Thursday, June 23

NatGeo Space Pics of the Week

Check out the 10 NatGeo Space Pics of the Week.

Cool! Donate $1 to Autism Research makes donating easy. Sign up for a free account and then make a payment using PayPal. I just donated a dollar and it took about one minute.

It's easy, free to join, and makes you feel good.

So support actual research into the causes of Autism.

New Material: Strength of Glass, Toughness of Metal

Finding a material with the strength of glass and the toughness of metal has proved impossible up until now.

Glass is strong but tends to shatter easily, while metal resists the shattering but is malleable.

Marios Demetriou, a scientist from Caltech, has married the properties of both glass and metal, creating a new material that doubles the strength and toughness of steel and therefore has great potential. While it is rather expensive at the moment (He used palladium and silver.), Demetriou hopes to duplicate the experiment with metals that cost less.

Checkout the full article at Discover.

Google's Clean Power Agenda

Okay. I'm a fan of Google. At first I was not. I railed against the idea of gmail. But here I am. And it's just these kinds of announcements that make it impossible for me not to be a Google fan:

Reuters: Google's Investment of $780 Million in Clean Energy

Wind farms, solar power, solar thermal.
SolarCity, Shepherds Flat (Oregon), NextEra (South Dakota), BrightSource (California), Solar Photovoltaic (Germany), ActaCell, AltaRock, RelayRides, WeatherBill, SilverSpring, Cool Planet Biofuels, Transphorm.

In my hippie-inspired, happy place, Google does these things solely because the world needs it, because it cares about the Earth, because it wants people to live happily together.

But, Google makes money. It puts it's money into intelligent ideas. It's positively progressive in profitable arenas.

Either way, I'm proud to support any company that is trying to help alternative energy gain a much-needed foothold.

JK Rowling's Pottermore: "A Unique Reading Experience"

Harry Potter fans will be delighted to hear about Pottermore, a "unique reading experience" in the form of a website that that allows the reader to participate.

No more news except that the site will be open to all in October. A lucky few will have access sooner.

Rowling had this to say on a video on the Pottermore website:
"I'm thrilled to say that I am now in a position to give you something unique. An online reading experience unlike any other. It's called Pottermore. It's the same story, with a few crucial additions, the most important one is you... Pottermore will be built, in part, by you the reader. I'll be joining in too because I will be sharing additional information I've been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter."

Videogames That Should Be TV Shows (IGN TV)

Great article from IGN about videogames that are good enough to be TV shows.

Starting off with LA Noire of course, the most cinematic of videogames thus far.

Check out the full article:
IGN TV: Videogames That Should Be TV Shows

Michele Bachmann - the State of American Republican Politics

I just had to pass on this article from RollingStone about Michele Bachmann.

Funny, over-the-top and yet frighteningly accurate, wander over to RollingStone and check the article out:

RollingStone: Michele Bachmann's Holy War

Kinda makes Sarah Palin look less threatening.

Cool Cosplay Video Edited From Toronto Anime North

Yung Lee went to Anime North in Toronto and asked for a few cosplayers to act out a few fight scenes.

He compiled the following video with spectacular, awesome and funny results.

Check it out!

Anime North Cosplay Video

End of Days?

Sure, you can blame some of this on the ubiquity of news on the internet. You can even make a claim about the natural rhythms of the Earth. But seriously, global warming doesn't exist?

Every day there are new examples. Tornados, drought, floods, wildfires, earthquakes. If I was a more religious person, I'd be thinking it's the "end of days".

USAToday: Another 6.7 Earthquake in Japan
FreePress: North Dakota Flooding
CNN: 12 States with WildFires
PRNewsWire: Most Active Tornado Season on Record

Okay, so I don't really think it's the end of days, well not in a biblical, God-prophesied sort of way. But it is hard to look into the future and not see catastrophe around every corner.

Billions of people, most of whom do not care or are in denial about how their actions are affecting the world around them. Billions more people on the way. If that isn't a recipe for disaster, I don't know what is.

But humans are a resilient group. We've survived and survived. Though our period of survival, while incredible and impressive to us, is pathetically puny when compared with the history of Earth.

I'm guessing humans will go on surviving. It will be a very long time before it is just impossible. Of course,  how drastically will the population be culled in the coming years?

There you go. Happy thought for the day.

Wednesday, June 22

Pics of Lightning-Inducing Volcanic Eruption (CHILE)

Wow, check out these incredible images of the of ash, lightning and the Chilean volcano:
DailyMail: Chile Volcano Erupts + video.

