Friday, July 29, 2022

MegaMillions Math

"How To Calculate Odds Of Winning $1.1 Billion And The Value Of A Mega Millions Ticket"

Short answer: The expected value of the lottery ticket is 82 cents.


Digitally Delicate Primes

"How Can Infinitely Many Primes Be Infinitely Far Apart?"

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Pinch-To-Zoom Art

Delightful example of "pinch-to-zoom" nested art!

Magnus Carlsen Legacy

"Magnus Carlsen Is Giving Up The World Title. But The Carlsen Era Lives On."

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Agile Axle

"Mechanics invent an axle that can achieve steering angles of up to 80 degrees". (Via G.F.)

Demonstration video:

Alvin's Deep Dive

"Human-occupied submersible makes historic dive by reaching a depth of 21,325 feet". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Hsieh Forbes Column On Free Speech And Covid-19 "Misinformation"

My latest Forbes column is now out: "Should We Punish Physicians Who Spread Covid-19 'Misinformation'?

[W]hen it comes to offering dissenting opinions — even mistaken opinions — on health-related public policy, I favor keeping the hand of government regulation relatively light rather than overly heavy...

Gecko Feet Update

"Scientists gain fresh insight into the secret of how gecko feet stay sticky". (Via H.R.)

Monday, July 25, 2022

Fictional Deaths

"The 50 Greatest Fictional Deaths of All Time"

Dripping Crust

"Earth's Crust Is 'Dripping' Under The Andes, Scientists Say". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Fewer Emoji

"Why Unicode is approving fewer and fewer new emoji"

Newly Discovered van Gogh

"We have discovered what is almost certainly a previously unknown self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh. Yes, you read that right!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Contactless Fabrication Using Acousic Levitation

Video: "Contactless Fabrication using Full Acoustic Trapping of Elongated Parts"

LeviPrint is a system for assembling objects in a contactless manner using acoustic levitation. We explore a set of optimum acoustic fields that enables full trapping in position and orientation of elongated objects such as sticks. We then evaluate the capabilities of different ultrasonic levitators to dynamically manipulate these elongated objects. The combination of novel optimization algorithms and levitators enable the manipulation of sticks, beads and droplets to fabricate complex objects.

Here's the academic paper (warning -- lots of math).

Math Powerhouse

"How one institution keeps claiming math's highest award". (Via H.R.)

Even before this year’s Fields Medal winners announcement, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) or the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies, boasted a remarkable statistic. Since its founding in 1958, the institute has had 12 permanent mathematics professors; seven of them had won a Fields Medal, considered to be the Nobel Prize in mathematics. On July 5, Hugo Duminil-Copin was named a recipient of this year’s prize, and the IHES extended its remarkable record to eight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Cows Galore

Counties with more cows than people

More such data here.


Fluffy Asteroid Mission

"NASA sampled a ‘fluffy’ asteroid that could hold clues to our existence"

Monday, July 18, 2022

Quantum-Resistant Cryptographic Algorithms

"NIST Announces First Four Quantum-Resistant Cryptographic Algorithms":

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has chosen the first group of encryption tools that are designed to withstand the assault of a future quantum computer, which could potentially crack the security used to protect privacy in the digital systems we rely on every day — such as online banking and email software. The four selected encryption algorithms will become part of NIST’s post-quantum cryptographic standard, expected to be finalized in about two years.

Ars Technica Review of 2022 MacBook Air

"2022 MacBook Air review: Apple's clean slate"

Friday, July 15, 2022

Spaghetified Star

"Polarized light reveals final fate of a star 'spaghettified' by a black hole"

World Economy Visualized

Superb visualization: "The $100 Trillion Global Economy in One Chart". (Click on image to see full-size version.)


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Effectiveness Of Chain Mail

How effective is chain mail? More than I imagined. Nice, short 1 minute video demo.

USB Charging Tips

"How USB Charging Works, or How to Avoid Blowing Up Your Phone"

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Friday, July 08, 2022

Thin Watch

"The world's thinnest mechanical watch is here, and it costs almost $2 million!" (Via H.R.)

Mars Mineral Map

"New 'Rainbow Map' Shows Mineralogical Make-up Of Mars"


Thursday, July 07, 2022

Pentaquarks and Tetraquarks

"LHCb discovers three new exotic particles"

The international LHCb collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has observed three never-before-seen particles: a new kind of “pentaquark” and the first-ever pair of “tetraquarks”, which includes a new type of tetraquark. The findings, presented today at a CERN seminar, add three new exotic members to the growing list of new hadrons found at the LHC. They will help physicists better understand how quarks bind together into these composite particles.

Tolkien And Evil

"'The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power' Gets A Controversial New Trailer"

Wednesday, July 06, 2022


"'Soft CRISPR': Safer gene editing could bring a 70 percent success rate". (Via H.R.)

Fields Medals 2022

Congratulations to the 2002 winners of the Fields Medal in Mathematics!

Monday, July 04, 2022

Brief Holiday Hiatus

Admin note: We will take a brief holiday hiatus for the US July 4th holiday!

Friday, July 01, 2022

Quickly Disable Face ID On iPhone

"How to Temporarily Disable Face ID or Touch ID, and Require a Passcode to Unlock Your iPhone or iPad":

Just press and hold the buttons on both sides. Remember that. Try it now. Don’t just memorize it, internalize it, so that you’ll be able to do it without much thought while under duress, like if you’re confronted by a police officer. Remember to do this every time you’re separated from your phone, like when going through the magnetometer at any security checkpoint, especially airports. As soon as you see a metal detector ahead of you, you should think, “Hard-lock my iPhone”.

Owning Colors

"Can a corporation 'own' a color?"