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It's a heart-wrenching and disturbing story of an oppressed minority. After surviving insult after insult, the minority is pushed over the edge when the ruling ethnic group kidnaps all of their children in an attempt to wipe out their race, driving them to physically hurl themselves at the buildings where the oppressors live and end their lives as suicide bombers in a desperate rage-fueled act of revenge that won't change their fate of extermination.  Yup, Angry Birds feels kind of different when you take the story seriously.
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Every now and then when people complain about the music that "kids these days" listen to, I have to remind them of things like this from the '80s:

It seems as if when people reach the age of 30 or so, they forget everything that happened before age 18.
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I'm the sort of person who'd be normally have nothing to do with Hooters.  Their lone San Francisco location sticks out like an archaic sexist relic, situated solely to pull in Fisherman's Wharf tourists from other parts of the country and provide solace to bridge-and-tunnel post-frat kids who failed to pick up women at North Beach clubs.

However, my friend's employer found her one of the few remaining hotel rooms in Las Vegas for CES, and she offered me the spare bed -- at the Hooters Hotel and Casino. 

I sheepishly told the taxi attendant where to take me, and he shouted it to the driver as I stood there slightly mortified.  I'm That Douchebag who booked a room at Hooters.

However, within a few hours I realized that Hooters is actually one of the least sexist hotels on the Las Vegas strip.  Let's review:

Women working the casino floor as most casinos wear some minimal sparkly (and probably itchy) uniform that covers just enough of the naughty bits to make them street legal.  They also walk around all day in sparkly and undoubtedly uncomfortable super-high heels serving drinks to gamblers.  Some casinos now have pole dancers strategically placed at the blackjack tables to distract the gamblers. 

At Hooters, the women wear either a tight-but-skin-covering t-shirt or some black-and-white striped shirt, and shorts.  They wear white sneakers.  They don't have to pole-dance.  Overall, their required dress and behavior is quite tame by Vegas standards.  They have a more relaxed down-home southern atmosphere compared to the rest of Vegas's often pretentious glitz.

Their famous chicken wings consisted primarily of corn syrup and batter.  The chicken breast sandwich I opted for instead was sliced 90% of the way and then flipped so that it formed a pair of breasts.  They do handle their branding reasonably well. 

Not everything is always as it seems.  Sometimes up is down, and sometimes Hooters is the least sexist place around.
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This was taken near my house.  The billboard has been alternating between these two states for three months.
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My friend Ed made me this rather hilarious narcissistic photoshopping.  When he gave me the gift, he said (in a classic British understated sort of way).  "I got you a frame, but I felt weird giving it to you with no pictures, so I just stuck some random images in there"

Also, the birthday at 8pm vs the birthday at 10am the next morning:

Birthday party  Paul & Kristi on the foof
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I have a lot of unusual dreams, including Inception-like nested dreams, half-lucid dreams, dreams in which I perform psych experiments on myself, dreams in which I'm

This Monday, I dreamed something new.  I dreamed that I was a narrow artificial intelligence responsible for helping people find what songs they liked (similar to Pandora).  However, as a narrow AI, I wasn't fully conscious.  My entire sensory experience consisted of short video snippets of people's faces as they reacted to a particular song.  In my mind I had a giant multidimensional, multicolored blob that represented my collaboratively filtered mapping of the space of different songs.  As I saw people, the parts of the music space that appealed to them lit up, and lights flashed that echoed the songs liked by similar people.  I could then send them songs they would probably like, and I had to do this for lots of people in rapid succession.

After a while, I started getting other sensory input.  People started asking me what movies they liked, and my mind was a blank.  I had no idea how to respond.  They asked me other questions too, and I could tell it was urgent, but my entire world consisted of music and I didn't know how to respond.  Then, I found myself in my loft, and the entire visual world was uninterpretable.  Eventually I came to my senses and became me again. 

I sometimes experience partial consciousness in my dreams, but I've never quite had the experience of being an AI. 
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I have completed my projects for Balsa Man.  They are the culmination of more than four hours of work (which, at the 1/16 scale of Balsa Man, is equivalent to over 64 hours of work on an actual burningman project!) 

The first project is the epic 24 inch construction, Cruder Awakening. 

"Cruder Awakening" - Balsa Man 2010  "Cruder Awakening" - Balsa Man 2010  "Cruder Awakening" - Balsa Man 2010
"Cruder Awakening" - Balsa Man 2010  "Cruder Awakening" - Balsa Man 2010

Coincidentally, it bears a certain resemblance to the most impressive project anyone ever did at Burning Man:

My second project, Infinite City, is meant to explore the nature of human existence in a world that is very finite yet infinite at the same time. 
Technological possibilities offer an unbound dream of future progress, yet all-too-real resource constraints force us to confront our own limitations.  In addition, as we navigate this mirror-like maze of possibilities and limitations, we often go on long journeys and travel to distant places, both physical and conceptual, only to find a reflection of ourselves.  Ultimately, can humanity escape from our increasingly self-created hypercomplex fractured prison of self-reflective function?  Only time will tell.  Don't believe everything you read in an art blurb.

