Friday, December 30, 2011

Off topic: The 12/30/2011 TownHall.com has published my latest health care policy OpEd, "Who Will Your Doctor Work For Under ObamaCare?"
For the purposes of international trade, Marvel would prefer that X-men mutants not be considered human.
"What is it like to have an understanding of very advanced mathematics?" (Via R.H.)
"The Curse of Cow Clicker: How a Cheeky Satire Became a Videogame Hit"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Biometric butt identification.
"Awesome mathematical sculptures made out of playing cards, office supplies". (Via MR.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Best Table Tennis Shots of 2011":



(Via Stellar.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Admin note: Posting will be lighter than usual this next week because of the holidays.

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Craziest possible mountain biking video":

"The world's strangest optical illusions"
"Psychic Fails: 2011 Failed and Forgotten Predictions"
"The Magic and Miracle of the Marketplace: Christmas 1964 vs. 2011 - There's No Comparison"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Off topic: PJMedia has published my latest OpEd, "Would a President Gingrich Ban the Birth Control Pill?"
"Is setting yourself on fire a good way to treat snakebite?"
"The Great Battles of History, in Miniature"
10 cool ant farms.
"IBM's Five Predictions for the Next Five Years"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Inside North Korea's Air Koryo, The World's Only 1-Star Airline"
What your toilet paper says about you:

"Swallowed pen still works 25 years later". (Via Doug Mataconis.)

Here's the case report from the British Medical Journal.

CT scan image and working pen after 25 years (click on image to see full size) :


"Experimental HIV Vaccine Approved By FDA For Human Testing". (Via @SupaTrey.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"MIT Expands Free Online Courses, Offering Certificates"
Infographic of the day: "How your Amazon order reaches you"
The 10 Most Overused LinkedIn Profile Buzzwords
The history of television as told by puppets:



Baby Boomers will love this. Younger folks may or may not remember many of these shows. (Via J.W.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

"If Jupiter is gas giant does it have a surface that you could theoretically stand on?"
Fascinating article from earlier this year: "Inside the Secret Service".
10 Pieces of Ancient Graffitti, Translated
Porcupines are surprisingly expressive.

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Banishing consciousness: The mystery of anaesthesia"
The Internet Justice League!
"Terrifying spider-like robot does cartwheels; hangs from webs".



(Via Kelly V.)
"Future Riot Shields Will Suffocate Protestors with Low Frequency Speakers".

I'm sure governments will only use this technology for good, not for evil.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Hexapod Robot Turns Into A Sphere And Back Again":

Glenn Reynolds:: "Why the Proposed Car Cellphone Ban Is Wrong"
"Angry Birds Not a Time Waster".
Clever bookends. (Via Nick B.)

I like this the best:

"The 7 Dumbest Things Students Do When Cramming for Exams"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The largest-ever computer simulation modelled "400 billion particles in a box about two thirds of the volume of the universe".
"Trillion-frame-per-second video". (Via Gideon R.)

Related NYT article, "Speed of Light Lingers in Face of New Camera":
"You can think of it as slow motion," Andreas Velten, a postdoctoral researcher who is a member of the design team, said during a recent technical presentation. "It is so much slow motion you can see the light itself move. This is the speed of light: there's nothing in the universe that moves faster."
Here's the related BBC story, "MIT's trillion frames per second light-tracking camera", including a still photo showing light propagating through a Coke bottle:

"Lightning Foundry: World's Largest Tesla Coils To Research Lightning"

Journalist Barbara Peterson gets a job with the TSA and reports, "My Life as an Airport Screener". (Note: The story is from a few years ago. Via Bruce Schneier.)
"11 Ironic and Puzzling E-Books"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Update on high-temperature superconductors.
The changing face of Superman: 1939 to 2011. (Via GMSV.)

"New laws of robotics to be explored at upcoming confab". (Via Tyler Cowen.)
"An Excellent Visual Comparison of Earthquake Strength":



(Via Howard R.)

Monday, December 12, 2011

"How Doctors Die"
Scott Aaronson responds to the earlier paper on quantum states. (Via David Jilk.)
Chart of the day:"The Rules of Magic, According to the Greatest Fantasy Sagas of All Time"
Neuroscientist Henrik Ehrsson uses mannequins, rubber arms and virtual reality to create out-of-body illusions.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Business jargon: "I Don't Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore"
"The 45 Most Powerful Images Of 2011". (Via Trey P.)
"Canada is switching to Polymer Money to thwart counterfeiters".
"How the Potato Changed the World". (Via Kottke.)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

"The Difference between Spider-Man and Santa Claus Is Very Small":

"The 10 Most Hilariously Geeky Fake Twitter Streams"
Android phone name generator. (Via Arthur Z.)
"Pressure grows for a Turing pardon". (Via Luka Y.)
Is the quantum wave function a real physical object? (Via MR.)

