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relee found out what happens when Ronald McDonald meets gabba. It's Japanese, of course. =:D

The unsurpassable ultimate in geek workplace toys. ^_^ Now watch them be inundated with resumés..

The Tech Museum in San Jose has a presence in SL, and apparently, management that appreciates the interesting results that can come about when VR meets RL. If you feel you've got an idea that's worth showing off, The Tech Virtual Workshop can help - with up to ten of the best exhibits being chosen, starting in February, to be physically installed at the museum, with a US$5,000 prize each, and an invitation to attend their ZER01 Festival in June. There'll also be prizes awarded on the bases of Most Innovative Virtual Project, Best Design project in Second Life, Best Collaborative Teamwork, and Most Active Virtual Participation.

Speaking of SL, here's Hitler explaining Second Life, as noticed by rabitguy. =:)

"Reuters is back next week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. We’ll be interviewing guests such as Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab Chairman Mitch Kapor, Robert Scoble, and Tim O’Reilly, live in front of a Second Life audience at the Reuters Auditorium." If you'd like to pose a question for one of these in-world interviews, you can either email in advance, or attend on the day.

momentrabbit noticed that part of the London Underground has emigrated, and found a new life making utterly adorable skunk bookends instead.

Some good Bill Hicks: Legendary One Night Stand. (91MB as a download)

While hopelessly ensnared browsing around Wikipedia, looking up lovable figures like Enver Hoxha, I wound up on Kim Philby's page, and noticed, towards the end, one line that I really ought to pursue: "'Kim Philby', by the now-defunct Vancouver band Terror of Tiny Town, is a polka-esque retelling of some of Philby's story." (This News Statesman article doesn't serve any better to illuminate his motivations, but does end on an intriguing note, "With the collapse of communism and the Soviet empire, the KGB, in the spirit of the new world order, made available some of its files to western authors. One of these authors, Genrikh Borovik, even called his book The Philby Files. It now turns out that Borovik and the other authors had access to only one Philby file and that there are another 18 still secret. Why?") And what a fantastic chess game the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact describes.. not that things are very much different now, though with some different pawns.

Here, have a track I once listened to plenty of times - my brother (who had the sound system and music collection) had the single of this. It appealed to me immediately. ^_^ John Otway: DK50/80. Serious music, yus.

paka found the Aquaduct, a novel solution to providing clean water where the water supply may be distant, and often contaminated. It's essentially a trike with a water tank at the rear, with the pedals driving a pump to force water through a carbon filter, into a small tank at the front. Result: clean water by the time you get back, with no pollution in transit or purification.

An interesting graphic displaying the time left until current reserves of various metals run out, from platinum to copper. You may be surprised by some of the results.

A few strips you might not have in your regular roster:
  • Little Dee
  • Dan & Mab's Furry Adventures,
  • Scary Go Round - all human, but with an uncommonly sly wit,
  • Bag of Toast, for some engaging randomness, and
  • Fur-Piled, a slice of life story somewhat akin to a blend of Circles, ASB, and Queer as Folk.

    Game for the day: Big Bang Reaction, from Freeverse. It's a puzzle game of sorts, graphically slick, nicely professional overall.

    Rather a nice recorder dock for iPods, with XLR and 1/4" inputs, for $100.

    Another poll on the presidential candidates, where you're presented with a list of political assertions, and whether you agree with the statement or not. You're then given the option to weigh your responses to certain questions more heavily, and then presented with the leading candidates and their rank of suitability, as well as a matrix of their positions.
    The Downfall mashups are a weird little internet meme indeed... I wonder when we'll get one about the MacBook Air?

    Anyhow, here, have a link to another good webcomic - http://lackadaisycats.com/
    Oh, and also, a bit of American History - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krXP_TUZqsk
    I believe the appropriate response to that would be "ZOMG!"


    Usually, I can't abide the way progressive decades of corporate sensibilities rinse out any verve from a company's mascot or original ethos, but here, I'm positively grateful. ^_^;
    I did notice an assortment of other quite different repurposings on that clip's page, true. ^_^ I've no idea if they're quite as much of an inside joke as this one, but the footage would lend itself to all manner of geekery.

    The MBA's certainly a gorgeous little system. It'll be interesting to see both how it sells in absolute numbers, and to whom - whilst it's eminently practical for people who want something very light to carry around with them all day, it might well also double as a modest "wedge" in the enterprise, as appears to be happening with the iPhone. If the CEO says "I want to use this" to the IT dept, it will be supported. ^_^

    (It's not my market, of course - I'm a "desktop replacement" laptop user, so something like Hyzenthlay's perfect for me. Over double the weight, but still only 1" thick, with a gorgeous 17" 1680x1050 display, and all the ports you could want, save for eSATA, and importantly, a real GPU, even if by now a touch behind the leading edge)

    Ah, yes! I spotted that one, but for some reason, the artwork style just doesn't grab me. I may give it a proper look all the same - good writing's the key, after all. No-one would accuse User Friendly or Dilbert of having the most eye-catching artwork, after all. :-/
    the time left until current reserves of various metals run out

    For a while, I've noted how unusual it is that the three most recycled consumer commodities are the ones that we have the most nearly inexhaustible supplies of. (glass, aluminum, steel/iron)

    You have to distinguish between current reserves, and abundance in the Earth's crust though. It isn't really necessary or even sensible to have a proven >1,000-year stockpile of every commodity in order for everyone to live their daily lives. A reserve that lasts a few decades seems to be the most economical one... until more is discovered, or a way to mine previously inaccessible supplies is invented.

