Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The winged migration of Nanothoughts 1.0

It's time to move on to a stable domain name and some more customizable blogging software.
Please update your bookmarks and blogrolls to: The new home of Nanothoughts 1.0

This site will remain up and all of its contents have been migrated to as well.

Thanks for reading our brain droppings.

Team Nanothoughts

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, part VI

For Part V of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

One of the casinos that I play at in the Reno area has a tropical rainforest theme. Now, I'm used to seeing all sorts of garish decor around casinos, but this one is pretty bad even by casino standards.

They have a "Storm Bar" or something which is supposed to remind people of rainforest storms. Every half hour or so, thunder plays over the loudspeakers, the lights around the bar flash, and water comes pouring down into a large(maybe 10' by 20'), flat rectangular pool a few inches deep. Unfortunately, the water nozzles are all off of a single long pipe running the length of the pool, suspended seven feet above. This makes the entire array look like a giant stadium-style urinal, which I'm sure is the kind of image that encourage people to order expensive fruity drinks.

Far more annoying, however, is the presence of a supposed "bird of paradise" that zooms around the casino regularly. This mechanical contraption(which looks more like a badly painted flying chicken) is suspended from a rail track on the ceiling and emits ear-piercing squawks. The bird also drops chips and cash every so often, giving the impression that the bird is shitting money. I put in play only because it has a pretty good comps and cashback deal, but after a couple hours of listening to that infernal machine, I wanted to ask the casino staff whether I could spend some comps for the use of a 12-gauge shotgun and a box of shells. Blowing that thing out of the sky would've been as good as hitting four of a kind.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, part 5. AKA, I drive them crazy(ooh! ooh!), like no one else.

For Part 4 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

My housing situation got all sorts of screwed up this summer, since the house I lived in was breaking up due to 5 out of the 7 occupants moving in with significant others. I found a place for this upcoming year, but the problem was that my old lease ended 8/31, but the new place wouldn't be ready for movein until 9/23. Out of the people who offered crash space, only three households didn't have furry pets- and I'm really allergic to furry animals. I didn't want to stay a week at each place- talk about an easy way to get every one of my friends annoyed with me. I figure for pretty much anybody, three days is enough to get one's hosts mildly annoyed.

The obvious solution, then, was to fly to Reno(tickets essentially paid for by casinos) to stay for free at the resorts for 3 weeks. So I'm back in the Biggest Shitty Little City in the World for a bit, playing some video poker, hanging out with Kyle, and trying to put up with the kind of tourist who comes to Nevada to die.

When taking advantage of a small casino, which has very few machines, I have to put up with whatever hoser sits down next to me when I'm at the advantage machine. However, when at a large casino playing video poker, I didn't want anyone next to me so I could surreptitiously refer to a strategy cheatsheet every so often on some of the more counterintuitive games(like Double Double Bonus, see previous WHOSAV installments). Plus some of the other people in the high-limit section were chain smokers. I hate smoke.

It therefore became necessary for me to find some way to discourage people from sitting next to, or even near, the machine that I was playing- and spreading stuff around like a snack and a water bottle wouldn't do it.

The solution, as it turns out, was for me to start singing.

Now, I am at best an awful singer. At worst, I probably make William Hung sound professional. In fact, I often don't sing along to music because the sound of my own voice tends to disrupt my enjoyment of the music. And given that the casino playlists slant heavily towards the 80s, there is plenty to enjoy.

After a few minutes of me singing The Logical Song, the two other people nearby found other video poker machines to play. By the time the next song- American Pie- started, someone else had come into high-limit slots...and promptly veered away from where I was playing. Even when a preannounced casino ad came over the intercom, breaking up the music, I continued singing. It is testament to how many Nerd Camp dances I've been to that when the ad ended, I was still perfectly chronologically synced.

Even after I stopped singing, the fear of me starting up again seems to have kept people away. In Your Eyes came on about half an hour later. I couldn't stop cracking up though- I kept remembering some old cow orkers of mine, Logan and Christopher, singing "in your thighs" at the chorus.

Speaking of cracking up, Roger needs to post the LOLcat he made of the Peppermill, the World's Gayest Casino.

[Ed. - Ask and ye shall receive.]

For Part 6 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lyrics to "Show Respect to Michael Jackson" by James Kochalka Superstar

"Show Respect to Michael Jackson"

Show Respect to Michael Jackson
He's been through a lot
And What do you want?

Show Respect to Michael Jackson
He's been through a lot
And What do you want?

No one can dance like Michael can!
No one can sing like Michael can!
Lay off Michael, he's my man.
Remember when the whole world loved him?

Show Respect to Michael Jackson
He's been through a lot
And What do you want?

Show Respect to Michael Jackson
He's been through a lot
And What do you want?

No one can dance like Michael can!
No one can sing like Michael can!
Lay off Michael, he's my man.
Remember when the whole world loved him?

Remember when Michael Jackson.... mmmm hmmmm mmmmm
Remember when Michael Jackson.... mmmm hmmmm mmmmm

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Transcript of Osama Bin Laden's September 2007 tape

Transcript of Osama Bin Laden's September 2007 tape.

Now he just wants us to end deomcracy and taxes. At least he's goal oriented!

To paraphrase Ben Franklin: "In this world nothing is certain but death and Zakaat."

"All praise is due to Allah, who built the heavens and earth in justice, and created man as a favor and grace from Him. And from His ways is that the days rotate between the people, and from His Law is retaliation in kind: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and the killer is killed. And all praise is due to Allah, who awakened His slaves' desire for the Garden, and all of them will enter it except those who refuse. And whoever obeys Him alone in all of his affairs will enter the Garden, and whoever disobeys Him will have refused."

"As for what comes after: Peace be upon he who follows the Guidance. People of America: I shall be speaking to you on important topics which concern you, so lend me your ears. I begin by discussing the war which is between us and some of its repercussions for us and you."

"To preface, I say: despite America being the greatest economic power and possessing the most powerful and up-to-date military arsenal as well; and despite it spending on this war and is army more than the entire world spends on its armies; and despite it being the being the major state influencing the policies of the world, as if it has a monopoly on the unjust right of veto; despite all of this, 19 young men were able - by the grace of Allah, the Most High- to change the direction of its compass. And in fact, the subject of the Mujahideen has become an inseparable part of the speech of your leader, and the effects and signs of that are not hidden."

"Since the 11th, many of America's policies have come under the influence of the Mujahideen, and that is by the grace of Allah, the Most High. And as a result, the people discovered the truth about it, its reputation worsened, its prestige was broken globally and it was bled dry economically, even if our interests overlap with the interests of the major corporations and also with those of the neoconservatives, despite the differing intentions."

"And for your information media, during the first years of the war, lost its credibility and manifested itself as a tool of the colonialist empires, and its condition has often been worse than the condition of the media of the dictatorial regimes which march in the caravan of the single leader."

"Then Bush talks about his working with al-Maliki and his government to spread freedom in Iraq but he in fact is working with the leaders of one sect against another sect, in the belief that this will quickly decide the war in his favor."

"And thus, what is called the civil war came into being and matters worsened at his hands before getting out of his control and him becoming like the one who plows and sows the sea: he harvests nothing but failure."

