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.
Amy Sedaris on Martha Stewart
Amy Sedaris is crazy. And great.
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.”
(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:
People throw phone books on the river. (And why not!)
- My chin is an extremity.
- Today was a good-weather day in Boston. There were people out playing frisbee, kicking a soccer ball around where there wasn’t ice, and joggers all over the place. Today’s low is 17, high is 36, and it’s sunny. Yay!
- The fitting rooms at Filene’s Basement are just one room, lined with mirrors and hooks next to them, spaced about 3 feet apart. After waiting my turn, I walked in, looked around, found the one empty mirror, and squeezed between two naked people to claim it.
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!
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.)
- inspirations from Google image searches (e.g. “what a teen looks like”)
- paranoid pigeons
- cartoons drawn in letters from soldiers at war
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!).
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!
- Arrive on time for talks by Edward Tufte, if you really want to see him.
- T stops now appear on Google maps
- A search for “blood blisters” is the second-most common referrer to my website, behind “anita lillie”, so far this month.
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:
- I want to focus on the things I learn. What an exciting thing!
- I want to keep my brain chugging. I’ve been forgetting a lot of stuff lately, and this site motivates me to reflect and record something from each day. Writing things out to share with others solidifies my understanding and memory of those things.
- It’s an easy, useful, flexible, positive blog. I can post something tiny and easy, or something long and thoughtful, depending on the day’s Thing. But I will try to post every day.
- I can post whatever I want, as long as I think it’s “best”! Anything merits a post.
- Other people can post their own Best Thing as comments. (Please do!) If this looks popular, maybe we can start up a little community of bubbling, learny fervor!