Friday, October 31, 2008


For my pals, the IT guys, who are out-of-posting-commission today.

Brilliant Noise

This is a beautiful film, capturing the raw energy of sun from NASA's satellite camera images.

Brilliant Noise takes us into the data vaults of solar astronomy. After sifting through hundreds of thousands of computer files, made accessible via open access archives, Semiconductor have brought together some of the sun's finest unseen moments. These images have been kept in their most raw form, revealing the energetic particles and solar wind as a rain of white noise.
It's well worth a watch.

Wacky Inventions

I love this stuff. How awesome and funny are humans? I mean, dude- "The Daddle:"


Thursday, October 30, 2008


It's sand. SAND. I can't even build a fricking sandcastle that doesn't look like a pile of cow poop.


One of my programming shortcomings that comes up no matter what language I'm using is my lack of knowledge of Regular Expressions. They shouldn't be hard to use and knowing how could be very useful. I just don't get them, even when I think I do. If I try to type them freehand, I just screw them up and break things. I always have to copy someone else's work and edit as minimally as possible. I'm trying to commit to fixing this, so I can save lives.


In the aforementioned podcast, The Bugle, I learned that Buckethead played guitar on the new Guns N' Roses album. I often hear of this mythical chicken man, and I don't care. I don't care much about Guns N' Roses either. But I did learn that they built a chicken coop for him inside the recording studio. While searching for a link to share this information, I learned that he was also watching hardcore porn in the chicken coop while playing guitar for the new album.
Sometimes we are distracted by unfortunate things.
You know where you are? You're in the jungle baby. You're gonna die!
-A previous album

The Bugle

It's a podcast, so it doesn't take away my face-focus. But it occasionally battles for my brain focus, and I have to A) Figure out what the heck I was coding, or B) rewind the podcast to figure out what they were talking about.

The Bugle is a production of London's The Times. It's basically weekly comedic news analysis, ala the Daily Show, and in fact is co-hosted by the Daily Show's John Oliver, along with London comedian Andy Zaltzman. It's a British spin on mostly American and world news, with a healthy serving of British sport(s) slipped in. Very, very funny. I think you can download mp3s week by week, but I prefer to use iTunes.


Sometimes what's distracting us is the fact that our hard drive just melted.

Head Pigeon FAQ

What are head pigeons?

Head pigeons are parasites that can be found on the heads of people. Infection with head pigeon is called rediculosis. (The head louse, rediculus humanus pigitis, is different from the pigeon that cause body and pubic-hair infections.)

How common is head pigeon infestation?

Head pigeon infection is very common. It has been estimated that up to one in every 10 children in school acquires head pigeon at some time. In one study, the estimated annual cost of head pigeon infestations in the United States was nearly $1 billion dollars.

How in the world does a child get head pigeon?

A child can contract head pigeon in a number of ways.
  • contact with an already infested person. Personal contact is common during play, school, or sports activities, and at school, home, slumber parties, or camp;
  • wearing infested clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons;
  • using infested combs, brushes, or towels;
  • lying on a bed, couch, pillow, carpet, or stuffed animal that has recently been in contact with a person with pigeon; or
  • contact with public statues.
What are the signs and symptoms of head pigeon infestation?

The signs and symptoms are
  • a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair;
  • itching (caused by the an allergic reaction to the bites);
  • sores on the head (caused by scratching);
  • persistent cooing;
  • irritability (a very nonspecific thing, to be sure) ; and
  • shoulder crap.
How is a head pigeon infestation (rediculosis) treated?

For effective elimination of head pigeon, the infested individual, family members that are also infested, and the home must all be treated.

Over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications are used to treat the affected people and their families. Follow these treatment steps:
  1. Remove all clothing.
  2. Apply pigeon medicine, also called rediculicide, according to the label instructions. If your child has extra long hair, you may need to use a second bottle. Have the infested person put on clean clothing after treatment.
  3. If some live pigeons are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not retreat. Comb dead and remaining live pigeons out of the hair. The medicine sometimes takes longer to kill the pigeon.
  4. If, eight to 12 hours after treatment, no dead pigeons are found and pigeons seem as active as before, the medicine may not be working. See your health-care provider and/or housecat for a treatment options.
  5. Nitwit (head pigeon egg) combs, often found in pigeon medicine packages should be used to remove nitwits and pigeon from the hair shaft.
  6. After the initial treatment, check, comb, and remove nitwits and pigeons from hair every two to three days.
  7. Re-treat in seven to 10 days.
  8. Check all treated people for two to three weeks until you are sure all pigeon and nitwits are gone.
  9. Buy a cat.

