Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass looks like it's gonna be an awesome movie.... the Hit-Girl character alone has me sold.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hip Hop + Street Fighter 4 = ?

For those of you who don't play Street Fighter 4, this won't be nearly as hilarious, but it's musically decent. The reference is that scrubby Ken players spam their strongest super uppercut in every situation.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Beat It" Indie Rock Version

I'm not sure what exactly and "Indie Rock" song is, but this rendition of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" is pretty good. I was skeptical at first, but I enjoyed it in the end.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Subtle Creationist Propoganda

Creationists have taken to handing out edited copies of Darwin's On the Origin of Species for free to people as a way to argue for creationism. This is just plain dirty. Is it time for us to hand out edited copies of the Bible as evidence for how flawed their religion is?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Natalie Portman Is Even Cooler Now

Not only is Natalie Portman a beautiful, intelligent actress, but she's also an articulate vegan. It is rare that high profile celebrities openly take up unpopular ethical stances, so I give her a ton of respect for this. Animal rights and vegan causes could benefit from her support.

Natalie Portman was already very cool in my book, but this recent column put her right at the top of my favorite celebrities list.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

bubble bobble + cute korean girls + ramen = ?


Apparently they licensed the theme song for "Bubble Bobble" (one of the old NES games I played a ton of) to have this Korean group do this ramen commercial. I dunno, I'm kind of sold.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Most Amazing Lego Creation Ever

I'm not sure what could possibly surpass this Lego Japanese Castle box. It's already cool that he made the box for the Japanese Castle Lego set look pretty good. But then it turns out that it unfolds like a pop up book with the castle popping up when he opens it.

It's very hard to conceive of a cooler Lego creation.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

I'm totally sold on Muramasa: The Demon Blade. There are simply not enough 2d side scroller style games these days. This game is pretty much eye-candy from start to finish, which shows how far we have come in 2d video games. Every time I reached a new area, I found myself looking around at the environments to enjoy the gorgeous artwork.

When you start the game, you have the choice of playing in Muso mode (easy) or Shura mode (advanced). Naturally, I decided to just go straight into Shura mode.

The difficulty in Shura mode was really good. It was challenging and occasionally frustrating, but I always felt like when I died, there was something I did wrong or that I could do better. I ended up playing through the whole Shura mode as Momohime in two long sessions.

After beating it in Shura mode as Momohime, the game informed me that I needed to beat the game as Kisuke to get a special blade (the demon blade?) and then if I beat the last boss with the special blade, I'd get a different ending. Additionally, it unlocked another difficulty mode called Shigurui mode, which is apparently equivalent to playing Muso mode but you only have 1 hp and that never changes. Basically, if anything hits you, you die.

At this point, I realized I was hooked. I want to beat the game as Kisuke to see his storyline and to get the different endings. But I also love the combat system, so I want to try to beat the game in Shigurui mode.

The combat system is really satisfying. It's super responsive and the moves are easy to execute. Your character is extremely maneuverable, which made me feel like if I got hit, it was my fault since I could have been somewhere else. You can even hit small projectiles back at enemies by just pressing attack right when they are about to hit you. You can string together ridiculous combos of your melee abilities, but the combos are not really strictly pre-defined. You can basically make up combos as you go and invent your own combat style.

I think this game was made specifically for people like me.

Here are a couple of videos of someone playing through Shigurui mode:
Early combat
First boss

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rap + Video Games = ?

I don't know this artist at all, but he managed to use video games in his rap video very fluidly and well. There are a ton of old school Nintendo 8-bit references that you may recognize. Worth a listen and a viewing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Hunt For Gollum

The Hunt For Gollum is a truly remarkable fan film for the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies. It's not often that fan films have such high production values with such a low budget.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize

I'm a huge fan of Barack Obama. However, the Nobel Peace Prize he has been awarded is very inappropriate. My roommate is of the opinion that it's more of a "premature" award, but things that are "premature" are "inappropriate" too.

I do believe that one day he will deserve it in the near future, but it seems kind of silly to award such a high award to someone who hasn't even been in a position of international influence for a year yet.

I can understand that Obama's whole message to the world is a lot like what the Nobel Prize Committee believes in, so they felt he deserved it. However, I am guessing there should be some other people out there who should be on the short list, who have been working at prize worthy causes for a little bit longer.

Obama has handled this situation about as well as possible. He too agreed that he didn't think he deserved the award. He still chose to accept the award as a call to action, though. This way he doesn't disrespect the award by turning it down, but he doesn't claim to be the savior of the world or anything.

