Saturday, April 11, 2009

World's biggest self-portrait

World's biggest self-portrait, "drawn" with GPS over several continents.
It's not clear to me how he made commercial airplane pilots take their planes in curved and curly paths over the ocean.

Pascal said:
Yeah, suuuure. An airliner actually went from the eastern tip of Brazil, flew south-east far over the ocean, then turned back in a loop, and nobody got fired because of the useless fuel consumption, delays in passengers trips, and disregard for very carefully optimized flight plans in these financial crisis times?
A likely story!
If ANY airliner had made that loop-de-loop [at the nostril] over Lebanon, I think I would definitely have heard about it. Especially if the very same plane, flying as if to spy on our fine touchy homeland's military secrets from above, also passed over Israel in the same go.

Reminds me of this story I heard on the TV news a couple of weeks ago:
"Another danger of global warming : experts worried that the multiplication of wind farms might end up slowing the planet's rotation, from opposing all that atmospheric motion."

Good grief. And if we tore down a mountain it would speed up the planet's rotation?

Anyway, it's looking like this "big drawing" is just a sham. Although a surprisingly carefully constructed one. It's a pity some people think it's great fun to make fools of others. That's rather low, I think.

Fall of the towers (updated 3)

Traces of big amounts of special explosive have been found in the ruins of the WTC. In other words, clear evidence that they were demolished and didn't fall because of the planes.

From email:
One question: what kind of tv-show it this where the scientist is interviewed?
Is that private, state, illegal? It looks like a normal tv-show on the normal tv.
This would be impossible in France.
No national TV would broadcast such a program.
Even mentioning the issue is kind of forbidden. A quite famous star making one-man-show humor, Jean-Marie Bigarre, has endorsed this view casually on a radio-show on a very widely listened to radio, Europe 1. He spoke less than a minute, maybe 30 secs. Since then he is excluded from that radio station, on decision of one of the leaders. And actually there is a real silence around him.
This is when I started to seriously consider that this version may be true...

(Yes, it was a normal Danish national TV show, I think.) This is amazing, France is not exactly known to care deeply about the reputation of the US establishment. I guess it illustrates how frightening the idea of an "insider job" is. (By the way, just stating the idea that the towers were demolished is not the same as saying that the US government were behind it. It is just saying that we don't know the full truth.)

Update: many interesting data in this film.
And another film.
"Journalists said 'why are you not wanting Bin Laden for 9/11?' and FBI said: 'we just don't have the evidence'."
This is very well-produced film.
Did you know that the fire was no worse than some people managed to get down from above the impact site? They have an interview with one of them.
Why did all three buildings fall at virtually free fall speed? That should be impossible.
Why was there molten metal under the rubble of all three buildings? No fire does that.
Why were none of the airplanes intercepted by military planes, like is standard procedure?
On 9.12.2001, the Attorney General announced to the world that a passport from one of the highjackers had been found in the street. A small paper object had survived a crash and fire which was claimed to have brought down the largest buildings in the world? What more evidence do you need that they will not hesitate to lie?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Connalli photography

Connalli photography.
Apropos "over-cooked" (over-saturated and over-processed photos). And over-sugared.

Beardyman does a thing

Beardyman does a thing. (I didn't embed it because it needs HD.)

The sounds that man can make with his mouth. Who needs a music studio when you have your mouth and a Kaoss Pad (whatever that is)?
(It does seem that none of the sounds are made by a synth or recorder, all by him, incredible as it sounds.)

His Kitchen Diaries is worth a revisit.

A good solid try

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Dog food conspiracy?

Did you know that the big "dog food conspiracy" is killing all our dogs? Apparently!!
What this looks like to me is another person making money off people's fears.
I know that kind of web page, I have studied how they are done, and I have seen so many of them. The simple text, speaking to people's emotions... Lots of bold type... Lost of red and yellow text... Lots of call to action... Lots of blaming a conspiracy so he can rescue you... Lots of hard sell... Lots of bullet lists and graphics... And collecting email addresses from those not ready to give up hard cash up front. You don't need all these things for giving people information, you only need it for selling things to them.

