Monday, July 31, 2006

Those Crazy Japanese

Japanese TV FreaksOver at TV-In-Japan, aside from a crappy web layout, they have a clip from youtube that is an example of everything that is right and wrong with Japanese TV and culture. According to the comments, the user kazuhima has several more of the same available on his youtube account.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Drive Through Lube

Drive through lube billboardsA delightfully suggestive advertisement by a lubricant company. Hell, it's more than suggestive, it's downright dirty.

California Republic Palomino

Blackwing pencil testingI like a person who takes their pencils as seriously as ninthwave does.

In my search for a replacement of what I consider the best pencil ever manufactured, I needed to find a pencil that had at least these qualities established by the Blackwing 602:

1. Dark smooth graphite with a slightly waxy feel to it.
2. Graphite that doesn't smudge easily (eliminating most grades over 4B).
3. Reasonably priced (i.e. not so rare that you have to buy at collctor's prices).
4. Produced by a company with commitment to pencil quality (to avoid future heartbreak should they stop production on a whim).

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Impure Mathematics

Found, unfortunately un-attributed, on the internet.

To prove once and for all that math can be fun, we present: Wherein it is related how that paragon of womanly virtue, young Polly Nomial (our heroine) is accosted by that notorious villain Curly Pi, and factored (oh horror!!!)

Once upon a time (1/t) pretty little Polly Nomial was strolling across a field of vectors when she came to the boundary of a singularly large matrix. Now Polly was convergent, and her mother had made it an absolute condition that she must never enter such an array without her brackets on. Polly, however, who had changed her variables that morning and was feeling particularly badly behaved, ignored this condition on the basis that it was insufficient and made her way in amongst the complex elements. Rows and columns closed in on her from all sides. Tangents approached her surface. She became tensor and tensor. Quite suddendly two branches of a hyperbola touched her at a
single point. She oscillated violently, lost all sense of directrix, and went completely divergent. As she tripped over a square root that was protruding from the erf and plunged headlong down a steep gradient. When she rounded off once more, she found herself inverted, apparently alone, in a non-Euclidean space.

She was being watched, however. That smooth operator, Curly Pi, was lurking inner product. As his eyes devoured her curvilinear coordinates, a singular expression crossed his face. He wondered, "Was she still convergent?" He decided to integrate properly at once.

Hearing a common fraction behind her, Polly rotated and saw Curly Pi approaching with his power series extrapolated. She could see at once by his degenerate conic and dissipative that he was bent on no good.

"Arcsinh," she gasped.

"Ho, ho," he said, "What a symmetric little asymptote you have I can see you angles have lots of secs."

"Oh sir," she protested, "keep away from me I haven't got my brackets on."

"Calm yourself, my dear," said our suave operator, "your fears are purely imaginary."

"I, I," she thought, "perhaps he's not normal but homologous."

"What order are you?" the brute demanded.

"Seventeen," replied Polly.

Curly leered "I suppose you've never been operated on."

"Of course not," Polly replied quite properly, "I'm absolutely convergent."

"Come, come," said Curly, "let's off to a decimal place I know and I'll take you to the limit."

"Never," gasped Polly.

"Abscissa," he swore, using the vilest oath he knew. His patience was gone. Coshing her over the coefficient with a log until she was powerless, Curly removed her discontinuities. He stared at her significant places, and began smoothing out her points of inflection. Poor Polly. The algorithmic method was
now her only hope. She felt his digits tending to her asymptotic limit. Her convergence would soon be gone forever.

There was no mercy, for Curly was a heavyside operator. Curly's radius squared itself; Polly's loci quivered. He integrated by parts. He integrated by partial fractions. After he cofactored, he performed runge - kutta on her. The complex beast even went all the way around and did a contour integration. What an indignity - to be multiply connected on her first integration. Curly went on operating until he completely satisfied her hypothesis, then he exponentiated and became completely orthogonal.

When Polly got home that night, her mother noticed that she was no longer piecewise continuous, but had been truncated in several places But it was to late to differentiate now. As the months went by, Polly's denominator increased monotonically. Finally she went to L'Hopital and generated a small but pathological function which left surds all over the place and drove Polly to deviation.

The moral of our sad story is this: "If you want to keep your expressions convergent, never allow them a single degree of freedom."

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Shuttle Launches Live in Linux

Shuttle STS-121 LaunchToday the shuttle launched the shuttle Discovery on STS-121. The cool thing, though, was that I was able to easily watch it live, streaming under Linux.

All that I needed to do was go to the NASA TV streaming video page and view the windows media player stream. The stream uses the WMV9 codec (unfortunately), however if you have the right codec packs installed (win32), totem/xine can view the stream live.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Git, an alternative to CVS

Git is the Linus Torvalds implemented alternative to configuration management. IBM has a nice article introducing users to git based software development. The context is git's current major usage which is as the revision control system for the Linux Kernel. Worth a look.

The current iteration of Git is intended primarily for use by software developers looking for alternatives to CVS or proprietary code management solutions. Git differs from CVS in a number of ways:

  • Branching is fast and easy.

  • Offline work is supported; local commits can be submitted later.

  • Git commits are atomic and project-wide, not per-file as in CVS.

  • Every working tree in Git contains a repository with a full project history.

  • No Git repository is inherently more important than any other.