I hope he manages to accomplish enough in his career to be worthy of the prize.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Life's Not Fair

Every time I meet a girl that I'm attracted to and feel compatible with, that girl is guaranteed to be in a relationship already. The worst part is that they always seem to have fundamental complaints about their current relationship, but they stay in them anyways. Does this mean that the approach most people are using is to just date whoever and go from relationship to relationship in some sort of upgrade fashion?

I ask this, because I have always thought that it's not right to flirt with a girl who is in a relationship or is getting over a relationship. However, if people are just going relationship to relationship, isn't that the only way to ever end up with one of these girls?

I guess logic would dictate that every girl must be considered fair game to optimize for quality. Yes, I know, that was spoken like an engineer. It may seem obvious to most people, but for us idealists, it's something we're reluctant to accept.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Health Care Reform

The debate on whether the government should provide a public option is very easily summed up:

Why are private citizens against a public option that would give them another option for health care (you can still choose your old health coverage)? Are you really so worried that the highly lucrative health care industry's profits will suffer?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kanye West = "Jackass"

By now, I'm sure you've heard about Kanye West's little stunt that ruined Taylor Swift's award speech at the Video Music Awards. The best thing to come of this, however, is President Obama calling Kanye West a "jackass."

I love it when high ranking political figures show their human side. I cheered for Dubya when he showed nice reflexes in dodging the shoes thrown at him. I'm glad Barack Obama was willing to react like a normal person to Kanye West being a jackass.

Friday, September 11, 2009

30

My 30th birthday is coming to an end. This year was actually a pretty good birthday.

I went to work as normal. However, one of my best friends sent me this big bunch of balloons to my company declaring me to be "over the hill" etc. This led to a bunch of folks from work wishing me happy birthday and asking me how old I was turning so they could decide how over the hill I really was. Most of them are older than I am, so they decided I wasn't quite over the hill yet.

My roommate also gave the the cool Beatles Rock Band game since he's an absolute Beatles nut and I'm a fan of theirs. We ended up playing the Beatles Rock Band game (despite it being my company's rival's game) and had a lot of fun with it.

This stuff generally made me realize that I've been kind of unnecessarily grumpy about my birthday for a while. 2000 was a really bad year for me when my sister passed away. Then 2001 brought the World Trade Center attacks on my birthday. This set this deep impression on my brain that my birthday was not something to be happy about. This eventually became a habit, but this year has felt a good deal better.

So hopefully this is a good start for my 30s!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Current Financial Collapse

I came across an interesting write up discussing contemporary economics and the majority of influential economists failed to foresee the recent economic problems caused by the financial system collapse.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but I knew in the last few years that the real estate market was highly overvalued. I didn't know why (all the shady lending stuff) at the time, but I knew that the system made no sense. How did I know? Because my parents were suggesting that I look into buying a house for all the usual reasons (long term investment, etc).

I looked around at houses in Orange County and I was pretty shocked at how unaffordable houses are. My income isn't super high, but in my opinion, a software engineer such as myself should be able to afford a reasonable house. When I looked around, I saw opportunities to pay $600,000 for a small 2 bedroom townhouse. The 2 bedroom condo unit I was living in, which wasn't in great condition, was on the market for around $380,000.

My personal view of the value of these types of properties was that they were simply not worth the money. It turns out I was right. The ketchup analogy (where if two ounces of ketchup cost twice as much as one ounce, then the ketchup prices must make sense) is a great way to understand that people were simply comparing relative values of houses without thinking enough about the absolute value of houses.

The article describes how many current economists put all their faith in the rationality of people with their money. If this were the case, people would not gamble in casinos where their expected return value is obviously lower than the money they spend (or else you wouldn't see billion dollar casinos flourishing in Las Vegas). The business model of casinos basically boils down to being flashy and letting people come hand you money and you just give back some of it randomly.

The total rationality of people with their money is clearly false. People are subjective creatures and all decisions we make are subjective. Given this, it's easy to see how people would be swayed by these conventional wisdoms that the housing market is a good, stable investment and would consequently over invest in it.

Economists re-evaluate their economic models on a more realistic model where people are somewhat irrational creatures that are not all equally adept with their money. Psychology should be core coursework when studying economics.

