Happy Halloween everybody! Work pressure, visits by relatives, and trick-or-treating with my nephew may cause blogging to be light today. The regularly scheduled fragfest should resume tomorrow. Don't just sit there, go eat some candy!
Joshua gets a mirror coated no-prize for bringing this article detailing one Israeli company's efforts at creating a purely optical computer. Instead of using wires and electrical pulses, the system uses lasers and light pulses. If the work pans out (the article is awfully short on detail), it could represent a "significant discontinuity" in the upward path of computer performance.
Jeff gets a really large winged no-prized for bringing this article relating new findings about the flying reptiles known as Pterodactyls, contemporaries (but not an actual member) of the dinosaurs. Turns out their brain structure was quite unique, and lead to insights about their behavior and the evolution of brains in general.
Proof that no car is safe from ricers, we have our very first bowl of Rissotto. Check out that wing, must add 30 mph to the top end! I'd've already AIM'd Damion about this, but he isn't on yet.
Ok, you're a thief rummaging through an old man's house looking for some bling, and you stumble upon his box of pwerno. On examination, you find its full of pictures of little kids. On closer examination, you find one of those little kids is your sister. What're you gonna do?
Well, if you're this guy, you turn his ass in:
A Piqua [Ohio] man was arrested Friday after a burglar broke into his home and stumbled upon a metal box full of illicit photos of young girls, including the thief's 4-year-old sister.
Like Mark Twain said, truth will always be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.
Contrast the previous Newsweek article with this Washington Post piece:
The money for most military projects in Iraq goes through something called the commander's emergency response program. About $100 million has been allocated so far and the 101st Airborne Division, which oversees northern Iraq, has spent about $31 million of it. It has been used, officials said, for more than 11,000 projects such as hiring a civil defense corps, patching roads and fixing an oil refinery and a sulfur plant.
It's a new idea that has allowed soldiers who are patrolling the streets, and have a ground-level view of people's needs, to make a quick impact without having to go through the bureaucratic details that government contracts usually require.
It took the Post most of the article to produce the obligatory "ripe with potential for abuse" quote from some UK peacenick (who's probably already pulled out).
My opinion is we have three options: we can do this fast, we can do it well, we can do it properly. The trick is we can only choose two of these options. I personally would rather see it done fast and well and accept a certain amount of "opaqueness" and perhaps even outright graft. Trying to do it "properly" means wasting time that could be spent reconstructing doing the endless reams of paperwork the beancounters need to make things "transparent", just to please people who've already decided they can't be pleased.
But that's just me.
Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the First Church of Satan and author of The Satanic Bible, dies from a cardiac arrest at St. Mary's Hospital in San Francisco. His death certificate incorrectly lists the date as October 31.
From my most fave site, Rotten.com
Found this NASA site containing lots of cool aurora pictures from the recent solar storms we've been having. Alaska, here we come!
Fark linked up this twisted CD of ancient carols. We're talking H.P. Lovecraft ancient here. With titles like The Great Old Ones are Coming to Town and Do You Fear What I Fear?, it'll be a great stocking stuffer for the horror fan or teenager-out-to-freak-the-parents in your life.
Since we have both among our family & friends, we may order 3!
Joshua gets a ... hmm... well, lets just say he gets a no-prize for bringing this extremely interesting study to our attention:
Doctors had never suspected a link between the act of fellatio and breast cancer, but new research being performed at North Carolina State University is starting to suggest that there could be an important link between the two.
Ok, now go back and look at the URL.
Just to prove the US isn't the only country with wacky lawsuits, we have this case of beer bottle injury from Australia:
An Australian judge has thrown out a lawsuit by a man who claimed he suffered a permanent wrist injury when struggling to open a beer bottle.
Of course, in Australia it got dismissed. In the US, it'd probably net him a million dollars. Gotta love this country...
Ok, just so we're all clear on this: Hearse + Sleepy driver = bad
A hearse overturned on a German motorway Wednesday, shattering the coffin and ejecting the corpse onto the tarmac along with a bag of coffin nails that brought traffic to a standstill, authorities said.
Just wanted to make that clear.
Joshua gets a really short no-prize for bringing TalkingPresident.com's product line to our attention. Yeah, takes most of its potshots at the right, but I get the feeling that's because the right's in charge right now (ha!) Note the Clinton "action figure" is well represented with some very choice quotes.
Of course, mom will only think the Bush doll is funny.
I know someone who's going to get their favorite right wing nutball blonde chick for Christmas!!!
New Scientist is carrying this article on recent discoveries that seem to prove "beyond doubt" that as much as 70% of the universe is made up of so-called "dark energy". Now that they seem to have proven its existence, they're going to try and tell us just what it is. No, Ellen, it's not what comes out of Leela's pet!
Oh, that crazy sun is at it again, spewing out one of the biggest solar flares ever seen, and it's doing it right now.
The sound you hear is the yellow-dog section of our peanut gallery trying to figure out how to blame it on Bush. Oh, and the Arab's aren't boo'ing, they're shouting JOOOOOOS.
Pat gets a no-prize for bringing us this Newsweek article on how Iraq is, according to the article, turning into a "money pit". However, right at the beginning of the article I stumbled onto a remarkably familiar story:
Iraqis like to point out that after the 1991 war, Saddam restored the badly destroyed electric grid in only three months. Some six months after Bush declared an end to major hostilities, a much more ambitious and costly American effort has yet to get to that point.
Not quite, as Healing Iraq shows:
Iraq had the most sophisticated power grid in the middle east during the eighties. It was damaged heavily during the first Gulf war. After which Saddam ordered that electricity be restored in Baghdad before his birthday on April 28.
Other provinces had to suffer 12-16 hours of outage just to supply the capital. It remained that way throughout the whole of the nineties.
After April 9. The coalition authority attempted to balance the situation. They ordered that power be supplied to all provinces even if doing so on the expense of the capital. Which resulted in the electricity problems you have all probably heard about and the widespread indignation among Baghdadi's.
Now, I'm a lowly blogger sitting in Northern Virginia with little more than Google and a good memory for stories. Yet with this simple fact-check I'm able to undercut one of the main thrusts of the article... that even Saddam did a better job than we're doing. Of course, the "real" story makes the US effort look good, on an item everyone agrees is critical. Bias? You judge.
How could they get such a slant? Judging by the detail with which they describe the situation in Baghdad, and the complete lack of detail on the reconstruction effort anywhere else, it would seem this is yet another group of journalists who have decided that Baghdad is Iraq. Understandable coming from a group of people who never report on things more than 30 miles away from Washington DC, New York, or Los Angeles.
I think reporting abuse and bureaucratic incompetence is important to our success. If we don't know, we can't fix it. But if these reporters can't be trusted to accurately research a simple bit of history, how can we trust them to accurately report on something as complex as the occupation of an entire country?
NSFW due to all the PrOn pop ups!
Pretty neat pix! Check it out.
A few weeks ago the blog got spammed by some pr0n scum. Regular readers would've noticed a ton of old old posts with sudden activity. Took me awhile, but we won't be having that nonsense anymore. If you run a movableType site and haven't installed MT-Blacklist, well, you deserve what you get! Easily the neatest, most problem-free MT plugin install I've ever seen. Was easier to get running than MT itself!
Don't just stand there... install something!
Just added Healing Iraq to our blogroll. Another Iraqi blogging from their own ground zero. He's almost a mirror image of Baghdad Burning... more skeptical, yet more optimistic. Go take a look.
Similar in theme to "The Stand", but much funnier, we have JOOOS!:
You probably are wondering why the Jews get blamed for everything and not someone else like the Polynesians. Well, it's because "Jews" is easy and fun to yell. Try it right now. Just shake your fist in the air and shout, "JEWS!" Isn't that fun.
