October 31, 2004
Halloween Girl!



Get out of my way! I want candy!


Posted by Ellen at 08:39 PM | Comments (1)
Olivia's Halloween

Our Halloween house

A witch and her kitties!

Hello Kitty!
Posted by Ellen at 08:28 PM | Comments (3)
Don't Blame Me, Blame Mom

Pat gets a beery no-prize for bringing us the greatest beer game, ever.

No no no... thank her.

Posted by scott at 05:20 PM | Comments (2)
The Right Hand of Light?

Desmond Morris does a nice job of articulating some of the deeper implications of the recent hominid discovery in this op-ed:

These hunters existed as recently as 12,000 years ago and, who knows, living groups of them may still be lingering on in odd corners even today.

This is shattering news and will create fascinating problems for both political and religious leaders.

Suppose for a moment that a living tribe of these beings is discovered, how should they be treated?

Are they merely advanced apes, or are they miniature humans?

If there are any left, I imagine they'll be found in the next few years. Nobody thought to actually look for strange humanoids in the manifold islands of Indonesia, but now that we know there's a possiblity... well, let's just say we didn't take over the planet because we sucked at hunting.

All this time I thought the world's cultural shatterpoint would be when the first real flying saucer's ramp hit the ground. I had no idea it could be hiding somewhere in an east-Asian jungle.

Posted by scott at 04:54 PM | Comments (2)

Ok, I'm not really sure what's going on in this movie clip, but it seems to involve Ghengis Kahn, and a bunch of really cheerful and colorfully-dressed Russians. And maybe the Solid Gold Dancers, I'm not sure.

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM | Comments (3)
The Moonbat in the Mirror

Instapundit linked up this interesting dissection of the bin Laden tape and the loony left's reaction:

There was an old saying about politics stopping at the water’s edge ... Over the last three years or so, we have seen that concept obliterated. We’ve seen a truly unparalleled deluge of criticism of the president that [go] well beyond policy differences ... The far left hates George W. Bush with a raging fury. So does al-Qaeda. Was it really so shocking that the rhetoric of the former would eventually be taken up by the latter?

No, this tape should cause many on the left to stare into the mirror for a long time and ask, “What have I turned into? How did I become so reflexively partisan, so blinded by rage, so intemperate in my rhetoric that my own arguments are being echoed by a man who planned and enjoyed the mass murder of Americans?”

“How the hell did I reach the point where I agree with Osama bin Laden on Bush?”

Many other good points in there, read the whole thing.

Some of my liberal friends, especially the ones who come over to Fortress Wingnut most weekends (on safari with pith helmets and notebooks) are simply not this extreme. Some other ones most definitely are. Sometimes I have to be careful not to hit them too hard with my blind-man's cane.

Personally I think the tape is an absolute slam-dunk for the Bush team. Polls have consistently shown most Americans think Bush is the stronger candidate to fight terrorism, and here we have a stark reminder that the wolves are definitely still out there, circling in the night. I still think it's going to be damned close, but for the first time I'm optimistic about the ultimate outcome.

Posted by scott at 09:19 AM | Comments (4)
She Didn't Even Know She was Sick

From the "rumors of my demise" department: a woman in Flint MI reading about her own kidnapping and murder in Iraq. The Islamo-wacks even posted a picture of her driver's license on their website, even though she's never been near the place.

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)
October 30, 2004
Just Don't Put it in Your Hair

Fark linked up news about what may just be the first genuine "female viagra":

Though Viagra and a few other drugs are approved for erectile dysfunction, there are no approved medications to specifically treat lack of arousal in women, called female sexual arousal disorder. But a new study shows that a topical gel called Alista may be just what the doctor ordered.

Well hey, why not?

Posted by scott at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
October 29, 2004

A British firm has announced plans to develop breast implants using a synthetic biomaterial which it claims will make them safer and feel more natural.

Scottish-based AorTech said on Friday they were preparing to begin clinical trials of their "next generation" Elast-Eon implants following a recent meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 09:04 PM | Comments (2)
Protect That Dog Noggin!

Brought to you by Liz.

