Monday, April 30, 2007

If I ever have to go to prison, I'm definitely willing to pay the $82/day fee to upgrade to a 5-star jail cell. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
"Are 'political futures' markets illegal?"
"The Structure of Search Engine Law". (Via MeFi.)
"Computers can analyze music mathematically and use the result to track down songs, without even knowing the composer, performer, or title." Other software can function as robust musical accompanists.
Highway Engineer Pranks.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Advertising slogan of the day: How low are the prices at Sofa King? "Our prices are Sofa King Low!" (Read it out loud for the full effect.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

"10 Most Commonly Used Passwords Online". (Via GMSV.)
John Paczkowski, formerly of "Good Morning Silicon Valley", is now spreading his snarky take on tech news at "Digital Daily".
"How to beat that traffic ticket." (Via Linkfilter.)
"Thousands of Japanese people have apparently been scammed into buying 'poodles' that are actually sheep with fancy haircuts."
But the scam was only spotted after a leading Japanese actress said her 'poodle' didn't bark and refused to eat dog food.

Maiko Kawakami, who starred in the Japanese thriller Violent Cop, showed photographs of her pet on a television talk show only to be told it wasn't a dog -- but was in fact a lamb.
(Via Boing Boing.)
"The Most Excruciatingly Painful, Yet Typical, Customer Service Call Ever". With video commentary.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Timelapse of the first 12 hours of the Wikipedia article documenting the VT Massacre. (Via Clicked.)
"Scientists Unveil Internet-Controlled Robots That Anyone Can Build"
"The US Navy will put nearly $10m into development of 'man-made lightning' blaster weapons.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"The great fake psychics are great improvisationists." The Amazing Randi in action. (Via ALDaily.)
The art of strategic incompetence. (Via BBspot.)
The direction that a dog wags its tail tells you what it's thinking. (Via Cosmic Log.)
"For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures..." (Via Instapundit.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"Scientists unearth Superman's 'kryptonite': A mineral found by geologists in Serbia shares virtually the same chemical composition as the fictional kryptonite from outer space..."
"What Can Neuroscience Tell Us about Evil? Advanced brain-imaging techniques have begun to point to specific brain patterns common among sociopaths." The article also notes:
Of course, not everyone demonstrating these brain abnormalities ends up a killer. Some individuals with limbic underactivation end up in heroic professions, becoming firefighters, police officers, or fighter pilots, possibly because of a reduced fear response and a need for strong emotional stimuli. One theory is that other triggers, such as severe childhood abuse or neglect, are needed to turn people with already suppressed emotions into cold-blooded killers.
Plus there's also the issue of free will...
New physics experiments appears to rule out broad classes of hidden variable theories. Here's a related article. One potentially important caveat:
Alain Aspect, a physicist who performed the first Bell-type experiment in the 1980s, thinks the team's philosophical conclusions are subjective. "There are other types of non-local models that are not addressed by either Leggett's inequalities or the experiment," he said. "But I rather share the view that such debates, and accompanying experiments such as those by [the Austrian team], allow us to look deeper into the mysteries of quantum mechanics."
"How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran"
"What Type of Game Cheater Are You?"

Monday, April 23, 2007

How to build a Great Pyramid. (Via SciTechDaily.)
Spring cloth simulation.
Cool sculptures based on symmetry groups. Here's the artist's website.
The Economist offers this excellent list of frequently misused words. (Via BBspot.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

The dark side of Snopes.
Cognition enhancing drugs.
"'Smart dust' to explore planets"
Adam Tolkien on The Children of Hurin. (Via Linkfilter.)
"Researchers have designed and made a material capable of scratching diamond -- and done it without resorting to harsh, high-pressure methods."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What happens when you give up all your desktop office suite programs, and rely solely on Google Apps for a month?
Scientists are trying to develop real-world plasma "deflector shields" to protect astronauts from charged particle radiation during deep space missions.
Unique problems with virtual world affairs:
Sam and Kat met in the virtual world Second Life. And although they shared all kinds of intimacies in Second Life, the real people have never laid eyes on each other.

That didn’t seem to matter to Sam. He fell pretty hard for his avatar sweetie. They bonded intellectually, emotionally, and yes, thanks to Second Life animations, even physically.

