Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: November, 2003

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Scrooge:: Money
  2. Ribbon:: Red
  3. Physical:: Exam
  4. Income:: Bracket
  5. Dream:: Nightmare
  6. Notebook:: Drawings
  7. Disney:: Evil
  8. Combo:: Machine
  9. Booty:: Pirate
  10. Skin:: Donkey

Another Link Dump – Part III

(There are plenty of interesting links out there, but after a while, you don’t visit them as frequently. And then you simply stop because you’ve changed and lost interest and have moved on to something else.)

Digitally Imported. Contains several very good electronica radio streams.

Do-It-Yourself Numerology. Some hokey waste-your-time stuff originally stashed from Metafilter.

Exactitudes. Everyone dresses alike, consciously or unconsciously.

Polaroid Photography. A project about photos within photos.

Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice Video. This is one of the funniest music videos just because Christopher Walken is flying around in this one.

Hereinmyhead. A Tori Amos fan site.

Complete Diagram of Strange Persons. Someone must of had a lot of time on his hands trying to figure out the relationships between of all this weirdness.

Dante’s Inferno Test. I think everyone has taken it some time or another. I don’t remember what I got except it said something about being a non-believer or something.

Discover Your Inner Dragon. Another crazy quiz. I seem to remember getting this one from Chad. My result was blue.

Past Life Analysis. This one said I was born in South Africa in the tenth century.

Another Link Dump – Part II

(Man, there are a lot of dead blogs in my bookmarks. Either people got tired with blogging–or as the majority of them decided to do–reproduce instead of write. Although one wonders how they can’t manage to get at least ten minutes of blogging time per week just to say that they’re alive despite the rowdy kids.)

Why I Hate Personal Weblogs. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Why Web Journals Suck. I guess the “too much of a good thing” is getting to some people.

Crazy Uncle Joe. I used to read it back in the day it was called “Metacubed”. A blog specializing in graphics and wallpapers and templates and such.

FontBitch, Defined. “A person who places his or her own font preferences before those of his or her own readers.”

The New York City Anti-Hipster Forum. “A blog dedicated to all the absurd and annoying things New York City hipsters do, say, wear, and probably, think.”

Another Link Dump – Part I

(i.e. lots of links that are old or maybe repeated but I still want to keep them somewhere even if I don’t want them on my vast mess of bookmarks)

Google nejwl’ Qatlh. Search Google in Klingon. I have no idea why it’s on my list of search engines because I don’t know any Klingon and don’t plan to learn it in any lifetime.

An Experiment on Blogs. I think I mentioned this guy who was doing a thesis on diary-style blogs before.

Blogger Weblogs: Tweaks for Non-Geeks. I think I mentioned this one before. I don’t see myself using any of these tips any time soon, but maybe you will.

Citizen Bloggers in New Hampshire? People are always talking about giving everyone in New Hampshire blogs so the state will be well covered, politically speaking. So far, nobody has done anything except blab about how such a great idea it is.

I Married an A-Lister! Some great photoshopped pulp covers. Very funny. Awards. I have no idea why this is on my list of links either. I don’t read other people’s online diaries and I generally oppose anything of this sort because it always degenerates into a popularity contest.

Name That Blog! Some sort of silly meme-ish game. Rather pointless if you’ve never read any of the blogs participating.

A Blogger’s Disclaimer. I also find disclaimers pointless. People you don’t want reading your stuff will definitely be reading it if you put it online.

Weblog Madness. A whole list of weblog resources. Last updated in 2002 (that’s why I’m trashing it from my bookmarks).


Astronomiae instauratae mechanica. The Smithsonian has put up Tycho Brahe‘s showcase of astronomical instruments.

1,000 Times Too Many Humans? We already know there are too many people living on this planet. But how are we to change something that has been hardwired–such as reproduction?

Mr. Picassohead. Be your own cubist.

Map of Blogosphere. Or to be more accurate, a map of the political blogosphere. But who are we kidding? The only type of blog people know about are political blogs. If I were to be placed on a map, I’d be a small puffin colony in the Falkland Islands. And you know how often people pay attention to puffins.

Science and Individuality

Back in the old days (and by old, I mean the 1600s and 1700s) science was done mostly by the nobility. Exactly how many Sirs and Lords do you hear during a course of science history? A lot. Perhaps the large outgrowth in science during that time was a result of a bunch of rich men with nothing else to do. Or maybe they were the only ones with the resources to pursue their hobby. But one thing’s certain–the peasants didn’t dabble in astronomy and physics and biology. They were too busy trying to make a living.

