Saturday, April 29, 2006

Admin note: Posting may be sparse for the next few days due to computer issues. (Don't ask...)
Soduko tips: Basic and advanced. (Via Found on the web.)

Friday, April 28, 2006

"Can cops really commandeer cars?"
"Top Ten Weapons of the Future". (Via DefenseTech.)
"Top 10 Windows XP Tips Of All Time". (Via Ars Technica.)
"The 12 Types of Medical Students". (Anyone who's been to med school will also appreciate "Surgery" and "Ob/Gyn".)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

New life for subliminal advertisements?
"The Painful Realities of Hyena Sex"
The Invention Machine: "John Koza has built an Invention Machine. Its creations earn patents, outperform humans, and will soon fly to space. All it needs now is a few worthy challenges..."
Nice example of integrating one's work and personal lives: When magician David Copperfield was recently mugged at gunpoint, he successfully used his skills to conceal his valuables from the thief:
When Copperfield's turn came, [accused mugger Dwayne] Riley was bamboozled.

Copperfield told Page Two he pulled out all of his pockets for Riley to see he had nothing, even though he had a cellphone, passport and wallet stuffed in them.

"Call it reverse pickpocketing," Copperfield said.

Riley jumped behind the wheel, and the car took off.
Riley and three other accomplices were quickly apprehended and are now in police custody. (Via Fark.)
"Taking out a killer asteroid with a tame one."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Impress your friends with these Dharma Initiative food labels. Right now the only one available for download is for "chili", but that's a good start. If you're one of the 3 people in America who doesn't know what the Dharma Initiative is, you can learn more about it here. (Via Clicked.)
Advances in battlefield medical technology.
"Kids outsmart Web filters." I am so-o-o-o not surprised.
Why you should look at your pennies:
To help introduce more people to "the magic of coin collecting," Scott A. Travers, a 44-year-old former vice president of the American Numismatic Association and author of The Coin Collector's Survival Manual, decided to mark National Coin Week in mid-April 2006 by deliberately spending three valuable old pennies as he made routine purchases around Manhattan. "I'm planting a seed, and I hope that a new generation of people will come to appreciate the history that coins represent," he said.

The three coins Scott Travers planned to spend were all relatively low-mintage U.S. one-cent pieces nearly one hundred years old: a 1908-S Indian Head cent, and 1909-S VDB and 1914-D Lincoln cents. (In the conditions released by Travers, these coins are worth roughly $200, $1,000, and $300, respectively.) Mr. Travers said he put the 1914-D Lincoln cent into circulation on 12 April 2006 when he purchased a pretzel from a food stand in Times Square, and that he planned to spend the other two coins within the next several days.

So far, there have been no reports of anyone's finding any of the three rare pennies.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Military innovation of the day: The human tongue.
In their quest to create the super warrior of the future, some military researchers aren't focusing on organs like muscles or hearts. They're looking at tongues.

By routing signals from helmet-mounted cameras, sonar and other equipment through the tongue to the brain, they hope to give elite soldiers superhuman senses similar to owls, snakes and fish.

Researchers at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition envision their work giving Army Rangers 360-degree unobstructed vision at night and allowing Navy SEALs to sense sonar in their heads while maintaining normal vision underwater -- turning sci-fi into reality.
"In police lineups, is the method the suspect?"
Even if most eyewitness identifications are reliable, "we know it is accounting for more wrongful convictions than all the other causes put together," including false confessions, jailhouse "snitches," and outright fraud, says [Iowa State psychology] Professor Wells. "When a witness takes the stand and says, 'that's the guy I saw,' that is so persuasive. We need to find ways to prevent mistaken IDs from happening in the first place."
"Why Rice Krispies Go Snap, Crackle, Pop!"
"Playing Mind Games":
Someday soon, video gamers may be able to use their heads, literally, to get better scores in their games.

At least two start-ups have developed technology that monitors a player's brain waves and uses the signals to control the action in games. They hope it will enable game creators to immerse players in imaginary worlds that they can control with their thoughts instead of their hands.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Malaysian National Space Agency (Angkasa) will be sending either one or two Muslims into outer space aboard a Russian spacecraft, and they've convened a conference to help figure out how the astronauts should practice their Islamic rituals while in orbit.
Performing ablutions for Muslim prayers with water rationing in space and preparing food according to Islamic standards will be among issues discussed, said Angkasa's director-general, Mazlan Othman.

