Saturday, August 25, 2012

Women don't want to hear what you think...

In one ear...

Today's soundtrack is a preview of the track Dust from the upcoming new album OUROBOROS by Naked Truth.

This is probably for only the truly hardcore. The last part of this Modern Art Notes podcast (begins about two thirds of the way through) has an interview with musicians Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello and their performance of The Spaces Contained in Each as performed at Houston's Rothko Chapel. Their work was inspired by John Cage and his work 4' 33'' and relates to the Menil Collection's exhibition Silence.

Interesting. Eraldo Bernocchi, a musician whose ambient work is all I'm familiar with, is a fan of Kiss and Slayer. WTF?

The inner child...

For Fun: Silk
More play time at carnal fury - poke a big blob of goo. (But someone doesn't know what carnal means or I'm missing a devious joke.)

Play time continues with Bokeh Type. Just start typing.

Ink, paper, eyes...

Remember the divine language spoken by LeeLoo in The Fifth Element? Someone has written an English to Divinian dictionary for you. "Chamasen kiba bankite akina djala deno bana."

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is a prize unto itself for creating a forum for composing the worst opening sentence of a novel. Here's an entry from this year that was awarded dishonorable mention: "Bishop threw back the shot of bourbon and reflected on his career as a private dick, a profession he always thought of as perfect for a man named Richard who kept to himself and was often unkind to others." So you can only imagine what the winner is like (although the one about bird poop was pretty good).

For those of you with short attention spans who can't be bothered to read an entire paragraph, take a look at the Lyttle Lytton Contest where the rules dictate brevity. For example, "I parted her legs with great solemnity. “Hello old friend,” I whispered." (I literally LOL'ed for that one. I would love to be able to write like that.)

Tumblr goodness. What do you get when you combine photographs of donuts with literary quotes? As I Lay Frying.

Eat like Hemingway (pan fried trout) and other authors.

Mix and match...

Sweet mother of juxtaposition. T-Rex + Alien + Lego = Alien Rex
Give a Star Wars fan boy a degree in communication design and you get a list of 10 reasons why Star Wars' design is awesome.

Alien, meet Darth Vader. Darth, meet Alien. from The Clone Emperor on flickr
Getting paid...

Things you wish you'd known before your job interview (another damn infographic). Common non-verbal mistakes from a survey of bosses include (from most frequent): failure to make eye contact, having little or no knowledge of the company, lack of a smile.

Here's old but interesting advice on how to get hired.

From the How To Department, folding a suit jacket for traveling.

It's a jumble...

"Why is Texas so awesome" and other stereotypes of the states as revealed by Google.

The Open Calculus blog is devoted to free resources for teaching and learning calculus including an open-source textbook.

In other news this week, Belgium (if it were made of floating rocks) was spotted off the coast of New Zealand.

NO, IT'S NOT A BANANA. It's a robot. A robot worm. A mesh worm. (In science-speak, a soft autonomous earthworm robot.) Now watch the video of what science hath created and tell me what else it reminds you of.
It's that time of the year when kids go off to college meaning it's also time for Beloit College's Mindset List. The list is a way of preparing teachers for where their new students are coming from. For example, #7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway. #48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room. (Who's a good Do-Bee?)

Sad but true...

It has not been a good week for art. First, a self-starting, well-intentioned, amateur, octogenerian artist can now lay claim to the worst art restoration in history for her work on Ecce Homo. (See image below.)

Also, in an attempt to save a little money, a Norwegian art gallery lost a Rembrandt etching when they had it sent via regular mail instead of using a courier service.

A well-intentioned amateur butchered Ecce Homo (original on left, deteriorated version in middle).  The ruined artwork has now been called "Ewok Jesus", "a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic", and "a furry alien Neanderthal" among other things. It has spawned a Tumblr page and a new Internet meme.  Image from the NYT.
Ones and zeroes...

Let's see if you can solve these computer science challenges like finding the first non-repeated character in a string.

Maybe you like GPU Programming and the complete college course notes for it.

Are you a programmer? No, a real programmer.

You may have asked yourself "Why is vi the killerest?" Here's why.

Stupid computer science tricks. Sketch2Photo is exactly that - turn a notated sketch into a realistic photograph. I really want to try it.

Wurstkoffer. Tasty. Portable. Meat.

Cool down...

You might want to check out this time-lapse video tribute to Blade Runner called Android Dreams and featuring a year's worth of Tokyo skyline.

Now cleanse your heart, soul, and mind with the gentle sound of rain.

...Women want to hear what they think -- in a deeper voice. ~Bill Cosby

Sunday, August 19, 2012

World War Z by Max Brooks

Max Brook's World War Z is a bunch of notes that could be turned into a nice novel.

