Monthly Archives: February 2010

Salt Science

This was interesting, in the NY Times science blog:

Dr. McCarron and his colleagues analyzed surveys from 33 countries around the world and reported that, despite wide differences in diet and culture, people generally consumed about the same amount of salt. … The results were so similar in so many places that Dr. McCarron hypothesized that networks in the brain regulate sodium appetite so that people consume a set daily level of salt.

The rest of the article is about efforts to regulate salt in foods. What if that finding were correct? Imagine trying to set up a regulatory environment to achieve “safe” salt levels if there was a neurological trigger in the brain to get a different amount. When we prohibit alcohol and drugs, it doesn’t work, but at least it fails differently for different people.

(RT Instapundit.)

Cool Tool – Irritating Co-workers Edition

The Evil-Tron is an electronic gadget not much bigger than a quarter. It’s got a strong magnet, so you can attach it just about anywhere, like under someone’s desk, or in framework rigging for the suspended ceiling.

What it does is make sounds — “unidentifiable scratching sounds,” or “eerie whispering ‘hey, can you hear me?” — at random intervals, and so mess with someone’s mind. Just the thing to get your coworkers.

I have got to get me one of these. Or … perhaps … the economy pack: get three for just $18. Hmmm….

Earth surrounded by emptiness

That’s not news: it’s called space. But the news is that the space near us is especially empty. You can see a map of what’s called the “Local Cavity,” a region about 260 light years across that’s more empty than average. Scientists believe that this void is a sort of crater blasted empty by a supernova 5-10 million years ago.

RVM is pretty impressive

One of my frustrations as a casual Rubyist is trying to use some of these wonderful CPAN-like things that have appeared since I began playing with Ruby after the Hunt and Thomas article in Dr. Dobb’s. For example, gems.

The problem with Ruby (and especially rubygems) is that they don’t play nicely with the other package management tools on your system. (Ubuntu/Debian’s .deb‘s and MacPorts‘ ports). And I’m too stupid and lazy to bypass all that and go back to using tarballs and stashing everything in /usr/local.

Enter RVM, the Ruby Version Manager. It bypasses your system’s package management system. It creates a hidden folder ($HOME/.rvm) and puts whatever Ruby versions (and gems, etc.) there. But it does it all so cleverly you don’t realize what’s going on in the background. I like it.

German family granted asylum in US … for Homeschooling.

Wow! The statists running the German government think it’s a bad thing for you to educate your children.

A German couple who fled to Tennessee so they could homeschool their children was granted political asylum Tuesday by a U.S. immigration judge, according to the legal group that represented them.

Remember Animal Farm. Comrade Napoleon said he’d take care of educating the dogs.

Or if fiction’s not your thing, remember Ceau?escu’s government in Romania and its orphans.

(Kudus: Big Journalism.)