Monday, July 31, 2006

File under: Sometimes it is really a drag to have such good taste...

ALPA of Switzerland

So here is a foil to yesterday's onslaught of low-end medium format links. The... crikey, me head 'urts so bad tryin'a find a metaphor it's makin' me write in brogue!

This thing is a work of art, in and of itself. A camera your descendants (if they got any sense) will fight over, for generations. No electronics, just simple, precision tooled, Swiss medium-format magnificience. How much, you ask, for this Rolex of cameras?

A mere 12,695 Swiss Francs, or for the ugly American $10,295!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

DIY E-6 processing part II

Some people may cringe at this idea but I have also figured out a way to develop E-6 film with regular success in this Unidrum. The most important thing to remember is that temperature variations are quite critical in developing "chromes" so that if you are consistent in your method you can be successful. I also wish to clarify that I do photography purely as a hobby so I do not have client’s expectations to contend with. On the flip side of the coin I thoroughly enjoy doing all of the processing myself at home and take pride and satisfaction in knowing that I am self sufficient in my hobby. In my area I can buy Agfa E-6 (500ml kits) for about $14.00 Cdn. and this will do eight sheets (2 cycles) in a Unidrum. At a $1.75 per sheet this is slightly less that would I would pay in town. I am also able to do the processing as soon as I get home from a day shooting if I want and get to see the results that very evening. So let’s read about the technique I use.

Flickr: Photos tagged with holga


Flickr: Photos tagged with holga

If you feel like checking out the Holga magic, this should keep you busy for a while.

Holga: the best POS camera you'll ever use


Holga - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Back when I was a photo student at Evergreen, these things had quite a following. Photo-Services sold them for like $15, because one of the courses had a project where you turned it into a several shot pinhole camera.
If you're into photography at all, and you haven't played around with a Holga (or the now collectible Diana) you really owe it to yourself to try one. You'll develop a whole new relationship with light, and if you're lucky rediscover a childlike joy for the simple pleasures of photography.
You can get them pre-tricked out.
Or fresh from the Chinese sweatshop, crappy, just as God intended. Then you get to have the fun of tweaking it yourself (you can find instructions all over the internet, but here is a good place to start.) I recommend getting a couple and tweaking them out yourself. Like everything with a soul, each Holga is a unique individual, and some of the mods are mutually exclusive. AND for less than $50 you can be a photographic bandito with a bandolier of different shooters, ready for whatever reality throws at you!

I'm getting all nostalgic for that leather-textured plastic already!
Mmmmm... dreamy holga pictures of classic Vespas...

I'll try and get some Holga gallery links up later.

But for a start check out Ted Orland's work.

E-6 process : The first of many DIY photo posts

E-6 process - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Working a lot lately, (I'm on my 4th day of 12 in a row,) and with various other chores and such, just haven't been able to do much creative work. Luckily I recently replaced the digital camera I lost a couple of months back, so I'm shooting a lot of pictures during whatever free moments come my way.

This of course has me doing some websearching on photographic topics. So expect to see more photography related posts here in the coming weeks.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth - What is Photosynth?

Microsoft Live Labs: Photosynth - What is Photosynth?

Back when I worked in Evergreen's digital photography lab, I constantly had to remind non-photography students that while Photoshop is cool and all, it is not that nifty Polaroid machine that Deckard has in Bladerunner. There are limitations, dude.
Well it looks like Microsoft is trying to bring Deckard's little photo-tv gadget a little closer to your living-room.
Actually, this looks more like panorama software meets Carrera, but Microsoft seems to want it to be closer Deckard's photo-manipulation device.

Photosynth takes a large collection of photos of a place or object, analyzes them for similarities, and displays them in a reconstructed 3-Dimensional space.
With Photosynth you can:
Walk or fly through a scene to see photos from any angle.
Seamlessly zoom in or out of a photograph whether it’s megapixels or gigapixels in size.
See where pictures were taken in relation to one another.
Find similar photos to the one you’re currently viewing.
Explore a custom tour.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Apple Newton vs Samsung Q1 UMPC , Special Features at CNET.co.uk

Apple Newton vs Samsung Q1 UMPC , Special Features at CNET.co.uk

As a long time Newton fan I found it very interesting that CNET not only did something more than a "Hey look at these cultish Apple freaks, desperately hanging on to 10 year-old technology" article, and did as in depth a comparison as this, but also declared the Newton the winner basically on usability and real-world functionality. Let's hear it for appropriate technology!

"It was always going to be a tough fight as the Samsung Q1 punches well above the Newton's weight," said Chris. "But the Newton has 12 times the battery life of the Q1, so ended up winning the fight with sheer stamina. Add to this the Q1's inflated price and it's a no-brainer. They may be ten years apart, but the Newton still wipes the floor with the Origami project."

