From:         Bob Rankin <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:      TOURBUS - 13 Oct 2005 - Troubleshooting / IG Nobels


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

If you keep your computer powered on all the time, will it eventually get tired and cranky? Could cosmic rays be making your VCR misbehave? And can you make perfume with the help of over-stressed amphibians? Read on for answers...

When Patrick and I started the TOURBUS newsletter back in 1995, it was one of the first sponsored email newsletters. We never expected that people would actually *thank us* for including advertising, but they do! Lots of people have written to say thanks for introducing them to our sponsors, and ACSM Supplies is often mentioned.

Do Computers Get Tired?

Does your computer start acting up when it's been running for several days? Is it electron buildup? Cosmic rays? Until recently, I would have dismissed the notion that electronic gunk can accumulate in a machine and cause it to act erratically. But it turns out there is some good science to support this notion.

Troubleshooting Flaky Internet Connections

Does your Internet connection just drop sometimes, for no apparent reason? It could be gremlins. Or maybe you forgot to pay the cable bill again. Then again, it could be a hardware problem with a simple solution. Or maybe we should blame it on the software. Read my new article "Internet Connection Fails" for some helpful ideas on finding the source of the problem.

The IG Nobel Prizes

Surely you've heard of the Nobel Prize, which is awarded for great achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace. But have you heard about the IG NOBEL Prize? The Igs, which honor individuals whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced" are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative, and take a good-natured poke at some remarkably goofy things done in the name of science.

This year's Ig Nobel Prizes, sponsored by the science humor magazine "The Annals of Improbable Research", were awarded at Harvard University on October 6. Here are some of the highlights:

--> LITERATURE: Truth Really is Stranger Than Fiction

Awarded to the Internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria, for creating and distributing a bold series of short stories, introducing millions of readers to a cast of characters such as Mrs. Mariam Abacha, who desperately needs your help (and cash) to obtain access to untold riches which are unjustly withheld from her.


--> PEACE: Luke the Locust discovers his real Faathaaaa!

Awarded to Claire Rind and Peter Simmons of Newcastle University, in the U.K., for electrically monitoring the activity of a brain cell in a locust while that locust was watching selected highlights from the movie "Star Wars."


--> BIOLOGY: Nope, it's not Teen Spirit... Just a stressed-out frog

Awarded to Benjamin Smith of the University of Adelaide and the Firmenich perfume company, for painstakingly smelling & cataloging the peculiar odors produced by 131 different species of frogs when the frogs were feeling stressed.


How Safe Is Your Computer?

Did you know... a survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and backed by the US Department of Homeland Security found that more than 70% of computer owners falsely believed they were safe from online threats such as adware, spyware and viruses?

The truth is, it's easy to get infected without even knowing it. Downloading free software or visiting tainted Web pages can often infect your computer. What's an unsuspecting computer owner to do? No need to worry - you can take steps to eliminate this false sense of security by taking a few precautions to protect yourself. And Smart Computing can help. Sign up for your 3 RISK-FREE ISSUES now!

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
Troubleshooting IG Nobels, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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