Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I love the Vodafone spot Mayfly by BBH / London. Nice work!

Watch it here:

(The site doesn't seem to take it if it's a referral, so if that doesn't work paste the URL into your browser.)

GPU Video Encoding

"CHIP Online had the opportunity to test a beta version of ATI’s still secret „Avivo XCode“ encoding tool. It uses the power of the GPU to reduce video encoding time –into virtually any format – drastically. Our results show: The new ATI solution easily does it 5 times faster than even the fastest CPUs available today!"


C.P. Snow: Bridging the Two-Cultures Divide

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a new piece on C.P. Snow

"The year 2005 is the centenary of the birth — and the 25th anniversary of the death — of C.P. Snow, British physicist, novelist, and longtime denizen of the "corridors of power" (a phrase he coined). It is also 45 years since the U.S. publication of his best-known work, a highly influential polemic that generated another phrase with a life of its own, and that warrants revisiting today: The Two Cultures..."



Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Old Barn

My favorite buildings...
Originally uploaded by metamerist.

Most Literate City: Seattle overtakes Minneapolis

Oh, Seattle! What do we Minneapolitans need to do to get the top spot back?

"That category is based on number of library connections, commercial and public wireless access points per capita, online book orders and percentage of adults who have read a newspaper online. Seattle, Boston and Austin were the top three, respectively, in the category, helping catapult Seattle into the top overall spot. Seattle was second to Minneapolis last year."


Pride & Prejudice I & II

Saw Pride and Prejudice the other night and enjoyed it. Maybe it's just me, but was that Keira Knightly with dark hair or Winona Ryder? Anyhow, I was amused to learn that there are two versions of the film, an American version and a British version.

BBC News: "The US release of Pride and Prejudice is eight minutes longer than the UK version because British test audiences hated the extended romantic ending..." continued

Jefferson on Religious Freedom

A recent familial debate left me reviewing my copy of Thomas Jefferson's autobiography and letters. Following are comments from Jefferson's autobiography his Bill for Religious Freedom drafted for the Virginia legislature in 1777. Finally passed in 1786, he considered this precursor to the First Amendment one of his greatest achievements.

"[When] the [Virginia] bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend within the mantle of its protection the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo and infidel of every denomination." --Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821. ME 1:67, Modern Library edition p. 45-46.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Van Tuong Nguyen

I'm not sure what can be done about this--I hope someone can get something done--but the least I can do with my miniscule slice of the blogosphere is try to help raise awareness:

Brian Weatherson of Crooked Timber writes:

"Next Friday, Singapore plans to hang Van Tuong Nguyen, a 25 year old man from Glen Waverley, the Melbourne suburb where I grew up. Nguyen’s crime against the state of Singapore was to change planes in Singapore while en route from Cambodia to Australia carrying 396 grams of heroin. I can see, dimly, how doing this kind of thing could be a crime against Cambodia, and a crime against Australia, but I can’t see how this kind of action could justifiably be punished by Singapore, when he hadn’t even passed through passport control into Singapore and clearly had no intention of doing so."


Friday, November 25, 2005

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

It's snowing...

Time to pull out a link to the ice scraper guy video.


Covariant Image Reconstruction

Adobe's John Nack posted a link to a paper and a SIGGRAPH talk by Todor Georgiev on the mathematics behind Photoshop's Healing Brush.



Nice self-publishing site.
Worth a look, if you haven't seen it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Pets or Meat?

There's a scene in Michael Moore's Roger & Me where rabbits are being sold as "Pets or Meat." I saw an article today highlighting a local restaurant serving cuy, a word I didn't recognize. If the Spanish eludes you too, let's just say puerco is to pig as cuy is to guinea pig.

According to this BBC food page, Peruvians consume 22 million guinea pigs a year. That's a lot of meat. On the other hand, if you're a lover of these fluffy rodents and see them as pets, be forewarned that this Google Image search for cuy is not for you; it will fill your browser with a checkerboard of pets and meat.

Different strokes for different folks. From my perspective, the oxtail and sweetbreads are looking better.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

It's hard to beat the classics.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Bicycle

The Bicycle "_______"
Originally uploaded by metamerist.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Praise for Brainwagon

Kudos to Mark VandeWettering for his brainwagon blog, which I added a while back to my slowly developing blogroll. He keeps coming up with cool projects and great links. Today, a link to an online draft of Julian O. Smith's textbook Physical Audio Signal Processing for Virtual Musical Instruments and Audio Effects. Also, some fun stuff converting LOC stereograms to anaglyphs. Well done!

The Fountain of Youth?

I'm a little frightened by how little A-ha's 46-year-old lead singer Morten Harket has changed since the Take on Me video. Maybe he's just drawn that way. Anyhow, A-ha is back with a new song and video, Celice from their forth coming disc Analogue.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

West Indian Girl

"To clarify how West Indian Girl sounds, it may be easier to think of the group (which performs tonight at the Casbah) as the happy offspring of a gentle Jane's Addiction and the Chemical Brothers, with touches of the Sundays, the Verve and new-school Whale. Yet categorizing the band is something Ten hesitates to do, especially when it comes to its live performances." -- Brie Iatarola, San Diego Union Tribune

A little plug for West Indian Girl, a recent discovery, and I love their tune "Miles from Monterey."

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Prodigy Puzzle

"'So you're the geniuses," Senator Carl Levin said, looking pleased as he peered over his glasses. He was addressing the flaxen-haired Heidi Kaloustian, a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Michigan, and John Zhou, a superfriendly 17-year-old senior at Detroit Country Day School..."

Today's NYT has a lengthy, interesting article on prodigies and the development of gifted children.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Geeky Thoughts and Sequences

Once I found myself wrestling with a collection of Internet brainteasers that included some of the most difficult integer sequence challenges I've ever encountered. Correct answers weren't returned in response to submitted entries, which prompted me to search the AT&T sequence database to check some of my answers.

When I searched for the answer to one particular sequence, I found a comment in the database noting that many people had requested the answer and that the answer remained unknown. Quite certain I had the answer, I felt a little puffed up, but I didn't add it to the database, because I didn't want compromise the test.

Later, I regretted the decision, because the author soon decided his test had been compromised and refused any subsequent entries. Not long after that, someone else claimed credit for the solution in the database. (Of course, the author of the test is certainly most worthy of credit.)

The sequence in question follows:

6, 8, 5, 8, 4, 0, 7, 3, ?

Turn to the AT&T Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences for the answer.

Yesterday, I thought of a sequence I'd like to see devilishly included on one of these tests. I believe the answer will come effortlessly to some who normally find sequence puzzles difficult. At the same time, I can imagine it leaving the sharpest young math whizzes throwing up their arms in dismay:

8, 6, 7, 5, 3, 0, ?

You'll find the answer to this one in the AT&T database as well.


1/7/2006. Update (thanks to ABC's Lost): 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, ?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Originally uploaded by metamerist.

Visualizations (Food Sources)

I love nice visualizations.

radical cartography

Air Traffic as Art

BoingBoing: Aaron Koblin generated a series of beautifully-surreal visualizations of air traffic above the US. Seen here is a still from the "3D Blobular" animation.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Keep Your Eye on the Monitor

When you were kids, did you and your siblings strap pork chops to your heads and play Whack-a-mole with a 20 lb monitor lizard? If so, this Japanese game show clip should bring back fond childhood memories.


(ht: The Colbert Report)

The Body Language and Emotion of Cats

The Body Language and Emotion of Cats by Myrna Milani
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.17

15 of 19 people found the following review helpful:

Excellent, June 12, 2001
This was a real eye-opener for me. It was amazing to read of the complex range of behaviours and emotions you can spot simply from looking at a cat. Barry, my spaniel, and I often watch Maureen, next door's Persian as she walks across the wall at the end of my garden. We have detected disdain as she walks away from us with her tail in the air and back-eye winking, and smug pity as she eyes Barry's vain yapping from behind the French windows, but I am intrigued to learn that cats can feel pessimistic and have a rudimentary concept of the bourgeoisie and slapstick humour.


In this space, I've never mentioned the mock Amazon reviews penned by Henry Raddick (London UK) from 2001 to 2003. There must be over a hundred reviews listed, and many of these Internet classics are hysterical.


