Archive for January, 2008

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Monday Roundup 7!

28 January, 2008

No real need for introductions, so here are the links!

[Random] Origami Spaceplane to Launch from Space Station: This is cool.

[Science] NASA Photo Shows Humanoid Figure on Mars: So, turns out it’s about 6cm high. But that’s okay, it just looks like a tiny person, instead of a normal one…

[Random] Knitted, dissected froggy: Exactly what the title suggests.

[Entertainment] Man Imitates America’s Army, Saves Lives: See? Video games are good for people.

[Entertainment] Sculptures and furniture of weapons: And guns can be too.

[Science] Lazy option is best when waiting for the bus: I have always wondered about this.

[Random] The Stone Face: Don’t read the text. Seriously. Just look at the pictures, they are much less lame.

[Science] Robots Evolve and Learn How to Lie: This is what I was afraid of…

[Current] Honour sought for ‘Soldier Bear’: Bears are good for people, too. I’m unclear on why they had to enlist him, though.

[Current] More writer’s strike stuff: Mock debate between writers and execs, played by the writers of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report (before Congress, no less…).

For the record, art is included under Entertainment. Have a good week!

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Far-Seeing Gods…

28 January, 2008

I’ve recently become a TV junkie. Not to say that I wasn’t before, just that I was taking an… extended break. Perhaps this was due to being at college, with no easily-accesible television. But in the past few weeks, I’ve discovered my long-lost friend. From a variety of sources. Hulu is a project (unfortunately only in invitation-only beta at the moment, although you can easily request an invite) which is taking the streaming media (legally!) from all of the major networks’ individual sites, and compiling it all in one place and one player for easy access. This was the first stage of my descent into darkness. I have always been a big fan of Joss Whedon; I loved Firefly and liked Serenity a lot, but I had not really seen much of his first masterwork— Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hulu, thankfully, had the first season, which called to me when I should have been studying. So I watched it. And then the second season, out on loan from my college library’s astounding collection of DVDs. And the third is on call. Needless to say, I grew very fond of this show very quickly. It was moving at times, clever and funny always, and had demons. I mean, what more can you ask for? So Whedon has not let me down.

But what, you might ask (please do, or else this paragraph makes no sense), are you doing while waiting for the next season to arrive on DVD? Well, I’m glad you asked that (See? That would be weird, if you hadn’t asked), because what an answer I have for you. First of all, this disease of mine seems to be catching. Also to postpone studying, (this is a common trend at college) my roommate took out the first available season of the X-Files from the library. This is something I used to watch a lot. It was always on just after I got home from school, and the added tingle of it being something my parents had once forbade me from watching just pushed it into a daily tradition. Week-daily, that is.

But that’s not all. Partially in preparation for seeing Cloverfield (which I saw tonight and will review sometime soon), and partially just because I was interested, I started watching J.J. Abrams’ Lost online, linked from the wonderful (but much much less legal) compilation site Alluc (that’s pronounced All-you-see. Get it?) And I’m hooked. Although, I don’t know how long that will last. I’ve heard that it gets disappointing after a while, as nothing is ever really revealed, and new mysteries keep showing up. I’ve also read that even the producers and writers don’t really know where it’s going, which is not an endorsement. But it’s fun, for the time being. It’s also interesting, because there are huge amounts of main characters. Something like 9 or 10, but you know their names, some of their stories, and you care about them. It’s hard for a show to make you feel for more than one or two, but Lost succeeds.

And so a final point: It’s interesting that so many shows these days are known for their producers: Joss Whedon’s Buffy and Firefly, J.J. Abrams’ Lost, and… well that’s all I can think of right now. But I guess it’s a good thing. Now we can say that we know who is responsible for the shows we know and love.

So that’s been my life recently. But don’t worry, I’m still working my way through Dickens’ Great Expectations at a rapid pace. Culture isn’t completely lost on me. Although I do like it less than I have his other works that I have read and loved (namely Bleak House and Hard Times). Is that normal? Also, I just voted. So that little internal conflict is over. Obama it is! Er, was. (Or was it? I guess I shouldn’t say these things in the open. Does it matter?)

And the title of the post is stolen from the literal meaning of television. Why? Because I couldn’t think of anything more clever. Sorry guys.

EDIT: ABC.com has almost all of their shows in HD streaming, with no ads. So, that’s awesome. I’ve switched to watching Lost there. Check it out!

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Monday Roundup 6!

21 January, 2008

So, a bunch of weeks off from rounding up links, and what do I have to show for it? Well, honestly, not much. Sadly school and the holidays really prevented me from my aimless web surfing, so I don’t have too many links today. I had a few more, but they’ve expired, or gone elsewhere. Sad. Nevertheless, here are some to enjoy.

[Humor] Brazilian Santa Escapes Gunfire: From before Christmas, here’s a seasonal story. With machine guns.

[Random] Strandbeest.com: A man named Theo Jansen (who is Dutch, I believe—correct me if I’m wrong…) creates these crazy wind-powered animals. They are really cool; just look at some of the videos and you’ll see what I mean.

