Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Links: April 24

Game: Interlocked - disconnect the oddly shaped blocks from each other. [link]

First look at this picture. [picture]
Now watch the picture while listening to any of these songs. [song 1] [song 2] [song 3]
And, of course, Yakkity Sax.

This comic story about a clockwork chess player is done and available online. [link]

The elevator in the new World Trade Center shows a time lapse video of the development of New York City's skyline as it goes up. [link]

Fun with sentences. [link]

Gluten: the facts. [link]

Mom livetweets her son's abstinence sex-ed class. [link]

That's not how Arthur C Clarke saw things. [link]

Dubai's Mall of the World plans. [link]

Body of missing man shows up. The thing is, his family confessed to cutting him up and feeding him to the dogs. [link]

Bank of America is dicks. [story 1] [story 2]

Netflix's market value exceeds CBS. [link]

Johnny Cash Machines. [link]

Footage from a new camera outside the ISS. [link]

China's nail houses. [link]

The troubled history of the Ant Man movie. [link]
I'll see it, but I already wish Edgar hadn't left. He's what gave me faith that it wouldn't be a waste of time.

Photos to show how vast space is. [link]

Cheese was invented due to an environmental crisis. [link]

Astronomers against automatic lawnmowers. [link]

Victorian Swiss Army gadget for women. [link]

How Facebook's free internet is actually a really bad thing. [link]

DaVinci's resume. [link]

This explains why there's so much police outreach in Baltimore. They're compensating. [link]

The prevalence of Eenie Meenie Miney Moe. [link]

Kermit found in Costa Rica. [link]

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Links: April 17

Options for opting out. You can opt out of getting phone books! [link]

The concrete in Hoover Dam is still curing. [link]

A baboon that worked at as railroad signalman. [link]

AT&T asks why a town would want 1Gbps internet when they already provide perfectly good 6Mbps. [link]
AT&T isn't very bright.

America gives up on abstinence programs in Africa. [link]

Man becomes a Chinese celebrity by having his phone stolen. [link]

Dancing droplets. I don't understand, but I like it.

There's now a "dot sucks" domain. It may be just a way to extort money from companies. [link]

Free Range Parenting - same parents as before, second time the kids were taken. [link]

Veterinary services for the pets of homeless people. [link]

Yea and nay have actual meaning separate from yes and no. [link]

What happens to your phone if Apple or Google goes out of business? And what if your phone is what makes your arm work? [link]

I heard about the ISSpresso machine on the radio. I accurately guessed what it looks like. [link]

Loch Ness soup ladle. [link]

Blackwater guards sentenced for killing of unarmed Iraqi citizens. [link]

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: Galileo's Dream

I'm a fan of author Kim Stanley Robinson, but I'm also the first to admit that he can be verbose. He can spend a ridiculous amount of space writing in accurate detail about something of almost no interest to anyone. But that just means that his subject is incredibly well researched and that he's extremely knowledgable about the subject at hand. And I say all this to let you know that I found almost none of "Galileo's Dream" uninteresting. Long, yes. But not dull.

If you've read or listened to "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (not watched. The movie is a different beast entirely) then you know that it is essentially a Lincoln biography with vampires used to explain events in his life and actions he's taken. "Galileo's Dream" is a similar take on the life of Galileo Galilei. Only, instead of vampires our hero gets periodically transported to the moons of Jupiter around 3500 AD, give or take. So, most of the book is straight biography. But around far flung Jupiter conflicting factions feud about whether to explore the oceans under the ice of Europa. Galileo is brought forward in time to help advise them on the proper course of action, but mostly acts as an observer. Inevitably, he learns of his own fate and endeavors to avoid being burned at the stake.

As so often happens in Robinson's books, the action picks up 100 pages from the end. That's when Galileo's trial finally starts. And somehow he manages to succeed in saving himself. Then he learns of multiple timelines. While he may not have burned, another Galileo did. And how would history have been different if that Pope had been free to embrace Galileo's writings instead of hamstrung by politics? If the Catholic church hadn't martyred Galileo or even took science into itself?

It was a good book and I'm glad I read it, but you must be prepared to read a book that is mostly an unchanged biography of Galileo with a bit of self reflection thrown in for good measure.

Monday, April 13, 2015


On Friday Netflix released season 1 of Daredevil. For those of you who don't know the character, Daredevil is a blind superhero whose day job is defense attorney Matt Murdock. So you have two major openings for story telling: bad guy ass kicker and courtroom drama.