Friday, September 4, 2009

People Are Way Too Outraged About Obama's Speech To Students

Conservative parents fearing some mysterious socialist propaganda in Obama's upcoming speech to students are pretty much hypocritical and paranoid. Where have they been protecting our schools from propaganda all these years? They should be protesting the religious bits in our pledge of allegiance. Talk about brainwashing! That "under God" line is intended to be recited by all students daily?

Let's get that daily, religious brainwashing stuff out of our classrooms first before we worry about keeping the president from encouraging kids to stay in school in a speech that has not even happened again and will not be repeated daily in classrooms. Everyone should fight for freedom of religion and separation of church and state.

These rabid anti-Obama people are completely irrational hypocrites.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Capital Punishment

I honestly don't find capital punishment to be wrong in principle. I just doubt its effectiveness as a deterrent. Its implementation is flawed to the point that it seems like a bad idea. It's more expensive to execute a prisoner than to keep him in prison for the rest of his life due to all the legal fees involved in death row.

Today, I read this account of how Cameron Todd Willingham was sentenced to death and executed based on questionable circumstantial evidence, inconsistent testimony of other people, and other such uncertainties. He might have been spared, but the review board was arbitrarily unwilling to consider new evidence, etc.

Executing an innocent person is absolutely intolerable. The review board members should be put on trial for manslaughter. This case should be thoroughly investigated and capital punishment should be suspended at least until the system has been properly audited.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Play Transformers 2 With Megan Fox

Very strange promotion, but apparently gamers can sign up to play our game with Megan Fox to promote the new downloadable content patch we're releasing. I'm 99% sure she will be terrible at it, but it will still be a fun treat for whoever gets to play. haha.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Birthers

This BBC opinion piece captures a lot of why I'm so annoyed at the idiocy the "Birther" movement shows about Americans. Barack Obama's citizenship is as proven of a fact as any other president's birth has been proven. People who are clinging to the notion that he might not be a citizen need to stop being morons.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

FUD: Health Care Reform

The amount of stupid misinformation going out about the upcoming health care reform legislation is astounding. It's on par with the claims that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. Ironically, John McCain really wasn't born in the United States (he was born in Panama), just nobody chose to attack his eligibility (he was born on a military base, so born a citizen).

Anyways, it's gotten to the point where folks have had to put up a website to clear up these ridiculous accusations. Honestly, why the hell would the proposed changes suddenly change the health care system into something drastically different from what it is now?

The government would gain some say into the services that you have access to. Is this so different from HMOs currently deciding what services you have access to? The difference is that HMOs are profit based organizations, so they are motivated to do what saves them money. I see government run health care as an improvement.

On top of that, they aren't planning on taking away your current health care options. They are adding an additional option. How is that taking away your freedom of choice? An additional choice is more freedom of choice if anything.

Turn on your brains, people.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Have You Ever Tried Composing Music?

The idea of coming up with a good new tune is pretty daunting to me. However, I stumbled across this cool flash application that lets you easily make non terrible sounding new tunes by filling in squares in a grid. I love it when technology becomes a tool to help bring people into the arts.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Asian-American President Of The United States?

A friend and I were talking some random politics when he joked that I should run for president. Age issue aside, I told him that I didn't think America was ready for an Asian-American president yet.

Currently, the highest ranking Asian-American in the U.S. government, in terms of presidential succession order, currently is Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke at tenth.

Prior to Obama's election, we had already seen the highly respected Colin Powell at Secretary of State, or fourth. Additionally, Obama had tons of circumstances helping make him electable: his amazing charisma, the general dissatisfaction for the current state of the economy created by his predecessor, as well as a very weak opposing ticket (i.e. a fairly respectable, old man who somehow managed to choose a bimbo to be next in line to succeed him).

An Asian-American presidential candidate will need something along the lines of those factors to stand a chance.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The (Lack Of) Power Of Prayer

Do you believe prayer can cure a sick person? Don't be like this guy and let your sick daughter die. I feel terrible for the little girl and I hope her parents enjoy prison.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Simon's Cat

Wow, I knew about the first of these animations, but I only found out about the rest just now: Simon's Cat on YouTube. The animator really manages to capture cat mannerisms so well.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

To the Elderly Lady Who "Tricked" Me

I was running errands today, when an elderly lady asked me for money. She concocted this convoluted story about how she had locked her keys and ID in the trunk of her car and her relative who could help her couldn't come to help her till like 9pm tonight. She said she needed a few dollars so she could get something to eat to tide her over till then, etc.

Naturally, I was suspicious of her story, so I offered to go with her to get her something to eat. She said she was tired from walking so didn't really want to go. This gave me about an 80% confidence level that she had made up this whole scenario.

