Thursday, October 30, 2014

No Google Glass In Movie Theaters

"Wearable recording devices like Google Glass officially banned from movie theaters":
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), which maintains around 32,000 screens across the US, have updated their joint anti-piracy policy to officially ban the use of wearable recording devices while watching movies.

The Stradivarius Affair

"It isn't every day that a street criminal -- a high-school dropout with two felony convictions -- is accused of stealing a centuries-old violin worth as much as $6 million. But nothing about the heist of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which galvanized the music world last winter, was normal, or even logical"

Haunted Poster

"Watch This Haunted Poster Come To Life and Scare the Hell Out of People".  Click through to see video!

Lowe on Google Pill

Derek Lowe: "Google's Nanoparticle Diagnostic Ideas". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Google Pill

"Google Working on Pill That Searches for Illnesses"
[T]he pill is packed with tiny magnetic particles, which can travel through a patient's bloodstream, search for malignant cells and report their findings to a sensor on a wearable device.  As many as 2,000 of these microscopic "nanoparticles" could fit inside a single red blood cell to provide doctors with better insights about what is happening inside their patients.

The Fourier Transform, Explained in One Sentence

"The Fourier Transform, explained in one sentence"

Language Tree

Beautiful Indo-European language family tree. (Click through to see full size.)

Religion and ET

What different religions say about extra-terrestrial life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Future Of The Book

"From Papyrus to Pixels: The Future Of The Book"

Skydive Record

Alex Knapp: "Google Executive Breaks Record With Near-Space Skydive".

And he didn't need to use the, "I feel lucky" button!

Interpretation Only Genetic Services

"How a Wiki Is Keeping Direct-to-Consumer Genetics Alive".

The big question is whether regulators will attempt to shut them down:
Now a question is whether Promethease and sites like it could, or should, be the next target of regulators. Lennon believes his service is outside the FDA’s reach, because it doesn’t offer a spit kit or perform DNA tests itself but instead operates like a “literature retrieval service,” presenting a version of what’s in the science journals. Regulate us, says Lennon, and you’d have to shut down WebMD and Wikipedia, too.

Reached by MIT Technology Review, the FDA said it has authority to regulate software that interprets genomes, even if such services are given away free. The agency does not comment on specific companies.

Don't Name Your WiFi Hotspot Something Stupid

ABC News: "LAX flight delayed after WiFi hotspot name prompts concerns".

Just as it's probably a poor idea to crack a joke in the TSA security line about bombs or terrorism, you shouldn't incorporate it into your WiFi hotspot name.  Otherwise you might get more up close and personal with the blue-gloved hands than you anticipated.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Clone Your Dog

"For $100,000, You Can Clone Your Dog"

Hearing Restored in Noise-Deafened Mice

"Hearing Restored in Noise-Deafened Mice". (Via Howard R.)

Harvesting Marble

"You Probably Never Realized How Marble Is Harvested, But It's Beautiful"

Chess Piece Survival Rates

"Chess Piece Survival Rates".  Now you know which poor pawn is the "red shirt" of the chessboard.

Click on image to see full size version. (Via Marginal Revolution.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Why You Should Be Concerned But Not Fearful About Ebola in NYC

[Off topic] My latest short post at Forbes: "Why You Should Be Concerned But Not Fearful About Ebola in NYC".

This is obviously going to be a rapidly-developing story.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Asimov On Creativity

"Isaac Asimov Mulls 'How Do People Get New Ideas?'" Great hitherto unpublished essay from 1959.

Google Launches Inbox to Reinvent the Email App

Mashable: "Google Launches Inbox to Reinvent the Email App"

The Secret History Of Invisible Ink

"The secret history of invisible ink". One tidbit from the article:
During World War I, we learn, a British intelligence officer decided that the finest invisible ink available was semen. “Obviously,” Macrakis writes, “the best way to produce semen at the office was through masturbation.” The brilliant officer’s name was Mansfield Cumming.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Suspended Animation In Space Travel

Update: The Popular Science website may have been hacked. The original link is generating a security warning, so I've taken down the post.


"RocketSkates, which are exactly what they sound like: Motorized skates can travel up to ten miles, can replace your bike."  Click through to watch the video.

Equal Population Mapper

"As Many People Live In L.A. County As In The Whole State Of Michigan, Basically".

More at the interactive "Equal Population Mapper".

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fusion Skepticism

MIT Technology Review: "Does Lockheed Martin Really Have a Breakthrough Fusion Machine?"

Reversible Laser Tractor Beam

"Physicists create reversible laser tractor beam". (Via Krastio Atanassov.)

The Economics of the Mafia

"Organized Crime Pays". Even in the Mafia, there's the !%. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
In many ways, joining a criminal organization is a lot like getting a job at a law firm or another large institution: You start out making barely enough to live, but you know that you’re paying your dues. The tasks, at the beginning, are routine and sometimes humiliating, but your assignments will become more prestigious as you become wealthier and more important. The $2,500 a month that a picciotto earns today could become millions of dollars if he becomes a boss—a process that, with luck, might take only a few years. There’s a certain logic as well to becoming a Mafia hit man—killing someone will almost certainly further your career ambitions, because you can’t become a Mafia boss if you don’t have both military talent and economic vision. If you are simply a soldier or only a white-collar professional, you can never be a boss...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Due to external obligations, posting may be lighter than usual for this week.

