When Astronomers Chased a Total Eclipse in a Concorde
In the 1970s, a small group of astronomers used the first prototype of the Concorde to pursue a total eclipse across the Sahara at twice the speed of sound.
23 hours ago
Science doesn’t explain tech’s diversity problem — history does
In this context, Damore’s memo is particularly sloppy and fundamentally unscientific. The memo doesn’t clearly define what makes for a successful coder. It doesn’t explore what scientists do and don’t know about how biological sex shapes behavior. It doesn’t call on experts to debate. It doesn’t evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence. And it never once discusses what we know about gender discrimination or its long, sordid history in tech. [...] The memo isn’t reaching for a higher truth — it is instead the expression of a reactionary instinct to preserve the status quo. Deflection: now, with graphs!
6 days ago
Solar eclipse [Google] searches match the path of totality
According to Google Trends, search traffic about the upcoming solar eclipse mirrors the path of totality. And according to XKCD, pre-eclipse search traffic for “eclipse” is outpacing pre-election search traffic for “election”.
7 days ago
Why we fell for clean eating
Why has clean eating proved so difficult to kill off? Hadley Freeman, in this paper, identified clean eating as part of a post-truth culture, whose adherents are impervious, or even hostile, to facts and experts. But to understand how clean eating took hold with such tenacity, it’s necessary first to consider just what a terrifying thing food has become for millions of people in the modern world. The interesting question is not whether clean eating is nonsense, but why so many intelligent people decided to put their faith in it.
8 days ago
Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA
A group of researchers from the University of Washington has shown for the first time that it's possible to encode malicious software into physical strands of DNA, so that when a gene sequencer analyzes it the resulting data becomes a program that corrupts gene-sequencing software and takes control of the underlying computer.
12 days ago
Stop Saying Mansplaining Isn’t a Big Deal. It is.
If you, as a man, claim to know more about a woman’s own body than she does, you are mansplaining. When you start to question her own experiences and reality and feelings and opinions just because you don’t like them, you are mansplaining. When you feel that you are better qualified to make choices that influence her autonomy over her own body, you are mansplaining. When you ridicule or dismiss her viewpoints and her description of reality, despite having zero evidence to support the idea that she’s wrong or mistaken, you are mansplaining. And in doing so, you are perpetuating the misogyny and sexism that defines nearly every part of a woman’s existence.
13 days ago
The Fiercely Precise World of Competitive Table-Setting
In addition to creative pressures, tablescapers must also have an encyclopedic knowledge of the lost art of how to set a table. The dishes, glasses and flatware must correspond with the proposed menu, and those items must be laid out perfectly, down to the direction of the knife blade. Mistakes cost competitors points, detracted by anonymous judges whose choices can sometimes feel arbitrary.
13 days ago
Is There a Giant Planet Lurking Beyond Pluto?
As faint as the tiniest moons of Pluto, Planet Nine would be barely two pixels wide on the Hubble Space Telescope’s camera. Searchers could easily miss it among random speckles of sensor noise and the twinkling of distant and variable stars. And because the planet is so far from Earth, near the far end of a highly elliptical path that takes at least 15,000 years to complete, astronomers have to wait a day or more between successive photographs of the right patch of sky to see the planet shift its apparent position relative to the much more distant stars.
13 days ago
Cruel and Unusual
America has long wrestled with this concept in the context of our strongest punishment, the death penalty. A majority of “we the people” (61 percent, to be exact) are in favor of having it, but inside the Supreme Court, opinions have evolved over time in surprising ways.
14 days ago
Robust Physical-World Attacks on Machine Learning Models
Our algorithm can create spatially- constrained perturbations that mimic vandalism or art to reduce the likelihood of detection by a casual observer. We show that adversarial examples generated by RP2 achieve high success rates under various conditions for real road sign recognition by using an evaluation methodology that captures physical world conditions. We physically realized and evaluated two attacks, one that causes a Stop sign to be misclassified as a Speed Limit sign in 100% of the testing conditions, and one that causes a Right Turn sign to be misclassified as either a Stop or Added Lane sign in 100% of the testing conditions.
