Saturday, April 30, 2011

The world today doesn't make any sense...

One blogger's thoughts after 1,000 posts includes "Sooner or later you're going to say something stupid." For me, it was sooner.

Citebite is an interesting tool: you choose some text on a web page and Citebite creates a URL you can send to someone that opens on that page with your selected text highlighted.

 Barbara Takenaga's Arctic (Grid) 2009

Loon alert: calling animals pets is insulting.

As of today, 11.6% of the world still uses Internet Explorer 6.  Let's see what we can do to wipe out this scourge.

From the Animated Geometry Department, a hypotrochoid.

Although I don't like most infographics, here's one on toilet paper including this nugget: the average American spends 30 minutes per year looking for the end of the roll.  And if you want to make your own infographic, here are some free tools to use.

Need a furry and adorable placeholder image?  Use placekitten to get a random image of any size.

Because I bitch a lot about the poor quality audio from an mp3 I decided to take the test at  I got it right (could tell which of two mp3s was the 320 kbps version versus the 128 kbps version).  Now I'm afraid to do it again because I might get it wrong.  The differences were pretty subtle on the shitty built-in speaker on my netbook but it was the vocals that clued me in - the vocals in the high-quality mp3 were a bit more rounded, less thin and edgy.

Proof #111 that innovation is not dead.  How can you resist the urge to run the length of this thing leaving an orange streak?  source
Talk Binary, getting people interested in all things programming.

The Periodic Table of Fictional Materials maps out all your geek elements including Star Wars' carbonite.

Six common blog slip-ups.
  1. Headlines are smaller than 30 pixels.
  2. Images are bad - using none would be better.  (Oddly, the post has no images.)
  3. Opt-in form is ugly.
  4. About page is lame.
  5. Dates on articles document how stale your content is. (I hate blog articles without dates.)

Did you know that Green Eggs and Ham is the result of a bet between author Dr. Seuss and publisher Bennett Cerf that Seuss couldn't write a book using 50 or fewer unique words?  Not only did Seuss win the bet in stunning fashion, GEaH is the 4th highest selling children's book of all time.  (Note: the website linked to looks a little odd to me including its URL.  I don't suggest clicking the links or playing the game they reference.)

Innovation in facial hair - the monkey tail beard.
Social bookmarking site (or as it used to be known, has been sold by Yahoo to AVOS, a company run by the guys who founded YouTube.  If you're a Delicious user, they want you to login and complete a form that gives Yahoo permission to transfer your bookmarks to the new owners.  I have two accounts with Delicious from two attempts to use it personally and professionally.  In the end I didn't find it to be worth the effort.

This article in the Economist about the origin of languages (apparently, they may all have a common origin in central Africa) gave me a headache.

Have you ever seen so many Blackbirds in one place at the same time?  source
More aviation pr0n: Have Blue, Tacit Blue (possibly the ugliest aircraft to ever fly), and Bird of Prey - declassified demonstrator aircraft.

I can only imagine that Hacker Typer is what Hollywood uses to let actors type screens full of gibberish.  Try it for yourself - just press Hack and start typing.
  • You can get an IGES file of the Wigley Hull model here.
  • Beta CAE released ANSA v13.1.3
  • ANSYS started the CFD Insight Leadership Series.
  • Symscape's blog asks the rhetorical question "Is CFD Flawed?" to ensure that someone's lack of success in Formula 1 doesn't tarnish everything.
At first I thought this was some kind of edible Transformers thing but alas, Food Trucks Fort Worth maintains a list and map of all the gourmet food trucks in the city.

Po is my favorite Telletubby.  Edgar Allan's writing?  Meh.  source 
Poor Idaho, it got left off this map of the United States of Good Beer.  In case you have trouble deciding, this infographic answers the question "What should I drink?"  Beer has inspired a lot of inventions, some good, some not so good.

