Friday, December 3, 2010

An inside joke from the behavioral sciences

Who says scientific journals need to be dry as dust?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bluetooth to FM Converter with style

New Potato reveals TuneLink Auto Bluetooth-to-FM transmitter for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad -- Engadget

The newly announced TuneLink Auto looks like a typical cigarette adapter charger at first glance, but within, there's technology that accepts audio over Bluetooth and then sends it out over FM. This prevents users from having to connect a dongle of any kind to their iPad, iPod touch or iPhone, but the built-in USB port is actually capable of charging all three should you choose.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Well, that's what it looks like: analysis of large aggregations of human behavior yeild enough data to predict the future of the DOW with 87.6% accuracy.   Its even more analogous when you figure in that if the tweeters learn about the predictions, the outcome will change.

Twitter Predicts the Stock Market | Singularity Hub

Bollen, Mao, and Zeng fed the 9.8 million tweets into OpinionFinder and GPOMS and compared the trends they found to the Dow. The emotional lens that seemed to have a strong correlation to the stock market was ‘Calm’. When the calmness of tweets changed, two to six days later the Dow would fluctuate in about the same way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Google to place Dead Sea Scrolls online

Surely no one will step up with copyright concerns this time ...

Google to bring Dead Sea Scrolls online

The scrolls will be available in their original languages, Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and at first an English translation. Eventually other translations will be added and Google's translation feature may also be incorporated. They will also be searchable.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Excellent Post on The Difference Engine


The 100-year leap - O'Reilly Radar


In December 1837, the British mathematician Charles Babbage published a paper describing a mechanical computer that is now known as the Analytical Engine. Anyone intimate with the details of electronic computers will instantly recognize the components of Babbage's machine. Although Babbage was designing with brass and iron, his Engine has a central processing unit (which he called the mill) and a large amount of expandable memory (which he called the store). The operation of the Engine is controlled by program stored on punched cards, and punched cards can also be used to input data.

Punched cards created for Babbage's Analytical Engine. From Flickr user lorentey.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wikileaks and "Opened Source"

Well here is your daily dose of ironic humor.  Onion quality satire by Java programmers for Java programmers.  Personally, I never liked "static" either ;)

Stevey's Blog Rants: Wikileaks To Leak 5000 Open Source Java Projects With All That Private/Final Bullshit Removed
EYJAFJÖLL, ICELAND — Java programmers around the globe are in a panic today over a Wikileaks press release issued at 8:15am GMT. Wikileaks announced that they will re-release the source code for thousands of Open Source Java projects, making all access modifiers 'public' and all classes and members non-'final'.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Passive Voice has been Studied

A large chunk of English speakers use a grammar that does not include passive sentences.  

Many English speakers cannot understand basic grammar
"If a significant proportion of the population does not understand passive sentences, then notices and other forms of written information may have to be rewritten and literacy strategies changed.

"What's more, the existence of substantial individual differences in native language attainment is highly problematic for one of the most widely accepted arguments for an innate universal grammar: the assumed 'fact' that all native speakers of a language converge on essentially the same grammar. Our research shows that they don't."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

An early mobile phone from 1922

Video of a very early mobile phone ... fire hydrant not included.

As almost everyone and their dog has already mentioned ... it doesn't support flash, either :)

But you can stream music from the early iTunes store ...

It's no iPhone 4G, but it is in black and white... - Computerworld Blogs
Here's something you don't see every day: a 1922-vintage mobile phone. Pathé News has discovered a silent, black and white movie of this pre-historic device being demonstrated, somewhere in America. Let's take a peek at this (ahem) distant cousin of the iPhone 4G

Friday, May 7, 2010

Meet the in-laws ...

These are not new results, but more details are emerging.   Neanderthal genes occur randomly at the 1%-4% level in non-African humans, yet there is no sign of modern human genes in the Neanderthal samples.

Neanderthals and humans interbred, fossils indicate -
Stocky, thick-browed and heavy-boned, the Neanderthals last shared a common ancestor with the African precursors to modern humans about 500,000 years ago. The Neanderthals populated the Near East and Europe until they vanished from the fossil record about 30,000 years ago. The gene maps produced by the DNA analysis of the bones found Neanderthal genes scattered randomly among non-Africans, Paabo says, indicating they don't account for any racial differences between modern-day Africans and anyone else. Also, the study finds no sign of human genes intruding into the Neanderthal lineage.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Museum of RetroTechnology

Pneumatic networks, hot-air gramophones, monowheels.   Find it all at this site. 

