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Monthly Archive: December 2011

Dec 20 2011

First Earth-sized exoplanets found!

Kepler 20f, Venus, Earth, and Kepler 20e arranged in size order from smallest to biggest

NASA reports that the Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-sized exoplanets ever discovered. What’s even wilder: they found the pair of them in the same damned system.

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Dec 20 2011

More novel control schemes: Skyrim Kinect

I’ve been thinking about getting a Kinect for PC, considering how hackable they are, and how there’s an open-source stack useable cross-platform, and how Microsoft actually failed to fire the footgun recently by backing down on a lawsuit they were trying to initiate against someone who adapted a legally-owned Kinect to build said open-source stack.

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Dec 20 2011

Can we stop calling science things “God Something”?

Let’s play a little game of quantum compare/contrast. “Oh, sure,” you object; “because quantum stuff is so easy to find and examine in situ!” But that’s pretty much exactly the point — quantum ISN’T easy to do that with. What IS easy to compare/contrast is stuff in macro — stuff at the “human size scale”. …

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Dec 19 2011

Reports of gender roles’ death are greatly exaggerated

Via Right Wing Watch, James Dobson and Bill Bennett mourn the death of traditional male gender roles, thanks to those meddling gays and feminists. If only those roles were actually dead! Dobson: You’re concerned about manhood today, aren’t you? Bennett: Yes. Dobson: Especially in the Western world, we’ve forgotten what it means to be a …

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Dec 19 2011

Biofeedback for video games

This is pretty awesome. Advancer Technologies released what’s probably a viral video for their biofeedback sensors, which take muscle impulses to create signals that you could connect to an Arduino HID controller which turns any arbitrary input signals into specific key- or mouse-presses. Ergo, playing Mario by flexing. Of course, Mario involves going right a …

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Dec 19 2011

Neti pots: potentially dangerous?

A woman using a neti pot, a small teapot-like device, to pour water in one nostril and out the other.

Sorta kinda maybe. Depends on what kind of water you’re using. Turns out the popular but placebo home remedy for sinus issues might be a vector for catching slight cases of brain-munching amoeba infestation. But Louisiana’s taking no chances, after two people contracted primary amoebic meningoencephalitis after using a neti pot filled with tap water …

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Dec 18 2011

Saturday Morning Cartoons with the Dohvakids

Anyone else remember this 80′s cartoon on Saturday mornings? I have some very distinct memories of watching this show over my Frankenberry cereal, I swear.

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Dec 18 2011

Will the first Earthly organism on Titan be a super-fly?

Earth and Titan. Soon to both be inhabited by fruitflies?

And what’s weirder, will this super-fruitfly be bred by an artist, rather than a scientist? Very much art meets science. The air pressure on Titan is fifty percent higher than on Earth so I used a bicycle pump and pressure gauge to increase the pressure in the chamber to 1.5bar. That was probably the most …

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Dec 17 2011

Quite possibly the most moving two minute video ever

Presented with as little context as possible, intentionally, below the fold.

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Dec 16 2011

Justin Trudeau apologizes for being right about Environment minister Peter Kent

As you might know, recently Canada withdrew from the Kyoto protocol shortly after the Durban conference — what our next steps are once Kyoto ends — came to agreement. While the problems with the Kyoto protocol are myriad, including that it didn’t go far enough, didn’t include the top climate destroyers, and explicitly excluded carbon …

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