I Read Stuff!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Variable Speed Bumps

This is a pretty brilliant idea, and I hope it catches on. Decano Industries makes speed bumps that only appear if you are driving over the speed limit.

The system measures the level of impact your car makes when it touches the front of the bump. If the impact is low enough, the rubber covered triangles collapse under the weight of the car. If the bump is too vigorous, the triangle locks together jolting the driver.



This would be great, because even the over sized speed bumps require you to slow down under 20. Lawrence puts those things in 30 mile per hour zones, which I find highly annoying. I'm obeying the law, why do I need to be bothered.

You could even put a large number of bumps clumped together to make it very uncomfortable for speeders.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ad Man from TED Evil

This is a very humorous talk given by Rory Sutherland about perceived value of intangibles, and why it's important that we increase its value.



Definitely worth a watch, but if you can't spare the time, I'll give you a few of the highlights.

The basic premise is that if you would like to live in a future with fewer material goods, you want to live in a world that values intangibles. For example, engineers were asked how to make a 3 hour train ride more bearable. Their solution was to build a 6 billion pound track that shortens the trip by 40 minutes.

Super.

The ad man's answer, from an intangible standpoint, you should employ all the world's top super models to hand out the best wine for free during the trip.

It would cost half as much.


Another story, this one from the 19th century, Ataturk wanted to discourage the wearing of a veil in Turkey. He saw it as an old tradition that was holding back the Turkish culture.

Boring people would have just outlawed the veil. Ataturk make the veil compulsory for prostitutes to wear.


Italy discovered another interesting piece of intangible value. In Britain, you get points for each traffic violation. You lose your license after receiving 12.

Italy, instead, gave the driver 12 points and deducting the points for each traffic violation. They discovered that loss aversion is a much more powerful influence on people's behavior.


The best advertising campaign he discussed was one for a cereal called Shreddies. It's basically Brittan's version of Wheat Chex. This was their advert.




Finally, he finished with a quote from G.K. Chesterton.

"We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders"

Hilariously, right after the TED video is an advertisement for Rolex.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lots of Slow Bullets

This is 10 minutes of bullets being filmed with high speed cameras.

You're welcome.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Use the Stairs

This is a neat idea for behavior modification. They transform this subway stairwell into a piano as a means of entertainment.



They saw a 66% increase in the number of people taking the stairs over the escalator. The question I have is if those numbers would stay up. Would the novelty wear off, or would people continue to choose the piano?

What if every stairwell in the subway was transformed... Too annoying?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Computer Artists

There have been a couple of developments in computer image creation that I thought were worth motioning. The first is called seam carving. The way it works is the computer or user identifies areas of the photograph that are unnecessary.

For instance, given a picture of two kids in a field, you could easily add or remove sections of the grass between the two kids affectively stretching or shrinking the image.

The 1 minute mark of the video has a great example.




The second interesting image processing tool uses a repository of images such as your 10 gigabyte photo library or Google image search. The user provides stick figure drawing of what image they desire, and the system discovers photos and matches them to the sizes provided by the sketch.

The results are instant scenes that never happened.


Games
GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Darwinia2
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Prey2
Psychonauts2
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Defcon3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
KOTOR II3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Infernal35/8/2007
Shadowrun25/9/07
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
BioShock18/21/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
CellFactor?2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Mythos??
Overloard??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
OkamiPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?