“These planets are more likely to look like giant eyeballs whose gaze is forever fixed on their host star.”

Life-bearing planets will look nothing like Earth


Wed, May 23rd, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Calling them Eyeball planets — a tidally locked planet with one side always facing the sun — Nautilus explains that any life-bearing worlds being discovered now will probably look nothing like planet Earth.

Where on a hot eyeball planet could you live? It’s a classic Goldilocks story. The day side is roasting and dry. The night side is frigid and icy. In between, it’s just right! The sweet spot—let’s call it the “ring of life”—is at the terminator, the boundary between night and day. The ring of life is bounded by deserts on one side and ice on the other. There is a constant flow of water from the night side to the day side—a series of rivers, all flowing in the same direction. The Sun is fixed in the sky right at the horizon, and the area is in permanent light. Conditions are pretty much the same…


“Every human being on this planet will be completely redundant within a decade.”

Deep learning system allows robots to learn just by observing a human


Tue, May 22nd, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Cnet brings to attention a recent development by Nvidia which reports it has developed a first-of-its-kind deep learning-based system which would permit robots to learn a task simply by observing a human doing it.

"For robots to perform useful tasks in real-world settings, it must be easy to communicate the task to the robot; this includes both the desired result and any hints as to the best means to achieve that result," explained the researchers. "With demonstrations, a user can communicate a task to the robot and provide clues as to how to best perform the task."


“The Amish use us as an experiment.”

Why the Amish own no cars or televisions


Mon, May 21st, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Quartz, Michael J. Coren interviews Jameson Wetmore, an engineer turned social researcher at the Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, who explains what technology has done to society and why the Amish — seeing the negative consequences they had on us — opted out.

After observing a given technology’s effect on outside society, Wetmore explains, each Amish community can vote on whether to accept or reject it. If a person is seriously ill, checking into a hospital is acceptable. So is accepting a ride in a Ford F-150. But the Amish refuse to own television or automobiles because they’ve decided those technologies erode their community and neighborliness.

For the rest of us, the cost of technological convenience may be coming due. Wetmore, who has studied the Amish intensively (pdf), suggests that contemporary society needs to take a new approach to technology—one…


“Without any security company in the world recognizing that it even existed.”

The most sophisticated piece of software ever written


Sun, May 20th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Quora, Gigantic Software's CEO John Byrd looks at the most sophisticasted piece of software ever written — it is a really fascinating read. For those in the know, the word Stuxnet will immediately come to mind, as well as its complicated family life. I blame the parents.

Once the worm runs itself on a PC, it tries to get administrator access on that PC. It doesn’t mind if there’s antivirus software installed — the worm can sneak around most antivirus software. Then, based on the version of Windows it’s running on, the worm will try one of two previously unknown methods of getting that administrator access on that PC. Until this worm was released, no one knew about these secret bugs in Windows either.

At this point, the worm is now able to…


“Single use forever launch clock.”

Time Since Launch


Sat, May 19th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Designed to last well over 2,000 years, the Time Since Launch is a single-use digital clock that, once started, won't stop. Just pull the pin and watch time tick by — albeit you'll probably have to change the batteries in twenty years. It was inspired by astronaut John Glenn's 12-hour stopwatch used for Mission Elapsed Time (MET).

Use this very long-scale timepiece to mark the beginning of your epoch. It could begin when you get married, have a baby, quit smoking, launch a rocket, or on an ordinary Tuesday morning.

Your epoch is safeguarded within this unique timepiece designed and over-engineered to outlive you. Suspended in a durable borosilicate glass tube and sealed with gasketed aluminum end-caps, two LCDs show days, hours, minutes and seconds since launch. This timepiece is built to count for 2,738 years.


“The most dangerous person in the world is the Zuck.”

The Facebook Dictatorship


Fri, May 18th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On CNBC, NYU professor Scott Galloway compares Mark Zuckerberg's position of power over at Facebook as dangerous to that of historical dictators — and judging by a steady drop in activity, maybe Facebook's users have noticed. Meanwhile, Google employees resign in protest against a Pentagon contract. Not only is this an issue of user trust but a concern towards drones that will kill without human approval.

The resigning employees’ frustrations range from particular ethical concerns over the use of artificial intelligence in drone warfare to broader worries about Google’s political decisions—and the erosion of user trust that could result from these actions. Many of them have written accounts of their decisions to leave the company, and their stories have been gathered and shared in an internal document, the contents of which multiple sources have described to Gizmodo.


