Monday, August 30, 2010

I'mma let you finish but this is one of the best videos of all-time

In fact, it's so far away from any other video I've ever seen I'm not sure you could call it a video. It's what they say is an interpretation of "We Used to Wait" by the Arcade Fire. I don't want to give too much away but you put in your childhood address in and it creates a customized video for you that you later get to customize even more with lots of browser windows opening and closing. From what I read this was built using HTML5 and some other stuff. It seems like it only works in Google Chrome but it's very impressive to me (a really awful former programmer).

True and Valient like the Bad Romance


Bad Romance exactly as Lady Gaga hoped it might one day be played...on the Bells of Iowa State. The beginning is kind of brutal but they really get it going during the chorus.
Got this via friend and fellow alum, Nkem.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Does anyone know who U2 is?"

Iowa State sent me 3 or 4 emails today in an attempt to keep me connected to the University and what they're doing in the hopes that I'll donate part of my fat (and non-existent) engineering salary to them. Sometimes there are a few interesting links and today I was anxiously reading through the article explaining how the value of my undergrad degree has diminished as the University plunged a full two spots in the US News and World Report rankings. Choke! How can anyone take us seriously now that we somehow have come up short in whatever arbitrary statistics they're using to judge universities this year? Don't we have people working on how to game the system to our advantage? Is there an online voting portion we could rig?

Anyway, that wasn't what was interesting. What was interesting was the link I saw to this article on thescientist.com profiling an ISU mechanical engineering professor who has developed a camera system that can collect and reconstruct high resolution 3D data in real-time. Apparently this could be really beneficial in biomedical fields and boring stuff like that, but, it can also be used for totally rad stuff like Radiohead music videos and U2 concerts!

Aside from the cool technology I really enjoyed his quote about the Radiohead video:
"We couldn't understand why they wanted to mess with our system," he says. But he was pleasantly surprised by the final product. "We are engineers," he adds. "We have no idea how art works."
Too perfect.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good news bad news

The good news is 33 miners in Chile are still alive after being trapped and missing for 17 days. The bad news is it's going to take four more months to get them out!

So, what do you do when you're stuck underground for four months? According to the article they rigged up some lights so I suppose that might help a little bit but I can't help but think of a Chilean woman sitting down with her kids in a few months. "The good news is your daddy's home. The bad news is he's a mole person now."

While I was reading that story I noticed another one off to the side with the title, "Iran unveils long-distance bomber drone that aims to deliver peace and friendship." "Wow! That's awesome," I thought. "They're going to deliver peace and friendship from long-distance? This is a welcome change." Then I read the article and it turns out it's actually "an ambassador of death" with very-limited peace and friendship delivery capabilities. Talk about your all-time misleading headlines.

Hey, now that we've hung that "Mission Accomplished II: Electric Boogaloo" banner in Iraq we've got a slot open for another war, right? I mean, those 50,000 soldiers still hanging out there can't have that much advising to do...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Breaking: Lots of dumb people live in America

While I've been up to my balls in literature about Parkinson's disease I do still manage to stick my head up and take a glance at the outside world once in a while. Much like the groundhog I see my shadow and it's 6 more weeks of studying.

Today I noticed there's been some muttering about a new poll showing that around 24% or so of Americans think Obama is a Muslim. No problem, we'll just ban him from Ground Zero and be on our way. Oh, he's not actually a Muslim?

Not surprisingly the news media folks like to ask the question, "what does it all mean, Basil?" To me, it doesn't mean much. Bush bottomed out at around 30% approval rating, correct? So, that, right there, provides a baseline of people ignorant or stubborn enough to ignore 8 years worth of evidence that this man was a complete disaster as our president. When you look at it in those terms Obama is doing pretty good, right? 24% can't name the country the United States fought for its independence. 18% think the sun revolves around the Earth. 48% of Americans think God created humans exactly how we are within the last 10,000 years!

Clearly stupid people are everywhere and clearly a minority of people in this country will never accept Obama as president. Why, then, do we need endless headlines linking "Obama" and "Muslim" just because we've, once again, proved that there are lots of dumb people out there?

I hate to end on a negative note (not true) but here's a funny satire piece, "20% of Americans Think Obama is a Talking Car"
And Tom Logan, an electrician from Pittsburgh, added: "He sleeps in a garage and his full name is Barack Mitsubishi Obama."

