Tuesday, December 16, 2008
An Infinite Loop in the Brain
on Spiegel Online written by Samiha Shafy
Reading it reminded me (ironic, I know) that I heard about Jill Price last spring on NPR. She also has a book out.
NPR story (read or listen) Blessed and Cursed by an Extraordinary Memory
The name of Jill Price's book is The Woman Who Can't Forget.
I was going to link to Amazon but their web site has become ridiculous, and you can find and buy the book anywhere you want to; it's none of my business. It's not like I'm getting a kick back from Amazon or anything like that. Enjoy!
"When NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory News Services manager Veronica McGregor was tasked with delivering word of the agency's first-ever robotic landing on Mars during a holiday weekend, she turned to the social-networking Web site."
Read the Discovery story: Phoenix Twittered from Mars!
Monday, December 15, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
"What's interesting about glycolaldehyde is how easily it combines with a three-carbon sugar to produce ribose, the building blocks of DNA and RNA, which carry genetic information for living things. "
Read more at Discovery.com
Monday, November 17, 2008
A couple of weeks ago I received mail from The International Library of Poetry (poetry.com) giving me access to an exclusive offer.
I knew it was a mistake giving them my mailing address…
Apparently my poem has made it into the semi-finals in their “International Open Poetry Contest.” Yay, I’m not surprised, and it’s not because I’m confident in my ability (I’ve haven’t won a single contest entered). They want some of my scratch.
They sent a proof for me to look over and correct. There is one small typo on a quotation mark that wasn’t in the text I submitted; I know because I looked at it closely before I submitted it online. Besides, the quotation mark was there on the website when they tried to get me to buy a friggin’ plaque (See the screen capture from my post, Poetry Contest part 2). Also, I use the word “Hell”, and they changed it to “H***”. Really? I thought this was poetry for adults, not a children’s book.
Their saving grace (that speaks to a false sense of genuineness) is a disclaimer statement that says I have no obligation to send any money; my poem is still in the running. However, the typos seem to urge me to contact them. Hmm, what to do?
Let me bring to light the offers involved. First they offer me the opportunity to preorder the compilation ($49.95 plus $9.00 s&h) in which I would be printed, should I win, “Immortal Verses” - barf - that is an awful title. Previous compilation titles include, “The Promise of Dawn”, “A Symphony of Verse”, and “Tranquil Rains of Summer”. Does it get any worse than the tranquil rains of summer? It was a dark and stormy night…
But there are more offers to offer. Because I’m new to the International Society of Poetry I can order a “Limited Edition Protective Slipcover” embossed with gold leaf, with or without my name engraved on it. That’s $19.95 each, plus $5.00 s&h or with my name $25.95 plus $5.00 s&h.
Also along with the corrected proof, I have the additional opportunity to add an “Artist’s Profile”, basically a bio. However, in the final printed book, since the poem is set to take up one page, the bio must be printed on an opposing page at a nominal fee (at an undisclosed cost).
I suppose that I will return the corrected proof and see what happens. What else could they offer me? Engrave my poem onto a gold plate and shoot it into space? I might like that. I’ll post here the results…stay tuned.
Friday, November 14, 2008
wikipedia article on CAPTCHA. If you're also wondering what C-A-P-T-C-H-A stands for, it's in the article. BTW, I'll write a post on Alan Turing someday; he was truly a man thinking into the future.
I wasn't really intending to educate you about them. But, basically it's that wavy, blurry word thing that you have to type in to prove you're not a crappy spam bot.
So back to my original point, I've been testing a few of these do-dads and got the follow two words to type. No faking, this is a screen capture:
So what does that look like to you?
In my facebook account, minding my own business, I see an advertisement for "Tired of Shaving?", I think yeah, I am. However, they're not talking about a guy's face. Icky + Shallow. Besides, do you see how blonde that guy is? I bet he doesn't even have to shave his face much less his pecks. Now think of Robin Williams; I bet he's tired of shaving. There's your icky thought of the day with my compliments. Enjoy. Screen shot:
Thursday, October 30, 2008
You can learn a lot from Social Media and it has a big roll in learning, but would you want your doctor or bridge engineer to get their knowledge from Wikipedia? Higher Ed. still has an important roll in the future!
Watch and listen to what Sarah has to say...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Even neater, it found my post! That page will pass away after a while, but my screen capture will last forever. Warm fuzzies...
I was having a little trouble viewing the video, but that could be the million and one geeks on the wireless network here ;)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I've been to a few web 2.0 presentations over the last few years and intella-g knows her stuff. I've borrowed a few of her ideas and recommendations for web2 at my Uni.