Spirit Bear

Spirit Bear-Ghost Bear White Kermode Spirit Bear Terrace B,C,Canada BEARS FOREST

This is a new one to me:

The kermode bear (Ursa Americanus Kermodie) is a beautiful white bear that lives in therain forests of British Columbia. Unlike what some think, the Kermode bear is not a polar bear, nor is it an albino. The kermode is a sub species of the black bear. There is a recessive gene which both parents have to have to make the black bear white. There can be a family with white and black bears at the same time!-From Kermode.net

The Good News is that 5 million acres of the 19 million acre Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is now protected.

The new conservation agreement, negotiated directly by the British Columbia government and the region's First Nations, will protect an unspoiled area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park from logging and ensure the right of the First Nations to manage their traditional territories. In addition, the agreement establishes new, more stringent standards for logging in the rainforest outside of the protected area. "The accord will preserve this irreplaceable rainforest but still allow for controlled logging to sustain local economies," said NRDC senior attorney Susan Casey-Lefkowitz. "It is a new model that shows we can save our most valuable wildlands and our communities at the same time." From NRDC.org

Thanks go out to TreeHugger for the tip on this story

The Jul-Bar Chronicles

Blog

The blog of a woman who was inspired to buy a new Vespa after viewing "An Inconvenient Truth."

Across Africa on a Vespa

Travelblogg

So, crossing America on a scooter getting a little old? Been done? Nothing to be discovered there you couldn't get outta curling up with some Kerouac or Robert Pirsig?
How about crossing Africa, South to North mind you, on a Vespa?

Swedish couple, Joachim and Maria Gjølberg are doing just that.

Risk dreaming, risk committing yourself to those dreams and ante up, because a plan is nothing but a dream put into execution, executed by many small incremental steps of action. The sooner one commits oneself to ones dreams, the more likely it is that those dreams come true. If one doesn't risk dreaming big dreams in fear of dreams broken, loosing ones ante, or for loosing face amongst others, then you have left greatness to chance.

ZAP's Xebra in The Detroit News

Import dealer fills U.S. void with tiny electric cars - 07/26/06 - The Detroit News Online

Even if its Smart car business is eclipsed by DaimlerChrysler's expected leap into the U.S. market, ZAP has alternatives waiting in the wings.
One is the Xebra, a Chinese-built three-wheel electric car, which costs less than $10,000 and has a range of up to 40 miles between charges.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

LiveScience.com - Hybrid Scooter Would Run on Hydrogen


LiveScience.com - Hybrid Scooter Would Run on Hydrogen

With faster acceleration than gas scooters and a topspeed of 40mph, this could make that sensation of smoking mocking young hoodlums in daddy's sportcar off the line all the sweeter.

...that is if it ever sees the light of day. Hydrogen fuel cells are still almost on the edge of vapor ware... hmm hydrogen ... vapor... could we call them misty-ware? foggy-ware?

Alida's Art Journal


Alida's Art Journal

This is a nice personal blog / journal of a colored pencil artist, you shows shots of her work in various stages of completion. I personally quite like her work, and enjoy the humor in it. hope you like it as well.

The above picture is titled Trouble Comes in Threes, 12" x 16.5" on Raw Sienna paper. I like the Steampunk subject matter, and especially like that it's not too dark or gloomy in the gothy sense.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cool Obscure Vintage Scooter Gallery


Scooters of All Ages

This is the motherload of historical oddity scooters. With photos of everyone.

via The Scooter Scoop

David Summers, R.I.P.

DAVID CHARLES SUMMERS, 33, of Little Rock passed away Friday, July 21, 2006. David was known for his wonderful sense of humor, his smile and his big brown eyes. David was a genuine person, loyal friend, very kind hearted and a peacemaker. He graduated Parkview High School in 1991. After graduating David began acting for the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock. He and his close friend Richard wrote and directed seven original play writes. He was employed with Powers of Arkansas for the past 10 years, member of the A.B.A.T.E. of Arkansas and a member of Calvary Chapel of Saline County. -From the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

I didn't know Dave all that well, though we had many friends in common, and I thought well of him. I always looked forward to getting to know him better. The world needs more people who loyal, honorable, and funny... and obsessed with swords and motorcycles.
My condolences go out to his friends and family, especially wife Rhonda Summers, and best-friend Richard Douglas.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ten Tips for Late Starters To Boost Their Retirement Savings

Ten Tips for Late Starters To Boost Their Retirement Savings

Yes, this is a little more practical than comics, and not nearly as much fun as scooters (which are exceedingly practical as well), but since the Dragon knows a lot of writers, artists, muscians, otherwise wonderful folks, who for various reasons have spent a lot of their lives existing hand-to-mouth, I thought maybe somebody would benefit from this. And as much of a downer as it seems, the time to start planning for the future is now, whatever your age.

via LifeHacker

Athansisus Kircher: Polymath

Report on Athanasius Kircher Symposium in 2002

On Thursday, at the NYU symposium, any trace of academic reserve vanished as the audience looked at the gorgeous and sometimes baffling images, projected on a screen behind the speakers. "Athanasius Kircher wrote more books than the modern scholar can read, in a mellifluous Latin," said Anthony Grafton, a history professor at Princeton University, during his introductory remarks. "In the age of polymaths, he was the most polymathic of all." The modern reader exploring "the staggeringly strange dark continent of Kircher's work" finds in it, Mr. Grafton said, "the setting for a Borges story that was never written." - From "Athanasius Kircher, Dude of Wonders" on the Chronicle of Higher Education website.

