Thursday, July 28, 2016

Light Posting

Admin note: Due to external obligations, posting may be lighter than usual the rest of this week and next week.

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: 'Single Payer' Healthcare Has Failed The US Indian Health Service

[Off topic] My latest Forbes column is now out: "'Single Payer' Healthcare Has Failed The US Indian Health Service"

Tetrachromat

"Scientists have found a woman whose eyes have a whole new type of colour receptor". (Via M.N.)

Roach Milk

"Roach Milk: The Next Superfood?"

Um, I think I'll let someone else be the early adopter of this food idea.

American Cheese

"What Is American Cheese, Anyway?" (Via T.M.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Judge: Bitcoin Isn't Money

"Why Bitcoin isn't money, as one Florida judge ruled"

Aging Whiskey

"The scientific arms race to age our whiskey". (Via H.R.)

US Nukes and Floppy Disks

"Yes, floppy disks are still used at our nuclear bases -- but there’s a good reason":
There are parallels here to fiction, which can be just as instructive. In the 2004 hit TV series Battlestar Galactica, humanity comes under assault from robots that it created. Much of the human space fleet is taken by surprise, crippled by a robot-built computer virus that spreads from ship to ship thanks to the sophisticated networks linking the crafts together. The Galactica, an obsolete warship due to be mothballed, is one of the few to survive the initial surprise attack. Why? Because the Galactica’s systems were not part of the humans’ IT network, sparing it from the virus that disables the rest of the fleet. The lesson seems clear: Sometimes, newer is not better.
I can see how this might be a minor unintended good consequence. But I'm not sure this was a planned feature.

Self-Driving Car Fatality Update

"The first self-driving car fatality proves nothing"

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hacking Financial Systems

Economist: "If financial systems were hacked"

Police Request 3D-Printed Copy Dead Man’s Fingers To Unlock His Smartphone

"Police Request 3D-Printed Copy of a Dead Man’s Fingers to Unlock His Smartphone"

Black Market Medical Records

"On The Dark Web, Medical Records Are A Hot Commodity":
On the dark web, medical records draw a far higher price than credit cards. Hackers are well aware that it's simple enough to cancel a credit card, but to change a social security number is no easy feat. Banks have taken some major steps to crack down on identity theft. But hospitals, which have only transitioned en masse from paper-based to digital systems in the past decade, have far fewer security protections in place.

On the dark web, complete medical records typically contain an individual's name, birthdate, social security number, and medical information. These records can sell for as much as (the bitcoin equivalent) of $60 apiece, whereas social security numbers are a mere $15. Stolen credit cards sell for just $1 to $3. During the tour, we spotted one hacker who claimed to have a treasure trove of just shy of 1 million full health records up for grabs.

As IBM's Kuhn explained in a follow-up interview, these medical records can be leveraged for a wide variety of nefarious purposes...

The Future Of Transistors

"Transistors will stop shrinking in 2021, but Moore’s law will live on". (Via H.R.)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

Gorilla Glass 5

"Corning's new Gorilla Glass 5 survives drops 'up to 80%' of the time"

Free Downloadable Books at NY Public Library

"You can now download over 300,000 books from the NYPL for free". (Via C.M.)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016

Light Posting

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

Doppelganger Odds

"You are surprisingly likely to have a living doppelganger". (Via H.R.)

Meet the Megaprocessor

"Meet the Megaprocessor: A 20kHz behemoth CPU you can actually see in action"

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Schantz On Story Shape

Hans Schantz: "Are There Only Six Basic Story 'Shapes'?"

(By the way, science fiction fans might enjoy Schantz's alternate history techno-thriller, The Hidden Truth.)

Modular Phone Update

"LEGO-Like Smartphones Slowly Snapping into Place"

FLIR Phone

"The First Thermal Imaging Phone Made Me Feel Like Predator". (Via H.R.)

Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices

NYT: "Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices"

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Spousal Travel Separation

Um, wow: "Meet the husbands who fly first class -- while their wives travel in economy"

Pokémon Go Explainer

"What the heck is Pokémon Go? An explainer for the out-of-touch and/or old".

