Just a small bit of housekeeping here. I figured this blog wasn't allowing me the full spectrum of self importance so I signed up for twitter the other day. I've recently found myself thinking about something that wouldn't really be worthy for a post, or needing more time to be fleshed out. I'm hoping that twitter gives me the opportunity to get them out of my brain; let them do something useful at least. I'm hoping to not descend from order into chaos; nothing worse than entropic flightiness. So far it's been once a day, but I think that's just fascination with my new toy.
Meanwhile, if you look underneath the twitter panel you'll notice another side panel - Elsewhere. While I'm not too crash hot on the name - I got sick of delaying it for the sake of semantics - I am very excited about this. Another case of micro-blogging able to clear some more stuff of my mental chest and onto here. Quite simple really, anything that perks my interest on my intertubes travels but I can't really put it into a full post, or it isn't able to visually stimulate this place I'll chuck it in there. It also allows people who can say things better than me to say it better. I'm trying to find the sweet spot of quoting size, but I expect it to vary. Oh, I've started reading the NYTimes lately, so some of those might need you to sign in. As soon as I think of a cooler name for it I'll change it, same as twitter I guess.
Meanwhile, I added some more books into the Library too. The bloody things took me four hours just to write three lines for each. I find condensing a painful process, especially for books that I read a long time ago. The plan is to eventually catch up with what I'm (pretending) to read right now, and put each one up as soon as there done, but my procrastination levels would have to go way down for that one.
Meanwhile, if you're having problems with the layout of this thing, blame typepad. What was once an elegant format for soapboxing has descended into this slow painful process - images jumping around, coming up at different sizes, text formatting going to shit; you get my drift.
Discover Magazine have started up a great little outlet for science geeks to show off their tattoos.
"Last summer I was at a pool party where a friend was bobbing around in the water with his kids. He studies genes in Drosophila flies. I noticed that Bob had a tattoo of DNA on his shoulder. At first I thought it was a generic snippet of the molecule, but then Bob told me that it actually represents, in the genetic code, his wife's initials: EEE. Geek love in its noblest forms."
Design Observer has a great and timely interview with the designer Brian Oakes, behind the movie I.O.U.S.A. Taking a look at the levels of American debt from it's inception until now, the charts and graphs maintain (from what I can gather from the trailer) a cohesive look, making macroeconomics easy enough to understand in relation to the movie. This stuff looks dead sexy and one of the scariest examples of info-design porn I've ever seen. The rest of their work is just as good, but full marks for making this stuff look interesting. I won't go into the details of the interview, I'll let you read it yourself, but I do recommend watching the trailer at least, just to see how the penny drops (sorry, awful awful pun).
Trying something out here and we'll see how they work, but it's been on the cards for some time. Welcome to a new obscurely named category - The Natural World. I'm hoping to make it a regular occurrence. Starting from my own flickr and moving on to other people, but each instance will look at museum displays, dioramas, panoramas and the like.
This one comes from my visit to Brisbane a few weeks ago (yes, I know, but like I said: broken keyboard). Despite the poor lighting that always make it tricky to get some good shots inside museums, I managed to photoshop the hell out of them to get them up to quality. Besides, the small sizes here always cover up my camera's inadequacies. Most of the Museum had a particular old school presentation method: low on the computer touch-screen wizardry and high on glass cabinets, latin taxonomies on foam-core, and kids running around getting their fingers on everything (and squeals of delight/disgust at mother nature).
A little tip for everyone out there who uses keyboards: pouring water into them and giving it a bit of a shake makes them work worse, not better. Some background: a few weeks after I got my new computer, I spilt some orange juice on them. This then produced the desired effect of making the keys rather sticky and hard to use. Naturally, I went out and spent some good money on a wireless keyboard, but not before asking the genius if it would be clever for me to give the old one a quick rinse in a vain attempt to fix the problem of the keys sticking. After being warned that it was most definitely a stupid idea, but seeing as though I had voided my warranty, I made as well void it as well. First time round, and it solved the problem. Orange juice gone, and the keyboard was given a clean bill of health.
Fast track one year later, and for no good reason, the keys started sticking again. So, empirical evidence would point to the logic in giving it a good wash again. Which I did, naturally. The next morning, I eagerly went to check on my hypothesis. Everything was working fine, except the Caps Lock key was stuck, and I couldn't turn the damn thing off. I might also add at this point that some treacly tobacco infested water was dripping from the keyboard when I held it up. It occurred to me, that the solution was simple. Wash it again. Now, here is where my experiment begins to unravel and I understand the fallacy in my previously held hypothesis. At this point, I also remember that the wireless keyboard had run out of batteries many months prior, and grumbled with the foresight that it was going to be quite a few days before I would get around to the simple task of getting some new batteries. Yesterday however, I made the point of braving the rain and bought some batteries, and eagerly rushed home to prove to myself that I can be given important responsibilities like getting some batteries. It should be noted, that one should always check if two batteries are enough, an in this case, I was off by one. With the innate fear that one shouldn't mix batteries, I then had to go out and get a four pack. So I now have three spare batteries sitting in front of me.
Meanwhile, check out the Csirac exhibition on at the Melbourne Museum. The first computer in Australia took two years to assemble, and some parts of it needed to be hoisted into the building it occupied using a crane.