The Big Think

April 30, 2009

LOST (spoliers ahead)

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 9:38 pm

We just finished watched the most recent ep. I assume you’ve seen it, but if not, spoilers ahead. Be ye warned.

Okay, so if that’s it for Faraday, I’m very disappointed. The Lostpedia site assumes that he was killed, but if that’s true then I feel like the writing on that character was weak (or at least ended up weakly). We really liked Faraday’s character, but it seems like the writers dispatched his 20 episode character arc without really doing much to advance the whole narrative. Here we had been thinking that Daniel was going to have some sort of big impact on what happens/ed on the island, but his entire series existence seems to boil down to him running off into the Others’ camp waving a gun and ending up with an “oh, how tragic that his own mom killed him” and “ooo, he’s Eleanor and Widmore’s son”. Big deal!

Although it felt like there were a lot of questions answered, in terms of technique and elegance, I feel like this most recent plot was written by the B-team. Way to toss a great character away for no reason!

Then again:

He might not be dead (there’s a doctor not far away after all). Ben got shot through the heart and HE lived.

Plenty of characters who have died have ended up having recurring roles. Christian has more posthumous credits than Jacob Marley. Maybe we haven’t seen the last of him.

Lots of questions left to answer about Faraday. From the wiki:

* If his parents’ names were Widmore and Hawking, why was his surname Faraday?
* What was the purpose of his experiment(s) on the Island?
* Why does he need a constant?
o What could “go wrong” that would require him to find a constant?
* If he was born to British parents, raised for at least a time by one of them, and attended an English university, where did his American accent come from?

If these are in the giant list of Lost questions that eventually won’t be answered then I think it’s reasonable to assume most of the newly introduced questions won’t be answered either. If that’s so, then it’s understandable that I start to lose some of my enthusiasm when we’re given more mystery. Why care if the new mysteries won’t ultimately be solved?

I know, I know, in JJ we trust, but being strung along for such a long time only to have the questions ignored or just dropped, and have it happen so often, is irritating.

A Disturbing Future Trend

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 5:53 pm

“Free enterprise is culturally mainstream, for the moment. Asked in a Rasmussen poll conducted this month to choose the better system between capitalism and socialism, 13% of respondents over 40 chose socialism. For those under 30, this percentage rose to 33%…

Advocates of free enterprise must learn from the growing grass-roots protests, and make the moral case for freedom and entrepreneurship. They have to declare that it is a moral issue to confiscate more income from the minority simply because the government can. It’s also a moral issue to lower the rewards for entrepreneurial success, and to spend what we don’t have without regard for our children’s future…

Millions of ordinary citizens believe it is unfair for the government to be predatory — even if the prey are wealthy.”

From:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124104689179070747.html

April 29, 2009

Crazy Fast!

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:41 pm

Scientists create a super fast camera with an effective shutter speed of 440 TRILLIONTHS of a second! That’ll stop the clock.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/fastestcamera/

Some Assembly Required

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 10:33 pm

Neato animation of the ISS assembly timeline.

http://i.usatoday.net/tech/graphics/iss_timeline/flash.htm

Good Morning, Dave

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 10:29 pm

Wolfram Alpha comes online in a few days. Technology Review has an interesting article about it:

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/23468/

if we are ever to reach the weak (or even Strong) A.I. threshold, I believe these kinds of semantic search and retrieval technologies will be a crucial building block.

Can’t wait to play with it!

April 27, 2009

Sing Song

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Music,Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:41 pm

Auto Tune the News!

http://i.gizmodo.com/5224946/auto+tune-the-news

Steely-Eyed Missile Man

Filed under: Maker,Space — jasony @ 2:11 pm

Awesome 1:10 scale Saturn V rocket takes to the skies in a successful launch. Huge congratulations go out to the builder, Mr. Steve Eves.

http://tinyurl.com/df2ds4

Touch Table

Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 9:23 am

http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/video/231-touchtable.html

some pretty neat tech here that takes the MS Surface idea to the next level. Check out especially the military stuff about a third of the way through and the crime data towards the end.

At 59K it’s not what I’d call affordable yet, but these things always get cheaper over time.