I've also heard that the Jews killed Jesus (actually, there's a whole film produced by Mel Gibson coming out about the crucifixion of which the working title is Look What Those Pesky Jews Did!). It seems strange to get angry about that, though, since Jesus came back to life a few days later; no harm, no foul. But did you know that Jesus was Jewish? Maybe Christianity is some big Jewish conspiracy. Ever get annoyed about having to get up early on a Sunday to go to church? Well, it's because of the...
I wonder if he'll get e-mail critiques of his history and accusations of being "biased" like I did...
Bigwig is moving along on his intended goal of scanning interesting and important essays that haven't made it to the web yet by bringing us this Wil Rogers essay on the "Normal Majority". This is most of my political philosophy in a nutshell:
No Element, no Party, not even Congress or the Senate can hurt this Country now; it's too big. There are too many men just like those Dog Team drivers and too many Women like that Nurse up in Nome for anything to ever stampede this old Continent of ours. That's why I can never take a Politician seriously. They are always shouting that "such and such a thing will ruin us, and that this is the eventful year in our Country's life."
Say, all the years are the same. Each one has its little temporary setbacks, but they don't mean a thing in the general result. Nobody is making History. Everybody is just drifting along with the tide. If any office holder feels he is carrying a burden of responsibility, some Fly will light on his back and scratch it off for him some day. Congress can pass a bad law and as soon as the old Normal Majority find it out they have it scratched off the books.
One of the most shrill complaints you'll hear from any True Believer, on any side, is how ignorant and wrong-headed "the people" are: Look who they elected president! Look what they pay to see at the movies! My God, have you watched TV lately? They made Britney Spears a star! They believe in astrology and ghosts and religion and right and wrong! How can they possibly run an entire country?!? They aren't! They're letting this country get run into the ground and only we can stop it!
Never once do they realize "the people" are the ones keeping this country on an even keel. Because there's nothing in the world too absurd for an intellectual to believe in, and all True Believers are self-styled intellectuals (present company included).
I'm actually surprised it took this long for someone to come up with a Lego Cthulu.
"How odd it looks!" said Miss Kitty Fluffington. "Very non- Euclidian."
ETCC is about as close to NASCAR as Europe gets... factory-backed teams running around road courses in commercial sedan-based race cars. They don't do ovals and (as far as I know) their cars actually start life as the sedans they pretend to be, but in spirit (IMO) it's the same sort of thing. Now if I can just figure out when speedvision shows the damned races...
Scott and I saw this bus in D.C. outside of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. We did not take this pix.
The T-shirt reads "Rotten". Kinda says it all, eh? Doomed I tell you... doomed...
Fark linked up this bizzare account of the discovery of 400 lb + boulders perched high in the branches of various trees in a remote part of Yellowwood forest, in Indiana.
I lean toward a flood explanation. I used to hike around the Buffalo River valley occasionally in college, and you'd come across all kinds of weird things stuck high in trees... mostly rocks and the occasional canoe. All were caused by the spring floods that rocketed through the valley every year.
Of course, I don't remember anything that big up in a tree. Ah well...
BBCnews has this article on what could be the absolute ultimate in ricer tech... a guy in Bangladesh who creates faux-Ferraris by banging out his own sheetmetal. Definitely a cut above the kid who orders a body kit from Rice R Us, yet recognizably similar.
The civet cat has long been highly prized for its tender meat, which is reputed to help blood circulation, but there are growing signs that more Chinese believe it could pose a health threat.
The Chinese will eat anything that will keep their winky up. I especially like it how they add to the problem of the endangered animal list. If they catch any nasty goodies from what they eat, thats their problem.
Read entire article here .
Created in 1928 by Walter Deimer, an accountant in Philadelphia, the perennial treat was pegged Dubble Bubble by its maker and sold by Fleer Gum Co., which owned the brand name. The first Dubble Bubble squares went on sale in 1937.
Read entire article here .
Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, we bring you dancing weenies.
Kris gets a very erect No PrIzE!
Joshua gets a spank-er-iffic no-prize for bringing the ultimate in political punishment for everyone's favorite shrub to our attention. Maru, mom, & Jeff will probably wear the mouse out on this one.
ABCnews is carrying this feature about Venezuela's Gran Sabana, a weird geological park:
Venezuela's expansive Gran Sabana is an awe-inspiring landscape filled with towering prehistoric rock formations, dramatic waterfalls and unique species. Its rolling highlands span 8,645 acres across the southeast corner of Venezuela's Canaima National Park, the world's sixth-largest nature reserve.
Gran Sabana means great plain (or savanna) in Spanish, but the terrain's most famous feature is the 40 exotic flat-topped, cliff-edged mountains soaring above the lush grassland.
It's said to be the place that inspiried Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World which in turn inspiried Jurassic Park. It takes a week to get to hike to the best one, so I guess we'll just have to look at the pretty pictures. We have hike-crazy friends though, maybe they'll get a kick out of it...
Had to happen some day. What do you get when you cross Iron Chef with Survivor? Oh hell, I don't know either, but it might look a little like Battle Fishing, the new sports-reality game show. Billy, Ellen's step-dad and inveterate fisherman, will probably never be the same.
My brother loves his Trans Am, claims it'll do just about anything. However, I now have proof positive that, while fast, Trans Ams make for crappy dump trucks.
Madame Chaing Kai-Shek died yesterday. She was 106. In all honesty I had assumed she was long gone (at 106, who could blame me?) With Riefenschtal gone too, there simply can't be that many prime players in WWII left.
The fact that most of you probably don't know who this is just shows how ephemeral pop culture can be. The Kai-Sheks were hyper-celebrities of their day, fading away after WWII.
Only if I knew earlier! I could have married Ted or Ajax and not have a falling apart car in the garage, or a soopa computer downstairs or someone snoring next to me at night :)
But then again, I would still have to deal with someone peeing on the door leading to the garage.
MAKUHARI, Japan (Reuters) - General Motors Corp will rename its Buick LaCrosse in Canada because the name for the car is slang for masturbation in Quebec, embarrassed officials with the U.S. automaker said on Thursday.Read entire article here.
I thought LaCrosse was a game.
Thanks to Joshua for the article!
Those wacky Germans are at it again, this time they've invented "porno" karaoke:
Porno karaoke is similar to traditional karaoke - but, instead of standing in for Whitney Houston or Frank Sinatra, contestants belt out the soundtracks of adult movie stars.
I'm just happy I could spell "karaoke" without having to look it up first. This'll be one I leave gramma and baby at home for...
BBCnews has three good articles worth a look:
An update on a 10-year fish census that's turned up hundreds of new and spectaularly ugly species. With, of course, pictures.
Branson and Fossett are at it again, this time constructing a plane Fossett will use to fly solo around the world without refueling. Voyager took 9 days to do the job. This new aircraft, called the GlobalFlyer, should complete the same voyage in just over 3.
And finally, an example of the oldest known domesticated rice has been found. A collection of 15,000 year old burned rice grains found in Korea recently push back the time of domestication 3,000 years, and move it out of China (for now).
Mr. Ott hits another target with this latest dispatch on Mr. Clark's new economic plan:
The vast majority of those polled agreed that Clark's proposed repeal of the Bush tax cuts for families earning more than $200,000 annually is almost guaranteed to spark a boom in consumer spending that would create more jobs.
Of course, the people who are a target of satire almost never get it, so at best there's probably a lot of blank stares from the yellow-dog section of the peanut gallery.
