Friday, March 30, 2012

Signs of the times

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. ~ Irene Peter
• If you're looking for an accurate picture of a prospective employee, Facebook is more accurate than personality tests, experts say.

• Roll-your-own cigarette shops have spread quickly across the U.S. since 2009 in response to huge price hikes on manufactured smokes, but now state and federal lawmakers are clamping down with legislative changes aimed at putting the operations out of business.

• Japanese researchers have come up with a biplane concept that they believe will fly at supersonic speeds without producing a sonic boom, the noise heard when airplanes break the sound barrier. A group from MIT and Stanford has come up with a wing design to reduce drag so much that it should be possible for such a biplane to approach 4,000 miles per hour. That means New York to London in less than an hour.

• Spit provides clues to diseases more easily than blood or urine, the body fluids usually tested by medical practitioners.

• A recent Japanese software breakthrough has produced facial recognition software that can scan 36 million faces in one second! It can then index them, allowing other recorded video to be scanned for a face in order to monitor a selected person’s activity.

• U.S. Government scientists recently reported that February was the 324th consecutive month in which global temperatures exceeded their long term average for a given month.
Looking for change? Check the sofa.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

George on human intelligence

[Found on]

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An ethics question

[Thanks to Gord and Cathy for sending this along]

What if you were playing in the golf club championship tournament finals, and the match was halved at the end of 17 holes?

You had the honor and hit your ball two hundred fifty yards to the middle of the fairway, leaving a simple six iron to the pin.

Your opponent then hits his ball, lofting it deep into the woods to the right of the fairway.

Being the golfing gentleman that you are, you help your opponent look for his ball. Just before the permitted five minute search period ends, your opponent says, "Go ahead and hit your second shot and if I don't find it in time, I'll concede the match."

You hit your ball, landing it on the green, stopping about ten feet from the pin.

About the time your ball comes to rest, you hear your opponent exclaim from deep in the woods, "I found it!"

The second sound you hear is a click, the sound of a club striking a ball, and the ball comes sailing out of the woods and lands on the green, stopping no more than six inches from the hole.

Now here is the ethical dilemma --- Do you pull the cheating bastard’s ball out of your pocket and confront him with it, or do you keep your mouth shut?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Understanding Women" now out in paperback

[Thanks to Fred for sending this along]

Friday, March 23, 2012

Signs of the times

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. ~ Irene Peter
• Japanese researchers have invented a speech-jamming gun that painlessly forces people into silence.

• Have your cellphone number tattooed on your kid.

• In a recent survey by Search Engine Land, 72% of consumers said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 58% trust a business that has positive online reviews.

• Encyclopedia Brittanica has shut down its print version after 244 years, becoming one of the first major book publishing casualties of the digital age.

• In a triumph of recycling, a typical beer bottle in Ontario is refilled 15 to 20 times and then it is made into a new container.

• Carbon dioxide makes you fat, according to a theory developed by Danish researchers.
Looking for change? Check the sofa.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mrs. Brown's dog

[Thanks to Anita and Wayne for sending this along.]

Mrs. Brown’s dog is getting old, and will die soon. The kids are
discussing how best to handle telling her.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The buffalo theory

Remember that episode of Cheers when Cliff Clavin explained the buffalo theory to his buddy Norm?

"Well ya see, Norm. it's like this --- a herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

"In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.

In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

Still makes sense to me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Things I learned this week

I learned that:
• Russian rulers have alternated between bald guys and hairy guys since 1825.

• Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered key differences in arthritic knee and hip joints, which could lead to new ways of treating osteoarthritis. Knee joints are constantly repairing themselves, while hip joints are not.

• The term "BVDs", synonymous with men's underwear, stands for Bradley, Voorhees & Day, a New York City firm founded in 1876 to manufacture undies for both men and women.

• The Saskatchewan Pension Plan is open to anyone in Canada who wants to join, says consumer advocate Ellen Roseman, so if you are unhappy with your RRSP returns, you can transfer those funds to the Saskatchewan plan, and possibly enjoy better returns and lower fees. It has a pretty good track record.

