Tuesday, April 30, 2019

UK Surveillance Update

NYT: "UK Police Have a Message for Crime Victims: Hand Over Your Private Data".

Three noteworthy points stood out to me:

1) If you don't voluntarily surrender your phone/data, the police may not investigate the crime against you.

2) If the police find incriminating evidence against you for an unrelated activity, they can prosecute you. Because you surrendered your phone "voluntarily".

3) They may keep your phone "for weeks or even months".

OTOH, the police promise to use their power only for good, not for evil. So there's that.

Neutron Stars

"Say Hello To Neutron Stars, Your Worst Nightmare"

Monday, April 29, 2019

More Star Wars

"5 confirmed Star Wars projects are coming after The Rise of Skywalker -- here are all the details"

MS Drops 60 Day Password Expiration Recommendation

"Password1, Password2, Password3 no more: Microsoft drops password expiration rec"

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual this week and next week due to external obligations.

Boom Update

"Denver Built 'Baby Boom' To Propel Planet Into Supersonic Era"

First Molecule

"Astronomers have spotted the universe's first molecule":
Helium hydride (HeH), a combination of helium and hydrogen, was spotted some 3000 light-years from Earth by an instrument aboard the airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), a telescope built into a converted 747 jet that flies above the opaque parts of Earth’s atmosphere.

HeH has long been thought to mark the “dawn of chemistry,” as the remnants of the big bang cooled to about 4000 K and ions began to team up with electrons to form neutral atoms. Researchers believe that in that primordial gas, neutral helium reacted with hydrogen ions to form the first chemical bond joining the very first molecule.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Girl Without Hands Wins Handwriting Contest

"Girl Without Hands Wins Handwriting Contest"

Kung Fu From Space

"Stunning Overhead View of Shaolin Kung Fu Training Exercises":
As part of their show Earth From Space, the BBC Earth team shows the coordinated movements of thousands of Shaolin Kung Fu trainees. The number of participants is so large that their movements can easily be seen in a satellite view...

Flashing Headlights As Free Speech

Eugene Volokh: "Flashing Headlights to Warn of Speed Trap May Be Protected by First Amendment"

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Health Care Vs. Liberty In Singapore

[Off topic] My latest Forbes column is now out: "Health Care Vs. Liberty In Singapore".

I discuss the trade-offs that Singapore residents must make when they accept government-run "universal health care" and "cost control". This is includes significant losses in liberty as well as accepting government rationing of medical services.

For more details, see the full text of "Health Care Vs. Liberty In Singapore".

Dead Tree Books Are The New Vinyl

"Books are cool precisely because we don't need them anymore"

Border Harassment

"Former Mozilla CTO was detained at US border and told he had no right to a lawyer"

Legal Status Of AI Generated Music

"We've been warned about AI and music for over 50 years, but no one's prepared":

"I won’t mince words," says Jonathan Bailey, CTO of iZotope. "This is a total legal clusterf-ck."

Even if an AI system did closely mimic an artist's sound, an artist might have trouble proving the AI was designed to mimic them, says Aimonetti. With copyright, you have to prove the infringing author was reasonably exposed to the work they’re accused of ripping off. If a copyright claim were filed against a musical work made by an AI, how could anyone prove an algorithm was trained on the song or artist it allegedly infringes on? It's not an easy task to reverse engineer a neural network to see what songs it was fed because it's :ultimately just a collection of numerical weights and a configuration," says Bailey...

C law will also have to contend with the bigger issue of authorship. That is, can an AI system claim legal authorship of the music it produces, or does that belong to the humans who created the software?...

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

AI And Beer

"Smarter beer: When old school craft brewing meets industry 4.0 AI"

Banksy Authentication

"How Banksy Authenticates His Work":
It all starts off with a fairly bog standard gallery style certificate. Details of the work, the authenticating agency, a bit of embossing and a large impressive signature at the bottom. Exactly the sort of things that can be easily copied by someone on a mission to create the perfect fake.

