Why Aren’t You Beautiful?

Simple answers to the issue of why you aren’t as beautiful as Angelina or Brad are in this LiveScience article.

It covers the ‘DNA Repair kit’ and our genetic mutation rate.


Identity Theft Would Be An Understatement In This Case!

The United States has used the Social Security Number (SSN) to uniquely identify its citizens since 1936.

The most misused Social Security Number of all time began to occur in 1938 when wallet manufacturer EH Ferree started promoting its products by inserting a fake SSN card into the wallet. The braniacs in the company thought it would be cute to use the SSN of one of their secretaries on this fake card!

Her name was Hilda Whitcher, and to protect her, the wallet maker at least tried to ensure it was obviously a fake card by altering the card’s color, shrinking it in size by half and embossing the word ‘Specimen’ across its face. Yeah, great job at protection, right?

So the wallet goes on the shelves in Woolworth department stores across the country where many happy customers thought these cards were intended for use by the purchaser and adopted the SSN as their own. In 1943 its usage reached its peak when 5,755 people were using Hilda’s SSN.

To help stave off its use the government issued her a new SSN, voided her old number and started publicizing that it was incorrect to use it. However, as the years wound on, upwards of 40,000 people were still claiming her number as their own and in fact as late as 1972 (34 years later!) 12 people were found to still be using this number ‘issued by Woolworth’!

Although Hilda Whitcher found it to mostly be a nuisance, the FBI once showed up at her door inquiring about the widespread use of her SSN.

Refer to the Social Security History site for more interesting tidbits on this program.

History Geek

Take Note. Period.

Notepad Mobile, by Orneta is a simple and easy to use text editor and viewer for Windows Mobile based devices. You can create, view and edit simple or complex documents with this utility. It supports many file formats including HTML and XML.

You can download it and buy it, it’s just US $14.99.

Mobile Notepad

Gadgets / Devices

Here’s A Link List

I’m lazy and tired tonight so i’m falling back on a link list.

No, not the data structure type, but just a list of links to interesting articles for the day. BTW, if you haven’t seen the Stanford Blinky Pointer animation that explains pointers, check it out, if nothing else you’ll enjoy the ‘magic wand of dereferencing’. Anyway, the wife kept me up most of the night and now I can hardly think straight, so before I hit the hay, here’s a few links to articles I found interesting today:

Medical Geek:

Vanderbilt University scientists say you’re brain isn’t wired to multi-task two decision making tasks simultaneously. You can thank the region of the brain for its ‘dual task interference’ phenomenon that postpones one cognitive task until another is completed. [Links to Chemistry.org]

Just Geeky:

Nature.com informs us that while barnacles can slow down ships, which costs you and the transporter money, a graduate student from Cornell has a solution. It’s a polymer that can be sprayed to a surface exposed to water and will prevent growth or sundry creatures from attaching themselves. Other products were produced before to do this but proved so toxic to the environment they were banned. This one looks promising and the Brine Shrimp are simply raving about it.


From physorg.com is an article on a new brake light system for cars. Some (or perhaps a lot) of rear end car collisions may be preventable using technology instead of keeping to the 2 second rule. During a braking scenario, drivers perceive the time separation between themselves and a vehicle they’re following based on the size of the image of the leading vehicle on the driver’s retina. They hypothesized that if it were possible to exaggerate how quickly the retinal image expanded, drivers might brake sooner in potential crash situations. A preliminary study using a driving simulator confirmed that they did. The next challenge was to find an application for this knowledge.

There solution is to make the brake lights *appear* to grow in size, fooling the brain since the retinal image increases in size. In tests, this got people to brake 100-300 msec sooner!

So does this mean the tailgaters can get closer now?

Just Geeky:

The folks at Evil Mad Scientists take you through the teardown process of a nixie tube. My gawd, it’s been about 15 years since I last played with electron tubes. They were so much easier to work with than software, it’s software that has added more gray to my head than even the wife.

Misc., News Links

Binary For Teh Win!

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100000 01100110 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100111 01100101 01100101 01101011 01110011 00100001 00100000 00100000 01001001 00100000 01110011 01100001 01110111 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01101010 01110101 01110011 01110100 00100000 01101000 01100001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01110100 01100101 01100001 01110011 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110111 01101001 01110100 01101000 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100111 01101001 01110100 01100001 01101100 00100000 01100111 01101111 01101111 01100100 01101110 01100101 01110011 01110011 00101110 00100000 00100000 01001001 00100000 01101011 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100010 01101001 01101110 01100001 01110010 01111001 00100000 01100110 01110010 01100101 01100001 01101011 01110011 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100100 01110010 01101111 01101111 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01100010 01111001 00100000 01101110 01101111 01110111 00100000 00111010 00101001


Binary is our friend. 

Just geeky