The Big Think

March 9, 2010

Media Upload Test

Filed under: Computing — jasony @ 6:05 pm

Here’s a media upload test. First, a waterfall sound effect:

Now, a movie:

and finally, a picture:

any of these come through?

MacJournal Test

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 3:59 pm

Trying out MacJournal as a posting substitute for MarsEdit (which never handled media files well). I wonder if this will post?

Quoth

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 10:54 am

But I’m starting to begrudge being a blogger because people don’t talk to me anymore. They read my blog and feel as though they’ve conversed with me. But I don’t know about their days or their feelings. I don’t get to talk WITH them. I merely talk AT them. Or, more accurately, they overhear the conversations I have outloud with myself.

via Kat.

I agree. And while I can’t say I begrudge blogging, I have noticed that if I go into length on a topic of concern to me on my blog, I will often meet people who’s eyes glaze over when I try to bring it up in person. When pressed, their eyes will glaze and they’ll say “oh, I read that last week on your blog” in a very been there, done that kind of way. It’s a bummer because I sometimes feel like I’m giving half of a relationship (the me-to-them part) without getting the reciprocal. I doesn’t happen often, but when it does it makes me think twice about the time and effort that go into those long posts. I wonder if this is how professional writers feel?

The flip side of this is pouring myself into a post that I really care about and getting absolutely NO response. This happens all the time, most notably a couple of years ago with this post, the one I’m probably the proudest of in all my writing. Different strokes, I guess.

It’s not like there are thousands of people reading this, though- for some reason my blog has never caught fire, even after almost seven years. When I don’t get any responses, I remind myself that I’m really just doing this to keep a record of my thoughts and not to entertain. I guess we’re all busy, and the zeitgeist is that blogs are sooo early 90’s. It is neat, though, that the big Internet machine will still have a copy of all my posts in a thousand years.

Besides, I suspect that if I suddenly got a huge readership I would feel a lot more pressure to write. On the whole I’m very happy with the balance.

Geronimo!!!

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 10:26 am

Awesome bed jumping photos.

BedJumpers14.jpg

March 8, 2010

Flying Solo: Choosing Freedom over the Nanny State

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 2:16 pm

worth the watch.

Warning, Your Reality is Out of Date

Filed under: Education — jasony @ 11:26 am

Our schools are biased against mesofacts. The arc of our educational system is to be treated as little generalists when children, absorbing bits of knowledge about everything from biology to social studies to geology. But then, as we grow older, we are encouraged to specialize. This might have been useful in decades past, but in our increasingly fast-paced and interdisciplinary world, lacking an even approximate knowledge of our surroundings is unwise.

(h/t barry)link

March 6, 2010

My Hero

Filed under: Mad Science,Maker — jasony @ 9:01 pm

This guy is my hero. When faced with a workplace lunchtime argument (you know, the kind we all have every day) of whether or not a lava lamp would work on Jupiter, he went home and built himself a 100 pound centrifuge, attached his accelerometer-equipped Android phone, and answered the question.

Now where is my giant treadmill and jet plane?

from his website:

The centrifuge is a genuinely terrifying device. The lights dim when it is switched on. A strong wind is produced as the centrifuge induces a cyclone in the room. The smell of boiling insulation emanates from the overloaded 25 amp cables. If not perfectly adjusted and lubricated, it will shred the teeth off solid brass gears in under a second. Runs were conducted from the relative safety of the next room while peeking through a crack in the door.

Give this guy an award.

Imperishable

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:37 am

out-of-the-park essay.

Untoon Me

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:12 am

Mr Burns, Untooned.

4409290253_19af1daab3_o.jpg

March 5, 2010

Addict

Filed under: Audio — jasony @ 1:38 pm

The 10 most addictive sounds in the world. link.

Still Doing Science

Filed under: Space/Astronomy — jasony @ 8:55 am

During the heyday of the Apollo missions, astronauts put smallish reflectors on the surface of the moon.

191431main_Apollo_laser_reflectorsmall.jpg

About the size of a large pizza box and covered in prisms, these reflectors have been used by Earthbound scientists for scientific study of the moon ever since. These scientists fire very precise lasers at the reflectors and measure the amount of time it takes for the reflections to return. Since they know the speed of light with extreme accuracy (and have very accurate clocks), they can measure the time it takes the reflection to return and thus determine how far away the moon is.

Did you know that the moon is moving away from us? True thing. Our celestial neighbor is spiraling away at a rate of about 38mm per year, or approximately the same rate as the continents drift or your thumbnail grows. Neat, huh? Or how about this for accuracy: the laser that scientists shoot at the moon is powerful, but the reflectors on the surface are so far away that they don’t catch all of the light that hits it on the rebound. Of the 10,000,000,000,000,000 photons (10 quadrillion) that leave the laser, only one will return, and that’s on a good day. The detectors have to be very accurate to pick up the reflection.

A big mystery that scientists are trying to solve about the reflectors is just why, after over three decades, are the mirrors becoming so much less efficient? Their reflectivity has dropped by an order of magnitude (10x), and, during a full moon, they drop an additional order of magnitude. The reflectors are as much as 100x less reflective today than they were when they were placed on the surface. In addition, during a total lunar eclipse (full moon going into the shadow of the Earth), the reflectors’ efficiency returns to normal levels (which eliminates any explanation of lunar dust on the lenses). Strangely, this effect didn’t happen when the reflectors were first insalled. Why? We don’t know, but there are theories.

It’s a bizarre mystery that tells us there are still many things left for us to lear about “that boring place we’ve already been”.

Star Trek: How it Should Have Ended

Filed under: Movies — jasony @ 8:19 am

March 4, 2010

Young Makers

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 12:15 pm

Dewey championed the need for children to be allowed to build real things, with real tools. Thus, when the kids decided they wanted to build a playhouse, they got some advice from teachers and did it themselves. A two story playhouse, custom furniture, complete with the appropriate building permits, designed and built by children under the age of 14. Jump forward 100 years and we have a generation of kids, many of whom may never be taught how to make things with their own hands. I’m not suggesting that we give a two year old a chainsaw (mine still has a plastic tool set), but that we acknowledge that, like playing an instrument, making is a skill which takes years to develop and is best started early.

AnneMarie Thomas- Thoughts on design, engineering, and education. A must-read if, like me, you believe in the culture of Makers, and that we’re losing touch with what it means to create with our own hands. Short, to the point, and worth the read.

March 2, 2010

Yeah, This is about to Go Viral

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 1:55 pm

March 1, 2010

Home from Sing

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 2:00 am

I’m back from the annual Sing show (which explains my lack of posting). The show was great and I’m very happy with everything (especially the fact that my parents got to see it! It’s been over 10 years since that happened). I’ll post more later after I do piles of laundry and sleep for a few days. I’ve said it before and I’ll defend it unto death: I have the greatest job in the world.

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