Sunday, August 31, 2008

Should you buy eyeglasses online?
"Menticulation of Diet Coke in Microgravity!" (Via John Harris.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Busting criminals with GPS data.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coolest-looking solar gadget charger.
"How Long Does it Really Take to Evacuate a Plane?"
Chinese people find fortune cookies baffling.

As one Chinese person asked, "Americans are so strange, why are they putting pieces of paper in their cookies?"
The government doesn't want you to have access to your own personal genomic data.

Fortunately, they always know what's best for you...
Interesting statistics on the "ultrawealthy". (Via Instapundit.)
"Is Sleep Essential?"
Unique bridges. (Via Neatorama.)
Auctioning off politically sensitive e-mails.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Worst Captchas of All Time". (Via Look At This...)
"Cows Tend to Face North-South". Here's a related story. Ah, the power of Google Earth...
Comparison table of airline fees. (Via Cynical-C.)
"We're Just Scratching the Surface With Multitouch"

Monday, August 25, 2008

Klingon knife seized in British "knife amnesty".

I disagree with the whole premise behind these "knife amnesty". After all, bat'leths don't kill people -- Klingons with bat'leths kill people... (Via Boing Boing.)
"How quickly can sharks pick up on blood in the water?"
Invention of the day: The minicow. (Via ALDaily.)
"How RFID Tags Could Be Used to Track Unsuspecting People"
MindThrow looks like a potentially interesting cross between Wikipedia and Facebook. I've only started exploring their site, but it's encouraging to see new ideas building on prior "Web 2.0" applications.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How badly are ITAR regulations hurting American space business?
Seeing in four dimensions.
Is there a market for a "Black Google"? (Via Found on the Web.)
Winning awards with a fake restaurant. (Via GMSV.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Free airport Wi-Fi with a simple URL hack? (Via Gizmodo.)
Putting out fires with a what?!? (Via BBspot.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Inside the cosmonaut training program for civilian space tourists.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Admin note: Posting will be light for the rest of the week due to external obligations.
The new Class of 2012 Beloit Mindset List is now out, in reference to the cultural context of incoming college freshmen. Here are a few excerpts:
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
56. Michael Millken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
If you want to feel old, read the whole thing.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Baby whale seems to think yacht is its mother".
Update on US Air Force Cyber War, Cyberspace Command, and Cyber Control System.
"Snake-Like Rescue Robot Will Scare the Sh*t Out Of You, Then Pull You From the Rubble"
Managing Brain Memory Overflow: "IBM is unveiling a new software memory assist system for mobile devices, dubbed 'PENSIEVE', that collects, stores, and cross references information that you might otherwise forget about, that will be forever lost to other things and events in your life."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Recovering text from damaged historical manuscripts with CAPTCHAs:
Researchers are now reporting on a successful way to identify the words that computers can't handle: turn them into CAPTCHAs, and get people to do the work...

Scanned text is subjected to analysis by two optical character recognition programs; in cases where the programs disagree, the questionable word is converted into a CAPTCHA. It, along with a control word of known identity (used for cases where a bot is trying to crack the CAPTCHA) are then distributed to participating websites...

Each OCR software program managed about 84 percent accuracy but, when their results were combined with the reCAPTCHA system, the overall accuracy shot up to 99.1 percent.
Scientists may have found the "snooze button" for the body's circadian clock.
The business side of crimeware. (Via SciTechDaily.)
"The U.S. military is paying scientists to study ways to read people's thoughts."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Uncollapsing the quantum wave? (Via Cogito.)
More quantum weirdness. And a related story. I still don't understand this stuff.
Olympic ceremonies BSOD.
Timewaster of the day: Bubbleshooter. (Via Cynical-C.)
Google StreetView catches a burning house and a man passed out drunk on his mother's lawn.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Meet Gordon, probably the world's first robot controlled exclusively by living brain tissue."
The Michael Phelps diet:
Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.

Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.

Dinner: One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks.
Only 12,000 calories a day!
US cyberwar preparations. Or maybe not.
"Japanese researchers craft 'e-skin' to let robots feel".
"Do remote-control war pilots get combat stress?"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"'Lifesaver' Bottle Purifies Water in Seconds". Here's the commercial website. (Via Richard.)
Don't do this on a motorcycle. (Via Flibbertigibbet.)
"A mathematician explains the genius of the new gymnastics scoring system."
Great college pranks. (Via Instapundit.)
Quiz of the day: "How many of the 100 most common English words can you guess in 5 minutes?"

I scored 45/100. (Via BBspot.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Real snailmail.
Smoke art.
Rebranding Vista?
Climbing robots.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Invisibility update:
Invisibility devices, long the realm of science fiction and fantasy, have moved closer after scientists engineered a material that can bend visible light around objects.

...It follows earlier work at Imperial College London that achieved similar results with microwaves. Like light, these are a form of electromagnetic radiation but their longer wave-length makes them far easier to manipulate. Achieving the same effect with visible light is a big advance.
(Via Linkfilter.)
"101 Classic Computer Ads"
"Researchers developing $12 computer based on Apple IIs"
Rubbery conductor. (Via Ari Armstrong.)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff defends the US policy of seizing suspicious laptops at the border. Readers can decide if he makes a convincing argument or not.
Compressing light.
"How do DJs mix songs together?"
Eric Raymond writes about swordfighting camp, geekery, adrenalin, and evolutionary biology. (Via Transterrestrial Musings.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

"iPods in combat"
Update on superbugs. (Via Cosmic Log.)
Banned phrases on the Chinese internet. (Via SciTechDaily.)
The science of lightning strikes. (Via ALDaily.)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cartoon of the day: "Calvin and Steve Jobs". (Via Dark Roasted Blend.)
How to test to a search engine. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
Neuroscience and magic. (Via Howard Roerig.)
Clever parking garage directions:
In Melbourne I developed a way-finding-system for the Eureka Tower Carpark. The distored letters on the wall can be read perfectly when standing at the right position. This project won several international design awards.
(Via BBspot.)

Monday, August 04, 2008

The neurological basis of high intelligence. (Via Instapundit.)
"Tutorial: Turn Your iPhone Into a Wireless Modem". Unfortunately, the Netshare app appears to be unavailable at the moment from iTunes. But if it ever reappears...
Automated tagging of news stories created a few surprises for Yahoo.
"The Online Encyclopaedia of Mathematics". (Via MeFi.)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

"Survey of instant-messagers finds any two people just 6.6 degrees apart":
With records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people from around the world, researchers have concluded that any two people on average are distanced by just 6.6 degrees of separation, meaning that they could be linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances.

The database covered all of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006, or roughly half the world's instant-messaging traffic at that time, researchers said.
Here's the abstract and the full paper (PDF format).

(Via Fark.)
Inside the nihilistic culture of internet trolls.

FWIW, Jason Fortuny aka"Weev" (the featured troll in the article) has explicitly stated that he believes we are living in a simulation. Readers can decide if that philosophy shapes his actions.
"If Steve Jobs Had A Comic Book..."
Fibonacci numbers and quasi-crytals.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Excellent (and true) duckling rescue story.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Oldest jokes.