Saturday, January 26, 2013

Think like a man of action.

My Brian Eno fan bus rolls on. Here's Another Green World, a 2010 documentary about him.

"Quotation marks" are an essential tool in writing. But "unnecessary quotation marks" can be annoying. So annoying that someone created a blog to preserve instances of UQM in the wild.

The editors of New American Paintings blogged about 13 painters to watch in 2013. This work by Scott Olson was the one I was most drawn to.
I don't think it's too much of a surprise that the USA is the top destination for immigrants worldwide. But I was surprised that Russia was second. What countries are the most people leaving? Mexico, India, and Russia. (Hey Russia, what's with the churn?) You can see all this and more (including cool visualization of where emigrants from any particular country go) at

The 20 most influential beers of all time. Guinness? Certainly. Anchor Steam? OK. But generic lager?
Beer consumption by country. We're #6! We're #6!
Anyone using Snapchat yet? They say it's the next big mobile app.

Engineers will like this list of the top college majors sorted by average starting salary.

Enjoy a complete set of lecture notes for linear algebra.

When you need a placeholder image, look no further than lorempixel (formerly lorempixum). Above is a 400x300 randomly chosen abstract image.

Back when scientific visualization was an "emerging field" (1988), Pixar released this video of their capabilities.

The periodic table of shoes. (Hope you can read German.)

After cursing the blue screen, do you ever wonder why Windows crashes? Here's a list of 10 reasons why Windows crashes including incorrect drivers and overheating.

Artist Cheryl Sorg can create your cultural thumbprint.
DNA, double helix, high school science, blah, blah, blah. Not so fast. Science has found that sometimes DNA appears as a quadruple helix.

Like a child, once IBM's Watson computer learned to swear they couldn't make it stop.

If you can't tell the difference between an eye bolt and an eye lag, an oval and a truss head, or a cap and an acorn head, this visual guide to nuts and bolts will be an invaluable reference.

As my mother told me, if you're forcing it you're doing it wrong. source
Death Valley Dreamlapse is a cool time-lapse video of the night sky over Death Valley. The good stuff starts about half way in.

I've only read 22 of Radcliffe's 100 best novels of the 20th century. (I could've scored a little higher if I had counted watching the movie.) But that's better than the 4/100 I scored on the most influential albums quiz (on Facebook).

Just odd: walama.

Act like a man of thought. ~Henri Louis Bergson

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Honesty is for the most part...

Today's soundtrack is Celer's new album, Without Retrospect, the Morning as streamed via Soundcloud through the album's review on

"The big mistake is to wait for inspiration." This and other thoughts from Brian Eno.

How many guests can attend a party before it gets too loud for conversation? Science has known the answer since 1958. Having just experienced such a scenario first-hand, I thought I'd give the equation a try. (I'm getting old enough where my hearing in a crowded restaurant ain't what it used to be.) But the problem with publishing science in non-scientific media is the lack of crucial bits of information such as a typical value for a room's sound absorption. (I was able to find the actual journal article online but didn't want to buy it.) So I guessed for a lot of the values leading to the result that in a 20x20x8 room the number of conversing people after which everyone raises their voice to be heard is 9. That seems kind of low.

You've seen this already but it's worth seeing again cuz it's so damn funny - a bad lip reading of the NFL.
Mark Rothko's Orange, Red, Yellow (1961) was Christie's top art sale of 2012 when it sold for $86.9 million. How much do you think Franz Kline's Untitled (1957) shown above sold for?
Kelly and have teamed up to turn your resume into a infographic. (Requires access to your LinkedIn account.)

This guide to tech internships is interesting, but contains some advice I consider harmful. For example, interviewing at companies you're not interested in as practice for the companies you are interested in. That's extremely unprofessional and would piss me off. Besides, ain't nobody got time fo dat.

