electricland: (Death java)
Oh, now this is just too cool. It's a periodic table of the elements. An actual table. Made of wood. With element samples in it. This rocks.
electricland: (Betan Astronomical Survey)
Via [livejournal.com profile] makinglight, the source of many good things, comes news of the $100 laptop. (I've heard about this before, but this is a nice summary, and it sounds like they're making progress.)

In November 2005, Nicholas Negroponte, head of the MIT Media Lab, unveiled a prototype of a laptop that could be sold -- in minimum orders of one million -- at a cool $100. While Negroponte now projects the price somewhat higher, around $110, he also sees the project's completion soon -- in late 2006.

How can a computer be manufactured so cheaply? According to the project's Web site, they will use "high-resolution black and white displays commonly found in inexpensive DVD players [that] can be used in bright sunlight -- at a cost of approximately $35." They also plan to save money by running open-source code like Linux and selling their computers in a minimum order of one million to governments.

The project, run by the nonprofit group One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) formed at Davos and backed by companies like Google, Red Hat, and Advanced Micro Devices, could have monumental consequences for the education and material improvement of poorer nations. Historically, technology facilitating the cheap and easy spread of information has often taken centuries to be directly seen in material progress -- from the printing press to "Poor Richard's Almanack" for example. But One Laptop Per Child, by connecting poor, rural farmers to everything from weather forecasts to educational resources to medical information, shows how this process can be sped up exponentially. Commentators have also suggested alternate uses of the OLPC laptops as cash registers and a method to document transactions or to provide the formal titles to land necessary for the poor to obtain loans.

You can visit the group's website for more info about the $100 laptop. (They have a wiki and everything!)

Perhaps not surprisingly, Bill Gates thinks it's a silly idea. (Makes me want to send them a cheque right now.)

Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates mocked a $100 laptop computer for developing countries being developed with the backing of rival Google Inc. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

...

"If you are going to go have people share the computer, get a broadband connection and have somebody there who can help support the user, geez, get a decent computer where you can actually read the text and you're not sitting there cranking the thing while you're trying to type," Gates said.

(Then he said "You should by my new laptop, which will cost between $600 and $1000, instead!")

You know, although I curse Bill Gates on a regular basis, I think he's done a lot of good with his money -- the AIDS foundation and so on. I'm surprised to hear something so out of touch from him...

Anyway, it all reminded me of the National Farm Radio Forum, something my dad was involved with in his early days at the CBC:

The broadcasts were aired every Monday night from 1942-1965. The weekly themes of the broadcast were developed by a national planning group made up of farmers from across the country. Topics ranged from agricultural policy and international trade to community and family life. Families would gather in each others' homes, community halls, school houses or church basements to listen to the broadcast and discuss the issues presented. They were aided with a publication called the Farm Forum Guide which they received prior to the broadcast. The guide presented different sets of questions for both adults and youth to discuss. Following the discussion, the participants were encouraged to report to their Provincial Farm Forum Office the results of their discussion and these were tabulated and reported for five minutes of the following week's broadcast. This allowed the listeners to take part in their education by sharing views and ideas across the country.
electricland: (house plan)
I go away for a day and come back to find 18 comments about joists in my journal. That's really so cool.
electricland: (Electric Landlady)
Very excited about this pilot study on wait times for knee and hip replacements from Alberta.

The average wait for a first orthopedic consultation dropped to six weeks from 35 weeks, according to an interim report on the program released yesterday.

In the project, which sends patients through a central-intake system and has its own doctors and surgical space, the average wait for surgery after the first consultation has plummeted to 4.7 weeks from 47 weeks.

And the average hospital stay has shrunk to 4.3 days from 6.2 days.
Andre Picard's commentary is very good -- it will probably disappear behind a pay-for-me barrier tomorrow, so here it is )

(The Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement Project's website has the full report [PDF].) Extremely promising -- and publicly funded too, whatever will they think of next? It sounds similar to Ontario's Cardiac Care Network, which is widely praised as an initiative that centralizes the bureaucracy, stays on top of patients' conditions and needs and moves them up and down the waiting list as necessary, streamlines the process of getting through the system, and generally Gets the Job Done. More, please. (Of course, I'm trying to figure out how to relate this to paediatrics for work, but I don't think the issues are really similar enough to do it -- so this is merely personal squee.)

And in cool science news from PNAS:

An Asian origin for a 10,000-year-old domesticated plant in the Americas

Grammatical Subjects in home sign: Abstract linguistic structure in adult primary gesture systems without linguistic input (language patterns developed by congenitally deaf people deprived of any speech or sign input)
electricland: (This Is Wonderland)
Just sent this. I feel much better now.

