Science, Politics And Liars

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Science & TechnologyLeave a Comment

A week or two ago, the New York Times reported about a NASA climate scientist who claimed he was stifled by the Bush Administration: The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to … Read More

Lost World

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

This is pretty cool, but I wish there were pictures: An international expedition to one of Asias most isolated jungles has discovered a virtual "lost world" of new species and giant flowers as well as rare mammals that were unafraid of humans, organizers said. Scientists were stunned to find dozens of new species and resolved a century-old ornithological mystery, environmental … Read More

God’s Thing Not Wroughting Anymore

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

The world’s first telegram was sent on May 24, 1844 by inventor Samuel Morse. The message, "What hath God wrought," was transmitted from Washington to Baltimore. Guess what?  The telegram is now offically a thing of the past.  After 145 of telegram service, Western Union (now mostly a fnancial services company) is no longer in the telegram business (for obvious … Read More

I Hate It When My Myths Are Shattered

Ken AshfordHistory, Science & TechnologyLeave a Comment

I always liked the story about the etymology of the term "computer bug" (and similar terms, like "debugging".  You may know the tale: Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F, of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being tested at Harvard University, 9 September 1945. The operators affixed the moth to the computer … Read More

About Echelon

Ken AshfordScience & Technology, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

There is speculation (here and here, for example) that the NSA surveillance is the kind that doesn’t fit in with existing laws. For example, Echelon.  Wikipedia describes Echelon as follows: ECHELON is thought to be the largest signals intelligence and analysis network for intercepting electronic communications in history. Run by the UKUSA Community, ECHELON can capture radio and satellite communications, … Read More

Celebrity Voice Navigation Systems

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

I have a voice navigation system in my car.  The woman’s voice is pleasant and anti-septic.  And that suits me fine.  She tells me to "turn left in 400 yards", and I do.  And if I don’t, she tells me to turn around, or she figures out another way to get to my destination.  It’s a nice relationship we have. … Read More

Every Mother’s Nightmare

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

This is too funny. So everyone can appreciate it, let me explain the technology and background. Xbox Live is a game system where you can play games with other players over the Internet.  In certain games, you play a character, and your opponent(s) play a character, and all of you run around a virtual world trying to kill each other.  … Read More

Sons Save Mom Overseas With Webcam

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

As a lad growing up in the 1970’s, I simply assumed that by the year 2000, we would all own flying cars.  We don’t, and I’m kinda pissed about that. But the new technology of the past 10-20 years  is still pretty interesting.  Or so I think when I read stories like this: A Web camera in a Norwegian artist’s … Read More

Their Mothers Must Be So Proud

Ken AshfordScience & Technology2 Comments

From Boing Boing: iBuzz is a sex toy plug-in for iPods, or other music players. It’s £29.99 from LoveHoney, but can’t be shipped to North America. From the product description: A super-fun sex toy that plugs into your iPod! The music-activated vibrating bullet stimulates you in time with your favourite music. And you can listen to your songs while you’re … Read More

Things You Didn’t Know

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

(1) There was a time traveler from the year 2036, who briefly made appearances in 1975 and 2000-2001.  His psuedonym was John Titor.  In November 2000 through March 2001, he posted on various internet sites, telling about his time travel.  In response to several questions, he explained (among other things) that the U.S. would go to war against Iraq to … Read More

How Totally Cool Is This?

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

From The Guardian: Cheap, paper-thin TV screens that can be used in newspapers and magazines have been unveiled by German electronics giant Siemens. The firm says the low production costs could see the magazine shelves in newsagents come alive with moving images vying for the customers’ attention as they move along the aisle. The new technology caused a sensation when … Read More

The Ig Nobel Prizes

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

Winners were announced last weekend.  Some of my favorites: FOR PHYSICS: John Mainstone and the late Thomas Parnell of the University of Queensland, Australia, for patiently conducting an experiment that began in the year 1927 — in which a glob of congealed black tar has been slowly, slowly dripping through a funnel, at a rate of approximately one drop every … Read More

The Dysons

Ken AshfordRandom Musings, Science & TechnologyLeave a Comment

Geeks are very excited about this lecture — now sold out — in which three members of Freeman Dyson’s family (including Freeman himself) are giving a joint lecture.  I have a special connection to this event — I dated one of Professor Dyson’s daughters many years ago, and met him briefly a few times.  I consider myself a reasonably smarty … Read More

Amazing Video Breakthrough

Ken AshfordScience & TechnologyLeave a Comment

I’m not making this up: Analog control of digital devices and media has always appealed to me. Like the controllers for a PS2, they allow degrees of fuzziness in a world made of very strict ones and zeroes. Life is not black and white, so for deeper interactive experiences we need to look at control devices that allow our analog … Read More