Monday, April 04, 2011

Early morning with little to do.


All this talk of nuclear radiation in Japan puts me in mind of my single favourite panel from any comic book graphic novel (ahem, sorry, we're adults here). To wit, this one, from Watchmen.

The best (and simultaneously worst) thing about it all is the fact that most people (myself included) don't really understand how radioactivity works. Radioactivity is fundamentally weird. It's like quantum states and umami; it's outside of most people's boxes. So you end up with alarming-looking jpegs getting forwarded by e-mails, like this paragon of misinformation:
Which wouldn't be so bad, except that people who don't know any better have been overdosing on potassium iodide pills.

Which is why I'm always glad when people try to put things in perspective. There's another website which is much, much better than mine, called XKCD. The guy who does XKCD is much, much smarter than me, and he assembled a super-interesting radiation chart, which shows the entire spectrum of radiation doses, from standing next to the reactor at Chernobyl all the way down to eating a banana. (The dose that workers at the Fukushima plant got immediately after the tsunami is actually pretty low on the scale, just above the dose someone would get from a mammogram.)

I have a new favorite Wikipedia page: The List of Common Misconceptions. Spend some time with it, memorize bits of it, and become the most annoying person at the party. You'll find yourself starting many sentences with, "Well, actually..." People will think you are cool and good-looking, and you are almost 100% assured of getting laid on any given evening.

Okay. It's been a while since I laid a substantive post on you, so I've got some stuff saved up.

My boss sent me this list of "untranslatable" words from other languages. My favorite is "tartle." I'm notoriously bad with names, and I'm so glad the Scottish have a word for me.

I have been hoarding this video since July of last year. It has aged and mellowed nicely, and, having given it a few minutes to sit open and breathe, I pour it forth for you:

Savour its bouquet.

I'm not as young as I look; I cut my teeth on the Atari 2600. We never really had a computer in the house  as I was growing up (my mom's electric typewriter represented the lofty heights of word processing), so I largely missed out on text-based games. I still got to fart around with things like Zork at the computer lab at Enrichment*, but now someone's assembled a website full of fun little time-devourers. The games run right in your browser. Mind the grue.

Speaking of games, I recently took a hiatus from World of Warcrack, which has been good for me. A suitable alternative may be NEStalgia, which marries the modern MMO to old-school 8-bit graphics. All I can say is that I am lucky the thing only runs on Windows. (Oh! But wait! I have Parallels! Mourn for me, I am lost!)

Mike Tyson seems to be enjoying a resurgence. Good for him:

We've recently (by which I mean in the last year and half) become converts to the Cult of Netflix. It is less time-intensive than torrenting, though apparently more legal. One thing that drives me up the wall, though, are those little paper flaps they use to seal the disk into its red shipping coffin. Thanks to the internet, though, there is now a way to recycle those flaps. Until you actually recycle them by putting them in the recycling.

It's rare that Newfoundland makes any sort of impression on the rest of the world, but I recently heard tell of a youtube video which had gone slightly viral. I present it here for your amusement.

Do you see the title? Do you you see those poor little apostrophes?
Did the bad man hurt you, little apostrophes? Come, let me hold you.

There are more games. When I was a child, a neighbour had a Game Boy. I was entranced. (Of course, I now carry a cellphone, a DS Lite and an iPod Touch, each of which boasts more computing power than the entire island of Newfoundland had during my childhood.) I did own a couple of Tiger LCD games. I think one was Thundercats-based. (However, I can find no evidence of such a thing on any of the Internets.) A website exists now that collects and emulates certain LCD games. It is diverting, but ultimately makes me happy to live now, and not then. (Well, I guess I did live then, but I was just a dumb kid.) Anyway, go look at it now, before Nintendo finds out about it and shuts it down.

I was able to wrest a few hours this morning from the dread beast Committed Employment, but I draw near to end of my freedom. Commence video dump.

A clever video spoofing the internet itself from CollegeHumor. I had wanted to embed it here, but the video was causing problems with Flash. So here is a link to it, instead. Stupid College Humor. Learn to code, dammit!

Sometimes I am amazed by the level of creativity some people show when fusing things like The Legend of Zelda with Every High School Movie From The 80s:

This one is a little disturbing, and caused some minor controversy upon its release. People don't like being told that sometimes zombies eat children. And that those zombie children sometimes go on to eat others. (There may be an age gate on this one.)

Again, I (who have no time at all) am in awe of people for whom time seems to flow like water, plentiful and clear. The audio for this comes from the trailer for Starcraft 2. The video... is from something else:

I did not see this guy in person, but he's here in New York somewhere. I will have to start taking the F line to work, it seems.

Congratulations! You've reached the end! As a reward for being good little Interneters and watching all the videos, you get two prizes. I confess to only having a rudimentary understanding of how this works, but it works, and that's the main thing.

If you take the following chunk of gibberish and copy-paste it into the address bar on your browser (where it says, you will be able to fly a SPACESHIP around my website and shoot things. I swear to god. This will work on any website. I found it hard to believe, too, but there you go. The word is full of miracles.

You can control the ship with the arrow keys and use the spacebar to fire. The ship's bullets are black, though, so you might want to try it out on another page.

And this snippet will enable you to roll a Katamari over the page, rolling everything up into a satisfying clump.

Scroll back up to the top of the page before loading that one, though. The ball starts at the top. It plays a song, too. To get either of them to stop, just reload the page or close the window.

That is all I can do for you today. I have given you the tools; go forth and cause havoc.

Next time I will teach you about charter schools and European honeymoons.

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
The lottery will be held on April 13.

*Which is where all the little nerdlings like me got to go one day a week to expand on our regular book-learnin'.