Stuff I Found

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Easy music game

Here's an easy and quite relaxing music game... might just fall asleep while playing.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Photosynth Demonstration

This is a bit old... from June '07, but I just now saw it (because of Digg). I don't think I need to say much, just check it out... pretty darn cool, eh?

As I said, it's from June '07, and this technology still isn't on my desktop, so there are obviously still things to work, no?

Lego boulder rolls, crashes

Here's a big boulder made out of reportedly 5 million Lego pieces. It chases a guy playing Indiana Jones down a street before hitting a car. How exciting. It could have been worse. Someone could have been killed. Tsk tsk!

Retraining your brain

According to this article:

it seems antithetical to talk about habits in the same context as creativity and innovation. But brain researchers have discovered that when we consciously develop new habits, we create parallel synaptic paths, and even entirely new brain cells, that can jump our trains of thought onto new, innovative tracks.

Rather than dismissing ourselves as unchangeable creatures of habit, we can instead direct our own change by consciously developing new habits. In fact, the more new things we try — the more we step outside our comfort zone — the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

Interesting article that encourages the trying of new things... I can't really think of anything new to try though... hmmmm...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Magnet turns off brain

Or at least a part of it...

Words failed me. I stuttered as Prof Vincent Walsh turned off the speech centre of my brain for a few thousandths of a second to demonstrate the power of transcranial magnetic stimulation, a popular way to interfere with the most complex known object in the universe.

Eh... don't get that near me please...

No email for 20% of US

According to this article:

Roughly one-fifth of all U.S. households are disconnected from the Internet and have never used e-mail, according to research firm Parks Associates.


Age and education are factors in this divide, Park found. One-half of those who have never used e-mail are over 65, and 56 percent had no schooling beyond high school.

That's a lot... buy computers people!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"TENORI-ON Product Demo"

That kind of looks like fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Science shows Republicans cause fear, disgust

Not really, obviously. Well, maybe they cause such things to you, but that's nothing an fMRI can prove with sloppy science... according to this article, some scientists concluded:

“The two areas in the brain associated with anxiety and disgust—the amygdala and the insula—were especially active when men viewed ‘Republican.’ But all three labels also elicited some activity in the brain area associated with reward, the ventral striatum, as well as other regions related to desire and feeling connected.” So the word “Republican” elicits anxiety and disgust, except for when it triggers feelings of desire and connectedness. The rest of the conclusions are similarly obfuscating.

Uh... not so fast! As another scientist says:

“As cognitive neuroscientists who use the same brain imaging technology, we know that it is not possible to definitively determine whether a person is anxious or feeling connected simply by looking at activity in a particular brain region ... a one-to-one mapping between a brain region and a mental state is not possible.”


there is the problem of reversing the causal inference, “where people see some activity in a brain area and then conclude that this part of the brain is where X happens. We can show that if I put you into a state of fear, your amygdala lights up, but that doesn’t mean that every time your amygdala lights up you are experiencing fear. Every brain area lights up under lots of different states.

Nice try, though! Yeah, surely those Republican-disgusted scientists had no political agenda...

Strange cloud formation

A rare and strange cloud formation filmed over Japan...

Mario Kart leads to violence

You will have seen this if you're a Digger...

Why Mario Kart should be rated AO (Adults Only)

Holy cow, the same thing almost happened to me... I better watch myself.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The McGurk effect

This is old news, but I just learned about it tonight...

Scientific American writes:

If we watch a video of a person mouthing the word "ga," but have a synced voice-over of that person saying "ba," what we end up hearing, is a third variation that's never been said! That word is "da".

And even though you now know it's an illusion—you will still, when you see the video, think you are hearing "da". But if you close your eyes, and do not see the person's lips forming the word "ga," you'll hear what they are actually saying, which is "ba".

And here's the video.


I bet if you gave listeners a fake "transcript" of the audio that said "da da" (instead of the video) they'd hear it as "da da" then too.

$17K for just lying there

According to Wired:

Need a break from the working, walking, and standing required by the demanding and stressful life you lead?

Well, pack your bags for Houston because NASA wants to pay you $17,000 to stay in bed for 90 straight days.

The bed-rest experiment, to take place in the Human Test Subject Facility of Johnson Space Center, is designed to allow scientists to study some of the effects of microgravity on the human body.

Hmmmm... I would love to do that! Unfortunately looks like the website is down for now though, probably because of the thousands of applicants who have heard the news. :-(

I would just worry about showering and when nature calls... but 3 months lying in bed... for $17000?! I could work on my book, catch up on reading, play video games... really sounds like a dream to me! Come on, let me do it!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Demand creativity in schools?

Came across this blog post today on a high school principal's blog (a principal keeping a blog is noteworthy in and of itself, I think). In the post the author writes:

Educators and employers agree that creativity is increasingly important in U.S. workplaces, according to a recent report. Yet, the report suggests a disconnect exists between what survey respondents say they believe and how they act. In fact, findings indicate most high schools and employers provide creativity-conducive education and training only on an elective or “as needed” basis.

He (or she) also writes:

The most successful students will be ones who had opportunities to enhance their creativity. However, we are doing this next generation a true disservice by stressing (and only measuring) a narrow regimen of skills that lend themselves easily to standardized testing. Activities must be planned in each academic area of the school that will promote creativity. These activities are time consuming, complex, and cumbersome and therefore, are the first activities that are neglected (often times due to the pressures of getting students up to par on standardized tests).

