Friday, July 31, 2009

New optical forces.
"From Sand to Silicon: The Making of a Chip". (Via DRB.)
Evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa believes that women are getting better looking over time:
Physical attractiveness is a highly heritable trait, which disproportionately increases the reproductive success of daughters much more than that of sons.

If more attractive parents have more daughters and if physical attractiveness is heritable, it logically follows that women over many generations gradually become more physically attractive on average than men.
(Via GMSV.)
"40 Fantastic Time-Wasting Web Sites"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"How To Hijack 'Every iPhone In The World'":
If you receive a text message on your iPhone any time after Thursday afternoon containing only a single square character, Charlie Miller would suggest you turn the device off. Quickly.

That small cipher will likely be your only warning that someone has taken advantage of a bug that Miller and his fellow cybersecurity researcher Collin Mulliner plan to publicize Thursday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas. Using a flaw they've found in the iPhone's handling of text messages, the researchers say they'll demonstrate how to send a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that can give a hacker complete power over any of the smart phone's functions. That includes dialing the phone, visiting Web sites, turning on the device's camera and microphone and, most importantly, sending more text messages to further propagate a mass-gadget hijacking...
Healing wounds with nanodiamonds. (Via Howard Roerig.)
When family and Facebook collide.
A look back at 16 breakthrough notebook computers.
"Artificial brain '10 years away'". (Via Futurehead.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Has Wikipedia Created a Rorschach Cheat Sheet?"
Time-lapse video of the construction of Disneyland. (Via Howard Roerig.)
Bacterial computers solve math problem. (Via Technovelgy.)
Libel lawsuits stemming from Twitter content.
Impressive map of social media websites.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Fix Your Terrible, Insecure Passwords in Five Minutes"
"An Economic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Business Model".

(Just as an aside, I regard it as an error to label this sort of theft and plunder as a form of "capitalism". True capitalism is the system which recognizes and respects individual rights, rather than violating them.)
The electric grid is still very vulnerable to EMP weaponry.
100 great movie lines in 200 seconds. (Via Randy Barnett.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Microsoft Shamelessly Rips Off Apple For Upcoming Stores"
"Can Neuroscientists Read Your Mind with fMRI?"
USB street sign.
"If I had super strength, could I squeeze coal into diamonds?"
Overview of augmented intelligence.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Scientists Worry Machines May Outsmart Man" (NYT)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Off topic: The PajamasMedia website has just published my latest health care OpEd entitled, "The Federal Health Care Muggers".

Friday, July 24, 2009

Build the guidance computer from Apollo 11:
This report describes my successful project to build a working reproduction of the 1964 prototype for the Block I Apollo Guidance Computer. The AGC is the flight computer for the Apollo moon landings, with one unit in the command module and one in the LEM.
(Via BBspot.)
6 Top Bomb Shelters". (Via Instapundit.)
Personal submarine. (Via Howard Roerig.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"How to Type with a Foreign Accent"
Popsicle drive.
"100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About"
"43 weird things said in job interviews"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seven great college pranks.
"Where Exactly Does Your Garbage Go After You Toss It Out?"
"How do you sneeze in a spacesuit? Very carefully."
North Korea's Twitter feed. It's probably a hoax, but still funny.

(Via Instapundit.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Using "cloaking" techniques to shield buildings from seismic shock waves:
...[Physicist Sebastian] Guenneau said that it's possible to shield an object, even a building, so that an incoming earthquake wave behaves as if the object weren't there. The building in the path of the wave is like a rock in afast-flowing river, he said. "It's the same picture, the wave pattern, as for a water wave that is propagating in a river, and it's bent smoothly around the rock and will be reconstructed around the rock." The object, or building, is "invisible" to the mechanical waves.
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh analyzes the Kindle book deletion controversy.
"Inside iPhone 3.0's Remote Wipe feature"
"The Anatomy Of The Twitter Attack"

Monday, July 20, 2009

$23 quadrillion Visa bill. (Via BBspot.)
Cure for radiation sickness? (Via Howard Roerig.)
Gizmodo 1979.
"Survival School: Why more Americans are learning to pick locks, bust out of handcuffs, and avoid surveillance."
Classic Richard Feynman lectures now available online. More info here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Laptop Security While Crossing Borders"
Trojan Blackberries:
A Blackberry update that a United Arab Emirates service provider pushed out to its customers contains U.S.-made spyware that would allow the company or others to siphon and read their e-mail and text messages, according to a researcher who examined it.

