links for 2009-04-27

  • Adderall, a stimulant composed of mixed amphetamine salts, is commonly prescribed for children and adults who have been given a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. But in recent years Adderall and Ritalin, another stimulant, have been adopted as cognitive enhancers: drugs that high-functioning, overcommitted people take to become higher-functioning and more overcommitted. (Such use is “off label,” meaning that it does not have the approval of either the drug’s manufacturer or the Food and Drug Administration.) College campuses have become laboratories for experimentation with neuroenhancement,
  • H1N1 Swine flu in 2009
  • Mystery, obviously, is everywhere. Is there a God? Mystery. What about life after death? Mystery. Excuse me, what material is the ShamWow made of? Mystery. Stonehenge? Big Foot? Loch Ness? Mystery mystery mystery. McDonald’s Special Sauce? I don’t care how many bottles of Thousand Island Dressing you show me, it’s Special Sauce. Mystery. And yet: For all that mystery, why does it feel like the world has been ripped open, all parts exposed? Why does so much seem absolutely and thoroughly demystified? These days we can leap, all of us, from a casual curiosity about anything to a sense of satisfying understanding. Instantly. Want to fold origami? There are more than 200,000 Google results on that subject available to you, now. Need to know the capital of Mauritania? A recipe for sticky buns? How to pick a bicycle lock?
  • J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias — back to its magical beginnings.
  • The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. Kilobytes were stored on floppy disks. Megabytes were stored on hard disks. Terabytes were stored in disk arrays. Petabytes are stored in the cloud. As we moved along that progression, we went from the folder analogy to the file cabinet analogy to the library analogy to — well, at petabytes we ran out of organizational analogies.
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