Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bridal Diapers

Are they real? As disgusting as it may sound, I think they are.

They have been talked about a lot online in recent months (here, here, and here), but I don't think they are catching on. At least I sure hope not. Apparently, some brides are worried about dealing with their dresses on their wedding day. I guess it's way less humiliating in their minds to poop their panties than to ask for help.

...Lisa, please please just ask for help.

Oldest Game

I was told in 4th grade that the oldest game in the world is Mancala. I don't think this is true anymore because the earliest evidence of the game is from the 6th or 7th century AD, whereas games such as Senet, Pachisi, Go, Backgammon, and Chess were all played before this time [link].

But that doesn't say that people in Africa didn't play Mancala before the 6th or 7th century. We just don't have physical proof that they played it before all the others. For all we know, they could have just dug holes in the ground and played with pebbles they found. And they could have played it that way for centuries before actually making a playing board out of pottery or wood.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Psalm

I heard this story from my Molecular Biology professor. He told this story in honor of Thanksgiving last week. When he was 60 years old, B. H. Roberts (who wrote the Comprehensive History of the Church) was a chaplain in World War I right before the treaty was signed, so he never saw combat. He was the only Mormon chaplain in his division and the other chaplains didn't like him too much. They were kind of mean to him. They were having a big celebration meeting to celebrate and give thanks for the end of the war. One of the chaplains who was leading the meeting announced that he would be pleased to hear Brother Roberts recite "the Thanksgiving Psalm" in honor of this celebration.

There was only one problem: Elder Roberts had no idea which psalm was the Thanksgiving Psalm, or even if there was a Thanksgiving Psalm.

So he got up off his chair and slowly walked up to the podium, having no idea what he would say when he got there. He didn't want to make a fool of himself, but even more importantly, he didn't want to make the Church look bad. On his way to the stage, he heard a voice call out, "Psalm 100!" He turned to look who had said it, but he didn't see anyone else looking around and realized that no one else had heard it. So he got up to the podium, turned to Psalm 100 in his Bible and started reading, having no idea what Psalm 100 was even about. This is what he read:
  1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
  2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing
  3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
  4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
  5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
 Pretty cool, huh? Later that evening he went through the entire book of Psalms and couldn't find any better psalm that mentioned "thanksgiving." Anyway, I just thought it was a cool story about how the Lord comes through for you in the end.

Shearing the Sheep

I got a haircut yesterday. My hair is really curly when its long. When I'm stressed out, it gets fluffy. You can tell how stressed I am by measuring the diameter of my fro.

But I got my hair cut yesterday. Yay!

Here is a picture showing how different I look with a haircut. I want you all to notice that the only thing I changed is the hair.

Don't I look like two different people? I think I will do this type of transformation if I ever decide to rob a bank. I will grow my hair out long and shaggy, rob a bank, then run and get a haircut. No one would ever recognize me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cool watch

Check out this watch. It looks pretty neat.

It has bellows to make the sound of the watch resonance. It makes sounds for each minute and hour with a repeater. And I want one. You can read more about it here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Flowchart Book

Remember how much I love flowcharts and infographics? Here's a book that looks awesome:
Image from Amazon.com. Obviously.

It's written by Doogie Horner. His website it funny. He writes flowcharts about really funny things. And it looks cool. Here are some things in the book:
• An illustrated matrix of WWF Finishing Moves
• Heavy metal band names taxonomy
• The noble art of zeppelin warfare demystified
• How to win any argument
• Tragedy to comedy conversion chart for comedians
• A creepy drawing of a baby skeleton
• How to tell if you're an evil twin

And here is an example of the work he does. It looks pretty awesome.

Click to embiggen

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oh no...

Photograph: Yonhap/Reuters
North Korea attacked South Korea today. It's the heaviest attack from North Korea since the cease fire of the Korean War in 1953. Who knows what will happen now. Earlier this morning North Korea fired a dozen artillery shells at an island in South Korea, killing two soldiers and injuring civilians. Will the US step in now? I'm not sure what kind of treaty obligation we have. If China steps in to defend North Korea, that might leave the US with no choice.

