Friday, February 27, 2009



Ray Charles' I got a Woman.

I know I mentioned how I'd like to see personal fabrication lean toward making your own homes, electricity, water, and such. I am fascinated by things like this homemade dome (Make Magazine.) out of plastic, wire, and packing peanuts. I like designs where, once you've heard the idea, you can figure out how to do it. They seem more powerful than really complicated ones with lots of specialized materials and such.

I find articles on the U.S. losing its competitive edge in innovation (IHT) amusing. I've heard lots of comparisons between America and the Britain of a hundred years ago, where we're losing our edge and just don't know it yet.

If you, like me, have only the faintest idea what those people are talking about, I highly recommend The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy (Amazon). I picked up a copy while I was traveling a couple years ago, and it's become a book I like to reread every so often to remind myself of how such things are done.

On the topic of transitions, I like this article praising google for killing newspapers ( I also like this article which shows sales of Atlas Shrugged correlated with recent news events. (Economist)

Suspending your disbelief is sometimes as easy as reading the news.

Thursday, February 26, 2009



Found Leon Jean Marie's East End Blues (Songza) from a Tostitos commercial. It's got the feel I like in hip hop and rap songs, like Internal Affairs' Half Empty (A song almost impossible to find on the internet.) and Rock Ya Body Mic Check 1 2 (Google Video).

I got my Myers-Briggs Personality Test (Wikipedia) back, and found out I am an INTP, or Architect. Me and Albert Einstein. From Kiersey's Analysis of Myers-Briggs ( I found;

Ruthless pragmatists about ideas, and insatiably curious, Architects are driven to find the most efficient means to their ends, and they will learn in any manner and degree they can. They will listen to amateurs if their ideas are useful, and will ignore the experts if theirs are not. Authority derived from office, credential, or celebrity does not impress them. Architects are interested only in what make sense, and thus only statements that are consistent and coherent carry any weight with them.

Which is disorienting, because last time I was an ENTJ, Field Marshal, and the time before that an INTJ, Mastermind, and you're never supposed to change types. Of course, I think that having radically different philosophies between taking the test has something to do with it.

As an Architect, i'm annoyed with the test for being so imprecise as to allow such variation.

At least they all have cool names, and I haven't become a defender or something. Wish i was a mastermind again though. Or even a field marshal. Architect is so mundane after those two.

Guess I should judge more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Orphans of Chaos

I've been reading John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos (Wikipedia) series, which is an excellent philosophy training manual for a variety of reasons. Thanks, Logan, for the recommendation.

Image is Socwall again.

I'm hearing more and more often (as less hippies write books) about the idea that the brain is a muscle. The point of this is to note that intelligence isn't a predetermined attribute, but is created by constant workouts.

I wonder how many people think morality, culture, and other purely mental 'attributes' are also muscles. I think the muscle perspective itself is a hard concept to grasp, as so much of our life is based on judgments of attributes, not learned behaviors.

In grinding through my college career, in a degree program which is increasingly annoying to me, I've been helped a lot by posts like this one (Study Hacks), which remind me that retention is based on passive, constant small chunks, not cramming.

But then again, it doesn't help if I do a cost-benefit and decide that this crap isn't worth that much time.

They also don't help when there are so many other interesting things (Make Magazine) I could be spending my time learning.

After all, you need 10,000 hours to 'master' something (Genius Catalyst). So shouldn't I be starting on things I really like now, so when i'm 32 I'll rock? 10k hours is almost 10 years of full-time work.

Good thing I'm wasting so much spare time picking up the concepts!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Brain Rotting Mushy Mush.

It's a clock (Make Magazine blog). It reads 3:50.

I love this quote from this (makezine) article (;
The local stores carry mass produced machetes and sickles like we have but no one wants them. The local people appreciate a finely crafted steel tool made to exactly suit the work they do.

There is a Market!

