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: