Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Electrons are round, not pear-shaped. (I didn't know they were supposed to be pear-shaped.)
Too many people I know need to read this: "How to send and reply to email"
"Ads Implant False Memories"
Jetpack flies up to 5000 ft.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Being dead is no excuse for not paying your Verizon internet bill. (Via @donreith.)
Really bad PowerPoints slides. (Via Susan Dawn Wake.)
"Robot Solves Rubik's Cube in 10.18 Seconds":

(Overlords, welcome, etc.)
Blurring the line between irony and non-irony: "Poking At Cow Clicker".

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nico Rosberg explains Mercedes' F1 steering wheel:

(Via @TreyPeden.)
"D-Wave is Offering the First Quantum Computer".

According to the company website, the first unit (a 128-qubit machine) has been sold to the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
Make enemies of your fellow programmers with these annoying coding practices. (Via BBspot.)
Fashion Scatterplot: How Good Clothing Looks vs. How Easy It Is to Wear. (Click on image to see larger version).

(Via J.V.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

NYT: "Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?"

Very detailed article on the 4-year old Hogan twins, who are connected at the head and share neural tissue.

The girls were profiled in this article last year, "A piece of their mind". But now that they can talk, scientists have more insight into how their inner experience correlates with their neuroanatomy.
"France attempts to 'civilize' the Internet; Internet fights back"
Some interesting statistics about profanity on Facebook. Some tidbits:
47% of our users have profanity on their Facebook Wall.

Users are twice as likely to use profanity in a post on their Facebook Wall, versus a comment. Whereas friends are twice as likely to use profanity in a comment on a user's Facebook Wall, versus a post.

The most common profane word is derivations of the "f-word". The second most common profane word is derivations of the word "sh*t". "B*tch" is a distant third
(Via GMSV.)
A more negative discussion of BitCoin. I remember many of the same arguments being made in the 1990s about digital cash.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Gray code at the pediatrician's office". (Via T.C.)
Video of the day: "Timelapse puppy to adult in 40 seconds"

(Via Radley Balko.)

Update: Amanda Teresi pointed me towards this hilarious Homer Simpson version:

iPad apps tailored for cats. No, really.

Here's the related video:

Good discussion in the Economist of the tradeoffs in cloud storage security.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Corporate branding, Star Wars style. One example (click through to see more):

(Via GMSV.)
"11 Awesomely Incorrect Test Answers from Kids".

I especially liked the giraffe question (#6):

Victorian-era tech support. (Via BBspot.)
"Imaginary phone lets you answer calls on your palm"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

TechCrunch discusses, "Make.Money.Slow : The Bitcoin Experiment".

See also this basic overview of Bitcoin.
22 unfortunate ad placements. My favorite:

Inside the world of videogame rating.

More of this will be done soon by computers, rather than humans:
...[T]here was something surreal about seeing obscenity so dryly classified.

Breasts are either fully or partially (pasties, long hair) exposed. Blood levels are either high (dismemberment, "large fountains of blood"), medium, or mild/limited ("infrequent pools of static blood"). Depictions of violence are committed against "human or human-like creatures," or "anything other than humans or human-like creatures."

It was the kind of drudgery that befits a machine -- and no cause for concern for us humans just yet.
Infographic of the day: "The Evolution of the Tablet Computer".

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How modern elevators are making it harder to make elevator pitches.
Every Elfquest comic is now online. (Via BBspot.)
Bionic hand. Related video. (Via Howard Roerig.)
The Milky Way is warped and shaped like freshly-opened beer bottle cap.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"How Viral PDFs Of A Naughty Bedtime Book Exploded The Old Publishing Model"
More reasons coffee is good for you.
"Contaminants Can Flow Up Waterfalls"

"Senate bill would require warrant for e-mail, cloud searches"
Transformer apartment:

(Via @TreyPeden.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Physics Of Clown Cars":

(Via @debbywitt.)
You should feel old now. (Via Adam M.)
Great Inception infographic.

