Saturday, September 16, 2017

Work shapes the mind...

The public school system I attended as a wee lad was ranked as the 2nd best in the state of Ohio.

This NYT article on wealth goes against what I was taught was good manners; don't talk about how much you spend on things. The author believes, on the other hand, that not talking about your wealth distracts all of us from considering the moral implications of wealth inequity. Even worse, the author believes that judging wealthy people by their individual behaviors (work ethic, charitable effort, etc.) is just another veil that hides the moral dilemma of income inequity. (In other words, you can be a good person but vilified simply for success.) I'm unable to describe how disturbed I was by this article.

NASA has made available for free the ebook The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini. Highly recommend.
The state of craft beer in Texas.

How about a time lapse video of Sol Lewitt's Wall Drawing #797 being drawn?

If you are an art fan, and Disney art in particular, I highly recommend the PBS American Masters episode on Tyrus Wong, the artist responsible for the design of the film Bambi.

I've mentioned here before the Disney film Four Artists Paint One Tree. Andreas Deja's blog post Four Old Men & One Young Lady introduced me to a Disney TV episode called The Tricks of Our Trade in which animation techniques are demonstrated by animators. There's a Leonard Maltin intro to that film on YouTube.

Josef Albers, Tenayuca, 1943. In an article on IdeelArt.com, the case is made this Albers' work is more personal than it seems and he is quote as saying "Everyone senses his place through his neighbor."
Here's a little insight into "ugly painting" or what I think people also call post-painterly abstraction. Granted, I don't necessarily get all these works either but the inclusion of de Kooning drew me in. "It serves as a reminder that art isn’t a branch of mortuary science, providing faithful replication of lost beauties. It’s a mind-altering drug: It exists to cause trouble, knock things head over heels and show that there are other ways to see."

The new band Gizmodrome (featuring the Police's Stewart Copeland and King Crimson's Adrian Belew) is streaming and commenting on their debut album.

In which we read how Steven Wilson's new album To the Bone is an attempt to emphasize songwriting over concepts.

Alma Woodsey Thomas, Orion, 1973. From an exhibition dedicated to American abstract artists who were also women of color.
Here's a slightly interactive infographic of every U.S. nuclear weapon.

Do not read this before you've had your coffee. I think it says that mathematicians have proved that the infinities of countable and uncountable numbers are the same.

...leisure colors it. ~Rev. James Dolbear

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Simplicity does not precede complexity...

I just discovered piano prodigy Joey Alexander - this kid plays classic jazz piano as though he grew up on the piano bench next to Oscar Peterson.

Other music up for consideration:
  • Lighthouse by Wingfield Reuter Sirkis. Neither jazz nor rock nor improv. If anything deserves the label progressive fusion, this might be it.
  • Loss by Marcus Fischer. Embraces both loss and life, loneliness and companionship.
earth :: an animated, interactive, global map of wind and weather

The periodic table done with haiku. Genius.

It's that time again when we crown the best burger in Fort Worth. Don't read this article unless you plan to eat soon cuz it'll make your mouth water.

OK, so we've had a map and something about food. How about a map about food? Specifically, the food each state hates most. Steak cooked "well done"? Absolutely. 
Here are maps of the U.S. colored as Disney princesses.

When was the first f-bomb dropped? Probably earlier than you think. Like 1310.

Computer issues have cut into today's writing.

...but follows it. ~Alan Perlis

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Innes, Iceberg

The dictionary definition of abstract is "existing in thought but not having a physical existence." It's no wonder then that many people can't find a connection between abstraction and their own experience of reality. "What is it supposed to be?" is often asked.

While not all abstract painting need represent a tangible object (and it doesn't), sometimes you see something that immediately reminds you of an abstract painting. Such was the case when I saw David Burdeny's photograph, Mercators Projection, on Bored Panda.

David Burdeny, Mercators Projection.
Immediately I thought of one of my favorite painters, Callum Innes. And it didn't take long for me to find a Callum Innes painting that looked like a David Burdeny photograph.

Callum Innes, Exposed Painting Blue Lake, 2013.

I'm not suggesting that Innes was painting an iceberg. But next time you are standing in front of an abstraction, try taking it for granted that the scene has a physical counterpart and spend the time thinking about the artist's expression of reality and your perception of it. Rather than a puzzle to be solved, think about the communication of ideas. You might be surprised at what is revealed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Line into Color, Mesh into CFD

Painter Helen Frankenthaler's work has been on my mind since seeing the exhibition Fluid Expression: The Prints of Helen Frankenthaler at Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum of American Art earlier this week. While there I also purchased and then read John Elderfield's book on her painting, Line Into Color, Color Into Line. Both left me with a much stronger appreciation for her work.

