What's davintosh? Mostly just the random ramblings of a hopelessly distractible… Hey, what's that?

Lunar Lander

Filed under: Cool Technology,Fun!,Geek — Tags: , , , — dave @ 11:34 pm 2011/05/30

Ian and I were watching 2001: A Space Odyssey just now, and the scene where the ship lands on the Moon reminded me of the old Atari Lunar Lander game I used to play (and play and play) at the arcades. (strangely, I seem to remember playing the game in my early high school years, but according to the Wikipedia article above, it didn’t come out until 1979. Hmmm…)

But after playing the online version on Atari’s site I wonder why I have such fond memories of it; it’s not easy. And the games are over pretty quickly. Back in the day you’d be plugging a quarter in it for every play, and you only start out with enough fuel for one or two landings. Maybe I liked it because I had so much invested in it. Or maybe it’s just my memory on its way out.

Much easier to enjoy now that there’s a Flash version online that’s free to play. And there are lots of other spin-offs from it as well, like this one from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Cool stuff.

Any chance I can have my quarters back?

It’s The Geeks’ Fault

Filed under: Geek,Just Stuff,The World — Tags: , , — dave @ 3:59 pm 2011/05/27

At least in Italy anyway…

Italian government officials have accused the country’s top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Italy in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people.

Enzo Boschi, the president of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), will face trial along with six other scientists and technicians, after failing to predict the future and the impending disaster.

The seven scientists were placed under investigation almost a year ago, according to a news story on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — the world’s largest general-science society and a leading voice for the interests of scientists worldwide.

Alan Leschner, chief executive of AAAS, said his group wrote a letter to the Italian government last year — clearly, to no avail.

“Whoever made these accusations misunderstands the nature of science, the nature of the discipline and how difficult it is to predict anything with the surety they expect,” Leschner told FoxNews.com.

The case could have a “chilling effect” on scientists, he noted.

“It reflects a lack of understanding about what science can and can’t do,” he said. “And frankly, it will have an effect of intimidating scientists … This just feels like either scapegoating or an attempt to intimidate a community. This really seems inappropriate.”

Judge Giuseppe Romano Gargarella said that the seven defendants had supplied “imprecise, incomplete and contradictory information,” in a press conference following a meeting held by the committee 6 days before the quake, reported the Italian daily Corriere della Sera

In doing so, they “thwarted the activities designed to protect the public,” the judge said.

Can these people be serious? Do these government officials be so clueless as to think that the field of seismology is precise enough to predict accurately when major natural events like earthquakes will happen? Seismology, like much of science, is more of an exercise in observation and hypothetical correlation; watching what the earth does and making guesses as to what made it do what it just did. I would think that if the technology existed to predict earthquakes, wouldn’t it have been used in an earthquake-prone place like Japan?

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

If James Bond Had Ever Settled Down…

Filed under: Cars! — Tags: , , , , — dave @ 9:51 am 2011/05/26

… I’m convinced that this is the car he would have in his garage.

No doubt 007 would have it outfitted with all manner of special weaponry and secret agent toys, but I sure wouldn’t turn it out of my own garage even in its current form. Given the fact that my garage space is pretty doggone limited, I would even build a garage specifically for it! The DB5 is a gorgeous machine to begin with, and who could resist a wagon/shooting brake version of the car? And to me, the color combination is perfect; black exterior & red leather… Wow.

This car was featured in a Hemmings Blog post this morning; for the details on the car and their thoughts on it you can click through to their article. The short of it is that the car recently went on the auction block at Bonham’s & sold for an astonishing $704,200 (the full copy from Bonham’s is included below in case it disappears from their site.)

What more can be said about such a gorgeous machine? I think I’ll just sit & stare at the photos for a little while.