Thursday, March 29, 2012

Eye-Tracking Computers Will Read Your Thoughts

"Eye-Tracking Computers Will Read Your Thoughts".

The story is a tad alarmist, but the technology is interesting.

NYT on Emmy Noether

"The Mighty Mathematician You've Never Heard Of"

The Seikilos Epitaph

"The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world."

Click through to hear it performed.

(Update: Link was broken, but is now fixed!)

Death of a Data Haven

"Death of a data haven: Cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, and the world's smallest nation"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oldest Alien Planets

"Two huge planets found orbiting a star 375 light-years away are the oldest alien worlds yet discovered".

In particular, they were "likely formed at the dawn of the universe, less than a billion years after the big bang."

Behind the Scenes in a Trojan Condom Factory

"Behind the Scenes in a Trojan Condom Factory"

Of course, there's a video:

Clarke on Who Was Behind the Stuxnet Attack

"Richard Clarke on Who Was Behind the Stuxnet Attack"

Improving Passwords

"Computer passwords need to be memorable and secure. Most people's are the first but not the second."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Satirical Guide to Writing Like A Scientist

Adam Ruben's snarky guide: "How to Write Like a Scientist"

My favorite:
3. Some journals, such as Science, officially eschew the passive voice. Others print only the passive voice. So find a healthy compromise by writing in semi-passive voice.

ACTIVE VOICE: We did this experiment.

PASSIVE VOICE: This experiment was done by us.

SEMI-PASSIVE VOICE: Done by us, this experiment was.

Yes, for the semi-passive voice, you'll want to emulate Yoda. Yoda, you'll want to emulate.

Impossible Typeface

Cool typeface based on the "impossible" Penrose triangle. (Via Radley Balko.)

How To See Around Corners

"How To See Around Corners".

China's Subversive Microblogs

China's subversive microblogs: "Zombie followers and fake re-tweets"

Monday, March 26, 2012

TacoCopter

Quote of the day: "The U.S. government is single-handedly preventing you from ordering a taco and having it delivered to you by a totally sweet pilot-less helicopter." (Via @RyanSager.)

How George Takei Conquered Facebook

Alex Knapp: "How George Takei Conquered Facebook"

How Movie Stars Are Insured

NYT: "Insuring Hollywood Against Falls (but Not Flops)". (Via Marginal Revolution.)

10 of the Most Awesome Sword Fight Scenes Ever

"10 of the Most Awesome Sword Fight Scenes Ever"

(Personally, I think the fight scene from Kill Bill Part 1 should also be somewhere on that list.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Employers Asking for Facebook Passwords

"Privacy red flag raised as more job applicants asked to turn over Facebook passwords".

One possible response people could give might be: "I'm sorry but I'm not allowed to. The Facebook Terms of Service explicitly forbid my sharing my password with others."
Facebook Terms of Service, Section 4, Item 8

Registration and Account Security

"You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."
As an alternative, employers could instead specify that the applicant "friend" the employer as a condition of employment. This might be appropriate in some cases (depending on the exact nature of the job), while avoiding the gross security issues of allowing others access to your FB account.

Update: Facebook has responded to this issue. Here's their official statement.

Ten worst Internet laws of 2012?

"Ten worst Internet laws of 2012?

Borg Mouse

"One Step Closer to Becoming a Borg"

This Marriage Does Not Compute

I don't think this marriage will last long:



I'm not sure which is worse -- what she said, or that he posted it all online. On the other hand, maybe they deserve each other!

Update: Here's a follow-up interview with the couple on ABC's "Good Morning America".

video platform video management video solutions video player

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Liquid ASCII

Just move your mouse over Nick Kwiatek's home page.

The red ASCII effect is very nicely done! (Via Kottke.)

Fecal Transplants

"Fecal Transplants: The Straight Poop"

Official Hanging Guide?

"Is there an official U.S. manual on how to conduct a hanging?

Terminator Arm Tattoo

I'm not a tattoo aficionado, but this Terminator arm tattoo is pretty clever.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Man Who Broke Atlantic City

"The Man Who Broke Atlantic City": He made millions playing legal casino blackjack without card counting. His method does require a large bankroll.

