Mike Beversluis

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Upstairs Downstairs



Erratum: After multiple layers of fact checking and editing, it has been discovered that the Mike Figgis - I'm Here To Shoot A Pilot story is a hoax.

Actually, I don't care about that at all. "Shooting a Pilot" is still funny, but what I do regret is that when I first linked to it, I tried to come up with a set of alternative jobs and phrases, and the best I could do (miserable) was a Nutritionist who was planning a CRASH diet to BURN calories. Even by my standards, and demonstrable lack thereof, I feel like I let you readers down, and for that I apologize. A great big Curt Shilling Man Apology.


Cell Phones For Soldiers

Via Iowahawk, here is Mary Lu's post about Cell Phones For Soldiers. You can turn in an old cell-phone, which was just getting in the way of buying that new iPhone Razr anyhow, and the dilithium crystals will be used to buy phone cards for soldiers in Iraq. Apparently each cell phone = 60 minutes.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The most realistic cartoon about science, ever . [stolen from]*

*also scientific.


Earth from Every Angle

The way cool Earth and Moon Viewer.

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How Class Works (big caveat: According to the NY Times)

This is fun, but I strongly disagree that class is determined by education and income percentiles. Suggesting that your wealth only depends on your relative standing is asinine in an age where the major problems in most people's lives is that they eat too much in order to distract themselves from the ennui of owning too many things. Likewise, advanced degrees are not some unalloyed good. Cracker please. The unexamined thinking that went into this presentation has a blind spot that an Escalade could hide in, or at least a Lexus.

The one surprising thing is that their poll says people are much more optimistic than I expected. As usual, I was optimistically pessimistic. Apparently everyone thinks they are doing great, but not so much for their poor neighbors.

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An Unfortunate Choice of Words

Trailer Trash
Jason Solomons
Sunday April 22, 2007
The Observer

Director Mike Figgis spent longer at LAX airport than intended. He'd arrived in Los Angeles, along with half the acting and directing world, for what is known as 'pilot season', when the big studios try out new scripts, directors and actors in a two-week frenzy of auditions and career make-or-breaks. When Figgis was being grilled by airport immigration, he was asked the purpose of his visit. Unthinking and tired after a long flight, Mike replied: 'I'm here to shoot a pilot.' After five hours in an interrogation cell (yes, really), he finally made it into town


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life in north - eastern USA. A sign of calvinist inheritance?

I promised some time ago that I would post one or two observations that I made of people's behaviour, without assuming, given that my experience is limited, that they are generally true across all of the New York state or all of the NE USA.

It happened to me twice to hear the exact same sentence from two different people, and I am curious to know what other people think about it. I tell in advance that in my opinion people say and think this because they are infuenced by Calvinism. But let us proceed with order.

A couple of years ago I was briefly talking to a girl with whom the main topic of conversation that we ever had was how one or two guys that we both know were doing. I had lost track of one of them, and she told me that after graduation he was working in Buffalo in some financial job "... and he is making a lot of money".

The same exact sentence I heard of a woman that was talking about her ex-husband, who after going through a quite complicated personal situation had been able to solve it and now had transformed his hobby into his job "... and he is making a lot of money".

The first time I heard the sentence I had not paid much attention to it, but the second time it got me thinking because I had the sensation that, despite the appearances, money was not the main object in the sentence. My guess is that money in this sentence is only used to demonstrate that the guy we are talking about is leading a happy life and is happy and content with himself; the consequence of the happiness is that he can be more concentrated and creative in his job and as a consequence he makes money.

It seems to me that this is a bit analogous to the calvinist doctrine that success in life, including becoming rich of course, is a sign of favourable predestination; but the religious view is not anymore taken and success in life is a sign of having solved one's own personal problems.

I would be very very curious of hearing the opinion of someone else on this.

Shouldn't that be New Amsterdam?

New York Delft
-ware. $80 per place-setting, or perhaps you can paint your own.

P.S.Will a designer ever resist the temptation to make their website hard to navigate in order to make it "creative"?

P.P.S. No.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The hardest logic puzzle ever

The so-called hardest logic puzzle ever; replete with exploding god-heads.



