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Nate the Great 03-14-2018 01:51 PM

Happy Pi Day 2018!

Yeah, by now the appropriate links are starting to thin out, but at least ViHart made a new video for it.

And the amazing thing I learned today (courtesy of the video) is that today is Albert Einstein's birthday. He'd be 139.

USA Today reports on the pizza deals for today. I can't remember the last time I referred to a "pizza pie" without it being a quote (specifically of the Schoolhouse Rock song "7.50 Once a Week").

Nate the Great 03-15-2018 06:36 PM

If you need a random 1/2 event, you flip a coin. For a random 1/4 event, use a tetrahedral die, 1/6 use a normal die, etc., but what if you need a random 1/3 event? How thick does a coin have to be where landing on its edge is as likely as either end face?

Matt Parker of standupmaths (and Numberphile, etc.) decides to find out.

You need a cylinder where the diameter is its height times the square root of three.

Of course the more practical solution is simply assigning 1 and 6 on a normal die to the first outcome, 2 and 5 to the second outcome, and 3 and 4 to the third outcome.

FYI, if you don't care about statistical distributions I'd bail out after ten minutes or so.

Nate the Great 03-22-2018 01:58 AM

When I was a kid Viewmasters (at least traditional cardboard-and-film Viewmasters) were still a thing, since VHS tapes were expensive and you likely only had one TV in the house (how did we survive those dark times? ;))...

Anyway, of course there were Star Trek Viewmaster reels.

I don't recall having live-action show discs, just Disney ones and maybe the odd nature scene.

This site has a summary of a few of them

I'm amazed that Viewmaster sent their own camera crew to film the slightly offset photos needed for the reels.

The writer's theory for the use of "The Omega Glory" is that it's the only one completely written by Roddenberry, thus making rights issues easier. Take this with a grain of salt, I'm more inclined to go with "it was the episode being shot when Viewmaster sent their camera crew around."

One of the reels mentions the TOS transporter range of 16,000 miles in contrast to the usual 24th-century value of 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles). It's fair enough that the range would almost double in a hundred years.

I'm amazed that when a shot of the Enterprise bridge was used as the Exeter bridge, they covered up the dedication plaque even though it wouldn't be readable at this scale.

The guy mentions the lunacy of putting quotation marks around such things as "beaming" and "Old West" and "cage" and "Meraks".

Laugh along with me at the usage of "phased out" to describe a person that has been vaporized with a phaser.

Note the "famous Spock nerve pinch" or FSNP. I thought that this was just an injoke used by the TOS creative team. How it made its way to the script given to Viewmaster is beyond me.

Nate the Great 03-23-2018 02:04 PM

A compilation of characters running in and out of doors a la Scooby Doo (what TV Tropes calls "Scooby Dooby Doors")

Old, new, animated, live-action, this gag never gets old.

Nate the Great 03-23-2018 02:26 PM

A compilation of appearances of the Vulcan salute across many shows, along with Nimoy explaining the origin of it.

I'm disappointed that The Terminal didn't make it, but I'm not surprised that iiAFX hasn't seen that movie. It features a pre-Uhura Zoe Saldana and everything!

Nate the Great 03-29-2018 11:07 PM

A Rube Goldberg device that's primarily a bunch of fidget spinners moving a marble around.

I find watching Rube Goldberg devices relaxing, how about you guys?

Nate the Great 03-31-2018 08:12 PM

It's Floppy Drives used as Musical Instruments Day

(A few years ago I posted Bodensee's machine for converting keyboard presses directly into floppy drive music, but he's hardly the only one to be doing this)

Pawel Zadroziniak presents the Floppotron!

Hawaii 5-0
Pokemon Theme
Zelda Overworld Theme
Still Alive (Portal)
20th Century Fox Fanfare
Wintergatan's Marble Machine
MacGyver Theme
Korobeiniki (Tetris Theme)
Axel F
James Bond Theme
Inspector Gadget Theme
Mission Impossible Theme

Next is MrSolidSnake745.

Star Wars Imperial March

DuckTales (this one is a valiant effort, but the theme is just too peppy for such a somber instrument as a bank of floppy drives ;))
Axel F (this one isn't as good as Pawel's, I just wanted to show how some songs are too complicated for just eight floppy drives)
Power Rangers Theme
Ghostbusters Theme
Carol of the Bells
Dr. Who Theme
TNG Theme
Super Mario Theme

Nate the Great 04-01-2018 02:17 AM

A fan-made computer animation of the major events of Wrath of Khan, including some impressive particle animations of the Mutara Nebula and the creation of the Genesis Planet.

Nate the Great 04-02-2018 02:55 PM

Someone ported as much of Mario 1 into the Atari 2600 engine as possible. Yeah, everything had to be downgraded a lot, but it's still impressive for the available technology.

