Fact or Fiction: Living People Outnumber the Dead?

Since the 1970’s there has been a ‘fact’ or statement thrown around, without evidence, to highlight the overpopulation issues many urban areas and some nations face. This myth stated that the number of people alive on the planet today outnumber the combined total of all dead people aggregated throughout mankind’s history.

Since the planet is sustaining approximately 6.5 billion people today, then this would mean that in the previous 50,000 years less than 6.5 billion people have ever lived and died. That seems reasonable, right?

Not true, says demographer Carl Haub. According to his research, slightly over 106 billion people had ever been born, significantly more than the 6.5 billion alive today.

[Found via Kottke.org]

Things to Say When You’re Losing a Technical Argument

So you’re having a technical argument with a colleague and you’re getting that feeling you’re on the losing end of it, maybe you know you’re right or even if you know you’re wrong but hate to lose?

When you’re back is against the wall, here are 77 statements from an old list on ‘Pigdog Journal’ you can pull out of your pocket to save yourself, but you should be careful, these are generally desperations tactics.

Copied below are some of my favorites from the list, I’ve been known to use a few from that bigger list 🙂

  • That won’t scale.
  • Trying to build a team behind that technology would be a staffing nightmare.
  • I was reading about that on BugTraq yesterday.
  • Have you LOOKED at the number of I/O requests that will create?
  • Can you generate some USE CASES that would justify the change?
  • Well, that’s great if you have an AI running the thing.
  • Well, I guess we could start the QA cycles again from square one. That would require a press release, though.
  • This really doesn’t jibe with our core competency.
  • No, no, no. We’re really working on an N-TIER architecture, here.

[Found on Digg]

Megapode Watch – Tell Time Or Calculate Fuel Consumption

Talk about a geek’s watch, this is just over the top.

Megapode

Ikepod’s new Megapode watch is also a circular sliderule.

This titanium beauty provides the time, the day, chronograph function a unique circular slide rule for complicated calculations. According to the manufacturer’s site: “This is a watch that can compute fuel consumption for an aircraft or a waypoint for a pilot who needs to calculate range/distance.

Yet Another Math Joke?

A mathematician and a physicist agree to a psychological experiment.

The mathematician is put in a chair in a large empty room and a beautiful naked woman is placed on a bed at the other end of the room.The psychologist explains, “You are to remain in your chair. Every five minutes, I will move your chair to a position halfway between its current location and the woman on the bed.” The mathematician looks at the psychologist in disgust. “What? I’m not going to go through this. You know I’ll never reach the bed!” And he gets up and storms out.

The psychologist makes a note on his clipboard and ushers the physicist in. He explains the situation, and the physicist’s eyes light up and he starts drooling. The psychologist is a bit confused. “Don’t you realize that you’ll never reach her?” The physicist smiles and replied, “Of course! But I’ll get close enough for all practical purposes!”

WordPress 2.1.1 may contain nasty surprise

WordPress 

Breaking news on the web right now as Matt over at WordPress is reporting some serious issues with packages of WordPress 2.1.1 downloaded over the past 3-4 days. According to a blog post, a malicious intruder gained access to the wordpress.org servers and modified the files being made available for download. How exactly this happened is still unknown.

The long-and-short of the situation is this: if you downloaded and installed the most recent version of WordPress from wordpress.org in the last few days, you weren’t downloading the official release– you were downloading a modified version that likely includes some sort of back-door.

Although only a subset of in-the-wild copies of 2.1.1 contain the vulnerability, the development team has declared the entire release “dangerous,” and highly suggest all users upgrade to 2.1.2.

Battlefield 2142: Northern Strike

Northern Strike 

Electronic Arts today released more information regarding Northern Strike, a booster pack for Battlefield 2142 in the works at EA Digital Illusions (DICE) studio in Stockholm, Sweden, and slated for release on March 16th. Battlefield 2142: Northern Strike features three new maps, including the infamous WWII battle scene at the Bridge at Remagen, an Alpine Titan docking harbour in Port Bavaria and a claustrophobic showdown in the Liberation of Leipzig. The booster pack also features new vehicles including the EU’s heavily armed IFV Goliath and the PAC’s hovering light IFV Hachimoto in addition to new unlocks, new badges and ribbons, new gameplay and more.

It’s time for some butt kickin’ EU or PAC style, baby!  I’ve already got my preorder for this ready to go when it goes live on the 16th.  Meet me on the battlefield….If you dare.

