Never in the history of the world

March 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm (Uncategorized)

I found a great quote today from the chairman of the Egyptian stock exchange, Mohamed Abdel Salam said (as paraphrased in the article)  “Never in the history of Egypt or the world, however, has he seen a stock market closed for such a long period”  which closed on January 27th and just re-opened today, so just under two months.

I’m sure this is an argumentative fallacy, but I’m not sure the type.  Read it closely, he makes it seem unprecedented (Never in the history of the world) then immediately constrains it to just what he has seen (I don’t know if he means during his lifetime or where he was physically present).  Makes you think that a stock exchange has never closed for that long right?  Or, at least, not a major one.  He might be technically right that he has never seen one closed that long, but certainly it has happened.

At the start of World War I, the New York Stock Exchange closed for four and a half months, more than twice as long as the Egyptian one was closed.  One would hope that he, as chairman of the exchange (a temporary position for him, his long-term position is chairman of Ministry for Clearing and Settlement) would know this, even if he hadn’t seen it himself.


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What teenagers do

July 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm (Uncategorized)

A report written by Matthew Robson, a 15-year old schoolboy, for Morgan Stanley on how he and his friends consume media. Source: Morgan Stanley

What I am most suprised about is how blindingly obvious most of it is and how little the basic themes differ from when I was a kid.  Here’s the quick summary:

  • Price is  a driver, things that are free are more used than things that cost money
  • Kids listen to music, don’t like paying for it and share it with friends
  • Kids watch TV (or an online version of it)
  • Kids don’t read newspapers
  • Kids play game consoles
  • Kids ignore most ads
  • Kids go to the movies, particularly if they can get in for half price

There were a couple of amusing things in there though

  • “Almost all teenagers like to have a ‘hard copy’ of the song (a file of the song that they can keep on their computer and use at will)”  Clearly the definition of “hard copy” has changed since I was a kid.
  • “Teenagers do not upgrade their phone very often, with most upgrading every two years.”  When I was a kid, two years seemed like a long time too.

Much has been made of kids not using Twitter.  Most people say this means twitter is doomed, but I celebrate it, finally a place for adults that isn’t being ruined by idiot kids.

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Memristor minds: The future of artificial intelligence

July 11, 2009 at 11:37 am (Uncategorized)

“EVER had the feeling something is missing? … A fourth basic circuit element besides the standard trio of resistor, capacitor and inductor. Chua dubbed it the “memristor”. The only problem was that as far as anyone could see, memristors did not actually exist.” In the early 2000s Stan Williams, senior fellow at the Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California tried to create a fast, low-power switch by placing two tiny resistors made of titanium dioxide over one another, using the current in one to somehow toggle the resistance in the other on and off. “They found that they could, but the resistance in different switches behaved in a way that was impossible to predict using any conventional model.”  They had created a memresistor. “What was happening was this: in its pure state of repeating units of one titanium and two oxygen atoms, titanium dioxide is a semiconductor. Heat the material, though, and some of the oxygen is driven out of the structure, leaving electrically charged bubbles that make the material behave like a metal.”

More at new scientist

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Predator or photosynthetic?

July 6, 2009 at 2:36 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

Hatena is a single-cell organism, swimming around in the water, using a little feeding apparatus to eat cells and organic material smaller than itself. At some point, it would feed on another unicellular algae, the Nephroselmis. After ingesting the algae, this mouth disappears. Instead, it is replaced by an eyespot from the algae. The Hatena then gets all its energy from the photosynthetic algae and swims towards the light so the algae gets more sun.

From Byte Size Biology

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Komodo dragons kill with venom, not bacteria, study says –

May 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm (Uncategorized)

Komodo dragons kill with venom, not bacteria, study says –

According to their research, the dragon’s bite weakens and immobilizes the prey. It then injects venom from special glands in the mouth.

The venom keeps blood from clotting around the prey’s wound. And it causes a drop in the blood pressure. The blood loss and the blood pressure drop combine to weaken the animal.

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Glass water bowl and sun start fire at Wash. home

May 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm (Uncategorized)

Too weird.  A dog’s glass water bowl focused the sun enough to cause a fire that did $215,000 in damages.

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The rebellion of the ant slaves

April 1, 2009 at 3:54 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Some species of ants also abduct the young of others, forcing them into labouring for their new masters. Some of its victims (ants from the genus Temnothorax) strike back, once they have matured, they start killing the pupae of their captors, destroying as many as two-thirds of the colony’s brood.

Read the rest at Not Exactly Rocket Science

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Teachers cutting paper usage; kids loving it

March 30, 2009 at 8:04 pm (Uncategorized) ()

The result: homework done online. Paperless term papers. Math problems completed on an interactive whiteboard. An entire course of physics problems contained on a single compact disc. And, schools hope, savings in an ever-tightening budget crunch.

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How Much Energy Goes Into Bottled Water?

March 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Bottled water is a huge industry and it is still growing rapidly (far surpassing the US sales of milk and beer, and second only to soft drinks.) How much energy is used before you drink the water?

From Physorg

Researchers … have estimated the energy required to produce bottled water, including the energy required to manufacture plastic, fabricate the plastic into bottles, process the water, fill and seal the bottles, transport the bottles, and chill the bottles for use.

Combining all the energy input totals, Gleick and Cooley found that producing bottled water requires between 5.6 and 10.2 million joules of energy per liter, depending on transportation factors (a typical personal-sized water bottle is about 0.5 liters). That’s up to 2,000 times the energy required to produce tap water, which costs about 0.005 million joules per liter for treatment and distribution.

Not quite a fair comparison since they didn’t calculate how much it cost to cool tap water or wash the cup you drink from, but still, I am sure even if it were a fair comparison, bottled water would require a lot more energy.

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Space station may have to dodge space junk again

March 16, 2009 at 8:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

NASA kept close tabs on an old piece of space junk Monday that threatened to come too close to the international space station as the shuttle Discovery raced toward the orbiting outpost for a 220-mile-high linkup.

The debris this time is from a Soviet military satellite called Kosmos 1275, which broke up somewhat mysteriously shortly after its 1981 launch.

More from the AP.

It seems like this is happening alot recently.  I wonder if there is more junk, if the junk there is is getting more press, or if we are sending more satalites/shuttles/space stations so we have to avoid junk more often.

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