These days, scientific knowledge has certainly filtered down to the masses. Most people know that the earth resembles a sphere rather than a pancake. People know that we all come from gametes from each parent and not from some will of a divine being or spontaneous generation or even tiny homunculuses curled up at the head of a sperm. But are most of us enlightened and curious? I would argue that for the average person, no. Today, science is a matter of fact and “common sense”. It’s something to be taken for granted. It is no longer a hobby for people with too much free time on their hands. Science has become a job.

People no longer ooh and aah when scientists tease apart some unknown mechanism of nature. People expect the pharmaceutical industry to churn out the miracle drug to cure all ills. People no longer thank the doctor when he cures a patient; they file lawsuits when the patient can’t be cured. The general public thinks that simply throwing money at cancer or AIDS research and making smart people work on the problem will cure the diseases as a matter of course. Everything is expected just as a new car is churned out of a factory or the garbage man arriving every Thursday to pick up the trash.

Two paths are beginning to emerge–but will one subsume the other? One path probably started all the way back to the discovery of the structure of DNA and the amino acid code for proteins. Back to the mid to late twentieth century, a graduate student could base his entire thesis on just sequencing a gene. Now, entire genomes can be sequenced in a day, and genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics have become hot subjects. The second path is that of the individual and the idea–only these once central tenants of science are slowly weakening under the industrialization of nature. Collaboration is of course and more grants are coming out encouraging people to work together to think about the same problem at the same time and at the same place.

Collaboration is far from bad, but one has to take care not to be swept away by the enticing potentials of bioinformatics and information retrieval which can eventually be mechanized and become as routine as turning on the computer to check e-mail. Can the brains of scientists be bottled in a tonic? Will the scientist become as common place and as boring as an accountant? What can’t be mechanized is thought and ideas and originality.

Science is the bridge between creativity and the purely automatic. If we cut out the ideas in favor for the information–we will no longer wonder how anything works. We will only look at arrays, punch buttons, enter variables in some program. One side needs the other and vice versa. And it will be a sad thing if the every day person comes to think of doing science as easy as swiping a card in a machine.

More Phone Laments

Not only do I have to contend with the phone ringing all the time and having the call not being for me but also having people wanting to call during the rare times that I am on the phone.

My Thanksgiving was remarkably composed considering I got dragged to a frat house for dinner. I knew few people there, but I did make an apple pie from scratch for them so I didn’t feel bad about consuming their food. At least now I can say I’ve been inside a frat house and I’m surprised how clean they kept it. Even when I used to go to geek central (not Greek central, mind you!), people were a lot crazier.

Thursday Threesome: Happy Thanksgiving 2003!

Onesome. Happy. When you think about being happy, what comes to mind? Is there something that always gives you a smile no matter how down you may be?

I talked about happiness in a previous post:

So what do I think is happiness?

It’s the smell of damp earth after a rainstorm. It’s a rambunctious pop song. It’s an early Van Gogh (before he cut off his ear). Happiness is sitting in the sunlight and writing about nothing. It’s the faint stirring of an orchestral tune. It’s a fat cat. Happiness is a dark-colored dream phantom who whispers posessive things in my ear. It’s a finished book. It’s genuine laughter. Happiness is a foriegn language that can be easily learned.

I’m happy when someone actually listens to me.

A previous Thursday Threesome also inquired about happiness. Here’s the question and response:

John F. Kennedy defined happiness as “The full use of your powers along lines of excellence.” What is your definition of happiness? Have you attained it?

I don’t think anyone can obtain absolute happiness. Relative happiness and contentedness, perhaps. I guess the key is to do what you want to do. Don’t let anyone force you to do or be anything that is their idea of the perfect decision.

Twosome. Thanksgiving. In the US, it’s Thanksgiving. But we can all be thankful. Tell us, what are YOU thankful for?

I’m thankful for everything. (I think that should cover it.)

Threesome. 2003. It’s getting close to the end of another year. As you begin to reflect back, pick out a couple of good things that have happened this year. Yeah, we all have the bad, but today, just focus on the good!

I think the best way to do this is to post links to previous blog entries:

Golden Ticket Fever
Random Adventure

Links for the Holidays:

Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Do not read this if you’re going to be having that big turkey dinner any time soon. It might make you lose your appetite. (On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight, it might be a good idea…)

De Humani Corporis Fabrica. Andreas Vesalius’ anatomical atlas is currently being translated into English. Some of it is already up as well as scans of the woodcuts.

Epact: Scientific Instruments of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. This site totally makes me drool. So far it’s the only place I’ve seen that has the largest collection of astrolabes.

Vegetal and mineral memory: The future of books. One of my favorite authors, Umberto Eco, makes the case that books aren’t going to disappear any time soon despite the onslaught of the digital era.