Archive for January, 2009

High-resolution multi-stitched inauguration photo

| January 31, 2009 | Reply
High-resolution multi-stitched inauguration photo

At Barack Obama’s inauguration, David Bergman kept busy with his robotic camera mount used in tandem with his Canon G10 camera. After the inauguration, he used his Macbook Pro to stitch together the resulting 220 images into one gigantic 2gb tiff file. The resulting 1,474 megapixel image is dramatic and fun to explore. Equally impressive is that the Gigapan camera mount and the G10 camera he used are not expensive–they can both be purchased for less than $1,000 (less than $500 each).

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Time to Change Congress – - again.

| January 30, 2009 | 1 Reply
Time to Change Congress – - again.

Change Congress? Didn’t we just change control of Congress? Well, we did change the party that controls Congress, but we haven’t yet changed the money that controls the politicians who control Congress. Barack Obama will have an uphill claim, guaranteed, because politicians are not going to judge his proposals based on their merits. There is always the money, which feeds their cravings for reelection.

What if all federal politicians learned that potential donors took this pledge: “I’m pledging not to donate to any federal candidate unless they support legislation making congressional elections citizen-funded, not special-interest funded.”

This link will take you to a speech by Lawrence Lessig, who explains the urgent need to “Change Congress.”

As long as members of Congress keep themselves in a position where they can be influenced by large contributions of money, we shouldn’t trust them.

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How to download a youtube video and play that flv file.

| January 30, 2009 | 5 Replies
How to download a youtube video and play that flv file.

How can you download a youtube video and then play that flv file on your desktop?

I’ve been wondering how to do this, because I sometimes find compelling videos where I wonder whether they will be available in the future. Here’s one answer. It’s a site by “applian technologies” (not affiliated with youtube) that advises you to insert “pwn” after “www.” and before “youtube . . . ” It’s all free and it does give you an option to NOT download applian’s propriety browser toolbar. The site also offers a stand-alone .flv player for youtube videos that you download. I tried the downloader and the player and they both worked perfectly.

These might come in handy someday soon.

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A Rant in Rhyme Saves Time

| January 30, 2009 | 10 Replies
A Rant in Rhyme Saves Time

Here is a beat poem that first appeared on YouTube as a concert bootleg with subtitles about a month ago. The artist quickly had the bootleg taken down. And then received a Storm of protests, requests to post it again. Finally, he put it up himself. Sans subtitles, or even video. So listen well to a rational rant that many of us would love to be capable of delivering.

Storm, by Tim Minchin

I’ve seen those warning eyes from both my wives, and held my piece for a while. But the temptation is great to emulate this artists storm of bile.

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The Onion addresses the bonding power of music

| January 30, 2009 | Reply
The Onion addresses the bonding power of music

The Onion writes about the Machiavellian use of music to achieve rapid bonding.

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A Pat Metheny moment

| January 29, 2009 | 2 Replies
A Pat Metheny moment

I’ve admired and enjoyed the music of Pat Metheny for many years. His style is extraordinarily difficult to characterize. He can dazzle you with his blistering guitar solos that dwell simultaneously in the worlds of jazz, pop and classical. But he can also write and perform exquisitely beautiful ballads, such as this one entitled “Letter from Home.” It’s a short piece, only about two minutes, and it’s well worth your trouble. If you’ve never before heard Pat Metheny’s music, you’re in for a treat:

If you enjoyed that interlude, consider the following video as a change of pace. And how often do you hear a duet involving a guitar and a full set of drums?

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Sex, movies and videogames

| January 29, 2009 | 2 Replies
Sex, movies and videogames

Movies are a staple of American culture. Videogames are another staple. And yes, movies that feature videogames constitute ultra-special moments for those who are fans of both.

What are some of the top movies that have utilized videogames as part of their story lines? Nick Smith of pwnordie.com has taken away much of the guesswork by compiling video-gaming excerpts from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Back to the Future II, Superbad, 40 Year Old Virgin, National Lampoon’s Vacation and many other popular movies. If you follow this link to Nick’s site

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Business casual at the White House

| January 29, 2009 | 3 Replies
Business casual at the White House

When I was a teenager, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew that I didn’t want to wear a suit to work and I didn’t want to carry a brief case.   Fast-forward . . . I ended up being a lawyer who often wore a suit and […]

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What should we do about Demon Dolls?

| January 29, 2009 | 9 Replies
What should we do about Demon Dolls?

What is the xenophobic American religious right up to these days? Once in a while, I tune into the local all-Christian talk radio to try to understand the Christian Right a bit better. I tuned in again tonight on my way home, and I was rewarded with one of those truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories. It was a real-life Twilight Zone.

To better understand what was going on, listen to this 10-second long YouTube and consider what this doll is saying, if anything.

If you guessed that the doll was saying “Islam is the light,” you win the grand prize. I didn‘t win the grand prize.

I listened to the radio discussion all the way home, compelled on by the insanity. The show included three religious conservative women, all of them very upset with this doll. The doll, which is called “Baby Cuddle & Coo Doll,” is made by Mattel and, according to the women on the radio, the doll is an evil attempt to indoctrinate our innocent children to take up the cause of Islam. The women on the radio described this evil doll in many ways (they were quite upset); for instance, this doll is an attempt at “stealth jihad” . . .

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