Dear CBC:

First, welcome back. I've missed you. I was very strong-minded during the lockout and did not watch or listen to CBC radio or TV, because that would have been Bad and Wrong.

But second, why are you trying so hard to make me so crazy? This Is Wonderland's official site (www.thisiswonderland.com) tells me that Season 3 is starting Wednesday, November 23 at 8 p.m. However, both your TV schedule and George Stromboulopoulos tell me that The Nature of Things will be airing in that slot now and forever, amen. Your This Is Wonderland page (www.cbc.ca/wonderland) is still showing information for Season 2. I watched Season 2. It was good. It started LAST JANUARY, i.e. 9 months ago if you're counting.

I love the show. It's a great show. I would like to recommend it to other people, but it would really help if I knew for sure when it was going to be on.

(And by the way, waiting until the Friday before the season premiere to launch a new site the way you did for Da Vinci's City Hall? Will not be helpful either.)

Much love,

me
electricland: (insane iconfly)
everyone will be forced to use "disinterested" and "uninterested" correctly.

Likewise "comprised" and "composed".

I realize that I have high expectations, which is why I'm warning you now.

On the off chance that Queen of the World turns out to be a rotating post, what will your edicts be?
electricland: (house plan)
My aunt reports:

Today for lunch, John, Dan and I had udon noodle soup with tempura garnish. (Added broccoli this time and went overboard on the seaweed.)

Stuart decided to stay at the house, working on the second floor window. There's something about changing counterweights.

Wayne the Foam came at about 7:00, and John let him in and went to his class. I slept in.

Dan has been clearing out Jen's bedroom. He and John are going to pick up the notebook about the drywall estimate, buy drywall and greenboard for bathrooms.

John will continue wiring.

John called the NRC, and it turns out that the foam insulation is vapour barrier enough, BUT he finally got an outside expert who said that, yes, it is within specification, but local building inspectors have the right to make up their own minds. So, you all are going to have vapour barriers, because this district guy is a nut on vapour barriers. Which also means that the electrical boxes will have to have cute little plastic things around them.

Cheers all, Helen
See, this is (one of many reasons) why I love my uncle. When he wants to know something he will call the NRC and persist until he finds the answer.

Also, whee! my windows will close all the way!
electricland: (insane iconfly)
Just sent the following email to the writers:

Hi all!

Please note that as mentioned in our style guide (p. 27), we prefer the "e" spelling, rather than "oe", for words such as fetus, edema, and diarrhea. I would like to extend this to apnea, tachypnea, and any other "e/oe" decisions that may arise. (If you have a good reason for preferring "oe", though, I'm open to argument.)
We do prefer the "ae" spelling in most cases, although that's being eroded by anesthesia and anesthetic and hyperglycemia. It's all so complicated.
electricland: (stupid rat creatures)
Oh... wow.

I see from the comments that many many others have trod this way before me, so this probably isn't news to anyone else, but beware the power of J.K. Rowling's death ray. (Warning: relationship spoilers for HBP. Mind you, if you care that deeply you've already read the book by now.)

Hee. Awesome.
electricland: (Kirsty)
Judging by the response I got (befuddlement), I don't think very many people phone AstraZeneca's 1-800 number to inform them that there are inconsistencies in their Pulmicort Turbulhaler 200 mcg package labelling and they should really do something about that. (The nice call centre employee said "Um... well... there may be a reason for that... would you like me to put you through to a pharmacist?" I said no. I would lay you odds that the reason is a rushed production deadline coupled with one too many trips past the same editor. I didn't tell her that, but as a medical writer I encouraged her to pass the information along and see that someone fixed it.)
electricland: (don't panic)
My aunt reports:

Today for lunch we had eggs Benedict, with a decorative garnish of orange slices.

The water man came in the morning, and will install what he's supposed to install within 4 weeks. The duct man came also and the planner of same will call shortly.

It turns out that all the stuff about stairs--Dennis Newman discussed this last night--was that they were bowed. As David reports, "This has since been rectified."

Dan and David are working on the box in the first floor bow window. J, you do not want it to be a seat, but rather storage.

Dan carried back a 4x4" to start to put together the half wall for the third floor stairwell.

The trucklet went in for repairs yesterday, and all is well.

Discussion ensued on internet hook-up. It was, as Ken Anderson defines it, a manly conversation: full of letters and numbers. RJ45, CAD5, VoIP, bluetooth. It is for you two to decide, but the consensus seemed to be that hard-wired hook-up would be more robust--and not hard because the walls are out. Wireless, however, lets you roam with your computer. Or, more jacks could be put in. Will you want wired or wireless? Would you like to share a router? Would make sense. Probably should be in the second floor because the walls aren't brick. If hard-wired, where would you like your computers set up? There could be more base plugs put in those locations to avoid the use of power bars. (I think I've got all this right, but I'm not sure.)

