"Rap" the white guy can "dance" to

The Top 10 Rap Songs White People Love | catsandbeer.com:

When these songs come on, White People look at each other and say “Awwww yeah” or “Hell yeah” and are compelled to sing along. Sometimes there’s also a corresponding stupid dance move.

Well I have to admit, at number 9, “The Humpty Dance” is one of my favorites (and a karaoke staple). The author is right too — Humpty Hump/Shock G is a great MC and its too bad people don’t get into the _whole_ album. Number one on the list is “Baby Got Back”, which I will again plead guilty to. I can’t extend as much love to the entire album on which it resides, though.

Further down there’s a write in vote for DJ Kool’s “Let me clear my throat”. Definitely seems to be a favorite of your average Dallas frat boy, though I have to say its really a quite good cut on a not-horrible album. “Getting Jiggy Wit It” is also a write-in, which I feel totally guilty for owning. I keep it on my iPod as penance.

This memory isn't going to manage itself

On a whim, I took a shallow dive into the world of C this weekend. Its been a long time since I delved into C. I ended up spending nearly as much time tweaking a build script with the ever-amusing Rake as I did remembering my C skillz[1]. In the end, my goal was to write a simple program that just reads a file and writes it back out. Nothing @cat@ couldn’t handle, sure, but you gotta start somewhere.

Alex the cognitive parrot

Best obituary ever:

A shame, then, that he is now, in the words of Monty Python, an ex-parrot.

If you’re not familiar, Alex The Parrot is a parrot who was adopted by a scientist who wasn’t, at the time, involved in linguistics. But, in teaching Alex to speak, she ended up teaching him things like counting and basic recognition of objects. Over the years, this evolved into all manners of experiments on what kind of cognition Alex was capable of.

AlexTheParrot.jpg

By the end, said Dr Pepperberg, Alex had the intelligence of a five-year-old child and had not reached his full potential. He had a vocabulary of 150 words. He knew the names of 50 objects and could, in addition, describe their colours, shapes and the materials they were made from. He could answer questions about objects’ properties, even when he had not seen that particular combination of properties before. He could ask for things – and would reject a proffered item and ask again if it was not what he wanted. He understood, and could discuss, the concepts of “bigger”, “smaller”, “same” and “different”. And he could count up to six, including the number zero (and was grappling with the concept of “seven” when he died). He even knew when and how to apologise if he annoyed Dr Pepperberg or her collaborators.

Its just amazing.

Making sense of Fitts' Law

Particle Tree has an excellent article on Fitts’ Law. That’s the one that, amongst other thing, leads to putting the Dock and Start Menu buttons on the edges of the screen. You definitely want to check it out, if only for the terrific images used as demonstration, like this one:

ParticleTreeFittsLaw.jpg

Of course, if you’re more about the math[1] you could just read up on ye olde’ Wikipedia.

fn1. There’s math in UI design?

Nielsen Symphony No. 4

Still the most difficult orchestral piece I’ve played (though I played it quite poorly at the time):

Gotta love the dueling timpani. And insanely difficult string runs.

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Categorized as Music

Lion head scroll

Charles Mingus had what must be the coolest double bass on the planet:

Charles Mingus' double bass scroll

Photo credit: tm_marcello

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Categorized as Music