Monday, December 31, 2007

Fun Holiday Cookies

Flying Spaghetti Monster gingerbread cookies look fun and tasty, but I didn't see a recipe.

fsmcookies8 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

When screen size matters.

Here is a good article that makes it easy to determine the screen resolution that makes sense for your room. Handy chart and calculation spreadsheet supplied.

There be whales here.

The Loom : Return to the Dawn of Whales: Cousins Versus Grandparents
Last week I wrote about a new study that identified a fossil mammal as the closest relative to whales, helping to shed light on how whales moved from land to sea. The mammal, Indohyus, was a small four-legged creature that probably spent a fair amount of time in water and ate vegetation.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Songbird 0.4 (developer) available

I was surprised at how usable this was compared to the last release (for Mac, at least).

Ring in the new year with Songbird 0.4! |
Ring in the new year with Songbird 0.4!

Us birders have been giving Santa’s hardworking elves a run for their cookies this holiday season, and we’re ready to release a final Songbird 0.4 for Developers just in time to ring in the new year.

Download it from the Songbird Developer Center.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Absinthe Returns

Not a new story, but getting some play

Here is an article on some legal absinthe from Lucid

Here is a Scientific American article on the history of absinthe.

And here is a NYT writeup of the drink.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

NASA's piece of the pie

The defense department is allocated 21% of the US budget, while NASA gets less than 1%. Nevertheless, the public is pretty sure that the same amount is spent on both.

The Space Review: Sustaining exploration: communications, relevance, and value
Americans in general have no idea what NASA’s “cost” is ... What we do know—and have recently documented—is that the public perception of NASA’s budget is grossly inflated relative to actual dollars ...

In other words, respondents believed NASA’s budget approaches that of the Department of Defense, which receives almost 38 times more money (see “Putting NASA’s budget in perspective”, The Space Review, July 2, 2007). Once people were informed of the actual allocations, they were almost uniformly surprised. Our favorite response came from one of the more vocal participants, who exclaimed, “No wonder we haven’t gone anywhere!”


Religious scholars mull Flying Spaghetti Monster -
It was the emergence of this community that attracted the attention of three young scholars at the University of Florida who study religion in popular culture. They got to talking, and eventually managed to get a panel on FSM-ism on the agenda at one of the field's most prestigious gatherings.

The title: "Evolutionary Controversy and a Side of Pasta: The Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Subversive Function of Religious Parody."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chatty Redheads

Red hair and freckles...
Since scientists in Svante Paabo's team at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig started looking into the DNA of Neanderthals, they have made some new and astonishing discoveries. Just last week, the Leipzig scientists published their discovery of the human variant of the FOXP2 gene in our nearest relatives. And they have now revealed another interesting detail: at least one percent of the Neanderthals in Europe may have had red hair,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Graphic History of Religion Worldwide

History of Religion
How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cats that look like Hitler

I think many of these submissions look more like Chaplin... but this one is spooky. More after the jump.

Cats That Look Like Hitler!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This one had to hurt.

You notice that all this is spiraling out of control following the RIAA legal "victory"?

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Madonna Dumps Record Industry
Since reporting Monday that Nine Inch Nails had dumped its record label and was to offer future albums direct to the public, Oasis and Jamiroquai have also joined the move away from the record industry, but the biggest announcement of all is news today that Madonna has dumped the record industry.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nine Inch Nails Links Arms with Radiohead

Burn: Nine Inch Nails Dumps Record Labels, Going Direct to Fans - Gizmodo
Hear that? It's the RIAA quaking in their diamond-coated boots as yet another A-list band gives labels the finger: Pretty hate machine Trent Reznor announced today that "as of right now Nine Inch Nails is a totally free agent, free of any recording contract with any label." Instead of futzing through the hapless middleman of an inept label, Trent's promising "a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate,"

Yahoo! Music says: "Enough, Already".