"So these are some of the results of the freedom about whose spreading he is talking to you. And then the backtracking of Bush on his insistence on not giving the United Nations expanded jurisdiction in Iraq is an implicit admission of his loss and defeat there. "

"And among the most important items contained in Bush's speeches since the events of the 11th is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neoconservatives like Cheney, Rumsfeld and Richard Pearle, the latter having said previously that the Americans have no choice in front of them other than to continue the war or face a holocaust."

"I say, refuting this unjust statement, that the morality and culture of the holocaust is your culture, not our culture. In fact, burning living beings is forbidden in our religion, even if they be small like the ant, so what of man?! The holocaust of the Jews was carried out by your brethren in the middle of Europe, but had it been closer to our countries, most of the Jews would have been saved by taking refuge with us. And my proof for that is in what your brothers, the Spanish, did when they set up the horrible courts of the Inquisition to try Muslims and Jews, when the Jews only found safe shelter by taking refuge in our countries. And that is why the Jewish community in Morocco today is one of the largest communities in the world. They are alive with us and we have not incinerated them, but we are a people who don't sleep under oppression and reject humiliation and disgrace, and we take revenge on the people of tyranny and aggression, and the blood of the Muslims will not be spilled with impunity, and the morrow is nigh for he who awaits."

"Also, your Christian brothers have been living among us for 14 centuries: in Egypt alone, there are millions of Christians whom we have not incinerated and shall not incinerate. But the fact is, there is a continuing and biased campaign being waged against us for a long time now by your politicians and many of your writers by way of your media, especially Hollywood, for the purpose of misrepresenting Islam and its adherents to drive you away from the true religion. The genocide of peoples and their holocausts took place at your hands: only a few specimens of Red Indians were spared, and just a few days ago, the Japanese observed the 62nd anniversary of the annihilation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by your nuclear weapons."

"And among the things which catch the eye of the one who considers the repercussions of your unjust war against Iraq is the failure of your democratic system, despite it raising of the slogans of justice, liberty, equality and humanitarianism. It has not only failed to achieve these things, it has actually destroyed these and other concepts with its weapons - especially in Iraq and Afghanistan- in a brazen fashion, to replace them with fear, destruction, killing, hunger, illness, displacement and more than a million orphans in Baghdad alone, not to mention hundreds of thousands of widows. Americans statistics speak of the killing of more than 650,000 of the people of Iraq as a result of the war and its repercussions."

"People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of the tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there, which has led to the vast majority of you being afflicted with disappointment."

"And here is the gist of the matter, so one should pause, think and reflect: why have the Democrats failed to stop this war, despite them being the majority?"

"I will come back to reply to this question after raising another question, which is:"

"Why are the leaders of the White House keen to start wars and wage them around the world, and make use of every possible opportunity through which they can reach this purpose, occasionally even creating justifications based on deception and blatant lies, as you saw Iraq?"

"In the Vietnam War, the leaders of the White House claimed at the time that it was a necessary and crucial war, and during it, Rumsfeld and his aides murdered two million villagers. And when Kennedy took over the presidency and deviated from the general line of policy drawn up for the White House and wanted to stop this unjust war, that angered the owners of the major corporations who were benefiting from its continuation."

"And so Kennedy was killed, and al-Qaida wasn't present at that time, but rather, those corporations were the primary beneficiary from his killing. And the war continued after that for approximately one decade. But after it became clear to you that it was an unjust and unnecessary war, you made one of your greatest mistakes, in that you neither brought to account nor punished those who waged this war, not even the most violent of its murderers, Rumsfeld. And even more incredible than that is that Bush picked him as secretary of defense in his first term after picking Cheney as his vice president, Powell as secretary of state and Armitage as Powell's deputy, despite their horrific and blood history of murdering humans. So that was clear signal that his administration - the administration of the generals- didn't have as its main concern the serving of humanity, but rather, was interested in bringing about new massacres. Yet in spite of that, you permitted Bush to complete his first term, and stranger still, chose him for a second term, which gave him a clear mandate from you - with your full knowledge and consent- to continue to murder our people in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"Then you claim to be innocent! This innocence of yours is like my innocence of the blood of your sons on the 11th - were I to claim such a thing. But it is impossible for me to humor any of you in the arrogance and indifference you show for the lives of humans outside America, or for me to humor your leaders in their lying, as the entire world knows they have the lion's share of that. These morals aren't our morals. What I want to emphasize here is that not taking past war criminals to account led to them repeating that crime of killing humanity without right and waging this unjust war in Mesopotamia, and as a result, here are the oppressed ones today continuing to take their right from you."

"This war was entirely unnecessary, as testified to by your own reports. And among the most capable of those from your own side who speak to you on this topic and on the manufacturing of public opinion is Noam Chomsky, who spoke sober words of advice prior to the war, but the leader of Texas doesn't like those who give advice. The entire world came out in unprecedented demonstrations to warn against waging the war and describe its true nature in eloquent terms like "no to spilling red blood for black oil," yet he paid them no heed. It is time for humankind to know that talk of the rights of man and freedom are lies produced by the White House and its allies in Europe to deceive humans, take control of their destinies and subjugate them. "

"So in answer to the question about the causes of the Democrats' failure to stop the war, I say: they are the same reasons which led to the failure of former president Kennedy to stop the Vietnam war. Those with real power and influence are those with the most capital. And since the democratic system permits major corporations to back candidates, be they presidential or congressional, there shouldn't be any cause for astonishment - and there isn't any- in the Democrats' failure to stop the war. And you're the ones who have the saying which goes, "Money talks." And I tell you: after the failure of your representatives in the Democratic Party to implement your desire to stop the war, you can still carry anti-war placards and spread out in the streets of major cities, then go back to your homes, but that will be of no use and will lead to the prolonging of the war."

"However, there are two solutions for stopping it. The first is from our side, and it is to continue to escalate the killing and fighting against you. This is our duty, and our brothers are carrying it out, and I ask Allah to grant them resolve and victory. And the second solution is from your side. It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations."

"And with that, it has become clear to all that they are the real tyrannical terrorists. In fact, the life of all of mankind is in danger because of the global warming resulting to a large degree from the emissions of the factories of the major corporations, yet despite that, the representative of these corporations in the White House insists on not observing the Kyoto accord, with the knowledge that the statistic speaks of the death and displacement of the millions of human beings because of that, especially in Africa. This greatest of plagues and most dangerous of threats to the lives of humans is taking place in an accelerating fashion as the world is being dominated by the democratic system, which confirms its massive failure to protect humans and their interests from the greed and avarice of the major corporations and their representatives."

"And despite this brazen attack on the people, the leaders of the West - especially Bush, Blair, Sarkozy and Brown- still talk about freedom and human rights with a flagrant disregard for the intellects of human beings. So is there a form of terrorism stronger, clearer and more dangerous than this? This is why I tell you: as you liberated yourselves before from the slavery of monks, kings, and feudalism, you should liberate yourselves from the deception, shackles and attrition of the capitalist system."

