World Digital Library

Library of Congress Advances  2 Digital Projects Abroad

1. The digitization of rare cultural materials.

2. The World Digital Library project modeled after the Library of Congress's vast American Memory project with cooperation from other national libraries.

Posted by Jill Fallon on November 30, 2007 at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

When you go permanently offline

Rusty Weston announces the launch of AfterRusty, a social networking site for the people who survive him  - friends, fans, relatives, and creditors or anyone who wishes they knew him with the $50 annual fee waived.

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 19, 2007 at 2:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rainbow Technology

I'll be anxious to see whether this proves out.

Sainul Abideen, the Indian inventor of "rainbow technology" has shown how you can store 256GB on a regular sheet of paper
data can be encoded into coloured geometric shapes and stored in dense patterns on paper.

Files such as text, images, sounds and video clips are encoded in "rainbow format" as coloured circles, triangles, squares and so on, and printed as dense graphics on paper at a density of 2.7GB per square inch. The paper can then be read through a specially developed scanner and the contents decoded into their original digital format and viewed or played. The encoding and decoding processes have not been revealed.

Using this technology an A4 sheet of paper could store 256GB of data. In comparison, a DVD can store 4.7GB of data. The Rainbow technology is feasible because printed text, readable by the human eye is a very wasteful use of the potential capacity of paper to store data. By printing the data encoded in a denser way much higher capacities can be achieved.

Posted by Jill Fallon on November 28, 2006 at 7:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Future of the Internet

Time to check up on what the Pew Internet and American Life Project has been doing.

On familiarity with Internet terms.

The average American internet user is not sure what podcasting is, what an RSS feed does, or what the term “phishing” means,

On Internet Penetration in April 2006

Fully 73% of respondents (about 147 million adults) are internet users, up from 66% (about 133 million adults) in our January 2005 survey. And the share of Americans who have broadband connections at home has now reached 42% (about 84 million), up from 29% (about 59 million) in January 2005.


On the Evolution of the Internet

A wide-ranging survey of technology leaders, scholars, industry officials, and analysts finds that most internet experts expect attacks on the network infrastructure in the coming decade as the internet becomes more embedded in everyday and commercial life. They believe the dawning of the blog era will bring radical change to the news and publishing industry and they think the internet will have the least impact on religious institutions.


Checking up at the Pew's new predictions of the Future of the Internet, Part II

Fascinating with a few surprises.

•  A significant number 42% of survey respondents were pessimistic about our ability to stay in control of technology in the future.

* Tech "refusniks" will become a cultural group with some likely resorting to violence.

* The experts and analysts also split evenly on a central question of whether the world will be a better place in 2020 due to the greater transparency of people and institutions afforded by the internet: 46% agreed that the benefits of greater transparency of organizations and individuals would outweigh the privacy costs and 49% disagreed.

Posted by Jill Fallon on October 7, 2006 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

Hot Library Smut

I confess.  I love Hot Library Smut.

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 9, 2006 at 3:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Playpumps

Bringing water to over a million people in South Africa are Playpumps, a water pump that's also a children's merry-go-round. 

At over 700 playpumps, as  children laugh and play,  clean water is being pumped for hundreds of thousands of families.  More please

via Creative Generalist

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 9, 2006 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

Sonic Blooms

  Megaptera Naranja


Made by Mark Fischer from the sound of an Hawaiian Humpback whale off Rio Vista, California. 

Thanks to the bookofjoe who catches up a lot of fascinating stuff I've missed, like What does a whale's song look like.

In a Northern California studio, Mark Fischer, an engineer by training, uses wavelets — a technique for processing digital signals — to transform the haunting calls of ocean mammals into movies that visually represent the songs and still images that look like electronic mandalas. (His art can be found at aguasonic.com)
----

''When you see what whales are doing with sound, or begin to see what they are capable of, it is clear that humans are not the only artists on the planet,'' he said.

The beauty of the world never ceases to astonish me.

Posted by Jill Fallon on August 20, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

As above, so below

   Micrometers Wide

This is only micrometers wide.

 Billions Of Light Years

This simulation of the big bang is billions of light years wide

The story behind this astonishing graphic is here.

Posted by Jill Fallon on August 16, 2006 at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Solution to Global Warming

At least for that which is not natural climate change but created by humans and much better than the economic-crippling regulation proposed by the Kyoto treaty.

Deep-sea sediments could safely store man-made carbon dioxide

An innovative solution for the man-made carbon dioxide fouling our skies could rest far beneath the surface of the ocean, say scientists at Harvard University. They've found that deep-sea sediments could provide a virtually unlimited and permanent reservoir for this gas that has been a primary driver of global climate change in recent decades, and estimate that seafloor sediments within U.S. territory are vast enough to store the nation's carbon dioxide emissions for thousands of years to come.