Physics Gone Wrong

"Couple Hospitalized After Getting Stuck Together During Ocean Sex":
The couple had formed something of a seal by having sex underwater, and they were suctioned together. They reportedly waited in the water until a woman with a towel came by, at which point the couple made for land.   Helpful strangers called a medic, who helped transport the pair to a local hospital...

What Shakespeare's Plays Sounded Like

"Here's what Shakespeare's plays sounded like with their original English accent"

Bookstore Freedom Tweeter

"U.S. Tourist Locked in London Bookstore Tweets Himself to Freedom"

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Stolen Phone Rats Out Thieves

"Pictures taken by armed robbery suspects using a stolen phone were uploaded to the victim's cloud account"

FBI vs. Encryption

"FBI Director to citizens: Let us spy on you"
In a post-Snowden plea for a policy more permissive of spying, FBI Director James B. Comey raised the specters of child predators, violent criminals, and crafty terrorists to argue that companies should build surveillance capabilities into the design of their products and allow lawful interception of communications.

Tetrochromatic Artist

"This Woman Sees 100 Times More Colors Than The Average Person"

Ottoman Map of the New United States

"The Ottoman Empire's First Map of the Newly Minted United States"

(Click on image to see full size.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


"Google Glass user treated for internet addiction caused by the device". (Via Trey P.)

The Power of Drug Color

The power of drug color.
Blue pills, contrary to what Breaking Bad may have you believe, act best as sedatives. Red and orange are stimulants. Cheery yellows make the most effective antidepressants, while green reduces anxiety and white soothes pain. Brighter colors and embossed brand names further strengthen these effects—a bright yellow pill with the name on its surface, for example, may have a stronger effect than a dull yellow pill without it.
Some of the cross-cultural considerations discussed in the article are also interesting.

Happy Dog Cam

"Someone Strapped A GoPro To The Happiest Dog Ever, And The Result Is Very Happy"

Monday, October 13, 2014

Captive Orcas Speak Dolphin

"Captive orcas speak dolphin". (Via Marginal Revolution.)

What It’s Like to Carry Your Nobel Prize through Airport Security

"What It's Like to Carry Your Nobel Prize through Airport Security".

According to Brian Schmidt, who won the 2011 Nobel Physics Prize, it was like this:
“When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.

“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’

I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’

They said, ‘What’s in the box?’

I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.

So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’

I said, ‘gold.’

And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’

‘The King of Sweden.’

‘Why did he give this to you?’

‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’

At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”

Nobody Knows What Running Looks Like

"Nobody Knows What Running Looks Like". (Via Trey P.)

This Gun Makes And Fires Paper Airplanes

"This Gun Makes And Fires Paper Airplanes"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Google Reveals Information About 'Right to Be Forgotten' Requests

"Google Reveals Information About 'Right to Be Forgotten' Requests"

Moral Panics Of 1878

"Moral Panics Of 1878: NY Times Warns People About The Evils Of Thomas Edison's Aerophone". (Via H.R.)

Wearable Drone?

Wearable drone?  From the Nixie website:
Nixie is a tiny wearable camera on a wrist band. The wrist straps unfold to create a quadcopter that flies, takes photos or video, then comes back to you.
And the product concept video:

The Mystery of Personal Identity

"The Mystery of Personal Identity: What Makes You and Your Childhood Self the Same Person Despite a Lifetime of Change".

Via Rand Simberg, who notes, "This is an issue with the transporter problem. If a copy of you is made, and then the original destroyed, is it 'you'? Would 'you' know the difference?

Monday, October 06, 2014

13 things Cary Elwes Revealed About 'The Princess Bride'

"13 things Cary Elwes revealed about The Princess Bride in his Reddit AMA".  My favorite was #3:
3. AndrĂ© The Giant could really hold his liquor. “Andre could drink more than anyone I’ve ever met… He could drink 103 beers in one sitting. One sitting. And not pass out or anything, or even tipsy!” Inconceivable.

Hiker Discovers Abandoned Town

"Hiker Discovers an Abandoned Town Inside Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park"

How Computers Draw Curves

Bezier curves explained: "You must watch this fantastic explanation of how computers draw curves"

Christof Koch on Computer Consciousness

MIT Tech Review: "What It Will Take for Computers to Be Conscious".

I'm not sure I buy Koch's theory, but I'm linking to it as a FYI.

This Wired story on Koch also notes it's a variation of panpsychism: "A Neuroscientist’s Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious".

Bad EHR and Ebola?

My latest short post in Forbes: "Did Bad EHR Software Lead to Ebola Patient Being Sent Home?"

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Workplace Linkers

"Office Networks Reveal Which Co-Workers To Avoid During Infectious Outbreaks". 

I'm not one of the "linkers" at my workplace, but I do know people who are.

Leaping Over The Uncanny Valley

Video: "This Is CG"

The Psychology Behind Costco's Free Samples

"The Psychology Behind Costco's Free Samples"

Skye Biking

"I'm not sure bike rides can be more epic than through the Isle of Skye". (Via Howard R.)