January 31, 2007

Bill Gates on the Daily Show

I love the unexpected departure at the end. A real-life, interview version of a crash? Ah, the irony.

January 29, 2007

What is a 3D PDF?

MAKE demonstrates how to make a potato gun.

Mashup of U2's Window in the Sky

There's some remarkable editing at work here. Provocative. I felt surprisingly hopeful and then saddened, inspired and wistful by turns.

Charlie Rose - Warren Buffett: The Man - Part One in a Three Part Series

This Charlie Rose interview was one of the few broadcast journalists with access to Buffett and Bill Gates when they announced their historic philanthropic partnership. Buffett is engaging.

Darfur: Our Choice Too

Fareed Zakaria's piece for PBS on Darfur is well worth the 6 1/2 minutes it takes to watch.

January 24, 2007

Hans Rosling debunks a few myths about the developing world with some spectacular graphics.

Rosling is professor of international health at Sweden's world-renowned Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder, a non-profit that brings vital global data to life. (Recorded February 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 20:35)

January 20, 2007

January 16, 2007

Sacha Baren Cohen gives the best acceptance speech I've seen in a while

Tom Hanks is James Bond



Speaks for itself. F--cking brilliant editing and conception.

Generational

I just heard an orange farmer on NPR describe his family farm as "generational" -- which is to say, passed down from parent to son over a generation. Businesses like this apparently demanf of their owners both sacrifice and a long view. It's awful to hear how badly the citrus crop has been damaged this year. I hope the next generation has something to inherit.

January 15, 2007

Frangland

According to this USA Today story:

The French government proposed a union of Britain and France in 1956 — even offering to accept the sovereignty of the British queen — has left scholars on both sides of the Channel puzzled.

Newly discovered documents in Britain's National Archives show that former French Prime Minister Guy Mollet discussed the possibility of a merger between the two countries with British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden.


What a bombshell. The article describes a British historian nearly falling off of his chair.

I can only imagine what such a cataclysm would have meant for the cuisine of the "froggies" and "rosbifs."

I kid the French and English. I'm glad that England and France remain sovereign, for any number of reasons. I like both roast beef and frog legs quite a bit, after all, just not in the same dish.

January 11, 2007

My new mouse: the Logitech Revolution MX


Up until very recently, I thought the wireless Mighty Mouse that the Biostat Belle had purchased for her iBook was the coolest mouse I'd ever used. Absurdly easy Bluetooth connectivity, great either-hand form factor, and, best of all, 360-degree scroll ball right where your index finger tends to rest.

Being able to scroll sideways is kind of mindblowing if you work on plaintext documents and source code that tends to stretch out beyond the boundaries of your screen.

So that was it, my gold standard. No longer -- and it's tough saying that. I love the Mighty Mouse.

Enter the Logitech MX Revolution.

I read about it in (suprise) Wired, and, when I was in Microcenter picking up a new VoIP headset for podcasting and a webcam on Monday, I bought one in one of the most blatant impulse buys of technology I've indulged in since, well, my purchase of an MDA last year.

I'm genuinely suprised at how much my productivity has increased this week at work. Things are just faster and easier -- and I've barely begun programming the darn thing. The "hyperscroll" wheel works as advertised. And it just feels good in my hand. Ah, technophilia.

I hate resolutions

Ok, that's not quite true. I love making lists, and, in their own way, resolutions are lists. The trouble is that, invariably, I'm reminded of the list I made the previous year at this time and often how much of what I wrote down remains undone.

{sigh}

You'd think that a few crossed off items would make a difference. Get a new job that I love -- check. Score health, dental and vision insurance -- check. Put something away for retirement -- check. Write more, work out more, reconnect with nature more -- check, check, check. You'd think I'd be able to rest on some laurels. Not so much.

I have more of the same goals now, with a new layer on top. Such is life, I suppose, but there's a part of me that simply wants to burn the yellow legal pad I pulled out on New Year's Eve.

The trouble is that I simply love to paint in big, bold, dramatic strokes. Themes, with just a touch of grandiosity. Write a decent piece of short fiction and submit it to a publisher. Get much better at editing video and start producing features over IPTV. Take pictures and write every day. Renovate the house, starting with finishing the back porch window sills and then getting into the kitchen cabinetry and bathroom. Establish an IRA. And there's the really broad resolutions: Learn more. Be Happy. Be good to my friends and loved ones. Take better care of my body and mind.

Good lord. I'd probably have been better off resolving not to make lists any more.

It's not that I don't think all of the above is possible in a year. The year is young, just eleven days down, and I've taken steps towards all of the above. I've even started the process of renewing my passport. It's time to invest in a copy of GTD and get rolling. Get a PCP and take care of any health issues. Start writing more and gaming less. Cut reality TV out of my diet entirely.

Whoops. There I go again with the lists. Forgive me, friends. I hope I see a lot more of you, too, over the coming year.

January 10, 2007

Alive in Baghdad

I just got off an hour-long TalkCast with the founder of AliveinBaghdad.com. I just stuck with text for this one instead of calling in. I learned a lot. I need to go watch more of their film. There's something extraordinary happening there with citizen journalism. Getting the truth out, as happened with the leaked footage of the Hussein hanging, can be unbelievably powerful. I wonder how much more mobile video footage will come of out of the Earth's war zones in years to come? Nearly anyone can be their own CNN with a camera, a laptop and a high speed Internet connection now.

Instantly one of my favorite commercials ever: Bruce Campbell on the value of experience



I watched this for the first time on Sunday and was just reminded of it by coworkers. C'est voila: of course it's available on YouTube. Aside from Bruce Campbell, who I'll always regards with great geeky respect for his work on the Evil Dead trilogy -- especially "Army of Darkness" -- there's great writing and the longest sailing ship I've ever seen. There's a wonderful subtle element to the commercial as well, as the background behind Campbell just wraps and wraps, implying that he's in a sealed room, albeit one decorated in a distinctly old-school man-study kind of way, and therefore has no experience of the wide world. That it's a commercial for Old Spice is probably beside the point. This is just pure celluloid joy.

YouTube Video: Darth Vader calls the Emperor. Hilarity ensures.

January 7, 2007

A greyhound makes a new Guinness World Record high jump, clearing 68 inches at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge



That was easily the longest blog post title I've written -- but then "Cindy" was pretty impressive.

I watched her clear a barrier 68 inches high in once extraordinary bounce just after noon today on the television. By doing so, she broke the record she had herself set set earlier in 2003 at the same event.

Greyhounds, traditionally one of the more earthbound breeds due to the intensive sprint-training most racing dogs receive, equipping them to move in a wholly horizontal direction and often building hyperdeveloped muscle mass. When I first adopted show, his musculature was defined in much the same way that a professional body builder's body sculpting would be. Apparently, Cindy has been trained since she was a puppy in agility and leaping skills. It shows in her body, much more lean and whip-strong than that of ex-racers.

January 5, 2007

Superhero personality quiz - My Spideysense is tingling

According to the superhero personality quiz (click here to take it), I am Spider-Man.



"You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility."




Woo-hoo!


The fact that I'm 55% Catwoman or Supergirl, and 45% Wonder Woman, isn't so exciting, though I suppose I should be more open to engaging my feminine superheroine side.

January 4, 2007

Bruce Sterling's State of the World

One of my favorite futurists and sci-fi writers, Bruce Sterling, has posted a "state of the world" on the Well that looks back at '06 and forward to '07. Pretty interesting.