You push all the reader's buttons about their love for their pet and their fears for their pet, and then they're ready to think "well, forty-seven dollars is not a lot to save the life of my beloved dog! I would be a monster to try to save that money! And look, it's discounted, it's marked down from seventy-seven dollars! I better buy now!"
This is e-books, there is no cost to sell them. (Although obviously he does not really push that point a lot, if people don't realize it's not a paper book so much the better.) If he is really doing this out of concern for other people's dogs, why isn't he selling them for five dollars? Or giving the info for free and take donations to cover costs? I'm sure if his info is that revolutionary, he would get tons of donations from grateful pet owners.


Mike J on overcooking photos (and vegetables).

He has other good articles on that site, including this one about viewing distances (from a print).
The demand for resolution does not increase proportionally with print size, for instance, because you tend to view larger prints from further away.


Glass ball balancing.

Why have micropayments failed?

For the past fifteen years, ever since the World Wide Web hid mainstream consciousness, it's been predicted by many, including myself, Guy Kawasaki, usability guru Jakob Nielsen, and writer Scott McCloud, that micropayments would become the next big thing... any day now... just wait and see...
It hasn't happened.

Micropayments is the idea that you click on something and you buy a song or a picture or whatever for download, for a small amount, like five cents, twenty cents or fifty cents. This is not practical with credit card payments since the fee is more than fifty cents. (I think iTunes works because most people buy more than one song at a time.)

For a couple of years there was a pretty good system called BitPass, which I used. The buyer went to their site and bought "units" which then could be spent in small amounts on sites which used the system. Guy Kawasaki was involved with them. And I think I was their biggest vendor until they went bust.

My experience with that system gave me a clue as to why micropayments have not taken off: when I sold twenty pictures for fifty cents, I had some sales, but when I sold four hundred pictures for ten dollars, I sold more! It was the same price per picture, but people wanted to buy the larger amount at a time.

So what I'm wondering is if we are wrong in only considering the pain of spending money, but not also the pleasure of spending money. Spending fifty cents is exciting for a child, but for an adult it has to be five or ten dollars to give a kick.

Maybe instead it is the amount of content which you get that is the important bit. But maybe not. Think about it: say you're looking at a painted plaster souvenir in a shop. It's priced at ten dollars. If you like it, you buy it. But if it's priced at five cents, it's clearly junk! You don't bother.

It's a different matter if we are talking about things we actually need. We buy them regardless. But things you can buy via download are mostly things we could do fine without, so the value is all in the mind. And so what value we attach to it is influenced by the price. And so things priced less than a dollar are "worthless", and so micropayments have not attracted enough attention to go mainstream.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

hid cam

Hidden camera with a bi' of nudity. Some are good fun.
... but how it irritates me that such shows add those idiotic sounds and music. Braindead. It's like hitting the audience over the head with a hammer, "it's comedy, it's comedy, it's comedy!!!!!" (In these cases I just turn the sound on the video down to zero, since there's no information given anyway.)

It's a Ukrainian TV show. I must say they are making good use of the gorgeous Ukrainian girls. Wooo boy.

Cheap D40

My local photo dealer is selling a Nikon D40 with standard zoom for £220 ($330). Sure, it's not the newest model and the lens does not have stabilization, but that's insanely cheap by anybody's standard. Many people blow more on booze on a single Friday night. Like one of my oldest Net friends say, what does it all mean?

ttl said...
I think it means that the Nikon D40, and digital cameras in general, are not very valuable.

eolake said...
Aren't you happy with your D80?

ttl said...
I am very happy with my Nikon D80. I haven't regretted that purchase for one moment.

Note that I didn't say the D40, or digital cameras in general, are not desirable. Just that they are (apparently) not very valuable. This was in answer to your question on "what does it all mean?"

