Saturday, February 09, 2008

The SkySail kite

This story was popping up too much. Up to 20% cut in fuel consumption; up to 35% with a possible 5000 sq m sail.

Time slowing down

Naw, I haven't read it to get it. I'm just surprised it popped up at neatorama.

Stuff about our minds we don't seem to have conscious access to

Attitude changes, shopping, attraction, ...

The many different regional styles of pizza

Ohio Valley-style?

African wages too high?

Why, when I run a survey in rural Uganda, do youth with the same education and experience expect a wage three to four times higher than the youth I worked with in India? I don't begrudge anyone anywhere a living wage. It's the relative differential that puzzles me, and that could be keeping Africa from doing business globally.
Evidently, possibly local government and NGOs are not paying attention to local markets.

Stranger neuro ailments

Like prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize a whole face.

PipeBytes -- send files of unlimited size

Must keep browser open.

Blood pen

Physics of surviving a 500-ft. fall

Slow down and land correctly.

Embodied cognition -- body integral to how we think

Just reinforcement of the hard-wiring argument. Certainly encountering opposition, but get this:

Some linguists, cognitive scientists, and philosophers go further - arguing that the roots of even the most complex and esoteric aspects of human thought lie in the body. The linguist George Lakoff, of the University of California, Berkeley, along with Rafael Nunez, a cognitive scientist at the University of California, San Diego, have for several years advanced the argument that much of mathematics, from set theory to trigonometry to the concept of infinity, derives not from immutable properties of the universe but from the evolutionary history of the human brain and body. Our number system, they argue, and our understanding of addition and subtraction emerge from the fact that we are bipedal animals that measure off distances in discrete steps.

Tools to travel forever and live rent free

Bit of working or sharing space.

Sun-melted salt to provide heat, drive turbines, and generate electricity

Photovoltaic solar doesn't seem to be as efficient as the heat-based solutions like this one.

Extreme attitudes from some Orthodox Jews

A concern of runaway fear-mongering from somebody who grew up in the culture.

Growing a heart

Newborn rat cardiac cells into a heart.

Space-saving iwavecube microwave

How much of that microwave space do you really use?

Fear in the brain

We are wired not to be rational at times. Goes over the exploitation/manipulation possibilities.

Jott -- voice to text for various services

Like shopping Amazon, housing price estimates, classifieds and speed traps.

Racist cops in Chicago?

"You don't have a warrant," Jordan, a mortgage collector, told the officer. At that, an officer allegedly told another officer: "I will pull this black b - - - - down the stairs."

Hunter-gatherers -- noble or savage?

Oh, for goodness sake, which is it? Was the development of agriculture a bane or boon?

Cognitive resonance reduction

So, are the monkeys and children experiencing cognitive dissonance, in which case, one doesn't need very sophisticated mentation?

ThreatFire -- antimalware

Blocks installation by identifying bad behavior.

Creative Industrial Objects' CI desk

My VoIP Provider -- find, compare IP voice services

Global listing.

Winners in the subprime crash

Short selling slices of risky collateralized debt obligations and buying credit default swaps priced too low.

Farming strap-on robot suit

"As the age of farmers increases, I wanted to develop technology that would lighten their burden," Toyama said.

While machines are increasingly being used to cultivate farmland and plant rice, human power is still often relied on for tasks such as fruit picking and pruning, and transporting crops. During a demonstration, a graduate student easily picked up 20 kilograms of rice.

Rich kid syndrome

“The funny thing is,” he adds, reflecting on it, “if you’re sitting around with the members at Tiger, four or five of them will always say, ‘The most important thing I ever learned in my life is, when I fell down, I could get up.’ And that’s one of the things you’re taking away from these kids. We don’t let them fall down.”

HFS -- HTTP file server

From lifehacker:

All you have to do is run the application on the computer with files you want to share, then selectively pick files or directories you want to allow access to. In addition, you can even upload files to your HFS server from elsewhere. You'll need to set up port forwarding for port 80 on the computer running HFS and then either remember your public IP address (which may change) or assign a name to your home server (for free)...

