Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Admin note: Posting will be spotty for the rest of the week due to obligations at work.
Top 10 UI bloopers in movies. (Via /.)
"Skype stress detector calls my mother a liar":
With the recent release of Skype 3.0 for the PC (Mac and Linux users will have to wait), the company has made some intriguing third-party "extras" available from within Skype. One of those, the KiskKish lie detector, claims to do "voice stress analysis" on Skype calls, measuring the stress in the other party's voice for signs of deception.

The program is based on the observation that, when people lie, their voices tend to rise in frequency. Tension throughout the body tightens sensitive vocal chords and produces higher-pitched sounds that can be measured by machines.

Anecdotal testing of the KishKish software reveals, among other things, that my mother is a massive liar, especially when it comes to the contents of Christmas dinner. A needle charts the speaker's stress on a graph in real time after taking the first 10 seconds of a call to establish a baseline stress level. A small light also changes from green to red when stress levels are abnormally high, perhaps a signal that the person is lying.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Denver International Airport before and after the blizzard. (Via Boing Boing.)
How large is our world? And video version. (Via Howard Roerig and Speculist.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The science of artificial snowflakes. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Whatever Happened To?...": Follow-up on 8 stories, including
The inflatable hotel?
Bird flu?
The predicted increase in storms?
A cheaper way to fight malaria?
The Hooke papers?
Woo Suk Hwang?
The new, extreme strain of tuberculosis in Africa?
The fish that crawled out of the water?
The new-fangled basketball?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Correlation between dog color and personality. Here's more info.
"'Hibernating' Man Survives For Three Weeks":
A man who went missing in western Japan survived in near-freezing weather without food and water for over three weeks by falling into a state similar to hibernation, doctors said.

Mitsutaka Uchikoshi had almost no pulse, his organs had all but shut down and his body temperature was 71 degrees Fahrenheit when he was discovered on Rokko mountain in late October, said doctors who treated him at the nearby Kobe City General Hospital. He had been missing for 24 days.
He is expected to make a good recovery, with no loss of mental function.
"UK report says robots will have rights". (Via Gravity Lens.)
"Mathematical proof is foolproof, it seems, only in the absence of fools". (Via ALDaily.)
Admin note: The good news is that our ISP is working again. The bad news is that we're in the middle of a huge blizzard. So posting may be near-normal or it may be quite irregular for the next few days.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

"Are a country's foreign embassies an extension of its territory?"
Invention of the day: "The backpack that's easier to carry". Using a specially designed bungee suspension system,
...a load weighing 27 kilograms "feels" more than 5 kilograms lighter: the walker uses only as much energy as they would for a normal rigid pack weighing 21.7 kilograms.

The reason, Rome and colleagues report in Nature, is that the bungee pack bounces up and down on the frame exactly out of step with the vertical movements of the walker's body. So these movements cancel out and less energy is wasted shifting the load up and down.
Here's a related article.
"Had he not died so young, James Clerk Maxwell would almost certainly have developed special relativity a decade or more before Einstein."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Space Marines.
"The YouTube world opens an untamed frontier for copyright law"
"10 Ways to Build a Cult-Like Following". (Via Gravity Lens.)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Advances in cooling technology.
Real world taxes on virtual world profits?
Diabetes paper: Here's the original Cell paper (PDF format) on the diabetes story. Plus some popular press writeups at Ars Technica and New Scientist.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Diabetes breakthrough? I hope this works in humans as well as it works in mice. (Via Howard Roerig.)
Admin note: Due to ISP problems, posting will be light for the next few days.

Friday, December 15, 2006

High temperature superconductors are quietly reaching the commercial marketplace.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

More on the giant Swiss Army knife with 85 blades. (Via Gravity Lens.)
"Why You Don't Need Vista Now"
Interesting article on energy self-sufficiency and living off the grid. (Via Instapundit.)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Invention of the day: "Phase-change" memory.
Virginia Postrel has written a good essay, "In Praise of Chain Stores".
After someone loses 300 pounds from gastric bypass surgery, what happens to all the excess skin?
"What Happens To Your Body If You Drink A Coke Right Now?"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Researchers Create DNA Logic Circuits That Work in Test Tubes"
Video of the day: Cool mountain bike tricks. (Via Clicked.)
Why is it dangerous to burn gift wrapping paper?
"The phone of the future"

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Firefly Reborn as Online Universe"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"The Geopolitics of Asian Cyberspace". (Via Clicked.)
"Hollywood's dumbest depictions of code"
Division by zero? (Via /.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

ZIPScribble: "What would happen if you were to connect all the ZIP codes in the US in ascending order?" Based on the very cool zipdecode. (Via BBspot.)
"How To Recharge Standard Duracell Batteries". Here are the full instructions.
"If a sibling or other close relation of yours ever went to prison for more than a year, suspicion of criminal behavior now extends to you."
Bones from glass.
Holiday gift idea of the day: Nontransitive dice (i.e., A beats B, B beats C, and C beats A). Great for bar bets. Here's where to buy them.
Intersting (and slightly troubling) article on the paradoxes of military technology. (Via Solsberg.)
The "Goodbye Weapon" makes you feel like you've been dipped in molten lava, but it's supposedly nonlethal.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The FBI can use your cell phone as a remote bug. Here's how to tell if it's happening to you.
Actual English subtitles used in movies made in Hong Kong.
Video of the day: "Octopus escaping through a 1 inch hole". (Via Marginal Revolution.)
So you want to watch some classic Monty Python sketches? (Via BBspot.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Michael Chorost has written an interesting account of how hearing with a cochlear implant differs from biological hearing. Here's an interesting excerpt from the book review:
No one reading this book can fail to be impressed by the power of neural plasticity, the brain's capacity to adapt to lost limbs or wrecked neural pathways or, as in this case, to take a brand new language of sensory input and turn it into something meaningful. (In fact, to turn it into something as close as possible to what was there before. Neural plasticity is, paradoxically, a highly conservative process. As Chorost puts it, "I knew what my own voice was supposed to sound like, and by God, my brain was going to hear it that way; to hell with whatever nerves were actually being stimulated." p. 87) What must have been a frustratingly lengthy process for Chorost can seem amazingly rapid to the reader: 24 hours after activation, for example, he has regained the ability to perceive women's voices as higher pitched than men's, not because they "really" sound like that, but because his brain knows they must sound like that.
I believe that the book review takes an overly representationalist view of the phenomena. For those familiar with the "form-content distinction", perhaps a more accurate way to describe his experience is that he has been able to reprogram his mind to reinterpret the novel data/content delivered by the cochlear implant into something akin to the original subjective "form" as before. (Via SciTechDaily.)
Detailed map of the United Federation of Planets. (Via Fark.)
"Ten Tips for Smarter Google Searches"
"An accident with some chopsticks has led to an experimental medical treatment based on stem cells".

