Category Archives: Technology

Robot Helicopter Electrik Band

Sometimes a label conveys it all: “Robot Quadrotors Perform James Bond Theme.” This video was shown today at the TED conference by Vijay Kumar of Penn. (H/t Al Seckel.) Note that the little helicopters are pre-programmed; they’re not being remotely … Continue reading

Posted in Entertainment, Music, Technology | 6 Comments

Books Made From Electrons!

[Updated to provide a better link for DtU overlord Carl Zimmer.] The conventional presentation of a book — words and images printed on sheets, bound together in a folio — is a perfected technology. It hasn’t changed much in centuries, … Continue reading

Posted in Science and the Media, Technology, Words | 17 Comments

Horological Concept Video of the Day

Mechanical watches have a complicated history. The first pocketwatch appeared in the early 1500’s, and they became popular fashion accessories long before they were very good at telling time. The idea of putting a watch on a strap and wrapping … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 14 Comments

The Amorphous Menace Creeps Forward

We here at Cosmic Variance have long been warning of the coming robot menace. Not only are they gaining consciousness, they keep developing new and creepy ways to move. Along those lines, here’s a new robot from Harvard that looks … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 15 Comments

Biology and Self-Repair

I’ve been traveling like crazy, then hosting visitors, and now am laid up with a nasty cold. So not much energy for blogging. On the other hand — plenty of time for non-expert reflections on the nature of microscopic complex … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Technology | 18 Comments

Data Fatigue

Hello out there in blog-land. I’ve been traveling (and working!) too much to actually blog, most recently at the terrific SciFoo Camp held at Google. This is an informal “unconference,” where on the first night participants scramble to a big … Continue reading

Posted in Personal, Technology | 18 Comments

DNA Takes Square Roots

Around these parts we’ve been known to discuss whether it makes any sense to say that the universe is a computer. There’s little doubt, of course, that parts of the universe are computer-like. And in case you are wondering, you … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Technology | 15 Comments

Open Science

[Note: this post was published prematurely, then deleted, and is now back.] Michael Nielsen gave a great talk at TEDxWaterloo about the idea of “open science”: There’s a great deal of buzz about “openness” in certain sectors of the science … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Science, Technology | 25 Comments

How Much Does Your Phone Company Know About Your Life?

Let’s just round up and say “everything.” In Germany they are currently debating rules on what data companies can keep and analyze, vs. what they must throw away. To make a point, Green Party politician Malte Spitz went to court … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 14 Comments

The Radio Spectrum

At every point in space, there is something we call the “electric field.” It’s a tiny vector, a quantity with a magnitude and a direction. If you want to measure it, just put an electron at rest at that point, … Continue reading

Posted in Technology | 18 Comments