Wednesday, June 29, 2005

widescreen wallpapers

There are just not enough widescreen wallpapers on the Net. So I'll post whatever I find that is worth a look.

1280 x 768
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1280 x 800
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1440 x 900
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1680 x 1050
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Most are from, and sorry for failing to give proper credit to individuals. I have totally lost track of where they are from originally.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I wish this happened here.

Freak season lets Utah skiers go 4th
By Bonnie Miller Rubin Tribune staff reporter

There aren't too many places where you can celebrate the 4th of July weekend by hitting the slopes, but Utah is one of them, thanks to a record amount of snowfall.

Typically, skiing and snowboarding ends by mid-to-late April. One area, the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, often stretches it to late May. But on Thursday, Snowbird announced it will be open weekends until Independence Day. That has happened only once before, in 1995.

"This is awesome," said Greg Sperry, a 33-year-old snowboarder from Salt Lake City. "If anyone would have told me I would be here skiing in summer, I wouldn't have believed it. It's like a bonus round." more

news source: Yahoo!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"What We Still Don't Know"

is a science series that was broadcast around the end of last year on Channel 4 in Britain. It asks three really basic but hard questions: Are we alone? Why are we here? Are we real? (three programs, one question each)Image Hosted by

The title appears overly clichéd (I still know what you did last summer, anybody?) but that doesn't affect the quality of it, though again they could do better without the ill-designed official web pages on Channel 4. They ought to start hiring professionals. Wouldn't you think they could have selected a more decent picture?

This, for example, would be a better-sounding title: Chart the Uncharted: Cosmobiology Incognita. Please ask me before borrowing this title from Utoddpia.

Martin Rees is the host. Direct quote from him, "we are literally the ashes of long-dead star."
Sir Martin John Rees (born June 23, 1942) has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004. Educated at Shrewsbury School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he studied in the United States before taking a professorship at Sussex University. Returning to Cambridge, he held the post of Plumian Professor until 1991 and was director of the Institute of Astronomy there.

Rees won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1987. He was knighted in 1992 and won the Bruce Medal in 1993. He was awarded the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society in 2004. In 2005 he was awarded the prestigious Crafoord Prize along with James Gunn and James Peebles.

Download the three videos here, torrent file.

Edit: Am I not undersanding what they're talking about, or are they really sometimes just not the geniuses they appear to be? In the third program the cosmologists/physicists are having a tough time disproving the need of a superior being/creator to logically explain things. They keep saying that if any of the values or numbers in the physical world changes 0.0000000000000000000000000001% we couldn't have evolved. Since when did we decide we'd mess up the order of things? The universe obviously precedes us, a living thing. WE adopt to the environment, NOT the other way around. If a different set of numbers and values were given, living things simply take up different sizes and shapes to survive in it.

Hmm. We might just be in a simulation called Life.

[ドラマ] 瑠璃の島

There will be no more updates for this post since the drama has aired its finale. The writer spend all 10 episodes to express a really simple theme - go on living , no matter what. The last episode is a bit of a tear jerker and corny at times. A remote island where you know every resident somehow appeals to me. All in all a pretty bad drama with good innocent moments. A side note about the protagonist, Ruri's actor is a beautiful little girl who will probably be a star one day, hopefully not as a teenage pop singer.

Strong start, bad drag. It would have been better off made as a movie. A waste of an otherwise great plot idea. Good scenes are rare and far apart.

On the other hand, check out the official wallpapers of the island for the show. What a beauty!
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Title: Ruri no Shima (ntv) (English translation: Ruri's Island) Story of two outcasts, an 11 year-old and a fugitive, starting a new life on an Okinawan island (population 49) far away from "civilization". A somewhat watchable tear-jerker of Japanese TV drama.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

solar sail

MOSCOW June 22 (Reuters) - The world's first solar sail-powered spacecraft failed to reach its planned orbit after the Russian rocket carrying it shut down seconds after launch, Russia's state space agency said on Wednesday.

But it was unclear if the privately-funded Cosmos 1 was in space or had crashed to earth, with the U.S. backers of the project saying the craft was sending faint signals, possibly from a lower orbit.

"The unique solar sail spacecraft was not delivered to its planned orbit because the engine of the first stage of the "Volna" rocket shut itself down 83 seconds into the flight," Russia's Federal Space Agency said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, this is the second unsuccessful attempt to launch a solar sail craft on a journey through space," it more

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PASADENA, Calif. - Scientists in Russia and California worked on final preparations for the planned launch of the first spacecraft propelled by sunlight.

