Saturday, January 26, 2008

Digital detective: Photo clues lead to camera's owner

Getting into a cab in NYC, someone finds a camera, and then devotes time to finding the rightful owner....;_ylt=AgdS8MP4KfZ20LCZXFpU5vgDW7oF

Move over iPhone. Here is a real phone that multitasks

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Salon: Where is the real bottom in the market?

One must wonder why the rest of the world have reacted the way it did about the latest financial crisis. Salon had an interesting analysis:

"In reality, the crisis is both a credit crunch and the bursting of the housing bubble. ...

As a practical matter, our only real hope for avoiding a deep recession or worse depends on loans and investments from abroad -- some major U.S. financial firms have already gotten key cash infusions from foreign governments buying stakes in them -- combined with export earnings as the dollar continues to weaken. But this is something no politician wants to admit, especially in an election year. So we're going to go through weeks of posturing about stimulus packages of one sort or another, and then see enacted the big fat bonanza of a temporary tax break that will likely have little effect. That, perhaps along with a few more rate cuts by the Fed. The presidential candidates will be asked what should be done about the worsening economy, and they'll give vague answers. None will likely admit the truth: We're going to need the rest of the world to bail us out."

Wired: How Email Brings You Closer to the Guy in the Next Cubicle

"email's real value isn't in communicating with Kuala Lumpur but with Betsy in the next cubicle. The most productive workers have the densest intracompany email web.

This shouldn't surprise us. Email makes it quicker and easier to reach your colleagues — you don't have to interrupt them, and messages are easy to process. But email doesn't stop you from wanting facetime, too. Just the opposite: By enabling us to maintain productive business relationships with more people, it encourages more face-to-face contact. "

NYT: high levels of mercury in Tuna found in sushi restaurants in NYC

Given that most sushi places probably get their tuna from similar sources --- the ocean --- I'm a little worried:

``No one should eat a meal of tuna with mercury levels like those
found in the restaurant samples more than about once every three
weeks," said Dr. Michael Gochfeld, professor of environmental and
occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in
Piscataway, N.J.''

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Onion: cutting school costs by not teaching past tense

This is simply quality journalism at its best!

Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs
NOVEMBER 30, 2007 | ISSUE 43•48

WASHINGTON—Faced with ongoing budget crises, underfunded schools nationwide are increasingly left with no option but to cut the past tense—a grammatical construction traditionally used to relate all actions, and states that have transpired at an earlier point in time—from their standard English and language arts programs.

A part of American school curricula for more than 200 years, the past tense was deemed by school administrators to be too expensive to keep in primary and secondary education.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Social Sensemaking involved in figuring out latest Apple announcement of MB Air

I think it is really cool that people on the Web are collaboratively figuring out puzzles, like the potential of an announcement of a new Apple product.

"Unlike past years, when rumors abounded with little confirmation, the Macintosh rumor community this time put together pieces of the mysterious laptop puzzle from clues left around the Web -- and may have even tricked Apple into showing its cards a bit early."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good uses of information visualization

Anyone knows my past research will know me as a researcher in information visualization, but the reality is that there has been very few good information visualization techniques that really work. One of those is the SmartMoney Map of the Market visualization app that looks at the performance of the stock market, and gives you at a glance the performance of different sectors of the market.

NYTimes is one of the few news outlets that really does a good job with their graphics, and recently the director of their graphics dept. gave a keynote address at the Infovis2007 conference, and I found many of their visualizations to be very interesting and informative. One of these visualizations is the words and speeches visualization they created on President Bush's addresses.

Monday, January 14, 2008

don't name your kid "Sam Adams"

Another five-year-old on the no-fly list: meet Sam Adams - Boing Boing

Ted Adams -- the publisher of IDW comics -- named his little
son "Sam Adams," a good, solid patriotic name. It's also a name
on the TSA's no-fly list, and the five-year-old has spent his
young life being harassed by airport security goons who think
he's a terrorist.


Subject: This wouldn't have happened if they'd named him Thomas Paine

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How bad could school be?

Mexican boy glues self to bed to avoid school
Mon Jan 7, 5:23 PM ET
MONTERREY, Mexico (AFP) - A 10-year-old Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed to avoid going back to school after the Christmas break, authorities said Monday.

"I thought if I was glued to the bed, they couldn't make me go to school," the boy, Diego, told AFP. "I didn't want to go, the holidays were so much fun."

"I remembered my mom had bought a very strong glue," he said of the industrial strength shoe glue he used to stick his hand to the bed's metal headboard, where he stayed stuck for two hours.

His mother Sandra Palacios was unable to free him and called paramedics and police to help. Diego watched cartoons while they worked to unglue him, eventually using a spray to dissolve the chemical adhesive.

"I don't know why this happened. He is a very good boy," said his mother.

Diego eventually made it school a few hours late.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I hosted Guy Kawasaki at PARC

He actually took a picture of desk and used it as an example of a typical PARC researcher's desk. I can assure you that I'm the only one with that funky keyboard around here.

The snow storm in Tahoe created these images. Doesn't that look awesome!

The stock market is going sideways. Is everyone doing something about it?

See this quote:

the strategist has been advising investors to lighten up on small-cap U.S. stocks, emerging markets, value-oriented strategies, and energy and commodity plays. His forecast for a global corporate earnings slowdown steers him to shares of large, dividend-paying companies with steady earnings, plenty of cash and a multinational footprint.

Merrill's sector picks include: Large-cap U.S. growth stocks, including established technology companies and leading exporters; developed European markets, and defensive sectors such as consumer staples and health care that can also deliver solid results. You can find these types of stocks in low-cost mutual-funds like Vanguard Primecap Core (VPCCX or the exchange-traded iShares Russell 1000 Growth Index (IWF).

"The economy is slowing and there's a premium for growth and earnings," says Jim Swanson, chief investment strategist at mutual-fund giant MFS Investment Management. "The market is saying maybe value isn't the best way to invest now. Companies with growth metrics are starting to do better; I think that trend can continue for two or three years."