Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

May 20th, 2010:

Odd Lots

  • Jupiter has always looked better with a few belts, but now, astonishingly enough, one of them has gone missing.
  • Ever want a stuffed muon? Head right over to the Particle Zoo, where that and many other cuddly plush species of atomic debris can be had, including a few (like the tachyon) that have never been observed and probably don’t exist. Oh, you can get stuffed dark matter too–and does that Higgs Boson look happily stoned or what?
  • I’d heard about it a while ago, but only recently began reading up on the Haiku OS, inspired by ahead-of-its-time BeOS. What intrigued me is Haiku’s inherent suitability for multicore CPUs, since it’s pervasively multithreaded, and damned near every piece of an app is spun off into a separate thread. Alpha release 2 is now available. I’ve downloaded the ISO and will report back here when I test it on my quad core.
  • One of the more interesting issues involving the iPad is where to put it: Do all of us macho geeks need to get used to carrying man-purses? Hardly. We wore our leather-holstered slide rules on our hips like mathematical six-guns back in the 60s. A quick check online showed nothing comparable for the iPad and its inevitable imitators, but trust me: Leather belt holsters for slates will be the Christmas gift in 2010. Draw, pardner! Whoops. Visio isn’t available for the iPad yet. Surf, pardner!
  • The Hong Kong knockoff artists are beginning to fill the Fake iPad niche, and according to Wired may well clone the Google Android slate before Google even admits that it exists.
  • And Bill Roper sent a link to a barely $100 Android slate shaped to better fit your stylish black leather belt holster. With one of the new Android-based e-reader software packages like FBReader and Aldiko, a gadget like that could serve as a socko indoor ebook reader.
  • From Pete Albrecht comes a link to Lehman’s, a vendor offering mostly non-electrical products and catering (presumably) to an Amish clientele. (Preppers too, I suspect.) An amazing number of items in the catalog (the red rubber hot water bottle, for example) were commonplaces in my youth, and some (like the strangely retro-deco Stirling engine fans) would be right at home on planet Hell from my novel, where electrical devices don’t work. All in all, a fascinating flip.
  • The May 2010 Scientific American published an article suggesting that carbohydrates may be worse for you than saturated fats. This is not news to me (when I eat carbs I gain weight rapidly, and lose just as rapidly when I stop) but it’s encouraging to see a “big-time” publication take the notion seriously. After all, the Federal government has been telling us that fat makes us fat for thirty years now, and all we could do in response has been to…get fatter. I’ve doubled my fat intake in the last year or two, and have remained at my customary 155 pounds. Something’s screwy somewhere. (Found via The Volokh Conspiracy. Read the comments; amazingly good signal-to-noise ratio there.)