Thursday, December 31, 2009

Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow

Who has heard of Open that Bottle Night? If you are one of those pleasure procrastinators, read on:
For once, social scientists have discovered a flaw in the human psyche that will not be tedious to correct. You may not even need a support group. You could try on your own by starting with this simple New Year’s resolution: Have fun ... now!

Then you just need the strength to cash in your gift certificates, drink that special bottle of wine, redeem your frequent flier miles and take that vacation you always promised yourself. If your resolve weakens, do not succumb to guilt or shame. Acknowledge what you are: a recovering procrastinator of pleasure.
Read the rest of the NYT piece here. (Jules is on a roll!)

Cyanide and Happiness

See the original comic here. (Great find Jules)

Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin: Models for Different Roles

Cathy Horyn compares Michelle Obama's style with Sarah Palin (minus the politics). Read the entire NYT Fashion piece here. (Thanks Lucy!)

The History of NORAD's Santa Tracker

For all you NORAD Santa Trackers, here is a bit of history.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room"

A great find from Will: "As recriminations fly post-Copenhagen, one writer offers a fly-on-the-wall account of how talks failed." Read the Guardian piece here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Russians Wary of Cyrillic Web Domains

Although Cyrillic Web addresses will be available next year, many Russians question their necessity and analyze possible risks:
The Kremlin has long been irritated by the way the United States dominates the Internet, all the way down to the ban on using Cyrillic for Web addresses — even has to be demeaningly rendered in English. The Russian government, as a result, is taking the lead in a landmark shift occurring around the world to allow domain names in languages with non-Latin alphabets...

...But now, computer users are worried that Cyrillic domains will give rise to a hermetic Russian Web, a sort of cyberghetto, and that the push for Cyrillic amounts to a plot by the security services to restrict access to the Internet. Russian companies are also resisting Cyrillic Web addresses, complaining about costs and threats to online security...
Read the rest of the NTY article here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish playwright and essayist

Linguistics and ranges of "politeness" across cultures

A one or two line introduction is not fair for this article. The Economist says "Life is getting friendlier but less interesting. Blame technology, globalisation and feminism," but in truth it is an expose on how small nuances in communication are lost between languages.

English, although seemingly positive to break down social class barriers, can miss the mark for intimacy. Read the full Economist article here.

"New Programs Aim to Lure Young Into Digital Jobs"

Steve Lohr claims that the future American labor force needs more "cool nerds." However, employers are finding some roadblocks:
...But not enough young people are embracing computing — often because they are leery of being branded nerds. Educators and technologists say two things need to change: the image of computing work, and computer science education in high schools...
Read the NYT article here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Erik Anderson's Movie: Tones

Spot anyone you know?

My Initiation at Store 5476

A few crazy facts:
  • Wal*Mart employs some 1.4 million people in the United States. (U.S. population 300 million. ~138 million taxpayers in the United States, which means that Wal*Mart employs around 1% of the entire working population! Yes?)
  • The assistance manager walks about 5 miles per work day on the job.
Read Stephanie Rosenbloom's "initiation" at Store 5476 here.

"Tiger Woods, Person of the Year"

Frank Rich wrote an Op-Ed column reviewing some of the biggest scandals and shocks of the past decade from Enron to 9/11, and concludes that awarding Tiger Woods "Person of the Year" was a fitting close to our decade. Read the NTY Op-Ed piece here.

How to Save a Hacked Gmail Account

DigitalInspiration got hacked, and they outline extensive tips to save your Gmail and GoogleApps in case this happens here.

Google SketchUp: What does a trillion dollars look like?

First, let's start with an introduction to Google SketchUp:

And then click here to see a SketchUp of a trillion dollars. Very cool, but I'm biased. Thanks Lucy!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bump Technologies

Dan Romero showed this to me. It looks like we have a Poken v Bump war.

Peace on Facebook

"Facebook is proud to play a part in promoting peace by building technology that helps people better understand each other. By enabling people from diverse backgrounds to easily connect and share their ideas, we can decrease world conflict in the short and long term." Here are a few of the updates as of Dec 18, 2009:
  • 5,248: Israel-Palestine Connections in the Past 24h
  • 6,702: India-Pakistan Connections in the Past 24h
  • 55,219: Muslim-Christian Connections in the Past 24h
  • 540: Sunni-Shiite Connections in the Past 24h
  • 17,374: US Conservative/Liberal Connections in the Past 24h
Check out the Peace on Facebook site here. (Thanks Howie!)


This is a website that helps organize and distribute the world's news. Check out DayLife's website here.

You Google, you text, you chat. Do you Poken?

Poken Explained from Poken on Vimeo.

Check out the Poken website here.

Geo-based Twitter Trends Tracker

Surf around on here. (Thanks Howie!)

Looking for Life in the Multiverse

Physics is deceivingly fun. Take for example a multiverse. Here are the three key concepts:
  • Multiple other universes—each with its own laws of physics—may have emerged from the same primordial vacuum that gave rise to ours.
  • Assuming they exist, many of those universes may contain intricate structures and perhaps even some forms of life.
  • These findings suggest that our universe may not be as “finely tuned” for the emergence of life as previously thought.
Who would you be in your multiverse? Read the Scientific American article here. (Thanks Will!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"That Tap Water Is Legal but May Be Unhealthy"

"This Los Angeles reservoir contained chemicals that sunlight converted to compounds associated with cancer. The city used plastic balls to block the sun, but nearby homeowners asked why, if the water didn't violate the law"

Our federal law regulating tap water is so out of date: 35-year-old. Read the NYT article here.

"As Goldman Thrives, Some Say an Ethos Has Faded"

"Under Lloyd C. Blankfein's leadership, Goldman Sachs now puts quick profits above all else, some executives say." Read the NYT article here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Poor Children Likelier to Get Antipsychotics"

Rather shocking:
New federally financed drug research reveals a stark disparity: children covered by Medicaid are given powerful antipsychotic medicines at a rate four times higher than children whose parents have private insurance. And the Medicaid children are more likely to receive the drugs for less severe conditions than their middle-class counterparts, the data shows...
Read the rest of the NYT article here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Race to the Top Fund

Here's an innovative government funding tool: "The Race to the Top Fund provides competitive grants to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform." Check out the site here.

Prezi = the new powerpoint

Slides are old school. Check out Prezi's site here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gchat Hidden Smilies

2009 Word of the Year: Twitter

The top words of 2009

1. Twitter
2. Obama
3. H1N1
4. Stimulus
5. Vampire
6. 2.0
7. Deficit
8. Hadron (<3)
9. Healthcare
10. Transparency

And the winners for years past:
2008: Change
2007: Hybrid
2006: Sustainable
2005: Refugee
2004: Incivility
2003: Embedded
2002: Misunderestimate
2001: GroundZero
2000: Chad

Enjoy the full article here. (Thanks Cass!)

Monday, December 7, 2009

"I live in a van down by Duke University"

Check out this story by Duke student, Ken Ilgunas:

"How do I afford grad school without going into debt? A '94 Econoline, bulk food and creative civil disobedience."

Read the Salon article here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Looking for Balloons and Insights to Online Behavior

"The prize is $40,000, and it goes to the first person or group to determine the locations of 10 red balloons that can be anywhere in the continental United States."

The contest takes place on Dec. 5. It is sponsored by Darpa, the Pentagon’s research agency. Read the NYT article here.

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .