Thursday 18 September 2008

Free Ebooks

I've really taken to Ebooks recently, it is easy to carry a whole lot with you on a teensy tiny menory card. I have 8Gb of storage on my phone. There are loads of places you can get Ebooks from - some less legal than others Project Gutenburg supply books that are out of copyright. supplys books which seem to be from their back catalogue - you have to register, but they are free.
There a re quite a few sites that you can buy books from - some of these have freebies too - is one such.
Ereader even provides the software to read the books (which is a really nice idea).
My favourtie reader software is by Gowerpoint and is called µBook.

If you have a phone with a decent screen try it out - it might be easier than you think.

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Wednesday 17 September 2008

Damascus Razor

HOMMAGE has created a limited edition straight razor forged from fantastic Damascus Steel. Combining the best qualities of hard and malleable steel, layer upon layer is folded onto the next, each becoming visible through a meticulous process of grinding and polishing. Hard, durable and incredibly sharp, the characteristic rose and torsion pattern attests to its superior craftsmanship.

I really love the look of Damascene steel blades, I'd love a razor of this kind (maybe for christmas if Santa has a large wallet and I've been really good). £15,000 would be better put towards my mortgage.
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Thursday 4 September 2008

Hydrogen Elephant

How do we save the planet ? Is a hydrogen economy the way to go? How do we distribute the hydrogen ? A tanker for petrol carries about enough petrol (or diesel) to fill up 300 cars. The equivalent size tanker for hydrogen can only carry enough for 10 cars.
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Wednesday 3 September 2008

Cause and effect

I have often wondered how people (whether they be members of the public, statisticians or scientists) decide on cause and effect.
For example
Whenever ice cream sales rise, so do shark attacks.
As more economists are recruited to the Treasury, inflation rises.
Are shark attacks caused by people eating more ice cream? maybe there is some chemical compound released from the skin after consumption of ice cream which causes a shark to go into a frenzy and attack the consumer or is it more likely that more ice cream is consumed at the same time as more people go in the sea (i.e. summer) and it is the increased numbers off people in the sea which causes an increase in shark attacks?

The lesson: This is a foolish case of a simple error - the assumption that things happening after an event must be caused by it.

Everyone examines data for evidence that their side is right. If a statistical morsel seems to our taste, the temptation is to swallow it. 

Such zeal produces, in this case, the following logic:

Here's event A - a smoking ban.
Here's event B - a selective fall in heart attacks.
Therefore, A caused B.

Sometimes the numbers go up, sometimes down. If you simply take the period, or the place, in which the numbers go the way you want, but disregard the rest, you are likely to read meaning into nothing.

This is one problem with arguments about causality, the belief that any change must have a principal cause, when it may be the result of the many causes that produce nothing more meaningful than random variation.

The key is not to stop looking for the cause with the first plausible link you find. Keep your imagination restless for other causes, or the possibility of chance, and it will serve you well.


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