If your digital camera is ever stolen, give Stolen Camera Finder a try.  You give it one of your photos from which it finds your camera's serial number and then searches the web for photos taken with your camera.  (I still have my camera but apparently it doesn't include its serial number in the image files.)

Enjoy the world's largest collection of black markers.

Mutation #1 by Hugo Arcier is "the eruption of a 3D wireframe into reality."
 From the Books I Don't Have Time to Read Department, here are some online books and course notes on technical topics.
If you're a software developer and already know what a Heisenbug is, don't bother reading the Wikipedia page about unusual software bugs.

    Clock fetish revealed.  Bottom row is hours, top 2 rows are minutes.  source

    Tom Hanks is a lot of animals. why should I paint pictures that do?  ~Pablo Picasso

    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner

    In the deep South, a mob gathers outside the local jail intent on one thing: lynching Lucas Beauchamp, a defiant - some might call uppity - black man accused of shooting a local white man in the back.  Drawing upon a debt of kindness from four years prior, Lucas calls upon young Charles "Chick" Mallison Jr. to help him prove his innocence.  After all, when something needs doing, you don't seek the help of men - you seek the help of women and children.  Chick, a friend, and an aging spinster find themselves on a ghoulish midnight mission to find the proof they need.  Their startling find eventually leads Chick to a confrontation with the dead man's gun-toting father.  Lucas wants what's fair and Chick wants what's right.  The question is, can they get it before the mob gets what they want?

    Perhaps this isn't how you recall William Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust.  That plot summary could've been for a modern Hollywood big-screen production starring Denzel Washington as Lucas and Zac Efron as Chick.  (This is why I'm not a casting agent.)  But someone I know is reading this for school so I revisited this work by my favorite author.

    My preference for Faulkner was met with incredulity: "He's your favorite?  His sentences never end!"  It's true that Intruder is written in Faulkner's well-known stream of consciousness style, some of the best of which occurs in the opening chapters.
    ...he didn't know how it happened, something a girl might have been expected and even excused for doing but nobody else, halfway over the footlog and not even thinking about it who had walked the top rail of a fence many a time twice that far when all of a sudden the known familiar sunny winter earth was upside down and flat on his face and still holding the gun he was rushing not away from the earth but away from the bright sky and he could remember still the tin bright tinkle of the breaking ice and how he didn't even feel the shock of the water but only of the air when he came up again.
    Faulkner uses his inimitable prose and his unparalleled skill at dialog to craft a tale, not necessarily of murder and intrigue, but one of men, and race, and history, and the South.  Faulkner's well known quote about there being no past, that the past always being inescapably present, comes to play here.  Fittingly for a high school reading assignment, young people have a role to play in resolving the South's legacy.  One only need one ask oneself who's the intruder and what's this dust?

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Men show their character in nothing more clearly than...

    For my friend Chris who thinks I have an unnatural attraction to the music of Brian Eno, here's the track Glitch from his upcoming album Drums Between Bells.  Or if Chris fancies himself a DJ, he can spend time with DJ Player and make his own mixes and effects.

    The Sheep Market is an online mosaic of 10,000 hand drawn sheep.

    Git yer learnin' on.  Yale maintains an open online catalog of several introductory courses.  Be sure to check out Philosophy 176 - Death (aka reflections on mortality).  If Ivy League isn't your style, try some computer science classes at Google Code University like HTML, CSS, and Javascript from the Ground Up (never too late to learn it the right way).  Maybe you have only ten minutes - learn Python.

    I have found my next throne.  Kholer's Numi would make Thomas Crapper proud. 

    Back to school for me: 100 books every high school student should read and I've read (or watched the movie) of only 16 of them.

    Helen Frankenthaler, Flood, 1967

    The NY Times reviews Color As Field: American Painting 1950-1975 and it sounds like it's well worth the visit to the Smithsonian if you're in DC.

