week in blog

Don't Buy It Before You PriceSCAN It!

Friday, October 31, 2003

What's Special About This Number? 

It's been said that 3 is the magic number, but really, what makes the curvy digit so special? We now have the answer to that question (and other numerical mysteries) thanks to this wonderfully interesting site. Turns out the number 3 is the "number of spatial dimensions in which we live." Okay, so that's a somewhat mystifying fact, but what about, say, the number 171? Well, that would be a palindromic triangular number, of course. And everyone knows that when the discussion touches on Carmichael numbers, 561 is the smallest one around. This site is filled with thousands of distinctive facts about numbers with links to definitions of obscure terms. There will be a pop quiz, so don't forget that 1078 is the number of lattices on 9 unlabeled nodes.

A Cool Flash Game 

Samorost is a surreal Myst-like puzzle game with great music and beautiful backgrounds where you help the little guy in white save his driftwood planet from a collision with another driftwood planet.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Data Faster Than Speeding Bullet 

GENEVA -- Two major scientific research centers said they had set a new world speed record for sending data across the Internet, equivalent to transferring a full-length DVD film in seven seconds.

The Money Pitch 

Why spend $32 million to promote the new $20 bill?

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The Perils of Using Chopsticks  

Using chopsticks may cause arthritis in the hand, U.S. researchers are reporting.

That is why I eat with my hand.

The Best Search Idea Since Google 

Amazon.com's announcement this week of its new "search inside" feature - allowing full-text searches of over 120,000 books in its new digital archive - will probably turn out to be one of those transformative Web moments when a tool suddenly appears and six months later you can't imagine life without it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

He that spits against the wind spits in his own face.  

Benjamin Franklin's 'A Warning Against Publishing The Age of Reason'. A letter written to Thomas Paine in 1785 after reading the first draft of Paine's The Age of Reason

If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it?

Tall People Get Paid More 

Or so says a study in the latest Journal of Applied Psychology (one of the top journals of the field.)

Monday, October 27, 2003

Some useful English system conversions 

For those who thought the hardest part of Physics 101 was the constant conversion from MKS or CGS units to English units, here are some useful English system conversions:

-Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi
-2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton
-1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope
-Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1 bananosecond
-Weight an evangelist carries with God: 1 billigram
-Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong
-365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer because it's less filling: 1 lite year
-16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone: 1 Rod Serling
-Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon
-1000 aches: 1 megahurtz
-Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower
-Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line (think about it for a moment)
-453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake
-1 million-million microphones: 1 megaphone
-1 million bicycles: 2 megacycles
-365.25 days: 1 unicycle
-2000 mockingbirds: two kilomockingbirds (work on it....)
-10 cards: 1 decacards
-1 kilogram of falling figs: 1 Fig Newton
-1000 grams of wet socks: 1 literhosen
-1 millionth of a fish: 1 microfiche
-1 trillion pins: 1 terrapin
-10 rations: 1 decoration
-100 rations: 1 C-ration
-2 monograms: 1 diagram
-8 nickels: 2 paradigms
-2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Men !!! 

This has got to be one of the best singles ads ever printed. It appeared in The Atlanta Journal.

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cozy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way and watch me respond.

I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I'm yours. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy.

Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society about an 8-week old black Labrador retriever.

Men are so easy.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Diwali, Lighting The Lamps 

Diwali is a five day Hindu festival which occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Diwali means "rows of lighted lamps" and the celebration is often referred to as the Festival of Lights. More

Happy Diwali and Saal Mubarak

Friday, October 24, 2003

World's 'oldest' rice found 

Scientists have found the oldest known domesticated rice. The handful of 15,000-year-old burnt grains was discovered by archaeologists in Korea.

Thursday, October 23, 2003


Do you think pumpkin carving is mere child's play? Apparently friend, you don't know jack. This site isn't about placidly grinning pumpkins. It's about power tools, explosives, puke monsters, and yes, pyromania. Extreme carver Tom Nardone wasn't impressed with the proliferation of sissy jack-o-lanterns so he took matters into his own chainsaw. From the patch to your porch, Tom's sage tips ratchet your carving skills up to notches unknown. Soon enough you'll be revving up your tools, scooping the goop, and facing your inner demons. For die-hard recipe collectors, Tom shows you how to make fake blood and a neat way to make marshmallow brains rise. Tom's underlying message to consumers -- creativity doesn't have to squash your wallet. One final safety note: please make sure your sterno don't burn-o.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

The Open Video Project 

This recently redesigned site offers nearly 2,000 videos from a variety of sources. The purpose of the project is to "collect and make available a repository of digitized video content for the digital video, multimedia retrieval, digital library, and other research communities." While that may sound pedantic, the results are undeniably cool. A series of classic television commercials capture old-school advertising, while close to 500 documentaries tackle everything from golfing on the moon to the story of Hoover Dam. Go further back in time and watch short films made by Thomas Edison in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Sure, not every video will be your cup of tea, but we bet most would beat a date with your family.

Locust outbreak threatens Africa 

Crops in north Africa are under threat from swarms of locusts, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Carol O'Connell  

My favorite author in recent times, and her books:
- Dead Famous
- Crime School
- Mallory's Oracle
- Stone Angel
- Judas Child
- The Man Who Cast Two Shadows (U.K. title: The Man Who Lied to Women)
- Killing Critics
- Shell Game
- Flight of the Stone Angel
Kathleen Mallory is a splendid, complex character any writer would love to develop stories around.

