February 2007 Archives

This is probably the greatest patent application ever.

The sad thing is that I can’t figure out if he’s making a funny or if he really is this deranged.

Update: Link fixed.

links for 2007-02-27

These Are Easier Than Last Week's, I Promise

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As usual, no Google and post your answers in the comments:

  1. Who was the first openly gay person to host the Oscars?
  2. What is the connection between Moby Dick (the whale) and Moby (the DJ and musician)?
  3. Who was the song “Hey Jude” written for?
  4. Where was the first meeting of the United Nations held?
  5. Why was the invention of movable type abandoned in its country of origin?
  6. Where is the Encyclopædia Britannica headquartered?

Last week’s answers:

  1. What did ENIAC stand for?
    Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer.

  2. What was the first film to win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress?
    It Happened One Night. Clark Gable’s only Oscar, and Claudette Colbert thought that Bette Davis would win, so she didn’t attend the ceremony. The next film to win those four awards was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

  3. Which President of the United States served the shortest term?
    William Henry Harrison.

  4. What are the IRT, IND, and BMT, and what do the initials stand for?
    The Interborough Rapid Transit, the INDependent Subway, and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit were the three subway companies than ran the subways in New York City prior to subway unification in the 1940s. There are still a few signs in the subway that refer to the IRT/BMT/IND.

  5. Who was Evelyn Nesbit?
    Evelyn Nesbit was a show girl and the former mistress of architect Stanford White. Stanford White was the “White” in the firm of McKim, Mead and White; among other buildings, he was responsible for the old Penn Station and the second Madison Square Garden. White died when Harry Thaw, Nesbit’s husband, shot him in the face on the roof of White’s Madison Square Garden.

  6. A wiki is a user-editable website. Where did the name “wiki” come from?
    It’s allegedly Hawaiian for “quick”.

Psalmic

As I’ve been going through my music library, I’ve recently become re-aquatinted with Schnittke’s Penitential Psalms. Based on anonymous 16th-century Russian texts, these works for unaccompanied chorus are astonishing, both medieval and modern at once. It’s very much like Ligeti, in many ways, but also profoundly depressing. Depressing? Well, look at some of the titles:

  • Adam Sat Weeping At The Gates Of Paradise
  • That Is Why I Live In Poverty
  • My Soul, Why Are You In A State Of Sin?
  • O Man, Doomed, And Wretched
  • If You Wish To Overcame Unending Sorrow
  • I Entered This Life Of Tears A Naked Infant

BTW, I’m up to “If Things Were Perfect” now.

links for 2007-02-24

links for 2007-02-23

Seriously—two weeks ago, would anyone have thought that Kevin Federline would be more likely to win a custody battle than Britbrit?

You Want Some More?

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As usual, no Google. It’s probably a little harder than the last one.

  1. What did ENIAC stand for?
  2. What was the first film to win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Actress?
  3. Which President of the United States served in office for the shortest amount of time?
  4. What are the IRT, IND, and BMT, and what do the acronyms stand for?
  5. Who was Evelyn Nesbit?
  6. A wiki is a user-editable website. Where did the name “wiki” come from?

And now, last week’s answers:

  1. The hit television show Lost was directly inspired by what other television show?
    Lost was originally pitched as a scripted Survivor.

  2. In the Buster Keaton movie The General, what does the title refer to?
    The General is the name of Keaton’s steam engine.

  3. In the kitchen, what is a mandolin?
    A mandoline is a kind of vegetable slicer with a movable blade.

  4. To whom did Beethoven originally dedicate his Third Symphony?
    Napoleon.

  5. Who was Leland Stanford, Jr.?
    Leland Stanford Jr. was the son of Leland Stanford Sr., who was a railroad baron and the former governor of California. After Jr.’s death at the tender age of 15 due to typhoid fever, Sr. founded Stanford University, naming it after Jr.

  6. What college did Steve Jobs attend?
    Steve Jobs attended, but did not graduate from, Reed College in Oregon.

Gung Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year, everyone! It’s the The Year of the Pig, which I believe to be highly auspicious.

HAPPYPIG3.jpg

Even Google is getting in on the act.

