Monday, October 31, 2005

"Defend yourself against the coming robot rebellion". Although it's mostly a humor book (written by a real roboticist), some of the tips are real:
A robot trying to find you will use thermal imaging based on the roughly 91-degree temperature of human skin, so smearing yourself in cool mud will confuse them. If being chased by an unmanned robot vehicle, flee to a rustic, unmapped area with lots of obstacles. If your robot "smart" house -- one wired with video surveillance and computer gear -- tries to trap you, chop your way out with an ax and don't take your cell phone, because the house will track you with it.
(Via Cosmic Log.)
"Technology that provides live translation of speech from one language to another has been revealed by scientists from the US and Europe."
Should the US military be able to control the weather?
"Was It Something I Ate?: What to do if you think a restaurant meal has made you sick." (Via Linkfilter.)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

If it's Halloween, it's time for Extreme Pumpkins.
New species of the day: "Zombie worms" (aka "bone-eating snot flowers").
Bone marrow transplants can cause false positive matches with criminal DNA testing. For example, there was Alaska case in which a man was linked to an attack, based on DNA obtained with blood tests, but had been in jail at the time.

It transpired the sex attack had been carried out by his brother, who had donated bone marrow to his sibling in a transplant some years earlier.
More details here. (Via SciTech Daily.)
Annoying depictions of computers in movies. (Via Metafilter.)
I would love to take a stroll on this proposed Grand Canyon Skywalk. (Scheduled to open Jan 1 2006.)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Invention of the day: Electronic halitosis meter, which gives the user a precise reading of the methyl mercaptan of his or her breath.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nanotech "Venetian Blinds".
Can physicists create sound waves that travel faster than light? More information here. Of course, this all has to do with the group velocity of the waves, so no faster-than-light information or energy transfer is involved. (Via Cosmic Log.)
"A new clinical trial in the United States allows couples to pick the sex of their unborn children in an effort to determine the social effects."
Dolphins don't need 6 degrees of separation: A recent study of the dolphin community off the coast of Scotland shows that "it takes an average of just 3.9 steps to link any two dolphins by the shortest possible route through mutual friends."
Optical Illusion of the Day: "Mr. Angry and Mrs. Calm". The image shows two faces. Up close, the face on the left looks angry while the face on the right looks calm. But if you stand about 10 feet away, they switch places! Here's the technical paper (PDF format) on how it works. (Via Clicked.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Why some dictionaries deliberately include fake words in their listings. (Via BBspot.)
Property rights on the Moon. (Via Rand Simberg.)
Carnival of Tomorrow 12.0 is now up.
Mathematical analysis of wobbly tables.
Do you always get the wobbly table at restaurants and cafes? Don't despair. A physicist has proved that, within reasonable limits, it is always possible to rotate the table to a position where all four legs stand solidly on the ground.

Andre Martin was moved to study the problem because he was fed up with the wobbly tables at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, where he works on abstruse problems in high-energy physics.
Here's the full proof for the mathematically inclined (PDF format).
"Einstein Managed His Inbox Just Like You". Here's a related article.
Scientists have invented a scanner that can look inside concrete. It expected to be useful both for checking for hairline cracks, as well as looking for murder victims.
Radar as a death ray?
"White House Orders Satirical Paper 'The Onion' to Stop Using Presidential Seal". Apparently this is real. I'm no lawyer, but I would think that The Onion's use of the seal would fall clearly within the bounds of parody/satire. More information at this NY Times article. (Via MeFi.)
Invention of the day: "Naughty" digital camera lens. According to the article,
A camera lens that allows one to see through clothes and other hard surfaces has been introduced by a US Company.

The lens that could well result in it being banned because of its perve potential is called the "Infrared See-Through Filter PF". The PF is a special optical device that helps to visually penetrate an object's surface in order to view whatever lies below. The PF makes it possible for you to see images that are normally invisible to the human eye. It sounds like science-fiction but it isn't, this new product has been developed using newly developed advanced optical technology.
Of course, there are some demonstration images. (Via Madville.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Buckypaper is a carbon nanotubule-based material that is "10 times lighter than steel - but 250 times stronger". (Via SciTech Daily.)
World's Greatest Art Thefts. (Via Madville.)
"Farmers have teamed up with scientists to create a farm where the cows choose when they want to be milked using automated booths." More info here.
"Qubit rings" may bring us one step closer to practical quantum computers. (Via Linkfilter.)
"Top 10 things likely to be overheard from a Klingon Programmer"

