Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bottled Water Isn't Healthier Than Tap, Report Reveals

From National Geographic News comes a short article on the environmental impact of bottled water:
Bottled Water Isn't Healthier Than Tap, Report Reveals

I never did understand why people want to pay soft drink prices for water, but this article points out that the demand for bottled water wastes more than money.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Zillow.com - Your Edge in Real Estate

Wanna know what your home is worth? How about your neighbor's home? Or anyone else's? Check out Zillow. You don't have to enter any personal information, either.

Zillow also offers tools to calculate the value of home improvements, so you can see how much return on investment you'll get from adding an extra room or remodeling.

Friday, February 17, 2006

4things Meme

meme (n) - an idea or concept that gets replicated through a culture, especially via the internet. For more than you ever wanted to know about memes, see the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme

Here's my take on the 4things meme making its way through the blogosphere:

Four jobs I've had in my life
Disc jockey at Chuck E. Cheese (really!), archives assistant (worked with the John Muir Papers and a bunch of other collections in two different archives), high school English teacher, librarian

Four movies I could watch over and over
Any of the original Star Wars trilogy, most James Bond movies (especially Goldeneye), Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Princess Bride

Four places I've lived
Tracy, CA; Seattle, WA; Dalton, GA; Portland, OR

Four TV shows I love to watch
The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, documentaries about history or interesting animals, Behind the Music

Four web sites I visit daily
Google, Yahoo News, Bloglines (gotta have my RSS feeds), OHSU Library web site

Four places I have been on vacation
Yellowstone National Park; Vancouver, BC; Santa Cruz, CA; Caribbean cruise

Four of my favorite foods
Mongolian grill, pizza, cheese enchiladas, panang curry with chicken

Four places I'd rather be
Just about any tropical island with sandy beaches, Australia, Arizona (hey, it's winter in Oregon - I need sun!), curled up under a blanket in front of a roaring fire with a good book

Four albums I can't live without
Def Leppard's greatest hits is probably the only album. Otherwise I'll take my satellite radio. That should supply the rest of my musical needs.

Four vehicles I've owned
'75 Ford Maverick; '85 Dodge Daytona; '92 Geo Metro; '99 Toyota Tacoma

Holocaust Survivor, 76, Is Bar Mitzvah

I don't know how long this story will be posted, so read it while you can at http://wireservice.wired.com/wired/story.asp?section=Breaking&storyId=1160172&tw=wn_wire_story The coolest part IMHO is how the man and his wife met - as children in a concentration camp - and then met again years later on a blind date. God sometimes makes miracles out of tragedy. The rabbi's comment after the bar mitzvah sums things up nicely:
"We live in a time where we need hope and a positive outlook in life, and Herman's story reminds us that goodness will always overcome badness, and light will overcome darkness."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

An Interview With God

I just stumbled across something that has apparently been going around the web for awhile now. It's called An Interview With God. The most common version is a Flash presentation; see http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com. Very beautifully done.

After a bit of hunting, I was able to find a text version. Since it's all over the web already, I suppose it's OK to repost it here:

I dreamed I had an INTERVIEW WITH GOD.

"So, you would like to interview me?" GOD asked.

"If you have time," I said.

GOD smile. "My time is eternity... what questions do you have in mind for me?"

"What surprises you the most about humankind?"

GOD answered...

"That they get bored with childhood, that they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again."

"That they lose their health to make money... and then lose their money to restore their health."

"That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future."

"That they live as if they would never die, and die as though they had never lived."

GOD's hand took mine... and we were silent for a while.

And then I asked, "As a parent, what are some of life's lessons you want your children to learn?"

GOD replied, "To learn they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved."

"To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others."

"To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness."

"To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them."

"To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least."

"To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply do not yet know how to express or show their feelings."

"To learn that two people can look at the same thing, and see it differently."

"To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves."

"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.

"Is there anything else you would like your children to know?"

GOD smiled, and said... "Just know that I am here." "Always."

The ECUS (Edinburgh Chat-Up Scale) questionnaire

OK, so I really should have posted this one on Valentine's Day. But better late than never, right? The journal Personality and Individual Differences just published an article called Chat-up Lines as Male Sexual Displays, which analyzes the results of a questionnaire in which respondents were asked to rank pick-up lines. The article requires a subscription, but you can view the list of pickup lines at http://psy-web.psy.ed.ac.uk/people/pcaryl/pgcresearchitems/ECUS40b.txt. Some are classic, cheesy lines ("Well hey there, I may not be Fred Flintstone, but I bet I can make your Bed Rock!"), but others are mini-scenarios. Here's the bottom line, from the article abstract:

Openings involving jokes, empty compliments and sexual references received poor ratings. Those revealing, e.g., helpfulness, generosity, athleticism, ‘culture’ and wealth, were highly rated.
So forget those cheesy lines, guys. As if your lack of success with them wasn't evidence enough.