2008-03-19

Well Duh

Slashdot | The Reality Distortion Field Is Real: "Researchers at Duke University subjected participants to subliminal images of the iconic Apple and IBM logos (during what subjects thought was a visual acuity test), and those who were shown the Apple logo generated more creative ideas after the test than did those who were shown the IBM logo."

(emphasis mine)

Blogger and OpenID



For fun, here's some background on Blogger's OpenID functionality.

I first heard about yadis on a Shasta trip with BradFitz & co back in 8/2005, and immediately knew it was something I wanted in Blogger. We'd be able to accept signed comments from other services, our URLs could be used to sign comments elsewhere on the web, and lots of other hotness would probably reveal itself over time.

I invited Brad to Mountain View to tell us about it, and more people dug the idea after seeing his presentation and chatting. The timing was unfortunate though — we'd just gotten started rebuilding Blogger on new infrastructure, which included migrating user accounts to Google Accounts — so OpenID wouldn't have made the prioritization cut anytime soon. Still, I spec'd out a few possibilities in our wiki, started an internal discussion list for folks interested in OpenID, and that was that for a while.



Fast-forward to 8/2007, when Ryan Barrett emailed us that he'd been tinkering with a Blogger/OpenID implementation in his 20% time. He was essentially done coding the backend functionality to accept signed comments, but wanted some frontend/UI input. Josh whipped up some quick mocks for how it could work, and Ryan put up a test build for us to play with — signing a Blogger comment with my LJ was geeky-exciting!

By then BradFitz had joined Google, and he came to some of our meetings so we could bounce questions off him. When we talked about using Blogger URLs as OpenIDs (functionality then yet-to-be written), Brad volunteered a chunk of his 20% time to help code it. We were hoping to ship both halves together, but kept them decoupled in case of delays (like UI iteration, QA bug-finding, production adventures, etc.). It also helped having an Eng Manager who's stoked on OpenID.

The response thus far has been quite positive, and 692's been doing awesome work carrying the torch. All your URLs are belong to yadis!

2008-03-12

Pennies

Society for the Abolishment of the Penny

This all makes perfect sense.

2008-03-05

Michael Pollan at Stanford

Michael Pollan gave a talk at Stanford a few nights ago, about his new book. Here are my notes:

Nutritionism premises
- the nutrient is what's important
- we need experts to help us understand them
- at any given time, there are good and bad ones (historical: oat bran, betacarotines, omega 3s, etc)
- the point of eating is health

- reducing foods to nutrients hasn't worked very well
- digestive system has as many neurons as the spinal cord
- nutrition science has a *long* way to go
- nutritionism did rise to solve a very real public health problem: western diet-related diseases
- science will eventually figure this out, but eaters don't need to know the science to reduce disease and be healthier
- we've turned diseases like diabetes into a lifestyle (ads for diabetes gear on primetime TV, etc.)

- relying on science hasn't worked thus far, nor should we rely on MP
- prior to science, we had culture to understand these things
- last 1/3 of book explores various cultural rules for eating
- examples: don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food, or anything with more than 5 ingredients; shop the perimeter of the grocery store; don't eat food that won't ever rot ('cause mold and bacteria aren't even interested); don't shop the super market (go farmers market instead)
- eat until you're full, eat slowly
- "defending food and meals should not need to be done"

Q/A
- supporting local food isn't just about energy and carbon footprint - it's fresher, tastier, keeps land from being developed, supports local economies
- we have to keep fighting for a transparent food system, and we can't depend on the government to make it happen (sugar/UN/WHO/Dubya example)
- we're not connecting the dots between food problems and health problems
- "1 cheer for meat eating" regarding whether or not to eat animals; in some narrow bioregional and evolutionary contexts, it's ok
- some folks do really well eating lots of meat (like the Masai, but they get lots of exercise), but there are many factors affecting it (how it's raised, cooked, etc); grass-fed beef doesn't compete with humans for nutrients
- eating 20% less meat (per person) saves as much carbon as downgrading from a sedan to a hybrid
- eggs: cage-free is the first priority, pastured is ideal (they eat grass and bugs); ask at farmers market if they cruise on grass or dirt