Friday, December 31, 2021

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Alexa Advice

"Alexa tells 10-year-old girl to touch live plug with penny"

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New #1 Website

"Google is dethroned as world's most popular website"

The new top 5 list for 2021 (#GetOffMyLawn):

  1. TikTok
  2. Google
  3. Facebook
  4. Microsoft
  5. Apple


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Again, posting will be light the rest of the week due to external obligations.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Dinosaur Embryo

"Perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo found in China"


Moore's Law Marches On

"2D Semiconductors Stalk Silicon at the Edge of Moore's Law". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Monday, December 20, 2021

Snowball Fights In Art

"Snowball Fights in Art". 

I especially liked some of the Asian artwork. And the photograph, "Photograph of Princeton students after a snowball fight between freshman and sophomores, 1893"








Friday, December 17, 2021

Memory Storage In Brains

"Where is Memory Information Stored in the Brain?"

Within the scientific research community, memory information in the brain is commonly believed to be stored in the synapse - a hypothesis famously attributed to psychologist Donald Hebb. 

However, there is a growing minority who postulate that memory is stored inside the neuron at the molecular (RNA or DNA) level -- an alternative postulation known as the cell-intrinsic hypothesis, coined by psychologist Randy Gallistel. In this paper, we review a selection of key experimental evidence from both sides of the argument...

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Musk And Time

"Elon Musk Is TIME's 2021 Person of the Year"

I'm not an uncritical Elon Musk fanboy. 
But I am glad to see Time Magazine giving this year's recognition to someone whose primary claim to fame is what they've achieved in the private sphere, as opposed to how good or bad they've been as a political ruler over others.
From the article: 
He’s a player in robots and solar, cryptocurrency and climate, brain-computer implants to stave off the menace of artificial intelligence and underground tunnels to move people and freight at super speeds.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Continued Light Posting

Admin note: Again, posting may be light through the month of December due to a variety of external obligations.

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Light Posting Notice

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

Monday, December 06, 2021

Friday, December 03, 2021

Tiny Camera

"Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain". (Via G.F.)

While a traditional camera uses a series of curved glass or plastic lenses to bend light rays into focus, the new optical system relies on a technology called a metasurface, which can be produced much like a computer chip. Just half a millimeter wide, the metasurface is studded with 1.6 million cylindrical posts, each roughly the size of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Each post has a unique geometry, and functions like an optical antenna. Varying the design of each post is necessary to correctly shape the entire optical wavefront. With the help of machine learning-based algorithms, the posts’ interactions with light combine to produce the highest-quality images and widest field of view for a full-color metasurface camera developed to date.


Reproducing Robots Update

CNN: "World's first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say"

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Santa Shortage

Tight labor market for heavy-set older men, results in a "Santa Shortage".

Year Of Meals For $150

"Meet the Guy Who Spends Just $150 a Year to Eat All His Meals at Six Flags". (Via Gus Van Horn.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Light Posting

Admin note: Posting will be light or non-existent the rest of the week because of the US Thanksgiving holiday.

Bionic Hand Update

"Bionic Hand Gives Amputees Sense of Touch". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Plants Vs. Prey

"Time Lapse of Carnivorous Plants and Their Prey Preparing for Battle".

Also: "[N]ever fear, a tender disclaimer in the video’s description: 'All insects captured by the plants have been released.'"

New Mineral

"New Mineral Discovered in Deep-Earth Diamond":

A diamond that formed deep in the earth’s mantle contains a mineral never seen before in nature. The discovery is a rare glimpse into the deep mantle and may help reveal new information about the structure of the planet at depths of more than 660 kilometers...

The mineral, calcium silicate perovskite, only forms under the incredibly high pressures that occur deep in the earth...


Monday, November 22, 2021

Friday, November 19, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Drone Attack

Unsuccessful attempted assassination using explosive-laden drones.

Singularity And Metaverse

"Singularity Is Fast Approaching, and It Will Happen First in the Metaverse"

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Controlling Super-Intelligent AIs

"Calculations Suggest It'll Be Impossible to Control a Super-Intelligent AI".

