Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • A 20-year study does suggest that personality affects longevity, though interpreting the results sounds tricky. The question arises whether personality can be changed, and if not, well, longevity is (as I’ve long suspected) almost entirely in the genes. (Thanks to Frank Glover for the link.)
  • I had never heard of Kindle novelist Amanda Hocking until a week or two ago, but she’s obviously doing something right. What I think she may be doing right is accruing fans, as Kevin Kelly suggested back in 2008. Get to 1000 fans, and you can make a living. (She clearly has more than 1000 fans.)
  • A Wi-Fi only Xoom will go on sale at the end of March at a $599 price point. I’m still waiting for them to make the SD card slot work, but it’s nice to see some flexibility in other areas.
  • A 128GB SDXC card was inevitable (and still expensive–though check back in an hour or so) but I wonder what devices can actually use it. Most of the “barrier” issues are with Windows; Linux does not differentiate between SDHC and SDXC cards as long as they have compatible filesystems.
  • It’s not blogs that have debased American politics. It’s email–email sent to you by your aunt, who tells you to forward it to everyone in your address book. We laugh, but new research suggests that the strategy works.
  • Digging around in the shop the other night I found an envelope of crystal pairs for my old Standard 2M HT, which I bought in 1976. That was a great radio, built like a brick, and I’m looking to get another one. I’m watching eBay, but if you have one in the pile somewhere you might part with, I’m interested.
  • OMG! There are still potato chips fried in lard! Glorioski!
  • We’re finally starting to admit it: Fruit will make you fat. I ration fruit to three or four servings a week. Fruit is candy and almost entirely sugar, much of it fructose, which basically goes straight to your gut.
  • And while we’re talking food, consider: If a dozen eggs cost about $2 where you live (as they do here, sometimes cheaper) that means that two eggs plus a little butter to fry them in will set you back about 35 cents. That’s cheap calories, and good ones.
  • While listening to the 1968 Association song “Six Man Band” the other day, a line in the lyrics caught my attention: “We’ve got the seventeen jewels that dictate the rules…” How many people under the age of 25 or so have any idea what this refers to?


  1. Aki says:


    And an omelet is an omelet – everywhere.

  2. Rich Rostrom says:

    Re: e-mail rumors. That reminds me of a paper I found once on chain-letter genealogy. The authors traced various chain letters, locating forks and mutations.

  3. KD says:

    Pure speculation here, but could the seventeen jewels be referring to jewel bearings in an old mechanical watch?

    I remember that advertising at that time often mentioned the number of jewels in the watches. I don’t remember whether a particular brand had seventeen jewels, but there might have been a well-known or heavily-advertised one that cited seventeen jewels in its ads.

    1. I’m guessing you’ve been around long enough to remember that. 17 was not a magic number (another friend said he remembers 23) but I do remember an ad for a watch with 17 jewels, back when I was in high school (’66-’70). Timex?

      I haven’t worn a truly mechanical (i.e., not quartz) watch since the mid-1980s. (I have my grandfather’s gold watch, but I can’t make it work. Maybe there’s a reason we went electronic after all.)

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