Saturday, January 2, 2010

Do you know what an Autostereogram is?

A random dot autostereogram (left)encodes a 3D scene which can be "seen" with proper viewing technique.

An autostereogram is a single-image stereogram (SIS), designed to create the visual illusion of a three-dimensional (3D) scene from a two-dimensional image in the human brain. In order to perceive 3D shapes in these autostereograms, the brain must overcome the normally automatic coordination between focusing and vergence.

The simplest type of autostereogram consists of horizontally repeating patterns and is known as a wallpaper autostereogram. When viewed with proper vergence, the repeating patterns appear to float above or below the background. The Magic Eye books feature another type of autostereogram called a random dot autostereogram.

One such autostereogram is illustrated above left. In this type of autostereogram, every pixel in the image is computed from a pattern strip and a depth map. Usually, a hidden 3D scene emerges when the image is viewed with the correct vergence.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kobe Bryant: the best player on the planet!

Kobe did it again last night against the Kings. He took a last second buzzer beater – hit it – and won the game.

That’s the third time this year he’s done that. He also leads the league in scoring (just over 30 points per game) and is playing with a broken index finger and hyper extended elbow!

I’ve been a Laker fan since they moved to LA in 1961. Fair Warning: despite the fact this isn’t a sports blog, I’ll be making comments on the Laker’s activities every now and then.

Here’s a link to the LA Times article and video about last night’s game.

Photo via Sports Illustrated

Friday, January 1, 2010

Texting while driving, public smoking, cooking with trans fats targeted in states' 2010 laws

In this file photo taken Dec. 15, 2009, Tina Derby sends text messages while driving in Concord, N.H. It will be harder to legally text while driving, eat fatty foods and light up in bars and restaurants under new laws that take effect across the country this year. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File) (Jim Cole, AP / December 15, 2009)

Go here to read the whole story.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review: News

Remember when President Barack Obama got sworn in? How about when pirates took a U.S. cargo ship captain captive? See these and more top moments that made headlines in 2009.

               JAN 15: US Airways plane river landing

( Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images )

“Rescue boats float near a US Airways plane floating in the water after crashing into the Hudson River in the afternoon on January 15, 2009 in New York City. The Airbus 320 flight 1549 crashed shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport heading to Charlotte, North Carolina.”

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009

    That joint? It's all in the name of research

    Writing isn't all done at a keyboard. And if your protagonist is a pot grower, well . . . please excuse the cloud of smoke.

    In my novel "Baked," I tell the story of a young underground botanist from Los Angeles -- a man inspired by Floyd Zaiger, inventor of the pluot -- and what happens when he wins the Cup and returns home to find himself caught in a tug of war between medical marijuana dispensaries who want an exclusive on his strain.” - Mark Haskell Smith

    Go here to read the whole article.

    Image titled “Cannabis Cup” by Jacob Thomas

    Putting 2009 behind us and looking forward to 2010

    Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

    Posted: 12/30/2009 01:27:11 AM PST

    People still wander in a financial haze after the expensive holidays, with little time to rest or recover before the new year roars in with new days to celebrate and spend money.

    Some experts say the economy is recovering, and they cite all kinds of startling statistics that only exist on paper. Very few have any relevance to reality.

    Our reality in 2009 was grim. We drained another generation's blood with wars that cripple our economy and contribute to our crumbling infrastructure. They drag on, remnants of failed policies that we're still stubbornly trying to make work.

    Go here to read the rest at The Times-Standard.

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009

    10 Reasons the U.S. Military Should (Officially) Use Pot

     Medical marijuana may have a host of advantages over other treatments for traumatized vets, but the VA won't even study its efficacy.

     Excerpt from AlterNet:

    Me and the rest of my veterans' group talk about it all the time," he says. "Most of them also medicate with marijuana. If you asked any of us what, out of everything, was most effective in PTSD treatment, we would tell you marijuana." But the VA is a federal agency, so even in the 13 states where doctors are at liberty to suggest that patients try marijuana, they are prohibited from dispensing it.” 

    Read more here.

    Psychologists: Those in power more apt to 'moral hypocrisy'

    Power increases "moral hypocrisy," says Adam Galinsky, a behavioral psychologist at the Kellogg School of Management atNorthwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and co-author of a study published today in the journal Psychological Science. Go here to read the rest.'s Best Viral Videos of the Decade

    Check out this interesting list of the the best viral videos of the decade from

    Since is a news website and doesn't focus on humor, their top pick wouldn't jive on this site, though the "Yes We Can" video is certainly one of the best pieces of video content to ever be created for the Internet.

    You might recognize several of the humorous viral video choices as they appeared on my Top 20 Viral Videos of All Time list. Consensus! Yay!

