. . . What Happened

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A modern-day love story of a man spotting the girl of his dreams across a New York subway train and tracking her down over the Internet has failed to have a fairytale ending with the relationship over.

For Web designer Patrick Moberg, then 21, from Brooklyn, it was love at first sight when he spotted a woman on a Manhattan train last November. But he lost her in the crowd so he set up a website with a sketch to find her -- www.nygirlofmydreams.com.

Unbelievably in a city of 8 million people, it only took Moberg 48 hours to track down the woman, with his phone ringing non-stop and email box overflowing as usually cynical New Yorkers took sympathy on the subway Romeo and joined his hunt.

The mysterious brunette was named as Camille Hayton, from Melbourne, Australia, who was working as an intern at the magazine BlackBook and also lived in Brooklyn. One of her friends spotted the sketched picture on the Web site and recognized her.

But after finding each other, appearing on TV and getting international press, the couple took their romance out of the public eye, with Moberg closing down the Web site and with both refusing to making any more comments -- until now. (Full Story at rueters)

If life were like the movies. . .

More Harry


As minor inconveniences go, itchy bug bites are the bane of the summer season. The Parent Hacks blog reader Molly offers a tip she learned in the Peace Corps: a dab of the common pain reliever cream Bengay on a bug bite goes a long way towards relieving the itch. What tricks do you have to stop the itch? (From lifehacker)

Personally, bug bites don't bother me that much, but having kids. . . . I will take any hints that help keep the peace.

Bad Bio

Biofuels sound like such a good idea. A clean-burning fuel that reduces our need for foreign oil. What’s not to like? Well, for one thing, turning corn into biodiesel could be taking food off hungry people’s plates. “Okay,” biofuel advocates say, “suppose we just use the stems and leaves that are left over after crops are harvested? That should solve the problem.” Well, maybe not entirely. Because removing that so-called crop residue takes food away from soil microbes. They convert that material into the nutrients that crops need. So says USDA scientist Ann Kennedy of Washington State University.

Microbes break down crop residue to form organic matter—the stuff that gives soil its rich, dark color. Organic matter, in turn, provides nutrients, helps the soil retain water, and prevents erosion. So, if you harvest the crop residue to produce biofuels, you remove the materials that are fodder for the bugs that make organic matter. Soil quality would drop, and farmers would have to find some other way to fertilize their fields. So biofuels are not a magic bullet. Maybe you should just eat the corn and ride your bike. (From sciam)

I keep saying this kids: biofuel is not the answer.

Streaming NFL

Webcasting has officially made its way to the beer-and-football mainstream thanks to the National Football League, which has announced plans to stream live broadcasts of Sunday night football games this fall. These streams will be the first time the NFL's content is made widely available online, and the news means that the patented Madden "Boom!" will soon be coming to a laptop near you.

Both the NFL and its broadcast partner, NBC, will provide sites dedicated to the webcasts. In addition to the live TV feed that features commentary from Al Michaels and John Madden, both sites will feature a variety of extra content. These include highlight clips, views from multiple cameras, live statistics, and blog content. True fanatics may find the site worth visiting even if they have access to the TV broadcast.(Full Story at arstechnica)

I'm not really an NFL fan, but being an internet only content guy - this is a nice turn of events. I might just find myself watching Sunday night football. (Sorry babe).

Boy Art

(From makezine)

Green Motor Oil

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2008) — Titanium, a protean element with applications from pigments to aerospace alloys, could get a new role as an environmentally friendly additive for automotive oil, thanks to work by materials scientists from Afton Chemical Corporation (Richmond, Va.) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The researchers established that a titanium compound added to engine oil creates a wear-resistant nanoscale layer bound to the surface of vulnerable engine parts, making it a credible substitute for older compounds that do not coexist well with antipollution equipment. (Full Story at sd)

On a similar note: Check your owners manual for the frequency of oil changes suggested. The old adage that every 3000 miles or 3 months doesn't usually hold true. In general, you can wait longer than that which is good for the wallet and the environment.

There May Be a Yeti Yet

Scientists in the UK who have examined hairs claimed to belong to a yeti in India say that an initial series of tests have proved inconclusive.

Ape expert Ian Redmond says the hairs bear a "startling resemblance" to similar hairs collected by Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary.

He told the BBC the Indian hairs are "potentially very exciting".

