Sunday, October 31, 2010

Taking Halloween home decoration to a new height:

Halloween video of the day: "How to Carve a Jack-O-Lantern"



(Via The Wolf Files.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

[Off-topic] "Why I'm Voting Straight-Ticket Democrat on Tuesday"
Because I want to support President Obama's agenda and continue his string of domestic and foreign policy successes, including:

1) Getting the federal budget deficit under control

2) Getting our economy back on track

3) Guaranteeing universal health care, while making sure everyone who likes their current health plan gets to keep it

4) Reducing unemployment to near-record lows

5) Getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan and getting our enemies abroad to stop hating us

6) Fighting for the rights of gays serving in the military

7) Changing the rancorous tone in Washington and moving us in a "post-partisan" direction

...Wait, what's that? ...Hang on a sec

[Quick internet search]

...Um, never mind

Friday, October 29, 2010

"What Smartphone Makers Can Learn From the Sewing Machine Patent War".

(Congratulations to Adam Mossoff for getting his article mentioned in the WSJ!)
"16 Funniest Facebook CAPTCHAS"
The "mimic octopus" can imitate as many as 15 different sea creatures:



More information.

(Via Marginal Revolution.)
Information rage.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Was a time traveller captured on film in 1928?" (Via Rand Simberg.)
"Robotic Limbs that Plug into the Brain"
Software to predict earthquakes can also predict street crime.
"45 Photos From Clever, Sometimes Unbelievable Perspectives"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"The inferno inside a jet engine is hotter than the surface of the sun and would melt the turbine's blades if not for some very clever management of airflow." (Via ALDaily.)
Hersh: "Should we be worried about a cyber war?"
Impossible gears:

How to make a penny:



And it only costs 2 cents! (Via Marginal Revolution.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How a F-22 engineer saved another driver's life by crashing into him on purpose:
Duane slammed on the gas, pulled ahead of the renegade truck, and let it rear end him. Risky? Stupid? Incredibly smart!

"Basic physics," explained Duane. "If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together." And they did. You see, you dummy? Basic physics.

The driver, who had suffered a heart attack and passed out at the wheel, survived, thanks to daring Duane and the power of science.
Related story.
Programmable shape-changing blobs.

I'm just glad nothing could ever go wrong with this technology. (Via @TreyPeden.)
The best break-dancing surgical robot video I've seen so far:

Cubelets: Buy A Robot Swarm For $300

Monday, October 25, 2010

Clever used book arbitrage:
I make a living buying and selling used books. I browse the racks of thrift stores and library book sales using an electronic bar-code scanner. I push the button, a red laser hops about, and an LCD screen lights up with the resale values.

It feels like being God in his own tiny recreational casino; my judgments are sure and simple, and I always win because I have foreknowledge of all bad bets. The software I use tells me the going price, on Amazon Marketplace, of the title I just scanned, along with the all-important sales rank, so I know the book's prospects immediately. I turn a profit every time.
(Via Marginal Revolution.)
Physics video of the day: "Flow of ants and ants as fluids"



Lots more cool fluid dynamics videos here.
"How Facebook decides what to show you". (Via Kottke.)
Fastest way to run the bases?
Mathematicians computed that this path around the bases is, theoretically, the fastest. The red lines show the direction the runner is accelerating.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Off topic: Two of my health care pieces have just been published:

The October 23, 2010 Denver Post has published "The 'Right To Health Care Choice'is right for Colorado".

Capitalism Magazine just posted, "A Medical Doctor Explains the Pros and Cons of ObamaCare: An Interview with Dr. Paul Hsieh".

Friday, October 22, 2010

"Why 'Gorilla Arm Syndrome' Rules Out Multitouch Notebook Displays"
Bird flocks.
"Stan Lee To Create Futuristic Romeo and Juliet Comic"
"Every visit to the dentist is an episode in the Stockholm syndrome..." (Via MedGadget.)

(FWIW, we don't have the dentists' side of the story here...)
"Why did my iPad Fail as a Laptop Replacement During my Vacation?"
More fun optical illusions.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

UK government: "Every email and website to be stored".

To "tackle crime or terrorism", of course.
"How the Allies Used Math to Figure out Nazi Germany's Tank Production". Related story.
"Why Japanese Love Robots (And Americans Fear Them)". (Via Marginal Revolution.)
Video of the day: Slow, deep, Mandelbrot zoom.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Couple becomes pregnant because they lost their iPod Touch (with rhythm method app).

(Via GMSV.)
10 brutal Facebook ownings. Some might be NSFW.

(FWIW, I don't agree with the sentiments in #7 -- but it is a clever analogy!)
Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) explains how to write humor. (Via ALDaily.)
Cool behind-the-scenes photos from Empire Strikes Back. (Via BBspot.)
Erik Demaine talks about recreational computer science inspired by Martin Gardner.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"The Promise of Fusion: Energy Miracle or Mirage?" (Via SciTechDaily.)
Pictures of water balloons without the balloons.