Here’s where it gets complicated. Unlike his avatar, which is female, in real life, Sam is a man. A married man. And the person behind the blonde, curvaceous Kat? Married. And, quite possibly, a man, too.
How to create your own secret rooms with bookcase doors.
Interesting "audio illusions":
Shepard's ascending tones (MP3) - This is a recording of Shepard's paradox synthesized by Jean-Claude Risset. Pairs of chords sound as if they are advancing up the scale, but in fact the starting pair of chords is the same as the finishing pair. If you loop this sample seamlessly then it should be impossible to tell where the sample begins and ends.

Falling bells (MP3) - This is a recording of a paradox where bells sound as if they are falling through space. As they fall their pitch seems to be getting lower, but in fact the pitch gets higher. If you loop this sample you will clearly see the pitch jump back down when the sample repeats. This reveals that the start pitch is obviously much lower than the finishing pitch.

Quickening Beat (MP3) - This recording is subtle. A drum beat sounds as if it is quickening in tempo, but the starting tempo is the same as this finishing tempo.
(Via Boing Boing.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"For Sale: One Useless Cat". (Via Neatorama.)
Clocky is the alarm clock that jumps off your nightstand and runs around the room, forcing you to chase after it and wake up.
"How to Get Off a Government Watch List"
Micro-origami.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Is Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales delusional or inspired in going up against Google?
"Does the U.S. government own my mailbox?"
Physics Video of the Day: "Leaping Shampoo". More on the Kaye effect. (Via Clicked.)
Today's Timewaster: String Avoider Deluxe. Very addictive...

Monday, April 16, 2007

"Boss Science: The psychopathology of the modern American corporate leader." (Via Cosmic Log.)
"Most accurate Wikipedia warnings."
"Women might soon be able to produce sperm in a development that could allow lesbian couples to have their own biological daughters..." (Via Clicked.)
"U.S. Military to Put Internet Router in Space". (Via Gravity Lens.)
"How (not) to use PowerPoint". (Via Volokh.)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Friday, April 13, 2007

"Electrons caught in the act of tunnelling".
Headline of the day. (Via Miss C Recommends.)
Top 6 computers of 1982. (Via Boing Boing.)
Military uses of climate-changing technology? (Via SciTechDaily.)
Puzzle of the day: This was from the April Fool's edition of "NPR Sunday Puzzle".
Take the names of two U.S. States, mix them all together, then rearrange the letters to form the names of two other U.S. States. What states are these?
Click here for the answer.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"New Experiment Probes Weird Zone Between Quantum and Classical"
Why you should keep your hands off married Asian women. (Via Found on the Web.)
"Diabetics cured by stem-cell treatment"
Martin Gardner covers the backlash against string theory. (Via ALDaily.)
Top 10 differences between prison and work:
IN PRISON: You spend the majority of your time in a 10X10 cell.
AT WORK: You spend the majority of your time in an 8X8 cubicle.

IN PRISON: You get three meals a day.
AT WORK: You get a break for one meal and you have to pay for it.

IN PRISON: You get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK: You get more work for good behavior.

IN PRISON: The guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK: You must often carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.

IN PRISON: You can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK: You could get fired for watching TV and playing games.

IN PRISON: You get your own toilet.
AT WORK: You have to share the toilet with some people who pee on the seat.

IN PRISON: They allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK: You aren’t even supposed to speak to your family.

IN PRISON: All expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK: you get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.

IN PRISON: You spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
AT WORK: You spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.

IN PRISON: You must deal with sadistic wardens.
AT WORK: They are called managers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Socialized Medicine in Colorado -- An Open Letter to Colorado Physicians

[I'm exercising blogger's privilege to devote today to a single political issue. Regular GeekPress blogging will resume tomorrow. The original version of this letter is located at the FIRM website. -- PSH]


Socialized Medicine in Colorado -- An Open Letter to Colorado Physicians
by Paul S. Hsieh, MD; paulhsiehmd@gmail.com

Dear Colleagues:

My name is Dr. Paul Hsieh, and I am a physician practicing in the south Denver metro area.

I am deeply concerned that socialized medicine may be imposed on Colorado by our state legislature within the next year or so under the guise of "comprehensive health care reform". I'm morally opposed to this because I believe it would be destructive to our medical practices and harmful to our patients. I'd like your help now in speaking out against this ominous prospect.

The political process which could lead to socialized medicine is already underway, but most working physicians I've spoken with have been unaware of it. Hence, I want to sound the alarm before it's too late.

As some of you may know, in June 2006 the Colorado state legislature authorized a special 24-person Commission (called the "208 Commission" after Senate bill SB208) to generate proposals to restructure the health care system in Colorado, and submit them for legislative approval. The Commissioners were chosen by politicians from both political parties. Currently, there are only two doctors on the 208 Commission; the other 22 are representatives of various special interest groups.

