Archive for the ‘From the Web’ Category

Link Clearance: Some interesting (?) stuff I found on the net

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Beware credit card euphoria (subscriber link)

Similar information here:

A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that using a credit card induces euphoria.

Like a starry-eyed new lover who ignores the downsides of an obviously incompatible but very attractive partner, consumers who swipe plastic when they buy are often blinded to the true costs of their purchases. They even tend to exaggerate the perceived benefits of whatever they’re buying, according to research by Promothesh Chatterjee of the University of Kansas and Randall L. Rose or University of South Carolina.

This research actually goes well beyond what we’ve known previously about the impact of credit card use on consumer behavior. The old information — that consumers tend to spend 15%-30% more when paying with plastic — was bad enough. It turns out that our actual perceptions of products is different when we’re paying with a credit card. Sounds crazy, but here’s the research.

Researchers primed subjects using traditional behavioral study methods, such as making them play words games which focused their attention either on credit cards or on cash. Then they gave the consumers information on items they could theoretically buy, such as a notebook computer or an iPhone. Repeatedly, consumers “primed” to think about credit cards had a harder time recalling products’ price or other downsides.

“Our findings suggest that marketers may be affecting not just the amount of money consumers are willing to spend but also the nature of the goods and services that find their way into consumers’ market baskets,” the report says.


How to rob a bank without going to jail:

Stop when the story is over.  The MC has a foul mouth and small vocabulary.

What’s Virgin Mean?

Marriage Lessons at Herman Cain’s Expense

Very wise.


The Elevator


Schrodinger’s cat (via facebook)



Symphonic music played on wine glasses.


Sam Harris: The Truth about Violence:3 Principles of Self Defense

(I don’t kjnow who this is, but I liked the advice)

Principle #1: Avoid dangerous people and dangerous places.

Principle #2: Do not defend your property.

Principle #3: Respond immediately and escape.


Good financial advice:

Spend on the things you do every day.

Buy for what you do, not for what you wish you did.


Forget Salt

A new JAMA study finds a strong correlation: the third of folks who eat the least salt die over three times as often as the third of folks who eat the most salt.

Why print books still have a place

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

 Interesting thought in this short post:

John’s Corner of the World: Darren and the encyclopedia: Why print books still have a place
While at my permaculture course, Darren Doherty, our instructor, told a little bit of his own story now and then. At one point, he mentioned that he had learned to read when he was about three years old. And when he was five or six years old, he received a World Book Encyclopedia for his birthday.

“I read the entire set four times through.”

–Now, before I say anything else, I should note that he is the second person I have met who has confessed to reading an entire encyclopedia.

But four times through? And why? What would motivate a child to read an entire encyclopedia?

Well, besides the basic thirst for knowledge–which both of the people I have met who have done this have obviously exhibited, Darren replied, “Because it was mine. They were my books.”

The encyclopedia was a unique gift and it was his.

Thought: I can’t imagine an electronic encyclopedia–an e-book encyclopedia–generating anywhere near the same feelings or motivations in any child.

And that thought led to this: That print books still have a real place in today’s and tomorrow’s society.

Does this resonate with anyone else?  Maybe I’m just old, but a physical book is something special, a tangible reminder of the story or a reminder of the past.  e-books seem just so ephemeral.

ALEXA MEADE – very cool

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

 Check out Alexa Meade’s portfolio.  This is the coolest original idea I’ve seen in a long time.

Here’s one of my favorites – click on through and take a close look at this.


Stupid, or lazy?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

“Isn’t it amazing that we’d rather call ourselves stupid than lazy? At least laziness is easy to fix.”

Another really short post, but his posts tend to be short and I hate to cut&paste the whole thing.

Seth’s Blog: Stupid and lazy

xkcd: Amber Waves of Grain

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Colorado is working to develop coherent amber waves, which would allow them to finally destroy Kansas and Nebraska with a devastating but majestic grain laser.

Colorado is working to develop coherent amber waves, which would allow them to finally destroy Kansas and Nebraska with a devastating but majestic grain laser.

thanks to xkcd.

xkcd: Working

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

And if you drive a typical car more than a mile out of your way for each penny you save on the per-gallon price, it doesn't matter how worthless your time is to you--the gas to get you there and back costs more than you save.


No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Seth Godin says it’s the law of large groups at work, messing with the way we perceive the world.


It’s also true that most of your friends have more friends than you do.

The law of large groups is at work here. This explains why the people you see at the gym tend to be in better shape than you are.

People with lots of friends are more likely to be friends with you than people with no friends, right? And the people who are at the gym a lot (as in the people you see the most often) tend to be in better shape because they show up more often.

Discernment is the hardest part of marketing–seeing the world as it is, instead of how you experience it.

It’s also true that the other lane in the supermarket or freeway is faster than yours and your toast does land butter side down.

New Webcam

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Grandma and Grandpa try to take a picture with their new webcam.