Convenience Wins, Hubris Loses and Content vs. Context, a Presentation for Some Music Industry Friends at FISTFULAYEN
I’m here to tell you today that I for one am no longer going to fall into this trap. If the licensing labels offer their content to Yahoo! put more barriers in front of the users, I’m not interested. Do what you feel you need to do for your business, I’ll be polite, say thank you, and decline to sign. I won’t let Yahoo! invest any more money in consumer inconvenience. I will tell Yahoo! to give the money they were going to give me to build awesome media applications to Yahoo! Mail or Answers or some other deserving endeavor. I personally don’t have any more time to give and can’t bear to see any more money spent on pathetic attempts for control instead of building consumer value. Life’s too short. I want to delight consumers, not bum them out.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Demotivators Imitators

The Original is classic but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mission to Mars vs Mission to Baghdad

Alternatively, you could buy roughly 200 Hubble Space Telescopes or run the current one for about 2000 more years.

Burton MacKenzie: Instead of sending HUMANS to Mars 11 times, the USA sent them on a Mission to Iraq
If the original Mars estimate was accurate, that means that instead of going to Iraq, the USA could have funded somewhere between 5 and 11 independent human missions to Mars! By "independent", I mean Mars mission programs that start from the ground up, and do not leverage each other's technology, research, or manufacturing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Velociraptor Problem

"This material is more vital than anything you've ever learned"

XKCD Velociraptors Problem

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Velociraptor had Feathers

Velociraptor was a feathered fiend - Times Online
Close analysis of a velociraptor forelimb unearthed in Mongolia in 1998 reveals that quill knobs were present on the fossilised bone. Quill knobs, which are found on many modern bird species, are where the flight or wing feathers are anchored to the bone by ligaments.

Hobbits Legit

Scientists Confirm 'Hobbit' Species Was Human - Newsweek Technology -
A new study of a skeleton of a member of a race of three-foot-tall ‘hobbits’ who lived 12,000 years ago in Indonesia shows that they were a species of human—and that the evolutionary path to Homo sapiens has been tortuous indeed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oldest Hominids outside of Africa

The remains discovered in Dmanisi show some traits indicative of Homo habilis, and are two million years old.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Georgia clues to human origins
In many respects, the well-preserved fossils resemble Homo erectus, a species from the genus Homo that first appeared in Africa some two million years ago and quickly spread throughout Europe and much of Asia.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Future that Wasn't

Interesting set of prints from when my grandfather was a boy.

Paleo-Future: French Prints Show the Year 2000 (1910)
The National Library of France (BnF) has an amazing collection of prints from 1910 which depict life in the year 2000. They are credited to Villemard.
Here's a preview of a podcast:

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

zunePhone ad

I ran across this posted over at Fake Steve's place.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Omnibus Paper on "Adventure"

You are at Y2 ... a hollow voice says PLUGH

DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: Jerz. Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther's Original "Adventure" in Code and in Kentucky
His daughter Sandy quotes Will Crowther as saying, “You know I've done all sorts of wonderful things in my career, it's funny that the one thing I'm remembered for is ‘Adventure’” (Lawrence 2002). Before he coded his legendary game, Crowther had helped map the complex network of caverns on which the game is based; and before that, he had already secured a place in history due to his contributions to a different network. As a member of the team of programmers at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), he helped create the ARPANET, the immediate forerunner to the internet.

Get the original FORTRAN code....

I hacked this myself back in '87, adding an exit from the cave into my office at the department. "You are in a tiny office that smells of stale cigarettes. If you continue, someone may give you a general exam..."

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Its a Wonderful Second Life

Second Life imitates art as the virtual building and loan struggles to keep its doors open to investors ....

Technology Review: Money Trouble in Second Life
For more than a week, account holders have been demanding their money back in what some folks are calling a bank run.

Set off by high interest rates and a recent ban on in-game gambling, the bank run could ultimately have a major effect on the game's economy.

Monday, August 6, 2007

SoundExchange funded RIAA lobbying group

No wonder they stopped negotiating with Internet broadcasters.

SoundExchange, Caught Lobbying, Says Lobbying Bar Does Not Apply
Whether or not SoundExchange's lobbying efforts prove to be illegal, its presence as an advocate in this debate undercuts its role as neutral administrator of royalty fees set and approved by the Copyright Royalty Board.

Congress Balks as Internet Radio Talks Stagnate

SoundExchange Entrenches Position as IREA Faces Music
First-time webcasting fees proposed by recording industry royalty-administration group SoundExchange took effect last month, setting off a wave of protests and last-minute negotiations aimed at reducing the hit for smaller webcasters and capping rates for sites that support hundreds of customized stations.

