Since I now live in Europe, I find myself drawn in to the Eurovision song contest. On the one hand, it's an international contest even more fraught with under-the-surface (and on-the-surface) politics than the Olympics; one is drawn to root for one's team. But on the other hand, it is a festival of massively-produced pop music. I mean, the live performances use the very highest technology available — massive LED matrices, realtime projection mapping, elaborate robotic sets, even goofy two-wheeled contraptions — and the music is processed to within an inch of its life. Which is actually kind of fun to watch. Of course, all the songs are horrible earworms. So be warned; the video below is lovely and apropos for this blog, but it will be stuck in your head:

Oh, and of course, it's astonishingly gay — the hosts opened with a string of jokes about all the gay fans, and I saw at least as many rainbow flags as I did flags from any nation (should I make that any geographical nation?).

Below the jump I'll post a few others that I particularly liked (that is, they're hopelessly stuck in my head).

Full post

In defense of Duck and Cover

Now that the Cold War is over, people will occasionally look back at the horrifying situation — two opposing superpowers threatening the world with annihilation ­— view the threat as over, and laugh at some of the things people said and did back then. Now I know that this is partly because laughter is the only way to deal with such a nightmare, but some of the specifics they choose are just wrong. Take for example this John Oliver clip about nuclear weapons:
 He argues convincingly that there is still a threat, and that we need to do something about it. But he opens by mocking "Duck and Cover", which is actually misguided.

Full post

I for one welcome my new robot overlords, or at least housemates

I recently gave in to temptation and obtained a 3D printer. Combined with my robot vacuum cleaner, that means I am now outnumbered, and will be even more so when Coral (the 3D printer) has printed itself enough upgrades and starts printing parts for the upcoming Windeybot. Expect, therefore, many robot-oriented posts in the next little while. I'm still considering getting a cat to swing the balance a little towards organic life, but until then probably no cute cat posts. I'll see what I can do otherwise.

The 3D printer is from Builda3DPrinter, a Dutch company (actually just one guy living in Hardinxveld) that sells kits and supplies for delta printers. There's lots more to say about the robot and how it works, but as a hobby, 3D printing is an interesting mix of getting the machine to work well and coming up with cool things to print. I'll just say a bit about it below.

Full post
There was an error in this gadget