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It is once again time to go through my web browser's hundred or so open tabs and share the best of them with my friends.


For those who've always wondered: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Estimating the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow:
Hashing out the classic question with Strouhal numbers and simplified flight waveforms.


After spending some time last month trying to develop alternate graphic presentations for kinematic ratios in winged flight, I decided to try to answer one of the timeless questions of science....


Read the full article.


Got this one from [livejournal.com profile] siderea: Dancing Bach on the FAO Schwartz Keyboard:


This in turn led me down two fruitful (or at any rate, entertaining) tangents. First, the title, "Girls Rock" (which I thought might be the name of this duo) found me the trailer for a movie of that title — a documentary about a rock camp for adolescent girls. Which probably makes it sound like "yeah, whatever." But the trailer brought tears to my eyes, and I am going to find this movie and watch it.



More about Girls Rock: The Movie..

On a lighter and note, Googling to make sure I was correctly identifying the piece the two young women were dancing on the giant keyboard (I was; it's the Toccata and Fugue in D minor) led me to this wonderfully geeky animation of that same piece:

xela: (Obama)
Check it out:¹

www.change.gov

Worthy of note: they have a suggestion box.

An a-capella tribute to John Williams and Star Wars.² (Note: One guy is clearly not doing all those voices: the youtube sidebar points out that the vocal performance is by Moosebutter. You can buy an mp3 at their site.)



Stop-motion clay animation chess game.³ Which totally fails to describe it adequately. Just watch it:


My new userpic, created by [livejournal.com profile] deguspice for [livejournal.com profile] noire and snarfed with permission, is based on some fantastic stickers being given away by moveon.org. To quote the message they suggest I pass on to all my friends:
Hey,

Want a free Obama sticker to celebrate our victory? It's designed by Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the iconic HOPE poster. And MoveOn's giving them away totally free--even the shipping's free.

I just got mine. Click this link to get your free Obama sticker:

http://pol.moveon.org/shepstickers/?id=-14484474-tVxNg6x

Thanks!



¹ Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] nakor
² Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] remcat
³ Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] motodraconis
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This has to be at least the fifth time I"ve watched Princess Bride, a movie I find simply delightful. A satire of Medieval fantasy that is itself a great medieval fantasy; a movie that is fun for children of all ages. I recommend it wholeheartedly. And if by some miracle you are one of those people who has never seen it, for heaven's sake don't read my second paragraph.

Second paragraph. )

xela: Photo of me (Default)
It's been two or three years since I've watched any Miyazaki, which is far too long. Princess Mononoke isn't my favorite of his films: bearing in mind that I've probably only seen five of them, that distinction would go to Kiki's Delivery Service or My Neighbor Totoro — both of which make me smile a bit just thinking about them, though it's been years since I"ve seen either. But Mononoke certainly has some stunning visuals: the portrayal of demonic possession as being covered with writhing snakes is particularly effective: even thought I knew it was coming, I still flinched with the giant pig-demon first appeared out of the woods. (I'm pretty sure I looked away from the screen when I first saw it, in a theater.) And I suspect I could happily sit through an hour of watching the forest spirit's footsteps — so beautiful! Mononoke may also be a more ambitious movie than the other Studio Ghibli films I've seen. There is no cartoon villain here: all the parties are aggrieved; all are portrayed with sympathy. As is generally the case when conflict arises in our own world, all of the parties are justified. And in that, the movie provides much food for thought.

Seeing it agian certainly had one good effect: It reminded me that I haven't watched anywhere near enough of Miyazaki's work. I looked into netflix when they were still fairly new, and at the time they didn't carry several of the titles I tried searching for, so i didn't sign up. I'd been thinking recently about giving them another look, and with that in mind went to their site and searched in Miyazaki. And I am now a netflix member, with a queue consisting of
  • Lupin the 3rd: The Castle of Cagliostro
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  • Castle in the Sky
  • Porco Rosso
  • The Cat Returns
  • Howl's Moving Castle
So my Miyazaki education should proceed significantly in the next few weeks.
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Last night I came upon a box of DVDs I packed over two years ago, when [livejournal.com profile] kareila, [livejournal.com profile] alierak, and I moved out of the house we'd been sharing in Watertown. So I decided to give myself a break and watch an old favorite. Which in turn prompted me to remember how much I love movies, and to think that maybe one of the things I could do with LJ is use it to keep track of which ones I've seen and what I thought of them.

So from now on when I watch (or re-watch) a movie, I'm going to try to write an entry about it — even if only to note the title. (One of my problems with such undertakings in the past (most notably several reading logs I've started and abandoned over the years) is that I feel like I ought to write something coherent, and when I don't have time to organize my thoughts, end up not writing anything at all. Then some number of years later I find myself twenty pages into a book going this seems familiar. I'm hoping a commitment from the start to write something, even if it's only the title, will keep me from falling into that pattern on this.) These entries will carry the "movies" tag. Which may prompt me to start using tags in some regular and organized way.
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The most warm-smile inducing movie trailer I've ever seen: March of the Penguins. (With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] eclectic_1, whose journal I found it in.)
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I didn't see the Sci Fi Channel's adaptation of Wizard of Earthsea. And having read what Ursula Le Guin has to say about it, I don't think I will be.
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I just saw "De-Lovely", and loved it. I laughed. There were scenes where I'm sure a larger audience would have clapped (I saw it in a multiplex with maybe 25 other people scattered around the room — you don't get critical mass in a group like that, even if someone does have the nerve to be the first one to start clapping.) And at the end, I cried.

It's in some ways a sweet, old-fashioned biopic, like "The Glenn Miller Story", but without the need that era felt to make such films hagiographies. I'm not going to try to write a cogent review;there's a too long, too detailed, but overall fair review at gaytoday.com if you want one of those. I'll just say this: If you have a sentimental bone in your body, you'll love this movie. If you appreciate beautiful songs beautifully performed, you'll love it even more..
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Just watched Bend It Like Beckham with [livejournal.com profile] kareila and [livejournal.com profile] alierak. What a delightful movie! It's funny, it's touching, it's sweet; it's got great action shots and a wonderful soundtrack. Just a pleasure.

If you'd gotten the impression (as I had at one point) that it's just a movie about football (US: "soccer"), it's not. It's a coming of age story, in the tradition of all the best coming of age stories. And I'm not going to say any more.

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