Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Grey On National Popular Vote

CGP Grey new video: "The Sneaky Plan to Subvert the Electoral College for the Next Election". Good overview of the National Popular Vote Compact. Basically, it turns the EC’s built-it features into bugs.

Interesting Boring Machines

"Far From Boring: Meet the Most Interesting Tunnel Boring Machines"

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual the rest of this week due to external obligations as well as the US Thanksgiving holiday.

Super Slippery Toilet

"This new magical coating saves water by making toilets so slippery that poop basically flushes itself"

AT&T Exec Predicted Smartphone In 1953

"In an April 1953 newspaper article in the Tacoma News Tribune, Mark Sullivan made an uncannily accurate prediction about the future of the telephone."

Monday, November 25, 2019

Hsieh Forbes Column: I’m A Physician, And I’ll Continue Eating Red Meat

My latest Forbes column is now out: "I'm A Physician, And I'll Continue Eating Red Meat"

"OK Boomer" And Workplace Law

Elizabeth Tippett: "Why saying 'OK boomer' at work is considered age discrimination -- but millennial put-downs aren't".

I'm not a lawyer, but this legal analysis seems plausible.

No Privacy Hotel Room

"This Japanese hotel room costs $1 a night. The catch? You have to livestream your stay".

The article does note that the livestream is video only, no audio. So if you make a phone call, the contents will be private. Also, "Guests are permitted to turn the lights off, and the bathroom area is out of camera range."

Friday, November 22, 2019

Novel Legal Appeal

Convicted murderer serving life sentence dies in prison from medical issues. Physicians revive him (despite a valid DNR order) and perform surgery.

He then asks to be released on the grounds that he has served his "life sentence".

GPS Spoofing Mystery

"Ghost ships, crop circles, and soft gold: A GPS mystery in Shanghai"

Cramped Airplanes

"Why Bigger Planes Mean Cramped Quarters"

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Vector Calculus In Pictures?

"How to turn the complex mathematics of vector calculus into simple pictures":
Joon-Hwi Kim at Seoul National University in South Korea and a couple of colleagues who have come up with a similar innovation for vector calculus—a graphics-based shorthand for one of the most common and powerful mathematical tools in science. “We anticipate that graphical vector calculus will lower the barriers in learning and practicing vector calculus, as Feynman diagrams did in quantum field theory,” they say.
I've only skimmed the paper, and I'm not yet convinced of the ultimate benefit. But others can read the original paper and decide for themselves

Airbnb Scammers

"I Accidentally Uncovered a Nationwide Scam on Airbnb"

Sports And Law Case

"He told a kid to slide. Then he got sued."

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Emoji Storm

"Every Emoji being used on Twitter, in real time"

Clever Packaging

"TV, or not TV: The story of our bike box". Bicycle seller Vanmoof noticed that too many of the bikes they shipped to the US arrived damaged:
Our co-founder Ties Carlier’s simple idea. Our boxes are about the same size as a really big, expensive, flat-screen television. So we put an image of one on every box. We assumed handlers would care a little more about that. And we were right.

That small tweak had an outsized impact. Overnight our shipping damages dropped by 70-80%. We sell 80% of our bicycles online, which means we still print TVs on our boxes. More than 60,000 of them have now been shipped directly to our riders worldwide.

Artificial Vision Update

"A Blind Man Sees His Birthday Candles Again, Thanks to a Bionic Eye"

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Razr Flip Phone

"Motorola's New Razr Proves That Flip Phones Can Be Cool in 2019"

Anti-Fish Robot

"Latest weapon against lionfish invasion? Meet the Roomba of the sea."

Drunk Birds

"What Happens When Birds Get Drunk?"

Monday, November 18, 2019

New Math Identity

"Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math"

Machine Smelling

"Learning to Smell: Using Deep Learning to Predict the Olfactory Properties of Molecules"

Why Astrology "Works"

"I was an astrologer -- here's how it really works, and why I had to stop"
I also learned that intelligence and education do not protect against superstition. Many customers were stockbrokers, advertising executives or politicians, dealing with issues whose outcomes couldn't be controlled. It's uncertainty that drives people into woo, not stupidity, so I'm not surprised millennials are into astrology. They grew up with Harry Potter and graduated into a precarious economy, making them the ideal customers.

