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January 10, 2008

Fate v Chance

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Lisa Belkin's "Life's Work" column in today's New York Times is a thoughtful meditation on the relative uselessness of planning in charting one's future course in life; the piece follows.

    Planning a Life With Room for Debate

    Near the start of the film “The Great Debaters,” the young man who would grow up to be the civil rights leader James Farmer Jr. comes home with the news that he has been chosen for his school’s debate team. His father sternly warns him that something as frivolous as debate must not get in the way of homework and grades. “Never take your eye off the ball,” he said. But one suspects that it was those debates, more than those grades, that led Mr. Farmer to found the Congress of Racial Equality and help change the world.

    I was also a young debater, and although I can’t say that it helped me change the world, it certainly helped change me. I joined the team because it sounded like a laugh. Where else could you get trophies for arguing?

    What I couldn’t have known was that I would grow up to give speeches at least once a month, play host to a satellite radio program once a week and earn a good percentage of my living by talking. The day I earned a spot on the team from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, N.Y., was a pivotal day that changed everything that came afterward in my life — clear in hindsight, but invisible at the time.

    Lately, I have been thinking of the strong but transparent filaments that connect our past to our present. The threads, which are usually hidden, have come out in full relief.

    One is a college professor, a literary idol of mine, who happened to ask in passing, “You’re a writer, so why are you applying to law school?” I doubt he remembers he said it. If I had been late that morning and we had not happened to walk to the classroom together, would I ever have written books at all?

    It’s a game we often play when we look back on love (“If I had let my cold keep me home that night in December 1986, would we ever have met”). But we like to think we have greater control when it comes to career choices.

    Yet, we don’t. Any number of serendipitous events have led us to the work we do and honed the skill with which we hopefully do it. Sometimes a choice is deliberate, but just as often it is disguised as a lark or even a wrong turn.

    Take Jim Barlow’s detour into a typing class as a high school sophomore in 1970. He learned to type with speed and accuracy from a teacher “everyone pretty much despised,” but to whom he is belatedly grateful because it’s a skill he used first as a journalist, and now uses as a public information officer at the University of Oregon. “Typing is a part of my brain,” he said. “There are times I can’t visualize something unless my fingers are on a keyboard.”

    If he hadn’t taken the dreaded class, he would think differently.

    A number of coincidences are the reason I have been seeing the world retrospectively. It began last summer with my 25-year college reunion. Reunions are an exercise in tracing threads back to their beginning — the politician whose first victory came in a run for student government or the software company founder who earned tuition money working part-time at the school’s first computer center.

    This month I will start my yearly round of applicant interviews for my alma mater. Meeting these students is both exhilarating and depressing. The former because they forge paths and accomplish goals unimaginable when I applied. The latter because they don’t seem to be having very much fun. The competition applicants face is so fierce that they can’t meander toward college leaving room for inspiration and chance. Where is the magic in life if you have to plan it based on how it will look on an application?

    Human nature thrives on serendipity. If the road toward a career allows for less, we will begin to compensate by being more open to serendipity later in the journey.

    One of the most transforming trends in the seven years I have written this column has been the willingness of workers to change jobs, identity, routine. Careers are no longer linear for many reasons. I believe one reason is we need to experiment somewhere. If you squelch the possibility at the start, it will burst forth in the middle.

    This, as it happens, was one of those trajectory-altering lessons that Angie Morgan happened upon 18 years ago. As a ninth grader, she was posed a question by her English teacher: Is it O.K. to change your profession midpoint in your career?

    “I thought about my mom and dad — both career educators — who spent years of their lives studying and preparing to be teachers,” Ms. Morgan recalled. “What if they decided to become lawyers? What a waste their education would have been! I readily concluded that it wasn’t responsible to give up your career.”

    The teacher spent the rest of the class “helping me understand the flaws in my logic, reminding me of all the choices I’d backed away from in my 14 years of life.” Being a Brownie, but not graduating to the Girl Scouts. Joining the basketball team and leaving later to join the cross-country team. “She then shed some light about my future: I had many more experiences and choices to make,” Ms. Morgan said. “Many were going to be wrong ones — and I needed to learn from them and have the courage to change and take risks.”

