31 October 2006

Spooky Turtle Monster

Happy Halloween!

For Toby's first Halloween, he and mom dressed up as the tortoise and the hare (I was referee, with stopwatch + checkered flag). I like his turtle outfit so much that I may require him to wear it on weekends. Hopefully if you click on these they'll be normal-sized.

Crawling around the lunchroom table at Actuality.

NB + RT's spooky binky gift.

Of course, Toby won the race.


29 October 2006

I Have Become a Poster of Web Videos

I thank NB, repeatedly, for pointing me to the first thing that's made me laugh hard all day. And it's 10 pm.

The Rockwell Retro Encabulator. [google video] It consists of a baseplate of prefabulated Amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing.

(datasheet for GE Turbo Encabulator)


Corn Starch Holes

Thank you, BM & SB for recommending I watch this video, with mandatory soundtrack + voiceover, of an experiment with.... corn starch. (Turn up those speakers.)

(The UT Austin research page @ the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics.)


27 October 2006

(OMG ROTFL) Why Don't We Do It In Our Sleeves?

What could I possibly do, what could I possibly say, to convince you to click on this link to watch an educational video about the best way to cough? I don't know, but it sure made us laugh at the office today. [coughsafe.com]

Two reviews of the brief clip from the site:

"If this saves one employee one day of work, it's worth its weight in dollars." - Deborah Powell, Industrialist

"Anyone who coughs or sneezes should watch this video." - Ben Lounsbury, M.D. Ear, nose, and throat surgeon


24 October 2006

Confusing Entry in the Fog of Sickness

Not sure this blog will ever win an award for intelligibility, but you're warned nonetheless. I have a cold or a flu that waxes and wanes every 6 hours - here's to the wonders of TheraFlu. (And Airborne, and Advil, and...)

Funky Dinner Challenge
Quick! You have three defrosted pork chops, chicken stock, blackberry red wine, honey, and stuff-from-a-pantry. What do you do?

Somehow I threw together sauteed chops (w/olive oil & butter) and a wine sauce with the above and chicken stock, & reduced it down. Not bad!

Test Your Rap-Q
Daddy Vinn (experimental physicist) called the other day and asked, "Hey, do you know about rap?"

"Why, yes I do."

"What's that song with 'Engine, engine, number 9, on the New York Transit Line, if my train goes off the track, pick it up pick it up pick it up...'?"

answer [iTunes]

I forgot how many samples from that song were also lodged in my head: "You can get with this, you can get with that..."

Perhaps RM can illuminate if I used the nested "'", "?", and """ correctly.

Aap! Global - Alternative Advertising Technology
Aap! Global develops technologies for advertising, such as this animation visible within moving subway cars.

And: "MIT Advertising Lab: blog on the future of advertising."

An Unfortunate (Fortunate?) Ad Placement
Perhaps the folks from the MIT Tech are messing with us, but I thought the placement of our "Got Voxels?" computer programming job advertisement was curious! Heck, it'll get noticed. (page 12)

A Sometimes Funny and Often Prurient Cartoon
The webcomic xkcd:

(Less funny, but instructive: a picture book of Fourier transforms.)

The Dual Scanning Laser Camera

Someone else implemented the stuff from Sen's paper to read the face of a playing card with a camera that wasn't able to see the playing card itself.

CNN.com: "Flat-panels rule, old boob tube all but dead"

According to CNN.com:

By next year, the tube TV will cede its crown of dominance to LCD sets for the
first time, according to the market research firm iSuppli Corp. Sales of CRTs
will fall from an estimated 14.4 million units this year to 10.4 million in
2007, while sales of LCD TVs are predicted to rise from 10.9 million units to
17.8 million.

This Will Make Sense Perhaps to Five People
Which is why it's at the end. I threatened Bert that he'd best not plagiarize, since Flavia's plage-dar is active, and then he sang something from some song, or perhaps from a movie, followed by a sea shanty. Look out Bert! Flavia gives me a commission on this stuff!

"Not you Sean, not you!"

Dang, I'm next!


19 October 2006


Hello -

I've been slowing down a bit in posting. After coming home from work, eating dinner with J-Fav and Toby (he sits with us at the table now!), and putting him to bed, we only have a couple of hours together. Sometimes we sit silently, if we're not pelting each other with couch-pillows, surfing the web or watching DVD episodes of "Veronica Mars."

Lately I've been wondering if I should pick a book to work through a few nights a week. (As if I were taking it for a class, doing the exercises, etc. Maybe Hecht & Zajac's Optics, that Maxfield & Maxfield's Abstract Algebra and Solution by Radicals book which Toby likes to eat, or Bamberg and Sternberg's A Course in Mathematics for Students of Physics, bringing together linear algebra, a bunch of calculus I have never seen before but which would let me understand Gravitation, and E&M, actually extending circuit theory to become electromagnitism. (Yes, I'm yet another person who bought Gravitation because it's heavy, imposing, and pitch black. J-Fav digs it. I think.) Looking at the Amazon reviews I feel better for finding the Bamberg book so challenging. Next, I might be ready for Visual Complex Analysis, a wedding present from the Trou-champs (Beachdales?). But what on earth will I do with all this math? Perhaps I just want the "clean thought shapes." Sort of like taking Tums, but for one's brain.)

The run-on sentence police just rang the doorbell, set off some firecrackers, yelled something into a megaphone, and sped away.

(I clear my throat loudly.)