Original article, "The quantum state cannot be interpreted statistically". (I am not qualified to say much more than what's in the Nature summary.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"MIT's Scott Aaronson Explains Quantum Computing".

Here's his NYT piece, "Quantum Computing Promises New Insights, Not Just Supermachines".
Michael Williams: "Risk and Reward Biases"
"The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix"
"Superhydrophobic spray means no more clothes to wash". (Via C.A.P.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

"Expedia on how one extra data field can cost $12m"
"Here's How People Look at Your Facebook Profile -- Literally"
NASA discovers planet in the "habitable zone".
"We want something clean!" (Click on image to see full size.)

Monday, December 05, 2011

The economics of NYC taxicab medallions.

Because these are restricted by the NYC government, the going price for a medallion is now $1 million. The price over time has outstripped even gold, making it one of the best "investments" ever:

(Of course, this is an artifact of the government restriction on medallion supply.)
The most hated business buzzwords.
"China Announces 'Extraterrestrial Post Office'"
"The Legal and Political Issues of Space Debris Removal". (Via Rand Simberg.)

Friday, December 02, 2011

"Seasteading: Cities on the ocean".

Of course, if some land-based hostile power gets upset at these floating cities, they just have to lob a few missiles at them and it's, "Bye Bye, Libertarian Paradise".
"Welcome to Prineville, Oregon: Population, 800 Million".

A look inside Facebook's massive new data center.
Dissolving fruit labels. (Via Kelly V.)
Facebook lists the "most shared stories of 2011". (Via Mashable.)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

"Now You Can Buy Your Very Own Robot Swarm"
"Digital Narcotics May Be the Future of Drugs". (Via Francisco G.)
A single air rifle may have been the most influential weapon in American history:



Could be a great plot element for Harry Turtledove-style alternative history SF novel! (Via B.E. and J.W.)
"Stradivarius violin recreated from CAT scan, 'sounds amazingly similar'". (Via Rand Simberg.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Off topic: Today's PJMedia has published my latest OpEd, "Screening For Terrorists vs. Screening For Cancer".
"Man with jetpack races actual jets". Includes video. (Via Don H.)
Stanford University professor Dan Boneh is teaching a free online cryptography class starting January 2012. (Via Bruce Schneier.)
"One of biggest information technology companies in the world to abolish e-mails"
"12 Famous Magic Tricks and Illusions Exposed"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Interesting background on Susan Kare, "the woman who designed the original icons for the Macintosh, including a never-before-seen look at her initial sketches for some of them." (Via Kottke.)
Carbon nanotube 'space camouflage' can be used to cloak three-dimensional objects.
You can now buy the ultimate treehouse. (Click on image to see full size.)


Here's the commercial site.
"Why our brains make us laugh". (Via D.D.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thailand's government warns FB users they could face criminal prosecution "if they press 'share' or 'like' on images or articles considered unflattering to the Thai monarchy."

Even more alarming, this was used against a Thai-born US citizen who wrote a book about the Thai monarchy while living in the US, then was arrested when he visited Thailand for medical reasons.

A few related stories from the NYT:
"American Arrested for Insulting Thai King", 27 May 2011
"A High-Tech War Against Slights to a Centuries-Old Monarchy", 2 Oct 2011
"20-Year Sentence for Text Messages Against Thai King", 23 Nov 2011
(Via /.)
"Palantir, the War on Terror's Secret Weapon".

This incredibly powerful data-mining technology can clearly be used for either good or evil purposes. Hence, I find it both super-cool -- and super-creepy -- at the same time.

Update: The original link has gone bad.  Here's the revised story link.  Here is a printable version.
"These 18 Napkin Sketches Will Teach You Everything You Need To Know About Saving Money"

My favorite (click to see full size):


Carl Richards also has a very serious piece in the 11/8/2011 New York Times on his own personal financial errors, "How a Financial Pro Lost His House".
"How To Make A Cheaper Quantum Computer"
Interactive chart showing Internet "choke points" where governments to control information. (Via @jerrybrito.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Psychopaths' brains are anatomically different from normal.

