Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cord-O-Clip -- the modern clothesline

Web pages have come alive and started breeding

Genetic algorithms and such.

More Dan Ariely stuff

Here's how the test worked: Ariely and his students went around and left six-packs of Coke in randomly selected dorm refrigerators all over campus. When he checked back in a few days, all of the Cokes were gone.

But when he later placed plates of six loose dollar bills in those same refrigerators, not a single bill was missing when he checked back. Even though the value was comparable--and thus the situations were supposed to be equivalent--people responded in opposite ways. Why is that?
Different scenarios here.

Decoding gurgles and growls from your body

On crackling joints:

When to get help: See a doctor if you experience any grinding or popping that comes with pain, locking, swelling, or limited motion. This could signal an exercise injury, a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (if the pain is in your jaw) or the onset of osteoarthritis, a condition that affects about 28 million women, usually beginning after middle age when cartilage starts to break down. If you’re diagnosed with arthritis, your doctor may prescribe exercise, a prescription-strength pain reliever, a cortisone injection, or physical therapy. According to experts, acupuncture may help.

Parents fight over which gang toddler should join

The argument got out of control.

His girlfriend told police that they had been arguing about the upbringing of their son and which gang he should belong to. The teen mother, who is black, is a member of the Crips. Manzanares is Hispanic and belongs to the Westside Ballers gang, the woman said.

Nomads at last

The Economist's take on how mobile tech is changing lifestyles.

Dear God -- public confessions

Some cool photography as well.

The Vice Guide to North Korea

First of fourteen (~5 min.):

Getting into North Korea was one of the hardest and weirdest processes VBS has ever dealt with. After we went back and forth with their representatives for months, they finally said they were going to allow 16 journalists into the country to cover the Arirang Mass Games in Pyongyang. Then, ten days before we were supposed to go, they said, “No, nobody can come.” Then they said, “OK, OK, you can come. But only as tourists.” We had no idea what that was supposed to mean. They already knew we were journalists, and over there if you get caught being a journalist when you’re supposed to be a tourist you go to jail. We don’t like jail. And we’re willing to bet we’d hate jail in North Korea.

But we went for it. The first leg of the trip was a flight into northern China. At the airport the North Korean consulate took our passports and all of our money, then brought us to a restaurant. We were sitting there with our tour group, and suddenly all the other diners left and these women came out and started singing North Korean nationalist songs. We were thinking, “Look, we were just on a plane for 20 hours. We’re jet-lagged. Can we just go to bed?” but this guy with our group who was from the LA Times told us, “Everyone in here besides us is secret police. If you don’t act excited then you’re not going to get your visa.” So we got drunk and jumped up onstage and sang songs with the girls. The next day we got our visas. A lot of people we had gone with didn’t get theirs. That was our first hint at just what a freaky, freaky trip we were embarking on...

Sea level rise map

Uses a Google map to show degree of effect.

Six steps to help you beat procrastination

- A Carleton University study found that students who procrastinate eat less nutritiously, sleep less and drink more alcohol than those who finish assignments fast. (U.S. studies show that up to 70 per cent of students admit to procrastination.)

- Individuals with a weak ego or sense of identity -- who react rather than assess and who avoid problem-solving and decision-making -- procrastinate more.

How hunger could topple regimes

The social theories of Karl Marx were long ago discarded as of little value, even to revolutionaries. But he did warn that capitalism had a tendency to generate its own crises. Indeed, the spread of capitalism, and its accelerated industrialization and wealth-creation, may have fomented the food-inflation crisis — by dramatically accelerating competition for scarce resources.

360 Cities' panoramic video

Cool 360 degree road tour of Prague. More a demo of the tech. Should be more cities in the future.

Most overhyped health scares

Didn't know this:

... Three Mile Island was responsible for a whopping zero fatalities. In fact, there weren't even any injuries. Later tests revealed that the level of radiation people were exposed to in the five-mile radius was equivalent to the amount of radiation a person is exposed to while flying on a commercial airliner. In other words, the danger was nil.

Postcards from Yo Momma -- correspondences from Mother

From 20 June 2008:

Offspring - I am cancelling the reservation to Arun’s restaurant. People are losing everything to the flooding in Iowa; people are losing their homes from bank foresclosures (USA Today highlighted a family who took out a home equity loan for $100,000 - their house is now worth $60,000); the price of oil is making travel via car or air prohibitive yada yada yada and I am going to have my hard working princess daughters spend $100 each for a fancy dinner - food we consume, digest then poo? I would rather spend money supporting the local restaurants. Mama

MIU's hybrid dual PC

A little thick and no WiMAX yet, but does practically everything for a handheld -- camera, GPS, ...