This is a must buy for the motocycle slut of a wiemereiner in your life. :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)
STFU Already!
Get Over Yourselves.jpg
Posted by Ellen at 08:44 PM | Comments (2)
Roomates From Hell

Ya know, now that I have read this, one of my coworkers mentioned this peculiar "smell" comming from his housemates room.


Posted by Ellen at 06:52 PM | Comments (1)
Blooming Grove Animal Shelter

My mom donates lots of stuff to the shelter all the time.

This is just sickening.

There needs to be donations or Habitat for Humanity to build a house on that property for someone to live on the premesis of the shelter.

Sick, sick, sick.

Posted by Ellen at 05:30 PM | Comments (4)
When Customers Attack

While this story about yet another person turning a department store into a drive-through is pretty pedestrian, the headline on fark wasn't:

If you don't want people driving cars into your store, don't call it Target

True story: Just after 9-11, Aviation Week took a picture of an F-16 in a banking turn, with the Pentagon in the upper-left. What interested me, though, was in the lower-right. There, in all its strip-mall glory, was Potomac Yard, where Ellen worked at a pet clinic. And right next to it was a giant Target with, and I'm not making this up, a giant bulls-eye painted on the roof.

Like they needed any help...

Posted by scott at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)
"Titanic" News

New Scientist is carrying this nice summary of what has been found during Cassini's recent close flyby of Titan, Saturn's largest moon. Turns out the thing is a lot more active than expected, with antifreeze volcanoes and thick (miles) crusts of ice. Very weird, very cool.

Probably last entry for awhile, going to try a marathon bike ride today. Maybe surprise somebody for lunch.

Posted by scott at 09:03 AM | Comments (2)
October 28, 2004
AvWeek Missed One?

Making the rounds: the suprise appearance of this "super-secret" weapons system. Almost bought it, but only for just a second. A system that big would take more than a decade to get to flight trials, and Aviation Week would end up with at least an article on it before it ever got near a flight deck.

Still, made me stare for awhile.

Posted by scott at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)
Weapons Cache? What Weapons Cache? Pt. II

Ok, first we hear the cache of explosives was gone just before our troops got there. But how could they have gotten rid of that many tons of explosives that quickly? Probably because there really wasn't all that much explosive material there in the first place:

The information on which the Iraqi Science Ministry based an Oct. 10 memo in which it reported that 377 tons of RDX explosives were missing — presumably stolen due to a lack of security — was based on "declaration" from July 15, 2002. At that time, the Iraqis said there were 141 tons of RDX explosives at the facility.

But the confidential IAEA documents obtained by ABC News show that on Jan. 14, 2003, the agency's inspectors recorded that just over three tons of RDX were stored at the facility — a considerable discrepancy from what the Iraqis reported.

As my wife is wont to say, "ya think?"

No wonder CBS wanted to sit on this thing until the weekend before the election. It would've given them just enough time to make an impact before the pajama people took them apart like a badly built lego toy. I guess the Gray Lady, being the Gray Lady, just didn't think the aforementioned pajama people were really all that much to worry about. Now all that's left is to pick a snazzy "-gate" name and nail another journalist's head to the wall.

Yeah, yeah, I know... "Never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence." They're probably just as surprised they've stepped on another land mine as we are. Doesn't mean I can't have fun waving their leg at them.

Via Jason.

Posted by scott at 02:14 PM | Comments (3)
Stardust Memories

Yahoo is carrying this Reuters report summarizing an interesting find by some German scientists:

Star dust found deep beneath the Pacific Ocean has led German scientists to speculate that a supernova explosion 3 million years ago might possibly have helped bring about human evolution.

Unfortunately the article gets a point critically wrong while attempting to shore up its "supernova as evolution machine" premise. Hominids were fully bipedal long before the forests receded; this was actually one of the fundamental surprises Lucy presented us with more than thirty years ago. Not sure if this gaffe is the journalist's fault or the fault of the press release he or she was working from.

However, the recession of the gigantic transcontinental forests from Africa was extremely important in hominid evolution. Until that time, apes were a relatively successful genus, with perhaps as many as twenty or thirty species spread from southern Africa to at least northern India. When the forests started to depart, these species could chose only three paths: follow the forests, strike out onto the burgeoning savannah, or die.

