Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween game of the day: Pumpkin Remover. (Via Cynical-C.)
Hilariously sexist Battleship game cover from the 1970s. (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Awesome Halloween math lecture. (Via Cynical-C.)
Atoms are really small.

Drag the slider underneath the image from left to right. (Via Radley Balko.)
"People with phantom limbs learn physically impossible body tricks". (Via SciTechDaily.)
Lawsuit of the Day: Defective Underwear Causes Penis Pain. (Via NoodleFood.)
Video of the day: "D&D on Multi-touch Table"

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Facebook games analyzed by an MMO player.

(Via Waxy who notes, "interesting, though cynical, perspective of the underlying mechanics".)
What startups are really like. (Via Kottke.)
"The Inside Story of Wal-Mart's Hacker Attack". (Via Bruce Schneier.)
Dense plasma focus fusion device.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One Ring to ping them all...
Giant software mind map comparing mind mapping software. (Via Cool Infographics.)
"Court case shows limits of anonymous blogging"
Video of the day: Two-legged robot that walks like a man.

Monday, October 26, 2009

"How Formula 1 Crews Overclock the Pit Stop". (Via Howard Roerig.)
"'Evil Maid' Attacks on Encrypted Hard Drives"
Klingon military recruitment video. (Via Neatorama.)
Farhad Manjoo of Slate calls Windows 7 "the best operating system on the market". No, really.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Fluid dynamicists have worked out how to stop teapots from dribbling, once and for all."
Reverse Polish Sausage.

(Confession: I loved the HP-15c that I used in college.)
Awesome pictures of Saturn. (Via Radley Balko.)
"Explaining (Some of) Google's Algorithm with Pretty Charts & Math Stuff"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Antartica is really big. (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Re-imagining a Desktop Touch Interface"
"The CIA is developing the capability to monitor and analyze Twitter traffic, in addition to their existing ability to monitor email, message board and blog data."
"RFID Waves Visualized and Demystified Using a LED Wand":
The video was created using a custom-created LED wand that lights up whenever it is in the presence of an RFID field. The collected images of the wand glowing at various points, then created a composite animation with those pics, which turns out looking like the atomic orbital 3d.
(Via Gizmodo.)
How does the Shazam app identify music?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Who's in Big Brother's Database?"

A review by James Bamford of Matthew Aid's book, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency.
"A cheap way of using small radios to see inside buildings".

Related story from Physics arXiv.
"Quantum computers could tackle enormous linear equations"
Nice FTC-vs-bloggers summary from Walter Olson: "Where Did You Get That Keychain?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Video of the day: "The Sordid Story of the Pixar Lamp"
The Pixar lamp is all adorable in the brief intro that plays before their movies, but what happens after he stomps down that I? Nothing good, I can tell you that...(From College Humor.)
JJ Abrams discusses Star Trek plot coincidences (?plot holes) and plans for a sequel.
"11 Ingenious Signs On The Simpsons". (Via J-Walk Blog.)
"Vegas uses computers to nab card counters"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ryan Sager notes, "Mind Reading Fever Flares Up Again".

One especially important point:
And even assuming that something like fMRI lie detection worked and could be administered to an unwilling participant -- what's so much worse about that than, say, regular lie detection? We've already decided as a society that we're okay with the idea of a lie detector (so comfortable, in fact, that we don't care that the ones we already have don't really work). Why would we be uncomfortable with a lie detector that simply utilized a different technology?

The bigger problem, it seems to me, is if these new technologies are as flawed as (or worse than) current technologies, yet we trust them anyway. People tend to trust anything that involves a picture of a brain scan, regardless of its validity. Add that to the usual terrible job jurors do, and we've got a recipe for a new generation of faulty convictions.
Tips for criminals on the run from the law:
1) Don't post your location update on Facebook.
2) Don't "friend" former officials from the Department of Justice.
(Via Bruce Schneier.)
9th century China apology template if you got too drunk at last night's dinner party:

"...[T]he beautifully named 'Dunhuang Bureau of Etiquette' insisted that local officials use the following letter template (dated 856) when sending apologies to offended dinner hosts. The guilty party would copy the template text, enter the dinner host's name, sign the letter and then deliver with head bowed..."
Yesterday, having drunk too much, I was intoxicated as to pass all bounds; but none of the rude and coarse language I used was uttered in a conscious state. The next morning, after hearing others speak on the subject, I realised what had happened, whereupon I was overwhelmed with confusion and ready to sink into the earth with shame.
(Via GMSV.)
"Seamlessly Melding Man and Machine"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"Why Eggs Could Be Getting Harder to Peel"
Federal judge rules that ringtones aren't "performances".

Hence, cell phone carriers do not have to pay royalties to music publishers every time a customer's ringtone plays:
In her ruling, US District Judge Denise Cote pointed out that the carrier has no way to control when a ringtone is being played and earns no revenue when it happens -- customers decide when and where their phones can ring, and they turn the phone on or off without the carrier's consent. She also said that performing a work publicly usually means that it must take place in a public space where a "substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of its social acquaintances is gathered."

Regardless, Cote says that mobile carriers are only responsible for the transmission of the song to the phone, which doesn't count as a performance in and of itself. "Even if the customer could listen to the download as it was being received, and contemporaneously perceive it as the musical work, that would not constitute a public performance," wrote the judge. Additionally, there is no expectation of profit on the part of the carrier or the customer when the phone begins blasting Cher out of its tiny built-in speaker. This means even if it was a performance, it would be exempt from falling under royalty requirements.
Bruce Schneier: "The Commercial Speech Arms Race"
The blog of unfortunate acronyms.

