These people in Minneapolis seem pretty cool, The Geek Partnership Society. They run themed "nerd proms", gaming events, writer workshops, parties at cons, volunteer things, nerf wars, and organize getting authors and scientists to come visit some of the local schools. It's an idea with potential.

(Also, I just realized I have a "geekery" and a "nerdity" tag, and I think only one can survive. Now to figure out which.)
I have a whole folder of bookmarks marked "things to blog about", which I haven't, so I'm going to start dumping things that look interesting, and I haven't had the time/energy/inspiration to write a whole thing about, so at least they get out.

Indian engineer 'builds' new glaciers to stop global warming" In the fine tradition of accurate headlines, he's not building precisely "new" glaciers, nor will it stop global warming. He's piping the meltwater from melting glaciers to the shadowed side of the mountains, where it can freeze until the spring.

SuBET sustainable masterplanning tools It looks like an integrated city desgin/analysis tool to work on making cities, but it's apparently proprietary for that one British engineering company, so not widely applicable, yet at least.

Motorhead Messiah This guy makes some awesome/crazy modifications to cars, like a hybrid Hummer where the electric batteries are powered by a biodiesel jet turbine. Seriously.

There's three to start, more later as I go through the folder(s).

The List

Jan. 11th, 2008 06:37 pm
Via a link in a WorldChanging comment thread, I give you The List of what one woman's done to cut down the amount of plastic she uses. A good idea, considering the floating island of plastic trash twice the size of Texas in the Pacific. (Here's more photos)
Okay, since this has shown up three times in three different places over the past two days, I'm not gonna ignore the Law of Fives showing up like that.

So, I give you www.esty.com, a nifty site where artisans and craftspersons can sell their stuff online. They have a lot of neat stuff, with different kinds of searches. Even a search by color, and a search by location.

Tres nifty all around, really.
Here are a bunch of fun little flash exploratory games where the object is to find the star hidden in each stage. They're simple, stylish, and fun. There's no instructions, so you have to figure out how each works on your own. Have fun!
It's amazing the stuff you can find when you go poking around the backs of buildings. I did some urban exploration in old town nearby today, and found two gardens in courtyards, several alleys, a couple of rusty warehouses, and some other cool stuff. I'll post pictures tomorrow. But it'd all started because I wanted to poke around by dumpsters to see if people were throwing useful stuff away, especially a computer or something maybe.

And I found one, even. Swiped it from the dumpster, and need to get it from the back of my girlfriend's car in the next couple of days, then hook it up and see if it works and so on. I'm gonna have to explore more places like this, it's fun.

And yeah, I've been out doing things and such lately, which is why this has been dead, and why I've fallen behind on the RP on the GG forum. I'll update that tomorrow, I swear! I never figured having a life would interfere with stuff so much.
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.
It's nice to know I've still got it. I borrowed a book from work because it looked interesting, and proceeded to complete reading it in approximately one day. Started reading it last night, finished about an hour ago, and that's including sleep and work. Yay me.

But it helps to have a good book to read. And I was reading American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly which has too many subtitles but is made of several parts of awesome. I picked it up at first because it looked interesting, what with the title, and the "Iron Crotch" bit, and the pic of the monk carrying a bag of Burger King. I almost put it back, but then I flipped it over and read the blurbs on the back. The last one sold me completely. Allow me to quote it in full.

"A lot of people talk about becoming a real live ninja and don't do a thing. That's bullcrap. But this guy actually did it! In conclusion, Matthew Polly is the complete opposite of a wimpy baby."
--Robert Hamburger, author of REAL Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book.

When a book has Real Ultimate Power, how could I NOT read it? And that's not a bad description of what he did. In 1992, he dropped out of Princeton for a couple of years, and went to China to find the Shaolin temple and train in Kung Fu with the monks there. Seriously. He spent two years in China, training, and eventually became a Shaolin disciple. The book is a description of those two years and the weirdness of China in the early 90s, and of a 21 year old on the opposite side of the world than he grew up on. And learning to kick ass. It's really awesome. You can read a more detailed and eloquent review here, which the author even commented on.

And the last little bit about this book, besides the fact that it made me feel even more like I've never done anything? A little bit of synchronity. I was taking a break from reading it before work, and turned on the radio, and guess who was getting interviewed on NPR? The author. Yeah, it makes sense that the author'd be on the radio around the release of the book, but it was still an interesting bit of timing.

And no, I won't tell you the secret of Iron Crotch. But it's exactly what it sounds like, just ask Monk Dong.
It's a good thing I don't live in Chicago, because that means I don't have to go out of my way to avoid the Boring Store. However, a reporter from The Methods Reporter has that misfortune, which he wrote about in order to exorcise the ennui implicit in such a locale. It certainly wouldn't be a review of a spy gear store and writing workshop run by some of the guys who do McSweeny's, cleverly disguised as a tedious exercise in the merchandising of holes.

And it's something I certainly have no desire to see.
I don't think I mentioned this yet, which is slacky of me. The awesome website/blog World Changing has a book out, and it's an awesomely pretty book. I haven't read it thoroughly yet, but considering how nifty the blog is, I imagine the book's much the same. It's full of the kind of future that'd actually be nice to live in.
The Sultan's Elephant, a show put on in the streets of London, which involved the Sultan, his giant mechanical elephant, and A giant puppet girl from a space capsule. Holy freaking crap that's awesome!

