Ideas from the New York Times

The NY Times Magazine’s latest issue is on “ideas”. The ideas are of mixed standards, probably because they were force fitted into an alphabetical list as much as possible (“hey, we don’t have any ideas for X Y Z. We can’t discriminate against the bottom three so can you go and find any old idea.”). But here are some that I thought were great. Go read the whole thing if you can.

Here goes (alphabetically, of course):

Drunken Ultimatums. Revenge trumps rationality. An experiment with drunks shows how.

Empty Beer Bottles Make Better Weapons. The fizz in the full ones causes them to break at lower impacts.

Forensic Polling Analysis. A pollster is being accused of cooking up the numbers based upon non-random trailing decimals in their data. Fascinating work from Nate Silver.

Glow in the Dark Dog. The first transgenic dog with a gene from a sea anemone. A world of possibilities open up.

Google Algorithm as Extinction Model. Applying Google Page Rank algorithm to a food web in nature to determine which species are most at risk. My personal favorite.

Infant Sleep is Destiny. Poor sleeping habits in infants in the first 18 months correlates to lower executive function later in life.

Killer Earth. Man is not unique in propagating its own species to a point that its own survival is threatened. Over the life of earth, near “biocide” has happened many times before.

Massively Collaborative Mathematics. An unsolved math problem called Density Hale-Jewett Theorem was solved by mathematicians collaborating on the comment section of a math blog.

Myth of the Deficient Old Employee. Rejoice, those of us over 40.

Printable Batteries. If batteries can go flat (the screens and circuit boards already are) we could be looking at a new age of flat-electronics.

Random Promotions. A simulated computer model shows that promoting people randomly in an organization can lead to better results than promoting them on performance in current job (Peter Principle). Don’t try this at home!

Resomation. Cremation takes too much energy. Burial, real estate. The answer is Resomation – liquefying the remains and sending them down the drain.

Subscription Artists. Microfinance for creative pursuits.

Weapons for Mosquito Destruction. Using lasers against mosquitos.

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