Friday, December 28, 2007

Brought to you by Goldman Sachs

  • I really can't see wondering into a bookstore, and just buying a book because it looks good. I'd want to see what others have to say about it first or maybe even google some reviews or something. I wonder if any brick & mortar stores are including terminals with which to check reviews. It's not just the money but my time I don't want to waste on a stinker.
  • Anyone know of a good shopping list generator? Not something tied to recipes, but just one that let's you select the stuff you usually buy from some comprehensive list. Then, before each time you go to the store, you can look at what you often buy and pick what you actually need or want? So that, for example, if you try some new dish one week, it doesn't evaporate into memory..instead its ingredients can be put on the comprehensive list so you might actually remember to say, "Hey, I liked such-and-such, I'll buy the ingredients again."
  • Why can't the Registrar post the finals schedule at the beginning of the semester? There must be some motivation for waiting till just a few weeks before the end of the term?
  • The NYT a few days ago covered the status of particle accelerators in use for treating cancer. An interesting article which I think, despite the costs, points to the future of modern medicine. For any physics students so inclined, it's probably a good idea to head in this direction.
  • Via the Freakonomics Blog, here's a cool article concerning

    You don't see with the eyes. You see with the brain.

    As a half-hearted solipsist, I've always been fascinated by the senses.


Incoherent Ponderer said...


a sizeable fraction people who hang around at book stores are there to meet (smart? pretentious?) people. Or so I have been told. The bookstores to nerds is what gyms are to nerds - pre-sorted dating pools.

Not sure I understand about shopping list, but have you tried the google recipe search?

It allows you to look for recipees based on items you already have.

My problem is that my shopping list need to be updated at random times/places, like at meetings or while driving a car, and I always forget the list when I am at the store. There's got to be a solution electronically, but I haven't found it yet.

NYT article points out that the proton treatment is not effective, too expensive, but doctors do it anyways. If we will have any sort of national health system any time soon (and I hope we will), these expensive-but-noneffective treatments have to go.

I am glad someone else reads freakonomics blog - by far the best blog out there!

Incoherent Ponderer said...

should read: "The bookstores to nerds is what gyms are to jocks - pre-sorted dating pools."

Angry said...


Regarding bookstores as dating pools, ok's hard for me to see it working particularly well. But even if that does happen, people must be buying enough stuff to support the existence of brick & mortar book stores, right?

Regarding the shopping list, the problem is that each time I go shopping, I can basically only think of milk, bread, cereal, and a few other things. I end up not buying food for meals. Once at the store, I just get what's on the list with a strong pressure to get out quickly.

So, the solution I see is a simple web application (e.g. javascript). The first page presents you with a large number of items (say the set of all grocery items you've purchased). Each has its own radio button and you click the ones that you want to buy. Then you click submit and you get a smaller subset list that you print and take to the store. Pretty basic, but then to make it more useful, on the master list you can also add certain dishes, say french toast. You click on it and it expands into sub-items including bread, eggs, vanilla, etc. If you don't need eggs, you don't select it.

In this way, you are essentially reminded of what you might like each week to buy without having some huge printout to take to the store.

Regarding the NYT article, I suppose I should have been more clear. First, the therapy does appear quite useful for some cases (e.g. kids w/ cancer). But more generally, I see radiation therapy in general as a good field. Whether particles, be they protons, pion, neutrons, carbon ions, etc, or electromagnetic radiation, isn't of central concern for such general advice.

CarlBrannen said...

From the article on using touch sensors on the tongue to give vision, my favorite line was "Also, the tongue is more densely populated with touch-sensitive nerves than most other parts of the body. That opens up the possibility that the tongue can convey higher-resolution data than the skin can."

Things that make you go "hmmm".

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