Here's a portion of the graphic (click here to see the full image):

Here's a different 1-minute silent explanation using only the Mac OS X Finder (or full size version.):

Rejected vacation postcards. (Via FOTW.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Video of the day: Pendulum Waves

I especially like the fact that one can appreciate this on both the visual and mathematical levels.
The modern derivatives trader is playing "the most sophisticated, dynamic, immersive game in the world."
Cool map of the universe. (Via BBspot.)
US Navy "Taps the Crowdsourcing Power of Online Gaming to Fight Somali Pirates"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Video of the day: "The City Limits". Beautiful contrasts between urban and natural backgrounds:

Beautiful uses of animated GIFs. I especially liked this one:

2011 Optical Illusion of the Year. (Via Susan Dawn Wake.)
"What Death Means to Primates"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Canadian kid uses supercomputing to cure cystic fibrosis".

"Cure" might be a little bit strong, but it sounds like a significant treatment advance. (Via VA Viper.)
"Scientists Create Computer With Schizophrenia". Here's the academic abstract.
"The Worlds 6 Most Bizarre Landscapes". I especially liked this one of Cappadocia, Turkey:

(Via Douglas W.)
Nature: "Reform the PhD system or close it down".
Off topic: PajamasMedia has just published my latest health care OpEd, Massachusetts: The Canary in the Coal Mine for ObamaCare.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Celebrity yearbook photos.

(Via @KellyValenzuela, who notes "Funny how some look better or worse than before and some look just the same!")
Fusion update.
Awesome Star Wars propaganda posters. For example:

Click through to see more.
"What's living in your bellybutton?"

"N.C. State scientists find minuscule worlds of microbes and fungi thrive in human navels". I must admit that I had never before heard of the "N.C. State's Belly Button Biodiversity project". (Via VA Viper.)
"How a million-pound jumbo jet tests its brakes":

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Skype + Microsoft = uh, oh...

(Via @object404.)

And a related classic video from The Onion: "Are We Giving Robots Too Much Power?"

(Via Transterrestrial Musings.)
Interesting history of the plastic, disposable coffee cup lid.

Fraud tip of the day: If you're a pastor fabricating a past life as a former Navy SEAL, don't borrow details from Steven Seagal's Under Siege. (Via Susan Dawn Wake.)
"10 Famous Unsolved Mysteries Easily Explained by Science"
Poker is much more skill than luck.

As this related Freakonomics blog post notes:
Using data from the 2010 World Series of Poker, Levitt and Miles found that high-skilled players earned an average return on investment of over 30 percent, whereas all other players averaged a 15 percent loss. This finding has serious implications on the legality of online poker, as that debate is heavily dependent on whether the game is based on skill or luck.
Also noteworthy:
The differences are "far larger in magnitude than those observed in financial markets, where fees charged by the money managers viewed as being most talented can run as high as 3 percent of assets under management and 30 percent of annual returns."

Monday, May 09, 2011

"Battle Brews Over FBI's Warrantless GPS Tracking":
The devices, however, have become one of the most divisive Fourth Amendment issues facing courts around the country. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled last year that using a GPS tracker was no different than physically trailing a suspect in public, and that such surveillance was not protected by the Fourth Amendment, even if agents placed the device on a suspect’s car while it was parked in his driveway.

But Judge Alex Kosinski [sic], in the dissenting opinion, called the use of GPS trackers without a court order "straight out of George Orwell's novel 1984" and said they give government “the power to track the movements of every one of us, every day of our lives."
(Typo alert: Judge Kozinski's name should be spelled with a "z", not an "s".)