...The astronaut will also visit the International Space Station, which circles the earth 16 times in 24 hours, so another thorny question is how to pray five times a day as required by Islam, she said.

Muslims also have to turn towards Mecca to pray and working out which direction that will be while hovering above the earth might also be challenging.
Being naturally curious, I decided to check with "Ask The Imam". On November 17, 2002, one reader asked:
Q) What are the Islamic laws (salah, fasting,etc) when living in space? Is Islam only for the Earth? As you now people live in space stations for months on end (even >1 year). How does Islamic rules apply i.e. Prayer Times, Fasting times, sighting of the moon for eid, etc? Does this mean that Islam is only for the Earth as many sunnats not possible, e.g. no tayamum even though water in very short supply, etc. Some people would say Islam is outdated as it cannot meet these challenges. How do I answer them?
However, the Imam's brief reply did not provide much in the way of detail, merely stating:
A) Islam can be well practised in Space as well. Which specific aspect of Islam in space do you wish to know about?

and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
This Q&A from the Fatwa Center at Islam Web (dated May 2004 or "30 Rabi' Awwal 1425") provides a little bit more guidance:
Q) If man starts to live on other planetary bodies e.g. Mars or from far away where the Earth will only be viewed like a star then,

1. As a muslim, where will one face if he is to pray and at what time will he pray if the daylight or night-time is constant.

2. Assuming a man has left earth to settle on another favourable planet which will take him say 50 yrs to reach, how will he be able to perform hajj, will a child be sent to Mecca to perform hajj and not be able to come to his new home or what?

3. The Holy month of Ramadan is decided on the lunar calendar. Now if a muslim is on another planet (eg Mars), which the day and night and the revolution of the planet differs from that of earth, how will he be able to know that it is the month of ramadan and if daylight is constant, how will he be able to distinguish dusk and dawn?

A) Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds; and may His blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Your question is hypothetical, and a person should not be preoccupied with hypothetical issues which are far from becoming reality.

However, if we suppose that a person is living in such a planet, he still has to face the Earth where the Ka'ba is. If he could not do so, then he can pray in any direction.

Allah Says: {...so wherever you turn yourselves or your faces there is the Face of Allah (and He is High above, over His Throne)...}[2:115]. That is of course when it is not possible to determine the direction of Kiblah.

As regards the timing for the prayers, he has to estimate it. In this era, the means of estimation had become available, Praise be to Allah.

The evidence about this is the Hadith in which it is mentioned that the first day of the days of Dajjal is like a year, and the second day is like a month, and the third day is like a week. The companions asked the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam): 'Is it possible for them to pray only one prayer.' The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) replied: "No, you have to estimate for it."

With regard to Hajj, he has to come down to the planet Earth, if it is possible for him to do so. However, if he is unable to come on Earth, then it will not be obligatory on him. In this case, he will be considered like a person who leaves in a remote country which is far away from Makkah, and cannot come to it.

Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {...And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka'bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one's conveyance, provision and residence);....}[3:97].

Therefore, if the life of this person is in danger when descending from that planet to Earth in order to perform Hajj, then it is not obligatory on him to perform Hajj.

In relation to the month of Ramadan, if it is not permissible to define it, (then in this case) he has to fast one month in every 12 months and this will suffice him.

Allah knows best.
Here's a related article.
Booming economics in virtual worlds.
The avatar named Anshe Chung may be a computerized chimera, but the company she represents is far from imaginary. Second Life participants pay "Linden dollars," the game's currency, to rent or buy virtual homesteads from Chung so they have a place to build and show off their creations. But players can convert that play money into U.S. dollars, at about 300 to the real dollar, by using their credit card at online currency exchanges. Chung's firm now has virtual land and currency holdings worth about $250,000 in real U.S. greenbacks. To handle rampant growth, she just opened a 10-person studio and office in Wuhan, China. Says Chung's owner, who prefers to keep her real name private to deter real-life intrusions: "This virtual role-playing economy is so strong that it now has to import skill and services from the real-world economy."
The Waiter Rule: How can a busy CEO tell whether a subordinate is genuinely nice or is just sucking up to him? The most reliable test is to see how he treats the waiter. According to this very interesting article, how a person treats someone perceived to be lower on the pecking order reveals volumes about his or her character. (Via Plastic.)
The "leap second" debate rages on.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yes, officer, it must have been my alternate personality that took those missing checks...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

New "Star Trek" movie" planned for 2008:
The as-yet-untitled "Star Trek" feature, the 11th since 1979, is aiming for a fall 2008 release through Paramount Pictures, the Viacom Inc. unit looking to restore its box-office luster under new management, the trade paper said.

