July 30th, 2011

lively cuisine

Odori-don:

A live squid with its head removed is served on top of a bowl of sushi rice, accompanied by sashimi prepared from the head (usually sliced ika (squid) and ika-kimo (squid liver)) as well as other seafood. Seasoned soy sauce is first poured on top of the squid to make it “dance”.

Possibly the creation of a chef who was chastised in childhood for playing with his food.

via kottke

July 29th, 2011

1896 olympic marathon

Wikipedia via kottke

July 27th, 2011

those thingies at the end of power cables

I wanted to make a joule thief (a voltage booster) for an experiment and noticed that I required a ferrite bead. I went to the electronics store but they didn’t have ferrite beads. This led me to google the term, upon which I discovered… that’s what those cylindrical components at the end of commercial electronics cables are! In a little plastic jacket.

In this particular application (power cables) they are just a simple cylinder of ferrite (metal alloy) around the cable, but they have an important and fascinating function.

Computers are fairly noisy devices. The motherboard inside the computer’s case has an oscillator that is running at anywhere from 300 MHz to 1,000 MHz. The keyboard has its own processor and oscillator as well. The video card has its own oscillators to drive the monitor. All of these oscillators have the potential to broadcast radio signals at their given frequencies. Most of this interference can be eliminated by the cases around the motherboard and keyboard.

Another source of noise is the cables connecting the devices. These cables act as nice, long antennae for the signals they carry. They broadcast the signals quite efficiently. The signals they broadcast can interfere with radios and TVs. The cables can also receive signals and transmit them into the case, where they cause problems. A ferrite bead has the property of eliminating the broadcast signals. Essentially, it “chokes” the RFI transmission at that point on the cable — this is why you find the beads at the ends of the cables. Instead of traveling down the cable and transmitting, the RFI signals turn into heat in the bead.

Explanation via howstuffworks.

Imagine how much interference there’d be in an electronics store or computer lab without ferrite beads choking the RFI transmission.

July 27th, 2011

the backtrackings of time and the changes of heart

July 22nd, 2011

escaping the mundane

A comment on the Guardian book blog speaking out against the tendency in the information age towards a superficial experiencing of the world…

As a former journalist and the author of four narrative histories, I’ll tell you why I wanted to write a book. Journalism is “the first rough draft of history” but writing drafts soon seems as ephemeral as yesterday’s headlines. Writing and researching, especially if the topic is deeper than a memoir about one’s dog, allow a writer to escape the mundane, the puerile, the passing fancies that comprise the present day. To read a good book is to find the same escape. With the rise of Twitter, et al, and the steady decline of book sales, how sad that so many people are choosing to live solely on the surface. This shift will have deep consequences that we are only beginning to see.

Guardian | Books “Should we stop writing books?” Thanks to Alice for the heads up.

Addendum:

… we are a society of distraction, idle talk, and ambiguity. Everybody knows everything has happened, everything is automatically trivial, and, again, nothing means anything. This is the world of blogging, the fake world of Facebook, the world that compensates for an absent set of social experiences. There are virtues to social-networking sites, I’m sure, but you feel an awful vacuum at the heart of them. They compensate for something that is absent. It’s strange, one of the features of the contemporary world is a lack of attention. The world floats, it distracts us in endless ways, one is outside of oneself in a constantly divided attention, and you can multiply the force of distraction, which makes conversation harder and harder as an experience.

Simon Critchley in Vice Magazine — Thanks, Levi!

July 19th, 2011

nuke it

Here is a rather creepy web application which, using google maps and some javascript, puts nuclear blasts of varying sizes into context by allowing you to choose a location, upon which the fallout zone of your chosen blast is charted.

Via reddit.

Posted in Ha! | No Comments »
July 19th, 2011

look after this memory for me, would you?

The BBC has a story on ‘transactive memory’:

Computers and the internet are changing the nature of our memory, research in the journal Science suggests.

Psychology experiments showed that people presented with difficult questions began to think of computers.

When participants knew that facts would be available on a computer later, they had poor recall of answers but enhanced recall of where they were stored.

The researchers say the internet acts as a “transactive memory” that we depend upon to remember for us.

Lead author Betsy Sparrow of Columbia University said that transactive memory “is an idea that there are external memory sources – really storage places that exist in other people”.

“There are people who are experts in certain things and we allow them to be, [to] make them responsible for certain kinds of information,” she explained to BBC News.

Co-author of the paper Daniel Wegner, now at Harvard University, first proposed the transactive memory concept in a book chapter titled Cognitive Interdependence in Close Relationships, finding that long-term couples relied on each other to act as one another’s memory banks.

This entire blog is a sort of transactive memorybank for me. I post things I find interesting here so that I can refer back to them later.

Read more @ BBC

July 11th, 2011

ego states

July 10th, 2011

the mechanics of nightjar noises

The sounds of the common nightjar/nighthawk explained.






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