Sunday, December 30, 2007

BlogFuse -- publish your blog to Facebook

Free 7-day trial.

Gethuman -- get a human when dialing an 800 number

A database tabulating the appropriate response to a navigation menu to get a bloody human being to talk to.

PowerOff -- a PC shutdown utility

Scheduled and/or remote of various kinds of sleep/shutdown, even for wakeup.

Julian Beever's sidewalk 3D chalk art

These are my favorite of the short list.

Polynesians in the Americas before the Spaniards?

From the Archaeological Institute of America's top ten for 2007:

Scholars have long assumed the Spaniards first introduced chickens to the New World along with horses, pigs, and cattle. But now radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis of a chicken bone excavated from a site in Chile suggest Polynesians in oceangoing canoes brought chickens to the west coast of South America well before Europe's "Age of Discovery."
There's also a story about historical cuneiform corroboration of a lower-ranked name found in the Bible.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fee Disclosure for mortgages

Enter zip code, etc. and don't get surprised.

Snorting a brain hormone to replace sleep

It's called orexin A, and it has no edginess aftereffect.

Another roundup of Web-based desktops

Well, there are more of them.

Luxury tax not so good cuz...

A von Mises excerpt (they link to the original, long article):

When, in the Middle Ages, an aristocratic Byzantine lady who had married a Venetian doge made use of a golden implement, which could be called the forerunner of the fork as we know it today, instead of her fingers, in eating her meals, the Venetians looked on this as a godless luxury, and they thought it only just when the lady was stricken with a dreadful disease; this must be, they supposed, the well-merited punishment of God for such unnatural extravagance. Two or three generations ago even in England an indoor bathroom was considered a luxury; today the home of every English worker of the better type contains one. Thirty-five years ago there were no automobiles; twenty years ago the possession of such a vehicle was the sign of a particularly luxurious mode of living; today in the United States even the worker has his Ford. This is the course of economic history. The luxury of today is the necessity of tomorrow. Every advance first comes into being as the luxury of a few rich people, only to become, after a time, the indispensable necessity taken for granted by everyone.

CodecInstaller -- why won't it play properly?

Does some of the footwork to smooth things out.

Supply side Jesus

A shot at those in the religious right who like to mix in prosperity-friendly policies with their faith.

Starbucks helps mom and pop coffeeshops

Taps into the anti-Starbucks market.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Resuscitation science gets a makeover

Biologists are still grappling with the implications of this new view of cell death—not passive extinguishment, like a candle flickering out when you cover it with a glass, but an active biochemical event triggered by "reperfusion," the resumption of oxygen supply.
So, in the emergency room,
... we should aim to reduce oxygen uptake, slow metabolism and adjust the blood chemistry for gradual and safe reperfusion.

Fimoculous's best blogs of 2007 that you might not know

Haven't heard of most of these, but didn't really seem to need to. Linked in case you find something.

Second Rotation -- sell your old cell phone or other gadgets

Don't see anything on buying, though. Better for the environment than just trashing, I guess.

Basic guide to offering sympathies following a bereavement

Some people are better writers than they are talkers - a heartfelt message (or a poem, perhaps) left inside a card may just be picked up an read a month or a year later, and offer powerful consolation when it is most needed.

CoolMon -- system stats on your desktop

It can also display stats from remote pc's and publish real-time stats on a webpage. The application can display CPU, RAM and page file usage, hard drive usage, MotherBoard Monitor temperatures and fan speeds, various network stats and much, much more.

Oil distribution map and Foreign Policy's under-the-radar picks

Why wouldn't I invade Iraq? (Maybe more a geopolitical control issue rather than a strict resource grab.) Click on map to go to bigger map.
The title link is to Foreign Policy's top ten underreported stories of 2007. Their number four story mentions how two terminals in Iraq can handle nearly 10% of the world's demands.
Also interesting is the number nine story of the further decline of moral support of the Israeli state from American Jews.

Startups to watch for in 2008

Here's one I haven't heard of:

Today, GPS is a one-way street, with a satellite beaming instructions to your device. You turn left because a chip inside your GPS device calculated that would the best route. In 2008, Dash will chart a new course with Dash Express, a GPS that learns from its users. If a Dash owner is moving 5 miles per hour in a 45 mph zone, Dash servers will realize he's in traffic and warn other Dash drivers to choose faster routes. Sure beats calling 5-1-1.

A drug that reverses liver damage

Further investigation revealed that as well as blocking the formation of scar tissue in the liver, the drug was also killing off the overactive liver cells, allowing the organ to heal. "Remarkably, the death of [overactive] hepatic stellate cells may also allow recovery from liver injury and reversal of liver fibrosis," said Buck. "Our latest finding proves we can actually reverse the damage."

Myths about torture

Actually, it's surprisingly hard to get anything under torture, true or false. For example, between 1500 and 1750, French prosecutors tried to torture confessions out of 785 individuals. Torture was legal back then, and the records document such practices as the bone-crushing use of splints, pumping stomachs with water until they swelled and pouring boiling oil on the feet. But the number of prisoners who said anything was low, from 3 percent in Paris to 14 percent in Toulouse (an exceptional high). Most of the time, the torturers were unable to get any statement whatsoever.
Just a lot of screaming, I suppose.
A guy experimenting with waterboarding -- given all the recent controversy -- here. Excerpt performing the plastic wrap version:
At the time my lungs emptied and I began to draw water, I would have sold my children to escape. There was no choice, or chance, and willpower was not involved.
I never felt anything like it, and this was self-inflicted with a watering can, where I was in total control and never in any danger.
And I understood.
Here's Christopher Hitchens' take, with the video here.

ClearType -- improve windows fonts

Unreal. For a cleaner look. There's something out there for everything it seems.

Avoiding left hand turns saves fuel

All that idling adds up if you have a fleet the size of UPS's.

Find mp3s at BeeMP3

Maybe they have what you want.

Pagan origins of Christmas and its celebrations

The video (first third of Zeitgeist) is more controversial in that it interprets the Jesus story in an astrological light.

For lighter fare on North American customs, click here (like the fir tree being a replacement for the Norse human sacrifice oak that a missionary chopped down).
For the European customs (mostly dealing with a sidekick for Santa doling out misfortune), click here.

Asbestos industry resistance to helping human life

Some history of more corporate irresponsibility. Lest we forget.

Sites savvy world travelers would know about

Pretty well known sites for the most part, but links to other lists.

Kenyan slum dweller who found UK university prospectus in a bin completes Masters degree

It seems he was already pulling out of bottom by the time he found the prospectus. So, at least according to the article, kudos need to be given to the Mathare Community Resource Centre for providing a space to engage and direct his attention to helping others -- that's infrastructure money going to work.

Startup Delayer -- to ease that long bootup

With Startup Delayer instead you can set a delay time beetween the launch of every program to avoid overloading the system.
You can choose how the program's window will appear (maximized, minized, hidden, normal) and set a different priority to the progam (low, below normal, normal, above normal, high, realtime).
Startup Delayer can also be used to load every programs you want when you want: Do you want to connect to the internet and open all the programs you'll need?

Brain irrelevance filter found

A noise informed subjects when an upcoming visual display would contain irrelevant distracters along with the targets.
When this cue occurred, neural activity increased in the basal ganglia and the prefrontal cortex before the visual display appeared, suggesting the brain was preparing to "filter out" the upcoming distracters.

Shop online with peace of mind -- temporary credit cards

Offered by real, established banks.

Worry about the worst gas guzzlers

You save more fuel switching from a 15 to 18 mpg car than switching from a 50 to 100 mpg car, because of this relationship. Going for the fuel sipping higher end is less important than getting the hogs off the road, where the gains would be largest. Easier to assess properly with fuel used per unit distance.

How time changes in an emergency or when we get older

"In this way, frightening events are associated with richer and denser memories," Eagleman explained. "And the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took."
So in later age, being experienced, we gloss over and spend less time constructing sophisticated, deep memories, and life seems to fly by.

History of banning in Boston

They banned Christmas, The Jackson Five and Welcome Back Kotter.

Ensure the fast internet connection for which you paid

Your router can do wonderful things like prioritizing and throttling.

