Friday, May 18, 2018

Coldest Place

"NASA's Atomic Fridge Will Make the ISS the Coldest Known Place in the Universe"

Longer Nanotubules

"Forget carbon fiber -- we can now make carbon nanotube fibers". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual for the next 2 weeks due to external oblgations.

Choking Treatment

"What to do if you find yourself choking -- and no one's around"

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: "Pelvic Exams On Anesthetized Women Without Consent: A Troubling And Outdated Practice"

[Off topic] My latest Forbes column is now out -- "Pelvic Exams On Anesthetized Women Without Consent: A Troubling And Outdated Practice".

Many doctors think this is "no big deal" and "good for society", whereas many patients consider this a violation.

Ultimately, the patients' wishes should prevail.

PGP Vulnerability

"People Are Freaking Out That PGP Is 'Broken' -- But You Shouldn’t Be Using It Anyway"

Mars Helicopter

"NASA is Sending a Helicopter to Mars on Next Red Planet Rover Mission". (Via H.R.)


"The world's lightest wireless flying machine lifts off"

Monday, May 14, 2018

Friday, May 11, 2018

Searching Devices At Borders

"Fourth Circuit Rules That Suspicionless Forensic Searches of Electronic Devices at the Border Are Unconstitutional"

Police Cams And Facial Recognition

"Facial recognition may be coming to a police body camera near you":
Axon, the maker of Taser electroshock weapons and the wearable body cameras now used by most major American city police departments, has voiced interest in pursuing face recognition for its body-worn cameras. The technology could allow officers to scan and recognize the faces of potentially everyone they see while on patrol. A growing number of surveillance firms and tech start-ups are racing to integrate face recognition and other AI capabilities into real-time video.

The board’s first meeting will likely presage an imminent showdown over the rapidly developing technology. Shortly after the board was announced, a group of 42 civil rights, technology and privacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, sent members a letter voicing “serious concerns with the current direction of Axon’s product development.”

Old School Navigation

"Figure Out Where You Are With Nothing But a Watch and Protractor":
In a recent episode of MacGyver, Angus (yes, that's his first name) finds his location in the desert using only a string, a protractor, and a watch. Is this actually possible? Basically, yes...

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

CGP Grey: "The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant"

No Secret Tut Chambers

"Sorry, There Are No Secret Chambers in King Tut’s Tomb":
After two contradictory radar scans, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities commissioned a third comprehensive survey that revealed no voids beyond the tomb walls.

Amazon Reviews From Scientists

"'Fits neatly inside a lizard's cloaca': Scientists are leaving Amazon reviews, and it's amazing". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Last Man Who Knew Everything

"The last man who knew everything".

Poetry and Math

"How Poetry and Math Intersect"

Fermi Paradox Explained

 "Why We Haven’t Met Any Aliens":
I suggest a different, even darker solution to the Paradox. Basically, I think the aliens don’t blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they’re too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don’t need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today. Once they turn inwards to chase their shiny pennies of pleasure, they lose the cosmic plot. They become like a self-stimulating rat, pressing a bar to deliver electricity to its brain’s ventral tegmental area, which stimulates its nucleus accumbens to release dopamine, which feels…ever so good.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses

[Off topic] My latest Forbes piece is now out: "That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses".

I discuss some recent work by criminologist Gary Kleck on unpublished CDC data on defensive gun use, and how that may support the case of gun rights advocates.

Some of the statistical evidence is still in question, however, and Kleck has withdrawn the original version of his paper pending further analysis.

Ultimately, individual rights are not validated (or refuted) by statistics. But real-world evidence can help affirm the underlying principles.

For more details, see the full text of "That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses".

Related articles:

"Any Study Of ‘Gun Violence’ Should Include How Guns Save Lives" (Paul Hsieh, 3/20/2018)
"Criminologist Gary Kleck on Guns, Crime, and Their Study" (Ari Armstrong, 11/7/2015)

Wrong Kind Of Self-Driving Car

"A man in England was caught driving his Tesla on Autopilot... from the passenger seat."

Fancy Ice Cubes

NYT: "She Makes Fancy Ice Cubes for a Living". (Via Tyler Cowen.)

New Gender Rules For Sports

"Track’s New Gender Rules Could Exclude Some Female Athletes":
In an effort to address questions about fair play, track and field’s world governing body will publish regulations on Thursday that could force some elite female athletes with naturally elevated testosterone levels to lower the hormone with medication, compete against men in certain Olympic events or effectively give up their international careers.