    What if Ms. Morgan had been absent that day and never heard her teacher wax poetic about wrong turns? Would she have led the peripatetic life that she has? Scuttling her plans to become a teacher herself, and joining the Marines instead? Leaving active duty to become a pharmaceutical sales representative, and later starting her own leadership-training business?

    “Ms. Trill’s advice has been at the heart of every career change I’ve made in my 32 years of life,” Ms. Morgan said. “She reminded me that one decision shouldn’t determine your future.”

    That, in the end, is the central reason why I have been musing of late. I am watching my own sons begin to plan their futures. At 16 and 13, they are navigating possibilities. When they look back on this time, which moments will jump out as the ones that began it all? Will they be planned or bolts from the blue? And have they left enough room in their lives for both?

January 10, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Melanin Sunglasses

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Say what?

Melanin's the pigment responsible for eye and skin color.

What's it doing in sunglasses?

From the website:

    Eye Fatigue Preventing Reading Glasses

    Used by the Swiss Army to protect soldiers eyes from the constant glare off snowy slopes, these magnifying reading glasses are infused with melanin to prevent eyes from tiring as you read or view a computer monitor.

    By age 65 eyes lose about 50% of their reserves of melanin, the pigment that gives eyes their color, protects from UV damage and reduces glare naturally.

    The synthesized melanin in the lenses compensates for aging eyes' increased sensitivity to glare by filtering out not only ultraviolet light but also high-energy visible blue/violet light, the next most damaging rays in the spectrum.

    And though the lenses appear to be tinted, they in fact enhance the perception of true color, as naturally occurring melanin does.

    The lenses are also treated with a scratch-resistant coating for long life.

    The stainless metal alloy frame features adjustable rubberized nose pads, integrated spring hinges and a polished brass finish.

    Specify magnification: 1.25, 1.5, 2.0, or 2.5.

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I guess I must've been absent from class in med school the day they discussed how melanin enhances the perception of true color — first I've ever heard of this.

$29.95.

January 10, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

bankofjoe is DOA — Back to the drawing board

Guhuhoiu

One of the many ongoing deep black projects out back in the bookofjoe skunk works — up to an hour ago, at least — has been the bankofjoe.

The plan was to create a one-stop destination for all your banking needs — in Second Life.

Alas, game over — before it even started.

Chris Nuttall's story in today's Financial Times (FT) reports that "Second Life is banning unregulated banks from its virtual world."

Rats.

Here's the FT article.

    Second Life bans unregulated banks

    Second Life is banning unregulated banks from its virtual world after a run of defaults by financial institutions offering interest rates unobtainable in the real world and unsustainable in a virtual one.

    San Francisco-based Linden Lab, which runs Second Life, is prohibiting from January 22 any object, such as a bank or ATM, which offers interest or any direct return on an investment, unless it has proof of a real-world government registration or financial institution charter.

    "Linden Lab has received complaints about several in-world 'banks' defaulting on their promises," it said. "These banks often promise unusually high rates of return, reaching 20, 40 or even 60 per cent annualised."

    The virtual world uses its own currency — the Linden dollar — which can be exchanged at the rate of about 270 to 1 US dollar at Linden's own currency exchange.

    The complaints follow the collapse of Ginko Financial, one of the virtual banks, last August after months of speculation among Second Life members over whether it was no more than a pyramid scheme that paid interest to older members from investments by new ones.

    There was a run on the bank that depleted its reserves as panicked investors queued up at virtual ATMs to withdraw their money. Ginko, which had been offering interest rates of more than 40 per cent a year, ran out of funds, owing customers more than 750,000 real US dollars.

    There were similar scenes yesterday at other institutions, including JT Financial, as depositors digested the impact of the ban.

    In an analysis of the Ginko collapse last year, the Journal of the Business Law Society warned that Linden Lab could face real-world litigation from victims.

    "By not taking efforts to ensure that commercial activity in Second Life is conducted in a transparent manner, Linden Lab is in essence putting their stamp of approval on ventures like Ginko," it said.

    Financial institutions in Second Life have been targeted by scams and hackers. The 'World Stock Exchange' was robbed of $3.2m Linden dollars in July by a former employee, while hackers extracted a similar sum from in-world banks in November.

