- I can confirm that if you Mac users install XiphQT (which I see has just been updated, even!) to let QuickTime know how to handle Ogg files, the latest Safari release can handle the same audio and video formats that the latest Opera and Firefox 3.5 browsers use, in addition to the proprietary codecs Apple includes. It worked on the MacBook I use at work, anyway.
- I managed to do some more exploring of the lake last weekend, including trying out the floating BBQ place I found the previous weekend. Short review here
- Cats are pests
Category: Trivial Blather
Random self-serving posts, usually short posts of a low-content nature.
JelloLlamaJalama Beach Teaser Post
Okay, I finally worked out what was screwing up my geolocation (the new dates for Daylight Losings Time) and had a chance to sit down for a while today to work on cleaning up my photos for upload. I really need to get a new digital camera that handles low-light conditions much better. I did manage to get a photo of the Majestic Natural Glory of the Los Angeles river from the train, though, despite the tinted windows. Take a look:
Ain’t it pretty? They say the waters of the Los Angeles river are so pristine that they taste like (Miller|Coors|Bud|Insert-Your-Least-Favorite-Beer-Here) Lite®!
Here’s a question for everyone who reads this: I’m planning to turn the Jalama Beach photos and track into an interactive map post (Hopefully tomorrow [Sunday, April 5th]). Anybody want audio narration to go with it? Also, is anyone but me playing with the Mozilla Firefox 3.1(/3.5) beta, or the latest experimental Opera or Safari browsers, i.e. browsers that support the HTML5 <audio> tag?
And, since I titled this post “Jalama Beach teaser”, and while I’m talking about Pristine Natural Beauty, here’s a sample:
This Week = No Fun, but here’s an update anyway…
Busy week with unpleasant surprises, but I ain’t dead yet. You’re probably wondering what a hot dog that’s apparently eagerly anticipating eating itself has to do with that. The answer is: nothing, but it does relate to something I have been intending to post about for a long time, but haven’t since I didn’t have access to the paper…
So, in lieu of blasting out Twitter®-style updates on my Laconica feed that nobody reads anyway (a few people no doubt see the echo of them on Twitter® itself, but I don’t know if anyone cares…), here are a couple of what-I’m-doing-now updates before I go to bed:
- I just shot off an email to the webmaster (the only contact I could find who might have the relevant information) of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, trying to get access to a classic paper published in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling for the upcoming “On the Shoulders of Giants” carnival.
- “Small Things Considered” asks “What Microbiological Discovery in 2008 Did You Find Especially Interesting?” Which brings us to the “self-eating” thing.
- I’m also a computer nerd
- And of course, I still need to do some Xanthomonas snot Xanthan Gum experiments.
There’s no way I can afford the ~$300US that it would cost to join the group, nor even at the moment to pay the typical $30 or so that greedy paywall-imprisoned publishers charge for individual articles. However, they appear to be opening up their archives to the public, for which I think they deserve substantial praise. Still, they haven’t worked their way back to the first few decades of the 20th century yet, so I had to email and ask if there was a way to get the article in question. If not, I’ll see if there’s any way to get it through inter-library loan in time.
The paper on caffeine’s induction of macroautophagy (“self-eating”) in yeast (and what happens when benzoic acid is also present) finally escaped from the paywall prison in January, and I now have a copy. I at least thought it was full of interesting implications (along with some useful knowledge), so I’ll hopefully be posting about it soon.
Particularly when it comes to things like Linux. I’ve been thinking of trying to do some recordings on a couple of practical subjects that interest me for “Hacker Public Radio”
an attention-whorewilling to listen to my readers’ interests, so if anyone has suggestions or comments feel free to post them…
Obscure scientific papers, Mad Science, Travel, and other randomness
First – an amazingly astute observation that I’m ashamed to have not previously noticed myself (click image to go to it’s original site and see it full-size…):
I’m proud to say that I think testing Mad Hypotheses is great, and will continue to try to be a Mad Scientist. And a “Dirty Old Man” someday, but that’s a whole separate issue.