She asked me for a few dollars, so I was going to give her a few dollars anyways. I pulled out a five dollar bill from my wallet and gave it to her. She said that if she had another dollar she could get a sandwich, so I gave her another dollar. She thanked me, and said that she was going to sit there for a few more minutes to catch her breath before going. She asked my name and thanked me, etc.

I bade her good luck and went to Trader Joe's to pick up a few things. I finished buying groceries pretty quickly, and I fully expected to see her sitting there still. I was hoping to catch her in the act of getting money from another kind soul to prove that she had been lying to me all along. I did.

As I walked toward where I had encountered her, I saw her talking to another dude. As I got closer, I saw him hand her some money and walk off. I didn't see how much, but that eliminated all doubt that she had lied to me. As I walked by her, she was talking on her cell phone (not sure if that was staged). She called out to me by the wrong name and I shook my head. She muttered something about needing her glasses.

To the elderly lady who "tricked me":
I hope you realize that there are people who will help you out even if they know you're lying to them. I gave you money even while I was pretty sure you were lying to me, because I'm sure you have some real reason to be on the street, asking for money. I'm also sure you needed the six dollars more than I did. Next time, try giving the truth a shot. You'll find that people are still willing to help you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Draw With Me

Sometimes, a really beautiful and sad love story can be told in under 3 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wells Fargo is suing itself?

This sounds hilariously stupid. Apparently Wells Fargo has the first mortgage on a property and has decided to sue all other mortgage holders. The catch is that Wells Fargo also has the second mortgage on the property. Why do I get the feeling that the lawyers are the real smart ones here?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nice Video On Global Warming

People really need to stop with the "wait and see" attitude. This is a problem where it may be too late before people realize what they need to do.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sarah Palin Is Baffling

By announcing that she's stepping down as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has once again proven that she can confuse the country with her ridiculous actions and words. Her completely ridiculous remarks include commenting that it's a waste of taxpayer money for her to remain governor and that she's quitting because she's not a quitter. Wow. She's definitely not the brightest bulb.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Faux News - License to Lie?

Apparently the courts have ruled in favor of Faux News that freedom of speech protects the right of news media to lie. I guess it's time to try to make their name officially "Faux News."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson

I can't say I worshipped Michael Jackson's music or anything, but I did like a lot of his popular songs. The latter part of his life was plagued with scandals about his behavior in his personal life.

I really feel bad for the guy. He led a very difficult life. He did not have a normal childhood, and he developed numerous problems in his personal life. Most child celebrities turn out messed up in some way.

I believe that we should forgive him for anything he may have done wrong at this point. He's suffered enough. We should remember him for his legendary music.

The legendary "Billie Jean" performance that introduced the world to his "Moonwalk" and his single glove look.


The legendary "Thriller" video that brought us the oft parodied "Thriller dance."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tomoko Kawase

I stumbled across this pretty epic song by a Japanese singer named Tomoko Kawase. Apparently it was released under the name Tommy Heavenly6 - Lollipop Candy Bad Girl:

The video is pretty corny and wacky, but the music itself is worth it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Sounds Familiar...

Every "nice guy" like me has heard this "I can't date you because it would ruin our friendship" crap from at least one girl we know. Sure, it's "The Onion," so it's meant to be funny, but it's also pretty true.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Give Women Guns!

I came across this awesome column entitled "Give Women Guns." Obviously, it's meant to be read with a bit of a sense of humor, but Randy "The Ethicist" Cohen brings up a bunch of interesting points. I've since then read a bunch of his other columns, and I really enjoyed them. He writes with a very nice balance of humor and actual points.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Broken Picture Telephone

Do you remember playing that game "telephone" as a kid where people relay a message to each other and along the way, the message mutates in funny ways? Well, some folks came up with a nice internet version called "Broken Picture Telephone" where one person writes an initial message, the next person draws it, then the next person tries to figure out the message, then the next person draws what he wrote, etc.

It's definitely worth a few laughs how some of the messages mutate. Sometimes people do a really good job of figuring out the message (like http://www.brokenpicturetelephone.com/view?id=52307) but usually the message goes on a completely weird tangent (like http://www.brokenpicturetelephone.com/view?id=61486).

I've been having some fun participating.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Government Spending

It's very hard to visualize quantities of money on the order of magnitude that our government spends it. Our brains have a hard time visualizing the difference between $50 billion and $500 billion.

