It’s been stewing on the stove for two weeks because I’ve been so busy. Let’s hope it is still tasty and flavor-right. Here’s your news chum stew for the last two weeks:
- Going For a Ride in my Car-Car. As you probably know, I’m in a vanpool. So when I saw a headline that read “Long commutes make you fat, tired, and miserable“, I was curious. The article notes that spending more than two hours of your day commuting — as 8.3 percent of American workers now do — will probably make you miserable. But there’s research that suggests doing it with other people will make it far less unbearable. As for the “fat”, it isn’t the commute that does it. Rather, it was the fact that commuters were less likely to get exercise. When you get home after a long commute, you’re too beat to exercise. Now, add to the fact that the touted “driverless” cars may mean we will be willing to commute longer — alone — and… well… you do the math.
- Sorting it Out. Penn and Teller once did an episode of Bullshit noting that people really want to recycle, even if it is meaningless separation. It turns out that our not sorting — that is, putting all recyclables into a single blue bin, is leading to recycling stalling in America. The cost to separate is so high, and the value-return for recyclables is so low, that it is cheaper to make new. What a waste… but then again, we often forget we need to waste a lot of energy to recycle. There is a better solution. Use less in the first place.
- Out, Out, Damn USB. Have you ever tried to get Windows to eject a USB device, but it keeps refusing. Here’s a list of what to do when Windows is recalcitrant.
- Graphic Subtleties. You may not have noticed it, but Facebook is sporting a new logo. Look closely. Its subtle.
- Celiac Disease Riddles. Here’s an interesting article about celiac disease, where they may have found the underlying culprit. It turns out that it is an immune response, and the heredity pattern with celiac disease is very similar to the pattern with other autoimmune diseases.
- Food and Fun. Three interesting food related articles. The first explores how to cook ribs in the pressure cooker. The second talks about high fat foods that might be healthy for you. The last looks at outstanding mom and pop restaurants in the San Fernando Valley.
- Drought Landscaping. If you live in California, you’ve probably seen a major visual effect of the drought: people replacing their lawns with either plastic grass or gravel. We know plastic grass is bad —
you can’t smoke itit is isn’t porous, and prevents water from being absorbed into the water table. But it turns out gravel is equally bad. What’s worse is one company, Turf Terminators, has made a business taking rebates and making yards ugly. If we go to xeriscaping, I’d like something prettier than gravel, except perhaps in selected paths.
- Bubble Wrap No More. Do you enjoy popping bubble wrap? Soon you might not be able to do so. The company behind Bubble Wrap, sealed air, is exploring a new wrap that is shipped flat and inflated on site. There’s a major advantage to this: shipping costs depend on size of the package, and inflated bubble wrap rolls are too expensive to ship distances.
- iPod Solutions. Why, oh why, can’t Apple make an iPod with an SD slot. 200GB storage is getting affordable.
- Underwriters Lab for Cybersecurity. Mudge has left Google to try to create an Underwriters Laboratory for Cybsersecurity. The problem is: we already have one. What’s worse is that most people don’t know about it.