26 March 2006

Pixel - the webcomic

Someone answered my nerd prayers; Chris Dlugosz has a 240+ issue online comic strip about pixels. And voxels!

PIXEL: Episode 1.

A few that I thought were funny. Episode 10. Episode 14: meet Voxel. Episode 21: Film noir.

I could go on forever...

This guy even has "Evil Birthday," a version of Happy Birthday in a minor key [.mp3].


24 March 2006

What the...?

Dude, like, totally radical, man!

Pierce Bush, W's nephew, appeared on the Today Show to support his uncle's stance on the port-management issue. This is worth watching for the "...huh?" factor alone.

Link to QuickTime clip at Crooksandliars.com.


19 March 2006

Art at the DeCordova

The DeCordova art museum and woodsy sculpture park is a few miles from our house. This month, they set aside gallery space to re-exhibit recently-purchased works under the heading "Great Buys: Museum Purchases." My favorites included:

Arthur Ganson's "Two Cans from the Island of Taiwan," an intricate, slowly moving birdcage whose chirping elements tease the museum patron from across the room. [video] A large collection of his work is at the MIT Museum.

Steve Hollinger's "Jellyfish," which I had been hoping to experience again for several years. Mr. Hollinger's artwork includes many pieces which are subtly activated by sunlight. "Jellyfish" is a beautiful mechanical piece, floating in mineral oil, that slowly turns and undulates under bright light. I think it's wonderful.

Frank Egloff's "after Deakin 1952/1957 (Oliver Bernard)". [Artfacts.net]

Harriet Casdin-Silver's "Venus of Willendorf '91".

Note to self: I am looking forward to seeing Bruce Bemis' "Mending Mid-Oceanic Rift" again, which the Boston Globe described as:
..."Mending Mid-Oceanic Rift" immerses the viewer in its underwater world. In a
darkened room, twin projectors play old film footage of swimmers, which bounces
off a reflective garden globe onto the walls of the gallery. A mesmerizing
pageant unfolds, as not-quite-synchronized swimmers approach one another and
vanish into cinematic oblivion.

At last, I found it! An article even I can understand discussing Felicia Hemans's 1800s poem, and Elizabeth Bishop's 20th century version.

Canadian Coffeshop Mutiny
Four employees quit & left this message to their boss. (Found the link through Waiter Rant.)


18 March 2006

Hospitals, Blogs, and Scientists


A Hospital Visit

I returned last night from three days in Minnesota to meet with doctors who are interested in using 3-D visualization. For example, we met with one of the country's top pediatric cardiologists - she performs procedures on baby's hearts. It was pretty amazing to be set up in a "reading room" (a place where radiologists, cardiologists, etc. look at, or "read," CAT scans) and show the doctors 3-D images of their difficult cases.

Also, this was the first time I've had to wear scrubs, since one of our displays is at Major Prestigious Hospital right between two operating rooms. Even though I've been in many (many!) hospitals and their cardiac echo units, CT and PET scan areas, and reading rooms, I've never been in the mad rush of walking down labyrthinine corridors of 30 operating rooms... all in one place. The first step was getting past the embarassed confusion of "where's the locker room? what DON'T you wear when you wear scrubs?" and the shock of "booties? you can put them over your shoes, but don't worry about making the OR dirty. They're for keeping gunk off your shoes." Yikes...

A kind nurse dropped me off in the bowels of the hospital where I was supposed to meet a neurosurgeon. I was walked down a hallway lined with ORs; you could see inside the windows at many operations going on at once, with surgeons holding up their gloved (and blood-covered) hands, people looking at vital-sign monitors, and everything else you'd expect. For ten minutes, I stood there, waiting for the neurosurgeon (the nurse dropped me off at the wrong place), wearing scrubs, briefcase in hand, looking like a clueless intern from a hospital TV show. Those were an anxious ten minutes. I felt as out of place as a kid in a marching band uniform strolling into a busy mechanic station.

Eventually, the doc found me, so we went to the 3-D display and loaded up a few patients' data. After that, back to the locker room, got out of the scrubs, threw them in a container, and headed back out into the twisty passages of the hospital for the next meetings.


An Awful Blog
"Sand Hill Slave" is the blog of an administrative assistant at a Venture Capital firm who revels in telling stories about being rude to men, complaining about co-workers who complain about setting up trips on private jets, and, well, all that. Yet I can't keep from clicking on it.

A Good Blog
And in the other corner... Guy Kawasaki is a terrific speaker and thinker about entrepreneurship. He has a great blog entry about The Art of the Board Meeting.

What do you Believe is True, but Cannot Prove?
NPR interviews literary agent / corraller-of-great-minds John Brockman about his book What We Believe is True But Cannot Prove. Maybe one day I'll stop reminding people about his site, www.edge.org.


It's Saturday, meaning it's time for J-Fav and I to warm our bellies up for Redbone (BBQ's) $9 all you can eat combo! Hoo-eee! Also, there is a Saturday teach-kids-to-play-Go event which we may assist with.

Good weekend-

15 March 2006

Mr. Minneapolis

Cool spoken-word "techno" music & computer graphics
kick this one for st paul... and this for minneapolis... This song is circling in my head today. Go here and click on "FUTURESHOCK: Pride's Paranoia." (Also, "Netlag" is quite pretty if you have a decent web connection and speakers.)

Boston Anagram T Map
Take Hen Combat to Covert Gent, change at Pert Skater & I'll meet you at the Bertucci's at Wail Fee. [Boston map] [Links to many other city maps]

Spam Subject Line...

