The Big Think

July 30, 2011

Giant

Filed under: Disclosure,Friends,Music — jasony @ 10:31 am

Dr. Robert H. Young passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Dr. Young conducted the Chamber Singers at Baylor and forged the musical education of generations of students.

He was a musical giant in my life and will be tremendously missed.

July 25, 2011

Debt

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:48 pm

“The thing that has not been sufficiently understood, I think, is this: The United States is not on a downgrade watch because the markets fear we won’t raise the debt ceiling in time to avoid a default; the United States is on a downgrade watch because the markets believe the debt-ceiling debate presents the last real opportunity for the government to enact a meaningful fiscal-reform program before it is well and truly too late to avoid a national crisis. The credit agencies, wisely or not, aren’t worried about the short-term political fight leading to an immediate default, but about the near- to medium-term fiscal situation, which is plainly unsustainable.

I sincerely hope that in five or ten years, I will have to sheepishly admit that I was among the alarmists back in 2011. But right now, I believe that the question isn’t how to “win” the debt-ceiling fight, but how to survive the underlying economic disorder it represents.”

link

July 22, 2011

Parting Shot

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 9:14 am

The reentry of Atlantis as seen from the ISS last friday.

NASA-500x375.jpg

July 20, 2011

The Joy of Craft

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 3:09 pm

The Happiness Project: 5 Reasons for the Joy of Craft, or, Why Is Computer Programming Fun?

Give the Kid a Ball

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:45 am

MLB, FTW.

Happy Apollo Day!

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 7:14 am

The 42nd anniversary of the first moon landing.

July 19, 2011

Nazis are Bad

Filed under: Friends,Games — jasony @ 10:53 pm

You wouldn’t think it needed to be repeated, but friend Adam Creighton has a thought-provoking post on video games, morality, and how never forget is being slowly forgotten. Thanks, Adam.

July 18, 2011

Leap of Faith

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 6:27 am

July 17, 2011

Day 2 Door Repair

Filed under: Woodworking — jasony @ 9:28 pm

So today I reapplied the outer trim to the door frame as well as caulked along all of the trimwork and the new repair. Overall it looks very nice, except that I noticed a palm-sized hole at the bottom of the door trim that clearly shows the interior woodwork of the house. No big deal, the builder just didn’t bother to cover over the sill plate or some internal studs. Ugh. A generous dollop of caulk and all was fixed.

I also got a new door sweep and Erin and I spent about an hour unscrewing the door and removing it from the house so we could install the new sweep with the door up on sawhorses. No big deal but it was weird to not have a door for a while. When it was back on I discovered that my 100% seal is actually about 99% now. The new sweep doesn’t quite cover everything and you can see a small crack of light at the bottom of the door that’s about 1/4″ by 5″ long. So I went and got a small piece of metal with a rubber sweep that attaches to the inside of the door and acts as a secondary seal. I’ll have to drill some small holes in the metal door when I install it tomorrow, but then we should finally have full weather tight-ness.

Home repair can be frustrating (as it was when I stripped a screw in the transom, then broke off my screw removal tool trying to get it out!), but overall I’m happy with the repair. Sure was a lot cheaper than a new door ($40 vs $600).

Final coat of paint tomorrow and it’s all done.

HP 7.2 Sound

Filed under: Audio,Movies — jasony @ 9:13 pm

SoundWorks Collection: The Sound of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.

July 16, 2011

Repair, Man

Filed under: Disclosure,Woodworking — jasony @ 9:52 pm

Ten years ago when our house was built, whoever installed the door did a rather poor job of it. You could see light leaking in at the bottom corner, and they didn’t seal the end grain on the outside trim boards very well (read: at all). As a result, the boards had become rotten over the years from water being drawn up into the grain and decaying several layers of wood back into the wall. The rotten wood has fallen off in the past few years and we had developed a hole that was about 4″ x 4″ that started outside and was beginning to creep inside. You could clearly see through it to the outside when the door was shut. Bugs were a problem (rolly-polly invasions!) as well as all the heat/cool air we were dumping outside.

It was really bugging me so tonight I got out the hammer, crowbar, and sundry other tools and went to work. I tore the whole trim board off and chipped/dug/carved/cut out a chunk of rotten board about 15″ tall all the way back to the in-wall studs. What a mess. Over the next few hours I fashioned a replacement piece from some hard maple that I had lying around out in the shop- a really nice wood to use, granted, but it was all that I had that was close to the dimensions I needed and I didn’t want to use pine and then have the same thing happen in a few years. I then went to Home Depot and got new weatherstripping, caulk, and a few other things.

