August 30, 2005

Jon Suen: Evil Incarnate

I hate to even post this, since it will only encourage him, but:

Jon Suen took a picture of three friends sitting on a bench, did some matlab magic on the photo to adjust the perspective, then calculated how much weight a friend had put on leading up to his marriage.

The full entry is worth a read, but here’s an excerpt for the lazy:

Everybody remembers Bobby from the Rock, the high school football jock everybody wanted to sleep with, paraphrasing somebody’s blog, and drew certain comparisons to a certain “Shane” (we’ll leave it at that, thank you). Well Blobby’s getting married, and apparently gained some weight.

Well, so did everybody else (but me, well, maybe 5 pounds). But did he really gain that much more weight? The deflection in the springs at the top of the bench make a perfect benchmark. But wait! The image is taken off-center, so the closer spring will look longer. No problem, I took ECE 181B Computer Vision, the perspective transformation is simply a homotropic map. If I have four points in the corresponding image, we can solve for the 4-DOF transform matrix. We’ll just dig out our first homework assignment, which uses eight points and a least-squares fit for better accuracy, and run it in Matlab. All I need to do is select eight points in perspective, and place where i want those eight points in a linear view, and…


So we have that, and now we make calculations. We know that Onklar weighs about 160 pounds, Samit 180 pounds. We assume Onkar is sitting in the middle, so he adds 80 pounds to both sides. So Samit’s side weighs 260 pounds. If we assume we are in the standard deflection range of the springs, we can say they are linear devices. Therefore, the left spring is 11.76% longer than the right spring, or Blob’s side weighs the same amount more. Therefore, the left side of the bench weighs in at 306 pounds. Subtract Onklar’s 80 pounds, and we conclude that Bobby weighs 226 pounds.

Posted by pmk at 2:23 AM | Comments (3)

August 29, 2005

zazen + laptop

We were traveling in Kyoto last week and stayed at a Buddhist temple. The next morning, I was checking my email, surrounded by a rock garden on one side and meditating monks on the other. Megan, one of our traveling companions, got this cool candid pic. I love it!

Posted by pmk at 12:22 AM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2005

First Japanese Ballgame

Saw the Tokyo Swallows play the Yokahama Baystars this evening. It was dramatic!
The Swallows established an early 2-0 lead, but the Baystars tied it up in the 6th. But the Swallows scored in the 8th and won the game.

This attempt at convincing sports talk is brought to you by the letter Y and the number 3.

Posted by pmk at 7:38 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005

We Meat Your Needs

A classic Engrish t-shirt spotted in Tokyo station.

Posted by pmk at 8:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

Snoopy in Ginza

This summer, Mitsukoshi Ginza, one of Japan’s swankier department stores, has given over its entire 8th floor to Snoopy crimcram.

I was there today and it was amazing. People stuffed in, shoulder to shoulder, to buy fantastically kitschy Peanuts stuff. I thought this pair of Snoopys, presented in the style of Japanese dolls, was particularly precious.

Posted by pmk at 1:31 AM | Comments (0)

August 9, 2005

Golden Pavilion

Carrie F. Gatlin, who refuses to buy a Tivo, came to visit us in Japan this March. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate at all. It was mostly rainy and cold, with a little snowy and cold mixed in for fun.

We got a bit of sun while touring the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, though. Carrie took a picture, then sent along this awesome sketch she did. It’s done in “watercolor pencil”. I have no idea how they get the water to stay inside the pencils.

Click for a bigger version:

Posted by pmk at 9:34 AM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2005

Food Snobbery

I was recently accused of rampaging food snobbery after carrying on, at some length, about a meal.

I’m not alone in this past-time, though. I just came across a wonderful exchange on the Epicurious forums. It started with a blasphemous question:

Pain au Chocolat with Nutella?

Hi! I’m think of making Pains au Chocolat, using Nutella as a filling. Has anyone ever done this successfully? It seems like a delicious concept, but I wonder if anyone has ever eaten or made such a thing. Thanks!

which was then answered with this wonderfully snarky reply:

Great Idea!!!

Hi - I’m thinking of making Croque Monsiuer using Dairylea Lunchables - has anyone else tried this? If so, could you please tell me which brand of glue you’re currently using. Ta.

Food snobs of the world unite!

Posted by pmk at 3:53 AM | Comments (1)