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Adoring old synths as I do (albeit, sadly, from afar), my eye was naturally caught by mention of the Cynthia Macintosh, a Mac mini mind melded with a suitably designed LCD panel and software. It doesn't exist yet, however, but when it does, I'm going to have to find a way of playing around with one.. wonder if there's such a thing as a cheap 15" touchscreen LCD? (Or a panel to overlay on an existing display) Making a tablet out of an old PowerBook could be a fun little project.

From the gallows humor department: Volkswagen's "Car for almost all occasions" TV ad. (2.6MB QuickTime)

If you had a paid account when the colo's lights went out, wander along thisaway to claim a fortnight's extension by way of salve for the soul unjournaled. Speaking of which.. as found by sockscatt, one of the first in probably many tribute images. ^_^

ysengrin pointed out some fascinating work over at Cornell, where a polystyrene-like polymer's been produced, based on the oxide of limonene (the primary oil found in citrus peel) and carbon dioxide. As the article notes, virtually every polymer currently in existence has a petroleum origin.

Who knew Bill Gates had such desire to be a teen heartthrob in 1983? (BTW, if you noticed, those links make use of a public distributed caching system. Just add .nyud.net:8090 as shown, and providing a copy's in the system before any slashdotting occurs, the link's safe from being overloaded.

Not the greatest photos ever taken, but still, these few scenes from a fish & vegetable market in Chalous, Iran, are a tiny glimpse into another culture.

Beer for the day has to be Titanic Brewery's Titanic Stout, a heavy stout along the lines of Sierra Nevada's - well, maybe it's more like North Coast Brewing's Old Rasputin's Imperial Stout, but considerably less sweet. More like a naked Young's Double Chocolate - all the flavor, but markedly drier.

I thought I'd offer the opening and closing sequences (11.1 and 10.6MB MPEG-4) of Paranoia Agent, as a musical indication of its nature. It's an intensely character-driven series, peeling away layers of people's personalities they'd far sooner keep reserved for themselves.

(Tucked away to conceal the links from spiders)

"People you think are normal.."
Great. :-)
Now anything shipped in packing peanuts can be lemony-fresh!
So now one's iPod can be both a music player and an air freshener. ^_^

Of course, if they can make rigid polymers too, then we could see them used in electronics casings, too. At that point, maybe the "do not eat iPod shuffle" warning (footnote 2) will be a requirement rather than a joke..

Then, when the electronics became obsolescent, the device could be ground up and reformed into McDonalds. Imagine the possibilities! The burgers and the packaging from the same source!
I noticed that too about the Ipod shuffle.
I haven't checked the UK price yet. (Kuma said that the 1GB one was on uk Amazon at a preorder price of 99UKP)

Though i see that the New Ipod Mini is more expensive in both Germany and the UK than the USA. For European furs it may be worth buying the shuffle from the USA, and you wont have to wait to Feb to get your paws on one.

I'm not sure if i like the fact that the usb connector is mounted on the case though, ie you plug the device straight into a usb, not that handy if you don't have front mounted usb ports.

Regarding bio-plastic, it worries me what we are going to make plastic out of when oil runs out. I'm not that worried about fuel, as I can see lots of possible sources of alternative fuels, but plastics...

Regarding edible packaging, there has been lots of patents using cornstarch, basically the same as those starch based replacements for polystrene beads that are so useless unless you do ebay! You can eat the burger, and then the clamshell the burger came in.

Which reminds me anyone come across the corn based CD's yet? I wonder if those are edible too :)

ysengrin pointed out some fascinating work over at Cornell, where a polystyrene-like polymer's been produced, based on the oxide of limonene (the primary oil found in citrus peel) and carbon dioxide. As the article notes, virtually every polymer currently in existence has a petroleum origin.

