Saturday, November 12, 2011

Happiness in intelligent people...

Trey Gunn's new album Invisible Rays is now available. Because the album's guitarist is also a research diver, you can watch a cool video of Antarctic diving with a track from the album.

Nature wants to eat you and from the looks of this tumblr it's well equipped to do so.

Sarah Morris, Black Beetle [Origami], 2008, more
I think perhaps a back-to-the-basics approach is warranted which is why I've bookmarked Google Code University's course on HTML, CSS, and Javascript from the Ground Up.

Trying to make a single website implementation work well on both traditional and mobile devices is futile in the same way that you can't just show TV on a screen in the theater.

Using just 25 ml of pee, a new fuel cell can generate 1/4 mA of electrical current for 3 days. Soon Toyota may announce the Peeus.

The Japanese people continue to make remarkable progress on recovering from the earthquake and tsunami as this "time lapse" photo essay shows.

Check out the animated version of this image and others at Sensual Objects.
The NY Times article on Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It's Just so Darn Hard) really frustrated me because it gets many things right but an equal number wrong.
  1. Assuming the title was written specifically to be an attention getter, it succeeded. In fact, it pissed me off. Of course it's hard. Anything worth learning is going to be difficult to master. If I took a course in wood-working it would be difficult for me because that's not my strength. If you think your engineering classes are hard, maybe a career in engineering isn't for you.
  2. They say 40% of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students change majors or fail in college. The implication is that after getting high school students all pumped up with erector set and Lego projects, they get turned off by actually having to - wait for it - learn the math and science behind all that stuff. I don't suppose grammar and spelling are optional sub-topics for English majors - and so it is with calculus and engineering.
  3. One former engineering student is quoted as saying “I was trying to memorize equations, and engineering’s all about the application, which they really didn’t teach too well." I hope all of you see the logic problem here: "application" is an application of engineering knowledge to a particular problem. Knowledge comes before application. As one of my undergrad professors told me about his course, "Of course it's boring - it's propulsion." That's not to say it wasn't necessary or valuable.
  4. The article's author further opines that students find engineering education "too narrow and lacking the passion of other fields." One might turn that around and say that students lack the passion to learn engineering.
  5. Here's an ugly truth: "top professors are focused on bringing in research grants, not teaching undergraduates." This is absolutely 100% true. Being a professor (especially in engineering) is all about bringing in funded research. Teaching undergrads, despite them being the university's cash cow, is a distant second place. This is exacerbated by the tenure system (and I won't argue its relative merits here).
  6. Another ugly truth: "Other bright students may have breezed through high school without developing disciplined habits." Let's just say I know this to be true from personal experience.
  7. Bottom line: Engineering is "darn hard" - get over it.
If learning is still so hard as to stymy you, maybe you should get your facts from pictures.

Astronomy pr0n: A quasar accretion disk (aka matter being sucked into a galaxy's central black hole) as view by the Hubble Space Telescope.
What do you get when you cross a great text editor with a software development platform? Eclim; a combination of vim and Eclipse.

The story behind the deleted pie fight scene from Dr. Strangelove and other pop culture artifacts.

If you're a woman with a sexy name you're much more likely to get hired by a man. Sexy name? Christine. Unsexy name? Ethel.

What do emotions look like?
After this, I can stop counting proof that innovation isn't dead. source
Do not read any further if a lady's "down there" offends you. Why wake up with a standard alarm clock when the Little Rooster can wake you up by tickling your hoo-hah?

HBR delves into social strategies to determine which ones work. The ones that don't work simply involve broadcasting messages. They don't work because people do social to meet new people and strengthen existing relationships. Not surprisingly, strategies what work are those that help people make and maintain relationships. 

Must-watch video of the week. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visits Occupy Wall Street. Absolutely hilarious.
Parts 1 and 2 of a beginner's guide to developing for iOS.

Point and counterpoint.  First, Koyaanisquatsi, an "art-house" treehugger video. Second, an alternative way to consider man's relationship with the environment. the rarest thing I know. ~Ernest Hemingway

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