Not quite sure how much to be worried about this.

Link to original paper in Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research: "Superintelligence Cannot be Contained: Lessons from Computability Theory"

Alzheimer's Vaccine Update

I really hope this pans out: "Alzheimer's Disease Nasal Vaccine To Be Tested At Brigham And Women's Hospital". (Via R.T.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Cold Case Bank Robbery Solved

"US bank robber identified after decades-long hunt":

According to the Marshal Service, Conrad had allegedly told friends of his plans to rob the bank and boasted about how easy it would be to do. He was reportedly obsessed with the 1968 Steve McQueen heist film, The Thomas Crown Affair, and watched it more than a dozen times during his preparation for the robbery. 

Crypto Tax Rules

"The infrastructure bill makes crypto tax-reporting failures a felony"

Monday, November 15, 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021

Relativity And Zero-Knowledge Proofs

Nature: "Experimental relativistic zero-knowledge proofs". (Via G.F.)

In this work, we report the experimental realization of such a zero-knowledge protocol involving two separated verifier–prover pairs. Security is enforced via the physical principle of special relativity, and no computational assumption (such as the existence of one-way functions) is required. Our implementation exclusively relies on off-the-shelf equipment and works at both short (60 m) and long distances (≥400 m) in about one second. 

Kinetic Launch

"SpinLaunch's rocket-free kinetic launch system conducts first test flight". (Via A.A.)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Culture Shock

America, as viewed by a newly-arrived Indian graduate student. Fascinating observations. Via A.A.

Mandatory Anti-Drunk Driving Tech

In the new "infrastructure bill" car manufacturers will be required to install technology in new vehicles to keep drunk people from driving

Also from the article: "The voluminous bill also requires automakers to install rear-seat reminders to alert parents if a child is left inadvertently in the back seat" and "automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings in all passenger vehicles".

Monday, November 08, 2021

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Robotic Laser Weedkiller

"Self-Driving Farm Robot Uses Lasers To Kill 100,000 Weeds An Hour, Saving Land And Farmers From Toxic Herbicides". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

James Bond Health Risks

Tongue-in-cheek analysis of James Bond's health risks including poor hand-washing skills and "above-average sexual activity".

Direct link: "No time to die: An in-depth analysis of James Bond's exposure to infectious agents", Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, Volume 44, November–December 2021.

Window Washing Robots

"Skyscraper Window Washing Robots Are Here to Take Over One of Our Most Terrifying Jobs". (Via H.R.)

Monday, November 01, 2021

Hoverbike Update

"Japan startup targets supercar users with $700,000 hoverbike"


Bombing A Volcano

"When the U.S. dropped bombs on a volcano to save a town"

Sunday, October 31, 2021

First Remote Worker

"The First Remote Worker".

For various reasons, which are described in the podcast, [Paul] Lutus was living in a cabin in the Oregon woods. Before he got the Apple II in 1976, he didn’t even have electricity -- he had to run what amounted to a 1,200 foot extension cord to a construction box that he talked the utility company into installing...

[H]is backup system was to bury floppy disks of his work in an ammo can at his cabin. He started doing that after a lightning strike reset his computer while he was working. There’s a bunch of other amusing stories as well...

(Via Gus Van Horn.)

Ars Technica On MB Pro

Ars Technica: "2021 MacBook Pro review: Yep, it's what you’ve been waiting for". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Quarterstaff Technique

"Boy Scouts' Instruction on the Quarterstaff and Other Weapons"

This martial flavor is especially evident in the movement’s early literature, such as this 1925 instruction manual that teaches scouts in the tasks necessary to earn the master-at-arms badge. The first section addresses the use of the saber, while using wooden sticks as training implements. Next is the quarterstaff, which is a useful choice, as the most accessible of improvised weapons is surely a broomstick. Leaving aside the weapons, the scouts then train in the basics of boxing, ju-jitsu, and wrestling. The result is a well-rounded combatant.

Old Software

"The 'Dune' Screenplay Was Written in MS-DOS"

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

FBI And Telecoms

"Here's the FBI's Internal Guide for Getting Data from AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon"

Whitest White

"The whitest paint is here -- and it's the coolest. Literally."

