Wednesday, December 07, 2016

False Positive Breathalyzer

"Hand Sanitizer Can Cause a False Positive Breathalyzer Test".

I foresee a gold mine for defense lawyers arguing against DUI charges...

Remote Justice

"BMW Remotely Locks Stolen Car With Alleged Thief Still Inside"

Reconstructing Destroyed Map

"Watch a Destroyed 17th Century Map Get Painstakingly Restored". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Life As A Bee

"You're a Bee. This Is What It Feels Like."

Tesla Gun

"This Handmade Tesla Gun Is Shockingly Cool". (Via H.R.)

Finding Tech Props

"How Hollywood Gets Its Old-School Tech". (Via H.R.)

Monday, December 05, 2016

Fahrenheit >> Celsius

"In Defense of Fahrenheit: A lot of scientific thought went into developing the United States' stubbornly-held temperature system"

AI Medicine Update

 "Google is using its deep learning tech to diagnose disease":
If you give a computer enough photos and the right algorithm, it can learn to see. And if the photos show damaged eyes, the computer can learn to diagnose eye disease even better than humans can.
Here's the JAMA article: "Development and Validation of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy in Retinal Fundus Photographs".

A lot of what human physicians do now will likely be performed by machines in the future. In particular, pattern-recognition diagnoses will be ripe for machine learning. As a radiologist, I don't expect my job will exist in its current form in 20 years. (Maybe not in 10!)

What Happened To The Only Person Ever Hit By A Meteorite

"For the Only Person Ever Hit by a Meteorite, the Real Trouble Began Later".

Update: Link was broken earlier; now fixed!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Short Hiatus

Admin note: Due to external obligations, I will take a short hiatus for the rest of the week.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Allied Accuracy

"How Accurate Is the Movie 'Allied'?"

Short answer: It's fiction.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Colonizing Titan

"The idea of a human colony on Titan, a moon of Saturn, might sound crazy."

The Deadly Boston Molasses Disaster

"The Sticky Science Behind the Deadly Boston Molasses Disaster"

Diamond Batteries

"Diamonds turn nuclear waste into nuclear batteries". (Via H.R.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column on Aneurysm Deaths In UK vs US

[Off topic] My latest Forbes piece is now out: "Patients With Aortic Aneurysms More Likely To Die In The UK Than The US".

I discuss a recent New England Journal of Medicine study which showed that if you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (aka "AAA") in the US vs the UK, the UK patients have to wait longer for surgery, and the aneurysms don't get repaired until they are larger (and more at risk of rupture.)

The researchers conclude: "Rates of aneurysm rupture and aneurysm-related death were significantly higher in England than in the United States".

I also cover three natural follow-up questions:

1) Were US surgeons jeopardizing their patients by operating more aggressively than UK surgeons?

2) Did the UK nationalized health system contribute to the lower rates of appropriate surgery in the UK?

3) Will US government policies incentivize American surgeons towards more — or less — appropriate treatments?

For more details, read the full text of "Patients With Aortic Aneurysms More Likely To Die In The UK Than The US".

Google AI Secret Internal Language

"Google's AI translation tool seems to have invented its own secret internal language"

World Map Of Tourism Slogans

"A site called FamilyBreakFinder produced a world map with every country’s tourism slogan on it."

A few fun ones:
Netherlands: The original cool
Colombia: Colombia is magical realism
El Salvador: The 45 minute country
Slovenia: I feel sLOVEnia
Cape Verde: No stress
Spain: #spainindetail
Morocco: Much mor
Bhutan: Happiness is a place
India: Incredible !ndia
Via Jason Kottke, who also notes: "Some of these countries should ask their ad agencies for their money back."

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

Head Transplant Update

"Head Transplant Patient Will Use Virtual Reality to Smooth Transition to New Body".

Again, I wish they would call it a "body transplant", not a "head transplant".

Monday, November 28, 2016

Telling Kids About Santa

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can move onto arguing over what to tell kids about Santa Claus!

The article kindly notes: "CAUTION: this article contains sensitive information concerning the existence of Santa Claus."

NASA EM Drive Skepticism

"NASA's EM-drive still a WTF-thruster: New paper generates more noise than experimental thrust".

New Semiconductor

"Indium Selenide Takes on the Mantle of the New Wonder Material". (Via H.R.)