Monday, December 30, 2013

Dave Barry's Review of 2013

"Dave Barry's Review of 2013, the Year of the Zombies"

100-Year-Old Photos From Antarctica

"100-Year-Old Box of Negatives Discovered by Conservators in Antarctica"
Almost one hundred years after a group of explorers set out across the frozen landscape of Antarctica to set up supply depots for famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, a box of 22 never-before-seen exposed but unprocessed negatives taken by the group’s photographer has been unearthed in one of those shacks, preserved in a block of ice...

Why Do Superheroes Wear Their Underwear on the Outside?

"Why Do Superheroes Wear Their Underwear on the Outside?"

Short answer: "DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz said that it was because comic book artists modeled their superheroes after wrestlers and circus performers of the time, who wear short shorts over their leggings."

Musical Harp Stairs

"Playing On the Stairs Has Never Been So Fun"

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shark Twitter Accounts

"In Australia, Sharks Have Twitter Accounts to Warn Beachgoers"

Cringe-Worthy News Fails of 2013

"The Most Cringe-Worthy News Fails of 2013"

The Danger of Government-Managed Science

Nobel Laureate Randy W. Schekman: "The Danger of Government-Managed Science"

Key quote:
Many of you can recount similar stories where an investment in basic science has resulted in a direct application to medicine and technology. And yet we find a growing tendency for government to want to manage discovery with expansive so-called strategic science initiatives at the expense of the individual creative exercise we celebrate today.
(Via Don S.)

Thesis In One Sentence

LOLMyThesis: Where students summarize their graduate thesis in one sentence.

A few of my favorites so far:
It depends.
Law, Harvard University.

I melted the Earth and all I got was this lousy solidified magma ocean and a dense layer of gunk at the bottom.
Earth & Planetary Sciences, MIT

Look at this zombie. Isn’t it racist and sexist? Yes, it is.
English Literature, DePaul University

Rats like cocaine
Psychology, Reed College

It turns out that old people prefer old age homes full of young, attractive people Hospitality Management, Penn State University.

A History Of Leakers Of Secret Gov't Documents

"From Snowden To Manning... To Ben Franklin And Sam Adams? A History Of Leakers Of Secret Gov't Documents". (Via Howard R.)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ants That Can Flow Like a Fluid, or Move Like a Solid

NYT: "Ants That Can Flow Like a Fluid, or Move Like a Solid"

If you aren't creeped out by a glob-of-fire-ants, there's also a video at the link.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tolkien Nerd on Smaug

"The Tolkien Nerd's Guide to 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'"

Update: Link was broken, now fixed!

Fallen Space Robots

"In Memoriam: The Space Robots We Lost This Year"

Christmas Downloading!

"Christmas Is the Biggest App Downloading Day of the Year". New gadgets!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting will probably be lighter than usual the rest of this holiday week due to external obligations.

Monday, December 23, 2013

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes OpEd: Obamacare Spends 'Other People's Money' To Make Healthcare Expensive And Scarce

Off topic: Forbes has just published my latest OpEd: "Obamacare Spends 'Other People's Money' To Make Healthcare Expensive And Scarce".

I discuss 4 dangers of a health system based on spending 'Other People's Money' and how to avoid them.  In other words, it's not just that the money will run out some day!

Those dangers include:
1) Doctors will be increasingly expected to save money “for the system”
2) This will further fuel the nanny state
3) Health benefits will become increasingly politicized
4) Sooner or later, government spending Other People’s Money means the government taking your money
Click through for the full text.

How To Build An Indestructible Gingerbread House

Civil engineers explain: "How To Build An Indestructible Gingerbread House"

Egg Nog Riots

"Egg Nog: It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Starts a Holiday Riot"

Pre-Christmas Breakups

An economist explains why so many couples break up just before the Christmas holidays. (Via Ryan Sager.)

Santa Parkour

Santa Parkour: How Santa really gets from roof to roof.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Google Symptom Searches

"The #1 Google-searched symptom for 2013 was "pregnancy symptoms". "Influenza symptoms" was #2.

