An Iowa Man…

The other day I posted a link to my friend’s new blog: A Florida Man. If you missed it, read about it here. Or just start reading the blog.

Well, I promise I won’t do this too often, but this beer related one’s too good to pass up:

Is a beer diet a good diet? Click image to expand.An Iowa man completed his Lent-long beer fast on Sunday, marking the occasion with a bacon smoothie. During the 46-day feat, J. Wilson consumed only beer and water, emulating a centuries-old tradition once practiced by the Paulaner monks of Munich, Germany. How long could a man survive on beer and water?

Not more than a few months, probably. That’s when the worst effects of scurvy and protein deficiency would kick in. (Liver disease is a serious risk of chronic alcohol use, but it takes longer to arrive.) If you kept to a strict beer diet—and swore off plain water altogether—you’d likely die of dehydration in a matter of days or weeks, depending on the strength and volume of beer consumed. There’s plenty of water in beer, of course, but the alcohol’s diuretic effect makes it a net negative in terms of hydration under most conditions.

Forty six days. Well done, sir.

My New Favorite Website

I sincerely apologize for the lengthy interval between this and my last post.  I blame law school, too many beers or a combination of the two.  Similar to Charlie Sheen’s negotiations to return to Two and a Half Men, I’m back with a vengeance.

Have you checked out http://www.qwiki.com/ ?

You haven’t?  I’m shocked. Seriously.  Step up your game people. Essentially it offers an interactive wikipedia-esque experience, using audio-visuals to convey an overview of the most important details of your query.

According to the website,

Qwiki’s goal is to forever improve the way people experience information.

Whether you’re planning a vacation on the web, evaluating restaurants on your phone, or helping with homework in front of the family Google TV, Qwiki is working to deliver information in a format that’s quintessentially human – via storytelling instead of search.

We are the first to turn information into an experience. We believe that just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list. Let’s try harder.

Think of asking your favorite teacher about Leonardo Da Vinci, or your most well-traveled friend about Buenos Aires: this is the experience Qwiki will eventually deliver, on demand, wherever you are in the world… on whatever device you’re using.

We’ve all seen science fiction films (or read novels) where computers are able to collect data on behalf of humans, and present the most important details. This is our goal at Qwiki – to advance information technology to the point it acts human.

Currently, Qwiki’s technology has been applied to describe millions of popular topics – but soon we’ll do much more. Our team needs your help in reaching our goal: join our alpha now to help test Qwiki and shape the future.

Click here for Qwiki’s page on Ludwig Van Beethoven.

Hedging What?

A reader sent me this article about companies betting on snowfall:

“With record amounts of snow blanketing even some of the warmest cities across the nation this winter, an increasing number of companies are protecting themselves by betting on …. snow.

Unexpected blizzards and snowstorms can cost companies thousands of dollars in lost business each year.

“People have tended to have a fatalistic view of weather,” said Tim Andriesen, managing director of Agricultural Commodities at CME Group. “Now more and more people are recognizing that while you can’t control the weather, you can at least manage the financial impact of it.”

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which began offering snow futures in 2006, has already sold five times more contracts this year than last year. While only 62 contracts were purchased in 2009, a whopping 317 have been bought so far this year.

Investors usually lock in snowfall contracts in September and October. Last fall, for example, a company could pay $10,000 for a contract that paid $50,000 if there was more than 50 inches of snow.”

Not the most bizarre hedging contract I’ve seen, but I was surprised to learn the CME has standardized them.

Why is Al Jazeera Blacked Out in US ?

Via The Big Picture via the Huffington Post:

WTF?

Huff Po:

Canadian television viewers looking for the most thorough and in-depth coverage of the uprising in Egypt have the option of tuning into Al Jazeera English, whose on-the-ground coverage of the turmoil is unmatched by any other outlet. American viewers, meanwhile, have little choice but to wait until one of the U.S. cable-company-approved networks broadcasts footage from AJE, which the company makes publicly available. What they can’t do is watch the network directly.

Other than in a handful of pockets across the U.S. – including Ohio, Vermont and Washington, D.C. – cable carriers do not give viewers the choice of watching Al Jazeera. That corporate censorship comes as American diplomats harshly criticize the Egyptian government for blocking Internet communication inside the country and as Egypt attempts to block Al Jazeera from broadcasting.

The result of the Al Jazeera English blackout in the United States has been a surge in traffic to the media outlet’s website, where footage can be seen streaming live. The last 24 hours have seen a two-and-a-half thousand percent increase in web traffic, Tony Burman, head of North American strategies for Al Jazeera English, told HuffPost. Sixty percent of that traffic, he said, has come from the United States.

I would love someone to explain this to me . . .

All I would add is that Al Jazeera has a great iPhone app, better than those of most other news networks, that streams the live coverage pretty flawlessly. And I would agree that the network has the most thorough, in-depth coverage of what’s happening in Egypt, at least when compared to the broadcasts I’ve seen.