Sunday, September 30, 2012

Replacement Ear Grown on an Arm



From Cory Doctorow … Replacement ear grown on an arm - Boing Boing:

A woman whose exterior ear was removed during her fight with cancer has grown a replacement ear made from starter-tissue harvested from her rib, which was cultured and scaffolded on her arm. Once the ear was ripe, it was removed from her arm and affixed to the side of her head.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tear-Off Cardboard USB Flash-Drives


From Cory Doctorow … Tear-off cardboard USB flash-drives - Boing Boing:

Here's a cute concept-design for tear-off, disposable flash-drives from Art Lebedev

Thursday, September 27, 2012

12 Technologies to Watch in STEM Education


12 Technologies to Watch in STEM Education:

On Thursday, Sept. 20, the New Media Consortium for the first time released a technology outlook for science, technology, engineering and math .

The report identifies 12 technologies to watch in these fields over the next five years. Of these 12 technologies, four did not make it onto the short list of either of the reports on K-12 or higher education that the consortium released earlier this year. These four include collective intelligence, massively open online courses, social networking and wearable technology.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Supercomputer Makes a Comeback


From Adrian Covert … The Supercomputer That Houses an Entire Universe:

Over a span of two weeks in October, the Mira supercomputer will crank away nonstop, processing quadrillions of operations every second—something that few other machines are currently capable of. It will simultaneously track trillions of particles as they move, expand, and react to each other according to the laws of physics. This simulation will have to use everything mankind has learned about the movement of objects. If successful, it will not only confirm what we've suspected, but will also give us a deeper understanding of how the cosmos came to be. Mira, in short, is simulating the history of our universe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Most Unlikely PIN

From Andrew Sullivan … The Most Unlikely PIN:

Data Genetics crunched the numbers:

In my dataset the answer is 8068 with just 25 occurrences in 3.4 million (this equates to 0.000744%, far, far fewer than random distribution would predict, and five orders of magnitude behind the most popular choice). Warning: Now that we’ve learned that, historically,  8068  is (was?) the least commonly used password 4-digit PIN, please don’t go out and change yours to this! Hackers can read too! They will also be promoting 8068 up their attempt trees in order to catch people who read this (or similar) articles.

Other passwords to avoid? Definitely "1234," used by nearly 11%:

The next most popular 4-digit PIN in use is 1111 with over 6% of passwords being this. In third place is 0000 with almost 2%.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Google for Entrepreneurs

Celebrating the spirit of entrepreneurship with the new Google for Entrepreneurs:

As Google turns 14 this month, we’re celebrating this creative spirit and officially launching Google for Entrepreneurs, the umbrella for our several dozen programs and partnerships around the world that support startups and entrepreneurs. 

Our focus is threefold:

  1. Partnerships with strong organizations that serve entrepreneurs in local communities
  2. Google-led programs to bring our teams and our tools directly to entrepreneurs
  3. Placing relevant Google tools in the hands of startups as they are getting off the ground and ready to scale

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Amazing iOS 6 Maps


Apple's getting a lot (a lot!) of grief over dropping Google Maps and adding their own. I haven't personally had any issues, but you can see that some of the criticism is deserved.  Amazing iOS 6 Maps: When you zoom out from Leyte, Philippines half of...:

When you zoom out from Leyte, Philippines half of the island disappears and splits into about 6 islands! If you zoom out more, the island reconstitutes once Mindanao and Luzon come into view!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Professor as a Startup

Jeff Leek thinks Every professor is a startup. And works in a nice piece on Hilary Mason.

There has been a lot of discussion lately about whether to be in academia or industry. Some of it I think is a bit unfair to academia. Then I saw this post on Quora asking what Hilary Mason’s contributions were to machine learning, like she hadn’t done anything. It struck me as a bit of academia hating on industry*. I don’t see why one has to be better/worse than the other, as Roger points out, there is no perfect job and it just depends on what you want to do. 

One thing that I think gets lost in all of this are the similarities between being an academic researcher and running a small startup. To be a successful professor at a research institution, you have to create a product (papers/software), network (sit on editorial boards/review panels), raise funds (by writing grants), advertise (by giving talks/presentations), identify and recruit talent (students and postdocs), manage people and personalities (students,postdocs, collaborators) and scale (you start as just yourself, and eventually grow to a group with lots of people). 

The goals are somewhat different. In a startup company, your goal is ultimately to become a profitable business. In academia, the goal is to create an enterprise that produces scientific knowledge. But in either enterprise it takes a huge amount of entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and hustle. It just depends on how you are spending your hustle. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Jacket That's a Faraday Cage


Very cool geek-wear.

Jamie Condliffe … This Jacket's Faraday Cage Conveniently Silences Your Phone:

Switching your phone off for important meetings or trips to the cinema can be a pain in the ass. Victor Johansson has a solution, though: he's designed the Escape Jacket, which features a Faraday cage in the inside pocket to immediately take your phone off the grid.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Windows 8 Tablet Pricing?

Speculation for now, but Microsoft would be smart to price these devices – currently they've only announced a range of prices – and price them aggressively.