---
Schrag and his colleagues say an ideal storage method could be the injection of carbon dioxide into ocean sediments hundreds of meters thick. The combination of low temperature and high pressure at ocean depths of 3,000 meters turns carbon dioxide into a liquid denser than the surrounding water, removing the possibility of escape and ensuring virtually permanent storage.

Posted by Jill Fallon on August 9, 2006 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

No employees

From the Business Innovation Insider, 70% of American companies have no employees

Posted by Jill Fallon on August 8, 2006 at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Backyard home office in a kit.

I think this is a cool.  Backyard home offices in a kit.

  Office  In A Kit

I love all the windows and doors, but there's absolutely no wall space or room for bookcases, file cabinets, paper and supplies.

Home Office? It's in the Yard.

Nearly one in six Americans -- 20 million -- works from home at least once a week, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and over the last five years, the self-employed segment has grown from 6.4 percent to 7.4 percent of the American work force.

Cedarsheds' basic kits run $13,000 and include prefab materials to construct a sturdy 10-foot-by-12-foot office with a 9-foot-by-9-foot deck.

Although he admits the kits are a little pricey, Cheng argues they cost less than a room addition, don’t require contractors and can be assembled and ready for use in one to four days.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 30, 2006 at 10:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bring design to barcodes

Via Springwise

 Redesigning Barcodes

Originally from Japan, design barcode is at the Bar Code Revolution.

The variety of designs is wonderful.

Shampoo

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 13, 2006 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

The Database of Intentions

Is John Batelle right when he says the Internet makes it possible to predict the future?

A totally fascinating article in the New York Times, The Internet knows what you'll do next

Mr. Battelle, a founder of Wired magazine and the Industry Standard, wasn't the first person to figure this out. But he did find a way to describe the digital crystal ball better than anyone else had. He called it "the database of intentions."
--

The collective history of Web searches, he wrote on his blog in late 2003, was "a place holder for the intentions of humankind — a massive database of desires, needs, wants, and likes that can be discovered, subpoenaed, archived, tracked, and exploited to all sorts of ends."
--
A few weeks ago, Google took a big step toward changing this — toward making the database of intentions visible to the world — by creating a product called Google Trends. It allows you to check the relative popularity of any search term, to look at how it has changed over the last couple years and to see the cities where the term is most popular. And it's totally addictive
--
Already, more than a million analyses are being done some days on Google Trends, said Marissa Mayer, the vice president for search at Google.

When these tools get good enough, you can see how the business of marketing may start to change. As soon as a company begins an advertising campaign, it will be able to get feedback from an enormous online focus group and then tweak its message accordingly.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 10, 2006 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

How about this brand extension

Lady Clairol Hair Coloring for Elephant-Seals

The parcel contained a letter from the Lady Clairol company saying that their chemists hadn't had so much fun in years, instructions, one or more containers of concentrated shampoo, and several large squeeze tubes to apply it.

All we had to do was to mix the concentrated solution with water and suck it up into the squeeze tubes. Voila! Lady Clairol Special Hair Dye for elephant seals in a handy applicator (now known as Lady Clairol Blue to those unaware of its original name and research origin).

Just squeeze the stuff out on a bull elephant seal and it would pretty much bleach the fur. And it would stay on for months until the old fur rubbed off and new fur grew in, even when constantly immersed in salt water.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 6, 2006 at 4:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pharming and Molecular Milking

How a tobacco farm in Kent could provide a life-saving drug for millions.

In the perfectly controlled atmosphere of a brick-proof, hermetically sealed greenhouse deep in the Kent countryside, a fresh crop of tobacco plants is beginning to flourish.
There is nothing unusual about the plants' appearance, but they are nonetheless extraordinary. A genetic tweak ensures that every cell of every plant churns out tiny quantities of an experimental drug. When harvested, they could bring cheap medicine to millions.

Scientists say the £8m project could provide a powerful weapon against Africa's HIV pandemic.

The process is called pharming, and to many it is both the future of GM crops, and the future of the drugs industry. If the tobacco plants in Kent are a success, each one will provide 20 doses of an anti-HIV drug - enough to protect a woman from infection for up to three months.

Pharming is a marriage of high and low technology that capitalises on the advantages of both. Instead of needing a $500m drug manufacturing facility that takes five years to pass regulatory approval, pharming uses simple crop-growing practices that have been honed over centuries.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 5, 2006 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

Fast Company

Lots of good stuff in this month's Fast Company.

Mastering Disaster. Gartner says that by 2007, 75% of large companies will have business recovery plans in place emphasizing resiliency and collaboration.

There's Gold in them thar Smelly Hills.
A single ton of junked PCs has more gold that 17 tons of ore. Why landfills just might pay for their own cleanup.

Outsourcing Cool.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 5, 2006 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

Design for a Dangerous Planet

Businessweek's Annual Design Awards for new products with one gold going to 2Seconds Quecha, a tent that, using spring hoops, sets up in 2 seconds. Note too, the cocoon disaster relief shelters and the one-handed tourniquet.

