Uncle Matin’s Sword Trick

The backstory behind one of the most famous sword tricks of all time:

Political Funnies

With election season winding down, some of the ads have been downright amusing. And not all intentionally. The Old-spice spoof thankfully has run its course, but here are three worth a look. First up, what happens when you take “throw the bums out” to it’s logical conclusion? Sue Galloway, anarchist for mayor of Indianapolis.

Next, its Christine O’Donnell’s rework of Antoine Dodson (hide the kids, hide your wife …)

Finally, Cassandra Peterson’s spoof on O’Donnell’s ad (she’s you, but with bigger boobs)

Friday ComputerGeek

NTU researchers develop world’s smallest on-chip low-pass filterNanyang Technological University

A research team from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has successfully designed the world’s smallest on-chip low-pass filter which is 1,000 times smaller than existing off-chip filters. A low-pass filter is a circuit that allows low-frequency signals to pass through while reducing unwanted high-frequency signals from passing through. “This new low-pass filter can lead to a significant improvement in signal quality as it removes nearly all unwanted interferences and noise in the environment,” said Professor Yeo.

Geek Gifts 2010: Programmable LED capTech Republic

Sometimes those t-shirts with uber cool captions lose their magic after you’ve worn them at the office and around the house every week for the past two years. However, with the Programmable LED cap, you can create a brand new clever message to display every single day, if you’re so inclined. It’s geeky, inexpensive, practical, and by far one of the most “novelty” type gifts that we’ve reviewed so far in 2010.

Biology rides to computers’ aidMIT News

Photonic crystals are exotic materials with the ability to guide light beams through confined spaces and could be vital components of low-power computer chips that use light instead of electricity. Cost-effective ways of producing them have proved elusive, but researchers have recently been turning toward a surprising source for help: DNA molecules.

Chinese Chip Closes In on Intel, AMDMIT Technology Review

China may finally have a processor to power a homegrown supercomputer. At this year’s Hot Chips conference at Stanford University, Weiwu Hu, the lead architect of the “national processor” of China, revealed three new chip designs. One of them could enable China to build a homegrown supercomputer to rank in a prestigious list of the world’s fastest machines.

Chinese Professor

Brutal new ad (ht: Instapundit)

Calling “B.S” at a Staged Event

LWV Candidates Forum – from Musing Minds

The woman from the League of Women Voters moderated and before the debate got underway she told us the rules. No cameras, no talking, questions will be written down etc. … Just before the start, someone in the audience asked if the Pledge of Allegiance would be said (there was a flag on stage). The woman from the LWV said no. It wasn’t something that was done. Some members of the audience then stood and started saying the Pledge. Pretty much the rest of the audience then rose and said the Pledge as well.

The woman from the LWV was upset. She said that the audience had disrespected her. She said she was “forced” to say the Pledge and that it had “obviously been planned”.


Thursday ComputerGeek

Brain Imaging Reveals How We Learn From Our CompetitorsUniversity of Bristol

Learning from competitors is a critically important form of learning for animals and humans. A new study has used brain imaging to reveal how people and animals learn from failure and success. The team from Bristol University scanned the brains of players as they battled against an artificial opponent in a computer game. Players were able to learn from their own successful selections but those of their competitor failed completely to increase their neural activity. Instead, it was their competitor’s unexpected failures that generated this additional brain activity.

Flexible LEDs For Implanting Under The SkinPhysorg.com

Researchers in the US, China, Korea and Singapore have collaborated to develop flexible ultra-thin sheets of inorganic light emitting diodes (LEDs) and photodetectors for implantation under the skin for medical monitoring, activating photo-sensitive drugs, and other biomedical applications. The PDMS substrate is flexible enough that the circuits can still function even if twisted or stretched by even as much as 75 percent.

Computer Modeling of Swimming Fish Could Lead To New Robots and ProstheticsUniveristy of Maryland

Scientists at the University of Maryland and Tulane University have developed a computational model of a swimming fish that is the first to address the interaction of both internal and external forces on locomotion. The interdisciplinary research team simulated how the fish’s flexible body bends, depending on both the forces from the fluid moving around it as well as the muscles inside. Understanding these interactions, even in fish, will help design medical prosthetics for humans that work with the body’s natural mechanics, rather than against them.