Hey, Toby's 6-month birthday present just came. We thought it required batteries, or as J-Fav announced in her best Metallica imitation, "Ba-ter-ries! Ba-ter-ries!"

I'd like to regale you with a few sci / business links, many of which are from geekpress.com:
  • DNA-based computer plays tic-tac-toe
  • Malcom Gladwell's New Yorker story about a neural network (computer program) that picks Hollywood hits and racetrack winners with amazing accuracy (see the middle of the article)
  • Reuters opened a news bureau in the virtual-reality world "Second Life." Who are these people who have time to sit and play these games? Oh, wait, I'm the one blogging...
  • "SGI emerges from Chapter 11" [fcw.com] They had been delisted from NYSE, probably because $200 video game cards began performing better than their high-end workstations.
  • NBC has two meta-shows about the behind-the-scenes of "Saturday Night Live"-like shows: 30ROCK and Studio 60. I prefer the former. Watch the pilot, free, online! You go, Tina Fey...
  • Thread on Tahnan's blog about Dawkins appearing on the Colbert Report, and the obligatory Flying Spaghetti Monster discussion. (What's the FSM, you ask?)
  • Yale's Prof. Kindlmann's EAS-INFO article, "Virtual Reality or Real Virtuality?" about the aforementioned Second Life. He asks:
I wonder if I might propose a new role for Engineering: as guardian of real reality. Yes, engineers have long resorted to their own simulations, but I'd still like to think of them as grounded in reality, as real-world problem solvers. Or are they already mostly inhabiting the virtual world and smiling wryly at my discomforts?

Or maybe we should dispatch teams of poets into the virtual world, as guardians and enliveners of that domain, before, as an insufficiently unimaginative extrapolation of real reality, it wears itself out and resorts to virtual virtual reality?
Good night and good luck.


"Blogger Beta" offers us room for labels. Let's see if adding names associated with pruient content increases traffic to this site.

14 October 2006

Design Pubs and Firms

Hi -

What a wonderfully crisp New England evening in Boston. I wish it were fall... longer.

First off, "Ted," please inform your fiancee to temporarily break her blog-hiatus and look at the following.

A Very Few Design-Oriented Publications
  • Wallpaper*: "International Design Interiors Fashion Travel" (also on newsstands)
  • I.D.: Industrial Design, Graphic Design (@ B&N)
  • Kaliber10000: [k10k.net] daily-updated website of designy links
  • Design*Sponge: Art, architecture, objects, you name it - lots of photos
  • inhabitat: "Future-forward design for the world you inhabit"

Industrial Design Houses in Boston


09 October 2006

Bully (the game) / "The Cult of Yale"

A Videogame About Bullies
Rockstar Games, the folks who brought you Grand Theft Auto, are about to release a new game: Bully, situated in a prep school.

Give me your lunch money!

And now for something completely different...

Why Harvard Students Hate Harvard, and Why Yalies Love Yale

An article in the Harvard Crimson (November, 2003): "The Cult of Yale."


04 October 2006

(More) Absolutely Incredible Drummers

Drum Solos / Duets
  • Terry Bozzio / Chad Wackerman [QT movie] (Is it just me, or does that drum set look quite... complete? Oh, and; Bozzio is quite the man when it comes to drumming over complex ostinatos.)
  • Carter Beauford [streaming .M3U] (drummer for the Dave Matthews Band)
  • John Bonham! Moby Dick! John Bonham! Moby Dick! [QT video]
  • Philly Joe Jones [video] Nonchalant much?
  • Max Roach with cool hi-hat work. Lucky I got to see him in Sprague Hall in college. Okay, those are two vast understatements.

John Bonham! Moby Dick! John Bonham! Moby Dick! ...

01 October 2006

Better Online Weather Forecast

NOAA Weather
The NOAA has a fast-loading, detail-packed weather forecast site. Go to www.srh.noaa.gov, enter your ZIP code in the upper left, and bookmark the resulting page.

Ever since college - say, 1993 - I've used the Weather Underground [www.wunderground.com]. I finally replaced the bookmark in my browser; the site loads too slowly, has many ads, and hides the stuff I want to see too far down the page.

Google trick: for instant weather, type " weather 06520 " (say) into your Google search window.

(How are ZIP codes arranged?) Ben Fry - zipdecode

Ever wonder how ZIP codes are distributed spatially on the map?
  • Go to http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/zipdecode/
  • Hit the "z" key when the map appears
  • Type the first digit of your ZIP code
  • Type the second digit of your ZIP code
  • ...and so on
  • (I think the delete key works, too, if you change your mind)
I've mention him before, but Ben Fry is an alumnus of Maeda's group at the Media Lab. Some of his many information-visualization projects are here at the ACG site. I like "mario soup" and his "fluid mixing" simulation.

CNN's "Upgraded" Shock Reporting
As J-Fav might confirm, I'm not one for analyzing news sites. But have you noticed over the last few weeks that CNN.com's journalists are embedding sensationalist-sounding links to video versions of news pieces? For example, concerning a recent trial of the Rhode Island club owners (and the 100 victims burned in the club fire during a rock show), CNN.com says:

Shortly before the judge imposed the sentence, Jeffrey Derderian tearfully apologized for the heartache he had caused and recounted the chaotic scene. (Watch Jeffrey Derderian break down as he relives the horror -- 1:16 )

Is that video clip descriptor really appropriate? Here's the story.

Have a good weekend,