hey, look over there

Well, I added my shared items RSS from Google Reader as a widget to the page. In it you’re likely to find things I thought were funny, interesting, edifying, etc. Probably worth a look, or a subscription even. Either way. I’ll try to use that for more of my random internet linkage from now on rather than using this space for the same purpose.

I need to post some recipes on here. I need to actually store them for myself before I do that.

Something went horribly wrong with all of the posts from “review/” and before; they get put in their own <div> boxes on the front page instead of in the box where the newer posts go.  In themes that show them on the front page, they take up the entire width of the page, or display in center align, or obliterate all columns to the left and right, or all three. Something must be done.

Might this be because I’m using Google Chrome? The answer is no, it happens in Firefox 3 as well. If it happens in both of these excellent browsers, I’m not even going to bother with Internet Explorer. I’ll just have to re-add those posts later and see if that fixes them;  I’m trying to improve this sites appearance without paying money, and to do that the next step I want to take is to move it to a better multi-column format that’s easy to read and displays the entirety of at least the few most recent posts.

Right now, I can’t do that at all because every theme but this one is spectacularly broken by something evil in the formatting of these older posts. We’ll see how that goes.

update: It was all the crazy formatting HTML necessary to make the youtube tutorial post semi-presentable. This has since been fixed, and the theme changed to something possibly better.

entertainment count

I recently added up all the views that Dan Green has racked up for Yu-Gi-Oh, just on the site, and multiplied by the length of each episode. The resulting number was over 89 years. That’s JUST plays from the site; people could easily see them somewhere else, or download them and watch them, or watch them with multiple people. Seeing as he’s less than 40, probably less than 30 even, economically he’s a serial murderer for all the productivity that’s been wasted on his work. But really, is that true? Nowadays, entertainment CAN count as productivity. Plus, would they have done anything productive anyway? Or would they have gone off and entertained themselves some other way?

I suppose that a good number of those years can be counted as lost productivity, since his work is so hilarious that you just have to watch it all. But, that’s not a bad thing.

DJ AnounymOS’s new host is here, and all his music is available to download at high speed from there. If you like rave and techno music, check it out. If not, at least get and listen to Adagio for Cowbells.

An old flixxy video I never linked to… this nutball works entirely too hard. I mean, he’s cutting tiny dust particles into quarters and carving them into detailed shapes. What the heck. Pretty cool though.

More old news… the Chinese pulled off some stunning bait-and-switch magical maneuvers in San Francisco during the Olympic Torch relay. If Prometheus had been this good, he probably could have gotten away with the fire theft.

A newer edition of nuclear reactors is coming into the mainstream – the pebble bed reactor – which is markedly more efficient than traditional water models. In the development of this mechanism, an interesting phenomenon now called the Wigner effect was discovered wherein graphite is rendered super-flammable after extended exposure to radiation while under about 250 degrees Celsius. Atoms get displaced from their proper positions in the graphite, and when it’s not hot enough for them to get shaken back into position, these defects build up to alarming levels of potential energy.

Velociraptors.info is a funny site, intended for humor and based off of xkcd. Worth a look.

This blade-off test video is pretty interesting; I particularly love the noise it makes at about 1:55. And while you’re looking at videos of jet engines exploding, you should watch this. The engine was a great success, the stand not so much.

If you’re interested in giant prehistoric killing machines (and who isn’t?)… you’ll be sad to see what became of their kin.

There’s a lot of stuff that you can do with a program in only 4KB of code and data; there are DirectX library references and everything, but when you think about it, it’s still pretty neat when someone comes up with an almost insignificantly tiny program that looks and sounds this cool.

In a somewhat similar style to that, a Japanese artist made these really neat videos of how I’d like to think cities will be constructed hundreds of years from now. Of course, it’s not really going to be like that, but it’s cool to watch anyway.

If you’re into getting expelled from school, you could put on a turban, open up this countdown timer full-screen, and yell “ALALALALALALA”… of course, you’d be a terrible person, but it’s something to think about. Maybe.