    Linden Lab's decision yesterday was welcomed and condemned in equal measure by members, with critics saying it was becoming more like the real world. Second Life has nearly 12m registered residents but a high churn rate — only 780,000 have logged on over the past 30 days.

    About 340,000 users spent money inside Second Life in December.

    Linden Lab banned in-world gambling in July to come into line with real-world laws.

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Oh, well — there's always Facebook.

January 10, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Indoor Dog Restroom

Ygygy

Finally.

Although I think they might have found a better way of describing it, what?

I mean, I've always thought of a room as a place with walls and all.

From the website:

    Indoor Dog Restroom

    This mat-and-tray system gives dogs a place to relieve themselves when they can't get outside for respite.

    Ideal for high-rise dwelling dogs when owners aren't home or when there's harsh weather, this ingenious system uses a mat made of antimicrobial porous artificial turf that gives off an organic scent to attract dogs, so they can be taught quickly that it is an acceptable spot for relieving themselves.

    The mat sits on top of a plastic grate which allows liquid to drain into the included tray for easy clean-up.

    The turf yarn is a unique construction specially designed for use with dogs, and its antimicrobial composition help prevent odors.

    The tray is easy to empty and can hold up to 2 gallons of liquid.

    1"H x 30"W x 20"L.

$149.95.

January 10, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Battle of Trafalgar — Episode 2: The Fourth Plinth

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Long story short: London's Trafalgar Square has four plinths in its northwest corner, one of which, "Built in 1841 for an equestrian statue that was never completed and empty for a century and a half, ... has been occupied since 1999 by a series of new artworks erected for 18 months at a time," wrote Jill Lawless in an Associated Press story which appeared in yesterday's Washington Post, and follows.

    The Battle for Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth

    Sculpted meerkats, the remains of a car bombed in Iraq and live members of the public are vying for a place alongside monuments to Britain's military heroes in London's iconic Trafalgar Square.

    City officials on Tuesday unveiled a shortlist of six artworks competing to fill the "fourth plinth" in the square's northwest corner. Built in 1841 for an equestrian statue that was never completed and empty for a century and a half, it has been occupied since 1999 by a series of new artworks erected for 18 months at a time.

    Finalists to fill the space next year include Jeremy Deller's "The Spoils of War (Memorial for an Unknown Civilian)," the remains of a vehicle destroyed in an attack on civilians in Iraq; Anish Kapoor's "Sky Plinth," which would use five mirrors to reflect the sky to passersby; and Tracey Emin's "Something for the Future," a sculpture of a group of meerkats.

    Emin — whose autobiographically charged past work includes a re-creation of her disheveled bed and an appliqued tent titled "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With" — called the meerkat, a desert mammal from the mongoose family that lives in highly organized small groups, a symbol of unity and safety.

    Emin said she noticed that at times of national crisis and loss, such as the death of Princess Diana, "the next program on television is 'Meerkats United.' "

    The British sculptor Antony Gormley is proposing the plinth be occupied around the clock by members of the public — more than 8,700 over the course of a year — who would volunteer for hour-long shifts. Gormley said the project would raise themes of "diversity, vulnerability and the individual in contemporary society."

    The other contenders are Yinka Shonibare's "Nelson's Ship in a Bottle," a reproduction of the HMS Victory, Adm. Horatio Nelson's flagship at the battle of Trafalgar; and "Faites L'Art, Pas La Guerre (Make Art, Not War)," a sun- and wind-powered illuminated peace sign by Bob and Roberta Smith, the pseudonym of artist Patrick Brill.

    Models of the artworks will be displayed at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square until the end of March.

    The winner will be selected by a committee and announced later in the year. It will be erected in the square once the current occupant, Thomas Schuette's "Model for a Hotel 2007," is taken down next year.

    Trafalgar Square was designed in 1838 as London's first public square and named after Nelson's 1805 victory over the French and Spanish fleets, in which he lost his life. A statue of the one-armed admiral stands atop Nelson's column at the center of the square, which also contains statues of King George IV and two military commanders in India, Gen. Charles Napier and Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Havelock.

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I can't speak for you but me, I just love Gormley's proposal.

If I lived in London I'd volunteer in a Paddington minute.

Above and below,

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the Fourth Plinth as it appeared with two of the pieces which have graced it since 1999.