Stop, you're killing me! A site to die for... if you love mystery books.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Wash Me 

It all started way back in April of 1998 when this site's creator saw "www.washme.com" written in dirt on the back of a mini-van. Color him inspired. He started the site soon thereafter, and its URL became "an international phenomenon," popping up in obscure places such as Curaçao and on unusual modes of transport like tanks and police cars. The most popular canvas for the down-and-dirty URL is the minivan -- more than 100 folks have reported seeing it written on the modern-day family truckster.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Secret Life of Bees 

Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel (excerpts of which have appeared in Best American Short Stories), has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love--a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

"a once-in-a-century find" 

the discovery of Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis

At last 

"Dabbawalas" delivering freshly prepared Indian vegetarian "dabbas" to office workers in Manhattan.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Welcome to digital music revolution 

The World's best digital jukebox is now for Windows, too.

People never grow up, they just learn how to act in public. - Bryan White 

An old penny pincher had no friends. Just before he died he asked his doctor, lawyer, and pastor to gather around him at bedside.

"I have always heard that you can't take it with you. But I want to disprove that theory," he said. "I have $90,000 under my mattress, and when I die, just before they throw the dirt on me at my burial, I want you each to toss in an envelope with $30,000 within."

The three attended the funeral and each threw his envelope in the grave. On the way back from the cemetery, the pastor said, "I must confess. I needed $10,000 for my new church, so I only threw in $20,000." The doctor then said, "I must confess too. I needed $20,000 for a new hospital I was opening up, so I only threw in $10,000."

The lawyer looked at them both and shook his head. He then said, "Gentlemen, I'm surprised, shocked, and ashamed of you. I don't see how you could dare to go against that man's final wish. I mean, I threw in my personal check for the full amount…"

Mumbai dabbawallas lecture at IIMs 

Mumbai's tiffin box (i.e., affordable lunches) couriers are lecturing at India's top MBA institute. Complex logistical lessons? These management gurus wear dhotis, Gandhi topis and speak only a smattering of English while delivering lectures about efficiency to management students, corporate houses and business conferences.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

A Band of Brothers: The Rebuilding of Iraq 

A Band of Brothers: The Rebuilding of Iraq
By Stephen Pizzo (Award-Winning Investigative Journalist)

The Wall Street Journal describes it as "the largest government reconstruction effort since Americans helped to rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II." Just how much the rebuilding of Iraq will cost American taxpayers is a figure still too elusive to capture. But, the President's request for an additional $87 billion in September atop the $3.7 billion a month we are already spending, indicates the final figure will be, as one pundit described it quite "an adult number."

Recent estimates now put the final figure somewhere between $200 billion to as much as half a trillion dollars over the next ten years.

America's Iraq-sticker-shock may turn to anger when taxpayers discover the small group of men and companies reaping the benefits of President Bush's newly found appreciation for nation building.

While Vice President Dick Cheney's company, Halliburton has attracted most of press attention for its Iraq-related contracts; Halliburton is hardly the whole story. Halliburton's share is but a slice of multi-billion dollar pie being divided up among a brotherhood of unusually well connected and economically related individuals and entities.

Download the Report (PDF)

Top 10 weirdest ways to lose computer data 

Odd mishaps cause computer grief

Monday, October 13, 2003

HOWTO: write bad documentation that looks good 

In every tech's life, there comes a time when management starts to insist on better documentation.

Rumsfeld's $9 Billion Slush Fund 

For all the debate over President Bush's $87 billion supplemental request for military operations and economic reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, no one seems to have noticed that the sum includes a slush fund of at least $9.3 billion, which Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld can spend pretty much as he pleases. More

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Where are you going to my pretty maid 

Where are you going to, My pretty maid?
I'm going a-milking, sir, She said.
Shall I go with you, My pretty maid?
Yes, if you please, kind sir, She said.
What is your father, My pretty maid?
My father's a farmer, sir, She said.
What is your fortune, My pretty maid?
My face is my fortune, sir, She said.
Then I can't marry you, My pretty maid.
Nobody asked you, sir, She said.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Bad to the Bone 

"All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling," wrote Oscar Wilde. What Makes a Bad Poem Great?

Friday, October 10, 2003

Generate a 3D display from your laptop screen and cellophane 

These guys present a "novel, inexpensive, stereoscopic" technique for generating 3D displays from cellophane and a laptop computer screen. Stereoscopy requires independent manipulation of the left and right eye views.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Measure the speed of light with a chocolate and a microwave 

Before Galileo people believed that light traveled at an infinite speed, i.e., it could travel any distance in no time. How this doozy notion was turned around on his head..


A showcase of food, recipes, restaurants and photography

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Now thats a Google query! 

Half a spoon in teacups...

Harmonize singing horses 

This should keep you busy for a while! (click on the horses)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Source code for video game stolen  

In one of the highest-profile cases of cybercrime to hit the gaming industry, the source code for Half-Life 2 -- one of the years most-anticipated games -- was stolen and released over the Internet..

Monday, October 06, 2003

Tiger and Alligator Shared Apartment  

New York has been described as a concrete jungle, but one Harlem resident seems to have taken that literally as police were called in to remove a tiger and an alligator from his apartment.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Gandhi Jayanti 

The birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, is celebrated with reverence all over the country.

He is the man who played a significant role in achiveing independence for India from the British Empire with his simplicity and strong will power. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as 'Bapu' or 'Father of the nation', was born on the 2nd of October in 1869, in Porbunder, Gujrat. He studied law in U.K and practiced law in South Africa. But he left his profession and returned to India to join the Indian freedom struggle.

Gandhiji was a preacher of truth and 'Ahimsa' (non-violence). He started the 'Satyagraha' movement for the Indian freedom struggle. He believed in living a simple life and in 'Swadeshi'. He proved to the world that freedom can be achieved through the path of non-violence. Gandhiji is a symbol of peace and truth.

"De di hame azaadi, Bina khadag bina dhaal,
Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamaal".

Wednesday, October 01, 2003


"Ask yourself if you are happy, and you cease to be." - J. S. Mill

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