Via Making Light. Damn I want to live somewhere they do that kind of inspiredly awesome lunacy and amazingness.
I'm not sure how to do a good job describing the concert. Some of the stuff, I'm not sure English has words for. Or maybe I just don't know them. "Fucking Awesome" is accurate, but doesn't really cover anything. A concert isn't just the music, or the seeing, it's a combination of everything from all your senses, just words or video or audio can't really convey any real sense of what was there, just sort of sketch the whole experience in the broadest way. The best I can do is really just wave my arms and go "It's like, y'know..." and if you've been to an awesome show you'll know exactly what I mean, if you haven't, you can sort of guess at it, but it's nothing like what it's really like. Which, I suppose, makes it kind of like sex. You either know exactly what I'm talking about, from your own experiences, or you can only guess. That's about all the sex in this story though, sadly.

How do you express the feeling of being crowded in with hundreds of other people, all screaming out the words to songs you've heard hundreds of times at least, while the band's less than a hundred feet away from you and rocking out, and the music and crowd are so loud you can feel it in your gut and can't even hear yourself yelling the words? Rocking out describes it, but it doesn't cover the whole body sensations of everything, the feel of the music, the noise, the sights, the smells, the connection to everybody else and the band and back and around and knowing the rest of the crowd is feeling the same kinds of things and having as awesome a time as you are. It was a great bonding experience for the Tribe of Nerd. This was nothing like when I went to the techno club with my friend who was getting married. This was totally awesome. It would have been more awesome if I'd been able to go with some more people I knew, or if I'd managed to get a chance to talk with some of the exceedingly cute nerd ladies running around in TMBG shirts (they were still outnumbered by guy nerds, but there were a LOT of chick nerds). But none the less, it was awesome. And I can totally understand why concerts are popular dates, because if it's a show you both have a great time rocking out, chances are there's going to be other rocking going on later.

Okay, something coherent and story-like. The 9:30 club is a pretty nice club. I explored most of it in the hour or so before the show started. I tend to do that, kind of like how dogs sniff all of a new place before they settle down. It was smoky, but not nearly as smoky as some clubs, I suspect that was mostly because of the audience of nerds. Before TMBG took the stage the opening act was Michael Leviton. His first two songs got lots of laughs, but his more standard love ballads afterward didn't really hold the audience's interest all the way through. I actually ended up standing next to him through about half of TMBG's show, at the back, but I never got a chance to talk to him. First a guy, who I suspect is the guy who wrote the long description on the TMBG wiki, got an autograph, then the band was on stage and started rocking out, and there wasn't any point in trying to talk.

They played at least three new songs (I think) and some older and newer songs I didn't know, because I still have a couple of albums I don't have. I picked up a signed copy of The Spine and a TMBG T-Shirt, which you can see in the "swag" pics. The best rocking out, though, was on the songs everybody knew the words of and screamed/sang along with. Like on Boss of Me, We're the Replacements, New York City, Experimental Film, We Want a Rock, and Purple Toupee. The last song I was there for was Doctor Worm, at the end of the first encore, apparently there was a second encore of Istanbul, but I had to run to catch the last metro back. The 9:30 club's not in the greatest neighborhood, and I really had no desire to be stuck in DC overnight. Maybe next time if I go to a show I'll take my car, for more flexibility, but when there's the subway, it seems silly.

But the show was seriously one of the most awesome things I've done, and I really should do more awesome things like it. Far too many parts of geekhood are solitary, there's no reason not to rock out en masse when you can.

Thanks to MvCRage, over on the TaBB Forum, I found the show on This Might Be a Wiki, a TMBG wiki. So when I get a chance to go back and edit the photos better, I can go through the set list and give pretty good guesses at which songs the pics are from. But that's for later. The quick and dirty pic gallery is here. And there'll be more about this later, I'm sure. Because it was awesome.

A link

Apr. 9th, 2006 11:44 pm
Fly Guy, a short flash game.

It's made of awesome and dreams.
Do something interesting today, a little bit after 1.

At 01:02:03 on 04/05/06, in matter of fact.

Of course, this only works for those of us who do month/day/year. You weird furriners will have to wait until 05/04/06 to be as awesome as us.
Because I'm sure there's somebody it'll offend. But it's too funny, and the anime is really well synched with the words to the song.

So I give you: I wish I was a lesbian, the anime music video.

I'm not sorry
Some kind soul posted these absolutely bizarre Russian Star Wars posters, over in [livejournal.com profile] warren_ellis's LJ. They are weird and awesome.
(crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] snarkoleptics)

In the course of a totally awesome thread that kept coming back to Batman (and proved many times over that Batman can make anything funny, over in the Killroy and Tina forum, somebody linked this page of Batman sprite icons. Well, originally, they linked this page of some of the goofiest Batman stuff ever. Which is awesome enough on its own, but if you hit the "home" button on the top enough, it brings you back to the root page which is inconceivably awesome. Not just superheroes, but TV shows, movies, etc. It's like a kit to build your own Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.

DUDE.

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