Thursday, February 26, 2009

Electromagnetic Pulse Grenades?

In case you run into some of these.
" gives Trekkers a streaming treat for iPhone: full episodes on demand"
"Sprinkler Hide-a-Key Conceals Your Keys in Plain Sight"
Facebook photo of the day: The picture from the group, "I am afraid of the big blue horse at DIA".

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back to the Future: Alternate Ending.

"What would have happened if Doc had miscalculated when traveling back to the future in the last movie? The answer is kind of devastating." (Via Waxy.)
Geeky radiology humor. (Marginally NSFW.)
Next generation mirrors. (Via Futurehead.)
"The Unrecognizable Internet of 1996."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Optical illusion girlfriend.
Nuclear duct tape. (Via BBspot.)
Biological machines.
"From Brick to Slick: A History of Mobile Phones"

Monday, February 23, 2009

Off-topic: The February 23, 2009 Washington Examiner has published my latest OpEd on health care policy entitled, "America Doesn't Need a Health Care Czar".
Cool photographs of bending light. (Via Look At This...)
"Three Dimensional Mechanical Fractals"
Video of the day: "Black Hole Destroying a Star". (Via Neatorama.)
"Six Ways to Boost Brainpower"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Feds Propose Storing Internet User Data for 2 Years". It's to protect the children, of course.
"NY governor proposes Internet tax on downloads".
Sysadmins gone wild.
"The Gallery of Exploding Servers". (Via GMSV.)
Ancient Greek jokes. My favorite:
"Doctor, when I get up in the morning I feel dizzy for 20 minutes."
"Get up 20 minutes later, then."
(Via ALDaily.)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Low-Tech Fixes for High-Tech Problems". (Via Kottke.)
High-end replica lightsabers. More info.
Yes, magenta is a color.
Ambigram t-shirt. Some more designs.
Is this how life began? Here's a link to the full paper.

According to Rand Simberg's post on the topic, the article author Sylvain L. Smadja claims:
...Topics relevant to the Origin of Life that are addressed in this paper:
1. Why the relevant amino acids are all left-handed
2. Why there are 20 standard amino acids, and why those 20
3. Why the relevant amino acids are all "alpha-amino"
4. Why the relevant sugars are right-handed
5. The origin and preservation of homochirality
6. The origin of nucleobases A, G, C, U
7. The origin of RNA
8. The origin of the lipids
To put this into perspective, each one of these topics is a major big deal. That this model shows them as possibly being parts of interrelated cascading chemical steps is stunning. It is interesting to note that these chemical steps take place, not in a "primordial soup," but in a sheltered microenvironment of a mineral host structure. Since these proposed reactions do not work in water, the concept of life originating in a "primordial soup" may have mislead Origin of Life chemists for many decades.
Disclaimer: My own knowledge is molecular biology is inadequate to fully evaluate the author's theory.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 has a nice review of the Casio MTG-1500 atomic solar watch. (I own one myself and love it.)
"8 Weird Pieces of Space Junk"
Top 9 "Social Engineering" Scams
"Top 10 iPhone Games, as Voted by Readers"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Can the first day of a century fall on a Sunday?"

The short answer is, "no".
"The Arbesman Limit: How to be famous in a few easy steps".

The Hsieh Extension to the Arbesman Limit is that limit can increase in proportion to the number of ways your name is frequently misspelled. This is also known as the Hseih Extension and the Shieh Extension.

(Via SciTechDaily.)
"Drug Erases Fearful Memories"
"The Science of YouTube: Cuuute!". (Via Cosmic Log.)
Nice graphical depiction of the browser wars.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"5 Geeky Marriage Proposals That Worked"
"Why aren't porn actors charged with prostitution?"
"Gambling gets addictive because a near-miss is almost as good as a win". (Via SciTechDaily.)
"How to build a desktop Foucalt's Pendulum"

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Commercially viable electric car?
Will e-books save the newspaper industry? And a related analysis.
How one solo iPhone app writer "managed to rake in $600,000 in a single month with a single iPhone game".
"Even the Taliban Now Loves the iPhone"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting closer to a cure for the common cold?

Not if these guys have their way...

Update: Scientist Derek Lowe adds this little dose of reality into the journalistic hype.
Physical security risks of the Presidential Blackberry. (Via /.)
Is Wikipedia doomed?
"Scientists Discover Material Harder Than Diamond"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Off-topic: has published my latest OpEd criticizing Cass Sunstein and his philosophy of "libertarian paternalism".
High school yearbook photos of politicians and celebrities. (Via Cynical-C and Neatorama.)
Wireless electricity update. (Via Cosmic Log.)
"Scientists develop computer algorithm to solve previously unsolvable counting problems"
"Mathematicians discover largest number". Yes, it's satire. (Via Rand Simberg.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Behind the scenes at an NFL television broadcast. (Via Kottke.)
"Why remove a kidney through the vagina?"
"25 Things I Didn't Want to Know About You". (Via Linkfilter.)
Fifty years of household economics, prices adjusted for inflation. (Via DRB.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Employment bleg: I'm posting this on behalf of my friend Brian who is looking for full or part-time work. (I'll keep this at the top of the site as a "sticky" for the next few days.)

