Brian Yee

Neither Here Nor There

Archive for December, 2009

Wants For Sale

This couple from New York paints pictures of the things they want, and sell the paintings for the price of the real item. When the painting sells, they buy that item. Really neat concept.

Wants for Sale (from Kottke)

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“Sometimes doing nothing is the best option”

Great post by NASA’s Wayne Hale on his blog regarding conjuctions, or close encounters between the Space Shuttle and space junk.  When a conjunction is going to occur during the crew sleep period and there is sufficient reason to believe there will not be a collision, mission controllers will set a timer to expire at the Time of Closest Approach and everyone would hope they did their math correctly.  This happened three times during Wayne’s tenure in Mission Control.  His quote:

So as we waited for the clock to count to zero, there was plenty of time to contemplate metaphysical topics:  life, death, courage, risk, achievement, probability, dishonor.  They are all fellow travelers, intimately bound together.  No great accomplishment comes without difficulty or risk.  Miscalculation or failure results in death and dishonor.  But it is what it is; you do the best you can, make the best rational choice you can given what you know, and then wait for the result.

Going to Las Vegas holds no enticement for me.

I follow Wayne Hale on twitter (@waynehale) and I am always impressed with his insights and thoughts on the space program.

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Flot

Joe (@szac) turned me on to Flot for a project he’s working on.  I’m helping him out with some php logic.  Flot a pretty nifty graphing library all in javascript.  The examples show that it’s capable of a lot: multiple axes, multiple series, highlighting, and all can be updated real-time using Ajax.  But at its simplest — give it some properties, a data set, and it’s off and running.  Actually forget the properties, it will compute a logical set of axes for you if you want.

That Flot does all of this in javascript (via canvas painting) is all pretty amazing to me.  To me, javascript is still what you use to make those mouseover nav links that change state.  My javascript chops never really progressed beyond the web circa-1998.

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