gurps_npc writes "In the Aero 2011 expo in Germany, they unveiled the FlyNano. Basically it looks like a jet ski with wings and a propeller. Hard wings (not para-foil), selling for about $36,000. The creator said that if you can fly a microlight, you can fly the FlyNano."Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "A great article from wired about lottery tickets. It's main focus is the fact that many of them can be beaten. That is, you can look at numbers printed on a scratch lottery ticket before removing the scratch off and figure out which ticket will win and which will lose. Yes, this article tells you how to do this. It also touches on organized crime and the psychology of the system."Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "The New York Times recently published a story (warning, login needed) accusing an internet retailer of intentionally providing bad service. The theory was that every bad review generated increased their google score, placing them higher in the rankings. While a Google search for the company name resulted in the bad reviews, if you searched for a brand name, that company came up very high because of all the bad reviews. So people would search for brand name products and end up using the company with the worst reputation.
Google apparently took this to heart because as per PCworld article, they recently announced a new algorithm that will punish a store if they get too many bad reviews.
Right now, the algorithm just punishes "an extremely poor user experience", but they say they will continue to work on the issue.
In the (paraphrased) words of Coots and Gillespie:
They are making a list, And checking it twice; gonna find out who's naughty and nice"Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "The Kartel has an interesting article about a recent patent Sony filed. Basically they want to hack a 3d tv set up with 2 paris of 3d glasses. They want each seperate glass to display a seperate view (so instead of each pair of glasses having a left eye different from the right eye, one is set to see the "right eye" view to both eyes, while the other is set to show the "left eye view".
This way, two people can watch the same TV and see a different picture — peerfect for head to head racing games. Right now they just split the screen, but that has two problems. First, you can see your opponent's screen, and second, your own view is half the possible width.
It is an interesting idea.."Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "While the court did affirm the lower courts decision that this particular business patent was not valid, it also ruled 5 v 4 that the lower court was wrong and that it IS possible to patent a business process, not just a machine.
Justice Kennedy said that while the "Machine or Transformation" question was important, it could not be th3e exclusive test. Specifically it said that processes and methods not tied to a machine may be patentable."Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "The Republican Party has set up a web site to hear your ideas. But whoops, they got bombarded by a bunch of Liberals, instead of the loyal conservatives they are so desperately hunting for. Worse, a simple review of the comments shows that a majority of the "lunatic" comments are from the few conservatives that signed up (I love the conservative guy that insists that his school teach children that dolphins are fish). So what do they do? They modify the registration process so that New Yorkers can't register. Try it. Log in, and give a NY zip code such as 10128. You will wait forever to get the confirmation email that completes the registration process. But if you give a Texan zip code (77001), you will get the confirmation email right away."Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "59 Seconds, by Richard Wiseman, is a different kind of self-help book. Most are full of hype and 'positive' thinking and short on science. His is the other way around, long on science with tons of footnotes, and short on hype. It is written by a psychologist/professor, not a marketer. As such, every single bit of his advice is backed by scientific studies.
Much (but not all) of his advice runs contrary to the typical self help book. Imagine yourself overcoming problems, not as an instant success. To get creative solutions, do it individually and get together after you write them down, no group brainstorming. He is not a total skeptical, as he does sometimes suggest rather strange advice (naming your children with the letter A or B to get them better school grades).
He goes through most of the standard self book types, including dating, career, interviews, relationships, and child raising. The title, "59 Seconds", refers to a comment by a friend of his that asked for advice in less than a minute. Most chapters start out de-bunking the standard self-help fare, and then quickly move on to his advice, backed up by studies. Then, at the end of each chapter he puts a short '59 second' summary, along with some exercises to help you follow up on the book.
While I don't think everything he says is true, he definitely offers a different perspective than most self help books. If you are interested in a skeptical perspective on how to do deal with life's little challenges, then this book is something you might enjoy.
I found it to be a very good skeptic's self-help book."Link to Original Source
gurps_npc writes "According to PCmag, Apple has rejected Google Coice App that lets you combine multiple phone numbers. The reason Apple gave was that it duplicated existing Iphone functionality. Of course, Google let you do it for free while the Iphone charged for it.
I think that Apple may be taking a few too many lessons from Microsoft."
gurps_npc writes "PCworld has a blog about a computer program that can guess your social security number. It is based on a research project from Carnegie Melon. It uses your birth date and birth location, both of which are routinely given out to websites to make the guess. It is not close to 100% accureate, but such a system could easily cause massive problems if applied en-masse. At the very least this could make spam look a lot more official."
gurps_npc writes "Forensics Innovations claims to have for sale a product that detects headerless encrypted files, such as TrueCrypt Dynamic files.
It does not decrypt the file, just tells you that it is in fact an encrypted file. It works by detecting hidden patterns that don't exist in a random file. It does not mention stenography, but if their claim is true, it seems that it should be capable of detecting stenographic information as well."