Plastic Money? Polymer $100s Hit Canada in November

Lasting over twice as long and much harder to duplicate, Canada is letting loose it's polypropylene substate $100s in November with $50s to follow next March.

The $100s celebrate Canada's contribution to science (DNA, ECG, microscope, insulin).

Science save the Queen!

CNET: Canada's Polymer $100s

Tuesday, June 21

GTA V "Well Underway"

Gamespot recently advised that Rockstar told them that GTA V was well underway. No other details have emerged except for the hope of a 2012 release.

Gamespot: GTA V

US Crime Rates Falling - Why?

According to figures from the FBI, crime rates have steadily dropped since 1991. Several theories were put forth in a BBC article:
BBC: US Murder & Robbery Rates Drop

1. The Obama effect
2. Less demand for crack
3. Smarter policing
4. CompStat
5. Availability of legal abortion
6. More criminals behind bars
7. Decrease in children exposed to lead in petrol
8. Baby boomers grew up, less children born
9. Videogames keep would-be criminals occupied
10. Proliferation of camera phones

For much more details, check out the BBC article above.

I think it must be several factors at work. Perhaps even the fact that the world has become so much smaller since the conception of the Internet.

Regardless of the reason, it's heartening to know that the rates are dropping.

What do you think is causing the crime decrease.

Wednesday, June 15

Lunar Eclipse! BBC Video

I really wish I could have seen this. Not enough to leave North America of course, but in spirit (which is rather lame).

Anyway, check out the BBC link below:
BBC: Lunar Eclipse Video

Love It! Robin Williams Legend of Zelda Ad - Named Daughter After Zelda

I remember playing the Legend of Zelda for hours and hours, over and over on my NES. I could probably play that game and remember all the hiding spots and cheats.

Now, I have no offspring so I have no basis for comparison, but it's pretty damn cool that Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda after the series.

Check out the ad over at Kotaku:

Dead Nation PSN Review

Dead Nation (available via PSN)

- Excellent intro video. 
- Interesting load screen with funny or helpful tips about the zombie apocalypse.
- 2 player cooperative makes this a lot more fun.
- Creepy enough but the top-down view makes it not bad at all.
- Nice weapons.
- Simple gameplay mechanics.
- Excellent sound effects (moaning, gunfire)

- Short.
- Clumsy weapon switching (dpad), a little frenzied when you're being attacked by 1000 zombies from all sides, and your weapon of choice is empty etc.
- Trigger finger can cramp when using rifle.

Though this game wasn't the most thrilling I've ever played, it was more than I expected it to be, it was solid, not glitchy and fun (if you find shooting zombies satisfying.) 

I got this game free because of Playstation's wanting to placate it's membership after weeks of network outage.  So to me it was worth it. But even at $15, I think this is a pretty good game, as long as you don't expect it to be more than it is.

Monday, June 13

Live Action Star Wars TV? Seedier & Grimier Than Movies

Growing up, I loved playing Star Wars. Of course, I was Princess Leia, even though I thought she was lame. I hadn't learned about feminism just yet.

But I digress, there's talks of a new television series in the Star Wars world, which would be totally awesome (if done well I suppose).

More importantly, it's age-appropriate now for all the original fans.

May the Force Be With the Making of This TV Show.

Check out the link at IGN:
Live Action Star Wars TV

Skateboarder Ryan Sheckler Raises Money for Autism Month

As June is Autism Awareness month, it's pretty awesome that 30+ skaters, including Ryan Sheckler came out in Lake Forest at the Etnies Skate Park to help raise over $100,000 for autism research.

That's a rather impressive figure for a day's work. The money is one thing, but the awareness raised is equally important.

Skaters are socially responsible too!

Skateboarders Raise Money for Autism Month

"Raiders of the Lost Ark" Is 30! Harrison Ford Waiting on Fifth Movie

I was just a wee lass when Raiders came out. To think 30 years has passed! Crazy stuff.

Harrison Ford must be thinking the same thing, except of course, more so, since he wasn't a wee lass at all.

And yet, 30 years later, he's still making films and is fit enough to have made the fourth and soon fifth in the series.

More details at CBS:
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" Turns 30

Wednesday's Total Solar Eclipse to Be Longest Since 2000

Though not visible in North America, the rest of the world should be delighted with a 100 minute plus total lunar eclipse on Wednesday, June 15th.

