Saturday, April 30, 2011

Potentially, The Greatest Invention Since the Internet

I would trade a cow for these magic beans. Seriously. "Coffee Joulies" are a new invention that are stainless steel "beans" that keep your coffee at the perfect temperature for several hours. Hours.

How do they work? Their Kickstarter page says:
his material is designed to melt at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and absorbs a lot of energy as it melts. This is how Joulies cool your coffee down three times faster than normal. Once it reaches this temperature, the special material begins to solidify again, releasing the energy it stored when it melted. This is how Joulies keep your coffee warm twice as long.
I'm pretty sure I'll be getting one of these for Father's Day. I'll let you know how awesome they are then.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rule the High Seas With Your Very Own Aircraft Carrier

Lovers of the big blue sea, prepare yourselves -- because super-huge yachts are so 2010.

Britain's Ministry of Defense (MoD) has put the Royal Navy's former flagship aircraft carrier, the HMS Ark Royal, up for sale on an official used equipment website, eDisposals. Indeed, ruling the waves just took on a whole new meaning.

I would love to own this. If I had a spare couple of dozen million pounds laying around I'd be bidding on it. Can you imagine having your very own aircraft carrier? I'd sail right up to that scow Adnan Khashoggi floats around in and show him what a real ship is supposed to look like.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The New Ghost Towns

There are several counties in America, each with more than 10,000 homes, which have vacancy rates above 55%. The rate is above 60% in several.

Most people who follow unemployment and the housing crisis would expect high vacancy rates in hard-hit states including Nevada, Florida and Arizona. They were among the fastest growing areas from 2000 to 2010. Disaster struck once economic growth ended.

Palm Coast, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada and Cape Coral, Florida were all among the former high fliers. Many large counties which have 20% or higher occupancy rates are in these same regions. Lee County, Florida, Yuma County, Arizona, Mohave County, Arizona, and Osceola, Florida each had a precipitous drop in home prices and increases in vacancy rates as home buyers disappeared when the economy went south.

If I were more affluent, enjoyed flying, and had lots of free time, I'd snap up one of those homes on the coast in a second. Instead, I live in the central states, I don't like to fly, I don't have gobs of free time and I'm just a peasant with a pay check. Oh well.

Some of the locations will surprise you.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did ancient man "run" down his food?

On the plains of New Mexico, a band of elite marathoners tests a controversial theory of evolution: that humans can outrun the fastest animals on earth. Read outrun as "out last".

THROUGH THE BINOCULARS I see them: nine tiny men in bright jerseys running in formation across the vast short-grass prairie of eastern New Mexico. They're chasing a tawny pronghorn antelope through the crackling stalks of late summer's fading wild sunflowers. The buck weighs about 130 pounds, like the men racing after it, but that's about the only thing they have in common.

The pronghorn is the second-fastest animal on earth, while the men are merely elite marathon runners who are trying to verify a theory about human evolution. Some scientists believe that our ancestors evolved into endurance athletes in order to hunt quad­rupeds by running them to exhaustion. If the theory holds up, the antelope I'm watching will eventually tire and the men will catch it. Then they'll have to decide whether to kill it for food or let it go.

My question is the obvious one. Are more calories expended running down the prey than could be consumed by eating the animal? If that is true I would say it was highly unlikely that man did this regularly.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spoke too soon

Despite the surge in popularity of PCs, and their smaller digital cousins the iPads, the typewriter is far from dead, said Ed Michael, general manager of sales at Moonachie, N.J.-based Swintec. So forget Godrej: Swintec seems to be the last typewriter maker in operation.

"Typewriters are alive and well," Michael told Most big offices need a typewriter or two or three to do some special jobs -- special forms, multipart forms. Some places need to have typewriters to do original forms such as birth certificates, death certificates, things like that."

I stand corrected. Stupid fact checkers.

Update: Unbelievable corruption, a secret pension fund

LOS ANGELES -- A former public official accused of orchestrating a scam that nearly bankrupted a working-class Los Angeles suburb set up a secret pension fund containing $4.5 million to skirt retirement limits for California public employees, according to a newspaper report Monday.

One account benefited 40 employees, guaranteeing them at least $2,000 a month if they retire as early as age 52 and had spent five years in office. That's in addition to their normal payments from the state pension system.

This is unbelievable. I hope they go to PMITA prison for a long time and their pensions are taken from them. This is the kinda crap that causes people to turn against the government and cause apathy in the citizenry.

Sad: Last Typewriter Factory in the World Shuts Its Doors

With only about 200 machines left -- and most of those in Arabic languages -- Godrej and Boyce shut down its plant in Mumbai, India, today. "Although typewriters became obsolete years ago in the west, they were still common in India -- until recently," according to the Daily Mail, which ran a special story this morning about the typewriters demise. "Demand for the machines has sunk in the last ten years as consumers switch to computers." Secretaries, rejoice.

It's kinda sad to us "old folks" to see typewriters go away. I learned to type in 1978 on an Underwood Type 5 at Newcastle High School. Typing was a one year course at my high school. Today I think they call it Keyboarding or some such nonsense and it is a semester long. Of course my children type a great deal more than I did in high school. They each have their own laptop and they type on iPhones to their hearts content. 

You don't know the frustration and magic of the typewriter until you are typing a term paper due the next day and you make a mistake and have to retype AN ENTIRE PAGE because you left one word out of a sentence.