Quadrocopter Ball Jugglers

Astonishing stuff from ETH in Zurich:

New Early-Stage Funding Nomenclature: The Color

I propose a new early-stage funding nomenclature. Talking in terms of millions of dollars is both too specific and too fuzzy to be useful. Even when you know the amount, it’s hard to put it in context without knowing everything else being funded right now. We need a new system normalized to the current world of seed and Series A venture financing.

Enter the “color”. Based on the recent $41m financing of Color.com by Sequoia and Bain, I propose a system whereby “color” would be the base unit. We would then use metric prefixes to describe financings larger, smaller, etc than that amount.

For those of you unfamiliar with metric (read: Americans), it would work like this:

10 microcolors = 1 millicolor ($41,000)
10 millicolors = 1 centicolor ($410k)
10 centicolors = 1 decicolor ($4.1m)
10 decicolors = 1 color ($41m)
10 colors = 1 dekacolor ($410m)
10 dekacolors = 1 hectocolor ($4.1b)
10 hectocolors = 1 kilocolor ($41b)

So, rather than saying company XYZ raised $20m, we would henceforth say it raised about 50 centicolors, or 0.5 colors, whatever you’re comfortable with. I think it’s easier to say 50 centicolors in cases like that, but the the Financing System Internationale (FSI) would provide that flexibility. Similarly a small seed financing of $50k would be 1.1 millicolors. You see? Much better. [-]

[Kudos to Eric Norlin who did some of the foundational research underlying this new system.]

Skier with Helmet Cam Films Avalanche From Inside

This is a little like tossing a camera into a washing machine during spin cycle, but a skier in British Columbia with a helmet cam got caught in an avalanche and accidentally filmed the whole thing. [-]

The Beer->Food->Civilization Connection

Revelatory stuff in a new SciAm piece about the historical origins of beer:

She cited colleagues who have advanced theories that humans first domesticated cereal crops to make beer, not just bread, and that humans evolved to associate ethanol, which is present in ripe fruit, with satiety. The various lines of evidence indicate that beer may well be as old as cooking itself, which began at least 250,000 years ago. “When people started harnessing fire and cooking, they probably started making beer”

More beer, I mean here.

Skiing Cunningham Couloir (Aiguille Du Midi)

Fantastic stuff:

Cunningham Couloir from kris thomas on Vimeo.


Viruses: Up and to the Right

From the current issue of Science, the remarkable growth in known viruses in recent years — almost 8x since 2000. To be clear, the piece isn’t implying the actually number of viruses is growing, more that our knowledge of existing viruses is exploding.

F1 medium

Field Notes: Science, Libya, SEO, China, Electronics, etc.

  • The High Water Mark of American Science (Source)
  • Rory Stewart · Here we go again (Source)
  • Is SEO killing the clever headline? – SEO & Social Media Marketing (Source)
  • Niall Ferguson and George Magnus on BBC talking China (Source)
  • Residential Energy Consumption Survey – (Source)

North Shore Riding

A whole series of super mountain biking videos from Vancouver’s North Shore here. One follows — flip it to HD and go full screen. Instant motion sickness.

Pipeline on Fromme, North Vancouver BC from Barry Duncan on Vimeo.

I’m Number 86! I’m Number 86!

Not entirely sure how this happened, but my admittedly eclectic and often meta Twitter feed is number 86 on TIME magazine’s list of the best Twitter feeds. You can check the list here, and my entry here.

Field Notes: Sex, Saudis, Shiller, Solo, etc.

  • Why Would a Shrink Fall Asleep During a Patient’s Session? (Source)
  • Michael Palin on Diary Writing (Source)
  • Back to Saudi’s fault lines (Source)
  • Shiller Singles Out Farmland as Bubble Candidate: Chart of the Day (Source)
  • The unsolved anthrax murder mystery (Source)
  • Effect of Ambient Temperature on Marathon Pacing Is Dependendent on skill (Source)
  • Episodic Physical and Sexual Activity & Triggering of Acute Cardiac Events (Source)
  • Peak Oil Production May Already Be Here (Source)
  • Career regrets versus education level (Source)
  • The power of being alone (Source)