Saturday, March 28, 2009

Solar Power.... FROM SPACE

What does this look like to you?  Does it look like the future?  Well, it might be as the Obama administration is looking into super-tech ways to revolutionize the energy market and fight climate change.  Read the New Scientist article for more detail.
-Idaho Bob-

Friday, March 27, 2009

Alice in Remixland

One of the prettiest songs I've heard made from a Disney Movie.

-Idaho Bob-

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Digitizing Books 1 Word At A Time

   You know, there are a lot of smart people out there who are using what is probably the most untapped computing resource out there, bored humans.  Things like Games With A Purpose (GWAP) take your bored on the net time and use it to enhance search reliability, metadata, and all sorts of other interesting things.  Games like FoldIt are taking incredibly complex problems like predicting protein folding structures to help find a cure for HIV/Aids, Cancer, and other diseases.
   However, you have to go and actively play those, and they take the form of a game, but there are others that are using your brain without you even knowing.  One I am sure you have run across is CAPTCHA, you know this:
   You see this on Facebook, EBay, and even here on Blogger.  The point is that a computer cannot understand that squiggly word and thus cannot do whatever it is the webmaster is trying to prevent computers from doing.  However, the fact the computer cannot read the text is the main problem in using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to digitize old books, newspapers, and other text.  
   It used to be a few people would sit around and try to fix all the problems that came out of the OCR, but this takes tons of man hours and, really, who wants that job?  So, the CAPTCHA people thought it would be brilliant to team up with these archivists and use the 200,000,000 CAPTCHAs done each day for a worthy cause.  
   The result: reCAPTCHA.  Just another example of how smart people can harness unused brain power to a worthy cause (or their own).  Hopefully, this type of thing will become standard fare, using the millions of brains connected to the internet to basically cloud compute ourselves into the future.
-Idaho Bob-

Monday, March 23, 2009

Particle Theory, For Kids

Feel like you have a child-like understanding of the super hadron collider in Geneva?  Well, then this website is perfect for you.  It's the learn about super colliders and advanced physics theories website.... for kids. 
A good video to start with is HERE and then the full site: CERN
-Idaho Bob-

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

My New (Mind Blowing) Jam.... That Giggles

This is not new, but if you haven't seen it, it's new to you.  This thing is.... well, just watch:
So, that was.... interesting.  But, guess what, it doesn't stop there.  For the love of internet, go and explore all the ridiculous Gummy Bear nonsense that exists HERE.
-Idaho Bob-

Friday, March 20, 2009

Never Walk Again: New Skateboard, Old Memories

Thanks to my pal Shadi I will now never HAVE to walk again.  Now, I can roll myself all over the place.  I used to eat and breath skating when I was a kid; all my friends, brothers, and their friends used to skate.  First videos I ever made were skate videos with my old best friend Jeff R.  VHS cam in hand we thought we were funny, talented, good skaters (and modest too).  Now, I mostly watch those videos to see my dog, Oscar.
   Funny story about how Oscar died.  He was healthy, pretty young for a dog, and nothing seemed wrong with him.  We got him for really cheap (or free perhaps) as a puppy from down the road a few blocks.  He was a big dog; german shepherd, husky, and something else big all in one dog.  He was a leaner too.  You know, a dog that comes up and just leans into you for support, or to be closer to you.  He used to play tag with foxes out in the fields.  He'd chase the fox, they'd stop, then the fox would chase him, stop, repeat until tired.  They didn't play after he got carried away, got the fox's tail, stopped, and the fox didn't.  We may still have that fox's tail in the barn along with the fawn's head.  
   He could pull us like a sled dog as well, when we were younger, and there are a lot of nice pictures with us young boys curled up with this big tan dog.  Not a lot of pictures of the cats really.  I suppose they don't do as many interesting things, just a one tricky pony, cats.  But dogs, they run and play, and learn tricks.  They run down the dirt road barking at invisible enemies every time the car would start to pull in.  Oscar had good hearing and we knew my father was coming home because he'd bolt down the road (all 300 yards of it) and be at the end to lead the way before the car even turned in.  Heard it coming when it passed the neighbor's house, our old house, the one we grew up in.  Every day he led the way, barking at nothing, scaring the killdeer off their nests.  The killdeer would do that run where they feigned a broken wing to lure predators away from the nests, but no one was interested in the eggs.  We used to scare the killdeer just to see how far they would lead us away, first inspecting the eggs, waiting for the day they would hatch and we could wonder where they all went to.
   Similar to that was waiting for the goslings to hatch.  Watching the mother goose vigilantly sitting atop her nest out by the pond.  We new spring was really here when we could go out and watch the goslings swim behind their mother, round and round the little pond out back, every day a little bigger; until one day they were gone, jumped into the canal and off to grow big and strong, maybe to be shot by my Father one early winter morning, and fall dead right next to the pond they grew up in, payment for their brother's and sister's free rent in the backyard when they were younger, dinner that night for my family.
   Anyway, Oscar went to the vet for the summer shaving, where he'd come back and his tail, once bushy and soft, became a whip and would go "thump, thump, thump" all along the house and sting your legs as he leaned on you.  They put him to sleep, shaved him, and then set him in his kennel to wake up.  He woke, had some food, went to play around outside, whipping the veterinarian's legs with his tail, then went back into his cage and died.  Vet couldn't figure out why.  He'd been through the same routine for years and no one could figure what happened.  He was a bit big to burry in the backyard (back field really) where all the hamsters, guinea pigs, and occasional birds were, so the vet took care of it for us.  
   Miss having a dog.  Never got another one.  I named him Oscar after Oscar the Grouch, which has been recently considered too raunchy or a negative influence on modern kids.  Poor Oscar, both of them.  All we can do is watch the old VHS tapes to revisit them.
-Idaho Bob- 
I have an overwhelming amount of photos that have Cats, Food, or Both.
-Idaho Bob-