Spectacular Skywalk

"Step Into the Void Above the French Alps". Click through for more stunning images.

Michelangelo's Grocery List

"Michelangelo's Grocery List". (Via Virginia Postrel.)

Alternatives to Antibiotics

"What Comes After Antibiotics? 5 Alternatives to Stop Superbugs"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

MacBook Webcams Can Spy on Their Users Without Warning

Washington Post: "Research shows how MacBook Webcams can spy on their users without warning"

USA Today on MRSA

USA Today has a detailed article on the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria: "Dangerous MRSA bacteria expand into communities".

We will be hearing much more about this issue in coming years.

Sauron's Battle Plan

"Some Concerns About Sauron's Battle Plan"

British Library Adds One Million Public Domain Images to Flickr

"The British Library Adds One Million Public Domain Images to Flickr".

Here's the direct link: British Library.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Burger Delivery Pneumatic Tubes

New Zealand restaurant to install pneumatic tube system to deliver burgers to diners at 87 mph (140 kph).

Click through to watch video. (Via VAViper.)

Media Errors of 2013

"The best and worst media errors and corrections in 2013". (Via Trey P.)

Moon Artifacts

"The Moon Belongs to No One, but What About Its Artifacts?"

DNA Seen Through the Eyes of a Coder

"DNA seen through the eyes of a coder". (Via @Medgadget.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

3D Printer Can Build a House in 24 Hours

"The 3D printer that can build a house in 24 hours"

11 Spectacular Cliff Paths

"11 Spectacular Cliff Paths"

38 Excellent Test Answers

"38 Test Answers That Are 100% Wrong But Totally Genius At The Same Time"

LEGO Rivendell

"Tolkien's Rivendell comes to life with 200,000 LEGO bricks -- exclusive interview with builders Alice Finch & David Frank".  Click through to see lots more images.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

World’s Smallest Pacemaker

"World's Smallest Pacemaker Can Be Implanted without Surgery"

Beer Concentrate

Invention of the day: "Beer concentrate" for backpackers.

A Closer Look at Google's New Robot Army

Meet your new overlords: "A Closer Look at Google's New Robot Army"

Last Meals

"The last meal offers an irresistible blend of food, death, and crime that drives a commercial and voyeuristic cottage industry."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

USAF Band Holiday Flash Mob

"USAF Band Holiday Flash Mob at the National Air and Space Museum":

The Back Story of the Russian Meteorite

"Scientists have pieced together the history of the space rock that slammed into the atmosphere over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, creating a shock wave that injured 1,200 people. It's a long, convoluted tale that picks up just after the solar system started coming together 4.56 billion years ago..."  (Via Instapundit.)

Trickiest Tongue Twister

"Researchers at MIT may have come up with the trickiest tongue-twister ever"

iPad Mini Cover Also Lego Baseplate

"Here's a LEGO baseplate building surface for your iPad mini".

Fully compatible with Lego, also includes standard iPad sleep/wake magnets. And folds behind the iPad mini.  Version for first iPad Mini already available, with Retina version coming soon.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Electricity Theft???

Man plugs in car at school external power outlet, arrested and jailed for electricity theft.

According to the article, he "stole" approximately 5 cents' worth of electricty.

Update: These additional details make the man look much less sympathetic. (Via P.B.)

Reversible USB Plugs

"Next-gen USB plugs will be reversible, rectifying the tech industry's most heinous crime".

Some day, humanity will look back on the era of non-reversible USB plugs as a time of barbarity.

Air Gaps Not So Secure

"Scientist-developed malware prototype covertly jumps air gaps using inaudible sound".

NPR version of the story: "Even Disconnected Computers May Face Cyberthreats"

Star Trek Version of "Let It Snow"

Mashable: "'Star Trek' Version of 'Let It Snow' Hits Warp Speed"

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Was Vermeer's Secret The Camera Obscura?

"Vermeer's Secret Tool: Testing Whether The Artist Used Mirrors and Lenses to Create His Realistic Images". (Via H.R.)