Someone decided to make a nice image that puts the budget in relative scale so you can see how much we spend on different things.

As much as folks (especially Republicans) insist on cutting government spending to shrink government, I hope they notice that over 2/3 of our government spending is on military / national security. Yet, our military spending is increasing while we're running a ridiculously big deficit?

Eisenhower (a Republican, if you'll note) warned us of the military-industrial complex. I wish the Republican Party would look to guys like him for some advice.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Neat Video

My friend sent me a link to this neat little video for a Death Cab for Cutie song "Little Bribes."

Death Cab for Cutie - Little Bribes from Ross Ching on Vimeo.


My favorite bit is seeing the word "time" written in cheese melting and burning.

Thoreau Meets Video Games

I must say, Thoreau's Walden is not one of the first titles that comes to my mind for books that can be turned into video games. However, it seems that Electronic Arts is tackling doing this. You can expect this game to be different and philosophical, but I'm really at a bit of a loss as to how you'd make a game out of it.

Still, I appreciate that video games are maturing as an art form.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dog Breeds = Different Species?

I stumbled across this humorous article dealing with the idea that different breeds of dogs should be classified as different species. It's an excellent example of how humorous writing can make interesting scientific concepts feel much more accessible to the reader.

American science education could use more articles like this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So Tempting...

I saw a link for this functional transforming Ravage USB drive and I was so tempted to get it. I almost did preorder it, in fact. I stopped when I realized I would be paying $50 (including shipping) for it.

I would probably pay around $30 for something like that without regret.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Embarrassing

I actually like Taylor Swift's song "Love Story." I guess there's something neat to me about Shakespeare making it into modern music? It's not bad musically, either.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kids These Days...

I feel like I'm an old fart or something, but more and more younger folks that I meet online these days seem like they didn't have a good upbringing. Their parents did a terrible job if they let them grow up to be such self-centered, uncaring people.

It seems like a lot of kids were brought up with the idea that they are entitled to happiness. It's almost as if their parents catered to their every whim and spoiled them until they could no longer comprehend not getting what they want without putting forth effort.

A parent's job is not to provide kids with everything they want. Parents are supposed to provide for their child's needs, but another big part of their job is teach their kids the right lessons. Happiness is not something people are entitled to. Happiness is something people work hard to achieve.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say that much of the value in things that make a person happy comes from the effort in achieving it. Isn't it much more rewarding to work hard to achieve a goal and then eventually achieve it?

Without this basic lesson, these spoiled kids end up being emotionally unable to understand how to find happiness in life. Everything in their life that doesn't go their way defies their whole world view so is incomprehensibly shattering. Everything that does go their way provides minimal happiness because that's merely the way things should be.

It makes me sad how clueless so many parents are. I wonder if they even comprehend that they are ruining their children's lives. I consider myself lucky that I have great parents.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dynamite Hack - Boyz In Da Hood

It's not often that remakes of gangsta rap turn out any good, but Dynamite Hack pulled it off about as well as the great Weird Al.

Slap Chop

I know this video has made its way around the internet quite a bit, but it's really such a great remix that you should watch it if you haven't already:

If this had been the original infomercial, I bet the makers of Slap Chop would be far richer than they are right now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Transformers 2 Game Trailer

Yay, our new trailer is out. I think it's a pretty good trailer overall. Take a look yourself.

Megan Fox

Megan Fox is seriously way too hot.


Yeah, I know that's not really what her daily life is like, but it's hard not to fantasize a little. haha.

In any case, she did at least come in to do her character's voice for our Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen video game. Unfortunately, our game is more about the big, giant robots than the hot, female humans, but hopefully she helps us sell more copies of the game in some way.

We should be releasing another trailer for our game any day now!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rise Against - The Good Left Undone

I'm really digging this song right now. It's got pretty nice lyrics about picking a flower and ruining it. I can definitely relate to ruining things. =(

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Only Showing Your E-mail Address To Humans

This is pretty neat, reCAPTCHA offers a service so you can force people to solve a CAPTCHA before they can see your e-mail address. This way, programs that scour the internet for e-mail addresses to spam can't get it nearly as easily. On top of that, every time, somebody solves the CAPTCHA, they're helping to digitize old books!

For example, mine is: c...@gmail.com

Using Spammers To Advance Artificial Intelligence

CAPTCHAs are a ubiquitous feature of the internet. Many websites use then to distinguish between real human beings and software attempting to add content to the site. Usually the real human beings are the ones you want to permit, while the software is attempting to add spam to the site, so it's a useful problem to solve. Essentially, a CAPTCHA is a mini Turing Test to try to distinguish between humans and machines.