To be fair, I don't recall whether the audiobook version I check out of the library was unabridged or not but World War Z was only mildly interesting at best. Pop culture's current fascination with the undead has eluded me and that's one reason why I gave these 5 CDs a chance in the first place.

I had never given much thought to where zombies might come from and this book provided an answer. The "oral history" format of this tale of the Zombie War was the first audiobook I have listened to that was produced using a full cast (notable: Alan Alda, Carl and Rob Reiner, Mark Hamill). Again, only mildly interesting.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Labor is the only prayer...

This post intentionally left blank.

...that Nature answers. ~Robert Green Ingersoll

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Art of Newspaper Editing

There are times when reading the newspaper is an act of autopilot - scan headlines, read a few interesting paragraphs, turn page, repeat. And then there are times like this morning when it becomes clear that there's a difference between reading a well-edited publication like the 11-12 August 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal versus scanning the robot-generated Google News.

At the risk of sounding like a introduction to a 12-step self-help program, I primarily get my news from reading newspapers. I read the Fort Worth Star-Telegram with breakfast each day and on the weekends I read the Wall Street Journal and the Fort Worth Business Press. But I digress.

So what in the WSJ gave me a warm fuzzy?

It will not surprise you that a book review of William Faulkner's The Sound and The Fury (Coloring a Classic, Just as Faulkner Had Hoped) is at the top of my list. You might wonder why they're reviewing a book first published in 1929. The edition in question is a new limited-edition from the Folio Society that does what Faulkner had wanted to do - print the novel's notoriously complex - yet absolutely wonderful - opening section by the idiot Benjy with color codes for the different timelines in his monologue. Some may think that if you need to go to this extreme to make your novel understandable you've failed as a writer. Even Faulkner was unsure whether he got Benjy's section right despite insisting that he didn't make it complex on purpose. I'll agree with the review that "Benjy's monologue is one of the great tours de force of stream-of-consciousness writing..."

What's funny about this edition of the WSJ is the Faulkner review shares a page with a critical review of Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Case for Southern Secession (A New Turn in the South). Author Chuck Thompson, according to the reviewer, seems to be more serious than humorous - but after all, good humor is based on a kernel of truth. But the juxtaposition of the two reviews further detracts from Thompson's thesis. Faulkner's writing captures something truly American - not Southern - and binds the past, including the Civil War, inextricably with the present. Having been raised a yankee but now having spent nearly three decades in the south I can say that North and South are more alike than different, simply two sides of the same compass needle.

The WSJ doesn't stop there. Having enjoyed many a craft beer in my day I'm always interested their reviews of craft beer and this weekend the WSJ profiles the brewing of Belgian-style lambics in the U.S. But the article's title is The Sour and the Glory - a tasteful nod to Faulkner's novel.

Lest you think I've become a WSJ fan-boy think again. They ruin it all with a horrific photo essay A Salute to the Spider.

Perhaps I'm just a horrible reader and these things are there all the time. But they did make me smile today.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A poet is a nightingale...

Today's soundtrack is Moon EP by Lights Dim, a little retro-space ambience for the Apollo missions.

Science can tell us things about music. "We found evidence of a progressive homogenization of the musical  discourse." In other words, pop music all sounds the same. Now turn that shit DOWN and do your homework!

All my Cleveland-area friends should head over to Toledo for a retrospective of Jules Olitski's paintings such as With Love and Disregard: Rapture (2002) at the Toledo Museum of Art through 26 August.
The 50 greatest films of all time. As you may have heard, Vertigo has taken the #1 spot away from Citizen Kane. (Amazingly, I've seen both, 9 of the 50 in total.)

Someone else I didn't think you could see on film: Mark Twain from 1909.

Even old science is good science. From 1733, a robot duck that poops!
Sometimes you just want to know the fucking weather.

The programmer's corner:
What if Shakespeare wrote Javascript?

  //ACT II: a LOOP in which the final TWO NUMBERS are QUEREED and SUMM'D

  //[ENTER: theCounter]

  //Commence at one and venture o'er the numbers
  for (theCounter = 1; theCounter < theSize; theCounter++) {
    //By divination set adjoining members
    theResult[theCounter] = (theResult[theCounter-1]||1) + theResult[Math.max(0, theCounter-2)];

  //'Tis done, and here's the answer.
  return theResult;

Use Color Palette Generator to find a color scheme that matches your favorite image.
Take Google's street view, add a little WebGL and see the whole thing as ASCII art - it's ASCII Street View.

