Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
New text messaging speed record. Kimberly Yeo has set a new world record for speed text messaging. She was able to enter the following phrase in 43.66 seconds, smashing the old record of 67 seconds: "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human." Contestants were not allowed to use the cell phone's predictive text function and the punctuation also had to be exact.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Friday, June 25, 2004
Top Ten Most Untranslatable Words. The full list:
• THE TEN FOREIGN WORDS THAT WERE VOTED HARDEST TO TRANSLATE(Via Plastic.)
1 ilunga [Tshiluba word for a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time; to tolerate it a second time; but never a third time. Note: Tshiluba is a Bantu language spoken in south-eastern Congo, and Zaire]
2 shlimazl [Yiddish for a chronically unlucky person]
3 radioukacz [Polish for a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain]
4 naa [Japanese word only used in the Kansai area of Japan, to emphasise statements or agree with someone]
5 altahmam [Arabic for a kind of deep sadness]
6 gezellig [Dutch for cosy]
7 saudade [Portuguese for a certain type of longing]
8 selathirupavar [Tamil for a certain type of truancy]
9 pochemuchka [Russian for a person who asks a lot of questions]
10 klloshar [Albanian for loser]
• THE TEN ENGLISH WORDS THAT WERE VOTED HARDEST TO TRANSLATE
"British defense contractor BAE Systems has developed a stealth wallpaper designed to stop electronic eavesdropping on Wi-Fi networks. The company has produced panels designed to prevent outsiders from listening in on companies' Wi-Fi traffic but let other traffic through, including radio and mobile phone signals." (Via Netizen News.)
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
"The flight of the first private astronaut was not as perfect as it first appeared – a number of glitches occurred during the flight, some potentially catastrophic." Nonetheless, it was still a magnificent accomplishment. I especially like the last picture in this photo essay. (Last link via Ari Armstrong.)
It's surprisingly difficult to figure out exactly how many people are really visiting your website.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Monday, June 21, 2004
Friday, June 18, 2004
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Monday, June 14, 2004
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Friday, June 11, 2004
"NASA engineers are working on a robotic sphere that would propel itself around the space station, check the quality of the air and relay handy information to astronauts. Think of it as a cross between a tricorder and a lightsaber training droid."
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Computer models of traffic on the mean streets of Bogota, Colombia reportedly show that aggressive driving can reduce traffic congestion, albeit at the price of an increased death rate from motor vehicle collision. (This data doesn't explain why traffic is still so horrible in Boston, Massachusetts, where the drivers are extremely aggressive...)
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Monday, June 07, 2004
Brain teaser of the day: Petals around the Rose. Once you think you know the answer, you can test yourself with this applet. (I don't usually brag about these sorts of things, but I must confess that I was able to figure it out in 5 minutes. Diana also got it in about an hour...)
Sunday, June 06, 2004
Friday, June 04, 2004
Invention of the day: New childproof medicine containers that rely on mental dexterity rather than physical strength. Given that a recent study showed that up to 90% of adults had trouble with current childproof packages, this could be step in the right direction.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Many corporate IT systems automatically add a lengthy e-mail disclaimer to the end of outgoing messages. Here's an interesting legal analysis of their validity. (Via Techdirt.) More information on stupid e-mail disclaimers can be found here, including these funny ones. (Via BBspot.)
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Management tip of the day: If you're the CEO of a major bank, and you decide to outsource your entire IT Department, make sure you remove all your porn from your workplace computer before your disgrunted employees rat you out to the press, thus forcing you to resign.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Insecure password horror story of the day: During much of the 1970's, the US Minuteman nuclear ICBM missiles had their launch authorization codes set to "00000000" (without the knowledge of the President or Secretary of Defense) and that "everyone" at Strategic Air Command knew the "secret" password. According to the author, a former nuclear weapons officer:
The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the "locks" to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel.The locks were eventually activated in 1977. (Via Slashdot.)
SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the "secret unlock code" during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at 00000000.
A student who has been expelled from his degree program for internet plagiarism is suing the university for having caught him too late. He claims that the school "should have spotted what he was doing and stopped him sooner."
According to this article, his argument is as follows:
According to this article, his argument is as follows:
It's a technique I've used since I started the course and I never dreamt it was a problem. I can see there is evidence that I have gone against the rules, but they've taken my money for three years and pulled me up the day before I finished. If they had pulled me up with my first essay, and warned me of the problems, it would be fair enough. But all my essays were handed back with good marks and no one spotted it.