Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Web Stuff Friday: Bathtub Riding Mykonos

Here are some really cool videos.

Keith Loutit is amazing. His videos look like stop action with little figurines, but they are actually put together with real photos of real people.

Bathtub IV from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Tomas Nilsson needs to do more videos like Little Red Riding Hood Revamp. I want to see him do the Three Little Pigs and other stories.

SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

Sean Pecknold did this and other music videos for the band Fleet Foxes.

Mykonos from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Music Monday: My Favorite Carts from WGMU

When I was a college radio DJ, we used to keep lots of music on carts. Each cart was a tape in a case that looked like an 8-track tape, but each cart was simply a continuous loop of a single song, announcement, commercial, or other sound bite.

To play a cart, all you had to do was grab a cart off the wall of the studio, jam the cart into one of the cart players, and hit the big, white button. No need to cue up a needle on a record. No need to be gentle with the vinyl. Carts were fun and easy.

We created our own carts from albums and singles we had lying around the station. To record a cart, all you had to remember was "Moo-Bang." This helped with the timing for starting the turntable and hitting the Record button on the cart recording deck.

Anyway, I can't remember most of the carts we had, but here are a few:
Carts have been replaced by CDs and computers in most radio stations, but I have fond memories of them from my time at WGMU.

If anyone reads this who worked at WGMU between 1985 and 1987, drop me a line or post a comment with your memories of carts.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Web Stuff Friday: Frog Debt Fantasy

Frog Leap Test took me pretty close to the two-minute time limit.

The U.S. Treasury Department keeps us informed about The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It.

Sand Fantasy: These are sand art videos. I hate the music, but the art is impressive.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Taking Working From Home Seriously

The Post had an article a bit ago As Cuts Loom, Will Working From Home Lead to a Layoff? and parts of the article bothered me.
"That's what it feels like we're returning to. Work as many hours as you possibly can. Make yourself indispensable. Don't ever complain. Don't ever ask for anything," she said. "I'm just horrified we may as well just forget the last 20 years."
One little sentence in this bothers me: "Make yourself indispensable." Umm... This seems like what everyone should be doing. She probably didn't mean it, but the article read to me like "We've had a sweet deal for a while, but now it's time to start working hard."

Two of the hardest-working, most indispensable people I know are women with flexible work schedules. To me, the article seemed to imply that now is the time for women who have flexible work schedules to start making themselves valuable. This attitude is an insult to people (especially women) who work hard even if they have flexible work arrangements.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Budget Problem is really simple, but still quite effective for me. The bar graphs make it pretty clear that DoD, HHS, Social Security, and servicing the debt are the biggies.

Huge entitlements + Aging population = Impending budget catastrophe

Now, you can take your pick. Read a short, medium, or long article about the problem:
My fear is that the government is going to keep kicking these problems down the road. How will it end? Whenever and however it ends, it will be very ugly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TED Talks, Volume 3: Climate and Energy

Climate change and energy are two of our biggest challenges. We need to have smart, creative people working on solutions for these problems.

David Keith: A surprising idea for "solving" climate change
I like that he starts by talking about how we have done so little so far. Frankly, the discussion goes downhill after that first minute or so, but the beginning is worth watching.

Juan Enriquez: Why can't we grow new energy?
Interesting perspective.

Saul Griffith: Inventing a super-kite to tap the energy of high-altitude wind

Wow. This dude is amazing. I'm glad there are people out there who think and create like he does.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Music Monday: Music from B-Sizzle, Part 2

B-Sizzle keeps on putting new music in his shared iTunes library, so I keep getting new musical addictions every week.

Vampire Weekend
Videos: A-Punk and Oxford Comma
Fun music. These guys were the darlings of SXSW in 2008 and I can hear why.

Fleet Foxes
Videos: White Winter Hymnal and Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Sweet stuff. Kinda mellow. This is also on Bobby's list of recent favorites.

Videos: Atlas, Tonto, and Tras
The energy is compelling and the videos work (they make me wish MTV still played music videos). I need to buy the album (Mirrors) so I can get it on my iTunes and iPod. I'm pretty sure I could trim some time off my 5k time if i put together a playlist that includes Tonto and Atlas.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

After Slacking, A Week of Posts

I have been pretty bad about keeping up with posting recently. Life has been just a bit too insane, but I spent some time yesterday filling a bunch of gaps in the post history and clearing out my long line of drafts. If you go back over the past few weeks of posts, you will see that each week looks pretty complete. Much of the past three weeks of posts were actually done yesterday, but back-dated.

Anyway, this coming week will actually have five consecutive days with posts (not including this one), with each one coming on the correct day and time. After this week, I will have only one draft left unpublished, so I will start having new thoughts again.

We'll see how long I keep it up after this week.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Nature of Holographic Reality

A few weeks ago, I saw a Slashdot article called The Universe As Hologram that had a link to an article at New Scientist. Thanks to Ze Frank, we also have The Weather Master's take on this.

Here is my translation (based on reading the article and reading other translations.

A bunch of scientists are conducting experiments to detect gravity waves (which Einstein predicted should exist). Waves are continuous, so if gravity waves exist, then that would suggest gravity is continuous.

As they were looking for these gravity waves, they found that space/time is grainier than they thought it was. They expected to see things get grainy when they got down to something close to a size limit known as the Planck length, but instead things got grainy at a much bigger length than they thought.

So, why do I care about stuff like this? As one Slashdot commenter said: is easy to take empirical science for granted. Empiricism is an epistemological position that must be defended, and to ignore the fact that science is a branch of philosophy is to forget how fundamental epistemological assumptions are to science.
I'm sure that I am over simplifying, but I wonder if the "graininess" these scientists are seeing is a result of a basic epistemological limit. Maybe the graininess is indicative of a limit to how much we can know. Maybe Heisenberg would love this. Regardless, I like the idea of physical reality being grainier than they thought. If it's a hologram, maybe I can get the universe put on my Visa card.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Another College Acceptance to Be Proud of

Niece III has been accepted to Wesleyan, Amherst, and Tufts. Last school year, Niece II applied early and had an acceptance to be proud of, but Niece III decided to have more choices, so acceptances are trickling in this Spring.

Tufts loves her so much that they quoted her essay in the acceptance letter they sent to everyone. Pretty cool.

Aside from all the well-documented challenges she has had at home, Niece III has also had to deal with a concussion, more time at home, and following in the footsteps of her accomplished sister. I can relate to this last challenge, but all the other things she has had to deal with are way beyond me. She has shown great resiliency as she has made her way through the past few years.