Hey, she actually gave me a good reason for this anti-social, (actually I profess as my religion to be a 'radical individualist') to use Twitter...
If that's not a good speaker, then I haven't heard one.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Vilayanur Ramachandran is giving a talk similar to this TED Talk, on Wednesday morning at Educause this year in Orlando, Fl. I get to go, and I'm so excited; this doc is an awesome presenter and studies fantastic anomalies of the human brain.
Sweet! I'll try to post after the talk...so I can gloat about how amazing it was.
So, I'm a bit cynical about poetry contest, especially online and mail order, so I decided to explore this one a bit further. So I picked an old poem and submitted it. They wanted my name, address, email, etc.; assuming that I won something, they would need my address to mail it to me right? That's not so unusual; besides I read through their privacy statement and they plan on sharing my address with others that want to send me offers. Typical. I'm sure I'll be getting Viagra offers by mail soon.
Before I go on, let me tell you about the dead-ringer, this is a load crap, scam indicator. On the submit page, the page linked above, there is a "Need Help Rhyming?" button link. No shit, for real. That tells you right there that only real poets come here to submit their fine work. (that was sarcasm) Do you think for one second that if you need help rhyming that you should be submitting poetry here? Don't be gullible! That's how these jerk-wads make easy money.
Also they seen to have a weird copyright clause that states "...I understand that it will be published on the Internet as my original work and under my own copyright by The International Library of Poetry (Poetry.com). The community of poets who use this forum for self-expression will also be able to view and share my poem, always as my original work and under my own copyright in the various ways described on this website."
That's why I sent them an old poem that I'd given up on getting published. Anyway so once I agreed that the poem was my original work and is own by me, etc., I clicked submit. This is where the hook-in-the-mouth happens. The next screen tells that my poem has been "selected to receive the honor" of being glued to a plaque for only $39.00. AH-HA, boing! This is the scam part. In addition to the plaque-crap they also would like "to extend to you some very special reward benefits created just for you." Barf, gag, speew!
People, please don't fall for this crap. It doesn't matter how good or bad your poetry is, they will sell you shit on a shingle as long as you are buying. Only submit your work to reputable publications. Do some research before you waste so much as a stamp. Go to your local book store and look for publications printed at universities or well known journals like The Atlantic.
Here is a screen shot of the "congrats you just submitted a poem page" from Poetry.com. The red outlined boxes I added over my name. They pull your name from the form on the previous page and personalize this page. So as to be fair and let you make up your own mind (I mean who am I, right? I'm not so great; I've only had 2 poems published in twelve years of trying and they weren't even in The Atlantic, they were in Poesia, and I didn't get any money for them.) I say take a writing class at your local community college and see how you do. Or put up your own poetry blog and see what kind of attention you get. People online are fiercely truthful; they won't lie to you and try to sell you a plaque. What...do you think that you've written the next Footprints? You deserve to be on a plaque, and posters, and keychains, and air freshiners? If you want the truth about your writing skills be sure you are ready to take it. Grow your skin thick. You're no Footprints.
Otherwise, buy a frigging plaque and give it to your grandmother and make her smile, because that's all the praise you'll ever get.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The exposure time was a cumulative time of 11.3 days during the span from Sept 24, 2003 - Jan 16, 2004.
While you are viewing it think about what you are seeing. These galaxies are not as they are now; but you are seeing them as they were "between 400 and 800 million years...after the big bang."
Now consider that the universe is between 12 and 14 billion years (source: map.gsfc.nasa.gov) and you are seeing the extreme past. Doing the math with the average of both numbers, imaging that the universe is currently a person between 21 and 22 years of age. Now image that you could look at them through a telescope from far away and see them as they were when they were 1 year old. Wow!
"This will hold the record as the deepest-ever view of the universe until ESA, together with NASA, launches the James Webb Space Telescope in 2011."
- I can hardly wait...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
When you are sick and in the recliner watching your favorite DVD do you ever nod off and miss 20-30mins? Then you have to rewind and try to remember where you were?
You've seen this feature on fine European luxury cars, if you get sleepy and your head tilts forward, a sensor notices and beeps to wake you up.
This function has been adapted into the DVD Nap Pauser; if your head tilts forward or if your gaze strays for more than 30secs, the DVD Nap Pauser will automatically pause your DVD player. And your movie will be ready for you to resume when you wake up! Easy as hooking up a web cam; plugs directly into the back of your DVD player.