15 days ago
I am disappointed but unsurprised by the news that an anti-diversity, sexist, manifesto is making…
Leaders need to choose what kind of company cultures they want to build and who they want to feel safe, valued, and supported in within them.
16 days ago
The hidden rhythm in Radiohead’s 'Videotape’
Radiohead has hidden a syncopated rhythm in the song that even the band members have trouble keeping straight when they’re trying to play it
17 days ago
The Evolution of Trust
During World War I, peace broke out.

It was Christmas 1914 on the Western Front.
Despite strict orders not to chillax with the enemy, British
and German soldiers left their trenches, crossed No Man's Land,
and gathered to bury their dead, exchange gifts, and play games.

Meanwhile: it's 2017, the West has been at peace for decades, and
wow, we suck at trust. Surveys show that, over the past forty years, fewer and fewer people say they trust each other. So here's our puzzle:

Why, even in peacetime, do friends become enemies?
And why, even in wartime, do enemies become friends?

I think game theory can help explain our epidemic of distrust –
and how we can fix it! So, to understand all this...
18 days ago
Winners of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - The Atlantic
The photos and captions were written by the photographers, and lightly edited for style.
19 days ago
Charting Her Own Flight Plan
A hearing disability grounded K. Renee Horton from becoming an astronaut. But it didn’t stop her from realizing her dream of working at NASA.
20 days ago
What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law
Every week Roman Mars (99% Invisible) will host a fun, casual Con Law 101 class that uses the tumultuous and erratic activities of the executive branch under Trump to teach us all about the US Constitution.
24 days ago
Programming as if the Domain (and Performance) Mattered
What if focusing on the problem domain, while still understanding the machine that will
execute your code, could improve maintainability and collaterally speed up execution by
a factor of over 100x compared to popular hipster code?
25 days ago
Where Did Amoxicillin's Flavor Come From?
Under the humoral theory of medicine, Berenstein says, “tastes themselves were correlated with the body’s humors.” So if someone’s four humors—black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm—were seen to be out of balance, they’d likely be advised to avoid certain tastes, and eat more of others. A melancholic person, for example, might want to avoid vinegar (sour—just like them), and eat more sugar to balance themselves out. “It wasn’t about a spoonful of sugar making the medicine go down,” Berenstein says. “A spoonful of sugar was the medicine.”
28 days ago
Mandala pattern traced by Earth and Venus as they orbit Sun
The left side is Venus and the right side is Earth. It takes about 1:36 to synch up, but it almost synchs up (the planets would be directly opposite each other) around 46 seconds in. Each 8 bars represents an orbit around the sun. Do not listen to this without headphones, it makes no sense without being able to separate them.
4 weeks ago
For Those Considering Blaxit, I Present to You: Melbourne (Yes, Australia)
Australia exists within a geopolitical vacuum and has one of the most casually accepted cultures of racism I’ve ever experienced. It’s a culture where refugees are held illegally in offshore detention camps, with minimal public outcry. It’s one that puts immigrants and other people in a hierarchy, where Southern Europeans are near the top, followed by Asians, African Americans and then Africans, Arabs and Aborigines (for whom their hatred burns eternal). But even though World War II gave Australia a certain reverence for Americans, including black ones, the fetishism and ignorance around race and diversity make even the most flippant “Hey, Macy Gray!” or “I love black men” comments all the more repugnant.
4 weeks ago
Program Design by Calculation
This textbook in preparation has arisen from the author’s research and teaching experience. Its main aim is to provide software practitioners with a calculational approach to the design of software artifacts ranging from simple algorithms and functions to the specification and realization of information systems. Put in other words, the book invites software designers to raise standards and adopt mature development techniques found in other engineering disciplines, which (as a rule) are rooted on a sound mathematical basis so as to enable algebraic reasoning.
4 weeks ago
Un albero un anno - One tree one year
A “special” beech tree kept under observation for a whole year by a concealed eye, which never closes. Four seasons unfolding around a crossroad of smells, signals and messages left behind by the extraordinary wildlife of the Apennines.
4 weeks ago
Scientists Store Film Clip in DNA
Imagine, he said, “the impossibility of controlling secrets, when those secrets are encoded in the genomes of the bacteria in our guts or on our skins.”
5 weeks ago
Deepest Dive Under Antarctica Reveals a Shockingly Vibrant World
Tendrils of ice-covered brine, or brinicles, leak from sea ice near East Antarctica’s Dumont d’Urville Station. Ephemeral and seldom seen, they form when trapped, supercooled brine escapes from the ice and freezes less salty seawater.
5 weeks ago
GOOP’s misogynistic, mansplaining hit job
I did 4 years of medical school, a 5 year OB/GYN residency, a 1 year fellowship in infectious diseases, I am board certified in OB/GYN in 2 countries, I am board certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in Pain Medicine and I am appropriately styled Dr. Jen Gunter MD, FRCS(C), FACOG, DABPM, ABPM (pain). A woman with no medical training who tells women to walk around with a jade egg in their vaginas all day, a jade egg that they can recharge with the energy of the moon no less, is the strangely confident one.
5 weeks ago
Radiolab: Null and Void
Should a juror be able to ignore the law? From a Quaker prayer meeting in the streets of London, to riots in the streets of LA, we trace the history of a quiet act of rebellion and struggle with how much power “we the people” should really have.
5 weeks ago
You Are Not Google
I was surprised to discover that one student’s company had chosen to architect their system around Kafka. This was surprising because, as far as I could tell, their business processed just a few dozen very high value transactions per day—perhaps a few hundred on a good day. At this throughput, the primary datastore could be a human writing into a physical book.
6 weeks ago
How to defend your website with ZIP bombs
So it turns out ZIP compression is really good with repetitive data so if you have a really huge text file which consists of repetitive data like all zeroes, it will compress it really good. Like REALLY good. For example you can compress a 4.5 peta byte (4.500.000 giga bytes) file down to 42 kilo bytes. When you try to actually look at the content (extract or decompress it) then you'll most likely run out of disk space or RAM.
6 weeks ago
Big-O Algorithm Complexity Cheat Sheet
Space and time Big-O complexities of common algorithms used in Computer Science.
6 weeks ago
Butterick’s Practical Typography
If you work with in­for­ma­tion and ideas, then writ­ing plays a cen­tral role in your pro­fes­sional life. You might be a pro­gram­mer, writ­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion for a new soft­ware tool. You might be a sci­en­tist, writ­ing a pro­posal for a re­search grant. You might be a law­yer, writ­ing a brief for court. Ty­pog­ra­phy is the vi­sual com­po­nent of the writ­ten word. And be­ing a pub­lisher of the writ­ten word nec­es­sar­ily means be­ing a ty­pog­rapher. This book will make you a bet­ter typographer.
6 weeks ago
Coraline Ada Ehmke: Antisocial Coding: My Year at GitHub
GitHub has made some very public commitments to turning its culture around, but I feel now that these statements are just PR. I am increasingly of the opinion that in hiring me and other prominent activists, they were attempting to use our names and reputations to convince the world that they took diversity, inclusivity, and social justice issues seriously. And I feel naive for having fallen for it.
6 weeks ago
Russian malware communicates by leaving comments in Britney Spears's Instagram account
A new analysis by Eset shows that Turla is solving its C&C problems by using Britney Spears' Instagram account as a cut-out for its C&C servers. Turla moves the C&C server around, then hides the current address of the server in encrypted comments left on Britney Spears's image posts. The compromised systems check in with Spears's Instagram whenever they need to know where the C&C server is currently residing.
6 weeks ago
That Time the TSA Found a Scientist’s 3-D-Printed Mouse Penis
The officer called over three of her colleagues and asked them to guess what it is. No one said anything, so Cohn told them. They fell apart laughing.
7 weeks ago
The Wrong Abstraction
Don't get trapped by the sunk cost fallacy. If you find yourself passing parameters and adding conditional paths through shared code, the abstraction is incorrect. It may have been right to begin with, but that day has passed.
8 weeks ago
Schemas for the Real World
Social app development challenges us to code for users’ personal world. Users are giving push-back to ill-fitted assumptions about their own identity - name, gender, sexual orientation, important relationships, and many other attributes that are individually meaningful.
8 weeks ago
Obama’s secret struggle to retaliate against Putin’s election interference
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s efforts to secure the U.S. voting systems run aground when some state officials reject his plan, calling it a federal takeover.
8 weeks ago
Q: What is the Most Feminist Thing Your Dad has Said or Done?
The pastor, a man in his mid thirties, was probably not quite ready for what my Dad, in his early sixties, was going to say.
9 weeks ago
Errata Security: How The Intercept Outed Reality Winner
Most printers print nearly invisibly yellow dots that track down exactly when and where documents, any document, is printed. Because the NSA logs all printing jobs on its printers, it can use this to match up precisely who printed the document.
10 weeks ago
Seeing Theory - A visual introduction to probability and statistics
Seeing Theory is a project designed and created by Daniel Kunin with support from Brown University's Royce Fellowship Program. The goal of the project is to make statistics more accessible to a wider range of students through interactive visualizations. Seeing Theory visualizes the fundamental concepts covered in an introductory college statistics or Advanced Placement statistics class. Students are encouraged to use Seeing Theory as an additional resource to their textbook, professor and peers.
11 weeks ago
Network Protocols – For programmers who know at least one programming language
In short: HTTP/2 has header compression because of the RAM limitations of networking devices in the late 1970s.
11 weeks ago
They Basically Reset My Brain
“Daddy,” he said. “I don’t want you to play football anymore.”
11 weeks ago
Cassini Finds Saturn Moon May Have Tipped Over
Whether it was caused by an impact or some other process, Tajeddine and colleagues think the disruption and creation of the tiger-stripe terrain caused some of Enceladus' mass to be redistributed, making the moon's rotation unsteady and wobbly. The rotation would have eventually stabilized, likely taking more than a million years. By the time the rotation settled down, the north-south axis would have reoriented to pass through different points on the surface -- a mechanism researchers call "true polar wander."
12 weeks ago
A Whole New Jupiter: First Science Results from NASA’s Juno Mission
“Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new,” said Bolton. “On our next flyby on July 11, we will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system -- one that every school kid knows -- Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments.”
12 weeks ago
Saturn’s Rings: The Cassini Division, Huygens Gap, A-ring, B-ring—and PHYSICS!
So the B-ring is a dense place with a mass nearly the same as Saturn’s moon Mimas (yup, our solar system’s very own death star).
12 weeks ago
Undercover restorers fix Paris landmark's clock
For a year from September 2005, under the nose of the Panthéon's unsuspecting security officials, a group of intrepid "illegal restorers" set up a secret workshop and lounge in a cavity under the building's famous dome.
12 weeks ago
The Art of Slamming Paper Against Metal
A short vignette of Bowne & Co. Stationers at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, an old-school letterpress printing shop.
12 weeks ago
The Trump Documents - The Onion
The Onion has obtained hundreds of documents from an anonymous source within the White House.
may 2017
These scientists made 2,879 tiny clay caterpillars and hid them all over the world
The fake caterpillars revealed that, indeed, predation is highest near the equator and lowest near the poles; for every 1 degree of latitude north or south of the equator, the odds of a caterpillar getting attacked decreased by 2.7 percent. So a caterpillar in Zackenberg, Greenland was about 87 percent less likely to get bitten than a caterpillar at the equator.
may 2017
Open-Plan Offices Kill Productivity
Enclosed private offices clearly outperformed open-plan layouts in most aspects of IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality), particularly in acoustics, privacy and the proxemics issues. Benefits of enhanced 'ease of interaction' were smaller than the penalties of increased noise level and decreased privacy resulting from open-plan office configuration.
