Friday, January 31, 2020

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Why More Employers Are Not Hiring Smokers And What To Do About It

[Off topic] My latest Forbes column is now out: "Why More Employers Are Not Hiring Smokers And What To Do About It".

I discuss how we can address "lifestyle discrimination" by employers by repealing existing bad laws, rather than imposing new bad regulations.

Also: Have you ever wondered why you get health insurance from your employer, but not your car or homeowner's insurance? I cover that bizarre "feature" of the US economy as well.

Turning Hair White From Fright

"How the stress of fight or flight turns hair white"

Photos Of The Sun

"Just released first images from the National Science Foundation's Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope reveal unprecedented detail of the Sun's surface"

Religion And Aliens

"Which Religion Is Friendliest to the Idea of Aliens?"

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Albatross Patrol

"Albatrosses Outfitted With GPS Trackers Detect Illegal Fishing Vessels". (Via H.R.)

Facebook "Clear History"

"The Facebook 'Clear History' Button Is Finally Here"

Linux Laptop Update

"Linux on laptops: Ubuntu 19.10 on the HP Dragonfly Elite G1"

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Meat Cleaver Massage

"You Haven't Lived Until You've Lived Through a Meat Cleaver Massage"

Nice Watch

"Watch This Veteran Collapse on Antiques Roadshow When He Learns His $345 Rolex Is Actually Worth $700,000". (Via H.R.)

Masks And Flu?

"Can surgical masks protect you from getting the flu?"
Basically, there is no strong evidence to support well people wearing surgical masks in public. Or as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it: "No recommendation can be made at this time for mask use in the community by asymptomatic persons, including those at high risk for complications, to prevent exposure to influenza viruses."

The best thing you can do to stop getting the flu is to regularly wash your hands, and try to avoid touching your face.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Augmented Vision

"Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens: It's the Real Deal".
Augmented reality in a contact lens? Science fiction writers envisioned the technology decades ago, and startups have been working on developing an actual product for at least 10 years.

Today, Mojo Vision announced that it has done just that—put 14K pixels-per-inch microdisplays, wireless radios, image sensors, and motion sensors into contact lenses that fit comfortably in the eyes. The first generation of Mojo Lenses are being powered wirelessly, though future generations will have batteries on board. A small external pack, besides providing power, handles sensor data and sends information to the display. The company is calling the technology Invisible Computing, and company representatives say it will get people’s eyes off their phones and back onto the world around them.

Lowe On ML

Derek Lowe: "Will It Learn? Can It Learn?" (Via H.R.)
[C]ould you have a dataset that really does have a rule in it that could theoretically be discovered, but you are luckless enough to have picked an ML algorithm that is incapable of finding such a rule? How general is learnability?

A recent paper came up with a surprising answer to that question. (Update: here’s Ash/Wavefunction with a post on this as well). The authors have a particular learning model (“estimating the maximum”, or EMX) and investigate its behavior with data produced by several different underlying “rule” functions. And they show – as in no escape, mathematically prove – that there are functions for which it is absolutely impossible to know whether they are learnable by the EMX algorithm or not. Not just difficult to know, not computationally hard until someone comes up with a better way to evaluate the problem, none of that: the question of learnability in those cases is formally undecidable.

The mathematically inclined will be wondering if I mean that term the way it sounds like, and the answer is, yep, Kurt Gödel rides again.

Surgery Update

"Hours after world-first keyhole lung removal, cancer patient gets out of bed". (Via E.P.)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Quantum Weirdness Update

"How 'spooky' is quantum physics? The answer could be incalculable"

Inside Golf Balls

"Abstract Photographs of the Colorful Insides of Golf Balls"

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Optimal Airplane Boarding

"We're closer than we've ever been to the optimum airplane boarding procedure"

In Praise Of Cash

"An elegy for cash: The technology we might never replace"

Lotsa Lasers

"Most lidars today have between 1 and 128 lasers -- this one has 11,000". (Via H.R.)

