Friday, April 01, 2005

Cyclists' water bottles impair brain function?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the plastic used in water bottles may impair brain function. Perhaps this explains cyclists' behavior?

Bisphenol A — the prime chemical in making the polycarbonate plastic popular in durable, clear Nalgene water bottles — has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years from scientists who caution that it's found in thousands of consumer products and has invaded the human body.

. . .. at doses below or at a federal safety guideline, the chemical can disrupt hormone systems of lab animals, affecting the workings of their brains.

Update: The water in the bottles is also dangerous.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

The downside of biometrics

Why would someone who steals your car have any qualms about cutting off your finger to get it to start? These Malaysian car thieves were comfortable with the idea.

Personally, I would prefer to have my car stolen without giving the thieves any incentives to chop off my finger. Or scoop out my eyes.

Remember when it was called recruiting?

Companies seem to be unaware of the impression created by the poor user interfaces of their on-line job search tools. Below is my (presumably unreceived) response to a popular job search tool, and the message that prompted it.

Remember when the hiring process was called recruiting?

Their Message

Thank you, BRIAN ..., for expressing interest in our organization.

We have successfully received your submission to the following position(s):

UI Designer 748BR
Senior Usability Engineer 743BR
Senior UI Designer 746BR
Senior UI Designer 747BR
Principal UI Designer 36BR

A system generated Candidate Reference Number has been created for you and may be useful to keep for your records. Your Candidate Reference Number is: 783896.

Thank you.

* Please do not reply to this email.

My Response

Thank you, DONOTREPLY, for automatically acknowledging my interest in your organization with an e-mail I am not supposed to respond to. I have successfully received your automatic acknowledgement(s).

I have manually generated an Employer Reference Number. Actually, it's alphanumeric. I suppose it may be useful to you, but I doubt it. Nevertheless, keep it for your records. Just like you are not interested in hiring employees who cannot keep track of small bits of information, I only want to work with employers who have the human and technological resources to keep track of such things. The number is 3092-002910B-93l4. Note that the second-last character is a lowercase letter L and not the number 1 or an uppercase I. Please refer to it in future correspondence.

By assigning me a number already and converting my name to all uppercase letters for the sake of your ancient and underpowered HR system, you have already made me feel like a part of your impenetrable organization. A tiny part like a cog, perhaps. I am looking forward to working with people who have submitted themselves to your impersonal treatment, and whose qualifications happen to meet the formats expected by your algorithms. Someday, we will look back and marvel that not all great companies were built this way!

Brian ...
a.k.a. 783896

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A sale at Chain Reaction?

Is it Mike's way of saying "April Fool!"? This looks like the biggest Chain Reaction sale since I've known about Chain Reaction!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Hair follicles => stem cells => neurons

Scientific American says stem cells from hair follicles can change into neurons. This would seem to neutralize North Korea's claim, previously reported here, that hair growth robs the brain of energy since, even if that's true, you can always generate new neurons.

This is better news for one Brian than the other if future medical treatments require an abundance of hair follicles.

Oral-B camera is gone!

The Oral B bus shelter camera reported on earlier was removed on Monday night by workers from AD SHEL, the company that installed them. Actually, maybe they are competitors of the company that installed them. But they had a truck and everything. They were caught in the act of taking the camera out while I was waiting for a bus. The ad is still for Oral B, but it is like the non-camera ads in the rest of Singapore.

It looks like there were 12 people photographed at the Holland Village bus stop and four on Orchard Boulevard. It seems they will have pretty good odds of winning a toothbrush.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Drive-thru English breakfast

What happens when the English take over an American fast food franchise? The result is not good for the obesity problem in both countries. It's one sausage patty, two eggs, two slices of American cheese, and three strips of bacon on a bun, totalling 730 calories and 47 grams of fat. Basically, English breakfast without the tea and fruit preserves.