Specifically, they seem less able to experience guilt or fear. Of course, the big question is whether the anatomic difference is a cause or an effect of the psychopathology. The MRI studies can only establish a correlation. (Via Transterrestrial Musings.)
Computerized contact lens. (Via @SupaTrey.)
Black Friday holiday shoppers: "8 Germiest Places in the Mall"
Gary Loveman used to be an economics professor at Harvard Business School and is now CEO of Caesar's Entertainment Corporation (one of the largest casino companies). He notes: "There are three things that can get you fired from Caesars: Stealing, sexual harassment and running an experiment without a control group."

I enjoyed the full podcast (21 minutes).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


(Regular posting will resume tomorrow.)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"The Amazing History and the Strange Invention of the Bendy Straw"

I especially liked this excerpt from the original 1936 patent application:
Applicant has met a problem long existing in the art. A view of any soda fountain on a hot day, with the glasses showing innumerable limp and broken straws drooping over the edges thereof, will immediately show that this problem has long existed.

Where we have the conditions where certainly the straw is old, where corrugated tubing is old, and where no inventor, during those years, has seen fit or has been able to solve this problem, whereas applicant did, that situation alone is prima facie evidence of invention.

Oatmeal: "Thanksgiving as a kid vs. Thanksgiving as an adult".
The Turkey-Tryptophan Myth
Modern turkeys have been bred with extra-large breasts, to meet the high demand for breast meat. These turkeys are physically unable to copulate naturally, so they all require artificial insemination.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Can the iPhone 4S replace a 'real' digital camera?"
"10 Mesmerizing Time-Lapse Videos"
"Scientists invent lightest material on Earth. What now?":
Scientists have invented a new material that is so lightweight it can sit atop a fluffy dandelion without crushing the little fuzzy seeds.

It's so lightweight, styrofoam is 100 times heavier...

As for the uses of such a material? That's still to be determined.

25 Worst Passwords of 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Doctors noting increase in 'sleep texting'"
"USB Stick Contains Dual-Core Computer, Turns Any Screen Into an Android Station". (Via David Jilk.)
"The End of Cheap Coffee: Why the Diner Staple Is About to Become a Luxury". I hope this isn't true!

And in case you missed this, "Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever":



(Here's the transcript.)
Antikythera mechanism wristwatch. (Via Howard Roerig.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Awesome Star Wars-themed advertisements for a UK PC store. Click through to watch the short videos.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Oatmeal: "I love it when Wikipedia asks for donations"
It's a tie and a smartphone screen cleaner!
Save the scrollbar!
"The Science of Sarcasm". Really.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"MIT's Technology Review archives going back to 1899 are now live. Here's January 1899." (Via Alex Knapp.)

Meanwhile, from Technology Review 2011: "Researchers Create a Pituitary Gland from Scratch". (Via Instapundit.)
"Attosecond laser may be fast enough to capture electrons in flight"
"12 Things We Buy in a Bad Economy"

So maybe it's been the dastardly Donut Lobby deliberately sabotaging our economy these past few years!
"Brain exam finds signs of awareness in 3 'vegetative' patients"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Glenn Reynolds (and readers) give their initial impressions of the Kindle Fire.
"6 Guys in a Capsule: 520 Days on a Simulated Mars Mission"
The economics of the NBA lockout.
"Want to create a really strong password? Don't ask Google". (Via Bruce Schneier.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wired give a very positive review of the Kindle touch and a much more mixed review of the Kindle Fire.
"Man stacks 3,118 coins on a single dime" (via VAViper):


Here's the video:

"Australia Issuing DC Superhero License Plates". (Click on image to see full size. Via BBspot.)

"When Tweeting Can Cost You Your Job, What About Retweets?"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Matt Ridley: "Is That Scientific Heretic a Genius -- or a Loon?" (Via Instapundit.)
A classic from George Takei's Facebook page.

Yes, that George Takei. Click on image to see full size:

"Upcoming documentary shows world's greatest Tetris players"

Here's the trailer:

"Think your computer is safe? Think again"

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Star Trek Episode Featuring Nazis Airs for the First Time in Germany"


From a related article:
The plethora of Nazi uniforms on a show billed as family viewing was regarded as too provocative in the 1970s especially as at one point it describes Nazi Germany as "the most efficient society ever created".

But now 40 years later public broadcaster ZDF felt it could air the show for the benefit of the legions of German Star Trek lovers who have never seen it...