    Fast Company reports on a survey indicating that the American public would switch to electric cars if gas hit $5 per gallon.  Certainly gas prices like that would be felt throughout the economy as all products and services that require transportation would inflate in price.  But I'm not certain that $5/gal is enough to get the populace to switch to electric cars.   We've often wondered about the gas price at which you'd change your driving habits - car pool, public transportation, drive less, even buy a car that gets better mileage.   I can't say $5 is my tipping point, but I just drive back and forth to work.  Also, electric cars are not the panacea they seem.  Other than the current lack of infrastructure, they're no better environmentally than an internal combustion engine.  All you've done is changed the storage mechanism for the energy from gas to a battery.  The juice for that battery doesn't come from bunny farts (as a friend says) but comes from a big coal burning power plant somewhere.

    Sketch of Voronoi is a fun little bit of Flash where you can interact with Voronoi polygons.  (It's a meshing thing.)

    Proof that genius is alive and well on teh interwebs: the prime number shitting bear.

    Natural resources have been in the news a lot lately - running out of helium, lack of access to rare earth elements - so the folks at have given us this map of the world's resources.   It's no surprise that the U.S. leads with 42% of the corn production or that Saudi Arabia leads with 20% of the world's oil but the leader in cotton production did surprise me.

    How many bricks does it take to build a 102 foot tall LEGO tower?  In my experience, LEGOs are usually found equally distributed across the floor in a pool exactly 1 brick high.

    Stupid picture of the week #1.  But it still made me laugh.

    Twitter is worth over one billion dollars, has over 200 million users, is about to buy TweetDeck for $50 million and yet no one seems to know what it is.  Who would've thought you could send an email without specifying the recipients?

    Anyone remember the 1975 Clint Eastwood movie The Eiger Sanction?  Here's video of a dude who solo climbs the Eiger in less than 3 hours.  I get light-headed just watching this.

    Randomly dialing any 1-800 number in the U.S. has a 25% probability of connecting you with phone sex. (There's a joke here somewhere but I'm having trouble finding it.)
    • Open CASCADE is experimenting with GPUs for visualization of CAD geometry.
    • Pinguy OS is a Linux-based operating system for everyone that provides a complete out-of-the-box experience for those who don't want to do all the fiddling required by other Linux distros. 
    • Glassworks' 3D interactive model of the human heart is pretty impressive.
    When it comes to running your own business you need to give yourself permission to suck, to be bad at the things you don't know how to do.  However, I also believe in the adage "it's better to ask forgiveness than to seek permission" therefore I apologize for sucking.

    Things you probably won't ever need to do #3: search the first 4 billion digits of π for any string.

     Write "Horse Bits" or anything else with llama font.

    Have you ever been writing in Word and needed a checkmark or accented character or other special character but didn't want to dig through the font list or symbol list to find it?  Try  Just click the symbol you want and paste it into your document.

    Flipping a coin is so old school.  Instead, use the Universal Decision Maker.

    Things you probably won't ever need to do #2: personalized nasal surgery.

    Two clocks for your time-keeping pleasure.  First, the minimalist HELVETICTOC.  Second, the Amazing World Clock (amazing is their superlative, not mine), still text-based but with a twist.

    A software vendor has been sued for allegedly wrongly blackmailing a client for unlicensed use of their product.  We were approached at work by a company who could put one of those "phone home" things in our software so we could find out if/when/where someone was using our product without a license (i.e. a  cracked version).  We declined because we felt that that information by itself was of little use.  If only someone would create uncrackable license management.

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes is coming this August.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.

     Stupid Picture of the Week #2.  source

    Play god with Gravity - create a universe of planets and let gravity do its thing.  (I had a homework problem similar to this in my discrete math class in grad school.)

    A tip of the hat to another horse-named blog, Horsey Surprise.

    How long can you stand the Nyan Cat?  (Not as long as I watched the bear.)

    ...what they think laughable.  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    People who are brutally honest...

    Americans average 6.9 hours of sleep per night.  But science reveals we need 8 hours of sleep to prevent cognitive problems during the day.  Eight hours.  Let's see: bed at 10, alarm at 5.  Oops.

     Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty 

    Art Madness II: America Picks the Greatest Post-War Artwork tournament was won by Smithson's Spiral Jetty.  You may recall when this began around the time of basketball's March Madness I predicted a Jackson Pollock victory.  I was wrong twice (he had two paintings in the field of 64 works).  And let's not get started on the fact that Rothko wasn't represented.

    From the geometry department: The Eyeballing Game demonstrates how well you can freehand a parallelogram and other shapes.  An animated explanation of the Pythogarean theorem.  An animated star cube.  You can kinda consider this simulator of the sun's motion to be geometry.  And the videos from How Round is Your Circle are kinda mesmerizing.

    If you call ! a bang and # a hash, you might not need the programmer's ASCII pronunciation guide.

    For my craft beer mavens: New Zealand's Moa Beer is the only beer to be fermented in the bottle.  Labelmania is Aleheads' top 20 beer labels.  And I'm not sure how Boner Beer tastes but they certainly have the marketing angle figured out.

    My fish's name is Roy.  These are not him.

    Why can't software developers estimate time?   It's because the nature of the work involves creation of new knowledge for which there's no experience base.  

    • JGC Corp. provides CFD consulting services for plant design and equipment sizing.
    • The 3D PDF Consortium has been formed to ensure that PDF continues to be developed as an open standard for visualization, data exchange, and other purposes.
    • MTI Holland offers CFD services in the field of dredging and deep-sea mining.
    • Intelligent Light's FieldView 13 is 2-40x faster.

    I can't get into Harvard now and I certainly couldn't have gotten admitted in 1899 if this entrance exam is any indication.  "Compare Athens with Sparta. Decline in the singular: facies, idem, ovile, sidus, filus.  Reduce 184800/1180410 to its lowest terms."  Etc.

    Let the record show that several years ago I had the idea for an online business that sends greeting cards for you - and there are witnesses.  So I wish good luck to the folks at SendOutCards.  (Let the record also show that I had the idea for the all potato restaurant which has yet to take off.)

    Those darn animators - always hiding things in their films.  Maybe Woody Woodpecker was just a front for some abstract art.

     Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Boobs are inspiring but who knew they inspired so many products.

    This page of World War Two trivia includes the original of the phrase "the whole 9 yards."

    I'm still trying to figure out what the 100-year Case Shiller chart of home values means.  It's not that it's complicated but what are the implications? Why were homes so overvalued during the decade 1998-2008?  Is it perhaps because the market was flooded with easy credit chasing too few homes?  If you like to see a page full of incomprehensible numbers changing in real time, check out the U.S. national debt clock.

    Here's part 3 of the Essential Visualization Resources.

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up.

    Things that make noise: virtual keyboard, experiment with techno beats, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake,

    More free online technical books than you can shake a stick at.  Thinking in C++, volumes 1 and 2. Computer Games with Python.  Aho and Ullman's Foundations of Computer Science.  An introduction to Classical Mechanics.

    I may need these for the next time I have to give a presentation: inflatable crowd.

    My, my.  What is that alluring scent you're wearing?  Fargginay you say?  Bacon cologne?

    Puzzles anyone?  If you see "26 = L. of the A." and immediately think "letters of the alphabet" these brain teasers should be easy for you.

    Do you like LEGOS and satellites?  Then get this LEGO SBIRS, space-based infrared system model.  Or maybe you like spaceships and t-shirts. Then get this Above The Earth shirt featuring 23 iconic space missions.

    Start saving your allowance because next month Christie's is going to auction Mark Rothko's Untitled #17 1961.  It's expected to fetch around $20 million which is like a bargain considering his highest sale price was $72 million.

    Iceland's Phallological Museum now has its first human member.  (I'm gonna have to update my organ donor card.)

    Not just Paula Deen, it's Paula Deen riding things.