Most picked the third option. Three of the four remaining species chose to follow the forests, while one succeeded in adapting to the harsh savannah environment. We are, ultimately, a spectacularly successful offshoot of an otherwise dead genera. It's interesting to find out just what, exactly, may have pulled the trigger.

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)
Franken-Kitty Follow-Up

New Scientist did some digging after yesterday's hypo-allergenic cat story broke. What they found was rather interesting:

It is probably possible to create cats that do not produce the most common protein allergen, says Thomas Platts-Mills, director of the asthma and allergic disease center at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, US. But he adds that cats produce many more allergens, and that blocking production of the protein could damage the cat's health.

Which is more or less what I expected. From my admittedly limited readings, allergic reactions seem to be damned complicated things, and claims that a single alteration (no matter how gee-whiz) can cure them sounds mighty suspicious to me. But it gets better:

[Allerca's] parent company, Geneticas Life Sciences, has a division called Genetiate which proposes adding jellyfish genes to deer so their hair and skins fluoresce when illuminated by car headlights. The sight of glowing green deer would bring drivers to a screeching halt, avoiding accidents.

Which sounds so wacky I'd normally chalk it up to a government program. It's rather rare to find people actually spending their own money on something this screwy.

Bottom line: like the article says, don't hold your breath waiting on super-kitty.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)
Not that there's Anything Wrong with that

Instapundit linked up this "preview" of a book that makes a rather startling claim about our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln:

A forthcoming book by the late Dr. C.A. Tripp — The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, to be published in the new year by Free Press — makes a powerful case that Lincoln was a lover of men.

The politics of the article's author badly colors their critique, but it's definitely an intriguing idea. However, like Cornwell's book on Jack the Ripper, it sounds very much as if Dr. Tripp does not have a "smoking gun" (as it were), but instead has assembled a whole lot of circumstantial evidence. Of course, the problem with circumstantial evidence is that it is open to different interpretations. The morality, customs, and mores of mid 19th century America are strikingly different from early 21st century America, and it is in my opinion rather tricky to pull the two apart.

Still, I'll be quite interested to read what other, less political, critics make of the thing.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (1)
And the Elephant Goes, "Slurp Slurp Slurp"

Ron gets a gigantic roaring no-prize for bringing us one reason why it's bad to brew your own hooch:

Wild, drunken elephants trampled three people to death and injured two others in a tribal village in India's northeastern state of Assam, wildlife officials said Wednesday.

A herd of 12 elephants entered the village of Marongi Tuesday and ran amok after taking long swills of rice beer brewing in casks outside the homes of the tribal people.

Dang. And I thought hikers had it bad because they had to hide their food from bears. When the elephant is pink, have a chat. If it's gray and bellowing and charging into your beer brewery, run like hell.

Posted by scott at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
And to Think We Knew Him When...

Laurence Simon has the dubious distinction of being the first blogger to be recognized by one of the big boys without them actually mentioning his site by name:

Some participants take Friday catblogging very seriously. Laurence Simon, a 35-year-old Houston technical support engineer, decided a while back that with so many people catblogging, it would be good to have a weekly compendium of the best of each week's entries.
For a while, Mr. Simon was the host of Carnival of the Cats, but he decided to pass along the honor. Now, a different person handles the Carnival of the Cats each Sunday, compiling a healthy group of Friday postings for that groggy Monday morning audience.

Well considering the paper itself is so full of crap it fairly sloshes when you hold it, it's not that much of a surprise they wouldn't mention a website with that same name. But they did mention the Carnival's main site, so it's not too damned difficult figuring out who's in charge.


Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (1)
October 27, 2004
Pumpkin Toys!

For adults only.

How to make your own pumpkin dildo.

Can you say "Trick or Treat!"


Toys for him.


Posted by Ellen at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)

I remeber seeing one of these in Long Island when we used to go there every summer. We all thought it was a shark fin until we were told what is really was.

See live pixes here.

Read washed up article here.