Wolfram's Ambitious New Computational Paradigm

"Sentient code: An inside look at Stephen Wolfram’s utterly new, insanely ambitious computational paradigm"

Counterexamples in Origami

Counterexamples in Origami: Schwarz Lantern

Which Seat Should You Pick at the Movie Theater?

"Which Seat Should You Pick at the Movie Theater?"

From the article:
According to Frey, the audio sweet spot is 2/3 back and in the middle. That’s where audio engineers sit to balance the sound, and where you’ll get the full effect of the chopper buzzing by or the building exploding.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Courts, Tech, and Privacy

Some interesting tech-related issues are working their way to the Supreme Court, including searching laptops/electronic devices, compelled decryption, and location tracking.

Billionaire Bunkers

"Billionaire Bunkers: Beyond the Panic Room, Home Security Goes Sci-Fi"

Live-Tweetings Of Private Conversations Are Here To Stay

Forbes: "Why Live-Tweetings Of Private Conversations Are Here To Stay (And May Not Be A Bad Thing)"

Stuxnet Breakdown

Bruce Schneier notes: "Ralph Langer has written the definitive analysis of Stuxnet: short, popular version, and long, technical version"

Geeky Phone Cases

If you're looking for novel Christmas gifts, take a look at these geek-themed phone cases.

And if you use the coupon code "geekpress" during checkout, you will receive free shipping.  (Note: I'm not receiving any kind of compensation for linking to his site.)

It's The Science

Don't argue with The Science:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

International Air Travel In The 1930s

International air travel in the 1930s was "equal parts harrowing adventure and indulgent luxury". And no TSA. (Via Howard R.)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Because of the holidays, posting will likely be light (or non-existent) until after the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Kano Computer Kit

"Kano Computer Kit Lets Anyone Build a PC From Scratch"

Britain's Idiotic "Opt-In" Porn Ban

"Britain's Idiotic 'Opt-In' Porn Ban"

Underwater Hotel

"Sleeping in This Underwater Hotel Room Is Like Staying in an Artificial Reef"

Well-Spent Coin

"A little girl donates some coins to a street musician and gets the best surprise in return":

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Breaking A Basic Rule of Chemistry?

"A study suggests atoms can bond not only with electrons in their outer shells, but also via those in their supposedly sacrosanct inner shells"

Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future

"Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future".

Eye-opening quote: [W]ithout antibiotics, one out of every six recipients of new hip joints would die".  (Via Marginal Revolution.)

Bubba's Hover

This is not your father's golf cart: "Bubba's Hover". (Via David Jilk.)

Our Real Overlords

Our real overlords:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Google Middle Earth Tour

Google's Middle Earth tour. (Hobbit-themed, not LOTR.)

An Astrophysicist On Nearby Asteroids

"Ask an astrophysicist anything you want about nearby asteroids!" (See comments section for the questions and answers.)

These Photos Are Actually Paintings

Wired: "These Photos Are Actually Paintings"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Infinite Staircase Sculpture

"An Infinite Staircase by David McCracken".

"The welded aluminum stairsteps appear to create an infinite path into the sky, depending on the angle and/or the presence of clouds..."

Sorting Algorithms Visualized 

"Video visualization of 15 different sorting algorithms"

Three-Sided Phone

"Samsung Said to Plan Galaxy Phone Using Three-Sided Display".

Related, "Folding smartphones will be my dream handsets".

Monday, November 18, 2013

Glitch Leads German University to Unenroll All Students.

Oops: Glitch leads German university to unenroll all students. (Via @SusanWake.)

Robotic Mule For The Marines

"The Day the Marines Met Their Robotic Mule"

Creepy Assassination Market

Forbes: "Meet The 'Assassination Market' Creator Who's Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins".

People have speculated about this for many years, but it's very creepy and disturbing now that it's apparently real.

How a Sewing Machine Works

"How a Sewing Machine Works, Explained in a GIF".  From the article:

Beneath the needle (as the GIF shows at a very slowed down speed) a hook rotates, capturing the thread from above and looping it around another thread, this one reeling from the bobbin below. The two threads interlock around the layers of fabric, binding them to one another.

