Wired

Why Online Games Make Players Act Like Psychopaths

Why Online Games Make Players Act Like Psychopaths:

“Why’d you do that?” I asked. I’ve known JB since were six years old. I’ve never seen him harm anyone. “I don’t know,” he replied. “It was funny.”

This isn’t to say psychopaths are by definition more violent than the rest of us. Violence wouldn’t bother a psychopath, Perkins says, but they might have another incentive to avoid violence: the consequences of getting caught. Most psychopaths are logical people, he says, and understand that actions bring consequences. The threat of repercussions—say, for example, prison—might keep them from acting out.

Amazing article about violence in on line gaming. If you make a world optimized for psychopaths, it is no wonder that psychopaths will thrive in it.

Why 'I Have Nothing to Hide' Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

Why 'I Have Nothing to Hide' Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

The programs of the past can be characterized as "proximate surveillance," in which the government attempted to use technology to directly monitor communication themselves. The programs of this decade mark the transition to "oblique surveillance," in which the government more often just goes to the places where information has been accumulating on its own, such as email providers, search engines, social networks, and telecoms.

Worth a read. The defender of the NSA policy seem to think this is a simple matter of privacy. It isn’t.

The Baffling Economics of Thomas the Tank Engine

The Baffling Economics of Thomas the Tank Engine

The Island of Sodor has a major comparative advantage: the best artificial intelligence researchers in the world. AI research on the Island of Sodor is massively ahead of the rest of the world. The trains on Sodor have been designed to understand natural language, solve problems for themselves, recognize new situations, and even have emotions and personalities.

Worth a read. Follow this over to the Forbes article and read that as well.

U.N. Drone Investigator Might Be a Deadly Robot's Worst Nightmare

U.N. Drone Investigator Might Be a Deadly Robot's Worst Nightmare

That carries the possibility of a reckoning with the human damage left by drones, the first such witnessing by the international community. Accountability, Emmerson tells Danger Room in a Monday phone interview, "is the central purpose of the report."

So, will the administration agree to UN inspections?

Let's Admit It: The US Is at War in Yemen, Too

Let's Admit It: The US Is at War in Yemen, Too

After years of sending drones and commandos into Pakistan, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week finally admitted the obvious: The US is "fighting a war" there. But American robots and special forces aren't just targeting militants in Pakistan. They're doing the same - with increasing frequency and increasing lethality - in Yemen. The latest drone attack happened early Wednesday in the Yemeni town of Azzan, killing nine people. It's the 23rd strike in Yemen so far this year, according to the Long War Journal. In Pakistan, there have been only 22.

At least Libya was justified with public debate, a vote and Obama on TV explaining the end goal. Neither Yemen nor Pakistan have gotten a public acknowledgement until now.

it's the story of a slightly awkward delivery of dry goods to a government warehouse.

The reason the SpaceX Dragon is big news is not because the unmanned spacecraft is huge or advanced or armed with photon torpedoes. It's news because it's a privately built and privately funded vehicle, ushering us into a shining new era in which space travel becomes banal and tedious. If you read the account of the mission and substitute "Peterbilt" for "Dragon," "loading dock" for "International Space Station" and "Bakersfield" for "orbit," you'll see that once you get over the whole "vacuum of space" thing, it's the story of a slightly awkward delivery of dry goods to a government warehouse.
Alt Text: In Space, No One Can Hear You Haul | Underwire | Wired.com

Tigersharktiger : 5 Horrifying Combo Monsters for Syfy Creature Features

Tigersharktiger : 5 Horrifying Combo Monsters for Syfy Creature Features

The tiger shark is the second most deadly shark, and the most deadly one that isn't completely played out. Now combine a tiger shark with a creature that's been called "the tiger shark of the jungle" - the tiger! Now you've got something that will have Syfy's readers on the edge of, or near the edge of, their seats. And we're setting ourselves up for the sequel: Tigersharktiger vs. Sealionlion, and of course the second sequel, Seasharkliger!

I want to see the internet forum speculation about Seasharkliger vs Sealionlion.

U.S. Has No Idea Whether al-Qaida is Beat

U.S. Has No Idea Whether al-Qaida is Beat

The official continued, "I think it is a very useful exercise, for us and for you all, to think about how do you conceive of the defeat of an organization like al-Qaida? But I think, I've said in the past, determining whether or not we've achieved strategic defeat may be more a question for historians than for analysts."

