Mike Beversluis

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ghurka



As it happens, I don't have $2k burning a hole in my pocket, let alone $200k. And even if I did, an armored truck would be, like, #132 on the list. But unlike a Hummer, this Ghurka would be somewhere on the list. But probably after something like a 1972 Toyota Landcruiser FJ.

Yesterday's Coffee Roundtable

Suppose you wanted to TiVo not just one or two channels, but every channel you were getting. The thought occurred to me - why not just record the entire satellite transmission spectrum? The digital satellite service I use runs on the Ku band, which means I need something that can digitize ~12GHz. Now in fact, that would be total overkill since that's the carrier frequency. The total bandwidth seems to be around 500Mhz.

So I grab a 1GSPS A/D. If I wanted a year's worth of TV, I would need ~3*10^16 bits of storage; which a 3900 TB hard drive could handle. Toshiba is about to sell 1TB disks, which will let you buffer about 20 minutes worth of the satellite feed.

Kryder's law fits hard drive capacity per dollar growth to a 23 month doubling time. So in around 25 years, a years worth of storage capacity would be affordable. It gives me hope that I will see my dream come to reality. Turn down the ambition knob from 11, though, and one day's storage would require only six year wait. Result!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Not for mom

Seriously. Deadwood Pancakes.

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Nature's Peer Review redux

Finally.

Although, the author's supposition that getting something published is hard is wrong. It's pretty easy - just lower your journal aspirations. The problem is that getting published in a prestiguous journal isn't just meritorious, or conversely, that work is often exagerated in order to get into those journals. Fame and money will never be accorded to everyone, nor should they be. But the more eyes are held up to the work and the more transparent the process, the better.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Haha

Dethklok - (Hit play on Duncan Hills Coffee)

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The 20 greatest songs from the 1960's

Finally! Finally, someone is finally paying attention to this sadly neglected, almost forgoten decade of music. If only the folks who made all this great music would speak up and share a little of themselves with us*.

*Yes, Gen X will be worse than the boomers, but still.

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Shiny mud balls


Dorodango - evidence item 12 million that the Japanese have their own thing going on. In a related event, I think my years of turd-polishing are about to pay off.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

[Snippet on] A scanner darkly

A scanner darkly, by Richard Linklater (USA 2006)


I small note on this movie that I appreciated much. Just to clarify what I am talking about, the movie is an adaptation of a Philip Dick novel that tells stories related to drug use in a near future.

There is a wonderful sentence that at a certain point one of the protagonists tells (and the screenplay could be just quoting the novel verbatim); I add a detail to put in context the situation, in this movie the police is doing remote surveillance operations (using the "scanner" in the title), and since one of the policemen infiltrated a drug ring then he can watch recordings of himself.

At this point a beautiful intuition of Dick comes out: the policeman protagonist (who feels confused for several reasons among which the fact that he is forced to take drugs) hopes he will be able to understand himself by watching himself on the "scanner". In my opinion in this way D. describes one of the feelings that a person could experience when he or she lives in a society in which rules and procedures are very sophisticated; so sophisticated that most often, from the point of view of efficiency, the official procedures are better than what anyone could come up with just applying one's own intelligence. It is the feeling that the external structures are more valuable than one's own thoughts and the fear that this greater effectiveness of external things with respect to one's own thougths could extend also to the private and intimate moments of life: what the rules tell about me counts more than what I think about myself.

I don't add much else because I had trouble following the plot of the movie (the accent of some of the actors was too difficult to understand for me): just that the movie has been made with an interesting technique in which real actors are filmed and the shot material is then used as a basis to build an animation. At any rate I was satisfied when going out of the movie theatre.

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And the beat goes on...

Besides selling underpants, I have no idea how YouTube will ever make money. But it's genius while it lasts.

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Don't ever... Don't ever ask Dad to help you with your home work

Tom Waits on Letterman. Turns out he has three kids. How weird is that?

