Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nothing so needs reforming as...

Normally I put stuff like this at the end of a post but this one is so bizarre that it deserves top billing. Please meet Chatty Vag, the fortune-telling vagina. (It's a cartoon in case you're worried about seeing a real hoo-hah if you click the link.) Just ask her any yes/no question. "Will the Cowboys win tonight?" "My bush is making things cloudy. Ask again."

Since mentioning it last weekend I've been unable to get Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings out of my head. Here's the piece's 1938 premiere as conducted by Toscanini. And here's a more recent version by DJ Tiësto.

Author Richard Rhodes makes it painfully obvious why this blog's writing sucks: I need to stop listening to that voice (those voices?) in my head. Writing isn't simply copying down your self-talk.

When Star Wars vs. Star Trek gets all personal, George Takei steps in with this campy détente. Truly for the hardcore Star Trek geek only: 24 hours of the Enterprise's engines at idle.

And now it has a name: Prometheus. Ridley Scott's Alien prequel is set to hit theaters this summer.

Poussière is a beautiful little animation of what it's like to be a dust mote. Being French, there's romance built in to this 6 minute video. Check it out.
Hey all you booze bloggers - here's a cautionary tale about why drinking and blogging don't mix. Do you still lack a present for your favorite beer maven? Try the Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. This month the Rare Beer Club's members are receiving Mikkeller's Happy Lovin' Christmas IPA.
The long wait is over - you can now add non-stop Nyan Cat to any website with NYAN-IT. For example, yours truly.

This article about the crash of Air France 447 echoes two separate engineering sound bytes from my past. When I was a wee intern at NASA my boss told me that failures in engineering systems are never the result of a single event - they are the result of a chain of related events. This makes finger-pointing a big more difficult. The second is a quote from a flight test engineer at NASA Dryden: "Insisting on perfect safety is for people who lack the balls to live in the real world." We cannot practically make crash-proof airliners, we cannot practically make skyscrapers that can withstand the direct impact of a jumbo jet, and if that bothers you be reminded that you're probably more likely to die in a traffic accident on the way to work than anything else. The article also jives with something I've observed in automated systems (software systems specifically): automated systems work great in very well-defined environments. But get outside that environment even slightly and all bets are off. The article, which builds largely upon an article in Popular Mechanics, quotes this odd bit: does "the inclusion of the human element will always entail the possibility of a catastrophic outcome." This seems backwards - inclusion of the human element should ensure that technology never leads us astray.

Science brings us this awesome - almost sexy - video of colliding liquid droplets shot at 5,000 frames per second.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Not so fast there science guy. These dudes can shoot video at a trillion frames per second so they can take pictures of light. WTF?

I don't get what it is with cats and teh interwebs. But if you're looking to kill some time try procatinator where you get a random cat video paired with music.

Can it be true? The last F-22 Raptor rolled off Lockheed Martin's assembly line in Marietta, Georgia this past Tuesday. I remember when the F-22 was the ATF (advanced tactical fighter) and all it did was fly around in a computer behind locked doors.
I realize Prank Packs are "genuine fake gift boxes" (available at Bed, Bath & Beyond just in time for your Xmas wrapping) but I'm wishing the Family Blankeez was real.

It looks like Twitter was redesigned (Fly?). But I'm not certain why I'd use this new update rather than Tweetdeck, especially since Twitter owns Tweetdeck. And to be fair, Facebook now has this Timeline thing.

Now that I have this Kindle (first experiment ongoing) I'll have to find some free books from Project Gutenberg and Google Books.

Audio, video, haptics, blah, blah, blah. What teh interwebs really needs is smell. Enter Olly. Just plug into your computer and get a whiff of this blog.

Did you register your .XXX domain yet? What would you think of
With all due respect to my friends who sell things for a living, the Cranky Product Manager's sketch of Inside the SalesDroid's Brain is quite funny.
WikiDumper is where articles rejected from Wikipedia go to die. (Why they rejected "Instant Rice" I'll never understand.)

I'm trying to decide whether the Grid-It organizer is a good idea for my laptop bag or not. I might need to so I wouldn't lose this: 16 GB in 1 cm. Kingston's DataTraveler Micro is pretty dang small.

You too can be nerdy if you learn how to use your computer's command line interface instead the GUI. Control your computer by typing instead of pointing and clicking. (powershell on Windows 7? Where'd that come from?)

Nvidia will share its CUDA compiler source code with academics and tool developers. I suppose that's good for folks who want to program GPUs.

Here's a video infographic of satellite launches since 1957.

Drumroll, please. The top 24 deep space photos of 2011. My favorite is the brown dwarf.
Did you miss it too? Yesterday was National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day.

World Toilet Day (coincidence) was back on 19 November. It's notable because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced $47.5 million in grants for innovations in sanitation science.

At first I thought this article about reading on the loo would be great as it combines two of my interests (#2 and books). But, in the end I was disappointed.
  1. Doing anything on the throne other than concentrating on the matter at hand it wrong, wrong, wrong.
  2. I don't care what they say, poo gets on books and magazines and newspapers. Yuck.
  3. Henry Miller claimed that Joyce's Ulysses couldn't be fully appreciated anywhere but on the toilet. (I wonder if that's a cheap shot?)
  4. Which is probably why 16% of mobile phones in Britain have poo on them. (Please no, Pippa.)
  5. The conclusion that reading on the loo "alleviates boredom" is a symptom of other problems. I mean, my god why is it taking you so long that  you get bored?
  6. And finally and most disturbingly, look at the photograph at the top of the article. I swear you can see that dude's junk.
Make it snow at your house because everyone deserves a white Christmas.

After all of the above, you're probably looking forward to some devastating explosions.

...other people's habits. ~Mark Twain

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