Monday Morning “Impediment to Productivity” – 20080908


I have been spending a lot of time downloading TED talks video’s to my iPod touch, to be honest this was an unexpected bonus when I bought the new MP3 player. For ages I have wondered who wants to watch video on a tiny little screen. turns out it was me.

I have talked about TED before but every week they have something new or I find something I missed. Here are a couple that caught my ear/eye /imagination/all of the above.

Let’s start with Clifford Stoll. Clifford Stoll captivates his audience with a wildly energetic sprinkling of anecdotes, observations, asides — and even a science experiment. After all, by his own definition, he’s a scientist: “Once I do something, I want to do something else.”
(Hmmm that sounds familiar. Clifford is like the Duracell Bunny on speed, the ideas just keep coming at a mile a minute.)

Peter Diamandis says it’s our moral imperative to keep exploring space — and he talks about how, with the X Prize and other incentives, we’re going to do just that.

and let’s finish with some irony. Peter Hirshberg shares some crucial lessons from Silicon Valley and explains why the web is so much more than “better TV. ”

I think that when the Crop Circle Season finishes I will put a Ted Talk of the week down in the bottom section.

So the iPod Touch is working out for me, there is something really weird about sitting on a tram and watching Evelyn Glennie talking about music. Oh look the future arrived, and it’s pretty damn cool.

I have managed to work around most of iTunes’ annoyances (although I pressed a button today and erased all the video’s I had been watching. Moral? Don’t press that button in iTunes) ad I found a couple of alternatives that seem to work OK as well. It still doesn’t talk to my netbook.

On with the sillies.
Quilts meet Science. You all know I have an abiding fascination in handmade quilts well here is a new take on the idea. Beverly St. Clair has originated a way of encoding genetic information in quilt designs.

Here is what she had to say
“My idea for genome quilts grew from the juxtaposition of two experiences at Wesleyan University in November 2001. First I viewed an exhibit of work by Anni Albers, an artist I have admired for many years. The show included her serigraphs of triangles arranged in a grid. I was struck by their similarity to quilt patterns. The next day I attended a lecture about the Human Genome Project and was impressed by the beautiful shapes of the proteins illustrated and the interesting patterns made by the microarrays. I realized that I could use a simple quilt block to represent each of the four bases in DNA: cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine. A square bisected into a light and dark triangle is rotated in four orientations to resemble the letters C, G, A, and T. These blocks are placed in sequences determined by the base sequence, so one can read the genetic code by looking at the quilt. The colour and fabric choices influence the overall design. The quilts are visually pleasing, with their strong colours and seemingly traditional design, but they hide and reveal an entirely other construct of information.”

I have to admit to being really intrigued with the idea of having a quilt done that has my DNA as the basis for it. Have a look, they are gorgeous.

Jools sent me this one
Tool are a metal band (yes I know, but I like metal) and they wrote this amazingly pretentious piece called Lateralus (yes I know but I like pretentious too).

Lyrically this song is strongly based on the Fibonacci numbers. Another unique (read really really really annoying) thing is the time signatures of the chorus also change from 9/8 to 8/8 then 7/8. Watch the video and you will get the idea. The drummer in this band is amazing.

It’s time for our “Duggup was a lot of fun this week” bit. Jools wrote up “Sarah Eden Davis” and “Hakan Jorming”. Both are really interesting acts especially Hakan Jorming. My favourite this week was a toss up between “Ginja Roe” and “Extra Golden”, Ginja Roe get by on points I think. They remind me of Mad Violet, head over to have a listen and let me know what you think.
Flash Game Dept: Impediments to Productivity is a the name at the top and it’s Monday so lets bring capitalism to it’s knees (unless you happen to be one of my clients in which case this one is blocked at the firewall.. Just kidding).

I cant believe I haven’t mentioned Runescape before. RuneScape bills itself as a MORPG (massive online role playing game), For those of you thinking WoW. forget it. Runescape runs in a tiny window in your browser and you don’t have to load any software to play (make sure your Java is reasonably up to date). And if you’re thinking Hmmm maybe it’s pretty? It’s not. The graphics are just barely better than a Commodore 64 anfd there is a lot of reading and clicking to continue.

But, let’s face it, we are here to waste time, and this will fill the bill nicely. It isn’t exactly fast, so you can definitely keep it running while you are doing other things. The weird part is that I have had it running in a spare screen and it’s a hoot. Over to you.

Well that’s enough for this week. Have a good one.


{Currently listening to The Morrighan and Suzanne Vega }
{Currently reading: R A MacAvoy’s Tea With The Black Dragon}
{Quick Status Check: TCP Stacks and SMTP servers, Hell is looking pretty good.}
{Crop Circle Status: Well September is a bust so far. Can the season be over so soon? }

Categorized as Mondays

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