Monthly Archives: December 2008

31 Dec 2008
It’s gonna be a long day

Today will be a whole second longer than any other this year. This is also the longest year since 1992, the most recent previous leap year which also included a leap second. Leap seconds are used to keep standard time within 0.9 seconds of apparent solar time, due to the Earth’s changing rotational speed. The […]

Category: Sci-Tech
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29 Dec 2008
Zen and the Art of Existence

Q. Do I have a right to exist?A. Does 8? From comment #22 on Scott Aaronson’s What can first-order logic do for your self-esteem?.

Category: humor
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28 Dec 2008
The Universal Cure

“The year in crackpottery, and what it costs us.” (Coturnix, ScienceBlogs) links to several additional sites about bad science, among them “7 (Stupid) People Who Sued the Scientific Method” (McKinney, Cracked.com). McKinney humorously summarizes each case and then states what victory would imply. At #4, for example, a number of scientists and Nobel Prize winners […]

Category: Life-Society, Sci-Tech
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26 Dec 2008
Windows Genuine Pain In the Ass

This is old news, but I need to rant a bit. You’d think that downloading a file from a web site would be a simple process, but noooo, our friends at Microsoft have to make it a major effort — you have to seriously want to get that file. Microsoft’s PowerShell looked like it might […]

Category: Daily-Grind
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25 Dec 2008
Merry Christmas

Well, anyway, a belated Happy {Christmas | Hanukkah | Kwanzaa | Solstice | … | Thursday}.

Category: Life-Society
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18 Dec 2008
Uncanny Valley of User Interface

Jeff Atwood’s ‘Avoiding The Uncanny Valley of User Interface‘ caught my eye, so to speak. His contention is that “a web app that apes the conventions of a desktop application is attempting to cross the uncanny valley of user interface design”. Atwood’s post was inspired by Bill Higgins’ older post ‘the Uncanny Valley of user […]

Category: programming
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16 Dec 2008
I’ll be watching you

“[I]nvestigators have used an MRI to read images off the visual cortex […] Before you get all panicky and worry that now the CIA will be able to extract all of those sexy librarian fantasies out of your brain by aiming a gadet at your head, relax. This is an interesting piece of work, but […]

Category: humor, Sci-Tech
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13 Dec 2008
Tunnel Vision

Sometimes it’s difficult to schedule a plumber, but twenty years? These leaks were discovered that long ago. An investigation of the extent of the problem was begun in 2004 … tick, tick, tick. But what really got my attention was the magnitude, both of the problem itself and total consumption. All tunnels leak, but this […]

Category: Sci-Tech
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12 Dec 2008
Not Occam’s Razor

I recently found this Gillette Fusion razor while straightening up my desk at work. Synchronicity with the resurrected ads I’ve begun seeing again. I’d received it in the mail a year or two ago — Gillette trying to boost sales for this monstrosity, I guess — and had taken it to work to serve as […]

Category: humor
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11 Dec 2008
Remotely Controlled Thermostats

Speaking of cold weather, here’s an interesting idea: let the government control your home’s thermostat. Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage […]

Category: Life-Society, Sci-Tech
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