Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Trunk Monkey

This was a series of very funny (okay, some of them were funnier than others) commercials that because a viral sensation. Here is the first Trunk Monkey commercial.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sudoku and Aging

Recently I was talking to my mother on the phone and she said that she has taken up Sudoku to keep her brain active. It appears that keeping the brain active as we age is helpful for a number of reasons. Scientists say a daily dose of such exercises improves the memory and even the condition of dementia patients.

In Japan, where senior citizens are not as averse to "gadgets" as my mother is, Nintendo has sold a combined total of more than 3.3 million of its “Brain Training for Adults” released in May 2005 and a sequel that came out last December. Its portable DS consoles on which the games are played are constantly out of stock in shops.

“I wanted to make a contribution to society through my findings, to tell the world that you can train the brain,” said Ryuta Kawashima, professor of brain science at Tohoku University, whose theory has been featured in many books and video games.

Not to be outdone, Sony is also in on the act. In the photo, Japanese women play PlayStation Portables (PSP) during a "brain training" program in Yokohama, west of Tokyo. Sony Computer Entertainment, which has the "Brain Trainer" using Kawashima's theory for its PSP console, is holding "Video Game Workshops for Grown-ups", in a bid to appeal to older generations.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


In Japan they refer to a Rube Goldberg type machine as a ピタゴラそうち (pitagora souchi) Pitagora for the Greek mathematician Pythagoras and souchi meaning a contrivance or a device. A cute NHK children's show creates a pun on the name and calls itself ピタゴラスイッチ (pitagora suitchi) or Pythagoras Switch.

Monday, April 10, 2006

RFID and Privacy

Brendan Walker, a 37-year-old software engineer in Canton, Ohio, is one of a growing number of computer and technology experts who are becoming anxious about possible abuses of the technology. Mr. Walker fears that thieves will be able to eavesdrop on the radio transmission and buy gas at his expense. He also figures that he himself could walk past the pump and accidentally pay for somebody else's gas, though the card companies say he would have to get within two inches of the scanner to accomplish that feat.

RFID: Legitimate fear or fear-mongering? by ZDNet's Mitch Ratcliffe -- A Wall Street Journal article details the exploits of RFID-defeating privacy advocates and a few snake-oil solutions.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

No More (Sammy & Sasha Nelson)

You can embed video with YouTube like this. Oh, and these are two VERY talented 14 year olds, btw.