Interesting Links (08-01-23)

I think it’s supposed to be some sort of blogging shortcut but I kind of like when a blog I read posts interesting links they’ve found recently. So I thought I would start doing a few posts like that of my own. I’ll gather up links I think are especially interesting and once I get five or so dump them in to a post. Feel free to read or delete as you please.

MESSENGER Images of Mercury
The Messenger space probe passed by Mercury recently. I hadn’t realized that most of Mercury has never been seen. It’s pretty cool that we get to see images of a new world almost as quickly as the scientists working on it.
That Stupid Bigfoot on Mars
This one has been going around the internet. If you missed it, there’s a rock on Mars near one of the rovers that looks like Bigfoot. The “Bigfoot” thing is pretty silly (although Sasquatch was the first thing I thought when I saw the picture) but that post shows the really cool and huge panorama it came from.
Donald Knuth and LaTeX
I like LaTeX so I found this bit of history about Donald Knuth coming up with the software pretty interesting.
Bioluminescence and Squid Video
I just found out about all these TED talks being online. Pretty handy when you don’t have a TV. This one is about five minutes long and has a bunch of videos of squid, octopuses and things that glow in the depths.
Pulgasari: The North Korean Godzilla
This is another one resulting from not having a TV. Definitely a less than B grade monster movie but it does provide a good comparison to Cloverfield. The story of Kim Jong-Il kidnapping the director and his wife and forcing them to make the thing sounds like a better story than the movie itself (not that it’d take much). For the impatient, there’s decent monster bits around 27:30, 47:30 and 1:03:00.
Soldering Tiny Components
This is a great video tutorial on how to solder tiny electronic components. Really nicely filmed and very closeup. You can really see what’s going on and the guy sure makes it look easy.
NerdKits
A nice idea by a couple college students to sell kits for learning how to use microcontrollers. They “guarantee that you’ll get your first program written and running”. Unfortunately they don’t have a USB version yet. Sort of a homegrown alternative to EasyPic4.

That’s it for now. That was pretty quick and fun to put together so I’ll probably do some more of these in the future. I hope something on there is interesting for other people too.

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Cloverfield

I browsing around the internets this morning and came across a few mentions of the movie Cloverfield. I vaguely remembered seeing the preview and thinking it looked interesting. But when I saw the Bad Astronomer (who seems to have a pretty good taste in movies) say it was (and I quote) AWESOME, that was enough for me. So I woke up Xiaofen and we headed off to the theater ($5 off if you go to the 10:15AM show).

After seeing it I have to agree, I really enjoyed it and I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. I definitely recommend Cloverfield (in the theater if possible). Just one caveat, it’s possible the camera work might disturb anyone with motion sickness although Xiaofen didn’t have any trouble and she gets car sick all the time. I had only seen the (cryptic) trailer and didn’t have any expectations going in and I think that helped so I’m going to leave it at that and follow Wil Wheaton’s example and leave my slightly more detailed analysis in the comments.

Oh if you’re like me and worry that the director is going to stick a little extra on after the credits, there is a little something but it’s not really worth waiting for (only a couple seconds of audio and I’ll link to it below).

Possible spoilers in the comments

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WP_MonsterID and Statistics

An example of a MonsterID

After making the WP_MonsterID WordPress plugin to create a random monster avatar from an assortment of parts for each commenter (based on other people’s code), fruityoaty asked This looks nifty, but how many monster images are available for assigning?

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WP_MonsterID

An example of MonsterID

I was skimming Simon Willison’s blog (I know his uncle) when I came across this cool idea for automatic avatar generation. Well to tell the truth, I took one look at the title “Visual Security: 9-block IP Identification” and deleted the link from my RSS reader but the next day a link based on that idea came up for generating a unique monster avatar for each user that did catch my interest. After all if it’s got monsters, it has got to be interesting.

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