"If you were to ponder it well, you would find that in the end, it is a system harsher and fiercer than your systems in the Middle Ages. The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of "globalization" in order to protect democracy."

"And Iraq and Afghanistan and their tragedies; and the reeling of many of you under the burden of interest-related debts, insane taxes and real estate mortgages; global warming and its woes; and the abject poverty and tragic hunger in Africa: all of this is but one side of the grim face of this global system."

"So it is imperative that you free yourselves from all of that and search for an alternative, upright methodology in which it is not the business of any class of humanity to lay down its own laws to its own advantage at the expense of the other classes as is the case with you, since the essence of man-made positive laws is that they serve the interests of those with the capital and thus make the rich richer and the poor poorer."

"The infallible methodology is the methodology of Allah, the Most High, who created the heavens and earth and created the Creation and is the Most Kind and All-Informed and the Knower of the souls of His slaves and the methodology that best suits them."

"You believe with absolute certainty that you believe in Allah, and you are full of conviction of this belief, so much so that you have written this belief of yours on your dollar."

"But the truth is that you are mistake in this belief of yours. The impartial judge knows that belief in Allah requires straightness in the following of His methodology, and accordingly, total obedience must be to the orders and prohibitions of Allah Alone in all aspects of life."

"So how about you when you associate others with Him in your beliefs and separate state from religion, then claim that you are believers?!"

"What you have done is clear loss and manifest polytheism, And I will give you a parable of polytheism, as parables summarize and clarify speech."

"I tell you: its parable is the parable of a man who owns a shop and hires a worker and tells him, "Sell and give me the money," but he makes sales and give the money to someone other than the owner. So who of you would approve of that?"

"You believe that Allah is your Lord and your Creator and the Creator of this earth and that it is His property, then you work on His earth and property without His orders and without obeying Him, and you legislate in contradiction to His Law and methodology."

"This work of yours is the greatest form of polytheism and is rebellion against obedience to Allah with which the believer becomes an unbeliever, even if he obeys Allah in some of His other orders. Allah, the Most High, sent down His orders in His Sacred Books like the Torah and Evangel and sent with them the Messengers (Allah's prayers and peace be upon them) as bearers of good news to the people."

"And everyone who believes in them and complies with them is a believer from the people of the Garden. Then when the men of knowledge altered the words of Allah, the Most High, and sold them for a paltry price, as the rabbis did with the Torah and the monks with the Evangel, Allah sent down His final Book, the magnificent Quran, and safeguarded it from being added to or subtracted from by the hands of men, and in it is a complete methodology for the lives of all people."

"And our holding firm to this magnificent Book is the secret of our strength and winning of the war against you despite the fewness of our numbers and materiel. And if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing of your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard."

"Don't be turned away from Islam by the terrible situation of the Muslims today, for our rulers in general abandoned Islam many decades ago, but our forefathers were the leaders and pioneers of the world for many centuries, when they held firmly to Islam."

"And before concluding, I tell you: there has been an increase in the thinkers who study events and happenings, and on the basis of their study, they have declared the approach of the collapse of the American Empire."

"Among them is the European thinker who anticipated the fall of the Soviet Union, which indeed fell. And it would benefit you to read what he wrote about what comes after the empire in regard to the United States of America. I also want to bring your attention that among the greatest reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union was their being afflicted with their leader Brezhnev, who was overtaken by pride and arrogance and refused to look at the facts on the ground. From the first year of the Afghanistan invasion, reports indicated that the Russians were losing the war, but he refused to acknowledge this, lest it go down in his personal history as a defeat, even though refusal to acknowledge defeat not only doesn't do anything to change the facts for thinking people, but also exacerbates the problem and increases the losses. And how similar is your position today to their position approximately two decades ago. The mistakes of Brezhnev are being repeated by Bush, who - when asked about the date of his withdrawing of forces from Iraq - said in effect that the withdrawal will not be during his reign, but rather, during the reign of the one who succeeds him. And the significance of these words is not hidden."

"And here I say: it would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying - with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs - the price for these sorts of irresponsible statements. Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days. Perhaps his message will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him and more than 150,000 of your sons there who are tasting the two bitterest things: "

"If they leave their barracks, the mines devour them, and if they refuse to leave, rulings are passed against them. Thus, the only options left in front of them are to commit suicide or cry, both of which are from the severest of afflictions. So is there anything more men can do after crying and killing themselves to make you respond to them? They are doing that out of the severity of the humiliation, fear and terror which they are suffering. It is severer than what the slaves used to suffer at your hands centuries ago, and it is as if some of them have gone from one slavery to another slavery more severe and harmful, even if it be in the fancy dress of the Defense Department's financial enticements."

"So do you feel the greatness of their sufferings?"

"To conclude, I invite you to embrace Islam, for the greatest mistake one can make in this world and one which is uncorrectable is to die while not surrendering to Allah, the Most High, in all aspects of one's life - ie., to die outside of Islam. And Islam means gain for you in this first life and the next, final life. The true religion is a mercy for people in their lives, filling their hearts with serenity and calm."

T"here is a message for you in the Mujahideen: the entire world is in pursuit of them, yet their hearts, by the grace of Allah, are satisfied and tranquil. The true religion also puts peoples' lives in order with its laws; protects their needs and interests; refines their morals; protects them from evils; and guarantees for them entrance into Paradise in the hereafter through their obedience to Allah and sincere worship of Him Alone."

"And it will also achieve your desire to stop the war as a consequence, because as soon as the warmongering owners of the major corporations realize that you have lost confidence in your democratic system and begun to search for an alternative, and that this alternative is Islam, they will run after you to please you and achieve what you want to steer you away from Islam. So your true compliance with Islam will deprive them of the opportunity to defraud the peoples and take their money under numerous pretexts, like arms deals and so on. "

"There are no taxes in Islam, but rather there is a limited Zakaat [alms] totaling only 2.5%. So beware of the deception of those with the capital. And with your earnest reading about Islam from its pristine sources, you will arrive at an important truth, which is that the religion of all of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) is one, and that its essence is submission to the orders of Allah Alone in all aspects of life, even if their Shari'ahs [Laws] differ."

"And did you know that the name of the Prophet of Allah Jesus and his mother (peace and blessings of Allah be on them both) are mentioned in the Noble Quran dozens of times, and that in the Quran there is a chapter whose name is "Maryam," i.e. Mary, daughter of 'Imran and mother of Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both)? It tells the story of her becoming pregnant with the Prophet of Allah Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both), and in its confirmation of her chastity and purity, in contrast to the fabrications of the Jews against her. Whoever wishes to find that out for himself must listen to the verse of this magnificent chapter: one of the just kings of the Christians - the Negus - listened to some of its verses and his eyes welled up with tears and he said something which should be reflected on for a long time by those sincere in their search for the truth."

"He said, "verily, this and what Jesus brought come from one lantern": i.e., that the magnificent Quran and the Evangel are both from Allah, the Most High; and every just and intelligent one of you who reflects on the Quran will definitely arrive at this truth. It also must be noted that Allah has preserved the Quran from the alterations of men. And reading in order to become acquainted with Islam only requires a little effort, and those of you who are guided will profit greatly. And peace be upon he who follows the Guidance."