Sunday, October 23, 2005

"Could a human swing through the jungle on vines?"
How will long-term deep space missions be affected by sexual relations amongst the crew members?
How much is your blog worth?
More professors are podcasting their lectures to the benefit of both students and faculty. (Via Techdirt.)
The Agony of "BlackBerry Thumb". Marketing tip of the day -- It's never good to have a repetitive stress injury named after your main product.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

MIT neuroscientists explain why old habits die hard. (Via Alexa Brett.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Seven Questions Employees Should Ask Before Joining a Startup"
Fractal food. (Via Clicked.)
The single molecule car. (Via Cosmic Log.)
Edible moon buggies.
"What's at the center of the Earth?"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The four most common passwords (besides "password") are "God", "love", "money", and "sex". (Via Neoflux.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Invention of the day: Armor made from transparent aluminum. (Via /.)
Made-up words from The Simpsons.
"How new words become part of a language"
Wetness-defying water.

Monday, October 17, 2005

"20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States, primarily by private firms and universities."
A dwarf galaxy has punched a hole in the Andromeda galaxy.
Serenity In 2000 Words Or Less. (Warning: Contains lots of spoilers; do not click through unless you've already seen the movie.)
"A tiny black hole could briefly appear in a particle accelerator and then vanish into its own separate universe." (The same thing seems to happen all the time to my socks...)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Update on drugs that enhance our intelligence.
Scientific analysis of the "6 degrees of separation" networking problem. (Via IPList.)
Trading in influenza futures (aka "flutures") to predict outbreaks.
The "impact factor" score for grading scientific journals is having huge unintended consequences in hiring, tenure, and grant funding decisions. (Via ALDaily.)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sears Tower made from Jenga blocks. (Via BBspot.)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Carnival of Tomorrow 11.0 is now up!
Advertising idea of the day: Beach'n Billboard. (Via Mitch Berkson.)
Turing Machine made from Legos. (Via Linkfilter.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

"How much of all Internet traffic is pornography?"
"What Art Is Hiding On Your Microchip?" Examples include Waldo, Thor, and Marvin The Martian. (Via Linkfilter.)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Admin note: GeekPress will be taking a brief hiatus for most of next week. We'll be back Monday 10/17 (or maybe a couple of days beforehand).
A new process for making cheap artificial diamonds may have all sorts of high-tech applications. (Via Brock Cusick.)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

"Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005" (Via Linkfilter.)
Artificial tornadoes as an energy source.
Nausea-inducing optical illusion of the day: "Waves".
"What's up with the 'Acme Company'?"

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Onion on the "Intelligent Design" trial.
Malcolm Gladwell has written an excellent essay on secret quirks of Ivy League admissions policies. Some of the Harvard and Yale anti-Jewish policies in the mid-20th century were especially eye-opening. The section on admissions standards for student-athletes was also quite interesting. (Via ALDaily.)
Carbon nanotubule memory chips.
Do you really hate someone? Then torture them with the Mind Molester! Simple, yet effective. (Via Boing Boing.)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

How to get fired for blogging.
"Six Drinks That Changed History" (Via Cosmic Log.)
Invention of the day: A special tap designed to pour the perfect beer at twice the speed of regular taps. (Via SciTechDaily.)
iRobot (the makers of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner) are developing an anti-sniper robot. According to the article,
When REDOWL's microphones detect a gunshot, the device calculates the source of the sound, swivels the camera, illuminates the target with either visible or infrared light, and uses a laser to calculate the range...

"You'll actually see the sniper before the smoke disappears from the shot," said Joe Dyer, iRobot's executive vice president and general manager.
The system is not configured to fire back automatically -- this still requires positive human intervention. (Via /.)

Monday, October 03, 2005

"'UnGoogleables' Hide From Search"
Who poses the bigger threat to science - the Right or the Left? In this excellent essay, "Criminalizing Science", Virginia Postrel argues that it's not who you might think. (Via Instapundit.)
"The Road to a Science PhD": Part 1 and Part 2.
"Is it dangerous to jump start a dead battery? (Especially the way most guys do it?)"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Anesthesiologists are the music geeks of the medical world.
"Scientists have developed miniature robots that can self-assemble using parts that float randomly in their environments. The robots also know when something is amiss and can correct their own mistakes."
Dolphins have learned to sing the theme song to "Batman". No, really. (Via Rand Simberg.)
Fake trailer for "The Shining" as if it were a romantic comedy. And the NY Times story about the creator.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Onion story of the day: "Congress Abandons WikiConstitution"