Being the first episode, they have to catch the audience's attention and cram a lot into an hour to do so. So it opens with a quick origin story before the opening credits. He loses his vision in the same chemical spill that spawn the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (not mentioned in the show). The question remaining whether the chemicals gave him super hearing or if we're still going with just learning to use hearing better because he's blind. The next scene explains tangentially that he learned to fight because his father's a boxer. Not that he uses many boxing moves. Then we need an action sequence to grab the audience's attention. So our masked hero busts up a kidnapping for a sex slave ring. Then we see Matt and his friend Foggy getting the offices for their brand new law firm. They're getting a place cheap, because the neighborhood is rebuilding from the damage done in The Avengers. Rather than have a few episodes setting up the formula for the show their first case walks them into organized crime. But the show does focus primarily on the legal aspect of his life. For the little we see Daredevil he's not scanning the room from a single ping like Ben Affleck. And while he is a great fighter, he's still human. He does take out 4 thugs early on, but the professional hit man proves to be a struggle that he clearly takes it's toll. This makes Daredevil less like Batman and more like the strictly human detective/vigilantes that dominated the comic books before super powers became the norm.

The show ends with a montage showing first all the people Murdock was unable to save for the one cute girl that he managed to rescue and then the extent of the empire that he has to face.

All in all, I think we have a winner here. Daredevil is a more effective TV series than movie franchise. I don't think it'll reach the level of appreciation I have for Gotham or The Flash, but I think I'll like it.

Episode 2 is starting now with Daredevil starting off unconscious in a dumpster. I'm really liking him as merely a human with fighting skills.

Marvel has to get Spiderman back. Spidey is a total crossover whore and this show takes place in his primary stomping grounds.

Note: Marvel Studios got the rights Daredevil back after whichever studio had them let the rights lapse when they couldn't summon the support to make another bad movie.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday Links: April 10

Comcast's lies force a guy to sell his house. [link]

Trial by combat may still be legal. [link]

UPS repairs your Toshiba crap. [link]

Plants can "hear" running water. [link]

Short story about a woman who runs a battlemech. [link]

Richard Thompson and Bill Watterson have a chat. [link 1] [link 2]

Great. Now I will never turn on the lights in my rental place. [link]

Milled out ice cubes. [link]

Space sounds [link]

The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service's guide to mixing drinks. [link]
Yeah, I dunno either.

Hadron collider powers back on. [link]

More Star Wars legacy vs BluRay comparison. [link]

A plane passing through a cloud.

So little inspiration to read the rest of these articles.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Friday Links: April 3

An amazingly detailed papercraft Millenium Falcon. [link]
No plans available. Sorry.

How Moonquakes differ from Earthquakes. [link]

The history of the MGM lion. [link]

Christian pulls the Black Like Me trick but "turns gay" for a year in a Christian community. [link]
And then has to leave the area for lying to both his church community and the gay community.

Online April Fools joke list. [link]

How did they miss's annual product punking? [link]

Half Life 2 set to Cotton Eyed Joe.

Was one of the guys with a head crab dancing?

Game: GoogleFeud - Family Feud with Google results. [link]

Movie cliches. [link]

Thomas Edison's list of questions shows that he wouldn't hire you. [link]

A realistic super villain plot. [link]

Pornographic cyrillic alphabet book to fight Soviet illiteracy. [link]
Really? You needed me to say "NSFW"? I already said "pornographic".

Tortoise chases off camera men who interrupt it's mating.

Apparently American politicians blow cold air, not hot, and it makes a difference. [link]

What happens if a nuke goes off over New York City? [link]

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Links: March 27

A TV production of Casino Royale.

How to deal with a anti-gay bill. [link]

Wild baboons kidnap puppies. For protection or for pets? [link]

Sea lion pups wandering San Francisco. [link]

Oil rich Norway dumped all it's Walmart stock for being unethical. [link]

The entomology of "You're toast". [link]

Man thrown in prison for 5 days without food or water before being "discovered". [link]

The Tetris song has lyrics.

The most relaxing song in the world. [link]

Student suspended for not possessing marijuana. [link]

What causes old folks smell? [link]

Man released after 3 years without a trial. [link]

Army prostitution ring. [link]

Surfing on icebergs. [link]

How Neanderthals may have sounded.

Motorized ice sled/boat.

Tech degrees earn you more than arts degrees. [link]

What you'd find all the way to the center of the Earth. [link]
(not to scale)

Movie pitch for Leviathan. [link]

Shut Up and Dance to movie clips.

Even the official patent shows that toilet paper goes OVER. [link]
unless you have cats or children

Friendly owl lands on heads. [link]

Internet Explorer finally gets the axe. [link]

The White House edited CIA report that justified the Bush invasion of Iraq is now declassified. [link]
The White House edits tended to be to adjectives. "Unlikely" to "highly likely" sort of changes.

Street legal JetSki.

The cost savings of switching from cable to streaming video. [link]

How the brain changes as you learn physics. [link]

Download a free copy of Pixar's RenderMan software. [link]

A privately made and owned geyser. [link]