This may seem like old news to you, but the Dragon's perception of time is most likely a little different from yours. If you're looking for a new, obscure, esoteric subject to research, Athanasius Kircher, is a good place to start. He seems to be a "strange attractor" gathering wierdnesss about him like iron filings flocking to a magnet. The world is bound with secret knots, indeed.

Some places to start:
Wikipedia(of course)
The Museum of Jurassic Technology has an online exhibit on Kircher
The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society a blog
Stanford University has a collection of his correspondence online

Revo Power - Motorized Replacement Bike Wheel

Revo Power - Motorized Replacement Bike Wheel

The moped of the future... Today!... well ok, in the first quarter of 2007.
Looks pretty slick, just replace your bike's front tire with "The Wheel" and stick the fuel tank in your water bottle holder. It's a low emission (meets the latest EPA and CARB regulations) 25cc two-stroke motor that gets around 200 mpg and does 20mph on the flat. Estimated MSRP $400.

The Dragon got an early electric add-on motor for a bicycle last year and was really disappointed at the drag and extra weight it added. It really didn't work for my purposes. This sounds like the most promising product for giving your existing bike that extra bit of oomph. Plus, since it doesn't really expand the physical dimensions of your bike, it should integrate well with public transport.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pirate Papa: A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(o).I(t).Y(ourself). Parenting

Pirate Papa: A Journal of Anarcho-Green D(o).I(t).Y(ourself). Parenting

Punk Rawk Daddy-O!

Sky is posting up a storm over on Pirate Papa. Check it out if you haven't before, or even if you haven't in awhile.

Oh and his lovely ladies will serenade you, if you click on the little video thingee just right.

Vespas and Macs

Apple - Small Business - Thrill Ride

Wow, do I feel like a target demographic now, or what?

But, then again, it's alot more interesting than an article about PCs at a Ford dealership, eh?

More Comic-Con reportage

Wired News: Up, Up and Away, Indeed

Yes, it's all over the place. (At least at the geeky sites I frequent, so you don't have to.)
COMIC-CON

Now, Wired has a story on a panel of academics discoursing on comics.

Conference co-founder Coogan acknowledged that academia can be a fun- buster. "You have this dog and you love it, and you want to find out why you love it. You dissect it, and you're left with this dead bloody dog on the table," he said. "That’s one of the things that academics do."

Comic-Con News Flash

Comic-con Wheels and Deals - 7/22/2006 - Publishers Weekly
Yeah OK this is a couple of days old, but I still hadn't heard it anywhere else.

Perhaps the biggest news splash at the con, however, is that Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) will write and direct a film version of The Spirit, Will Eisner’s comics classic.

You can bet you will see more about this as we find it.
This is really interesting to me having recently read Dark Horse Books' Book length conversation between Miller and Eisner. There is a tangible respect present in these discussions that can only be found between open-minded, yet almost diametrically opposed geniuses. I hope that respect can be felt in whatever this final product turns out to be.
Eisner really was the grand old man of comics. As lauded as he is, I truly believe we have only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as his influence on sequential art is concerned. I can forsee a time where comics are a high-brow art, akin to the status of theatre in the 20th century, with web (or whatever) based animations being the TV of the day. And when that happens, Eisner will be our Shakespeare.

To some of us, he already is.
Please keep that in mind, Frank

Thanks fo out to Sky at LastWordBlog

Wired interview with Scott McCloud

Wired News: Mr. Comics Talks Comics

Always nice to hear what's going through the mind of the guy who wrote Understanding Comics.

Right now, the direction of the evolution is outward. There are three big changes going on: the influx of Japanese comics, which is resulting in a tremendous number of younger readers, especially younger females; graphic novels, which are expanding the literary ambitions of comics; and the webcomics explosion, which is the great wildcard in all this. There are a lot of mutations in that territory.

the Difference Engine?

Guardian Unlimited Arts Arts news Art brings steam power to the digital revolution

Ladies and Gentlebeings, the Dragon is proud to present to you the one the only Steampunk-Mac.

Within a mile of home...

www.myspace.com/floggingmolly
Drunken Irish Folk-Punk!What could be better?
How about Free NEW Drunken Irish Folk-Punk on the site you already waste too many hours on?
That's right, cyber-slacker, Flogging Molly's new disc is streaming on Myspace. Mostly old material, but acoustic and live versions of the classics.

This post is dedicated to Eamon, the Dragon's favorite drunken Celtic sailor, the man who knows a rhyme for orange, seemlingly lost at sea, may the winds blow you back to our humble port soon. We miss ya, ya scurvy dog!