Monday, October 25, 2021

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Distant Galaxies

"94% of the universe's galaxies are permanently beyond our reach"

Today, most of the universe's galaxies are already receding faster than the speed of light.
OTOH, most of them get pretty mediocre reviews on Yelp, so I wasn't planning on visiting them anyways.

Dune Universe Timeline

Video: "Full Timeline of the Dune Universe (34,000 Years)"

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Smart Cane

"This $400 Cane Uses Autonomous Vehicle Tech to Help Guide The Visually Impaired". (Via H.R.)


"For the past two decades, the micronation of Westarctica has grown in prominence -- and is now using its power for something other than Antarctic domination."

I confess that I had never heart of Westarctica until now. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Monday, October 18, 2021

Shatner Interview

"Captain Kirk Goes to Space: 'It's Indescribable'"

Sandpile Studies

"The Math of the Amazing Sandpile"

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Nuking Asteroids

"A Last-Minute Nuke to Shatter an Incoming Asteroid Could Actually Work, Study Suggests"

Mother Of Languages

"World's languages traced back to single African mother tongue"

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Fire In Microgravity

"Fire is Spherical in Microgravity"

Internet Rabbit Hole

"What useful unknown website do you wish more people knew about?"

Click through at your peril.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Punctation Is Important

"Missing Apostrophe in Facebook Post Lands a Man in Defamation Court"

At issue is the word “employees” in the post, which read: “Oh Stuart Gan!! Selling multi million $ homes in Pearl Beach but can’t pay his employees superannuation,” referring to Australia’s retirement system, in which money is paid by employers into super accounts for employees. “Shame on you Stuart!!! 2 yrs and still waiting!!!”...

On Thursday, a judge in New South Wales ruled that the lack of an apostrophe on the word “employees” could be read to suggest a “systematic pattern of conduct” by Mr. Gan’s agency rather than an accusation involving one employee. So she allowed the case to proceed...

In matters of punctuation, social media is the Wild West. In some corners of the internet, careless grammar is highly tolerated — even a badge of honor. In legal matters, however, disputed punctuation can cost millions.

COVID And Brains

"How COVID affects the brain".

Related: "Even Mild Cases of COVID May Leave a Mark on the Brain"

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Metaverse Basics

"What is the metaverse, and do I have to care?"

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Spilling The Beans

"How to Get Someone to Tell You Their Secrets, According to an Investigative Journalist"

Light Posting Notice

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

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Free Online Math Textbooks

Free online/downloadable math textbooks from the American Institute of Mathematics.

Ocean Photography Awards

"Winners of the Ocean Photography Awards for 2021"

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Hsieh Forbes Column: How Defying One's Boss Led To A New Medical Discovery

My latest Forbes column is now out: "How Defying One's Boss Led To A New Medical Discovery

Sometimes innovation comes from unusual sources!

Cautionary Car Tale

"Driver Killed By His Own Car Door While Waiting In Line At Fast-Food Drive-Thru, Providing Cautionary Insights For AI Self-Driving Cars"

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Insane CIA Kidnapping Plot

If this story is true, this is insane: "Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA's secret war plans against WikiLeaks". (Via Z.W.)

Hamster Trader

"A hamster has been trading cryptocurrencies in a cage rigged to automatically buy and sell tokens since June - and it's currently outperforming the S&P 500"

Monday, September 27, 2021

B5 Reboot

"Warner Bros. has ordered a reboot of Babylon 5, produced and written by Straczynski as part of a deal between Warner Bros. TV and Straczynski’s Studio JMS. The series is not a continuation of the show, but a 'from the ground up' reboot of the cult classic 1993 series..."

TikTok Teen Effect

"A teenager on TikTok disrupted thousands of scientific studies with a single video"

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Knee Surgery

Personal update: Left knee medial meniscal surgery, patient is doing well!


Daily Steps

"How Much Exercise Do We Need to Live Longer?"

Two studies suggest the sweet spot for longevity lies around 7,000 to 8,000 daily steps or about 30 to 45 minutes of exercise most days. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Light Posting Notice

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

Monday, September 20, 2021

Perils Of Contingent Job Offers

"My Job Offer Was Rescinded -- After I'd Given Notice".

