The Big Think

March 30, 2009

A Model of Biblical Proportions

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 9:32 pm

Amazing model of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem takes man 30 years to build.

March 27, 2009


Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 9:51 pm

Chris Anderson of Wired Magazine has an interesting fifteen minute interview about the economies of Free:

March 26, 2009

Don’t Tread On Me

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:18 pm

There’s a new a href=””>State’s Right’s/a> movement afoot. Good for them. Good for us.

Link, in case the blog is still screwey:

March 25, 2009


Filed under: Science — jasony @ 4:06 pm

Okay, this was really cool. Sitting at my desk just now, I noted that the sky was dark but the ground was dry. Suddenly I heard what sounded like a truckload of gravel being poured on the roof. I looked out and some of the most amazingly big raindrops I had ever seen were pounding down. Just like that the ground went from dry to totally covered in water. Really: about three seconds. It was almost like some celestial bucket had dropped a solid sheet of water on the ground. There were only a couple of seconds where I could see the drops on the pavement before it was all wet. Really impressive.

And now, two minutes later, it’s completely stopped. Not the kind of thing I’d like to be caught in a parking lot during! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a true “cloudburst”, but if this doesn’t qualify, nothing does. Crazy!

Truth to Power

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:41 pm

object width=”425″ height=”344″>param name=”movie” value=”″>/param>param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”>/param>param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”>/param>embed src=”″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″>/embed>/object>

If only we could find a media that was willing to say the same here. They think 10% of GDP as debt is scary? Try almost 50%- that’s what the U.S. is at now.

*UPDATE* Daniel Hannan (the speaker in the above obscurely-linked YouTube video) has some good thought on his blog here:

Among them:

i>”The internet has changed politics – changed it utterly and forever. Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me: I am, after all, simply a backbench MEP.

When I woke up this morning, my phone was clogged with texts, my email inbox with messages. Overnight, the YouTube clip of my remarks had attracted over 36,000 hits. By today, it was the most watched video in Britain.

How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what’s news.”/i>

March 23, 2009

He Did All the Work, but I Feel Ten Feet Tall

Filed under: Friends,Science — jasony @ 9:21 pm

Matt gave me a great acknowledgement in his PhD dissertation. Wow, Matt. Thanks a bunch. And again: Congratulations!

March 18, 2009

Computer Update

Filed under: Apple,Mac OS X Problems,Macintosh,Music — jasony @ 11:12 am

Still fighting with the computer. The OS 9 partition that has all of my work on it (thankfully, Sing is over now) still works, but I can’t recreate it using the drive clones I created years ago, and I don’t know why. I got two new drives and they both work fine, but I can’t reload the 9 partition, and if I can’t do that, then writing another year of Sing is like walking tightrope across a very large drop with no net. Not going to happen.

So yesterday Erin and I were in the Apple store and I was contemplating the purchase of a new MacPro (on a friend’s discount, of course!). As I was standing there, I had the realization that this new MacBook I’m typing on is probably 10x as powerful as my old G4, and I could possibly use it as a temporary stopgap. I bought a $20 adapter and confirmed that I could indeed use my 22″ Dell monitor (great monitor) with it, then bought a 2TB external drive to use as a backup. The external drive is going back to Fry’s (it only showed as 1.36TB, which is terrible even accounting for formatting space), but I might be able to make this work.

This solution would enable me to save the cost of a new Mac Pro ($2400!) for now, and it would let me ease into the whole purchase of the new studio by only having to buy the Midi interface and the new audio interface. The only downside is that I lose the easy portability of the laptop. Why? Because once it’s ensconced in my desk it will have seven of its nine ports in use. Not that I can’t unplug it and go, but grabbing it off the desk to go downstairs won’t be a one step process.

I’m still messing with getting the G4 to work, though. But Erin brought up what would have happened to me if this whole debacle had occurred two months ago. I don’t even want to contemplate that. In that case I would have paid almost ANYTHING to get the whole thing working again. In that regard, I think making the big jump is probably due. I hate kludging solutions together, though, so I’m still not sold on using the laptop as my main machine. What a pain- just glad it’s March!

March 17, 2009

Charlie Black

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 7:58 pm

If Frank Miller wrote Charlie Brown.
(sigh, I sure hope this linking error corrects soon)

Tech Flies

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 12:07 am

A a href=””>RepRap/a> for $750.

