Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

After a brief "debate" at work about the relative merits of William Faulkner's versus Earnest Hemingway's writing styles, I decided to put Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms at the top of my reading list.

I was surprised by how little I enjoyed it.

Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea was really good and more recently I enjoyed For Whom the Bell Tolls.  But A Farewell to Arms was so stiff that I couldn't give a shit about any of the characters because they were unbelievable. Lt. Frederic Henry (the novel is set during WWI) was a drunken womanizer who deserted when times got tough (even though he was only an ambulance driver) but still took time to execute a soldier whose conduct he found lacking.  His love for nurse Catherine Barkley was equally shallow as demonstrated by emotional detachment at the novel's conclusion.

So I watched the 1932 movie starring Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper on YouTube hoping that their performances would show me what I missed.  With due respect to those two actors, sorry, nothing.

Farewell left me with impressions of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H but not in any significant way other than theme.  I was left more strongly with an impression of Michael Crichton - and not in a good way.  One of the first works that formed the basis of my love of reading was Crichton's 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain.  (The other was Always on the Run, the story of the Miami Dolphins' backfield tandem of Larry Czonka and Jim Kiick.  Really.)  But I digress.  At some point Crichton started writing screenplays, not novels.  Farewell was similarly thin.

Certainly, Hemingway's spare style is replete with rich imagery (which is, of course, a reason for his greatness as a writer).  One quote that stood out for me involves a soldier bleeding to death in an ambulance. Describing his blood, Hemingway wrote "The drops fell very slowly, as they fall from an icicle after the sun has gone."

So, let's put on the smarty-pants hat and do the literary criticism thing.  Noting that the title is A Farewell to Arms and not A Farewell to War or A Farewell to Death one might be tempted to say that Hemingway realizes that although one may give up war making (i.e. "arms"), attempting to put death behind you is futile.  The novel's title is taken from a George Peele poem of the same name, but I can't find any common sentiment between the two works.  Peele wrote "Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen; Duty, faith, love are roots, and ever green." A lovely sentiment, but not demonstrated by Hemingway's characters.

As with any audiobook, the voice actor can influence the experience.  Because the book is already back at the library I can't cite the actor's name, but his inflectionless, staccato delivery mimicked how you'd parody a film of that vintage.  Certainly, he didn't help convey whatever Hemingway was trying to say.  Maybe the actor didn't get it either.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little...

Let's begin with this very funny and very interesting article about five everyday addictions.
  1. Pop music. "No matter how carefully hipster you are, your brain is secretly into Bieber."
  2. Eating salty and spicy snacks. "Combining [salt] with fat and other elements in junk food is actually thought to be about as addictive as heroin."
  3. Using lip balm. "When you throw some oral fixation into the mix, it all adds up to a pretty legitimate, if extremely stupid, psychological addiction."
  4. Tanning. "Suntans are cool and all, but who in their right mind could be addicted to intentionally exposing the largest organ in the entire human body to damaging, cancer-causing radiation?"
  5. Chewing ice. "Ice chewing, or pagophagia, is a subset of a larger disorder known as pica, which causes people to crave things with no nutritional value." 
"Hello, my name is John and I'm addicted to ChapStick."  It's true and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Good thing there are self-help groups on-line such as Chapstick Addiction Cure and Lip Balm Anonymous.

Take that, Lady Gaga.  You got a meat dress, we got some meat guns

Bacon + Egg = Cupcake
Make friends all over the world with this illustrated guide to the world's rudest hand gestures.  You'll be surprised to learn what thumb's up means.

"This is so bizarre it reads like a Monty Python skit." Get bigger boobs by slapping them.  (While I haven't been formally trained, I'm willing to provide this service gratis.)

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.  I now officially need a bookmark folder just for Lorem Ipsum generators.  This one is the Samuel L. Ipsum generator.