I'm not an expert on employment law. However, this article offers some useful tips to avoid being stuck in this position.

COVID Baby Bust

"The Pandemic Caused a Baby Bust, Not a Boom"

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Download The Universe

"Now You Can Download the Entire Universe... All 3000 TB of It". (Via J.P.)

The Texas Switch

"The Texas Switch is a filmmaking technique in which an actor and stunt person are switched seamlessly during a single shot".

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Surveillance Ruling

"Police violated Colorado Springs man's constitutional rights with 24/7 surveillance, court rules". (Via T.K.)

Tesla On Tribal Land

Most states do not allow car manufacturers to sell directly to consumers, but instead force them to user local dealers. Tesla has found away around the "dealer rule" in New Mexico, by opening a store on tribal land.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Taco Subscription

CNN: "Taco Bell wants to sell you a 30-day taco subscription".

Um, that's a big "no" for me. But points for trying a creative new business model.

Nikon Microphotography Contest Winners

"Nikon Small World microscopy contest 2021: A few of our favorite images". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Toilet Training Cows

Not-an-Onion story: Toilet-training cows to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

I foresee a future IgNobel Prize!

Woolly Mammoth Update

"Lab-grown woolly mammoths could walk the Earth in six years if geneticist’s new start-up succeeds".

I wonder if woolly mammoth meat tastes good.  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Roomba Poop-Detecting AI

"New Roomba promises 'poopocalypse' horror stories are a thing of the past: The Roomba j7+ has a front camera and poop-detecting artificial intelligence."

Apple Issues Emergency Security Patch for Mac OS and iOS

"Go Update Your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch Right Now"

Sunday, September 12, 2021

2021 Ig Nobels

"Sex can relieve nasal congestion, and other work honored by 2021 Ig Nobels". (Via H.R.)

Update: Year was wrong in title, fixed now!

Longevity Update

"Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley's latest wild bet on living forever"

Thursday, September 09, 2021


Scanwiches: Cross sectional images of sandwiches.

My radiologist heart is beating just a little bit faster...


Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

American Aerospace

"America's Aerospace Industry is Regenerating". (Via G.F.)

Lithium Mine Versus Wildflower

Nevada lithium deposit "could power millions of clean-energy car batteries. There's just one roadblock: a rare, fragile species of buckwheat, for which a mine might mean extinction."

Monday, September 06, 2021

Wave-Particle Duality Update

"Experimental Confirmation of the Fundamental Principle of Wave-Particle Duality"

Figure 1. Double-path single-photon interferometer with controllable source purity used in our ENBS model. Two SPDC crystals, PPLN1 and PPLN2, are pumped and seeded simultaneously by the same pump and seed coherent lasers, respectively, resulting in the emission of two signal photons s1 or s2 for quantum interference detection at PD. Then, conjugate idler photons i1 and i2 provide the which-path (or which-source) information, where the controllable source purity is determined by the overlap between the SPACS of one of the idler modes and the unchanged coherent state of another idler mode. Two idler fields can be detected independently by detectors DA and DB. Credit: Institute for Basic Science


Bad Science Due To Autocorrect

"Excel autocorrect errors still plague genetic research, raising concerns over scientific rigour". (Via N.L.)

Our research shows autocorrect errors, particularly in Excel spreadsheets, can also make a mess of gene names in genetic research. We surveyed more than 10,000 papers with Excel gene lists published between 2014 and 2020 and found more than 30% contained at least one gene name mangled by autocorrect...

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Light Posting Notice

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

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Room-Temperature Superconductor

"Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time".

However, it requires enormously high pressures.

Panic Sellers

"When Do Investors Freak Out?" (Via Tyler Cowen.)

