Monday, May 28, 2012

Given the same amount of intelligence...

Special holiday edition!

Today's soundtrack is Woven Tide by From The Mouth of the Sun. Hope you don't mind a little drone.

Best image I've seen on the web in a long time. Glass. Gem. Corn.
Animated GIFs are the fast food of online imagery, but this Tumblr celebrates them anyway: Born in 1987: The Animated GIF.

Certainly I've mentioned before that I was in the last of my high school's graduating classes who had to learn to use the slide rule. Now I look at this virtual Pickett N4-ES slide rule simulator and just scratch my head trying to remember how it worked.

Freakin' laser beams, man. Let's just hope they don't end up on this list of twelve secret weapons that failed. (For the record, the XB-70 does not belong on this list.)

You can paper craft all weekend with these paper models of polyhedra. Ditrigonal Icosidodecahedron anyone?

Yes, we all remember Count Chocula and Boo Berry. But how many of you remember Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy? Cereal monsters are awesome but just try to imagine the kind of fun my sophomoric brain can have with Fruit Brute.
Who knew? Kodak had themselves a nuclear reactor for neutron radiography.

Movie trivia. You've seen her in Aliens as the tough Pvt. Vasquez. And in Terminator 2 she was John Connor's stepmother. You've also seen her, perhaps without knowing it, in Titanic as the Irish Mommy. But do you know what actress Jenette Goldstein is up to now? She's the proprietor of Jenette Bras for full-figured gals. Gotta love their tagline: The Alphabet Starts at D.

It's only mentioned briefly at the end of this interview with director Ridley Scott, but he's in talks about a sequel to Blade Runner.

I would so buy this Alien Pez dispenser.
Is this guy serious or a prankster? He wants to build a real starship Enterprise from Star Trek starting now, over 20 years, for $1 trillion.

And here is the best of the visualization web: Part 1 and Part 2.

The most popular birth date is 16 September proving why everyone's so happy leading up to Christmas.
For my male beer drinking friends, this may be the woman of your dreams: The Beeroness. She cooks and bakes with craft beer. For the Guinness drinkers among you, here's the Guinness QR pint glass. When filled with Guinness, the glass displays a working QR code.

One of those crossover things I like: maps + literature = Brit Lit Map. It's a map of Britain drawn by the names of authors positioned by where they came from.

You gotta play TWITCH - a series of tiny browser based games that use the mouse only. (The page says it's for Chrome only but it appears to work in Firefox.)

We've all had nights like this. Right? source
Mildly amusing: build your own frankfurter with freaky franks.

Did you know someone was trying to make a free software replacement for Windows? It's called ReactOS.

An interactive Voronoi diagram. Just try it.

...timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity. ~von Clausewitz

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Try not to become a man of success...

Sometimes this shit just writes itself. Zoo caretaker licks monkey's butt to help it defecate.

Proof #2 that innovation is not dead. Scientists in Japan (where else?) have created Shiri, robotic buttocks. Watch the video, I dare you. I cannot look away. (Nor will I be able to use Siri on my iPhone again with a straight face.)

Proof #32B that innovation is not dead. Designers in Japan (why do they get all the fun stuff?) have created the fishbowl bra. (I remember fish in elevator heeled shoes from the 1970s. This is much better.)
I'm certainly starting out naughty this week, aren't I. source
Two very different messages for new graduates. The WSJ's Bret Stephens advises "Your prospective employers can smell BS from miles away. And most of you don't even know how badly you stink." TV's Aaron Sorkin graduated from Syracuse University the year before me and he was back this year to give the commencement address. "And make no mistake about it, you are dumb." (OK, enough with the nasty, out-of-context quotes. How's this: "Don't ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has.")

After watching this video you'll never doodle during a meeting the same way again. I mean, who knew your doodles made sound?

Aviation pr0n of the week. source
When I first read this statistic I thought that it must be wrong. According to the Jobs Council "only 1.5% of 25-34 year-olds in the workplace gained a higher education degree in a science related field, putting the U.S. in the bottom third of all OECD countries." Only 1.5%? If asked to guess I might have said more like 10%. All those underwater puppetry majors are flooding the job market. (The rest of the article has some generic motherhood stuff about eduction but a slightly troubling call that "training for students and workers meets the demands of the labor market." College is not a trade school.)

