Building the cortex in silicon#

The first-generation design will be composed of a circuit board with 16 chips, each containing a 256-by-256 array of silicon neurons. Groups of neurons can be set to have different electrical properties, mimicking different types of cells in the cortex.

Matrix-like camera spies flying bullets#

An Air Force contractor has developed the first high-speed camera that can follow speeding bullets midflight. It may lead to “active armor” that intercepts speeding rounds out of the air, or personal-protection devices that deflect incoming bullets with rapidly inflating Kevlar air bags.

Insane. Be sure to check out the gallery of pictures and video.

Forbes on Windows Vista#

[M]ore than five years in the making, more than 50 million lines of code. The result? A vista slightly more inspiring than the one over the town dump.


Minor site updates

February 08, 2007

Just wanted to quickly point out some minor changes I've recently made to the site. The linked-list posts are now included on the monthly archive pages (see last month as an example; the monthly archives now look/act just like the index page). Also, as per multiple requests, I've added permalinks to all of the linked-list posts (see the "∞" symbol following each bit; note that I've added these to the linked-list feed, the linked-list page, the index page, and the monthly archive pages). Not quite sure why I didn't put these in from jump, but, well, there you have it.

As you were.

Yahoo! Pipes#

Yahoo! Pipes”is an interactive feed aggregator and manipulator … that lets you remix feeds and create new data mashups in a visual programming environment.”

Very, very interesting; I already have a few ideas in mind.

Does evolution select for faster evolvers?#

New studies by Rice University scientists suggest a possible answer; the speed of evolution has increased over time because bacteria and viruses constantly exchange transposable chunks of DNA between species, thus making it possible for life forms to evolve faster than they would if they relied only on sexual selection or random genetic mutations.

Steve Jobs expounds on DRM in rare, open letter to the public#

If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store.

None of the points Jobs makes are new, indeed, all are regurgitations of everything myself and others have been saying for years, but it is interesting to hear them come from someone with such cachet in the industry. Perhaps Jobs could prove to everyone he’s serious by allowing those artists who aren’t beholden to the “big four music companies” to sell their music through iTMS without DRM (assuming they want to, and most do), something he has heretofore forbidden. Why wait on the major labels?

How does your brain tell time?

February 04, 2007
How does your brain tell time? "Every time the brain processes a sensory event, such as a sound or flash of light, it triggers a cascade of reactions between brain cells and their connections. Each reaction leaves a signature that enables the brain-cell network to encode time."

Smart Archives v1.6

February 04, 2007

I've just updated Smart Archives to bring it into full compliance with WordPress v2.1, which was released a couple of weeks ago. I probably would have sat on this for a while were it not for the constant e-mails from SA users alerting me to the fact that the latest WP update was breaking some things.

The problems were minute and I was able to whip up a fix in less than five minutes, which amounted to nothing more than changing all instances of $tableposts (which has been deprecated) to $wpdb->posts, and adding another argument to all of the SQL queries to draw a distinction between "posts" and "pages" (which are actually just a type of post).

Unfortunately, the changes have required me to ‘fork' the code, and so from here on out there will be two versions of Smart Archives, one for WP 2.0- and one for WP 2.1+.

The new version is now available on the project page. Please e-mail me should you have any trouble.

Found: Most of the Universe

February 04, 2007
Found: Most of the Universe. "Implementing techniques not even dreamed of when dark matter was first postulated, they have created a map two degrees on a side (roughly 15 times the area of the full Moon) and 6 billion light years deep. The Cosmic Evolution Survey, or COSMOS, reveals the spatial distribution of dark matter stretching back to a time when the Universe was half its present age."

Thank you for not feeling entitled

February 04, 2007

A few days ago I received an e-mail from someone I've never met requesting technical assistance from me. Now, this isn't in and of itself odd as I seem to get similar e-mails hourly, but what was odd, and welcomed, was how this person framed the question/problem:

Hi Justin,

I'm sure that people bug you about this all the time so I am hoping that you are either a patient man, or that you have a reply to this query prepared that you just paste and send…


I hope that you don't mind this (by now, rather desperate) plea for help.


Because of these simple, appreciative sentences I'm almost compelled to move this person to the front of the reply queue. It's a shame that something like this is cause for such highlighting, but if you saw some of the e-mails I've received I think you'd agree that this sort of acknowledgment and understanding is rare.


February 01, 2007
iConcertCal "is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city." Brilliant!