This is an experimental project, which is focused on archiving and republishing public domain works.

Secret service 2-way wireless micro headset

Video of autopsy

Didn't watch it straight through, but gets creepy when the body hollows out from so much being removed and also when the head flops about.

Future of marriage

After considering its history.
Response supporting keeping marriage and childrearing together here.

Bread and peace model of election prediction

Per capita real disposable personal income is the bread part. The peace portion is not having too many American casualties in a war. If both can be maintained, good news for the incumbent party.
The correlation doesn't seem to be as strong as is used to be.

STATS -- 2007 Dubious Data Awards of poor statistical reasoning

The New York Times went further and claimed in a front-page article in January that more women are living in the United States without a husband than with one. The claim could only be supported by counting women between the ages of 15 and 17, 90 percent of whom live at home with their parents.

23 days in jail for hitting an SUV with his motorcycle

For $200 of damage.

Suppression of negative data on antidepressant efficacy

Just had to review the unpublished stuff to see.

If the guy grabs your leg... (wrestling)

Amazing Backflip Wrestling Move - Watch more free videos

Turn your cheap router in a super router with Tomato

Speed, bandwidth monitoring, QoS rules, etc.

Science of moral instinct -- Steve Pinker at NYT

Here is the worry. The scientific outlook has taught us that some parts of our subjective experience are products of our biological makeup and have no objective counterpart in the world. The qualitative difference between red and green, the tastiness of fruit and foulness of carrion, the scariness of heights and prettiness of flowers are design features of our common nervous system, and if our species had evolved in a different ecosystem or if we were missing a few genes, our reactions could go the other way. Now, if the distinction between right and wrong is also a product of brain wiring, why should we believe it is any more real than the distinction between red and green? And if it is just a collective hallucination, how could we argue that evils like genocide and slavery are wrong for everyone, rather than just distasteful to us?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Outsourced wombs -- finding surrogate mothers in India

But our rules of decency seem to differ when the women in question are living in abject poverty, half a world away. Then, selling one’s body for money is not degrading but empowering. And the transaction is not outsourcing of the basest nature – not modern-day wet-nursing taken to the nth degree – but a good deal for everyone concerned.

History of scientific objectivity

... they argue (p. 83), specifically, "that [the mechanical, noninterventionist] form of scientific objectivity emerged only in the mid-nineteenth century and is conceptually distinct from earlier attempts to be "true to nature" in its methods (mechanical), its morals (restrained), and its metaphysics (individualized)."

Rotartica's small-scale solar powered air conditioning

Like I have an idea what this is talking about:

In an absorption chiller unit the evaporator and condenser are the same as in conventional systems but the function of the compressor is performed by a chemical absorbent (LiBr) and a heat generator, with only a pump being required to provide the change in pressure. As there is no compressor, electricity consumption is reduced significantly.

ShamWow -- the super chamois

The Shamwow absorbs 20 times its weight in water, doesn't drip when you take it to the sink and when it dries, it stays soft. You can only use a chamois on a car, but the Shamwow can be used for the car, household uses and much more.

NewerTech's USB 2.0 universal drive adapter

"... plays nice with IDE, ATA and SATA (among others)"

Genetically engineering kids

This will happen regardless of any debate.

Telephone tricks

Some IVRs [interactive voice response systems] are programmed to listen for naughty words and speed you along to human help when they hear them.

Does your name start with a C or D? Don't love those letters too much

Next, an analysis of 15 years of MBA students' grades at a large American University showed that students with the initials C or D achieved significantly lower grades than students whose initials were unrelated to grade scores, and students with the initials A or B.

Was this due to the students' self-preference for their initials or was it the examiners showing the bias? To test this, Nelson and Simmons, asked hundreds of other undergrads to report their liking for the different letters of the alphabet. A subsequent analysis of their exam scores again showed that students with the initials C or D performed less well, but only if they had previously shown a preference for these letters. This shows that affection for one's own initials really is playing a role in the patterns being observed here.

