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Posts tagged as “Pointers”

Real Estate Opportunities for the Far-Seeing Investor

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I don't know why this strikes me as so funny, but it does:

exoplanets
Exoplanets, also known as "extrasolar planets", are planets outside our solar system, orbiting distant stars. To keep track of this fast-changing field, the Planetary Society presents this list of exoplanets. Here you will find a complete and up-to-date registry of known exoplanets and what is known about them.

Perhaps it's because when I see "find out more", "explore our catalogue" and "go directly to listings" related to land masses I expect them to have a list of foreclosures or beachfront properties. Nevertheless, the search for extrasolar planets is hot, and is only going to get hotter:

fomalhaut b

Remember, "a new life awaits you in the Off-World colonies. The chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!"

-the Centaur

Initial image and text from the linked pages on the Planetary Society web site (not to be confused with the Planetary Organization). Fomalhaut B image courtesy of NASA and Wikipedia. Full disclosure: I have been a member of the Planetary Society since, like, forever.

Three Things You Should Be Reading If You’re Not

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Note I said "you should be reading", not "you should read". That's because "you should be reading" means something special to me: I'm talking comics. A great novel or story is like a meteor: it flares too briefly to watch its passing. Even when there are ongoing series worth reading, like Harry Potter or the Inheritance Cycle, each book is still a flare. The primary written medium in which you can watch a work of fiction blaze a trail of excellence as it goes by is comics.

SO. Here are three things you should be reading if you're not:

detective comics 857
Batwoman in Detective Comics. For essentially first time in 70 years, Detective Comics is being headlined by someone other than Batman - and by a female lesbian of Jewish descent to boot! But you should be reading the book for more than its stunt value. Greg Rucka's interesting choices are highlighted by JH Williams III's solid art and spectacular layouts: for example, when Batwoman's alter ego, Kate Kane, attends a dance in a tuxedo and is asked to dance by Maggie Sawyer, a lesbian on Gotham's Major Crimes Unit, Williams draws them dancing through a sea of musical notes, and in those notes inserts tiny mini-panels showing details of the scene that let us know they're dancing comfortably close, but not yet too close for comfort. Sometimes the panels are overwhelming and on the currently running "Elegy" arc there are a few threads left loose, but the quality of the work is so high I find myself carried along.

star trek: crew #1
John Byrne's Star Trek: Crew and its sequels. Featuring Number One, Captain Pike's first officer from Star Trek's original pilot the Cage, Star Trek: Crew is what a reboot of Star Trek could have and should have been (and I'm saying that even after I warmed up to The Future Begins). Using only the original series designs, Byrne nonetheless manages to make them exciting by taking them completely seriously. The writing is great, the art is solid and the fan service is enough to stoke a fanboy's wet dreams. John Byrne has a whole set of forums on his work in Star Trek and I encourage you to check it out.

usagi yojimbo #123
Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai ... it speaks for itself.

So go check them out.
-the Centaur

A Still More Glorious Dawn Awaits

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carl sagan glorious dawn
My buddy Gordon tipped me to the song Glorious Dawn by Colorpulse featuring Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc]

After so many years since his amazing television show Cosmos, it strikes me how much I like the way he thinks - how he imagines vistas of space and time:

An still more glorious dawn awaits: not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise - a morning filled with four hundred billion suns: the rising of the Milky Way.

How he synthesizes facts about the world:

But the brain does more than just recollect: it intercompares, it synthesizes, it analyzes, it generates abstractions ... the brain has its own language for testing the structure and consistency of the world.

How he combines prediction and caution:

The sky calls to us; if we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.

And most of all, how beautifully he writes:

The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. Recently, we've waded a little way out ... and the water seems inviting.

When I grow up, I want to be like Carl. So check the video out on Youtube, go to Colorpulse's site for more videos, or to Amazon for a copy of Cosmos.

-The Centaur

Links for 2009-04-27

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Instructions on creating your own Star Wars crawl on TheForce.Net:

Reviews of some spy gear, including a bulletproof dress shirt:

Some people think you shouldn't use Papyrus, the font I liberally use in "The Library of Dresan" logo and all over the rest of this site. I present the evidence; you decide:

And finally, I bring you a few pointers to the Artist General, Michael Masley, who I saw again recently playing his cymbalom to the crowds at the 2009 Game Developer's Conference:

Image: Michael Masley playing the cymbalom at GDC 2009 using his amazing bowhammers, which create a distinctive soundscape that sounds like Masley is several performers.

