The Big Think

November 29, 2007

Ready for my Closeup

Filed under: Hobbies — jasony @ 1:16 am

I’ve been wanting to play around with iStopMotion but we don’t currently have a video camera. It occurred to me that many older (usb or firewire) tape-based cameras may be languishing because the tape mechanism has broken so the camera won’t record to anything any more. Fortunately, iStopMotion doesn’t require a tape to be in the camera to function. It only uses the live feed from the camera to capture frames.

So I thought I’d put out a call here to see if anyone has a dusty old busted up USB or firewire video camera they wouldn’t mind putting out on extended loan. I’d mainly use it to satisfy my inner Kubric and have some fun with the neat little program. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask! I’d be happy to spring for lunch. I’ll open up the comments if anyone wants to respond.

November 28, 2007

Quoth

Filed under: Politics,Quoth — jasony @ 9:26 pm

Read the debates of the First Congress of the United States. Compare them to the debates of the 110th Congress memorialized in the Congressional Record. The deterioration in learning is alarming, virtual disproof of Charles Darwin’s theory of progressive evolution.

more here

November 25, 2007

The Soldier of the Future

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 2:23 pm

Wow, this is really impressive. I especially like the fully enclosed units. Future, here we come!

Hulk Smash

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:45 am

Destroying a world record house of cards.

A Fish Story

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:45 am

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Watch out for those land sharks.

November 23, 2007

The Beat, She Canna Be Stopped

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 1:19 am

Erin and I picked up a bunch of movies to watch over our Thanksgiving weekend. We watched Hairspray tonight and, while I was a little skeptical of John Travolta as a cross-dressing giantess married to Christopher Walken, I have to give the movie makers props and say that they pulled it off. The movie had Erin and I laughing and tapping our feet all the way through. Yes, it’s a remake of a musical, but in contrast to many remakes I’ve seen, this one manages to keep the feel of the stage while still injecting the performance with subtle little storytelling touches that can only be managed on the big screen. The film’s 18-year-old unknown lead manages to steal the show from her mega-wattage costars (not for their lack of trying to wrest it back). It’s exuberant, unselfconscious, and wildly fun. The final scene surely qualifies as the most exhausting quarter hour in motion picture history.

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:10 am

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Get it?

And here, in no particular order, and off the top of my head, are some things I’m thankful for.

1. A great marriage. Better than great, actually. Can you call a marriage Epic? Naw, neither one of us are ancient Greeks so that doesn’t feel right. Anyway, it’s great.
2. A job/life that I really love.
3. A clean car! We replaced a whole slew of stuff on Erin’s Accord during a major maintenance kick yesterday. Timing belt, water pump, all the belts, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, seals, gaskets, spark plugs, ignition wires, balance, rotate, align, and newly turned rotors (soon). It did serious damage to the wallet, but the car is almost back up to brand-new status. After a thorough cleaning today (and I do mean thorough!), it feels, smells, and drives like new, which is something for a 6 year old car with 110K on it.
4. Time enough do do what I love and indulge in learning about all kinds of cool stuff.
5. Hitting a major milestone in my work this week
6. Living in America
7. Finally being done with my studio. I love my new office.
8. The new server host! Thanks again to the inestimable Sean McMains, who so graciously offered hosting. The site is so fast now I can hit “post”, make a change, and hit “post” again within ten seconds. Total joy to be able to blog at will. I know the readers appreciate it as well.
9. My friends
10. The cold weather is finally here. 39 degrees tonight, whoopee!
11. Erin and I are spending Thanksgiving home with just the two of us. We’ve gotten all the fixings for a truly epic dinner (I can say Epic since it’ll be positively Roman in its excess). Turkey, dressing, mashed taters, cranberry sauce (schlorpped from a can, of course), homemade bread, with homemade blackberry cobbler and eggnog ice cream for dessert. We’ll spend all day cooking tomorrow and all night regretting everything we’ve eaten. Got a stock of movies and hot wassil ready to go.
12. The telescope design. It’s slowly developing and it’s going to be a real beauty.

So how about you? The comments are open. 🙂

November 19, 2007

The Millionaires

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:58 am

Free audiobook available on iTunes today. Unabridged. Looks interesting. link.

November 18, 2007

Nice Scope

Filed under: Telescope — jasony @ 12:25 am

Here’s a nice wooden telescope.