HULK'S DIARY THAT IS ON THE INTERNET

HULK'S DIARY THAT IS ON THE INTERNET


Hulk is sorry Hulk has not put anything on his internet diary in the last couple of weeks.Hulk has been busy with superhero stuff! Hulk is a busy man and sometimes he doesn't have time to type words on the computer that show up on his internet diary! Next time you say to yourself "Self, why has Hulk not blogged?" think about Hulk smashing aliens and stuff to keep you safe!

What else is there to ad

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Advice from the Scooter Swami

The Gentle Art of Shifting

Well, after some scouring of good old ScooterBBS (warning: thick skin and B.S. shovel required) the Dragon was armed with some strategies for starting Jes's new (to her) Vespa. Turns out the culprit was a tight clutch cable, the clutch lever only needs to be pulled in like a 1/4 of the way, too much and the kickstart doesn't engage. Once this was figured out, Jes and I have been able to start that baby purring like a kitten on the first kick every time.
The next step, for me at least, was reaquitanting myself with a manual transmission, and one that shifts from the left handle bar. So for any hipsters out there who might be thinking of a vintage scoot to beat gas prices, the Dragon directs your attention to the Scooter Swami, Sage of the Vespa-clone Bajaj Chetak, for his gentle advice on the gentle art of scooter shifting.

MMmmm.... Bar food.

Pickled Sausage - All Recipes - Beef

I haven't posted about food in a while. Not that I haven't been eating and cooking, ask Jes about grilled duck and peppers served over roasted winter squash and wild rice if you don't believe me. But this recipe just sounded too easy and too adaptable to not share. I'd skip the red food coloring, myself. Of course I'd probably also use brats or italian sausage links as well, and maybe even prep 'em by boiling 'em beer.

I know, I know I just can't leave well enough alone.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blizzard announces WOW faction-class crossovers

Blizzard announces WOW faction-class crossovers - PC News at GameSpot

Horde Paladins and Alliance Shamans!
Kewl!

According to Blizzard, Horde paladins and Alliance shamans will have many of the same talents of their traditional counterparts, though they "will also enjoy some unique abilities to themselves, similar to the priest class' racial specialties." Since this new feature will fundamentally change the asymmetry between the game's two factions, it will presumably have a significant impact on the way the game is played, especially in competitive player-versus-player combat.

Slashdot | Electric Cars and Their Discontents

Slashdot Electric Cars and Their Discontents

Slashdot apparently was really buzzing with debate over the recently announed Tesla Roadster. So much so, that they have published a summary of some of the more interesting points raised in the discussion.

The thing that nags me -- and I know it's no fault of the electric car designers -- is that electric cars are completely, utterly, useless to folks who live in apartments. That's a lot of people, and we're not all poor. I'd buy an electric NOW if I could get one in the ~20 to 30k range. But how do I charge it? Do I dangle an extra long extension cord from my balcony?Someday we might see roadside chargers like in _The Watchmen_. But until then, no dice for the majority of urban populations around the world. I'll keep riding my bike, and I'll keep around my little 2-door stickshift focus for long hauls.

A lot of these points are ones that get raised every time this discussion comes up. Some, like the above have been hiding under the veil of the obvious.

The Bionic Wrench


ThinkGeek :: The Bionic Wrench

And for a far sight less than $6 million!

Classic Comic Book Covers

Wired News: Classic Comic Book Covers

Nice collection of vintage comic book cover art up at Wired news.

The Dragon is finally getting Journalistic recognition!

CJR Daily: Amazing Survey Shows Blogging Is ... a Hobby

Yes that's right kids and kittens, none other than the illustrious Columbia Journalism Review's daily blog has referenced the Dragon's scaly cyber-presence.
Ah, yes, I knew those hours prostrate before LCDs and cathode rays, turning a cold eye to the seedy world of scooters, comic books, and the general weirdness that is the internet; tormenting myself over just the right sardonic turn of a phrase; and courageously ignoring everything I ever knew about grammar and spelling; Yes! I knew it would pay off!
Ah, and what pithy repartee have the experts at CJR latched on to immortalize for the journalistic community?
Well here you go:

Many people see Web journals or 'blogs' as alternatives to the mainstream media, but most Americans who run them do so as a hobby rather than a vocation, according to a report released on Wednesday," notes Reuters.
All of which has elicited the following
reaction from Honky-Tonk Dragon: "Well duh!"

er... um...yes...
I suppose it beats a poke in the wing with a sharp lance, eh?

Technology Rewrites the Book

NYT article on print-on-demand

The print-on-demand business is gradually moving toward the center of the marketplace. What began as a way for publishers to reduce their inventory and stop wasting paper is becoming a tool for anyone who needs a bound document. Short-run presses can turn out books economically in small quantities or singly, and new software simplifies the process of designing a book.