Shutdown Day

Can you go without using your computer, PDA, or IM device for a whole day?  I know it would be tough for me, as it would be for a great many people.  This March 24th, Denis Bystrov and Michael Taylor encourage all of us to shutdown our computers and go do something else for a day.  Go to a park, watch a movie, visit relatives, whatever it takes to get you to take in some fresh air for a while.

Quoted by Michael Taylor, Shutdown Day co-founder:
“I certainly could not and would not want to live without my computer. However, I am often drawn into spending hours chatting on MSN, simply because my friends are online instead of socialising face to face. I am often too busy to cook a proper dinner, because I want to see the latest news on digg.com, the latest YouTube video or to see who has commented on my MySpace. I know parents who are so addicted to the computer they spend little time with their children and I also know children who do not spend time with their parents because they are always using the computer.

We are not preaching to anyone to turn off their computers, just suggesting that people might like to take part in this experiment, and see what happens. See if people think differently after a day without their computer…”

So walk away from your computer!  Or not 😉  Tell us here in the comments section if you plan to participate!

Snails Save Energy by Re-Using Mucus Trails

Now come on, is there even a need to continue on with the article when it’s basically summed up in a title like this one? 🙂

OK, before i punt you to the article on LiveScience, Biologists in Britain studied marine snails and confirmed the long-held assumption that to conserve energy, snails play follow the leader by laying down a less mucous on top of older trails laid by others ahead of him (or her i suppose). They confirmed the assumption by measuring the thickness of the original trails to the reused trails.

So, what would a snail do with that extra energy? Believe it or not, for making baby snails.

Here’s the LiveScience article. You can thank me later.

Oh, and since I have you in the mood for snail stories, reread the (short) Radioactive snails story originally published on Geeknews last October.

Star Gazers, Rejoice!

Sky-Map.Org

This phenomenal Star-Sky Map really needs no explanation.  If you are an astronomer,  or just like to view the night time sky, this is a place for you.  Those glittering jewels, so far away….can be brought much closer to you via this great site.  You get everything from a SSDS (Sloan Digital Sky Survey) photo-clear view of the sky, to detailed information on every object in the map.  This is a must see, folks….I could spend hours in here, and never know it passed.

Vista Wallpapers That Didn’t Quite Make The RTM Cut

Hamad Darwish is the photographer that is responsible for some of the Vista Wallpapers that display a ‘Vista View’.

Some of his photos obviously didn’t make the cut, well now they’re available to download.In my opinion, some of these in the gallery are just as good or better than the inbox walls.

You can download the 30MB package from here which is being hosted by www.istartedsomething.com.

New Vista Wallpapers 1

New Vista Wallpapers 2

New Vista Wallpapers 3

Guess What Caused The Biggest Drop In The Stock Market Since 9/11?

Do you follow the stock market? Tuesday was not a good day. It started in China with a meltdown and the sell off worked its way across the globe including the Dow in New York.

It was the biggest down-day in percentage terms since 9/11. Over 500 point drop ❗

Guess what exacerbated a day of routine sell off and turned into a holy terror on the trading floor?

Here’s the scoop from CNN Money, it’s good:

The publisher of the Dow industrials said that a system problem starting at 1:50 p.m. ET on Tuesday, amid unusually heavy trading volume, caused a 70-minute lag during which the value of the market measure lagged the declines in the underlying stocks.

The subsequent downward spike in the Dow occurred when the problem was corrected as the company switched to its backup system at around 3 p.m.

Just before the switch, the Dow was showing about a 160-point drop. But then the blue-chip barometer appeared to tumble some 200 points in the blink of an eye as the newly available data was correctly reflected in the average.

That drop then sparked nervousness among traders and the Dow fell another 100 points or so, eventually ending down 416, its seventh-biggest point decline ever.

What happened over a short period of time should have happened over a longer period, explained a Dow Jones spokeswoman.

To see the market drop hundreds of points out of nowhere was alarming, to hear that it was a technical glitch really pissed people off,” said Peter Boockvar, chief equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co.

CompUSA Closing Up Shop

When I saw this in my feed for BetaNews, that nearly half of the 229 CompUSA computer stores are closing for good throughout the US, I felt a pang a sorrow.

I felt bad because I had fond memories of playing with demo laptops there, browsing the latest PC games or purchasing another tube of CD-Rs just because I didn’t want to leave empty handed nevermind i still had dozens left.

