Tuesday, September 21, 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"My Job Offer Was Rescinded -- After I'd Given Notice".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"

Monday, September 20, 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".

Friday, September 17, 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.

Thursday, September 16, 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.)

Wednesday, September 15, 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.  

Tuesday, September 14, 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"

Monday, September 13, 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"

Friday, September 10, 2021


Scanwiches: Cross sectional images of sandwiches.

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


Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Atom Limbs Mind-Controlled Prosthetics

"This startup is bringing the first mind-controlled prosthetic arm to market"

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."

Tuesday, September 07, 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...

Monday, September 06, 2021

Light Posting Notice

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

Friday, September 03, 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.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Book Index

"The radical power of the book index"

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

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?"

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.

Monday, August 30, 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. 

Thursday, August 26, 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"

Wednesday, August 25, 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"

Tuesday, August 24, 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.)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Friday, August 20, 2021

Thursday, August 19, 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"

Wednesday, August 18, 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.

Tuesday, August 17, 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.

Monday, August 16, 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.

Thursday, August 12, 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.)

Wednesday, August 11, 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"

Tuesday, August 10, 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?"

Monday, August 09, 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!

Friday, August 06, 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... 

Thursday, August 05, 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.

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Tuesday, August 03, 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.)

Monday, August 02, 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"

Friday, July 30, 2021

Thursday, July 29, 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"

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tuesday, July 27, 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.)

Monday, July 19, 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.)

Friday, July 16, 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"

Thursday, July 15, 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?"

Wednesday, July 14, 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"

Tuesday, July 13, 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".

Friday, July 09, 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"

Wednesday, July 07, 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.)

Tuesday, July 06, 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!

Wednesday, June 30, 2021


"The tyranny of spreadsheets"

Tuesday, June 29, 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"

Monday, June 28, 2021

Personal Flying Hoverboard

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



The "Other" Map

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


Friday, June 25, 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. "

Thursday, June 24, 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!" 

Wednesday, June 23, 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"

Tuesday, June 22, 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"

Monday, June 21, 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"

Thursday, June 17, 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"

Wednesday, June 16, 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.)

Monday, June 14, 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"

Friday, June 11, 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.


Thursday, June 10, 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:

Wednesday, June 09, 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.

Monday, June 07, 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.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Thursday, June 03, 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"

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Future Of Zoom

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

Brave Woman

California woman shoves bear off her fence to protect her dogs. (Via Boing Boing.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Hsieh Forbes Column: Perks And Incentives For Covid-19 Vaccination May Backfire

My latest Forbes column is now out: "Perks And Incentives For Covid-19 Vaccination May Backfire".

I discuss the proliferation of prizes and incentives being offered to get people vaccinated, and how this can sometimes create the opposite effect of making people more suspicious of the vaccine.

Radio Stations Around The World

"The green dots on this Google Earth map represent radio stations all over the world

"Turn up the volume and click on any one of the dots and you will immediately hear that station with very good reception. For example, halfway up Ireland's east coast, there is a station playing Irish pub music." (Via H.R.)

Shoddy Research

"Questionable Research Practices I’ve Taken Part In"

Friday, May 28, 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Deepfake Tom Cruise

"This deepfake of Tom Cruise discussing industrial cleaning is too good to be called uncanny"

More Vaccine Targets

"COVID-19 Vaccine Makers Are Looking Beyond the Spike Protein"

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Mac OS Update

Forbes: "Update Your Mac Now: Nasty Hack Breaks Apple Security To Take Sneaky Photos"

How Advertisers Track You

Fascinating (and eye-opening) Twitter thread on how advertisers track you.

I highly recommend reading the full thread.  There's also an unrolled version if that's easier.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Become The Typo

"Why Am I Sp Bad At Typign?"

