Thursday, December 28, 2006

Even more metal

Barefoot marathoners. These guys will rule the world one day, and I, for one, welcome our callused overlords.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What would you do if you were sued for $1.65 trillion?

How about shrug your shoulders and say "Meh, comrade..."? By the way, if you want to sign up for, now's the time to do it, with a 20% refill bonus through January...

Knitting=Topology and the New Economics

What's up with all these art posts lately? Also, if you choose how much you want to pay, it's better for everyone! Alternately, you could just spend one dollar a day (as do about a billion persons, sadly.)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Not so amazing art

A Very Floyd ChristmasHave a very Floyd Christmas, and God bless us, one and all! Image courtesy Something Awful, a web site that no one should ever visit for any reason.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

More truly amazing art

Wow. Things have been quiet; feel free to post! Fia, I'm talking to you...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Michel Gondry is certifiably insane.

He can solve a Rubik's Cube with his feet.

The next wave of Christian video games

I wish this story was found here instead. It saddens me that apparently Focus on the Family endorses this.

Jordan's Top 25 of 2006, #1-5

I want to get this posted so I don't get overwhelmed or miss out if I fall asleep. This not just finals week, this is finals day. Michael and I are basically on the second night of a three-day, two-nighter (minus the two 3-hour naps). We are close to delirium (he isn't making any sense... just look at him, sitting over blank...what is he thinking? why does he keep looking at me? what are those sounds he is making? i bet he has that sunn 0))) song on him him machinate...this is how the perfect human stagnates...he steals my oxygen, the bastard), and I can't tell if I'm hungry, sick, or maybe just generally wretched. Wretched is a good word for it. So anyway, forgive me for posting so early in the day (soooo early in the day) and for outrunning Michael's whole top ten. As we say around here, it's do-or-die time. So I'm doing. Forthcoming: a ten-pager on Francis Fukuyama and a twenty-pager on logical interpretations of metaphor. I recommend reading this post from bottom to top. (You can read the paragraphs from top to bottom if you want). And now, on to the main event...

#1: Espers - II
You are so lucky. I don't care to think about how many people have not heard and will not hear of Espers--except to throw into relief the gift I am about to give you. I don't expect anyone to have heard of these people (except Michael, for metaphysical reasons, and maybe Austin because they are from Philadephia, but I emphasize "maybe"). I stumbled upon, as in almost-did-not-download, this album. I'm a member of a Bittorrent community that requires its members to keep a certain ratio of uploaded to downloaded data. I had just become a member, and the torrent was a discography (just 2 albums and an EP, but still), so I almost did not go for it. There were some key words in the review that convinced me. If you know me, you will understand, and if you don't really, this might make sense with my current blaggery....Here they are: haunting, neo-psychedelic, icy, shudders, expansive, soundscape, dreamworld, and epic. I have a quick anecdote about what this album has done to me. Someone here at the 'prex left a crossword unfinished on the table. One word was E-S-_-_-R-S, and the clue was "glacier paths." I had to write "espers." They could be playing from the top of a glacier, or in an ice cave. The answer was actually "eskers," but you see my point. Now, a little about the music. This album is full of folk cathedrals silhouetted against a dark sky, spires towering into the clouds, something so alive, so moving, with so much emotion pulsing through the walls, burrowing under the foundations and making the earth quake. Everything is glacial. Michael pointed out the other day that if Spoon has mastered working with negative space, Espers is negative space. This is that stuff from Hegel, the paradox, that will not be mediated. The dialectic comes into a conflict, but there is no Idea for Espers--what we perceive is skeletal, it is form, and it is the nothingness that makes us admire the architecture. It is a negative concept. I could go so far with this. Listening to Espers is half somehow-warm, cathartic effusion and half admiration of cold, shifting form. The instrumentation moves, dances, builds, supports, collapses, disappears in the horizon, engulfs, and weaves in and out of itself. It is structure, and it reminds, associates, signifies, evokes... It maps. We all argue the meaning of "meaning." This music means. And it will invade you, caress you, terrify you, calm you, and haunt you until it means all that means anything to you. Widow's Weed. Dead King. Moon Occults the Sun.

