Saturday, February 25, 2012


I firmly believe that most internet memes are quite silly, but the bit about Windows and "Con" is kind of spooky.

3,001 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW!!! - 1) The moon smells like gunpowder. 2) The creator of the Nike Swoosh symbol (Caroline Davidson) was paid only $35 for the design. 3) You can't create a folder called "Con" in Microsoft Windows. 4) The formula for Coca-Cola has never been patented. 5) Al Capone once said, I am like any other man, all I do is supply a demand. 6) There are five states in United States with no sales tax. They are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. 7) Calcium in bones absorbs X-Rays the most, so bones look white on the radiograph. Fat and other soft tissues absorb less, and look gray. 8) Bruce Lee was the Hong Kong 'cha cha' dance champion in 1958. 9) Erotica is sexually oriented material that is not considered "pornographic" to the viewer. 10) Elvis Presley was a black belt in karate. 11) Amphetamines are similar to cocaine, the main difference being that they are synthetic, longer acting, and cheaper to buy. 12) A DVD has an about 100 year life span. 13) Every person, including identical twins, has a unique eye and tongue print along with their finger print. 14) It takes six months to build a Rolls Royce, and 13 hours to build a Toyota. 15) The words "naked" and "nude" are not the same thing. Naked implies unprotected. Nude means unclothed. 16) James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, was a real spy for the British Navy during the World War II. 17) You're born with 300 bones, but when you get to be an adult, you only have 206, why? Because they fusion one to another. 18) A shrimp's heart is in its head. 19) All the numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666. 20) A lump of pure gold, the size of a matchbox, can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court. 21) Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a novel with over 50,000 words, none of which containing the letter "E". 22) Birds are largely unaffected by spicy things, like chilies, as they are not sensitive to capsaicin, the hot stuff in chilies. 23) The Bible devotes some 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but over 2000 verses on money and possessions. 24) Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. 25) Americans, on average, eat 18 acres of pizza every day. 26) The White House has 35 bathrooms, 3 elevators, 132 rooms, and 412 doors in it. 27) The ashes of the average cremated person weigh 9 pounds. 28) Identify a fake: The second hand on an authentic Rolex watch doesn't tick, it moves smoothly. 29) Pluto is no longer considered a planet, it is now known as a 'Dwarf Planet'. 30) Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a "Friday the 13th." 31) The Leaning Tower of Pisa has never been straight. 32) Alcohol can be detected in the blood as quickly as 40 minutes after your 1st drink. 33) The Olympic gold medal must contain at least six grams of gold. 34) Breasts contain no muscle tissue, so there's no exercise that can change their shape. 35) A Boeing 747 airliner contains 6,000,000 parts. 36) U.S. bills are 2.61 inches wide, 6.14 inches long, and are .0043 inches thick and weigh 1 gram. 37) The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket. 38) Apples are more effective at keeping people awake in the morning than caffeine. 39) Believe it or not but during the average human life, you will consume 70 assorted bugs as well as 10 spiders as you sleep. 40) Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer. 41) Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deepest layer of your skin. 42) Warm up before exercise. Cold, stiff muscles and ligaments are more susceptible to injury. 43) Footprints of the astronauts who landed on the moon should last at least 10 million years since the moon has no atmosphere. 44) Alfred Hitchcock had no belly button as it was eliminated during surgery. 45) The Titanic was the first ship to use the S.O.S signal. 46) It cost $7 million dollars to build the Titanic, and $200 million to make a film about it. 47) Every day 200 million couples make love, 400,000 babies are born, and 140,000 people die. 48) In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital suspended workers for betting on when patients would die. 49) Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. 50) Jewelers Tiffany & Co., based in New York, is responsible for making the Super Bowl trophy. 51) The first credit card was issued by American Express in 1951. 52) Prince Charles and Prince William never travel on the same airplane as a precaution. 53) Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the fear of Friday the 13th. 54) The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. It was the fashion in Renaissance Florence to shave them off. 55) It takes glass one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times. 56) One ragweed plant can release as many as one billion grains of pollen. 57) Heavy marijuana use lowers men's testosterone levels and sperm count and quality. Pot could decrease libido and fertility in some heavy smoking men. 58) Dogs...

