Monday, March 31, 2008

Unstructured Flight Patterns


This is a snapshot of a twenty-four hour visualization of flights across (as well as into and out of) the continental United States.

I love the way that you can see night and day sweeping across the country. It also astonishes me that so many flights are in the air at the same time. Once again I'm reminded of the fact that we live in a Golden age.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Unstructured Path to Rivendell

Map to Rivendell

Perhaps Frodo and Sam would have had an easier trip if they had had Google Maps.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unstructured Bendito Machine

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Bendito Machine is an animated story with a moral. What, precisely, that moral is, I'm not sure. It may be a simple tale of how greed corrupts and destroys, it may be a cautionary tale about the reliance on technology, or perhaps a story about the futility of conflict and nationalism, or maybe even something to do with religion.

Regardless, the iconic animation is beautiful and the story is intriguing even if the precise message is a bit equivocal.

Be warned: this one's a bandwidth buster.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's Race Speech

Barack ObamaThis is not a political blog, nor do I have any desire to turn it into one largely because the world is full of such blogs and I know very well that there's very little that I would be able to add to that wide discussion. In like manner, I have few enough readers and there's nothing like politics when it comes to alienating others.

Given that, I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing any candidate on this blog. I trust that you don't need hear my decision in order to reach your own.

That said, I really have to say that I was exceedingly impressed with Barack Obama's speech in which he defended his association with the Reverend Wright. As someone who has spent much of his life in words, I can appreciate quality oratory and I think that this speech proves that Obama is probably the best political orator we've seen in decades.

Of course, there is no necessary correlation between being a good orator and being a good leader. Indeed, honeyed words can lead a nation down a sour road and history is filled with such examples. At the same time, I do think that there is a positive correlation between the ability to speak clearly and the presence of a strong intellect (while hastening to add that simple ineloquence is not a definite sign of stupidity -- there are many people whose wisdom is hidden by a stumbling tongue).

I am especially impressed by what the speech says about race in America. I have, myself, tried to articulate some of these concepts with considerably less success. I am impressed by the way that it both illuminates and transcends much of the real and even reasonable suspicions that divides America. I have long felt that the charge of racism has often been deployed simplistically and that prejudice is often a much more complex and subtle thing than is credited and that saying that something, or someone, is racist is too much of a binary categorization to be either meaningful or useful in the vast percentage of cases where the word is used.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Unstructured Gravity

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If you've ever played the old Artillery computer game, Gravity Pods is essentially the same game except that the artillery is deflected by attractors and repellors.

It's a simple game while still being quite addictive.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unstructured Pi

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In honor of International Pi Day (which is also, conincidentally, my birthday), here's a song about the virtues of pi by Alan Ferrier and Antoni Chan.
If you liked the song, there's also a somewhat truncated video that you can watch.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Unstructured Eruption


Here's a rather specatular orbital photo taken of the Aleutian Islands' Cleveland Volcano taken for NASA's Earth Observatory. Click here for a larger image.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Unstructured Glowsticks

Light Sticks in a Blender

There's a good chance that you've already come across the "Will it Blend" site by Blendtec. If you haven't, Blendtec is a company that makes industrial strength blenders. They've created a series of viral videos whose shtick is them taking various objects and destroying them in their blenders.

The entire site is good for when you're in the mood for a bit of entropy by proxy but I particularly like the demonstration of blending a bunch of glowsticks.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


More fun with oscilloscopes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Unstructured Microart

Tiny Sculpture

Willard Wigan specializes in amazingly tiny sculptures.

I wasn't able to find a good gallery of his work so, instead, here's a Google Image Search link that returns quite a few samples.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Gary Gygax, RIP

Troll Lord Games, who currently publishes Gary Gygax's work, has reported that Gary Gygax has died. Although I haven't seen reports in the mainstream media, I'm inclined to view this as a credible report.

Generations of introverted teenage geeks have Gary to thank for providing us with a creative social outlet for our geekery. While D&D has often been stereotyped as a way for kids to avoid contact with others the truth is that it, more often than not, brought smart kids together who shared common interests that didn't confrom to the popular norms. I can certainly say, from my own experience, that it was an integral and cherished part of my own childhood.

It's been years since I've done any serious roleplaying but I think that I may need to set aside some time with some friends and some polyhedral dice to honor the memory of the man.

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