Jack Black Rules

Jack BlackJack Black is one of the few actors that never fails to brighten a film with his performance. I’ve enjoyed him in every movie I’ve seen him in, and his Tenacious D CD is hard-rocking, hilarious, and simply awesome. The band’s website is pretty cool too. I found a link to a trailer for his upcoming movie School Of Rock, but I stopped watching because it looked so damn funny that I didn’t want to ruin it. I will definitely have to see this movie come October. I also came upon a site called The Jenville Show: Cooking With Rock Stars that interviewed Jack Black about his culinary skills and tastes, revealing his favorite recipe, the Dorito Burrito. The Greatest Jack Black Site In The World is a pretty fun site to round out this post; it covers just about everything Jack Black.

Update: I had to add this page with a trailer to the upcoming movie Envy, starring Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Christopher Walken. It looks like it has promise, although we’ll have to see…

Mars Closest In 60,000 years

MarsIn case you hadn’t heard, the planet Mars is approaching its closest distance to Earth in almost 60,000 years, just under 35 million miles. In honor of this once-in-a-lifetime event, The Astronomy Pic Of The Day is a very cool composite image showing the rotation of Mars. To aid in locating and viewing Mars, Space.com presents its Mars Watch: Complete Viewer’s Guide. The page is also chock full of information on Mars, including historical, astronomical, and photographic insights, among many other things. If weather permits, tonight and tomorrow night are supposed to be the best times for viewing…

Digital Photo Retouching

A lot of people have been linking to this page showing what digital photo retouching can do for a swimsuit model. I found the rest of Greg Apodaca’s Digital Portfolio at least as compelling, showing just how much you can do in PhotoShop and other similar applications.

Of course, it also makes you wonder how “real” some of the images you see are, which is probably why you see so many pages discussing the ethics of digital manipulation. I’m of the mind that manipulation or alteration of a photograph should be disclosed. However, where you cross over from being called an unmanipulated photograph to a digitally altered image is a bit murky…

UFOs vs. UAVs

Predator UAVSpace.com has an interesting article forecasting a rise in UFO sitings due to the ubiquity of UAVs in the future. For those of you who haven’t heard of UAVs, they refer to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, remotely piloted vehicles that are usually much smaller than conventional aircraft and are often quite unconventional looking. They’ve been used in combat as surveillance platforms for a decade or so, but their devlopment into weapons platforms is inevitable and has already been demonstrated. The article goes into some detail on various classes of UAVs as well as specific aircraft; it’s one of the better summaries of the technology that I’ve read.

Google Calculator

I resisted posting about the Google Calculator until I found out about its “undocumented” features. Waxy.org does such a great job in his post that I’m quoting verbatim here:

Google’s new calculator is a fun diversion, with several undocumented new features. Here’s a few. (Kottke has some more impractical uses. Please post more as you find them.)

  • How long can you play a 30GB iPod without repeating a song? Answer: 18.2 days
  • How much hard drive space does one hour of 128kbps MP3s consume? Answer: 56.25 megabytes
  • How many seconds in a decade? Answer: 315,569,260
  • 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit in Celsius? Answer: 37 degrees
  • How many feet in a smoot? Answer: 5.58 (via Ryan)
  • What’s the answer to life, the universe and everything? Answer: 42
  • What’s the answer to life, the universe and everything multiplied by the speed of light divided by three teaspoons? Answer: 8.51523871 × 1014 m-2 s-1
  • What’s the speed of a Delorean going back in time? Answer: 47,600,819,200 m3 kg/s4 (via Cam)

There are other web search features, some of which I hadn’t heard about and are pretty cool…

Confessions Of A Car Salesman

This is a couple of years old, but I imagine most of it still applies. In 2001, an Edmunds.com writer worked undercover at several car dealerships over three months to find out a couple of things:

What really goes on in the back rooms of car dealerships across America?

What does the car salesman do when he leaves you sitting in a sales office and goes to talk with his boss?

What are the tricks salespeople use to increase their profit and how can consumers protect themselves from overpaying?

Some of the things he finds out are pretty obvious, but knowing more about the subtle, profit-maximizing number-crunching and tactics employed by car dealerships is going to come in quite handy the next time I need to buy a car (which hopefully won’t be for some time).

Fatboy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice Revisited

Remember the video for Fatboy Slim’s Weapon Of Choice? In case you don’t, it stars Christopher Walken, of all people, in a pretty cool dance routine in a hotel. You should definitely seek out that video if you haven’t seen it, but in the meantime, it has been digitally remade as a Flash video, with an animated stick figure replacing Mr. Walken. It’s not nearly as fun as the actual video, but I still enjoyed seeing how everything was digitized…