The Big Think

August 31, 2005

Name Game

Filed under: The Name Game — jasony @ 7:50 pm

Chris Landsea-Meteorologist at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

iTunes Statistics

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 5:59 pm

This is a really geeky, but fun, examination of the math behind iTunes’ “random” playlists.

$3 Gas

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 3:57 pm

Looks like it’s right around the corner.
There’s already hoarding in Atlanta.

Fox News just showed one BP station in Atlanta that’s charging $5.87 a gallon for regular unleaded, and $6.07 for premium. No way in hell that isn’t gouging. Nobody in town was much above $2.50 over the weekend.


Filed under: Music — jasony @ 10:51 am

This looks promising. It’s called “Pandora” and is an online music suggestion service. I told it I liked David Wilcox and it’s playing a bunch of music that it thinks I’ll like. Currently playing Neil Young’s “Silver and Gold”
The service is free for 10 hours and then it’s $36/year. I just wonder what the RIAA might say about it.

Skinny House Revisited

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:32 am

Pictures from my post yesterday on the five foot wide, million dollar house in London.
I think I would go stark, raving mad living there.

Test Drive a Mac Mini

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 1:12 am

You read that right. Until October 31, Apple is letting customers “borrow” a brand new Mac Mini. If, after using the machine for 30 days, if you don’t like it, Apple will take it back, no questions asked.

Here’s what they have to say:

We’re so confident you’ll love your new Mac mini, we’ll let you test drive it for 30 days with no risk. If you decide you don’t want it, we’ll take it back. Here’s how the test drive works:

Purchase a new Mac mini from the Apple Store online. You can also get an Apple keyboard and mouse, such as our new Mighty Mouse.
Set it up and start enjoying it.
If you don’t love it, call us within 30 days of your order and we’ll arrange for you to return your system — including the Apple keyboard and mouse — for a full refund.
If you have any more questions, call our Mac specialists at 1-800-MY-APPLE.

If you’ve even remotely considered trying a Mac, here’s a program that should completely alleviate any worries you might have about making a bad decision.
G’wan, give it a try.

August 30, 2005

Think Thin

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 8:48 pm

A home in London that measures just over 5 feet at its skinniest and 9 feet, 11 inches at its widest is up for sale for $933,868, estate agents said Tuesday.

story here with a great picture.

Natural Disasters and the American Way

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 4:34 pm

Stephen Gordon has a thought-provoking essay here about how Enlightenment thinking tends to lead to societies that are better capable of dealing with natural disasters.

Top Five

Filed under: Computing,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:34 am

The top five reasons not to use Linux.

Reason number 4: Linux isn’t secure
If Microsoft says so, it has to be true! So what, if you can scarcely go a week without reading about yet another major Windows security problem in our sister publication,’s security section! Who would you rather believe — Microsoft, or your own eyes?

August 29, 2005

Life Expectancy Calculator

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 12:49 pm

How long will you live? Take this simple test to find out. I’m happy to report that my life expectancy with my entries is over 84 years. And that’s with current medical technology. It’ll invariably improve over the coming decades, some say dramatically.
I remember the turn of the century a few years ago. I remember thinking “I’d sure like to see the year 2100”. Still feel that way. Hey, I’d only be 130.

Anna Who?

Filed under: Current Reading — jasony @ 12:31 pm

Katherine goes off this morning:

Common wisdom seems to hold Entertainment Fiction in a hermetically-sealed, seperate bag from Literate Fiction, with the twain not only never meeting but (judging from many pieces of Literate Fiction I’ve read) not even cross-pollinating. If you read it in the airport or at the beach it isn’t a Truly Good Book. Anyone who knows me for more than five minutes is usually treated to a tirade about how this is so very wrong and very elitist and Anna Karenina sucks.

While I’ve never read Anna Karenina, I’ve noticed the same elitist attitude. I’ve always been proud to say I’m reading a “real” work of literature, but sometimes feel like some of my reading (s.f. in particular) should come with a brown paper wrapper. I mean, Asimov? Get serious, kid! In high school I would purposely look in the library for the hardback version of a science fiction book bound with the plastic-coated cover. I’d carefully remove the cover (sorry librarians), just so my friends wouldn’t see the inevitable Busty Sci-Fi Babe. I still remember when a teacher made public fun of me for reading Heinlein’s classic Stranger in a Strange Land. He couldn’t see past the racy cover to the award-winning story inside. I’ve reserved a special bit ‘o bile for S.F. cover artists ever since. Not every reader is a horny 13-year-old.

Often today’s ‘disposable’ book is the classic of tomorrow. Only the most pretentious say otherwise. Unfortunately, this very vocal minority has cowed the rest of us into shamed silence.

Food Fun

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:01 am

Fun flickr photos. Don’t miss the captions. Oh, and look on the right side of the page for the “next” button.

The Real Iraqi Resistance

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 9:41 am

Hilarious video (.wmv file)

August 26, 2005


Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 10:22 pm

We had Giles and Jennifer and their 15 month old daughter Sarah over for dinner tonight. Has it really been two years since we’ve had you guys over? It was fun catching up with them and watching Sarah discover all the new things to play with in a fresh location. It was particularly funny to watch her reaction to my patient fish. She’d walk up to the tank, offer him her bottle, then attempt to have a stare-out with the little guy. She’d invariably lose, but she’d do so with style and humor: having a sort of laughing conniption fit as she ran and tossed herself at the nearest adult. It was also funny to watch her freak out at my remote controlled truck. At first she cried out and grabbed my leg in fear, but after a few minutes of us petting the truck (mental picture: one scared kid and four adults saying “nice trucky, trucky”), she seemed to groc that it wasn’t going to hurt her.

