Slow-Mo HD Video of Paris-Roubaix

Outstanding slow-mo, HD video of Paris-Roubaix cycling race. Gorgeous footage of the Hell of the North. Be sure to blow it to full-screen and max res.

Field Notes: Security, RIM, Data Centers, Cannabis, etc.

  • World Bank Security & Development study (Source)
  • Carboon footprint of indoor cannabis production (Source)
  • Data center electricity usage worldwide (Source)
  • RIM CEO calls a halt to live BBC interview (Source)

Grow Ops & Data Centers

From a new study:

The electricity use of the typical grow operation approaches 200 watts per square foot, on par with the power usage of a modern computer data center

Radiolab + Zoë Keating

From the Google Talks series, Radiolab and Zoë Keating. If you’re a fan, you’ll love it; if you’re not, then you’re beyond my help.

Coachella-glish vs English: Band Names and Letter Frequencies

The annual Coachella music festival in southern California is coming up later this week, so I thought it might be fun to have a closer look. As I’m over-fond of pointing out, Coachella band-names are a distinct dialect of English, prone to jarring combinations of words in distinctive linguistic crashes. They lend themselves to borrowed fake names (Rabbits in the Precambrian, etc.), and even contests to come up with the best fake band-names. (Note: This is separate from the fake Coachella posters that appear this time of year.

In the spirit of science, or something, I downloaded the official lineup of 182 bands appearing at Coachella 2011. I then calculated letter frequencies for the constituent 1,975 characters. I compared the distribution of these characters by letter to the standard letter frequencies for English (ETAON…etc.), thus producing a differential between expected and actual. I produced statistical scores for the differences, allowing a test of significance for which letters were more or less common in Coachella band names — Coachella-glish — than in English.

The following graph summarizes the results. The blue bars are Coachella band-name letter frequencies, while the red bars are standard English frequencies by letter. If a letter is circled in green then that means it is statistically significantly more likely to be found in a Coachella band name; if it is circled in red then that means it is statistically less likely to be bound in a Coachella name than in normal English. For example, A,B and G are statistically significantly more likely to be found in Coachella names than in normal English, while F, H, I and are less likely. [-]


When I get a moment, I’ll also post the results for band names first letters. That too deviates in interesting ways from English.

“Dreamlike” Tidal Bore Wave

Teaser video from surf trip to Indonesian river tidal bore that produces super clean breaking wave.

Stature and Robusticity in the Neolithic Demographic Transition

From some book-related reading I’ve been doing:

Stature and Robusticity during the Agricultural Transition: Evidence from the Bioarchaeological Record


The population explosion that followed the Neolithic revolution was initially explained by improved health experiences for agriculturalists. However, empirical studies of societies shifting subsistence from foraging to primary food production have found evidence for deteriorating health from an increase in infectious and dental disease and a rise in nutritional deficiencies. In Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (Cohen and Armelagos 1984), this trend towards declining health was observed for 19 of 21 societies undergoing the agricultural transformation. The counterintuitive increase in nutritional diseases resulted from seasonal hunger, reliance on single crops deficient in essential nutrients, crop blights, social inequalities, and trade. In this study, we examined the evidence of stature reduction in studies since 1984 to evaluate if the trend towards decreased health after agricultural transitions remains. The trend towards a decrease in adult height and a general reduction of overall health during times of subsistence change remains valid, with the majority of studies finding stature to decline as the reliance on agriculture increased.The impact of agriculture, accompanied by increasing population density and a rise in infectious disease, was observed to decrease stature in populations from across the entire globe and regardless of the temporal period during which agriculture was adopted, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America, and North America.

Big History

Historian David Christian from this year’s TED talking Big History.

Geologic Time

I’m traveling and mostly off-grid for this week.

500px Geologic Clock

Rogers Waters Talks Ideas

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters talks ideas and influence in this weekend’s Lunch with the FT:

“Power resides in ideas,” he says. What sort of ideas, I ask, growing accustomed to my role as Boswell to his Johnson. “Economists are important.”

More here.