As often happens to me, certain concepts, ideas, or statements about art trigger analogies to my work in computational fluid dynamics and mesh generation. Such was the case when Frankenthaler was quoted in the book as saying
I felt more and more that the drawing should come from what the shapes of the colors are; rather than, "I am arranging this with lines or confinements or patterns." And I do very much believe in drawing, especially when it doesn't show as drawing... When I talk about drawing, I mean "how are you getting your space," not where the pencil is going.
To put that quote in context, the book's theme was how Frankenthaler exercised three types of lines (drawn lines, the perimeter of regions of color, and the edge of the canvas) to great effect in her paintings that are more typically known for their ethereal washes of color - poured, stained, painted or otherwise.
Helen Frankenthaler, Sesame, 1970. source
But first a bit of background. Within the world of computational fluid dynamics, the mesh is the digitalized version of the object around which you wish to solve the equations of fluid motion - digitalized so the computer can understand it. Think of it as the scaffolding on which the fluid will be simulated. In the illustration below (image source), the mesh lines around a ship's hull define where the computations will be performed.


When the equations of fluid motion are solved on the mesh, the results are often presented as graphical contours of a some property of the fluid like pressure as shown below on the ship's hull (image source). In this picture, red represents high pressure and blue represents low pressure.


The analogy I'm making between Frankenthaler's paintings and computational fluid dynamics is lines are meshes and color is the CFD results. When she says "drawing should come from what the shapes of the colors are" I hear the case for mesh adaptation (closely coupling the mesh to the actual flow of fluid instead of just the geometry). When she says she believes in drawing "especially when it doesn't show as drawing" I hear the case for "invisible" mesh generation (because meshing is not and end unto itself, only a means to an end). Regardless of whether we're talking about lines in terms of mesh or lines in terms of boundaries of the regions of color, it's true that the mesh is how you're getting your space, the space within which the simulation will be performed.

Other than the fluidity with which she applies pigment to canvas, there's little that visually ties her paintings to CFD (the images above make this clear). The drawn lines in Sesame don't look anything like lines in a mesh and the regions of color don't look much like fluid flow. But it's Frankenthaler's process and approach and her way of thinking about the interplay of line and color, mesh and CFD, creating and defining space, that brings art and science, a bit closer, at least in my mind.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mathematics is the art of giving...

Let's start with something that might be hard to get past once you start thinking about it. Is space-time an emergent (i.e. primary) property of the universe or secondary (i.e. evolved from the primary)? If time itself is secondary, might that explain why it's asymmetric (can only run forward)? And if questioning where did time come from isn't enough for this universe, in a multiverse would time in all universes be synchronized?

Helen Frankenthaler, Sure Violet, 1979. Currently part of an exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum, but only for a few days more.
Not enough for you? Scientists have observed something in nothing - quantum fluctuations in a pure vacuum.

Where are the Voyager spacecraft? And where are the last remaining people on earth who still control their mission?

How about 570 scans from da Vinci's The Codex Arundel?
This article on how famous artists overcame creative blocks ends with a quote from Chuck Close: "Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work."

The USS Indianapolis has been found at a depth of 18,000 feet in the Pacific Ocean. This wreck is historically significant. The ship was returning to the U.S. after delivering the atomic bomb to Tinian Island. After it was sunk, the surviving crew was butchered by sharks. (The story told in Jaws is real.)

Just one of many vintage advertisements that hasn't aged well.
"It was a dark and stormy night" is the inspiration for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which seeks the opening line to the worst novel. The 2017 winner is a gem about elves and flowers. If I could summon the motivation, I might enter. Someday.

The oldest known photo of a U.S. president from 1843. Do you know who it is?
The BBC compiled a list of the 100 greatest comedies. I've only seen 21 of them.

Literally the first U.S. coin ever minted. Worth an estimated $10 million. 
An artist on Pandora would need 1.2 million plays to earn minimum wage. A lot of people are getting paid on these streaming platforms, but what they pay content creators is a appalling.

According to this video explainer, Led Zeppelin's John Bonham's drumming excellence was due to the fact that he played more along with the lead guitar than the bass.

The Great 78 Project is digitizing music from vintage 78 rpm records. I'm not going to even try to explain that to young-uns. There's a 1951 recording of Yosemite Sam singing (i.e. Mel Blanc).