The project will be directed by J.J. Abrams, whose Tom Cruise vehicle "Mission: Impossible III" will be released by Paramount on May 5. Abrams, famed for producing the TV shows "Alias" and "Lost," will also help write and produce.

Daily Variety said the action would center on the early days of "Star Trek" characters James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock, including their first meeting at Starfleet Academy and first outer-space mission.
This one might not actually suck!

Friday, April 21, 2006

"If a blind person gained sight, could they recognize objects previously touched?"
"There Is Such a Thing as a Stupid Question". (Via Linkfilter.)
Scientists have now proven that men get distracted by scantily-clad attractive women.
Fibs are short haiku-like poems with meter based on the Fibonacci sequence starting at 1. For instance:
Boy
Girl
Love sex
Make children
Need a better job
Or "Ode to Caffeine":
Give
Me
Coffee
to wake up.
This is the morning
I set out to conquer the world.
(Via Steve Pelfrey.)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The two Chinese students who made this over-the-top Backstreet Boys lipsynch video are now going commercial with their skills. The old-school Chinese authorities are reportedly not amused.
The neuroscience behind introspection and self-awareness.
Snarky history of the microprocessor. (Via Arthur Stevens.)
Top 11 Self-Help Books in Middle Earth.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Website time lapse.
These are animated gif images of popular websites showing how they changed over the years. The old versions of the sites are taken from The Wayback Machine.
(Via Found On The Web.)
Military invention of the day: Urban combat skateboard. No, really.
Build your own Lego lie detector. (Via Linkfilter.)
Behind the scenes at the Muzak corporation. (Via ALDaily.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Nano-car gets a nano-engine. (Via inkycircus.)
"What are the long-term effects of marijuana?"
New Orleans mayoral candidate Kimberly Butler has a nice picture of her on her website, apparently standing in the French Quarter of the city. However, one sharp blogger noticed that it was actually taken in the "New Orleans Square" section of Disneyland, nowhere near the real New Orleans.

Disneyland legal department is reportedly looking into the matter.
"New and Improved Antimatter Spaceship for Mars Missions"

Monday, April 17, 2006

Chilling science-fiction short-short story of the day: "Message From The Future" by Dan Simmons (author of the Hyperion series) has been getting a lot of buzz around the blogosphere for its dark vision of the future of America and Islam. If the main page is down, here's the Google cache version.

(Warning: If you don't like politics, then skip this post.)
Robot birth simulator.
Cool video of Rube Goldberg-type machines.
Longest commute: Dave Givens recently won the Midas "Longest Commute" contest, for his daily 372-mile drive from his home near Yosemite National park to his job at Cisco in San Jose, CA.
With his family still sleeping, Givens heads out the door at around 4:30 a.m. from a horse ranch at the edge of the astonishing Yosemite National Park. On a good day, he can make the 186-mile trip to Cisco's sprawling offices in less than three hours.

It takes about nine cups of coffee, XM satellite radio and audio books to make the drive tolerable.

Givens then usually arrives home at around 8 or 8:30 p.m. This drive home through thicker traffic can take up to five hours some days.

The glorious Yosemite country and horses make the commute worth the effort to Givens -- who pounds more than 30 cups of coffee by the end of the day.
(Via GMSV.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Batman onomatopoeia. (Via GMSV.)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Tasteless game of the day: Pedestrian Killer. (Via GMSV.)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Global warming skepticism: There have been a number of recent articles raising doubts about the mainstream view of global warming. Here are a couple of the more interesting ones from the British press:

"Kyoto is pointless, say 60 leading scientists"
(Daily Telegraph 4/9/2006)

"There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998"
(Daily Telegraph 4/9/2006)

There's also a recent op-ed by Dr. Richard Lindzen, currently Alfred P. Sloan professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT, in which he argues that the global warming alarmists have distorted the science, and are suppressing the skeptics. This is quite interesting, especially given that the global-warming alarmists are the ones claiming to be suppressed (likening their political situation to "Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union"), but their side of the story is the one that one always hears on NPR, NY Times, Time magazine, ABC News, etc., whereas skeptics like Lindzen rarely get equal time.

