Questions tagged [technology]

The making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function.

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176 votes
2 answers
31k views

Is Google using ReCaptcha as a free source of human-intelligent labour?

Having worked at the Amazon Mechanical Turk for a long time, I find that some ReCaptcha questions are very similar to the 1c tasks there. Identify this, identify that. A search shows that several web ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
110 votes
1 answer
20k views

Was there Cyrillic text visible on Intel 386 chips after decapping?

Heise, a German IT news portal, reported today about a chip presented to the State Council, including Erich Honecker, exactly thirty years ago. They also mention how other chips had been copied from ...
0xC0000022L's user avatar
  • 1,768
87 votes
1 answer
14k views

Was the wheel invented before the wall?

So, this extraordinary claim has been getting a lot of publicity lately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQKrfGCd7I8 They say a wall is medieval, well so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall. And ...
AJFaraday's user avatar
  • 1,290
78 votes
2 answers
16k views

Was the Roman knowledge of how to build aqueducts lost?

In a TED interview, Elon Musk stated: People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very ...
Favst's user avatar
  • 801
74 votes
2 answers
16k views

Were pen cap holes designed to prevent death by suffocation if swallowed?

Someone posted the following trivia on a social media website: Do you know that pen caps have holes so that if someone swallows a cap, then air could still pass through? This started a small ...
Adrian Iftode's user avatar
71 votes
2 answers
72k views

Do 3 billion devices run Java?

I was installing Java today and this was shown in the installation. Is there anything that supports this claim?
Alfredo Osorio's user avatar
54 votes
1 answer
11k views

Did COBOL have 250 billion lines of code and 1 million programmers, as late as 2009?

In 2009 COBOL turned 50 years old. It got some publicity with claims, which I find rather hard to believe: "Cobol hits 50 and keeps counting" article in the Guardian. According to David ...
vartec's user avatar
  • 26.7k
52 votes
3 answers
11k views

Does the color temperature of a computer screen affect sleep patterns?

There's a little tool called f.lux that claims: During the day, computer screens look good — they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the ...
Lagerbaer's user avatar
  • 12.3k
47 votes
3 answers
9k views

What is the failure rate of Solid-State Drives (SSD)?

One of our favourite StackExchange Overlords, Jeff Atwood, wrote a Coding Horror blog article in May 2011, decrying the unreliability of SSD drives. Solid state hard drives fail. A lot. And not ...
Oddthinking's user avatar
  • 143k
47 votes
1 answer
45k views

VHS vs Betamax: How influential was the pornography industry in the format war?

Image Source For many years I have heard the legend that the porn industry played a crucial role in the victory of JVC's VHS over Sony's Betamax. It resurfaced during the format war between HD ...
Oliver_C's user avatar
  • 48k
45 votes
2 answers
8k views

Does the BBC have TV detector vans and how can they tell if you aren't paying a license fee?

I've heard from more than a few Brits that if you own a TV but don't pay your license fee, they'll come after you with unexpected visits and or fines. Here is an example article debating their ...
Nick T's user avatar
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44 votes
3 answers
18k views

Will entering the ATM's PIN in reverse notify the police?

I received a rather intriguing email. It says that if I am at an ATM and I'm in the process of getting robbed, I just enter my PIN in reverse order e.g. 4321 instead of 1234. The ATM will still give ...
maltadolls's user avatar
44 votes
1 answer
6k views

Were metered taxis busy roaming Imperial Rome?

While in Rome, I heard a claim that Ancient Romans had invented the taxi meter. "Ancient" here means the common usage of "a long time ago" instead of a specific historical period such as the Early ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 5,400
43 votes
1 answer
11k views

Does a human on a bicycle travel more efficiently than any other species?

Steve Jobs claimed on video that a bicycling human is more efficient at locomotion than any other species can manage. He repeated it separately on video, and in writing. The quote is still oft ...
Anko's user avatar
  • 1,991
39 votes
2 answers
2k views

Do patents boost innovation?

In a recent judgement Europe's highest court ruled that Stem Cells derived from human embryos cannot be patented (see BBC story here). This provoked many scientists to argue that both research and the ...
RomanSt's user avatar
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36 votes
1 answer
10k views

Are blue light filters, not blue lights, on phones and computer screens harmful to sleep?

These existing questions ask whether the blue lights, not blue light filters, from computer screens affect sleep: Does blue light from screens (phone, computer, TV) before sleep affect sleep? Does ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 429
36 votes
2 answers
7k views

Can devices detect your sleep cycle and wake you in a more refreshed state?

There are a number of products on the market that claim to be "better alarm clocks" that allows you to feel more refreshed when you wake - even if you sleep a few minutes or tens of minutes less. ...
Larry OBrien's user avatar
  • 15.1k
34 votes
2 answers
44k views

Is there a text string that crashes iPhones?

