The Wheels on the Veggie Bus

For those interested…

Vegetable Oil Powered Bus Slides into the REI January Clearance Sale! 1/14/2006 10:00 AM As the nation's gas prices continue to rise, the non-profit National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) has found a better way to get around. The school has a 36-foot bus fueled by French fries and other ingredients traveling the country, providing an active, environmentally conscious way to learn about the outdoors. The bus runs on recycled vegetable oil (RVO), a cleaner, renewable alternative to petroleum. So far, the bus has traveled more than 30,000 miles on RVO during its 2nd year journey crossing the country. This approach has saved 3,000 gallons of petroleum, and eliminated sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions while significantly reducing the release of other particulates. The specially adapted vehicle is also equipped with a bouldering wall on the side of the bus, and solar panels atop the roof that power its audio-visual equipment, lights and computers. The bus will be located in the REI parking lot on Saturday, January 14th. Stop by REI and visit the NOLS bus to find out more about the grease system, to participate in one of the many activities, and to take part in a raffle at 2 pm. Score NOLS gear and other goodies! You can visit the website to learn more about the bus program at: Bus Program Location: REI parking lot Cost: Free Registration Required? No.

There Is No Spoon

Fascinating article I've been reading for the last hour or so over at edge.org. The goal of the article was to ask many influential intelligent people what their most dangerous idea is today. The results are…interesting. One in particular that I want to mention here is by Donald Hoffman, a cognitive scientist at UC, Irvine and author of the book 'Visual Intelligence'.

Once one abandons public physical objects, one must reformulate many current open problems in science. One example is the mind-brain relation. There are no public brains, only my brain experiences and your brain experiences. These brain experiences are just the simplified visual experiences of homo sapiens, shaped for survival in certain niches. The chances that our brain experiences resemble some mind-independent truth are remote at best, and those who would claim otherwise must surely explain the miracle. Failing a clever explanation of this miracle, there is no reason to believe brains cause anything, including minds. And here the wolf unzips the sheep skin, and darts out into the open.

Scandolous! And yet interesting. Anyhoot, b-ball restarts tomorrow - go Panthers, huh?!?

Holiday Wrap-up

Compared with last year, this year's holiday season has been awesome!!! That's in relative terms, of course. In absolute terms, the season passed fairly quietly. Mom came out to St. Louis to spend Christmas with the boys, decided she needed to catch up on the sleep she'd missed the last year, and promptly slept for 95% of the week she was here. It was our pleasure to have her though. She needed a place where she had no responsibilities for a week and could rest her mind and body. The day after Christmas, she and I ventured back to Virginia, the first leg in my 3000 miles in a week campaign. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent figuring out what she needed to bring with her to Florida that could fit into the shoe box she calls a car. Amazingly we fit more than a garment or two in that sucker. Thursday, we shoved off from Virginia for leg two; a trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, where Mom is to take up residence and employment. After stopping in Jacksonville to spend the night with avery and her family, we arrived at the house where Mom was to rent a room for the next 8 months. The house is a perfect fit for her. It is small, easily maintainable, on a very quiet street, and quite near a quaint downtown. The owner, Linda, is an interesting lady and will provide Mom with some much needed companionship. St. Petersburg itself is nice. It is about a 30 minute drive from the house to the beach on the Gulf coast. Tampa Bay is a block away from the house. The temperature these last two days has been 72 and 77; not too shabby for late December. Downtown is pleasant; it is not a business district per se, but certainly caters to the tourist demographic. Sadly we were not able to investigate Tampa Bay yet, but I'm sure the bigger city will provide plenty of entertainment on subsequent visits. Leg three begins tomorrow as I rejoin Avery and a couple friends for the trek back to sunny St. Louis! As they return to learn, I return to code. Happy New Year!

Christmas Fun

I hope that most of you have seen this, but just in case and for posterity's sake, dear God watch this video and love every minute of it! That said, Merry Christmas to all…

Congratulations

It's pretty sweet when a friend succeeds at a high level of competition. My hat is off to Lewis Howes for his performance in his last collegiate football game against DIII powerhouse Mount Union. Read the write-up here. Not too shabby for a guy who didn't start playing football until his sophomore year in high school. Lewis, congratulations my man. I know wherever life takes you, success will follow you.

Play Your .bin Files

Some linux foo for the kids at home. Use BitTorrent? A lot of the time, you'll get a movie file in a .bin/.cue combo. Not a convienent format for playing the file. You could burn it but who uses CDs anymore? It seems the easiest way to handle this is to convert the .bin to an .mpg file. Make sure you have the vcdimager package installed, then run vcdxrip with the following options:

vcdxrip -p –nosegments –nofiles -o /dev/null -b <your-bin-file-here>

This takes some time but the resulting file should play fine in Xine or Mplayer. Far out!

Who Likes It Better?

FINALLY!!! Conclusive evidence that women enjoy sex more than men. Found this excerpt this morning and decided I needed to share it with the world. Why I'm posting it here, I have no idea. Maybe someone else saw it and posted it somewhere people will actually see it. And now, the proof that women enjoy sex more than men:

Because when you put your finger in your ear and wiggle it around, it feels better to your ear than it does to your finger.

Duh! On an unrelated, but still humorous note, I've also found the answer to the age old question, "Are golfers athletes?". The answer is - Yes, in the same way that moss is salad. Golf sucks…

I Bow To Google

It's nice when the companies you admire do things that make you love them even more. I, Cringely explains,

Play to your strengths. That's the key to success in any industry. This is the week I promised to explain where I think Google is headed, and playing to the company's strengths is key if they are going to do what I think, which is effectively take over the Internet. Oh they won't steal it or strong-arm us. They'll seduce us into giving it to them. And I am not at all sure that's a bad thing.

Oh hellz yeah! They can take me to bed anytime…