Friday, October 24, 2014

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: Why You Should Be Concerned But Not Fearful About Ebola in NYC

[Off topic] My latest short post at Forbes: "Why You Should Be Concerned But Not Fearful About Ebola in NYC".

This is obviously going to be a rapidly-developing story.

Asimov On Creativity

"Isaac Asimov Mulls 'How Do People Get New Ideas?'" Great hitherto unpublished essay from 1959.

Google Launches Inbox to Reinvent the Email App

Mashable: "Google Launches Inbox to Reinvent the Email App"

The Secret History Of Invisible Ink

"The secret history of invisible ink". One tidbit from the article:
During World War I, we learn, a British intelligence officer decided that the finest invisible ink available was semen. “Obviously,” Macrakis writes, “the best way to produce semen at the office was through masturbation.” The brilliant officer’s name was Mansfield Cumming.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Suspended Animation In Space Travel

"Suspended Animation In Space Travel: What Scientists Still Need To Learn"

RocketSkates

"RocketSkates, which are exactly what they sound like: Motorized skates can travel up to ten miles, can replace your bike."  Click through to watch the video.

Equal Population Mapper

"As Many People Live In L.A. County As In The Whole State Of Michigan, Basically".

More at the interactive "Equal Population Mapper".

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fusion Skepticism

MIT Technology Review: "Does Lockheed Martin Really Have a Breakthrough Fusion Machine?"

Reversible Laser Tractor Beam

"Physicists create reversible laser tractor beam". (Via Krastio Atanassov.)

The Economics of the Mafia

"Organized Crime Pays". Even in the Mafia, there's the !%. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
In many ways, joining a criminal organization is a lot like getting a job at a law firm or another large institution: You start out making barely enough to live, but you know that you’re paying your dues. The tasks, at the beginning, are routine and sometimes humiliating, but your assignments will become more prestigious as you become wealthier and more important. The $2,500 a month that a picciotto earns today could become millions of dollars if he becomes a boss—a process that, with luck, might take only a few years. There’s a certain logic as well to becoming a Mafia hit man—killing someone will almost certainly further your career ambitions, because you can’t become a Mafia boss if you don’t have both military talent and economic vision. If you are simply a soldier or only a white-collar professional, you can never be a boss...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Due to external obligations, posting may be lighter than usual for this week.

Physics Gone Wrong

"Couple Hospitalized After Getting Stuck Together During Ocean Sex":
The couple had formed something of a seal by having sex underwater, and they were suctioned together. They reportedly waited in the water until a woman with a towel came by, at which point the couple made for land.   Helpful strangers called a medic, who helped transport the pair to a local hospital...

What Shakespeare's Plays Sounded Like

"Here's what Shakespeare's plays sounded like with their original English accent"

Bookstore Freedom Tweeter

"U.S. Tourist Locked in London Bookstore Tweets Himself to Freedom"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stolen Phone Rats Out Thieves

"Pictures taken by armed robbery suspects using a stolen phone were uploaded to the victim's cloud account"

FBI vs. Encryption

"FBI Director to citizens: Let us spy on you"
In a post-Snowden plea for a policy more permissive of spying, FBI Director James B. Comey raised the specters of child predators, violent criminals, and crafty terrorists to argue that companies should build surveillance capabilities into the design of their products and allow lawful interception of communications.

Tetrochromatic Artist

"This Woman Sees 100 Times More Colors Than The Average Person"

Ottoman Map of the New United States

"The Ottoman Empire's First Map of the Newly Minted United States"

(Click on image to see full size.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Glassaholic

"Google Glass user treated for internet addiction caused by the device". (Via Trey P.)

The Power of Drug Color

The power of drug color.
Blue pills, contrary to what Breaking Bad may have you believe, act best as sedatives. Red and orange are stimulants. Cheery yellows make the most effective antidepressants, while green reduces anxiety and white soothes pain. Brighter colors and embossed brand names further strengthen these effects—a bright yellow pill with the name on its surface, for example, may have a stronger effect than a dull yellow pill without it.
Some of the cross-cultural considerations discussed in the article are also interesting.

Happy Dog Cam

"Someone Strapped A GoPro To The Happiest Dog Ever, And The Result Is Very Happy"

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Captive Orcas Speak Dolphin

"Captive orcas speak dolphin". (Via Marginal Revolution.)

What It’s Like to Carry Your Nobel Prize through Airport Security

"What It's Like to Carry Your Nobel Prize through Airport Security".

According to Brian Schmidt, who won the 2011 Nobel Physics Prize, it was like this:
“When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.

“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’

I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’

They said, ‘What’s in the box?’

I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.

So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’

I said, ‘gold.’

And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’

‘The King of Sweden.’

‘Why did he give this to you?’

‘Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’

At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”

Nobody Knows What Running Looks Like

"Nobody Knows What Running Looks Like". (Via Trey P.)

This Gun Makes And Fires Paper Airplanes

"This Gun Makes And Fires Paper Airplanes"