Mar 19

Maximum absorption garments

Everyone knows that ex-astronaut Lisa Nowak was wearing an official NASA-issue diaper when she was arrested for attempted kidnapping. But exactly what kind of diaper is that? As reporter Roy Rivenburg wrote in an article for the Los Angeles Times, “the answer is shrouded in mystery”. Eventually, the determined Rivenburg got to the bottom (ahem) of the matter.

Mar 14

Only one phone number

Almost everyone has multiple phone numbers now. And some of these numbers change over time, as you move from one employer or mobile phone company to another. Notifying everyone you know of the new numbers is chore, and callers still have to guess which number is the best one for reaching you at any particular moment. But what can be done about all this?
The folks at believe they have a solution. If you sign up with them, they’ll give you a single phone number that you can give out to everyone, replacing all of your previous numbers. When someone calls you, all of your phones will ring, and you can pick up the one that’s most convenient for you. You also have a single voicemail inbox for all these phones. And if you change jobs or mobile phone providers, your unified phone number will remain the same.
I can think of some disadvantages to this approach, but it certainly is innovative. David Pogue’s New York Times article explains it in detail, and lists a bunch of extra features that I haven’t even mentioned here.

Mar 13

Math quiz

Here’s an interesting math quiz. It’s short (only eight questions), but you have to solve them mentally: no pencil or paper, except to record your answers. I answered five of the eight questions correctly. I won’t go into detail until you’ve had a chance to try the quiz yourself. Click the link below to see where I went wrong.

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Mar 12

WordPress hacked

If you use WordPress to run your blog, you should check to make sure you’re not running version 2.1.1, which was compromised by a cracker who gained access to a WordPress server and tampered with the download file. The WordPress folks have released a newer version (2.1.2) that is safe to use. If you are running 2.1.1., you should upgrade to 2.1.2 immediately.
Source:’s Security Bites! podcast

Mar 11

Gold Miner

I don’t know why I find this game so addictive. It makes no sense if you stop to think about it. I mean, mining for gold by shooting a mechanical claw into the ground and using a winch to pull up whatever it grabs? That would be silly even without the gophers that sometimes carry diamonds in their teeth. And the barrels of TNT that explode when you touch them (who buried those, and why?). But for some reason the game is fun, so I keep playing.
UPDATE: There’s also Gold Miner Special Edition, which seems to be exactly the same game with fancier graphics.

Mar 08


The ThinkGeek Annoy-A-Tron is an electronic device with a single purpose: to drive someone crazy. It’s a tiny circuit board (smaller than a business card) that generates short beeps at random intervals. The idea is to hide it somewhere near where your victim works (a built-in magnet helps you do this) and watch him or her go nuts trying to figure out where the sound is coming from. The Annoy-A-Tron can run for up to a month on the (included) watch battery — and of course you can sneak in and install a new battery if you want the torture to continue.
It goes without saying that this gadget is evil. But you have to admire the ingenuity of the diabolical genius who designed it. And it only costs $9.99, so it’s an infernal device that even the most cash-strapped villain can afford.