Category Archives: Technology

Space Porn

I have to say, this is pretty titillating. It’s also the first I’m hearing about this sort of thing as a realistic possibility, and I wonder how seriously to take it. (The article says this rig can get to Alpha Centauri and back in a month. I assume that’s ship’s time, and so we’d still […]

Uh-oh

Google’s just revealed its workplace demographics. The breakdown for tech workers: 60% white, 34% Asian, 2% Hispanic, 1% black. Pass the popcorn. Addendum, 5/29: I neglected to add above that the breakdown by sex is: women 17%, men 83%. Nobody should be surprised by any of this. To get through the multilevel Google tech interview, […]

Pedal To The Metal. Headlamps Off.

Writing at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald reports on an item from the collection of classified material leaked by Edward Snowden: a report on the ways that “Western intelligence agencies are attempting to manipulate and control online discourse with extreme tactics of deception and reputation-destruction”. I can’t say that any of it should come as a […]

What STEM Shortage?

We’ve been hearing for years that the only way America can stay ‘competitive’ is to admit hordes of foreign engineers to supplement our inadequate supply of homegrown STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) workers. The constant influx of these workers on H-1B visas has kept wages in these fields from rising for many years now. But […]

Do The Right Thing

Just in case, loyal Readers, you happen to be looking for a fat tax write-off; and supposing also that you’ve been troubled lately by how hard it is for aging, pallid reactionary male bloggers just to get around without being interfered with by resentful Progressive mobs, here’s the perfect way to kill two birds with […]

How Heartbleed Works

A simple explanation from Randall Munroe.

Phase Transition

A story that’s making the rounds today concerns trending changes in the way people read. Here’s the lede, from today’s Washington Post: Claire Handscombe has a commitment problem online. Like a lot of Web surfers, she clicks on links posted on social networks, reads a few sentences, looks for exciting words, and then grows restless, […]

Creative Destruction

My Android phone just had a stroke, and I had to do a factory reset. I lost all my applications, which meant I had to go rummaging around to replace them. It’s turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because I’ve found some nifty new ones, and after blasting away all the cruft that […]

Forward!

In a Takimag article called Useless Mouths, John Derbyshire looks at the road ahead, as technology displaces more and more workers. I recall that this sort of gloomy forecast was common when I was a boy, but I think this time round it’s more on the mark. (Barring a Butlerian Jihad, that is.) Things have […]

This Isn’t Rocket Science

According to the New York Times, the “prolonged” execution of one Dennis McGuire — who had been condemned for the brutal murder of a young pregnant woman — has raised, once again, questions about the humaneness of various methods of execution. In Mr. McGuire’s case, the technique was lethal injection: As the lethal drugs flowed […]

Implosion

Today we have an interesting piece by Nick Land on John Smart’s novel approach to the Fermi Paradox (see here for more about the Fermi Paradox, if you aren’t familiar with the term): that advanced civilizations, rather than expanding into space, relentlessly turn inward. We read: John M. Smart’s solution to the Fermi Paradox is […]

Valkyrie

Speaking of NASA, here’s their latest robot. Seeing that they’ve given it a female shape and name, I’d have thought ‘Fatima’, or perhaps ‘Ayisha’, would have been far more appropriate — but ‘Valkyrie’ it is, at least pending a little re-education amongst the staff.

Pale Blue Dot

On October 13th, NASA’s Juno probe, which is scheduled to arrive at Jupiter on Independence Day 2016, made a ‘slingshot’ flyby of Earth in order to boost its velocity. Using some low-res calibration cameras, it took a time-lapse movie of its approach to the Earth-Moon system. I don’t know why NASA is bothering with Jupiter, […]

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

Back in July, I wrote the following: To the conservative, traditions arise naturally from the workings of human nature, as part of the ontogeny and organic development of societies. They are not the result of scientific planning or sociological theorizing — and like biological species themselves, they only come into view in retrospect. They are, […]

The Toothpaste Has Left The Tube

Here’s a 3D-printed 1911. In metal.

SmartLight

This is brilliant. Investors take note.

It’s Not A Bug, It’s a Feature

I’ve been preoccupied, so just a pair of related links for tonight. The topic is ‘biobots’ — i.e., remote-controlled cockroaches — and new ways to use them.

Just One Word

Forward-looking, tech-savvy investors knew a while back that 3-D printing was going to be a Big Deal. (Those farsighted speculators have already made handsome returns with companies like 3-D Systems and Stratasys.) The technology is still in its infancy, though — about where personal computing was in 1980 or so — and its truly transformative […]

The Droids We’re Looking For

Here’s another, from DARPA: WildCat. See also: RoboSimian.

