Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Monday, October 30, 2017

Hsieh Forbes Column: "Help Patients By Allowing More Telemedicine"

My latest Forbes piece is out: "Help Patients By Allowing More Telemedicine"

Google Blows Hamburger Emoji

"Google CEO makes fixing hamburger emoji his top priority":
Take a good hard look at the position of the ingredients in the emoji.... 

Apple's ordering of the lettuce, presumably a variant of iceberg sourced from an Italian quarry, is understandable as a mechanism for preventing the lower bun from getting soggy. It’s the same approach taken by the In-N-Out chain.

Google's positioning of the cheese is blasphemous, simultaneously defying both culinary physics (how do you cook it to drip down the bun like that?) and good taste (it’ll result in a soggy doughy mess). It's so egregious that Google CEO Sundar Pichai took notice and promised to "drop everything" and address on Monday if folks can agree on what the correct ordering should be.

Halloween Candy Rankings

"The Ultimate Halloween Candy Power Ranking".

Reese's products occupy 4 of the top 10 spots!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Anti-DST Movement Grows

"A new American revolution is starting in New England -- against Daylight Saving Time"

Cell As House

Derek Lowe: "Building A House, Building a Cell".

Fun analogy! (Via H.R.)

Thursday, October 26, 2017


"This Special Edition of Fahrenheit 451 Can Only Be Read When It's Heated".

Evolving Bacteria

"Evolution experiment has now followed 68,000 generations of bacteria"

Northern Hospital

"Polar bear attacks and darkness: Inside a hospital at the top of the world"

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Universal Paperclips Game

I had a lot of fun playing "Universal Paperclips", a free online browser based game.

Here are a couple of good write-ups by Paul Tassi:
And I did succeed in converting the entire universe into paperclips! #GoodAI

Amazon Key

"Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door".

Um, I think I'll let others be early adopters on this innovation.

New Ransomware

"New Ransomware Outbreak Spreads Through US, Russia and Ukraine"

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Distracted Walking

Honolulu will become "the first big American city to prohibit pedestrians from crossing the road while looking at phones or other gadgets."

Where Your Elements Came From

NASA: "Where Your Elements Came From".

Excellent version of the periodic table. (Via H.R.)

Sleep Science Update

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain"

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Butt Plug Hack

Newsweek: "Hacked Butt Plug Can Be Controlled 'From Anywhere'"
Researchers have discovered a serious security flaw with a Bluetooth-enabled butt plug that allows hackers to remotely take control of the vibrating sex toy.

Italian security researcher Giovanni Mellini published his findings in a blogpost on Tuesday, October 18, describing how he was able to send a vibrate command to a Hush butt plug from his laptop.

The Hush device, manufactured by Lovense, is designed to be a “long-distance love toy” and is described by the sex toy startup as “the world’s first teledildonic butt plug” that can be "controlled from anywhere."
In other words, a literal "back door" security hole.

Paperclips Game

"Get Sucked Into The Black Hole Of 'Paperclips,' A Hopelessly Addicting Browser Game"

Thin LEDs

"Researchers craft an LED just two atoms thick". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Beware The Cute Robots

"Super cute home robots are coming, but think twice before you trust them"

Japanese Elevator Etiquette

"Elevator etiquette in Japan".

Rule #1: If you are the first to enter an empty elevator, you are the new elevator captain.

Creepy Book Covers

"40 of the Creepiest Book Covers of All Time"

Monday, October 16, 2017

AIs Taught To Program More AIs

"Google Taught AI How to Program More AI":
The company’s A.I. project, AutoML, has successfully taught machine-learning software how to program machine-learning software. In some cases, the machines programmed better A.I. software than even the Google researchers could design... 

RSA Crypto Library Flaw

"Millions of high-security crypto keys crippled by newly discovered flaw":
A crippling flaw in a widely used code library has fatally undermined the security of millions of encryption keys used in some of the highest-stakes settings, including national identity cards, software- and application-signing, and trusted platform modules protecting government and corporate computers.

The weakness allows attackers to calculate the private portion of any vulnerable key using nothing more than the corresponding public portion. Hackers can then use the private key to impersonate key owners, decrypt sensitive data, sneak malicious code into digitally signed software, and bypass protections that prevent accessing or tampering with stolen PCs. The five-year-old flaw is also troubling because it's located in code that complies with two internationally recognized security certification standards that are binding on many governments, contractors, and companies around the world. The code library was developed by German chipmaker Infineon and has been generating weak keys since 2012 at the latest...

A Bit Too Lucky

"Officials Sniffing Into How So Many People Win State Lotteries So Many Times".

Related: "The nation's 'luckiest' lottery players may not be as lucky as they seem", and "Ohio Lottery's frequent winners grab top prizes amid improbable odds".

Casino Hacked Via Fish Tank

Casino hacked via its fish tank:

Internet-enabled devices are so common, and so vulnerable, that hackers recently broke into a casino through its fish tank. The tank had internet-connected sensors measuring its temperature and cleanliness. The hackers got into the fish tank’s sensors and then to the computer used to control them, and from there to other parts of the casino’s network. The intruders were able to copy 10 gigabytes of data to somewhere in Finland.