The basic premise of the 208 Commission is that the government must guarantee health care for all Coloradoans. During their public meetings, a significant number of the Commissioners have expressed support for some form of socialized medicine. Although they frequently use euphemisms such as "single payer" or "universal mandatory coverage", similar language has been used in other US states and in other countries to justify massive government control of medicine.

Simultaneously, the Colorado Medical Society (CMS) has developed an official position in which they urged that health care in Colorado should be "universal, continuous, portable, and mandatory".

On January 25, 2007, the CMS submitted those "Guiding Principles" to the 208 Commission, portraying them as the consensus of the doctors of Colorado. They have also stated that the "CMS believes, after extensive vetting and a unanimous vote at the 2006 House of Delegates, that the Guiding Principles represent a compelling consensus of Colorado physicians".

When I first learned of this, I was angered and appalled, because that position does not reflect my views or the views of many other physicians that I've spoken with. The CMS does not speak for me on this issue, and I am not part of this "compelling consensus".

I completely oppose any form of socialized medicine, regardless of whether it is called "single payer", "mandatory universal coverage", or anything else, because I believe it would be bad for both patients and doctors. Years of experience in the US and other countries have shown that these programs will hurt patients and even cause their deaths. As costs inevitably spiral upward, bureaucrats will ration medical services. Eventually, physicians will be forced to practice against their best medical judgment. This is a violation of the fundamental rights of both doctors and patients.

As a result, in states like Tennessee (which in 1994 implemented its own version of mandatory universal coverage called TennCare), many doctors find the practice climate intolerable and are either leaving the state or quitting medicine entirely. I do not want that to happen in Colorado. States like Massachusetts and California, which are also attempting to guarantee universal health care for their residents, will soon face similar problems.

Although I agree that there are genuine problems with the current system, more government interference in medicine can only make things worse. One basic principle we all learned in medical school was, "First, do no harm". This applies as well to politics as it does to clinical practice. Most of the problems of the current system have been the result of bad government policies. Adding more government bureaucrats to the mix will only make things worse.

In my opinion, it is not the government's role to guarantee health care for all Coloradoans, any more than it is the government's job to guarantee all citizens a car or a job. It is morally wrong and economically unsustainable. Doctors and patients ought to be able to freely contract for medical services to their mutual benefit without interference from the government. It is precisely the attempts by the governments in Canada and Great Britain (or states like Tennessee) to guarantee universal "cradle-to-grave" coverage that has led to the runaway costs and rapidly deteriorating health care in those places.

I recognize that not everyone will agree with me here, and this is part of my point. This is a very contentious issue amongst doctors. Based on my discussions with numerous physicians, I don't think one can accurately say that there is a "compelling consensus" of the doctors of Colorado.

So if you oppose socialized medicine on the grounds of medical conscience (as I do), then please contact the Colorado Medical Society and the 208 Commission, and let them know where you stand.

Even a one line e-mail like, "I oppose universal, mandatory coverage or any other form of socialized medicine, because it will be bad for me and my patients", could have a tremendous impact.

To contact the relevant members of the CMS and the 208 Commission go to: http://tinyurl.com/2y9t4f or send mail to 208Commission@coloradofoundation.org.

The CMS is speaking in your name on this issue, so if you disagree with their position (or if you believe that their position should not be portrayed as the physician "consensus"), then they need to know. The CMS has requested feedback from doctors including those who disagree with their current position, so I urge you to take them up on this.

The 208 Commission is a public body, and has also asked for input from all citizens of Colorado. So if you want to protect your right to practice good medicine and protect your patients' best interests, they need to hear from you before they submit their proposals to the state legislature for a vote.

For further information about this issue, one excellent resource is the website www.WeStandFIRM.org, a non-profit group of Coloradoans devoted to freedom and individual rights in medicine. I especially recommend their article, "Health Care is Not a Right" by Dr. Leonard Peikoff. If you wish to stay informed on this topic, I also encourage you to sign up for their mailing list or read their blog.

Also, please feel free to forward this open letter to any other Colorado physicians that may be interested. A copy of this letter is also available online at: http://www.WeStandFIRM.org/docs/Hsieh-01.html.

Sincerely,
Paul S. Hsieh, MD
E-mail: paulhsiehmd@gmail.com

Disclaimer: I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but an independent voter. My objections to socialized medicine are unrelated to party politics.