I came across an article pointing out that we could harness spammers to help solve artificial intelligence problems to advance the field of research. Essentially, spammers have a lot of financial incentive to solve the problems. When they solve these problems, we simply present them with new unsolved problems.

This situation is hilariously clever. It's also the natural progression of the CAPTCHA arms race. So, the next time you get annoyed by spammers on websites that are protected by CAPTCHAs, think about the spammer's contribution to computer science!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Coding In English

Programming nowadays occurs predominantly in English. Why is this?

I hadn't really given this question very much thought, but I came across a blog that argues that programming languages transcend regular cultural boundaries. I suppose this is true in a lot of senses.

The programming community tends to be a bunch of people who are adept at learning languages (in the programming sense) and probably view having to learn a new language (in the regular sense) as a way to gain access to more tools and resources. Since the vast majority of documentation and existing code right now is in English, there is a lot of inertia and it's easier for people to learn English than to hope for some (often poorly) translated version of the English documents and code.

Additionally, the current common programming languages fundamentally tend to use English keywords and such so programmers already have to learn a few words here and there in English.

I don't think anybody really planned things to happen this way, but it's just a case of pragmatism. Programmers tend to think about what's most efficient and practical a lot, so English is probably gonna stay as the de facto programming language for a while.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This Is Why Science Is Fun

We all know bacon has a lot of fat in it and that fat has a lot of energy. Would you believe that burning bacon has enough energy in it to melt steel? I also really appreciated the vegetarian options they provided.

I honestly believe that kids these days need more wacky fun science like this to get them more interested in physics, chemistry, or other sciences. I still want to teach physics in school some day.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Obama And Wiretapping

I'm a huge fan of Barack Obama. However, I do not like how he has adopted and potentially gone a step farther than even the Bush administration did with the federal government's right to wiretap. This is a very major cause for concern and I hope he rethinks this position.

TED: Bacterial Communication

Life is amazing. Bonnie Bassler has been doing research on how bacteria communicate with one another to accomplish group goals. Her team's research can potentially lead to a new approach to antibiotics, so this is really great news, since we've been gradually breeding antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria over the years.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Brute

My friend linked me to this silly little website where you make little characters and can have them fight each other (automatically). Try fighting me! When you refer people, your character gets experience, so it's got a viral element to it. haha.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Little Red Riding Hood

A clever guy named Tomas Nilsson made a new take on Little Red Riding Hood. Actually, I recommend the HD version to get all the details in the little pop ups, but here's the low res version.

SlagsmÄlsklubben - Sponsored by destiny from Tomas Nilsson on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

OnLive

As you may have heard, there's now a company generating some buzz about how they will revolutionize the video game industry by running video games in a cloud of computers and streaming the video to users. This would free users from needing major hardware (consoles or PCs), would eliminate piracy, and usher in a new age in video games.

After a little bit of critical thinking, I realized that their claims could not possibly be met. I was going to write up a nice long explanation when I had time, but I stumbled across this article that pretty much sums up all the technical reasons why their claims are pretty far fetched. Their writeup is better than mine would have been, but I would have put more emphasis on the impossibility of OnLive overcoming the basic latency inherent in home internet connections.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Toddlers Don't Do What They're Told

Psychology is such an interesting field.

Apparently researchers have found that toddlers don't seem to apply lessons in anticipation, but rather they do it in hindsight. Basically, telling a toddler to do something for a hypothetical situation that the toddler isn't already in will not seem to stick. However, when the toddler is later in that situation, the toddler will be able to remember what he has learned.

The development of the human mind is so amazing.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

I doubt anybody will read this in time, but Earth Hour for the P.S.T. time zone is starting in a few minutes! Gotta shut down my stuff.

U.N. Attacks Freedom of Speech?

The United Nations has sunk pretty low by passing a resolution urging nations to pass laws outlawing the criticism of religion. Obviously, the U.N. can't dictate the laws of sovereign nations, but this certainly makes a major statement about how blindly religious the world is.

The right resolution to pass would be one that encouraged member nations to pass laws protecting the criticism of religion. Encouraging people to be closed-minded is horrible because people being closed-minded is what leads to wars.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NFL Player Kept From Being With His Dying Mother-in-law By Police Officer

When I heard this story about Ryan Moats being kept from being with his dying mother-in-law by a Dallas police officer named Robert Powell my initial reaction was outrage. It's pretty outrageous that this man missed his mother-in-law's dying moments for a pretty stupid traffic violation.

