Geekdom

By Luke Hokama | Fun, tech-related stuff to geek out on.

'Game of Thrones' GIFs by illustrator Eran Mendel

<b>Update 7/16/2017:</b> Season 7 of <i>Game of Thrones</i> premieres tonight, and we’re delighted to say Eran will be creating more GIFs for each episode of this …

Drone Racing League sets Guinness record for fastest flight

The team behind the Drone Racing League (DRL), which is in the midst of its second aired racing season, have just set a Guinness World Record for the fastest battery-powered remote-controlled quadcopter. The drone earning the title is the DRL RacerX, which was designed and built by Ryan Gury, DRL's …

Drones

How Apple reinvigorated its AI aspirations in under a year

At its WWDC 2017 keynote on Monday, Apple showed off the fruits of its AI research labors. We saw a Siri assistant that's smart enough to interpret your intentions, an updated Metal 2 graphics suite designed for machine learning and a Photos app that can do everything its Google rival does without …

Machine Learning

The ridiculous Not Hotdog app from 'Silicon Valley' is real

Our long national nightmare is over: Thanks to HBO and <i>Silicon Valley</i> there's finally an app that will tell you if the object you pointed your phone's camera at is a hot dog or not. For fans of the show, it's a cute joke, but everyone else might be a little puzzled. As a brief bit of background, …

Watching magnets morph liquid rocket fuel is hypnotically beautiful

This liquid rocket fuel becomes magnetised when near a magnetic field. So it dances and morphs when magnets are moved around it.<p>It is called ferrofluid and it was invented by NASA's Steve Papell to be a rocket fuel that could work in zero gravity due to its magnetic qualities.<p>Magnet Expert Ltd …

Science

America’s Uncivil War Over Words

Americans can’t agree on much these days. They’ve obviously fallen out over politics. They can’t even agree on the facts. Now they’re fighting over words.<p>For years, we mild-mannered lexicographers have been posting online about the most common lookup of the moment on our website. So when, in …

Language

Playing Against Type: The Typewriter Orchestra

For pre-digital natives, there’s nothing quite as nostalgia-inducing as the manual “click,” “clack” and “ding” sounds of an old mechanical …

Jerry Lewis

The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI - MIT Technology Review

Last year, a strange self-driving car was released onto the quiet roads of Monmouth County, New Jersey. The experimental vehicle, developed by …

Machine Learning

Did Reddit’s April Fool’s gag solve the issue of online hate speech? | Ars Technica

Nations battled, voids came and went, and one million pixels said a lot about humanity.<p>Data stored and shared on the Internet is almost universally …

Death Star-like lasers become a practical reality

Like many elements of sci-fi, the superweapon in <i>Star Wars</i>' Death Star seems implausible: can you really combine multiple laser beams into one fearsome blast? Apparently, you can... if not quite as dramatically as you see in the movies. Scientists have developed a technique that uses diamond to …

Frank Oz on Muppets, puppets and CG Yoda

Frank Oz needs no introduction. He's voiced iconic characters like Yoda and Miss Piggy and directed classic films like <i>Little Shop of Horrors</i> and <i>Dirty Rotten Scoundrels</i>. His impact extends far beyond geek circles; he's a creative legend in Hollywood. I had a chance to chat with Oz at SXSW this week …

Pop Culture

Free online courses will teach anyone DNA sequencing

It's never been easier to learn how to code using online resources, and that's not limited to computer programming. You know what else is code? DNA, which scientists have been modifying in bacteria and embryos with increasing success over the years. Researchers from the Centre Recherches …

Learning

It's Official: Time Crystals Are a New State of Matter, And Now We Can Create Them

Peer-review has spoken.<p>Earlier this year, physicists had put together a blueprint for how to make and measure time crystals - a bizarre state of …

Quantum Mechanics

Cosmos Controversy: The Universe Is Expanding, but How Fast?