Screen grab of Divisional Articulations, an animation by Max Hattler. You know me and black and white animation.
Anyone who's had to deal with used needles (i.e. diabetics) can appreciate a needle grinder that produces non-toxic waste that can be sent to the landfill in your regular trash.

Total sperm count in Western men decreased 59% between 1973 and 2011 and continues to do so, likely due to chemical exposure, stress, obesity, smoking, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise.

A map showing the literal origin of U.S. state names. Texas = Friend.

I had no idea there was a Microsoft Office World Championship.

The Ta-Ta Towel (a cross between a terry cloth towel, a scarf, and a bra) is apparently a thing. And enough of a thing that it's sold out. "Keep them high, keep them dry." 
Lest a woman's other body parts feel unaccesorized, a Japanese company has introduced crotch charms, jewelry that dangles from the crotch region of a swimming suit.

Aside from sharp blades near your junk, shaving your pubes is riskier than you think - it leads to a significant increase in the risk for a sexually transmitted infection.

Double-Stuff Oreos only have 1.86 times the cream filling of a regular Oreo. And Mega-Stuff has 2.68 times the cream. Science has spoken.

Eighteen (18?) foods that make you poop. #3 Almonds. #10 Coffee (duh).

And this guy collects poo. At least after its been fossilized.

...the same name to different things. ~Henry Poincare

Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Berlin Project by Gregory Benford

What if the U.S. developed the atomic bomb a year earlier, in 1944?

This is the teaser for Gregory Benford's The Berlin Project, a thriller that ticked three of my boxes: nuclear weapons, espionage/military thriller, and alternate history.

Rather than a flight of fancy, Benford crafted this tale around his father-in-law's actual experiences back in the 1930s and 1940s working with and around Leslie Groves, Albert Einstein, Oppenhiemer, Bohr, and the entire cast of real-life Manhattan Project characters.

But back to the premise. Assume that science (and the politics of science) had turned out a bit differently back in the day such that the bomb was ready in '44 instead of '45. How might the Allies have put it to use, if at all? The difference in the science may seem small (and entirely plausible), but the results in wartime - maybe not so much.

The characters (perhaps because they are real) are so vivid and Benford's story is so believable (due to his research and work pulling it all together) that the resulting book is totally enjoyable. And while I could put it down, I couldn't wait to pick it up and finish it.

I highly recommend Gregory Benford's The Berlin Project.

You can read more about Benford at his publisher's website.

"Nothing can be said about writing except when it's bad. When it is good, one can only read and be grateful."

I received no compenstation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

In ethics, there is a humility...

Read this. Pause. Read again. Think. Chinese scientists have teleported a photon from earth to an orbiting satellite.

Fans of ambient music, rejoice! It's 12k's 40% off summer sale.

Or download (free) this great ambient mix of Glacial Movements' catalog.

Or how about the 2017 remastering of the Blade Runner soundtrack?

More? vMashup does a side-by-side synch of two videos. Be mesmerized by JumpReich: kids jumping rope vs. Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Carribean Sea, Jamaica, 1980. He claimed Rothko's late, dark paintings were more realistic than his photographs.
Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black on Gray), 1969.
Film from 1935 of daily life in Hiroshima.

Live webcam from the St. Louis Arch.

Relief! A hospital has set up an intensive care unit exclusively for the treatment of male patients suffering from coughs, colds, or even both.

Craft pr0n: making a wooden wheel.

Water permeable concrete. What kind of magic is this?
Considered one of the greatest animations of all time, here's a video about the making of What's Opera, Doc?

You really need to check out the videos from Oats Studios, a Neal Blomkamp project.

This is what happens when you send Rothko's Black on Gray (above) to Simplify.ThatSh.it
Here's what you get when you send a Clyfford Still to Simplify.ThatSh.it. The results are interesting yet uncompelling.
Gizmodrome is the new band featuring Adrien Belew, Stewart Copeland, Mark King and Vittorio Cosma. This 4 minute teaser video gives me a Zappa vibe.

Equation numbering in Word.

How well can you draw all 50 states? Not very.

This might be a good question for sparking conversations at work (or during an interview as proposed in the article): What's something that happens here but wouldn't happen anywhere else?

You've probably already seen this but - a photo suggests Amelia Earhart might have survived her plane crash.

The Seabin seems like a good idea for removing trash from waterways and harbors but the animated graphic at the top of their website makes it real hard to want to read more.

...moralists are usually righteous. ~John Berger

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Blue oblivion, largely lit,

It's July. Do you know where the first half of 2017 went?

