Is aging an accident of evolution?#

Natural selection can't fix problems that arise late in the animals' life spans, so the genetic pathways for aging become entrenched by mistake.

[…]

If aging is not a cost of unavoidable chemistry but is instead driven by changes in regulatory genes, the aging process may not be inevitable. It is at least theoretically possible to slow down or stop developmental drift.

Infinite in some directions#

Setting aside the human psychological barriers to future shock and endless cultural shift, are there physical limits to technological development? Is there enough energy, matter, time and space for technology to keep expanding? Or, is technology self-limiting, like a candle flame, that must burn itself out over time? Are there inherent constraints within the basic thermodynamic laws governing technology that might shape its future? Is it physically possible for technology to keep accelerating forever?

A mind-bender from Kevin Kelly.

Tweeting Too Hard#

Example tweet (from @serafinowicz): "Went to the gym this morning. As I left, everyone said I was the best!"

Hahaha, I love this site! Best part is that you vote a tweet up by giving the author a "back pat."

How Michael Osinski helped build the bomb that blew up Wall Street#

The fact that my software, over which I would labor for a decade, facilitated these events is numbing. Is capitalism inherently corrupt? I don't think the free flow of goods in and of itself is the culprit. No, it's the complexity masked by thousands of unseen whirring widgets that beguiles people into a sense of power, a feeling of dominion over the future.

A fascinating and engaging article. I get the feeling that a lot of paraphrasing went on here, that Osinski is not as overcome with guilt as the author would have you believe and that there likely were 10 Osinksis doing something similar at every firm on Wall Street, but still, it was hard to stop reading this one.

The physics of free running#

Never mind the physics, just watch the video. As one commenter put it: "Go back 300 years with that skill and people would be sure you could fly."

The links between mental illness and creativity#

There is now a feeling that these traits have survived because they have some adaptive value. To be mildly manic depressive or mildly schizophrenic brings a flexibility of thought, an openness, and risk-taking behaviour, which does have some adaptive value in creativity. The price paid for having those traits is that some will have mental illness.

The title statement should surprise no one; what's interesting is the evolutionary element.

Suggestions for a new notebook "cushion?"

May 05, 2009

I've written at length many times before on the subject of laptop cushions/stands, and most recently with regard to the Belkin CushTop, which I love (and actually own two of). However, the effusive praise given the CushTop in the arforelinked post was born of its use with a MacBook Air, which I no longer own (I consolidated my Mac Pro and Air with a single MacBook Pro). I really dislike using the MacBook Pro with the CushTop because the MBP's weight causes it to slide around way too much, especially given the incline. It's hard to get into any kind of groove when you're (admittedly overly) worried that your baby's about to slide to its death.

What I need is something maybe a little shorter than the CushTop, and which also has a "lip" or some other mechanism to stop the laptop from sliding off the front. Coincidentally, last week Belkin released the CushDesk, which looks to be exactly what I want, save the lip element. While I'll have to reserve final judgement until I can see one in person, I'm fairly certain that the little rubber strip near the front just isn't tall enough to allay my sliding-baby fear.

I'll probably end up buying the Logitech Comfort Lapdesk on the hope that it provides enough friction to hold the laptop in place, but I doubt it does. Worst case, I guess I could place adhesive rubber "stops" at the front of any cushion I get.

Anyway, if you've something you think fits the bill, please let me know: email / Twitter.

Frank Buchwald's machine lights#

These Matrix-style lamps are absolutely stunning. I so want a number of them, and have emailed the designer regarding pricing, which step usually means they're out of my price range.

UPDATE: After publishing this post I immediately did a little snooping and came across a Gizmodo piece — from over two years ago (I knew I had seen these before) — that lists pricing information. The unfortunate breakdown: $3800-$15,500. Yowzah!

Sugar Stacks#

We've used regular sugar cubes (4 grams of sugar each) to show how the sugars in your favorite foods literally stack up, gram for gram.

Fastest camera ever built uses lasers#

Scientists have made the fastest camera ever. It can take 6.1 million pictures in a single second, at a shutter speed of 440 trillionths of a second. Light itself moves just a fraction of a centimeter in that time.

The camera works by illuminating objects with a laser that emits a different infrared frequency for every single pixel, allowing them to custom-amplify a signal that would otherwise be too dim to see.