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Top 100 TV catchphrases. (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"If programming languages were women". Warning: If you're easily offended by mildly non-PC humor, then don't click through. (Via Andy Thissen.)
Great slide show on how LEGO bricks are made.

Interesting tidbit: "...[T]he factory also produces 306 million tiny rubber tires a year. In fact, going by that number, LEGO is the world's No. 1 tire manufacturer." (Via /.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What really happens when the human body is exposed to the vacuum of outer space? (Via Gravity Lens.)
Ticket scalping goes high-tech.
Now this looks like a comfortable chair. (Via BBspot.)
Timewaster of the day: "Asteroid's Revenge".
You are an asteroid that's seen many of your brethren decimated by the evil spaceships in the original Asteroids game. The loss of your rock-fellows has hurt and scarred you deeply. For long, your rocky heart has longed for revenge. So now, you've finally decided to go to the ships and destroy them...
(Via Neatorama.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Researchers have now found a blind man who experiences deja vu through smell, hearing and touch."
"Top 11 Ways Blogging is Like Sex"
Inventions of the day: Transparent household appliances. (Via BBspot.)
Chess was banned under the Taliban and in Khomeini's Iran because it encouraged complex, nuanced thinking. Bottom paragraph of the article. (Via ALDaily.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Eugene Volokh notes, "this year for the first time Asians outnumbered any other racial group, including whites, among students admitted to all University of California schools. (This had already been the case as to some schools.)"
"Top 20 Replies by Programmers to Testers When Their Programs Don't Work"
Do humans have a compass in their nose?
"Will It Blend?": Multiple videos of various food and non-food items placed in the Total Blender. Includes two separate sections, "Try This At Home" and "Don't Try This At Home". (Via Found On The Web.)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cancer stem cells. Good article in the popular press on the science. (Via Howard Roerig.)
Happy "Cyber Monday"! (And I hope everyone had a good "Black Friday" as well):
"BLACK FRIDAY", the day after Thanksgiving, is traditionally the start of the busiest shopping season in America. This year is no different. Shoppers on Friday November 24th were expected to race to the malls to snap up this season's hottest gifts. The day is "black" not because of the misery of queues and crowds, but because it marks the moment when retailers are supposed to move from the red (indicating losses) to the black (indicating profits).

...And the internet is ever more popular. ComScore Networks, an internet information provider, says online retailers expect the biggest sales ever on "Cyber Monday", the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, when millions of Americans take advantage of high-speed internet in their offices to hunt for presents.
"Two Swiss scientists said on Wednesday they had been able to identify a part of the brain that may be responsible for the 'out-of-body' experiences of patients who came close to death."
Legal liability for linking?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Beware the Sushi Police. (Via Volokh.)
"The 25 Funniest Analogies Collected by High School English Teachers".

(PSH -- I can't vouch for their authenticity, but they are funny...)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The history and science behind the search for a "truth serum". According to the article, "There is no pharmaceutical compound today whose proven effect is the consistent or predictable enhancement of truth-telling." (Via Bruce Schneier.)
Astounding video on how a blind teenager uses human echolation to "see". (Via Howard Roerig.)
"Where do police get the people for lineups?"
Interesting story on the sociology and order of a PS3 waiting line in Chicago.
Thanksgiving story of the day: "The Myth of Tryptophan"
At some point tomorrow the family know-it-all will explain why everyone's sleepy: "It's the tryptophan! Turkey has a natural sedative, and that's why you want to pass out." It's conventional wisdom now, which means it's probably wrong...

...It's a myth. From my detailed research -- i.e., Googling around the Internet -- it appears that the tryptophan in turkey is A) insufficient to knock you out, and B) the wrong kind, anyway. The most likely excuse for drowsiness? Oh, I don't know. It's a mystery. Could have something to do with the 6 pounds of protein and carbs sitting in your belly, and the fact that your body has to rush all available blood to the region to deal with the holiday wad. Add some wine to the mix, and it's a miracle you're not face down in the yams before the pie comes.

Here's an exercise for tomorrow: As soon as someone heads for the couch, blaming the tryptophan, chase him with an ax. He'll wake fast and run in panic, just like a turkey. And they're full of the stuff.
(Via Cosmic Log.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Teenager creates nuclear fusion in parents' basement.
Legacy computers and the Space Shuttle:
The U.S. Space Shuttle computers cannot tell one year from another. Some of the software, when it hits December 31st, goes on to December 32nd (or, day 366). This is why the Shuttle can never operate through a change of year. The Shuttle control computers on earth do recognize the changing of the year, but some of the computers on the Shuttle do not, which makes News Years Eve flights impossible. The Shuttle is reaching the end of its useful life, and that three decade old software bug is one of many ways it is showing its age. The Shuttle was designed in the late 1970s, and many of the computers are still using 1980s computer technology. The web, and sites like eBay, have been a salvation for the Shuttle. That's because these auction sites make available a lot of ancient (1980s) computer technology, to provide spares for Shuttle gear that is no longer manufactured.
Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Captured Koala. (Via MeFi.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

"The World's Most High-Tech Urinal". (Via GMSV.)
Edible cotton.
"iPod glow leads to lost mushroom picker"
Chocolate milk is good for athletes.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Video of the day: "Worst Burglar Ever".
Real-life time travel? University of Washington physicist Jon Cramer will try to send a photon backwards in time:
If his experiment with splitting photons actually works, says University of Washington physicist John Cramer, the next step will be to test for quantum "retrocausality."

That's science talk for saying he hopes to find evidence of a photon going backward in time.

"It doesn't seem like it should work, but on the other hand, I can't see what would prevent it from working," Cramer said. "If it does work, you could receive the signal 50 microseconds before you send it."
(Via Clicked.)
Cool photographs.
The Economist on pro blogging.
Scientists have built a robot that can sense damage and adapt its actions accordingly. Not quite the Terminator, but one small step closer.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Was life on Earth inevitable?" (Via BBspot.)
Why the new wave of Silicon Valley startups are picking names without vowels (e.g. "Flickr" or "Pluggd").