"Climate of Fear: Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence"
(Wall Street Journal, 4/12/2006)

Lindzen has also written a longer, more detailed scientific analysis:
"Global Warming: The Origin and Nature of the Alleged Scientific Consensus"
(Regulation, 1992; although this is older, it doesn't sound like his position has changed much)

[/soapbox on]

IMHO, one would need to prove the following 6 points before one could make a scientific case that we should implement major changes in our laws with respect to CO2 emissions:

1) That global warming was actually happening.

2) That it was the result of human activity (not just normal cyclical natural variations).

3) That the degree of human-caused global warming would cause significant harmful consequences.

4) That these consequences could be reversed by taking certain actions.

5) That any such proposed action (such as the Kyoto treaty) would actually be effective in preventing/reversing the harm.

6) That any such proposed action wouldn't cause worse harm than it prevented (i.e., that the "cure" wouldn't be worse than the "disease").

Note that all 6 elements would have to be proven true before it would be appropriate to adopt a major international treaty like Kyoto.

Numerous news articles have shown serious problems with points (5) and (6). Based on my reading, I believe there's also significant legitimate scientific uncertainty about (1) through (4) as well.

And of course, Bjorn Lomborg's 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist covers many of the same issues.

I don't expect this one blog post to immediately change many minds on this contentious issue. For now, I'd be satisfied with making the point that the issue is not the simple slam-dunk as is typically portrayed in the usual news media. Nor are the opponents of global warming hypothesis/Kyoto treaty necessarily stupid or corrupt.

[/soapbox off]

Update: It's been pointed out to me via e-mail and online discussion boards that if I can objectively prove that any polluter(s) have caused significant harm to me or my property, I should in general be able to address that through the courts, without requiring broad new laws that regulate entire industries.
"16 Different Ways To Tie Shoelaces" (Via Boing Boing.)
More classic retro computer promotional photographs. Includes plenty of snarky commentary from James Lileks.
No-touch typing: "The typewriter that can read your thoughts"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Most search engine users only look at the first 3 pages of results.
"Attack at the Speed of Light": Noah Schachtman has an excellent update on directed energy weapons technology.
Great Britain has launched a new high-tech national crime-fighting agency, the SOCA. However, some people have a question about its logo.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) has chosen a fierce big cat bearing its fangs and leaping over a stylised silver globe, with a crown capping it all.

It's bold but bears a striking resemblance to the logo of the 1980s children's cartoon series Thundercats. So was the comparison to the show -- which featured humanoid cats battling evil mutants in the Earth's distant future -- intentional? Soca declined to comment.
Fly for free: The controversial Irish airline Ryanair is moving towards a fascinating business model in which the airfare is free. They make money by charging for ancillary services, including baggage check-in and food, having advertisements on seat-backs, affiliate programs with hotels and rental car agencies, etc.

Already a quarter of their passengers pay zero for airfare, and they expect that by 2010 over half of their customers will fly for free. Plus they're making a ton of money with this approach:
Even more impressive, Ryanair's $368 million in net earnings gave the airline an industry-leading 22 percent net profit margin. (By comparison, Southwest Airlines's net margin was 7.2 percent.) "Ryanair has the strongest financials in the European airline industry," says James Parker, an equity analyst with Raymond James.

...For passengers seeking distraction, Ryanair intends to offer in-flight gambling in 2007, with the airline earning a tiny cut off of each wager. [CEO Michael] O'Leary thinks gambling could double Ryanair's profits over the next decade, but he's not stopping there.
I'm waiting for the next logical step -- namely an airline that pays me to fly with them.
Cool microsimulations of road traffic.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

"Everyone Else Is Fat":
In a new survey, 90 percent of Americans say most other Americans are overweight. But only 39 percent see themselves as overweight, leaving at least an 11 percent discrepancy in perceptions.
Why spinning a hard-boiled egg will cause it to jump.
Getting closer to the neurological basis of autism.
"Mathematicians prove the existence of a new class of minimal surfaces"
Unusual book of the day: Dictionary of African-American slang for Japanese. No, really. (Via memepool.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More cancer nanotherapy:
Researchers have found a way to target cancer cells by injecting tiny particles that will attack only the diseased cells while leaving healthy cells unscathed, according to a study released on Monday.