Wrong Hill

He was a good kid...
a happy kid....
but sadly,
never very confident in the water...

(ht: lifecanbeseriouslyfunny)

Currently Spinning...

West Indian Girl - Miles From Monterey
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc (Single Edit)
Nina Simone - Love Me Or Leave Me
Feist - Inside & Out
Laura Veirs - Magnetized
Death Cab For Cutie - Soul Meets Body
Turin Brakes - Jackinabox
Hooverphonic - Eden
Jamie Cullum - Catch The Sun
Loquat - Swingset Chain
Madeleine Peyroux - Don't Wait Too Long

David Deutsch wins 2005 Edge Prize

The Edge of Computation Prize, established by Edge Foundation, Inc., is a $100,000 prize initiated and funded by science philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein.

"DAVID DEUTSCH is the founder of the field of quantum computation. Paul Benioff, Richard Feynman, and others had written about the possibility of quantum computation earlier, but Deutsch's 1985 paper on Quantum Turing Machines was the first full treatment of the subject, and the Deutsch-Jozsa algorithm is the first quantum algorithm..."



Monday, November 14, 2005


Originally uploaded by metamerist.

EEs see U.S. losing technological lead

"..The quick takeaway is this. If you had any lingering doubt that America is in danger of losing its competitive edge in technology innovation, you can let that go. When asked whether the U.S. will maintain it's leadership position in technology innovation, 90 percent said no. And these are the guys and gals responsible for that leadership position. If anyone would know, they would. Here is Tom Abate of the SF Chronicle's take."


(ht: Scoble)

Fight Club (Pillow Version)

Why can't we all just get along? Pillow fights breaking out across the globe. Flickr photos tagged with "pillow fight."

(related news: BoingBoing)

Passing on Foie Gras

My light-hearted take on gourmet food prompted an interesting discussion with my brother regarding foie gras, a delicacy I've never tried. When it comes to animal rights, I think, like most, I fall somewhere between the extremes, but I do find myself saddened by the treatment of the ducks and geese involved in the production of foie gras. Basically, it amounts to force-feeding-induced liver disease, which apparently makes for an enlarged, tasty duck or goose liver. I can brave sweetbreads and oxtail, but I'll have to pass on foie gras.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Dining Edition)

After a celebratory meal the other night, our waitress remarked that I was the only patron that evening who didn't ask about the sweetbreads served as part of the five-course prix fixe meal. I offered a pleasant smile in return. She seemed clearly impressed with my food savvy, but that wasn't it. Ever since inadvertently eating horse meat in Venice, I've adopted a "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" strategy with food. Pancreas! It isn't just for breakfast anymore! (At least they desensitized me with oxtail on the second course.)

I am beginning to develop an evolutionary theory of gourmet food. Perhaps these restaurants began life in competition with other fine dining establishments, initially choosing the finest cuts of meat possible. Perhaps they eventually found themselves being edged out by competition, which forced them to progressively cut more and more corners to maintain profitability. Quality of cut was repeatedly sacrificed (compensated by spice and alcohol). After a few generations of this survival strategy, they found themselves purchasing organs and tails. Perhaps they initially offered family-size, heaping bowls of organs and tails only to find this tended to drive people away. Perhaps they eventually realized people would be willing to pay more for smaller portions and a premium for portions reduced to the size of a golf ball.

Groucho: "How much is the big bowl of organs and tails?"
Chico: "$10."
Groucho: "How much is the golf ball sized portion?"
Chico: "For you, I make special rate: $30."
Groucho: "How much is an empty plate with nothing on it?"
Chico: "Oh, my friend, you couldn't afford it."

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Originally uploaded by metamerist.

The Telemarketing Angel of Death

I'm afraid I'm going through a humor streak. My brother sent a link to this, and it's too good to pass up.

Comedian Tom Mabe has fun with telemarketers and records the results. A cemetary telemarketer calls and what ensues is hilarious (and shocking).


In case of Rapture, car will be unmanned...

