Sunday, August 29, 2010

Asteroid Discovery

Animation of the time series of discovery of asteroids, beginning in 1980. Note the patterns of discovery as the Earth moves around the sun, and how these change over time as new technology comes on line. Also note compliance with Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Best seen in fullscreen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Links for Later

1. Guilloches: the intricate patterns used on currency and other documents for ornamentation and/or as anti-forgery devices. Formerly made with a geometric lathe, now made digitally.

2. Ornamental turning.

3. Against the banana unit of radiation

4. Brad DeLong vs. Christina Romer et al. June 2009.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Human Avatar

For the release of the game APB, the company treated freerunner Josh to a makeover into a game figure as voted on by viewers.

Frightened Rabbit Live in SF

Acoustic show performed live & recent & such.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Isabella Blow

There's a new biography of dandy Isabella Blow coming out from her husband this November. It promises to be chock full of interesting little tidbits like:

She has the distinction of submitting the highest expenses claim in the history of Condé Nast - for a dilapidated building. Issie wrote on the expenses form, 'Just £50,000 for a very small ruin that really was a must'. It went unpaid.


Issie immediately created a stir by the bold outfits she turned up to work in, and her eccentric manner. Wintour recalls, 'People would stop by my office just to see what Issie was wearing that day. One morning she might be in full punk regalia, the next dressed like a maharajah, dripping in jewels and sari silks.'

It rapidly became clear that although Issie was not a great administrator, she was highly creative, and hard-working - on things that interested her, at least - and second-to-none at spotting new talent. Wintour says, 'Every day she'd leave Vogue as if her working day was only beginning; the next day she'd come in and relate with breathy excitement about the new artist, the new designer, the new photographer, the fabulous girl we absolutely must work with.'

As Wintour observed, 'the more something shocked her, the more it captivated her imagination'. One such discovery was the painter, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol's collaborator. Both Warhol and Basquiat ended up doing assignments for Vogue as a result of Issie's introductions. Issie met Warhol at a party where she was wearing one silver and one purple shoe of the same style by Manolo Blahnik. Warhol came up to Issie and said, 'Gee, you had to buy two pairs of shoes to get that look.' Their friendship was to last until his death in 1987.

Cuddle Time

25% of adult men say they carry teddy bears with them when they travel. The other 75% lie when asked.

(via Matt)

Alan Simpson, Tithead

Why is this clown still running the deficit commission?

Hot Piping, Piping Hot

The Simon Fraser University pipe band, in concert. That'll get you up in the morning.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


A new compilation album released by Nassim Taleb.

Is there a Bond Bubble?

In my opinion, the answer is that there isn't one as long as many people believe there is one, and there is one the moment everyone agrees that there isn't one.

It's an expectations trap.

Elsewhere: Experts weigh in with their opinions at the Economist.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


A sorta sweet little summer video.

As one YouTuber put it: "I'd probably run away if someone proposed to me at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market, too."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Links for Later

1. Scott Berkun on the Myths of Innovation, revisited.

2. Ross Douthat's not fooling anybody.

3. Were the World Trade Centers examples of Islamic architecture?

4. Tennis player Andy Murray interviewed, photographed, Photoshopped.

5. Erik Prince to be deposed in Abu Dhabi.

6. Shatner's Toupee, a website that would also work as a band name.

7. Was Herman Melville hot for Hawthorne?

8. 35 lessons in 35 years.

9. Amar Bhide calls for decentralized finance & financial research.

10. Fever Ray, "Mercy Street" cover.

11. Nathan Branch gets a bespoke perfume from Mandy Aftel, and I am jealous.

12. Sharon Angle, Christian Reconstructionist.

13. Elliot Allagash

14. First Kiss stories.

15. Calculating COGS for software companies

16. Jake from NoFo talks about Social Anxiety Disorder.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kilkelly Ireland

This was a hard song to track down, partially because of misspelling/misremembering the name. There are unbelivably sad lyrics in this one, based on a series of letters sent to an absent son in America--memories of a time when a trans-Atlantic voyage might mean never seeing a family member again for the rest of your life.

Obsolete Turns of Phrase to be Used More Often

1. Shilly-shally

2. Outlandish, as in "outlandish notions"

3. Truckle

4. Of the devil, as in "Paywalls for online media are of the devil, and should be done away with."

5. Twaddle

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Links for Later

1. Kammatthana: the 40 traditional objects of meditation in Samatha meditation practice. Contrast Vipassana.

2. Library Catalog of King Henry VIII, with comentary.

3. Justin Bieber at 1/8th speed=cool ambient track

4. Tony Robbins inspires a pimp and learns to adjust his golf swing by 1mm.

5. Better book titles

6. Irish banks do strange things

7. People (me included) trust the codex over the screen

8. Jamais Cascio

9. How Power Affects Us

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Links for Later

1. Startup Chile

2.Scott Pilgrim behind the scenes Flickr set

3. John Clute on the new Robert A Heinlein biography, Learning Curve. Cory Doctorow on the same.

4. Tony Judt on King's College and educational reform.

The Allergy Method.

