Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Carol and I just finished the bulk of our Christmas cards. The cards we bought this year had little sparkles glued (badly) to them, and as we processed the 70-odd cards going out, the cards began shedding, and sparkles are now showing up…everywhere. I’m looking down at my shirt cuffs right now, and they’re blazing like a disco ball. Next year: No sparkles!
  • Illinois’ illustrious governor will soon (we hope) be matriculating to the Governors’ Wing at the Joliet Correctional Center, and I am displeased to announce that he went to my high school. In fact, he was a freshman when I was a senior, and his sneaky little face is in the Lane Tech 1970 yearbook. Pete Albrecht was also a freshman that year, and narrowly missed out on the cooties inherent in having a future felon governor in your homeroom. Pete tells the story at greater length (with scans from the yearbook) over at InfoBunker. (Scroll down to the December 9, 2008 entry.)
  • David Beers passed along a link to what might be the absolute worst idea of 2008: Google Code’s research project aimed at allowing x86 native code to run in a browser. Hoo-boy. My question: If the Cloud is so great, why risk being pwned at native-code speeds? (And isn’t this what Java is for?)
  • Google Books has very recently posted back issues for a number of venerable magazines, including Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, CIO, Ebony, Jet, New York, Vegetarian Times, American Cowboy, and who knows what else. (I don’t see a master list of magazines.) The PM collection runs from 1905 to 2000, and isn’t just a scattering of issues, but damned near all of them. So what was PM’s cover story the month you were born? (Mine? “Mermaid Theater.” Wow.)
  • Alas, you can look at the Google Books magazine back issues, but you can’t save them to disk or print them out. Or can you? (I haven’t tried this yet.)
  • The wonderfully named Nevada Lightning Laboratory has managed to transmit 800 watts of power across five meters’ distance, besting the previous record of 60 watts across two meters, set by MIT. The technique is not new, and was patented by our boy Nikola Tesla 100 years ago. Very cool, but are my wire-frame glasses going to melt when I step into the field with my Tesla-powered laptop?
  • This Friday’s full Moon happens only four hours from Lunar perigee, and is the biggest of the year, 14% greater in angular diameter (not especially noticeable) and 30% brighter (way noticeable!) than the apogee Moon we saw earlier this year. That’s bright, it’s high, and if you’ve got snow all over the place, midnight will be knee-deep in moonshine. (Not that kind.)
  • 200,000 inflatable breasts got lost on their way from China (where there is evidently an inflatable breast factory) to Australia (where they were to be polybagged with a men’s magazine) and have only recently been found in Melbourne. Just thought you’d like to know.

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