Sunday, February 29, 2004

Immersion in virtual worlds can blunt real-world pain responses in patients.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Naming rights for computer viruses can get messy.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Admin notice -- RSS feed: Due to popular demand, I've added an "RSS Feed" link on the left sidebar. As is usual with these things, I suspect I'll need to tweak it a few times until I'm satisfied...
Tired of unrealistic "solutions" to the spam problem? Use this handy (and funny) check-box based form letter to save time in responding to dumb ideas. (Via Boing Boing.)
A fair coin toss is not entirely fair. Stanford mathematics/statistics professor Persi Diaconis has shown that if a normal coin starts off showing "heads", it is slightly more likely to end up heads rather than tails.
Ikea furniture names aren't always as well researched as they should be. (Via BBspot.)
"Scientists See How Placebo Effect Eases Pain"

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Now this is an animated gif. (Via Boing Boing.)
Everything you wanted to know about Google.
"Sending e-mail can be a struggle if your name has a 4-letter word"
Shat-Lessons: Handy on-line guide on how to speak and act like William Shatner. (Via Dave Barry.)
Physicists have been able to resolve events separated by as little as 10^-16 seconds, i.e. 100 attoseconds. This is on the order of the time it takes the electron in a hydrogen atom to orbit the proton.
Geek wristwatches galore...

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Last month on January 13, 2004, "astronomers Clark Chapman and David Morrison, chair of the International Astronomical Union's Working Group on Near Earth Objects" came within minutes of alerting President Bush about an impending asteroid strike. Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory were tracking an object which they believed had a 25% chance of striking the Northern Hemisphere in a few days. Although the asteroid was only 30m in diameter, if it struck a populated area "the loss of life could have been much worse than 11 September." Fortunately the astronomical community decided to wait. After additional observations, "[i]t turned out to be bigger than anyone had thought - about 500m wide. It eventually passed the Earth at a distance of about 12 million km - 32 times the Earth-Moon distance, posing no danger to us whatsoever." As a result of this event, "[t]he procedures for raising the alarm in such circumstances are now being revised" but the article does not go into further details.
Scientists have proven why stove-popped popcorn is superior to microwave-popped popcorn.
"Chess Computers On Track to Overtake Humans in 2004". Now if only computer scientists could make similar progress with my favorite boardgame, Go.
"How the FBI eavesdrops on Internet phone calls (and why it sometimes can't)". Via SciTechDaily.
Law professor Viet Dinh defends the much-maligned Patriot Act.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Rand Simberg has written a touching memorial to his late cat Stella.
The ethics of owning robotic pets
"Computing on a Cellular Scale"
Translation assistance technologies may help the US government cope with the huge signals intelligence backlog.
"US military creates second Earth"

Monday, February 23, 2004

Does this porn chat room "bot" pass the Turing test?
The Pentagon's plans for war in space.
More bad ideas: Aromatic e-mail.
"How dogs became man's best friend"

Friday, February 20, 2004

Nice application of mathematical graph theory: "How to draw Celtic knots". (Via Tom McMahon.)
Where do you fit in the Pagan Hierarchy? Or the Geek Hierarchy? (Via Boing Boing.)
More news about the Ender's Game movie.
Where's the best place to target if you want to initiate a butterfly effect?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Secret programmer comments from the leaked MS Windows2k source code. Lots of references to "morons" and "hacks". (Via GMSV.)
"Search Beyond Google": An overview of the new search technologies that are trying to dethrone the current king, Google.
Novel device to steal PIN numbers from ATMs. More pictures. (Via IPList.)
How much legitimate e-mail is being lost due to overly aggressive spam filters? (Via Harrison Wise.)
The 1000 Fighting Styles of Donald Rumsfeld: This has been all over the blogosphere, but it's still hilarious.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Onion asks "What Do You Think About Human Cloning?"
Stamp-sized 1GB hologram memories. (Via Ken Ogle.)
The Pentagon is trying to devise a way for combat soldiers to operate for 5 days without eating any meals.
Will "brain fingerprinting" revolutionize the criminal justice system?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Gallery of network images.
Cool new floppy keyboard. Cat tested! (Via Techdirt.)
"A quarter of a mile beneath the streets of Detroit lies a secret city, made entirely of salt." (Via Memepool.)

Monday, February 16, 2004

A recent glitch on the Canadian Amazon.com website accidentally revealed the identities of some anonymous reviewers. Dirty laundry ensues.
Academics are now studying video games.
M&Ms pack more tightly than spheres
Human cloning: The genie is out of the bottle now.
Open source methods in fields other than software. Includes a nice discussion of Wikipedia as a case study. (Via SciTechDaily.)

Sunday, February 15, 2004

What is your IP address?

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Trojan Olympics: One of my co-workers found these hilarious British commercials for Trojan condoms. Needless to say, these would never make it on the US airwaves. Happy Valentine's Day! (Note - sound needs to be turned on.)
Commercial #1
Commercial #2
Commercial #3

(Probably not safe for work, depending on how prudish your coworkers are).

