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» Belkin WeMo
This kind of looks like the future of home automation.
Nice feature overview here
is cool but complicated; whereas this looks cool and simple.
A friend pointed me at Bookcrossing
Seems like a great way to redistribute your old books and having some fun doing it.
The basic idea - label your old books with a unique identifier, then drop them off wherever you like. Log the 'drop' on the Bookcrossing
website for someone to pick up. If they log the collection you can track who and where the book goes. Obviously there are the usual anonymity options and if a non-Bookcrossing
person picks up the book they may choose not to join-up (its free, they make money selling accessories like custom labels and bookplates).
» Mailorder Beer
A plug and a bit of a bookmark for myself - Beerstore
in NZ does a great job of distributing beer of all kinds delivered to your door.
I've used them a few times now and they're quick and efficient - I even had one delivery with broken bottles which the couriers obviously screwed up and within a couple of days Beerstore
had another order on my doorstep no questions asked. Now thats service !
» What is a karonkka?
A friend of mine recently returned from Finland where he was examining a PhD defence - the process is called a Karonkka
As well as getting decked out in a full-on tux & tails they actually had ceremonial swords to boot. How cool is that ?
Be sure to read Shauns other posts on the nature of research, patents, science and technology in New Zealand.
» TED Talks
A friend of mine (cheers Eddie!) pointed me at the excellent TED Talk
Subscribe to their RSS feed now.
Theres always something you can set aside 15 minutes of your time to learn about or dump to your mp3 player to listen/watch while you commute.
Recent favourites of mine have included - 'Build a brain in a supercomputer'
, 'Our buggy moral code'
, 'What brain damage can point out about our mind'
, 'Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet?'
» Useful Ways to be Persuasive
I realised my Linkdump category hadn't been updated in a looong time so I'll kick start it with this link to some common-sense ways to be persuasive
As per the link comments in the preamble, its a bit pop-psych but theres some useful stuff to help get your head around how you can get your point of view across to other people.
» Because you need to know - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout
It'll be interesting to see if the New York Times keeps this table up to date - Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout
See which financial institutions receive money and how much they get.
» Good Music - Le Pop by Katzenjammer
Discovered while reading Popmatters list of Also-rans for 2008
'Le Pop' is one of those joyful albums by a band determined to put a stupid grin on your face at all costs or die trying (cf early Violent Femmes, Crowded House, Pogues).
Check out a couple of videos on YouTube - 'A bar in Amsterdam
' and 'Aint no thang
» Good Books - The Shock Doctrine
Another excellent read from Naomi Klein
- The Shock Doctrine
. I have to admit I'm only halfway through this book - mans inhumanity to man makes for tough going - however its pretty much compulsory reading for anyone that wonders how the worlds free market economy's were lead down the track they're currently on.
Essentially what Klein does is posit the idea that free market economies and reforms can only be forced through on the back of an external crisis (sometimes real and sometimes engineered). As a result those people best placed to take advantage of the reforms do extraordinarily well and the vast majority of us end up worse off - with globalisation these disparities keep getting worse as multi-nationals cease to be bound by georgraphy.
As the recent recession and American bank / finance / auto bail-outs have shown - the free market has failed to a certain extent - their own calls for deregulation have bit them on the ass and now they're going cap in hand to the very regulatory bodies they once reviled for assistance.
So even when things go wrong for the wheelers and dealers of the world - they still come out on top.
» Good Books - Killing Rommel by Stephen Pressfield
Another quick summer read - Killing Rommel
is a return to form for Stephen Pressfield - his 'Gates of Fire' was a masterpiece but after that I found 'Tides of War' and 'Last of the Amazons' to be a little dry.
His latest novel tells the tale of the Long Range Desert Group
(LRDG) and their various exploits in the North African campaign, culminating in a mission to track down and kill Rommel