Conversely, and as you say, alcohol is surprisingly valuable considering it is a consumable with a relatively short effect. In fact, during times of a financial collapse when paper money stops working (due to hyperinflation) bottles of alcohol are often the most popular form of money. This is why preparedness guides often recommend stocking up on alcohol even if you don't drink the stuff yourself.

eolake said...
Maybe I'm just not sure which definition of "valuable" we are using here.
One would be "how much it helps humanity". One would be: "how much people are willing to pay for it". One would be "how people desire it right now". One would be "how much *I* desire it right now".

ttl said...
The original post talks about prices (in sterling), meaning valuation in the market place.

Even if something is very valuable to us, we generally only pay the market price. The "right now" part makes no difference as the market is open right now and there is no scarcity of the item.

Of course, when there is scarcity, valuation changes. I've seen cheap electric music gadgets go up hundreds of percents in price because some old analog chip it depends on is no longer being manufactured (and then come down again when someone discovers a large stash of the chip!) Theoretically, something like this could happen to digital cameras at some point in the future. But it is unlikely.

How much something "helps humanity" can not be measured in any meaningful way.

eolake said...
It can be evaluated, but it will usually be controversial.

Maybe I just felt protest because when you say "valuable", I tend to think of what it means to me, and not market price. To me, digital cameras have become super-bargains, and much cheaper than I ever expected them to become. (And I'm not alone, only five years ago an expert said that even if sensors became free, there was no way digital cameras would ever become as cheap as film cameras.)

ttl said...
I understand. It is a great position to be in -- to find a lot of subjective value in something the market doesn't value very high. That's one way to become rich, I suppose.

Good bicycles are still relatively expensive, but cameras are cheap. Levi's jeans still cost a lot, but computers are cheap.

Of course, many of the greatest things have absolutely no value in the market place. The technological invention I most depend on in life, the Unix system, is nowadays completely free.

And, peculiarly, it looks like all digital content is about to become free. And just when I was about to enter the content business ...

I hope it doesn't! I'd like to keep my business.
Also, who would pay for the production of movies?

UK launches massive, one-year program to archive every email

UK launches massive, one-year program to archive every email, article.
It's like they're testing what we'll stand for.
The headline is not accurate, but it's still durn Big Brother.

Pascal ranted:

And it doesn't even remotely sound like an April Fool's imposture. Bloody great.
As if hardened pro terrorists life former CIA operative Osama BinLaden were in any way embarrassed circumventing all that orwellian nonsense.

"Even in 2009, that kind of storage doesn't come cheap"
Three guesses as to who will be paying the final bill in these times of financial crisis...
Reminds me of the very recently abandoned Chinese State tradition, of billing the family of the condemned for the price of the bullet they would put through their head.

I'm sincerely hoping that the insanity of that tracking ambition will be its own demise, because it's probably impossible to achieve. The Internet is already about to implode as it is.

But a directive from the EU?!? I knew the UK were going over the deep end, but this... D'OH!
Again, I'm hoping that the citizens, already very edgy with all the going-ons, will not stand for it. In France, I'm POSITIVE the CNIL (Commission Nationale Informatique & Libert├ęs) will very vocally veto this vile violation of the vox populi's vanished virtue, voluntarily viewing us all vexatingly as if voyeured vagrants on a veranda, or vivacious vipers in their vivarium. How vitally vicious, I'm more vivivdly livid than a vindicated vampire vowing vigorous vegetarianism!
Or what was that tirade again in V for Vendetta?
One Fawkin' awesome film, that was.

Today's qoutes

[Comments on today's quotes from my quotes service.]

Laughter is by definition healthy.

-- Doris Lessing


Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.
-- Henri Bergson

Meaning think very little and act very little?? Huh?

Keeping score of old scores and scars, getting even and one-upping, always make you less than you are.
-- Malcolm Forbes


No matter how old you are, there's always something good to look forward to.
-- Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse, 01-04-04

Death, if nothing else.

Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.
-- Frank Zappa


History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

Or not decided.