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes OpEd: Legalize Real Health Insurance

Off topic: Forbes has published my latest OpEd, "The Only Obamacare Fix Is For Obama To Legalize Real Health Insurance".

Here is the opening:
The President has proposed a one-year “fix” to deal with the political fallout from his broken promise (or lie), “If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it.” Now it’s, “If you like your plan, you can keep it until after the 2014 mid-term elections. Maybe.”

But the problems with ObamaCare go much deeper than cancelled insurance. As surprising as it sounds, most Americans never had real health insurance to begin with — and were not allowed to by law. And the only cure for our current health insurance mess is to legalize real health insurance...
I discuss some relevant history of the US health insurance market and 3 concrete free-market reforms to move us in the right direction.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Unreal MIT Invention Allows You To Reach Through The Screen And Touch Things

Totally mind-blowing: "This Unreal MIT Invention Allows You To Reach Through The Screen And Touch Things". (Via @susanwake.)

Top 30 Innovations of the Last 30 Years?

"What Are the Top 30 Innovations of the Last 30 Years?"

Overall, it's a pretty good list. Although (like most people), I'd probably tweak a few items such as "biofuels".

And ICYMI, my PJ Media piece: "Will Tomorrow's Medical Innovations Be There When You Need Them?"

iOS Fractal App

"Frax app brings gorgeous, 50-megapixel fractals to iOS".  Here a video demo

(Via Howard R.)

Rates of US Adoption of Consumer Technologies

Fascinating chart from Horace Dediu: "Rates of US Adoption of Consumer Technologies (10% to 90% penetration)". (Click on image to see full-size).

Here's a related image, showing the effects of the Great Depression/WW2:

Ancient Seawater

Scientists find an ancient pocket of seawater in the Chesapeake Bay that's 100-150 million years old
Results from more testing showed the water was twice as salty as today’s ocean water. When they analyzed its chemistry, they found high levels of chloride and bromide, the fingerprint of sea­water from another time, [USGS hydrologist Ward] Sanford said.

More tests and digging through research established that the chemistry was consistent with the “vast halite deposits created during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Basins,” the research paper said.

Friday, November 15, 2013

[Off Topic] Hsieh PJM OpEd: "Will Tomorrow’s Medical Innovations Be There When You Need Them?"

[Off topic]: PJ Media has just published my latest OpEd, "Will Tomorrow’s Medical Innovations Be There When You Need Them?"

(Note: The material in the opening vignettes was drawn from a pair of excellent talks last month at the 2013 meeting of the American Society of Emergency Radiology.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Did The Earth Move For You, Too?

"What Happens to Google Maps When Tectonic Plates Move?" (Via Howard R.)

Google Book-Scanning Ruled "Fair Use"

"Google wins book-scanning case: judge finds 'fair use,' cites many benefits". (Via @internetcases.)

More Scientific Serendipity

"Student Finds Way to Boost Conductivity 400 Percent Totally by Mistake".

(Via Francis Luong, who also noted, "The beauty of science is not in the accident but in the activity that follows.")

Scientists Have Made Bullets Out of Light

"Scientists Have Made Bullets Out of Light"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gaming "The Price Is Right"

Game theory guide to all of "The Price Is Right".  (Via GMSV.)

Game-Theory-Playing Traffic Lights

I, for one, welcome our new game-theory playing artificial intelligence traffic light overlords.

STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) Aircraft

"Plane lands/takes off in only 20 feet".  Click through to watch more videos like the one below.

New Roombas

"iRobot Shows Commitment to Home Robotics With New Roomba".

New features include a patented brushless cleaning system, smarter sight/navigation system, and longer battery life.

Of course, there's a promotional video with slow-mo animation and rock music:

Blum: The Physical Side of the Internet

Andrew Blum: Discover the physical side of the internet. (Via Greg Diment.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

IKEA "Gravity" Parody Trailer

CollegeHumor has posted this funny "Gravity" parody trailer, "IKEA":

Curmudgeon's Guide To 'The Sound Of Music'

NPR: "A Complete Curmudgeon's Guide To The Sound Of Music"

Inside Apple HQ

Wired: "Look Inside Apple's Spaceship Headquarters With 24 All-New Renderings". (Via Howard R.)

