Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hsieh Forbes Column: Three Tales of Health, Technology, and Freedom

My latest Forbes piece is now out: "Three Tales of Health, Technology, and Freedom".

I highlight recent stories on the "artificial pancreas", research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and patients ordering their own blood tests.

When people pursue important health goals, often the government helps best by getting out of the way.

Drone Rights

WSJ: "Should You Be Allowed to Prevent Drones From Flying Over Your Property?"

This is a pretty good debate, with reasonable points being made by both sides.

Apps For #2

"The Best Apps to Use While You're Pooping"

Weird Beers

"We Tried the Weirdest New Beers Out There -- and We Mean Weird"

Monday, May 30, 2016

Topology And Weather

"How Topology Affects The Weather".

Elevator Algorithm

"How powerful algorithms decide when that elevator car is finally going to come pick you up​​". (Via H.R.)

Venmo Jerks

"Frictionless digital payments are causing friction among friends billing each other for small IOUs".

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Immunology Update

"One person's cancer can be fought using someone else's immune cells, study finds". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Adidas Robots

Adidas shoe company "unveils new factory in Germany that will use machines to make shoes instead of humans in Asia".

At least those human workers in Asia will no longer be exploited by Adidas.

Signalling With Missed Phone Call

WSJ: "5 Things You Can Get in India With a Missed Call".  From the article:
Want to transfer funds from your account? Give your bank a missed call. Want to hear Bollywood music? Dial a number and hang up.

Making a missed call by calling a number and letting it ring is a popular way of communicating in India because the caller doesn’t have to spend money. Marketing companies, politicians, banks and others now use this practice to reach millions who have cellphones but limited means.

Here are five things you can do in India by ringing a number and hanging up...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Burglary And The City

Book review of "A Burglar's Guide to the City". Looks like a potentially interesting discussion of crime, architecture, and urban planning.

Power And Corruption

"Does power really corrupt?"

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Light Posting Notice

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

Weir: The Egg

Clever short story by Andy Weir: "The Egg".

Big Wings

"Inside the Workshop You Need to Build the World's Largest Composite Wings". (Via H.R.)

Separate Evolution

"Romanian cave sealed for 5.5 million years is full of strange creatures"

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Google's Sticky Car Hood

Today's not-an-Onion story: "Google Patented a Sticky Car Hood That Traps Pedestrians Like Flies"
Yesterday, Google was awarded a patent that proposes placing a strong adhesive on the hood of its autonomous cars. This way, pedestrians or cyclists who happen to find themselves being struck by a Googlemobile would be protected from what’s called “secondary impact.” This is the part of a crash when a person is thrown back off the moving vehicle, usually hitting the roof of the car, the hard surface of the street, or another car. It’s also the part that often causes the most serious injuries.

The patent was filed back in 2014 and seems to be designed as a temporary solution to keep the humans around the self-driving cars safe as autonomous technology improves...

New Antibiotics?

"Hundreds of antibiotics built from scratch":
A 64-year-old class of antibiotics that has been a cornerstone of medical treatment has been dramatically refreshed by dogged chemists searching for ways to overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

In work described today in Nature, a team of chemists built molecules similar to the drug erythromycin, a key member of the macrolide class, from scratch. In doing so, they were able to generate more than 300 variations on erythromycin that would not have been feasible by merely modifying the original drug — the way that scientists would normally search for new variants of existing antibiotics.

The process generated several variants on erythromycin that can kill bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic. Although much testing remains before any of the molecules could be used in people, many of them show promise, says chemist Phil Baran of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California...

Long Wikipedia Articles

"The 10 longest Wikipedia articles"

Robotic Trucks

"Self-Driving Trucks May Hit the Road Before Google's Cars"

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Face Finder

"The Russian application FindFace allows users to match photographs of random strangers with their social media accounts."

Note: This does not (yet) work with Facebook.

Real Life Universal Translator?

"Star Trek's Universal Translator? Waverly Labs Pilot Smart Earpiece Might Be It"

More Amazon

"Amazon to expand Prime benefits, open more brick-and-mortar stores".

If there were a physical Amazon store in my city, I would definitely check it out.

3D-Printing Update

"How a new 3-D printer can create electronics in mid-air"

Monday, May 16, 2016

Old Book Smell Is Now A Hot New Perfume

"The sweet, sexy smell of old books is a perfume fad"

First Penis Transplant In US

"First penis transplant surgery in the US carried out in Boston"

FIghting Dust

"Yale Engineers Develop a New Tool to Fight Dust". (Via H.R.)

More Snowden Docs

"In a major expansion of the leaked Edward Snowden documents, The Intercept dumped a tranche of SIDtoday articles online, to allow 'journalists, researchers, and interested parties to comb through these documents, along with future published batches, to find additional material of interest.'"

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Latest Adventures Of Florida Man

"Florida man shoots himself, doesn't notice until days later"

Vintage iPods Now Worth $20,000

"Old-school Apple products have become lucrative collectables that are selling online for thousands of dollars"

What Kids Swallow

"All the weird things kids have swallowed, in one hospital's collection"

Small P*nises In Artwork

"Why do all old statues have such small p*nises?"

As George Costanza would say, "Shrinkage!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Home-Built Robotic Pancreas

WSJ: "Tech-Savvy Families Use Home-Built Diabetes Device".
Third-grader Andrew Calabrese carries his backpack everywhere he goes at his San Diego-area school. His backpack isn’t just filled with books, it is carrying his robotic pancreas. The device, long considered the Holy Grail of Type 1 diabetes technology, wasn’t constructed by a medical-device company. It hasn’t been approved by regulators.

It was put together by his father...
(Via Tyler Cowen.)

One Does Not Simply Hike To Mordor

"New Zealand warns hikers away from Lord of the Rings volcano: Geologists say Mount Ruapehu – backdrop for Mordor – is showing signs of increased volcanic activity"

Neurostimulation Update

"Does Zapping Your Brain Increase Performance?"

The Market Failure of First Dates

"The Market Failure of First Dates"

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Billboard Top 5 Over The Years

You can now listen to the top 5 songs on Billboard's weekly charts since 1956.

Transit Of Mercury

"For The First Time in a Decade, Watch Mercury Cross the Sun's Face"


"The Independent Discovery of TCP/IP, By Ants"

Deadly Sculptures

"When Sculptures Kill...".

How can you compile a list like this, without including "Blucifer", the blue demon horse at Denver International Airport that killed its own creator?

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Incompetent Robot Waiters

"'Incompetent' Robot Waiters Force Restaurants In China To Shut Down".

I guess I'll have to wait a little while longer before welcoming those new overlords. (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Spacecraft Dashboards

"How Spacecraft Dashboards Evolved, and Where They're Headed". (Via VAViper.)

People Without Fingerprints

"Adermatoglyphia: The Genetic Disorder Of People Born Without Fingerprints"

SMBC On Encryption

SMBC on encryption. (Click on image below to see full size version.)

Monday, May 02, 2016

Sunday, May 01, 2016

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Protect Physician Free Speech In The Office Visit

[Off topic] My latest Forbes column is now out: "Protect Physician Free Speech In The Office Visit".

Should politicians dictate what physicians must (or must not) say to patients when it comes to contentious political issues like abortion or gun ownership? I say, "no".

Drone Vandalism

"By all accounts, it is the first time that a drone has been deployed for a major act of public vandalism."

International Animal Sounds

Animal sounds as rendered in different languages.

Crowdfunded Kitten Rescue

"Kitten Rescued from Tree by Crowdfunding"

Dogs Sniffing Diseases

"4 ways dogs might be able to sniff out disease"