Biologists are Crazy

January 18, 2010

Please be advised: there is a protein called sonic hedgehog. There is also a retinal protein known as Pikachurin, named after Pikachu.

The name of this "nimble" protein was inspired due to Pikachu’s "lightning-fast moves and shocking electric effects".

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The Toyota FT-CH

January 14, 2010

Seen on True Chip Till Death: a new Toyota hybrid?

ED2 designers looked to capture the vivid, high-energy appeal of what has come to be called the 8-bit generation. Popularized in the early 80′s, 8-bit microprocessor technology dominated the budding home video game industry. Today, 8-bit is considered a specific retro-style that is embraced by such things as 8-bit genre music and 8-bit inspired art.

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Condorcet voting With Clone-proof Schwartz Sequential Dropping Is Hard, Let’s Go Shopping

January 12, 2010

Seen via Planet Debian:

I am passing on a message from my daughter Shailaja. She would like you to go here and vote for computer engineer. (Or news anchor if you want to annoy her father.)

What will Barbie do next?

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Fanboy Supercuts, Obsessive Video Montages

January 7, 2010

Seen via JWZ, this list of supercuts.

My favorites are the Red Dwarf, every "smeg" reference and Every Famicon (NES) Game Title Screen. It’s completely fascinating how much you can glean from just this kind of cross-section: for example, Lister says "smeg" more than any other character; Holly says it only once, and Cat only a few times; the most common "smeg-" compounds are "smeg-head" and "smeg-for-brains"; "smeg" is said in despair/panic as well as ecstatic joy ("fan-smegging-tastic!").

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Lego Woman

January 6, 2010

Via Igor, this awesome "Lego For Adults" image.

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100 Games Cupcake Game

January 6, 2010
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Via Suzanne: check out these awesome cupcakes.

Every year, we throw a big, game party to ring in the new year. This year (2010) is our house’s 100-year birthday, so we celebrated with cupcakes… … and the cupcakes were a game. Here they are in random order – see how many you can guess! Mouse over the question mark to reveal the answer.

The goal is to guess as many of the games depicted by cupcakes as you can. Some of these are amazingly evocative, either through amazingly photographic reproduction, or by hitting on strongly quintessential themes.

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The C Programming Language, by Brian W Kernighan & Dennis M Ritchie & HP Lovecraft

December 26, 2009

Seen on JWZ: exactly what it says on the tin.

Exercise 4-13. Write a function reverse(s) which reverses the string s by turning the mind inside out, converting madness into reality and opening the door to allow the Old Ones to creep forth once more from their sunken crypt beyond time.

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A Mess of Geekiness Thoughts

December 13, 2009
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I had a discussion with someone lately about nerdiness. She’s from Korea where video gaming is like an official sport. It’s totally weird to me that in Korea you can’t get girls if you can’t play video games. Anyhow here’s some brilliant writing about being a nerd from Sumana:

Evidently I have the capacity to continuously raise the standard for what makes a real obsessed fan of, say, Star Trek or Cryptonomicon or whatever. I read the Memory Alpha wiki (Star Trek compendium), but I don’t contribute to it; I only know a word or two of Klingon; I haven’t *memorized* more than, say, ten lines of Cryptonomicon. So I can always say, "oh, I’m just a regular person who happens to like this thing, there are OTHER PEOPLE who are really obsessed." But that’s just No True Scotsman in reverse. These goalposts must be made of new space-age alloys, they’re so easy to move!

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adieu Google

December 13, 2009

Lately there’s been some fuss about Google’s new privacy policy, with this post by Joey Hess (on Planet Debian) and Slashdot‘s article about Google’s new opt-out policy.

Joey Hess writes:

With the decade over, and Google rolling out all manner of tracking cookies and javascript, it’s time to move on. Just keeping on top of the torrent of privacy-affecting changes Google is making, and trying to parse the real meaning in the chirpy googlespeak announcements has become more work than the value their search engine adds. (This was the last straw.)

At least for now, I’ll be using Duck Duck Go for search. It’s small, quirky, has features the big competition lacks, and works well enough for my mostly moderate and occasionally intense needs. Sorta like Google in 1999.

While I am in favor of privacy, have not been thrilled with Google’s behavior, and have come to resent the attitude of Google employees and officers, I have to say Duck Duck Go does not meet my search needs. Neither does Bing. Neither does Google, when it comes right down to it. Search is hard, and there are a lot of tricky bits. (Try searching for the Haskell type signature "Int#". For a while it was nearly impossible to find the emacs package "magit", as all you could get were results for "magic".)

So for the time being I’m still using Google Search. With luck, in time everything will just magically get better..

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Chromium: Why it isn’t in Fedora yet as a proper package

December 12, 2009
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Seen via LWN, this quote about the Java methodology:

Google is forking existing FOSS code bits for Chromium like a rabbit makes babies: frequently, and usually, without much thought. Rather than leverage the existing APIs from upstream projects like icu, libjingle, and sqlite (just to name a few), they simply fork a point in time of that code and hack their API to shreds for chromium to use. This is akin to much of the Java methodology, which I can sum up as ‘I’d like to use this third-party code, but my application is too special to use it as is, so I covered it with Bedazzler Jewels and Neon Underlighting, then bury my blinged out copy in my application.’. A fair amount of the upstream Chromium devs seem to have Java backgrounds, which may explain this behavior, but it does not excuse it. This behavior should be a last resort, not a first instinct.

Preach it!

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