Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sleep in your genes [Article]

How much sleep do you need? Depends on your genes, claim a group of geneticists from University of California.
In 2009, a team led by geneticist Ying-Hui Fu at the University of California San Francisco discovered a mother and daughter who went to bed very late, yet were up bright and early every morning. Even when they had the chance to have a lie-in at the weekend (a tell-tale sign that you are sleep-deprived) they didn’t take it. Tests revealed that both mother and daughter carried a mutation of a gene called hDEC2. When the researchers tweaked the same gene in mice and in flies, they found that they also began to sleep less 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No one told him he couldn't do it. [Video]

Watch this 4 year old boy play the piano. and he has more fun doing it!!

Make every moment a work of art [Article]

James Altucher writes about his experiment of wearing a suit and begging for five dollars from the folks who work in the richest block on the planet - Wall Street. He also has other words of advise - but this stands out: make every moment a work of art.

Management exists to minimize the problems created by its own hiring mistakes [Article]

Thus says Scott Adams, referring to a video game company called Valve who have 400 employees, & no management structure, & his own start-up (about which he's sharing very little, at least yet).  He reckons that the
need for management will shrink- at least for some type of businesses - because entrepreneurs have the tools to make fewer hiring mistakes in the first place 

Theodor Geisel's book of art [Artivle]

Ted Geisel NYWTS 2 crop.jpgTheodor Seuss Geisel was well known as Dr. Seuss for his children's picture books. He wasn't as well known for his humorous story about n-u-d-i-s-t sisters, as Maria Popova helps us discover in the Atlantic. Take a look through "The Seven Lady Godivas: The True Facts concerning History's barest family". 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Samuel Clemens' fan mail [Article]

Maria Popova shares a collection of the mail that Samuel Clemens (better known to the world as Mark Twain) received from his beloved readership
Eg: A poor & barely literate Englishwoman sent him this sincere personal story & a modest request:
Dear Sir
I wonder if you would care to hear how much my husband & self appreciate your books. We have been married 4 years & I have bought him one of your works each birthday & at Christmas. He is never tired of reading them & they keep him at home many a time when he would be out at night He reads them aloud to me & I enjoy the reading as much as himself. The reason I am writing is to beg a favour of you. Would you be kind enough to give me your phota so that I can give my husband a surprise on his next birthday? We have one hung up that I cut from a paper but I should dearly prize a real phota I dont seem able to come across one here & we arent so well off else I might if I was rich. My husband earns £ 1/-per week as a booking clerk on the railway. We have a little boy six months & his father says when he is older he will tell him about poor little Huck & Tom Sawyer. Perhaps you will be too great a man to answer this & grant my request as we are only humble cottagers. I trust Ive done no harm writing. I have just been reading some extracts in our paper copied from your articles in the “North American Review” I am sorry you lost your daughter Susy you seem to have had a lot of trouble in your life but you always come up smiling. This seems a long letter but I will have to pay 2 ½ to post so I will get my money’s worth. The only thing is I am sorry you arent an Englishman & more especially a Lancashire man, perhaps you will put this in the fire I hope I have a phota from you
I beg to remain
Yours respectfully
Edith Draper

The world's best pro scooter riders [Video]

Can you keep your balance on those tiny wheels?

An interview with a mortician [Article]

Caitlin Doughty, the woman behind Jezebel’s “Ask A Mortician” series, explains the benefit of confronting one’s own death. She discusses “Ars Moriendi,” a manual from the Middle Age that “was basically an instructional tract for how to die, or the best ways to die”:
There was an experiment done where they went into a nursing home with elderly people, and they gave them a plant to take care of. And they said, “This plant is going to die if you don’t take care of it. You’re responsible for watering and caring for this plant.” And they found that the people they gave those plants to lived significantly longer than those who didn’t have them, because they felt some control over their life, they had some reason to be moving forward and to be taking these daily steps. I think “Ars Moriendi” had a similar purpose: The dying person is given this measure of control over their own death and moving ahead, not just a victim of our medical system where they’re like, “I’m just going to lie here and slowly go crazy and rot and die.”
via The Daily Dish

Citizen Journalism at work [Article]

Eliot Higgins, an unemployed British blogger with no military background, has become a crucial source of information about illegal weapons being used in Syria for both human-rights organizations and traditional journalists.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The after effects of US in Iraq [Article, Video]