Other golds to the DKL Protective Helmet, ResQTec hydraulic rescue tools, SignalOne's Vocal Smoke Detector that uses a parent's recorded voice to wake children in case of a fire and provide them with evacuation instructions.

Key trends, more good design coming from Asia and more design for a dangerous planet.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 3, 2006 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

Digital Writing

Now this is cool - a pen that turns handwritten notes into digital text, files and images. Logitech's Digital Writing System.

The New York Times calls it A Pen That's More Than Meets the Paper

But recently Mr. Hultin made a small, effective change in his note-taking life: he bought a digital pen. The device looks like a slightly plump ballpoint, and works like any ballpoint. But inside this gadget are a tiny camera and an optical sensor that record the pen's motions as he writes, and a microprocessor that digitizes the words, sketches and diagrams that the optics detect.

When he docks the pen in its cradle connected to a USB port, the handwritten notes flow in a digitized stream into his computer and are processed by software, reappearing almost immediately on his monitor in his handwriting. "All the notes I've written are sucked into the computer, and there they are on the screen," he said.

His pen, called io2, is sold by Logitech of Fremont, Calif., for about $200.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 2, 2006 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

Life Comes At You Fast

I like this tagline for Nationwide's new ad campaign - Life Comes At You Fast .

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 17, 2006 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

iPods to the Rescue

You may not know that two miners have been trapped in a mine in Tasmania since April 25.

As the rescuers battle through the rock to reach them, they've been able to pass supplies including food, water, iPods and digital cameras through a PVC pipe.

"They continue to be given food and water. They are also receiving ongoing medical support and advice as required, said Beaconsfield Gold Mine manager Matthew Gill.

"They remain in good health and have now received iPods so they can listen to their favourite music," Mr Gill said.

Said Prime Minister John Howard, "Everybody is with you, mate".

Read more about this Australian story of endurance, courage and mateship via Tim Blair

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 3, 2006 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

Smart Whales

It's not just germs that are outwitting humans.

FISHERMEN in the Gulf of Alaska are being outwitted by sperm whales that use the sound of boat engines as an aquatic dinner bell and steal the catch as it is winched aboard.
The giant whales have worked out that the sound of the boats means the approach of a ready-caught meal, and they have learnt to wait for the telltale sounds that the engines make when the catch is being raised from the seabed.

Researchers believe that about 90 male sperm whales are taking fish from lines in the eastern part of the gulf, an area where fishermen rarely saw whales 20 years ago.

As the fishing boats approach, the whales dive shallower than usual and wait until they hear the change in engine speed as the fishermen haul in their lines. “That’s the whales’ cue,” Jan Straley, an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Southeast

Posted by Jill Fallon on March 4, 2006 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

Enter Zoomba

I've been wondering how book clubs were going to survive the disruption of the Internet.

If you're a big reader like I am, you used to join book clubs to read about new books coming out on a regular basis and to get the four free books you got for joining. Of course, you had to fill out those reply cards or you got their book of the month on a regular schedule which if you didn't want it was a pain-in-the-neck to return.

Amazon
changed everything. Not only could you get books whenever you want delivered to your door, you could find all the information you could ever want about any book whether you ordered it or not, including professional reviews and reviews by other readers. Amazon taught me how mathematics could be a competitive advantage with algorithms that looked at what I read and recommended new books. With its size and scale, Amazon could create the largest inventory and realize the enormous profits that could be made by catering to the long tail.

Netflix catered to the long tail as well. But the reason I joined was "no more late fees ever". I liked too the single price per month no matter how many DVDs I ordered so long as I only had three at a time. Like Amazon, Netflix had information on every movie and an easy way to create a list, a queue which I could add to and reorder any time. Easiest though was the delivery in thin, red envelopes that became the postage-paid return.

Since book clubs can't compete with Amazon, why not model after Netflix? That's what Zoomba does. Create a reading list of booksellers, get one a month for $9.95 - no shipping & handling, no reply cards, no book that you didn't ask for.

That's smart. Now they just need some blogs to get people talking about the new best sellers.

Posted by Jill Fallon on February 16, 2006 at 4:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

The iPod Ecosystem

The iPod Ecosystem, all the accessories that become irresistible once you have an iPod, is now a billion dollar business and shaking up tired old categories like clock radios, headphones and boom boxes.

"You throw an iPod in there and you have a growth category again," said Mr. Baker of NPD. Likewise, the headphone and earphone business also took off last year, growing about 25 percent in volume and 10 percent in average price, said Robert Heiblim, senior vice president for sales and marketing at Altec Lansing, a speaker maker.

No one is predicting that the iPod economy will be slowing soon. Mr. Baker said: "We've barely scratched the surface with the video iPod."

Posted by Jill Fallon on February 3, 2006 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

Blame the Trees

Well, if this doesn't take the cake. Trees are threatening the planet.

