Friday, July 31, 2015

How New Words Spread

"How brand-new words are spreading across America":
One region is particularly influential: the south. Several of Grieve’s emerging words got their start there. It’s true of boolin (chilling), baeless (single), bruuh (bro), unbothered (happily oblivious), to name a few.

This tells us two things. First, it is evidence of the “north-south split,” a linguistic divide separating two dialects of American English at the Mason-Dixon Line. Grieve called it the “strongest dialectical pattern in the United States.” Some of these fast-growing words, like unbothered, have barely left the south at all. Perhaps it will reach the north this year.

Second, we can see how African-American English is largely responsible for the coinages that secure a place in the lexicon. New words on Black Twitter grow to be used on the rest of Twitter...

Awkward Celebrity Tech Product Launches

"The Eight Most Awkward Celebrity Tech Product Launches"

Night Vision Eyedrops

"Night Vision Without the Goggles".

I think I'll let other people be the "early adopters" in this particular biohacking project.

How Many Parents-To-Be Want To Know The Baby's Sex?

"How Many Parents-To-Be Want To Know The Baby's Sex?

Some tidbits:
* 58 percent of women and 58 percent of men said they had found out or planned to find out the sex of the fetus

* "Almost all parents feel strongly one way or the other about whether it is best to know the fetal sex before birth"

* Most parents (84 percent of mothers and 80 percent of fathers) say they don’t have a strong preference about the sex of the baby.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Color Magenta

"Why magenta doesn't appear in the rainbow".

Short answer: "Magenta is not a color. Rather, it is the absence of green." (Via H.R.)

Eliminating an Unfriendly AI

"Eliminating an Unfriendly AI"

1995 Digital Camera Speces

"State of the art: $20,000, 1 megapixel. This is what digital cameras were like in 1995"
This episode of CNET Central from the summer of 1995 features the "B-2 Stealth Bomber" of digital cameras, a Fuji X/Nikon hybrid. Roughly the size of a volleyball, this camera packed 1.3 megapixels and a removable 131 MB card capable of storing 70 images, all for $20,000 or (equivalent to $31,000 in 2015).

Single-Molecule Transistor

"Building a Single-molecule Transistor from Scratch"

Friday, July 24, 2015

Personal Mass Spectrometer

"Pocket-Sized SCiO Spectrometer Analyzes Chemical Composition Of Anything, Displays It On Your Smartphone". (Via H.R.)

How The World Looks To A Dog

"See the world through your dog's eyes with this app"

Butt Dialing Legal Ruling

"You Are Now Liable for Your Butt Dials":
A federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled yesterday that somebody who accidentally calls somebody else isn't protected by a right to privacy; whatever the person on the other end hears is fair game. Having a mobile device that everyone knows can trigger calls accidentally means you can be snooped on when the gut-wrenching mistake occurs, the panel of judges decided. Having a butt has never been more dangerous.

This is only the second time a court case has used the phrase "butt dial," as far as Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who directs the school's High Tech Law Institute, knows...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bionic Eye

"British man receives world's first bionic eye implant for macular degeneration". (Via H.R.)

LEGO Patent

"The Original LEGO Patent". (Via M.A.)

Teach Yourself Programming on the Cheap

"How to Teach Yourself Programming on the Cheap"

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Robotic Artificial Evolution

"Mother Robots Build Children Robots to Experiment With Artificial Evolution"

Remotely Killing A Jeep

Wired: "Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway -- With Me in It"
All of this is possible only because Chrysler, like practically all carmakers, is doing its best to turn the modern automobile into a smartphone. Uconnect, an Internet-connected computer feature in hundreds of thousands of Fiat Chrysler cars, SUVs, and trucks, controls the vehicle’s entertainment and navigation, enables phone calls, and even offers a Wi-Fi hot spot. And thanks to one vulnerable element, which Miller and Valasek won’t identify until their Black Hat talk, Uconnect’s cellular connection also lets anyone who knows the car’s IP address gain access from anywhere in the country...

Postrel On Textiles and Tech

Fascinating (and well-written) essay on textiles and technology by Virginia Postrel: "Losing the thread".

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Light Posting

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual this week due to external obligations.

Tiny Robots Can Clear Clogged Arteries

"Tiny Robots Can Clear Clogged Arteries"

Telling Secrets To Robots

BBC: People tell robots the darndest things.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

4 Kinds Of Drunks

"Scientists decide there are 4 kinds of drunks".

FWIW I'm a "Nutty Professor" drunk -- and a total lightweight.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Unethical Ethicists

"Are professional ethicists good people? According to our research, not especially."

One interesting observation came from a 7-year old:
My son Davy, then seven years old, was in his booster seat in the back of my car. ‘What do you think, Davy?’ I asked. ‘People who think a lot about what’s fair and about being nice – do they behave any better than other people? Are they more likely to be fair? Are they more likely to be nice?’
Davy didn’t respond right away. I caught his eye in the rearview mirror.

