Monthly Archives: May 2008

19 May 2008
Unauthorized Propagation Prohibited

Sadly, the grumpy pansies have been replaced by these orange zinnias. I happened to pick up one of the potting tags and discovered the phrase “Unauthorized Propagation Prohibited” printed on the back, as you can see in the image. It so happened that a tag from the pansies was still buried in the small plot; […]

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18 May 2008
Who’s got your number?

Shops secretly track customers via mobile phone (Jonathan Richards, Times Online). Using receivers deployed throughout a building. the system tracks handsets via triangulation. It’s accurate to within a few feet, enough to tell which individual stores are visited, and for how long. The system tracks phones by the unique IMEI code, so technically[1] no personal […]

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18 May 2008
Big and Small

The Etruscan Shrew is the smallest (by mass) mammal in the world, while the Blue Whale is the largest animal that has ever existed on earth, as far as we know. Click on the image for a larger view — note: NOT to scale.. Why this post? I happened to read the following two articles […]

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18 May 2008
Driver Buddy

Do you want to have a conversation with your car, or perhaps an invisible passenger riding shotgun (if a talking car freaks you out too much)? Years ago, Stanford communication and sociology researcher Clifford Nass wondered why some people treated their computers as humans, instead of machines, a question that led him down a path […]

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18 May 2008
Survivor Buddy

[Robin Murphy] envisions a robot that plays soothing music to trapped victims and features a monitor showing the faces of loved ones and rescuers trying to reach them. It will deliver water and transmit a victim’s vital signs to doctors. And it should be friendly, she said. —Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler, A USF professor plans to […]

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15 May 2008
Mission: Implodable

Mission: Impossible (the 1966 TV series) usually opened with the “Tape Scene”, where Mr. Phelps hears his assignment: “your mission, should you decide to accept it ….”, which concluded with “this tape will self-destruct in five seconds”. A perfect model for the RIAA: “This media, should you decide to accept our license (and if you’ve […]

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13 May 2008
The Wizard

“You’ve been accused of wizardry.” Now that’s what I call a whopper of a career-ending phone call. According to Presto! Teacher Out Of A Job, Piculas (the teacher) claims this is the result of a student being traumatized by a simple magic trick, using a toothpick and transparent tape, which Piculas demonstrated and showed the […]

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12 May 2008
All Shook Up

Not only are we having a rash of tornadoes, but now we have to contend with earthquakes. Although this minor 3.1 tremor isn’t significant in comparison to the major disasters around the world, any quake is unusual around here. image: Kinemetrics seismograph at Wikipedia

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12 May 2008
Spiders, but not from Mars

The image is of Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, a trapdoor spider recently discovered in Alabama and named after Neil Young. The full article is at Yahoo! News: Neil Young gets new honor — his own spider. See the Stranger Fruit link for larger images. Wouldn’t David Bowie have been a more appropriate honoree? h/t: John Lynch, Myrmekiaphila […]

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12 May 2008
Safety Deprivation

It seems that we shouldn’t even be allowed to check on our own safety. Here are a couple examples, below. Ostensibly they’re to protect us from ourselves by avoiding panic or loss of business (which is even worse, of course). But that’s not true — it’s about control. It’s about denying anyone outside of authority […]

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