Four short links: 23 June 2009

  1. Easter Eggs for Real Life (Neil Gaiman) — ok, I know easter eggs are already part of real life, but this is still cool. Gaiman recommends a restaurant run by a friend, and the friend has set up a special phrase that to mention to the server, at which point something good and special will happen for them to eat or drink. Think of it as a restaurant Easter Egg. I love language, I love Gaiman’s books, I love surprises, and I love that here Gaiman’s using the digital sense of Easter Egg (surprise hidden in a program) rather than the analog sense (because there’s no searching involved).
  2. ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings (EFF) — what the title suggests. You are lost in a twisty maze of rights, all policed by vampires. From ASCAP’s point of view, this is a legitimate claim. From anyone else’s point of view, it’s ridiculous.
  3. Tooling Up The Body (MInd Hacks) — using tools has lots of interesting effects on our perception is the general gist of an intriguing study that provides further evidence for the theory that the brain treats tools as temporary body parts. We talk about using the Internet as our “offsite brain”, so it tickles me to learn that the brain treats tools as offsite body parts.
  4. Email Patterns Can Predict Impending Doom (New Scientist) — when Enron was about to collapse, email patterns changed: the number of active email cliques, defined as groups in which every member has had direct email contact with every other member, jumped from 100 to almost 800 around a month before the December 2001 collapse. Messages were also increasingly exchanged within these groups and not shared with other employees. Menezes thinks he and Collingsworth may have identified a characteristic change that occurs as stress builds within a company: employees start talking directly to people they feel comfortable with, and stop sharing information more widely. (via BoingBoing)
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