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October links, part 2

Swooping the mountainside with a flying suit:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVunMqAm4aE

Toddlers Treat Robot As a Peer:
http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/06/2018230

Super Mario Bros Tesla coils:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1O2jcfOylU
Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies Tesla coils:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opf5jIukSBM

Inspiring video of a polyfi family of 3 moms and a kid. 2 of the moms are mtf's. They unschool their son... this whole video really makes me want to have kids (as I've been thinking a lot lately... maybe my biologically clock is starting to tick? hmm):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3Vc9DqQQ_A

Really neat video on how to turn a sphere inside-out:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6626464599825291409&hl=en

The Swiss Army Dildo:
http://i143.photobucket.com/albums/r158/seeutry/tetye.jpg?t=1194834516

Best halftime show ever! Pong, Tetris, Zelda, Super Mario, etc.:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QNI3W8UB-s

A mind-reading machine that is getting close to being able to translate thoughts into speech:
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7094526.stm

mauitian has submitted his Exceptionaly Simple Theory of Everything paper for publication, and has been getting quite a bit of press lately. Perhaps most impressively (in an entirely sarcastic sense), he's made it onto some guy's List of Media Whoring Dr. Quacks along with Brian Greene, Lisa Randall, and Sean Carroll.
Telegraph article: Surfer Dude stuns physicists with Theory of Everything
New Scientist article (includes a neat video of E8 group)
some other articles and blog discussions on it
Slashdot, Digg, metafilter, and many other sites are picking this up and it's practically all over the web by now.

This may be a good time to mention that mauitian and I still have a public bet going we made at Burning Man 2006 about whether SUSY (supersymmetry) particles will be discoverd at LHC. If we find them by Burning Man 2010, he owes me a Margarita, and if we don't then I owe him one. I have this somewhere on videotape... now that he's practically famous, maybe I should go dig it up :) Oh, what do I think of his latest paper? Hmmm... well, I congratulate him for a very creative and beautiful, if loosely constructed, "theory". I don't think it qualifies as a theory without the quotes, until it's elaborated on and investigated some more (as I'm sure he would agree), and I think it's a very, very long-shot IMO, but no, I wouldn't call him a crackpot as some people have (Lubos calls anyone a crackpot who tries to investigate quantum gravity without assuming string theory is correct). I will also add that it is much more difficult to go the path he's chosen, of trying to come up with such a grandiose thing all on your own, rather than following in someone's footsteps. Regardless of how unlikely I think his theory is, I still respect the ingenuity it takes to put all these ideas together (and in such a short time). I still look forward to a delicious margarita in a few years, even though I believe the odds are close to 50/50 of either of us winning the bet.

Yes, this appears to be a real organization:
http://www.fuckdeath.org/
THE FUCK DEATH FOUNDATION
1-877-DIE-DON'T

Knight Rider theme, flute beatboxing style:
http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1773942

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
squarkz
Nov. 18th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
He has a LiveJournal?!
ankh_f_n_khonsu
Nov. 18th, 2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
I posted this last night, tomorrow, in a LJ time-loop. However, I certainly didn't have the anecdotes to flesh-out the coverage.

Namaste.
easwaran
Nov. 18th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
It was weird watching that BASE jumping video and hearing Mozart's requiem so weirdly remixed - it took me a while to realize I wasn't just hallucinating the words, because it was fairly disguised.

I'd be very skeptical of that "mind-reading" machine. First of all, it's a BBC science story, and they're notoriously unreliable. But even granting everything the story says, it sounds like they've got 80% reliability on recognizing the sound the person is thinking of - I don't imagine they're doing this in a setting where he can think of any English language phoneme and they'll get the specific one he's thinking of. (If they are, then that's ridiculously amazing.) If they were really identifying the sound (in some more precise sense) he's thinking of, then it would be a wonderful way to transcribe music and similar things. Anyway, even if they've got 80% recognition on English phonemes (rather than just 80% recognition when deciding between the sounds "p" and "e" or something, as might be more plausible) I still imagine it's very slow, and not especially useful for speech. But it's very neat research, and if it ever does get close to being usable, that would be really interesting.
demoivre
Nov. 19th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
Hey, happy (early) birthday!
spoonless
Nov. 19th, 2007 08:35 am (UTC)
thanks!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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