I... There's really no words for how awesome this is, you need to see it for yourself. Pacific Star I & II.

They built a weather balloon and attached digital cameras to it, that flew up into the edge of space, and took pictures that show the curve of the Earth. No, not NASA, this was done by three dudes from California.

Let me repeat that. These guys, in their backyard, sent cameras up to the EDGE OF SPACE, and got back pictures. From the edge of space. With digital cameras from eBay, styrofoam, duct tape, and chemical hand warmers.

(Shamelessly stolen from Afterlife Blues' daily link. Because, DUDE.)
So, Fred Phelps (the "God hates fags" guy and his famiy) decided to mount a protest at... San Diego Comic-Con. Seriously. No, I don't know why either.

But, word of this got out beforehand, so there were a few more protesters than expected. AWESOME protestors.

(Also, you're not supposed to use the flag as clothing, according to the Flag Code, also she has it upside down, which is a distress signal)
These autonomous flight tricks are awesome. Almost unreal to watch. Luckily these things are so little I don't think they could carry any weapons, so we're safe from the robot dragonfly revolution... FOR NOW.
What's the word for something that is ridiculous, yet awesome, amd too busy being awesome to be worried about ridiculous? And it's not ironic, or it's so ironic it's gone through to the other side and is sincere, because sincerity when people are expecting irony is as ironic as you can get.

Like Meat Loaf's music, which is ridiculously epic, but completely sincere in being awesome. I suspect some other bands, like Dragonforce may count, it depends on how ironic you credit them as being, I guess.
A music video, remixed from COSMOS, History Channel's Universe, interviews with Richard Feynman, and many others. It's awesome. Really awesome.

Here's another, with Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking
Zombie Squad.

"Zombie Squad is an elite zombie suppression task force ready to defend your neighborhood from the shambling hordes of the walking dead. We provide trained, motivated, skilled zombie extermination professionals and zombie survival consultants. Our people and our training are the best in the industry.

When the zombie removal business is slow we focus our efforts towards educating ourselves and our community about the importance of disaster preparation.

To satisfy this goal we host disaster relief charity fundraisers, disaster preparation seminars and volunteer our time towards emergency response agencies.

Our goal is to educate the public about the importance of personal preparedness and self reliance, to increase its readiness to respond to disasters such as Earthquakes, Floods, Terrorism or Zombie Outbreaks. We want to make sure you are prepared for any crisis situation that might come along in your daily life which may include having your face eaten by the formerly deceased."

Charity. With zombies. Awesome.

Holy Crap

May. 30th, 2008 01:55 pm
Over at Making Light, there's a picture of the Mars Pheonix lander as it's descending, taken from ANOTHER SPACESHIP.

NASA has the pic brightened to show Mars and the freaking PARACHUTE LINES.

Dude. DUDE.
Astronauts to Work on Giant Robot

I bet the editor who got to pen that was filled with glee.

(stolen from [livejournal.com profile] vanmojo)
I give you, Trans Siberian Orchestra and choreographed lights.

The same guy also did Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24) the year before.


Nov. 19th, 2007 11:03 pm
I've been watching a bunch of the Discovery Channel and Science channel lately at my aunt's, and I just want to say this.

Science is fucking awesome!
I give you: The Futurama Movie Trailer.
Aaron of Dresden Codak has had a brilliant idea.  Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day, December 8th.

The rules, from his post:

1) Utopian/cliché Future - "If the Future did a documentary of the last fifty years, this is how badly the reenactors would dress." Think Star Trek: TNG or the Time Travelers from Hob. Ever see how the society in Futurama sees the 20th century? Run with it. Your job is to dress with moderately anachronistic clothing and speak in slang from varying decades. Here are some good starters:

- Greet people by referring to things that don't yet exist or haven't existed for a long time. Example: "Have you penetrated the atmosphere lately?" "What spectrum will today's broadcast be in?" and "Your king must be a kindly soul!"

- Show extreme ignorance in operating regular technology. Pay phones should be a complete mystery (try placing the receiver in odd places). Chuckle knowingly at cell phones.

2) Dystopian Future - This one offers a little more flexibility. It can be any kind of future from Terminator to Freejack. The important thing to remember is dress like a crazy person with armor. Black spray painted football pads, high tech visors, torn up trenchcoats and maybe even some dirt here or there. Remember, dystopian future travelers are very startled that they've gone back in time. Some starters:

- If you go the "prisoner who's escaped the future" try shaving your head and putting a barcode on the back of your neck. Then stagger around and stare at the sky, as if you've never seen it before.

- Walk up to random people and say "WHAT YEAR IS THIS?" and when they tell you, get quiet and then say "Then there's still time!" and run off.

- Stand in front of a statue (any statue, really), fall to your knees, and yell "NOOOOOOOOO"

- Stare at newspaper headlines and look astonished.

- Take some trinket with you (it can be anything really), hand it to some stranger, along with a phone number and say "In thirty years dial this number. You'll know what to do after that." Then slip away.

3) The Past - This one is more for beginners. Basically dress in period clothing (preferably Victorian era) and stagger around amazed at everything. Since the culture's set in place already, you have more of a template to work off of. Some pointers:

- Airplanes are terrifying. Also, carry on conversations with televisions for a while.

