Friday, March 16, 2012


“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” - Seneca


Hi loyal peeps & tweeps!


Unless something untoward and sketchy happens, I’m switching my blog over to Tumblr. They’ve got better mobile tools and hopefully less formatting glitches.


I need to somehow archive this site so I can save it forever.


In the meantime I may cross-post while I evaluate the Tumblr site.


Anyhow, here’s my new address:

Sometimes I like reading reviews of terrible things

"Pearl Harbor is a two-hour movie squeezed into three hours, about how on Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese staged a surprise attack on an American love triangle. Its centerpiece is 40 minutes of redundant special effects, surrounded by a love story of stunning banality. The film has been directed without grace, vision, or originality, and although you may walk out quoting lines of dialog, it will not be because you admire them." - Roger Ebert


Someone came up with a device that will evaporate ink jet ink with a pulsed laser, thereby “unprinting” the paper.


"For a guy who doesn't keep a computer on his desk for security reasons, Barack Obama is fairly bullish on the use of technology. But if you're wondering why the previous few administrations didn't get the memo on the rise of the digital age, it might have been because their email was down."

When the president took office, his new IT manager quickly realized the previous administration must have been full of luddites. All the computers were old - the one Rahm Emmanuel got had a floppy drive (!!), and the White House email system was regularly down 40% of the time. There was no network redundancy at all, and every single aspect of the information technology was either gravely outdated or poorly implemented.

There was an intensive effort to replace the whole system in the first 40 days and now it's state of the art. Had any kind of real emergency taken place before that time, one that required computers to solve, the White House would have been cut off from the world.

You have to "get" technology today. It's not optional.


“According to John Gartner, a hypomania expert at Johns Hopkins, "Hypomanics are brimming with infectious energy, irrational confidence, and really big ideas. They think, talk, move, and make decisions quickly. Anyone who slows them down with questions 'just doesn't get it.' " A hypomanic, for example, might latch onto some triple-bank-shot scenario whereby he becomes president, find a precedent for it back in primordial times, and dismiss as clueless anyone who doesn't see the compelling logic.”

Newt Gingrich.


This is a young FDR, walking in the Navy ship yards during the construction of a ship he would later have to eulogize: The battleship Arizona.


“When [Floyd] had tired of official reports, memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one, he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers. He knew the codes of the more important ones by heart and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.


Each had its own two-digit reference. When he punched that, a postage-sized rectangle would expand till it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he finished he could flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.


Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man’s quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word “newspaper,” of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.”


– Arthur C. Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).



The iPad was released in 2010, two years after Clarke’s death.


One more interesting correlation between Apple products and 2001: The iPod was so named because someone thought the original model looked like the pods used in the spaceship Discovery.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hello, world!

Here’s how to get a computer to output the words “Hello, world!” using two popular computer languages:

In Java:

class Hello {

                         public static void main(String args[]) {

                        System.out.println(“Hello, world!”);



the same thing in Ruby:

print “Hello, world!”

That’s it, the entire executable. No wonder programmers love Ruby.


“Apple stock catapulted to new heights on Thursday, breaching the $600 barrier for the first time in the company's history as investors remain upbeat about this Friday's iPad launch.”


One month after it hit $500.

I Ate Two Dove Chocolates...

“Think of something that makes you smile”


And then


“Give yourself permission”


Well then.

Can you put?

Santa Jedi

Is this some kind of alien fashion from a Star Wars dignitary? No, it’s just a Liberace Christmas outfit from the 80’s.

Print is Officially Dead

It has been printed for 244 years straight. Encyclopaedia Brittanica is still a fantastic reference, the best there is. But the second you print one, it’s out of date. It’s very hard to compete with Wikipedia which is free an updated 24/7. But Brittanica was much higher quality, it’s articles are well vetted and written by many of the same people who have created or contributed in major ways to the subject being discussed. And this content will still be around, but up on the web and not in print. As sad as this is, another era coming to a close, it’s for the better.


Great Tee Shirt


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dr. Dave

A guy who I work with is having back surgery soon. Being an engineer, he knows the whole procedure that the surgeon will use and tells anyone who will listen all about it…he’s got YouTube videos, schematics, the whole lot.


As he was describing the procedure to the thousandth person, this guy looked at me and said “Hey you’ve probably heard this story quite a few times, being that you sit next to this guy…haven’t you?”


