As Pharyngula pointed out recently, here's an excellent use of 140 seconds of your time, from a galaxy far, far away: A New Pope. =:D
This fills so many of CuteOverload's Rules of Cuteness, it's implausible. ^_^ If you're not having a good day, look here.
moth_wingthane pointed out a WDCS campaign: "In December 2007, the UK Government stated that it is likely to allow oil and gas exploration and development in a dolphin sanctuary off the coast of the Moray Firth in Scotland. In combination with other threats, this could drive a small and vulnerable population to extinction." The public comments period concludes on March 14. As such, the WDCS has set up a mail-in and online petition, the entirety of which they'll deliver to the Minister for Energy. (Note that the "country" pulldown does permit international residents to let their sentiments be heard as well)
Via kyootfox, an exceedingly sweet bunny music video: Schnuffel - Kuschel Song (FLV, 6.5MB).
Dinner: as simple as it's been in a while. ^_^ Half a bag of vegetable stir-fry (basically an assortment of fairly finely chopped broccoli, carrots, and cabbage, etc) microwaved with a little soy sauce and pepper, accompanied by a pair of jalapeno Black Angus burgers.
If the extravagant price tag of the Eee PC is too rich for your blood, perhaps consider Elonex's rival "One". Similar specs, though much lower power CPU, and a curiously top-heavy design, seemingly with most of the electronics in the display casing.
If you can help a (RL) cat in need, her human would surely be grateful.
Oh, finestkind! LJ's made good on their promise to introduce a means of expanding collapsed threads without having to load the thread link in a new tab. Not too much benefit for now, though, as it's a per-thread link, rather than per-page, or ideally, an account preference to simply never collapse threads.
Having cleared the idea with the tower, a 25-year veteran Cathay Pacific pilot decided to conduct a very low fly-by at the Boeing plant in Everett, in his 777. =:D (Sadly, the airline wasn't quite so thrilled, and fired him) Watch a slide show of this fantastic event here. Supposedly this takes place at 320mph, and a minimum altitude of 28 feet.
A customers_suck tale for the ages: part one, part two, part three. It starts off quite gently, with someone wanting a top-up for their "Norkey", and builds from there. Of a more epic scale is "Vinegar Boy", which begins with a parent alleging the staff had told her snowflake that it was fine to drink vinegar (not a sip of balsamic, but supposedly 500ml of malt vinegar, with the colorful results you'd expect) - except the store camera recording, with sound, showed no such thing. Cue lousy manager, an ambush of a meeting, and an outstanding union lawyer.
If you're in the UK, you may well be a customer of BT, Virgin, or Carphone Warehouse's ISP offerings - in which case, you might want to read this article on the deal all three have signed with a "former" malware peddler, 121Media, rebranded as Phorm. They'll be inspecting where you browse, and the contents of pages served, in order to bring you personalised advertising. Quite odd is the way this had originally been discovered last summer, but denied outright by BT. Some further details about Phorm and BT's deployment can be found in this article. Reactions from other ISPs varies according to size, with Sky and Orange interested, and Zen taking the gloriously clear position, "We have not spoken to them and we would not speak to them." =:D
Grrrwolf prints! Buy lots!
For anyone who's used recent Apple laptops: how do you find the current keyboards compare to the last PowerBook ones? Is the MBP's the same? (Visually, it seems identical) That'd be good for me, as I'm very happy with this one - a good travel, pleasant force/distance curve, and the backlighting is a joy, whether last thing at night, or just on Muni when the power goes off, taking the lighting with it.
The trailer for The Fall looks quite promising; the artistic direction's quite overt, much as in The Fountain, or the director's debut, The Cell, which won't necessarily be to everyone's liking - but if the story can sustain the visuals, it could be quite a cinematic feast.
A music video well worth a look: Sucker, by Vampira Kanno, produced by Pywacket Bellman and Niten Altamura (aka Nitwacket =:). A very cool track, and certainly one of the more atmospheric machinima I've seen.
Rather nifty: alexandrite appears blue in daylight, and red under incandescent lighting.
Via Pharyngula, the tale of Ricky Gervais losing his faith, culminating in a surprisingly beautiful tribute to the wonders of the universe. (I was raised very mildly Christian, but after only a few years, it just didn't seem to make a lot of sense to me. No big, sudden revelation; perhaps I'd never really been a religious sort, and this was just my conclusion. Not that it's stopped me finding out about religions of the world - I scored quite well in the religious education portion of my education, including incredibly cheesy comic strips miraculously avoiding drawing actual people more than necessary =:)
…within an hour, I was an atheist.
Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution - a theory so simple and obvious that only England's greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals, and us - with imagination, free will, love and humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.
But living an honest life - for that you need the truth. That's the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.
If you check Slashdot or any gaming news sites, you'll know the name "Jack Thompson", the Florida lawyer with a great passion for attempting to ban games. Here's a superb tribute, in the spirit of EBN. =:D
A weblog worth a peek: Mind, Music, and Technology. Where one entry will be an experimental audio/visual jazz show, another talks of the virtues of play and the roles un-neutered fairy tales have amidst it all.
An intriguing peek into one possible future for the SL viewer: the keyboardless Project Segalen, courtesy of Mitch Kapor's incubator.
Quite a cool little toy: RedKid.net sign generator. Not just church signs, but jackets, parade banners, Blackberry text, iPod playlist, Absolut bottle, and more.
Assuming it does see the light of day, this report into MEP expenses abuse could make some people suitably nervous: "The report selected a random 167 MEPs for checks and is said to give details of one MEP who took the full allowance but employed no-one, and another who had just one member of staff. One Euro MP is said to have paid a member of staff a 'Christmas bonus' worth 19 times the official's monthly salary."