Like magic, but real!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The one that caught my searching eye was (Does your nose grow with age?) that negated the belief that ears and noses continued to grow as we get older. I had always heard that as fact. The truth of the matter is that the collagen and elastin in our skin breaks down and succumbs to gravity.
So take heart when our civilization finally becomes space bound and leaves this planet, our skin will stay young, taut, and supple long into old age. However, that will be at the price of our bone density, and after a certain amount of time we will never be able to walk again. Eh, a decent trade off to stay young.
That makes me think of people in extended comas. In the movies, people who wake from extended comas never go through physical therapy to recover from their atrophied muscles. But in reality extensive measures must be taken to prevent permanent deformity (drugs, passive exercise, and passive supported standing can help). Christoper Reeves was trying to prevent his muscles from permanently atrophying in hopes of regaining muscular control. I know he wasn't in a coma, but he was suffering from the same inactive body problems. Rest easy big guy.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
There is no company or publishing house mentioned at all--suspicious! The mailing address is simply:
305 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10165
I'm wagering that this is one of those scams where they tell you how wonderful your work is and offer to publish it in an anthology if only you'll send them $49.95 - a sweet deal for a nave. Still I plan on mailing something in and exploring the scam, because I'm curious. I'll post the results here.
Friday, September 26, 2008
So once again the American people suffer. We pay for your war; we pay for your mistakes; we pay for your greed; we pay for your ignorance. History will not be kind to your administration – rightly so.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
There’s a very Buddhist feeling to that. You can remove God from that sentiment and plug in the ‘Universe,’ not in the sense that the Universe is interested controlling any aspect of Human fate, but that the Universe is what it is and has no concerns or motives.
Let go and let universe
I bring this up because happiness (as least for me) is something I struggle with. Yes, I know I ended my sentence with a preposition; let go grammarians. It is all of the little and big aggravations of daily life that take away my awareness of why I should be happy--or at least not so bothered and annoyed (see the previous post about fairness).
I think that the key is detachment from the world in which we were conditioned to exist; the world that was constructed by our predecessors. I’m not talking about running away to the jungle, living naked and eating berries. It’s similar to the way that Buddhists and Christians are taught to live; it’s a matter of focus.
<begin aside>The teaching of Buddhism and Christianity are the most familiar to me. I have studied both. When I refer to the teaching, I am referring to the ‘ideals’ put forth, not the actual Buddhists or Christians walking and breathing. In my experience the real world practitioners are less than ideal. <end aside>
The teachings instruct to focus beyond this life; that this life is less important than the existence after death. By accepting that and setting our focus beyond the ‘pettiness’ of this world, we can live a happier life, less bothered by the problems humanity.
To me it seems unfortunate that an afterlife (of sorts) has to be postulated in order to deal with the here and now. I know that in Buddhism there is no afterlife like that of the Christians, but there is an ‘after-this-place’ that serves a similar function at least for my point. I am trying to consider focus in my personal philosophy. Instead of focus after this life, I am trying to focus on this life as a whole.
To do this a level of detachment from the emotions caused by annoyances must be maintained. Emotions confine us to the here and now like nothing else in our lives. (On reflection, perhaps pain concretes our feet to the here and now more than even emotions—but emotions can be controlled). If I can focus (or at least be aware) beyond the here and now, then perhaps I can assess the individual annoyances against the whole and then, perhaps, I can let them go more easily.
Let go and let happy
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The universal forces act as they act, regardless of human feelings or concepts. So if we cannot expect fair treatment from the extraneous world then at least we *should* be able to expect it from other like minded people. That is if only they can see past their personal need, want, feeling of justification, greed, etc.
So where are these like minded people? They fade in and out.
They all can seem to find justifications as to why they deserve better and therefore do not have to be fair. I do not wish to be hypocritical and point all fingers outward; I too am guilty, more often than I'd like to be, of such thoughts and actions. I try to recognize it in myself and take the opportunity to change or rethink my action.
Do not think that philosophy or religion are the answers. They may be used as tools to gain the personal strength of character necessary to grasp and promote fairness. Philosophy and religion can help teach the concepts to people unexposed by their particular upbringing. But to make fairness a part of your daily thoughts and actions takes personal practice and fortitude.
Fairness and other 'humanely' concepts, like compassion and kindness, are worth the effort otherwise we're reptiles.
And I for one am tired of sharing my world with human reptiles.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
You can view the first paragraph here:
The paper wants to charge you $1.95 to read the story online, HOWEVER if you click the “print story” link on the left you can read it for free-go figure, sigh. Not my fault; I didn’t hack crap.
