Thursday, March 31, 2011

In & Out with Dick and Jane

Found at Boing Boing

World Backup Day 2011

Making regular backups is one of the most important and, at the same time one of the most neglected aspects of computer ownership. Backing up your data should be at the top of your computer maintenance list, right next to virus protection. Without data backup or virus protection, you are running the risk of losing your data. And it will happen, don’t think that you don’t have to worry about it.

Three months ago my iMac began behaving erratically. After much experimentation the cause became quite clear as my internal hard drive physically crashed rendering it all but useless and unrecoverable. All my work, my photos, 10000+ music files, bookmarks, feeds - everything was gone. The iMac was still under Applecare so replacing the drive was no problem and took about a day. They even upgraded me from 350gb to 500gb at no additional charge. Yay, Apple!

In an uncharacteristic stroke of brilliance I had installed Time Machine about a year ago and literally within minutes I had restored my new hard drive to the exact state it was in the day before the crash - losing no data at all. Learn from this.

On my desktop iMac, I use Apple's proprietary Time Machine software to back up to a LaCie d2 Quadra drive. On my Macbook Air I back up to the cloud using Backblaze.

High Dynamic Range photos of Spanish Architecture

Click to enlarge
16 more here

Beautifully "carved" books by Alexander Korzer-Robinson

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View the gallery

Jacqueline Rush's Book Sculptures

Many more here

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Everyday objects under an electron microscope

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More here

Could this be the biggest find since the Dead Sea Scrolls?

British archaeologists are seeking to authenticate what could be a landmark discovery in the documentation of early Christianity: a trove of 70 lead codices that appear to date from the 1st century CE, which may include key clues to the last days of Jesus' life. As UK Daily Mail reporter Fiona Macrae writes, some researchers are suggesting this could be the most significant find in Christian archeology since the Dead Sea scrolls in 1947.

From Yahoo News via friend Deborah

A beautiful gown made of childrens' Golden Books

The entire process is documented here

Jeff Pearlman waxes nostalgic

Writer, Jeff Pearlman, writes at CNN about the closing of this local, beloved Borders bookstore. I understand his nostalgia for print books, and of course the bookstore (substitute library for me) as place. However, I find myself swinging back and forth between feeling nostalgic toward print one minute, and feeling disgust toward the huge, dust collecting, heavy artifacts the next. I wonder if people felt this way during the demise of the horse as the primary form of transportation? The streets are certainly a lot cleaner.

First images of Mercury

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From NASA:
Early this morning (March 29, 2011), at 5:20 am EDT, MESSENGER captured this historic image of Mercury. This image is the first ever obtained from a spacecraft in orbit about the Solar System's innermost planet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Radiation Dosage Chart

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From Information is beautiful

Intriguing art from paper rolls by Anastassia Elias

Many more and other pieces in various media.

1950 as seen from 1925

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The art of engraving firearms

A large collection here.

Coursification, a new online learning system

Online test prep company PrepMe has launched Coursification, a web-based application for personalized online learning courses designed to compete head-on with Blackboard, Moodle and Instructure. What differentiates Coursification fom the field is that it allows teachers to offer a tailored, personalized curriculum to each student based on their individual performance and learning schedule as derived from a pre-course assessment test. PrepMe examines every interaction between the student and the curriculum and adjusts the student's program by analyzing the progress the student has made. Coursification also gives the student and instructors the ability to message and chat and to send files.

The illustrations of John Jay Cabuay

John Jay Cabuay is a visual artist and educator from NYC. His art has been used in book covers, magazines, advertisements and promotions around the world. His style features vibrant colors and the look of vintage print-making. He currently teaches illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parson School of Design. Here is his blog and his work can be seen here.

Tag Heur watch measures time to 1/1000 second

Not sure why, but here it is:

Anticipating failure

Even grand, well-planned schemes can sometimes go awry and it is usually prudent to plan for the worst. On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon. According to NASA, the landing and moon walks were not their primary concern. It was the take off from the moon's surface and rendezvous with the command module piloted by Michael Collins that was most troubling. If for any reason the mission failed, there was absolutely no hope of rescue. In anticipation of that possibility, President Nixon's speechwriter, William Safire, prepared the statement below. Fortunately, of course, it was never needed.