David Kollar's new album Notes from the Underground has been released. I listened to it a lot this past week and am really enjoying it. Several tracks can be streamed from the Bandcamp I linked to.

Know any nerds who'd like a LEGO Saturn V?

Applying science (neuroscience to be specific) to art (exhibition design to be specific).

On Ellsworth Kelly's greatness: “All of a sudden you begin to understand that if you dissociate narrative ideas, how strong the visual impulse is in every human being.”

Ellsworth Kelly, Blue on White, 1969. source
Our friends at TSA (Taking Scissors Away) will rummage through your luggage, play with it, and post selfies with it. But yet somehow their job remains important.

I post a lot of rude and naughty stuff here. But it's BS like this that should offend us all: anti-science in Florida.

...smiled and smiled at me. ~William Rose Benet

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Science is organized knowledge.

It's time to clean out the bookmarks. So here we go.

Gaudi's latest CD, Magnetic, arrived in the mail this week and I've been thoroughly enjoying it. Another album of his, Dub Qawwali, has been recommended to me so I'm streaming it now.

The first CD from the duo of Eraldo Bernocchi and Netherworld, Himuro, also arrived this week. You can stream it online before purchasing, which I recommend you do if you're a fan of ambient music.

And I'm still waiting for the arrival of David Kollar's latest, Notes from the Underground. A second track has been released for you to preview, Thirst of Life.

Finally, here's a teaser video for Marco Minneman's new album, Borrego.

For Steve Hackett and Genesis fans who can get to Australia, the former will be performing a special show on 06 August in Melbourne featuring songs from the classic Genesis album Wind and Wuthering. (Having written that, I may have to put that CD into the player tomorrow.)

Juno. source (including hi-res image)
A solar eclipse is coming on 21 August. Are you ready?

The Greatest Sales Deck I've Ever Seen (who still calls a presentation a "slide deck?") is actually not bad. It's a good framework for your story.

Five ways to educate your customers through content. #4 Teach them a practical skill.
The periodic table of SEO success factors.
Vonlane is a high-end bus transportation company ("private jet on wheels") servicing DFW, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. From DFW to Austin will run you $100. Plus you'll avoid the TSA freedom massage.

A brief article about Mark Bradford at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. And if you're in Denver before 16 July, I highly recommend a visit to the Denver Art Museum to see Shade: Clyfford Still/Mark Bradford.

Where the Russians will nuke us? This map and article are a bit simplistic IMO. And they ignore the really fund part - fallout.
A nearly 100 million year old baby bird was found in amber in Burma. (I've got an "amberized" bug in my collection.)

Lot's of data on marketing here with the concluding statement "The future of marketing is having more science in our art and more art in our science.”

You can book a flight with ZERO-G to experience weightlessness (as in NASA's "Vomit Comet").

A video about how to speak so people want to listen. (Yes, it's a TED Talk but don't pre-judge.)

The Walt Disney Family Museum is currently exhibiting Awakening Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle
I don't know what the hell is wrong with politicians. "Missouri’s Senate is considering legislation that would allow employers and landlords to discriminate against women who use birth control or have had abortions." No, this is not The Onion.

A Fifth Element remix.

Neill Blomkamp is posting videos from his Oats Studios of works in progress including a film called Rakka.

And a "making of" video about Blade Runner 2049.

Flags of Valor is a veteran-owned and operated company that makes nice looking U.S. flags crafted from wood.

Sleep with someone who snores? Maybe you should consider Nora, a device that listens for snoring and when detected it gently moves the snorer's pillow so they stop.

Remember when putt-putt golf was competitive and televised? Vimeo does and they've got the videos to prove it.
Craft breweries by state. source
Practice is the art of finding a process for repetition without boredom.

More science in art - or in this case, cellular automata in architecture.

A bit of architectural commentary on the Clyfford Still Museum and others.

Two black holes collided and merged, spinning off two solar masses of gravitational waves. Ouchy.

The easiest way to bust enhancement is this 3D illusion t-shirt.

More proof that stupidity will be the end of us all. Over 16 million U.S. adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

This article involves a "tainted buffet" at a "strip club." Not for the squeamish, not for the genteel, not for work. Not for anyone really. Do not click the link. You've been warned.

Dead. Butt. Syndrome.

Wisdom is organized life. ~Immanuel Kant

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Seriousness in True Joy

During my business trip to Denver earlier this month, I toured - for the second time - the Clyfford Still Museum. And, and is my compulsion, I bought a book. But not just any book: a vintage copy of the catalog that accompanied Still's donation of 28 of his paintings to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1976.

