Monday, July 31, 2006

So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You

So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You.

A rather interesting article in the NY Times looking at how human health and aging has changed over the last hundred or so years. It looks like disease are taking 10-25 year longer to manifest when you compare someone born in the 1950's to the 1850's.

Well worth a read though you need to login to read it (registration is free).

Sunday, July 30, 2006


This looks rather interesting, apparently Microsoft has been doing some research into turning photos into 3D models. Theres a couple of demo video's at the site and at the blog for the team working on it, Photosynth Blog.

It has some rather interesting possibilities for gaming and movie making as well I'd think. If the software is good enough to produce a reasonably accurate 3D model of a site, It's likely that some one will work out a way to export the 3D model to a gaming engine allowing level designers to create levels from photo collections that are accurate to the real thing. While if the models are high enough detail movie directors could perhaps use the models for there movies rather than actually going to the location and filming there.

Undoubtedly there would be a number of other uses as well. Being interesting to see what the product they produce is like in a few years.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Ergo Proxy Trailer

Ergo Proxy Trailer

For those of you interested in anime, and that I've mentioned the series to, this is a rather bizarrely done Japanese trailer for the series. The trailers better watched with the sound off as some chaps raving on about the features which is rather distracting.

Roughly the series name translates to "Therefore in place of another", the series also is by far one of the most referential works I've seen the amount of stuff they cram into the episodes referring to various theories, philosophy's, poetry, and other things is quite impressive.

So if you liked the matrix, blade runner, cyberpunk, etc it's well worth a look. If your prefer Quantum physics on the other hand then may I suggest Noein.

Fire and Ice

'Fire and Ice'

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

-- Robert Frost

An old poem I came across again that I quite like.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wired 14.08: Enter the New Age of DIY

Wired's published a number of little articles covering tips to help with every thing from, Photography, downloading you tube videos, eating, and memorization. Well worth a look, especially the work smarter one.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Gnod - AI and Entertainment - The Global Network of Dreams

Just found this rather interesting site it claims to be running an AI style system that seems to look for similarities or patterns in peoples interests and links them to other similar products.It currently seems to cover Books,Movies, and Music. Entering a couple of my favorite authors it certainly seemed to find a number of other good authors that I've read and think similar as well as a number I'd heard about being good and some names I'd not heard before. The system seems quite interesting the book section asked me to enter three authors I liked then started to suggest other authors I liked asking for each if I liked them, disliked them or didn't know them.Any way if your looking for something new I'd suggest you give the system ago.Here is how it describes it's self on the music page.

Gnod is a self-adapting system that learns about the outer world by asking its visitors what they like and what they don't like. In this instance of gnod all is about music. Gnod is kind of a search engine for music you don't know about. It will ask you what music you like and then think about what you might like too. When I set gnod online its database was completely empty. Now it contains thousands of bands and quite some knowledge about who likes what. And gnod learns more every day. Enjoy :o)

Well have a look this looks like it could be a rather cool system as long as it can keep from being stuffed up by people trying to manipulate it to advertise certain products etc.


Friday, July 14, 2006

A few images from Hanmer.

Here are a few images from Hanmer a few more can be found here in this album along with larger versions (1600x). Worth a look especially if you want to print off a few photo's from that trip and didn't take a camera.

Originally uploaded by Falcdragon.
The Pass

Originally uploaded by Falcdragon.

Reading: A short history of nearly everything.

Currently Reading A Short History Of Nearly Everything. It's an Interesting book being a short scientific history of the world. Looking at how the universe came into existence, the development of modern sciences and so forth. It does it in quite an interesting way. Looking at the important both well know and not so well know figures in each area it looks at. Covering the history of science by looking at each person involved and what they did in sometimes what is quite an amusing manner.

So far it's covered the Big Bang, the formation of the earth, the rise of modern physical sciences, the rise of Quantum physic. Skimming on it's still got a very large section on the rise of life and the rise of humans which should be interesting.

Any way if your looking for an interesting bit of reading I'd certainly recommend the book it's by Bill Bryson.

Here's a couple of amusing quotes from a number of different sections of the book which give a decent feel for the way it's written.

Smith’s revelation regarding strata heightened the moral awkwardness concerning extinctions. To begin with, it confirmed that God had wiped out creatures not occasionally but repeatedly. This made Him seem not so much careless as peculiarly hostile. It also made it inconveniently necessary to explain how some species were wiped out while others continued unimpeded into succeeding eons. Clearly there was more to extinctions than could be accounted for by a single Noachian deluge, as the Biblical flood was known. Cuvier resolved the matter to his own satisfaction by suggesting that Genesis applied only to the most recent inundation. God, it appeared, hadn’t wished to distract or alarm Moses with news of earlier, irrelevant extinctions.

Before Owen, museums were designed primarily for the use and edification of the elite, and even then it was difficult to gain access. In the early days of the British Museum, prospective visitors had to make a written application and undergo a brief interview to determine if they were fit to be admitted at all. They then had to return a second time to pick up a ticket—that is assuming they had passed the interview—and finally come back a third time to view the museum’s treasures.

Scheele’s one notable shortcoming was a curious insistence on tasting a little of everything he worked with, including such notoriously disagreeable substances as mercury, prussic acid (another of his discoveries), and hydrocyanic acid—a compound so famously poisonous that 150 years later Erwin Schrödinger chose it as his toxin of choice in a famous thought experiment (see page 146). Scheele’s rashness eventually caught up with him. In 1786, aged just forty-three, he was found dead at his workbench surrounded by an array of toxic chemicals, any one of which could have accounted for the stunned and terminal look on his face.

It is still a fairly astounding notion to consider that atoms are mostly empty space, and that the solidity we experience all around us is an illusion. When two objects come together in the real world—billiard balls are most often used for illustration—they don’t actually strike each other. “Rather,” as Timothy Ferris explains, “the negatively charged fields of the two balls repel each other . . . were it not for their electrical charges they could, like galaxies, pass right through each other unscathed.” When you sit in a chair, you are not actually sitting there, but levitating above it at a height of one angstrom (a hundred millionth of a centimeter), your electrons and its electrons implacably opposed to any closer intimacy.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

MYTH: More Foreign Aid Will End Global Poverty

An interesting look at Foreign Aid and the Bono style make poverty history view. They suggest that Foreign Aid does more harm than good, supporting the corrupt governments that are one of the biggest problems. The author makes the interesting point that go back 50 years east Asia was as poor as Africa yet with much lower levels of Foreign aid those country's are now much better off than Africa. Worth reading do people agree or disagree?