My family took a two week trip to Korea in June of 2000. We visited several locations around the country including Seoul, the DMZ, Puson, and Kyong-Ju. This is a collection of the best photos from the trip.
This is a brief compilation of photos highlighting the Aurora series (1 thru 4) of solar cars built by the University of Minnesota Solar Vehicle Project. A more detailed history can be found at the Project's website.
Video excerpts are now available from the Grand Challenge. The video is interesting, but also somewhat painful to watch as the robots negotiate the course with varying degrees of success. They all end up disabled for those looking for carnage. [via Engadget]
I'm always on the look out for neat software that admittedly makes my life easier or my computer more useful. Well, Real Software, the makers of RealBasic, has announced their annual award winners. There are some nice little gems in the listing that I'm evaluating right now. I liked it better when the called the awards the "Cubies," but I'll live. Oh, this is all Mac OS X Software - sorry Windows users you'll have to look at Download.com or something.
Having just gotten a functional barcode scanner, I googled the barcode on the side of the can of Mountain Dew I was drinking. What did I get? An image of an extraordinarily mundane email from the Enron investigation.
I was reminded about how neat Barcodes are for uniquely identifying things by Intelliscanner Collector. I have a CueCat that I got ages ago but never used because both the reader and the software distributed with it was spyware. I pulled it out and did a quick Google and found that by simply cutting Pin 5 on the U2 chip the scanner outputs unencrypted plain output.
So, instead of this:
Now I get:
I now have a fully functional, free, USB barcode scanner. If only Intelli Innovations sold their Collector software separately.
There is a fairly common theory among many Asians that based on appearance one can determine whether Asians are Japanese, Korean or Chinese. AllLookSame.com has produced a quiz that shows you 18 photos and asks you to determine the origin of the CJKs. Test your ability!
I correctly identified 9 of 18, which is better than the average 6 of 18 (also the result if responses were chosen at random). I'm interested to know how the "models" were chosen because it would be easy to choose ambiguous photos rather than representative photos. Regardless, n=18 is very small statistically. [via Emily]
Audible is offering free downloads of the testimony given by many individuals including Clark, Albright, Rumsfeld, etc. to the 9/11 Commission. Simply add the desired segments to your cart, registration is required but there is no charge.
I ran accross a column by Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times that I found quite interesting. I can't find a link online so I'm going to quote it in full.
"Imagine that terrorists were killing 115 Americans every day, said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. The country would be apoplectic. Politicians would be rushing to do whatever was necessary to stem the carnage -- spend $100 billion, expand the federal bureacracy, declare war on whoever was responsible. Terrorists, of course, aren't killing that many Americans every day, but automobile crashes are. We pay no attention to auto accidents, because they kill people "in ones and twos" -- not in the spectacular numbers associated with bombings and suicide missions. As Transportation Secratary Norman Minnetta has said, if 115 people died every day in aviation crashes, "we wouldn't have a plane in the sky." A similar blindness envelops gun violence, which claims 26,00 lives a year, and food-borne illness, which kills 5,000. Terrorism, on the other hand, "claims virtually no U.S. lives" most years, and in our worst-ever year killed 3,000. Why, then is fighting terrorism our main - almost sole - national obsession? We'd save thousnads of lives "if we could just devote a bit more energy" to the other threats. Sweden recently made reducing auto fatalities a national priority, with eye opening results. By encouraging seat belt use, converting intersections to traffic circles, replacing rigid guardrails, and building cars that don't buckle in crashes, Sweden has reduced it's accident death rate to one of the lowest in the world. If the U.S. adopted similar measures, two Yale researches have concluded, it would spare 12,500 lives a year -- about 30 percent of the 43,000 who die on the roads each year. We can't ignore terrorism, of couse. But what a pity that in our terrorism-obsessed time, declaring war on highway carnage just doesn't sound "presidential.""
Kristof's logic is irrefutable. No doubt some American lives have been saved due to intervention prior to acts of terrorism which can be attributed to good intelligence and proactive government, but is our massive spending since 9/11 really justified? I think not. Let's start using our heads and making sure we are spending our tax dollars in places that have the most potential for saving and improving lives. We are more afraid, it seems, of being killed by terrorists than our morning commute, when in fact the extreme opposite is true. Irrational fears are just that - irrational, let's not be ruled by them.
Yesterday was a long haul (Little Rock to St. Paul), so I didn't stop many places and only made one small detour in pursuit of twisty roads. Two attractions were directly on the path home: 1. Bentonville, AR - Home of WalMart and 2. Aeronautic Golden Arches (McDonalds).
The McDonalds was exactly what is shown in the photo - didn't make me want a Big Mac any more than usual. Bentonville, AR was a different story. WalMart is more than the world's biggest retailer - it appears to be a way of life in Bentonville. The entire town is one huge WalMart corporate campus and any other companies seem dedicated to serving WalMart, for example the NCR - WalMart Global Support Center. I unfortunately wasn't able to find the original Walton's Five and Dime, which apparently still exists downtown.