Yes. I’m pretty sure I could perform the operation.

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day. One of my heroes and one of the greatest minds of all time, Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan came up with this series for calculating Pi to a large number of decimal places in the early 20th century. To this day computers use variants of his series solutions to do the same thing but with much higher speed than Srinivasa could ever muster by hand.


Today there are many series that can converge on Pi rapidly and net you as many decimal places as you like. The current record is 2.7 Trillion digits. This is all just academic of course, there are no practical uses for accuracies of Pi greater than a half-dozen decimal points.


One novel solution is called the Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe (BBP) formula, which allows you to calculate a single specified digital bit of Pi without having to calculate all the previous bits. Just for fun, mathematicians have used the BBP to calculate the Quadrillionth bit of Pi (hint, it’s zero).


Underneath all this useless gameplay, Pi is a very useful number. It is used to calculate a great many geometrical problems…you can’t build a bridge or fly a rocket without Pi.


Along with other irrational numbers like the square root of 2, Pi gave no end of frustration to the Pythagoreans who thought that the universe was perfect and therefore should not have numbers that cannot be written out in full or represented by a ratio. Our language has trapped the word irrational in its modern meaning, but initially irrational meant simply that a number could not be expressed as a ratio. Ir-ratio-nal. Today, thanks to the Pythagoreans, it means something akin to illogical. To them perhaps it was, but we now know that the Pythagorean world-view was full of shit.


To give further mystique to our favorite constant, Pi was proven in the 1880’s to be transcendental as well. A transcendental number is a number, complex or otherwise, that is not the root of a non-constant polynomial equation with rational coefficients…in other words, Pi is a non-algebraic number. Too bad Pythagoras didn’t know that, it would have really pissed him off. I mean, thanks for the cool theorem, Pythagoras, but in your leisure time you pretty much hamstrung science for two thousand years. It wasn’t until Kepler came along in the 16th century and smashed through the tainted logic of the “Five perfect solids” that science got traction again. Bad Pythagoras. Bad boy.


There is a great Pi-related twist at the end of the Carl Sagan book Contact that hints that the basic structure of the universe may have been altered by very intelligent alien beings (or a god perhaps, but at that level the two would be indistinguishable to us) , who long-ago inserted a message in the form of a specific numerical pattern deep inside Pi, which is to say that they wrote the message into space-time itself and therefore into Pi, which is anchored to the geometry of the universe. This pattern was very deep (on the order of 10^20 decimal places) and only evident when Pi was calculated in Base-11, which itself is a jolting indicator that these beings would have been very different from us - we use Base-10 mathematics because we have 10 fingers…seriously, I kid you not…and computers use Base-2 because transistors have two states. No numerical base system is any better than any other, it’s a matter of preference. A being who used Base-11 math would probably have a very different physical form than we humans, if it had a physical form at all. They would have to be intelligent beyond both our imagination and our comprehension. In this case they had “timed” the release of this knowledge by placing the message deep enough into Pi that it required significant technology to find it. What it means, Carl never told us. This twist never made it into the movie, but it was brilliant and chilling.


And although Pi day doesn’t need any more street cred, Einstein was born on 3/14.


So happy 3.141592653589793238462643383279…

Not Even Shaq!

Fast Company:

Apple is one of the few companies that treats celebrities, sports stars, and authors like normal human beings. Fast Company spoke with a few notable humans who have asked Apple for a new toy before its formal release - and came away with a few funny stories.

NBA star Shaquille O'Neal said he frequently called Steve Jobs to ask for an iPhone 4 before it was released to the public. Jobs responded "Shaq, I can't, I can't, I can't." Author William Gibson, on the other hand, never reached out to Apple but wondered if the company would reach out to him some day. He told Fast Company, "I used to imagine that they might call me, one day, but I don't think they work that way, and the story about Shaq seems to bear that out! I've never owned a computer that wasn't Apple. I started with a IIc. I am never very up to date, though, on tech products, though many people expect me to be." So rest assured, the only people getting a "new iPad" sooner than you are those in a different time zone.

That's not entirely true. I know for a fact that Jobs gave Obama an iPad 2 before its release and I imagine there are some other lucky ones. Steve probably knew Shaw would show it to everyone he knows and give away the surprise.

Almost Free


iPad: From nothing to front/center at security briefings in two years


For All Mankind

"The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) zeroed in on Mare Tranquillitatis, or the Sea of Tranquility - the place where humans first touched down on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969. The new image from LRO captures amazing details of the historic site, even revealing the remnants of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin's first steps on the moon."

