Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Here’s a great graphic strongly suggesting that the much-denied Medieval Warm Period really existed, and was indeed a global phenomenon. (For further evidence, read The Little Ice Age, which predates the worst of the current Global Warming hatefest and thus may be considered reasonably reliable.)
  • I had not heard this before: The imminent Nook ebook reader from Barnes & Noble will have a Wi-Fi connection, allowing owners to browse free ebook previews that are only accessible through store hotspots. This gives people a reason to come into physical stores, Nooks in hand, spend time, drink coffee, browse the print collection, and leave with a bag full of print titles that aren’t available as ebooks. Assuming it’s true, as a marketing gimmick, it’s brilliant.
  • The Nook has a slot for a Micro-SD card with a capacity of up to 16 GB. Assuming a typical text-mostly ebook file to be 500K in size (which is very generous; most fiction titles I’ve seen are about half that, or less) a Nook is capable of storing about 30,000 books. If you read a complete book every single day, that will last you for…82 years.
  • I’ve already seen the Nook e-reader referred to as the “Nookie reader.” Which it will be, trust me.
  • People are quibbling in the comments that it’s not a self-propelled model train, but screw it: This guy made a Z-scale model of an N-scale model train layout, working effectively at a scale of 1:35,200. He gets serious points for, well, something, and the video is very cool.
  • And at the other end of the scale, here’s the world’s largest model train layout. (Thanks to Pete Albrecht for the link.) Makes me want to go back and work on The Million-Mile Main Street, positing a 1:1 scale model train layout that covers an entire planet, where the trains (each a sort of AI hive mind) run things, and the people are hired actors.
  • Researchers at Purdue have demonstrated ALICE, a new species of rocket fuel consisting of aluminum nanoparticles and…water. Larger aluminum particles have been used in rocket fuel before (they’re part of the formula in the Shuttle’s strap-on boosters) but the smaller the particles, the more efficiently they burn. As aluminum is common just about everywhere, if you can corner enough solar radiation to smelt the aluminum and dig up some water (guess where, Alice!) you can go places.
  • Pete Albrecht sent me a link to SeatGuru, which provides detailed floor plans for all major aircraft on all major airlines, including where the power ports and extra legroom are. If you fly a lot, it might be worth a close look. Here’s a good example of a specific aircraft.
  • This insane vampire business has evidently begun to affect the cosmetics business; the Daily Mail reports that pale foundation and powder are pushing their tanner competitors right off the market.
  • I stumbled upon the above item after stumbling upon this, which may be the most inexplicable Web site I’ve seen in the last several years. They pay people to put that together? And what kind of organism from what planet reads it?
  • Word must have gotten out that I’m a liturgical conservative. I therefore find this funny, in a slightly painful kind of way. (Thanks to Bruce Baker for the link.)

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