Random Safire Quote

Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.

William Safire
US columnist & speechwriter (1929 – )

From The Quotations Page

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How many children should you have?

From a private point of view, only one:

In comparing identical twins, Kohler found that mothers with one child are about 20 percent happier than their childless counterparts; and while fathers’ happiness gains are smaller, men enjoy an almost 75 percent larger happiness boost from a firstborn son than from a firstborn daughter [TC: remember the result that fathers with sons are less likely to leave?]. The first child’s sex doesn’t matter to mothers, perhaps because women are better than men at enjoying the company of both girls and boys, Kohler speculates.

Interestingly, second and third children don’t add to parents’ happiness at all. In fact, these additional children seem to make mothers less happy than mothers with only one child-though still happier than women with no children.

"If you want to maximize your subjective well-being, you should stop at one child," concludes Kohler, adding that people probably have additional children either for the benefit of the firstborn or because they reason that if the first child made them happy, the second one will, too.

Here is the longer story. See this paper. Here is the researcher’s home page.

I am hardly an expert in this area, but I find the logic appealing. One kid is quite able to fill your time and thoughts. I call this the "parent as empty vessel" model. The argument for more than one kid, in this view, would rest on risk-aversion and the chance that one kid might die or not work out so well.

Note the contrast between Kohler with Bryan Caplan’s theory that you should have more kids now than you want, so you may enjoy them when you are old. At that point in time, no single kid "fills the empty vessel" and so more of them are needed.

I believe that men enjoy children more than women do, as they are less stressed by worry. Whether men want children more is a different question [this last sentence has been altered from a previous version.]

The pointer is from the still totally awesome www.politicaltheory.info.

From Marginal Revolution

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Apple Running Top 500 Supercomputer at NAB?

nab-apple-2007-1wtmk.jpgApple Insider got an "inside" look at Apple’s NAB setup. They reported that Apple’s server included 3/4 Petabytes of storage space, 3 miles of fiber optic cable, 4 M2 Gb networks, 90 Xserves and 40 Xserve RAIDs. Pardon me while I change my pants.

An interesting point was brought up on MacSlash:

There are systems on the list of the Top 500 Supercomputers with fewer and/or slower processors and slower network connections. Who knows? With a little reconfiguration and optimization for the LINPACK benchmark, maybe, just maybe… Just a little something for you to ruminate on while you marvel at the report’s pretty pictures.

Hit the jump for more pictures of Apple’s ubersetup.



Just how important is the professional video market to Apple? You tell me. – Mark Wilson

High Quality Photos of Apple at NAB 2007 [via MacSlash]

From Gizmodo

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Hashima (Abandoned) Island

Yet another place to roam around on Google Earth. The “fantastically eerie photo set” is also worth checking out.

Hashima Island, 15 kilometres from Nagasaki, Japan, was once the densest human development on Earth, and today stands completely empty and abandoned.

Mitsubishi bought the island in 18901 and began using it as a coal mining facility. When space for the workers began to run out, they built Japan’s first large scale reinforced concrete apartment block on the island in 1916. More concrete tower blocks followed, and by 1959 the population of Hashima reached its peak of 5,259 – an astonishing 1,391 people per 10,000 square metres within the residential district – which is said to be the highest population density ever recorded in the world.

When petroleum began to replace coal here in the 1960s, coal production at Hashima began to decline, and Mitsubishi officially announced the closure of the mine in 1974. Today there is nobody left at all. Protected by a high sea wall, and completely off-limits to the public, the island is now an empty, rotting and collapsing ghost town, as clearly demonstrated in this fantastically eerie photo set2.

For more information on this incredible place, here’s a short documentary, an excellent in-depth story and a rather short Wikipedia page.

Thanks to George Mandis, Rob Alexandre and Eric.

  1. Yes, Mitsubishi has been around that long, but it turns out that name actually refers to a large grouping of independently operated Japanese companies which share the Mitsubishi brand name. ?
  2. For anyone thinking this place would make a great level for a computer game… it just happens somebody already did it. ?

