Strange Findings

Facebook is Kaka

The following is a monologue I heard in a bar in Tel Aviv about a year ago, poetized only slightly by myself, and now hastily translated into English. So there:

I don’t do Facebook / Facebook is kaka / I don’t / conform /
I am Romanian / my dad also / knows Romanian / I / don’t / conform /
don’t do Facebook / I told everyone / never / look / look at this nice dog /
in the picture / it’s so funny / it’s killing me / I / don’t conform /
We were in a hotel / in Romania / they told me / I told them / I don’t /
don’t know / Romanian / only my dad / knows / how would I know? /
But look / what a dog / eh? / it’s killing me /
look / look / look / look /
Here’s another / picture of him /
not my dad / the dog /
look /
Isn’t it funny / eh? / isn’t it amazing / eh? /
Isn’t it cute / eh? / isn’t it pretty / eh? /
I follow it /
on facebook.

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Fnools at Large

It’s about time I told someone about that fictional magazine dedicated to fictional science fiction stories written by fictional creatures, or maybe the stories are actually the creatures, or maybe there’s just one creature who’s been writing this for some years now, and he, too, is sort of fictional.
Let us see, then, what that magazine has to say for, or maybe about, itself:
This online magazine is dedicated to Fnools, which are the speculative fiction stories of the Fnools. While it is quite known that we are still at war with the Fnools, that state of affairs should be no reason for us to disregard their rich culture, their fine arts and their exceptional Fnools. It is therefore our task to bring to our readers fresh Fnools every Fnool-week, along with commentary by, whenever possible, humans.
Click!

Fnools at Large

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Of Cyclops and Waterfowl

Cyclop

How do you call a duck that’s also a cyclop? A man who’s also a cyclop is simply called “cyclop”, meaning “round-eyed”, which applies to men (or women!) as well as to ducks, thus making this duck no less of a cyclop than the original article. In addition, there’s a chance that this thing is not a duck at all, but rather, considering the sack under its beak, some sort of pelican. So, can a pelican be a cyclop as well? Logically – yes. Mythologically – not so sure.
Life is so complicated.

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A Final Report of the Expert Committee on the Subject of Chickens and Eggs

Dear sirs and madams,

We are delighted and honored to present to you the final resolution of more than a decade of extensive research conducted by our committee. The question we were tasked with the pleasant duty of answering – which came first, the chicken or the egg? – was authorized by the senior political echelons of the Party, approved by the Expert Subcommittee on Questions and Birds, and even received modest funding from the State, or rather from the pockets of those citizens who were greatly honored by having to take part in our activities. The conclusions of our study, which involved considerable effort and sometimes even noble self-sacrifice (see Appendix C – Night of the Living Chickens), are presented here to the general public for the first time. A more detailed version was submitted to the National Archive, and is currently being reviewed sympathetically – we hope – by the Department of Internal Security and General Prosperity.

When discussing our subject matter, we first have to clarify the exact nature of both chickens and eggs. It took us a relatively short time to form a strong opinion of the former, but the latter presented us with unexpected difficulties. Fortunately, these very same obstacles proved vital to the solution of our problem, and therefore we shall soon elaborate on the matter.

The Committee’s conclusion in regard to chickens confirms the results of previous research, determining and proving beyond any doubt that a chicken is, and is only, a being which, in body, organs, mind, nature and aspirations, is a chicken. This allows us to distinguish between real chickens and other animals which may pretend to be chickens, such as turkeys, pigeons, ostriches, peacocks and our honorable committee member, comrade N., who, in the seventh year of the research, proclaimed that he was capable of laying eggs(1), and was promptly sent to rest in the relaxation and excruciating labor farm in the north.

The exact definition of an egg, as noted, presents a more complex challenge to researchers, and therefore constituted a major part of our efforts. After much discussion, deliberation and consideration, sometimes involving noticeable personal risk, it became clear that a single definition for the concept of “egg” is a mathematical impossibility. Therefore, we have had to divide it into the following classes:

  1. A non-chicken egg: in this class, the easiest to define, we can include such items as quail eggs, Tyrannosaurus Rex eggs, caviar, and some of the eggs brought to us by the honorable comrade N., before he was taken from us by the Security Service.
  2. A chicken egg: unfortunately, even this carefully considered definition is not clear enough, and therefore we had to divide it into two sub-classes:
    1. An egg from which hatches a chicken: it must be emphasized that the animal which laid this egg does not have, even when applying the most rigid logical perspective, to be a chicken. While it’s possible and even reasonable to assume that the laying animal is mostly a chicken, even to the point of being an almost-chicken, it definitely does not meet the abovementioned requirement of being a one hundred percent chicken, and thus shall be named a proto-chicken.
    2. An egg laid by a chicken: this egg, according to the logic specified above, will result in a chicken(2).