Can’t really blame her for being a bit freaked out, though. I mean, small plastic toys are not supposed to move around the room. And they’re especially not supposed to move with any sort of autonomy. It was interesting to see her push the remote controller, see the truck move, and almost put two and two together. A few more months and I’m sure she’ll be steering the Robomower. Then it’s off to the races as a child of the new millennium.

But what really sparked this post was this quote from Barry (italics mine):

Who said that adulthood equals responsibility and childhood is carefree? Don’t you remember being a child, and the relentless responsibility of becoming a citizen of humanity and of this civilization? It was a blast, but it was at times the opposite of play. No more: we adults are free to roam in the world now, our education finally begun

He’s right. I can clearly remember how sucky it was being a kid sometimes. Yes, I remember and miss the carefree disconnection of complete play (something that I try and keep in my life now), but I also remember how hard it was to suss out the unwritten rules of adulthood. To do something that made no sense just because an adult said so. To “act my age” when I was, in fact, only 9 or 10 years old (sidenote: isn’t it ironic that what adults mean when they say “act your age” is, in fact, the opposite of what that sentence says?”). Mostly I just remember thinking how great life would be when I grew up.

Obviously now that time has come. There have been many milestones in my life when I’ve felt “okay, I finally feel like a grownup”: seeing someone become famous who was born the same year as me. Watching friends die. Graduating from College. Getting married. Being heavily responsible for someone’s immediate physical safety (rock climbing/white water guiding will grow you up quick). No longer being able to check the “18-34” age box on paperwork (Hey wait! I’m out of the “most desired demographic”?!?). That, oddly, was a big one for me. I’ve recently found a few white hairs in my beard, and seen traces of grey in friends’ hair. It doesn’t freak me out at all, but it does reinforce what Patrick Stewart said in an interview. Talking about when his parents died, he said that (paraphrased), no matter how old we become, we never really get over the feeling of “who’s going to take care of me?”

So we grow up. Circle of life. Yadda yadda. The question that I always try and come back to is this: now that we have the run of the joint, now that nobody tells us when to come home, who our friends can be, or that we have to finish our veggies before dessert, what do we do with it? Too often we settle into jobs, stop learning, and finally give up all that “kid stuff”. We become…(shudder)… responsible (see: boring)

If anything, adulthood gives us more opportunity to be kids. You finally have the resources, the time, the maturity to follow the paths that interest you. Not just the well-worn road some high-school curriculum director thinks you should walk. Ever wanted to learn to cook Asian? How about taking a trip to China for lessons? Want to fly? It’s really not that hard, and an intro lesson is only thirty five bucks. Does photography float your boat? Digital cameras are cheap now, and film development is as easy as hitting “import”. Love to paint? Grab your brushes and go. If you need a place to start, the fact that you’re reading this means you have access to the grandest library in the universe.

Somewhere there’s a 90-year-old who wishes she had your energy, or your health, or your income (whatever that may be). She’d trade places with you in one beat of her tired heart.

As for me, I’m keeping my radio controlled car. And my workshop. And my pilot’s license. And my fishtank and backpack, too. I’m going to keep saying “wow” when things are cool. I’m going to keep saying cool when things are cool, and I’ll probably still be doing it when I’m wearing black socks with my shorts. And I most certainly am not going to stop learning new stuff. Because in the end (which comes too quickly anyway), life really is too short to grow up.

Sarah and Fish2.jpg

Naomi Who?

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 9:35 pm

Reading Lileks and I came across a reference to Naomi Watts. I went “oh yeah, her”. Whoops, I mean Naomi Judd. Couldn’t remember what Naomi Watts looked like, so I looked her up on IMDB.
Turns out not only have I never seen a single movie or TV show that she’s been in, but I also didn’t recognize her picture. So why is it that I automatically “knew” who she was? Am I so steeped in popular culture that I feel familiar with an actresses work even though I’ve never seen her in anything? Or even interviewed?

Man, I’m glad we’ve gotten rid of the TV.


Filed under: Humor and Fun,Movies — jasony @ 9:28 pm

(From the “apparently-not-so-funny” department)

Okay, if you didn’t get the movie reference below, don’t feel bad. None of my friends that I talked with about it got it either. It’s a screen grab of a frame from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The iPod is in place of the big black monolith, and the “Also Spracht” part is….
oh, nevermind. I should keep away from Photoshop or obtuse movie references.

Also Spracht Jobs…

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Movies — jasony @ 1:33 am

No reason. I was messing around in Photoshop and thought this was funny.


August 25, 2005


Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 3:15 pm

An interveiw with Mythbuster Adam Savage.


Filed under: Space — jasony @ 10:46 am

Slashdot reports:

“The president of spaceflight company Virgin Galactic has recently stated that if the upcoming suborbital service with SpaceShipTwo is successful, the follow-up SpaceShipThree will be an orbital craft.

Camera Envy

Filed under: Hobbies — jasony @ 10:12 am

The new Canon EOS 5D full-frame 12.8 megapixel digital camera.

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