Saturday, November 30, 2013

I am accustomed to sleep and in my dreams...

This music video pushes a lot of the right buttons for me: black and white animation, mesh graphics, and a Steve Reich inspired remix of David Bowie's Love is Lost. (Oh, and the kissy kissy.) Plus, Trey Gunn's Security Project performs Peter Gabriel's music.

Just One Book - great people choose one book for you to read.

Know Thyself

Interactive state to state migration
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Map the U.S. by income down to the zip code.
Virtual drum set.

Let's Take a Tour

The winners of the 2013 Information is Beautiful Awards have been announced and there's plenty of good stuff to lose yourself in. This graphic in particular showing found meteorites I thought was particularly attractive.
Da Gubmint
  • Just say HELL NO to cell phone calls on airplanes. I once had to listen to a young woman talk on her phone from landing to the gate and I felt like Robert Hays' seatmates from Airplane! (watch beginning at 0:38).
  • Daylight savings time needs to end. Now.
  • A Texas A&M law professor wants to repeal the 2nd amendment and leave gun control up to the states. First, it's surprising to hear this from TAMU faculty. Second, if we're really interested in saving lives and overall societal cost we should repeal the 21st amendment (look it up). Third, I wonder what other pesky constitutional rights need to be gerrymandered into submission?
Monty Python to reunite for a stage show?

A whole bunch of maps. You don't know Africa. (And neither do I. 20 countries found in slightly under 4 minutes.)

Better late than never: take this WKRP Thanksgiving quiz.

Nice photo of downtown Fort Worth by Greg Brown.
It's programming time!

The bourbon family tree
Moving Pictures

  • Take time for this 5-minute interview with Benoit Mandelbrot, filmed 19 days before his death.
  • Some sort of video magic was used to created this stabilized, panoramic, HD, multi-input version of  the Zapruder film.
  • Nearly 13,000 hand-painted aquarelles make up this 35 minute fan tribute to Blade Runner.
How many originals of the Gettysburg Address still exist? Five.

Engineering schools fail to teach empathy? That's because they're too busy teaching ethics. Both of which are things the students should've learned at home before their parents shipped them off to become everyone else's problem.
Extruding "paste" for toilet testing.
Sometimes this is the only good thing that happens all day.

What has science been up to lately?
What has art been up to? Not much.
Set phasers to stunning. I LOLd way too long over this.
This is why I'm confused: imagine the same things that lunatics imagine when awake. ~Rene Descartes

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Never Go Back by Lee Child

When Reacher's in jail
it's best if you are not the
man who put him there.

Although I largely avoid crime novels, Jack Reacher is an intriguing enough character that I'll go back again and again, especially for the audio books when Dick Hill is the voice actor. (For those of you who've only seen the movie starring Tom Cruise, his portrayal was adequate but of a completely different Reacher.) 

Never Go Back, the latest (Sept. 2013) book in Lee Childs' Jack Reacher series, is 416 pages. Audio book of 13 CDs read excellently by Dick Hill.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

There are three things extremely hard:

Today through Tuesday is all about physics, not blogging. (Hint #1)

Hint #2: Andy Warhol, Statue of Liberty, 1962

...steel, a diamond and to know one's self. ~Benjamin Franklin (Hint #3)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The only true wisdom...

Today's soundtrack is an hour-long concert by Naked Truth recorded in July 2011. 

Destined to become an astronomical classic: Saturn backlit by the Sun including the Earth as photographed by Cassini.
Next time you're in Groton you'll be able to see a submarine with wheels for driving on the ocean floor. News reports indicate that "pieces" of the Navy's NR-1 submarine will be on display at an unnamed submarine museum, presumably this one.

And at some future time you'll be able to browse online the scanned document archive from Bletchley Park, the great code-breakers of WWII.

You can either treat Myers Briggs personality types seriously (where ESTJ is "the supervisor... ESTJs like to get things done, and tend to go about projects in a systematic, methodical way.") or not so much (ESTJ is "the bureaucrat... who thrives in occupations which best utilize their organizational skills, such as driver's license bureau worker, junior bank teller, postal employee, COBOL programmer, or any other profession which involves long periods of mind-crushing tedium").

Read all about the history of the B-2 in the freely downloadable ebook from Northrop Grumman, B-2: The Spirit of Innovation.

Lest you think a recently discovered fallout shelter from 1961 in Austin, Texas is just quaint, watch this 1960 civil defense video Target... Austin, Texas.

Cornell hosts videos of a quantum theory lecture by Hans Bethe, head of the theoretical group at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project. The videos are not highly technical and should appeal to people with a wide range of backgrounds.

Jackson Pollock, Number 11, 1949. From the collection of the Indiana Univ. Art Museum. You can only imagine the conversation this painting sparked at work this week.
The 10 best U.S. airports for art does not include DFW.

