January 27, 2005
This site has browser-playable ROM’s of hundreds of old Nintendo video games. Play in your browser! Waste Time! Yay!
Hang on to your lunches, folks:
Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.
In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.
And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.
Scientists feel that, the more humanlike the animal, the better research model it makes for testing drugs or possibly growing “spare parts,” such as livers, to transplant into humans.
Pictures. Oh yes, I have pictures.
I realized tonight that I never posted pics from our Colorado trip last August, so I put together a bunch of them tonight to choke the server with.
You’ll have to hit the “continue reading” link to see them all, as I don’t want to curse those with slow connections with 40-some pictures without warning. If you have a slow connection (mainly you, Dad), hit the link and go get some coffee. It’s going to be awhile.
January 26, 2005
JRBeall has some beautiful work on his homepage.
(*sigh* TEN attempts needed to upload this post over an hour of trying.)
I’ll be spending Saturday driving the boom mic for a short film in Austin. Funny concept about a guy who can only take left turns. Should be entertaining (well, as entertaining as standing around for ten hours holding a three pound weight over your head can be).
Larry Miller has a great story about one of his appearances on Carson. Don’t miss it.
Cool! Google is now indexing the close-captioning of TV shows! You can search many (soon to be all?) TV shows that have close captioning for a phrase or word!
…. but not a bad tribute anyway:
“MSNBC is reporting that an asteroid has been named after Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy fame. Fittingly, the asteroid carried the provisional designation 2001 DA42, thus commemorating the year of his untimely death, containing his initials, and incorporating the famous answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. This seems like a fitting tribute to me.”
He sure was a hoopy frood.
(grrr… the server is not responding reliably again. This note took 5 tries to post)
January 25, 2005
When it rains it pours.
Not that I’m exactly busting with free time, what with Sing in a few weeks. I’ve been slaving away at the desk for weeks writing charts. I think I posted a few weeks ago that my commission for a table/mirror combination was on. I’m also trying desperately to finish a commission promised to a friend several months ago. I’d like to get it done in the next three weeks. Now comes another (possible) one! I’ll post the details if it comes together, but it would involve a few display cabinets for a local store, to be possibly followed up by several larger pieces. It would need to be done in the next month.
We recently did our 2005 budget and I estimated the income from the woodworking business for the year. I kept it modest because, at the time, I didn’t have a lot of prospects and am still building the business. Heck, I don’t even have business cards yet. As of the third week of January, I’ve already booked work that fulfills my estimate for the year! Guess I shouldn’t have been that conservative.
It’s like this every year work-wise. Either I have very little to do, or more work than time. Feast or famine (when the feast feels like being force-fed a thirteen course dinner). The wonderful perils of the self-employed.
“In my mind God wrote two books. The first book is the Bible, where humans can find the answers to their questions on values and morals. The second book of God is the book of nature, which allows humans to use observation and experiment to answer our own questions about the universe.”
Galileo, in a 1615 lettter to the Grand Duchess of Tuscany
The Great Stargazer. Johnny Carson as a science and astronomy popularizer.
January 24, 2005
“In the old country… there was a cradle-to-grave relationship between the craftsman and his client. As his last commission for the deceased, the cabinetmaker would appear at the funeral, in his Sunday best, to drive the nails into the lid of the box.”
Scott Landis, The Workbench Book
If you’re not doing a lot of processor intensive stuff (editing and transcoding media), or developing Windows code (and thus need the appropriate development environment), the Mini is a box that’ll do pretty much everything most people use a computer to do. If you’re one of the switchers this box is aimed at, then toss a $20 KVM switch in your cart, and you can switch back and forth as necessary. For that matter, you can just hook both boxes to the network and run the XP box with remote desktop connection (yes, there’s a free OS X client).
Do yourself a favor, though and give it a fair chance—having switched environments more than a few times over the years, my rule of thumb is to resist the urge to go back to the old machine every time I can’t figure out how to do something. Make yourself spend 30 days on OS X, and figure out how to do whatever it is you need to do.
Nifty online chatbot. Just go to your IM client and type in “Smarterchild” (AIM).