may 2017
Time lapse of a cloud inversion filling the Grand Canyon with an undulating vaporous ocean
Usually, the air nearest the Earth is the warmest and it gets cooler as the altitude increases. But sometimes, there’s a meteorological inversion and colder air gets trapped near the ground with a layer of warmer air on top. While working on a dark sky project, Harun Mehmedinovic shot a time lapse movie of a rare cloud inversion in the Grand Canyon, in which the entire canyon is filled nearly to the brim with fluffy clouds.
may 2017
Deep Neural Networks are Easily Fooled: High Confidence Predictions for Unrecognizable Images
That DNNs see these objects as near-perfect examples of recognizable images sheds light on remaining differences between the way DNNs and humans recognize objects, raising questions about the true generalization capabilities of DNNs and the potential for costly exploits of solutions that use DNNs.
may 2017
Nearley Parser Playground
Nearley will parse anything you throw at it (including ambiguous grammars!) without complaining or going into a sulk infinite loop.
may 2017
If Americans Can Find North Korea on a Map, They’re More Likely to Prefer Diplomacy
On average, Republicans – and Republican men in particular – were more likely to correctly locate North Korea than Democratic men. And Republicans were more likely to be in favor of almost all the diplomatic solutions posed by the researchers. (Women tended to find North Korea at similar rates, regardless of party.)
may 2017
Health Sexuality and Law - Michael Kirby
Attitudes to same-sex relationships have changed but there is still work to be done. In Australia we have the on-going fight for marriage equality and hate crimes against sexual minorities are still a fact of life in many countries. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of Latrobe's Law School and the Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, Michael Kirby talks from personal and professional experience about discrimination and sexual minorities.
may 2017
Using Wi-Fi to Get 3D Images of Surrounding Location
The radio signals emitted by a commercial Wi-Fi router can act as a kind of radar, providing images of the transmitter’s environment, according to new experiments. Two researchers in Germany borrowed techniques from the field of holography to demonstrate Wi-Fi imaging. They found that the technique could potentially allow users to peer through walls and could provide images 10 times per second.
may 2017
The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada
At first glance the reassembled gray blocks look like a nine-foot-long sculpture of a dinosaur. A bony mosaic of armor coats its neck and back, and gray circles outline individual scales. Its neck gracefully curves to the left, as if reaching toward some tasty plant. But this is no lifelike sculpture. It’s an actual dinosaur, petrified from the snout to the hips.
may 2017
I feel honoured to have ‘met’ him and to have entertained him with my silly jokes. It was a privilege to have been given the opportunity to draw a picture for him, filled with ideas and memories from those who knew and loved him best.
may 2017
Today’s students on Rodney King
This is a generation of kids so numb to seeing videos of police beating, tasering, shooting, and otherwise applying the power of the state to unarmed and almost inevitably black or Hispanic men that they legitimately could not understand why a video of cops beating up a black guy (who *didn’t even die* for pete’s sake!) was shocking enough to cause a widespread breakdown of public order.
may 2017
Criminals are Now Exploiting SS7 Flaws to Hack Smartphone Two-Factor Authentication Systems
That allows the attacker to direct a target's text messages to another device, and, in the case of the bank accounts, steal any codes needed to login or greenlight money transfers (after the hackers obtained victim passwords).
may 2017
Can Programming Be Liberated from the von Neumann Style? — John Backus
There are numerous indications that the applicative style of programming can become more powerful than the von Neumann style. Therefore it is important for programmers to develop a new class of history-sensitive models of computing systems that embody such a style and avoid the inherent efficiency problems that seem to attach to lambda-calculus based systems.
may 2017
Engineering a diverse workplace
The majority of actions to address inequity in STEM are potentially flawed in that they assume a baseline respect for people from diverse backgrounds.
may 2017
Forensic experts recover novel written by blind woman with a pen that had run out of ink
Not knowing what else to do, she and Simon called the police. To the Vickers’s surprise, officers at Dorset HQ volunteered to work during their breaks and free time, hoping to use their forensic tools to help. And, five months later, the police reported back with success: they recovered the never-written words.
may 2017
E-Health Cyber-DOOOOOOM.
