Cell Size and Scale

Awesome Flash animation from the University of Utah, showing relative sizes from a coffee bean to a carbon atom. I wish it could also zoom out and show astronomical sizes, too, like this FSU slide show (not as smooth as the Utah one) or the famous Powers of Ten movie.

Boo on HuffPo! Read more at: www.lame.css/fixed-location/link.html

I just excerpted and linked to a story from the Huffington Post Blog, and after I checked my blog I found a strange link floating above all the rest of my text, making both my own text that was under the link and the link itself illegible. I had already included a link to the HuffPo. I had to spend extra time locating and removing this extra crap that appeared…

As Goes Halloween, So Goes Childhood

In several of my classes this week, I asked the students to estimate how many children had been poisoned by Halloween candy in the last 20 years.  Guesses ranged from one per year to one, but nobody guessed zero. No child has been poisoned by a stranger’s goodies on Halloween, ever, as far as we can determine. Joel Best, a sociology professor at the University of Delaware, studied November newspapers…


$160,000 Per Stimulus Job? White House Calls That 'Calculator Abuse'

These numbers are a bit sad. So let’s see. Assuming their number is right — 160 billion divided by 1 million. Does that mean the stimulus costs taxpayers $160,000 per job? Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that “calculator abuse.” He said the cost per job was actually $92,000 — but acknowledged that estimate is for the whole stimulus package as of the…


Landscape of open source games

While much of the talk covered well-known libraries (SDL, OpenAL), game engines (Ogre, Irrlicht), physics engines (Bullet, Tokamak), and content creation tools (Blender, GIMP), there were a few surprises. One was how many open source game-creation systems I found (4, more than the zero I expected). These are Game Editor (2d with export to some mobile devices), Construct (2d, some 3d), Novashell (2d), and Sandbox (3d). Another surprise was the…

It's All (About) Fun and Games

Peter Mawhorter offers up a reading list on games: For anyone curious about what I’ve been reading, here’s the list of what I’ve read to get an introduction to this area: “Why We Play Games: Four Keys to More Emotion Without Story” by Nicole Lazzaro. “GameFlow: A Model for Evalucating Player Enjoyment in Games” by Penelope Sweetser and Peta Wyeth. “An Experiment in Automatic Game Design” by Julian Togelius and…


Free Educational and Fun Online Games for Kids

I don’t usually link to sites that collect a bunch of links and serve them up on a page full of ads, but this is a pretty good list from Squidoo. Here you’ll find the educational sites where my kids play online, and that are most often recommended by other parents who value fun learning games for their children. Jumpstart Online Virtual World PBSKids Sesame Street Disney Preschool Nick Jr.…

Schwarzenegger to foe: (Veto) 'you'

In California, the governor’s office reacts to hearing of a vulgar message hidden vertically in the first row of letters in this gubernatorial veto. As The Swamp puts it: “My goodness. What a coincidence,” a shocked, shocked Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear is quoted by the Associated Press as saying. “I suppose when you do so many vetoes, something like this is bound to happen.”

Living on $500,000 a Year

What can be learned from Fitzgerald’s tax returns? To start with, his popular reputation as a careless spendthrift is untrue. Fitzgerald was always trying to follow conservative financial principles. Until 1937 he kept a ledger–as if he were a grocer–a meticulous record of his earnings from each short story, play, and novel he sold. The 1929 ledger recorded items as small as royalties of $5.10 from the American edition of…

They Grow Up So Fast

A few years ago, my daughter was thrilled to receive a hand-me-down fanny pack. (See the price tag hanging on my spiffy new one?)Earlier this month, when my wife took the kids on a family visit for about 10 days, my daughter cried for me at night.