The Post-Postmodernist

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Johnny Cash at Age 27

English Game Shows Are Harder Than Ours

Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Removing a Car Dent with a Blow Dryer and CO2

Remove Car Dent With Blowdryer - video powered by Metacafe

Who Killed the Music CD?

Aaron Pressman at Business Week has a common-sensical explanation for the drop in music CD sales: re-allocation of entertainment bucks.

Taking his numbers from an MPAA white paper on the state of the entertainment biz, he finds...

If you flip near the back to page 51, you'll see a table of how many hours a year the average consumer "spends" on various forms of commercial entertainment. In the four years from 2001 to 2005, overall time spent on these pursuits rose to 3,482 hours per person from 3,356 hours, about a 4% increase. But that didn't benefit all forms of entertainment equally. Here's a table I've created from the MPAA report showing the change in hours per person spent by activity:

Cable and satellite TV +125
Consumer Internet +52
Home video +29
Broadcast and satellite radio +26
Wireless content +15
Video games +12

Consumer books 0

Movies (at the theater) -1
Consumer magazines -3
Daily newspapers -14
Recorded music -50
Broadcast TV -65

You get the same picture when you look at the average dollars spent by entertainment consumers (from a chart on page 53). Overall spending per person rose to $890.77 a year from $675.35, a healthy 32% increase. Spending on television (cable, video on demand etc) plus home video (DVDs) soaked up more than half of the total increase. Throw in Internet spending and you've accounted for 90%. No surprise then that spending on newspapers and recorded music actually declined.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Police's "Message in the Bottle" - first time performed live

First-ever live performance of "Message in a Bottle" by the Police. Song had not yet been released. Filmed for a Brit TV show called "Rock Goes to College" filmed at Hatfield Polytechnic College in 1979.

James Randi on the Snake-Oil Science of Homeopathy

The part on "Calms" sleeping pills, which my sister uses for her kids, is hilarious.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Nine Minutes of Great Pool Trickshots

Releasing the Ki

Shatner shows how it's done, and what keeps you young.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Range of Bruce Hornsby

Great find by Charles, Bruce Hornsby performing "What the Hell Happened" and "Heir Gordon" at an in-store appearance at Music Millenium in Portland, OR.

Lousy audio and camera work, but what great music. Timeless.

Suspect Arrested at ABC in Hassellbeck Photo Defacement

A second suspect has been detained in the Elizabeth Hassellbeck photo defacements at ABC-TV.

Suspect's alias is allegedly Khalid Sheik Rohammed. Any resemblance to a human being, male or female, is purely unintentional.

Photomash via Grouchy Old Cripple

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Radiohead - Pyramid - Live

with suprisingly high quality audio for live.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Model Airplanes Seem to Have Gotten Much Better

Now they come with jet engines and top speeds of 230mph.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Interrupter

Brian Stack strikes again.

Ceci n'est pas une photograph

For those of you wondering exactly when the day would come when CG images would become impossible to distinguish between "reality" images, well, that day seems to be here, thanks to Dru Blair.

UPDATE: D'oh! This image is not CG, but rather just incredible airbrushing. Apologies.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Civil War in four minutes

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Flight of the Bumblebee... on a 7-String Bass

Fell in Love with a Girl

Friday, May 18, 2007

Winston Tastes Good Like a Cartoon Cigarette Should

Yabba dabba don't.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Speak, the Hungarian Rapper

This is not a joke. (Also, the first 10 or so seconds are without sound for some reason).

Hang in there till the end. The last 90 seconds or so are hilarious.

An Inconvenient Bolt of Truth

Lightning storm severity in Africa correlates to hurricane severity in America.

What creates an Atlantic hurricane? The most devastating ones are spurred by intense thunderstorms in the Ethiopian highlands, according to new research.

The link between lightning strikes and hurricane formation should give researchers a heads-up about when a nasty hurricane might form, weeks before it could make landfall in the United States, says Colin Price of Tel Aviv University in Israel. Today, scientists apply various models to predict storm tracks and strength, but only once they form over the Atlantic Ocean. "This is what is unique about our work," Price says. "We look at the initial stages of these devastating storms before they have become hurricanes."

Price and his colleagues at Israel's Open University studied the 2005 and 2006 hurricane seasons, which were markedly different from each other. In 2005 there were a record 28 named storms, including the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, while 2006 brought only 10 named storms — a 64% reduction. Summertime lightning activity in eastern Africa, mainly in the Ethiopian highlands, was also quite different in each of the years, the researchers found, with 23% less activity in 2006 over 2005.