Second – I am really loving the perks of my new job – namely access to the college library system. I had previously mentioned (see last couple of paragraphs) a certain article that I wanted to get my hands on:
Greenberg LA:”The Definition of an Intoxicating Beverage”;Q J Stud Alcohol. 1955 Jun;16(2):316-25
Not only does the medical library have copies of a Czechoslovakian microbiology journal, the main library had a set of this old journal, too. I have my bedtime reading for tonight…
Thirdly – Another Giant’s Shoulders carnival has come and gone. I now believe that Eduard Buchner had hit upon not only a useful truth of living systems, but also a nifty alternative “mad scientist” hairstyle. Now I need to come up with one for next month. It’s been getting me thinking, though. That blog carnival is intended for “Classic” papers. Implied is that the papers are somehow important to the development of some scientific field or other. I’d like to see a variation on the “old papers” theme focussing on random old papers (where “old” might mean a few years or decades, depending on the subject) that people have found useful or interesting. Stuff that isn’t necessarily ground-breaking and has perhaps been forgotten or lost to obscurity but still has useful things to teach us. Naturally, I’m thinking especially Microbiology (and especially Microbiology other than Medicine) and Food Science. The Carnival could be called something like “Second Chance Science” or something of the sort. Just a thought.
Fourth – speaking of “Microbiology Other Than Medicine” and Food Science, apparently The National Academies of Science want to know what scientific topics people most want to read about. As usual, “microbiology” appears to have been relegated in their breakdown to merely a subset of either medicine/diseases, “biology”, and perhaps a small subset of “energy” and “Feeding the World” (no, seriously). The survey includes space to tell them what they’re missing – I heartily encourage anyone who cares to make sure you take the survey, and mention industrial and environmental microbiology and food science as subjects they shouldn’t continue to neglect.
And, finally – next week I need to make a very-long-overdue run back up to Idaho to grab some things from the old house and make sure it’s still standing, the water’s really turned off, nothing unnecessary is running, etc. 1600 miles of driving each way. Ugh. Anybody got any good recommendations for things to listen to on the trip? Other than having a chance to finally grab some things that I am missing, maybe I’ll at least have a chance to visit New Belgium Brewing Company again, since my route goes right past it. So long as I’m not driving by on Christmas day (when I assume they’ll be closed) I may have a chance.
Stir-Fried Random Ep 03: All I Want for Christmas Is…
Thanksgiving = Shopping, evidently. Anyway, since this is about the time of year when the vast population of my devoted fans around the world begin demanding to shower me with gifts and asking what kinds of gifts they should give me…this episode of Stir-Fried Random has some suggestions. Enough suggestions, in fact, that I didn’t even have room to include a Nerd Word, Emprical Observation of the Week, or Microbiology Microlecture. Therefore, while this episode will probably be slightly less interesting to the microbiology and computer-nerd focussed listeners, it should be of special interest to members of my immediate family, secret admirers, cultists who worship me as a living embodiment of divine spiffitude, and agents of the NSA, FBI, CIA, USDA, and Federal Department of Blog Enforcement who are busily profiling me. There is some other stuff though – please give it a listen, pass copies along to your friends, play it over the Public Announcement system at school, turn it into a techno-dance remix video on YouTube®, whatever.
As usual, direct download links for mp3 and ogg versions, plus <audio> tag support for those with really new browsers to listen in place, and embedded Flash-based mp3 player for everyone else who wants to listen in the browser instead of downloading and singing along during your commute or whatever.
(UPDATE 20081126: I’ve REMOVED the embedded player for now – it seems it ignores me when I tell it to wait until it’s told to before it starts playing. Autoplay annoys the heck out of me, and this seems to insist on it. The embedded player will remain gone until I get it to behave properly. Meanwhile, you can double-click or “right-click -> save as:” on the ogg or mp3 download link to get the audio files to listen to. Apologies to anyone ambushed by the unwanted auto-playing of the sound…)
Continue reading Stir-Fried Random Ep 03: All I Want for Christmas Is…
Stir-Fried Random Ep 02:Sex, Violence, and Cinnamon Bears, y’all!
Only about five more days until the next “Giant’s Shoulders” blog carnival. I still need to pick a paper. ARGH!
(UPDATE 20081126: I’ve removed the embedded flash player – it seems to ignore me when I explicitly tell it NOT to automatically start playing rather than waiting until you intentionally hit “play”. Sorry for anyone annoyed by the autoplay. The embedded player will not return until I solve this.)
Meanwhile, here’s this week’s episode of “Stir-Fried Random”, weighing in at a MASSIVE 12 WHOLE MINUTES or so. As before, there’s an “<audio>” tag pointing directly at the Ogg Vorbis audio for those of you running a beta of the Firefox 3.1 series, a recent version of Opera, or (I believe) the current Safari on a system with the Ogg Vorbis Quicktime component installed. There is also the usual embedded Flash®-based mp3 player and direct download links for both versions.
