Friday, June 16, 2006
Quote of the Week
Freedom is not the right to do what I want but the power to do what I ought.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Quote of the Week
"The same wind blows on us all, it's the set of your sail that makes the difference"
Friday, June 02, 2006
Million-Year Forecast Shows Disasters Galore
Forecast for the next million years, plenty of meteor impacts, supervolcanic eruptions, megaquakes and worse, says Steven Dutch, a geologist at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay who is taking a novel look at Earth's last million years to forecast the next.
Dutch says that even without major catastrophes, gradual geological change will dramatically alter many landscapes. Some examples Dutch cited are Niagara Falls, San Francisco, Hawaii and New Orleans.
Quote of the Week
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Credit Cards That Earn Tuition Dollars
Life, Money, Personal Finance
A new group of credit cards is being introduced as of late that generate contributions to college savings plans with every purchase. These cards offer a range of percentage contributions and bonus contributions. This is an easy way to start saving for your child's education without feeling the pinch in your pocket book.
The article discusses some key points to consider when shopping for one of these cards. Among these points are:
Elimination of the Penny
This is a follow up to my blog on The cost of making money about an article stating that the cost of making a penny has now risen to around 1.23 cents because of the rising cost of zinc. As a result of this, Representative Jim Kolbe, R-Arizona, says he plans to reintroduce legislation to eliminate the penny in the coming weeks (see article). The Legal Tender Modernization Act did not pass back in 2001, he plans to present this legislation again that would require the rounding of all cash transactions to the nearest 5 cents.
Mark Weller, Executive Director of the pro-penny organization, Americans for Common Cents, says that "American's want the penny" and "they also hate rounding". Wow, Americans hate rounding. That's tough.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Inventing a new life jacket
Health, Humor, Life, People, Science, Tech
The BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety and the Personal Flotation Device Manufacturers Association (PFDMA) recently held an Innovations in Life Jacket Design Competition .
The winner of this competition was Adam Malcom, a graduate student in the University of Virginia’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program, whose design is a simple and comfortable belt that when activated manually or automatically be CO2 cartridge, extends slender, symmetrically-arranged air bladders stored inside the belt inflate rising up to surround the wearer on all sides. No secondary action, such as sliding flotation over the head, is necessary. You simply float much like you would in an inner tube.
Honorable mention in the competition was Grand Rapids, Michigan's very own Nicholas Weigel who attends Kendall College of Art and Design. His device uses water soluble locks, on contact with water, the locks dissolve and fills the straps with 486 cubic inches of buoyancy foam.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Train your Brain, Stay on your Game
Money magazine has an article in this months addition about exercises to train your brain like you would your body to keep up with our fast paced world. Money claims the 66% of older people who did brain training activities similar to these showed significan cognitive improvement in a long-term study.
Here are the activities that were listed in the article:
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Michigan bakery sells Hoffa cupcakes
Health, Humor, Life
The Milford Baking Company in Milford Township, Michigan, is having a hard time keeping up with the demand for their new dessert, the Hoffa cupcakes. The cupcakes have a plastic green hand emerging from the chocolate-flavored sprinkles and frosting meant to resemble dirt.
The company started making the cupcakes are in response to dozens of FBI agents, police and others that invaded this small community 30 miles northwest of Detroit to search for the remains of former Teamsters chief Jimmy Hoffa.
Bill Cosby's mantra for the future, "personal responsibility"
Humor, Life, People
This article in USA Today reports on Bill Cosby's recommendation to the black youths of this country. Personal responsibility is the way to keep this counrty and and it's youth heading in the right direction.
I think Mr. Cosby's message appeals to all of us. Too often now a days people are quick to blame external things in their lives for their problems. We need to start looking a little more inside ourselves and changing our attitudes and views on how we handle the external things that come our way. Focusing on ourselves allows us to concetrate on things in our control, ourselves, instead of the external things that we have no control over.
The ol' Chicken or the Egg Debate has been solved
The oldest question has finally been answered, what came first, the chicken or the egg? A team of made up of a geneticist, philosopher and chicken farmer claim to have found an answer. It's the egg!
The reason, genetic material does not change during an animal's life. Therefore the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must have first existed as an embryo inside an egg.
