what i learned last week

1. the reason spammers hit blogs with comments is not to get people to read the spam. it’s to get google to pay attention. the way google decides the order of its list when you search for something is rather democratic. the more people that link to your site, the more likely you are for google to think you’re important, and therefore, worthy of a #1 listing on its results. the more people link to your site, the more google thinks that the links on your site to someone else’s are good, and therefore the more “votes” you get for someone else. so, if my site has a good standing with google, and a spammer can put a comment on my blog linking to his (or her) own site, then it’s more likely that his (or her) site will show up on google’s first page when someone is looking for viagra (as an example…) or free, pirated mp3’s (as another example…). so, the parasites (uh… people spamming my site) are truly parasitic – riding the coattails of my good name (at least, “good” as far as google’s link-counting servers are concerned…) i just activated the akismet wordpress-spam-killer on this blog – hopefully it’ll wipe out the parasites.

2. oliver sacks doesn’t eat kidneys (any more).

3. there are 3,000,000,000 letters (consisting of a, t, c and g) in your genome. this means, that if you were to read it out, letter by letter, at a rate of one letter per second, reading 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take you a little over 95 years to complete the project, so don’t bother…

4. cuban cigar factories have readers – people who read newpaper articles and books to the workers rolling the cigars.

5. bentford’s law is my favourite mathematical law.

6. if you do a preference test where the subjects have to tell you why they prefer something over another, they’ll give you the wrong answer – they actually prefer the other thing.

7. there is a lightbulb at the livermore pleasanton fire department that has been lit continuously for the past 106 years. link

8. a large explosion on the ground on an overcast day will result in the blast wave bouncing off the cloud cover and bouncing back down and breaking some windows.

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