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Google Earth Flight around The Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Sphinx

A nice little flight around the Great Pyramid of Khufu/Cheops. I'm not sure that a flight like this would even be possible in real life.

Music: "Mandarin" by Peramides

I made this on Ubuntu Feisty Fawn using Google Earth, xvidcap, and avidemux.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sitting US Senators visiting Iraq a few months before the invasion

I was reading an old issue of GQ on the can the other day, and a passge in this article,
JOE BIDEN CAN’T SHUT UP…, caught my eye.

This is Joe Biden’s sixth trip to Iraq. The first time, three months before the war began, he and Chuck Hagel were smuggled across the Turkish border to take the pulse of Saddam Hussein’s greatest victims, the Kurds. Biden was already convinced that the dictator should be ousted. He had called Saddam “a certifiable maniac” in a speech the day before September 11. A month later, he called for a White House-led coalition to “tighten the noose around Saddam Hussein’s neck so that when he does genuinely step out of line next time, we will have the ability to move in with or without others, but with the support of the rest of the world, like we’re doing in Afghanistan.” But while feasting on kebabs and pomegranates with Kurdish leaders, Biden learned “that left to their own devices, they were doing pretty damn well. And they were worried that things might spin apart [after an invasion] and wanted to know, Are you guys gonna stay, or are you gonna do what the other Bush did to us?”

Maybe others already knew about this, but the thought of sitting US Senators clandestinely visiting Iraq a few months before the war kinda blows my mind. I'm not naive and realize that we've had covert military ops there for the better part of two decades at least, but sitting US Congressmen? That surprised me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Donkey Kong loves bathroom stalls

Somebody was telling me about this, a new documentary about Donkey Kong. Check it out if you get a chance.

Also, be sure to check out I Love Bathroom Stalls.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Die Hard by GuyzNite

Feel good song of the year. Hands down.

Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!

UPDATE: J.p. said...

For the love of god, if you're going to post music that awful you should put up some kind of warning.

Hey, J.p., I believe my blockquote of "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!" should've been sufficient warning. It's POPULAR culture, it's not Jenufa.

You're probably the same J.p. that didn't appreciate Armageddon for all it's popcorny goodness. Yet another Bruce Willis saves the world film. Don't be hating on my boy Bruce. Seriously, Die Hard is in my all time top 10 alongside Last Year at Marienbad and Groundhog Day. And all three of those examples are in for very very different reasons.

Next, I bet you'll tell me that Transformers sucks...


Monday, June 18, 2007

Italo disco...was there a scarier music scene in the 80s?

I may have posted about the hilarity of Silicon Dream's "Andromeda" earlier. Here's Wish Key's "Orient Express", one of the biggest Italo Disco hits of the 80s. I'm not quite sure what's with this video- it looks like they shot it in the guy's basement with the idea that adding a disco ball would automatically make things look cool. Catchy synth hooks though.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, part 4

For Part 3 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

Last night, I was the only person in the high-limit slots section of the casino resort I'm staying at. I overheard a pair of employees talking quietly at the far entrance to the high-limit area.

"Is that kid supposed to be in here?"
"I dunno, but he just put a shitload of money into that machine."

For the first time in my life, I'm part of the target demographic, the one that gets all the privileges. This is the complete opposite of college admissions, where I am in what's probably the most fucked-over demographic. It's about time us paintbrush-heads got some love.

Big casinos love young Asian males. Said demographic is usually associated with large disposable income, an addiction to gambling, and a willingness to make all sorts of stupid bets.

I started play at the resort on Sunday night. By last night, I had already qualified for the top tier(out of 4) of their Player's Club. This led to the following conversation:

Kyle: You qualify for airport limo service. You should get that next time.
Me: But seeing how I'd have to rent a car anyways, it means I'd have to go right back.
Kyle: Oh. Well, you should do it anyways.
Me: Hmmm. I'd have to dress for the part.

At this point, Kyle reacts along the lines of "Why the fuck would you want to be dressy, etc."

Me: No, no, you don't understand. It means I have to wear the rattiest clothes I have.
Kyle: *LOL*
Me: Dude, it's me we're talking about here. Wtf were you thinking?

For Part 5 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, part 3.

For Part Deux of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

The surreality continues. A few days ago, I drove south to Tahoe by way of Carson City. On the way, I passed a strip mall with the following signs in sequential order: "GUNS", "SLOTS", and "BUNNIES". Across the street was a liquor store and a "Payday Cash Advance" store. A few blocks down is a restaurant which serves a peanut-butter topped cheeseburger. I remain convinced that someone needs to stage an intervention for the entire state.

Later that evening, I was sitting in a hotel room with Kyle. Kyle had turned on the air conditioner, but it was making an annoying rattling noise because of a loose panel. Kyle goes "Hey, give me something heavy to put on the panel." In response, I toss him the inch-thick roll of C-bills that I had left the casino with.

Yeah. Before we used the Gideon bible instead(about the only use I've found for those things), we were using $11,500 to quiet a noisy AC unit.

Did you know that casinos will cash paychecks? In fact, they advertise this as being community-friendly. Yup, welcome to Reno, The Biggest Shitty Little City in the World.

For Part 4 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

Hurra Torpedo rokks my nano thinking world
Hurra Torpedo is the world's leading kitchen appliance rock group. Since 1993 they have played for full houses all over their native Norway with their eclectic mixture of cover tunes and original material. Now, thanks to the wonders of the internet, their heartbreaking version of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart is known all over the world .

Sunday, May 06, 2007

We've All Got Cellphones, C'mon Let's Get Real

Saw Weird Al Yankovic over the weekend and although I'm just a semi-casual fan of his, I was blown away. Very very good show. A music and comedy multimedia extravaganza. Fo shizzle. The guy must've changed costumes at least a dozen times.

The title of this post is a song he co wrote with Michael Stipe of REM.
Here are the lyrics:

We all have cell phones.
So, c'mon, Let's get real.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Being the cashier would've been cool.

Take a look at this commercial. Takeru Kobayashi, the world's #1 ranked competitive eater, buys a drink at a convenience store. Also buying a drink is Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the world's #3.

Hilarity ensues.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A first for 'Jeopardy!': What is a three-way tie for first place?

Let's disregard the fact that three way ties HAVE happened before on Jeopardy! (Think, everybody bets the farm and misses FJ, and they all go home losers.) This was simply the first three way tie of winners.

This quote caught my eye:
AP article

The show contacted a mathematician who calculated the odds of such a three-way tie happening - one in 25 million.

Hmmmm. I wonder how he came up with those odds? A frequentist maximum likelihood approach would go something like this: Observed ties for first place / Total Number of Episodes.
1 / 4000 or so? The ML odds would then be 1 in 4000.

1 in 25 million ? Then (1-1/25000000)^4000 gives 99.98% chance it won't happen after 4000 independent trials.

Jeopardy is clearly non-random and the people aren't dice thrown in the air. Ties happen a lot and it's definitely not a 1 in 25 million chance.