I wouldn't say it's hit the center of the marketplace yet, though. While this is almost assuredly the direction that publishing for most niche works is going to go in the 21st cent., it's not there yet. But it's not bleeding edge anymore, or even cutting edge. Based on the fact that profitiabilty is (for the individual creator, not the print-on-demand printers) is still teetering between red and black, I hereby dub print-on-demand technology as "Bruised edge."

- Kick-Staring & Various Newbie Help - ScooterBBS.com

- Kick-Staring & Various Newbie Help - ScooterBBS.com

Took delivery today of Jes's 1976 Vespa Sprint 150 Veloce!
In great shape, only 3K miles on it.
Anyway, the guy she bought it from started it up for us. First kick. We shut it off and wrapped up business.
Well, I should have asked him to watch me try and kick it, 'cause once he left, I couldn't get it started for the life of me!
Double checked the original manual, had all the various settings right.
Hmmm...
Well, every kick start has its own idiosyncracies, but I needed to get to work, and was hoping to borrow Jes's scoot until my P200E gets here.
Long story short, found this thread on Scooterbbs that's got a lot of good tips for the vintage vespa newbie. Took me awhile, so I thought I'd share, and maybe save somebody the grief.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tut's gem hints at space impact

BBC NEWS Science/Nature Tut's gem hints at space impact

An Austrian astrochemist Christian Koeberl had established that the glass had been formed at a temperature so hot that there could be only one known cause: a meteorite impacting with Earth. And yet there were no signs of an impact crater, even in satellite images.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tom Jordan's Stella Trip Across the Northern USA

Tom Jordan's Stella Trip Across the Northern USA

Tom Jordan is just a regular guy who took a long ride across the northern USA and part of Canada on his Stella. Genuine Scooter Company didn't ask him to do it or sponsor his trip, but he was kind enough to share his story with us as it unfolded and send photos afterwards. These are his words and photos about the trip. -From Genuine Scooters introduction.

I made it to Montana ... and discovered, much to my chagrin, that the eastern part of the state is devoid of campgrounds. Additionally, it seems that every parcel of land is owned by ranchers who, rumor has it, don't take kindly to trespassers of any sort. I spoke with a highway patrol officer at a gas station to make sure that my bike would be legal on the stretch of interstate I would need to take to avoid a long detour. He assured me there would be no problem and reminded me to be careful. I thanked him and took off.
Legal or not, the Montana highway at night is no place to be on a motor scooter. After about ten harrowing miles I pulled into a rest stop. Waiting there was a different state trooper. After I reassured him that I wasn't some 'nut job being stupid' (his phrase), he explained to me that my bike was definitely illegal on the interstate. I politely disagreed. He then spent the better part of half an hour flipping through pages in his reference books before grudgingly admitting that I was probably right. At this point, he did his best to intimidate me, in the friendliest way possible, into sleeping at the rest stop. His main worry was that a drunk driver would plow into me on the highway. My main concern were the signs saying "Danger, Rattlesnakes. Stay on Sidewalk"
I decided I would rather take my chances with the rattlesnakes. I acceded to his demands, and asked if it would be okay to bend the rules about not pitching tents at a rest stop, considering the circumstances. He responded with an emphatic no.
So, I parked my bike, loaded my valuables into my backpack, tied a string taut from my wrist to the pack, unrolled my air matress and got, I must admit, a damn good night's sleep on a cement bench. -
From the body of Tom's text.

Can you tell I've got Summer-Fever?
Yet another cross-country scooter travelog. Ohio to Vancouver B.C. to San Francisco. On a Stella. Take THAT, Jack Kerouac! But I gotta say this is one of the more stelar examples of the genre. LOT'S of nice pictures, and a friendly easy going writing style, like the guy just sidled up to you at the counter of some state highway greasy spoon.

Thanks to Gary, the technical moderator on Modern Vespa.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Retraction

Regular readers may notice that the article posted recently about my dislike of full-face helmets has been removed.
Further research has indicated that the studies linked to in that post were either outdated or dubious. A VAST majority of conscientious scooterists and motorcycle safety experts agree that full-face helmets are the best lids for keeping your brain in it's bony jar. So I'm shopping for a full-face for myself and my lovely lady. (Who's 1976 Vespa Sprint 150 Veloce should arrive Friday!)
As always the Dragon supports the rights of responsible adults to wear whatever helmet they choose, or none if such is legal in their jurisdiction. The Dragon also opposes Nanny-state legislation (helmet laws, seatbelt laws, and their ilk) on full-grown adults.
And remember the studies do indicate that a riders best protection on the road comes from skills training (such as the MSF courses) and sobriety.
This has been a Dragon public service message. We now return you to the regular blog.

E-sports car: 0-60 in 4 secs.