What broke the spell for me was, oddly, people swearing by my gift. Some repeat customers claimed I'd made very specific predictions, of a kind I never made. It dawned on me that my readings were a co-creation -- I would weave a story and, later, the customer's memory would add new elements. I got to test this theory after a friend raved about a reading she'd had, full of astonishingly accurate predictions. She had a tape of the session, so I asked her to play it.

The clairvoyant had said none of the things my friend claimed. Not a single one. My friend's imagination had done all the work.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Quantum Biomolecule

"A natural biomolecule has been measured acting like a quantum wave for the first time":
Physicists have watched a chain of 15 amino acids interfere with itself, in an experiment that paves the way for a new era of quantum biology.

Addictive Game

"Tiny Islands, an addictive card-based island-drawing game".

Direct link to the game.

Ancient Twinkie

"43-Year-Old Twinkie Still Intact At Maine School"

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Rocky Mountain High

Philadelphia sportscaster says Denver sports franchises should not have any home games, because the elevated altitude gives teams an unfair advantage

Perhaps the Green Bay Packers should not have any December home games against teams from, say, Miama or Atlanta, because they are more accustomed to cold weather.  #BooHooHoo

Apple Watch And Afib

NEJM: "Large-Scale Assessment of a Smartwatch to Identify Atrial Fibrillation".

Bottom line:
The probability of receiving an irregular pulse notification was low. Among participants who received notification of an irregular pulse, 34% had atrial fibrillation on subsequent ECG patch readings and 84% of notifications were concordant with atrial fibrillation. 

Apple AR

"Apple Eyes 2022 Release for AR Headset, 2023 for Glasses"

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Criminal Picks Wrong House

That awkward moment when a criminal decides to break into the house of an experienced medieval combat re-enactor. Who keeps a carbon-steal double headed battle axe that he calls, "my baby".

After the suspect fled, "Police K-9s followed the trail of blood to apprehend the suspect."

Bonus: Jayne Cobb hat!


"Ultra-Black Is the New Black"

Quantum Computing Update

"Quantum Computer Made from Photons Achieves a New Record"

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

MIT Cheetah Robots

"These dog-like robots do backflips and play soccer. Yes, they're adorable"

Microchipping Update

"The rise of microchipping: Are we ready for technology to get under the skin?"

Boring Video Game

"Honestly, a Video Game That Strands You On a Boring Six-Hour Flight Is Just What I Need Right Now"

Monday, November 11, 2019

Bitcoin Heist

"Iceland's Big Bitcoin Heist"

California Housing

"How California Became America's Housing Market Nightmare".

The author blames bad government policies.

No Smartphone

"This Is What It's Like To Not Own A Smartphone".

I would never give up my smartphone -- I find it too useful for so many life-enhancing tasks.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Space Is Big

Fun interactive site: "The Size Of Space"

Zero-Gravity Oven

"With a 'Zero G' Oven, Astronauts Can Have Their Cookies, but They Can't Eat Them Too"

Upside-Down Art

"The Gallery of Art Hung Upside-Down"

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Scroll Bar History

"A critical analysis of scroll bars throughout history"

Eliminating Driving Blind Spot

"14-Year-Old Genius Solves Blind Spots". (Via H.R.)

Insecure DNA Data

"The DNA database used to find the Golden State Killer is a national security leak waiting to happen"

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Mathematical Cranks

"Beware of Cranks: Misguided attempts to solve impossible mathematical problems"

Brain Bacteria

"Are There Bacteria in Your Brain?" (Via T.K.)

American Whiskey Fingerprint

"American whiskeys leave behind a web-like 'fingerprint' as they evaporate". (Via H.R.)

Monday, November 04, 2019

New Walkie-Talkie

"Motorola is building a new kind of walkie-talkie for first responders". (Via H.R.)

MIT's Legendary Milk

NPR: "MIT's Very Old Milk".

Related story: "MIT's legendary milk carton turns 25"

Self-Hiding AI?

"Would a Real AI Purposefully Hide Its Super Intelligence in Fear of Being Destroyed?"

 (From a few years ago, but I just recently saw it.)