The band's representative had signed the contracts and webcast agreement, so we thought we were done: we went ahead and announced the show and started selling tickets. Two days later, they came back to us and said, "by the way, no webcast."
We webcast everything here at the DNA Lounge: it is one of the primary reasons this club exists. We never would have booked a show with a performer who was not ok with that (most of them see it as a benefit!) So the fact that we found out about it so late doesn't change that: no webcast, no show.
We're very sorry that we found out about this so late in the game. We didn't mean to get your hopes up unnecessarily. We really had every reason to believe that the deal was done, and the show was on.
I'm furious and depressed and went into a little more detail on the new DNA Update.
I'm still spending 14 hours a day reading mail and hacking on screensavers. Ph33r my rockstar lifestyle! I'm still working on the Lavalite one that I mentioned a few days ago. baconmonkey had a few suggestions for how to speed it up, which I haven't gotten around to trying out yet, but I think I've finally gotten all the rotation stuff worked out. Now all my 3D screensavers react to the mouse: you can drag around in the window to rotate the objects. Lavalite is a little different in that the lights move with the object: it took me a while to wrap my brain around how you accomplish that, while still having the mouse-spinning thingy work sensibly. I ended up adding a few more features to my silly little LightLab program, which mostly exists as a side-effect of me figuring out how to do things in screen savers (kind of like how Nerds only exist as a side-effect of Skittles production, or something.)
This is one of the coolest things I've read in a while: DNA seen through the eyes of a coder, or, If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
I really enjoyed this excerpt, too: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow (of Boing Boing fame.) It reminds me a bit of John Varley. I wish more writers reminded me of John Varley. He was kind enough to pass along a copy of the not-yet-published book it's an excerpt from, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet...
This is a combination of metaballs (alternative explanation here) and marching cubes. Basically, each bubble of lava is a few (4) overlapping spherical metaballs of various sizes that are following similar but slightly different steep, slow parabolic arcs from the bottom of the jar to the top and back. They are "30% fuzzy", so as they get near each other, they deform and combine. Then, for each frame, I generate a surface by running marching squares over it: basically, for each point in an NxNxN grid, you ask "is this point inside, or outside an object?" and from that, you can generate a lattice of triangles.
It's really slow. Just like real lavalites. Of course, if I wanted to do a proper simulation, I'd have it just sit there doing nothing for the first three hours after it started up. Somewhat surprisingly, the slow part is generating the scene, rather than rendering it: usually with 3D programs, it's the other way around.
This place is not a place of honor.
No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
Nothing valued is here.
This place is a message and part of a system of messages.
Pay attention to it!
Sending this message was important to us.
We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
Some of the designs are genuinely spooky. It's really interesting reading: neat potential solutions to a really hard problem: how do you communicate with someone who may know nothing of your language or iconography? Who might assume that your spooky-faces are there because you are hiding treasure?
There's more about this in Gregory Benford's Deep Time: he was a part of the group brainstorming about these ideas, and goes into more detail. (Beware of the weird duplication: whoever put that document up had a weird cut-and-paste mishap or two in the middle.)
A history of media, from prehistory to now: Media History Project. (No wonder I can't write floppies for this old Mac...)
On a less depressing topic, there's the 10,000 Year Clock: a giant clock that will keep correct time for 10KY, ticking once a year. Because they can, and because nobody builds to last. I first read this page in 1995:
When I was a kid, three decades ago, the future was a long way off -- so was the turn of the millennium. Dates like 1984 and 2001 were comfortably remote. But the funny thing is, that in all these years, the future that people think about has not moved past the millennium. It's as if the future has been shrinking one year, per year, for my entire life. 2005 is still too far away to plan for and 2030 is too far away to even think about. Why bother making plans when everything will change?
That really rang true: even four or five years before the millennium, the catch-phrase of the talking heads on TV was still "by the year 2000..." Are we in the future yet? Have we passed that asymptote? Well, they've built the first version of the clock, and are working on a larger one...
And I think this is the third time I've linked to this one in the last couple of months, but it's been on my mind: one of my favorite rants ever, The Past Sucks by Douglas Coupland:
Say to these annoying people, "Hey kids - the past wasn't like a trip to Waikiki: the only sure thing about the past is some ghastly disease, carnage, toil that defies all description, starvation, and boredom of a sort that makes waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles seem like Disneyland on heroin."
From the folks who brought you the clock, The Rosetta Project is trying to build a modern Rosetta Stone, preserving samples of the same texts in a thousand languages on an object that will last thousands of years. It's a really nifty design: the text begins at the outside rim of the disk, and quickly shrinks as it spirals inward, until it is microscopic. Which is an example of the kind of implicit communication these kinds of projects have to do: the shape of it says "there is more here, get a magnifier to see it." If it was all small, nobody would have noticed! But even without recognizing any of the letters, you can tell what's going on.
Reading about engineering things to last millennia gave me another nerdy thought. I'm a fan of the TV series "Stargate SG-1", whose villains are a parasitic alien race who live tens of thousands of years, and like to impersonate gods. Even though they have FTL travel, they tend to build things out of stone, using armies of human slaves. And after reading about the difficulties of truly long-term engineering, that starts to make a lot more sense!
This last one is just strange: The Mystery Pit of Oak Island: something was buried in a booby-trapped pit at least 160' deep hundreds of years ago, and over the centuries, a number of people have died trying to dig it up.
Somewhere in one of the above documents, someone used a phrase like "the abyss of time" and when I read about the Oak Island pit, I saw it as an analogy for the march of history: looking back at our own past over these vast spans of time is like trying to see into the murky depths of some un-plumbable pit. And if you think about constructing things to last thousands of years, you can't help but realize that you are down in that pit, and more muck is being piled on top of it forever. And you're trying to make something that glistens just enough that people up at ground level can see it: until they too get buried in the ever-darkening muck.
I think it was Woody Allen who said, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying."
- a microwave that I've had for 6 or 7 years;
- a set of plates and mugs that I've had for longer;
- the statistical impossibility that all of these plates and mugs have not gone through this microwave many, many times.
Ok so how is it that sometimes, I'll nuke one of these vessels for the usual amount of time (say, 1:30 for tea, 5:00 for frozen food) and sometimes, the food/liquid will come out the temperature to which I've become accustomed... but the plate or mug will feel like it's been in a kiln for an hour. Like, it's so much hotter than normal that I've lost skin.
I wasn't able to determine if it was just one plate that behaved this way, since they all look alike, and it happened infrequently. But yesterday it happened to a mug for the first time. So today, I nuked it again (same contents: tap water) and it did the same thing. So my theory now is that somehow, the material these things are made of have gone though some kind of state change, and are trying to kill me.
Other theories include:
- Plates have been abducted by aliens and replaced with super-soldier alien hybrid plates;
- Experimental nanobots have escaped and rewritten the plate DNA to turn them into superconductors;
- Neighbors' time-travel experiments have gone awry, causing some of my plates to be travelling forward more slowly, thus, the plate spends more time in the nuker than the food.