Ever wonder what it would be like to see Yoda fly by your head or hear Chewbacca buzz instead of roar? Now you can find out thanks to entomologists Arnold Menke and David Vincent. These bug experts named new wasp species discovered in 1983 after their favorite Star Wars characters: Polemistus chewbacca, Polemistus vaderi, and Polemistus yoda.Link
Using technology developed by NASA for the Mars Lander, the Condom-On has been aerodynamically optimized in wind tunnels to prevent air drag and ensure that your condom arrives at its destination ASAP.But Joshua Davis, who created it, says "I actually think this could be a viable product but I don't have any background in manufacturing so I decided to just shoot the commercial and put the site up."
Let's hope he's less serious about the "i-Cut home circumcision device" he's also hawking.
Bonus: we're not naming names, but viewers may recognize a certain golden-voiced jazz moonlighter and Wired Magazine senior editor in the ad.
Reader comment: Jesse Hattabaugh says,
I actually would find one of these really useful, but only if it had a pez-dispenser-like magazine for wrapped condoms and could somehow open the wrappers and load the barrel with a quick action. The key to condoms is making them as unobtrusive as possible. I give him kudos!
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I thought about buying a MacBook Pro anyway, since they're nice computers, and they run Ubuntu, but after pricing them out, I realized that I could get a lot more bang for my buck with a Lenovo ThinkPad T60p. If I'm not going to run the MacOS, why spend extra money for Apple hardware? I ordered the machine last weekend, loading it to the max with two 120GB hard drives, 2GB of RAM, and the fastest video card and best screen Lenovo sells: it was still cheaper than a Mac, even though Lenovo makes me pay for a copy of Windows XP that I plan on pitching out along with the styrofoam cutouts and other worthless packaging.
Once I'm settled in in LA, I'm planning on getting Ubuntu running on the machine and exporting all the data from my Mac to the new box. I'm also going to get Ubuntu running on my spare PowerBook. I get computers in pairs, and use one while the other is -- inevitably -- in the shop; the other Powerbook will remain my spare machine.
I'm planning on documenting every step of my switch here, and for starters I thought I'd link n to Mark's list of Ubuntu essentials, a kind of guide for Mac power-users who switch to Linux. I'm looking forward to applying some of the excellent advice here. Link (via Hawk Wings)
The scenario he describes is the background he researched for Rainbows End. Set in 2025, the characters are surrounded by logical extensions of today's developing technology. Wearable computing is commonplace. Tagging and ubiquitous networked sensors mean you can look at the landscape with your choice of overlay and detail. People send each other silent messages and Google for information within conversations with participants who may be physically present or might be remote projections. One character's projection is hijacked and becomes the front for three people. The owner of another remote intelligence is unknown. Several continents' top intelligence operatives try to solve a smart biological attack that infects a test population with the willingness to obey orders.Link (Thanks, Mark!)
Vinge makes two opening assumptions: no grand physical disaster occurs, and today's computing and communications trends continue.
He added a third trend: "The great conspiracy against human freedom." As novelist Doris Lessing has observed, barons on opposite sides of the river don't need to be in cahoots if their interests coincide. In our case, defence, homeland security, financial crime enforcement, police, tax collectors and intellectual property rights holders offer reasons to want to control the hardware we use. Then there are geeks, who can be tempted to forget the consequences if the technology is cool enough. Vinge quotes the most famous line from the comic strip Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Vinge's technology to satisfy these groups' dreams is the Secure Hardware Environment (She), which dedicates some bandwidth and a small portion of every semiconductor for regulatory use. Deployment is progressive, as standards are implemented. Built into new chips, She will spread inevitably through its predecessors' obsolescence.
Update: Jay sez, "Bazooka Joe at the smallWORLD podcast conducted an excellent interview with Vernor Vinge in which the author diplayed his dexterity of thought. He seems to make all the important connections."
Update: Jay sez, "Bazooka Joe at the smallWORLD podcast conducted an excellent interview with Vernor Vinge in which the author diplayed his dexterity of thought. He seems to make all the important connections."
