Archive for April, 2011

Friday Flash Game: Soul Brother

23:50 29 Apr 2011. Updated: 01:18 30 Apr 2011

Platformer fun with a cute, if deadly, twist: Soul Brother

(via MetaFilter)

Permalink     Comment     []    

My Reaction to “40 Things People Need to Stop Saying”

23:18 28 Apr 2011. Updated: 18:16 29 Apr 2011

In my Twitter feed yesterday I found a link to “Privileged Musings: 40 Things People Need to Stop Saying”, an article at Womanist Musings. The intent of the piece is narrower than the title suggests, in that it’s primarily concerned with discussion in that community rather than more generally, but I was interested in it anyway since it concerns regulation of expression.

Overall the list is concerned with statements defending or perpetuating prejudice, arguments that have been addressed numerous times before (or are just inane). However, it doesn’t explain what’s wrong with them, even briefly, which is a mistake for two reasons: one, it would make the list much more useful and effective; two, writing such explanations would have made clear which things on the list were questionable, as some of them certainly are.

Permalink     65 Comments     [, , , , , , ]    

Bird’s Steal

23:45 26 Apr 2011

A key attraction that watching sports has for me is the possibility of witnessing a transcendent moment, by which I mean a moment where a player or a team does something incredible, possibly something new, possibly something entirely unexpected. I automatically think of Roger Federer when I consider this, but the realm of sports is full of examples.

Permalink     Comment     [, ]    

Welcome to the Future Market II

23:18 25 Apr 2011

The year is 2011, and sophisticated AIs carefully watch for arbitrage opportunities, tracking/correlating/analyzing vast amounts of data at split-second speed to keep ahead of their competitors even in comparatively small arenas.

That, or overly simplistic scripting that seemed clever when it was written fails to take certain conditions into account, leading to the $23,698,655.93 (& $3.99 shipping) book.

Permalink     1 Comment     [, , , , ]    

CrossFit Open 2011 Workout 5

23:48 24 Apr 2011

Workout five was the longest workout of the competition so far, and it appears to have been my worst, at least judging by the results I’ve seen up to this point. It wasn’t a big step up in terms of weight or movements, unlike three and four, but it made up for that by being 20 minutes long. 20 minutes of 5 power cleans at 145 pounds, 10 toes-to-bars, and 15 wall balls (20 pounds, 10-foot target).

Permalink     Comment     [, , ]    

Maybe Try Praying for Cognition Instead

17:37 22 Apr 2011

WHEREAS, hundreds of years have passed since it might have been excusable for any reasonable human to believe in the power of attempting to telepathically transmit thoughts to imaginary beings in the hope that these beings will alter conditions on Earth; and

Permalink     Comment     [, , , , ]    

But Can They Turn a Double Play?

23:09 21 Apr 2011

This is very cool, but my first reaction to it was one of being disturbed and slightly frightened.

I felt significantly better when I saw them miss.

Permalink     Comment     [, , ]    

The New Yorker on Waiting for GRRM

23:51 19 Apr 2011

Laura Miller’s “Just Write It” is an overview of fan discontent with George R. R. Martin over the amount of time it’s taking to finish A Song of Ice and Fire. As a longtime (perhaps erstwhile—but I am planning to read the next book) fan, I thought it covered the ground well, and in particular the interesting question over what duty, if any, an author has to finish a story.

Permalink     Comment     [, , , ]    

“Protect the Children” Hysteria and Injustice

22:41 18 Apr 2011

This is the summary:

  • Local comic/musician goes to elementary school, plays song for kids.
  • A friend of his videotapes this, both the performance and the kids’ (positive) reactions.
  • Musician and friend later come back to empty classroom and record him performing a song with graphically sexual lyrics.
  • Musician edits two sets of footage together to make it appear as if he sang the sexually-explicit song to the kids.
  • Musician then puts edited version on YouTube and plays it at a local club’s comedy night.

Clearly the title of the post gives it away somewhat, but what do you think happened next?

Permalink     1 Comment     [, , , , , ]    

CrossFit Open 2011 Workout 4

22:17 17 Apr 2011. Updated: 17:07 19 Apr 2011

Workout four was simultaneously the toughest and easiest workout so far, the first workout where I had no hope of finishing a round but also the first where I hit my target. This time the increase in difficulty wasn’t through more weight, but through the addition of muscle-ups: the workout was 10 minutes of 60 “bar-facing burpees”, 30 overhead squats at 120 pounds, and 10 muscle-ups.

Permalink     Comment     [, , ]    

The Generosity of the Federal Reserve

00:20 15 Apr 2011. Updated: 00:22 16 Apr 2011

Matt Taibbi covers the still-astonishing handouts given out by the Federal Reserve as part of its “crisis management” measures over the last few years. Given the amounts of money involved, it is absolutely stunning that this stuff isn’t brought up whenever benefit cuts are discussed. Yes, I know that the whole point of the mainstream media is to prevent mass awareness of just how twisted the situation is, but even so, it’s amazing how effective it seems to be.

