Monday, 26 January 2009

Puppet show



Puppet Show from Chris Turner on Vimeo.

Davis threw an impromptu puppet show from Samuel, and as you can see from the latter’s reaction, the show got rave reviews.

posted at 9:58 AM in fun , parenting , that's life , video
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Sunday, 25 January 2009

Why did it take me so long to come across this?


Brilliant.

[Via Funs Size Bytes.]

posted at 10:00 PM in Star Wars , fun , video
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Saturday, 24 January 2009

Today’s phischbits

Digital Natives » Fine-Tuning Facebook: A Field Trip through Privacy Controls

Digital Natives » Fine-Tuning Facebook: A Field Trip through Privacy Controls

This may be old news for some, but if you haven’t tip-toed through your Facebook account’s privacy settings lately, this is a good guide.

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Recovery of US Airways 1549 from Hudson River (PICS) | ReasonPad

Recovery of US Airways 1549 from Hudson River (PICS) | ReasonPad

How do out get an airliner out of a river? Easy. (1) You need a big barge. (2) You need a big crane. (3) You need someone to document the recovery.

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Friday, 23 January 2009

Today’s phischbits

The Inauguration of President Barack Obama - The Big Picture - Boston.com

The Inauguration of President Barack Obama - The Big Picture - Boston.com

Excellent photos from Inauguration Day 2009. I found the last one, of the folder on the Resolute Desk, particularly poignant. For some inexplicable reason, it’s my favorite of the bunch.

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Monday, 19 January 2009

Today’s phischbits

NASA - NASA Kids’ Club

NASA - NASA Kids' Club

Fun games and other activities for kids from our nation’s space agency.

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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Questions for Obama’s science guy

Jeff Jacoby:

IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy — the position known informally as White House science adviser — President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one “with a resume longer than your arm,” as Newsweek’s Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books.

He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years — and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.

The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren’s nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight:

posted at 8:09 PM in politics , quote
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Friday, 16 January 2009

2009 Index of Economic Freedom

From The Patriot Post, Friday Digest, Vol. 09 No. 02:

In alarming conjunction with recent headlines reporting that the global influence of the United States has slipped dramatically due to the dereliction of government regulators largely responsible for triggering the current recession, the 15th annual Index of Economic Freedom published jointly by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation reveals the U.S. saw a corresponding slip in its rankings to sixth place. Hong Kong is tops again, followed by Singapore, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand to round out the top five.

Evaluating numerous criteria relating to economic freedom, the study again shows an affirmative correlation between economic freedom and national income. Freer countries enjoy per capita incomes more than 10 times higher than those in “repressed” countries occupying the bottom of the rankings. In a chilling highlight, it was repressed nations that turned to deficit spending, government seizure of land and resources, and government support of favored enterprises, eventually devastating their economies even further with government mismanagement. Not to suggest that our government’s current bailout debacle bears a striking resemblance to government mismanagement that landed many of the repressed countries at the bottom of the rankings, but as Founding Father John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.”

It’s pretty bad when politically repressive places such as Hong Kong and Singapore are ranking higher on the list than the oldest surviving constitutional republic in the world.

posted at 4:31 PM in finances , liberty , politics
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Thursday, 15 January 2009

“The current economic strategy is right out of Atlas Shrugged.”

Stephen Moore, ‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years:

For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs…and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

In the book, these relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs are disparaged as “the looters and their laws.” Every new act of government futility and stupidity carries with it a benevolent-sounding title. These include the “Anti-Greed Act” to redistribute income (sounds like Charlie Rangel’s promises soak-the-rich tax bill) and the “Equalization of Opportunity Act” to prevent people from starting more than one business (to give other people a chance). My personal favorite, the “Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act,” aims to restrict cut-throat competition between firms and thus slow the wave of business bankruptcies. Why didn’t Hank Paulson think of that?

These acts and edicts sound farcical, yes, but no more so than the actual events in Washington, circa 2008. We already have been served up the $700 billion “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” and the “Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act.” Now that Barack Obama is in town, he will soon sign into law with great urgency the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” This latest Hail Mary pass will increase the federal budget (which has already expanded by $1.5 trillion in eight years under George Bush) by an additional $1 trillion — in roughly his first 100 days in office.

The current economic strategy is right out of “Atlas Shrugged”: The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That’s the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies — while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to “calm the markets,” another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as “Atlas” grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate “windfalls.”

This. Must. STOP.

[Registration may be necessary to read complete article on WSJ.com.]

[Wave of the phin to Stephen for the link, via IM.]

posted at 11:41 PM in fiction , finances , liberty , politics
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This is for Brent

I laughed so hard at some parts I was crying.


Star Wars: Retold (by someone who hasn’t seen it) from Joe Nicolosi on Vimeo.


posted at 2:40 PM in Star Wars , fun , video
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Today’s phischbits

Ries Robb Maker Of Fine Mission Style Furniture

Ries Robb Maker Of Fine Mission Style Furniture

“Ries Robb ownes and operates Ries Robb Woodworking, making reproduction and custom arts and crafts furniture.”

Local to me (Dallas/Fort Worth), and I love Mission style furniture, so this is for future reference.

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Sunday, 04 January 2009

Today’s phischbits

Clashing Civilizations by Mark Steyn on National Review Online

Clashing Civilizations by Mark Steyn on National Review Online

“In Gaza, they don’t vote for Hamas because they want access to university education.”

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Saturday, 03 January 2009

Movies 2008

Last year set a new record in terms of movie-viewing. I saw 28 movies in the theater, with 10 more viewed on DVD.

