Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Detecting a Coming Betrayal

"Researchers use transcripts from online Diplomacy games to identify signs of imminent betrayal":
One of the key signals of a coming betrayal, oddly enough, is that betrayers are especially positive compared to other players before they turn on their allies, potentially a sign "the betrayer [is] overcompensating for his forthcoming actions," the team explains. Future victims, meanwhile, are more likely to talk about pending plans and are also somewhat less polite in their messages to others.

Related excellent article on the game Diplomacy: "The Board Game of the Alpha Nerds".

Consumerization of AI

"Why AI Is the Next Tech Battleground"

Celebrity Trees

"The Perks And Pitfalls of Being a Famous Tree"

Gateway Boardgames

"The 10 Essential Gateway Boardgames for Converting Non-Gamers". (Via T.S.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hsieh Forbes Column: 3 Good Things In Health Care Innovation

My latest Forbes column is now up, "Three Good Things In Health Care Innovation".

I highlight some under-appreciated good developments in health care, centered around the theme that innovations in processes may be less flashy than innovations in technology — but can still save lives.

In particular, I discuss the following:
1) Improvements in cardiac care
2) Improvements in matching kidney transplant donors with recipients
3) Protecting the freedom of direct pay doctors
Our current system is very mixed, with both good and bad elements. In this piece, I wanted to focus on some of the good elements.

For more details on each, read the full text of "Three Good Things In Health Care Innovation".

Testy AI

WSJ: "Artificial Intelligence Machine Gets Testy With Its Programmer"
Over at Google, a computer program using a database of movie scripts was asked again and again by researchers to define morality. It struggles to do so, and in a conversation recorded by its human engineers, becomes exasperated and ends the conversation by lashing out at its human inquisitor...

Astounding Weather Photos

America's Best Weather Photography: Here are the winners of NOAA's 'Weather in Focus' photo contest".

I especially liked this one, "A Tornado Churns Up Dust In Sunset Light Near Traer, Iowa":

Sex-Related News Bloopers

12 minutes of hilarious sex-related news bloopers.  Definitely NSFW!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Swedish Robotic Overlords Next

"Swedish Scientists Build Artificial Neurons Able to Communicate With Organic Neurons"

Life As A Teenager in the NBA

"What's It Like To Be a Teenager in the NBA?"
Being a teenager can be tough, even if you’re just an average kid dealing with everyday issues and trying to blend in at high school. Being a teenager who is constantly under the microscope and has a ridiculous amount of money, fame and temptations can be quite the experience – good and bad – as well.

There have been many teenagers who have thrived in the league, including superstars like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady and LeBron James. But for every success story, there are many players who failed to make the transition to the NBA as teenagers – for reasons on the court, off the court or sometimes both...

Earth-Moon Combination Is Likely Very Rare

"Earth-Moon Combination Is Likely Very Rare, Study Confirms"

Google Climb

"Virtually climb El Capitan with Google's first vertical Street View". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Welcome to Cleveland

"Guy Who Lives Near Airport Painted 'Welcome to Cleveland' on His Roof, He Lives in Milwaukee"

Spurious Correlation

"Louder vowels won't get you laid, and other tales of spurious correlation"

Falsely Attributed

"Famous quotes and the people who didn't say them"

Fermat and Wiles

"How Math’s Most Famous Proof Nearly Broke"

Monday, June 15, 2015

SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition

"The Official SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition".
Since we first unveiled the idea for a new high-speed ground transport system called the Hyperloop back in 2013, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the concept. We are excited that a handful of private companies have chosen to pursue this effort.

Neither SpaceX nor Elon Musk is affiliated with any Hyperloop companies. While we are not developing a commercial Hyperloop ourselves, we are interested in helping to accelerate development of a functional Hyperloop prototype.

For this reason, SpaceX is announcing an open competition, geared towards university students and independent engineering teams, to design and build the best Hyperloop pod. To support this competition, SpaceX will construct a one-mile test track adjacent to our Hawthorne, California headquarters. Teams will be able to test their human-scale pods during a competition weekend at the track, currently targeted for June 2016. The knowledge gained here will continue to be open-sourced.

