Category Archives: Out there

Can Science Ever Be “Settled”?

Over the years, I’ve been engaged in many discussions wherein people suggested that because scientific understandings change over time, that science is therefore no more trustworthy than any other means of understanding the universe. This article does a fantastic job of explaining what it means for the science in some realm to be “settled.” A must read!

Can Science Ever Be “Settled”?

inflation

h/t Mike Knapp

Tilden Loop – GoPro

Wonderful three-mile loop through the heart of Tilden Park in the Berkeley Hills. Up Meadows Canyon, down on Curran Trail, then back along the Gorge trail. Mountain biked with a helmet-mount GoPro.

The actual ride was around 20 minutes. The first two minutes of this are edited down from the uphill – I left the downhill mostly intact.

The complexity of the foliage and the fast motion make the video codecs really struggle – wish I could show you the uncompressed original.

Schmidt Lane Descent

Five-minute descent through the Hillside Nature Area in El Cerrito CA (our family affectionately calls the area “Schmidt Lane” for the name of the street you enter from).

Shot with GoPro Hero3 Black + helmet mount, edited in the new GoPro Studio software. Sorry about the abrupt music ending – Studio currently has no audio envelope controls.

Ironically, I wiped out on the way going up and wracked my knee, though managed to stay upright on the descent :).

Music: Can – One More Night (Ege Bamyasi)

Expoobident

In 1960, trumpeter Lee Morgan recorded an album with the bad-ass title “EXPOOBIDENT,” an adjective which I take to mean some combination of excellent, expedient, and faboo. I kind of started saying it a lot over the past few years, not sure why. Today Miles asked what it meant, and of course it was tough to explain. Googling, found that expoobident.com actually already exists – a placeholder site for jazz reference. Only almost all of the text on it is lorem ipsum. Which just goes to show how impossible it is to find a good domain name these days.

expoobident

Vimeo vs. YouTube for GoPro Footage

Owning a GoPro camera is a total blast, but having to deal with the ultra-high-def footage and non-standard frame rates it generates forces you to think of details you might not have had to think about before. And beyond that, of course you want to show off all that pixel clarity. Watching one of your clips on the desktop is a jaw-dropping experience; watching it again after it’s been uploaded to the web is comparatively disappointing. But hosting the original files on your own server isn’t a very nice option either.

After spending the day with a GoPro on my head at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk yesterday, tried uploading one of the clips to both YouTube and Vimeo, and you can check them both out below for sake of comparison (try both of them full-screen).

Here’s the Vimeo version:

Double Shot, Santa Cruz Boardwalk w/GoPro Helmet Cam from Scot Hacker on Vimeo.

Since Vimeo is known for having the highest quality, it’s no surprise that the Vimeo version has less pixelation and more retained detail. But I’ve got seven clips to upload, and have to “wait for my week to reset” before I can upload more high-def footage, unless I spring for the “Plus” version at $10/month. Otherwise I have to wait for Wednesday to roll around if I want it free.

And here’s the YouTube version:

I don’t mind paying for services that provide quality, but $10/month is kind of steep for me, given how seldom I’ll need this ability. Hrmm, what to do.

Maker Faire 2013

I’ve been taking Miles to Maker Faire every year since it launched in 2006, making this our 8th. It’s different every year – sometimes better, sometimes worse. No question it’s become more popular (for better and for worse) and less dangerous over time. With every passing year, there are fewer exhibits that can take your head off, singe your eyebrows, or help you lose a limb. And there’s an increasing emphasis on crafty stuff, things you can do with kids, etc. The maker movement has become more mainstream, less Burning Man, and more accessible. But there’s still no better place to experience such an awesome array of things to do with your kids, concentrated in one place. Despite the crowds and the impossible traffic, we still consider it worth going.

Tough Art

A few highlights from this year’s event:

  • Giant vat of the stuff they fill disposable diapers with. Neither wet nor dry, it feels surreal and rubbery to the touch. Amazing in large quantities.
  • The usual amazing Tesla Coil demonstration
  • Guy playing a homemade didgeridoo/drum kit rig
  • Cupcake cars driving around
  • Biggest bin of iron filings and rare earth magnets I’ve ever seen
  • Immense arrays of bubbles being dispensed from long loop/string invention
  • Giant replica of Milton Bradley’s original Mousetrap game, including 400-lb steel bathtub and real bowling balls.
  • Adam Savage in person!
  • Miles got to make a bizarre vuvuzela-type noisemaker
  • Bike-like vehicle driven by the motion of the rider pumping up and down rather than pedaling
  • Solar powered cars
  • Mind-blowing 3D printer creations
  • Hands-on metal stamping with 1-lb brass hammer
  • Pedal-powered llama-shaped cars with articulated head
  • The usual assortment of crazy bicycle-like inventions
  • Entire city made of tightly wrapped masking tape (hard to describe, but incredible)
  • Make your own steampunk goggles booth (for kids)
  • Biggest paella cooking trays you’ve ever seen
  • Blue Man Group-style PVC acoustic marimba
  • Stilt walkers everywhere

… and we didn’t even get to see 50% percent of it.

Mousetrap

Flickr set