Around the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion by the US, investigative reporter from Al Jazeera discusses how the US has left behind a legacy and cancer:

Dr. Samira Alani actually visited with doctors in Japan, comparing statistics, and found that the amount of congenital malformations in Fallujah is 14 times greater than the same rate measured in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear bombings. These types of birth defects, she said—there are types of congenital malformations that she said they don’t even have medical terms for, that some of the things they’re seeing, they’ve never seen before. They’re not in any of the books or any of the scientific literature that they have access to. She said it’s common now in Fallujah for newborns to come out with massive multiple systemic defects, immune problems, massive central nervous system problems, massive heart problems, skeletal disorders, baby’s being born with two heads, babies being born with half of their internal organs outside of their bodies, cyclops babies literally with one eye—really, really, really horrific nightmarish types of birth defects. And it is ongoing.
See for yourself the horrifying impacts, nearly a decade later mind you, that the stuff they use in the bombs has on the human body. And the powers that be continue to want to "shock & awe" the "enemy"

For all you coffee lovers out there [Invention]

'text from the website'
Meet Velopresso, an innovative coffee vending trike for true off-grid selling of quality espresso on city streets, at trade fairs, events and in parks, etc. Designed from the ground up around a custom rear-steer tricycle, a unique pedal-driven grinder, and a robust gas-fired lever espresso machine, Velopresso is a celebratory fusion of human power, sensory pleasures and technology – old tech with hi-tech, bicycles and coffee, their engineering and aesthetics. The result is a unique hybrid machine with a compact footprint and near-silent, low carbon operation – fine coffee, no electricity, no motors, no noise!

Building the worlds largest ship in 76 seconds [Video]

Maersk’s Triple-E is a new class of fuel-efficient container ships, designed for lower speeds and CO2 emissions. The 400-meter long ships break the record in container ship capacity and are expected to be the world’s largest ships in service. With the Discovery Channel, Maersk is giving a sneak peek of the construction of one of their massive vessels at the DSME shipyard in Okpo, Korea with this 76-second time-lapse video.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Teaching boys to be kind [Article]

In the wake of another publicised rape, this time in the US, Kim Simon writes about what it means to raise boys to be kind men.
While it’s true that big scary monster men sometimes jump out of bushes to rape unsuspecting women, most rapists look like the men we see every day.  Acquaintance rape (or date rape) accounts for the majority of sexual assaults among young people: in colleges, in high schools, at parties, in the cars and bedrooms that belong to the men who women trust.

Ayumu's photographic memory & recall [Article, Video]

Frans de Waal and Jennifer Pokorny were awarded the 2012 Ig Nobel Prize for their discovery that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends. (If you're interested in their research paper, click here for a pdf document). A recent essay by de Waal in the WSJ, called the "Brains of the Animal Kingdom" begins thus:
Who is smarter: a person or an ape? Well, it depends on the task. Consider Ayumu, a young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University who, in a 2007 study, put human memory to shame. Trained on a touch screen, Ayumu could recall a random series of nine numbers, from 1 to 9, and tap them in the right order, even though the numbers had been displayed for just a fraction of a second and then replaced with white squares
I tried the task myself and could not keep track of more than five numbers—and I was given much more time than the brainy ape. In the study, Ayumu outperformed a group of university students by a wide margin. The next year, he took on the British memory champion Ben Pridmore and emerged the “chimpion.
How do you give a chimp—or an elephant or an octopus or a horse—an IQ test? It may sound like the setup to a joke, but it is actually one of the thorniest questions facing science today. Over the past decade, researchers on animal cognition have come up with some ingenious solutions to the testing problem. Their findings have started to upend a view of humankind’s unique place in the universe that dates back at least to ancient Greece….
 If nothing, watch the video of Ayumu for a demonstration of his photographic memory!

Personal Tracking. Unwanted. Big Data. [Blog Post]

Doc Sears detects a change in people's attitudes towards unwanted tracking of their digital activities, & has several links in that blog post. He quotes Erik Cecil :
“The backwash that’s coming is a tsunami that hasn’t hit yet. Right now it’s a wide swell over deep water. But you can tell it’s coming because the tide is suspiciously far out. So we have all these Big Data marketing types, out there on the muddy flats, raking up treasures of exposed personal data. They don’t see that this is not the natural way of things, or that it’s temporary. But the tidal wave is coming. And when it finally hits, watch out.