The two phenomena are linked, says Price, an atmospheric scientist who has long studied lightning.

This guy obviously did not get the memo to ix-nay on offering non-Goracle theories.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs

An essay by LTC (RET) Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing."

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me:

"Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another. Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling."

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level.

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes. If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself...


This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sand Paintings

Amazing Sand Drawings - Watch more free videos

Florida Turkey, Served Smoking Hot


1) Cut out foil in desired shapes.

2) Arrange turkey in pan.

3) Position foil carefully.

4) Roast according to your own recipe and serve.

5) Watch your guests' faces.

The Fab Five

As painted by Carl Lundgren.

The Hat Problem

One hardy group of theoretical computer scientists stayed up late one rum-soaked night, playing a drinking game based on the following puzzle:

The hat problem goes like this:

Three players enter a room and a red or blue hat is placed on each person's head. The color of each hat is determined by a coin toss, with the outcome of one coin toss having no effect on the others. Each person can see the other players' hats but not his own.

No communication of any sort is allowed, except for an initial strategy session before the game begins. Once they have had a chance to look at the other hats, the players must simultaneously guess the color of their own hats or pass. The group shares a hypothetical $3 million prize if at least one player guesses correctly and no players guess incorrectly.

The same game can be played with any number of players. The general problem is to find a strategy for the group that maximizes its chances of winning the prize.

One obvious strategy for the players, for instance, would be for one player to always guess "red" while the other players pass. This would give the group a 50 percent chance of winning the prize. Can the group do better?


Dr. Berlekamp, a coding theory expert, said he figured out the solution to the simplest case in about half an hour, but he saw the coding theory connection only while he was falling asleep that night.

"If you look at old things that you know from a different angle, sometimes you can't see them," he said.

The first thing Dr. Berlekamp saw was that in the three-player case, it is possible for the group to win three- fourths of the time.

Three-fourths of the time, two of the players will have hats of the same color and the third player's hat will be the opposite color. The group can win every time this happens by using the following strategy: Once the game starts, each player looks at the other two players' hats. If the two hats are different colors, he passes. If they are the same color, the player guesses his own hat is the opposite color.

This way, every time the hat colors are distributed two and one, one player will guess correctly and the others will pass, and the group will win the game. When all the hats are the same color, however, all three players will guess incorrectly and the group will lose.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Walking in Escherland

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hot Jewish Girl Phone Pranks Her Parents

Friday, May 11, 2007

Static Electricity and You!

Common People

With a great surprise appearance by Joe Jackson, "Common People" was the first song on the brilliant Ben Folds-produced spoken word album "Has Been" that William Shatner did a few years ago.

The album is unlike any I can remember hearing, absolutely compelling from beginning to end, with shifts in tonality and humor that can have you chuckling then grab you by the throat in the next moment. The song about finding his wife dead in the pool, "What Have You Done," is astonishing in its honesty and delivered as well as anything Olivier or Welles ever served up on stage or screen.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Alizee is French for Hot

This is their version of American Idol.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Cookson Wheel: A Prime Number Pattern Discovery?

Well, this is interesting.

Earlier today, I ran across a reference to "the Ulam Spiral," a prime-number graphing system which was discovered/invented by Stanislaw Ulam, one of the key physicists of the Manhattan Project, while goofing off and doodling on scratch paper during a math conference in 1963. I emailed the link to a friend, Eric Cookson (trivia: his father essentially invented the DVD), and Eric seems to have, um, improved upon Ulam's work.

First, some background:

While doodling, Ulam started graphing the natural numbers in a spiraling concentric square pattern like so:

He then circled all the primes, which resulted in a pattern that looks like this, where the primes seem to line up in readily detectable diagonal patterns:

As the Wikipedia entry on Ulam Spiral explains:

All prime numbers, except 2 and 5, are odd numbers that end with 1, 3, 7, or 9. Since in the Ulam spiral adjacent diagonals are alternatively odd and even numbers, it is no surprise that all prime numbers lie in alternate diagonals of the Ulam spiral. What is startling is the tendency of prime numbers to lie on some diagonals more than others, while a random distribution is expected.

Tests so far confirm that there are diagonal lines even when very large amounts of numbers are plotted. The pattern also seems to appear even if the number at the center is not 1 (and can, in fact, be much larger than 1). This implies that there are many integer constants b and c such that the function:

f(n) = 4n2 + bn + c

generates an unexpectedly-large number of primes as n counts up {1, 2, 3, ...}. This finding was so significant that the Ulam spiral appeared on the cover of Scientific American in March 1964.