Beyond tech internships, here's a good guide to what every computer science major should know.
  • Portfolio vs. resume (hint, hint)
  • Technical communication
  • An engineering core
  • The Unix philosophy
  • Systems administration
  • Programming languages
  • Discrete mathematics
  • Data structures and algorithms
  • it goes on and on with many good specific recommendations
New Jersey's Flying Fish Brewing introduced a new brew, FU Sandy, with proceeds to benefit superstorm Sandy relief. (Available on tap only.)

Would my beer friends actually make a mixed drink using beer? There's the nasty michelada - beer mixed with tomato or clamato juice. But what about a beer buster - draft beer, vodka, and Tabasco? 

In a play on the Pantone color system, here comes Beertone, as set of swatches for identifying your brew by its color.

This is why lawyering is good work: a lawyer billed his client for the time he spent having sex with her. That's what we call innovation in accounts receivable.

Great photo of Chicago
Take 3 minutes and watch Ji Lee's video Word as Image, a nice typographical animation. Equally amusing is RGB about additive color.

Prior to its planned crash on the moon, the GRAIL spacecraft shot some video from lunar orbit.

The Security Project. Have you heard of this? Peter Gabriel's touring band is joined by a few other folks to perform Gabriel's early music. (I've always liked Jerry Marotta's drumming.)

In this rare, recently discovered photo the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima appears as two distinct clouds. The photo is said to have been taken 30 minutes after the detonation and about 10 miles to its east.
Old news, but worth revisiting. The Dunbar Number is the number of simultaneous meaningful relationships a person can have. That number is 150.

Jack Lew's signature has been compared to the squiggles on top of a Hostess Cupcake which is unfortunate since it may start appearing on U.S. currency. So what what would your signature look like if Jack Lew signed it?
My John Hancock done Jack Lew style.
Laurence Olivier as Don Corleone? See what may be Francis Ford Coppola's hand written casting ideas for The Godfather.

A video history of Nintendo.

Flyers: learn how to fly the B-26 with this video. For more vintage B-26 goodness, here's a newsreel about manufacturing the B-26.

There's a sewer snake joke in here somewhere. A cobra sculpted from 800 pounds of cow dung.
This is what science calls the law of unintended consequences. The trend toward shaving and waxing pubic hair has almost eradicated crab lice in some parts of the world. I can't wait to hear PETA's position on this. (PETA wanted people to start calling fish "sea kittens" in a misguided attempt to reduce people's desire to eat fish. What euphemism could you apply to crab lice? Crotch companions?)

From the Things I Didn't Think You Could Hear department, here's Debussy playing Debussy from 1913.

Orchestrated Text is like music with subtitles. Give it a shot with Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

And now, the singing penis. Frankly I stopped reading after the title but some bug rubs its weiner to the tune of 90+ decibels.

Innovation may not be dead, but sometimes you can try to hard. Like these new jeans with lotion. Yes - moisturizing pants. Jokes are too easy. Moving on.

Mmmm. Calamari. No, wait. It's hog rectum.
Enjoy this virtual collection of poison bottles.

Recognize this bit of prose?
Now is the wisecrack of our discoverer
Made glorious sunbather by this sundry of York; 
Of course you don't, although you might think it's similar to Richard III. In fact, it is Richard III run through what's called an N+7 transformation - replacing every noun with the seventh one following it in the dictionary.

Lemme know if you can figure this out: vdr4.

...less profitable than dishonesty. ~Plato

(I think we've seen Plato's wisdom verified twice this week including Lance Armstrong, the Bernie Madoff of sports.)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Politics is not the art of the possible.

Today's soundtrack: The Pace of Which by Benjamin Dauer.

It's time for IBM's 5 in 5 - five innovations that will change our lives in the next five years. This time they present them in terms of the five senses. Computers will have a sense of smell? C'mon, man.

Milton Glaser (graphic designer) shares 10 things he's learned. In describing one of those things, doubt is better than certainty, Glaser includes this nugget: "Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real."

Astronomy/space geeks (you know who you are): the most awesome space images of 2012.

Animation of the week: Ornithophobia.