My favorite article about the game: "Sore Legs Become Pandemic As Pokémon Go Players Accidentally Get Exercise".

China In Space

"China's long march to the Moon began with a bang this weekend":
Until recently it was fairly easy to dismiss China’s space program. Yes, China is one of just three nations to launch humans into space, but its technology has always seemed highly derivative of Russian spaceflight architecture. And when a recent article raised the question of whether China might develop reusable rocket technology, one Ars reader offered an amusing yet perhaps not entirely untruthful response: “That depends on how good SpaceX's IT security is.”

After Saturday’s launch of the Long March 7 rocket from the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, however, such skepticism appears to be increasingly unwarranted...
 (Via W. G.)

Secret Apartments of NY Libraries

"Life Behind the Stacks: The Secret Apartments of New York Libraries"

Monday, July 11, 2016

No Uber At These Airports

WSJ: "You Can’t Take an Uber Home From These Airports"

Of the the 40 largest US airport, the "no Uber" cities include Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Honolulu, Orlando, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa.

(Denver does allow Uber and Lyft.)

Good Conductors

"How to spot a good conductor"

Storytelling Arcs

"Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling". (Via T.K.)

Police Using Killing Robots

"When Can Police Use a 'Bomb Robot' to Kill a Suspect?"

Friday, July 08, 2016

High-Tech Car Theft

"Great, Now Someone Can Steal Your Car Using A Laptop Computer"

Knife Skills For Cooking

NYT: Basic knife skills for the home cook.

Lots of great video demonstrations!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Admin: Technical Issues

Admin note: I apologize for the various technical issues plaguing GeekPress.com for the past several days. There was some sort of technical disaster at the web hosting company, which should be fixed now.

Getting Bags On The Plane

"How Do Your Checked Bags Actually Get on the Plane?"

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

No More Root Canals?

"The End Of Root Canals?" (Via H.R.)

Finding Fossils

"These Are Some of the Weirdest Ways Paleontologists Find Fossils"

Optical Illusion of the Year

"Optical Illusion of the Year":



And how it works:

Efficient Languages

"The World's Most Efficient Languages"

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Home Computers Connected to the Internet Aren't Private

"Home Computers Connected to the Internet Aren't Private, Court Rules"

Westeros is Poorly Designed

"Westeros is Poorly Designed"

Disposable Fingerprints

"Fake fingerprints: The latest tactic for protecting privacy"

Hacking Via Fan Speed

"Hackers can steal data from a computer not connected to the internet by modulating the machine's cooling fan speed"

Monday, July 04, 2016

Holiday Break

Admin note: I'm taking today off because of the holiday; posting will resume tomorrow!

Friday, July 01, 2016

Fast Subs

"Bubble-Enclosed Submarines Could Go Really, Really Fast". (Via H.R.)

Detecting "Mechanical Doping" in Bike Races

"Tour de France Goes High Tech to Battle Mechanical Cheating"

Chemistry Of Nitro Beverages

"'Nitro' coffees and beers are the coolest things to sip this summer. What makes them so creamy?"

tldr; Nitrogen creates smaller bubbles than carbon dioxide, and doesn't produce extra acid.

Mixed Political Marriages

"How Many Republicans Marry Democrats?"

Here's an excerpt of the findings:
First, 30 percent of married households contain a mismatched partisan pair. A third of those are Democrats married to Republicans. The others are partisans married to independents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are twice as many Democratic-Republican pairs in which the male partner, rather than the female partner, is the Republican.

Second, 55 percent of married couples are Democratic-only or Republican-only, which raises a question: Is that a big number or a small number? In other words, is there more or less partisan intermarriage than we should expect? Here are two ways we try to answer that. We can compare interparty marriages to interracial marriages. Using voter registration data, we can do this in three states, Florida, Louisiana and North Carolina, where public voter files list everyone by their party affiliation and their racial identity. In those states, 11 percent of married couples are in Democratic-Republican households. In comparison, only 6 percent of married couples are in any kind of interracial household. At least in these states, there’s about twice as much interparty marriage as interracial marriage...
Lots more interesting information in the full article, such as effect of age, geography, etc., on the rates of such mixed marriages.