Top Secret Drum Corps [Video]

Top Secret Drum Corps is a precision drum corps based in Basel, Switzerland. With 25 drummers and colorguard members, the corps became famous for its demanding six-minute routine performed at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2003. With its invitation to Edinburgh, Top Secret became one of the first non-military, non-British Commonwealth acts to perform on the Esplanade at Edinburgh Castle. Watch a dazzling performance

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's the right thing to do? [Video, links]

Michael Sandel runs a course on Justice at Harvard. He's now opening the course to the world, as a Massive Open Online Course. You can register for free, if you'd like to explore your moral limits & how you think about justice. You could, alternatively, watch the series of youtube videos, beginning with "The moral side of murder", & follow the links for more, if you're interested. Certain to test your sense of justice, & get you thinking.
 If you had to choose between (1) killing one person to save the lives of five others and (2) doing nothing, even though you knew that five people would die right before your eyes if you did nothing—what would you do? 

An Eulogy [Video]

John Cleese offers an eulogy at the funeral service of his co-author of Monty Python, Graham Chapman. If you'd like to know more about the irreverent Chapman, click here

Rosetta Tharpe, Didn't it rain [Video]

The Godmother of Rock n Roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe's live performance from 1964 in Manchester "Didn't it rain"
“I’m singing, oh I’m singing in my soul, when the troubles roll, I sing from morn’ till night, it makes my burdens light…”

Sugar & substance abuse [Article]

Scientifically speaking, a drug is any substance that alters normal bodily function when absorbed into the body of a living organism.  Students have been overdosing on sugar, says the Guardian, & appeals to them to just say no. Sugar has been shown to have the same impact on the human body as heroin.
We don't think of sugar as a drug: it's found in most of the foods and drinks we encounter every day. And at university, where stress levels can be high and fast food is cheap, it's all too easy to reach out for the comfort blanket it provides.
Many students' diets consist of pizzas, take-aways and chocolate bars. Whether you spend your time raving or revising, there's always something better to do than think about eating healthily. And with university halls often providing only the most basic cooking facilities, a well-balanced diet simply doesn't feature in most students' lifestyles.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Paper vs technology [Video]

Paper is still good for something :) Cool ad.

Qualities of a CEO [Article]

Scott Adams believes that you ought to have a special kind of mental illness, one suited to capitalism, to set you apart from the scores of other folks who aspire to become CEO's. 
If you want the top job, you're competing against risk-taking, narcissistic sociopaths who are just as smart and hardworking as you are. Some of them will self-destruct, but like the zombie apocalypse there will always be another coming at you. In the long run, the crazies always run the show.
A bonus
 January 24, 2010

Automation, Employment, & Skills [Article]

Judge Richard Posner articulates his views on automation & its impact on employment while Prof Gary Becker reckons that the future is dismal for workers with few skills. If you are concerned about your future or worried about the future that your kids face, have a read:
Because of automation, outsourcing, and more efficient management practices, the demand for lawyers is down, forcing many lawyers either to drop to lower rungs in the profession’s ladder or to leave the profession entirely for work in types of job which their human capital specialized to the practice of law has less, or maybe no, value to employers. 

The Dung Beetle, Introducing, Ze Frank [Video]

The next David Attenborough narrates the story of the dung beetle! Introducing Ze Frank.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Job interviews & Data Analytics [Video, Article]

Evolv is a HR analytics consulting company that is helping Xerox determine what attributes & propensities are associated with success in a given position.
Employees who live within 10 minutes of the office may be 20 percent likelier to stay at the company at least six months than ones who live 45 minutes away or further. Employees who have a college degree may be less inclined to stick with a call-center job than those who do not. According to The Wall Street Journal, Evolv, the company assisting Xerox in its recruitment efforts, determined that the ideal candidate to staff the company’s call centers “uses one or more social networks, but not more than four.”
This video says it best.

Bend [water] like Beckham [Video]

This experiment by Brusspup to bend water at will is captured through a camera recording it at 24 frames per second. Watch it 

Helicopter Lift, Golden Gate Bridge [Video]

I was mesmerized with this video of a Sikorsky S-58T helicopter removing & installating a microwave repeater radio from atop the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 
Watch the remarkable skills & courage of people doing their jobs, trusting in the engineering prowess that makes such things possible.

