Monthly Archives: July 2008

The Internet is BIG! Really Big!

Then again, you can get a gig of memory on a keychain these days. I’m so old I remember the first one gig drive, it was the size of a washing machine. And we were so excited to see it! And before that an entire roomful of computers couldn’t give you a gig of memory. But I also remember the first transistors my dad brought home from Motorola, and then getting a little transistor radio and what a wonder it was. That probably really started my love of engineering.

As I finally get my eldest off to a real university to study computer science, I wonder what his generation will create. Looking forward to more good stuff, but honestly, this Internet is what I’m proudest of my generation doing. Back when I was on Multics forum, this was just the way we techies communicated. Now everyone can use it. I’ve sometimes regretted that, especially the spam, but when we can use it in the right ways, it is indeed a wonder.

Official Google Blog: We knew the web was big…

We’ve known it for a long time: the web is big. The first Google index in 1998 already had 26 million pages, and by 2000 the Google index reached the one billion mark. Over the last eight years, we’ve seen a lot of big numbers about how much content is really out there. Recently, even our search engineers stopped in awe about just how big the web is these days — when our systems that process links on the web to find new content hit a milestone: 1 trillion (as in 1,000,000,000,000) unique URLs on the web at once!

How do we find all those pages? We start at a set of well-connected initial pages and follow each of their links to new pages. Then we follow the links on those new pages to even more pages and so on, until we have a huge list of links. In fact, we found even more than 1 trillion individual links, but not all of them lead to unique web pages. Many pages have multiple URLs with exactly the same content or URLs that are auto-generated copies of each other. Even after removing those exact duplicates, we saw a trillion unique URLs, and the number of individual web pages out there is growing by several billion pages per day.

So how many unique pages does the web really contain? We don’t know; we don’t have time to look at them all! 🙂 Strictly speaking, the number of pages out there is infinite — for example, web calendars may have a “next day” link, and we could follow that link forever, each time finding a “new” page. We’re not doing that, obviously, since there would be little benefit to you. But this example shows that the size of the web really depends on your definition of what’s a useful page, and there is no exact answer….

Off to Tucson again…

Getting eldest child all registered at the University of Arizona this weekend. He’ll be staying with family there when he starts school there in August. This trip is to get him registered and familiar with campus. Next trip we’ll have to move all the tigers… well, some of the tigers. He had about 50 at last count…

Hurricane Dolly!

upcoming_hurricanes xkcd

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground

Hurricane Dolly has become the second hurricane of the 2008 hurricane season. Dolly is barely a hurricane, and is still struggling to build a complete eyewall. Visible satellite loops show an eye developing, and heavy thunderstorm activity continues to increase near the core of the storm. Dolly has good upper-level outflow to the west and north, but restricted on the south side, where an upper level low pressure system is still interfering. Maximum surface winds measured by the SFMR instrument on the current Hurricane Hunter aircraft inside Dolly were 74 mph (65 kt), measured at 4:17 pm EDT. Brownsville, Texas long-range radar shows the eyewall is complete on Dolly’s west side, but is struggling to get established on the east side. Radar estimated rainfall amounts of 1/10 of an inch have fallen on the Texas/Mexico coast so far, thanks to the outermost spiral bands of Dolly.

Hello, Dolly!

Sorry, had to be said….

Tropical Storm Dolly forms in western Caribbean – Yahoo! News
Tropical Storm Dolly has formed in the western Caribbean sea.

The National Hurricane center issued a tropical storm warning Sunday for the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from the border with Belize to Campeche, Mexico.

At 11:45 a.m. EDT, the center of the storm was about 270 miles east of Chetumal, Mexico and 230 miles southeast of Cozumel. Maximum sustained winds are about 45 mph.

Dolly is moving toward the northeast at 17 mph, and forecasters expect it to continue moving in this direction for the next two days.

This is the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

Eat like mom told you to lose weight

Except for that “clean your plate”, part, maybe.

Slow down, put your napkin in your lap, face away from the food bar and chew slowly.

Thin people eat differently at all-you-can-eat buffets
Thin people eat differently at all-you-can-eat buffets

By Susan Lang, General Science / Other

PhysOrg.com — When it comes to chowing down at all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, thinner people do it differently, finds a new Cornell study. They tend to browse and chew more, use chopsticks and smaller plates, face away from the food and place a napkin in their laps.
Heavier patrons, on the other hand, are speed eaters ; they start serving themselves on large plates without scouting the spread, face the food, use forks and keep the napkin on the table, according to the research.

The study of 213 diners observed at 11 Chinese buffet restaurants across the United States is published in the August issue of the academic journal Obesity by Brian Wansink, Cornell s John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing, and Collin Payne, a Cornell postdoctoral researcher.

Folk wisdom has suggested various ways to control portions and overeating, but this is one of the first studies to actually examine and find a correlation between behavior and body weight, said Wansink, who is on leave until January 2009 to take a 14-month appointment as executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The results are pretty striking.

The study employed 22 trained observers to code behaviors of patrons and estimate age, height and weight, putting them either into a low, middle or high body mass index BMI category.

They observed, for example, that persons with a lower BMI left more food on their plates and chewed about 15 vs. 12 times per bite.

Increased chewing per bite of food has been shown to be related to lower BMIs partly because of the influence of chewing on satiety, said Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.

The behavior of heavier eaters, Wansink said, also suggests they are rushing — they chew less, use forks, keep the napkin where it s handiest.

The faster you eat, the more you miss the signals of being full, said Wansink. Speed eating seems to be more prevalent in heavier people.