So they are going to leave it to historians to decide when the country can get back to normal levels of security and military posture?

If humans one day become extinct from a catastrophic collision, we would be the laughing stock of aliens in the galaxy, for having a large brain and a space program, yet we met the same fate as that pea-brained, space program-less dinosaurs that came before us. - Neil deGrasse Tyson

If humans one day become extinct from a catastrophic collision, we would be the laughing stock of aliens in the galaxy, for having a large brain and a space program, yet we met the same fate as that pea-brained, space program-less dinosaurs that came before us. - Neil deGrasse Tyson
We Can Survive Killer Asteroids - But It Won’t Be Easy | Wired Science | Wired.com

Fridge makers were required to do what they claimed was impossible: Create a refrigerator that does not kill children. They put their best minds to the task, because they had to, and came up with an incredible invention called a "magnet." Turns out if you line the door with magnets, the door stays closed and dumb little kids can get out if they need to. Go fig. By the way, no child in the United States has died from suffocating in a fridge designed after the Refrigerator Safety Act was passed. Not bad for impossible.

Fridge makers were required to do what they claimed was impossible: Create a refrigerator that does not kill children. They put their best minds to the task, because they had to, and came up with an incredible invention called a "magnet." Turns out if you line the door with magnets, the door stays closed and dumb little kids can get out if they need to. Go fig. By the way, no child in the United States has died from suffocating in a fridge designed after the Refrigerator Safety Act was passed. Not bad for impossible.
No Innovation Until We Run Out of Energy | Underwire | Wired.com

Hannibal Gadhafi-son of the assassinated Libyan dictator-built a ship with a 120-ton sea water aquarium inside. Why? To put six sharks inside, including two bull sharks and two whites, the most dangerous in the world.

Hannibal Gadhafi-son of the assassinated Libyan dictator-built a ship with a 120-ton sea water aquarium inside. Why? To put six sharks inside, including two bull sharks and two whites, the most dangerous in the world.

Gadhafi’s Son Built a Ship With Deadly Shark Tank Inside | Danger Room | Wired.com

Did they have freaking lasers on their heads?

2011: The Year Intellectual Property Trumped Civil Liberties

2011: The Year Intellectual Property Trumped Civil Liberties

"This dichotomy played itself out over and again in 2011, as lawmakers - Democrats and Republicans alike - turned a blind eye to important civil liberties issues, including Patriot Act reform, and instead paid heed to the content industry's desires to stop piracy."

Interesting article, worth a read.


DARPA’s Maple leaf Remote Control drone takes first flight

Has the Internet 'Hamsterized' Journalism?

Thus, those "rolling deadlines" in many newsrooms are increasingly resembling the rapid iteration of the proverbial exercise device invented for the aforementioned cute domestic rodent. The observation was first made by Dean Starkman in a Columbia Journalism Review piece titled "The Hamster Wheel."

This Hamster Wheel isn't about speed, the report quotes Starkman as saying. "It's motion for motion's sake ... volume without thought. It is news panic, a lack of discipline, an inability to say no."

Journalists complain that where newsrooms used to reward in-depth stories, "now incentives skew toward work that can be turned around quickly and generate a bump in web traffic."

"None of this is written down anywhere, but it's real," Starkman contends. "The Hamster Wheel, then, is investigations you will never see, good work left undone, public service not performed."


From Epicenter | Wired.com

Worth a read. Notice how short it is. And how it was pushed to RSS and Twitter. Might be on their facebook page to.

The 140-Character One-Liner

It’s a laugh every 140 characters for these tweeters, from Patton Oswalt and Rainn Wilson to Steve Martin and Sarah Silverman.

From Wired

140 Characters is the new haiku. But is is also the perfect format for quips.

The XL1 shows what is feasible. It has a range of more than 1,000 km on just one 10-liter tank of fuel - the equivalent of 621 miles on 2.6 gallons. Extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials means it is extremely light, weighing just 1,749 lbs. Yet that same material - carbon fiber - ensures the safety cell is remarkably strong, creating a safe vehicle. The lithium-ion battery provides a range of up to 35 kilometers, about 22 miles, in pure electric mode - that is, with zero tailpipe emissions. Yet despite its efficiency and sustainability, the XL1 is fun to drive.