Cheers, H
electricland: (Rose Tyler)
I am not getting sick, dammit. NOT. Stupid air conditioning anyway.

Back at work; many people have commented on how relaxed I look. Yay? Wonderful what a day at the cottage will do -- must find some nice copy editing that will take me a whole day so I can work on it up there.

Toronto Trek was fun although somewhat stressful and very tiring. I will have a massive report to write. Trying to focus on all the stuff that went well, instead of all the things where I thought "damn, why didn't we do X instead?" I got to a whole half a panel. One must start somewhere. Wandered around Saturday babysitting the TV crew that was making an episode at the con; they went away happy and at some point I'll be showing up on TV. Eeeeeek. At least it's digital cable.

Cranky, bless her, came and helped out. I've now linked up a few more faces with names and vice versa. *waves at [livejournal.com profile] ozreison and [livejournal.com profile] boywhocantsayno*

Caught the tail end of Denise Crosby's main-stage appearance in addition to her press conference that morning (spent a lot of time not saying to the assembled lazy-ass press "Well, if you had come by at 9:30 when the media office opened, you would have known when that was going to be"). And got a photo with her. She's awesome (which I figured out quite early in the morning when I spotted her hanging out with some fans at a table in Tim Horton's).

Bought some swag: buttons courtesy [livejournal.com profile] pretentiousgit, which are making me all happy (Cranky and I spent a lot of time in call-and-response thus:
"Gondor has no pants."
"Gondor NEEDS no pants!"), and a Rohirrim banner, which really I technically don't need but it was the only item that made me go "OH! WANT!" and I do have a house to furnish, after all. Oooh, and a T-shirt courtesy [livejournal.com profile] aprilsnark which says "inappropriate" on the front.

Seriously though, next time I'd like to actually have time to, oh, get to the odd panel.

Also, I want a nap.
electricland: (This Is Wonderland)
Dear appliance manufacturers/bored programmers:

When you have a moment, please construct a website. As a baffled consumer, I'd like to be able to do the following:

- Search for appliances (all manufacturers) with essential and nice-to-have features, including size and energy efficiency, plus colour and price range
- Compare different models
- Suggest additional features that may be of interest
- Narrow the search as needed

So, for instance, I wouldn't have to wade through all 199 single-oven electric stoves on Sears' website; I could specify that I'm looking for self-cleaning ovens that will fit in a 30" space, are white or stainless steel, and have either a glass cooktop or solid elements. Optional nice-to-have features include a hidden-bake element and a convection oven. Let me sort by energy rating and price.

Honestly, do I have to think of everything?

And how was everyone's weekend?
electricland: (Betan Astronomical Survey)
Via the stupid article that, thanks to Neil Gaiman, all the cool kids are now talking about: Periodic Table of Comics.

Also, why do I have no chemistry icon? This is a serious omission.
electricland: (Padme dialogue grrliz_icons)
haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it'll be amusing Oh yes. You must read this Sith parody.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN runs up to SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKING
JACKSON

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN
Samuel, I rented the original Star
Wars trilogy from Blockbuster. I'm
pretty sure Ian McDiarmid is a Sith
Lord.

SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKING JACKSON
Then it's time to get medieval on
some ass.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN
Let me come with you.

SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKING JACKSON
No, go your room.
SAMUEL L. MOTHERFUCKING JACKSON and some OTHER JEDI go to
see IAN. Meanwhile HAYDEN stares out the window of the JEDI
TEMPLE, toward NATALIE PORTMAN'S APARTMENT. Though he says
nothing, we can see that he is conflicted, trying to decide
between his commitment to the Jedi order and his love for
his wife. NATALIE, at the same time, gazes toward the Jedi
Temple, wondering what will happen to her husband.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN
How pathetic is it that the best
acted scene between us is the one in
which we are in separate buildings
and have no lines?


How's everyone's ficathon entry going? I haven't started mine *blush*
electricland: (Default)
If it is possible to be in love with a neurology textbook, I am totally head-over-heels in love with Kandel, Schwartz and Jessell's Principles of Neural Science, fourth edition.

It's comprehensive. It's detailed. It's beautifully written and clear. An iron editorial hand has ensured consistency from chapter to chapter. It's had a complete redesign from the third edition and has loads of illustrations and images that are actually helpful -- now in colour.

Also, you gotta love a neurology textbook that starts with phrenology and takes it from there.

As always, I ask "where was this book three months ago when I needed it?"

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