Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Ann Coulter's Jaw Is Wired SHUT. That, my friends, is sweet news, indeed.
Monday, November 24, 2008
My screens face the "doorway" where anybody can walk by, which makes me super-uncomfortable all day long. Considering the nature of my job it's not even a very smart setup, and my desk can't accomodate any other configuration, and my office can't accomodate my desk being any other way.
I could get polarized privacy screens on my monitors, but I also get to do a lot of creative work, and putting big tinted windows on your monitor doesn't facilitate good color correction.
Anyway, if I don't have exclusively Work Stuff on my screen, I feel vulnerable to some Fuckhead trying to ruin my life.
So, sorry if I've been quiet here lately. I love my co-authors, and I read their posts, although I don't get to watch their videos.
Until we have a more stable financial environment where people aren't trying to point fingers to save thier own ass, only other people in the company will be allowed to look at extracurricular sites. IT is everyone's favorite scapegoat.
Sorry internet, I hope you understand... I'll miss you.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Intended to help toddlers become more "comfortable" with potty training, but, um- EW. I, for one, have no interest in my child anthropomorphizing his bodily functions ("NO, Mommy- Don't flush Mr. Poo!"), nor do I really want to send him to bed cuddling a piece of shit. I think we'll stick with cheering after he makes his deposits. It works just fine and I don't have to buy anything.
Check out his blog, at New York Magazine, and today's blog post where he looks at the new Twilight movie and does some comparing with the book.
Personally, I saw the last vampire movie I needed to see somewhere around 1995. ("I'm a vampire, but I CAN LOVE!")
What about you guys? fer it or agin it?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
International Dialects of English Archive, Accents of England.
British Library Sound Archive, Accents and Dialects.
Listen and repeat.
This undated handout photo shows a creature called a pygmy tarsier, believed for the eight decades to have been extinct. One of the world's smallest and rarest primates, it was rediscovered in Indonesia by Texas A and M University professor Sharon Gursky-Doyen in August. (Texas A and M University/Sharon Gursky-Doyen/Handout/Reuters)
Rob Thomas, who many of you may know as the creator of the splendiferious Veronica Mars, is once again working with ABC to bring back Cupid, which he created and produced 10 years ago. Up there is the promo for the new series.
Down below is the first ten minutes of the first episode of the original version, starring Jeremy Piven and Paula Marshall.
Of course, like so many other TV shows I've enjoyed, the original was killed after a short amount of time.
Here's to hoping that ABC will wake up and keep Pushing Dasies around.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
How about some bacon ice-cream? Apparently it is powerful enough to destroy entire sections of consumer choice theory.
(Note: one of the contestants on last year's Top Chef made bacon ice cream and all the judges loved it.)
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The spotlight shines on the magician’s assistant. The woman in the tiny white dress is a luminous beacon of beauty radiating from the stage to the audience. The Great Tomsoni announces he will change her dress from white to red. On the edge of their seats, the spectators strain to focus on the woman, burning her image deep into their retinas. Tomsoni claps his hands, and the spotlight dims ever so briefly before reflaring in a blaze of red. The woman is awash in a flood of redness.Read the entire thing to get an explanation and a great deal more. There is a great deal of neurological trickery involved in magic, chief of which are the various species of inattentional blindness, as Richard Wiseman demonstrates:
Whoa, just a moment there! Switching color with the spotlight is not exactly what the audience had in mind. The magician stands at the side of the stage, looking pleased at his little joke. Yes, he admits, it was a cheap trick; his favorite kind, he explains devilishly. But you have to agree, he did turn her dress red—along with the rest of her. Please, indulge him and direct your attention once more to his beautiful assistant as he switches the lights back on for the next trick. He claps his hands, and the lights dim again; then the stage explodes in a supernova of whiteness. But wait! Her dress really has turned red. The Great Tomsoni has done it again!The trick and its explanation by John Thompson (aka the Great Tomsoni) reveal a deep intuitive understanding of the neural processes taking place in the spectators’ brains—the kind of understanding that we neuroscientists can appropriate for our own scientific benefit.
This week he looks at Firefly, and it's fantastic.
Check out his description of the column and then check out his blog for the archives. (Clicking on the tag "Storytelling Engine" will only bring up the last 20. The first ones started back in December of 2006.)
What was once Escape to Witch Mountain has now become Race to Witch Mountain.
The kids appear to know what they are. There is no harmonica. Winkie appears to be missing. But there's Los Vegas, a flying saucer going through a tunnel, and an alien bounty hunter.
Disney already did a crappy remake in 1995, why must they do it again? (I mean beside the money reason.)
Monday, November 17, 2008
Glue (formerly BlueOrganizer), connects you with friends around things you visit! Glue works automatically as you browse popular sites about books, music, movies, wines, restaurants, gadgets, stocks, actors, tv shows and other everyday things around the web.
The Glue Bar appears right on your current page to show you friends who looked at the same things and what they thought!
Many-Eyes is fun, but if I really want geek cred I need to learn how to create unique visualizations in Flare, the platform on which Many Eyes is built:
Flare is an ActionScript library for creating visualizations that run in the Adobe Flash Player. From basic charts and graphs to complex interactive graphics, the toolkit supports data management, visual encoding, animation, and interaction techniques. Even better, flare features a modular design that lets developers create customized visualization techniques without having to reinvent the wheel.Here is a Corporations by Political Contributions visualization made in Flare.
- Ghost In The Shell (2010)
- Akira (2011)
- Ninja Scroll (2011)
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
- X-Men Origins: Magneto (2009)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Spider-Man 4 (2011)
- Sin City 2 (2010)
- Sin City 3 (2010)
It's a nice anecdote of e-commerce evolution.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Here's what happened to me. One slow Sunday afternoon, a man comes out of the restroom with a pearl necklace in his hand. "Found it on the bathroom floor" he says. He followed with "Geez, looks nice-I wonder who lost it?" Just then, the gas station's phone rings and a man asked if anyone found a pearl necklace that he had purchased as a gift for his wife. He offers a $200 reward for the necklace's return. I tell him that a customer found it. "OK" he says, "I'll be there in 30 minutes." I give him the ARCO address and he gives me his phone number. The man who found the necklace hears all this but tells me he is running late for a job interview and cannot wait for the other man to arrive.Here is a video of the pigeon drop in action:
While were on the subject, here is the classic Three-card Monte/Matchbox Shuffle games:
I have see Three-card Monte live on Venice beach, along with other scams and it amazed me that people fall for them. Many years and psychology classes later I understand the simple truth: people are consistently, in some simple ways, suckers.
We've found that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity in your state up to two weeks faster than traditional systems.This is a great application of prediction and trend analysis that is open to the benevolent(ish) dictators at Google. They have terabyte upon terabyte of our search data that analysts, marketers and many others put to less humane ends, so it nice to see something like this once and a while.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
- Ensure the Internet is widely accessible & network neutral?
- ensure our privacy and repeal the patriot act?
- Repeal the Digital Milennium Copyright Act (DMCA)?
- Open Government Data (APIs, XML, RSS)?
BTW, the series is supposed to be finished by Brandon Sanderson and released next year. Also, I'll probably never read any of them. :P
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now I can break all those CAPTCHA's
Amazon Mechanical Turk provides a web services API for computers to integrate "artificial, artificial intelligence" directly into their processing by making requests of humans.
Music By Danny Elfman
Edit: The related videos are wierd and awesome too, i you get to the end of this one.
I found this. Note: I haven't watched this entire follow-up video.
YouTube could steal your life, but drugs will influence your animations.
Ain't It Cool News says that Martin himself will be one of the writers on the show.
With that in mind and at least three more books, and a novella, to come, fans of the books must be asking, will his "high" fantasy series end up like Robert Jordan's, extended far past the original planned number of books only to find the last one written by someone else?
I suppose I have made no effort to keep track of the Star Trek related "things," but I honestly thought that Star Trek was, well... kinda over. (Is this sacrilegious? I apologize. I am of the ignorant on matters relating to Star Trek.)
But, if you are one of those who loves all things Star Trek, I hope, for your sake, that this is really good. The actors look very, um, dewy.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Lincecum is a biomechanical freak who looks about twelve years old and can walk on his hands. How he generates upper 90's heat from his tiny, little pixie-man body is (sort of) detailed in this SI article.
The other notable aspect of this is that it is a sign that statheads are gaining more influence in baseball. There was a time when Brandon Webb's 22 Wins would have assured him the Cy Young, but now more people are have been convinced by the stathead movement that wins are much more luck based then things like ERA and strikeout to walk ratio.
So Tim Lincecum's victory is victory for intelligent data analysis and against judging people based on their appearances.
(I'll let that sink in for a sec.)
(That said, I could not love my Grammy more.)
ANYWAY... I am starting work on the monumental chore that is menu planning for a diverse and sentimental group (must have two kinds of rolls, must have two kinds of cranberry sauce, must have two kinds of stuffing and AT LEAST three kinds of pie, one of which has ingredients that are completely out of season).
So far, I have this. Yup. Rolls are covered.
Phoenix's demise was predicted. Unlike its hardy twin rover cousins Spirit and Opportunity, which are approaching their fifth year near the red planet's more hospitable equatorial region, Phoenix's days were numbered from the outset. With sunlight waning and winter encroaching the arctic plains, scientists had said it was a matter of time before Phoenix would freeze to death.
Monday, November 10, 2008
He collects Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian comics.
And that's only the first on a list of "Fifty things you might not know about Barack Obama."
Taken from Blog@Newsarama, where there are links to other articles about this mayor.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I've been working from home today, remoting into the network, monitoring a restore and deleting 50,000 misplaced file (which is a hell of a lot harder than it ought to be.)
While on facebook from another computer, I was staring at Clint's profile picture, and decided to make my own.First, here's Clint's, deanimated by facebook.Next is mine.Finally, the link to the doll maker.
I guess you can laugh at me if you have to.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
First up, ChinaSMACK! Ever wonder if YouTube-type comments in Chinese are as stupid as they are in English? Answer: for the most part, no, but unsurprisingly, occasionally yes. It's also just an interesting site for the sake of seeing what's currently news in our slightly batty neighbor across the Pacific Ocean*.
A good place to start is the comments on, you guessed it, Barack Obama's acceptance speech. Some of the comments will make you want to cry, some will make you vomit with rage, and a goodly amount will make you make that Paul Rudd scrunchy-face.
Niubi, by the way, is literally translated as "Ox Vagina". The closest English phrase is not "awesome" so much as "highfalutin". Like that word, it can be either pejorative or complementary. You'll know when you need that if you read it.
Also, luckily for him, Obama's name transliterates nicely into Chinese as 奥巴马. That's pretty much nonsense (profoundly hopeful horse?). It's a terrible nuisance when you're name transliterates into something that sounds like a commonly used phrase. Bush's name in Chinese sounded like the phrase for "is not".
*If world politics was a laugh track sit-com, who would China be played by? What about other countries? The U.S. is Fred Willard, no second thoughts about that.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Along the lines of Elex's altered comics cover post, here are real covers of Superman being a dick.
Among my favorites are:
Murderin' Superman II: Krypton Boogaloo
Sad Old Lois
There are also plenty starring Superboy and Superbaby.
Friday nights on Fox tend to kill shows quickly, but it still causes much pain to the fans.
Of course, this year I'm planning on making the presents I give, so this may be a moot point for me.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Speaking of collective action (intelligence, anyway), ants can teach us how to beat city congestion. For those interested, Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams is an accessible introduction to the study and simulation of natural and artificial, distributed systems.
Compared to control subjects, those primed to focus on money:I wonder if this sets money-centric people to fail in collective action type problems: A situation in which everyone (in a given group) has a choice between two alternatives and where, if everyone involved chooses the alternative act that is Individualistically Rational (IR), the outcome will be worse for everyone involved, in their own estimation, than it would be if they were all to choose the other alternative (i.e., than it would be if they were all to choose the alternative that is not IR). This is a real problem libertarian friends of mine have never seemed capable of absorbing. Hmmm.
- Were less likely to ask others for help
- Less likely to give others help
- Preferred to work alone
- Preferred to play alone
- Put more physical distance between themselves as a new acquaintance
Plus, there's a great interview, also old, with Triumph and then the man with his hand up Triumph's ass, Robert Smigel, from Fresh Air. The links to listen are just above Triumph's photo.
The Department of Defense has put out a call: design a pack of robots. A so-called Multi-Robot Pursuit System would be used to "search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject." Each robot has to weigh 100 kilograms or less, act autonomously (with a human squad leader), negotiate obstacles, and provide immediate feedback. The robots would report back to a human operator, and defer to that human when the robot AI determines that a "difficult decision" is required.Seriously though, I think it is an open question whether this sort of field operations automation is net positive or negative move in comparison with the usual field ops.
From Carl Cameron at Fox News:
I wish I could have told you more at the time but all of it was put off the record until after the election. There was great concern in the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin lacked the degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, and a heartbeat away from the presidency. We're told by folks that she didn't know what countries were in NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, that being the Canada, the US, and Mexico. We're told she didn't understand that Africa was a continent rather than a country just in itself ... a whole host of questions that caused serious problems about her knowledgeability. She got very angry at staff, thought that she was mishandled.....was particularly angry about the way the Katie Couric interview went. She didn't accept preparation for that interview when the aides say that that was part of the problem. And that there were times that she was hard to control emotionally there's talk of temper tantrums at bad news clippings.And from Newsweek:
Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family-clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast."Thanks to my friend Jami from Not THAT Different for the quotes.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Next, Hindu's will have Sitar Hero, praise Kali!
Scalia said he understood that foul words would be heard at a football or baseball game. "You don't have to have them presented as something that is normal in polite company, which is what happens when it comes out in television shows," he told a lawyer for the broadcast networks.I'm not against the ruling. I am against the reasoning behind the ruling. I don't want those old robes to be culture cops. I also think the fine is a little extreme.