A123 Systems Charges Into Motorcycle Racing

The Massachusetts firm is teaming up with British electric motorcycle startup Mavizen in a supply-and-distribution deal that will see automotive-grade cells power Mavizen race bikes. It's a big score for the nascent sport of electric motorcycle racing because Mavizen also will supply cells to teams in the TTXGP racing series and other events.

"That's the part of the deal we're really excited about," Chris Tecca, VP of business development at A123 Systems, told Wired.com. "It provides our batteries to the teams."

The deal could lead to better bikes, better racing and, eventually, better batteries.

From Autopia | Wired.com

I see EV mopeds and bikes in Brooklyn all the time. It seems like a race bike would be a logical next step.

Sperm Whales May Have Names

Subtle variations in sperm-whale calls suggest that individuals announce themselves with discrete personal identifier. To put it another way, they might have names.

The findings are preliminary, based on observations of just three whales, so talk of names is still speculation. But "it's very suggestive," said biologist Luke Rendell of Scotland's University of St. Andrews. "They seem to make that coda in a way that's individually distinctive."


From Sperm Whales May Have Names


To what extent does it mean they are self aware?

U.S. Has Secret Tools to Force Internet on Dictators

A revamped cargo plane, the Commando Solo beams out psychological operations in AM and FM for radio, and UHF and VHF for TV. Arquilla doesn't want to go into detail how the classified plane could get a denied internet up and running again, but if it flies over a bandwidth-denied area, suddenly your Wi-Fi bars will go back up to full strength.

"We have both satellite- and nonsatellite-based assets that can come in and provide access points to get people back online," Arquilla says. "Some of it is done from ships. You could have a cyber version of pirate radio."


From Danger Room | Wired.com


Wasn’t something like this described in Neuromancer?


Not sure what I think of this. As much as I like the idea of the US providing soft assistance to citizens on the ground, it might not be our place to do this. And it could be abused.

New Autogyro Is An Alternative to Flying Cars

The company's latest flight test aircraft is a proof-of-concept version of a four-seat autogyro capable of vertical takeoff and landing. Carter has been flight-testing the aircraft and earlier this month completed a 36 minute flight, its longest yet. In addition to the size, the new aircraft reduces pilot workload by using automated systems and computer controls similar to many new aircraft.

Using the SR/C technology, the Carter autogyro can cruise more efficiently than a helicopter by using the slowed rotor and wings during level flight. Although it can't hover like a helicopter, the ability to take off and land vertically does allow it to fly in and out of tight spots. A pusher propeller at the rear provides the thrust.


From New Autogyro Is An Alternative to Flying Cars | Autopia | Wired.com

Not a flying car, but looks closer than anyone else has gotten.

Clever Crows Use Tools in New Way

"There is no species of bird that has been recorded using tools for more than one function," said zoologist Joanna Wimpenny of the University of Sheffield.

That alone is a special behavior, and New Caledonians have refined it, choosing their twigs carefully and even demonstrating what's known as sequential tool use - using twigs to obtain twigs that would allow them to obtain food.

Sequential tool use in particular is considered a possible sign of high-level cognitive powers: understanding causality, analogizing, planning. Whether the birds in fact possess these powers, or happen to be instinctively good at a narrow range of tasks, is inconclusive, but flexible tool use would suggest something more than simple instinct.

From Clever Crows Use Tools in New Way

I think we need to re-think what we may need to rethink what we mean when we say intelligence, thought or mind. Our terminology is influence by philosophical arguments that may be obsolete.

Clever Crows Use Tools in New Way

"There is no species of bird that has been recorded using tools for more than one function," said zoologist Joanna Wimpenny of the University of Sheffield.

That alone is a special behavior, and New Caledonians have refined it, choosing their twigs carefully and even demonstrating what's known as sequential tool use - using twigs to obtain twigs that would allow them to obtain food.

Sequential tool use in particular is considered a possible sign of high-level cognitive powers: understanding causality, analogizing, planning. Whether the birds in fact possess these powers, or happen to be instinctively good at a narrow range of tasks, is inconclusive, but flexible tool use would suggest something more than simple instinct.

From Clever Crows Use Tools in New Way

I think we need to re-think what we may need to rethink what we mean when we say intelligence, thought or mind. Our terminology is influence by philosophical arguments that may be obsolete.

