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mike's web log



mike pope's Web log



Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:56:53 PM

Last Build Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2018 14:56:53 GMT

 



Mind the gap

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:30:05 GMT

I find it harder and harder these days to ride as a passenger when other people drive. Some of that is just part of getting old. But it's not just that; as I've noted before, learning to ride a motorcycle has helped make me a better driver.

One tactic I've worked on is how much space I leave between me and the driver in front of me. To my mind, most people follow too close. You really don't want to do that. Here's why.

Note: If you want the tl;dr, skip to So what do I do?

Speed and distance

Let's start by examining what sort of distance you're covering when you drive, because it might be more than you think. At 10 mph, in 1 second you cover about 15 feet. At 70 mph, in that same 1 second you cover 103 feet. Here's a graphic that illustrates this ratio.

(image)


An accepted measure of a car length is 10 feet. This means that if you're going 60 mph, in 1 second you will travel 9 car lengths. Even small differences in speed result in significant differences in how far you travel—the difference between driving at 60 and at 70 is that in 1 second at 70 you will travel an additional 15 feet (88 vs 103). More than one car length.


Braking distance

Let's imagine that for some reason you have to slam on the brakes. Alas, physics tells us that you cannot stop on the proverbial dime. The faster you're going, the longer it takes to get to zero mph.

There's no standard chart for stopping distance for cars. Cars weigh different amounts and they have different brakes; for example, newer cars have anti-lock brakes a.k.a. ABS [more]



Selling books

Mon, 10 Nov 2014 22:26:26 GMT

Sarah and I have been engaged in a gradual process of downsizing, and one of the ways we’ve been doing that is by shrinking our extensive collection of books. Not long ago we did another round of culling and pulled five boxes of books off the shelves. Then, in keeping with what we’ve done many times before, we lugged our boxes around to bookstores in order to sell them.

Prior experience suggested that we’d have the best luck with specific bookstores. Several times I’ve sold books to Henderson’s and Michael’s in Bellingham; the former in particular has always paid top dollar for books, which is reflected in their excellent on-shelf inventory. We have reason anyway to occasionally visit Bellingham, so not long ago we hauled our boxes northward.

But it proved disappointing. We used their handcart to wheel our five boxes in; the stony-faced buyer picked out about 25 books, and we wheeled five boxes back to the car. Michael’s, which is across the street from Henderson’s, was not buying at all, only offering store credit.

With diminished enthusiasm, we headed back south. Our next stop was Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. Like Henderson’s, they carefully picked out a small stack of books and gave us back the rest. Although I was tempted to visit Magus Books in the U District—in my experience, they’ve always been interested in more academically oriented books—the day had already gotten long for little gain. Therefore, our last stop was Weasel Half-Price Books, which gave us a handful of change for the remaining four boxes. Presumably we could have demanded back the books they were not interested in, but by then we we'd lost pretty much all of our energy for dealing with the boxes, even to donate them to the library.

(image)

[more]



I (heart) DST

Sun, 09 Mar 2014 12:37:26 GMT

In the U.S. today, it's time for the semi-annual grump-fest about the changeover to Daylight Saving Time, aka DST. As we say around here, we "spring forward" an hour on the clocks, such that the first thing you do on Sunday morning is run around the house and slice an hour off your clock. You woke up at 9:00? Guess what, it's actually 10:00!

Some people don't understand why we do this, and lots of people don't like it, citing reasons from sleep deprivation to communism. It's true that DST doesn't make sense everywhere, and indeed, DST is not imposed everywhere. In the US, it's not uniform in Arizona, and Hawaii doesn't play at all.

Basically speaking, DST makes more sense the further north you go (or south, in the southern hemisphere), because it's an effort to even out, so to speak, the differences between the shortest and longest days. The closer you get to the equator, of course, the less of a difference there is, and at the equator, there is no difference (ok, only a very small difference) between the length of days on the solstices.

Ever since the beginning, offsetting the clock was proposed as a way to save energy (by Ben Franklin, who else, who calculated energy costs in terms of candles burned). The idea is to shift the bulk of daylight to the hours when people are most active.

Consider our latitude here in Seattle. Here's a graphical illustration of the times for sunrise and sunset at the solstices and with DST (not entirely to scale[1]):

Winter solstice[2]

[more]



Together in a small, crowded, moving box

Wed, 20 Mar 2013 23:52:18 GMT

These days I work in a tall office building, which means that I spend a lot of time in elevators going up and down between office and lobby, not to mention up and down for meetings. Sometimes I run to co-workers in the elevator, but often it’s a bunch of strangers.