As Virginia Postrel notes, this is a "fad that will give the survivors a nice vintage feel in five or 10 years..."
Damascus steel swords may owe their extraordinary sharpness due to carbon nanotechnology. Here's a related story.
Virginia state police abandon the traditional "10-x" codes, in the face of surprising resistance. (Via MeFi.)
Michigan at Ohio State: On September 10, 2006, two games into the college football season, I made the following comment on Rand Simberg's blog Transterrestrial Musings (second comment down):
My fantasy for this season is that Michigan and Ohio State both go 11-0 coming into their November 18 Big Ten finale, ranked #2 and #1 by that time. Those other conferences can eat their hearts out!
Sometimes things just work out nicely... Go Blue!

Here's a little bit of history as well. And perspectives from two opposing fans. (PSH, native of Kalamazoo, MI; UM Med 1989)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"KFC targets extraterrestrials with huge logo":
The KFC Corp. on Tuesday launched a rebranding campaign with an 87,500 square-foot image of Colonel Sanders in the Nevada desert which the company says makes Kentucky Fried Chicken the world's first brand visible from space.

"If there are extraterrestrials in outer space, KFC wants to become their restaurant of choice," KFC President Gregg Dedrick said in a statement.

The logo consists of 65,000 one-foot by one-foot painted tile pieces that were assembled like a giant jigsaw puzzle.

"If we hear back from a life form in space today - whether NASA astronauts or a signal from some life form on Mars - we'll send up some Original Recipe Chicken," said Dedrick.
More info and images on the corporate website. (Via GMSV.)
"Six major airlines are to fit aircraft passenger seats with iPod docks":
US carriers Continental, Delta and United, along with Air France, Emirates and KLM, will begin adding iPod connectors during the middle of next year.

Of course, what's not yet clear is which class of traveller will get iPod connectivity, but we suspect it'll be those whose seats command higher ticket prices to start off with. They'll not only be able to keep their music players powered up, but play iPod-stored video content on seat-back screens.
"Air Force wants Terminator Tongues".
Deceiving pictures. (Via Found On The Web.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Amputees' phantom limbs return in virtual reality". (Via Solsberg.)
Is this the perfect face for comedy? (Via Cosmic Log.)
"The stages of an exploding laptop battery"
Trailer for Spider-Man 3.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Judge rules that a burrito is not a sandwich:
Is a burrito a sandwich? The Panera Bread Co. bakery-and-cafe chain says yes. But a judge said no, ruling against Panera in its bid to prevent a Mexican restaurant from moving into the same shopping mall.

Panera has a clause in its lease that prevents the White City Shopping Center in Shrewsbury from renting to another sandwich shop. Panera tried to invoke that clause to stop the opening of an Qdoba Mexican Grill.

But Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke cited Webster's Dictionary as well as testimony from a chef and a former high-ranking federal agriculture official in ruling that Qdoba's burritos and other offerings are not sandwiches.

The difference, the judge ruled, comes down to two slices of bread versus one tortilla.

"A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans," Locke wrote in a decision released last week.
(Via BoingBoing.)
Excellent video demonstration of a non-Newtonian fluid:
They filled a pool with a mix of cornstarch and water made on a concrete mixer truck. It becomes a non-newtonian fluid. When stress is applied to the liquid it exhibits properties of a solid.
Here's the Wikipedia entry.
Internet shoppers are now more impatient than ever. If a site doesn't load up within 4 seconds, then they'll often not return. This is a decrease from the 8-second lag that shoppers would be willing to endure a few years ago.
"Australian air guitar T-shirt actually rocks"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Video of the day: "Sexual Consent". No nudity, but some of the dialogue may be borderline NSFW. (Via DonW.)
A meal that Homer Simpson would love. (Via Solsberg.)
Graduate student uses techniques from cognitive neuroscience to win $500,000 on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?". (Via Marginal Revolution.)
"The Top 10 Lies of Web 2.0". (Via Fark.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"YouTube.com video prompts probe of LAPD":
An FBI investigation prompted by video footage of a man being punched repeatedly in the face by police has demonstrated anew the power of the Internet sensation of the year, YouTube.com.

In addition to being a monumental time-waster around the office, YouTube could also become a tool for keeping police honest, some say.

This week, a clip on the post-it-yourself video Web site triggered a police-brutality investigation by the FBI. The footage shows the Aug. 11 arrest of alleged gang member William Cardenas, 24. Two Los Angeles officers can be seen holding him down on a Hollywood street; one punches him several times in the face before they are able to handcuff him.

The Los Angeles Police Department is also investigating the officers' conduct.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

"Republicans Blame Election Losses On Democrats":
WASHINGTON, DC -- Republican officials are blaming tonight's GOP losses on Democrats, who they claim have engaged in a wide variety of "aggressive, premeditated, anti-Republican campaigns" over the past six-to-18 months. "We have evidence of a well-organized, well-funded series of operations designed specifically to undermine our message, depict our past performance in a negative light, and drive Republicans out of office," said Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, who accused an organization called the Democratic National Committee of spearheading the nationwide effort. "There are reports of television spots, print ads, even volunteers going door-to-door encouraging citizens to vote against us." Acknowledging that the "damage has already been done," Mehlman is seeking a promise from Democrats to never again engage in similar practices.
Forensic statisticians are developing clever anti-steganography algorithms.
Video of the day: Attractive blonde shows "How To Put On A Bra". Safe for work. (Via Solsberg.)
Update on commercial quantum encryption. (Via MeFi.)
May we should be listening for alien TV.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Interesting information on copyright law.
Spiders with a chili-flavoured bite.
New Microsoft screensaver mimics the Blue Screen Of Death.
One of the most feared colors in the NT world is blue. The infamous Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) will pop up on an NT system whenever something has gone terribly wrong. Bluescreen is a screen saver that not only authentically mimics a BSOD, but will simulate startup screens seen during a system boot.

...Bluescreen cycles between different Blue Screens and simulated boots every 15 seconds or so. Virtually all the information shown on Bluescreen's BSOD and system start screen is obtained from your system configuration -- its accuracy will fool even advanced NT developers. For example, the NT build number, processor revision, loaded drivers and addresses, disk drive characteristics, and memory size are all taken from the system Bluescreen is running on.

Use Bluescreen to amaze your friends and scare your enemies!
(Via GMSV.)
Video of the day: Time lapse of ants digging a new home.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Undergoing brain electrostimulation while sleeping can improve memory and learning. (Via Cosmic Log.)
Illustrated internet acronyms. (Via Boing Boing.)
Designer decimals are fractions with cool decimal expansions.
ReputationDefender.com will help clean up embarrassing material about you that's circulating on the web.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Admin note: GeekPress will take a hiatus for 1-2 days.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Video demonstration of "waterboarding".