States get tougher with sex offenders, what is going on in Michigan
Life, News, People
There was an article in USA Today recently regarding the public fear of sex and how 14 govenors have signed bills this year that are tougher on sex offenders. The measures extend prison sentences, restrict where offenders can live, improve public notification of their whereabouts, order electronic monitoring or broaden prosecutorial power.
The part of this article that was interesting to me, that is not icluded in the above link, it was only in the paper, was this chart shown here listing states that have enacted tougher sex offender laws this year and the number of registered sex offenders in each state. Being from Michigan, this freaked me out a bit.
For those of you as shocked about this as I was, here are a few more sites that will give you addresses and maps of where the registered sex offenders are living:
Friday, May 26, 2006
Digital Camera, Internet
Cellphones on a plane!
Cell Phone, Life
Consumer advocates, trade groups, and even one phone company (Cingular) have gone on the record against phones on airplanes in flight. An early attempt at the service, Verizon (Research)'s Airfone, appealed to only the most desperate callers, thanks to its $4.99-per-minute rate and echo-chamber sound.
But now air carriers (which are hungry for any new revenue opportunity) and some mobile-phone carriers (which want to extend their reach to the skies) are pushing for changes in rules that will permit phone calls while in flight (see link.
As FORTUNE went to press, the FCC was holding an auction for two available licenses to provide high-speed telecom services on planes. While the auction was mostly about the right to offer in-flight Internet access, most industry observers believe no-holds-barred calling can't be far off.
There are already signs that regulatory resolve is on the wane. Right now the Federal Aviation Administration bans the use of regular mobile phones in flight for safety reasons. But last year the FAA gave preliminary approval for United Airlines to test Wi-Fi in flight.
I travel enough for work to know that this is just not a good idea. There are just some folks who are not able to control the volume of their voices when talking on the phone, and now we are going to have a plane full of these people. If you can't go without your cell phone for a few hours, then there are help groups for people like you. I think this is a bad idea all around.
Pre-fab Structures from Inflate
The Mobile Living Conference, which will be held in New York (on Hudson street) from May 21st - 23rd will unveil some of the most gorgeous and latest pre-fab structures. One of the participants is a UK based company called Inflate who are all set to show a stupendous range of inflatable bouncy structures.
Quote of the Week
Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind
-Leonardo Da Vinci
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Microsoft: Run Word in 'Safe Mode'
Computers, Internet, Tech
Microsoft has advised users of Word to run the application in Safe Mode in order to protect against "zero-day" attacks. The recommendation comes after the discovery of a serious flaw in the word processor that could result in code execution.
The vulnerability (see link) can be exploited after a user opens a specially crafted Word file with a malformed object pointer. The issue causes memory to corrupt, and opens a hole that allows for code execution. The flaw can also be exploited through e-mail or the Web, however it requires the opening of a malicious file.
Microsoft is currently testing a patch for the flaw.
Is high-fructose corn syrup the devil?
I have always assumed that High-Fructose Corn Syrup was toxic and was contributing to the obesity of this country. It sounds like there is still a big debate on wheather it is acutally worse than sugar. This site looks at some of the tests that have been done and breaks it down pretty well.
The scary part of this whole thing is that we are worried about HFCS replacing sugar and being worse, when it appears that we are actually adding the consupmtion of HFCS to our regular sugar intake. So whether it is worse or not right now is not the issue, it is that it is increasing our intake of sugar and sweeteners as a whole.
China’s Three Gorges Dam is Finally Ready
Life, News, Science, Tech
China’s Three Gorges Dam, construction of which began in 1993, is all set to be inaugurated this Saturday when it is expected to reach its final height of 185m (607 feet). During 10 years of its making, the dam that has been surrounded with controversies would come into operation only until 2009.
Once completed, the Three Gorges Dam that stands as the world’s largest at 2,000-meter in length will start controlling floods by raising its water storage. The water level is expected to reach 156 meters. Authorities claim that the structure is sturdy enough to withstand even the most devastating of floods and deadliest terrorist attacks.
Built on the Yangtse River, the dam has come up as one of the top-notch travel destinations in China. One kind of flood that the Three Gorges Dam is unable to withstand is the flood of tourists who are pouring in from all corners of the country to have a glimpse of the world’s largest dam.