Friday, February 17, 2012

PSAs from Canada Health Infoway

I keep seeing these PSAs from Canada Health Infoway. They're kind of compelling.
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Join Google+ and mortuary refrigerators

Quoted for #refrigerator...

Sears: Online department store featuring appliances, tools, fitness equipment and more
Find everything you need to make your house a home at From Craftsman tools to Kenmore appliances, fitness equipment to lawn and garden supplies, with our easy online shopping, the things yo...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Siri and Wolfram Alpha

I don't use Siri, and it really goes against my nature... I have a screen in front of me all day, so why add impedance mismatch through speech? What Wolfram Alpha offers, though, is the ability to share mathematical proof through a URL, and to a math geek, that's pretty cool.
"Siri accounts for about a quarter of the queries fielded by Wolfram Alpha"-Steve Lohr

Wolfram, a Search Engine, Finds Answers Within Itself
Wolfram Alpha Pro's creator wants his "computational knowledge engine" to appeal to more than math and science enthusiasts.
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Neat. Mindwheel port for Windows posted by developer


Mindwheel was an impressive interactive fiction created by Synapse/Broderbund back in 1984, authored by former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. I am currently reading Pinsky's translation of Dante's Inferno, and it is interesting how lyrical, and yet claustrophobic and in places even creepy Mindwheel can be, much like Pinsky's Inferno.

This download is a Windows port, and what's really cool is it has been made available by Steve Hales, the lead developer for the project, and apparently also designed the audio sub-system in the ultra cool T-Mobile SideKick. From his about page:

"If anyone remembers: Fort Apocalypse , Slime, Dimension X, I coded and designed them with Ihor Wolosenko. I also coded and co-designed Mindwheel with Robert Pinksy, the famed poet and author. Working with Robert changed the way I read and write words forever. He was writing History of my Heart during the development of Mindwheel, so they have familiar themes. You can even get a deeper meaning behind Mindwheel, by reading this book. Although, he claims, they are not connected."

Mindwheel | Igor's Software Laboratories
Created in 1983, 1984. This was a mind blowing experience. My first experience with many computer science concepts that are commonplace now. Object oriented programming, Virtual Machines, AI, language...

Monday, February 06, 2012

Hot processing!

Great story from Ken Holman, quoted for coolness and also for #refrigerator...

Hot processing!
So I'm standing here at my desk preparing my UBL 2.1 PRD3 D1 package and I have two very long XSLT transformations to run. One takes 98 minutes and the other takes 124 minutes, running in Java in BSD on my Unibody MacBook 2.66GHz I7 (dual core; quad process). Input file 10Mb; output files total 183Mb.
I used to run these two tasks sequentially, but I today checked out "Activity Monitor" and discovered that while each transformation starts off using about 250% CPU time (sharing processors while building the memory structures), they quickly become single processor 100% (±2%) only (while traversing the memory structures).
So I decided to run them simultaneously instead of sequentially, saving me (theoretically) close to 98 minutes since most of the time appears to be at 100% and when they are both running Activity Monitor says they are both running at 100%.
So far so good ... but within minutes the fans on my machine get too noisy to talk over! I check the status bar and, sure enough, both fans are running >6000rpm. My fans so very rarely make any noise, so this is very noticeable and annoying.
My very wise wife suggests I go to the kitchen and get the flat-bottomed aluminum frying pan to place under my machine, upside down so the flat part of the pan is full on the bottom of the Mac. Maybe two minutes later the fans are running <4000rpm and we can talk without raising my voice over the fan.
Well, now as I'm typing this Google+ post the frying pan is getting hot! The fans are up to 4800rpm again and slowly rising.
So, I've just gone to the kitchen, brought out a second aluminum frying pan, put that one under the Mac, and put the first frying pan into the refrigerator to cool down for the next swap. Within a minute the fan is back down <4000rpm.
My review and editing of the above takes five or 10 minutes. Already this pan is heating up as it isn't as substantial as the first pan ... fan speed up to 4400rpm ... but the first pan will be cold by the time I need to swap again.
Such a simple improvement! Wish I'd thought of it.
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