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     Today's Featured Article  View Printable Version  
     Title:  It Lives!
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Sat Mar 10, 2007 at 10:56 PM
     Viewed:  2,152 times    
    General NewsWell, sort of. There was some weird database issue that brought down the site. Not really sure what that was, but it'd been forever and a day since I've had a chance to fix it. Finally, got that back up. So...enjoy!

     Dying... dying... dead?  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Sun Jan 7, 2007 at 03:51 AM
     Viewed:  2,012 times   
    General NewsMaybe. Right now, I'm full on involved with my work at Parsons. That means that what webby time I have left to me I have to devote to maintaining my student site, which I can barely handle as it is. It took winter break for me to be able to update it with my work. So, for now, at least, antholog.com is comatose. Later... who knows?

     Malkin Is An Idiot  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Tue Sep 19, 2006 at 11:26 PM
     Viewed:  2,554 times   
    PoliticsWow.  Just wow.  WOW.  So is it still a war on terror or can the conservatives just finally come out and say they hate Islam?  Because it's the only remaining consistent explanation for their dumb shit.

     The Electronet  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Mon Sep 18, 2006 at 06:39 PM
     Viewed:  2,045 times   
    EnvironmentSo I scored a big lucky one today and got to go see Al Gore's speech down at NYU during the only free time I had in my class schedule today. And, honestly, he hit it out of the park. He focused his talk on Global Warming, and how we should see it as an opportunity to regain our technical, economic, and moral leadership. Really fantastic talk, loaded with specifics, like getting rid of payroll taxes (which suppress hiring) and replacing them with carbon/pollution taxes (which would suppress pollution.) Very practical, very optimistic in the best possible way (as opposed to Bush's clapping his hands over his ears and shouting that everything is gonna be okay.)

    One of the most interesting elements from the talk involved what Gore called the Electronet, a distributed energy-generation system composed of rooftop solar, locally-grown biofuel generators, rural windmills, etc. linked together in a smart robust way. Like the Internet, but for power. No more worries about someone bombing the great big expensive centralized power station--a network of small-scale operators, even your family's own home or your office building, contributing clean renewable energy to a vast intereconnected power grid. Brilliant, and totally representative of the kinds of initiatives he brought up.

    I know I was totally down on him in 2000. Frankly, I think I had good reason. But this guy has come around in a big way. He ain't afraid of anything, and he's assumed the kind of moral leadership that the rest of the party can't yet match. So, I'll say it load and proud: Gore in 2008. Because we really, REALLY need what he's got cookin'.


     Boxes Have Babies  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Sat Sep 16, 2006 at 08:40 AM
     Viewed:  3,664 times   
    ArtSo I thought I'd take a moment and explain a project I'm working on outside of the academic setting. In our Interface Major Studio, we were tasked with making 50 boxes from a set pattern. We didn't have to physically construct all of them, but the pattern I was assigned turned out to be really simple. My idea for creating the whole batch was to list out the attributes that people responded to: color, opacity, and size. Then I worked out a scheme to get that info encoded in an 8-bit number, 0 through 255. So the first bit is red/not-red, the second blue/not-blue, etc. I was able to come up with a pretty impressive range of boxes.

    In the first round, I generated 16 of the little bastards and then went around home and school, asking people to pick eight they liked. I tallied all the responses, picked the 8 most selected, and "bred" a new generation by feeding in their "genomes" (remember, numbers in the 0 through 255 range) into a python script. The script then mates each one with another random winner and produces 8 more boxes. Then I take the 8 winners and their 8 children (16 total) and do another survey. So on and so forth.

    I've just run the script to make a fourth generation. So far, "clear" boxes are extinct, they definitely tend to be smaller, and green is a small percentage of the pool, though it might be growing. Not sure what the final result will be, but it's been an interesting experiment.


     Creative Commons Supports the Troops  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Tue Sep 12, 2006 at 05:02 PM
     Viewed:  2,090 times   
    Literature

    I'm on the mailing list of the Union for the Public Domain. I got the following forwarded email, sent originally to Cory Doctorow himself, regarding his books, which are distributed under a free Creative-Commons license. Just to let everyone know that we open-content hippies are doing our part for the men and women overseas.