OK, so last week I linked to an animated video about NASA's proposed Space Launch System (right) for future travel to the moon, Mars and beyond.  Then I saw Countdown by Desrumaux Celine (left).  Wow, what a contrast.  Countdown is beautifully fantastic.  NASA's video looks like... an animated video made by a government agency.  And in my opinion, there's no reason NASA couldn't have achieved something similar. shows you where people are coming from and where they're going to. For example, when people leave the U.S.A, more of them go to the occupied Palestinian territory than France.  Draw your own conclusions.

Kids today, doing things, like making a version of Super Mario World using 64 pixels - Super Pixel World.

Brian Eno extends his collaboration with poet Rick Holland on the new EP, Panic of Looking. The title track is available for your listening pleasure.

Are you a man?  A manly man?  Does doing manly things leave no time for life's basics?  While you're bow-hunting for elk, cheering ringside at Vegas with the boys, and arm-in-arm with two glamazons (i.e. surfing the web for pr0n, half asleep on the couch in your boxers watching football and digging Cheetos out from between the cushions, and surfing the web for pr0n) you can get your manly essentials from Manpacks, an online subscription service for life's essentials like socks, underwear, and condoms.

Do the words non-Newtonian fluid arouse you?  No?  Maybe this video will.
Why does an enterprise software company like SAP feel gamification is the future?  They're striving for "visible joy in 7 minutes" (among other things) just like EA Games.  SAP thinks gamification will help them reach their goal of 1 billion users by 2015.

Fortran, the COBOL of scientific programming languages.  But, at 54 years of age it's still extremely relevant.  It continues to be updated (e.g. polymorphism) and has great parallel capabilities for HPC.

Like it or not, the smiley (aka emoticon) was born this week in 1982 - 19 Sep 1982 to be exact. ;-)

If you are on the verge of joining the software industry (hell, even if you're already in the industry), this list of 33 lessons for software industry novices should be required reading. #4 Know what you know and what you don't know. #6 Software's primary function is to earn profits. #22 Learn to write well.  (As always, these tips really apply to any industry, not just software.)

Yet another music discovery tool.  Musicovery charts music by genre and popularity over time.
It's easy to avoid these seven common sales mistakes if you just keep one thing in mind: you have to think of sales like dating.  (Which is why I'm not in sales.)

National Boss' Day is 16 October.  Just sayin'.

This is not the VAX I used to program on.  Eddie Jobson demos his VAX77 keyboard setup at the National Association of Music Merchandisers trade show back in 2010.  It's more than a demo, he plays many of his tunes and U.K. tunes you'll recognize.

Only a programming geek will find these bit twiddling hacks interesting.

Science proves that students are just as stupid when studying using computers as when using pen and paper.  They mindlessly over-copy long passages, take incomplete notes, etc.

No idea what particles is about other than play.
If particles was too unstructured for you, checkout Draw a Stickman where your stick figure becomes the main character in a cartoon.

Gotta go when you're out and about?  Never fear, the Peepoo is here.  (This is a legitimate product for people in developing nations who lack sanitary facilities.  Shame on me for finding humor but they're the ones who gave it a funny name.)

My new favorite song: Rainbow Poo San.

˙uı˙dıןɟpןɹoʍ ɟo ʎsǝʇɹnoɔ noʎ oʇ ʇɥƃnoɹq ǝɔuǝʇuǝs sıɥʇ

Where was How to Land a 747 when Kurt Russell needed it in 1996's Executive Decision?

A CAD (computer aided design) blogger provides the best explanation of which vs. that I've ever read in his blog post A few things to keep in mind when writing in English. Which is for singular, that is for plural.  I had basically been told never to use which.

A Waterman Polyhedron of Root 12345.  Be sure to check out root 10,000,000.
Another bit of the curtain over the Cold War was pulled back when the NRO revealed details about the Key Hole KH-7, KH-8, and KH-9 spy satellites.

Learn what's special about certain numbers.  For example, 8 is the largest cube in the Fibonacci sequence.