We now have a nice new door frame on that side that is done properly. Since it’s a patch you can see where the joint is since the new wood buts up against the old stuff but once it’s caulked and painted it’ll be almost unnoticeable. I’m glad that it wasn’t very hard or expensive. It cost me less than $20 and a few hours with my tools to carve out the replacement pieces. When you consider the fact that a new door would have been over $600, I think it’s a win all around. I’ll caulk and paint it over the next few days. We’re good for another decade.

It made me feel really good to fix what was would have been a fairly expensive and involved repair if I’d have called a handyman or gotten a new door installed.

It’s good to be able to fix things.

Overcompensation

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 9:17 pm

The Largest Gun Ever Built

July 15, 2011

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 10:46 pm

“Craft is the secret conversation you have with other Craftsmen.”

Giles Bateman

Divest

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 5:21 pm

One of the fringe benefits of having written music for Sing for 20 years now is that I get T-shirts. A lot of T-shirts. I’ve got probably 150 t-shirts from acts going back as far as 1994. If I like the design and the color it’ll go into my normal t-shirt rotation, but normally I just pit it on the pile.

Well, the pile has grown big. Way too big to comfortably be ignored. So yesterday I went through my closet and said goodbye to 60+ Sing shirts. I kept one or two from 1994, but for the most part they’re all gone. I also tossed out a ton of other old clothes that hadn’t been worn in a decade. Great feeling. Erin got on the bandwagon and between us we have about a dozen full-sized trash bags of clothing that will go to Goodwill. What’s amazing is that everything was so little-worn I won’t even notice the difference, except now I have a lot more closet space.

This set off one of those general “get rid of it” cleaning moods where you get pretty ruthless about divesting yourself of possessions that are just holding you down. There’s a lot of other stuff going on in our lives right now that is obviously a catalyst for these feelings that isn’t really blog-worthy except to say this: things are just things. I only want to keep the 1-2% of stuff that really means something to me, and let the rest of it go on to a more useful existence.

Tiny Chopper

Filed under: Computing,Games — jasony @ 11:40 am

AAAAHH! Coolness.

July 14, 2011

This is Huge

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 7:11 pm

Man gets new trachea via his own stem cells. A few years ago when the finished the human genome project and started figuring out stem cell therapies the media was alight with the news that in not long we would start to see near-miraculous medical advances as a result of these breakthroughs. Then we all sort of forgot about them and just went on with our lives, assuming that the rate of medical advances would probably be about what it was in the past. Well, friends, that’s wrong, and we’re starting to see the first trickles of what is going to be a pretty big wave of medical breakthroughs. After this trachea treatment, they’ll start replacing bladders with a new one grown from your own stem cells. Whoops, they can already do that, too.

The next therapy that just got approved is in using stem cells to reverse or cure blindness. Two patients just got accepted into the first human trial.

We’re not going to recognize the face of medicine in ten years. Then things really take off. The near future is a very interesting place.

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 9:46 am

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
— Mother Teresa

July 12, 2011

Inevitability

Filed under: Disclosure,Politics — jasony @ 11:28 am

There are a lot of things in this world that I do not understand. Why anyone would wear uncomfortable shoes (looking at you, high heels), why Rap music is still popular, or why people just can’t acknowledge that Macs are superior to PC’s :).

But the most confounding and confusing thing to me, the one thing that reduces me to baffled and helpless incomprehension, is the tendency to remain in a terrible situation when the alternative is so much better. Indeed, to prefer the bad situation to the alternative when you have the resources to make it better.

You see this in society when battered spouses choose to remain with their alcoholic and abusive partners in the hopes that things might change. It shows itself in the inability of people to change personal habits that are unquestionably hurting them. And it exists in our own political leaders’ inability to extrapolate a simple cost curve into the future to the point where the current system becomes untenable. I’m not advocating political sides on this specific example- I’ve got friends from all parts of the political spectrum who would disagree on how that particular cost curve should be made sustainable, but I don’t personally know anyone who looks at the data and honestly believes that we can keep going the way we’re going. That everything will be okay.

The simple common-sense acknowledgement of what cannot go on forever… won’t is sadly missing in some of our leaders and in many of the people around us.

When it happens in politics it’s maddening. But when it happens closer to home it can be heartbreaking. The tendency to ignore the inevitable, to deny a plain line drawn on a piece of paper that shows a date when things fall apart, or to refuse to listen to logical and lovingly stated facts is something that I have not been equipped to handle. My mind does not work that way and I do not know how to cross a chasm when every healthy bridge of love and concern, carefully and nervously built, gets burned from the other side.

July 10, 2011

Printable

Filed under: Maker,Technology — jasony @ 9:18 pm

Nifty use of Z-corps 3D binder-based technology.

Hobbit!

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 8:55 pm

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit film video blog. I love my job with a passion, but I have to say, if I could have PJ’s job I think I’d make the switch.

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