--------------------

References:

I've listed some references for those who want more information. These are optional resources for those who want to learn more about these topics, but not required reading. (I do not necessarily endorse every item in full):

"Health Care is Not a Right" (HTML format or PDF format):
[Online essay] This brilliant essay was written by Dr. Leonard Peikoff, a philosophy PhD living in Colorado Springs. The original version was written in the 1990's after Hillary Clinton proposed her infamous national health care plan, and has been updated by Lin Zinser and Dr. Peikoff for 2007. He argues that a "right" to health care does not exist and that any attempt to create one necessarily leads to disaster, because it runs antithetical to the genuine rights that were recognized and codified in the Constitution by the American Founding Fathers.

"A Short Course in Brain Surgery":
[Video] This astounding 5-minute video tells the story of an Ontario man with a brain tumor who couldn't get the care he needed under the Canadian system because the waiting lists for an MRI scan and for a neurosurgeon were too long. Fortunately, he was able to get appropriate treatment in Buffalo, NY.

"Health Insurance in the United States"
[Online article] This informative article covers the development of the U.S. health insurance system and its growth in the twentieth century, including the development of Medicare and Medicaid. It also examines the role of government policy in setting the stage for nationalized health care.

"The History of Health Care Costs and Health Insurance":
[Online article] This report was written by Linda Gorman, who is a health-care economist at the Independence Institute in Golden, CO. In this article, she covers the history of spiraling health care costs and government control of medical care, and shows how bad laws and other government interference in medicine have led to the current problems. She also offers some positive market-based alternatives to socialized medicine which have been proven to simultaneously increase patient outcomes and decrease costs, including Health Savings Accounts (HSA's), insurance deregulations, etc.

"Your Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism About National Health Care":
[Book] This book by Jane Orient, MD, is an illuminating and provocative analysis of the immorality and impracticality of government interference in medicine in general, and single-payer systems in particular. Dr. Orient is the Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

"The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care":
[Book] This book was written by Dr. David Gratzer, a physician who has practiced in both the US and Canada, and has first-hand experience with the pros and cons of both countries' medical systems. His documentation of the long waiting lists in Canada and the higher mortality rates for treatable conditions is chilling. He also provides excellent historical background on how health insurance became linked to employee benefits as a result of bad IRS policies, with all the resultant problems. His basic conclusion is that capitalism, not socialism, is the way to address the problems. He offers a number of practical, concrete proposals to fix our current problems, all of which are based on decreasing government interference in medicine.

Podcast interview of Dr. David Gratzer at Instapundit.com:
[Podcast] A 30 minute interview by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com with Dr. Gratzer on the problems and solutions to America's health care problems.

"Universal Health Care -- Call It Socialized Medicine":
[Online essay] Lawrence Huntoon, MD, PhD, discusses why "universal health care" is synonymous with "socialized medicine". He also observes:
Indeed, "universal coverage," nationalized health care, or socialized medicine, regardless of what you choose to call it, is not the same as medical care. All of the citizens of Canada, for instance, have "universal coverage." What they often don't have, however, is the medical care that they need when they need it. That is why we see Canadians crossing the border into the United States in droves to obtain the health care that they can't get when they need it in their own country. Their government rations access to health care and thus attempts to control costs by making MRI scans, radiation oncology, bypass surgeries and many other health services largely unavailable to their own people.
Dr. Huntoon is a former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and is a practicing neurologist in New York state.

"Universal Health Care's Dirty Little Secret":
[Online article] Trying to provide universal coverage doesn't actually result in better care, just rationing.

"No 'Crisis' of Uninsured":
[Online article] Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Rosen debunks the myth that there is a "vast army of people... who are permanently unable to obtain health insurance".

"Why Are Health Costs Rising?":
[Online article] A nice short analysis on why health care costs have risen so much. Again, the basic problem is government interference in normal market mechanisms. As anyone who has bought a cell phone or a DVD player recently knows, the natural course of the marketplace is higher quality goods for lower prices over time. Even in the medical field, this has been the pattern in LASIK and cosmetic surgery, i.e., in the types of medical care where patients pay for themselves and are therefore incentivized to be prudent shoppers.

"Colorado Medical Socialism":
[Online article] A strong critique of the CMS position on universal mandatory health care by Boulder Weekly writer Ari Armstrong.

