Thursday, January 31, 2019

Misleading Exercise

"There Is No 'Fat Burning Zone'"

AI Plays StarCraft II

"Deep Mind's Alpha Star trounced human players of StarCraft II, a game of imperfect information that is much more complicated than chess. Amazingly, Alpha Star made fewer actions per minute than the human players. As with GO the AI developed new long-range strategies never before seen." (Via Marginal Revolution.)

Robots Parking Cars

"Robots will park your car at the airport"

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


"Funky mirror turns electric field into a magnetic field with missing pole"

History Of Cheese

"A Brief History of Cheese (aka Immortal Milk)". (Via G.F.)

American Football Commentary, Animated!

Video: "American Football Commentary, Animated!"
For this video, freelance animator Nick Murray Willis took the audio from football commentators and made these little animated vignettes to go along with each line.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Robotic AI Knee

"AI Helps Amputees Walk With a Robotic Knee"

KFC Gravy Candle

"This KFC Gravy Candle Will Give Your Home the Rich, Meaty Aromatherapy It Deserves"

Logos With Hidden Images

"38 Hidden Images in Logos That Prove Companies Are Actually Pretty Clever"

Monday, January 28, 2019

GPS-Aided Conviction

"Bicycle-riding hitman convicted with Garmin GPS watch location data"

Self-Wrapping Shoes

"These shoes use witchcraft to wrap around your feet when you step on them"

Campus Delivery Robots

"How one university changed overnight when it let 25 semiautonomous robots roam its campus":
During their first day in operation Tuesday, the demand for robotic delivery services from four campus dining establishments was so great during dinner hours that school officials had to pull the plug, shutting off orders so that robots weren’t operating late into the night, far behind schedule.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Resourceful Woman

"Woman with no arms or legs demonstrates how she folds laundry, showers, writes, etc."

Dark Nights

"Why is the night sky dark?"

Rogue Wave Recreated

"Oxford scientists successfully recreated a famous rogue wave in the lab". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Not So Old

"Oops: 4,500-Year-Old Stone Circle Turns Out to Be 1990s Replica"

GaN Update

"A Novel Design for Gallium Nitride LEDs Could Lead to Brighter, More Efficient Displays". (Via H.R.)

Fake Hand

"Hackers Make a Fake Hand to Beat Vein Authentication"

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Police Encrypting Radio Communications

"Encryption efforts in Colorado challenge crime reporters, transparency". (Via Ari A.)

AIs Understanding Rats

"Scientists Use AI to Decode the Ultrasonic Language of Rodents"

Beer Therapy

"Doctors Saved Man's Life by Pumping 15 Cans of Beer Into His Body".

This is a unconventional, but legitimate way to treat methanol poisoning. (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Silmarillion Primer

Jeff LaSala: The Silmarillion Primer.

Learning Robot Dog

"A robot dog has learned to run faster with machine learning"

Legendary LA Bookstore

Downtown LA's The Last Bookstore:
The massive store, covering 16,000 square feet, also boasts a coffee shop, a record store, and a used books section—but the “labyrinth” upstairs is where the magic really happens. It’s a maze of bookshelves arranged into tunnels of paperbacks, offbeat art installations made of flying books, little shops and displays of art, trinkets and antiques, and rainbow-colored rows and stacks of assorted volumes. To sweeten the deal, everything up in the labyrinth is $1 each, half of which goes to charity. Leave plenty of time to get lost here.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Embroidered Computer

"Artists Irene Posch & Ebru Kurbak have built The Embroidered Computer, a programmable 8-bit computer made using traditional embroidery techniques and materials."

Last Words

"What People Actually Say Before They Die"

Dirty Dealings In Amazon Marketplace

"Dirty Dealing In The $175 Billion Amazon Marketplace"

Some of the dirty tricks include sellers buying fake 5-star reviews for their competitors to frame them for violating Amazon terms-of-service. Or setting competitors' products on fire, then posting a fake customer review that the product exploded.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Friday, January 18, 2019

Password Breach

Troy Hunt: "The 773 Million Record 'Collection #1' Data Breach".

Related: If you have 1Password, here's how to "Use Watchtower to find passwords you need to change".

The Route of a Text Message

"The Route of a Text Message": How a text message is typed, stored, sent, received, and displayed.

Buffett On Bogle

I appreciated this tribute to Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, by Warren Buffett:
"If a statue is ever erected to honor the person who has done the most for American investors, the hands down choice should be Jack Bogle. For decades, Jack has urged investors to invest in ultra-low-cost index funds. In his crusade, he amassed only a tiny percentage of the wealth that has typically flowed to managers who have promised their investors large rewards while delivering them nothing – or, as in our bet, less than nothing – of added value. In his early years, Jack was frequently mocked by the investment-management industry. Today, however, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Net Neutrality Repeal Update

"A Year Without Net Neutrality: No Big Changes (Yet)"

Bad Aphorisms

Josh Greenman: "What famous, widely accepted aphorism do you find least true or least helpful?"

