Archive for the ‘Stuff I Found’

Synchronized Kites in Laredo

September 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Spain, Stuff I Found, Travel, Videos, Weird

Synchronized Kite Flying ThumbnailWhen I was sitting on the beach yesterday, I noticed something off in the distance out of the corner of my eye. In a split second, my unconscious pattern recognition neurons decided I’d seen a flock of birds. After several seconds of gazing at the phenomenon a kilometer down the beach, I’d determined that they were too big to be birds, and the flying was too orderly. They must be kites, my brain suggested, but…but…how?? They were flying in perfect formation, up, down, swooping, soaring, diving… What they really reminded me of was Boids, the artificial intelligence algorithm – one of my favorites! – that demonstrates how lifelike natural flocking behavior can be mimicked with very, very few lines of code.
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Children – Full of Life

May 31, 2011 By: erik Category: Reviews, Stuff I Found, Videos

Children - Full of LifeA couple days ago, Sam Harris tweeted about a Japanese documentary called Children – Full of Life. Harris pondered, “Was this our Sputnik moment for empathy education?” He was referring, of course, to Obama’s most recent State of the Union address championing federal investment in R&D. Indeed the teaching of moral and ethical values by the fourth grade teacher, Toshiro Kanamori, in the film is extraordinary. My first reaction to the film was “Whoa! Where do I sign my kid up for this guy?” and my second reaction was to resolve to do my very best to instill such values in my children, perhaps even copying some of the techniques Kanamori uses in the film. What a beautiful little movie. What a wonderful man.
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Brainteasers: Missing Things

April 29, 2011 By: erik Category: Funny, Geeky, Musings, Stuff I Found

Missing SquareToday I wanted to share two of my favorite brainteasers. It’s just by chance that they are so similar, both tricking you into thinking something is missing. Every few years, I forget the trick to the first one – because I’m smart like that – and it stumps me again. The latter puzzle is more of an optical illusion than anything else. Like all good optical illusions, understanding how it works doesn’t ruin your ability to see it.
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Nora Riding An Elephant On The Moon

April 13, 2011 By: erik Category: Art, Offspring, Stuff I Found

Nora Riding Elephants On The Moon (cropped face)Late last year, a blogrollmate of mine, Jagosaurus, turned me on to a project by an acquaintance of hers, Dustin Timbrook, an artist, musician, and all around creative guy. As a challenge to himself, he announced that he would attempt to do one drawing each day, of absolutely anything that was requested of him. Jagosaurus submitted this request:

I’d like to see something involving any of the following: hippo, cuttlefish, penguin, octopus, praying mantis. They don’t have to be playing poker and smoking cigars. Really they don’t. I mean, that would just be silly.

Timbrook produced this:
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Economic Populism

March 03, 2011 By: erik Category: Media, Politics, Stuff I Found, USA, Videos

rachel-maddowOne of my most profound epiphanies about politics occurred almost five years ago, when this blog was in its infancy. I realized that, merely by definition of the two political parties’ values, the only way for the Conservative party to gain power is to make a lot of noise and reduce voter turnout. This is because the vast majority of people are, by definition, going to support more socialist wealth-distributing economic policies. This is an absolute political truth that has always been true and will forever continue to be true. The way the Republican party in the US circumvents this is to side with Religion and the issues like abortion and gay marriage that fall out of strong Biblical religious conviction. These issues, of course, fall along the Authoritarian-Libertarian political spectrum, which is orthogonal to the Conservative-Liberal economic political spectrum. (more…)

English Accents РPat̩tica Fon̩tica

February 24, 2011 By: erik Category: England, Stuff I Found, Videos

Patética Fonética IntervieweeLast year I was interviewed by a local language teacher, Rodolfo, who is making a lovely series of videos for his English (as a second language, of course) students. My interview was not used in several interim videos, but I do appear in the one published yesterday discussing how we Americans view those bloody blokes with British accents. As usual, the entire video is quite interesting and very well edited. I continue to applaud Rodolfo and his projects at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas de Laredo. I’d be happy to do another interview with him…but maybe with less sun in my eyes next time.
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Lera Boroditsky on Language

December 17, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Science, Spanish, Stuff I Found, Videos

Lera BoroditskyThe other day I watched a ninety minute video of a speech by Dr. Lera Boroditsky, of Stanford University, about her work on comparing and contrasting languages across cultures and drawing conclusions on how language affects the way we think. Astute readers may recall my interest in this topic, and specifically in Boroditsky’s work on the subject, from my In Spanish, It’s Not Your Fault post. Today, I just want to point out a few points from her talk that resonated with me and then direct you towards the video itself.
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Entertaining the President

June 14, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Photoshop, Stuff I Found, USA

President Obama really likes this recent video of Nora.

Entertaining Obama

I’d be more than happy to send the smart-object-enabled Photoshop file for this to anyone who requests it.

Glenn Beck and I…

June 10, 2010 By: erik Category: Funny, Politics, Stuff I Found, USA, Videos

Oh my! It seems that Glenn Beck has written a novel with the same title as one of my blog posts. While I continue to support the notion that it is important to examine the limits of what is not socially acceptable to discuss in political discourse, I also firmly disavow any notion that the utter nonsense spewing from Beck’s mouth has anything to do with such a window. Talking provably incorrect bullshit is not “pushing the limits”. Behold the nonsensical “dog returns to his vomit” (there may never be a more apt sentence written about this novel!) “burnt fool’s bandaged finger [going] wabbling back to the fire” teaser. It’s too bad you can’t burn eBooks

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It's all speculative

January 04, 2010 By: erik Category: Complaining, Media, Musings, Stuff I Found

Today I stumbled on this awesome speech written and given by Michael Crichton back in 2002 about speculation, and how the media – which he defines as movies, television, internet, books, newspapers, and magazines – is, to a large extent, a gurgling blob of useless drivel. It’s a shame that he probably didn’t get to watch much of the farcical climax of vacuous speculation that was the 2008 US presidential election, as he died on the day Obama got elected. My favorite part of the article is how he talks about the fallacy that we all commit (a recent favorite topic of mine) when we read the newspaper, or receive information from any news source for that matter.
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