I Read Stuff!

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sleep Running

The first 10 seconds of this represents what my dog Crash will do. The rest of this is just crazy.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Black Wednesday

I ran across a mention of 'Black Wednesday' in a random article I was reading. I'd never heard of it, so I started doing some wiki research. Turns out a man named George Soros affectively did a bank run on the British government.

It's a little confusing and the nitty gritty details aren't available, but here is what I understand so far. In 1990, the British government joined the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. The purpose of the ERM was to pave the way for the Euro at the turn of the millennium. To introduce a new currency they want to stabilize the exchange rate of the Pound to other European currencies, specifically the Deutsche Marks. By joining the ERM, Britain basically said the Pound was worth 2.95 DM. The government pledged to prevent the Pound from moving more than 6%.

Now enters George Soros, who is against a fixed currency and for making personal profit. He and his buddies see an opportunity here that only one of the world's richest men could take advantage. Lucky for him, he is one of those men.

He decides to short the Pound in a big way.

What that means is, he borrowed a huge amount of Pounds from someone. With those Pounds he purchased huge amounts of other currencies. He basically converted 10 billion pounds into Deutsche Marks. On paper, that sounds a bit silly, but in the real world that money has to physically exist in the market. There has to be enough Deutsche Marks and enough people willing for the exchange to occur.

At first it's not that big of a deal, he gets a 2.95 DM for each Pound. Now there is no one else willing to trade him DM for Pound, so he says he'll accept 2.94 DM per Pound - and then 2.9, 2.85 etc. all the way down to 2.778 where the British government says it will never drop below.

In theory it doesn't matter anymore if someone is waiting to exchange DM for Pounds. The government will take that trade all day long. Except the government only has so much DM on hand.

They ran out.

The market now panics and everyone is trying to get rid of their pounds. They don't care what currency they get it in either. The value of the British Pound falls to ridiculous lows and stays there. The government is forced to withdraw from the ERM and the Pound is no longer a 'fixed' currency.

Soros then takes his highly over valued DM and easily pays back his original loan which was in Pounds. This venture reportedly earned him $1.1 billion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little Red Ridding Hood

This is a cool reinterpretation of Little Red Ridding Hood.



The style is hard to describe, but it's a natural extension of wiki-diving once we're fully plugged in.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Air Purifier

I'm sure you've all heard about the Ionic Breeze Air Purifiers. Basically Consumer Reports found that they pumped entirely too much ozone into your living space. This can cause all kinds of nasty lung problems like coughing and reduced lunch function.

But what type of air purifier should you run? Ah, well our good friend Kamal Meattle ran into this problem while living in New Delhi. The pollution there had already reduced his lung capacity to 70%. He became allergic to the city air, and it was killing him. To combat this problem, he did what anyone would do...

He called NASA.

His team and NASA worked out that there are three house plants that together produce all the fresh air needed for indoor living.

Per person you need
4 shoulder high Areca Palms
6 waist high Mother-in-law's Tongues
1 Money Plant

With those plants you can literally live in a bottle, or if you would prefer, a space ship.

For personal use, the most interesting plants are the Mother-in-law's Tongues and the Money Plant. The Tongues are interesting because they do the CO2 conversion at night when you're most likely to have the window's closed. If you put a couple in your bedroom, your respiratory system will thank you.

The Money Plant is especially useful because it actually pulls formaldehydes and other chemical pollutants out of the air. This is your true Air Purifier.

I don't live in an area that has a lot of air pollution, but I'm sure my air quality could always use improvement. I might even be able to keep these plants alive.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mosquitoes Get the Pew Pew

Do you remember the Star Wars missile defense program from the 80's? A part of that research revolved around the MIRACL, a high powered deuterium fluoride laser that actually shot down a number of test missiles. Some of those same scientists have moved on to greener pastures, specifically the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Ol' Bill and friends have recently been making a lot of noise about solving the Malaria problem. Disease infested mosquitoes are killing millions of people world wide. With a little direction and a healthy dose of cash, those crazy kids have developed one hell of a bug zapper.

The idea is that it would detect female mosquitoes, the ones that bite, by the frequency that they beat their wings. Once identified, a fast tracking laser pops out and roasts the sucker, Loony Tunes style.

It can kill millions of mosquitoes in minutes, and I want one bad. Screw those stupid candles and bug spray. I want a strategic mosquito defense platform shooting red hot beams of light at the blood suckers.

And I want them to make the sound of popping popcorn when they die... more therapeutic than bubble wrap.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Happiness End Game

Three posts in a row about happiness. Clearly this is a self help blog.

Tell me your feelings...

Noooo! This is the last happiness post I promise. I've actually shown this video to so many people that I thought it was on my blog. I couldn't find it though, so I'm posting it now. Here is Dan Gilbert giving a TED talk on how happiness works.

It's one of my favorite TED talks. Dan describes multiple experiments that cover how the brain synthesizes happiness. The last bit is particularly interesting because he outlines how being stuck with a decision will ultimately lead to the most happiness about the decision.

Henry Kissinger summed it up with this quote, "The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously."


Monday, March 02, 2009

Dashing Your Hopes

Cracked is turning into one of my favorite sites because of their ridiculous list reporting mechanism. It's perfect for bite size pieces of insight that make you and I feel smart.

Here is one of their recent lists that caught my eye:

5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won't)



#5 Fame

For example, have you ever lit up a bong at a party? Were you worried that one of your friends would snap a photo of you, sell it to a tabloid for thousands of dollars and ruin your career?

Well become famous, and then try it

#4 Wealth

Suddenly every relationship is in doubt. Do they actually care about you? Or do they just want a seat on the Bling Train? Would they sell you out to get to your cash?

#3 Beauty

Attractive people live in a world where most feedback they get is bullshit. The compliments mean nothing--they've learned that's just the sound people make when they walk by. That's why studies show they tend to dismiss the genuine compliments they get in other areas (their work, personality, sense of humor, creativity) because it gets lumped in with the same counterfeit flattery they've been getting their whole lives.

#2 Genius

Want to know what it's like to live life as a genius? All you have to do is go hang around with the stupidest, most incompetent people you know. Cringe at their stupid jokes, feel the frustration as they fumble even the easiest tasks and fail to grasp the simplest concepts. Being a genius must be like that, only everyday. Everyone is an idiot compared to them. They're living Idiocracy.

#1 Power

The thing is, it's the desire itself that's poisonous. You find that need for power most in the type of person who hates having to obey all of society's social contracts, particularly the ones that require them to not act like cocks all day. These are the people who are only nice guys because of fear of retribution if they do otherwise, so their main goal is to become strong enough that no retribution is possible (this is why sociopaths tend to seek positions of power, by the way).


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?