Toward the end of the book, a 1963 quote of Still's is included that I'll quote directly here:
"I'm not interested in illustrating my time. A man's 'time' limits him, it does not truly liberate him. Our age - it is of science - of mechanism - of power and death. I see no virtue in adding to its mammoth arrogance the compliment of graphic homage."
Flipping a few pages back in the book brought me to PH-261 (see below), a painting completed about the same time as Still made that statement. Certainly, this painting exudes timelessness and is without mechanism. It is essentially human.

Clyfford Still, PH-261, 1962. source
Still also is quoted in the book as saying "I am a serious man about those things I consider important. Perhaps there is a seriousness in true joy." There is no better word than joy to describe my reaction to Clyfford Still's work.

Reference: Clyfford Still at the SFMOMA.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The time at our disposal each day is elastic...

New music to be previewed and ordered:

  • David Kollar, Notes from the Underground, to be released 30 June.
  • Brand X, But Wait... There's More (double, live CD), to begin shipping 14 July (Note: the link is to their store at Burning Shed for UK and other orders. It appears US customers have to order through Facebook which is a new one for me.)
  • Stick Men ft. Mel Collins, Roppongi - Live in Tokyo, Show 1 and Show 2 (to be released 21 July)

In this interview with musician and composer J. Peter Schwalm we read about how the artist's intent doesn't necessarily have to be deduced by the listener. "I really want listeners to feel something when they are listening to my music; In an ideal situation, they would feel the same as me."

Mark Bradford, Realness, 2016. Soon.
This calls for some research. Cousin's BBQ has switched to all-natural, Creekstone Farms briskets which taste better than their previous briskets. On a related note, the top 50 BBQ joints in Texas.

Five of the top 10 U.S. cities in population growth are in Texas with Fort Worth coming in at #7. On a related note, Forbes ranked Fort Worth as the 6th fastest growing city.

The Modern posted a video playlist called Modern Collections in which a staff member takes 3-4 minutes to talk about one specific work. Of the five videos currently available, my favorite is about Clyfford Still's 1956-J No. 1 Untitled.

Not just no, HELL NO. TSA planning to make the traveling public "declutter" their baggage. How about we declutter airports by kicking TSA to the curb?

The strapless, adhesive Bliss Bra (gives you +2 cup sizes) is currently on sale for 50% off.

How does Facebook police nudity? It's harder than you think.

Clyfford Still, PH-929, 1974. Very soon.
The Texas state legislature (which seems to be more interested in chasing high profile but relatively useless legislation - i.e. bathroom bill) is on the verge of requiring "breweries making more than 225,000 barrels annually to repurchase their own product from wholesalers in order to continue selling beer for on-premise consumption at their taprooms."

I had no idea that JFK gave the commencement address at my alma mater, Syracuse University, back in 1957.

Confused about what is a sandwich and what isn't? Thank you, lawyers.

NASA loses track of a bag of moon dust from Apollo 11, woman buys it from USG for $1,000, NASA takes it back, woman sues and wins back a priceless piece of history and science.

...the passions we feel dilate it, those that inspire us shrink it, and habit fills it. ~Marcel Proust

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Either write something worth reading...

Why are there 3 big animation auctions in June?
Music du jour:
Agne Gintalaite, Beauty Remains. source. The article makes a comparison to Rothko but when I see an array like this the immediate comparison is Gerhard Richter.
Very soon I will see Shade, the Mark Bradford & Clyfford Still exhibit.

Those interested in Soviet-era history will no doubt enjoy the Manhoff Archive, a trove of color photos and videos from 1950s Soviet Union.

Going a bit further back in time, the Paleobiology Database is an interactive map of fossil finds.

Make your own Sankey diagrams with SankeyMATIC.

25 things about Cleveland. MR HERO IS THE BOMB.

Quarterbacks ranked by career record. Yes, Brady is #1. But who's #2?

Flip Myers-Briggs on its head by defining hell for each personality type. Mine: "An incredibly impractical person is put in charge of all of your major life decisions. You have to do whatever they say and are powerless to argue or reason with them." (Maybe Satre's definition was simpler: Hell is other people.)

...or do something worth writing. ~Benjamin Franklin

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The trouble is...

Ryuichi Sakamoto (whom you might remember from the soundtrack of the 1983 film Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence) has released async, his first album in many years. You can stream it here. I purchased the album and have been playing it a lot recently and really like it. Read a review on Pitchfork and another on Fader. Or just go to Sakamoto's website.

