Interesting Things to Fill Your Beautiful Skull.

Monday, March 30, 2009



Popularity Dialer

Have you ever felt like you needed to receive a phone call to your cellphone in a crowd just to feel important? Well, now you can arrange for your phone to be called anytime you like. And a recorded message will be played that sounds like an actual phone conversation in case anybody is trying to listen in on your phone call (or for those with the volume too loud). One of the interesting things about people is that the more new things we discover, the more new ways we find to maintain the old lies.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rock-afire Explosion

The Rock-afire Explosion was the robot band that performed at Showbiz Pizza during the 1980s. I remember them from birthday parties held at Showbiz Pizza when I was growing up in New York. Apparently the company that made them still programs them and they started releasing videos to's a Nine Inch Nails performance. It's bizarre...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Louis C.K.

I think Louis C.K. one of the funnier comics on the scene today. He had a small TV show a few years ago that I thought was raw, intelligent and funny. Like all good shows, the network canceled it. I was surfing the web and came across a clip and wanted to post it. I'm not sure if it's the funniest clip, but it's a start.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tic Tac Toe

Recently, tina emailed me. I'll post the email here:

In your pursuit of many things linguistic
I am curious about the game Tic-Tac-Toe (which is played nearly all over the world)
what is it called in other countries and why
I just found out that in Dutch it is called Cheese,butter, eggs - Dairy centric culture?
What is it in Israel?
peace & just thinking

I decided to make a short study of it.. I asked some of my friends from around the world what Tic Tac Toe is in other languages. Here are the results of my efforts:

krestik i nolik
iks and zero

Eeks eegul (X and circle)
Eeks Meeks Dreeks

오목 게임
Oh Mok
(Row of Five)
Sam Mok Game
(Row of Three)

Irish (Gaelic)
Naughts (Zero) and Crosses

tres en raya
Three in a Row

tres en ratlla
Three in a row

连子棋 - lian zi qi : lianzi it's to put the parts in a row. Qi is this kind of board games.
九宫棋 - Jiu gong qi : jiu gong it's about the 9 squares of the games, the qi is the same as above.

Arabic (Palestinian)

Pronounced: OX

Tic Tac Toe

(pronounciation is like:sun mow coup nara-bay)
it is a bit difficult to explain how to pronounce.....
SAN means 3
MOKU means square
NARABE means to place, or to set or to arrange....
Sanmoku-narabe 三目並べ
三 目 並 べ
san moku nara be
maru-batsu ○×
○  ×
maru batsu
we don't have a Kanji for Maru-Batsu..

Going Green

Here are two videos I thought were inspiring. The first video is about greening the desert. They took 10 acres of salted, desert land which could sustain nothing and turned it into a thriving garden.

The second video is about a family in southern California who turned their urban home into an agricultural homefront. There's even a website: Path to Freedom

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Amazon Kindle's eReader

In my Technology in Education class this morning, we mentioned Amazon's new eReader, the Kindle. I haven't heard so much about it, so I thought I'd do a bit of research. It sort of reminds me of a Speak and Spell. Seems like this will be a dinosaur of a much cooler, more evolved toy in the future.

Here are some interesting links:

Multimedia Review

Technology Review

Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea

This past weekend we camped out on the salt shores of the Dead Sea. Next to where we were camping where pockets of sinkholes that had steam-pools of sulfur and other natural minerals. The mud that is found at the Dead Sea is medicinal, and many people apply the mud to their bodies before bathing in the Dead Sea or in the pools of mineral water.

Apparently, Balneotherapy, is the art of healing through bathing in minerals. I've been doing some research about Balneotherapy and it looks interesting for treating skin conditions and respitory problems.

Vorpal Swords

When I was a teenager, one of our weekend hobbies was to get together and play Dungeons & Dragons. I never imagined I would receive so much form these sessions. Sitting with friends, mixing a created world with our own imaginations.

This semester I'm taking a poetry analysis course, and last week we looked at Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky." Mentioned twice within the poem are references to a "vorpal" sword. I remember my weekends as a teenager. I remember role-playing in relation to a "vorpal sword."

Naturally, I began to investigate what exactly is a "vorpal" sword. It turns out that the first reference to anything "vorpal" comes from this poem.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy.

`Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

According to Wikipedia, the sword has been mentioned and used in other sources, including Dungeons & Dragons. And now we are all a bit more vorpal in our knowledge.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Man, this guy says what I feel......REVOLUTION!

