Monday, July 31, 2017

The Case for Cursing

The NYT publishes "The Case for Cursing", doesn't use any actual profanity.

Challenges Of Zero-G Surgery

"Zero-G Blood and the Many Horrors of Space Surgery"

Mathematical Paintings Of Crockett Johnson

"Mathematical Paintings of Crockett Johnson"

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Quantum Alternatives

"A brief history of quantum alternatives"

What You'll See On Eclipse Day

Cool app, just enter your zip code: "A solar eclipse is coming to America. Here's what you'll see where you live."

Subway-Style Map Of Roman Roads In Britain

"A subway-style map of the Roman roads of Britain"

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Husband Storage Pods

"[T]he Global Harbour mall in Shanghai has erected a number of glass pods for wives to leave any disgruntled husbands that don't want to be dragged around the shops. Inside each individual pod is a chair, monitor, computer and gamepad, and men can sit and play retro 1990s games."

Google Glass Enterprise

"Google Glass rises again -- at work"

Hypnotic Illustrations

"The hypnotic illustrations of Visoth Kakvei"

Monday, July 17, 2017

Star Wars Hotel

"At an upcoming Star Wars-themed hotel in Disney World in Orlando, Florida, employees will stay in costume and in character at all times."

Gecko Feet For Space

"NASA looked to gecko feet for its latest space innovation"

Musk On AI

"Elon Musk Says Artificial Intelligence Is the 'Greatest Risk We Face as a Civilization'". He made this latest warning in a speech to the National Governors Association on July 15, 2017.

Of course, if the US imposes unilateral restrictions on AI research, other countries will less regulation and/or less concern for AI safety will gladly take the lead: "China may match or beat America in AI".

Sunday, July 16, 2017

History Of Boozing

"Ancient Humans Liked Getting Tipsy, Too"

Facial Recognition At Airports

"If You Get Your Face Scanned the Next Time You Fly, Here's What You Should Know"

Greatest Props

"The 100 Greatest Props in Movie History, and the Stories Behind Them".

I completely approve of their choice for #1.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eclipse Chasers

 "How Eclipse Chasers Are Putting a Small Kentucky Town on the Map"

I know several friends who will be enjoying the eclipse! And I liked this quote from astronomer Tyler Nordgren:
Make no mistake. The difference between whether you're inside the path of totality or outside it is literally the difference between night and day. No other experience comes close to the multisensory strangeness of this most unnatural of natural events.

Insecure Two-Factor Systems

"Two-factor authentication is a mess"

Font Could Decide Corruption Case

A corruption case in Pakistan could hinge on a font.

One side is claiming a key document is a forgery because it was printed in the Calibri font, which wasn't available at the time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bought For 100 Euros, Sold For 45,000 Euros

"A 100 euros typewriter has sold for 45,000 euros ($51,500) at auction, after it was discovered it was actually a German Wehrmacht Enigma I":
Cristian Gavrila, the collectible consignment manager at Artmark, told Reuters: "The collector bought it from a flea market. He's a cryptography professor and... he knew very well what he was buying."

My Kind Of Startup

"This startup will fight your traffic ticket for you"

Sex Robot Update

Nature: "Let's talk about sex robots". (Via A.A.)

Great Red Spot

"The Closest-Ever Shot of the Great Red Spot"

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Raphael

"Unknown Raphael Paintings Discovered in the Vatican"

Internet Cat Simulator

"The Internet cat simulator (you can set parameters for meowing and purring)"

What Could Go Wrong?

Time sink of the day: "What Could Go Wrong?

BTW, some of these can be disturbing, as indicated by the NSFL tag. #OMG. #HoldMyBeer

Monday, July 10, 2017

More Robo-Journalism

"Google funds robot-written news":
The aim: to crank out up to 30,000 stories a month that will be distributed by the Press Association to hundreds of news outlets in the U.K. and Ireland. The stories will be automated with the help of artificial intelligence — and a handful of human journalists.

“Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process, but Radar allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually,” Peter Clifton, editor-in-chief of the Press Association, told the Guardian. Radar stands for Reporters and Data and Robots.

History Of Equals Sign

"The strange and righteous history of the equals sign". (Via H.R.)

Asteroid Panic

"Would you kill to stop an asteroid panic?"

My own opinions:

1) This sounds like a great premise for a TV show.

2) This sort of truth should absolutely be told to the public. Hiding it (and killing people who know) goes against core principles of openness and respect for truth. Governments should tell the people and let them decide the consequences.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Emergency Alerts Explained

"Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) explained: AMBER alerts and what the heck is a Severe Alert vs. an Extreme Alert and how do I turn them off?!?"

Computer-Generated Art

"Machine Creativity Beats Some Modern Art".

The link includes an art version of the "Turing Test", where you can guess which artwork was generated by a computer and which by a human.

You Can Now Drink Coffee From A Horn

"Your greatest dream of drinking coffee from a horn has come true"

Saturday, July 08, 2017

[Off Topic] Charlie Gard Case In 30 Words

[Off topic]: My latest in Forbes: "Charlie Gard Case, Summarized In 30 Words".

Plus a glimmer of hope for the family.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Defining Blackmail

Eugene Volokh: "Blackmail is surprisingly hard to define"

Light-Fuelled Wave Machine

Via "Stat News": "A crawling caterpillar made of polymers"
Scientists have created a new material that can dance better than most of us. They created a polymer strip that’s about as big as a paperclip and moves about as fast as a caterpillar. The material — which contracts in reaction to light — works by casting a shadow on itself.

Researchers shine a light on one side of the strip, which starts to curl up and casts a shadow onto the next part of the strip. That section comes into light and starts to change shape, creating a continual wave that propels the paper forward. Study author Anne Helene Gelebart tells me the material might one day be used to transport small devices to tricky-to-reach places during surgery.  

Name The Missing Word

Quiz: "Name the Missing Word in Each Book Title"

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

John Urschel Profile

"From the NFL to MIT: The Double Life of John Urschel".

Nice profile of Urschel, who is both a PhD student in math at MIT and an active NFL offensive lineman.

Pentagonal Tilings

"There Are Only 15 Pentagonal Tilings (Probably)"

Neural Repair With Carbon Nanotubules

"Carbon Nanotubes Found to Be a Safe Bet For Reconnecting Neurons". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Why You Should Nap At Work

NYT: "Take Naps at Work. Apologize to No One." The science is settled.

Frogs Aided By Dinosaur Killer

"Frog evolution linked to dinosaur asteroid strike"

AI Vs. Kangaroo

"Volvo admits its self-driving cars are confused by kangaroos".
Volvo’s detection system was designed in Sweden, where it was tested in areas populated with moose, before trials at a nature reserve in Canberra revealed the problem with kangaroos. Kangaroos cause more accidents than any other animal in Australia – the marsupials are responsible for about 90% of collisions between vehicles and animals...
(Via Dave Jilk.)

Monday, July 03, 2017

Independence Day Hiatus

Admin note: In honor of the US Independence Day, there will be no posts today. Regular posting will resume tomorrow. Happy July 4th!

Sunday, July 02, 2017


NYT: "Greetings, E.T. (Please Don't Murder Us)". Lengthy discussion of SETI/METI, including technical issues and the should-we-even-be-broadcasting issue.

The article also quotes Seth Shostak, "No, if we want to broadcast a message from Earth, I propose that we just feed the Google servers into the transmitter. Send the aliens the World Wide Web."

Sure, if you want to get endless unsolicited promotional e-mails from friggn' alien spammers as well. Tailored to your personal shopping habits, of course.

Nanotube Transistors

"Carbon Nanotubes Reduce Transistor Footprint to Forty Nanometers". (Via H.R.)

Giant Black Holes

"Watching The Dance Of Giant Black Holes"