Recording artist Taylor Deupree also runs the 12k label of experimental and ambient music. In this interview, among many other insights, we learn that the USPS increased international shipping rates for a single CD by a factor of 8 which, no surprise, resulted in a vast decrease in orders. (Who's gonna pay shipping costs that are the same as the CD cost?)

American Scholar recently reminded me of composer and musician (and Houstonian) Paulina Oliveros whose mantra was "listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening." Take some time for Deep Listening.

The Cassini spacecraft flew through Saturn's rings and took photographs that are simply amazeballs. 
MuscleWiki: click on a muscle, see exercises for it. (I couldn't help notice that nothing happens when you click on the brain.)

Piggybacking on a NASA high-altitude balloon, an experimental sensor package recorded infrasound, low frequency earth noise like crashing waves and grinding mantle. Listen here.

Carey Nieuwhof shares leadership advice for people just starting their careers. The one that jumped out at me is #20 Work twice as hard on your character as you do on your competency.

And then there's this: joking at work can make you seem more competent.

Joan Miro, Passage of the Divine Bird, 1941 (left). Alexander Calder, Constellation, 1941 (right). "Works that mutually resonate with power."
Syracuse friends, you have 1 more day to see the Bradley Walker Tomlin exhibit at the Everson Museum. And unfortunately, their exhibit of late 20th century abstraction, More Real, More a Dream, has already closed. I was lucky to see them both and they are more than worth the price of admission.

Don't have the money to buy fine art? You can rent it. See Fine Art Staging.

You can read about art in 200 books made freely available from the Guggenheim Museum. I had to stop downloading the PDFs because there are so many I'd never read them all.

What's the 11th best public high school in northeast Ohio (and #43 in the entire state)? Rocky River High School, my alma mater.

And Grapevine High School, my boys' alma mater, was ranked #71 in Texas.

When it comes to sandwiches, where are you on the structure and ingredient scales? I must admit to being a purist on both. source
McDonald's continues their fun with utensils by introduction the Frork or "fry fork." (But I'm still sad they didn't send me their CFD-designed STRAW.)

Here's the trailer for Blade Runner 2049. (Please don't screw this up.)

Have you ever taken a survey with responses strongly disagree, disagree, don't know, agree, strongly agree or something like that. Did you know that has a name? The Likert Scale.

Napercise. Did napping really need an up-sell?

...you think you have time. ~Buddha

Saturday, April 22, 2017

We are afraid to care too much...

Thinking that it's time to pull the trigger and get the album Lift a Feather to the Flood by Robert Rich & Markus Reuter.

Here's a text teaser about an upcoming ambient album from Eraldo Bernocchi and Netherworld called Himuro to be released 30 June.

Helen Frankenthaler, Grey Fireworks, 2000. From the ongoing exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fluid Expressions: The Prints of Helen Frankenthaler.
Hometown does good: Conde Nast Traveler included Fort Worth on its list of 6 U.S. Cities to Watch in 2017. "top-notch museums" "Head to Magnolia Ave."

Apollo 11 artifacts - including its command module - may be coming soon to a town near you (if you live near Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or Seattle).

This "craft pr0n" video of a canoe being carved out of a log is mesmerizing in a sleepy kinda of way.
Consider this a public service announcement: how to avoid penis fractures. (Hint: no cowgirl.)

...for fear that the other person does not care at all. ~Eleanor Roosevelt.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss...

I've got a lot of music bookmarked so I can give a listen before making a buy decision. Now you can too.

Donald Sultan, Dead Plant November 1 1988. Currently on display at The Modern.
Of these 8 things every person should do before 8:00 a.m, I've done precisely 2 today. #5 Take a cold shower. Uh, no thank you.

A video of the rotating moon compiled from LRO images.


Yes finally got admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but you might be wondering which incarnation of Yes. Rolling Stone has made a little video explaining the band's evolving line-up. (Those of you hoping for a reunion should give it up.)

If you like music and can handle math here's something about musical fractals (aka harmonic polyrhythms). It just gave me a headache.

Largest company in each state.
Beer journalism: oct.co.

Why does Jeff Bezos' think it's always Day 1? "Staying in Day 1 requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings, and double down when you see customer delight. A customer-obsessed culture best creates the conditions where all of that can happen."

Disneyland's private Club 33 is coming to Walt Disney World (4 locations?). Initiation fee expected to be in excess of $50,000 with annual dues in excess of $15,000. (I've dined at Club 33 due to the kindness of friends.)

More Disney? How about this list of 60 foods you ought to try at Disney World? While I have no plans to eat a turkey leg, I would like to eventually try the famous Dole Whip.