Plus, here he is performing Make it Rain.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Heh

Lieberman Invites Kerry on Hunting Trip.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Urban Legend Starts here

I house-sat last week, and they had a HDTV with all the channels. How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm when they've seen Karl Hungus? I don't know.

I do know that the Brotherhood marathon was good. I guess Showtime got tired of all the acclaim HBO's shows garner and decided to run their own mick-sopranos knock-off. Sure it's totally derivative, but since the gangster's super-manipulative mom is still alive, it worked. Weeds seems way overrated, though. You should go with Saving Grace instead.

I was discussing it with my brother Adam when he pointed out that Weeds aparently has run a scented advertisement in Rolling Stone - how avant guard can you get? Even better, I heard that if you get two hundred of them together and burn them, there's enough trace THC to get high. Totally.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

When I wake up in the morning I piss cryptographic excellence.

Bruce Schneiner can roundhouse kick Chuck Norris to death.*[1]
---
1. Applied Cryptography

From the bong-hit school of science

Whoa... like, what if our universe is, like... just an atom inside another universe...?

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Great

So it turns out the long tail of music videos lives out in YouTube land. This is great! Just the other day my Grandmother was complaining that MTV doesn't show videos anymore (TRL doesn't count), and I was like, "I know what you mean. MTV2 doesn't even show videos anymore." She was like, "Totally."

How awful must the ratings for videos be if all 8 music channels only show videos at three in the morning? Worse than Road Rules reruns from 2003? That's pretty bad when you think about it. Which I have and which always depressed me, because I really like watching videos. Sure, good ones are rare, but not so much with the magic of flash-driven video broadcasting, huh?

So - breaking my no music list rule, here's a list of music videos I like:

A shaky cam, cut-off in the middle, live clip of Baddest of the Bad by The Reverend Horton Heat. I know, how can you resist clicking now?

Let's Dance by David Bowie. So-so video; Great song. How can you not dance? Oh yeah? Well, take this, this, this, and this.

Rock'N'Roll Could Never Hip-Hop Like This by Handsome Boy Modeling School
. Like, the 2nd worse song on a filler filled album. It's still great. Speaking of obscure hip-hop, how about Blue Flowers? A little less from left field but not by much, DJ Mugg's Third World. Liquid Swords is a great, great album. Forewarned, that video isn't so great.

P. J. Harvey - Missed
. (also and also)

Cities in Dust - pretty much my favorite song about Pompeii. And if you're going to go through the trouble of painting your fingernails black, you might as well go all the way.

Fast forward and you can feel a little pre/post-millenial trip-hop tension with Tricky - Aftermath, or 2-Wicky, or Only You. So, does Cris Cunningham ever do anything that isn't creepy?

Cape Fear by the Fantomas - once again, not even close to my favorite song on an album, but you take what you can get.

Also, I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society

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Kablam! Kaplow!


Seriously, cosmic rays from outer space.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Your moment of zen

Run DMC vs Jason Nevin
It's Like That




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Friday, August 11, 2006

The local angle does nothing for me

Everyone who has lived in a small town has watched the news and seen the ~ "and here's what it means for [small town]." Does anyone buy this? My suggestion - stop it.

For example, "No immediate threat to Iowans." [via]

Not to be a total dick, but, "Whew! That was close!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The dirt on your shoes gives you away

From the Economist's Style Guide [via Greg Mankiw] comes this nice link to The English-to-American Dictionary, just in case you were ever bothered by "centre/center." Much English commentary on American is tinged peevish, considering that when the UK and the USA language diverge, the American form is often older. But I agree about entrée:

entrée n. Everywhere in the world except America this is a word meaning a starter - in America it's a main course. Perhaps because American starters are about the size of everyone else's main courses*.
*People's morals are often only as strict as their options.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ho ho

Cops Quickly Find Stolen Doughnut Truck

A Benton County sheriff's deputy quickly spotted the truck. After a chase at 30 to 35 mph, Richland police got it to stop and arrested the driver, Steve Swoboda, 19, for investigation of auto theft and felony escape.