Internet Nationalism, & a common-sense approach [Article]

Bruce Schneier, writing in the MIT Technology Review warns of the danger that is growing in the name of Internet Nationalism, & reminds us what it really covers up:
But remember: none of this is cyberwar. It’s all espionage, something that's been going on between countries ever since countries were invented. What moves public opinion is less the facts and more the rhetoric, and the rhetoric of war is what we’re hearing.
He calls for a more sensible approach:
We need to damp down the rhetoric and—more importantly—stop believing the propaganda from those who profit from this Internet nationalism.  Those who are beating the drums of cyberwar don’t have the best interests of society, or the Internet, at heart.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A 12 year old entrepreneur [Article]

He's 12 years old, but age did not stop Ethan Duggan from showcasing his creation at the recently concluded SXSW conference. Called LazyHusband, the app was inspired by a (routinely heard) question from his mom about how her new dresses looked on her.  He taught himself to code from Codeacademy, & has mentors from the industry providing him crash courses in programming languages. The story is inspiring, even though I think the app may not be something of use to me (that can change quickly, of course!)

Promises of Air Travel, from 1946 [Article]

The vision of post-war air travel isn’t all that different from what well-heeled fliers can get today, but what a long, strange trip it’s been, writes Matt Novak.  One of the promises was "more leg room", something that most of us are still waiting to be fulfilled!

God's Olympics [Article]

Simon Jenkins, in a recent article in the Guardian, shares his view on the Catholic Church that is celebrating the election of a new Pope:
..[The Catholic Church]claims an authority over not just the souls but the lives of millions far beyond the borders of its private Vatican republic. Its followers cannot vote for their rulers, and their rulers show little accountability in return.

The Catholic church is not as intolerant as the fundamentalist Islamic ayatollahs with which it is sometimes compared. Its intolerance is largely towards its own adherents. The west waxes eloquent in denouncing the role of religion in the politics of Muslim states, in the archaic penal codes, the treatment of women and the response to apostasy. It should sometimes examine the religious mote in its own eye.

Listening (& understanding) without hearing [Article]

Rachel Kolb explains how she hears people speak: by reading their lips. Kolb is deaf in both ears, but that hasn't stopped her from earning her bachelor's in English with a minor in human biology and is working on a master's degree in English. She is managing editor of the literary magazine Leland Quarterly, active with Christian ministries and as a disability advocate, and president of the Stanford Equestrian Team. In November, she was named a 2013 Rhodes Scholar.
An excerpt:
Even the most skilled lipreaders in English, I have read, can discern an average of 30 percent of what is being said. I believe this figure to be true. There are people with whom I catch almost every word—people I know well, or who take care to speak at a reasonable rate, or whose faces are just easier on the eyes (for lack of a better phrase). But there are also people whom I cannot understand at all. On average, 30 percent is a reasonable number.
But 30 percent is also rather unreasonable. How does one have a meaningful conversation at 30 percent? It is like functioning at 30 percent of normal oxygen, or eating 30 percent of recommended calories—possible to subsist, but difficult to feel at your best and all but impossible to excel.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Technology breeds Crime" [Interview]

A former conman, Frank Abagnale (remember the movie Con Man, about the man who pretended to be a PanAm pilot?), shows how easy it is to forge something these days, in this article from Wired: “Technology Breeds Crime”.  Prepare to be stunned, if you didn't already know this. 
Fifty years ago, information was hard to come by. When you created a cheque you had no way of knowing where in reality British Airways’ bank was, who was authorised to sign their cheques and you didn’t know their account number. Today you can call any corporation in the world and tell them you are getting ready to wire them money and they will tell you the bank, the wiring number, the account number. You can then ask for a copy of the annual report and on page three are the signatures of the chairman of the board, the CEO and the treasurer. It’s all on white glossy paper with black ink — scanner ready art. You then just print it onto the cheque.

