17. If you visit Kayak.com and hit the feedback button, you will get a response via email. Kayak responds, individually, to every email. That’s impressive. What is crazy-impressive is that the email response comes from either Paul (the founder) or someone on the engineering team. He gets flack for using a $150k/engineer to answer support emails when the rest of the world is outsourcing it for $8/hour or something. Why does he do this? Because, when engineers respond to support issues, when the same issues arise time and time again, they are more likely to stop what they are doing and go fix the problem so that they don’t have to answer that same question again. And, because it sends a message to the entire team that they take these issues very seriously.
I think everyone should have “safety gifts.” Something they like that is relatively publicly accessible and has a high quality and price range. Purchasing gifts for self-actualized adults can be a tricky process. It has to be cool, interesting and something that won’t just get thrown away. The answer is safety gifts.
For me, the safety gift is scotch. If you show up at my house with a bottle it will always make me happy. While I don’t personally drink a lot, I love entertaining guests. Since many guests like geeking out on scotch you can help me with something I love. Scotch is versatile gift in all the right ways. It’s available at a broad variety of easy locations. That means you can plan an epic shopping adventure or pick some up as a last minute thought. There are many different varieties. There are lots of different prices. Givers can go as mainstream or obscure as they’d like.
I also like technical hiking socks.
As a matter of course, I will not accept friend requests from your newborn baby.
PORTLAND, England, Dec. 7 (UPI) — A British prisoner convinced guards his marijuana plants were tomato plants — and they even allowed him to decorate one as a Christmas tree, a source said.
Mohamed Jalloh, 28, of Brent, North London, grew his pot plants at Verne Prison in Portland, Dorset, in southern England, and for five months, guards admired his gardening, The Sun reported Saturday.
But after another inmate told guards what the plants really were, they checked out photos of marijuana plants on the Internet, and the jig was up.
“You could see the plants from the grounds, as his cell looks on to the education department and communal outside area,” a source said. “They were on show for the world to see.”
wait for it….
Jalloh is serving eight years for supplying drugs.
:: Story ::
Even with what may look like a dead squirrel adhered to my face, it’s good to know I can still charm my way to a free sandwich.
The other day I was doing the phone number exchange game with a new friend when we were both lamenting the inability to just sort of wave our phones at each other and dispense with the whole process. It turns out the next best thing is vCards, the nice little bundle that smart phones use to store contact data. I found a free iPhone program called beamME that will email my vCard to another smart phone. That person just clicks on the email attachment and woohoo, my data is automatically added to their contact list. Seriously, the convenience of this is unparalleled.
beamME for ye olde iphone
It turns out that Alligators are hopelessly enamored with marshmallows. There are even tours through Louisiana and Florida where people can purportedly feed alligators by hand. Coming from a guy with only nine fingers, that is probably one of the dumbest fucking things I’ve heard of in months.
This actually makes a lot of sense if you know a little something about sugar:
“[W]hen rats were allowed to choose mutually-exclusively between water sweetened with saccharin-an intense calorie-free sweetener-and intravenous cocaine-a highly addictive and harmful substance-the large majority of animals (94%) preferred the sweet taste of saccharin. The preference for saccharin was not attributable to its unnatural ability to induce sweetness without calories because the same preference was also observed with sucrose, a natural sugar. Finally, the preference for saccharin was not surmountable by increasing doses of cocaine and was observed despite either cocaine intoxication, sensitization or intake escalation-the latter being a hallmark of drug addiction.”, wrote the researchers.
“Our findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals.” they concluded. Still, some researchers point out that these conclusions could not be applied directly to humans. Humans are generally aware that something they’re ingesting could get them “hooked” and that the effects could harm them. Rats, on the other hand, lack this awareness and are driven only by the sensations produced by a chemical.
Another issue: sugar, with all its potential cavity-inducing and obesity havoc, is still a nutrient, whereas cocaine’s benefits for the body are non existent. Still, refined sugars (like, sucrose, fructose) did not enter in the human diet until very recently in our history. The overconsumption of diets rich in refined sugars, combined with other factors, is the main cause that determines the current obesity epidemic. Overconsumption of refined sugar rich foods or beverages is initially determined by the pleasure of feeling that sweet taste, and which acts like a drug addiction.
I found an interesting and strangely touching article in the NYtimes on an alligator trapper in the everglades. Lots of fun fackts.
-In 1977 alligators were endangered, now there are over 15 million of them in Florida alone.