Having arrived at these definitions in the most quick and cost-effective manner possible (during our deliberations, the head of the committee was replaced merely twice), we were able to organize and combine them into a neat logical inference and thus arrive at a conclusion. Both are brought here in their most basic version, as publishing the whole thirty-eight volumes of mathematical formulae is currently impractical.

In order to simplify matters, and considering the original chicken assumption, i.e. accepting as a chicken only a being that is one hundred percent chicken, we shall divide the population of eggs according to the three abovementioned options, in equal parts: 33.33% non-chicken egg, 33.33% egg from which hatches a chicken, 33.33% egg laid by a chicken. These numbers are not wholly accurate, and there is a serious claim made by Doctor N., member of the Zoo-Political Institute, that the number of non-chicken eggs is considerably larger than that of those which are related to chickens (see his important research, “Hen vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex throughout History, volume III – The Early Years”). However, we were blessed with the guidance of the first political advisor of our committee, who generously convinced us to round the numbers, thus arriving at those which were just presented here.

Let us consider, then, the information we have gathered so far, using the latest scientific knowledge in the innovative field of government statistics:
Of the total amount of eggs in the world, ⅓ are not chicken-related, ⅓ were laid by proto-chickens and ⅓ were laid by chickens. Thus we can immediately reach this committee’s final conclusion. The answer to the question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is: two-thirds of an egg.

Sincerely and respectfully,

Sub-Secretary N. (Committee Secretary)

Representing: Comrade General N. (Committee President), Comrade Herr Professor N. (Committee Member), Comrade Commissar N. (Political Advisor for the Committee)


 

(1) What’s more, he claimed that those were free-range eggs.

(2) Or a fried egg (see The 35th of May, by Erich Kästner)

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A Musical Instrument for the Cellular Age

I’ve just released an I’ve written, which makes a musical instrument out of your Android phone . It’s called SoundSurf, and it converts your hand-movement – or, in fact, the rotation of the phone – into a sound. If you know the old electric instrument called Theramin, this one’s quite like it.

You can use it to create weird stuff to add to your music. You can also use it to annoy your neighbors.

Get it here. It’s free!

Update: a new guerrilla ad I’ve created for the application, using merely a bit of imagination and some brute force upon my co-workers:

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Logo to the People

Thanks to my friends at Twitter, I’ve just discovered an online Logo engine. Logo is a simple graphic programming language, originally created, I think, in order to teach children the basic concepts of programming. And thus, easily and painlessly, I got rid of all the remains of my free time.

 


Run at logo.twentygototen.org


Run at logo.twentygototen.org


Run at logo.twentygototen.org


Run at logo.twentygototen.org

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Museum Animals

The British Museum is, in addition to all the usual praise one could pour upon it, a great place for testing a new camera. It is also, for some reason, filled with stone animals. I’m all for it.

Here are some samples (and here’s the full gallery).

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Translate-A-Pic

A simple idea: enter a word, send it to google-translate, get it back in 8 languages, send all the resulting words to google-images, show the results. Go!

(What else will this guy invent? Well, wait and see…)

Update: an article in Israel’s leading newspaper, ynet: here

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Long Exposure

Yesterday was a sad day, for reasons which shall be saved from my readers. However, on such days I usually find myself something else to do, in order to relax. In this particular case it was taking pictures. For example:

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This picture, which looks somewhat unrealistic despite its absolute lack of photoshop treatment, is simply what happens when the camera’s shutter is opened for a whole 15 seconds, and the sun is already down (click on the picture in order to see a bigger version). Here’s another one:

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The mysterious line of light is, in fact, a bicycle passing through.

And here’s my own version of the most famous long-exposure cliche:

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Winter Panoramas

Woke up, went up to the roof, took some panorama pictures. Then, despite being hue-blind, I did some color correcting. The results – here.

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