Nate the Great 04-04-2018 01:35 AM

Fan trailer for a Gargoyles movie.

The CG is good for an amateur production, but I think it's a shame that they used a generic narrator rather than try to imitate Goliath's voice.

Nate the Great 04-08-2018 01:19 AM

As a fan of old arcade games (not videogames, but pinball, skeeball, etc.) I was happy to discover Matt3756 recently. He specializes in claw machines, but also does other things like mini golf, coin pushers, and so forth.

It makes me sad to think that tickets and tokens only exist as data on disposable cards these days. One of the best parts of the whole process was loading your strips of tickets into the scale basket to see how many you had!

Nate the Great 04-08-2018 09:53 PM

Rock version of the Search for Spock theme. Backing random Animated Series clips. Just because.

Nate the Great 04-09-2018 12:28 PM

Today is Tom Lehrer's 90th birthday (yes, he's still with us)...

Last July I plugged Lofty Pursuits, and today they celebrated the occasion by making orange candy. Orange because Tom once created a rhyme for it (sort of).

Since I've been known to plug Tom Lehrer before, let's see if I can come up with some new material...

The Demented Music Database presents a brief biography (that is, they copied a magazine article from the '90s). Today I learned (not from the article, but still) that he wrote a few songs from Garrison Keillor's "American Radio Company" radio show (i.e. "We're Pretending That This isn't Just A Prairie Home Companion With A New Name and in New Locations"), including "Hannukah in Santa Monica." In addition, I didn't know that the math show that he wrote "That's Mathematics" for eventually turned into "Square One TV." One wonders how hard it would've been to license "That's Entertainment" so the show could use "That's Mathematics".

Another biography courtesy of He graduated high school at 15, got his bachelors in mathematics at 19 and his masters the following year.

And again. This one brings up Tomfoolery, Daniel Radcliffe's rendition of "The Elements", and Harvard's actual usage of "Fight Fiercely, Harvard."

Nate the Great 04-10-2018 01:54 AM

Another silly black and white Trek parody comic courtesy of Stupid Comics.

The cast of Cheers, various DC and Marvel characters, Popeye, Abraham Lincoln, Han Solo and Chewie, etc.

As Obscurus Lupa would say, a reference is not a joke. There are plenty of references here, but little actual humor.

Nate the Great 04-10-2018 08:23 PM

As a sort of tie-in to yesterday's Lehrer celebration, I was wondering what exactly the "New Math" really was. I knew that it introduced higher-order mathematics concepts at an earlier age, but what was the point?

Apparently it consisted of visualizing algebra problems with rows of physical objects instead of variables.

And this is supposed to be more efficient than the Old

NAHTMMM 04-19-2018 02:57 PM

Multiplayer minesweeper on a large field. It's an interesting twist.

Nate the Great 04-22-2018 12:35 AM

Tom Lehrer celebration, Part Three, featuring covers that were previously unknown to me:

Barbara Manning presents "Rickety Tickety Tin", a reworking of "The Irish Ballad", pushing things in a horror/country angle.

If you happen to speak Swedish (which I don't), you have Lars Ekborg ready to translate and sing Lehrer for you.

The Harvard University Band presents "Fight Fiercely, Harvard." They add a bit more flourish to the original, especially when it comes to the brass instruments.

Nacha Guevara presents Estaremos Todos Juntos Algun Dia (We Will All Together When We Go in Spanish)

Stan and Doug perform "The Hunting Song" with Swedish accents. How much of the accent is genuine and how much is merely comedic exaggeration, I don't care to guess.

Nate the Great 04-22-2018 12:49 AM

Tom Lehrer coverage, part four. His Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number is 9. Now you'd think his Erdos number would be the lowest, right? After all, they're both mathematicians. Nope!

Erdos number: Four

Lehrer->Thomas L. Austin Jr. OR W.F. Penny->John Riordan->Ronald L. Graham->Paul Erdos

Bacon number: Two.

Lehrer->John Cleese->Kevin Bacon

Sabbath number: Three.

Lehrer->Joe Raposo->Frank Oz->Ozzy Ozbourne

Nate the Great 04-24-2018 09:51 PM

Bob Dorough died yesterday.

Schoolhouse Rock was and is part of who I am. Even before I was a Trekkie, I was a SHR fan.

I won't link all of the SHR songs that he sang, just some of my favorites:

My Hero Zero
Three is a Magic Number
Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here
The Body Machine
This for That

Nate the Great 04-26-2018 02:36 AM

Disco TOS Theme!

Wait until the middle when it really gets funky.

Techno Dance VOY Theme!

Piano Solo DS9 Theme, performed by the composer!

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