For many more details, please visit
Space: Total Lunar Eclipse

Terry Pratchett & Assisted Suicide

Afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer's, beloved Sci-Fi writer, Terry Pratchett has received consent forms leading to assisted suicide. He has not signed them as of yet.

He has called for a take-home kit so people could choose the time and place of their death.

Please click the link below for more details. Telegraph UK:
Terry Pratchett Starts Process Leading to Assisted Suicide

Sunday, June 12

Why You Should Check Out the TV Show "Burn Notice"

1. Bruce Campbell!

I don't really get super excited over much these days. I think it's just a matter of getting older. However, seeing Bruce Campbell in anything makes me happy. The fact that the star of "Army of Darkness" wants to be a part of the show makes me want to check it out. Maybe he just needs more money. Either way though, I'm happy to see him in anything.

2. Helpful Tips For Those Covert Situations You Will Never Actually Be In But Feel Better Knowing How To Handle

Seriously, I've learned so much from the series. Like the analogy of surveillance and basketball player coverage. Or the necessity of paying attention to details, like if you're pretending to be someone, know the style of fighting they'd use. How to set up surveillance on the cheap.

3. It's A Spy Show That's About More Than Just Blowing Stuff Up (Though There's Some Of Course!)

All throughout the show (well, the episodes I've seen) the main character narrates a fascinating take on what it really means to be a spy. It's not all about fancy gadgets etc. Now I'm not saying that this show is necessarily factual in every instance. I've never been a spy. But what I do know is that it feels a helluva lot more real than most spy shows / movies I've seen. Explosions don't make me want to watch, rather the dryly delivered narration keeps me clicking next on the episode list.

4. It Doesn't Take Itself Too Seriously

Again, Bruce Campbell! But also the writing is witty and clever and just fun to follow. It's a drama yes, but it's a comedy equally.

5. The Actors Are Not So Ridiculously Good Looking That You Can't See Them Actually In The Roles

I hate it when the leads are so hot that it's distracting and you are constantly thinking they would never be in the situations / careers etc. I'm not saying the leads are ugly, but they look human and real.

6. Even Though It Is Episodic, The Bigger Picture Story Line Seems To Hold Up

I'm only halfway through season 2, so perhaps I just need some time to find that it sucks, but the fact that it's in season 5 now is a good sign.

7. Did I Mention Bruce Campbell Is In It? AKA This Show Is Funny

It isn't a dumb funny like some reality television shows you want to shut off after five minutes. It isn't bursting at the seams, laugh out loud funny. It's dry, it's witty, it's tongue in cheek. It's Bruce Campbell baby! But even the narration by Jeffrey Donovan is good (though props would go mainly to the writers) and of course, Sharon Gless from Queer as Folk (among other shows and movies).

So check this show out. It's something different. And with all the new television shows that come out multiple times a year, that's saying something.

Homophobia Associated With Arousal

I don't understand gay bashers, or people who hate gays to the point of rude comments etc.

If you don't like the idea of gay, then stop thinking about it and do your best to avoid it.

I don't like mascots. When I see them on the street, I cross to the other side and stay safely away from the weirdly large and very non-human creatures.

I don't create blogs trying to eradicate them. I don't stalk them in the night and beat them within an inch of their life. I don't tell jokes about them with my friends. I just don't think about them.

If you spend much of your time hating gay people, somewhere, at least subconsciously, you want to spend time thinking about them. I mean, this is not a hard and fast rule, but it does make a lot of sense.

"Internet in a Suitcase": US Funds Covert Web To Bypass Censorship

"The revolution will be broadcast, despite efforts by repressive regimes to censor or shut down Internet and cell phone networks."

CBS: US Funds Stealth Internet

If You Act Just Like iOS, How Can We Love You Android?

I know you need money too, but you are run by a big company that seems to have no shortage of cash or fingers to stick into new pies.

We support you because you don't treat us like we are infants barely able to operate  our digits let alone a smartphone.

We chose you because you let us have widgets and adjust screen sizes, run different launchers.

We love you because you are easy to root and take control of.

Hula Hooping From the Hoop's POV

A couple of kids from Alberta, Canada attached a camera to a hula hoop.

Pretty cool video:
Wide-angle Video From Hula Hoop POV

Also, this girl has some hoop skills.

Saturday, June 11

Hauser & Sulic Play "Welcome to the Jungle" on Cellos

Amazingly intense rendition of "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N Roses. The video is filmed well, capturing the reactions of passers-by on the street.

Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser Play "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses

Rainbows Banned at Ontario Public School

A Mississauga, Ontario Public Catholic school banned the use of rainbows in the school as they represent pride.

Students from the Gay-Straight-Alliance made a rainbow out of different coloured cupcakes, selling each for $0.50 and raising $200 for charity.

The school would not allow them to donate the money to and GLBT organization. Instead, they were told to donate the money to the Catholic homeless shelter, the Covenant House.

Fluid Vs Crystallized Intelligence: Can You Boost Your IQ?

Fluid intelligence involves problems solving and the way we think, whereas crystallized intelligence involves the facts we learn.

Previously it was thought that the IQ upper limit is just that and based on genetics.

Elementary and middle school children from Detroit began IQ training for 15 minutes a day using something called the "n-back task"which involves remembering the location of a character, ignoring extraneous information and focusing on when the character returns to it's original location. The task was designed to help the children learn to focus, to separate what needed to be remembered from what didn't.

Friday, June 10

Poverty & Free Will: An Interesting and Logical Narrative

Check out the following article at Motherboard:
Does Poverty Reduce Free Will?

It speaks of how free will is something that is "used up" according to studies. Therefore, if you need to have self-control most of the time, it's hard to have enough self control to pull yourself out of poverty.

I do always find it odd when people feel like anyone should be able to pull themselves out of poverty if they only "tried harder".

That may be true for some people. Perhaps they thrive in adversity, or their experiences have made them thrive in adversity.

Sarah Palin Supporters Angry Over Margaret Thatcher "Snub"

Ok, the PR department could have been a lot nicer about it. After all, they are in public relations.

But let's be honest here:
I personally am a nobody yet am sure I would decline to meet with her. She would make me so angry. I would rather spend my time doing anything else.

There are some crappy movies I'd rather watch.

Thatcher Won't Meet With Palin

Come to think of it though, Palin would probably snub me. Now I'm mad at her!

Incredible Macro Pictures of Insects

A photographer took 687 pictures of each insect under a microscope, then stitched them together for remarkable pictures.

I'm not an entomologist or even an insect-lover but the images are incredible.

Mom Teaches Son a Lesson Using Facebook

This was too good not to pass on.

This would be totally embarassing if the mom didn't have justification. But the punishment so fit the crime that you have to laugh. I wonder if the kid learned his lesson.

Mom Teaches Son a Lesson Using Facebook

Thursday, June 9

NYC Bicyclist Sends PSA to Police

How can you argue with this logic?

After receiving a ticket from the NYC police for bicycling outside the bike lane, Casey made a video of how hard it would be to never leave the bike lane.

NYC Bicylist's Video to Police.

Japan Now Has a SNL of It's Own

From what I hear, Japanese television leaves something to be desired, beyond the WTF factor that lasts approximately five minutes. (More if you are under the influence of drugs.)

Though, I'm guessing the Japanese comedic style is still represented.

Saturday Night Japan Japan

Happy Birthday Les Paul - Google Doodle

Les Paul, who would have been 96 years old today is a legendary country and jazz musician, who was responsible for the development of the first solid-body electric guitars.

Happy Birthday!

Check out Google's playable doodle. Very cool:
Time: Les Paul Google Doodle

Google to Meet Regarding Help for US Postal System

Another Google praise article:
Google and Others to Meet: Save the US Postal System

Maybe it's all for show and nothing will come of it, but on the outside at least, it seems like a wonderfully helpful way to try and save the US Postal System from inevitable insolvency.

Google Maps Dives to Ocean Floor: Super Cool!

Google is indeed grand. Sometimes I worry they will take over the world in some destructive future involving some form of surprising first-ever corporate government take-over.

But then I hear another piece in the news about how Google has gone above and beyond to provide a free service and/or increase the ease of access to scientific knowledge worldwide.

Check out this article from LiveScience:
Google Maps Takes on the Ocean Floor

I didn't mean for this post to devolve into Google fan-service, but hey, these things need to be said.

Bangladeshi "Robin Hood" Arrested, Asks for Leniency

Is it wrong that I find this kind of beautiful and inspiring?

A Bangladeshi man has been stealing and giving to orphanages and mosques in the area. Apparently he is quite good at being a burglar as well. He asked for leniency as he calls himself a "benevolent burglar".

Bangladeshi "Robin Hood" Arrested
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