Critical Section


Sunday,  05/31/09  08:32 PM

Last day of May...  and off to New York tomorrow!  Had a nice day today... hanging out with family and celebrated my Mom's birthday (which is really tomorrow).  We gave her - ta da - a Kindle.  I think she's going to love it, we'll see...

...and now the Ole filter makes a pass...

SETI@home in actionWow, SETI@home has turned 10.  Amazing.  I can remember having dozens of computers at Intuit running SETI in their spare time, back in 1999...  that screenshot [shown at left] is absolutely iconic...

Guess what?  Turns out Pixar's 'Up' house could really fly!  Well, under some set of assumptions, anyway...  I still think that garden hose would probably tear out :)

Apparently Up is really flying at the box office.  As it should be.  That makes an unbelievable ten hits in a row for Pixar.

Toy Story 3 - teaser trailerAnd - here's the trailer for Toy Story 3.  I'm ready!

Mozilla and Google's 'don't be evil' bulldozer.  Pretty interesting.  Long term it is tough to see how Mozilla can remain competitive, but there they are, with Microsoft, Apple, and Google as their competition.  Pretty amazing.  And I have to admit, Firefox is still my everyday browser.

Denis Menchov wins the Giro!Wow, congratulations to Denis Menchov, who won the 2009 Giro d'Italia.  A great victory considering the competition and the way he won it, by pulling away and winning the toughest stage.  This makes him a sudden favorite for the Tour de France, I think, along with Alberto Contador...  As much as I like Menchov, it is also great to see Rabobank win a grand tour.  They came -> <- this close to winning the Tour with Michael Rasmussen in 2007.

Richard Feynman plays the bongosDid you know Nobel-prize winning Physicist Richard Feynman played a pretty mean pair of bongos?  No?  Well check these videos for evidence...  Here's something else you probably didn't know: Richard Feynman played bongos at my parents wedding.  Yep, my Dad worked for Linus Pauling at the time, and a whole bunch of Caltech physicists and chemists were there...

My own Feynman annecdote: When I was a freshman at Caltech, in 1976, Feynman was still there but no longer actively teaching.  Toward the end of the semester the weekly lecture was suddenly moved to a much larger hall, and the rumors spread - Feynman himself was to give it.  Sure enough, that morning the huge hall was full, with freshman physics students as well as all manner of grad students, senior faculty, and administrators.  No introduction or anything, he just walked out, introduced himself, and launched right into explaining Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity.  I still remember that lecture, the quiet concentration as everyone listened intently, the laughter (Feynman was really funny), and the sense of occaison.  I didn't know then I'd be blogging thirty years later, but I knew then I would be talking about that lecture.  Walking out of the hall, I felt I really understood the Special Theory for the first time, even though I'd been working with it all term.  That feeling soon passed - I still have only an emperical understanding of it - but the tantilizing feeling of having it within my grasp stayed with me.  He was truly exceptional.

I am finishing Nassim Taleb's The Black Swan...  hit pause temporarily to read some other stuff, including William Gibson's Pattern Recognition...  One of the cool paradoxes is that we necessarily know more about things which are wrong than about things which are right.  For the longest time everyone thought Newtonian physics was right - all the evidence supported it.  But yet slowly evidence from astronomy began accumulating that it was not quite right, which led to Einstein's theory, which has Newtonian physics as a special case.

Another interesting gem from The Black Swan: how we handle incomplete information is at the core of intelligence.

winner: Inhabitat's eco-bikini contest :)I have been following Inhabitat's eco-bikini contest with great interest :)

Electronic Daybook: things that depress me.  I agree with the list, to which I would add, "lists of things that depress me".

Something that cheers me up: strange loops :)

ZooBorns: Nubian goat kidsSomething else that cheers me up, the ZooBorns of the day: Nubian goat kids.

Have a great week!

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