Because this government would NEVER share the confidential data of a private citizen who threatens their stance, like, say when MP Tudge released the Centrelink data of Ms Andy Fox last month when she criticised faulty data-matching robo-debts?
may 2017
Some clip-art cartoons about software product development
may 2017
Quicksand is complicated stuff
If you end up in quicksand, don’t panic. Quicksand is denser than a human, which means that, at the worst, you won’t sink in much further than your waist
may 2017
17 Fascinating photos of our Solar System and beyond
Over the last few years, human technology has explored further into the Solar System than ever before. Here are some of the most spectacular images sent back.
may 2017
Application of Adrian Ashley of the House of Cooper - NSW Caselaw
Unsurprisingly, the petitioner concluded his submissions by citing Magna Carta (version not identified).
may 2017
Computer-generated moths
Twitter bot @mothgenerator posts images of computer-generated moths with computer-generated names.
may 2017
a plant ☘ (@grow_slow)
A fiddle-leaf fig slowly growing every day. one picture taken at 10:17 am every morning. watered by @nicolehe
may 2017
Nomadic gardener rents people’s yards to grow produce
Jim Kovaleski is a nomadic gardener — he refers to what he does as “portable farming” at one point — who moves from place to place, renting out people’s yards to grow produce, which he then sells to stores and markets.
may 2017
Same Stats, Different Graphs: Generating Datasets with Varied Appearance and Identical Statistics through Simulated Annealing
While different in appearance, each dataset has the same summary statistics (mean, standard deviation, and Pearson's correlation) to two decimal places.
may 2017
Corfu: A distributed shared log
CORFU is a global log which clients can append-to and read-from over a network. Internally, CORFU is distributed over a cluster of machines in such a way that there is no single I/O bottleneck to either appends or reads. Data is fully replicated for fault tolerance, and a modest cluster of about 16--32 machines with SSD drives can sustain 1 million 4-KByte operations per second.
may 2017
Retraction Watch
Although retractions are on average occurring sooner after publication than in the past, citation analysis shows that they are not being recognised by subsequent users of the work. Findings suggest that editors and institutional officials are taking more responsibility for correcting the scientific record but that reasons published in the retraction notice are not always reliable. More aggressive means of notification to the scientific community appear to be necessary.
may 2017
255- The Architect of Hollywood - 99% Invisible
“Paul Williams is an African American architect who was much more than an African American architect,” says Karen Hudson, Paul Williams’ biographer and granddaughter. “He was simply one of the best architects of the 20th century.”
may 2017
Nukes - Radiolab
President Richard Nixon once boasted that at any moment he could pick up a telephone and - in 20 minutes - kill 60 million people.  Such is the power of the US President over the nation’s nuclear arsenal.  But what if you were the military officer on the receiving end of that phone call? Could you refuse the order?
may 2017
Who is Publishing NSA and CIA Secrets, and Why?
Countries don't often reveal intelligence capabilities: "sources and methods." Because it gives their adversaries important information about what to fix, it's a deliberate decision done with good reason.
may 2017
What do Australian governments prioritise in public expenditure? Does party make a difference?
Patterns of public expenditure over the past 25 years demonstrate that the funding priorities of Australia’s two main parties have been remarkably similar. Furthermore, any exceptions to the rule have been precipitated by dramatic changes to global economic conditions.
may 2017
Wikipedia plot descriptions think men save, women forgive
In general, it can be said that men are written to be active, while women are more often passive. Exploring this binary division further, data scientist David Robinson analyzed which verbs most often follow “he” or “she” in the Wikipedia plot descriptions of over 100,000 movies, books, TV shows, and video games. The results highlight a stark contrast along lines of violence, forgiveness, and power.
may 2017
The design, implementation and deployment of a system to transparently compress hundreds of petabytes of image files for a file storage service
Lepton losslessly compresses an average JPEG image by about 23%. This is expected to save Dropbox more than 8% of its overall backend file storage. Lepton introduces new techniques that allow it to match the compression savings of prior work (PackJPG) while decoding more than nine times faster and in a streaming manner.
may 2017
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