March 13, 2009

Self Ed

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 11:59 pm

A Self-Education a href=””>resource list/a>.

March 12, 2009

You Think?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 12:04 pm

blockquote>”And isn’t the purpose of education to give students the tools to thoughtfully contribute (on a small or large scale) to society? Right now we are not doing that. With few exceptions, we are not teaching them how to fully and deeply comprehend what they read or write with clarity, precision, and purpose. We are not teaching students to integrate ideas within and among subjects. We are not teaching them to entertain (in good faith) viewpoints with which with they disagree.”

We are failing them at the most fundamental level./blockquote>

More here:

I was talking to Barry last weekend and mentioned that I don’t feel I really started my education until after I graduated from college. For me, the facts I learned in school were secondary to the tools I honed during that period- mental tools that started me down the road to learning for myself. In some sense I feel like I’ve learned more since college that I did during those years. The benefit is that now I can focus on what I love (science, technology, astronomy, hands-on skills, etc) and don’t have to endure hours of classes for which I care not a whit (Ah… as in Gorge. And ONE person will get that reference).

Anyway, it’s much more worth it to learn HOW to think than it is to learn a set of facts. Unfortunately, our culture has gotten the metric of true education wrong.

March 11, 2009

Things Break

Filed under: Apple,Mac OS X Crashes — jasony @ 4:15 pm

*UPDATE* I got things working again! Well, I got the old hard drive to live long enough to pull the needed data off of it. Quicken stores historical stock data in a weird non-standard place, so even if you back up your Quicken file, all those important numbers can still get lost. I had almost a decade of hand-entered numbers (daily) in that file, and not having them there really messed with the graphing function of Quicken. Thankfully, it’s restored now and working correctly. HUGE sigh of relief. I still have to spend tomorrow formatting the new drive and reinstalling all my apps (and removing the old drive to send to the firing range), but it looks like I got all my data back. Stupid Intuit!**

Gahh, what a frustrating day. It started out just fine as I continued doing the mastering for Word, then my hard drive decided to take the big dirt nap on me. Fortunately, it was a problem I’ve had before- hard freeze in OS 9, followed by not being able to see the X partition. Reboot with system CD, run Disk Utility, and all is well. Unfortunately, this time was different. The OS X partition didn’t mount and couldn’t be resurrected, even using arcane Terminal commands.

I have a nice new 320 gig drive on my desk all ready to install when the new RAM arrives in a few days, and to have the drive crap out THIS CLOSE to the full reinstall is maddening. Yes, I had most of the really critical stuff backed up (Quicken and most of my work), but I’ve been working on a few things this week that were fairly important that didn’t get backed up. I mean, what are the odds? Now I have to go back and redo about three days of carefully done work.

I did manage to get most of my old documents off of a backup DVD, and I’m in the process of reinstalling apps and getting my Mail application as I like it. I lost a bit of email, but some of it’s on the new laptop. For some reason not all of my mail makes it to the laptop (it seems that if it’s destined for a subfolder in the Mail app, then the laptop doesn’t even bother to download it. Here’s the weird part: if I login to the service, I can’t even see that stuff online! Proven and verified by the Apple store employee. I don’t know what it means and Erin is having the same issues, so I’m a little flummoxed.). Anyway, one of the benefits of this quasi-cloud thing I have going is that much of my data is “out there” somewhere. This blog is hosted on a service (note: backup blog), my mail is scattered between gmail,, and yahoo, and my bookmarks, address book, and other digital sundries are all synchronized to a fare-thee-well. So now instead of taking three days to completely reinstall everything and get it all up and running it’ll only take me a couple. I’m sure there will be the inevitable weeks of micro tweaking as I get the environment back to what I was used to. It’s like when your neighbor borrows the car and everything-seat, radio, mirrors- are all subtly out of whack. It vexes me, it does.

