Critical Section

Archive: January 17, 2016

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not a fish

Sunday,  01/17/16  06:55 PM

analog and digital fishWas just scanning my archive, and loved this: that was a not a fish.  It still isn't...

Green Bay vs Arizona - the coin flipDid you watch that amazing game between Arizona and Green Bay last night?  Wow.  The first replay review of a coin flip :)  It was as good as the previous game between New England and Kansas City was bad.  You tune in, you just never know what will happen...

In the same article as the fish, from seven years ago, this from Uncov about rewriting in Ajax: Just because you can doesn't mean you should.  That's exactly how I feel about today's massive dynamic web pages.

Elon Musk re SpaceX Jason-3 mission landingToday SpaceX attempted to land a rocket on a barge again, and once again was unsuccessful.  They missed it by -> <- this much; the boostback burn was successful, but the landing was harder than planned and a landing leg broke on the landing.  The 12-15' waves rocking the barge might have been a factor.  Meanwhile the mission itself was a resounding success; the Jason-3 satellite was placed into a polar orbit without incident.

Don't you love the SpaceX live webcasts?  Not only are the launches themselves exciting and interesting, but the discussion about the mission and technology by the SpaceX team is great.  Onward!

In case you were wondering: why SpaceX needs to land a rocket on a floating barge.  It comes down to safety, and staying away from populated areas.

leaving the solar system at the speed of lightWhat it looks like to leave our Solar System at the speed of light.  My takeway is ... wow, the solar system is *really* big.  (It takes 45 minutes just to reach Jupiter!)  And yet compared to our galaxy, it's *really* little.  My mind is boggled.

PS it's a great visualization.  Love it.

transparent solar cells: solar windows!Wow, cool (literally):  Revolutionary transparent solar cells.  "Unlike traditional and opaque PV technology, SolarWindow can be readily applied as a coating to any glass window or plastic surface and instantly generate electricity, even in artificial light and shade."  Excellent.  Our Earth is bathed in high-energy light all the time, the key to the future is converting more of it into useful stored entropy.

Hedgehog, a robot for asteroidsMeet the Hedgehog, an asteroidal robot.  This robot uses internal flywheels to move, to get traction on the surface of a low-gravity environment like the surface of an asteroid or comet.

News item: new bombers to cost $550M each.  Hmmm.... I'm all for national defense, but that seems excessive.  Couldn't we divert some of that money into ... asteroid robots?  (Especially since we already have bombers, this is just more money for more bombers...)

Don't you just hate websites that notice you're using an ad blocker, and nag you not to?  Yeah, me too.  "Wow, I'm sorry I'm not watching your crappy ads, okay, I'll disable AdBlock" ... said nobody, ever.  So how is this going to end?  I've actually had a website refuse to show me content because I blocked ads.  Will that be the endgame?  I think there will be an ongoing escalation of technology on both sides.

Similarly I am watching football today while blogging; I use a Tivo (of course) so I skip most of the ads, but there are ads sprinkled into the broadcast, too.  (This touchdown brought to you by...)

fake Brooklyn bar menus ... got nothing on LA bar menus :)This is the funniest thing ever: Website creates fake Brooklyn bar menus on demand.  They have nothing on LA bar menus, either.  ("Water tacos")  The weird pretentiousness is captured perfectly.

displaying a TitanosaurNews you can use: how to display a Titanosaur, the largest creature that ever walked the Earth.  I love the understanding and technology that allows us to reconstruct the skeleton of a giant creature that lived millions of years ago from a few fossilized bones.

The $10T mystery at the heart of Saudi Arabia.  How interesting that Aramco might be for sale.  The tech of fracking is changing the world.

Apropos: I'm so old, I remember when low oil prices were good news.  Yep, that would be me.  I can remember oil rationing, waiting in long lines to get gas, and swapping license plates with my roomate so I could buy gas on an even day.  How quickly we forget.

I totally support this: Help is on the way against noisy leaf blowers.  I'm not sure I agree this should be legistlated, but definitely happy that technology is replacing the noisy and dirty two-stroke engine with something better.

Jukedeck, winner of TechCrunch Disrupt London 2015Now this is pretty revealing: The winner of TechCrunch disrupt London 2015 is ... Jukedeck!  I know what you're thinking, who are Jukedeck, and what do they do?  "Jukedeck is a platform that lets users create custom, cheap, royalty-free soundtracks for their videos and/or podcasts, all without any musical talent."  Seems more like a moderately useful product than an amazing new company.

Hmmm:  Almost all US temperature data used in global warming models is estimated or altered.  I'm not surprised.  The more people go out of their way to make a case that humans are ruining their planet, the less I believe it.

how to make an iglooHave you ever wondered how to make an igloo?  Let these two Inuit men show you.  Of course with global warming this may be a vanishing art :)  Of special interest to me was the way they make "ice bricks" from snow.  Brrr...

Okay, back to football... and coding!...


the tree of life

Sunday,  01/17/16  07:10 PM

the tree of life:

this digital map catalogues 2.3M species, and shows how they are related in evolutionary time
1.8M of these are named, and 22% have been genetically mapped

especially when you realize the vast majority of all species which ever existed are now extinct


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