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Parking Lot at Sunset December 31, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography, Publishing Tools.
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parkinglotsunset

Happy new year! This panorama of six shots is one result of my new camera, a Casio Exilim EX-S8 on sale at Radio Shack earlier this year.  It was real cheap, or I wouldn’t have considered it. I found out this morning that the camera has a bunch of nifty settings including one for sunsets, so I needn’t have relearned PhotoShop for this. Click on the photo for the full, zoomable panorama from closr.it.  The unretouched version from the camera is pretty unimpressive, but at least in focus:pano unshopped

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Phobos Eclipses the Sun December 28, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Photography, Science.
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http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/videos/mer/mer20101222/eclipse20101222-640.swf

How cool is it to watch an eclipse from Mars?

Xmas Morning December 27, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorizable.
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Brought to its Logical Conclusion December 23, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.
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Stolen from The List Which Cannot Be Named:

> Whenever stupid copyrights/patents like this come up, I’m reminded
> of a joke an old friend of mine used to tell, back in the Amazon
> one-click patent days:
>
> "I’m going to take out a patent on chewing food".
>
dibs on digestion!

But I think we all can make good guesses on who holds the patents for shitting, though it’s not clear to me who owns the shit, or what the shit transmission protocols and fees covering same would be. Comcast is the clear reference example/precedent holder there.

I’m pretty sure [favorite corporate whipping boy here] already holds
the patent on being an asshole.

Pollution Mutation from China December 21, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants.
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unicow cropped

See what happens when you use coal as your first choice?

Why I No Longer Ride a Bike December 21, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys.
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Always wanted this, although illegal in California.

Minivans are Totally Babe Magnets December 18, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan, Mutants.
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tumblr_lbxv5v92R81qzozj1

Words fail.

Festive Yet Tasteful December 18, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorizable.
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You would be surprised at the number of persons who have a Christmas scene of some kind featuring eight tiny flamingos and a fat, bearded fellow trailing.  This is the only one I found with nine flamingos, meaning Santa has undergone some strange avian metamorphosis or Rudolph is now canon and Santa couldn’t make it.

In either case, my Christmas is ruined.

 

Exciting update:

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More Cute From Japan December 18, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Japan.
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I wish I could leave a link here to Amazon for this, but I don’t think they sell it.  These are from Rakuten in Japan.

 

Correction: they DO have them:

imm Living DC069-Owl Hidden Owl Teacup

imm Living DC069-Fox Hidden Fox Teacup

imm Living DC069-BEA Hidden Bear Teacup

PhotoShop Has Ruined Reality For Me December 15, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography, Toys.
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Stolen from you know where.

I Feel Like This Today December 14, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys, Uncategorizable.
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That isn’t me; it’s Damon Kohler and his Laura made the hat.

Damn that’s cool; only a Zoidberg ski mask would be cooler.

Exciting update:

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From a pattern sold on Etsy.

New Forked-marked Lemur Identified December 13, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome.
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Cute little fella, isn’t he?  His story is on BBC

I’m too sick to be clever today, so don’t expect anything.

I Do Get Distracted Sometimes December 11, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.
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Some people have blogs that are much more interesting than mine…in fact, most of them are.  This young lady has math-centric videos and instructions on making paper instruments and balloon models of various polyhedra on her blog, which nails me as the poseur I am.

Still, I love her rapid-fire delivery; the dialogue reminds me of myself listening to a droning lecture but noticing the patterns of checkerboard tiles on the floor and how easy it would be to play a chess game in my head.

See?  There are reasons I try to keep my mind occupied constructively.

Season’s Greetings! December 10, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Mutants, Octopus, Uncategorizable.
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It’s that time of year, when people celebrate the alignment of the stars and cower in fear before the return of the Old Ones…Cthulhumas!  Cthulhu is a fictional cosmic entity created by horror author H. P. Lovecraft (see below):image

Cthulhu and a bunch of other Old Ones will return when the stars are right, as celebrated in this sing-along Cthulhu carol:

A quick glance at the related YouTube links is a feast for the snickering geek in me, as Cthulhu carols seem to abound, with familiar titles:

Away in a Madhouse, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fish-men, Death to the World (and If I Were A Deep One), Oh Come, All ye Old Ones, Silent Night, Blasphemous Night,  and Great Old Ones Are Coming To Town.