First try to guess what artist painted this. Then click the link. Don't worry - it's not one of those things painted by an elephant.
When Brian Eno's album Lux debuted last year he used four online events in which the album was streamed and listeners uploaded photos to capture light at four times of the day: sunrise, day, sunset, night. Day of Light is a video compilation of the results.

Anyone who's being treated for cholesterol issues needs to read this article about new studies that show that meds to increase HDL have no effect compared to drugs that reduce LDL. Discuss with your physician - I will be doing so with mine.

Science proves Billy Crystal was right - men and women can't just be friends.

Census Dotmap - one dot for every person in the 2010 U.S. and 2011 Canada census.
Where have you been all my life? The Museum of Clean. In Idaho of all places. (Not that Idaho's dirty or anything.)

I'm not even a fan of ping pong but this video of the best table tennis shots of 2012 is amazing.

Take 8 minutes and watch this video compilation of the view from a firefighter's helmet cam. (Sorry about the Eminem soundtrack.)

Use Rich Blocks, Poor Blocks to map household income by neighborhood for the entire U.S. DFW is shown above.
Disneyland everyday for a year?


From the "Now It's Just Silly to be Posting Christmas Stuff This Late" Department, you should bookmark Crapping Paper for next year. It's wrapping paper that spoils the surprise, and you can generate your own.

Alma Alloro, Further Abstracts 1

As the frequent reader (if any such person exists) knows, I have this thing for confluences of special interests. For example, I enjoy animation and military history. This leads to interesting things like animated propaganda films (many by Disney) during WWII. Here are just a few:
Cold War junkies: here's more nuclear apocalypse film fun: Panic in the Year Zero (1962).

See how the screwball does screw. source (Geez, what's with all the animated GIFs this week?)

Are you a visual thinker? Check out these mathematical proofs without words. Or videos about numbers from Numberphile.

What word or phrase annoys you the most? According to the annual Marist poll of annoying words, 19% of adults can't stand "you know" and 11% can't stand "just saying" making we wonder where my favorite "you know what I sayin'" ranks. Click thru to find the #1 most annoying word.

Best title of a science paper this week: An In-Depth Analysis of a Piece of Shit (study of hookworms from the Neglected Tropical Diseases journal).

If you have time to fish you're doing it wrong. -OR- I wonder what he's using for bait? source
Remember a couple weeks ago the bit about ancient humans all being lactose intolerant while today only about two-thirds remain lactose intolerant? Well, science was asked to investigate and their answer was IDK.

Everything's bigger in Texas including screens in NFL stadiums. The one in Cowboys Stadium is 160 feet wide but the Houston Texans plan to exceed that by another 67 feet - 227 feet total.

Robert Irwin, NIAGARA, 2011 (Dan Flavin isn't the only one working with fluorescent lights.)
BookRX will suggest reading material based on your Twitter feed. It gave me some very interesting suggestions except for Freshwater Fishing Tips & Techniques. Freebook Sifter helps you find free e-books on provides a free tool for making an infographic of your Twitter persona. I'd show you mine but it was pretty damn depressing.

This is an amazing story - a German fighter pilot escorted a badly damaged B-17 out of enemy airspace during WWII.

Great photographs of a restored B-17G.
Where did the word supercalifragilisticexpealidocious come from? Would you believe my alma mater, Syracuse University?

OK, science. Enough already. Atoms can't cool below absolute zero.

Where do objects go to die? And what about all the European bunkers from WWII?

Lot's of art reading to catch up on and all of it free.
One last tune for you - the Guitar Circle of Europe covers King Crimson's Red.
I was looking at this while listening to Pink Floyd's Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. Groovy.
Time to make music. The Wobbulator. (How can you not want to play with something called The Wobbulator? It's meant to recreate the sounds of the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop.) Note: You may need to use Chrome.

Time to dance. Polydance.

It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. ~John Kenneth Galbraith 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I would rather entertain and hope people learned...

No gibberish today. Something involving a mouse is getting in the way.

...than teach and hope they were entertained. ~Walt Disney (paraphrased)