Divisible Electrons. Democritus Would Not Be Pleased.

In a one-dimensional (1D) system of interacting electrons, excitations of spin and charge travel at different speeds, according to the theory of a Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid (TLL) at low energies. However, the clear observation of this spin-charge separation is an ongoing challenge experimentally. We have fabricated an electrostatically gated 1D system in which we observe spin-charge separation and also the predicted power-law suppression of tunneling into the 1D system. The spin-charge separation persists even beyond the low-energy regime where the TLL approximation should hold. TLL effects should therefore also be important in similar, but shorter, electrostatically gated wires, where interaction effects are being studied extensively worldwide.


Basically, this study cooled down a string of electrons (tunneling) to near absolute zero (0 K or very very cold), packed the electrons extremely close together and observed the results.

What happened?

The electrons broke down into two (new) particles, holons and spinons.

So what?

When our children are adults, they’ll be working with quantum computers and looking back on this type of research like we look back on the computer science of the 50’s. Plus, this is incredible science.

AffiliateHack: My New Marketing Blog

AffiliateHack is a blog about affiliate marketing written by Sam Harrelson. Sam is a longtime veteran of the affiliate marketing industry and previous winner of the Best Blogger award at Affiliate Summit and publisher of ReveNews and CostPerNews. Now Sam brings his unique perspective on affiliate marketing back to blogging form with AffiliateHack.

via affiliatehack.com

I miss blogging about the fascinating world of affiliate marketing. Now that I’m no longer an active affiliate marketer, I thought it would be a good time to dust off my blogging skills and give it another go.

There will be some overlap of what I do here and there, but this is a much more personal space (hence the silly .me address) and AffiliateHack is a much more public space.

We’ll see how it goes.

Great Use of Backpack with Pages for Each Day.

work: wed

“I have a page set up for each day of the workweek, and I evenly distribute the action tasks for all of my marketing tactics throughout the week.

On a given day, I simply click on that day’s page and get to work on the tasks, which are within a handy checklist (see image above along the left).

Each Monday, I un-check all the lists on every page, which helps me to stay accountable to my plans and goals for my business. I can clearly see what got done and what did not get done over the previous week. After un-checking the items, I’m ready to begin another week.”

I love this implementation of workflow in Backpack.

Personally, I’m using Backpack in the GTD style (main INBOX for dumping everything then sub-folders pertaining to specific contexts or actions that need to be taken).

However, it would be very cool to do a blend of my GTD style with the daily pages style and incorporate individual classes (since I’ll be teaching 4-5 individual classes).

Clearly, I love todo lists more than actually acting upon them 🙂

Why Hasn’t Someone Made a FriendFeed Client for GMail like TwitterGadget?

I love TwitterGadget as a fully functioning Twitter client within GMail. Back in the "good old" days of Twitter, we had IM integration so these sorts of tools weren't needed if GMail was a major part of your workflow.  However, Twitter took that functionality (and Track) away from users in May '08, so we've been scrambling around to find the most efficient apps ever since.

While I think Seesmic Web has a great deal of potential, I'm still a fan of TwitterGadget plus TwitterSpy (which allows for semi-Track functionality based on the API… which is much slower than the original Track implementation).  So, I've got a contstant flow of tracked items (my alma mater, favorite sports, business terms, ideas I'm interested in pursuing, my name, etc) on my GMail IM. 

I've also got FriendFeed set up to deliver the same type of information flow through its fabulous IM integration (and email alerts as you can see in the label above).

But why hasn't someone developed a GMail gadget for FriendFeed along the same lines as TwitterGadget??

That would be killer and allow me to direct my Twitter, blogging (through Posterous), Facebook and FriendFeed accounts mostly through GMail.

Seriously, if you're a big GMail and Twitter user, give TwitterGadget (and TwitterSpy) a try.  And if you're a developer, get on the ball and deliver my FriendFeedGadget for GMail.  Thanks.

Great Review of @Posterous

Years of building and maintaining my WordPress blog have resulted in my learning a lot about WordPress and getting a lot of grease under my fingernails. Weeks of using Posterous has resulted in a media-rich blog with several posts per week. Tell me which service is more powerful.

via suntimes.com

I started using Posterous primarily as a photo-blog back in September of ’08.

However, it’s transitioned into my full time personal blog as I’ve changed up the samharrelson.com domain into a static landing (pointer) page.

Posterous solves so many problems for me.

Thanks to Andy Ihnatko for the great review affirming my love and thanks to the Posterous team for a fantastic product that has renewed my love of posting.

GMail vs Backpack

Now that I’ve decided on Backpack over Evernote as my hub of workflow (see post below), I’m in love with the Journal feature. As a teacher, it’s going to be a fantastic “private Twitter” that will allow me to record, sort and even subscribe (via the RSS feed and Google Reader) to my insights and daily documentations.