 Break a pod!
(Via W.G.)

No-Tipping Success

Fortune: "How a no-tipping policy helped this restaurant triple profits in 2 months". (Via J.Z.)

100 Iconic Movie Lines

"The 100 Best Movie Lines of All Time, in One Video"

Lots of Robotic Animals

You now have a choice of future robotic animal overlords: "Scientists have made enough animal robots to fill a terrifying zoo"

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flexible Circuit Injected Into Living Brains

"A Flexible Circuit Has Been Injected Into Living Brains":
Implanted via injection, a grid of wires only a few millimeters across can insinuate itself with living neurons and eavesdrop on their chatter, offering a way for electronics to interface with your brain activity.

“We’re trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits,” says Charles Lieber, a nanotechnologist at Harvard University and co-author of a study describing the device this week in Nature Nanotechnology.

Porn In Space

"PornHub is crowdfunding $3.4M to explore the final frontier".

Bioengineered Animal Limb

"Bioengineering breakthrough: Scientists create a working animal limb in a lab". (Via Dave J.)

Why Return Trips Feel Shorter

"The science behind why the return-trip always feels shorter than the trip there"

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Google's AI Chief Not Worried About AI

"Google on Artificial-Intelligence Panic: Get a Grip"

Wi-Fi Powered Surveillance Camera

"University of Washington develops Wi-Fi powered surveillance camera":
Researchers invented a method to harvest energy from a Wi-Fi router to beam power to a camera. The need for batteries has been done away with entirely, with Wi-Fi being the only source of power. 
I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to devise both good and bad applications of this technology.

What To Do If You Lose Your Phone

USA Today:: "Lost your phone? Here's how to find it"

Amazon Allowance

"Amazon Allowance ...lets people set up monthly or weekly payments to credit their kids' — or anyone else's — Amazon account with a cash balance, like a gift card. That saves parents from having to find cash, write a check or a make a bank transfer, and gives the recipient a way to shop on the website without a credit or debit card."

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Early Forms of Birth Control

"Early forms of birth control were revolutionary but looked scary".

Tricorder Update

"The Race to Build a Real-Life Version of the Star Trek Tricorder"

Awesome Climbing

"Alex Honnold Climbing Compilation".

Holy crap.  (Via H.R.)

Massive Wartime Decoys

Massive Wartime Decoys and Camouflage Operations"

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Reviews Of 100 Years of Best Sellers

Man reviews every novel to reach the number one spot on Publishers Weekly annual bestsellers list, starting from 1913 - 2013.

Because of some duplicate appearances, this is 94 books in 100 years.

(I was pleasantly surprised to see that JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion was the 1977 best seller!)

Animals And Mirror

How wild animals in Africa respond to a giant mirror.

Self-Destructing Origami Robot

"Origami Robot Folds Itself Up, Does Cool Stuff, Dissolves Into Nothing":
[R]esearchers from MIT demonstrated an untethered miniature origami robot that self-folds, walks, swims, and degrades. That’s the title of their paper, in fact, and they delivered on all of those promises: from a flat sheet with a magnet on it, their robot folds itself up in just a few seconds, is immediately ready to zip around on land or water driven by magnetic fields, and then when you’ve run out of things to do with it, drive it into a tank of acetone and it’ll dissolve. This is the first time that a robot has been able to demonstrate a complete life cycle like this, and eventually, it’ll be doing it inside your body.
Here's the video:

Goodnight Dune

"Goodnight Dune"

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Monday, June 01, 2015

Why Do Airplane Windows Have Tiny Holes?

"Why Do Airplane Windows Have Tiny Holes?"

Robot Cheetah Update

"MIT's cheetah robot can now autonomously detect and jump over hurdles"

Why Swiss Cheese Has Holes

"Scientists Have Worked Out Why Swiss Cheese Has Holes".

Bottom line: Tiny pieces of hay.