Monday, June 28, 2010

DIY Fusion Reactors

Where there's a technology, there's a hobby sub-culture.  Even for fusion reactors, according to the BBC.  Nothing really dangerous about these fusor reactors (you can read up on them from the Wikipedia article), despite the slightly alarmist tone of the BBC article and the surprised neighbors.  It seems unlikely they'll reach energy break-even anytime soon, but it never pays to completely write off amateurs, especially when they have brains, enthusiasm, and persistence.
If you're too impatient to build your own, you can simply order one up from NSD Fusion.  Evidently they numerous medical and industrial uses as neutron sources.  I hear that Acme Corporation will be coming out with their own version any day now too.  That's the one I'm waiting for.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Yet another Dr. Who sighting

... in 5000 B.C.  Read about it here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Article at the Center of the McChrystal Controversy

In case you missed it, linky right here, courtesy of Rolling Stone.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just the Numbers, Ma'am

There's a lot of oil leaking from that Macondo well, but it isn't the end of the world.  This article puts the size of the leak, as well as the total size of the reservoir into perspective.  Not pretty, but it's not like the whole Gulf could turn into a sea of crude either.
There.  Feeling all better now?  Maybe a little?  Good, because some of that crap started washing up on my doorstep yesterday.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Trouble with Science

... isn't the lack of students or educational opportunities.  It's the career path / business model of science, according to
Opening blurb from the article:
It’s not insufficient schooling or a shortage of scientists. It’s a lack of job opportunities. Americans need the reasonable hope that spending their youth preparing to do science will provide a satisfactory career.
I could add more but it might come off badly (and I'm counting myself as one of the lucky ones).  Overall I think the article says all that really needs saying.  A tad long, but the whole thing is worth the read.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Movie Review: A-Team

Explosions – check.
Punching – check.
Rapid-paced quips from quirky characters – check.
Better aim than in the original TV show – check.
ActionActionAction – check.
Surprise twists to keep the action going – check.
Bigger Explosions – check.
Over-the-top ending with explosions, gunfire, and punching – check.
A small plot to sort of string it all together – bonus check.

OK, what's not to like about the movie?  You know why you're going to a show like this, and it ain't deep character development.  You pay for the ticket, get on the ride, and two hours later you get off with a goofy grin.  If that's what you're looking for, it's worth every penny.

It's June.  Have some fun.  3 out of 4 stars.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Evil Plans

Having just blogged about his first book (Ignore Everybody) last week, it seems Hugh Mcleod has just sent off the manuscript on #2: Evil Plans.  I am so looking forward to next April.
"Evil Plans," heh.  Could there be a more appropriate book for a guy who blogs under "Dr. Coyote"?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Xerox and the Information Age turn 50.

Read all about it in The Atlantic.  Not a dry story about the copy machine's invention and struggle to market, but rather a brief waltz through the history of what people did with it, how it was the first step in our current multi-continent spray of customized information.
Now I understand a little better why totalitarian regimes keep copy machines under lock and key.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book: Ignore Everybody

... and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

I don't know, it just sort of grabbed my eye while walking through a bookstore last week.  The recommendation from Guy Kawasaki on the back cover ("Hugh's book will kick your ass and push you out of your zone of mediocrity and stagnation.") (!) pretty much clinched the purchase.  What is it about?  It's about 40 short essays on some basic truths of holding down a living in any creative field.  Examples: "Worrying about 'Commercial vs. Artistic' is a complete waste of time," and "Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity," followed by a page or two of elaboration, and a couple of the author's cartoons.
Biggest problem with this book is that if you're open to the ideas it may be from a "yeah, got bit by that dog back in '97, he's right, won't do that again" viewpoint.  The people who need this the most, people who haven't been mauled by a stobor yet, may not be listening.  I know that if someone'd handed me this book when I was 20 I'd have shrugged it off.  But if I could send one back in a time machine, I'd still try to send one to myself.
Enough for now.  I've got to go be all creative and stuff and make a living.  Here's a link to the guy's web site:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Green Flashes

I've seen them, but they happen so fast it's always a case of "did I just see that?"  Well, here's some photographic evidence.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The origins of Surf Rock

Turns out, Dick Dale dug up his signature song "Misirlou"from his Middle Eastern family background.  And it always just sounded like so much Space Race coolness to me.  Read all 'bout it here, and listen to some of the weird old versions of it too while you're visiting.
All courtesy of Dinosaur Gardens: "Excavating the tar pits of popular culture."  Indeed!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Robin Hood: the review

OK, I like sushi.  I mean, I really like the stuff.  I also can dig tacos, a couple of times a week and I’m one happy coyote.  But.  When I order the taco platter, the waiter nods ‘si’, and then hauls out a damn plate full of artfully arranged dead fish, it’s a little disconcerting.
So what does this have to do with the new Ridley Scott / Russell Crowe movie?  It’s a good movie, I was completely entertained, the swordplay made for fun watching, the deeper themes about human liberty were good, and movie’s take on the proper treatment of traitors masquerading as rogue tax collectors was, uh, pretty much on target.  So what’s not to like?
Well, the name.  Says “Robin Hood” right there on the label, when in fact it should have been titled “Kingdom of Heaven 2: The Scouring of Sherwood Forest” or some such.  It was a good story, but it just wasn’t a Robin Hood story up until right before the credits rolled.
Well, I enjoyed it anyway, and maybe you will too.  But just remember to expect chop sticks with this taco plate.
Two stars, but that’s mostly a problem with title.  Renamed along the lines suggested above and it’d rate three.

Back to the Regularly Scheduled Blog

Thank you for your patience folks (all 2.3 of you).  Back to some semblance of regular blogging.