Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Believer - Closing Time

The Believer - Closing Time

A fascination look into the history of cars and car salesmen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


THE LAST DAYS OF THE POLYMATH | More Intelligent Life: "In an age of specialists, does it matter that generalists no longer thrive? The world is hardly short of knowledge. Countless books are written, canvases painted and songs recorded. A torrent of research is pouring out. A new orthodoxy, popularised by Malcolm Gladwell, sees obsessive focus as the key that unlocks genius."

I think someone hasn't left his ivory tower for much too long. There are more polymaths then ever. The average person goes thru 5-7 careers, not just jobs, these days.

The job market has been evolving so quickly the last 20 years that whole industries exist now and are major drivers of the economy that didn't exist even as scifi back then. Web designer, information marketer and hosts of others exist now that needed to be filled.

If you have been a monomath half a dozen times is that not the same as being a polymath just without the burnout, or at least the same kind of burnout.

You're looking in the wrong places. Polymaths are not valued by the big institutions, so obviously you won't find them there. They'll be in the small companies, they are the superstars that when they leave for whatever reason the company ends up hiring 3 or more people to replace them because they were so amazing in so many areas.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What a well-placed $20 gets you

What a well-placed $20 gets you: "Tom Chiarella took a stack of $20 bills with him to New York City just to see what he could get by offering them to the right people at the right time. Turns out, quite a bit."

Interesting. But are the things you are buying worth it?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: A day at the museum - how much do children actually remember?

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: A day at the museum - how much do children actually remember?: "Gross's team said the results 'demonstrated that children learned and remembered an extraordinary amount of information about a school trip to a museum' even after a lengthy delay. The findings also showed that giving the children the opportunity to draw, significantly increased the amount of accurate information they recalled. This is consistent with previous, forensically motivated research showing that drawing facilitates children's verbal reports of their experiences."

Isn't it interesting, that we take away our children's crayons in schools about this time.

ht Marginal Revolution

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's up with Google

First they ignore 9/11 and now they have a crop circle doodle. What's up with that?

Monday, September 14, 2009


TigerHawk: "As we have long predicted on this blog, the health care 'reformers' propose to finance at least part of the 'savings' or new benefits -- it is impossible to know which -- by decreasing the rate of return on medical technology. There are many ways in which this might be done, but the Senate Democrats are proposing to do so directly, by levying a 'value added tax' on medical device companies according to their proportion of U.S. sales."

It not that they won't treat you or your grandma, but the treatment won't be as good as it could be. It seems to them that it is more humane to let us suffer for longer, rather then let us be treated.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cell Phone Radiation Levels

| Environmental Working Group

Even at the high level these are still pretty low. But it can be a useful tool if you care.
The biggest problem is that it is so hard to figure out how much a cell phone plan costs adding this into the mix won't help.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Out of Work, and Too Down to Search On -

Out of Work, and Too Down to Search On - "In the most direct measure of job market hopelessness, the bureau has a narrow definition of a group it classifies as “discouraged workers.” These are people who have looked for work at some point in the past year but have not looked in the last four weeks because they believe that no jobs are available or that they would not qualify, among other reasons. In August, there were roughly 758,000 discouraged workers nationally, compared with 349,000 in November 2007, the month before the recession officially began.

The bureau also has a broader category of jobless it calls “marginally attached to the labor force,” which includes discouraged workers as well as those who have stopped looking because of other reasons, like school, family responsibilities or health issues. But economists agree that many of these workers probably would have found a way to work in a good economy.

There were roughly 2.3 million people in this group in August, up from 1.4 million in November 2007. If the unemployment rate were expanded to include all marginally attached workers, it would have been 11 percent in August."

Yeah, it's pretty bad out there. And no one knows for sure exactly how bad because you can't manage the numbers. No everything can be measured and measuring the wrong thing makes things worse. Imagine that.

Calculus Demonstration: 3D printing � 360

Calculus Demonstration: 3D printing 360: "So what is used for the printing? The article above describes a layer of powder being put down and the printing is actually done by spraying glue instead of ink. Wikipedia also describes printers that build with a liquid gel. But my favorite is printing done with candy."

I wants one of them.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

California Smoke hides the Rockies

Colorado's hazy skies courtesy of California wildfires - The Denver Post: "The smoke over Colorado — which has made the mountains west of Denver invisible from downtown Denver — has come directly from the massive 85,000-acre wildfire in Southern California, according to the National Weather Service."

Yeah, that's about right. Usually the Rockies dominate the sky, today not so much. This usually happens only during the winter if and inversion layer is sitting on us. It doesn't smell of smoke but then it may have come in slowly enough we can't smell it anymore.
I won't mind the little bit of localized global cooling this will cause.