"I'm sure everyone here has been driving and seen the bumper sticker that reads "In case of Rapture, car will be unmanned." While this never fails to inspire some very action-movie style daydreams and exciting video game premises, it also brings up a far more practical issue: should saved Christians be allowed to drive?..." continued

Note: I'd never seen stay free daily! before today. There's some great stuff over there. Had to give them a double link.


Nice pharmaceutical parody.


(ht:stay free!)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Everyday Jones

Everyday Jones, a Seattle band worth a listen.

The Golden Mean (Party Edition)

Lev discusses fine balances of decorum at Tales of Mere Existence.


My Nascent Graphic Design Empire

The existence of online commerce entities such as Google Adwords and CafePress still amazes me. With very little work one can combine them and create micro-businesses that generate real money.

It's a little eerie. From a creator's perspective, all of the processes, components and products are purely digital. The only thing tangible is a paycheck popping out of a Platonic neverland. Curious, I had to give it a whirl.

Occasionally workplace frustrations leave my coworkers and I sympathizing with tragic Greek heroes: Sisyphus, Cassandra, Prometheus, etc. The Homerian moanings inspired a Google Adwords & CafePress t-shirt experiment. The idea: Sisyphus meets a Men at Work sign, with Sisyphus at Work:

The wheels of automated commerce have spun for a while now. At the current rate, all of Sisyphus' hard work is translating to a nice bottle of wine every quarter. I won't be retiring any time soon, but, still, I thank you for your support.

We live in the age of the idea. I found you can find a really good one, you can set the digital wheels in motion, sit back and let the machines take care of the work.

Kerik Kouklis

Today, I stumbled onto some interesting photography at the site of Kerik Kouklis. His site showcases his work with wet plate collodion, platinum and palladium prints, as well as a few other alternative process techniques.

Baby, I can rocket 2 u (or something like that)...

Brainwagon has an excellent post on water rockets, but if you don't follow all the links in his post, you must, at the very least, check out this link from a Japanese game show, a near Darwin Award propelled by a homemade water rocket jet pack. Ouch!


Yapsa: Riya

Yet another photo sharing site: Riya. This one specializes in facial recognition searches and such.

Now that I think about it, I forgot to post a link to Yapsa: Picaboo, which has an interesting site and KPCB funding.

Bill Gates & Ray Ozzie Memos

Just a link to Dave Winer's recent posting of the Bill Gates & Ray Ozzie memos.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cape Disappointment

Akio Morita, R.I.P.

If you haven't read about the Sony BMG rootkit fiasco, I think you should. This CNet article might be a good place to start. Computer Associates has blacklisted the software included on Sony BMG music CDs, classifying it a trojan. A lawsuit has been filed.

Over the course of my life, since my first Walkman, Sony successfully built a brand with me, a brand I trusted, respected and admired. I've owned numerous Sony products over the years, and a new Sony car stereo has been sitting on my wishlist.

The recent foolish and myopic behavior of one of Sony's divisions runs the risk of obliterating trust, respect and admiration that took the entire Sony corporation decades to establish with me.

Akio Morita, R.I.P.

Goodbye, BMG.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And What About Graphics?

As far as computer graphics and image processing go, I seem to be experiencing a dry spell.
So... um... think... think... think...
I know!
Go check out Aaron Hertzmann's latest publications.
He's always doing something cool.


Hubris vs. Chutzpah

"Hubris is stealing the fire of the gods.
Chutzpah is offering to sell it back."

author unknown

Half Baked Ideas

KWC perpetuates a "So what's in your Drafts folder?" meme (aka Folder of Shame). I'll bite:
  • Marx Bros Business Logic
  • Life on the Mitty Expressway
  • Talker: A Turing Test in the 80s
  • A Hopefully Simple Explanation of Permutations
  • Echo & the Bunnymen: Siberia
  • Gravitation, Light & Liquids
  • My Nascent Graphic Design Empire
  • Skepticism vs MBTI
  • Cyberphilosophers
  • Sondre Lerche

Not so cowardly Lion Fish

Not so cowardly Lion Fish
Originally uploaded by metamerist.

