Monthly Archives: January 2008

Digital Art

CG Society – a great site for anyone interested in digital art. Includes news, forums, wiki, workshops, a store and portfolios with a total of over 100,000 images.

Snow Pretty

It’s snowing. It’s on snow days that my kid half and my grown-up half are most in conflict. I love snow and yet I hate snow. It’s so pretty. It makes the world seem unusually serene. But I can’t drive on it and I hate thinking about my guys out there driving on it even though they seem to do better than me. It’s too bad the whole world can’t stop for snow.

It’s slightly above freezing right now so it’s sticking to the grass and metal surfaces but probably won’t stick to the roads. However, the roads will be wet and will become slick when the temperature drops tonight. That’s worse than snow. Oh well… nothing I can do about it so I guess I should just try to let the little kid in me enjoy the snow.

Face to Face

The most amazing thing happened this afternoon. I stood face to face with a wild bird for a minute or two. I went out to put some more seed in the birdfeeder. It is hanging from a pole so that the bottom of the feeder is at just slightly below eye level for me. I walked up to it and did not notice the bird until I was less than two feet away.

Of course my first thought was, “I wish I had my camera,” but I’m sure it would have flown away the instant I lifted the camera up to take a picture. So I just stood there and looked, and he looked at me for at least a full minute and then flew away.

That was about an hour ago.(a little after 2:00pm) I’ve been searching the Web since then trying to identify it but none of the Oklahoma bird websites I’ve found are helpful at all. One is expected to know the name of the bird one is looking for or else go through every picture one at at time. I think it was some kind of finch, very small, medium-dark gray back, cream or light yellow breast, a bit of white on the sides of the head.

Science Blogs

Links to three science blogs that I hadn’t seen before. The first two are mostly about science policy (i.e. politics). The third has news of new technology and scientific breakthroughs – the sort of thing that I am increasingly coming to think of as more fantasy than reality. It all sounds so exciting so we wait impatiently but this wonderful future never happens.

Science Education

From an article on astrobiology:

High school courses have traditionally been compartmentalized into biology, chemistry, physical or earth science, and perhaps physics or an elective such as astronomy or oceanography. This may, in the best of cases, prepare students for the “almighty test,” but does it really prepare students for scientific literacy and logical decision-making? In many cases, the current educational system is failing to prepare students even for its own tests because students’ interest and engagement in science is waning. They see no connection between what is taught in textbooks and what they value in their own lives.

Science in the real world is integrated and problem-based. We need to “hook” students. We need to offer a course so inherently interesting, and, yes, even mysterious, that students will open their minds and let us insert a gentle wedge to begin the learning process.

I always wanted to be interested in science but, sadly, just about the only time science classes were really interesting was when the teacher and class got way off topic. Not that I was always bored but science classes never went as far as I wanted them to.

The article suggests that teaching astrobiology might be the way to get people interested in science. Maybe but if they taught it in public schools it would be as dry and unexciting as everything else. What needs to change is teaching methods. Make students feel like participants, not like passive vessels into which dry facts are poured.

Via Alien Life

Lesson Learned

Hey, it’s true!

“I decided to try it because I thought all of the TV shows were lies, but turns out I was wrong,”

Note to young skeptics: some of the stuff you see on TV actually works. Either way, you probably shouldn’t try it.

Via AMCGLTD

Just Some Links

Great cat picture. I’d prefer it without the words myself but I guess that’s just me. It’s still good anyway.

Early computing devices, from baboon bones to the ENIAC.

Strange animal facts (Via Spluch)

Jet-set kitty (Via AMCGLTD)

Odd Russian photos (via Bifurcated Rivets)

Mars Attacks card gallery (via Bibi’s Box)

Train graveyard and more fascinating photos from Bolivia

My Star Trek Year – someone trying to watch all the Star Trek TV episodes and movies in one year.

Moon River – a wonderful art blog

Bob’s ART du Jour – the blog of sci-fi/fantasy artist Bob Eggleton

Interrupting Gelastic Jew – another nice blog; someone who linked to me.

British Accents

From The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way by Bill Bryson:

Page 99:

A paradox of accents is that in England where people from a common heritage have been living together in a small area for thousands of years, there is still a huge variety of accents, whereas in America, where people from a great mix of backgrounds have been living together in a vast area for a relatively short period, people speak with just a few voices. As Simeon Potter puts it: “It would be no exaggeration to say that greater differences in pronunciation are discernible in the north of England between Trent and Tweed [a distance of about 100 miles] than in the whole of North America.

And on page 109:

Professor Higgins boasted in Pygmalion that he could place any man in London within two miles, “sometimes within two streets.” This isn’t as rash an assertion as it sounds. Most native Londoners can tell whether someone comes from north or south of the Thames. Outside London even greater precision is not uncommon.

It’s hard to stop with just a couple of short quotes. This is a fascinating and highly entertaining book. It even contains a chapter about swearing. And yes, it does have all those really bad words in it.

~ ~ ~

Quotes From Here and There

People think insanity is all this cool/scary raving and swatting at things that aren’t there, when in reality insanity is mostly just someone being a complete pain in the ass without ever once admitting it.here

Sadly, not everyone understands the hardships of being spooky and fighting for the right to be taken seriously while looking like a complete jackass.there

Yes, its all thanks to me, it doesn’t matter that I have less ‘friends’ than Pol Pot, I am a blogger, dammit, and I demand some recognition!here

I have been a HUGE fan of classic camper design for quite some time now (and yet somehow, I managed to land a wife).there