Friday, May 31, 2013

Iran's Hackers Might Be Scarier Than China's

"Why Iran's Hackers Might Be Scarier Than China's"

Canadian High School Creates All-Hockey Curriculum

"Nova Scotia high school creates all-hockey curriculum":
A Nova Scotia high school has created a curriculum where every subject — from physics to design technology to dance — centres on hockey.

Cole Harbour District High School, in Sidney Crosby's hometown, received special recognition from Hockey Canada this week for its special project, which encompasses all subjects in all grades.

"In Canada, if you're going to pick a vehicle to have a cross-curricular program of study, hockey has to be it because that is our passion," principal Debbie Roswell said.
Here's the video:


Binge Watching Is Our Future

Forbes: "Binge Watching Is Our Future".

Our household television habits have definitely shifted in this direction with DVRs, Netflix streaming, and AppleTV.

Child-Porn Suspect Ordered to Decrypt His Own Data

"Child-Porn Suspect Ordered to Decrypt His Own Data".

The article also notes that alleging to have forgotten the password could result in serious legal problems.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Google and The Internship

Diana and I saw the trailer for the movie "The Internship" (which looked awful), and wondered why Google would ever agree to participate. Here's Larry Page's explanation.

Star Trek Into Plot Holes

"Movie Review: Star Trek Into Plot Holes".

Note: It's full of spoilers. But quite funny.  (Via Charlie Martin.)

Personalized Google Maps

Slate argues that, "Google's plan to personalize maps could end public space as we know it".

Personally, I'd actually like that kind of personalized map option provided that I could toggle it on or off easily.  A good system of recommended stores or restaurants could be a benefit to me, just like Amazon's recommended books are often quite helpful.

Bio-Hacking Coming Soon?

TechCrunch: "Bio-Hackers, Get Ready"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Medical School Tumblr

Awesome medical school Tumblr. (Note: Some images may be too graphic for sensitive viewers.)

Poetry Plagiarism

Poetry plagiarism detected with Google Books. (Via Virginia Postrel.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Light Blogging Notice

Admin note: Blogging may be lighter than usual through the holiday weekend and early next week due to external obligations.

Real Life Medical Tricorder

"A Real-Life Tricorder Is Now Available For You To Buy And Scan Yourself".

It's clearly not as advanced as the fictional versions on Star Trek.  But like the first cell phones, it could be the beginning of cool things to come.  (Via Jennifer A.)

Do Elephants Have Souls?

"Do Elephants Have Souls?"

More on Google Glass and Ubiquitous Surveillance

"The Google Glass feature no one is talking about"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CNN on Elizabeth Loftus

CNN has a nice profile of Elizabeth Loftus, the psychologist who has done tremendous research on memory and "false memory".

One-Time Pad Reinvented To Make Electronic Copying Impossible

"One-Time Pad Reinvented To Make Electronic Copying Impossible"

Harvesting Shoe Power

"Rice University Students Develop Shoe Energy Harvester to Power Medical Devices". Video at the link.

Riker Sits Down

I hadn't noticed this until I saw this supercut of Riker sitting down:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Update on Twin Prime Conjecture

Wired: "Rumors swept through the mathematics community that a great advance had been made by a researcher no one seemed to know — someone whose talents had been so overlooked after he earned his doctorate in 1992 that he had found it difficult to get an academic job, working for several years as an accountant and even in a Subway sandwich shop..."

I also really liked this statement from Zhang, "There are a lot of chances in your career, but the important thing is to keep thinking".

3 People Explain Why They Want To Make One-Way Trip To Mars

"Why sign up for a one-way Mars trip? Three applicants explain the appeal".

Applicants #1 (SF icon David Brin) and #3 gave thoughtful reasons. Not as sure about #2, an 18-year old college student.

Wi-Fi Rifle Lets Amateurs Hit Targets 1 km Away

"Wi-Fi rifle lets amateurs hit targets from one kilometre away". (Via @InternetCases)

5 URL Expanders

"5 URL Expanders to Help You Avoid Spammy Links"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Cicadas Like Prime Numbers

Why cicadas like prime numbers. (Via Radley Balko.)

Are Quantum Computers Faster than Regular Computers?

Are quantum computers faster, slower, or both at once?

Google Glass Is Watching

WSJ: "Google Glass Is Watching -- Now What?"

Personally, I expect social norms for Google Glass will change very quickly (and much faster than critics anticipate). 

Related story in NYT: "At Google Conference, Cameras Even in the Bathroom".  (Via S.K.)

Charge Phone in 20 Seconds

"Teen's invention could charge your phone in 20 seconds"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

3D Printing is Way Scarier Than Plastic Guns

Shelly Palmer: "3D Printing is Way Scarier Than Plastic Guns"

Reynolds Critiques IP Laws

Glenn Reynolds in Popular Mechanics: "Our Intellectual Property Laws Are Out of Control".

I fully support the idea of intellectual property, and it's ultimate based on the same grounds as more tangible form of property rights.  However, there are lots of legitimate questions about how best to implement the law.  Shifting concepts of "ownership" vs. new forms of licensing would definitely be one topic worth further work.

Streisand Effect and 3D-Printed Gun Clampdown

"DIY Firearms Makers Are Already Replicating And Remixing The 3D-Printed Gun"

The article notes:
By all appearances, the State Department’s efforts to take the CAD file for the Liberator offline for possible export control violations have done more to generate interest in the printable gun than to prevent its spread.