After extensive microscope examinations, the hairs will now be sent to separate labs for DNA analysis. (Full Story at bbc)

Like I've said before, I love the idea that there are many more myths that will eventually be proven true.



Sometimes I end up at a website that is on the border of disturbingly strange and funny. This is one of them.

More Exercise Needed

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2008) — In addition to limiting calories, overweight and obese women may need to exercise 55 minutes a day for five days per week to sustain a weight loss of 10 percent over two years, according to a report in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

More than 65 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, a public health concern, according to background information in the article. "Among obese adults, long-term weight loss and prevention of weight regain have been less than desired," the authors write. "Therefore, there is a need for more effective interventions." Current recommendations prescribe 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week, for a total of 150 minutes per week. However, a growing consensus suggests that more exercise may be needed to enhance long-term weight loss. (Full Story at sd)

I have to say that's a big difference. 30 mintues a few times a week wouldn't seem too daughnting to most people but an hour a day most days. . . I just wonder how they will try to sell the new recommendations.

When You Have Lots of Spare Time


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Over at walkscore, they will rate how walkable your location is. Depending on how close things, such as a grocery store, are to your abode make it more or less walkable. Incidentally, they say my house is about as un-walkable as it gets.

Health Mapped

If you want to keep abreast of your areas medical situation check out healthmap. It basically allows you to look at where all the disease outbreaks are located and how severe they are. Of course if you are a little "hypo" you may want to just ignore this site.


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Get Moving To Keep The Heart Young

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) — Absence may make the heart grow fonder, but endurance exercise seems to make it younger. According to a study conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, older people who did endurance exercise training for about a year ended up with metabolically much younger hearts. The researchers also showed that by one metabolic measure, women benefited more than men from the training.

"We know that the heart deteriorates as people get older, and that's largely because they don't stay as active as they used to," says first author Pablo F. Soto, M.D., instructor in medicine in the Cardiovascular Division. "Past research has suggested that exercise can reverse some effects of aging, and we wanted to see what effect it would have specifically on the heart." (Full Story at sd)

Can't say I'm surprised really.

Can You Break The Code?

Benjamin Franklin wrote from Passy, in 1781, a letter to M. Dumas. He said:— 'I have just received a 14, 5, 3, 10, 28, 2, 76, 203, 66, 11, 12, 273, 50, 14, joining 76, 5, 42, 45, 16, 15, 424, 235, 19, 20, 69, 580, 11, 150, 27, 56, 35, 104, 652, 20, 675, 85, 79, 50, 63, 44, 22, 219, 17, 60, 29, 147, 136, 41, but this is not likely to afford 202, 55, 580, 10, 227, 613, 176, 373, 309, 4, 108, 40, 19, 97, 309, 17, 35, 90, 201, 100, 677.' This has never been deciphered. The state department at Washington has no key to it. I submit it for the consideration of the whole world.

– Elliott Sandford, New York World, cited in Henry Williams, A Book of Curious Facts, 1903

(via futilitycloset)

Who Needs Nerf When You Have Legos

The Poor Gamble

ScienceDaily (July 24, 2008) — Although state lotteries, on average, return just 53 cents for every dollar spent on a ticket, people continue to pour money into them -- especially low-income people, who spend a larger percentage of their incomes on lottery tickets than do the wealthier segments of society.

A new Carnegie Mellon University study sheds light on the reasons why low-income lottery players eagerly invest in a product that provides poor returns.

In the study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, participants who were made to feel subjectively poor bought nearly twice as many lottery tickets as a comparison group that was made to feel subjectively more affluent. The Carnegie Mellon findings point to poverty's central role in people's decisions to buy lottery tickets. (Full story at sd)

Say what you want about the ethics of gambling, it's interesting that those who can least afford to play the lottery are the ones who make it profitable. My question would be: Do these people remain poor, in part, due to this type of irrational behavior when it comes to monetary decisions, or are they simply a victum of a broken socio-economic system?


Zebra Chips

ScienceDaily (July 22, 2008) — Dr. Don Henne isn't wasting his degree when he's standing by the deep fryer waiting for potato slices to turn brown. He's conducting research that will help the potato industry and consumers.

Henne, an assistant research scientist in the Texas AgriLife Research plant pathology program in Amarillo, is one of many who are trying to find answers about zebra chip. Zebra chip is the latest disease to plague the potato industry, especially those in the chipping business. . .