There is a crisis brewing in the cosmos, or perhaps in the community of cosmologists. The universe seems to be expanding too fast, some astronomers say.<p>Recent measurements of the distances and velocities of faraway galaxies don’t agree with a hard-won “standard model” of the cosmos that has …

Space Science

We Asked You To Visualize Your Podcast Listening And, Wow, Did You Deliver

Early this year, as part of our podcast What’s The Point, we asked listeners to track their podcast-listening habits for a week, visualize the data, …

NASA has shared its massive GIF archive with Pinterest and GIPHY

NASA's been making a concerted effort over the past year to share its enormous archive of images and video with the internet. Last October, the agency teamed up with Flickr to feature thousands of Apollo era mission pictures. Thursday, NASA once again opened its vault -- this time to unload …

NASA

High school students open-source Shkreli's pricey HIV drug

Australian high school students have done "a little <i>Breaking Bad</i>" by synthesizing and effectively open-sourcing the drug famously hiked 5,000 percent in price by "pharma bro" Martin Shkreli. The drug they recreated, Daraprim, is used to treat infection caused by malaria and HIV and without it, many …

Pharma

Inside the Quest for a Real ‘Star Trek’ Warp Drive

It may be a while before starship captains can race across the galaxy, but engineers and physicists have a few ideas for making it so.<p>Within the <i>Star Trek</i> universe, traveling across the galaxy is a breeze thanks to the famed warp drive. This fictional technology allows humans and other civilizations …

Space Travel

Researchers can find your deepest secrets by scanning your brain

Verifying your identity with brainwave scans sounds pretty awesome on the surface, but new research from from Texas Tech University shows that EEG identification <i>could</i> be the start of a whole new world of privacy concerns. It's not so much that brainwaves are susceptible to forgery, like …

The Brain

SETI researchers investigate an unusual signal

The hunt for alien life <i>might</i> have turned up something special. A Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence team using Russia's RATAN-600 radio telecope (above) is investigating an unusually strong signal from a star 95 light years away, in the Hercules constellation. It's far from conclusive …

Cyborg locusts with tattooed wings can sniff out bombs

"Men, bring out the sniffer locusts." That's something a bomb squad chief could say in the future, thanks to a team of engineers working to turn the insects into cyborgs that can be sent anywhere to sniff out explosives. It won't be an easy feat -- the researchers, who hail from the Washington …

Inventions

Welcome to Jupiter: NASA spacecraft reaches giant planet

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Braving intense radiation, a NASA spacecraft reached Jupiter on Monday after a five-year voyage to begin exploring the king of the planets.<p>Ground controllers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin erupted in applause when the solar-powered Juno spacecraft …

Space Exploration

Watch how bizarrely water and fire behave in space

A common misconception about space is that objects are free from the shackles of gravity.<p>The truth is that every place in space has at least a small amount of gravity — that's why the moon remains in constant orbit around Earth.<p>So then, why do videos from the International Space Station (ISS) …

NASA

Mozilla made a game to teach you the basics of encryption

Sure, people will tell you that encryption is important to maintaining your online privacy, but how do you wrap your head around the concept? Mozilla wants to help. It's introducing a web-based game, Codemoji, that illustrates how ciphers work through emoji. Type in a phrase and Codemoji will both …

Encryption

The Pitchers With The Best New Stuff This Season

Every major league pitcher’s career is built from the raw materials of his pitch repertoire. Whether fastball, cutter or curve, all of a hurler’s …

The bible has been translated into emojis

It was inevitable: The bible has been updated for the 21st century with a new... <i>emoji</i> translation. According to <i>The Guardian</i>, an anonymous translator, who prefers to be identified only by 😎, reworked the King James Version of the bible using unicode emoji, as well as common internet abbreviations …

Theology

Microsoft is buying 10 million molecules of custom DNA from a San Francisco startup

Microsoft is buying 10 million strands of long oligonucleotides — laboratory-made molecules of DNA — from San Francisco startup Twist Bioscience, the companies announced today.<p>It seems that Microsoft is exploring the idea of using DNA molecules as a way to store massive amounts of data. Unlike hard …

DNA