Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2021

Speaking of RFID, you can see it on display in your supermarket shopping-cart bay:

The Cart Anti-Theft Protection System, or CAPS, was created by Carttronics Inc. in California. It involves a low-frequency radio signal underground. When someone tries to push a cart past a broad yellow line at the edge of the parking lot, the movement triggers the signal.

“It’s kind of like a button that opens and closes your garage,” said John French, Carttronics’ chief executive officer. Installing the system can cost about $8,000 for 200 carts, French said.

Carts cost $150 apiece, and hundreds of lost ones can hurt store profits, said Maria Rodamis, the media relations person for Publix.

I think I’ve complained in the past about the spread of abandoned shopping carts around my town. People hereabouts seem to think they have license to hang onto shopping carts, well after their shopping experience is over. Consequently, you wind up seeing scores of carts strewn all over roads and sidewalks, creating a running eyesore. I know stores would love to cut down on the loss of their property; this solution from Carttronics seems to deliver.

Actually, I dreamed up this solution myself a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, I was beaten to the punch, which I found out when I checked with the U.S. Patent Office. Day late, dollar short; I’ll have to come up with another million-dollar idea.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/09/2021 10:16:38 PM
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When you think of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, you think of clothing, supermarkets and retail outfits of a similar vein.

Even taking into account the boundless potential of RFID technology, I bet you never figured it could be used to track the whereabouts of medical research cadavers at the University of California:

Officials are also considering putting barcodes or radio frequency devices in cadavers that could be read by someone walking past the body with a handheld device. Radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags already are used by cars passing through automated toll plazas. UC officials said that they are still working out the details but that any body parts that became separated from the corpse would probably be tagged, too.

I guess the shenanigans that med students engage in with these bodies would be curtailed, too. My cousin, the doctor, once told me about the drunken fun she and her classmates would have in the storage freezers… Nothing lurid, just a lot of posing with beer cans and such. Helluva bonding experience.

(Via The RFID Weblog)

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/09/2021 10:02:55 PM
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Wednesday, February 02, 2021

Apparently, that idiot rotten driver in front of you is a self-impaired chatterbox. That’s what can be gleaned from a University of Utah study that finds that drivers who actively engage in mobile phone conversations do so at the price of compromising their driving abilities.

If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone, his reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver,” said David Strayer, a University of Utah psychology professor and principal author of the study. “It’s like instant aging.”

And it doesn’t matter whether the phone is hand-held or handsfree. Any activity requiring a driver to “actively be part of a conversation” likely will impair driving abilities, Strayer said.

In fact, motorists who talk on cell phones are more impaired than drunk drivers with blood-alcohol levels exceeding .08, Strayer and colleague Frank Drews, an assistant professor of psychology, found during research conducted in 2003.

Even though the premise makes sense, there seems to be something over-reactive about it. The suggestion is that people can’t walk and talk at the same time.

Still, personally, I’ve found that I tend to drive better if I’m not engaged in a conversation. It tends to annoy my passengers, but thems the breaks.

I wonder if there’s some correlation between the spread of mobile phones and deteriorating driving skills among the populace? I suppose you could even go back to widespread use of carphones…

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/02/2021 10:45:20 PM
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The next time you’re zooming around the universe, be sure you keep your American Express and Visa cards Earthside. Not only is your credit probably no good in non-terrestrial retail outlets, but you might run across a magnetar, which would erase all the data off your plastic.

Some might find Space.com’s writeups to slant too much toward the news-you-can-use presentation. That usually annoys me, but somehow it works here. Having an steady (if casual) interest in astronomy and space technology helps.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/02/2021 09:25:23 PM
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Thursday, January 27, 2021

fantasy state university
Months of heated controversy over a proposed school of chiropractic studies at Florida State University came to an end today, as the state’s Board of Governors torpedoed the idea.

I hope this doesn’t derail plans for the other schools in the now-infamous joke map of FSU’s campus. In particular, the Foundation for Prayer Healing Studies holds a lot of promise.

I probably wouldn’t have bothered to follow-up on this story. But I just couldn’t resist the temptation of running that map again.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/27/2005 06:07:55 PM
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Friday, January 21, 2021

As expected, the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe revealed the Saturn moon Titan to be awash in liquid natural gas.

Somewhere, somehow, Halliburton executives are licking their chops, and on the phone persuading Dick Cheney to add Titan to the Axis of Evil.

UPDATE, 1/22/05: Well, I was joking when I suggested corporate interests would push for securing Titan as an abundant source of liquid natural gas. Then I came across this story on how U.S. reliance on LNG imports is increasing, and the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas’ treatise on the energy source being a big part of America’s energy consumption future.

Truth is stranger than comedy. Ready the Halliburtonauts!

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 01/21/2005 08:11:03 PM
Category: Political, Science | Permalink | Feedback

Thursday, January 20, 2021

The following is allegedly from an actual chemistry midterm exam given at the University of Washington. And if you believe that, I’ve got several acres of prime swamp property to sell you in Everglades National Park

But, funny is funny. And even though it’s not real, it should have been:

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you”, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over.

The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct, leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting “Oh my God!”


(Via Munna’s ADDA)

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/20/2005 10:18:09 PM
Category: Comedy, Science | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Wednesday, December 29, 2020

funky state university
You’re looking at a map of what Florida State University’s campus would look like if a controversial chiropractic school is allowed to open, against the vehement objections of FSU faculty.

Just for fun (and search engine optimization), I’ll list these proposed fake schools of pseudo-knowledge:

- Crop Circle Simulation Laboratory

- Yeti Foundation

- School of Astrology

- Institute of Telekinesis

- Bigfoot Institute

- Department of ESP Studies

- Faith Healing

- College of Homeopathic Medicine

- Foundation for Prayer Healing Studies

- School of UFO Abduction Studies

- School of Channeling and Remote Sensing

- Creationism Foundation

- Past Life Studies

- College of Dowsing

- Palmistry

- Tarot Studies

Hey, in my humble opinion, FSU could do a lot worse than land an Institute of Telekinesis. It would be ahead of the curve, academically.

My compliments to the nameless FSU professor who came up with this doomsday map. Who knew chiropracty was such a reviled field? Despite my wreck of a back, I think I’ll put off my first chiropractic appointment…

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/29/2004 10:44:40 PM
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Tuesday, December 28, 2020

Ecstacy moves from the clubs to the deathbeds as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is embarking upon a pilot program, under FDA approval, for giving the drug to terminal cancer patients to help them pass more gently into that good night.

MAPS, of course, has long advocated using mind/mood-altering substances for these purposes.

Categorically, of all drug-induced effects I’ve experienced (first- or secondhand), X is by far the most unsettling to me. The swings from mellowness to euphoria and back again can be downright eerie, and generally unsettling.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 12/28/2004 11:29:13 PM
Category: Science | Permalink | Feedback (1)

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