Doctor Simone Emmelius [editorial director at ZDF]... added, however, that the episode was subject to a German FSK-16 regulation. That meant that nobody under the age of 16 was allowed to watch, and it was shown after 10 o'clock at night so the "audience is capable of questioning the complexity of the episode".
This GIF is not animated. Any subjective motion is an optical illusion. (Click on image to see full size):

Interview with firefighter after he helped put out a marijuana fire:

"The world's smallest electric car - made of a single, carefully designed molecule"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hip Fracture Update: 10 Weeks

Off topic: I recently had my 10-week postoperative check for my left hip fracture. As you can see from the image below, the fracture shows considerable healing and improvement from the earlier 6-week image (click on image to see full size):



The image on the left is the most recent 10-week image; the image on the right is the earlier 6-week image. The arrows point to the fracture line.

For reference, here is the matching CT scan of the hip just prior to surgery (click on image to see full size):



In particular, the fracture shows good bony union on the 10-week image. There is no breakdown of the fracture repair site, and no bending or deformity of the three titanium screws which would indicate abnormal stress at the repair site.

Nor is there any sign of the complication known as "avascular necrosis" or AVN, which is when the bone of the femoral head starts to die off due to inadequate blood supply (a known risk from certain types of hip fractures). If I had developed AVN, then this would have meant that the attempted repair failed and I'd likely need a second surgery for artificial hip replacement.

My orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Steve Morgan) has now given me the green light to get rid of the crutches and start walking with cane. I'm continuing my physical therapy and am now much more mobile. He'll continue to monitor my progress over the next few months, but for now everything is looking good.

Diana deserves tremendous credit for putting up with my relative immobility these past 10 weeks, including doing all the unpleasant household chores that I used to do (like cleaning up the kitty litter).

And we'd like to extend our thanks to all our friends who have offered their support and encouragement during this challenging time!

Earlier posts on this topic:
"My Hip Injury", August 31, 2011
"Hip Injury Aftermath", September 6, 2011
"Open Letter to Apple: My iPad and My Hip Fracture", September 7, 2011
"Is the stench of massed zombies toxic?"
"Supreme Court justice on GPS tracking"
"The McRib as Arbitrage"
"NCBI ROFL: Clueless doctor sleeps through math class, reinvents calculus… and names it after herself". (Via Andrew D.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

College majors, salaries, and unemployment rates.

Hey, where's puppetry on this list?
"Astounding 3D effects projected onto a building's facade". (Via Howard R.)
The moray eel has a second set of Alien-like jaws.


More information here.
"1 in 5 journal articles have fraudulent authorship". (Via J.K.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

"How the Post Office Deciphers Bad Handwriting". (Via Neatorama.)
Bizarre international borders. (Via BBspot.)
"The Transcension Hypothesis: Do Advanced Civilizations Leave Our Universe?"

Obviously, these are very speculative (if not downright arbitrary) ideas -- but at least they are potential fodder for science fiction.
"Why your Facebook feed is crammed with visual gags".

Monday, November 07, 2011

"Do a Barrel Roll" and 8 other Google Easter Eggs

Update: Fixed bad link.

Update #2: One reader notes, "It isn't mentioned in the article but after you do the 'google gravity' easter egg, try putting some search text in the box and hitting search. It makes the gravity easter egg twice the fun."
"Deep Intellect: Inside the mind of the octopus"
"Three new members join the Periodic Table":
The General Assembly of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) has approved the names of the new elements - including one which will honour the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus.

The elements are numbered 110, 111 and 112 and are called darmstadtium (Ds), roentgenium (Rg) and copernicium (Cn).
(Via Hot Air.)
How Apple dominates the supply chain.
Cool levitating lamp:


(Costs over $1200 at the commercial website.)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Off topic: The 11/6/2011 PJ Media has published my latest OpEd, "In Praise of Capitalist Inequality".

Saturday, November 05, 2011

This is by far the best 2-cello version of "Welcome to the Jungle" that I've ever heard:



(Via Washington Post "Classical Musicians Gone Wild?" and @JPFreire.)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Each downloaded book does make your Kindle weigh slightly more:
Although the electrons were already present, keeping them still rather than allowing them to float around takes up extra energy -- about a billionth of a microjoule per bit of data.

Using Einstein's E=mc² formula, which states that energy and mass are directly related, Prof Kubiatowicz calculated that filling a 4GB Kindle to its storage limit would increase its weight by a billionth of a billionth of a gram, or 0.000000000000000001g.