(Via Mental Floss.)
Twitter Mood Predicts The Stock Market
"Smart Machines Evolve On The Battlefield"

Monday, October 18, 2010

The World According to San Francisco. (Via Boing Boing.)
"Mountain goats scramble up a near-vertical wall in Italy". These related pics are also awesome.



(Via @Rob_Abiera.)
If you're a fan of Law and Order: SVU then you'll enjoy this blog by federal sex-crimes prosecutor Allison Leotta which discusses what each episode got right (and wrong) -- The Prime-Time Crime Review.

(Via Orin Kerr.)
Oatmeal: "7 things you really don't need to take a photo of"
Kenneth Anderson: "Google Cars Drive Themselves, and Robots and the Law"

Friday, October 15, 2010

How John Elway travels incognito:
When he's out and about near his Denver home, former Broncos quarterback John Elway has come up with a novel way to travel incognito -- he wears his own jersey. "I do that all the time here," the 50-year-old Hall of Famer told me. "I go to the mall that way. They know it's not me because they say there's no way Elway would be wearing his own jersey in the mall. So it actually is the safest thing to do."
Shortest book titles. (Via GMSV.)
Is the Milky Way square?
"Army finds simple blood test to identify mild brain trauma"
Video of the day: "Water Droplet Bouncing on a Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Array". (Via BBspot.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

X-shaped asteroid? Or Klingon Bird-of-Prey visiting the solar system?

I sense a cover-up here! (Via A.M.)
Advanced microphone can pick out single voices in a mob of people.

I'm just glad this technology won't ever be used against us by a future totalitarian government!
Newcaster teleprompter hacked:



(Via Instapundit.)
Wearable robots.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Economics of helium. (Via MR.)
Superman's Facebook nightmare. (Via BBspot.)
Can the government recall a book?
The Economist on biometrics and the dangerous of over-reliance on such "fuzzy" systems.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Why You See 'Free Public WiFi' In So Many Places".

Related story
from NPR.
New colored electronic ink with high refresh rate and low power consumption.

Still a few years away from commercial use, however. (Via @AriArmstrong.)
The true size of Africa.
Autonomous robots to guard part of US nuclear stockpile.

As long as it's not called SkyNet...

Monday, October 11, 2010

911 call of the day: Lost elephant

Scotch tape is a tiny particle accelerator.
An innovation in the simple cupholder. (Via @GuyKawasaki.)
Helicopter? Airplane? Or a little of both? (Via David Jilk.)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Bruce Schneier overview of Stuxnet.
Video of the day: "How Not To Fire a Watermelon Out of a Huge Slingshot"



(Via A.B.)
Rand Simberg on alternatives to rockets for space travel:
There have been plenty of alternative means of getting into space proposed over the years that don't employ traditional chemical rocket engines. The list presented here isn't exhaustive but representative, and they fall into four broad categories -- cannons, external-energy vehicles, static structures and dynamic structures.
(Via Instapundit.)
E-mail vs. snail-mail infographic.
Paul Graham: "Where to see Silicon Valley". (Via GusVanHorn.)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

JK Rowling hints at three more Harry Potter novels. (Via @briggsb.)
"How the Internet Works". (Via BBspot.)
Need to create some parallel universes? There's an App for that!
"The strange but inevitable rise of pornography for the Amazon Kindle"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

"Young Boy Becomes First Human to Live With a Permanent 'Robot Heart'". (Via Instapundit.)
"Moon Landing: Unrated Director's Cut to be released". No, really. (Via @BBspot.)
Oatmeal: "If you do this in an e-mail, I hate you".
Mutant worms produce miles of super-strong spider silk.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

50 images that went viral this year. (Via GMSV.)

A couple of my favorites:



Video of the day: "How Ink Is Made"



Love the rich colors! (Via Kottke.)
Do monkeys possess self-awareness?
Great photo gallery of carnivorous plants.

Monday, October 04, 2010

2010 Ig Nobel Prizes.
TMA (Too Many Acronyms). HT: ALD.
E-books are disrupting the publishing industry. (Via Maximizing Progress.)
Video of the day: Father and son build a homemade spacecraft.



(Via @TreyPeden.)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Off topic: PajamasMedia has just published my short, tongue-in-cheek piece, "2010: Dawn of the Terran Empire?"
"First Beer Brewed For Drinking in Space Will Undergo Testing in Low-Gravity Pub"
Bruce Schneier discusses the government's latest internet surveillance proposals.
"How to Build a Warp Drive Using Metamaterials"
Need an air strike? There's an App for that.
How do real dogs treat cyber-dogs?
Results were mixed, depending on a number of factors, including the age of the real dog and the social situation in which the interactions occurred. There were, however, very strong responses from dogs in scenarios in which they felt that the AIBO might be about to indulge in some cyber food-pilfering.
The link also includes a short video. (Via Marginal Revolution.)