GeekSpeak for 2014-09-06

Podcasts, Diapers, and Death Threats

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Effects of Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets - Trial

Conclusion: The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet. Restricting carbohydrate may be an option for persons seeking to lose weight and reduce cardiovascular risk factors.

Diaper-grown mushrooms to cut down waste

While their contents might be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before they end up in landfill where they’ll take centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico’s Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.

Don't Dare Mention Sexism in Games

“When it comes time to make a point about an important issue the tool I usually default to is humour, or satire, because I find it’s easiest to change people’s minds if you can make them laugh along with you. A lot of awful things have happened this week, and in the week before, and I’ve tried a few times to think of a clever way I could write them up while still getting the point across that, hey, things are really bad. I can’t. So here we are.”

TV Show Recommendations

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson at Montclair Kimberley

A discussion about science, society, and the universe with Stephen Colbert, who is out of character, at the Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey, in January of 2010.

@Midnight

in which comedians make fun of that week’s internet nonsense for POINTS! Hosted by Chris Hardwick of the Nerdist network.

No, You Shut Up!

Paul F Tompkins hosts this short-form spoof on shoutfest commentary shows that airs on the Fusion network. The commentators are a cast of puppets made by The Jim Henson Company. Bonnie’s favorite is Yerdnerp, a hilariously-accented alien and immigration reform advocate; he protests, “Everyone should have the same chance at total world domination.”

Podcast Recommendations

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

“In ‘Hardcore History’ the very unconventional Dan Carlin takes his ‘Martian’, outside-the-box way of thinking and applies it to the past. Was Alexander the Great as bad a person as Adolf Hitler? What would Apaches with modern weapons be like? Will our modern civilization ever fall like civilizations from past eras? This is a difficult-to-classify show that has a rather sharp edge. It’s not for everyone. But the innovative style and approach has made ‘Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History’ a New Media hit.”

Drunk History

Not a podcast, but a TV show that originated as web videos on Funny or Die. Knowledgeable history buffs get shnockered and passionately describe a favorite moment of history. That would be amusing enough — but then folks you may recognie faithfully re-enact the story exactly as described by that week’s drunkard.

99% Invisible

99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.

The Judge John Hodgman podcast

Judge John Hodgman – geeks & hipsters submit their beefs for Internet Justice. John Hodgman’s wide knowledge base, speedy wit, and genuine dedication to basic human decency make for some good ribbing of disputants while he draws out the information he needs to make truly considerate, reasoned judgments.

Podcast: RadioLab

Radiolab is a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and hewmon experience.

Podcasting Applications

Overcast - iOS Podcast App

A great iOS podcasting application by Marco Arment

More Geek News

Newfound Asteroid Will Give Earth Super-Close Shave on Sunday

Earth is about to have a close encounter with a house-sized asteroid on Sunday (Sept. 7), when a space rock discovered just days ago will zoom by our planet at a range closer than some satellites. But have no fear, NASA says the asteroid won’t hit Earth.

The asteroid 2014 RC will safely buzz Earth at 2:18 p.m. EDT (1818 GMT) on Sunday. At that time, the asteroid will pass over New Zealand and fly just inside the orbits of the geosynchronous communications and weather satellites orbiting Earth about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the planet’s surface, according to a NASA statement. During its close pass, 2014 RC will be about 21,126 miles (34,000 km) from Earth’s surface.

Brain to Brain?


Greg: Mental telephony?

Space Station's Cubesat Launcher has Mind of its Own

Last night, two more of Planet Lab’s shoebox-sized Earth imaging satellites launched themselves from aboard the International Space Station, the latest in a series of technical mysteries involving a commercially owned CubeSat deployer located outside Japan’s Kibo laboratory module.

Station commander Steve Swanson was storing some blood samples in one of the station’s freezers Friday morning when he noticed that the doors on NanoRack’s cubesat deployer were open, said NASA mission commentator Pat Ryan.

Flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center in Houston determined that two CubeSats had been inadvertently released.

The Feynman Lectures on Physics

“Caltech and The Feynman Lectures Website are pleased to present this online edition of The Feynman Lectures on Physics. Now, anyone with internet access and a web browser can enjoy reading a high quality up-to-date copy of Feynman’s legendary lectures.”

Web Extras!

Below is a bunch of stuff we would have talked about if we had been less excited about the stuff we did talk about. We were excited about all the stuff.

Why women have no time for Wikipedia

“Wikipedia is notorious for having a sizeable gender imbalance. As Guardian feature writer Anne Perkins put it – somewhat cattily – in a recent article, the site is dominated by ‘young white western males with a slight personality defect’. Most of them are single and childless. Indeed, as we shall shortly see, many are still children themselves.”

You’ll love this visual Microphone, you spy!

So, just from measuring the vibrations of an object seen in a video, scientists have been able to reproduce the songs and dialogue that caused the object the vibrate. Great video demo, part of a presentation at Siggraph this year

$33 Firefox Phone Launched In India

“Mozilla, a company best known for its Firefox browser, has launched a new low-cost smartphone in India that will retail for 1,999 rupees ($33; £19.90).”

Banks Report Credit Card Breach At Home Depot

“Multiple banks say they are seeing evidence that Home Depot stores may be the source of a massive new batch of stolen credit and debit cards that went on sale this morning in the cybercrime underground. Home Depot says that it is working with banks and law enforcement agencies to investigate reports of suspicious activity.”

14M Historic Images from Internet Archive Public Domain

“An American academic is creating a searchable database of 12 million historical copyright-free images.”

Video camera as microphone

Using a camera aimed at a plant or a candy wrapper, and noting any motion of that object, these folks reconstructed the sound that caused the object to vibrate — starting with their fancy high speed camera, but then applying the method to video captured by regular consumer cameras. They can make many kinds of objectsserve as visual microphones. Cool/creepy!

Good for restoring lost sound on film or video, I suppose….or spying on what was said behind closed windows. Even when intelligible speech can’t be recovered, they can still get info about the # & gender of people in the room…without recording any sound or pointing a camera at anyone in the room.

Video demo: The Visual Microphone: Passive Recovery of Sound from Video
MIT smarties presented at Siggraph this year: http://people.csail.mit.edu/mrub/papers/VisualMic_SIGGRAPH2014.pdf