Oct. 11th, 2011 08:14 pm
kaitou: (Default)
Stephen Fry and Brian Blessed Swearing Up a Storm for Science.

Obviously not safe for work, but it's brilliant. Stephen & Brian start about 17 minutes in if you want to skip to it, but the whole thing is a lot of fun.


Aug. 4th, 2010 06:05 pm
kaitou: (oldtp)
Prop 8 Declared Unconstiutional!


Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:51 pm
kaitou: (oldtp)
Westboro Church, you should have known better than to take on the geeks.

Check the second pick in detail, you can see the Westboro people on the far left, all sad and stupid, and a MASSIVE WALL of AWESOME on the right.
kaitou: (Squee!)
This woman is my new hero. The more I look at these pictures, the more awesome she gets. Look at those gloves! The grime on her spats! That grin! I want to be her when I grow up.

ETA: Found some more info on Eleanor Belvins, like pictures here, which says she was also a movie star and aviatrix.
kaitou: (monkeys)
I don't watch much Fiction television. There are shows that I like that I catch on DVD or online, like Chuck, but when it comes to actually watching a show on the TV, I'm pretty much down to 'Leverage' and 'Eureka.' But I do watch a metric ton of documentary shows. Roman plumbing? Hawking's thoughts on Black Holes? Guys filming random things in slow motion? I am ALL OVER that.

So recently I've been watching lots of science shows. And therefore I'm seeing a LOT of Neil Degrasse Tyson. He works at the Hayden Planetarium in NY, and he's a frequent guest on the Daily Show and Colbert Report. And he's a talking head for just about any astronomy-astrophysics show or special there is. And he hosts Nova Science NOW on PBS (which is a pretty good science magazine show).

So I was watching one of these shows, thinking how much I have seen of him lately, so I went to his site and wrote him a little fan letter. Nothing much, just like, two twitter-fulls of 'I've enjoyed your appearances and think you have clear explanations of complicated concepts for someone who isn't very knowledgeable, like me.' And today he wrote back!

Dear Ann
Thank you for your kind words below. I try hard to bring the universe down to Earth. I am glad to learn that I occasionally succeed - even on Colbert.
All the best, on Earth and in the Universe.

This makes me happy.


Aug. 26th, 2009 06:26 pm
kaitou: (Default)
Ok, this is pretty much the best thing.
kaitou: (Default)
So these guys were on the Colbert Report. And OMG, I had to go right out and get it. <3

kaitou: (Default)
I finished decoupaging my coffee table! It looks pretty awesome, though I did not judge the height of the legs so well, it's a little tall for a coffee table to be honest. I may have to take those legs off and get different ones at some point, but for now I don't care. I'm finally finished! I covered the top in pages from a 1904 book called 'Beverly of Graustark' which is basically 'Prisoner of Zenda' fanfiction. Full of princes disguised as brigands and American heiresses disguised as princesses.

Here are pics...and for those of you who don't care.....they have Roxy in them. C'mon, everyone loves the cat pictures.


Apr. 15th, 2009 12:05 pm
kaitou: (monkeys)
Last night I wove in the ends of my washcloth and today I took a picture of my Dalek Washcloth. The pic doesn't really do the yarn justice, it's a much darker pinker red. But it was really easy and really fun. I'm totally making more of these.
kaitou: (Work)
Last night I bought a couple of books off of Amazon's Marketplace that lets you buy used books from 3rd parties. They're out of print, so I was glad to find them. Even better, when I got my confirmation mail this morning, I found out that the proceeds from my order are going to charity. The dealer, Better World Books, is devoted to World Literacy and has it's own website where you can sell or buy new and used books, organize book drives and all sorts of things.

Cool stuff.


Mar. 16th, 2009 12:46 pm
kaitou: (monkeys)
I bought a copy of BBC's 'Knowledge' magazine the last time I made it to a big bookstore, and I've been carrying it around in my purse and reading it at lunch breaks and the doctor's office and that sort of thing. This magazine is seriously awesome. Like a less tongue in cheek Mental Floss.

The April issue highlights Darwin and Evolution and has a seriously excellent article called "Evolution in Action" about Richard Lenski's experiments with E. Coli bacteria, which he's been working on since 1988. He teaches at Michigan State! How did I not know about him then so I could fangirl him!?

There's a lot of information at the wikipedia article. But in short, Lenski started with 12 identical lines of E.Coli bacteria in their own petri dishes. He set about starving the bacteria by giving them very minimal amounts of glucose. To quote the article, "Lenski wanted to see if the bacteria would be altered by natural selection. In each generation, some of the bacteria would mutate. A few of those mutations might make them grow and reproduce faster in their flask and they'd out-compete the other bacteria. Over time, natural selection might transform the bacteria in measurable ways...If evolution was at all repeatable, he hoped to get similar results in many of them."

Every day he takes some of the bacteria and freezes it, creating a fossil record. Any changes can be checked by thawing a previous generation of bacteria out and examining them.

After 5000 generations of bacteria all 12 lines grew faster and were about twice the size of their 'ancestors.' And more and more changes occurred. The same genes mutated in most lines, but not the same way. So while more than one line evolved to use the glucose more efficiently, when they had to feed on maltose instead some lines adapted well, and others starved. By 2001 one of the lines had developed the ability to eat citrate, and the population in the dish exploded.

