Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

May 29th, 2009:

Odd Lots

  • The Atlantic tells us that a growth industry in NYC and other crowded cities is training dogs to sniff out…bedbugs. Dogs who can tell live bedbugs from dead earn as much as $325 an hour, and work for kibble. I got some peculiar bites on one side of my right leg while we were down in Champaign-Urbana last week for Matt’s graduation, and while I can’t prove that bedbugs did it, that side of my right leg is the side that contacts the bed while I sleep (as I nearly always do) on my right side.
  • From Chris Gerrib comes word that The Espresso Book Machine has finally been installed in a bookstore, where it prints from a selection of half a million books on the attached server. No word on whether these are all out-of-copyright titles or what, but after what seems like decades of screwing around (I first reported on the Espresso Book Machine, originally called the PerfectBook 080, in 2001) we’re finally getting somewhere.
  • I’ve heard tell recently that Vista doesn’t play nice with the Xen hypervisor. Anybody had any crisp experience there?
  • William Banting’s Letter on Corpulence is now available from the Internet Archive, and it’s interesting as the very first detailed description of the effects of low-carb diets. Way back in 1864 Banting lost weight by eating protein and fat, and seemed surprised enough by his results to write up his experiences in detail. The more I research this, the more I’m convinced that carbs are what’s killing us, and this is not new news.
  • Lulu recently cut some kind of deal with Amazon to put all their books (I think; it certainly includes all of mine) in the Amazon database. However, they added five or six bucks to the cover price. Will people buy Carl & Jerry books for $21? Don’t know, but somehow I doubt it.
  • Machines can often see things that we can’t (which is one reason that we build machines) and they’re willing to share what they see with us. Sure don’t look like this in an 8″…
  • Ars Technica published a good article on how DRM actually makes the piracy problem worse–an insight I had years ago, and a painfully obvious one after thinking about it for a nanosecond or two.
  • No rest for the weary; several people wrote to ask what I would be writing next. Not sure. I still have to get our butts back to Colorado, but once I do, I want to finish my second SF story collection, and work on Old Catholics. You can bet that I’ll be posting more on Contra too, if that counts. Further than that I won’t venture, though I think I’ll be leaving computers alone for a little while.