[from here, of course]


Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Wee-8

For $30k and change, Hartley Enterprises will mind-meld two Hayabusa four cylinder motorcycle engines into the 2.8L V-8 you see above. It puts out ~200 ft/lbs of torque from 2,000 to 10,000 rpm, where it maxes out at nominally 400 hp. This is from a 200 lb package. It's tiny.

That's a Ford Zetechfour banger on the left there.

I'm reminded of a passage I once read in John Bertrand's biography, Born to Win. Bertrand skippered the winged-keel Austrailia II to the first challenger's victory in the America's Cup, breaking the American's 132-year winning streak. Anyway, in his youth, he liked to race sail boats with much smaller sails than his competitors and using superior efficiency, maneuverability, and general strategery to win.

I can understand the thought process - beating someone with a smaller, sleeker machine just rubs in the victory. And if you lose you have a built-in excuse, so bonus there too. But at some point he said, it occurred to him that bigger and smarter weren't mutually exclusive, and that the only person who really cared if you tied one hand behind your back was yourself. So why kill yourself to impress yourself? Just to make the boat faster, and if bigger helps, so be it.

Anyway, that aside, that little V-8 is tres chic, and just needs a pair of turbos to set it off proper. Or not.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

"So far I've figured out barbells and kicking aren't religous"

Dear Anonymous Atheist Complaint Box. [cough, R], i.e., every internet religious debate ever. BTW, I am not sure exactly who is getting made fun of here; pretty much everyone.


My Openly Secret Plan

Momentum is building towards the day when I will build a house with secret doors and rooms. Via Makezine, How to build a hidden door bookshelf. Previously.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

I hate Bluetooth

Banterist: Why Are You Shouting?

Dear cellphone head-set users, please stop screwing with my crazydar. Thanks, Mike.

Also, on the subject of non-sensible conversations, of which this is one, I Chat, Therefore I Am. Read it and get vertigo as you fall into the hall of mirrors that is two chatbots looking into each others souls. I still suspect that consciousness is a non-computable function.

Furthermore, do fruit flies have free will? I'm not sure, because I felt compelled by my fixed, yet chaotic, trajectory down an entropy gradient to write that.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Over at Pruned is a neat idea for noise-canceling windows from some German researchers. Small piezoelectric patches are applied to a window and are used to both sense the vibrations from outside noise, and then attenuate them by vibrating the window 180 degrees out of phase to the noise. Much like noise-canceling head sets. Combine this with liquid crystal sunshades and you've got your Jetson's windows right there.

Also cool on pruned, the subterranean lives of cities and the slip displacements of a grid projected onto a sphere.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

"...We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine"

Regarding the Daimler-Chrysler split:

Daimler pays to dump Chrysler
German automaker will end up actually paying $650 million to unload Chrysler to end its exposure to billions in ongoing losses, health care costs.
By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer

Is it me, or is this exactly the same as the Simpson's episode were Mr. Burns sells the power plant to Germans only to buy it back for a tiny fraction of what they paid once they discover all the flaws and environmental violations in the plant? Because it's not me, and this is exactly what it is. Consider the parallels:

  • Lee Iaccoca* :: Mr. Burns
  • Dieter "Dr. Z" Zetsche :: New Friendly German Plant Owners
  • UAW Teamsters :: Homer Simpson
  • Germany :: Magical Land of Chocolate
  • Leaking Nuclear Waste :: Pension Plans
Et cetera and so forth.

*I know Iaccoca wasn't the CEO of Chrysler then, or at least I don't think he was, but whatever. He's funniest, unless you want to put Kirk Kirkorean there, who really does look like Mr. Burns, and although he did put in a bid, he mainly was going after GM and didn't buy them either. Apparently, when you own a good chunk of Las Vegas, you know a bad bet when you see one.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

From the Ministry of Silly Links (pretty much the whole internet):
  1. The King of Speed. Which is about SR-71 pilots and not meth.
  2. The Walkens.
  3. Paul Brogan recaps the NBA season via nerdcore.
Of course, this has nothing to do with my mom, except that I am convinced that you get your sense of humor from your mom. It's the Repo Man - I know a life of crime has brought me to this sorry fate, and yet, I blame society - theory of humor. Incidentally, is there anything worse in the world that youtube comments? Because I submit to you that there is not.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

What sort of person thought this up?

