Archive for March, 2008

29
Mar
08

Falling Sand Game

This is interesting. I like these kind of free-form games simulating the properties of various substances. Like so many of these games, it’s possible to build a kind of Rube Goldberg machine with this one–

There’s a catch, though. The “shape” wants to destroy your sand distribution system. The proverbial wrench in the cogs.

FALLING SAND

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29
Mar
08

45 Moments in NASA History

An interactive, multimedia celebration of the history of NASA

Harrison Schmitt examines a boulder on the moon during the Apollo 17 Mission

29
Mar
08

Bizarre, interactive flash animations

Interesting. Unusual. The “Neurotica Series”

The Neurotica Series

23
Mar
08

Ten Tips for Blogging, Bonk-Bonk Style

This post could be alternatively titled, “Hunter Thompson would just shit razor blades…”

The phenomenon of internet blogging seems to have ushered in the era of “Top Ten Whatever,” i.e., ranked lists of things. You can find lists of almost anything out there in the static-filled depths of cyberspace, including lists of lists, and even blogs devoted to nothing but lists, or lists of lists.

The top-ten list isn’t a new phenomenon, but on the Web it has “come of age.” Something like a fine, ripe piece of Limburger.

“Beware the list!” says I, holding you with my glittering eye. For therein lies a stench, like the dead albatross hanging off the neck of the Ancient Mariner. Read those lists and repeat them enough, and you’ll start to believe what you read, and you’ll carry the stench of illusion and ignorance wherever you go.

One variety of list(s) which has circulated through umpteen blogs, whose authors would aspire to odious conformity and sell same to us, is the homegrown list of “top ten blogging tips.” Having read a lot of these lists, I find most of them trite, misguided, and quite simply bullshit. (They’re all more or less composed in the same spirit of catering to the unwashed masses/dumbing down to which the American news media has subscribed).

Here, I take on one of these “Top Ten Blogging Tips” lists that is more or less representative of the collective, and rewrite it to my specifications.

Continue reading ‘Ten Tips for Blogging, Bonk-Bonk Style’

23
Mar
08

“Tesser, Sir, Tesser!”

That’s a handy ability to have in case you get locked out of your house/car. This bit of sage advice comes to us from the late Madeline L’Engles A Wrinkle in Time. If I recall correctly (not having a copy of the book on hand), Mr. Murray, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin were in the grip of “IT” on Camezotz, and “Tesser, Sir, Tesser!” was Calvin’s anguished cry to Mr. Murray. After which they ended up on another planet in the Camezotz system, with Meg in tough shape for having tessered through the darkness, but in the able hands of her impromptu furry nursemaid, Aunt Beast.

A Wrinkle in TimeTesseractThis is a four-dimensional construct, a tesseract, or “hypercube.” More accurately, it’s the shadow of a tesseract, because we can’t directly perceive the fourth dimension, being three dimensional beings. The impossible (from our 3-d view) rotation you see here is a simulation of a tesseract. As the “inner” nested cube perpetually becomes the outer cube – that is the fourth dimension. It is the transitional space-time of getting from one state to the next. The “nesting” of one cube within another is an illusion devised to illustrate the four dimensional nature of a hypercube; there is only one cube, here, moving through spacetime.

If you could directly perceive the fourth dimension, all things would take on a “smeared out” quality. Not only would you see a person walking down the street, but you would see that person at every point along the “line” he follows through space and time.

This has important implications. Supposing you could move out of the third dimension, into the fourth at will, and back into the third, you could intersect the path of this individual at any point: when he was far down the street, when he was in front of your house, when he was far across town.

His perception would be that you popped out of nowhere.

So, once again, if you get locked out of your car or house, just slip into the fourth dimension, and “walk” to the spot in spacetime where your car or house wasn’t locked. It’s not far.

One more thing. All of this is grossly oversimplified, as there would be a lot more going on in the fourth dimension than just a guy walking down the street Everything is moving through spacetime, including the the earth, the sun, the galaxy. Our hypothetical person out for his morning constitutional is only moving in a smooth, straight line from our limited perspective.

As a 3-d being, I can’t even imagine, let alone describe, how jumbled and confusing the fourth dimension must be.

 

19
Mar
08

humans make great crop mandalas

That’s right, I said “humans.” Click on thumb for the big picture.

Agroforms

19
Mar
08

Dubya and Bonfire Night

Fawkes-Dubya

If you know nothing about the British Holiday of “Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire Night,” you may learn more here. If you have a short attention span and want the abbreviated version, our cousins ‘cross the pond make an effigy of this butthead named Guy Fawkes, and burn it amid merriment and fireworks.

I’m pretty sure we Americans are way too apathetic (or paranoid) to get something like “Dubya Day and Bonfire Night” going here, but I like the idea. After all, Guy Fawkes’ nefarious doings pale in comparison to Dubya’s.