To slash public spending while simultaneously showering money on the wealthy—never mind acting pious and responsible while doing so—is nothing less than massive thievery from the poor to the rich; there’s really no other way to describe it.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is busy addressing the key problems facing America today, although some members of Congress and the Senate want a different focus.

The current mantra guiding US actions seems to be “the floggings shall continue until morale improves”.

Permalink     Comment     [, , , , ]    

Apparently the Other Months Are Just as Bad

23:37 14 Apr 2011. Updated: 18:48 05 May 2011

Here’s March’s companion to last November’s compilation:

Permalink     3 Comments     [, ]    

You’ll Eat Our Lunch and Like It

21:04 12 Apr 2011

The headline really says it all: “Chicago school bans homemade lunches”.

That’s right. The daytime prisoners at this institution—sorry, the beloved Children Who Are Our Future at this Future-Oriented Center for Learning—are no longer allowed to provide their own alternatives to the midday meal, but must have whatever the school supplies.

Permalink     2 Comments     [, , , , ]    

Unicode: The Movie

22:47 11 Apr 2011

I’m stealing links from Andy Baio again, because for a geek like me this is just irresistible: Jörg Piringer put together a video (33 minutes long) consisting of all the displayable characters in Helvetica on OS X.

I now want to find an event/gathering for which it would be appropriate to project this, looped, onto the walls.

Permalink     Comment     [, , ]    

CrossFit Open 2011 Workout 3

23:00 10 Apr 2011. Updated: 18:07 17 Apr 2011

This workout (three of six) was quite different from 1 and 2. Another “as many rounds as possible” effort, but with significantly more limited movements and a considerably heavier weight: five minutes of squat clean and jerks at 165 pounds. That’s enough weight to eliminate quite a few people who were fine in the previous two.

Permalink     Comment     [, , ]    

Friday Game: Dino Run SE

21:59 08 Apr 2011

I first recommended it almost three years ago, and it remains one of my favorite Flash games. Excellent simple gameplay with a retro feel, and with quite a lot of replay value. I hadn’t played it a while, though, partly because as a Flash game I felt it had a certain fragility; I couldn’t switch to playing it in another browser (or even browser profile), for example, without losing the progress I’d made, and that made me feel less invested in it after a time. (That, and I’d played through it almost entirely).

Now, however, pixeljam have come out with a standalone version. Dino Run SE is available for OS X, Windows, and Linux. I bought it this evening (the first game I’ve bought in a while) for the paltry price of $3. Even if I had no desire to play it again, I’d have paid them three bucks just for having developed the game in the first place. But getting a local version of it, which runs fullscreen and is also separated from my browser (and hence faster), makes it entirely worth it. You should pick it up.

Permalink     Comment     []    

A New Kind of Personality Test

22:17 07 Apr 2011

I haven’t seen this before; you should try it out: The Pierley/Redford Dissociative Affect Diagnostic (via waxy.org). (Unfortunately, it’s in Flash.)

Permalink     1 Comment     [, ]    

Considerations for a Space Opera Setting: FTL Communication

22:55 05 Apr 2011

I’m still thinking about my large-scale science-fiction/space opera project, and the next major consideration after FTL travel is faster-than-light communication.

Permalink     Comment     [, , , ]    

My Current Paleo Diet

00:45 04 Apr 2011. Updated: 00:48 05 Apr 2011

As I’ve done a few times before, I’m trying the paleo diet for a while; this is my longest time on it yet, as I’ve been doing it since 24 January and intend to continue at least until the end of April (which is when the CrossFit Open 2011 ends). I’m considering extending it further.

Permalink     4 Comments     [, , , , ]    

CrossFit Open 2011 Workout 2

23:05 03 Apr 2011. Updated: 17:58 17 Apr 2011

The second workout wasn’t that different from the first one, in that it also measures work with no or light weights over a given time period. This one was 15 minutes, and the rounds consisted of 9 deadlifts at 155 pounds, 12 pushups (with the requirement of lifting your hands from the ground at the bottom), and 15 box jumps (24").

I don’t particularly like this one, because I think deadlifts for time are inherently dangerous. Admittedly it’s a light weight, but even so it seems dubious to encourage poor form (form inevitably degrades when you’re tired and rushing) in a lift that can put so much strain on the lower back. I also don’t like pushups, but that’s because I’m not very good at them.

Permalink     1 Comment     [, , ]    

Cool Without a Doubt

21:50 01 Apr 2011

This week’s gun-related amusing-but-disturbing short is—not, not “Tune for Two”, although in truth that’s probably better—“Wanna See Something Cool?”

Permalink     Comment     [, , ]