(Via Gus Van Horn.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Three-Body Orbit Solutions

"Scientists discover more than 600 new periodic orbits of the famous three-body problem":
In 1890, Poincare determined that trajectories of three-body systems are commonly non-periodic, i.e. not repeating. This can explain why it is so hard to obtain the periodic orbits of three-body systems. In the 300 years since the three-body problem was first recognized, only three families of periodic orbits had been found. In 2013, Suvakov and Dmitrasinovic [Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 114301 (2013)] made a breakthrough, finding 13 new distinct periodic orbits belonging to 11 new families of the Newtonian planar three-body problem with equal mass and zero angular momentum.

Now, two scientists, XiaoMing Li and ShiJun Liao at Shanghai Jiaotong University, China, have successfully determined 695 families of periodic orbits of the same Newtonian planar three-body system using the TH-2 supercomputer at Guangzhou, China. Their results have been published in SCIENCE CHINA-Physics Mechanics & Astronomy...

These 695 periodic orbits include the well-known figure-eight family found by Moore in 1993, the 11 families found by Suvakov and Dmitrasinovic in 2013, and more than 600 new families reported for the first time.

UBI And Tyranny

"Universal Basic Income and the Threat of Tyranny"

Princess Bride Sword Fight

"How The Princess Bride Built Film's Most Beloved Sword Fight"

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hottest Chip

"We ate the world's spiciest chip, cried for 45 minutes, then wrote this article about it" (via R.S.):
[T]he Austin, Texas based tortilla chip company Paqui (rhymes with hockey) has what can only be described as a delicious form of torture in store for you. Their Carolina Reaper Madness Tortilla Chip is a savory mix of not one, but two of the world’s hottest peppers. It combines the aforementioned ghost pepper with the even hotter variety for which the chip gets its name; the Carolina Reaper. Chipotle pepper powder (which is essentially a dried and aged jalapeno pepper) is added for additional flavor. So for that very brief moment before the heat actually kicks in, your torture tortilla chip is pretty tasty. The company claims that it is the hottest tortilla chip in the world.

Names Of Things

"How it smells after it rains, the cardboard sleeve around your coffee cup and other things you didn’t know had names."

Software Apocalypse

"The Coming Software Apocalypse"

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Online Dating And Society

"First Evidence That Online Dating Is Changing the Nature of Society".

Specifically, it could be increasing the rates of inter-racial marriage. And possibly increasing the strength of marriages.

AI Magic Tricks

"How Artificial Intelligence Is Improving Magic Tricks"

Learn AI With Google Teachable Machine

"Google's new browser experiment lets you learn about basic AI"

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Missing Matter Found

"Half the universe's missing matter has just been finally found".

It was hiding between the seat cushions.

Last Jedi Trailer

The new trailer for "The Last Jedi"!

Glue For Wounds

"Injectable glue heals wounds in seconds". (Via H.R.)

Monday, October 09, 2017

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Are Replicants Human?

"Are Blade Runner's Replicants 'Human'? Descartes and Locke Have Some Thoughts"

AI Recognition Of Concealed Faces

"AI Will Soon Identify Protesters With Their Faces Partly Concealed":
[The deep learning system] can identify an individual even when part of their face is obscured. The system was able to correctly identify a person concealed by a scarf 67 percent of the time when they were photographed against a "complex" background, which better resembles real-world conditions...

The algorithm can still identify those angles even when part of a person's mug is obscured, by disguises including caps, scarves, and glasses... The research has troubling implications for protestors and other dissidents, who often work to make sure they aren't ID'd at protests and other demonstrations by covering their faces with scarves or by wearing sunglasses. "To be honest when I was trying to come up with this method, I was just trying to focus on criminals," Amarjot Singh, one of the researchers behind the paper and a Ph.D student at Cambridge University [said].

Picking Good Passwords

WSJ: "If ‘P@$$w0rd1’ Is So Simple to Figure Out, Then What Should You Do?"

That's why I just use "12345" for all my passwords.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Anne Frank Cold Case

"Ex-FBI agent opens cold case review into who betrayed Anne Frank"

No Love In That Granola

FDA warns bakery not to list "Love" as one of the ingredients in their granola.

Direct link to FDA letter:
Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient "Love". Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name [21 CFR 101.4(a)(1). "Love" is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient.


Image of the day:

Monday, October 02, 2017

Saudi King And Yoda

Not-an-Onion story: "Saudi Arabia accidentally prints textbook showing Yoda sitting next to the king":
The Saudi government is scrambling to withdraw a history textbook that accidentally included a doctored photograph of King Faisal sitting next to the little green Star Wars character.  

The picture was supposed to illustrate a section on the King’s rule but somehow the book’s editors used a version that showed Yoda perched next to the monarch as he signed the UN charter.

“The Ministry of Education regrets the inadvertent error,” said Ahmed al-Eissa, the Saudi education minister.
Of course, there's a response from The Onion

Navy Returns to Compasses and Pencils

NYT: "Navy Returns to Compasses and Pencils to Help Avoid Collisions at Sea"

The Monty Hall Problem Controversy

"The Time Everyone 'Corrected' the World's Smartest Woman".

She was right, but she took a lot of crap from people who didn't agree. 

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Trash In Volcanoes

"This Is Why We Can't Throw All Our Trash Into Volcanoes".

Me, before reading the article: Never thought about throwing trash into a volcano.

Me, after reading the article: I don't care what the science says, now I totally want to throw some trash into a volcano!

Reality Behind Retro Ads

"What You Actually Got From Those Back-of-Magazine Ads"

Ars Technica On iPhone 8

Ars Technica reviews the iPhone 8 and 8S.