Posts from November 2012

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

How Many People Are In Space Right Now?

Now we never have to wonder, because there’s an amazing resource: the incredibly-cleverly-named website

When I wrote this post, there were 3 people in space:

How Many People Are In Space Right Now?

You’re welcome.

Categories: Links, Science.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

A Poem: Eating Directions

Here is a poem I spontaneously wrote yesterday!

South, South, get in my mouth!
Nom nom nom, I’m eating South!

West, West, you taste the best!
Nom nom nom, I’m eating West!

East, East, a magnificent feast!
Nom nom nom, I’m eating East!

North, North, I’ll eat you fourth!
Nom nom nom, I’m eating North!

You’re welcome!

Categories: Life.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

New Review: Looper (2012)


“Your face looks backwards.”

Looper is a time-travel story, and those have a tendency to go a bit pear-shaped. Time travel is a tricky thing (just look at my two articles about it here and here), and it is so easy to get bogged down by rules and get caught up in too many paradoxes, or alternately to get extremely sloppy to the point that everything is rather arbitrary (*cough* Doctor Who *cough*). Looper takes a novel approach to time travel, one I hadn’t quite seen before, and as near as I can tell is internally consistent enough. And on top of that it’s a good movie. [Read my full review]

Categories: Movie Reviews.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Hip-Hop in the Service of Science: Freestyle On the Brain

A few years ago some researchers from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders did a study where they hooked some jazz musicians into fMRI machines and had them do some musical improvisation to see what their brains looked like when they were improvising as opposed to when they were playing rehearsed, learned musics. The results were interesting.

Interesting enough that it caught the attention of hip-hop artist Mike Eagle and hip-hop “enthusiast and producer” Daniel Rizik-Baer1. They contacted one of the researchers with an interesting proposal: the original study had been about improvising music. What about improvising lyrics?

Soon twelve hip-hop freestylers including Mike Eagle were hooked up (one at a time) to fMRI machines to see what happened in their brains when they went off-script and started improvising rhyming lyrics.

Researcher Ho Ming Chow uses an fMRI machine to scan the brain of hip-hop artist Mike Eagle.

Researcher Ho Ming Chow uses an fMRI machine to scan the brain of hip-hop artist Mike Eagle.
Daniel Rizik-Baer

THIS IS SCIENCE! And it’s completely awexome. There are tons of ramifications for studies like this; seeing how the creative process happens in the brain can lead to all sorts of applications for developmental disabilities and brain damage.

If you like, you can read the whole report here: Neural Correlates of Lyrical Improvisation: An fMRI Study of Freestyle Rap

You really should read it, because Mr. Mike Eagle is one of the co-authors! Yes, that’s right: Mike Eagle co-authored a scientific paper. Unbelievably cool.

Read more about this study at these websites:

Science kicks total ass. Never doubt it.

I wonder what my brain looks like when I’m doing my type of improv.

1 Discovery News

Categories: Music, Science.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Most Amazing James Bond Compilation Movie Ever

I’m planning to see Skyfall soon. I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this site that I have an unnatural affection for all things 1960s spy-related, and in particular the James Bond films. I know that a lot of them are pretty crappy, but I just can’t bring myself to care. I kinda heart them and the weird genre they spawned that became its own thing.

So to study up for Skyfall, I really wanted to re-watch some of the Bond flicks. But who has the time? Fortunately, someone has come up with a genius idea. With a little editing, they have created their own James Bond movie out of ALL of the previous James Bond movie. In their own words:

Approximately five minutes from each of the 22 Eon produced James Bond films have been cut together, in order and in sequence, beginning with the first five minutes of DR. NO (1962) followed by minutes 5-10 of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963), minutes 10-15 of GOLDFINGER (1964), minutes 15-20 of THUNDERBALL (1965), continuing on through each of the remaining 18 Bond features (accounting for variables in each title’s running time) culminating with the final five minutes of 2008’s QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

The effect is simply astonishing. Even though it makes no literal sense, the sequences flow brilliantly into one another in a sort of surreal, super-distilled way. Some of the transitions are jaw-dropping, especially the switch from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service to Diamonds Are Forever, and the switch from License to Kill to Goldeneye.

But don’t take my word for it. I urge you to watch it in all of its two-hour glory.

There is something kinda magical about it, how the Bond Films have created their own cinematic vocabulary and formulas.

Categories: Movies, Videos.

Friday, 9 November 2012

From the Creator of “Adventure Time” Comes “Bravest Warriors”

Way back almost four years ago I posted a cartoon short created by Pendleton Ward, the creator of Adventure Time, called The Bravest Warriors.

Well, the the last almost-four years Mr. Ward has had great success with Adventure Time, and now he has refined the Bravest Warriors idea a little bit and—guess what? It’s going to be its own series!

Here’s a look at the updated Bravest Warriors. Enjoy!

Categories: Cartoons, Videos.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


Oh, yeah, here’s another punkin I carved this year, at Carrie’s company’s Halloween Party!


It was for a punkin carving contest. Somehow it only came in 2nd! Wut-the-wut!?

Categories: Holiday, Pictures, Robots.