For instance, the Department of Aging, Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods or the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.

(Via Tyler Cowen.)
Today's internet quiz: "Actual newspaper story or Onion headline?" (Via Neatorama.)
USB PC Prankster:
The USB PC Prankster looks like a stock flash drive, but as you can clearly see above, a few toggle switches enable it to become quite the headache. Once plugged in, the unlucky PC that it's attached to will have its Caps Lock enabled and disabled at random, see garbled text splattered about quarterly reports and be victim to uncontrollable, erratic cursor movements.
Sounds like a great way to become the Most Hated Man In The Office.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"New Israeli battery provides thousands of hours of power". (Via Vik Rubenfeld.)
The Billion Dollar Gram. (Via Cool Infographics.)
Great infographic depicting 50 years of space travel. (Via BBspot.)
"The Periodic Table of Science Fiction". (Via Technovelgy.)
"Could Monty Python be made in today's Britain?" (Via Instapundit.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bladeless fan.
Are time travelers sabotaging our Large Hadron Collider to protect the future of the universe? (Via Instapundit.)
"Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, has confessed that the // in a web address were actually 'unnecessary'."
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh has an interesting set of posts on ebook technology and "The Future of Books Related to the Law".

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Although I don't give out money to panhandlers, some of them do use clever signs.

And as Steven Malanga reports, the successful techniques are often disseminated across the country via the internet.

(Via Found On The Web.)
Steve Mirsky of Scientific American reviews the Kindle:
...But one of the first things I discovered is how much stuff you can cram on it that is totally free.

Project Gutenberg, which is trying to get everything that's now off copyright onto the Web, has posted thousands of classics, and it's easy to download them in seconds on a home computer and then move them over to the Kindle.

Three decades ago I bought (but still have not read) a copy of The Brothers Karamazov, which sits on a shelf at home. Now, with the Kindle, in less than five months I already have not read the electronic edition of The Brothers Karamazov on three continents.
"Woman Arrested for Facebook Poke".
"Pigs Defeating RFID-Enabled Feeding Systems". (Via Bruce Schneier.)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Now this would be a cool national flag. (Via BBspot.)
"A nuclear battery the size of a penny".
"Why Your Brain Wants to Waste That Gift Card"
Smart grids.
Addictive free iPhone game of the day: Line Up.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Physicist wants to test Hyperdrive Propulsion in Large Hadron Collider"
What's Next for the Netflix Algorithms?
"The 10 Creepiest Unintentionally-Sexual Ads Of All Time"
"Italian scientist reproduces Shroud of Turin"
High-tech "Sabbath elevators" may not really be kosher:
...The rabbis wrote that this new technology, which was explained to them by elevator technicians and engineers in "a written and oral technical opinion," made them aware for the first time that using Shabbos elevators may be a "desecration of the Sabbath."

They did not name the offending technology. But for several years there has been debate among Orthodox rabbis in Israel over whether devices that measure the weight in an elevator car, and adjust power accordingly, effectively make entering a car the equivalent of pressing a button.
Help Barack Obama win the Heisman trophy!
"35 Years of the World's Best Microscope Photography"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Comic of the day: Second monitor.
"How Neutrinos Could Revolutionise Communications with Submarines"
Video of the day: "TimeLapse Typhoon 'Nangka' over Hong Kong". (Via Maximizing Progress.)
"How to Make an 'LotR' Sword"

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

"Net Neutrality: Toward a Stupid Internet" (Ray Niles, The Objective Standard, Winter 2008-2009.)

And a related piece, "Computer Science Professor, Former FCC Official Warns Against Net Neutrality" (Washington Post, 9/25/2009.)
Video of the day: Shady optical illusion. (Via Neatorama.)
"What's the story on jury nullification?"
Today's internet quiz: "Steak House or Gay Bar?" (Via A.T.)
Prison security tip of the day: "Don't Let Hacker Inmates Reprogram Prison Computers". (Via Bruce Schneier.)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Flowchart: "Should I Delete My Tweet?"
"Why Minds Are Not Like Computers"
2009 Ig Nobel Prizes!

My favorite:
MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand - but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand - every day for more than sixty (60) years.

REFERENCE: "Does Knuckle Cracking Lead to Arthritis of the Fingers?", Donald L. Unger, Arthritis and Rheumatism, vol. 41, no. 5, 1998, pp. 949-50.
"Teen's DIY Energy Hacking Gives African Village New Hope":
"With a windmill, I could stay awake at night reading instead of going to bed at seven with the rest of Malawi," he writes. But more importantly, "with a windmill, we'd finally release ourselves from the troubles of darkness and hunger... A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom."
What's Inside a Cup of Coffee?

Monday, October 05, 2009

"The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products."

Diana's commentary.
New "Simon's Cat" video: "Hot Spot". And from a few months ago, "Fly Guy".
"Court order served over Twitter".
Parkour dose of the day.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Schroedinger's virus.
A real use for Twitter.
"Ten New Details on the Apple Tablet"
The ultimate breakfast machine.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Off topic: The October 1, 2009 Denver Post has published my health care OpEd, "The Real Stakes".

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Clever bad guy trick:
During a daring bank robbery in Sweden that involved a helicopter, the criminals disabled a police helicopter by placing a package with the word "bomb" near the helicopter hangar, thus engaging the full caution/evacuation procedure while they escaped.
"The Wisconsin Tourism Federation has changed its name, after being made aware that its acronym WTF had become crude internet slang." (Via Instapundit.)
UK English essays for university admission to be graded by computer. (Via BBspot.)
"Only 3 countries in the world have more people than Facebook"
"MIT Scientist Explains OLEDs by Electrocuting a Pickle"