Saturday, August 27, 2016

A wise man speaks because he has something to say...

Today's soundtrack is a recording from earlier this month of a live performance by Harold Budd and Bradford Ellis with poetry read by Veda Hille.

Live 2 from The Security Project (celebrating the work of Peter Gabriel) is now available for pre-order. Live 1 was pretty darn good so I recommend Live 2.

This year's winner of the Bulwer-Lytton [bad] Fiction Contest (i.e. "It was a dark and stormy night") goes like this: "Even from the hall, the overpowering stench told me the dingy caramel glow in his office would be from a ten-thousand-cigarette layer of nicotine baked on a naked bulb hanging from a frayed wire in the center of a likely cracked and water-stained ceiling, but I was broke, he was cheap, and I had to find her."

On a related note, I wish they'd bring back the Faux Faulkner contest.

An illustration of Jupiter by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot done in the late 1800s. See more here.
Of Popular Mechanics' 50 best tools to own, I come in at exactly 50%. Not bad. If only I knew how to use them properly.

If you were under the false impression that metal organic frameworks could only be created in the lab, think again. These unique minerals that can absorb and retain gases (think CO2) were found in a mine in Siberia.

From the category I Didn't Think This Was Possible, here's Super Mario Bros. implemented in Excel.

Screen capture from a very cool FLIR video of an F-35.
Want more aviation pr0n? Here's a video of the Blue Angels' flyover of Super Bowl 50.

Just in time for the Xmas shopping season, a catalogue raisonne of Richard Diebenkorn's work will be published this coming autumn.

Jouska is a hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head. It's included on a list of names for emotions you feel but can't explain.

If you're having Olympics withdrawal, check out this unique photo essay of the games.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #54, 1972
The basic laws of human stupidity, written in the 1970s, still ring true today. #1 Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

Kubrick's alternate titles for Dr. Strangelove. Dr. Doomsday and His Nuclear Wisemen?

How do you make the perfect hard boiled eggs? First, you don't boil them - you steam them.

When I visit the beach - which isn't often - I like to hunt for sea glass. But that's not what this is. It's edible sea glass candy.
Science to the rescue: you spill because you're holding your coffee wrong.

An unexamined life is not worth living, or so said Socrates. Therefore, it makes sense to integrate a scale into a toilet seat to find out how much weight you lose while making a #2.

Blank Windows that go on forever. Apologies if you're obsessive-compulsive.

...a fool because he has to say something. ~Plato

Saturday, August 13, 2016

We are happy when...

The 50 best action movies of the 21st century. 17 of 50 isn't too bad.

CRISPR today is to genetic engineering what the original IBM PC was to computing. So imagine what gene editing will be like in a few decades.

Thanks to National Geographic for making freely available printable topographic maps of the entire country.

I like my 4-color pen. But how about a 16 million color pen? Introducing the Cronzy.

Sam Francis, Happy Death Stone, 1960. source. An exhibition of Francis' prints is currently on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Dizrhythmia, the Jakko Jakszyk and Gavin Harrison project, has their second album coming out next month. Check out this video teaser.

Is Yes' Close to the Edge the best example of prog rock? Regardless of your answer, read what Steve Howe has to say.

Science has no explanation for Niku, a 200 km diameter object beyond Neptune that has a quite contrarian orbit.

Do you sanitize your sponges weekly? You might want to check out Good Housekeeping's guide to what to clean and when to clean it.

Which bathroom stall should you choose? Not the middle.

Roomba + doggie doo = Pooptastrophe.

...we are growing. ~William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Make Me by Lee Child

When it comes to books, there are few experiences I enjoy more than listening to Dick Hill read Lee Child's Jack Reacher.

Reacher is the protagonist of Childs' series of novels about the former Army Major from the MPs who now, for reasons unknown (to me), travels the country with only what he can carry in his pockets. Along the way he becomes enmeshed in situations that he helps sets right using his unique skills. Other than his imposing physique (which makes Tom Cruise's casting as Reacher in the movies rather odd), Reacher's skills including mental powers and instincts honed over years of investigating crimes across the globe.

In Make Me, Reacher steps off a train in the middle of wheat farming country to satisfy his curiosity about why the town is called Mother's Rest. There he encounters the mysterious disappearance of a former FBI agent who was in town for unknown reasons. There's no rest for Reacher and the missing agent's partner as they crisscross the country to unearth a deeply buried, hideous secret.

I've never actually read a book starring Reacher. Instead, all my experience has been through the audiobook versions with Dick Hill providing the narration. I can't imagine anyone else reading those stories. Hill's precise, staccato, hyper-annunciated, expressive style wraps perfectly around Child's words and Reacher's thoughts.

I highly recommend Jack Reacher to anyone who's a fan of investigative thrillers. You can find out more about Lee Child at and Dick Hill at

The trailer for the second Jack Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise is here. The first movie was good, even accounting for my opinion about casting Cruise as Reacher. When you watch this trailer, imagine in Cruise's place someone who is 6 foot 5 inches tall, weighs 240 pounds, and says even fewer words.

"Nothing can be said about writing except when it's bad. When it is good, one can only read and be grateful."

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The greatest intelligence is...

New (or new to me) music is everywhere.
  • Later this year the duo Burnt Belief (Colin Edwin and Jon Durant) will release their 3rd album, Emergent. Here's a preview.
  • Touch Guitars Compilation 2016 is available for free download.
  • And a compilation of Markus Reuter's music, Fool of Music, is also available for free download.
  • TUNER's ZWAR (Live in Europe 2005) is available for only 3 bucks. (At least stream their version of King Crimson's Industry.)
  • Adrian Belew's score for the Pixar short film Piper is available on Amazon.
  • The next album from Stick Men, Prog Noir, is available for pre-order. (Although I can't figure out why the packages include a 120 euro price point (CD, bonus CD, 2 LPs, a t-shirt and a poster) and a 15 euro price (CD). Why not offer the CD and bonus CD for 30 euros?)
Got black and white photos you want to colorize? Do it online with Algorithmia.

Physics, physics, physics. What do you get when you bind light with an electron? I have no idea but it would have the best properties of both: non-linear travel like an electron, material free-travel like a photon. Now accepting candidate names. Hannibal Lectron, Photron, Phecton, Elephotron.

Say what you will about Jerry Jones but at least he and his family spend money on art for his facilities. Case in point, Volume Frisco, an LED light installation at the new Cowboys HQ in Frisco.
More science in infographic form: temperatures from absolute zero to absolute hot. (Brakes on a Formula 1 car get hotter than the surface of planet Mercury which is hotter than the boiling point of mercury which is confusing.)

The periodic table of protein, from barley to veal and beyond.
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View is very cool and well worth a visit. But the Living Computer Museum in Seattle actually has machines that work.

Ladies, is going topless legal in your state? Yee haw, Texas.

It's fun to put food and poop together, or so says the owner of Canada's first poop-themed restaurant.

...the one that suffers most from its own limitations. ~Andre Gide