Recent Reads

July 28, 2012

Haruki Murakami poster

I started to reread The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle because I saw a friend post a Haruki Murakami quote on Facebook. Amazing book.

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Good Eats

July 28, 2012

You have to go during the week, but the Chef’s Surprise never disappoints.

El Tondero
Named after Peru’s traditional dance, and the food dances in your belly. The Saltado de pollo is amazing!

Blink Bonnie’s
Not local to where I live, but been going there for years. It has the best steak on the planet.

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Using Twitter To Identify Psychopaths

In a world where social media is progressively becoming more important to the mainstream,researchers have now used Twitter to determine whether a user is a psychopath. A group of folks from the Online Privacy Foundation and Florida Atlantic University, with some help from data-competition website Kaggle, have come up with a way to mathematically determine if a Twitter user tends toward the more psychopathic. Cue the mass protection of Twitter accounts.

Some of the indicative markers include the following: use of periods, cursing, the word “we,” filler words, and the obvious “hate.” These, of course, aren’t causation or something that inherently makes one a psychopath. They could just be a very opinionated group of grammarians. Plus, filler words serve a, um, function, so yeah.

Chris Sumner, from the Online Privacy Foundation, notes that the research could help the FBI or similar offices flag psychopaths but finds the potential use for analyzing large groups of people psychologically more compelling. In theory, traits could be compared country by country or state by state. And the majority of the data is sitting out there in the wild for the taking. An incredible number of potential data points ripe for the picking.

To jump from this to a potential Minority Report situation is alarmist at best but isn’t entirely far-fetched. After all, we already know social media is being monitored for potential threats. Why wouldn’t governments mine it for psychological data too?

July 15, 2012

First and foremost, it’s important to note that this video from YouTube user Jswinney1summarizes the entire first four seasons of Breaking Bad and therefore includes massive SPOILERS. So, watch at your own risk.

I am so excited!

July 10, 2012

Love it or hate it, the Windows 8 Metro interface sure is something, and it’s something Microsoft seems pretty willing to bet the whole company on. If you’re in the “love it” camp like I am, I’ve got good news: You can get the Windows 8 Metro interface on your iPhone. Yes, you read that right. Obviously, it’s unofficial, and a bit stripped down, but it’s still pretty striking, and it’s bound to perplex your friends.

In case it wasn’t obvious, you’re going to need a jailbroken iPhone to pull this off. The Metro interaface is actually a Dreamboard theme called Metroon; interested users can purchase from the ModMyi repository for $1.50. When you see it in action, it looks pretty freakin’ sleek, but before you get too excited, there’s a few things worth noting.

First, given that this is running inside iOS, you get a horizontal scroll instead of a vertical one, which looks super weird if you are at all familiar with Windows Phone. Second, because the tiles are actually just stylized icons, they aren’t going to be functionally identical to the “live tiles” Windows 8 is so crazy about. That said, the Message, Calendar, and Now Playing tiles in the Metroon UI style will display some live information like your latest message, next appointment, and currently playing song respectively.

In any event, if you think Metro UI looks cool, and you have an iPhone that you’d like to hang on to, Metroon might be right for you. If nothing else, it’s a crazy little parlor trick.

July 8, 2012

Now, dubstep might not be your cup of tea and — if that’s the case — you’re certainly not alone. But Mike Tompkins might be able to change your mind. He’s remixed Santigold’s Disparate Youth with Skrillex’s Cinema using only his voice, live looping, and creative mixing. If it doesn’t sound impressive, take a peek at the video and then see if that helps. Add in some projectors that fire whenever he hits certain buttons and suddenly it’s a light show as well.

July 1, 2012

There’s nothing quite like parody covers of Disney songs. Especially when the video is choreographed in an amusing manner. Add a humorous conceit and you’ve basically got internet gold. Todrick Hall, a former American Idol contestant, is behind the ghetto-inspired parody ”Beauty and the BEAT!” that stars a variety of known YouTube personalities. That includes, but is not limited to, a small cameo from Antoine Dodson himself. The song is based on Beauty and the Beast‘s opening number and is quite well-fashioned. Personally, I’m hoping the next one to crop up is a version of “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. Regardless, I’m all for more comedic musicals of all shapes and sizes.

June 20, 2012

The Earth’s weather system is extremely complex, but it in turn is only a piece of the larger interaction between our sun and its orbiting planets. In a mere four minutes and twenty-six seconds, this video from NASA’s Community Coordinated Modeling Center to demonstrate why our magnetosphere is awesome and how the fundamental forces of the Earth actually work.

June 19, 2012

After much mystery and speculation, Microsoft announced a new class of tablet computers it calls Surface. With a magnetic keyboard cover, multitouch, and a slick OS, it’s a bold move from the mighty Microsoft. So, how does Redmond decide to introduce the Surface to everyone that didn’t watch the product announcement yesterday? Well, do you remember on The Simpsons when Homer buys a super-arty Mr. Plow ad?

This ad is cool and all (in sort of a grey, industrial, Prometheus kind of way), but my beef with it is that is so centered on the design of the Surface. It shows us a keyboard, it shows us colored keyboards, and it shows us a built-in stand. But after a minute of advertisement, I don’t really get what I am supposed to do with this thing. In short, I still don’t get Surface.

Though this is only the first ad of what will surely be a long-running campaign, I feel like Microsoft should have turned down the artiness and shown the thing in use. Demonstrate how it works, and how it works in people’s lives. When Apple rolled out the iPad, they eschewed 1984-style artistry and showed off pure functionality — which I think helped explain to the public what they were trying to sell.

June 16, 2012

8-bit graphics as a necessity are long gone. That said, 8-bit as an aesthetic is as vibrant as ever. The blocky pixel art so many of us grew up with is still near and dear to the hearts of many, even as tradional video games and computer generated graphics barrel towards the hyperrealistic. In this video, PBS Off Book explores the world of contemporary artists and musicians who love and utilize the 8-bit aesthetic not because they have to, but because they want to. More power to ‘em.

June 11, 2012
Even Google knows not to mess with Chuck Norris.
June 8, 2012

Even Google knows not to mess with Chuck Norris.

June 6, 2012

I have only seen pieces of this, and I happened across the full version of this excellent documentary tracing The Pixies story. The documentary features interviews with David Bowie, Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead), Graham Coxon and Alex James (Blur), Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop (Travis), P J Harvey, Tim Wheeler (Ash), Gavin Rosdale *ick*(Bush) and Badly Drawn Boy.

Papa John’s nice and simple loyalty program. App produces a barcode, scan it on the tablet for rewards. I like it!
May 31, 2012

Papa John’s nice and simple loyalty program. App produces a barcode, scan it on the tablet for rewards. I like it!