Saturday, May 28, 2011

A stair not worn hollow by footsteps...

Proof #2 that innovation is not dead.  Scientists invent rainbow poop.

Science giveth and science taketh away.  Scientists determine that happy men are significantly less attractive to women.  Damn, that explains why this class clown thing isn't working.

Damn infographics, I wish I knew how to quit you.  More stuff than you ever wanted to know about apps in the iTunes store.  (37% are free, $6.8 billion in revenue during 2010).

For some reason, I have an overwhelming compulsion to go see the rodeo tonight.

Type in some text and get an mp3 of speech back from vozMe.

How viscous fingers enhance the mixing of fluids.
Even though I've given up beer (and I write that more to convince myself than you), here's that'll find all the breweries within 300 miles of your location.

If you don't know your Shakespeare, at least you can search your Shakespeare.  For example, searching for "sex" in Julius Caesar results in Portia's line "Think you I am no stronger than my sex..."

What makes a team smarter (and better smelling)?  More women.  (I am certain my parenthetical comment - the other one, not this one - makes me some kind of chauvinist in someone's eyes.)

Are you one of those people who loses their phone often?  (We now see one benefit to the old fashioned land line that's tethered to the wall with the thick curly pig-tail cord.)  Just type in your phone number to ICan' and it'll start ringing.  (Let's hope you don't have it on silent.)

Use Qurify to make a QR Code (2D barcode).  If any of you have one of those newfangled phones that reads these, let me know if this one works.
When you have 45 minutes to spare, watch this video of John Gruber speaking about The Gap Theory of UI Design from Webstock '11.  How to style the numbers used in ordered lists using CSS.  Play with this: more CSS tricks that allow you to transform a square interactively in your browser.  Not really sure what jsFiddle does but it looks cool.

Refreshing CEO honesty: I have no idea what I'm doing.   "The most frustrating part is that it is difficult to get into a rhythm in your work when you have no real understanding of the next steps you need to take. There’s no opportunity for flow if both outcome and process are foreign experiences. There’s just a lot of poking around and mystery and inadvertent negligence."

A cosmological yin and yang - if there are black holes it makes sense that there are also white holes.

The electron is "surprisingly" round, so round that if an electron were the size of the solar system it would still be perfectly round to within the width of a hair.  Why "surprisingly"?  What shape where they expecting?

From the Truly Surprising Department, Dallas is the metro area at highest risk of a natural disaster according to this map from the NY Times.  Lowest risk?  Corvallis OR.  Unfortunately, neither Dallas nor Fort Worth made this list of the most well-read cities in the U.S.  (#1 was Cambridge MA.)

Fluid dynamics pr0n of the week: photos of water droplets.
Aviation pr0n of the week: video of NASA Dryden's flight test projects for 2011.  (Someone needs to tell NASA's video editors to nix the faux 3D effects.)  How exotic aircraft were hidden at Area 51 (really).  More intel on the stealthy helicopters used in the bin Laden raid.  Looks like they came from Sikorsky's Hawk Works in Elmira, New York.  Back in the day that facility was known as Schweizer Aircraft, a small manufacturer of gliders that I toured as an undergrad.

Remains of War is a photoset of abandoned, derelict, and retired military equipment.  Space Shuttle pr0n: high-res photo of Endeavour's wing and one of Endeavour being assembled.  From the 1950s, here's the illustrated guide to nuclear weapons testing.

This link is only here because of one line: "One of the reasons we like to look at paintings is that reality is filtered through someone [else]'s brain."  If you paint a still life of a bowl of fruit, we're both looking at a bowl of fruit.  On the other hand, if you paint Stephen's Iron Crown it'll make me wonder what the hell you were thinking.  The enjoyment of art changes from passive to active.

Robert Motherwell, Stephen's Iron Crown, 1981
So when you look at an abstract painting perhaps the question to ask yourself is not "what is it?" but instead "how does this make me feel?"  You may scoff at that idea, that shape and color can express emotion.  But consider the Bouba/Kiki effect in which 98% of people name who are given two shapes and two names assign the names the same way.  If shape corresponds so closely to language, why can't painting and emotion be too?

You decide: art or not. (The artist is 7 years old.)

Momma told you not to play with your food.  But she didn't say anything about playing with your art.  This is like playing Jenga with the Mona Lisa.

Teh interwebs was made for stuff like this: the National Toothpick Holder Collector's Society.

Real men don't need the Willy Care Kit.  Real men maintain their junk with baking soda and a rusty spoon.