The update was billed as a "performance enhancement patch" by the UAE-based phone and internet service provider Etisalat, which issued the patch for its 100,000 subscribers.
More info here.
New solution to the Traveling Salesman Problem?
"Three funny PSAs from the future". (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Corpse-powered zombie robots! (Via Michael Williams.)
"World's Fastest Everything", e.g., gun shooter, clapper, etc.

(Via Kottke.)
Expiration dates. (Via BBspot.)
Mathematical modelling of revolutions and tipping points.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Password hint fail. (Via Radley Balko.)
"The most Jewish Greek myth".
"Swearing mitigates pain".
"The Seven Types of Employees You Meet at Best Buy". (Via Rand Simberg.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to disappear: PI Frank Ahearn, who used to help find missing people, tells how to not be found. Here's an excerpt:
...There are three key steps to disappearing. First, destroy old information about yourself. Call your video store or electricity company and replace your old, correct phone number with a new, invented one. Introduce spelling mistakes into your utility bills. Create a PO Box for your mail. Don't use your credit cards and the like.

Then, create bogus information to fool private investigators who might be looking for you. Go to one city and apply for an apartment. Rent a car in another one.

The next, final step is the most important one. Move from point A to point B. Create a dummy company to pay your bills. Only use prepaid mobile phones and change them every month. It is nearly impossible to find out where you are unless you make a mistake.
(Via Kottke.)
"Detecting consciousness in a totally locked-in patient". (Via Brian Schwartz.)
NCBI ROLF features real-life research papers with funny topics.
"19 of the top 20 supercomputers in the world are running some form of Linux"

Monday, July 13, 2009

"10 Stunning (And Useful) Stats About Twitter"
Richard Feynman explains how trains stay on their tracks. BTW, it's not the flanges.
Single molecule optical transistor. (Via Howard Roerig.)
Taking your trash can down the elevator may kill you.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Multi-Galaxy Collision Caught in Action"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Farhad Manjoo's skepticism about Google's Chrome OS.
Great graphic on the history of the American flag.

(Via Cool Infographics.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Psychology article of the day: "The Nature of Temptation: Why those who speak against vice so often fall for it"
"E-mail, adultery, and Mark Sanford"
One millimeter robot crawls through your bloodstream to unblock your arteries.
"Hitler Finds Out That He's A Joke On YouTube". (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Five Things Google's Chrome OS Will Do for Your Netbook"
"Version 1.0 of today's most popular applications, a visual tour"
"Invisibility cloak modified to make you see things that aren't there"
Upcoming movie based on the videogame "Asteroids"?!?
"15 Creepiest Vintage Ads of All Time". (Via Radley Balko.)

And 10 more ironic ads. (Via Neatorama.)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The internet may be causing less diversity in baby names.
Invention of the day: Wireless Taser shotgun projectile.
10 Stunning Ceilings. (Via Gizmodo.)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Don't you just hate it when your wife blows your cover as head of British overseas intelligence on Facebook?
The wife of the new head of MI6 has caused a major security breach and left his family exposed after publishing photographs and personal details on Facebook...
(Via Instapundit.)
Does the Kindle help you concentrate better on reading? (Via Marginal Revolution.)
"Brain scans show how hypnosis can paralyze a limb"

Monday, July 06, 2009

"Guess which one is the robot?"
Pentagon researchers trying to create self-assembling "physical intelligent" systems.

Nope, I can't imagine anything could possibly go wrong with that idea... (Via Cosmic Log.)
Farhad Manjoo of Slate really likes Firefox 3.5.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

How the Declaration of Independence (the physical document) is preserved.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Google Tricycle is coming.
A 13-year old boy reviews a Sony Walkman:
...In some classes in school they let me listen to music and one teacher recognised it and got nostalgic.

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly -- effective, if a little laboured.
(Via Transterrestrial Musings.)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is there a 62 million year mass extinction cycle based on the Sun's oscillations relative to the galactic plane? (Via Cosmic Log.)
"Cool Search Engines That Are Not Google"
"How McDonald's Conquered France". Interestingly enough,
...[T]he quarter-pounded conquest of France was not the result of some fiendish American plot to subvert French food culture. It was an inside job, and not merely in the sense that the French public was lovin' it -- the architects of McDonald's strategy in France were French.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"Researchers at a California National Lab will soon attempt to start self-sustaining fusion reactions using the world's largest lasers"
Wikipedia vs. NY Times controversy regarding suppressing information on escaped reporter.

I'm fine with keeping a temporary lid on newsworthy-but-sensitive information like this in order to protect human life. But I hope that if the New York Times wants other news sources to suppress a story in order to protect one of their reporters, then they'd be equally eager to suppress a newsworthy story in order to save the life of a non-NYT hostage in similar circumstances.

If not, then perhaps reporters should think twice before working for them...
Extreme life.