Archive for May, 2009

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Can Formula One Cars Drive Upside-Down?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 16, 2009 by admin in Technology

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

This should be good for an endless round of Male Answer Syndrome at the bar. Someone please StumbleUpon or Reddit this so we can get a decent answer!

I mean, on purpose?

This question is more fun than the airplane on a treadmill question. A few years before Paul Newman passed away (rest in peace Paul, you’re one of my few heroes!), I saw him on a late-night talk show on which he put forth the crazy notion that Formula One cars could drive upside down, since their airfoils provide more than 3.5 G’s of downforce. Build a long tunnel with curved walls he said, take the car to top speed, and you’ll be able to swing up the wall and drive upside-down because of the force created by the car’s aerodynamics. On the surface, it makes sense based on the math, but you’re left feeling that a clever old man is pulling your leg. Searching the web offers what feels like less-than-conclusive answers. WikiAnswers answers pretty confidently, with no explanation. Softpedia tries to offer an authorative answer, but then proceeds to use inaccurate downforce numbers. Even the Official Formula 1 web site mentions the idea, but as a toss-off sentence and no solid math. Personally, I’d love to see this on Mythbusters, especially since even their Mailbag site serves up a gross inaccuracy in which they suggest that drivers experience g-forces because of the aerodynamics of the car. Someone, please help with an answer that provides convincing math! In the meantime, we can still rely on Paul Newman’s sage wisdom. When asked once if he’d like to share any life lessons – the sort of things that had guided him throughout his amazing career – Newman thought for a few seconds before answering with a wry smile: “It’s useless,” he said, “to put the brakes on when you’re upside down.”

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Wolfram Alpha – Cooler Than Google?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 15, 2009 by admin in Technology

Friday, May 15th, 2009

The new search engine and technology Wolfram Alpha launches today. Watch out Google.

We made reference to Wolfram Alpha as a “Google Killer” last week, which is something the developers apparently don’t like. It sets people up for the kind of disappointment everyone experienced when the last “Google Killer” Cuil was launched. Well, they’re webcasting the launch of Wolfram Alpha live tonight. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a new search tool that computes answers rather than simply culling links from a database like Google. Stephen Wolfram’s explanation sums it up nicely, if that’s still not making sense to you: “Fifty years ago, when computers were young, people assumed that they’d quickly be able to handle all these kinds of things … and that one would be able to ask a computer any factual question and have it compute the answer, but it didn’t work out that way … I’d always thought, though, that eventually it should be possible. And a few years ago, I realised that I was finally in a position to try and do it.” Having grown up on Star Trek, this has always been one of my biggest frustrations with technology. I honestly can’t wait to try it.

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You’d Freak Out A Lot Less If You Weren’t So Perfect

[ 4 Comments ]Posted on May 14, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Some ideas for getting back on track when work has you paralyzed with anxiety or feeling like screaming in terror. Any ideas of your own?

This was me about a week ago.

Under ordinary circumstances, I’m someone that most people would refer to as very organized. I mean, I actually ENJOY books like Getting Things Done, I’m easily fascinated by reading about the Noguchi Filing System, and I actually get weak knees in certain aisles of the office supply store. Unfortunately, the same reasonably healthy compulsions that make me so orderly can suddenly turn on me and make me a paralyzed, unproductive twit. Ninety percent of the time, I am the go-to guy, a motivator, a social connector. But when that other ten percent shows up, avoid me. I have horrible skills for dealing with my own failures and shortcomings. But I’m working on it, and I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s actually simple stuff. Especially with the recent economic situation, many of us are facing some unexpected events in relation to our livelihood. Many are facing the loss of their jobs, or pay cuts. Those of us who are self-employed may be more used to adapting to a shifting workscape, but may still find ourselves hitting a new kind of wall. When you find yourself so paralyzed by anxiety that you find it difficult to focus on the work you do have, what can you do? Well, you could panic. But as Seth Godin points out in that brief piece, that’s usually not especially productive. We could alternately spend a lot of time exploring planning and time management tools, but the irony there is obvious. What we’re usually dealing with at times like these is a form of fear. Krishnamurti described fear as the state between the familiar and the unfamiliar, and that is actually a very comforting description; it allows room for the knowledge that the new thing will become familiar, and some level of comfort will Read the rest of this entry »

Stripped Down Pop: Matt And Kim, Make The Girl Dance (Naked)

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on May 13, 2009 by admin in Music, Popular Media

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Why is Kim Schifino always smiling? Because she knows she’s going to be famous! Matt and Kim and Make The Girl Dance get naked for their music.

It seems the latest thing in pop song promotion is to GET NAKED. For the record, Matt & Kim did it first, stripping down as they walked through the streets of New York to their song Lessons Learned, from their 2009 release Grand. Following suit (well, they take the suit off), we have the French band Make The Girl Dance (also a duo, but two guys) with their song “Baby, Baby, Baby”. Matt & Kim stick to the fashionably gritty do-it-yourself ethic, while Make The Girl Dance do it in a more Parisian style, hiring beautiful models. Models who frankly look like they “need a sammich”, in my opinion. Matt & Kim’s fun “let’s just do it” vibe is nowhere more evident than in this “unplugged” version of Yeah Yeah, performed live in a park on Roosevelt Island. I think I have a crush on the drummer, Kim Schifino; she’s ALWAYS smiling, probably because she knows they’re going to be famous! Both videos are below, with links to the full-size clips.

Matt and Kim – Lessons Learned

Make The Girl Dance – Baby, Baby, Baby

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I’m Not A Democrat, But I Play One In The Voting Booth

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 12, 2009 by admin in Politics

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

White House Press Correspondents Dinners Haven’t Been This Much Fun Since Stephen Colbert Greeted His Paisan Justice Scalia With The Fangul

In spite of having some liberal mamby-pamby attitudes here on Dissociated Press, we hardly go easily on President Obama. In fact the last few posts about him expressed a lot of doubt about the job he’s doing. Well, being typical Americans, in only takes one good media event to sway our opinion. If you haven’t seen clips from the White House Correspondents Dinner last Saturday, take some time to watch (left). This event hasn’t been this much fun since Stephen Colbert stunned the audience into appalled, squirming silence back in 2006, adorning his performance with flourishes like giving Justic Scalia the Fangul and wrapping things up with the infamous Helen Thomas Chase Scene. It’s refreshing to see the POTUS’ intelligence and ability to laugh equalling that of the stand-ups and the press. In fact, his performance was probably better-pitched than Wanda Sykes’. Gobama!

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