Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Monday, December 30, 2019

Long Walk

"This Is the Longest Walkable Distance on Earth":
The total trip is over 14,000 miles. A real person walking this route at a sustainable pace would need about three years to complete the trip. They’d need to pack a variety of things or, like in the award-winning game 80 Days, sell their stuff and buy new stuff along the way: desert gear, rain gear, and even body armor for the sections through anarchic or war-torn regions like South Sudan.

More Public Domain Books

"Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free"

Cheerios Physics

"Physicists measured forces behind why Cheerios clump together in your bowl"

Friday, December 27, 2019

Inducing Seizure By Twitter

"A tweet gave a journalist a seizure. His case brings new meaning to the idea of 'online assault.'"

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Cat Physics

"The surprisingly complicated physics of why cats always land on their feet". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our friends and readers!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

It's Mom!

As we approach Christmas day, I wanted to share one of my favorite C-SPAN political clips of all time. 

Two brothers and pundits with diametrically opposed political views were appearing on C-SPAN just before Christmas time, when a familiar voice called in to give them a piece of her mind:

Monday, December 23, 2019

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posts may be much lighter than usual this week because of the Christmas holiday.

Latest Wikipedia Edit War

"Wikipedia page for Home Alone 2 was edited to call Trump the film's first cast member to be impeached"

Mycenaean Tombs

"Archaeologists unearth gold-lined Mycenaean royal tombs in Greece". (Via H.R.)

Friday, December 20, 2019

Eating Snow?

"Is it Safe to Eat Snow? Snow's pristine looks can be deceiving."

Work Computer Safety

"What Not to Do on Your Work Computer"

Asymmetric Conductors

"A nanotube material conducts heat in just one direction"

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Beer Fizzing

"Does tapping the bottom of a beer can really stop it fizzing over?"

No More Ten-Digit ISBN

"Say Good-Bye to the Ten-Digit ISBN"

History Of Beer

History of beer.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Chimp Using Instagram

"Watch This Chimpanzee Swipe Effortlessly Through Instagram".

This suggests that (1) chimpanzees are pretty good at using tools, (2) our user interfaces are pretty intuitive, or both.

Star Wars Future?

BBC: "Will the Star Wars universe survive?"

Black Box AI

"Unpacking the Black Box in Artificial Intelligence for Medicine"

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Best Optical Illusion Of 2019

"The Best Optical Illusion of the Year for 2019":
The illusion features a moving shape that somehow can be seen to rotate around both the horizontal and the vertical axis and rotates in tow different directions around each axis.

Self-Repairing Robots

"Japanese Researchers Teaching Robots to Repair Themselves".

I see no possible way this could turn out badly for humanity.

One Step Closer To Self-Replication

"This 3D-printed Stanford bunny also holds the data for its own reproduction"
The fabricated Stanford bunny holds about 100 kilobytes of data, thanks to the addition of the DNA-containing nanobeads to the plastic used to 3D print it. "Just like real rabbits, our rabbit also carries its own blueprint," said Grass.

Grass and his colleagues were also able to cut off a piece of the rabbit's ear to retrieve the embedded DNA. Then they used that information to fabricate a second bunny, repeating this process four times, for a total of five fabricated bunnies. The data did degrade a bit with each subsequent generation, but the decoding program can fill in any blanks so that useable data can still be retrieved.

Monday, December 16, 2019

More Exoskeletons For Augmented Strength

"Sarcos Demonstrates Powered Exosuit That Gives Workers Super Strength":
The Guardian XO can augment the strength of the user all the way up to making a 200-pound load feel like it weighs zero pounds. Typically, this is not how the exoskeleton works, though, since it can be disconcerting to be lifting something heavy and not feel like you’re lifting anything at all.

It’s better to think of the exo as a tool that makes you stronger rather than a tool that makes objects weightless, especially since you still have to deal with inertia. Remember, even if something has no apparent weight (either because you’re in space or because you’re holding it with a powered exoskeleton), it still has mass, which you have to be aware of when trying to move it or stop it from moving. The amount of help that the exo gives you is easy to adjust; it’s got a graphical control panel on the left wrist.

Exoskeletons For Aging Workers

"The Elderly in Japan are Using Exoskeletons to Delay Retirement"


"5 Things You Could Do With 1TB of RAM"

Friday, December 13, 2019

Inner Voice

"Interesting poll on whether one hears one's 'inner voice' while thinking. (I'm either "rarely" or "never".)"

Some of the comments in the original Twitter thread are quite interesting!

Translating Earbuds

"Timekettle WT2 Plus AI Language Translator Earbuds review".

Even though there are still a few kinks to work out, this looks really cool. And I anticipate future products from this company (or competitors) will be even better!

Tiny Plants

"Microscopic Photography of Tiny Plant Structures"

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Gravitational Energy Storage

"How UK's disused mine shafts could be used to store renewable energy":
The surprising new source of “gravity energy” is being developed by Gravitricity, an Edinburgh-based startup, which hopes to use Britain’s old mines to make better use of clean electricity at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

Gravitricity said its system effectively stores energy by using electric winches to hoist the weights to the top of the shaft when there is plenty of renewable energy available, then dropping the weights hundreds of metres down vertical shafts to generate electricity when needed...

Charlie Blair, Gravitricity’s managing director, said: “The beauty of this is that this can be done multiple times a day for many years, without any loss of performance. This makes it very competitive against other forms of energy storage – including lithium-ion batteries.”


"What do we really mean by the 'language' of animals?"

Helpful Travel Tips

VM Brasseur: "My travel habits"

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Powerful Placebo Effect

"Merely Possessing a Placebo Analgesic Reduced Pain Intensity: Preliminary Findings from a Randomized Design".

As one article summary notes: "Placebos are so effective that placebo placebos work: A pain cream with no active ingredients worked even when not used by the patient. Just owning the cream was enough to reduce pain."

Not Tesla's Fault

"Tesla On Autopilot Crashes Into Cop Car Because Driver Was Checking On Dog And It's Not A Damn Self-Driving Car". (Via D.M.)

Best. Christmas. Decoration.

"Man Builds 16-Foot Starship Enterprise For His Outdoor Christmas Display"

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Eliminating Useless Meetings

The Japanese company Disco charges employees $100 per hour to use a conference room.  (Via G.F.)

The employees love it. As one employee notes, "People really cut back on useless meetings."

Football And Chess

"World chess champion on the verge of topping fantasy football table"

Speed Bump Mechanics

"Here's What Happens When You Hit a Speed Bump at High Speed". (Click through to see video.)

Monday, December 09, 2019

Friday, December 06, 2019

Thursday, December 05, 2019

RIP, DC Fontana

"D.C. Fontana, famed writer for Star Trek, dies at 80"

New Bond Trailer

Trailer for new James Bond film, "No Time To Die".  Related thoughts from Vox.

Photos From Within Musical Instruments

"Dreamy Cave-Like Photos Taken Inside Musical Instruments"

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Elf Or Drug?

"Which Is It: Prescription Drug or Tolkien Elf?"

(I'm both a physician and a Tolkien fan, so I'm glad to have gotten 29/30 correct.)

Faster Earth

"What Would Happen if Earth Started to Spin Faster?"

Dent Decal

"The Perfect Decal for a Dent". Click through to see how to purchase.

Monday, December 02, 2019