Wired News: Battery-Fueled Car Will Smoke You

Eberhard owes his radically different approach to Nikola Tesla, the iconic Serbian engineer who built the first AC induction motor in the 1880s. Eberhard's supercharged update of that motor is powered by a copper and steel rotor that is spun by a magnetic field. There are no moving parts besides the rotor. Step on the accelerator and the motor delivers instantaneously. An onboard computer provides traction control, keeping the car from burning rubber. The result: 0 to 60 in about four seconds. And, since the motor is not limited by the complexity of pistons moving up and down, it can spin much faster. Porsche's top-of-the-line model -- the $440,000 Carrera GT -- maxes out at 8,400 rpm; the Tesla Roadster has a ceiling of 13,500, enabling it to go 70 mph in first gear. (It has two gears, plus reverse.)

It looks like this thing is gonna list at about $80k, not bad for it's target market. And at last old Nikola has a legacy far more fitting than the electric chair. Coming to soon the mid-life crisis striken Greener near you.

Seriously though, with a 130mph top speed, 250 mile range, and ability to reach full charge in 3.5 hours (on 220v plug), this baby might just indicate the real coming of the electric car.

Pattern Recognition

Discordian Research Technology � Magick for Materialists: The Basic Pattern

Interesting essay on pattern recognition as the Killer App for the human neural hardware.

Everything your mind does, it does in terms of patterns. Everything. That’s why we suck so badly at things like arithmetic, and yet manage to intuit complex computational feats such as driving, playing catch, spotting friends in crowds or understanding what our date is saying in a noisy restaurant. Our pattern-matching ability is absolutely astounding. It is the only thing your mind can do that a machine can’t do better (emotions possibly excepted.) It’s a good thing too, because it’s pretty much the only tool in our toolbox. We have to use it for everything, and that we can drive a decent nail into the woodwork using a knife is testament to our great skill with the knife.

via Technoccult

Well duh!

Storytelling goal of most blogs:Reuters.com

About 77 percent of blog authors, or "bloggers," said they post their musings as a way of expressing themselves creatively rather to get noticed or paid, according to the report, released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Some interesting stastics here.

The Ward-O-Matic: The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal

"Subconscious Art"

Untitled by Mark Rothko

The Ward-O-Matic: The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal

This is a fun article, playfully examining, what for me seems to be one of the thornier issues in post-modern creativity, the importance of authorial intentionality. Or for the lay-person, how much weight (if any) should be given to what the artist intended an artwork to mean, when one is interpreting it?
Personally, as an artist, I think this is one of those questions the seems to elicit a yes-or-no, black-or-white answer, while the actuality is far more complicated.
It's a faulty question people!
It seems like it requires a Yes/No, binary response. Or maybe for the more complex analyst, a "shades of grey" response, finding a point on a polar continuum.
For me this is a question to which there can never be a single answer. Authorial intent can be totally disregarded in the interpretation of some works, while in others to do so, is like trying to enjoy the Grand Canyon with blinders on.
Black or White?
Which one of 16 shades of Gray?
My vote is a slightly lavender-tinted rusty hue, not unlike the shadows just under the folds of a pretty girl's eyes, best mixed from 5 parts flake white and 1 part violet oxide.
er, ahem...
Anyway, like I said, this is fun stuff. I'm a big fan of the life-cycle of graffiti. I like the blocky Rothko-esque shapes that patch over it, almost as much as like walls that have been allowed to go feral, with years and years of tags, weaving atop one another, in screaming liquid pentimento.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Geek-Week Episode 4

Yes, Yes, Y'all!
It's Geek-Week 4! (They really should change this to Geek-Month, though it doesn't have quite the same ring.)
Featuring "What if Spider-Man 2 Had been set in LA?"

As Sawny the dancing cat is prone to pronouncing after a provocative prance...
"Yay!"

Monday, July 17, 2006

1st 24 mins of A Scanner Darkly

IGN: A Scanner Darkly Trailer, Videos and Movies

Book: the finest example of PK Dick's inspired paranoia
Screen adaptation: Richard Linklater
Director: Richard Linklater
Executive Producers: George Clooney and Steven Soderburgh
Technique: RotoShop
Cast: the "A-list" of Hollywood Druggies

what's not to love?

Seriously, this really looks to be the finest adaptation of Dick's patented mind-fuck to the big screen.

The Dragon can not wait.

The Who are gonna tour

TheWhoTour.com news.news

Alright all you Mods, and fans of the Highlander TV show, The Who will be touring N. America this year.

Schweet!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Depeche Mode - Behind The Wheel

Yes, I know I have to make for the sins of my youth. teasing the goths, or as we called them back in the day "death-rockers" or "new wavers", and singing the Dead Milkmen's "You'll Dance to Anything" in a loud mocking tone.
So in an act of contrition, I offer a Depeche Mode video.

...OK, you got me. I really posted it 'cause it has a a pretty Vespa and girl. And a nice rack... on the scoot! You should be ashamed, I know what you were thinking!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"So you wanna be a Super-Hero?"

Wired 14.07: POSTS

Well I guess it had to happen, a reality game show where quasi-normal people make fools of themselves... er... that is to say compete to see who would make the best underwear pervert... er... Super-Hero. I have only one question...
Why didn't I get to try out?