Edward Tufte

He's the king of the infographic. As I said before, I love infographics. Here are some things that he invented:

1) Small multiples: they're a series of small similar pictures that are repetitive and make their point through their repetitiveness 

2) Sparklines:  it's a simple condensed way to measure some trends and variation, like temperature, stock prices, and rain levels.

He's done a lot more. I want to read more about him. 

Anyway, that is all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Square Tires

They sound really dumb, right? Really bouncy and hard to turn...

But square tires work PERFECTLY on roads that are shaped like this:

(Well, those bumps should all be equal sizes and correspond with the size of the square tires, but if it WAS all perfect, the bike would ride perfectly smooth.  I'm free-handing this in Paint, after all...)

So I guess you can apply this to other things in life. Sometimes it isn't the tire that's the problem; maybe it's just the road. Also, every shape of tire has a road that it can ride perfectly smooth on. No kidding. Try drawing a road for an ellipse.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The eighty-twenty principle is really interesting. Basically, it says that 80% of results come about by 20% of causes. Here are some examples:
  • 80% of honey is made by 20% of bees
  • 80% of peas in a garden are in 20% of pods
  • 80% of the world's wealth held by 20% of the population
  • 80% of all crimes are committed by 20% of criminals
  • 80% of health care resources are used by 20% of patients
This has been seen over and over again in many different parts of life. Anyway, just thought that was pretty interesting. You can make your life easier by focusing on the critical 20% of things that take up 80% of your time. By recognizing those things, your life will be very nice.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Traffic Light

Isn't this a cool design for a stoplight?

Check it out
I just wish they would fix that little typo... Still, it's an awesome idea. But maybe it's not so safe for colorblind people. This might be a better solution:

That way the colors are still in the same place. Here's the link.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Remember this book that I wrote about a while ago? I checked it out from the library and it's great. Here's a riddle that I found in the book.

You have five cups and three of them are filled with water.

How can you make the cups look like this by only touching ONE cup?


I love them. I really do. They are simple, clean, informative, and beautiful. At least they should be. I love being able to understand a complex idea in a simple manner. For instance, look at this one that I found that explains traffic jams that seem to have no cause.

Click to embiggen
Isn't that so cool? One simple act of dumb driving can cause a chain reaction.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Street-Fighting Mathematics

No, this book doesn't teach you the science of beating someone up. But it does tell you how to do messy-yet-accurate-enough math in your head, which, in my opinion, is much more beneficial to everyday life and normal people.

The author, Sanjoy Mahajan, teaches tools for quickly coming to an accurate answer, and these tools are to be used whenever you're attacked by a random question, like how many years is a billion seconds. (Answer: about 30 years).

Anyway, you can get a copy of this book for FREE at this website. Isn't Creative Commons great?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Smelling Insects

Did you know that different species of insects have different smells? Ants, grasshoppers, ladybugs--they all smell different.

At least that's what I've heard.

I tried looking around the other day for some bugs to smell, but I couldn't find any. I think it's the wrong season for bug smelling.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cure for laziness

I'm taking a construction scheduling class right now. It's kind of interesting, but mostly I wish I didn't have to take it. My professor is really into Stephan Covey's 7 Habits book, and he quotes it almost every lecture. He is always cautioning us to do our projects early so that we "stay out of Quadrant One and stay in Quadrant Two."

(After reading this over my shoulder, Katie said, "It sounds like he's a space cadet.")

He is really into motivating us to keep up on our work so that we don't procrastinate doing our assignments. He told us that in the workforce, construction schedulers may have the tendency to wait until the end of the month to update the schedule. By then, the updates may be so outdated that they're basically useless. It's hard to do it weekly because some guys are so lazy and they think they'll do it at the end of the month.

His solution for laziness? Update the schedule daily.

If you think about it, it kind of makes sense. If you do it daily, it takes about 4 to 5 minutes, and it's not a special activity that you have to remember to do once a week or once a month. Also, your schedule is a whole lot more accurate.

You can apply this to real life too. The things that we put off until some other day just pile up until it becomes to overwhelming to do a decent job. Like washing the dishes. If you wash the dishes after each meal, it becomes super easy. If you wait until the end of the week to do all the dishes, it's horrible. Not a sermon, just a thought.

The End.

This picture has nothing to do with what I just wrote. I was going to draw a picture of a schedule or something, but I thought that would be too boring.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mindblowing fact of the day

I remember learning about photosynthesis in my high school biology classes, but I didn't really understand how cool it was until I took biology in college. When you think about it, it really is quite amazing.