Girl Chimpanzees May Use Sticks as Dolls

In a fashion similar to human girls, some young chimpanzees seem to play with sticks as if they were dolls.

The findings, reported in the Dec. 21 Current Biology, are the first documented evidence of boy and girl primates in the wild playing differently with their toys. Though these patterns' origins will surely be argued, they add to the constellation of behaviors shared by humans with our closest living relative.


From Girl Chimpanzees May Use Sticks as Dolls | Wired Science | Wired.com

Wall Street Firm Uses Algorithms to Make Sports Betting Like Stock Trading

Jimmy is operating more like a daytrader than a traditional casino sports bettor, moving in and out of positions on the fly, looking for hedges, capitalizing on fleeting moments of inefficiency. And that is not an accident. Since 2009, the sports book at the M has been run by Cantor Gaming, a division of the Wall Street financial services outfit Cantor Fitzgerald. The resort's new bookmaker openly boasts that it's bringing the pace and style of Wall Street trading to betting on baseball, football, and basketball-and dabbling in everything from horse racing to golf.

From Wired

Worth a read.

World's Most Precise Clocks Could Reveal Universe Is a Hologram

"What we're looking for is when the lasers lose step with each other. We're trying to detect the smallest unit in the universe," Hogan said. "This is really great fun, a sort of old-fashioned physics experiment where you don't know what the result will be."

The holographic principle, derived from weirdness theorized to occur at the boundaries of black holes, says reality could be a 3-D projection of a 2-D plane of information. It's much the same way a hologram printed on a credit card creates the illusion of a 3-D object but, as Hogan explained, we can't perceive the 2-D surface.

"We could be living inside that 3-D projection, with the truer vision of it as a 2-D sheet hidden by scale," Hogan said.

From World's Most Precise Clocks Could Reveal Universe Is a Hologram | Wired Science | Wired.com

Mind boggling science at work.

Taliban Allies, Warlord Flunkies Guard U.S. Bases

The U.S. military's bases in Afghanistan are frequently guarded by Afghans who pay kickbacks to warlords - and even aid the Taliban.

That's what the Senate Armed Services Committee found after a year-long investigation into 125 contracts held by private security firms in Afghanistan. In a report released today (.pdf), the committee discovered that the firms rely on "warlords and strongmen" to supply them with security guards for protecting U.S. military bases, some of whom kill one another and moonlight as insurgents attacking U.S. troops. And the Defense Department barely vets the security companies it hires. At least one of those companies just won another contract with the State Department - to protect the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

From Taliban Allies, Warlord Flunkies Guard U.S. Bases [Updated] | Danger Room | Wired.com

Wow. This is insane.

Why are we forcing the army to be so dependent on private for-profit contractors when they have shown themselves to be problematic so often?

The standard of judgement for privatization seems to be that when government contractors fail it is proof that government can not do anything right. When government contractors are successful, it is proof that the private sector is superior.

Mediterranean Is Scary Laboratory of Ocean Futures | Wired Science | Wired.com

The predicted effects of climate change are being met in the Mediterranean. The results are more obvious and dramatic, but the drivers are the same all over the world, said Pierre Chevaldonne, a University of the Mediterranean biologist.
From: Mediterranean Is Scary Laboratory of Ocean Futures | Wired Science | Wired.com

If global warming is a hoax, why are the predictions coming true?

U.S. Ship Repels Pirates with Sonic Blaster, Bullets

According to a statement released by the U.S. Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, when a pirate skiff approached the ship this morning, the security team on board responded with evasive maneuvers, and blasted them with Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs) and small-arms fire. The pirates then broke off the attack.
From U.S. Ship Repels Pirates with Sonic Blaster, Bullets | Danger Room | Wired.com

I wonder if expanded non-lethal weapon use will be what ends the latest pirate outbreak.

How to Win an Argument About Vaccines

MYTH 4: Vaccines are no longer necessary, because the diseases are no longer a threat. FACT: The opposite is true. Because of vaccines, diseases that once killed millions are now invisible. But if only a few families stop vaccinating, the illnesses could reemerge in a community. And the diseases are horrible - mumps and Haemophilus influenzae type b cause meningitis, which can lead to deafness, epilepsy, and cognitive impairment. Measles can lead to encephalitis, blindness, and death.
How to Win an Argument About Vaccines | Magazine

This month’s Wired is both brutal and fair to the anti-vaccine crowd.

