⊙ AntiQuark

Truth, Beauty, Charm, Strange


Bye, Blogger!

Google has decided to shut down new comments and posts for this blog in a few days (these static pages will remain). This is an FTP-based blog, and apparently, the FTP protocol (invented in 1971) is too much for the 20,000 or so google "engineers" to wrap their brains around.

This blog is pretty much inactive anyway, but if I ever want to start blabbering about anything else, I'll post it to my twitter feed:

See you there!!


Bokeh Visualizer

Feel the swirl

Wow, I actually designed a product! I call it Bokeh Visualizer. It lets you simulate that ever-popular lens blur commonly known as bokeh. It has some unique features like:
  • • swirly bokeh
  • • elliptical bokeh
  • • full control over the brightness contour
  • • and more!
Download a trial version at: Bokeh Visualizer. The trial version is fully operable, it just nags you a bit. Hope you like it!

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AntiQuark photoblog

I think I'll take a swing at photoblogging. Now that it's summer, I'll be spending less time surfing for good links to blog, and more time outdoors, playing with my kids and experiencing the real world.

Plus, photography is one of those hobbies that can make you look very creative, without requiring much thought or effort. Bonus!

Here's the link to AntiQuark::Photography. I'll try to update once a day or so. It's based on the free pixelpost software, but I also added a "zoomout" button for people with lower monitor resolutions.

If you have a subscription service like Bloglines, you can subscribe to the RSS or ATOM feeds, so you don't have to keep checking the page manually.

Mad props to Andrew who showed me the light with his photoblog, PhotonicEye.

Photoblog Awards
If you're not familiar with the phenomenon of photoblogging, check out the Photobloggies to see some people who really know how to take pitchers.


Knuth Article

In his home libarry.

Love at First Byte
Really good article on Knuth that covers pretty much everything.

I've often mused on the idea of following a similar career path as Knuth, and of course ending up with fame and fortune.

Like Knuth, my first step will be to get the highest GPA in my math course at university. Unfortunately, that will involve traveling back in time, and changing my rank from thirtieth to first. (NOTE TO SELF: investigate purchase of time machine on eBay.)

(via j-walk blog.)

TeX Font Samples
Japanese page with a few TeX/LaTeX font examples.


Nefertiti (and Other Beauties)

Nefertiti: Drawing Board Beauty
Nefertiti's chin, mouth, and nose, and the uraeus cobra are placed along the vertical axis of the face. The nostrils are exactly one finger distant from each side of this median line; the outer ends of the eyebrows are three fingers from the median line and the center of each ear is four fingers,

That seems correct. Just take a Nefertiti image, superimpose a regular grid, and you can see that her facial features fall upon gridlines.

(Click for full face. Non-gridded face here.)

Each eye is three squares wide, with the iris being one square in width. The nose is four squares wide, and the corners of the eyes are separated by four squares. In fact, the nostrils and corners of the eyes form a perfect square. I don't think this was done for numerological reasons -- it's possible the artisans of the time used a simple grid system to record and convey portraits.

Dude looks like a lady?

Nefertiti Resurrected (NOT!)
Remember that documentary on the Discovery channel in which "scientists" reconstructed Nefertiti's face based on her actual mummy?

Didn't you think that the face had a "manly" quality to it? I sure did. The producers of the CBC series Disclosure probably thought so too. They did some DNA tests, and discovered that the mummy actually belonged to a man.

CBC informed the Discovery bigwigs that the purported Nefertiti mummy was really a man-mummy. Of course, they were completely ignored:
When versions of Nefertiti Resurrected went to air recently in the United Kingdom and Canada, there were no new elements added.

An old site that's still good for a re-read. It's an in-depth scientific investigation of the characteristics of beauty, based on computer generated images of faces.
Virtual Attractiveness: A remarkable result of our research project is that faces which have been rated as highly attractive do not exist in reality. This became particularly obvious when test subjects (independently of their sex!) favoured women with facial shapes of about 14 year old girls. There is no such woman existing in reality! They are artificial products - results of modern computer technology.

How To Draw Beautiful Women
*Even How To Draw Cowgirls!:

And Much More!

Oh the humanity.

