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.


Like a youtube of amateur comedy only. Mostly British and mediocre. So, why don't you put your better 2 cents up?

Honey -- anxiety attenuation and memory improvement?

Honey-fed rats spent almost twice as much time in the open sections of an assessment maze than sucrose-fed rats, suggesting they were less anxious. They were also were more likely to enter novel sections of a Y-shaped maze, suggesting they knew where they had been previously and had better spatial memory.

April fool's pranks for nerds

You know, like putting up the blue screen of death as a screensaver, changing the keyboard to Dvorak, ...

Summaries of a few of the biggest gangs

Including the Crips, Hells Angels, IRA, Russian Mafia, Yakuza and MS13 (rep pictured here).

Privatephone -- net phone number to voicemail

Get a phone number to distribute, but keep your privacy.

GnuTrade -- not buying stocks, just betting on markets

More game-like interface. No brokers or transaction fees.
I don't know what this is about, but it doesn't seem to be regular brokerage. Please advise if I'm getting it wrong.

Mother love not required

... while I long for the idea of a mother -- a mentor, a role model, a learned woman who serves as my career and life guide, a best friend, a blanket that offers comfort -- my mother was none of these things, and I have developed my own familial construct: a life inhabited by strong, supportive, loving people who couldn't imagine their lives without me in it (and vice versa).
Family would seem to have something to do with real bonding rather than mere genetics. Take this story about two mothers who had their babies swapped at birth, but are unwilling to switch back ten months later upon discovering the mistake.

Primer on the next step, structured Web


  • The rise of APIs
  • The proliferation of vertical applications that run on top of existing data
  • An increase in classic Semantic Technologies and Microformats
  • The spread of RSS as an information delivery mechanism

Symptoms shouldn't be ignored so easily

Check with your doctor. It could be anything beyond what this list says. Some are acute, but some aren't. Here's a back pain possibility:

#16 The Warning: Severe back pain
What it could be: Aneurysm

Similar to the kind of agony you’d expect if you’d just tried to clean-and-jerk a wardrobe. The usual remedies - heat, rest, OTC painkillers - offer no relief. If it’s not related to exercise, sudden severe back pain can be the sign of an aneurysm. The pain subsides after your body’s main artery bursts. A less threatening possibility: You have a kidney stone.
A CT scan reveals the size and shape of an aneurysm. Your doctor will prescribe blood-pressure medication or surgery to implant a synthetic graft.

SecondRotation -- recycle your used gadgets for cash

Receive $242 for a non-bricked iPhone.

Tim Ferriss on doing on doing more with less

The guy who wrote The 4 Hour Workweek encourages time gain with ideas for offloading and actually executing schedules.

Your brain is not your friend

Cognitive biases and such. Psychology demonstrates time and again how we're not very well wired for accuracy and truth.
More here.

Knights Templar win heresy reprieve after 700 years

The most titillating part of the documents is the so-called Chinon Parchment, which contains phrases in which Pope Clement V absolves the Templars of charges of heresy, which had been the backbone of King Philip's attempts to eliminate them.
Wait. Does this mean that their gnosticism has become acceptable?

Tom Murphy -- getting by in a park one chess game/instruction at a time

At the time of the article, he was staying at friends occasionally if not in the park in D.C. He would actually do okay playing and teaching blitz chess, but would lose the money to drink and gambling in other games.

Autism may result from wrong amount of MeCP2 protein, wrong number of synapses

A mutation of the MeCP2 gene results in too little of the protein which further results in girls developing Rett syndrome. Boys with too much MeCP2 have spasticity and mental retardation with autism-like behavior.

Free audio book and podcast resources

Get educated when just sitting.

Free tools to encrypt everything

The title link will take you to a list for IM, VoIP, email, ...
Here is a Lifehacker walk through TrueCrypt, one of the apps on that list for local file encryption.

See Mike Draw -- fine comic panel

This one is entitled "The shocking footage you were never meant to see."

Fake craigslist postings

A roundup at Buzzfeed.
From there, here's the link to the Wired article on how to spot a fake, and also this warning about rental scams.

Texas cashier clubs deaf customer for not talking

Not taking guff from anyone has its limits.