So we have a bit of a problem: what exactly does it mean to incorporate creativity into the classroom? Can it be encouraged the way math skills are, with judging and grading and passing and failing? Do they have to come in the form of rigorously planned out complex activities?

I don't think creativity needs to be "taught" as in a lesson plan, or given as an "activity" ... it simply needs to be allowed and supported.

By allowing creativity I mean giving students time to be creative, by which I mean stop teaching useless stuff! Math and science and history teachers tend to claim that just about everything currently being taught is important. Two problems with this: firstly, what exactly is taught and tested often differs from school to school, county to county, so how can it be that vital if there isn't even a consensus on what exactly should be taught? Secondly, as every student knows, most of the knowledge memorized will never be used again after a test! But teachers can't seem to accept this. Why? Many lectures and homework assignments are just a blatant waste time. (Sadly, I guess most students tend to forget this after graduating and wind up supporting it later on down the road, sometimes by becoming teachers themselves.)

By supporting creativity I mean not discouraging students from doing those day-dreamy creative things like drawing, doodling, writing stories, and filming films. It doesn't matter if the student isn't going to become a famous artist or novelist later on! It doesn't matter if they "don't stand a chance" with their art ... when did the point of being creative become a quest for fame and fortune?! To be creative is a human desire that goes beyond such things; to discourage creativity simply because it's hard to become famous is harmful absurdity. When that student stops paying attention to the lecture, looks out the window, and dreams of other worlds, he is exemplifying one of the most beautiful and important aspects of human intelligence. The moment a teacher and his ego punishes such a student, something very good and important is being ruthlessly squandered. :-(

I didn't see the author's name given anywhere, but the blog itself, The Principal's Office, seems to have plenty of interesting posts. I hope I remember to revisit it! I definitely recommend checking it out.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"From Dawn to Dusk"

Surely Mr. Daniel J. Bayot will not mind if I promote a fellow composer's work! Here's his latest piece, a wonderful waltz. My kind of music! I really need to try writing a nice short piece again... anyway, enjoy his waltz!

Check out Daniel's YouTube account or his site if you like what you hear!

(I'm definitely going to steal that view switching idea...)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Destroying pianos

Mr. Garritan posted a link to this on the forum... 25 ways to destroy a piano! Everything from blowing up to trebuchets. Lots of piano torture, music to John Cage's ears.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Time travel game

Here's the best Flash game I've seen in a long time... it's a great puzzle game that involves time travel. You've got to press buttons and pick up boxes, all in sync with your future and past selves. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Too much information?

Chris Pirillo says:

The problem today isn’t that there’s not enough information. There’s too much. It’s not there aren’t ways to publish content on the Internet - there are an abundance. A lot of noise comes with that signal. So we’ve got different problems than we used to have. Information used to be handed to us from “on high”, as recently as a decade ago. Nowadays, information is just literally everywhere. It’s overwhelming at times. It’s impossible for me to keep up with the news aggregator, the email, the social networks…

Where does it end? How do you keep up with this information overload?

Here was my comment:

Interesting topic!

Perhaps it only seems like “overload” to the degree in which you are trying to “keep up.” People just growing up with the Internet now, and its vast resources, will probably be so used to there being so much information available that they won’t feel overloaded at all.

As for how to sift through all that information to find what you need, I agree that that will be a human role for many years to come. Humans are already helping to sort out all the information with sites like Digg and Wikipedia. Even a site like this is in some ways a “Pirillo Information Filter” as it contains information you gathered and filtered yourself.

I think with blogs and podcasts and sites like Digg and Twitter and YouTube, we may no longer even have to put any extra effort into “keeping up” … the important information will emerge from these resources to us.

Fold your arms to be smarter

According to this article:

The mere act of folding your arms increases perseverance and activates an unconscious desire to succeed, new research shows.

University students randomly assigned to sit with their arms crossed spent more time on an impossible-to-solve anagram, or word scramble, in one experiment, and came up with more correct solutions to solvable anagrams in another than those told to sit with their hands on their thighs.

Though that could just mean that putting your hands on your thighs makes you dumber.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Send your name to moon?

According to NASA:

The Send Your Name to the Moon Web site enables everyone to participate in the lunar adventure and place their names in orbit around the moon for years to come. Participants can submit their information at, print a certificate and have their name entered into a database. The database will be placed on a microchip that will be integrated onto the spacecraft. The deadline for submitting names is June 27, 2008.

I wonder how many fake names they're getting...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

100's of Hello World's

Here's the infamous "Hello World" program in 100's of programming languages. Wow, there are a lot of languages I would hate to have to learn...

'Cheap on Charity'

Some interesting stats on who donates more to charity...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

It was a metaphor!

This pic has been getting a lot of diggs... it really explains the true meaning of a certain video game...

Friday, May 02, 2008


It's music to Ligeti's ears!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New breath-holding record

If you plan on one day setting a new breath holding record, don't hold your breath. When David Blaine isn't magically sending people back into dinosaur times, he's holding his. He recently set the new breath holding record:

David Blaine set a new world record Wednesday for breath-holding, 17 minutes and 4 seconds.

Now wait just a sec...

Before he entered the sphere, Blaine inhaled pure oxygen through a mask to saturate his blood with oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide.

Hmmmm... I consider that to be cheating! The Guiness Book O' Records people allow it, though.