Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jamie Hyneman recommends ubuntu linux!

In a Popular Mechanics article on technological annoyances, the star of Mythbusters offers an alternative to computers bogged down by bloated features:
There's another solution available to consumers: Switch to a Linux-based OS such as Ubuntu. Since most Linux OSs are free, there's no business reason to bloat up the system with feature frills."
See slashdot discussion here.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jimme Johnson's NASCAR schedule

Just in case you were wondering...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Telemarketers update!

I received a call today. Groggily, I half-remembered these tips in the previous post. I mentioned the "Do Not Call List" and asked whether they had a list of folks they were not supposed to call. The guy hung up on me in 10 seconds.

Anti-telemarketer tips

The "charities" associated with law enforcement have gotten pretty bad lately with telemarketing. Here's a video that gives some pretty good ideas for openly commercial solicitations. I wonder how many apply to charitable solicitation.

How To Stop Telemarketers Calling

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Podcast recommendations

I've got about a half hour commute to work, and at least a five minute walk from my parking lot to the office. So I've been able to go through a lot of podcasted material each week. I hope that these recommendations may be of interest to you.


Luther Seminary Chapel
Daily 10 minute sermons. I often found it to be full of moving stuff from a perspective of a Lutheran Theology of the Cross. Sometimes however some New-Agey material has crept in.

NPR Story of the Day
This is cool. Just one NPR story sampled from the day's programming.

Our Ocean World
About 3 minutes of a little zoological or environmental story about the ocean.

tech5 show with John C. Dvorak
This guy has an incredible amount of technical info in 5 minutes, from semiconductor manufacturing to consumer electronics to software politics. He's got an objective, independent perspective that is refreshing. Highly recommend.


Animation Podcast

This has some pretty cool interviews with important people in the animation industry, from professionals currently making movies today to recordings of interviews with late Disney visionaries. Some of the details might be a bit dry if you're not going into animation as a career.

Astronomy Cast
In-depth lectures on astronomy in a conversational format directed to the lay person.

Cult Movies Podcast
Two or more guys talking about movies and film and some consumer electronics. It's great listening except when they talk about the electronics.

Five Live film reviews with Mark Kermode
Great stuff. He's brilliant.

Irrational Public Radio
Satire of Public Radio. Often funny.

Left, Right, and Center
News discussion from multiple political perspectives.

Linux Questions Podcast
Linux News.

Living Water Christian Church podcast
Good sermons.

Martini Shots
A diary of a guy in the business of writing for television and TV

Ozarks Math podcast
This is a math professor and a radio announcer talking about interesting topics in mathematics, usually in the form of puzzles. Unfortunately, some of these are too short!

Prairie Home Companion
Great fictional stories about life in rural America.

Scientific American podcast
Fairly good presentation of some scientific topics in-depth.

This American Life
Often, these stories capture the imagination for a week after hearing them.

Political analysis from a reasonable leftist perspective, if you don't find that a contradiction

UC Berkeley lectures
I've heard some interesting and worthwhile topics. One was on 15th century Chinese culture and warfare.


Daily Audio Bible.
I'd recommend this if you have a half hour to spend every day. I just didn't find it to be fitting into my schedule (yes, I'm already reading the bible). The bible said in a gentle, moving, earnest voice.

Dave's Lounge
It's good music. A 30 minute music podcast just didn't fit into my schedule.

Just Vocabulary
It's nice that it's brief. I just didn't find it value-add for my time.

Libravox. Book chapters
Someone will read chapters of famous books in the public domain to you. The recordings were far too long for my liking.

St. Paul's Sermons
If you're looking for theologically conservative sermons from a Lutheran-Church, Missouri Synod perspective, these 12 minute sermons are for you. I may actually continue subscribing to this podcast. One sermon I particularly didn't care for was about the story of the good Samaritan in Luke 10. Now some theologically liberal Christians may reduce too much of the good news of scripture to social ethics. But politically conservative Christians can stray as far when they take pains to edit out the social ethic. "Jesus made his point in a manner I don't care for," is what I believe the pastor said. Maybe we need to send the "Grace Matters" guy to catechism class at St. Paul.

Weekend America
Good program. I just don't quite want a 2 hour program "podcasted" to me.


Bill Moyers
I thought he was dissing biblical Christianity with broad brush criticisms of the Religious Right.

Fresh Air
I decided to take a break from Terry Gross' program. It was often interesting, but I found she just wasn't objective on the issue of Palestine.

Grace Matters
The radio ministry of the Evangelical Church in America. It's pushing new age stuff in opposition to Lutheranism. One man's agenda. Just don't call it "ELCA."