We show that panic selling and freakouts are predictable and fundamentally different from other well-known behavioral patterns such as overtradingor the disposition effect. Investors who are male, or above the age of 45, or married, orhave more dependents, or who self-identify as having excellent investment experience orknowledge tend to freak out with greater frequency.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Book Index

"The radical power of the book index"

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Harvard Atheist Chaplain

"Harvard University's new chief chaplain is... an atheist"

21st Century Relationship Problems

"My [31M] fiancee/girlfriend [28F] is upset that I proposed with an NFT instead of a ring. What can I do about this?"

Monday, August 30, 2021

Missing Nazi Uranium

"More than one ton of Nazi uranium is still missing".

(Random musing: "Missing Nazi Uranium" would be a good for a punk band.)

Drum Prodigy Nandi Bushell

11 year-old drum prodigy Nandi Bushell plays Everlong live on stage with the Foo Fighters at LA Forum, 8/26/2021.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Amazon Tolkien Series Background

"Tolkien and Amazon's Fight for a Franchise":

What the Tolkien estate sold was the rights to the Second Age, but reportedly not the parts of those stories told in the books primarily about the First Age (the Silmarillion, etc.) At the same time, Amazon cannot contradict those stories either. Amazon’s series will have to be consistent with the Tolkien canon, while at the same time drawing on the vaguest, least detailed portion of it...

Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey (who was involved in the production), explains further:

Amazon has a relatively free hand when it comes to adding something, since, as I said, very few details are known about this time span. The Tolkien Estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenorean expedition, is returns to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenoreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same. 

But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions, like: What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions by inventing the answers, since Tolkien did not describe it. But it must not contradict anything which Tolkien did say. That’s what Amazon has to watch out for. It must be canonical, it is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created, it is necessary to remain "Tolkienian"...

Health Benefits Of Coffee

European Society Of Cardiology: "Light-to-moderate coffee drinking associated with health benefits"

Up to three cups of coffee per day is associated with a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart disease, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2021. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Magic Windows

"Hiding Images in Plain Sight: The Physics Of Magic Windows"

I recently made a physical object that defies all intuition. It's a square of acrylic, smooth on both sides, totally transparent. A tiny window. But it has the magic property that if you shine a flashlight on it, it forms an image. And if you take it out in the sun, it produces this 3D hologram. This post describes the math that went into making the object, and how you can create your own...

Robots Doing Parkour

"Robots Doing Parkour"

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

The Coming Regulatory Challenge For Crypto

Jerry Brito: "The coming regulatory challenge for crypto is essentially the same as the messaging encryption debate that's been roiling for years"

Ball Drop Videos

"I challenged 3D artists to guide a chrome ball from point A to point B in the most creative way possible. Nearly 2,000 artists entered, and in this video, the Top 100 renders are featured"

Monday, August 23, 2021

Foundation Trailer

"Foundation -- Official Trailer"

Insulin Delivery Update

"An implantable device for delivering insulin that can be refilled by an ingestible capsule". 

Note: The system works so far in test animals, but is not yet ready for human trials. (Via H.R.)

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Solar Power From Space?

"Solar Power from Space? Caltech’s $100 Million Gambit". (Via H.R.)

Noncompetes Growing

"Noncompete Agreements Are Everywhere, Even Neighborhood Yoga Studios"

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Declining Karens

"Nobody Wants to Name Their Kid 'Karen' Anymore"

Floating Micro-Origami

"Floating Micro-Origami that Magically Unfolds in Water". Click through to see video.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Auto-Aiming Bo

"Incredible Never-Miss Auto-Aiming Bow Puts Robin Hood to Shame". (Via H.R.)

Fusion Update

"General Fusion Takes Aim at Practical Fusion Power; The company plans to demonstrate its compact nuclear fusion technology in the UK by 2025".

I hope they succeed. But I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Samsung Folding Phones, Again

"How Samsung beefed up its new folding phones: metal, tape, and a dab of goo"

Pink Salt Pond

"The Pink Salt Ponds of Camargue, France". Click through to see some beautiful images.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Tracking Stolen Scooter With Airtags

Dan Guido: "My scooter was stolen last week. Unknown to the thief, I hid two Airtags inside it. I was able to use the Apple Find My network and UWB direction finding to recover the scooter today. Here's how it all went down".

Read the full thread!