I'm gonna go sulk.

This tryout is just the first step for these super-wannabes. Lee will select 10 contestants to advance to the next round, in which they will take up residence in a secret lair (er, loft in LA) for two weeks and embody their super- personas 24/7. (Marvel Comics Patriarch, Stan) Lee will test them on “the genuine qualities that a superhero should have: integrity, courage, self-sacrifice, and honesty.” All of the drama will be filmed and edited to air when the show debuts July 27.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Widelec.org


Widelec.org

My buddy Ian (The-Reportedly-Sane) sent me this link, of what appear to be custom bicycle hacks and mods. I've noticed what seem to be three different languages in the "Nowe Komentarze" section, none of which I speak. So, there is little I can tell you about this site, except there are some cool wheels on it.
(You were only going to look at the pictures, anyway, right?)

Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett dies

NME.COM - News - Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett dies

Shine on you crazy diamond.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Scoot Crazee

Heh, heh, heh.
Bad ASS!!

What Kind of Genius Are You?

Wired 14.07: What Kind of Genius Are You?

An economist looks at creativity?
Wipe that "Whachoo talkin' about, Willis" look off your face.
This is the Dragon, and the Dragon loves multi-disciplinary takes on things.
Economist David Galenson looks at the oeuvre of many artists, and develops a theory on the expression of genius over an artist's lifetime. This is a longer story from Wired Magazine, that I, for one, found entertaining and inspiring (as I'm looking down the barrel of 35 in a few months, and still haven't cranked out a real masterpiece.)

Galenson collected data, ran the numbers, and drew conclusions. He selected 42 contemporary American artists and researched the auction prices for their works. Then, controlling for size, materials, and other variables, he plotted the relationship between each artist’s age and the value of his or her paintings. On the vertical axis, he put the price each painting fetched at auction; on the horizontal axis, he noted the age at which the artist created the work. When he tacked all 42 charts to his office wall, he saw two distinct shapes.
For some artists, the curve hit an early peak followed by a gradual decline. People in this group created their most valuable works in their youth – Andy Warhol at 33, Frank Stella at 24, Jasper Johns at 27. Nothing they made later ever reached those prices. For others, the curve was more of a steady rise with a peak near the end. Artists in this group produced their most valuable pieces later in their careers – Willem de Kooning at 43, Mark Rothko at 54, Robert Motherwell at 72. But their early work wasn’t worth much.

Vermont initiates "Cow Power"

Central Vermont Public Service

Well it's about freaking time!

This is program where farmers collect cow manure and place it in an anerobic digester, where it breaks down into solid compost, liquid fertilizer, CO2, and methane. The bacteria active in the process kill any pathogens in the manure, so the compost and fertilizer are safer than straight bovine fecal material. The methane is then used as fuel to generate electricity, which customers then pay an insignificant fee (an additional four cents per kilowatt hour) to use instead of regular electricity. The CO2 is released into the atmosphere, but all in all, there is a significant reduction in the emmission of "greenhouse" gases. This is freaking fantastic! I wish I could say that this is the result of some startling new scientific breakthrough or technology, but the sad fact is that this has been possible for decades. Gandhi heavily promoted methane digesters, for local energy generation. Way to join the 1950's techno-savvy elite, Vermont. Like India!
And if you think that's mean spirited, it's really just pointed at the rest of the country, (and world.) The answers to the energy crisis are out there. Hell. some of them have been right under nose for decades!

OK, I'm done ranting.

via Slashdot

Orgone Accumulator Building Plans

Orgone Accumulator Building Plans

Don't know much about Wilhelm Reich, other than a brief synopsis of his being censored and railroaded by the US government.
But if you are interested, here are the plans for building your own Orgone Accumulator.

via Technoccult

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The only funny Rumsfeld article ever.

POE News: Rumsfeld Fighting Technique

file under:
My New World Order is unstoppable!

Thanks go out to Gavin Kisebach

Saturday, July 08, 2006

one red paperclip


The barter system works!
One year and 14 trades later, Kyle MacDonald, succesfully leverages one red paperclip into a house!
And they say the real estate market has gotten out of hand. (actually I don't know if this proves or disproves that notion.)

via bOINGbOING

Isto Omega

SCHWEET Steampunk bike!!!

I don't know what else to call this thing! Besides a work of art.
Much sexier than the couple of girlie (no nudity, just suggestive) shots you'll find on the link, go ahead and scroll down, you won't be disappointed!

thanks Scooter Scoop

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Science of Supes

Astrophysics taking off on Superman

With the release of the "Superman Returns'' movie this week, you can bet there will be plenty of discussion (at least half-serious) about the limits and scope of the Man of Steel's super powers. Rather than engage in uninformed speculation, we went to the experts -- physics scholars at Cal and Stanford.

via SlashDot

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mt Evans Ride, July 3, 2006

Scooting Among The Clouds
A Vespa Adventure Above 14,000 Feet


Modern Vespa member at large Nukie, (aka David Westman, aka Nuclia Waste, also known by the Dragon as "He who's scoot most induces envy", ) has a great photo-essay posted about this recent group scooter journey to the top of Mt. Evans.

