Yesterday I launched a new blog: Rapid Notes. It’s just hosted on a free WordPress.com account for now, and will probably stay that way.
I created this new outlet because I wanted a place to store and share the fascinating things I find online every day. I’m not going to put just any old thing up there, but it’ll be a busier blog than many of my others. Much busier. The idea is to help me identify what my real passions are by looking at the common themes of the items I post. I’ll be spending time getting the tags and categories — the taxonomy — just right. Then as the blog grows I’ll be able to look at my archives determine… well… something hopefully.
Since the original ten commandments seem somewhat narrow and obsolete (too much focus on livestock, servants, and jealous god issues), here is a modest first draft of a fresh set.
Erika isn’t (by far!) the first to attempt to update these guidelines from on high, so I thought it would be interesting to collect a few here, starting with ‘The Fresh Ten’:
The Fresh Ten
You shall treat all people with respect regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, or national origin.
You shall not kill, assault, nor intimidate with threats of physical violence.
You shall not rape, sexually coerce, nor intimidate with threats of sexual violence.
You shall cultivate intellectual curiosity, be open to new ideas, and respect the scientific method.
You shall not cheat, nor cheat others out of what is rightfully theirs.
You shall not lie, deceive, nor spread lies about others.
You shall not steal, that is to say take or use what rightfully belongs to another person in a manner that causes harm. (Stealing is a trickier concept than it once was. How do you say yes to Fair Use and no to software patents?)
You shall keep your promises.
You shall not waste natural resources nor pollute the shared environment.
You shall take responsibility for your actions and their consequences.
One of my primary obsessions is with trying to be right about everything all the time. Almost obsessively. Being wrong to me is horrible. I would hate to be wrong about something.
Daring Fireball readers won’t be surprised by this admission, but I really like how this informs his thoughts on transparency:
There is a way to be right all the time and that is to recognise when you are wrong, figure out exactly how you were wrong, say so and now you are right. Nobody is right as they go all the time, but at least in the track record you leave behind you can be right all the time. John Gruber — ‘No Kind of Work for a Grown Man’
Warning: I’ve cranked the geek up to 11 for this uber-nostalgic post.
Buried Shadow (1999)
Recently I was reunited with a computer-generated image I created back in 1999 of a crashed Shadow ship from Babylon 5. I had submitted it as a cover image for the second issue of on online fan publication called Beyond Babylon. It wasn’t used on the cover, but it did get featured in the gallery. At some point I lost my original, so it was nice to be contacted out of the blue by someone who had a copy.
I have fond memories from those days of hanging out at the (now defunct) Babylon 5 Modellers Guild [b5mg.com] and the LightWave Group [lwg3d.org] (which evolved into the still-active Foundation 3D forums). Scifi-Art.com was another great community — I remember really liking their site design.
All this nostalgia got me digging around my old hard drives for more retro LightWave renders of mine.
Babylon 5 images
You can click on the small images below for a closer look. Not that I didn’t create any of these models myself, but the compositions, lighting and backgrounds were all my own work. Also, if you zoom in on that shot of Starfuries engaged in combat, you’ll see some of my own wing art designs. (Yes, that is Daffy Duck!)
Last night I updated the look and feel of the account with a new avatar, header and background image. Besides these cosmetic tweaks I added two feeds from the blog of security expert Brian Krebs, specifically his categories ‘latest warnings’ and ‘the coming storm’.
For me one of the big appeals of Minecraft is imagining what features I’d like to see added to the game.
The Minecraft developers are actually surprisingly receptive to ideas from the community, often incorporating suggestions and making alterations to the game based on player feedback. And if an idea isn’t really suitable for the game but is very cool anyway, there’s always the thriving modding community to make it a reality.
S.G. Collins explains how the technology didn’t exist in 1969 to actually fake the Moon landings in the way most conspiracy theorists seem to believe. Even if you were Stanley Kubrick.
I particularly love his delivery: he’s both monotonous and compelling, sarcastic and likeable.
Important note: I’ve seen people complaining about the ‘unnecessary gay joke’ he makes at the end – a play on the ‘homo’ in ‘homo sapien’. Of course, this is actually a reference to the latin meanings of the words: Homo is the genus of hominids that includes modern man and sapien loosely translates as ‘wise man’.
Up Goer Five is one of Randall Munroe’s more famous recent xkcd infographics in which he attempts to describe the workings of a Saturn V rocket using only most commonly used 1,000 words in the English language. Here’s just a part of it:
Scientists have been trying to explain the work they do using only this reduced language. Here’s the work of a paleontologist summarised:
I study tracks, trails, places where animals make homes, and shit, both new and old, and figure out how animals do these things. Tony Martin, paleontologist
Some of these passages come across as quite patronising (“We burn dead black stuff so that we can build things, power our houses and make our cars go.”), but some of the better ones are quite poetic. io9 has a beautiful description of Saturn:
Below the comic I’ve also embedded a TED talk by Susan Cain who talks about how extrovert behaviour has come to be considered the norm and how introverts can (often unknowingly) make self-negating choices in an effort to fit into society better.