Monday, February 21, 2011

Machine Gun in Logging

American Dialect Maps

The fictional character Henry Higgins is an expect of of different British dialects and combination thereof. Here is series of American dialect maps derived a survey of internet users in 2002 put together by some linguists then at Harvard. Although it is a billed as a survey of "North American English" only the locations of American participants are mapped. The survey has asks participants questions of pronouncement and usage. The map above is one map for the question "What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?".

Personally, I heard/read of liquid sun(shine) as a metaphor for nuclear fire.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

National Stereotypes Displayed on Maps

We all have to deplore national stereotypes these days or be branded as bestial racists. However there are some truth behind such crude caricatures. The above image is from a map Asia Accord to the USA. The designer at Mapping Stereotypes has also made enough maps to fill a calendar highlighting the prejudices of the Swiss, Russia and Poland among others.

I got this link from a thread in, Maps Of Stereotypes. Naturally some more biased maps were created my favorite of which is Beedok's Canadian view of Europe which lists the Ukraine as Old Saskatchewan and Russia as Hockey Enemies.

The Professional Trolls Who are Congressional Critters

Does anyone else just feel worn out by all political BS in the U.S these days? I mean, it seems like Congress is nothing more than a group of professional trolls at this point. They never, ever seem capable of doing anything useful, or beneficial for the citizens of this country anymore. It's exhausting. Every single time a story pops up (on Slashdot or anywhere else) that involves politics or a political decision, you can basically just assume that it's going to screw over everyone in the country that isn't already a politician.

Being a U.S. citizen today feels just like playing the role of Sisiphus [], consistently pushing a boulder uphill (trying to improve the world by being a responsible citizen, voting, jury duty, etc.) only to realize that you have to push it up again when you reach the top (Congress critters keep passing bills that fuck things up even more). It's exhausting, to keep reading about how those folks we elect to power just stumble around and fuck things up so badly....It's so consistent that it very nearly serves as a dataset to debunk that old meme of, "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by incompetence."

Our leaders are just fucking terrible. It's exhausting.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Traveller (De)motivational Posters

As I am getting back into the game Traveller a Traveller fellow traveller Timbo sent me a link to this and other motivation posters based on the Traveller role playing system. The above refers to technique of space travel, low berth, that is about the equivalent to riding under a railway car. The odds of survival is a little less then 3 out of 4, with medical assistance 5 out of 6 passengers survive this sci fi steerage. The scary thing is that from reading accounts of the Atlantic slave trade that this, 3/4 and 5/6, was about survival rate most of the time.

The drawing are from a set from clement777's account, Traveller Motivational Posters.

Here is another one of clement777's Traveller drawing that gets appeal of the game.

In Traveller Earth/Terra is "Earth Like"

Following some of the links at Traveller Map I came across a database of Treveller sectors, subsectors and planets, an Interactive Atlas of the Imperium. When I looked at the entry for Earth/Terra I got the above result as well as a completely different solar system. Admittedly this game is set several millennia in the future.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Home Appliances Fed On Rotting Flesh.

Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots from Auger-Loizeau on Vimeo.

Years ago there was a bug zapper ad featuring Vincent Price. As the bugs were consumed he would chortle an evil laugh. Unfortunately I can't find it on Youtube. These innovative designs are part of an experiment in "predatory cyborg furniture". The only design that seems really gross is the coffee table that eats mice.

This is also got a mention on NPR, Meat-Eating Furniture, and slashdot, Designers Create Meat Eating Furniture.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

War is Hell part MDMXVII

They say you find what something is worth when you pay for it. Well, la Difensa was ours now. Not much of a mountain, really. But I never knew a mountain could be so tall or plain rock cost so much.

William Holden as Robert Frederick in 

The Devil's Brigade

People often complain that triumphalist nature of war films of the 50's and 60's encouraged a pro war mentality. People who say his have never seen these films. These are film that were made generation that was scarred by their experience in the WWII, or failing that that Korean War.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

How TV Ruined Your Life

I have been on a Charlie Brooker kick lately. He is a TV critic late of the The Guardian who has made some penetrating and insightful TV programs on TV itself. His latest documentary series is How TV Ruined Your Life. Here is the first episode on Youtube. Watch it before it is pulled by the lawyers.

Musicians and Debt

It looked like the kind of music emporium which doubles as a pawnshop, since every musician has at some time in his life has to hand over his instrument if he wants to eat and sleep indoors.

Soul Music, Terry Pratchett

See also Ray's Music Exchange in the Blues Brothers

On the Rarity of Highwaymen

"... This is civilization. They don't rob you on the road in civilization." He glanced down at the satchel again." They wait until you've got into cities. That's why they call it civilization."

Dwarf Horn Player Glob in Soul Music, Terry Pratchett

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

NASA Needs Cash

"NASA has released plans for a manned mission to Washington D.C. by 2017, in order to beg for funding for manned missions to less toxic locations."

Rome in Histrorical Fiction and Sci Fi

Rome has show up in many different kinds down through the ages. This is not meant to be a complete list but merely my favorites and highlights.

Historical Fiction
  • I Claudius/Claudius the God: These are written in the form of the autobiography by the emperor Claudius. The first book is life up to be acclaimed as emperor by soldiers. The second book is his life as emperor as well as the telling of the life of friend Herod Agrippa. Well worth reading.

Sci Fi and Alternative History
  • Lest Darkness Falls: An American in Rome stumbles through a hole in"the space time continuum" as they would say and ends up in a post imperial Rome of the 6th century.