2009 October minutiae

  • Julie posted a link with some interesting information: "A students average 15 more minutes sleep than B students, who average 15 more minutes sleep than C students, and so on. [...] A few districts— intrepid districts, looking at the science of sleep have— they've been willing to bite the bullet and trust the science, which I recognize isn't necessarily easy, and move their school start times back an hour. One of these districts in Minnesota did that and they saw the SAT scores for the best and the brightest in the district leap by over 200 points."

    One of the main reasons I work part-time instead of full-time, sacrificing tens of thousands of dollars in the process, is that the quality of life that comes from not waking to an alarm clock every morning is worth it. I mean, I don't have any objection to waking up early — getting up at 4 a.m. is one of my favorite schedules to be on. But when I do, I can't go to sleep at eight. Physiologically impossible — I'll just end up lying there. Realistically it's going to be more like ten. And then I'll wake up at seven. And go to sleep at like one in the morning. So much for a 9-to-5. (Though if I were to work full time it'd be much more likely that I'd be working a 7-to-3.)

  • Speaking of sleep... one of the laments I frequently encounter reading my friends' posts is that they can't sleep in because their kids are up at the crack of dawn. I wonder, is this because of light sensitivity or simply a product of putting kids to bed at 7 p.m.? Would a kid who went to bed at one in the morning wake up at noon?

  • On news.google.com I saw a story about an extortion attempt against David Letterman, which sounded interesting so I clicked on it. The link took me to people.com. Under a sidebar labeled  LATEST NEWS!  was the following headline: Britney Spears Buys a Parakeet.

  • Apparently the lifespan of the orange roughy (a.k.a. the slimehead) is 150 years. Meaning that somewhere out there, someone is sitting down at a Red Lobster or someplace chowing down on a creature that was swimming around when Lincoln was president. "Our special tonight is... older than your great-great-grandmother!"

  • espn.com: [Michael] Crabtree signed a six-year contract early Wednesday after a drawn-out negotiation process that had some wondering whether the star wide receiver would ever show up this season. "It's a lot of relief off my shoulders," Crabtree said when formally introduced at team headquarters. Man. I'd be embarrassed to have someone on my team say something this dumb, but I have no affiliation with the 49ers so I suppose it's no apathy off my nose.

  • gourmet.com: Ketcherside then described the vegetarian Gomoku Kinpira burger, a stir-fry of burdock root, lotus root, carrots, black sesame seeds, and konnyaku, tucked into a pair of rice buns with a sheet of nori. Don't you think this sounds ten times better than any veggie burger you've ever had? Ha ha ha! I think the last time I agreed less with a "don't you think" question, Alanis Morissette was asking it.

  • One interesting thing about the Facebook age is that you can see how many wingnuts your friends count among their other friends. My friends post the mildest of political comments, and the replies are full of a heady concoction of Fox News talking points, faulty logic and willful ignorance.

  • Dan Schmidt tweets: Annoyed at people blaming Red Sox loss on not having enough hitting. They finished 3rd in MLB in runs. In 3-game series anything can happen. Actually, I've always wondered about playoff systems that kick off with shorter series and then move to longer ones in later rounds. The NBA used to do this — from 1975 to 1983, the first round was best-of-three, while the finals were best-of-seven. Even after that, the first round was best-of-five until 2003. Why switch to longer series after short ones? To make really really sure that you're getting the best team out of those that survived the earlier coin flips?

  • One of the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is named Kaci Five. Far out!

  • I finally gave in and bought a smaller trash container for my kitchen; I just couldn't fill up the standard-size one before the trash got gross. Now I have a complicated trash system: stuff that could decompose goes into the freezer; freezer trash and regular trash are combined to fill up small trash bags in the new bin; small trash bags go into the old trash container, posted outside the front door; when that fills up, it goes downstairs and gets emptied into the big trash container issued by the city.

  • Stewart Nozette is a scientist who was recently caught in an espionage sting.

    talkingpointsmemo.com: The picture above, posted on a NASA site, clearly shows Nozette in India.

    The picture above, posted on my site, clearly shows WTC Guy in India.

  • The San Francisco skyline that I see in pictures looks nothing like the San Francisco skyline that I've internalized from my current commute. The San Francisco I know is a city of dark teal glass. Its signature building is not the Transamerica, which I can barely see peeking out from the middle of the thicket, but this bad boy right here. Apparently a lot of San Franciscans bitch about these and the other new glass buildings, but I think they've beautified the city significantly. Not enough for me to live there, but enough that being stuck in traffic on I-80 East heading toward the Bay Bridge isn't so bad.

  • I was reading an article about how Windows 7 handles touchscreens and an array of new "multitouch" conventions. This is apparently the latest craze... and another one I'll be sitting out. I can't touch a screen! I'd rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard than see people smearing their I-Phones with fingerprints. And it's not just a matter of wanting to keep glass surfaces pristine. I also can't stand the friction. Like, I can't use a trackpad for more than a few seconds because my fingertip gets extremely irritated when it's dragged over a hard surface. I've used a Logitech marble trackball for well over a decade now — you move the ball around with the middle joints of your index and middle fingers, left-click with the inside knuckle of your thumb, right-click with the base of your pinky. I don't know how people can bear to use other pointing devices.

  • Someone posting on my old French teacher's Facebook: J'taime tu! I guess that's a nice sentiment, but still, if I were a French teacher that would make me want to kill myself.

  • I recently played a few online ports of old arcade games, and I have to say — video games improved tremendously when they switched to platforms (consoles and computers) that weren't based on giving you as little as possible for your money in order to get you off the machine and clear the way for another quarter. To use the parlance of our times, can I get some warm-up levels up in this bitch?

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