Archive for the ‘Geekery’ Category


What he said (5)

September 24, 2014

A good essay about what science is and what it’s not. (The author’s emphasis below.)

How our botched understanding of ‘science’ ruins everything

Here’s one certain sign that something is very wrong with our collective mind: Everybody uses a word, but no one is clear on what the word actually means.

One of those words is “science.”

Everybody uses it. Science says this, science says that. You must vote for me because science. You must buy this because science. You must hate the folks over there because science.

Look, science is really important. And yet, who among us can easily provide a clear definition of the word “science” that matches the way people employ the term in everyday life?

So let me explain what science actually is. Science is the process through which we derive reliable predictive rules through controlled experimentation. That’s the science that gives us airplanes and flu vaccines and the Internet. But what almost everyone means when he or she says “science” is something different.

To most people, capital-S Science is the pursuit of capital-T Truth. It is a thing engaged in by people wearing lab coats and/or doing fancy math that nobody else understands. The reason capital-S Science gives us airplanes and flu vaccines is not because it is an incremental engineering process but because scientists are really smart people.

In other words — and this is the key thing — when people say “science”, what they really mean is magic or truth.

H.T. Jeff


The mark of a master

September 6, 2014

Paul sends a link to this interesting story about Richard Feynman and fuzzy black holes: Why “Hawking Radiation” Was Almost “Feynman Radiation”.


A world without supercomputers

June 18, 2014

Nicely done.


The jig is up

April 8, 2014

As someone who ran Windows 2000 and Windows NT4 for many years past their EOL dates, I’m not too worried by Microsoft’s EOL plans for Windows XP.

But doesn’t the idea that XP still needs bug fixes and security patches after 12 ½ years seem a little odd ? (How long does it take, Redmond?)

Microsoft to Windows XP users: The jig is up

Starting Wednesday, Windows XP users will face a new world with no more technical support or OS updates. That world could prove hazardous to the health of their PCs, which why Microsoft is advising diehards to kick the XP habit.

Okay, so let’s say you still run Windows XP. Exactly what will happen now that Microsoft is cutting off support? First off, your installation of XP won’t mysteriously vanish or suddenly stop working. You’ll still be able to use XP just as always with all of the same features and programs you know and love.

What end of support does mean is that after today you will no longer be treated to bug fixes, security patches, and other updates from Microsoft to defend and protect XP. In fact, today’s Patch Tuesday marks the last round of updates for XP. If any new security issues or vulnerabilities are discovered in XP, Microsoft will no longer be in the job of patching them.


Another take on a Smart Home

April 7, 2014

Here’s a video from Honda about its Smart Home concept house.

If (like me) you’re not very worried about your "carbon footprint" then it will seem a little like a lot of to-do about nothing.

But on the other hand, if you’re interested in decentralization and self-sufficiency (again, like me) it will pique your interest. A 10 KWH battery is sort of intriguing by itself, since I’ve been making back-of-the-envelope calculations on how to store 20-30 KWH in a flywheel.

What I’d like to know, though, is what the carbon footprint is to ship volcanic ash around to make cement as well the answers to similar questions that occurred to me as I watched.

Via Gizmag


Dangerous drones

March 22, 2014

A few weeks ago, Jeff sent a link to this video about a quadrotor drone equipped with a 100-round machine gun. It can also self-destruct, as you’ll see in the clip.

The video comes from FPSRussia, who’s been making videos about small arms for a few years now. (And has 5,000,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.)

Jeff’s comment was, "Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out get you."

Then today I ran across this hexarotor drone called CUPID via Gizmag.

That guy acting as the crash test dummy has an amazing confidence in technology, doesn’t he?

The comments for CUPID describe it this way.

Chaotic Moon built CUPID to raise awareness of technology that’s outpacing everything from regulatory agencies to social norms.

So now I’m wondering when I’ll see one of these or read about one of them being used here in the U.S.


A nice piece of work

March 2, 2014

Jason Murray describes & demonstrates a Gauss rifle he designed & built. He posts many of the design and construction details at his Delta V Engineering site. It’s a good write-up of a nicely done piece of engineering.

My younger son and I built a very simple, capacitor-driven Gauss gun for his science fair project some years back. It was on a much more limited scale than this one. We could fire small aluminum foil "bullets" a few yards; they might have knocked a fly out of the air (if we’d been able to hit one).


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