Things That Happen to Me

Since the mid nineties I have been looking for a bibimbap that would stand above all others.

via My longstanding quest for the ideal bibimbap.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled onto (I’m guessing) probably the only Korean-American hamburger stand in Maine. I ordered the bibimbap. The owner said, You’re not from around here, are you. I was, like, Huh? He said, No one ever orders from the Korean side of the menu.


Devotional No. 8

To encourage electric driving, the country is developing a rapidly expanding national grid of charging stations in cities and along highways; and Amsterdam offers owners of electric vehicles free street parking and charging. With hefty tax breaks, promotional leases and cheaper operating costs, the vehicles offer driving costs no more than those of conventional cars, some analysts say.

via Dutch Put Electric Cars to the Test –

I’m willing to believe that once all the costs and benefits are totted up they’re not much greener than conventional technology.

via The Straight Dope: Do “green” vehicles really save energy? Is a Prius worse for the environment than a Hummer?.

If a large amount of coal is burned there may be no carbon dioxide savings over conventional vehicles.

via Do electric cars really save carbon emissions? | The Energy Collective.

U.S. coal exports to Europe were up 26 percent in the first nine months of 2012 over the same period in 2011. Exports to China have increased, too. “It’s been very welcome that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have been going down because of the switch to gas,” said David Baldock, executive director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy in London. “But if we’re simply diverting the coal somewhere else, particularly to Europe, a lot of those benefits are draining away.”

via Europe consuming more coal – The Washington Post.


Laying aside the everyday wearing of weapons was part of what Thucydides believed had allowed Athens to become fully civilized…

via How the Ancient Greeks Viewed Weapons : The New Yorker.

The people who opened the frontier were not dumb, and didn’t want their streets running with blood.

via Guns in the wild west: regulated, with no fears about ripping the Constitution « Fabius Maximus.


Life Imitates Art

Take one kilogram of polyisocyanide polymer. Sprinkle liberally across an Olympic swimming pool. Warm gently. Within minutes, your jelly is ready. Serves 25 million.

via Polymer can turn swimming pool to jelly : Nature News & Comment.

One of the airplanes crashes into the dictators seaside palace and causes his still-frozen body to tumble into the ocean, and all the water in the worlds seas, rivers, and groundwater turns into ice-nine, killing almost all life in a few days.

via Cats Cradle – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


Candy Maker’s Benevolence

By the end of 2013, chocolate-maker Mars says all of its chocolate bars will be under — or right at — the 250-calorie mark. The 2-ounce Snickers currently sold in our NPR vending machine has 280 calories, and with the downsize it will lose about 11 percent of its size. …The idea is to “enable sharing or saving a portion for later,” according to a Mars spokesperson.

via Goodbye To The King Size: Mars To Downsize Candy Bars In 2013 : The Salt : NPR.

…But as ingredient prices began to fluctuate wildly in the 1940s 50s and 60s, the weight of the bar changed more than a dozen times, going as low as 13/16ths of an ounce by 1966. The shrinking bar brought much ridicule over the years, with the press comparing the size of a Hershey bar in the 1950s to a razor blade. A cartoonist, in a characteristic attack depicted the Hershey directors in a meeting, with the caption, “Gentleman, we can no longer afford to sell a wrapper without a bar.”…By 1968, the Hershey bar was almost half its original size…

via p. 228, Brenner, J. G. (1999). The Emperors of Chocolate. New York: Random House.

How Print Is Different

He calls the front page of a newspaper a “discovery engine”: the lead story tells you something you’re almost certain to be interested in—the imminent collapse of the global economy, or Lady Gaga’s latest choice of outfit—and elsewhere on the page you learn that revolution has broken out in a country of whose existence you were barely aware. Editors with an eye for such things, what Zuckerman calls “curators”, are being superseded by “friends”—people like you, who probably already share your interests and world view—delivered by Facebook.

via IN SEARCH OF SERENDIPITY | More Intelligent Life.

Rather than convincing people to support a newspaper out of a sense of civic duty, a better plan would be to convince people to pay for newspapers because they are simply the best algorithms we have for optimizing our busy lives.

via Are Newspapers Civic Institutions or Algorithms? | Endless Innovation | Big Think.

The Newspaper. Get it. Because Smart is the New Sexy.

via Smart is the New Sexy – The Newspaper. Get It..

The Right Not to Be Secondguessed

When pro-choice feminists like Wolf, or liberal men, or a lot of women, even, say things like, “I’m pro-choice, but I am uncomfortable with… [third-trimester abortion / sex-selection / women who have multiple abortions / women who have abortions for “convenience” / etc.]” then what you are saying is that your discomfort matters more than an individual woman’s ability to assess her own circumstances. That you don’t think that women who have abortions think through the very questions that you, sitting there in your easy chair, can come up with. That a woman who is contemplating an invasive, expensive, and uncomfortable medical procedure doesn’t think it through first. In short, that your judgment is better than hers.

via Do You Trust Women — Crooked Timber.