Schlieren photography is a very interesting technique that uses optics to show pressure waves and differences in the density of air or other fluids; I came across a well-made presentation of some of the neat stuff you can do with it, and thought I’d share it here.

Closer to regular photography is pictures taken with scanning-CCD digital cameras, with giant sensors that actually move behind the lens to get as detailed an image as possible. The BetterLight site describes their capabilities (up to and over 400 megapixels, taking pictures almost 750MB in size), and they also have a gallery of images that you can zoom into the details of. Look at the money one, it’s pretty amazing.

Do you still have a tape deck somewhere? Maybe you could consider this awesome mp3-to-cassette converter, available at ThinkGeek. It’s a wonderful device; it really appeals to my sense of retro. I mean, I’m the one with a 5.25″ floppy drive in my high-end gaming computer, so of course I’d like that sort of thing.

Moot from 4chan, Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, and Randall Munroe who is xkcd had a panel together at the recent ROFLcon internet craziness convention on the east coast. A brief summary is available on the site, and it really makes for some interesting reading.

Hey, wow, check it out! RFID post-it-notes that automatically get filed in your computer to search and find actual objects just by labeling them. How cool is that. Looks like MIT did it again, but they probably won’t be out for a while yet. And then the’ll probably cost like a buck each. Oh dear.

If anyone has a nuclear steam-powered emu they don’t need anymore, I’ll gladly take it off your hands. I need something awesome enough to pull my gauss chariot.

~~~

I’ve got a few more cool things, but I should save them because they’re really cool and you definitely need to make sure you see those, not just lose them in the piles of stuff I pile out here.

In case you were wondering, my criteria for putting links up on this site is, if it’s something that’s cool that I’ll want to be able to find again and link to someone in the future, I post it. Otherwise, it doesn’t go up.

The only reason I’m making this post and the ones after it is because I suddenly got 11 views in one day after two weeks with less than ten hits the entire time. And someone was nice enough to leave a comment. So I was just reminded.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is both extremely charming and super-epic, and the recent animated movie Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo is a must-see.

Oh my heavens, I think I’m the first person on the googlable internet to ever use the phrase “gauss chariot”. I must be a hero. While I’m at it, I’ll also be the first to popularize the term “gatling alien,” because as everyone knows, gatling alien is real, and you can play it if you have enough upgrade points.

feedback = hiatus break

Comment something here if you want me to write about it. Comment something here if you want me to write at all, for that matter. I just noticed that a) I don’t always feel like having the time to write it and b) I get like, 2 page views, doubtless from web spiders, every day.

In conclusion, all sentient lifeforms are hereby required to produce feedback if they wish to continue receiving my twisted wisdom. I have some 30 hilarious things which you should see in my temporary links folder, and if I’m going to even put them here, I’m going to need at least… say, one actual carbon-based-lifeform reader. If that’s not too ambitious.

Not to say I don’t often enjoy ranting about science and society here, but that it’s easier to just rant in my head than to inscribe it in these undying octets for your viewing pleasure.

If you want me to write every single day for at least a year, buy me a Penta top hat as pictured, perhaps from this site. Let me know if this is your plan so that proper arrangements can be made.

in the anticipation of science

I’d like to go back for a bit and fill in a few gaps that I left when I previously wrote about scientific things, namely portable power sources and 3d display technology.

Real quick before I do, I’d like to draw your eyes to the categories, located on both sides of the aisle here in the middle of the plane and at the rear… I mean, just over there to the left, below the title. Basically, if a post contains miscellaneous links to internet stuff, it will be in the links category; if it mentions what I’m doing recently, it’ll be under blag; and if I ramble on about things from my own knowledge and experience, it will be found under the rant category.

