Posted inScience

A Real-Life “Ten Second Tom”

Remember Ten Second Tom from the movie 50 First Dates? The character was an amnesiac who could only keep events in short term memory for about ten seconds at a time.

Although Tom was a very funny character, reality isn’t nearly as amusing. Today, New Yorker Magazine published an article about a real-life case even worse than Ten Second Tom…

In March of 1985, Clive Wearing, an eminent English musician and musicologist in his mid-forties, was struck by a brain infection – a herpes encephalitis – affecting especially the parts of his brain concerned with memory. He was left with a memory span of only seconds – the most devastating case of amnesia ever recorded.

Although Ten Second Tom was very funny in the movie, Clive’s reality sounds absolutely terrifying.

Posted inTelevision

Five Premieres and a Finale

Got a few TV things that I’d like to discuss today… A while ago I blogged about Amazon Unbox on TiVo. Of course, I never actually used the service until just last week. I noticed that Unbox had a number of fall television premieres available for download. For free…

Big Bang TheoryBig Bang Theory premieres Mon 9/24 7:30c on CBS

Big Bang Theory is a harmless half-hour sit-com about a smoking hot stereotypical dizzy blond who moves across the hall from a pair of MIT uber-geeks. Actually, the geek humor is pretty damn funny and the budding puppy love that one of the geeks has for his new neighbor is extremely cute. So, this series is probably doomed.

ChuckChuck premieres Mon 9/24 7:00c on NBC

I think Chuck could be a hit. Coincidentally, it’s also about a geek who’s life changes after he meets a smoking hot blond. Chuck is a life-long underachiever who accidentally has all of the government’s extra-super top secrets uploaded to his brain. So obviously, Chuck teams up with the blond spy to help save the world, one episode at a time. Good stuff.

Bionic WomanBionic Woman premieres Wed 9/26 8:00c on NBC

I’ve been looking forward to this one, because of its shared parentage with Battlestar Galactica. As with BSG, the original bionic lore has been updated and twisted a little bit. OK, a lot. The first episode was interesting, but awkward. It tried a little too hard to be as cool as Galactica. I’ll keep my eye on this one. We’ll see…

premieres Mon 9/24 9:00c on NBC

I think this has potential, but probably won’t last. Journeyman is about a man who takes, uh, journeys. Through time. So he can help people. I know, I know… You’re thinking Quantum Leap. And you’d be right. But there are differences, and the tantalizing hint of an interesting mythology, which is where the potential come in.

LifeLife premieres Wed 9/26 9:00c on NBC

Life is good. This show is about a detective just released from a maximum security prison after DNA evidence proved that he didn’t commit the heinous crime. With millions from a huge settlement and high motivation to return to the job (and find out who framed him), the main character is quite the character. I hope this one makes it.

Burn NoticeBurn Notice new episodes June 2008

Finally, if you enjoy kick-ass spy action with a healthy side of humor, you should be watching Burn Notice on USA. Unfortunately, if you haven’t caught it yet, you’re a little late… As I type this, the two-hour season finale is on. The Season 1 DVD will be a must-have for me. Have to wait until next summer for Season 2. D’oh!

Posted inGames / On The Web

I Never Metaplace I Didn’t Like

MetaplaceRaph Koster is a game designer known for his work as the lead designer of Ultima Online and the creative director behind Star Wars Galaxies.

A little more than a year ago, Raph started a new company named Areae, which has been feverishly working on a super-secret MMO-related project. Today was finally the official unveiling of Raph’s project, called Metaplace.

Metaplace allows anyone to build their own virtual spaces and treat them just like any other Web site. You can build chat rooms, store-fronts, online apartments, and all kinds of homebrewed games and attach them easily to your blog or MySpace page. Areae is even building their own full-blown MMO using the Metaplace tools.

From the FAQ…

Can I make my own world?

That’s sort of the whole point. You should be able to stage up a massively multiplayer world with basic chat and a map you can build on in less than five minutes. It’s that easy. Inherit a stylesheet — puzzle game, or shooter, or chat world — and off you go! Building maps and places is as easy as pasting in links from the Web, and dragging and dropping the pictures into your world.

Of course, as with any Web 2.0-ish social experiment where users generate most or all of the content, 90% of the resulting product will be complete crap.

<cough>MySpace<cough> <cough>YouTube<cough>

Uh, sorry about that. Of course, that also means that 10% is pretty good stuff. If Metaplace really is as easy as they make it sound, it should be extremely interesting to see what kind of cool stuff we end up with…

Posted inMovies / On The Web / Television

An Archive of Siskel and Ebert (and the other guy)

The Balcony Archive

Ever wonder what Siskel and Ebert (or Ebert and Roeper) thought about Independence Day (2 thumbs down), That Thing You Do (2 thumbs up), or Serenity (2 thumbs up)?

Gene and I knew those old shows would be worth saving, but for a long time nobody agreed with us. In the years before home video, it seemed like a waste of expensive video tape to preserve hundreds of episodes of “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You,” “Sneak Previews” or “At the Movies.”

Fortunately, someone finally agreed with Ebert and started saving the old shows. Now, the past twenty-ish years of movie reviews are indexed and available for our (re)viewing pleasure at the Balcony Archive.

Posted inMusic


I love the internet! It took me about 15 seconds to fulfill my curiosity regarding the video featured in the new iPod Nano commercial. The artist is a Canadian singer-songwriter named Leslie Feist, popularly known simply as Feist. The song is called “1 2 3 4″…

Very cool! I wonder how many takes were required to get that right?

While I didn’t learn the answer to that question, I did find an interesting “Making Of…” clip that shows the filming of the video.

I think this is the start of big things from Feist.

Posted inHumorousness

Wake-Up Call

This entry is about my cat, Boo

Especially observant readers may notice the timestamp from this entry is much earlier than usual. That’s due entirely to my cat, who decided that I had slept long enough for one night. He communicated this decision by walking on my chest, which is bad enough at 8AM on a Sunday morning. However, Boo emphasized his point by taking a stroll through his litterbox just before waking me up.

Needless to say, my first destination after the stinky-paw treatment was the shower. So I’m standing in the bathroom waiting for the water to heat up, when suddenly Boo leaps from the counter all the way up to my shoulder. Seems he was determined to see over the top of the shower door.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been naked in the bathroom with a cat perched precariously on your shoulder, but take my word for it, it’s not a comfortable feeling.

Luckily, I was able to avoid cat-scratch fever in this case. But it’s a perfect example of the unique personality that earned Boo his descriptive nickname… Booger.

p.s. Boogey (an alternate nickname) helped me type this entry.

Posted inComics / Humorousness / On The Web

Looking For Group…

Looking For GroupI found a terrific Webcomic called Looking For Group a few weeks ago…

The comic, set in an alternate World of Warcraft-ish universe, follows the adventures of an elven archer named Cale’Anon who is out to save the world.

Along the way, Cale gains traveling companions who have a slightly, uh, different set of priorities. In particular is Richard, an undead warlock who provides comic relief, strangely enough, in his absolute delight causing as much death and destruction as inhumanly possible.

If you’re into gaming, fantasy, and humor, LFG is highly recommended!

Posted inTechnology / WTF?


According to a recent CNET News Blog report, the Storm worm has infected and taken control of as many as 50 million computers world-wide. In fact, one security expert had this to say…

“In terms of power, the botnet utterly blows the supercomputers away.” He goes on to say that just 2 million of the suspected 50 million Storm worm-infected machines are equivalent to the computing power of the top 500 supercomputers.