15 Ways Google Tracks You

15 ways Google tracks you.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thursday, May 09, 2013

FBI Claims Right to Read Your E-mail

"FBI claims right to read your e-mail".

Under current law, "law enforcement must get a warrant to access e-mail before it has been opened by the recipient. However, there are no such provisions once the e-mail has been opened or if it has been sitting in an inbox, unopened, for 180 days."

Legitimate Viagra Online

Bloomberg News: "Pfizer Begins Selling Viagra Online to Battle Fake Drugs".

I wonder how many of their ads will be blocked by spam filters?

MRU Course on Great Economists

Marginal Revolution University will be offering an online course on "Great Economists: Classical Economics and its Forerunners".

From their description:
Who were the first economic thinkers? What are the very origins of economic thought? What did earlier economists understand but has been lost to the modern world? Why is Adam Smith the greatest economist of all time? How did the economic issues of the 18th and 19th centuries shape the thoughts of the classical economists? This class, which covers the history of economic thought up until the "Marginal Revolution" in the 1870s, will answer all of these questions and many others.

This course is non-technical and is accessible to a beginner.

Facial Recognition Limitations

"Why facial recognition tech failed in the Boston bombing manhunt"

Acoustic Arms Race

Acoustic Arms Race: "Bats and other animals use sound as a hunting tool -- but their prey has also evolved ways to thwart detection"

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Mach 5.1

"X-51A Waverider Scramjet Hits Hypersonic Speed Of Mach 5.1 In Final Test Flight, Air Force Says". (Via David Jilk.)

Is Google Glass Bad for Your Eyes?

"Is Google Glass Bad for Your Eyes?"

Short answer: Probably not.  (Via @Medgadget.)

Are All Telephone Calls Recorded By US Government?

"Are all telephone calls recorded and accessible to the US government?"

According to former FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente speaking on CNN, the answer is "yes".

Update: Note that some security experts like Matt Blaze believe this is false, as he discusses in his Twitter feed.

QWERTY Myths

"The Lies You've Been Told About the Origin of the QWERTY Keyboard"

Monday, May 06, 2013

Now You Can Buy 3D Printers From Staples

"Now You Can Buy 3D Printers From Staples".

I predict we'll see lots of interesting innovations once home hobbyists start trading ideas and designs.

Steganography-Like PSA Poster

Fascinating use of "steganography" in a PSA poster to convey information to abused kids, but not to abusing adults who might be standing next to them.

Here's their explanatory video:

How Close Are We To A Real Iron Man Suit?

"How Close Are We To A Real Iron Man Suit?"

Big Octopus Goes Through Small Hole

It's amazing how small of a hole an octopus can squeeze through.  (Via Bruce Schneier.)



My favorite line (faintly heard in the background) is the short verbal exchange:
"It's like trying to get my wife in her wedding dress. It ain't gonna happen."
"Hey!"

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Compilation of Positive Russian Dashcam Videos

Nice compilation of Russian dashcam videos showing simple acts of kindness and benevolence (people helping old ladies across the street, looking after little kids who wandered into traffic, pushing cars out of snowbanks, etc.)

Friday, May 03, 2013

The Secret Language of Cattle Branding

"Decoding the Range: The Secret Language of Cattle Branding"

Best. Court. Ruling.

Some funny double-entendres in this federal court ruling on Texas strip club law.

Taxes On Bitcoins

Forbes: "IRS Takes A Bite Out Of Bitcoin"

Movie Out of Atoms

Time: "IBM Makes a Movie Out of Atoms"



"IBM’s new cartoon -- yes, IBM made a cartoon -- is remarkable. It was produced at IBM Research’s Almaden Research Center in Northern California, by a bunch of scientists who used a scanning tunneling microscope as their animation tool. The pixels are individual atoms, nudged into place to form a picture. (The Guinness folks have certified this as the smallest movie ever made.)"

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The 24 People Who Decide Acceptable Speech On The Internet

Free speech on the internet decided by 24 key people: "Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech".

From the article:
The deciders, of course, have blind spots of their own. Their hate-speech policies tend to reflect a bias toward the civility norms of U.S. workplaces; they identify speech that might get you fired if you said them at your job, but which would be legal if shouted at a rally, and try to banish that expression from the entire Internet. 

But given their tremendous size and importance as platforms for free speech, companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and Twitter shouldn’t try to be guardians of what Waldron calls a “well-ordered society”; instead, they should consider themselves the modern version of Oliver Wendell Holmes’s fractious marketplace of ideas—democratic spaces where all values, including civility norms, are always open for debate.
In this respect, Twitter seems to be doing better than Google and Facebook.  The article also notes:
As corporate rather than government actors, the Deciders aren’t formally bound by the First Amendment. But to protect the best qualities of the Internet, they need to summon the First Amendment principle that the only speech that can be banned is that which threatens to provoke imminent violence, an ideal articulated by Justice Louis Brandeis in 1927. It’s time, in other words, for some American free-speech imperialism if the Web is to remain open and free in twenty-first century.
(Via Virginia Postrel.)

Pirates Experience The Other Side

Clever: "What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy?"

10 Real Life Fairytale Islands

"10 Real Life Fairytale Islands". (Via B.M.)

Amazing Pictures of NYC Tunnel Drilling

Amazing pictures: "The Tunnels of NYC's East Side Access Project". (Via Jamie Brickell.)