January 10, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Mini Booklet Stapler

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This nifty device was featured recently in Cool Tools, edited by Steven Leckart.

Here's Lani Teshima's review.

    Mini Booklet Stapler — Saddle Stapling For Zines

    If you like creating little DIY booklets or zines, but have been frustrated by the short arm length in standard staplers that forces you to curl up (or worse, fold) your notebook pages in order to get a center saddle staple, this two-way stapler is a terrific little solution.

    It looks just like your ordinary handheld personal stapler until you twist the upper portion: it twists all the way perpendicular to the body of the stapler, so that you can easily staple booklets at the center fold. When I found it, I was kind of surprised I'd never seen this before. It's sheer genius and simple.

    I'm a huge pocket notebook fan. I have a boxful of Moleskines, which I love, but I've been playing around with crafting my own Moleskine-size blank notebooks for keeping notes on small projects or short trips. In the past, I've had to either fold up the pages a bit (and carefully unfold and smooth out the crease). Or I waited to go to someplace like Kinko's that offers saddle staplers. Neither was a very convenient solution and I didn't want to spend lots of money on an expensive "long reach" or saddle stitch stapler of my own.

    This one's not as small as a micro stapler but it's as lightweight (plastic body) and is just a bit longer than the palm of my hand. No unnecessary bells and whistles. When you move the swinging piece it snaps into place, and you can twist it either left or right. The loading area is very easy, not tricky at all. The only drawbacks are that it uses mini staples and can only staple 15 pages at a time. But as long as you don't have a really thick stack, it works like a charm.

    Maybe one of these days they'll come up with a slightly more robust version using regular staples. Until then, this will do for most jobs. I'm almost tempted to buy a second one to keep at home, but it's small enough I can just carry it with me.

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I was so amazed when I read about it I ordered one instanter.

My verdict: Better than advertised.

I pulled the staples out of my latest issue of the New Yorker, then used this tool to staple the 20 sheets of paper (including covers) back together.

Worked like a charm.

$8.14.

January 10, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is consciousness a by-product of room-temperature superconductivity?

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If so, it kind of makes us seem a bit less important in the greater scheme of things.

And generally — at least over the past 10,000 or so years — movement in that direction seems to be consistent with a more realistic view of things.

Yesterday, as I was reading Kenneth Chang's superb New York Times Science section story about the celebration last month of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of "Theory of Superconductivity," a landmark paper which appeared in Physical Review in December 1957, I got to reflecting on the halting progress of high-temperature superconductivity studies in the decades since.

And then I got to thinking about how it is that after all these years and myriad conflicting theories, we seem no closer to a theory of consciousness today than we were fifty years ago.

Well, the way I see it, if you're getting nowhere in two different avenues, that's no reason not to see what happens when you combine them.

Wasn't it the noted physicist Billy Preston who wrote, "Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'?"

Addition by subtraction — that's where it's at.

Here's the Times article.

    When Superconductivity Became Clear (to Some)

    Superconductivity, the flow of electricity without resistance, was once as confounding to physicists as it is to everyone else.

    For almost 50 years, the heavyweights of physics brooded over the puzzle. Then, 50 years ago last month, the answer appeared in the journal Physical Review. It was titled, simply, “Theory of Superconductivity.”

    “It’s certainly one of the greatest achievements in physics in the second half of the 20th century,” said Malcolm R. Beasley, a professor of applied physics at Stanford.

    Superconductivity was discovered in 1911 by a Dutch physicist, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes. He observed that when mercury was cooled to below minus-452 degrees Fahrenheit, about 7 degrees above absolute zero, electrical resistance suddenly disappeared, and mercury was a superconductor.

    For physicists, that was astounding, almost like happening upon a real-world perpetual motion machine. Indeed, an electrical current running around a ring of mercury at 7 degrees above absolute zero would, in principle, run forever.

    If the phenomenon defied intuition, it also defied explanation.

    After wrapping up special and general relativity, Albert Einstein tried, and failed, to devise a theory of superconductivity. Werner Heisenberg, the physicist who came up with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, struggled with the problem, as did other pioneers of quantum mechanics like Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli. Felix Bloch, another thwarted theorist, jokingly concluded: Every theory of superconductivity can be disproved.

