Mike Beversluis

Monday, October 31, 2005

Metro Life 26

Sorta digressing from a strict Metro = train interpretation, but it's still people watching none the less:

[heads up, largish file]

For some reason, I was just fealin' a little Giaccameti, which isn't the same as Minnesota.


Water Front

House plans 2

Hey, how's it going? It's nice to be back. I can be forgetful, which I counteract by adopting habits, eg, the metro pass always goes in the same pocket, etc and so forth.

So who else forgot to Fall Back and showed up at work an hour earlier than usual?


Monday, October 24, 2005


Networking on the Network is fantastic advice for young scientists, although the principles apply for just about anyone (h/t one of my favorite sites, Cool Tools)



For what it's worth, I'm out for the week. Dialup maybe hard to find among the Adirondack folliage. (painting by Klimt)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Online books

Scanned images of one of Leonardo's journals, along with many other fascinating texts, are online at the British Library.

Friday, October 21, 2005

The longest

Burning light bulb. 100+ years, 900,000+ hours. Other long things too. (via k-lo at the corner)

Comments placed in Zagats's Take Home Box

From here and here:

“The immature eating the indelible.”

“Not what it used to be and it did not used to be much.”

“‘Breaking bread’ should not mean you have to use the side of the table.”

“Makes hunger an attractive alternative.”

“Watching over-50 gay bikers sing Barbra Streisand is now off my to-do list.”

“Never have there been so many to serve so few.”

“Living on borrowed time, like most of its patrons.”

Cassini Image of the Day

The Cassini Team has been outputing some really pretty images (via apod). IMO, we should stick to robot, and not human, space missions.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

International Male

It takes balls to dress like this. [h/t Flea]

Get around big brother thisaway

Now they'll never be able to track you via your color laser printer.

Focii I have known

log2(I_x) for an X-polarized pupil, 3 by 3 lambda view, phi=0, 1.3 NA, BK7-Air Interface,


One of my more alternatively-minded aunts and uncles once sent us pictures of banana slugs maiting in a gordian knot-like manner which would impress even the most advanced kama sutra adherents. This photomontage of a snail bridging a gap is neat and way less disgusting.

I took a class in South East Asian religions once, and the kama sutra was on the required reading list. First off, 90% of it is directed towards upper class manners, courtly behavior and etiquette, so only a small section is the inverted-vine-grapling-a-tree twister manual made popular by hippies. Second, every year they ran this class, the school bookstore ran way short on the text because all of the faculty and their spouses were buying copies.

I'm not British

So beer should be cold (and refreshing). But instead of an USB power upgrade, they should add a 12V cigarette adaptor, so you can use it in your car.

Metro life 25


Metro life 24


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here's a link to an article about bikes, which I will twist into stereo equipment, because the unifying theme is that the means outweigh the ends

I like this post about old-school steel bike frames. Which, as my title promised, reminded me of my stereo. I am a stereo geek, and that's not admirable. Whatever.

I'll be brief, then. One, good stereo amplifiers are heavy. They are heavy because they have large power supplies, which are heavy because they have large 60Hz transformers in them. That's just electrodynamics there. So I love the fact that my old school McIntosh amp, which is older than me, weighs a lot. It's like cookware: A large mass, or better yet, surprisingly high densities are good signals here.

Second, if you're buying solid state gear, open it up and look at the op-amps and dacs. Basically, they should be Burr-Brown.

Third, the acoustics of your listening room matters as much, if not twice (2.123212) as much, as the quality of your stereo equipment. Do not worry about capacitors and speaker cables. The room acoustics can be adjusted with bookshelves, drapes, and rugs. Right now, mine are horrible.

Forth, the point of a stereo is to listen to music which makes you happy. The point of bicycle is to take you for a ride that makes you happy. Remember that when you're fetishizing the tools.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

By your color printer, they will know you

FYI, color printers add a nearly invisible user id patern to every document they produce.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Voltaire's Candide

So, Chris Ware's new comic seems a little high concept. (Yes I know it's just the cover)

Rail gun blog

I don't need to tell you to be careful when you're playing with 100kA at 800V, do I?

World's Fastest P51 Mustang for sale on ebay

"Look at you, Trebeck! You think you're so clever, what with your dago mustang and greasy hair."

Sean Connery, Celebrity Jeopardy.

NB - 4000 hp? Wow. I grew up in Seattle, and I miss the old piston hyrdros. Even with turbos, they couldn't really keep up with the turbine boats.

Model Rail Road Slums

A very nice twist on the model railroad set. I would love to do this for DC, but give it two years, and they'll have to be turned into $600k condos.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Good entertainment ...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Medium format digital camera

10 megapixel DSLR's? Ha!

