Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kung Fu Monks

This article from the Asia Times is about the modern day Shaolin monks. They used to support themselves by farming but now rely on tourism (ie martial arts displays).

Learning languages

From a site about learning languages, here is a list of various languages with ratings on their difficulty and other factors.

Friday, May 26, 2006


This article describes, and has a picture of, a gecko like robot that can climb walls.

Followup: This article on the New Scientist has another picture and a link to a video of the robot climbing.

This article talks about how a robot has performed surgery on its own. I was rather surprised by this one and am surprised that I haven't seen more on this.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Instant translators

Skype has a new service. You call a number and they will connect you to a translator in the language of your choice. Cost is USD 2.99 per minute billed to your Skype Out account.

Ebert's 102 film canon

Film critic Roger Ebert has a list of 102 films that you need to have seen in order to be able to have a proper discussion about films. Sadly I've only seen 27 of them.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sleep medicine

This article describes a new drug that reduces the need for sleep. It seems to work, at least in the short term, and will let you go two days without sleep.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Make your own roadsign here.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Sultan's elephant

I'm not really sure what this is about but these pictures on Flickr are pretty wild. There seems to be a giant mechanical elephant and at least one huge puppet wandering around London.

Followup: Here is a page on the BBC about the event including this FAQ. The project's homepage is here.

Using playing cards for encryption

If you read Cryptonomicon you will remember a scene where two characters comunicate with messages that they encrypt using decks of playing cards. In this article cryptography expert Bruce Schneier explains how to do this with your own cards.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

How to get better gas mileage

This article has a list of tested tips on how you can go farther on a tank of gas. They seem to have a lot more to do with the driver than with the car.

Is it a bed or a desk?

This desk turns into a bed. Perfect for any remaining .com companies.

No time or numbers

This article in the Independent describes a South American tribe whose language has no numbers or past and future tenses. A professor tries to teach them to count but the concept seems alien to them.

via reddit

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A mouse for typing

Here is an interesting gadget, basically it is a mouse that has the keys from the right hand side of the keyboard on it. The theory is that you'll save all the time you lose moving your hand from the keyboard to the mouse and back again.

I can see this as being useful for programmers but I think they should have had an entire keyboard on the left rather than just half.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

How to get up when your alarm goes off

This article describes a method of training yourself to get up when your alarm goes off in the morning. Basically you practice. I haven't tried it out but it certainly sounds like it might work.