Monday, August 20, 2007

Interview with Linus Torvalds

From Mr. Open Source himself, personal history and motivations behind the Linux project and views of present trends.

Kevlar-lined school uniforms big in London

"Around 1 percent of crimes either have a knife used or intimated, so it is a tiny proportion of total crime," said Deputy Asst. Commissioner Al Hitchcock.
Still, if it's your kid and the option is available, what're you going to do? There are orders from the U.S., but not for the school uniforms.

Safe bedside table

Well, it's an artsy-looking table in the first place, but the cool function compensates.

The pallidum as gateway to subconscious drives, possibly relevant to Parkinson's, addiction

I haven't even heard of this brain part (of the basal ganglia) known as the pallidum, but it seems to light up even with subliminal flashes. This whole subconscious access thing has some implications in addiction treatment as well as willful control in Parkinson's.

Severely affected patients who can hardly walk across the room have been known to walk briskly outdoors in response to a fire alarm. Walking may require both a conscious drive and a subconscious motivation that is amiss in Parkinson's, perhaps because of abnormalities in the pallidum and its associated neural circuitry.

Jimdo -- grab website template

Why start from scratch? Other apps mentioned too.

Neglected growth miracles

I'm linking to the post which links to the actual paper so that you can peruse the comments. Income and life expectancy aren't necessarily associated it seems.

Between 1962 and 2002, life expectancy in the Middle East and North Africa...increased from around 48 years to 69 was...the strongest performance of any region in the world...

...China, which saw life expectancy growing at 1.6 percent in the 1960s, collapsing to around 0.2 percent in the 1980s and 1990s, while income growth was going in the other direction.

"Did you know that The Gambia, Yemen, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Libya were all in the top ten gainers in life expectancy, 1962-2002?"

Criticker -- rating films, finding somebody with same tastes

After ranking some movies yourself, get a taste compatibility index to see a like-minded person's choices, maybe for something you haven't seen yet.

How to detect computer and email monitoring/spying software

Something about ports and usernames and servers... Just for those who might know.

Utopian communities that bombed

Mismanagement or unrealistic application of philosophy led to ruin. The Shakers are here, although they evidently still have one community left.

Watercone -- simple, solar way to get freshwater from saltwater

Wide, UV-resistant plastic cone's inside surface condenses water vapor from saltwater and lets it drip down to the lipped rim. Estimated at 1L of water per day. Overturn it to pour out.

Neutralizing amyloid-beta in blood removes it in Alzheimer's brain

If we are able to lower the levels of amyloid-beta circulating in blood by sequestering more of it there, then the brain should follow and lower its levels too. This is exactly what we found.

Comcast making bitTorrent seeding impossible; Cogeco, Rogers doing something similar

A few seconds after you connect to someone in the swarm the Sandvine application sends a peer reset message (RST flag) and the upload immediately stops. Most vulnerable are users in a relatively small swarm where you only have a couple of peers you can upload the file to. Only seeding seems to be prevented...
But without seeding, I think trackers tag your crap ratio somehow and you get hit in some fashion; just get booted for the private ones, I guess. Cable provider Cogeco and Rogers are doing something similar on a smaller scale.
More ways to get around traffic shaping in general here.

Modern IQ ranges for various occupations

I don't know how to interpret stats data, but I'm going to guess that the four chunks are standard deviations. In that case, a given whole bar is 95% of the profession, so we're missing the extremes. For some reason, farm laborers skew up hard, holding their own at the top end against clerical, police and foremen.
Please submit correction in comments if necessary.

PostSecret trailer for book and site

Previous intro post here.

Pinnacle's portable USB high definition TV tuner and PVR

There is free HD through the airwaves. This connection device for your computer can also take normal coax from the wall, as well as capturing HD with its small antenna. PVR function and remote control included.

jVLT -- building vocabulary in another language

Flash card type thing with usage examples in context.

Using light to flip on a neuron

Where electrode stimulation is very shotgun, this can activate a specific type of neuron. It comes down to neurons genetically manipulated to have photosensitive molecules attached to channel proteins on one end with the appropriate transmitter on the other end. Hit it with light and the the transmitter locks into place. Can better map functional pathways.
Applications beyond neuro being imagined.