We rode towards our lofty destination, first scooting over Green Mountain and then down into the little town of Morrison. I could see from our approach that the top of Mt. Evans was clear and cloud-free, even though we woke that morning to a very cloudy Denver. The clear skies ahead were promising and encouraging. As we rode up Highway 74 towards Evergreen, Mt. Evans disappeared among the rocks and granite cliffs of the foothills. Along the way, we passed an old covered wagon. I was reminded of the early settlers who road across the western prairie and were stopped by the sheer magnitude of the Rocky Mountains. What would have taken them weeks to do, we were going to do in a day – climb above tree level and scoot among the clouds.

Fun.

There are some really nice photos here as well.

And for another fun read check out the story of when Nuclia Waste's scooter was stolen.

DIY Airbrush booth

Part one
Part two
Part three

This is a little more intensive than the previous post, but is geared towards work with a little more finesse.
I'm just collecting some raw materials for brainstorming here.
Will probably end up designing something that draws elements from these and others, to meet my purposes.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Scootin' through the Sixties"

American Scooterist, Issue #48 & #49

Fun little bit of American Scooterist "Oral" history.

These years coincided with my first romances. I have always tied girlfriends to the particular scooter I owned at the time—the GS girls, SS girls, Rally 180 girls and so forth. The GS girls occupy a special place. Motorized two wheelers were still a novelty in the U.S., which made the Vespa something of a “chick magnet.” Just offering a scooter ride was a fairly easy way to pick up girls. The years 1964 and 1965 still had the warm and fluffy innocence of the Eisenhower era. The “real sixties” were yet to come. As a consequence, most girls (and in this halcyon pre-feminist era, they were definitely all “girls”) still wore skirts and dresses. Watching a girl in a tight skirt mount the rear of a scooter was an especially bountiful visual feast.

A more innocent time, indeed.

Around the world on a Vespa

Scootering Magazine online

If sunny days and cool Summer breezes are making your feet itchy, or if the previous story of one woman's coast to coast scooter trek made you start dreaming of swapping road stories in a diner with Dean Moriarty, Japhy Rider, and good ole Sal Paradise ... then this story is for you.

After the Austrian border you came into ‘no man’s land’, out of some trees, and there was a piece of land that stretched sideways almost as far as you can see. In the distance there was a wire fence and a watchtower every so often, manned by three soldiers and a machine gun. In front of that was sandbagged emplacement with more soldiers and another machine gun. The road itself was narrow and cobbled. You rode down this road, passed the first sandbagged emplacement and smiled (!), and you then entered this 100-yard stretch with little signs either side of the road with skull and crossbones on them. It was a minefield! That was not a time to wobble, fall off, have a puncture, or even turn around to go back. You kept going!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Dragon gets a new scoot

I got a Vespa!
Well, actually WE did it, since Jes owns most of it at this point. (of course I'll be paying her back)
I ran across it last night, and showed it to Jes, thinking I'd get her opinion and see if she'd loan me the cash if she agreed that it was a good deal.
Figured she's the sensible one A.) concerning large expenditures and B.) concerning value of motor vehicles, and that she would come up with some arguement I'd over looked.
Nope, she looked at it, asked me a few questions about the model, and average going price, and damned if she didn't start getting excited about it too!
We are going to keep the 49cc for Jes to commute on, (that will be part of my paying back her investment.)
Her commute is maybe 1/3 of mine, and the speed limit is 35mph tops about as much 25mph, two lanes all the way.
Mine is farther with a lot more areas that are either 35mph and one lane or 40mph, and she's said several times that she worries about me pushing the 49cc to its limits daily like that.
Hell, I worry about it too.
Last time I had it in the shop, the mechanic said I'd need an engine rebuild (cleaning and new gaskets, not that big a deal on a two-stroke automatic) by the end of summer, because I've been pushing the topend constantly.
Anyway the Vespa I'll be getting is the "work-horse" model. they were made from 1978 until like 2003, and Piaggio (Vespa's parent company) still make a 150cc version of this bike. (there were also two Indian companies, that made them as subcontractors to Piaggio at different points, which continued to make the same basic 150cc bike up until the beginning of this year.) My point here being that it is easier to find parts for this bike, than for my 2005 49cc TNG venice LX. New old stock and aftermarket performance parts are all over the internet. Infact it is probably not an exaggeration to say, that this is the easiest bike in the world to find parts for. As well as online user forums. Hell, I've already downloaded and printed out the dealers shop manual and parts book.
So needless to say I'm pretty excited. I'll need to sand and paint it almost immediately, and since it has seen so little use in 26 years, I wouldn't be surprised if I'll need to replace some rubber bits, seals and such.But, you know, having to paint it is just an excuse to break out the airbrush... heh heh.