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rubber band physics in super slow motion. Includes multiple video links.
The ethics of robo-warfare.

Personally, I don't see any ethical issues in using battlefield robots, if the underlying war is already morally justified, and if the robots perform reliably. (Via Cosmic Log.)
Are you geek enough to hang with the TopCoders? (FWIW, it seems like a very interesting business model.)
Book In-Jokes. (Via BBspot.)
Cool video of the day: "Extreme Mentos and Diet Coke - Domino Effect". (Via Found On The Web.)
"A Satellite Orbiting Earth is Learning to Think for Itself". (Via Gravity Lens.)
"The Seven Phases of Owning a iPod".

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, joining only humans, apes and dolphins as animals that possess this kind of self-awareness..."
Interesting analysis of the Google-YouTube deal. (Via IPList.)
"Attack of the Bots"
Scientists may have figured out the neurophysiological basis behind Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Monday, October 30, 2006

Vampires are a mathematical impossibility. Here's a related article and the academic paper (PDF format).
Answers to multiple Halloween questions: "What happens if a werewolf bites a vampire? What's the minimum daily requirement of blood for a vampire? Can you get zombified by having sex with a zombie?"
Get a workout with Tetris Weightlifting. (Via Waxy.)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"What happens when you throw an elephant into a black hole?"
Dumb business move of the day: Pissing off your fan base. According to this Slashdot post,
"What happens when a film studio and a fanbase get into bed? Fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly, and the movie by Universal Studios -- Serenity -- are not amused. After being encouraged to viral market Serenity, the studio has started legal action against fans (demanding $9000 in retroactive licensing fees in one case and demanding fan promotion stop), and going after Cafepress. The fans response? Retroactively invoice Universal for their services."
As Glenn Reynolds pointed out, this violates Rule #1 of the internet:
"Don't annoy someone who has more spare time than you do."
Does playing dead really work?
Physics of a pole dancing mishap (click through to see the video):
Consider the body of the body in question. After a quick shake of the head right and left, she leans backward to begin her rotation around the pole. Her pivot points include her right hand, held fast to the pole, and her left foot (disastrously clad, we will soon learn, in three-inch heels). She now has a sizeable amount of angular momentum moving counterclockwise around the pole, and this can be halted only by an external force.

Unfortunately for our young dancer, the outcropping of wall her rear end soon encounters does not provide that force. Instead it simply serves as a new fulcrum, shifting the center of rotation from her hand to her hip. This does two things: Like a figure skater pulling her arms in, shifting the center of rotation closer to her center of mass acts to speed the rotation up. More important, it also means that her right hand must begin to rotate around the wall as well.

The outcome is predictable. A hand rotating away from the pole cannot continue to hold onto the pole, and without that grip, our dancer loses her balance in a most sudden and undignified fashion.
Safe for work; just tell your boss you're brushing up on Newtonian mechanics. (Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

If you display a bad attitude at an airport TSA screening station, it could cost you a large amount of money:
Passengers can be fined for their actions too. For example, "interference with screening" that includes physical contact could cost a traveler $1,500 to $5,000, and "non-physical contact" $500 to $1,500.
Unhealthy food item of the day: Deep-fried pizza. Supposedly it tastes quite good. (Via Clicked.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How to make a really good cup of coffee.
This fake Northwest Airlines boarding pass generator will reportedly let you "1) get through airport security without a ticket, 2) bypass the 'extra screening' if you have 'SSSS' printed on your ticket". GeekPress is not responsible if you attempt to use this, and find yourself the recipient of a TSA full body cavity search. (Via Bruce Schneier.)
Next step in automatic language translation:
Imagine mouthing a phrase in English, only for the words to come out in Spanish. That is the promise of a device that will make anyone appear bilingual, by translating unvoiced words into synthetic speech in another language.

The device uses electrodes attached to the face and neck to detect and interpret the unique patterns of electrical signals sent to facial muscles and the tongue as the person mouths words. The effect is like the real-life equivalent of watching a television show that has been dubbed into a foreign language, says speech researcher Tanja Schultz of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Brief update on "sexsomniacs", i.e., people who have sex in their sleep without realizing it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"How to steal an election by hacking the vote"
6 word short stories.
Coin balancing. (Via BBspot.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Beyond Moore's Law.
The digits of pi, rendered in 10-color graphics. Looks pretty random to me!
"The physics of baseball's most popular illegal pitches"
Math geeks will enjoy the video, "Finite Simple Group (of Order Two)". (Via GMSV.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Holographic ads. (Via JustElite.)
Lengthy article on the "new atheists", including Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Admin note: Posting may be light for the next couple of days due to outside obligations. GeekPress will be back to its regular schedule on Wednesday!
Video of the day: "Pound Coin Domino Effect". (Via Fark.)
"Twenty five years of 'Weird Al' Yankovic"

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

More details on outer space etiquette:
...But orbital freefall -- which makes everything seem weightless on the space shuttle or international space station -- by necessity adds some extra twists. Most things have to be secured one way or another, including dental floss and fingernail clippings. And that's where the duct tape comes in handy.

[Former astronaut Tom] Jones said his usual routine would be to stick the floss, the slivers of fingernails and other detritus onto a snippet of sticky tape - then crumple up the tape, put it in a waste bag and seal the bag.

"You can't fly without duct tape or Velcro," said Mario Runco, a veteran of three shuttle flights.

Among the other tips:

* Drinks are generally contained in the kinds of foil pouches familiar to most third-graders on Earth - and the drink straws have to be clamped closed with clips when they're not being sipped from. Otherwise globules of sticky grape juice or orange juice can blurp out of the straw and float around. Jones admitted that he was guilty of this breach during one of his spaceflights, and was embarrassed to find that "our grape spots were still on the walls" of the shuttle interior months later.

* When you brush your teeth, you have to close your lips carefully around the brush, then spit the foam into a towel.

* The shuttle's zero-gravity toilet works by sucking down urine, or using ducted air to blow away solid waste. But because the air currents have to flow in just the right way, you have to make sure to "sit precisely on that seat" to get the proper seal, Jones said. In fact, NASA has a "rendezvous and docking trainer" on Earth so that astronauts can practice their toilet technique before their spaceflight, he said. "After some practice, you begin to get the feel for it, if you know what I mean," Jones said.

* Daily exercise is part of the routine - especially for a long-duration space station flight, because astronauts have to guard against losing bone or muscle mass in zero-G. But because there's no natural convection in freefall, air warmed by the heat of a workout tends to float like a cloud around exercising astronauts. And that leads to increased perspiration. You have to aim an air duct toward yourself to blow away the hot air, or wipe yourself down repeatedly with a towel. Whatever you do, don't let the sweat build up too much. "One false snap of the head, and you'll send a quart of salty water off in someone's direction," Jones said.

