The Edge Effect

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Ok, sorry Bob.

I got my first spam comment today. Kind of a milestone so I'm sure you're as misty eyed as I am.

I decided to celebrate by clicking the little trash can icon at the bottom of the comment. When blogger asked me "are you sure you want to delete this comment forever?" I assumed it meant just that comment. Apparently it meant all comments on that thread.

So your long comment on the music list got caught in the crossfire Bob. Sorry about that. I really enjoyed it too and was kind of planning to follow up on it.

Oh well, I guess we both agree that there wasn't enough Yanni and Wierd Al on the list to be legitimate.
Edit: Now I see that your comment is back and the offending spam is gone like I wanted. Obviously I'm not a blogger virtuoso. Consider this thread an excercise in alternate universe theories.
Speaking of, we saw DejaVu last week and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Not great so maybe wait until it gets to the dollar show.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

All-TIME 100

The most recent issue of TIME Magazine includes their official list of "the greatest and most influential records ever."

It's a pretty good list with most of the albums you'd expect. I was particularly glad to see Nirvana's Nevermind in the group. For reasons that probably have as much to do with me as they do with the album itself, I was hugely moved by it. It really seemed revolutionary to me at the time and it was at least a harbinger of changing winds in popular music if not a driving influence.

I am happy to report that I have at least heard of most of the albums on the list (although there are a few mysteries for me), but I'm surprised by how few I actually own or know well. I'll have to start checking cds out of the library to see if there are things that I should add to my collection.

There are a few albums and artists that I am familiar with on a very general level and wouldn't have expected to show up here. PJ Harvey is one. I remember her having a single or two in the mid 90s, and I always thought she was kind of fun, but I really thought she was a flash in the grunge pan. Maybe I missed something in the haze of my late teen years, I'll have to check that one out again for sure.

My biggest disappointment is that the list only goes back to the 1950s and two out of the four albums in the 1950s are by Sinatra. Yes those are important, but if you want to talk about truly influential music I think there is a lot missing here. Just restricting ourselves to music that actually exists on records, there is a whole corpus of Depression-era (and earlier) folk music, the blues and gospel that bred Rock, Dance Hall, Two-Tone, and Reggae certainly had an impact, and what about the great showmen of the 1940s big bands? Some of this shows up on the list in later incarnations and they certainly picked important albums - I won't dispute the import of Bob Marley's Legend - but the list is skewed away from some real giants. e.g. Outkast and Oasis but no Billie Holiday or Jaco Pastorius (1970s I know, but as influential as any other).

Oh yeah, and there is no Pink Floyd. Music critics seem to fall into two camps: 'Pink Floyd is the only real music, all others are derivative' and 'Pink Floyd is derivative garbage and Stairway to Heaven is the worst song ever written.' I'm not sure I have a dog in that particular fight. I like Floyd well enough, but Stairway is a bit overhyped.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

CyArk 3D

CyArk is a new web resource for distribution of spatial data from archaeological sites - an "open-access digital archive of international archaeological sites" according to the release I got. They've used conventional photography, mapping, and LIDAR (like RADAR with lasers) to put together comprehensive views and information on some World Heritage Sites.

The data is still being collected; most Heritage Sites are not yet available. Also, you'll notice that World Heritage Sites tend to involve monumental architecture and politically complex societies so it's a limited sample from the universe of sites. But lets face it, these are the sites you'd go looking for even if every documented site in the world were available.

Apparently there is also a "Professional Edition" of CyArk, presumably with more detailed information. Access to the Pro version requires a 'review of credentials.' I don't know if any old archaeologist could get that access for shiggles or if you would need some kind of relevant project. A yet higher level of access is called "Site Manager Edition." I'm guessing they aren't looking for those of us who manage completely buried sites without monumental architecture.

I haven't explored enough to find out if there is anything really useful for the everyday archaeologist, but there are some really cool images of a few sites. Plus one of the sites is Deadwood so it automatically gets points from me.

Let me know if you find anything cool.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fuzzy Math and Birthday Fraud

C believes that she is entitled to two birthdays per year. It seems that she was born right about midnight on November 21/22, 1979 [edit - she was born in 1978. oops.]. According to her birth certificate it was 11:59 PM Nov 21, but her father claims that it was actually 12:01 AM Nov 22.

Because 11/21 is the date on her birth certificate, it is the date on her driver's license and official documents. It's also the date she always tells people and the date that we celebrate. Of course she tries on Nov 22 to claim that today is really her birthday or even that she has two birthdays per year.

Birthday fraud - Simply Appalling.

I am not one to distribute cheer and celebration freely so I insist on mirth for only one 24 hour span each year.

This is causing some friction today. So if you run into C today and she tries to make you say happy birthday to her you should either refuse or you should congratulate her on her 56th birthday. After all, if she has two birthdays every year then she must age twice as fast as the rest of us.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrive!

A couple of weeks ago actually, but we just picked up our annual bottle today.

I still don't fully understand the Beaujolais Nouveau ritual, sometimes the wine is fine and other times it's nearly undrinkable. The ritual of it all is fun enough, sort of a harvest-time festival marking the first successful fermentation; as if drinking some young wine together means that the rest of the year's wines will be potable and the cycle can continue.

Or maybe it's just a marketing ploy by cynical vintners designed to sell stock quickly and draw people into an artificial buying frenzy? A French Hallmark holliday?

Anyway, Salut!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Workplace Hazards

Why don't they issue cyanide capsules to grad students?

I mean, what if we were ever caught?