Zimbabwe's termite mound-modeled, no air conditioner building

In Harare, the Eastgate Centre office and shopping complex uses only 10% the energy of a conventional building its size with only fans and vent management.

eBay auction to vex somebody

You are bidding on a rare chance to traumatize a treasured friend or relative with baffling, mind-numbing, mystery correspondence from abroad.
Here is the arrangement:
I will be spending the Christmas holiday in Poland in a tiny village that has one church with no bell because angry Germans stole it. Aside from vodka, there is not a lot for me to do.
During the course of my holiday I will send three postcards to one person of your choosing.
These postcards will be rant-ravingly insane, yet they will be peppered with unmistakable personal details about the addressee. Details you will provide me.
The postcards will not be coherently signed, leaving your mark confused, guessing wildly, crying out in anguish.
"How do I know this person? And how does he know I had a ferret named Goliath?"

Firefox extension for maintaining browsing privacy and security

Like FoxTor and TrackMeNot.
Tor Onion Router video here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fold a shirt in 2 seconds

In English now.

Fold A Shirt In 2 Seconds - The most amazing videos are a click away

U.S. sub-prime crisis in graphics

A fine primer from the BBC.
Cartoon version here.

GiveWell -- seeking efficiency in donating

Bang for the buck thing. Their first choice is Population Services International (mostly condoms and insecticide-treated bednets).
GiveWell's story here.

Evolutionary psychology too popular with racists

It tends to attract the whack jobs looking for legitimacy. They're not really truth-oriented.

DriveImage XML -- hot image your PC's hard drive

Fairly thorough walk-through at lifehacker.

FlixWagon -- more live video through mobile

Supposedly better quality than Qik.

Fighting what's good for us -- how removing lead from fuel took a while

The title links to a short article on the catalytic converter. Here is a longer lead-up to that and how companies are really not looking out for the public good. It appears that we're too satisfied with official lines that sound pleasing. On the guy who started noticing things after the government dropped the ball:

For a time thereafter, Patterson found himself ostracized from government and corporate sponsored research projects, including the a National Research Council panel on atmospheric lead contamination. The Ethyl corporation had powerful friends, including a Supreme Court justice, members of the US Public Health Service, and the mighty American Petroleum Institute.

gumEase -- controlling dental pain with temperature

The easy-to-use, disposable device is a breakthrough in pain management - as effective as it is inexpensive. Inserted easily into the upper and lower sulci, the latex-free device delivers a soothing, cool temperature to the maxillofacial nerves, quickly diminishing pain across a wide area of the mouth. In patient tests the new gumEase diminished pain by 90% in 2 to 3 minutes for the average participant.

India's pink vigilante women

Two years after they gave themselves a name and an attire, the women in pink have thrashed men who have abandoned or beaten their wives and unearthed corruption in the distribution of grain to the poor.

Unmade beds keep mites at bay?

Well, if it's dry enough, they die off

Evolution speeding up

We generally use the term "race" for visual categories developed over time. Greater genetic sophistication in the population will eventually make us categorize more accurately in the future.

1(877)FLYERS6 -- stranded holiday traveler help line

Stuff they do:

- Give information in real time internet sources (for example weather) and reasonably predict your flight options.
- We will e-mail your family or business associates and let them know where you are.
- 3 hours is the time at which we call media, period. They decide if it’s news.
- Rental car information
- Hotel information
- Get media to your airport if you are stuck on the tarmac
- Give you straight answers on Chronically Delayed Flights
- Advice on how to get a refund
- Make sure if you go to get a refund that your incident is coded correctly
- We will document with all issues: baggage – frequent flyer miles – ground stops- delays – strandings

Resize non-resizable windows

It's called Resize Enable.

Jooce -- cybercafe regs can carry their profiles everywhere

The cybercafe thing is the marketing angle for this virtual OS.

Exoskeleton for the soldier

Just like in Aliens, I would imagine these things will be optimal for logistical/engineering applications.

Cop-run tattoo parlor busts gangs

Just being undercover really, but the criminals just keep showing up to sell stuff.

The alternative for a child working in a factory?

Economic realities:

Oxfam once reported on a situation in Bangladesh where international outrage forced factories to lay off 30,000 child workers. Many of those kids starved to death; many became prostitutes. A 1995 Unicef study described how an international boycott of carpets made in Nepal using child labour led to between 5,000 and 7,000 Nepali girls turning to prostitution because a better option was now denied to them.

Wacky scienctific papers

My favorite:

We trained chickens to react to an average human female face but not to an average male face (or vice-versa). In a subsequent test, the animals showed preferences for faces consistent with human sexual preferences (obtained from university students). This suggests that human preferences arise from general properties of nervous systems, rather than from face-specific adaptations. We discuss this result in the light of current debate on the meaning of sexual signals, and suggest further tests of existing hypotheses about the origin of sexual preferences.
Yeah, that's right. Chickens were preferring beautiful human faces.

Caffeine good choice over napping for sleepy drivers

Most markedly the case for middle-aged drivers when measuring line crossings.

Qik -- stream live video from cell phone to the Web

It's finally arriving. More for police forces to be concerned with; taking the phone won't make a difference. (Decent lighting required, of course.)

Drive eRazer -- economical hard drive data destruction

At only $99.95.

60 second summary of human history

It seems trade makes us cooperate with those beyond the tribe, something previously unnecessary.

Meditation techniques for the busy

The 10-minute dark room meditation sounds like the more defined technique that will achieve deep relaxation results.

Speed Trap -- users post traps to MS Live maps

I don't know whether there's any deletion function available if a trap goes stale.

How to chop with a kitchen knife

I think a sharp knife is a proper start, but there's technique too.

Hidden airline fees

For checking luggage?

Text to speech software

List of six considerations.

Emergency air from the toilet

In case you're surrounded by fire and you need a couple of gasps. The link only goes to a bigger picture.

$40 eyeglasses?

Ah, the power of the internet. I don't need eyeglasses quite yet, but I do know some who would benefit from this.

250 things to ensure success in public speaking

But maybe trying to remember 250 items will make me nervous!

Stop cars with a microwave beam

Kind of big right now, but hoping to get it down to 50 lbs. with a 600 ft reach.

iMedix -- health search + patient social network

It's ludicrous that it took this long for this to appear.

NYT's 2007 list of interesting ideas

Like craigslist vengeance and circulating playing cards pictured with cold cases to develop tips.

ID code on every printout out there

... he came across a rumour, saying that various manufacturers printed an invisible code onto each page that comes out of one of their laser-printers. The US government had supposedly requested that. The secret code was said to contain the date, down to a second, and the equipment’s serial number. The EFF.org (Electronic Frontier Foundation) was reported to have cracked that code.

Cool first dance for a wedding couple

They decided to go for cool, understanding the public and performance nature of their day. Thanks to Julio.

Doctored photos create false memories

For example, those participants shown the doctored photograph of the protest in Rome, in which figures placed in the foreground give the impression of violence, rated the event as being significantly more violent and negative than it actually was. In their comments, they also provided false details, such as conflicts, damages, injuries and casualties that did not appear in the photos and were not documented at the event.

Oodle -- searchs local online classifieds

Like a lot of them.

Michael J. Fox waxes philosophical

That’s one of the things the illness has given me: It’s a degree of death. There’s a certain amount of loss, and whenever you have a loss, it’s a step toward death. So if you can accept loss, you can accept the fact that there’s gonna be the big loss. Once you can accept that, you can accept anything. So then I think, Well, given that that’s the case, let’s tip myself a break. Let’s tip everybody a break.

Campylobacter jejuni infection increases anxiety-like behavior in the holeboard: substrates for viscerosensory modulation of exploratory behavior

Holeboard? What the hell is a holeboard? I just linked this for the bit about GI tract being relevant to anxiety or its abatement.

Trust-No-Exe -- executable filter

No more auto starts of possibly dangerous exe's.

Zetix blastproof fabric resists multiple car bombs

With a bungee example:

However, if you coil a line around the bungee cord, something that defies logic will happen: the whole structure will get wider as it stretches. As you can see in the image, the line around the bungee cord becomes taut, making the bungee itself flex outward. This principle is called helical-auxetics. When you put two of these threads together, you have what Reed Richards would call an auxetic structure.

Africa's desert sun bringing power to Europe

Just an idea for the moment.

Divorce360 -- not just feel-good stuff

Given how entangled divorce can get, thank goodness a useful service like this is around.

Each category has four sub-categories (legal, financial, emotional, children). Each page has content relevant to the category - paid contributions by journalists, blog posts by users, a Q&A section (with questions and answers provided by users) and video.

When does self-deception do the most good?

Not quite the same as the previous denial post. Another Inner Economist interview.

In the lower rungs of the company, however, I would favor overly optimistic people, those who are motivated by the idea that they always have a chance of being promoted or earning more money. The higher up you are, the more I would prefer realism. A president who won't listen can be pretty disastrous.

