Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Sgt. Pepper’s anniversary

In Read on July 30, 2010 at 7:51 am

Well, the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s was actually three years ago when Daniel Levitin penned this piece for the Washington Post.  He writes:

A hundred years from now, musicologists say, Beatles songs will be so well known that every child will learn them as nursery rhymes, and most people won’t know who wrote them. They will have become sufficiently entrenched in popular culture that it will seem as if they’ve always existed, like “Oh! Susanna,” “This Land Is Your Land” and “Frère Jacques.”

<i>Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band</i>

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

I was in a band called Johnny Supernova in high school.  We capped our one and only performance ever (Battle of the Bands) with a cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s reprise, and walked away with the gold.

Caddy gets a car

In Read on July 29, 2010 at 7:04 am

A 23-year-old caddy in Muskegon, MI, walked away with a brand new Jeep Wrangler when his club choice helped Stan Andrie make a hole-in-one last week:

“I think you should hit a 5-iron,” Andrie recalled [caddy Dave] Maxey saying.

“If I get a hole-in-one, do you want a big tip or the car?” Andrie asked him, referring to the prize for an ace on that hole, a brand-new, black Jeep Wrangler 4×4, valued at $26,500.

Maxey chose wisely.

Dave Maxey with his new Jeep Wrangler.  Photo by John Madil.

Dave Maxey with his new Jeep Wrangler. Photo by John Madil.

HT:  Jonathan Kuhn, who recently launched a script review service at

Old Spice Man

In Read, Watch on July 28, 2010 at 7:03 am

You’ve likely been aware of the recent Old Spice ads featuring Isaiah Mustafa.  The first commercial aired during this year’s Superbowl and garnered tons of attention:

A couple weeks ago, Old Spice Man reappeared in a well-executed two-day social media frenzy, posting 180-ish videos that directly interacted with real-life people via Twitter.

Business Insider has a great wrap-up on the campaign which includes some behind-the-scenes info:

As people tweeted questions about manliness to the Old Spice Man, he began posting near-real-time video vignettes responding to the queries, all in character and with no small degree of humor as he stood bare-chested, abdominals front and center in a bathroom set with the creative crew and comedy copywriters of Wieden + Kennedy behind the camera furiously writing jokes and chasing down props.

Here’s the link to Old Spice’s YouTube page and a slew of the response videos.

“Hello Twittererers.”

Eclipse shadow chasing

In Read, View, Watch on July 27, 2010 at 7:42 am

Earlier this month there was a total eclipse of the sun.  It happened on July 11, though it was only visible over the southern Pacific Ocean.  This image is of the eclipse as seen from Easter Island:

Solar eclipse from Easter Island.  Photo by Stephane Guisard.  Click for hi-res.

Solar eclipse from Easter Island. Photo by Stephane Guisard. Click for hi-res.

Wired has the story of a plane full of observers who chased the eclipse from the air as it was happening to extend the amount of time spent in the moon’s shadow:

A few minutes before totality, the plane turned to face the approaching lunar shadow head-on. Schneider and his colleagues watched the shadow zoom toward the plane from a hundred miles away, engulfing the clouds below in darkness.

The plane flew along with the shadow at 500 miles per hour, about a third of the shadow’s speed across the Earth’s surface. At that speed, the time in totality stretched from the 5 minutes, 20 seconds visible from the ground to 9 minutes, 23 seconds. It was the longest totality ever observed from a non-experimental and non-military aircraft.

This would be great to see in person.  Here’s video of the eclipse from Argentina.  You can see the shadow cruise across the sky from left to right, especially if you let the whole thing load, then manually drag the video controller through the eclipse.

“I loved that jet.”

In Read on July 26, 2010 at 7:29 am

I’ve come across today’s link a few times over the past couple years.  It’s an excerpt from a book called Sled Driver by SR-71 pilot Brian Shul.  The book has apparently had only very limited print runs, but you can get one here for $427.00.

SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 Blackbird

Shul tells a story in the excerpt:

One day, high above Arizona, we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. ‘Ninety knots,’ ATC replied. A twin Bonanza soon made the same request. ‘One-twenty on the ground,’ was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio with a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was. ‘Dusty 52, we show you at 620 on the ground,’ ATC responded.

The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of Walter’s mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice, Walter startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, ‘Aspen 20, I show you at 1,982 knots on the ground.’ We did not hear another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast.

Shul also talks about having a model plane of the SR-71 when he was younger.  I too built an SR-71 model as a kid.  It was the baddest dude model out of all the bad dude models.

Most important modern architecture

In View on July 23, 2010 at 7:26 am

Vanity Fair asked architecture people to name the most important buildings created since 1980.  In 18th place here is Steven Holl’s addition to the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri:

Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri.  Photo by Roland Halbe.

Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Roland Halbe.

Click through for hi-res photos, and to see which building came out on top.

Track suits and video speeds

In Listen, Read, Watch on July 22, 2010 at 7:56 am

OK Go went boom four years ago with their treadmill video, and they’re back at it with the creative one-take music videos.  Here’s the video for “End Love” from their latest album:

Highlights include one continuous shot over two days, L.A.’s Echo Park, and one very interested goose.

UPDATE:  The band answers questions about the video:

“There were about four days to set choreography off-site, and we ran the routine twice on-site. The whole routine takes 21 hours from start to finish. I’m not sure how long exactly post-production took but my guess is about one month.”

Solid smoke

In Read on July 21, 2010 at 7:52 am

USC Mechanical Engineering student Kalin Higa has an article in Illumin about aerogel:

Although it was first produced over 70 years ago, it has taken recent research and applications for it to be hailed as a “miracle material”.

Because of aerogel’s exceptional thermodynamic properties, it is not just an ideal insulator for clothing, but for buildings as well.  Aerogel wall insulation can achieve the same insulation effectiveness as traditional fiberglass at less than a third of the thickness.  In addition, aerogel can be made hydrophobic, allowing it to prevent mold growth by repelling water vapor.




Spiderman in England

In Read, Watch on July 20, 2010 at 7:13 am

Hibiki Kono spent five months building a vacuum climbing machine in his design technology class at King’s College School in Cambridge.

His design technology teacher Angus Gent said:  “I’m hugely proud of him.  He developed it himself, which is amazing for someone of his age.”

Headmaster Nick Robinson added:  “We’re thrilled with his hard work. He went up a wall for assembly and it was amazing.”

The concept isn’t new (watch BBC One climb a building), but come on, this kid is 13.

Via:  Popular Science

Sky dive launch

In View on July 19, 2010 at 7:15 am

It’s three years old, but here’s a photo of USAF Staff Sgt. Eric Thompson in free fall while a Delta 2 rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

U.S. Air Force.  Click for high res.

U.S. Air Force. Click for high res.

There was some recent confusion over the origins of the photo, but click through to Cosmic Log to get the stories straightened out.

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