OK, this is the last one. Disney World's rides ranked. "it's a small world" is only #22? C'mon man.

Fort Worth's Near Southside (the district in which I work) is getting good press for its development efforts.

And if you like to eat in Fort Worth, here's one man's best of Fort Worth list. For example, Canne Rosso for pizza. (And I'm not including this just because the article mentions me.) Here's a big magazine's best of list in case you prefer something more corporate.

One principle of success from Xerox Parc: "It's baseball, not golf. Batting 0.350 is very good."

Ikigai: A reason for being. How many of us achieve it?

Android users may soon be getting a video stabilization feature in Google Photos.

Don't forget about graphene. Now someone has shown how to use it to desalinate water.

Hey aviation geeks: here's a document I'd call historically significant. Kelly Johnson's 1958 white paper on Archangel 1 which became the A-12 which became the SR-71. More here.

I'm not certain, but reading this give me the impression that the LA Times is not a fan of our current president.

What's your Boob IQ? My score was 11/13. (With a little bit of extra effort they could've made it more fun by giving you a score like 32B or 38D. But that would probably offend some people by equating bigger with better. Never mind.)

How do you make a better bra? Start by realizing that 37% of all womens' breasts fall between cup sizes.

"Gimme an F!" College cheerleading squad was basically an escort service.

...events, great minds discuss ideas. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, April 14, 2017

11/22/63 by Stephen King

I don't mind admitting to my biases. At the library, browsing the shelves of audio books on CD, when I got to "K" I'd sidestep right by "King, Stephen." Why? Two reasons. In high school I saw The Shining in the theater and it scared the bujeebus out of me. A decade or so later I saw The Langoliers TV mini-series and bored the doodie out of me. Therefore, no more from Mr. King.

That is, no more until a friend (thanks, JP) told me he was in the middle of King's 11/22/63 and said it was quite good and his wife liked it too. Given those recommendations and the additional fact that I've read quite a bit non-fiction about the JFK assassination (most notably, Vincent Bugliosi's 1,000+ page tome Reclaiming History), 11/22/63 was my next checkout from the library.

Stephen King's 11/22/63 is at the top of the list of novels I've enjoyed most in the past couple of years. Part sci-fi, part historical fiction, part love story, 11/22/63 succeeds with all three.

Suppose you had been given the ability to go back in time to save JFK from Oswald's bullet. Would you do it? Could you do it? And then what? Can you even foresee the obstacles you might face? The historical fiction part of 11/22/63 succeeded for me because as a Fort Worth residence I delighted in hearing native places and names brought back to life in the "present," first person. The sci-fi part of it succeeded for me because I was so engaged by the concept that I found myself extrapolating the plot with my own theories of what might happen when someone starts messing with past. (None of my theories turned out to be part of King's plot.) But what pulled me in and kept me circling the block so I could hear more of the audio book, was the seemingly tangential issue of who else you might meet in the past and how they might change you, in the present, in the future, and for all time.

Actor Craig Wasson provided the narration and greatly contributed to my appreciation of 11/22/63.

Highly recommend.

"Nothing can be said about writing except when it's bad. When it is good, one can only read and be grateful."

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Politics and Business: What's New. A Report from COFES 2017

The second keynote address (more of a moderated conversation, actually) at COFES 2017 (the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software) was given by Mark Anderson and Scott Foster on the topic of Business Implications of the New International Political Landscape. This was the first time I'd heard Foster speak and my second time for Anderson but it's fair to say that listening to them is like drinking from the proverbial fire hose. I decided to take some time to jot down a summary before it all leaked out of my less than sponge-like brain.

For the record, Anderson seems to be a well-informed, insightful person. Among many other accomplishments, Anderson's bio claims he's the only person to predict both the financial collapse of 2008 and the more recent drastic drop in the price of oil.

Any lack of clarity in what I write below should be blamed on my poor note taking and memory, not either of the keynote speakers.

Anderson began by taking 10 minutes to brief us on four notable topics.

