Saturday, February 11, 2006

Good stuff

Hooray for the weekend! And what better time to think about good stuff? I've been saving up items for this list for a while ...

First up: Chance magazine, co-published by the American Statistical Association and Springer-Verlag, is about statistics and the use of statistics in society. Go to their site and click on "Feature Articles" in the left-hand panel. There's a bunch of interesting stuff. For example, an article presenting research on whether automobile airbags save lives (it suggests they may not). And with the Winter Olympics on, how about an article on testosterone abuse among athletes?

Next on the good stuff list, check out one of my favorite blogs — it's funny, thought provoking, and well written. You know, if you look at the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem, you'll see that a few blogs are hugely popular. But it's been my experience that there are some hidden gems out there. Many people who don't read blogs seem to think that it's a big waste of time. And sure, there's a lot of junk out there. But it's not all that hard to find the good stuff.

Related to the blog is the podcast, and related to the podcast is the video podcast. Have you watched Rocketboom? It's a highly entertaining and unpredictable 5-minute weekday report produced in New York City. They recently held an auction on Ebay for a week of advertising on Rocketboom: it went for $40,000!

I have to admit that I love a good deal. And there's no better deal than free. For mysterious reasons (i.e. what's the business model?), there are some wonderful free services on the internet. Two of my favorites are protopage, which is a fabulous customizable homepage, and openomy, which provides you with 1 GB of free file storage! I highly recommend both.

And last on my list, I've nearly finished reading an excellent book, The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. It explores the surprising ways we make choices and how they make us feel. Unlike some social science books written for a popular audience, Schwartz is neither self aggrandizing (like the author of Freakonomics), nor does he overstate his case (like the author of The Tipping Point). Perhaps best of all, he provides practical suggestions on how the research findings he details can be applied to improve the quality of our daily lives.

So that wraps up my list of good stuff. Please feel free to contribute your own in the comments. And have a great weekend!
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Anonymous Barrowma said...

Good Stuff - West Coast Edition

Pre-sliced apples. The ultimate combination of convenience and and healthy snacking! I read about these in a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine (link provided above - I think it will stop working sometime soon as NYTimes tends to charge for old content). Apparently it's the holy grail of the apple industry: a way to treat apples so they don't turn brown when sliced. After years of research, they found that calcium + vitamin C does the trick, and now you can buy a bag of apple slices. I've only tried one type, the Trader Joe's house brand of red apples, but they taste like regular apples (plus I get a bonus dose of vitamin C and calcium). Maybe I'm just lazy, but I think they're pretty excellent!

Pandora. An excellent service that builds custom internet radio stations for you. All you need to do is provide a band or song you like, and they take care of the rest. And it's all presented in a slick and simple Flash UI. Watch these guys - they've got a pretty good business model, plus they're from Oakland!

Tim Fite. This is the guy who opened for The Wedding Present (who are also Good Stuff) at Slim's in San Francisco last Friday night. It was equal parts music and performance art. In fact, I'm sure how well it would translate to a CD, as the stage performance was such a key part. But if he comes to your home town, check him out! And in the meantime, fire up Pandora and enter Time Fite as a band you like. (Yeah, they've spelled his name wrong in their database!)

12:09 AM, March 02, 2006  
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