Fort Worth's Modern is hosting a Richard Diebenkorn exhibit (will see it next week) which reminded me that the MoMA is hosting a De Kooning retrospective at the MoMA (which the NY Times' art critic seems to like).

Make art with your Roomba.

If this next video is real (and you can never be certain) you can consider my mind official blown.  Imagine this: have someone watch a video, scan their brain using an MRI, and reconstruct what they saw from the brain scan.  Gives me the heebee jeebees.

...falls into lazy habits of thinking. ~Albert Einstein.

Damn you, Al.  Who you callin' lazy?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Only a mediocre person...

Ten technologies + ten years = world changed.
  1. Everything (not everyone) on teh interwebs.
  2. We're creating 1 zettabyte of data per year now - imagine the future. (91% of internet data will be video by 2015.)
  3. One third of all data will pass through the cloud.
  4. Home networks that are faster by a factor of 3 million.
  5. Smaller world.  (Hum the Disney tune now.)
  6. Must have more (electrical) power.
  7. 3D printing.  For realz.
  8. By 2020, robots will be physically superior to humans.
  9. Grow your own replacement organs and other spooky medical stuff.
  10. Borg = you.
I have a few invitations for Google Music Beta.  Post a comment if you'd like one.  (This is not necessarily an endorsement - I haven't had much time to do anything with it.)

Don't tell me you've never wondered how the electromagnetic spectrum was allocated in the USA.  For example, maritime navigation beacons are at 300-325 kHz.
OK, maybe radiation doesn't blow your dress up.  What about photos of dinosaur feathers found in amber?

You gotta see this video of an animated water fountain in Osaka Station in Japan that tells time, draws graphics, and sends messages.  It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of visiting Osaka and I don't recall seeing this during those visits.

Proof #38 that innovation is not dead.  Burn calories and keep the pounds off with MXP Calorie Shaper Underpants as demonstrated by a dancing effeminate Asian Lando Calrissian look-alike.

My Buckyballs drive me nuts but these new Buckycubes aren't probably any easier.

The gallery at is pretty trippy. You could get lost in there.


The three pillars of object oriented programming are:
  1. Encapsulation - each type or class should be discrete and self-contained.
  2. Specialization - new classes are derived from existing classes.
  3. Polymorphism - the ability for a single type or class to take many forms.
One man's list of the ten technical papers every programmer should read twice.  Included in the list is one paper that ties to the previous paragraph: On Understanding Types, Data Abstraction, and Polymorphism.

Programming isn't just for programmers anymore.  Engineers will need to become programmers.  Not in the sense that they'll need to be writing software all the time.  Rather, it needs to be part of an undergraduate curriculum like solid mechanics, fluids, thermal, labs, etc. to give engineers some basic skills and more importantly and appreciation for the process and its limitations.

Although it may be taking the "...without borders" moniker a bit too far, Mouse without Borders is a project from Microsoft that lets a single mouse and keyboard control multiple computers including drag and drop.

Bubble Boys talks about kids at Stanford, programming for fun and profit.

Everyone and their brother-in-law wants to write an iPad app (and become rich overnight).  Perhaps they should start with this template for app development, iOS Boilerplate.


A Vim cheat sheet for programmers, available in many sizes, resolutions, and color schemes.
Wanna try editing with vi online?  Web vi is a browser-based implementation in Javascript.  (Unfortunately, the first thing I tried ("O" to open a new line above the current position) didn't work.)

While reading this (rather long) article on best practices for Outlook, I couldn't help but be reminded of David Allen's Getting Things Done.  

STAR.ME is the latest experiment from Ze Frank, the man who brought you The Show and How to Dance Properly. (The Show was his 1-year, daily video blog that is absolutely brilliant.)

NASA's proposed Space Launch System (SLS) is designed to explore beyond earth orbit with first flight targeted for 2017.
Here are some cool custom wingtips/winglets for a small jet.  They were designed using T-Splines and tested at the Reno Air Races. 

