June 30, 2006

Too much time on their hands

Do you like soccer? Do you want to watch it in streaming ASCII-art on the web? Me either, but it's kind of entertaining, in a they've-lost-their-freaking-minds sort of way. Just get to a command prompt and type the following:

telnet ascii-wm.net 2006


Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:26 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 23, 2006

Right on time

The Oxford English Dictionary has compiled lists of the most common words and nouns. 'Time' rolls in as the #1 noun, while 'the' is the #1 word overall. Here is the article in its entirety; it's pretty short:


For those who think the world is obsessed with "time," an Oxford dictionary added support to the theory Thursday in announcing that the word is the most often used noun in the English language.

"The" is the most commonly used word overall, followed by "be," "to," "of," and, "a," "in," "that," "have," and "I," according to the "Concise Oxford English Dictionary."

On the list of top 25 nouns, time is followed by other movement indicators with "year" in third place, "day" in fifth and "week" at No. 17.

The dictionary used the Oxford English Corpus -- a research project into English in the 21st century -- to come up with the lists.

Among nouns, "person" is ranked at No. 2, with "man" at No. 7 and "woman" at No. 14. "Child" appears at No. 12.

"Government" appears at No. 20 while "war," at No. 49, trumps "peace," which did not make the top 100.

The list of top 25 nouns: time, person, year, way, day, thing, man, world, life, hand, part, child, eye, woman, place, work, week, case, point, government, company, number, group, problem, fact.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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New technology

A new aid to rapid--almost magical--learning has made its appearance. Indications are that if it catches on all the electronic gadgets will be so much junk.

The new device is known as Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge. The makers generally call it by its initials, BOOK(tm).

Many advantages are claimed over the old-style learning and teaching aids on which most people are brought up nowadays. It has no wires, no electric circuit to break down. No connection is needed to an electricity power point. It is made entirely without mechanical parts to go wrong or need replacement.

Anyone can use BOOK(tm), even children, and it fits comfortably into the hands. It can be conveniently used sitting in an armchair by the fire.

How does this revolutionary, unbelievably easy invention work?

Basically BOOK(tm) consists only of a large number of paper sheets. These may run to hundreds where BOOK(tm) covers a lengthy program of information. Each sheet bears a number in sequence, so that the sheets cannot be used in the wrong order.

To make it even easier for the user to keep the sheets in the proper order they are held firmly in place by a special locking device called a "binding".

Each sheet of paper presents the user with an information sequence in the form of symbols, which he absorbs optically for automatic registration on the brain. When one sheet has been assimilated a flick of the finger turns it over and further information is found on the other side. By using both sides of each sheet in this way a great economy is effected, thus reducing both the size and cost of BOOK(tm). No buttons need to be pressed to move from one sheet to another, to open or close BOOK(tm), or to start it working.

BOOK(tm) may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. Instantly it is ready for use. Nothing has to be connected up or switched on. The user may turn at will to any sheet, going backwards or forwards as he pleases. A sheet is provided near the beginning as a location finder for any required information sequence.

A small accessory, available at trifling extra cost, is the BOOK(tm)mark. This enables the user to pick up his program where he left off on the previous learning session. BOOK(tm)mark is versatile and may be used in any BOOK(tm).

The initial cost varies with the size and subject matter. Already a vast range of BOOK(tm)s is available, covering every conceivable subject and adjusted to different levels of aptitude. One BOOK(tm), small enough to be held in the hands, may contain an entire learning schedule.

Once purchased, BOOK(tm) requires no further upkeep cost; no batteries or wires are needed, since the motive power, thanks to an ingenious device patented by the makers, is supplied by the brain of the user.

BOOK(tm)s may be stored on handy shelves and for ease of reference the program schedule is normally indicated on the back of the binding.

Altogether the Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge seems to have great advantages with no drawbacks. We predict a big future for it.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:55 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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June 13, 2006

I am not Sulu

Apparently, no one else is either, including George Takei. Steve has an excellent review of what appears to be an execrable exercise in vanity by a bit player from a three year scifi series that went off the air almost 40 years ago. In other words, Who? Excerpt:


After that, he starts talking about his acting career. While I liked the historical information about Tinseltown in the Fifties and Sixties, I was disturbed to see how seriously Takei took himself and his talent. He threw away a perfectly good career in architecture because acting "called" him. That would be great, if this were the autobiography of Gary Oldman or Laurence Olivier, but George Takei is a really bad actor. Generally I root for people who follow their dreams, but in this case, I wondered what was going through his head.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:08 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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On everyone's wish list

If, that is, they're still living in their mom's basement at the age of 50. I present to you the Transparent Toaster.

trans_toaster4LowRes.jpeg

I'm curious: is it really that hard for people to make toast without burning it?


Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:06 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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June 12, 2006

Open source penguin

So to speak, of course. Excerpt:


Welcome to the free-penguin project page. This project provides 'executables' that enable you to make your own soft-toy Linux® penguin. To put it straight: You can find sewing patterns and a community to sew your own soft toy or stuffed Linux® Tux penguin here. To help Google finding this, once again: You can find sewing patterns and community to sew your own soft toy or stuffed Linux® Tux penguin here. All downloads come under GPL (GNU General Public License).

Objective:

The starting point of this project was the question: "Why is it that on the one hand in the Linux® world all code of software is freely available and on the other hand the code to compile a soft toy penguin is still not open source?" This project will try to publish code that will enable people to sew soft toy penguins themselves provided they meet certain hardware requirements.
...

Hardware Requirements:

First research efforts have shown that at least a needle, a long thread, black and white plushy fabric as well as yellow textile are necessary. Other assets that might be needful are thimbles, more thread and scissors. Warning: Before you start, make sure that you know what you are doing. Doing things on a trial-and-error basis in the fields we are dealing with here can do a lot of harm.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:46 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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