Plastic optical fiber could solve the "last mile" conundrum

Plastic optical fiber isn't as fast as traditional glass, but its 2.5GB/s transfer speed still represents a meteoric leap beyond copper.

Alex Goldberg -- NY teen prince of schmooze

I can't tell whether he's 12 or 14, but he's already rubbing elbows with celebrities:

Next up: Jamie Foxx. The actor was near the bar, giving a woman a massage, and saw the crowd now gathered around Alex. Foxx offered to buy him a drink. What do you want, little boy? “A piƱa colada,” Alex said. The crowd laughed, and he got one, virgin.

Alex’s adventure ended hours later, at Nobu, where the pool crowd had migrated to feast on junket sushi. He had been chatting up Venus and Serena Williams at a nearby table, and mugging for cameras with a cigar hanging from his lips while eating a bowl of ice cream. Then the faces at his table went blank. Alex looked up and saw what they saw. His mother.

Fixya -- customer support, products repair, manuals and troubleshooting on Any product

Just remember, they're not going to have absolutely everything quite yet.

Does a rock have consciousness?

I remember how this was slipped into the last lecture of my intro physiology class.

Now, Nagel reasoned, the properties of a complex system like the brain don’t just pop into existence from nowhere; they must derive from the properties of that system’s ultimate constituents. Those ultimate constituents must therefore have subjective features themselves — features that, in the right combinations, add up to our inner thoughts and feelings. But the electrons, protons and neutrons making up our brains are no different from those making up the rest of the world. So the entire universe must consist of little bits of consciousness.

Vector Magic -- bitmap to vector conversion online

Online auto-tracer.

Collection of in-jokes in PIXAR films

As the story goes, a few folks at SIGGRAPH 1987 told John that they thought that it was really clever that "Red's Dream" had referenced Pixar's first SIGGRAPH submission, "Luxo Jr." Which suggested that there was some sort of connective tissue between these two animated shorts.

Which -- let's be honest here, folks -- was NOT what John Lasseter & his team of animators were trying to do when they were working on "Red's Dream." Truth be told, these guys were just looking for a quick-and-dirty way to add some additional color to that film's dream sequence. But given they seemed to get extra points with the people at SIGGRAPH for trying to be clever ... Well, in-jokes and self references then became a way of life at Pixar Animation Studios.

The secret to raising smarter kids

How do we transmit a growth mind-set to our children? One way is by telling stories about achievements that result from hard work. For instance, talking about math geniuses who were more or less born that way puts students in a fixed mind-set, but descriptions of great mathematicians who fell in love with math and developed amazing skills engenders a growth mind-set, our studies have shown. People also communicate mind-sets through praise. Although many, if not most, parents believe that they should build up a child by telling him or her how brilliant and talented he or she is, our research suggests that this is misguided.

How to pick a novel

Check page 69 and see if it's any good. That's Marshall McLuhan's suggestion.

Dinosaur mummy found i.e. with skin, tissue

The hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, was discovered in 1999 by then-teenage paleontologist Tyler Lyson on his family's North Dakota property.

Some more interesting cases of memory

National Geographic's take on a couple of cases. Make one reconsider personhood.

The Wonderful Icon -- app launch or other functions from right-click or hot key

Free taskbar application The Wonderful Icon gives those who do a lot of window shuffling a range of customizable actions in one handy taskbar icon or a set of user-chosen hotkeys. Choose from a list of useful functions like saving and restoring clipboard content, text replacement and window tiling, or create your own app launchers and function shortcuts.

Deleted Norway sequence from Michael Moore's Sicko

The controversy is the approach to convicts, where future outcome is more important than retribution for the past. Bear in mind, they have oil money. Hit the link for many tax numbers in the comments.

Fever can temporarily unlock autism's grip

The parents recorded fewer aberrant behaviors, such as stereotypy (repeated, ritualistic movements), irritability, hyperactivity, and inappropriate speech during and immediately after a fever.

The behavior improvement occurred regardless of the severity of the fever and the illness. As expected, the improvements in behaviour ended when the fever broke.

Business lobby presses agenda before ’08 vote

Business lobbyists, nervously anticipating Democratic gains in next year’s elections, are racing to secure final approval for a wide range of health, safety, labor and economic rules, in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor.

One way to try to figure out what someone really thinks

More Inner Economist excerpting:

To get a person’s real opinion, ask what she thinks everyone else believes…If people truly hold a particular belief, they are more likely to think that others agree or have had similar experiences.

The weirdness of physicist Hugh Everett

Hugh Everett, the originator of the multiple worlds interpretation of quantum physics, was a strange fellow. He left physics when Neils Bohr refused to take his ideas seriously and went into defense work where he made millions.
A BBC documentary, Parallel World, Parallel Lives, looks at his relationship with his son:
They lived in the same house for nearly 20 years and barely spoke. The first time Mark touched his father was when he found his stiffening corpse, still in bed and still in the suit he always wore. Mark himself, unusually for a rock star, wears a suit on stage. A devout atheist, Hugh told his wife to throw his ashes out with the trash, which, after keeping them for a bit in a filing cabinet, she duly did.
New Scientist interview with son, Mark, here. This is all from Marginal Revolution.

Criticism of Paul Krugman's book

The couple of interesting points in the excerpt include how excessive soaking of the rich just lowers investment into companies (which employ people in general), and that unions are most successful in non-competitive industries. Plenty of comments to peruse.

Task Killer -- terminate those runaway processes

Slim alternative to task manager, or for those who don't even have task manager.

Cheap, passive solar heater for a room

Uses pennies on a board, paint everything black, that kind of thing.
Easy FREE Home Heat! - The best video clips are here

Your graveyard shift may contribute to cancer

Hormone management is so significant.

Big list of how-to sites

Beyond just Instructables and 5min.

Yawcam -- motion-detecting on feature on webcam

A simpler alternative to webcam software out there. Can ftp, email or straight hard drive save footage. Free, Windows.

A search to find full TV episodes online

A warning to non-U.S. readers that you may be frustrated with the results by licensing limitations.

Philosophy cognitively healthy for kids

Compared with 72 control children, the philosophy children showed significant improvements on tests of their verbal, numerical and spatial abilities at the end of the 16-month period relative to their baseline performance before the study.
Two years later, the advantage persisted.

Inter-ethnic violence a matter of geographic arrangement

Researchers... have shown that a mathematical model -- based purely on the geographic distribution of ethnic groups -- can provide a highly accurate prediction of where violent conflict will occur.

10 hottest girl gamers of 2007

From a GTA IV site. Not all on the list necessarily spend a lot of time actually gaming, but may be hosts of gaming shows, etc. Number 2 Rachelle here seems to be the real deal.

Rare brain disorder robs children of language and leaves doctors perplexed

“The hallmark feature of Landau-Kleffner syndrome is a loss of receptive and expressive speech and language skills,” says Sharon Willig, associate director of speech-language pathology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The inability of those affected to understand the spoken word eventually hinders their own language skills, thereby rendering most of these children gradually or suddenly mute. It’s for this reason that LKS children are often misidentified as developmentally delayed or possibly hearing impaired.

Canada's coming DMCA will be the worst copyright yet

If this law passes, it will render all of the made-in-Canada exceptions to copyright for education, archiving, free speech and personal use will be irrelevant: if a technology has a lock that prohibits a use, your right to make that use falls by the wayside. Nevermind that you've got the right to record a show to watch later -- or to record a politician's speech so you can hold him to account later -- the policeman in the device can take that right away with no appeal.

Badass Bible verses

Some of that old-fashioned, Old Testament harshness.

120 U.S. war vet suicides each week

That's back in 2005.

Active-duty soldiers, however, are only part of the story. One of the well-known characteristics of post-traumatic stress injuries is that the onset of symptoms is often delayed, sometimes for decades. Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam are still taking their own lives because new PTSD symptoms have been triggered, or old ones retriggered, by stories and images from these new wars. Their deaths, like the deaths of more recent veterans, are written up in hometown newspapers; they are locally mourned, but officially ignored. The VA doesn't track or count them.

Denial an important part of getting on

White lies and glossing over help to ease the the frictions within a society.

Windows add/remove programs substitutes

I don't know how complicated it could get, but there are more than a couple.

Alien movie scenes in Lego

Elaborate enough to be impressive.

Excellent documentaries at Google

Conspiracy of Silence -- Pedophile Ring in Washington DC (religious and political leaders; unaired), Big Sugar and Zeitgeist can be found on this list.

Pedophiles have less brain white matter

On average, they're also shorter with lower IQ, and have increased frequency of lefthandedness.