#2: Early Day Miners - Offshore
I have always liked lots of music, but I've always had a focus. All the way through middle school, I loved adult pop, alternative rock, pop R&B, radio rap, and Simon and Garfunkel's The Concert in Central Park. When I got to high school, I started to like newish punk rock. Then I started liking the poppier punk of the 90s--Bad Religion, The Offspring, Pennywise. From there, I started going to hardcore shows. All the time. There was a pretty active Christian punk/hXc/sXe scene in the the Midwest in high school. I used to go see XDiscipleX A.D., Bestiary, Anah Aevia, and whomever else whenever I could. Then I started going to a Christian music festival called Cornerstone--basically a week-long camping trip outside of Bushnell, IL, filled with ad hoc punk and hardcore stages. It was mind-blowing--and eardrum-shredding. The summer after my junior year, I outdid myself, staying all 7 days, going to a show every minute there was one, seeing every band I could, and buying $300 worth of fifth-wave emo and late shoegaze CDs. Then I ran over my guitar when pulling out to leave. I got back to Indianapolis overheated, exhausted, in agony over my guitar, pissed I had spent so much, and very much rejected by an important girl (oh man, we cannot get into this). I had missed Pedro the Lion the last day, so when I heard he was playing with Roadside Monument in Bloomington at Rhino's (all ages!), I got in the car. Pedro was sublime, but the opening band was Early Day Miners. It was so delicate, so soft, so dreamy, and I fell in love. I bought both CDs they had out at the time. And BOOM! I was no longer into the hardcore scene. I started listening to "sleepy music" (as my fiancée Kathi called it senior year, back when she was at new girlfriend status). I never stopped. Low is my favorite band. Anyway, I haven't seen Early Day Miners since, but I've bought and digested every release of theirs. This is it. This is a masterwork. Offshore is so few songs, long songs, that draw from the deeply gazey soundscapes of My Bloody Valentine, Loop, Ride, &c., while remaining soooo mellow. I almost can't take it. Even writing about it overwhelms me. Please, love this. Land of Pale Saints. Return of the Native. Silent Tents.

#3: Calexico - Garden Ruin
I love this album from the opening acoustic and "Cruel, cruel ground..." to the very end. There is something so American--in a good way--about this that I cannot shake. You have to keep in mind my recent return from Spain. I did not expect a Calexico release; I do not follow their work closely. The Black Light was good background music, and Feast of Wire impressed me. When I saw the title of this album though, my stomach knotted in desire. I had a complete idea of what the music would sound like and how it would make me feel. When I finally listened to it, it turned out I was right. This band effortlessly melds Tex-Mex into Americana, relying on mariachi horns and a smooth interpolation of Romance languages to make a very emotional album. I missed Spain, but this was the Spanish I needed. The live show is as meticulous as the production of the recording, and I would recommend this album to anyone. This is another one you can give your mom. Roka. Panic Open String. All Systems Red.

#4: Asobi Seksu - Citrus
It looks like we can agree. This is one of the best of the year. Now listen: no one is doing what Asobi Seksu is doing. This is not the same as Serena Maneesh, that Scandinavian heavy shoegaze (which is good but is not this). This is dreampop á la Cocteau Twins, but also like a sweeter and less vicious My Bloody Valentine. The swells of distortion that make you ache, the way the vocals kiss their way out of the speakers, the arrangements... These songs are planned, and they have some of the best endings of anything I've ever heard. Who has ever tried to master the ending? The answer is "people who love big, big music." Well, Citrus gives the false impression of being petite. One day, Michael and I went to see Mojave 3 (and got the bonus of a wonderful opening shoegaze band, Svetlana), at Radio Radio in Indianapolis. I said something about the Asobi Seksu show the next Sunday. "Isn't that show this Sunday?" he asked. "I thought I saw it on the poster." I assured him that I had posted the show to my Google Calendar straight from the venue web site. You know how this story ends. I drove back to Greencastle that infamous Sunday, dejected. Do not ever, ever let anything get in the way of seeing Asobi Seksu. Please, please, dreampop and shoegaze, make a comeback. Strawberries. Red Sea. Mizu Asobi.