How possessions bend our perceptions

6. Partial ownership: Marketing executives know the power of ownership so they use all kinds of tricks to encourage partial ownership because it often leads on to full ownership. We don't usually return our furniture within the 30-day money-back guarantee period because we've grown attached to it - it's ours.

Old Testament ways to get a wife

13. Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. -Onana and Boaz (Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)

MyBlogLog uses Bluetooth-based user detection

The cheap and easy way.

Efficient social software will take away your job

A new book by NYU interactive telecommunications professor, Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations, is a good place to start. Although Shirky predicts the demise or extreme downscaling of a lot of familiar jobs right now — everything from design to procedural legal work — he's also got a lot of telling observations about the future of work, social relationships, and even politics, based on years of researching how people communicate online.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) -- a disease that unleashes creativity

“In 2000, she suddenly had a little trouble finding words,” her husband said. “Although she was gifted in mathematics, she could no longer add single digit numbers. She was aware of what was happening to her. She would stamp her foot in frustration.”

By then, the circuits in Dr. Adams’s brain had reorganized. Her left frontal language areas showed atrophy. Meanwhile, areas in the back of her brain on the right side, devoted to visual and spatial processing, appeared to have thickened.

When artists suffer damage to the right posterior brain, they lose the ability to be creative, Dr. Miller said. Dr. Adams’s story is the opposite. Her case and others suggest that artists in general exhibit more right posterior brain dominance. In a healthy brain, these areas help integrate multisensory perception. Colors, sounds, touch and space are intertwined in novel ways. But these posterior regions are usually inhibited by the dominant frontal cortex, he said. When they are released, creativity emerges.

Nerve-tapping neckband for generates speech from thought

Users needn't worry about that the system voicing their inner thoughts though. Callahan says producing signals for the Audeo to decipher requires "a level above thinking". Users must think specifically about voicing words for them to be picked up by the equipment.
The video shows fairly crude, delayed first generation tech, but wow. Good for privacy and public chatter nuisance concerns.

The sad truth about relationships

Impossibilities conquered in science

Like heavier-than-air flight, warm superconductors, ...

Interview with a hedge fund manager

On the credit crisis, etc. Followup interview here.

Unexpected food facts

Argentinian researchers reported (in the March 7, 2007 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry) that crushing garlic releases an enzyme, alliinase, that catalyzes the formation of allicin, which then breaks down to form a variety of heart-healthy organosulfur compounds. So crushed or chopped garlic, they reported, was potentially better for cardiac health than whole cloves.

Even more surprising, they noted that allowing the crushed garlic to stand for 10 minutes before cooking appeared to further enhance formation of those compounds. So when making a dish that contains garlic, crush the cloves first, and let them rest on the cutting board for at least 10 minutes while doing other prep work.

Era of cheap Chinese products over?


Now when the Chinese present their lists, some American importers are conceding higher prices, meaning that American shoppers, for the first time in years, are starting to pick up the tab for rising costs in China. Some Chinese factories are now asking their American customers for price increases of as much as 20 percent to 30 percent.

Some grafted brain cells catching Parkinson's

The diseased cells contain structures called Lewy bodies, accumulations of a protein called α-synuclein that are a hallmark of Parkinson's. This is a surprise, as conventional wisdom suggests that the grafted cells, still only 11 to 16 years old, are too young to be affected in this way.

Be the bot i.e. Googlebot

To preview sites that don't care to be previewed from the search results page.

Best Buy's customer profiles

Rough and ready writeups for the sales associate to concentrate on the more profitable target.

Smelly sock treatment leaks silver nanoparticles

Two brands of sock lost nearly 100% of their silver content within four washings, while two other brands lost less than 1% over the same number of washings.

Predictably Irrational's Dan Ariely in interview

On anchoring:

So I come to a big class of students and I say today we are going to have an auction for all kinds of products. Here is some wine, and some books, and some chocolate, and some computer accessories -- have a look at all of them and get your opinions about them. And then I asked each of the students to write down the last two digits of their social security number and then we turned this into dollars. So in my case my last two digits are 79. I would write $79 next to each of those. And then we asked everybody to answer whether they would pay the price set by those two digits for each of those products.

WetPaint's Balco -- embeddable wiki

But what we’re hearing is that this isn’t a simple javascript or Flash embed. It’s a deeper integration that requires an insertion of code into a site’s back end application files...
It’s interesting because it pulls the Wiki content directly into a site’s HTML and allows it to be indexed by search engines. That means partner sites will get the SEO benefits of the wiki, a major plus for these partners.

Singularity dude Ray Kurzweil profiled at Wired

How serious is he?

He takes 180 to 210 vitamin and mineral supplements a day, so many that he doesn't have time to organize them all himself. So he's hired a pill wrangler, who takes them out of their bottles and sorts them into daily doses, which he carries everywhere in plastic bags.