Negotiations are ongoing, but chances of broad legislative relief in the form of the Internet Radio Equality Act, or IREA, are fading fast, according to several people familiar with the effort. Rather, Congress appears resolved to let SoundExchange and the various strata of webcasters negotiate individual settlements.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Michael Vick, and the wide world of sports.

Yep. That's not Michael Vick. To the best of my knowledge, the gentleman was never involved in dog fighting. Nor is he recognized for his contribution to sports. He's Jonathan Swift. He's famous for his ripping good yarn: "Gulliver's Travels".

Maybe less known, he wrote "A Modest Proposal".

This article employed "Socratic Irony" to make a point.

In his book "Gold", Asimov says
And yet, you know, not everyone has a 'sense of irony', which is by no means the same as a 'sense of humor'. I firmly believe that one can have one, but not the other.

Indeed. So this category will post the unfortunate attempts at irony.

Dance Monkeyboy - the Zune Remix

Inspired video from someone way more clever than I.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Internet Radio Death Knell

Web radio faces its death knell | Technology | Guardian Unlimited Technology
But something is bugging SoundExchange, and falling CD sales is probably it. CD sales fell 15% in the first half this year compared to the same time last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and that's an ongoing trend, says Van Dyke.

Falling CD sales are causing the labels to push for revenue from play services rather than product sales,

Imaging the Music

Glad I found this site again, thanks to Slashdot and NPR...

IRENE Home Page
Using methods derived from our work on instrumentation for particle physics we have investigated the problem of audio reconstruction from mechanical recordings. The idea was to acquire digital maps of the surface of the media, without contact, and then apply image analysis methods to recover the audio data and reduce noise.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Internet Radio Reprieve?

It looks like the threat of Congressional action may have brought the RIAA back to the bargaining table.

Listening Post - Wired Blogs
The SoundExchange executive [Jon Simson, executive director] promised -- in front of Congress -- that SoundExchange will not enforce the new royalty rates. Webcasters will stay online, as new rates are hammered out.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Music industry blinks

So SaveNetRadio go the attention of the weasels at SoundExchange.   And of course, Universal stamped its little foot and refused to play with Apple.

Here's two articles that 'splain it all...the second from Fake Steve Jobs nails it...

NewsFactor Network | SoundExchange Offers Internet Radio a Deal
"SoundExchange continues to demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the Internet radio industry. SoundExchange is unable, or perhaps unwilling, to recognize that performance-based royalty rates and looming threats of billion-dollar minima inhibit investment and growth of royalty-paying music industry business models," the group said in a statement. "What has been proposed falls well short of even the lowest standard of a temporary fix."

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: The music industry nobs have finally figured out what we're doing
The guys running the labels are pretty stupid -- most are just dirtbags who started out as band managers or promoters -- but now at long last they are kinda sorta finally vaguely getting clued in to the fact that both parts of their business model are fucked.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Looking for Bigfoot among the Wolverines

I'm not sure, but does it seem like this article is less credible because the researcher's name is "Moneymaker"?

ABC News: Michigan's Bigfoot Brigade
The expedition will focus on eastern Marquette County, said Matthew Moneymaker of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A good review of "Children of Hurin"

A good popular review of the new book by J.R.R. Tolkien is in the Baltimore Sun. The online version doesn't  have any graphics, so....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lessig is moving on

He's decided to move from intellectual property to studying ways to fight the tendency of government and industry to ignore reality in exchange for cold hard cash.  Lots of luck.  Your presence will be missed.

Lawrence Lessig

I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues:

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I'm registering my anti-theft device with my Insurer

And, maybe with the U.S. Patent Office

"Stick shift" foils car thieves | US News |

Two U.S. car thieves failed to make their getaway in a car they had just stolen because they couldn't figure out how to use its manual transmission, a witness said on Wednesday.

Friday, June 15, 2007

TV's Wonder Years

Danica McKeller - Math Wonder

To help girls struggling with the complexity that comes with seventh-grade math, McKellar has penned Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, which hits shelves this August. The book hones in on middle school’s trickiest points-––like fractions, ratios, and percentages

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Bakers Dozen of Ridiculous TV

I gotta say, over at there is a nice line up of (mostly) old shows that had fairly ridiculous plots.  Well, I cut the SciFi series some slack, because if you can accept the fact that Atlantis still exists then you can accept ....

