Yesterday the girlfriend and I took a long walk around the Howard Christensen Nature Center in Kent City. Click the photo to see the rest of the set.
A random bit of browsing this morning revealed to me that, with little apparent fanfare, the Encyclopedia of Life launched a few weeks ago. Right now there are about 30,000 animals in the database, which is about 1% of what they hope to accomplish over the next ten years.
Here are some notable links related to the EOL:
I could go on at length about the significance of this project, but I think of Mr. Wilson just about covers it in his talk.
Another science fiction great has left us. Arthur C. Clarke, author of Rendezvous with Rama, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and many other works of speculative fiction, long and short, died earlier today in his home in Sri Lanka.
I have not read many of his books; 2001, 2010, Rama, and perhaps one or two others. One of the earliest serious science fiction works I remember reading was The Nine Billion Names of God (warning: spoilers), which left me in equal part awestruck and deeply spooked for some time.
In case you are wondering why Mr. Clarke should interest you, or how he has been a part of your life, ecce: Communication satellites in geostationary orbit were pretty much his idea.
And people say science fiction is only so much stargazing.
One of our students, Anna, recently took several photos of one of our kung fu classes. She has posted them, along with others she has taken along the way, in a gallery at her DeviantArt page. She has also graciously allowed us to post some of her photos on Master Lee’s website. I will be putting those up as I have time and energy.
Class has been going well this year. We have more students than I have ever seen, with a steady influx of new people. The youngest is about seven, and the oldest in his early seventies. We are already signed up for the annual Festival of the Arts show, about which I have high hopes. The shows just seem to keep getting better and better, which is a tribute both to Master Lee and his students.
I love what I do.
My good droog Scott turned me on to an awesome Firefox browser plugin called PicLens. PicLens is a 3d browser built on top of Firefox which allows for browsing of online collections of images, such as you might find at Flickr, Deviant Art, or looking at a Google Image Search result. The experience is pretty seamless, and there is a search bar sitting unobtrusively in the upper corner, out of the way of everything.
Launching it is extremely simple. Either click on a small icon installed in the upper right corner of the browser chrome, or hover over the images on whatever page you happen to be visiting. If you see a small blue arrow appear in the lower left corner of the image, click on that arrow and it will launch PicLens.
This is a much more elegant and engaging way to peruse stacks of pictures than is the usual browser interface. And at a lowly 1MB download, it is well worth the time to try it out.
…it will be called It’s Not Hypocrisy When I Do It.
Actually, that is probably the name of the introductory manual they give you when you win your first local election. It sure would explain a lot…
Yesterday Cynthia and I went for an adventure out at the Saul Lake Bog Nature Preserve. We spent most of our time walking around on the surface of the frozen bog, following wild turkey tracks and watching hawks fly overhead. About half of our total time out there was spent walking about a hundred yards through some incredibly dense undergrowth, following deer tracks. It turns out that deer can make it through places not meant to be walked by humans.
One of the high points for me was discovering some pitcher plants growing at the edge of the bog. I always like the small surprises which occur during a walk, but this one was especially interesting, because I did not know pitcher plants grew in Michigan. I guess you learn something new every day.
Click either of the photos to see the rest of the set.
This is “Knights of Cydonia” by Muse. It has everything!
The above was taken this past Sunday at Blandford Nature Center. Click the photo to see the rest of the set.
Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, passed away today at the age of 69. I and millions of other geeks are in mourning. It is safe to say that he helped make me the geek I am today. Dungeons and Dragons led to computer RPGs, which led to programming games on the Commodore 64 , which led to being computer savvy enough to be able to dive into programming as a profession when my life as a retail employee had reached its end.
Had GG never been, the world would be a much more mundane place.
Ave Atque Vale.