This is roughly equivalent to the weight of a small virus, while the equivalent number of books -- about 3,500 -- would weigh approximately two tons.
(Via Marginal Revolution.)
"Half Of Young Professionals Value Facebook Access, Smartphone Options Over Salary".

As the article notes:
This technology addiction represents a major opportunity for employers looking to add to their bottom lines while recruiting top talent. For just a few simple workplace concessions (say, allowing employees to choose an iPhone over a BlackBerry, and opening up access to social networks), recruits could be more likely to accept job offers -- and at a lower salary. One in four college students, according to the report, said issues like these -- while likely baffling to older generations -- would represent key factors in their decision to accept a job offer.
"It's Complicated: 5 Puzzling International Borders". (Via BBspot.)
Clever cable management tip:

Using Bitcoin to create an "anonymous, transparent, cheat-proof" lottery with 99% payout. (Via @Zooko.)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

What really happens to the human body if exposed to the vacuum of outer space? (Via Instapundit.)
The astounding longevity of Windows XP.

Heck, my workplace still uses XP because of its stability and because some of our mission-critical specialty software does not work well -- if at all -- with Win7. (Via BBspot.)
"Verify That You Have Good Scotch -- With Lasers":
Even better -- you only need to give up a single drop. The drop of whiskey is placed on a transparent plastic chip. Then two optical fibers are placed in the drop, and the researchers analyze the scattering of light that ensues. As one of the researchers noted, “Whisky turns out to be very interesting: we can not only gather information about the alcohol content, but also the colour and texture. These are dictated by the manufacturing process, which of course influences greatly the type of whisky people enjoy.”
Not sure when the machines can evaluate scotch as accurately as an experienced human taster. But we may reach a "John Henry" moment in scotch tasting sooner than we expect...
"Sculptures whose intention is only evident when they cast a shadow". One example:


More examples here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

"World's most powerful laser to tear apart the vacuum of space"

I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong here! But maybe I'll get to meet my evil doppleganger from the alternate universe who wears a goatee. (Via @debbywitt.)
"His & Her Diary From the Same Day"
"United Airlines tests iPad for 'paperless flight deck'":
The iPad weighs about 1.5 pounds, [Captain Joe] Burns said, while the flight bag containing paper copies of charts and handbooks weighs about 40 pounds. United estimates the savings will be about 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year and 16 million sheets of paper...

What pilots won't be able to do with the iPads -- just like passengers can't -- is turn on the devices during takeoffs and landings...

United pilots also won't be able to play mobile app games like "Angry Birds," sort through their e-mail or watch movies.
(Via Howard Roerig.)
"Robotic venus flytraps catch bugs in mechanical jaws".

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

"Why Texting Turns Us Back Into Teenagers".

Technology may change. Human nature does not.
Using Siri to send a message while driving may still be in violation of no-texting-while-driving laws.
"Our bodies are a global marketplace where bacteria trade genes". (Via @MatthewBowdish.)
The anatomy of an agency.

Monday, October 31, 2011

This humorous video explains "Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever"

Overiew of machine "mind reading".
How to select a good on-screen UI font. (Via MeFi.)
Wine tasting is subject to numerous cognitive fallacies and biases.

One example from the article:
In 2001, Frederic Brochet conducted two experiments at the University of Bordeaux.

In one experiment, he got 54 oenology (the study of wine tasting and wine making) undergraduates together and had them taste one glass of red wine and one glass of white wine. He had them describe each wine in as much detail as their expertise would allow. What he didn't tell them was both were the same wine. He just dyed the white one red. In the other experiment, he asked the experts to rate two different bottles of red wine. One was very expensive, the other was cheap. Again, he tricked them. This time he had put the cheap wine in both bottles. So what were the results?

The tasters in the first experiment, the one with the dyed wine, described the sorts of berries and grapes and tannins they could detect in the red wine just as if it really was red. Every single one, all 54, could not tell it was white. In the second experiment, the one with the switched labels, the subjects went on and on about the cheap wine in the expensive bottle. They called it complex and rounded. They called the same wine in the cheap bottle weak and flat.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yes, you can buy a real-life Tron-style lightcycle. Only $55k. Electric version. (Via FOTW.)