Beauty In Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Hottest Women in Classical Music
I notice that there's a shortage of sackbut babes. The sackbut industry should take notice, and recruit more hot babes before it reaches the point where nobody knows what a sackbut is.

Exotic Indian Dance in Office 2
(YouTube or GoogleVid)

The beauty of youth.
Technically, it's safe for work. (Technically.)


Ye Olde Hakka Round-Houses

The less-logical parts of my brain think it would be damn cool to live in a Hakka roundhouse, or tulou.

Hakka roundhouses in the distance. These structures are up to 400 years old.

View from the inside.

Yongding, China, June 2002
Lots of good pics of the exterior and interior of Hakka houses.

A ground floor view.

Yes, people actually live there. Tulou are clan dwellings, so everyone's related.

Clan homes in Fujian
A more technical page with construction details and blueprints and such.

Flickr Tag Search
Flickr has lots of pics tagged as hakka or tulou. If you're really keen, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds (at bottom of flickr page) so you'll be quickly notified if anyone posts more pics.

Hakka architecture
The Wikipedia page.


God's Plan for Acne


Med Hypothesis: Is acne really a disease?
Acne's conspicuous localization on the face, and its ability to elicit reflexive disgust and avoidance in observers, suggests a possible role in sexual selection.
adolescent acne is a normal physiological process ... that functions to ward off potential mates until the afflicted individual is some years past the age of reproductive maturity, and thus emotionally, intellectually, and physically fit to be a parent.

"Being a poor parent" seems to be a little weak as an evolutionary force. I figure a more compelling method of natural selection would be due to consequences of messing around with the chief's daughter.

Wash. Post: My Blemished Past; Did He Care if His Teen Acne Served an Evolutionary Purpose?
God, being supposedly omnibenevolent, could have no conceivable use for things such as pimples, which caused so much suffering. Ergo, He could not exist. Having banished the divine, I felt briefly omnipotent myself.

Maybe God was just testing him or something.

I think this is the type of theory that drives people into the arms of the Intelligent Designers. Scientists are heartless in a way -- they'll give you the facts without apologising or trying to make you feel better about yourself.

They'll say things like, "yes, we evolved from lobe-finned fishapods," without hugging you afterwards, and saying with teary eyes, "I know how you feel, I wish it weren't true, but it's something we have to live with."

Maybe scientists should take grief counselling courses in university. Then they could surround their theories with apologies, platitudes to make one feel better about themself, and exhortations to "stay strong... we can get through this."

I'm related to that? WAAHHHH!

(All via google.)


Harryhausen Archive

Ceratosaurus: RAWRR!
Triceratops: GRRRGR!

Gallery of animated creatures by stop-motion expert Ray Harryhausen. There's also a trailer section if you want to see some video.

The Cyclops!

I remember seeing the 7th voyage on TV when I was about five years old. Without exaggeration, it was an experience that obliterated every preconception I had of the world up to that point. For years afterwards, I wondered what the hell that miraculous movie was, which I didn't even know the title to.

Luckily, Starlog magazine clued me in to Harryhausen in the late 70s/early 80s. Thanks, Starlog!


The Pottery Wizard

A true story of someone who experienced the full hypnotic force of a pottery guru's work...

It happened to the visitor for the first time at a recent Kumano Kuroemon Exhibition. It was as if he was put under a magical spell. His feet felt glued to the ground and he could not move; he could not pull himself away from Kumano's guinomi display no matter how hard he tried.
The visitor went home that night only to find himself still unable to break free from Kumano's spell. He looked at Kumano's scary face on the cover of a Toh book and thought what a gentle spirit Kumano is.

That night the visitor had a dream. It was a dream of one of the guinomi he had seen that day and he knew that it was a sure sign that he must have it. He felt like he was going crazy...
Below is the guinomi that made him almost lose his mind.

(Via Japanese Pottery Information Center: Guidebook.)


Latest Knuth Fascicle

Boolean Evaluation
Knuth's latest chapter from his upcoming sequel to TAOCP.


- Shows how to construct a 7-segment display driver with only 13 logic operations (page 18).

- Shows how to create a tic-tac-toe playing device that uses only 396 gates (page 28).

(By "show" I mean "derive by using dense mathematical terminology.")

Via Knuth News. Original postscript file here. PDF version for the postscript-impaired here.