mahna mahna .net

Like many personal blogs of its era, this blog is moribund, a casualty of what we might call "the Facebook effect." However, as of late 2015, two things are clear: (1) The Indie Web is a thing, and (2) the re-decentralization of the web is a thing. So who knows? 2016 2017 2018 (!) could be the year this blog rises from its own ashes. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 18 May 2004
A blog I would have loved when I was a boy: “the world’s first interactive T. rex dig”! I hope this finds its way into classrooms. (I wonder how many teachers are that wired.)

[spotted at jwz]
posted to /misc at 12:18am :: 0 responses
Thursday, 13 May 2004
This is the strangest Classic Beetle I have ever seen.
posted to /misc at 2:13pm :: 4 responses
That’s just one of the lovely ideas in Kurt Vonnegut’s latest short, angry, pessimistic little screed that does a fine job of taking stock of the world we suddenly find ourselves in, although I’m not sure I agree with the idea that “all great literature is about what a bummer it is to be a human being.”
posted to /misc at 2:13pm :: 1 response
Monday, 03 May 2004
Haven’t you always wanted to dig a really kickass hole in your backyard?

[spotted on MetaFilter]
posted to /misc at 4:03pm :: 3 responses
Thursday, 29 April 2004
This idea came to me via jaderabbit. Anyone can participate, whether you know me or not. Invent a memory of me and post it in the comments. It can be anything you want, so long as it’s something that’s never happened. (Then, of course, post this to your blog/journal and see what people would like to remember of you, only the universe failed to cooperate in making it happen so they had to make it up instead.)
posted to /misc at 1:29pm :: 6 responses
Thursday, 22 April 2004
I was cleaning out my browser bookmarks today and I found a link to Garrison Keillor’s old advice column at Salon, “Mr. Blue.” From May of 1998 till just a week before September 11, 2001, Mr. Blue dispensed advice about life, love, and writing. The advice was almost always stellar, the prose always a sheer delight to read. I will never forget the following exchange, from the 6/5/2001 installment of Mr. Blue: more...
posted to /misc at 4:22pm :: 2 responses
Wednesday, 21 April 2004
Novelist Neal Stephenson interviewed at Salon:
One of things you like to do on the side is dabble in programming. Do you see similarities between writing code and writing fiction?

I think there are common threads between writing and programming. That’s a really easy statement for people to misunderstand and twist around so I’m a little leery of making it. All I’m saying is that the thing you’re making — the novel or the computer program — has got a very complicated and finely wrought hierarchical structure to it. The structure has to work right or the whole thing fails. But the only way you can work on it is by hitting one character at a time. You’re building this thing one character at a time while having to maintain the whole structure in your head. That description applies equally well to programming and novel writing even though they’re very different activities.
[You can watch a short commercial for a free Salon “day pass” if you are not a member.]
posted to /misc at 10:21pm :: 0 responses
Tuesday, 20 April 2004
I have never watched a single episode of American Idol and that pattern is not likely to change. I am, however, aware of the mini-stardom of William Hung, the UC Berkeley engineering student who appeared on the show in January, singing his uniquely pathetic version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.” Hung has been all over trash-media since; it seems like a new story about him pops up every few days.

I’ve been disturbed by Hung’s popularity from the outset, though I’ve found it hard to explain why. Well, SFGate columnist Emil Guillermo nails exactly what’s wrong with Hung’s fifteen minutes of fame in a two-part column: part one · part two

I especially liked this bit, which references a classic piece of Americana that I’ve long felt is tragically infused with a particularly insidious sort of racism:
[the folks behind Hung] are updating a classic anti-Asian image — that of the Mickey Rooney character in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” complete with buck teeth, bad hair and bad accent. Rent the movie and cringe.
posted to /misc at 4:20pm :: 0 responses
Friday, 09 April 2004
Crew Boats Fend Off Otter Attack:
“I don’t think I’ve ever rowed harder in my entire life as I did trying to escape the otter — that devilish creature had already attacked Scott and now it was coming back for more,” said Noah Riner ‘06, who was in the second varsity eight at the time of the incident.
posted to /misc at 2:09pm :: 1 response
Friday, 02 April 2004
Sunday, 14 March 2004
From a piece by Freeman Dyson in the latest New York Review of Books comes this:
Littlewood was a famous mathematician who was teaching at Cambridge University when I was a student. Being a professional mathematician, he defined miracles precisely before stating his law about them. He defined a miracle as an event that has special significance when it occurs, but occurs with a probability of one in a million. This definition agrees with our common-sense understanding of the word “miracle.”

Littlewood’s Law of Miracles states that in the course of any normal person’s life, miracles happen at a rate of roughly one per month. The proof of the law is simple. During the time that we are awake and actively engaged in living our lives, roughly for eight hours each day, we see and hear things happening at a rate of about one per second. So the total number of events that happen to us is about thirty thousand per day, or about a million per month. With few exceptions, these events are not miracles because they are insignificant. The chance of a miracle is about one per million events. Therefore we should expect about one miracle to happen, on the average, every month.
posted to /misc at 3:14pm :: 2 responses
Monday, 01 March 2004
MC bought himself a that has some pretty interesting instructions.
posted to /misc at 11:01pm :: 1 response
Tuesday, 03 February 2004
This is making the rounds (I saw it at Boing Boing) and it’s easy to understand why. This is fun:
While sitting in your chair, lift your right foot slightly off the ground and move it in clockwise circles. Now draw the numeral “6” in the air with your right hand. Your foot will involuntarily reverse direction.
posted to /misc at 10:03pm :: 2 responses
Friday, 30 January 2004
You’re an Italian battery-charging company named Powergen. You need a Web site. What domain name do you grab? Of course.

[part of Business 2.0’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business]
posted to /misc at 2:30pm :: 1 response
Thursday, 18 December 2003
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