Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Light Data

"Does a USB drive get heavier as you store more files on it?"

Short answer, "no". It actually gets very very very slightly lighter:
When you save data, a binary zero is set by charging the float gate of the transistor, and a binary one is set by removing the charge. To charge it, we add electrons, and the mass of each electron is 0.00000000000000000000000000091 grams. This means that an empty USB drive (which mostly holds zeros) weighs more than a full USB drive (which has ones and zeros). Add data, reduce the weight. However, you would need to weigh more USB drives than exist on the planet together at once before the difference in weight became easily measurable.

Stewart/McKellan Mysteries

"Someone Comes Up With A Mystery TV Show Starring Patrick Stewart And Ian McKellen, And Their Concept Goes Viral".

This would be a friggin' awesome show.

Monday, March 30, 2020

MacBook Air 2020 Review

"MacBook Air 2020 review: The most boring Mac is among the best". (Via H.R.)

Computation And Battles

"How computational power -- or its absence -- shaped World War naval battles"

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Video Meeting Tips

"The Dos and Don'ts of Online Video Meetings"

Molecular Wakes

"People leave molecular wakes that may give away their secrets"

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hot Tiles

"Picking Up Glowing Hot Space Shuttle Tiles with Bare Hands"

Full Spectrum Sensor

"Scientists create quantum sensor that covers entire radio frequency spectrum". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Happiness Course

"Stuck at Home? Take Yale's Most Popular Course Ever: The Science of Happiness"

Downloadable Books

"45 places you can download tens of thousands books, plays and other literary texts completely legally for free"

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: How Will Doctors Allocate Scarce Medical Resources

[Off Topic] My latest Forbes piece is on the difficult topic of rationing health care: "How Will Doctors Allocate Scarce Medical Resources During The COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic?"

Old Sword

"Graduate Student Discovers One of World's Oldest Swords in Mislabeled Monastery Display"

Monday, March 23, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Will It Flush?

"So You've Run Out of Toilet Paper. What Else Will Flush?"

Beautiful Music

"A Girl Makes Music Without Irony or Ugliness". (Via S.Z.)

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Virtual Dinner Parties

"Here's How to Have Your Own Virtual Dinner Party During Coronavirus Quarantine"

Coping With Layoffs

"Layoffs are Coming"

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Virtual Museum Tours

If you're housebound, consider these virtual museum tours. (Via S.M.)

Desperate Gamblers

"How Desperate are Gamblers with No Sports to Bet On? This Desperate."

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Cheating In Chess

"Think Cheating in Baseball Is Bad? Try Chess"

Virtual Outbreak

"What a WoW virtual outbreak taught us about how humans behave in epidemics"

Monday, March 16, 2020

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Tips For Staying Out Of The ER

[Off topic] My latest Forbes piece is now out: "Tips For Staying Out Of The ER During The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic".

Here's the opening:
As case numbers increase during the current Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, hospital emergency rooms are becoming more crowded. Patients showing up at the ER for possible COVID will add to usual load of patients already there for heart attacks, stroke, acute appendicitis, accidents, “normal” influenza, etc.

So anything you can do to keep yourself out of the ER helps everyone (yourself included).

In that spirit, I’d like to remind folks follow some simple old-fashioned prudent practices...
(Full text available at "Tips For Staying Out Of The ER During The Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic".)

Soap And Viruses

"Soap And Water 101: Why It's Best For COVID-19 Coronavirus (And Everyday Practice)"

More Light Posting

Admin note: Due to the current COVID situation, posting may be irregular for the next couple of weeks.

I and fellow physicians have been asked to be flexible with respect to increased workload for the foreseeable future.

Everyone stay safe, and practice prudent "social distancing"!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Knapsack Problem

"How the Mathematical Conundrum Called the 'Knapsack Problem' Is All Around Us"

URL History

"The History of the URL"

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Light Posting Notice

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

Contacts For Color Blindness

"Prototype Contact Lenses Could Allow Colour-Blind People to Tell Green From Red". (Via H.R.)

Contagion Movie Accuracy

"Fact-Checking Contagion -- In Wake Of Coronavirus, The 2011 Movie Is Trending"

Monday, March 09, 2020

Super Low Gear

"Here's What a Googol-to-One Gear Ratio Looks Like":
To celebrate being alive for a billion seconds, Daniel Bruin built a machine with 100 gears with a 10-to-1 gear ratio…meaning that the overall gear ratio is a googol-to-one. (A googol is 1 with 100 zeros.)

This machine has a gear reduction of 1 to 10 ^ 100. In order to get the last gear to turn once you’ll need to spin the first one a google [sic] amount around. Or better said you’ll need more energy than the entire known universe has to do that. That boggles my mind.

Musk To Mars

"Inside Elon Musk's plan to build one Starship a week -- and settle Mars". (Via H.R.)

NYC Alligators

NYT: "The Truth About Alligators in the Sewers of New York"

Sunday, March 08, 2020

Military Analysis Of Siege Of Gondor

"The Siege of Gondor, Part I: Professionals Talk Logistics".

Military analysis of the Peter Jackson movie version of the Siege Of Gondor.  (The link is to part 1 of a six-part series.)


Hey, what happened?

Improved Touch

"Tactile Enhancement to Compensate for Loss of Sensation"

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Hiding Pictures In Maps

"For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland's Official Maps"

Wedding Llama

"A man brought a llama in a tuxedo to his sister's wedding, and the photo of her unamused expression is going viral"

More CorpSpeak

"Garbage Language: Why do corporations speak the way they do?"

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

New Etch-a-Sketch Model Can Draw Circles

Progress: "Etch-a-Sketch Revolution Can Actually Draw Circles"

Koreans Vs. Virus

"South Koreans are using smartphone apps to avoid the novel coronavirus":
Recently developed apps using public government data allow users to see how close they are to where a confirmed Covid-19 patient has been. They can also see the date a patient was confirmed with the disease, demographic data about the patient, and, crucially, some of their location history.

At least one app, called Corona 100m, will also alert a user if they come within 100 m (328 ft) of a location visited by someone who’s had Covid-19.

Developers of such offerings have seen a surge in downloads...

Virus Vs. Aliens?

"Coronavirus Could Preview What Will Happen When Alien Life Reaches Earth".

I think the article is making a bit of a stretch.

Monday, March 02, 2020

Hsieh Forbes Column on "Left Digit Bias"

My latest Forbes column is now out: "If You Just Turned 50, 60, 70, Or 80, Your Doctor Might Suffer From 'Left Digit Bias'".

"Left digit bias" is why customers are more likely to purchase an item priced $4.99 than $5.00.  I discuss how physicians' "left digit bias" could affect medical care in older patients, and what patients can do about it.

Handwashing Technique

"First defense against coronavirus: 20 seconds of proper hand-washing"

Bad Forensics

"The wear patterns of your jeans aren't good forensic evidence"