Archive for May, 2011


Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The June 2011 Wired magazine isn’t available online yet, but there’s an interesting infographic a co-worker of mine scanned in about the new “technology corridor” along interstate 85 between Montgomery, AL and Petersburg, VA. Interesting in that a) the corridor is surrounded on both sides by some historically and continuingly really, really poor regions, and b) a certain company you all may be familiar with via your association with yours truly is mentioned.


Friday, May 27th, 2011

IT World is running a fun article on features that we’ve lost from our computers over the years. While the common perception is that technology is always getting better, it does occasionally happen that a really useful concept or feature vanishes, never to reappear.

(My favorite, which isn’t in the article, was the old SCO Unix capability to turn all of the text in a terminal window red if you were logged in as root. It was so simple, but such a great visual clue.)


Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Finally, a use for all of that theory hogwash in graphics classes. Researchers at Hebrew University have developed an algorithm for turning pixely, 8-bit graphics images into awesome vector images. I would love to see this integrated into some of the classic console emulators so games like SMB1 can be played on a big screen without looking like lego vomit.

No Fluff

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I’m in the middle of an interesting book on higher education in America, one section of which deals with the (relatively recent) phenomenon of general studies as part of a liberal arts curriculum. I’ll post more when I finish the book.

Anyway, that’s why this article was so interesting to me – it’s a survey of the lifetime earning potential of different classes of undergraduate education. Looks like Pitt is in the lead with his engineering degree. No wonder he’s got a car with a landau roof.

Go To China, Young Scientist

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

From this article:

As public funding for science and technology shrinks, it just isn’t possible for people who want to become scientists in America to actually become scientists. So when a friend of mine who recently received her PhD in molecular biology asked for some career advice, the answer was easy. Go to China, I told her.

What Is He Typing?

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Colleges seem to have a schizophrenic view of laptops in the classroom – many schools encourage, or even require, students to arrive on campus with them. But many professors ban them from the classroom, feeling that the distraction of Facebook and the like is too much risk for the minimal reward of easier notetaking.

A couple of professors “spied” on students to see what they’re actually doing with the laptops during class. The results were pretty interesting.

Suburbs: The New Slums

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

A new report by the Brookings Institute makes the argument that the 1950s promise of suburbia is dead and buried, and that suburbs are becoming the new slums of America.

From the linked article:

Suburbs still tilt white. But, for the first time, a majority of all racial and ethnic groups in large metro areas live outside the city. Suburban Asians and Hispanics already had topped 50 percent in 2000, and blacks joined them by 2008, rising from 43 percent in those eight years.

The suburbs now have the largest poor population in the country. They are home to the vast majority of baby boomers age 55 to 64, a fast-growing group that will strain social services after the first wave of boomers turns 65 next year.

So this means that the poor folks will be out in the suburbs – but without the public transit and social service infrastructures that have been built up over decades to service them in urban areas.

LTD, ho!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

If you’ve been following the progress over at the Tunachucker blog (link, right side bar) you’ll see we practically have a race car. A 4000 pound, wallowing, lead sled of a race car, but a race car nonetheless. The May 2011 LeMons South race is this weekend, and after today I will be off to the hot, humid, no-see-ums infested environs of Kershaw, SC with our LTD Landau and the Tunachucker team to wage war over Effluency and nickels. I’ll try to make some updates to the Tunachucker blog over the weekend, depending on how reliable the internet is there in the low country. Assuming I don’t succumb to heat exhaustion, hopefully I’ll be back on Monday to regale you all with my execrable tales of mediocrity.  You can also check out The Truth About Cars for some more LeMony coverage.

Unabomber Souvenirs

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

So, what’s the ultimate slap in the face to an anti-technologist like the Unabomber? Sell the contents of his tiny shack in an online auction, of course!

If you’ve ever wanted a doctoral diploma from Michigan, here’s your chance. I can probably make you a better deal on a soiled hoodie, though.

Fake Doctors

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

From this month’s Cryptogram:

This is a pretty scary criminal tactic from Turkey.  Burglars dress up as doctors, and ring doorbells handing out pills under some pretense or another.  They’re actually powerful sedatives, and when people take them they pass out, and the burglars can ransack the house.

According to the article, when the police tried the same trick with placebos, they got an 86% compliance rate.

Kind of like a real-world version of those fake anti-virus programs that actually contain malware. or