Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

May 16th, 2012:

Odd Lots

  • Don’t forget the annular solar eclipse that will touch the Southwestern US this Sunday, May 20.
  • From the Words-I-Didn’t-Know-Until-Yesterday Department: Ignorosphere, the region from about 120,000 feet altitude to the lowest stable orbit. (It’s a flip term for the mesosphere.) It’s too high for winged aircraft or balloons, and not empty enough for orbiting spacecraft. Sampling it is difficult (one-shot sounding rockets are all we have in terms of tools) and we know less about it than any other region of near space.
  • After a long conversation on the subject with mobile developer David Beers the other day, I stumbled on an article that drives home the problematic nature of Android app development: There are actually four thousand different Androids. (Maybe more.)
  • I’m seeing more and more videos in, um, bad taste being posted to my friends’ Facebook feeds by something called Socialcam. The suggestion is that those who post have actually viewed the videos, but that’s not true. Socialcam reserves the right to post stuff to your Facebook feed that you have not viewed and have no knowledge of. Tear that damned thing out by the roots.
  • This certainly makes me wish that I liked corn more than I do.
  • An interesting study here adds fuel to the fire over suggestions that keeping a consistent sleep schedule helps you lose weight. I.e., don’t try to “make up” lost sleep on the weekends. Doesn’t work. I’ve been saying this for years, based on a lecture series I took at the Mayo Clinic: Getting five hours of sleep a night will make you fat and kill you before your time. People get angry at me for suggesting that they be in bed, lights-out, between 9:30 and 10 PM if they have to get up at six to get to school or work, but that’s probably what it takes. A handful of people may be able to get by on five or six hours a night. The usual human-traits bell curve suggests that you are almost certainly not one of them.
  • If you remember a speculation I made some time back about dogs and human origins, well here’s another: That dogs helped us drive the Neanderthals to extinction. I’m dubious. My sense is that their lack of dogs allowed the Neanderthals to drive themselves to extinction via dawn raids. Dogs made dawn raids difficult, and so we failed to wipe our own species out. (I haven’t seen any evidence yet that Neanderthals kept dogs, but of course I’m still looking.)
  • If you don’t know what a “zoetrope” is, go look it up before you behold the pizzoetrope, which is essentially an edible animation created by spinning a pizza. Sounds loopy (as it were) but it works.