Jenga House

Interesting bit of architecture: Jenga House.  (Click through to see more images.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Stuxnet Infects Russian Nuclear Plant and The Space Station

"Stuxnet has infected a Russian nuclear plant and the space station". More here.

Update: From, "No, Stuxnet Did Not Infect the International Space Station". (Via Rand Simberg.)

Fastest Bow In The West

"Archer Lars Andersen can shoot 10 arrows in less than 5 seconds, without sacrificing power or accuracy."

Using Instagram To Intimidate Witnesses

The dark side of social media: "Police probe website targeting crime witnesses"

This is the criminal flipside of "crowdsourcing" requests for information.

Dog-Powered Rube Goldberg Machine

Dog-powered Rube Goldberg machine!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Scissors That Cut Perfectly Straight Lines

Clever idea: "Scissors That Cut Perfectly Straight Lines -- Every Time!".

Related Wired story.  And the official website.

Perfectly Synced Drones

"You Won't Believe These Perfectly Synced Drones Aren't CGI". (Via Howard R.)

From the article:
Autonomous quadcopter drones aren't all about flying into dangerous areas where humans fear to tread. Besides being disposable, they also make for perfectly precise pint-sized pilots, as this Lexus ad entitled Amazing In Motion demonstrates. When you watch it, keep in mind that not a single quadcopter in the commercial was faked through CGI—they're all real drones flying in perfect precision.

The ad was made possible by the folks at KMel Robotics who've developed a whole suite of tools to program and control the swarm of quadcopters...
Update: According to this article, some CGI was used.  And here's the "making of" video. (Thanks, Dave J, for the pointers!)

High-Tech Bolt Burgers

"Bolt Burgers: The most high-tech burger you'll ever order, coming soon"

The Beauty Of Math

Video classic: "See The Beauty Of Math, Even If You Don’t Understand Math".  (Via @seven2521)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Bulletproof Three-Piece Suits

"Toronto tailor introduces bulletproof three-piece suits". (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Helium-Filled Hard Drives

"Fast and Spacious Helium-Filled Hard Drives Ready for Liftoff".

No word on whether they sound like Donald Duck when retrieving data.  (Via Howard R.)

23 Oddly Satisfying GIFs

"23 Oddly Satisfying GIFs You Could Probably Watch Forever"

How To Replace The iPhone 5's Battery

"How To Replace The iPhone 5's Battery".

Includes detailed pictures and description of necessary tools.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Accelerating Technology Change and Continuous Learning

Dave Jilk: "Accelerating Technology Change and Continuous Learning"

Why The Deep Web Has Washington Worried

Time: "Why The Deep Web Has Washington Worried"

Silk Road 2.0

"'Silk Road 2.0' Launches, Promising A Resurrected Black Market For The Dark Web"

QOTD on Big Data

QOTD on Big Data:
Big Data is like teenage sex;
everyone talks about it,
nobody really knows how to do it,
everyone thinks everyone else is doing it,
so everyone claims they are doing it.

-- Dan Ariely

[Off topic] Hsieh PJM OpEd: "Obamacare and the Wages of Spin"

[Off topic] PJ Media has posted my snarky piece, "Obamacare and the Wages of Spin".

The basic theme: Don't piss on my back and tell me it's raining.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

New Dilemmas for the Prisoner

New Dilemmas for the Prisoner

The First Botnet

"How a grad student trying to build the first botnet brought the Internet to its knees"

What fMRI Can Tell Us About the Thoughts and Minds of Dogs

"What fMRI Can Tell Us About the Thoughts and Minds of Dogs".

As with fMRI studies of people, the data can be interesting but we have to be extremely careful about how we interpret it.

Brain-Machine Interface for Control of Medically-Induced Coma

21st century medicine: "A Brain-Machine Interface for Control of Medically-Induced Coma"

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Wrapping Your Headphones Without Losing Your Mind

Lifehacker: "The Definitive Guide to Wrapping Your Headphones Without Losing Your Mind"

I really like the "Hook-em-Horns" and the "binder clip" methods.  Each of those (and other methods) are illustrated with pics and a video.