Jim had a stroke two weeks ago, one that was characterized as "serious." At the time, the people he worked with explained that there were "very detailed emergency plans" left in place by Jim.
Here's author David Drake's obit for Jim.
James Patrick Baen was born October 22, 1943, on the Pennsylvania-New York border, a long way by road or in culture from New York City. He was introduced to SF early through the magazines in a step-uncle's attic, including the November, 1957, issue of Astounding with The Gentle Earth by Christopher Anvil.Link (Thanks, David!)
The two books Jim most remembered as being formative influences were Fire-Hunter by Jim Kjelgaard and Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C Clarke. The theme of both short novels is that a youth from a decaying culture escapes the trap of accepted wisdom and saves his people despite themselves. This is a fair description of Jim's life in SF: he was always his own man, always a maverick, and very often brilliantly successful because he didn't listen to what other people thought.
For example, the traditional model of electronic publishing required that the works be encrypted. Jim thought that just made it hard for people to read books, the worst mistake a publisher could make. His e-texts were clear and in a variety of common formats.
Get this great outfit! Make toy castings of Buck with his marvelous Disintegrator Pistol . . . Wilma Deering, his faithful Lieutenant . . . and Killer Kane, the arch-criminal of the 25th Century. Paint your castings in bright, lifelike colors. Make all the toys you want. Sell them at a big profit! Millions of people are interested in Buck’s adventures . . . and follow them daily in newspapers and radio. Start your own toy business with this complete outfit. Make real money.Link (via Make Blog)
Focal Length? - One of the hardest parts of photographing fireworks is having your camera trained on the right part of the sky at the right time. This is especially difficult if you’re shooting with a longer focal length and are trying to take more tightly cropped shots. I generally shoot at a wider focal length than a tight one but during a show will try a few tighter shots (I usually use a zoom lens to give me this option) to see if I can get lucky with them. Keep in mind that cropping of your wider shots can always be done later.Link (via Make Blog) (Thumbnail from photo credited to Mr Magoo ICU)
Aperture - A common question around photographing fireworks is what aperture to use. Many people think you need a fast lens to get them but in reality it’s quite the opposite as the light that the fireworks emit is quite bright. I find that apertures in the mid to small range tend to work reasonably well and would usually shoot somewhere between f/8 to f/16.
Update: Kevin sez, "If you're looking to take more unconventional photos of fireworks, there are a lot of things you can do that will result in amazing effects beyond what a live audience can appreciate. Intentionally bluring your photos, taking zoomed photos, long exposures where you intentionally pan, track, zoom, change the focus, or some combination of the above can result in startling effects. My partner Rachel and I have been experimenting with this for a few years. You can see one of her albums here and one of mine from the same event here."
I have no idea if these insurers can be trusted with $19/year, but it actually sounds like a pretty plausible business model. If you count up all the file-sharers on the net, and divide it by the all the fines and settlements ever paid to the RIAA, my guess is that it's way less than $19/year, which suggests that you could make a buck (or Kronor) at this. Link (Thanks, David!)
Update: Travis sez, "This article estimates the odds of being sued by the RIAA at 1:1840. This works out to a break-even point of $34960 per lawsuit."
We started creating art assets about January 2004, and we began filming our animatic from those assets in December 2005. We weren't working full-time at that point; however, out of those 12 months, we probably put in the equivalent of six months full-time BloodSpell development.Link (Thanks, Hugh!)
We created sets using the Aurora editor, which is by far the fastest and easiest way that I've ever been able to put together sets for a film (and I've been making Machinima for nearly a decade, starting in 1997). I can't overstate the practical impact of a tile-based system, which meant that our set editors didn't have to be trained 3D modellers to produce spectacular-looking sets quickly and easily. Instead, the process most resembled a cross between conventional set creation and interior decorating. At one point, working on Arianne's Apartment, we were horrified to hear ourselves saying things like, "Yes, but I'm just not feeling the utility of the space. It's too cold." The male members of the crew had to have a quick conversation about deathmatch and graphics cards to reassure themselves of their masculinity.