The Anti-Nuke Beauty Contest

Miss Atom, the beauty contest for the Russian nuclear industry, has earned a fair amount of press, in part because of the now-infamous photo of a post-Soviet hottie posing in front of some cooling towers. But the anti-nuke crowd has its own contest: The Environmentals.
The Anti-Nuke Beauty Contest | Danger Room from Wired.com

Pro-nuke versus Anti-nuke pin ups. I the only one that thinks the pro-nuke pin ups should glow and have three boobs?

Dikshit Guilty of Internet Gambling

Anurag Dikshit, the former director of Gibraltar-based PartyGaming, has agreed to cooperate with authorities probing the web-based gambling scene. It’s illegal to allow those on American soil to access online wagering sites. Under a deal with prosecutors, Dikshit faces a maximum two years behind bars under his Tuesday guilty plea to one count of violating the Wire Act.(.pdf) Dikshit founded party gaming in 1997. In 2006, Forbes magazine declared him the world’s 207th richest person.
Dikshit Guilty of Internet Gambling | Threat Level from Wired.com

That’s his real name.

GM Teases Us With Sneak Peeks of the Volt

For all the hype surrounding the Chevrolet Volt and General Motors’ willingness to share every detail of its development no matter how minute, we still don’t know what the car will look like. We’ve caught glimpses of early prototypes and everyone’s seen that wind tunnel shot, but photos of a production model have been as elusive as Thomas Pynchon.
From GM Teases Us With Sneak Peeks of the Volt | Autopia from Wired.com

Right now most of the Hybrids I see are Toyota Priuses (Priui?) . In the next 18 months Honda, Toyota, Volkwagon and GM will all be shipping Hybrid vehicles with costs in the $20k to $35k range. 2010 may be the year the Hybrid goes from niche to mainstream. And the Prius becomes less snoby.

One in Eight High School Biology Teachers Still Teach Creationism

25% said they devoted classroom time to creationism or intelligent design. Of these, about one-half — 12% of all teachers — called creationism a “valid scientific alternative to Darwinian explanations for the origin of species,” and the same number said that “many reputable scientists view these as valid alternatives to Darwinian theory.”
One in Eight High School Biology Teachers Still Teach Creationism | Wired Science from Wired.com

When I was in 3rd grade I read a book about dinosaurs. I asked my Catholic school teachers “why aren’t the dinosaurs in the bible?” To hear that so many teachers are willing to promote such nonsense is really troubling.

Robot Cannon Kills 9, Wounds 14

many advanced military weapons are essentially robotic — picking targets out automatically, slewing into position, and waiting only for a human to pull the trigger. Most of the time. Once in a while, though, these machines start firing mysteriously on their own. The South African National Defence Force “is probing whether a software glitch led to an antiaircraft cannon malfunction that killed nine soldiers and seriously injured 14 others during a shooting exercise on Friday.”
From Robot Cannon Kills 9, Wounds 14 on Danger Room

Those three laws look better every day.

The Route Coast to Coast

On October 7, 2006, Alex Roy set out from the Classic Car Club on Hudson Street in New York City. His self-assigned mission: Beat the record for a cross-country drive to Los Angeles. That record, set in 1983, is 32 hours and 7 minutes. To achieve his goal, Roy and his copilot, Dave Maher, would need to average at least 90 miles per hour.
From The Route Coast to Coast

I’m sorry, but if you aren’t riding with Dom Deluise while trying to out run Jamie Farr and a host of paper thin ethnic and social stereotypes; what’s the point?

Clinton Assails Bush's 'War on Science'

Clinton focused mostly on policy proposals, but she also drew laughs for paraphrasing the faux right-wing fury of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, saying “this administration doesn’t make decisions on facts, it makes facts based on decisions.”
From Wired News - AP News

Its sad that Science is becoming controversial. When she says When I am president, scientific integrity will not be the exception it will be the rule. my only thought is why is that an issue?

spiderman's fingers

A team of Italian scientists says their latest nanotech discovery is the secret to the wall-scaling Spiderman suit.
From Wired Science - Wired Blogs

Yet more proof that nanotech and biotech are going to make the future really weird.

