Interesting Cool & Useful – Sep 09

Personal,Politics by on September 9, 2009 at 6:24 pm

It has been ages since I’ve put together one of these posts, but a number of things have been accumulating recently that didn’t warrant a whole post (and I didn’t want to compress into a tweet).


  • High-fat food affects memory and exercise (in rats). This NY Times article highlights a study that showed high-fat food made rats both dumber and reduced exercise capacity — in as little as 4 days.
  • Exercise and low-fat diets linked to 60% lower alzheimer’s risk. Few things scare me as much as Alzheimer’s. Recent research is revolutionizing how we think about the disease.
    … the risk of Alzheimer’s was reduced by a third in volunteers who were physically active, while those who ate a diet rich in fruit and vegetables lowered their risk by 40 per cent. Those doing both lowered their risk by a massive 60 per cent
  • Healthcare I don’t know enough to have a fully-formed opinion on healthcare, but this (long) article in the Atlantic resonated with my world view on the current state of health care and likely solutions. In particular, the author highlights the true tragedy of hospital-based infections:
    “roughly 100,000 Americans whose deaths are caused or influenced by infections picked up in hospitals. One hundred thousand deaths: more than double the number of people killed in car crashes, five times the number killed in homicides, 20 times the total number of our armed forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”


  • A better (cheaper) educational model. The accreditation process provides an important certification step in education, but it also keeps costs artificially high. Straighter Line has developed an extremely interesting approach to introductory college education ($99 a month), that circumvents traditional accreditation requirements.
  • Self-assembling robots that might conduct internal surgeries. Seriously, a patient would swallow 15 pills, and the robot would self-assemble and then conduct internal surgeries. Granted, the technology is more conceptual at this stage…
  • Non-randomness in coin tosses Spun coins land tails up 80% of the time.


  • Picture Sharing for Groups. I’ve written before that group photo sharing has been an unsolved problem. I’ve been testing Picurio recently and have been quite impressed. Download zips of all uploaded photos.
  • Remote support. Zoho has a great free desktop sharing utility that makes remote support of your parents much easier than just using the phone alone. It gives you 5 free support sessions a month at 2 hrs each. Super, super useful.


1 Comment

  1. Ben Chun — September 12, 2009 @ 9:55 pm

    Bruce Sterling has a hilarious take on this college accreditation issue:

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