We could devise models of average contestant behavior, look at frequency of two way ties, etc. but that would be way beyond the scope of this blog post.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Blog roundup March 12th 2007, Chimps, Megamachines, Art, Hats, and Drafts

Some random blogs I've been perusing:
The Dark Lodger opines about the Senegalese Chimp Emerging Market for High Tech Industry

Seve Jobs of Apple has announced the new 40gb istick to be released to the chimp market next week. Not be outdone in the news, MicroSoft has released a statement that win-stick 2.0 has a security update and all older win-sticks versions must be rebooted prior to "power jabbing." Wii has also announced a verson of the wireless wii-stick. The barkless version is still in beta testing due to unintentional release.

Notes From the Megamachine has been resurrected at Wordpress (formerly at Blogger) Will the technate be constructed in the 07? Tune in to find out!

The Confidence Artist weighs in with his 65 artist field
. No Michelangelo? For shame!
Be sure to check out his STOOPID HAT ROUNDUP. YEAH, BABY! Micky Free is not a girl, aight?!

And last, but not adsensely least:
reports on the NFL combine and NFL draft

Rokk on have a great Ides of March!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, part 2.

For Part 1 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, go here.

Nevada can be an interesting place for the naive. When Kyle's parents visited, they drove around and did the touristy things. Upon passing a sign for the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, Kyle's mom exclaimed "Oh, how cute! They raise bunnies!"

"Uhhh, no mom. That's a brothel."

I would like to note that we did not visit any brothels, so the peanut gallery can STFU now.

On Thursday, Kyle and I went in to Reno to run some errands. We ended up being comped the buffet at the Peppermill, which is the gayest casino(and by extension the gayest building interior) I've ever seen. You're greeted by purple and rainbow carpets once you get into the parking lot lobby. Further in, there's neon purple and rainbow everywhere. It's a better epilepsy inducer than Pokemon ever was.

The buffet itself was interesting mostly for its variety- sections for carveries, salads, Mexican, Asian, and dessert. The prime rib was nothing to write home about(why do people insist on cooking prime rib to medium well? Blasphemy.), and the salads were okay, but the thing that blew my mind was the wonton soup. The wontons themselves weren't bad- actual pork, green onion, etc. However, the soup was otherwise identical to the chicken noodle soup over in the next tureen, sans noodles.

The dessert section was interesting in that a lot of desserts _looked_ good but really weren't. The only thing that was actually good were the visually unimpressive chocolate chip cookies. I got this little circular cheesecake thing which tasted pretty bad. So I told Kyle that hey, maybe I could make it look like I ate more of it by breaking it up into pieces. This did not have the intended effect, as the cheesecake somehow expanded in volume when I left a wreckage of cheesecake smear all over my plates. Oh well.

Unfortunately, it is still pretty cold(comparatively) around here. Otherwise, Kyle and I would go golfing. This has the potential to be a real disaster, as neither of us have ever golfed before. I've hit some balls and been to a driving range, but Kyle hasn't even swung a club before. The plan was to go see if we can get maybe 6 holes in within the time it usually takes people to get 18. And not to flip the golf cart.

For Part 3 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, part 1

So, a few days ago, I flew out to Nevada to meet up with my old roommate Kyle. Kyle, the guy who got me into professional gambling(though he insists it was the other way around, which eventually points the finger back at Roger), found a casino with really exploitable video poker and slots. So exploitable that he was willing to pay me to fly out and play on his money for a percentage of the take.

My first thought upon landing in Reno was "dude, this place is fucked up." It was probably the presence of the slots zombies within 30 feet of the gate. We then drove through more of downtown Reno before getting out on the freeways to get to his house in Sparks.. Prostitution is legal outside the city limits in Nevada. This appears to have had a deterimental effect on the quality of the actual street talent inside. You see these 50-year old women attempting to hide their wrinkles with enough makeup to put an ice skater to shame, wearing tight clothing which makes it painfully obvious that whatever perked 30 years ago just don't got it anymore. It was funny in the same way that watching a locomotive crash into a gasoline refinery is funny.

There's a "promotion creep" phenomenon along the lines of the software industry's "feature creep". First there was video poker. Then someone comes up with Bonus Poker. I mean, bonus! That's gotta be better, right? So of course, we end up with Double Bonus Poker and Super Aces. But wait! We can get even better! We can have Double Double Bonus Poker! So now the machines we can play include Super Double Double Bonus, Triple Double Bonus Plus, and Super Aces Bonus. It's worse than shaving razor promotions. They may as well come up with Super Triple Double Bonus NOW WITH FREE WHORES Poker.

Finally, there are the local patrons. There has to be some way to remake this into a modern-day Bret Harte/Nathanael West story, something between The Outcasts of Poker Flat and The Day of the Locust, about the kind of man who comes to northern Nevada to die. There was this humongous fat guy in one of the Nugget restaurants yesterday, and we overheard him having a conversation with his dinnermate. The dude was eating this triple-decker bacon chili cheeseburger. He also ordered it with two little tubs of mayonnaise and ranch dressing. After dumping those on his burger, he asked for more so he could dip the burger and the fries. All this while telling his friend about the angioplasty that he had last month. Hot damn, people don't learn too fast in this town. Kyle and I have started to refer to him as Angioplasty Man.

More later. There's an astoundingly gay neon-lighted casino to hit.

For Part 2 of Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy, click here.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Never Forget When The Mooninites Attacked America

So awesome. This country cracks me up (when it doesn't make me cry {like that Native American when he sees all the trash}).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ok, I'm an idiot

In my earlier post about Greg Oden and the Andrews Sisters, I apparently searched the imdb for "Andrew Sisters" instead of "Andrews Sisters." This led to only getting four results instead of the 38 you get when the S is added.

And there are a bunch of cool movies in this list, although Drei D and Repo Man are missing.

Anyway, I'm just glad this blog is under-read (and under-fed), otherwise I wouldn't have been able to discover my own mistake.

Here's the list of potential movies he was watching. Which do you think it was?

Here are the soundtracks containing andrews sisters

1. "Lone Gunmen, The" (2001) {The Lying Game (#1.11)}

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
2. 1941 (1979)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
3. American Splendor (2003)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
4. Being Julia (2004)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
5. Buck Privates (1941)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
6. Carol for Another Christmas (1964) (TV)

Recreated by Andrews Sisters, The
7. Chain of Fools (2000)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
8. Christmas Story, A (1983)

Performed by Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters, The
9. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The (2005)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
10. Execution of Private Slovik, The (1974) (TV)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
11. F.I.S.T (1978)

Performed by Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters, The
12. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Performed by Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters, The
13. Give Out, Sisters (1942)

Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
14. Harlem Nights (1989)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
15. Hollywood Canteen (1944)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
16. How's About It (1943)

Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
17. In Dreams (1999)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
18. Jakob the Liar (1999)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
19. Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, The (1998)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
20. Lolita (1997)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
21. Lust och fägring stor (1995)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The with Vic Schoen and His Orchestra
22. Make Mine Music (1946)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
23. Man Who Drove with Mandela, The (1998)

Performed by Danny Kaye and Andrews Sisters, The
24. Maria's Lovers (1984)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
25. Melody Time (1948)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
26. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
27. Murder in the First (1995)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
28. My Dog Skip (2000)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
29. No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)

Performed by Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters, The
30. Polar Express, The (2004)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters, The
31. Private Buckaroo (1942)

Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
Sung by Dick Foran and Andrews Sisters, The
32. Radio Days (1987)

Performed by Bing Crosby and Andrews Sisters, The
33. Ritz, The (1976)

Performed by Andrews Sisters
34. Road to Rio (1947)

Performed by Bing Crosby, Andrews Sisters, The
35. Screen Snapshots Series 21, No. 1 (1941)

Sung by Andrews Sisters, The
36. Swingtime Johnny (1943)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
37. Wah-Wah (2005)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
38. Zacharia Farted (1998)

Performed by Andrews Sisters, The
Performed by Andrews Sisters, The

Friday, March 02, 2007

Greg Oden and The Andrews Sisters

UPDATE: I'm an idiot, Andrews Sisters has four esses!

