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Leonard Nimoy is an interesting guy. I'm sure everyone here knows about his career in music and has probably heard The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. But did you know that he's a professional photographer? Really. And some of his stuff is pretty cool:


(Note that pics at that link might be considered NSFW.)
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Yesterday I was introduced to the phenomenon of 'planking'. Hee.

Also new this week, C appears to like homemade Indian food. She shoveled in her rice and dal and potato/eggplant curry with gusto. In general, she is an enthusiastic and, so far, non-picky eater. The only thing she hasn't seemed to enjoy is broccoli, but she still ate it even while grimacing. We've also had some misses with macaroni and peas, but I think the problem there was that they were small and slippery and she had trouble gumming them effectively without choking on them.
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A Dragaera story at tor.com for your online reading pleasure.
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Dr. Seuss does Star Wars

Excellent Dr. Who info graphic

The Lord of the Rings as told by the other side

Interesting site looking at facial (a)symmetry. It relies on user uploaded images in which people take their picture, split it at the midline, and mirror the two halves into a right-side face and a left-side face. The quality is variable (in some cases the person wasn't completely centered, which skews things), but in the better quality ones it's interesting to see how much difference there can be.
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Complete History Of The Soviet Union, Arranged To The Melody Of Tetris:



Jul. 14th, 2010 12:30 pm
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You've probably seen the web site where you paste in a sample of your writing and it analyzes it and compares you to a famous writer (http://iwl.me/). I gave it paragraphs from the last two grant applications I wrote and the text of my last two blog entries and got different results each time. When writing grants, I am akin to Vladimir Nabokov or Margaret Atwood but when blogging I write like Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe.


Feb. 8th, 2010 12:50 am
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You remember the Boom De Yada XKCD cartoon? There's a video based on it, featuring a variety of interesting web folks you might recognize.

(Found via NeilHimself's twitter.)
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Two professionally related ones:

A digest of amusing biomedical papers as judged from their PubMed abstracts. Recent gems: "Impact of wet underwear on thermal regulatory responses and thermal comfort in the cold"; "Pigs learn what a mirror image represents and use it to obtain information." There's a definite intent to use (perfectly good, scientifically valid) papers for humor value, but sometimes the scientific curiosity factor outweighs the mocking factor.

A surprising site looking at duplication in scientific articles. These researchers identified scientific papers with overlapping text. In some cases, they appear to be serial papers by the same authors, updating an ongoing study. In other cases, they appear to be plagiarism. Sometimes it's the sort of lifting of explanatory text that you'd, sadly, expect. But occasionally, there's extreme plagiarism, with two papers having almost identical results sections with the same numbers of patients with each outcome, allegedly conducted in different places at different times and with absolutely no authors in common. There's a database you can search by various means, including author. I have to admit that I searched on my name and was relieved to find that no one appears to have 'borrowed' text from any of my papers.

Harry Potter as filtered through 80s-era teen movies/TV with associated cast lists:
Saved by the Spell or Accio to the Future

H.P. Lovecraft for the pre-school set:
The Adventures of Lil Cthulhu

Steven K. Brust writes to Miss Manners (no kidding), and her response sparks a lively discussion on his blog.

p.s. I am unsurprised that the spell check doesn't know Cthulhu, PubMed, or Accio, but blog?!?
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An interesting interactive graphic from the NY Times on how Americans spend their time. You can click on various categories to see differences by sex, age, employment status, ethnic group, and level of education. I was really surprised by the fairly low computer usage across the board. At most times of day, twice as many Americans are playing sports (2%) as are using the computer (only 1%). For me, you can pretty much replace the TV time with computer time. And much of my work time is spent on the computer.


Jul. 28th, 2009 12:49 pm
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An excerpt from Sarah Palin's resignation speech performed as beat poetry by "master thespian" William Shatner on last night's Tonight Show.
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Nifty site that searches Flickr images by color sets. It displays miniatures of 50 photos matching the selected set of up to 10 colors.
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Fast food transformed into a gourmet meal. Over and over again. In many different ways. Unbelievably inventive. I'm impressed.
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Neil Gaiman being interviewed by Steven Colbert, in which Colbert recites a portion of the Tom Bombadil song. Now on youtube for your viewing pleasure:

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Happy National Punctuation Day!

The thing that surprised me most about National Punctuation Day is that it has an official meatloaf. Apparently because you can bake meatloaf in those cheap aluminum pans after first contorting the pans into the shape of your favorite punctuation mark.
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I thought some of you might be interested in this guide to pesticides in produce.

An organization I'm not familiar with, called the Environmental Working Group, examined the pesticide content of common fruits and vegetables in the US. The assessment took into account the normal methods of preparation for the item in question, so if something is typically peeled before it is eaten (e.g. a banana) they peeled it before testing it. If it's typically washed before it is eaten (e.g. an apple), they washed it before testing it. Among the most pesticide laden items: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, and cherries. For most of these, I only eat them if I can get organic. My weakness is bell peppers. We use them often and our grocery store doesn't always have organic ones available. The least contaminated: onions, avocado, frozen corn, pineapples, and mango.


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