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