Friday, 21 November 2008

Singing, "On the road again..."

Back in a few shakes.

Hittin the frog and toad *whoo hooo*

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Did You Know 3.0 (2008)

The 25% of India's population with the highest IQ's is greater than the total population of the United States

Translation: India has more honors kids than America has kids

More facts, click on video below.



Hmmm... need to set up Armageddon farm by 2013 8)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Amazing images of aurora over Saturn's hexagonal storms


More here.

Great interview with @MarsPhoenix

"They liked the first-person aspect of it, even though they knew that somebody at JPL was doing it -- and I would get those questions, people would ask, "are you official NASA or are you just a space buff doing this?" and I would write back and tell them that no, this is the official NASA Twitter feed.

People just found that to be such a novel way of communicating.

Universe: I call it the "WALL-E Effect..."

McGregor: A lot of people mention that. What's funny is that it does all tie together, because the Pixar animators who drew WALL-E actually came to JPL back in 2006 to get their ideas for how to draw WALL-E. In fact, tomorrow, there's a Disney junket for the roll-out of the WALL-E DVD, and they're bringing all the media to JPL to see all these robots that their Pixar team saw way back before they did WALL-E. So it does all tie together."

Full interview here.

Courtesy of @veronica.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Armin Van Buuren Shanghai Jiggle Event

Last night, I ventured from The Sanctuary to partake in the 'Shanghai nightlife'. This is not something I do in Shanghistan since I do not enjoy passively sucking down the equivalent of 2 boxes of Marlboros, looking around a room and wondering who isn't a hooker (either by the hour or BIBHooks i.e. Buy-in-Bulk-Hookers a.k.a. mistresses), gazing at all manner of male and female skanks, or watching too many machismo wankers as they struggle through life with small-shlong syndrome.

But, Armin Van Buuren was gracing Shanghistan with his presence. It had to be done. I had to give Shangistan the benefit of doubt and hope it would be a decent event, or that Scooterboy and I would at least have a good prance no matter what else happened.

Alas, Shanghistan rarely fails to disappoint. The Boy and I waded into the crowd which was a mass of shoulder-to-shoulder sweaty slime pretty much as soon as we entered the premises. We proceeded to look for the dance floor, repeatedly bumping into long couches and tables among the crowd, even as we moved closer to what we assumed to be the dance floor. It gradually dawned upon us that we were having difficulty finding the point where the couches and tables ended and the dance floor began, because the dance floor was about half the size of my living room (which is by no means expansive).

I was aghast at the assholism and dumbfuckedness in the decision making process in selecting M2 for the event. I imagine the dealings went something to this effect:

Promoter: M2 would be the perfect venue for the gig.
AVB rep: erm... looks rather small and what's with all these couches and tables all over the place?
Promoter: oh no no, it's perfect coz M2 is giving me a huge cut to push their club (Alternatively, "I have a stake in the club" or "It's my cousin's/uncle's/brother's/sister's club and I'm a sycophantic asshole").
AVB rep: No go. Too small.
Promoter: Ok I give you a cut.
AVB rep: I see. It's perfect!

There was no room whatsoever to dance. All the crowd on the 'dance floor' could manage was a vague bend-knees-sporadically-and-jiggle-up-and-down-a-little movement. Crowds away from the dance floor could manage a slightly more vigorous jiggle. Scooterboy and I managed to find a small spot near an exit on the second level (also stuffed to the rafters with couches and tables) where we could manage an occasional prance, even if we had to constantly move around the crowds trying to get past us. We gave up pretty quickly.

It was such a damn shame because the music was sensational. I imagined how different things could have been.

It could have been a night of euphoric dancing but instead, it was a usual night of abysmal crowd watching in Shanghistan. But I guess that is part of the problem over here. So many in the crowd were there just to be seen rather than to actually dance to Van Buuren's music, hence the culture of couches and tables instead of dance floors, the fat old cigar-brandishing men with by-the-hour/BIBHooks hanging off their arms, and the inordinate number of chicks in stab-through-eyeballs-and-kill-you stilettos (what kind of ho shows up to a dance party in stilettos??! Oh hang on... I guess the kind of ho who's trying to land a john).

*sigh*

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Cassini



Excerpt from video:
"On the evening of June 30th, 2004, in a manoeuvre that was so flawless and so perfect it seemed dreamt, the most ambitious inter-planetary spacecraft ever built called Cassini glided into orbit around the planet Saturn and at that point, it became the farthest robotic outpost that humanity had ever established around the sun...

the most remarkable highlight of Cassini's exploration of Titan so far was the deployment of the Huygens probe. On January 14, 2005, an aerodynamically shaped flying saucer drifted on a piece of fabric through the hazy atmosphere of Saturn's largest moon and landed firmly on its surface. The humans had arrived in the solar system 10 times farther from the sun than the Earth and 7 times farther than we had ever landed anything before.