The affairs of the heart [Article]

Why bypass surgery and angioplasty aren’t all they’re cracked up to be
 Each intervention, promising lifesaving relief, was embraced with enthusiasm by cardiologists and cardiac surgeons—and both techniques often do provide rapid, dramatic reduction of the alarming pain associated with angina. Yet, as Jones painstakingly explains, it took years to show whether the procedures prolonged lives; in both cases, subsequent research deflated those early hopes. The interventions—major procedures, with potentially significant side effects—provided little or no improvement in survival rates over standard medical and lifestyle treatment except in the very sickest patients. …

Reflections [Picture]

Memories & Journals [Thread]

This gentleman (I'll give him the benefit of the doubt!) kept a journal from May 1965 to Sep 1966. He shares what it means to keep a diary.. and the disconance between his memories & the entries in the diary:
the entries in journal and my memories didn't much resemble each other, except in flashes and images--still frames with fuzzy edges. Dark stuff, with no context. I was unable to read it in one sitting, and even then I had to go back over certain areas a few times to make myself focus. I am no longer simply the kid who wrote those things, did those things. I am that person with years, layers of experience and judgement added to the mix. Something like looking into the mirror, but your image doesn't behave the way you'd like it to behave. Anyhow, my memory needed to be tweaked, and I'm glad I did it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Year of LIving with Joy, Until I Say Goodbye [Inspiration]

Susan Spencer-Wendel lives in reality --- she’s a veteran journalist for the Palm Beach Post. 
It doesn’t take her long to figure out she has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): Lou Gehrig’s disease.
She's married, with three young kids. She's 44 years old. 
She has a year to live.And not a pleasant year. 
Muscles weaken. Walking becomes impossible. Then swallowing becomes a challenge. Then breathing. In the end, the patient finds herself locked in a non-functioning body, waiting to die. 
Her husband tells her story in this short video. And here's an excerpt from her book, which, by the way, she typed entirely with her right thumb on her iPhone.

Bull crap special: Management/ Success/ Leadership [Article]

There's a reason that Scott Adams' Dilbert cartoons resonate with most people working in industry (or even otherwise). Scott's latest missive on his blog calls the bluff on "charisma", "success", "leadership", & "management". In true Scott Adams' style, he backs it up with his reasoning.
Consider the thousands of different books on management/success/leadership. If any of this were real science, all managers would learn the same half-dozen secrets to success and go on to great things. The reality of the business world is more like infinite monkeys with typewriters. Sooner or later a monkey with an ass pimple will type something that makes sense and every management expert in the world will attribute the success to the ass pimple.

Ambitions, for kids [Video]

These kids definitely know what they want to be when they grow up.   A very short video.

Marilyn Monroe's library [Article]

Open Culture has an interesting article about Marilyn Monroe's personal library - it was quite contrary to the "dumb blonde" image that may have been projected to the world. Of course, it is entirely plausible that the books in her library were a show-case item, never read.  The list of books that were auctioned off after her death  by Christies is catalogued at Library Thing

Earworm: When you can't get that song out of your head [Video/ Article]

This is an animation of a phenomenon we all know:  no matter how hard you try to shake it off, you can't get that song out of your head. Psychologists call this "earworm", referring to the songs that arrive without permission & leave when we tell them to.
The video above, called Jazz that nobody asked for, is created by a Danish design agency called Benny Box. The  music that taunts the main character is "Quaker City Jazz" (1937) by Jan Savitt & His Top Hatters Orchestra.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Filling Silence With Scoops [Article]

Chip Scanlan emphasizes the power of silence for journalists conducting interviews.  His advice stands for pretty much all of us in our daily lives too. Listening, instead of speaking, may be the best thing to do in more circumstances than you have considered.

Is there life after work? [Op-Ed]

The ex-CFO of Lehmann Brothers, Erin Callan, wrote this poignant op-ed in the NY Times. "Whatever valuable advice I have about managing a career, I am only now learning how to manage a life."

Charlie Stross - Thinking the unthinkable [Blog Post]

Charlie Stross is Thinking the unthinkable: What are the ramifications if the UK votes in a referendum to leave the Euro Zone in 2015? Apparently 53% of UK voters already desire that.

An amazing performance [Video]

A clip from the David Letterman show - turn up the volume & watch "Rodrigo y Gabriela - Diablo Rojo perform magic with their guitars.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Physics Professor, the Glamour Model, and a Whole Suitcase Full of Trouble [Article]

Why do smart people do incredibly stupid things? Read this NYTimes article about Paul Frampton, a theoretical physicist who was arrested in Argentina for drug smuggling, & is serving time there.

The Umbrella Skydive [Video]

Erik Roner pushes the limits even further, beginning his skydive with an umbrella.

A chicken processing factory in Iraq [Article]

The Potemkin Chicken Factory was a huge "success" of the US in Iraq. Or was it?

