Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Free Stuff on Craigslist

July 17, 2006

So I’m getting ready to move across the country and I’m trying to get rid of some of my extra stuff. I’m trying to get rid of a car, a Weber gas grill, an old, piece-of-junk dresser, and a REALLY old whitewater kayak. I decided to use craigslist to move all of them. Of course, I’m trying to sell the car and the grill (because they have actual value), but I chose to post the kayak and the dresser in the “free stuff” section of craigslist. I’m a big fan of craigslist, and I know how helpful the site can be for helping people find new places to live. Also, it’s easy to see how enabling the site can be for people who need things, need to get rid of things, or just need attention. And we all know that there are lots of people out there with lots of crap that somebody else might want. (See the now-well-overhyped Kyle MacDonald blog for an example of how people trade stupid crap for other stupid crap.)

But anyway, back to my own little revelation: not only are people willing to buy and trade just about anything, but they’re doing it with surprising speed and in surprising numbers. Immediately after I posted my kayak and dresser online, and before I could even navigate to craigslist to find my posting, I had an email in my inbox from someone who wanted it. That was an hour ago. I now have 45 emails from people who want my dresser and/or kayak. And trust me, neither of these things are very high quality. The dresser is made of particle board and cardboard and the kayak is at least 15 years old (so old that I can only find two references to the model on the internet – one from 1998 and one from 2001).

Anyway, neither is worth more than about 20 dollars, and I was more interested in finding someone who would love the boat to take it off my hands. (The dresser is another matter. Whoever takes it can burn it in some pagan ritual for all I care.) Despite the clear demand for a free kayak, I’m honoring my posting and giving the boat to the first person to respond. She’s extremely enthusiastic (I’ve included the text of her first email below), so I’m hoping she’ll enjoy it.

> >O)MG---I cannot believe someone is really giving this away!!!
> >
> >My daughter and I took Kayak lessons a year ago and have wanted one ever
> >since---OMG--we would be so happy---so grateful to have this---it would
get
> >lots of use, love & TLC!!
> >
> >I would be infinitely grateful for any consideration---I have a truck and
> >can readily pick up at your availability and convenience!!!
> >
> >CHEERS!
> >
> >.··-.¸.-··. (`'·.¸(`'·.¸ ¸.·'´)¸.·'´)
> >`·. .·´ «´¨`·*NAME CENSORED*·´¨`».,'`.
> >    `·´ (¸.·'´(¸.·'´ `'·.¸)`'·.¸)`·´)'

Still, part of me wishes that I’d asked for some creative trade-in for this boat. I mean, if that MacDonald guy can get a house for his lame paperclip, imagine what I could have gotten for my kayak.

yacht


		
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Sexy Smells

June 8, 2006

The results of a recent study indicate that sexual attraction may have a lot to do with smell. Of course it does, you say. After all, no matter how great that guy on the bus might look in his tight jeans, if he smells like he just won the Manure-Flavored Jello Wrestling Championships, there’s no way he’s getting in my pants.

This study actually goes a bit further than just suggesting that smell contributes to sexual attraction. The researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) to monitor the brain activity of a group of lesbian women, heterosexual women, homosexual men, and heterosexual men when exposed to various phermones. They found that the anterior hypothalamus (the part of the brain that regulates metabolic process, that links the nervous system to the endocrine system by secreting brain hormones, and that responds to odor stimuli) of the homosexual men and the heterosexual women was activated when the volunteers were exposed to AND. AND is a progesterone derivative that is found in 10 times higher levels in men’s sweat than in women’s sweat. They also found that the heterosexual men had activity in their hypothalamus when exposed to EST (an estrogen-like molecule found in the urine of pregnant women).

The interesting part for me were the results for the lesbian women. Apparently, the lesbian women responded similarly to both AND and EST, and, although there was activity in the hypothalamus in response to EST, the response was not nearly as strong as it was for the heterosexual men. Comments:

1) It definitely appears that sexual attraction is tied into neurochemical processes in the brain.

2) Sexual attraction seems to be different (regarding the actual brain activity in response to certain phermones) in men then it is in women.

3) This really says nothing about whether homosexuality is learned or genetic, because all of the people studied were adults. However, let’s assume that in 10 years they are able to test infants for their propensity to be attracted to certain male or female scents. Can you imagine how crazy our society would go debating the merits / ethics of such a test?

4) Is it just me, or is it really funny that the two phermones that the researchers picked are found in male sweat and in female urine? I mean, can you really imagine two less “sexy” fluids to be turned on by? At least it wasn’t boogers..

10,000 Dollar Bill!