The most valuable college majors?
  1. Biomedical Engineering
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Computer Science
  4. Software Engineering
  5. Environmental Engineering
  6. Civil Engineering
  9. Petroleum Engineering
  10. Applied Mathematics
  11. Mathematics
  14. Physics
  15. Statistics 
You'll have to forgive Gizmodo for engaging in a bit of hyperbole. Yes, they found an RAF Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk in the Sahara that has been more or less undisturbed since WWII. Is it aviation 's equivalent to finding King Tut's tomb? Hardly. Is it perfectly preserved? I guess they don't know what perfect means. (Those Spitfires buried in Burma are more likely to be well preserved.)
The Air Force's X-37B spaceplane is shown being installed in its launch capsule. The vehicle has now been in orbit for over a year.
A new definition of professional behavior is developing in the world as manifested through social media. Here's one example. The "old" professional thinks "I am expected to have answers to questions" whereas the "new" professional thinks "I am searching for answers with my network of colleagues and supporters." (I'm not certain I agree that the definition of professional has changed as much as the concept of personal interaction has evolved.)

Mario + Medieval Manuscripts = Genius

As the blog writes, "What a beautiful way to spend 8 minutes!" Please watch The Eagleman Stag.

Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow 1961 sold for $77.5 million ($86.8 million once buyer's premium is included) during a Christie's auction, setting a new record for a contemporary work and surpassing the $72 million paid for a Rothko in 2008. For those of you who can't imagine paying that much for an abstract work ($29 million per rectangle as someone put it), please take heart in the fact that Edward Munch's The Scream recently sold for even more - $120 million.
Is next month's premier of Prometheus, the Alien prequel, in danger of being overhyped? For example, Weyland Industries has its own website.

Harken back to the days of the original Alien movie with these behind the scenes photos.
All Presentation Software is Broken makes the point that tools like PowerPoint (the lightning rod for presentation criticisms) emphasize "unnecessary visual dressing." The remedy is to make the web browser the vehicle of choice for your presentations because it gives your message an almost infinitely wider reach. Here are a couple of problems with this.
  1. Presentation software is not broken; presenters are. For reasons too numerous to mention here, many presenters couldn't give a good presentation no matter what tool they used. 
  2. Communication gets mixed up with presentation, the latter being more about some sort of visual aesthetic and desire to entertain. 
  3. I am an imperfect disciple of Edward Tufte meaning that putting my slides on the web for people to view by themselves would give a wholly incomplete view of the message. The message is communicated verbally.  
Maybe you just need a few tips on giving a great talk.

What makes a good engineering culture? Quora's Edmond Lau answers. (This might make a good post for the company blog.)

Is Pliny the Younger really the best beer in the world?
Need a Linux computer that's compact? Have less than $100 to spend? Check out the $74 AllWinner A10 that's about the size of a flash drive.

Tumblr goodness: Greetings I am so excited I found your welbog is chock full of blog sp@m comments. What should we call social media animates common social media happenings.

Never forget your bones again. source
Farting may have killed the dinosaurs but the danger to Apollo astronauts was likely minimal.

Another hilarious list from McSweeney's: Bandwiches, if rock and roll bands were sandwiches. ABBA: reindeer paté, candied rose petals, white bread. Or one that's close to home, John Cage: silence, warmth, indirect sunlight, the memory of lettuce, the idea of bread.

Can you imagine a chair in the shape of a soap film? The folks at mSurfaces can and want you to contribute to their project on kickstarter.

Sea Shadow for sale, not sail. The U.S. Navy is selling the Lockheed designed and built radar evading stealth ship for scrap with a target cost of less than $140,000. Seems like a bargain to me, if only you could operate it.
Here are rare behind-the-scenes photos from James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, including screen tests of actors who didn't get the starring role.

I debated whether to link to this or not. It's a graphic showing the parentage of various consumer brands and how many of them go back to a few big players like Coke or Kraft or Kellogg's. My problem with it? The name of the image is "illusion of choice" as though the parent company is relevant as opposed to the product variety. Maybe I've become way too sensitive to the whole 99% thing.

Remember sticky hands? (I can't forget. My kids got some stuck to the ceiling for so long they left permanent marks.) Well now you can play with a stick hand online thanks to those capitalist monsters fine folks at Coke.
Remember that wooden maze game with a ball you had to roll by tilting the game board? Now there's on online version that's probably even more frustrating (because you can't just say f*ck it and pickup the ball and drop it in the hole). Play Cube that uses Google maps to get you from one place to another.

A triathlon isn't hard enough, you had to do it while juggling?

Mmmmm. Donuts. Scientists create a torus that leaves both horizontal and vertical lengths unchanged using convex integration theory.

Not a donut: astronomers witness black hole eating a star.

Yes, we all can get along. source
In case it's not been made clear yet, the Mayan calender does not predict the end of the world in 2012.