    ...often get more satisfaction from the brutality than from the honesty.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    The Assassin by Stephen Coonts

    When an international group of wealthy and powerful people with the president's ear decide to fund their own private army to wage war on terrorists under the direction of Admiral Jake Grafton, clandestine CIA operative, you can expect action, suspense, and thrills, right?

    It was kind of dull.

    I've read a lot of Coonts all the way back to Flight of the Intruder.  A lot of his air warfare stuff is pretty good.  Recently, due to the aging of Grafton, he's introduced a new CIA sleuth, Tommy Carmellini, a wise-cracking former thief.  Still sounds good, right?

    And so hardly has this team come together and then - bang, bang, bang - they start getting wacked one by one.  Apparently there's a leak.  What to do, what to do.

    I was disappointed in the lack of character development.  And the writing style featured awkward back and forth changes from third to first person (Carmellini) narration.  Given the gravitas with which the third person is written and Carmellini's sarcastic, irreverent first  person style, you'll have to be prepared for a bit of literary whiplash.

    Vocal talent for this audio book was provided by Dennis Boutsikaris.  In the past I've noted that there are good actors and guys doing accents.  Boutsikaris was the latter in this production.  Plus there were a number of outright mistakes in the narration.  A Vietnamese character's last name, Nguyen, was pronounced "new-yen" instead of the correct "when."  A French character named Jean was referred to as "Jean" and "Gene" in the same paragraph. And then there's the mistake of referring to an Iranian as Arab instead of Persian.

    Makes me wonder if I'd feel the same had I read the paper version.

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity...

    Unusual soundtrack for today: ambient/synth group Emeralds from Cleveland, Ohio.  While you listen to that (I've already heard it) I'm listening to Puccini's Turandot.

    Never think that a 3D mouse is only for fancy CAD applications.  3Dconnexion's new driver, 3DxWare 10, allows their 3D mice to be used with any application from web browsers on up.

    I am not too bright.  Therefore, Kubrick2001: The Space Odyssey Explained, is very helpful.  However, now 2010: The Year We Make Contact no longer makes sense.

    Need a personal video conferencing facility?  Try iMeet (not to be confused with iMeat - do NOT go there).

    Solarized is a sixteen-color palette designed for use with GUI and other terminal applications. It was love at first sight and I immediately downloaded the color scheme for use with vim.

    People have the internet.  Why can't things have the internet too?  Pachube is a map-based web app showing data feeds from devices all over the world - radiation sensors in Japan, someone's HVAC system in Houston, to someone's sump pump in Indiana.

    I can't say I agree with all of these golden rules of email.  The first rule, say it all in the subject line (for example, "Today's Meeting Canceled - EOM" with EOM meaning end of message) is a trick I borrowed from a guy I used to work with but instead use "N/T" for "no text", i.e. there's no text in the body of the email.  As for the zeroth rule about changing an email's subject line, no way - don't do that.  I know a guy who puts his reply in the subject line and it drives me NUTS.  I'll send him an email with subject "Can we meet tomorrow?" and he'll reply with an email subject line of "Yes, how about 5pm?  Re: Can we meet tomorrow?"

    Reaction Design introduced FORTÉ CFD, with accurate modeling of fuel effects.

    Eric Ries' thoughts about your business being a lean startup have been turned into this flowchart/mindmap/decision-tree with lots of tiny print.

    Debatable is how I'd describe these marketing statistics that the authors claim will blow your mind.  2/3 of Americans have registered for the Do Not Call list.  57% of business have acquired a customer through their company blog.

    Callum Innes, Untitled 2008 No. 24, 2008 from London's Frith Street Gallery.