Seems as if scientists have just discovered as reported in the most recent edition of Nature that trees and plants emit methane, probably the most potent greenhouse gas, and not just while they rot in swamps but as an entirely natural side-effect of plant growth that scientists had somehow missed.

According to a study published today, living plants may emit almost a third of the methane entering the Earth's atmosphere.
The result has come as a shock to climate scientists. "This is a genuinely remarkable result," said Richard Betts of the climate change monitoring organisation the Hadley Centre. "It adds an important new piece of understanding of how plants interact with the climate."

This has the opponents of Kyoto crowing and the supporters of Kyoto urging caution about this findings. I just wonder how all the experts in global warming missed this basic fact.

But then I remember how little we know.

Let's not forget that 95% of the matter of the universe is dark matter and scientists don't have a clue as to what dark matter is.

Posted by Jill Fallon on January 13, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

Carbon dioxide storage a success

This is very good news on the global warming front. Carbon dioxide storage a success,

In the Weyburn project, the carbon dioxide when pumped into the oil reservoir increased the pressure and brought more oil to the surface. It increased the field's production by 10,000 barrels a day and "demonstrated the technical and economic feasibility of permanent carbon sequestration," the DOE said in a statement.

Such a process can enhance oil recovery up to 60 percent, extend the life of aging oil fields by decades, and provide a permanent repository for the carbon dioxide in geologic formations, the DOE said.

If the methodology could be applied worldwide, from one-third to one-half of the carbon dioxide emissions that go into the atmosphere could be eliminated over the next century and billions of barrels of additional oil could be recovered, the department said.

The project is a joint effort by the Energy Department, the Canadian government and private industry. Carbon dioxide is piped from the Great Plains Synfuels plant in Beulah, N.D., where it is a byproduct from coal gasification, to the Weyburn oil field in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Posted by Jill Fallon on November 16, 2005 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

Flight Patterns

  Flight Patterns

Air traffic in the US as seen by the FAA, expressed by Aaron Koblin where you should go to see more beautiful images.

Posted by Jill Fallon on November 4, 2005 at 9:12 PM | Permalink

The Scent of Female Urine Spurs Mice to Sing

Here's some news I don't think I'll ever forget. Mice Sing for Sex.

Spurred by the scent of female urine, mice serenade females with ultrasonic songs, which, when lowered in frequency so we can hear them, sound a lot like birds whistling.

I just listened to one chirp his passion over at Scientific American.

Posted by Jill Fallon on November 4, 2005 at 4:41 AM | Permalink

Rare Floating Island in Springfield MA

I've got to see this. Neighbors nudge floating island.

Specialists say the floating island is one of few in the country and perhaps dates back centuries.

Scientists suggest that the island is, at its base, made up of a webbing of tree roots and other organic material. Methane gas is believed to contribute to its ability to float. The trees on it act as sails and routinely send it on a slow careen around the pond.
Every few years, according to neighbors, it crashes into someone's backyard, sometimes taking out a tree or fence.

''It's been all over," said Philip Cote, who has lived in the neighborhood for 44 years.

C.J. Morel, of CJ's Towing in Springfield, said his crew hooked straps around four of the island's biggest trees and attached them to cables. Then a truck on the opposite end of the pond pulled until the island came free.

Hat tip to Wizbang, Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

Posted by Jill Fallon on October 31, 2005 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

New Hierarchy of Needs

   Mary Meeker-2

From Mary Meeker's presentation at Web 2.0. Works for me

Posted by Jill Fallon on October 13, 2005 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

The Book of Privileges

A sailor on board the Pinta sighted land early in the morning of October 12,1492 and a new era began.

Just before his final voyage to America, Christopher Columbus authorized the four copies of his archival collection of original documents through Isabel and Fernando granted him titles, revenues, powers and privileges to him and his descendents.

Called the Book of Privileges, it is one of the top treasures of the Library of Congress

From Today in History which also has this beautiful engraving of the Promontory of Florida by Theodor de Bry and Charles de la Ronciere, part of 1492: On Ongoing Voyage.

   View Of Florida From Columbus

Posted by Jill Fallon on October 12, 2005 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

Turning the Pages

This is just so great. From the British Library, Turning the Pages. You can leaf through 14 great books and magnify the details. I got chills looking at the Diamond Sutra, the Lindasfarne Gospel, and Lewis Carroll's original Alice in Wonderland.

  Diamond Sutra

  Lindsafarne  Magnifieer

   Alice In Wonderland-1

Posted by Jill Fallon on October 8, 2005 at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tony Blair pulls plug on Kyoto treaty

On the first day of Clinton's Global Initiative, Tony Blair pulled the plug on the Kyoto Treaty and started talking sense.

