Ah, Christmas Eve…. I can still remember how utterly excited I was as a child, barely able to sleep with the knowledge that Santa’s arrival was imminent.  My parents had to booby trap the family room to try to prevent me and my siblings from getting into our presents early, but we still found a way to bypass the bell bedecked doors in the dead of night and catch a glimpse of the unwrapped goodies that Santa had left us, before scampering back upstairs to tear open our stockings.

Speaking of unwrapped goodies, here’s a few links (and a terrible segue!):

Global networks

A few weeks ago Facebook released a map of the world that showed the social connections in a geographic context:

Aside from just being plain cool, the bright lights at The Volunteer noticed an interesting bit of political commentary hidden in the shot.

Picking apart string theory

In their quest to create a unified theory of everything, an alarming number of physicists have latched on to the voodoo-like string theory which, while mathematically beautiful (if you’re in to that sort of thing), is about as provable a notion as the existence of God.  Untestable theories are not good science, and string theory has grated on my nerves ever since it started gaining popularity a little more than a decade ago.

Happily, with the Large Hadron Collider finally on line, one of the few testable bits of (one version of) string theory has been shown to be false.  No mini black holes were generated during experiments.  Sadly, this doesn’t kill off the entire ridiculous notion, and string theorists are still flogging their math-induced religion.

12 million subscribers?

Muckbeast takes a sideswipe at Blizzard’s intentionally misleading assertion that World of Warcraft has 12 million subscribers:

But why just 3.3 million [sales in the first 24 hours]? I mean, if you play WoW, is it really an option whether or not you will buy the expansion? It really isn’t. What this tells us is that WoW’s “real” subscriber number is far closer to the 4 million number that I often hear behind closed doors and that I’ve often estimated myself.

Now, 4 million subscribers is still awesome and crushes every other western MMO. But that doesn’t justify the 12 million+ lie that is based on grossly overestimating and overcounting their Asian/Chinese customers.

Of course, anyone who has taken the time to read Blizzard’s definition of a “subscriber” knew a long time ago what a pile of crap that number was.

Amelia Earhart’s remains found?

From CTV:

Three bone fragments found on a deserted South Pacific island are being analyzed to determine if they belong to Amelia Earhart — tests that could finally prove she died as a castaway after failing in her 1937 quest to become the first woman to fly around the world.


The remains turned up in May and June at what seemed to be an abandoned campsite near where native work crews found skeletal remains in 1940. The pieces appear to be from a cervical bone, a neck bone and a finger.

But Gillespie offered a word of caution: The fragments could be from a turtle. They were found near a hollowed-out turtle shell that might have been used to collect rain water, but there were no other turtle parts nearby.

“This site tells the story of how someone or some people attempted to live as castaways,” Gillespie said in an interview with The Associated Press. Bird and fish carcasses nearby suggested they were prepared and eaten by Westerners.

“These fish weren’t eaten like Pacific Islanders” eat fish.

Merry Christmas!

And finally, two Christmas links:

  1. The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas
  2. The 1914 Christmas Armistice (10m audio, mp3)
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6 Responses to “Of connectivity, mysteries, and a ruined Christmas”

  1. Longasc says:

    Merry Xmas!

  2. Tesh says:

    Ah, yes, Kenny Loggins, Chuck Norris before Chuck Norris jokes were the “in” thing. I love that blog. :)

    I like the math behind String theory, but math and science really are two different things. Of course, it’s not like most popular science is all that scientific in the true measure of such things. Climategate much?

    The Facebook/World map is indeed interesting. Seems pretty clear what effects certain, shall we say, “regimes” have on their people.

    Amelia Earhart was a turtle? I thought aliens abducted her.

  3. Pete says:

    I think the blank spots on the Facebook map are just as much signs of where there are strong regional competitors to Facebook as they are political. Brazil and Russia have other social networking options that are very successful, for example.

    • Andrew says:

      That still means that those locations are less connected to the rest of the world than the Facebook Nations. Interconnected, perhaps, but not externally connected.

  4. Merry Christmas, Andrew!

    BTW, I found the Facebook interesting becauee of the big black hole over Asia. Try as they might, FB has never been able to penetrate the Chinese or Japanese markets.

  5. Muckbeast says:

    Good point here, and thanks for noticing my blog post:

    “Of course, anyone who has taken the time to read Blizzard’s definition of a “subscriber” knew a long time ago what a pile of crap that number was.”

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