Zebra chip is a disease that alters the sugar levels in the potato, Henne said. The sugar caramelizes and turns the chip brown when it is fried, giving it an off taste and burnt appearance. While it is not harmful, it is a cosmetic and taste concern for consumers. (Full Story at sd)

Is it just me or does anyone else like the extra crispy zebra chip. I never thought it was a fault but a lucky treat.


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Free 411

This isn't all that new but on the off chance that some of you didn't know:

Who Would Win

If you had to bet on a leapard or a croc in a death match, which would it be? Well Go here to find your answer...

(thanks tom)


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Again With The Obvious

ScienceDaily (July 18, 2008) — Scientists have long been puzzled by how the Masai can avoid cardiovascular disease despite having a diet rich in animal fats. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet believe that their secret is in their regular walking.

There is strong evidence that the high consumption of animal fats increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Many scientists have therefore been surprised that the nomadic Masai of Kenya and Tanzania are seldom afflicted by the disease, despite having a diet that is rich in animal fats and deficient in carbohydrates.

This fact, which has been known to scientists for 40 years, has raised speculations that the Masai are genetically protected from cardiovascular disease. Now, a unique study by Dr Julia Mbalilaki in association with colleagues from Norway and Tanzania, suggests that the reason is more likely to be the Masai’s active lifestyle. (Full Story at sd)

I like how the first assumption was, "Oh, they must have some different genes." Of course, it turns out that the blokes just walk a lot.

Book ID

When we walk into the library, the atmosphere is somewhat dreary and cold. Unfortunately, it is not the most inviting of places, we go out of necessity. The library can also be a bit intimidating while we go aisle for aisle looking for the books that we need. Even then, we come upon the section where the book should be located, yet the call tag is someone rubbed off or maybe even the ink has smudged on the paper and we can’t really tell if this is the exact book that we need.

Valeri Madill has created a way to bring color to a once dreary space, a rainbow- if you will -sitting on the shelves housing numerous bland colors of books. With colorful call number labels, we rid the books of taped on labels and the risk of the labels falling off. Each of Madill’s call number labels allow for each section in the library to be color coded, as well as allowing the call number information to be displayed without covering the spine of the book. Each books’ information is displayed on the label for easy scanning by the user and also contains citing information on the label’s side.

With Madill’s design, the library atmosphere is transformed and is more inviting, and the user has much more success in locating the books that they need. This takes organization to an entirely new level. (Full Story at yanko)

Let me tell you, this would have been a huge help in school. Those footnotes and bib pages would have been a lot less hassle.

Wise Words

"Speak the truth, but leave immediately after." — Slovenian proverb

(via futilitycloset)


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Physical Pixels

Super Cool. Check out the details at make.

Mythical Products That Became Real

Remember this stapler? Well, boxvox highlights it and 5 other products that were mythical but then turned real. What mythical product do you wish would find its way into production?

Almost Like Being There

If you have never seen the last supper in person, here's as close to being there as you'll get without a plain ticket. Check it out here.


A New Rememberance

ScienceDaily (July 16, 2008) — An insect, not seen in the UK before, has been discovered living in the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden. The tiny bug is baffling insect experts at the Museum who are still trying to identify the mystery newcomer.

The almond-shaped bug is red and black and about the size of a grain of rice. The bug appears to be harmless, but there is potential for it to spread throughout the UK.

Living on London plane trees

The bug was first seen in the Museum grounds in March 2007 on the seeds of some of the plane trees that grow there. There were also similar specimens found in other parts of London in 2006 that other scientists reported in a paper in May 2007.

The insects in the Museum grounds increased in numbers so quickly that by August 2007 it was the most common insect in the Wildlife Garden. (Full Story at sd)


Beware Google Maps

(via presurfer)


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Sites to Know

Have you ever thought, "how am I supposed to look something up in the dictionary if I don't know how to spell it." Perhaps you know what an object looks like, but you have no clue what its name is. Well, now you can use the visual dictionary. Just keep clicking through their categorized indexes and you have your spelling and definition and no time. It's not exhaustive by any means, but it's still worth checking out. Go on, take a look.

