Recently in Random Musings Category
This morning I read that the government contract covering the Apollo moon missions was only one page long. I haven't yet been able to confirm or deny this claim. Can anyone find any facts on this matter?
That's completely amazing, and the child looks very happy to boot. Makes me wonder if I should be tougher with my four-year-old.
(HT: James Altucher.)
This map shows the average commute time for neighborhoods all across the United States.
Alan Taylor has a great series of photos capturing the world of 1963 -- 50 years in the past.
James Altucher always has something interesting to say. (I think he'd like that compliment.) Here are some letters he wrote to Google. The first starts:
Dear Google, I sort of want to have sex with you. Or I want you to be my father. Or my best friend. I don't know, I feel so nervous writing this letter.
Thanks James for teaching me that I always need to start with a hook. I need to practice this. Someday I'd like to write like you.
It seems like people are prone to discounting others based on their age groups.
- Zeroes through twenties: You're safe to ignore because you're inexperienced and don't have a network of powerful friends.
- Thirties through fifties: You're getting more powerful every day and are treated with wariness and respect.
- Sixties through death: You're powerful so people are quick to placate you, but many people think they can outlast you.
Some of the most daring interior spaces I've seen on Houzz. I'd love to own almost any of these, but I wonder if they make your house harder to sell?
This moat in a Colorado ski house leads to the wine cellar. The waterfall door stops when you step on the stone so you don't get wet grabbing that bottle of cab. If you ever wanted to feel like Indiana Jones, this is your chance.
I seriously need a foggy waterfall in my house.
(HT: My wife.)
When I think back on the things I did and the way I acted as a teenager I'm shocked and amused... but certainly my future-self won't feel that way when he looks back to now... right?
They called this phenomenon the "end of history illusion," in which people tend to "underestimate how much they will change in the future." According to their research, which involved more than 19,000 people ages 18 to 68, the illusion persists from teenage years into retirement.
"Middle-aged people -- like me -- often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin," said one of the authors, Daniel T. Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard. "What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we're having the last laugh, and at every age we're wrong."
When I look back I tend to see that I've improved in almost every way over the years. I hope I'll still feel that way when I'm older! (I guess I also hope that the feeling is accurate.)
Houzz has pics of four Hobbit-style houses. Here's my favorite interior:
I'm not sure how practical and safe these houses would be, but they look cool in the pictures. I wonder if they look shoddy in person?
A skyscraper in Dubai that will rotate and move.
I'm skeptical that it will get built. Building developers are notorious for over-promising and under-delivering. Plus, the accelerations look like they'd make the building uninhabitable.
I know my trash man has been angry at me in the past when I've piled trash high on the sidewalk. It was all bagged or boxed, but he stopped me as I was leaving for work and told me that it was too much for one day. I got out of my car and helped him throw everything into his truck, and since then I've had many conversations with him in my head.
There have been several subsequent occasions in which I've thrown out huge amounts of trash, and I'd like to think that by now my trash man as built a grudging respect for my disposal ability. Sure, he'll sometimes leave a note on large, clumsy objects, but in those notes I detect hints of admiration. Yes, I can disassemble the deck swing so it fits in your truck!
Even when my trash doesn't exceed the capacity of my can I hope that he notices how heavy it is.
I know that "Spring Cleaning" is all the rage, but I tend to get more into cleany-fixit mode when Fall rolls around. Yeah, it's not Fall yet... but the leaves are falling in St. Louis, so what the heck. Anyway, here's a seasonal home maintenance checklist that I'm adding to my Google calendar to help me stay on top of my tasks.
How many features can we cram in to one device with the fewest number of buttons?
I'm a runner and I've used numerous GPS watches and they all share a common defect: too many features and too few buttons. Runners care about two-and-a-half things: distance, time, and pace/speed. All the other fancy capabilities are worse than distraction: by overloading the few available buttons with context-sensitive functions you make the watches very hard to use, especially while in motion.
I get it: software is cheap and buttons are expensive. Also, yes, I know it's easy for your designers and engineers to use the watch. But seriously, focus on core functionality and discard the rest.
Here's the Nike+ SportWatch GPS Powered by TomTom (Black/Volt), currently the best-selling GPS watch on Amazon with a list of features, most of which are not useful:
- Water resistant Nike+ SportWatch features TomTom GPS for accurate speed and distance information, indoors or out--even if the GPS signal gets interrupted
- Track your time, distance, pace,
heart rate (with optional sensor), and calories burned; view your mapped route with pace data/changes in elevation on Nikeplus.com
- Rechargeable lithium polymer battery charges via USB, provides eight hours of run time with the GPS and sensor both turned on, up to 50 days of standby power
- Join challenges and connect with friends as a member of Nikeplus.com--view/share routes, find popular running areas, share activity on Facebook or Twitter
- Personal coaching features help keep you at your best--reminds you to run, stores your run history, and remembers your personal records
Apparently the New York Federal Reserve possesses 216 million troy ounces of gold. Based on a density of 19.32 grams per cubic centimetre, that would be almost 348 cubit meters -- a cube approximately seven meters long, wide, and tall. For comparison, the shallowest Olympic swimming pool has a volume of 2,500 cubic meters.
It seems to have something to do with your brain mistakenly overlaying the images from your peripheral vision. It may do this because the faces are all congruently placed and sized.
We always tend to think of people from the distant past as members of a strange, alien species... but the discovery of this Mayan astronomy workshop really brings home how similar all we humans are.
On an adjacent wall are numbers indicating four time spans from roughly 935 to 6,700 years. It's not clear what they represent, but maybe the scribes were doing calculations that combined observations from important astronomical events like the movements of Mars, Venus and the moon, the researchers said.
Why bother to do that? Maybe the scribes were "geeks ... who just got carried away with doing these kinds of computations and calculations, and probably did them far beyond the needs of ordinary society," Aveni suggested.
Experts unconnected with the discovery said it was a significant advance.
"It's really a wonderful surprise," said Simon Martin, co-curator of an exhibit about the Mayan calendar at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
While the results of the scribes' work were known from carvings on monuments, "we've never really been able to identify a working space, or how they actually went about things," Martin said.
I bet these Mayan astronomy geeks would have fit right in with my modern engineer friends.
Ok, so she's not in a bikini, but the rest is true!