Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Compact Folding Keyboard

"WayTools TextBlade is a folding QWERTY keyboard the size of a pack of gum".

More info at the company website.

AI Isn't So Scary

"Why the world's most intelligent people shouldn't be so afraid of artificial intelligence"

A Designer's War on Misleading Parking Signs

"A Designer's War on Misleading Parking Signs"

Police Radar Sees Into Homes

USA Today: "New police radars can 'see' inside homes".

The article describes both the technological and legal/privacy issues:
At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside, a practice raising new concerns about the extent of government surveillance.

Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Edge 2015: Machines That Think

The Edge Annual Question 2015: "What Do You Think About Machines That Think?"

Lots of interesting responses.

Old Plutonium

"Manhattan Project Plutonium, Lost to Obscurity, Recovered by Scientists"

Design Flaws In The USS Enterprise

"Top 10 Biggest Design Flaws In The USS Enterprise"

Wireless Brain-Computer Interface

"A Brain-Computer Interface That Works Wirelessly". (Via H.R.)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Food Labelling Update

"Over 80 percent of Americans support 'mandatory labels on foods containing DNA'".

And watch out for that dihydrogen monoxide!  Personally, I'm ok with DNA in my food as long as it's organic.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Packers of Catan

Several Green Bay Packers (including most of the offensive line) are avid players of "Settlers of Catan"

Zero-Maintenance Data Storage

"How Computer Scientists Solved The Challenge of Zero-Maintenance Data Storage"

Original 1978 Microsoft BASIC Source Code

"This is the original 1978 source code of Microsoft BASIC for 6502 with all original comments, documentation and easter eggs... This is currently the oldest publicly available piece of source written by Bill Gates."

Stealing Pizza

"How to sneakily steal pizza so your friends won't hate you"

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

UK Considering Banning Strong Encryption

NYT: "British Prime Minister Suggests Banning Some Online Messaging Apps".

From the article:
Popular messaging services like Snapchat and WhatsApp are in the cross hairs in Britain.That was the message delivered on Monday by Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he would pursue banning encrypted messaging services if Britain’s intelligence services were not given access to the communications.

The statement comes as many European politicians are demanding that Internet companies like Google and Facebook provide greater information about people’s online activities after several recent terrorist threats, including the attacks in Paris.
Related: "UK's Cameron won’t 'allow' strong encryption of communications".  And "For Political Leaders, More Surveillance Is Always the Answer".

My dissenting piece on PJ Media from last month: "Should You Have to Speak with Others in a Way the Government Can Understand?"

The Effect of Police Body Cameras

"The Effect of Police Body Cameras".

Short version: "The first randomized controlled trial of police body cameras shows that cameras sharply reduce the use of force by police and the number of citizen complaints."  More info here. (Via C.M.)

The Spaceship That Almost Landed

Rand Simberg: "The Spaceship That Almost Landed".

As he says, "Focusing on what went wrong with the landing of SpaceX is to ignore the many other things that went astonishingly right."

RoboSkeptics

Some people are not so welcoming of our new robotic overlords: "Artificial intelligence experts sign open letter to protect mankind from machines"