* Although the Skylab space station had an actual shower, today's shuttle and station crews bathe by rubbing themselves down with wet, hot towels, then applying some rinseless soap. Hair is washed by applying water to the head (surface tension keeps the water from floating away), then using rinseless hospital-style shampoo. Then you towel yourself off, perhaps putting your head under an air duct to help dry your hair. "If you use that on a daily basis, you'll never offend anyone," Jones said.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

"Michigan hospitals to have robot on call"
"Scientists Create Cloak of Partial Invisibility":
Scientists have created a cloaking device that can reroute certain wavelengths of light, forcing them around objects like water flowing around boulders in a stream. To creatures or machines that see only in microwave light, the cloaked object would appear nearly invisible.

"The microwaves come in and are swept around the cloak and reconstructed on the other side while avoiding the interior region," said study team member David Smith at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. "So it looks as if they just passed through free space."
"Astronauts offer etiquette lessons for space tourists".
Reinventing the boiled egg with halogen bulbs.
All aspiring "Top Guns" should read "How to Live and Die in the Virtual Sky", an online tutorial on aerial combat maneuvers for flight simulators. (Via Michael Williams.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The ratio between the lengths of your index and ring fingers can reveal a lot about you. (Via ALDaily.)
Malcolm Gladwell has written an interesting article on the application of neural network algorithms to predicting winners at the racetrack and in Hollywood. (Via Waxy.)
A DNA-based computer has now mastered tic-tac-toe.
"Reuters is opening a news bureau in the simulation game Second Life this week"...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More creative ads from around the world. (Via Wayward Statisticians.)
"A Brief History of Computers, As Seen in Old TV Ads". (Via GMSV.)
Behind the scenes of the original iPod design team.
Today's ethnic joke comes from Rand Simberg, who wrote:
...[J]okes about ethnic groups that just point out how stupid they are are pointless, since the groups themselves are interchangeable, and have nothing to do with any actual characteristics or history of that ethnic group. In that vein, I provided an example of an appropriate (and I think funny) ethnic joke. I figured that, since I spent the time typing it over on Usenet, I might as well post it here as well:
A guy is walking down the street in Gdansk, and he sees a lamp. He picks it up, brushes the dust off it, and of course, out pops a genie.

"In reward for releasing me from my bondage, I will grant you three wishes. What would you like?"

The guy thinks about it for a while, then he says, "I'd like the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

The genie scratches his head at the strange request, then shrugs and says, "OK, here you go."

The Chinese march in and pillage the Polish capital.

The genie says, "OK, now what's your second wish? Make it a good one this time."

The guy thinks about it for a while again, and then he says, "I'd like the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

The genie is wondering if he hears him right.

"What do you mean? That was your first wish. They've been there, done that. Don't you want something else?"

The guys says, "No, I want the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

The genie throws up his hands, and has the Chinese pillage Warsaw again. This time no woman is left unraped, no one is left alive, many of the buildings have been leveled.

"OK. You get one more wish. Don't waste it, like you did the others."

The guy thinks for a long time, and finally, he says, "You know, what I'd really like, is for the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

Now the genie is about to have a fit.

"What are you talking about?! There's nothing left to pillage!"

"I don't care. I want the Chinese to pillage it anyway."

Well, the genie has to honor the wish, and this time, when all the festivities are over, the former Polish capital is nothing but a smoldering crater.

The genie says, "You know, we aren't supposed to ask these things, but I've just got to know. Why? Why, three times, you have the Chinese pillage your own country's capital?"

The guy says, "Look, they did it three times, right?"

The genie says, "Right."

"So, every time they do that, they cross Russia twice.
Warning signs of the future. (Via Gravity Lens.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Top 10 advertising tricks used in Tokyo's train stations. (Via Waxy.)
"How to Do Cube Roots of 9 Digit Numbers in Your Head"
Minimal surfaces made of Legos.
Letter denying tenure to Indiana Jones:
The committee concurred that Dr. Jones does seem to possess a nearly superhuman breadth of linguistic knowledge and an uncanny familiarity with the history and material culture of the occult. However, his understanding and practice of archaeology gave the committee the greatest cause for alarm. Criticisms of Dr. Jones ranged from "possessing a perceptible methodological deficiency" to "practicing archaeology with a complete lack of, disregard for, and colossal ignorance of current methodology, theory, and ethics" to "unabashed grave-robbing." Given such appraisals, perhaps it isn't surprising to learn that several Central and South American countries recently assembled to enact legislation aimed at permanently prohibiting his entry.

Moreover, no one on the committee can identify who or what instilled Dr. Jones with the belief that an archaeologist's tool kit should consist solely of a bullwhip and a revolver.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The mathematics and biochemistry of knotted proteins.
"The discovery of new planets has forced a rethink of how they formed".
Deep fried computer. (Via Frederic Maufroid.)
The Seven Worst Fonts -- And The People Who Use Them. (Via GMSV.)
"Red wine might work to protect the brain from damage after a stroke and drinking a couple of glasses a day might provide that protection ahead of time".

Friday, October 13, 2006

Excellent high-res photograph of the Sun.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ironic medical story of the day: Methamphetamine appears to be able to protect brain cells in the aftermath of stroke.
"Methamphetamine is a drug that has been shown to exacerbate stroke damage or make it worse when administered before a stroke," Dave Poulsen, a UM research assistant professor, said in a news release. "But we have seen roughly 80 to 90 percent protection of neurons when administered after a stroke."

...The researchers found that small amounts of meth created a protective effect, while higher doses increased damage.

They also learned that lower doses of the drug helped lessen damage up to 16 hours after a stroke. This discovery was significant because the current leading clot-busting drug used for strokes must be administered within three hours, said Poulsen, a faculty member of UM's Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
"The Eclipse That Saved Columbus". (Via Cynical-C.)
The sordid world of underground identity theft discussion forums, including betrayals, hostile takeovers, and dishonor amongst thieves.
"The long arm of the law is starting to reach into outer space." (Via Gravity Lens.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Interesting origin of the term "nachos". (Via BBspot.)
"Bizarre 'string of pearls' adorns Saturn"
Turing test for physicists: Can physicists tell the difference between answers to physics questions written by a real physicist versus those from a sociologist masquerading as a physicist? Apparently not.
In a recent experiment of his design, British sociologist Harry Collins asked a scientist who specializes in gravitational waves to answer seven questions about the physics of these waves. Collins, who has made an amateur study of this field for more than 30 years but has never actually practiced it, also answered the questions himself. Then he submitted both sets of answers to a panel of judges who are themselves gravitational-wave researchers. The judges couldn't tell the impostor from one of their own. Collins argues that he is therefore as qualified as anyone to discuss this field, even though he can't conduct experiments in it.