Only pilots will like this video of landing a Super Cub on a mountain top in like 0 feet.

When you're stuck for content and don't want to resort to Lorem Ipsum try Content Snippets.

You may not be boring, but I bore even myself. This article tells us why the internet is a megaphone of boring because most of what's posted is the equivalent of "flashing a Prius-shaped gang sign to your pals."

While we're on the topic of insight, here are the hallmarks of great bosses: listen, fight constructively, adopt a "small win" strategy, don't be too sensitive, and nip disrespect in the bud.

Have you heard about olloclip, the clip-on camera lenses for iPhones? I take such crappy snapshots that maybe these lenses would upgrade them to photographs.

This periodic table of swearing must've been written by a soccer hooligan with ADHD after one too many pints of Watney's.
And if that periodic table wasn't bad enough, take a look at these American football team logos re-imagined in soccer style - i.e. they look like seals and crests from private boarding schools.

What Ph.D. students write the longest dissertations? It's not aerospace engineers who rank near the bottom at around 120 pages. Who do you think tops the list at nearly 300 pages?

Array indexing, 0, and 1. An article only programmers will find interesting. tl;dr

Learning modern 3D graphics programming.

I was not aware of any mystery surrounding King Tut's death. But recent work indicates he was killed in a chariot accident and later spontaneously combusted. Yes, you read that correctly.

In the 11 socio-politically homogeneous, nation-states I live in Greater Appalachia ("value individual liberty").

The 100 best novels. From 1898.

Science solves the great problems of our day, like how to keep from getting splashed when peeing in a urinal. in knowing you know nothing. ~Socrates

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    Boing, We'll Do It Live! by The Aristocrats

    These three prog rockers
    give an awesome performance
    with a grin and wink.

    Boing is everything a live album should be: spontaneous, genuine, masterful, and fun.

    The Aristocrats are Guthrie Govan (guitar), Marco Minnemann (drums), and Bryan Beller (bass).

    Boing, We'll Do It Live was recorded in 2012 in San Pedro at the Alvas Showroom. The 2-CD album has 15 tracks.

    Disc 1: Bad Asteroid, Greasy Wheel, Boing!... I'm In The Back, Flatlands, I Want A Parrot, Blues Fuckers, Waves

    Disc 2: Get It Like That, Furtive Jack, Train Trax, Cave Dweller, Mr. Kempinski, Dance Of The Aristocrats, A Very Metal Introduction, Sweaty Knockers

    You can get a taste of their work by watching them perform at the Frankfurt Jazz Festival in 2012 in the video below. (Elsewhere the band has commented that they think it's funny they're sometimes categorized as a jazz band.)

    Here's where you can find the band online.

    Art cannot result from...

    Later this month, Rare Noise Records will release the self-titled debut album from MUMPBEAK featuring keyboardist Roy Powell, four bassists (Levin, Feliciati, Blumenkranz, and Laswell) all backed up by Pat Mastelotto on drums. Preview three tracks here.

    If you prefer something a bit more laid back, stream Markus Reuter's Live in Bethlehem 2013 and if you like it the download is free.

    Paul Emile Borduas, Reception Automnale, 1953. Gorgeous. From the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
    A magic card trick with a story by James Galea. Quite impressive, but I guess that's why they call it magic.

    Do you know why infographics suck? Because the facts, when they aren't contrived, are usually wrong. Here's a map-based infographic with state by state alcohol facts. It claims that Virginia is the only state where beer isn't the preferred drink but also that in Texas more people like Margaritas than any other drink. I suppose the folks at College Humor were probably toasted when they created it. That's the last time I go to them for hard-hitting news.

    Ranking of various countries based on their proficiency in English. From a WSJ article about how learning English is becoming less popular and/or necessary in China.
    Ten animated short films are up for consideration for an Oscar. Judge for yourself: Feral, Get a Horse!, Gloria Victoria, Hollow Land, The Missing Scarf, Mr. Hublot, Possessions, Requiem for Romance, Room on the Broom, and Subconscious Password.

    Take a couple of minutes to watch this video montage of 243 titles from animated films.

    OK, so maybe animation isn't your cup of tea. The AFI has a musical montage of 100 movie quotes that you might like better.

    You know a technology has reached some level of maturity when their are websites devoted to its failures. Check out this Flickr photo pool of 3D print failures.

    accidental aRt (I have no idea why the R is upper case) is what you get when data visualization goes wrong.

    And if you watch this compilation of infomercial fails, you'd think no one anywhere ever has a good day.

    A page from the world's least erotic sex manual. When the man is loading the dishwasher and the woman must come over, because he is loading it wrong, it is called the "dishwasher position."
    Solving the greatest conundrums of our time, science shows that women are two percentage points more attractive when seen in a group as opposed to by themselves. The cheerleader effect has been validated!