• Members of a Huu-ay-Aht First Nations village on the west coast of Vancouver Island are moving to higher ground in the wake of last year's disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan. An earlier village in the same location was wiped out in 1700 by giant waves created by an earthquake off the Pacific coast. Hereditary chief Tom Happynook expects it will take about 10 years to build new homes and move everyone out of the tsunami danger zone.

• Bees have distinct personalities, according to new research at the University of Illinois. Some are thrill-seekers, and others are more timid, just like in Bee Movie.
How about that?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cow comfort

[Thanks to B.B. for sending this along.]

Those who grew up in the country, as I did, and city folk who still harbour visions of Daisy grazing on the back 40, will be amazed by this 21st century dairy farm.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pickin' and grinnin'

Turn up your speakers and let Jonny (banjo), Robby (fiddle), and Tommy (guitar) Mizzone kick start your day. Jonny is nine, Robby thirteen, and Tommy fourteen years old.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another phony photo

This TV Guide cover shot was created by merging Oprah Winfrey's head and actress Ann-Margret's body, taken from a 1979 publicity shot. Neither woman gave permission for the composite. It was detected by Ann-Margret’s fashion designer, who recognized the dress.

[Found on FourandSix]

Monday, March 12, 2012

Checked baggage

Friday, March 9, 2012

Signs of the times

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. ~ Irene Peter
Every 60 seconds, two million videos are viewed on YouTube, 700,000 messages are delivered by way of Facebook, and 175,000 tweets are sent on Twitter.

• In a move sure to rankle, 160 German tax collectors have volunteered for duty in Greece to help the struggling Mediterranean country get people to pay up.

• Harvard University engineers have developed the Robobee, a mechanical bee that they hope will do everything from pollinating a field of crops to searching for survivors after a natural disaster.

• Reacting to plunging tax revenues, mounting debt, and skyrocketing costs, the city of Sarasota, Florida, is considering eliminating its police force, and even doing away with the city itself.

• China's one-child-per-family policy, instituted in 1979 to alleviate poverty, is now affecting the supply of young people to staff the country's factories, and may restrict economic growth.

• TopCom is a private social network for world leaders. It is a kind of combination Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, texting service, and Skype for the top 200 World Economic Forum members, the people who run the world.
Looking for change? Check the sofa.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trunk Monkey: Road Rage Edition

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A syantiffick explanation

Monday, March 5, 2012

King discards King, keeps Queen

Photo manipulation has been going on since at least the 1860s.

The 1939 photo on the left, showing Queen Elizabeth and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in Banff, Alberta, was doctored to remove King George VI from the original shown on the right.

The finished product was used on an election poster for the Prime Minister, who evidently thought it would be more powerful without the King.

[Found on FourandSix]

Friday, March 2, 2012

Signs of the times

Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed. ~ Irene Peter
• Italian tax collectors have police stopping Ferraris in the street, and checking yachts berthed in the harbours, as they search for high rollers who haven't declared enough income to support their lifestyles (and paid enough taxes in this famously tax-avoidant country).

• A Brock University research study concluded that low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies that stress hierarchy and resistance to change, and attitudes that can contribute to prejudice. [Note: I just report this stuff.]

• The Westminster Kennel Club dog show ditched Pedigree brand dog food as a sponsor for this year's television coverage, even though it has been the event's major sponsor for the last 24 years. The reason --- Pedigree's commercials about the plight of shelter dogs were downers, detracting from the show's "celebration of dogs."

• A man was killed in Mumbai, India, for spending too long in a public toilet.

• If you still doubt that the surveillance society is here, consider that retailer Target can tell when you're pregnant by monitoring what you're buying. Cellphone calling patterns can identify you as a drug dealer and give your location to police. An amazingly detailed profile of you can be assembled by putting together all the pieces you've scattered around via online surveys, Facebook "Likes," sites visited, maps viewed, ads clicked, Google searches, and so on. More on this here.

• Two words: Motorized Rollerskates.
Looking for change? Check the sofa.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Trunk Monkey: Chaperone Edition