#5: Various - The World is Gone
Say what you will about Stylus and their reviews; the podcasts are wonderful. Of course, they try to jump between the most obscure music and the most mainstream, pretending to give a technical review to a pop track and recommending that experimental artists lighten up. That is the nature of what I will call the scene. No, I am not talking about The Scene that laboriously collects, rips, and illicitly releases cultural products through the blagotubes. You can hear in these guys' voices that they are socially maladjusted, maybe that they live under piles of collectible 8-tracks. I want to use The World Is Gone as evidence that we need these people. Yes, standard hipsters have heard of Various (AKA Various Production) by now. No, they had not heard of them early this summer. Stylus had; thus, so had I. The singles these guys podcast are gems. They chose the best song on the album, "Hater," and it displays all of the characteristics that make the record great: sparse production, almost dubsteppy beats, cold but close vocals, and effective, novel instrumentation. On top of all this, the album conveys a general feeling of unfeeling. Weird, yes. But listen to this and see if you know what I mean. I immediately started looking for this album after the Stylus show, but I did not expect it to be one of my favorites of the year. One more good reason: you want this song stuck in your head. Then, when it gets there, you love it. You agree with it. You like the feeling. You never said anything else. Hater. Thunkk. The World Is Gone.

This isn't even funny to me...

Honestly, this is terrible. I had to consider it for a while, before I posted this. (Hint: involves violence in real life and video games; no video or pictures, thankfully.) What in the world is wrong with this guy? Seriously, how can this happen?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jordan's Top 25 of 2006, #6-10

#6: Mogwai - Mr. Beast
Speaking of perfect titles (and I'm assuming you are reading these posts from the bottom up, how silly of me), this monster is a tower of sound, although Mogwai's bricks are a bit smaller than they have been historically. The shorter songs somehow manage to pack a punch--that same old hook through the heart that pulls you through emotions so strong that you are lulled into a spent stupor. Mogwai have not stopped evolving, and this latest step has brought them to higher production, less electronics, and some more tinkly overlays. And, of course, there are the waves of sound. Oceans. The sound is so big, and probably my greatest regret this year is missing their show because I was too tired after returning from Spain. That is a piss-poor excuse, and I should be ashamed of myself. And I am. We're No Here. (Not We're Not Here).

#7: Califone - Roots & Crowns
My basic sense of this album is that Tim Rutili just keeps on growing. Never afraid to experiment with raw sounds--not electronically shredded, but layered and muted and earthy--Califone has come up with the perfect answer to the sound of their Heron King Blues EP. I've been waiting for this album to come along, knowing full well that Rutili's sonic experimentation in the Decelerations and his acoustic solo shows (one of which I had the pleasure of seeing) would serve as exercises for his next major work. The album title is perfect. If you are looking for something down-to-earth but still exploratory, you might just find this record majestic. Check out Michael's blag for a song.

#8: Ester Drang - Rocinate
I just now realized that I don't really know anything about Ester Drang. I guess I know their label is Jade Tree, the same as the now defunct Pedro the Lion. Because my awareness of bands and their stories tends to affect my view of their music (of course), I want to stress that this album stands on its own. I listened to this laid-back opus daily on my walks through Segovia all winter/spring. More eclectic and atmospheric-shoegazey than the 2001 debut Goldenwest, Rocinate is where the band comes into their own. Now that I look it up, I guess this is because of a near-total lineup change. And now that I look it up, I have to add that these guys are huge Talking Heads, MBV, Echo, and Mogwai fans. It's like they wrote a press release to my heart. And check out those piano accents... Come Back Alive.

#9: Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
This will be one of the most interblagged albums of the year, so I'm going to tell you just why I like it, very shortly. I miss early Sonic Youth, and so do Sonic Youth. I saw them play at Lollapalooza, and they alternated between tracks from this album to early album work and pre-album demos. I can't think of a time in recently memory that I've been so impressed by new work from hip old snots like the Youth. I'm just glad they picked a name that has ended up so ironic and wistful. If you like fuzzy rock in pop-sized donut holes, get this.

#10: Envelopes - Demon
Don't let the sinister name fool you. This Swedish band kept the Swedish name for this album, and it means "demos." Still, Envelopes recognize the English sense, and the moniker lends something to my interpretation of these very fun pop songs. When I listen to this album I almost feel like someone is telling me a secret. The voices are captivating, if a little unrefined, and that is the main draw of the album. Every song on this record is good in its own way, and I'm not sure Demon has gotten a fair shake from listeners this year. The sound alternates from sweet and straightforward to clangy and out-of-tune. More than anything, these songs are infectious, and I've been an addict since January. Glue.