Text Mining Tool -- extract text from different format documents

No need to have Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word. Use this app to get the text.
Also good for getting text from around Flash boxes on websites.

Ceramic hybrid needles take the sting out of shots

... two-photon polymerization to create hollow needles so fine patients wouldn’t feel them piercing their skin.

Policies making India lag behind China

Not only do firms pay a much higher price for power in India than elsewhere in the world, they also face much greater uncertainty of supply. Likewise, despite considerable improvement, the transportation network in India remains unreliable and inefficient. The time taken to clear the goods entering and existing the ports and to move the goods between ports and manufacturing sites, which is so critical for assembly and processing activities, is much higher and more variable in India than in the competing countries such as China.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Hello Kitty AR-15

An attempt to centralize the world's rules of thumb.

At Google, effective information sharing still correlated to proximity

... information is shared most easily and effectively among office neighbors, even at an Internet company where instant messaging and e-mail are generally preferred to face-to-face discussion.

It is an argument, the authors say, for giving greater importance to “microgeography,” or how people interact in the workplace. The finding that information moved fastest among people who were the closest together is also an endorsement of the company’s “third rule for managing knowledge workers: Pack Them In,” the authors say.

Calcium supplements may increase the risk of heart attacks for older women

So talk with your physician and determine which risk is more severe. -- user-submitted recent prices paid for cars

See what the market is like at the moment.

Downloading and listening to free music on the Web

Various sites.

First sleep and second sleep

For many centuries, and perhaps back to Homer, Western society slept in two shifts. People went to sleep, got up in the middle of the night for an hour or so, and then went to sleep again... “There was an extraordinary level of activity,” Ekirch told me. People got up and tended to their animals or did housekeeping. Others had sex or just lay in bed thinking, smoking a pipe, or gossiping with bedfellows.

Pacifist World of Warcraft characters

I smirked when I read the description. And then I saw the picture, and I howled.
"Both of them always wield a fishing rod, so any accidental hits won't increase their weapon skills. Neither of them will do quests where they have to kill things."

Myths of microcredit

Excerpts at Marginal. Original paper here.

The vacant circuit tone for those autodialers

If telemarketing can automate, so can turning them away. However, not all autodialers will be fooled by this tone.

Sheets of nanoantennae to harvest sun's energy

Hopefully, they will get to very affordable production:

... a special manufacturing process to stamp tiny square spirals of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic. Each interlocking spiral "nanoantenna" is as wide as 1/25 the diameter of a human hair.

Because of their size, the nanoantennas absorb energy in the infrared part of the spectrum, just outside the range of what is visible to the eye. The sun radiates a lot of infrared energy, some of which is soaked up by the earth and later released as radiation for hours after sunset. Nanoantennas can take in energy from both sunlight and the earth's heat, with higher efficiency than conventional solar cells.

Different humor responses for different ages

Maybe androgen levels are correlated with types of humor.

Rude calls from overseas taking its toll on India's call center workers

Miss Aggarwal, an English graduate, said she planned to quit, tired of wishing customers a good morning only to hear: "Oh, I'm through to India am I? Put me through to someone who can understand English, you f****** cow."

Genetic experiments most likely to destroy humanity

Tongue in cheek there, but it sure shows how far we'll push things:

The researchers at Nexia have combined the glands responsible for milk production in goats with those responsible for silk production in spiders, and now hope to simply milk their goats for the precious, nigh-unbreakable fibers.

Marion Hyper-Sub -- submersible powerboat

At prototype stage.

Filezilla -- home ftp server

Full instructions

How to actually win a fistfight

Psychology and mechanics.

Placebo effect down then up in maids

What was even more bizarre, she says, was that, despite the fact all of the women in her study far exceeded the U.S. surgeon general's recommendation for daily exercise, the bodies of the women did not seem to benefit from their activity.