The Science of Rail Guns

"The Science of Rail Guns"

35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT

"What Happens When A 35-Year-Old Man Retakes The SAT?"

Three Little Pigs Done With Good English

"What 'The Three Little Pigs"' would sound like if it had been written with a more classic, robust command of the English language" (Via Adam M.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

NSA's New Data Center

"The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)"

Why 4G Is A Murky Term

Why the term "4G" is a bit murky.

Psychic Fail

"Study: Psychic ability doesn't hold up"

Vexed Game

I am really enjoying this free iPad/iPhone version of the classic PalmOS game Vexed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Retina Display Comparison

Comparison of Retina vs. non-Retina display resolution:


Of course, there are lots of reviews of the new iPad hitting the blogosphere.

Here's Daring Fireball's take.

Great Customer Service Stories

"11 of the Best Customer Service Stories Ever"

Are Older Jurors More Likely to Convict?

"Are Older Jurors More Likely to Convict?"

Short answer: Yes.

The Frog And Boiling Water?

"If you turn up the heat on a frog in water so slowly it doesn't notice, will it eventually boil alive?"

Clever Folding Table

Clever folding table made from a single piece of wood.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chess Without Cleavage

"Chess Championships Lose Sex Appeal With New No-Cleavage Rule".

The article also notes, "And short skirts might be next to go, though there are currently no restrictions."

Mind Controlled Skateboard

Mind controlled skateboard.

Of course, there's a video:

Are Matter and Antimatter Truly Opposites?

"Are matter and antimatter truly opposites?"

Scale of the Universe Update

Nice updated version of Scale of the Universe. (Via Howard R.)

I just now have to shake off the dizziness from moving the slider bar too quickly...

What's It Like To Fly On Air Force One?

"What's it like to fly on Air Force One?"

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Really Bad First Date

Jeff Winkler describes what happened after he broke his p*n*s on the first date. Actually very well-written.

Archive: Sony PDA Review

10 years ago on GeekPress: Looking for the sleekest color PDA? According to the Gadgeteer's latest review, the Sony CLIÉ PEG-T615C is your best bet. (Gotta love that Jog Dial!)

Friday, March 09, 2012

[Off-topic] PJM OpEd "Free Market Lessons from Contraception Fight"

Off topic: PJMedia has published my latest piece, "Free Market Lessons from Contraception Fight".

16 Funny Clothing Tags

"16 Funny Clothing Tags". My favorite:

IBM's New Optochip Transfers One Trillion Bits Per Second

"IBM's New Optochip Transfers One Trillion Bits Per Second"

Movie Hacking Vs. Real-World Hacking

SMBC: Movie hacking vs. real-world hacking. (Via Bruce Schneier.)

Will Using Expired Drugs Kill You?

"Will using expired drugs kill you?"

Short answer, "Probably not". But there are a few important exceptions, described at the link.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Archive: Hacking With Pringles

10 years ago on GeekPress: Hacking into a wireless network with an empty can of Pringles.

Confessions of a Ticket Scalper

"Confessions of a Ticket Scalper". (Via Tyler Cowen.)

The Fastest Land Robot In The World

"The fastest land robot in the world".

Scientists Give Ships Invisibility Cloaks

"Scientists Give Ships Invisibility Cloaks". To protect against storms (not against visual detection).

Spider Silk Spun Into Violin Strings

"Spider silk spun into violin strings":
A Japanese researcher has used thousands of strands of spider silk to spin a set of violin strings.

The strings are said to have a "soft and profound timbre" relative to traditional gut or steel strings.

That may arise from the way the strings are twisted, resulting in a "packing structure" that leaves practically no space between any of the strands.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

How Western Tech Firms Are Helping Arab Dictators

"Surveillance Inc: How Western Tech Firms Are Helping Arab Dictators"

Some of the surveillance software even allows dictators "to change emails while en route to their recipient". I'm just glad we never have to worry about our own government doing anything like this here in America.

24/192 Music Downloads

"24/192 Music Downloads ...and why they make no sense". (Via /.)

Scientists Revolutionise Electron Microscope

"Scientists revolutionise electron microscope":
The new method, called electron ptychography, dispenses with the lens and instead forms the image by reconstructing the scattered electron-waves after they have passed through the sample using computers.

