Links 4.16.10

April 16, 2010

I think this blog is on its last legs but…

Will this make you recycle

(Why) would you pay a girl to play halo with you

Ridiculous 3D to 2D painting

Shoe equalizers

Congress fail

On China

How friendships evolve over time

Can animals be gay? I wouldn’t have believed it, but…

Congress fail 2

Oldie but a goodie:

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton.

Links 3.11.10

March 11, 2010

Scrapheap Transhumanism. What if parts of your body were magnetic?

18,500 condoms for the Olympics.

Wine is stupid.

How to improve chat roulette. I bet 100 startups are currently racing to improve and then monetize this.

ABC? Join the Wall.

Someone can memorize a deck of 52 cards in 24 seconds.

Closed captions

February 17, 2010

I used to think that closed captions were produced by some guy watching TV in real-time (not fake-time) and typing very rapidly. In fact, this is actually the case. However, speech-to-text reporters will use a stenotype machine, and with the improvements in speech recognition software some networks do live subtitling by having someone re-speak what is being broadcast into a computer.

Also, captions are “closed” because not all viewers have to see them, if they don’t want to. And yes, I did just write an entire post based on a funny picture.

Links 2.12.10

February 12, 2010

Very good article about the Amazon/Macmillan clash

More on ChatRoulette

On “testify“:

The practice of swearing an oath while touching one’s or someone else’s testicles was common in the ancient Near East (Abraham also orders a servant to do just that in Genesis 24:2). Its linguistic memory survives in our word “testify”—testis being the Latin both for “witness” and the male generative gland.

Slime mold-designed transit— this will never happen, you heard it here first

99 things you should have already experienced on the internet unless you’re a loser or old or something. They need a checklist function on the site so you can get your meme score, like the purity test.

It’s science

February 3, 2010

Viagra was initially studied for use as a high blood pressure drug; penile erections were just a side effect. Today it is still used for treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension and high-altitude pulmonary edema.

Oral rehydration therapy is just a not-really-fancy name for drinking a solution of salt and sugar (e.g. Gatorade) to treat dehydration. The sodium is first absorbed through the intestine via facilitated diffusion, and then glucose follows via co-transport. The resulting concentration gradient causes osmosis. Without both salt and sugar, the process won’t work– so be sure to have both when you’re hungover!

I often hear that life expectancy is increasing, so for a while I thought I might live to be 100 rather than today’s 75 or so. However, upon further reflection the increase in average life expectancy is probably coming from improvements in the “low-life” end through breakthroughs in treating heart attacks, cancer, etc. rather than any kind of anti-aging therapy. Thus, unless I get really ill the medical advances in the last few decades will likely be largely personally irrelevant (aside from cooler episodes of House, and my first paragraph). Boo.

I want you to donate your body to science, and I’m science.

Links 1.29.10

January 29, 2010

The Chess Master and the Computer by Garry Kasparov. I don’t think he makes any especially novel points but chess is just so cool.

Chat Roulette. I think this is the future of online dating websites, you heard it here first! Also, sources report moderate success with using it as a drinking game.

Paying Zero for Public Services, an article about the success of the zero-rupee note in India:

This is why prisons cannot be privatized. Companies only have a profit motive, and rightly so, but the government’s responsibility is to police it when it affects the public good.

Interrobang, nuff said

Profile pictures

January 26, 2010

The OkCupid blog has an interesting post where they describe their analysis of user profile pictures to discover what “works” and what doesn’t, using new contacts per month as the dependent variable.

I encourage you to read the entire post, but in summary:

Women

  • Make eye contact and smile, bonus points for “flirty-face”
  • Use a self-shot photo with the camera held above the head and pointed downwards
  • Cleavage is good (duh)

Men

  • Don’t make eye contact, and don’t smile (ladies love the stoic type)
  • Use a self-shot photo
  • Show your muscles if you have them, otherwise pose with a pet
  • Do not get all dressed up

Strangely enough, it doesn’t seem to matter if your face is in the picture or not, for either sex.

Apocalypse 2012

January 20, 2010

OT: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse drink = 1 part Jim Beam, 1 part Jack Daniel's, 1 part Johnnie Walker, 1 part Jameson Irish Whiskey

A lot of publicity has been given to the ending of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012 and the supposed cataclysmic events that will ensue. I thought I’d look into it, just in case the belief had some merit and I should re-evaluate my life goals somewhat. This is what I found, mostly from Wikipedia:

The Mayan Long Count calendar has five units and uses a modified base 20 scheme, so 0.0.0.1.5 represents 25 days after the Mayan creation date and 0.0.0.2.0 represents 40 days. For some reason, the third unit is only 18 of the second, so 0.0.1.0.0 represents 360 days and a full cycle of 1.0.0.0.0 (a B’ak’tun) comes out to approximately 394.3 years.

Today’s date in Mayan is 12.19.17.0.13, which gives us just under 3 years until the end of the current B’ak’tun. However, this isn’t the true end to the Long Count, since there are still the 14th-20th B’ak’tuns left– in other words, the complete reset of 0.0.0.0.0 won’t occur until October 13, 4772.

Since the world has lived through (at least) 12 full B’ak’tuns without a problem, in my opinion there’s nothing to worry about. Go ahead and buy that 3-year CD! Also, a more important question might be, who gives a shit about the Mayans anyway?

Links 1.18.10: I Love Japanese People

January 18, 2010

(more of the above here)

The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage. The New Yorker article is a good read too.

The Americanization of Mental Illness

How we should react to terrorist attacks

Great blog post by Roger Ebert, his wiki page is interesting too

America’s first legal male prostitute (suppress your gag reflex first)

Links 1.10.10

January 10, 2010

Russia saves the world, a la Deep Impact

Sweet analysis of a photoshopped image

A humorous recap of 2009 by Dave Barry

It’s not just about money, except, it is. Thinking about law school? Don’t.