WARNING: DON'T VISIT THE LINK BELOW ON AN IPHONE A colleague of mine, who works in the technology field, told me that there is a specific text string that can crash any iPhone (specifically iOS 6) ...
Coomie's user avatar
  • 8,519
32 votes
2 answers
12k views

Is the Comic Sans font easier to read for dyslexics?

After getting into an argument with a friend about the use/existence of the Comic Sans font, he said that it is one of the few typefaces that virtually eliminates confusion among dyslexics. It ...
tpg2114's user avatar
  • 421
31 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does the production of a home PV solar panel provide a net benefit to the environment?

Considering everything that goes into producing a single PV solar panel; from obtaining the necessary materials, transportation etc. is there a net benefit to the environment over the lifetime of the ...
FarmerGiles's user avatar
29 votes
2 answers
5k views

Does technology have a negative effect on attention span?

Is it true that today's "information age" with the internet, TV, cell phones, movies, iPhones, etc can decrease your attention span? Society's impatience and short attention span is becoming a ...
GBa's user avatar
  • 1,561
28 votes
5 answers
12k views

Is the "Back to the future" Huvr board real?

This website is promoting a hovering skateboard. As far as my knowledge can tell, this seems fake. The only two known technologies I know of which can hover like that are magnets and quantum ...
Hello World's user avatar
28 votes
0 answers
1k views

Did Burmese typewriters contain an upside-down character, which subsequently became proper typewriter style?

I was reading about the Internet Archive's work to archive the materials of a famous New York City typewriter family: http://blog.archive.org/2020/08/26/an-archive-of-a-different-type/ I was ...
pkamb's user avatar
  • 479
27 votes
3 answers
11k views

Did Apple "jumpstart" the USB market?

Did Apple "jumpstart the USB market"? An example of the claim is as follows: When Apple released their iMac there was a rush to release peripherals to support them. Before that nobody really cared ...
Brian M. Hunt's user avatar
27 votes
2 answers
71k views

Did one of the victims of the Buffalo shooting invent a water-powered engine for cars?

According to a number of conspiracy sites (see Natural News and Newspunch), Buffalo shooting victim Aaron Salter Jr had just invented and patented a gas-free car that runs on water (implying that is ...
TheAsh's user avatar
  • 4,088
26 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are low-spec computer parts just faulty high-spec computer parts?

Someone was telling me that lower-price or lower-spec computer parts such as graphics cards and central processing units are actually just higher-spec, higher-price units that have manufacturing ...
Rowan Freeman's user avatar
25 votes
1 answer
7k views

Can a computer be hacked to use a connected speaker as a microphone?

I read a book in which someone hacked into a computer and used the speakers (not a microphone) to listen to what was happening in the room. Is this even remotely possible without gaining physical ...
John Stimac's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
17k views

Would humans be more advanced if the Dark Ages never happened?

So there are a lot of people who say that the Dark Ages, lasting about 1,000 years, set humans back technologically. However, some say that since the Dark Ages really only affected Western Europe, ...
James's user avatar
  • 367
24 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is the Pale Blue Dot smaller than a pixel?

The Earth in the famous Pale Blue Dot image (below) is claimed by NASA to be "0.12 pixel in size". How can something be visible on a digital screen which is smaller than a pixel (or sub-pixel, which ...
MSpeed's user avatar
  • 4,848
23 votes
2 answers
5k views

Are 1 to 4 tons of coal required to create only one solar panel?

In the There's No Tomorrow video, they affirm several things about solar panels (and a lot of other things). The one I'm the most curious about is this: All the world's photovoltaic solar panels ...
jeromej's user avatar
  • 331
23 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is Sprockit the robot an AI or a fake?

I just attended a local technical conference and there was a robot roaming the building, talking to people. His name was Sprockit, and he was talking with people. He saw a guy and said "Hey dude, ...
thursdaysgeek's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
3k views

Do new loudspeakers require a “break-in” period?

Foreword I've lifted this from audio.stackexchange.com where it hasn't seen a lot of discussion. It's a question that interests me though so I thought I'd post it here, verbatim, and see what comes ...
user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is the porn industry important in the adoption of new technology or media?

I constantly see people and articles referencing how porn drove the adoption of the Internet, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, Mobile, insert your technology of choice, etc. Now I'm not discounting he popularity ...
orj's user avatar
  • 329
21 votes
4 answers
10k views

Is micro rebar a better way to reinforce concrete than rebar?