Falling is funny, & scientifically so [Video, article]

Why is falling so funny? Watch this video and then get into the science of "Benign Violation Theory", which seeks to explain it with three conditions:
  1. ordinary life is somehow thrown off balance
  2. No one gets hurt
  3. And the first two conditions happen simultaneously. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The act of sharing & appreciation [Article]

JP Rangaswami (@jobsworth) recalls how relationships are formed & nourished. The act of sharing - time, experiences, views, beliefs, ideas, anecdotes, whatever - is relatively easy in flesh & blood, but no so in the digital space (despite speed & reach).   He gently reminds us to appreciate, because
the value of sharing comes in the appreciation.

Women: Keeping your name & identity [Article]

Jill Filipovic, writing in the Guardian, plays the feminist & wonders why should women change their names after marriage.  She recommends that men change theirs, or that the kids keep the women's last name instead.
Your name is your identity. The reasons women give for changing their names after marrying don't make much sense
Be prepared for a rather long read if you tackle the comments at the end of that article.

An Experiment with Subscriptions in the medical profession [Article]

Dr. Rob Lamberts is trying an insurance-less, subscription based medical practice of his own, & shares his experience in this blog post. He is surprised with the results.

Kicking the lights on [Article]

Jessica Mathews, the CEO of Uncharted Play, was an undergraduate at Harvard, when she & some other students came up with a simple idea: The Soccket, a soccer ball that generates and stores electricity during game play.  A Kickstarter campaign is under way

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hugo Chavez & His Legacy.

The mainstream media cheers that another 'dictator' has been vanquished. Here are two rather different stories about the man who was, essentially, for the large majority of poor Venezuelans, the equivalent of a modern day Robin Hood.  The legacy of Hugo Chavez and How Hugo Chavez Earned the scorn of the US plutocrats are worth your attention.

Patents on Life [Article]

The US Supreme Court has started hearings in a case that pits a frail 70 year old bankrupt farmer against Monsanto.  Find out what it means that Monsanto Holds the Patents on Life. Oh, the absurdity & danger of letting corporations own patents on living things, in the name of trademarks, patents & copyrights!

Parties?: An acute sense of deja vu [Video]

.. for me, that is :) Enjoy this trailer for "Average Party"

Weird names for everyday things [Video]

Show us your tittles (L, not I), and other obscure words for everyday things - I definitely didn't know.  An eg: Phosphenes is the word for the lights you see when you shut your eyes tightly!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Inspiring Francis Ford Coppola to make a movie [Letters of Note]

In March of 1980, a school librarian by the name of Jo Ellen Misakian wrote to Francis Ford Coppola and, on behalf of the students at Lone Star School in Fresno, California, asked him to consider adapting their favourite novel, S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders, for the big screen. Also included with her letter were a copy of the book, and a petition signed by 110 of the kids.  An impressive outcome from a persuasive letter.

Didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this story [News]

'Nuns' found drinking at an Irish pub after hours, & the pub owner is prosecuted. Makes me wonder if this would not have even made the news if the patrons weren't nuns?

Why the world needs more Bradley Mannings & Wikileaks [Article]

Andrew Sullivan, referring to the Guardian's 15-month investigation, sheds new light on the atrocities that Donald Rumsfeld & his political masters allowed to be perpetrated on the Iraqi populace, hidden behind the lies of "weapons of mass destruction".  ....... "I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library's columns. And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten."

What's in a can of Coke? [Article]

Kevin Ashton discovers that "a can of Coke is a product of our world entire and contains inventions that trace all the way back to the origins of our species."
He concludes that "The number of individuals who know how to make a can of Coke is zero. The number of individual nations that could produce a can of Coke is zero. This famously American product is not American at all. Invention and creation is something we are all in together. Modern tool chains are so long and complex that they bind us into one people and one planet. They are not only chains of tools, they are also chains of minds: local and foreign, ancient and modern, living and dead — the result of disparate invention and intelligence distributed over time and space.".

It may all be true, but that doesn't make it healthy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Credit worthy friends on social networks [article]

Your facebook friend list allows some new credit assessment firms astonishing data points to make a decision about your credit worthiness. Nicholas Carr explores a recent Economist article on how these companies are managing the friend portfolio

A couple of kids dancing [Video]

Before you think it's just another one of those cute kids dancing videos, have a look at these kids. As one commenter about to start his week says, "You see the first baby and you think, “All right, this baby is pretty good. But I still can’t stop thinking about how it’s Monday morning, and about how quickly the weekends race by, and about how this is how it’s going to be for the rest of my life — working my ass off for what seems like only a few moments of repose OH MY GOODNESS, IS THE SECOND BABY EVEN YOUNGER? AND SHE’S EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST BABY?! JERRY– CANCEL ALL MY MEETINGS AND GET IN HERE! YA GOTTA SEE THESE BABIES!”