... well, OK.  Bad example.  I could never accept his death was all Pam's Bad Dream (tm) either.

They missed a few...


Still, I'd sit through every season of the entire list of all of these to be spared this.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Organic Tequila

The perfect gift for your socially responsible tequila-sipping friends...

World's First Certified Organic Tequila - 4 Copas

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The day the music died

The copyright royalty board upheld its draconian pricing scheme against an appeal from Internet radio broadcasters.  I hope that my favorite radio stations put together some excellent programming from copyleft music. 

More here

NewsFactor Network | Internet Radio Suffers a Major Setback

Top ten list of eBooks online

Friday, April 13, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

T Rex may have tasted like chicken

Here is a follow-on story to the previous post

The bottom line was that the T. rex's biological signature was most like a bird's, at least based on the first fragmentary data. "It looks like chicken may be the closest among all species that are present in today's databases for proteins and genomes," Asara said.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Peter Cook - Superthunderstingcar

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore take a swipe at the Gerry and Sylvia Anderson supermarionation TV shows.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Demo of Spore game at SXSW

The game of Spore is fascinating, allowing you to evolve

a species from single cell to intergalactic traveler, interacting with other player's species as you go.

Spore demo at SXSW - Total Spore

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ballmer's Developers

Its good to be appreciated.

Cool tree-saving idea

An very interesting idea. Save existing trees, plant new ones. Re-route the water. All by charging a dime a day to keep junk mail out of your snail mail box.

Junk Mail Now with greendimes

Friday, March 9, 2007

Super Zoom in on Google Maps

Some places are very closely observed. Someone may be watching

Super-Close Google Maps Zooms

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Coastal Flooding - Google Maps mashup site

Worried that global warming might sink your

house instead of bringing a tropical beach

to your doorstep? This is the site for you.

Flood Maps on your Web-Site «

Sunday, March 4, 2007

RIAA about to rape internet radio

The RIAA and their friends in high places have managed to jigger the royalty rates so that independent web casters like my favorite RadioParadise are doomed. Read about it here.

RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter

I hope independent stations can re-tool to stream music licensed under creative commons and avoid the charges, while keeping us and new artists happy.

Buy music from independent labels; avoid RIAA products.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Introducing the book

Another funny video, this time
sent to me by CeasarsGhost.

A 500 year old helpdesk call.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Walking Fish

I thought this would make a nice
first video post. In a couple hundred million years, this guy might be pretty important.

How Godzilla works

The science of Godzilla explains all that formidable weaponry, and what a 60,000 ton dinosaur eats.

Finding a photo of Lincoln at 30.

Very interesting account of the attempts to verify that an early photo of an unknown man was actually Abraham Lincoln.

Daguerreotype of Young Abraham Lincoln

Monday, February 12, 2007

Nap against heart disease

A new study from Greece finds that you could cut your chance of dying from a heart attack by 37% if you only sacked out at work after lunch.

I'm sure that's right, but would you really trust your co-workers not to take advantage of you while you were out?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Giant floating fruit

First it was Spaceship One.

Then Bigelow Aerospace.

Then Blue Origin. the close of the first decade of the intrepid band of artists using the super-science of the 21st century unleashes upon an unsuspecting state:

Geostationary Banana Over Texas

Thanks to Spaceman Spiff for the link.

Monday, January 22, 2007

On Functional Alcoholism

Basically, if you're're not an alcoholic.

You may be getting a beer belly, though, so watch it.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Colbert on iPhone

Colbert gives Apple, Inc a double wag of the finger.

He's absolutely right about FORTRAN 77 and Princess Leia.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Hilarious, regardless of the source of the sayings.

She has an RSS feed too, BTW.

Math Geeks

Some of the oddest people I ever met, I met in grad school working on a math masters.

So this story brings back memories of when I pretended to laugh about a joke involving Abelian Grapes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fun with Science: debunking the paranormal

I'll bet you were always amazed at how the Magic 8 Ball could be so accurate....let's find out...

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Burning out a fuse up there, alone

Had to blog this. Anything that hangs in my email inbox this long must mean it needs to be archived and shared. Thanks to Spaceman Spiff for the contribution. Now, if they can find someone from Goddard who also works for the Ravens....

Friday, January 5, 2007

How to read old documents

A tutorial on palaeography that looks fascinating.

Don't miss the dunking game to test your new skills.