(image) I don’t know how international it is, but the protocol for Americans—or let’s say Seattleites, anyway—is essentially to ignore strangers, and to stand facing the doors. Phones help ease the awkwardness of this situation (strangers are so near, yet so ... non-existent), because people can look down and fiddle busily with their phones instead of desperately trying not to make eye contact with other passengers.

But our elevators (and, I assume, those in many other buildings) have a feature that changes the dynamic in interesting ways. Above the bank of floor buttons is a 12-inch screen that displays a rotating selection of news bites, weather, traffic, reviews, deals, and so on. (According to the provider, this “reaches smart, busy, upscale professionals on the move and struggling to ‘do it all.’” Sure, whatever.)

People now have something to look at in the elevator besides the closed doors, or their phones, or the back of the person in front of them. This subtly changes the feel of the constantly changing group going up and down together. They’re watching TV together!

The headlines that are displayed will occasionally move someone to make a remark, or at least to grunt in acknowledgment. This can be an ice-breaker for others … it’s a conversation starter!

Sherry TurkelTurkle, who teaches "the Social Studies of Science and Technology" at M.I.T., has [more]



Office space

Sat, 05 Jan 2013 12:34:30 GMT

I spent over 17 years at Microsoft, and for most of that time, the company went to extraordinary and expensive lengths to try to give every full-time employee his or her own private office space.[1] The company kept building new buildings, and every office move — and there were many — involved a substantial effort to sort out seating arrangements so that people could both have their own offices and had some reasonable proximity to their colleagues.

The company's focus on office space presumably was based on an implicit acceptance of the idea that people engaged in concerted intellectual work need to be able to work in peace. In the widely read Peopleware, a book from the mid-1980s about managing software projects, authors Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister addressed the need for this type of space:
Before drawing the plans for its new Santa Teresa facility, IBM violated all industry standards by carefully studying the work habits of those who would occupy the space. [...] Researchers observed the work processes in action in current workspaces and in mock-ups of proposed workspaces. They watched programmers, engineers, quality control workers, and managers go about their normal activities. From their studies, they concluded that a minimum accommodation for the mix of people slated to occupy the new space would be the following:
  • 100 square feet of dedicated space per worker
  • 30 square feet of work surface per person
  • Noise protection in the form of enclosed offices or six-foot high partitions (they ended up with about half of all professional personnel in enclosed one- and two-person offices)
(image) [more]



Sleight of hand

Wed, 02 Jan 2013 19:55:18 GMT

Two stories, both lifted from articles in the New Yorker, about magicians who are, well, magic. The first is about the sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay, from a profile in 1993 titled Secrets of the Magus:
Deborah Baron, a screenwriter in Los Angeles, where Jay lives, once invited him to a New Year’s Eve dinner party at her home. About a dozen other people attended. Well past midnight, everyone gathered around a coffee table as Jay, at Baron’s request, did closeup card magic. When he had performed several dazzling illusions and seemed ready to retire, a guest named Mort said, “Come on, Ricky. Why don’t you do something truly amazing?”

Baron recalls that at that moment “the look in Ricky’s eyes was, like, ‘Mort—you have just fucked with the wrong person.’ ”

Jay told Mort to name a card, any card. Mort said, “The three of hearts.” After shuffling, Jay gripped the deck in the palm of his right hand and sprung it, cascading all fifty-two cards so that they travelled the length of the table and pelted an open wine bottle.

“O.K., Mort, what was your card again?”

“The three of hearts.”

“Look inside the bottle.”

Mort discovered, curled inside the neck, the three of hearts. The party broke up immediately.
Then this appeared in the current issue in an article about Apollo Robbins, a different kind of magician, titled A Pickpocket’s Tale:
[more]



A specious take on fuel efficiency

Wed, 10 Oct 2012 08:33:56 GMT

I’ve put a little over 18,000 miles on my motorcycle. The fact that it gets a whopping 53 mpg gives me an entirely unjustified sense of virtue as I pass other vehicles. Still, now and again I’ll consider the nominal fuel savings that I’ve achieved by riding the bike instead of driving my car. And how much might that be?

