In other interesting neuroendocrinology news, Alzheimer's may be something like diabetes of the brain. It would be nice to combine research on the two, but so far it's just a largely unsubstantiated theory.


Hair's Breadth ( MP3, lyrics) is my first recording on my new used guitar.

It's a twelve string (with only six strings currently) Framus, which is a brand I'd never heard of before seeing this guitar. In the picture, you'll note some holes in the front of the body. That's where the pickup knobs are going to go once I have my soon-to-be professional luthier friend JJ put them in and do some other repairs to it.

I never had a pickup put into my six string Ibanez guitar because I dropped it in Taiwan, ironically while exiting the airport after a long trip spent worrying about my guitar getting damaged on the plane. So now it has an unrepairable dent in the back, and even though it plays fine it seems a waste of money to give it a pickup.

After I get a pickup in the new Framus, I'll just need a mic and I'll be ready to play out somewhere. And then I just need to find somewhere out to play. I recently discovered the Ritual Café in Des Moines, which is unfortunately lacking a website of any sort. It has vegetarian food, wifi, and according to Google, is host a lot of musicians I like. So that's my long-term music goal: get the guitar fixed up, get a mic, and get a gig at the Ritual Café.

Meanwhile, I have a bunch of songs to record. I just figured out how to use Tracktion to do real-time editing or whatever you call it where you twiddle the knobs and sliders while playing through the recording to have different volume or other settings in different parts of the song. So that should improve the quality of recordings a bit. Now I just need to learn how to keep time with a click track. I think I'll Ask MetaFilter about that.


The launch of Google Base inspired a bit of armchair quarterbacking about how Google might have done it differently. One suggestion, popular - of course - among the microformats community, was that Google could use microformats to remove the need for submission to their base and leverage the distributed nature of the web.

Personally, I suspect there's just not enough microformatted content out there yet to make it worth Google's cycles parsing it. Lucky for me, my own parsing cycles aren't so valuable. Microformat Base is my attempt at a microformat-based alternative to Google Base. It's slowly crawling the web looking for microformatted content, and adding it to a structured database, searchable by microformat class names. There are plenty of improvements to be made, but it's already functional in the most basic form. You can find several vcards for people named Tantek, for example.

If anyone's interested, it's open source and will eventually be open data in some form or another. I'm not looking to start a new public search engine — just demonstrate that someone with more time and experience than I and maybe an existing web crawler (*cough cough*) could do something like this. I suspect a decent search engine would inspire more microformatting, and may prove the best way to work around the chicken-egg adoption problem microformats currently face. Until someone else builds it better, I'll keep tweaking Microformat Base to that end.