Category: society

Strong passwords that aren’t passwords

Creating usable passwords that resist cracking and yet are memorable is becoming an increasing burden, given how many sites, devices, and messaging systems we all now use. The trick is not to use a password, but a passphrase, and to encode it with symbols, not merely numbers and letters. It’s longer to type but by …

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Most store honey…isn’t pure honey

Food Safety News performed a series of lab tests at Texas A&M University to learn if the labeling on honey sold in major stores was reliable. Why is this important? Because “ultra filtered” honey, which sounds more pure, actually isn’t: Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced …

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Charleston’s tiniest house

The tiniest house in Charleston, SC, at Reid and America. Known as the “House of the Future” (eek), it was designed by David Hammons as an art entry for the 1991 Spoleto Festival. It’s maintained by the contractor to this day. Keep your elbows in. via charleston sc – Google Maps.

Worrisome charts on the Spanish economy

Even though the debt/GDP ratio is middle of the road for the Eurozone (less even than Germany’s), the unemployment stats and other social indicators are alarming. [warning][/warning] via Chart On The Spanish Economy 

Alcohol sharpens the mind

Eureka! Drink up. The drinking group solved nearly 40 per cent more problems than the others, and took an average of 12 seconds compared to the 15.5 seconds needed by sober subjects. via Alcohol sharpens the mind, research finds

The $30 billion Social Security hack

I, Cringely

SScardSometime last year computers at the U.S. Social Security Administration were hacked and the identities of millions of Americans were compromised. What, you didn’t hear about that?  Nobody did. The extent of damage is only just now coming to light in the form of millions of false 2011 income tax returns filed in the names […]

Einstein archives, online

Read. Browse. Possibly some of it will rub off.

27 of history’s strangest inventions

…here come some of history’s most weird and wonderful inventions, from wooden swimwear to spectacles for reading in bed… via 27 of History’s Strangest Inventions | Brain Pickings

The Titanic in high def

Great article from the Mail on new high definition photos of the Titanic wreckage taken by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The Stuxnet worm: beginnings of the new warfare

Stuxnet is almost certainly part of a new generation of state-created cyber-weapons. It is too sophisticated to be the work of hackers, too specific to a one type of industrial equipment to have been crafted by profit-seeking criminals. And it updates itself periodically. Wired has a great article about how it was discovered and tracked …

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Best rope swing ever

Phew. My stomach’s in my throat.

Mayan doom teaches climate lesson

…these droughts may not have been strong enough to cause by themselves the collapse of the civilization, but they were likely strong enough and persistent enough … to cause major sociopolitical disruptions that ultimately led to the final outcome. via Cosmic Log – Maya doom teaches climate lesson

Trike drifting

Thought wheelies were fun? Try trike drifting.

Calculated Risk website

This is a terrific site with dozens of revealing economic and financial charts.

There is only one big problem: overpopulation

Overpopulation is an amplifier. Relatively solvable issues become major crises when scaled up in size because of population: epidemics, pollution, resource consumption, demand for geographic space, etc.

As societies sense this, they tend to self-regu…

Sleepless at Stanford

"What All Undergraduates Should Know About How Their Sleeping Lives Affect Their Waking Lives"

The utility of mathematics

An interesting paper on why and how "pure" mathematics diverged from the natural sciences, and what it means.

How Everything Works Home Page

Stay current on How The World Works at this website.

Inca Paradox: Maybe the pre-Columbian civilization did develop writing

…the Incas developed a unique way to record information, a system of knotted cords called khipus (sometimes spelled quipus). In recent years, the question of whether these khipus were actually a method of three-dimensional writing that met the Incas’ specific needs has become one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Andes.

Snake oil? Scientific evidence for popular diet supplements

Eh, not everything is good for you.