Check out these 30+megapixel medium format digital camera backs, which can spit out 200MB 16bit raw image files. Ansel Adams just threw up a little in his mouth.

And now for the payoff, meager though it is

Blogotontine (n) - The dead pool, except now with BLOGS. Everytime someone's blog went tits up, the rest of the pool divies up their traffic. When the last blog goes away, pr0n reclaimed the residue. The practice was eventually given up because no one but bloggers were reading their own blogs.

Care to form a tontine, anyone?

The Word of the Day for October 15 is:

tontine \TAHN-teen\ noun
: a joint financial arrangement whereby the participants usually contribute equally to a prize that is awarded entirely to the participant who survives all the others

Example sentence:
When all the participants in the tontine but one were murdered, you can guess who the primary suspect was.

Did you know?
Tontines were named after their creator, a Neapolitan banker named Lorenzo Tonti. In 1653, Tonti convinced investors to buy shares in a fund he had created. Each year, the investors earned dividends, and when one of them died, his or her share of the profits was redistributed among the survivors. When the last investor died, the capital reverted to the state. Louis XIV of France used tontines to save his ailing treasury and to fund municipal projects, and private tontines (where the last surviving investor -- and subsequently his or her heirs -- got the cash instead of the state) became popular throughout Europe and the U.S. Eventually, though, tontines were banned; there was just too much temptation for unscrupulous investors to bump off their fellow subscribers.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Z06 drag racing

Alright, I admit, I am not concentrating on my work at all (30 minute calculations are cruching on my dual Xeon as I type), but this is cool. I have such a car bug, it's not even funny.


No more camshafts

I think this article on electromagnetic valvetrains is great, but as they point out, reliability will be an issue. There is an error in the text, though, because there will still be drag on the crankshaft from the valves, it will simply be routed through the alternator instead of a direct mechanical drive.

Bookshelf secret door

Freakin' awesome. Once I assume a 30-year ball and chain, I will do likewise.

(Also, when you run blogger's spell-check, it suggests "foreskin" for "Freakin'," which seems like a lateral move at best.)

USS Mariner on logical fallacies

This just goes to show that the best time to be a Mariners's fan is after the regular season has ended. I'm pretty sure that applies to the Seahawks too. And to the Sonics. Who, by the way, played ugly Utah Jazz basketball last season, as opposed to the ugly Boston Celtics basketball they were playing shortly before.

Plus, the comments on that post are good. My favorite so far:: "Noticing DMZ has a blog; American Gods: awful book. Why Mr. Gaiman? Why?"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

50 greatest somethings or others

Top 50 bass-lines of all time. I like selection numbers 9, 11, 12, 17, 25, 28 and 43. A lot of this is too obscure for me, though, and I'm not sure I agree with their choices for certain bands - "Jerry Was A Race Car Driver" is supposed to be Les Claypool's best work? Seriously?

And (A) Where's Cake? (B) Where are the Violent Femmes? and (C) you're telling me there isn't one hiphop bass line worth considering? I realize sampling doesn't count, but there has been a lot of innovation when it comes to bass there too. How can you not put "Nothin' but a G-Thang" in there? And finally, (D), Under Pressure is the all-time number one? Is this the Tonight Show's Top Ten List principle here?

Just what my comic-book-nerd brother-in-law needs

A place he can spend $450 on Han Solo's blaster.

Steve Jobs pretty much sucks on cue

Apple is riding the crest, and kudos to them. But when I go out iHatin', he is part of the why.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

craigslist is insane


"As fate and a juror summons would have it, you entered my life. I was juror #4 at your 2 day trial for drug possession, assault and battery, and resisting arrest at Circuit Court at 26th & California. Unfortunately, I like "bad girls". I am afflicted with "opposites attract" syndrome in the worst way. The mere mention of "26th & California" or that late night call from a raspy, but lovely voice saying, "Hey baby, I'm in jail" warms my heart and brings back fond memories."

Leather pants

The main thing ebay is good for now is as a venue for funny adwriters, like this guy. 300000+ hits can't be wrong, even if he did only get $100 for them.


Random song thought

Every time I listen to that U2 song, I think that somewhere there must be a fish going, "Well, thanks a lot asshole, because I sure could have used a bike."

Metro life 23


Linky link, link link

File under harsh but true: The Mayans were jerks, and don't be Bill Cosby with the sweaters (go ahead and be Bill Cosby otherwise, though). Also, The Man will steal your candy. Also the 2nd, you will put The Man in such a candy-stealing position if you drink even a single drop of alcohol and pose behind the wheel of your car in the District of Columbia.

The End of Game Theory vs The End of Science

This post at Marginal Revolution brought to surface some thoughts I've had recently about physics, namely, that our ability to generate broadly applicable models may be coming to an end*. As Kool Keith and the Emperor General put it, "Can science achieve a general theory of complex systems?"

