Archive for the ‘Mental Health Break’ category

Sunday Arts Section: Amazing Sound Engineering/Music Video Dept./Stand By Me

May 17, 2009

What you have here is a truly wonderful conjunction of modern recording chops and a global sensitivity.  Enjoy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “moogaloop.swf (application/x-shockwav…“, posted with vodpod

Pre-last Class Mental Health Reward

May 13, 2009

Some truly fine guitar playing and a great song besides from the legendary Richard Thomas:

And just for visual reference’s sake … (ah, I love the intertubes…):

Image:  Steve McQueen’s Vincent Black ShadowLightning.  Oops.

The Uses Of Opera: Why We Love High Speed Photography/Disgusting Video Dept.

April 24, 2009

It’s Friday, and that means we need some fun stuff, right?

Try this (h/t Sullivan):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Sneezing In Ultra Slow Motion Video“, posted with vodpod

On the theme of this blog (and of my writing over a long time) — this gets to one of the real drivers of scientific advance that scientists understand intimately, but that the broader audience may not.  And that is the role of instruments, of the tools of the trade, not just in working out ideas investigators may have already had, but in catalyzing new thoughts.

High speed and stop motion photography have provided a world of examples of this, as I should konw, being at Doc Edgerton’s home institution.  But the story goes much deeper than the obvious rewards of recent high technology.  I once wrote a book that argued that instruments are a great way to understand the history of science, because the tools we build make material the questions we want to answer with them — and yet, seemingly always, in doing so create new question and new perspectives.

For example, the telescope, it first seemed, was a device that could make what we already do — look for distant objects, say warships approaching Venice, at greater distances.  Same job, more power.  But then the same man who presented the new instrument to the leaders of the Venetian Republic pointed it in a different direction, and discovered these.

And from thence, much else flowed.  So it may be with the sneeze.  Though I would not, if I may say so, hold my breath.

Image:  Eadward Muybridge, “The Horse in Motion,” animated image made from photographs like these.

Social Media Strike Back: Universal Truths/Jane Austen edition

December 9, 2008

I had just been contemplating the implications of this radical new translation of the book of Job, when thanks to Brad DeLong, I encountered this rurther proof that in the eternal cage match between form and content, form takes pride of place, in this instance, the winner, without prejudice.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you….


That is all.

Image:  George Cruikshank, “Inconviences of a Crowded Drawing Room” 1818.

The Critical Question of the Campaign: Palin/Putin edition

October 13, 2008

A while back, in this post, I committed a reductio ad absurdum by asking just what of Russia Sarah Palin could see from just where in Alaska.

That post triggered a happy reaction in the mind of my old friend, Michael Kosowsky, who, among many other attributes, possesses a quality common in his adopted home state of Maine, in that he likes to build cool stuff himself.

In this case, Michael is the author and mastermind behind — a lovely software tool/website, now usable within Google Earth as well.  The idea for the site came to him whilst hiking near his home in the Camden area.  He was looking across at some hills, and, looking at one peak, wondered to himself, “hey — what’s that?”

The result is a website and set of tools that now allow the user to figure out what they can see from any point in the US (and in beta form for the rest of the world), to study paths through geography, maplets that model contours and implications of sea level rise, among other functions and so on.  Details here.

So, when I did a rough search through web resources to find out just what points in Alaska had Russia in their sights, Michael decided to take my simple-minded survey and turn it rigorous.  The result is this new tool, Hey What’s That Alaska, which takes actual geographical data and performs the calculations needed to determine from whence you can see what.

His results?  I got it a bit wrong.  There are a couple of places on the mainland of Alaska from which it is possible to glimpse Putin’s place — they are mountaintops in the back of the beyond, but they are, I guess, slightly more accessible than Little Diomede (though probably not St. Lawrence Island, which does have some kind of air service from Nome, meaning the amount of back country hiking needed to peer across the fog at some dim grey rock-bound shoreline would be slightly more under control).

So when Governor Palin returns home to continue her lonely watch, constantly vigilant against the looming threat from across the Bering Strait — she has a couple more places on which she also can serve, standing and waiting through the night.  Or something.

But check out Hey What’s That.  It’s a truly wonderful time sink, and an increasingly useful, multiplatform tool, put together by one of the true good guys.

Also — for those of you who like such things, below the jump you’ll find Michael’s technical explanation for what his Alaska/Russia applet is doing:


Pop Culture/History break

September 4, 2008

Over at Eschaton, Not-Atrios links here, refusing to explain why.

Well I’ll see your Airplane and raise it:

(real posts to come ASAP.  Lot’s to talk about today.)

Travel Notes 2: Saturday Night Rewards

August 23, 2008

In a post a couple of days ago, I signed off yet another David Brooks rant with the intention of washing my mind clear by a trip to hear Pops Muhamed play. Well, I did, and he was great — exactly as advertised, someone who has spent a lot of time and artfulness incorporating traditional music into jazz and South Africa’s political life as well. So, just to share a bit of the wealth, here’s something to get Saturday night going in the right way. Enjoy: