Ramblings & ephemera

HDTV’s widely adopted by American households

From Alex Mindlin’s “Room to Grow as Homes Add HD TVs” (The New York Times: 21 November 2010): High-definition televisions have entered American homes with startling speed; 56 percent of households now have at least some HD channels and an HD set, according to Nielsen. Among consumer technologies, that speed of adoption is rivaled only […]

There, on the Darkened Deathbed by John Masefield

This is pretty much what I think happens when we die, and unfortunately, what happens eventually after we die. There, on the darkened deathbed, dies the brain That flared three several times in seventy years; It cannot lift the silly hand again, Nor speak, nor sing, it neither sees nor hears. And muffled mourners put […]

Various confidence scams, tricks, & frauds

From “List of confidence tricks” (Wikipedia: 3 July 2009): Get-rich-quick schemes Get-rich-quick schemes are extremely varied. For example, fake franchises, real estate “sure things”, get-rich-quick books, wealth-building seminars, self-help gurus, sure-fire inventions, useless products, chain letters, fortune tellers, quack doctors, miracle pharmaceuticals, Nigerian money scams, charms and talismans are all used to separate the mark […]

David Foster Wallace on postmodernism & waiting for the parents to come home

From Larry McCaffery’s “Conversation with David Foster Wallace” (Dalkey Archive Press at the University of Illinois: Summer 1993): For me, the last few years of the postmodern era have seemed a bit like the way you feel when you’re in high school and your parents go on a trip, and you throw a party. You […]

David Foster Wallace on Kafka

From David Foster Wallace’s “Laughing With Kafka” (Harper’s Magazine: July 1998, pg. 26): … the really central Kafka joke – that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.

Add houseplants to your home & office

From David Pogue’s “TED’s Greatest Hits” (The New York Times: 10 February 2009): Kamal Meattle reported the results of his efforts to fill an office building with plants, in an effort to reduce headache, asthma, and other productivity-sapping aliments in thickly polluted India. After researching NASA documents, he concluded that a set of three particular […]

Craigslist “everything is free!” scams

Robert Salisbury From “Man scammed by Craigslist ad” (The Seattle Times: 24 March 2008): The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan. But Robert […]

Abuse of “terrorist” investigative powers

From BBC News’ “Council admits spying on family” (10 April 2008): A council has admitted spying on a family using laws to track criminals and terrorists to find out if they were really living in a school catchment. A couple and their three children were put under surveillance without their knowledge by Poole Borough Council […]

Energy-efficient washing machines

From Brendan I. Koerner’s “Is a Dishwasher a Green Machine?” (Slate: 22 April 2008): To really green up your automatic dishwashing, you should always use the air-drying function, avoid the profligate “rinse hold” setting, wash only full loads, and install the machine far away from your refrigerator. … Just promise that you’ll scrape your dishes […]