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Awesome idea, great youtube video.
Via gearlog:
Using a Nintendo Wii remote and some software that he ginned up himself, Johnny Chung Lee of Carnegie Mellon University took a few ballpoint pens, replaced them with IR lights, and presto! Since the Wii tracks IR lights, Lee found that practically any surface -- a projector screen, a tabletop, an LCD screen -- could be turned into a multi-touch screen.
You can download Johnny's software at his website.
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It was awesome! _firepixie_is an excellent instructor. She breaks things down into contemplatable tasks, and is an amazing performer, too.

Scary, but a lot of fun. Fire is hot. :-)

We actually ended up taking a 'condensed for TV' class, which will air in a few weeks (more details to follow).

Details on the full fire eating class available here.

Thanks again to Erin and Darrell for hosting a wonderful evening.
Thanks to Josh for the pics!
Here's a few of my favorite shots.
More shots available here.

Yes, that's really me eating fire.


finagler with fire shooting out of his mouth.

Josh, the guy with the cool camera taking a turn.

Transferring fire from one torch to another, via tongue.

Current Mood: excited excited

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Originally published as Northern Lights, it was entitled The Golden Compass in North America. This is the first book of His Dark Materials Trilogy.

From the Guardian:

The opening book of His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman's epic trilogy of wonder and love, won the supreme accolade in its field last night. Northern Lights was declared the finest children's book of the past 70 years, handsomely topping a readers' poll as the best winner of the annual Carnegie medal published in that time.

Pullman believed the story it introduces - of a girl and boy leading the struggle of multiple universes to throw off the oppressive agents of a senile God - would have difficulty finding an audience. His influences, including Milton, William Blake and Tom Paine, are unprecedented in a children's narrative.

This is a wonderful trilogy, and I loved it.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

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Discovered joost this weekend, and got finagler exposed to the pilot episode of Lexx.

Internet TV that's actually legit is cool but a bit odd (this one's by the creators of Skype and Kazaa).

It has commercials, albeit short ones that pop up every 20 minutes or so to interrupt the show, and other brief commercials that show up as pop up windows on the bottom right corner of the screen at other times.

Since it's in BETA, you still need an invite.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

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Looks awesome. US release today only in New York.
More details at imdb.

Current Mood: excited excited

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Lloyd Alexander wrote some of my favorite childhood fantasy books, including The Black Cauldron series (The Chronicles of Prydain).

Died yesterday at 83 years of age, and his wife of 61 years died 2 weeks ago.


Current Mood: morose morose

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Traffic at water festival in ThailandWhy? A fairly small island country, with very congested traffic.

"Bermuda is a country with 21 square miles of land, 63,000 people and 47,000 moving vehicles. We're the sixth largest population per square mile. Bermuda has the world's highest density per square mile of motor traffic on its roads," said Randy Rochester, director of Bermuda's Transportation Control Department."
How? Cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs will receive a windshield sticker embedded with an RFID tag upon registration of their vehicle. Each vehicle gets assigned a number, which is connected to a database. A fixed sensor network will be set up on the island, as well as handheld scanners that are mobile and usable in random locations.
And how else will they use this data? Be afraid, be very afraid.

"A back-office VPS (violation processing system) will automatically generate citations, while the EVR [electronic vehicle registration] system itself will validate commercial vehicle registration and issue violations for trucks operating in restricted areas, during rush hour, without a permit, officials said. "

I wonder if they'll use this for speeding tickets? Or for their equivalent of an Amber alert?

In the California Bay Area, we have a voluntary tracking system, FasTrak, that assigns vehicles a number, and uses sensors to predict commute times based on how long it takes for several of us to go from sensor A to sensor B. It is primarily used for paying bridge tolls without having to stop, and is a very convenient, efficient system. It sounds like Bermuda's system is capable of providing the same benefits as FasTrak, but making it a mandatory system that will also generate citations is just too Orwellian

They started this system this week.


Current Mood: worried worried

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Too cool. Cymatics in action. Reminds me of the exploratorium, the exhibit where you pour sand on the thin metal plate, then run a violin bow (or saw) across the side, and make pretty patterns from the sand vibrations.

"A father and son who became fascinated by symbols carved into the chapel's arches say they have deciphered a musical score encrypted in them. Thomas Mitchell, a 75-year-old musician and ex-Royal Air Force code breaker, and his composer and pianist son Stuart, described the piece as "frozen music."

Stuart Mitchell said he and his father were intrigued by 13 intricately carved angel musicians on the arches of the chapel and by 213 carved cubes depicting geometric-type patterns.

Years of research led the Mitchells to an ancient musical system called cymatics, or Chladni patterns, which are formed by sound waves at specific pitches.
The two men matched each of the patterns on the carved cubes to a Chladni pitch, and were able finally to unlock the melody."


Current Mood: impressed impressed

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Crazy but true, apparently.

"The questions at the root of the controversy are on page 58 of the new appraisal forms for the current year issued by the federal Ministry for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. Women officers must write down their "detailed menstrual history and history of LMP [last menstrual period] including date of last confinement [maternity leave]," the form says. "
It supposedly started out as an extension to mandatory annual health check ups, but this is absolutely ridiculous on so many levels.

Should be interesting to see how it gets sorted out.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

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Ok, so there were only 3,000 voters, and it was a poll by SFX magazine, an UK publication.

What's your top 10?

Here is their top 10:

1. Serenity
2. Star Wars
3. Blade Runner
4. Planet of the Apes
5. The Matrix
6. Alien
7. Forbidden Planet
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
9. The Terminator
10. Back to the Future
Source: SFX magazine


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