Kewl! Windlight just hit the release branch - so it'll be part of subsequent "main" release candidates, commencing with the 1.19.1 RCs.
The initial take on it seems reasonably obvious, but, it's still an intriguing sideways look at human nature, from a robotics perspective: "What's your type of robot? The more humanoid model or that boxy little number that looks like it was thrown together from spare parts? Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire Science and Technology Research Institute in Hatfield, England, are studying human perceptions of robots in an attempt to gauge our comfort level with them. Their findings: extroverts tend to favor robots with realistic facial features and humanlike voices (sort of like a cross between the Terminator and 2001's HAL 9000), whereas shy people generally like the mechanical-looking ones, perhaps because they seem more impersonal and less likely to demand attention."
Ooh, shiny clothing. As circuit_four says, they've got some quite remarkable designs on offer, even if not exactly dirt cheap. But window shopping is free. And after all, how many places offer such joys as a PVC kimono - and the LED-tipped wings are simply nifty.
One of those music videos that's very simple in concept (think "OK Go"), but wonderfully effective, especially once the track really picks up the pace: a fanvid for Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. Two girls, two boxes. All SFW. ^_^
In case someone doesn't read Boing Boing, I should perhaps make note of Gravitas: "a visual and musical celebration of the beauty in a dynamic universe driven by gravity. Animations from supercomputer simulations of forming galaxies, star clusters, galaxy clusters, and galaxy interactions are presented as moving portraits of cosmic evolution. Billions of years of complex gravitational choreography are presented in 9 animations - each one interpreted with an original musical composition inspired by the exquisite movements of gravity. The result is an emotive and spiritually uplifting synthesis of science and art." Available for $15 as a physical DVD, or for free via BitTorrent - just fetch the torrent file from the "free download" button on the left side and let your favored client munch away on it.
Well, this remarkable posable sculpture certainly pushes a few buttons with me. ^_^
And continuing the theme, Toyota demonstrated a robotic violinist, sadly lacking video of the event, but it appears to be a genuine attempt at playing the instrument much as a human might. (Found via this Simulated Comic Product strip, as recommended by relee. Late Adopter is another favorite, and Making Machines for the Carrot Empire has adorable heroes. But then, who couldn't love a strip with transhumanism amidst its tag cloud?)
Not a bad deal: refurb iPhones for $199 (4GB) and $249 (8GB), but for whatever magical reason, only in New England AT&T stores. Contract required, as usual. With the SDK due soon (current mumblings suggest a preview release on Thursday, followed by the final release, possibly at WWDC), quite a fair opportunity of getting one for application development, if you think you have an idea people will shell out for.
Yays! Dogstar's not been cancelled after all! Though they've apparently decided to restart the show from the beginning, so it'll be another few weeks until episode 9 appears.
Ooh. There appears to be a PS2 in the house now. I wonder if I can interest The Horde in obtaining Okami..
As for what I'm currently watching.. well, I'm continuing to lag with Torchwood, despite Adam's particular promise, and even that of the particularly good technological/spiritual mystery anime Ghost Hound. Right now, paradoxically, the show I'm watching at a time of particular tension and depression is Kaiji, an anime that stretches out times of high tension across multiple episodes, and continues to ratchet up the anxiety, with action no more dramatic than card games, or a balancing act. (Well, the first round of the balancing act might only result in the participants' bad injury; the second round was more final) Nerve-wracking, and entirely unlikely to see a release outside Japan, but sometimes surprisingly insightful into human nature, howsoever wrapped in melodrama that the Chairman would be proud of. =:)
If you've an idea you'd like to bring into SL, but could use some modest financial encouragement, the Foundation for Rich Content would like to give you L$25,000 to make it happen. Applications need to be in by Mar 15, with three grants available for now.
Does anyone have any idea what this hand-boot is? Just a bit of dadaist whimsy of the pottery kitsch variety?
Some fascinatingly unlikely Disney fanart. ^_^; (Perfectly SFW)
Ultimately a commercial effort, but still, a laudable exercise: plant a sunflower in SL, and Intel will donate $1 to Conservation International (as long as you don't live in Connecticut or Massachusetts), albeit with a modest cap of $10k. US & non-Quebec Canada residents also qualify for a drawing for a high-spec laptop.
w00t! There's a rugby team called the South Sydney Rabbitohs (which would also make a superb cereal). They apparently prevailed over the Dragons in their last match, too. ^_^
Ireland's entry for the next Eurovision Song Contest? Dustin, the turkey puppet. ^_^ (William Hill give him 10-1 odds) "His song, Irlande Douze Pointe, is a parody of the Eurovision event, with lines such as "Drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan's wig" Personally, I think it'll take a lot to cap 2007's event - true, the winner was fantastically over the top, but I still adored the Swedish entry. :-9
And really, I had to +F this badge by louvelex - the expression's just so magnificently manic. =:D
From the Corporate Rip-Offs Dept: Lil' Soap on Threadless, versus the ever so slightly similar Hot Topic design. If the company had played fair, I wonder what kind of licensing fee would be involved - HT deal in substantial volumes, after all. Find out more here.
And passed on in dedication to foofers, an anecdote I'd long suspected to be valid, but pertaining to Arby's, given the occasionally bubbly nature of their meat. "A couple years ago, my friend went to Taco Bell. At the drive through she ordered a few tacos, or something along those lines. The drive-through order-taker's response? "Sorry, we can't serve anything with meat today. Our meat hose is clogged."' (Though, as one commenter remarks, that would make a splendid band name)