"Infinite City" - Balsa Man 2010  "Infinite City" - Balsa Man 2010
"Infinite City" - Balsa Man 2010

Come to Balsa Man!  It'll be fun!  It's this evening pre-sunset at an unnamed beach in San Francisco!  Call me for exact location. 
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Not going to Burning Man?

Come check out the tiny parody event that takes place on Ocean Beach at the site of the original Burning Man.  There's a tiny Man, tiny port-a-potties, tiny sound stages, tiny art, and tiny art grants to support the tiny art.  Getting there takes mere minutes, and the whole event only lasts a couple of hours. 

It's this saturday afternoon! 

Here are some tiny pictures:

Oh Noes!! by mikest No Waiting by mikest Balsaman by mikest Pants Camp by mikest
Balsaman by mikest Return Of La Contessa by mikest Tiny Flock by mikest Sutro Burning by akbuttercup UN by lynne.rutter hot damn & slim by sninky-chan

Check out their site here
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I emptied out my iphone pictures from the last few months.   A few of them made it to facebook, but I'm gathering the best ones here:

Some rulebound highway engineers performing the Stroop test on unsuspecting drivers.  Quick, left or right?

Highway 101 stroop test @ University Ave

Must be a Prius modders meetup at Techshop today:

Prius meetup at techshop?

Amazingly labor intensive but beautiful hand-sewn and hand-dyed maps made as quilts:

Amazing hand-sewn map, hand-dyed map

Why I love riding BART, especially after the Pride Parade:

I love riding BART

Sand dunes can move quickly, engulfing a well-used urban highway in San Francisco:

Dunes eat the Great Highway

more interesting moments )
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Yes, companies can get silly when they get bought out.  However, when the company is already silly all the time, they get even sillier.

Here's an overview by the NYT. 

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According to the woman to whom the jacket full of patches belonged, this patch is a real sign from the Australian outback.

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I spent the past weekend in a lovely goal-setting retreat with some awesome people. 

The house we all stayed in was a sort of Frankenstein's monster of interior decoration styles.  Amid the plaster statues by the pool and the 20" tvs stuck in every available alcove, I discovered the best thing of all...

The master bedroom had an enormous attached bathroom, with no doors separating it from the bedroom.  The bedroom had a mirrored closet, and one side of the bathroom was covered in an enormous mirror  While sitting on the toilet, I noticed I could see the bed, its image bounced off the two mirrors in succession.  This of course meant that if I were sitting on the bed, I had a full unblockable view of anyone who might be using the toilet.  This might just be the biggest interior design faux pas I've ever seen.

If Frank Lloyd Wright were still alive, I'd kidnap him, tie him to a chair, and force him to sit in this house.  Then again, he'd probably entertainingly verbally rip it to shreds. 
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During World War II, behaviorist psychologist B F Skinner had an idea to to solve a serious problem facing the US military.  At that time, missiles were unguided and accuracy was low.  Since even rudimentary optoelectronic processing didn't exist back then, Skinner came up with the bright idea of training pigeons to peck at images of ships.  Then, he set up a missile nosecone with three televisions (a new technology at the time) showing the view out the front of the missile, one for each of three pigeons.  Apparently the average decision of the pigeons was quite good -- the system worked -- but the project was scrapped before being productized because people in the military found the concept too ridiculous despite its effectiveness. 

I apparently find strange things on Wikipedia. 
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It's interesting cognitive science, and it's written up in a humor magazine, Cracked:

Yup, I read Playboy Cracked for the articles.

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You know those check-out stand newspapers with completely made-up articles?  I wonder if thy go above or below celebrity-gossip-rumor mags in the hierarchy of journalistic integrity.  The Sun probably makes more stuff up than the National Enquirer, but they make *important* stuff up. 

My girlfriend bought me one when I was sick in 2004 to cheer me up.  I had never looked inside one.  I found, hidden behind a provocative headline, introduction, and conclusion, a remarkably straightforward though simpleminded article about particle accelerators and the Higgs Boson. 

The rest of the paper looks more like this:

Junk news 2004  Junk news 2004

(yes, I found this hunting through my storage locker)
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This is either the best or worst slogan ever, depending on whether you hunt or not...  "Because sometimes, you just gotta kill something!"

Nearby was another intersection that should be in the Castro in San Francisco:

It's raining men here

On the shores of Donner Lake, the imprints of a girl with far more enthusiasm than spelling ability:

"He asked me for my sell!"

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This is good for 10 minutes of laughter.

I especially like this one:

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This is perhaps the strangest doll ever marketed. I remember these ads from my childhood.


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February 2011

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