Friday, June 30, 2006

Invention of the day: Japanese engineers have reportedly developed an odor recorder.
Simply point the gadget at a freshly baked cookie, for example, and it will analyse its odour and reproduce it for you using a host of non-toxic chemicals...

"In video, you just need to record shades of red, green and blue," [researcher Pambuk Somboon] says. "But humans have 347 olfactory sensors, so we need a lot of source chemicals."

Somboon's system will use 15 chemical-sensing microchips, or electronic noses, to pick up a broad range of aromas. These are then used to create a digital recipe from a set of 96 chemicals that can be chosen according to the purpose of each individual gadget. When you want to replay a smell, drops from the relevant vials are mixed, heated and vaporised. In tests so far, the system has successfully recorded and reproduced the smell of orange, lemon, apple, banana and melon. "We can even tell a green apple from a red apple," Somboon says.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Physicists analyze why sniping is an efficient strategy on eBay. Here's the abstract to the academic paper.
"How much money do beggars make?"

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cultural analysis of Sudoku vs. crossword puzzles. (Via ALDaily.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Chunky Soup Curse. (Via Volokh.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Emotionally aware" computers.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Admin note: Posting will be sparse-to-nonexistent for the next two weeks. The regular schedule will resume on July 10.
"The growing value of virtual goods"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Can a psychiatrist really tell what's wrong with you?"
Eliminating migraine headaches with magnetic fields.
Reverse peephole viewer: "Designed for police to look inside your house (illegally?) without letting you know they're spying, the reverse peephole viewer un-distorts the convex lens that's designed for homeowners to view out, not in."
Microsoft staff circa 1978.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Everything you wanted to know about algorithms. (Via BBspot.)
Ultraviolet secrets on credit cards and driver's licenses.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bears do not get osteoporosis, even though they may be inactive for several months at a time, which would wreak havoc with human bones. (Via David Solsberg.)
Doctors who have engaged in self-experimentation. Some have won a Nobel Prize from doing this. Others were less fortunate.
Robot soccer commentators.
"Making Factories and Computers with DNA"

Monday, June 19, 2006

Robot sexual ethics.
"Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have completed a prototype device that can block digital-camera function in a given area." (Via /.)
"The mayor of Newark, Ohio, has fined himself $368 for using city computers to send 15 personal e-mail messages about his son's business venture." (Via Techdirt.)
86% of all e-mail traffic is spam.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Francisco Gutierrez has written an interesting essay entitled, "Unified Theory of Learning Systems; or why markets, neural nets, evolution, and Page Rank are all the same thing".
Interesting solution to the parking problem:
Drivers in three US cities will soon be able to earn a buck or two just for vacating a parking space. SpotScout is a website that matches people about to leave a parking spot with those looking for one. Using a cellphone, drivers tell SpotScout when they will leave their parking spot, where it is, and how much they will sell this information for. The site, to be launched next month in New York, Boston and San Francisco, matches this information with people looking for a space.
(Via Marginal Revolution.)
The longest know sperm cell would measure over 2 inches long if fully uncoiled. And it comes from the Drosophila bifurca fruit fly.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Roadsigns that don't exist but should. Some may not be appropriate for work. (Via Boing Boing.)
Scott Ott of ScrappleFace has the real scoop behind the recent Bill Gates announcement.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Google Shakespeare.
"The irresistible rise of cybersex"
"What happens when someone 'legally dead' shows up alive?"
We have a winner of the Bruce Schneier Movie Plot Threat Contest.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Star Trek vs. Star Wars: "What would happen if the starship Enterprise encountered the Death Star? Watch to find out..."
"Are bloggers liable for defamatory third party comments to their posts?" Short answer, "probably not".
The Diet-Coke-and-Mentos guys are famous. Mentos likes it, but Coke is not quite as enthused. (Via Waxy.)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Test your high-frequency hearing here.
"Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)"
3-D television without the dorky glasses. This illustration sort of explains how it works.
Mega-timewaster of the day: WEBoggle. (Via Found on the Web.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Google Minesweeper. (Via GMSV.)
Video of the day: The kitten and the computer. (Via Found on the Web.)
Bookshelf titles from the future. (Via Boing Boing.)
"Not Even Wrong": Columbia University mathematics instructor Peter Woit has just written a potentially interesting book harshly critical of modern physics "string theory", arguing that it's not a genuine scientific theory at all because it can neither be verified nor falsified by experimental data. From the article:
Hence his book's title, Not Even Wrong: an epithet created by Wolfgang Pauli, an irascible early 20th-century German physicist. Pauli had three escalating levels of insult for colleagues he deemed to be talking nonsense: "Wrong!", "Completely wrong!" and finally "Not even wrong!". By which he meant that a proposal was so completely outside the scientific ballpark as not to merit the least consideration.
Update on the Norweigian meteorite strike: At least one other scientist is saying that the impact was not as powerful as originally claimed. The original story suggested that it was as powerful as the Hiroshima atom bomb.