(image) To keep things simple, I’ll round numbers grossly. I’ll assume 18,000 miles, 50 mpg for the motorcycle, and 25 for my car (which I actually know, because the car’s computer tracks this). So:

18,000 miles at 50 mpg = 360 gallons

Since the bike gets essentially twice the mileage of the car, it’s all very easy. If I'd used the car for the same miles, I would have used 720 gallons. At (assumed) $4/gallon, I’ve "saved" $1440 by riding my motorcvcle (360 x $4 = $1440).

Of course, this is all laughable. Many of the miles I’ve put on the motorcycle are miles I would never have put on the car—i.e., miles driven just for fun. Not to mention that this supposed savings in fuel expenditures doesn't come anywhere near what it cost to buy the bike in the first place, and what it costs to insure and maintain it.

Even so, every time I pass a Prius, I think "neener-neener, I get better mileage than you." And maybe by the time I’ve put 600,000 miles on the bike, it will actually represent a real savings.



'Tis the season ... for bad ads

Tue, 20 Dec 2011 22:30:21 GMT

One way for me to retain sanity in the face of the commercial onslaught of Christmas is to keep an ear and/or eye out for the utterly lamest, most obvious attempt to co-opt Christmas for commercial gain. This is a periodic, if not annual, tradition: previous 1, previous 2.

The bar is low, obviously, but my favorites are always the ads in which the merchant tries to establish a connection between their blatantly off-season or aseasonal offering and the holidays. My favorite so far this year is a company that offers zipline tours up on one of the San Juan islands. The premise of their ad — and this is a typical strategy — is that so-and-so is just so hard to get a gift for, so the answer is a gift certificate for a zipline tour! The ad writer in this case felt obliged to provide some backstory on the putative recipient and why swinging through the trees was just the thing for him. Presumably the simple offer of the tour was by itself insufficiently, um, compelling.

My radio listening is way down in latter years, so I'm not really sampling broadly. This is a good thing in general, of course, since it spares me exposure to foolishness like this. On the other hand, it reduces my enjoyment of this little exercise.

Got any candidates?

PS Apologies to John McIntyre for the title.



Labor-saving

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 13:11:38 GMT

I had to cut a piece of plywood today. It had to be a clean cut, so I couldn't just rip through it by hand. Fortunately, I have a table saw to save me labor, so it only took about 14 minutes. Like this:
  1. Clear path to table saw: 3 minutes
  2. Wheel table saw out to driveway, unfold: 1 minute
  3. Find extension cord, plug in: 45 seconds
  4. Set blade height: 10 seconds
  5. Measure width, set fence, square fence: 1 minute
  6. Cut wood: 11 seconds
  7. Unplug saw, wind and stow cord: 30 seconds
  8. Fold table saw, wheel back into garage: 1 minute
  9. Find broom, sweep up sawdust: 2 minutes
  10. Put crap back in garage in front of table saw: 2 minutes



Yeah, I'm fluent in that

Mon, 29 Aug 2011 15:12:30 GMT

Among the many privacy-invading questions (haha) that Facebook asks you is what languages you speak. This is a slightly odd question to me, because I can't imagine why this is interesting information to post on a Facebook page. (On a LinkedIn profile, sure, where there might be professional advantages.) In cynical moments, I suspect that people sometimes fill this in to a) show off that they speak more than one language and b) neener-neener.

On the other hand, it turns out you probably know more languages than immediately come to mind. In fact, you're probably fluent in quite a few of them. Like which? Well, Colleague David discovered some of these recently when he was updating his profile:

(image)



How Feynman learned to crack a safe

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 08:51:37 GMT

The physicist Richard Feynman worked on the atomic bomb project at Los Alamos in the 1940s. This was the biggest, most secretive project in the country, and security measures were — at least theoretically — very tight.[1] Scientists were issued safes in which to keep their confidential papers. However, Feynman's restless drive to tinker and to work on interesting problems led him to ponder the puzzle of how to crack these safes.

(image) Turns out that cracking a safe has some things in common with hacking someone's bank account in our present day: while the problem is theoretically hard, it helps tremendously to have some insight into human nature. Safes have some additional weaknesses by virtue of being mechanical devices. OTOH, they don't offer the problem we have today of trying to remember dozens of passwords.