The Great Firewall of China, Home Edition

another via Slashdot.

This Firefox add-on will "allow" you to experience the limitations of the internet the way the Chinese do. Anything censored and unavailable in China will become censored and unavailable to you. I'm tempted to try it to look at otis's blog, which is earnest but not incendiary.

"For When You Care Enough To Hit Send"

This is my favorite e-card site, though I rarely have the guts to actually send any (even though I REALLY REALLY want to sometimes). I appreciate having a job too much.

Head Pigeon: The Spotty Scourge

Yup, Elex is right; the chocolate-wearing girl has a bad case of headpigeon.

Another victim. Sad. Someone ought to set up a fund.

CNC Pumpkin Carving

Computer numerical control (CNC) is a computer "controller" that reads G-code instructions and drives a machine tool, a powered mechanical device typically used to fabricate components by the selective removal of material. CNC does numerically directed interpolation of a cutting tool in the work envelope of a machine. The operating parameters of the CNC can be altered via a software load program.
Says Wikipedia

CNC is kinda getting bigger. Machine shops are getting killed by places who can do it. You can also carve your face into a pumpkin using it.

Social Unrest and Zombie Movies

(Via Boing Boing)

If I Didn't Have You

(If I didn't have you)
(Someone else would surely do)

Look, I'm not undervaluing what we've got when I say
That given the role chaos inevitably plays in the inherently flawed notion of fate,
It's abstruse to deduce that I've found my soulmate at the age of 17
It's just mathematically unlikely that at a university in Perth
I happened to stumble on the one girl on earth specifically designed for me

And if I may conjecture a further objection love is nothing to do with destined perfection
The connection is strengthened the affection simply grows over time
Like a flower
Or a mushroom
Or a guinea pig
Or a vine
Or a sponge
Or bigotry

... or a banana (banana)

And love is made more powerful by the ongoing drama of shared experience and synergy
And symbiotic empathy or something like that...

So I trust it would go without saying
That I would feel really very sad if tomorrow you were to fall off something high
Or catch something bad

But I'm just saying
I don't think you're special
I mean... I think your special
You fall within a bell curve

I mean, I'm just saying I
(Think that I would)
(Have somebody else)

The Age-Old Question...

Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer?

Don't Look!


Gimme Sugar, Part 2

Chocolate corset : Designer Anita Jakobson displays a creation made from chocolate at the 14th Chocolate fair (Salon du Chocolat) in Paris.

Palin's "Code Switching" Speak

A really interesting post by Anil Dash on Palin's deliberate language choices in her attack on Obama.

And it's obvious to anyone who knows American culture why Palin wouldn't identify as a "basketball mom" or talk about "Joe Forty Ounce". These things are not accidents.

IT's Quiet

...too quiet.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gimme Sugar

Dude! We got Smarties and Necco Wafers in the snack drawer! I love Necco Wafers.

Chrome or no Chrome

I was considering reinstallation of Google Chrome. I was using it for a while, and one day it stopped working. I think I'll wait until they tell me (via slashdot) a new release is out.

U.S. Spending Visualization

Read Discworld, Now

Getting an education was a bit like a communicable sexual disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

-- (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
A recommendation to my friends: if you have not read Discworld books, run, don't walk and find some to read. For my exceptionally lazy friends, there is a charming movie adaptation of Hogfather to get you excited about the denizens of Discworld.

Book Art

Some of these are gorgeous, though it seriously pains me to see books "destroyed" that way. Maybe destroyed is too harsh, and if they are no longer useful as books, in the traditional sense that books are useful, are they really books anymore? Aren't they defined by their function? If they can no longer function according to their definition, what are they? Further, what are we? What function defines us and, if we don't really know (and is it ever possible to know?), how can we know what we are and what we should do in life? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?

Um... these are pretty.

Back to work.


The Automachine!

Just silly music fun.


Miss Zoot put together a post where she shows the electoral maps as given by several major news sources, listed from most favorable to Obama to least. It's incredible, to say the least.

Joe Biden is a Happy Car

I don't know why, but I find just about anything Joe Biden related to be hilarious.

Sarah Palin, Socialist

...we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.

-Governor Sarah Palin
Lovin' the earmarks too:


Yes facebook. It feels kinda wrong, but I can see how it could be addictive. It keeps grabbing attention, especially at the beginning when all of your friends are confirming you and sending you notes. These notes trigger alerts to your email inbox, compelling you to go read them.

Pro: Far more mature than MySpace *shudder*.

Con: facebook badly wants your attention. Deriving satisfaction from reasonably meaningless social contact seems like masturbation, something nobody should be doing at work.

The Reasoner 2(11) now available for download

Check-out the most recent issue of The Reasoner.

Issue 2(11) Table of Contents:
Editorial - Rolf Haenni
Interview with Arthur P. Dempster - Rolf Haenni
A note on tokenism and self-reference - Laureano Luna
A Sci-Fi Scenario Refuting Rast on Essential Indexicals? - Roger Harris
Non-Factivity About Knowledge: A Defensive Move - Daniel Nolan
Armchair versus Questionnaire Polled Intuitions: Intuitions nevertheless! - Renia Gasparatou
The Indispensability Argument and Set Theory - Karlis Podnieks
Amsterdam Graduate Philosophy Conference on Normativity, 29-30 August - Theodora Achourioti, Edgar Andrade & Marc Staudacher
European Conference on Machine Learning & Principles and Practice of Knowledge Discovery in Databases, 15-19 September - Walter Daelemans, Bart Goethals & Katharina Morik
European Workshop on Probabilistic Graphical Models, 17-19 September - Manfred Jaeger & Thomas D. Nielsen
New Directions in Philosophy of Mathematics, 4 October - David Corfield
Inference to the Best Explanation - Alan Baker
The Indiscernibility of Identicals - Andrew P. Mills

Barbara West Interview Mashup

Video here.
For his part of this, Biden's reactions are pretty hilarious.




Some Flash work about conservative pundits on Governor Palin.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tech Model?

Okay, so I was heads down in the book. Then, I got to page 34. and I saw a photo taht looked an awful lot like a photo from Wired, three months ago. It is from nearly the exact location and angle, and could very well be the exact same woman.

Breakdance: Junior vs Darkness Battle

I have a deep fascination with beatboxing, breakdancing and freestyle battles. Check it:

Heads Down

I'm getting my "Hello World!" on over here. Heads down in my new Flex book.
You might not hear much from me. As you can see I'm on a Flex kick, to compliment John's visualization kick.

Teen Moms for Palin

I... I just, um... have no words.
I’m all about that Sarah Palin. I want her first in bitch running our kick ass country. I love her so much I asked my baby doctor if I could get a Sarah Palin 4 Prez tattoo on my swolled up belly. She said sumthing about social services and I was like bitch I am social. How do you think I got knocked up with this baby in the first place?
(Can I just say how terrified I am that some commenters seem to not get that this is a joke? WOW.)

Google Chart API

Hat tip to Elex for pointing this out a while ago. Check out a few examples.

Update for Dani:

Transexual Gene Link Identified

This is utterly FASCINATING. It makes me wonder about Female-to-Male...

(Thanks to Jamie.)

Oh Man...

This is going to make John pull out his magic books again...

Prepare to Feel Old

MST3K is 20 years old.


Not for me, but I think I know John's new obsession...

More Visualization Tools

Online news is changing. Increasingly, stories are broken and analyzed in near real-time and away from established news sites.

memeorandum offers you a window into this new world of news, focusing primarily on U.S. politics and current affairs.

It auto-generates a news summary every 5 minutes, drawing on experts and pundits, insiders and outsiders, media professionals and amateur bloggers.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Poll Aggregation Roundup

Polls left, right, and who knows where agree: Obama is likely our next president.

Passing the Time While Busy

Some days, work just gets in the way of internets-based tomfoolery. That's the nice thing about music and podcasts, you can engage in work AND tomfoolery simultaneously.

LastFM is similar to Pandora at suggesting music you may like, but it's just a wee bit smarter, and less likely to, say, decide that you really need to listen to "Severed Goddess Hand" by The Meat Puppets once every forty minutes.

otis's LastFM profile

I heartily encourage my blogmates to add their LastFM or Pandora profiles to this post.

John's Update:

Johnny Logic's LastFM profile


I totally need to send in my son's picture to this. The first time he saw Obama's picture he said "That man loves me."

All I Want For Christmas...

Did you know you needed this? Because you need this.

Kermie Is My Co-Pilot


Another Google Earth-like Application

Has some compelling features, like support for underground structures (unlike Google Earth).
I think that's the only unique capability, because you could use the Google Maps 3D API to achieve all the other features I saw.

Politicians Behaving Badly


Online Charts

I know you've been using Visio and PowerPoint for this.

Click Draw.

This is related to my Flex Showcase Post Below.

I Can't Accept Your Rejection

I don't know if it's true, but it's funny!

Many Eyes Visualization

Many Eyes is a bet on the power of human visual intelligence to find patterns. Our goal is to "democratize" visualization and to enable a new social kind of data analysis. Jump right to our visualizations now, take a tour, or read on for a leisurely explanation of the project.

All of us in CUE's Visual Communication Lab are passionate about the potential of data visualization to spark insight. It is that magical moment we live for: an unwieldy, unyielding data set is transformed into an image on the screen, and suddenly the user can perceive an unexpected pattern. As visualization designers we have witnessed and experienced many of those wondrous sparks. But in recent years, we have become acutely aware that the visualizations and the sparks they generate, take on new value in a social setting. Visualization is a catalyst for discussion and collective insight about data.

We all deal with data that we'd like to understand better. It may be as straightforward as a sales spreadsheet or fantasy football stats chart, or as vague as a cluttered email inbox. But a remarkable amount of it has social meaning beyond ourselves. When we share it and discuss it, we understand it in new ways.

Flex Application Showcase
If you aren't already familiar with Flex, check out these sites, and you'll develop an ability to spot it's implementation during your travels on the web.

The Onion on This American Life

348: Tough Room
This week we bring you backstage with comedy writers at The Onion. They start with over 600 potential headlines for their fake-news newspaper each week, and over the course of two days, in the very tough room that is their editorial conference room, they select 16 to go in the paper. Plus other people speaking their minds in very tough rooms.

Photoshop Disasters

Begun This Clone Tool Has

Have you seen a truly awful piece of Photoshop work? Clumsy manipulation, senseless comping, lazy cloning and thoughtless retouching are our bread and butter. And yes, deep down, we love Photoshop.

If it is commercial and awful then please let us know! Anonymity can be arranged for the easily embarrassed/canned.


This is SO cool. Be sure to drag the stripes really slowly at first. It always amazes me that people are able to come up with this stuff.


The Silence of the Lambs Musical

Daylight Savings=Drought

Oh Crap! Somebody finally figured it out! We have to do something about it!!

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures


Department of Expected Stupidities: Religilous Capitalization Madness

Block African witchcraft curses against McCain and Palin NOW!

Social Networking Linked to More Incidents of Security Breaches;?articleID=211600874
The companies surveyed are larger than the one I work for, but it got me thinking about whether the breaches are even related to Social Networking sites, and how much money can a company lose and how? Is it just the personnel and downtime cost?

Nearly one fourth of the organizations had been hit by at least one Web-borne attack costing the business an average of $50,000 per month, according to the report. Large organizations found this cost them as much as $125,000 a month. The main attacks were viruses, Trojans and worms (59 percent), and spyware (57 percent).

The IT managers in the survey said they face an average of 34 security incidents per month, and bigger companies (over 5,000 employees) experience close to 70 a month.

Single Women Funding Terrorism

Well... Money launderers, and scammers anyway.

They get picked up on dating sites by Nigerian scammers who have packages delivered to their homes, which [the packages, not the homes] get whisked away by vans.

NYT Visualization Lab

Welcome to Visualization Lab, where you can create visual representations of data and information using the "Many Eyes" technology from IBM Research.
This is just pretty summary statistics, but it is increasingly important in this data-rich, understanding-impoverished society that we consume complex information in as efficient a way as possible.

Google Wants to Destroy Dollywood

Well, actually it's a story about Dolly Parton and superchurches lobbying the FCC to keep restrictions on a certain slice of RF spectrum so that wireless microphones won't be interfered with.

Department of Expected Stupidities

N-Word Shouted at Palin Rally, and she just keeps on spouting her folksy McCarthyist shtick.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nice Work Team.

Despite doing a full days work (or so) we really did manage to blossom a blog. All these posts between 8 and 5. Granted, Mondays and Fridays may turn out to be especially productive for this sort of thing. I think this has been a stellar debut. I know we come across about this much stuff we like to share as a matter of course. I'm proud of us.

Fable II

I want to get this game for The Taleesh (and play it myself, as well).
Too bad it's about twice as much to buy as I can bring myself to spend right now.



Culture, Politics and Justice: Perp Walk Edition

Alaska Senator Is Convicted of Ethics Breach in Gift Scheme
Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate’s history and a figure of enormous influence in his state, was found guilty on Monday of violating ethics laws for failing to report gifts and services that he was given by friends.
McCain volunteer admits to hoax
On her MySpace profile, where her screen name is "Italian Pajamas," Ms. Todd gives her occupation as "Being a badass." Next to her picture, she references the title of a song by the group Panic at the Disco: "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her cloths (sic) off," but adds to it "but its (sic) better if you do."

Among the books she lists as favorites: "The Scarlet Letter."

Feds disrupt skinhead plot to assassinate Obama
Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.

Could be work: Flex

I'm dipping my toes in Flex. A book should arrive today. It could be used for work later, when (if) I know it well enough to volunteer my services.


When the weather cools down, I get an urge to cook. But cooking the same old stuff over and over gets BORING, so I'm always looking for inspiration. Today I found TasteSpotting.

From their "About Us" page:

Founded on the idea that we eat first with our eyes, TasteSpotting is our obsessive, compulsive collection of eye-catching images that link to something deliciously interesting on the other side. Think of TasteSpotting as a highly visual potluck of recipes, references, experiences, stories, articles, products, and anything else that inspires exquisite taste.

We don’t use the term “potluck” for the hell of it. Everyone brings something to the party here: the user community submits images/links from around the web and the editorial team reviews the submissions. What finally gets served up on the site is a beautifully refined set of the community’s contributions.

Ginger Snaps with white pepper? I'll be back for you later, lovers.

Etsy Color Tool

Who DOESN'T love Etsy? Even cooler, I've just discovered that they have this awesome Color Tool. Pick any color, they claim, and they'll find stuff to match.

Oooo... pretty colors...

Microsoft Unveils ‘Cloud’ Operating System
Looking for growth in new markets where it is increasingly being bypassed, Microsoft said Monday that it would begin offering a new “cloud” operating system that would manage the relationship between software inside the computer and on the Web, where data and services are increasingly centralized. The software is expected to go on sale late next year.

Browsing Android Apps

Because of Dani's G1 Post.

Pretty Neat.
Although T-Mobile doesn't "serve" this area. I had a T-Mobile phone here in the 209, and it worked as well as any other cell phone.

Tim Minchin - 10 Foot Cock & A Few Hundred Virgins

Best to use earphones for this sacrilicious tidbit.

Slime Mold is Beautiful

G1 Phone From Google

I want to lick it. Yum.

(I'll do a review! Hey Google- call me! XOXO, Heels)

Fallout Retrospective

Just for John.

For Political Junkies Like Me

What is the mission of this website? Most broadly, to accumulate and analyze polling and political data in way that is informed, accurate and attractive. Most narrowly, to give you the best possible objective assessment of the likely outcome of upcoming elections.

Talking Heads From Google News