How to turn a mild case of vertigo into the full-blown Jimmy Stewart version: World's Highest Swing. That's the edge of a 1,100 foot TV tower in China, and yes, everyone looks like they are tethered to the building with a safety harness. How reassuring.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Eat Bertha's Mussels

I have been away, busy conferencing and expositioning in Baltimore. Weirdly, hardly any of my colleagues knew about The Wire, so it was a little awkward when I kept bringing it up. Yes, smooth like always. And also like always, Bertha's was on the itinerary and the mussels were great. But don't just take my word for it:

I Used to live in "Bawlmer Hon" and Berthas was my favorite place to hang out. Service was always great, you met an unusual array of folks there and the Hawk used to dance there several times a week. Sheeeyut, once I was even persuaded to pull beers on a saturday afernoon and had a blast. It's just small enuff, just dark enuff 'n jus' dingy enuff for a classic waterin' hole. Lario


Saturday, May 05, 2007

A little dance music

K-OS, Sunday Morning.


Friday, May 04, 2007


“The love ballad I’m about to sing will pose a lot of uncomfortable questions about gender identity and class-based issues. I hope you can handle it.” (Female rock singer announces a song.)


Photoshop Color Tweaking

How to use photoshop to match the colors in your digital photos to the color schemes in classical paintings.


No one is reading this

Via the internet, proof that graders don't read too closely. This wouldn't happen if they had followed my grading advice.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Eat the Tall

At first blush, I was against Greg Mankiw's modest proposal to tax by height, admittedly because I am very tall and the explicit target for the maximum tax rate. But then I thought about it, and I realized, my life is awesome, and yes, it is awesome because I am tall. So, really, I am fine with paying more taxes - especially since I am well past the 6'1" height he sets for the highest tax bracket, and so my awesomeness overfloweth.


The Law

Let it be known that I'm linking to this mostly common-sense essay on 12 Important U.S. Laws that Every Blogger Needs to Know mainly as an excuse to link to this Acceptable TV Show, Legal Law. It puzzles me how most shows really screw up science and yet are so realistic about the legal system. Weird. See also, Sound Effector and Prison Prison Break.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My On Again Slash Mostly Off Again Relationship with HBO

I will resubscribe when Season 5 of The Wire airs, but the Flight of the Conchords's new show would be a cherry on top.

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Pollock or birds?

Too easy: Pollock or birds? However, I totally biffed on the Machine Translation or Faulkner.

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Captain Obvious's Truism of the Day

"Kenny G and Warren G are completely different."
Captain Obvious*

*A guy at work with a special talent to say something that is blindingly true, obviously, and yet has probably never been said before. I'm hoping to turn this into a series, but I suspect that this is one of those "you had to be there" jokes/stories. Not that this has ever stopped me from going on, which is why my conversations tend to end by people walking away while I'm shouting to them from across the room.

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So it was and ever shall be

Ten-Foot FIDDLES and Two-Story HARPS

There are two things that happen when you visit with a strange culture: One, you have sort of a kumbaya moment where you realize that beneath all the superficial trappings and different langauges, we are all just human beings living our ephemeral lives together on this great big planet that is spinning its way through the starry heavens.

Then someone stands 12 inches away from your face while talking to you, or the stores close on Sunday before 10pm, and you realize that despite their superficial similarities, the thoughts of these people bear little or no relation to anything sane at all. Although you understand each word they are speaking individually, in fact they are speaking in some terrible cthulhu idiom that is untranslatable into human terms, and that they probably want to eat you before they return to their windowless, subterranean cities and fungoid gardens. How ironic that alienation is a universal experience.

Anyway, I like reading the Modern Mechanix blog because the strange culture here is the one I am standing in, but 80 years ago, and those aliens are my forebears. The articles are a little less banal and a little more expository than someone's old pictures, but they don't have that posed, artificial stentorian voice and Grecian stature that people assume when they want to be recorded for posterity. I linked to the weirdo instruments above just to show that people were, like they still are, completely nuts. From this, I conclude that they always will be, and it's a relief.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pimp ze Auto

Get your inner-Bavarian inner-Swabian* on and trick out your virtual Porsche. Unless, that is, you have something better to do, and by something I mean anything.

*At first I was going to write Swabian, and then I second-guessed myself into an error. Dammit.



Highway Engineer Pranks.


Just about perfect

Also, the platonic perfect vs the perfect G&T.