Mac Users Warned of Growing Virus ThreatTechWorld

Attacks on the Mac are now significant enough to warrant Apple users investing in an anti-virus product, security company Panda Security said as it launched a new product that offers such protection. There are now 5,000 ‘strains’ of malware that target the Mac and the company says it is seeing 500 new Mac-specific samples appearing every month. In 2009, only 34 vulnerabilities were detected in Apple’s OS X, which had risen to 175 so far for 2010, with a 20-year total of 170,000 macros ‘viruses’ affecting the platform.

Wednesday ComputerGeek

Unfilled Openings Frustrate the Jobless – WSJ Online
With nearly one in 10 U.S. workers currently unemployed, job seekers are starting to blame employers for exacerbating the problem by filling job openings at a leisurely pace. Though companies says they are reluctant to hire because of lingering economic uncertainty and the difficulty of finding the right people, these are widely seen as excuses to keep extracting pre-downturn output from staffs stretched thin by layoffs.

Dead Sea Scrolls to be Digitized And Put Online – Washington Post
The Israel Antiquities Authority and Google announced Tuesday that they are collaborating to produce digitized images of the entire collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls and put them on the Internet, making the archaeological treasure available to anyone with the click of a mouse. The project marries “one of the most important finds of the previous century with the most advanced technology of the next century,” said Pnina Shor, the director of the project at the Antiquities Authority.

Adding Human Intelligence to Software – MIT Technology Review
Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service has long provided a cheap source of labor, when the job is simple for humans but difficult for computers. Now computer scientists at MIT have developed a toolkit that does just that. Called TurKit, the tool lets software engineers write algorithms to coordinate online workers using the Javascript programming language, and create powerful applications that have human intelligence built in. The software can also be debugged like normal code.

Drivel on Facebook More Valuable Than We Think – Uppsala University
Superficial contacts on Facebook, apparently unnecessary comments, and banal status updates may be more worthwhile than we think. This is shown in a new report from the National IT User Center. The report also predicts the new social media will ultimately lead to more individual entrepreneurs.

Gator Football

A Letter To Gator Nationgatortailgating.com

The Gators have lost two games in a row—one on the road and one in The Swamp. Some irrational people thought that this Gator team actually had a chance to contend for the national championship this year. Yes, the Gators are always contenders to a certain point, but after the number of high-profile players that left early or graduated…

4-3 Ouch! The sad thing is Florida still controls its own destiny in the SEC East. If they win out, they will go to Atlanta for the Championship game.

Friday ComputerGeek

DARPA seeks to shape young minds — GCN.COM

The Defense Department’s research and development agency has started an initiative to increase the number of computer science graduates in the United States. The three-year, $14.2 million dollar program will use a variety of online tools and educational approaches to guide interested middle and high school students into pursuing computer science careers

Researchers Train Computer To Classify Pictures Based On Contents — UNIVERSITY OF GRANADA

At present, computer search and classification of images is made basing on the name of the file, folder or on features as date or size, but the visual information contained was never used for classification purposes. This pioneer technique developed by the University of Granada allows to classify pictures or images depending on whether individuals or specific objects are present in such images

Large study shows females are equal to males in math skills — UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

The mathematical skills of boys and girls, as well as men and women, are substantially equal, according to a new examination of existing studies in the current online edition of journal Psychological Bulletin.
One portion of the new study looked systematically at 242 articles that assessed the math skills of 1,286,350 people, says chief author Janet Hyde, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In both cases, Hyde says, the difference between the two sexes was so close as to be meaningless

Friday ComputerGeek

Tech hiring up almost 50 percent since 2009, Dice says — INFOWORLD.COM

The number of available full-time tech jobs has increased 46 percent in the past year, and contractors’ hourly rates are rising as companies seek ways to overcome the ongoing IT skills shortage, according to a monthly report from Dice …

Malware Aimed at Social Networks May Steal Your Reality — PCWORLD.COM
Computer scientists warn there is a new malware lurking in the distance that will slowly steal your reality by mining your social network for private and behavioral patterns. A victim of a “behavioral pattern” theft cannot easily change his or her static behavior and life patterns. …