Michel Gondry

I may have posted early about Michel Gondry, but it's probably been about a year, so I think I'll post about him again. He is a director that has done some very interesting things with the work he picks up. Like a few other directors that got their start around the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 2000s, he achieved recognition with music videos before he went on to make movies (like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

Although he has many very interesting pieces, here is one that I always come back to and marvel over. It's a song by Kylie Minogue called Come Into My World. Mr. Gondry noticed that the chorus repeats at roughly 1.11, 2.11, and 3.11 and made the video repeat around that mark in time. I always wonder at how he arranged for all the extras and video editing to capture each revolution of the camera and the corresponding chaos around that intersection. This copy of the video isn't the best quality, but I have seen the full version on dvd and it is seamless. It's really quite impressive.

Here's another video he did for a Daft Punk song. The introduction of new music elements as groups of dancers is so simplistic, yet creatively managed.

Here's a vid of him explaining his thought behind the video:

And just to keep it all updated, this is a trailer for his new movie, Tokyo. I guess he films a portion of the film, but if it's like all his other work, I'm sure it's creatively bizarre to warrant securing a viewing.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Tempting Fate

In the first week of April, there will be a national surf contest held in Ponce Inlet, in Volusia County, Florida. Volusia County, best known for the city of Daytona Beach, is also the 2009 'Shark Bite Capital of the World', with 22 shark attacks over the year. Is it just me, or are they just asking for it?

Oh, and here's some gratuitous local news footage of sharks.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Out of Time

Recently, a friend of mine gave me a 4-part documentary series on the topic of time. It was produced by the BBC and has Dr. Michio Kaku:

Theoretical Physicist - Dr. Michio Kaku is the co-creator of string field theory, a branch of string theory. He received a B.S. (summa cum laude) from Harvard University in 1968 where he came first in his physics class. He went on to the Berkeley Radiation Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and received a Ph.D. in 1972. In 1973, he held a lectureship at Princeton University.

Professor of Physics — He holds the Henry Semat Chair and Professorship in theoretical physics at the City College of New York, where he has taught for over 25 years. He has also been a visiting professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, as well as New York University (NYU).

I've only watched the first two episodes, and I think the series is fantastic. There have been so many interesting experiements performed to help explain what is time, that it has me thinking a lot these days about time and aging. One of the many interesting things they discussed was the perception of time as we age. Old people move slower and notice how the world is speeding up around them. One of the experiments they performed was asking pedestrians in New York City to count to a minute. Repeatedly, the younger people were under a minute and the older ones were always over.

I teach children and they're perceptions of time are different from mine. They can spend multiple minutes engaged with something extremely mundane. Remember when we were young? Getting older seemed so far away. Days seemed to last much longer than 24 hours. And then as we get older, we feel time carrying us forward faster and faster.

One of the explanations for this phenomena is that when we have new, unique experiences our brains are forced to be on alert taking in all the new information. The moment is in appreciation and our sense of time is slowed a bit. Over time, experiences and objects begin to have the mark of the mundane and so we stop interacting with the world in such an engaged fashion. Essentially, we get lost into our heads.

I've been giving this so much thought recently. My 20s have been filled with new, unique experiences. From traveling around the world for so many years, I feel that my life has been extremely rich with these experiences that I almost feel out of time with parts of the world; in particular, with the people and place of my birth and youth - America. I think this comparison is necessary because I interact with Americans most. This interaction includes my parents, sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc. My sense of time has almost been slowed by the rate of new experiences. To put it more poetically, my inner dance has become out of pace with the march of the world.

Time slows for those who dare to be different. It can be done so simply. Take new ways home from work, go eat in restaurants you have never tried. Plan to make a day with no plan and just see what happens. Change something in your home. Go for a walk down a street you've never been.

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears the beat of a different drummer."
-Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Oldest English Words Identified.....

Some of the oldest words in English have been identified, scientists say.

Reading University researchers claim "I", "we", "two" and "three" are among the most ancient, dating back tens of thousands of years.

Their computer model analyses the rate of change of words in English and the languages that share a common heritage.

The team says it can predict which words are likely to become extinct - citing "squeeze", "guts", "stick" and "bad" as probable first casualties.

"We use a computer to fit a range of models that tell us how rapidly these words evolve," said Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading.

Rest of Story

Wednesday, March 4, 2009