29 August 2006

Telephone Pictionary and other pursuits

Hello -

Sure, you've played Pictionary; but have you ever played "telephone Pictionary"?

The idea is simple. Arrange your friends in a circle, each with a piece of paper. Everyone composes a different wacky sentence and writes it down. Pass each page to your neighbor. Draw pictures that express that sentence, hide the words by folding down the top, and pass. Write a sentence that interprets the picture you receive, fold the picture, and pass. Repeat until your page comes back to you. Hilarity, I say!

We played this at the BM / SB abode this weekend and I hurt myself laughing.

Perhaps you had to be there, but here is one that continues to crack me up. Pretend you're only seeing a thin row of this at a time, to see how it evolves from "These are the times that try men's souls" to "Stealing carrots is punishable by death, unless..."

[click to enlarge. if you're using Windows, maximize your window, hover your mouse pointer on it, and click that hamburger-looking icon in the lower right to magnify]

I still can't get over that judge/jury comic strip of Mr. Monreal's.

Here's another. Nothing like misinterpreting a homunculus as a man-bird.

[click to enlarge]

I was going to tell you about the movie "Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control," but never mind.


27 August 2006

Panera, Web 2.0, and Toby

The Favalora-Panera Conjecture
If the Starbucks Corporation ran Au Bon Pain, it would be Panera. 'nuff said.

Web 2.0
One of the things J-Fav catches me saying when I'm in a crabby, ironically-not-futurist mood is, "I can't stand all this Web 2.0 stuff." Then she asks, "What's Web 2.0 again?" According to O'Reilly, it's the mass of websites that emerged after the dust settled from the dotcom explosion (the "Web 1.0"). Here are a few nausea-inducing examples from their handy list:

[this on Web 1.0] is like [this on Web 2.0]
Doubleclick -> Google AdSense
Ofoto -> Flickr
Britannica Online -> Wikipedia
stickiness -> syndication
evite -> upcoming.org and EVDB (evite is out??? what's upcoming.org???)

I nearly gagged when I scrolled down for to their "Web 2.0 Meme Map." Speaking of gagging...

And Now for Something Completely Different

This brings us to something much more important: Toby's first non-milk meal! Hooray! As indicated in our raft of baby books, it's time to move your kid to solid foods when you feel bad eating dinner in front of them. Toby watches us longingly at the kitchen table, and even drinks from mom's water glass. So - break out the rice cereal, here comes a life of good eats:

"Hey, mom, that's good stuff!"

Sometimes Toby helps me carry my books downstairs when we go out on the town. Here he's planning on catching up on abstract algebra.

He must've gotten hungry, though; he took the book from me in the park and started eating it! Now we have a wet-cornered math book.

"Mmm, Dad! Those commutative operators sure taste good!"


23 August 2006

Good Will Hunting?

The Fields Medals [NewScientist.com] have been awarded, including one widely-anticipated no-show winner for potentially proving things that have stumped people for a loooooooong time: the Poincare Conjecture. [noticed on GeekPress]

(Okay, movie fans, here's supposedly one of the early "Good Will Hunting" drafts.

Hey, Gerry. Um... Ladies and Gentlemen, we're in the presence of greatness. Professor Gerald Lambeau. Fields Medal Winner for Combinatory Mathematics.


Anyone know what the Fields Medal is? It's a really big deal. It's like the Nobel Prize for math, except they only give it out once every four years. It's a great thing. It's an amazing honor. Okay, everybody, that's it for today. Thanks and... we'll see you Monday? We'll be talking about Freud, and why he did enough cocaine to kill a small horse. Thank you. How are you?


19 August 2006

Toby's Baptism

This weekend, 4-month-old Toby was baptized at J-Fav's church in upstate NY.

We threw caution to the wind and outfitted him in his great-grandpa's [correction: great-great-grandpa's] baptism gown - from 1880. It was quite a number:

Here we are, ready to go:

Not being Catholic, I didn't realize how he needed to be facing once it was time for the water-dippin'. After a humorous baby-flipping up on the altar, the priest wet Toby's head...

We present... Tobias John!

(Dear future-Toby: sorry about the gown. But it sure looked awesome.)


13 August 2006

Harvard, Golf, and Drool: Toby's 4th Month

Hello -

Toby enjoyed a couple of weekend outings around his four month birthday:

A Visit to Grandma and Grandpa's
(Or, "In Toby, Veritas.")

(Proof that just the thought of that school fills even babies with discomfort.)

Mini-golf in Old Orchard Beach, ME


09 August 2006

They Know What You've Been Searching, So Be Good for Goodness' Sake...

AOL Search
CNet News article on AOL's briefly releasing a database, tagged by User ID, of what people searched for on AOL. With commentary. (Why do they release this stuff?) "AOL's disturbing glimpse into users' lives"

Studying Ants, for Robots - @ Technion (Israel)
Alfred Brookstein's publications

How to Make the Simplest Electric Motor (10k rpm!)
From Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

Interview with Carver Mead, one of my Engineering Idols
Interview at Laputan Logic, quoted from American Spectator. Including discussion of his theory of quantum mechanics. (Carver Mead, a friend of the Moore family, coined the phrase "Moore's Law" after Gordon Moore's seminal paper on semiconductor density vs. cost; wrote the textbook on VLSI (i.e. contemporary) chip design; helped found a field of electrical engineering - neuromorphic engineering - that makes biologically-inspired circuitry; founded Synaptics, the firm that probably made the touchpad on your laptop / iBook / iPod / whatever; founded Foveon; etc. Carver Mead is awesome.)

Want to learn more?

  • Video interview @ MIT Lemelson Foundation
  • Wikipedia: Carver Mead
  • His book casting E&M and quantum in one viewpoint [amazon]
  • The book on neuromorphic engineering, in case you want to make a silicon retina [amazon]
  • Mead and Conway's classic VLSI textbook ca. 1979 [amazon]

07 August 2006

Spots, Espionage, ...

Where do Spots Come From? (Quick overview of Alan Turing's answer from "deodands".) Woah, what? Note to self, return to this person's homepage when you want something scientific to read.

Nine Ways to Stop Industrial Espionage (net-security.org)

Nintendo DS game: Rhythym Tengoku (Wired Game|Life)

Nearly-daily rants of a waiter with unusually sycophantic readership (waiterrant.net)

Hey, graphic design lovers: Before & After magazine

Why not read up on Edwin Land, inventor?


03 August 2006

Snakes on a Sudoku

Let us take a minute to praise Francis Heaney, editor-at-large and a guy busier behind the scenes than I realized.

Thanks to Tahnan for pointing out "I want these motherf@#%ing snakes off this motherf@#%ing sudoku!" Snakes on a Sudoku [B&N] [Amazon] (no clue what we're talking about?)

Holy Tango of Literature [Amazon]

Sit & Solve Crosswords #3 [Amazon]


02 August 2006

Tech Links

Multi-Finger Touch Table
Jeff Han's TED2006 talk about this unusual user interface. (Free video, about 10 minutes. In person the TED conference is what... $5,000?)

SIGGRAPH 2006 Emerging Technologies - Most Captivating
Packet Sniffing, or What Are They Browsing on my Network?
Ethereal for Mac OS X. It reconstructs network traffic. Even more interesting is EtherPEG, a free Mac program that listens to what JPEGs and GIFs people are looking at on your network. Creeeepy... (you'll need to type some commands into the terminal window). Here's an example of what was flying through the air at a computer conference.

Okay, that should keep you busy for the next few hours.