John Robb analyzes Wikileaks from an open-source insurgency model:
In Julian's analysis above, there's also a hint of John Boyd (America's best military thinker). Julian's focus appears to be on disrupting/slowing the decision making cycles (OODA loops) of organizational opponents through a "secrecy tax" (a tax that is radically increased through leaks). Like Boyd, he maintains that any organization unable to respond to environmental changes, due to very slow decision making cycles, will eventually succumb to competitors.
Robb also makes a point that Wikileaks is an important innovation in "non-violent" warfare. The key to the Wikleaks strategy is to do as little as possible to make your opponents do as much as possible, as with traditional insurgencies. The difference is that, compared to other insurgencies, the provocations are less and less virulent, yet produce very large, confused responses. Call this the allergy method of warfare. Soon, they'll have the Pentagon doing mole hunts every time a pizza gets delivered to the Pentagon at an odd hour.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Links for Later

1. Stanley Seeger and Christopher Cone collect houses and goods. Come sit in Winston Churchill's armchair.

2. Eat, Pray, Love's Elizabeth Gilbert has a store in New Jersey.

3. Neal Pollack tussles with a Jivamukti yoga instructor.

James Franco 2, Son of Franco

In the recent New York Magazine profile of James Franco, writer Sam Anderson gets waved off partway through the article because "another magazine" is doing an article. Well, that other magazine is Esquire, and their article (plus videos, a short story, a poem and other Franco-related material) is out.

"I showed that last movie at NYU last month, at a faculty critique," Franco says, flinching a little. "It's a fairly confrontational piece, and it got a little ugly. One faculty member — she's always tough on me, but she flat-out called me an asshole. She jumped me. She was muttering it the whole time: What an asshole. What an asshole."
Also, Franco reads Twilight and gets a straight razor shave, apparently as part of the interview.

Previously: James Franco

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Refuterating Keynesianism

Mulligan & Mankiw think they've refuted Keynesian Aggregate Demand weakness by pointing out that lots of teenagers are getting summer jobs, but all they've really discovered is the seasonal economic cycle, says Tim Duy.

And boom goes the theory.

Links for Later

1. Brad deLong's Macro course notes intro, Depression Economics

2. Rachel Maddow on DADT. Brilliant segment last night.

3. Why the GOP really wants to repeal the 14th Amendment: Hispanic Demographics

4. Eye Bench IV in New Orleans. I saw another edition of these benches in Pittsburgh.

5. Net Neutrality made simple.

6. xkcd on scheduling

7. "If the Bilderburg group weren't secret, no one would pay attention to it."

8. China Mieville on magic, JJ Abrams & Joss Whedon.

9. Chuck Palahniuk bio

10. Pat Tillman's Father's letter to the Army.

Your Great Grandfather Confucius

Mathematically speaking, you are the descendant of every person who has descendants and who lived more than a couple of thousand years ago (at the very earliest). Here's the math for you and your probable ancestor Confucius.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Slime Mold's got Smarts

Multinucleated mats of slime mold make the same (irrational) decisions as humans under certain conditions. Cool science.

(via Mark Thoma)

I Heard You Liked Cyberpunk... I put a little cyberpunk on your cyberpunk. We are reminded again that we're all living in one of William Gibson's fever dreams. There's a reason that all of those guys are writing about the present now--it's because we're living in the future they wrote about, or maybe all of the futures simultaneously.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MBAs for Startups

Atypical MBA skills for startups.

Links for Later

1. Rand Paul, pot, secret societies and "Aqua Buddha".

2. The air attendant Super Bail.

3. How to scale a company.

4. Ray LaMontaigne album "Good Lord Willin and the Creek don't Rise" streamed on NPR

5. The "Frozin Chosin" battle, in which Chesty Puller advances to the rear, while demolishing Chinese battalions and carrying the wounded.

6. Tom Hardy's lived an interesting life.

7. Spinal cord regeneration via the PTEN/mTOR pathway. Don't get excited yet, it's just in mice. Anybody can get mice up and walking. Really.

8. Ed Stafford walks the length of the Amazon in two years.

9. The Books quote Gandhi

10. P=NP, or does it? Another view.

11. Ted Olson rules Fox.

Really Bad Climbing Experience

"How long until we can joke about this?"