Anyway the basic gist here is that since the USA and other countries are being pinched hard by oil and subsequent gasoline prices we are buying smaller cars with better gas mileage and not the big gas gulping SUVs. Along the same lines we are trading in those big SUVs when we buy the smaller cars. So we have a glut of big cars and SUVs on our used car lots and they are being snapped up for a song by entrepreneurial people (such as the brothers mentioned in the article) and are being shipped overseas “to places such as Middle East, West Africa and Mexico.”
The kicker here is that these places (where these vehicles are being shipped) all pump and sell oil to the rest of the world. Because they do this they can offer subsidies to their citizens so that their gasoline “costs less than 50 cents a gallon.”
I don’t need to remind you what we are paying!
There are two reasons why this should tick you off!
First reason - the environment. Supposedly we are concerned about mileage because of the environment. Better mileage, we waste less gas, fewer hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, better for everyone.
So no matter how many tiny cars we drive, the rest of the pumping world is still driving gas gulpers and globally nothing is being conserved and hydrocarbon production is not being reduced by our green efforts!
Second reason – economy. So the US builds big cars out of pride or gluttony, call it what you want, we still built them, we should get to drive them. There is no lesson being learned here. If we’ve built such behemoths that shouldn’t be driven because they are larger than we need and are wasteful then no one should get to have them. The wastefulness is being prolonged while we get squeezed.
It fries me to know that somewhere else someone who only pays 50cents a gallon for that sweet go-go juice is riding around enjoying my SUV with plenty of leg and head room, while I’m putting along in a little car bumping my knees and head on the roof.
There is plenty of oil out there; we're being played for suckers.
Cya on the road.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I know it's because of their legal dept wanting to keep them out of any and all trouble, but come on. As if...last week I installed iTunes on my iron lung and now my iron lung only breaths me when I play songs I bought from iTunes Store and not my CDs. Or after I installed Quicktime I couldn't get my Air Traffic Control Radar to work, all I could see was dancing hamsters...
Apple's great quote:
APPLE SOFTWARE IS NOT INTENDED FOR USE IN THE OPERATION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES, AIRCRAFT NAVIGATION OR COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEMS, LIFE SUPPORT MACHINES OR OTHER EQUIPMENT IN WHICH THE FAILURE OF THE APPLE SOFTWARE COULD LEAD TO DEATH, PERSONAL INJURY, OR SEVERE PHYSICAL OR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE.
Maybe Quicktime caused the Chernobyl meltdown and Apple wants to make sure they're not liable next time.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Listen to NPR Science Friday June 6th 2008, it's about half-way through. Interviewee is
Richard Preston with a new book "Panic in Level 4"
For more information visit:
Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome Information Page at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Quote from website: "Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (LNS) is a rare, inherited disorder caused by a deficiency of the enzyme hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT). LNS is an X-linked recessive disease-- the gene is carried by the mother and passed on to her son."
Monday, June 9, 2008
Guess who's invested heavily in oil...me? No, President Bush. What is he doing to
alleviate the plight, ney blight, of the common American? Tootling around the world shaking hands and rubbing shoulders.
Mommy and Daddy Bush are you happy with what your son has done? Are you proud? Can you look America in the eyes and say it?
Surprise, surprise, Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average
Hey Prez, don't forget who grows the food...is it the big cities with ample public transportation who don't give a crap about gas prices? No. It's the farmers rural America. So fix it.
Friday, June 6, 2008
If you love great puzzles like me check these out on www. shockwave.com
And this one combines puzzle-like thinking with destruction (bonus!)
Metalix Tower Defense:
I've completed Hyper Frame and Bloxorz, and have gotten to level 20 on Metalix. Post a comment and let me know how far you get.
If Bloxorz drives you crazy, I've heard that there are solution videos on YouTube. But come on, the fun of puzzles is figuring them out without getting help.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Look who’s wearing the big-boy pants now!
—mother may I.
I the RIAA.
Hey there that sure is a nice laptop; my six thousand dollar poodle could use that to watch you tube videos of itself riding in the backseat of my Escalade while I’m in court suing some other sap for making a mix tape for his girlfriend. It’s gimmie all your stuff, and I’ll have the local cops take it for me, so I never see you cry; not that I’d care.
I’m the RIAA; you see, I don’t care about people, only money. Only money. It’s not my fault; it’s just that my piles and piles of money (made from the sweat of other people with real talent) are lonely. That’s right my money is lonely, so I need yours and your computer, and your house, just because you only like that one Black Crowes song and didn’t want to buy the album for it (where I get 90% of the profits).