Talkster -- free international calling

Have not tried.

Fatdoor -- social network for neighbors

I thought of this too far back, when social network platform didn't exist yet. I'm just too busy now.

Brilliant social psychology studies

Mostly conformity studies, but also a study about threats reducing favorable outcomes.

Genes are necessary but not sufficient for heritability

Yeah, you can carry, but a trait doesn't have to manifest.

Refill printer cartridge for $5


Refill Printer Cartridge For $5 - The best video clips are right here

Guide to freezing food

Really now?

Many vegetables contain a number of enzymes which cause them to lose their colour and flavour when frozen. Blanching (putting the vegetables briefly in boiling water) stops these enzymes from acting.
Blanching guide list with times for each vegetable.

Funny medical moments

I was caring for a woman and asked, "So how's your breakfast this morning?" "It's very good, except for the Kentucky Jelly. I can't seem to get used to the taste," the patient replied. I then asked to see the jelly and the woman produced a foil packet labeled "KY Jelly."

Anger myths

The one that bothers me most is how venting is supposed to be good for you. The evidence says that one just gets angrier.

Scientists create fearless mouse

No toxoplasma infection here. Just good ole fashioned genetic engineering of olfactory capacity.

Other Web browsers

Depending upon what you need.

Sites for public domain e-books

Not all downloadable.

Bad day at the office (compilation)

Haven't seen a couple of these. Song is Bad Day by Daniel Powter.

Yak4Ever finally killed

RIP. The Man wins again.

British nukes were protected by bicycle locks

To arm the weapons you just open a panel held by two captive screws - like a battery cover on a radio - using a thumbnail or a coin.

Inside are the arming switch and a series of dials which you can turn with an Allen key to select high yield or low yield, air burst or groundburst and other parameters.

The Bomb is actually armed by inserting a bicycle lock key into the arming switch and turning it through 90 degrees. There is no code which needs to be entered or dual key system to prevent a rogue individual from arming the Bomb.

What makes us moral?

A consideration from Time. Their quiz here (the types of dilemmas presented in studies).

Western Union still relevant as migration continues

Long synonymous with Morse code, the company now advertises in Tagalog and Twi and runs promotions for holidays as obscure as Phagwa and Fiji Day. Its executives hail migrants as “heroes” and once tried to oust a congressman because of his push for tougher immigration laws.

Everyone's Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide

Yeah, that's the title and it's a pdf.

Cancer studies wasted millions

Study in the U.K.

It found some scientists have failed to carry out simple and inexpensive checks to ensure they are working with the right forms of human tumour cells.

Rust and scratch decals for your vehicle to deter theft

Just stick 'em on and communicate lower value.

Oprah helps hoarding woman remove 75 tons of garbage from her 3000 sq. ft. home

Well, that much stuff and a home that big... My guess is that she could have afforded some maid service earlier.

Book forum overview of Tyler Cowen's Discover Your Inner Economist

Links to video and audio.

Water-activated portable power generator

For recreational and emergency purposes.

Browsershots -- test your web design in different browsers

I certainly know a prop shop that could use this.

23AndMe: for $1000, screen your DNA for conditions

Not your full genome, as far as I know (there is service that charges $350k for that). Still useful, but consider legal and economic consequences for merely knowing.

Want democracy? Abolish corporate peronhood

In 1886:

The Supreme Court ruled on an obscure taxation issue in the Santa Clara County vs. The Union Pacific Railroad case, but the Recorder of the court - a man named J. C. Bancroft Davis, himself formerly the president of a small railroad - wrote into his personal commentary of the case (known as a headnote) that the Chief Justice had said that all the Justices agreed that corporations are persons.

And in so doing, he - not the Supreme Court, but its clerical recorder - inserted a statement that would change history and give corporations enormous powers that were not granted by Congress, not granted by the voters, and not even granted by the Supreme Court. Davis’s headnote, which had no legal standing, was taken as precedent by generations of jurists (including the Supreme Court) who followed and apparently read the headnote but not the decision.

The Boy with the Incredible Brain

Documentary on a math savant. How he comes to an answer is neurologically distinct from the rest of us.

World's oldest ritual discovered

Python worship 70 000 years ago.

Pedophiles' secret code on the Web

FBI intelligence bulletin on symbols and logos to indicate sexual preference.

Keeping arguments under control

Don't use absolutes, and maybe actually try to feel the other side's position.

Ideas that will change the world

Like self-modeling robots.
Here's an earth hack about controlling the cow methane problem, thrown in for good measure.

Rules of genetics keep changing

For example, it used to be believed that a single gene had a very specific, single purpose. Not so true anymore.

RedLasso -- search, clip and share TV and radio

Haven't tried it.

Health vs. Pork: Congress debates the Farm Bill

"Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies."

Breaking down the mechanism of amyloid-beta clumping in Alzheimer's

The researchers thus discovered that gene mutations in A-beta increase the flexibility of the protein's loop, enabling it to join easily with loops of other A-beta proteins to form clumps. The loop is also located in the region of the protein that regulates the formation of A-beta and its amount.
Understanding how the toxic A-beta clumps form in the brain could aid the design of new drugs that both block the production of A-beta and prevent it from clumping.

Buying a residence not always the right move

Weigh everything out, crunch the numbers.
Myths about renting or buying here.

Affordable hydrogenases on carbon nanotubes to catalyze hydrogen fuel cell function

The researchers combined hydrogenase enzymes with carbon nanotubes, submicroscopic strands of pure carbon that are excellent electrical conductors. In laboratory studies, the researchers demonstrated that a good electrical connection was established using photoluminescence spectroscopy measurements.

These new “biohybrid” conjugates could reduce the cost of fuel cells by reducing or eliminating the need for platinum and other costly metal components, they say.

True Knowledge -- another natural language search engine

Right now, all of these seem to be in private beta. Lexxe is available right now.

Insane medical practices from the past

Like heroin for your cough.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Why self-governance works better than you think

Worried about pure anarchy? There's a lot of self-regulation in nature:

Many mechanisms of self-governance rely on reputation to secure good conduct. It’s not difficult to see how reputation can in many cases prevent cheating even where government enforcement is not an option.

EV-X7 hybrid electric motorbike

Approaching Akira stylings.

HiveLive social networking platform

Some customizability:

Network users can choose to add their own hives to an existing social network, configure the type of hive (blog, forum, wiki, etc.), and then determine who within the network gets to use them (everyone or just a subset of friends and colleagues). This allows users to stake off their own areas of interaction and undergo activities from there.

Dropping food myths

Just five of 'em, like high protein intake being harmful to your kidneys.

Surfer dude with theory of everything

Even better, it does not require more than one dimension of time and three of space, when some rival theories need ten or even more spatial dimensions and other bizarre concepts... Lisi's inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 - a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887.

90 suicides a day spur Japan into action

Ninth-highest rate in the world, but well ahead for developed nations. Here's one measure:

In 2001 railway stations in Japan introduced mirrors to deter suicide attempts by showing victims their own face before they jump.

Compendium of 150 Monty Python sketches

At One Mans [sic] Blog.

Earn minutes on Jajah by listening to ads

One for one.

The Century of the Self -- the science of crowd control

The first part of a BBC doc on how consumer culture was engineered into existence and associated with democracy by a movement founded by Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, using applied psychology.

Awareness is not Mind

Consciousness, the fifth aggregate/heap (skandha), is still within the phenomenal realm.

Cancer-free mouse

A genetic trait mediating the cellular immune system.

Nanosolar's rolled solar panels pushing down below $1 per watt

Mass production next year.

25% of U.S. homeless are war vets

They only make up 11% of the adult population, but a quarter of the homeless.

Zilok -- rent anything

Some of techcrunch's reservations:

What is missing for me is a wizard to assist an owner in evaluating the rental price of his goods. If i know how to find a second hand price benchmark on the web (checking eBay for example) i would not know how to find the rental price of a piece of furniture (specially if it is unique). Zilok will not be appropriate for many categories of objects (cloths for example) and in many cases the rental price (even if rented several times) will not be a better bargain than just buying or selling the same product second hand or third hand. But i can see how this could catch with some product categories (some equipments and accessories, or utilities).

Over-the-counter painkillers can cut risk of Parkinson's by 60%?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, more specifically.

The study volunteers were considered regular users of painkillers if they took two or more pills a week for at least one month.
The link was still in evidence up to two years after the person stopped regularly taking the drugs. The effect did not increase if the person took more than two doses a week and the drugs had no effect if the disease was already well developed.