However, besides my emotional response, I have to admit that Powell was correct in giving Moats a ticket. I just wish he'd admit that he was a huge asshole for taking so long to do it when there was clearly something serious going on. Moats handled the situation about as well as I could expect.

If he apologized for his actions, I might be able to see him as human. As is, he was clearly putting being an asshole above being a human, so he will remain an asshole for now.

Everyone should be a human first in all things.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Real "Ocean's 11"

When I was watching Ocean's 11, I knew nobody could pull something like that off in real life. However, I stumbled across this article today telling the incredible tale of the world's biggest diamond heist.

It's even got the whole practice vault, the mysterious experts at various illegal activities, the double crossing, etc. It's literally something you'd see in a movie.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Extreme Sheepherding

This is an ad for Samsung, but still pretty freaking cool.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Bush Administration's Legacy

America's moral high ground is completely gone since we apparently have tortured prisoners for information.

Is it any wonder when a guy like Cheney was vice president? Cheney apparently believes that the government can spy on us, imprison us, even suppress free speech but the government is overstepping its bounds when it tries to provide universal health care. Wow.

I am very grateful that our democracy finally kicked that horrible administration out of office. Now we need to repair all the damage they did.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A.I.G - $165 Million In Bonuses For 2008?

Yes, those execs who nearly destroyed A.I.G and were a big part in the financial crises deserve a huge bonus. Especially with the $170 billion we're bailing them out with. How do you have contractual obligations to pay "bonus" money? If you're guaranteed to get it, how is it a bonus at all?

Seriously, you A.I.G. executives are greedy pigs. If you have any ounce of decency, you should turn down your bonus. You screwed up the company. You screwed up a large part of the economy. You don't deserve millions in bonuses.

I want a list of names posted of every person who accepts a bonus and how much they receive so they can be blacklisted in society's eyes. That means nobody should serve them food in restaurants. Nobody should clean their houses. Nobody should do a damn thing for them so they can sit and count their money all day long as outcasts.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Apocalyptica - I Don't Care

I'm really digging Apocalyptica - I Don't Care these days. For some reason, I'm a sucker for string instruments in rock music....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bankers Vs Consultants

At least some people have been making use of the current financial crisis to make funny music videos....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"World Builder"

Cool video effects can be used to tell pretty amazing little short stories without a single word spoken. Here's a wonderful example called "World Builder".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Greed + Mis-use of Math = Global Financial Disaster

Apparently, a lot of our recent global financial collapse comes from a mix of greed and people mis-using a simplified risk assessment formula. The guy who came up with the formula warned people that they didn't understand the formula....

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Why The PS3 Is Losing To The Xbox360

Quote from Sony's Kaz Hirai: "We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that (developers) want, because 'easy to program for' means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is, what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?"

As a game developer, I have to say, developers will be encouraged to make games for a console that is easier to develop for. Companies trying to make games are trying to make money, not to solve a software engineering puzzle. Sure, as a programmer, it's fun to solve challenges, but we also have deadlines and milestones to meet. If they are not met, projects fail and jobs are lost.

Around the office, everybody pretty much runs the game on the Xbox360 as their primary development platform and people run the game on the PS3 to make sure it still works there. Now that we're getting close to shipping, more effort is being put in the the PS3, but it has been behind for so long that it's a bit of a hurry to get it up to speed.

Sony needs to take a look at the practical realities of game development and rethink their strategy for next time around.

The Best Bento Ever

My favorite bento box maker made a bento of Calvin and Hobbes! Her boyfriend is a lucky guy. Seriously.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time Warner Cable Internet = FAIL

Tracing route to www.l.google.com [74.125.45.99]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 8 ms 9 ms * cpe-76-173-176-1.socal.res.rr.com [76.173.176.1]

2 8 ms * 8 ms 76.167.1.129
3 12 ms 12 ms * tge4-2-0.tustca1-rtr1.socal.rr.com [76.167.14.145]
4 15 ms * 15 ms ae-5-0.cr0.lax30.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.64]
5 * 43 ms * ae-1-0.pr0.lax10.tbone.rr.com [66.109.6.131]
6 * * * Request timed out.
7 * * 15 ms 216.239.46.180
8 * * * Request timed out.
9 * * 145 ms 72.14.232.215
10 91 ms 89 ms 94 ms 209.85.253.137
11 86 ms 91 ms 84 ms yx-in-f99.google.com [74.125.45.99]

This is how bad my internet connection has been for the last few days. For those of you who don't understand what that stuff means, each row contains 3 attempts to contact each router along the way from my apartment to www.google.com. Each asterisk is lost data, each number is successfully sent data (how many milliseconds it took for the answer to come back). We've had such ridiculously high packet loss that either the connection is totally gone or it's in a minimally functional state like this for the vast majority of the time.