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Most Wanted Paintings and the Worst Song Ever Created by Poll Data

Do you like this painting?  If you are an American polling data suggests you should.  Why?  Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid, that's why.

In the 90's these 2 took to polling to determine the most and least wanted paintings by country to make the perfect painting.  You can see the poll results HERE pictures HERE as well as the director's notes.  

However, more interesting, if that is possible, is Dave Soldier's music version of this project.  He polled 200 people to determine how to make the best and the worst song.  The best song is a boring R&B love song that is so generic it could pass for elevator music.  BUT, speaking of elevator music, the worst song ever is a 22 min masterpiece that includes elevator music, political speeches, opera, jingles, rapped cowboy melodies, cocoanuts banged together, and more.

Here is a taste of what you'll get:
"The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance—someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example—fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece."

And some lyrics rapped by the operatic soprano:
Yo, I'm ropin' up my saddle for the long long ride
Every time I see the desert there's something inside says
Yo, yo,  this is the life
Give me open land and a big ol' knife
To get some bear, deer, even a snake
I light me a fire, do the shake and bake
I say yo, yo, I'm a cowboy now.

Right click to download the MP3 and be amazed.  
-Idaho Bob-

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Some Photos From PathMark of Harlem

Hi, I'm produce Pete and... oh god!
Yea, that's hair on the ground.  And this was only the first pile. (Hey, cute shoes.)
And THIS is why we don't have nice things.
-Idaho Bob-

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some More Go Quietly

This shot was a disaster, way to warm and dark when all the other shots are cool.  This is the best I could do without making it too grainy or the backlight too blue.

Him I tried to pull some color out to not make the blue so prevalent between shots and you can see now people have a hint of green in the skin tones as I am thinking ahead to the master filter I will put on everything at the end.
The final master filter will add some warmth to get the desated skin tones back to normalish, more contrast, and a light grain filter to take the HD edge off.  Props to Nick D for lighting these things under extreme time restraints, shoddy equipment, and no sleep.
-Idaho Bob-
It takes about 11 years to get to Saturn if anyone wants to start now...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Little Day Trip To D.C.

The tint of the glass Amtrak uses makes an overcast sky look a beautiful bronze.  Too bad a cheap camera phone can't translate that very well.
I have fond memories of waiting in this train station in D.C. as I started my adventure with the Traveling Wombery and his adventures with Bob which is a good read all the way through.
Stopped to eat at 5 Guys Burgers and it was really quite good.  They were so good this kid...
They were all about the Idaho Potatoes.


-Idaho Bob-

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Holy Cannoli!

Our good friend Nick P turned 26 and decided to have a party with a giant cannoli (his brain child from scratch to finish).  After calling many bakers, being told it couldn't be done, a towed car, a trip out of NY, and plenty of cream, this 3.5' monster of a cannoli (pregnant with 50 regular sized cannolis buried inside) landed in Brooklyn.  Armed with a rambo headband and a machete, out birthday boy hacked his way to many people's (mine included) delicious tummy aches.  

This monster also made it onto my 1-A-Day Photo Blog.
-Idaho Bob-