Read the whole thing, then come back and call me a Nazi. :)
Hot rod maniacs don't just exist on the eastern seaboard... Lair shows us exactly what happens when you combine mechanical skill, too much free time, and a barstool. I bet it gets real exciting when the nitrous button is pushed!
Space.com has this nice article written by one of the SETI guys answering the question, "just how visible are we to ETs?"
The answer is somewhat surprising (at least to me), and provides a neat explanation as to why nobody's bothered to contact us yet.
I've always liked stroboscopic photography... freeze frames of bullets and baloons and all that jazz. This site has a whole bunch of them. Enjoy!
Fred "Rerun" Berry Dead
Berry, who portrayed the beret-wearing, suspender-clad teen known as Rerun on the 1976-79 series and was rarely without his signature accessories during the nearly quarter-century since, was found dead in his Los Angeles apartment Tuesday, E! has learned. He was 52.
Read entire article here.
BBCnews is featuring this article detailing one man's experimental efforts to find Robin Hood's grave. He contends the traditional site is too far away from the castle where Robin died, and went through a variety of experiments to try and estimate the "true" distance. Weirdly, after searching the records he found evidence of a grave dug up in the 18th century almost exactly where his predictions said Robin's arrow would have landed.
Of course, it's an old old church, could be graves everywhere. And nobody's sure Robin exists. Still, an interesting co-inky-dink.
Take a peek of one of the Space Shuttles at the moment of a sonic boom.
Ok, first the article:
There is some stunning — and so far unreported — news in a new poll conducted by Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg.
The survey — sponsored by Democracy Corps, the group founded by Greenberg, James Carville and Robert Shrum — focused on Democrats who take part in the nominating process in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
What Democracy Corps found was that Democrats, at least those who are most active in politics, simply don’t care about terrorism.
Just don’t care.
Sit down for a second, will ya? The author writes for the National Review, a neo-con rag. However, the Democracy Corps, the ones who actually did the survey, are about as yellow-dog as they come:
[F]ounded in 1999 by James Carville, Stanley Greenberg, and Bob Shrum ... The organization was born out of outrage over the impeachment of President Clinton ... Following the 2000 election, Democracy Corps rededicated itself after the presidential candidate with the most votes and the most popular policy agenda did not become the President of the United States.
Once you get past the classic-troll intro, the conclusions are (IMO) why I would rather vote for a purple elephant than let the Dem Party Faithful come back:
Finally, the pollsters read respondents a series of position statements from four fictional candidates.
One said that “the Iraq war [has] hurt our country” but did not mention terrorism. Two others did not mention either the war or terrorism and instead stressed such things as repealing the Bush tax cuts and reforming healthcare.
Just one fictional candidate said, “I am committed to fighting the war on terrorism and supported overthrowing Saddam Hussein. But we must abandon Bush’s go-it-alone policy and work with our allies so they provide more forces and bear more of the cost.”
That anti-terrorism, modified-pro-war candidate finished next to last in Iowa and South Carolina — just a percentage point out of the bottom spot. (He did better in New Hampshire, for reasons that are not clear).
I have to say most of what's excerpted from that survey sounds a lot like the stuff coming out of Big Media and the True Believer Dems I know.
Prosecuting terrorism aggressively is one of the few positions I agree 100% with in the current administration. I'm sorry, I'd rather have four more years of George W. than see the mules turn it all back.
Opposing analysis welcome.
TORONTO (Reuters) - A "smiling" man survived a 150-foot plunge over the fast-flowing Niagara Falls, and police said on Tuesday that the unusual case was still under investigation.Read entire article here.
The man, who has not been identified, is believed to be the first person to survive a drop over the falls without any life jacket or flotation device.
Nina gets a paintball gun no-prize for bringing this video of a preteen dumbass to our attention.
Normally I'd feel bad for the kid, but he's so obnoxious.
Jeff gets a potato-shaped no-prize for bringing this interesting find to our attention:
Workers at a Kettle Foods potato chip plant were feeding potatoes into a machine that sorts out stones and other debris this week when a 3-pound military bomb popped out.
Not to worry, "only" a practice bomb, from when the fields were used as target ranges. Still, a potato with fins... has potential...
Pat gets an ash-covered no-prize for bringing this NY Times article (free reg, blah blah) about recent developments in the study of the ancient volcanic explosion that ocurred on Thera, now called Santorini.
For those who don't know, Thera/Santorini (they changed the name, God knows when) is in the Agean sea, off the coast of the Greek mainland. This comparatively small island was nearly obliterated in a massive explosion approximately 3500 years ago. It is widely seen as the real origin of the Atlantis myth, and at first was thought to also have been the cause of the decline of the Minoan civilization. Later dating of the explosion called this into question, but this new data seems to be bringing the two events back in line.
New Scientist is hosting this article summarizing the discovery of a completely new type of galaxy. The so-called "dark galaxy" is completely devoid of stars, consisting mostly of hydrogen gas and really weird particles.
Every once in awhile, buried amongst boobies and asshats and German women throwing televisions, FARK will link up something genuinely cool. Such is this extended Discover magazine article on Octopus. Summarizing the latest behaivioral findings, it covers things like cognition, play, mischeif, and even perhaps tool use:
Researchers and aquarium attendants tell tales of octopuses that have tormented and outwitted them. Some captive octopuses lie in ambush and spit in their keepers' faces. Others dismantle pumps and block drains, causing costly floods, or flex their arms in order to pop locked lids. Some have been caught sneaking from their tanks at night into other exhibits, gobbling up fish, then sneaking back to their tanks, damp trails along walls and floors giving them away.
Very cool article!
One very cool person, and one of Olivia's gothic godparents(Kris) recently went for a photo shoot and came back with these.
Everyone prepare to OOOO and AHHHH!!!!
All we can say is VeRy vErY COOL!
Well, everyone wants to see pics of the events surrounding "Costume Drama". Well, we can't do that just yet because Joshua hasn't tracked down the guy's with the cameras. All in good time. What we can provide is a picture that deftly represents the spirit of the evening, back in the dressing room before the action started:
(I'm the one on the far right. You get to guess about the other two.)
Hopefully this will still be funny after I've had a nap.
Pic shamelessly stolen from Maru, lord knows where she got it. Or the utterly outrageous pic she has up right now. Geeze...
BBCnews is carrying this article about a scientist who claims to have discovered a pair of 200,000 year old sculptures. If true, they would represent the earliest artwork of this sort ever found, and the possibly even the first from a truly non-human species of hominid (Homo Erectus).
However, there are lots of problems with this guy's hypothesis... he doesn't say exactly why he thinks they're so old. Also, it's quite possible these are natural formations, never touched by hands of any sort. Finally, 150,000 years ago is just inside the range of Homo Sapiens, although even then finding something like this in Italy, at a time when H. Sapiens was thought to be exclusively African, would still be a find.
Only careful examination of the artifacts will tell. However, it is interesting to think about.
I've always wondered just what, exactly, it was like day-to-day with the last nation-building occupations in Europe and Japan. Unfortunately, from this distance, it's as if 1946-1951 just don't exist. Jessica's Well seeks to remedy this, at least a little bit, and the results are startling:
The troops returning home are worried. “We’ve lost the peace,” men tell you. “We can’t make it stick.”
When the British and American came the Viennese felt that at last they were in the hands of civilized people. But instead of coming in with a bold plan of relief and reconstruction we came in full of evasions and apologies.
We have swept away Hitlerism, but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.
Via Site Essential.
I'm very glad I have two friends who like to wear spiked leather & carry big sharp things for fun, and a brother with a pistol so big you can shove a walnut in the barrel. I have a feeling I'm going to need them all in about 14 years.