From Sebastian Anthony … Leaked Windows 8 tablet pricing suggests Microsoft may have already lost the war:

If, like me, you thought Microsoft would price Windows RT competitively, you were wrong: A leaked slide from Asus says that its Vivo Tab RT, due to be released alongside Windows RT at the end of October, will start at $600. Unbelievably, this is $100 more than the iPad 3, and a full $200 more than the iPad 2 or Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Create Ebooks from Wikipedia Articles




Great resource from Thorin Klosowski … Create Ebooks from Wikipedia Articles for On the Go Reading Anywhere:

Ever wanted to take a few Wikipedia articles with you offline? You can now export any Wikipedia article, or a collection of articles, into a personal ebook that's readable on any device that can use the EPUB format.

To enable the create a book function, click the "Print/export" button the left side of a Wikipedia page, and select "Create a book." This starts up the book creator. From here, you can add as many pages as you like to you book by clicking the "Add this page to your book" button at the top of the Wikipedia articles you're on.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Can a Degree Get You Through a Recession?

Some really interesting data in this infographic. While a college degree (Bachelor's or Associate's) is no guarantee of a job – it's a clear advantage over a HS diploma only.
Can a Degree Get You Through a Recession?
Compiled By:

via Joanne Jacobs

Sunday, September 16, 2012

GPS Shoes – Never Get Lost Again


I need these to find my car after work! From Eric Limer … You'd Never Get Lost With a Pair of These GPS Shoes:

Commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, these functional prototypes have a GPS device implanted in the heel with an antenna pointing out the back, and two sets of directional LEDs in the toes. The circular LED display points in the appropriate direction, and the straight one indicates distance. And how do you turn them on? You click your heels, duh.

Before use, all you have to do is upload your destination—stereotypical "home" or otherwise— to the shoes using a map program and you're good to go.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Unix Operating System

Amazing that UNIX and now Linux has stood the test of time for so long. The Creation of the Unix* Operating System:

After three decades of use, the UNIX* computer operating system from Bell Labs is still regarded as one of the most powerful, versatile, and flexible operating systems (OS) in the computer world. Its popularity is due to many factors, including its ability to run a wide variety of machines, from micros to supercomputers, and its portability -- all of which led to its adoption by many manufacturers.


The system also fostered a distinctive approach to software design -- solving a problem by interconnecting simpler tools, rather than creating large monolithic application programs.

Its development and evolution led to a new philosophy of computing, and it has been a never-ending source of both challenges and joy to programmers around the world.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Google and Khan Academy Team Up

From Harrison Weber … Google and Khan Academy Launch YouTube Contest:

Google has just announced that it is teaming up with Khan Academy for a new competition to find the next generation of “educational YouTube stars.” This news comes as interest in new forms of digitally-powered education rises, with services like edXP2PUSkillshareCodecademy and Coursera growing rapidly.

Google and Khan Academy are looking for what they call the Next EDU Gurus: “10 super talented and engaging content creators” which Google and Khan Academy will support through training, promotion and a $1,000 B&H gift card for production equipment. And although the $1k isn’t that hefty a prize, the training and promotion that winners will receive makes it look like it’s definitely worth the effort.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Writing in Real-Time


… and letting the world watch. An interesting experiment. From Jamie Condliffe – Watch an Author Write a Novel Live on Google Docs:

Fantasy author Silvia Hartmann is doing something rather brave: just this morning she started writing her new novel on Google Docs, and is letting the world watch over her shoulder.

She's already roughed out eight chapters ofThe Dragon Lords—which is impressive given she only started at 9am BST. It's perhaps not yet literary gold, but there's something mesmerizing about watching her type in real time.

Jamie Condliffe

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The $9 Cardboard Bicycle



From Jason Kottke …The $9 cardboard bicycle:

Izhar Gafni has designed a bike that weighs 20 pounds, costs between $9-12 to build, can hold up to a 485 pound person, and it made out of cardboard.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Community Colleges and 4-Year Degrees

Doug Lederman confirms … Data show key role for community colleges in 4-year degree production:

The notion that community colleges are key to putting students on a path to a four-year degree is not a new one; large numbers of Americans begin their postsecondary studies at two-year colleges, and transfer is one of the institutions' traditional functions. But new data from the National Student Clearinghouse show just how prevalent a role two-year institutions play in providing an educational foundation for those who go on to get bachelor's degrees.

The study -- one of a series on student mobility that the clearinghouse has begun producing to capitalize on the unique data it collects as a repository of student-level information from more than 3,000 colleges -- reveals that 45 percent of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had previously enrolled at a two-year college.

Of those students, 24 percent had been enrolled at the two-year institution for just one term, 16 percent for two terms, and 19 percent for three or four terms. But a full 12 percent were enrolled for at least 10 terms, suggesting that even students who spend a significant length of time at a community college might eventually go on to a four-year college.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Phil Zimmermann and Former Navy Seal To Secure Phone Calls


From Julie Bort … World-Famous Privacy Guru Phil Zimmermann Teams With Navy Seals To Secure Your Phone Calls:

Silent Circle got its start with a phone call—the everyday kind of communication the privacy-protection startup hopes to secure when it launches its first product next month.