Mean Board Games

Video: "10 Meanest Board Games Ever Made"

"We accept no responsibility for any friendships ruined after watching this video. "
0:00 #Intro
0:54 #10. Munchkin
2:00 #9. The Estates
3:12 #8. City of Horror
4:16 #7. Survive - Escape From Atlantis
5:12 #6. Citadels
6:22 #5. Spartacus - A Game of Blood & Treachery
7:31 #4. Nemesis
8:48 #3. Lifeboats
10:02 #2. Intrigue
11:29 #1. Diplomacy

Monday, May 24, 2021

Perfect Nap

"How to Take the Perfect Nap"

RSA Hack

"The Full Story of the Stunning RSA Hack Can Finally Be Told"

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Remote Hacking Of Tesla

"Tesla Car Hacked Remotely From Drone via Zero-Click Exploit"

A hacker who exploits the vulnerabilities can perform any task that a regular user could from the infotainment system. That includes opening doors, changing seat positions, playing music, controlling the air conditioning, and modifying steering and acceleration modes. However, the researchers explained, “This attack does not yield drive control of the car though.”

Beekeeper Challenge

"Watch a beekeeper remove a beehive from a toilet"

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Good Reporter, Good Doggie

Sharp-eyed TV reporter spots missing dog while shooting segment about missing dog. 

Update: Person spotted walking the dog charged with theft, he claims it was misunderstanding:

Disguised Cell Phone Towers

"Fauxliage -- Disguised Cell Phone Towers"

Monday, May 17, 2021

Quantum Drums

"Vibrating aluminium membranes provide the first direct evidence of quantum entanglement in macroscopic objects"

Skyborg Flies

"The Air Force's AI Brain Just Flew for the First Time".

The name -- Skyborg -- is perfect. (Via A.B.)

Friday, May 14, 2021

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Monster Chip

"Cerebras' New Monster AI Chip Adds 1.4 Trillion Transistors"

Anesthesia And Brains

"This Is Your Brain Under Anesthesia"

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Alarming Sirens

"Which country's Emergency Alert System siren is the most alarming?"

Morphing Pasta

"Scientists Create 'Flat-Pack' Pasta That Morphs Into Shape Like Moving Organisms". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Cats And Boxes

"What cats' love of boxes and squares can tell us about their visual perception"

Powerful Laser

"Scientists Create Record-Breaking Laser With Mind Blowing Power". (Via H.R.)

Monday, May 10, 2021

Advice From Technium

"99 Additional Bits of Unsolicited Advice"

Zcash Bull

"My bull case for ZEC: Follow the brains. Follow the institutions. Follow the economics. If you're reading this, congratulations. You are lucky to have a chance to buy ZEC, because mainstream investors have not caught on yet."

(Disclaimer: I'm sharing this out of general interest. This is not financial advice on my part.)

Friday, May 07, 2021

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Free Will Revisited

"The clockwork universe: Is free will an illusion?"

I never knew that philosophers who take that position have received death threats. I might not agree with that view, but death threats seem a bit extreme.

Tetris Innovation

"A Revolutionary NES Tetris Technique Gaining Steam":

The NES version of Tetris has been out in the world for more than 30 years now. Somehow, using the same controllers and human hands that have been in use all this time, a new technique has been invented that’s resulting in scores and maneuvers that no one using The Old Ways could have dreamed of.


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Amazing Optical Illusion

"Nothing is moving in this illusion by @jagarikin".  

(Except the grey arrow in the center, of course.)  Via Rand Simberg.

Best Pizza

"The Best Pizza in Every State"

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Jet Pack Update

"Jet packin' Royal Marines board a ship like Iron Man"

Fastest Probe

"NASA solar probe becomes fastest object ever built as it 'touches the sun'".

 Speed is reportedly 330,000 mph (532,000 km/h)! (Via D.M.)

Monday, May 03, 2021

Granny Knots

"Granny Knot Info"

Big Bridge

"Stomach-churning pedestrian bridge opens in Portugal". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, April 29, 2021

More Toothpaste

"Colgate's New High-Tech Nonstick Toothpaste Tubes Help You Squeeze Out Every Drop". (Via H.R.)

Vagus Nerve Hacking

"A new crop of medical devices are trying to hack the vagus nerve to treat disease"

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

iOS 14.5 Privacy

"Why the new iOS update is such a big deal"

Liquid Metal Update

"Shape Shifting Liquid Metal Could Revolutionize Robotics"

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Friday, April 23, 2021

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The USPS Is Watching You

"The Postal Service is running a 'covert operations program' that monitors Americans' social media posts"

[C]ivil liberties experts expressed alarm at the post office's surveillance program. "It's a mystery," said University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone, whom President Barack Obama appointed to review the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks. "I don’t understand why the government would go to the Postal Service for examining the internet for security issues." ...