It will be interesting to see if Collins' results can indeed be repeated in different situations. Meanwhile, his experiment is plenty interesting in itself. Just one of the judges succeeded in distinguishing Collins' answers from those of the trained experts. One threw up his hands. And the other seven declared Collins the physicist. He didn't simply do as well as the trained specialist -- he did better, even though the test questions demanded technical answers. One sample answer from Collins gives you the flavor: "Since gravitational waves change the shape of spacetime and radio waves do not, the effect on an interferometer of radio waves can only be to mimic the effects of a gravitational wave, not reproduce them." (More details can be found in this paper Collins wrote with his collaborators.)
Unusual lightning strike of the day: A woman was struck by lightning in the mouth, which travelled through her body and exited her anus.
She was wearing rubber bathroom shoes at the time and so instead of earthing through her feet it appears the electricity shot out of her backside," a medic told local television news channel, 24 Sata.

"It appears to have earthed through the damp shower curtain that she was touching as she bent over to put her mouth under the tap. If she had not been wearing the shoes she would probably have been killed by the blast."
(Via Clicked.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Netflix is offering a $1 million prize for an improvement to their recommender system algorithm. Here's the official announcement.
"The Geekiest License Plates"
Trying to remember where you heard that snippet of classical music? Find out here, including where it appears in popular culture. (Via Dave Hill.)
How attractive is the average of 15 attractive female faces?

Monday, October 09, 2006

"The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote." (Via GMSV.)
Long exposure photograph of a plane taking off at night. (Via Clicked.)
Scientific reasons for having sex. For those who don't find the usual reasons sufficiently persuasive.
Physics video of the day: Nice demonstration of the Meissner effect. And the Wikipedia link.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"Here's why you hate Mondays". (Via Cosmic Log.)
Has one of the Milleninum Problems been solved?

Update: Apparently not. "* UPDATE 9 Oct 2006: On 8 October, Penny Smith wrote to Nature to say: 'I have just found a serious flaw in the paper and have withdrawn it.' The work has been pulled from arXiv."
Japanese fembots look and act even more realistic.
"The Moon as backup drive for civilization". (Via Solsberg.)
Incredibly cool kinematic whiteboard from MIT.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Friday, October 06, 2006

Half of Americans admit to "re-gifting". Also,
The study showed that nine percent of people admitted that they re-gifted out of laziness to purchase a new gift and four percent confessed that they re-gifted out of dislike for the recipient.
The article doesn't mention how many people adhere to the standard re-gifting etiquette.
"The Truth About Food Expiration Dates". (Via BBspot.)
Single pixel camera.
More people are building hidden rooms in their homes.
Google Gadgets For Your Webpage.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

"How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot in Any Programming Language"
Cool elevator floor illusion. (Via Solsberg.)
Clever shopping bags.
Who's controlled the Middle East over the past 5000 years? This animated map covers 5000 years of history in 90 seconds. (Via MeFi.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Storm swells in Alaska caused the breakup of the one time world's largest floating iceberg halfway around the globe in Antarctica:
Glaciologists studying the gigantic B-15A iceberg, which broke up in October 2005, have discovered that it fragmented as it was being buffeted by a wave whipped up by a violent storm in the Gulf of Alaska six days before.

The swell travelled a staggering 13,500 kilometres before reaching the iceberg, which measured some 100 by 30 kilometres and was floating just off Cape Adare, at the tip of Antarctica's Victoria Land region.

...By comparing the arrival times of faster and slower-moving wavelengths of the swell, the team calculated the storm responsible had, surprisingly, originated almost on the far side of the globe. Buoy measurements confirmed that 10 metre-tall waves were spotted in the Gulf of Alaska during its storm, and 5 metre waves showed up in Hawaii two days after that. The researchers report their discovery in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Here's a related story.
"Where to find your favorite shows online." (Via BBspot.)
Neuroscientists can now induce out-of-body experiences. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
"Why don't magnets work on some stainless steels?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Headline of the future: "19 Year Old Diebold Technician Wins U.S. Presidency"
Washington, D.C., November 5, 2008

In a dramatic development that has come as a surprise to pundits and the public alike, a youthful technician with Diebold, Inc. has emerged as the unlikely winner of the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. The president-elect, 19 year old Billy Pustule of Green, Ohio, reached via SMS at the garage apartment by his mother's house in which he currently resides, said he was "real psyched about being the president" and "had big plans for the inauguration party".

Veteran political observers including Seymour Shackleton of the Miami-Dade Political Coroner have expressed what amounts to sheer disbelief at the unanticipated outcome.

"To my knowledge, this is the first presidential election in American history won by an entirely unknown write-in candidate," Mr. Shackleton said. "No one seems to have even heard of Billy Pustule. A Google of his name turns up only five listings, all of them Amazon.com reader comments on anthologies of 19th century erotic cartoons. How the president-elect managed to build a sufficiently large grass-roots groundswell to clinch the election while operating in complete anonymity is, frankly, beyond me."
(Via Bruce Schneier.)
"How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb"
"Top ten geek business myths". (Via /.)
Closeup photograph of a lightning strike. And the story behind it. (Via Cynical-C.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Robots apparently think we taste like bacon:
When a reporter's hand was placed against the robot's taste sensor, it was identified as prosciutto. A cameraman was mistaken for bacon.
At least we don't taste like chicken. (Via Dave Hill.)
"PC World's 100 Fearless Forecasts"
The culture and economics of Second Life
How to make your own retractable metal Wolverine claws. (Via Boing Boing.)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Geeks can now get some exercise while coding or blogging. (Via Neatorama.)

Friday, September 29, 2006

The full Season 3 premier of Veronica Mars is available for online viewing here. Fans won't have to wait until next Tuesday! (Via Clicked.)
Logical fallacies update: James Dominguez adds these to the earlier list.
Denying the Antecedent:
If Denying the Antecedent were not the best fallacy, then I would be sad. I am actually in quite a good mood right now, so obviously Denying the Antecedent is the best.

Affirming the Consequent:
If it is proven that Affirming the Consequent is the best, then I will be very happy. I am feeling _very_ happy, so obviously Affirming the Consequent is the best fallacy.

