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Buy a Warranty For Your Unborn Child

Genetic testing is getting cheaper every day. Not using the results of genetic tests in setting insurance premiums is a shame, because it means those of us with good genes have to pay more than we otherwise would. It also means that there need to be laws and enforcement mechanisms to prevent insurance companies from gaining or using genetic test information, which imposes costs that don't need to be there. Read more »

Stupidity is the Leading Cause of Liver Failure

Ars Technica posted an article titled Tylenol is the leading cause of liver failure linking to a New Scientist article titled 'Safe' painkiller is leading cause of liver failure. I found it via Digg. On both Digg and Ars Technica, the comments were predominantly supporting the article and saying how horrible acetaminophen/paracetamol supposedly is. Read more »

Free Your... Appliances?

Update: James Huston Ewing's latest antics have apparently prompted someone to set up If Ewing really did what the site claims, he's an even bigger slimeball than I already knew him to be based on the events described on the second page of this article.

It all started out as a way to save some money by avoiding purchasing a second PlayStation 2. My wife wanted to buy an imported PS2 from Japan so she could play the sequel to Kingdom Hearts, which was only available for Japanese consoles at that time. Rather than drop $250 for an imported console whose only difference from my existing console was that it would allow me to play games I legally purchased that the game company happened to think should only be available in Japan, I said "Why don't we just get a mod chip?" Read more »

Corporate Campaign Contribution Limits: A Law For Lawyers, By Lawyers?

It seems like corporations, in general, should want limits on liability, because it is much more likely that they will be sued than that they will sue someone else. Lawyers, on the other hand, want no limits on liability or on their ability to sue. This helps lawyers on all sides, because corporations will pay more for lawyers to defend themselves as well as to sue other corporations, and class action lawyers can make a lot more money with a lot less work. Read more »

Forgetting Who Big Brother Is

This is, IMHO, an awesome invention. Read more »

Help me with an analogy

I got into an argument over prop 79 with a coworker today. He claims that because McDonald's can negotatiate better deals with beef producers due to its size, the residents of the state of California should be able to do the same. We're not talking about MediCal or poor people here, but all California residnets. He assumes that bigger is always better when it comes to negotiating. Read more »

Wind Scrubbers Again

Sometime last year I remember reading an article about "wind scrubbers," which would take CO2 directly out of the atmosphere with the aim of combatting global warming. Now the idea is being rehashed again (via digg). There's a major flaw in this whole approach: CO2 in the atmosphere just isn't that concentrated, so you need a lot of these things ($$$) to have any real impact. Read more »

Fuck Sony

The people at Sony Computer Entertainment are awesome. I love my (modded) PS2. I love that they support Linux development on it. I love that they wanted to be able to have it copy DVDs until another Sony division came along and said no way. These are genuinely creative people who want to help their customers have fun, and who have fun themselves along the way. Read more »

Robots With Rimless Wheels, Bruce Sterling Style

I just finished reading Heavy Weather, by Bruce Sterling. A good read, even though I think he's being a bit alarmist about the near-term consequences of global warming. One of the pieces of technology that appears in the book is a car with rimless wheels that can adjust the length of the spokes to drive over rocky terrain or even hop over large obstacles. Read more »

If prop 79 passes, people below a certain income level in California who don't have health coverage and don't qualify for MediCal (California's state health plan for poor people) will receive "discount cards" that the drug companies will have to honor giving them a 50% discount off prescription drugs. Read more »

Register says Wikipedia is Crap

First it was blogs. Now The Register is bashing Wikipedia and then goes on to make fun of all this "Web 2.0" stuff. Is it me, or does The Reg take perverse pleasure in finding overhyped straw men to burn? Read more »

Private Property Saves the Internet. Film at 11.

My friend Donovan works for Slide. Anyone who pays attention to domain names knows that just about every possible five letter domain name is already registered, let alone any domain name that actually corresponds to an English word. When I wondered about how they ended up getting, his response was simple: "We bought it," as if it was obvious.

Well, it wasn't quite obvious to me, since I was still stuck in my old way of thinking about domain names. I used to think you didn't really own a domain name, you just registered it, and it was all first come first served with nominal maintenance fees. Domain speculators were evil.

Well, I've grown up a bit since then. It turns out that domain speculators are just homesteaders. Now, occasionally these homesteaders set up a homestead right between your million dollar condo and the beach and build a large ugly billboard smack in your view, then want an exorbitant amount of money to sell the property to you. But now that people have adjusted to this practice, it hardly ever happens any more, because people now know that if they want an ocean view, it's much cheaper to grab the property between you and the ocean (i.e. typo domains) before you build your condo complex (i.e. hugely popular search engine). Companies are also naming themselves (i.e. picking a location in domain space) in the same way that people look for real estate, and the fees that naming consultants get are starting to look suspiciously similar to real estate agent rates.

Strangely enough, at this point nobody is really talking about running out of domain names, though domain names are scarcer than they need to be due to the limited number of generic top level domains (.com, .net, .org, .info, .biz, etc.). Of course, .com domains are still the most highly sought after, and anyone who wants a .com domain that's a commonly used word should be prepared to pay a hefty sum. This insures that domain names go to those who value them the most. Some of the smaller country code registries have even capitalized on this by charging a higher registration fee for more highly sought after domain names. Read more »

Recording Industry Eroding Moral Values

According to a recording industry poll, young Canadians are more likely to download files illegally than the rest of the population, and they're also more likely to shoplift than the rest of the population. The conclusion? File sharing software is eroding respect for private property! Read more »

Appreciation is Not Savings

The fact that this article is the top hit when searching for americans savings rate on Google disturbs me. While the article is from 2000, the fact that enough people are linking to it to make it number one seems to mean that it's indicative of people's misconceptions about savings.

From the article: Read more »

Piracy is Wrong!

OK, this video has me convinced: movie piracy is definitely wrong.

Via Linkfilter, which is a really awesome site - add it to your aggregator NOW!