  •  The global abortion rate was stable between 2003 and 2008, with rates of 29 and 28 abortions per 1000 women aged 15—44 years, respectively, following a period of decline from 35 abortions per 1000 women in 1995.
  • Worldwide, 49% of abortions were unsafe in 2008, compared to 44% in 1995.
  • About one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2008.
  • The abortion rate was lower in subregions where more women live under liberal abortion laws.

via Induced abortion: incidence and trends worldwide from 1995 to 2008 : The Lancet.

Web Link Pareidolia?

God may be dead, but Alain de Bottons Religion for Atheists is a sign that the tradition from Voltaire to Arnold lives on. The book assumes that religious beliefs are a lot of nonsense, but that they remain indispensible to civilised existence. One wonders how this impeccably liberal author would react to being told that free speech and civil rights were all bunkum, but that they had their social uses and so shouldnt be knocked. Perhaps he might have the faintest sense of being patronised. De Botton claims that one can be an atheist while still finding religion “sporadically useful, interesting and consoling”, which makes it sound rather like knocking up a bookcase when you are feeling a bit low. Since Christianity requires one, if need be, to lay down ones life for a stranger, he must have a strange idea of consolation. Like many an atheist, his theology is rather conservative and old-fashioned.

via Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton – review | Books | The Guardian.

This interesting-throughout review in The Guarian was featured by the Web aggregator The Browser, via a shortened link that asked, “Y, My God?”

From my Google Reader.

Toothless Tiger of India

“Of the 71 samples randomly taken from Delhi for testing by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India FSSAI, 50 were found to be contaminated with glucose and skimmed milk powder SMP, which is usually added to milk in the lean season to enhance volumes,” it added.

via High court takes note of milk adulteration in Delhi – The Times of India.

Roughly 42 percent of all Indian children under age 5 suffer from malnutrition, a sobering reminder of the persistence of poverty and hunger in the world’s largest democracy, according to a major report released on Tuesday.

via Malnutrition in India Is Widespread, Report Finds –

Given its history of deadly discrimination against girls and women through its customs of female infanticide, dowry killings, and ritual sati immolation of widows, its pronounced and continuing fertility declines, and its past two decades of very rapid economic growth attended by increasing domestic diffusion of new technologies of every sort, India would seem poised as a likely battlefield in the new global war against baby girls. Sure enough, both SRBs and child sex ratios have risen markedly since the early 1990s for the world’s second-most populous country.

via The New Atlantis » The Global War Against Baby Girls.

Science Fact Stranger Than Fiction

”]Cover of "Gattaca [Blu-ray]"

Today, he still hopes for a full public debate, worried that screening out genetic defects will create a cold, intolerant world like the one portrayed in Gattaca: “This is scary to me because I’m one who doesnt believe in social engineering. If we strive for perfection, we are going to blame people with disabilities. We’re not going to accommodate them, or support them with tax dollars.”

via Unnatural selection: Is evolving reproductive technology ushering in a new age of eugenics? – The Globe and Mail.

What’s more, although scientific evidence shows that human sexuality is significantly affected by biological predispositions — such as genes and hormones — other influences appear to be cultural, including social expectations, peer pressure and the availability and opportunity for sexual release. These influences channel erotic impulses in certain directions and not others. An individual’s sexual orientation is thus influenced culturally, as well as biologically. As culture changes, perhaps manifestations of sexuality can also change?

via Peter G Tatchell: Future Sex: Beyond Gay and Straight.

But I doubt very much if within 10-15 years given continued investment and innovation and keeping the AMA from quashing such efforts politically I won’t be able to ask Siri’s great great grandchild Version 9.0? for an opinion far more accurate than the one I get today from the average physician. Instead of asking Siri 9.0, “I feel like sushi” or “where can I dispose a body” try it…it’s fairly accurate! and with your iPhone X or Android Y with all the power of IBM’s current Watson computer in the mobile phone and an even more powerful “Nvidia times 10-100” server which will cost far less than med school with terabytes or petabytes of data on hundreds of millions billions? of patients, including their complete genomics and proteomics each sample costing about the same as a typical blood test.

via Do We Need Doctors Or Algorithms? | TechCrunch.

Biologists who believe in the intrinsic genetic clock say we should be grateful for those three billion heartbeats. After that, the best service we can do for our grandchildren is to get out of their way. Other experts disagree. They think the “clock” is a mere coincidence, having to do with steadily accumulating errors in our cells. In particular, they point to telemeres — little chemical caps protecting the ends of our chromosomes — which wear away with time until the sheltering layer vanishes and grave erosion starts affecting the vulnerable DNA strands, instead. This gradual chemical deterioration simulates a destiny clock, though some researchers hope it might be halted, if we learn the right medical and biochemical tricks.

via Sentient Developments: David Brin: Do We Really Want Immortality?.