Paul Murray's weblog, with news you may have missed and my $0.02 worth on a number of topics.

"You can't make up anything anymore. The world itself is a satire. All you're doing is recording it."
- Art Buchwald

I bet you don't have a friend who's an acupuncturist

E-mail me: pmurray [at]

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Thursday, September 21, 2006
Random acts of ... whatever.
It's really hard to generate truly random numbers, as the Wall Street Journal explains. This hard truth, plus some human psychological tendencies, are driving some iPod owners nuts.

Sunday, September 17, 2006
Little things making a difference.
Too many people associate conservation with sacrifice. There are plenty of small steps we can take to reduce waste that require little or no sacrifice. Here's Exhibit A.

I'm becoming a fan of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) -- the swirly designs that screw into conventional incandescent lightbulb sockets. They're an ideal way to conserve a lot of energy without making a huge sacrifice. As Fast Company magazine recently explained:
Compact fluorescents emit the same light as classic incandescents but use 75% or 80% less electricity.

What that means is that if every one of 110 million American households bought just one ice-cream-cone bulb, took it home, and screwed it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. One bulb swapped out, enough electricity saved to power all the homes in Delaware and Rhode Island. In terms of oil not burned, or greenhouse gases not exhausted into the atmosphere, one bulb is equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the roads.

CFLs are not perfect. To me, their worst attribute is that they take a little time to achieve full brightness, whereas a incandescent is instantaneous. They can't be used with dimmers, 3-way switches or photoelectric switches. They don't work in little lamps where a shade clamps into place on the bulb.

While they cost more, CFLs more than pay for themselves over time. The cheapest place I've found them is Costco, where you can get them for $2 apiece in a pack of eight.

CFLs will never replace every incandescent, but I'm looking for opportunities to use them.

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