Awesome. Pollster.com has updated, and it now has an electoral map front and center with state outcomes based on Pollster’s own trend estimates.
Because CDs can be used to make shivs, there is still money to be made selling cassette tapes to prisoners.
via Boing Boing Gadgets
The Blind Watchmaker Applet demonstrates how random variation and non-random selection can combine to form interesting and complex shapes. The gist is that you step through a process where 12 forms are created by small and random variations on a set of genes. At each step, you choose a form to be the parent for the next generation.
I was a little disappointed to discover that I could still get semi-interesting forms by consistently choosing the same slot over and over, thus removing the selection component. On the other hand, the forms I got by actively selecting were more interesting and complex, so it does still demonstrate the power of selection. And it is just a simulation after all.
Website idea: This is a how-can-I-make-easy-money-without-trying-too-hard idea, so it’s destined to fail, but at the moment, it really seems workable. Imagine a site that lets people offer to pay you to work on your personal projects. It would work like this: 1) You post a list of personal projects that you’d like to work on, 2) Some anonymous user pledges $5 to you if spend an hour working on one of these projects (perhaps it sounds useful to him/her?), and then 3) You work the hour, collect the money, and perhaps post a little report on what you did. If you don’t work the hour after (say) a week, the pledge is canceled, and no money is collected.
The biggest issue is whether anyone would actually want to pay you – especially an amount that would make that hour of work worthwhile. This might be okay, since you’d be working on a personal project that you might be doing for free anyway. Also, there could be some marketish kind of mechanism that would lower the donors’ cost-per-hour and raise your pay-per-hour when a large number of people started pledging.
Another issue is accountability and whether someone who collects payments actually is doing the work they say they are. Because of this, I think the site would need to emphasize relationship-building between the worker and the donors. These pledges wouldn’t be contracts; they would be encouragements. And donors should only pledge if they have some degree of faith in whomever they’re pledging to. A feedback system would probably need to be in place to warn away potential donors from someone who never produces results.
As someone who spent more of my life than I should have waiting to a buy a (fucking awesome) phone, I got a special, warm feeling from reading this guy’s account of confronting someone who tried to cut in the iPhone line.
The invention of the tab:
The tab was the idea of a young man named James Newton Gunn (1867–1927), who started using file cards to achieve savings in cost accounting while working for a manufacturer of portable forges. After further experience as a railroad cashier, Gunn developed a new way to access the contents of a set of index cards, separating them with other cards distinguished by projections marked with letters of the alphabet, dates, or other information.
via 43 Folders