Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shrinking Americans

Two articles, one from and the other from AlterNet, talk about how Americans are losing their height advantage over the rest of the world. Historically Americans have always been taller than people in other places. In 1850 for example, the average American was 2.5 inches taller than the average European. Now the situation has nearly reversed with the average Dutchman being 2 inches taller than the average American.

It's not that being tall actually makes you smarter, richer or healthier. It's that the same things that make you tall -- a nutritious diet, good prenatal care and a healthy childhood -- also benefit you in those other ways.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The double fisherman's knot

Lifehacker links to a video showing how to tie a double fisherman's knot. The video refers to the knot as the impossible knot due presumably to how difficult it is to untie.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A binary counter made of wood

This one is a bit geeky but it is a YouTube video of a binary adder made using wood and marbles.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


National Geographic has a good introduction to swarm theory.
"Ants aren't smart," Gordon says. "Ant colonies are."

Followup: the article is discussed in this slashdot article

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

US tries to simulate the world

An article on The Register describes the US Department of Defense's effort to create giant simulations of the world. They aim to have one "node" in the simulation for every person on earth.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Bank Machine Turns 40

According to this article on the BBC, the banking machine has just turned forty. The first machine was installed at a Barclay's branch in Enfield north London in 1967.
"It struck me there must be a way I could get my own money, anywhere in the world or the UK. I hit upon the idea of a chocolate bar dispenser, but replacing chocolate with cash."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Gooble Maps: Cool New Feature

Google maps has a new feature on its driving directions. After you enter the location that you want directions between, you will get a map showing the route between the two points. Now, if you grab hold of the route you can drag it to include any places that you want to pass though on the way.