...In the mice, the tumors shrank dramatically and all of the mice survived the study while the untreated control animals did not.

"A single injection of our nanoparticles completely eradicated the tumors in five of the seven treated animals, and the remaining animals also had a significant tumor reduction, compared to the controls," said Dr. Omid Farokhzad, assistant professor at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Military technology writer Noah Schachtman has an excellent article on the Pentagon's future plans for exotic weapons. More commentary at own Noah's site DefenseTech.org.
"How Not To Get A Job" (Via Found on the Web.)
"When 'delete' is not enough": Good popular article on computer forensics.
"Eyeglasses Through The Ages". (Via Boing Boing.)

Monday, April 10, 2006

Admin note: Archives are back up, thanks to help from my lovely and intelligent wife Diana!

Links to the archives for both the old version of Geekpress (3/2000 - 3/2001) and the new incarnation (3/2002 - present) are now located at bottom of the right-hand sidebar.
"High-speed Imaging of Shock Waves, Explosions and Gunshots":
...[O]ur research group has taken modern high-speed videography equipment and combined it with some classical visualization methods to image shock waves from explosions and gunshots in more realistic environments. This allows us to capture the development and progress of these wave fronts on a scale that has not been possible in the past.

...Hollywood clearly does not understand shock waves, resulting in some ludicrous cinematic special effects. On television, Bart Simpson sent a shock wave rippling across Springfield by yelling into a row of megaphones ganged together in series. Children who try this at home will be disappointed -- it doesn't actually work to produce shock waves. In movies, the hero might outrun the blast from an explosion on his motorcycle. Real motorcycles cannot begin to approach such speeds, and if they did they would not likely stay on the ground. But actual shock waves, in fact, are much more interesting than anything Hollywood has come up with so far to represent them.
The article includes a nice discussion of the physics of shockwaves, as well as links to multiple cool images such as a the bullet penetrating a banana, firing a .44 magnum revolver, firing a .45 pistol without and with a silencer, and a rupturing balloon.

(Via Science News.)
Corrupting our youth: Videogames are just the latest a long line of alleged culprits, including rock and roll, comic books, the telephone, movies, the waltz, and (of course) novels.
"How To Unmask An Anonymous Blogger"
Excellent customer service: Airport Pizza of Nome, Alaska will deliver pizzas via air for free to small villages and towns along the routes of Frontier Flying Service. The pizzas are apparently quite good, although the customers of course need to reheat them after they receive. They also don't promise "30 minutes or less". (Here's their menu.)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Take a tour of a Minuteman missle silo. (Via James Blakey.)
More Muslim Outrage: Some Indonesian Muslims are outraged at the appalling lack of nudity in their Muslim-sensitive local edition of "Playboy".
...[S]ome readers who paid 39,000 rupiah (about four dollars) were disappointed by the lack of saucy pictures.

"It's sinful to read Playboy if there's no nudity!" a caller to Jakarta's 68H radio said.

"It's a scandal! There's no nude women in the magazine. I think we have been deceived," another caller complained.
(Via Fark.)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Self-assembling battery electrodes: "Researchers in the US have created viruses that automatically coat themselves in metals and line up head to tail to form an efficient battery anode -- the negatively charged component that channels electrons to generate current. These nanowires could be used to make revolutionary new forms of lithium-ion batteries, the researchers say."
Some astrophysicists now believe that an ancient asteroid struck the planet Mercury over 4 billion years ago reducing the planet size by over 60%, and with some of the collision debris from Mercury landing on Earth. (Via SciTechDaily.)
Unexpected lessson from gaming world economics.
Gaming graphics: 1980's vs. today.
If you see an unknown file on your computer, you can check it with "WhatIsThatFile?"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Anti-TASER fabric: "Thor Shield is a polyester fabric bonded to a conducted material that effectively loops the electricity coming from a nonlethal electricity weapon back to the weapon."