Awesome. In all, the astronauts in this first foray on the moon walked less than one city block.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


15 Years ago, an IBM supercomputer called “Deep Blue” beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov. Deep Blue was about the size of a refrigerator, a “massively parallelized” system with 30 main processor nodes and 480 custom-purpose VLSI digital signal processing chips. It cost millions of dollars to design and build. Deep Blue was a stunningly powerful machine and it beat Kasparov through the sheer brute force of its calculation engines, which could play out literally millions of possible counter moves in the blink of an eye.


If you have a new generation 3 iPad, congratulations. You now hold in your hand the power of Deep Blue.

Jonathon Ive, Senior VP Product Design at Apple

Q: What are your goals when setting out to build a new product?

A: Our goals are very simple — to design and make better products. If we can’t make something that is better, we won’t do it.


The new iOS icons for iPad are larger than the entire original Mac screen!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Guess what we're dealing with again???


“What I dislike most about Twitter is finishing a good tweet, having -1 characters left and having to decide which grammar crime to commit.”

Beautiful photos of the interiors of musical instruments...



Tweets per minute containing the word “iPad” during the Apple keynote Wednesday.


“Unchecked Supper PAC fundraising and spending has resulted in an increasingly divisive political climate, with 54 percent of all money spent on opposition, mostly in the form of attack ads.”

Citizens United was a very, very bad idea. Elections are now out of the hands of the people and in the pockets of large corporations and billionaires.


I had never given any money to any candidate until 2008 when I gave a little donation to Obama. Looks like this time I’m going to have to dig deep and break the bank for him, my meager money is now going up against the Koch brothers and BP.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

True Dat

from Daring Fireball:
Tim Cook's closing remarks at the iPad launch yesterday:
“Only Apple could deliver this kind of innovation, in such a beautiful, integrated, and easy-to-use way. It’s what we love to do. It’s what we stand for. And across the year, you’re going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started.”
Here’s the thing: he was right. To pretend otherwise you have to put your head in the sand (or some other hole).
Cook’s remarks may be immodest, but they are not hyperbole. No other company could today produce something like this new iPad. Not at these prices, at these quantities, at a worldwide scope, with a content ecosystem and user experience of the iPad’s quality. Apple is in a league of its own, and the iPad exemplifies it.
Two years after announcing the original iPad, Apple has produced a version that simply blows that original model away in every single regard. It’s faster, it’s thinner, it feels better in hand, it supports LTE networking, and yet battery life is better. The retina display is simply astounding to behold. Eight days from today they’re shipping a product that two years ago would have been impossible at any price, and they’ve made it look easy.
Nothing is guaranteed to last. The future’s uncertain and the end is always near. Apple’s position atop the industry may prove fleeting. But right now, Apple is Secretariat at the Belmont. And the company, to a person, seems hell-bent on not letting any competitor catch up.


This is James Cameron's new toy, a one-man (him) submarine with a working depth that will allow it to go anywhere in the ocean - even down to the very deepest spot on Earth, the slot canyon known as Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench (some 36,070 ft, much deeper than an inverted Everest). Challenger Deep has only been visited by humans once before, in 1960, and then only briefly. James will be able to stay down there for hours.

Incidentally, Challenger Deep is named after the first ship to sound that area in 1875, the HMS Challenger, which is also the namesake of our Space Shuttle Challenger.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

You don't read this every day

“After experimenting on protozoa, rats, and his eight children…”

One of the funnier recent Onion headlines

"Road-Kill Squirrel Remembered As Frantic, Indecisive"

Carbonite Backup

"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady," Carbonite CEO David Friend said. "Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse."

That’s awesome. Sponsors are leaving Rush like he’s got the plague. He’s lost over half of them already. I heard his website has had no ads on it for a few days now. I’ve hated that bigoted gas bag for more years than I can count. It’s good to see his raving lunacy finally called out in spectacular fashion.

If I didn’t have 3TB of data up in CrashPlan I’d switch to Carbonite tomorrow.


"While rumors of iPad 3 shipments already being en route having been circulating for some time now, we're now hearing from shipping representatives at other companies who are having a difficult time even getting their products shipped over to the United States from China as Apple's preparations for the iPad 3 launch have significantly squeezed the air freight industry."