Ok, so I'm minding my own business on Friday and reading this AP article about Greg Oden.

I love how they throw in off the cuff quotes now and then and this one, where Oden is discussing his history of music course, caught my eye:

"The crazy thing is, I go to movies a lot. And now that I've had that class, it's like every movie has an old song. I'm sitting there watching a movie and I'm like, 'THAT'S the Andrews Sisters from 1951!"'

Most people, including me, read this and laugh. Not a toothy mouth gaping Simpsonsesque laugh, but a nice chuckle nonetheless as we find it mildly amusing that an amazing baller would really care about 56 year old pop songs by girl bands (and the Andrew Sisters were the Spice Girls of the 30s and 40s, believe me).

Well, I laughed, but yearned for more knowledge, just what song and movie was he describing? And I know you're curious too, so I'll tell you what I've come up with.

A search search on imdb, yields:
Here are the soundtracks containing andrew sisters
1. Drei D (1988)
Bing Crosby and The Andrew Sisters

2. Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, The (1998)
Performed by the Andrew Sisters

3. Repo Man (1984)
The Andrew Sisters

4. Zacharia Farted (1998)
Performed by The Andrew Sisters

1. Hmmmmm. Was he watching Drei D, a German, part black and white, film directed by Sönke Wortmann that only gets 6.5 out of 10 stars? prolly not.

2. How about the The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, a documentary on the first great Jewish hitter? Definite possibility, although, documentaries aren't really what I think of when people say "movies."

3. Directed by Mike Rohl, Zacharia Farted is described as a road movie and its tagline is
"In search of a name, a ghost, and adventure (locksmith). They found themselves."

I'll let that speak for itself (blogga).

It was written by an actor who plays the lead, Colin Cunningham. I think the most interesting thing about this guy is the weird morph thing he does with all his headshots on his website. Very bizarre. He looks really familiar, in that "Hey, I'm an actor and I always wear a goatee or Van Dyck, so sue me." sort of way.

So, to sum up, I think the most interesting about Zacharia Farted is the past tense verb in its name. (I find that farting makes me giggle.)

Wait, wait! This just in: Zacharia Farted won the Audience Favourite award at the Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival in 1999. Can't argue with that.

4. How about Repo Man, probably Emilio Estevez's finest moment? I like to imagine Oden also yelling out "Hey this is Suicidal Tendencies from 1983!" as Institutionalized(youtube) is played. Or "This is the Burning Sensations covering Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso!" (youtube)
This has got to be it. Don't you think?

Just imagine if needed a real Repo Man, I can think of another OSU star, he can turn to .

Well, if you're at the Final Four and you get the chance, can you ask Greg for me which movie it was?


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Slavery Ties Sharpton to Thurmond - New York Times

Ok, so Thurmond's ancestor once owned Sharpton's ancestor (although, I take a lot of that genealogy stuff with a grain of salt), and we all know how Thurmond believed in segragation (except for when it came to his parent's housekeeper)*, but:

Slavery Ties Sharpton to Thurmond - New York Times ** : "Sharpton, who ran for president in 2004 on a ticket of racial justice, said he met Thurmond only once in 1991 when he visited Washington, D.C., with the late soul singer James Brown, who knew Thurmond. Sharpton said the meeting was ''awkward.''"

wtf were James Brown, Al Sharpton, and Strom Thurmond meeting about? Blows my mind.

Do you think it was maybe this James Brown? ----->

* Thurmond's children have acknowledged that Thurmond fathered a biracial daughter. Essie Mae Washington-Williams' mother was a housekeeper in the home of Thurmond's parents.

** And if you need a login combo, remember: cypherphunk/cypherphunk (there's always bugmenot too)

Jesus: Tales from the Crypt - The Middle East Blog - TIME

Ok, so this will probably be big news on Monday: Jesus: Tales from the Crypt - The Middle East Blog - TIME.
What I love about these type of speculations is that a 423 word article can lead to a comment section which has over 250,000 words. Say what you will about Jesus, but I know one thing: People love to discuss H/him.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Our long Universal Thermodynamic nightmare is over

This may be the nicest news I've heard yet today:

news @ - Universe bounces back from the brink - Cycling cosmos obeys thermodynamics without ripping itself apart.

It has to be the closest ever shave. Two physicists have proposed that, a fraction of a second before a cataclysm that would destroy space-time itself, the Universe may escape by abruptly collapsing to a virtually empty state that 'resets' it for a fresh cycle of cosmic expansion.

The theory claims to reconcile the notion of a cyclic universe, which expands and contracts for eternity, with the second law of thermodynamics, which seems to imply that the current expansion cannot reverse.

As escape clauses go, this one is jaw-droppingly extravagant. Not only does the turnaround happen less than a thousand-trillion-trillionth (10-27) of a second before a 'Big Rip' in which everything falls apart, but it splits our Universe into countless new and independent ones.

So, now we know that a young Alvy Singer was fretting over nothing.

Mother(to doctor): He's been depressed. All of a sudden, he can't do anything.
Doc: Why are you depressed, Alvy?
Mother: Tell doctor Flicker. It's something he read.
Doc: Something you read, heah?
Alvy: The universe is expanding.
Doc: The universe is expanding?
Alvy: Well, the universe is everything, and if it's expanding, someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!
Mother(shouting): What is that your business? (to doctor) He stopped doing his homework.
Alvy: What's the point?
Mother: What has the universe got to do with it? You're here in Brooklyn! Brooklyn is not expanding!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Random Street Installations, i.e. public space and the people that liven it up

And they're not marketing anything. Go figure.

Click here for more Trip On A Link :: Headless Dude hijinks.

Moreover, the tape lollipop dude is well known in dc circles.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Norv Turner is overrated

If the Chargers win the Superbowl in 2008 (and he is the head coach on the sidelines), I will shave my head just like Britney. I promise.