We all have moments in our lives when time slows down to a crawl, when the ticks and tocks of the pendulum drag so slowly across the cogs of our existence it feels like a finger dragging down a hardwood banister. Reality splits open like a dandelion, fuzzy with possibilities so fragile even a breeze will change them. Sometimes the drama is very real... a toddler chases a ball into the middle of a street, an envelope is unsealed to "and the winner is...", or a ring box sits open-- one knee dew-wet from grass while another buckles under the weight of decision.
Of course, other times the drama is more about when the pie is going to hit the face. Like when you're standing in the dark behind the World's Ricketiest Stage, being introduced by a man in a blond wig who wears more (and better) makeup than your mom ever did, wearing pants held up by six safety pins, so high on cold medicine you're half convinced you're about to float out of them. The crowd roars, the song starts, and a spotlight swings around like the Terminator's laser sight. You say the Astronaut's Prayer* as the roaring quiet pendulum ponderously rockets to the top of its path, and take that One Last Step.
"Joshua wants you to be in a fashion show."
"Tell him only if I get to wear black pants and white socks again. It's my signature."
"No dumbass, he really needs you to go, they need another guy to even things out. It's a goth fashion show for charity. It'll be fun!"
"Me, in a fashion show? But you said goats have better fashion sense than I do."
"No, I said goats smell better than you do after a bike ride. You have the fashion sense of a color-blind golfer. Besides, the clothes are provided."
"And you'll be able to keep tabs on Olivia--"
"aaaand Amber with your cell phone while you help me get dressed?"
"Don't be stupid. I'll be too busy with my own dress. You retards will have to take care of yourself. I knew you'd make the right choice!"
[weakly:] "umm... yeah... right choice..."
It had been, my God, nearly twenty years since I'd been on a stage, but things hadn't really changed. Silver silhouettes of hair and jackets and hands dance beneath your feet, faceless only until you concentrate to see their gloomy features, lit by the moonglow you cast from the spotlight. Which is poetic as hell and probably is what's going through the head of that vision in front of me who only seconds earlier shouted in my ear, "step on my hem and you're dead!" What's going through my head is exactly:
Watch the edge watch the edge don't step on the hem wow Ellen's hot don't step off the edge could they make this f-ing thing any narrower don't step off the edge ha-ha who says white guy's can't dance oh sh*t look out for the edge!
Instant messaging is so much fun. Never have so many people been saved from strangling by being so far away...
Scott: Ok, so when do we need to show up for this thing?
Joshua: We'll need to leave by at least two. The show will probably start around nine.
Scott: Waitaminute. Where is this thing anyway?!?
Joshua: Richmond. We'll need to make sure we get there in time to rehearse a bit.
Scott: Note to self: Never agree to anything involving Joshua while drunk.
Joshua: But you were at work when you finally said yes!
Scott: Note to self: Never agree to anything involving Joshua while wishing I was drunk.
Ok. Halfway there. Managed to pass by the first two folks out, Christophe and Cathy, without tossing anyone into the bleachers. Three feet never seemed so goddamned narrow. The end is exactly twice as wide as the runway, which is nice because now we get to do a little dance thing. Remember everyone, big smiles! Oh, and concentrating on your balance while your wife gives you smoky "come hither" looks in a can-can dress? Not easy. Now, just like we rehearsed, all I have to do now is hit this corner so Joshua will have room to come by. Grab the hat, make a flourish, and introduce...
An empty stage.
Downtown Richmond, at least the four or five blocks I saw, is a lot like the downtown of any other bypassed Southern town... wide boulevards lined with parking lots and turn-of-the-century brick facades quietly mouldering into oblivion. In New York small towns seem to be defined by rickety wooden storefronts a bare few feet from the street, sometimes leaning alarmingly into their neighbors. In the South you have the shells of dozens of empty brick-and-glass shops, their contents sucked out by the Wal-Mart at the edge of town. It's a different sort of shabby, more spacious, but pretty much just as depressing.
Predictably, the club we would be premiering in was on the corner of one of the shabbier blocks. Is there some rule that says colorful nightclubs must be crammed into rickety two-level general stores that've been remodeled so many times they compare favorably to Winchester House?
"Come on", Joshua said, "let's put our stuff up so we can rehearse our act a few times."
"Act? What act? I don't remember anything about any-- OOFF!"
"Of course you do," Ellen's elbow is only slightly less sharp than her wit, "it was in the e-mails that were sent out."
Ah. E-mails. The one's I'd been missing for the past two days because I had a cold. Oh, that's right! I forgot to mention... neither rain, nor snow, nor deadly-sick husband will keep my wife from her appointed rounds. To wit, a few days earlier:
Me: "I really don't feel good. Do I have a temperature?"
Ellen: "Yup. You better stay home for awhile, because you don't want to disappoint Joshua. He'd be very disappointed if we weren't able to go because someone was a big baby and couldn't handle a little cold. And you don't want to disappoint Joshua, do you?" [Lizard Blink]
Me: "Ummm... yeah, sure... don't disappoint y-- umm... Joshua..."
So there I was, standing in the middle of a collision between the Long Branch Saloon and the bar in Blade Runner being told I was going to be doing something that sounded suspiciously like dancing. And I don't dance...
Amadeus Amadeus, Amadeus AmadeusAmadeus, Oh-oh-oh Amadeus..."
Well, that went well. I had officially used up my two dancing moves getting out here, in the expectation of being rescued by a six-foot-plus guy with his hair rolled in tubes (sorta like this). Instead I'm looking at an empty stage. Surrounded by people I've never seen before. Wearing things I'm not sure are completely legal in most states. Ellen's standing next to me mouthing TIMING which, in my adrenalyn-and-benadryl-soaked psyche might as well have been Greek. Brain is on autopilot, and the autopilot knows how to do one thing... go up and down a runway. So, a full minute before we're supposed to, back up we go...
One of the nice things about being a part of something but not being in charge of it is you don't really have to pay much attention to the details... you just show up and do what people tell you. I'd been told to go into the dressing area, a weird "extra stage" upstairs and behind the main one, and try on my outfit. Oh, the outfit? Why would you want to know about... oh all right. Long blue waistcoat with heavy gold piping, a frilled shirt, gold pantaloons, and, the best part...
"Ha! Hey Ellen! Guess what? I'm supposed to pull these socks up as high as they go! See?"
Ellen, to Joshua's wife, Carrie: "Oh great. It took me four years to teach him not to pull his socks up past his knees. Now I have to start civilizing him all over again..."
"I heard that!"
Well, I only put the pants on backward once, a major accomplishment for someone who thinks high fashion is a clean T-shirt. I was talking to Joshua and Christophe about how to button the shirt when, well, a half-naked lady walked out of a dressing room and started preening in front of a mirror about ten feet from where we were standing.
Guys are funny when they try to sneak a look at something they're pretty sure they shouldn't... they get all quiet and start looking sideways and making sure nobody sees a glance in a particular direction. This appearance was so sudden and unexpected it was like someone switched all the male voices OFF. Lucky for me Ellen had gone somewhere looking for more safety pins. Carrie, however...
