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Archive for July, 2005

Wow! More "health" scams… Anti-bacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap

Friday, July 29th, 2005

This isn’t as eggregious as my earlier post (Echinacea doesn’t do anything), but it turns out that there are many more “mainstream” scams out there. Here’s one I found today:

Anti-Bacterial Soap is no more effective than plain soap, just more expensive

Sheesh. Y’know, when I was 5, I was pretty convinced that a quick soapless splash under the faucet was plenty. I’ll bet I was right.


Help Needed: Wireless NIC incorrectly reporting "Media Disconnected"

Friday, July 29th, 2005

I hate to do this on my blog, but I’m desparate, so I’ve resorted to an open plea for help.

Two nights ago, I installed AdAware SE Personal (1.06) and ran it. After that, my Wireless NIC started misbehaving in really strange ways.

Using Windows XP SP2 Pro. Via the UI, I can see (refresh, etc.) all local WiFi networks. Even tells me signal strength. When I try to connect, it fails. Here’s the strange part: IPCONFIG reports “Media Disconnected”. How can that be, if I can see the networks??

I’ve tried uninstalling and reinstalling the driver. No dice.

I found a guy who said he had a similar problem and fixed it by installing a “WinsockFix” freeware app. I tried that, but it didn’t help.

Any ideas?


Why I’m not a Cat Person

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

I just don’t trust them.

Now you can’t blame me. Isn’t Pinky such a Loving Cat?


Echinacea doesn’t actually do anything

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

Well, this is going to be one of the few arguments I’ve won with my girlfriend. It turns out that Echinacea really doesn’t do anything.

Does this scare anyone else? Any idea how big the market for Echinacea is? I couldn’t find it on the web–research firms wanted to charge me for that kind of data. But it’s big. The best I could do was $7.1B for “nutraceuticals,” of which Echinacea, I believe, is just one. Also, way back in 1997, the Echinacea market was $4M.

In the US, neither the FDA nor any other government body regulates Echinacea or any other dietary supplement for content, quality, or efficacy. That apparently means that I could go into my back yard, pick a few dandelions, grind them up and make a pill that I could claim cures Bad Job Doldrums. And I’d just need to buy an ad spot on TV and charge $25 per bottle and I’d have a great business.

Or, I could just sell Echinacea. Probably wouldn’t even need to advertise, then.

It’s ridiculous. As long as consumers will believe anything that they see on TV or read in an ad, the government has a responsibility to protect them. How many people will see this scientific study debunking Echinacea? Who has the motivation to publicize it (and where will the money come from)? Now who has the motivation to HIDE it?

One of these days, it will turn out that one of these dietary supplements is actually HARMFUL–something which would have been discovered if the FDA had done testing. Then we’ll see some change. In the meantime, I’m going to go work on my own ripoff pills, I mean my “All Natural Anti-Doldrum Herbal Dandelion Supplement.”


Why My Cell Phone Reception sucked in Seattle

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

Apparently, there were no towers near me…

Cell Phone Towers on Google Maps (Seattle)
You can change the city to see how intensely you are being irradiated.


A Vote for Pedro is a Wasted Vote

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

I was in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and during my three days there, I saw six different people wearing “Vote for Pedro” shirts. Now I love Napoleon Dynamite as much as the next guy (maybe a little less), and I’m a big fan of those types of pithy, smart, sarcastic shirts worn by San Francisco counterculture (a bigger fan than most–I own a few).

I had thought that I was so cool when I grabbed a couple of these types of shirts a while back thinking, for once, that I might be fashion forward. But then y’all go and kill my dream–all these damn shirts everywhere! We can’t ALL be unique and funny and cool. So now i’m just back to being a tech nerd who wears jeans and buttondowns. Damn you all.

You can only imagine my delight when I saw this one out and about:
Pedro Lacks Political Experience

Take THAT! Counter-counterculture t-shirts. It’s about time. Your whole smarmy t-shirt trend can go self-combust. See if I care.


Finally, a great use for the Google Maps API

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Am I Hot Or Not, Local.

Finally we can answer that age old question: which city has the most beautiful “average people”?

I’m disappointed that I can’t rate the photos from the map–that’s the most addictive part of Hot or Not. If they add that, I’d bet that this would put Hot or Not back on the map, so to speak.

I’m also a bit surprised that Hot Or Not is hosting this on their servers, and more surprised that Google hasn’t taken it down yet (seeing as it’s a commercial site that makes money off of the ads).

Nevertheless, I applaud the creativity!


When you think you’re having a bad day

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

Remember these poor guys… Their day was worse.

Holly and I were driving around San Francisco when we happened upon this moving truck, STUCK, on the crest of a hill. The 18-wheeler was too long and the middle of the truck bottomed out! They’re stuck–you can see the front of the trailor coming off the hitch.I laughed, then I cried when I saw these poor movers realizing that they were having the worst day on earth. Then I made Holly drive back so we could take a photo. It was so funny that I posted it to my Section Blog as well.

Hope everyone is doing well!


Tom Cruise is so nuts that the site that documents it is down

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005

Over the weekend, a couple of friends were bemoaning the fact that Tom Cruise has gone nuts. I don’t follow pop culture all that much, so I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation (in my world, most of Hollywood is nuts).

So, I decided to ask the web if Tom was really nuts, or if my friends were just ranting.

Well, it’s verified:
The site is apparently so popular that it can’t keep up with the traffic. There are pages on “Freaky Tom Facts”, “Tom on Scientology”, “Tom on Women” and more…