The anatomy of an ant hole
Walter R. Tschinkel, from the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University pours orthodontal plaster down ant holes, and creates perfect molds of the topology of the inside of an ant-colony. These are lovely sculptural pieces -- someone should mass produce them
Tools for shaving your head
Tracking George the Traveler
Internet, Life, Money
Ever wonder where that dollar bill in your hand has been, or where it will be going once you spend it? We may not realize it, but the currency we use in this country is well traveled. Cash makes it's way around the states in quick fashion.
Well, if you happen to get a bill with the stamp on it shown here, you can find out where that bill has been and track where it is going. The people at Where's George have placed these stamps on bills and encourage people who receive one of these bills to enter the location of the bill when they get it. What results is a history of where each bill has been.
While this is fascinating on its own, Wired Magazine is now reporting that researchers are using this data to predict the spread of disease based on the theory that money probably travels in the same patterns as disease carrying humans. This has been a concern most recently with the fear of avian flu. If you consider that nearly 25% of the bills tracked during a one week period traveled 30-500 miles, it certainly makes you worry.
The cost of waiting one year to invest
The picture shown above illistrates the impact of waiting to invest into yourretirement find, this chart was developed using this financial calculator. It is easy to see how investing, even a small amount early on can help you in the long run. Your yearly required investment to reach your retirement goal are less of a pain in your pocketbook if you start early.
Another example is if you invested $1,000 per year for eight years and never invested another dime, you would have more in your savings at retirement in 40 years (based on 8% return) than the person who invests $1,000 per year starting at your 8th year until they retire. Pretty amazing the power of compounding interest.
Thanks Get Rich Slowly
Voyager II detects solar system's edge
Life, Science, Tech
Voyager II could pass beyond the outermost layer of our solar system, called the "termination shock" sometime within the next year, NASA scientists announced at a media teleconference Tuesday.
The milestone, which comes about a year after Voyager 1's crossing, comes earlier than expected and suggests to scientists that the edge of the shock is about one billion miles closer to the sun in the southern region of the solar system than in the north.
This implies that the heliosphere, a spherical bubble of charged low-energy particles created by our sun's solar wind, is irregularly shaped, bulging in the northern hemisphere and pressed inward in the south.
Italian robot perfroms unassisted heart surgery
Health, Science, Tech
A robot surgeon has for the first time carried out a long-distance heart operation completely by itself .
The 50-minute surgery, which took place in a Milanese hospital, was carried out on a 34-year-old patient suffering from atrial fibrillation, or 'heart flutters'.
The operation was initiated and monitored on a PC in Boston, USA, by Carlo Pappone, head of Arrhythmia and Cardiac Electrophysiology at Milan's San Raffaele university. Also watching the operation - a world first - were dozens of heart specialists attending an international congress on arrhythmia in the American city.
The Italian expert has used the robot surgeon for at least 40 previous operations, some of which have been described in detail in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Fun facts about your birthday
Humor, Internet, Life
It's odd to think that I have been around for 10,773 days, and that you can boil 3.43 US ounces of water with the number of candles that will be on my next birtday cake. Just some of the random info that the birthday calculator will give you when you enter your birth date.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Flawless Man-Made Diamonds
News, Science, Tech
During the past year, scientists have mastered the ability to grow 10-carat single crystals with a color and clarity that surpass mined diamonds. Experts predict that within a decade, they will be cheaper and to expect to see the first diamond semi-conductors in 2011.
They start with flawless, button-sized diamonds. They place these diamonds in the microwave chamber and feed them hydrogen adn methane gases. When the temp hits 1300 degrees F, the hydrogen combines with the methane to produce a highly reactive form of carbon. These carbon radicals rain down from a cloud of hot plasma and bond to the carbon on the surface of the diamond seed and a new diamond crystal soon begins to form.
These are not fake diamonds, they have the same atomic structure as mined diamonds. So no Zirons here.
Wow, a real doggie bag
Humor, Life, Shopping
NASA spacecraft crashes into satellite
News, Science, Tech
A robotic NASA spacecraft designed to rendezvous with an orbiting satellite instead crashed into its target, according to a summary of the investigation released Monday.
Investigators blamed the collision on faulty navigational data that caused the DART spacecraft to believe that it was backing away from its target when it was actually bearing down on it.