If all goes as planned, Cosmos 1 was to be launched early Tuesday afternoon, California time, and carried into Earth's orbit by a converted intercontinental ballistic missile, according to the Planetary Society, which is undertaking the nearly $4 million experiment.

The missile was being launched from a submerged Russian submarine in the Barents Sea. Russian, American and Czech ground stations will track the craft.

Solar sails are seen as a means for achieving interstellar flight by using the gentle push from the continuous stream of light particles known as photons. Though gradual, the constant light pressure should allow a spacecraft to build up great speed over time, and cover great distances.

Solar sails do not rely on the solar wind — the stream of ionized particles flowing from the sun — which moves more slowly than light and with much less more

Bill Nye, the Science Guy, who happens to be the Vice President of the Planetary Society, seen here celebrating the launch.
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news source: AP, Reuters
photos: Yahoo!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

technology available to civilians

If you try hard enough, there is so much you can do today with your computer and the Internet. You can be a spy. In fact, who is to say that I am not already a spy working for two different countries.

the world at night:
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turn on the lights:
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where I live:
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Now, give me your address and I'll hunt you down.
use google maps.

satellite images: NASA and Google

a big bang hypothesis

It would be similar to the Earth being round. A single person standing at any point on earth (except very high mountain on a clear day) would have a hard time imagining the slightly-oval sharp the Earth takes. Time, similiarly, doesn't have to be linear. If time IS the fourth dimension, it can be bent, possibly by extreme gravity.

If one assumes that "before" the big bang time didn't exist, then, what in the world constutites the concept of "before"? Therefore, it's likely that "something" did exist. What if, in its exaggeratedly simplfied form, "it" is humanly comprehensible. Say, something like a cycle. Sure we know that the universe is roughly 13.7 billion years old and will go on for a while, a long while, that is, compared to our pathetic yet grateful existence (a few million years), or even our solar system (4.5 billion years old). Anywho, this cycle I speak of is a cycle not unlike what we have on earth, days and nights pass and things happen again much in the same way. The only difference is that when the universe ends, it happens again with a big bang, however it's a warp that brings us back to the original big bang. Hence the cycle continues with no definite end or beginning.

It may not be the greatest idea but we got to give up physics as we know it. Gravity dictates most of the forces yet when its power increases, what we believe to be true is sometimes shaky. Now multiply that a billion times we get a vague picture of how unreliable our knowledge is. One thing we seem to have a solid grasp for is that the universe is expanding at a rapid rate. From observing the activities of a supernova, most astronomers come to the conclusion that expansion leads to explosion, eventually to a structrual collapse that sucks all matters back towards the center, energized by the incredible gravitational pull from the core. As far as we know all things in the whole universe are like one another. For example, our solar system is a smaller version of the Milky Way, which is a smaller version of the bigger galaxies near us, then of the groups of galaxies, finally of the universe itself. The fate of the universe can't be that different from what other stellar bodies inevitably go through.

The only real difference is, it won't go on to form another universe, it warps time back to the original state. My random educated guess of the life span of the universe is 1 centillion 531 billion years. Time does not move on, instead it moves in a cycle only once over a period of 1 centillion 531 billion years. (roughly 10^303, 10 to the 303rd power, years)

now tell me again how important insomnia is

Monday, June 20, 2005

earth's unrest

The second biggest earthquake since I've been in Japan.

The first of the quakes registered a preliminary magnitude 5.6 and struck at 1:19 a.m. in Chiba state, to the east of Tokyo, the Meteorological Agency said. The second, a magnitude-4.1 temblor, hit at 1:34 a.m. in the same area, the agency said.
The strongest shaking was felt in the town of Hikari and Narita city, near Tokyo's international airport, the agency said. The earlier of the two temblors was also felt in downtown Tokyo, where buildings shook for less than 10 seconds.
The agency said there was no danger of tsunami, the potentially killer waves triggered by seismic activity. -AP

Ten seconds is a long time for a quake to release its energy, on top of that, my unofficial report is that it last longer than 10 sec, it was more like 20 sec, followed by a weaker, shorter quake. Whenever something like this hits, I feel like it could be it. I am ready. Luckily, it wasn't it. California keeps shaking too maybe something big will hit the Ring of Fire.