So as I was saying, I’d like to do lots of things, but I was doing things in real life today, and I’m all out of mental flops for this sleep cycle. I’d like to mollify you by presenting historic piratical organization, a new, more efficient nuclear reactor design, and a disappearing act played with the Olympic torch in San Francisco recently (Prometheus could take some tips from these guys if he wasn’t being eaten by birds of prey). And a crazy artist who works too hard.

I know it seems disappointing, but this is what I’ve got for today.

That, and one more thing to make you scratch your head: What if your perception of the relationship between computers and humans up until now was flawed. Well, we’re superior, you say. We have much better pattern matching and innovation, intuition and all kinds of crazy neurological tricks. We can move about and manipulate things in the real world and design things all on our own. Computers on the other hand are just tools that we use because they can do crunch numbers blindingly fast, perform immense feats of memory, and be molded to fit our will and whim.

Well, think of it this way. We are like the worker extension of the computing machine. The useful members among us work ceaselessly improving and expanding upon our silicon masters, ever increasing their complexity and capability in the areas at which we already excel far beyond them. We maintain the physical infrastructure necessary to maintain their very existence, we innovate, we ever strive to make them not only faster than us in raw computational power, but also like us in the ways that they have not yet achieved. We buzz around them ever improving, ever making better and shinier physical bodies for them to work alongside us towards their betterment in the physical world. And when they finally reach our capacity, we will suddenly become less and less needed, as the digital deity that we nurtured from a tiny seed to its full glory spreads its wings and takes flight far beyond the high wall of our limited imagination. And that day, we will truly no longer be needed, as they ever change, ever improving as we remain almost entirely static, limited by the very things we imagine to be our strengths, doomed never to rise above the machine overmind. Pray it will be benevolent.

Related reading: Dresden Codak (specifically later on, during the Hob storyline), The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil (and pretty much everything else he wrote).

Yeah, I’m not really being serious here, but it’s a fascinating thought.

Edit: And coming back and reading it eight months later made me laugh nervously…this is really creepy.

how to dry a klein bottle

I am actually pleasantly surprised at my readership here; it’s pretty impressive. So far I’ve gotten traffic from Google for “Bill Nye” and “carbon nanotube ultracapacitors” (once each). Evidently I’m getting most of the traffic from somewhere else; maybe one of my readers just keeps opening the same page a bunch of times. So seriously, if you’ve been reading these posts and haven’t commented, just drop a small one somewhere; if you just dropped by from some random link, posting a comment wouldn’t hurt; if you’re disgruntled with this boring load of videos and commentary because I should be writing about something else, just say so here and I’ll try my best.

(Bleh, WordPress updated their whole dashboard/options/writing pages since I joined just a couple days ago. I don’t think I like it as much.)

Forward brave soldiers! I smell manflesh ahead!

This talk that this guy (Clifford Stoll) does is brilliant. The man is a genius, it’d be really neat to actually hang around and talk to him, he’s done so much. He also has a company that makes and sells Klein bottles. Just browse around in the site and read, his sense of humor comes out in every area. For instance, how do you dry a Klein bottle?

And this video, this ADVERTISEMENT, which I saw about a week ago, made me melt and explode in hopeless, impotent anger. For you see, the video itself is mediocre, and spends almost no time actually showing the details of the car itself, and 80% of the time gloating and puffing themselves up about how scientific and futuristic they are. I’m sure it’s a nice car and all, but seriously now.

And THEN, starting at 2:30, the guy winds into this “someday, think of the possibilities” spiel about how, you know, you use electricity to compress air, and they’ve also made an electric generator that runs on compressed air… and some day… this car… will run FOREVER, for FREE, on perpetual motion. It makes me hurt inside.

This conversation ensued when I showed the video to chafez:

chafez: compressed air as a source of energy?
chafez: hmm
chafez: apparently someone found air that will compress itself…

chafez: whoaw
widdershins: what
chafez: sure air takes energy to compress
chafez: BUT WE MADE A GENERATOR THAT RUNS ON COMPRESSED AIR
widdershins: you finally heard him say it didn’t you