I Hate Drake -- some fine, funny cut/paste animation

From MORTIFIED, a comedy show that allows everyday adults to read their most embarrassing and real childhood writings. This concert recording was later animated by Bill Barminski.

Random access warehouses

Fascinating packaging system. Not like Charlie Chaplin/Lucille Ball conforming to the machine at all; the machine conforms to human speed.
Zappos.com orders one.

Christian soldiers in the New Rome

A concern that there's a bit of institutional culture shift occurring in the U.S. military because of some more zealous higher-ups:

I also learned that the same Monday night Bible studies discussed at orientation were taught by bused-in members of these evangelical mega-churches and that some spouses of senior academy staff members were employed by these same religious institutions. It seemed that my beloved United States Air Force Academy had morphed into the Rocky Mountain Bible College.

How to classify supraplanetary civilizations

By energy consumption:

In a seminal paper published in 1964 in the Journal of Soviet Astronomy, Russian astrophysicist Nicolai Kardashev theorised that advanced civilisations must thus be grouped according to three Types: I, II and III, signifying mastery of, respectively, planetary, stellar and galactic forms of energy usage. He calculated that the energy consumption of these three types of civilisations would be separated by a factor of about 10 billion.

Causes of death are linked to a person’s weight

Lower weight people still get hit, of course, but their conditions come later.

Bluetooth-enabled DVR in a pen

Capturing real-time capturing video at 30 fps (320x240), the device can be set to activate based on motion detection. Recording is to flash memory or Micro SD and Bluetooth wireless transfer back to PDAs or PCs is included.
Looks like any pen. Makes it sound like there's camera functionality, but where's the lens?

Bystander stem cells keep original neurons humming, restore memory

But in this case, the undifferentiated stem cells, harvested from 14-day-old mouse brains, did not simply replace neurons that had died off. Rather, the group speculates that the transplanted cells secreted protective neurotrophins, proteins that promote cell survival by keeping neurons from inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death). Instead, the once ill-fated neurons strengthened their interconnections and kept functioning.

How It All Ends -- cornered by reason into action on global warming

The rational breakdown of why we should take global warming seriously right now. Thanks to Brian.

Doubting the bilingual cognitive advantage: just an effect of socioeconomic status?

So, being multilingual confers no advantage to a poor kid (for this task anyways)?

Lesser known Windows software

General utilities, but open source.

Sirtris tests their fountain of youth pill

Damned if I had thought that this research was disregarded because the positive results were more a lab artefact or something.

SRT501 impacts a family of genes in humans and other organisms called "sirtuins," which seem to control a cornucopia of desirable functions in cells that lead to improvements in diseases ranging from obesity and diabetes to Alzheimer's and cancer.

Science of flavor

Sweetness signals the presence of calories, vitamins and minerals. Saltiness indicates the presence of sodium (important to keep your heart and neurons going). Bitterness screams "this could be poison!" at your brain.

Violence: A Micro-sociological Theory

New book:

Violence is not primordial, and civilization does not tame it; the opposite is much nearer the truth.
From Marginal:
This book has soo many interesting parts, including the micro-dynamics of the Rape of Nanjing, how British soccer stadium designs were (but now less) conducive to violence, how demonstrations can turn into violent confrontations with the police (lines break down and micro-situations of overwhelming power arise), which children and schools are most conducive to bullying, why basketball has fewer fights than football or hockey (no padding), the dynamics of a mosh pit, and how hired assassins motivate themselves, among many other topics.

Cerulean F1+TX Bluetooth headphones

Can use for VoIP as well as mobile.

Neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran on Capgras syndrome, phantom limbs, synesthesia

Quite intriguing was the assertion that metaphorical thought is a type of synesthesia.

What is life?

i.e. Once you start getting down to really fine levels, what exactly constitutes life?

Motherboard fundamentals

From Ars Technica.

Robert Reich's Supercapitalism

New book, excerpt:

Finally, I will come to some conclusions you may find surprising -- among them, why the move toward improved corporate governance makes companies less likely to be socially responsible. Why the promise of corporate democracy is illusory. Why the corporate income tax should be abolished. Why companies should not be held criminally liable. And why shareholders should be protected from having their money used by corporations for political purposes without their consent.

Subjectivity of wine

The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.

The second test Brochet conducted was even more damning. He took a middling Bordeaux and served it in two different bottles. One bottle was a fancy grand-cru. The other bottle was an ordinary vin du table. Despite the fact that they were actually being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the differently labeled bottles nearly opposite ratings. The grand cru was "agreeable, woody, complex, balanced and rounded," while the vin du table was "weak, short, light, flat and faulty". Forty experts said the wine with the fancy label was worth drinking, while only 12 said the cheap wine was.

Mafia's ten commandments

Like 2. Never look at the wives of friends -- just as the bible!

But just how is consciousness quantum?

I sure don't get this stuff, but it seems to be a trashing of simplistic associating of a couple of unknowns.

Taserproof jacket

Engadget's link just goes to the abstract for the patent application.

Vitamin D affects how you age?

... those with the highest vitamin D levels had longer leukocyte telomere length ... Previous research has found that shortened LTL is linked to risk for heart disease and could be an indication of chronic inflammation – a key determinant in the biology of aging.

Bricor's very low flow showerheads

That's 1.125 gallons per minute @ 50 psi.

Marshall McLuhan's hot and cool categories

The electric media of television and computers, argued McLuhan, would liberate us from our dependence on the printed word. Print was what he called a “hot” medium, one that absorbed all of our attention and left little room for participation. The medium it had supplanted, the spoken word, was by contrast a “cool” medium that left plenty of space for participation.

Reading, to put it simply, is a lonely pursuit, while speech is a social one. So when we became readers, rather than listeners, we sacrificed our shared, tribal consciousness and became locked into private consciousness. Printed text, in McLuhan’s view, led to everything from the rise of individualism to the specialization of jobs in factories.

Wall St. alpha male checking himself

About Todd Thomson, ex-CEO of Citigroup's Global Wealth Mgmt and his splashing of company money around Maria Bartiromo. Summary paragraph of the Street's culture now:

There is a new deal for the alpha male on Wall Street. He can make his millions, and he can still strut and preen and feel important. What he can't do is sexualize his financial clout. In the late 1980s it was fairly routine for men on Wall Street trading floors to order up strippers; when a prominent bond salesman was fellated in a conference room just off the trading floor his colleagues were more amused than shocked. Not long ago a pair of Morgan Stanley employees was fired for merely attending a strip club in their off hours. As one of my former classmates put it, "the decorum in the marketplace has changed.''

Encrypted Hushmail not so hush

... court document from a federal prosecution of alleged steroid dealers reveals the Canadian company turned over 12 CDs worth of e-mails from three Hushmail accounts, following a court order obtained through a mutual assistance treaty between the U.S. and Canada. The charging document alleges that many Chinese wholesale steroid chemical providers, underground laboratories and steroid retailers do business over Hushmail.

Rosemary protects your brain from free radical damage, perhaps for Alzheimer's and strokes

In animal models, the scientific group, led by Drs. Takumi Satoh (Iwate University, Japan) and Stuart Lipton (Burnham Institute), found that CA becomes activated by the free radical damage itself, remaining innocuous unless needed, exactly what is wanted in a drug.

Confessions of an economic hitman: interview with John Perkins

About engineered crippling of poor nations with American-contracted, megaproject debt to make natural resources available for firesale prices.
He has a book and all, but I had to take pause when he referred to the NSA as being something more than a cryptology agency. There are things I just don't know about, I guess. Only caught the first twenty minutes or so.

Part 1


Part 2

Over 90 per cent of the subjects in the phase 1 trials developed an immune response to HIV

The vaccine is what is known as a genetic vaccine, which uses parts of the virus DNA to stimulate the rapid endogenous production of the proteins for which the injected DNA codes.
The trial subjects were vaccinated on three occasions with this vaccine using a needle-free method of injection. In order to enhance the effect, the researchers also gave the subjects a fourth dose of a vaccine in which parts of the HIV virus DNA had been integrated into another virus (vaccinia = the cowpox virus).

Bell Sympatico admits to throttling p2p

During peak hours.

Sound training rewires dyslexic children

Infants must correctly process fast-changing sounds, like those within the syllable "ba," in order to learn language and, later, to know what printed letters sound like. Infants use sound processing to grab from speech all the sounds of their native language, then stamp them into their brains, creating a sound map. If they can't analyze fast-changing sounds, their sound map may become confused.

