Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cool Tools blog and the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments

I love the Cool Tools blog!

This post is just one reason why. (Normally they review tools, not books, but this book is so great - I am SO happy there's a torrent of the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments!)

Cool Tool: Best home chemistry lab book
The very best chemistry experiment book for kids is the legendary and long-out-of-print book, the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments. Published in 1960 during the heyday of home chemistry, it was meant to accompany the millions of chemistry kits that were sold each year to typical American kids. You got real experiments with real chemicals. Not like the so-called chemistry sets today which boldly (and insanely) advertise they contain "No Chemicals!"

Among many other things, the Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments told you how to make chlorine gas from bathroom supplies, hydrogen from flashlight battery parts, and rayon from scrap paper, etc. You can see why it was not reprinted in the decades following because of concerns about safety. I used my copy, which is now worth $200 on eBay, to do all the experiments in the book when I was 12, and went on to build a chem lab in my basement. As many kids did.
Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, 1960.

You can get a decent free PDF version of the Golden Book on BitTrorrent.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No, I DIDN'T know that Amazon sold that

Yet somehow, my life went on.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

FCC orders Comcast to stop restricting access to the Internet

Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate: FCC orders Comcast to stop restricting access to the Internet
Yesterday, in a historic decision, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to order Comcast to stop restricting its customers' access to the Internet, quit blocking BitTorrent traffic, and require public disclosure of its network management practices. Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein, Michael Copps, and Chairman Kevin Martin voted in favor of finding Comcast in violation of FCC rules.

A little surprised to find myself saying it, but, um, yay FCC? Ahem. Yay FCC!

The Hold Steady!

Just got back from seeing The Hold Steady at the Capitol Hill Block Party. Great show! The sound wasn't perfect though - I do wish I could see them at First Avenue next week!

Here's a few selected awesome The Hold Steady songs: Dan's The Hold Steady Sampler on Rhapsody

Sadly, Rhapsody does not have Lord, I'm Discouraged (or as I think of it, "Excuses, and half-truths, and fortified wine") which MUST be listened to for the guitar solo, not to mention the heartbreaker story. So here it is on

Part of the joy of The Hold Steady is in the lyrics. Here's an example:

Slapped Actresses
Don’t drop little hints. I don’t want them to guess.
Don’t mention Tampa, they’ll just know all the rest.
Don’t mention bloodshed, don’t tell them it hurts.
Don’t say we saw angels, they’ll take us straight to the church.
Stuck Between Stations
She was a really cool kisser and she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian.
She was a damn good dancer but she wasn’t all that great of a girlfriend.
He likes the warm feeling but he’s tired of all the dehydration.
Most nights are crystal clear but tonight it’s like he’s stuck between stations --
On the radio.
The video for Stuck Between Stations has a laugh-out-loud funny at the end.

A great turn of phrase

Whether or not you agree, you have to admit this is some cute wordsmithing:
To his supporters Obama isn't just an agent of change - he's the 007 of change!

Well done, Stefan Sirucek!

What a shocker

File this one under "coming as a surprise to absolutely no one..."
It has long been known that Fox Cable News head Roger Ailes (a former Republican Party official) and other high executives routinely sent memos to the newsrooms instructing them to spin stories in particular ways. And one always suspected that the talking points actually came over from Bush's and Cheney's offices. Now McClellan confirms it.

from Informed Comment: Fox News= W. T.V.

Friday, July 25, 2008

In case you didn't realize how Facebook is going to make money....

Dan Farber accurately quotes Om's key point:

Om Malik extrapolates from Facebook Connect that Facebook is building a money machine:

You are essentially telling Facebook's proverbial
brain what topics -- blogs or specific posts -- with which you like to
engage. In other words, you just told the system a little bit about
yourself. Now imagine such information coming from dozens of Facebook
Connect partners.

Each service adds a few more data points about you
inside the Facebook brain, which is quite aware of your activities
inside the Facebook ecosystem. The brain can then crunch all that
information and build a fairly accurate image of who you are, what you
like and what might interest you. With all that information at its
disposal, Facebook can build a fairly large cash register.

The cash register is an advertising platform, a follow on to Beacon,
that leverages the social graph and each member as a potential
marketing engine. With all the data and user permissions, ad targeting
could be more precise.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Universe Sandbox!

I got a chance to play with Universe Sandbox "pre-release" and it's awesome! If you're into seeing how galaxies spin, planets collide, and having other fun with gravity, check out the video.

And if you're running XP or Vista, download it! It's free!