Feb 252012

Continued from Part I. (For the complete set of photos, see the SmugMug gallery.) On one of the days, we headed over to Mono Lake for the sunset. We were hoping to catch sight of some of the brine flies that we saw on Life (or was it Planet Earth?), but the main visitor center and local interpretive centers were closed, so we ended up going to the southern tufas, where none of us have been. Driving down the road to the lake, it looked like this: You can see the tufas near the edge of the lake off in the distance. Tufas are these vertical mineral structure that are built up over thousands of years of underground mineral springs [more . . .]

Mar 112009

Go take a look at Wolfram Alpha. It’s a “computational knowledge engine.” Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? It definitely has the potential to completely blow away any factual search engine that has come previously, of which the most prominent example may be Powerset. The brains behind this, Stephen Wolfram, is an acclaimed computer scientist that has had many incredible creations already, including the heavily used software package Mathematica, which adds jaw-dropping features in every release, and the stunning if controversial book A New Kind of Science, so he definitely has the background and the resources to create a good factual search engine. In fact, Wolfram has frequently posited, both in A New Kind of Science, and other sources, that he believes [more . . .]

Feb 012009

Do a Google search for “Yellowstone.” The first result is is the National Park Service’s official Yellowstone National Park web site, as expected. The second site is yellowstone.net, which promises to help you “plan your yellowstone vacation.” Still as expected. But the third is for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Wait, what? Isn’t Yellowstone a volcanically inactive geothermal cluster? Why can’t we see black lava flows like on Kilauea or even St. Helens? The answer is complicated, but in a sentence, Yellowstone sits on top of a volcanic hot spot that enjoys blowing up in a “supereruption” every few hundreds of thousands of years, but in the meantime, keeps itself fit by spewing geysers, unleashing thousands of earthquakes, and triggering hydrothermal [more . . .]

Dec 282008

I’d like to fancy myself as one who holds his own opinions about things. That’s why I get queasy come time for end-of-the-year top-N lists. On one end, I feel like I’m allowing myself to be quasi-brainwashed by other people, but on the other end, some of these toplists are so amazing. Fortunately, there are the lists of the “top” photographs–beau tiful and powerful and beyond ranking. Once you view them, whether or not something should be in the top ten seems so inane. Here are some of my favorite collections and selections: Boston.com: The Year 2008 in Photographs — One of the most amazing collections of photographs I have ever seen. TIME Pictures of the Year 2008 — With an [more . . .]

Nov 222008

A clip from Minority Report? No. It’s real. g-speak overview 1828121108 from john underkoffler on Vimeo. Oblong is apparently the company that advised the production staff of Minority Report on the technology of the film, with much of their expertise derived from the founders’ research at the MIT Media Lab. Oblong promises to “fundamentally chnage the way people use machines at work, in the living room, in conference rooms, in vehicles.”