Mar
25

March 25, 2006

Contacts

I made a major life change today, getting contact lenses after decades of wearing glasses. I started noticing that I get eye strain headaches every day, which isn't surprising, what with my current prescription being over six years old.

The glasses I wear today were purchased from a shop in The Falls in Miami. It was the day that my daughter, a toddler at the time, incensed at being carried out of a toy store, caught me with a mean right hook that sent my eyeglasses flying -- in two pieces -- across the store.

The most entertaining part of the day would have been the part where Jen tried to coach me on inserting the contact lenses for the first time. She had me bent over a mirror on the table, saline solution all over the place, frustrated that I wouldn't just let HER put them in every morning for me, so she wouldn't have to watch one more friggin' attempt.

Of course, Jen's very excited about the change, as the only times she's seen me without glasses, I've also been nekkid!

Search Highlighter in the Wild

I forgot to mention...

I received a really nice note from Rick van Rein at OpenFortress digital signatures saying he's implemented my search highlighter over there. He made some nice mods to the legend to blend it into his site.

Mar
20

March 20, 2006

Enterprise architecture is the new voodoo

Dare Obasanjo:

The lesson here is that all this complexity being pushed by so-called enterprise architects, software vendors and big 5 consulting companies is bullshit. If you are building distributed applications for your business, you really need to ask yourself what is so complex about the problems that you have to solve that makes it require more complex solutions than those that are working on a global scale on the World Wide Web today.

Dare was responding to an attack on Ruby, but his comment is equally relevant to the recent WS-Crossroads conversation.

Mar
19

March 19, 2006

Sleeping Giants

One of the most fascinating things I've seen while playing around with Google Earth is the "boneyard" of decommissioned aircraft in the desert near Tucson, Arizona.

This interesting and beautifully-produced presentation says that "boneyard" is the wrong term; that the mothballed status of these aircraft is more temporary than you might think.

Mar
15

March 15, 2006

Coolest Robot Yet

Via the long-silent, but recently-awakened Gibson Blog: The ACM-R5 Amphibious Snake-Like Robot. Watch the video.

A Humorous Look at a Bizarre Worldview

I mentioned the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), but hadn't read up on it recently. The Ex-ATI Guy has a blog devoted to recovering IBLPers, and recently posted my sister's contribution: Top ten Gothardite pickup lines. My favorite? Why, #2: "Your countenance looks great in that blouse."

By the way, you know what's weird? I'm thinking that Gothard looks like an older, straighter version of Dennis Hopper! What do you think?

Mar
11

March 11, 2006

Required Listening

Since we're having this national debate about immigration policy, we might as well all listen to this story, lest we forget about the remarkable and precious human beings involved.

Statement of Faith

I'll take this over the Nicene Creed any day.

Character Sketch This One!

One component of my fundamentalist Christian upbringing was the Institute in Basic Life Principles seminar (known then as the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts). One of the products sold by this organization is the Character Sketch book series. From the IBLP Web site:

The Character Sketch books are designed to show how Godís creation demonstrates character. Using illustrations from nature, these books teach such character qualities as Attentiveness, Responsibility, Obedience, and Orderliness. Each of these beautifully illustrated books contain different character examples as seen in nature.

So, as I read Carl Zimmer's description of a parasitic wasp called Ampulex compressa, I found myself wondering what a benevolent creator would be trying to teach us thereby.

After mating, the female wasp finds a cockroach victim and delivers a very precise sting that takes away the roach's impulse to flee while leaving it mobile. Then, the wasp leads the roach into its burrow, "like a dog on a leash," where it proceeds to lay an egg on its side. The wasp larva, once hatched, burrows into the living roach, which becomes a nice snack and a sleeping bag to boot. It's really quite diabolical. As Zimmer says, "seeing a full-grown wasp crawl out of a roach suddenly makes those Alien movies look pretty derivative."

Mar
8

March 8, 2006

Furry, Albino Cockroaches from the Deep!

Or, What do you get if you cross a llama with a lobster?

Bird Brain

Scientists have discovered that hummingbirds can remember the route to flowers where they've fed, and even keep track of how often the nectar is replenished.

My 91 year-old grandfather tells a great story about a hummingbird that frequented their feeder in Palm Desert. One day, while he and my grandmother were sitting outside on the patio, the hummingbird came and discovered that the feeder was empty. The hummingbird came over and hovered right in grandpa's face, making a couple jabs toward him ("hey you") and then a couple jabs toward the feeder ("it's empty"). Grandpa didn't move. Next, the bird went to my grandmother. Two jabs toward her ("hey lady"), followed by three jabs toward grandpa ("tell this guy"), and then some jabs at the feeder ("to get up and fill the feeder!").

Mar
4

March 4, 2006

Spore

Spore ScreenshotThis looks like the nerdiest game ever!

I want it.