"Children with developmental dyslexia may be living in a world with in-between sounds," says Gaab. "It could be that whenever I tell a dyslexic child 'ga,' they hear a mix of 'ga,' 'ka,' 'ba,' and 'wa'."

Fake excuses for sale

That's right. Just buy one (it does backfire).

For about $25, students and employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals. Other options include a fake jury summons or an authentic-looking funeral service program complete with comforting poems and a list of pallbearers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why you shouldn't go to law school

Upon graduation, you join the elite or serfdom.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

How to make a scary political ad

Funny deconstruction of how negative election commercials are designed.

Crealev's levitating lamps

Coming out in 2008.

Easy not to be racist if you're positive about everything

About 7 percent of white people, though, actually show a distinct lack of racism on probing psychological tests... It turns out that the nonracists share a unique emotional style: They rarely form any negative associations, whether they're thinking about meaningless symbols or real human beings.

Deconstruct a language to see if it's worth the effort

From Tim Ferriss, that 4-hour workweek guy (previously posted video here):

How is it possible to become conversationally fluent in one of these languages in 2-12 months? It starts with deconstructing them, choosing wisely, and abandoning all but a few of them.

Interactive map of nuclear reactors and safety problems

Moving a cursor over and/or clicking on a reactor will bring up more in-depth information about each reactor, including owner and licensing dates; local population; past and present safety issues; UCS letters to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); and testimony to Congress.

New neurons listen before they talk

Newly created neurons in adults rely on signals from distant brain regions to regulate their maturation and survival before they can communicate with existing neighboring cells...

Enurgi -- helping the elderly and disabled find better care

Caregivers and care recipients can establish relationships by sending each other messages through the website. Enurgi will then keep track of these relationships, help schedule sessions with its calendaring system, and manage all of the payments that clients send to their caregivers through the website (powered by PayPal). Clients can also post reviews of their caregivers that can be viewed by other potential clients.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Alive and safe, the brutal Japanese soldiers who butchered 20,000 Allied seamen in cold blood

You can't wipe out older ways of seeing just with some technology and in the snap of a finger.

Multitouch display from Perceptive Pixel

EveryScape -- like Google Streetview taken indoors

Hotel example here.

It was all my brain's fault

The idea is abroad that developments in neuroscience – in particular the observation of activity in the living brain, using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging – have shown us that we are not as free, or as accountable for our actions, as we traditionally thought.
Yeah, but correlation is not causation. However, there is such a thing as an afflicted prefrontal cortex and its connections.

Wild foreign phrases

Like

Kanjus Makkhicus - Hindi: a person so miserly that if a fly falls into his cup of tea, he'll fish it out and suck it dry before throwing it away.

Circadian-mediated medication

A consideration of chronobiology.

Using incentives to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Skip the treaties:

In a peaceful world, what do the Palestinians anticipate will be their main source of economic viability? Tourism. This is what their own documents say. And, of course, the Israelis make a lot of money from tourism, and that revenue is very easy to track. As a starting point requiring no trust, no mutual cooperation, I would suggest that all tourist revenue be [divided by] a fixed formula based on the current population of the region, which is roughly 40 percent Palestinian, 60 percent Israeli. The money would go automatically to each side. Now, when there is violence, tourists don’t come.

Debunked cognitive myths

Like the field of Cognitive/ Brain Fitness being too new to be credible.

World record artificial tornado

Inside the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Scientists treat cancer as an infectious agent

“We had a hunch that rapidly growing tumors can “outgrow” their blood supply, resulting in dead tumor cells that might spill their viral antigens amongst the living cancer cells,” says Dr. Arturo Casadevall, Forchheimer Professor and Chair of Microbiology & Immunology at Einstein and co-senior author of the study. “So we hoped that by injecting antibodies hitched to isotopes into the blood that they’d be carried deep into the tumor mass and would latch onto these now-exposed antigens. Then the blast of radiation emitted by the radioisotope would destroy the live tumor cells nearby.”

Meetro -- make your own forum

The project, codenamed “Makaha”, has been in development since the beginning of this year. While many forums require users to find their own hosting and install software, Makaha will enable users to create and personalize forums through a point-and-click interface.

Tax cuts stimulate the economy and bring in even more revenue, right?

An analysis from the New Yorker about the great lie of supply-side economics.

Free video rippers, encoders and converters

From lifehacker. A couple web-based, but desktop too.

Lack of sleep a lot like mental illness

"It is thought that psychiatric conditions create sleep problems," he says. "We should entertain the possibility that it is a sleep disorder that is creating the condition."
and a bit expanded here:
It is almost as though, without sleep, the brain reverts back to a more primitive pattern of activity, becoming unable to put emotional experiences into context and produce controlled, appropriate responses.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Homerisms i.e. from The Simpsons

Like "I don't have to be careful, I've got a gun!"

Proposed Turtle airships -- solar-powered VTOL with jet engine supplement

Lifted by helium and flying on sunlight. Backed up with Ethanol/Bio-diesel JET engines; 200 mph; able to fly as fast as small airplanes. Able to fly indefinitely, anywhere in the world, without stopping or refueling. Able to hover like a helicopter, and to land straight up or down onto any surface... grass, an airport runway... or on water. Land on lakes, on wide rivers, in harbors... land in the middle of the ocean.
Carry 400 passengers. Carry 300 tonnes of cargo.

Hydrogen fuel much less efficient than batteries

... dismal overall power-grid-to-wheels efficiency of less than 25%.
Batteries can get 85%+.

Game theory analysis for business and politics

Most recently "to offer approaches for handling the growing nuclear crisis with Iran.:

The main reason that the model does this better than experts is that it "strips ideological blindfolds, cultural prejudice, and normative commitments that very often color the view of experts."

Hycrete -- waterproof, recyclable concrete

... a water based admixture that acts as waterproofing and corrosion protection when added to regular concrete. It does this by sealing the capillaries within the concrete and making the resultant product completely waterproof.

Pirate Bay sees future without bitTorrent

They're working on some protocol which will be backwards compatible, and the bigger sites have agreed to. Next year for rollout.

How far gone is Buffalo?

I have a soft spot for Buffalo for all the TV it provided in my youth. I agree that it needs to join spheres of relative prosperity like Kitchener-Waterloo or Toronto and provide complementary goods or services.

Safer gene therapy for neurological diseases

Researchers at the Board of Governors Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have shown for the first time that it is possible to sustain therapeutic gene expression in the central nervous system for up to a year, even in the presence of an anti-viral immune response mechanism that is normally present in humans.

String ducky -- string theory in two minutes



Note parallels in some Buddhist cosmology here.

Jacket with a GPS tracker

Eighteen hour charge for a $700 adult jacket, and it's still $20 per month for the service.

Bug.gd -- collaborative search and bug solutions

This should become the one-stop bug-fix site.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Optimism circuit found in brain

... imagining a positive future event – such as winning an award or receiving a large sum of cash – activates two brain areas known as the amygdala and the rostral anterior cingulated cortex (rACC). The finding lends weight to earlier studies that suggested these brain regions malfunction in depression and hint at new ways of diagnosing the disorder.

Russia's new ballistic missile submarine

The Borei class has about half the displacement of the Typhoon, but carries about sixteen missiles, maybe twenty in future versions. Has some propulsion system known as pump jet.

65 not so old

The current practice of measuring age as years-since-birth, both in common practice and in the law, rather than alternative measures reflecting a person's stage in the lifecycle distorts important behavior such as retirement, saving, and the discussion of dependency ratios.

Flaws in Ubuntu 7.10

So, it's not all good? Not extreme issues, though.

Zweifach Shelf: flat-pack, modular, stackable storage

More design concept at the moment, I believe.

Gene therapy with JX-963 for colon cancer stimulates white blood cells

The chemical that the virus secretes, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, or GM-CSF, is a protein that stimulates the production of white blood cells. The scientists must be careful, however, not to overstimulate the immune system so that it kills the virus before it has a chance to attack the cancer.

Paradoxically, the answer might lie in temporarily suppressing the immune system with drugs to allow the virus to spread rapidly. Then, after the virus has destroyed most of the tumor, GM-CSF stimulates an elevated immune system response.

Quantum cascade laser nanoantenna -- imaging molecules

By combining Quantum Cascade Lasers with optical antenna nanotechnology we have created for the first time an extremely compact device that will enable the realization of new ultrahigh spatial resolution microscopes for chemical imaging on a nanometric scale of a wide range of materials and biological specimens...
... applications... including pollution monitoring, chemical sensing, medical diagnostics such as breath analysis, and homeland security.