This leads me to the question I first posed when watching Spiderman the movie. If Spiderman can climb walls because of his spider-like hairs on his fingers and toes; why does he wear gloves and boots? And why don’t people notice that when shaking Peter Parker’s hands?

Fungi Make Biodiesel Efficiently at Room Temperature

Scientists at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found a much better way to make biodiesel. Their new method could lower the cost and increase the energy efficiency of fuel production.
Instead of mixing the ingredients and heating them for hours, the chemical engineers pass sunflower oil and methanol through a bed of pellets made from fungal spores. An enzyme produced by the fungus does the work — making biodiesel with impressive efficiency.
From Wired

Turning waste into fuel. I’m reminded of the Mr. Fusion gizmo from the Back to the Future time traveling Delorean.

Robots with guns in Iraq

Robots have been roaming the streets of Iraq, since shortly after the war began. Now, for the first time — the first time in any warzone — the machines are carrying guns.
From Danger Room - Wired Blogs

As much as I might appreciate the use of technology to help save the lives of our troops; I’ve always been concerned with the use of combat robots. My biggest concern is that it will further remove the soldiers from the populace. One has to wonder if it is really that much easier to kill by proxy than it is to stand there and see the flesh and blood person before firing. I think we need to start considering Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.

Americans Remain Woefully Ill-Informed

More than a decade after the Internet went mainstream, the world’s richest information source hasn’t necessarily made its users any more informed. A new study from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that Americans, on average, are less able to correctly answer questions about current events than they were in 1989. Citizens who call the Internet their primary news source know slightly less than fans of TV and radio news. Hmmm… maybe a little less Perez Hilton and a little more Jim Lehrer.
Infoporn: Despite the Web, Americans Remain Woefully Ill-Informed

Disappointing stats on how little we know. It might be interesting to track the amount of news on TV in 1989 versus today, the amount of hours spent watching news and the typical length of time reading/watching news per day. That would give a much better view on whats going on. I’d also like to see a percent breakdown on the amount of time spent on non-news (entertainment, human interest and lifestyle) by the news major sources in 1989 versus today.

Astronaut Photography of Earth

Google has rolled out some spectacular new layers for Google Earth. "Astronaut Photography of Earth" is filled with images from the last 40 years of NASA Earth exploration, and "Earth City Lights" has stunning views of our home planet at night, as viewed from space.
From Compiler - Wired Blogs

Really pretty images of Earth from space. Science porn at its best.

Steel Wallet

New York designer Theo Stewart-Stand created the steel wallet from the same finely woven, industrial steel that is used in aerospace applications, petroleum processing and metal doors and windows. Stewart-Stand tightened the weave of the steel so it is small and flexible enough to thread into fabric, but still stronger and far more durable than leather or suede. The resulting skinny wallet feels as smooth as silk — but doesn’t stretch, is cool to the touch and, of course, can’t be stained.
From wired

Wonder how long it will take before steel fabric becomes a fetish fashion accessory. Or before people start making bags and backpacks out of it. I’d love a steel laptop sleeve.

The Solar Powered Amish

What community has the highest per-capita use of solar energy in Ohio? None other than the Amish. It might sound strange to people who think of the Amish as 19th century holdovers, but that’s an oversimplification. Instead, after considering the impact to their values and way of life, Amish communities decide communally whether to adopt new technologies.
From Wired Science

I would think that the Amish might be interested in bio-fuels as they are likely to have lots of agriculture waste that just might be ethanol or biodeisel feed stock.

Go Birding With Craigslist's Craig Newmark

The webcam is a remote-controlled bird-watching cam, and it can be manipulated by thousands of virtual bird watchers simultaneously.

Players vie for spots on the top watchers’ list by photographing and classifying the most birds. They snap stills of avian targets from the video stream, and the shots are dumped into a database for classification.
The camera processes user requests for pans and zooms in real-time. An algorithm calculates the best focal point to satisfy requests from the most users (now capped at 20 due to bandwidth constraints).
From Go Birding With Craigslist’s Craig Newmark -

Wow, finally a way to make bird watching more isolated, solitary and creepy. That’s progress. Seriously though, this is a really interesting use of online virtual communities. Its similar to the communal use of spare CPU cycles to crunch numbers or search for ETs.

bandoliers

Bandoliers are comfortable, have very masculine overtones, and Chewbacca wore one. I could totally see dropping my miniature bleeping possessions into the pouches of a bandolier, cheerfully strapping it on, heading out into the world, and getting shot down by a paranoid security guard.
From Wired News: Gotta Ditch the Fanny Pack, Dude

The funny thing is that I’ve attached pouches to the straps of my backpack, turning into a pseudo bandolier and never realized it until now.