AIRTRAX omnidirectional wheels

The damn thing can move sideways.

Pipl -- another people search engine

Better than Spock? You be the judge. Accesses the deep web (like documents in databases). Comments at this lifehacker link bring up privacy issues.

To grasp physics, students need to know about knowledge

Past physics grades didn't matter,

Those students... who recognised that knowledge is changing and constantly reorganised, were significantly more likely to show an understanding of Newton's laws of motion...
... sophisticated epistemological beliefs were necessary but not sufficient for a deep understanding of Newton's laws.
Curriculum needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Dirty dozen credit card traps

The fine print tricks to slice you off at the knees.

Ice caves

This one in Nepal was scalloped by air currents.

High real estate prices prompting divorces

The finally-I-can-afford-to-get-out release. The end also notes the opposite happening too -- too much invested, can't leave.

Freewebs redesign incorporates more Web 2.0

For site creation, but now incorporating more widget, YouTube, Digg, Photobucket options, even blog import.

This is your brain on love

Stuff we know about the brain when falling in love. Many mental illness parallels. Not only hard neuro, here's an interesting study:

About halfway across the [Capilano] bridge [5' wide, 230' above rocks and shallow rapids], each man ran into an attractive young woman claiming to be doing research on beautiful places. She asked him a few questions and gave him her phone number in case he had follow-up questions.

The experiment was repeated upriver on a bridge that was wide and sturdy and only 10 feet above a small rivulet. The same attractive coed met the men, brandishing the same questionnaire.

The result? Men crossing the scary bridge rated the woman on the Capilano bridge more attractive. And about half the men who met her called her afterward. Only two of 16 men on the stable bridge called.

Tokyo Summerland wavepool manages to fit in some water

Another one of those crazy NE Asia leisure crowd shots.

Surprising uses for Aspirin

Dandruff treatment, stain removal, pimple first aid, ...

Entrepreneurs from China fluorish in Africa

... Africa’s emerging economies are inviting precisely because they seem small and accessible. Competition is often weak or nonexistent, and for African customers, the low price of many Chinese goods and services make them more affordable than their Western counterparts.

BitTorrent roundup

This is lifehacker's collection of its bitTorrent tips articles, including some already posted here.
Here is torrentfreak's roundup.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Fishing rod pen

Extends to 37" long, capacity for 120 yd on 5 lb line -- enough for catching up to 4 lbs.

Paper-thin, flexible, biodegradable battery

... a new material that eliminates the need for a multilayer battery. They grew carbon nanotubes on a silicon substrate and impregnated the gaps between the tubes with cellulose—that's right, plain old paper ... By putting two sheets of paper together with the cellulose side facing inwards [tubules sticking out as electrodes] (and a drop of electrolyte on the paper), a supercapacitor is formed. These supercapacitors retain the flexibility of normal paper, but they have a rating that is comparable to that of standard commercial hardware—a 100g sheet could replace a 1300mAh battery.

To attract a mate, women display kindness

They primed with photographs of attractive people of the opposite sex and asked questions with only a couple of alternatives. In the end, primed women felt more inclined to perform conspicuous volunteer work.

Gene discovered that normally blocks multiple tumor formation

HACE 1 fights off stress that can lead to multiple cancers including breast, lung and liver.

Surf like you're GoogleBot -- their IP, their user-agent, their bot characteristics

I don't completely know what this about. For the techs and wannabes.

Death penalty even though he didn't commit murder

The defendant Kenneth Foster was driving a car with three passengers in it. One of them, Mauriceo Brown, left the car and got into an altercation with Michael LaHood and ended up shooting him dead. Brown has been executed. In Texas, they can apply the law of parties to capital cases (the only state to do so) -- being an accomplice makes one the same as the principal. Brown claimed to the end that it wasn't planned and there seems to be evidence unheard at trial to support this assertion.

Ants' good manners prevent congestion

It's tough for humans to think of the collective in a moment of danger, but perhaps better behavior can be engineered, as in the evacuation from a building:

Perversely, if you simply put a pillar in front of the doorway you increase the evacuation speed.

World map's countries sized by house prices, HIV, war deaths, ...

