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If anyone's reading this from the playa, give a shout. That's too cool a convergence. ^_^

Worth a listen, for some classically styled rock: Dirty Little Rabbits, out of Iowa. And 2K Games kindly made Gary Schyman's orchestral soundtrack for Bioshock available for free.

Ahhh. It's a bright, warm day, the Horde is away, and might not be back tonight.. maybe I should take advantage of the quiet time to watch all of Sátántangó? Or I could check up on this "outdoors" thing..

Here's a fan video for I Just Wanna Fuckin' Dance, from Jerry Springer: The Opera, set to a host of dance routines from throughout cinematic history. If you're feeling low, play this right now. But why wait until then? ^_^

rabitguy noticed the full interview of Fountain Hughes, from which samples were taken for the track mentioned last time, is available online. 'Strangely, one of the first things Mr. Hughes says, by way of introducing himself to posterity, is: "My grandfather belonged to Thomas Jefferson." As if, after 100 years of living, that's what he's most proud of – that his grandfather had been the slave of a great and famous white man.'

Finally, one of my favorite pieces by Fel is available fully finished off, in color - "Soro and Electricity". Not at all worksafe. =:D

If you only see one rabbity YouTube clip this month, make it this one, wherein one unsuspecting pooch discovers what it's like to become a lapine hurdle. The dog's expression at the end of it is priceless. =:D

ethethlay came across rather a cool Siggraph 2007 presentation, 4.5 minutes long, on "content aware" image resizing - rather than simply rescaling everything linearly, as we're accustomed to, this method pays attention to an image's features, preserving what it sees as the most noticeable portions, retaining their size throughout, at the expense of less important portions. Nifty seeing it in action - there are plenty of examples, including making people seamlessly (and effortlessly) vanish from a scene by denoting them as unimportant.

If you want to see John Pilger's The War on Democracy, it's now up on Google Video, as is the second part of The Enemies of Reason.

Damn, but Fixed Noise's Otto is a fun library to play with. What's not to like about an IDM collection - Kontakt 2-based, as usual, offering quite a large degree of freedom in manipulating the samples supplied - with presets like Warm Goat Tung?

'The tone in the mortgage market is "exceptionally cautious," Lonski [chief economist at Moody's Investors Service] said. "You're looking at what will be in all likelihood the worst case of home price deflation since the 1930s."' One good news resource on these matters is the Implode-O-Meter, tracking who's going under; their tally stands at 135 broke US lenders since late 2006.

Britain's new Violent Crime Reduction Act apparently includes provisions to ban people from a given area, taking their photo, fingerprints, and DNA sample, on the suspicion they may be about to cause trouble; no actual offense is required. Ostensibly, this is in order to tackle alcohol-related violence in cities.

The US housing/credit fun continues: "[For July] There was a 93% jump in filings for repossessions on the same month a year ago, and a 9% rise on June's figure, property firm RealtyTrac said." Meanwhile, one of the leading house builders, Toll Brothers, declared net earnings of $27m for the quarter, compared to $175m for the same period last year, including an $89m charge due to land values dropping. "Low- or no-documentation-required jumbo loans had accounted for 43 percent of the builder's sales, according to Bank of America."

BigBlueFox now has Anthrocon 2007 on offer - 3h40m in total, yours for only a 1.2GB download. ^_^

One in four US adults read no books in the past year, according to an AP-Ipsos poll, with the "typical number" being four books in the previous twelve months. I dare say this isn't anything new, though; the co-worker who drove me up to Portland back at the fossil factory was quite open about almost never having read any books, other than essential materials like manuals. (I wonder if this survey included graphic novels? There are worlds of wonder in, say, The Adventures of Luther Arkwright, Cerebus, or Promethea)

mycroftb uncovered this talented sculptor bunny (NSFW, surprisingly enough). =:D

A quietly inspiring tale (with photo) of a fourteen year old Labrador, blind and deaf, whose companion, a ginger cat, plays the part of her guide, steering her away from obstacles, and leading her to food.

Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" as you've never seen it performed before - quite something. And there's lapinity to be found, too. ^_^ (Thanks to plushlover!)
The dog's face is a classic 'HELP!' face, isn't it?

My problem with Dawkins is that he's not content asking useful questions or pointing out weaknesses in other views - he falls into the two classic traps all strongly opinioned people do. Carl Sagan and Penn and Teller both fall into them as well.

Trap one: not understanding the enemy.
Trap two: confusing arrogance with intelligence.

Sagan hated astrology with a passion (first problem) and he would go out and criticise the practice on the grounds that the planets just don't have enough gravitational or electromagnetic effect on an individual person to allow astrology to make sense. In this, he's right (mostly - consider that the Moon and the Sun cause tides and their lights directly influence animal behaviour). The problem is - that's not actually what astrology says. Astrology claims that events occur in cycles and the orbits of planets are clocks - by using them you can predict when these cycles start and end.

Wrong, of course (again - mostly - these ideas evolved from repeating events like the Nile flooding - which was actually predictable using stars - that's why Sirius was so important to the Ancient Egyptians), but when Sagan went out attacking astrologers, they'd just say 'but that's not what we're saying happens... Sagan is clueless' and anyone checking would find out that indeed: Sagan was wrong and the astrologers were right.

He would also tend to argue his point with a very superiour attitude: "I'm smart because I don't need this superstitious rubbish and you're obviously inferiour because you do.", which is an exceptionally dangerous way to present these views because the odds are good that the people you're talking to do have an emotional need for these things - so you're trying to convince someone to accept your view by insulting them (rarely works).

Dawkins makes Sagan look like a buddhist monk by comparison.

[PS, I have a ton of respect for Carl Sagan, btw. I think we need a LOT more scientists like him. He may have tripped up in these ways - but he more than compensated for it with works like Cosmos which tried to show why a scientific view of the universe could be just as spiritual as a religious one. Dawkin I see as a wild cannon who is probably doing more damage than good. Penn and Teller - well, they're less about skepticism than they are about libertarianism - their episode of BS that tries to prove that smoking health issues and second hand smoke issues are fraud was just surreal.]