That torn-in-half banknote though? Never mind signatures, embossing or wax seals. The Di Faced Tenner is doing all the authentication heavy lifting here.

The tear is what uniquely separates the private key, the half of the note kept secret under lock and key at Pest Control, with the public key.

EU Surveillance Update

"EU votes to create gigantic biometrics database"

Monday, April 22, 2019

Laptop Holding Styles

"What your laptop-holding position says about you"

Selling Rex

"Someone Is Trying To Sell a Baby T. Rex Skeleton on eBay for $2.95 Million -- And paleontologists aren't happy about it"

Unreliable Emotion Reading

"Don’t look now: Why you should be worried about machines reading your emotions"

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Long Exposure Photo

"1,060-hour image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) captured by Amateur Astronomers". (Via H.R.)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Due to external obligations, posting may be lighter than usual the rest of this week.

Unusual Demise

"Paste Eater's Grave"

Good Free Education

"Here are 300 free Ivy League university courses you can take online right now"

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tricking A Tesla

"Researchers trick Tesla Autopilot using stickers on the road". (Via Ari A.)

Pollen Clouds

"Pollen clouds shroud parts of US south-east as allergies spike":

A thick haze of yellow pollen has blanketed the sky across parts of the south-eastern US, with reports of spring allergy symptoms on the rise. One particularly dense cloud of pollen was photographed in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Better Bicycle Helmet

"Science and bicycling meet in a new helmet design". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Amazon Listens

"Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa"

Canceled Flight

"What to do if your flight is canceled"

Robotic "Intruder"

"Oregon deputies with 'guns drawn' respond to report of intruder to find ... a Roomba vacuum"

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Big Black Hole

M87 is big.

F-16 Shoots Itself

"Dutch F-16 flies into its own bullets, scores self-inflicted hits"

Struggling In SF

San Francisco residents making $300,000 regard themselves as "struggling" or "middle class".

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

New Phase Of Matter

"New phase of matter is solid and liquid at the same time":
Now, a team has used a type of artificial intelligence to confirm the existence of a bizarre new state of matter, one in which potassium atoms exhibit properties of both a solid and a liquid at the same time. If you were somehow able to pull out a chunk of such material, it would probably look like a solid block leaking molten potassium that eventually all dissolved away.

Google Drone Update

"Google drone deliveries cleared for take-off in Australia"

Memory Zaps

"Zapping brain with precise electrical current boosts working memory in older adults, study finds".

Monday, April 08, 2019

1973 Internet

"A Map of the Internet from May 1973"
The network was so small in the early days that those circles and squares on the 1973 map represent individual computers and routers, not universities or cities.

IBM S/360

"Building the System/360 Mainframe Nearly Destroyed IBM". (Via H.R.)

When Copy Editors Meet

"Dropped Hyphens, Split Infinitives, and Other Thrilling Developments from the 2019 American Copy Editors Society Conference"

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Duolingo Doubts

"Is It Just Me, or Does Duolingo Not Work?"

Timelapse Of The Future

Video: "Timelapse of the Future":
We start in 2019 and travel exponentially through time, witnessing the future of Earth, the death of the sun, the end of all stars, proton decay, zombie galaxies, possible future civilizations, exploding black holes, the effects of dark energy, alternate universes, the final fate of the cosmos - to name a few.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Running Robots

"After decades of clumsiness, robots are finally learning to walk, run and grasp with grace. Such progress spells the beginning of an age of physically adept artificial intelligence. "

Chinese Burner

"The Chinese Burner: A Chinese science fiction writer goes to Burning Man"

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual the rest of this week, due to external obligations.

Airbnb Hidden Cameras

"Airbnb Has a Hidden-Camera Problem"

Seizure Dogs

"Dogs Detect the Scent of Seizures".  #GoodDoggies!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Programmer Migration Patterns

"I made a little flow chart of mainstream programming languages and how programmers seem to move from one to another".

Difficult Conversations

"How to Deliver Constructive Feedback in Difficult Situations"

River Maps

"These Beautiful Maps Capture the Rivers That Pulse Through Our World"