Interesting, Cool and Useful – Apr 07

Cool by on April 2, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Interesting:

  • Spacecraft that surf magnetic fields. A spacecraft could use a radioactive isotope to propel itself using the magnetic fields of planets (much smaller than previously discussed solar sails).
  • The color red reduces achievement. They make no mention of the size of the difference, but the researchers claim that the color red reduces performance on tests.
  • Solids, Liquids, Gases & String-net liquids? Researchers discover a material that doesn’t fit into one of the three known states of matter. They then go onto propose a new unifying theory of light and matter: string nets. String theory has pretty much been put to bed, but this might have legs.
  • The Glove. A DARPA project that provides additional endurance by cooling the blood through a chilled sphere in a glove. I’m curious if these affects can be found in a pool. The entire article provides a great look at some of DARPA’s soldier enhancement programs, including one looking at ‘de-animation’ of wounded soldiers.

Cool:

  • Planet Earth television series. Rahul pointed me towards this incredible mini-series on the Discovery Channel. Set your Tivo to record it - it is really well done.
  • Wikipedia search traffic. A continually updating chart of which Wikipedia articles are viewed the most (largely driven by search trends IMHO). Fascinating zeitgeist - the Battle of Thermopylae is currently #1.
  • Microdrone. The carbon fiber body clearly indicates this isn’t for consumers, and it doesn’t look military grade - I’m curious who would use this.

Useful:

  • Ads that hack your computer (from Mathew Johnson). Ads which use ActiveX and other Windows exploits to install spyware. Yet another reason to be careful where you surf (or run Microsoft Instant Messenger).
  • Getting Firefox to work on Vista. Kurt found the solution to my Firefox on Vista problem - as it turns out, the issue was really with our linksys router, not my Firefox/Vista install. Anyway, Firefox works consistently now.
  • Paint.Net. I had hoped that this could be a MSPaint replacement, but it is already too bloated (or my system is too slow). It does make a great photoshop alternative for the average user.

Interesting, Cool and Useful – Mar 07

Cool by on March 11, 2007 at 8:57 pm

Interesting:

  • Remote Control Pigeons. Chinese scientists have implanted electrodes in the brains of pigeons and are able to control their (up, down, left right).
  • Satellites that repair satellites. Two DARPA-funded satellites were launched last week to demonstrate autonomous refueling and servicing techniques of other satellites.

Cool:

Useful:

I also stumbled on a few items that I’ll classify as

Hilarious:

  • Conservapedia . No, not written by the editors of The Onion, Conservapedia is an alternate wikipedia written by home-schooled creationists. The article on kangaroos states: “like all modern animals … kangaroos are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah’s Ark prior to the Great Flood”. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
  • ComVentures profile photos. ComVentures just launched a new website. Matt pulled all the partner photos together into an amusing slidestrip. I can’t believe they all collectively thought these photos were a good idea.

Interesting, Cool and Useful – Feb 07

Cool by on February 21, 2007 at 10:39 pm

Interesting:

  • Medical Disorders caused by Astrological Sign? - No, of course not. But, if you look at tons of illnesses you’ll eventually draw correlations that are drawn from results in the anomalous 5% (or 1%) that suggest a non-existent correlation. Basically, if you cast a statistical dragnet make sure to follow it up with a real experiment.
  • Miniature Military Robots - The US’ technical advantage in warfare has been focused on large metal on metal conflicts, and has not provided the tactical advantages needed in guerilla combat. That’s beginning to change - this article details a number of approaches that are being taken to provide technological superiority at the tactical level.
  • Hearing Aids Boost Memory - Hopefully I’m far from losing my hearing, but this study fascinated me. People with hearing aids had better memory than those without. The theory is that the brain devotes less effort to signal processing and more to retention, which has all sorts of interesting implications.

Cool:

Useful:

  • Joel on Customer Service - A must-read customer service article.
  • Excel keyboard shortcuts - The suggestions in the post are quite pedestrian, but the commenters really showcase some great tips.
  • Regex tester - We used regular expressions heavily at Quova, and they are extremely powerful tools for extracting value from semi-formatted data. They are also a bitch to get right - this online tool makes testing regular expressions super quick.

Interesting, Cool and Useful – Feb 07

Cool by on February 17, 2007 at 8:42 am

Interesting:

  • Hard drive failure rates via Rahul Pathak: A summary of several studies that looked at the failure rates of hard drives in data centers. The primary determinant of failure rate? Manufacturer.
  • Pop Vs. Soda: A map of the US showing which dominates where: Pop, Soda or Coke. I didn’t know I live in Pop country now…
  • Inkless photo printer. Paper covered with 3 micro-thin layers that color at different rates when heated. Disruptive technology? Maybe, but at $2 a sheet, prices need to drop.
  • WSJ article on Top Contributors to Social Media (paid, unfortunately). The fascinating thing was how young the top contributors were. The top contributor on Reddit is 12.

Cool:

Useful:

Oh, and a friend just sent me this image, which I found just hilarious. I can’t say that the math completely makes sense, but we’ve all been at that point when trying to solve a complex equation:

math2.gif

Interesting, Cool and Useful – Jan 29 07

Cool,Personal,SEO by on January 29, 2007 at 7:08 pm

Interesting:

  • Trying to Arbitrage Second Life - A thoughtful analysis done by several arbitrageurs that ultimately determined the Second Life Economy is really a Ponzi Scheme. The key takeaway is that there is no way to take money out of Second Life without severely impacting the exchange rate.
  • Fluid Dynamics Model saves Lives at Hajj - It seems that every year hundreds get trampled to death at Hajj. This year the Saudi government made changes to Jamarat Bridge based on recommendations derived from fluid dynamics. Dirk Helbing and Anders Johansson looked at surveillance imagery from the 2006 trampling incident as if every person was a particle in fluid-dynamical flow. The stampedes, they reasoned, happen when laminar flow smooth transitions to stop and go and turbulent.
  • Black Google page would save 3000 Megawatts annually. A simplified look at the energy that might be saved if Google changed their homepage from white to black.

Cool:

Useful:

  • Gaim. I’ve used Trillian for years and finally switched to the open source Gaim for my management of my multiple IM accounts. Trillian didn’t handle reconnection all that well. Plus, Gaim just feels less bloated.
  • Opt out. A great post on lifehacker summarizing a few easy ways to unsubscribe from and opt out of various solicitations. I’d highly recommend opting out of credit card offers - these offers are frequently used in identity theft and there are far better ways to pick your credit cards than through mail solicitations.
  • Building a Digg Funnel. How to build a website such that it funnels traffic to stories you are hoping to get Dugg.
  • 7 tips for linkbait success. A few good pointers on making linkbait successful.

Interesting, Cool & Useful – Jan 07

Cool,Personal by on January 17, 2007 at 1:29 am

I’m going to begin a somewhat regular posting of stuff that I’ve found around the web that I’ve found particularly interesting, cool or useful.

Interesting

Cool

Useful

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