FlameStower

A clever idea, this.

Nothing To Do, But What A View

I wish Carl Sagan were alive to see this: a gigapixel panoramic view of the surface of Mars. Don’t forget to click the “full screen” button.

More, More, More

If this is for real, it is a major innovation. Call your broker.

Arms Race

It was inevitable: given that surveillance cameras are everywhere these days, and that facial-recognition software is increasingly cheap and reliable, “privacy” freaks (who obviously have “something to hide”, or why make such a fuss?) are fighting back with a high-tech countermeasure, in the form of goggles that emit a cloaking glare of low-infrared radiation. There’s […]

O Brave New World

This is very impressive indeed.

Ticker Symbol, Please

This is quite a story, if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

RHex

Wow, I love this little guy.

Proto-Cosmos

CERN has restored the world’s very first website to its original URL. Here.

Brave New World

This caught my eye: US plan calls for more scanning of private Web traffic, email Non-electronic communication will soon be a thing of the past. It’s interesting that the simplest of technologies — a packet of paper, a drop of wax — made possible, for thousands of years, something that for most people will soon […]

Battery, Parked

Attentive readers may recall that a few years ago we U.S. taxpayers lent $465 million to Tesla, a maker of electric cars. More recently we restructured the loan so that Tesla wouldn’t run out of money. (It is now, after all, a matter of vital national interest that Elon Musk’s entrepreneurial speculations actually pay off.) […]

Spot The Bug

Here’s an clever idea: crowdsourcing of malaria diagnosis, using a simple video game. Have a look.

Machines Making Machines

This is fantastic: Japanese robots making German cars. Hat tip: William Gibson.

Fun With Science

How to make a rail gun. Here.

Down In The Valley…

The Uncanny Valley, that is. Here.

Tech Talk

Forgive me, readers, but I have to make a brief technical digression: for some time now I’ve been grappling with a common but perplexing computer problem, one that appears to have vexed and confounded an awful lot of people. I’ve just found the solution, and I must share it here so that others Googling the […]

The Panopticon Is Here

With a hat tip to the indefatigable JK, here’s the latest on micro-drones. When I was at Singularity University this past April, a recurring theme was that the coming ubiquity of tiny, cheap and efficient sensors will soon have a seismic effect on the technological, and therefore the human, landscape. We like to think that […]

Auxetic Material

Never heard of it? Neither had I. It has a negative Poisson ratio. Here. See also here and here.

Ahoy!

A reader brings to our attention a fantastic Google-Maps-based application. Here.

New York To London In 0.00186 Seconds

Here’s another edgy little item: warp drives might be feasible after all. Sharpens up the Fermi paradox even more, if so.

A Map of The Empire Whose Size Was That Of The Empire

Where? Google, of course.

Wetware

Here.

Femto-Photography

One trillion frames per second, folks.

Middle Of Nowhere

Here’s a stunning 360-degree panorama from Mars, courtesy of the rover Opportunity.

Why Explore Space?

With a hat tip to reader JK: In 1970, a Zambia-based nun named Sister Mary Jucunda wrote to Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, then-associate director of science at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in response to his ongoing research into a piloted mission to Mars. Specifically, she asked how he could suggest spending billions of dollars on […]

Paparazzo

I like this: our Reconnaissance orbiter snapped a picture of Curiosity descending to Mars last night. Here.

Red Rover, Red Rover

All eyes on Mars tonight! I’ll bet the thing lands on a cat. More here.

Leap

Will this thing replace the mouse, do you think? I’m skeptical. It’s a great accessory, but one important feature of using a mouse is that one can rest one’s hand on the desk. Holding your arms up all day to use your computer would be tiring, I think.

The New Valkyrie

Autonomous swarming quadracopters. Here.

Control This

In a tart item at NRO today, Kevin D. Williamson points out that eleven times more people die each year from neglecting to fill their heart-disease prescriptions than in gun assaults, and makes the piquant observation that “Gun control isn’t about guns; it’s about control.” Well, here’s something that should enliven the discussion: out there […]

Checking In

From Big Think, a glimpse at the ongoing Graduate Studies session at Singularity U.

Bottoms Up!

For tonight, an interesting item from the frontier of advancing technology. One of the the most promising innovations we discussed and saw demonstrated at Singularity University back in April was 3-D printing, in which a movable printer head builds up solid objects by depositing one very thin layer at a time. The extraordinary thing about […]