(Update and interesting commentary via Volokh Conspiracy.)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Robot safety.
Robotic hands: "US scientists have created a sensor that can 'feel' the texture of objects to the same degree of sensitivity as a human fingertip."
Did the US military use "smart dust" to get Zarqawi?
Students who are allowed to improve their final grade by dropping their lowest test score may face a more mathematically challenging task than they realize.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A meteorite recently struck Norway with the force of the Hiroshima atom bomb. Fortunately, it landed in a remote rural region. (Via Rand Simberg.)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Space crossbow. No, really...
"Using technology developed at MIT, 4-person startup Avanti Metal hopes to reduce the cost of producing titanium from the current $40 per pound to a mere $3. The article discusses how a special combinations of oxides and electrolysis separates the titanium metal from the Earth's abundant titanium oxide ore." (Via /.)
Military invention of the day: "Special forces to use strap-on 'Batwings'"
"Loss of Natural Teeth By State". We're number 37! (Via Clicked.)
Alternate History Travel Guides. (Via Gravity Lens.)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

How to tell a woman's true age. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
Neutron vision.
"Social Engineering, the USB Way"
Creating an artificial sixth sense for magnetism.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Science video of the day: Diet Coke and Mentos.
How to back up your blog.
"Students find real body at fake crime scene":
Truth proved to be stranger than fiction for a high school criminology class investigating a fake crime scene after students discovered a real body on a field trip.

Teacher Sue Messenger has been planting fake skeletons with bullet holes and other evidence at mock crime scenes for more than 20 years to give her students a firsthand look at what crime scene investigators do.

I think they kind of went into shock and disbelief, but also, you have to say it's completely bizarre," Messenger said. "I mean ... what are the odds that we would be out here?"...

"It was a good crash course," said student Juan Cantor, 15. "The first thing we thought was, 'That's a real good dummy she set up.'"
Extreme balloons. (Via BBspot.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Largest city in the world at various points in history. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
Finding a parking spot online.
Interesting mathematical facts about the number 666.
In honor of 6/6/6: Variations on the number of the beast.
666 = number of the beast
665 = older brother of the beast
660 = approximate number of the beast
66600 = zip code of the beast
1/666 = common denominator of the beast
DCLXVI = Roman numeral of the Beast
666.0000 = Number of the High Precision Beast
0.666 = Number of the Millibeast
/ 666 = Beast Common Denominator
(-666) ^ (1/2) = Imaginary number of the Beast
6.66 e3 = Floating point Beast
1010011010 = Binary of the Beast
6, uh . . . what was that number again? = Number of the Blonde Beast
1-666 = Area code of the Beast
00666 = Zip code of the Beast
666mph = The speed limit of the Beast
$665.95 = Retail price of the Beast
$699.25 = Price of the Beast plus 5% state sales tax
$769.95 = Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
$656.66 = Walmart price of the Beast
$646.66 = Next week's Walmart price of the Beast
Phillips 666 = Gasoline of the Beast
Route 666 = Way of the Beast
666 F = Oven temperature for roast Beast
666k = Retirement plan of the Beast
666 mg = Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast
6.66 % = 5 year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank, $666 minimum deposit.
$666/hr = Beast's lawyer's billing rate
Lotus 6-6-6 = Spreadsheet of the Beast
Word 6.66 = Word Processor of the Beast
i66686 = CPU of the Beast
665.9997856 = The Number of the Beast on a Pentium
666i = BMW of the Beast
DSM-666 (revised) = Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Beast
1232 Octal, Apt. 29A = Beast's hexed address
668 = Next-door neighbor of the Beast
333 = The semi-Christ

Sunday, June 04, 2006

5-dimensional Rubik's cube.
"Who wants to pay for Stanford's Crypto Course, when University of Washington has made the whole Cryptography Course available online for free."
Can China control Olympics weather?
The technology and economics behind the skyscraper boom.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Admin note: GeekPress is taking today off. We'll be back Monday June 5!