The Big Think

January 24, 2004

Opportunity Calls

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:42 pm

NASA’s Opportunity rover has successfully landed on Mars and is sending strong signals.

Radio Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 7:37 pm

Radiolover is a Mac OS X program for automatically recording selected MP3 streams (such as “Morning Edition”) over the internet. Very cool.

It Speaks

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 5:30 pm


Great news from NASA tonight. The space agency has regained positive control of the Spirit lander by putting it into what is called a “cripple mode”. Cripple mode is an operating mode where the rover does just one thing: communicate with NASA. It bypasses as much of the onboard hardware and software (and the flash-memory storage chips) and just talks to the orbiting Mars Observer (which then relays to Earth). If NASA can just get connected to the lander in this way, it can then diagnose and solve the problem. They will probably end up uploading a new set of software that either corrects the previous software fault or routes around failed hardware. YAY!

Two Rings to Rule Them All

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 2:14 am

Yet another comparison between Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. This one focuses on Howard Shore’s masterful score and has some great one-liner’s to boot.
To wit:
You don’t ask whether an elf could kill an oliphaunt, or even what an oliphaunt is; you go along with the premise. It is the same in opera. The premise is that performers trained as opera singers are going to assume action-hero roles. Squint a little and it’s all fine
Perhaps what angered Tolkien most was that Wagner wrote a sixteen-hour mythic opera and then, at the end, blew up the foundations of myth.

*UPDATE* D’oh! I forgot the link. Thanks Giles.

Symphony

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:26 am

We had a wonderful time at the Austin Symphony last night. The guest pianist (Jon Kimura Parker) played Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (you may know one of the variations as the main theme to “Somewhere in Time”). The orchestra also played Dvorak’s Symphony No.6 In D Major, Op. 60 and the Overture from Wagner’s Rienzi. When he was finished with the Rachmaninoff, Parker played a medley of Billy Joel as an encore. I kid you not. It was great. I could just hear the 9′ German Steinway’s thoughts after he finished pounding out Angry Young Man: “huh?!? What was THAT?”.
A great night of music.

Why I’m a Dog Person

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:42 am

Because when they’re alone at home, dogs don’t do this.

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