May 30, 2006

one step behind

just read an interesting piece in the newyorker about facebook. though i've known about it since its creation last year, i did not appreciate its significance. the assertion is that by enabling users to control who views their profiles and how those profiles are viewed, facebook stimulates a greater level of "sociability." of course, it could just as well be that youths are eager to see and be seen and to brand their recently forged identities.

naturally, no one i know is on facebook. but if you have a .edu email address, join and Facebook me!

May 27, 2006

on online advertising

as you may have noticed, olog has begun to participate in google adsense.

i've decided to do this both because i was curious about the mechanics of the algorithm (check how ads change depending on what's posted on olog), as well as how much money a low readership blog like mine (~20 page impressions/day) can possibly make. admittedly, it was all inspired by andrea harner's adsense keyword cartoons.

it's all very curious stuff, and here is a piece by cringely on just this topic.

May 25, 2006


after a (too) long period of preparation, we are finally moving to boston. i am looking for online sources of bossy-ton gems, like my favorite nyc flavorpill. so far, i've found only yelp.

what am i missing? there's gotta be some good material among those cool university peeps. please email alex.kentsis[at]

ps bostonist doesn't count cuz it's lame just like laist.

bizarre inventions, part 1

a british company alleges that they've devised an ultrasound audible only to teenagers, because "research has shown that the majority of people over the age of 25 have lost the ability to hear at this frequency range."

thus, "how do we get rid of unwanted children around our shop?"

"teenage control products" from compound security systems.

May 22, 2006

how to connect securely to non-secure networks

simply forward a ssh connection to port 7070 and configure firefox to use it as a proxy. thanks thinkhole.


peacemaker is "a video game simulation of the israeli-palestinian conflict: a tool that can be used to promote a peaceful resolution among israelis, palestinians and young adults worldwide."

in addition to this self-ascribed purpose, its use, as the creators study gamers, raises interesting questions about the effect of observation on human behavior, and its design, as the dynamics of the parties in conflict are programmed in the game, begs the question about the very nature of these dynamics.

story from washington post.

food: organic, local, sustainable?

an excellent piece in the newyorker on the subtext of organic produce.

May 19, 2006

they call it pollution, we call it life

that's the tagline for a new series of television ads from the so-called competitive enterprise institute about the impact of global warming. and it's amazing.

though the average global temperature has increased by only a few degrees as compared to pre-industrial values, the quantity of western north american snowpack, for example, has decreased by nearly a factor of 2. most of the fresh water in the western US comes from melting snowpacks. (it's only a matter of time before catastrophic drought ensues).

the increasing atmospheric concentration of CO2, now nearly 2-fold greater, not only potentiates the greenhouse effect, but also stimulates plant pollenation. for example, ragweed has increased its pollen production by more than a factor of 2. ragweed is the most prevalent cause of seasonal allergies and hayfever. are you suffering yet?

if you still believe that the question of global warming is largely academic, please read up and get involved. past post here.

May 18, 2006

oliver stone's world trade center

paramount just released the trailer for oliver stone's world trade center, in which "the world saw evil ... and two men saw something else."

there is so much to say about the subject of this film, as well as the issue of making a film about it, that i am left speechless.

here is what the gothamist and its readers had to say.

May 10, 2006

molecular mixology

friends mock my fascination with new cooking techniques. here are a few more innovations: nytimes story.

May 09, 2006

president ahmadinejad of iran to president bush of usa

the letter has just been published: nytimes story. it's an amazing document: download pdf here or here.

living without numbers and time?

apparently, the language of the pirahã people has no words for numbers and does not use subordinate clauses. can that be? story in spiegel.

you can't cheat an honest man

newyorker on the advance-fee scam, aka spanish prisoner scam, aka nigerian bank scam, aka 419 scam, accomplished by the so-called "yahoo-yahoo boys." great piece full of all sorts of precious material, including a recent nigerian pop song: "I go chop your dollar. I go take your money and disappear. Four-one-nine is just a game. You are the loser and I am the winner." and of course, the utlimate question: how does one allow to be cheated?

May 08, 2006

on asthma and hookworms

an absurd and incredible account of one's attempt to cure asthma by deliberately infecting oneself with hookworm: asthmahookworm.

needless to say, this one lives in california.

on (physics jokes) and instapundit

i have never been a big fan of instapundit, though arguably it has been one of the most popular political blogs to date, largely because it is updated much too frequently and obliquely (just like this sentence). this is evident from a recent post on oil and imperialism. cosmicvariance is on point!

May 03, 2006


marylinne robinson's gilead is the most innovative piece of literature i've read in a while. (if you know me, that's not saying much lately.)

nonetheless, it's an important read, both for its form and substance. and like the dogs of coetzee's disgrace, gilead's embers are amazing.

it cannot qualify as conventional honeymoon reading, but it added an interesting perspective to the few days when nina and i read it.

colbert repor'

colbert at the white house press dinner. prez not amuzed. nytimes story. boingboing post.

May 01, 2006

La Maison du Chocolat versus Pierre Hermé

during a lunch with nina's aunt darline in paris, we got to talking about chocolate, and specifically, who is the best chocolatier in paris.

since my original foray to the nyc branch of la Maison (and numerous afternoons spent there instead of medical school lectures with dr. pro et al), i have confidently proclaimed my love of their ganaches and truffles (the litmus test of a chocolatier imho).

having heard this, darline insisted on taking us to Hermé to sample his. i have to confess that the two are quite on par. favoring one as opposed to the other is entirely dependent on mood. the latter does rather fun ganaches, with all sorts of creative fillings. it took nina and me a better part of the time in seychelles to go through the box.

ps Christian Constant, another favorite among parisians, was not nearly as good.

back in the usa

we are! though we did not follow the etymology of the honeymoon, we did prowl around paris and slug away in seychelles. pics on nina's flickr.