More on Videogames, thanks to the enthusiastic response last time. They do the aging brain good (Reuters), can be operated by thought (NYtimes), and may cause the singularity by driving AI development (TerraNova). That last article is also an excellent summary of the singularity, for those of you interested.

I don't think you can separate any discussion on Video Games from the vitriolic faction which declares them to be training manuals for school shootings (Google), destroying our youth (Google), and all-around devil-made (Penny-Arcade). The last link is completely irrelevant, though humorous.

I also don't think you can separate a discussion on video games from discussions on text messaging, IM, social networking, and those things causing harm or benefit. They're all tools that youth are using to enjoy themselves and build skills, although most have no idea that they're building skills.

So what can we separate video game discussions from?

I dunno. Maybe platypi. They're surprisingly underused in videogames. Except this one, named platypus, which is not about a platypus.

They're so weird.

Monday, February 23, 2009

No Rest

Across The Universe's Hold Me Tight (songza). Itunes Preset-Dance. Brings out the hidden Sax.

Image is from Socwall again. A guy names Steven Haseloff, he does good work.

I think Video Games are the ultimate learning medium. This is based on the fact that I still know the types of almost all 150 original Pokemon (Bulbapedia), thousands of years of made-up history from various games, and all the benefits and detriments of the Demonology v. Corruption talent tree debate from World of Warcraft (Official site). Demonology forever.

I like finding out new ways the Nintendo DS has been used to teach things, since Brain Age ( broke the idea that portable gaming doesn't have to be frivolous. The DS can also be used as an Ebook Reader (Make Magazine), and web browser.

The convergence of technology means that making a video game which teaches useful skills is increasingly likely, although nobody's figured out yet that a Biochemistry RPG with chemicals as items is not only a great educational tool, but freaking cool. I'd play that, and I'm not even that into biochemistry.

Well. That's a lie. I love biochem. But I'd play it!

All of which is part of why I'm not surprised that Second Life is giving up on being a central hub for everything, and looking to expand into education (Forbes).

It's just amusing to me that they tried such a silly thing in the first place.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Yeah, I dunno what that turtle's deal is either.

I have my RSS reader (My shared items google reader page) folders set up with names like 'elegance' and 'hax,' and my elegance folder has provided many of the pics which grace the blog.

I have a feed from Socwall which seems to post any picture its users find worthy of desktopping. As a result, sometimes they're neat, sometimes boring, and often interesting.

Some of the other websites I read the RSS posts for are the Make Magazine Blog(, TechCrunch (, The Economist's Science stuff (The Economist), and the Psyblog ( try to have a couple of updates from each of my fields every day. It keeps internet life interesting. And I scan the headlines of major news sources, though I almost never read any articles.

And, of course, i read my webcomics (Penny-Arcade, Sam And Fuzzy, Dr. McNinja, QC, ScaryGoRound, XCKD, and LICD being the favs.).

One must keep up on the modern sense of humor, after all.

I found using ManicTime (Manic Time Download Site), a program from the Lifehacker blog (relevant post), that making a blog post takes about a half hour. Relatively cheap way to make my internet time more productive, no?

Manic Time is sweet, it even breaks down your internet time by how much you spend on each tab and website. I haven't started fiddling with the tagging system, but maybe i will. I've always wanted to be consistent enough with a journal to keep track of my time, maybe having this passive system on my computer would do it.

And maybe it'll become boring in three days.

Also; Scientist looks to weaponize ball lightning (Wired).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Can Love Save the Empty?

Erin McCarley's Love Save The Empty (Songza) iTunes Equalizer- Piano.

Pic is from The Sartorialist again. He has such good pics, I'll have to work to avoid always posting them.

I wonder (too often for my sanity's sake) how the systems we've built are supposed to satisfy us. I mean, they're mostly to improve comfort (here in America) and self-perpetuate. When things like the RepRap (, a $200 plastic 3d printer, and the FabLab (Wikipedia), a garage-sized prototyping center, become widespread, I wonder what people will build.

I hope they start with open-source schematics for a house, power generator, condenser, and greenhouse, and make themselves independent of society. It would amuse me to see a generation suddenly refuse to participate.

