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Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If it's original, you'll have to ram it down their throats.
~ Howard Aiken

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Torture and Collateral Damage - Jonathan Glover

In modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful.
~ Jonathan Glover

I read that quote by British philosopher Jonathan Glover in Sam Harris' book The End of Faith. Glover and Harris expose a moral oddity or failing. They argue that while our conscience is repelled by the torture of one person, that same conscience can somehow accept when a "precision bomb" causes "collateral damage." Yet the harm caused by the bomb is much greater than the harm caused by torture of one individual. How do we accept or discount that greater harm? Why do we focus on pain torture causes an individual? Surely, the pain, suffering (not to mention death) caused to the innocent by the anonymous bomb exceeds that of any torture chamber. Both acts are abhorrent. Why does our moral compass fail us?

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Jeremy Brett - Bio Notes

Jeremy Brett's performance as Sherlock Holmes generated a worldwide fan base for Brett. Jeremy Brett (born Peter Jeremy William Huggins) died in 1995 of heart failure related to a childhood case of rheumatic fever (and smoking). Some say he died from prolonged grief after the death of his second wife in 1985. In The New York Times obituary, Mel Gussow wrote: "Mr. Brett was regarded as the quintessential Holmes: breathtakingly analytical, given to outrageous disguises and the blackest moods and relentless in his enthusiasm for solving the most intricate crimes." Below are a few more details found on Wikipedia about Jeremy Brett's life and death...

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Unhappy Meals

Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan Excellent article on nutrition, the food industry, and journalism...A recipe for poor health.

Food advice can be summed up:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

  • By food it means whole fruits, vegetables.
  • By not too much it means eat until you're 80% full -- control your portions and never stuff yourself.
  • By mostly plants it means eat more leafy vegetables and less grains and seeds--but focus on diversity.

Some helpful corollaries:

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A Loving Husband

Received this in an email

A Loving Husband...

A man and his ever-nagging wife went on vacation to Jerusalem. While they were there, the wife passed away. The undertaker told the husband, "You can have her shipped home for $5,000, or you can bury her here, in the Holy Land, for $150." The man thought about it and told him he would just have her shipped home.

The undertaker asked, "Why would you spend $5,000 to ship your wife home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $150?"

The man replied, "Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. I just can't take that chance."

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The Wiki Way - by Leuf and Cunningham

The Wiki Way: Quick Collaboration on the Web by Bo Leuf and Ward Cunningham.

Been looking for this book for quite a while now. As with Hidden Connections, I found it at a used bookstore today.

I first encountered the wiki way on Wikipedia.org, where anyone--even me--can edit and add articles. I started a few stubs, enjoyed watching them evolve, even when my precious writing was updated. Almost always, the evolution of the articles made them better. Of course there comes a point of diminishing returns.

So I played with installing various wikis, including Wikimedia (wikipedia's engine) and PmWiki, the PHP script running this wiki. Wikimedia was a monster. Huge resource hog, database driven. PmWiki was relatively resource light, no database, flat file, which at first I disliked, but as I read the developer's reasons for choosing flat file, I bought into the idea. In fact, I've become very enthusiastic, in large part because updates are a breeze. I have a Drupal blog that is MySQL driven, and version updates are a nightmare--mostly because of the damn database.

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Friendship - The Laws of Attraction

Best Friends - This article by Karen Karbo is fascinating, especially to a shy guy like myself. It describes how and why some friends become "best" friends, and how those close relationships are maintained...or not.

"The conventional wisdom is that we choose friends because of who they are. But it turns out that we actually love them because of the way they support who we are."

Friends that support our dominant social identity (parent, student, superhero) tend to be the strongest. So if I think of myself as a superhero first, my best friends will likely be those that support that identity, usually superheros themselves but not necessarily. Non-superhero friends can support my superhero identity, too.

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The Engineer, the Manager...and a Hot Air Balloon

The Engineer and the Manager - Received this funny (dare I say insightful) piece in an email recently. It compares an engineer and a manager, and involves a hot air balloon.

