[VIDEO] - Hitchiker's Guide In Stock Sources have informed me (you know who you are) that Amazon finally has the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy DVD in stock. Those of you who have been waiting - time's up! [insert obligatory geeky Hitchhiker's Guide reference here]


[RECREATION] - Geocaching - By now, most of you have probably heard of geocaching - the recreation based on locating caches of loot with your GPS. Other adventurers leage these caches around the world and you have to try to get to them soley based on latitude and longitude. Read about it at Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site.

When you find the cache you're supposed to sign the book, take a little item from the cache, and leave an item behind.

Once I get my hands on a GPS I'd love to try this out.


[ACTIVISM] - Save Internet Radio! -- Encourage the U.S. Copyright Office to reject the CARP recommendations

America's fledgling Internet radio industry could be effectively killed on May 21st if the Librarian of Congress (1) accepts the recommendations of its recent Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel ("CARP") concerning Internet radio royalty rates and (2) sets impossibly-complex recordkeeping requirements.

[WEIRD] Two rob Starbucks then serve coffee - A pair of armed robbers served coffee to 18 or so customers to make more cash after being disappointed in the amount of money in the store safe at a Starbucks in Munroe, Washington.
[GAMES] - Clobber! Science News online has a story about an interesting new game.

Clobber was invented last summer at a combinatorial game theory conference in Halifax by Michael Albert of the University of Otago, New Zealand, J.P. Grossman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Richard J. Nowakowski of Dalhousie University. [...]
Clobber is an example of a combinatorial gameā€”one in which two players move alternately and no chance or hidden information is involved. It ends in a finite number of moves, and the winner is the one who moves last.

Math Trek : Getting Clobbered, Science News Online, April 27, 2002


[FOOD] - Orbit Gum - I bought some of this Orbit gum today. The ads are all over the place. What struck me funny is that it's a sugar free gum but states clearly on the package that it is not low calorie. And it isn't - there are 5 calories per tiny piece. It's not a diet buster, but where are those calories coming from, if not sugar?

Well, "Sugar Alcohols" - that's where. I know there are chemists in the audience, can anyone direct me to some information on what a sugar alcohol is? I know that alcohols and sugars are similar molecules, but I didn't know there are a middle ground. The mysterious ingredients include Sorbitol, Glycerol, Mannitol, Xylitol, Aspartame, and Acesulfame K.

Xylitol - where have I heard that one before? There was some gum in the 80's that used it, but that gum isn't around anymore. Apparently it's popular in the sweets of Finland. But this was interesting:
Medical Benefits of Xylitol Pneumococcus growth is apparently inhibited by chewing xylitol gum or taking a xylitol syrup. What does that mean? Well it might mean that we cna prevent painful ear infections in children with some chewing gum, or lessen the severity and the need for antibiotics.

Oh, and the stuff tastes pretty darn good for a sugarless gum.
[SPYWARE] - Spy vs. Spy The battle between spyware and anti-spyware is heating up. Salon magazine reports (Salon.com Technology | Spyware vs. anti-spyware) that spyware developers have started creating spy software that surreptitiously finds its way onto your computer then specifically targets your anti-spyware software (like Ad-Aware).

If you're new to this problem, here's some background. When you install software on your machine, sometimes a little evil comes along with it. Some freeware and shareware manufacturers allow spyware (software that displays ads on your machine and spies on you) to be installed along with their product. Cydoor and BonzaiBuddy are a couple of the worst offenders - sneaking onto your computer when you're not looking.

At best they steal processor cycles, slowing down your machine. At worst, who knows what personal information they are stealing from you?

Software like Lavasoft's AD-Aware is freely available and allows you to protect yourself from spyware by deleting the most popular offending trojan horses. However, the battle is heating up with some spyware manufacturers targeting AD-Aware to disable it on your machine, opening you up to all future spyware.

My question: how is this any different from other trojan horses and viruses? Is it time to start prosecuting people who bundle spy software along with their software? Is it even possible to do so?
[EDUTAINMENT] - Frontier House - I thought this was a neat idea when I first heard about it. Place three modern families in the kind of situation that a frontier family would face in the lat 1800's and see how they do. It beats Survivor, in my book. PBS's Fontier House begins tonight with the training that they put the folks through so that they would be prepared with some of the foreknowledge that a 19th century family would have had embarking on such an adventure.

If you're like me, you've wondered whether life would be happier if it were simpler. Our world is full of so much noise and distraction, what if we could return to a less complex time? I think it's wrong to idealize the past. When I think of the things we would be without were my family to have existed in that time, I know we would have had serious hardship including most probably the loss of at least one child. Also, "happiness" is not something that people consider much when they are chopping wood and chasing chickens around all the time. Our luxury affords us the opportunity to think about being happy.

That's not to say there aren't things we may have forgotten about those times that would enhance our lives if only we could relearn them. Hard work, reflection, tine to think, appreciating the good things in life (sometimes the small things) while you have time - these are all valuable lessons. What did the Frontier House families learn?