‘The kids who always talk about being fair and sharing,’ I recall him saying, ‘mostly just want you to be fair to them and share with them.’

TJ's Trail Mix Reviews

"We Try All 18 Kinds of Trader Joe's Trail Mix"

Pluto Camera

"The Camera Behind the New Pluto Photos"

Update: More detailed technical paper, "Ralph: A Visible/Infrared Imager for the New Horizons Pluto/Kuiper Belt Mission".  (Via G.F.)

NYC Population Density, Day And Night

NYC population density, day and night:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Revisiting The Taste Bud Tongue Map

"We've been thinking about our taste buds all wrong"

Fish Kick

"Is This New Swim Stroke the Fastest Yet? The surprising performance and physics of the fish kick"

The Tree You Can E-Mail

"When You Give a Tree an Email Address":
The city of Melbourne assigned trees email addresses so citizens could report problems. Instead, people wrote thousands of love letters to their favorite trees.

Artisanal Cocktail Ice

"Inside the Obsessive World of Artisanal Cocktail Ice"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How Doctors Choose To Die

"Knowing How Doctors Die Can Change End-Of-Life Discussions"

Prosopagnosia

"What It's Like to Be Profoundly Face-Blind":
Prosopagnosia is a neuropsychological condition that impairs the sufferer’s ability to recognize faces. It’s also known as face-blindness, and those who are afflicted lack a skill that comes naturally to most humans, forcing them to find ways to work around this deficit...

Facing A 150 MPH Tennis Serve

"What It's Like to Face a 150 M.P.H. Tennis Serve". (Click through to watch the video.)

Chatbot Frustration

"I tried to befriend chatbots, but they drove me crazy".

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Art of the Opening Shot

"The Art of the Opening Shot".

"The opening scenes from dozens of movies, including 2001, There Will Be Blood, Lost in Translation, Seven Samurai, and Star Wars."

Paradoxical Crystal Baffles Physicists

"Paradoxical Crystal Baffles Physicists"

One Minute Time Machine

"The Most Adorable and Awesome Sci-Fi Love Story Ever: The One-Minute Time Machine".

Love the great twist at the end! (Via K.E.)


The Nazi Telegram That Helped Drive Hitler To Suicide

Washington Post: "How the Nazi telegram that helped drive Hitler to suicide was nearly forgotten in a SC safe"

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rat Borg!

Nature: "Building an organic computing device with multiple interconnected brains".  (Via Dave J.)

Hunches Vs Data

"The Data Or The Hunch".

On the potential pitfalls in the interview process:
In 2009, sociologists at Harvard sent volunteers to apply for actual jobs, armed with identical résumés and similar interview training. They found that white applicants with a criminal record were offered jobs at the same rate as black applicants with no criminal record. Researchers at Bowling Green State University in Ohio followed the progress of applicants to postgraduate schools, and found that when face-to-face interviews were conducted, thinner candidates were systematically favoured over fatter ones. At Rice University in Houston, researchers found that candidates who had a facial blemish, like a scar on the cheek, were rated more negatively than those who didn’t.

22+ Perfect Pics

"22+ Perfect Pics That Will Satisfy Every Perfectionist's Soul"

Inside Blue Man Group

"The Exit Interview: I Spent 12 Years in the Blue Man Group"

Thursday, July 09, 2015

High-Tech Pens

Wired: "Pens Are Making a High-Tech Comeback"

Han Solo Prequel Film

"Christopher Miller and Phil Lord to Helm Han Solo Anthology Film":
The screenplay is written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan. The story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley.

Molecule Building

"Using lasers to build molecules instead of tearing them apart"

Flatworm Injects Sperm Into Own Head

"Flatworm uses 'hypodermic penis' to inject sperm into own head"

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Man-Made Meteors

"Wishing on a shooting star in Japan with man-made meteors"

Crazy Economics Of Inflight Wi-Fi

"The crazy economics of inflight Wi-Fi"

Greatest Card Cheat

"The search for the world's greatest card cheat"

Placebo Effects in Medicine

New England Journal Of Medicine: "Placebo Effects in Medicine"

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Robotic Brick Layers

"Robotic Brick Layers And Other Construction Robots"

Chlorine Trifluoride

"Chlorine Trifluoride: The Chemical That Sets Fire to Asbestos on Contact". (Via H.R.)

Crypto Wars 2.0

"The battle between Washington and Silicon Valley over encryption."

Pete Sampras' Letter To His Younger Self

Pete Sampras: "Letter to My Younger Self". (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Science Of Sparklers

"The Awesome Physics in a Simple Sparkler".  (Via H.R.)

Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Bluetooth Keyboard With Programmable E-Ink Keys

"Sonder Keyboard is a programmable Bluetooth keyboard that uses e-ink to relabel keys"

Cat Video Overdose!

"I Watched 100 Cat Videos for Science"

Wednesday, July 01, 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.)