Monday, June 30, 2008

100 Years Ago Today

A fireball streaking across the sky and a massive explosion in the Siberian hinterlands marks the largest recorded collision ever between Earth and an object from space.

The Tunguska event flattened 80 million trees covering 830 square miles of sparsely populated (but not unpopulated) Russian outback in the region of the Tunguska River northwest of Lake Baikal.

In its 1966 edition, the Guinness Book of Records concluded that, based on the Earth's rotation, had the Tunguska meteorite struck 4 hours, 47 minutes later, it would have obliterated St. Petersburg, then the capital of imperial Russia. Given the events that would shortly torment that nation -- and all of Europe -- for the better part of the 20th century, one is left to wonder how history might have changed in those circumstances.

Read more on the Tunguska Event on Wikipedia

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pixar's True First Short - Andre & Wally B. (1984)

The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. is an animated short made in 1984 by the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project, which would later be spun out as a startup company called Pixar. Although it is technically not a Pixar short, the animation was by John Lasseter, who was working on his first computer animated project and would move on to be a pivotal player at Pixar. The credits for the piece are concept/direction Alvy Ray Smith, animation John Lasseter, technical lead Bill Reeves, technical contributions by Tom Duff, Eben Ostby, Rob Cook, Loren Carpenter, Ed Catmull, David Salesin, Tom Porter, and Sam Leffler, filming by David DiFrancesco, Tom Noggle, and Don Conway, and computer logistics by Craig Good.

The animation on the feature was truly groundbreaking at the time, featuring the first use of motion blur in |CG animation. Lasseter pushed the envelope by asking for manipulatable shapes capable of the squash and stretch style, as earlier CG models had generally been restricted to rigid geometric shapes.

It was rendered on one Cray X-MP/48 (where 48 stands for 4 processors and 8 million words of internal memory, with word size of 64 bits (i.e. 8 bytes) it means its RAM size was 64 MB) and ten VAX 11/750s from Project Athena.

Credit: Wikipedia

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cell Phone Eavesdropping

The technology to eavesdrop via landline phones has been around for decades, and I have long suspected the same with mobile phones. View with caution:

You Know You’re Living in 2008 When…

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You have so many passwords you can never remember any of them.

3. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

4. You have more text conversations than phone conversations.

5. Ditto IM and Skype conversations.

6. You use your cell phone to find your boyfriend at a crowded show or bar.

7. You have a list of fifteen phone numbers to reach your family of three.

8. When you leave home in the morning, forgetting your cell phone—which you didn’t need and didn’t know you needed for the first twenty or thirty (or sixty) years of your life—is a cause for total panic and you have to turn around immediately to go get it.

10. Losing your cell phone is a major, major catastrophe.

11. Losing your Internet access is an even bigger catastrophe.

12. You spend more time looking at MySpace and YouTube than you do watching TV.

13. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

by Ophelia Payne

Friday, June 27, 2008

14 Simple Ways to Super Charge Your Brain

No matter how powerful our brains are, they need recuperation time, to be kept in shape, and even an occasional charge. Think of it as a tune up for your brain.

Read all about it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Skateboarding Commuter

The price of gas is really causing some people to use poor judgment.

Either that, or they're shooting an episode of "Jackass."

Monday, June 23, 2008

12 Year-Old-Girl Addresses the U.N. (1992)

The world probably would be a better place if adults behaved in the same way they teach their kids to act.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why Doesn't Lebanon Have a Skatepark?

I have lived in Lebanon, Oregon for almost twelve years, and have participated in at least two distinct efforts to get a skatepark in town. There always seems to be...well, I shouldn't really publicize here all of the speculation going around as to why a town the size of Lebanon can't get it together to give the kids (and adults!) a place to enjoy a healthy and wholesome sport together. Lots of towns much smaller than Lebanon have pulled it together, and it's about time Lebanon gets a skatepark.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Slow-Motion Laughing Baby

Muslim Baby Tossing

Muslims of a local shrine in western India throw newborn babies off the top of a tower in hopes of giving that child good luck. Don't worry though, a couple of guys are below to catch the babies with a cloth sheet. The tradition is over 500 years old.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Found It: That Shiney Thing On Top

It took five attempts over the course of almost two months, but the snow has almost entirely cleared from near the summit of Green Peter Mountain ( N44° 28.986' W122° 34.975'). We had been trying to get to the top to find That Shiney Thing On Top: Green Peter (GC170FC).

On a spur-of-the-moment trip, Deulist and I Jeeped up to the gate and hiked to the top. We found the cache we failed to find a month ago because of the snow, which was two or three feet deep on top of the cache on that trip. We took a lot of pictures (and Deulist may or may not have left a little something to increase the lure), so check out the cache logs to get the vicarious experience...or, better yet, go for it yourself!

All we need to do now is find out about the survey marker stamped "Bald Peter" (the next mountain to the North), rather than "Green Peter." Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wooden Bikes!

Every year a festival takes place in the Banaue region in the Philippines, as a celebration of the tribal culture. In this particular festival, a number of men dressed in native costumes get on a wooden bikes and race each other.

Dressed in their red outfits with feathers on their heads, you can just imagine them zooming past on their wooden, bipedal creations.

Although the wooden bicycle is centuries old, fashion is cyclical. I personally can’t wait until they come back in fashion.

Why You Should Always Carry a Digital Camera

Last Tuesday, Lori Mehmen looked out her front door in Orchard, Iowa and this is what she saw. She had a digital camera handy, and somehow managed to take this photo before crapping her pants and taking cover. This, my friends, is why always having a camera nearby is helpful.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Birthplace of the Internet

3420 Boelter Hall, Stanford Research Institute

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Boston Gets a New Lead Singer

I have been a fan of Boston for 3/4 of my life, and my love for their music shows no sign of fading any time soon. A Boston fan from North Carolina named Tommy DeCarlo was chosen to sing based on his performances on Boston cover songs on his MySpace page.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

600,000 Wasted Eyeballs

Become an organ donor.

How to Make Profound and Lasting Change

Is there an area of your life that you would like to change? Is there an area of your life you’ve tried changing, made some progress but somehow ended up in the same spot you started in?

Read all about it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Apple Introduces iPhone Videoconferencing Kit

"This July 11 you will be able to buy the Apple Videoconferencing Kit for iPhone 3G at just $29. Press release and an exclusive leaked photo of the user manual..."

Read all about it here.

The Blog of Dude

My good friend and fellow cache freak Dude (that's him on the left with Jeremy from of Dude/Sweet has a great-looking blog. I can't wait to see his entry for this coming September 11 (no, it's not what you think).