Bmax Comes Alive

I reckon that Bmax fellow swings by this corner now and then

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

600 lbs of Sin

This past weekend, I headed down to LA to catch a Yonder Mountain String Band show with my old friends, Lindsey and Chris. It was a real hootenanny, but since the show was on the Sunset Strip they weren't quite as hootenannied out as this.

Nevertheless, they played two seriously rocking sets. I mean, when was the last time you heard a bluegrass cover of Talking Heads' Girlfriend is Better? It was also by far the best crowd of any concert I've been to in California. You gotta hand it to hippies, they love them some music.

After the gracious hosting of the Byer's family (so much yummy food), Chris and I went out to explore LA's desert origins, no wait, that was on the radio, we explored LA's prehistoric origins. Thats right, in the middle of LA there are bubbling tar pits filled with skeletons from crazy beasts such as the Mammuthus columbi, Smilodon fatalis and the Canis dirus or dreaded Dire Wolf.

While I'm on the subject of bubbling black substances, my friend Paul gave us a generous gift of Coke Blak for our drive home.

For those readers not familiar with Coke Blak, let me tell you a little bit about it:

At the Coke Blak Factory, the crude oil has been seeping out of the ground through conduits and fissures in the coastal plain sediments for the past 40,000 years, the seeps forming pools in low-lying areas.

Fresh sediments from the surrounding hills continued to form new layers of sediments on top of the older ones and asphalt continued to seep to the surface. Over tens of thousands of years, this produced the cone-shaped asphalt deposits found in Coke Blak.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Nanotechnology or Apocalypse Wow!

The founder of eBay recently put up an absurd amount of money to sponsor a series of white paper competitions at Berkeley. White papers are things people in the Bay Area like to talk about. Other things that people like to talk about are VC's (venture capitalists) and the innovation economy. But, back to the competitions.

A couple of weekends ago the deadline for the Science Technology & Engineering Policy competition was fast approaching. I managed to fight off the lure of sun and ice cream (well kind of) long enough to be coerced into co-writing a paper on the lack of knowledge and regulation dealing with nanoscale (really tiny) materials. The most notable feature of the paper is probably the following cartoon:

If this cartoon intrigues you and/or you are extremely bored and you would like to read the whole paper, you can find it here.

Warning: Author cannot be held responsible for any irrational fears or panics caused by this paper. For a more fair and balanced look at the world of nanotechnology please see Nano by John Robert Marlow.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Thank goodness I'm not in Kansas anymore

So, I could spend this post talking about how the people who live above me somehow managed to shatter their toilet bowl causing water to rain down onto my apartment (not to mention the apartment below mine). And how the same thing happened at my old apartment last year. Or, I could talk about how my b-ball team Net Force, finished out this season with two wins in a row, which, I believe qualifies as a winning streak!

But, something much crazier happened last week. You may have read about it in the New York Times, heck you might have even been there yourself. Yeah, I'm talking about the tornado that hit Iowa City last week. Judging from this map, it looks as though the tornado went directly through my old apartment.

I hope everybody back in IC made it through unscathed and has dug out most of the rubble. On a sidenote, if anyone has seen my old place, I'd be interested to hear how it faired. I imagine the nice row of windows is no longer there at the very least.

Now, I've just got to get out of California before the Big One hits and I'll be home free...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

1.21 Jiggawatts!

If you wake up and are concerned that you may have accidentally been transported through a time warp to the 1950's where you could end up marrying your mother and causing yourself not to be born, what is the best way to check that you are still in the 21st century?

In my personal experience, your best bet would be to head to the supermarket and go straight for the checkout aisle. If they have installed wierd new flat panel screens for you to stare at while waiting in line, then you are definitely in the 21st century (Its still not all right to marry your mother though).

When I'm in the line, the tv just doesn't do it for me; I go for the magazine racks. Some people out there might prefer Weekly World News or US Weekly, but my drug of choice is Time magazine. Having finally broken down and bought a subsription though, I was left pondering my options.

My eyes were drawn to the Reader's Digest cover, "Normal or Nuts? Test Yourself" Bingo, just what I was wondering a second ago. Unfortunately I was sorely dissappointed. It seems that Reader's Digest can't even trust their reader's ability to fill out a quiz. The 'quiz' came prepackaged with answers about how the reader is just a tiny bit nuts and thats what makes the world go 'round.

This is the last time you fool me, Reader's Digest, by purporting to have original content!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Disaster befalls America

Well, semi-disaster, and by America I mean me. I did two loads of laundry last night and when I took them out of the drier I realized that some of my stuff had black spots on it... no wait, all of my stuff had india ink on it. My entire wardrobe has been smitten by the dark mark.

Looks like its time for me to go shopping (either for Oxi-clean or a new wardrobe).

I saw that it was good...

This guy:

He just might be the most charismatic man in America. His nephew's band 'Star Death and the White Dwarfs' or more appropriately named, 'little Wayne and the early flaming lips' opened. Wayne was very much digging it.

Once again, the night was struck by wierd California crowds. Even Wayne was taken back when the audience got angry at him for announcing they were going to play a shortened version of a song to practice for Letterman later in the week. Where I come from, we are just pleased to have the rock brought and brought it was.

Highlights included the cover of War Pigs with hillarious repeated zoom-ins on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield and Powell in the background and the sing along version of Bohemian Rhapsody. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, two covers, I know, but what are you gonna do, they're good songs. (sidenote to anyone who has seen Queen w/ Paul Rodgers, how was that Bohemian Rhapsody?)

This movie:

It has a chick playing a dude trying to play a chick. Nuff said. Did they already do that Oscar thing? Cuz it gets my vote for best visual effects (I don't want to ruin any surprises, but Felicity Huffman has a johnson). It also had a really good acoustic southern soundtrack.