May 9, 2006

Ever wondered what a 10,000 dollar bill looks like?  Well, check it out below.   The  Department of Treasury hasn't printed these puppies since 1945, and they were withdrawn from circulation in 1969, so it's pretty unlikely that you'll be asked to crack a 10 G bill next time you're working the graveyard shift at the old Kwik 'e' Mart.

 10000 dollar bill front

10000 dollar bill back

 A couple of comments:

1)  The face on the $10G bill belongs to Salmon P. Chase.  Chase was a Darmouth grad (AD).  He went on to be Lincoln's Secretary of Treasury, and, if you believe Gore Vidal in "Lincoln," he was a total a-hole and tried to sabatoge Lincoln's presidency for his own benefit.  Eventually, his ambition and his inability to work with the rest of the cabinet led to his resignation from the cabinet in 1864.  Apparently, he mended his relationship with Lincoln, because when Supreme Court Justice Robert Taney died later that year, Lincoln nominated Chase to take his position.  Chase remained on the court until his death in 1873. 

2)  Adjusted for inflation, $10,000 in 1969 is worth $53,099.60 in 2005 dollars.  I wonder who we would put on the $53,100 dollar bill if we had one now? 

bush on 10000 dollar bill

Airtroductions

May 2, 2006

I came across a new web-based company the other day, and after checking out their website, decided I had to blog about it.  The company is called Airtroductions and it's a peer networking site to help people find friends, lovers, spouses, or business contacts on their airplane flights.  I know that peer networking sites (Myspace, Facebook, Doostang, Linked In, all the dating sites, etc.) are very popular these days.  I also know that MTV also offered to buy Facebook for 750 million dollars a couple of months ago, so somebody out there must think that there is real value in all of these services.  Still, you have to wonder if a copycat service like Airtroductions is going to make it.  I especially have to wonder when I look at some of the stuff that is on the website, like this blurb from the "About Airtroductions" section:

Hi there. I'm Peter, and I am the AirTroductor.

That's me, the one who's not Miss Texas 2002. Since sitting next to her on a trip from Houston to New York, I've taken over 300 airplane trips, and have yet to sit next to someone that beautiful.
 airtroductions ceo

 But – I have sat next to other CEO's, marketing directors, movie stars, clothing impresarios, and tons of other people. A lot of them were nothing more than a few “hey, how's it going” words, but others have led to clients, lots of business, and even a date or two!

That's why I started AirTroductions. We all fly so much, I figure there's got to be a better way to use all that time in the air.

So whether you're looking for a date in Los Angeles, a business networking partner in Tokyo, or just someone to share a cab from Kennedy to Midtown, look no further. You've found AirTroductions. If you've got any ideas on how to make AirTroductions even better, then we want to hear from you!

Email us at success@airtroductions.com

I'll be posting little missives and ideas on the site from time to time, and I want to hear how AirTroductions has helped you!


Let us know, and we'll feature you on the site, and send you lots of AirTroductions goodies.

Email us at success@airtroductions.com
All the best,
Peter
The AirTroductor

Wow.  And they have almost 13,000 people signed up. 

Ecosphere

April 14, 2006

Time for a tree-hugger blog:

My ecosphere turns three years old this month and it's still alive and doing very well.
Ecosphere picture

For those of you who don't know what an ecosphere is, you can follow the link, or you can just read my shortened explanation. Basically, an ecosphere is a self-enclosed, fully self-sufficient ecosystem. The basic components are listed below in the diagram. Inside of a glass orb are seawater, some algae, some bacteria, a couple of tiny red shrimp, and a piece of wood.

According to the vendor's website:

"Light together with carbon dioxide in the water enable the algae to produce oxygen by photosynthesis. The shrimp breathe the oxygen in the water while nibbling on the algae and bacteria. The bacteria break down the animal waste into nutrients, which the algae utilize. The shrimp and bacteria also give off carbon dioxide, which the algae again use to produce oxygen. And so the cycle renews itself."

cycle_animation_b.gif

My brother gave me mine three years ago for my birthday and I checked the other day and the little shrimp are still swimming around.  It's actually really cool that this tiny little ecosystem can survive for that long.  I've moved twice since getting the ecosphere, and one of the moves was several hundred miles, so you know the little thing is pretty rugged.  I've had a couple of algal blooms when I left it in too much sunlight, after which I had to banish it to a light-tight cabinet for several months to let the shrimp catch up on the algae eating, but other than that, it's been a piece of cake.  Easiest pets ever.  Also, the least interactive pets ever, but I don't even have to feed them, so I can't complain.  If only the real Earth were as easy to care for…
Close-up Picture of Shrimp in an Ecosphere
SHRIMP_T3.JPG