Flash games for the Wii

These are apparently optimized for the Wiimote. Nintendo fans, let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jordan's Top 25 of 2006, #11-15

#11: The Legendary Pink Dots - Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves
Okay, so I admit I had not heard anything from this very prolific band until this year. Then, magically, they release this album (actually, and another one before it) just as I hit my peak interest in them. This brooding heartbreaker sounds like Pink Floyd wearing Goth makeup and playing Magazine's Permafrost while flirting with Gong. Cold, cold, cold, but sometimes playful stuff. Like a Canterbury scene that recognizes the malicious side of the gentry. It is definitely magnetic though, and it might be because of the layered approach I proselytize for so fervently. Any music this orchestral and patient tends to pay off in the end, but I warn you that you have to sit down and listen to it without interruptions, preferably in headphones. Feathers at Dawn.

#12: Herbert - Scale
Oh, Matthew Herbert. After so many full-lengths and some stellar production work, this guy somehow breaks onto everyone's radar. Scale hits that point where the wild, and I mean savage, experimentation behind the sounds melts into an almost tangible listenability. This album is the key to loving music again if you've ever gotten bored with (or sad over) the year's offerings. No one reading this probably has, but I'm trying to say that you should give this to someone as a gift this holiday season, and just about anyone will do. Good job, Herbs, and keep it up! Moving Like a Rain.

#13: Hot Chip - The Warning
I have to admit, I still don't know the exact track list of this CD. I mean, I listen to all of my Hot Chip at once, this along with Coming On Strong. Still, I think I can tell which songs are from which disc. This is another one you can find on the Hype Machine, and I recommend remixes of them and by them. This music has the power to get you moving, get your dancing friends moving, and get your non-dancing friends asking, "Hey, what is this?" and then attempting some awkward jolts and shudders vaguely in time to one or two beats. You can't make a dancer out of everyone, but Hot Chip comes close to it. If you're looking for some hot up-and-comers to follow for years, these guys have more promise of staying power than a lot of my favorites.

#14: Aceyalone with RJD2 - Magnificent City
The seedy underworld of whatever city Acey finds so magnificent comes to life in RJD2's instrumentation. One of my favorite producers matched with a very capable, intelligent rapper who raged against gangsta on the West coast from the beginning--it made my expectations high, to say the least. I was not disappointed. Very smooth, and very thoughtful, this album may take two or three listens to get in your head, but once it's there, you want to be walking the streets of a jazz club-lit city. Disconnected.

#15: The Knife - Silent Shout
What can I say but that I have the same story as everyone else. Fortunately this album appeals to that darker side that is so apparent in this year's list. I should add that the cringe-worthy moments (usually most apparent when watching the insane videos) really make me smile. Critically, the album hasn't stuck out as smiley (smileable?), but I am, I guess, tickled by the tension of wondering whether The Knife are geniuses or just seriously off their rockers. Probably both. Hype Machine and YouTube them, please.

More Futurama! Yay!

In 2008. Boo!

Abused Amazon images

With the genius Nat Gertler. He runs the Aaugh! blog, if you like Peanuts.

More Top 25 Stuff

Check out Hannah's:

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jordan's Top 25 of 2006, #16-20

#16: Cat Power - The Greatest
This is a great album of Southern songs in a style Chan Marshall has played with for years. On The Greatest, she seems more dedicated to her roots, and this release seems a little more personal (although Cat Power has never been impersonal) than others. Try this one out on sunny or rainy days. The sound is lush and bright--golden, actually. Considering there is only one deadly sad song on the album, you can count on coming away happier. You can find her on The Hype Machine.

#17: Hylozoists - La Fin du Monde
This album is a product of one musician (Paul Aucoin of The Sadies) and his drive to collaborate with everyone in Canada. It is full and orchestral, both mellow and playful, now and then taking a graver turn. Above all, it is pretty, and that goes for every song. Sometimes I wonder how people making pretty music all the time deal with frustration. Maybe they just listen to thrashier stuff between sessions? Not so with Aucoin. Check out the end of this masterpiece: La Fin du Monde

#18: Aloha - Some Echoes
I still marvel at how unlikely some of my own picks are at the end of the year. I ran across Aloha on marathonpacks this summer and loved their sound, so I set about collecting all I could. The first song I listened to (Brace Your Face) stuck. In fact, it's my favorite song of the year. Listen to the haunting, syncopated use of percussion, the grandiose runs, and the lyrics--the LYRICS! The rest of the album is great, too, but I had to make sure you listened to this song. Epic.