Maps where countries are sized according to their standing in various dimensions. Here's military spending. The U.S. has 45% of the world's land mass here, but look at how Japan (purple) is not exactly slacking in its funding.

Beginner's guide to lock-picking

You can start out with makeshift tools, but to do five pins, you will need a real set.

10 minute mail -- disposable e-mail address

Maybe you want to sign up for a site which requires that you provide an e-mail address to send a validation e-mail to. And maybe you don't want to give up your real e-mail address and end up on a bunch of spam lists.

The Wall Street Journal on how credit got so easy

A little recent history of monetary policy and capital flows from the WSJ to explain why so much bleeding is going on (like the 30% hit of that Goldman Sachs global equity fund ... in one week). One reaction leads to another unforeseen reaction.
NYT updated summary here.

Banned or challenged books

The surprising challenged titles for me were The Little House on the Prairie (1993, offensive to native Indians, haven't read it) and The Odyssey (Plato didn't think it was right for youth).

Most popular blogs

Top 30 by putting together inbound links, unique visitors, and Alexa ranking. Some I haven't heard of.

Very puzzling ancient artifacts

In a lot of cases, handmade stuff ending up in pre-human rock. But also things like a model aircraft found in collections of ancient Egyptian and Central American artifacts.

Motorized pool lounger

Takes D cells, controlled by two joysticks, supports up to 250 lbs. - find out with what technologies a site is built

Uncovers the different apps, widgets, trackers, advertising service that any given site uses.

Tonsil removal may cured ADHD behavior in kids

A given symptom or condition can have many possible paths to manifestation. You have a cough? Doesn't have to be a virus. Therefore, take this as but one of the possible ways ADHD can appear.
Sleep can be disrupted by poor breathing from obstructing, swollen adenoids or tonsils. The poor quality sleep is what is causing the behavioral problems.

Debunking the myths of innovation

A book recommendation. The O'Reilly Media link gives chapter previews. We're always standing on the shoulders of numerous other achievements and insights. Only the egomaniacal believe they are contributing quite so much.

Here also is a take on various kinds of luck that can propel businesses, and which deserve your attention.

World's strangest laws

In Indonesia, you can be beheaded for masturbation, and in France, you can't name a pig "Napoleon".

Chat with AIM, MSN, Yahoo, and other contacts over Google Talk

Need a client called Psi from Jabber. Uses some "transport server" at Jabber to bridge the gap between Google Talk and the other chat apps.

... one of the greatest benefits of connecting all of your chat accounts with your Gmail account is that your chats become instantly searchable inside Gmail.

Verizon's prepaid over-the-phone interpretation service

Covers 170 languages. "Those dealing with complex personal matters will have access to medically or legally trained and certified interpreters to provide assistance in the 22 most-spoken languages." The lowest denomination card is $35.

Derren Brown takes someone's wallet by asking

From psychotherapist Milton H. Erickson's handshake induction:

Confusion is the basis of Erickson’s famous hypnotic handshake. Many actions are learned and operate as a single “chunk” of behavior: shaking hands and tying shoelaces being two classic examples. If the behavior is diverted or frozen midway, the person literally has no mental space for this - he is stopped in the middle of unconsciously executing a behavior that hasn’t got a “middle”. The mind responds by suspending itself in trance until either something happens to give a new direction, or it “snaps out”. A skilled hypnotist can often use that momentary confusion and suspension of normal processes to induce trance quickly and easily.

Women's guide to looking good in the 17th century

The Cosmo magazine of its day. Yearning to be rail thin was a problem back then too:

Bodies that are very Lean and Scragged, we must own, cannot be very Comely: It is a contrary Extream to Corpulency and the Parties Face always seems to carry Lent in it.
What's wrong with Lent? A bit of sacrifice to reflect upon transcendence never hurt anybody. Just goes to show what comes from the land ruled by a materialist ethos.

TokBox for instant video chat

Web-based, no need to download anything, can embed.

Death during gene therapy trial

No evidence yet that the trial itself caused the death, but rule-bending concerns aside, this technology is still very raw.

A dozen uses for Coca Cola

Most of if has to do with using the acidic characteristic of the drink.