IT Conversations
This feed brought me some of the most in-depth lectures from giants and leaders in the IT industry. Like key-note lectures from all the tech conferences you wished you could attend. BUT THEN they also were adding a few interviews with folks who had developed some really stupid software products or services. After I'd invested 20 minutes of my life, I concluded only a complete idiot would buy the product being discussed. Then I realized I was probably listening to a paid commercial advertisement masquerading as an informative interview. That's my take.

Naked Science
It was too long, too annoying.

This guy had a great idea. Recite some in-depth, hi-tech news in a funny voice. If he spoke like Homer Simpson or Guy Noir or any other voice where he enunciated, it might have worked. Instead, he uses this sing-songy tone that makes it hard to understand.

An interview with someone who's recently written a provocative op-ed in one of the nation's leading papers. The problem is that it's followed by listener call-in, and this just isn't fun or edifying.

Libs take dig at religion, again.

The online article from The Nation, Rights of Passage, starts out with a social analysis of President Bush's foreign policy I can agree with:
Bush's "freedom agenda," set against his Administration's disgraceful record, has convinced much of the world that the promotion of universal rights is little more than a Trojan horse for Western imperialism, and made it easier for governments from Russia to Iran to crack down on opposition groups accused of importing foreign values into their countries.
I had always liked The Nation because it had some good insights, and was "progressive" without being partisan, either for a party or against a religion. This article started well but then started making some of the same old mistakes where liberals stereotypically pit themselves against religion:
As Carter noted, scattered across the globe are large numbers of Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus who reject fundamentalist dogmas and share a basic commitment to the alleviation of suffering.
The author here makes the charge that your religious dogmas are inherently in the way of a commitment to the alleviation of suffering. What if one of your fundamentalist dogmas is the alleviation of suffering? What does it say those who are "true believers" in the literal truth of their religion, but who are not on the wrong side of history as far as alleviation of suffering-- are they unwelcome in this movement? By setting up this false dichotomy, the author shoots the movement in the foot.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ron Paul articulates actual conservatism

ML King Holiday Quote of the Day

"Find Obama for me."

-- African American 4-year old boy, to his mother, on an edition of the New York Times strewn out in front of them, as overheard at an indoor soccer game.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

11 Second Club, January 2008

I'm working on an entry for the 11second club' January 2008 competition.
One of the interesting things here is how the scene looked in extreme slow motion versus in normal speed. When I was designing the scene, I was playing it in slow motion. And I had the man and woman's eyes meet, and she quickly looks away as if blushing. In fast motion, it looks like she is making a sarcastic jerk of the head.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Draft of 11 second club entry

I'm seriously going to see if it's possible to do any sort of character animation in povray. My goal is to get in the top half of entries in the 11second club. (One of the times prior where I entered in its predecessor, I scored LAST!)

Right now, I've just finished the lyp sync. I need to render to a larger size.
I'm also about to start on the hand gestures, et al.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Did it rain near you (USA) ?

Taken from the RAP Real-Time Weather Data, National Center for Atmospheric Research, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lightning events in last 24 hours

By way of the World Wide Lightning Location Network at the center for Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington

All I can say is, "Who Knew?!"

Monday, January 07, 2008

Utah cop tasers speeder

Does anything like the "Just War Criteria" apply to the use of force by law enforcement?

"Such an attack makes me fell less secure"

Ron Paul opposing the war from the House floor in 2002.

"Consider the $100 billion it will cost"

Michael Moore on Hillary Clinton's primary focus

Here's an estimate of the character of Hillary that I bet most people of the left and right might agree with, from Michael Moore's email newsletter:
"Over 70% of Iowan Democrats voted for candidates who either never voted for the invasion of Iraq (Obama, Richardson, Kucinich) or who have since admitted their mistake (Edwards, Biden, Dodd). I can't tell you how bad I feel for Senator Clinton tonight. I don't believe she was ever really for this war. But she did -- and continued to do -- what she thought was the politically expedient thing to eventually get elected. And she was wrong. And tonight she must go to sleep wondering what would have happened if she had voted her conscience instead of her calculator.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Just an auto player

This one I'm letting you tube pick the videos based on the content of my site.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Third time's the charm.

This one has only Christian-themed keywords for the youtube playlist.

Second Try at Adsense Player.

I seeded the keyword list with terms that might be more edifying this time. Here goes nothing!

Trying out the Youtube Adsense Player

Yes, this thing is supposed to generate ad revenue. I'm not sure if it's going to be a mere annoyance or ever value-add to anyone. Hold on to your buts!

Hmmm. Looks like this plays "other's" videos, not mine. And the first one that came up was an animation that I disapprove of: a melding of gore and extremely cutesy depictions of animals. I guess I'm leaving it there for now.