From James Pinkerton at Tech Central Station.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he was going to speak with "brutal honesty" about Kyoto and global warming, and he did.
---
Blair, a longtime supporter of the Kyoto treaty, further prefaced his remarks by noting, "My thinking has changed in the past three or four years." So what does he think now? "No country, he declared, "is going to cut its growth." That is, no country is going to allow the Kyoto treaty, or any other such global-warming treaty, to crimp -- some say
cripple -- its economy.
 --
Looking ahead to future climate-change negotiations, Blair said of such fast-growing countries as India and China, "They're not going to start negotiating another treaty like Kyoto." India and China, of course, weren't covered by Kyoto in the first place, which was one of the fatal flaws in the treaty. But now Blair is acknowledging the obvious: that after the current Kyoto treaty -- which the US never acceded to -- expires in 2012, there's not going to be another worldwide deal like it.
--
So what will happen instead? Blair answered: "What countries will do is work together to develop the science and technology….There is no way that we are going to tackle this problem unless we develop the science and technology to do it." Bingo! That's what
eco-realists have been saying all along, of course -- that the only feasible way to deal with the issue of greenhouse gases and global warming is through technological breakthroughs, not draconian cutbacks.

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 16, 2005 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rippling curtains of light

Aurora Alert

  Aurora

This photograph by Daryl Pederson was taken September 10 in Alaska, just one of the many aurora images at spaceweather.   

Racing toward earth is a coronal mass ejection (CME) that could spark a severe geomagnetic storm when it arrives today, September 15th.  All of this from giant sunspot 798 facing earth and just crackling with solar flares. 

HT. Doc Searls.

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 15, 2005 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

Hydrogen tablet

While hydrogen is a clean fuel, it's also a light gas that occupies much too much volume and is highly flammable to boot.

That's why the news from Denmark about a hydrogen tablet that's safe and inexpensive is so exciting.

New hydrogen storage technology  via Boing Boing

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 10, 2005 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

Human Evolution Linked to Climate Change

The earliest of humans probably evolved quickly in response to a rapidly changing environment.      Support for this theory was presented recently at the annual conference of the Royal Geographic Society.


Evidence shows that during the three wet and humid periods – there was a specific diversification in human evolution. After each period, it was found that the brain size of these early humans increased and became more complex. Dr Maslin argues that this is an indication of adaptation and re-adaptation to the environmental stress caused by appearing and disappearing water sources.

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 10, 2005 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

SmartWater reveals burglars

From the BBC.  Guilty burglars detected by glow.

  Smartwater

A sprinkler system which showers burglars with an invisible liquid is being used to cut crime in Newcastle.

SmartWater, which shows up under ultra-violet light, contains a unique DNA-style code.  When a break-in happens the thief is sprayed with the liquid, which cannot be washed off and lasts for months.  Custody offices are now fitted with ultra-violet arches which every prisoner will pass through to show if they have been sprayed.

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 5, 2005 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

WOW! What if this works?

Wow!    If this report from the Rocky Mountain News bears out and Shell Oil has figured out a way to get oil out of shale at about $30/barrel in a very environmentally sound way, this will change everything.  Shell's Ingenious Approach to Oil Shale is Pretty Slick

Shell's method, which it calls "in situ conversion," is simplicity itself in concept but exquisitely ingenious in execution

I remember, but am not sure of my facts, that the size of U.S. shale oil deposits is about four times that of the oil deposits in the Arabian peninsula.

UPDATE:  Did I mention that most of the oil shale is on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management?  Private companies will bid for leases with lease revenue going to the federal government.

Having worked at the Department of the Interior, I can tell you that revenues from oil leases is the 2nd biggest inflow of revenues to the federal government after the Internal Revenue Service. 

Technorati Tags:

Posted by Jill Fallon on September 4, 2005 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Beer and Wine - what you don't know

If you're not reading Lipsticking, Marketing Online to Women, you wouldn't know these important facts about wine and beer.

1. Women buy 77% of the wine sold in this country, much to the surprise of wine producers.
2. Women are better than men at holding their liquor, much to the surprise of everyone.

From realbeer, a study at the University of Kentucky found that men's loss of inhibition was three times greater than women's with the same blood alcohol levels.

And in a related story, the best beer is the world is brewed by Trappist monks in Flanders, at the abbay of Saint Sixtus of Westvleten.

  Trappist Monk Brewery

You would think with the #1rating by ratebeer.com,  the brewery would be cashing in, but that's only if you know nothing about the monastic life or about the silent order of trappist monks who aren't talking.

Mark Bode, who co-ordinates the claustrum, a nearby exhibition on the monastic life, said, "We make the beer to live but we do not live for beer."

Outsiders don't understand," he says. "They say, 'You are successful, make more beer; you will make more money'. But the monks believe the most important thing is monastic life, not the brewery."

The #1 rated beer, Westvleteren Abt 12,  has not been distributed commercially since 1941.  You have to go to the Saint Sixtus monastery to buy your cases of the heavenly beer.

Posted by Jill Fallon on August 10, 2005 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

If it's Popsicle, it's possible

When it's hot and humid, nothing beats in price, value or lack of calories, a good old fashioned Popsicle®.

