Sunday, June 30, 2019

Physician Fatigue

My latest Forbes piece is now out: "Is Your Doctor Making Mistakes Because He Or She Is Too Tired?"

Fall Asleep Fast

"How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes or Less".

If that doesn't work, a fifth of tequila will also work for most people! (Via H.R.)

Quantum Computing For English Majors

"Quantum Computing for English Majors"

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Auto Mechanics Recreate Renaissance Paintings

"Auto Mechanics Recreate Renaissance Paintings"

One example:


Antimatter Physics

"How Star Trek's warp drives touch on one of physics' biggest mysteries"

Symphonic Gong

Video: "How to play an 80-inch symphonic gong".

It's amazing how rich the sound is, with such gentle motions. One does not simply bang a gong.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Is There Anybody In There?

"Inverting the Turing Test -- Machine Learning to Detect Cognition in the ICU".

Direct link to the article, "Detection of Brain Activation in Unresponsive Patients with Acute Brain Injury".

Sibyl Hathaway Vs. The Nazis

"During World War II, a 56-year-old British noblewoman stood up to Nazi occupiers on the tiny island of Sark"
In June 1940, German forces took the Channel Islands, a small British dependency off the coast of France. They expected the occupation to go easily, but they hadn't reckoned on the island of Sark, ruled by an iron-willed noblewoman with a disdain for Nazis. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Sibyl Hathaway and her indomitable stand against the Germans.

Atomic Radio

"We're one step closer to atomic radio". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DNA And Secrets

"The Death Of The Family Secret: Ancestry and other DNA-testing companies are bringing old family secrets to light. These friends are now dealing with the truth about their fathers."

Pro Cornhole

"Cornhole (yes, cornhole) is going pro". (Via Tyler Cowen.)

White Hat Physical Penetration Testers

Video: "I'll Let Myself In: Tactics of Physical Pen Testers"
As head of a Physical Penetration team, however, my deliverable day tends to be quite different. With faces agog, executives routinely watch me describe (or show video) of their doors and cabinets popping open in seconds. This presentation will highlight some of the most exciting and shocking methods by which my team and I routinely let ourselves in on physical jobs.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Magic Turing Machine

"It's possible to build a Turing machine within Magic: The Gathering"

Bad Burglar

"Burglar steals security camera, accidentally livestreams from own home"

Quantum Internet

"The Quantum Internet Is Emerging, One Experiment at a Time"

Sunday, June 23, 2019

ENIAC Programming

The story of ENIAC programming. (Via H.R.)

Solar System "Wilderness"?

The latest debate on environmentalism: "How much of the solar system should be designated wilderness?"

The article lays out one position:
Martin Elvis at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Tony Milligan at Kings College London. They have studied the nature of exponential growth and say that our limited ability to predict its impact means we should take this into account when limiting how the solar system can be exploited.

They calculate that humans should be allowed to exploit an eighth of the solar system, with the rest designated as wilderness. And they warn that at current rates of growth, this limit could be reached within 400 years.
OTOH, I'm pretty much ok with utilizing the resources of any uninhabited lifeless regions for the benefit of humanity.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos

"How a janitor at Frito-Lay invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos".

Great success story! (Via Gus Van Horn and H.R.)

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Time-Free Zone

"Norwegian island wants to become the world's first time-free zone"
"When you live in Northern Norway, it doesn’t make sense to talk about daylight saving time, bedtime, dinner time, or any other time," says Kjell Ove Hveding, one of the key islanders behind the initiative. "The midnight sun makes clocks an unnecessary nuisance, and we wish to be a time-free zone"...

Islanders hope for the government’s approval to be free of traditional opening hours and to introduce more flexibility within the island.

Time-free living aligns well with the main industries of the island: fishing and tourism. According to Hveding, the local fishermen and women already spend days on the ocean without any regard for time and sleep.

Sky Rider Airline Seats

Proposed "Sky Rider" standing airline "seats" would allow airlines to cram even more passengers in a limited space. #UmNoThanks

New Mars Crater

"Fresh Crater Spied on Mars -- and It Looks Spectacular". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Robotic Interviewer

"Swedish job candidates to be grilled by robotic interviewer":
“It is becoming very popular for organisations to be able to say they have a discrimination-free recruitment process. We want to take this idea as far as possible,” said Havva Ilhan, deputy head of staff at the municipality...

“All we want to know is what skills the candidate has. We are not interested in hobbies, family relationships, age or anything else that is immaterial and can create a preconceived image of the person when we choose who will go forward in the recruitment process,” Ilhan said.

Clinical Trials And Blockchain

"Prototype of running clinical trials in an untrustworthy environment using blockchain"

The Rise Of Online Recommendation Sites

"Don't Know Which Toaster to Buy? There's a Website for That."

Monday, June 17, 2019

Old Old English

"The English Word That Hasn't Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years"

iOS Shortcut Ror Recording Police

"iOS Shortcut for Recording the Police":
Once the shortcut is installed and configured, you just have to say, for example, "Hey Siri, I'm getting pulled over." Then the program pauses music you may be playing, turns down the brightness on the iPhone, and turns on "do not disturb" mode.
It also sends a quick text to a predetermined contact to tell them you've been pulled over, and it starts recording using the iPhone's front-facing camera. Once you've stopped recording, it can text or email the video to a different predetermined contact and save it to Dropbox.

Medical Video Games

"Your doctor may be playing medical video games at work. That could be good for your health".