In any event, the passage below (sorry about the length) is from James Gleick's Genius: The Life and Times of Richard Feynman and says something about the nature of security when you've got those darn humans involved. (This is edited slightly for length.)
[more]



Tempest in (on) a coffee cup

Tue, 01 Feb 2011 01:42:11 GMT

As about just everyone on the planet knows, the logo for Starbucks is a mermaid. The coffee lady has gone through a number of transformations, from this:

(image)

To the latest design:

(image)

As an aside, just for fun I want to note that this latter design is very cleverly used to decorate Starbucks HQ in Seattle (the erstwhile Sears store-cum-warehouse), with the sea-lady peeking out from the top of the building's "tower":

(image)

Ok, so, the question du jour is where this logo came from. Corporate mythology has it that the design was "originally derived from a twin-tailed siren in an old sixteenth-century Norse woodcut." Sounds plausible, right?

Not to everyone. As recounted in the Wall Street Journal blog, of all places, a graduate student at Yale who writes a blog named Got Medieval thought this sounded fishy (haha), because, for one, "there’s no such thing as a 16th-century Norse woodcut."

Long story short (i.e., edited), ...
The twin-tailed siren isn’t from a “marine book” at all. She’s from an early German printed book, Das Buch von einer Frawen genant Melusina, a translation of Jean d’Arras’s Roman de Melusine. Melusine [more]



New weasel-osity with customer-initiated rebates (CIR)

Tue, 28 Dec 2010 17:46:07 GMT

Anyone with a modicum of retail savvy knows that retailers are constantly trying to set price points that balance their margins against what customers seem to want to pay. One traditional way to do this was to put things on sale (i.e., discount them) to drive sales.

(image) As we've all experienced, retailers these days like to offer discounts -- sale prices -- in the form of rebates. There are two kinds: instant rebates (IRs), which are taken off the price when the cashier rings it up, and "customer-initiated rebates" (CIRs), which is the kind where you have to fill in a form and send it in.

From the seller's perspective, CIRs are a great approach. First, the retailer can post a discounted price, which looks like a sale. Second, rebates are often offered through the manufacturer, so the retailer doesn't have to eat the discount at all. Third, the rebates have very specific steps and requirements (the more cynical will maintain that these are crafted to maximize consumer error in rebate-request submission), and many folks either won't bother at all or will not complete all steps correctly. Estimates for rebate redemption vary. Some think around 50%; others say "The industry average is less than ten percent. And it can be as low as one percent."

(image)

[more]



Sounds phishy

Fri, 16 Oct 2009 12:04:27 GMT

It must be my week to attract folks with malicious intentions. I have some ads in on craigslist, so I was happy to get an email this morning about one of them. Until I read the email, I mean:
Dear Seller

             I 'm interested in purchasing your advertised item and i will like to know the final price if is okay by me.And if I can pay with a cashiers check, If this is okay with you do get back to me immediately for me to arrange the payment. Concerning the shippment, my shipper will come and pick it up from your location as soon as we seal this transaction. Do get back to me immediately with your Full Name, Contact Address and Phone Number for me to issue out the payment check to u asap cos am right now out of town but i can instruct my client overthere to issue out the payment check to u as soon as u get back to me here also im paying you an extra $50 to get this advert off the internet cuz am really interested in buying it. Hope to hear from you soon.so u can get back to me via my email at kellyqueen06@yahoo.co.uk

Best regards,
Ann
NB:- i will be looking forward to hear from you soon. Do attach the picture if available. Thanks
The prose is wretched, but that's par for the course on craigslist. The real tipoff was the offer of a cashier's check, which is a well-known scam. And the fact that the responder is offering to buy my item and ship it. To the UK. Which is slightly suspicious, given what the item actually is:

(image)



Get the jive on Route I-405

Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:24:55 GMT

Aside from congestion, cost, and urban blight, there are many things to like about the US interstate freeway system. For example, the naming scheme. Many people apparently don't realize this (to my surprise), but freeways are named according to conventions that can tell you, the driver, something about the road you're driving on.(image)

Here are some general rules. (They don't apply in every case. There are other subtleties as well.)

Two-digit (primary) routes
  • Numbers are intended to be unique.
  • Even numbers run east-west.
  • Odd numbers run north-south.
  • Freeways divisible by 10 (I-10, I-90, etc.) represent major E/W freeways. The lower the number, the further south the road. I-10 runs from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, FL. I-90 runs from Seattle to Boston.
  • Freeways divisible by 5 (I-5, I-95, etc.) are major N/S freeways. The lower the number, the further west. I-5 runs from Canada to Mexico through Seattle and Los Angeles. I-95 runs from Maine to Miami.

Other two-digit routes
Two-digit freeways not divisible by 5 or 10 (I-84, I-88, I-76) are often spurs that link other interstates, often older roads renamed. Different numbers exist in order to avoid duplicated numbers when possible.