He's a good guy and a hard worker. His background is as follows:
Engineering: PhD in electrical engineering (optics), optics laboratory experience, Matlab, LabView, Zemax, Comsol, finite-element analysis, numerical simulations

Writing/editing: Articles published in technical journals and major newspapers, copy-editing manuscripts, proofreading patents, seeing typos even when not looking for them

Public policy: Can quickly learn about public policy issues. Examples: health policy proposal made "Short List" of submissions to Colorado's Blue Ribbon Commission ('07), conference presentation on nanotechnology risks ('06), Nat'l Acad. Sciences Fellowship ('05)

Presenting/teaching: Presentations at technical conferences, performances in improv comedy shows, tutoring experience
Brian's resume is available here.

His e-mail address is: nanothought-z[at]

If you know anyone who might be interested in hiring someone with his skills, send him an e-mail!
Cruel maze. (Via DRB.)
"Can video games breathe new life into AI research?" (Via SciTechDaily.)
"How to survive a sky diving accident".
"Saved from a ticket by an iPhone"

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Comics lettering font and grammar guide. (Via GMSV.)
"Man Robbing Stores With Klingon 'Bat'leth' Sword".

As commenter "Kelly" noted, "I think 7-Eleven should require all clerks to keep Tribbles behind the counter, in case of future attempts." (Via BBspot.)
"Glider guns created in chemical Game of Life"
"Ants tricked into raising butterflies"

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

"What can the police lie about while conducting an interrogation?"
"A Robomedic for the Battlefield".
Why there was a market for burnt-out light bulbs in the former USSR:
For most of us, it is hard to fathom the rationale for a market in burnt-out light bulbs. But in the scarcity-driven Soviet economy, the market was entirely reasonable. Light bulbs were rarely available to individual consumers, but were obtainable for state-sponsored activities.

Thus, it would be difficult to purchase a light bulb for a new lamp in one's home, while burnt-out bulbs in state-run offices or factories were routinely replaced. So if someone purchased a new lamp and needed a bulb, he would buy a used light bulb for a small fee and replace a functioning bulb at work with the dud. He would then take the functioning bulb home for the new lamp, while the burnt-out bulb at the office/factory would be replaced with a new functioning bulb.

Meanwhile, the maintenance person at the office/factory would take the used bulb and sell it on the used light bulb market...
(Via Marginal Revolution.)
Armed Forces Radio mutates in the face of the iPod generation.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

"10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know".

That way, you won't make the same mistake as this Darthmouth college professor.
"911 service not prepared for new generation of pranksters":
After paying a small fee to one of the readily available caller ID spoofing services available on the Web, a prank caller with a grudge or a serious psychological problem can call 911 and tell the operator just about any story he or she wants. Since the 911 system wasn't built with VoIP in mind, these calls appear to originate from anywhere, and said hooligans take full advantage of the opportunity. The practice has been dubbed "swatting," typically because the spoofed emergency stories that these troubled individuals make up are horrible enough to send police and even SWAT teams to unsuspecting victims on the other side of town or the continent.
Here is one example cited by the article.
"Cake Decorator Takes Flash Drive Photograph a Bit Too Literally"
"IBM develops computerized voice that actually sounds human". (Via Engadget.)

Monday, February 02, 2009

"Human Clones May Be Genetically Viable"
Google Ocean.
"The Alien People's Court Is Now In Session". (Via Cosmic Log.)
Timewaster of the day: Two Rooms. (Via Flibbert.)

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The latest political status symbol is knowing the President's secret e-mail address:
...Those select few who have Mr. Obama's e-mail address, say people informed about the matter, include Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, both senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, the press secretary. But cabinet members like the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, said they did not have it. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is a frequent BlackBerry user, but a spokesman said he did not know whether she had the president’s address.
Low cost LEDs. (Via Brian Schwartz.)
Clever sign.
iPhone app to solve Rubik's Cube:
CubeCheater is a new iPhone and iPod Touch app that solves everyone's favorite 80's puzzle cube. Just input the current state of your cube and CubeCheater will show you how to solve it.

Cubes can be entered by using the color palette and tapping in the colors, or you can just take a picture of each face of the cube and CubeCheater will use advanced computer-vision techniques to recognize the cube for you. (Camera feature not available on iPod Touch)

CubeCheater uses the famed Kociemba algorithm to find a solution quickly. It finds optimal or near-optimal cube solutions in only a few seconds. Even a really mixed-up cube will only take about 20 turns to solve, compared to hundreds of turns for a typical human algorithm.
Official website here.