Posted by Ellen at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)
Well, at Least We Now Know Where the Shire Really Was

It was an island in Indonesia:

Scientists have discovered a new and tiny species of human that lived in Indonesia at the same time our own ancestors were colonising the world.

The new species - dubbed "the Hobbit" due to its small size - lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago.

An utterly fascinating description of a hominid that lived far, far beyond what was previously thought of our ancient cousins. So far beyond, it would appear they became part of another culture's memory:

Current speculation is that they're descendents of H. erectus, the first hominid to leave Africa about a million or so years before we did. Even more intriguing is the fact that Flores' inhabitants have incredibly detailed legends about the existence of little people on the island they call Ebu Gogo.

The islanders describe Ebu Gogo as being about one metre tall, hairy and prone to "murmuring" to each other in some form of language. They were also able to repeat what islanders said to them in a parrot-like fashion.

So not only do we seem to have non-fossilized hominid remains of a different species (allowing DNA testing), but potentially a detailed description of their culture. This is utterly unexpected and completely amazing. Weirder still, there is a small but definitely non-zero chance that these guys are still out there, wandering around in the jungles of Indonesia. If true, it would be an unprecedented discovery of monumental importance. Just spectacular.

Watch this space for further developments.

Update: New Scientist has this story on the find, with different pictures and other details.

Posted by scott at 02:27 PM | Comments (5)
Their Activists Runneth Over

Their opposition, that is:

A man accused of attempting to run over U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris with his Cadillac was arrested today ... “I was exercising my political expression,” Seltzer told officers, according to the arrest report. “I did not run them down, I scared them a little.”

"Attempted Murder?!? Officer, if I'd meant to kill that fool he'd be dead."

Yeah, that won't work either.

Posted by scott at 01:37 PM | Comments (1)
Set Your Alarm Clocks

Sherri gets a mysterious no-prize for reminding us there's a full lunar eclipse tonight. It's even during prime time hours (8-9 EDT for us). Now if the clouds will just stay away...

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (3)
As Long as Mandrake Keeps Posting I'll Know He's OK

De blogger, he just asploded!

Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the bizarre death of a blogger whose head literally exploded in the final week of the election!

No one else was hurt in the fatal explosion but a small room at the blogger's residence was sprayed with blood and brain matter when Gerard Van der Leun's head suddenly blew apart. Experts say he suffered from a condition called Hyper-Cerebral Blogosis or HCB .

Hmm? Me? Oh hell I drink too much for this to be a real problem. I'd probably just chalk it up to a hangover and link another story about, I dunno, genetically engineered cats taking over Venus or something.

But I do think a few of our more vociferous bloggers on both sides of the fence should invest in some heavy-duty steel head bands for use in the next few days.

Also, compare with this two year old ditty of our own. The names have changed, but the sentiment is still the same. And damned if Glenn didn't meet the same fate both times!


Posted by scott at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
Test-Tube Kitty

Via slashdot: Someone's working on genetically engineering a hypo-allergenic cat. I'd be a lot more interested in one with a supressed puking reflex, but I've been called a "meanie" for saying that before.

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)
An Ad, for the Rest of Us

IFOC linked up the best political ad I have seen to-date. Since it's directed by none other than David Zucker (of Airplane fame), it even has some cinematic bona fides (of the pie-throwing sort, but hey).

If they were all like this, election season would almost certainly be a lot less annoying. Well, to me anyway.

Posted by scott at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
Think of an Electronic Fish. Now Wrap it in an Electronic Newspaper

Fark linked up this LA Times story detailing a nifty effort to disassemble the latest in a long line of protection schemes:

Rather than brass knuckles and baseball bats, the weapons of choice for these digital extortionists are thousands of computers. They use them to launch coordinated attacks that knock targeted websites off-line for days, or even weeks, at a time.

The shakedowns generate millions of dollars. Many Internet operators would rather pay protection money than risk even greater losses if their websites go down.

Reminds me a lot of how Clifford Stoll helped break a hacking ring back in the 80s.

