Saturday, December 16, 2017

Finding Serial Killers Algorithmically

The New Yorker has an article about Thomas Hargrove who has been mining crime data to find groups of related murders that haven't been linked before.
Each year, about five thousand people kill someone and don’t get caught, and a percentage of these men and women have undoubtedly killed more than once. Hargrove intends to find them with his code, which he sometimes calls a serial-killer detector.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Torture doesn't work

The Guardian has a long piece about a pair of scientists who have proved what everyone knew but many didn't want to admit - that torture doesn't work for extracting information.  The article also covers how you should go about an interrogation.
The Alisons, husband and wife, have done something no scholars of interrogation have been able to do before. Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. No researcher in the world has ever laid hands on such a haul of data before. Based on this research, they have constructed the world's first empirically grounded and comprehensive model of interrogation tactics.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Sleeping Sperm Whales has a post with a picture of a pod of sleeping sperm whales.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Swindon Magic Roundabout

While I am generally in favour of roundabouts as opposed to stoplights, Boing Boing has a post with a GIF of a giant roundabout in Swindon, UK that may be taking things too far.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Day in the Average American Life

Flowing Data has a post with an animation that shows how Americans spend their time during the day.  The individual dots move around the image as the survey respondents changed activities.
via Reddit

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Solar System in a Bottle

If you've always wanted your own solar system, this may be the way to go.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

The Shrinking Reach of Malaria

The Economist has a post with a set of map showing how the area affected by malaria has been shrinking over time.  Interestingly, malaria was endemic in North America and Europe until the mid-20th century.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Martial Status by Age

Flowing data has a post with a chart showing marital status by age (of Americans).  It is interesting that most men die married while most women do not.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Obit: Hugh Montgomery

The Washington Post has the obituary of Dr Hugh Montgomery an American soldier and spy.  He started his career parachuting into Normandy in 1941 and retired from the CIA in 2014 at the age of 90.
via Twitter

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Japan to Standardise Symbols on Toilets

The Guardian has an article about the Japanese sanitary equipment industry association's efforts to standardise the symbols used on the button for high-tech toilets.  The goal is to reduce surprises for foreign visitors.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Clearing a Path Through 60 Feet Deep Snow

Atlas Obscura has a post about the Japanese ski area of Toyama where they get some of the most extreme snowfalls on Earth.  Crews plow the road to an under mountain tunnel and sometimes end up making a canyon 60 feet deep.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Making Glasses from Scratch

The Knowledge has a post with a 15 minute video from How To Make Everything which details making a pair of glasses from scratch.

Monday, March 06, 2017

The Dutch Reach

Mental Floss has a post about the Dutch Reach which is a method of opening car doors with the far hand that reduces the possibility of "dooring" a passing cyclist.  It would probably be difficult to get existing drivers to change habits but I suppose new drivers could be trained to open doors this way from the beginning.
via Twitter

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mapping the Canadian Population

Google Maps Mania has an article linking to several maps of the results of the recent Canadian census.  Some of the results for downtown Toronto are very interesting.  One district might show a small (or large) decrease in population where an adjacent one might have doubled.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Chinese government influences Canadian Chinese-language newspapers

The New York Times has an article about how the Chinese government works to influence reporters and reporting at Chinese language newspapers in Canada.
via a friend

The myth of the volunteer kamikaze

The Economist has an article (actually a book review from 2006) that dispels the idea that Japanese pilots lined up to become kamikazes.

She reveals that the tokkotai (“special attack force”, which is how the kamikaze are referred to in Japan) had no volunteers when it was formed in October 1944. Instead, new recruits were either assigned by their superiors or forced to sign up using pressure tactics. No senior officer offered his life for this mission; instead the “volunteer” corps comprised newly enlisted boy-soldiers barely of age and student conscripts from the nation's top universities.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Video: Putting on a duvet cover

You wouldn't think there would be much room for advancement in the area of putting covers on duvets but here is a video showing the "burrito method" which seems to involve a lot less effort than how I've always done this before.

This strikes me as the sort of thing we should have leaned in math class while studying topology.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ottawa tourism in 2017

There seems to have been a bit of a surge in interest in tourism to Ottawa recently.  Possibly related to Canada's 150th anniversary.  The New York Times made the news here with its article 36 Hours in Ottawa.  The Ottawa Citizen follows up with several places the NYT may have missed.

And on Medium we have A hipster weekend in Ottawa.

Perhaps it is worth a visit.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Play Lode Runner in your browser

Those of a similar age to me will be thrilled to learn that there is an HTML5 version of the classic game Lode Runner that you can play in your browser.  I spent many hours playing this game on my Apple ][.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

TED: Kevin Kelly on the coming Industrial Revolution

An interesting 13 minute TED talk from Kevin Kelly basically about how AI and humans working in teams with AI are going to lead to another industrial revolution.  There's nothing really ground-breaking in the talk but it provides a nice overview.