Saturday, October 31, 2015

Daylight Saving - Movie Trailer

Reminder: We have to relive the horror again this weekend.

"Daylight Saving - Movie Trailer"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill

MIT Technology Review: "Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill"

The article notes that self-driving cars will have to be programmed with some sort of "ethics". The big question will be what precise code of ethics to adopt:
How should the car be programmed to act in the event of an unavoidable accident? Should it minimize the loss of life, even if it means sacrificing the occupants, or should it protect the occupants at all costs? Should it choose between these extremes at random?
The answers to these ethical questions are important because they could have a big impact on the way self-driving cars are accepted in society. Who would buy a car programmed to sacrifice the owner?
Money quote: "People are in favor of cars that sacrifice the occupant to save other lives -- as long they don’t have to drive one themselves."

(Related: "How to Help Self-Driving Cars Make Ethical Decisions.")

Rare Annotated Tolkien Map

"Tolkien's annotated map of Middle-earth discovered inside copy of Lord of the Rings"


The Secret To Silly String

"What's Inside Silly String: The Secret's in the Solvent"

Football Measurement Physics

"Football Physics: Removing The Chains".

Could we use technology instead of the "chains" to more accurately determine if a football player made a first down or not?


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hsieh Forbes Column on Doctor 'Report Cards' And Unintended Consequences

My latest Forbes piece is now out, "Doctor 'Report Cards' May Be Hazardous To Your Health".

I discuss the rise of physician "report cards" for heart surgeons and other advanced surgical specialties, as well as some of the unintended consequences these report cards can create for patients.

Brain-Android Interface

"Scientists Connect Brain to a Basic Tablet -- Paralyzed Patient Googles With Ease". (Via H.R. and D.J.)

Police Nunchucks

Today's not-an-Onion headline from the LA Times: "In Bruce Lee-like move, Northern California police department to adopt nunchucks".  (Via Alex Knapp.)


General-Purpose Optimization Algorithm

"New general-purpose optimization algorithm promises order-of-magnitude speedups on some problems"

Throwing From Orbit

"Why Anything Thrown By Astronauts To Earth "Boomerangs". Can They Hit Earth? With An Arrow Or Bullet?" (Via H.R.)

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Inspection Paradox

"The Inspection Paradox is Everywhere". (Via J.J.)

46-Gigapixel Photo Of Milky Way

"Astronomers Unveil a 46-Gigapixel Photo of the Milky Way That Took 5 Years to Make"

How Many Phone Numbers Are Prime?

"How Many Phone Numbers Are Prime?"

Dilbert On The Future Of Medicine

Hahaha! Yesterday's Dilbert. (Click on image to see full size.)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

NEJM On Peer-Review Fraud

New England Journal of Medicine: "Peer-Review Fraud -- Hacking the Scientific Publication Process".

Fraudulent reviews on Amazon or Yelp are bad enough. Fraudulent peer review in science and medicine could be very, very dangerous to patients.

Worth An Arm And A Leg

"Price Check: How Companies Value Body Parts"

Behind Delta-Epsilon Proofs

"The Subterfuge of Epsilon and Delta"

Minnesota Vikings Donut Club

Yes, there is a Minnesota Vikings Donut Club. With a strict set of rules:
By even acknowledging its existence, [linebacker Chad] Greenway has already broken the first rule of Donut Club. “I’m now getting yelled at for talking about it,” he says. “It’s like Fight Club. You’re going to get me in trouble.” 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

3D Tangible Pixel Robot

"MIT Invents A Flowing River Of 3-D Pixels That Lets Objects Assemble Themselves"

The Science Of Alternate Worlds

"The Science Of Alternate Worlds"

First 3D Printed FDA Approved Medication

"First 3D printed FDA approved medication".  It's for a certain type of seizure medication:
The ZipDose Technology allows Aprecia to use 3D printing technology to print a highly porous high-dose formulation that will quickly disintegrate with the sip of a liquid, thus delivering the dose quickly to the person needing it. Improving the ease delivery may help patients adhere to their treatment regimen and thus cut down on the number of seizures suffered.

So You Want To Intern At SpaceX

"11 tough interview questions you may have to answer if you want to intern at SpaceX". (Via Rand Simberg.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bowling Trick Shot

If this is legit, it is amazing. Physics and bowling.

Curling and High-Tech

The latest curling technology controversy: "Top curling teams say they won't use high-tech brooms".  (Via Tyler Cowen.)

iWatch Epilepsy App

"Johns Hopkins Launches iWatch Epilepsy App for Open Source ResearchKit". (Via H.R.)

Star Trek: New Voyages

NYT: "A Star Trek Dream, Spread From Upstate New York"

Monday, October 19, 2015

OS X El Capitan License in Plain English

"OS X El Capitan License: In Plain English".

So much for my plans of sending a copy to Sudan.

How Scientists Fool Themselves

Nature: "How scientists fool themselves -- and how they can stop". (Via Rand Simberg.)