Tim was telling me about it last night. He used it to discover that he had a parasite that he got while sailing around in New Zealand (or something). You can input your symptoms into wrong diagnosis and their engine will tell you about obscure things you might have instead of what your doctors think. Quite handy, and great for hypochondriacs!
Speaking of travel, Tim, Star and I had a collaborative instructable that made the front page of Instructables.com. Check it out
Handy Tricks: World Traveler Edition
to: wheatgrass#geemail + a gajillion other people
date: Tue, May 20, 2008 at 11:59 AM
subject: TONITE!! Bem!Bem!BANG! Party at the Star Lounge
Tuesday, May 20th @ the Star Lounge @ the Chelsea Hotel
222 W. 23rd St btwn 7th & 8th Ave
Doors open at 10pm
Please RSVP for guestlist:
Check check it out! Visit www.bembembang.com
From: TittyD ☮ email@example.com
to: Will firstname.lastname@example.org
date: Tue, May 20, 2008 at 1:23 PM
subject Re: TONITE!! Bem!Bem!BANG! Party at the Star Lounge
I just thought I’d give you a heads up. It’s usually considered a bit
rude to cc a bunch of people on a huge event email. any one of those
yahoos could email everyone back causing major annoyance to all and
making you look not so good. At least use the bcc category but really
I’d recommend a list program. google groups is awesome for non techy
types and http://www.phplist.com/ is great for people that want more
some of those options include the ability for users to self manage
subscriptions, which is good for people like me who don’t even live in
anyway, bembembang looks like a hoot, sorry I’m going to have to miss
it. thanks for the heads up though and please take me off whatever
list system you happen to use.
OMG! Animated star wars movie comes out in August!!!!!….!!!!!!!!!
I’d also like to take this opportunity to recommend the Revenge of the Sith Novelization by Matthew Stover. You can buy it on amazon for 1 freaking penny! “Outstanding” and “Better than the movie” come up a lot in the amazon reviews. There’s probably an obvious response in saying that besting a piece of shit movie is not exactly a literary feat. However, I believe the book is a masterfully written piece of science fiction in it’s own rite. Here’s my contentious perspective: Episode 3 actually has a plot, it’s just so big and unexplained that most people don’t know it’s there.
Here’s a relevant review that mirrors my own opinions:
Once freed of a film’s running time Stover could really take his time fleshing out issues that the movie was forced to speed through. For example, he made it clear as day why tension had mounted between the Jedi and Palpatine, and the current political climate on Courasant.
The relationship between Anakin and Palpatine is explored much more then in the movie. In the scene when Palpatine revealed himself to Anakin, Palpatine’s emphasis on his right to live and his prediction that the Jedi would kill him on the spot for his religious beliefs, I found, much more effective then in the film. From what I recall, the film focused more on trying to save Amadala from her predicted demise.
I thought that the effect Anakin’s visions were having on him were much better explained then in the movie. The novel, basically, had Anakin terrified to rest and exhausted from sleep depravation. This worked in that when the climatic battle between Windu and Palpatine came to a head, Anakin (who, at that point, was nothing short of delerious from exhustion) obviously wasn’t thinking clearly.
I loved the way that the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan developed. It was very well illustrated that Anakin was always using Obi-Wan as his emotional anchor and when removed of that, just how easily he could be manipulated by someone Anakin saw as never having lied to him.
The only thing that I wound up dinging the novel for was the Wookies role and Yoda’s escape. It’s virtually missing, as if someone just accidentally edited it out. It was really bizarre that it was just … not there.
Outstanding book though, as much as I liked the film, the book is significantly better.
Here’s the critical difference that I think most people miss in the comparisons between episodes 4,5,6 (universally praised) and e’s 1,2, and 3 (nearly universally hated on). 456 were a self contained storyline. In fact, 4, was a self contained film bc lucas didn’t know if he was going to have enough money to make 5 and 6. Since then Lucas has become a gajillionaire and hundreds of novels, comic books, action figures have emerged to create a universe. Episodes 2,3 seem weird because they AREN”T self contained, they are slices of that universe. Yes, I agree that might have not been the best choice for a film release but once you accept it and eat the media around them a brilliant story comes out. Definitely Check the previews and at least look at the ep3 book.
Write your phone number and email address on a piece of paper and put it in your wallet. Also add your mother and fathers phone number and the contact info of a good friend/partner. That way when your wallet flies out of your pocket while running through traffic a crossing guard at the local elementary school will find it and call you.
I was at a party the other night and I met this guy Jon who is an organic farm inspector. He brought up an interesting point that bears repeating.
“People always bitch about the price of organic food but they don’t ever go to farmers markets or learn to buy in season.” – Jon