#19: Tom Waits - Orphans
I don't want to join the pool of ink spilled about this release (--is it ink if it's electronic?). Still, I have to say that I love it, and that it captures everything I like about Tom Waits. He stands by his desire to use his voice as an instrument to its fullest extent, in every imaginable way. I was excited to find an old favorite re-released on disc 3. Viva Disney! Feel the rumble. Now to get a hold of a legit copy and it's luscious 94-page booklet. Heigh Ho

#20: Maritime - We, The Vehicles
Ha ha ha! Not everything can be dark or even varied! Maritime is a one-trick puppy, the project of the Promise Ring's singer/guitarist and drummer along with the bassist from the Dismemberment Plan. It reminds me of high school, in good ways, and the emotastic subject matter is toned down (along with the vocals) to an easy listen that still pleases after 100+ listens. Twins

Star Wars is real

Some Arabs/Berbers are living it right now.

Music: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Monday, December 11, 2006

The New Music Economics

CD's + downloads + ringtones = $

Jordan's Top 25 of 2006, #21-25

#21: Sunn 0))) / Boris - Altar
No collaboration but this could capture the eerie groans that haunt the stone walls of an abandoned sepulchre. At the same time, any drone music manages to make good background music for reading (and sleeping). Why does this one make it to #21? Sunn 0))) has mastered the drone, but the addition of Japan's eclectic producer Boris fills out the instrumentation to further play on dissonance and layers. Rather than the simple low drone with a play of less-low drones found on other Sunn recordings, Altar builds rich, if baroque, swells that reach much higher than the earthy bottom layer and become rather inspiring. The album is wintry, the perfect companion to a Bergman movie, but only for those who, like me, actually get a spirit-lift from plumbing the depths of cold and hollow sounds. There are lots of people whom this music might depress, but I recommend it otherwise. The Sinking Belle (Blue Sheep).

#22: Love is All - Nine Times That Same Song
When my car died, I bought a station wagon with a CD player. None of my MP3 CDs would play, of course, so I burned this album out of some recent downloads. Expecting some soothing, innocuous Scandinavian pop, I'm pretty sure my reaction was something like, "OMGWTFBBQLOLZLOLZ!!!11" I had to take the disc out and come back to it. When I did about a month later, it stayed in my player for about a week. Considering there are only ten short songs, that's quite a bit of anything for a week. All I can say is that the music drives me to pounding on the wheel, while the vocals are too cute in a very intense and untrustworthy way. Ageing Had Never Been His Friend (Yes, it is spelled that way).

#23: The Rapture - Pieces of the People We Love
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance. If you've visited where I live this year, you will know that danceability has been and important part of our music in the common room. Somehow, this album never made it out there--likely because we all listened to it plenty in our rooms. If you want dance-punk, and if you liked the last album from The Rapture but thought the vocals were a little...strident...give this one a whirl, because almost every song on it is party music, and the vocals are either toned down or just blend better into the dancier stuff. Look for them (and others for whom I don't include a track) on The Hype Machine.

#24: Tapes 'n' Tapes - The Loon
This is the debut album of Minneapolis' Tapes 'n' Tapes. There is a definite sound going on here, but it's hard for me to pin down what I like. The album keeps my attention by shifting among several styles and approaches to plain good rock, but it's fluid enough to keep on while I work. This is one of the few recordings that gives me no idea what the guys in the band are like, whatever that means. I guess I can recommend it if you like early college rock. Cowbell.

#25: Wizardzz - Hidden City of Taurmond
Brian Gibson of Lightning Bolt joined Rich Porter to become Wizardzz. This album has less pounding scree than Lightning Bolt usually delivers, but it's not exactly smooth. Feel free to call it noise, but little can replicate the feeling I get from listening to this on repeat in the car on summer nights. Not for the faint of heart. Jelipper-Lilly Field.

Government agencies won't play nice together, turn to Google

Am I the only one deeply disturbed by this?

Announcing the Birth...

It's time to make a top albums list for 2006, and I'll be posting all week. This has been a tough year to pare down. One minute I'm sure about my list, and another minute I wish I had backed up older versions. I have settled on this one, though, as the one that most captures my moods and listening throughout the year. These may not be the best albums of 2006, but of the ones I listened to, they are the ones that struck my fancy most and longest. It is probably telling that many of these sound dark and swirly, like they emanate from the depths of earthy chasms.