Space Olympics

"Astronauts Give Us a Delightful Look at What the Olympics Would Be Like in Space". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Questionable Grad Degrees

"The Great Master's-Degree Swindle". 

 The article states, "Colleges are making a killing selling dubious credentials to naïve students."

New Carnivorous Plant Discovered

"This Sweet White Flower Is Actually A Sneaky Carnivore, Scientists Discover"

Monday, August 09, 2021

Most Translated Books

The most-translated book in each nation. (Via M.R.)

Google AI Update

"Google is developing a new superintelligent AI but ethical questions remain"

Inadvertent Life On Mars?

"Could humans have contaminated Mars with life?"

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Show-Off Goose

"Goose flying upside down is simply showing off, say experts".

Hey, I knew a guy just like that in high school!

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Don't Do This With Hammocks

"Sheriff: Stop hanging hammocks from high-voltage power lines"

Useful Asparagus

"The Biophysicist Transforming Asparagus Into Medical Implants".  (Via D.W.)

And then came the biggest surprise of all. Rats with severed spinal cords that had been implanted with the asparagus tissue were able to walk again, just a few weeks after implantation... 

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Amazon LOTR Update

"The Lord of the Rings TV series has finished filming, and it has a release date"

Pro Bowling Balls

"The insides of pro bowling balls will make your head spin". These are not regular bowling balls.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Monday, August 02, 2021

Time Crystal

"Researchers at Google in collaboration with physicists at Stanford, Princeton and other universities say that they have used Google’s quantum computer to demonstrate a genuine 'time crystal.'"

A novel phase of matter that physicists have strived to realize for many years, a time crystal is an object whose parts move in a regular, repeating cycle, sustaining this constant change without burning any energy.

“The consequence is amazing: You evade the second law of thermodynamics,” said Roderich Moessner, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, and a co-author on the Google paper. That’s the law that says disorder always increases.

Time crystals are also the first objects to spontaneously break “time-translation symmetry,” the usual rule that a stable object will remain the same throughout time. A time crystal is both stable and ever-changing, with special moments that come at periodic intervals in time.


Earth From Space

"Only 24 people have journeyed far enough to see the whole Earth against the black of space. The images they brought back changed our world." (Via GVH and HR.)

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Physics Of Drink Coasters

"Beer mats make bad frisbees".  ("Beer mat" = drink coaster.)

In this article we show why flying and rotating beer mats, CDs, or other flat disks will eventually flip in the air and end up flying with backspin, thus, making them unusable as frisbees. The crucial effect responsible for the flipping is found to be the lift attacking not in the center of mass but slightly offset to the forward edge...


Spectacular Saturn

"This is the best time all year to see the ringed magnificence of Saturn"

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Which Glass For Which Drink?

"65 Bar Glasses and What They're Meant For".

(Click on image to see full-size version.)

Nuclear Powered Game Boy

"Nuclear Powered Game Boy"

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Monday, July 26, 2021

Spotting Fake IDs

"How to spot a good fake ID"

How Math Research Works

Interesting Twitter thread on how math research now works, especially in fields like number theory. (Via Tyler Cowen.)

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be light or non-existent this week due to external obligations.

More Infinities

"How Many Numbers Exist? Infinity Proof Moves Math Closer to an Answer." (Via D.L.)

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Tree DNA Evidence

"For the First Time, Tree DNA Was Used to Convict Lumber Thieves in Federal Investigation"

Cast Iron Pans

"The Myth of the Cast-Iron Pan:"

Having sprung from the core of the earth, it will die a tragic death if exposed to the tiniest soap bubble. The mortal gently cleanses the cast-iron with water, like a doting river nymph.

Related: "The Truth About Cast Iron Pans: 7 Myths That Need To Go Away"

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Apple 69 Temperature

"Apple's weather app won't say it's 69 degrees":

If you’re an iPhone user, the weather is always a particularly nice 70 degrees. Or 68 degrees. Any temperature but 69 degrees, actually, because it turns out that the built-in weather app on some versions of iOS — including the current version, iOS 14.6 — will refuse to display the internet’s favorite number, even if the actual temperature in a given location is, in fact, 69 degrees...