I've been wondering why I've been feeling so calm lately and leave it to science to know why: men who embrace their receding hairline are less stressed.

Once more to the rescue, science shows us how watching SpongeBob (who lives in a pineapple under the sea) is bad for kids (in terms of their attention, memory, and problem solving).  Thank god I grew up with solid intellectual viewing like Banana Splits and Lancelot Link.  Damn kids today.
BFF, where the "B" doesn't stand for Best.  source
Everyone jokes about a beer for breakfast (hair of the dog, filling, carbs, etc.) but seriously?  Rogue's Chipotle Ale with bacon and eggs?

Introducing the most complicated infographic I've ever seen.  But it is illustrating the big bang.

Am I as fit as a WWII GI?  I'm not as fit as a 5th grader.

Photos of cigar feet.  (I should've known there were names for the ends of a cigar.)

The article forty sounds that built pop music identifies the source of characteristic sounds that define popular music.  #12 is the Fender Rhodes piano as exemplified by a favorite of mine, Babylon Sisters by Steely Dan (who my wife can't stand).  For #23 the authors cite the vocoder with Kraftwerk as an example.  However, when I think of vocoders the first thing that comes to mind is Peter Frampton's Do You Feel Like We Do? The article also mentions Phil Collins' work with Brand X in the context of another sound and every time someone mentions that portion of his catalog I feel good despite the fact that his later work is often vilified.

Check out artist Todd McLellan's photo series Disassembly.  (It's under New Work.)  It's nothing more complicated that taking things apart and then photographing the pieces.

Since 1965, artist Roman Opalka has been painting the numbers from 1 to infinity.  I shit you not.  In July 2004 he reached 5,500,000.
You've always wanted to play with a cubic Bezier curve, right? 

Browser fun - make waves with sliders.  (Chrome only, otherwise you just watch a video of the effect.)

Don't ask me what wocu1 is.

falling falling represents the feeling you have after reading this blog.  (And it's one of the coolest things I saw this week.) always at his best. ~W. Somerset Maugham

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Black Ops by W.E.B Griffin

Talk, talk, talk.

That's all that happens in W.E.B. Griffin's Black Ops - people talking about what they did, what they're doing, and what they will do.  This book doesn't even have the faint after-scent of action.

Should I be surprised?  I read one of Griffin's books years ago and don't recall the experience fondly.  It wasn't as bad as Clive Cussler's Hardy Boys versions of thriller novels but still not great.

But honestly, I figured a book titled Black Ops authored by a former military man would be a nice bit of escapist fiction.

But instead all I got was characters talking about stuff.  Talking about what they did (escape from Europe with Russian defectors), what they're doing (trying to prevent a terrorist incident), and what they'll do (blow something up).  But the main characters are always sitting around a dinner table, sitting in an airplane, sitting in an office and talking, talking, talking.

The cast of characters is huge, so huge that I had a hard time keeping everyone straight. This was complicated by the fact that several characters had two or even three names - really.  Plus it was clear that the characters had adventures in previous stories that impacted the current tale and these references, while not overt "buy the previous book" pleas of Cussler, were distracting.  And the characters had a cliquey feel, not in the sense of a group of people you're compelled to join but as though you're the odd man out at a cocktail party. 

There's a romantic subplot that goes something like this.  She was gorgeous.  He loved her.  They had sex.  The entire subplot was so thinly structured that I found it unbelievable and figured that she was gonna double cross him any second.

Even Dick Hill, one of my favorite voice actors, couldn't save this dull, lifeless book.

Imagination was given to man to compensate for what he is not...

Creepy Things

One in 25 business leaders may be a psychopath.  'nuff said.

Women's busts have increased in size by  two cup sizes in New Zealand over the last decade. (American has a flight leaving in about 2.5 hours from DFW to Christchurch.  Boobyah!)