If you live in Japan, you know what the deal is. But for a lack of English reports, it always makes me wonder what happens and where it happens. Here is a good website (near real-time) by USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) to keep watch on these seismological activities world-wide.
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images: JWA

Saturday, June 18, 2005

car craze

Grip Video Vol.1 and Vol.2
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Vol.1: Featuring celebrities such as RJ DeVera, Ken Miyoshi,and Aiko Tanaka. Grip video visits the top tuner, Signal Auto, Veilside, and UPFD. Event coverage of Import Revolution, Autofest, and Hawaii's own Drift Session! Don't forget about Mani's 860hp Supra, Motorex R33 Skyline GTR, Tommy Kaira WRX STI, and Cedric's 600+ hp Supra tearing it up! New music by DJ SpyHunter, Dat-Mot & TallMan.

Vol.2: Delivers all the import action you could want. From Drifting to car shows to features with the top racing companies in the industry. Mani put together a great show for Grip at the LA Sports Car Meet. Mr. Komatsu shows the world what drifting is all about, Hiro goes wild at the 240SX convention, and HKS unveils their new HKS tuned WRX. It doesn't get better than this! New music by Dat-Mot.

comment: warning: ricers suspected. too amateurish.

Best Motoring International series (Hot-Version in Japan)
latest release: Nismo Beast Unleashed (May 31, 2005)
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In Depth Look At the $170K SKYLINE Nismo. R34 GT-R The Final Chapter. First look at the Ultimate factory made Beast R34 GT-R. Interviews with NISMO's developers. Tetsuya Tanaka, the development driver for the Z-Tune, goes on a time attack at Tsukuba Circuit. Naoki Hattori takes the car to the streets of Tokyo with a big grin on his face.
IMPREZA STi spec C: Nurburgring Super Time ATTACK. No stranger to the "NUR", Gan-san goes to Germany, where he tests the Impreza STi spec C proto type on the Grand Prix course and the Norschleif course at Nurburgring. Also includes exclusive interviews with the Subaru developer.

comment: sold after reading the first two lines of video description, and time attack at the ring? a must have.

Drift Bible by Keiichi "Drift King" Tsuchiya
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The Techniques
Side Brakes (e-brakes), Shift Lock, Power Over, Braking, Feint and Lift Off. These are the six basic techniques you need to master to DRIFT! Tsuchiya explains and demonstrates in detail how to utilize these various techniques to drift your car. In car cameras show how he maneuvers the car from inside. A foot pedal cam and indicators shows how to use the brakes and accelerator.
Cars and Tuning Tips
Tsuchiya shows how to drift using cars with different characteristics.
He tells us which mods are necessary to drift and advice on what kind of tires to choose.
Practice Methods
After tire screeching demonstrations he always stops to break down the process of the entire maneuver. Mixing in stories from his own experience when he first started drifting, Tsuchiya demonstrates practice methods on how to control your car. Most of the moves involve complex timing and accuracy. We make sure we show the entire flow of these movements to make sure you don't miss anything!

comment: too basic to be called a bible but great first lessons from the King himself. a collector's item for all drifters and wannabes.

Go here to download them.

cover art: BMI and Grip

Sun rises at four in the morning

In Japan, it does. Now I don't know any other country that has that. Call me ignorant.

Most of the times, the very same reasons I love about Japan, I hate about it. The sun rises at four and you've had a long night. The room brightened up as your head hit the pillow. What do you do? You get online and write about it on a blog. There are a billion of reasons to love about Japan, on the flip side, same number of reasons to hate about it. I don't think hate is the direct opposite of love.

attention to details
thickness of walls
*lack of empathy
(this is a marker)
I don't mean to offend anyone, but if I did, so be it.
*Rock's input with my utter agreement.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Mac OS X Tiger running on x86 PC's

I am sure you've heard enough about the Intel-powered Mac and its OS. But hold your breath, here comes the real deal: Tiger!
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A leak maybe but just how reliable this pirated version is, go download it and see for yourself.

What's scary yesterday was that people started seeding the torrent of this new OS X x86 iso. All the major torrent sites had it listed, torrentspy, mininova, thepiratebay, etc, but curiously it was taken off each of these sites soon later. They just disappeared one by one, like some horror movie's characters. One minute you see them, the next you don't. I wonder what is going on. Two theories: 1) it's infected with lethal virus; 2) it's the real thing that Apple doesn't want you to have, so they are doing all they can to stop you from having it. The latter is more convincing.

edit: it seems to be a fake.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

stunning photography

You probably have come across deviantART already. The website where art meets application deserves a mention.

Here are some random photos I picked up from them. They are all copyrighted and belong to various photographers.

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