 I’m just thinking out loud here, but since I need to record most things on my mobile device (iPhone), would it be more efficient to use the Satchel app and iBasecamp mobile Safari hack orjust use GMail with pre-set labels acting as Basecamp pages and the Journal feature?

 Hmmm… Will have to do some testing…

 Sent from my iPhone

Joining Spartanburg Day School

Sam Harrelson joins the Middle School staff to teach 8th grade physical science, robotics and design technology. He returns to Spartanburg, where he and his wife, Anna, graduated from Wofford, following a circuitous route that began with earning a Master’s degree from Yale University, continued with successful forays into the world of business technology and online marketing, and included teaching 8th grade physical science at Hammond School. After two years in Asheville, he returns to his first love – teaching middle school science.

This made my day (week, month, year)!

Thanks to whoever wrote it and thanks for using the term “circuitous roue” to describe my career. So true.

From Evernote Back to Backpack

I’ve been a longtime Evernote member going back to March ’08 (and then a paying Premium member since June ’08 shortly after they opened that functionality), but I just can’t figure out the best way to integrate the service into my workflow.  I’ve certainly tried because I do see so much potential in the product.

However, since I’ve been trying to do most everything using only web apps and my iPhone, I’ve had a tougher time using Evernote. The Mac desktop client is beautiful and easy to use. The Windows desktop client less so. But it’s the web interface that just isn’t working for me (and that is the most important one at this point since I can’t install the desktop client on my locked-down school Macbook).

So, I’m going back to Backpack (in the old days, I would have used my affiliate link for the program there with a little disclosure) for workflow management. The web interface is fantastic (and familiar), I can easily email in material, create seperate pages, feel secure, integrate easily with GMail, Google Calendar and be completely web-based. 

However, the killer app Backpack has going for it is the Journal feature:


I’m using it for product management, status updates to myself and as a “private twitter” etc. It’s like the anti-social bookmarketing site Pinboard for micro-messaging.

The problem that has plagued Backpack (and the whole suite of 37Signals products such as Basecamp and Highrise) is the lack of iPhone apps or integration.  That’s been solved by a nifty app called Satchel.  Yes, it costs $10, but it’s well worth the price. Satchel is speedy, works “offline” (whatever that means anymore), and intuitive. I can also easily update my Journal through Satchel. Plus, there are hacks and apps for getting Backpack to work well as a web app (like GMail) on the iPhone if preferred.

So, between Backpack’s web apps and Satchel, I’m very happy (and productive).

I’ll explain more on today’s Thinking.FM podcast episode. 

The Kids Are Alright

Children are unconsciously the most rational beings on earth,” says Alison Gopnik, “brilliantly drawing accurate conclusions from data, performing complex statistical analyses, and doing clever experiments.” And not only does empirical work reveal this about babies and small children, but what is thus revealed throws light on some of philosophy’s more intriguing questions about knowledge, the self, other minds, and the basis of morality.

via barnesandnoble.com

Beautiful thought-provoking post pertinent for us parents, us teachers and humanity-at-large.

My how we damage kids with our “absolute” truths, marketing, advertisements, career paths and buffets.

FriendFeed Catchup in GMail

I absolutely love FriendFeed's GMail IM integration. It's how I consume most of my FriendFeed content as well as lots from my favorite folks on Twitter that I have piped into FF via the Imaginary Friends (now Rooms) feature.

So, if I miss a few hours and want to catch up on what is going on in the Valley or from the folks I follow (and left GMail open on my Macbook), I can just open up the "Chat with FF" message waiting on me in my GMail FriendFeed label and scan. Plus, I can go back and search topics or people I'm interested in after a few days.

Not completely practical for everyone, but I love the feature (and greatly miss the good old days when Twitter had the same IM integration with Track).

My Laptop’s Operating System

I have a school issued (white) MacBook 13′ that I’ve been using the last few weeks when I need a computer (besides my iPhone). It’s great that we have MacBooks for teachers and students. However, since we are also transitioning to Google Apps (thankfully) and everything I do is mostly cloud-based, I don’t see much of the shiny Mac OSX operating system.

Instead, this is what I see and use as my main operating system (Firefox).

Using MindMeister for Mind Mapping in the Classroom

MindMeister Academic Edition

The Academic Edition of MindMeister is a complete collaborative mind mapping solution for educational institutions such as schools, universities and learning centers. It helps teachers and instructors to apply essential thought mapping elements in the classroom and ensure that learning is an effective and memorable experience.

After doing some researching and testing, I’m going to be using MindMeister for our “mind mapping” classroom (and out-of-classroom) sessions in my 8th grade science and 6th grade robotics classes this year.

I’m hopeful this will be a great augment to our classroom learning.