The Museum of RetroTechnology
This elegant monowheel cycle- the word "bicycle" seems somehow inappropriate, though there are certainly two wheels involved- dates back to 1869. It was built by Rousseau of Marseilles.
"In 1869 the craftsman Rousseau of Marseilles built this monocycle, which perches the cyclist on the inside of a 2 1/2 yards-high wheel. As there is no steering mechanism, it makes uncommon demands on the rider's sense of balance." 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Apple Shuts down LaLa

Another great online music service is snuffed out, just a couple of weeks following the bizarre changes at 
The Lala service will be shut down on May 31, 2010.
Service Available through May 31, 2010

You will be able to access and play all music in your Lala collection through May 31, 2010. Any mp3 songs purchased and downloaded from Lala will continue to play as part of your local music library. You can continue to purchase mp3 songs through May 31st using your wallet balance or other payment methods.

Lala - Where music plays
Lala is shutting down
The Lala service will be shut down on May 31st, 2010.

Unfortunately, we are no longer accepting new users.
Members, you can still use Lala through May 31st, 2010.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Neanderthals still with us.

Comparison of the entire genome of nearly 2000 people world wide reveals evidence that is best explained by two episodes of interbreeding with Neanderthals at 60K and 45K years ago.

Neanderthals may have interbred with humans twice
The research was carried out by a group of genetic anthropologists from the University of New Mexico, and leader of the team, Jeffrey Long, said the findings mean Neanderthals did not completely disappear, but “there is a little bit of Neanderthal left over in almost all humans.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What Should the Next Supreme Court Nominee Know?

What key areas of experience and expertise might round out the current court in the absence of Justice Stevens following his retirement?   Should Obama nominate a liberal?  An Evironmentalist?  A representative of any one of the numerous underrepresented and disenfranchised groups that have suffered inequality under the law?  Maybe.  But then there's also this.   Read the article, its unbelievable. 

Our Tech-Savvy Supreme Court - Law Blog - WSJ
According to the story, the first sign of trouble came was about midway through the argument, when Chief Justice John Roberts asked what the difference was “between email and a pager?” (Cue sound of hard slap against forehead.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Steampunk Style Test

Not so sure about the pith helmet ... I was hoping for a deerstalker.

Your result for The Steampunk Style Test...

The Explorer

29% Elegant, 62% Technological, 33% Historical, 72% Adventurous and 6% Playful!

You are the Explorer, the embodiment of steampunk’s adventuring spirit. For you, clothing should be rugged and reliable, and just as functional as it is attractive. You probably prefer khaki or leather, and your accessories are as likely to include weapons as technological gizmos. You probably wear boots and gloves, and maybe a pith helmet. Most of what you wear is functional, and if you happen to wear goggles people had better believe that you use them. In addition to Victorian exploration gear, your outfit probably includes little knickknacks from your various travels. Above all, you are a charming blend of rugged Victorian daring and exotic curiosity.

Try our other Steampunk test here.

Take The Steampunk Style Test at HelloQuizzy

Friday, February 19, 2010

Music discovery service: TuneGlue

You can't listen to new artists you find, but it brings up some surprising and intriguing results.

TuneGlue Helps You Find New Tunes You'd Like by Mapping Music Connections - music discovery - Lifehacker
You start building a web by searching for an artist. In our sample web above we started with Iggy Pop. When you click on your first node, you can perform a variety of actions with the node but the most important action is expanding the node. Expanding adds more nodes to the web, spun off of the node you expanded. By expanding nodes you can generate connections between artists based on listening patterns. Iggy Pop, for example, links to The Stooge which in turn links to the New York Dolls. Curious how we got from Iggy Pop to Garbage? We went from Iggy Pop through Patti Smith -> PJ Harvey -> Tori Amos -> Alanis Morissette -> The Cranberries -> Garbage.

Now is the summer of our sweet content ...

The Battle of Bosworth Field, where Richard III met his fate at the hands of ... um ... Edmund Blackadder?  has been located.  The boar's head badge may have belonged to Edmund himself :).

BBC News - New Battle of Bosworth Field site revealed
Bosworth, fought in 1485, which saw the death of Richard III, was believed to have taken place on Ambion Hill, near Sutton Cheney in Leicestershire.

The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariners

Unexpected find: Hominids with seafaring technology advanced enough to sail to Crete.  Wonder if they had pirates, too?

Primitive Humans Conquered Sea, Surprising Finds Suggests
Crete has been surrounded by vast stretches of sea for some five million years. The discovery of the hand ax suggests that people besides technologically modern humans—possibly Homo heidelbergensis—island-hopped across the Mediterranean tens of thousands of millennia earlier than expected.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Were There Venomous Dinosaurs?

This is a terrific article that looks into recent claims that there is fossil evidence that some dinosaurs were armed to the teeth.

Groovy teeth, but was Sinornithosaurus a venomous dinosaur? : Not Exactly Rocket Science
It's a dinosaur tooth, and clearly one that belonged to a predator - sharp and backwards-pointing. But this particularly tooth, belonging to a small raptor called Sinornithosaurus, has a special feature that's courting a lot controversy. It has a thin groove running down its length, from the root to the very tip. According to a new paper from Enpu Gong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it was a channel for venom.