Technology

Pharyngula

Category archives for Technology

Networking is good

I feel a little bit guilty saying this: every time I write about Jonah Lehrer, it seems to be about jumping on his ideas, even though I think he’s a good writer and his other ideas, the ones I don’t carp about, are interesting. The last time was when I criticized his noise about how…

Another reason to dread the airport

On my last flight, I sat next to a woman who had the worst case of fear of flying I’ve ever seen. She spent the entire trip clutching the armrests and breaking into frequent bouts of tears; when I asked if there was anything I could do, she said, no, she knew it was completely…

This is a video produced in the 1960s to illustrate life in the 1990s. Nerds will find hilarity in the computer interfaces, women will rage at the gender stereotypes.

Small town movie theater tech

I was reading Roger Ebert’s lament over the disgraceful decline of quality in theater projection (a function of theater owners who just don’t care anymore and the corrupting influence of bad 3D), and then I remembered that last year I took some pictures of the funky old technology in our local movie house, the Morris…

Misery on the screen

You can’t get riper nerd schadenfreude from anywhere but a bad powerpoint competition. There are some real horrors at that link, but they unfortunately miss a trick: the greatest suffering is not inflicted by the single slide, but by the endless flood of one bad slide after another. I have suffered through a presentation by…

What is really important

the total number of hours consumed by Angry Birds players world-wide is roughly 200 million minutes a DAY, which translates into 1.2 billion hours a year. To compare, all person-hours spent creating and updating Wikipedia totals about 100 million hours over the entire life span of Wikipedia. The rest of the article is an interesting…

Do not taunt Anonymous

I agreed with Doctorow that the recent shutdown of the Westboro loons was a stunt by WBC itself. Now Anonymous has spoken out in an interview with Shirley Phelps-Roper denying any involvement. Here’s the hilarious bit, though: midway through the interview, after Phelps-Roper’s prolonged ranting and raving, the Anonymous spokesman calmly announces that they were…

Where’s the duct tape?

Obviously, I did it all wrong. I have a digital video microscope in my lab, but what I did was spend about $20,000 on a nice microscope, $1000 on a digital still camera and about $500 on a digital video camera, and $200 on a pair of custom adapters to link them together. The principle…

I’m white. I’m a nerd. I live in Minnesota. I have no rhythm at all — dancing for me is more of a syncopated chaos. But now, for a mere $40, I can get a little yellow robot that can dance. Maybe the robot would be willing to give me lessons?

Evolve a car

Looking for a nice demonstration of genetic algorithms? Here’s a simulation that takes randomized connected collections of polygons and wheels and scores them for their ability to traverse a rugged 2D landscape. I tried it last night, and it gave me an assortment of very bad vehicles: for example, a lot of them were just…