Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wealth consists not in having great possessions...

Today's soundtrack is the famously rare 1957 live recording of the Thelonius Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall.  Every fan of classic jazz should own this; I've got it on CD.  Excellent.

Spend about three and a half minutes with Nature by Numbers, a well-done movie about math and geometry and numbers.

Genius: Green Eggs and Hamlet  "To sleep, to dream, now there's the rub.  I could drop a toaster in my tub."
Here's an extraordinary set of color photos of London during the Blitz in World War 2.

Drums Between the Bells is the latest album from Brian Eno with the words of poet Rick Holland.  (Three tracks from the album are available on Eno's site for your listening pleasure.) Since the album's release the two have collaborated on Re-View, an online dialog about the project.  One interesting quote: "Welcome encouragement, and then try to ignore it."

Are you taking AP Calculus?  Here's what you need to know.

Seth Godin puts an ethical spin on something I've said about businesses all along.  To pharaphase: A business can't be ethical - it simply has to make a profit.  People can be, and should be, ethical.  A business' employees can conduct themselves in an ethical way while meeting the business' objectives.

This may be the funniest thing I've ever seen on Monty Python: Hitler tells a joke.  (OK, maybe the fish slapping dance.)

I find it odd that this is The Official Sushi Clock Homepage, as though there's so much competition it's important to separate yourself from the pretenders.

All you need to know about beds is this: BUY THE KING!
What are the 13 best-paying college majors?  Hint: they're mostly engineering.  #5 Aerospace Engineering.  #9 Computer Science.  The NY Times opines that the Master's is the new Bachelor's degree, now the fastest growing type of degree.  In engineering, that's BS and does a discredit to the undergraduates who are fully capable of contributing to the workforce.  The value of an MS is the focus and depth of coverage it provides to a topic area.  It adds value but isn't a prerequisite.

In the periodic table of nonsense, Bigfoot (Bf) is defined as "a redneck in a monkey suit."

For my computer science friends, here's what looks like a whitepaper from the folks who write the Qt GUI toolkit on how to design a good API.  It should be easy to learn and memorize, lead to readable code, be hard to misuse, be easy to extend, and be complete.  Also, enjoy this list of the greatest works in programming languages.

The SR-71 Blackbird set several world aviation records in 1976 and still holds those records today.  One record is for the fastest man has ever traveled in an aircraft: 2,193 mph.  (That speed has been exceeded during missions but not during a sanctioned test.)

I think someone called this "staring into your own navel:" a visualization of organizations engaged in visualization, aka the VIZoSPHERE.

Stack Exchange, the site for expert answers on myriad topics, now publishes newsletters for each of those topics.  I just subscribed to OnStartups and Product Management.

Bringing together an interest (art) and a fetish (maps), Creative Cartography showcases several artists who use maps in their work.  I found Shannon Rankin's work to be most interesting.

Isotope3 is a "flash spirograph" but I find it to be a little touchy on the controls.  Can't quite figure out AVCLASH either. It's like some kind of techno sound generator with some pulsing things.

You can Test Your Vocab to see how many words you know.  (It's on the honor system so don't cheat.)  The test says I know about 32,100 words which is average for someone my age.  They have a graph of vocabulary by age that seems to level off around age 40.

Stacey Lee Webber is a Philadelphia-based artists who makes a lot of things out of coins like this saw.
Antiques Roadshow (I know you've watched it) set a record for highest priced find in Tulsa with a set of  17th or 18th century Chinese cups carved from rhino horn that are worth between $1,000,000 and $1,500,000.  As a friend of mine would say, "I'll take the cash now."

The blog post titled Eureka! A New Era for Scientists and Engineers extols the virtues of a new NSF program called Innovation Corps (I-Corps) that will provide funding to take research and researchers out of universities and turn them into startups.  Now it's not like I have a problem with academics, but often the hallowed halls of academia foster people who are singularly unqualified for business.  Or perhaps that's why they're professors in the first place.  Also, I'm going to assume that the awarded academics get to keep their tenure-guaranteed positions and salaries while participating in I-Corps, thereby eliminating the risk half of the risk-reward premise.

The MirageMachine - another cool "wiggle your mouse and see and hear stuff" thing. 

Actor Edward Gero spent some time in the Rothko Room of the Phillips Collection in Washington as part of his preparation to portray the artist in the play Red.  Gero is also blogging about his experience.
I tried this on both Twitter and Facebook and got precisely zero traction (except for my son who Googled the punchline.)  So there's this video going around about what looks like some professor in Japan who came up with this way of cooling off your car when it's been parked in the sun for a long time.  You open the driver's window and then open and close the passenger door 5 times.  Since we're on our 28th consecutive day of 100+ high temperatures with no relief in sight, I gave it a try one evening when leaving the office.  It works.  But as I'm slamming the passenger door over and over the only thing that popped into my head was "upper class twit of the year."  Does anyone else get that reference?  Here's the punchline in video form (see around the 4:00 mark).  Christ, that's a lot of effort for one measly joke.

Bonneteau is the classic shell game gone web.  See if you can follow the ball.

This year's winner of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which annually challenges folks to write the worst opening sentence of an imaginary novel is Sue Fondrie with this gem (which also happens to be the shortest grand prize winner ever).  I suspect that writing something that bad may actually be harder than writing something good.
Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.
Tired of boring Lorem Ipsum text?  Fillerati gives you text from the works of masters like Herman Melville and H.G. Wells.  Or if you're a bit more edgey, try malevole's text generator.

Beautiful swear words: "A swear word a day, and shit."

...but in having few wants.  ~Epicurus


Francis Shivone said...

Epicuras was an interesting person and influential in the development of philosophy.

1. Exceptionally good collection of links and comments. Thank you.

2. I can't get over the visual math video. And, as usual, I return to the same thought, which is, that Form Exists. There are attempts at explaining the existence of matter without a Matter Maker-- but no one can explain the existence of form without a Former, or as my theology teacher used to say, a "Great Technetes" (Designer) Unless Form itself is eternal and impersonal which is getting close to Plato's Forms. The video was compelling. I watched it a couple times.

3. Scored about the same as you on vocabulary. The words at the end I not only did not know but had never seen.

4. Your ball movement with cursor is developing in the modernistic sense. That is, your first links were very literal and they slowly have become more interpretive. This last one would have been best observed smoking that funny weed.


As always, great job.

John said...

Thanks for the compliment.

It sounds like you and I could probably debate the matter/form issue for quite some time and we could take it all the way down to the subatomic level. Form is overrated. And sometimes mystery doesn't mean magic, just that we lack understanding.

If I understand your #4, you may find this hard to believe but I actually spend some time sequencing the links and trying to weave the narrative between them. Really! There is thought, what it's worth, in putting this together.

Francis Shivone said...

I can see the development in the content of the posts.

I meant the first ball movement links, many posts ago were literal and the last was very free spirited. It was an attempt at tongue in cheek humor, given your appreciation of modern art.

You may be right, I may be marveling at the magic. My thoughts are at best reflections.