    It would make a lot of sense to institute a recycling program for the rarer elements though. Stuff that's actually less common than sand and rust, preferably. :-)
    Oh, indeed - there are other significant factors in play, especially with recycling, where the huge gain isn't so much the conservation of the material per se, but the energy saving in avoiding refining the stuff from ore.

    And of course, processes change over the years - some common manufacturing process drops its need for some element, perhaps out of cost concerns, or under legislative pressure, such as the Reduction of Hazardous Substances directive. With manufacturers normally running only one common production line (even if spread across multiple vendors), such a move effects the products in question globally.

    By the same token, of course, some new process may come up with a new requirement for some less common element. =:)

    I should look into what polymer alternatives are on the way, too, and how current popular polymers might be derived from vegetable oils. And, for that matter, if there's been any word on that "carbon cracking" oil converter - last I knew, a pilot plant was taking in waste from a Tyson meat processing plant. ISTR it wasn't going anywhere then, but the price of oil's risen quite sharply in USD terms since then.

    there are other significant factors in play, especially with recycling, where the huge gain isn't so much the conservation of the material per se, but the energy saving in avoiding refining the stuff from ore.

    True, yes. There's also the fact that landfill space costs money. I think that most of the recent increases in recycling in my area are motivated by that.
    They should've changed the audio on that video (the "Hitler explains SL" one) - subtitles just don't do anything when you can actually understand what people are saying. :P

    The skunk bookends are cute, though. And the graphic about metal reserves is interesting, too.

    As for the game of the day, it'd be nice if you could note that it's Mac-only so those who haven't got one won't have to waste time checking it out. ;)

    *takes the poll*

    EDIT: interesting poll, but it's unfortunate that it only ranks a handful of contenders while ignoring the others entirely. Also, some questions are rather unclear; for example, I'm not sure how this statement is supposed to be understood: "The Patriot Act serves to fight terrorism. Extra measures should be taken to further protect citizens’ privacy." I do not agree with that. I do think extra measures to protect people's privacy are always good, but the "patriot" act does not serve to fight terrorism; nevertheless, it seems that by disagreeing, I'm lumped in with the republicans, who probably disagree with the second part instead of the first.

    I think the other tests I've seen so far are better.

    Edited at 2008-01-17 10:29 pm (UTC)
    Heh. You have a point. =:D I suppose they could've redubbed him in something Germanic-sounding, but meaningless, but that'd probably be a good deal more difficult than it seems, both from the ADR perspective, and coming up with a miniature fake language. I'm surprised ADR works as smoothly as it normally seems to, but I guess lipreading has some leeway, especially where - for most people - the mouth articulation's of only secondary interest to the audio, and indeed, other facial cues.

    As I recall, the writer of The Fifth Element came up with an artificial language for Leeloo. Still a film I enjoy greatly, and proudly own on laserdisc and DVD. ^_^ (Which also led me to The Sixth Element, which might be fun.. reminds me, I still haven't watched his The Forbidden Zone)

    I really do like the design of that skunk - it's a much more interesting pose than one normally sees in commercial sculptures, or plush. That's part of the reason I'm so fond of my old (and very well cuddled =:) Trudi red panda, as he's in a sort of "cradled in your arms" pose, not just sitting or standing on all fours - perfect for slumbertime snuggling.

    Mm, that question stood out to me in particular - it's a very awkwardly worded assertion. Still, I know who I'd support - Gore if he were a candidate, Kucinich for his genuinely progressive positions, and Edwards. Clinton seems far too much a professional establishment politician, much like Bill - not a terrible choice, certainly, but not a vote for change. Obama's a superb orator, but I've not really seen him distinguish himself in the past, let alone his insistence that bipartisanship is the way forward at this point - the Republicans haven't shown any sign of being so interested, and I can't forget his mentor on the topic was Joe Lieberman, who's now wound up endorsing McCain. (And to be honest, he earns a happy middle finger for his support, before and after the event, of McClurkin, a homophobic preacher. Not that any of the front three are exactly clambering over themselves to draw in gay support)

    Yeah, I feel just the same way about Hillary and Obama. And Kucinich, for that matter - together with Gravel, he's the one I'd support the most if I could, although he probably doesn't have a chance. Still, it's good to see there's a candidate for the candicacy that's actually got sensible positions, at least.

    Mmmm, have you got a picture of that plushie?