From Google Sightseeing

Posted in Google Earth | 1 Comment

Save time by using your phone number for your email address

This isn’t a bad idea. Now I have yet another gmail alias that I’ll probably never use!


Reader Dan writes:

Having heard my wife give out her email address to yet another soccer coach at the start of the season, it hit me. What if you used your phone number as a handout email address?

Instead of spelling some haphazard email address, she could tell them: ""It is our phone number — 5551234@gmail.com" and be done with it.

If you give this a try, you’ll find that some email apps, like Gmail, won’t allow you to include your entire phone number (area code and all) without adding a letter to the mix, but with Gmail, as long as you have fewer than 8 numbers, you’re okay. While you wouldn’t want to use this address for everything, it seems like a potentially perfect solution for situations like Dan described – you can hand out two pieces of contact info for the price of one. – Adam Pash

From Lifehacker

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Reusable vs. disposable cups

You gotta love anything disposable, and now the research to back up what I always knew – anything that avoids doing the dishes has to be a good idea

Here’s a life-cycle energy analysis on reusable vs. disposable cups -another data set to look at would be from washing a cup in the sink (I have a dishwasher and never wash cups in it) but that said, a lot of people use a dishwasher for everything. There are other factors like soap production, transportation costs, etc too, but then it would be really confusing.

It’s interesting to note that a ceramic cup takes 1,000 uses to break even with foam cups. so, about 3 years if you use a cup every day – that’s not so bad — perhaps someone could make a line of coffee cups that say "use me for 3 years to recoup the energy costs" it would make the cup more important and more heirloom-like. People would try and save the cup for as many years as possible to be efficient. Maybe bight green cups with the date of creation on the bottom.

Someone tell treehugger.

This classic life-cycle energy analysis was performed by University of Victoria professor of chemistry Martin B. Hocking. Hocking compared three types of reusable drinking cups (ceramic, glass and reusable plastic) to two types of disposable cups (paper and polystyrene foam).

The energy of manufacture of reusable cups is vastly larger than the energy of manufacture of disposable cups (Table 1). In order for a reusable cup to be an improvement over a disposable one on an energy basis, you have to use it multiple times, in order to "cash in" on the energy investment you made in the cup. If a cup lasts only ten uses, then each use gets "charged’ for one-tenth of the manufacturing energy. If it lasts for a hundred uses, then each use gets charged for only one-hundredth of the manufacturing energy.

But in order to reuse a cup, it has to be washed. The efficiency of the dishwasher, and the efficiency of the energy system that powers it, determine how much energy is required for each wash.

Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment, thanks Saul Link.

From MAKE Magazine

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LH Top 10: Free Computer System Recovery Tools


Your data’s trapped on a dead computer. You lost your login password. You never wrote down the product key on a non-working Windows installation. Your Mac won’t start.

Don’t pay the extortionists at the computer repair shop 800 bucks to get your data back or start up your dead computer. Plenty of free tools can help you and are available for download right now. Today we’ve got our top 10 system recovery picks which span operating systems but all cost the same: exactly nothing.

Which one of these tools is right for you depends on your skill level, operating system and particular problem. Do yourself a favor and burn yourself a disc with a couple of these before the terrible day when you need ’em happens.

From Lifehacker

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Windows only: Freeware application Tooler lets you create lots of useful shortcuts to perform tasks like shutting off your monitor, running your screensaver, and ejecting your optical drive.

We’ve talked about how to create shutdown shortcuts, but Tooler makes doing that along with creating several other shortcuts a really simple process. Even better, you can tell Tooler to create the shortcuts in the programs section of the Start menu, meaning that if you’re using Lifehacker favorite Launchy, the shortcut will automatically be indexed and available for quick launching. Tooler is freeware, Windows-only, requires no installation. — Adam Pash

From Lifehacker

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Gigabit Smart Switch Roundup

If you’re going to upgrade your LAN to gigabit, why not step up to the features
that a "smart" switch offers?

From Tom’s Hardware

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Random Reality Quote

How true…

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away."

– Philip K. Dick

From The Quotations Page

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