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2 March, 2004

Animated GIFs

Here are some very fine animated GIFs by a b3ta member. My favorite is the one at the bottom, called Painful This.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Blooper Reel

I haven't seen The Passion of The Christ, but this blooper reel from The Morning News is still funny. It's actually text, not video.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Kaleidoscopic Images

Inspired by this thread in a photography forum, I started with this boring flower photo...

...and turned it into this much more interesting kaleidoscopic image.

It's very easy to do, and it works with just about any image.

  1. Make a copy of the original image as a new layer.
  2. Flip the copy horizontally.
  3. Adjust the opacity of the new layer to 50%
  4. Flatten the layers.
  5. Adjust the levels.

Repeat, using a vertical flip. Then repeat again, using a 45-degree manual rotation. Adjust the hue and saturation, and you're done.

Three more examples:

Posted on 2 March, 2004

The Memory Champ

Congrats to Scott Hagwood, Grandmaster of Memory.

To earn the Grandmaster title, a Mental Athlete must memorize a deck of cards in less than three minutes, remember at least 713 numbers in perfect order in less than an hour and recall at least seven decks of shuffled cards in an hour. Scott's scores were an entire deck of cards in 2 minutes even, 822 numbers in an hour and 9 decks of cards in perfect order in an hour.

Sheesh. I think it's an accomplishment if I can remember where I parked my car.

Read more about memorable people at Wired: The Masters of Memory Lane.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Flipping Coins

This changes everything. From Science News: Toss Out the Toss-Up: Bias in heads-or-tails.

A new mathematical analysis suggests that coin tossing is inherently biased: A coin is more likely to land on the same face it started out on.

"I don't care how vigorously you throw it, you can't toss a coin fairly," says Persi Diaconis, a statistician at Stanford University who performed the study with Susan Holmes of Stanford and Richard Montgomery of the University of California, Santa Cruz.

But it's pretty close...

Their preliminary data suggest that a coin will land the same way it started about 51 percent of the time. It would take about 10,000 tosses before a casual observer would become aware of such a small bias, Diaconis says. "Maybe that's why society hasn't noticed this before," he says

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Nothing So Strange: The Movie

I've been interested in Brian Flemming's Nothing So Strange film since I first learned about it (December, 2002). Last week I ordered the DVD, and last night we watched it.

The film is a pseudo-documentary that opens with the assassination of Bill Gates. But it's not a Bill Gates movie -- the murder is just a minor plot point. The remainder of film focuses on the group dynamics of an organization called Citizens For Truth. These people don't accept the official police report, and are seeking to find out what really happened.

It's shot on video tape, and everything seems to be very real. The acting is excellent, and I found myself thinking that I was watching an actual documentary.

What's really interesting (at least to me) is all of the "extras" that have gone into this project. Even the director's commentary track plays along with the pseudo-documentary theme. In other words, Flemming and the actors talk about it as if it were a real documentary. Besides that, the film has four other Web sites, which are accessible here. For example, there's a Citizens For Truth site, and even a Bill Gates Is Dead site (with a link to a fake MSNBC news story). It all adds up to a unique film experience.

Interestingly, Nothing So Strange is an open source film. Flemming plans to make the original footage available so others can re-edit the film if they like.

If you like unusual movies, you should really check out Nothing So Strange. At the very least, it's a refreshing change of pace from the mainstream movie industry.

Brian Flemming also has a Weblog,  and you may remember him from such projects as the George W. Bush Nose Job Rumor.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

For Catholic Low-Carb Dieters

From Humor Is Dead: Catholic Church Furious Over Introduction of Carb-Free Eucharist by Famed Dietitian.

Catholic Church leaders have called for the excommunication of best-selling author and famed carbohydrate counter Dr. Atkins. The line of dietary food products bearing his name has recently launched beef-based communion wafers, available in a whole host of flavors, including original "Holy-Smoked", "Teriyaki of Temptation", "Hot-n-Spicy Son of God", and "Turkey H. Christ."

Posted on 2 March, 2004

The Face Of Jesus

From Popular Mechanics: The Real Face Of Jesus.

What did Jesus look like? An answer has emerged from an exciting new field of science: forensic anthropology. Using methods similar to those police have developed to solve crimes, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image (above) of the most famous face in human history.

He looks nothing like the guy in that Mel Gibson movie.

And he was pretty short:

The historic record also resolved the issue of Jesus's height. From an analysis of skeletal remains, archeologists had firmly established that the average build of a Semite male at the time of Jesus was 5 ft. 1 in., with an average weight of about 110 pounds.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Curious Calculations

From the Curious Math site: Curious Calculations.

Interesting products for various multiplication problems. Not very useful, but certainly curious.

For example, these are rather curious:

3 x 37 = 111 and 1 + 1 + 1 = 3
6 x 37 = 222 and 2 + 2 + 2 = 6
9 x 37 = 333 and 3 + 3 + 3 = 9
12 x 37 = 444 and 4 + 4 + 4 = 12
15 x 37 = 555 and 5 + 5 + 5 = 15
18 x 37 = 666 and 6 + 6 + 6 = 18
21 x 37 = 777 and 7 + 7 + 7 = 21
24 x 37 = 888 and 8 + 8 + 8 = 24
27 x 37 = 999 and 9 + 9 + 9 = 27

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Dehydrated Water

Now why didn't I think of this? It's Rich's Dehydrated Water. And it's great for backpackers.

No need to carry heavy water bottles on those steep climbs anymore. (You'll still need to carry your empty bottles, tho!) Plus, there's no need to carry a purifier, since each packet reconstitutes to 1 liter of ultra-pure water.

All you need to do is empty the contents into a bottle or cooking pot, add one liter of fresh water, stir and let it sit. After three minutes, you have 1 liter of pure, clean water! Easy, eh?

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Movie Nitpickers

The Nitpickers site is devoted to finding errors in movies and TV shows.

A Nitpick is a mistake, anomaly or an unexpected small detail contained entirely within a movie or tv show. Nitpicks can not be based on the source material for the show (ie script, story or book the show is based on) or any extra sources which are specific to that show.

Nitpicks should be based either on direct observation of the show or combination of observation and general/public knowledge not related to the show in question. Nitpicks can be based on discrepancies between episodes in the same or related TV series or between prequel/sequel movies.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Toy Presidents

Attention collectors! Buy some Toy Presidents.

Toypresidents has been founded upon the principles of education and discovery of the American political system with the introduction of a collectible series of political talking action figures. Our products are not endorsing specific public figures; rather our products endorse the democratic system of government itself.

Shown here is John F. Kennedy. As you can see, these $29.95 action figures bear only a vague resemblance to the actual presidents.

And George W. needs to learn how to pick out better-fitting clothes.

Posted on 2 March, 2004


From CNET: MP3 getting antipiracy makeover.

The venerable MP3 music format, the technology most widely associated with unrestricted file swapping, is getting a makeover aimed at blocking unauthorized copying.

Thomson and Fraunhofer, the companies that license and own the patents behind the MP3 digital music technology, are in the midst of creating a new digital rights management add-on for the popular format, a Thomson executive said Tuesday

That's just great.

Posted on 2 March, 2004

Steven Wright

From Steven Wright's Web site, his complete biography.

I was born. When I was 23 I started telling jokes. Then I started going on television and doing films. That's still what I am doing. The end.

Not quite accurate. He also does paintings (so-so) and music (very good!).

And here's a site that has lots of his jokes. Like this:

I went to the hardware store and bought some used paint. It was in the shape of a house. I also bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again

(Thanks Woody McNair)

Posted on 2 March, 2004