The ISS's internet speeds [Article]

While corporates around the world promise us fast internet speeds on terra firma, this article exposits how fast the Internet speeds are on the International Space Station.

A real cock-up! [Video]

Roosters that laugh, these were filmed in Jakarta, Indonesia during a laughing contest.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A resignation letter - [Groupon's Andrew Mason steps down as CEO]

Andrew Mason stepped down as CEO of Groupon - and posted this letter announcing his firing by the Board.  He writes with candor "After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today. If you're wondering why... you haven't been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that's hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable."

If only the Pope was as honest.

The Centurion Marthoner - Fauja Singh [Article]

Fauja Singh completed the Hong Kong Marthon - at the age of 101, an achievement not many live to even attempt! Read about this man's astonishing effort and his amazing life story.

Puppies Sneezing [Video]

Just for fun. (not for the dogs in the video, i'm sure!)

facebook & the college experience - Danah Boyd [Article]

Danah Boyd, a senior Microsoft Researcher, worries that social networks, especially facebook, are undermining the opportunities for growth, understanding & tolerance that a college education experience affords.

Monday, March 4, 2013

News & Market Manipulations [Article]

Scott Adams predicts a stock market correction in 2013, & explains his reasoning.

Amanda Palmer at TED [Video]

She's drawn flak for her Kickstarter project (she raised $1.2m) and for not paying the musicians who volunteered to play at her gigs (in exchange for love, free beer and the like). She gives her music away for free, & still raises enough money to pay for her livelihool. Amanda Palmer shares her astonishing story of trusting her audience in his very recent TED talk. Worth your time.

Working from Home - David Weinberger weighs in [Blogpost]

Marisa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, has, in an apparent attempt to turn around the ailing giant, recently banned telecommuting (or working from home, as it's commonly known as) for all employees. David Weinberger, a senior researcher at the Harvard Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, weighs in with his thoughts on why he disagrees with the decision.

The mechanics of the earth's invisible forcefield [Video]

From the PBS Digital Studio, watch the magnificence that surrounds the Earth, & the reason why the Auroras happen. Not science fiction.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Nexus of News [Article]

You enjoy the diversity and variety of news you consume everyday, no? It's called an illusion of choice. Here's a look at who owns what on television. Do your research if you want to verify those claims - here's some resources on this nexus: an interactive chart from the FreePress,  a listing by the Columbia Journalism Review, and from the Business Insider.  

When the likes of History Channel runs "educative" programmes on "history", remember the money behind that programme, & what it wants you to see, hear, read & think every day.  Just for history's sake, Walt Disney, that much loved animation & entertainment guy, made propaganda films for every branch of the US military & government during World War II like this one called "Education for Death"

The Real Reasons for WW I (and such other important history lessons)

I'm thinking that history lessons would have been more memorable if we had these chaps teaching us history. Enjoy a few episodes of BBC's Horrible Histories, beginning with the real reason for Britain getting involved in World War I

Measurement destroys myths, says Hans Rosling [Video}

"It's only by measuring can we cross the river of myths" - watch Hans Rosling predict the levels of child mortality & children per women in a more recent video.

Flying with the vultures [Video]

Behind the scenes video of how the BBC's Earthflight team get the amazing pictures & video of birds - UAV's or Drones. Here's a clip from the Earthflight documentary on pelicans

Friday, March 1, 2013

A business model around Hair [Photos, Article]

A lifecycle of human hair - from the temples at Thirumala in India to the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.

Feynmann Method [short note]

Richard Feynman was fond of giving the following advice on how to be a genius. You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say: "How did he do it? He must be a genius!"

UN leaves a trail of destruction [Article]

UN peacekeeping forces were responsible for the outbreak of cholera in Haiti, according to journalist Johnathan Katz. Haitians had no immunity against the disease because they'd never been exposed to the virus. Ironically, the UN is claiming legal immunity against being held responsible. An article from the Atlantic.

The halfway house to nowhere [article]

Data vizualisation expert Robert Kosara explains why letting machines make all our decisions for us is probably suicidal for humanity. The Halfway House To Nowhere