- Discover and become obsessed with one trivial aspect of technology, like automatic grocery doors. Stay there for hours playing with it.

- Be generally terrified of people who are dressed immodestly compared to your era. Tattoos and shorts on women are especially scary.

Me, my girlfriend, and Jonathan Coulton, after the concert. I even actually managed to smile in the photo, something I rarely do, even when I'm trying to.

Other awesome things about it.

- My girlfriend enjoyed the hell out of it, even though she hadn't heard any of Jonathan Coulton's songs before I played some on my Nerd Rock CD in the car.
- Going to an awesome concert with my girlfriend, because she's awesome. And that's how it's supposed to go.
- Seeing the updated blog post on his site about the concert, because now it's on the Internet, so it must be true!
- Going to a concert with 400+ other nerds. It's like a mini-con. A gathering of my tribe.

I promise I'll post
I just got back from seeing Jonathan Coulton (his site was down during the show, but seems to be up now) with Paul and Storm at the Birchmere in Arlington.

It was fucking AWESOME. Paul & Storm, it turns out, are two of the dudes who used to be in Da Vinci's Notebook, which I didn't know. They were funny and awesome, and Jonathan Coulton was fucking awesome, and also funny. They packed the place, which was over 400 people, and there were two standing ovations and an encore of two songs.

Some highlights.
- The Birchmere is a really cool venue, and decorated all sorts of interestingly.
- Meeting up with [livejournal.com profile] kjatar, and his friend and friend's girlfriend, whose names I have shamefully forgotten. [livejournal.com profile] kjatar looks a little like Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2. Not how I expected for someone I've known online for an absurd amount of time. Also, they helped by saving us good seats.
- Paul and Storm singing their song "Opening Band" and getting to the line of not having panties thrown at them. Three sets were subsequently thrown on stage.
- One of which was a pair of men's briefs.
- One of the others of which was a minuscule thong, which Paul called an eyepatch, and said he'd have worn as an eyepatch, but his wife wouldn't have approved.
- Paul and Storm's audience participation pirate song, and the varieties of "ARRR!"s involved from the audience.
- A wiseass in the audience (not me) called out "Freebird!" and Paul and Storm played it, with a few modifications, and the audience waved their cell phones since only like two guys had lighters.
- Apparently many people in the front had coordinated to bring plush octopi and monkeys (and a jellyfish and a toucan?) to which they'd pinned $1 bills, or notes.
- One of the notes was a guy asking him to play a bachelor party in Vegas, in exchange for a room and travel fare and such.
- This led to a comment about Neil Diamond already turning the bachelor party down, which led to a really awesome singalong of "Sweet Caroline" with no preparation.
- The audience response part of "Re: Your Brains".
- Getting my CDs signed by Jonathan Coulton, who seems to be a really nice dude, and was willing to talk to a big line of fans and sign all sorts of things even though it meant he didn't get out till midnight, and overall seems a really cool dude.
- The Awesome.

More details later. Sleep now. Also later, picture.
This Wired article is about very cool stuff. Methods of augmenting human senses through things like feedback belts and tongue sensors and so on. I think that sort of stuff's awesome. They talk about how the brain re-maps once it has a chance to get used to the new sense, and how it can make things noticeable humans usually can't notice. It's cybernetics without all the brain implantation and stuff. Direction senses, orientation, even "sight" through the tongue sensor. That's so awesome. And I've noticed the same thing with well-designed games and stuff, once you get used to the controls and the interface, you're not pushing buttons or moving the controller, you're making things happen in the game world. That could lead to a whole discussion about identity, since you don't say "Aww, my character almost died!" you say "Man! That dragon almost got me!" But I'm not going into that one right now.

Maybe I'm just a tremendous nerd, but the idea of using technology to add on to our senses and expand the way we can see the world is tremendously awesome to me. I'd love to have smartgoggles or something that would let me identify things and then find more information about them instantly. Imagine something that let you look at products on the shelves and see how healthy they are, or color them by worker treatment, environmental costs, whatever that went into them. Or be able to "smell" various chemicals, or...pretty much anything. Not all of it's possible, or easy, but the potential there, that's so awesome. Or on a more mundane side, look at cell phones, and the growing ability to talk to a pretty good chunk of anybody, a pretty good chunk of anywhere.

I love living in the future. Wish it'd hurry up and get here.
(crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] snarkoleptics)

Today's xkcd is brilliant. And it definitely could only work as a webcomic. Stick figure free software ninja jokes have a relatively limited audience, but I am completely that audience. Everybody here probably already knows all this, of course. There's just so many things about xkcd I like. Unfortunately, I'm a lot worse at detailing the reasons I like something than I am at detailing the reasons I don't. Maybe part of it's a feeling that the world should be more like what happens in the strip. Maybe it's the free mix of math and science and pop culture and romance and idealism and absurdity that just hooks in to almost everything I'm predisposed to like, growing up when and how I did. Or maybe it's the sense where I can look at the comics, and there's the absurd and the funny, and then there's the ones that feel True. I think that's probably the biggest thing. A lot of the comics feel like they're True, not just the ones that have happened to me. (Okay, not the part about walking around the world, but the doing something and thinking that)
Instructions for home made screenprinting. Nice and simple, and yet reusable.

*looks speculatively at a closet half-full of random plain T-Shirts*



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