Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why do Teapots Dribble?

Did you ever notice that when you poor a cup of tea that the first and last little bits end up splashing all over the table and not in your cup? Well so did researchers in France. Luckily they've cracked the code.

One of the funniest things I've ever seen had to do with the predicament. A friend mentioned they could solve this issue by pouring the tea faster. Only to have the teapot open and all the tea rush out at once all over the table.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Does Coffee Boost Brain Functions?

A survey of a number of studies asking if long term coffee consumption can boost brain function or protect your brain against disease.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Book Review: The Ten Cent Plague

If you were a fan of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay the Pulitzer prize winning novel by Michael Chabon then you will want to pick up David Hajdu's The Ten Cent Plague.

In this book Hajdu explores the years leading up to the establishment of the comic book code authority which basically neutered the comic book industry. Before the establishment of the code comics sold close to 1 millon copies per month for the best sellers and over 400,000 for the top titles. Nowadays the best selling comic book barely tops 100,000 copies.

Back in the 1950's comics were available in a wide variety of genres. Not only could you find your super hero books but you'd see books on crime, horror, romance and sci-fi.

However, during the 1950's the public was concerned about the growing rates of juvenile delinquency. Commissions were formed to look into this problem and in my opinion and easy scape goat was found in the comic book industry.

As a result of these hearings, the establishment of the comic book code and a book called Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Frederic Wertham the diversity in the comic book industry was devastated. Gone were the horror, crime and romance comics. Only the super hero ones were left and they were in a watered down form. See the 60's Batman TV show to get an idea of the tone of comic books at the time.

The book does a great job of relating to you the story of the nascent origins of the comic book up to the great comic book hysteria and I'd rate it a buy for any comic book fan. If you are not a fan of comics I'd give it a borrow rating.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Giving Up Coffee Increases Concentration?

Let it never be said that I don't provide a fair and balanced look at the coffee world. Thanks to Boing Boing for this story on a guy who's concentration has gotten better since he's given up coffee.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Book Review: Super Spy

Okay apparently Matt Kindt's book Super Spy came out back in 2007 to much fan fare and I missed it. Luckily as I was attending this years Windy City Comic Con I was introduced to Matt by Jeff Lemire. I had just recently heard about Matt's new book 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man but for some reason I was drawn to Super Spy instead.

This book is about the lives of spies in World War II. That alone should be enough to convince you to pick up this book. The narrative is interwoven through a number of non linear short stories each with their own protagonist. Each character has their own arc that occasionally crosses over with the other spies. Thankfully all of the concluding threads take place in the latter half of the book to tie everything together.

I absolutely could not put this book down once I started reading it. I was on my way back to the hotel on the day of the con taking the red line to Roosevelt where I needed to transfer over to the orange line. I was so engrossed in the book that I mistakenly got on the green line ending up in, literally and figuratively, the wrong part of town. This did cause me to miss the after con party but at least I did get to finish the book with all the extra time I spent on the train.

The one negative I will point out is that my books cover immediately fell off the book once I started reading it. It seems like the glue was too brittle. However this minor problem did not detract me from my enjoyment of the book.

With this review I'm borrowing a rating system from the Comic Geek Speak podcast. The buy, borrow, pants system to be exact. A buy rating means that I think the book is worth the money, a borrow rating means go get it from the library and a pants rating means leave it alone.

To that end I rate Matt Kindt's Super Spy a solid buy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sometimes the Internet is so Cool

Say what you will about the internet but sometimes it is so cool. Take today for instance. I woke up feeling pretty horrible with a migraine headache so I ended up working from home. Which is why I was able to answer the door to receive a comic book geeks care package from my friend Ryan in Austin, Texas.

In it were a plethora of delights for me including:

1) A signed limited edition Jeff Lemire print of The Nobody.
2) The first Irredeemable trade by Mark Waid.
3) A couple of Owly books that I will enjoy with Anna.
4) Ten issues of Tiny Titans that Anna and I will fight over :)
5) The Ambush Bug Year None limited series
6) Various issues of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps.
7) A giant plush toy of Fone Bone!

Now besides this being an extremely generous gift for one friend to send to another there is something extra special about it. Ryan and I have never met face to face or even talked on the phone. The extent of all of our conversations have been over emails, instant messages and blog posts. I just think it is amazing that the internet gives us the tools to allow friendships like this to become established.

That said I hope to get down to Austin some day to embarrass Ryan with my Canadianisms and check out Austin Books which seems to be a great comic book shop from what I've heard.

So thank you very much Ryan, you are a great friend and now the whole internet knows too!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WARNING: Coffee is Hot

This is sad. Another example of people not taking personal responsibility for themselves. Coffee shop owner must put up a warning sign so he won't get sued.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

VIA Taste Test

Jason over at CoffeeCupNews.org does a blind taste test of Starbucks brewed coffee vs instant coffee.


Can you taste the difference?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Book Review: The End of Overeating

I learned that fat, salt and sugar are engineered into everything we eat by reading The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. Actually I had a pretty good idea that was the case long before as I haven't had my head buried in the sand. Although this book does go into details just how engineered our food, or rather food like substances, are these days. The book was an entertaining read and it goes without saying that the best way to eat healthy is to stick to the food that are not packaged into colourful boxes.

For other good books on food I recommend:
1) The Omnivores Diet by Michael Pollan
2) In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
3) Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Guest Post over at The League of Melbotis

Over at Ryan's blog, The League of Melbotis you can find my guest post where I ruminate about digital comics for the iPhone. Specifically Irredeemable by Mark Waid produced by BOOM! Studios.

The Chemicals in Your Coffee

Wired gives you a break down of the chemical composition of your regular cup of coffee. MMMmmmmmm....Trigonelline!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Coffee Filter Tips

From Lifehacker: If you like to home brew your own coffee don't ignore the role that a proper coffee filter can have in enhancing your cup of joe.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Book Review: Hot, Flat and Crowded

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--And How It Can Renew America probably should have been titled Hot, Flat, and Crowded: We really need to get our crap together now! I mean this book is really depressing. It should be fairly obvious to everyone at this point that global warming is for real and we need to do something about it. Not next year or next week but right now.

The first half of the book deals with the current state of affairs including how global warming is influencing our daily lives from fuel costs to food. It is a pretty bleak outlook especially since the only way out of it is for our governments to start legislating the correct behaviour into law. Which face it folks probably isn't going to happen as our politicians would lose votes. Unless, we make it know that global warming and the environment are important issues that we care about and they should too.

The second half of the book is as exciting as the first half is bleak. There are tremendous opportunities to innovate our way out of this dilemma we are in and a few of the scenarios Thomas L. Friedman paints sounds like Star Trek but I'd much rather that future to Blade Runner or Mad Max any day.

Now excuse me while I contact Ottawa Solar Power to do a feasibility assessment on my house.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Making the Most of Your Free Office Coffee

From Lifehacker: If you are lucky or unlucky enough to get free coffee at your work place then here are some helpful tips for making it better.

At my place of employment I have three options to choose from:
  • Free coffee in the break room.
  • Tim Horton's in the cafeteria.
  • French press at my desk.
The French press is by far the tastiest but I can never get enough as all of my co-workers want a taste.