[Rachel Levinson-Waldman, deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice's liberty and national security program] also questioned the legal authority of the Postal Service to monitor social media activity. "If the individuals they're monitoring are carrying out or planning criminal activity, that should be the purview of the FBI," she said. "If they're simply engaging in lawfully protected speech, even if it's odious or objectionable, then monitoring them on that basis raises serious constitutional concerns."

Whitest White

"Researchers Created the Whitest White Paint Ever"

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Naked Zoom

"Canadian lawmaker caught naked during video conference"

"This was an unfortunate error," Amos said in a statement sent by email.  "My video was accidentally turned on as I was changing into my work clothes after going for a jog. I sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the House of Commons for this unintentional distraction. Obviously, it was an honest mistake and it won’t happen again."


Reporting Dissent

"China launches app to report people with 'mistaken opinions'".

I'm just glad no one would ever want to implement something similar here in the US!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Surviving An Asteroid

Wired: "How To Survive A Killer Asteroid"

Calebresi's Fable

Calebresi's Fable. (Source NYT, 19 April 2021).

Related link.


Monday, April 19, 2021

Skynet Wants To Go On A Date

"Artificial Intelligence Learns To Flirt Thanks To Colorado Scientist Janelle Shane". (Via D.M. and J.S.)

Tell-Tale Tattoos

"A Mafia fugitive hiding out in the Dominican Republic was arrested when investigators found his YouTube cooking channel and identified him by his distinctive arm tattoos." (Via Bruce Schneier.)

Friday, April 16, 2021

Tastes Great, More Filling

"Human Taste Buds Can Tell The Difference Between Normal And 'Heavy' Water". (Via H.R.)

Bad Algorithm

"Life's a Bitche: Facebook says sorry for shutting down town's page"

Life’s a Bitche for one historic town in north-east France that has received an apology from Facebook after its page was shut down for apparently using offensive language.

Bitche in the Moselle, population 5,000 and home to the Bitchois, fell foul of the social network’s algorithm, which deemed it insulting and removed it without explanation last month.

On Tuesday, after reports of the Facebook suspension spread, the social network restored the Ville de Bitche page.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

FBI Hacking Others' Computers

"The FBI is remotely hacking hundreds of computers to protect them from Hafnium "

Printing Bone

"3D Printing Bone Directly Into the Body". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Algorithm Vs. Heuristic Vs. Machine Learning

"Algorithm Vs. Heuristic Vs. Machine Learning" explained. (Via FB.) 


EFF's take on SCOTUS decision on fair use and APIs: "The Supreme Court Reverses the Federal Circuit in Oracle v. Google"

Monday, April 12, 2021

Particle Update

"'Last Hope' Experiment Finds Evidence for Unknown Particles"

Alternatives To Injections

"Scientists have spent nearly 100 years searching for a better way to give vaccines"

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Universal Language Traits?

"Alien Languages May Not Be Entirely Alien to Us".

I suspect the author might still be thinking too narrowly about how languages could develop.

Cosmic Rays In Japan

"Cosmic rays causing 30,000 network malfunctions in Japan each year"

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Soviet LOTR

"Soviet TV version of Lord of the Rings rediscovered after 30 years"

Lotsa Drones

"Genesis broke a world record for the most drones in the sky"

Monday, April 05, 2021

Fake Sounds For Nature Documentaries

"How Sounds Are Faked For Nature Documentaries: Meet the Artists Who Create the Sounds of Fish, Spiders, Orangutans, Mushrooms & More"

New Spider

"'Cute' new spider species named 'Nemo' after animated fish". (Via H.R.)

Friday, April 02, 2021

Origami House

"This Tiny Prefab Cabin Unfolds Like Origami in Just Three Hours"

Canary Traps 2.0

"Cybersecurity Researchers Build a Better 'Canary Trap'"

The "canary trap" technique in espionage spreads multiple versions of false documents to conceal a secret. Canary traps can be used to sniff out information leaks, or as in WWII, to create distractions that hide valuable information.

