Sunday, December 24, 2006 Build Your Own Laser, Phaser, Ion Ray Gun and Other Working Space Age Projects: Books: Robert E. Iannini,Robert Iannini

I almost killed myself when I was a teen with this book. My finding it at the local library is the source of my undying admiration for Andrew Carnegie, who used his vast wealth to setup 2,500 libraries, and arguably is responsible for the existence of the modern library in america in it's present form.

Many of the things we take for granted in libraries, like the shelves of books being open to walk down and select by yourself (rather than asking a librarian to find something for you) and the ease of registering (rather than membership being restricted to some specific persons(students, guild members)), originated with the Carnegie plan libraries, and through sheer mass and expectation, many other library patrons and systems that may have been disinclined otherwise, followed suit and opened their stacks and their membership.

Carnegie opened libraries in every state except for Alaska, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

He also aspired to literary ambitions, both during and after his business careers. The only book he wrote that achieved any lasting fame was his "The Gospel of Wealth", in which he wrote about the great responsibility that being rich gave, as he was philosophically opposed to either 'lazy spending' giving millions in blanket or inefficient structures or for luxury goods. He wrote about the dangers of inherited wealth, and the possibility of a new generation of autocrats who ruled through great wealth that they did not earn.

A very interesting set of ideas, I thought.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

I have always loved Jeremy Irons. His voice is fantastic. In fact, for a while I fooled myself into thinking I wanted to see Eragon, just because the first trailer I saw was narrated by him. But really it looks like a terrible movie.

as Jeph Jacques said: "Wasn't Jeremy Irons also in the Dungeons & Dragons movie? What's the deal, Jeremy Irons?
He won his Oscar, now he's just fuckin' around. It's like winning the World Series and then joining the Cubs!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Witch House Salem, Massachusetts

One of my famous ancestors, Judge Johnathan Corwin, owned this house for forty years. It's the only standing structure that was involved in the infamous Salem Witch Trials, which sent 19 to the gallows.

It's kind of too bad it's called "The Witch House", It was Judge Corwin's private home, not a haunted mansion or something. I suppose he didn't do enough else to be famous on his own.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Maya calendar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

I have occasionally facetiously suggested Dec 21, 2012 as the date of the singularity, for artistic and mythological reasons. Here's an interesting snippet from Wikipedia, explaining that the Long Count calendar actually is much much longer than previously suspected, via evidence from Palenque (an important mayan archeological site).

"The end of the 13th b'ak'tun is conjectured to have been of great significance to the Maya, but does not necessarily mark the end of the world according to their beliefs, but a new beginning or time of re-birth. According to the Popol Vuh, a book compiling details of creation accounts known to the Quiche' Maya of the colonial-era highlands, we are living in the fifth world. The Popol Vuh describes the first four creations that the gods failed in making and the creation of the successful fifth world where men were placed. The Maya believed that the fifth world would end in catastrophe and the sixth and final world would be created that would signal the end of mankind.

The last creation ended on a long count of Another will occur on December 21, 2012, and it has been discussed in many New Age articles and books that this will be the end of this creation, the next pole shift or something else entirely. However, the Maya abbreviated their long counts to just the last five vigesimal places. There were an infinite number of larger units that were usually not shown. When the larger units were shown (notably on a monument from Coba), the end of the last creation is expressed as, where the units are obviously supposed to be 13s twenty places larger than that b'ak'tun. In this age we are only approaching, and the larger places would all need to similarly roll over to 13 again to match the date of the new creation.[6]

This is confirmed by a date from Palenque, which projects forward in time to, which will occur on October 13, 4772 (a Friday). The Classic Period Maya likely did not believe that the end of this age would occur in 2012. According to the Maya, there will be a baktun ending in 2012, a significant event being the end of a 13th 400 year period, but not the end of the world."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Micro Persuasion: Our Sixty Minutes with Bill Gates:

"Q) What would you be looking at today if you were an independent entrepreneur?
A) Something dramatic like artificial intelligence. Biology. Energy."

Yeah, me too.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Some more artistic brilliance. Here someone has taken computer-built, sample driven composition one step further, by videoing himself recording all the sample notes for the intruments, and stitching the video together as the software synthesizer plays his composition, (I assume, it also might have been done by hand, horrifying as that prospect is). It's rather hypnotic, watching it.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

girls on sofas - a photoset on Flickr

I think this is amazing. Visually stunning, varied, light-hearted. Really, a fantastic set of pictures.

'ware, female nudity. NSFW

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Originally uploaded by outlawpoet.
I always thought brainy supervillains should have been more exact in their dialogue.

someone who can build monstrous machines on their own would not use inexact metaphors.

Friday, December 01, 2006 - Self Publishing - Free

Okay, so my dedication to lay aside my novel did not last very long., the Print-On-Demand publishers so many are fond of, are offering a free single copy of any NaNoWriMo novel!!!!

the offer is good until January 16, 2006, which just might be enough time to whip this puppy into shape so I can hold it in my hands.
George Thorogood

Today is George Thorogood day, in honor of the self-indulgent, lazy, destructive, dark things we all have in our souls. (yes, I just made up a holiday).

Today, listen to George and his Destroyers, and think about going to a bar and slowly imploding, listen to his wonderful smoke and alcohol voice, maybe indulge in some mild sin.

Then tomorrow remember that you've got other things to do and return to a brighter universe.

The greeks loved tragedy and death in theatre, because they believed that indulging in such things one step removed from themselves cleansed their souls of some need for it. They left the tragedy in the theatre, and got on with their lives.

It may not work that way, but at least if we make this mistake we're in glorious ancient company.