Saturday, May 19, 2012

Try not to become a man of success...

Sometimes this shit just writes itself. Zoo caretaker licks monkey's butt to help it defecate.

Proof #2 that innovation is not dead. Scientists in Japan (where else?) have created Shiri, robotic buttocks. Watch the video, I dare you. I cannot look away. (Nor will I be able to use Siri on my iPhone again with a straight face.)

Proof #32B that innovation is not dead. Designers in Japan (why do they get all the fun stuff?) have created the fishbowl bra. (I remember fish in elevator heeled shoes from the 1970s. This is much better.)
I'm certainly starting out naughty this week, aren't I. source
Two very different messages for new graduates. The WSJ's Bret Stephens advises "Your prospective employers can smell BS from miles away. And most of you don't even know how badly you stink." TV's Aaron Sorkin graduated from Syracuse University the year before me and he was back this year to give the commencement address. "And make no mistake about it, you are dumb." (OK, enough with the nasty, out-of-context quotes. How's this: "Don't ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has.")

After watching this video you'll never doodle during a meeting the same way again. I mean, who knew your doodles made sound?

Aviation pr0n of the week. source
When I first read this statistic I thought that it must be wrong. According to the Jobs Council "only 1.5% of 25-34 year-olds in the workplace gained a higher education degree in a science related field, putting the U.S. in the bottom third of all OECD countries." Only 1.5%? If asked to guess I might have said more like 10%. All those underwater puppetry majors are flooding the job market. (The rest of the article has some generic motherhood stuff about eduction but a slightly troubling call that "training for students and workers meets the demands of the labor market." College is not a trade school.)

The most valuable college majors?
  1. Biomedical Engineering
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Computer Science
  4. Software Engineering
  5. Environmental Engineering
  6. Civil Engineering
  9. Petroleum Engineering
  10. Applied Mathematics
  11. Mathematics
  14. Physics
  15. Statistics 
You'll have to forgive Gizmodo for engaging in a bit of hyperbole. Yes, they found an RAF Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk in the Sahara that has been more or less undisturbed since WWII. Is it aviation 's equivalent to finding King Tut's tomb? Hardly. Is it perfectly preserved? I guess they don't know what perfect means. (Those Spitfires buried in Burma are more likely to be well preserved.)
The Air Force's X-37B spaceplane is shown being installed in its launch capsule. The vehicle has now been in orbit for over a year.
A new definition of professional behavior is developing in the world as manifested through social media. Here's one example. The "old" professional thinks "I am expected to have answers to questions" whereas the "new" professional thinks "I am searching for answers with my network of colleagues and supporters." (I'm not certain I agree that the definition of professional has changed as much as the concept of personal interaction has evolved.)

Mario + Medieval Manuscripts = Genius

As the blog writes, "What a beautiful way to spend 8 minutes!" Please watch The Eagleman Stag.

Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow 1961 sold for $77.5 million ($86.8 million once buyer's premium is included) during a Christie's auction, setting a new record for a contemporary work and surpassing the $72 million paid for a Rothko in 2008. For those of you who can't imagine paying that much for an abstract work ($29 million per rectangle as someone put it), please take heart in the fact that Edward Munch's The Scream recently sold for even more - $120 million.
Is next month's premier of Prometheus, the Alien prequel, in danger of being overhyped? For example, Weyland Industries has its own website.

Harken back to the days of the original Alien movie with these behind the scenes photos.
All Presentation Software is Broken makes the point that tools like PowerPoint (the lightning rod for presentation criticisms) emphasize "unnecessary visual dressing." The remedy is to make the web browser the vehicle of choice for your presentations because it gives your message an almost infinitely wider reach. Here are a couple of problems with this.
  1. Presentation software is not broken; presenters are. For reasons too numerous to mention here, many presenters couldn't give a good presentation no matter what tool they used. 
  2. Communication gets mixed up with presentation, the latter being more about some sort of visual aesthetic and desire to entertain. 
  3. I am an imperfect disciple of Edward Tufte meaning that putting my slides on the web for people to view by themselves would give a wholly incomplete view of the message. The message is communicated verbally.  
Maybe you just need a few tips on giving a great talk.

What makes a good engineering culture? Quora's Edmond Lau answers. (This might make a good post for the company blog.)

Is Pliny the Younger really the best beer in the world?
Need a Linux computer that's compact? Have less than $100 to spend? Check out the $74 AllWinner A10 that's about the size of a flash drive.

Tumblr goodness: Greetings I am so excited I found your welbog is chock full of blog sp@m comments. What should we call social media animates common social media happenings.

Never forget your bones again. source
Farting may have killed the dinosaurs but the danger to Apollo astronauts was likely minimal.

Another hilarious list from McSweeney's: Bandwiches, if rock and roll bands were sandwiches. ABBA: reindeer paté, candied rose petals, white bread. Or one that's close to home, John Cage: silence, warmth, indirect sunlight, the memory of lettuce, the idea of bread.

Can you imagine a chair in the shape of a soap film? The folks at mSurfaces can and want you to contribute to their project on kickstarter.

Sea Shadow for sale, not sail. The U.S. Navy is selling the Lockheed designed and built radar evading stealth ship for scrap with a target cost of less than $140,000. Seems like a bargain to me, if only you could operate it.
Here are rare behind-the-scenes photos from James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, including screen tests of actors who didn't get the starring role.

I debated whether to link to this or not. It's a graphic showing the parentage of various consumer brands and how many of them go back to a few big players like Coke or Kraft or Kellogg's. My problem with it? The name of the image is "illusion of choice" as though the parent company is relevant as opposed to the product variety. Maybe I've become way too sensitive to the whole 99% thing.

Remember sticky hands? (I can't forget. My kids got some stuck to the ceiling for so long they left permanent marks.) Well now you can play with a stick hand online thanks to those capitalist monsters fine folks at Coke.
Remember that wooden maze game with a ball you had to roll by tilting the game board? Now there's on online version that's probably even more frustrating (because you can't just say f*ck it and pickup the ball and drop it in the hole). Play Cube that uses Google maps to get you from one place to another.

A triathlon isn't hard enough, you had to do it while juggling?

Mmmmm. Donuts. Scientists create a torus that leaves both horizontal and vertical lengths unchanged using convex integration theory.

Not a donut: astronomers witness black hole eating a star.

Yes, we all can get along. source
In case it's not been made clear yet, the Mayan calender does not predict the end of the world in 2012.

Just because you can: particles and waves, planet earth, WebGL water.
I'd give this to my doctor and call it You Just Touched My Prostate. source
And now, for your relaxation and enjoyment, I present the Calming Manatee.

...but rather try to become a man of value. ~Albert Einstein

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