Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Economics and the 18 year old Criminal

Slate has an interesting article about an economist trying to find out if harsh prison sentences have a deterent effect on crime. He looks at whether people commit fewer crimes when they turn 18 and the sentences increase dramatically. The short answer is they don't.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Walking on Doodles

A strange flash game. It is basically a side view platform game where you have to move you character from one side of the board to the other. The interesting thing is that, using the mouse, you draw in the surface that your character walks on. Note that you don't have to do all the drawing in one go - you can draw, walk along the line, then draw some more.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Uses of Security Theatre

Bruce Schneier usually disparages what he calls 'security theatre' but in this article he discusses a situation where the appearance of security is actually useful. I'm not sure I buy it myself but I do see his point.

A Low Tech Game

Here is a game for those times you have some time to kill and not much in the way of gaming materials. All you need is a nickel, three pennies and a table to play on.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Word Clouds

I'm not entirely sure what this actually is but will build what they call a word cloud from your blog or website. They will then sell this to you on a T-shirt.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Online Comic: Agnes Quill

An interesting comic about a girl who lives in a slightly magical city with a bit of a Victorian feel. Agnes can see ghosts and makes her living by doing jobs for them in the real world. There are a couple of full length stories and a few shorter ones.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Death at Sea

The Guardian has an article about people mysteriously vanishing from cruise ships at sea. Some of them at least seem to have been murdered but the police and the cruise companies don't seem overly interested.

via rebecca's pocket

Password Cracking

Bruce Schneier has an article on choosing passwords and the techniques used to break them.

One method he recommends is using computer generated passwords, ones that will presumably be hard to crack, and storing them in a encrypted file for when you need them. That way you only have to remember the password for the encrypted file.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Evolution of Spammers

An interesting article about how spammers, and other internet baddies, have evolved over time. The increasing professionalism and sophistication is a bit worrying.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Secret Underground Tunnel Expedition

An interesting blog post about an expedition to sneak into the old hydro tunnels under Niagara Falls. With photos including one of the tunnel in its 1906 construction and one of the equipment required for the expedition.

Game: Driving on Gears

If you have some free time try this Flash game. You basically have to drive a little dune buggy across terrain made of moving gears.

via Brass Goggles

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Comet over Catalonia

The Astronomy Picture of the Day has a beautiful photo of Comet McNaught in the sky over Spain.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Scotland wants you: To Wash your Hands

Apparently the Scottish Government paid GBP 2.3 million to develop this website to teach people how and when they should wash their hands. While I do like the domain name ( and I can't fault the message, it does seem a bit expensive to me. On the plus side I suppose this means that no other government will have to make an English language site about hand washing - unless of course there is something special about Scottish hands.

via Reddit

Saturday, January 13, 2007

DIY Steam Powered Spinning Candle

Make has a great how-to video that shows how to make a very simple steam engine that will cause a floating tea light to spin.

The mechanism is the same as that used in put-put boats.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Postal Rates

Slate has an article about how payments work for international mail. Interestingly a country (developed ones at least) can get in trouble if they aren't quick enough handling the mail.

Cool Clocks

Some very interesting looking clocks. They are a bit expensive and the website is a bit annoying but they are worth a look if you like that sort of thing.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Deciphering barking

Yahoo has an article on a security system that interprets the barking of guard dogs. The goal is to let human guards know if the barking is worth investigating.

The New Blogger

To celebrate the new year I have upgraded to the new Google version on Blogger. Hopefully this won't make any difference.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Year at a glance

The folks at DIY Planner have a potentially useful PDF file that contains a one page calendar for all of 2007 that fits on a single page.

If you haven't checked out you may want to have a look. They have all sorts of forms and other potentially useful things you can print. They are probably most known for the Hipster PDA.