Bandwagon, an on-line backup service for iTunes users, is in beta testing and offering free accounts to bloggers.

The problem for me is that even given my relatively healthy-for-an-asymmetric-connection 512kb/s uplink, it would take almost eight days running 24/7 to upload my entire iTunes library (I’ve done the math, and it’s 7 days, 19 hours and change).

(the other problem, as you can see for yourself below, is that their logo is a bit… uh… freudian)

392021925_6abad29d98_o.png

links for 2007-02-17

links for 2007-02-16

Round Three

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Varying degrees of difficulty here. As usual, no Google and leave your answers in the comments:

  1. The hit television show Lost was directly inspired by what other television show?
  2. In the Buster Keaton movie The General, what does the title refer to?
  3. In the kitchen, what is a mandoline?
  4. To whom did Beethoven originally dedicate his Third Symphony?
  5. Who was Leland Stanford, Jr.?
  6. What college did Steve Jobs attend?

And now, the answers to the last round:

  1. Who was the second Jewish United States Supreme Court justice?
    Benjamin N. Cardozo, who was most famous for his service as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals. Louis Brandeis was the first.

  2. What did GIs call the Gooney Bird?
    The C-47, which was the military version of the DC-3.

  3. Where did Samuel Clemens get his pen name?
    “Mark twain” was used on riverboats to indicate a depth of two fathoms.

  4. What popular English actor is most famous for a seven-year run playing a Frenchman on a television show?
    The answer I was going for here was Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

  5. What do the initials HSBC stand for?
    Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

  6. What was the original name of the New York Yankees?
    Prior to becoming the Yankees, they were known as the New York Highlanders. But before they moved to New York, they were the Baltimore Orioles.

For The Wordsmiths

Global Voices Online is holding a St. Valentine’s Day poetry contest! Go ahead, go over there and put in your best effort…

links for 2007-02-14

Answers, and 6 More

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Six more questions; these should be marginally easier than the first set:

  1. Who was the second Jewish United States Supreme Court justice?
  2. What did GIs call the Gooney Bird?
  3. Where did Samuel Clemens get his pen name?
  4. What popular English actor is most famous for a seven-year run playing a Frenchman on a television show?
  5. What do the initials HSBC stand for?
  6. What was the original name of the New York Yankees?

And now, the answers to the first set:

What was the first song the Beatles recorded that used backwards masking?
* “Rain”, which was released as the B-Side to “Paperback Writer”.

What two Wagner operas feature a singing contest as a significant part of the plot?
* Tannhauser and Der Meistersinger.

The character of Bill Haydon in the novel Tinker Tailor Solider Spy is loosely based on what historical figure?
* Kim Philby.

What semi-autobiographical poem made Goethe famous?
* I screwed up here; The Sorrows of Young Werther is a novel, not a poem.

What two famous SF novels did Eric Blair write?
* Eric Blair was better known by his pen name, George Orwell.

During World War II, the American Volunteer Group was more commonly known as what?
* The Flying Tigers.

links for 2007-02-12

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Only One Rule:

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NiceHat.jpg
No Googling, and the answers go in the comments. Six points possible; half points given on questions 2 and 5; and yes, these are hard. Getting three of six would be a very, very good score.

  1. What was the first song the Beatles recorded that used backwards masking?

  2. What two Wagner operas feature a singing contest as a significant part of the plot?

  3. The character of Bill Haydon in the novel Tinker Tailor Solider Spy is loosely based on what historical figure?

  4. What semi-autobiographical poem made Goethe famous?

  5. What two famous SF novels did Eric Blair write?

  6. During World War II, the American Volunteer Group was more commonly known as what?

I’ll post the answers on Tuesday.

(And I’m up to “Face to Face” now; progress is slowly being made)

links for 2007-02-10

Bourdain on Food Network

Some highlights from Anthony Bourdain’s take on the Food Network:

Emeril: As much mileage as I’ve gotten over the years, making fun of Emeril; he deserves a lot more respect than I’ve given him. … He is—in fact—a really nice guy. And-as much as I hate the show— compared to the current crop of culinary non-entities, he looks like Escoffier.