Scientists involved in the scheme consider their findings to be a 'first step' in a 'completely new epoch of electron imaging´. The process has no fundamental experimental boundaries and it is thought it will transform sub-atomic scale transmission imaging.

Project leader Professor John Rodenburg, of the University of Sheffield's Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: "...We've shown we can improve upon the resolution limit of an electron lens by a factor of five. An extension of the same method should reach the highest resolution transmission image ever obtained; about one tenth of an atomic diameter."

Nine Flying Robots Play 007 Theme

"Nine Flying Robots Play 007 Theme"

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk

Alex Knapp: "Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk"

Zero-Gravity Roller Coaster

"Zero-Gravity Roller Coaster Could Bring Weightless Thrills to Earth"

Pasta-Shaped Radio Waves

"A group of Italian and Swedish researchers appears to have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta, allowing a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received."

China Clamps Down on Bloggers

"China clamps down on popular microblogs"

In particular, bloggers can be punished for "a range of vaguely defined activities, such as 'undermining national unity,' 'spreading rumors, disturbing social order, or undermining social stability,' and 'illegal activities on behalf of civil society organizations.'"

Monday, March 05, 2012

No Pulse: How Doctors Reinvented The Human Heart

"No Pulse: How Doctors Reinvented The Human Heart".

It took some "thinking outside the box" to get rid of the heartbeat:
Building a heart that mimics nature's lub-dub may be as comically shortsighted as Leonardo da Vinci designing a flying machine with flapping wings. Nature is not always the best designer, at least when it comes to things that humans must build and maintain. So the newest artificial heart doesn't imitate the cardiac muscle at all. Instead, it whirs like a little propeller, pushing blood through the body at a steady rate. After 500 million years of evolution accustoming the human body to blood moving through us in spurts, a pulse may not be necessary...
(Via Instapundit.)

Internet In A Backpack

US Special Ops forces working in remote areas now use a pretty slick "internet in a backpack" system.

Why Can't We Get Down To Absolute Zero?

"Why can't we get down to absolute zero?"

Cetacean Rights?

Scientists and philosophers have been arguing whether whales and dolphins have rights.

They're certainly more plausible candidates than most animals. Of course, the critical part of the debate is establishing what the criteria for rights should be (e.g., capacity for language, abstract conceptual thought, etc.)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Archive: MRI of Intercourse

10 years ago on GeekPress: Radiology can be fun! Yes, the British Medical Journal did publish an article studying the MRI appearance of people having sex.

The current version of GeekPress started 10 years ago in March 2002. To commemorate this milestone, I'll be posting occasional tidbits from the archives on the relevant anniversary date under the heading, "10 years ago on GeekPress".

Saturday, March 03, 2012

How To Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper

The Modern Language Association now has official guidelines: "How Do You Cite a Tweet in an Academic Paper?"

Details are at the MLA website:
Begin the entry in the works-cited list with the author’s real name and, in parentheses, user name, if both are known and they differ. If only the user name is known, give it alone.

Next provide the entire text of the tweet in quotation marks, without changing the capitalization. Conclude the entry with the date and time of the message and the medium of publication (Tweet). For example:
Athar, Sohaib (ReallyVirtual). "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)." 1 May 2011, 3:58 p.m. Tweet.
Here is a helpful graphic:

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Paper Airplane World Record

New paper airplane world record set by former Cal quarterback.

T Rex Had Strongest Bite Ever

Study: "T. rex had the strongest bite, ever".
Past studies estimated the T. rex's biting force to be as powerful as 13,400 Newtons (3,012 lbs). However, the new British study, which tested a wider range of muscles, found the biting force was more likely between 35,000 (7,868 lbs) and 57,000 Newtons (12,814 lbs) in a single rear tooth.

"That's equivalent to a medium-sized elephant sitting on you." Dr Bates told the BBC.

The human biting force is typically less than 1,000 Newtons.
(Via Don S.)

Financial Math and HIV Vaccine

Using financial mathematics for discovering HIV vaccine?

More info here and this WSJ article from last year.

Thumb-Sized Linux Computer

"Linux computer the size of a thumb drive now available for preorder". (Via B.A.)