The whole experiment is just incredibly exciting...and so well planned, researched and maintained.
kaitou: (Work)
Have you been following The Daily Show vs. CNBC feud? If not, for the love of God, WHY not? It's amazing. Get thee to with all deliberate speed. The whole thing can be see in the LH sidebar because Comedy Central knows it's got a good thing.

The first piece, "CNBC Gives Financial Advice," is one of the better pieces the Daily Show has ever done, hands down. Stewart just eviscerates an entire network.

There are a few other pieces, but the next really good one is "Basic Cable Personality Clash Skirmish '09" where you watch Stewart watch Jim Cramer watch one of the earlier Stewart pieces when he went on the Today Show to defend himself. You can just see the humor fade from Cramer's face as the clip roles.

The first time I saw it I actually felt a little bad for Cramer. Then I remembered that he was purposely going on all the other NBC programs to complain about his treatment. And then I thought...the Daily Show airs at 11:00 at night, the Today Show is on in the morning. How did he and his people NOT think to watch the show and prep for it? If you're in a fight, doesn't it make sense to keep tabs on what the other guy is saying? Stupid, stupid, stupid. And then! I had a third thought and felt a little bad for him again. His sister network, which he went to for support, totally set him up with that clip. And then I come back to the fact that he was stupid enough to walk right into it, and you know, as Stewart points out, the people that lost money by listening to him had it a lot worse.

And last night the whole thing culminated with Cramer being the special guest. And they devoted almost the entire episode to the interview. And I really think it was one of John Stewart's better interviews. One of the things I like about Stewart is that his role as a fake news anchor gives him a little more leeway than a traditional journalist, and he's more free to represent himself as 'one of us' instead of an objective observer. So when he's talking to Jim Cramer, he's talking to him as a normal person with the same worries for himself as the rest of us.

And he doesn't let him off the hook either. I didn't think that the interview would actually descend into a fight, but Cramer was more submissive than I expected. But Stewart doesn't just let him say 'mea culpa, forgive and forget.' He calls Cramer out, and backs it up with evidence. THIS is how you interview someone. Cramer talks about how people came on his show and lied, but maybe they wouldn't have gotten away with all the lies if people had done their research and asked better questions than "So is it fun being a billionaire?"

Jon Stewart, you are my hero.
kaitou: (monkeys)
So if all the monster movies of the 50's were all about our fear of nuclear war... what on earth is all this about? First we've got the extended edition of Pride and Prejudice And Zombies coming out, and now there's this.

...I'm going to be so thrilled if this becomes a genre.

Also, I want a 'Grand Sophy' movie and I want it Now.

My God

Jan. 21st, 2009 06:08 pm
kaitou: (monkeys)
I've been reading 'A History of The World in Six Glasses' which I've been wanting to get my hands on for a long time. So far I've been reading about beer and wine, and how each was considered to be a gift from the gods for mankind by various civilizations.

But they're totally wrong.

It's Bacon.

God I love Bacon.
kaitou: (Default)
Quick shout out to the lovely ladies of the [ profile] thehouseofmews, that I got the OK from my boss to take a 1/2 day on Friday, so expect to see me this weekend! Yaaaay!

Big thanks to [ profile] flidgetjerome for my Christmas Presents. I will try and post the picture she drew me when I get home from work. It's SO CUTE. And Merlin DVDs! I can't wait to watch commentary and dorky production diaries.

For everybody's a train wreck you've got to see...

I was talking to Flidget about White House Pets, and one thing led to another, and suddenly I was on Barney's (Bush's Scottie Dog) official website. You really HAVE to watch the Christmas Specials, which are all acted out, with music and scripts and everything. And honestly, they'd be really, really adorable....if they weren't filled with criminals.

You will never look at Karl Rove the same way again after he cackles to the Secretary of Education that he got into Barney's Christmas Pageant and she didn't. And the DoJ Scandal looks especially weird after watching Alberto Gonzalez solemnly tell a scottie dog that he couldn't find a job for him in his department.
kaitou: (monkeys)
This week I had what my dad calls my first 'Nora' moment. Nora being my grandmother, who is an excellent negotiator. About 15-20 years ago she decided that she didn't like the rivets in her jeans. They might scratch the furniture. So naturally she took them to a tailor, had them remove the rivets and sent the bill to Levi's. Levi's not only paid her tailor bill, they sent her a coupon for free pairs of the new line of rivetless jeans they were about to start.

And it's not just my grandmother, my mother's got the same luck. Back in August she wrote to Office Max telling them about these plastic boxes that are great for scrapbooking and how they ought to carry them. She got an email telling her that her idea sparked a lot of talk and that they wanted to send her a thank you. She was expecting a $10 gift card or something. They sent over $80 in those plastic boxes directly from the company in the UK.

Every now and then I try to have the same luck, but it never works for me. When I was living in Japan I wrote to tell them how much I loved the Curry Pringles, and would they please start carrying them in America too, because I didn't think I could live without them once I had to move back. They wrote back to me and told me that not only would they not do that, they were discontinuing them in Japan.

But I finally had my moment! When I bought the Garmin it came with three free downloads from an audiobook site that I was already a member of. (You can download audiobooks and mp3s directly to the gps and play them from there) But when I went to their site it said that I wasn't eligible because I was already a member. I wrote to them and said, 'that's not fair, the card with the downloads doesn't say it's limited to new members.'

And they gave me my downloads! *does a little dance* Now I can get some books to listen to on the way to visit [ profile] exgentlemen and [ profile] ideographer for Christmas!


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