    This long list of failure was unknown to Leon N. Cooper. In 1955 he had just received his Ph.D. and was working in a different area of theoretical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton when he met John Bardeen, a physicist who had already won fame for the invention of the transistor.

    Bardeen, who had left his transistor research at Bell Labs for the University of Illinois, wanted to recruit Dr. Cooper for his latest grand research endeavor: solving superconductivity.

    “I talked to John for a while,” Dr. Cooper recalled at a conference in October, “and he said, ‘You know, it’s a very interesting problem.’ I said, ‘I don’t know much about it.’ He said, ‘I’ll teach you.’

    “He omitted to mention,” Dr. Cooper said, “that practically every famous physicist of the 20th century had worked on the problem and failed.”

    Bardeen himself had already made two unsuccessful assaults. Dr. Cooper said the omission was fortunate, because “I might have hesitated.”

    Dr. Cooper arrived at the University of Illinois in September 1955. In less than two years, he, Bardeen and J. Robert Schrieffer, a graduate student, solved the intractable puzzle. Their answer is now known as B.C.S. theory after the initials of their last names.

    Bardeen died in 1991, but Dr. Cooper and Dr. Schrieffer returned to the University of Illinois in October to commemorate the publication of their superconductivity paper.

    Their Herculean achievement was honored with the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics, and it deeply influenced theorists who were putting together theories explaining the to and fro of fundamental particles. The theory has also been applied in subjects as far flung as the dynamics of neutron stars.

    B.C.S. theory, however, never achieved recognition in popular culture like relativity and quantum mechanics. That may be understandable given the theory’s complexities, applying quantum mechanics to the collective behavior of millions and millions of electrons. “They were very, very difficult calculations,” Dr. Cooper recalled. “They were superdifficult.”

    Even for physicists, the 1957 paper was a difficult one to read.

    On the first day of the October conference, Vinay Ambegaokar of Cornell held up a small notebook from 1958. The notebook, Dr. Ambegaokar said, “shows I read it, but I did not understand it.” He said that he continued to prefer approaches “with less constant intellectual effort.” (Soviet physicists had come up with a so-called phenomenological theory — equations that described the behavior of superconductors but did not explain what created that behavior.)

    Electrical resistance arises because the electrons that carry current bounce off the nuclei of the atoms, like balls in a diminutive pinball machine. The nuclei recoil and vibrate, sapping energy from the electrons.

    In a superconductor, electrons seem more like ghosts than particles, passing the nuclei as if they were not there.

    Clues to the nature of superconductivity began to accumulate when Walther Meissner and Robert Ochsenfeld, two German physicists, measured the magnetic field inside a superconductor and discovered, to everyone’s surprise, that it was exactly, precisely zero. Further, any magnetic field that was present in a material would disappear as it was cooled into a superconductor.

    This phenomenon, known as the Meissner Effect, was the first sign that superconductors were more than just the perfect conductors envisioned in the early theories.

    Then there were signs of a large energy gap between the lowest energy, superconducting state and the next possible, higher-energy configuration. That kept the electrons trapped in the superconducting state.

    Finally, experiments showed that the temperature at which an electrical resistance disappeared varied when heavier or lighter versions of an atom were substituted; the weight of atoms play a negligible role in the electrical resistance of ordinary conductors.

    Bardeen believed that if he could understand the energy gap, he would understand superconductivity.

    In 1955, David Pines — Dr. Schrieffer’s predecessor in the Bardeen group — came up with the first breakthrough.

    Negatively charged electrons generally repulse each other, but Dr. Pines showed that vibrations in the lattice of nuclei could generate a minuscule attraction.

    When an electron passes near a positively charged atomic nucleus, the opposite electric charge slightly pulls the nucleus toward the electron. The electron flits away, leaving behind a positively charged wake, and that, in turn, attracts other electrons.

    Dr. Pines’s result showed why the weight of the atoms mattered — heavier atoms accelerate more slowly.

    The next two key breakthroughs came via mass transit.

    In December 1956, Dr. Cooper was on a 17-hour train ride to New York City. He had spent his first months applying his theoretical bag of tricks on the equations. “I did it and I did it and I did it, and I got absolutely nowhere,” he said. “I wasn’t feeling that clever any more.”