[Science] Tunguska disaster explanation: So, in 1908, a massive explosion happened in Siberia, and no one knew what caused it. One explanation was a mini-black hole. These guys say it was an asteroid. I don’t understand their simulations, but they’re pretty.

[Random] The Year’s 10 Craziest Ways to Hack the Earth: I like these Wired lists. They’re usually entertaining. And… environmentally conscious?

[Current] E.P.A. Says 17 States Can’t Set Emission Rules: Seriously, what the hell, government. It’s not gonna hurt you that some states have stricter rules than you do…

[Random] US town escapes 666 phone prefix: This is entertaining. Good for them.

[Science] Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch: This guy has probably watched the Matrix too many times. Nevertheless, it’s pretty interesting.

[Random] Brain Surgery Lets Woman Listen to Music: Sean Paul never knew how much he affected people…

[Random] Giant drill makes subway tunneling easy: Woah.

[Entertainment] The Cloverfield Bootleg: Meta? Very. Funny? Sorta. (kudos to Ben for this one.)

A final message: If any of these links don’t work, or stop working (that goes for the Roundup Roundup page as well), please let me know, and I can remove them from the archive if necessary, or find an alternate link. It would be sad to have a pageful of dead links.

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My Own Little Oscar Ceremony.

20 January, 2008

Well, not quite. But as many people, including my brother, have done recently, I’m going to attempt to make a top ten movie list of 2007. Here goes nothing:

  1. The Kingdom
  2. Ratatouille
  3. Sweeney Todd
  4. The Bourne Ultimatum
  5. I Am Legend
  6. The Simpsons Movie
  7. 300
  8. I’m Not There
  9. Transformers
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

This is a very strange list for me. As it is, I imagine, for anyone reading it. The first 5 I’m sure about. But after I got past those five, I was really finding it harder and harder to think of movies that I really enjoyed. Some of those last five are really stretches (Pirates, 300…) I did love Transformers, though. But is it because I didn’t see that many movies this year? I don’t think that’s true. I guess I just wasn’t really satisfied with most of the ones I did see.

To be fair, the main movies that everyone loved in 2007 I didn’t see. Juno, There Will Be Blood, Enchanted, No Country For Old Men, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, 3:10 to Yuma… and so on. I still want to see all of them, I just never had the chance.

However, I can’t say enough about The Kingdom. I loved it, it felt real, it was moving, and exciting, and had Jason Bateman… It also was very not black and white; it was hard to tell if anyone was really on the side of good in this movie, especially after the end. My one qualm with it, though, was that during a big shootout near the end of the movie, the film made me feel exactly how I was hoping it wouldn’t (and had up to that point succeeded in not making me feel this way)—that I wanted to do that, that gun battles were exciting, and that I think it would be cool to be a soldier fighting for Right. But that quickly diminished, and my end opinion is that everyone should see this movie.

Ratatouille you already know my opinions about, and Sweeney Todd was a really bloody, great musical. I’ve never seen or heard any other version of it, though, so I don’t know how it compares, but it was really fun to watch, even twice.

My parting thought is that the number one worst movie I saw this year was (drumroll please): Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (with Stardust coming in as a close second). Why did I see this movie? I… just… don’t… know…

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You Know How I Said…

13 January, 2008

That I was an independent, just so I would have a possibility of voting for a bad candidate in the Republican primary? Well, apparently I’m not the only one with that idea…

Progressive Blogmeister To His Troops: Vote For Mitt

Not sure if this will work, or even whether it’s a good idea, but it’s interesting to see that I’m not alone in my sneaky, Democratic ways.

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The MacHeist Bundle!

13 January, 2008

This is a shameless plug, but the Macheist bundle is out, with all sorts of fun programs for a really really low price. BUY BUY BUY! Um, yeah. I dunno, I think it’s cool.

Get It Here

(Also, I get points for getting you to buy it. And by points, I mean free software. So help me out here!)

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Things that Go Bump In the (Prehistoric) Night: A Kronosaurus and a Liopleurodon!

13 January, 2008

This is partially a post, and partially an experiment. I recently, for one of my classes, had to do a biomechanical analysis of a Kronosaurus. This is a huge sea reptile from way back in the history of our planet. It was about 10 meters long, and pretty vicious. From my analysis I discovered that it couldn’t move too fast, or turn too quickly, but it didn’t need to. The sheer power of this creature, and its massive jaws were enough to catch anything it needed. But it wasn’t alone in those ancient seas; there were many huge predators.

And now for the experiment. People seem to be enthralled with these plesiosaurs. Take the liopleurodon. It is featured in a Youtube video that shot around the net about a year ago now, for no clear reason. And my brother happened to write a post about it and still gets multiple hits per day from searches for information on liopleurodons. So, the experiment is to see whether this post gets me more hits. If you’re reading this, you’re now just another number on my stats page. Congratulations! But don’t feel bad, you won’t leave here empty-handed. Here are a bunch of links about prehistoric animals. Including a picture of the specific Kronosaurus specimen that I analysed.

A Dinosaur Story
Wikipedia article on Liopleurodons
My Kronosaurus

And who knows? Maybe this is what the Loch Ness monster is!

So yeah! Woooo dinosaurs! I guess they don’t go bump, though. Maybe splash is more accurate.