Ok, that didn't take long, now if I can just peek around this wall... yup, there he is, grinning his damned fool head off. Yes, yes, thumbs up to you too ring-head, now get your ass out here wha-- oh ok, Ellen, let's dance around for a second because you know if you don't grab me I'll just freeze like a spotlighted deer and now lets just twirl one more time oh God where's the edge again--"
On cue he and Carrie appeared, saving me from my wretched ordeal. Down they went, much more Rico Suave than I could be with six months of rehearsal. A few twirls, toss out some of the nifty The City Morgue card-holder-thingies into the crowd, dance around a few seconds more and
Just like that, it was over. The chimes began to ring, the second hand resumed its speedy path across the clock face. The dandelion seeds had all been blown away, leaving only the stub of memory behind. As if the floodgates of time itself had been opened, reality sped forward and memory resorted to storing it as flashed pictures, disconnected as time wound down. Stand here for a picture, your timing was off but it was OK, stand there for another one, time for some water to renew the drugs before I turn into a coughing pumpkin, wow I only thought the costume Ellen brought looked good, watch Gwar do their thing and tear up some scenery, and then we're standing outside hugging everyone goodbye.
We got home to a sleeping, peaceful baby and a bedraggled baby-sitter (thanks Ron & Amber!), and went back to our quiet lives in our quiet house down at the end of our quiet street.
But for a brief moment, however unrehearsed, we were stars.
Now if I could just get that damned song out of my head...
This breeder goes through a very lengthy session on how to shave a cat's nose in order to see a 'mascara' line.
Why make a cat deal with soap and a razor when you can use one of these?
VATICAN CITY, Oct. 19 — Pope John Paul declared Mother Teresa of Calcutta a blessed of the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday, putting the late “Saint of the Gutters” on the fast track to sainthood for her life of selfless help to the poor.Read entire article here.
The pontiff granted a dispensation so the procedure for establishing her case for sainthood could be started two years after her death instead of the normal five years.
Are they rabbits or are they powder puffs?
I ate snails once when I was on a cruise. Not bad, kinda chewy. It never ever crossed my mind to do home escargo with garden slugs though. Thats just too disgusting.
SYDNEY (Reuters) - While escargot is the pride of French cuisine, eating common garden slugs or snails can be fatal.
The Medical Journal of Australia made the discovery after a patient with mysterious symptoms was found to have eaten two garden slugs for a dare.
Read entire article here.
Check out the panoramic view from the mountain!
Start at the middle of the pick and drag the mouse around!
No, I have not tried this.
We've got some PEZ collectors out there, so I figured it would be fun to link up this article about the PEZ museum. Hey, it beats the hell out of the sack-cloth-and-ashes thing about the cubs & sox, no?
Slashdot linked up this BBCnews story detailing new discoveries made at Stonehenge by using laser scanners on the rock. They eventually hope to scan the entire site.
You know, if they make that available on the internet, and there's no reason why they won't, it would not be terribly difficult to re-create a hyper-accurate replica of the stones using, say, fiberglass, wood, and epoxy.
Insert Spinal Tap joke here...
Into our growing collection of stupid car sites, we add MolestedCars.com. A great place to find even more examples of unpresuming and innocent sedans, trucks, and econoboxes victimized by their "ownerZ".
Baseball as usual wins. So much for an interesting World Series. Wake me up when next season starts. *snore*
Fark linked up this story about what, exactly, a group of 10 to 13-year-olds think of "classic" video games like Pong, Donky Kong, and Space Invaders. Some choice comments:
"It takes this whole console just to do Pong?"
[On Donky Kong]: "It looks like a Mario that got run over by a car."
[On Coleco Hand-Held Football:] Brian: What's this supposed to be?
Interviewer: Football. It's one of the first great portable games.
Brian: I thought it was Run Away From the Dots.
Being a girl, it's possible Olivia will think video games are lame and not mess with them at all. This will spare me the indignity of getting waxed on a console by my own 12-year-old. My brother, on the other hand, is not so lucky. I am counting the days until my nephew hands him his head in, say, Virtua Fighter XIV.
BBCnews has this article detailing new discoveries about the Cambrian explosion. For billions of years, the earth hosted nothing more complex than bacteria and simple algae. Then, in a relatively short space of time, the planet was filled with all sorts of complex life forms, some of which aren't even related to present day families of species. This is the Cambrian explosion, and it is one of the most important but least understood periods in the history of life. New computer models have lead to insight into how, and why, such a thing ocurred.
There are ridiculous ricers out there, and then there are ridiculous ricers. This one doesn't seem to know if it wants to be a Mercedes, a BMW, a Honda, or a, well good lord who knows what else. Look closely at the underhood pic and you'll see the owner has a put a way-cool tiny crown on the oil filler cap.
Warning: Pics are fine, but some of the ads surrounding them can be a bit raunchy. One of the very few advantages of being at home sick is I get to cruise the really naughty sites.
This New Scientist article details the winners of this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year. With, of course, pictures!
Fark linked up this MSNBC article detailing efforts by a group of scientists to create a prototype "asteroid pusher". The idea is to explore new low-thrust technologies like solar sails and ion drives to see if they can be used in a craft that can move asteroids out of earth-collision orbits.
Congratulations to a good friend of mine, Elizabeth and family and their new baby!
was born Saturday, October 11th at 5:50 am, weighed in at 7 lbs 1.2
ounces, and was 19" long. Mom, Dad and baby are all doing really well and
loving our first days together as a family!"
Hopefully her 3 cats Buffy, Polly and Riley are adjusting well!
Jeff gets a purple no-prize for bringing us this CNN report on the discovery of a frog so different it's been given its own family classification. According to the article this particular species is at least 65 million years old, isolated on the Seychelles Archipelago, near Madagascar.
I've gone on record many times stating I still want to know when we're screwing it up in Iraq, not just when we get it right. Pointing fingers and counting bodies ain't informing me, because it gives me no avenues for change.
However, articles like this are important:
US soldiers driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking US troops
There is almost nothing more counterproductive to a "hearts and minds" campaign than pissing off farmers, and nothing pisses off a farmer faster than destroying fruit crops that can take decades to cultivate & mature. This is such a basic tenet in a counter-insurgency war I am simply flabberghasted that anything like this could actually happen.
Some rear-echelon MF'ing officer has decided to treat grownups like playground kids, without once realizing he's not taking away toys, he's taking away food and money. Again, according to this report at least, they're not hacking down trees to deny snipers cover, they're hacking them down to prove just who's "in charge".
So now we have at least one village out there, probably more, that just boiled over with new Ba'athist and al-Qaeda recruits with nothing more to show for it than an action report covering some tin star's ass. Good job guys, hope a family who's kid gets capped by a sniper from this village mails his purple heart to the Mr. Commanding F-up who thought this one up.
Riverbend over at Baghdad Burning does an excellent job describing the magnitude of this screwup.
Of course the media says almost nothing, because finding out about this stuff requires leaving the Palestine hotel and actually doing research. And besides, if it isn't reported in their daily press briefings from the Pentagon, it can't be that important, can it?
Sometimes I think we learned a lot from Vietnam. A lot. Then I read things like this and I realize some folks, important ones at that, have learned nothing.
Comment blaming it all on Dubya in 3... 2... 1...
Another in our continuing series of tiny time-wasters, we're proud to present extreme snowboarding, a simple yet challenging game of mouse movement. Let's see how my console brethren do...
Somehow it seems nearly everyone missed out on the centibots, an experimental group of 100 robots designed to work together with no outside intervention to accomplish a variety of different tasks. "Centibots" sounds like something my nephew should be watching on DVD though.
After some 2000 years, you knew it couldn't last:
The long-rumored break-up of The Holy Trinity became fact yesterday, when The Holy Spirit held a press conference to announce his departure from the group. The other members of The Holy Trinity were not immediately available for comment. The break-up rocked the theological community, casting doubt on the belief that the Holy Trinity was not really a trio, but rather one God revealing himself in three ways.
Not mentioned, but certainly a factor, was Microsoft's buyout of the Catholic church, completed a few years ago. Going corporate always causes artists trouble.