Happy Potatoes


Roaming Around

China Mobile is the world's largest telephone company, by far. They've currently got 655 million active subscribers.

That's more than twice the population of the US, every man, woman, and child.

One thing they don't have yet is iPhone. Well, not officially. You see, China Mobile just announced that there are 15 million iPhones on its network despite that fact that they don't sell the phone. So 15 million people are using unlocked iPhones on the CM network. Can you imagine how many they'll have next year when they get the iPhone to sell? Foxconn better build another factory.

The Problem We All Live With

“A Norman Rockwell Painting, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, which depicts a powerful image from the civil rights struggle, has been hung outside the oval office. The picture shows a six-year-old girl named Ruby Bridges being escorted into a newly integrated New Orleans school. The wall behind the child is daubed with racist graffiti and a splattered tomato lies on the ground near her.”


That’s very cool of the president to do. I think it’s uncomfortable for many Americans to face the reality and extent of discrimination in our country. And we still have quite a ways to go.


Incidentally, I wish I could just make a phone call and get a Norman Rockwell hung up in my house.

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta

Sweet car.

A Bandit Hat

There’s a scene in Fantastic Mr. Fox where the son Ash, constantly bested by his do-no-wrong cousin Kristofferson, can’t take it anymore and his jealousy spills out. His father takes Kristofferson on his chicken-stealing adventures and Ash never gets invited. Kristofferson got a cool bandit hat from Ash’s dad and got invited on another raid where they were shot at by the farmer, while Ash had to make a bandit hat from an old sock and try to sneak in to the adventure.


Finally, Ash yells:


“How come I didn’t get a bandit hat?!?!?! … How come I didn’t get shot at?!?!”


Sometimes when Zach complains it sounds to me exactly like Ash so whenever he says something like:


“Dad, how come I only got one candy and Brooke got two?”


I say back:


“How come I didn’t get a bandit hat?!?!?! … How come I didn’t get shot at?!?!”


Despite the fact that this irritates him to no end, he cannot stop laughing. It is so funny to connect those two because Ash is exactly who he sounds like.


The other day Zach and Brooke and I were in the living room and Zach said:


“How come I never get to watch MY show?!?”


Just then Brooke looks up from her crayon drawing and says:


“How come I didn’t get a bandit hat?!?!”


We all just about died laughing. Zach had to bury his face in the couch to try to hide his laughter from us.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Babbling Brooke

Brooke was helping Heather fold laundry today...

Mommy: Thanks for helping me woman!

Brookie: Don't call me that, that's not nice!!!

Mommy: Ok, thanks for helping me chicken!

Brookie: You're welcome Mommy :0)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

In common

Obama is not a brown-skinned, anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus.
-- John Fugelsang

Friday, March 2, 2012

Totoro by Zach

The Real Impact of Technology

GigaOM founder Om Malik gave his iPad 2 to his mother in India so she could FaceTime with her grandson:

"It didn't matter how it was happening - just that she could talk to her grandson who was oceans apart from her. If there ever was a moment that captured the emotion in a piece technology, that was it. The look on her face made me realize how lucky I am to write about an industry that makes such things possible. I also thought to myself, maybe somewhere Steve Jobs is smiling too."

The reason we need professional movie critics


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Actual street sign in White Lake MI


Incredible phenomena will occur...

Illinois was hit with an EF4 (preliminary rating) tornado this week, which killed 6 people and did untold millions in damages.

Here’s what an EF4 rating means. Meteorologists use the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale to grade tornadoes based on their estimated wind speeds. Wind speeds are not measured (because measurement equipment is not around when a tornado touches down, plus it would be very dangerous to make a measurement) they are estimated based on the kind of damage the tornado causes.

An EF4 is a very powerful beast, the second most powerful rating. The EF scale does not indicate tornado size, but there is a correlation between wind speed and size, generally the size goes up as the EF rating does. There have been EF5 tornados measured at a mile wide. Tornados also get faster as they get bigger, a large one can move across the land at more than 70 MPH and travel more than 200 miles.

Here are the ratings, along with their observed types of damage:

EF0: 65-85 mph. Light damage. Some damage to chimneys; branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees pushed over; signboards damaged.

EF1: 86-110 mph. Moderate damage. Peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos blown off roads.

EF2: 111-135 mph. Considerable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars overturned; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground.

EF3: 136-165 mph. Severe damage. Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown.