Know yer screws
Things to Listen To

This post on the King Crimson blog is a goldmine of music news.
  • Levin Torn White.  I am very familiar with Tony Levin's work and of course Alan White's work with Yes is well known.  I don't know much about David Torn's guitar work.  But the tunes on their upcoming album sound great.  I mean, what can you say bad about Prom Night of the Centipedes?
  • Funky: Shizaro is band that features King Crimson drum Pat Mastelotto.  Their album Naked Truth is funky.
  • Pat Mastelotto sure gets around.  He's also featured on Michael Bernier's leviathan.
My obligatory 9/11 post will be to point you to the new album WTC 9/11 by composer Steve Reich and performers Kronos Quartet.  Setting aside the brief controversy over the album's original cover design (a photo of the second jet heading for the towers), I have faith that Reich's treatment will be poignant and musically compelling.  The album is due for release on 9/20.

Let's say you prefer your music to be more computer generated.  How about this tune made entirely from Windows 98 and XP sounds?

I'm not certain whether we need another service for finding music of a certain type, genre, mood, or artist but here's Musicovery anyway.

Pie chart glory: 30 years of music sales in 60 seconds shows the popularity of various media from 8-track to internet.  What surprised me the most was the high percentage of cassette tape sales.

Examples of how music education is paying off big time: the main theme from Legend of Zelda on marimba and the Super Mario Bros. theme acapella.  And while I'm on the video game music topic, here's an oldie bug goodie - the XOC version of all the music from Super Mario World played buy one guy using real instruments.

Things to Watch

Computer graphics pioneer and current Pixar president Ed Catmull mentions in this interview with ACM Queue magazine that the distinctions between computer scientists and artists aren't that clear.  "The distribution of creative and organization skills is the same in both groups. People might think that artists are less organized. It turns out it's all nonsense."

An example of Ed's work from 1972, possibly the first computer animated film, can be seen in this video of a hand.

The #1 documentary to watch before you die is Hoop Dreams according to this list of the top 50 documentaries.  Every time I say that I don't watch a lot of movies, I end up talking about a lot of movies.  So to put an end to this let me state that I've only seen two documentaries on this list: March of the Penguins and Grizzly Man.  The latter was strangely tragic and haunting even though I'm tempted to say that if you take all the liberties with grizzly bears that the protagonist did, your luck will run out eventually.

The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is currently hosting an exhibit on Texas High School Football: More Than The Game.  If you want to see how I spent last night (and most Friday nights during the autumn) watch the 1-minute teaser video as it features several shots of Grapevine H.S.  (I'm told that the longer version of the video shown at the museum has a shot that includes yours truly.)

Things to Look At

Henri Matisse, The Red Studio, 1911.  I include this because of its supposed strong influence on Mark Rothko - the red color field, the islands of color for the art objects in the room, and the negative space that defines the furniture.
You might want to check out Philographics, a book by Genis Carreras that illustrates philosophical ideas with minimalist graphics.

If art museums had a garage sale it might look like Artspace Marketplace which features founds items from museums' backrooms.  For example, you can get a limited edition, signed and numbered print by Sol LeWitt for only $2,500.

Things to Think About

Proof #96 that innovation is not dead: fried bubblegum takes top honors for most creative food at the Texas State Fair.  It's actually not really bubblegum, but a bubblegum flavored marshmallow that's been battered, fried, and then sprinkled with icing and sugar.

A relatively famous psychology experiment offered children 1 marshmallow now or 2 in 15 minutes.  Decades later the kids who exercised willpower to wait 15 minutes to double their reward were found to be much better off: better educated, made more money, stronger relationships, etc.  In this review of Baumeister and Tierney's Willpower, we learn that those hippies from the 1960s were wrong and that instead of letting it all hang out we should have been learning to develop our sense of willpower. 

On the other hand, this article from the The Sunday Times on literature and psychology is virtually unreadable.  Part of me thinks it was machine generated in a foreign language then translated into English.  Yikes.