Most cool :-) I know Geoff and his research group, and they're good people doing good work. Unlike some other professors I know who a lit stick of dynamite up the ass wouldn't be enough to motivate them to do good work ;-)
Well, if such professors haven't turned up anything useful in too long, one could pursue that as a potential means of motivation.. ^_^

Definitely, I'll be wanting to hear how their work proceeds. Presumably there are more detailed reports due to appear in appropriate publications.. perhaps SciAm or New Scientist will go into greater depth on the chemistry/physics involved, and importantly, the industrial potential. Quite a novel line of research.. I wonder what led to attempting such an alternating polymeric structure?
The whole 'LiveJournal a victim of a power outage' bit would probably be a lot more amusing if my place of business hadn't gone through a five hour one today. Second in three months, even.

After being ready for one through two weeks of wind and storms, we get one on a day with clear skies and warm temperatures, because of a major transformer failure.

What is with the California grid, anyway?
Oof! A transformer deciding to dally with rapid oxidation would have an impact, yes. ^_^ Hopefully the knock-on effects weren't too bad.. that seems to be all too common a problem - there was one large blackout in London in 2003, where a single fault (near Wimbledon?) wound up knocking out the supply to large parts of the city.

Though for cascading, few events beat that wonderful outage all along the Pacific coastline in August 1996.. ye gods. I was being given a tour of San Francisco by a friend at the time, and inevitably, many traffic signals were down, with scattered blocks retaining power. (Actually quite encouraging to see how sensible drivers were being.. I was mildly surprised)

Oh, the LJ outage - you've probably seen the report by now, but it appears to come down to some individual deciding it'd be fun to press the emergency power off switch, then reset it to make it appear as if it hadn't been activated. The "what does this big red button do?" syndrome strikes again..
I'm thinking the 'people you think are normal' would go great with some Philp Glass. 1001 Airplaned on the roof, maybe?
Oooh, good call. Though I'll regrettably (shamefully, even) admit to only knowing a very little of his work - the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack, and, I think, Einstein on the Beach. (Hm! This discography credits him on The Fog of War, too.. definitely a movie I should see)

The closing theme for Paranoia Agent might not be a bad choice, either.. I'll have to give that a try. ^_^
I'll burn you a CD sometime. Thanks to the time I spent in the 90's living with Orzel, I was able to get some copies. Nice stuff!
Ooh, please! Certainly, what I've heard, I've enjoyed very much. (Hm. Wonder if he's got any free tracks available? Quite a common practice now, I'm pleased to note - many a music weblog bases their downloads purely on tracks hosted by/on behalf of the musicians themselves, such as Fat Planet)
The Cynthia Mac is a nice idea, but I want an Open Labs Neko64. It's a dual 64-bit AMD Opteron PC built in the form of a synthesizer, running custom software with VST/VSTi plugin support and a fully modular console.

Ooooh. I could definitely give a loving home to one of those, indeed yes. ^_^

I wonder if anyone's constructed a viable VR keyboard? Seems like a project someone must've undertaken, just for the hell of it.. have the visuals presented with Glasstron goggles or suchlike, and the fingers mapped spatially using a pair of datagloves (could have various spots emitting an RF signal sequentially, and the position deduced by propagation delays. Not trivial, but probably viable). That way, you could play a full-size keyboard anywhere, without needing to actually lug one around. Although it might be odd watching someone playing one.
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You may indeed have the whole thing, in that case, as it's a 13-episode series. I'll admit to not actually having finished it yet - I'm at ep.9, so, I can't comment on how "well" it ends. That said, I'd certainly recommend it.. the linked review gives some idea of what to expect. As each character's brought into the story, we see their public face, then their private one.. the storyline opens with a stuffed toy designer (hence the dog in the closing titles, though exactly why he's there is another matter), under pressure to complete another successful design, attacked by "Shounen Bat" - from the glimpses his victims gain, the police establish he's a teenage boy on rollerblades, who strikes with a bent baseball bat. But why? Ah, there's the key..

It's a storyline with a strong emphasis on the various characters' natures and lives - definitely a psychological mystery. The first episode should give you a good idea of whether it's something for you, or not - it's not one of those you can only gain some vague appreciation for after the first four episodes, say.