You may have already heard by now, but just in case, yep, the Chinese got their rocket launched yesterday. Welcome to the club, folks!
Crazy Auntie Maru gets a no-prize with an aviator's cap on it for bringing us this news about a possible new development in the Amelia Earhart case. It's possible, but only just, that she's buried somewhere on the island of Tinian in the south Pacific.
Most folks know about iron lungs... those enormous monstrosities people had to lie in so they could breathe, basically for the rest of their lives. They're obviously all gone now, so much so I'm not sure people younger than 20 even know what they are. I'd wondered what happened to them, and the people inside them, for years. Now, BBCnews has this article detailing the life of the man who could be the oldest living survivor (in Britain anyway) to have used such a device. A victim of polio, he now uses a much smaller portable device that allows him to live at home.
Take one studio apartment, add an interior designer who's an SF fan and a boatload of money and what do you get? The "Star Trek" apartment.
Boy, is Ellen going to be surprised when she gets home...
A headline on fark noted Agent Smith's car in Reloaded had a license plate that read "IS 5416". Which lead to what must've been the very first time the bible got a link from FARK. 8th sign of the apocalypse you know.
Like my kid needed any help, now they seem to have "spellcasting" Barbies. Auction link, so view it while you can.
How this managed to get in under the fundie's radar I'll never know. They should make a case study out of it... "producing cool toys without attracting the attention of the wackamole fringe."
I don't think I will be applying for a job like these anytime soon.
One armed man, please meet the one-armed Yeti.
According to BBCnews, China's first attempt at manned spaceflight will be launched between October 15th and October 17th. I wonder if NASA channel will carry it live...
New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing some MIT researchers' efforts to create a watchdog system to keep an eye on the government.
If it works, a very big if, I'm all for it.
Exhibiting the finest in good taste, the latest XM radio ads feature the car that everyone should own.
No, Jim, it's not a Chevy. Or a Pontiac Jeff. Or a Honda, Damion. :P
A new drug that started out as a tanning aid is suddenly being compared to Viagra. But the drug isn't just for men. In fact, many researchers are calling it "The Barbie Drug" because of its effect on appearance. When skin cancer researchers tested a hormone called Melanotan II on a group of men, their hope was to stimulate a natural tan without the sun. However, they stumbled upon some surprising side effects.
Read some more.
Siberian scientists say they have a discovery on their hands which raises the possibility that the local legend of the yeti - the abominable snowman - is more than mere fiction.
"A size 36 shoe would fit him just fine," the TV concluded.
Read entire article here.
Remember the guy that loved bears so much he became bear food?
Apparently they found an audiotape recording the last 3 minutes of the attack before the couple met their maker.
Timothy Treadwell can be heard desperately fighting off a grizzly bear on a 3-minute audiotape of the fatal mauling that claimed his life and that of his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, in Katmai National Park and Preserve earlier this week, Alaska State Troopers disclosed yesterday.Interesting? Read some more.
Wynn gave an exclusive interview to Eyewitness News Anchor, Gary Waddell on Wednesday. He explained, "What happened Friday night was a fluke, something that never should have occurred. And something that no one could have foreseen." He continued to say, "That even as Roy was being carried off stage by the tiger, he was saying he didn't want anything to happen to the cat."Read entire interview here.
"As Roy was leading Montecore out to stage front on a lease, the cat became fascinated and distracted by woman with a big hairdo in the front row." Wynn says instead of Montecore following Roy through his usual routine, the cat became fascinated with a woman in the audience that had a big hairdo. "For whatever reason, Montecore was fascinated and distracted by the guest sitting ringside."
Wynn says Montecore just leaned over Roy and picked him up like he was a cub. Wynn says it was not a bite or an attack. "There was no damage to Roy's neck, but there were two puncture wounds and one of those teeth went through Roy's vertebral artery and severed it -- the one behind his neck -- that's what caused the stroke and massive bleeding putting him in a near-death situation."
The web site says it all:
Fed up with seeing and hearing the secular world around you? Distracted by attractive young people in temptingly tight clothes? Despairing at the sinful nature of co-workers? Horrified at the anti-christian teaching of evolution and critical thinking?
I should make Ellen post these. I have enough bad karma as it is...
Slashdot and fark linked up this article about a new airplane powered by frikken lasers. Considering it only weighed 11 ounces and had to be flown around inside a hangar, it is the purest of technology demonstrators. Supposedly has uses in remote sensing and scientific research, but I wonder if they did just to see if they could.
Ok, confession time... just how many geeky hobbies have you participated in?. Not surprisingly, I've actually messed with most of them at one point or another. Of course, I got better...
Thanks to Jeff for the link.
This was sent to me via Jeff.
Oct. 8 — Boo Boo Kitty is no more. In the end, the end was quite sudden. In the few months since I had written the medical saga of Boo Boo Kitty (his real name was Sam but somehow the ridiculous nickname stuck), he had seemed to be doing well, although there were some troubling issues that I recognize now in retrospect.
Read entire article here.
"We love the people, we just hate their government" is a phrase nearly everyone, everywhere, has heard, and yet no single phrase is more often misunderstood by its speakers.
Westerners living in democracies say this out of their utter naivete about how the world works. Deep down, most of us actually think there are no real differences between the governing class and the governed in a society. In our wide-eyed ignorance, we really do see one group as interchangeable with the other.
It simply doesn't work this way. No matter how egalitarian, no matter how totalitarian, societies are ruled by the social elite of their culture. What's important to understand about more "traditional" (i.e. theocratic, Marxist, and/or autocratic) cultures is their social elite is small, fixed, and essentially unchangeable. It is made up of at best a few dozen families who jealously and brutally guard their privilege. We are puzzled when a dictator or oligarchy runs their country into the ground because we do not understand that, to them, they are the country, and only their prosperity matters.
This deserves repeating: In most of the rest of the world, if you are not born with the right last name, go to the right school, marry the right person, and live in the right neighborhood, you do not count as a member of that society. A cynic may sneer it's no different here than there, but that only proves their ignorance. In a traditional society there is absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do to change these facts to your advantage.
Power changes hands only with violence. Without exception, throughout history, real transfers of power are marked by seas of blood sloshed out of losers at the hands of winners. Dynasty is exterminated by dynasty, empires change hands with a sword through the neck, and heretics create orthodoxy with a torch and kindling.
The theory that modern democracies are miraculous because they avoid this mayhem through law is a myth. As is so often bemoaned by Marxists and Greens in the west, the change is only one of degree, not kind. Al Gore went to Harvard, George Bush to Yale, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair to Oxford. These are most definitely not men of common stock.
Instead, the power of capitalism and democracy are that they spread out the definition of elite, make larger and far more mobile the pool of aristocracy. Faith can be twisted, naivete manipulated, but the money enshrined in capitalism has a cold, hard logic that defies long-term political or religious manipulation. Academics and liberals bleat about the failure of this country because of rights denied, opportunities stolen, all the while willfully ignoring an ugly truth: the only things really inalienable in this world are naked power and grim death. Constitutions are designed to protect, and only enable by accident. Whatever failings this country may have, its democratic constitution has over time protected it very, very well.
We succeed where all others fail not out of fairness, or the empowerment of a mythical "common man", but because our society gives anyone smart enough, mean enough, and determined enough the opportunity to become elite. Power is therefore never wrested from the smoking pyres of coincidental birth, but is instead bequeathed by one recognizable old fart to another. By breaking the chains of simple inheritance, our society reaches liberty not by allowing the plebe to influence the senator, but by allowing the plebe to become the senator.