We're starting to realize information ( is impossible to guard. What happens when anything can be built at home, instead of bought? Long ways off, I know, but I like thinking about it.

Maybe instead of a Singluarity (wikipedia) we'll have a Plurality, where everyone starts singularity-ing by themselves. A fusion of intelligence, with no fusion of purpose like singularity theory seems to imply.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Music Fiddlin.

I fiddled with the equalizer presets in iTunes for a while on Joanna Newsom's Colleen (Songza). I found the classical setting pulls all the diverse instruments out. It's neat how well it highlights the (awesome) accordion run around 2:18, considering the Accordion isn't really 'classical.'

Pic is from The Sartorialist, I really like the look on her face. Very confident.

I love fiddling with equalizer presets in iTunes. Sometimes it seems like another song is hidden within an old favorite. Try it, right-click and go to 'Get Info,' then into 'Options.' Try some weird ones. The unexpected ones are often the best.

Some good ones I did today;

Ingrid Michaelson's The Chain (Songza). Vocal booster.
The Subways' Kalifornia (Songza). Acoustic.
Jackson 5's I Want You Back (Songza). Lounge. (See what I mean?)
Sam & Dave's Hold On I'm Comin (Songza). Latin.
Fleet Foxes' Mykonos (Alternate Version) (Songza). Electronic. (Probably the weirdest preset/song combo of the lot. It just sounds so good.)
The Shins' Australia (Songza). Spoken Word.
The Bioshock Soundtrack's Cohen's Masterpiece. Treble Reducer took off the crunch that was on the version I had.

And now it's just a list of some of my favorite songs.

I'd like to note that I was very upset when Songza transitioned out of its old format (causing me to lose some excellent songs, like Iron Horse's Float On cover (songza) , which I had previously only found on Songza.[which I just found again, looking for it.][Just now! I lost it for like five months. I was so mad.]).

But the new partnership with imeem has made doing this list much easier. Not only is it a two-click process to buy a song off songza through itunes (money just flying out of my wallet. Poof!), but the versions of the songs I have on my comp are the exact same as the ones on songza.

Even that weird Mykonos alternate version was the same.

(compare it to the original Fleet Foxes Mykonos (songza). Yeah, it's a weird set of changes, but good. Better than the original, in my opinion.)(sidenote; I know you're not going to do that. I actually just want to have all those music links in one place. It's my blog, i do what I want!)

Also made the comparisons more fun; I got to play the equalized version while i was checking the songza links and see just how awesome I am! I used Foxytunes ( to easily switch between the two versions. (Foxytunes may be my favorite firefox plugin, mostly because Flashblock ( is annoying when i'm trying to watch a lot of videos.)(but awesome all the rest of the time.)

Mine sound way better. Try it! It'll make you feel like a big-time producer. Pullin' in cash moneys for mad beatz.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Things of Interest

Joanna Newsom's Colleen. (Songza) Celtic styled song, beautiful in its lyricism and instrumentation.
"Have you come, then, to rescue me?"
He laughed and said, "from what, 'Colleen'?"
You dried and dressed most willingly.
you corseted, and caught the dread disease
by which one comes to know such peace."

Siftables.(TED Talk) A demonstration of computerized building blocks with amazing capabilities and interactivity.

Barry Schwartz. (TED Talk) What wisdom means, and how it affects our lives.

Exorcizing Laplace's Demon. (Dresden Codak) Dres Cod can always make me laugh. I paid him 20 bucks to keep making comments. Wish i could give him a pension, so he could update more often.

A surprisingly noteworthy pair of updates from Seth Godin's blog. Authenticity (Seth Godin's Blog) and Irrationality (Seth Godin's Blog). It must be interesting to be known as a guru.

Praise for Intelligence Destroys work ethics(NYmag). Explains a lot. Also meshes well with some notes from Gladwell's Outliers(Gladwell's Blog, a summary of topics from the book.).