There is no health care crisis in Colorado:
From Lin Zinser's 3/28/2007, "Report on the 208 Commission" (scroll down to her "second point"). She notes, "According to Colorado voters there is no crisis of health care in Colorado. According to Colorado voters polled in December 2006 for the Denver-Metro Chamber of Commerce, 77% of Colorado voters believe their own health care is good or excellent and 60% believe the quality of health care in Colorado as a whole is good or excellent. More to the point, only 7% describe the situation in Colorado health care as a crisis."

Problems with Tennessee's universal health care system, TennCare [online articles]:
"The Price of Seduction"
(A devastating criticism of TennCare from family practice physician, Dr. Sydney Smith.)
"Tennessee: Lesson for California"
"TennCare: A model for how American socialized medicine will fail"

Problems with Massachusetts' universal health care system [online articles] :
"Universal Healthcare Boondoggle"
"Universal Health Care: Proceed with Caution"
"Intensive Care for RomneyCare"
"Bad Medicine: What's Wrong With RomneyCare"

Problems with California's proposed universal health care system [online articles] :
"One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: How California Will Make Health Care Much More Expensive"
"Schwarzenegger's Folly"
(Analysis by John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20".)

Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine:
[Organization] From their website:
Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM) promotes the philosophy of individual rights, personal responsibility, and free market economics in health care. FIRM holds that the only moral and practical way to obtain medical care is that of individuals choosing and paying for their own medical care in a capitalist free market. Federal and state regulations and entitlements, we maintain, are the two most important factors in driving up medical costs. They have created the crisis we face today.
I encourage all physicians interested in staying informed on these issues to sign up for their mailing list. FIRM also runs a weblog.

The Colorado Medical Society and some key officers:
Alfred Gilchrist (Executive Director): Alfred_Gilchrist@cms.org
Chet Seward (Director of Health Care Policy): Chet_Seward@cms.org
Lynn Parry, MD (President): nurvdr@mac.com
David Downs, MD (President-Elect): David_Downs@cms.org
Mark Laitos, MD: mlaitos@comcast.net
Ben Vernon, MD: wbvernon@qwest.net

The 208 Commission official website:
The full list of the 208 Commissioners and the publicly available e-mail addresses:
William N. Lindsay III, Chairman: 208Commission@coloradofoundation.org
Erik Ammidown: erik.ammidown@qwest.com
Elisabeth Arenales: earenales@cclponline.org
Clarke Becker: unknown
Carrie Besnette: cbesnette@gmail.com
David Downs, MD: David_Downs@cms.org
Steve Erkenbrack: unknown
Lisa Esgar: lisa.esgar@state.co.us
Linda Gorman: Linda@i2i.org
Julia Greene: jgreene@seiu105.org
Allan Jensen: allanjensen@earthlink.net
Grant Jones: grant@caahealth.org
Donna Marshall: cbghealth@aol.com
Pam Nicholson: pamnicholson@centura.org
Ralph Pollock: ralph@apaccess.com
David Rivera: unknown
Arnold Salazar: Arnolds@chnpartners.com
Mark Simon: mbsimon@juno.com
Dan Stenersen: unknown
Steven Summer: steven.summer@cha.com
Mark Wallace: unknown
Joan Weber: unknown
Barbara Yondorf: byondorf@rcfdenver.org
Peg Burnette: peg.burnette@dhha.org
Donald Kortz: dkortz@fullercompany.com
Lynn Westberg: lynn@sjbhd.org

[This letter was slightly edited on 4/17/2007. -- PSH]

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"Segment of a 'Quantum Repeater' Demonstrated"
"Do coffee and cigarettes protect against Parkinson's?"
Life cycle of a blog thread. (Via GMSV.)
"New solar cells developed by Massey University don't need direct sunlight to operate and use a patented range of dyes that can be impregnated in roofs, window glass and eventually even clothing to produce power." (Via Howard Roerig.)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Challenges at Google as many of their early employees hit their 4th anniversary and become eligible to cash in lucrative stock options:
Google's story is also a case study of how companies must learn to manage overnight millionaires who think more like "volunteers" because they're no longer motivated primarily by pay and can quit at any moment. Google's pre-IPO crew, for instance, is sitting on $2 billion worth of options that have vested already and can be cashed in at a moment's notice. And that doesn't count the riches they took off the table last year alone by exercising more than 6 million options with strike prices ranging from a penny to the $85 IPO price.

Their good fortune could stir jealousies as less-fortunate later hires park their Hondas next to a cube-mate's Ferrari, then head into the office to shoulder an equal share of the workload.
Divine intervention or card trick?
"Chat line" for dolphins:
A marine mammal rehabilitation facility opened a dolphin "chat line" of sorts Saturday, hoping to teach a deaf dolphin's unborn calf to communicate.

