Dancing robots do “Don’t You Evah”

Spoon’s latest album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is great, I downloaded it from eMusic as soon as it came out last month and have been listening to it quite a lot. Now they have a video for “Don’t You Evah” with the cutest little dancing yellow blob you ever did see.

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[via Engadget]

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Out-of-body experiences

Just down the road at École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland a professor is stroking people with sticks. In Stockholm, Sweden they attack people with hammers. All on in the name of science! If you are tired of the whole living in a body thing then these guys just might be your salvation. With creative use of sticks and cameras they are trying to induce out-of-body experiences, and it sounds like they have had some success.

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Day to Day Communications at CERN

I’m at CERN right now and I met up with Pascale and Giulia for a walk around Geneva. Giulia told me about an awesome video, a parody of another CERN video from back in the day. My favorite part is when they visit the professors lab at the end.

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Enjoy, and also check out the original.

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Bottled water on the rise

The NYTimes week in review has “A Battle Between the Bottle and the Faucet” about the meteoric rise of bottled water.  What’s most interesting, and truly surprising to me is the beverage share graph in the sidebar.  I had no idea that half of all the liquid Americans drink comes in the form of soft drinks.  I knew soft drinks were big, but I would have never guessed they were that big.  For some reason coffee took a dive in the late 90’s, and beer and milk have been neck-in-neck for a while.  At least it is nice to see that soft drinks are finally in decline.  Certainly a rise in bottled water at the expense of tap water is bad for our environment, but as an alternative to soft drinks you have to admit there is some progress there.

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Zingerman’s celebrates anniversary, 25 years of hype

Last night Zingerman’s Deli popped on the NYTimes front page. They are celebrating their 25th anniversary. I think most mild-minded Ann Arborites have a love-hate relationship with Zingerman’s. The sandwiches are clearly superior to anything else I have had, but does that justify the $13 cost? Similarly, they are a great source of high quality deli items, many of which you can’t get anywhere else around, but again is the high cost worth it? In some cases, such as the tea and the olive oil I find the cost clearly not worthwhile. On the otherhand, bread, hot chocolate and gelato are some of the things that I really enjoy buying there, despite the price. Plus, it’s handy that they are only 1 block away from my house and open until 10. The customer service is also a mixed bag: they are ultra friendly and the samples flow freely, but often the praise they heap upon their products is so much as to be feel synthetic and pushy.

Zingerman’s on NYTimes.com

You should check out the multimedia presentation that goes with the article, the cake Monica bought to celebrate my preliminary exam (I passed!) is in photo number 7 (the “Drum cake”). It’s pretty much a whipped and colored stick of sweet butter, not that there is anything wrong with that.

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Meta: Upgrades

Pardon the mess. I’m upgrading the software this blog runs on (WordPress) and making some changes. For a while some things might not work correctly. Hopefully this will stabalize soon and I might even put up a few entries!

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Did we check Iraq for stockpiles of LEDs?

LED board that scared BostonThe Aqua Teen Hunger Force “bomb scare” in Boston is the stupidist thing I have heard about in a while. One certainly should take a close look at circuit boards that suddenly appear under overpasses or in subways, but how could so many people be so clueless as to escalate this to a day-long freak out.

“It had a very sinister appearance,” [Attorney General] Coakley told reporters. “It had a battery behind it, and wires.”

So this is the limit of their judgment? Batteries = bomb? They were flat circuit board covered with nothing but LEDs placed in plain view. Beyond the criminal charges against the two that installed the light boards, which will certainly not stick,

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the legal department is sending Turner a letter asking the company to reimburse the city for all costs incurred…

It might be reasonable to request reimbursement for the cost of removing the devices, like the cleanup of any other type of unauthorized advertizing. A few might also take issue with the lewd gesture (though I’m not sure there is anything enforcable regarding that.) But, the bomb-scare aspect is 100% the fault of the city and their embarassment should run deep. Charges criminal and monetary are pure ass-covering. The point that everyone is making, that these light boards were installed and set shinning brightly two weeks ago and that this is damning of Boston’s readiness to confront a true terrorist threat, is a little insubstantial. True, it might reflect a lack of attentive eyes on our critical infrastructure like overpasses and subways; but, on the otherhand, these devices were clearly not a terrorist threat. Many people certainly noticed them in those two weeks, that was the point! These same people also certainly dismissed it as a quirky little joke or maybe even caught the reference.

By the way, proudly, Seattle didn’t freak out.

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Rest in Peace Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear

Monica’s landlord, who lives above her, euthanized his dog today after the onset of some very painful bone cancer. Grizzly was 10.  I only knew him in his last year, sitting on the doorstep barking at distant pedestrians and greeting arrivals, happy to be minding that spot in even the coldest weather.  He seemed to have few other cares in the world.  He will be greatly missed.

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The Earth Continues to Rotate!

EarthBoingBoing had a post referencing a Smithsonian Magazine article about a sundial maker. The article is somewhat interesting in total but what really caught my attention was the mention of the International Earth Rotation Service [Wikipedia] in Paris. Who knew the Parisians were providing such a valuable service!?  No wonder they can get a bit snobby. Not a day passes in which I don’t appreciate their services.

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Sunny Kauai and Icy Ann Arbor Pictures

Kaui ocean and ridgeThey went up at least a week ago, but just for the record, I have uploaded my pictures from Kauai. Captions are still not complete and I think I still need to upload three panoramas I stiched together. My parents, sister, and I spent five days on the island betwen Christmas and New Years. It was a very nice trip. Trips like that could always be longer, but I think we got to do all the major things we wanted to do,

  • One day on the north shore all the way to the edge of the Na Pali coast
  • One day visiting Waimea canyon (the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”) and short hike around the upper edge of Kalalau Valley
  • One day at the National Botanical Gardens and a trip to the beach
  • One day touring a monestary with incredibly beautiful grounds and a short trip to a beach
  • One day snorkeling at a beach on the southern shore
  • Lots of Mahi Mahi and Portugese baked goods

On the opposite end of the weather spectrum… we had some freezing rain that coated all of Ann Arbor in ice a few days ago, and I have uploaded some pictures. It was followed by a tiny dusting of snow. This doesn’t happen too often, and it’s exciting when it does. The weather got even colder the next day as the sky cleared so we were treated to a couple days of sparkling trees, they almost looked metallic. By now most of the ice is gone, but it’s snowing again. Snow is the one thing we haven’t seen much of this year.

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