Friday, August 30, 2013

Solar eclipse on Mars

Wow, check this out.  A picture of a solar eclipse on Mars taken by the Mars Curiosity rover.  You can see the oblong shape of the Martian moon Phobos as it passes across the sun.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jeff Bezos buys the Washington Post newspaper

This is interesting.  Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, purchased the famous Washington Post newspaper .   When I first heard this my reaction was that "It makes sense that Amazon would buy this to integrate into the Kindle" and their content distribution system or something similar.  But that would be an incorrect impression.  Note that Jeff Bezos individually purchased the paper - not Amazon, and from the sound of things it's more the case of a rich benefactor stepping in to save one of the most respected papers in America from it's financial difficulties.  

Per Bezos:  “But the key thing I hope people will take away from this is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”

Here's an article musing about some of the plans Bezos might have for the Washington Post and includes the observation that a) when you're marketing to folks it helps to intimately know that person's interests - and a relationship with the post could aid that, and b) e-commerce hasn't really been implemented effectively in a newspaper (other than lots of banner ads).  Could the Washington post be a forum to try something more effective?  There are other cool thoughts here also.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Brazil Nuts just aren't very good

Thought this was funny. I don't like Brazil Nuts all that much and often there are lots of them in the cans of mixed nuts at the store - and there tends to be lots of them left at the bottom of the can after I've eaten all the other types.  Apparently  I'm not alone - here's an informal survey indicating they're one of the least favorite nuts.

I'd assumed they were cheap and just there to take up volume, but according to this (at least at the time of the sample) Brazil nuts cost as much as many other nuts (Almonds, peanuts, Walnuts, and Cashews are all less or similar in cost). My favorites - pecans - are quite a bit more expensive which likely explains their scarcity in the mix.

But seriously - if Brazil nuts cost about the same as Almonds, Walnuts, and Cashews - then please substitute.

Digital Evolution

Here's an interesting simulation looking at complexity vs. fitness as measured by ability for these little digital programs to find their way through a digital maze using a limited number of sensors. From The Loom