Things That Fly

This is what I call good clean living.  Flying over Texas A&M's Kyle field in a B-17 (or is it a B-24) on opening day.
Since finishing Gene Kranz's book I seem to find space-related stuff everywhere.  NASA provides these photos of artifacts from Apollo 12, 14, and 17 on the lunar surface.

Aircraft pr0n of the week: video of the F-35 roll-out ceremony at Eglin AFB, photos from the abandoned Russian Vozdvizhenka air base.

If You've Read This Far, What Comes Next Is Your Own Fault

From the Why Would You Want To Do That department, Google Correlate lets you draw any curve and then find a search topic that matches it (search activity versus time).  For example, I drew the blue curve and Google tells me that matches searches for "verizon promotion code", the red line.
Beer: it's not just for drinking anymore.  But architecture? And the world as mapped by a beer drinker.

Pens have gone the way of the 50-cent milkshake, human kindness, and the Dodo?  Hyperbole aside, a good pen is essential.  I'm partial to Rotrings - if only I could find a reliable source of ink (blue, of course).  Anyway, check out Baltz Fine Writing Instruments.

This computer science stuff is very interesting: real-time large-deformation substructuring.  Slightly less gee-wiz is this paper on software practices for dealing with multiple cores. Curious about the vim text editor?  Learn vim progressively. Joli OS is a free, cloud-based operating system that turns an old PC into an internet device.  Should I?

Social media gizmo of the week: Shuush modifies your Twitter stream to amplify infrequent tweeters.

I'm certain you'll agree that $2,468 for Horse Bits is stretching credulity.  (But I'll take it.)  How much is your website worth?  Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa wrote "No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it."   I bet the valuation reflects the fact that I lean too far toward stupid.

...and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.  ~Oscar Wilde

Monday, September 5, 2011

Failure is Not an Option by Gene Kranz

There are no surprises in Gene Kranz's Failure is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond. You get probably just what you expect: a detailed look back at NASA's space program from one of the men who basically invented the job of flight controller and then succeeded at it. You have to admire their achievements.

A couple of quotes are worth repeating.  With respect to the infamous Apollo 13 mission Kranz writes "But this is the nature of our business - to live with risk." One might say that current NASA has become risk intolerant.

There are scenes in the movie Apollo 13 (and other movies of that ilk) where groups of controller types jump up, shout, high five, belly bump and do everything but kiss to celebrate successes.  Regarding that, Kranz writes "if a controller ever did that before the mission was over and the crew was on the carrier, that would be the last time he sat at a console."

Recalling the winding down of the Apollo program in the 1970s, Kranz writes "Leadership is fragile. It is more a matter of mind and heart than resources, and it seemed we no longer had the heart for those things that demanded discipline, commitment, and risk." One might say that things haven't changed that much with our political leadership.

That's a lot of snarky political shots. Let's end with the foundations of mission control as copied shamelessly from page 393 of the book.  Try to imagine applying them to your job.

Foundations of Mission Control

  • To instill within ourselves these qualities essential for professional excellence:
    • Discipline: Being able to follow as well as lead, knowing that we must master ourselves before we can master our task.
    • Competence: There being no substitute for total preparation and complete dedication, for space will not tolerate the careless or indifferent.
    • Confidence: Believing in ourselves as well as others, knowing that we must master fear and hesitation before we can succeed.
    • Responsibility: Realizing that it cannot be shifted to others, for it belongs to each of us; we must answer for what we do, or fail to do.
    • Toughness: Taking a stand when we must; to try again, and again, even if it means following a more difficult path.
    • Teamwork: Respecting and utilizing the ability of others, realizing that we work toward a common goal, for success depends on the efforts of all.
  • To always be aware that suddenly and unexpectedly we may find ourselves in a role where our performance has ultimate consequences.
  • To recognize that the greatest error is not to have tried and failed, but that in trying, we did not give it our best effort.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

There is no real wealth...

