The Big Think

August 21, 2009

Move Along

Filed under: Mad Science,Maker — jasony @ 2:42 pm

Just posting this here for my future reference. How to etch aluminum.


Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 2:13 pm

via neatorama

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who creates sand drawings in front of audiences. Here she is performing on Ukraine’s Got Talent:

Here, she recounts Germany conquering Ukraine in the second world war. She brings calm, then conflict. A couple on a bench become a woman’s face; a peaceful walkway becomes a conflagration; a weeping widow morphs into an obelisk for an unknown soldier. Simonova looks like some vengeful Old Testament deity as she destroys then recreates her scenes – with deft strokes, sprinkles and sweeps she keeps the narrative going. She moves the judges to tears as she subtitles the final scene “you are always near”.


Care Package

Filed under: Friends — jasony @ 11:15 am

Holy cow! I just received a massive care package from a friend in the mail (you know who you are). Wowee- Talk about the mother load! Thanks a ton.

Just wanted to put it up here publicly to let everyone know that said party is teh awesome.

August 20, 2009

Unintelligent Design

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 11:55 am

10 bad design decisions in the Star Wars universe. Yes, I am a nerd.

The Lord of the Ring

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:02 am

New Zealand man searches for his lost ring on the ocean floor- and finds it!

Wow, that sounds like a cheesy tabloid sentence- and it is!

August 19, 2009

Defying Gravity

Filed under: Mad Science,Maker — jasony @ 3:22 pm

Inventor James Dyson makes an uphill waterfall fountain. Cool!

Far Out

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 3:01 pm

Relativistic navigation of solar sails. I love arXive!

The Picnic that Changed the World

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:19 am

Once the initial group got through hundreds more East Germans joined them. Still vivid in Bella’s mind was the reactions of the Germans, including many young people and families with small children, once they were on the other side.

“They embraced, they kissed, they cried and laughed in their joy. Some sat down right across the border, others had to be stopped by the Austrian guards because they kept running and didn’t believe they were in Austria,” Bella said. “It was in incredible experience for them.”

“Some of them were waiting for this moment for 20 or 30 years,” Nagy said. “They left behind everything … because freedom has the greatest value.”

read more.

Warning Signs

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 9:53 am

The warning signs are all around us. We are faced with a health care system that needs reform. So many issues have been identified in the public debate that serious, measurable reform may now be possible. Ideas are coming from all sides. And yet we are faced with a pigheaded, partisan leadership that is basically preparing to tell the rest of us to go to hell and ram through another highly defective piece of legislation without scrutiny and without debate. The financial system bailouts and Stimulus Bill and Cap & Trade bill all point clearly towards where this will end up.

read the whole thing.

August 17, 2009

Healthcare and the Constitution

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 3:14 pm

Is the proposed National Healthcare system constitutional? Some say it’s not. It’s an interesting argument based on the Enumerated Powers clause and something I have admittedly not thought a lot about. I’m sure there are very smart legal experts on both sides at very high levels who believe that a federally mandated healthcare system is/isn’t constitutional. I wonder how that argument would shake out? Can’t remember the last time a planned program that was so large went to the SCOTUS. We may see it happen.

My guess is that it isn’t only because the writers were in the business of throwing off monarchical shackles. The word FREE or LIBERTY occurs many, many times in the constitution. Where FEDERAL or GOVERNMENT occurs, however, it’s usually preceded or followed closely by some sort of limiting word (SHALL NOT, LIMITED TO, CONSTRAINED, etc). They even went so far as to say “unless we specifically wrote a federal power into this document, that power goes to the states”. Seems a pretty strong argument against a mandatory, federally controlled national healthcare system. The framers’ intent is clearly one of severely limited central rule. We’ve just slowly gotten used to an imbalance of state and federal powers in favor of Washington D.C.

If you want to amend the Constitution to allow a significant change in the balance of state vs. federal powers, there is a way to do it. Short of that, though, the framers intent w/r/t federal overreaching was pretty clear.


Filed under: Technology — jasony @ 3:00 pm

Cool! 24hours of air traffic in one quick movie.

August 13, 2009

Ultra Deep Field

Filed under: Space/Astronomy,Telescope — jasony @ 9:19 pm

This just brings tears to my eyes:

On the Role of Mistakes in Creativity

Filed under: Hobbies,Mad Science — jasony @ 8:05 pm

Good words.

RIP Les Paul

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 7:01 pm

American jazz guitar great and inventor Les Paul.

June 9, 1915- August 13, 2009

Lower Learning

Filed under: Education,Politics — jasony @ 8:30 am

Shame on you, Yale. If I was a Yale alum I would write a letter telling them to kiss my future alumni contributions good bye. What a sad and disappointing statement by a once-classy university.


Filed under: Games,Mad Science — jasony @ 8:15 am

Half-life with real guns! (h/t Scott)

August 12, 2009


Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 1:49 pm

Jordan Hufnagel, custom bike builder.


Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 10:02 am

I hate it when politics intrudes on my blog (truly, I do). I realize that some of my readers don’t share my particular political bent, and friendships have always been more important to me than politics. I have friends on both sides (all sides: hi Kat!) of the political spectrum and would rather stay silent on politics than lose them, but sometimes it becomes too much and I have to point something out. When the current situation starts to rankle even strong administration proponents, I feel like I have to point it out. Please forgive, friends.

Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy….

Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical because Democrats control all three branches of government. It isn’t conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it’s the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan — it’s the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves….

I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

This is from an administration supporter.

We really do need some sort of health care reform in this country (as do most people, I believe), but the currently proposed system is the wrong one (five wrong ones, actually). There should be a long, public, and transparent deliberative process to identify and fix the problems with our current system. Currently there are five competing plans wending their way through Congress. Each one as byzantine and opaque as the last, and each one having large sections of blanks to be filled in after it is voted on. I don’t care which side of the political spectrum you are on, that’s no way to run a business, a bill, or a country. And meanwhile, honest, angry citizens who show up in their representatives’ office to protest this bill being labeled as anti-American, corporate owned, Nazis? What’s up with that? Why is it no longer acceptable to disagree vociferously with our leaders?

I’m disappointed we’re not getting the sober post-partisan transparency we were promised before November 2nd.

Sorry. Back to my normal, boring posts now.

A proposed amendment to the bill:



Sounds fair.

August 11, 2009

Roll Over Beethoven

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 9:16 pm

Cool Tool

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 2:35 pm

This looks nifty. ODB reader, trip computer, and engine scanner all in one. Put it on the birthday wish list.

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