And therein, as they say, lies the rub. Anti-war protesters in our country march in the streets against our violent involvement in the affairs of another country. In part, they do this because they assume that by attacking the ruling government we are attacking the people, because in their countries the government is the people. Never once do they seem to realize this is simply not the case. Never once do they seem to realize that violence is required to remove an entrenched elite, an elite so small and removed from the "commoners" as to be almost from another planet. Never once do they seem to realize that without such intervention, they doom the other society to a bleak existence of poverty, secret police, and wood chippers.
The reverse mistake is almost as common. The surest way to power, or the elimination of a rival power, in a traditional setting is to exterminate a small, readily identifiable minority. Simply destroying glorious landmarks in a timely way will ensure the collapse of an entire country because that's exactly what would happen in their country, if a bomb was smuggled into the right palace. Never once do they realize the ignorant masses that to them moo and baa at the master's command actually are the government they seek to destroy, and the only way to truly eliminate the threat is to kill them all.
It should therefore not be surprising that such elite labor so mightily to acquire weapons that can kill millions at the touch of a button. Nor should it be surprising (to anyone that's actually paying attention) that our government is willing to shed blood to deny them that privilege. We fear them because we think they have the support of millions. They attack us under the assumption that the death of mere thousands will give them hegemony.
Of the two, the latter is the more delusional. True, it's been proven time and again that a small, mobile, determined foe can succeed as long as their larger, more resourceful opponent screws it up. As long as they're lucky each time, they will prevail.
The problem they refuse to see is the big guy only has to be lucky once.
Robert H. gets a chromed no-prize for bringing this home-built 48-cylinder motorcycle to our attention. Boy, I bet that thing sets off car alarms!
[sarcasm] Providing even more evidence that, as one of our readers pointed out "We. Will. Lose.", [/sarcasm] we have this Chicago Tribune article: (free reg required, blah blah blah)
While the U.S. occupation of Iraq has been punctuated by attacks against soldiers and persistent lawlessness in Baghdad and the so-called Sunni Triangle, elsewhere in the country reconstruction projects are getting under way.
In the provinces, at least, some things are beginning to work.
[Soldiers] already have supervised the reconstruction of about 40 schools, 250 wells, eight water-treatment facilities, a police station, a town hall and stretches of road and bridges across the Tigris River. Soon, most of the unit is expected to move on to Baghdad.
"No doubt in my mind, we belong here," said Col. Chris Chopper, 52, a retired school principal from Albion, Mich., who oversees the facilities team. "People are going to be healthier. I'm sure we've increased life expectancy around here. Within five years, you'll see another Saudi Arabia, another Kuwait. Living standards will increase dramatically."
Some Iraqis directly touched by the projects initiated by the 308th Brigade say the Americans are doing a courageous job.
"The real job they have done is they have risked their lives to come here and save us," said Aziz Shakur Hassan, a chain-smoking doctor who works at a medical clinic the unit set up in Ad-Dujayal, a small town nearly razed under Saddam Hussein's regime.
Inside the clinic, where the electricity flickered, dozens of residents waited patiently to see local doctors, Army medics and Lt. Col. Greg Hammond, 55, an occupational therapist from Peru, Ind.
Hammond, a Vietnam veteran, soothed an 8-year-old boy who limped into a dank office. The boy, painfully thin, had gout, presumably because of malnutrition, Hammond said.
Later, Hammond cuddled a 2-year-old girl who had cerebral palsy. Placing the girl on the examining table--a metal desk--he waved his dog tags to try to get the girl to crawl for the first time.
The girl's mother looked on with an expression of awe as the baby made a motion to crawl.
"There is no magic cure," Hammond told the mother as he massaged the baby's back.
The whole thing's worth reading, if you're willing to get past the registration.
As with most things in the media, you learn almost as much from the silences as you do from the noise. For instance, heard anything lately about power problems? You'd have to listen very closely to hear the occasional asides that power is back up to pre-war levels and climbing fast.
From the same bunch that brought you the not-quite-matrix ping pong game, we have Magic Shadow basketball. Not quite as cool I'll admit, but still interesting to watch.
Looks to be some sort of weird gameshow. Very interesting!
The countdown to China's entry into manned space flight continues to tick downward, and this SpaceFlightNow article provides a nice summary of what's known to date. Of course, we haven't heard anything about this from the mainstream media. Expect "surprise and consternation" reports on the day of the launch.
Been around awhile, but I thought it was amusing:
You only thought your resume was bad. Take a look at these 26 actual resume lines, wherein you find gems like:
I have lurnt Word Perfect 6.0 computor and spreadsheet progroms.
I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.
Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.
Slashdot featured this article from Astrobiology news detailing a little-known addition to the Mars rovers scheduled to land next year. Both include a sun dial, designed in part by Bill Nye (the science guy!)
Rednova is featuring this article detailing new findings in sleep research. Seems its becoming more apparent that sleep is required for memory to function. This explains a lot in my life...
Pat gets a shady no-prize for bringing this intro to Internet fraud story to our attention. The first part is a bit fluffy, but further down it gives you some nice links to places you can cross-check against.
We get about three or four dozen Nigerian money scams per day around here, but they all get filtered into a big ol' trashcan. God I love SpamAssassin.
So I'm rooting for the Cubs. Sue me. The fact they had to step over the Braves (my brother's eternal champions) to get where they are now was just that much more fun.
Of course, things haven't started out that well, but we'll have to see as time goes by. For now I'm content to torment Ellen with endless baseball coverage for the next week or so.
Which reminds me. I threw a final quote about "Casey at the Bat" last night only to discover Ellen wasn't familiar with that classic poem. So, to make sure all the rest of you cretins learn and love this timeless bit of baseball lore, here it is.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville-- mighty Casey has struck out.
New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing some rather startling new views about the universe. Data from a new NASA sattellite have given rise to the hypothesis that the universe is sorta football-shaped, and only 70 billion light years across. If the predictions are proven (a big "if"), the implications for astrophysics alone are astounding.
And if this stuff doesn't make your head hurt, you're not paying attention.
A self-taught bear expert who once called Alaska's brown bears harmless party animals was one of two people fatally mauled in a bear attack in Katmai National Park and Preserve - the first known bear killings in the 4.7-million-acre park.See entire article here.
Want some dessert with that human?
This was sent to me by a friend.
While attending a marriage seminar on communication, Bob and his wife Joan listened to the instructor declare, "It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other."
He addressed the men, "Can you describe your wife's favorite flower?" Bob leaned over, touched Carolyn's arm gently and whispered, "Pillsbury All-Purpose, isn't it?"
And thus began Bob's life of celibacy.
If you want to get people to notice you're different, wear unusual clothes. If you want to seriously F- with them, wear weird contacts.
I can think of at least four people in my circle that will probably order some of these. If you do, please send us pictures (but stay off our lawn!)
Well, looks like the PS X is official. While it doesn't play everyone else's games or run windows XP, it does seem to do pretty much every other damned thing:
PSX, the beefed up PlayStation 2 video-game machine that also works as a DVD recorder, analog TV, digital photo album and music player.
So be sure to send your buddy in Japan $700. However, considering how freaky the Japanese are about electronics, you better hope he shows up at the store the week before they go on sale. The line will probably be about that long.
Cheech: "Dude," *cough* *cough* "you really, like, need to do something about all this smoke, I could totally smell it comin down da hallway to your apartment."
Chong: "No problem man... I'll just use this air freshener I got at the gas station."
Instead of being weird about stuff, the Germans have actually come up with an idea we could all use:
The Nox Bar is billing it as [Germany's] first kindergarten for men. It's charging a little less than 12 dollars to keep men occupied for a Saturday afternoon while their partners hit Hamburg's boutiques.