-the Centaur

People who can think

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I was going to start this article by tossing up a shout out to taidoblog, andy fossett's in-depth analysis of taido, but it then occurred to me that taidoblog is only the most recent of a whole category of blogs and articles that I've only recently started to notice, and even more recently started to truly admire: people who can actually think.

The object of inquiry of andy fossett's taidoblog is taido, his (and my) chosen martial art. This alone would capture my interest, but what's always struck me is not just andy's subject, but his method. He puts deep thought into his chosen interest: he maps out the landscape of practice, critically evaluates existing opinions, formulates radical new ideas, and puts them all to the test. He's not afraid to boldly throw out bad traditions OR to slavishly follow traditions that work, at least until he has learned all he can and/or developed something better.

Big Jimmy Style is the platform of Jim Davies, a similar investigator whose chosen interest is research and science. He and I don't see eye to eye in areas like healthy eating, environmentalism and voting, but I don't personally know anyone who puts deeper thought into artificial intelligence and cognitive science research - what it is, why it's important, how it should be done, and what it's goals are. Jim regularly holds my feet to the fire in our private correspondence, and in his blog he continues the tradition of calling bullshit when he sees it and constructing frameworks that help him tackle hard problems.

The strength of Gordon Shippey's Vast and Infinite comes from his clear personal philosophy, strong scientific training and strength of character. While at this instant his blog is suffering from Movable Type's "I'm busy this month" whitescreen, Vast and Infinite is the sounding board for G'hrdun's ongoing exploration of what works in the work place, a topic of deep personal interest that he explores from a clear objectivist ethical perspective informed by his psychological knowledge, scientific training and personal experience. If you watch long enough you'll also see scientific/libertarian analysis of modern political and scientific developments.

Scott Cole's The Visual Writer has always been overwhelming to me: there are more ideas bouncing around on his site than I've ever been able to mine. For a long time I read his articles on the theory of writing stories but his philosophical articles are just as interesting. While there are some areas he and I might disagree on particular points, on the majority of writing topics he's explored more issues that I was even aware existed.

And then of course, there's Richard Feynman's blog The Smartest Man In the World. Actually, it's not, and he disliked that title, but we can only wish Feynman hadn't died before blogs came to being. In lieu of that, I can recommend The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, which, despite some people's complaints that it rehashes his other books, does a good job of putting in one place Feynman's essential thoughts about the scientific method, the importance of integrity, the difficulty of not fooling yourself.

The point of me mentioning all these people is that they're good examples of people who are thinking. They aren't just interested in things; they're actually cataloguing what they see, organizing it, judging it, evaluating it; deciding what they want to do with it and formulating opinions on it. In andy's writings in particular he goes further: he's not willing to settle just for opinions, but must go test it out to find out whether he's are full of shit or not. And at the highest level, Feynman integrates challenging his own ideas and reporting the results of his challenges into the very core of the his being - because he who sees the deepest is the man who stops to clean his lens.

That's what I want to be when I grow up.

So go check 'em out.
Because everything is interesting if you dig deeply enough.
-the Centaur

Little Soho Midtown Street Fair

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Continuing the translation of "articles" to modern blog entries... Article 33 from March 14, 2004.


A quick note --- the community of merchants at Georgia Tech's new Technology Square at 5th and Spring Street are sponsoring a street festival. Sandi and I just returned from two days showing her art. Even though Georgia Tech is on spring break and the advertising for the fair was pulled at the last moment, we got a lot of foot traffic and Sandi sold one of her newest paintings.

The organizers of the street fair are determined to make it a success --- they want to turn 5th Street into a popular Midtown walking location on the weekends and plan to hold a street fair like this every weekend. They are actively seeking artists, musicians, vendors, and passersby to help turn this festival into a really big thing. Email rgarrison135 at aol dot com if you want to set up a table.

It runs from noonish to fiveish on Saturdays and Sundays. So check it out!