Various ways not to lose money

Mutual fund, real estate, credit cards, etc., but there's also:

Never hire a roofer, driveway paver or chimney sweep who is going door to door.
When you shop for electronics, don't pay for an extended warranty. One exception: It's a laptop and the warranty is from the manufacturer.

Telomeres involved in cancers dividing forever?

In cancer cells, the telomerase enzyme keeps rebuilding telomeres long past the cell's normal lifetime. The cells become "immortal", endlessly dividing, resulting in a tumor. Researchers estimate that telomere maintenance activity occurs in about 90% of human cancers.

Important U.S. laws every blogger needs to know

Deep linking, spam laws, ...

DeleteOnClick -- securely delete files

It was once explained to me that the normal delete function simply rids of easy access to a file; this is evidenced by the undelete products out there. DeleteOnClick goes further in some way.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dreamcade 2.0 -- home arcade

$1899 plus S&H, but it has a trackball as well as four stick stations for multiplayer games like Gauntlet. Comes with over 145 official titles like Red Baron and Dragon's Lair.

Distinctions of the U.S. deep south

Miss Cellania compiles some aphorisms. Like

If you hear a Southerner exclaim, "Hey, y'all, watch this," you should stay out of the way. These are likely to be the last words he'll ever say.

Quote from Søren Kierkegaard on free speech

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

Flightstats -- best status site

Or so the WSJ says. It also has historical punctuality ratings, airport info, frequent flyer promotions, ...

Why medical care is costing so much

Tyler Cowen's review of a book on the matter:

the American health care cost spiral comes from suppliers and their entrepreneurial abilities to market expensive and highly specialized services of dubious medical efficacy... Medical suppliers, and not insurance company overhead costs, are the main villain of the piece.

Stixy -- free-form collaboration and file sharing spaces

"A desktop-like space in the browser where you can upload and share files." However, quite free-form interface:

For example, photo files are displayed as small versions of themselves and sticky notes can be stuck anywhere. Therefore, Stixy is less like a traditional operating system desktop and more like a bulletin board.

Defraggler -- defragment your files


It differs from other defrag tools on the market, by enabling you to quickly and simply defrag the files you want to, without having to process the whole drive.

Barbie's Fashion Fever Shopping Boutique

You daughter can pretend to go shopping with a credit card with no limit. The video at the site seems to imply that a swipe activates audio declaring the price of the item in some congratulatory manner.
And some imaginary Barbie sets here, like Trailer Trash Barbie.

More income without the extra job

Mostly going to the region, industry (or part thereof) or skill set where the demand is high, supply low:

During his third year as a high-school teacher, 36-year-old Jonathan Ring earned $44,000 -- respectable, but in San Francisco barely enough to keep his studio apartment stocked with Top Ramen. Scott Shepherd, 34, teaches high-school students in Atlanta. In his third year, Shepherd will make nearly $80,000. Why the difference? Ring toils at an inner-city public school, while Shepherd tutors rich kids full-time from suburbia for $75 an hour.

Ultimate Consumerist guide to fighting back

Roundup of some of's posts about not taking it from The Man.

Various wearable technologies

From head-mounted displays to exoskeletons to strap-on aircraft.

iheard -- free internet radio stations

Search by genre, country, language.

Robert Frank on the difficulty of intro economics education

It’s not that we’re stupid, but we use heuristics, we use rules of thumb, and the heuristics work well enough on average across a broad range of circumstances, but unless you really understand the logic of weighing costs and benefits, it’s very easy to be fooled into making the wrong decision.
You can get information into the student’s brain in the form of equations and graphs, yes, but it’s a lot of work to do that. If you can wrap the same ideas around stories, around narratives, they seem to slide into the brain without any effort at all. After all, we evolved as storytellers; that’s what we’re good at.

Artificial cornea

We lay masks on them and apply a special protein to the edge of the cornea, which the cells of the natural cornea can latch onto. In this way, the cornea implant can firmly connect with the natural part of the cornea, while the center remains free of cells and therefore clear.

Scathing review of upcoming Tabula Rasa, MMORPGs in general (NSFW at times)