Saturday, July 14, 2012

The two enemies of human happiness are...

OK, let's get started.

I haven't seen Brave yet so you'll have to judge how true this Pixar storyboard artist's tips on narrative development are. #19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

Must watch video of the week - Grand Finale 2010-11 is a composite video of all Space Shuttle launches.
Just like the toy in a box of cereal, swag from tradeshows was always a pleasant surprise for me. I still have a box full of swag from computer maker SGI (from back in the day when they were kings of the graphics workstation market). That has carried over to the present day where we try to give away fun stuff (pilsner glasses, Rubik's cubes, telescoping pointers). This article rates as good or bad the latest in event swag. Mobile charger? Looks good. Pens? Underrated. Large items? Definitely troublesome. Once got a Snuggie at a show and had to cram it into my suitcase. Umbrellas are good? I don't get that one.

Reason #38D that it's great to be a scientist - Predictors of Three-Dimensional Breast Kinematics during Bare-Breasted Running. (Reminds of that scene in Monthy Python's Meaning of Life. You know the one.) Their radical conclusion? Wait for it.  Bigger boobs jiggle more. (Insert joke about "hands on" research here.)
 More Tumblr juiceness:
If you have an hour to invest, this two-part podcast with musician Harold Budd is worth the effort. Budd is also a fan of painter Mark Rothko and describes meeting with him as well as other luminaries like John Cage and Morton Feldman. Part 1. Part 2. (Caveat: the amateurish interviewer was almost enough to make me turn this off. Suffer through it for Budd's sake. It's worth it to hear him shoot down attempts to infer specific meaning or messages in his music.)

Do you speak a lot publicly? Give presentations? This video pretty much sums up Every. Presentation. Ever.

Science pr0n - world's first image of an atom's shadow. source
 More books that I'll never find time to read.
  • books that changed science forever (All the classics are here, from Copernicus in 1543 to Maxwell in 1873.)
  • 88 books that changed America (I really am gonna have to read The Great Gatsby soon. Who was it that said it might be the most perfect novel ever written? Also, glad to see The Sound and The Fury included on this list. I've said it before and I'll say it again - it may be the best example of written English ever.)
  • Carl Sagan's reading list (Outline of Abnormal Psychology?)
What do Joe DiMaggio and JFK have in common? Read about it in this list of the 10 most incredible JFK assassination theories.

Reason #6 why I'm going to hell - Cool Jesus. source
Forbes brings us this list of the most miserable cities in the U.S. (Hey Detroit, at least Miami is #1.) Cleveland comes in at #12. It was down before and then up again and now down again. Let's hope for another upswing. For better or worse, what hurt CLE is lousy weather and sports teams. If I read the list correctly it consists of cities in CA, FL, and Rust Belt states.

The history of art? "Abstract art" totally wrong. Action painting looks like a Franz Kline. source
I am going to reproduce this list entirely as text (the linked page is just an image) because it's priceless. Reasons to Fear Canada by Sean Carman.
  1. Ninety percent of population is massed within 100 miles of northern American border.
  2. Seems not to mind that one of its provinces has turned almost entirely French.
  3. Excessive politeness only makes sense as a cover for something truly sinister. But what?
  4. Citizens seem strangely impervious to cold.
  5. Decriminalization of marijuana and acceptance of gay marriage without corresponding collapse of social institutions indicate Canada may, in fact, be indestructable.
  6. Has infiltrated entertainment industry with singers, actors, and comedians practically indistinguishable from their American counterparts.
  7. Consistently stays just below cultural radar yet never quite disappears.
  8. Parliamentary government and common-law judiciary appear to function acceptably yet remain completely inscruitable.
  9. Never had a "disco phase."
  10. Seemingly endless supply of timber, donuts, and Scotch-plaid hats with earflaps.
  11. Keeps insisting it has "no designs on America" and "only wants peace."
NASA's Mars Rover, Opportunity, took this 360 degree panoramic photo of the Martian surface.
Best of the visualization web for June 2012: Part 1, Part 2.

This guy really likes Google's Nexus 7 tablet.

Draw your own conclusions from this research study of Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations.

On the other hand I'll tell you exactly what I think of the widely published and commented on UCLA study Life at Home in the 21st Century in which researchers spent four years studying 32 Los Angeles-area families: its conclusions are complete and utter nonsense. While purporting to dig deeply literally and figuratively into these families' possessions, the sample size is so small and skewed as to make any generalized conclusions farcical.  The article is littered with psuedo-scholarly lingo like "normative expectation of hyperconsumerism," "high object density," "child-centered society" much like the homes in the study are littered with junk.

Mmmm, clam like salt.
...pain and boredom. ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

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