Early Universe

Ethan Siegel: "Did The Universe Have A Beginning?"

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Very Valuable Mario

"Mint condition Super Mario 64 game sells for record $1.5m"

EV Design

"Why Do Electric Cars Look The Way They Do? Because They Can"

Monday, July 12, 2021

Doug Mataconis, RIP

Doug Mataconis, RIP.

I never met Doug in person, but I had many a lively and enjoyable exchange with him online. I loved his keen insight and delightfully sharp sense of humor.  

You had a lot of friends on the internet. We'll miss you, Doug.

Bendy Ice

"Scientists Have Created a New Bendy And Flexible Form of Ice".

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Stossel On Roundabouts

John Stossel: "Travel would be faster if America’s slow politicians adopted 'roundabouts'"

New Form Of Carbon

"Not graphene: Researchers in Germany and Finland discover new type of atomically thin carbon material"

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Sheep Herding From Above

"Sheep Herding Patterns from Above".  These are really hypnotic to watch!

Aerial Sheep Herding in Yokneam from Colossal on Vimeo.

Disinfecting Water

"Instant water disinfectant 'millions of times more effective' than commercial purification". (Via H.R.)

Monday, July 05, 2021

Flying Car Update

"Watch BMW's awesome flying car as it makes its first flight between cities". (Via H.R.)

Stoll Vs. Amazon

"Amazon won't help Klein bottle seller after another company hijacks his product listing with a blackhead remover"

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Short Hiatus

Admin note: Taking a brief hiatus until after the US July 4 holiday weekend. We'll be back on July 6. Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Monday, June 28, 2021

Fire Rainbows

I had never heard of "fire rainbows" before!
This very rare form of rainbow - sometimes called a fire rainbow - is caused by the angle of the sunlight hitting cirrus ice crystals in the atmosphere. The effect is fleeting, usually only lasting a few seconds before either disappearing or turning normal-cloud white. 
This was spotted June 5 in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. 
Some think fire rainbows are where the concept of dragons came from.
The fire rainbow is play of light weather phenomenon, a form of Circumhorizontal arc.


Revealing Mouse Movements

"Mouse movements reveal your behavior"

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Personal Flying Hoverboard

"Omni Hoverboard takes a super-simple approach to personal flight".



The "Other" Map

Great map from xkcd. (Via H.R.)


Thursday, June 24, 2021

Excel Art

"Meet Tatsuo Horiuchi, the 77-Year-Old Artist Who 'Paints' Japanese Landscapes With Excel"

Slowing Milky Way Rotation

"The Milky Way rotates at a whopping 130 miles (210 kilometers) per second, but a new study has found that dark matter has slowed the rotation of its bar by at least 24% since its formation nearly 14 billion years ago. "

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Science Headline Of The Day

NYT science headline of the day.

I imagine science writers can wait decades for an opportunity to publish something like this.

Not Dead Cat

"Family's shock as cat they thought they had cremated comes home".

Cue Monty Python line, "I'm not dead yet!" 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

New Ocean

"Hydrography: The world's 'new' ocean"

The 30m-year-old Southern Ocean, from Antarctica to a latitude of 60° south, will now be given the same status, and typeface in maps, as the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Mapmakers often use land to mark the boundaries of oceans and seas. But where two waters converge, science is needed. The waters of the Southern Ocean are kept cold by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, for example, which has allowed a distinct ecosystem to develop.

Image via Wikipedia.



Awesome Math Professor

"Math Professor Fixes Projector Screen"

Monday, June 21, 2021

LEGO Typewriter

LEGO is selling a 2,000+ piece set that makes a mechanical typewriter:

Designed to mirror the function and style of a classic typewriter, the set features a center typebar that rises each time a key is pressed. This links to the carriage, which moves across as you type, and it also features a platen roller into which real paper can be fed. 

