The Big Think

September 27, 2012

BlueRay 3d Printer

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 9:20 pm

Formlabs creates Blu-ray based prosumer 3D printer

Nice to see the tech advancing! And quickly. Very quickly.

Priorities

Filed under: Current Reading,Disclosure,Education — jasony @ 8:06 pm

Money, Fear & Happiness in America

How Far We Have Traveled in Four Years

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:51 pm

Is it just me or have our expectations of what a president is supposed to be doing

slipped?

September 26, 2012

A Conversation With Randall Munroe, the Creator of XKCD – Megan Garber – The Atlantic

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 8:35 pm

A Conversation With Randall Munroe, the Creator of XKCD

Dirt Cheap Vacuum Former

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 7:57 pm

MAKE | Dirt Cheap Vacuum Former

Free! Very clever and cool.

Laser Pointer

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Science,Space,Technology — jasony @ 6:20 pm

Laser Pointer

I love these weekly “what if?” posts.

September 25, 2012

Time Me

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 11:08 pm

Proposed 4-dimensional crystal clock will keep perfect time even after the heat death of the universe

September 21, 2012

Tell All

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 3:05 pm

An Interview with Teller.

Contraption

Filed under: Games,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 2:20 pm

September 20, 2012

Quoth

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 8:46 am

“It’s amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness.

People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.”

Penn Jillette

The uncomfortable implication here is this: if I accept the truth of the first part of this statement (govt. transferring wealth for “compassion” reasons is immoral), then I have to live up to the call contained in the second part of this statement (then I must then do something about hunger and need in the world myself). This isn’t a cheap excuse to get government off our backs at no cost, but a real call to personal action in the place of government action.

I have a friend who makes up small plastic baggies of supplies for homeless people (containing toothbrushes, socks, food, water, etc) and hands those out at street corners to people in need. She’s living out her faith in a tangible way. It’s a great way of making a small impact that, if multiplied by 300 million, would transform society. That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Personal responsibility in lieu of action-by-proxy via government redistribution. Kudos to her.

Step up.

September 19, 2012

Replicator 2

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 3:35 pm

MakerBot Replicator™ 2 Desktop 3D Printer

The tech just keeps getting better and better. Unfortunately, the price keeps pace. When I first started saving the average price for a 3d printer was around $1000. This version of the Replicator clocks in at $2200 with the dual color version coming in at $2800! On the plus side, though, the print resolution has gotten much better and they’re making headway on the software-usability front, so on balance I’d call it a win. The cheaper ones are still available but new ones are a huge improvement. Isn’t that always the case?

Had a setback in the MakerBot account a few months ago due to medical reasons, so I’m back at the $350 mark.

For The Love of Flying Squirrels…

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 3:34 pm

…if you value your time, do not read today’s XKCD.

You have been warned.

Better, zoomable view here.

Randall Munroe is an internet hero today.

A Love Story in 22 Pictures

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 9:06 am

Wonder why my screen suddenly went all blurry…

A Love Story in 22 Pictures.

Makers and Takers

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 7:31 am

An ever-shrinking number of Americans finance an ever-growing proportion of the government’s budget. The tax code is becoming steadily more progressive, which shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands power politics. It’s always easier to force sacrifice on an unpopular minority than it is to ask the majority to pony up.

Why is this bad? Leave aside the question of whether a tax system this lopsided is fair — and by the way, it’s not — and consider a more practical question: Does it work?

Not for long. Like everyone else, rich people respond to incentives. Ask the thousands of high earners who’ve fled California in recent years for Scottsdale and Jackson Hole. Betting the budget on a small, highly mobile group of people doesn’t constitute responsible economic planning.

But that’s not the biggest problem. The scariest effect of a tax code that passes over the bottom half of the population is what happens to that 50 percent. People tend to cherish and take care of the things they pay for and therefore own, countries included. The opposite it also true. When was the last time you changed the oil in a rental car?

There will always be some who for whatever reason find themselves dependent on the charity of others [and, before the inevitable decrying begins, I’ll say that we have a responsibility to the genuinely needy- a responsibility that the Church long ago abdicated, to its shame]. But when half the population is along for the ride, the system becomes dangerously out of balance. Things fall apart.

This isn’t right-wing theorizing. Decent neighborhoods collapse this way. So do whole societies.

…Many Americans sense this, and not just conservatives but independents and hard-working Democrats and anyone else who understands the degrading and destabilizing effects of dependency.

link

September 18, 2012

Reach

Filed under: Business,Disclosure,Friends — jasony @ 10:28 pm

A note I just received:

My friend getting married… is now a teacher in Houston. The school district gave them STEMscopes [the Rice project I’ve worked on for over a year] as a resource and she called me today because she saw your name attached to the one about Matter she used in class and wanted to verify it was the REAL Jason Young. HOW AWESOME! Hope that makes your day, it did mine!

Yes, it did! Thanks, Stephanie!

A Little Light Reading

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 4:59 am

Shultz, Boskin, Cogan, Meltzer and Taylor: The Magnitude of the Mess We’re In

September 15, 2012

Mania Is A Curable Affliction (or: Would Someone Please Quantize The Drummer?)

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 9:15 am

So what was the fuss all about anyway?

I’ve done a fair amount of studio work to know that studio time is when you get everything right. If you have a project to complete, you want to make sure that all of your performances are as good as they can be because, as the saying goes, film is forever (or vinyl, or cds, or mp3s or whatever). If it wasn’t right you redo it. This goes double if you know millions of people are going to listen to your end product. I just finished a project that might have upwards of a million listeners throughout its lifespan, so you can bet that I did my very best to make sure that every aspect of it- the performances, the sounds, the mixes, the vocalists- were as high quality as the budget allowed, and I wrote some of the largest checks of my professional life to make sure that the vocalists were as good as possible. Film is forever and my audience was worth the work.

So I’m listening to a track from the Beatles’ mid-period right now and thinking about how so many Baby Boomers worship at the altar of John, Paul, George, and what’s-his-name. One thing I’ve noticed is that the drum track- the drum track, for crying out loud, the track that acts as the foundationally foundational foundation of the rest of the song- drifts in and out of time as if it’s being played by someone with a pair of rubber sticks attached to their elbows with sodden bungee cords. As if I’m playing it.

I’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers where he talks about the Beatles and how they gigged for years and years in obscurity to perfect their sound. How they labored in the salt mines of Hamburg to bring us the Holy Grail That Is Rock and how they were greatly responsible for modern music and we’d all still be hopeless squares without them so bow down, bow down.

But I don’t see it.

The song I’m listening to starts at 114bpm and within two measures drops to 108bpm. stays there for a while without commitment and then meanders around 112 like it’s early for a train and needs to wander around the platform looking for a bathroom. It’s horrible. I know anyone can have a bad day, and obviously these guys could play (Sgt. Pepper, blah-blah-blah), but even with the clunky 1960’s studio technology, if you lay down a drum track and it varies by 6bpm you lay down another track. Film is forever.

Or maybe they should have just kicked old Groucho out of the band.

September 14, 2012

Small World

Filed under: Science — jasony @ 7:59 pm

In world’s first, atomic force microscope sees chemical bonds in individual molecules (w/ video)

Check out the pics!

Big Thinking

Filed under: Space,Technology — jasony @ 11:00 am

MAKE | The Rockwell International Integrated Space Plan

September 13, 2012

Mars

Filed under: Space — jasony @ 8:17 pm

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