I Read Stuff!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

9

In 2005, Shane Acker did an animated film which was nominated for an Academy Award. It didn't win, but Universal figured it was a compelling enough IP that it should be developed further, most notably by adding dialog.

After watching the short and the trailer, I have to say I agree.

The original short:



The trailer for the upcoming feature film:



I'm not sure if the short is going to be considered canon or if it's considered a proof of concept.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Procrastination

I thought it particularly appropriate to post this story after such a long absence from my own blog. It's about why people procrastinate, which is a pretty important aspect of the human condition. Naturally there is an educational institution with a team of psychologist studying this problem.

For one experiment the team handed out questionnaires to a group of students and asked them to respond by e-mail within three weeks. Oh, and the 'subjects' wouldn't be paid until they responded; money being the ultimate motivator.

There were two types of questionnaires. One was filled with questions about implied personal traits based off of tasks. What kind of person has a bank account? The other questionnaire asked for the step by step instruction. How do you get a bank account? The idea was to get some students thinking abstractly and others concretely.

The students who were asked for the concrete explanations, the step by step instructions, responded significantly sooner than their counterparts. After more experiments, the findings showed that individuals primed for concrete thinking were much less likely to procrastinate.

So, in theory, there is a take-home experiment here. Take a task that you have trouble completing. Exercise is one of my favorites, and serendipitously it's also the example in the article. Stop thinking about the results, the WHY of the task. Instead focus on the step by step process to get it done: getting out of bed, putting on your shoes, each step of your routine etc.

If this works, we'll all be running marathons by next Christmas.

Christmas Lights... The Future!

Imagine, if you will, a world with so much computing power that our Christmas lights are orchestrated like a fireworks display...

Monday, December 08, 2008

Space Trash!

Last month during some repairs to the ISS, an astronaut dropped a tool bag. The bag cost $100,000 and the astronaut felt properly embarrassed. Anyway, the tool bag now has to be tracked as space junk.

Well, some guy spotted the bag with his binoculars, and he made a YouTube video of the bag flying by. In reality it could be a video of any satellite passing by, but it's much more entertaining to think of it as the tool bag.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Prop 8

Why yell on the internet, when you can sing?


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Common Myths

I'm a big fan of Mythbusters, The Straight Dope, and Snopes. There is so much pseudoscience and common bull floating around that it's nice to have easily accessible repositories of experimental and authoritative evidence.

That being said, I'm going to point you at a lad rag who compiled a top 10 list of commonly held misnomers. Even dubious sources get it right on occasion.

To save you a trip to their site, I've compiled the list here:

10: Birds do not blow up if you feed them uncooked rice. The reason you don't throw rice at weddings is because those tiny grains are slippery when applied to the smooth rock steps commonly found at church entrances.

9: Napoleon wasn't short. He was 5 foot 6 inches, the average height for a Frenchman in the 1800s. Due to the tall stature of his soldiers and British propaganda, Napoleon will forever be comically small.

8: Hair does not grow darker and thicker after you shave it. New hair hasn't been sun bleached yet, and body hair tends to get thicker as you age. A popular myth among adolescence, the truth is that we just don't have much control over hair growth.

7: You're supposed to burn witches, but the Salem witches were hung. In 1692, burning was forbidden in Massachusetts. All Salem witches went to the gallows except for Giles Corey, who refused to enter a plea and was crushed to death.

6: In space you experience micro gravity, not zero gravity. Astronauts are in a constant state of falling with only their forward momentum keeping them aloft. This should be taught in every science class, but I imagine physics isn't everyone's strong suit.

5: Marie Antoinette is attributed the cruel "Let them eat cake" quote. This was another propaganda slurring during the peasant uprising. The line actually originated from Jean-Jacques Rousseau when Marie was only 10, and even then he was writing about an event that occurred a decade before her birth.

4: What man made structure can you see from space? The Great Wall! Well, kind of. Its earth colored bricks actually makes it very difficult to detect. The US interstate system is much more visible from low orbit.

3: Thomas Edison industrialized the light bulb. He figured out how to create them cheaply and market them. Warren De la Rue is the actual inventor of the first sealed light bulb.

2: Humans use considerably more than 10% of their brain. Magnetic imaging has documented vast sections of brain activity during complicated tasks. People just like to believe that they have massive untapped potential.

1: 54% of men think about sex a few times a day. The rest spend less time contemplating coitus. Of course it's more fun to accuse men of digressing every 7 seconds.


Games
GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Darwinia2
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Prey2
Psychonauts2
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Defcon3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
KOTOR II3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Infernal35/8/2007
Shadowrun25/9/07
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
BioShock18/21/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
CellFactor?2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Mythos??
Overloard??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
OkamiPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?