(image)
[credit]

Three-digit (auxiliary) routes
These are routes that take off from and sometimes return to a primary route.
  • Numbers are intended to be unique within a state. For example, there is theoretically one (each) I-405 in CA, OR, and WA.
  • An even starting number (I-405, I-225) means that the route meets an interstate at both ends.
  • [more]



Beat the heat: email

Tue, 28 Jul 2009 17:15:16 GMT

The Seattle area is experiencing record heat this week (~100 degrees). At work, Facilities has notified us that they're diverting HVAC resources to keep the computer labs cool and are encouraging us to find ways to reduce our heat impact.

(image) I have contributed the following suggestion! Sending emails raises the temperature. As individual characters of an email are pushed through the Ethernet cables, they scrape the sides, which results in friction, which results in heat. (The bigger the characters, the more they drag along the sides of the cables.)

So to keep heat to a minimum, I am recommending that people:
  • Send as few emails as possible.
  • Keep them as short as possible.
  • Use small letters.
I think that this suggestion alone will reduce cooling load significantly.



Is college the only path?

Wed, 27 May 2009 18:38:23 GMT

Among people I know, the discussion for the most part is not whether a kid will go to college, but how this college business is going to be paid for. People start college funds for their toddlers. A college degree is seen as the minimum entry point to a career, or was back when people still talked about careers.(image)

But between the mania for outsourcing that started in the 90s (or thereabouts) and the current economic downturn, the golden ticket of a college degree is looking a little tarnished.[1] A person with a pessimistic POV might wonder why we're training all these kids to jump into a job pool that, at least for the moment, seems to be drying up.

Assuming I'm reading trends correctly, we therefore seem to be undergoing a little bit of a, um, adjustment in how we view the skilled trades. Back in March, the NPR correspondent Adam Davidson appeared on the radio program "This American Life." His mission, he said, was "to save his cousin DJ's life, to make his life better." Save it how? Cousin DJ had dropped out of college. By dropping out of college, Davidson maintained, you are making a conscious decision "to not partake in the economic growth and possibilities of the coming decade." The program then featured a three-way conversation between Davidson, his cousin DJ, and the economist Pietra Rivoli, whom Davidson had enlisted to help him convince cousin DJ of his folly.

(image) [more]



Sign(s) o' the Times

Mon, 25 May 2009 15:08:10 GMT

This is by a condo complex not far from where I live.

(image)




The many dimensions of fasteners

Sun, 03 May 2009 22:50:16 GMT

I’m going to propose to you that each of the items in the following picture is an eight-dimensional object:

(image)

Eight? Yes. Or more. Or fewer. It all depends.

Of course, I’m screwing with you. (haha, get it?) I'm using a mathematical definition of dimensions: In Cartesian terms, an object's dimension is "correlated with the number of coordinates that is required to map it."[1] It seems probable that when Descartes was inventing analytic geometry, he did not realize that he could have been analyzing a problem I've been having with coffee cans. Which I'll get to in a moment.

So, eight dimensions? Here are eight attributes/characteristics/coordinates/dimensions to identify this object uniquely:

Fastener typescrew
Categorymachine screw
Drive typePhilips
Length3/4"
Diameter/Gauge#8
Thread count[2]/pitch32
MaterialZinc-plated steel
Head stylepan

Go on down to the hardware store and take a stroll through the eponymously labeled Hardware department. Screws, nuts, bolts, washers, pins, nails, anchors ... this department consists of a very large number of small boxes. The boxes are grouped by the categories listed above, and probably several more, like measuring system (US or metric)[3 [more]



HP support: "What, haven't you given up yet?"

Tue, 31 Mar 2009 15:07:25 GMT

I work for a company that's often accused of having evil intentions. If it does, that doesn't manifest at my level: we obsess about trying to do the right thing for customers, even if we don't necessarily achieve this to the level of everyone's satisfaction. As but one example in my little world, we really do go to extreme lengths to try to be sure that our text is a) readily translatable into multiple languages and b) comprehensible to non-native speakers who do choose to read it in English. (More on that in the near future.)

(image) What brings this to mind is an ongoing, um, discussion that I've been having with the customer service (I did not actually write customer "service," although I was tempted to) at HP. I bought an HP Pavilion[1] a couple of months ago for work stuff. I specifically wanted a multi-processorcore box that had lotsa-lotsa RAM because I want to run Vista 64-bit on it. The computer actually came with Vista Home 64-bit. Begone, said I. I flattened the box, loaded Vista Ultimate 64-bit, and began configuring it with goodies like Virtual PC.

