Recovering ancient voices from clay pots

August 8, 2014

MIT reports recovering voices from high-frame-rate video of a potato-chip bag, extracting information from vibrational displacements as small as 1/100 of a pixel. This reminds me of an idea floated decades ago by the fictional character Daedelus in a now-defunct column in Nature: Recover ancient voices from pots by reading the tiny ripples left by […]

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Vital national interests will change.
Perceptions may not.

August 6, 2014

As a century-or-so update to To War for Trade? — 3 August 1914 (UK), I note more recent US defense policy: Quadrennial Defense Review – May 1997 Section III: Defense Strategy When the interests at stake are vital…we should do whatever it takes to defend them, including, when necessary, the unilateral use of military power. […]

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To War for Trade? — 3 August 1914

August 4, 2014

Edward Grey, to Parliament re. the wisdom of joining in what later became known as World War I: “…let us assume that consequences which are not yet foreseen and which, perfectly legitimately consulting her own interests — make Italy depart from her attitude of neutrality at a time when we are forced in defence of […]

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Gmail interface horror

July 9, 2014

Accidentally sending an unfinished, unedited email can be a really big mistake, so one wouldn’t want to make this mistake really, really easy… Here is the button-filled corner of the “Reply” edit window in Gmail. Note the a measurement added in red: Is there any imaginable excuse for placing the Send button just 10 pixels […]

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Keynote at TVC 2014

July 3, 2014

Sorry for the late mention, but last week I gave a talk at the Technology Ventures Conference at the University of Cambridge. The organizers promise to post a video. The conference was a lot of fun. I don’t know where else I’d have an opportunity to discuss nanotechnology, additive manufacturing, Haskell, and medicine all in […]

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Standard Model followup

July 3, 2014

Here’s a reworked diagram of interactions in the Standard Model of particle physics, now in the Wikipedia article: This supersedes and corrects the previous Wikipedia diagram. Diagramming the Standard Model is a relatively good excuse to play with graphics.

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Just in case you missed reading XKCD…

June 11, 2014

Failing to read XKCD is, of course, a mistake.

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Physics Quiz: Corrected Answers

April 25, 2014

With thanks to Kevin, the previous post has been updated with corrections re. neutrinos and the Higgs.

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Physics Quiz: Standard Model Answers

April 19, 2014

Last week’s Physics Quiz asked about errors in Wikipedia’s current diagram of the Standard Model. Here’s the diagram with [corrected] corrections; answers follow: What do the arcs represent? The Standard Model interactions between particles: the boson-mediated strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces. Which of the arcs is incorrect? [And a question that got lost: Where is […]

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Physics Quiz: The Standard Model

April 16, 2014

The Wikipedia page on the Standard Model currently includes the diagram below: What do the arcs represent? Which of the arcs is incorrect? Extra credit, Wikipedia history department:   How did one correction lead to both errors? Added: Where is a second arc missing? (This makes question 3 ambiguous.) 17 April update: added question 4 after […]

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Rise of the robots (per the Economist)

April 1, 2014

In the Economist: “Rise of the robots: Prepare for a robot invasion. It will change the way people think about technology”. The robotics revolution is, of course, riding the exponential wave of today’s leading nanotechnology, digital nanoelectronics, and today’s robots give only a taste of what nanomechanical technologies will enable through radical improvements in the […]

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Environmental Impact

March 5, 2014

From xkcd. How to roll back the impact of agriculture here.

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