Saturday, December 10, 2011

Self respect is like...

I'm gonna try a little real-time music critiquing. Here's Era Una Mañana Gris and other tunes on SoundCloud by Nicholas Szczepanik. Play them while reading and we'll compare notes at the end of this post.

This isn't the best produced concert video, but it is interesting to see Steve Winwood play Pretzel Logic with Steely Dan live in Melbourne this past October.

Another friend's tip for good music: Nuclear Free City
Just something to fiddle with.
I must be smarter than I thought. Science proves that poo-throwing is a sign of intelligence. Or, phrased differently, the ability to throw accurately was a precursor to speech development in early humans.

Smart is usually good. But sometimes smart people can be bad employees. Do you recognize any of the following types?
  1. Sometimes really smart people have agendas that don't lead the company down a path of improvement. The employee may be disempowered, a rebel, or just immature.
  2. Smart people, like the rest of us, can be unreliable for any of a number of reasons.
  3. Then there's the smart person who's just a jerk in a way that simply stifles communication when they're involved.
It's nearing year's end and that means plenty of "Best of 2011" lists. ReadWriteWeb weighs in with their top web developer tools of 2011.  Included on the list are the nearly ubiquitous jQuery JavaScript library and Chrome developer tools (because apparently Firefox is on its way out). For better or worse (probably the latter) I use none of these tools other than their sideways reference to using Vim as your web development IDE.

Ben Fry's zipdecode is an oldie but a goody. This interactive map illustrates how zip codes work in the U.S.
Frank's Compulsive Guide to Postal Addresses is a valuable resource for anyone sending mail (does anyone still do that?) internationally. For example, Ireland is unique among European countries for not having postal codes.

If you need to send someone a secret, try One Time Secret, a site that provides a single one-time-use link.

Creative people are more likely to be cheaters. I've observed this in practice. But a study from Duke University seems to back up this observation. The issue is stated thusly: ethics requires you to balance self interest with self respect. Creative people balance that arrangement in creative ways that are actually unethical.

Naked people are more likely to be deemed more experiential than mental. In other words, observers tend to treat agency (the ability to think and plan) and sensuality like a zero sum game: less flesh, more thinking - more flesh, more feeling. A damning statement in the article says that women applying for jobs are punished for having breasts, because they are perceived as having less agency and more feeling. (The same is true for men, however, when perceived by women.)

Sudsy beer stuff. The folks at Stella have a holiday gift for you: a free, downloadable jazz album of holiday music. I know that when my beer mavens read that Natty Light is the first beer in space, they'll say they wish it stayed there.

We all probably did that elementary school science experiment where yelling at plants makes them grow less than if you said nice things to them. But did you know the same thing is true for disk drives? Yelling at them increases latency. Performance loss due to microvibrations is a business opportunity. This is all very similar to the speakers for my home audio system. Celestion's speakers were designed to minimize the audible distortion produced by vibrations of the cabinet.

Levitated is chock full of interactive thingies like this one called Seeds.
How much easier would playing classic video games be with these game maps, including Super Mario Bros. and Doom? Someone made a stop-motion video of Super Mario using beads.  Not to be outdone, here's a stop-motion video done in Minecraft of Super Mario Land for Gameboy.

This survey almost sounds like a "Duh" moment: teenagers aren't interested in engineering as a career choice because they know very little about it. Once they learn more about the profession including how much money engineers make, 61% of teens are more likely to consider engineering.

The Rap Board is a website full of your favorite rapper's signature sounds. I could click on Lil John saying "What" and Flavor Flav saying "Yeah boy" all day.

What does 3D tessellation have to with Xmas? An art class led a student to develop Reptangles, truncated octahedron turtle-like shapes that snap together in hundreds of ways.

Vintage film about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The U.S. Navy maintains a historical archive including special photographs of the 7 Dec 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
This almost unnecessary review of the 1961 Chuck Jones animated holiday classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas is notable only for its commentary on the 2000 remake starring Jim Carrey which I'll quote in its entirety. "this... refers to the ORIGINAL animated version of The Grinch, and not the Ron Howard film version that ruined Christmas forever a few years back. If you want to know if that movie is okay to show your kids, the answer is NO. NEVER. If you catch them watching it, burn your TV in front of them to let them know you mean business." Amen.

Dispensing toilet paper doesn't have to be dull.

Learning: classical mechanics (not the automotive variety).

The Sales Engineer Guy shares his list of free sales engineering resources on the web. 

Apparently November was a good month for visualization as the Visualising Data blog's "best of the web" is a two-parter: Part1 and Part 2.

This banana color guide and much more can be found at Spaces of Banana Control.
Lots of banana stuff this week. For example, how do you open a banana?  The flip of the wrist method? The pinch the bottom like a monkey method? Or do you need a tool like the banana opener? They say the pinch method eliminates all those messy strings (aka phloem bundles).

They say the puzzle at Can you crack it? is a recruiting tool from a British spy agency (their equivalent of our NSA). Regardless, can you? Might be good for students interested in cryptography.

Here's an interesting and historical look at symbolism in literature. I know a lot of people don't like the search for meaning in art (sometimes a banana is just a banana). But symbolism is there. And a lot of what makes art art is the search for higher meaning. I like Ray Bradbury's response: "I never consciously place symbolism in my writing. That would be a self-conscious exercise and self-consciousness is defeating to any creative act." 

But maybe you are a person who needs an analytical approach to art such as neuroaesthetics. Here's one man's opinion that this may be a red herring and that art is more philosophical than scientific.

Therefore, judge 4Monkeys by yourself.

Holy Shit. The giant weta, the world's largest insect, may be the single most disgusting thing I've ever seen on teh interwebs. First, no bug should ever be this big. Second, this is a perfect example of why nature needs to be kept outside. Third, why the hell would you hold it in your hand and feed it a carrot? Do you think it's smart enough to tell the difference between a carrot and a finger? I'm going to go barf now.
It's that time again. Get Santastic Six, this year's collection of holiday-themed mashups from djBC.

CNBC brings us these 5 undefeated eating challenges including Fort Worth's own 64-ounce chicken fried steak, the Full-o-Bull challenge at the Cowtown Diner.

The Museum of Obsolete Objects predicts the demise of the computer mouse in 2015.

Shakespeare was apparently ahead of his time with respect to psychological causes of physical ailments, or so says a gastroenterologist and 16th century literature expert. "Romeo, come forth; come forth, thou fearful man: Affliction is enamour'd of thy parts."

On this list of the 37 best sci-fi books, I've only read 5: Ender's Game, Starship Troopers (nothing like the movie), A Canticle for Liebowitz, Fahrenheit 451, and Old Man's War. I'd get 3 more if you could count movies: 2011, Contact, and I Robot.

This isn't a business blog, but if it was we could track these 5 critical blog metrics:  visitors, leads, subscribers, inbound links, and shares.

GoMo is a Google initiative to make your website mobile-ready.

Read at your own risk: signs you may be a bad programmer

So what did you think of Szczepanik's music? Forgotten Dreams seemed to be hiding Barber's Adagio for Strings (as heard in Platoon), The Short-lived seemed to me to be way too distorted, and Her Last Breath was kinda nervy like a skipping LP. Era Una Mañana Gris, the tune originally recommended, was the strongest of all but I almost got the impression the top layer of droning distortion was intentionally hiding a melody line that was a movie soundtrack. And it was a bit too long.

You look like you need a hug. Get one at The Nicest Place on the Internet.

...a prison for the soul. ~Dilbert


Joel said...

Quite a lot of bonus materiel in there this week. As for the first beer in space scam by the swill pushers at AB-InBev, you may find this interesting:

John said...

Social media done wrong strikes again - or strikes out again. Sending your beer into space would have been just as effective if done by InBev as by fans. (meaning not much, but still fun perhaps). Be genuine.

Those bonuses were all for you.

Jim said...

You've not read Hitchhiker's Guide? (The first is the best.)

It'll be interesting to see whether Firefox can hang around. While they have some great innovations, their switch to frequent updates (often breaking add-ons) has put off enterprise customers.

John said...

Nope, I haven't read Hitchhiker's but I did see the movie. Or at least parts of it.

This while Firefox's demise thing is news to me within the past week or so. I use it primarily at work while my at-home browsing is via Chrome.