An eleven year old boy, Frank Epperson, accidentally made the first popsicle® when he mixed some water and flavoring powder for soda water, a popular drink those days, and left the mixture out on his back porch with the mixing stick still in it.

Next morning, Voila!.  A stick of frozen soda water that  Frank took  to school to show his friends.  That was 1905.

Eighteen years later in 1923, he remembered what happened and began a business.  In 1924 he got his patent and by 1928, he had earned royalties on more than 60 million Popsicles®

The Man of Popsicle - If it's Popsicle, it's possible.

It's the 100th Anniversary of the invention of the Popsicle® and no one's doing anything about it.  For shame.

Posted by Jill Fallon on August 9, 2005 at 9:46 PM | Permalink

Ideas to Change the World

Funny piece in the London Observer on the recent TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Conference, called the G8 of the mind, with a stated aim this year of finding, "Ideas Big Enough to Change the World."  What's the Big Idea?

According to the reporter, this is how the scientists see tomorrow's world. 

1. Climate change is going to happen, whether we like it or not. We should start adapting to life in the tropics and use the money currently spent on well-meaning but largely pointless Kyoto endeavours on something else.
2. The solution to disease in the developing world could be found in a drinking straw that purifies contaminated water. See
www.worldchanging.com.
3. Aid doesn't work. At a debate on how the $50 billion for Africa agreed by the G8 nations ought to be spent, the single most applauded idea was that it should be given to the developed world in order to pay off French farmers etc and then abolish the trade tariffs. Ashraf Ghani pointed out that he managed to prise $27.5bn out of the West for Afghanistan but what he needs is to be able to sell his country's products.
4. Aubrey de Grey hopes to bring an end to ageing. But first, he needs £100 million a year in funding (see
www.gen.cam.ac.uk/sens/index.html). However, according to Kari Stefansson of Decode Genetics, this could bring about 'global catastrophe'.
5. Buy carbon. It could earn you a 30 per cent conscience-free return. See
www.climatechangecapital.com

Or you could just go to TED itself.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 25, 2005 at 8:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

100 milestone documents

The 100 milestone documents in our nation's history from 1776 to 1965. 

From the National Archives and Records Administration at www.ourdocuments.gov.  Nice name.  Good use of flash too.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 25, 2005 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

Mapping the Moon

July 20 marks 36 years since we walked on the Moon.  If you haven't seen Google map the moon.  you should.

Click on Apollo 16 and enjoy the ride down to the bottom.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 21, 2005 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

Mash-ups

Google, Yahoo and soon Microsoft are publishing documentation making it easier for programmers to link any Internet date to Web-based maps. Marrying Maps to Data for a new Web Service.

One of the next big growth areas on the web will be contextual advertisements tied to specific locations.  The ads would be embedded in the map you generate in a search inquiry.

Say you could view all the houses you were interested in a certain area, all on one map.  That's what Paul Rademacher created in housingmaps.com when he overlaid real estate listings from Craigslist onto Google maps

Mash  -ups they're called, hybrid web services, part of Web 2.0.

"Web 2.0," a new generation of Internet software technologies that will seamlessly plug together, much like Lego blocks, in new and unexpected ways.
"These are small pieces loosely joined," said Tim O'Reilly, chief executive of O'Reilly Media, a publishing and conference company based in Sebastopol, Calif. "People are creating new functionality by combining these different services."
-----
Yahoo is hoping that groups of Web users will emerge to overlay its maps with restaurant reviews and other kinds of contributions.
"This is not so much about creating a virtual world, but rather helping people with the real world," said Paul Levine, Yahoo's general manager for local services.

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 19, 2005 at 11:11 PM | Permalink

A Restful Finality

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

Calvin Coolidge, 1926, Philadelphia.  Via Powerline

Cyber fireworks here

UPDATE: This Mideastern view of the Fourth of July will surprise you.

UPDATE 2:  This photo is priceless.

  George Bush 4Th July 05

Posted by Jill Fallon on July 5, 2005 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

Unseen Beauty

The totally gratuitous beauty of the submicroscopic world is a source of  humbling wonder to me.    Witness these glorious images from the First Art of Science Competition at Princeton University.

Even the words that describe the science of the image are poetic. 

Strange Crystal where beauty describes how mathematics using the "golden mean" can express the seeding of a crystal of a five-fold form rarely seen in nature.

First prize Plasma Table with a dust cloud of silicon micro-spheres

Worm window.  A microscopic nematode looks like the rose window of St. John the Divine.

The Rock Blooms. A slow-moving chemical reaction unfolds in petals.

Mooney Faces. How little information is needed to experience a face.

Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny. In the eight weeks after fertilization, a single human embryo traces our entire evolutionary past.

Gouania lupoloides. a cluster of membracid nymphs sucking juice from the plant while ant-attended.

