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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168
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2answers
28k 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 ...
108
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1answer
18k 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 ...
84
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1answer
13k 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. ...
72
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2answers
14k 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 ...
57
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2answers
42k 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?
54
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1answer
9k 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 ...
50
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3answers
9k 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 ...
46
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3answers
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 ...
45
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2answers
7k 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 ...
42
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1answer
34k 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 ...
41
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1answer
7k 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 ...
40
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3answers
17k 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 ...
40
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2answers
4k 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 ...
39
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2answers
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 ...
35
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2answers
6k 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. ...
34
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2answers
43k 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) ...
32
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2answers
10k 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 ...
31
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1answer
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 ...
29
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2answers
4k 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 ...
28
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3answers
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 ...
28
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5answers
11k 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 ...
26
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1answer
6k 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 ...
24
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2answers
2k 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 ...
24
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2answers
14k 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, ...
23
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4answers
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 ...
23
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2answers
2k 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 ...
22
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3answers
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 ...
22
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1answer
1k 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 ...
21
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2answers
738 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, ...
21
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1answer
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 ...
19
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1answer
9k 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 ...
18
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2answers
5k views

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

This 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 that ...
18
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1answer
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 ...
18
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1answer
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 ...
18
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1answer
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 ...
17
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1answer
69k 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 ...
17
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2answers
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 ...
17
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1answer
446 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 ...
16
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2answers
4k 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 ...
16
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1answer
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 ...
16
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1answer
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 ...
16
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2answers
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 ...
16
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1answer
789 views

Is this claim about 3-D printed rhino horns accurate?

The following image is circulating on Facebook: A biotech startup has managed to 3-D print fake rhino horns that carry the same genetic fingerprint as the actual horn. The company plans to flood ...
15
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4answers
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 ...
15
votes
1answer
696 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 ...
15
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1answer
9k views

Can overuse of smartphones cause the pinky finger to become deformed?

NTT DoCoMo (the largest Japanese telecom company)'s customer service department recently tweeted an image purportedly showing the harmful effects of overusing smartphones: To me, at least, the photo ...
14
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2answers
1k views

During WW2 were 2 broken ships each cut in half and welded together again?

During a lecture with Jennifer Egan, writer and Pulitzer-Prize winner, she was telling stories about the Brooklyn Navy Yard and one of those was that at one point during the second world war, 2 ships ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Is a car's fuel consumption increased when the headlights are on?

I have read in many sites that a car with lights on will consume more fuel that with lights off. The (hand-waving) justifications that I see tend to mention that "energy has to come from somewhere" ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Is charging your phone overnight dangerous?

There are a number of news stories like this (in Russian) of an iPhone 5 burning up and causing a fire while charging overnight, seriously damaging the owner. There's another story going around of a ...
14
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1answer
5k views

Has anyone ever hacked into a traffic control system to change the stoplights?

This is a relatively common trope with regards to the powers of hackers in film: Someone hacks into the "Traffic Control Center" and gains instant access to all stoplights in an area. This includes ...