Friday, October 28, 2011

"The World's Oldest Diamond Monopoly is Trying to Become an IT Juggernaut"
Alex Knapp: "How to Reboot Star Trek for Modern TV"
"A human-like walking robot that requires no power source":



Just give it a push, as as long as it's on a gentle downslope it will keep walking. (Via MR.)
"12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"The iPhone 37S, Apple's Newest iPhone Of 2042 With Daisy Thought-Recognition Technology, Reviewed"
Heh! He is the 99% (click on image to see full size):

"Switched at Birth Girls Want to Stay With Wrong Moms"
"Translation algorithms used to crack centuries-old secret code"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Man Juggles Two Rubik's Cubes While Solving a Third":

Tampering with video evidence just got a whole lot easier:



(Via Doug W.)
"iPads Change Economics, and Speed, of Hotel Wi-Fi On The Road"
Physical Bitcoins. (Via MR.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Light field camera lets you focus on any part of the image after it's captured":
Traditional cameras capture light and color but light field cameras also captures vector direction of the rays of light. This extra bit of information, combined with the special light field sensor and the powerful software, let’s the camera know the position of the objects in the frame, which is what lets it perform its magic trick, focus selectively on objects AFTER they are captured by the camera.
Commercial website. (Via Carpe Diem.)
"Four-Inch Long Amoebas Found in Mariana Trench"
"The Apple Color Cycle"
Shakespeare Insult Kit.

Select one word from each of the three columns, then preface it with "Thou". (Via GMSV.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Did Earth narrowly avoid an extinction event just over a hundred years ago? (Via Transterrestrial Musings.)
"Researchers decode the secrets of the Archimedes Palimpsest"
Interesting details about the Green Bay Packers community ownership business model.
"OPERA Collaboration to Conduct New Faster Than Light Neutrino Experiment Very Soon"

Friday, October 21, 2011

"Half of all expectant dads gain weight -— up to 30 pounds -- during their partners' pregnancies."
"World's first malaria vaccine works in major trial"
The UK and French versions of Siri are male, whereas the US version is female.
Quantum levitation.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The return of Stuxnet? (Via Instapundit.)

Related NYT story.
"Yale medical school will no longer provide printed course materials. Instead, they're giving students iPads." (Via @Lucidicus.)
Nerd guide to NYC. (Via BBspot.)
"What happens when you put a simple conversation through YouTube's closed-caption translation feature... twice? Pure comedy gold..."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"New Material Makes It Possible To Rewire Circuits on the Fly"
The entire movie Titanic as told through a series of Facebook posts.
What if humans had sex like giraffes?

"The Rise of Crime-Sourcing"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera. (Via @internetcases.)
"This is How You Prevent Your iPhone From Being Stolen" (click on image to see full size):

Exquisitely preserved dinosaur fossil.


(Via @The_Speculist.)
"Criminals find novel uses for 3D printing"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Report: The Apple iPad 3 is entering production.
Siri's pre-programmed humor.
"Physicists Offer Mundane Explanations for Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos". (Via Howard R.)
Joining the "Mile High Club" the hard way: While skydiving.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"One Year-Old Baby Thinks Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work". (Via SDW.)

Irrational tip. (Via Diana and @internetcases.)
"Dennis Ritchie, creator of the C programming language and co-creator of the Unix operating system, has died aged 70". (Via Brian S.)
"Family Lost in Corn Maze Calls 911"
Q: What's the best way to escape the police in a high-speed car chase? Here's a very interesting answer from a former police officer. (Via Kottke.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

GM pranked:
General Motors Co. officials were red-faced on Wednesday after software on a network at its headquarters was programmed to insert a derogatory remark on computer browsers after any mention of Chrysler Group LLC and several competitors.

The prank came to light at GM's unveiling of a battery-powered version of its Chevrolet Spark small car at a five-day event marking the 100th anniversary of GM's Chevrolet brand. The event drew more than 200 journalists from around the world.

Selim Bingol, a GM spokesman, said the auto maker had nothing to do with the prank. GM has since corrected the problem. "This is not funny," he said.

GM officials said computer technicians found an unauthorized software program had been installed on a wireless router, and the program was altering the way Web pages were displayed to insert the word "sucks" after mention of some rivals on computers linked to the network.
TechCrunch's MG Siegler really likes the iPhone 4S.

So does Stephen Fry.

So does David Pogue (NYT).
Apollo 11 was required to go through US customs after returning from the moon.
"Atomic Antennas Transmit Quantum Information Across a Microchip". (Via R.C.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lessons from a victim of a Gmail hacking.
Filing your e-mail into folders is supposedly less efficient than just using search.
Yes, you can buy Wolverine-style claws at Amazon.


