08.21.10

Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle

7:52 pm - Jason G. - Books

Hey Neal Stephenson fans out there… if you like audio books, Audible now has the entire Baroque Cycle available. 114 hours, retail price of $174.

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07.30.10

Where Cheerwine Started

8:15 pm - Jason G. - Commentary

201007301515.jpgWhen a sugar shortage at the start of World War I made it difficult for L.D. Peeler to sweeten his Salisbury, NC-based bottling company’s popular Mint Cola, Peeler began looking for a less sweet, but equally tasty, alternative. The local businessman purchased a wild cherry flavor from a St. Louis salesman and developed the formula for Cheerwine in the basement of his grocery store in 1917. Cheerwine was an instant success and was outselling Mint Cola by the early 1920s. Shortly thereafter, Peeler changed the name of his business to the Cheerwine Bottling Co. The red-colored Carolina staple was distributed locally until 1981, when it expanded into Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia. While Cheerwine’s reach continues to grow, it remains most popular in the Carolinas and parts of Virginia. This year, Cheerwine partnered with a fellow Tar Heel State company, Krispy Kreme, to offer Cheerwine-infused doughnuts in stores throughout the Carolinas.

From Mental Floss: The Stories Behind 11 Regional Soft Drinks. (Vernors Ginger Ale is also mentioned.)

And in case you were wondering, yes there is an app for that.

07.27.10

The Dark Side of Tetris

8:52 pm - Jason G. - Humor

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Via DRB.

06.30.10

Taking a Dive

10:32 am - Jason G. - Humor

Hilarious acting on the soccer/futbol field…

06.28.10

Bilsky News

10:37 am - Jason G. - Politics, Technology

The Bilsky Supreme Court news is out…

The lower court’s decision is affirmed, and so no patent for Bilski. However, business methods are not found totally ineligible for patents, just this one. Not everyone on the court agrees in all particulars. So it’s complicated, and obviously not all we hoped for.

From Groklaw.

06.26.10

AT&T iPad Bait and Switch

6:46 am - Jason G. - Technology

I’ve never been a big fan of class action lawsuits, but AT&T deserves to be called out for this one

The complaint alleges that iPad purchasers who initially opted for the limited data plan have been stripped of their ability to later opt for the unlimited data plan. Even those customers currently signed up for the unlimited data plan cannot switch to a limited plan and then later opt for the unlimited plan, as was originally promised. Apple and AT&T announced this policy change with less than one week’s notice to their customers and only about a month after Apple and AT&T began selling 3G-enabled iPads.

The complaint further alleges that consumers were convinced to opt for the more expensive 3G model, costing $130 more than a non-3G model, based on the advertised benefits of having an unlimited data plan and the freedom to continually switch in and out of that plan as their demand for data changed.

“The availability of an unlimited data plan was a key reason why consumers paid the extra $130 charge to access the 3-G network, and their ability to switch in and out of the unlimited data plan was also an important consideration in the decision to purchase an iPad,” stated Lieff Cabraser attorney Michael W. Sobol. “The complaint alleges that Apple and AT&T should have known at the time they were promoting the availability of unlimited data plans, they were not going to keep that promise.

From Ars.

05.22.10

Nice Little Touches

9:15 am - Jason G. - Technology

This is a nice touch from the Kindle app for the iPad… depending on the time of day that you’re using the app, the background changes to have a dusk or night sky…

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05.21.10

Lego Optical Illusions

7:47 pm - Jason G. - Art

Neat:

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From here.

05.16.10

Vitamin D

3:20 pm - Jason G. - Health

If you’re like me and you hide from the bright shining orb in the sky (the sun), you might want to check if you’re vitamin d deficient. It is easy and cheap to remedy with vitamin d supplements, and untreated deficiency has all sorts of risks associated with it.

There is some good information from this article:

Optimal vitamin D serum blood levels, attained through sunlight or supplementation, dramatically reduce the risk of most serious diseases by an astonishing 50 to 80 percent. These diseases include osteoporosis, osteomalacia, hypertension and a range of cancers from breast and colon to deadly melanoma skin cancers.

Yes, that’s right. The risk of contracting the really nasty skin cancers can be dramatically lowered by getting moderate, sensible sunshine or through vitamin D supplementation. Non-melanoma skin cancers do increase somewhat with sun exposure, especially with sun burns but they are relatively benign and are easily detected and removed.

This is not the end of the list, though. The big killers and most expensive diseases respond similarly to adequate D. I’m talking about cardiovascular disease and stroke. So do type 1 diabetes, type 2 to a lesser extent, rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral vascular disease, multiple sclerosis, dementia, autoimmune diseases and apparently even viral diseases such as H1N1 and AIDs. I emphases that some of these diseases are not “cured” by sufficient D as some bone diseases are. The risk of developing other diseases and the severity of their symptoms if you do is much lower, however, if you are not vitamin D deficient.

There is, by the way, no simple prescription in terms of sunlight exposure or vitamin D supplementation because age, skin color, body weight and even location play huge factors in your circulating blood levels, which should be at least 40 ng/ml of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Ideally, you should consult a physician who can prescribe blood tests to see where your D levels are.

This information is not new but the odds are that you are unaware of it unless you read the New England Journal of Medicine or other scientific publications. I’ll include links at the end of this article for you to investigate this matter further, including the NEJM paper I just referred to.

…I believe, based on discussions with top scientists, that the impact of attaining optimal vitamin D blood levels for the vast majority of people, whose serum D levels are insufficient, will be an increase in average healthy life spans of 5 to 8 years. This is pretty breathtaking news, frankly, but you have to view it as just one manifestation of accelerating scientific discovery.

05.14.10

Tree vs. House

7:19 pm - Jason G. - Commentary

Yeah, the tree won. That’s my uncle’s house. Thankfully, no one was hurt…

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