    Callum Innes is one of my favorite artists.  In this video from the Tate Channel he talks about painting with watercolors and says that while his paintings may appear neat and tidy they are actually quite chaotic.  A couple years ago I heard him speak at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth - excellent and insightful.  Innes was born the same year as me.  He's creating such beautiful things and the best I can do is...  this.  Dang.
      Absolute freakin' genius! Terminator the Second is Terminator 2 told using only the words of Shakespeare.  The sample script below is from when the Terminator saves John from the T-1000 for the first time.  Note: this is not written in Shakespeare's style, these are actual lines from various Shakespeare works.
      John: We will give the devil his due.
      Terminator: If thou attempt it, it will cost thee dear. Thou art come to answer a stony adversary, uncapable of pity, void and empty of any dram of mercy. Let's leave this town.
      John: Beesech you, first go with me to my house.
      Terminator: I do not think it good.
      John: Your reason?
      Terminator: I know his nature. He's gone to seek you at your house.
      Aviation pr0n of the week: testing the F-35's ejection seat.  Celebrate 2011, the Centennial of Naval Aviation.  The Virtual Aircraft Museum seems to have them all, from the Abrams Explorer to the Zinno.

      From the What Goes Up Must Come Down Department, see how the Space Shuttle's solid rocket boosters are recovered from the ocean.

      In general, pdfy sounds neat: paste your C++ code into the box and get a syntax-highlighted PDF back.   But I don't program in C++.  More programming tips on languages I don't use: learn Python the hard way.  Notes: a) Can anything be learned the easy way?  b) The title is a bit paradoxical because this is a "very beginner book."  The top 50 computer science blogs.

      In Interview with a Cracker (software not white trash or thin crisp wafer), we learn about how software companies make it easier for their products to be cracked.   #3 Not using some sort of encryption/obfuscation.

      What are the top 5 Facebook mistakes made by businesses?
      1. Not being genuine.
      2. Not monitoring and updating constantly.  guilty
      3. Not sharing funny, interesting, or useful things.  guilty
      4. Not learning all of Facebook's tools for business.  guilty
      5. Not following the rules.

      Here are 78 slides from a presentation on developing and maintaining a CSS systemPatternify is an online CSS pattern generator.  CSS transforms around a non-centered origin.  The world's shortest SEO tutorial.

      Mad Men + animation = Madmanimation, a cool bit of CSS-based animation.  (Sorry, doesn't seem to work in Firefox 3.  Try Chrome.)  Just when I think I'm out, those typographers pull me back in: Superhero alphabet.

      About 62% of companies have employees who work remotely and 56% of bosses think remote workers are more productive.  The former stat surprised me because larger firms are more likely to have this than smaller firms (77% to 39%).  The latter stat is delusional because productivity depends on the employee not their location.

      For the Trekkie in your life - Trexels is a limited edition print of Star Trek characters drawn in pixelated form by John Martz.  There are only 300 and they go on sale beginning 12 April.

      You can download a free white paper (deemed "excellent" by the GraphicSpeak blog) about a comparison of 3D CAD formats including STEP, 3D XML, JT, and 3D PDF.  I downloaded a copy but haven't read it yet.

      • Autodesk really has a hard-on for engineering simulation.  They introduced SIM Squad, a web portal for all things CAE including CFD.
      • CD-adapco opened a new Southern California office in Irvine.
      • CD-adapco helped ADFS build a better flight simulator with CFD.
      • This video mentions how Voxdale is using CFD for simulating boat hull performance.
      • techCFD is a Glasgow-based CFD consultancy. 
      • OpenSCAD is a free program for creating 3D CAD geometry but unlike a graphical CAD program this one is script driven.
      • Tecplot 360 2011 was released and includes enhanced capabilities for visualizing unsteady CFD results. 
      • Sharc released Periscope, a new CFD postprocessor.  
      • Symscape brings us this link to the city of Reno, Nevada's use of wind turbines for power generation, including the city's dashboard where you can see the performance of each device.

      I know someone who really likes ribs.  I really like the 3-way from Skyline Chili.

      The FTC requires bloggers to reveal any relationship with an advertiser including compensation for reviews and free products.  For the record, who in their right mind would care enough about my opinion to give me stuff?

      I applaud tip #3 from 10 ways to improve your Twitter following: write a decent bio with keywords about what you're interested in and what you'll be tweeting about.