SERVICE MODE:80K PDF Link, Coral Cache mirror (via Digg)
If configuration switch 4 is set to "C4 0", when the door is opened, "NONE" or a list of Error codes will show on the display. If configuration switch 4 is set to "C4 1", when the door is opened, "CASH - ####-##.##", "SALE - ####-####", "EROR", or "NONE" will show on the display. The service mode is entered when the door is open and the service switch on the controller is pressed.
The operator can now use the first four select switches to move through the main routine menu.
Select Button 1: Abort/Cancel - will return to previous menu prompt.
Select Button 2: Scroll Up - forward in menu.
Select Button 3: Scroll Down - backward in menu.
Select Button 4: Enter/Save/Clear - Allows you to enter a specific routine, save what you have programmed, or clear the error prompts.
Note: Routines with * are password protected. They can only be viewed and entered after the password is entered at the "PASS" prompt.
We have where I work boxes upon boxes of these prehistoric paper punch-cards. I'm always looking for novel ideas to put them to good use again. Besides being good for blocking out the sun they also make good book marks and table leg stabilizer's... I think the cards I used were 'saved' Fortran programs.Link (via MAKE: Blog)
If you stand on a street corner in Tokyo today you can point a specialized cellphone at a hotel, a restaurant or a historical monument, and with the press of a button the phone will display information from the Internet describing the object you are looking at. The new service is made possible by the efforts of three Japanese companies and GeoVector, a small American technology firm, and it represents a missing link between cyberspace and the physical world.Link to article. image: Ko Sasaki for The New York Times.
The phones combine satellite-based navigation, precise to within 30 feet or less, with an electronic compass to provide a new dimension of orientation. Connect the device to the Internet and it is possible to overlay the point-and-click simplicity of a computer screen on top of the real world.
The technology is being seen first in Japan because emergency regulations there require cellphones by next year to have receivers using the satellite-based Global Positioning System to establish their location.
Reader comment: Jeff Roberts says,
You need to be very, very careful with dry ice. I spent one week in the hospital with a collasped lung and 4000 stitches, and my then-future wife received 500 of her own. And I wasn't even making a bomb, just playing around with dry ice - capped the lid and didn't unscrew it quickly enough. After a few seconds, the mountain dew glass bottle it was in exploded. It blew out all of the windows on the first floor of our house, and neither of us could hear anything for days. Be very, very careful.Tom says,
A Georgia Tech student made some last fall and when they were discovered by the Atlanta Police, the police went on national television and called it an act of terrorism! Apparently a janitor found one that hadn't exploded, and it went off in his hands, which resulted in his ears ringing (the press referred to this as an "injury"). Hollot was actually charged with a felony but plead out to two misdemeanor counts with 24 months probation and 100 hours of community service.
Personally, I find it mind boggling that a media circus and a felony prosecution started over something far less dangerous then your typical 4th of July firework, but before your readers go out and build one of these things they might want to take heed that in the "post 9/11 world" the authorities have gone completely nuts. Link to news story.
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The beautifully-designed tome is a textual and visual trip (and it is a trip) to the bizarre, psychedelic, and eclectic spiritual landmarks in the state, from the Blythe geoglyph to Kenneth Arnold's Integratron, from the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center to Salvation Mountain, from the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to the Manson Family's Barker Ranch hideout. Above is the Unarius Academy of Science, El Cajon, the San Francisco Zen Center, and Swami's, Encinitas.