...reminder of the good and the glorious that we can achieve if we set our minds to it...

The exploration of our solar system is one of the signature enterprises of our time, we should be reveling in it, it belongs to us."

Courtesy of RichardDawkins.net

Interview with the legendary Carolyn Porco on Wired.

Watch her on TED: Carolyn Porco flies us to Saturn.

NASA Goes Deep, by Carolyn Porco.

Sleep tight, MarsPhoenix


Farewell transmission from Mars.

Other posts on Gizmodo.

@MarsPhoenix

skineart pick: lagolo


More from lagolo here.

skineart.

Nerd goodness: Finding Fame With a Prescient Call for Obama

"In March, he introduced FiveThirtyEight.com, and it quickly became a go-to site for readers whose interest in raw numbers had grown after the close (and miscalled) elections in 2000 and 2004. As his reputation grew online — there’s a Facebook group called “There’s a 97.3 Percent Chance That Nate Silver Is Totally My Boyfriend” — the mainstream media he disparaged for sloppy reporting came calling.

...Between his live TV appearances on election night, Mr. Silver updated his model and determined around 8 p.m., after New Hampshire went to Senator Obama, that Senator McCain had no way of winning. By the end of the night, Mr. Silver had predicted the popular vote within one percentage point, predicted 49 of 50 states’ results correctly, and predicted all of the resolved Senate races correctly."

Full article here.

FiveThirtyEight.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Skineart pick: szaza


More from szaza at skineart.

Unknown Structures "Tugging" at Universe, Study Says

"Something may be out there. Way out there. On the outskirts of creation, unknown, unseen "structures" are tugging on our universe like cosmic magnets, a controversial new study says.

Everything in the known universe is said to be racing toward the massive clumps of matter at more than 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers) an hour—a movement the researchers have dubbed dark flow.

The presence of the extra-universal matter suggests that our universe is part of something bigger—a multiverse—and that whatever is out there is very different from the universe we know, according to study leader Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland."

More at National Geographic.

Skineart pick: szaza

More from szaza at skineart.

Some sanity returns to the U.S.

Pity about Prop 8 but at least some sanity prevailed.

Ballot Initiatives: States decriminalize pot, nix abortion limits... voters also okay doctor-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research and more...

Skineart pick: szaza

More from szaza at skineart.

A Butler Well Served by This Election

"For more than three decades Eugene Allen worked in the White House, a black man unknown to the headlines. During some of those years, harsh segregation laws lay upon the land."

Nice story. Teary ending.

Full article here.

Courtesy of @niubi.

Skineart pick


More from Lagolo at Skineart.

Friday, 7 November 2008

MarsPhoenix Twitter epitaph winner


I came, I saw, I dug.

"Our top prize winner, Graham Vosloo of South Africa, is also going to get an official Polo shirt and we have to say that he is a deserving recipient.

"The old maxim, 'Quidquid latine dictum sit altum videtur' (anything said in Latin sounds profound) certainly applies!" Vosloo wrote in an e-mail to Wired.com. "I'm super chuffed about this because I've been following the Phoenix Twitter since the landing — I even got up at 3 a.m. my local time to experience it."

We're pretty sure that chuffed translates to "psyched" or "pumped" or the like, but if it's actually some sort of South African curse word, we apologize profusely in advance."

Heh heh :D

More details on the best entries here.

Follow @MarsPhoenix and check out her guest blog stint at Gizmodo.

Nice one on Barry's Leo McGarry

"Barack Obama once joked at a charity dinner that when Rahm Emanuel severed his middle finger, it almost rendered him mute.

Rahm Emanuel: Chief of Staff

Change.gov

"a website launched by the Obama team's Presidential Transition Project which documents the transition into power and solicits ideas from the public."

Nice!

Courtesy of BoingBoing.

The 44th

embiggen

An unfortunate number among the superstitious in Cantonese culture (possibly also in mainland Chinese culture).

Secret Service, please keep him alive.

Hat tip to Houston.

The Onion 2001 - freakish prescience

Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over'

Whoa!

Courtesy of @RyanBlock

Thank you, America. We knew you could.

"She was a stranger, and she kissed me. Just for being an American.

It happened on the bus on my way to work Wednesday morning, a few hours after compatriots clamoring for change swept Barack Obama to his historic victory. I was on the phone, and the 20-something Austrian woman seated in front of me overheard me speaking English.

Without a word, she turned, pecked me on the cheek and stepped off at the next stop.

Nothing was said, but the message was clear: Today, we are all Americans."

Complete article here.

Courtesy of Dan Washburn.

See also, The World's View.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Monday, 3 November 2008

More picks at my feeds




More picks here.

Top NASA Photos of All Time: Star Trek cast and the real Enterprise


Smithsonian's Air & Space Magazine posted their picks for the 50 most memorable images from NASA's half-century history.