The Pain of Fame

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." — Shirley Temple

(via futilitycloset)

Solar Cell Windows

ScienceDaily (July 11, 2008) — Imagine windows that not only provide a clear view and illuminate rooms, but also use sunlight to efficiently help power the building they are part of. MIT engineers report a new approach to harnessing the sun's energy that could allow just that.

The work, reported in the July 11 issue of Science, involves the creation of a novel "solar concentrator." "Light is collected over a large area [like a window] and gathered, or concentrated, at the edges," explains Marc A. Baldo, leader of the work and the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering.

As a result, rather than covering a roof with expensive solar cells (the semiconductor devices that transform sunlight into electricity), the cells only need to be around the edges of a flat glass panel. In addition, the focused light increases the electrical power obtained from each solar cell "by a factor of over 40," Baldo says. (Full Story at sd)

Great idea, when can I buy some?

Boogie Like a Bear

Yeah, it's cheesy but kinda funny too. . . For all you snort laughers:

(via presurfer)


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Searching Wiki

Ever get frustrated trying to find an answer to a question? Well Powerset has decided to make it a bit easier on you by allowing you to search in question form. The results allows you to browse through Wikipedia articles in order to find what you want. Check it out here.

Pit Stopping Your Bicycle

Trek is marketing a new concept. They want to look into putting vending machines with bike parts on the streets. In some ways this doesn't seem very plausible, but on the other hand if you've ever been caught miles away from home with a flat (and without and extra tube) you would probably wonder why someone hasn't done this before. (via treehugger)


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Going Pro (Kinda)

Getty Images may soon buy your Flickr photos. The professional photo database has teamed up with Yahoo!, which owns Flickr, to look for great photos that it can turn around and sell to its clients. Of course, as photographer, you’d get a cut of the action if and when Getty buys your photo off Flickr.

Some of the comments on the Bits blog are all, “Waa, this will kill professional photographers/what incentive do they have now blah blah…” A Getty rep was quick to say that today’s advertisers are looking for authenticity as much as anything else, and Flickr is loaded with “authentic,” and “folksy” images.

Very cool, I think, and all the more reason to use Flickr. (via crunchgear)

Interesting. So Flickr away friends.

Competitve Eating

I read a book recently (Eat This Book) about competitive eating. It's actually pretty interesting. These guys (and gals) take it very seriously. It just so happened that my reading coincided with the annual Nathan's Hot dog Eating Contest, so I decided to find some video of the said event. Enjoy. Also, I would recommend the book for some light reading.

Living on The Computer

Many of us pretty much live on the computer already. I, for one, interact with many people almost exclusively via IM or email. Well, now Google wants to help you create your virtual world. Go ahead and make an identical home for yourself and chat it up with your buddies in the living room. Check Lively out here.

Animal Ethics

Most of this post is simply me following a train of thought, so if it meanders from the initial point, or goes into some uncomfortable territory, please forgive me up front.

There is a basic argument in the food community that goes something like this:

Person 1: Eating meat is cruel

Person 2: What? How?

Person 1: Keeping animals in pens and then killing them amounts to suffering, and thus is immoral.

Person 2: How do you figure that? They're only animals.

At this point, the conversation can evolve into several different threads, either dealing with how humanity is supposed obtain protein, the ethics of farming, or whether animals feel pain in ways that we humans do. The latest internet variation on this topic comes from Jill Santopietro from the New York Times Blog, where she asks in her post Shell Shock "What is the most humane way to kill a lobster?"

Her conclusion?

After talking to several cooks, lobster shop owners, a lobster researcher and a food scientist, I concluded that the only one who really knows how the lobster feels is the lobster.

While her conclusion may seem a bit of a cop out, in fact, it enters the discussion surrounding morality into an entirely different arena, that of faith (That's faith with a lower-case 'f', by the way.)

Because if, in fact, the only on who really knows what the lobster feels, is the lobster, then no matter which side of the "animal cruelty" argument you take, your position comes down to an unproven thesis. As any body with a Master's degree can tell you, arguing an unproven thesis is a difficult proposition.

But here's the question I have - What does humane actually mean?

I know one interpretation of it: to be compassionate. This is the one that most people think of when the word comes up. But this is an ideal, not a reality.

No, the definition of humane that I focus on is the one found in the etymology of the word itself - "of or belonging to man," from the Latin word humanus. To me, this definition deals not in the ideal of humanity, but the current "snapshot" of us all - Good and evil, needs and wants, ideals and realities.