From Erik's introduction:
What if California itself was my tradition, a great polytheistic fusion of transplanted religions, nature mysticism, tools of transport, and creepy cults? What if the restlessness and constant mutation of California’s alternative spiritual scene actually reflected an almost dogmatic insight that reality itself is inherently perspectival? What if the California tradition was like the land itself: a collection of amazing and diverse ecologies, but united by freeways?Link
And so, searching for my rootless roots, I began to research alternative spirituality and religious sectarianism in California, reading deeply, doing interviews, and traveling to unusual sacred sites. I discovered that California’s culture of consciousness exploration is much older than the New Age or hippie flower-power. Less a place of origins than of mutations, California has long been a laboratory of the spirit, a visionary playground at the far margins of the West. Here, deities and practices from across space and time have been and are mixed and matched, refracted and refined, packaged and consumed anew. Almost a century ago, commentators were already complaining about Los Angeles’ surfeit of “astral planers, Emmanuel movers, Rosicrucians and other boozy transcendentalists.” Such spiritual eclecticism is not novel, of course, but nowhere else in the modern world has it come as close to becoming the status quo. I call this spiritual ethos “California consciousness”: an imaginative, experimental, and sometimes hedonistic quest for human transformation by any means necessary.
Defining and explaining the core elements of California consciousness is no easy task, however. I came up with a handful of underlying themes–visionary experience, nature, technology, the realized body. But the attempt to create an over-arching framework from which to hang all these tattered tales and mutant heresies grew frustrating. Then I realized that, in order to reflect its subject, the book should not be unified under a single concept, because the tradition itself is defined by inconstant spiritual pluralism. Instead of writing a definitive tome, I wanted a book to take the form of a journey, a wayward drift that would mirror the wanderings I was already making across the state, visiting monasteries and mountaintops, churches and homes, storefronts and desert arroyos.
It was in these trips that I felt closest to the historical roots of California consciousness, which itself is infused with the long dream of California as a destination and a launching pad. Some of the locations I visited were famous structures, architectural monuments to God or Art or both; others were marginal places, slipping into oblivion, or disguised by later owners. I found nearly all of these spots to be beautiful or strange, and they brought to life, if only for a spell, the people and stories that created them and that continue to shape the spirit of the West. My research began to take the form of a psychogeography: a dreamlike movement through space that uncovers hidden stories and symbolic connections, but never reaches a final resolution.
It must be a midwestern thing, but after getting an eVite to an event promising "cornhole for the kids" a friend and I did some research and discovered there's a whole culture of Cornhole, a game of throwing bean bags through a hole in a plywood board. Wikipedia's got an entry on it. But more squirmily fantastic is the language on the Corn Hole fan site CornholePlayers.net:Double-anal-entendres aside, the site has a cool "how to make your own cornhole game board" gallery. There are many cornhole enthusiasts who like to party, cornhole-style. Why, here's the American Cornhole Association. Reader comment: Lewis Riley says,
Cornhole is very, very big in Ohio. Here's a link to Carson Palmer's (quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals) cornhole tournament for charity.Justin says,
here's a couple of places to play cornhole online. NabiscoWorld (linked) has a multiplayer function once you get past the nag screen. Christian Moerlein Brewery also has one here: LinkAlex Macentire says,
Now that I live in Ohio (I'm origionally from Missouri) I'm aware of the "cornhole" craze and I'll be honest every time i hear it I still think of the scene in "Office Space" when Lawrence tells Peter to "Watch your cornhole, buddy". But there's all sorts of these little "professional" sports popping up. It seems like every game out there now has a professional organization. Link to the website of the National Association of Staredwon Professionals. Link to the home of the rock paper scissors international championships. Link to England's official tug of war site.
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Tom Jennings, creator of Fidonet and owner of one of the first ISPs -- Little Garden, is building a wonderfully-functional MP3 player for his 1970 AMC Hornet, using its standard-issue, 36-year-old AM radio as the starting point. His riff on a "proper interface for an automobile" should be required reading for all car stereo designers.
This is the American Motors Corp. factory AM radio in its natural habitat. Nice looking radio and all that. Not only is it a "shaft-type" radio, non-DIN, but it's very shallow; even cutting the center dash piece all to hell won't fit a modern stereo.Link
Look carefully at this thing, interface-wise. There's not much to it, but it gets the job done quite nicely.
Knobs on shafts that rotate. Simple! Fits the human hand and wrist just great. Very intuitive -- infants figure them out (though infants usually pull the knobs off and put them in their mouth).
