That's pretty cool

07/16/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


Punny title aside, this Wired News article on some New York buildings using ice instead of (or in addition to) air conditioning systems is nifty. It's like reaching back into the 1800s and their ice cellars for a solution to a contemporary problem. Given how utterly miserable tall closed buildings become without some cooling and decent ventilation, it's great that someone's come up with a more energy efficient way of providing it.


Books on demand

07/15/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


I can't decide if this print-on-demand technology is going to improve matters or not. It's fun to pop into a bookstore with a huge collection and browse the aisles. This is going to kill that. On the other hand, I usually can't find what I'm looking for in most bookstores (although typically I pick up a bunch of other stuff instead.)

The downside is that all it'll print at the moment is content in the public domain, presumably so there's no issue with author-based compensation or existing publishing contracts. However, given the pricing structure on the machine, I suspect this going to send a very very big ripple through the publishing industry.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

(Via Wired)


Dem bones, dem dry bones

07/14/07 | by Adam | Categories: Games


The Chinese implementation of World of Warcraft has replaced all mobile skeletons with live humans and bones with tombstones. The9 Ltd, WoW's Chinese licensee, claims that they did it on their own accord and that the government was not involved. Ya reckon?

It's not clear whether the more fleshy skeletons that comprise the Forsaken faction now have a more healthy pallor or what effect this would have on the back story of the Scourge. I, for one, am waiting to see the dual-handed wielding of cellphones.


On pies, cream pies

07/13/07 | by Adam | Categories: Canadian, Calgary


The linked-to article is about Calgary's Mayor Bronconnier commenting on the use of the cream pie as a medium of dissatisfaction, or as he puts it:

"the method of choice" of those who want to make a political statement.

Full story »


Time to get out that atlas, CBC

07/12/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


This CBC article caught my eye solely because I know the area; while Cowansville is indeed south east of Montreal, it is no more in southeast Montreal than Red Deer is in northern Calgary.


Autobots need insurance too

07/11/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


The Transformers movie did indeed suck. However, this throwaway from McSweeneys is much more funny, better written and conceivably has snappier dialogue. Lacks a little on the special effects though.

(Via Ezra Klein)


Free as a bird

07/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Helium balloons. Lawn chair. Why does this just sound like it's leading into a bad joke?

And yeah, I would love to hear this exchange:

Walters managed to surprise an airline pilot, who radioed the control tower that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair.


Labour Mythology

07/10/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, People, Science

We're learning all sorts of things in our pre-natal classes, and there are a few things that were mythology-dispelling. Where do we pick up on such mythology? Television. Well, at least, according to what I've learned so far, I have not witnessed proper labour on-screen... or, if I have, then I fear for the habits of the medical profession ;)

Full story »


Practicing what you preach

07/09/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


This article about the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner (has it out hyped the iPhone yet?) has a statement that really jumped out at me:

They had their team travel around the world 5 times in economy class before they started!

As a fairly regular flyer, that's what I call dedication to one's art.


Creative's given me another reason not to buy their gear

07/09/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


Creative, makers of the Audigy, SoundBlaster cards as well as my unloved wireless media player, have decided to start charging for the Vista versions of their drivers. I'm very much opposed to vendors doing this; one would expect that the software and hardware were considered to be the same bundle and that fixes to drivers should be part of the purchase deal. Given that Creative's software is invariably as buggy as all get-out when initially released, I don't tend to trust what's supplied on the CDs with the equipment.

Full story »


#1! #1!

07/09/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


While looking at the referred searches, I noticed a lot of hits from people looking for entries on "googlestreets"; it looks like we've got the #1 hit on Google for the term.

What's interesting is that GoogleStreets is not even a Google approved name; it's just referred to as the "Street View" of GoogleMaps on their site. I'm rather surprised that Google's not gone out of the way to own it as it appears to have been chosen organically. As the great philosopher-poet, Scott Adams, said (well, more or less) about naming his feline HR character: "If people spontaneously give a character a name, who am I to argue?"


Private enterprise versus personal photography

07/08/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright


When's a public street not a public street? The answer is "When it's a diguised shopping mall". There's a case at the moment where a development partially funded with public money using a public street is now covered by faux-anti-photography laws because it's a privately-owned establishment. If the locations were indeed security sensitive (military installation, bank internals) or privacy related (invasion of personal privacy, stalking of customers) I might understand, but this seems to be neither.

It's not the first time this has happened either. Here's another incident from an Australian shopping centre and here's an earlier example from Los Angeles. This has been going on for a while; here's a Slate article about it from 1995 which is where I first came across the issue.

(Via BoingBoing)


ǝpoɔıun ƃuısn ʇxǝʇ pǝsɹǝʌǝɹ

07/07/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly


(ƃuıoqƃuıoq ɐıʌ)

(¡ɥɔnɯ ʇı ƃuısn ǝq ll,ı ʇɐɥʇ ʇou) ʇı ǝʌol ı ˙ʎɹǝʞɔɐɥ ɟo ǝɔǝıd ɔıssɐlɔ ɐ sı sıɥʇ


The Earworm Strikes Back

07/06/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music

The Dutch have a term called an "oorworm" ("earworm" or "earwig" in English.) It's defined as a tune that you can't get out of your head or that you play over and over and over and over and...

Well, here's a recommendation: Murray Gold's soundtrack CD to the current Doctor Who series is superb, but skip track 30 with Neil Hannon called "Love Don't Roam". I think I'm up to the 40th repetition in succession and I still can't stop listening to it.

In the time it's taken me to get this far, it's now 44 and counting. This'll probably take the big guns to displace...

Update: It didn't; on the Wikipedia page about earworms, there's a link to a site called "Maim That Tune" that plays catchier tunes than whatever's driving you to distraction. It certainly works, although perhaps not in the intended way: the MIDI renditions are so painful that whatever tune was bothering you is blasted away.


Chilliwack's "Fly At Night"

07/05/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music

It's probably just me, but every time I hear Canadian AOR staple Chilliwack's "Fly At Night" I'm utterly convinced it's a missing Neil Young song.

Yeah, it probably is just me.

Updated: Corrected the song title as per the comment thread :)


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