Saturday, February 25, 2012

Excess on occasion is exhilarating.

I'm using Getty Image's Moodstream while writing this post and hoping, as advertised, that its music and images will inspire me (or stabilize me, or excite me). [Postfix: It didn't help.]

Politics I can support. The American Mustache Institute is sponsoring the STACHE Act (Stimulus to Allow Critical Hair Expenses) that will provide $250 of tax relief each year for mustached Americans. We can join their Million Mustache March on Washington too.

Terry Winters, Tessellation Figures (10), 2011. source
Are you more a summer or a winter? I took an online quiz that said I'm a summer which surprised me. As for seasonal color analysis, I don't know. But psychologists can tell whether you're a Twitter or a Facebook. If you're a Facebook, sorry - you're using it to combat loneliness. Things aren't much better if you're a Twitter - you're not very conscientious.

The fourth and final installment of the very well produced video series Everything is a Remix is now available.

I should be the poster boy for narcissism, especially its lesser known trait of a childlike need for affirmation (coupled, of course, with the overblown ego which makes for a nice paradox). Therefore, I was glad to see that Clarke, Corea, and White's album Forever won the Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album after I had reviewed it glowingly.

This map of the U.S. is based on geo-tagged Tweets and photos. From Equire's The United States of 2012.
Wow. Check out this video about the number Wau. I need someone who pwns their maths to tell me whether this is a hoax or not.

Bret Victor is a guy who thinks big thoughts and advocates developing a personal and central principle around which all your work is based. Watch him give this presentation at the Canadian University Software Engineering Conference and see some really cool demos in the first half and some Kumbaya moments in the second half.

$150 for a limited t-shirt from the internet's best artists? Get 'em at

It's bad enough that you can't escape ringing cell phones no matter where you go. But this video about playing with your cell phone on the toilet takes things one step too far. If a cell phone really makes it "come out easier" you're doing it wrong.

 On the other hand, urinals at the South Pole have "dignity."

I don't suppose Siri likes it either. source
The camera in my iPhone has improved my photography solely by letting me take poorly composed and out of focus snapshots at higher resolution. On the other hand, this guy visits China and makes a beautiful film of his experience: Shangrila.

Only true hardcore fans of the ambient music genre need check out Nicholas Szczepanik's The Truth of Transience.

Shoot the Lights Out is a great film of Fort Worth, more specifically a nighttime view of the midway at the annual Stock Show and Rodeo.

The fine folks at Pragmatic Marketing have released their annual product management survey in which you can find interesting stuff like the top 3 duties of a product manager: understanding market problems, maintaining the product roadmap, writing product requirements.

Van Gogh's Starry Night like you've never seen it before: animated and interactive.
It's very easy to misunderstand one frame of an animated film which is exactly what the Out of Context Animation blog does.
I can only memorize the value of pi to 3.1415927. So it's handy that the first million digits of pi are online.

How many ways are there to tie shoes? Apparently, there are 37 (and each has been rated for appearance and ease of application).

Why is everyone worried about zombies? I think we're seeing the beginning of a rock uprising.

Boulders moving on Mars.
Where is this boulder on the moon going?
Moving rocks of California.
The Linux technology reference is a page of links to links about all things Linux. And also available online is The Art of Unix Programming by Eric Steven Raymond.

From Romulan Ale to Imperial Stout Trooper, the 14 geekiest beers.

Use Cuss-O-Meter to find out how much you swear on your blog or website.

You may have heard that Whitney Houston died. If I hear I Will Always Love You one more time I think I'll spew. You may have also watched the Super Bowl. I no longer bother to watch the NFL's geriatric Super Bowl halftime shows. Folks need to remember that Whitney sang the best national anthem ever at Super Bowl XXV. (To illustrate how fixated the NFL is on the elderly, note that they're still using Roman numerals.)

I love this ad for Convair's F-102A. If I could find an original I'd hang it in my office.
Alan Parsons (you know, the guy from The Alan Parsons Project and the guy who worked on Dark Side of the Moon) says that audiophiles spend too much time and money on equipment instead of considering room acoustics. "there are some decent budget surround systems you can buy at Costco or Walmart that really aren’t bad."

Approval has been given for construction of the first two nuclear power plants in the U.S. (Atlanta) since 1978. But natural gas is so cheap, we might not see more for a while. Nukes don't generate greenhouse gases - where are the tree huggers?

Clock fetish satisfied. animaclock
This is a fantastic video from 1960 of the SAGE computer and its BOMARC missiles for cold war air defense.

Nukes is good. A scientist at Los Alamos National Lab used a supercomputer with 32,000 processors to show that a nuclear missile could destroy an incoming asteroid before it destroyed the earth.

Nukes don't have to be all explosions and stuff. Check out these instances of nukes in pop culture during the Cold War era.

This story of Alcoa's 50,000 ton forging press sets off multiple triggers for me. It's in Cleveland, it was born during the Cold War, and it's making bulkheads for the F-35. But the big news is that "one of the great machines of American industry is being reborn." Think of it this way, this press is so big and so powerful it could lift the Battleship Iowa with 860 tons to spare while also upholding tolerances of a thousandth of an inch.

B-52, B-2, B-1 source
From the smudge to the unsolved crime, knowing your skid marks helps you decide whether to wash or toss. (Not for sensitive people.)

Author Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer, etc.) wrote himself 11 commandments. #3 Don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand. (I like the juxtaposition of calmly and recklessly.)

I'm told the MoMA's Kraftwerk Retrospective sold out in record time.

