Saturday, December 01, 2007

Color-Change Coffee Mug

Coffee Mug Knows When You're Going To Burn Yourself - Gizmodo

You know, I never thought I needed a mug to tell me if the coffee was too hot, but now that I've seen this, I want one. That's super tech sexy.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Band Red

Band Red by KaitO

T gave this to me a long time ago. I thought the band would take off but apparently the hipsters couldn't handle post-britpop riot grrls. Ah well...

Grand Halls of Gilded Memories's a fun bit of surrealism to look back at the music you once adored, even if briefly, but rarely pull out now for mix tapes or even a quick listen.

Walter Mitty It For Me Please

Who are the Melissas? - Nitelife

Aw, my fake, party-hosting girlfriend is famous.

Drifting on the Void looking in...

Astronomers Find Stellar Cradle Where Planets Form - Science Daily

One night I will dream of floating in stellar and planetary nurseries. I will see the gases and colors and I will watch and plasma and rocks meld together into new forms. I will watch this all and wake up with the colors still in my eyes. This is the dream I want.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Typewriter Robot

Recycled Typewriter As Art - Robot Made from Old Parts - Trendhunter

Damn, they stole my work again! Those bastard DARPA guys always sneaking into my room at night, plugging into my brain and sucking out all of my ideas. Oh, I'll get them, them and their little dog too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Urban Policing

How Tech Almost Lost the War - And How We Still Might Win - Noah Shachtman, The Danger Room

It's interesting to note the recent spat of articles on the correlation between the number of officers in a city and the decline of crime during the 90s. What was found was an increase of officers typically did not correspond to a decrease in crime. What was found was that the integration of officers into communities had a highly positive effect where neighbors became comfortable being seen with and talking to the police. Once a rapport was established, the people began to help the police find the criminal hot spots and clear them out. The same has happened in areas of Iraq and typically it hasn't taken a new sort of weapon or some high-tech gear but a simple beat-cop approach to things. COIN operations call for this kind of action but it takes time and doesn't always promise results. The primary issue in this approach is that of trust--if the people you live around don't trust you then they won't provide the information needed to root out the criminal elements. Ham-handed and humiliating tactics are the exact opposite of what is required. The successes seen in the past few month are a testament to that. To reach anything approaching a stable environment for political action to take place such tactics need continue. The goal here is to pull out of Iraq as soon as possible and have no need to return five, ten or twenty years later. Hopefully this low-tech approach will allow this to happen.

Looking Over Shoulders

No More Clintons - publius, Obsidian Wings

Now I agree with publius and Andrew Sullivan on the idea that Hilary and Obama represent two sides of the liberal establishment; one that grew up constantly on the defensive against some intellectually strong arguments from conservatives, and another that has come of age after this and are no long afraid of conservative arguments since they no longer make any sense. Publius hits on another point that I had never considered before: that had Bill Clinton not screwed up with his sex life then we might not have had a George W. Bush presidency. And for B. Clinton to inject himself into the debate over who was against the Iraq War first is even more disturbing when you consider what he might do if his wife does win the presidency. Where is the line cut between First Husband and former president asserting his authority as such? I think a Hilary win will not give the left any significant advantage since Hilary will only push the most watered-down, moderate and popular ideas without having the balls to stand up to the Limbaugh-era conservatives. When put next to someone like Obama and the rest of the Republican field, you realize that Obama has the chance to not only take on the mantle of JFK but of Reagan as well. That kind of hopeful crossover vote is what this country needs right now, not a fight between those bitterly opposed to Hilary and whoever the right picks who will need bitter opposition as well. After eight years of polarization in the body politic it would be nice to have a campaign where hope is the leading idea of a Democratic contender while the status quo is all a Republican could run on. So here's to hoping.


And finally, to round out the night, a three song e.p. of a light fare. The first is world music, silly but interesting beats. The second is Vampire Weekend, displaying their knack for unevenness by producing one song (other than "Oxford Comma") that I like. And finally, Zookeeper, who surprisingly keeps no zoo, but an acoustic guitar instead. Enjoy.

Quarta IV

A quick mix of a few tracks by artist Gabriel Ananda. Yes, I know, German minimalist techno isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I find it good to float on occasionally.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Menomena - Wet & Rusting

I know this song already appeared on my audio dive playlist, but it's such a beautiful song and I've finally been able to stop listening to it and come out from under the desk. More please.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Damn Dirty Apes! Gorillas Use Weapons Vs. Humans - Sharon Weinberger, Danger Room via Wired

Well, I think that just about does it for humanity. I, for one, welcome our new ape overlords.