Somebody please let me know if I’m making a fool of myself here… Anyway, here are the show notes:
Continue reading Stir-Fried Random Ep 02:Sex, Violence, and Cinnamon Bears, y’all!
It’s (Still) Comin’ Right For Us!
There’s some indication that Ike may be starting to curve more quickly towards the East, which would be a good thing. If Ike passes to our East, we should be in the lowest wind/fewest tornadoes part of the storm.
By the way, am I the only one wondering why the news reports feel compelled to make their weather reported stand there on location in the middle of the hurricane? “I’m standing here in the middle of the street a few miles from Galveston, and as you can see on your screen, hurricanes are windy. Also, wet. Back to you, Fred…”
I’m wondering what happens if the storm floods the sewers and they have to report on that. “I’m standing here hip deep in filth…”
Other than a couple of flickers, power is currently still on and internet it still live. Hopefully it’ll keep up. If we’re lucky and Ike ends up crawling past far enough to the east, we might, maybe, escape without serious power outages…
I’ll probably post again “tomorrow” (well, after sunrise today anyway…) if internet and power are still up when I get up.
(Tap Tap Tap) Is this thing on?…
Move is underway. Here’s a quick update / test.
On the way home (to Texas, that is, with a load of furniture from House v1.0 in Idaho) we adopted a co-dog. Now Cornelia isn’t the only official dog in the house.
Yeah, I know, pretty frivolous stuff. What do you want – this is mainly a test post. You guys ARE seeing this post, right? (Please comment and let me know). I’ve finally found and jumped through the hoops necessary to migrate the bigroom.org website over to the new host. It’s also running on the old server in House v1.0 on the DSL line as well, but this post isn’t getting put on it. If I’ve done everything correctly, hosting for bigroom.org should now be handled by Eskimo North. Just a few other minor tweaks and I’ll be set to return to House v1.0 and shut down the old server so I can move it down here to Texas.
I’ve gone from about 4400ft elevation down to about 250ft, but the plastic bottles of Mountain Dew® Wine seem to have positive pressure, so it would appear there is still some live yeast left in there and the priming sugar is slowly doing its job. I’m pretty sure the benzoic acid is what’s slowing down the activity so drastically, but it hasn’t killed it off yet.
I’ve also got a couple of entries in mind already for the next The Giants’ Shoulders blog carnival, and hopefully some more crazed brewing project news to offer sometime. And, of course, the promised post on why benzoic acid works. Stay tuned.
Too tired to do a real post at the moment. I’ve seen other bloggers do this “Open Thread” thing, inviting readers to post comments about whatever the heck they want so as to make the blog look more active without actually having to post anything. So what the heck. Real post in the next 24 hours hopefully, but in the meantime, what’s on everyone’s minds?
Oh, yeah, and am I right that typical cola drinks are about 3 mM phosphate (as phosphoric acid)?
New toy: “Twitter”
Wow – Celestron takes 8 business days to get me a terse one-sentence answer. BigC responds in one. Impressive. Apparently their technical people are all at trade-shows at the moment so my bigger question will have to wait until they get back, but they were at least able to answer my question about their “tabletop” digital microscopes magnification (answer: the “600x” really is optical magnification, not digital.)
Another digital microscopy WANT/DO NOT WANT post to follow when I get the followup reply. Meanwhile, after hearing about it on the This Week in Tech podcast for a while, I finally talked myself into signing up to play with the coincidentally named Twitter system.
It sounds like a really stupid idea – “Oh, goodie, now I can broadcast ‘text messages’ no more than 140 characters long about trivial events in my life to the whole world! Whoopee!” “Wow! I can find out when random strangers are drinking coffee AS IT HAPPENS!” Thrills! Excitement! Adventure!…
On the other hand, having the messaging system watch for particular words might be a handy way of monitoring current events. Plus, there seems to be a lot of potential for fun, off-the-wall uses, even if many of them are kind of silly.
It DOES seem like kind of an ideal context to play with that “geostrings” concept I’ve been toying with. A terse, easily-machine-parsed format for geotag data that can fit into a “twitter” post and still leave room for a sentence or two to go with the geographic information seems like it might be useful. If you’re so incredibly bored that you want to see some examples, you can check out my own Twitter posts, several of which I’ve embedded geostrings into.