Ball lightning might be illusion created by magnetic fields

Physicists from the University of Innsbruck think that the magnetic field produced by long lightning strokes might produce 'phosphenes' in the brain.

First synthetic living cells created

Scientists have managed to create the first fully-functioning synthetic bacteria.

This is really exciting. While I can't wait to see what happens in this area next, it seems as though the process was not as straightforward as the scientists initially thought, so we might have a long wait.

Google launch a TV service – Google TV

Zuckerberg: They "trust me". Dumb fucks.

Linked from Openbook is this article on Business Insider that quotes a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, having just launched the original 'The Facebook', as saying the following:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don't know why.

Zuck: They "trust me"

Zuck: Dumb fucks.

Openbook lets you search public Facebook status updates

A lot of people post very sensitive information on their Facebook profiles without realising that their profiles are public.

It's a simple task to correct your privacy settings, and as geeks we are more inclined to search for those settings and configure them, but the average user has no idea. Unlike Twitter, Facebook appears to be closed so most users assume that it is.

Is this irresponsible of Facebook? I don't know. But hopefully services like Openbook will help educate people.

Portal is free

Steam for Mac was released earlier this week, and for a limited time Portal is free on both Mac and PC.

Now there is no excuse for not playing it. Unless you use Linux.

Early 1900s in colour

Amazing images captured on autochrome plates from the beginning of the last century. I especially love the depth of field in this picture from Bulgaria.


Take Back Parliament

As I said yesterday:

Despite a 1% increase in their share of national votes the Liberal Democrats have lost five seats so far.

A group called 'Take Back Parliament' are demanding electoral reform.

This Parliament does not represent us. We demand fair votes now. There must never again be an election under this broken system.

The iPad and our attention spans

A great response to a comment that using an iPad sounds like "looking at the world through a very small key-hole".

Missing Metropolis footage found


Some of the newly inserted material consists of brief reaction shots, just a few seconds long, which establish or accentuate a character’s mood. But there are also several much longer scenes, including one lasting more than seven minutes, that restore subplots completely eliminated from the Paramount version.

For example, the “Thin Man,” who in the standard version appears to be a glorified butler to the city’s all-powerful founder, turns out instead to be a much more sinister figure, a combination of spy and detective.

(Via Kottke)