Major airline tips

Hadn't heard of this:

Rule 240, which states “that if an airline [can’t] get you to your destination on time, it [is] required to put you on a competitor’s flight if it would get you there faster than your original airline’s next flight.
Also, the pendulum seems to be moving away again from going directly to airlines.

Italian Mafia in decline

... shot in the foot by its own loudmouth members, bloodied by scores of convictions, and crippled by a loss of veteran leaders and a dearth of capable replacements.

Device driver updates deactivating Vista

How bad is deactivation?

... your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Illegal questions a potential employer should avoid at interview

Like "Do you smoke or use alcohol?" Alternative workarounds here.

An echolocating boy

From the neurophilosophy blog at scienceblogs (first 10-minute segment of video below):

At the age of 2, Underwood was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that that affects about one in 5 million children. One year later, his eyes were surgically removed, to prevent the tumour from spreading throught the optic nerve and into the brain.
Soon after his surgery, Underwood realized that he could use echoes to determine the positions of objects, and began to develop this "six sense." His ability to echolocate is now so sophisticated that he can ride a bike, skateboard and play computer games.

D-Lab -- MIT brains tackling technological problems of developing world

But in low tech, affordable ways.

Save a slow system with Damn Small Linux

Those old computers don't have to be junked?

Damn Small Linux is a free download that fits inside less than 50MB, so it's easily booted from a CD, a USB drive, or an ancient PC with only 8MB of memory.

Better airfares for off-peak dates

At American, the cheapest price on a Thanksgiving trip from New York to Las Vegas and back was a hefty $1,095 for travel on Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving, and returning on Sunday, Nov. 25. Those are the peak days for those holidays. But change your itinerary to leave Thanksgiving Day and return the following Tuesday, and the Las Vegas getaway costs only $335 on American.

More nuclear apocalypses averted

The previously posted story of Lt. Col. Petrov is here, but there's also the Americans misinterpreting for a moment. It's happened a few times on both sides.

JackBe -- mashups of all kinds of superfeed data for corporations

Mashups are created primarily in ten different ways (using graphs, maps, grids, etc.) ... If you check out JackBe’s customers page, you’ll see that Citigroup uses Presto for “Tax Collection, Bank Tellers, Credit Workflow, Branch executives, Insurance Quoting/Sales and eBanking”; the Defense Intelligence Agency uses it to “paint a picture of situational awareness across various intelligence data sources, using a paradigm of drag-and-drop and bookmarking of the resulting briefing in a private workspace for future use and sharing”; and Tupperware uses it “to provide real-time price, inventory and product updates to field sales representatives.”

Anesthesia awareness

CBS story on the phenomenon where you are paralyzed during your operation, but still awake. There's a thriller called Awake with this as a premise coming out at the end of November.

Hilarious kid's Hallowe'en costume

Very adorable homage to Alien. Click through for the larger photo at the site.

RapidTyping -- free typing tutor

I also recall there being a site zealously promoting the Dvorak layout as well. If you want speed, there are ways.

Kitty Genovese stabbing reframed

The number of witnesses may have been off a lot. And then,

Indeed, none of the witnesses reported actually seeing the stabbing. And whereas the myth states that none of the apartment residents overlooking the crime intervened, in fact the murderer felt compelled to abandon his first attack after one of the witnesses shouted at him. This led to the actual murder taking place inside a nearby building where none of the trial witnesses could see.

Making the internet 200 times faster with present copper

By cutting down the interference.

The movie Ratatouille and Jewish assimilation

An analysis of the the rats in the movie as Jews in a Christianized world.

Awake for eleven days

Not the record now, but did break the previous at the time.

By the fourth day, the sand-clawed demons of sleep were scraping at the back of his eyeballs. He suddenly and inexplicably hallucinated that he was Paul Lowe, a large black football player for the San Diego Chargers. Gardner, in reality, was white, seventeen years old, and 130 pounds soaking wet.
The last record noted was made in 1977 -- 449 hours, some rocking chair marathon.

Traveler's checklist -- travel day

Dress for the security check, carry snacks, ...

Chris Anderson: Technology's Long Tail

Importantly covers the four stages of tech life, implies opportunities at more than one point.

Forward GrandCentral calls to your Gizmo number

Sounds like free (no roaming charges) inbound calls from anywhere:

With this you can now be travelling anywhere on the planet and can receive calls through your Gizmo client when somebody calls your local GrandCentral number.

ETube -- YouTube of electronics

Complete courses as well as specific devices.

Arsenals of Folly -- The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race

In a narrative that reads like a thriller, Rhodes reveals how the Reagan administration's unprecedented arms buildup in the early 1980s led ailing Soviet leader Yuri Andropov to conclude that Reagan must be preparing for a nuclear war. In the fall of 1983, when NATO staged a larger than usual series of field exercises that included, uniquely, a practice run-up to a nuclear attack, the Soviet military came very close to launching a defensive first strike on Europe and North America. With Soviet aircraft loaded with nuclear bombs warming up on East German runways, U.S. intelligence organizations finally realized the danger.
As a general rule, we are just way too sure of ourselves. This volume appears to be a continuation of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb.

Foreign language acquisition assistance on the Web

Like a speech accent archive so that you know what it is supposed to sound like.

Nasal spray helps people fight chronic social phobias

Scientists say that DCS [D-Cycloserine, usually for TB] has no effect on fear on its own, but enhances the therapy sessions by changing the neurotransmitters in the brain associated with learning to overcome fear.

Free political documentaries

Streamed. Has The Trials of Henry Kissinger and Fahrenheit 9/11.

Boom 2 Borda

30 mile range, 25mph top speed, ~$900. Handheld trigger controller.
Flash page, so may take some time.

ProQuo -- stop paper junk mail

If it's free, then how does it make money?

In the future, ProQuo will allow consumers to request offers that they do want in addition to eliminating the offers that they don’t want. ProQuo will make money from the advertisers that provide these offers. ProQuo will only provide these offers when requested by consumers.

Bridgestone's full-color e-paper

Only 0.29mm thick and 4096 colors on an eight-inch display.

Reason for American Revolution not taxes

From Benjamin Franklin:

The Colonies would gladly have borne the little tax on tea and other matters had it not been the poverty caused by the bad influence of the English bankers on the Parliament, which has caused in the Colonies hatred of England and the Revolutionary War.
There appears to be some kind of solution in the form of some buyout clause in the Federal Reserve Act.

A possible molelcular neurodevelopmental path in schizophrenia

The gene, GAD1, makes an enzyme essential for production of the chemical messenger, called GABA. The more the gene is turned on, the more GABA synthesis can occur, under normal circumstances. GABA helps regulate the flow of electrical traffic that enables brain cells to communicate with each other. It is among the major neurotransmitters in the brain.

Abnormalities in brain development and in GABA synthesis are known to play a role in schizophrenia, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. In this study, scientists discovered that defects in specific epigenetic actions – biochemical reactions that regulate gene activity, such as turning genes on and off so that they can make substances like the GAD1 enzyme – are involved.

Guy skills

A Popular Mechanics list of skills a guy should have.

Chronic subjugation of adolescent turns into aggression in adulthood

Using hamsters:

Their aggression was context dependent. In the presence of equal size hamsters, they showed little aggression; however, they were excessively aggressive toward smaller, younger animals.

Hello Kitty HK-AK-47

And it's only $1072.95!

Maher Arar gets apology from Congress for rendition

However, now Congressmen of both parties, even some like Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who still support the practice of rendition, have come together to acknowledge the wrong that was committed.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Level of oxytocin in pregnant women predicts mother-child bond

Oxytocin seems to be preparing mothers to engage in bonding behaviors. The findings also show that oxytocin is related to the mental, as well as the behavioral, aspect of bonding.

SueEasy -- ambulance chasers have a new home

The site is kind of a reverse directory for lawyers that’s sure to be a haven for personal injury lawsuits... Instead of searching for a lawyer, you list your case and lawyers find you. The site handles two major kinds of cases, class action and individual. Each of those sections is then divided into sub-categories such as DUI/DWI, bankruptcy, or asbestos settlements. Plaintiffs list their grievances in these categories and attach any relevant documentation.
Lawyers bid to contact potential clients with the highest bidder winning and Sue Easy getting the money.

Rat neurons in dish learn and control flight simulator

Article from 2004 that I might have mailed out pre-blog. Initially, the plane in the simulation just wanders aimlessly. The feedback cultivates patterns of recognition in the dish, and voila -- the damn plane is in controlled flight in the simulation.

Powercast -- wireless power

For smaller devices, electricity broadcast through the air.