Cheap Lighting

Wired UK: "In 1800 the average person had to work for 5.4 hours to afford one hour of reading light In 1880 kerosene lamps reduced that down to 13 minutes per hour. In 1960 that shrank to 3.6 seconds. Today: 0.1 seconds, thanks to LED bulbs."

Cops and Doughnuts

"The Long, Sweet Love Affair Between Cops and Doughnuts"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Real Time Facial Expression Transfer

Whoa: Computer tracks facial expressions from one person and puts it on the face of a second person in real-time. This is super-cool/super-creepy.

If one wants to be a pessimist, this is a great way to get video "confessions" of political prisoners, without them having to actually say anything!

Slow Black Holes

"Astroquizzical: Why Don't Black Holes Grow Faster?"

SETH And Computational Complexity

Wired: "Major Advance Reveals the Limits of Computation"

NoPhone ZERO

"This New Smartphone Does Absolutely Nothing"

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mysterious Star

"The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy"
Astronomers have spotted a strange mess of objects whirling around a distant star. Scientists who search for extraterrestrial civilizations are scrambling to get a closer look.
Personally, I'm hoping it's a Niven-style Ringworld.

The Most Prolific Editor on Wikipedia

"The Most Prolific Editor on Wikipedia"

AOL Disc Collectors

"Inside the Intense, Insular World of AOL Disc Collecting"

Soviet Keyloggers

"How Soviets used IBM Selectric keyloggers to spy on US diplomats". (Via A.B.)

Monday, October 12, 2015

After First Contact

"What Happens After Intelligent Life Is Discovered"

MIT Online Degree

"For 1st time, MIT's free online classes can lead to degree".

It will still cost some money, but less than via the traditional route. 

Also, "For students, it's also a new route into the university, bucking the traditional admissions system that relies on past academic records. 'That admission system works well for people who went to schools we know very well,' [MIT Presdient] Reif said. 'But for people from outside that familiar circle, it can be hard to break in.'"

Good Dinosaur

"How Pixar Changed All The Rules To Make The Good Dinosaur A Stunning Masterpiece". (Via H.R.)

Extreme Commuting

"The Rise of the Outrageously Long Commute".

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gene Patents Dead?

"Gene patents probably dead worldwide following Australian court decision". (Via H.R.)

Friday, October 09, 2015

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Chilli Pepper: Friend Or Foe?

"Is the chilli pepper friend or foe?"

Facebook Privacy Hoax

"Why people fall for the biggest hoax on Facebook"

Parker on Fermi

Randall Parker's answer to the Fermi Paradox:
I have a proposal for the "Why Aren't The Aliens Here Already?" question: Every time biological intelligence evolves it eventually creates artificial intelligence before spreading out into the stars. The AIs always wipe out their creators. Then the AIs are smart enough to realize that this is a universal pattern and that they are now threats to each other. So each AI civilization hides.
(Via Instapundit.)

Chinese Sinkhole Develops Own Ecosystem

Photos: "See the Chinese Sinkhole That Developed Its Own Ecosystem"

Monday, October 05, 2015

Driverless Taxi Experiment to Start in Japan

"RoboCab: Driverless Taxi Experiment to Start in Japan"
Japan’s cabinet office, Kanagawa prefecture and Robot Taxi Inc. on Thursday said they will start experimenting with unmanned taxi service beginning in 2016. The service will be offered for approximately 50 people in Kanagawa prefecture, just south of Tokyo, with the auto-driving car carrying them from their homes to local grocery stores.

According to the project organizers, the cabs will drive a distance of about three kilometers (two miles), and part of the course will be on major avenues in the city. Crew members will be aboard the car during the experiment in case there is a need to avoid accidents.

Christmas Drones

"FAA fears 1 million Americans will receive drones for Christmas and use them unwisely"

Nihilistic Password Security Questions

Hah! "Nihilistic Password Security Questions"

Predictive Car Algorithms

"This Car Knows Your Next Misstep Before You Make It"

Friday, October 02, 2015

Danish Travel Commercial

"A new ad by Danish travel agency Spies Rejser tells mothers to encourage their kids to make grandchildren by sending them on sunny, active vacations."

What Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google Sell To Advertisers

"The price of free: How Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google sell you to advertisers"

Interview With A Courtroom Artist

"The Beautiful People Are The Hardest To Draw: Interview With A Courtroom Artist"

Eye Chart Typefaces

Eye chart typefaces.

I'm just glad this is no longer the norm:


Thursday, October 01, 2015

Coffee Coffee Coffee

Harvard: "How coffee loves us back"

Hypnic Jerks

"Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I'm Falling Asleep?"

Robots Suck At Ikea

"Robots are about as bad as humans at assembling IKEA furniture"

Yelp For People

Washington Post: "Everyone you know will be able to rate you on the terrifying 'Yelp for people' -- whether you want them to or not"