Click to enlarge

Transcription follows:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they wil be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Found via Dan Lewis and "Now I Know"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lewis' and Clark's air rifle

This is something I did not know. I own what I thought to be a very powerful air rifle - an RWS .17 caliber single-pump model that propels the tiny pellet at about 1100 feet per second. It is powerful enough to put meat on the table if you are partial to squirrels, rabbits and small birds. What I didn't know is that much more powerful air rifles have been around for over two hundred years and were carried by Lewis and Clark on their historic trek across America. In fact, it is mentioned in the first entry into their journal where its accidental discharge struck a woman in the head.

The Girandoni air rifle was in service with the Austrian army from 1780 to around 1815. The rifle was 4 ft (1.2 m) long and weighed 10 pounds (4.5 kg). It fired a .46 caliber ball at a velocity similar to that of a modern .45 ACP!! It had a tubular, gravity-fed magazine with a capacity of 20 balls.

Here is a very interesting piece on the weapon from the National Firearms Museum:

camelcamelcamel: Track on-line prices and buy when cheapest.

camelcamelcamel allows you to track prices at Amazon and other retailers and will alert you when (if) an item's price drops to your specified purchase point. You can get alerts via email or Twitter.

Found at Boing Boing

Infographic: What pasta is on your plate?

Click to enlarge

Found at Charming Italy

Valles Marineris

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On Mars, the more than 4,000 km long, 200 km wide and up to 7 km deep, Valles Marineris rift system is the largest known canyon, surpassing all canyons on Earth more than 4,000 km long, 200 km wide and up to 7 km deep,[1][2] the Valles Marineris rift system is the largest known canyon, surpassing all land canyons on Earth (there is one larger under the Atlantic).

Found at Coudal Partners

Japanese radiation levels: An interactive map

Click the map to bring the zoomable map into play.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On bars

"I like bars just after they open for the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny and the barkeep is giving himself that last look in the mirror to see if his tie is straight and his hair is smooth. I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shining glasses and the anticipation. I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it. I like to taste it slowly. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar--that's wonderful."

—Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A portrait of the sun in the wavelength of hydrogen alpha light.

Click to enlarge

Created Equal

In America, the chasm between rich and poor is growing, the clash between conservatives and liberals is strengthening, and even good and evil seem more polarized than ever before. That is the heart of this collection of portraits

The rest are here

Polygamist - Pimp

Indigent - Wealthy

How to Write a Manifesto

Click to enlarge

Found at

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Photos of lollipops ~ all edible icons of easily identified brands handcrafted by Italian artist Massimo Gammacurta with real hard ball candy.

Le Flâneur: Paris in 2000 photographs.

A project by Luke Shepard, a student at The American University of Paris, this "movie" is composed of over 2000 still photographs shot with a Nikon D90 DSLR camera.

There is a descriptive interview with Luke at National Geographic.

Found at Coudal Partners

Bruno Catalano's sculptures.

I have recently discovered Bruno Catalano’s sculptures. They are uniquely wonderful in their seeming incompleteness. Look closer and you may see, as do I, that these disappearing travelers with missing pieces are waiting an unknown destination inviting us to mentally fill in what’s missing. Fascinating!

Holi: A festival of colors

Another fabulous collection of images from The Boston Globe's "Big Picture".

Usability and library websites

Found at The Lone Wolf Librarian

Humor: Internet loneliness

The cartoon of the day over at Sticky Comics

Mac OS X turns ten today

Love it, hate it, or just don't care OS X is the most successful and enduring OS Apple has ever launched. Just a shout-out for a job well done.

75 books every man should read

Seems to be a day for booklists. Esquire Magazine has assembled what they call: "An unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published."

10 early works every SciFi fan should read has assembled a very interesting list of very early works of science fiction some dating all the way back to the 5th century. A few like Frankenstein, and The Time MAchine are quite well known, but a few are so obscure and ancient that I am sure you will find something interesting and exciting! The complete list is below and the list with descriptive narrative is available at the above link.

Ramayana, (5th to 4th Century BCE) attributed to Valmiki

True History, (2nd Century) by Lucien

Urashima Taro,
(8th Century) by Unknown

One Thousand and One Nights,
9th Century) by Various Writers

Taketori Monogatari,
(10th Century) by Unknown

The Book of Fadil ibn Natiq
, (1268-1277) by Ibn al-Nafis

Utopia, (1516) by Thomas More

Frankenstein , (1818) by Mary Shelley

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1869) by Jules Verne

The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

50 beautiful photos of Saturday's super moon

See the rest here.