WE-FORGE, a new data protection system designed in the Department of Computer Science, uses artificial intelligence to build on the canary trap concept. The system automatically creates false documents to protect intellectual property such as drug design and military technology...


Thursday, April 01, 2021

Hsieh Forbes Column: To Improve Telemedicine, Reform Outdated State Medical Licensing Rules

My latest Forbes column is now out: "To Improve Telemedicine, Reform Outdated State Medical Licensing Rules".

I discuss some proposals to make it easier for physicians to practice telemedicine across state lines. I'm glad these ideas are getting more attention in outlets such as The New England Journal Of Medicine.

National Burrito Day

"Where to Get Free and Cheap Burritos for National Burrito Day":

National Burrito Day lands on April Fool’s Day this year, but thankfully restaurants aren’t playing around with their deals. 

Starting [April 1], restaurants like Pollo Loco and Moe’s Southwest Grill are offering buy-one-get-one deals, $5 burritos, and more. Less useful but still good, Chipotle is inviting people to play in an online challenge to crack a code and win a free burrito, plus other prizes all-day on April 1. Here are some deals and freebies to take advantage of on National Burrito Day...

Nuclear Tweet

BBC: "Child tweets gibberish from US nuclear-agency account"

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Bach Sword Fight

That time that J.S. Bach called another musician a "Zippelfagottist" and got into a sword fight.


Unique Snake Feeding Behavior

"Unique feeding behaviour of Asian kukri snakes gutting frogs and toads":

In September 2020, we reported the first evidence for a newly discovered behaviour in snakes, as we provided extensive photographic documentation, demonstrating a macabre feeding strategy of Asian kukri snakes of the species Oligodon fasciolatus, the Small-banded Kukri Snake: a snake cutting open the abdomen of a toad, inserting its head and pulling out the toad’s organs which are then swallowed.

This is done while the toad is alive and it may take several hours before it dies! We have now provided new evidence that two other species of kukri snakes also exhibit this highly unusual behaviour...

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Louvre Online

"The Louvre Puts Its Massive Collection of Art Online":

For the first time ever, the entire Louvre collection is available online, whether works are on display in the museum, on long-term loan in other French institutions, or in storage.

Brains And Fiction

"What happens in your brain when you 'lose yourself' in fiction"

Monday, March 29, 2021

Deep Nostalgia

Deep Nostalgia: Animate your family photos.

Drones Vs. Destroyers

"Multiple Destroyers Were Swarmed By Mysterious 'Drones' Off California Over Numerous Nights"

Friday, March 26, 2021

AI-Controlled Fighter Jets

"AI-Controlled F-16s Are Now Working As A Team In DARPA's Virtual Dogfights"

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Monday, March 22, 2021

Light Posting

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

Friday, March 19, 2021

Smart Whales

"Sperm whales in 19th century shared ship attack information"

LEGO Bonsai

LEGO bonsai tree, intended for adults as a mindfullness/relaxation tool.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Perfect Numbers

"The Mysterious Math of Perfection"

Optical Antennas

"Optical Antennas Promise 'Unlimited' Data Capacity"

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

SMS Attack

"A Hacker Got All My Texts for $16"

Fast Cameras

"Ultra-quick Cameras Reveal How to Catch a Light Pulse Mid-Flight". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

D&D Makers Roll A "20" For 2020

"Dungeons & Dragons had its biggest year ever as Covid forced the game off tables and onto the web"

Measuring Gravity

"Researchers measure the gravity exerted by a 90 milligram object". (Via H.R.)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Antikythera Update

"Scientists solve another piece of the puzzling Antikythera mechanism"

Self-Cleaning Door Handle

"Over-Engineered Door Handle That Wipes Itself Down With Disinfectant After Every Use". (Via H.R.)

Friday, March 12, 2021

Tribute To Ritchie

"Dennis Ritchie is the most influential man you've never heard of. A thread on the life and legacy of the incredible technology pioneer..." (Via R.T.)

Cell To Salamander

"Time Lapse of a Single Cell Growing Into a Salamander"

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Update On NDEs

"What do near-death experiences mean, and why do they fascinate us?"