If I were back in high school and someone asked about my plans, I’d say that my first priority was to learn what the options were. You don’t need to be in a rush to choose your life’s work. What you need to do is discover what you like. You have to work on stuff you like if you want to be good at what you do.
People who’ve done great things tend to seem as if they were a race apart. And most biographies only exaggerate this illusion, partly due to the worshipful attitude biographers inevitably sink into, and partly because, knowing how the story ends, they can’t help streamlining the plot till it seems like the subject’s life was a matter of destiny, the mere unfolding of some innate genius. In fact I suspect if you had the sixteen year old Shakespeare or Einstein in school with you, they’d seem impressive, but not totally unlike your other friends.
Which is an uncomfortable thought. If they were just like us, then they had to work very hard to do what they did. And that’s one reason we like to believe in genius. It gives us an excuse for being lazy. If these guys were able to do what they did only because of some magic Shakespeareness or Einsteinness, then it’s not our fault if we can’t do something as good.
The best protection is always to be working on hard problems. Writing novels is hard. Reading novels isn’t. Hard means worry: if you’re not worrying that something you’re making will come out badly, or that you won’t be able to understand something you’re studying, then it isn’t hard enough. There has to be suspense.
Well, this seems a grim view of the world, you may think. What I’m telling you is that you should worry? Yes, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s exhilarating to overcome worries. You don’t see faces much happier than people winning gold medals. And you know why they’re so happy? Relief.
If you want to do good work, what you need is a great curiosity about a promising question. The critical moment for Einstein was was when he looked at Maxwell’s equations and said, what the hell is going on here?
The way to get a big idea to appear in your head is not to hunt for big ideas, but to put in a lot of time on work that interests you, and in the process keep your mind open enough that a big idea can take roost. Einstein, Ford, and Beckenbauer all used this recipe. They all knew their work like a piano player knows the keys. So when something seemed amiss to them, they had the confidence to notice it.
The important thing is to get out there and do stuff. Instead of waiting to be taught, go out and learn.
Set aside ten minutes and read the whole thing. “What you’ll wish you’d known“.
Several years ago a friend and I had an idea for a TV show called “The Big Idea”. It would be a show that would delve into the big issues that will affect our world in the next 20-50 years: not too close to be easily seen, but not too far off to be impractical. It’s amazing when you start to think about the kinds of issues that will affect us. Global warming, overpopulation, fresh water shortages, genomics, privacy issues, transportation improvements, world power shifts, massive cultural shifts brought about by shifting demographics. And always, the role of the speeding train of technology on our world. These are just a few off the top of my head.
Basically, the show would serve as an excuse to get into the presence of some very smart people and pick their brains, and under the auspices of a “Frontline”-style issue show, we would have access to some of the brightest folks in the world. Can you imagine spending a few hours interviewing Nathan Myhrvold? Or Bill Joy? Or Dean Kamen? And being able to stir the pot of intellectual ideas and see what rises to the top would be thrilling.
I still think it’s a grand idea.
January 23, 2005
“What will worry the other PC companies is that, in a market where everyone except Dell has struggled to make money, Apple has long been highly profitable with only a 2 percent to 3 percent market share. Should the company boost this to 4 or even 5 percent, its profits—and thus its ability to increase its spending on marketing and development—would also be significantly increased, raising the prospect of the company simply being able to blow away its less profitable rivals. Such a revitalized Apple could, over the long term, become a challenger to even the 17 percent of the worldwide market that is currently owned by Dell.”
Thanks for the link, Giles
It’s all over the news today, but the father of the modern late night talk show, Johnny Carson, has died at the age of 79.
Now that I’m not a newbie anymore, I can sound cool and call it “south-by” like everyone else does.
I attended the volunteer call for the annual SXSW film/interactive/music conference today. The conference is from March 11th through the 20th, but I’ll be able to get all of my volunteer hours done before the 15th. SXSW is a really great show every year, and a good opportunity to network with other people in the creative fields. It’s something that I would strongly consider traveling out of state to attend every year, and might even buy the $700 access badge. Luckily, it’s a 15 minute drive from my house and I get the badge free for volunteering!
Last year I made several contact that resulted in some film audio work. I hope to make some good contacts this year as well.