Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Star Trek pizza cutter

Finally! Two of my favorite things, brought together!

Getting Dylan's autograph

Who knew it was that easy? Just walk around Las Vegas until you find Bob Dylan and ask him for his autograph. Simple!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Light painting with the iPad

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

"There are lots of contenders for the killer app that’ll take the iPad to the next level, and we think light extrusion is currently near the top of the heap. Dentsu London has paired accelerometer-based software with long exposure/stop-motion photographs to take 3D renderings into real space, with a result that reminds us of the Graffiti Research Lab."

The pen that never forgets

"To refresh her memory, Dervishaj pulled out her math notebook. But her class notes were not great: she had copied several sample problems but hadn’t written a clear explanation of how exponents work.

She didn’t need to. Dervishaj’s entire grade 7 math class has been outfitted with “smart pens” made by Livescribe, a start-up based in Oakland, Calif. The pens perform an interesting trick: when Dervishaj and her classmates write in their notebooks, the pen records audio of whatever is going on around it and links the audio to the handwritten words. If her written notes are inadequate, she can tap the pen on a sentence or word, and the pen plays what the teacher was saying at that precise point.

Dervishaj showed me how it works, flipping to her page of notes on exponents and tapping a set of numbers in the middle of the page. Out of a tiny speaker in the thick, cigar-shaped pen, I could hear her teacher, Brian Licata, explaining that precise problem. “It’s like having your own little personal teacher there, with you at all times,” Dervishaj said."

Click on the title to read the entire article and see a graphic

Saturday, September 18, 2010

10 Things You Should Know About J.R.R. Tolkien

"As a linguist and expert on Old English and Old Norse literature, Tolkien was a tenured professor at Oxford University from 1925 until 1959. He was also a tireless instructor, teaching between 70 and 136 lectures a year (his contract only called for 36). But the best part is the way he taught those classes. Although quiet and unassuming in public, Tolkien wasn’t the typical stodgy, reserved stereotype of an Oxford don in the classroom. He was known to begin classes by barging into the lecture hall, sometimes in era-appropriate chain mail armor, and bellowing the opening lines of Beowulf at the top of his lungs. As one of his students put it, “He could turn a lecture room into a mead hall.”"

mental_floss Blog » 10 Things You Should Know About J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, September 10, 2010

WWII memory

My father, Alan Haase, took part in the Battle of the Bulge in the Second World War. Like most veterans, it -- or the war in general -- wasn't something he talked about much.

One of the few photos of my dad -- on the right -- from World War II
(unfortunately, I don't know the identity of his buddy)

Occasionally he'd tell me an amusing story, like the time in basic training when he hid out from a training march, so that he could return to the barracks and catch some extra sleep. Unfortunately for him, another unit decided to use the barracks for tear-gas training that day.

Or the semi-amusing story of the 'brass' misplacing his unit for six months, where they lived in a muddy field in England -- prior to the D-Day invasion -- in two-man pup tents. They all got trench foot. I believe this story arose when he was trying to explain to me as a young boy that our 'camping' trip would take place in a motorhome, not a tent.

Or he'd tell me a bit of the romance he had with a girl in Belgium.

But it took my asking my godfather, years after my father died, to tell me a little about their mutual best friend Norman Witte (whom my godfather served with in the 10th Mountain Division and who died in the initial assault of Mt. Belvedere in the Italian Alps) -- and whose name I proudly bear.

Being in Patton's 3rd army, and in the medical corps, I can only imagine what my dad -- and millions more like him -- saw and endured. It's no wonder so few of them want to relive the horrors of that time.

My mind was reminded of all this tonight, as I came across this brief remembrance from the Battle of the Bulge from a veteran named Joseph Robertson.

Federer's Footwork: Artful and Efficient

An interesting visual look at Roger Federer's footwork -- with an accompanying article.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Da Shatner Funk

I had to repost this video of the Shatman. It shows him driving a race car at about 160 MPH, sometime in his 70's (he's 79 now).

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Steve Jobs and the importance of calligraphy

Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement address in 2005. He talks about the importance of calligraphy in his life, starting at about the 3:30 mark of the video.