(Steel, not adamantium.)
"Three major cognitive errors physicians make".

Much of this analysis applies to non-medical thinking as well.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Richard Feynman on the virtue of curiosity:

15 years ago vs. today (click on image to see full size):


(Via Francisco G.)
Jason Crawford: "What allows Amazon to be so innovative?"
Everything is a remix: "The Matrix"



(Via GMSV.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who was the standard exemplar of evil before Hitler? Short answer: The Pharaoh.
"Want to Find the Higgs Boson? There's an App For That"
Feynman on beauty:

Nicely done time-lapse nature video:

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Why some Chinese do not expect Apple-like innovation in China:
Wang Wei, chairman of the Chinese Museum of Finance, tweeted, "In a society with an authoritarian political system, monopolistic business environment, backward-looking culture and prevalent technology theft, talking about a master of innovation? Not a chance! Don't even think about it"...

One of the most popular postings on Mr. Jobs' legacy came from scholar Wu Jiaxiang. "If Apple is a fruit on a tree, its branches are the freedom to think and create, and its root is constitutional democracy," he wrote. "An authoritarian nation may be able to build huge projects collectively but will never be able to produce science and technology giants." On that, Wang Ran, founder of a boutique investment bank China eCapital Corp., added, "And its trunk is a society whose legal system acknowledges the value of intellectual property."
(Via Mark Perry.)

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Off topic: On 10/4/2011, The Undercurrent published my latest OpEd, "Don't Blame Capitalism for High Health Insurance Costs".

Friday, October 07, 2011

Alex Tabarrok: "The FDA and Personal Medicine".

Likely of interest to 23andMe.com customers. (Via Dr. Matthew Bowdish and Marginal Revolution.)
"Researchers devise brain-machine interface with a sense of touch". (Via David Jilk.)
"The Oddity of the Falling Slinky".



As Diana says:
This floating slinky effect is pretty awesome, but the discussion of it in terms of "information" and "knowledge" makes me cringe! There's no knowledge involved whatsoever! Instead, the removal of the upward force of tension does not happen instantaneously, but rather requires some time to propagate, due to the structure of the slinky.
"World's hottest chili contest leaves two in hospital"

Thursday, October 06, 2011

RIP, Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs 1955-2011.

WSJ obituary. Jobs' best quotes.

Video of his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (and the text):



Great set of pictures over the past 30 years:

"How an Underwater 'Invisibility Cloak' Makes Solid Objects Disappear":

Physicist cracks the mystery of the "barbecue stall". (Via Cliff B.)
"Colored Bacteria Can Be Used to Send Secret Spy Messages"

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

"Baby sharks birthed in artificial uterus"
Crime tip of the day: Do not rob the same bank 3 days in a row.
"How are flight attendants supposed to deal with fornicating passengers?"

Interstingly enough, the one carrier that's relatively tolerant on this issue is the appropriately named Virgin Airlines.
The most popular infographics around the web. In infographic form, of course!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Farhad Manjoo tries to make the case for the Windows phone.

I'll give him credit for a valiant effort, much like watching a good lawyer make the best possible arguments for a client with a weak case.
Artificial leaf. (Via David Jilk.)
"Americans Get a Personal Letter in the Mail Once Every Seven Weeks"
QM update: "New pursuit of Schrödinger's cat".

Monday, October 03, 2011

The law of cyberwar. (Via Volokh Conspiracy.)
How little sleep can you get away with?

Probably not as little as you'd think -- or wish. (Via @bakadesuyo.)
"Would I be able to take down a fully-grown T. rex armed only with my Beretta 92FS 9mm pistol and a full clip? What about with a 12-gauge shotgun?"
The 2011 Ig Nobel Prizes have been awarded.

My favorite is the Medicine prize for research showing that that people don't think as clearly when their bladders are full and they really need to take a leak:
[The cognitive impairment] associated with the extreme urge to void was equivalent to that observed after 24 hr of sustained wakefulness and 0.05% BAC [blood alcohol concentration]...

