Archive for April, 2009


Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Years ago, I read the book Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai. One of the scenes I remember from the book is a description of an iaido exercise involving a simultaneous draw and strike that cuts through a falling dewdrop.

I was a lot younger then (Amazon’s listing is for the 2001 printing; there’s an earlier one from 1985), and I had difficulty imagining that such things could actually be done, or verified in a training environment. I could see hitting a raindrop, but splitting it? I thought it more an ideal to reach for, in a “the journey is the destination” sense.

Well, now I’ve seen something that removes any lingering doubt that I had. Some of what is done in this video can be verified just from the end results, but the use of a high-speed camera to provide super-slow motion shows how truly impressive a skilled practitioner can be.

I was surprised at how long it took before someone mentioned ‘Fremen’ in the comments.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

I’m more surprised that someone would actually get an eyeball tattoo. Pictures at the link are not necessarily for the squeamish.

I’ll have to dig out my books of Harlan Ellison short stories. If I remember correctly, he mentions in an introduction to one story that part of its inspiration was his horror of contact lenses, because he had the idea that corneas needed to breathe.

The readings for today

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

First, Clay Shirky on deploying the cognitive surplus. I always enjoy things that make me look at something differently, and the idea of the cognitive surplus is one such thing.

Next, a more amusing piece of reading. I remember reading this a few years back, but I lost track of the link to it. Luckily, Bits and Pieces linked it today. It’s the sort of thing that I can easily imagine Dave Barry writing about. In other words, it’s both interesting and a little bit gross. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Worm Within.

Minimalist Art

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

A dead pixel for Google Earth.

Dead Pixel

The linked page was automatically translated into English, but the original page is available from it.

Eight and a half minutes

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Bill Whittle on media bias, and well worth the time.

Camera, science … LIGHTS!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

When I was in the Navy and sailing in the Pacific, I got to see bioluminescence in the ship’s wake – a blue glow in the water, with brighter “sparks” eddying around occasionally. Fascinating to watch, and I’d love to see it again. I’ve seen fireflies before, although they don’t hang around where I’m currently living, and I’ve never seen the asian fireflies that light up entire trees in unison. This post gives me those and a lot more things to hope to see someday, but none of them have the over-the-top-mad-scientist-cuteness-of-doom vibe of Ruppy, the light-uppy puppy.

Why didn’t I think of this?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I had occasion to visit the Olde Town Pickin’ Parlor this afternoon. While I was there, two young men (late teens, I think) opened the door, and one called out, “Are you guys hiring?”

Looking for a public relations position, no doubt. It’s certainly a job search technique I hadn’t thought of using.

Nailing Jello to the wall

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The science project.

I like the fairly comprehensive nature of the experiments.

Worried about your high school reunion?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Some people deal with the worry by deciding not to go. Some begin exercise programs to lose weight and shape up. This is the first time I can remember hearing of someone who hired a stripper to impersonate her and sent along a film crew.

Via the Jammy-wearing fool.

I wish I had a photo

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

I usually have my camera with me, but last night, I didn’t. I carry the camera in a belt pouch at my left hip, and it wasn’t appropriate with the outfit I was wearing. I was driving at the time, anyway, so it would have been difficult to take a good photo, even if someone else had been the driver.

Imagine, if you will, your generic compact car, colored dark brown where the rust hadn’t eaten through the body, with a home-made, two-level wooden spoiler on the trunk lid.

I say “two-level,” rather than “two-airfoil,” because there was no airfoil cross-section to them; they were just flat pieces of 1×12. It didn’t look to me that the vehicle could go fast enough for them to provide any effect, either.