WolframAlpha is a whole new type of search engine that can calculate any mathematical expression and compare any known data on the fly. From looking up information about a particular date to comparing two chemical compounds side by side to even calculating complex physics problems; it can do it all and more! While not perfect, it's a very powerful tool and either way, fun to play with and a great time-waster.

Can people taste words?

This article entitled People may be able to taste words from BBC explores the phenomenon of synaesthesia - the blending of sensory experiences as it relates to taste. Previous research has shown that people associate low-pitch tones with rounder, bigger shapes and smaller, sharper images with higher pitches. This article explores the concept of sharp and soft-sounding words. While brie is identified as maluma, what food would you associate with takete? The answer is just an article away...

Avoiding electronic survailance

We live an increasingly large portion of our lives online. This buys us speed and ease of communication that allow connections to be maintained with people across oceans when in the past such things were impractical. However, it also means that larger and larger amounts of personal information leak into electronic records (ISP records, phone company records, etc). This guide from the Electronic Frontier Foundation goes into some detail on how much of that information-leakage is possible to mitigate, with a focus on avoiding government snooping.

Breaking Down Curveballs

Every wonder why your favorite baseball player flails at a curveball when it reaches the plate? The linked visual illusion, judged best in the world this year by the American Institute of Physics, may have something to do with explaining why a pitch seems to break when it reaches home. It may not put you in the batter's box, but it will leave you similarly confused.

I Vant to Read Your Blog!

Bram Stoker wrote his classic Dracula novel in the format of a diary and it has finally met its 21st century destiny, i.e., as a number of blog posts on the web. Each diary entry by Jonathan, Mina, Lucy, and others will be posted on the month and day that the entries were written, putting a new twist to the presentation of a story so old that it's in public domain. In a way, it allows readers to feel as if the Dracula story were actually occuring in real-time, in 2009.

The Boston Marathon

On April 20th I ran arguably the world's most historic road race, the Boston Marathon. It was a wonderfully chilly day in Boston. The crowds lined the route and were electric for the duration of the run. It was a wonderful day for American distance running. Two runners, Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher, both reached the award stand with a pair of third place finishes. These are collectively the best male and female American finishes at Boston since 1985. With distance running hardly in the limelight, most people cannot comprehend the type of effort these elite athletes put into their training.