Tuesday, March 29, 2005

How much seafood is okay?

Got Mercury? is a site that explains the dangers mercury in fish, and includes a handy calculater that, based on FDA guidelines, guesses how much of various kinds of seafood are okay to eat per week.

Good news: salmon is okay.
Bad news: lobster is not.

Slate has a review of the options.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

How car dealers make their money

Selling cars in the U.S. - the inside scoop || kuro5hin.org

It's been a long time since I bought a car, but I remember wondering how the dealer made any money, given the fact that he was able to show me the "dealer invoice", the price he pays to the manufacturer, and "prove" that he was selling to me at cost. This article explains how it all works.

Amazon.com: Statistically Improbable Phrases

Amazon.com: What are Amazon.com Statistically Improbable Phrases?

When you search a book on Amazon, they provide a list of Statistically Improbably Phrases (SIPs) that tell you some of the words and phrases that occur more frequently in this book than in others. What an interesting way to find a summary of a book. They should expand this to all kinds of things, including shopping and web searches.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Anti-Pinker arguments at Harvard

From The Harvard Crimson Online reporting on speakers at a recent event discussing women in science:

"Professor of Psychology Elizabeth S. Spelke disputed the findings of various studies used to support arguments for innate gender differences in cognition. She directed particularly vehement criticisms at Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology Steven Pinker, whose book The Blank Slate formed the basis for some of Summers' remarks about ''intrinsic aptitude.''"

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Preschool options on Mercer Island

Everyone knows that there is a daycare shortage on Mercer Island ("a crisis" written about in the Mercer Island Reporter), but now finally there's an organization doing something about it. The Mercer Island Early Childhood Taskforce has a web site giving all the details.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

College students today

For me, college and grad school were opportunities to see the future; at Stanford we used the Internet 10 years before everyone else, and Wharton let me learn concepts about finance or marketing that are only now becoming mainstream. So I am very interested in knowning what today's students do, because that ought to hint at what will be mainstream 10 years from now. Today I talked with a 20-something who gave me a couple of insights:

  • Students go to http://www.vault.com for the inside scoop on what it's like to work at a company.

  • Everyone uses IM, of course, usually with hundreds of buddies. It can be awkward when you split up with your girlfriend, because what do you do with all those "buddies"? There is software that can tell whether you are on somebody's block list.

I've been disappointed with some of the college students I've met through Stanford's alumni program. They aren't as gadget-centric as I would have expected, for example, though maybe that's just because gadgets are expensive.

Infra Red Webcam

Here's how to convert an old webcam into an
Infra Red Webcam. The basic idea is to remove a piece of glass from the lens that serves as an IR filter and replace it with a visible light filter you can make from a black photo negative.

(From Slashdot)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Radio Time: Recorder Software

Radio Time: Recorder Software is well-reviewed by Wired and CoolTools. I've been using Replay-Radio instead, but I should check this out as well.

  • Cons compared to Replay-Radio: $40/yr subscription fee.

  • Pro: much better guide, more professional-looking site.

Investment ideas in consumer electronics

Here's my Big Bet: iPod will not be the dominant music player in five years. I'm not sure who will replace them or how, but this market will have a lot of volatility.

  • NAPS: a pure-play digital subscription service. Current stock price is around 7, significantly down from its high of about 10 a few months ago.

  • RNWK is priced very low (about $6), partly because of the competition from Apple and Microsoft.

  • PLAY makes the chipset used in the iPod. At $26, they're off from their post-IPO highs in the low-30s in November. These guys are controversial because of the short-term nature of their contract with Apple. I wouldn't touch them unless I understand a bit more about their technology. Are they in Apple because of some fluke? or do they have special non-imitatable technology?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

dapreview.net: News

I'll need to add this site to my blogroll: dapreview.net: reports on MP3 audio players, including iRiver.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Challenging Chomsky

News: "At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC, the linguist Professor Andrew Wedel of Arizona University challenged the Chomsky model of universal grammar with his own view that language has an innate property of self-organisation."