Currently it's only available for military/law enforcement, but sooner or later (probably sooner) I predict someone will develop a similar product and sell it to civilians and/or bad guys. Here's the corporate website.
NPR fans are downloading podcasts of their favorite programs in order to avoid the annoying pledge drives:
JoAnna Michaels is an inveterate listener of National Public Radio, but she won't be tuning in as much this month.

Her local Las Vegas affiliate, KNPR, kicked off its spring membership drive last week with program interruptions pleading for donations, so Michaels is bypassing that semiannual annoyance by loading up her MP3 player with various National Public Radio programs available in whole or in part for free as podcasts.

"Why would I sit through all of that if I can get what I like for free online, listen to it on my own time and not be guilted for weeks into giving money?" says Michaels, a real estate agent who says her husband donates to the station on behalf of her family. "I've even found a whole bunch of NPR shows online that aren't on NPR here, which is so great."
I can't say I blame her.
Invention of the day: "The Wrigley Gum Company has paired up with the U.S. military to create an anti-bacterial chewing gum that actually cleans teeth so soldiers wouldn't have to stop what they're doing to brush their pearly whites. If the military signs on to it, there's a good chance it will end up in your medicine cabinet one day. "
Top 10 Weirdest Keyboards Ever. (Via Linkfilter.)
Real-life bionic vision: St. Louis neurosurgeon Eric Miller has restored partial vision in a blind patient by letting her see without her eyes.
A camera on the tip of Robertson's glasses sends signals to a computer that's strapped around her waist. The computer then stimulates electrodes in the brain through a cord that attaches to the head. Patients see flashes of light and outlines of objects.
Because the procedures is not approved in the US, the surgery was performed in Portugal. Article includes a link to a video. (Via /.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

North Carolina scientists "have successfully implanted bladders grown in the laboratory from patients' own cells into people with bladder disease... The team is now working to grow organs including hearts using the technique." Here's a related article.
How quickly can someone crack your password?
Interesting facts about domain names. (Via Waxy.)
Physics professor Ronald Mallett predicts time travel of subatomic particles will be demonstrated within the decade and human time travel within the century. (I personally remain skeptical, unless my future self comes knocking on my door tonight with a few stock tips.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Invention of the day: Electrically activated lenses that change refractive strength at the flip of a switch. Here's a related article.
How to encrypt your internet telephone calls. The article gives Phil Zimmerman's new software a positive review, although it correctly notes that it may suffer from the same user adoption issues as Zimmerman's earlier PGP for e-mail, where there isn't yet a sufficiently motivated critical mass of users to make the technique widespread.
The Chinese government employs over 30,000 Internet police to monitor their citzens' websurfing. (Via Techdirt.)
Military invention of the day: The VirtuSphere virtual reality trainer, which allows users to run, walk, and crawl in a simulated environment. The corporate website includes a bunch of videos.
How to survive without a mouse. (Via BBspot.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

"Top 87 Bad Predictions About The Future". (Via Linkfilter.)
Robolawyering: "A new program uses game theory to produce fairer outcomes when dividing the property of divorcing couples."
The software was tested last year on 50 divorcing couples, with the outcomes evaluated by Victoria Legal Aid. Each party is given a limited number of points, which they are asked to allocate to the items of property they wish to keep. Through a multi-step process of modification, the parties are encouraged to give priority to the items they most value. The researchers found that, using the software, each party ended up with 70-80% of what they originally wanted, rather than the usual 50-50 split.
How does the TinyURL algorithm work? And if so, is this particular TinyURL just a bizarre/tasteless coincidence? <http://tinyurl.com/cunt>
Quantum entanglement swapping. No, it's not as kinky as it sounds...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

In honor of 4/2: Is it possible that 42 could be "the answer to life, the universe and the third moment of the Riemann zeta function"? (Via /.)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Invention of the day: Thong to neutralize the odor of doggy flatulence. No, really. (Via Rand Simberg.)
Best euphemism for "masturbation": According to our local newspaper, the police are calling it "intent to litter". No, really. (Via Little F*cking Ray of Sunshine.)
New institute devoted to the science of chewing gum. Funded by the Wrigley company, of course. No, really.