(via Dangerous Minds)

Oh, Robert Gibbs, Robert Gibbs

Don't tangle with the base, you silly, silly man.

More: Nate Silver comments on the kerfluffle

I suspect that for most liberals, any real sense of progress has now been lost. Yes, the left got a good-but-not-great health care bill, a good-but-not-great stimulus package, a good-but-not-great financial reform plan: these are a formidable bounty, and Obama and the Democratic Congress worked hard for them. But they now read as a basically par-for-the-course result from a time when all the stars were aligned for the Democrats -- rather than anything predictive of a new direction, or of a more progressive future. In contrast, as should become emphatically clear on November 2nd, the reversion to the mean has been incredibly swift.

What liberals haven't had, in other words, is very many opportunities to feel good about themselves, or to feel good about the future. While the White House has achieved several wins, they have never been elegant or emphatic, instead coming amidst the small-ball banality of cloture vote after cloture vote, of compromise after compromise.

Meanwhile, the White House has had two incredibly cynical moments in the past several weeks -- Gibbs' rant today and the premature firing of Shirly Sherrod three weeks ago. Both reflected politics at its worst, the clumsiest possible efforts at "triangulation".
Even more: Obama and the Agent problem

Even yet still more: Yelling at liberals is one of the White House's few joys.

The Three Classes

According to Robert Grudin:
  1. Upper Class (income > expenditures)
  2. Lower Class (income <>Anxious Class (income ≅ expenditures)

It's a good rule from this excerpt on refurbishing a second hand table. Worth clicking through.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Neurotics build castles in the sky. Psychotics live in them. Psychiatrists collect the rent."
(via Siege)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Links for Later

1. Ben Casnocha's impressions of Brazil

2. Tom Coats's new presentation style

3. Matt Taibbi on Christie Romer's resignation

4. The Pentagon has no idea how the Internet works, demands Wikileaks "return the emails" and forbids soldiers from accessing publicly available secret documents

5. Tumblrs in everything: Fuckyeahtheoccult

6. Steig Larsson, the Man Behind the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

7. Abd El-Kader , one of those Victorian era larger than life figures. (via kottke)

Chicago Visit, Day 2

So enthused about being back in the city after a long absence that I walked from the South Loop all the way up to North Avenue in the early morning. The lakeshore looked like a piece of the Riviera--all gold and blue.

Brunch at Tweet le Soir with Dave, Lauren & Andrew. Had the crabcake, avocado, and bacon sandwich, which the waitress referred to as "the Holy Trinity". Followed up with red velvet cake. Tasty, tasty.

There are a lot of cops in Uptown these days, after a five day riot back in May. Somebody in my old apartment building got hauled off by federal marshalls for some kind of heavy-duty sex crime. The guy who makes cell phone calls without benefit of a cell phone is still on the corner. That neighborhood is so much more colorful than where I live now.

Bought some Gap selvage jeans at a massive discount with no sales tax due to the tax holiday.

Back to Lollapalooza. Lot of guys in lacrosse shirts this year. Watched Social Distortion, who I'd first seen over twenty years ago, and who still rock just as hard. Talked with a bunch of guys from Montreal, who had "driven 17 hours to be here" and who were impressed that I'd been to the first Lollapalooza back in '91, making me feel old but cool. They said the "marijuana situation" down here was a bummer, that pot up in Canada was "basically free" and that it was "even cheaper than that in Quebec". I apologized and told them "like so many other things, Canada is ahead of us in this area" and that I'd "see what we could do" about the problem. :-) Watched Green Day from the second row of people. They really understand how to entertain a crowd, and played a great show. Brought up a bunch of people who looked like they were having the time of their lives.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Thursday, August 05, 2010

As One Commenter Put It: "Yabba Dabba Do"

The best anti-Prop 8 ruling comments.

Some people appear to have been left in the wrong century. There are no words.

Chicago Visit

Flew to Chicago at a 25 degree leftward lean due to large lady in middle seat. Wolverine lookalike two rows up.

Barack Obama's motorcade blows through the Loop. I swear that man follows me everywhere.

Cocktails with Eric G at the W. We meet a cute blonde attorney from Virginia who got booted from her room and is staying with friends for the weekend. Good times.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Prop 9 Ruled Unconstitutional

The good guys win one.
Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings. Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Economy: Why it Sucks

Carl Hegelman in The Awl succinctly describes the flaw in layoff strategies:
Still, I often ask myself if they see the connection that's staring you right in the face: when is "the consumer" going to start spending again? Well, maybe when you stop firing him.

Links for Later

1. Images of Afghanistan

2. A List of Fantastic British Names

3. Those Ke$ha dancing Army guys

4. James Badge Dale talks about Rubicon, hair, emergence theory and eggs