Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Technology: Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

(R&D Magazine) "Google Inc. has joined a group of 16 universities and national labs that are building the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). Scheduled to begin operations in 2014, the 8.4-meter telescope will survey the entire visible sky every week. The LSST will generate more than 30 terabytes -- 30 thousand gigabytes -- of images every night for a decade. The collaboration with Google will aim at organizing, processing and analyzing that huge amount of data and enabling the new discoveries from the telescope to be made available to the public and researchers in real time."

(So when will Google catalog all known human DNA and begin brain recordings
of our sleep and dream cycles?)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Press: Love story without a kiss: Sweet Land captivates crowds - AP

"Selim, who's lived in Minnesota his whole life, was a young director of TV commercials in 1990 when he read a short story by author Will Weaver. A Gravestone Made of Wheat told the story of a Norwegian farmer in southwestern Minnesota who summons a mail-order bride from Norway, only to learn when she arrives that she's a native of Germany who had only recently moved to Norway. She knows only one English phrase: "I could eat a horse."

This complicates the farmer's efforts to marry the woman, given anti-German sentiment by the local minister and judge in the wake of World War I. The story, and the movie, follow Olaf and Inge as they negotiate their language barrier, try to overcome local prejudice, run Olaf's farm and slowly fall for each other.

"I came across Will's story one Sunday morning, and I'm not embarrassed to say it made me cry," Selim said."

Press: World's oldest newspaper now online-only - AP

Music: Bryan Bowers

From his music to his stories, this man is charming and captivating in concert.

Music: Claudia Schmidt

Omigod, Claudia Schmidt is still around -- see her music Web site (click the title link above) or her Moms Rising site!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sports: Indianapolis Colts 29, Chicago Bears 17

I predicted the Colts would win 27-20 and they won 29-17.

My youngest son, who knows even less about football than I do, heard my score and predicted a Colts win by 30-23.

From the opening kick-turned-touchdown for the Bears, it was an amazing and tumultuous first half -- with some very nice ads -- but a fair-to-lackluster second half for football as well as commercials.

Congratulations, Colts, and good work, Bears! You're all winners for playing the Super Bowl. You are stars in our eyes.

I had to shut off the TV as that damn commercial came on for a third time just after the game ended.

Ads: Bud - smart!

Bud's virtual-football commercial was intelligent and chic.

Ads: Bud - dopey!

A couple is driving on a deserted road late at night when the man wants to pick up an axe-toting hitchhiker. "But he has Bud Light." Not the brightest knife in the drawer (and reflective of Bud customers by implication).

Ads: Emerald Nuts - spiffy!

Putting Robert Goulet in a commercial for energy snacks is classy.

Ads: CareerBuilder - trés clever!

CareerBuilder's second pitched-battle-with-office-gear spot is ingenious if too short.

Ads: Coca-Cola - très cool!

Coke's fantasy-factory-within-a-vending machine commercial is another inventive charmer.

Ads: Doritos - sexy!

The Doritos commercial ("cleanup on register 6") is smart and sexy.

Ads: = spew!'s wet-t-shirt ad makes as tasteless a come-on as ever. It's an insult to the company and to marketers everywhere.

Ads: GM - very nice!

GM's spot about a down-and-out factory-line robot is humanized, cogent, creative, and very sweet. With the Coke animation ads, this commercial is one of the best.

Ads: Coca-Cola - cool!

Coke's Black History month spot is aw-right!

Ads: - iffy!

This Matrix-like promo for getting a heart check is a creative mismatch of demographics. Most Matrix fans are 30 at best and most players in this ad if not the target demographic are pushing 50.

Ads: Chevrolet - disgusting!

Turning a downtown traffic stop into a public burlesque with dozens of men of all ages slithering themselves half-naked over three women in a car is the height of tastelessness.

Ads: CareerBuilder - clever!

This was a very intelligent, creative ad reminiscent of Ewoks and lemmings.

Ads: Garmin - waste!

Hint to Garmin: Making a low-budget commercial that is a retro ripoff of bad 1950s (OK, 1970s) Japanese monster movies is not the way to impress anyone.

Ads: Coca-cola - wow!

Coke's video-game-turned-Good-Samaritan commercial is impressive.

Ads: Bud = cool!

Carlos Mencia did a nice riff, teaching English to immigrants who are learning how to ask for a Bud Light in various cities and dialects. Smartly done with a great punch line.

Ads: Snickers = yech!

The Snickers ad was revolting. What two manly men would eat a Snickers bar from both ends? It's a play on the Brokeback sentiment and it's a repulsive ad on the whole.

Ads: Bud = blecch!

The Super Bowl commercial with the worst taste so far is the garden wedding where two male bystanders can't wait to get to the Bud Light so they hire an auctioneer to blitz-call the couple's sacred vows (not unlike a cattle auction) before the witnesses stampede the Bud display. Execrable!

[05-Feb 1:32 a.m.] Given that the Bud Light commercials I do not mention here generally involve belief that it is funny to bitch-slap dozens of people in a row or hit a guy with a rock to get the last beer, the Bud folks are about par for their target demographic -- Neanderthals.

Sports: Indianapolis Colts 27, Chicago Bears 20

I emphatically do not follow football but wanted to make my shoot-from-the-hip prediction that the Colts will outlast the Bears with a score of approx. 27-20.