EF4: 166-200 mph. Devastating damage. Well-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown away some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.

EF5: 200+ mph. Incredible damage. Strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters (109 yds); trees debarked; incredible phenomena will occur.

The Senator

"Because Florida is running out of unique ways to embarrass itself, a 26-year old meth enthusiast set fire to and destroyed the world's fifth oldest tree last month. While she was in it. Smoking meth.

Sarah Barnes had climbed the tree to smoke, because where better to get high than in the branches of a 118-foot, 3,500 year old cypress? The fire in question came when she wanted to get a better view of her surroundings. "The Senator," as the tree was known, was burned to the ground.

The good news is that Barnes seemed sufficiently chastened by the whole thing, reportedly telling friends that 'I can't believe I burned down a tree older than Jesus.' Neither can he, Sarah. Neither can he."


'Text message autocorrect may not often lead to more than mildly comical mishaps, but today one instance of an unintended correction spread fears about a possible gunman and led to the lockdown of two Georgia schools, Gainesville Times reports. Police say that the text message, which was sent to the wrong phone number, was supposed to say "gunna be at west hall today" but was instead changed to "gunman be at west hall today." The recipient then passed on the message to the police, who coordinated a lockdown at West Hall middle and high schools. The lockdown was later cancelled after authorities traced the message to a student and discovered that there was no actual threat."

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RIP Davy

"Justin Bieber stole my haircut and Axl Rose stole my dance moves!" -Davy Jones

Biting Down

"It turns out that T. rex's physical size might not have been the only thing we underestimated. A new study suggests that the king of apex predators may have also possessed the most powerful jaws in history.

The study was conducted by a team at the University of Liverpool which employed a new estimation method by reverse-engineering the animal's bite force-much the same way dinosaurs' running speeds have been determined from indirect evidence. Previous estimates put the T. rex's bite force in the 8,000 to 13,400 Newton-range. However, using the updated models, the team estimated that T. rex may have chomped down on its prey with as much as 57,000 Newtons of force."

Compared to scaled-up versions of skulls from other predators, nothing else even came close. 57,000 N is about 13,000 lbs of force. That's biting down on something with a force equivalent to the weight of a full-grown male African elephant.

I Heart NPR

From the NPR Ethics Handbook:

At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been considered and represented fairly.

That’s why I love NPR, they are the only news you can trust (possible exception: BBC when they report on America as outsiders). Most news sources simply report both sides of a story, even if one side has enormous evidence (evolution, or global warming, say) and the other has but a few crackpots holding up a shoddy scaffolding of deceit. So the consumer of the news comes away feeling like both sides are equally legitimate. Which is almost never the case in reality. Be fair to the truth.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Party Like It's 1699

I usually hate advice columns but this lady's question is so incredibly medieval that I love the smackdown answer she gets.

Pregnant Teacher: My daughter's fourth-grade teacher is unmarried and pregnant. Although she is a fantastic educator, kids at that age are bound to ask questions and are old enough that you cannot placate them with a simple answer. I asked her teacher what she told the children about her condition. She told me that she informed them she was pregnant (she is due in June, so this was obvious) and that was it. I asked her if she planned to keep the baby. She told me that was her business alone and she is not obligated to explain her marital status or plans with her child to me or anybody else. I feel that this woman has significant exposure and influence over my child and my questions were perfectly acceptable. Should I take this to the principal or switch classrooms? My husband thinks we should drop it, but I don't want my daughter to get the impression that single motherhood is acceptable.

As long as you were asking, I'm surprised you didn't inquire as to her favorite sexual position. Your comments were so far over the line that the teacher's proper and measured response to you indicates just how good she must be at handling unruly children. The lesson you want to teach your daughter is that you treat everyone with respect, so you should take your husband's advice and drop this completely. 

But we really already knew this, didn't we?

"Does the size of your bank account influence how ethically you behave? A new study out this week from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests just that.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the study found upper-class individuals to be much more likely to partake in unethical behavior than their more financially-deprived counterparts. In one experiment, the researchers recorded the behavior of 274 drivers at a four-way intersection near a downtown Berkeley intersection. The results? Drivers with the priciest cars were four times as likely as drivers of the least expensive cars to cut others off. Interestingly, as the Times points out, "[t]he discrepancy was even greater when it came to a pedestrian trying to exercise a right of way."

