Chris Higgins is the author of The Blogger Abides and writes for This American Life, The Atlantic, Breakfast on Mars, and The Magazine. You can follow him at chrishiggins.com.
Need a way to waste your afternoon instead of working? Why not play Infinite Mario Bros, an online Java-based Mario game made by a fan. The game is randomized, so each level contains random bricks, enemies, and so on. This means literally infinite replayability! (Until you drive yourself nuts with the catchy soundtrack.) You'll need a Java 5-enabled browser, then just go for it. (Press arrows to move, A to run, and S to jump...much like the A/B buttons on an old Nintendo controller.)
But wait,... READ ON
Here's further proof that eventually, robots will become our masters and we'll just serve as food for them, or, if we're lucky, we'll be their pets. In this video, a series of extremely high-precision robotic hands manipulate various objects (including bouncing one of those super-bouncy balls crazy fast, and doing the twirling-a-pencil trick).
Let's just hope our robot overlords use their mega-powerful hands to gently pet us.
For more on these robotic hands, check out the Ishikawa Komuro... READ ON
By combining a series of still-camera shots into a video, photographer Charlie McCarthy has made something amazing. The shots are long-exposures showing bugs buzzing around a street light, making abstract doodles in the air -- revealing the flight path of the insects as they circle and dance around the light. The video is short (43 seconds), and just beautiful.
flight patterns from Charlie McCarthy on... READ ON
Golan Levin is an artist who uses "the tools of his day" (meaning computers, robots, and tools of science) to make his art. Check out this TED Talk in which he gives demos of his awesome interactive artwork -- people make visible, interactive shapes using their own shadows on a projection screen; a computer creates visible, synesthetic shapes out of human speech as users speak into a microphone; computer-generated speech-recognition live subtitling; art that can react to its viewers; and so on.
Worth a... READ ON
I keep coming across musicians who have appeared on Sesame Street (usually singing the Alphabet Song), and the performances are uniformly awesome. (One of the best videos from my Late Movies segment last week was Stevie Wonder live on Sesame Street, and in a previous week, Paul Simon was on Sesame Street.) I've collected some favorites here for your viewing enjoyment.
Feist, "1 2 3 4"
Feist performs her hit "1 2 3 4" with a twist -- it's now more specifically about counting than about growing up.... READ ON
It is with much trepidation that I send this blog to you via Morse Code from Mystery Island. I'm terribly concerned that scientific genius Dr. Strange is running amok with his Projector Beam Ray. Strange is intent on world domination, and if his awesome cape is any indication of his power, I pray for all of us. Below, I bring you an important video demonstrating the Projector Beam Ray weapon and its effects on Mystery Island.
Fortunately our heroes, flying above the island in their aircraft Nimbus,... READ ON
POSSESSED is a short documentary (21 minutes) by director Martin Hampton, showing the private lives of compulsive hoarders -- people who collect or save things far beyond reasonable limits. It's available online in its entirety (see below), and it's worth a look both for general interest as a documentary, but also for people who are curious about compulsive hoarding -- hoarding being a topic we flossers seem to blog about quite a bit.
The film is not too shocking -- these folks don't seem in imminent... READ ON
Here's a fun clip from the vault. Here's Ali G (Sacha Baron Cohen's character) interviewing a panel of science experts about science. The discussion begins: "Yo. Science. What is it all about? Techmology. What is that all about? Is it good or is it whack?" The panel consists of Dr. Jeremiah Baumann (Public Interest Research Group), Dr. Joseph Coates (Futorologist), Graham Molitor (President, Public Policy Forecasting), and Dr. Kent Hovind (Creationist). While I'll admit there's virtually zero... READ ON
Moore's Law is a popular axiom in computing that effectively says: every two years, the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles. In practice, this means that computers gets faster, cheaper, fast...and this doubling gets out of control very quickly.
The "law" is named for Intel's Gordon Moore, who is popularly credited with observing this doubling trend in 1965. Above is a chart (from Wikipedia) that demonstrates evidence of Moore's Law from 1971 through 2008. For now, Moore's Law... READ ON
YouTube user DarthGollumKong apparently has two things: a lot of manual dexterity and a lot of time on his hands. In the YouTube video below, he demonstrates a feat that I would have said was impossible -- playing all four parts in the video game Rock Band at the same time: guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Now, the first three of those were set to "easy" difficulty, but he did keep the vocals on "medium" (though his singing comes out as weak and distracted due to all the fiddling he's doing with both... READ ON
Alaska is so big that you could fit 75 New Jerseys in it.