June 20th, 2010

Odd Lots

  • The rate of toxoplasmosis infection in a given nation appears correlated to the level of neuroticism in that nation. I've mentioned toxo before, but it appears that we have better numbers now, and that the UK is nowhere near 50% infected, as the source I quoted in 2003 implied. France, well, now...
  • Here's a nice piece that explains why the atmospheric CO2 measurements taken atop Mauna Loa are accurate. And here is NOAA's explanation of how they do it.
  • Bruce Baker sent a link to an article describing how a few scraps of odd film allowed some dogged engineers to re-create the long-lost pallophotophone technology (later known as RCA Photophone), and by doing so give voice to 1920's recordings of Thomas Edison speaking affectionately about his friend Henry Ford.
  • This weekend is ARRL Field Day, in which ham radio ops head out to the hinterlands to see how well they can get up to radio speed from a dead stop, using portable (not mains) power, from a place not previously set up for radio gear. I'll be trekking out to my back deck and working the world on an inverted vee, draining 829Bs (Diet Mountain Dew over ice in peanut butter jars) Saturday afternoon, and showing all my geek friends how it works that evening during one of our semiregular geek parties.
  • We can look forward to the Roman Missal on iBooks soon. But will the priest process down the center aisle holding an iPad over his head?
  • I've been testing Windows-based EPub-capable reader apps for the last week or so, and guess what: They all suck. Bigtime. Why is it so hard to render reflowable documents that are basically HTML-in-a-sack?
  • If you've seen The Music Man as often as I have, you'll remember how there's trouble in River City, because the kids are memorizing jokes out of Captain Billy's Whizbang. Well, I'd long thought that Meredith Willson had made it up, but not so: I found a scan of a 1921 issue of Captain Billy's Whizbang (which is now in the public domain) and put it up in my pub directory so you can see it too. (Note: It's a 15 MB .cbr.) My reaction? It's not very funny, but in a world without Lileks, I guess people laughed at whatever they had on hand.
  • Ok, there's a little profanity in it (like that's unusual in Slashdot comments?) but damn, I like this one.