Thursday, August 28, 2008

Once Around The Block

Certainly a favorite of these 00's. Once Around The Block, a cheerful tune by Badly Drawn Boy with high praise for its uber-funky guitar.

Artist: Badly Drawn Boy
Song: Once Around the Block (Amazon mp3)
Disc: The Hour of Bewilderbeast
Year: 2000

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Artist: Andrew Bird (@ Coachella 2007)
Song: Plasticities (Amazon mp3)
Disc: Armchair Apocrypha
Year: 2007

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Viva Norm

Today's celebrity roasts seem to be little more than contests in crassness and vulgarity, but Norm MacDonald, of whom I'm a longtime fan, offered his idiosyncratic shtik for Bob Saget in the form of a wonderfully metahumorous litany of groaners...

more here: 2, 3

Sunday, August 24, 2008



Musée d'Orsay. Paris.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Millions: Pixels and Jobs

Millions of pixels -- Why the Megapixel Race Needs to End

Thanks to Charlie Sorrel at Wired for sounding off on the megapixel arms race:

"Megapixels, like megahertz before them, are the big consumer swindle of the camera world. The first thing anyone asks me when they see my Canon G9 is “How many megapixels does it have?” My answer, 12, causes a swoon. The trouble is, I neither want nor need that many. My Nikon D60, with just 10 megapixels, takes better pictures, especially in low light. In fact, when Nikon announced its new P6000 two weeks ago, I groaned when I read the sensor size: 13.5 megapixels. All those extra dots add up to one thing: noise. Here we take a look at the advantages of smaller pixel-counts, and what they mean for the future of photography."

Also in the article is the prediction that GPS will be in every camera. Again, I hope so, but it's taking too long ("I hope GPS in cameras becomes ubiquitous in the future." October 2004.)


Millions of Jobs -- Seeing Red: Buffett, Others Clash On Danger Posed by U.S. Debt

An article in WaPo about the economy and the severity of U.S. debt quotes Warren Buffett saying:

"Since 1982, we have added 25 million-plus jobs in this country; we will have a larger pie. People will be fighting over the pie, but that's a wonderful thing. Even if we grow at 1 percent per year, we double the GDP per capita in 75 years. The pie will grow enough that everyone will get more of the pie."

I've often seen economic vitality and growth buttressed by figures indicating how many jobs we've added in recent decades, but what never seems to be noted is we've also added around 75 million people since 1982. Not all of those 75 million people are old enough to have a job now, but in consideration of the number of workers added, whatever that might be, how good is 25 million?

Thursday, August 14, 2008




Negative Refraction

Another fairly recent science news piece...

Surpassing Nature, Scientists Bend Light Backward

"Using tiny wires and fishnet structures, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found new ways to bend light backward, something that never occurs in nature.

This technology could lead to microscopes able to peer more deeply and clearly into living cells. And the same kind of structures might one day be adapted to bend light in other unnatural ways, creating a Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak. “This is definitely a big step toward that idea,” said Jason Valentine, a graduate student and a lead author of a paper to be published online Wednesday by the journal Nature. But scientists are still far from designing and manufacturing such a cloak.

The work involves materials that have a property known as negative refraction, which means that they essentially bend light backward. Once thought to be pure fantasies, these substances, called metamaterials, have been constructed in recent years, and scientists have shown they can bend long-wavelength microwaves.

Negative refractive materials can in principle lead to fantastical illusions; someone looking down at a fish in a pool of negative refractive liquid would see the fish swimming in the air above."

continued at NYT


The latest in quantum entanglement...

Quantum weirdness even stranger than previously thought.

Two photons can be connected in a way that seems to defy the very nature of space and time, yet still obeys the laws of quantum mechanics.

Physicists at the University of Geneva achieved the weird result by creating a pair of ‘entangled’ photons, separating them, then sending them down a fibre optic cable to the Swiss villages of Satigny and Jussy, some 18 kilometres apart.

The researchers found that when each photon reached its destination, it could instantly sense its twin’s behaviour without any direct communication. The finding does not violate the laws of quantum mechanics, the theory that physicists use to describe the behaviour of very small systems. Rather, it shows just how quantum mechanics can defy everyday expectation, says Nicolas Gisin, the researcher who led the study. “Our experiment just puts the finger where it hurts,” he says. The study is published in Nature1.

continued in Nature

Monday, August 11, 2008

Villa of the Papyri

The unique library of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, buried beneath lava by Vesuvius's eruption in AD79, is slowly revealing its long-held secrets

"..'.The villa remains one of the great buildings of the ancient world and it should certainly be excavated,' Fowler says. 'This would be true even if we were to find no further papyri, though the likelihood that we will find them adds much to the case. The building will certainly contain many other things, and is of unique historical interest. If we know of a site that should be excavated, and we have the capacity, let us get on with it. Of all the sites in the world, this one ranks close to the top of the list for potential and historical importance.'

If a significant number of lost classics are found at the Villa of the Papyri it would enlarge the cultural and intellectual tradition, and might even alter its course. Should scholars find the famous lost second book of Aristotle's Poetics, the narrative spring of Umberto Eco's best-selling medieval mystery, The Name of the Rose, the discovery might shift the ground of Western aesthetics. Of Sophocles' 120 plays, only seven are known, and of these the Oedipus trilogy has embossed itself eternally on the Western imagination. The Kypria, a martial epic believed to have been Homer's source material, disappeared some time in antiquity..."

more at The Australian

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Big Yellow Shanty

Big Yellow Shanty

Medicine Lake, Minnesota




Buckets & Sand

Few economic claims are more tiresome than those regarding jobs created as a result of taxes and subsidies. Tilting a bucket of sand will indeed result in more sand on one side of the bucket, but there's a difference between doing that and putting more sand in the bucket.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008



Minneapolis Institute of Arts