How a comparator really works

Finally, I see how a comparator really works. Like, how to bias the negative input to get a simple threshold, and how to add one resistor in a positive feedback loop to get the behavior of a Schmitt trigger with hysteresis. Awesome.

February 28, 2007. academics. 1 Comment.

Amy Sedaris on Martha Stewart

Amy Sedaris on Martha Stewart
Amy Sedaris is crazy. And great.

Here’s her book.

Also: Monster Glowing Squid Caught on Camera. Includes eerie video.

February 27, 2007. comics, food, tv. No Comments.

PaRappa the Rapper

Kirthi invited me to play PaRappa the Rapper this afternoon, which is a fun little rhythm game for the PSOne. I played on Easy, which the manual says “is for very young children, or for those who have no sense of rhythm at all.”

February 25, 2007. friends, games, sound. 2 Comments.

Guitar Hero too much

(for Saturday (2/24/07)… it’s just late.)

We have Guitar Hero 2 set up in our lab area (because Alex Rigopulos, of Harmonix, graduated from my group some years ago), and it gets played a LOT. Since there are other groups around us who want to work, we have the game hooked up to two pairs of headphones, so all you can hear when someone is playing is the click-click-clicking of the strumming. Adam says that he plays Guitar Hero so much that he can recognize a piece by the click-click-clicking alone. Amazing, Adam!

This morning, I woke up with a Guitar Hero song stuck in my head. “What song IS that??” I did a search on the web for Guitar Hero, and found a group of guys wrote some software to grab the “tabs” off of Guitar Hero 2. Just by looking at each set of tabs in turn, I was able to find the song (“Less Talk More Rokk”!!), notable for its regular ascending patterns and totally infectious off-beats:

I went on a walk today, across the Mass Ave bridge, up Beacon St, and through the Common to Downtown Crossing. Things I noticed during the walk:

February 25, 2007. Boston/Cambridge, games, sound. No Comments.

How to do simple stuff in iMovie

I created/edited my first movie today, in iMovie. Not too exciting, but a first nevertheless, the fruits of which I will share a link to in the next week. I watched/read this tutorial to get me started:

I also learned that my marimo is pearling! Go, marimo, go!

pearling marimo

February 24, 2007. computers/programming, pets. No Comments.

How Chris Ware created the 2006 Thanksgiving New Yorker covers. (Also: yogurt)

Video of Chris Ware talking about New Yorker covers, his invitation to design some for the Thanksgiving issue of 2006, and the thought he put into making those covers. (Specific portion starts around 18:21 and goes until 29:05.)

I’ve always liked Chris Ware’s drawings, have been a little ambivalent about his dejected attitude, but the hyper-connectedness of the four New Yorker covers he designed, and the incredible detail they contain, is just awesome. (I wish I’d taken the time to notice these things on my own.)


In addition:

THIS is the consistency of the Yoplait “Whips!® Creamy Latté YOGURT MOUSSE”, of which I had my first today:
whips yogurt
whips yogurt

It is the clumpy, cotton-candy version of yogurt. These actually weigh significantly less than the normal Yoplait® cups (4 oz instead of 6 oz. Would you say that is 50% less, or 33% less? haha, tricky tricky!).

February 22, 2007. comics, food. 1 Comment.

The first thing

Choosing something to start with is an intimidating task. I think I’m going to make an allowance that I do not have to choose just one thing each day; rather, I can choose as many as I want. Hooray for more things worth learning!

That said, here is the thing I choose as “the best thing i learned today”:

I’m reading Brian C. J. Moore’s An Introduction to the Psychology of Hearing. In the section entitled “Basic Structure and Function of the Auditory System” (specifically, pp. 22-23 in the 5th edition), Moore discusses the functions of the middle ear (aka those little bones you learned about in elementary school – the hammer, the anvil, and the stirrup). The first function is to transmit sound effectively from the air in the ear canal to the fluid in the cochlea just past your eardrum (it’s an impedance-matcher), which is a really beautiful thing, if you look closely at it.

But the second function, he says, is to “reduce the transmission of bone-conducted sound to the cochlea.” If you’re chewing, the bones in your skull would naturally vibrate, including the bones in your middle ear. These little ear bones would transmit the waves to the cochlea, so these noises would “appear loud and have the effect of masking external sounds.” Bad news. However, the guy who studied all of this, Bárány, showed that the sounds are only transmitted to the cochlea “when there is differential movement between the ossicles and the skull.” Our middle ear is positioned exactly so that it minimizes this possible differential movement. So we can still hear when we’re eating! And, perhaps even more interesting, Moore suggests that birds and reptiles, who have a more simple middle ear that does transmit skull vibrations to the cochlea, “swallow their food whole rather than chewing it, whereas mammals chew their food.”

Wow. I mean, seriously. Is it for real? Only the speculation of science knows!

Close competitors:

February 21, 2007. academics, climbing, information visualization, sound. No Comments.


So, I’ve finally decided that I will keep my own blog. Although I don’t want to call it a “blog”… it’s really more of a list, that I hope to add to every day. Sooo, like a “blist”. Yeah! “Check out Anita’s blisst!”

This is a place where I hope to add something new I’ve learned each day. Brent asked me, “But what if you don’t learn anything cool that day?” And it doesn’t really matter, since I am maintaining the optimistic assumption that I learn some things every day, and therefore, there has to be a best thing. So I should never have an excuse not to post.

Motivations for this blist:

February 21, 2007. Uncategorized. 1 Comment.