Is this blog smarter than a 5th grader?  Thank god, yes.  But only by two grades.  One must accept these small victories.

Here's a list of 11 proofreading tips for blogs that you probably wish I'd use.  #5 Read your post backward.  (The way I write, it might make more sense.)

Jackson Pollock 51, a ten minute film worth watching.  "Expressing emotions rather than illustrating them."
The lightning talk (aka pecha kucha) speakers for Business of Software 2011 have been announced.  In case you've never experienced lightning talks before, imagine giving a presentation using 20 slides each shown for 20 seconds - and the slides automatically advance.

Controversial (or at least paradoxical) study showing that watching a demo of something hurts your understanding of it.  The reason being that you interpret the demo within your own perspective of misunderstandings.

On the other hand, a 6 minute presentation at DEMO in front of high powered journalists and venture capitalists can make or break your company - and seem to last a lifetime.  Tips on how to get through it and maybe become a DEMOgod.

The coolest dull photo you'll see all week.  The earth (left) and moon (right) photographed by the Juno spacecraft from a distance of about 6 million miles.
In this interesting (yes, interesting) article about Windows Explorer (not IE, Windows Explorer) I learned a lot and because I use Explorer every day as the primary way to manipulate files on my laptop I'm hoping that the coming improvements are everything they promise.
  • The top 10 (paste, properties, copy, delete, rename, refresh, cut, new menu, command bar, new) of 200+ commands account for over 80% of the usage.
  • Only 2 of those top 10 commands are available via the command bar.
  • Slightly over half of command invocations are via the right click menu.
  • And this usage data influenced the design of Explorer 8 including addition of the ribbon.
In 1963 Aldous Huxley wrote an article about Shakespeare and Religion.  It was the last article he wrote before his death and it was published in 1964 in Show Magazine.  It's a nice piece and I'll just re-quote a passage from Henry IV used in the article.
But thought's the slave of life, and life time's fool;
And time, that takes survey of all the world,
Must have a stop.
An example of video sharing.  I sent someone the URL for the Unicorn Planet video.  He sent me back this video of a first person shooter game filmed IRL.

More weather data about hurricanes that you'll ever want.  There's a reason they're called Spaghetti Models.

Proof #399 that I have way too much free time.  Hand crafted from the Value Pack alphabet.
The lowly penny is a fascinating coin.  66% of them never get back to the central bank, probably because most of them are in my son's collection.  Another random factoid, people carry on average 14 coins at any one time.  I can't recall the last time I had any coins in my pocket, let alone 14.

Murfie Music seems to be a new spin on the CD/mp3 music deal - it's an online new and used CD store with a twist.  You buy the CD and they'll rip it for you and send you the mp3s and store the CD for you.  Hence, no DRM.  Or you send them your CDs, they rip them to mp3 for you, and then sell the CDs for you.  Interesting.  If only they took LPs.

Fun to watch: the browser fountain.

Just one from the hidden meaning of logos.  (I know someone who drives a Porsche but he'll never see this so it's OK.)
They say that half of America will be obese by 2030.  I'm happy to be above average and ahead of the curve for once.  How much will we be spending on avoidable fat-related diseases?  Around $50 billion per year.

History is full of food-related disasters, including the 1814 beer flood of London that killed 8.

Maybe we could keep the pounds off by just looking at Scandybars rather than shoving them into our pie hole.

Someone dares you to finish these 10 novels (because they're long).  Like most things in life, size doesn't matter.  Regardless, 6 I've never heard of, 2 I haven't read (nor have I watched the movie of Gone With The Wind), and 2 I've read (my high school English thesis was a comparison of War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and a play by Gogol).

Play all you want with the super recursion toy.
Do you hate Captcha's, those verification tools on websites that require you to type-in some word displayed in a barely readable font?  If you think that's bad, what might happen if they added smell?  You'd get Fartcha.

...but the labor of man.  ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Happy Labor Day everyone.  Enjoy your 3-day weekend.