Friday, February 13, 2004

Don't forget to give that special someone an anti-Valentine card! (Via Tom McMahon.)
It must suck to go surfing porn websites and seeing your own wife having sex with her lover... (Via Linkfilter.)
Voice analysis software can tell if she loves you or she loves you not...
"People lie more on the phone than by email"

Thursday, February 12, 2004

"The 100 Million Mile Network": How the Mars Spirit rover was repaired remotely. (Via Ken Ogle.)
"Matrix" scams are proliferating on eBay, using heavily discounted iPods as bait. According to this article, it's just a variation on the old pyramid scheme.
Cool pin clock. (Via Tom McMahon.)
How stun guns work. (Via Linkfilter.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Beware the googledorks. (Via GMSV.)
"Nissan demonstrated its new device designed to protect its parking lot from a hailstorm... It is a cannon that sends sonic waves up to 50,000 feet in the air to keep hailstones from forming." More technical details here.
"A Way Out of Automated Phone Hell"
"MIT neuroscientists have discovered a new brain mechanism controlling the formation of lasting memories. This mechanism explains how signals between neurons stimulate production of the protein building blocks needed for long-term memory storage."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Quiz of the day: Which of these quotes are from President Bush and which are from evil Senator Palpatine in Star Wars?
If you spend 6 months away on a mission on the International Space Station, make sure you have someone at home pay the bills. (Via Fark.)
Massive Crowd Simulation: "A Massive Crowd Simulation is a computer simulation of a crowd of agents. Agents are digital characters with a certain artificial intelligence. The individual agents can act on their own, they don't need to be pre-programmed or scripted, they respond on their environment without external control. They walk along a path, group together, hold distance, align with others, fight, patrol, get hurt, and can even die in their world." (Via Linkfilter.)
Update on "smart dust".
Turning a snowball inside-out.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Psychology test of the day: Can you distinguish fake smiles from genuine smiles?
Beam me up: How to teleport an electron with currently available technology. The article also includes the obligatory reference to quantum computers.
The Creativity Machine uses neural networks (and a touch of random noise) to come up with all sorts of useful inventions.
There sure are an awful lot of internet-accessible machines. (Via BBspot.)
Controlled thermonuclear fusion is the power source of the future -- and always will be.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Why is "CH" the abbreviation for Switzerland?

Saturday, February 07, 2004

What do kids really think about classic rock anthems? (Via BBspot.)

Friday, February 06, 2004

How to manage smart people.
Interesting educational tactic: "Teachers offer to 'lend' students marks to pass tests"
Technology for tracking kids 24/7: Some of these products seem reasonable, but I am a little creeped out by the locking GPS bracelet described at the bottom of the article.
Have scientists discovered a sixth sense? From the article's description of "mindsight", it seems that this is more accurately described as a form of ultra-rapid subconscious integration of visual input rather than a true sixth sense.
Hamlet text adventure game. (Via Hanah Metchis.)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The generation that grew up saying "like" is hitting adulthood... (Via Obscure Store.)
It's surprisingly easy for spammers to defeat Bayesian spam filters.
The Super Bowl streaker is upset that Janet Jackson's right breast "stole his thunder". (Via Fark.)
Mathematics of draped clothing.
Microsoft crash gallery. (Via GMSV.)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Interesting article on the CG visual effects for LOTR: Return of the King.
"Ten Technologies That Refuse to Die"
"Microsoft copyright lawyers vs. Palestinian Authority?"
Patrick Moore, Greenpeace co-founder, explains why his former environmentalists colleagues should support biotechnology and genetic engineering, rather than opposing these new developments. He also cites Ayn Rand's essay, "The Anti-Industrial Revolution", although he mistakenly attributes it to Peter Schwartz. (Via ALDaily.)
What can fetuses hear inside the womb?

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Janet Jackson breast baring incident was the most frequently replayed moment in the history of TiVo in the three years since such data was recorded. "'The audience measurement guys have never seen anything like it,' said a TiVo representative. 'The audience reaction charts looked like an electrocardiogram.'" (Via Ars Technica.)
Michigan geek John Blake Cusack has named his son "John Blake Cusack 2.0". I wonder how many beatings the poor kid will endure from his classmates. (Via Techdirt.)
Evolution of alphabets. (Via Newstrolls.)
Scientists have synthesized two new chemical elements -- element 113 (ununtrium) and element 115 (ununpentium).

Monday, February 02, 2004

Air Force researchers have discovered that the best color to paint an airplane in order to disguise it in flight is a shade of pink. But officially, it's called "salmon". (Via Fark.)
A Nit-Pickers Guide to deviations between the book and the film versions of the Lord of the Rings. (Via Linkfilter.)
Windows XP comes with a bunch of suboptimal default settings. Here's what you need to do to fix that.
101 Dumbest Moments in Business

Sunday, February 01, 2004

The US military should ditch the NATO 9mm Beretta M9 9mm sidearm and instead return to the tried-and-true .45 ACP M1911A1 (aka known coloquially as the "Colt 45"). (Via Eric Raymond.)