Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Here’s another take on the EasyBits GO debacle, from a guy who used to work at Easybits. Even if it’s not a trojan, it’s still crapware, and careless crapware at that. The Microsoft connection is intriguing: MS will soon be reviewing the entire Skype ecosystem, and may decide to do some decontamination. I don’t think it will go well for EasyBits.
  • Down in the trenches in the Carb Wars, people who yell, “A calorie is a calorie! It’s just the laws of thermodynamics!” don’t understand thermodynamics. I’ve known this for years. Here’s a good explanation. (Thanks to David Stafford for the link.)
  • Mike Reith saw a pure white squirrel awhile back, up near Denver. I had never heard of non-albino white squirrels before, but they exist, and appear to be spreading due to evolutionary selection–by humans.
  • Maybe it wasn’t us who extinctified the Pleistocene megafauna. (Or at least our paleolithic ancestors.) Maybe it was the Sun. Scary business. (Thanks to Jim Strickland for the link.)
  • From the Words-I-Didn’t-Know-Until-Last-Week Department: prosopagnosia, the inability to recognizes faces or familiar objects. (Thanks to Bruce Baker for calling it to my attention.)
  • From Pete Albrecht comes a link to a video of a train wreck caused by a tornado–with the wrinkle that the wreck is filmed from a security cam on one of the freight cars. Toward the end we see a derailed tanker striking sparks as it’s dragged against the rails. Made me wonder what would have happened had it been full of LP gas…
  • Forgive the vulgarity and the pervasive comics/movies influence, but this is a point that needs to be made, and textual fiction is no exception. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • I like sprouts. I haven’t eaten them for ten years. Here’s why. Alas, being organic doesn’t help. (Thanks once again to Pete.)
  • Here’s a cogent (and funny) illustration of a great deal of what’s wrong with science these days. Hint: It’s not science. Most of the problem is the butthead festival we call the media. (The rest is the grant system.)


  1. Rich S. says:

    I think I suffer from some form of prosopagnosia. In order for me to recognize somebody I really need to know them for some time. Change their hair and they become somebody new. I worked side by side with a guy for a couple of years. One day he shaved off his short beard and stash. I did not know who he was until he spoke.

    I’m really good with voices. I’m rarely sure of any ID until I hear somebody speak.

    When I watch a movie or show with unfamilar characters and they change scenes and clothes I have to ask my wife if it’s the same person. Identical twins rarely look identical to me, but then I couldn’t pick them out of a line up with 6 other people. I could pick out Dave Letterman, but probably not Andrew McCarthy. (Random Google Search for a common name)

    When I meet somebody for the first time I take note of the clothes they are wearing, hairstyle and any other unique feature. That is not always enough.

    Eventually I can recognize people as unique but it takes a long time to burn in the pattern. And like I said change the hair and they become another face in the crowd.

    My wife however said thats not an excuse for sleeping with another woman who has her hair style. 🙂

    Combine this with color blindness and it had given me a visual challange.

  2. Rich Rostrom says:

    Solar Proton Events… The comment about this being affected by interstellar dust infalling validates Asimov’s The Currents of Space. OK, we don’t get novas, just a “burp” that can semi-sterilize a planet. That’s quite enough for me.

    Unnerving thought: one of these events could happen at any time, without warning or any possible countermeasure. A Fermi filter?

    Unnerving thought 2: the author asserts the extinction was the biggest since the K-T Event, 66 Myr ago. OK, why did it happen just now (cosmically speaking)? Is that causative condition still in effect? Or is the solar system now entangled with it (i.e. has the Sun entered a galactic region with the wrong kinds of dust)?

  3. Jonathan O'Neal says:

    re: the train wreck video
    This YouTube link ( seems to have more information about the incident, although I have not verified any of it. They even overlaid a map of the tornado track at the end of the video. Just another data point…

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