Most of these are from the album A Very Scary Solstice by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.

UPDATE OF TERROR!!! 

PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris and the author of this lovely blog, with the spriteliest commentary including this lovely Cthulumas carol:

 

Posted by: A. Nuran Author Profile Page | December 22, 2010 6:35 PM

Here’s one I came up with a while ago…

(chorus)
You better not shriek
You better not moan
You better not howl
Or gibber or groan
Great Cthulu’s coming to town.

He’s making a list
Checking it twice
Gonna find out
Who’s good over rice
Great Cthulu’s coming to town

He sees you when He’s sleeping
Some day He will awake
Then he will devour you
So flee for goodness sake!

(chorus)

His little bat wings are flapping with glee
R’lyeh-Ia and phnmglui
Great Cthulu’s coming to town.

Octopoid heads that shuddered and flew
Shoggoths and dholes all covered with goo
Great Cthulu’s coming to town

The Deep One cult in Innsmouth
Will have a jubilee
With moist gill slits and scaly skin
And a coating of algae

You better not shriek
You better not moan
You better not howl
Or gibber or groan
Great Cthulu’s coming.
Oh Good Lord He’s coming.
Run away He’s coming to town.

 

and this little delight:

 

Posted by: Matrim Author Profile Page | December 22, 2010 3:06 PM

Awake ye scary Great Old Ones;
Let everything dismay
Remember great Cthulhu will rise up from R’lyeh
To kill us all with tentacles if we should go his way

Oh, tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe
Oh, tidings of madness and woe!

In Yuggoth and in Aldebraan the Great Old Ones were spawned
Imprisoned by the Elder Gods to wait for long eons,
Enticing humans to release them,
Chanting dreadful songs!

Oh, tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe
Oh, tidings of madness and woe!

An Arab said "That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange eons you will find that even death may die"!
The great Old Ones will rule once more
Then all will be destroyed!

Oh, tidings of madness and woe, madness and woe
Oh, tidings of madness and woe!

That’s the Future Right There, That Is December 8, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys.
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We’re behind schedule, but greed should get us there soon enough, I reckon.

Theregister.com had a lovely take on the contents of the SpaceX’s Dragon capsule: “What nobody knew until after the mission was what the payload carried by the Dragon on its inaugural flight could be. Previous test shots of earlier rockets by Musk’s company SpaceX have merely carried test weights: but in this case it was known that the company had installed a large case marked Top Secret! inside the Dragon.

After the launch, Musk revealed that in fact the sealed case had contained a large cheese, in homage to the classic Monty Python sketch in the cheese shop. The Top Secret! tag was meant to refer more to the comical Val Kilmer film than any sinister-millionaire plans by Musk to deploy a deadly orbital raygun, space-going habitat lair etc.

Cheese fans will wish to know that the orbiting dairy product was a wheel of Le Brouère from France.”

Empires – The Greeks: Crucible of Civilization December 8, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Video.
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This is my favorite documentary of all time (so far.  Watch this space for updates, as I see a lot of them).  It’s narrated by Liam Neeson which is kind of a kick in the head, although I should have guessed that Ethan Frome would have liked it.  It’s really not about ancient Greece as much as ancient Athens and how Athens came to be so important to the modern world that our culture seems to be in large part a continuation of Athenian ideas and ideals…well, the secular humanists among us, anyway.

While looking for quotes and information about this video I came upon the Amazon.com reviews of the DVD

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which are as delightful to read as the DVD is to watch.  Bring popcorn.  It’s a kick to see people complaining about everything on the DVD (inexpensive production techniques, “ponderous narration”, technical flaws) including the choice of inclusions.  The best complaint (and there are so many to choose from) is that the show overlooked the contributions of the Spartans, although another reviewer pointed out several: “Besides the oppressive social structure, the mandatory buggery, the racism / elitism, the eugenics program, the enslavement of its neighbors for centuries, the employment of women as baby machines, and its defeat of Athens, followed by its defeat at the hands of its neighbor, there’s little to know about Sparta.” 

Genius!

