The Living Fractal writes: "The situation: you work in an office, you're a professional, and you use e-mail extensively to correspond — both internally and externally. What is the accepted practice on emoticon use? Use them sparingly, not at all, or as much as you please? And what about the vast amounts of less-well-known emoticons? Should I tell my whining coworker to "QQ more"? Should I smile with:),:D or:-)? Or is it just best to avoid them altogether? I would be very ^_^ to see your answers."
The Living Fractal writes: "CNET has coverage of Toyota's recently unveiled "Winglet". Similar to the Segway, but only capable of traveling around 3.7mph (compared to the Segway's relatively speedy 12.5mph), the Winglet promises to replace walking at a brisk pace with... motorized transport. In other news, 34% of United States citizens are now considered obese. At least now this demographic will be able to get to the food court in the mall without burning precious calories. Perhaps a good idea is to limit use of these to those with legitimate handicaps? Thoughts?"
The Living Fractal writes: "Two of the world's largest energy corporations, BP and ConocoPhillips, announced today their intent to join forces and build the single largest project ever built in North America. The project is a natural gas pipeline which will run from the tip of Alaska to Alberta, Canada, where it may further jump off to markets in the Lower 48. The pipeline will be designed to carry 4,000 MMSCFD; truly a tremendous amount of energy which previously has been 'stranded' on Alaska's North Slope oilfield."
The Living Fractal writes: "Music. It started with gutteral chants surrounding bonfires on the wild plains of Africa. Then maybe the chants were joined by makeshift drums. Eventually instruments were created. They became ever more complex and capable of harnessing the range of human hearing. More and more people became involved. There were orchestras requiring many people. Then something happened. Computers were created, and electronic music was born. But it wasn't the same, the computer couldn't harness the truly amazing fidelity of a real instrument. But computers have gotten exponentially better. And now they give a single person the power to create an entire orchestra. Witness the future, and ask yourself, where does it go from here?"
The Living Fractal writes: "On October 19th, 1987, the world stock markets endured a drop so large that it would eventually be known as Black Monday. Today is not Monday, though there is certainly a similarity between what happened today in the US stock markets and what happened on the Friday before Black Monday back in 1987. Can we expect that the same thing that happened twenty years ago happens again at the open of the markets on Monday? What are the causes of this potential recession, and what, if any, is the light at the end of the tunnel?"
Banan Tarr writes: "The LA Times reports here that the United States Department of Defense has put a stop to the Pentagon-supported "Military Crusade" — a program created by a fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up. This comes a week after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation discovered intent to distribute "Freedom Packages" to US sodliers in Iraq. What were in these packages? Bibles, written in English and Arabic, and an apocalyptic computer game in which the main characters were "Sodliers for Christ". These packages were never delivered. But could they be a sign of things truly being out of hand in today's administration? Or is this an exmaple of checks and balances at work?"
The Living Fractal writes: "So I'm reading Century Rain, a great SF book by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds, and at about page 80 or so I stumble onto a hidden Slashdot reference. Reynolds' character "Niagara" runs a finger diagonally across his chest then 'dots' next to the slash, then goes on to talk about a community of progressive thinkers on one of the earliest computer networks (today's internet) who eventually founded his society. They're even called Slashers! Maybe old news to some of you, but a nice surprise for me nevertheless. Does anyone else have/. easter eggs they've found that they can share with us?"
The Living Fractal writes: "I am in the market for a new mobile phone. With
coming out, which do you, the Slashdot readers, consider the best of them all? Are there phones yet to be released which someone looking to get a new phone should wait for? And finally, what are the pros and cons of smartphones/PDAs vs. simple "talk only" cell phones?"
The Living Fractal writes: "Over at AnandTech Marcus Yam's news blog details the advances NEC Electronics, in association with Elpida Memory and Oki Electric, has achieved regarding new ways of producing memory modules. The companies recently announced the use of a three dimensional stacking technique which has enabled them to create a 1-terabit (128 gigabyte) module in a very small package (each of the eight chips are a mere 50 micrometers thick). Samsung is reportedly developing the same technology for flash applications. While this is only an incremental advance and not revolutionary it is nice to know that portable media devices like cell phones and music players will soon hold more than enough data to contain one's entire library, and then some.
Does this spell an end to iPods, Zunes and all other portable music players? Or are cell phones not yet ubiquitous enough to wave goodbye to portable music players quite yet? Are the predictions of an Apple iPhone really that far away? Will Microsoft release a "Phune"? All good quesions which hopefully will be answered soon."
The Living Fractal writes: "Yahoo! Business has an article about workplace socializing. Apparently, those who drink alcohol and socialize make more money on average. From the article:
"Regular drinkers make 10% to 14% more money than those who do not drink, according to the study, conducted by the Journal of Labor Research, published quarterly by the Department of Economics at George Mason University, and the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based think tank."
This article spawns a few questions. Do those "regular drinkers" end up spending that extra 10-14% on booze? Who here is a social drinker? And have you noticed this in your workplace?"