Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Sunday Night Linkdump

Okay, so being out of town for a while has left me lots of time for reading. Hence I’ve got another one of those link posts. But first, a question: Does anyone like these things? I find them to be a useful way to throw together a bunch of interesting stuff, but if everyone thinks they suck I can stop. Also, would it be better if I just blogged these at the time I read them as quickies? Do you care? Seriously, if you have any preference or thought at all, please let me know in the comments or an email.

Now for some stuff …

  • I may be doing a little drinks thing Monday night in SF. I will post here, but if you’d like an email with details let me know (comments or email is fine).
  • The science of spice: Chili’s are hot because the chemical that makes it so acts as a fungicide. Interesting. Also from the article, “It turns out that capsaicin – this plant protectant – binds to a special class of vanilloid receptor inside our mouth called VR1 receptors. After binding capsaicin, the neuron is depolarized, and it signals the presence of spicy stimuli … But here’s the strange part: VR1 receptors weren’t designed to detect capsaicin. They bind spicy food by accident. The real purpose of VR1 receptors is the detection of heat. They are supposed to prevent us from consuming food that is too hot, in the thermal sense. (That’s why our VR1 receptors are clustered in our tongue, mouth and skin.)”
  • New York Times on how much different the dress code/culture of advertising is now compared to Mad Men. There are simply too many quotes worthy of poking fun at to choose one.
  • Georgia’s war with Russia is the first time in history that two nations with a McDonald’s have fought. (via rc3.org)
  • Marginal Revolution sums up something I’ve been noticing quite a lot: Obama insecurity.
  • Airborne has settled a case with the FTC that will require them to give back $30 million to consumers because of false claims. If you bought Airborne over the last few years and want your money back, there’s a handy website to help you.
  • What was most interesting about the Times’ piece on YouTube ads was the technology behind it: “YouTube introduced a technology last fall called Video ID which allowed copyright owners to compare the digital fingerprints of their videos with material on YouTube, then flag infringing material for removal.” This gives media companies (or any content creator) the opportunity to track all content and eventually claim it as their own. That includes content created by consumers. Check out what EA is doing: “Electronic Arts, the video game publisher, has taken Video ID a step further, using it to encourage user submissions. In a promotion for the coming video game Spore, E.A. encouraged gamers to upload original Spore creatures they created using a software program. There were more than 100,000 submissions, and some attracted hundreds of thousands of views. E.A. used Video ID to claim the most popular user videos and share in the ad revenue on them.” Opens up some interesting possibilities (and questions).
  • A select number of libraries have started to lend physical objects in addition to books: “Tool Lending Library offers thousands of tools free to Berkeley residents and people who own property in Berkeley. First time borrowers must present photo ID, a Berkeley Public Library card, and a recently received utility bill their name. Berkeley property owners who do not live in Berkeley must present their property tax bill. These policies are strictly enforced.”
  • Diaroogle.com: Locate a public toilet in NYC. (via Alan via Josh)
  • Blogjects (or spimes) in the wild: “Baacode gives each item of clothing a unique tracking number, which when entered into Icebreaker’s website allows you to find out exactly where your clothing was made, even allowing you to take a virtual tour of the New Zealand ranch on which “your” sheep was raised.”

That’s it for now. Have a great week.

August 18, 2008