Straw Man Argument:
Apparently you think the Straw Man Argument is bad because you have something against the Wizard of Oz. Well, you know what? It doesn't have anything to do with the Wizard of Oz! Therefore, the Straw Man Argument must be the best fallacy.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Good overviews of casino surveillance and casino comps.
Cool keychain tools from Atwood.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Strange clouds. (Via Clicked.)
Atari 2600 game code as art. (Via Neatorama.)
Video of the day: "How to grab a gun away." GeekPress is not responsibile if you try this at home without proper training and get yourself shot as a result. (Via Clicked.)
How do mirrors reflect photons?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"The Internet's Biggest Google Whores"
"Connecting the Dots" Can the tools of graph theory and social-network studies unravel the next big terror plot?"
Excellent history of the LED.
"How to Blow Up a Star: It is not as easy as you would think."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Every episode of The Simpsons available here in Flash format. (Via GMSV.)

Update: Reader Tero Kokko points me to all the "Futuramas" as well.
How to cook salmon in your dishwasher. (Via Solsberg.)
The world's first hypoallergenic cats are now available for sale in the US for a mere $3950.
"Doctors to Attempt First Ever Zero-G Surgery"

Sunday, September 24, 2006

"Robots Get Soft, Human-Like Skin"
Cell phone addiction?
"A look inside the Chinese sweatshop 'gold farms' that build up characters and collect weapons to sell to online gamers in the West". (Via Fark.)
How to make cumbersome airline security procedures work for you: The Bruce Schneier blog describes an ingenious way to make sure that valuable items (such as high-end camera and electronics equipment) in checked luggage never get lost or stolen. First, one person summarizes the current TSA rules for transporting firearms:
All firearms must be in checked baggage, no carry on.

All firearms must be transported in a locked, hard sided case using a non-TSA approved lock. This is to prevent anyone from opening the case after its been screened.

After bringing the equipment to the airline counter and declaring and showing the contents to the airline representative, you take it over to the TSA screening area where it it checked by a screener, relocked in front of you, your key or keys returned to you (if it's not a combination lock) and put directly on the conveyor belt for loading onto the plane.

No markings, stickers or labels identifying what's inside are put on the outside of the case or, if packed inside something else, the bag.

Might this solve the problem? I've never lost a firearm when flying.
Then Schneier observes that another poster "has the brilliant suggestion of putting a firearm in your camera-equipment case":
A "weapon" is defined as a rifle, shotgun, pistol, airgun, and STARTER PISTOL. Yes, starter pistols -- those little guns that fire blanks at track and swim meets -- are considered weapons... and do NOT have to be registered in any state in the United States.

I have a starter pistol for all my cases. All I have to do upon check-in is tell the airline ticket agent that I have a weapon to declare... I'm given a little card to sign, the card is put in the case, the case is given to a TSA official who takes my key and locks the case, and gives my key back to me.

That's the procedure. The case is extra-tracked... TSA does not want to lose a weapons case. This reduces the chance of the case being lost to virtually zero.

It's a great way to travel with camera gear... I've been doing this since Dec 2001 and have had no problems whatsoever.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

"9 months of gestation in 20 seconds: I took a series of photos every other day as my wife was pregnant with our first child. Watch the belly expanding fun!"

Here's some additional behind-the-scenes info.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Emergency room X-ray of the day: According to the ER doctor,
Yes, that's a pistol completely stuffed into the vaginal vault. All of a sudden her agitation and thrashing about seemed a lot more important than it had a few minutes before. How the hell were we to get the gun out without the damn thing discharging?

In the end, there was no real option. She was sedated and taken to the OR for an exam under anesthesia. They put a bulletproof vest over the patient's body to protect the anesthesiologist in the event the gun went off, and had general surgery standing by. The OB-GYN who did the extraction reported a very tense moment when he perceived that the hammer was cocked and there appeared to be a shell in the chamber. An uneventful removal was followed by a moment of letdown when they realized that the device was not, in fact, a gun, but rather a butane torch/cigarette lighter shaped like a gun.

This actually makes sense when you look at the X-ray and realize that the other item in her vagina is a glass crack pipe and its rubber tubing. What good is a crack pipe without a lighter?
(Via Solsberg.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Disturbing genetics story of the day: According to this recent report on the genetic testing practices in US IVF (in vitro fertilization) clinics,
Some prospective parents have sought [preimplantation genetic diagnosis] to select an embryo for the presence of a particular disease or disability, such as deafness, in order that the child would share that characteristic with the parents. Three percent of IVF-PGD clinics report having provided PGD to couples who seek to use PGD in this manner. (Page 5 of the report, page 7 of the PDF file.)
Now I can understand why prospective parents might choose to screen their embryos so that their future child won't have a certain crippling disease. But to deliberately select an embryo so that it will seems incomprehensibly monstrous.

Or as this Slate article puts it,
Old fear: designer babies. New fear: deformer babies.
Making the rounds: "White & Nerdy". Which of course has a Wikipedia entry. (Via Brian Schwartz.)
"An Artificial Heart That Doesn't Beat"
How the Virginia Beach ATM Hack was performed. The ATM company does plan on releasing a patch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Web 2.0 Winners and Losers"
"Despite Rumors, Black Hole Factory Will Not Destroy Earth"
"People who consume alcohol earn significantly more at their jobs than non-drinkers..." (Via BBspot.)
More people are getting fired by e-mail. But even that's not as tacky as getting fired by text message, like this woman:
"Hi Katy its alex from the shop. Sorry 2 do this by text but ive been trying to call u + ur phones been switched off. Ive had a meeting with jon + ian and weve reviewed your sales figures and they're not really up to the level we need. As a result we will not require your services any more. You will receive your last pay packet on Friday 28th july. Thank you for your time with us."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

"Unfinished Tolkien work to be published in 2007":
An unfinished tale by J.R.R. Tolkien has been edited by his son into a completed work and will be released next spring, the U.S. and British publishers announced Monday.

Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on "The Children of Hurin," an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned. Excerpts of "The Children of Hurin," which includes the elves and dwarves of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and other works, have been published before.

"It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of the 'Children of Hurin' as an independent work, between its own covers," Christopher Tolkien said in a statement.
Does anyone really need laser-guided scissors?
"First bionic woman can feel it when people shake her prosthetic hand"
"Mind Games: What neuroeconomics tells us about money and the brain"
"Real Fear in Virtual World". Following the security breach at Linden Labs (creators of the online game Second Life), where "the company's computers were hacked last week and access was potentially gained to the real-world names and addresses of as many as 650,000 Second Life denizens", some players are getting nervous:
Blackmail and extortion are also possibilities should a hacker threaten to expose some of Second Life's racier activities -- the virtual philandering of dissatisfied husbands or wives, say -- to real-world scrutiny.

