Adventures in Geekism

A very unprofessional blog.

Somewhere Outside the Rainbow: Imaging Across the EM Spectrum

Originally posted on MAKE:

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I recently received a review copy of a book called Alien Vision: Exploring the Electromagnetic Spectrum with Imaging Technology, published in 2011 through professional optical engineering society SPIE. The author, Austin Richards, is a senior scientist at FLIR Systems, and does a great job of explaining his subject in straightforward terms without being patronizing or sacrificing technical rigor. The book is pricey for a popular treatment, but I’m enjoying it tremendously. And the premise was so intriguing to me that I decided to see if I could put together my own imaging-based tour of the spectrum using web-based resources.

This post is the result. Here are 17 images captured at electromagnetic wavelengths ranging from one meter down to one trillionth of a meter, from radio waves to gamma rays, arranged in order of increasing frequency / energy. Each is accompanied by a caption identifying the instrument used to record…

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Antichamber – A Mind-Bending Psychological Exploration Game

Antichamber – A Mind-Bending Psychological Exploration Game.

That’s Not Fair! (Or, why Karma is Bullshit)

You want Justice … we all do. Problem is, you probably pretend it’s there to have.

The problem in thought here is that if you fail at life, you must have done something to deserve it; or you must not have done enough to earn success.

The truth is, there is no law of fairness in the world at all. People who are fortunate often don’t do anything at all to earn it, and people very often get away with lying, cheating, and stealing to get ahead – without consequence.

There’s a reason that we write stories of Good versus Evil, and generally have Good prevail. We would love to believe that some greater force in the world is keeping score, and that it works that way. The problem is, that only holds true in fiction.

The Just-World Fallacy is the tendency to react to situations in terms of “deserving.” A homeless drug addict clearly must have simply made bad choices his whole life, right? This mode of thinking rarely has any bearing on reality, though we seem to outright teach children that it really works that way.

In a 1966 study by Melvin Lerner and Carolyn Simmons, 72 women watched a woman solve problems and get electric shocks when she messed up. The woman was an actor, but the spectators weren’t aware of this. When Lerner asked participants to describe the woman getting shocked, many of the observers devalued her. They berated her and said she ‘deserved’ it.

In another study by Lerner, he had two men solve puzzles. One of the men was selected at random and awarded a large sum of money. This time, the observers were told the reward was completely random. Despite knowing this, people still evaluated the one who got the award as smarter, more talented, better at solving puzzles and more productive.

Research is very clear in the topic of the just-world fallacy, and you can look up endless peer-reviewed and well designed stuties to show as much. Practically every psychologist who has looked into it has come to the same conclusion: You want a fair world where your choices steer your life, so you pretend that’s what it is.

So, as usual I leave you with this: Think. Give a Shit. Be a Real Person.

Extracting Audio from Pictures

cjpamadaeus:

Wow. Visual to audio, eh?

Originally posted on media preservation:

Three years ago, a survey team identified a staggering 569,148 time-based media objects on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University—that’s over half a million sound recordings, video recordings, and reels of film. The earliest items documented in the survey report date back to 1893.

However, that report doesn’t mention what might be considered IU Bloomington’s oldest time-based media of all. That’s not because we didn’t do a thorough job. Rather, it’s because the items in question don’t look or behave much like the media we were surveying—discs, reels, cylinders, cassettes, and so forth. Instead, they’re pictures in books. And pictures in books seem well outside the scope of the Media Preservation Initiative.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t play them back—and some of them are pretty exciting.

"Der Handschue" as an image

A printed replica of the early gramophone disc “Der Handschuh”

Just a few months ago, I crossed the fourth floor of Wells Library…

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Make Your Own Snail Mail Notifier to Get Alerts When the Mail Carrier Drops Off the Mail

This post over at LifeHacker is pretty great … depending on where you live and how lazy you are.

MATE 1.6 Released, Install It In Ubuntu [GNOME 2 Fork] ~ Web Upd8: Ubuntu / Linux blog

According to the delightful linux blog webupd8.org, MATE 1.6 was just released, and I’m a huge fan of MATE. For those who don’t know, it’s a fork of GNOME 2, the last great desktop environment.

If you like Linux Mint, or you just miss GNOME 2, give it a shot.

Trying out 0AD alpha on Linux

Well, after interviewing today for what seemed to be the perfect job, I’m not exactly feeling great. The phone interview was great, and the email conversations went well … but, as always, the tone changed drastically about ten minutes into the interview. Maybe I’m just horrendously ugly or I smell really bad?

Anyway, it’s time to play a little. A new game is out in Alpha for linux, with a PPA for it and all. It’s a real-time strategy called 0AD, and it looks pretty great. Firstly, if you want to install it and play around too, it goes thusly:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wfg/0ad
$ sudo apt-get update$ sudo apt-get install 0ad

The game is around 1gb, all said and done. Let’s see how this goes …

The first thing I’m noticing is that the intro graphics seem to be SVG, which is nice. Change the window size, and the individual layers move around to fit, letting you see what’s behind and in front of other images.

There is no campaign mode yet, but it is an Alpha. An individual match against the computer, or a network game against another human are possible. I’ll try the match vs. computer.

My first impression is Sierra’s Civilization. That’s okay, because I fucking loved that game. The graphics aren’t over-done, but they’re definitely nice. For some reason, you can kill the little chickens you find wandering around your “town,” which is really just one building. The architecture doesn’t seem quite right for 0 AD, but it’s probably just me not knowing my historical architecture (complete lack of interest).

The music, for some bizarre reason, doesn’t loop nicely. It ends for a second and then the song starts over again. In an RTS, you can imagine this would get annoying after some time.

To protect your town, you can have your workers (Spartan Women, actually) build wooden walls, which is actually sort of unique. And apparently the game pauses when the window doesn’t have focus. I actually like that, because it makes it a whole lot easier to write this … thing. (not much of a review, or a preview for that matter … and I have no intention of showing pictures)

I see! It turns out you can essentially “mine” the chickens … okay, that didn’t sound right, but you butcher a chicken incredibly slowly in the same manner as cutting wood or stone. It’s … a little disturbing, honestly. Along with chickens, you can also forage for food.

Time passes quickly enough in this game for it to not become terribly boring, though I also wish that it was turn-based just because there’s so much to do and explore. I take that as a very good sign for future developments, since this is just an alpha.

Another very cool little feature is that when you’ve got a woman building something (that sounds weird) you can send another one to help out and make the work go by faster. That’s great for us impatient gamers!

Now I’m bored of the thing, but that’s not the game’s fault! I’m just easily distracted and bored. All in all … this thing is promising!

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