Castaway, as the stranded Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is named, has been recovering at the Marine Mammal Conservancy since Jan. 30. A battery of tests has confirmed she is deaf.

Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce to find food, socialize and defend themselves against predators.

"We asked ourselves 'How do we get the calf to speak when we have a deaf mother?'" said Robert Lingenfelser, the conservancy's president.

They decided to electronically connect Castaway's habitat with a lagoon at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational facility a few miles down the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and connected via phone lines.

Castaway should deliver her calf in about a month.

"Even before it is born, we want the calf to have an idea of what normal dolphin vocalization is," Lingenfelser said.
So far, there have been no protests from the dolphin equivalent of the deaf separatist community.

(Via Boing Boing, which suggests that the story headline should read, ""We're wet, naked, and waiting for your call!")
"Mathematicians have found three-dimensional shapes that flip themselves upright from any position."
Caffeine withdrawal. (Via BBspot.)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Trick shot bowling. (Via MeFi.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

"Rogue Programmer Sabotages Navy's Computers:"
Richard F. Sylvestre, a former government contractor who had a top- secret clearance, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to sabotaging computers used to track U.S. Navy submarines.

...According to this article in the Virginian-Pilot, Sylvestre planted a logic bomb in several navy computers after his company was passed over on a bid. He then fled to Italy.

Apparently, three of the five navy computers used to track submarines were shut down as a result of these actions. If all five had been shut down, the navy would have been blind.
"Can anyone tell the difference between music files at 128 kbps and 256 kbps?"
"Type 'college prank' into YouTube and you will be greeted with hundreds of videos. Most will be really, really dumb." But a few will be pretty good.
"The Inbox Of Nardo Pace, The Empire's Worst Engineer". (Via Found on the Web.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Admin note: GeekPress will take a one day hiatus due to external obligations.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

"Firefox OS: Why My Hard Drive & Software are Obsolete".

(Apart from privacy/security issues, I don't think I'd be willing to move all my critical data online yet, especially since I can't always get a reliable net connection while travelling.)
"The Vocabulary of 'Difficulty' In Computer Science"
"How often do informers collect reward money?"
"Scientists have developed a way of converting one blood group into another." (Via BBspot.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

One step closer to an optical cloak:
...Purdue University engineers, following mathematical guidelines devised in 2006 by physicists in the United Kingdom, have created a theoretical design that uses an array of tiny needles radiating outward from a central spoke. The design, which resembles a round hairbrush, would bend light around the object being cloaked. Background objects would be visible but not the object surrounded by the cylindrical array of nano-needles, said Vladimir Shalaev, Purdue's Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The design does, however, have a major limitation: It works only for any single wavelength, and not for the entire frequency range of the visible spectrum, Shalaev said.

"But this is a first design step toward creating an optical cloaking device that might work for all wavelengths of visible light," he said.

...Although the design would work only for one frequency, it still might have applications, such as producing a cloaking system to make soldiers invisible to night-vision goggles.

"Because night-imaging systems detect only a specific wavelength, you could, in theory, design something that cloaks in that narrow band of light," Shalaev said.

Another possible application is to cloak objects from "laser designators" used by the military to illuminate a target, he said.
Amazing ferrofluid scuptures, including video. (Via Boing Boing.)
Coffee Meets Milk.
"All Known Bodies in the Solar System Larger Than 200 Miles in Diameter". (Via BBspot.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Can a virtual currency pose a threat to the stability of a real-world currency, the Chinese yuan? (Via Michael Williams.)
"Sunita Williams will run the Boston Marathon from the International Space Station."
Archaeology magazine has a review critical of 300, but what caught my eye was the following interesting historical tidbit:
The pass at Thermopylae was the scene of several such engagements in antiquity and during later centuries, but the most dramatic example of history repeating itself occurred in April 1941. There was little hope that the juggernaut of the German army, led by tanks and bound for Athens, could be stopped by Allied troops. But there was hope that the advance of the Germans could be slowed in order to complete the evacuation of Athens by British and Greek forces. A small, determined band of ANZAC soldiers stationed themselves around the pass at Thermopylae, and for two days managed to slow the German advance, thereby permitting the successful evacuation of Athens. These brave Australians and New Zealanders escaped the Spartans’ fate, and lived on to fight again another day.
What sort of scientific research takes place on Antarctica?