Posted by Jill Fallon on June 27, 2005 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

CyberAngel

Coming soon Lojack for your laptop

Posted by Jill Fallon on June 24, 2005 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

A One Minute Vacation

Don't have time to take a vacation? Click on over to One Minute Vacation and experience 60 seconds to be somewhere else or someone else.

The Quiet American recommends listening with earphones, preferably lying down in a dark room which may be hard unless you work at home.

He has wonderful moments over at his field recordings from Vietnam.

Posted by Jill Fallon on June 22, 2005 at 4:44 PM | Permalink

Words that should be

In a follow-up to Woot, here are 10 Words that don't exist, but should.  If you have any more, let me know and I'll publish them as a public service for those of us who are too often speechless because we can't find the right word.

1. AQUADEXTROUS (ak wa deks' trus) adj. Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

2.
CARPERPETUATION (kar' pur pet u a shun) n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.

3.
DISCONFECT (dis kon fekt') v. To sterilize the piece of candy you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, assuming this will somehow 'remove' all the germs.

4.
ELBONICS (el bon' iks) n. The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.

5.
FRUST (frust) n. The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

6.
LACTOMANGULATION (lak' to man gyu lay' shun) n. Manhandling the "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the 'illegal' side.

7.
PEPPIER (pehp ee ay') n. The waiter at a fancy restaurant whose sole purpose seems to be walking around asking diners if they want ground pepper.

8.
PHONESIA (fo nee' zhuh) n. The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

9.
PUPKUS (pup' kus) n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

10.
TELECRASTINATION (tel e kras tin ay' shun) n. The act of always letting the phone ring at least twice before you pick it up, even when you're only six inches away.

Thanks Phineas Manbottle

Posted by Jill Fallon on June 6, 2005 at 9:11 PM | Permalink

Cyborg Jill

Get your own cyborg name.  I love mine.

  Cyborg Jill

Posted by Jill Fallon on June 1, 2005 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

Woot

No longer confuzzled after a ginormous number of submissions, Merriam Webster WOOTs 

Top Ten favorite words not found in the dictionary

1. ginormous (adj): bigger than gigantic and bigger than enormous
2.
confuzzled (adj): confused and puzzled at the same time
3.
woot (interj): an exclamation of joy or excitement
4
. chillax (v): chill out/relax, hang out with friends
5.
cognitive displaysia (n): the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway
6.
gription (n): the purchase gained by friction: "My car needs new tires because the old ones have lost their gription."
7.
phonecrastinate (v): to put off answering the phone until caller ID displays the incoming name and number
8.
slickery (adj): having a surface that is wet and icy
9.
snirt (n): snow that is dirty, often seen by the side of roads and parking lots that have been plowed
10.
lingweenie (n): a person incapable of producing neologisms

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 31, 2005 at 1:13 AM | Permalink

Everyone Loves Flowers

   Flowers Victorian

Have flowers evolved because we love them?

Have they exploited an emotional niche in the Darwinian struggle and so survived beautifully? 

Are they the pets of the plant world?

Rutgers geneticist  Terry McGuire seems to thinks so and he's got a trio of studies to support him.

Human Affection altered evolution of flowers

For those of you who are skeptical, consider that we are creating
Designer Ecosystems in our cities.

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 30, 2005 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

What hath God wrought

Way back before bloggers, before Edison even, people were connected via vast network of telegraph relay stations who all spoke in a secret language called Morse Code.

Below is a picture of the paper tape recording the first message ever sent by telegraph by one Samuel Morse on May 24, 1844, saying, What hath God wrought.
     First Telegraphic Message

Nine years later, the telegraph network had spread to all states east of the Mississippi (except Florida) and parts of Canada. 
    Tekegraph Network

Not until 1861 did telegraph lines connect the entire continent east to west, a technological union in the midst of the Civil War.

Morse had the best middle names I've ever heard "Finley Breese".  He was trained as an artist and was quite a good one too.

     Morse - 2 Images

All at the splendid American Memory project from the Library of Congress.

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 24, 2005 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

Crime Stats, Google Maps

Except in the aggregate, I don't pay much attention to crime statistics.  They are just not very useful.

Chicagocrime.org. using a combination of public data and google maps, has changed all that.   

Now, there's a freely browsable database of crimes reported in Chicago and boy can you learn a lot.

Here's a map of "aggravated assault: hands, feet, fists".

  Chicago Assault

You can see where the crimes occurred and where the most common locations for any type of crime are.  Aggravated assault, for example, happens most often at public school buildings (240 crimes) while the distant second place is a bus (11 crimes).

There's even RSS feeds for every police beat and city block in the city.  Amazing.  Sure beats listening to the police scanner. 

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 19, 2005 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

How much is Inside?

Call him cockeyed, but one American pioneer is determined to find out how much is inside.   

I like knowing just how many peanuts are inside and I'm glad he does too.

