Friday, March 26, 2010

"Nature by Numbers"

This video offers an exquisite glimpse into the mathematical beauty of nature:

Here is an explanation of the mathematics touched upon by the video.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl

My college history classes were never this much fun.

In 2006 and 2007, HBO aired two specials featuring comedic actor Robert Wuhl. Filmed before a class of New York University film students, the specials featured Mr. Wuhl offering up hysterical lectures on history as viewed through the lens of pop culture. Mr. Wuhl really should do more of these things.

(Not entirely safe for work due to language and a brief appearance by a nude Hedy Lamarr. Rawr!)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Not out of the woods yet, but things are getting better....

As I mentioned in a previous post, there are signs that the economy is starting to rebound. Sadly, job growth/loss (the indicator which most directly impacts most people) always lags other indicators, but there is good news even there:

Learn more about the stimulus and the road to recovery

This is a chart showing monthly job gains/losses. After steady declines in job losses since the President signed the Recovery Act in February 2009, the economy is actually starting to gain jobs. Of course, it will take a while for jobs to open up for the bulk of people who have lost work during this downturn, and layoffs do continue. (A dear friend of mine was laid off just this month.) But the worst does appear to be over. The trends are moving in the right direction....

April 2 Update: The "bikini graph" has been updated with the latest data......

OK Go's Amazing Viral Videos

Surely you've seen it by now. The band OK Go has released the official video for their song "This Too Shall Pass," and it is cropping up everywhere in the InterWebs. Including here:

What can I say? I'm a sucker for anything involving Rube Goldberg machines. Few things tug harder at the heartstrings of my Inner Geek. And for more rampant geekiness, has an article on the making of this video, complete with behind the scenes footage.

However, I should point out that this is not the first video from this group to go viral with this very song. There is a previous unofficial video, made with the help of the Notre Dame Marching Band. (Alas, embedding of that video is disabled at the request of the band's label, EMI, one of many bones of contention which brought OK Go to the decision to part ways with EMI.)  As with the Rube Goldberg video, this one is shot in a continuous take. And this one is a Band Geek's delight.

But wait, there is more. OK Go had an even earlier video go viral (albeit not to the same degree), with the video for their song "Here It Goes Again."  The novelty here? The band performs a choreographed dance on treadmills....