Keep in mind that this has been an unconventional year for me: I was in Spain from the beginning of January until the end of April, and I had no access to new music during that time. When I got back there was a rush to catch up, but I just let things grab my attention and hold until they fell. Most years I listen to many new things that people recommend, but I admit that this time I have not been careful to listen to everything. I've included a list of albums I have not given proper attention.

I cannot be too verbose about these albums (for lack of time), so I apologize in advance if I don't give more than a rough sketch of how each sounds. While I try not to be too Said-the-Gramophone-y, much of what I've loved this year has to do with moods and images associated with the music. If it is all too abstract for you, just keep in mind that this is a mere top 25 list, and 25 reviews would take quite a long time to write. I'll post a group of five each day in reverse order. The albums in the groups will be descending, so the final list should be in the right order when all five days are posted. You should, of course, go buy everything I post.

I'll start the list of studio albums tomorrow. Today I'm going to tell you my favorite various artist compilation, soundtrack, live album, and EPs. And they are...

Various Artists

This little dude came out of the French Kitsune Maison label. If you want some really intense European dance, this is the perfect collection for this year. The compilation is void of dull moments. The MSTRKRFT remix of Wolfmother's Woman is very strong, and you should check out these songs: Christopher and Raphael Just - Popper (Shinichi Osawa distortion disco edit) and Simian Mobile Disco - Hustler.


Stworywodne - Black Muds, Bad Big Village
I'm sure someone would have guessed I would get into a Polish post-rock band this year. I found this EP online, and it's some of the best guitar-driven work I've heard this year. The songs range from expansive and thick to percussive and woodsy. Try Grasshoppers, for example. If you like these guys, check them out at, and try to get a hold of the EP. I just want to mention that their name means "water creatures."

Justice - Waters of Nazareth, Part 2
This probably counts as a single, but it's fantastic. From the Ed Banger label, French "spiritual house" duo Justice makes your speakers sound like they're breaking. Quite a beat. The title track can genuinely get your adrenaline going. I saw these guys at the SMARTBAR in Chicago, and my arms almost fell off from pumping along. The DJ Funk track is particularly sweet, and the best remix is probably the one from Erol Alkan. Try Justice - Waters of Nazareth. Buy it here.


My Morning Jacket - Okonokos
This live album from Louisville, KY's My Morning Jacket is entirely representative of the band's live show. Last year's Z is one of those special albums that can take your through a spectrum of emotions and still be catchy enough to pull you back an hour later. Okonokos has the same effect, only imagine it live. The hazy stage and fluorescent lights on the cover convey something of the feel of the music, but you could buy this one without listening if you like midwestern rock with a big guitar soul.

Original Soundtrack

Kronos Quartet and Mogwai - The Fountain
Just look at the artists who made this soundtrack. Mogwai is a top-notch post-rock band, masters of the dynamic shift. The Kronos Quartet is likely my favorite string quartet; you may remember their Hope Overture, one of the most emotional recordings in recent memory. This soundtrack was composed by Clint Mansell to accompany Darren Aronofsky's 1000-year quest film, a departure from Requiem for a Dream and Pi in some ways, but if the soundtrack is any indication, the film will not be short on existential angst--an Aronofsky specialty. Buy it here.

My Top 25 Studio Albums Will Not Be Fair To...

Ali Farka Toure, Swan Lake, Belle & Sebastian, Skream, Mew, Grizzly Bear, Beirut, Elf Power, Beck, Mastodon, Midlake, Liars, Xiu Xiu, Camera Obscura, Clipse, Pere Ubu, Kitsune Maison 3. I haven't given enough attention to those releases, so you won't see them. Maybe if I remake this list in hindsight next year, you will. I will probably not do that.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gmail+Google Reader=teh \m/

If you use Firefox (and who doesn't these days?), you should download this script to integrate Gmail with Google Reader. It's the only Gresemonkey script I currently have, and it works like a dream. Let me know if something funny happens.

New Google Earth AND Firefox?

Google Earth has released new features entitled the Geographic Web. Also, a super-alpha (read: don't actually use it unless you're a developer) version of Firefox 3.0 was released.