1. Why do they sterilize needles for lethal injections?
2. If you shoot a mime, should you use a silencer?
3. Why is the word "abbreviation" so long?
4. What is the speed of dark?
5. If a stealth bomber crashes into the woods, does it make any noise?
6. Would a fly without wings be called a "walk"
7. If a book about failure does not sell, is it a success?
8. If it is tourist season, why can't we shoot them?
9. Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
10. When you choke a smurf, what colour does he turn?
11. Why are there Braille signs on drive-up ATMs?
12. Why do you never hear about "gruntled" employees?
13. If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it a hostage situation?
14. If women wear a pair of pants, a pair of stockings, a pair of earrings, a pair of glasses, why don't they wear a pair of bras?
15. If you throw a cat out the window, is it kitty litter?
16. If olive oil comes from olives, where does baby oil come from?
Thanks The Stealth Bomber
Amazing Robot Videos
Tech Blog has some amazing Robot Videos on their site. There is a robot that jumps rope, one that rapels down a rope, and the best one is a robot battle where robots participate in what looks like sumo wrestling. These robots do some amazing things.
Thanks Tech Blog
Malfunction cuts gas price to 29 cents
Humor, Life, Money
In Hammond, Indiana, a gas pump recently malfunctioned and was giving its patrons gas for 29 cents. The malfunction lasted for about 90 minutes until is was caught and corrected. By then, nearly 50 people were in line waiting to take advantage of the mishap.
World Tallest Ferris Wheel Opens in China
Life, Tech, News
Compensating for what? The Chinese just opened the worlds tallest ferris wheel in Jiangxi province. The new ride stands at 160 meters (just under 525 feet) tall, which is 25 meters (82 feet) taller than the current Guinness World Record holder London Eye on the banks of the River Thames in London.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Organs that regenerate themselves from within
Health, Life, Science, Tech
Glenn Larsen, the chief scientific officer at Hydra Biosciences in Boston, has been chasing this regenerative dream for the past four years. With help from a team of Harvard University researchers, Larsen and his colleagues are developing protein-based drugs that encourage the regrowth of muscle tissue that has died after a heart attack (See Article).
The strategy Larsen envisions is simple, though groundbreaking. Patients will use a self-delivery device, such as an inhaler or supersonic drug gun, to propel the regenerative protein molecules into their bloodstream. The circulating molecules will bind to receptors on the surfaces of their damaged heart-muscle cells, touching off a chemical reaction that mutes the activity of genes inhibiting cell division. Once this biological switch has been thrown, new heart cells will begin to develop, filling in the dead-tissue gaps. The result: Within a few weeks, heart-muscle function will be permanently restored.
Human trials of Hydra’s cardiac drugs won’t begin for another few years, but experimental evidence already points to the treatment’s potential. Last year, Hydra researchers induced heart attacks in rats, then dosed them with CRF-1, one of the protein compounds under investigation, for 10 days. A month after their heart attacks, the rats receiving treatment demonstrated heart-muscle function that was about 20 percent better than that of the control group.
Cars with Night Vision
Science, Shopping, Tech
Popular Science recently conducted a test of Mercedes-Benz (see picture on right) and BMW's new infrared night vision systems. What they found was pretty impressive. Both use infrared to detect obstacles; however they differ in applications.
The Mercedes-Benz projects near-infrared light almost 50 feet down the road. The light is invisible to the eye but reflects off objects and is detected by a camera. The image is then displayed on a very bright screen in the instrument panel.
The BMW uses passive infrared technology, a thermal imaging camera detects heat from objects nearly 1,000 feet away. The dashboard screen is not as bright as the Benz, but detects people and animals much better.
The Flying Photography of Jan von Holleben
Digital Camera, Humor, Life, People
Some pretty amazing pictures by Jan von Holleben, on his website, he has a link to his Dreams of Flying pictures. He sets his scenery up on the ground, and lays people on their sides in this scenery. He then takes the picutres from directly about the scene, this gives the illusion that it is a vertical scene, and not a horizontal one on the ground. Great shots, take a look.
Thanks The Cool Hunter
Green Mall (Renewable Energy)
Life, Shopping, Tech
After years of delays, developers and local officials have agreed on a 30-year tax deal that will allow construction to start on Destiny USA — a megamall in Syracuse whose backers vow will run on renewable energy and be a model for clean living and shopping.