"It's identity rape," said Lisa Stone, co-founder of Palo Alto's BlogHer, an organization for female bloggers, and a sporadic resident of Second Life. "If this happened, it would be a personal violation. It's completely unacceptable."

She said she's typically much more uninhibited in the virtual world of Second Life than she is in the real world. This is largely a factor of using a pseudonym when interacting with other Second Life members and having an invented digital image -- an avatar -- to hide behind.

..."There's a lot of sex in Second Life," said Rich Gibson, a Sebastopol computer programmer who has been dwelling in the virtual world, on and off, since February.

"The experience of having an avatar changes things," he said. "People do things that they might not do in the real world -- things they wouldn't want people in real life knowing about."
I understand the concern of the female player, but I find her "identity rape" metaphor a bit stretched...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

More on logical fallacies: Justin Weinberg adds a few more of his own to the earlier list. He also notes, "P.S. The equivocation (below) is on 'is' -- some people have trouble spotting that."
Appeal to Ignorance:
No one has been able to prove that another fallacy is better than Appeal to Ignorance, so it must be the best.

Each of the other fallacies suck. The Fallacy of Composition is therefore better than the whole lot of them combined.

This is the best list of fallacies. It follows that there could be no better description of the Fallacy of Division than this.

The best fallacy is on this list.
Equivocation is on this list.
Therefore, the best fallacy is equivocation.

The Fallacy Fallacy:
Some have argued that the Fallacy Fallacy couldn't be the best fallacy because some arguments for it being the best fallacy are themselves fallacious. Clearly, this is a fallacious argument, from which we can only conclude that the Fallacy Fallacy is indeed the best fallacy.

False Analogy:
Just as the jelly donut is the best donut, so too is False Analogy the best fallacy.

Hypostatization (personification):
Go, Hypostatization Fallacy, you can do it! If you just try hard enough you can be the best fallacy there is! Oh come on now, don't look at me like that.

If I mention the idea that "the use/mention fallacy is the best fallacy" then the use/mention fallacy is the best fallacy.
Analysis of 20,000 MySpace passwords. (Via \.)
Adventures with a 20-inch(!) laptop. (Via Engadget.)
14 year old kidnapped girl rescued after sending a text message from the "hand-dug, booby-trapped bunker" where she had been held.
"In-flight announcements are not entirely truthful. What might an honest one sound like?" (Via BBspot.)
Latest picture of an invisibility cloak.
Inspirational religious story of the day: This is a true story as communicated to me by one of my coworkers.

A local physician was quite well known for being an (apparently) devout Christian. However, he was also having an illicit extramarital affair with one of his female office staff. The rest of his employees found this distasteful, not only because of the gross hypocrisy but also because the doctor was giving unfair preferential treatment at work to his lover.

Finally, some of the other employees made up a large sign and snuck it into the doctor's office overnight. It read, "Thou shalt not share thy rod with thy staff".

The female employee who was having the affair with the doctor quickly found another job.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hilarious video of the day: "The Princess and Professor. The CPU switch". What we have here is a failure to communicate...
High dynamic range panoramas. (Via Jim May.)
Clever (and immoral) ATM hack:
Someone reprogrammed an ATM in Va. Beach to give out extra cash.

...The machine was programmed to disburse $20 bills. So, for example, taking $200 from your account would usually mean you got 10 bills. "The suspect made the ATM believe it was giving $5 bills, but the user was still getting $20s, so a user would end up with four times the amount of cash, but their account would still show only a $200 debit," explained Va. Beach police spokeswoman Margie Long.

The man left and then returned in a few minutes to remove more money.
(Via Engadget.)
"How does a traffic light detect that a car has pulled up and is waiting for the light to change?" Interestingly enough, it's not a switch responding to physical pressure. (Via Clicked.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Solid, red oxygen.
How to open a beer bottle with a helicopter. (Via Neatorama.)
"Dr. Tom Gold, emeritus professor of astronomy at Cornell University, believes that organisms based on silicon may live far below the surface of the Earth."
50 years of hard drives.
If you're Asian-American and you live in Colorado, you may live for a long time.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Broadband access through natural gas pipes. Maybe the internet really is a "series of tubes"!
Winners of the 2006 "Most Beautiful CG Girls" competition.
A prototype of the $100 laptop.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pluto is now just a number:
Pluto has been given a new name to reflect its new status as a dwarf planet.

On Sept. 7, the former 9th planet was assigned the asteroid number 134340 by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), the official organization responsible for collecting data about asteroids and comets in our solar system...

Pluto's companion satellites, Charon, Nix and Hydra are considered part of the same system and will not be assigned separate asteroid numbers, said MPC director emeritus Brian Marsden. Instead, they will be called 134340 I, II and III, respectively...

Other notable objects to receive asteroid numbers included 2003 UB313, also known as "Xena," and the recently discovered Kuiper Belt objects 2003 EL61 and 2005 FY9. Their asteroid numbers are 136199, 136108 and 136472, respectively.
"Concept of 'personal space' survives in virtual reality"
"Wikipedia defies China's censors"
"What are dark matter and dark energy, and how are they affecting the universe?"

Or if you don't like dark matter there's always, "Dark Matter's Rival: Ether Theory Challenges 'Invisible Mass'". (Via Cosmic Log.)
More on fallacies: Mike Williams formulates a better version of the Complex Fallacy question.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tracking earthquakes by hard drive wobbling propagating from the epicenter.
The ease of digital snooping is changing people's expectations of what's ethical. (Via Bruce Schneier.)
Is the iPod losing its cool?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Update on logical fallacies: Steven DenBeste makes a small correction to the Gambler's Fallacy, and adds a few good ones of his own, including (look for his blog entry "20060908.1240"):
In all the previous talks about this subject, Gambler's Fallacy lost, so I just know the Gambler's Fallacy is going to win this time because it's the Gambler's Fallacy's turn to win!
If you agree with me that Appeal to Flattery is the greatest fallacy, it shows that you are intelligent and good looking and really good in bed. And a snappy dresser.

If you don't agree that Appeal to Pity is the greatest fallacy, think how it will hurt the feelings of me and the others who like it!

It's obvious that Bandwagon is going to win as the greatest fallacy. You wouldn't want to be one of the losers who choose something else, would you?

I just did a poll of all the people in the "Biased Sample Fan Club" and 95% of them agree that Biased Sample is the best fallacy. Obviously it's going to win.