Here's the equation for photosynthesis:

Pretty simple, right? But it's so cool! Just think about it! The carbon in the carbon dioxide turns into sugar! It's taking the air around it and making it into plant stuff. And it only uses water and light to do it. It's absolutely amazing!

Did you know that the reverse is true in us? The sugars that we eat get broken down and turn into carbon dioxide, and that's the CO2 that we breathe out. They did an experiment in mice to prove this. They made some radioactive sugar and the mice ate it, and then 45 minutes later they analyzed the mice's breath and found that it was radioactive. Talk about needing a Tic Tac.   Ba dum dum!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Which is worse: loss of thumb or loss of speach?

I was looking over our life insurance policy yesterday and I came across some interesting percentages. It seems like someone calculated the statistical significance of an intense round of "Would You Rather."  You get a certain percentage of your life insurance if you loose certain parts of your body. That have figured out what they worse thing is to lose and assign it a monetary value. Here's what I found out by reading the small print:

  • You know, of course, that with loss of life you get 100%.
  • But you also get 100% if you lose two members (hand, foot, or eye), or if you become completely blind.
  • If you lose one hand, one foot, or one eye, you get 50%.
  • If you lose your hearing or speech, you get 50%.
  • If you lose both your thumb and your index finger, you get 25%.
  • If you lose only your thumb, you get 10% (except if you live in Maine or Vermont. I guess thumb-loss is a common enough occurrence in those states that they don't even consider it a problem.)
  • If two limbs become paralyzed, you get 25%, but only if you live in Washington or New York.

So let me get this straight. If I lose a foot, I get 50% of my policy. But if I become paralyzed in both of my legs, I'll only get 25% ... if I live in Washington or New York.

And If I lose all my fingers except my thumb, I get nothing.

I also have a hard time thinking that loosing a foot and and eye is the same thing as dying. I mean, that person can still contribute a lot, right?

So to answer my original question, loss of speech is TWICE as bad as loosing your thumb.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Belt Loops

Do you remember P.E. in elementary school? I do. I didn't like it. Especially when we had to do sit-ups and I wore jeans that day. The belt loop cut into my back and made me want to cry.
So I usually ended up doing this weird move that was kind of "side-up" to avoid the belt loop.
Or a "bum-up."
I hated sit-ups with jeans.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bitter Taste

Have you ever been really nervous and you lose your appetite? It happens to me every time I'm anxious. A few weeks ago I was having interviews with different schools for getting into optometry programs, and I could never eat breakfast the morning of the interview. I had this nasty taste in my mouth--kind of like raw cocoa and pennies. I had never really noticed it before, but I recognized it as taste in my mouth that only happened when I was nervous.

I thought that this bitter taste might adrenaline. I only realized this when Katie quoted that line from The West Wing when that therapist said "It was the bitter taste in your mouth..."

Anyway, so now that I know that about myself, I can eat when I'm nervous.


I just tried looking up other sources to verify this claim that adrenaline tastes bitter...and I couldn't find any. Some people said that adrenaline has no taste. It's a hormone that circulates in your blood and binds to receptor cells. The bitter tastes comes from the fight-or-flight response because your salivary systems momentarily shuts down. I guess that makes some sense.

But tasting adrenaline sounds cooler.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


If you want a good explanation of the financial meltdown, watch this video made by NPR's Planet Money. It's pretty good.

And Alison says "hi." I'm helping her with her homework and tests because I'm the nicest guy. And she gives me chocolate milk.

EDIT: Here is a picture I fixed up on paint. Enjoy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Simplifying the Fine Print

Last week there was a book that shot to the Number One spot on Amazon's best sellers, but only for that one day. It was Machine of Death, written by a collection of many people and edited by Ryan North (creator of Dinosaur Comics) and some other funny guys. It's about a machine that predicts the way you will die. It looks pretty interesting.