External Factors

Horatio Alger's IQ - Matt Yglesias

I'm not quite sure if I completely agree with Yglesias on the proposition that the majority of events in your life are completely out of your control. As much as people like to think of history as a tale of the macro society and civilization, it is also a tale of the personal and individual. Many factors go into each moment and some are in the realm of your control and some are not. You can detail to a great degree which is which but ultimately you don't really know until after it has happened. Hence the reason why even experts are poor predictors of the future. It's the future and it hasn't happened yet. I'll go to my grave remembering Hunt Tooley proclaiming to one of his classes in '89 that the Berlin wall will not fall in their lifetimes. That's just the nature of history and its relation to the individual. Randomness and luck are always options.

Put That Fire Out

DHS to Firefighters: Snoop on Emergency Victims for Evidence of Terrorism - Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this is probably the dumbest government-related item I will read all day. Unless Bush starts lobbing grenades at Iran...


Michelle's Move - Andrew Sullivan

Oh, I think that'll about do it for Hillary's 'I am woman, hear me roar' shtick.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Scouring the Pipes

Below is a skimmed list of the music I scavenged off the intertubes last week. Generally I use a combination of word-of-mouth recommendations, and the wonderful wilderness of Some of it I have already purchased in album form. Some of it isn't really that new either. But until I have absorbed and processed my audile efforts into mixed-tape form we will all have to do with a general alloy of sounds.

The Dissatisfied Inventor

Technology Innovation is Driven by Deep Dissatisfaction - Scott Karp, Publishing 2.0

Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.
-Florence Nightingale

Karp hits upon a fundamental element of any sort of progress from the old to the new: innovation requires someone thinking that it could be done better and then doing it. It's this rebellious attitude that drove the original developers of the internet to create a network of computers communicating with each other in the 60s and 70s to the first World Wide Web users looking for better ways to connect and use this new technology. Blaming the user will only get you so far. Yes, sometimes the user just needs to figure it out on their own, but that doesn't make up for a bad design or bad system. Firefox itself is a good example of some people saying, "Well yes, Internet Explorer works, but a browser could work better." A confusing or laborious interface will only push users further away, as it has done frequently with the Linux desktop. Once the more densely-minded programmers realize this all sorts of new technological adoptions will take place. It just takes people who are dissatisfied with what they have and believe something better is possible.

Dallas Music Eats Babies and Shoots Lasers from Its Eyes

Something I've wanted to do for a while but never had it in mind when it matter. Still, here it is, some of the better music from the Dallas area by bands (with the exception of Baboon) have all fallen by the wayside. Even so, this shows the greatness of Dallas music with it's own pecularities.

Across the Sea

Thoughts about the Writer's Strike - NaiveLondonGirl

I might disagree with her, but she does have an interesting perspective on what the WGA strike means to those who are trying to break into the industry. I support the writers but still, for someone standing on the outside wanting in, the strike might look like a bunch of punks asking for larger slices of pie. So remember all those friends of yours with scripts and skills of their own who haven't gotten their chance yet before you wholeheartedly support the WGA.

I don't see it...

How Do We Make Sense Of What We See - Science Daily

I do so love articles like this one. The interpretation of our perceptions is critical in how we respond to the physical world. One thing I wish the study had done was examine how color, or rather the interpretation of color, plays a role in assembling a logical picture of what we see.

Lotus and Hot Wheels Create Badass Concept - Gizmodo

It's only a 1:5 scale model but I still want to touch it. I can only imagine how cornering in this car is like. It's far too incredible not to build at least a prototype and let the guys from Top Gear take it out on their test track. I think the Stig could put it through its paces.

Probably Something Amazing...

Vrubel's Enigmatic Art Nouveau - Zoetica, Coilhouse

There's something dreamlike to the art of Mikhail Vrubel, an obscure Russian artist uncovered by Zoetica at Coilhouse. His paintings have a quality of Monet or Van Gogh yet the subject matter is that of mythic tales and fables. The painting of Pan seen here is closer to a ghostly Greek fable than the art of someone like Mucha or Klimt. The figures look weakened by something, as if caught in a moment of exhaustion. It's a strange sort of emotion provoked by Vrubel's work.
Each character has a fateful appearance and is posed in an anticipatory action. The movement occurs around them, but they themselves are caught in that movement. Destiny is a central theme it seems. I hope those like Zoetica are able to post more about artists such as Vrubel; those artists who fell between the great and popular. Their art had an influence on their respective movements, even if our minds remain unaware of it.