    Just like to thank you, from some undisclosed (for operational security reasons, doncha know) location in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, for keeping my sanity. I'm in the US Navy, and my ship got surge-deployed without warning a couple weeks ago to "help" with the situation in Lebanon. On a ship underway, there's no room to keep books -- unless they're the ancient, creaking John Grisham paperbacks in the ship's library - and no time to get some anyway if you're scrambling around for the couple days of warning you have trying to get your bills set up to pay themselves and telling your landlord you're vanishing for an "open-ended" period of time. So, the ability to download your stuff from craphound has permitted me to feed my addiction to the printed word without having to have someplace to store the physical artifact of the books. Of course, I actually printed out Someone Comes and Down and Out, the two I don't own dead-tree copies of yet, and stuck 'em in a binder, where they've been passed from person to person in my department, helping keep the other sci-fi junkies similarly sane.

    [three days later]

    Thought you might like to know that what started as "Jamie feeds his print addiction" has turned into something else entirely. The sci-fi addicts rapidly finished off the two novels I'd printed out and bindered, and I had the binder with me in the engine room, reading to pass the time, when one of the other guys asked what I was reading.

    A couple hours later, the only noise in the place was when one of the half-dozen guys sitting around would look up and ask, "Hey, who's got page 41 of Down and Out?" It was... well, I'm not sure I can express how weird it was. These are men who aren't normally readers, much less consumers of slightly wacky science fiction, and they're now getting impatient with each other to finish chapters so they can find out what happens next.

    It's starting to change the very *tone* of where I work on the ship, six hours on and six hours off: instead of the ever-present three B's of talk to pass in the time in the plant -- beer, babes, and bodily functions -- it's discussions of which novel (or short, since we've now got printouts of every piece of fiction on craphound.com stuffed into a file cabinet) we liked best, and why, and what makes this stuff cool, and where can we get more like it, and even starting to talk about the copyfight, and why that's important.

    I spent about two hours last night as I was reading glancing up every so often, and grinning like an idiot every time 'cause there were five guys whose talk usually revolves around how drunk they were this one time head-down in some pretty intense reading.

    Thank you. This is really something else.


     Gearhead  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Sun Sep 10, 2006 at 03:03 PM
     Viewed:  3,542 times   
    TechnologyMy phrase for the day is: "Yeah, I went down to Chinatown on Saturday to see a man about some parts."  It's a pretty cool little shop at the back of  269 Canal  St.  I picked up a 12V power supply, a multimeter, a wire stripper, a few IC sockets, and a 9-pin female serial connector.  Rock.

    I was also able to get four free samples of the PIC16F819 chip online from the manufacturer.  Don't know why they're handing them out, but whatever.  That'll give me three to burn up for the semester.  Hopefully, they'll arrive soon.

    Operation Mike's Robot Army is off to a good start.


     Miscellany  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Mon Sep 4, 2006 at 12:15 PM
     Viewed:  2,091 times   
    General News

    Of note:

    • Classes start in earnest tomorrow.  Woo!
    • What really would happen if you shrunk to the size of a mouse or King Kong was set loose on Manhattan? Check out the Biology of B-Movie Monsters.
    • Portable dishwashers rule.

     Keith Olbermann On Rumsfeld  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Fri Sep 1, 2006 at 09:16 AM
     Viewed:  2,039 times   
    Human RightsAh, September. Finally, I get back into the ol' blog. What brings me to come out of hibernation and blog? The best televised editorial I've seen. Ever. Keith Olbermann apologizes at the end of it for using the words of Murrow. He really shouldn't--he's working right in the same tradition. And just because I love Murrow's words as much as Olbermann does, here they are:

    We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear - one, of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of un-reason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men; Not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were - for the moment - unpopular.

    Good night and good luck.

     Checking In  View Printable Version  
     Author:  Mike
     Dated:  Mon Aug 7, 2006 at 07:16 AM
     Viewed:  2,113 times   
    Art

    I'm keeping pretty busy in art school. Can ya tell? At any rate, this is my personal site, my class's blog, and my sketchbook that I keep up.


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