Just because you can: particles and waves, planet earth, WebGL water.
I'd give this to my doctor and call it You Just Touched My Prostate. source
And now, for your relaxation and enjoyment, I present the Calming Manatee.

...but rather try to become a man of value. ~Albert Einstein

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Currency & Oral Cavity Juxtaposition

Putting my money where my mouth is helps prove (mostly to myself) that I'm not all blog and no action.

I blogged about Shitter a couple weeks ago. These fine people will print your twitter feed on rolls of toilet paper. The joke is obvious.

Behold, my personalized toilet paper from Shitter.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

People demand freedom of speech...

Science, art, culture, creativity. It's all here in On the Origins of the Arts. It's worth your time. An interesting factoid: monitoring of alpha waves in the human brain indicate that abstract design is most appealing when there's about a 20% redundancy of elements. A great quote from Picasso: "Art is the lie that helps us to see the truth."
GENIUS! Nipples at the Met is a photo blog of every nipple on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Why can't I think of this stuff?
Clients from Hell never ceases to be an amazing read, like this one about "we copied your signature." I shudder if only 10% of these are true.

This reeks of rationalization, but just having turned 50 I couldn't pass it by: middle age is an elite evolutionary benefit.

It's been a while since I found any Mario-related gaming stuff. Super Mario Summary has compressed each level into a single screen. See if you can play them all.

Can't recall whether I posted this before: a cheat sheet to keep handy in case aliens decide to make first contact with you.

Aviation pr0n of the week: the first XB-47 prior to its first flight. This is from a photo essay on Heavy Bombers of the Cold War. The article also includes information about WWII's Norden bombsight which is said to have cost half as much as the Manhattan Project which brought us the atomic bomb.
A brief piece on development of the SR-71 Blackbird.

This is likely more than you ever wanted to know about the Apollo Guidance Computers (including source code).

More programming slang: For example, a Loch Ness Monster Bug is something only one person has seen and no one else can repeat.

If you liked that, you'll love these cool but obscure Unix tools.

F-18 / source
What does a Space Shuttle launch sound like? Watch this video and turn up the volume. (In person the sound must be visceral.)

Things teh interwebs was made for #843: a collection of pocket protectors.

Will my beer geek friends think it's a sin or a virtue to infuse your beer with other flavors? Regardless, Dogfish Head wants you to try their beer flavor infuser.

Eight years in two minutes: see One World Trade Center rise.

I'm not certain what emergency would qualify for using this fold out chair that's hidden inside an end table.

Welcome to the Anthropocene is a cool video charting the expansion of humanity on earth over the past 250 years, if nothing else.
Drink your coffee with King Crimson.

Only for the most hard-core Genesis fans - an annotated guide to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway

Incredibox - make your own a cappella beat-box.

With the over-hyped NFL draft behind us, it's time to welcome these new players to the league. A former NFL player does exactly that in an open letter that warns "the NFL is about to destroy your life."

My brother lives outside Cincinnati so when I read that they had a mysterious monster there I naturally was curious. This thing they call Godzillus is a 7-foot tall fossilized cactus that "defies all known categories of organisms."

When you use Google to search for something, how many times do you go past the first results page? The second? The third? MillionShort throws out the top 1,000,000 results so you can start by searching deep.

One of many forgotten photos from the Gemini missions.
MIT's Technology Review magazine thinks these are the top 10 technology milestones achieved in the last year.
  1. Egg Stem Cells
  2. A Faster Fourier Transform (makes mobile faster)
  3. Ultra-Efficient Solar
  4. Nanopore Sequencing (for DNA analysis)
  5. Light-Field Photography
  6. Crowdfunding (e.g. Kickstarter)
  7. Solar Microgrids
  8. High-Speed Materials Discovery (because this involves battery technology, it gets my vote for #1)
  9. 3D Transistors
  10. Facebook's Timeline (MIT must have a sense of humor)
I promised to never again show art made with bodily fluids but I didn't say anything about painting with Coke.

You might have heard that I sliced my first avocado last weekend. That inspired me to read Kitchen 101: Cooking Methods. I was overwhelmed before they got to pan fry.

Pancakes in 45 seconds? Surely you jest.

People like this shouldn't be allowed to breed. A San Diego mom won a $3.5 million lawsuit when she discovered Nutella wasn't a health food. (I'm referring to the plaintiff, her attorneys, the jury, and any other parties who benefit from the class action portion of the award.)

But is it organic, fair trade, free range goat penis?
Just do this. compensation for the freedom of thought they rarely use. ~Soren Kierkegaard