Still intact was the entire load of glazed, sugar and cream doughnuts, as well as apple fritters, bear claws.


Life's a little slower out in the Palouse.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Mark Helprin is odd

From this interview:

One of the things that we used to like to do was to walk on our hands. There was a book by Harry Crews and it had a character by the name of Marvin Molar. He had no legs, but his arms were really, really strong. We were pretty young at that time. We did hand-walking. We used to walk around the football field twice on our hands. Now that’s a long distance to walk on your hands. But we were really strong. And when I went to the New Yorker, I’d show up out of the elevator on my hands. I’d show up at the reception desk and say, “I’m here,” and the receptionist would say, “Uh, OK, I’ll buzz you in.” That was later, at first they didn’t have a buzzer, a security barrier. And I would walk down the hall, go into my editor’s office on my hands. So Mr. Shawn thought I was very peculiar, and that was good, he liked that. We had a nice relationship in that we never, ever talked or saw each other or anything like that because we were both too shy.

Right now, I couldn't walk on my hands to save my life. Which is okay, since it hasn't come to that yet.

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El-cheapo house


Old and busted: Card-board box.

New hotness: Shipping containers!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

As it turns out, 760 hp is a lot

Most people believe they are above average drivers. They aren't, and the average is terrible. I've dated girls whose driving still makes me cringe to remember. But guys are worse. Somewhere in our testosterone-addled brain floats the thought that, yeah, if some things had happened differently, we would have been race car drivers*. Give this video a spin and reconsider.


*also fighter pilots, athletes and rock stars.

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Caipirinha


Tasty:

INGREDIENTS

1 lime quartered

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 shot of cachaça

1/2 Cup of ice cubes with water


PREPARE:

Place the lime and sugar in the bottom of a glass.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, crush and mash

the limes. Pour the liqueur and ice. Stir well.


If that's not your thing, here are a couple of plan B's.

Natalie Raps

SNL was watchable last night, in a Natalie Portman Raps way. [R]

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Data Mining

I suspect that landfills might be mined in the future. Nothing has been thrown away; it's just resting. My trash is actually a generous endowment for future generations. You're welcome!

On that note, here's an interesting article about data mining the US Congressional Record.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Link

Manhattan Timeformations.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

[LMS] The dancer upstairs

The dancer upstairs, di John Malkovich (Spain/USA 2002)


Nice movie, in some parts even fascinating. We are in a South American country and the plot, according to what I read, is inspired to the story of "Shining Path", an organization that made guerrilla war and terrorism in Peru in the 80's.

Most of the plot is built around the investigation on the organization, led by a policeman who behaves honestly (as a result of his deep-rooted belief in law and justice) while serving a corrupt state.

I stick my neck out just with two considerations. First of all the movie blends in an excellent way the "private" point of view (the events in the personal life of the policeman) with a wider perspective; this wider perspective includes only society and not politics, though. More in particular the people that the policeman meets and his social relations create a sharp portrait of society.

Moreover I found very interesting the dialogues between the protagonist and his superiors (of various ranks); the point that is underscored with ability is in my opinion not that there is a confrontation between honesty and corruption (this one would have been a bit trite), but that even in a quite rigid structure that is obviously managed by people without scruples there are explicit tensions between bosses and subordinates and the bosses do not have the option to solve these tensions in their favour neither with violence nor with threats: in other words even dictators need to negotiate with their staff.
Some philosopher of time ago said that there is a dynamic relationship between master and servant such that the master becomes the weaker part, but I do not dare to delve deeper in these obscure theories.

The movie has defects as well; let's say that I have got the impression of some laps in the tone and rhythm of the movie. Very nice settings, the outdoors are used just a little and it is fine this way because the action and drama take place through dialogues above all. Finally, I liked a lot the interpretation by Javier Bardem.