Click through to see plenty of interesting responses. (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Moon Seed

"Giant leaf for mankind? China germinates first seed on moon"

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Quantum Cable

"The Super-Secure Quantum Cable Hiding in the Holland Tunnel"

Brutal Typos

Fergil Mills: "Ever catch a typo so brutal it leaves you scarred, even though you fixed it?"

Some of the responses in the comments are pure comedy gold. (Via J.M.)

Chinese Anger Rooms

"All the rage -- Beijingers vent their stress in 'anger room'"

Monday, January 14, 2019

Friday, January 11, 2019

21st Century Parenting

"Parents are using GPS ankle monitors to track their teenagers like criminals":
It can be embarrassing for a teen to wear an ankle monitor when they’re not serving a sentence or out on bail, admits [Frank Kopczynski, the owner of Tampa Bay Monitoring], adding that “you may have to wear slacks or looser jeans,” which tends to get uncomfortable on the beach. However, he said, an embarrassed child is better than someone’s daughter “running off with a guy who’s going to eventually take her to a motel and beat her ass.”

...Along with the 95-decibel siren, if a teen is out past curfew, their parents can call Tampa Bay Monitoring’s office, and Kopczynski or one of his employees will activate the ankle monitor’s speaker and tell the child it’s time to get home or the police will be called. Hearing “this god-like voice out of nowhere” is generally effective, said Kopczynski; since the system is two-way, staff can also monitor the teen covertly.

...Kopczynski, meanwhile, told Quartz he is looking toward the college market as a possible expansion opportunity for alcohol monitoring devices, which track the wearer’s blood alcohol level through their sweat.

Alternate Periodic Tables

"The periodic tables we almost had"

Translucent Waves

"Mesmerizing Translucent Waves from 19th Century Paintings"

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Blocking Political Critics

"Politicians can't block their critics on social media, appeals court rules "

Ethereum Classic Theft

"Almost $500,000 in Ethereum Classic coin stolen by forking its blockchain":
Rollback attacks are often referred to as 51-percent attacks, because, in theory, they require an attacker to control a majority of the CPU power generating a blockchain. Such an arrangement violates a core requirement of any blockchain-based currency: it allows a single entity to write the contents of its universal shared transaction history.


"The science of slime."

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Laws Of The ER

Rada Jones, MD: "68 laws of the ER".

I, of course, liked:
64. Sage's First Advice: Skip the CT if the patient with abdominal pain is eating McDonald's.

Galactic Collision

"The Milky Way Could Crash Into Another Galaxy Billions of Years Earlier Than Predicted"

Sony's Mystery Lab

"Inside Sony's mysterious lab, 30 researchers pursue unique projects"

Monday, January 07, 2019

Hacked Photosynthesis

"Scientists Have 'Hacked Photosynthesis' In Search Of More Productive Crops". (Via H.R.)

More DNA Crime Fighting

"The Future of Crime-Fighting Is Family Tree Forensics"

Fire From Moonlight?

"Can you use a magnifying glass and moonlight to light a fire?"

Friday, January 04, 2019

Complaining Made Easy

"Button offers instant gratification for those plagued by airplane noise":

Barbara Deckert has a new weapon in the war against airplane noise — and she’s not afraid to use it.

Every time a plane flies over her suburban Maryland home, rattling her windows and setting her teeth on edge, she presses a small white button and feels a tiny sense of triumph. That’s because with one click, Deckert has done what could have taken her hours to do a few months ago — she has filed a noise complaint with officials at the Maryland Aviation Administration.

Thanks to the ingenuity of a software engineer from Southern California, Deckert and hundreds of others with similar beefs, and the Airnoise button, have an easy way to register their annoyance with the jets that fly over their homes.

“It’s a fabulous tool,” Deckert said. “Clicking that button is really psychologically satisfying.”
Officials at airports from Seattle to Baltimore said Airnoise has led to a dramatic spike in complaints. At Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, officials are almost certain Airnoise is the reason complaints surged to 17,228 in August from 2,692 the previous month. In San Diego, more than 90 percent of the complaints came through third-party apps like Airnoise.
(Via Tyler Cowen.)

Happiness Tips

"Secrets of Happiness from the Oldest of the Old"

Thursday, January 03, 2019


"Brains of 3 People Have Been Successfully Connected, Enabling Them to Share Thoughts".

More details here:
We present BrainNet which, to our knowledge, is the first multi-person non-invasive direct brain-to-brain interface for collaborative problem solving. The interface combines electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain signals and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to deliver information noninvasively to the brain.

The interface allows three human subjects to collaborate and solve a task using direct brain-to-brain communication. Two of the three subjects are "Senders" whose brain signals are decoded using real-time EEG data analysis to extract decisions about whether to rotate a block in a Tetris-like game before it is dropped to fill a line. The Senders' decisions are transmitted via the Internet to the brain of a third subject, the "Receiver," who cannot see the game screen.

The decisions are delivered to the Receiver's brain via magnetic stimulation of the occipital cortex.

The Receiver integrates the information received and makes a decision using an EEG interface about either turning the block or keeping it in the same position...