Internet Hall of Famer and privacy guru Phil Zimmermann was minding his own business (as he always does) when he got a call from a former Navy Seal, Mike Janke.

Zimmermann didn't know Janke. But Janke had a big idea for a new kind of superprivate, secure version of Skype. So he called up one of the world's experts on privacy and security and asked him to help found a company.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Alan Turing's Monopoly Board


Very cool! From Cory Doctorow … Alan Turing memorial Monopoly set:

Last year, I wrote about the hand-drawn Monopoly board that Alan Turing and friends played with at Bletchley Park. Now it's an official set. Chris from Bletchley Park sez,:

Bletchley Park is delighted to officially launch the Alan Turing Monopoly board, developed from a unique original board in the Bletchley Park Museum, hand-drawn by William Newman, son of Turing’s mentor, Max, over sixty years ago.

In this special edition of Monopoly, the squares around the board and revised Chance and Community Chest cards tell the story of Alan Turing’s life along with key elements of the original hand-drawn board, which the great mathematician played on with a young William in the early 1950s – and lost. The board has been developed by the Bletchley Park Trust, William Newman and Winning Moves, which creates new editions of Monopoly.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Should I Pre-Order a Kindle Fire HD?

Jay Yarow's advice – Do Not Pre-Order Any Of The Amazon Kindle Fire HD Tablets:

at just $199 for the 7-inch model and $299 for the 9-inch model, it's tempting to hop over to and pre-order the tablets.

Our advice: Don't do it.

Last year Amazon announced the Kindle Fire and it looked great. We, like many others, pre-ordered the tablet before anyone really got time to play with the tablet. When it finally arrived it was a let down.

This year, we highly recommend waiting until reviewers get some time to actually use the Kindle Fire HD tablets for extended periods of time.

Router Flaw Opens Power Plants to Tampering

Scary stuff from Dan Goodin … Secret account in mission-critical router opens power plants to tampering:

The branch of the US Department of Homeland Security that oversees critical infrastructure has warned power utilities, railroad operators, and other large industrial players of a weakness in a widely used router that leaves them open to tampering by untrusted employees.

The line of mission-critical routers manufactured by Fremont, California-based GarrettCom contains an undocumented account with a default password that gives unprivileged users access to advanced options and features, Justin W. Clarke, an expert in the security of industrial control systems, told Ars. The "factory account" makes it possible for untrusted employees or contractors to significantly escalate their privileges and then tamper with electrical switches or other industrial controls that are connected to the devices.

GarrettCom boxes are similar to regular network routers and switches except that they're designed to withstand extreme heat and cold, as well as dry, wet, or dusty conditions.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Where are Those Textbook Dollars Going?

Torn dollar by suburbandollar

It's not going to the authors.

From Danielle Kurtzleben … How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up:

According to figures from the National Association of College Stores, an average of 21.6 cents of every dollar spent on a new textbook will go to the bookstore, whether for personnel costs, operations, or income. For Kadue's $289 [Calculus] textbook, that's around $62. Another cent of every dollar pays for the freight of shipping a heavy book around, so subtract another $3 from her cost. That leaves around $224 that goes to the publisher, or around 77.4 cents for every dollar.

NACS no longer receives information from publishers about where textbook money goes, but as recently as 2008, they provided that cost breakdown. At that time, around 15.4 cents of every dollar went toward marketing the textbooks, 11.7 cents went to the authors, and the largest chunk—32.2 cents—went to the basics: paper, printing, and paying publishers' employees.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Flexible Cable Batteries


From Jon Fingas … LG Chem develops very flexible cable batteries, may leave mobile devices tied up in knots:

LG Chem has developed a flexible lithium-ion battery that's not just better-suited to our bigger gadgets but could out-do previous bendable energy packs. Researchers found that coating copper wires with nickel-tin and coiling them briefly around a rod results in a hollow anode that behaves like a very strong spring; mating that anode with a lithium-ion cell leads to a battery that works even when it's twisted up in knots. Join multiple packs together, and devices could have lithium-ion batteries that fit many shapes without compromising on their maximum deliverable power.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Koomey's Law for Energy Efficiency

An interesting alternative or complement to Moore's Law … Computing power: A deeper law than Moore's?:

a new analysis, by Jonathan Koomey of Stanford University and his colleagues, [sic] seems to have uncovered a deeper law relating to the energy-efficiency of computers, dating back to the era of vacuum tubes. The researchers found that the electrical efficiency of computing has doubled every 1.6 years since the mid-1940s. “That means that for a fixed amount of computational power, the need for battery capacity will fall by half every 1.6 years,” observes Dr Koomey.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

How Enterprises are Dealing with BYOD

From Rob Enderle … Dell, EMC, Cisco Tackle BYOD With Desktop Virtualization:

What is interesting about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) efforts is that they are more effectively driving thin client solutions than the thin client movement itself did a decade or so ago. This is because the variety of devices, combined with the lack of focus on business requirements by Apple, has made it untenable to support each device individually.

As a result, IT departments are aggressively exploring alternatives that provide the experience users want on their devices-largely iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones-without causing support organizations to implode. The leading contenders are virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop virtualization.


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