Batali: Is there any more egregiously under-used, criminally mishandled, dismissively treated chef on television? Relegated to the circus of Iron Chef America, where—like a great, toothless lion, fouling his cage, he hangs on …. How I would like to see him unchained, free to make the television shows he’s capable of, the Real Mario—in all his Rabelasian brilliance.

Giada: What’s going on here!? Giada can actually cook! … Food Net seems more interested in her enormous head (big head equals big ratings. Really!) and her cleavage—than the fact that she’s likeable, knows what she’s doing in an Italian kitchen—and makes food you’d actually want to eat.

Sandra Lee: This frightening Hell Spawn of Kathie Lee and Betty Crocker seems on a mission to kill her fans, one meal at a time.

Plus, Bourdain’s Dream Iron Chef Matchups:

  • Mario Batali (with one arm tied behind his back—and drunk) vs. Regina Schrambling
  • Michael Ruhlman, swacked on Ripple, vs. John Mariani— in a Charcuterie Challenge
  • Grant Achatz vs. That Guy In Australia Who Ripped off his recipes as his own
  • Marco Pierre White vs. Gordon Ramsay
  • Charlie Trotter vs. Martin Picard (Chicken Livers vs. Foie Gras)
  • Chris Cosentino, Fergus Henderson, Martin Picard vs. Alain Passard, Roxanne Klein and Charlie Trotter (Cooked vs. Raw Challenge)
  • Martha Stewart vs. Rachael Ray (bare knuckle cage match)
  • Ducasse vs. Robuchon
  • “Mikey” from Top Chef vs. Sandra Lee

links for 2007-02-08

Copy Editors Live For This

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that, according to the New York Times, NASA will now review astronaut screening. Of course, the other two New York papers are not quite so tasteful in their coverage of the story:

astronautcovers.jpg

They’re both pretty good, I have to say. I’m personally partial to “Dark Side of the Loon”, if only because one of the etymologies of the word “loon” is from “loony”, which is from “lunatic”, which itself is

from Old French lunatique, from late Latin lunaticus, from Latin luna ‘moon’ (from the belief that changes of the moon caused intermittent insanity).

Not to mention Pink Floyd references are always cool.

links for 2007-02-07

EyeSight

Whybark’s looking for a vintage, Firewire iSight. Contact him if you can help him out.

It Really Wasn't Rex Grossman's Fault

That wasn’t one of the better played Super Bowl I’ve ever seen, though I have to admit that the first half did have pretty much everything—six turnovers, Vinitari missing a field goal, a botched extra point, a KR for a touchdown…

Rex Grossman didn’t exactly cover himself with glory (three turnovers will do that to a man), but it should be noted that Grossman had more yards and more completions than Joe Montana had in his first Super Bowl.

What the game boiled down to was that the Bears defense couldn’t stop the Colts when they had to. The Colts held the ball for essentially the last four minutes of the first half and the first 7:30 of the second half. That’s not very good for what’s supposed be one of the best defenses in the league.

The Bears were also outcoached. They were so concerned about the Colts’ deep-strike capability that they were dropping the first layer of pass coverage back too far; Manning took advantage of that by finding the underneath receiver, who was usually wide open. The Bears never adjusted to that by tightening up the underneath coverage. The other thing that opening up the short passing game for Peyton did was it took away the Bears’ pass rush. While Manning is more mobile than he has been in the past, he’s still not Steve Young or Michael Vick. But the Bears pretty much never got to him (one sack late in the game).

And as for MVP… Peyton didn’t play poorly—he didn’t make too many mistakes—but he didn’t exactly light it up (247 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT isn’t a bad game, but it’s hardly Peyton-esque, either). The case could be made for Bob Sanders being the MVP, but for my money, the MVP was the Colts offensive line.

Pre-Diction

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Colts 34, Bears 19.

That is all.

links for 2007-02-04

links for 2007-02-03

Tonight, Tonight, Tonight

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My friend Patrick’s band Ganymede is playing a show tonight at a bar near Times Sq. called The Mean Fiddler.

Check it out.

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