How to build traffic off-blog to build traffic for no money

Wait, do I have to leave my seat?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Back Up commercial -- a couple of hooks beside your bed for your shotgun

LifeAt -- a social network for your building

Makes sense for a residential building, doesn't it?

Getting it real -- a print reporter turns into the creator of acclaimed HBO show, The Wire.

A little background/history of the show's development. It's more Greek tragedy rather than the Shakespeare that tends to be the template of Hollywood.
The Believer article here.
The Atlantic article here.

How to debate health care policy in the U.S.

The facts need to be considered.

Using VMWare to survive a computer crash

  • First, you set up a virtual machine that has everything you need to do your work - all the software, all the bookmarks, passwords and custom settings you want.
  • Second, you save that “Virtual Machine” onto a DVD (or USB Flash Drive).
  • Third, you save a copy of the free VMware Player and keep it handy.

HTI's revolutionary forward osmosis filtration system

The HTI products employ a proprietary membrane filter that is hydrophilic (attracts water), allows water to pass through, yet blocks very small contaminants due to the tight construction of the membrane. This allows a pure drink to be created from almost any water source, including highly turbid and toxic supply waters. A key innovation is that this is a passive system - requiring no pumping - which harnesses the osmotic potential created by the sugars and electrolytes in a sports drink syrup as the energy source to drive the filtration process.

Top 100 blogs from PC Magazine

A lot of established names here, actually.

Oliver Sacks on the neurological effect of music

64-bit -- more than just the RAM

Well, Vista has some hybrid thing going so that both 32- and 64-bit could be handled. I don't understand it, but we won't be going backwards.

Vitamin C and cancer

A little back-and-forth on the matter with some focus on experimental procedure.

How to track the original location of an email via its IP address

Down to ISP and city, anyways.

Fujitsu advances color e-paper technology

The key to the incredibly meager power requirements is the ability of the liquid crystal display (which uses cholesteric liquid crystals) to hold a high-contrast, semi-permanent image once displayed without requiring any power whatsoever.

Brain puzzles categorized by cognitive function

Like attention, logic, math, ...

More sauce on pasta, not less

The counterargument to pasta police telling you sauce is practically just a garnish. Pasta is just cheap, refined carbs.

Slinkachu -- little people gallery of diorama

That broken glass is from a picture frame. Cute, clever art.

DivShare upgrades its one-stop shop free file hosting service

Hadn't heard of them, but looks like a good free solution.

Blood test to help identify Alzheimer's

Diagnosis is notoriously difficult. Hope this thing is real.

Popfly -- Microsoft's drag-and-drop app builder

Web mashups for noncoders.

Chic Ironic Bitterness -- call for authenticity

An excerpt from a book of the title which notes how irony develops from a lack of realness and trust.

The blowup -- subprime and the quants

How mathematical knowledge didn't prevent the subprime crisis.

Tips for improving your wireless network

Do I have one? No.

Dan Gilbert on happiness and regret

If we feel we had a choice, we are less happy than when we had no choice. Sort of fleshes out some of Kahneman's point on poor affective forecasting.
Time article on same here.

Wes Anderson and race

Offense taken at Slate and Racialicious. Rebuttal to latter from The Atlantic.

A life of near misses

As (un)lucky as they get. From chrono, had a good two decades of peace. Then all that bad karma seemed to have exhausted itself.

Allergic reactions may guard against brain cancer

Thirty-nine percent lower chance of glioma:

The development of allergies is linked to alterations in the genes behind some immune-system signalling molecules called cytokines. In cell culture and animal experiments, these molecules have been found to inhibit glioma growth.
Thank goodness my hayfever has a point!

LifeLock -- prevent identity theft

A professional service. The guy supposedly publicly puts up his Social Security Number to make his point.

Vista speed tweaks

Eventually, XP support will drop and you'll need these tips.

Web developer usability issues

Pretty damn granular analysis of helping visitors.

Catholicism and Nazism in pictures

Belief is not revelation or sight.

Traveler's checklist -- pre-flight

Part one of a series.

Tips for breaking bad habits and developing good ones

We all have something.

Retirement myths debunked

I do think that Boomers will crash the market. Aggregated pension funds are as big as wealthy people in the markets.

African root bark may offer clues to addiction

In 1962, a young junkie named Howard Lotsoff ordered iboga, a plant used in West African rituals, and tried it for extra kicks. After consuming the bitter root-bark powder, he experienced a visionary tour of his early memories. Thirty hours later, when the effects had subsided, he found that he had lost all craving for heroin, without withdrawal symptoms of any kind. He then gave it to seven other addicts, who were using either cocaine or heroin; five stopped taking drugs immediately afterward.

XP tools to arm your PC against hackers

Looks like I could be running an awful lot of apps just to check for stuff.

AdReady -- create your own online ads

Bringing banner advertising to the little guy.

Emergency electricity from phone jack

Notice how during a blackout, corded phones still work?

Free Hidden Electricity! - More amazing videos are a click away

Why was Gandhi never award the Nobel Peace Prize?

In 1947 the conflict between India and Pakistan and Gandhi's prayer-meeting statement, which made people wonder whether he was about to abandon his consistent pacifism, seem to have been the primary reasons why he was not selected by the committee's majority.
After Gandhi's work to end the post-partition violence, the committee seriously considered a posthumous award for 1948, but for formal reasons did not create such a category.

Yapta -- have airfare changes tracked for you

Plug-in for Internet Explorer.

Tips for living in small spaces

Linked from a treehugger post.

Invisible (non?)competition

A post from Marginal excerpting from a print periodical regarding how face-to-face competitors may have some difficulty in the more at-a-distance (how has this changed?) economy:

The greatest gains in this new world are likely to go to people who are methodical planners or who love the game for its own sake. Some people plot their competitive strategies far in advance. These planners—be they crazy or just highly productive—don’t need anyone breathing down their necks, and indeed they often work best alone or in very small groups. Bill Gates is a classic example. Planners’ behavior may manifest itself in very competitive forms, but their underlying psychology is often not very rivalrous at all. They are ordering their own realities, usually for their individual psychological reasons, rather than acting out of a desire to trounce the competition. Early risers will also be favored. These people enjoy being first in line, or first to use a new idea, for its own sake.
Bill Gates is actually reported to be quite competitive, even with the boardgame Monopoly.

Topiramate, an anti-convulsant, helps alcoholics quit

By the end of the study, those receiving the drug reported drinking heavily on just 20% of days. They also averaged only 3.5 drinks per day, and managed to stay completely sober more than half the time.
The control group also improved, but significantly less. They drank heavily on more than 40% of days, consumed six drinks per day, and abstained from drinking about a third of the time.
Topiramate works by blocking the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which reinforces the pleasurable feelings that alcoholics get when they drink.

Revive a dead laptop battery in the freezer

Takes some 14-15 hours.

World's most terrifying foods

You know, like baby mice wine.

Handouts of antimalaria mosquito nets trump social marketing

Social marketing -- with the theory that the poor see more value in brand-name goods they pay for than handouts they get free, and that the trade creates small entrepreneurs -- for mosquito nets does not work as well as straight handouts:

... 3.4 million free nets in two weeks. Coverage rose to 67 percent, and distribution became more equitable. Under social marketing, Dr. Olumese said, the “richest of the poor” had 38 percent coverage, while the “poorest of the poor” — like Maendeleo’s rice farmers — had only 15 percent. After the handouts, they were about equal.
Deaths of children dropped 44 percent.

Poster Forge -- make your own posters

Software to throw stuff together.

ReachBy -- free, personalized contact web page

A service for basic introductions/contact info, giving out no more than that. A CV online, I guess.

Web video roundup to this point

Techcrunch does a summary on the 1-year anniversary of the YouTube acquisition.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How does it feel to die?

Different ways with physiology, some survival tips. More detail in the book How We Die (almost finished!).

Cordless soldering iron

Not that I do too much electronic hacking or anything, but who knows?

Monday, October 15, 2007

You pissed off the wrong pumpkinman, and Hallowe'en from around the world

Hallowe'en can be fun.
The title link is to Hallowe'en celebration variations from different countries.

Windbelt -- micro electrical generation

Small quantities, but interesting tech:

Frayne’s device, which he calls a Windbelt, is a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Prototypes have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines. Frayne envisions the Windbelt costing a few dollars and replacing kerosene lamps in Haitian homes.

The future of existence

A slideshow that goes from tens of millenia out to the end of the universe. Gives you some perspective.

Shrooms are banned in the Netherlands

Remember the post on the tightening culture there? It wasn't all just smoke, it seems.