Sep 30, 2011

Happy Friday

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.

I have the confidence to think I will profoundly love creating a Happy Friday!

Eight Track Museum

The world's first Eight Track Museum is now open in the Deep Ellum arts district of Dallas. Twenty years after he made the 8-track collectible by selling a Sex Pistols 8-track for $100, Dallasite Bucks Burnett took the 8-track fully into the realm of the historical with the opening of The Eight Track Museum.

Johnny Appleseed

I have a friend who will like this. Johnny Appleseed was born John Chapman in Leominster, Massachusetts, 1774. He was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Many of us grew up reading about interesting characters like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed.

Johnny's story was about him spreading apple seeds randomly across the country. He actually planted nurseries and built fences around them to protect them from livestock. Much less interesting than the stories, but also much more profound in his influence of the apple industry.   Johnny left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares. His trips were much more concentrated to a small area, rather than around the whole country as the stories told it. He returned  to check up and tend his trees every so often to make sure they were thriving.

When he wasn't spreading his apple seeds, he was spreading religion as a traveling minister. He would read stories to children and adults for a way to earn a nights rest and a meal. He did not accept money for his seeds, gospels, or his stories. He actually converted many Indians during his travels. Because of his eccentricities, it is not know for sure exactly what year he died, or where he is buried. He did leave about 1,200 acres of land to his sister.

Fort Wayne, IN. has a Johnny Appleseed Festival each September.

About that pot on his head for a hat. It was true, he did wear the pot and used it to scoop up water and to cook his vegetarian dinner. I think I will have an apple today to keep the doctor away


Google has digested over 15 million books to date and has come up with an interesting way to plot the usage of words over time. Ngrams are line charts that show the usage of words over time.  Try some neologisms, like 'went missing' , which is relatively new to American English or laser, etc., to track when they came into everyday use. You can also pick two words to compare and you get to decide the time-line.

It does not filter out any words, including four letter words. It also has proper names. Think about interesting words and see how they relate to each other. There is a timeline on the bottom that lets you click to read the books used in the analysis. It is a fun way to pass some time and may be a site to bookmark so you can go back when a new word intrigues you, like extoplasm.

Willie Mays

He was the youngest baseball player to hit fifty home runs in a year, when he was 24. He was also the oldest baseball player to hit fifty home runs in a year, when he was 34, in 1965. Am sure many remember say hey, Willie Mays!

What You Look Like on Facebook

Many people innocently spend way too much time on Facebook and tell way too much about their personal lives. Now researchers have found a way to determine your personality by your Facebook friends and the things you like. It might be time to think about what you say electronically before your fingers hit the keyboard.

Researchers have created a website that combines the Facebook profiles of fans of companies and public figures with personality testing to create a sophisticated new marketing tool.

Barack Obama, Adam Sandler, and Family Guy all attract the same type of personality on Facebook, according to a newly-launched website, , which has been designed by two researchers at the University of Cambridge.

Sarah Palin appeals to a rather different personality type. Her followers are likely to be more traditional in mindset, disciplined, dutiful, and older than the average Obama fan. Unsurprisingly, her typical Facebook followers are not hockey-mums, but men. Long before the internet or Facebook, my mother told me to be careful about the people I hung around with. How prescient she was.

Sep 27, 2011

Muffins and Granola

We have been told muffins, especially bran muffins are good for us. They keep us regular and help us flush out the bad stuff. There is a bit more to the story. The main ingredient in muffins is fat. Check the wrapper and you can see the grease soaked into it.

Here is a scary comparison. A medium-sized blueberry muffin has more calories than a McDonald's Sausage McMuffin that's the same size. Almost half of those calories are from fat equal to a third of the fat you are supposed to eat in an entire day. Bran muffins have only slightly less calories.

The Quaker Oats True Delights Bar contains raspberries and chocolate and has almost the same amount of fat and calories as a much larger Snickers bar.

Of course, if you stick to chocolate muffins with bacon on top, everything will be fine.

Color of Money

Check your wallet - now we know what they really think.

Collective Intelligence

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. You will be hearing much about this soon. It adds what people are good at with what computers are good at and shares with many unrelated people and machines. Because of each unique idea of how to solve problems combined with other unique views, the power of collective thought is much more profound than any few combinations. In other words, we get smarter quicker.

A recent study proves how powerful this can be. Researchers at the University of Washington have successfully leveraged the power of gamers to determine the folding structure of a complex protein related to the development of AIDS.

The team had been working on the puzzle for years without success and decided to use a new computer program called Foldit. It is a simulation game where individuals can seek new solutions for how genes fold and get points We all need rewards) for correct answers. The whole problem does not have to be solved, just individual pieces.

The collected individual little bits are put back into the researchers model and recomputed with all other bits to come up with an new overall model. The problem was solved in three weeks. Let's go think about that for a while.