Now, how many of my loyal readers will pay to see that?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Terminal Velocity, X&Y, and Solar Eclipses

Three random things that I came across in Wikipedia recently that probably only interest me:

X&Y - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The album's cryptic cover art was designed by Tappin Gofton (aka Mark Tappin and Simon Gofton), who created the cover for The Chemical Brothers' latest release, Push the Button. The blocks are the Baudot code-encoding (ITA2, a 5-bit alphanumeric encoding used by telegraphs) of the title of the album, X&Y (although due to an error in the coding process, the cover code actually translates as 'X96');"

Terminal velocity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "On August 16th, 1960 U.S. Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger came close to breaking the sound barrier during a free-fall from the high altitude balloon Excelsior III, at an altitude of 102,800 feet (approximately 20 miles), hitting a speed of 614 mph (274 m/s) as reported by National Geographic. This made Captain Kittinger the fastest human on the planet."

Solar eclipse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Final totality: Due to tidal acceleration, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth becomes approximately 3.8 cm more distant each year. It is estimated that in 600 million years, the distance from the Earth to the Moon will have increased by 23,500 km, meaning that it will no longer be able to completely cover the Sun's disk. This will be true even when the Moon is at perigee, and the Earth at aphelion.

A complicating factor is that the Sun will increase in size over this timescale. This makes it even more unlikely that the Moon will be able to cause a total eclipse. We can therefore say that the last total solar eclipse on Earth will occur in slightly less than 600 million years.[13]"

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Science vs. Religion flowchart

Wellington Grey made this funny little flowchart:

I know what you're thinking "but what if you don't have faith in flowcharts?"

Oh, and here's another one of his creations, What Would Richard Feynman Do?

Boing Boing
Plastic Bag

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine

Here's a nice article, The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids -- New York Magazine, relating some psychological work which I've always tried to explain to my relatives and friends that were parents. i.e. I'd rather be hardworking than lucky and I'd rather be lucky than smart. Drive, perseverance, resiliency are so much more important than any innate abilities or aptitudes one starts out with.

Bottom line: Praise effort, not intellect. And emphasize the motivatee's process, not the motivatee's abilities.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

New color design

I changed the color scheme a bit and added a new banner at the top.

Let me know what you think.

SeeqPod Music and Democracy Player for all your media needs

Nice dynamic webpage which scours the 'net for all those mp3s laying around:SeeqPod Music (beta). You can leisurely listen and compose fair use reviews of all that intellectual property.

Then, when you want to download the NBC Nightly News (not sure why you would do that), search Youtube easily and save the vids locally, or play any video file on your computer, you can use the version 0.9 Democrazy Player.

Just imagine if there was a site where you could search for books and any text document...

May you live in interesting times.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Now here's another flashback.

Florian Schneider from Kraftwerk on the bass. Klaus Schulze from Tangerine Dream at the keyboards. And, to top it off, Marian Gold from Alphaville on lead vocals. Does it get any cheesier than this? Nothing like watching synthpop gods from one's youth in their middle age.

Now all we need is a mashup of Kraftwerk's "Computer World" album with Alphaville's "Forever Young" album.

Top 12 Songs of the past while

"Phantom Limb" - The Shins
Actually, the whole new album is great.

"Intervention" - Arcade Fire
Can't wait til this is officially released. Here's a youtube clip with the audio.

"Dashboard" - Modest Mouse
I'm so out of the loop as I just found the other day that Johnny Marr joined them. Not often that 43 year old alternative gods join en fuego indie bands.

"Sleepwalk" - Santo & Johnny
Top 10 Instrumental.

"One of These Mornings"
- Moby
The version off the Miami Vice Soundtrack, not the one off Moby's album 18. 46 seconds longer and a better arrangement. The vocals are just as repetitive, but the tempo and key are way better in the Miami Vice version.

"Silent Places" - Baby Dayliner
I really wasn't sure what to think about this dude for the longest time, but now I know that this song is actually pretty kick ass. I can't find the lyrics on the 'net, I'll have to fix that. (Adrian Grenier "Vincent Chase" of Entourage is in that video, fyi.)

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" - Gil Scott-Heron (youtube link)
"There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down brothers on the instant replay."

"You Get What You Give" - New Radicals (youtube video)
" Fake computer crashes dining
Cloning while they're multiplying"

"Feeling Good"
- Nina Simone
I love the horns and strings in this song. The only thing that's better is Nina's voice. That last fadeout Feelin Gooooooooooooooooooood... So awesome...
(no clue what this video is about, but here it is.)

"Somewhere Across Forever" - stellastarr
"Blue eyes, blue hair, not going to leave here without you
Blew my chances, chances, chances..."

"Goodbye Horses" - Q Lazzarus
Such an awesome song. Too bad it's sorta ruined by the Buffalo Bill treatment.

"Just Like Heaven" (acoustic) - The Cure
A great song, totally stripped down. Anybody know when it was recorded? Sounds like it was the same sessions as the original, but I"m not sure.

Extra bonus song for Valentine's Day: Not the best quality, but a great song nonetheless, Valentine by The Replacements sung by Paul Westerberg.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

World exclusive skydiver video... watch the incredible footage here! | the Daily Mail

This guy is sooooo lucky.

World exclusive skydiver video... watch the incredible footage here! | the Daily Mail

I love it when his friend asks "Are you ok?" and he replies "No."

"What happened?"

"Lots happened, you landed in a good place!"


"Oh shit, I'm gonna die. Bye!"


Monday, February 12, 2007

Acclaimed Music dot net

Some thoughts on Acclaimed Music:

Roxy Music at 41th overall for artists really surprised me as I only really knew them from Love is the Drug and More than This. I guess they more critical acclaim than I had realized. Kraftwerk, who I love, at 59th surprises me as well.

Highest ranked Album, Song and Artist I've never consciously experienced:

Can't say I've really listened to: Album #32 . Massive Attack's Blue Lines

Song, I hate to say it, but it would probably be:
#67 Elvis Presley "That's All Right (Mama)." (I see now it was the first single he ever released, which is probably a big reason it's on there.)

For artists, it would have to be: #85 Primal Scream
Can't say I've ever heard a tune by them.

And maybe you're wondering how the lists have been compiles?

This is really not simple to explain. Please do not despair if you do not fully understand...

I have written a program which computes the lists. The basic idea is that I match all records against each other in pairs. In a match, each critics list is weighted depending on
* the number of lists I have from different parts of world (USA, UK or the rest of the world)
** when the list was presented (newer lists are weighted more heavily)
*** how many matches the list is a part of (a list which only embraces a few years is not part of many matches and is therefore weighted heavily in the matches where it is included).

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Criterion Contraption

Over on one of my favorite film blogs, Matthew is watching every film in the Criterion Collection. Every film. In numerical spine order. And his reviews aren't pithy. Or dull. He's up to number 65 so far and only has 318 to go (I think.) Check it out.

Just for the record, here are the ones in that group of 65 that I've seen. (in unidimensional order of awesomeness* from most to least.)