    On the train, Dr. Cooper discarded his failed calculations. “I just thought and thought, ‘I know this is a difficult problem, but it seems so simple,’” he said. Physicists think of electrons in a normal conductor as piling on top of one another in a “Fermi sea,” named after Enrico Fermi, who was still formulating the theory at the University of Chicago.

    Dr. Cooper realized that it was only the electrons near the top of the Fermi sea that were crucial. “You introduce a small effect,” he said, “and somehow you get a superconductor.”

    As he worked on the problem for the next few months, Dr. Cooper realized that these electrons not only attracted others as Dr. Pines had shown, but also grouped themselves into pairs. It now seemed that superconductivity depended on these pairs, subsequently named Cooper pairs.

    Contrary to simple expectations, the two electrons did not revolve closely around each other but were far apart, with many other electrons in between. The multitude of overlapping pairs made the calculations a morass.

    A year after Dr. Cooper’s trip, Dr. Schrieffer headed to New York for a scientific conference. (At the same time, Bardeen headed to Stockholm to collect his first Nobel Prize, for the transistor.) Dr. Schrieffer had been looking at statistical approaches to solve the tangle of Cooper pairs. On the subway, he wrote down the answer, which turned out to be fairly simple in form.

    The Cooper pairs essentially coalesced into one large clump that moved together, and the energy gap prevented the scattering of any one pair. Dr. Schrieffer gives the analogy of a line of ice skaters, arm in arm. “If one skater hits a bump,” he said, the skater is “supported by all the other skaters moving along with it.”

    Back in Illinois, he showed what he had written to Dr. Cooper and then Bardeen. Bardeen was convinced.

    Charles P. Slichter, a professor of physics at Illinois then and now and who had conducted many of the experiments teasing out the clues to superconductivity, remembered Bardeen’s stopping him in the hallway one day.

    “John wasn’t a great talker,” Dr. Slichter said. “I could see he had something he wanted to say, and we sort of stood there. It seemed like we stood there for five minutes.”

    Dr. Slichter was tempted to say something, “but I knew I shouldn’t, because if I did, I would shut him up. So he spoke to me finally. ‘Well, Charlie, I think we’ve solved superconductivity.’

    “And wow, it is the most exciting moment in science I’ve ever experienced,” Dr. Slichter said.

    In February 1957, the three submitted a paper, essentially outlining their ideas, to Physical Review. Their longer, more complete paper did not appear in print until December that year.

    A new puzzle appeared in 1986 with the discovery of so-called high-temperature superconductors. These superconductors work at higher, though still very low, temperatures.

    No theory has emerged as convincing; one session at the Illinois conference was a mass interrogation of the competing theorists.

    The theorists agreed that high-temperature superconductors were different, that the attractive force did not come from the vibrations of nuclei. Rather, they said, the attraction somehow arose from the flipping of the atoms’ tiny magnetic poles. Beyond that, they did not agree.

    Other types of superconductors, and more theories, could well follow.

    As Dr. Beasley of Stanford said in the closing talk of the conference: “We have no idea of the limits of superconductivity in the universe. If 85 percent of the universe is dark matter, I hope 5 percent of it is superconducting.”

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What triggered my thought connecting superconductivity to consciousness was the final sentence of the legend of the figure up top (by Jonathan Corum, it accompanied the Times article), to wit, "With no resistance, the current may persist for years."

Huh.

Let's see... what else is measured in years?

Hey, I know: a human life.

Instead of calorie restriction and the like, maybe longevity researchers should instead focus on promoting the conditions which allow the "miracle" (in quotes because both miracles and magic usually turn out to result from superior technology... but I digress) of consciousness to flourish for decades at body temperature before choosing another venue.

Here's a link to "... 4,652 free online papers on consciousness...."

That ought to keep you occupied for the rest of the day.

Knock yourself out.

January 10, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Swarovski Limited Edition Crystal Toaster

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From the website:

    Crystal-Encrusted Toaster• Glass and stainless steel embellished with more than 200 Swarovski crystals

    • Includes extra-lift handle and crumb tray

    • Variable browning control

    • Limited edition of 500

    • By Russell Hobbs®

    • 9"H x 18"W x 6"D

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$300.

via Arieanna Schweber and cooking-gadgets.com]

January 10, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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