Time
Warner
Sucks.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bionic Bullet Dodging Armor?

Straight out of science fiction, IBM filed a patent on body armor that will use electrical impulses to make a person get out of the way of bullets. It's a pretty crazy idea, but wow. It's hard for us to really understand how slow bullets are since they are typically used at fairly short range. The example of a 2.5 km shot taking 4 seconds to reach its target definitely shows that this could be possible if the armor could detect a tiny projectile at a long enough range.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Video Games Delivering Political Messages

Harpooned is a game about killing whales for scientific research.... It's great to see that video games are being used to deliver more meaningful messages than mindless entertainment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Google Street View Art

It's amazing how art and technology go hand in hand. Google brought us the nifty street view technology on Google maps. So naturally, people have been using it as a medium for art.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Transformers 2 Video Game

Yay, the project I'm working on has finally been announced... and there's a teaser trailer for it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Study Starcraft At UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley makes me proud very frequently. They're apparently the first university to offer a course in playing a video game. They now have a Decal course on Starcraft!

This is not the same as a core curriculum class, but you actually do earn units for taking it. =)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

QWERTY Urban Legend

It's practically common knowledge nowadays that the QWERTY keyboard layout that the majority of us use is pretty awkward and not nearly optimal for typing speed. The only reason it has succeeded is a combination of early luck and entrenchment.

Have you personally researched the basis for this "common knowledge?"

I stumbled across this excellent article discussing both the impact and basis for this myth. It's a really great reminder that just because something is "common knowledge" doesn't mean it's true.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

9 Years

As of today, it's been 9 years since my sister was killed in a car accident. I'm not exactly sure what has changed in me since then, but I feel like I have gotten more used to the idea. It's like getting used to losing a limb or something, I would imagine: There's still something big missing that you're almost always aware of, but you've found ways to continue living.

AnnaTheRed's Bento Factory

AnnaTheRed's bento factory is amazing. I've seen other sites showing some of the bento artwork other folks have made, but this one is my favorite because she often makes video game references.

The amount of labor involved in making them boggles my mind. It makes me realize how lazy I am when I cook. =(

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Interesting Interview With An Adware Programmer

Yes, we all hate the adware that makes it onto Windows computers. Honestly it isn't really a big problem if you don't use Internet Explorer, but I have empathy for those who suffer from adware.

Have you ever wondered what goes through the minds of the people who make this adware that everybody hates? Here's an interview with a very talented programmer who developed adware for a while. His thoughts on the subject an explanation of some of the general techniques he used are very interesting to read.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An Atheist Meets God

Cute little animation depicting an atheist meeting god. It raises a lot of really good points, of course, too:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Irritation

Nothing pisses me off more than people making all sorts of assumptions about me.

Yes, I do play World of Warcraft.

No, that does not mean I spend my time raiding.
No, that does not mean I neglect real life responsibilities for it.
No, that does not mean I lack social skills.
No, that does not mean I play it to excess.

Most people simply do not understand that a game can be taken as a hobby like any other. Everybody has hobbies, whether it is watching TV or going out to parties. Don't judge me because I have a different hobby than yours.

I only play World of Warcraft for the friends I have in the game and for the challenge that Player Versus Player (PVP) combat entails. I play it the same way I used to play real time strategy games, fighting games, or first person shooters. I enjoy competition in games.

I really wish people would mind their own business. PVP in World of Warcraft right now is ridiculously imbalanced so it's barely even playable. When I opt not to spend time with particular people, it's not because I would rather play World of Warcraft, it's usually because I'd rather not spend time with that particular person. I would rather stay home and read a book than spend time with most people.

This rant has been brought to you by my roommate inviting over a friend and asking if I wanted to go with them to eat. I declined because it's the middle of the afternoon and I don't particularly like eating at peculiar hours. Automatically, my roommate's friend asks "is he raiding?"

I don't know what my roommate tells him about my life, but that comment irritated me. If I had any interest in making friends with this jackass, that interest disappeared right then.