Friday, December 8, 2006

One of these is cool, the other is terrifying (plus moviestuff)

Guess which one:

Am I the only one who actually believes in free speech? Sometimes, I think I am. By the way, if there is ever an amendment to the Constitution banning flag-burning, I am burning a flag that day and every one thereafter. On an unrelated note, movies that look interesting to me:

This is the winter of Maya movies! If any of them are awful, don't get mad at me. And if you didn't see A Prairie Home Companion (out on DVD now, just in time for the holiday season!), do yourself a favor. In memory of Robert Altman, lest we forget.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Market share of web browsers

Sorry, this might be boring, but I love this stuff. The new numbers from (whatever that is) were released, and Firefox, Opera, and Safari are up; IE is down. Yay. Netscape is slowly crawling to its doom, as is Mozilla. As well they should. Two caveats:
  • In full disclosure, I use Firefox 2.0 and Opera 9.0

  • These numbers are not reliable.

What do I mean by the latter?
  1. First off, there is no way to know who is using what browser and how much. You can only make guesses based on server logs. Certain Web users will go to certain sites using certain browsers more frequently than others, and that skewers the numbers. For instance, Maxthon is used by millions of citizens in the People's Republic of China, but isn't on this list. Why? Because is in English, and Chinese generally don't understand that language, and will generally not visit a web site that is totally unintelligible. Generally.

  2. Furthermore, look at the poll of "What's the best browser?" on any of those pages. If you vote, you'll notice that 60-some percent say Firefox, while on 14% of Internet traffic is made up of said browser. Why? Because the sort of person who votes on which browser is best is the sort of person that has critical thought about his browser. That's a different kind of Internet user, and if attracts those kinds of users, they will get biased data.

All of this is to say "Spread Firefox (and Opera)," and don't be married to a web browser like some fanatic; competition is good, and will produce a better product. If one arises, make the switch.

Small, stupid update: I just looked at this pie chart again, and it infuriated me because it has a deceptive third dimension and the table doesn't use a consistent amount of significant digits (aargh!)

Complexity maps

Visual Complexity specializes in representations of complex systems of information. If that means nothing to you, they make pretty pictures (and you just might learn something, too...)

The stupidest and coolest thing ever

Simultaneously! Are you ready for moon base? Also, in the so stupid it's cool category, someone responded (fourth entry) to my comments in the newspaper (second entry.) It's like a new Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Monday, December 4, 2006

The New Music?

Joseph might like, but will almost certainly hate, this. (video: 56k, watch some stories on the picture box.) Immediate update: TEENAR!.

Review: (George Martin and) The Beatles - Love

There are those to whom the Beatles are sacrosanct, and inviolate. For them, nothing will ever be good post-Abbey Road (excluding Let It Be, of course, and possibly Anthologies and Let It Be... Naked.) I say: listen to it. That's the real judge. Listen to Hey Jude, and hear George Martin take a great song and make it better (different/new/fun/exciting again, etc.) Listen to Help! and hear George Martin leave a great song virtually untouched. Hear the whole thing, and you've got some new music, and more importantly, a new musical context in which to enjoy said music. Judge for yourself, of course, but I say kudos! It's a fine album. Furthermore, I'd like to think of this album as a gesture of good will on the part of Paul, Ringo, Olivia Harrison, and the other one to give George Martin his own little Beatles album - unfettered access to the rich musical legacy they had to do anything he wants, and a fitting coda for a dignified and simply enjoyable working career. Furthermore, Martin has more of a right to this music and to re-mixing it than do Olivia and the other one, as he actually did compose some of it (uncredited, of course), and was instrumental in shaping the sound of the Beatles as we know them. He's probably the ninth Beatle.

Sonnet hacking

Gears of War=e.e. cummings.

Who needs five whole senses?

Not this kid (video, 56k okay, though.) Also, if you speak Japanese, you probably won't be able to rap quite as well as English speakers - but it's not your fault.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Fish can float?

I'm not sure why this is so cool, but it just is. Chinese scientists have managed to levitate insects and small fish using only sound waves. Supposedly it will help in handling hazardous materials, but I just like seeing things that can already fly or float being levitated. Keep up the good work!

Friday, December 1, 2006

One last oppressed people

You know I love the Sahrawis, but I also love my Papuan brothers and sisters. Today was their independence day. It's not much, but it's something, right?

I'm published in real ink!

Try to guess which stupid one is mine. This should be fun.