Could you substitute "engineer and manager" with "husband and wife," "father and son," or "Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell"?

You decide...


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Biomimicry - Innovation Inspired by Nature - by Janine Benyus

Biomimicry by Janine Benyus - Fascinating idea--philosophy, really--that we should look to the existing designs of nature for "innovation."

Not that such an approach isn't being used. Look at how pharmaceutical companies develop compounds found in rainforests into new drugs.

But biomimicry as Benyus describes it is something deeper. It's about changing how we view ourselves in the world as much as how we seek out nature-inspired design.

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Pirate Bay SOPA/PIPA Press Release


Cut the cake...Check...Remove chastity belt...

Pirate Bay press release regarding SOPA & PIPA. Some very interesting points made.

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How to Make Love in the Morning

Found this on answer.yahoo.com. In poor taste, but funny.

Tyrone asked his work buddy, Robert, one morning, "Man, why you always so damn happy when you come to work every day?"

Robert replied, "Because I make love to my wife every morning before work."

Amazed, Tyrone asked him how he gets his wife to make love to him every morning.

"That's easy," Robert said, "I just tell her this little poem that I made up.

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8 Bad Words

8 Bad Words - Found this video by Trevor Crook kinda informative and funny--not George Carlin funny by any means, however...

(:youtube I-09D7Vi4XA:)

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Burglar's Advice - Best Place to Hide Money

Found this burglar's advice on a link that has since died. Most of the advice seems to serve the burglar more than the potential victim, so consider the source.

Best Place to Hide Money - Short answer: The bank. Aside from that, here is a burglar's best advice:

Understand a burglar's motivations:

  1. To steal your money and valuables
  2. To get out of the house quickly with these goods

So, donít hide all your money and valuables too well. To quote the burglar...

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Castle in Cheshire - Broken Beacon

Spectacular shot here...I couldn't take my eyes off it and had to share. It's a castle in Mow Top, Cheshire, U.K.

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Jessica Alba - "Good Luck Chuck" Poster

It's like a Got Milk? ad ... but it's not :)


Jessica Alba Poster for Good Luck Chuck

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Happiness - A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard

Happiness by Matthieu Ricard - Started reading this a bit ago. Nice primer on Buddhism. Absolutely loved the book that traces a dialog with his father, The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life.

Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves.

~ Luca and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza

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Passive Cooling Technique - Zeer Pots

This looks VERY interesting ideas on passive cooling. Plan to summarize. Zeer Pots are a ingeniously simple solution to refrigeration without electricity. I'm gonna experiment with that at home. Zeer pots sound perfect for camping. Photos included in the original post are helpful.


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How Long to Boil Water - So It's Safe to Drink

How Long to Boil Water So It's Safe to Drink - It's a critical issue when hiking in the wilderness or traveling in some foreign lands. Filters and purifiers can work well, HOWEVER:

The ONLY 100% reliable method for killing waterborne pathogens is boiling.

According to the Wilderness Medical Society...

  • water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and
  • water temperatures above 185° F (85° C) kill all pathogens within a few minutes.

So by the time water temperature goes from 160° F (70° C) to the boiling point (212° F or 100° C), all pathogens have been killed, even at high altitude.

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Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit

Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit - Here's a good intro to will, estate and trust law. Still should have a lawyer review your documents to be safe. I found it very easy to go through and understand. She has a lawyer narrate much of the text and provides excellent summaries of the main points to consider when putting together a will and living trust.

Includes all necessary forms, and seems to perform online updates. For a relatively simple estate, I think the Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit is a winner.

Suze Orman Will & Trust Kit (CD-ROM)
*NEW Suze Orman Will & Trust Kit Online Version (CD-ROM)

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If GM Built Cars Like Microsoft Builds Software

Yet another fantastically funny email. I wonder if the story behind this has any truth.

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated:

"If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued this press release...

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Worshiping Salma Hayek's Breasts

I found religion!

AFRICAN TRIBE WORSHIPS SALMA HAYEK'S BREASTS!

(Link outdated. Read cached copy below.)

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