The Big Think

July 29, 2008

Roto

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 3:36 pm

The agony of Rotoscoping. Pretty cool little film about the process.

July 28, 2008

My Hero in Shining White

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 1:40 pm

This is Burt Rutan’s White Knight II, the spaceship carrier that will fly me to space someday.

white-knight-2-07-28-08.jpg

And how cool- how ineffably perfect– are those stencils on the cowling?

whiteknight2-3.jpg

many more pictures here.

July 26, 2008

Elemental

Filed under: Movies,Science — jasony @ 10:24 pm

The Periodic Table of Videos. Cool.

Bombs Away

Filed under: Hobbies,Humor and Fun,Mad Science — jasony @ 10:06 pm

A few days ago I picked up a copy of William Gurstelle’s The Art of the Catapult. I sat down a bit before dinner tonight just intending to read a few pages but ended up plowing through the entire book. It’s a fascinating and accessible short book (168 pages) written for a slightly younger market, but it still has a lot to inform an adult. Gurstelle’s nine chapters are each divided into two sections. The first part of each chapter has a historical overview of the time period of a specific type of catpult. He describes the development and use of basic catapults, ballistae, trebuchets, onagers, and other types of missile-tossers, complete with some rather harrowing descriptions of actual battles. One of the few books I’ve read that have made me want to learn more about history.

The second part of each chapter has a section that describes how to build a tabletop version of that specific catapult. Excellent! His instructions won’t really let you build anything of massive destructive power, but they will give you the basics (and a *cough* skilled woodworker might consider it childs-play to scale some of the designs up to a “lethal” size).

Reading this book has made me think about using the Hirst blocks to construct a medieval diorama of a castle siege complete with little catapults. Heh.

All in all, a great little book, especially since Half-Price Books is currently featuring it for around five bucks.

It’s Just a Game

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 3:25 pm

Tron 2 (or TR2N) trailer.

July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch, RIP

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 6:09 pm

Professor Randy Pausch dies. Really sorry to see him go, but what a way to go out. Encouraging and inspiring.

July 24, 2008

Rush on Rush

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 9:30 am

Ha! The band Rush recently got to try one of their songs out on Rock Band. I won’t ruin the result for you.

A couple things I noticed, though: Geddy Lee is trained. I could tell by the way he supported some of the higher notes. He sang some of the really high stuff down an octave though. It’s not fair to have him sing the highest stuff full- voice without a warmup! I also noticed that Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson didn’t do so well on their respective instruments, even on expert, because the game had dumbed it down too much. They probably made most of their mistakes because they were playing the real thing, not the simplified (even on expert!) stuff that Rock Band makes you play.

All in all, though, good fun.

July 22, 2008

Dinosaur!

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 7:19 pm

Dinosaur on the loose in a museum. (h/t Scott)


Sorry about the mild language. It’s in the original vid. 🙂

July 21, 2008

Lego

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 3:38 pm

Inside the Lego factory. More please!

July 20, 2008

Use the Heal Brush, Luke

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:31 am

A worth1000 Star Wars photoshop contest.

July 19, 2008

Observation while editing

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:14 pm

The media says they “support the troops”, but the troops repeatedly told me that they don’t watch the media because the portrayal of what is going on there is so inaccurate and misleading.

So either the troops (who are actually there) are wrong about the situation, or the media doesn’t really support them.

I know who I believe.

Dr. Horrible

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 9:26 am

It’s only online for a few more days, so don’t miss Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Just brilliant, and one of those things that makes me green with envy.

July 18, 2008

Military Week

Filed under: Audio,Disclosure,Movies — jasony @ 8:59 pm

As many of you know, Erin and I got to spend last week up in Colorado. I had been hired to go shoot another video by a camp that hosts military soldiers and their families. Three years ago we went up to the very same camp and made the first video. They were so appreciative of the first vid that they wanted me to go and update it, so off we went again. For a whole week I shot footage around the camp (6 hours), conducted lots of interviews (8 hours), ate great food, and got to know the “other 1%”: the soldiers who make up our military (Army, in this case). They told some incredible stories. I had my perspective rocked quite a bit three years ago and worked really hard to make sure that their stories and their appreciation for the donors got through in the video. Through the whole process I have felt like all of my skills have been engaged. Technical: filmmaking, audio, lighting, framing, etc, and interpersonal: interviewing, getting to know people, keeping the “customer” happy, trust on camera, etc. I’ve felt completely “used up” and stretched to my limits while I strove very hard to put out something that would be high quality and hopefully have an impact.

Mission accomplished. I just found out that the people responsible for getting funding for the camp were able to use my video to raise half a million dollars for subsequent camps. This money has been used so that hundreds of families could come to camp together and reconnect after their soldier-parents had been overseas serving for one, two, or even four different deployments (up to 15 months per deployment). Seeing the appreciation on the families faces and knowing that I had a small part in that has probably been one of the most satisfying things I have ever done.

I’m definitely not taking credit for it, though. There were a few other key people who spent those three intervening years traveling around, talking to donors, interfacing with the military machine, and generally making it work, and they’re the real reason that the camp continues to this day. But I’m proud of the small part I was able to play and happy that I got to go back. It’s not often that we get to see the fruits of our labor used in such an obvious and meaningful way and I’m grateful to have seen first-hand the effect that my work had on these wonderful families.

Improv Everywhere

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 5:27 pm

The brilliant and subversive group Improv Everywhere is at it again.

All Grown Up

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 5:25 pm

Child stars, then and now.

Swap a DVD

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 5:12 pm

This might be interesting.

Life’s Most Important Question

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:25 am

Turns out, over is right, under is wrong. I knew it.

July 17, 2008

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:25 pm

Archbishop of Canturbury says that Christian doctrine is offensive to Muslims.

Ya think? I thought they were just mad because we drew cartoons of them. Turns out they’re upset at what Christians believe.

Autonomous

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Technology — jasony @ 4:07 pm

Just don’t give these things real bullets.

Progress

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 2:38 pm

Because we don’t hear about it in the mainstream media, I wanted to point to an article that shows the progress we’ve had in Iraq in just the last two years. And since it’s been written by a person who is there and has been there in the past when things weren’t so good, I submit that it’s a better representation of the truth than what we’re being force fed through normal media channels.

Then there are times when the change hits you across the forehead like a 2×4. Yesterday I found inspiration in the tears of joy on hundreds of faces at the graduation for the Iraqi Military Academy at Rustimiyah as 252 young men graduated from the one year course of instruction and were commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants in the Iraqi Army and Air Force…

We all just sort of stood there and soaked up the energy and passion. This is where Iraq is today. These families, rich and poor, Sunni and Shia, young and old were overcome with pride for their sons becoming officers of the new Iraq.

It wasn’t because they would be getting a regular pay check. Not because there is nothing else to do. These men have committed themselves to building a new democratic Iraq and the sheer joy and pride of their families tells even the most jaded observer, including a couple of veteran western journalists in my group, that something has shifted here that can’t be ignored.

read the whole thing.

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