           Cockeyed-1

Posted by Jill Fallon on May 17, 2005 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

Pizza Portraits

Pizza Express is celebrating its 40th birthday with Pizza Portraits of the Royals.

   Pizza Portraits

Hat tip:  Boing Boing - they find the best stuff

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 29, 2005 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

Google's done it again

Just about anyone who's the least bit of a nerd with any spare time or looking for a way to procrastinate has tried Google mapping with the satellite views. 

Here's Google sight-seeing.  With just a brief tour - I really do have to get something done - I can agree totally with Steve Rubel that  Arizona's Oprah tribute is the best.  But I loved the post office with the stamp on its roof and I thought the Washington monument was pretty cool.

  Arizona Oprah    Post Office      Washington Monument

Well, if Google hasn't done it again.  Did you know that Google Video is archiving TV content?
It's launched a video upload program where ANYONE can upload video.  Pending an approval process, your work can be included in Google Video where users will be able to search, preview, purchase and play it.

Hat tip to Xeni Jardin who has lot's more at Boing Boing

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 14, 2005 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

Wealth from Minds

From the year 1000 to the year 1700, the world's wealth, measured in GDP per capita, was virtually unchanged.  Since 1700, the GDP per capita in places like the US has risen over 40 fold, in real terms.  This wealth was not taken from somewhere, it was created in the minds of human beings.  So sayeth Coyote Blog

Today's wealth, and everything that goes with it (from shorter work hours to longer life spans) is the result of more people using their minds more freely.

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 13, 2005 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

Huzzahs for Do Not Call

Jeff Jarvis reports that marketers are doing MUCH better now that they are putting money they used to spend in telemarketing into customer relations.  Push Marketing is Toast

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 13, 2005 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

Hi Speed Bird Bath

I've never seen a head spin so fast.

  High Speed Bird Bath-1

From usemycomputer via grow a brain

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 10, 2005 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

Giant Penguin

  Penguin April Fool

Awestruck.

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 1, 2005 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

Abbott and Costello

This is hilarious.  Costello Calls to Buy a Computer from Abbott.

A passalong via BL Ochman's What's Next.

Posted by Jill Fallon on April 1, 2005 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

Guide to the National Media

This is a passalong.  Nobody knows who wrote it, but it's good enough to passalong to those of you who didn't get the email.

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country. 
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country. 
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles. 
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don't really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like the statistics shown in pie charts. 
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn't mind running the country -- if they could find the time -- and if they didn't have to leave Southern California to do it. 
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a far superior job of it, thank you. 
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren't too sure who's running the country and don't really care as long as they can get a seat on the train. 
8. The New York Post is read by people who don't care who's running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated. 
9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores. 
10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren't sure there is a country ... or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. 
11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

Posted by Jill Fallon on March 20, 2005 at 4:06 AM | Permalink

Giant Steps

If you like jazz, even if you don't, be prepared for an amazing two minutes and watch in wonder. Michael Levy's Giant Steps

Posted by Jill Fallon on March 5, 2005 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

Netrospective

Don't miss the Netrospective created for Yahoo's 10th birthday.  10 years, 100 moments of the Web,1 page.

Posted by Jill Fallon on March 4, 2005 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

Most Beautiful Words

When the British Council planned for its 70th anniversary, they decided to make a list of  a list of  the 70 most beautiful words in the English language.  They asked 7000 "learners" - whatever they are - in 46 countries and ran an online poll where 35,000 people registered their favorites.  Here they are,

The magnificent 70

1
Mother
2 Passion
3 Smile
4 Love
5 Eternity
6 Fantastic
7 Destiny
8 Freedom
9 Liberty
10 Tranquillity
11 Peace
12 Blossom
13 Sunshine
14 Sweetheart
15 Gorgeous
16 Cherish
17 Enthusiasm
18 Hope
19 Grace
20 Rainbow
21 Blue
22 Sunflower
23 Twinkle
24 Serendipity
25 Bliss
26 Lullaby
27 Sophisticated
28 Renaissance
29 Cute
30 Cosy
31 Butterfly
32 Galaxy
33 Hilarious
34 Moment
35 Extravaganza
36 Aqua
37 Sentiment
38 Cosmopolitan
39 Bubble
40 Pumpkin
41 Banana
42 Lollipop
43 If
44 Bumblebee
45 Giggle
46 Paradox
47 Delicacy
48 Peekaboo
49 Umbrella
50 Kangaroo
51 Flabbergasted
52 Hippopotamus
53 Gothic
54 Coconut
55 Smashing
56 Whoops
57 Tickle
58 Loquacious
59 Flip-flop
60 Smithereens
61 Oi
62 Gazebo
63 Hiccup
64 Hodgepodge
65 Shipshape
66 Explosion
67 Fuselage
68 Zing
69 Gum
70 Hen night

Posted by Jill Fallon on February 15, 2005 at 3:58 PM | Permalink
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