Considering my 3 month old daughter can already out-shop me, I'm definitely going to be looking for one of these!
Because a dippy Kazaa user let a virus into my heavily-guarded-but-not-well-patched network, that's why. Out of 80 systems, 20 were weak enough to get zapped by the W32.BLASTER worm, and it's taken me 2 days of bug hunting to squash them all. Ironically, the amount of time it took me to clean things up is probably LESS than the time it would've taken to make sure all 80 systems were patched up all the time.
God I love Microsoft.
Kazaa is now blocked up tighter than one of Ellen's "hasn't-pooped-in-4-days" cat patients, the dip is now chastised, and things seem to be settling back in. Your regularly scheduled fragfest should pick back up very soon.
And Ellen? She wore out the power supply to her laptop.
Sometimes it never ends...
This morning the Post carried this article summarizing the findings of a new study that attempted to figure out just when, exactly, people in Britain switched from a fish diet to a meat diet. The answer was both predicted and surprising.
Trogdor as a cross stitch. *Burninating the peasants!*
Always read the comments. While reading slashdot's take on the "home-built mortar" story we linked up last week (HA!), I found this old, but good, story about a discovery almost exactly one year ago in the Chicago Field Museum's collections:
A Museum in Chicago has found some of its antique firearms were loaded and could have gone off at any time.
This sort of thing actually happens a lot more often than you'd think. Two incidents from air museums: Some time in the early 90s janitors were surprised at the smell of kerosene while cleaning one of the Air Force Museum's displays. Jet fuel was pouring from the B-58 Hustler. Turned out the thing had been parked in the museum building about 1/2 full of gas. Nobody'd ever bothered to check, until finally one of the tanks corroded through.
While pulling out the pieces of an FW-190 (German WWII figher plane) from storage for restoration in the mid 80s, the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum staff heard a strange sloshing coming from the fuselage. On opening up the gas cap, they found the tank to be about 1/5th full. Turned out to be a valuable find, because this was a late-war aircraft that was using some weird coal-derived fuel because the Nazi's couldn't refine avgas. Nobody'd actually seen an example of the stuff until that point. The plane had been disassembled in one of their storage hangers for more than thirty years.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AP) -- A tiger attacked magician Roy Horn of the duo "Siegfried & Roy" at his throat during a Friday night performance at The Mirage hotel-casino, authorities said.
Cats are cats. Big cats are another thing. You just can't domesticate them no matter how hard you try. They are just wired differently. After a while, an animal has had enough, has had a bad day maybe because they could not lounge in the sun as long as they wanted and they snap.
Roy is lucky that all he got was a bite and not his head bitten off. *listed in critical condition*
What they don't tell you is what happened to the cat.
Joshua gets a sloshy no-prize for bringing us this Scientific American article about Titan. Using new techniques to measure and image Saturn's largest moon, astronomers believe as much as 2/3rds of the surface may be covered in hydrocarbon seas.
So, how many of these costumes do you remember wearing? I remember Jeff and I were Batman and Superman (respectively) for years, and then went almost straight into the Star Wars costumes pictured on the site. Eventually I "rolled my own" Vader costume. I kept the mask but ditched the lame vinyl costume that came with it, substituting a clever combination of trash bags, construction paper, boxes, and a really tacky 70s fake gold chain raided from my mom's closet.
Later on I would simply sit in a lawnchair with a light blue sheet over me, handing out candy. I could barely see (mom wouldn't let me cut eyeholes in a good sheet). It amazed me how terrified kids were of this very simple costume. It was funny though... the little kids, 3-5 years old, didn't care a bit, just walked right up. It was the 6-10 year olds who would run screaming.
An Alfisti managed to get himself assigned to work the Frankfurt Auto Show, and he brought back these pictures of Alfa's latest show car (scroll down to see the pics). Eat your heart out, Ferrari.
I'd make another crack about swapping kid for car, but my mom took the last one so seriously she didn't talk to me for a week. I guess all those times she threatened to sell me and my brother to the gypsies she really meant it.
It's a joke mom, laugh.
Ellen: "Ok, two pulls of the little M&M man's arm weren't enough. Get me the whole bag."
Scott: "Bag? What bag? I don't remember any bag?"
Ellen: "There's. A. Bag... It's. In. The. Rack... On. The. Door."
Scott: "Hmm.... I don't remember any--"
Ellen: "Do you want this baby?!?"
Scott: "One bag, comin' right up!"
Did you know Pixar has all its short films available on the web? Well, why didn't you tell me?!?
A very nice snapshot of the history of computer animation. The crazy thing is I'm pretty sure Geri's Game could now be done real-time as part of a PC or console game. Moore's Law is a wonderful thing.
I'm not sure what the heck ringo.com is, but their ad is pretty damned clever. For some reason this reminds me of college... wonder why...
Jeff gets a solar-powered no-prize for bringing this news about solar panel development to our attention. Apparently, a European firm has figured out a way to make solar cells that are slightly less efficient but orders of magnitude cheaper than what is currently available. If their targets are met, these cells could have a revolutionary effect on solar power generation.
For all the anti-bushies out there, you know who you are, we have Psalm 20:03. I think even Reverend Heathen would use this one...
Joshua gets a heavily-modified no-prize for bringing this article about "extreme" computer cases to our attention.
I think I'll make a scale-model JATO rocket using a soda bottle and glue it to Damion's new soopa-mac. That'll be a case with one (1) mod, no? :)
Ok, just wanted everyone to know something...
Ok, back to your regular fragfest...
A silly little flash song for Mom, Joshua, Jeff, Maru, etc.: G.W. Bush says, "Whatever"
I mean, really, who in the world would think it might be a good idea to display a Nazi flag on Rosh Hashana:
Band director Charles Grissom said the song and flag were part of a musical performance called "Visions of World War II." It was performed at a Dallas high school Friday, which was also Rosh Hashana, the start of the Jewish new year and one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar.
Texas! It's like a whole other country! Having spent most of my life in next door Arkansas, I can say sometimes it seems like a whole other planet.
And everyone thought "Waiting for Guffman" was just a silly movie.
New Scientist is featuring this article detailing a new hypothesis that attempts to explain when and how patrilineal (you take your father's name, and are part of his family) societies overtook matrilineal (you take your mother's name, and are part of her family) societies. The researcher's explaination? Cattle.
Using some clever linguistic methods and a new mathematical model, the researchers claim it was the domestication of cattle that lead to the patrilineal "takeover", at least in the African societies they studied. Suddenly families had real assets that could outlive an individual, and, because of cultural reasons, it made more sense to leave them to sons instead of daughters.
One caveat: The reporter makes the common mistake of confusing "patrilineal" and "matrilineal" with "male-dominated" and "female-dominated". On the face of it these may seem to go hand-in-hand, but more than a century of anthropological study has proven it just ain't so.
While there are many matrilineal societies, none are actually run by women. Yes, descent is reckoned through the female line, but power resides with the uncles. Further, investigations into various origin-myths that involve female-domination of a culture have found no actual evidence, cultural or archeological, that such societies ever really existed. The uncles have always held power in such societies. It would seem, from the evidence, that only with the rise of industrialization have women been given long-term access to real power.
Of course, any time you stray into such a sociological hallowed ground politics tends to bitch-slap evidence around and call it nasty names. Sociology and anthropology in particular tend to become "elephant graveyards"... places where old radicals wander off to die. I wouldn't be surprised at all if an unfortunate desciple of one of these professors called me on the carpet for my position.
I welcome them, and only ask they provide evidence.