That knob on the left -- closest to the driver -- makes loud or quiet; that's all that it does. (The one function overload is volume-lowest clicks it off, reasonably intuitive, or not much to memorize.) Behind it is the tone control, on the same shaft, little used; you must poke around to find it, otherwise its existence doesn't interfere.
On the right is the tuner knob with a linear scale. Even if you have never used one a twist of the knob makes the pointer on the center scale move. Reasonably intuitive at that point. If the radio is on, and there are stations, turning this knob far enough makes a sound. Feedback.
Results confirmed that teachers who experienced bullying themselves when young are more likely to both bully students and experience bullying by students both in classrooms and outside the classroom. Factor analysis revealed two types of bullying teacher: a sadistic bully type and a bully-victim type.And from a Menninger Clinic press release:
“If your early experiences lead you to expect that people will not reason, but respond to force, then you are at risk of recreating this situation in your classroom,” says (co-author Dr. Peter) Fonagy. “The climate you remember from your childhood may even make you feel safe because it is familiar and consistent with your expectations.”Link to press release, Link to paper abstract
By then, Dick had been writing for more than a decade about semi-employed, drug-using, near-schizophrenic schlemiels who through sheer stubbornness and perversity succeeded in their struggle against neototalitarianism and irreality where heroic types had failed. Forget, if you can, that previous Hollywood adaptations of Dick novels have starred the likes of Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Tom Cruise: "I know only one thing about my novels," Dick wrote in a 1970 letter addressing himself to critics who didn't like his unglamorous, anti-heroic protagonists. "In them again and again, this minor man asserts himself in all his hasty, sweaty strength." And in a 1972 speech, Dick stole a march on Foucault, et al., by praising the "laziness, short attention span, perversity, [and] criminal tendencies" of the lazy, shiftless, half-crazed American slacker. ("We can tell and tell him what to do, but when the time comes for him to perform, all the subliminal instruction, all the ideological briefing, all the tranquilizing drugs, all the psychotherapy are a waste," insisted Dick. "He just plain will not jump when the whip is cracked.")Link
Link (via Sensory Impact)
SHELDON NORBERG: "The sticks can't go with the shake and the shake can't go with the bud and if there's some shake in your bud you're getting penalized and if there's some sticks in your shake you're getting penalized."Link
From the BBC News:
(Lead author of the study Melissa Bateson, a behavioral biologist,) believes this happens because the eyes on the poster may affect people's perception that they are being watched by other people.Link
"Although it was just a photocopied black and white poster, we know that people's brains are set up to process faces and eyes, and that is probably because it is very important for us to know if we are being watched by other people."
Well, the time came Paul Bunyan had a pretty successful thing going with his lumber business. Fact is, the first year his company went public, the stock price doubled, and it went up fifty percent each of the three years after that. Mind you, this made Paul a target for corporate raiders. Why, the battle he had with Bluebeard is a yarn and a half--but that’s another tale. _This_ is the story of what happened when Paul Bunyan’s secretary went on vacation.Link
Now, Maizy was a good secretary--a _fine_ secretary. She could copy three reports, fax a corporate org chart, schedule an executive meeting, and keep a board member on hold, all at the same time--and keep the board member from getting madder than a polecat on laundry day while she did it. And this was the problem, you see--she was too good for Paul. He hardly ever had to do anything for himself with Maizy around. So when she visited her aunt right when Paul was preparing the year-end stockholder report, something bad was bound to happen.
Paul doing a financial report was a sight to see. He lined up all the numbers at the bottom of the page, carefully aimed his great axe, then _wham!_, chopped 20% off for capital expenses. Worked like a charm. But then, when he had the final report ready--then he had to copy it.
Now just between you and me, there’s nothing on this green earth that scared Paul the way that photocopier scared him. He could work his computer somewhat, at least as far as checking e-mail or making a slide show from someone else’s template. But that big plastic box, all white and humming, with its ten thousand buttons and twenty thousand lights, the sole purpose of each one to tell him that he’d forgotten to select an output tray--that sent the cold blue heebies down to his feet, through the soles of his boots, and into the basement boiler room.