the whole world burns

Archive for May 2009

Measuring love with an fMRI

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The Romance System. This produces the cocaine rush you get from beginning love. And cocaine is more than an idle metaphor. The reptilian brain — one of the nervous system's most ancient parts — floods you with dopamine, just as it does after you snort a line of blow. The dopamine gives you the same high, lack of sleep, delusional optimism, and obsessive thoughts. The great poet Robert Palmer was right: You can be addicted to love.

Mozilla Labs Jetpack


Greasemonkey-a-like geared towards close integration with browser chrome; should eventually be possible to re-implement many major extensions using it.

On the Anonymity of Home/Work Location Pairs


Many people can be uniquely (or nearly uniquely) identified if you know there general home and work locations.

The illusion of sex


Adjusting the contrast of an androgynous face makes it look feminine (high contrast) or masculine (low contrast).

Online Monoculture and the End of the Niche

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Recommender systems etc. increase individual diversity but decrease total diversity. Rings true with my experience, e.g. I have so many highly-recommended movies to watch that I never pick up something at the video shop on a whim.

DUNE: Arenaceous Anti-Desertification Architecture

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Explanation at BLDBLOG -- an astonishing, ambitious plan to build a 6000km wall of solidified sand by "infecting" it with bacillus pasteurii.

How to order a sandwich


From Paul Violi, "Counterman":

Roast beef on whole wheat, please,
With lettuce, mayonnaise, and a center slice
Of beefsteak tomato.
The lettuce splayed, if you will,
In a Beaux Arts derivative of classical acanthus,
And the roast beef, thinly sliced, folded
In a multifoil arrangement
That eschews Bragdonian pretentions
Or any idea of divine geometric projection
For that matter, but simply provides
A setting for the tomato
To form a medallion with a dab
Of mayonnaise as a fleuron.
And—as eclectic as this may sound—
If the mayonnaise can also be applied
Along the crust in a Vitruvian scroll
And as a festoon below the medallion,
That would be swell.

—You mean like in the Cathedral St. Pierre in Geneva?

Yes, but the swag more like the one below the rosette
At the Royal Palace in Amsterdam.

Nick Cave wrote a screenplay for Gladiator 2

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Maximus is returned to life by the gods to bring down Hephaestus, ends as immortal warrior-figure:

We intercut the following with shots of the dying stag from earlier in the film:

  • Middle Eastern Battlefield: Maximus stands surrounded by hundreds of Crusaders as they battle a Muslim army. Everyone dies around him, only Maximus remains untouched.
  • Europe: Maximus battles tanks in World War 2.
  • Vietnam: Maximus battles Vietcong with a flamethrower.
  • The Pentagon, Present Day: Maximus washing his hands in a men’s room sink. He stars at himself in the mirror…reflecting. Mordecai stands behind him…whispers: “Until eternity itself has said it’s prayers.” Maximus exits; proceeds into a large war room containing a dozen men in suits.

Nedroid Picture Diary


There are so many great comics in the archive I will never get through them all. Life is so hard Beartatoooo!

Small things, links and miscellany, sparkling with light. Sam's tumblelog.