You can read some background here:

Grandparents with webcam become new online stars – Yahoo! News


Debt Ceiling, Dr. Who, Tigger … and more

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Tim Harford, The Undercover Economist , has snide comments about our debt ceiling debate.

A handbag away from our debt ceiling

 “It’s not that easy. The percentage of household income spent on handbags has been considerably exaggerated by your weaselly father. Far more important is the mortgage. If we stop the payments, we lose the house.”

Doctor Who at Fawlty Towers

The Doctor and Rose decide to go undercover at Fawlty Tower’s after Mickey reports strange goings on there. But the real threat is yet to come, and only the unlikeliest of heroes can save the day.

Is Your Luggage Safe from airport security?

Think your luggage and personal items are safe? Think again! Here’s how anyone can get in your luggage without you even knowing.

Click through for the video. He also has lots of other interesting looking videos, like

 Ball of fire! Make fireballs you can hold with household items! They are fun to play with! Amaze your friends! Learn how magicians do it!

As my son put it, “What!!! handheld fireballs!?!  Let me see!”

Savage Chickens

Savage Chickens is one of several “cartoons on post-it notes” sites I’ve encountered recently.

Here’s a great visualization of the United States debt

You have to go see it.

Schneier on Security (my italics):

Hacking Apple Laptop Batteries


Security researcher Charlie Miller, widely known for his work on Mac OS X and Apple’s iOS, has discovered an interesting method that enables him to completely disable the batteries on Apple laptops, making them permanently unusable, and perform a number of other unintended actions. The method, which involves accessing and sending instructions to the chip housed on smart batteries could also be used for more malicious purposes down the road.[…]

What he found is that the batteries are shipped from the factory in a state called “sealed mode” and that there’s a four-byte password that’s required to change that. By analyzing a couple of updates that Apple had sent to fix problems in the batteries in the past, Miller found that password and was able to put the battery into “unsealed mode.”

From there, he could make a few small changes to the firmware, but not what he really wanted. So he poked around a bit more and found that a second password was required to move the battery into full access mode, which gave him the ability to make any changes he wished. That password is a default set at the factory and it’s not changed on laptops before they’re shipped. Once he had that, Miller found he could do a lot of interesting things with the battery.

“That lets you access it at the same level as the factory can,” he said. “You can read all the firmware, make changes to the code, do whatever you want. And those code changes will survive a reinstall of the OS, so you could imagine writing malware that could hide on the chip on the battery. You’d need a vulnerability in the OS or something that the battery could then attack, though.”

As components get smarter, they also get more vulnerable.

Schneier on Security (my italics):

Liabilities and Computer Security

Good article:

Halderman argued that secure software tends to come from companies that have a culture of taking security seriously. But it’s hard to mandate, or even to measure, “security consciousness” from outside a company. A regulatory agency can force a company to go through the motions of beefing up its security, but it’s not likely to be effective unless management’s heart is in it.This is a key advantage of using liability as the centerpiece of security policy. By making companies financially responsible for the actual harms caused by security failures, lawsuits give management a strong motivation to take security seriously without requiring the government to directly measure and penalize security problems. Sony allegedly laid off security personnel ahead of this year’s attacks. Presumably it thought this would be a cost-saving move; a big class action lawsuit could ensure that other companies don’t repeat that mistake in future.

I’ve been talking about liabilities for about a decade now. Here are essays I’ve written in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006.

Finally, this hits home.

Link Roundup – July

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Here’s to interesting stuff and not enough time:

First Follower

This is an educational voice-over on an old viral video (Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy).
Follow the link for a transcript.

America’s Worst Mom

A lot of people say she’s America’s worst mom. What do you think? (I think a lot of people are pansies)

Some People Just Won’t Listen
.. or why you shouldn’t bank at Starbucks

If someone sent me a message from my own account, telling me what I’m drinking right now, I’d listen to his advice.

You’d think that with the name scratch, people wouldn’t expect it to be around for a long time

This is funny, because we have a “scratch” drive at work. Our IT guys (who are excellent, by the way) found it necessary to add folders named “___SCRATCH_IS_NOT_BACKED_UP” and “zzzSCRATCH_IS_NOT_BACKED_UP”. I’ll bet the target audience still didn’t get the message.

Some excellent answers to almost any post on any biking forum.

* No bike does everything perfectly. In fact, no bike does anything until someone gets on it to ride.
* The more you ride your bike, the less your *** will hurt.


Great advice in any context:
Maybe the person you waved at while you were out riding didn’t see you wave at them.

This was probably in response to people like this (warning: not polite)

Beethoven’s 5th – Salsa

Don’t need a computer? Finally, there’s a non-computer device for you.

PALO ALTO, CA—Hewlett-Packard announced Friday the release of the first-ever non-computer, a fully unusable device specially designed to address the demands of individuals who have absolutely no need to own a computer.