12 Unusually Placed Sports Venues

"12 Unusually Placed Sports Venues"

What Non-Americans Find Weird About America

"30 Non-Americans On The American Norms They Find Weird". (Via SDW.)

Timelapse Video of Albuquerque Balloon Festival

VAViper: "Excellent timelapse video of the Albuquerque balloon festival"

Fax Tone Transcribed

E.J. Brennan tweeted, "A fax machine called my #twilio voice number, this is how @twilio transcribed it."

 (Click on image to see full size.)

SF To Gotham

"S.F. to be transformed into Gotham City for 5-year-old's Make-A-Wish"

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

21st Century Traffic Ticket

Wired: "In a First, Police Ticket a Driver Wearing Google Glass":
The arresting officer issued the citation to Abadie for violating California’s Vehicle Code Section 27602, which states that “A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.”

MRI Of Banana

"Just look at this MRI of a banana".

And try not to get too dizzy!  (Via Howard R.)

iPad Air

Anick Jesdanun likes the iPad Air. So does Walt Mossberg.

The Influence of Time of Day on Unethical Behavior

"Are people more moral in the morning than in the afternoon?"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Classic Music Insults

"21 of the best insults in classical music". (Via B.Y.)

Douglas Hofstadter vs. Modern AI

Douglas Hofstadter vs. modern AI: "The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think"

Why a Beer Bottle Erupts When You Whack It

"The In-Depth Science of Why a Beer Bottle Erupts When You Whack It".

The article notes: "The answer, it turns out, is super complicated, and has to do with the physics of small bubbles and the power of a reflecting pressure front."

Here's the video:

Website Runs Windows 1.01 In Your Browser

"Nostalgic for old school computing? This website runs Windows 1.01 in your browser"

Monday, October 28, 2013

Star Wars Blooper Reel

This long-lost Star Wars blooper reel has now been released to the public. (It had been shown earlier this summer at Comic Con.)

Note: There's no sound until 0:50.

Specialized Acting

"He's not dead, he just plays it on TV"

More Cantor

"The math controversy that, they say, led to a mental breakdown"

Video Stores Explained To Modern Kids

"Video Stores Explained To Modern Kids". You can all get off my lawn now.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Honda Ad With Optical Illusions

This excellent Honda CR-V ad is full of clever optical illusions.

And how they made that ad:

The Economics of Interstellar Flight

"The economics of interstellar flight: Starship enterprises"

What Is the Exactly Perfect Time to Drink Your Coffee?

Chronopharmacology update: "What Is the Exactly Perfect Time to Drink Your Coffee?"

Short answer: "[B]etween 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM, when your cortisol levels are dropping before the next spike".

Star Trek Continues Webseries

An interesting Kickstarter project:
Star Trek Continues is a non-profit, fan produced webseries that was launched in May 2013 with its first episode, “Pilgrim of Eternity.” The show is being produced to complete the final two years of the original 5-year mission. Our inaugural episode brings back original series guest star, Michael Forest as Apollo. The accuracy of the sets, lighting, filming and the quality acting and characterization brought great praise and support from Star Trek TOS fans all over the world.
(Note: This is being done with the permission of CBS, which holds the Star Trek rights.)

Here's the video of the first episode.

(Via Howard R.)

Update: I haven't watched the episode yet. One of my friends did, and he warned that the production values were excellent but that he really disliked the ending.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Juneau's Fecal Cliff

FYI: "10 weeks until Juneau goes over a fecal cliff". (Via Debby Witt.)

Humans Vs. Lego Minifigs

"By 2019, Humans Will Be Outnumbered By Lego Minifigs".  Via xkcd:

Short Story: "To Move"

"To Move": A one-paragraph short story about mind uploading by Michael Williams.

(Click through to read it on his site, so he gets the traffic!)

