Monday, January 30, 2006

- To continue the discussion I started in my last update, truly random numbers are almost impossible to achieve. Did you know that if you analyze large sets of data from many human-created resources, the number 1 will tend to appear as the first digit in the number, roughly 30% of the time? For example, if you measured the area of each river basin for every river on our planet, 30% of the time the first number appearing in the measurement of each river basin would be a 1. At any given time, if you look at all the prices of stocks for the Dow Jones industrial average over a given day, then nearly 1/3rd of the time the first digit in the price of that stock will be a 1. Look at the populations for the world's 1000 largest cities, and the number 1 will appear roughly 30% of the time for a given digit in the population. This phenomenon is known as Benford's Law, named after the physicist Frank Benford, who in 1938 discovered that human beings tend to favor the number 1 in their statistical record-keeping, even when a human-being is consciously trying to be as honest as possible with recording numbers. The IRS and enforcement officials use Benford's Law to expose tax-cheats and accounting frauds. Read the following article for a much better explanation:

- More number "1" goodness...before the advent of cable television, your typical television carried channels 2 to 13, and occassionally a few more channels between 14 to 60, depending on where you lived. How come no one ever used Channel 1? It seems to me that Channel 1 would have been the most coveted channel to broadcasters. Well, here's why broadcasters never used Channel 1:

- How to detect a two-way mirror. When I walk through a department store, I notice the many mirrors littered throughout the store. Obviously a department store has lots of mirrors so customers can look at the merchandise from a different point of view, but I have always wondered how many of those mirrors have a security camera behind them. Now I will know:

- Do you peruse internet messageboards? Most people with internet access read some sort of online forum to discuss common interests or hobbies. Here is a huge list of the busiest messageboards on the internet. I noticed messageboards are in the top 20. When the prequel movies were released last year, I was a constant contributor to forums.

- Businesses, schools, and of course the government employ webcams to monitor activity within their areas. Many of these webcams, whether the owner knows it or not, are exposed to the internet, for everyone to see. The following link provides live access to webcams all over the world, for your viewing pleasure. These arent voyeur webcams for spying on the private lives of people in their homes, or for even more risque endeavours. These are simply webcams situated on top of buildings, on street-lamps, or inside of public places. Its kind of fun to watch the typical hussle and bussle on a city street, or a university campus:

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