Related article, "How to Check Your Car for a GPS Tracker".
"German TV mistakes Star Trek emblem for SEAL Team Six logo":

Screen capture from the TV report:

The Star Trek Maquis logo, including ridged Klingon skull and bat'leth swords:

The real SEAL Team Six logo:

"Man airlifted after fight with cat":
A Cleveland man was attacked by a housecat Friday afternoon and the man's injuries are so severe that he had to be taken by air ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston...
(Via Mike M.)
"The Queen Reportedly Wants an iPad 2"
Does the human brain use sparse coding?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

"Transistors go 3D as Intel re-invents the microchip". Moore's Law marches on...
"The iPad already used more than Linux computers"
Flowchart of the day: Which science-fiction series should you watch on Netflix? (Click to see full size)

(Via BBspot.)
Is there a Planet X after all?
"How giving 110% is actually possible"

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

"Gravity Probe B Satellite Proves Einstein Right":
Gravity Probe B circled Earth from pole to pole for 17 months starting 20 April 2004 and used gyroscopes to measure two aspects of general relativity. One, the "geodetic effect," arises because Earth's mass creates a kind of dimple in spacetime that messes up the usual rules of geometry. As a result, the circumference of a circle around Earth should be slightly shorter than Euclid's value of 2π times the circle's radius. Gravity Probe B measured the predicted 2.8-centimeter decrement in its 40,000-kilometer orbit to 0.25% precision.

The satellite also confirmed the frame-dragging effect, in which the rotating Earth twists the surrounding spacetime. It's as if the spinning Earth were immersed in honey, Everitt explained. "When it spins, the Earth will drag the honey with it," he said. "In the same way, the Earth drags spacetime with it." Gravity Probe B confirmed the frame dragging effect, which is less than 1/10 times as pronounced as the geodetic effect, to 19% precision...
(Via @aaronbilger.)
"Robots Now Catch Balls, World Domination Imminent".

And it fixes coffee as well. Article includes the following video:

Love the "iPad based user interface"!
"Some Black Holes May Pre-Date The Big Bang, Say Cosmologists"
"Scientists could be months away from discovering antigravity".

Or more precisely, determining whether anti-matter falls down (or up) in response to gravity.
Honest logos. (Via @internetcases.)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

You know you want one of these t-shirts:

Available for purchase here.
"Japanese invent a box that can simulate a kiss over the Internet".

The article notes: "Warning: this might be the most disturbing thing you'll see today". (Via Tyler Cowen.)
"Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair?" (Via GMSV.)
Clever bookshelves. (Via MR.)

Monday, May 02, 2011

"A Lack of Tech May Have Helped Bring Bin Laden Down":
Details are beginning to emerge of the painstaking detective work that led to the raid, and one fact that has caught my attention is this:
The property where he was hiding, while valued at $1 million, had no phone service, nor any Internet connection.

This turned out to be a key red flag that helped bring an increase in scrutiny that in time led to the attack on the compound that President Obama ordered...
So this might be the modern day equivalent of the classic Sherlock Holmes clue of "the dog that didn't bark".
Video of the day: "Slo-Mo Jell-O ~ Is It Solid, Liquid, or Squid?!"

Little known tidbits on the history of the Internet.
"Facebook Facial Recognition Could Get Creepy"
"40 Vintage Ads That Would Be Banned Today".


"Death of Bin Laden Revealed First on Tweeter". (Via Matthew B.)

Related story, "Man Unknowingly Live Tweets About Raid on Osama Bin Laden's Compound".

And, "Bin Laden jokes flood Twitter as news of death spreads".

Sunday, May 01, 2011

"Chloé Kiddon and Yuriy Brun, two computer scientists at the University of Washington, have developed a system for recognising a particular type of double entendre -- the 'that's what she said' joke, in which seemingly innocent sentences can be transformed into lewd utterances by appending just four short words." (Via Radley Balko.)
Hilarious true story about Douglas Adams and the cookies. (Via Gus Van Horn.)
"With the application of a single electrical signal, researchers can control swarms of tiny robots to assemble themselves into structures."
"Android 101 for Beginners"

Related story, "Why Do Android Tablets Tank, While Android Smartphones Surge?"
"Cthulhu hat a bold choice for royal wedding"