Posted by scott at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)
October 26, 2004
Collusion is Such an Ugly Word

You'd think CBS would have learned by now:

News of missing explosives in Iraq -- first reported in April 2003 -- was being resurrected for a 60 MINUTES election eve broadcast designed to knock the Bush administration into a crisis mode.

Hey, it's in Drudge, it's got to be true, right?

Oh lord. I just admitted I read Drudge. So much for making fun of Mom reading the Enquirer (or Amber reading the Star). Drat.

Posted by scott at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)
Too Bad it Won't Work on a T-Shirt

Sure it's snake oil, but you gotta love that logo (upper right corner).

Note: Pseudo-viagra website. No NSFW pictures, but it does talk a rather lot about sex, albeit in a clinical fashion.

Posted by scott at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)
Bionic Brains

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing new developments in prosthetic brain implants. Scientists have now created a microchip that correctly imitates the hippocampus when implanted in living rat brain tissue samples. The ultimate goal is to be able to replace this critical section of the brain when it is damaged or destroyed by illness or injury.

Most interesting to me was how the thing was developed:

In previous work, Berger’s team had recorded exactly what biological signals were being produced in the central part of the hippocampal circuit and had made a mathematical model to mimic its activity. They then programmed the model onto a microchip, roughly 2 millimetres square

This is very similar to how the original IBM PC clones were developed. Engineers would feed the original IBM BIOS chips a signal, read what came out, and then create from scratch (and without looking at the IBM chips) a "clone" that did the exact same thing. Strange how biology and technology can sometimes coincide.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (1)
"Bursting" a Mystery

BBCnews is carrying this summary of the soon-to-be-launched Swift probe. Its mission is to try and solve one of the most enduring mysteries of modern cosmology: gamma ray bursts. First detected decades ago, these extremely powerful and extremely distant phenomena have never really been adequately explained. Some think they're the birth pangs of black holes, others that they're the result of neutron star collisions. By detecting hundreds instead of dozens of these events, the Swift probe should provide far more and better data to use in figuring out just what, exactly, these gigantic lights really are.

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)
Looks Like Something Out of Babylon 5 to Me

Here at AMCGLTD we are proud to announce a new exhibit in our ever-growing collection of genuinely f'd up scientific loons. Please welcome Ancient Gravitics, a site created by "Reverse Engineering Specialist" (no, really!) Robert Patterson. Mr. Patterson seems to have made giant strides in anti-gravity research by first tossing such staid scientific conventions as contextual evidence rules:

In deed [sic] under archeology's non-evolving rule of 'contextual evidence' we have witnessed a worldwide misrepresentation of the artifact data stream leading to "faulty accuracy" based on a 130-year old assumption, which is that all that came before our modern era of man was pervasively primitive in nature enveloped within superstitious beliefs.

So, dear readers, come with us and explore how, by simply ignoring every scientific convention created in the past four centuries, you too can create your very own anti-gravity machine! Oh, and if someone could please tell me where I can get a syllabus for a "vortex science" class, I'd appreciate it. A copy of the "Anti-Gravity Handbook" would also probably come in handy.

Posted by scott at 10:56 AM | Comments (0)
Big Iron

Slashdot noted Cray has announced it's newest supercomputer, the XT3. If you want to see what a real computer looks like, head on over there. I'm not sure if there are any applications available for it. I think the people who buy these things always roll their own.

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)
Weapons Cache? What Weapons Cache?

In CNN but not in the Washington Post today: it would appear the "giant weapons cache" was gone before we got there:

The mystery surrounding the disappearance of 380 tons of powerful explosives from a storage depot in Iraq has taken a new twist, after a network embedded with the U.S. military during the invasion of Iraq reported that the material had already vanished by the time American troops arrived.

Oh, that's right, sorry. Must've been my seeing-eye dog typing...

Update: Jason notes that the whole stockpile issue is a complete non-starter if you've ever actually visited the country:

Every tribe in Iraq has huge weapons stores of its own, which they used to hedge against other tribes in the event of a collapse of the Hussein regime. Members of my own battalion dug up mortar shells by the hundreds, and artillery shells by the dozens, the whole time we were there. Digging up another weapons cache was almost a daily occurance at times in Ramadi.