Other experiments showed that those of higher socioeconomic status were also more likely to pocket extra change handed to them by mistake, cheat to win a prize and, yes, even take candy from a child, according to the LAT recap.

But what some might explain away as behavior learned through social upbringing doesn't appear to hold up in the study's findings. The researchers say that anyone who suddenly joins the top 1 percent—by, say, winning the lottery—is prone to shift toward unethical behavior.

One reason for the correlation may be that the rich are less dependent on social bonds for survival, in turn putting their self-interest first while holding fewer qualms for behaving badly toward others, the researchers suggested."


The Artist is the first silent movie to win best picture in 83 years. I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard it’s really good. And I am a fan of silent movies in general.

The Right Height

Asked by the AP reporter if he follows NASCAR, Romney responded, "Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans. But I have some great friends who are NASCAR team owners."


"Mitt Romney's speech this afternoon to the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field started off poorly with an embarrassingly below-capacity crowd and only got worse when he made a couple of awkward gaffes towards the end. First, he repeated his bizarre and widely-mocked line about liking Michigan because 'the trees are the right height.' Then, he played into the out-of-touch patrician narrative he's trying to shed when he said his wife drives not one, but "a couple of Cadillacs.'"

This guy doesn't have a clue, does he? I actually laugh out loud every time he painfully reveals yet again just how out of touch with the average American he is.


I went yesterday to Zach’s consultation appointment at the orthodontist. My gosh has that field changed since I had my braces. Gone are the metal bands, everything is transparent and glued on - and his retainer will be internal on the bottom. They don’t pull teeth now except in extreme cases. This is something that was standard practice when I got my braces. Now they just shift your entire landscape back into place. They said this can really change your appearance…I hope not too much as I like Zach’s face the way it is J


The office of this guy is way cool too, completely open floorplan where you can see the entire place. Gourmet coffee, treats. Multiple video game stations. He gives out tokens for good brushing habits that can be spent on buying toys. And if you wear the tee shirt they give you to your appointment you get extra tokens. Likewise if you do community service. He buys back Halloween candy for $2 a pound. Oh, and every patient gets a toothbrush the likes of which I have never seen: It’s got Bluetooth technology that times and grades your brushing “experience”.


Of course this stuff isn’t free, but adjusted for inflation it looks to be about the same price my braces were and all my orthodontist ever gave me was a sore jaw.

Checking In

"A lot of effort goes into manufacturing condoms that are comfortable and effective, but that doesn't do anyone any good if no one wears them. So some well-intentioned goober has decided to slap QR codes onto condom wrappers so you can check in every time you, uhh, unwrap one."

New Speak

GOP: Thinking everyone should be able to go to college: snob. Thinking my religion should decide if you get birth control: freedom.

A Little Off The Top

“1561: French surgeon Ambroise Paré publishes La méthode curative des playes et fractures de la teste humaine, or Treatment method for wounds and fractures of the human head.


Surgery, in Paré’s time, was considered a low profession and very few physicians deigned to practice it. Barbers, oddly enough, were often called upon to do the actual cutting and Paré received his early training as a barber-surgeon. His subsequent success played a big role in elevating the profession.”


Brain Dead

The future of farming chickens?


“André Ford has presented a very radical solution increase the efficiency and humaneness in raising poultry. Under his plan, birds would have their frontal cortexes surgically severed, rendering the animals permanently unconscious with no zero sensory input while maintaining their lower brain functions—breathing and such—so that they continue to grow.”


In general, the trend in food production is to get further and further away from nature.  It won’t be long before they can just grow meat in a factory, mark my words.


Personally, I’m not convinced this is a good idea, particularly because I know they’ll start adding all kinds of new hormones and chemicals to increase production and we’ll end up eating them. And I can’t imagine any of these things would taste good either.

Superconducting Qubits

The world of quantum computing is getting closer every month. IBM is running algorithms on experimental devices such as this that can tap into the crazy world of Quantum Mechanics and store multiple data states simultaneously. According to IBM, they are about ready to scale these up big time. Quantum computers will provide computing power that is orders of magnitude beyond what any conventional computer can do today.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Speaking at the launch of new enterprise hardware at an event in Twickenham, West London today, the president of Dell’s enterprise solution group Brad Anderson said: ‘We’re no longer a PC company, we’re an IT company.’”

First HP and now Dell…the whole PC industry is collapsing…well, the non-Apple part anyhow.


