infojunkie's blog

Peaking in rock music


Rock music is all about expressing strong emotions that consume the band. Maybe that's why most rock bands seem to peak soon after they hit the big time. I've noticed a pattern where the breakthrough album is immediately followed by their best work, only to be followed by disappointing further releases that lead to their break-up or stagnation.

What's a NOOMA?


- How much would such a project cost?
- Oh, I'd say about 25K but that's just a NOOMA.

Making money with Web 2.0 applications

The question of how Twitter will ever make money is on many minds.

For starters, Twitter cannot charge its users. Because all of Twitter is user-generated content, it doesn't make sense to make them pay. Paraphrasing the words of a co-worker: Twitter is doing nothing that can't be achieved using RSS and a 140-chars textarea :-)

The problem is compounded with the fact that Twitter has an API that can help bypass the site altogether, thereby ruling out the traditional - and failed IMO - online advertising revenue model.

What's left? A Twitter Pro with higher level of service?

Prime factors

Like many people, I am obsessed with prime numbers. To understand more about them, I plotted a 2D diagram of the natural numbers, showing for each the prime factors and where they occur. I was astonished to find obvious regularities that, in hindsight, make sense, but that I had never encountered before.

Here's the diagram, made manually on a spreadsheet. I'd love to hear your observations.

Here are mine:

The plague


Reading about the closing down of Mexico because of the swine flu resonated with Albert Camus' book I recently re-read, called "The Plague". It was a striking description of the psychological disruptions that occurred in society because of an epidemic. Even the obviously ludicrous comments made by the religious establishment, in that book, were mirrored in real life by some clerics in Egypt invoking the wrath of God as a cause for the flu.

Some interesting Egyptian verbal forms

The form فـِــعـِــلْ is an Egyptian form that denotes a subject who is an expert at doing the action.

For example, حـِــرِ كْ and رِ وِ شْ are purely Egyptian words that indicate expertise at their respective actions, namely maneuvering and dazzling.

The Egyptian dialect also changes existing forms.

The plot to destroy Egyptian identity

Try a little experiment: stand in the middle of any Cairene street and loudly call for Mohamed, in a tone that indicates familiarity and slight irritation. Chances are, a large portion of the male population will look to respond to you.

Now a harder experiment: obtain the student roster of Cairo University and in a randomly chosen class, count the number of names made up of combinations of Ahmed and Mohamed: a large percentage again. Look at the rest: mostly made up of combinations of first names.

psychobiological musings

or is it biopsychological?

The psychological self arises from the interactions between the neocortex and the older allocortex. The constant interplay between these two systems creates what we perceive as behaviour.

Albert Libchaber: "The Origin of Life: from geophysics to biology?"


I was fortunate to attend a fascinating public lecture by physicist-turned-biologist Albert Libchaber at the UBC Pacific Institute of Theoretical Physics.

The main thesis of the talk was to suggest that temperature differences can account for a diverse range of important physical and biological phenomena.

Zeitgeist: Addendum

Structure of the documentary:

  • Introduction to the sad state of humanity: Krishnamurti.
  • Description of the current debt-based monetary system: from the Fed to economic hitmen.
  • Technology as the answer to scarcity: the Venus project and the resource-based economy.
  • Change of the individual from submissive to ideologies, to active actor in the "emergent", "symbiotic" universe.
  • A call to action: stop supporting the system.

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