November 17, 2007

Thanksgiving

Filed under: Audio,Movies — jasony @ 12:46 am

Eleven72’s extended Thanksgiving film is up on YouTube. It was a blast doing the audio for this a few months ago, and yes, the boom shadows and mic frame-breaks are intentional. 🙂

November 15, 2007

Big Sun

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:21 pm

NanoSolar has been making waves recently for their new super thin film solar cells. Flexible and cheap (about 30% the cost of traditional gallium arsenide doped silicon cells), these babies are set to start selling next year. I want to coat our roof with this stuff.

HD Moon

Filed under: Space/Astronomy — jasony @ 9:18 am

Japan has just released high definition pictures taken from lunar orbit. Wowsers.

Bang, Zoom

Filed under: Movies,Space/Astronomy — jasony @ 1:03 am

Buy.com currently has the Widescreen DVD Signature Edition of Tom Hanks’ “From the Earth to the Moon“. If you’re a space nut (like me), or if you just enjoy really well-told stories, I would highly recommend picking it up. The 5 DVD, 720 minute epic (12 episodes) is currently on sale for only $20. I watch mine about once per year and love it. Totally worth it.

Control Freak

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 12:47 am

Frickin’ awesome. I just figured out how to customize my monstrously over-buttoned ĂĽbermouse (the Kensington Expert Mouse Pro) for Sketchup. Now I have a ton of tools and navigation commands literally at my fingertips.

I’ve had clients go woozy just looking at the plethora of buttons and wheels on the trackball. The best thing is when I tell them that the four click buttons not only work individually, but you can also chord with them (by hitting two at a time), to give yourself even more ways of doing things. One of these days I’m going to inadvertently start WWIII while playing my copy of Global Thermonuclear War.

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November 14, 2007

Hubble

Filed under: Space/Astronomy — jasony @ 1:14 pm

Timothy Ferris on Hubble:

It’s curiously appropriate that an unmanned telescope should emerge as a symbol of science, since it was instruments generally—and telescopes in particular—that jump-started the scientific revolution. We tend to think of science in terms of great minds conjuring big ideas (an image that Edwin Hubble himself encouraged, at least when it came to his own research), but that paradigm is largely a holdover from prescientific days, when knowledge was sought principally in philosophers’ books. In science, instruments can trump arguments. The disinterested verdict of Galileo’s telescope did more than Galileo’s arguments to lay bare the shortcomings of the regnant Earth-centered model of the cosmos, and Newton’s mechanics endured less for their indubitable elegance than for their being able to predict what astronomers would see through their telescopes. Galileo’s contemporary Johannes Kepler, whom Immanuel Kant called “the most acute thinker ever born,” was quick to grasp that straightforward observations using scientific instruments could sweep away centuries of intelligent but ignorant discourse. Although he was a mathematical theorist who never owned a telescope, Kepler celebrated Galileo’s innovation in an ode, addressing the telescope as, “You much knowing tube, more precious than any scepter.”

Hubble is Galileo’s telescope flung into a Keplerian orbit, and if these two early scientists came back to life today, I expect they would be impressed less by its technological sophistication than by its potential to bring things to light that challenge old ideas—and to publish them on the Internet, science having always been about making knowledge available.

via boingboing.

Make Japan

Filed under: Mad Science — jasony @ 9:24 am

Make magazine goes on sale in Japan! I love these guys. Plus, don’t miss my long lost rotund doppleganger in the pics.

November 13, 2007

Over There

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 6:48 pm

By any conceivable measure, Frank Buckles has led an extraordinary life. Born on a farm in Missouri in February 1901, he saw his first automobile in his hometown in 1905, and his first airplane at the Illinois State Fair in 1907. At 15 he moved on his own to Oklahoma and went to work in a bank; in the 1940s, he spent more than three years as a Japanese prisoner of war. When he returned to the United States, he married, had a daughter and bought a farm near Charles Town, W. Va., where he lives to this day. He drove a tractor until he was 104.
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But even more significant than the remarkable details of Mr. Buckles’s life is what he represents: Of the two million soldiers the United States sent to France in World War I, he is the only one left.

Read the whole thing.

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 9:26 am

Awesome T-Shirt

November 12, 2007

OFF

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:35 pm

A top eleven list that’s a real turn-off.

Sketchup for Dummies

Filed under: Computing,Hobbies,Telescope — jasony @ 12:05 am

So go ahead and return the Sketchup book to the bookstore or Amazon. I know all my friends and family members went out and got it after my post the other day. I came across it at Barnes and Noble tonight on 30% discount, which is only $1.50 more than I could get it through Amazon. So I went ahead and bought it. Looks like it’s a lot of good review followed by several chapters that go over concepts that still flummox me. I’m really looking forward to working my way through it, particularly with the online YouTube additions.

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