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!

Inside Rolex

"10 Things To Know About How Rolex Makes Watches"

This Military Infomercial Will Freak the Sarah Connor Out Of You

"This military infomercial will freak the Sarah Connor out of you"

Tuesday, November 26, 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":

Monday, November 25, 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:

Friday, November 22, 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"

Thursday, November 21, 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".

Tuesday, November 19, 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.

Monday, November 18, 2013

[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.

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:


Sunday, November 17, 2013

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.)

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"

Thursday, November 14, 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:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 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 Space.com, "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!

Monday, November 11, 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)

Friday, November 08, 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.

Thursday, November 07, 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

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

[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.

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"

Monday, November 04, 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.)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

SF To Gotham

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