Interesting things I've bookmarked (old posts, page 44)

Brains of the Animal Kingdom

How do you give a chimp--or an elephant or an octopus or a horse--an IQ test? It may sound like the setup to a joke, but it is actually one of the thorniest questions facing science today. Over the past decade, researchers on animal cognition have come up with some ingenious solutions to the testing problem. Their findings have started to upend a view of humankind's unique place in the universe that dates back at least to ancient Greece.

The imaginary part of financial systems

Most of the money is made, at root, in one of two ways: oppressing other people, or destroying the natural world. The political, legal and social frameworks which enable these acts to be performed are then encoded into the structures which govern the wealth so-created, and that wealth can no more flow to constructive ends than water can flow up hill. In fact it is critical to understand the contradiction and paradox at the heart of constructive capitalism in all of its forms to really appreciate how difficult it will be to turn the ship around.

Seattle bar bans Google Glass

A Seattle bar has issued a preemptive ban of Google Glass to preserve the privacy of its tipplers.The 5 Point Cafe in Seattle announced plans to suppress the futuristic devices on its Facebook page this week, and didn't mince words."The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses," the bar wrote. "And ass kickings will be encouraged for violators.

Confirmation An Asteroid Killed Dinos

A team of American and European researchers have confirmed that the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction -- the event that wiped out roughly 75% of the planet's species, including almost every dinosaur -- was caused by an asteroid impact in Mexico 66 million years ago. The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction was the last great extinction event to occur on Earth, and is most notable for causing the diversification of mammals that eventually resulted in Homo sapiens."

Confirmation An Asteroid Killed Dinos

The Story Behind Banksy

When Time magazine selected the British artist Banksy--graffiti master, painter, activist, filmmaker and all-purpose provocateur--for its list of the world's 100 most influential people in 2010, he found himself in the company of Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and Lady Gaga. He supplied a picture of himself with a paper bag (recyclable, naturally) over his head. Most of his fans don't really want to know who he is (and have loudly protested Fleet Street attempts to unmask him). But they do want to follow his upward trajectory from the outlaw spraying--or, as the argot has it, "bombing"--walls in Bristol, England, during the 1990s to the artist whose work commands hundreds of thousands of dollars in the auction houses of Britain and America. Today, he has bombed cities from Vienna to San Francisco, Barcelona to Paris and Detroit. And he has moved from graffiti on gritty urban walls to paint on canvas, conceptual sculpture and even film, with the guileful documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, which was nominated for an Academy Award.

The Story Behind Banksy

Why Didn't The Romans Invent The Internet?

The basics of the optical telegraph are relatively simple. You stand in a tower and perform an action which can be seen by a person in another tower. That action is translated into a message, which can then be routed to another tower until it reaches its intended recipient.What I find interesting is that there was nothing fundamentally to stop the Romans - or any other ancient civilization - from creating such a network. The Greeks experimented with it in 4BCE but it seems it never really caught on. Tower building is easy, as is flag waving or other mechanical forms of signalling. Their technology was certainly capable of building a proto-Internet. That would have had some profound changes to our history.

Can Pinball be brought back to life

In the Jersey Jack Pinball factory, history is covered in bubble wrap. A handful of simple, gorgeously illustrated 1960s-era games--Flipper Clown, King of Diamonds, Road Race--stand in a back corner, ready to ship to a nostalgia-minded connoisseur. The rest of this workshop in Lakewood, N.J., has been given over to a brand-new game with an old-timey theme, the machine Guarnieri believes will rocket pinball into its next golden age: the Wizard of Oz.

Can Pinball be brought back to life

Lego's Mindstorms EV3 robots are here

The third full generation of Lego's programmable robotics platform, EV3 is aimed at both enthusiasts -- young and old -- and educators, and blows past the previous generation with a long list of new features that add speed and power, intelligent programmability, and more ways to communicate with the robots. Lego expects to begin selling the product, which includes 594 Technic pieces that can be used to make five different robots, this summer at a retail cost of $350. It will also release instructions for 12 additional robots at launch.

Lego's Mindstorms EV3 robots are here