Saturday, September 07, 2013

Things I learned lately 7 September

  • Nissan claims that they will have the technology to put self-driving cars on the road by 2020. The challenge will be to convince governments to make them legal, insurance companies to insure them and drivers to trust them. Interestingly, Mercedes high end models already have adaptive cruise control with mild steering capability, which means that the car can drive itself on any major roadway, even with curves. The caveat is that you still have to keep your hands on the wheel.
  • To deter ants from invading your home, spread powdered cinnamon anywhere you see them.
  • You shouldn't eliminate eggs and red meat from your diet, you should 'restrict' them to a few times per week at most.
  • 10 days of stubble is apparently the most attractive length of facial hair on men on the scale of clean shaven all the way to a full growth beard.
  • New car smell is caused by the plasticizers that make PVC soft in car vinyl.
  • The cost per watt of power produced by solar cells is now mere cents above the band of cost of coal and natural gas and it's falling fast.
  • Pirates never made people walk the plank. That notion came from Peter Pan.
  • Pirates never made treasure maps. That notion came from Treasure Island.
  • The qwerty keyboard layout is a remnant of the typewriter. The layout prevented common letters from being pressed at the same time and jamming up the type levers. (I knew this intimately as a result of my days as a teletype technician back in the day).
  • Australia is the only continent without an active volcano.
  • You might only have 70 years to see Venice before it's submerged due to climate change induced rise in sea levels.
  • You might only have 20 years to see the glaciers in Glacier National Park. 123 of the 150 that existed in 1900 are gone.
  • The average height of a European man increased 11cm between 1870 and 1980.
  • Bob Seger sang (uncredited) backing vocals on the Eagles' Heartache Tonight.
  • Duane Allman taught Don Felder to play slide guitar. Don Felder gave Tom Petty guitar lessons.
  • KFC Japan will sell deep fried corn potage (soup) for a limited time. This may be a one-upmanship against American county fair fare.

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