      This video about Formula 1 steering wheels proves why I'll never be a race car driver - I have enough trouble changing the radio station.

      Frequent fliers: Next time you're airborne and hooked up to teh interwebs via the free wifi, check out MondoWindow, a new app that let's you see what you're flying over.

      How to reverse engineer an atomic bomb.

      Many of these rules for building a massive company ring true.  #7 Aspire, but don't drink your own Kool-Aid.  This is not the same as eating your own dog food which you should do.  #8 Having a great product is important but having great product distribution is more important.  Nuff said.

      lorempixum provides placeholder images of any size, color, or content for use in web design and other applications.  For example, gives you a 400x200 random image from the sports category as shown below.

      Astronomy geeks, this one's for you: Solar System Scope is an interactive 3D model of the solar system.

      Physicists found something, they just don't know what.  An unexpected version of the Higgs boson?  A new type of force?  Reminds me of that old SNL skit: "What the hell is it?"

      Kurt Vonnegut's rules for writing fiction:  #3 Every character should want something.

      The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories, truly lost and recently found stories by Dr. Seuss, will be released in September.  Already added to my Amazon wish list.  When my kids were little I had memorized One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish and several other Seuss tales.

      These aren't the 50 books every child should read, they're the books every person should read.  My score: precisely four.

      From the Way More Trouble Than It Was Worth Department, you can use picture dots to turn any image into a connect the dots puzzle.

      I know only one person (maybe two) who'll be even remotely interested in the Sewing Machine Orchestra, a performance of the sounds of 8 sewing machines with a little processing added on top.

      Classic bait and switch.  Hot Librarian Fantasy isn't what you think - it's a cool app for tablet computers that helps librarian sort books by finding the ones that are out of order.  Both my sons volunteer(ed) at the local public library and might have found this helpful.  On the other hand, they'd probably say they don't need a computer to understand Dewey Decimal.

      Now go back and look at the first letter of each of the opening paragraphs.

      ...but not in that order.

      Saturday, April 2, 2011

      Be regular and orderly in your life...

      Today's soundtrack brought to you by Stick Men and their album Live in Buenos Aires 2011.  (Open in new tab, start play, and come back here.)

      If we learned how and why the brain appreciates a painting by Robert Motherwell would it be as much of a downer as revealing how David Copperfield does his magic tricks?  After all, a working knowledge of grammar doesn't make Shakespeare any less wonderful.  This issue is at the core of The Tell-Tale Brain, A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes us Human.  The author hypothesizes that abstract artists are "tapping into the figural primitives of our perceptual grammar and creating ultranormal stimuli that more powerfully excite certain visual neurons in our brains as opposed to realistic-looking images."  One might argue that this is precisely what Rothko was attempting.

      I can't see them either, those 4 circles.

      Although it sounds like a kitchen appliance, pyFormex is software for working with 3D geometery.  One of the things it does is generate grids for CFD.   Although I've never programmed in Python, here's another link for you: PySide, Python for Qt.
        Part 2 of the essential visualization resources bring us programming languages. NEi Stratus let's you do finite element analysis on your iPhone.

        Lightning Talks are a staple of the annual Business of Software conference.  Here's Patrick McKenzie from the 2010 event.
        • Interested in organized and maintainable CSS?  Check out this conversation on Hacker News and be sure to follow the links.
        • Forms are hard to do well on a web site.  Here's a gallery of web forms done right.
        • Color (or colour) is a big part of the user experience.
        • HTML5 is all that and a bag of chips and here are 5 steps from XHTML to HTML5

        Pure web geekery.  You've used text-align: center; - now try text-align: centaur;

        If you collect free graphics and icons, here's a set of social media icons.

        Time magazine presents the 140 best Twitter feeds.  (140 - get it?)   Of those, I follow exactly 2.  Don't know whether I should be ashamed or proud.