The Oil Price Explanation

The Guardian writes: "The chairman of the Senate energy committee, Pete Domenici, told them there is a 'growing suspicion that companies are taking unfair advantage' of crude prices that recently touched $70 a barrel. 'The oil companies owe the country an explanation.'"

Here's the explanation.

Economics 101

In spite of the fact that Opec as been running at or near record production, demand for oil was increasing faster than supply. When the demand for widgets grows faster than the supply of widgets, the price of widgets goes up and so do the profits.

If you want to see gasoline shortages, legislate lower prices. Also, I'm afraid things are going to get really interesting shortly after we hit peak world production. The good news is that in the near term, demand has been slacking off a bit and prices have been receding.

Update (11/15): "Economics 101 supply-and-demand curves are apparently too complicated for lawmakers to understand." -- Washington Times

Update (11/16): "Many of the same factors that drove world oil markets in 2005, such as low Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) spare oil production capacity and rapid world oil demand growth, will continue to affect markets in 2006." -- U.S. Department of Energy


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

RX: The War on Cancer

An interesting post on cancer at 3 Quarks Daily notes how the high rates in North America are puzzling:

"[T]he incidence of lung cancer in Sweden with an average life expectancy of 80.3 years is less than half of that in the USA which has a life expectancy of 77.4 years ((22 versus 55.7 per 100,000 respectively) even though 22% adults smoke in both countries. This suggests that lifestyles may be important, but that smoking may not be the only important factor."


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Eating Nails

A humorous story from a Harvard Professor...

"A few years ago, I taught the following lesson in my daughter's kindergarden class and my graduate methods class in the same week. It worked pretty well in both. Anyone who has a kid in kindergarten, some good graduate students, or both, might want to try this. It was especially fun for the instructor..."


(ht: Ernie's 3D Pancakes)

Go-cart Mozart was checkin' out the weather

"Some silicone sister with a manager mister told me I go what it takes. She said 'I'll turn you on sonny to something strong, play the song with the funky break'. And go-cart Mozart was checkin' out the weather chart to see if it was safe outside. And little Early-Pearly came by in his curly-wurly and asked me if I needed a ride"

Manfred Mann's Blinded by the Light (1976)
Still don' t know what any of it means.
Still a great song.

"The calliope crashed to the ground"

Order and Chaos

Order and Chaos
Originally uploaded by metamerist.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Great A.I. Punt: Amazon's Mechanical Turk

I am betting discussion of Amazon's "Mechanical Turk" will immediately go to Bloglines #1.

The Bezosians have come up with something very interesting. An API that farms out A.I. tasks to human beings in exchange for micropayments. Does that photo have a human in it?

photoContainsHuman = callMechanicalTurk(photo);


Human Progress, 2005 A.D.

2005, the year of a great human invention: the ketchup bottle that opens on the bottom.

On the timeline of human progress, the bottom-opening ketchup bottle comes after man on the moon, after DNA chips, after MRI and carbon nanotubes.

It is indeed a great human advance, but it's most troubling that it took so long. Heinz introduced ketchup in 1876. Are we sure we're the smartest species on the planet? Maybe the box of rocks is underrated.

For over a century, millions of people have inverted their ketchup bottles and, as their steaming burgers cooled, stared impatiently for that last dollop ketchup. Then "voila!" a tomato falls on someone's head and "presto!" there it is. Why didn't we think of it earlier?

It's such a "Duh!" It's the Mount Everest of "Duh!" It's "Duh!" so extreme it turns life into a Seinfeld episode. Now we're forced to stare at it. The plastic wonder sits on our tables, taunting us, forcing us to question beliefs in own ingenuity.

As we imagine the inventor living a carefree life in the Bahamas, the George Costanza in us screams, "I coulda thought of that, Jerry! I coulda thought of that!"

Friday, November 04, 2005

This Makes Me Laugh

Oh, the things you find when you keep pressing "Next Blog >>" on Blogger.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Amazing Fact: Shanghai vs. New York

"SHANGHAI, China -- Move over, New York. This year alone, Shanghai will complete more towers with space for living and working than there is space in all the office buildings in New York City."