Completely offensive and inappropriate is the best way to describe Ghetto Hikes, a Tumblr blog supposedly about things overheard when city kids go camping. Things like "Them sheeps is funny looking homie wearin a snuggie full time." (Posting shit like this is why I'll never be able to be elected to public office. As if you were concerned.)

This photo of a Gemini-Titan launch in 1966 is one of several recently posted by NASA on Flickr.
Why does Adele's Someone Like You make everyone cry? Frankly, I've never been a fan of Adele despite her Grammy success and am likely to change the station when she comes on. Overplay? Perhaps. Anyway, a psychologist's study blamed tearjerkers on appoggiatura, ornamental tones that are dissonant with the melody. Resolution of that dissonance leads to a calming reaction. Other studies identified changes in volume, timbre, and pattern as chill-inducing. In either case the true culprit is our brain which releases dopamine when it hears this kind of stuff. Maybe a better example than Adele is Barber's Adagio for Strings.

Fish Inside Out like this x-rayed orange bellowsfish
OK, so this guy only owns 15 things, "to be precise" as the article says. But that doesn't count socks and underwear or the contents of his toiletry kit or the accessories for his laptop. So like most things in life, it all depends on where you start counting. I only own 15 things too. A house (includes all contents), car, etc.

My high school physics class was the last for which the slide rule was required. I still have mine in my desk but even that's obsolete with this online slide rule simulator.

Hooray for short attention span fornication! Science tells us that good sexual intercourse lasts only minutes with as little as 3-7 minutes deemed acceptable. Kinda like speed dating. Which means using this music service is hardly worth the trouble. (Not for sensitive people.)

Find a flower dead for 32,000 years and bring it back to life (from a specimen dug up from a squirrel burrow). What could possibly go wrong?

I don't know why scientists are worried about all that growing a woolly mammoth from DNA. They can just go to Siberia and catch a live one, like this one captured on video.
Sometimes history isn't really history at all. It's contemporary. Here are several examples of living witnesses to history, like the witness to Lincoln's assassination who was interviewed on TV in 1956. If this stuff doesn't make you do a mental double-take, something's wrong.

Speaking of seeing historical things, here's a video from 1965 of Igor Stravinsky conducting the New Philharmonia Orchestra as they perform his Firebird Suite.

And more history: 1937 video of the Hindenburg disaster.

Will concussions and lawsuits related to them be the end of football?

H is for Homer. And 25 other letters of Simphabet, a Simpsons-based alphabet.
Neatness counts, even in space. If the Swiss can build CleanSpace One, a satellite to clean-up space junk, maybe they can make a boat that'll clean-up that floating island of trash in the Pacific.

For fans of the photograph, check out the winners of the 2012 World Press Photo Contest.

The bigot's guide to the world - maps of stereotypes. Quite hilarious. (Mississippi is labeled "lard reservoir" in one.) C'mon people - they're jokes.

A LONG interview with musician Steven Wilson. Serious fans only, please.

Looks like 07 Aug 1997 was a rainy day in DFW. This is one frame from a video of 14 years of U.S. weather. For weather junkies like me, this is a MUST SEE.
Texas Monthly named Fort Worth's Shinjuku Station one of the ten best new restaurants in the state.

What does a tree sound like? To find out you need this turntable that plays slices of wood, using the color and texture of the rings and some programming to create sound.

You ever wonder why when they find crazy old recluses they're living with 100 cats and not 100 dogs? It seems that a parasite in cat feces (the reason pregnant women are advised to stay away from cats) makes cat owners crazy.

Where tanks go to die. The 7 most incredible tank graveyards on earth.
Would Thomas Edison hire you? He probably wouldn't hire me based on this list of his interview questions. What's the first line of The Aeneid? Of what is brass made? Who invented logarithms?

Why don't Americans elect scientists? Is it because they smell bad, spill food on their shirt, and wouldn't be able to look female world leaders in the eye? Nope. It's because their "abstract, scientific approach to problems and issues often leads to conclusions that are at odds with religious and cultural beliefs and scientists are sometimes tone-deaf to the social environment in which they state their conclusions."

Spend all day at the airport photographing takeoffs, composite them all, add a little tilt-shift effect, and voila.
The town of Point Roberts is "like the foreskin of America." Not necessarily of chamber of commerce moment.

I'll give Stack Soap an A for effort. The new bar of soap has a little groove into which you insert the sliver of the previous, almost entirely used bar. But anyone with half a brain knows that the way to solve the sliver problem is to make bars of soap hollow so there's nothing left to form a sliver. Duh.

What happens when you drop a Slinky? Do you know? Really?

First of all, why would you need to fight 20 children? (You're tired of their bullshit, of course.) Here are tips on how to win a fight versus 20 children.

Just go poop! Best medical advice I've read in a long time.
Play time: Imagination, Fanfare, iDaft (Daft Punk console)

It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.  ~W. Somerset Maugham


Joel said...

Thanks for inviting me to aim for another craft beer target. I've only had 2 of the 15 geekiest brews

Perhaps my pending DL of Forever will make up for the coming futility in my efforts to acquire Dharma Beer.

John said...

Joel, I drink vicariously through you. You may also be interested in a new pub near the office called The Boiled Owl which promises rare beers (no details).

As for music, I just ordered me some Brand X (Moroccan Roll) which you will no doubt find nostalgic not only musically but for our sophomoric attempts to convince girls in the dining hall that you were an exchange student from that far-off country.