Geek Prom 2006
Will be held April 26 in the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Da Ali G Show
Unfortunately we can now watch video clips of HBO's (Emmy-nominated!?) "Da Ali G Show". Does it make me a bad person if I laughed at "Rekognize"?


13 March 2006

On the Radio with G. Gordon Liddy

Last month, I was interviewed about 3-D displays by G. Gordon Liddy on his Radio America radio show.

It's been a while since I've done a live interview; I gave some rambling answers! Anyhow, you can listen to it here, just scroll to the bottom. And thanks to Franklin Raff for having me on the show - Yalie, Saybrugian, and, well, incomparable creative genius.



Some science links:

Beautiful holograms
Have you ever seen a true, laser-illuminated hologram? Here is a brief movie of one illuminated by an Argon blue laser from a conference of amateur and professional holographers. The get-together is called "Porcelain Cat Group," jokingly named after the subject many people use when making their first hologram... or the prize given out for the best one.

One of the best holograms ever made, check out Yves Gentet's Clown. (It's an animated GIF.)

Quadratic Forms
An article on a recent mathematical breakthrough that I didn't understand.

My Brother's Poetry
...is on one of his blogs.

How Did They Make That (Accordian, Breath Mint, Elevator, Slinky...)
Yet again, Prof. Peter Kindlmann points us to an interesting site. "Madehow.com"


12 March 2006

A Dopple-Gregg

At first, this was going "just" be a story about another Gregg's description - on another blog - of the Lehigh Valley (for the benefit of DB and RB). Who can pass by such vivid prose?:

Bethlehem, PA is a town of roughly 75,000 residents. It is one of the three small cities (Allentown and Easton are its sisters) comprising the Lehigh Valley, a slice of Pennsylvania and New Jersey unknown to most Americans. The Lehigh Valley is an urban nightmare of abandoned factories and graffiti combined with the bucolic ruralness of a Norman Rockwell painting.

However, this is now a story about a potential wrinkle in space-time, the very fabric of my New Jerseyite sanity. I am amazed (or amused) to learn that there is another Gregg-with-3-"G"s, who grew up in my hometown, went to the same high school, played in the same marching band under the same Mr. Mal-the-band director, who also moved to Boston, and who has been to the Lehigh Valley.

Check it out to learn more about the Lehigh Valley. (Or about a guy who covered every inch of his body and house with Disney tatoos and collectibles.) Or to learn about what it was like to make it to the annual marching band thing in Giants Stadium for the West Orange High School Marching Mountaineers, in weather so cold it questioned the parents' proper claim to authority over us shivering high school kids, sending us out there like that... (There's even a little homepage for the high school band.)

Heck, check it out just to be sure I'm not making this stuff up. If this guy ends up an optical engineer in a few years, then this is becoming a little too The Time Traveler's Wife.


Links & Geek-opoly

Good evening -

Some links:
A company that makes hidden passageways in your home.

Wonder what kind of morning everyone else has? This website, www.yournormalday.com, invites hourly photos from people on different continents for all to see.

When I get an hour to mess with my Nintendo DS, I've been playing Advance Wars: Dual Strike.

Updated Glitch Art (art derived from or resembling crashed computers or video electronics) page, including a gallery / store.

Tonight, Tonight...

This is the first weekend after several months of full, task-oriented weekends in preparation for the coming of Baby Fav.

Tonight, J-Fav and I finally got to see DB, RB, and EB (only two of whom are related). We had dinner at La Casa de Pedro, a Spanish restaurant in Watertown, Mass. As usual, I went for a meat-intensive dish; it included chorizo and "blood sausage."

After that we retired to play a Star Wars-themed Monopoly. It took an hour or so to settle into a placid steady-state, after which a flurry of deals and financial hardship broke us into two camps: the men (evil forces of... evil!) versus the women (Princess Leia stumbling into our evil hotels). Boy did our forces of evil win. Poor EB was tuckered out and will have to learn of her loss from afar:


07 March 2006

Walking Down the Church Stairs... in 768 Pixels

Check out this mesmerizing electronic artwork. Jim Campbell's installations use very sparse, low-resolution arrays of LEDs with diffuse screens to recreate ethereal everyday scenes. In person, this stuff is really captivating.

Start with the "movie" of Reconstruction #1. Give it a chance through the end.

Try some of the other pieces in the parent directory too, like the color piece in the lower left.. a fire, a freeway...

linked from Jim Campbell's site


06 March 2006

Gravity on/in a Sphere

(Sorry, this is just an aside.)

For some reason this came up at work & I couldn't remember the conclusions we made at our party a while back. We were wondering:

What is the gravitational field inside of a solid homogeneous sphere?
What is the gravitational field outside of a spherical shell?
What is the gravitational field inside (i.e. between the shell and the center) of a spherical shell?

Inside a spherical shell: zero. (!) [See Feynman's lectures v. 1, 13-9, a derivation resulting in: "If the potential energy is the same no matter where an object is placed inside the sphere, there can be no force on it."

Outside a spherical shell: It's as if there were a gravitational point source at the center, or "The field outside a spherical shell is as if the mass of the shell were concentrated at its center." (link)

Inside a spherical shell: "The field due to a spherically symmetrical body at any internal point is given only by the sphere of material nearer to the centre, since shells outside that distance have no net effect." (link, "Merlyn" gravity notes)