Showing posts from September, 2012

Debunking the NYT feature on the wastefulness of data-centers

This weekend's NYT carried an alarming feature article on the gross wastefulness of the data-centers that host the world's racks of server hardware. James Glanz's feature, The Cloud Factory, painted a picture of grotesque waste and depraved indifference to the monetary and environmental costs of the "cloud," and suggested that the "dirty secret" was that there were better ways of doing things that the industry was indifferent to.

In a long rebuttal, Diego Doval, a computer scientist who previously served as CTO for Ning, Inc, takes apart the claims made in the Times piece, showing that they were unsubstantiated, out-of-date, unscientific, misleading, and pretty much wrong from top to bottom.

First off, an “average,” as any statistician will tell you, is a fairly meaningless number if you don’t include other values of the population (starting with the standard deviation). Not to mention that this kind of “explosive” claim should be backed up with a descri…

3M Document Holder

This document holder sees daily use over here at the Book of Joe World HQ. It holds varied paper sizes such as letter, legal, and A4 in portrait or landscape orientation.
The small, compact design is weighted to prevent tipping and remains unobtrusive on the desktop. Spring–action clip secures documents and holds up to 20 sheets at a time. Keeps paper in easy-to-read upright position. Works nicely for phone messages and notes.
-- Joe Stirt3M Document Holder Wedge
Available from AmazonManufactured by 3MSample Excerpts:

from Cool Tools

MEC Duffle Bag

The MEC Duffle Bag is simple, inexpensive, light-weight and very well made.
Compared to suitcases and rolling duffels, these bags are light-weight, and useful for flying if you need to transport a lot of “stuff” (particularly if the stuff is only accompanying you in one direction).  The bags collapse, and can be stuffed away when not needed for storage or transport.
I have used the extra large model for a variety of journeys over a couple of years.  There are handles on top and at the ends for easy grabbing, and a removable shoulder strap is included. The carrying handles are serviceable as backpack straps, if needed.  The zippers are solid (YKK), and haven’t caused me any problems.  Heavy duty nylon and webbing is used for the sides and the straps, and though not waterproof, the materials are highly resistant to tears and pulls… and washable.
In Vancouver, Mountain Equipment Co-op is legendary for high quality, inexpensive outdoor and active gear (see Turtle Light, previous Cool Tool) a…

The Manhattan Project to End Fad Diets

Today, a dream of mine came true.
Imagine what could be done if we had an X-men-like group of the world’s best scientists, independently funded and uninfluenced by industry, tackling the most important questions in nutrition?
Starting today, we have such a group: the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI).
I am thrilled to be a part of their Board of Advisors, alongside a diverse group of experts including David Berkowitz (Ziff Brothers Investments) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (of Black Swan fame), among others.

Funded off the bat by a foundation started by billionaire hedge fund manager John Arnold, and supported by a world-class Scientific Advisory Board, NuSI is off to races.

Born from a shared vision of its co-founders, Peter Attia, M.D. and Gary Taubes, this non-profit will fund research that applies first-of-its-kind, rigorous scientific experimentation to the field of nutrition.
Contributing researchers will span the dietary spectrum, including scientists who personally adhere to vega…

Dachstein Boiled Wool Mittens

I bought these mittens years ago, and have returned to them again and again. The boiled wool is so dense and thick that they are waterproof in practice. They are extremely warm and do not become damp inside. And they are bombproof, much more durable than typical nylon/gore-tex mittens. They are also cheap.
The only downside is the bare wool can be slippery. I have seen people spread a little silicone caulk over the palm to improve the grip. Maybe spray Plasti Dip would work, too.
-- Karl C.Dachstein Wool Mittens
Available from Bradley Alpinist
Manufactured by Dachstein

from Cool Tools

Tynan’s Rules for Living

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tynan of
When the godfather of blogging tells you to write a post, you write that post.
Two days ago Leo and I were talking about habits and procrastination and things like that. I told him about a few of the rules I have for myself, and he said that I ought to write a blog post about it.
This morning I woke up to an email where he, again, told me that I should write a blog post about it. I’m not one to risk getting a horse’s head in my bed, so I’m writing the post. Actually, Leo’s vegan, so it would probably be a giant chunk of Tempeh. Still.
I find gray areas very difficult to work with. I think most people do. If I simply told myself to “eat healthier”, I would probably barely change my diet at all. However, when I give myself black and white rules, I follow them pretty well. The difference is that with black and white rules, you don’t have a thought process to go through– you just act. With gray areas you require yourself to think ov…

Hot Diggity

We tend to make an overwhelming number of statements along the lines of "We just HAVE to check out the new ___ restaurant," or "We will DEFINITELY be eating at ____ soon!"  Actually, you can usually find a sentence along those lines in the majority of our posts- what can I say, we really want to try it all.  For example, last March, I may have stated that a visit to Philly's favorite hot dog restaurant was imminent.  After a visit to Underdogs, my interest in the long, thin meat product was piqued after I realized they aren't all greasy meat sticks on squished, dry buns with a boring simple ketchup topping.  Six months later, and I finally found a chance to get into Hot Diggity, the (unofficial) most popular contender for hottest dog in the city.

Following a trip to our (yes, we share a stylist, don't act surprised) hair salon for a pre-wedding day hair trial, we slipped around the corner to the cozy spot on South Street.  For those of you who have…

Genetic Research on the Cheap

When you think of DIY hardware, genetic research tools are not something that typically comes to mind. But [Stacey] and [Matt]‘s OpenPCR project aims to enable anyone to do polymerase chain reaction (PCR) research on the cheap.
PCR is a process that multiplies a specific piece of DNA a few million times. It can be used for many purposes, including DNA cloning and DNA fingerprinting for forensics. PCR is also used for paternity testing.
The process involves baking the DNA at specific temperatures for the right amount of time. The DNA is first denatured, to split the helix into individual strands. Next, the temperature is lowered and primers are bound to the strands. Finally, another temperature is used to allow the polymerase to duplicate the DNA. This process is repeated to multiply the DNA.
The OpenPCR uses an Arduino to control a solid state relay. This relay provides power to two large resistors that act as heaters. A MAX31855 is used to read a thermocouple over SPI and provide feedba…

123D Catch Available on iPhone

Autodesk recently released an update to their 123D Catch photogrammetry app that now runs on the iPhone. Similar in function to the previously iPad-only app, a user captures a series of photographs that get forwarded to an online service for processing into a 3D model. This has to be one of the easiest ways of capturing 3D objects–just take a series of photos and upload to get a useable 3D object suitable for output on a 3D printer.

Filed under: 3D Printing, Design, iPhone, Laser Cutting, Mobile, Photography

from MAKE