Shuttle Enterprise with cast of Star Trek, 1976 NASA’s prototype space shuttle was to have been named Constitution, but fans of the Star Trek TV show mounted a write-in campaign that led to it being named Enterprise. Here the show’s cast (minus William Shatner) poses with the test craft.

Courtesy of BoingBoing.

See more beautiful and amazing photos at top NASA pics of all time.

Dean Kamen Q&A: American culture needs a geek overhaul

"What do you think is the most important science and technology issue to be addressed by the next president? What's the biggest issue he should take on?

Is it energy? Genomics? Is it bird flu? Is it the polar caps—are they really melting? Is it terrorism? You pick the crisis du jour: The answer to all these issues is going to be an educated, competent global society. This country ought to lead the world, for lots of reasons. And we ought to help the rest of the world get educated, because if they are educated, their impact on the environment is actually way less. If they are educated, they'll have better ideas than killing each other or killing you and me.

The next president should recognize the power of technology. Technology is how we create wealth, how we cure diseases, how we'll build an environment that's sustainable and also gives people the capacity to pull more out of this world and still leave it better than when they found it. You know, people always talk about rights in this country—I wish we had a bill of responsibilities. So I think the president has to stop thinking of the crisis du jour and say, "In this race between education and catastrophe, we need education to win." The next president better make sure that all kids are part of the solution, not part of the problem. And with 50 percent of the kids in the 20 largest school districts in the country not graduating high school, they're part of the problem. This is unsustainable. It has to change.

Courtesy of BoingBoing.

More here: Robots Can Save America from Britney Spears.

More inventor goodness from Kamen on the way

Dean Kamen is working on building a Stirling Engine - efficient electrical energy from heat.

"Now he and his engineers have built and tested a range of Stirling engines suitable for mass production that can be run on anything from jet fuel to cow dung. The one in the boot of the small blue car is designed to extend its range and constantly recharge its batteries to make a new kind of hybrid vehicle: one fit for the roads of the 21st century. A Stirling-electric hybrid, Kamen tells me, can travel farther and more efficiently than conventional electric cars; it generates enough power to run energy-hungry devices such as heaters and defrosters that are essential for drivers who, unlike those he calls the 'tofu heads' of California, must cope with a cold climate; and even using petrol, the engine runs far cleaner than petrol-electric hybrids such as Toyota's Prius.

However, Kamen confesses, his new creation isn't quite finished yet: 'The Stirling engine's not hooked up. Which really pisses me off.'

But it could work?

'It will work,' he says. 'Trust me.'

*fingers crossed*

Courtesy of BoingBoing.

More here.

Hate's last stand

"Let's not get carried away.

Let's not go so far as to suggest we're about to enter into some sort of fluffy utopian tofu puppy happyland where nipples fly free and consciousness expands and the fetid rivers of racism and homophobia that course through the American heartland like acidic sewage somehow magically vanish, somehow become dramatically curtailed, should the twin forces of progress known as President Obama and a vanquished California Proposition 8 somehow come to pass."

Read more from Mark Morford here.

Time Top 50 Inventions 2008


1. The Retail DNA Test
2. The Tesla Roadster
3. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
4. Hulu.com
5. The Large Hadron Collider
6. The Global Seed Vault
7. The Chevy Volt
8. Bullets That Shoot Bullets
9. The Orbital Internet
10. The World's Fastest Computer
11. Green Crude
12. Housing Funds
13. The Memristor
14. The Bionic Hand
15. The Direct-to-Web Supervilian Musical
16. The Dynamic Tower
17. The Mobile, Dexterous, Social Robot
18. The New Mars Rover
19. Montreal's Public Bike System
20. The Everything Game
21. The Synthetic Organism
22. The Shadowless Skyscraper
23. The Branded Candidate
24. Bionic Contacts
25. Thin-Film Solar Panels
26. The Speedo LZR Racer
27. Bubble Photography
28. The Invisibility Cloak
29. The 46th Mersenne Prime
30. The Internet of Things
31. Einstein's Fridge
32. Facebook for Spies
33. Biochemical Energy Harvester
34. Made-in-Transit Packaging
35. Airborne Wind Power
36. The New Ping-Pong Serve
37. Smog-Eating Cement
38. The Baseball Instant Replay
39. Enhanced Fingerprints
40. The Seven New Deadly Sins
41. The Peraves MonoTracer
42. Disenvoweling
43. High-Tech Running Shoes
44. Sunscreen for Plants
45. The Short Refinance
46. Aptera Electric Car
47. Google's Floating Data Center
48. The Time Eater Clock
49. Sound-Enhanced Food
50. A Camera for the Blind

List courtesy of Gizmodo.

View details of the inventions at TIME.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Renewable energy for all global energy needs by 2090

"A new report from the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace International concludes that renewable energy could provide all global energy needs by 2090. “Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook” provides a blueprint how."

*fingers crossed*

Download the report here.

Courtesy of 21st Century Power.