Anyway, I was looking around on their website and saw that they are offering a PDF version of the book for FREE. No joke. You can download your own free copy of the book here. They explain their decision to do so this way:
Please find below the entirety of Machine of Death as a free, downloadable PDF.
Why are we doing this? Aren’t we worried about hurting our book sales?
In a word: no. You have proven time and again that you are willing to pay for content that you find valuable. You have shown that you are driven to share material that you fall in love with. And we are committed to ensuring that you can experience our work whether you can afford to buy a book or not; whether you live in a country that Amazon ships to or not; whether you have space in your life for a stack of paper or not.
I think this is awesome. I'm all about collaboration and sharing. I was looking at their website and the things these guys are doing are pretty cool. For instance, this book is not copyrighted, but are released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. This means you are free to share this work in anyway you want (email, photocopy, print out, etc.) just as long as you attribute the work to the author, the manuscript remains unbroken, and it's used for non-commercial purposes.

You know how I was able to figure that out?

Because this is what their license agreement looks like:

Isn't that so refreshing? It's so simple, so clean. You can see it for yourself here.

(I'm letting that screen shot count as my Paint artwork of the day. I copied and pasted into Paint, after all.) 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Great Joke

I told Katie this joke this morning and it was really funny in my head, but I don't think Katie thought it was all that funny. I don't know why--this thing is comedic gold. Just like Ziggy. (That was a joke. Ziggy is not funny.)

Here's the joke:

There once was a woman named Patricia Whack who was a teller in a bank. One day a frog came in and asked Patricia about a small business loan. Patricia was a little skeptical about the credit history of the frog, so she asked for some sort of collateral against the loan. The frog said that his father was Mick Jagger. Patricia totally didn't believe this and she was about to go get her manager to deal with this obnoxious frog, when all of the sudden the frog pulled out a little ceramic elephant and tried to give it to Patricia as collateral. This was the last straw. She got her manager and told him the situation and held out the ceramic elephant and asked him what to do.
The manager said, "It's a knickknack, Patty Whack, give the frog a loan! His old man's a Rolling Stone!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lacey shirt tails

I saw this ad the other day and thought it was ... interesting.

This is pretty clever, but I can find many flaws. First, what's to prevent the lad from grabbing a pair of scissors and going at the lace? Also, what about gym class? And what if he bent over and his shirt became un-tucked?

It is a pretty clever solution, but I feel that the shirttail issue is a little outdated. Here's what we need nowadays:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Face blind twin

Do you know what would be terrible? If you were face blind. I wrote about being face blind a while ago, but I keep thinking about it. I think about it at least once a week. No kidding. How awkward would it be not being able to recognize your friends? Or your mom? Or yourself?

The craziest thing about it is that 3% of the population are face blind.That means that someone you know personally is probably face blind. They're the person who is pretty quiet and doesn't really start conversations until you speak to them first. And that's because they don't know who you are until they hear your voice!

Do you know what would be even worse?

If you were face blind and you were a twin.

Now you would have people who you don't know expect you to know them, in addition to not being able to know them even if you could recognize them! Mindblowingly frustrating--that's how I would describe it.


Being a student at BYU does some funny things to you. It's against the rule here to have facial hair. Except mustaches. I really have no idea why mustaches are allowed, but sideburns that extend beyond your earlobes are not.

I have come to consider people with beards as bad people. I know this is totally irrational and wrong, but it has come gradually after not being allowed to have facial hair for the past 6 1/2 years (2 years on a mission and 4 1/2 years (so far) at BYU).

I'm pretty sure this will change next year when I'm at a different school. At least I hope it will change. I don't want to go around thinking every person with a goatee or pork chops it a felon.

The nice looking guy isn't Al -- it just looks like him.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

One way trip to Mars

NASA is considering a mission to Mars. A one way mission. Isn't that amazing? How crazy would you have to actually be to want to do that? And at the same time, you have to seem normal so that you get chosen by the committee to get on the space ship. Apparently, you can save up to 80% of the cost when you don't have to plan for a return trip. Maybe this is the beginning of a new colonization effort.

Would you go? I would only go if I could take my wife and kids with me. And if I wasn't the first one there. And if they had a fast internet connection. And the water that didn't taste like iron.


Here we go again. It's National Blog Posting Month, or if you're in a hurry you can just say NaBloPoMo. I did it last year and it was a huge deal because I thought it was so hard to find something to write about every day. But now that I've done it for almost 10 consecutive months, I think it is only fair that the other writers of the blogosphere join me in this adventure.