But then i thought, “Wow, it’s been so long since I shopped there I can’t remember the last time i visited”. It may have been 5 or 6 years ago, and the reason I haven’t been there is because there are so many other shops between home and CompUSA now about 10 miles away.

Take for instance New Egg. 😛

WTF Renamed to ‘Worse Than Failure’

It’s sad but true. The owner of the DailyWTF has renamed the site to a more socially acceptable name of ‘Worse Than Failure’. The question you may ask is ‘acceptable to whom?’. Not more acceptable to the hard core geeks that revel in the stories, it’s more acceptable in order to market the product and generate more revenue (at least that’s a theory posed in the comments to the thread linked above).

Besides redefining the acronym ‘WTF’, the original domain thedailywtf.com is also redirecting to worsethanfailure.com.

We can only hope that this is an April Fool’s joke one month early because judging from the comments that post, it’s not going down well with the a lot of the faithful. In an effort to appease them, owner Alex Papdimoulis is giving away stickers each day this week celebrating the new name, as seen below.
Here’s the announcement with explanation for the rename.

WTF

D&D: Magic Item Compendium

The ultimate collection of D&D magic items.

This supplement for the Dungeons & Dragons game presents over 500 new magic items, including affordable items that no adventurer should be without, as well as more than 750 of the best magic items from previously published D&D game supplements and campaign settings, Dragon magazine articles, and articles posted on the Wizards of the Coast website.

Each magic item is presented and catalogued in a new, easy-to-reference format that includes a read-aloud text description of the item.

The Amazon cost is US$23.07, it’s 224 pages, hardcover and is scheduled for release on March 13, 2007.

Magic Item Compendium

Let’s Say You’re At The Dentist’s Office

Let’s say you’re at the dentist’s office, but you have to wait a few minutes and have the jitters? Well, if you’re using Google’s RSS Reader to host your feeds then you can use your device to easily while away the time.

Here’s the deal. GOOG’s reader URL for your desktop is http://www.google.com/reader. But you can retrieve a ‘mobilized’ version of your feeds from: http://www.google.com/reader/m

Note the ‘m’ appended to the URL. Each of the feeds are rendered for a mobile device as well.

Orchestrating a standard for widgets

I found an interesting argument on behalf of creating a standard for the diverse sets of widgets/gadgets proliferating throughout the web, desktop and mobiles today.

Opera has recently joined the fray by proposing a widget standard to the W3C Forum.

“We don’t need 10 different widget standards,” said von Tetzchner, CEO of Opera. “Ours is very open. It’s not tied to the operating system or anything else. It will run across devices and across operating systems from day one.”

Here’s the full article on EETimes.com written by Junko Yoshida.

Cold Calling Google For Your Ideas

Here is an interesting story about Aaron Stanton from Idaho. Aaron has an idea about ‘the next big thing’ and thinks it’s right up GOOG’s alley. So what happens? Well, let me explain it this way, you know this is going to be interesting from the first post:

On February 11th, 2007 I’m getting on a plane to fly to Mountain View, California, headquarters of Google, Inc. Once there, I’m going to try to pitch an idea to them that I think fits right in with the Google spirit and business model; catch is, I don’t have an appointment, they don’t know I’m coming, and I’m literally going to be showing up at their door and hoping they give me a meeting.

Aaron’s site is cangooglehearme.com, contains a running blog of the process while he attempts to get the company’s attention. Tip of the hat to Aaron, he’s got guts.

[Found via The Stupid Shall Be Punished]

Wedding Band for Geeks

Once in a while non-geeks take a pity on us geeks and will actually marry us. For those rare opportunities, if you’re willing to push your luck even further, you can ask your significant other for one of these Binary wedding bands.

Each ring contains 5 tracks of binary notation and will handle up to 20 chars for a personal message, can be cast in either gold or platinum.
Wedding Band

See greenCarat for details.

[Found through Diamondvues]

Laser Graffiti

We see graffiti everywhere….on the streets, fences, in busses and subways.  Normally, you’d ignore it as an everyday eyesore and just continue on your day.  But, what would you say to graffiti on a slightly grander scale?  Such as…an entire building side?  That’s just something you can’t ignore!  And so the creators of the Graffiti Research Lab have demonstrated their skill with their GRL L.A.S.E.R. Tagging System mounted in a Hymermobil (a small mobile home).  This system includes two large solid state lasers coded to use building sides as a canvas, and a custom build laser pointer as a stylus.

GRL L.A.S.E.R. Tagging System 

Watch the video in the above link for a demonstration!