For a long time, I think, physics has been making hay by solving two limited types of problems: the first is the interaction of a single particle in a nearly empty, highly symmetric environment. The interaction of the particle with the universe is modeled as a weak perturbation on the behavior of the particle in the absence of anything at all around it, eg, a free-body Hamiltonian with a scalar potential. The second is approach is to deal with such large quantities (Avogadro's Number) so that the interactions of individual particles is completely negligible and we can deal with statistical averages instead. Although I am highly economics ignorant, I think these modeling approaches have parallels within economics.

I would also say that most topics in physics that fall within the purview of these approaches have been explored. Let me not be hasty in declaring the completion of the work, you know, again, but the trend where more and more scientists are interested in studying topics which fall in the intermediate scales, systems whose behavior involves the interactions of many particles, but which cannot be simplified by ensemble quantities, points towards this conclusion. These systems are poorly modeled by extensions of either modeling approach, as the perturbations no longer converge and the averages no longer hold meaning, and so the models become as complicated as the systems whose behavior they seek to encapsulate. And if the shorthand isn't shorter than the raw feed, it's pointless.

So as models become complex, their utility diminishes. And this complexity may be intractable. That's a large maybe, because the role of genius is to break a logjam by turning the world inside out, but consider the results of chaos theory, which basically suggests that under our universe's basic rules of play, the outcomes of many games (the complex ones) are so sensitive to the initial conditions that we cannot make useful predictions. Wolfram claims that this is fundamental, and proposes a new science. A new science that is prediction free, since you have to run each game to completion to know how it turns out.

Tyler Cowan's first four responses to this point, regarding game theory's utility, is that different computational classes of models and/or additional data will lead to improved predictions (I am a little fuzzy on the differences between his suggestions, but I think I've summarized them correctly). I'm skeptical that these approaches will lead to models with broad applications, which would be his fifth response.

Understanding the Cuban missile Crisis is of minor help in predicting what will happen in North Korea over the next 20 years, although once that has occurred, then the narrative will be equally clear. Hindsight isn't what we're looking for, though.

In the immortal words of Bill Paxton, "Game over man!"
*It's almost needless to add, but this doesn't endear me to my colleagues.




That is so true

"In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them."
Johann von Neumann


The sciences do not try to explain, they hardly even try to interpret, they mainly make models. By a model is meant a mathematical construct which, with the addition of certain verbal interpretations, describes observed phenomena. The justification of such a mathematical construct is solely and precisely that it is expected to work.
Johann Von Neumann

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Re ml21 & 22

That was totally unintentional.

Metro life 22


Metro life 21


The bane of the impact factor

The impact factor should indicate a journal's prestige. As this article points out, it has become an evaluation tool for scientists, where merit = publications*impact_factor. This is rapidly degrading the quality of journal articles, and it's not clear how to fix things. Any ideas?

My suggestion is to get rid of peer review entirely, as it has become hopelessly compromised. Instead, a new caste of science reviewers should be created, who's job it would be to solely review papers and grant proposals. Scientific Eunuchs, as it were.


Monday, October 10, 2005

So, the Onion is very occasionally funny. Who knew?

BTW, happy 500+Years of Genocide, Slavery, Rape, and Western Cultural Imperialism Day.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Is all fair in love and war?

Even Dutch Ovens? (scroll through the comments if you like) Harsh!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Oil refineries

It sounds like we're gonna build some new refineries. Given that it was a close vote and pretty much split along the party line, I'm curious who didn't vote.

Anyway, here's a little background on oil refineries. Note the first, although there haven't been any new refineries built in the since the sixties or so, the existing refinery capacity has still been expanded. This runs contrary to the meme that the first fact alone would suggest. Still, it would be nice not to have refineries in places subject to hurricains, earthquakes, and large fires. Second bit of info - the requirement that gasoline blends be nationally standardized makes sense when we're operating close to maximum capacity.

So, you're thinking NJ too, right? I mean, is there a downside? In any case, I'm curious how long it takes from breaking ground till that sweet sweet gas propels my rear end at superlegal speeds?

God's night light?

So, here's satellite imagery of a giant glowing spot that appeared in the Indian Ocean in 1995 (ht Ghost of a Flea). So I guess Google Earth needs to update their images. Also, now I have I'm On Fire stuck in my head. Great.

Tom and Barbara

Mom, these Good Neighbors discs look and play okay for me. Apparently you have to get the fourth season separately, so heads up on that. (cough, Christmas, cough)

The IgNobels are out

Someday I will be recognized for the caliber of my work, but not this year. MENDOZZZAAA!

