Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trader handsignals

The New York Times has a graphical article that shows what the hand signals used by commodity pit traders mean.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

UN Data Now Available

The United Nations has an interesting new website that presents a lot of their statistical data.

This page for example shows CO2 production by country over time. Using the controls on the left you can add other countries (Canada for example) to the chart. Aside: This raises the question of why the Canadian numbers are so different from the US ones.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Factoid: private jets at Davos

According to this not particularly worth reading article in Newsweek, Gulfstream says that the Davos conference usually attracts more of its planes than any other gathering, drawing up to 10 percent of the 1,500 planes in service to Zurich airport.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Growth of Walmart

The page has a video showing an animation of Walmart's expansion across the US.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Generating Character Names

Just the thing for the aspiring novelist, this site creates character names based on data from the US census.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Traffic shockwave observed in lab

Have you ever been driving on the highway when you suddenly get stuck in traffic which when you get to the front has no apparent cause? Well, the New Scientist has an article about Japanese scientists who have managed to reproduce this in the lab.

The scientists had 22 cars going around a track all of which were told to drive at a steady 30 kilometers / hour. Eventually a wave caused by one driver briefly putting on his brakes travelled back through the stream of cars and caused several to come to a complete stop.
via slashdot

Follow up: Stu kindly sent a link to this little Java applet that simulates traffic flow. If you try the ring road simulation you will see how the traffic bunches up and eventually stops.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Can you name all the elements in 15 minutes? Try this quiz and find out.

The way the quiz works is interesting, there is a display of the periodic table and an entry box at the top. You type the name of an element into the box and if it is correct the answer is placed into the table.

There are a number of the quizzes on the site all with similar interfaces. Try naming all the countries of Asia for example or all the US states. The only down side is there aren't any stats so you can't tell how you compare with other people who've taken the same quiz.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Rotherforth - the name

For those of you who have wondered how rare these Rotherforths really are, check out this page that is part of a surname analysis of the British census. Apparently there were 208 (of voting age) in the UK in 1998.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Feeling Secure

Bruce Schneier has a blog post about the difference between being secure and feeling secure.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

A New User Interface for Magazines

This site has an interesting new user interface for a magazine. Basically it uses the Google Maps scroll and zoom style interface over the pages of a print magazine. I'm not sure that it will catch on but it is an interesting idea.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Dextre stands up

Astronomy Picture of the Day has a nice shot of the new Dextre robot standing up from the space station.