Bony-tailed Dinosaur Skeleton Found in Korea December 7, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science.
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Look at this pretty rendering of Koreaceratops hwaseongensis, a horned, bony-tailed dinosaur recently discovered in South Korea (the non-belligerent, relatively trustworthy one).  The pretty picture is possible because this guy was nearly complete when found:

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Look at that tail!  And a nearly full pelvis structure (though a little beat up, I grant you)!  He was probably about six feet long and a swimmer…unless that tail is for flying and the torso is really, really wrong.

Rendering is copyright Julius T. Csotonyi.  The paper by Yuong-Nam Lee of the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and Yoshitsugu Kobayashi of the Hokkaido University Museum appears in Naturwissenschaften. I do not have the budget for this one, so don’t ask.

Strange Life Forms Found! Autism Accurately Diagnosed! Immortality is Possible! December 4, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science.
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Seriously, this has been one hell of a week for science.  NASA announced Arsenic-based life forms, Harvard scientists practically cured old age in mice and University of Utah scientists (and those pesky Harvardians) have begun trying Diffusion Tensor Imaging (a kind of MRI) to detect autism.

Each one of these amazing stories has a LOT of backstory and a tanker full of caveats, but this is science and not religion so pay attention.

First off, the NASA guys didn’t find these bacteria on Rhea, as some more excitable folk speculated, they found the bacteria in Mono Lake and began to breed them to accept arsenates instead of phosphates. Predictably, they survived it (Mono Lake is pretty full of arsenic).  Unpredictably, they thrived and began using arsenates instead of phosphates for pretty much all of phosphate’s functions.  Still, they bred ’em and they seem to be pretty healthy…I can only see this moving into environment remediation when this has had some further examination.

Next, Harvard guys bred some mice with weak expression of the gene which produces telomerase, which is largely responsible for repairing the ends of DNA.  This helps keep your DNA copies faithful to the original.  It is thought that “old” DNA makes you old by creating lousy proteins.

Anyway, these mice looked old early in life, and had other symptoms of old age, like shrunken brains (and testes).  These scientists then administered a drug which enhanced the production of telomerase and, lo and behold, the mice regained their youthful appearance, large brains and testes…and shiny young coats, too.  That is not to say that this necessarily translates to people, and they have yet to try this on naturally aged mice, but it’s damned interesting.

Still more interesting (although maybe not to anyone without autism in their family), scientists at Harvard have begun using MRI to diagnose autism patients with a 94% positive correlation (actually”94% sensitivity, 90% specificity, and 92% accuracy”, but that never gets reported in the popular press). They studied two groups, 30 males aged 8 to 26 with high-functioning autism and 30 males without autism. All were scanned using MRI in the temporal gyrus and temporal stem areas of the temporal lobe, considered to be the centers responsible for language learning, developing social skills and emotion responses. Among the specific findings in participants with autism, the fibers in the right side of the superior temporal gyrus were more organized than the fibers on the left; the opposite was true in typical people.

These last two items alone make this a very hopeful week for scientists.  Autism is more common than thought in the general population because people differ significantly in the way it’s expressed;  Bubba might not be an asshole, he might be autistic.

And every single person I know is getting older all the time.  How about funding research on something that matters to every single person that is alive today, and ever will be alive?

NERF Rifle Modified for Automatic, Using CO2 December 4, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Toys.
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Philysteak527 modified his NERF gun to automatic with CO2 in a lovely modification that leaves me quite envious.  He made it for "Humans vs. Zombies”, but a zombie got it and so it had a short life (torn hose, as he explains in his Instructable describing the build).

Obviously, it works a treat.

National Geographic’s Photo Contest December 4, 2010

Posted by stuffilikenet in Photography.
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is underway right now.  Submit your vote hereThe Complete National Geographic (Hard Drive) can be bought there also, but be warned:  the resolution of all those fabulous photos is only 200dpi.  This is an improvement over the Complete National Geographic- Every Issue Since 1888 [OLD VERSION] where the resolution is a mere 72, but my printer goes to 600dpi.

Just sayin’.

And waiting until a version comes out with higher resolution.  NatGeo will understand eventually (probably in about five years, since that’s how far behind the times they seem to be).