According to the company website, the set costs $200 and goes on sale July 2021

Black Hole Living

"A guide to living at a black hole"

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Galactic Empires Without FTL Drive

"Aliens Wouldn't Need Warp Drives to Take Over an Entire Galaxy, Simulation Suggests"

Kodak Arc

"The Rise and Fall of an American Tech Giant"

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Grand Elbow Compromise

A fight broke out on a flight over whose elbow got which armrest, forcing the plane back to the gate for law enforcement to sort out. This is so easily avoidable by following the rules of the Grand Elbow Compromise. (Click on image to see full size version).


Bowie Art Find

Painting by David Bowie purchased for $5 at thrift store likely to fetch more than $12,000 at art auction.

NFT Sale Record

"Iconic 'Doge' meme NFT breaks record, selling for $4 million"

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Cat Thief

"Woman posts 'My Cat Is A Thief' sign next to her pet's stolen items". (Via H.R.)

Oxford University Press Ends Print Division

"Oxford University Press to end centuries of tradition by closing its printing arm". (Via S.L.)

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Robot Storytellers

"Storytelling robots send parents of young children into AI's 'uncanny valley'"

Loki Review

"Loki Review: A Good Start To A Possibly Great MCU Series"

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Slow Motion Simone Biles

"Simone Biles, Mesmerizing in Slow Motion":

In her floor exercise routine on the first day of the competition, Biles absolutely nailed a triple double — that’s three twists while doing two backflips. Timothy Burke took the footage and slowed it down so that we can see exactly what’s going on in the air. 

And, Jesus, I was NOT prepared for what I saw. The two handsprings that set up the final move are beautiful slowed down, leisurely even. 

But then Biles launches herself impossibly high into the air — like absurdly and spectacularly high — and starts twisting and flipping at a speed that seems fast even for slow motion. 

And the landing — it’s like she was standing there all along, waiting for the rest of her spirit to join her. Watching the routine at regular speed makes you appreciate the move even more.

More Monterey Features

"Buried features: There's more to macOS Monterey than the keynote let on"

Meteor Vs. Volcano

"Photographer Captures Shooting Star Falling ‘Into’ Volcano"

While the photo may look like the shooting star fell right into the volcano’s crater, it’s unclear whether that actually happened or whether it fell somewhere behind the mountain. From what’s seen in the security camera footage, however, it does appear that the meteor fell at a very close distance.


Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Spy Gap

USA Today: "The real issue with the COVID-19 lab leak theory? The US isn't spying on China like it used to"

Found Wallet

"Woman recovers wallet lost 46 years ago in California"

“I’m shaking,” Distin told KCAL-TV as she looked through the wallet. It contained poetry and notes, photographs of high school friends, the $5 ticket to a Grateful Dead concert at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and photos of Distin’s mother, who died several years ago.

Direct link to video:

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Trojan Shield Sting

"Global sting: FBI-run messaging app tricks organized crime"

More On Ransomware Recovery

Ars Technica: "US seizes $2.3 million Colonial Pipeline paid to ransomware attackers". (Via A.B.)

It's possible that Colonial Pipeline chose to pay the higher ransom at the behest of law enforcement because bitcoin could be tracked and monero—the other currency accepted by DarkSide—is completely untraceable. Even if that is the case, it's not clear how law enforcement gained possession of the cryptographic key needed to empty the wallet.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Invisible Art

"An Italian Artist Auctioned Off an 'Invisible Sculpture' for $18,300. It's Made Literally of Nothing"

Wow -- I feel fortunate that I only paid $10,000 for one of those!


Self-Creating AI

"AI is learning how to create itself". I see no possible way this could go wrong.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Venus Missions

"NASA will launch 2 new missions to Venus by 2030 to return to Earth's hellish twin"

You know someone spent a while devising acronyms that would be good for a press release: 
The two missions, called DAVINCI+ and VERITAS were selected from NASA's shortlist...
DAVINCI+ (short for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble Gases, Chemistry and Imaging) will plunge through the thick Venus atmosphere to learn more about it changes over time.
Meanwhile, VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography and Spectroscopy) mission will use radar to map Venus' surface in detail from orbit.


Rogue Killer Drone

"A rogue killer drone 'hunted down' a human target without being instructed to, UN report says"

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Future Of Zoom

"Zoom will stay relevant despite the economy’s massive reopening, two traders suggest". (Via D.M.)