I used to make it a habit of wiping my drives down to bare metal once a year and rebuilding, but that hasn’t happened in a few years, and the drive that went belly up was the original 80 gig drive that came with this G4 six years ago. I bought a 320 gig drive to replace it, but after seeing the problem (a crash in OS 9 corrupts the OS X partition), I decided that I’d rather not have this issue again, so I went to the Blue Box today and shelled out another $90 for an identical 320 gig drive. Instead of running them as a redundant RAID (that seem to temp the gods), I’m instead going to keep my OS’s confined to their own drives and cross-backup the data. I also have a tertiary half-terabyte for working data (that can also be cross-backed-up). I need to devise some sort of automatic backup system here so this doesn’t happen again.

The only big loss, besides the aforementioned work, is that I have to spend $30 upgrading MarsEdit. Long story, but since I’ve been using it for years it’s probably time.

One note: thank goodness for the new MacBook. Without it as a secondary repository of syncable data through the .Mac service (bookmarks, address book, calendar, mail rules, etc) I would have been emseriously/em screwed. Now I’m just slightly hosed.

World Builder

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 6:36 am

World Builder, by Bruce Branit. Like Sketchup for the “real” world. Very moving.

<object width=”400″ height=”225″>param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” />param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” />param name=”movie” value=”;server=vimeo.comamp;show_title=1amp;show_byline=1amp;show_portrait=0amp;color=amp;fullscreen=1″ />embed src=”;server=vimeo.comamp;show_title=1amp;show_byline=1amp;show_portrait=0amp;color=amp;fullscreen=1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowfullscreen=”true” allowscriptaccess=”always” width=”400″ height=”225″>/embed>/object>br />a href=”″>World Builder/a> from a href=”″>Bruce Branit/a> on a href=””>Vimeo/a>.

Thanks to Scott for the link.

GAAAAHHHH!!!! Sorry for the mess! It’ll be fixed soon. Dangit.

in the meantime, go here to see the video (copy/paste):

March 9, 2009

Blog Mess

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 5:32 pm

Sorry, folks, the blog is a mess. For some reason the new install of Word Press won’t allow me to make posts with links. They end up looking like the posts below with all the messy html showing. Good friend Sean and I are not really in control of the blog, but he’s got a trouble ticket in to the relevant life forms and is trying to get it fixed. In the meantime, posting might be a bit light.


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 5:29 pm

Thanks to Barry for sending this along. The chair that builds itself.

March 5, 2009

Something’s Wonky

Filed under: Mac OS X Problems — jasony @ 9:04 am

Test post with a href=””>link/a>. For some reason the blog is messing up HTML. Sorry, folks.

RP and Me

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 8:53 am

Rapid Prototyping machines (professional models of the RepRap) are now cheaper than laser printers were in 1985. Now I just want one of these:

5-axis gantry CNC from mike phillips on Vimeo.

March 3, 2009

Why I Do What I Do

Filed under: Disclosure,Music — jasony @ 5:21 pm

Email from a former Sing Chair:

Congratulations on SING!! I have actually missed the past couple of years, but finally managed to somehow snag some tickets for this past Saturday and just was overwhelmed at how great the performance was that y’all put on this year! I could not have been more thrilled with the Tridelt, act of course, (rotten fruit? Who would have thought something like that could have been as perfectly ingenious as it was!) and watching the Tridelt sing chairs up there on the stage the moment they won brought back all the same nervousness and anticipation and emotions that I went through as a sing chair as well. Gosh, SING is just so great! You did an absolutely amazing job on all the acts you arranged this year-the music was simply phenomenal. Worth going to SING just to hear the music even if you experience nothing else. Now that I am out in the real world, I absolutely have so much admiration for the time and the energy that you put into your work, Jason! I mean I’m ridiculously jealous of course that you still get to do SING every year… I’d kill to come up with some way I could still be involved. But the fact that you are a person who puts 200% into every act, every song, every group you work with for a whole year, every year is such an incredible gift. You manage to do it year after year and the show is always incredible. This year was no different, and we can partly thank you for the continuation of such an amazing tradition of excellance when it comes to SING. Congratulations again! You totally deserve a vacation!

People often ask me what I do, and if they’re in a hurry I usually just say “composer” or “arranger” and briefly describe the show. If I know them well, though, I’ll tell them what my life work really is:

I’m involved in a leadership training program that nobody realizes they’re a part of until they graduate. It’s gratifying to see the long-term effects of this incredible tradition.

What a wonderful job.

Powered by WordPress