A couple of weeks after I got the box, it refused to boot. After some diagnostics and some hardware switcheroo, I determined that I had one bad bank (2GB) of RAM. With that block of RAM in it, the machine froze; when I removed the memory unit, all was fine except, of course, that I was short 2GB of RAM.

I contacted (via chat) HP support. After about an hour of highly intermittent chatting, I was instructed to do what I had already done (test all the bits of RAM). This was interspersed with crap like "Don’t worry I will help you" and "I will pull up the records and resolve the issue."

[more]



Sign o' the Times

Tue, 31 Mar 2009 08:46:09 GMT

Just got back from vacation. Here's something we saw in Chicago:

(image)



How much is that exactly?

Fri, 20 Feb 2009 20:45:09 GMT

In the book Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos suggests an exercise that illustrates the scale between a million and a billion. A million seconds, he explains, is about 11-1/2 days. A billion seconds is almost 32 years.

(image) Our economic woes, it is estimated, may reach the point of a trillion-dollar meltdown. (And that's hardly the most imaginative estimate.) And that's the size, to use a round number, of the government's proposed bailout.

How long is that in seconds? Well, let's look at it this way, working backward from today:
  • A million seconds ago: Feb 9, 2009. I was preparing for the recent office move.
  • A billion seconds ago: Feb 9, 1977. I was a junior in college.
  • A trillion seconds ago: Upper Paleolithic, aka Stone Age.[1] 30,000 B.C. Our ancestors were painting on cave walls.
Does that help you picture the size of a trillion dollars? Hard to grasp, isn't it? If this doesn't do it, here are some further resources that might help:



Roundup

Wed, 18 Feb 2009 21:58:27 GMT

I'm actually supposed to be working on something. This is more fun.

Big Machines Dancing. (video) "Beauty can be found everywhere, even in a pit surrounded by hulking machines." [via Toolmonger via Friend Dennis]

How to Stop Picking Your Nose. Illustrated.

Diagramming the Obama Sentence. For those of y'all who don't follow all the language blogs.
[T]he elegant balance of the central construction shows that Obama has a good memory for where he's been, grammatically, and a strong sense of where he's going. His tripartite analysis of the problem is clearly reflected in the structure of the sentence, and thus in the three main branches of the diagram.

In diagram form:


[via mxrk]

YouTube Comment Fight! (video) "There's gonna be a rumble tonight!" I guess I'll ask again: is there any point in YouTube comments? [via ... don't remember. Prolly Twitter.]





Roundup

Thu, 12 Feb 2009 12:35:27 GMT

Birthday boys today, as noted practically everywhere, are Darwin and Lincoln. If you've got some spare time today, read Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address ("With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in ...").

Bible Illuminated. The New Testament meets National Geographic. Interesting idea. [via Jeff Atwood, who referred to it as "Bible 2.0"]

The Wired.Com Tech Layoff Tracker.[1] Watch the job market in the tech industry tank, bleah. Links included to other, similar (similarly depressing) tracking sites. Speaking of things economic ...

You Try to Live on 500K in This Town. The Fashion & Style section in the New York Times explains the hardship of a $500K cap on executive salaries. I imagine that the sympathy level for this situation is floating at around 0 percent. Golly, they'd have to pull their kids out of private school. Of course, many people can just kiss off higher education for their kids altogether, can't they? As but one thought.

Darwin The Dog Lover. The writer claims that Darwin's scientific skills (implication: leading to the theory of evolution) were sharpened by his interaction with dogs. Sure, what the heck, I'll buy that.


[1] [more]



Roundup

Tue, 06 Jan 2009 19:02:20 GMT

What kind of person uses a computer to generate their cover letter? At night?

4 Types of Person (a guide to stupidity) Odds are that you're not a Mr. Spock.

The Sky in Motion. Beautiful time-lapse movies of the night sky. [via Friend Steve]

Resolution Randomizer. Let the computer make your resolutions. The text is ok, but the graphics are great. (Requires Silverlight.) [via Brad Abrams]

(image)
Cover Letters from Hell. Killian & Company posts excerpts from some of the worst cover letters they've gotten. They observe: "An error-free letter is now so freakin' rare that the minimal care required to send a letter with zero defects, combined with a few crisply written simple declarative sentences, will, alone, guarantee a respectful reading of a résumé." [via Fritinancy]