Friday, December 30, 2016

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: No, The Government Should Not Provide Health Insurance For All Americans

[Off topic] My last Forbes piece for 2016 came out yesterday, "No, The Government Should Not Provide Health Insurance For All Americans".

I discuss a proposal from conservative health policy analyst James Capretta in which he argues, "The GOP Should Provide Health Insurance for All Americans". And I propose some alternative free-market approaches that we can start implementing in 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Holiday Hiatus

Admin note: Again, GeekPress will take a holiday hiatus until after the New Year. See you all in 2017!

Furiosa’s Cat Feeder

Human barely outwits cat: "Furiosa's Cat Feeder"

AirPod Review

Ars Techncia Review: "The AirPods are fine wireless headphones for a certain type of person". (Via H.R.)

'Toilet Paper' For Smartphones

Not-an-Onion headline: "Swipe right? 'Toilet paper' for smartphones trialled in Japanese airport bathrooms"

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Ransomware Twist

"Ransomware Gives Free Decryption Keys to Victims Who Infect Others".  This is both brilliant and evil:
Infected victims of the ransomware known as Popcorn Time, have the option to either pay up, or they can opt to infect two others using a referral link. If the two new ransomware targets pay the ransom, the original target receives a free key to unlock files on their PC...

(Via S.L. and A.B.)

Legal Perils Of Pointing A Laser At A Helicopter

Ars Technica: "A three-second laser strike cost Barry Bowser everything"

Following A Stolen Phone

"Dutch Filmmaker Intentionally Lets His Phone Get Stolen In Order to Follow Its Path Through Spyware".

Here's the video (21 minutes):

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Greatest Spirographs

"Behold the greatest spirographs in the world". (Via H.R.)

One nice example:

French Mail Drones

"France is going to let drones start delivering the mail". (Via MR.)

SC Porn Law

South Carolina is considering a bill to require all computers sold in the state to come with porn filters. Users could pay a $20 fee to disable the filter.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday Hiatus

Admin note: GeekPress will take a break until December 27, 2016. Merry Christmas!

Letters To Santa

"23 Funny Historical Letters to Santa"

2016 Media Corrections

"Best of media corrections, 2016 edition".

Two of my favorites are both from the New York Times:

NYT, 5/10/2016: "Because of an editing error, an article on Monday about a theological battle being fought by Muslim imams and scholars in the West against the Islamic State misstated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of Muslim leaders speaking out. It is imamsuhaibwebb, not Pimpin4Paradise786."

NYT, 4/10/2016:  "An article on March 20 about wave piloting in the Marshall Islands misstated the number of possible paths that could be navigated without instruments among the 34 islands and atolls of the Marshall Islands. It is 561, not a trillion trillion."

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fake Movie Snow

"How Early Filmmakers Faked Snow"

Morgan Freeman AI Voice

"Morgan Freeman Will Be The Voice Of Jarvis, Mark Zuckerberg's Home AI Assistant"

Digital Headlights

"Mercedes' next headlights will behave like projectors". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Ikea On Acid

"People Try To Build IKEA Furniture While On Acid"

When Do You Outgrow IKEA?

"When Do You Outgrow IKEA?".

Short answer: Age 34.


OLED Update

"Deep blacks, bright future -- where OLED screens go from here". (Via H.R.)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

SMBC: The Talk

SMBC: "The Talk"

Humans And Cats

"Humans and Cats Have a Strange, Complicated History"

Fake Meat Update

"The Revolution Has Begun: Beyond Meat".

I still enjoy meat, but vegetarian friends might find this interesting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Economics Of Kidnapping

"Kidnapping for ransom works like a market. How it is organized is surprising." (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Emoji Translator Job

"A company in London has advertised for an emoji translator in what is thought to be the first such job worldwide":
The role will involve explaining cross-cultural misunderstandings in the use of the mini pictures, and compiling a monthly trends report. Agency boss Jurga Zilinskiene said emojis were a "potential growth area" as "inconsistencies" had developed in their use.
 One example of a potential misunderstanding included:

Waving hand - You might think this emoji is waving hello or goodbye. Well in China, it has a very specific meaning, along the lines of "bye, you're not my friend any more". Like a middle finger in Europe.

North America’s Lost Medieval City

"Cahokia was North America's biggest city -- then it was completely abandoned". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts

"How Casinos Enable Gambling Addicts"

The Japanese Museum of Rocks That Look Like Faces

"The Japanese Museum of Rocks That Look Like Faces".

Here's their "Elvis Presley" rock:

New Pictures of Saturn

"Check Out New Pictures of Saturn From Cassini’s Latest Orbit"

Monday, December 12, 2016

Space Tether

"Japan Testing 'Space Tether' to Knock Junk Out of Orbit"

Austria’s Word of the Year

"Austria's Word of the Year Has 52 Letters":
Bundespraesidentenstichwahlwiederholungsverschiebung. To an English speaker, it may seem like a meaningless, even endless assortment of letters, but it turns out that it’s an award-winning German word. As the Associated Press reports, a survey of 10,000 Austrians has chosen the lengthy noun as its word of the year.

Roughly translated, the word means “postponement of the repeat runoff of the presidential election.” The super-long word was coined this year in response to a similarly drawn-out presidential election in Austria.

Fake News And The Law

Eugene Volokh: "Fake news and the law, from 1798 to now"

Evolution In Action

"A giant Petri dish chock-full of superbugs shows evolution as it happens"

Friday, December 09, 2016

Caesareans And Evolution

BBC: "Caesarean births 'affecting human evolution'"

Sex Vs. Cybersecurity

"Although the question of whether you would give up sex for a year in return for total cybersecurity seems like an odd question, it is one that was posed to 2,000 adults in a poll recently taken by Harris. The response to the question was startling. According to the poll, 39% of Americans are so fearful of their cybersecurity that they said yes."

The 2016 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog

A Holiday Tradition!: "The 2016 Hater’s Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog"

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

False Positive Breathalyzer

"Hand Sanitizer Can Cause a False Positive Breathalyzer Test".

I foresee a gold mine for defense lawyers arguing against DUI charges...

Remote Justice

"BMW Remotely Locks Stolen Car With Alleged Thief Still Inside"

Reconstructing Destroyed Map

"Watch a Destroyed 17th Century Map Get Painstakingly Restored". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Life As A Bee

"You're a Bee. This Is What It Feels Like."

Tesla Gun

"This Handmade Tesla Gun Is Shockingly Cool". (Via H.R.)

Finding Tech Props

"How Hollywood Gets Its Old-School Tech". (Via H.R.)

Monday, December 05, 2016

Fahrenheit >> Celsius

"In Defense of Fahrenheit: A lot of scientific thought went into developing the United States' stubbornly-held temperature system"

AI Medicine Update

 "Google is using its deep learning tech to diagnose disease":
If you give a computer enough photos and the right algorithm, it can learn to see. And if the photos show damaged eyes, the computer can learn to diagnose eye disease even better than humans can.
Here's the JAMA article: "Development and Validation of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy in Retinal Fundus Photographs".

A lot of what human physicians do now will likely be performed by machines in the future. In particular, pattern-recognition diagnoses will be ripe for machine learning. As a radiologist, I don't expect my job will exist in its current form in 20 years. (Maybe not in 10!)

What Happened To The Only Person Ever Hit By A Meteorite

"For the Only Person Ever Hit by a Meteorite, the Real Trouble Began Later".

Update: Link was broken earlier; now fixed!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Short Hiatus

Admin note: Due to external obligations, I will take a short hiatus for the rest of the week.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Allied Accuracy

"How Accurate Is the Movie 'Allied'?"

Short answer: It's fiction.