At sufficient distance from the centre, horizontal and vertical lines are also clearly visible.

Here is the "big" version of the Ulam Spiral, where you can see some of the diagonal patterns quite clearly:

All of the above is prefatory to what my friend Eric Cookson seems to have stumbled upon, after I sent him the link about Ulam Spiral (sending links to stories like that to each other is the sort o thing that the +4SD crowd does and is more commonly known as "The Road to Nerdition").

Eric saw that if you arranged the natural postive integers in a 12-radius wheel, a very striking pattern of prime numbers quickly and relentlessly emerges. Check this shizznit out:

Here is how Eric describes the phenomenon in his emails:

So far this is what I’ve gleaned... A number X may be a prime if

12x+11 not divisible by 5, 7, or 11.

Which has worked for all numbers I’ve tested so far...well hey, it could just be dumb luck.

The only thing I seem to be able to figure out is that it eliminates 2/3 of the numbers as prime-possibles right off the bat...the further elimination seems to have some hitches...needs work and refinement, but I’d love to hear his [Derbyshire's]thoughts on it.

And he ends with this intriguing thought:

What would be really interesting is to see what happens when all the prime numbers line up on the same spoke, just need to figure out how many divisions I need around the circle, since they’re only on 4 of 12 spokes right now...hmmm.

Now here's the eerie part: the pattern that intuitively occurred to Eric is quite similar to another pattern, one central to Ulam's life -- who was described by Hans Bethe as "the father [of the H-Bomb], because he provided the seed, and Teller is the mother, because he remained with the child. As for me, I guess I am the midwife."

The universal warning symbol for Ulam's child is the following:

Look familiar? Cue Twilight Zone music...

If you want to discuss this with Eric, email me at wordwarp (AT) ay oh el (DAHT) com and I will pass it along to him. Actually, maybe I'll just turn comments back on.

UPDATE: Eric writes,
Interestingly, as I examine the spokes more, I think it’s nothing more than a curiosity, which can be explained by divisibility along the spokes. The columns that are most easily eliminated are due to their relationships to the numbers 2, 3, or 4 (all possible prime factors for the 12) big deal, but neat nonetheless. The really curious thing still lies in how things skip along the spokes.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Griffith Park on Fire

Photograph ©2007 by a very concerned Eric Cookson, whose view from his house is just a bit better than he would like.

Definitely click image to enlarge.

This season should be brutal for SoCal. No water in a long long time, and none on the horizon.

Hillary vs. Obama

I think I'm actually going to have to start watching MadTV if the quality is this good these days.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sir Ian McKellan Discusses His Method

12 Girls Band Does "Take Five"

I had a dream like this once, but it was sort of different, and I mean that in the dirtiest way possible.

Jim Carrey is a Decent Walrus

Defiling a timeless piece of art? Maybe. Awesome? Definitely.

The Fab Faux need to ring Jimbo up the next time they're in town.

Recorded for George Martin's "In My Life" album in 1991, which also features Sean Connery singing the title track....

UPDATE: Here's the Beatle's original music vid of this song.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Goodness Gracious

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Imogene Heap - Live A Cappella Overdubbing, "Just for Love"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Indiana Sheriff Allows Illegal Trespass by Health Inspector

Sheriff Allows Illegal Trespass - Brought to you by Video Search

Or is it legal? Certainly you don't have to grant access permission to govt. workers who think there may be a gas leak or other compelling public health hazard on your property. I will send this link to the Indiana Law blog for comment.

Bird Brain

In the Brevia section of the 9 August 2002 issue of Science, Weir et al. report a remarkable observation: The toolmaking behavior of New Caledonian crows. In the experiments, a captive female crow, confronted with a task that required a curved tool (retrieving a food-containing bucket from a vertical pipe), spontaneously bent a piece of straight wire into a hooked shape -- and then repeated the behavior in nine out of ten subsequent trials.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Whitest Kids You Know - Classroom Skit

The Whitest Kids You Know
, from Fuse TV.

Oh. The Humanity.

Female American soldier goofing around with Iraqi soldiers.

Didn't anyone tell her that there's a "civil war" going on there and everyone in that country hates all Americans?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Winston Churchill: Quotes About World War II... and Beyond

"...this was their finest hour."