Showing posts from January, 2006

Blender 2.41

Today version 2.41 of the open source 3D software Blender has been released. It follows on the heels of last month's much larger-scale update to version 2.40 , but this post is sorta making up for me missing posting about that ;). In particular that version had an overhaul of the animation tools. Blender is a tool of choice of the subculture of low-budget computer graphics hobbyists. I first came across this culture when I came upon the POV-RAY raytracer and the related online contest, the Internet Raytracing Competition , in early 2002. This is a very "right-brained" program which generates 3D renders directly from a plaintext mathematical description of a scene (so Blender's graphical interface came as a relief even for a math major like me!). POV-RAY certainly has an interesting history behind it on its own, being maintained for over a decade by volunteers on the Net; it has one of the oldest continuosly operating domain names on the Net ; and the program&#

Rousseau biography at Project Gutenberg

The complete two volumes of John Morley's biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, after spending a very long time in the Distributed Proofreaders rounds, are finally available as an eBook on Project Gutenberg . Of particular interest is the chapter (volume 2, chapter 4) about Rousseau's book on education, Emilius (usually known as Emile ). One notable passage deals with how the Enlightenment's changing conception of human nature away from original sin affected education, as "part of the general revival of naturalism": The rebellion was aimed against the spirit as well as the manner of the established system. The church had not fundamentally modified the significance of the dogma of the fall and depravity of man; education was still conceived as a process of eradication and suppression of the mystical old Adam. The new current flowed in channels far away from that black folly of superstition. Men at length ventured once more to look at one another with free and ge

Battlepanda warms to libertarianism

In two posts last month, "The Future is Orange" and "Two Flavors of Libertarianism" , Battlepanda revealed that reading the blogs on the Blogosphere of the Libertarian Left and the left-wing "egalitarian, compassionate, bleeding-heart libertarianism" espoused by them, she had changed her mind about libertarianism, realizing that not all of it was warmed-over corporate apologism: I've also come across a lot of fine sites that totally refreshed my concept of what it means to be a libertarian.... The blogs that are championing Cory Maye's case have a decidedly different tenor to them that I also really like. One of them, Brad Spangler, even went as far as to say "Large corporations as they exist today are, in actuality, appendages of the state and not "free enterprise""! He's definitely not the kind pro-corporate market-worshipping libertarians I know and currently link to. and Those of you who read this blog regularly kno

my composer friend Daniel has a website!

My friend Daniel DeCastro, talented composer and fellow atheist, finally has a web presence. He has two MySpace pages: his personal page and, most importantly, his music page with samples of his music! I've been hoping that he'd do this for a long time; and the samples include a movement from of his amazing Symphony #1 in progress. He's also writing a string quartet and a set of preludes (one in each key, like those of Bach, Chopin, or Rachmaninov), so when I'm talking to him about his composition I almost feel like I don't know what century I'm in—but his music also draws from the distinctly 21st century inspiration of video games and anime. For another local composer's webpage, see that of Columbia University's Christopher Bailey , who among other things is the composer of dorkbot and artbots theme songs and has music online at his compositions and MP3s pages.