Brain Teasers

but it made me wonder: If games can inadvertently train your brain, why doesn’t someone make a game that does so intentionally?
From Wired News: Brain Teasers

I keep thinking that playing Suduko will eventually develop my mental skills to the point that I will be able to bend steel bars with the power of my mind. But since that hasn’t happened yet, I’ve decided to try other puzzles. Who knew Suduko was a gateway puzzle.

playsh

Now, thanks to a new software-collaboration tool, you and your intrepid party of fellow hackers can navigate your labyrinth of code and slay its dastardly bugs, all in a dungeonlike world similar to an old-school text adventure.
Called playsh, the new tool is a collaborative programming environment based on the multi-user domains, or MUDs, so popular online in the early 1990s.
From Wired News

This reminded me of the help desk guy who once referred to the users as coming after him in wave after wave like the aliens in space invaders. Now any developer can have that kind of fun.

DVDs on your iPod

Sure, you could fill your video iPod with episodes of Knight Rider from iTunes for $2 a pop. Or you could save some cash - and your soul - and fill it with files you convert from your DVD collection using freely available software. Problem is, you’d have to break the law.
From Wired 14.03: START

The rules on how you can use things you legally purchase are downright absurd. While I think it is really weird to watch a 22 minute TV show on a 2” screen, I think it would be absolutely painful to watch a 90 minute movie on that tiny 2” screen. But why should it be illegal?

Yet another reason to support the EFF

Gear Factor

If we’ve learned anything from the ongoing influence of steroids and other performance enhancing substances on the world of modern athletics, it’s that human achievement alone is not enough. To be the best, an athlete needs a little something extra.
From Gear Factor

Anyone else reminded of Batman? Hi-tech super suit meant to enhance athletic performance. If it was black, coated in Kevlar and had pockets to fill with gadgets there would be a huge geek market.

hybrid cars

Wall Street Journal features business opinion columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. on the warpath against the Prius. Again. It’s a reprise of a satirical column published two weeks ago that succeeded in so thoroughly outraging Prius owners that Jenkins must have decided to take another poke just for the fun of watching the ants swarm.
“If Prius owners consume less, there’s less demand, prices will be lower and somebody else will step up to consume more than they would at the otherwise higher price. That’s the price mechanism at work. Oil is a fantastically useful commodity. Humans can be relied upon to consume all the oil they’d be willing to consume at a given price.”
If Prius owners really wanted to save the world, Jenkins suggests, they should all be driving Hummers, and using up oil as fast they could, so as to drive the price up enough to spur alternative energy technologies.
From Salon

I may want to thank the WSJ for making an argument for increased gasoline taxes. Since they agree that reducing demand will lower prices; wouldn’t increased gasoline taxes do the same as putting more Hybrids on the road? But since blinder wearing neo-conservatives can never muster us the courage to consider a place for something other than strict ideologically pure supply-side economics, they would never admit this.

In 2005, the sales of hybrid vehicles nearly tripled, and the outlook for 2006 is even brighter. According to Edmunds, Hybrids represented 1.26 percent of all vehicle sales last year, and the volume should double in 2006.
From wired

The Aptera prototype, which is halfway to completion, will go for up to 330 miles on a gallon of gas thanks to an aerodynamic design and the lightweight composites that make up the chassis.
From wired

Telegram Passes Into History

For more than 150 years, messages of joy, sorrow and success came in signature yellow envelopes hand delivered by a courier. Now the Western Union telegram is officially a thing of the past.
From Wired

Say good-bye to the telegram. I’m reminded of this book, The Victorian Internet. I wonder how long it will be until we hear about the last postcard, printed newspaper or even the last letter mailed.

Wired News Geeks in Toyland

Lego built a global empire out of little plastic blocks, then conquered the wired world with a robot kit called Mindstorms. So when the time came for an upgrade, they turned to their obsessed fans — and rewrote the rules of the innovation game.

From Wired

I need to figure out a way to buy this while convincing T that I’m actually buying it for our cat.