Driving with a %BAC of 0.05 or above is illegal in many jurisdictions and it is a common public policy approach to ensure that drivers and workers understand the deleterious effects of fatigue and alcohol consumption on performance and the associated risk of accident and injury. Although only a beginning, the current results suggest that in occupational settings where it is necessary to inhibit the urge to void, risk management approaches that consider the role of an extreme urge to void in preventing work-related accidents may be warranted.
The full list of winners is available here.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Which of the "NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Book" should you read? Click on image to see full size:


(Via GMSV.)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

"The physics of the riderless bike"
"Demystifying the Science Behind Acupuncture"
"How Amazon's Silk Fuses Browser, OS and the Cloud"http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif
Bruce Schneier: "Making Fake ATMs Using 3D Printers". Related story.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lots of Amazon/Kindle news of course. I already have an iPad, so I don't need the tablet. But I am stoked about the new Kindle Touch e-readers. Here's a nice writeup, with video demo of the touchscreen.
It's hard to argue with the conclusion of this paper. (Via @shlevy.)
"Taking A Computer Out of Screensaver Mode to See Suspect's Facebook Wall Is a Fourth Amendment Search"
"How Spontaneous Human Combustion Works". (Via Susan W.)
Things pets ate. Veterinary Practice x-ray contest winners. (Via Debby W.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"A few million virtual monkeys are close to re-creating the complete works of Shakespeare by randomly mashing keys on virtual typewriters."

Note: There are some constraints on the program to facilitate the process. (Via @internetcases.)
"Keep your Mac safe from Web security flaws: How to ensure rogue security certificates don't subvert your encryption"
"The evolution of a coffee addict"
The Princess Bride Monopoly Board. Click on image to see full size. (Via Jennifer I.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"How much would I have to hollow out the earth to make the days longer?"
"Firefly and Anti-Fascism Posters Get Professor Threatened with Criminal Charges on University of Wisconsin Campus".

Fortunately, free speech advocates and Firefly fans are speaking out against this nonsense.
"What are the chances that you would be born?" (Via Tim C.)
Moneyball: 8 years later.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cartoon of the day: "Three Logicians Walk Into A Bar". (Via Tim C.)

An actual working mind probe.
Fans of The Office will enjoy this detailed NYT profile of Mindy Kaling (who writes for the show as well as plays Kelly Kapoor).
"Ten Star Trek episodes we're glad they never filmed". (Via Instapundit.)
Are cruise ships the perfect murder location?

As blogger Michael Williams notes:
When a person disappears from a cruise ship does their home country investigate? Nope! Police from the country where the ship is registered do the investigation, if one is even performed. Do you think that cop from the Bahamas is going to fly around the world interviewing passengers and collecting evidence? Yeah, me neither.
(Related story.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Have CERN scientists detected faster than light particles?
The World's Rudest Hand Gestures.

One useful bit of information for Americans traveling abroad:
Thumbs up
Meaning: "Up yours"
Used in: Greece, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, Sardinia, Western Africa


Depending on where you are, a thumbs up could just be a sign of approval. But in some countries, this refers to an action in the nether regions, and is meant as an offense. Visitors should note that to add insult to injury, the thumb can be jerked upwards.

More information here.
"The past, present, and future of famous logos". (Via GMSV.)
"It's ON: Shatner Says Star Trek is Better than Star Wars 'On Every Level'"

Wow, Shatner has put on a few pounds...
"In-Car Algorithm Could Rapidly Dissolve Traffic Jams"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

iPhone 5 rollout scheduled for October 4?
"Twitter's 13 All-Time Most Epic Tweets (And The Stories Behind Them)". (Via @LyndsiM.)
Rand Simberg answers "6 Questions About NASA's Falling Satellite".

Update: It won't land on North America.
"How an Omniscient Internet 'Sextortionist' Ruined the Lives of Teen Girls"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"What 7 negotiating tricks can we learn from FBI hostage negotiators?"
"FAQ: When Can You Capture Cops on Camera?"
Is the anti-plagiarism TurnItIn software service playing both sides of the fence? More information here.
"UNIVAC: The troubled life of America's first computer"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Neal Stephenson Talks About Video Games, The Metaverse, And His New Book, REAMDE". (Via David Jilk.)
3-D printable blood vessels
Tennis spin has changed dramatically in the past 20 years:
...[T]he co-poly strings in use today -- which spread through the pro game only over the last decade or so -- generate more spin than ever. They do so because they're more slippery than prior string designs. Because the strings easily slide across one another, they can slip back and then snap back to position -- all while they're grabbing the ball -- to create more spin.
More details in the related article: "The New Physics of Tennis". (Via MR.)
Metal-based life? (Via Radley Balko.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Things We Say Today And Owe To Shakespeare". Larger version here.
"If the IRS had discovered the quadratic formula". (Click on image to see full size. Via Instapundit.)