Entertainment/Culture

Family Feud Basra Style

Saturday, December 13, 2014 

Gunfire is pretty common here, perhaps even more common than in Oakland though usually for the same reasons: celebrating holidays, sports victories, weddings, that sort of stuff.  It is kind of fun to listen to and watch tracers and stuff, but usually the villa is also celebrating in an obvious way; when you hear gunfire you also hear cheers, at least at night.

This evening the house was quiet, but the gunfire sure wasn’t.  The guys tell me it was a tribal feud in the neighborhood, quite close from the sound of it.  This is a low-fi recording from my phone.

Posted at 17:13:13 GMT-0700

Category: Audioplacestravel

Google outrage at ‘NSA hacking’

Friday, November 1, 2013 

Outrageous, OUTRAGEOUS I says!

Yeah yeah, the NSA didn’t pay you for the data this time?

Google outrage at ‘NSA hacking’

Posted at 01:18:25 GMT-0700

Category: FreeBSDtechnology

Futurama is Awesome

Saturday, January 5, 2013 

I learned two things about Futurama recently which added to my already deep appreciation for the show. The first is that the theme song came from a very cool song by Pierre Henry called Psyche Rock from 1967, which is on youtube. It was remixed by Fatboy Slim in an appealing way.

But what was most interesting recently was to see episode 10 of season 6, the Prisoner of Benda, a spoof of the Prisoner of Zelda but including what may be the first tv-episode publication of the proof of a relatively complex mathematical theorem in group theory as a core plot element.

Prisoner_of_Benda_Theorem_on_Chalkboard.png

The problem in the plot is that the Professor’s mind swapping machine creates an immune response which prevents swapping back in one step. So how do you get everyone back to into their original bodies? Well, as Sweet Clyde says, it takes at most two extra players [who haven’t swapped yet]. As the entire cast, including the robo-bucket, have swapped bodies, the situation is pretty complex, but fortunately one of the show’s writers, Ken Keeler, has a PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard and found a proof, which is actually shown in the show (above), and then worked in a fast montage that restores everyone.

In the following table, the heading shows the character name of the body, row 0 shows the occupant of that body by the end of the plot’s permutations and before the globetrotters start the transformations. Rows 1-7 show the steps to restore everyone to their original bodies.  Each transformation was animated as a pair using the two “extra players” except the last rotation to restore Sweet Clyde and the Bucket.

Posted at 16:34:18 GMT-0700

Category: filmsPositivereviewstechnology

A Very Energetic Band at Borgo a Mozzano’s Halloween

Thursday, November 3, 2011 

This band was playing a small stage along Via Roma at Borgo a Mozzano’s Halloween festival.   I haven’t been able to figure out their name yet (will update when I do).  The singer managed to put out an amazing amount of vocal power from such a small frame.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exAWzdE7wa0[/youtube]

(on youtube)

Posted at 07:13:14 GMT-0700

Category: Eventsplacestravelvideo

Fantomatik Orchestra at Borgo a Mozzano

Thursday, November 3, 2011 

The Fantomatik Orchestra performing at Halloween at Borgo a Mozzano

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZc_5GvsqSk[/youtube]

That’s our local butcher dancing with the cow’s head and eyeball.

(on youtube the video is available in 1080)

Posted at 04:03:03 GMT-0700

Category: GeopostplacesPositivereviewstravelvideo

Halloween at Borgo a Mozzano

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 

Borgo a Mozzano hosts the biggest Halloween festival in Italy and this year was the biggest yet. The streets were so packed with people it was almost impossible to move in some places. There were at least 8 stages, each hosting several different bands through the night playing all sorts of music from heavy metal to gypsy punk to polka, but one of the best was the marching band which had our town butcher out dancing with a cows head.

Halloween_Borgo_a_Mozzano_2011_DSC06657.jpg
Posted at 10:42:55 GMT-0700

Category: Eventsplacestravel

Google Maps, now with billboards

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 

This is the first I’ve noticed location-specific ads being inserted into a google search. It makes sense that their map becomes a revenue source. If the ads don’t work, the the map will go away. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

google location ads.JPG
ah… this
Posted at 15:05:25 GMT-0700

Category: technology

Rebuilding is Complete

Thursday, October 20, 2011 

I wish to thank everyone for their support in this brief moment of crisis.

DSC05671.JPG
Posted at 14:59:07 GMT-0700

Category: funnyGeopostoddphoto

Scrapper

Thursday, October 20, 2011 

I went to see Scrapper, the documentary by Stephen Wassmann, that was showing as part of the SF Documentary Film Festival.   It is the story of the people who live between the Salton Sea and the Chocolate Mountain Bombing Range and make a living gathering scrap metal off the range between bombing runs.

It’s quite a frank and intimate portrayal of some extremely eccentric characters.  They spend their time divided between driving around the range gently prying the aluminum tail fins off unexploded ordinance, heating the booty over open fires to loosen the scrap-value-reducing steel rivets, and doing crystal meth and drinking, though the last activity isn’t so much divided from the former two.

The most entertaining character is an old guy who set up camp on the isolated East side of the range, far from humanity, and cruises around the range in a highly modified VW bug living a life pretty much straight out of the Road Warrior.

It is definitely a movie where every moment seems to balance precariously on the edge of a ravine or on a delicate trip wire on a 2,000# bomb that failed to release when it buried itself fins-deep in the desert sand.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/11457549[/vimeo]

Posted at 04:18:18 GMT-0700

Category: filmsGeopostPositivereviewsvideo

Superconducter B-Field Locking

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws6AAhTw7RA[/youtube]

This is super cool.  It is very tempting to imagine magnetic field lines as being  physical wires, the superconductor being a semi-permeable substance through which the mathematical wires can be forced, but not so heavy as to drag itself through them, even flying around the track.

Posted at 03:02:03 GMT-0700

Category: technologyvideo