A White House spokesman said last night: "The president has been in cars. Many of his relatives and even some of his friends can drive cars. The president actually quite likes cars.

"But he's not a car."

Helen Archer, an estate agent from Bloomington, Indiana, said: "I wouldn't necessarily choose a car as president, but if he is a car then I'd certainly prefer him to be one that can talk.

"The last thing this country needs right now is one of those silent, menacing cars like Christine or Herbie."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Terror Babies!!!

Representative Louie Gohmert and Anderson Cooper having a spirited conversation about the latest threat to our great nation...TERROR BABIES!

It's a great video if you enjoy clueless Republicans trying to gin up some baseless fears by ranting about God knows what. Why does Anderson keep attacking the messenger here?!? WHERE ARE THE TERROR BABIES, ANDERSON???

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Exits

Some people know how to make a great exit while others can't ever quite figure them out.

The flight attendant who said "To the passenger who just called me a motherfucker, fuck you. I've been in this business 28 years, and I've had it" before grabbing a beer and exiting down the emergency slide may have had one of the best exits of all-time.

Then there's anybody even remotely involved in the Sarah Palin soap opera. Levi and Bristol back together? Or not? What will Sarah think? Then there's Sarah and crew stopping to argue with an Alaskan couple who hung a "Worst Governor Ever" sign on their building. Palin told the couple she quit being governor so she could fight for free speech which is hilarious considering her security tore down the banner after she left. And finally, Levi says he's going to run for his mom-in-law's old job as mayor of Wasilla. The current mayor had some advice: "I think it would be wise for him to get a high school diploma and keep his clothes on."

One last Palin-related note: the testimony of the 4Chan founder in the email hacking case is kind of amusing.
And the term "rickroll" you said it tries to make people go to a site where they think it is going to be one thing but it is a video of Rick Astley, is that right?
Yes.
He was some kind of singer?
Yes.
It's a joke?
Yes.
Ohhh, jokes. I get jokes.

White House on the attack

Finally, the White House is showing some fire and going on the offensive against their critics. Yeah, take that...liberals? I wrote most of this post this morning and didn't get it posted until later but this is about as ridiculous as it gets.
The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”
Yes, anyone that criticizes from the left is just a crazy drugged-out liberal socialist hippie. This is the kind of thing that usually comes from the Limbaugh's of the world but way too often comes from Democratic politicians as well. I won't argue that we could take a lot from the Canadian health care system but I'd be happy if they were actually interested in fighting for some of it. The fact that they use it as an example of some pie in the sky liberal fantasy says a lot about where they were on the issue. Then there's the "eliminate the Pentagon" BS which typically refers to anyone who dares question the wisdom of any of our current wars or the continuation of many of the worst Bush policies on detainees.

Although maybe he's not talking about me?
Gibbs said the professional left is not representative of the progressives who organized, campaigned, raised money and ultimately voted for Obama.

Progressives, Gibbs said, are the liberals outside of Washington “in America,” and they are grateful for what Obama has accomplished in a shattered economy with uniform Republican opposition and a short amount of time.
Jesus, can we hit any more conservative talking points? Real Americans like the president, what's wrong with the rest of you assholes?! Wait, I thought the Teabaggers were the Real Americans. Where are the Fake Americans?
Larry Berman, an expert on the presidency and a political science professor at the University of California-Davis, said he has been surprised that liberals aren’t more cognizant of the pragmatism Obama has had to employ to pass landmark reforms.

“The irony, of course, is that Gibbs’s frustration reflects the fact that the conservative opposition has been so effective at undermining the president’s popular approval,” Berman said.

“And from Gibbs’s perspective, and the White House perspective, they ought to be able to catch a break from people who, in their view, should be grateful and appreciative.”
I think a lot of the problem stems from this supposed "pragmatism" and the conservative opposition to anything Obama has tried to do. The problem isn't the pragmatism it's that he doesn't really get anything in return for the compromises. What's pragmatic about stating up front what you're willing to give up when it doesn't get you any Republican votes in the end? If Democrats are going to pass everything on their own anyway we may as well get a better bill or at least negotiate from a position of strength.

Anyway, I get that they would be frustrated at some of the criticism from the left but that's kind of how it works when a group of people does so much to elect you. Obama claimed it was up to us to "hold him accountable" but now he's not so much interested in any of that stuff. Apparently it's some sort of brilliant strategy to go after the people you're hoping will show up in the November elections instead of the ones claiming you're a Kenyan socialist.