Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone...

Open this link to Robert Fripp's Soundscapes Live 2010 in another tab, start the music, and let that be the soundtrack while you read.  I'll wait...

Personality insight #6 - I laughed so hard my eyes hurt when I watched this video of funny talking animals.  (Wait for the Spanish bit toward the end.)  Not funny, just cool: computer graphic animation of DNA.

Social media - this blog excepted - rewards the brain.  Or you can believe this sociologist who claims social media is a modern form of madness.  Bloggers beware.  Of the top 10 free WordPress themes you find via a Google search, 8 contain some sort of malware and 1 is kinda iffy.  You just can't trust people.  Need a shorter word for your Tweet?  Find it at Thsrs.

 Stuart Williams' Luminous Earth Grid

Here's a variation on last week's tip to not check your email first thing in the morning: dedicate the first 90 minutes of each day to something important.

All you typography fanbois will love this video of a 1960s (?) calligraphy demonstration by Hermann Zapf.  I especially like the punched-tape computer at the 18:00 minute mark.

Reason #32 that nature is best kept outside.  Frazil Ice is not a spin-off off the Muppets but rather a phenomenon in Yosemite National Park where ice crystals formed in waterfalls turn rivers into a slurry - basically a giant white slurpee.

Interesting study of studying.  Taking a test is a better study skill than studying.

I don't get Foursquare, but Syracuse University is now only the third college to get its own Foursquare badge.   On the other end of the publicity spectrum, some question whether my alma mater is the worst college for free speech.

No, this is not from an illustrated how-to guide to the Kama Sutra.  It's some of the icons from GestureWorks' open source gesture library.

If you've ever wondered what video games can tell us about our society, head over to Berlin's Museum of Computer Games and try them for yourself.
Some background on the USAF's need for a new, nuclear-capable, penetrating bomber.  (Or else my grandchildren may be piloting B-52s.)  If you like things getting blowed up, here are videos of an undersea nuclear detonation and Britain's first H-bomb detonation.  I love the typical British understatement ""Gosh, that was loud."

My scotch drinking friends (you know who you are) should rush out today to buy gourmet ice.   This commercial for Sapporo Beer has been called the most beautiful ever.

A friend just sent me a link to this video while I was preparing this week's post.  Man V Food visits my home town Cleveland where Adam tries to eat a 3 pound, 14 variety, grilled cheese sandwich.  Another native Clevelander will appreciate another sandwich type - the pierogi filled Parmageddon.  Speaking of food from Ohio, did you know you can order Skyline Chili online?  If you're not sure whether that's a good thing watch their new "3-way" commercial (not what you think).  I am so hungry right now.

It makes perfect sense if you don't think about it too much: a bacon rocket.

Not Animated.  Headache, however, quite real.

Sarah Parmenter offers her insights into speaking at conferences.  Her starting point is handwritten notes.  For me its a bunch of electronic files of various types (old PowerPoint, new images, bookmarked web sites) that I rearrange like fabric swatches in one of my wife's quilts.  Regarding starting the talk, she recommends not beginning with your bio and I wholeheartedly agree.  Begin with the reason you're there - the audience.  On the topic of practice, she's amazed by the number of speakers who don't practice.  While I never do a dress rehearsal style of practice, I do find myself doing the presentation in the car during my commute.  During the talk the main idea is to get the words right so the topics flow without sounding too practiced while also trying to avoid your personal verbal crutches (ah, um, so, OK).

Looking for chat software to use at work?  Have you considered Yammer, tibbr, and Chatter?  I don't know what to think of this blog post and comments about cracking software.

I have a set of Buckyballs, those little round rare earth magnets you use to form different shapes.  My Buckyball skills are similar to my PlayDoh skills - I can make a snake (cigar, hot dog, baton) and a roughly shaped ball.  Dimitri, on the other hand, has mad skillz.

What are CEOs thinking?  Quoting directly:
  • Today’s complexity is only expected to rise, and more than half of CEOs doubt their ability to manage it.
  • Creativity is the most important leadership quality, according to CEOs.
  • The most successful organizations co-create products and services with customers, and integrated customers into core processes.
  • Better performers manage complexity on behalf of their organizations, customers and partners.
You don't have to wait for the Winter Olympics.  The excitement of curling can be yours year 'round at the Grand Slam of Curling.

Mapapalooza! Nat Geo offers this map of surname distribution in the USofA.  This next one has more or less become an internet meme: map of the US with states denoted by some factoid (what they're best at, famous food, etc.)  So here are the states matched to foreign countries' economies (Texas = Russia).  And finally, the frequency of swearing in the US.

Meanwhile, in Japan.
(I actually worked in a building with the guy on the right.  Also noted: two streams?)

The opening of Ed Ruscha's exhibit at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth led me to this review of two modern painters, Amy Sillman and Tom McGrath.  While McGrath's work was the target of that search (because he shares with Ruscha the automotive theme), Sillman's abstractions really caught my attention, mostly because of her palette.

Composition is such an important part of Sillman's and McGrath's work that this series of articles on composition and layout (for animation) is a nice resource.  This quote by artist Chuck Close is also great: "Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work."

No need to rework this title: Padded Underwear for Men Gives Booty More Bounce.  And while we're on the topic of undergarments, click if you dare: Skid-B-Gon.  According to the illustrated guide to facial hair I'm "definitely high right now." 

From the Hard to Believe Department, the original, 500 pound prop of the Nostromo spacecraft from Alien sat in someone's driveway under a tarp for 20 years.

April gets its name from the Latin word aperit meaning "to open" - from how the months got their names.

In this review of Stanley Fish's How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One we find damnation.  In current writing "there is a flaccidity and casualness of style that has come from writing habits born out of e-mail and social media." I suppose if my writing were more erect, I'd be a novelist not a blogger.

Your mental palate cleanser - do nothing for 2 minutes.

...always sounds like foolishness. ~Hermann Hesse  (This explains a lot about raising teenagers.)


Chris said...

"Of the top 10 free WordPress themes you find via a Google search, 8 contain some sort of malware and 1 is kinda iffy. You just can't trust people."

Where's your faith John ...?

John said...

Chris: I should amend that to say "You just can't trust some people."

Or stated differently, you can trust a person, but you can't trust people.