  1. The rise of nationalism (aka alt-right, aka populism) was instigated by two factors: immigration and trade imbalance. What most people don't understand, is that the huge migration of people has very little to do with escaping war and conflict; mostly it involves people moving from a place that sucks to a place that's better for economic reasons. Here Anderson tossed out the nugget "[Immigration] is the only reason Brexit happened." The second factor, trade imbalance, directly hurts the middle class. Here Anderson dropped a second nugget, the opinion that China's trade policy is to impoverish their trade partners. And a third nugget: China's economy is crashing and has been for a couple of years with GDP actually dropping 2-4%.
  2. $50/gallon oil is the greatest thing in the world. By dropping what amounted to a global tax, we in the U.S. no longer need to mess around in the Middle East because soon we'll be the largest exporter of oil.
  3. With respect to the rise of technology and automation, Anderson called it inevitable and said it will be a great benefit to those who control the means of production because they will become more profitable. At the same time, robots will replace human jobs furthering the trend toward income inequality. "Bill Gates is going to be a pauper compared to Elon Musk," said Anderson. [Note that this says nothing about the societal cost of income inequality and how we as a society redirect the workforce. The good news is, this argument is similar to those I heard in the 1970s about robots taking peoples' factory jobs.]
  4. Finally, global warming is real. Anderson says just ask the military, serious people who are currently accounting for that in their planning.
Foster recently authored Stealth Japan, a look at the success of the Japanese economy, a success that the Western media is said to get completely wrong. In introducing Foster, Anderson called Japan the "pivot country" in Asia.

The election of Trump created panic and dismay throughout Eastern Asia. Specifically, the demise of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) - a deal that the U.S. pushed through mostly on its own beneficial terms - has killed American credibility in the region. Countries in the region - China included - are negotiating a new trade pact that leaves the U.S. out. Probably not a good thing for us.

On the political-military front, the Chinese are in the South China Sea with their man-made islands and such. It's a done deal. In addition to this expansion, Anderson tossed out that "Nothing happens in North Korea without help and approval from the Chinese." So complaints about their missile program fall on deaf ears, especially when the U.S. government would prefer China handle it. There's nothing China would love more than to further diminish U.S. influence in the region.

With respect to economic power, China is buying its way into the manufacturing of industrial robots. China has created in response to Industry 4.0 an effort called Made in China 2025. Unlike "made in America" which was called an empty slogan with nothing behind it, China will use everything within their economic and political power to achieve that goal. And a huge effort to develop the Eurasian Rail Network will create new economies simply due to the ease of shipping goods. 

With respect to countries in the region. Japan follows the rules. China is only for consenting adults. (Do business there, but take care.) South Korea is opening up (because their economy is so bad they have to). Singapore is the London of Asia. 

Bottom lines?
  • The drive toward automation is unstoppable.
  • There is fear that the U.S. will disengage from Asia.
  • We are over-estimating China and underestimating Japan.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

I have learned that to be with those I like...

There's a bird chirping away outside my office window. Inside, here are excerpts from Brian Eno's Reflection and The Ship.

Alma Thomas, Lake Reflection Advent of Spring, 1973. source
A King Crimson coloring book? (Check the date.)

A 3,400 year old tune may be the word's oldest song and is more sophisticated than some music historians would've believed.

On the other hand, giraffes are as dull as you probably expect as evidenced by this giraffe webcam.

This is not a joke. Art of Noise is re-releasing a remastered 2-CD deluxe edition of their 1986 album In Visible Silence. One of the packages available through Pledge Music includes a signed 12" print of the album's cover. I've already ordered mine.

A lost art? source
...is enough. ~Walt Whitman

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Put more trust in nobility of character...

In: T-Rex, Rubber Ducky, Penguin. Out: Boot, Thimble, Wheelbarrow. What? Monopoly.

Would you like JPEGS that are one third smaller? Google has an app for that.

source
Carbon Trifecta is a U.S. tax-exempt organization with a goal to convert CO2 to graphene for use in 3D printing.

If you're spending $45,000 on a wristwatch, why not go all the way and include a drop of the world's oldest whisky, Old Vatted Glenlivet 1862.

The top 50 craft brewers of 2016 includes two in Texas: Gambinus and Real Ale Brewing.
Speaking of maps, the CIA's Flickr page is full of maps.

Woo hoo, we're #77! Colleyville made Bloomberg's list of America's 100 richest places. (Also from Texas, #14 Highland Park, #16 West University Place, #27 University Park, #42 Southlake, #47 Bellaire)

Scruddle is an app for self-curating your news feed. (I know one of the founders.)

A $5,900 desk lets you lie down on the job. But where do you put your coffee mug?
This list of 2017 trends is a bit thin on details but: biomimicry, AI, "learning circles," high-end conferences, and anti-retirement.

Just like the author of this article, I too really enjoy the Blanton Museum at U.T. Austin and it seems a visit is overdue sing they rehung their galleries. (Unfortunately, it appears the museum's website has been hacked.)

New Thelonius Monk album? A soundtrack he did in 1959 for a film will be released later this spring on LP and CD.

...than in an oath. ~Solon