Fine tastings of the week ending Nov 25 (#8)

1. Interesting video-presentation of how Youtube went from not to uber-hot. The bit on secondary-innovations that they leveraged is very insightul.

2. the popularity  of Dancing, Dancercising (dance+exercise) has gotten young and the old around the world to expend a lot of energy on the dance floor. What if we could tap that energy? A dutch dance club in Rotterdam is attempting to do just that with what they call energy generating dance floors.

3. Without being a mere spectator of your favorite sports, through fantasy sports leagues, you can build your own dream team and pit them against dream teams of others. What if you can do that in politics – build a dream team of senators and play politics. You can do just that in the Fantasy Congress. Check it out. <Via Crooked Timber>

4. Continuing on my journey of animal watching – experts say that deceit is something that animals can’t do. To put a question mark on  that, researchers have recently discovered a burrowing owl that uses animal poop to lure insects to its nest. Now if the owl is doing it instinctively, then it is not deceit. But what if it is not instinctive?  In another interesting development, researchers have discovered that Elephants show self-awareness quite similar to the humans.

5. All music lovers know the power of music. Now researchers have found that music can shift your breathing pattern, speed up your heart rate, and even send shivers down the spine that shows up in brain scans.

6. We have heard of the placebo effect – where the subject experiences alleviation of symptoms even when an inert drug is given as a placebo. What if the opposite happens, the subject experiences the harm ful side-effects of the real drug even when only an inert drug has been administered. This is known as the Nocebo effect. Goes to show how powerful your mind can be, not only can it make you believe that there is no pain, but can also make you believe that you are experiencing pain. <Via New Scientist>.

Ah! I am now fully caught up with my backlog on the fine tastings series.



  1. Anonymous said November 29, 2006, 11:14 pm:

    U might consider abbreviating “Fine tastings of the week ending” to FTOWE or something…because the more the usage of a word or phrase…lesser the meaning it conveys. People like me who use RSS readers especially have a problem as there is no new information until I finish reading the “…week ending”.

  2. Anonymous said November 30, 2006, 12:15 am:

    Thanks Kesava. Didn’t realize that as a problem. I will correct it from the next episode.

  3. Anonymous said December 8, 2006, 11:39 am:

    experts say that deceit is something that animals can’t do.

    I disagree – in my impression this is something experts have long said and observation has long proven. Angel fish luring bait using a squiggling worm shaped fishing line – Cuckoos laying eggs in other birds nests – baby brids opening their mouths wide and chirping loudly even when they have had their fill of food (so they get even more than their siblings).. these are all examples of ‘deceit’.

    Also the definition as you use it seems… different. If done instinctually its not deceit but otherwise it is? Is it really possible for anyone to judge what caused a action/reaction in any living being? I think we are much safer (in terms of not making erroneous guesses) if we define deceit purely externally (devoid of origin of action).


  4. Anonymous said December 8, 2006, 11:48 am:

    Thanks Anonymous for your comments. You have provided great additional examples of potential deceitful behavior. Instinct vs. thoughtful behavior is an important distinction when it comes to judging the capability of the brain. Not sure i agree with you that it is not possible to judge the cause of an action. You can do brain scans and figure out which parts of the brain are getting activated.