Here's a handy tool for anyone creating a software user interface, web-based or otherwise. Enter a search term and Icon Finder shows you what's available for icons.
It's been a long time since I saw one of these alphabets worth posting. But seeing as I've enjoyed a bowl of everything represented by these breakfast cereal mascots I figured it's worth it.
At a loss for words? Draw from this list of significant phrases. "Spicy and pungent"

HBR lists several bad habits you learn in school. Emphasis on authority and hierarchy. The reliance on static information. Fear of mistakes.

WARNING! This is billed as the weirdest video you will ever see and I think they're right. It's from Japan and looks like their version of  a Sy Fy network movie. But crazier. You've been warned.

Do you still have some vinyl LPs? You might want to checkout Pop Spike to see if they're worth anything. For example, it says my picture disc of Styx's Pieces of Eight (no comments please) is worth $350.

First it was the gas cap thing and now this. Sometimes I think I'm the last to know everything. source
Sleep is something so basic yet sometimes so problematic. Did you know that we humans used to sleep in two shifts - first sleep from sundown to midnight, wake for an hour or so, then second sleep until dawn?

When a college student-oriented website lists beers to avoid you know they must be bad. I'm glad to see Schaefer at the top of the list.  It's all downhill from its slogan: "The beer to have when you're having more than one." In other words, if all you're interested in is getting drunk why waste your money on good beer? My father's regular beer was Carling Black Label (#7). Genesee Cream Ale (#21) was the bane of my freshman year of college.

And now back to something a bit more palatable, the 50 states of best American beers. From Texas: Saint Arnold's Fancy Lawnmower.

Beer and animation have more in common than you might think. For example, Dr. Seuss had to pay the bills and did a lot of work in the advertising biz. You must take a look if only for his ad for Schaefer beer.

Send an email to your future self

IMO, the most impressive image to come from Curiosity's descent to the Martian surface. The HiRISE orbiter was able to snap this photo of Curiosity with its chute deployed.
Perhaps your tastes in space run more retro. With We Choose the Moon you can relive the entire Apollo 11 mission.

The first photo from space, taken from 65 miles up on 24 Oct 1946.
Yet another music website:

You've gotta try BridgeURL.  Give it a bunch of URLs and it'll make a slideshow out of those websites. For example, here are some of my favorites from this week.

Someone takes some of the sheen off data visualization guru Edward Tufte.

Is that a snake in your rainforest or are you just happy to see me? Recently discovered Atretochoana eiselti is not actually a snake (despite being nicknamed Man-aconda) but is in fact an amphibian. But dang, it sure does look like a... snake.
Remember QWOP? You might find CLOP easier, especially if you like unicorns.

...who sits in the darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet  sounds. ~Percy Shelley

Saturday, August 4, 2012

No eulogy is due to him...

What do I have in common with an Italian water polo player and a Romanian Judo-ist? Find out yourself with the Olympian body match.

I would totally watch this. source
There once was a sub off Nantucket
who spied a lagging tanker and sunk it.
Captain said with a frown
as depth charges brought the U-550 down
"Gonna scuttle the ship boys. Fuck it."

Do you like The Wizard of Oz? Do you like Gary Busey? Then you'll love... this.

Poetry Corner: Fish's Night Song by Christian Morgenstern (1905). source
The possibilities are interesting. 3D printing the lower receiver of an AR-15.

NASA wants future lunar visitors to steer clear of Lunar Heritage Sites including scientifically important bags of poo.

Finally! A female-friendly bra joke. source
A brief note from Tchaikosvsky on how work must meet inspiration halfway.

The only thing that doesn't make sense about the Amazing Shit Box is why the mascot's name is Little Jack. source
Women wearing bikinis control robots wearing bikinis - where else - in Japan.

Would you stand directly below the detonation at 18,500 feet of a 2 kt nuclear missile fired from an F-89? These Army guys did in 1957.

Must have these Alien-inspired chopsticks. source
How about this replica helmet from Alien made by Myth Busters' Adam Savage?
Runways are hard to tell apart from the air which is presumably why a C-17 landed at Peter O. Knight airport instead of MacDill AFB. Enjoy the videos, especially the landing which used all but 10 feet of runway. Lucy, you got some splaining to do.

Disasterland is Disney like you've never seen it.
Maybe the C-17 pilots would've benefited from Boeing's new pilot's helmet (Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System) debuted on the F-15 Silent Eagle.

OK Philly peeps, it's time for you to step up for this Philly Cheesesteak Ice Cream.
I must admit that I really enjoy the James Bond films since Daniel Craig took the lead role. Watch the trailer for Skyfall.

Did you like Prometheus? Cuz the sequel is already in works for 2014 or 2015.

It's what's for dinner. source
...who simply does his duty and nothing more. ~Saint Augustine