    But guys, no Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama video? Oversight of the, uh, decade!

    photo courtesy of

    TMZ Falls For JFK Photo Hoax

    Photo that "could have changed history" actually from a Playboy shoot

    “In a colossal screw-up, the gossip web site TMZ published a photo yesterday purporting to show John F. Kennedy frolicking on a yacht with a harem of naked women--except that the image actually appeared as part of a November 1967 Playboy photo spread, The Smoking Gun has learned.”

    Go here to read the rest.

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    Top 10: New Year's Resolutions All Men Should Make

    1.Visit a new destination

    The No. 1 resolution for 2010 is about taking yourself outside your comfort zone, broadening your horizons and checking out a new corner of the world.

    The quickest way to cure listlessness or boredom is to put yourself in the crosshairs of an adventure. Whether you have a dream destination in mind or you simply throw a dart at a map of the world, going somewhere new is the most important New Year’s resolution all men should make.

    Even if you hate traveling, you can still do this. Visiting somewhere new can even include the restaurant you walk past every day, the local museum or the next town over.
    If you need help finding a place to go to bring in 2010, check out our Top 10: 2010 New Year's Eve Destinations and if you need more convincing to go somewhere this year, read our Top 10: Reasons All Men Should Travel.

    Go here to read the rest.

    Sunday, December 27, 2009

    Putting 2009 behind us and looking forward to 2010

    Note: The Times-Standard didn’t have this column Online yet this morning, so I’m running the whole thing here today.

    Update: Someone really screwed up! My column isn’t even in the print edition.

             By Dave Stancliff
      People still wander in a financial haze after the expensive holidays, with little time to rest or recover before the new year roars in with new days to celebrate and spend money.

    Some experts say the economy is recovering, and they cite all kinds of startling statistics that only exist on paper. Very few have any relevance to reality.
          Our reality in 2009 was grim. We drained another generation’s blood with wars that cripple our economy and contribute to our crumbling infrastructure. They drag on, remnants of failed policies that we’re still stubbornly trying to make work.
         Our politicians were so polarized this year that nothing meaningful was done for the common citizen who struggles to survive in this brutal economy. For Wall Street bankers it was a great year and they passed out fat bonuses to prove it. 
       This is the time of year when many of us look back upon the past year and wonder what the new one holds. On the days leading up to January 1st some of us make personal resolutions that will fade away like fog as the year progresses. 
        In fairness, lots of people have enough fortitude to keep the promises they make to themselves. These people are usually the successful ones, the makers and shakers, and this country was once chock full of them.
       There was actually a time when we produced nearly all our needs, and didn’t have huge trade deficits. In the 1950s we were a manufacturing powerhouse and people were proud to own anything made here.
       Those days are now faint memories with black-and-white photos as proof our country was once a major superpower without equal. I wonder, do history teachers talk about our pride back then, and how productive we were, and all the jobs that were available, in their classes now?
       Today we have the so-called global economy, and our leaders tell us their vision of a one-world economy/society is good for us. I look around and see cheap manufactured goods from  countries like China, our major trading partner in 2009, who delivered their latest rip-off in massive quantities; dry wall laced with toxic chemicals.
      From what I have read and heard, the Chinese  own billions in American debt. We must have bean-counters in Washington who live in fear that China will suddenly call in their markers. When their gamble with our money fails, will we all be speaking Chinese as a first language in ten years?
       It’s not all bad news. Lots of good things happened in 2009. There were signs that Americans are ready to legalize marijuana. California will lead the way when that day comes. Several petitions are circulating for legalization to be on the ballot next year.
      The polls point out that a majority of Californians are ready to end the prohibition of pot. Numerous studies show marijuana’s effectiveness in fighting multiple cancers. The American Medical Association asked the feds to ease up their assault on medical marijuana and to do more research into its medical applications.
       I’ve read and seen some heart-warming stories this year about people-helping people. I have a new hero for my annual list. Her name is Betty Chin. If you don’t know about her, or what she has done for people over the years, take a moment and check out The 2009 Minerva Awards homepage online.
       In October, Betty Chin was awarded this honor for her work with the homeless in Eureka. Betty has been quietly showing love, comfort, and basic humanity to people for many years now. She escaped from China during the Cultural Revolution in the late 60s, and has devoted her life to helping others. This woman walks-the-walk and talks-the-talk.
      This year has gone by too fast for me. An old man’s complaint. We have a new president who has already disappointed me by sending more troops to Afghanistan. 
       It will take a lot of good men and women in the right places to get us out of these wars. It will take politicians who listen to the people who voted them in, rather than the lobbyists who currently poison our political system. It will also take a unified America to make any progress, whether it’s healthcare or warfare.
       We should have term limits for all politicians. That scares them silly. They’d have to make their time in office more productive and less partisan, and they wouldn’t have to start campaigning for their next term halfway through their current term. We need to stop repeating the same mistakes and prioritizing the same failed policies, by the same people.
       As It Stands, the new year traditionally represents change, and the hope that things will get better. I wish you a happy and a safe New Year!

    Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

    I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...