I especially love the idea of earning CME (continuing medical education) credits for gaming.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Dinosaurs And Private Property

"Who Owns The Dinosaurs? It All Depends On Where You Find Them".

I'm basically ok with this concept.

Depressing Fermi Solution

"A Physicist Has Proposed a Pretty Depressing Explanation For Why We Never See Aliens"

Dracula's Cannonballs

"Dracula's cannonballs from 15th-century battle found in Bulgaria".

"Dracula's Cannonballs" would also be a good name of a punk band.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

List On Free Will

"Free Will Is Real"

Designer Babies

"Stossel: Don't Be Scared of Designer Babies"

T-Cell Timing

"Immune Cells Measure Time to Identify Foreign Proteins". (Via H.R.)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sunday, June 09, 2019

New Yawk

"Why some New Yorkers drop their 'R's". (Via H.R.)

Update: Link was bad, fixed now!

Star Wars Theme Park Update

"Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is so ambitious Disneyland fans may not be ready for it"

YouTube Moderation Fail

"YouTube blocks history teachers uploading archive videos of Hitler"

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Password Sanity

"Microsoft says mandatory password changing is 'ancient and obsolete'"

Seuss And Education

"How Dr. Seuss Changed Education in America"
It didn’t help that Dick and Jane belonged to what many have dubbed the dullest family on earth. The books were plotless, littered with mind-numbing, repetitious quasi-sentences. (“Look, Jane. Look, look. See Dick. See, see. Oh, see. See Dick.”) The illustrations were stodgy and bland. Flesch deemed the series “horrible, stupid, emasculated, pointless.”

The author John Hersey, in an article on the literacy debate, for Life magazine, was not much kinder, calling the books “namby-pamby” and “insipid,” and the pictures “terribly literal.” Hersey wondered why primers couldn’t at least feature the talents of gifted children’s-book illustrators, and he listed Dr. Seuss among their ranks.

The head of Houghton Mifflin’s education division took note. He challenged Geisel to write a primer that emerging or reluctant readers would actually enjoy, pleading, “Write me a story that first graders can’t put down!” But for a wordsmith as playful and unconventional as Dr. Seuss—someone fond of phrases such as “howling mad hullaballoo,” who invented animals like the Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz—there was a big catch: to qualify as a first-grade primer, the text would have to be tightly restricted to a list of three hundred and fifty simple, pre-approved vocabulary words, supplied by the publisher, with a preferred limit of just two hundred and twenty-five words.

Could Dr. Seuss deliver a page-turner that contained itself to no more than two hundred and twenty-five real, English, mostly monosyllabic words?

Stock Sectors Over 200 Years

"Visualizing 200 Years of US Stock Market Sectors". (Via Maximizing Progress.)

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

AirPods All The Time

"The Case for Wearing AirPods All the Time"

Left Behind, Cosmonaut Edition

"The last Soviet citizen: The cosmonaut who was left behind in space"
Sergei Krikalev was in space when the Soviet Union collapsed. Unable to come home, he wound up spending two times longer than originally planned in orbit. They simply refused to bring him back. 

Tiger Shark Food

"Tiger Sharks' Unexpected Food Source: Birds Falling from the Sky"

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Perpetual Diamond Illusion

Optical illusion of the day: The Perpetual Diamond.
The Perpetual Diamond produces motion continuously and unambiguously in one direction despite never physically changing location. The phenomenon consists of a steady, mid-luminance diamond bordered by four thin edge strips and a surrounding background field. The direction of motion is determined by the relative phases of the luminance modulation between the edge strips and the background. Because the motion is generated entirely by changing contrast signals between the edge strips and background, the stimulus is a valuable tool for tests of spatial contrast, temporal contrast, contrast gain, and color contrast. 

The Risk Of Relying On IOT

"That major Google outage meant some Nest users couldn't unlock doors or use the AC"

How To Get To Mars And Back

"SpaceX beginning to tackle some of the big challenges for a Mars journey". (Via H.R.)

Monday, June 03, 2019

Apple Update, WWDC 2019

"The 10 most important announcements from WWDC 2019"

Nazi Uranium Cubes

"Tracking the journey of a uranium cube". (Via H.R.)

BTW, "Nazi Uranium Cubes" should be the name of a punk band.

Carroll On Gell-Man

Sean Carroll: "The Physicist Who Made Sense of the Universe"

Sunday, June 02, 2019

How 10,000 Steps Became A Thing

"What 10,000 Steps Will Really Get You":
I-Min Lee, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard University T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the lead author of a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, began looking into the step rule because she was curious about where it came from. “It turns out the original basis for this 10,000-step guideline was really a marketing strategy,” she explains. “In 1965, a Japanese company was selling pedometers, and they gave it a name that, in Japanese, means ‘the 10,000-step meter.’”

Based on conversations she’s had with Japanese researchers, Lee believes that name was chosen for the product because the character for “10,000” looks sort of like a man walking. As far as she knows, the actual health merits of that number have never been validated by research.

Scientific or not, this bit of branding ingenuity transmogrified into a pearl of wisdom that traveled around the globe over the next half century, and eventually found its way onto the wrists and into the pockets of millions of Americans...

Digital Couture

"A digital 'dress' sold for $9,500: If people will only see it online, does it need to exist in real life?"

Leech Smuggling

(Smuggling) Markets In Everything: "Man caught smuggling nearly 5,000 leeches in luggage".

The market value of these medicinal leeches would have been approximately $40k - $100k, at $8 to $20 per leech.