According to the lead developer of the complex, Robert Congel, the space will be the largest complex in the world run entirely on renewable energy. It will contain some 848,000 square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment space, and might be open as early as 2008.
Latest Case of Bird Flu
Friday, May 19, 2006
ATMOSPHERIC POLLUTION AFFECTS EVERYONE AD
The Singapore Environment Council certainly get their message across. Plugging the line " Atmospheric pollution affects everyone", the ads depict witches, angels and aliens falling to the ground, poisoned by the pollution the humans who they protect actually caused. Dramatic and fantastic
Thanks The Cool Hunter
Top 10 scenic road trips
Life, Digital Camera
MSNBC has released it's picks for the 10 most scenic trips in the U.S.
More reasons to cut back on saturated fats
We all know that eating saturated fats is bad for your cholesterol level, but recent studies have shown that they also effect insulin functions, potentially raising the risk of diabetes, cancer, ovarian disorders and other health problems.
Surveys suggest that American adults consume on average about 12 percent of their calories from saturated fat. However, the Advisory Committee for the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommended a maximum target of 10 percent of calories for most adults.
Quote of the Week
The secret of happiness is to make others believe they are the cause of it.
-Al Batt, in National Enquirer
Thursday, May 18, 2006
3D Street Art
Julian Beever is an English artist who’s famous for his art on the pavement of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium. Beever gives to his drawing an anamorphose, his images are drawn completly deformed which give a 3D image when viewing on the right angle.
Thanks The Cool Hunter
How to prepare for having your wallet stolen
Life, Money, Personal Finance
What do you do if your wallet gets stolen? How do you make sure that all of your cards are not used and abused? Well, if you have prepared yourself for such and incident, you can minimize the damage.
Here's what you do. Take out everything in your wallet and make a photo copy, front and back of everything. Keep this photocopy in a safe place, a safety deposit box or in home safe. If you wallet is stolen, you will have all the information you need to cancel all your cards.
Thanks Matt (The guy we just interviewed)
JAPANESE APARTMENT BLOCK - ALL THE DISCOMFORTS OF HOME
The creative duo of Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins have unveiled a small and most unusual apartment block based in Mitaka, Tokyo. Reversible Destiny Lofts are eye-catching brightly painted lofts that look like a McDonald's play ground through the eyes of someone on LSD. The architecture looks like the aftermath of a size 3 earthquake, a little shaken and lopsided. There is a method behind the designers madness however.
The goal of these apartments is to keep its dwelers from lounging, sitting back and relaxing increasing their rate of decline. Arakawa and Gins designed an uncomfotable and non-calming building of nine apartments known as Reversible Destiny Lofts. Painted in eye-catching blue, pink, red, yellow and other bright colors, the building resembles the indoor playgrounds that attract toddlers at fast-food restaurants. Inside, each apartment features a dining room with a grainy, surfaced floor that slopes erratically, a sunken kitchen and a study with a concave floor. Electric switches are located in unexpected places on the walls so you have to feel around for the right one. A glass door to the veranda is so small you have to bend to crawl out. You constantly lose balance and gather yourself up, grab onto a column and occasionally trip and fall.
Thanks The Cool Hunter
Thief steals Calif. homeowner's front yard
It was a sod story for a Mojave Desert homeowner whose entire front yard -- grass, bushes and sprinklers -- was hauled away by a thief.
The homeowner telephoned law officials to report the yard in front of his under-construction home on was gone, a sheriff's spokeswoman Staci Johnson said Tuesday.
Witnesses told the homeowner they saw the thief taking the sod, plants and irrigation system to a nearby residence, Johnson said.
David Roger Bowers, 34, was arrested at the home and booked for investigation of grand theft and possession of stolen property, the sheriff's spokeswoman said.
The landscaping materials were returned to the victim.
Biometric scans for nightclub access
In Touch, a British company, is testing its first install of a customer database system which will voluntarily register nightclub patrons as they're admitted. A fingerprint scan and a mugshot, along with all the necessary personal information, guarantee that partygoers in the Somerset town of Yeovil won't have to carry identification while they're clubbing.