    Also, what's ADR?
    Mm, Gravel's a good sort as well. I'm not sympathetic to flat taxes, but other than that, he's got plenty of good, sensible ideas aimed at improving people's opportunities and lives generally, rather than helping pressurise the flecks of economic well-being off the middle and lower classes' carcasses.

    I don't seem to have any pics of him, but I can remedy that, once I can get the camera rescued - I lent it to my mother, but she's very averse to learning about anything technological. *sigh*

    ADR = automated dialogue replacement - effectively an MPAA-budget term for dubbing. ^_^ (I was quite surprised when I first realised how much on screen is dubbed)
    *noddles* I don't like flat taxes, either... mmm, and I've got to admit I don't actually know too much about Gravel, but he usually did come out at or near the top on those tests, along with Kucinich. :)

    Hmm, if your mother's averse to learning things, wouldn't that make it easier to rescue the camera if she's not using it after all?

    And thanks for the explanation. ^^
    Yea for the recorder doc.

    For years, I've been waiting for a simple ipod tool I can use to take with me to dj gigs, so with a simple wire connected to the sound mixer, I can use an ipod to record sets. Previously, everything requires either a computer, or something as big and bulky as a computer, or is just a voice recorder.
    Hopefully the audio quality will prove sufficient, of course - AIUI, the ADC's within the iPod rather than the dock, ne? I could be mistaken, though - I've never yet had an iPod, though the Touch would be rather a fun device to play with, both as a music player, and development platform, given it and the iPhone run a trimmed down OS X. It's delightful seeing just how lively the homebrew scene's become for it. ^_^

    That reminds me - do you have any recent new sets to show off?
    I think the quality is dependent on the recording device itself, as long as it does the recording and then just uses the ipod as a hard drive. But $100 does seem really cheap for something of good quality... But we'll see.

    As for new sets, nothing new in the last year. Even though I still continue to get tons of new music, and will often play completely different songs than I would have a year ago. I just need to take the time to do another demo cd.
    I'm glad to see the recorder dock, and it's a good price, I think. I wonder if it'll be compatible with my antediluvian iPod.

    I just spent $180 on the Zoom H2, which is great, expect I broke the tripod mount off only 2 weeks in, leaving a gaping hole in the bottom and forcing me to hold it in hand or use an external mic. Boo.
    Good point - though as they note, it'll probably be a good few months before anyone actually finds out the specific requirements, given Belkin's shipping schedules in the past.

    Oh, that does look nice! "Additionally, you can record in a 360° pickup pattern at up to 48kHz/24-bit resolution which will allow you to convert your recordings to 5.1 Surround." I don't have anything 5.1 capable at the moment, though I do miss my Dolby Surround setup quite a bit - spatial relationships seem to be something almost ignored in most music, regrettably, though I do have two recordings I'll be especially keen to listen to in full 5.1 DTS when I finally can: Amon Tobin's "Foley Room", and BT's "This Binary Universe".

    Agh, that's a real pain! Perhaps some creative use of epoxy and steel could restore it to full health. Might be tempting to turn it into a technological art project.. =:)

    Metal isn't really consumed... not like oil is. It's moved around. Out of the ground, into stuff, eventually into landfills. I've heard that 60 or 70% of copper ore has been mined, but it's still about. Uranium... okay make that is consumed.

    It'll just get more rewarding to rip the pipes out of the walls and take them to recycling.
    It should be interesting in the latter part of this century, when landfills swing from being noxious necessities (even if largely due to a lazy unwillingness to recycle, and massive volumes of packaging everywhere) to metallic smorgasbords.. after all, they tend to wind up in the less affluent districts, and presumably, everything then belongs to said municipalities, once tossed away.

    And copper wiring, too - seems it's not just lead that's sometimes audaciously stolen for its scrap value.

    Pity nuclear transmutation's not really feasible as an industrial process (yet?) - there'd be a certain archaic beauty in transforming lead into gold. =:) ISTR it's been accomplished, though, as a research exercise.
    And copper wiring, too - seems it's not just lead that's sometimes audaciously stolen for its scrap value.

    This is a far bigger problem on the UK rail network than the authorities like to let on. If you hear of a train being delayed due to "signalling problems", there's actually a good chance that they mean "cable theft". They just don't like to advertise the fact, in case it encourages others.
    Eep! True, there does seem to be an astonishing amount of cabling involved in the network, including some fairly chunky (ie valuable) varieties. I recall cable theft's a bad problem for some African telcos, leading to the widespread deployment of cellular tech instead.

    Ah, to finally see more African countries than just .za crowd the net, alongside the rest of the world..

    Wow. Errr....I probably shouldn't have smoked that right before following that first link.

    Feels kinda like a pulled a muscle. In my head.

    **three hours later**

    Oops. Somehow got distracted and forgot to post this.

    ...and now I've completely forgotten the rest of my reply.

    Now I'm envisioning you bearing a similar expression to the lemur above. =:D

    How about this to follow on? ^_^

    "Reuters is back next week at the World Economic Forum in Dav(r)os, Switzerland..."