And every few days, we'd get a notice that 30 or 40 or 50 tons of explosives were about to be detonated out in the desert south of Ramadi or west of Fallujah ...

370 tons of ordnance sounds like a lot. And it is. But if you know Iraq, it's really a drop in the bucket.

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)
October 25, 2004
When Good Knives do Bad Things

The Weapon:

Wustoff Santuko

Note the distinctive scallops in the blade, designed to ensure it doesn't drag when cutting meat.

The Results:


Note the clean quality of the cut. Just before I thwacked him with the above illustrated Franken-hand, my husband-thing said "damned right. Paid good money for that. Told you honing made a difference!"

(Sorry for the pix quality... Scott said it really didn't need to be that focused)

I spent 2 hours in the ER this morning. 6 A.M to 8 A.M to be exact. I have 2 sets of stiches. One set inside, one set outside.

Everyone at the ER was shocked to see a bright cheerful person come bounding in at 6 in the morning saying, in a sing-song voice, "Hi!!! I cut my finger real bad. I think I need stitches." *note blood running down the arm, soaking my dishcloth and gauze-covered finger.* [Scott: "you were cheerful? With your finger half cut off? Do you save cheerful up in a tank somewhere and just let it out for strangers?!?" ... Silly husband, happiness is for other people, I'm not going to waste it on you...]

Lidocaine hurts... it hurts bad. Especially when the doctor jams it into your wound. "Ya know (aaaAAAGGGGG!!!) You can add a bit of sodium bicarb to take (JESUS F-ING CHRIST!!!) the sting out."

ME: *big grin while trying not to pass out...*

"Lemme guess, you're a vet tech."

No shit Sherlock. I was wearing my scrubs.

"Most of my girls on the floor are former vet techs, they're all smart-asses, but the best nurses I've worked with. They don't let you get away with anything."(sly grin from the doctor) *stitch stitch stitch. flinch flinch flinch*

Nurse, in a characteristic head side-to-side move: "Girl, you almost cut your finger off, really."

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I thought it was a minor flesh wound. You know, like that black knight in Grail. Hell, I even spurted blood. How's that for fidelity?

Within 10 minutes* my finger was back together and I went walking out the door, ready to get Scott, O and head to work.

Tonight typing just sucks. But those pain meds... woo hoo! Those pain meds... almost makes it worth it.


* For the whole procedure, mind you. The lead up, though, is an hour of waiting with people looking at you in a puzzled way while you're doing a punctured V8 imitation and making the janitors twitch

Posted by Ellen at 08:13 PM | Comments (10)
Special is as Special Does

This one reminds me of a very old joke:

Q: Why do Mac users get to park in handicapped spaces?

A: They have an Apple logo on their windshield.

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the meatloaf!

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)
And the Plane Goes, "Crunch Crunch Crunch"

While I don't believe the story, these pictures of a Continental Airliner having an unfortunate encounter with a terminal are still pretty wild. Hopefully nobody was hurt.

Expect to see giant yellow poles appearing in front of all the terminals soon.

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)
Veins. Filling. With. Sugar... Cuteness... Overload...

Yes, I already know this will be Olivia around, oh, Haloween 2006. Lord knows she's already got the booting and swatting down flat. Of the cats, Ajax (who is Homestar's spiritual brother in attitude) just sort of puts up with it. The rest learned long ago how to hide in Olivia-proof locations.

Posted by scott at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)
It's Your [Intergalactic] Mystery Date

Space.com is carrying this report on the discovery of a new and weird object orbiting our galaxy. It's too big to just be "some stars", but too small to be counted as an actual galaxy. But it sort of acts and looks like one. Figuring out just what it exactly is could lead to insights into gravitation and celestial evolution.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
Like the Beatles, with Bombs

"AMCGLTD", we hear you ask, "we're trying to bring peace, justice, and the Islamic way to the rest of the world, but Americans keep blowing us up! They turned all our cool clubhouses in Afghanistan into kitty litter, and then knocked over Saddam like a toddler mowing down a stack of blocks. Iran is afraid to sneeze loudly lest they find infidel tanks at their doorstep, and the Israelis run over Palestinians before they can even fuse their bombs! We can't get anything done. Help!"

