Stephen Colbert gets his own show - The Colbert Report is scheduled to debut early this fall. He's my favorite correspondent on the Daily Show, so this should be good. He'll be making fun of the pundit shows that cable news is peppered with.
This is a move that is making geeks everywhere happy. Kevin Rose was one of the last TechTV personalities left on G4TV. He was unhappy with the way his friends got fired and the way he wasn't allowed to do as much tech content as he wanted on the dumbed down incarnation of The Screen Savers. He also happened to be locked into a four year contract, so he couldn't quit. But, after a month of negotiations, he was released from his contract, and he's moving on. I see this as one more nail in the coffin for G4. They've already lost most of their good talent, cancelled or ruined the good shows they brought over and, what's most telling, they've exchanged all the relevant and profitable tech company ads for exercise equipment ads and infomercials like you see on PAX late at night. I'm hoping they'll close up shop soon.
On the upside, Kevin Rose has some good projects underway. Last night his downloadable tech show, Systm launched. I watched it this morning and it was really fun. It reminded me of some of the best segments from TSS. Now that he's doing this full time, it should be high quality and frequently released. If you like tech at all, this is worth a download. Rose has another project I like quite a bit: Digg.com. And the whole TSS team gets together once a week to record This Week in Tech, a 60 minute podcast of technology news and discussion.
We ate our first cutting from the garden tonight. I harvested both the Simpson lettuce, buttercrunch, spinach and India mustard. I also pulled a green onion. We made it into a salad with some fetta cheese and ranch dressing. I thought it tasted alright. And I haven't come down with a flesh-eating virus (yet). I planted a couple of cucumber plants this week and they're starting to come up now.
I mentioned Stumbleupon a few weeks back, and here's another site for finding cool stuff: Digg.com. It's mostly for tech news, but it's set apart from sites like Slashdot because it is totally user moderated. Any user can submit a story, which then shows up on the digg all page. If you like a story, you just click the link next to it that says "+digg". The page doesn't even have to reload, you just see a quick visual effect letting you know that your digg has been recorded, and you can keep reading. Once a story has been dug 15 times, it's promoted to the front page. I've found a lot of interesting stuff at this site. You can hit the front page for a quick look at the most popular news stories, or if you have time you can sift through the most recent submissions and help decide what should be promoted. Take a look at my profile page to see what I've beein digging, what stories I've submitted and read my comments. I also added a "recent diggs" section to my sidebar at Danny's Blog Cabin. There is an RSS feed for my diggs. If you register there, let me know what your username is.
Another cool thing about Digg.com is that it was created by Kevin Rose of TechTV fame. His other current projects include This Week in Tech, the podcast featuring the old TSS gang, and Systm, an online TV show that launches on Monday. I hope that these projects can be successful enough for Kevin to be able to quit his job with G4.
After reading about the history of the Wilhelm Scream, a movie sound effect that has been reused in dozens of films, I found a page about other movie sound cliches. That lead me to some pages about movie cliches in general. I am hereby inventing a game: Movie Cliche Bingo. To make a game card you randomly place some movie cliches from the lists onto a 5 x 5 grid. Put on your favorite movie (or a really cheesy one for faster games) and mark your card as you spot cliches in the flick. I even made the first card for you.
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid." --Dwight D. Eisenhower (R), November 8, 1954
The bit about the Texas oil millionaires almost makes this seem made up, but Snopes confims that Ike did write this. They go on to say that he was a Republican generally in favor of smaller government, but he did feel that Social Security was worth the expense.
In somewhat related news, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist buys some $295 shoes from a store that's in the same building as the offices of Americans United to Protect Social Security. And, what do you know, they meet him at the door with a rally protesting the privatization of Social Security. Wonkette.com has pictures.
Tonight my father-in-law called with a math problem for me. He built a water tank out of six-inch pipe to go on top of his horse trailer. This will be much more stable and wind-resistant than the 55 gallon barrel that he had been strapping up there. He was trying to figure out how many gallons of water it would hold. He has 396 inches of 6 inch pipe. I thought back to my geometry days and somehow remembered the formula for volume of a cylinder: pi(r*r)*h . pi9*396 = about 11196 cubic inches. Thank you, Mac OS calculator. I brought up the Dashboard widget for converting units of measure. Alas, it doesn't convert cubic inches to gallons. Then I remembered that Google added a conversion feature recently. I figured it was a long shot, but I typed in 11196 cubic inches in gallons in the Google search window. Brilliant! 48 gallons. I gave Joe the answer and he said that was about what he expected. Thanks, Google. But that's not all. I came back later to see if I could have done the whole thing in Google. I tried (3*3)pi * 396 cubic inches in gallons. Wow. Very impressive.
Another company has started selling tickets for a sub-orbital space flight. After reading that article I started wondering why they don't just enter an orbit around the earth. That would be a more exciting trip and it would last longer. If you're paying 150,000 dollars, then you don't want the trip to be over in just a few minutes or hours. So I did some research into the difference between orbital and sub-orbital flight. As usual, Wikipedia had a very good article on the subject: Difference between sub-orbital and orbital spaceflights. Turns out that the lateral velocity of the ship is the big difference. Here's an excerpt:
The difference between the lowest speeds required for orbital and sub-orbital space flights is substantial: a spacecraft must reach about 18,000 mph to attain orbit. This compares to the relatively modest 2,500-3,000 mph typically attained for sub-orbital crafts.
The important difference in energy requirements between a sub-orbital spaceflight such as that required for the X Prize and for an orbital spaceflight is that no lateral or angular velocity is required for the sub-orbital flight. The energy required to get to 100 km or even 350 km altitude is dwarfed by the energy required for the necessary lateral velocity of orbital space flight.
In terms of energy: accelerating a spacecraft to orbital speed requires about 31 times as much net energy as just lifting it to a height of 100 km (together 32 times).