And then there's the real tough part - how does this definition fit when it comes to how we deal with the ethics surrounding meat?

I know how corporations deal with it. They purposefully ignore it, mostly for the sake of money. Cows and Lobsters become nothing more than commodities, vessels in which profits can be procured. This is the nature of corporations.

But at an individual level this approach does not, and should not, work.

I'll admit that my position surrounding meat is not as ideal as some would wish. Sure I dress it up in snarkiness and dismissiveness, but the reality is that at the end of the day, an animal will have died due to my own menu choices.

But here's the key. I'm okay with this. Death, whether we want to admit this or not, is part of the human experience. I've said this before but it bears repeating - food is not rooted in the glamor of what The Food Network shows, or what is presented to us at The French Laundry. It is rooted in dirt and blood. As Michael Pollan pointed out in The Ominivore's Dillema, tens of thousands of animals die in the collection of grain crops. Ask a farmer how many field mice, rabbits, or moles are killed during harvest season, and you'll be surprised at the answer. A great majority of vegetarian meals still have blood upon them.

So does the ideal of compassion fit into food? Of course. The question is how? The only answer I have is that every person on this planet deserves at least 1200 calories per day. To me, it is inhumane that people go hungry.

But beyond that? I still don't have a good answer that will please everyone. (via accidnetalhedonist)

Interesting. I've thought about these questions before. I Think I have the proper ethics worked out, but they are difficult to actually implement. I do eat meat, but it's difficult to work out where the meat came from and how the animal was treated. How much responsibility do you think the consumer has? Do you think the lack of control the consumer has should cause one to become a vegitarian or vegan? Do you think it even matters?


Anyone excited about the new movie?


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I Think I Know

Here's a poser adapted from a 1923 intelligence test:

"I was so sorry to hear of Harold's death, Mary."

"Thank you, Mildred."

"May I ask the circumstances?"

"Of course. He had fallen asleep in church during the sermon and was dreaming that an executioner was approaching to cut off his head. He had witnessed some rather gruesome things during the Boxer Rebellion in China some years ago, you know. Just as the sword was falling, I happened to touch him on the back of his neck with my fan, to awaken him. The shock was too great, and he fell forward dead."

What's wrong with this story? I'll give the answer tomorrow. (via futility closet)

I'm pretty sure I know the answer but you'll have to check here (tomorrow) to see if you got it right...

Keep a Food Diary

ScienceDaily (July 8, 2008) — Keeping a food diary can double a person's weight loss according to a study from Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research. The findings, from one of the largest and longest running weight loss maintenance trials ever conducted, will be published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health, the study is one of the few studies to recruit a large percentage of African Americans as study participants (44 percent). African Americans have a higher risk of conditions that are aggravated by being overweight, including diabetes and heart disease. In this study, the majority of African American participants lost at least nine pounds of weight, which is higher than in previous studies.

"The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost," said lead author Jack Hollis Ph.D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records. It seems that the simple act of writing down what you eat encourages people to consume fewer calories." (Full Story at sd)


Go here for more Ira Glass.


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How Do You Dress Your Dog?

As we head into the 4th of July weekend, hot dogs are everywhere. They're on our grill and on our plates. They're on our TVs (the annual hot dog eating contest on ESPN). And this being Serious Eats, they're on our mind. Let's discuss. We bring you Serious Eats' definitive guide to America's regional hot dog styles. (Full Story at seriouseats)
Can't say I've tried everything they list, but I would be willing to give any of them a try. Check it out. You might want to wait till after lunch though. . .

Gas Saving Tips

I always here the same old things on how to save on gas costs. Well, this video certainly gives me some new ideas on how to cut costs at the pump.

(via presurfer)

The Shed-Office

Here's how the finished office looks today. The triple-monitor setup in the foreground is my work machine (I do software work for a large IT shop) and the dual-monitor setup in the back is my personal/gaming machine. (Full Story at lifehacker)

I don't think you have to be a geek to think this is cool. I want. Though living in Alabama, I would require a window unit.


Not Dead Yet

I know I said I would be back by now, but life has been getting in the way (via work generally). Don't worry folks - the site is not dead yet. I should be able to start posting at low volumes in the next couple days. Be looking for more webby goodness soon.