Mike Beversluis

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Saturn by Cassini

Via APOD.

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Sopt?


More.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The German Joke of the day

From The German Joke of the Day website:
Humour Engineering – Vorsprung durch Slapstick

GJD: Efficiently? How on earth do you measure the 'efficiency of humour'?
Kallenbrecher:
In Germany, we measure it in punchlines per minute. In Britain, they measure it in punchlines per fortnight. (laughs loudly)
Kunz: (also laughing) See, for example, if we Germans make a joke, we already start laughing in the middle of the sentence. This saves valuable time, which we can then use for explaining the joke. For example, in this case …

Well, I laughed.

UPDATE: German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck is just such a misunderstood comedian:


German finance minister Peer Steinbruck has urged new EU member states to raise their taxes and ensure "fair tax competition" among the 25 members of the bloc.


[via Brothers Judd]

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Changing New York


Here is a neat photo montage of old versus new New York. (via Lileks) Surprisingly, the older NY is sometimes uglier. (I like this pinhole camera one too) FYI for you optics geeks out there, a pinhole camera has infinite depth of field.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Sunrise, Sunset


From APOD, comes this sunset mosaic by Anthony Ayiomamitis.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What happened to MCA?

Best Beastie Boy's video in a long time.

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Monday, December 19, 2005

He'll trade you a paperclip for your house

From Eric:

A guy on the internet is trying to trade up to a house, from a
paperclip. http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/

And here are the trades so far:
Paperclip
Pen that looks like a fish
Souvenir Doorknob
Coleman Camping Stove
Power Generator
Instant Party Kit
Snowmobile
A three-day trip to Yahk, British Columbia Canada

The "doorknob for camping stove" trade seems a little one-sided to me,
though.

e


I'll have to investigate, but I'm not quite sure what's included in an Instant Party Kit, and so those trades may also be asymmetric.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

More soduku madness

Watch out for the Swordfish and X-wing.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Return of Classical Cryptography

No need for entangled states? (or is that not even really the problem when you can call someone up, pretend to be their tech support, and ask them for their password? Etc.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Organic Schadenfreude

US Consumers Shun Organic Foods. I don't know who Consumer Affairs is really, though, and what their angle is. The original release is slightly more glass-half-full, but contains the same message. My thinking remains to shop at Whole Foods to buy their apremium foods, some of their prepared foods, and their loss-leader products. Ride those hemp coattails, man.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Incredibly tiny remote control helicopters



As promised, here is the Make link to a guy who makes very tiny helicopters.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles starts with a Penny Saved

Jane Galt has a serious of nice posts over at Asymmetrical Information about thrift (here, here, and here): One item caught my eye:

All of us, including me, fritter away money on things we don't need. The trick is to figure out which ones aren't worth the money. If someone proposed to give you a Starbucks a day for a year if you paid them $1400 on January 1st, would you take them up on this offer? I don't know about you, but that's a sizeable chunk of my income to be devoting to coffee. Yet that's what you'll spend over a year's time, if you buy an average Starbucks once a day, at least in my neck of the woods. Might be better to drink the free stuff your office provides, and put that money into something that really will give you joy, like a trip to Italy, or a great restaurant meal, or making yourself more financially secure.
- Jane Galt
I like coffee, and I have spent a sizeable amount of money on my espresso machine, grinder, and beans. But given that, I'd like to point out that the capital costs for my bullet proof and should last for 20 years setup are less than $1400, and that extremely high-quality beans currently cost around $0.20 per cup. I have never bought better espresso than what I make every day for a fraction of the cost.

What struck me is that I am often told how excessive this machine is ("Espresso Bling"), and yet, it's more financially sensible than buying coffee drinks regularly. I am also reminded of this essay by the eponymous Manolo about buying high quality shoes (which I'll link to when I can: Close enough).

But besides all of this, there are positive externalities* with owning this machine too. It is the locus and impetus for a morning gathering with my boss and coworkers in my office, which is valuable as a daily heads up meeting (that doesn't go too long) and as a social bonder. In short, if you like espresso and are thrifty, buy yourself a good machine (~$700), a better grinder (~$350), and great beans.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Arnold Schwarzeneggar's William's Clemency Statement

Worth a read. (via K-Lo on the Corner)

King of Near-field



I'm the king of near-field, there is none higher
Sucker BA's should call me sire
To burn my samples, you must use fire
I won't stop spendin' till I retire

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sliders to bamboo knife boxes

On Slashfood:

Sliders. I agree with the no big burger thesis, but a 1/4 pound burger is still okay. I was reading somwhere about a burger they make in Pakistan which is also smaller, and which includes an egg (fried?) with Tabasco sauce.

You only need one wine glass.
You can cook once a month if you like too.
Pungi-stick knife block. A DIY-version seems like a possibility...

Cthulhu Family Circus

Back in black - get them before they go down again.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Business Research Assistant

I've been writing briefs on US industry's need for new measurement capabilities and platforms, and I saw a link on this somewhat-hard-to-link-to-specifically-website-,
who-also-only-keeps-six-months-of-archives (lack of space?), cough, to the UV's Business Research Assistant. You might find it useful for, um, researching business related topics of your own.

Sometimes I wish I wasn't 6'5"



I think the name could be, uh, refined. For the big guys, though, I suppose there's the BMW K-series, right?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pushrod vs OHC engines

Nice article on OHV vs OHC engines over at Autoblog.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Anti-Sinatra

I think that it's fair to say that Dylan & Sinatra are somehow antipodal. Anyway, Right Wing Bob on Dylan's John Brown (via Dr. Frank via Clive Davis)

Sinatra

I have had a cold for the last week. Frank Sinatra had a cold. Coincidence? (h/t BrothersJudd)

Walk the Line

Hi, I'm not Johnny Cash, but despite the imminent blizzard (1"!) I went out to see Walk the Line last night. Bottom line: It was well worth the Georgetown movie ticket premium ($9.50*).


vs


So Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon can sing and act and that's impressive. A fact I couldn't help but keep noticing - over and over again. So my question to you, since the buzz points that way, is should they win acting awards for acting that says ACTING in 10 foot tall letters? And it's not like they were hammy, but somehow, my suspension of disbelief was unsuspended.

Reviewers have emphasized Witherspoon's supporting acting, but I think they're nearly equal. Robert Patrick is pitch-perfect as his hard-ass dad, and I liked the brief vignette of Jerry Lee Lewis, played by Wayland Payne.

Also, the people complaining his Christianity is minimized may have a point - Malcom X didn't just quit drugs in prison and start dressing spiffy for no reason, did he? Also the second, I would understand why the family of Cash's first wife would be a little ticked off. I don't know the truth, but she's presented unflatteringly, in part because Cash's drugs, groupies, and essential unfaithfulness to her with June Carter is presented as the misguided antics of a good ol' Bubba, never meaning no harm and besides his dad was a jerk which made him do it. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

The music is great, and the film looks good too - especially the opening sequence going into Folsom Prison. That sequence would be the reason I would buy the DVD. NB, the rocking soundtrack works best on a system with deep bass, and if that isn't possible with your home theater, go to one of our modern $8 theaters for the full effect.

*This is a long diversion, but first off, this made me wonder about the inflation adjusted price of a movie ticket. Natoonline.org has the answer. I used the Consumer Price Index to adjust for inflation, which yields the following chart for average movie ticket cost in 2005 dollars:


Figure 1. Raw and Consumer Price Index-adjusted movie ticket prices for 1948 through 2004.

[Note, I applied the cost of living factor without too much thought. Given the rise of living standards, I'm not sure how apples and oranges it is...]

Second thing - the Nation Association of Theater Owners couldn't find another name?