    Able-Archer was a NATO exercise in 1983 that the Soviets misinterpreted as a real move toward a first strike and which cause them to put their nuclear forces on alert. Some call it the closest the world came to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis. I'm not certain how much of this information is new because I've read about it from various sources. And my recollection, which could very well be wrong, was that Able-Archer was more of a communications exercise and didn't involve actual forces on the NATO side.

    When you have a free hour or two, consider spending it reading about Have Doughnut, a declassified DIA report about evaluation of a MiG 21F.

    What if all the ice melted? Besides warm drinks we'd have different shorelines (and apparently no more Walt Disney World). Explore these maps from National Geographic.
    Rafael Rozendaal (sorry about omitting the umlauts) is an internet artist. You could spend hours looking at all the work on his website.

    You can also spend hours with Multitrack Love where you can take songs apart track by track during playback.

    I give this slightly naughty joke an A for the analogy but a C for execution.

    OMG Laser Guns Pew Pew Pew

    ...sophisticated, frivolous, or superficial effects. ~Hans Hofmann

    Saturday, November 2, 2013

    There is a harmony in autumn...

    The new Twinscapes album from bassists Colin Edwin and Lorenzo Feliciati is due out in February. Here's a teaser. More than just a teaser, Roy Powell posted the track Forelock from the upcoming Mumpbeak release.

    Deadspin ranks each state's signature food. The list is topped by Chicago deep-dish pizza. Texas BBQ  brisket comes in at #20. ("It is very large. The end.") Ranked last at #52 (beat by D.C. at #36 and Being Hit by a Car at #51) is Cincinnati Chili. While I believe this ranking is totally undeserved their write-up is quite funny. ("a way to make the rest of us feel grateful that our shit-eating is mostly figurative.")
    State by state animated maps of the most popular baby names from 1960 to the present: girls and boys. (In my birth year it was Lisa and Michael.)

    Want to visualize in real-time denial of service attacks? See Digital Attack Map.

    Jean-Michel Basquiat, Monticello, 1986 is expected to fetch $1.2 million at auction.
    Beer folks gonna loves these animations of beer labels. My favorite is Stone's Ruination IPA.

    Want to drink your beer and eat it too? How about a beer grain granola bar.

    Why should coffee brewers have all the fun? Brew your beer at the touch of a button with this tabletop brewery.

    As a numismatist I can't condone these interlocking coin sculptures. But yet...
    Despite Francis Ford Coppolla's fears that he was making "a piece of shit," Apocalypse Now is one of those films I will watch over and over again. Here's some original storyboard art and on-scene recollections of the helicopter attack sequence, The Valkyries Ride.

    B-2 and a GBU-57
     How beautiful is mathematics? Just watch and see.

    Just yesterday I was extolling the virtues of The Godfather to someone who claimed to be unable to stay awake through the entire film. So it was nice to browse through this list of things you may not know about The Godfather.

    As a music lover I can't condone these Dremel-cut LPs. But yet...
    Boys, here's some advice on manhood from Kareen Abdul Jabar. #6 Fight your fear of the unknown (physical bravery is easier than intellectual bravery).

    Cold War propaganda posters.  (Do colleges have to hire red professors?)

    A simple but very pleasant video demonstration of hand lettering with a paintbrush.

    If states' boundaries were redrawn so they got water from a single source.
    The 50 greatest breakthroughs since the wheel.
    • #6 paper
    • #12 sanitation
    • #25 alphabetization
    • #37 cement
    • #47 the nail
    What? Another list? OK. How about 101 objects that made America special (from the collection of the Smithsonian). (Psst: don't tell Putin.)
    • Plymouth Rock
    • Barbie
    • Levi's
    • Wonder Woman
    • Stegosaurus
    If you wanna get all medical about poop there's the Bristol Stool Form Scale using which you can identify your poops as one of seven types (Type 2: sausage-shaped but lumpy). But how do you make that less clinical and more useful for pediatrics? You make 3D poop models (i.e. tridimensional stool assessment instruments.) To get engineers interested you'd have to 3D print these faux feces which makes me wonder if there's a scat STL out there somewhere. (And about 20 seconds of Googling later I find the desired result.)

    The things for which each country leads the world. Way to go UK!
    The computer science field guide is an online resource for teaching computer science.

    Lately I've been putting all my aviation pr0n on Pinterest (here) but this bit of news was too delicious to omit. Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works revealed to Aviation Week their work on a Mach 6 successor to the SR-71, the so-called SR-72.

    The most decorated combat flight in U.S. history (including 2 Medals of Honor) wasn't even on a combat mission. Read about Old 666.

    Want to know a brand by its color? (Yahoo! purple is #720e9e.)

    Ze Frank gives us more true facts about the frog and cuttlefish.

    Star Trek freaks, Scroll Down To Riker.

    You can have fun for hours playing with Text Particles.
    ...and a luster in its sky. ~Percy Bysshe Shelley