GirlHacker's Random Log

almost daily since 1999

Buttercow Cam


The Illinois State Fair’s iconic butter sculpture of a cow now has a webcam.  That’s 800 pounds of unsalted butter. (thx Jared!)

Posted in culture

Why I Love the WA State DOT Twitter Feed



Film Students to Carry Oscars


Six aspiring film students will carry the Oscar statuettes onstage this year, replacing the usual models. The show’s producers decided to put more meaning into the task than that of aesthetics (or, as they actually said about the models ”they’re just there to be objectified”).  Six students were picked out of 1,100 applicants who submitted essays and videos.  The selection looks to be nicely diverse with students who hail from other countries and a Marine Corp veteran.

Posted in oscars

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree 2012


It’s my ninth year of stalking the origins of the Rockefeller Christmas tree using online maps. This year’s Norway Spruce grew up in Flanders, New Jersey. It’s 80 feet tall, 50 feet in diameter, and was still standing strong in Joseph Balku’s yard, wrapped with 10,000 feet of rope and 2,000 feet of cable, after Hurricane Sandy blew through. A couple weeks later, after a careful crane-assisted removal and drive to Manhattan, it was wrapped in five miles of wire with LED lights and topped with the usual Swarovski star for New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy.

Posted in plants

Living Computer Museum


I have this joke that Paul Allen has these huge garages where he puts the things he collects and when one fills up he opens a museum for it. That got us the Experience Music Project, Science Fiction Museum, Flying Heritage Collection, and, OK, the Seattle Cinerama never fit in a garage but it counts in spirit. Now Allen has opened the Living Computer Museum.  “Living” because it’s not a bunch of dead boxes on display with unpowered CPUs. The computers are powered on, to a huge electricity bill, but a wonderful trip to the near past. Use a working Xerox Alto, write that infinite GOTO BASIC program again on the TRS-80, and look at the innards of a PDP 8.  Photos and a trip report on Seattle Retro GamerAP article.

Posted in nostalgia

Coca-Cola for 5 cents


Coca-Cola cost a nickel for 70 years because of a short-sighted deal that gave two lawyers the rights to bottle Coke and buy syrup at a fixed price forever.  When bottled Coke took off, the Coca-Cola company massively advertised 5 cent Cokes to sell as much syrup as possible. They wouldn’t get more money if the price rose anyway so they decided to push selling as much Coke as possible at that great price. Then vending machines built to take a nickel became another sticking point for raising the price. Raising it to a dime was too much, and the U.S. Treasury wouldn’t make a 7.5-cent coin.  Eventually, inflation and a re-signed bottling contract made way for higher prices.  But 70 years is a long time for 5 cents.

Posted in drink,nostalgia

Peter Gabriel Talks at Google


In Peter Gabriel’s talk at Google he explains to the digital generation audience why “In Your Eyes” couldn’t go at the end of the original vinyl “So” album as he wished. It’s a lesson in a different type of technical limitation.

It has a good bass line there. To get a fat bass line on a full vinyl record you can’t put it near the end. You had to have it nearer the beginning. So it went on the start of side two just because there wasn’t enough room for the needle to vibrate as it got closer to the center. So then when CDs came along I was able to take that track and put it on the end where it always should have been.

FAA Commemorates 9/11


The FAA’s “Next Generation Air Transportation System”, NextGen for short, uses satellites to streamline airplane descents. At Reagan National Airport the new NextGen arrival sequences have been named in honor of those who lost their lives in the tragedies of September 11, 2001.  The arrival sequences have a series of waypoints which each have five-letter names.  The sequence named FRDMM (Freedom) contains “WEEEE,” “WLLLL,” “NEVVR,” “FORGT” and “SEP 11.” Other waypoints include  “LETZZ,” “RLLLL.”

Renaissance Fakes


The Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art contains 3,000 items, many from the Renaissance. After its acquisition in 1969 and display in the Robert Lehman Wing in 1975, the museum began cataloging the collection, publishing what is now a 15 volume set of books that categorize and describe the objects. The final volume is titled “Decorative Arts” and amongst the snuffboxes, ceramics, furniture, and porcelain are 49 Renaissance and Mannerist jewels. However Charles Truman, author of the chapter covering those jewels and jeweled objects, decided 34 did not live up to their supposed provenance. This discovery, says the Wall Street Journal, will “cause consternation and controversy” as it reinforces that there are more fakes sitting around ready to be revealed. Truman recounts the history of the peak of Renaissance forgeries, which of course matched a peak in demand in the era in which the Lehman family amassed their collection. Perhaps the most egregious forgery tale from Truman is of antiques dealer Salomon Weininger who in 1860 was hired to restore objects from Vienna’s Holy Treasury.  He replaced the items with copies and kept the real ones. I suppose that’s one way to perfectly restore something from the 1400s.

Posted in craft

Olympic Victory Bouquets


The bouquets presented at the Olympic medal ceremonies are distinctive and suitably British. Designed by Susan Lapworth, the vibrant mix of roses and herbs comes from Jane Packer Flowers of London.  Packer was a fashion leader in the world of florists and provided the flowers for the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson’s wedding. She died in November of 2011, midway through the design process for the fashions and flowers of the 2012 Olympics.  It was critical that the flowers in the bouquet not only reflected the host country but could also be grown there. Flowers had to be specially sourced from UK growers as there is no longer a commercial rose industry in the UK. The pink, yellow, orange, and green roses are separated by classic British food ingredients: lavender, rosemary, apple mint, and wheat.  The quadrant layout of the roses is meant to reflect the (often derided) 2012 Olympic logo. Consideration was given to the sustainability and re-use of the packaging materials and plants. The 4,400 bouquets needed for medal-winning athletes are being prepared with the help of floristry students. The Olympic medals will last longer, but the accompanying flowers will add a lovely smell of victory.

(c) Jane Packer

Written by ltao

July 31st, 2012 at 12:11 am

Posted in craft,sports