“Internet speeds in six East African countries will be unexpectedly throttled for up to two weeks after a ship erroneously anchored in restricted waters outside Kenya, damaging one of three major fiber optic links that supply high-speed web access to the region in the process.”

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Heather's rearview mirror

The Onion is Jealous

“An Indiana lawmaker who opposes celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts of America says the group ‘sexualizes’ young girls, promotes homosexuality and is a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood.”


Guess which party this nutcase belongs to…you really couldn’t make this stuff up.


Geordie Rose has a Ph.D. in quantum physics, and he’s also a world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a Canadian national champion wrestler, and founder of D-Wave, the world’s first quantum computer company.


“I’m not okay with losing at anything."


Can you imagine the drive this guy must have?

Robert Pershing Wadlow

Born today in 1918. The tallest person ever recorded at 1 inch shy of 9 feet. He only lived to age 22 and was still growing furiously at the time of his death (which was caused by an infected sore from one of his leg braces).


“Wadlow was a 6-footer at the age of 8. At 10, he was 6 feet, 5 inches and weighed 210 pounds. At 13, he was ‘the world’s tallest Boy Scout,’ standing 7 feet, 4 inches. He was 17 when he topped 8 feet”.


Autopsy revealed, no surprise, that he had a pituitary gland defect that produced excess growth hormone. Today this condition would probably be corrected early on, which is why most of the tallest people in the world now are in third world countries.


The current tallest living person is 8 inches shorter that Robert was.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maddie: "Can people live past fifty?"


"Russian scientists say they've revived a plant that had been tucked away by an arctic ground squirrel 32,000 years ago on the tundra of northeastern Siberia."

Friday, February 17, 2012

The iPhone pepper spray case just seems like a really terrible idea...



I know ever since my James Webb Space Telescope article you’ve been wondering what a Lagrange point orbit really looks like.


Here are a couple of pictures to clear things up.


The first shows the five Lagrange points with respect to the Sun and Earth. Lagrange points are locations in space where gravitational forces and the orbital motion of a body balance each other. This allows the body to remain in one place with respect to the Earth and Sun. In the diagram, the Webb telescope will be inserted into the L2 point which is about a million miles from Earth. As you can see, this location keeps the Sun and Earth always on one side of the telescope, allowing the use of just one heat shield and dramatically simplifying orbital positioning, control over the sun’s light,  and data transfer back to Earth.


The telescope will be in a very large orbit AROUND the L2 point, but with a very particular kind of orientation called a “halo orbit”. Basically that means the orbit will be such that it is perpendicular to the Earth-Sun orbital plane and will look like a halo over the Earth.


"You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly." - Prominent Rick Santorum Super PAC booster Foster Friess

This is the kind of medieval thought we’re dealing with here. That group of Catholic bishops too. They don’t even try to hide their contempt for women.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


For sure this must be the most difficult Foursquare badge to get…you can only snag it if you check-in at the International Space Station.


“A new study suggests that people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet have less small blood vessel damage in the brain.”

Not even sure what this means, but I’m going to keep drinking olive oil J




Brooke was watching Cosmos with me last night (yeah, it’s still good). She looked at Sagan and said:


“He still got his work clothes on!”


Brooke said this right before she fell asleep last night, referring to the back scratcher that I don't let her play with because it's very sharp:

"Why you call that not play-thing a back tickler?"

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Science of Purring



Check out this cool stroller. Not only does it look better than any baby-carrying device I’ve ever seen, but one wheel hub contains a generator that can charge you cell phone!



Filming the famous bomb drop scene in Strangelove

New Reality

“Have you ever walked around an 19th century (or earlier) graveyard? It gives you a depressing snapshot of the old reality: so many young women dead in childbirth, so many children reaped by diseases. We've been fortunate, we residents of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, that so many of those lethal conditions are treatable, and we're mostly able to live without fear of our children dying in our arms.

But here in the United States, we may have been living in a brief window of time in which treatments are both available and affordable, and are moving into an era where they're available, but only the lucky top few percent are actually available to take advantage them.”

Laborers riding to work in Monterrey, Mexico


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sore Finger

A National Geographic photographer shoots 20,000 to 60,000 images on assignment. Of those, perhaps a dozen will be published in the article. 

One of my favorite pics of Darwin


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Babbling Brooke 2/11/12

"Fly-lash" = Flashlight

Friday, February 10, 2012