I like Pink Floyd's The Wall as much as the next guy.  I have most of their studio albums from the 1960s to when they stopped making them.   While there are only so many compilations and live albums you can buy, the quality of a PF live recording seems to be dictated by the quality of that show's version of Shine on You Crazy Diamond.  Now, back to the matter at hand.  This critical analysis of The Wall might only appeal to uber fanboys.  It's a little overblown - "the Wall has become synonymous with, if not the very definition of, the term "concept album."  The definition of?  Really?  A little myopic don't you think?  What about The Who's Quadrophenia (1973)?  Genesis' The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)?  Pink Floyd's own Dark Side of the Moon (1973)?  The Wall is also flawed in my opinion because it showcases Roger Waters running roughshod over the rest of the band, telling his personal story.  Anyway, check it out and be your own judge.

If you're a fan of the video game Star Wars Tie Fighter, you can now play it in your browser.  (If you use Chrome.)  Despite not having played in years, I'm a fan of Super Mario World.  Here's a video in which someone has added realistic sound effects.

V4W.ENKO is algorithmically generated pictures and music.  Watch the videos.
A community college professor's message to apathetic students.  "Lives built on excuses generally don't turn out well."

Do all your learning online: The C Library Reference Guide, a white paper on portable GPU programming, and course notes on Algorithms in computer science.

Don't forget Stack Exchange if you're seeking expert advice.  There are 51 different exchanges including Super User, Programmers, OnStartups, WordPress, Code Review, and Software QA and Testing.  They're not all geekery either - Parenting, Board Games, Skeptics, etc.

Forget haiku.  Fib combines poetry and mathematics by taking its syllable count from the Fibonacci sequence, 1/1/2/3/5/8.  I'll give it a shot: 
green leaves hide
ugly winter scars.
This is the essence of living.
Obligatory bacon of the week: bacon scarves.  Time waster of the week: Attractors lets you control the path of falling and bouncing balls.  Animated geometry thingy of the week: double pendulum. only a boring something made of wood.  ~Franz Kafka


Jim said...

Love the self-referential QR code. Nice!

Stack Exchange is an excellent resource, especially Stack Overflow, which has been indispensable when dealing with various arcane technical issues on an ancient, recalcitrant web server. (I would be remiss in mentioning "buying the commercialized/supported version of an open source CMS package," as their forums are... pretty polluted with no-longer-relevant.)

John said...

I'm glad the QR code worked. Not knowing much about them, I just put in URL assuming that when you took a pic of it you'd go directly to the site. That's how it works, right?

I've never really tried to get an answer from any Stack Exchange forum. I've just been impressed by the number of forums and the way content is delivered.

Joel said...

I couldn't get the QR doohikie to work - at least I don't think I did. When I scanned the code on Horse Bits it linked me to an obscure college radio station in Syracuse, NY. Odd

The local brewery site is a nice but the database needs work. Not surprising given the number of new brewpubs and breweries opening on a seemingly weekly basis and the fact that the site relies on users to update the listings.

I like the list of most read cities. Not surprising to see college towns like Cambridge, Ann Arbor & Berkely at the top. Good to know that most of the Fabio-covered moron fluff is safely sequestered in Miami.

John said...

Joel, are you saying that Jewish grandmothers have a thing for the bodice-ripping genre?

Maybe someday I'll get a fancy phone so I can check things like the QR myself. Earlier in the week a customer praised my luddite status when he saw my phone. That day may be coming sooner than anyone thinks. The flip cover is getting a little loose and something rattles when you shake the phone.

Speaking of phones, I've finally put my foot down regarding ringing and set my phone to vibrate only. That's to be compared to someone else in my house who set their ringtone to a Pink song, the one that asks the existential question "what part of party don't you understand?"

Jim said...

I usually keep my phone on vibrate, though sometimes I don't notice it. I have experimented with creating my own ringtones from rifs of ZZTop, The Who and Van Halen, but in the end, I think I'm too ground into thinking a phone should make a ring sound, if any.

Hey, thanks for turning me onto the password managers. I eventually settled on 1password because it has a phone app that will sync with my Mac. (KeePass requires Mono, the open source version of .NET. I couldn't get to work with my Mac.) I hadn't fully appreciated how much password reuse I'd been doing until I started going through them and updating important accounts.

John said...

Jim - you're welcome. I've also got a couple people at the office using it. I suppose if I was more mobile I'd need something more than Keepass but as long as I'm tethered to a laptop it's OK. What amazed me is the sheer number of accounts I have - well into the 300s.