I found my news here:
tech.blorge.com/ the following is quoted:
"The RIAA sued 83 year old Gertrude Walton. When they sent the letter stating that they were going to sue unless Mrs. Walton chose to settle, her daughter received the letter as part of her mother’s estate. She sent the RIAA a copy of her mother’s death certificate. The RIAA sued her mother anyway. Apparently when the case went to court the RIAA had to accept the fact that Mrs. Walton was indeed dead.
In the case of Patricia Santangelo, a divorced mother of three, the RIAA lost that case because Ms. Santangelo successfully proved her own computer illiteracy. The Judge dismissed the case. The RIAA then chose to sue her three children.
Unfortunately, another single mother, Jamie Thomas, was found guilty by a jury who set damages for her to pay at $222,000 or $9250 per song. A single mother who sells lingerie, there is no way that Ms. Thomas has the funds currently to pay this exorbitant amount. There is very little chance that she will ever be able to pay the damage award. Ms. Thomas has appealed the damages as being excessive. The Department of Justice has filed an Amicus brief arguing that the verdict amount is not excessive and should stand."
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Friday, April 4, 2008
I'm a grown up! I'll watch what I want.
Watch it you'll laugh. Really.
I'm not kidding you...
You laughed didn't you; I told you.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
After doing a lot of research, I decided to write about a topic that I know better and that was how and where St. Thomas Aquinas 'borrowed' his five proofs for the existence of God from Aristotle's writings. You can read my paper "Aquinas' Five Ways".
However, continuing with creationism, it has a long history in our legal system of which I was unaware. You can find a nice list here: Creationism-related_court_cases
The one that made the biggest impression on me was not the most recent; (at the writing of this the Kansas evolution hearings were the most recent)
It was the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial.
Before reading the Wikipedia write up, I watched the NOVA documentary (on PBS) on this trial and was amazed. Watch it if you have time. I've always been a skeptic about most things. In my formative years, my father always had a saying that captured the lesson in every bad choice of mine; some were original some borrowed. For instance, "If it sounds too good to be true; it isn't," and one of the one's I heard the most was, "I'm from Missouri; show me." That one I heard when I was trying to tell him about the theory of Quarks from particle physics. Well, I couldn't and can't. Hell, I tried to become a physicist in college and couldn't hack the math.
Anyway, the science presented in the NOVA documentary is incredibly detailed, effectively proving the theory of evolution; for me, it was the equivalent of 'being shown' . Check it out for yourself and then see if a book rewritten several times and translated into several languages is proof enough for you.
Believing is nice; it is comforting, but I want the truth. Believing in magic is cute, but don't bet your life on it; you will be disappointed.
I will acknowledge the possibility that what science has discovered could be the work and plan of a God. The old watch winder that set this whole process of evolution in motion. We okay? We cool like Fonzie?
Well, if that still works for you, complicating the idea to save your precious little ego, then check out a little idea called Ockham's Razor.
Back to the reason for addressing this topic, recently a movie was produced called "Expelled." It is the creationist (now called Intelligent Design or ID for short) view of 'it all'. I heard about this movie on one of my favorite podcasts called "The Skeptics Guide to the Universe" (Podcast #140 3/26/2008) the hosts interviewed Eugenie Scott and she told a story of some very non-Christian treatments from the movie's representatives in asking her for interviews. She asked that people link to this site http://www.expelledexposed.com/
as a way to get the word out. When people search for the movie this site will be ranked highly.
Hypocrisy pisses me off. If you call yourself a Christian then act like one; don't use the cop-out of forgiveness or that non-Christians don't deserve Christian treatment (chicken pox blankets ring a bell?). You should be good, honest, and respectful now and to all (or shove it and go to Hell).
Oh and did I mention that Ben Stein (once considered an intelligent person) is involved with the movie. Sigh...
Friday, March 14, 2008
Friday, February 22, 2008
Astronomy Cast -- "Take a weekly facts-based journey through the cosmos with Astronomy Cast."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
Shai Avidan & Ariel Shamir have created software that is straight out of a scifi movie. Have you ever wanted to remove an ex-boy/girl friend from a great travel photo? Here you go: iSeam
Utterly brilliant gentlemen:
Ariel Shamir's home page
Shai Avidan's home page
Monday, January 14, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Your neighbor parked to close to your house and is killing your grass?
Call us and we tow it like crazy!
Your daughter's boyfriend's piece of shit car is in your driveway and you don't like how it looks?
Call us and we tow it like crazy!
Want to screw with your friend's car and move it while they're in a bar drinking?
Call us and we tow it like crazy!
Remember that's Crazy Towing call 555-T-O-W-D
Crazy Towing when you want it towed like CRAZY!