BTW, I think that one-meal-a-day guy, the one who photographed every meal he's eaten for the last 30 years*, might be onto something. I have no idea, though, from where he pulled the idea that brown rice (not white) will make it possible to live for 144 years from (yes I do).
*Anyone else getting a Harvey Keitel- Blue in the Face-feeling?

Friday, October 07, 2005

SMS Bible

OMG! (literally)


Everything you wanted to know about the proper form for exercises, but you know, were too lazy to lift a finger to find on your own.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Peter Jackson to remake Clerks

Or it could just be some Middle Earth photoshops.

"If you can shoot food, you can shoot anything!"

There's a couple of ways to interpret that quote. Context helps.


Sketch 12

Scenes from the Credit Union.

Metro life 20


Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Well, I for one welcome our new Robot Supreme Court Chief Justices! Particularly when you need to dump Little Lord Fauntleroy on someone for the evening.

Weak? Second thought was Bicentennial Man, and third thought was Kryten from Red Dwarf, so heave away if you like. BTW, totally gratuitous Kryten quite:

Frankenstein was the creator - not the monster. It's a common misconception, held by all truly stupid people.
Kryten, Red Dwarf

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

While we're on a mediocre architectural sketch kick

I think I'd get rid of the window on the left to increase the coziness factor, by you know, 13.4%.


The perspective is a little off, but I was drawing it on my knee on the train. Going back to that iPod design article, white and chrome would be a "clean" looking scheme, but I'm not sure how long it would last if the porcelain became stained and cracked - I'd put the white and chrome surfaces in places that wouldn't get too worn or dirty, like the cabinet fronts and refrigerator, and maybe use a robust linoleum or vinyl for the floor covering, and then use stainless steel for the sink and stained concrete for the countertops. On the other hand, antiseptic might not be the best motif for a kitchen - maybe "comfortably organized" would be less institutional? I'm not quite sure what color scheme would resonate with that, though.


Ah, the internet

"We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true."
--Robert Wilensky, speech at a 1996 conference

So far, Bob, so far.

ASlkhsgd;fligjkjdn23-0fldnfklq34j hg9o8usfd9oi kbn3q4oi6t hgsnjkfv[ 43ui9t6jfjkdghsjklnbfg sfjklghsdfiu ghsiugjhkgmn h;hdf 43609u lkzdfnklvjsnd 43 23r O)(*24 rio34htodfjng !

I'll give it another wack tomorrow.

"In fact, of course, the Internet is a shallow and unreliable repository of dirty pictures, inaccurate rumors, bad spelling and worse grammar, inhabited largely by people with no demonstrable social skills."
--From an opinion in a mock dissent to a mock decision on the CDA, at American University.

Monday, October 03, 2005

ha ha SCOTUS blog

Harriet Miers's Blog (via the corner)

I'm an idiot

Have you ever thought you had lost something because you looked in the place you distinctly remember having left it in (say, your car's glove box), but it wasn't there because you had earlier taken it out and put it in your backpack pocket, specifically so you wouldn't forget and leave it behind? Except you didn't remember that part of the narrative, and so you spent the next morning in a slightly distressed state of mind after having searched that spot, having prejudicially ruled out all other locations? And so later, you find it while looking for something unrelated, which is simultaneously a relief and slightly annoying?


So, let me tell you: The absent-minded scientist/professor deal? Not so-much all it's cracked up to be. I think the remedy is to become either drastically more or less organized, so that either it doesn't happen or you don't care if it does.


Via Engadget, here's the Flyak, a hydrafoil kayak. Pretty cool, and the video seems to indicate it isn't as dauntingly hard as it might sound off the cuff. Still, I wonder if that would be feasible for long trips, in the same way that no one goes sprinting up a trail when they go camping for two weeks. (well, some people do, but they're nuts)

Of course, if you added a hidden motor as a booster, maybe the low-drag design would be enough that the battery-fuel cell could be kept small (solar recharge?). Which would also help out with the sprint needed to get the foil up on a plane. Plus you could keep the pretense of a paddle-only source and totally break the spirits of those around you! (Dolph Lungrend says, "I must break you.") (BTW, Dolph got a masters degree in Chemical Engineering from some school in Australia and then got a Fulbright to MIT) (And he also created a workout video, which includes this trivia gem

Trivia: The now-renowned directors Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary got their first Hollywood jobs in 1986 as production assistants on this workout video. The director John Langley knew them from the video store where Tarantino was working. Not until Quentin Tarantino had arrived on location, however, did the future director receive his assignment: cleaning dog feces from the front lawn of the house in which the video was being shot



Sunday, October 02, 2005

Serenity now!

So, that joke hadn't been made yet, right? Since everyone's putting their reviews out, here's mine: It's good.


Saturday, October 01, 2005


"I have often depended on the blindness of strangers."
Adrienne E. Gusoff