Review of BenQ's treVolo S Portable Electrostatic Bluetooth Speaker

A small package that packs incredible highs, unbelievable lows at a very affordable cost


Thu, May 17th, 2018 11:00 by Leo N. ARTICLE

Bluetooth speakers are generally a compromise. You're giving up the high-fidelity in exchange for volume. With the treVolo S, BenQ gives you everything you could possibly want: portability, fidelity, and quality.

To keep the overall package as small as possible, BenQ adopted electrostatic loudspeakers (ESL), where the sound is generated on a membrane that's actually suspended in an electrostatic field (how it works). This allows for a ridiculously loud sound at a fraction of space without sacrificing any quality. And because the sound travels both towards you and behind the speaker, you can take advantage of the natural acoustics of a corner to increase the sound even more.

The treVolo S offer two modes: natural sound, which plays the song as it is intended, and spacious sound, a one-touch equaliser that pushes the limits of sound richness without any distortion. Needless to say I've left it in this…


“That’s the only question that matters.”

What happened to the Facebook data?


Wed, May 16th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On The Open Mind, David Carroll speaks with professor David Carroll on Cambridge Analytica theft of user data and extensive information-warfare against democracy. Meanwhile more data leaks revealed and Google is finally falling under the eye of regulators.

Since Facebook disclosed that Cambridge Analytica had violated its terms of service to snatch the private data of users without their consent, the latest bombshell in this rapidly-paced story is that the Analytics front, perhaps an espionage operation, assigned non-US citizens to message for the candidates in 2014. There seem to be ever-evolving details every day on this story. David Carroll, a professor at the Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York is suing Cambridge Analytica through the United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act for stealing user data and undertaking vast information-warfare against western democracies. Did…


“Datamining is based on selling stuff to people, but the same technology is going to eliminate everyone's jobs.”

The problem with automation


Tue, May 15th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Reality Asserts Itself's Rana Foroohar and Paul Jay discuss the values and ethics one would need to make AI work for society, not just for the interest of a few large organisations.

On Reality Asserts Itself, Ms. Foroohar and host Paul Jay discuss the merging of finance and big tech and the threat AI poses to working people and the economy; they also discuss the potential of AI in addressing the climate crisis and making a more rational and equal society possible – with host Paul Jay.


“We simply called it ageing.”

Researchers think they may be able to slow down ageing and cure cancer


Mon, May 14th, 2018 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Reportedly, researchers have used a cryo-electron microscopy to obtain the structure of a proportion of the telomerase enzyme, opening the possibility of either inhibiting it on to stop cancer or activating it to prevent ageing. There is, of course, a lot more work than this that needs to be done before it becomes viable — in the mean time, maybe we can self-repair our organs as needed.

Organisms regulate their telomere maintenance in this way because they are walking a biological tightrope. On the one hand, they need to replace the cells they lose in the course of their ordinary daily lives by cell division.

However, any cell with an unlimited capacity to divide is the seed of a tumour. And it turns out that the majority of human cancers have active telomerase and shorter telomeres than…

May 01“Instead of slicing my own avocados, I just got the pictures instead.” #Internet
May 03“When people think you are crazy, that’s nice, because it allows you to think differently.” #Food
Apr 30“More than 1,000 miles on a single charge.” #Travel
May 04“Mobile and cordless phone use may be promoting gliomas.” #Health
Apr 29“A country that endured a 60-mile traffic jam in 2010 requiring 11 days to unsnarl.” #Driving
Apr 27“Is Bitcoin Really Money?” #Money
Apr 15“All the power in the world is worthless if you can't access it when you need to.” #Future
Apr 14“It blew my mind.” #Space
May 05“In two weeks or less you can have as much meat as from that cow.” #Food
Apr 18“For the first time in the world, AI will run in an election.” #Politics
Apr 24“What life is like on the front lines of the digital revolution.” #Workplace
Apr 16“The price of free is actually too high.” #Internet
May 21“The Amish use us as an experiment.”
May 22“Every human being on this planet will be completely redundant within a decade.”
May 23“These planets are more likely to look like giant eyeballs whose gaze is forever fixed on their host star.”
Jan 22Fake Name Generator
Aug 29Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine
Jan 11How to Avoid Jury Duty
Jan 09CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form
Nov 22When the Wrong Hastag Can Get You Killed by an Assassination Drone
Aug 23Amateur-Built Electric Car Going After Record Set by Tesla
May 20“Without any security company in the world recognizing that it even existed.”
Jan 04The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit
Sep 07“The company’s ambition, its ruthlessness, and its lack of a moral compass scare me.”