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Weebl's new Electro Gypsy is a neat little music video - and quite a Flash technology showcase, too, with some cunning use of 3D camera tracking and parallax.

Reuters reports on an interview Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi Prime Minister, regarding US withdrawal: '"U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." Asked if he supported Obama's ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for. "Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems."'

Have a generous armload of Tor Books for free, including Old Man's War by John Scalzi, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, and more, in HTML, PDF, and Mobi formats.

worthyadvisor noticed a most cool scientific site: PeriodicVideos. The front page is a simple periodic table, laid out in the usual way - but each element links to a short (2-3 minutes or so) video, with university staff talking about just what that element looks like, its history, uses, and so forth, in a refreshingly informal way. Highly recommended. (And I absolutely adore the hair of the prof 23s into Ti =:)

Now here's quite an impressive example of haute couture meeting furrydom.. even if Thierry Mugler may not have realised it. =:) It's called "Chimère". You'll really want to see the full size image to appreciate it properly - but isn't it a minor tweak or two from an outstanding draconic costume?

Quite a pleasant addition to my camera repertoire - using the SpaceNavigator, I can change my orientation and position independently of the camera perspective. Moving around and flying with it will take a little practice, but at first glance, it does indeed seem to work quite nicely. Noticed a small bug: if you're purely wandering around or flying using it, rather than keyboard navigation, it'll wind up thinking you're idle, and put you into "Away" mode - as happened while I was flying. =:D

An intriguing introduction to George Dyson's "Engineers' Dreams", leading in with a brief excerpt from the story:

Only one third of a search engine is devoted to fulfilling search requests. The other two thirds are divided between crawling (sending a host of single-minded digital organisms out to gather information) and indexing (building data structures from the results). Ed's job was to balance the resulting loads. When Ed examined the traffic, he realized that Google was doing more than mapping the digital universe. Google doesn’t merely link or point to data. It moves data around. Data that are associated frequently by search requests are locally replicated—establishing physical proximity, in the real universe, that is manifested computationally as proximity in time. Google was more than a map. Google was becoming something else..

Speaking of whom, given Google's high - even if not perfect, with around 1-2 per thousand spam "messages" trapped turning out to be genuine - success rate in identifying spam, I've finally turned off my own spam filters, though Mail will continue to put in its contribution to the effort. (The spam I'm seeing in Gmail is only that addressed to me - if I set it to allow everything addressed to ringtail.com, regardless of username, the volume rises dramatically, on the order of a couple thousand per day. As is, it's more around 20-30) Whilst I'd still prefer to handle my own mail, rather than letting a large entity like Google do so, I'll happily concede they do a very good job indeed, and for no charge, with no inserted advertising or mailshots. (Which, of course, makes me think TANSTAAFL. Yet pepemapache can attest otherwise =:)

thrifthorror is normally a place for the weird and wonderfully awful crap one can sometimes find in thrift stores - but this entry was different. She's highlighted a few "bonus items" - notes found within purchases. They're only ephemera, mostly, but the final example is rather terribly poignant.

Note that this photo is a photograph, not a rendering or artistic interpretation, taken by Cassini, showing Saturn eclipsing the Sun. I'm told the locality is actually colder than atomicat's stomping grounds.

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I wish I knew. ^_^; I'm guessing it originally appeared on one of the Russian photologs, and does have something of a Russian feel to it, somehow, but I could be hilariously mistaken. Maybe Finland or Iceland, for that matter.

(If it's not the theme for a Bjork video, it should be)
Funny that you should mention GMail's spam filters - I'm regularly appalled by how crappy they are. For example, it took them weeks to wisen up about the latest round of spam that got past them, nevermind that I was getting at least five hundred spam messages a day from that wave, all with exactly the same subjects (chosen from about a handful)...

That being said, I'd be able to live with the false negatives, but the false positives I consistently and invariably get are really annoying. Ah well, the price of convenience, I guess...

That's quite a bizarre disparity indeed! All English spam? I wonder if their filtering falls over with any other language.. shouldn't, of course, given one key technique is detecting the (more or less) same message body received by a threshold of mailboxes, modulo legitimate mass mailings.

My previous mail handling had only quite moderate spam filtering, so I had to keep the few dozen rules in place (each with several often outdated checks on subject keywords or suchlike), letting a dozen or two spam fall into the trap every day. Since letting Google Apps take care of things, I'm down to perhaps one or two unidentified by them as spam every week or so. Curious!

No, it was German (or rather, pseudo-German, apparently an attempt to reach German audiences by someone with no actual knowledge of the language)... but spam filters should be language-agnostic, and weird language that isn't actually used in legitimate email, if anything, should make it even easier to filter out the spam.

I used to use a bayesian filter (bogofilter) myself in the past, and it always worked great - false negatives were very rare, and I don't think I ever had a single false positive. Switching to GMail was definitely a step backwards - something I noticed even back then already.

Ah well. :)
Ahh, that explains it, though certainly doesn't excuse their inability to recognise languages other than English - I wouldn't have thought a company as global as Google would (or should</i) fall foul of such problems so readily.
You'd think they wouldn't, yes...
That image of Saturn eclipsing the sun looks odd. I suspect it's due to the way we expect things to be laid out, but it looks strangely upside-down.

Also, That image of the spandex bunnies... Perhaps its that they are all so identical, but I can't shake the feeling that it's actually a montage of photos of one person.
The APoD description does a good job of explaining it intellectually, but of course, it's an image vastly removed from anything these brain things were ever brought up to comprehend - a bit like that wonderful checker board & cylinder optical illusion, where even when you know the assertion is true, and you've verified it with a color picker, it's as firmly convincing as ever. =:D

It does look like various people, from my perspective - there's a bit more chesty lumpiness on some of the buns, and different curvatures. Must be a species I'm not very well acquainted with..

actually colder than atomicat's stomping grounds.

Hard to believe that anything colder than *that* actually exists, but scientists insist it's true!
He maintains the white stuff on the ground is actually snow, but we know it's just oxygen in solid phase. (Getting a dog into a spacesuit is, I'm sure, never an easy undertaking)
Was I the only one to see that first picture, and link it to the words 'Iraqi Prime Minister' next to it. Dress codes have changed a lot these days! =:o
HEE! Only trouble is, now I've got images of Gordon Brown trying out that look.

Not a pretty sight.

Although, Sarkozy could probably pull it off.. =:D

I can't get enough variations and demonstrations of the periodic table.

You see, I would have said that Saturn was, as you say, potatoshopped.
I'm not sure anything can beat the definitive representation of the periodic table, though. ^_^

It's clear, of course, that not all that goes on in the world is positive and progressive - but it's not difficult to find examples of human ingenuity, made possible by the technological and financial cooperation of many, many people, that can warm the heart, and remind one of the wonders we're capable of, individually and collectively.

Man! Finally got back here after much dragging around this and that and the fatigue thing. How the hell did I miss that Saturn image seeing as how I subscribe to that feed?! See fatigue thing. Un..fucking...believable.... That is hands-down the most awesome astronomy picture I've ever seen and for so many reasons. This is something I want to see a high-def movie of. Wouldn't it be nice to have access to all that data, all those images?

I was wondering earlier about what sort of viewership you could get for pay-per-view live zero-gee porno. Think of it, commercializing space via the tried and true method. Think of the DVD sales, would that cover the cost of getting the Ruskies to boost two porno stars into orbit? Think of it, Barbarella theme'd room on the space station?

That dress/costume is the fucking BOMB!!! I would love to see more shots of it but Google don't turn much up, and time investment and all that. Tiredd tired! Later!