9V capacitors

Use a 1F capacitor instead of a 9V battery. BTW, 1F = holy crap.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Darth Speedboat


Luxist is silly, but I seriously want this: The 118 WallyPower Speed Boat. Holy $24 million pricetag, Batman (when quoted including three 5,800 Hp turbines that'll spin you up to 60 knots/hr) Also, at that speed, you'll burn through 20,000 liters of fuel in less than 400 nautical miles. See also:


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Sunday Night Fever

Take a wild guess who we didn't go to see. Also, going in I had Boards of Canada stuck in my head, which is my fault, but a Fatboy Slim disco broke out instead, which wasn't.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

There's No Wrong Way to Eat a Microscope

From the Advertising Slogan Generator. Runner up: There's First Love, and Then There's Microscope Love

Friday, December 02, 2005

Paradise Roasters

Regarding my espresso adventures and questions about the drier appearance of the Paradise Roasters beans, R. Miguel Maza writes:
Mike,
I came across your blog earlier today. Pleased you liked our coffees. I noticed that you tried sending an e-mail and it bounced. Terribly sorry about that we just changed our e-mail set-up and were having difficulty receiving to some addresses for a few days. Problem should be solved now. If you have any questions I would be more than happy to answer them. Both the Brazil and Espresso Classico are medium roasts (much lighter than the American norm) and therefore have a more mottled appearance and no oily sheen like happens with darker roasts. All of our coffees are roasted to order. We keep nothing in stock. Any left over coffees are cupped for quality control, some given as samples, some consumed by us and the rest gets donated to local food shelves. Most of the time orders are shipped 2-3 after roasting, and never more than 24 hours out of the roaster. Thank you for the nice write up on your site.

R. Miguel Meza
Roastmaster
Paradise Roasters
(877) 229-6336
Well thanks for the response, and I'm looking forward to my next order of beans. For what it's worth, I found them via an advertisement on CoffeeGeek.

Afghan grill

I had dinner last night at The Afghan Grill on Calvert. The food was fantastic. The owner of this family run restaurant was super-gregarious and his brothers (I presume) in the kitchen had their culinary chops down.

So, last night was Thursday night, and the place was packed. Unfortunately, they were severely understaffed, but with food like this is worth crowding in together and contemplating the menu for 15 minutes. Seriously, they could smack their customers in the face before seating and they would still be selling Pumpkin with Meat Sauce (Kadu Bouranee, something like this) and Leek Dumplings with Meat/Yogurt Sauce (?, it escapes me) like gangbusters. I agree with many of the commenters on the above City Newspaper review. Especially the suggestion to order the Appetizer Sampler dish.

The upshot: If someone comes in from out of town and wants to eat in my neighborhood, I would take them there.

(see reviews here and here, but surprisingly there is no review here)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

[LMS] = [Last Movie Seen] Yeelen

Yeelen, by Souleymane Cissé (1987)

I am not able to write a coherent review but I want anyway to say a couple of words on this, in my opinion, beautiful movie; the story is based on an african legend: a young man must escape from his father, an evil wizard. During his flight he discovers that the destiny of his people is to be destroyed, but that nevertheless his descendants will live.

Ok, said this a couple of thoughts: this is a movie in which action goes on very slowly. More than the action what matters are the people, the clothing, the objects ... but it is not a documentary.
Another thing is that this movie treats in a way that is in my opinion masterful the theme of prophecy; the young man is surrounded by nature that extends without bounds (quite wonderful shots) and has scarce means to know it. The clearest interpretation of his own future is given to him by an uncle of his. In some way man is able to pick up signals from his environment (during the movie the viewer can understand that it is possible to "read" nature, there are many quite significant hints in the various scenes in my opinion) and to form a synthesis - I would see prophecy as an enlightened form of listening and intuition; and this aspect is important for us now as well.

1.5's out

Now you know.

Make blog's on a roll

I know, you could go just read Make, but here's a few cherry-picked items:

Nerd gifts < $100.
RoboBartender. The opening scene where he pours a thousand shots is brutal. (See also, Modern Drunkard and Liquor Snob)
RoboM&M-Sorter: "Identifying color is easy with the new Texas Advanced Optical Systems TCS230 frequency to color sensor."
Book Binding is much cooler than foot binding.
Soda+Mentos = Kablam!

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