Archive for August 2009

Proteus Taken Down

Back in late January I reported that my workstation at UIUC was going to be taken down. It took a while because another website on the machine needed to be moved first, but that is apparently done because Proteus is now down.

Latest Popular Way to Make Methamphetamine

Manufacturing methamphetamine used to take a whole home chemistry lab, but now it only requires a two-liter soda bottle, some cold pills, and household chemicals.

The downside of making your own meth (other than addiction and various ill effects)? The process is dangerous and leads to an explosion if oxygen is allowed to participate in the reaction.

Surprise: Americans Eat Too Much Added Sugar

The American Heart Association has reminded us again that Americans consume a lot of added sugar each day. Between 2001 and 2004, Americans consumed, on average, twenty-two teaspoons of added sugar daily. The recommended limits? For men: nine teaspoons, and women: six teaspoons.

This article claims that teenagers eat thirty-four teaspoons of added sugar daily, on average. It also has some other interesting information, such as the amount of sugar that “fruit-flavored” yogurt contains: six teaspoons.

And to put this into a unit that actually helps you: one teaspoon of sugar is about 4.2 grams.

Squirrel Portrait

At the end of this link is a great picture of a squirrel that jumped in the frame during a time-delayed photograph. Be sure to read the caption beneath the picture.

A Call to Arms!

In the August 2009 edition of the Communications of the ACM, venture capitalist Tim Draper argues that now is the time to innovate and try to make something happen. Unfortunately, for you civilians out there, viewing the article’s content requires ACM credentials.

Update: I have discovered that this article is available as a preview of the digital edition of Communications of the ACM. How lucky; everyone can view it without credentials here.

Satire on Healthcare Reform

In terms of American healthcare, Jonathan Alter sarcastically asks What’s Not to Like? The piece is directed against the belief that nothing is wrong with American healthcare, but avoids commentary on the big challenge: how best to address the problem.

Seattle Light Rail

Now for something that I care a lot about.

Fourteen days ago, Sound Transit opened Link Light Rail, a light rail line between Tukwila (about 1.5 miles from the airport) and Downtown Seattle. In December, track covering the final 1.5 miles to the airport will open providing a direct train link from downtown to the airport. Trains run every 7.5 minutes at peak and every ten or fifteen minutes during off-peak hours, depending just how off-peak it is. Until the track to the airport is opened, shuttles will run frequently from the Tukwila station to the airport terminal.

Despite my tardiness in writing about it, I have been excited about this project since I first heard about it, which was months before I moved here. Since I do not drive to the airport, this is a big step up personally in convenience in getting there.

The next step, after completion of the line to the airport terminal, appears to be tunneling 3.15 miles to the University of Washington, creating the University Link, which also includes the construction of stations at the University and on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, this project will not be completed until 2016.

In the 2008 General Election, voter approval was given to expand the light rail service north to Northgate, east across the I-90 bridge to Redmond’s Overlake Transit Center, and south to the Redondo/Star Lake area of Federal Way. I have yet to see completion date estimates on these projects. The same expansion proposal also adds other forms of transit in other areas, such as more buses across the 520 bridge.

Spider Invasion

I do not know if this is normal around here, but I am frequently discovering and having to deal with spiders in my apartment. Me being me, I catch and release these spiders, which have been ranging from pretty small to one exceptionally large spider that required a substitution in my usual capturing device (a glass) due to its size. I currently have one trapped underneath my desk and will be relocating it outdoors in a few moments.