Opt Out

Filed under: Telescope — jasony @ 9:01 am

The top ten ways to opt out of junk mail and calls:

http://www.worldprivacyforum.org/toptenoptout.html

April 24, 2009

Avoid Mozy

Filed under: Computing,Macintosh — jasony @ 10:20 am

MOZY for Mac is terrible! I just installed the backup utility and have had no end to problems. Half-baked UI, frequent beach-balling (why does it freeze for 30 seconds when I deselect a check box? Intolerable!), and general slow operation. Even the oft-blasted beta was better than this. I had high hopes for Mozy but I’ve been very disappointed.

Recommendation: Avoid Mozy until they get their act together. Even the free version isn’t worth what they charge. Why would I pay $60/year? Awful.

April 22, 2009

Fourth Time’s a Charm?

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:32 am

A sobering assessment of the current political climate:

http://american.com/archive/2009/april-2009/the-coming-of-the-fourth-american-republic

I thought the writer did a good job of keeping partisanship out of his essay, and it was all the more frightening for it. It’s a long read, but definitely worth it.

April 21, 2009

Weird Cosmos

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:41 am

Okay, this is strange. You know how spiral galaxies look? Like a fan where the arms all “spin” in a certain direction. It turns out if you look at all the galaxies visible from the northern hemisphere, the vast majority are “left-handed”, or spin in a counter-clockwise direction. The majority of those in the souther hemisphere turn the OTHER way.

That’s just weird.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/23410/

Scientists are still unsure if it’s just a statistical anomaly because it seems way too geocentric (heliocentric? Galactocentric?) to say that we’re in the center of things (hellooooo Copernicus!), but it’s a strange discovery nonetheless.

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/23410/

Table for Five

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:38 am

Have scientists discovered a new form of matter? Maybe:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg17623665.000-ghost-in-the-atom.html?page=1

Big Rocket

Filed under: Hobbies,Space — jasony @ 9:02 am

This Saturday Steve Eves will launch the largest home-made rocket in history. His 36 foot replica of the Saturn V will blast off with enough power to launch a VW Bug half a mile. Check it out:

http://www.rocketryplanet.com/content/view/2829/38/

April 19, 2009

Costly

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 6:29 am

The a href=”http://www.pjtv.com/video/Afterburner_/The_Cost_of_Media_Bias/1736/6337/”>cost/a> of media bias.

His conclusion starting around 8:00 is particularly damning, I think.

http://www.pjtv.com/video/Afterburner_/The_Cost_of_Media_Bias/1736/6337/

April 14, 2009

Taxing

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:31 am

Ugh… just finished our taxes for the year. Two bloody weeks of sitting at the computer crunching numbers. It’s a 10 hour job, I just split it up over a couple of weeks to save my sanity. 130 page tax return (with all of the accompanying worksheets, etc). Still…30 pages to the IRS. Cut taxes, save a tree.

Sadly, I also had to do the final return for Harmon, which was a very somber responsibility. Yes, you really will have to file your taxes after you pass away. Sigh.

April 10, 2009

Pay Cut

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 1:34 pm

“in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”

After the AIG bonus tax bill was passed, some members of the House privately expressed regret for having supported it and were quietly relieved when the White House and Senate leadership sent it to an unceremonious death. But populist rage did not die with it, and now the House is preparing to do it all again.”

Your government at work.

http://tinyurl.com/deapq6

Funny

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:55 am

The funniest word in the English language: beclowned.

Can’t. Stop. Giggling.

April 9, 2009

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 9:33 am

“Epiphany has little to do with either creativity or innovation. Instead, innovation is a slow process of accretion, building small insight upon interesting fact upon tried-and-true process. Just as an oyster wraps layer upon layer of nacre atop an offending piece of sand, ultimately yielding a pearl, innovation percolates within hard work over time.

“The most useful way to think of epiphany is as an occasional bonus of working on tough problems,” explains Scott Berkun in his 2007 book, “The Myths of Innovation.” “Most innovations come without epiphanies, and when powerful moments do happen, little knowledge is granted for how to find the next one. To focus on the magic moments is to miss the point. The goal isn’t the magic moment: it’s the end result of a useful innovation.”

found online (I’d link, but you know….)

April 8, 2009

Nerdvana

Filed under: Friends,Games — jasony @ 8:55 am

wherein my compatriot Sean recounts the fearless adventures of Gront and company. Thanks Sean, I had a blast!

http://www.mcmains.net/2009/04/07/tabletop-roleplaying-the-nerdiest-post-of-the-year/

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