Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Google goes dark?

One environmental organization is proposing that Google switch its screen background from white to black. The logic behind this is that white pixels require more energy to light up and so the company estimates a savings 3,000 megawatt hours per year from the change. That's $75,000 in energy savings a year, which seems like a drop in the bucket, until you start thinking about extending this black background plan all the Anna Kournikova fansites on the Web, and then you're looking at some serious savings.

Thanks to Sonali for the pass-along.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Irksome conspiracy theories.

With all due credit to the New Yorker piece that tipped us off, below is a video of a team from Princeton hacking into one of those Diebold electronic voting machines that were used in the last presidential election. Maybe Floridians have been trolling YouTube?

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Keeping your calendar in concert.

If this works, it's a music-lover's dream come true: a calendar that syncs with your iTunes and lets you know if one of the bands in your library has an upcoming show in your area.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sushi and pureed peas.

From the department of molding your children in your own image comes this story about parents who are exposing their young children to an increasingly wide range of foods, hoping that this will help them develop sophisticated palates. Included is the obligatory tale of the 18-month old whose Dad served him rare meat and got him sick. Meanwhile, the doctors quoted in the story explain that early food experiences don't necessarily predict preferences--there's a good chance your kid will go through a brown food phase even if he was eating edamame at 1 year.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Apple's dirty little secret.

It's not back-dated stock options. Rather, an article on Slate uncovers that iTunes offers a whole array of songs to its foreign users that we can't get to here. If you sign out of your iTunes account, and then switch your country location (bottom of the screen), you can listen to the 30-second samples of all sorts of stuff that doesn't show up in American iTunes, but it's a no go on the purchasing. The article is particularly high on the selection of songs from Japan (*), and also points the way to a rollicking good time of a video that we won't post directly here because it leans towards the, well, stripperish (not that we're squeamish, but we wouldn't want to prove too irksome to those who don't share our loose coastal-urban values). Once again, if you're in another country, you can go ahead and purchase the accompanying song, but American money won't get you anywhere. Another sign of the plummetting value of the dollar?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Myth of the Great Teacher.

Though it's a little silly to remonstrate Hollywood for providing a misleading picture of the real world, this op-ed worries that most Americans buy into the movie version of how to fix American public schools:
The great misconception of these films is not that actual schools are more chaotic and decrepit — many schools in poor neighborhoods are clean and orderly yet still don’t have enough teachers or money for supplies. No, the most dangerous message such films promote is that what schools really need are heroes. This is the Myth of the Great Teacher.
The point seems to be that while it's correct to want talented, skilled teachers in our classrooms, it's off-base to think that that's the whole answer, or that if they only just put a little more of themselves into their work our nation's education problem would be solved.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Is that a filet mignon in your pocket?

Apparently, meat is the most commonly shoplifted item in American grocery stores. It was formerly cough medicines, but now that many markets put the pill bottles behind a glass case, you're far more likely to see a shopper slip a rump roast into her pocket than some Nyquil. I say her, because it appears that it's not men who are doing the meat thieving, but women between 35 and 45. Men, it seems, are far more likely to purloin batteries or tylenol--either for resale or to support a drug habit.