Meta-Analysis of Meta-Analyses

This meta-analysis of meta-analyses just appeared in a major radiology journal:
Informative Reporting of Systematic Reviews in Radiology  
Radiology November 2013 269:2 313-314 
In this issue of Radiology, Tunis and colleagues report on a study designed to evaluate whether the completeness of reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in 11 radiology journals improved between 2007 and 2011; reporting has improved, albeit slowly, but attributing the slow change entirely to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses may be too generous.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Universal Law of Urination In Mammals

"Universal law of urination found in mammals":
You'll never look at Dumbo in the same way again. Elephants, cows, goats and dogs all take roughly 21 seconds to empty their bladders. A "law of urination" now explains the physics behind what happens when you just gotta go.

Patricia Yang and colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta use high-speed video to study how fluids and animals interact; they have previously investigated how dogs shake themselves dry.
(Via Instapundit.)

Don't Mess with His Jell-O

"Police Called to Investigate Breakroom Jell-O Theft"

The Secrets of Online Money Laundering

MIT Tech Review: "The Secrets of Online Money Laundering"

Zombies Vs. Animals?

"Zombies vs. animals? The living dead wouldn't stand a chance"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Angry Scottish People

"Angry Scottish People Saying Real Words Maybe"

Unreliable Research?

"Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not"

First Fossilized Blood-Engorged Mosquito Found

"A Fossilized Blood-Engorged Mosquito Is Found For the First Time Ever"

Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls, State-by-State

"Map: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls, State-by-State". 

As blogger Doug Mataconis notes, "It's like watching the advance and retreat of armies across a battlefield".

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What Does A Real Astronaut Think Of 'Gravity'?

"What Does A Real Astronaut Think Of Gravity?" (Note: Contains spoilers.)

40 Impossibly Creative Advertisements

"40 Impossibly Creative Advertisements". (Via Charlie M.)

Linux Powered Warship

"The Navy's newest warship is powered by Linux"

Pet Cremation Fraud?

Pet cremation fraud may be surprisingly widespread. Freaknomics just did an interesting (and disturbing) podcast, "The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat":
If there’s a death in your family and you choose to have your loved one cremated, wouldn’t you expect that the remains that are returned to you belong specifically to your beloved? Of course you would!

Would you expect the same if the dearly departed happens to be the family pet? I suspect the answer is still yes. But in the fast-growing pet-cremation business, how do you know that the remains you’re getting back are indeed from your pet?

That’s the question we ask in our latest podcast, “The Troubled Cremation of Stevie the Cat.”
Here's the full transcript.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Death Watch?

"This 'Death Watch' Allegedly Counts Down the Last Seconds of Your Life".

What we need is the ability to "buy" extra life, like in the movie In Time!

Robotic Petting Zoo

Robotic "petting zoo".  (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Monkeys Understand Fairness

Even monkeys have an instinctive sense of "fairness" and object to unequal pay for equal work. (Via A.T.)

The Economics of a Hit TV Show

"The Economics of a Hit TV Show"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10 Unique Ocean Landscapes

10 Unique Ocean Landscapes"

Crazy Goats On Cliffs

"13 pictures of crazy goats on cliffs". (Via G.A.)

Why Do Stores Give Receipts?

Ask the Blogger: Why do stores give physical receipts?

Short answer: It's primary for the store (not the customer) as a way of preventing employee theft.  (Via Instapundit.)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How Nokia Lost It In 2008

How a journalist tried to save Nokia.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to respond adequately to his letter or to the new market conditions.  (Via Daring Fireball.)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

High-End Porta-Potties

If you're willing to spend the money, you can rent high-end portable toilets that are nicer than many in-house bathrooms.

CMU Researchers Claim NSA-Proof Messaging App

"CMU Researchers Claim To Have Created Messaging App Even NSA Can't Crack"

New Botulinum Toxin

NPR: "Why Scientists Held Back Details On A Unique Botulinum Toxin".

One interesting question is whether or not this form of "security by obscurity" will fail as it often does in other fields.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Costa Concordia Parbuckling

"The Costa Concordia Parbuckling in Pictures [24 High Quality Photos]". (Via Jamie B.)