Theater:

  • The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything
  • The Bucket List
  • Juno
  • Rambo
  • Fool’s Gold
  • Semi-Pro
  • Jumper
  • Horton Hears A Who
  • Smart People
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Baby Mama
  • Iron Man
  • Speed Racer
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • Wanted
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Wall•E (x 2)*
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  • Batman: The Dark Knight (x 3)*
  • War Games (25th anniversary, one night-only showing)
  • Step Brothers
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (x 2)*
  • Space Chimps
  • Death Race
  • Quantum of Solace
  • Punisher: War Zone
  • Yes Man

* additional viewings not noted in total count

If you observed the multiple viewings, you may have already surmised what my favorite film of 2008 was: Batman: The Dark Knight. Utterly fabulous film. It really captured the grittiness, the criminal ugliness, of the original comic storyline. Batman may be a superhero, but it is his detective skills which serve him just as well against the criminal underworld he fights as anything else.

Batman has always been the non-superhero superhero; by that I mean he doesn’t possess any super powers. He’s simply a man who has trained his body to such a degree that his physical prowess is superior to nearly every opponent he matches up with. His mental prowess is equally strong, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s got his family’s millions to back him up with tools that no one else has.

Batman is the superhero that nearly anyone could be, millions of dollars in backing notwithstanding. That’s what makes the character so great, and so relatable. Like my friend Jeff, I really hope they don’t make a third movie (with Batman Begins being the first). The Dark Knight is such a quintessential Batman film, it would be incredibly difficult to top.

DVD:

  • The Departed
  • Hot Rod
  • Bottle Rocket
  • Heart of Geauxld: The Story of the 2007 LSU Fighting Tigers
  • American Gangster
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark*
  • Eastern Promises
  • 27 Dresses
  • Hellboy
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Casino Royale*
  • Blade Runner: The Final Cut

I didn’t count Raiders and Casino Royale in my DVD total, as they were re-watched in preparation for seeing movies in the theater. I did count Blade Runner as a new selection. The Final Cut is Ridley Scott’s ultimate vision of the film, and I treated it as such, going in with a fresh and open attitude about one of my favorite films.

As for my favorite film viewed on DVD, that’s a tough one. The Departed didn’t live up to any of the hype in my opinion, though I’m looking forward to seeing the Hong Kong original, Infernal Affairs. Likewise, I wasn’t blown away by American Gangster, either. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t think Washington’s or Crowe’s performances were any grander than their previous work.

Hot Rod and Bottle Rocket are among Brent’s favorite movies, and were taken in as an attempt to get to know my friend a little better. I thoroughly enjoyed both. I’m thinking not too many people are going to get Bottle Rocket, but it has an underlying whackiness that may not elicit out-loud laughs, but is very humorous nonetheless.

In the end, I think the DVD favorite goes to Hot Rod. It doesn’t get much better than:

“My safe word will be ‘whiskey’.”
“Why are you saying it like that?”

posted at 2:16 PM in movie
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Friday, 02 January 2009

Reading 2008

Taking a cue from my good friend Brent, I’ve been tracking what I read, and here’s the list of 19 books from 2008 (in reverse chronological order):

My goal for 2009 is 26 books, one every two weeks. You can see what I’m currently reading, as well as what I read in 2007 and prior (from what I could remember reading), over on the Read page.

posted at 12:12 PM in fiction , non-fiction , read
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Today’s phischbits

Walter E. Williams : Teaching Economics - Townhall.com

Walter E. Williams : Teaching Economics - Townhall.com

“Learning how to think straight, as opposed to what values and opinions to hold, is the crucial part of education. Part of that learning is to be able to understand the distinction between subjective statements, for which there are no commonly accepted standards of proof, and positive statements for which there are.”

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ATPM 15.01

About This Particular Macintosh enters its fifteenth year of publishing with the release of our January issue.

Angus found himself doing some iPhone evangelism during the holiday season, even if it was completely unintentional on his part. Wes returns, after many months, with a look at the latest in the Mac blogosphere, notably the latest news regarding lawsuits between Apple and Mac-clone maker Psystar.

Mike is very happy with his iPhone 3G, but is disappointed that it meant his having to leave Sprint. He wonders if we’ll ever have mobile phones and mobile serviced unbundled from one another. As Mike notes, the cable companies don’t tell us what TV to use, and thank Jobs and Woz we aren’t required to use Windows to access content on the Internet. (Well, most content, anyway.) As his next action for 2009, Ed lays out where he’s taking his column, and looks for feedback from the ATPM readership.

Ken Aspeslagh was kind enough to share some photos from around the world for this month’s desktop pictures. Locations include St. John, France, and New England. Linus entertains with this month’s cartoon, related to a review in this same issue.

Speaking of reviews, Ed gets on the, er, Freeway. No, not of love, but of web site design. If you’ve got a ton of URLs you’d like to store for later reference, Paul thinks you can do worse than ShoveBox. For those looking for a hands-free kit to use with their iPhone, Ed thinks highly of the Vizor SUN. (Yeah, I had a line there about shining brightly, or using your car’s sun visor, but I couldn’t make it work, and it’s already past midnight, so this is getting posted on the 2d instead of the 1st. Maybe next year.) Finally, Linus wraps up our first issue of 2009 with a look at WordSoup, and if you’re still trying to figure out the cartoon, hopefully it makes sense now.

As always, this month’s issue is available in multiple formats for your reading enjoyment. Thanks for reading ATPM!

posted at 12:39 AM in Macintosh
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Thursday, 01 January 2009

Today’s phischbits

aubreyturner.org: Dallas/Ft. Worth Gun Shows

aubreyturner.org: Dallas/Ft. Worth Gun Shows

“This site is a compilation of gun show dates around the Dallas and Fort Worth area. I originally created the listing for my own purposes as there was not a single source for all gun shows in the area. All of the listed dates were taken from the websites listed for each show.”

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posted at 2:02 AM in links
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