Monthly Archives: March 2006

Device Warns You If You’re Being A Noob

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MIT Nerds are developing a device that can sense the emotions of those around you and detect whether or not you’re annoying them/being boring. Via the news link:

It will alert its autistic user if the person they are talking to starts showing signs of getting bored or annoyed…

If the wearer seems to be failing to engage the person listening, the computer vibrates.

Sure, it’s for autistic people, but I wouldn’t mind having one. I could set it onto ‘reverse.’ If anyone around me was boring or annoying, it would instantly administer a Danza Slap to the offending noob.

For situations where slapping people myself would be inappropriate (mostly anywhere), this would be a godsend. I’d probably have to change the batteries pretty often, though…

Grow Your Own 1up Mushroom!

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Thinkgeek.com is selling what appears to be a real life 1up mushroom! They provide a pipe, a spore, and some mushroom “food solution.”

All you do is add potting soil to the green sewer-pipe-shaped flower pot, and push the spores deep into it. Soak the soil with water using the dropper, add a squirt of the food solution, and then it’s off to a dark location for a few weeks.

A still unanswered question remains: What happens if you eat it? I’m thinking either you’ll die instantly, or grow to enormous proportions (in your mind) and then die. I smell an impending lawsuit will happen when a kid decides to eat the mushroom (thinking he’s now got an extra life) and jumps off a cliff.

Even without eternal life-giving properties, I want this. Bad. I’ve already ordered 2 for myself.

Fighting The Common Cold With Cold-Eeze!

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On Sunday night, my throat felt somewhat congested, so I figured I was catching a cold. I wasn’t going to just accept it without a fight!

Cold-Eeze is like a cough drop, but it has some special Zinc ingredient in it. From my understanding, the Zinc coats your throat and prevents the cold virus from replicating. One note: the stuff tastes really gross, and it sort of stays in your mouth long after the lozenge is gone. Imagine eating the peel of a banana. Kick it down a notch and you have Cold-Eeze.

Last time I had a cold, I tried using Cold-Eeze to decrease the length of it. I used it the late in day after I felt like I was getting sick, so I ended up being sick for more than a week.

This time, I took it right away, even before I was sure that I was sick. Today, Thursday, I feel about as good as I did on Sunday. I’m definitely past the hump. In my experience, I’ve had colds that have been a lot worse (I didn’t really feel all that sick during the worst days, Tuesday and Wednesday) and they’ve lasted a lot longer too.

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Yes, I graphed my sickness levels with gnuplot. I’m a nerd.

I wouldn’t say that Cold-Eeze cures anything; it just makes your cold shorter and weaker. Even if you’re skeptical about it, I’d say it’s worth it to have some lying around so you can test it yourself if you’re starting to feel sick.

Maybe it is a placebo, but hey, whatever makes you feel better, right?

Cool Shwag From Jlist: Final Fantasy XII Potion, Question Mark Box Bank, Sound Effect Capsule Toy, Busted Pocari Sweat!

So today I got my package from Jlist containing all of the sweet nerd stuff that I’ve been waiting for! I got the Final Fantasy XII Potion (4 of them), a Question Mark Box Bank (with character inside), a sound effect Capsule Toy, and a busted pouch of Pocari Sweat (I didn’t ask for it to be busted).

First, the Final Fantasy Potion:

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Yes, that’s my hand in the picture. Maybe I should be a hand model… Anyway, the bottles were a bit smaller than I envisioned. I’m going to be drinking the potion along with my cousin, who ordered 2 with me. I was thinking of doing a video review or something. I’ve heard it tastes like medicine, but I think I’m getting a slight cold, so maybe the potion will cure it!

Next, the Question Mark Box Bank:

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Yep, it’s a bank shaped like the box in Mario that you hit to make a coin or whatever appear. I tried punching it. It just made my hand hurt. I envisioned it would be bigger than it actually turned out to be. It can probably hold like, $1 worth of change. Yay.

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It also came with a keychain character. I got a blooper. He came in a little protective baggie. I like it.

Next up, the other Sound-Making Keychain!

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There are six of these keychains in all, but I ordered one and got a random one. It makes the Mario swimming sound. It’s a lot bigger than I thought it would be, and I dunno if I should walk around with it as a keychain. It could go off in my pants without warning! Check out my quick demo video of it in action!

Last but not least (well, probably both) is the Busted Pouch of Pocari Sweat (try saying that five times fast!):
Busted-Pocari-Sweat.jpg

I’m going to ask Jlist if they’ll send me an unbusted one. It sort of got all over the other stuff and made it look like I got some cocaine with my order. True, there’s still some mix in the pouch, but now that it’s open, I dunno if I wanna ingest it. For all I know, it IS cocaine!!!

EDIT: Jlist wrote back saying that they’d send me a replacement. How cool are they!?

So yeah. That’s it. If you wanna be cool like me and get crazy stuff from Japan, check out Jlist. They’ve got some neat stuff. Shipping is kind of a lot, but if you buy in bulk, it becomes somewhat reasonable.

Science Sez: Most People Think They Are Above Average; Are Wrong

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I found this interesting article via digg.

It basically argues that, while most people believe they are above average in competence versus everyone else, it’s impossible for that to be true for the majority of people. It also concludes that people who think they are superior are actually unaware of their incompetance, and the more competent people might sell themselves short, because they are better able to assess their shortcomings as well as others’.

In short, the study showed that the researchers’ predictions were spot-on. Participants scoring in the bottom quartile grossly overestimated their test performance and ability, and analysis confirmed that this miscalibration was due to deficits in metacognitive skill (the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error).

This sort of begs the question: Would you rather be a confident idiot, or an unsure genius? I guess thinking about it damns you either way.

It also reminds me of the Japanese saying, baka wa kaze wo hikanai: Idiots can’t catch colds (because they’re too stupid to realize they have them).

Of course, the people who did the research could have just been overestimating themselves when they assumed they were running the experiments correctly…