Extinct Tree Grown From Ancient Seed Stockpile

"Extinct tree grows anew from ancient jar of seeds unearthed by archaeologists". (Via Monica H.)

Update: Link was broken, now fixed!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual this week because of external obligations.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Knights Vs. Snails?

What's the deal with all these armed knights fighting snails in 13th and 14th century illuminated manuscripts? (Via VAViper.)

How DNA Testing Can Rip Families Apart -- And Bring Them Together

io9: "How DNA testing can rip families apart -- and bring them together"

Your Child Might Be A Programmer

A sign that your child might be a programmer...

[Off topic] Hsieh Forbes OpEd: Why the Federal Government Wants to Redefine The Word "Cancer"

October 2013 is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Hence, it's apropos that Forbes has just published my latest OpEd on this topic, "Why The Federal Government Wants To Redefine The Word 'Cancer'".  Here is the opening:
The federal government wants to reduce the number of Americans diagnosed each year with cancer. But not by better preventive care or healthier living. Instead, the government wants to redefine the term "cancer" so that fewer conditions qualify as a true cancer. What does this mean for ordinary Americans — and should we be concerned?...
I discuss the reasons behind the proposed redefinition, why it could matter from a political (as well as medical) standpoint, and implications for both patients and doctors.

I'd like to thank Dr. Milton Wolf for providing the quote at the end!

(Read the full text of "Why The Federal Government Wants To Redefine The Word 'Cancer'".)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Terminator the Second

"Terminator the Second is a parody of the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day, constructed solely of lines and phrases from the plays of William Shakespeare. Only proper nouns, pronouns and verb tenses are subject to change, enabling us to remain true to the words of Shakespeare in form, if less so in intent."

Here's the official site.  They've already produced it as a live play, and a movie version is scheduled for DVD release on November 1.

They have a Facebook page as well.

Researchers Build A Particle Accelerator On A Chip

Alex Knapp: "Researchers Build A Particle Accelerator On A Chip".  (Video at the link.)

10-Year-Old Accidentally Creates New Molecule in Science Class

"10-Year-Old Accidentally Creates New Molecule in Science Class"

Who's Watching Your Phone

Ars Technica: "Meet the machines that steal your phone's data"

Are the Olympics One Giant Orgy?

"Are the Olympics one giant orgy?"

Friday, September 27, 2013

[Off topic] Hsieh PJM OpEd: How Patients Can Protect Themselves Against Big Medicine

[Off topic]: PJ Media has published the final segment of my 4-part series on the changing face of American medicine under ObamaCare, "How Patients Can Protect Themselves Against Big Medicine".

Earlier segments include:

Part 1: "Your Future Under Obamacare: Big Medicine Getting Bigger"
Part 2: "How Big Medicine Will Affect Patient Care"
Part 3: "The Eyes of Big Medicine: Electronic Medical Records"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Percussive Maintenance

"Excellent supercut of technology breaking down, then being beaten until it works again." (Via VAViper.)

Feynman Explains Rubber Bands

Richard Feynman explains rubber bands. (Via Kottke.)

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual for the rest of the week due to external obligations.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

British Politeness Translated

"Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness becomes internet hit".  Here it is:

I hear what you say I disagree and do not want to discuss it further He accepts my point of view
With the greatest respect You are an idiot He is listening to me
That's not bad That's good That's poor
That is a very brave proposal You are insane He thinks I have courage
Quite good A bit disappointing Quite good
I would suggest Do it or be prepared to justify yourself Think about the idea, but do what you like
Oh, incidentally/ by the way The primary purpose of our discussion is That is not very important
I was a bit disappointed that I am annoyed that It doesn't really matter
Very interesting That is clearly nonsense They are impressed
I'll bear it in mind I've forgotten it already They will probably do it
I'm sure it's my fault It's your fault Why do they think it was their fault?
You must come for dinner It's not an invitation, I'm just being polite I will get an invitation soon
I almost agree I don't agree at all He's not far from agreement
I only have a few minor comments Please rewrite completely He has found a few typos
Could we consider some other options I don't like your idea They have not yet decided