The Hardcover's Always More (Not)

As I noted a while back, I buy quite a few used books via Amazon. On a number occasions, I've noticed that used hardcovers are often cheaper than used paperbacks. I'm not sure why. My guess is that it's because paperbacks tend to get first priority in the system. Tip: If you're buying used books on Amazon, always check the hardcover price.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by metamerist.

Light Field Photography with a Hand-Held Plenoptic Camera

"Ren Ng, a computer science graduate student in the lab of Pat Hanrahan, the Canon USA Professor in the School of Engineering, has developed a "light field camera" capable of producing photographs in which subjects at every depth appear in finely tuned focus. Adapted from a conventional camera, the light field camera overcomes low-light and high-speed conditions that plague photography and foreshadows potential improvements to current scientific microscopy, security surveillance and sports and commercial photography..."


Paper: Light Field Photography with a Hand-Held Plenoptic Camera

What Every School Child Knows...

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about a paper claiming that the correspondence response times of Einstein and Darwin followed a power law distribution. The counterclaim is that a log-normal distribution makes for a better fit. I'm not concerned with that here.

Three Toed Sloth chimes in on the subject and cheekily says:

"As every school-child knows (at least, these school-children do!), adding together many independent random variables, each of which makes a small contribution to the over-all result, generally gives you a Gaussian or normal distribution (unless the contributing variables are, themselves, kind of pathological). This fact is the central limit theorem."

If you follow the link, you'll see the "school children" noted are CMU engineering students. Cheekiness aside, I just want to say that I think teaching the Central Limit Theorem to school children seriously is a very good idea. It's such an important concept. I think it can be done.

Update: (1/2/2006). I added a new post on a cool contraption at the Science Museum of Minnesota to demonstrate the CLT.

Ken Rockwell's Photography

Since I'm on the subject, I'll make a site recommendation. If you're into digital photography (or seeking to get into it), Ken Rockwell has a nice site with a lot of great stuff on it including a number of tutorials on techniques and articles addressing technical issues.


Nikon D200

Nikon has a page up for its new D200 camera, successor to the D100.



Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Originally uploaded by metamerist.

Don't Ask Me Why...

Don't ask me why there's something addicting about this time waster, but there seems to be something addicting about this time waster.


(ht: chasemeladies)

Fragments of the Blogosphere

Fafblog on the Plame thing: "True, the Plame scandal is simple enough to be summarized in one sentence, but the devil is in the details. There are names and people and places - names like "Niger", which sounds very much like Nigeria and yet is not Nigeria - and people like "Scooter", which is the name of the Vice President's chief of staff and yet is also the name of a muppet. Will the muppet be indicted?" link

The Reading Experience on the Forbes thing: "One wonders how many other people, especially people in positions of influence and authority, are soon going to wake up to the fact that "suddenly" weblogs are no longer harmless exercises in diary-writing but opportunities for serious critique and commentary, commentary that often transgresses the established rules of decorum to express ideas these authorities don't particularly like." link

The Financial Times on Toyota: "Toyota Motor is poised to become the world's largest carmaker, ousting General Motors of the US from the top spot, according to a new business plan to be released in December." link (ht: Brad Delong)

Engadget on Lip-reading Babelfish Goggles: "But what really freaks us out about the interACT 'babelfish' prototypes they’re developing, more than the in-mouth/throat electrode translation system they’ve theorized, were the “translation goggles” that lipread other languages and subtitle your field of vision with translated text" link

Three Quarks Daily on the latest carbon nanotube technology, Buckypaper: "Working with a material 10 times lighter than steel - but 250 times stronger - would be a dream come true for any engineer. If this material also had amazing properties that made it highly conductive of heat and electricity, it would start to sound like something out of a science fiction novel. " link

Ernie's 3D Pancakes on a Harmonic Balloon Inflation Puzzle: "You are given n balloons, which appear to be utterly identical. For each integer k between 1 and n, exactly one of the balloons can hold 1/k liters of air. You know that the balloons have these different capacities, but you do not know which ballons have which capacities. The only way to discover the capacity of a balloon is to overinflate it, causing it to pop. Your goal is to fill the balloons with as much air as possible. You don't get credit for the air you put into balloons that pop; only the surviving balloons count toward your total. How much air can you get?" link