Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from February 2006

Hard to imagine that somebody could improve chocolate…

February 26th, 2006 · Comments Off on Hard to imagine that somebody could improve chocolate…

…and that’s not the only good news to come out of the NSF’s recent tasty-sounding Cocoa Conference.

Chocolate-loving inhabitants of Panama (Kuna island-dwellers drink 5 cups of cocoa a day) seem to be protected from cancer and heart disease by the very high levels of flavonols in their cocoa. Sadly, most of these flavonols are lost in the process of making commercial chocolate. But Mars Inc. is experimenting with a new pro-cocoa product that may fulfill the hot-fudge prediction in Woody Allen’s Sleeper.*

Five cups of cocoa a day? I’m not sure that even I want to be that healthy…

Two future doctors are puzzled by “ancient” health foods:

Dr. Melik: … wheat germ, organic honey and… tiger’s milk?

Dr. Aragon: Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.

Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?

Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Bad weather solace: teddies, lattes, sunrise, very odd God

February 25th, 2006 · Comments Off on Bad weather solace: teddies, lattes, sunrise, very odd God

Tip for cabin fever: a tower of tippable teddy bears from the Netherlands…and thanks to MontaukRider for sending them to me!

And I’ve got even more linkadelic links:

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Web 2.0 as a giant Schrodinger’s cat

February 23rd, 2006 · Comments Off on Web 2.0 as a giant Schrodinger’s cat

Steve Rubel’s explaining memetrackers* to the marketers. “Look, but don’t touch,” says he. Darn good advice, but not possible in quantum mechanics, where observing any event inherently changes it.

Now, picture Web 2.0 as a Schrödinger’s cat, with more people peeking and poking at her every day. Is she starting to look rather different from what we expected?

Sticking to memetrackers, since that’s what Steve wrote about:

There’s now a huge difference between linking to the last story at the bottom of the page on Memetracker X and linking to the only-slightly-less-popular story that almost but never-quite made it onto that page. This creates a huge incentive for ambitious bloggers to try to link to stories they think will be popular link-targets instead of linking to stories that tickle their interest.

The linkage pattern of profit-seeking bloggers is changed because it’s observed–pulled toward what Kevin Marks called the zero-sum game of traditional media, instead of the what GapingVoid calls the “nice long tail.”

A lot of Web 2.0 Schrödinger’s cats need to worry a bit more about those nice long tails.

* Steve mentions Memeorandum, Tailrank, and Digg. I also love their grand-daddy, Cameron Marlow’s Blogdex.

Tags: Metablogging · wikipedia

“double-digit minutes eyeball magnet”

February 22nd, 2006 · Comments Off on “double-digit minutes eyeball magnet”

Can you say that three times fast?

If so, you’re probably somebody like Richard Doherty, research director of the Envisioneering Group, talking in Adage about MySpace.

Ah, to see ourselves as others see us…

Tags: Metablogging

Now something else to thank the Nobel people for…

February 22nd, 2006 · Comments Off on Now something else to thank the Nobel people for…

I didn’t know that the Nobel Foundation had posted a bunch of our family photos in Frank’s Nobel biography.

Regular readers of this blog have seen Frank with devil horns, posing with that notorious imp Richard Feynman, but I also really love this angelic photo of him giving a very long-ago talk.

Also, I must confess, the way I looked playing guitar in my early twenties

Tags: Frank Wilczek · My Back Pages · Nobel

Peaceful sound of a baby seahorse eating

February 20th, 2006 · Comments Off on Peaceful sound of a baby seahorse eating

What does it sound like?

Listen for yourself as the baby Hippocampus erectus nibbles, tink-clinking like alien faint wind-chimes. Then stick around to play UCSD’s seahorse game…

This moment of zen tranquility comes to you via Marc Abrahams of the Ig Nobels. Did you notice that his blog has a new URL now? Thanks, Marc.

Tags: Science

The buck stops where?

February 17th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Seth Godin asks:

Is “I accept responsibility” the new “Your call is very important to us”?

It’s a phrase getting lots of play in DC right now, as Dick Cheney and Michael Chertoff theatrically “accept responsibility” for misdeeds that were, in fact, clearly their fault but for which, also clearly, they expect no punishment.

I will point out that Google News Search turns up 240 results for “accepts responsibility”, a very popular moral stance among convicted felons…

Tags: Not what it seems...

Linkadelic: Loss, passionate geekery, SXSW, and a tag line for Boston

February 17th, 2006 · Comments Off on Linkadelic: Loss, passionate geekery, SXSW, and a tag line for Boston

Julie and Ted Leung’s laptops were stolen
Sad story, great blogpost. Among minor losses: her blogroll. Leave your URL in the comments if you were on it.
Chris Bliss can juggle and the Beatles can sing
Ballplay as percussion, the naked passion of geekery, and other stuff you never knew could make “Golden Slumbers” better–thanks to Dervala for the link!
SXSW Interactive just put schedule info online
Shortlist recs: tagging, creating passionate users, more tagging, and bloggers in love!
David Weinberger has a tag line for Boston
“And what did you get on your SAT’s?”

Tags: Wide wonderful world

How I wish I could Tivo some geek events…

February 16th, 2006 · Comments Off on How I wish I could Tivo some geek events…

Boston is living up to its new nickname, “RSS Alley.” But only a supergeek–one with under-eye circles made of steel–could fly fast enough to attend all our geek events…

On Monday, Cory Doctorow talked at MIT; on Wednesday night the Harvard Law School corraled him.

The big rival event I’d already said yes to on Wednesday was the Boston Geek Party I went to. (In true geek fashion, I Flickred some photos and even
OPMLed a list of attendees.) Many thanks to Bela Labovitch, Adam Green, and Pito Salas for this event…

Now I have to stop blogging, because I have a Wikimania planning meeting in IRC very shortly. My other Thursday night choice would be the wonderful Berkman blog meeting I now attend all too rarely…

And on Friday, February 17, the sci fi convention Boskone swings into gear.

Please, slow this geek’s world down, or at least let me Tivo some of it!

Tags: Metablogging

Blizzard in progress

February 12th, 2006 · Comments Off on Blizzard in progress

FrontDoor: Blizzard seen through screen door, February, 2006 Frank and I got home last night, two steps in front of a blizzard.

Doesn’t that photo look like an old-fashioned sampler, covered with cross-stitch? In fact, it’s a screen panel in my front outside door, now thoroughly pelted with puffets of snow.

Cambridge, UK, in February, was a green and pleasant land.

Cambridge, MA, now has snow way up over my boots, and still coming down…

A good excuse, if I needed one, to get back into my wonderful, familiar, non-hotel bed–fluff up the soft squishy pillow I love (thank you, Sears!)–and get some more sleep.

ZZZZZzzzzzzzeee you later!

Tags: Wide wonderful world