65. Rushmore

bill murray in rushmore
64. The Third Man

13. The Silence of the Lambs

52. Yojimbo

Toshiro Mifune as Yojimbo

7. A Night To Remember

12. This is Spinal Tap

40. Armageddon

44. The Red Shoes, My 30 word review is here.

Moira Shearer as Victoria Page in the Red Shoes

21. Dead Ringers

61. Monty Python's The Life of Brian

51. Brazil

Terry Gilliam's Brazil

23. Robocop

11. Seventh seal

5. The 400 Blows

*what is "awesomeness"? Well, it's hard to say, it's a multifactorial trait that combines how much I liked it (i.e. would I watch it again if I had to), how much I appreciated it (i.e. good production/filmmaking/screenwriting etc.) and that je ne sais quoi (that lets me cop out if anybody complains about my rankings.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Awesome Comet McNaught photo

Comet Between Fireworks and Lightning

Sometimes the sky itself is the best show in town. On January 26, people from Perth, Australia gathered on a local beach to watch a sky light up with delights near and far. Nearby, fireworks exploded as part of Australia Day celebrations. On the far right, lightning from a thunderstorm flashed in the distance. Near the image center, though, seen through clouds, was the most unusual sight of all: Comet McNaught. The photogenic comet was so bright that it even remained visible though the din of Earthly flashes. Comet McNaught continues to move out from the Sun and dim, but should remain visible in southern skies with binoculars through the end of this month. The above image is actually a three photograph panorama digitally processed to reduce red reflections from the exploding firework.

Pic by Antti Kemppainen

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Martin Frey's Just in Time Watch elements that pesky "mental dialogue"

So, over at Engadget, they blogged about Martin Frey's Just in Time watch

"Looking at a conventional watch very often a "mental dialogue" happens:

* What time is it right now?
* When is my next appointment?
* Where does the appointment take place and how long does it take to get there from here?
* Thus, when should I leave?
* How much time is left till then? Should I leave now? Am I already too late?

These "on-the-fly" considerations and calculations are not only cumbersome but often very unprecise as well:

E.g. the necessary amount of time to cover the distance is estimated too optimistically or depends on irregular, external factors like timetable or traffic situation."

I wanna tell you something, ('bout Texas Radio and the Big Beat? nah, that's for later*) this "mental dialogue" that Martin refers to, well, it's called thinking. It's fun and I really enjoy it. Does that make me crazy?

* It comes out of the Virginia swamps, cool and slow with plenty of precision, with a back beat narrow and hard to master.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

HT06 paper, tags, pun, flickr, academic article, to blog

I was perusing a list of some recent articles and when I first saw the title of this one I thought it was mistake. But no, the authors are cleverer than that.

HT06, tagging paper, taxonomy, Flickr, academic article, to read

In recent years, tagging systems have become increasingly popular. These systems enable users to add keywords (i.e., "tags") to Internet resources (e.g., web pages, images, videos) without relying on a controlled vocabulary. Tagging systems have the potential to improve search, spam detection, reputation systems, and personal organization while introducing new modalities of social communication and opportunities for data mining. This potential is largely due to the social structure that underlies many of the current systems.Despite the rapid expansion of applications that support tagging of resources, tagging systems are still not well studied or understood. In this paper, we provide a short description of the academic related work to date. We offer a model of tagging systems, specifically in the context of web-based systems, to help us illustrate the possible benefits of these tools. Since many such systems already exist, we provide a taxonomy of tagging systems to help inform their analysis and design, and thus enable researchers to frame and compare evidence for the sustainability of such systems. We also provide a simple taxonomy of incentives and contribution models to inform potential evaluative frameworks. While this work does not present comprehensive empirical results, we present a preliminary study of the photo-sharing and tagging system Flickr to demonstrate our model and explore some of the issues in one sample system. This analysis helps us outline and motivate possible future directions of research in tagging systems.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Google Gapminder, Awesome Data visualization tool

You just have to try this out for yourself to see how amazing it is:Plot various demographic data of countries.

Mind the gap.

Web 2.0 screencast movie

Very sweet screencast of web 2.0 schtuff. A work in progress in/deed.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Who I'm rooting for today in the Superbowl (and I don't mean Prince)

Today is the oblong ball made of pigskin scrum between
Ursus arctos chicagus vs. Equus caballus indianapolus

I'm actually indifferent to who wins this one. The magic 8 ball says that "All signs points to yes" for a colts victory, but we'll see how it turns out. The thing I'm most excited about is going to be the performance by his purple majesty.

Vinatieri is the first to score.
Prince will play a medley which includes "Let's Go Crazy", "7", and "Raspberry Beret."
Bears surprise the Colts 24-23. (either way, the Bears should cover a 7 point spread)
Devin Hester is MVP.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Redbones, Viacom, huh?

Regarding this story:
OPML, The Harvard Book of

What trademark/copyright does Viacom own that relates to Redbones or Redbone? Please leave a comment if you know, thanks. I'm out of touch with a lot of television etc.

via Boing Boing

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ze Frank on the wii

This ze frank guy is pretty funny. Check out his clip on the wii.

Also, I'll be following up on the horizontal gene transfer controversy as soon as possible. Suffice to say that not everybody is operating on the same definitions of HGT and species.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Boing Boing explains Horizontal gene transfer.... not.

Boing Boing: Horizontal gene transfer explains evolutionary jumps

Paul says:

Rice University study models "Horizontal Gene Transfer," a mechanism for evolution where big chunks of DNA migrate between different species via bacteria. This results in faster and more sudden evolutionary branching than what you get with the more familiar mechanisms of sexual selection or random single-point mutations caused by radiation, copying errors, etc.

Now I feel better about eating those tomatoes with the fish genes in them! (Flavr Savr)

My take:
I'm not sure who Paul is, but he gets Horizontal Gene Transfer totally wrong. Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) (sometimes "Lateral Gene Transfer") is predominantly an event that occurs between two prokaryotic (read: bacteria) cells. Although there is evidence for some unicellular eukaryotic HGT, multicellular HGT has yet to be observed. Bottom line, Horizontal Gene Transfer does "speed up" evolution (and at the same time, totally complicates the analysis of bacterial genomes), and it does explain some evolutionary "jumps," but it doesn't explain all of them, and certainly not ones in multicellular eukaryotes.

Also, FlavrSavr tomatoes did not have fish genes in them. In fact, no tomato that has ever reached the market has had fish genes in them. The Flavr Savr tomato contained an antisense gene for polygalacturonase. That is, it shut down the gene expression of polygalacturonase. Polygalacturonase is a pectinase which breaks down pectin. When pectin is broken down, the cell walls get mushier and the fruit gets softer. That is, it's part of the ripening process.

Furthermore, Flavr Savr tomatoes are no longer for sale in the United States and their trademark has expired.


More disturbing 80s videos.

Here's one from Fuzzbox. Check out the scary Barbarella dominatrix outfits and the marionette homage to the Thunderbirds.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Google TV Beta Hoax

Ok, so for a couple seconds I did actually think the GoogleTV Beta howto by Mark Erickson* of InfiniteSolutions might actually be real, but it did just turn out to be a clever scam.

Here's the youtube clip where "he's concerned about the allegations that this is some type of hoax":

Here's an older Infinite Solutions howto tip where you wrap cat5 ethernet cable around your cellphone to boost WiFi networking capabilities:

Very funny stuff indeed. And I must say that him and his friends at Fatal Farm, Jeffrey Max etc. are very good at video editing, that's for sure. Although, they do have a very off-kilter sense of humor.

* And, no, it's not this Mark Erickson, who actually has some pretty cool paintings.