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26 May, 2003


Now why didn't they have a web site like QuickMath when I was in school? What is it?

QuickMath is an automated service for answering common math problems over the internet. Think of it as an online calculator that solves equations and does all sorts of algebra and calculus problems - instantly and automatically!

When you submit a question to QuickMath, it is processed by Mathematica, the largest and most powerful computer algebra package available today. The answer is then sent back to you and displayed right there on your browser, usually within a couple of seconds.

And it's free.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

A View From Mt. Everest

A 360-degree panoramic view from the top of Mount Everest, taken by Roderick Mackenzie. Why did he climb it?

"I have a theory that people climb for the smell of it. Air at very high altitude smells completely different to lower altitudes. People become addicted to this smell and need more and more to get less and less of it. This is what makes them get higher."

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Hedgehog Central

The best online source for hedgehog information is Hedgehog Central.

I'm not sure that I've ever seen a hedgehog. But...

It has been said that no other exotic animal has caught the attention of the public quite like hedgehogs have. Their spines, friendly and curious nature, as well as that ever-smiling expression have endeared them to millions of confessed hedgehog lovers around the globe.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Planetary Nomenclature

Did you ever wonder how various areas of planets get their names? If so, you'll find some answers at the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. It's all done by committee.

When images are first obtained of the surface of a planet or satellite, a theme for naming features is chosen and a few important features are named, usually by members of the appropriate IAU task group. Later, as higher resolution images and maps become available, additional features are named at the request of investigators mapping or describing specific surfaces, features, or geologic formations. Anyone may suggest that a specific name be considered by a task group. If the members of the task group agree that the name is appropriate, it can be retained for use when there is a request from a member of the scientific community that a specific feature be named. Names successfully reviewed by a task group are submitted to the WGPSN. Upon successful review by the members of the WGPSN, names are considered provisionally approved and can be used on maps and in publications as long as the provisional status is clearly stated.

(via Incoming Signals)

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Some EMusic Picks

I've mentioned EMusic several times in the past. It is, without a doubt, the best music deal going. They offer unlimited MP3 downloads for a flat monthly fee ranging from $9.99 (for a 12-month minimum) to $14.99 (for a 3-month minimum).

Apple's iTunes has been getting lots of press lately, but it doesn't even begin to compare.

I've been a member for five months. For my $70, I've downloaded 2,119 songs -- about 175 CDs. That works out to about $.03 per song, which is a far cry from iTune's $0.99 per song. And, unlike iTunes, EMusic offers real MP3 files (variable bitrate), with no DRM.

You won't find the current hit songs at EMusic (and that's a good thing). Rather...

EMusic has partnerships with over 900 independent record labels to offer their catalogs in MP3. Our selection features all styles of music, but we specialize in genres that can be hard to find in traditional record stores, such as electronic, alternative/punk, urban/hip-hop, classical, jazz, blues, metal and world/reggae.

Following is a small list of recommended CDs that I've downloaded recently. You can go to the EMusic site and listen to samples of every song in their library.

  • Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan - In Session (blues)

  • Bia - Sources (world)

  • Billie Holiday - All or Nothing At All (jazz)

  • Brannan Lane - Lost Caverns of Thera (ambient)

  • Christine Collister - Blue Aconite (folk)

  • Daveed - Don't Be Sad (neo flamenco guitar)

  • Donnacha Costello - Growing Up in Public (electronic)

  • Jimmy McGriff - McGriff Avenue (jazz)

  • Laura Cantrell - Not the Tremblin' Kind (country)

  • Lightnin' Hopkins - Choose from about 20 CDs (blues)

  • Merle Haggard - The Peer Sessions (country)

  • Nicholas Gunn - The Great Southwest (new age)

  • Ruth Brown - Songs of My Life (blues)

  • Solomon Burke - Don't Give Up On Me (R&B)

  • Yehuda Hanani - Vivaldi, Six Sonatas For Cello (classical)

I could go on and on...

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Street Details

Marc Voelckel runs the Ruavista web site, and says:

I firmly believe that one can learn much and distract oneself with all the details from our daily environment which, because of tiredness, lack of time or from force of habit, pass unnoticed.

The street is rich of these details. It's a permanent field of discoveries and experiments. It's the place of the unforeseen and of the mixture. It's a superposition in time and space of personal life stories. It's a crazy density of images, sounds and smells.

There's a lot to see here.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Padres Downward Spiral Continues

The San Diego Padres are now in a position to claim the title as the worst team in Major League Baseball. If they lose today (and the Detroit Tigers win), it will then be official.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Yellow Flowers

You can tell that you're getting old when the most exciting event over a three-day weekend involves a cactus. Over the past few weeks, I've been watching a cactus get ready to bloom. And it happened on Monday.

I was playing around with some close-up shots, and happened to catch a small insect on another yellow flower. Click the thumbnails for a larger view.

Life doesn't get any more exciting than this!

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Medical Animation

Check out these amazing animations.

Especially the skeleton.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

The Music of Lil' Dunklin

Music composed and performed by a baby. It sound exactly how you would expect it to sound. Maybe even worse.

(via April Winchell)

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Who Would Buy That?

A blog that deals exclusively with auction oddities.

You see, here at "Who Would Buy That," we patrol the web's auction sites so you don't have to. We devote hours, sometimes even entire days of our lives to ferreting out the true gems among the trappings of our modern society. Whether it's that animatronic lawn Santa that frightened you as a child or the ubiquitous black velvet Elvis painting, we'll find it for you.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Perfect Eyebrows

The world is a much better place. We now have a formula for perfect eyebrows, thanks to Stephen Metzinger.

A model eyebrow hits its zenith 98% along the eye's width, towards the side of the face, he concludes, compared with 93% of the way over in other women. Both are shifted from the 75-80% position favoured in the 1970s, which aligns with the edge of the iris. "We've seen an evolution in our idea of beauty," Metzinger says.

I hate missing exciting news like this. I guess I should renew my subscription to the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

Someone should send this link to the folks at Monobrow.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Microsoft in the Mirror

Microsoft in the Mirror, a new book that might be an interesting read.

Current and former employees from the trenches, not the executive suites, give their perspectives on their own experiences, the industry, competitors, and the Department of Justice pursuit of Microsoft. They talk about where they came from, what their experiences were at Microsoft, and what they're doing now. Detail by detail, they paint a picture of their slice of Microsoft.

Posted on 26 May, 2003

Old Ads and Photos

If you like looking at old things, you'll find lots of eye candy at paperdoll.com. Lots of old printed material for sale (and on display).

Posted on 26 May, 2003