3D Printed Houses

This is just an early version of something that will one day be more common place. They already use 3d printers for making building materials. They can create bricks in unusal shapes and patterns. The future is here and its going to get more sci-fi as time goes on.

Mud Review

Ever since I’ve started to become a Matthew McConaughey fan after a string of great performances from True Detective, Wolf of Wall Street, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Magic Mike I decided to check out this little indy film from early last year. Mud is a Tom Sawyeresque tale of two boys in Mississippi who like to explore islands in the delta and come across a mysterious outlaw hiding out in a boat stuck in a tree. They develop a friendship that you know isn’t going to end well, but you wonder where it will lead. It’s full of excellent actors and the characterizations are excellent.

I was reminded of when I was a kid and liked to explore woods and places. It’s another great notch is McConaughey’s acting belt. Well worth checking out.

Capybara

Call me crazy but I fell in love with these creatures as a potential pet. I can’t get one though because they require a decent sized plot of land and a pond or creek to swim in. They are aquatic. They also like to live in groups. I find them fascinating, but they are also short lived. They only live about 5-7 years.

Anyway, in case you never heard of the Capybara they are the world’s largest rodent. They are like a cross between a beaver and an guinea pig. They love company but they aren’t 100% domesticated. Still, they are kind of cool.

All This and World War II

One of the strangest films ever made came out in 1975. It was WWII footage matched to Beatles songs sung by some of the big names of the day like Elton John, Rod Stewart, Helen Reddy, Billy Preston, etc. The music is pretty good, of course but it’s a very odd mash up. I hated it at the time but I find it kind of compelling now.

It made almost no money at the time. It as gone from the theaters in a week. But you might find it an interesting experience.

This is the entire film.

Edward Snowdon TED Talk

Really worth watching. Edward Snowdon explains why he did what he did and why it’s important. I’m pretty much on the side that says he did the right thing. People in power are never satisfied with what they have and it’s human nature for people to abuse power once they have it. It’s clear the government and the NSA is abusing power already and that needs to stop.

Whatever Happened to Yakov Smirnoff?

I found this recent interview with ex-Soviet comedian Yakov Smirnoff who was big in the 80s here. I always liked his humor. He tells his life story in this podcast and its fascinating. Those people who think the Soviet Union was something to long for should listen to this. Sounds like hell to me. And having been to Russia, I believe it.

You can see how Yakov would have tons of jokes to mine from these experiences.

Wrong Milk?

Personally, I love milk but I hate the milk they sell in most stores. I have been spoiled by the milk I got as a kid and then later, when I lived in the UK. It was much richer and they didn’t homogenize it which breaks down the fat so the milk is basically more watery. People who think skim milk tastes like water are right. It mostly is. But so called whole milk in most supermarket brands isn’t much better. I used to be able to buy this brand of milk in LA that came in glass bottles and was homogenized. If you go to Trader Joes or Whole foods you can get homogenized milk also. But there is another issue that maybe very important. The type of cow the milk comes from.

This article from Mother Jones explains it pretty well.

When my in-laws moved from India to the United States some 35 years ago, they couldn’t believe the low cost and abundance of our milk—until they developed digestive problems. They’ll now tell you the same thing I’ve heard a lot of immigrants say: American milk will make you sick.

It turns out that they could be onto something. An emerging body of research suggests that many of the 1 in 4 Americans who exhibit symptoms of lactose intolerance could instead be unable to digest A1, a protein most often found in milk from the high-producing Holstein cows favored by American and some European industrial dairies. The A1 protein is much less prevalent in milk from Jersey, Guernsey, and most Asian and African cow breeds, where, instead, the A2 protein predominates.

“We’ve got a huge amount of observational evidence that a lot of people can digest the A2 but not the A1,” says Keith Woodford, a professor of farm management and agribusiness at New Zealand’s Lincoln University who wrote the 2007 book Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health, and the Politics of A1 and A2 Milk. “More than 100 studies suggest links between the A1 protein and a whole range of health conditions”—everything from heart disease to diabetes to autism, Woodford says, though the evidence is far from conclusive.

I find the cows in the UK made much better milk and it was much tastier. The brand I got in LA was from the same kind of cows and it was fantastic. Especially their chocolate milk. It was just like I remember from my childhood. The dairy is called Broguiere’s and they still put it out. Next time I’m up there I may grab some bottles on the way home.

My Chat with Brian Greene

Over on IO9 today, renowned physicist Brian Greene was taking questions and I got to ask him something that’s been bugging me for awhile. Here’s the exchange. Forgive my typos.

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I would love the chance to ask a bunch of questions like this with some one of his ilk. He’s one of the better physicists because he’s not an ideologue and is reasonable. I recommend his books.

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2D LEDs

Okay, this story may only excite science geeks like myself but scientists have come up with LEDS for making video screens that are 2 dimensional. That means technical they have only two sides Even paper is three dimensional. This stuff is 3 atoms thick! We’re talking science fiction made real.

Univ. of Washington scientists have built the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics. The LED is based off of 2-D, flexible semiconductors, making it possible to stack or use in much smaller and more diverse applications than current technology allows.

“We are able to make the thinnest-possible LEDs, only three atoms thick yet mechanically strong. Such thin and foldable LEDs are critical for future portable and integrated electronic devices,” said Xiaodong Xu, a UW asst. prof. in materials science and engineering and in physics.

Xu along with Jason Ross, a UW materials science and engineering graduate student, co-authored a paperabout this technology that appeared online in Nature Nanotechnology.

Most consumer electronics use three-dimensional LEDs, but these are 10 to 20 times thicker than the LEDs being developed by the UW.

So not only are they smaller, they use less energy. This is why I don’t worry about hysteria over energy consumption and the like. We are constantly improving energy use in devices. And making things smaller and smaller till they are almost invisible. With LEDs like this video screens can be in your clothes. A TV could be paper thin. Lights could be part of the wall paper. This has a lot of exciting possibilities.

I love watching things like this unfold. Add to that cool crowd sourcing projects like affordable 3D printers and the world is changing before our eyes.

Review: Journey To the West: Conquering Demons

Stephen Chow is one of my favorite film makers. He started out doing low budget kung fu comedies in the 90s and has since gone one to produce CGI laden comedy classics like Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer. Journey to the West is his latest. It’s available on VOD (Video on Demand) and I highly recommend it Based on one of the most famous books of Chinese literature, about a young Buddhist monk who is sent by his master to India to bring back sacred texts. He is accompanied by three reformed demons in the shapes of men, who were once Fish, Pig and Monkey demons. The ex-demons have superpowers and have to prove themselves to be reformed and are tested along the way as they pass through magical lands.

This is not that story, it’s the prequel. It tells how the monk came to meet these demons as a dorky demon hunter who tries to reform demons with nursery rhymes. In the process he gets his ass kicked repeatedly and saved by a female demon hunter who has the hots for him. The climatic build up is where he is sent to find the Monkey King who has been imprisoned for 500 years in a mountain shaped like Buddha. He seeks the Monkey King’s help but the monkey king just wants to be let out of prison.

This leads to a climatic fight that is on the level of Man of Steel’s climax only with hilarity.

This movie is really funny, if you like slapstick, which is a staple of Stephen Chow. It me laughing at the silliness, which few comedies manage to do these days. But also, it’s full of wild originality and amazing sequences that are worthy of a great comic book fight.

Lots of fun, worth a look.

Oh, and another big budget Monkey film is coming out soon from another director starring Donny Yen that’s a must see.