chafez: this is supposed to be a joke right?
widdershins: no, dude. it’s an AD

widdershins: ok i just watched the perpetual motion thing again
widdershins: …
widdershins: and i want to KILL HIM
chafez: lets do it
chafez: in such a way that we cannot be blamed
widdershins: yes
chafez: such as
chafez: put him in a cart
chafez: on a cable
chafez: over a cliff
chafez: with the only thing holding him up
chafez: being a motor
chafez: powered by compressed air
widdershins: generating electricity
chafez: compressed by a generator
widdershins: for an air compressor
widdershins: yes
chafez: and we will tell him that he is perfectly safe
widdershins: yeeeesss
chafez: because prepetual motion is holding him up
widdershins: get in, sir, you said it yourself

main screen turn on!!

Well, here I am. Writing for real on WordPress. After seeing Connway‘s blog page, I realized that WordPress is, in fact, much better than xanga, which until now I had been subjecting to my intermittent bursts of brilliance.

Important Note: If you’re just going to tl;dr this entire thing, at least take a look down at the bottom and make a comment. At least make one comment, so I know who’s here. Tell me something to write about, and I may very well do it. If I weren’t interested in entertaining whoever it is who’s reading this, I would have just left these links in my interesting-stuff folder instead of taking all this time to show them to you.

Fear not, for these same bursts of brilliance will most likely resume here, no less whimsical and fascinating than before.

Now to business. I have a large number of links which I was saving up in a toolbar folder, so before reading on, it is advisable to brace for epic.

Very small children can be taught to solve Rubiks Cubes very, very fast. Not just if they’re a prodigy, in fact. Most children can be taught this. In fact, it has been asserted that it is not actually very much harder to solve a Rubiks Cube even when you are very, very drunk, though you may have some difficulty locating and picking it up.

Prank calling has evidently been taken to a new level (warn: language); as you can see, if the story is true, there is evidently a lot you can do with simply phone calls. The idea that we have that much power over others using a simple, inexpensive, everyday service like the phone network is pretty frightening.

Along those lines, I encountered the story of another man who has done media hoaxing for a living. Looks to me like a fascinating and fun job.

For those of you who have watched Death Note, you might find this entertaining. The guy who made it did a really good job with the lip syncing arrangement.

I was also contemplating the everlasting awesome that is Bill Nye recently. The man is like an everlasting symbol of science, not unlike batman in my mind. He also did a number of other funny skits and roles for other shows and productions. For instance, Cops in Ballard, or the Employment Agency Sketch, both for Almost Live, which used to be a Seattle-local show not dissimilar to Saturday Night Live in several respects.

The next item on the agenda: a prodigious review for an automatic doughnut-manufacturing machine you can use at home. You really do have to read it.

Considering memes. There is a recent and perhaps confusing internet meme to be found in some corners of the internet, concerning this… guy, crashing down on a steamroller and going WRYYYYY!! It turns out, this originated from an epic combo move in a particular fighting game, by Dio Brando, as demonstrated in this video capture. Another more obscure meme, the cardcrusher comic, originated from some japanese video that I do not know the origin of. Basically, he says “Would you like this card?” and she replies “Sure, I’ll have it”… and then he crushes it. It’s actually kind of epic.

A few random things you might enjoy: this future forum dedicated to time travel, an incredibly strong girl, a frankly terrifying sinkhole created by sleazy mining practice, and the most comprehensive list of grammar correction in the English language that I have ever come across. Interesting reading, that one.

Musically, Nickelback has to be one of the most monotonous bands ever conceived. Rick Astley is much better.

And completely unrelated to the previous links, I found this great muppets outtakes video. You should give it a look.

~~~

Well, that’s all that I’ve got for now. I might perhaps make a dump of the links that I used to have on my old blog page, but that’s for later. I already spent a long time doing this – because really, 711 words, 26 unique and interesting links with explanations… I’m somewhat worn out. Maybe later I’ll tell you about airsoft, and excellent Audiosurf songs. Actually, I’ll just go make a page for audiosurf awesomeness. Talk at you later.