Visual evidence that the NYT's pricing structure is wrong

Click to enlarge

Found at The Understatement via Daring Fireball

The Book Cover Archive

Over 1300 to browse

and more great sites on book cover design
Found via Coudal Partners

Map: Where Americans Are Moving

More than 10 million Americans moved from one county to another during 2008. Forbes magazine has a very interesting interactive map that visualizes those moves. Click on any county to see comings and goings: black lines indicate net inward movement, red lines net outward movement.


Yet another book list: 50 most influential from the past 50 years

From the site:
In compiling the books on this list, the editors at SuperScholar have tried to provide a window into the culture of the last 50 years. Ideally, if you read every book on this list, you will know how we got to where we are today. Not all the books on this list are “great.” The criterion for inclusion was not greatness but INFLUENCE. All the books on this list have been enormously influential.

The books we chose required some hard choices. Because influence tends to be measured in years rather than months, it’s much easier to put older books (published in the 60s and 70s) on such a list than more recent books (published in the last decade). Older books have had more time to prove themselves. Selecting the more recent books required more guesswork, betting on which would prove influential in the long run.

We also tried to keep a balance between books that everyone buys and hardly anyone reads versus books that, though not widely bought and read, are deeply transformative. The Grateful Dead and Frank Zappa never sold as many records as some of the “one-hit wonders,” but their music has transformed the industry. Influence and popularity sometimes don’t go together. We’ve tried to reflect this in our list.

Radiation dose chart

Apropos of the crisis in Japan and concern over radiation leakage, a friend sent me a link to this chart.

Click to enlarge

Monday, March 21, 2011

10 things you didn't know about the moon

1) There's actually four kinds of lunar months

2) We see slightly more than half of the moon from Earth

3) It would take hundreds of thousands of moons to equal the brightness of the sun
The rest and narrative here.

A century of meat

Click to enlarge


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book Saver

Looks like there's a new gadget that could 'turn the page' on the future of eBook access. The new Book Saver acts as a quick digital scanner for print books. Ion, the company that makes this gadget, claims one can scan a 200 page book in 15 minutes time, which is believable after seeing the YouTube video. At least one reviewer has already noted the similarities with this device and music ripping.

Friday, March 18, 2011

London in the round

A visualization of the city in silhouettes...
Click to enlarge

Found at Coudal Partners

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Digital textbooks will soon be the norm

Sales of digital textbooks currently account for only a fraction of the U.S. college textbook market. According to the latest report by the social learning platform Xplana, the tipping point for e-textbooks has been reached, and they predict in the next five years digital textbook sales will surpass 25% of sales for the higher education and career education markets.

Last year Xplana predicted that one in five college textbooks would be digital by the year 2014, but due to the rate at which colleges are embracing digital textbooks, Xplana now projects that sales will grow by 80 to 100% over the next four years.

Full report here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Earthquake damage to libraries in Japan

There is a rather extensive collection of images apparently uploaded by Japanese librarians over at togetter

A brief history of title design

Ian Albinson and his staff over at The Art of the Title have put together a most excellent short film for SXSW.

A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Time for Libraries is Now

Amazingly realistic "Geminoid" is eerily human

It's not a fake. This is the latest iteration of Geminoid series of ultra-realistic androids, from Kokoro and Hiroshi Ishiguro. Specifically, this is Geminoid DK, which was constructed to look exactly like Associate Professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark

21 reasons learning English is hard...

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.

2. The farm was used to produce produce.

3. The dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse.

4. We must polish the Polish furniture.

5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7. Since there was no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10. I did not object to the object.

11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12. There was a row among the oarsmen on how to row.

13. They were too close to the door to close it.

14. The buck does funny things when does are present.

15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Designers respond to help Japan

In response to the earthquake and tsunami tragedy in Japan, designers have responded in the best way that they know. Creating pieces like this one below with the sale proceeds going to support the people of Japan in their time of need.

View more incredible designs and participate here.

Found via: Coudal Partners

Thought provoking drawings by Paweł Kuczyński

Many more here.