Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Word Lens

Wow. Computers have advanced. You can carry a phone that can translate stuff for you on the fly. Not perfectly, but well enough to get along.


Monday, December 27, 2010

"Board Game" music video

A guy I know edited this. I like the video anyway, but I'm really impressed with the editing.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Board Game Remix Kit

The Boardgame Remix Kit looks awesome. I hope to have one soon. They give you new rules to play old, lame board games by. And mix together bits from various games to make new games - like using Scrabble letters and a Clue board together.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Games and crafting

I really like Sprite Stitch. It's a blog of crafts and video games. Lots of amazing Nintendo themed crafts. My favorite today is the amigurumi Mega Man. Although there are several amazing crocheted blankets.

I have only begun to browse this blog, but it looks similarly impressive.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Math is awesome

This video is amazing. I could watch this woman doodle and talk about math all day.

Maybe I will.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Portland: Dream of the 90s

I'm pretty sure they're mocking us, but the upcoming sitcom about Portland does seem to nail us.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Data: Google Books

You can search the collected history of all books ever, thanks to Google. And see how different words trend. A group at Harvard did a bunch of interesting analysis about some words and phrases (See how Great War is replaced by World War One! Thrill at how pizza is much younger than ice cream, which is much younger than steak!)

And, you can search for words yourself. I found comparing Jesus and Buddha really surprising. Also, a LOT of books on Oregon were published in the 1930s. I have no idea why. And "email" used to mean something else in the 1860s. Something about enamel, and maybe about bacteria.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Monkee, Monkee, Chiu

One of my favorite christmas carols. Sung by the Monkees.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why Monopoly used to be fun

Buried in an article about why Settlers of Catan is a great board game that everyone loves, I read a sentence that helps me understand why anyone ever played Monopoly, the most boring game in the universe.

"Idleness may not have been an acute problem in 1935, but in 2010, it's a fatal flaw."

See, when Monopoly was invented, no one had a job or anything else to do, so sitting for 4 hours to wait for your friend to finish you off in Monopoly was better entertainment than just sitting.

But game technology has gotten much better now. Heck, even Mah Jongg, not exactly new, does a better job of maintaining suspense and strategy than Monopoly.

Maybe you just can't underestimate the power of pretend money.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Worst. Game. Ever.

Have you played one of the worst video games in existence? I think I have.

I just spent time at Defense Acquisition University's games page. It's part of training military personnel and civilian staff about the military procurement process.

Imagine, you can play the exciting role of supply procurement specialist!

Although Fraud Investigator is slightly interesting, and Acquisition Proposition isn't very different from Diner Dash. Just way less charming.

Friday, December 3, 2010

We're headed for the island of stability!

I just learned about superheavy nucleii that might be unusually stable. There's a scientist who claims to have detected element 111 in trace amounts inside deposits of gold. Wild. I wonder if it'll still be true a year from now. But if it is, that means we might someday have trace amounts of element 120! Sure, we haven't been able to synthesize it yet, but if we ever do, it might have a really long half-life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Arsenic Life!

There's a bacteria living in a hot springs that doesn't have DNA. Well, not anymore.

While early reports suggested that this bacteria evolved naturally with arsenic instead of phosphorus in its DNA, it turns out that it did this in the lab.

Which is still amazing. Life can evolve to really weird chemistry that we thought was universally toxic. But it would be even more amazing to see bacteria that live in the wild that use another molecule for their genetics, alongside the sulfur-based deep sea vent bugs.