the Blog

CROWS USE TOOLS, EAT HEALTH FOOD

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/17/10 11:09 AM

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with the robots, now we gotta worry about rapidly smartifying crows. We’ve known for a while that crows are capable of using tools, but a new article in the journal Science (catchy name) says that New Caledonian crows got mad skillz, using sticks to fish for beetle larvae:

This is a very specialized task, because the crows fish for just one beetle species (the wood boring longhorn beetle) in the trunk of a single species of tree (the candlenut tree).

Why that beetle in particular? If a crow eats just three of those larvae, that’s enough food for the day.

Old Caledonian crows, meanwhile, just sit around and complain how it’s not like back in their day before everyone started using these fancy sticks, by cracky.

Next up in the animal world: rapidly evolving anti-stick technology for wood boring longhorn beetle larvae.

I’ll stop now.

After this:

Comments | Filed Under: science  

Halo Reach pulls in 200 million dollars in first day

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/16/10 02:04 PM

That’s the dollar estimate in the first 24 hours in the US and Europe. That’s compared to 170 million for Halo 3 when it was released in 2007

As is the tradition with these things, Microsoft made the obligatory comparisons to Hollywood movies, sizing up the initial “Halo: Reach” sales against the three-day opening weekends of “Iron Man 2,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Toy Story 3,” and declaring the video game “the biggest entertainment launch of 2010 in the U.S.”

Of course a movie ticket is ten bucks and Halo Reach costs 60. Still, that’s a lot of people willing to shell out 60 bucks for a game.

By the way, this is my new favorite video ever:

Comments | Filed Under: games  halo  microsoft  

Oakley to release 3D eyewear

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/16/10 11:13 AM

If 3D is going to take over our lives, at least we don’t have to look like total dorkwads in the glasses provided by the local cinemultiplex. Oakley announced that they will sell their own 3D glasses with “optically correct” lenses (everyone’s so worried about being OC these days) in time for the holiday season. The perfect gift for the person on your list who wants to look like a big shot at the new Harry Potter film. The specs were tested at Dreamworks’ facilities and are said to be compatible with any 3D movie that comes along. In a related story, any pair of glasses you buy are compatible with the 3D experience that is life itself.

Comments | Filed Under: 3d  entertainment  odd country covers of Timbuk3 songs  

Internet Explorer 9 beta launches

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/15/10 05:49 PM

I think we need a new story category on this blog: Geek Chow. Stories that probably don’t matter a whole lot in the short term to the average person but might matter a lot in the long run. Often these stories are of tremendous immediate interest to the highly plugged in folks, the hard core tech audience, the geeks (I’m assured “geek” is no longer a pejorative).

Google Instant is Geek Chow. Movements toward a Chrome operating system are Geek Chow. Facebook’s search model is a big bowl of Geek Chow.

Internet Explorer 9 is Geek Chow. Microsoft’s new browser is available for you to download if you are running Vista or Windows 7. It’s supposedly faster, has a cleaner user interface with more screen space dedicated to the web site, less to navigation, and can do a lot more things. Take it away, Ina Fried at CNET.

Comments | Filed Under: internet explorer  browsers  microsoft  search  google  facebook  geek chow  

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today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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