        Tips on creating great video tutorials from the PlanetPTC Community.  (If you're not having fun making it, your audience won't have fun watching it.)

        I enjoyed How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me) more than most stuff I find on the internet (and not just because it includes a photo of Bob Ross).  I'll list the ideas here but please click through and read the full post.
        1. Steal like an artist.
        2. Don't wait until you know who you are to start making things.
        3. Write the book you want to read.
        4. Use your hands.
        5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
        6. The secret: do good work and put it where people can see it.
        7. Geography is no longer our master.
        8. Be nice.  The world is a small town.
        9. Be boring.  It's the only way to get work done.  (My personal favorite.)
        My kids used to watch Invader Zim.  This video lets you see behind the animation with a live script reading.

        There's a nice video interview with Disney animator Andreas Deja on Cartoon Brew in which he shares his thoughts on traditional versus CGI animation.  (I just wish he would show what he's doodling.)  If you have the time, here's a longish transcript of an interview with Milt Kahl.  OK, if you prefer pictures over video and text, here are sketches by Bob Clampett showing the layout and office arrangements of Warner Bros. studios.

         LEGO.  Space Ships.  Alphabet.

        Some interesting findings from the HPC User Site Census of servers installed at various HPC sites. 2-processor nodes have 50% market share but 4- and 8-processor nodes are growing.  In fact, for newly acquired systems, 4-processor nodes dominate and single processor nodes are in the single digit percentages.
        Gotta give a speech?  The three things audiences want from you are connection (with you, not the material), entertainment (stay serious about the topic but not yourself), and meaning (how does what you're saying matter to their life).

        Aircraft pr0n of the week: F-16C cutaway drawing.

        My beer drinking friends probably wonder how engineering simulation can help them.  Here's a scenario.  Jimmy is barbecuing and sets his beer down next to the grill.  How long before his beer's too warm to drink?  (Note: you have to supply your email address to watch the full video.)  OK, maybe you're a sports guy and not a drinker.  Fluid mechanics can also explain how wiffle balls work.

        An insider's opinion of what's wrong with Google and how to fix it.  "Acknowledge that 20% time is a lie."

        Facebook has "Like" and Google now has "+1".  I've enrolled in this and have started leaving a little number 1 all over the web.  (Does not sound right. But "+2" would be a good counter to Facebook's lack of a Dislike button.)

        The first rule of CEO psychological meltdown club is you don't talk about psychological meltdown club.  A CEO provides insight into the most difficult skill for CEOs - managing your own psychology.  I liked this quote: "if you don’t like choosing between horrible and cataclysmic, don’t become CEO."

        Did you know there was a World Backup Day?  Neither did I.  It was 31 March so we have plenty of time to plan for 2012's event.

        I may have posted this before, but it's worth watching for those who think differential gears are cool.

        I loves me some good grilled brats and had two yesterday.  image credit

        I just took Smashing Magazine's poll about what browser you use most often (Firefox).  Results at the time were as follows: Chrome (47%), Firefox (37%), Safari (11%), Opera (3%), IE (2%), Other (1%).

        Where has all the electricity gone?  According to this article in Fast Company, between 1978 and 2005 America's electrical usage for air conditioning has nearly tripled and for home electronics nearly doubled.  (Yes, I know - Americans set the a/c too low.  Blah blah blah.  I've got the window open as I type this.)

        Lest one think that literature is dead (sounds similar to the old "painting is dead") along comes Use and Abuse of Literature in which the position is taken that literature offers unanswered and perhaps unanswerable questions.   Stated another way "The absence of answers or determinate meanings" is exactly the set of "qualities that make a passage or a work literary."  It looks like there's some interesting stuff here which is why it's now on my Amazon wish list.
        And lest you think I'm getting all smarty pants - I'm not sure how this is supposed to work. that you may be violent and original in your work.  ~Gustave Flaubert

        P.S. Thanks to my friend Juan for inviting me to his annual Texas Rangers opening day tailgate party.  The food and game were excellent.