960. (Via GMSV.)
Interesting historical tidbit:  While watching "The Mongols" on The History Channel, I learned that after the great Mongol conqueror Timur the Lame died in the year 1405, he was buried in an ornate tomb in the city of Samarkand with the warning, "Do not disturb my grave or a fate worse than me will fall upon you".  His grave remained intact until Soviet archeologists opened it up in 1941 and unearthed his skeleton.  The next morning (June 22, 1941, exactly 63 years and one month ago), Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the massive invasion of the USSR which resulted in the loss of over 20 million lives.

Now, I don't believe this is the result of mystical forces; instead, I believe it's just an interesting coincidence.  As Tyler Cowen points out, coincidences  and apparent miracles are all around us, and this is just an especially colorful one.
Men and women have slightly different color vision experiences, especially in the red-orange portion of the spectrum.
19% of Australians find spam more stressful than going to the dentist. (Via Ken Ogle.)
Fold your t-shirts the Asian way. (Via Linkfilter.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The current hysteria over cameraphones is eerily reminiscent of the 1888 hysteria over those newfangled Kodak cameras:
The appearance of Eastman's cameras was so sudden and so pervasive that the reaction in some quarters was fear. A figure called the "camera fiend" began to appear at beach resorts, prowling the premises until he could catch female bathers unawares. One resort felt the trend so heavily that it posted a notice: "PEOPLE ARE FORBIDDEN TO USE THEIR KODAKS ON THE BEACH." Other locations were no safer. For a time, Kodak cameras were banned from the Washington Monument. The "Hartford Courant" sounded the alarm as well, declaring that "the sedate citizen can't indulge in any hilariousness without the risk of being caught in the act and having his photograph passed around among his Sunday School children."
(Via Boing Boing.)
"Today in History": Warning -- some might find this politically incorrect. Tom McMahon points out the following about the Library of Congress "Today in History" webpage.
No Man On The Moon. No Men In Space. No Men, Period.
Pretty odd is the fact that the Library of Congress Today in History Page for July 20 has nothing on the Moon Landing, but goes on and on and on about the First Woman's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York being convened for a second day back in 1848. And that, after their July 19 entry discussed it at length. In fact, the only entry for any of the Space Race events in the Today in History pages is for June 24, the date Sally Ride returned from the mission that made her the first American woman astronaut in space, 20 years after the first Soviet woman in space. Alan Shepard, sorry. John Glenn, nope. Neil Armstrong, never heard of him. Move along, folks. And no more questions, please...
Here's the LOC page in question.
An AI algorithm that plays "20 Questions". (Via Michael Williams.)
"Quantum Crypto Network Debuts"
The smart formatting function in MS Excel is screwing up genetic databases.
Special phononic crystals can focus sound waves without a lens by using "negative refraction".
Computer users respond better to polite software.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Outsourcing fast food orders: If you pull into the drive-through lane at one of the McDonald's near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the person taking your order is actually working at a call center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. For reasons not immediately clear to me, this is supposedly cheaper, faster and more accurate than the traditional method of taking orders, and according to the article, "People picking up their burgers never know that their order traverses two states and bounces back before they can even start driving to the pickup window". (Via Techdirt.)
The new iPod will be a big success. And here's a related (3-part) article on the cultural history of the iPod.
Stephen Hawking has changed his mind on black holes and now believes that it is possible for information to escape from one. As a result, he will pay off on a 30-year old bet.
Monster raindrops up to 1cm in size have finally been recorded by scientists, breaking the old record of 8mm. Until now, scientists have thought that droplets would break up before reaching this size. Average raindrops are approximately 1-2mm in size.
Lie detection:  A good overview of the latest brain scanning techniques.
Telling blonde jokes to blondes slows down their mental activity.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

"Why Lord of the Rings Will - and Must - Be Remade"

Friday, July 09, 2004

Admin note: GeekPress will be going on hiatus for a week. We'll be back Sunday, July 18.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Have police "psychics" every really helped solve a crime? According to this article, the answer is "no". (Via ALDaily.)
The Knee-Jerk Contrarian Game. (Via GMSV.)
Top 11 Reasons Geeks Stay Up Late

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Invention of the Day?!? No, really... (Update: Just to clarify, I think this invention is gruesome. But I posted it because I enjoyed the scathing review.)
Transgastric peritoneoscopy is a new surgical technique that allows physicians to operate in the abdomen without making any incisions in the skin.
"The British Empire's second-greatest gift to the world": A history of the phrase "f--- off". (Via Gravity Lens.)
SpaceShipOne is back on course.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The United Nations is going to take on the spam problem. Ooh, I feel much better already... (Via GMSV.)
"Meet the Eye Cam": A corneal imaging system.
"Bill Gates Attempts Return to NBA"
"How To Escape From A Car Hanging Over The Edge Of A Cliff". Of course, you might not have needed to utilize this skill if you had previously read "How To Stop A Car With No Brakes". (Via Linkfilter.)

Monday, July 05, 2004

Huge gallery of presidential campaign TV commercials dating back to 1952. (Via NewsTrolls.)
Adaptive cruise control may help prevent traffic jams by eliminating slow human reaction times as a cause. Interestingly enough, only a fairly small fraction of cars (~13%) need to be equipped with ACC in order for everyone to reap the benefits.
Some scientists believe we have big brains so we can lie more effectively. (Via Metafilter.)
Vibrated cornstarch. Don't forget to check out the cool movie. (Via Steve Hahn.)
The Voynich Manuscript, long thought to contain an unbreakable code, is probably just gibberish.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

One reason we have such spectacular pictures from Cassini is because of recent advances in coding theory.
Do non-smoking actors use fake cigarettes when playing a part?

Thursday, July 01, 2004

For some reason, there's a strong association between geeks and pen-twirling. Here's some astounding video footage of pen-twirling virtuosity. Lengthy download, but worth the wait. (Via Michael Williams.)
Military mine detection sensors have been adapted to prevent people from inadvertently walking into MRI scan rooms with metal objects.
Invention of the day: Braille PDA for blind people. (Via Boing Boing.)
Current drinking slang. (Via Gravity Lens.)
Virginia Postrel has written an eloquent essay on operations research. (Via ALDaily.)
Some physicists believe the speed of light may have changed recently (i.e., in the last 2 billion years).