I was going through an old pile of paper in my office recently and encountered a set of note cards I’d accumulated years ago, back in the very small, scrappy, it-definitely-might-not-make-it startup stage. Most of the cards contained miscellaneous reminders, todos, or ideas I thought worthy of further exploration.

A few of the cards, though, had the record of an idiom mixing game my colleagues and I played back in the day (I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with strongly multi-disciplinary and linguistically inclined geeks).

At its basic level, the game produced comprehensible phrases that amusingly combined two familiar idioms, such as “there are other fish to skin”, or “there are other cats in the sea”.

These are good for a chuckle, but not fundamentally anything more than language slapstick. Some combined idioms of similar intent in ways that made more vibrant images than did the originals, such as

“that opens up a whole new can of monkeys”

(A “can of worms” is one thing, but monkeys make everything funnier.) Rather than just “getting ducks in a row” or having things “fall in line”, we had

“all the ducks are falling in line”

Other are amusing but confusing, and almost seem as if they mean something, at least until you actually think about them. Example:

“Happier than a clam in pigsh*t”

The pinnacle of our mixed idiom game, though, were those hard to find combinations whose meanings were a novel blend of the original idioms. Most of these tended to mockingly riff on various elements of commonly accepted corporate-speak.

“I’m just putting them on the table as I see them”

for example, takes the casual (if sometimes cowardly) innocence of the defensive verbal communication standby “I’m just calling them as I see them” with the trite business-ese of “putting something on the table” to create an all-new description of an impetuous laziness thrust upon others.

Better still, in my opinion, is the lighthearted cynical foreshadowing of:

“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it”

But my favorite, by far, is a sadly apt commentary on organizational politics gone awry:

“I dropped the ball in your court”

Have more? Oh yes you do … comment away!


It’s bike to work week here in Madison, which makes linking to this guy who mounted a camera and a bit o’ electronics to take a photo every 10 seconds as he bikes across NYC apropos:

(You get the point after a few seconds of the video, but it’s a neat project.)


The worm below is participating (unwillingly, perhaps) in the creation of some pretty cool aleatoric music.  This reminds me of the software-based aleatoric project Doug and I did more than a decade ago (entitled, for some reason, "Just be Limp and Let me Abuse You").  I think I actually just encountered a floppy disk containing a backup of the code a couple of weeks ago, actually.  Doug:  do you remember what the input for JBLALMAY was?

[Article. Via STREETtech.]


I haven’t yet checked this out, but Rudy Rucker has a new webzine. Certainly some of you are fellow Rucker fans (hey, Eric!) and will want to give it a perusal.


We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sepandar Kamvar attempts to parse statements of emotion out of blog posts and assembles them into interesting interactive presentations. The applet isn’t perfect – a few areas seem kinda buggy – but it’s a very neat concept, and worth playing with a bit.

(Via coolhunting.)


Apocalypse Pooh is a video mash-up of Apocalypse Now and Winnie the Pooh, apparently made in 1987. It is every bit as good as that sounds (and as a fan of Apocalypse Now who has had some adult exposure to kid-oriented video I mean that without sarcasm).

The Pooh-as-Willard in front of the mirror in Saigon scene is incredible, and the “casting” is overall very amusing.

The technical quality is pretty modest by today’s standards, but doing something like this with analog inputs is an impressive achievement nonetheless.

“Oh, bother. Oh, bother.”

(via daddytypes by way of boingboing)



The hackaday / make / street tech world has covered a lot of neat “persistence of vision” things lately. Basically, these involve a microcontroller that controls LEDs to light in a particular pattern such that as the device is waved around (or, in some variatinos, the shoe or bike wheel to which it’s attached moves) a perceptible image – usually text – is created. [Update: some more really cool bike-wheel PoV displays are here.]

New Scientist reports that researchers in Japan have taken this a big step further:

The display utilises an ionisation effect which occurs when a beam of laser light is focused to a point in air. The laser beam itself is invisible to the human eye but, if the intensity of the laser pulse exceeds a threshold, the air breaks down into glowing plasma that emits visible light.

The required intensity can only be achieved by very short, powerful laser pulses – each plasma dot, or “flashpoint”, lasts for only about a nanosecond. But the resulting image appears to last longer due to persistence of vision. As with film and television, the impression of a continuous image is maintained by refreshing the flashpoints.

The neat-o factor here is considerable, and there are certainly some cool human-friendly applications of something like this to be discovered. On the other hand, the article starts: “The night sky could soon be lit up with gigantic three-dimensional adverts…“. Oh, great.

(via smartmobs)

live action simpson intro

 art  Comments Off on live action simpson intro
Mar 042006

Simpsons fans, click here now. 🙂

(via digg)

Olivo Barbieri’s ’tilt-shift lens’ aerial photos are neat.

 art  Comments Off on Olivo Barbieri’s ’tilt-shift lens’ aerial photos are neat.
Jan 242006


The picture at the right is the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, as seen through Olivo Barbieri’s lens. He uses a helicopter and a tilt-shift lens (I don’t fully understand how that works, but some of you might).

The result is very cool, and quite other-worldly, like a quiet calm doppleganger of our reality. More.

Via Futurismic.



Yes, that’s right. More here. Or, if you prefer, buy originals on ebay.

(via cool hunting)

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