Anything too stupid to be said is sung.
-- Voltaire

Pretty much.

It was a book to kill time for those who like it better dead.
-- Dame Rose Macaulay

Kill that dang thing.

Everything is amazing, nobody is happy

Louis CK on Conans show.

Jason said:
In 1940 the concept of world-wide communication through a small portable device was fantastic.
In 2009 I hate my cellphone.

That's quite interesting.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Jana Uriel, rock princess

Jade, rock princess

Jade, now 8, and her mom just visited. I gave Jade one of my older iPods, she was very excited, couldn't stop bouncing and chattering. :-)

Monday, April 06, 2009


"Abominable" web comic.
The humor is quite gentle at times, but I don't think I've seen a more beautifully drawn web comic.

Sex Guide

Sex Guide for everybody.

I think it's meant in all seriousness, and can surely be helpful, but still it's sometimes pretty funny.

"The penis can be very frightening to some, but it really is very fun to play with."

"There are many toys out there for men to get some thrusting action from."

"When engaging in spanking or whipping, you don't always have to restrain your partner."

"After she reached orgasm, my g/f decided that she wanted to try f***ing me…Holy Awesome!!!!"

Poor record covers

Poor record covers.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

IS testing

So here arrives the first attempt at objective testing of Image Stabilization (reduction of hand-shake in pictures) in cameras and lenses.
"We expected to find a range of performance among IS systems, but were a little surprised at just how wide that range is. We measured IS performance ranging from zero stops (no detectable improvement at all) to about 3.5 stops. The conclusion: Just seeing the label "IS" (or VR, OS, VC, etc.) on a lens or camera body says little about how much it will improve your percentage of sharp shots."

Imaging-Resource/SLR-Gear does excellent testing, so I'm quite hopeful of the usefulness of this new resource.

Slow recovery

We would all like a speedy recovery to the economy, but I'm afraid it just ain't realistic. It'll take years, folks, perhaps many years.

Why? Because the cause of the problems was debt, and every time it started acting up, the goverments and banks (surely with the backing of the emotional response of the public) tried to fix it with, what? More debt. And now the whole thing is collapsing.

It's like you built a big house without adequate support structure, merely cheap board all through the walls. And the walls rotted, and what did you do? You slapped more cheap boards over them. And the same next time, and next. And now the point is reached where the house is collapsing under each own weight, and we're trying to control the collapse.

We may or may not be able to, but the fact remains that what looked like a big impressive house was made of cards, and if we want a similarly sized house, and one which will last, we will need a sound structure from the ground up. A structure of production, not debt. And that takes time. You can create "a billion dollars" out of thin air, but you can't create "ten new factories and educated workers" out of thin air.

Chastity, thoughts on

Pascal commented on the sexy woman-pirate statue:
"Methinks the good inquisitor is just feeling frustrated at his foolish chastity commitment this day, aye?"

I suspect there may be more truth to this than we normally realize. If all porn and nudity were banned, that would be a lot of his temptation gone right there, wouldn't it? (Actually I don't think it would be, but that would be the feeling for anybody in that situation.)

I heard the chastity demand for priests was only invented by a pope in the seventh century. How does the cath church get any takers at all under those conditions?

The ability to rise above the sex drive is so rare. I thought about it recently, watching an old Saturday Night Live episode (I'm still not overly impressed by that show) were Led Zeppelin was playing. They had this gorgeous co-singer. And I found myself wondering who of all the male members she was sleeping with. If you think about it, can you imagine a pretty young female (heck, even a plain one) touring with several young males, and not sleeping with anybody? No friggin way, it just doesn't happen. Should tell us something.

But even though the sex drive is perhaps never non-existent in anybody, it will be either weaker or overruled in a minority. For example, while geeks and nerds are often sexually frustrated, they are not so to a degree which will make them go out of their way to "get some". This is completely incomprehensible to normal people, especially jock-types, and so they assume that when nerds are not getting laid, it's not only a failure, it's the failure in life. Because for them, life is all about getting laid.