Category Archives: Random

Funny Random

You’re gonna need some pants

I wish we could send you back with pants, but the technology just isn’t there yet. So as soon as you hit the ground, you’re going to want to find some pants. I know you can do it…because you already did it.

From the ever excellent Auralnauts

Art Random Rants Science Technology

Sierpinski Triangle

If you are going to read one essay about the Sierpinski Triangle, it really ought to be this one.

From what I can tell, one of the settings used to deal with division by 0 is the so-called Riemann sphere, which is where we take a space shuttle and use it to fly over and drop a cow on top of a biodome, and then have the cow indiscriminately fire laser beams at the grass inside and around the biodome. That’s my intuitive understanding of it anyway.

Yeah, you know you wanna get all up in this gasket.




Via:Hacker News

Random Rants

The Measure Of Man

A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points
Alan Kay

Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the idea of an intelligence quotient, but I think Alan is really on to something here.

Humans are relativity machines: we experience and interpret our world through the lens of our previous experience. As an idea, in and of itself, this is unsurprising, for how else could we feel and see and know but through what we have already experienced? But bear with me for a second, and think about the experience of stepping onto a farm. The distinct, deep and abiding smell of hay, manure, fields and mud. It is powerful and unmistakable, until you’ve been on the farm for an hour. Then the smell starts to fade into the background when finally, you don’t notice it at all.

There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”
David Foster Wallace

 

This phenomenon of normalization, the process of consistent stimulus becoming less and less is noticeable each time it is presented is called “Habituation“. We become habituated to our everyday experience, much like we become habituated to the smell of a farm: the rich details and experiences of our everyday lives can become invisible to us, lost in the quotidian.

Cultures around the world, I think, have recognized this to various degrees, in the tradition of the rest day of the week, holidays both sacred and profane. That said, the weekend rhythm soon becomes part of our habituated existence. We adapt and normalize so that those two days a week no longer provide enough perspective. We literally can’t get far enough away, and in turn, the cognitive tools we have to bring to bear on the world and the scope of sensation we have to process at best stagnates and at worst diminish.

 

Getting the hell out of dodge, going someplace fundamentally other, literally lets us become explorers of our own lives, see with new eyes just what, exactly, normal is.

 

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’
-Astronaut Edgar Mitchell on the Overview Effect.

 

The thing that I find most compelling about this quote is that the physicality of actually orbiting the earth fundamentally alters the window of possible thoughts. Mitchell certainly wasn’t surprised by what he saw, the astronomy, physics etc. were bread and butter to him, a PHD in astronautics from MIT. Still, the physical experience profoundly changed him, far beyond what he had expected.
 
I would give my right arm to go to the moon, but I just don’t think it’s in the cards, and while I have been very lucky and able to travel, I think it’s not just going places that does the trick: it’s the delta, the difference in experience that counts. While the moon is about the biggest change in perspective possible, I think in our everyday life the opportunity to try something new, to change your perspective, to see the world differently presents itself. The tough part is choosing. And it’s tough for a reason! The more common a stimulus is, the easier it is to process it (the mere exposure effect). Our brains literally recoil from novelty because it literally hurts. So we have to push ourselves to become neophiles instead of neophobes because otherwise we can literally loose sight of the lives we live in the haze of the “normal”.

Awesome Random Uncategorized

Why NORAD tracks Santa

One morning that December, U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, the director of operations at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command — NORAD’s predecessor — got a phone call at his Colorado Springs, Colo., office. This was no laughing matter. The call had come in on one of the top secret lines inside CONAD that only rang in the case of a crisis.

Grabbing the phone, Shoup must have expected the worst. Instead, a tiny voice asked, “Is this Santa Claus?

A Christmas tradition is born on the United States strategic defense nuclear hotline.

Art Random Rants

Werner Herzog Reads Where’s Waldo

There seems to be a theme today…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvWh6PMi9Ek&w=640]
Art Random Science

Finding Waldo With Science

 

Ben Blatt brought some serious science to bear on one of the most altering and illuminating questions of our time: Where is Waldo? His findings have revolutionized the search for our furtive little friend.

It may not be immediately clear from looking at this map, but my hunch that there’s a better way to hunt was right. There isn’t one corner of the page where Waldo is always hiding; readers would have already noticed if his patterns were so obvious. What we do see, as highlighted in the map below, is that 53 percent of the time Waldo is hiding within one of two 1.5-inch tall bands, one starting three inches from the bottom of the page and another one starting seven inches from the bottom, stretching across the spread.

Ben Blatt on Slate.com

Random Science Technology

My God, They’re Made Out Of Meat

Based on the original short story by Terry Bisson.

Random Rants

You are a Ghost

Via THEREMINA.

Random Science

Chalcopyrite – Fossilized Unicorn Poop

chalcopyrite

Chalcopyrite, more at google images search

Music Random

Katakana Edits – Diablo

Random

Go Aweee!!!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVN4PRLrpsA&w=640]
Random

Lake Street Dive: I Want You Back

Random Rants

DFW: On Perfectionism

Perfectionism is very dangerous, because, of course, if your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything, because doing anything results in … it’s actually kind of tragic, because it means you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is.

–David Foster Wallace
via PBS Blank on Blank

Random

Staircase / Book case / Slide!

 

Designed by achitect Moon Hoon, the Panorama House includes a staircase that is also a book case, and features a slide to boot!

From the architect:

The basic request of upper and lower spatial organization and the shape of the site promted a long and tin house with fluctuating facade which would allow for more differentiated view. The key was coming up with a multi-functional space which is a large staircase, bookshelves, casual reading space, home cinema, slide and many more…

The client was very pleased with the design, and the initial design was accepted and finalized almost instantly, only with minor adjustments. The kitchen and dining space is another important space where family gathers to bond. The TV was pushed away to a smaller living room. The attic is where the best view is possible, it is used as a play room for younger kids. The multi-use stair and slice space brings much active energy to the house, not only children, but also grown ups love the slide staircase…An action filled playful house for all ages…

The rest of the house is pretty cool as well.

Random Science Technology

Hotel Coffee Salvation

Brilliance, possibly only possible due to adequate caffeination.

 

How to make cold brew coffee in your hotelroom. God, what a beautiful hack.