Helix Steel's site claims that the small wires (twisted steel micro rebar) they created are a good replacement to a typical rebar concrete reinforcement if not even better. a reinforcement technology ...
Grasper's user avatar
  • 3,334
21 votes
2 answers
5k views

Does never charging a laptop battery to more than 80% capacity increase its lifespan?

In relation to Does recharging a battery when it is only half-way dead decrease its life span? I read an article about Maximizing the lifespan of a laptop battery where Samsung puts it: Most ...
Aske B.'s user avatar
  • 313
21 votes
1 answer
5k views

Does recharging a battery when it is only half-way dead decrease its life span?

One thing many manufactures of laptops and cellphones recommend is that you wait until the battery is completely dead before you recharge it or else it will slowly loose its maximum capacity or have a ...
TheEnigmaMachine's user avatar
20 votes
0 answers
2k views

Did Coinstar add a delay and fake noises because people didn't believe a machine could count coins quickly?

I saw a post on Reddit claiming that Coinstar machines are extremely fast at counting coins, but that the company had to introduce a delay and fake noises to the machines because customers didn't ...
pacoverflow's user avatar
  • 2,924
19 votes
1 answer
73k views

Does a cell phone emit 1000 times more radiation when its battery is low?

Found this gem on G+: The rest seems all extremely circumstantial except the very last item. The 'radiation' they're talking about, I'm assuming, is electromagnetic radiation - which would be weaker ...
Christopher's user avatar
  • 1,064
19 votes
1 answer
10k views

Do removable faceplates on car stereos deter theft?

Everyone has probably seen a car stereo head unit with a removable face plate; the idea being you can take the faceplate with you to deter theft. The claim is specifically made in this product ...
Flimzy's user avatar
  • 15.5k
19 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is there existing technology to make it rain or to dissipate clouds?

I heard (example article) that the Chinese government caused it to rain before and during the Olympics to reduce pollution levels. Does reliable technology currently exist that could trigger rain ...
going's user avatar
  • 18.1k
18 votes
1 answer
23k views

Did a 19 year old Egyptian student invent a new space propulsion system?

I've seen reports that a 19 year old Egyptian student has invented a new space propulsion system. For example, The Daily Mail: Two mirrors used to generate power using weird quantum physics ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 17.8k
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Are Hummers more environmentally friendly than Prius?

I've heard this rumor a few times (example). The argument is that it takes energy to make the car, and when you take into account how long each car will last on the road, driving Prius's over a large ...
BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
528 views

Has copyright piracy halved in New Zealand since their "three strikes" rule?

According to the BBC article US piracy crackdown delayed until 2013, dated November 29, 2012: New Zealand claims that piracy has halved since it introduced a "three strikes" rule. After a little ...
Brian M. Hunt's user avatar
16 votes
2 answers
5k views

Does GPS use General Relativity?

Sources on the internet claim that the GPS system requires Relativity to work (xkcd). I've searched information about the GPS system, how it works and how it was set up, reading information from many ...
497362's user avatar
  • 315
16 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is this video showing an Apple engineer discussing the new MacBook (2015) authentic?

This seems to be a video going viral online and some people are claiming it is legitimate. It depicts an Apple employee mocking Apple's new MacBook for not having any type-A USB ports (used for ...
Tim Reddy's user avatar
  • 1,137
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Did ARM sell more chips in 2015 than Intel has in its entire history?

Japanese telecom firm SoftBank has recently launched an agreed takeover bid for UK chip designer ARM (which doesn't make chips but designs them and has provided the overwhelming majority of technology ...
matt_black's user avatar
  • 56.2k
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is the 'internet charging' described by the WifiEX Indiegogo campaign possible? [closed]

This device can apparently 'charge with internet' at home from my router, then allow me to connect with my phone while I'm out and about. It claims to work on planes and subway trains too. In the FAQs ...
fredley's user avatar
  • 4,995
15 votes
2 answers
38k views

Did a turkish man invent a steam engine 200 years before the industrial revolution and only made it to spin doner kebab? [closed]

I've seen this picture being reposted in many different places recently: Is it true? Where can this machine be seen? What is it if it's not a steam engine? Update: The pictures posted above show ...
Ruslan Oblov's user avatar
  • 3,483
15 votes
4 answers
10k views

Are military spy satellites as advanced as people think they are?

We've all been there: you're discussing the recent launch of a rocket carrying a satellite to orbit, or what have you, and suddenly someone pops in and makes a comment like Yeah, it's amazing and ...
voithos's user avatar
  • 453
15 votes
1 answer
728 views

Could 100,000 lives a year be saved thanks to data-mining?

I read in The Guardian (mirror) (published on 2014-06-26): Google: 100,000 lives a year lost through fear of data-mining The search firm's CEO and co-founder, Larry Page, estimates 100,000 ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar