Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Breaking Radio Silence for This Important Announcement

I have to give a HUGE thank you to the always delightful and lovable Alliya for pointing me toward this one:

Ann Coulter's Jaw Is Wired SHUT. That, my friends, is sweet news, indeed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking Over My Shoulder

Apparently, when someone came to see me in my cubicle, I happened to close a browser or something. Somehow this was noteworthy, and had to be communicated to Management. WTF. I guess this was evidence that I don't work or anything all day. It doesn't occur to people that every open action has an equal and opposite close operation. Or they don't know I open and close windows all day long? I'm sort of pissed, and I wish names were named so I wouldn't feel like everybody I see is a potential shit-disturber.

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.

Astro Boy Teaser

Osamu Tezuka's manga, 鉄腕アトム in Japan and Astro Boy to us English speakers, will have a movie next fall.

The Verse

Want to see a map of the solar system where Firefly takes place? You can buy it, too.

(Via AICN)

To New York in About a Day

On her blog, Dorothy Gambrell, she who makes Cat and Girl, put together a map of the USA that shows the approximate travel time between the 50 most populous cities in the US, if we had a comparatively slow nationwide, high-speed rail system.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crispin Glover's "Ben"

When Good Intentions...

... go SO, SO, FAR WRONG.

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.

A History Prof's Plea to his Undergrads

Not a compliment to our (mine and Josh's) alma mater. I bring it up only because it reminded me of this schooling.

Cat on a Roomba

Sort of Goes With Otis's Post

Is it me, or is David Edelstein the best writer in the film critic business?

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.


ABC has canceled Pushing Daisies.

And another great TV show goes down too early.

Twilight, Twilight, Twilight

It's on talk radio, the coworkers are achatter about it, and I see a lot of Facebook statuses mentioning it.

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

I'd Like Stuart Smalley In the Senate

Coleman vs. Franken!

Choose which ballots to dismiss and which to keep!

Speaking of (or in) Accents

Some are a bit off, but impressive nonetheless!

Ponder This

It is World Philosophy Day!

Idol Fail

Why can't I own a Canadian?

I can't believe I had forgotten to post about this classic. Truly one of my favorite websites, and all the more glorious because so many people can't seem to figure out that it's satire! Also, enjoy this fun little piece detailing some of the other biblical laws that appear alongside the passage about homosexuality being an abomination.

So you want to be a Cockney...

Accent Archives:
International Dialects of English Archive, Accents of England.
British Library Sound Archive, Accents and Dialects.
Listen and repeat.

Quick Question

Did GMail just change their appearance? Mine looks different and awful. Anybody else?

Lame Duck

He's shunned like the kid that smelled like pee in third grade.

Do Not Feed After Midnight

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)

The New and the Old

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.

I've found my replacement.

This solves all the IT problems using AI.
You'll see.

I Hope They're Right

(From GraphJam)

Scott Meets Family Circus

Decently funny.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordle of Our Site

This is what we are writing about (omitting common English words and preformatted blogger junk).

This is fun...

Type in a zip code and see who all donated to prop 8, and what their stance was! Fun and disappointing, all at the same time. Sonorans gave $9,389.00 in support and $400.00 in opposition.


Looking at This Blog

Sometimes when I hadn't had time to dig up my own stuff, I just go here.

Cards as Weapons

Ricky Jay On Mythbusters

Let's All Chortle at The Joker's Boner

A hilarious round-up of the "Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels."

Killing the Living Dead

Here's a game based on Lovecraft's "Herbert West—Reanimator".

Basically you shoot zombies. Click quick if you're out of bullets and hit shift to use the shotgun once you find it and some ammo.

Because It's Something I Can Imagine Josh Doing

From Anotherrandomday. Really annoying site, but some funny stuff.

Are you a rich asshole?

If you are, you can rent a home in DC during inauguration week for outrageous amounts of teh moneys. Have a place in DC? Stay on someone's couch and rent that shit out to Rich People, for enough $ to pay your rent for several months! Makes me wish I had a place in DC, although then I would probably have to deal with a dead hooker in the closet when I got home....

A Review of Chinese Democracy

GNR's Chinese Democracy, to be exact. And not by me, oh no- I am TERRIBLE at reviews. No, by Chuck Klosterman.

A fun read, but I can't say that I'm in a real rush to have a listen.

Want to Try a Cuppza?

I really don't. But I'll watch you try one.

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

Magic and the Brain

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.

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.
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:

Flexy FactBook

Here is a neat flex dashboard showcasing data from the C.I.A.'s World FactBook.

Driving Tales

Over at Comics Should Be Good, a Comic Book Resources Blog, each week contributer John Seavey takes a look at the storytelling engines writers and producer create to keep pumping out stories for TV shows, movie franchises, and comic books.

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.)

Where the Wild Things Are

Ain't It Cool News has a lengthy interview with Spike Jonze about his next movie, Where the Wild Things Are.

I only skimmed the interview because I really wanted to see the stills of the movie at the end.

Day Off!

Yup. I'm not working from not at work today. I've taken the day off to play some much needed catch-up on academic matters.

Monday, November 17, 2008

SketchUp 7 Released

Elex and I have used SketchUp to model our main office-- it is fun and most features are free. The new release has dynamic components that preserver relationships that were a bitch to maintain in earlier versions (e.g. the regular spacing of objects stretched in the model). Cool.

Glued Together

In case we are not already close enough, my friends, there's Glue:
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!


Gnnnngh... another Photoshop Disaster.

Google Flexes Too

SearchMash Flash Interface
The Google-built experimental Flex interface for Google search.
(Warning: it crashed my browser)

Star Trek XI

The full trailer for the next Star Trek movie is out.

It's very pretty, but.... Well. Yeah. It's pretty.

Note to Self: Need More Flare

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.

Govt. Land Ownership Map

Click for embiggening.

Plundering the Comics

Hollywood, in there never ending quest to mine creative resources from any and all, has 75 comics being made into films. Films include live action remakes of classic anime:
  • Ghost In The Shell (2010)
  • Akira (2011)
  • Ninja Scroll (2011)
and prequels:
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  • X-Men Origins: Magneto (2009)
and sequels:
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • Spider-Man 4 (2011)
  • Sin City 2 (2010)
  • Sin City 3 (2010)
Let's hope the suck ratio isn't to high. Also, this beats remaking remakes.

Evolution of Amazon's Shopping Cart Button.

I a little surprised to find myself reading this whole article, rather than just skimming and looking at the pictures. But I reassured myself a third of the way down by saying to myself "Well, somebody wrote all of it, so I'm not the biggest freak."

It's a nice anecdote of e-commerce evolution.


A Visual Guide to the Financial Crisis
(That's their title.)

Letter and Number of the Day

Jane Espenson (writer of Dinosaurs, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, and other things) gives a lot of advice at her blog on how to write for TV. Today, she posted a letter from someone who works on Sesame Street and their writing process.

I'd Have To Say...

... that this is pretty distracting:

Summers and Geithner

A lot of people voted for Obama, based on the economy. Here's a little information about two prospective Treasury Secretaries.

Friday, November 14, 2008


This makes me think of Elex.

Psychology of the Con

Here is a nice piece about the psychological dynamics of con games, including the author's account of falling for a classic pigeon drop:
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.

Google and Prediction on Search

Google has a site devoted to displaying predicted flue occurrence in the US that outperforms the CDC:
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.

Fortress of Solitude

Click for embiggening. Ok, it's really a gypsum formation in a Mexican lead mine, but hey it sure looks like it.


From this Economist's View post.

The Bush Legacy

That sums it up America America-- two in the Bush, one in the tush.

: For the curious, here is the context.

If Cute Could Kill

This French kid is so damned cute, this video could be dangerous to your health!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Just Can't Let It Go.

An Op-Ed from the President of the Human Rights Campaign.

Pie Graph

Best pie graph, ever.

Obama's CTO Priorities

Barack Obama is going to appoint the nation's first Corporate Technology Officer (CTO). What should be the top technological priorities of the administration?
  • 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)?
Go vote and the results will be sent to the new administration!

Musical Context

This is Alanis Morissette's version of "My Humps." Which is delightful and funny.

Here you can find the original version from the (craptastic) Black Eyed Peas.

Speaking of Robert Jordan...

Slashdot told me that there are going to be games, and movies based on The Wheel of Time Series.
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

Not to be hyperbolic...

But this camera is probably the best advance in cinema photography in the last 50 years. Going digital wasn't worth it until now.

It's not just me, is it?

That is a picture of NOPPON (ノッポン) the official mascot for the Tokyo Tower.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Amazon's Mechanical Turk Web Service

Incorporate a network of humans into your software. Slightly unsettling, yet interesting.
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.


I love street art- music, free-form graffiti, stencils, murals... I think it's just awesome. But this guy... wow. I would SO love to see that stuff in person.

The New/Old Enterprise

The first full shots of the Enterprise from the new movie.

From here.

I can't let people think that Heels is the closest thing to a Trekkie in this bunch.

Face Like a Frog

I found this just by accident.

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.

Like Dancing on Ice and Fire

HBO has ordered a pilot based on George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, and probably the rest of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. (Variety's report and George R.R. Martin's blog.)

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?

Brak / Blur

Line Graph for Otis

By request, I have created a visualization where you can see countries overcoming one another in projected GDP:
Control-click to select and unselect countries for bar graph display.

It's Just the Truth!

engrish, t-shirt, when-i-sht
more the engrish!


Oh my goodness, they are so frakkin' ADORABLE.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

(Sometime later we will address my obsession with swear-words that are not swear-words.)

A Visualization by Johnny Logic

Whipped this up with some data from Wikipedia, which in turn came from the IMF.

More? Seriously?

My geeky darlings- you have heard of this, yes?

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.

Want One!

I love both pie and Excel.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Weird Little Korean Doll Thingy 2

Not too bad.

My Weird Little Korean Doll Thingy

Almost exactly what I'm wearing today.

A Change-up We Can Believe In

Another electoral stunner today, as Tim Lincecum has one the Cy Young award.

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.



Groups results into clusters along the left of the results page. Interesting.

Brooks' Zombie Comic Promo

A bit of off-the-cuff humor from Max Brooks (son of Mel), author of the excellent World War Z and the forthcoming Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks Graphic Novel:

Patriotic Squirrel Loves Freedom and Nuts

Thanksgiving Planning

This year, for the first time ever, I am taking on the task of Thanksgiving. I will be cooking for a group of up to 15 people (so far) from age 2 to 80-something. That includes my grandmother, who, thankfully, is not the kind of grandmother who would put Martha Stewart to shame, but instead the kind of gramma who thinks that a bag of frozen mixed veggies makes a good pizza topping.

(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.

Secret Guest Blogger.

Our manager sent us this:
FYI, here’s my daily Dilbert link that I use to start my day and consult for best management practices:http://dilbert.com/fast

Olbermann on Prop 8.


Buy this for me!

MI-6 Secret underground tunnels for sale!
I needs it, precious!

Dead on Mars

Mission Ended

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.

Honkin' On My Crack Pipe

This is very catchy, funny, and a bit disturbing:

Strong Bad Presents:

Cool Game for Attractive People
The title alone appeals to me. Flattery will get you everywhere.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Election Maps and Cartograms

That's my favorite.

Here there are many more from the plain to the sublime.

All Right- FINE

Y'all made me want to get one too.

What can I say- I'm a follower.

President Elect Obama

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."

Comics vs. The Real World

The mayor of the city Batman, in the province of Batman, near the Batman river, in Turkey plans to sue Christopher Nolan for unauthorized use of the name "Batman."

Taken from Blog@Newsarama, where there are links to other articles about this mayor.

Japanese sound effects translated

This is fun. For example, did you know that "supo = pop? Anyway, the sound of tight something being pulled off (or pulled out), such as Hiei's boot coming off his foot, or an arrow coming out of Hiei-chan's head. " Check out how many variations there are on evil Japanese laughter!

The Great Office War

Showed this to Elex already, but here it is for all to enjoy : Office war!

Burda Style

I love sites with user-created content. Add to that a crafting/sewing focus and you have a clear WIN in my book.

Damn, I need to get internet at home.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

eLouai's Doll Maker.

Okay, don't laugh at me:

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

weekend distractions

Once again, I find myself with both school work and school work on a Saturday (curse you StatExact!) So I present to you, weekend distractions.

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:
King Superman
Slumlord Superman
Murderin' Superman
Murderin' Superman II: Krypton Boogaloo
Sad Old Lois

There are also plenty starring Superboy and Superbaby.

It's Funny Because It's Probably True

It's the curse of any bald(ing), fat man.

It's Funny Because It's True




Back To... um... Normal?

Ahhh... Sorry about that.

Thank you to Lady Sovereign for a little break of silly entertainment.


Sending a MOTHERFUCKING PDF. It's only 7 MB, Outlook! Take it, you stupid bitch program!



That'd be a bitch to get in the back of my car, though.

A Lost Nightmare

Jill Thompson, of Scary Godmother and Sandman fame, once drew some pages for a Nightmare Before Christmas comic.

Don't look to long! The beauty may burn you!

Because it worked so well for Firefly

Joss Wheadon's new show, Dollhouse, will be airing on Friday nights rather than the Mondays, after 24, as originally stated.

Friday nights on Fox tend to kill shows quickly, but it still causes much pain to the fans.

Just in time for lunch...

We all know that housewives in the 40's and 50's were mostly alcoholics battling an ever-growing sense of isolation and despair. Want proof? Check out these salads from a 40's cookbook. My favorites are the bunnies and the eyes.

Oh My.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. I'm warning you up front, because this dose of cuteness is positively lethal.

You'll die, but you'll die happy.

Comic Defacement Part 1.

Fueled by otis's post with the dog shoes.
I found these collections of altered comic book covers.
These weren't even the ones I was looking for.
[Edit: funnier image]

Go Amazon!

I know that not many of you are parents, but I hope that you can still appreciate what a fantastic idea this is from Amazon: Frustration-Free Packaging. They've eliminated excess packaging materials (clam-shells, twist-ties, etc.), starting with a few toys and other over-packaged items as an experiment. I think it's awesome- less frustration, less waste. Good job, Amazon! Just when I think I can't love you any more...

Of course, this year I'm planning on making the presents I give, so this may be a moot point for me.


Maybe not today (but for $5? Why not?!), maybe not tomorrow, but someday, somehow- this WILL be mine.

(Check it out. I know for SURE that you'll want it too!)

The Pirate Paradox

Why we need digital pirates, but don't like having them around.

I Have No Idea Where this Image Originated

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ants and Traffic Jams

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.

An African-American President AND a Cure For Cancer In My Lifetime?

It's really only the beginning of the road to any "cure," but still- pretty cool.

Yes. Yes You Are.

Or, perhaps, I should say were.

Department of Duh: Focus on Money Makes People Assholes

A study in Science makes the case that just getting people to focus on money makes them less cooperative and more individualistic. As Bob Sutton of Work Matters summarizes:
Compared to control subjects, those primed to focus on money:
  1. Were less likely to ask others for help
  2. Less likely to give others help
  3. Preferred to work alone
  4. Preferred to play alone
  5. Put more physical distance between themselves as a new acquaintance
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.

Don't Want To Work?

Count Out. It's sort of like MineSweeper, but easier and faster.

M.I.A.'s Take on "Way Down in the Hole"

Wow, a song that embodies a strange confluence of things I like: Tom Waits, M.I.A. and The Wire.

Not its best incarnation, but interesting nonetheless.

Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog

Sure, it's old, but watching Triumph make fun of Star Wars Fans still makes me laugh.
Part 1
Part 2

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.

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Assasin! Murder! Monster! Oh, I can't wait for this one. Crazy diva Sarah Brightman is even in it!!

No Time For Love Dr. Jones!

If you see me posting, tell me to get back to work.

DOD Wants Pack Robots

The DOD wants robot packs to hunt for meatsacks humans:
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.

The Onion!

Winner of the lifetime achievement award for distractions: The Onion.

As expected, it comes through today.

Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job.

Sprint's Now Machine

Sprint has an interesting advert consisting of a "futuristic" dashboard. It is flashy, amusing and a perfect example of what we too often lack in our information sources, elegance, context and relevance. (via Flowing Data)

As a Rebuttle, Sort of...

I present today's Cat and Girl.

Not To Beat a Dead Horse...

... but WOW! We sure dodged a bullet by not having Sarah Palin as VP. I hope she's ashamed, but she's probably not.

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.


Graph Jam reminds me of indexed.

I like indexed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Fist Bump You Can Believe In

(via Boing Boing)

Beardyman Vs the Jungle Drummer Vs DJ Fu

Check out Beardyman-- this guy is an amazing beatboxer:

Beardyman Vs the Jungle Drummer Vs DJ Fu - A funny movie is a click away

Sense of...

Today's picture for sad children pretty much sums up my emotions after the election.

Stay Classy . . . America

Hallelujah for Christian Clones

Once again showing that hard-core Christianity must co-op everything popular, lest it corrupt their fragile youth and break them free of The Message for a few hours, you can now mild rock with Guitar Praise, a Guitar Hero clone.

Next, Hindu's will have Sitar Hero, praise Kali!


For my buddies, the IT Guys.

From Graph Jam, which is, sadly, not as good as it used to be.

I Love This One

From Pundit Kitchen

Justice Scalia Thinks People on TV Should Always Say 'Please' and 'Thank You'

High Court Conservatives Favor Indecency Rule
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.

Two Shorts

A Persistent Vision

Terri Timely: Video Band has made music videos, commercials, and short films, but my favorites are the two that play with animation.


Because it deserves its own post: Fail Blog