Monday, January 20, 2020

Friday, January 17, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Avoiding Online Scams

"The Complete Guide to Avoiding Online Scams"

Finding Meteorites

"How to Find a Meteorite"

Shape-Shifting Planter

"Shape-Shifting Origami Planter Adapts To Your Plant's Size As It Grows Over Time". (Via D.D.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

An Important 42

"Sutherland helps solve decades-old sum-of-three-cubes puzzle"

Old Stuff

"The oldest material on Earth has been found in a meteorite":
Fifty years ago, a meteorite fell to Earth and landed in Australia, carrying with it a rare sample from interstellar space. A new analysis of the meteorite revealed stardust that formed between five to seven billion years ago. That makes the meteorite and its stardust the oldest solid material ever discovered on Earth.

Our sun is around 4.6 billion years old, meaning this stardust existed long before our sun or solar system were even a reality. The stardust found on the meteorite are called presolar grains because they formed before our sun.

Computer Programming Then And Now

"How Is Computer Programming Different Today Than 20 Years Ago?"

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Delayed Y2K Reckoning

"A lazy fix 20 years ago means the Y2K bug is taking down computers now"

Stepping On Lava

"What happens when you step on lava"

Samsung Ballie

New "cute" home robot from Samsung is the closest thing to BB-8 today.

Monday, January 13, 2020

McKellen's Blog On Lord Of The Rings Production

"Read Sir Ian McKellen's Fascinating Lord of the Rings Production Blogs".

Direct link to McKellen's blog.

Bluetooth Update

"The Biggest Problems With Bluetooth Audio Are About to Be Fixed". (Via H.R.)

Creepy Alexa

That awkward moment when your Amazon Alexs tells you to stab yourself in the hear 'for the greater good'.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Clever Outhouse

"This Outdoor Bathroom by Madeleine Blanchfield Architects is a Mirrored Cube Hidden in Nature".

Click through for more pictures.

Loudest Sound

"The Loudest Sound In The World Would Kill You On The Spot"

Balloon Art

"Japanese artist creates coolest balloon art".

Click through to see full gallery. Impressive! (Via D.D.)


Thursday, January 09, 2020

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Origins Of Life On Earth?

"A chemical clue to how life started on Earth"

Carry On Hassles

"The reason carry-on luggage became such a hassle".

One tidbit I didn't know:
Carriers have latched onto travel fees as a way to bring in more revenue and avoid the 7 percent excise tax on airfare. Domestic flights are subject to the tax, but any services considered optional (additional luggage, seat selection, priority boarding) are exempt.

Old School Directions

"Turn-by-turntables: How drivers got from point A to point B in the early 1900s". (Via H.R.)

Monday, January 06, 2020

Dracula Billboard

"Genius billboard advertising the new Dracula TV series"

via Gfycat

Particle Accelerator On A Chip

"Researchers build a particle accelerator that fits on a chip".

Well, you have to make them small if you want them to fit in your flux capacitor for your Delorean.

Science Vs. Free Will?

Steve Taylor: "How a Flawed Experiment 'Proved' That Free Will Doesn't Exist"

Friday, January 03, 2020

Mystery Drones

"Mystery drone squadrons flying over Colorado and Nebraska".

Related New York Times article, "'It's Creepy': Unexplained Drones Are Swarming by Night Over Colorado".

Mystery Orb

"A virtual version of da Vinci's mystery glass orb has helped explain its weirdness"

Mystery Boson

"New boson appears in nuclear decay, breaks standard model"

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Vanishing Stars

"Finding stars that vanished -- by scouring old photos".

No Dyson Spheres found -- yet.

Ski Maps

"The Man Behind Most of the Ski Maps in America"

Teens On Tech

MIT Technology Review: "We asked teenagers what adults are missing about technology. This was the best response."

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all our friends and readers!