Fear not, young Islamo-fascist! AMCGLTD is here to help! Point your mullah-blessed browser to Taliban Reunited, a one-stop-shop for all your terrorist insurgent needs. You'll find everything from training camp locators to snazzy logo mugs. You'll even be able to read Osama's own personal reminiscings! Don't delay!

And remember, this site is meant to help B-2 bombers us locate you each other! Don't forget to update your personal profile with your exact location every chance you get. Be sure to include latitude, longitude, and elevation!

Via On the Third Hand.

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (4)
Redneck Rampage

What happens when the quantum particles of inspiration that drive young men to do unspeakable things to unsuspecting Hondas and Hundais miss their target? Well, this, I think:



Mom always wanted to push Jeff's old Trans Am (which is of the same vintage) into a lake because it was always breaking down and costing money. I think this would be a much more entertaining fate. But I've been called a subversive iconoclast before.

I'll just save Amber a step and say "no, Ron, you can't have one."

Posted by scott at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)

Ron gets a brainy no-prize for bringing us this Discovery Channel article about an innovative new brain research project that allows a custom-grown matrix of rat brain cells to control an airplane simulator. It sounds like they've managed to get it to act as an autopilot, which is pretty good considering the control wires run into a petri dish.

Having robots with actual living brains is kinda creepy. Then again, having a robot go fetch me a beer is kinda cool. Which do you think is gonna win out?

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)
Fish or Drink Bait

Fark linked up this rather interesting recycling project:

Norm Price is on a crusade that has two goals: Help fellow anglers catch more fish, and recycle millions of discarded beer bottle caps.

Price is the Canadian inventor of the bottle-cap lure, a beer bottle cap pinched together with tiny ball bearings inside, and a hook attached to one end. The rattle of the lure's steel bearings, and its shiny, colorful finish, can cause an unsuspecting lunker to strike faster than an angry Teamster, he said.

6 for $35 no less. See, recycling is easy if you can make a buck on it. He does sound a little quirky otherwise, but hey, what fisherman doesn't have character?

Posted by scott at 09:08 AM | Comments (4)
October 24, 2004

I have met a few mean pits in my history of veterinary medicine. Those were always the ones that had human 'companions' that worried over a $9.95 rabies vaccine vs. the huge gash on the side of the dog's head and that it was malnurished ( "I gots me a thourougbred."- no dumbass, you have a dog, not a horse. Let's get educated first, pets next) Thats when we would report them. One specific time one of us walked out to the parking lot and saw 5 other dogs shoved into the back of a pick up truck with invalid tags.

MOST to ALL of the pits I have met are sweethearts. My very first encounter was with a 6 week old Pitbull named Lucy from The Washington Animal Rescue League where I worked in the late 90's. This pit came to us with 2 broken femurs (in the center of the bone, not on the ends). This puppy went through 2 surguries and never once showed a mean streak. EVER. She was with us for 6 months before we finally adopted her out to a family with children. From what I know, all is well with her.

This video has some devestating photos. You have been warned.

The Pitbull Problem.

Posted by Ellen at 03:12 PM | Comments (27)
But of Course, One Lie Obviates it All

Via Instapundit, another articulation of points I've been scratching at for months:

Other things equal, there is no other moral option than to support the removal of such a regime if a removal is in the offing.

Other things, though, are of course rarely altogether equal, and nor were they in the case of Iraq. But in the scales against what I shall henceforth here refer to simply as this immensity (of pain and grief, killing, torture and mutilation), there needed to be put, for a persuasive moral case against the war, something rather substantial.

A lot of what was in fact put in the scales on the other side was either piffling from a moral point of view or well short of the kind of substance needed to match up to the moral weight of that immensity.

Devastating rebuttals of essentially every anti-war point ever made by the various members of our own gallery over the past two years or so.

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (17)
Insert REM Joke Here

Attention... [phut phut phut] attention please...

Ok people, settle down, this is important...

The end of the world is nigh.

That is all.

Posted by scott at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)
October 23, 2004
Sometimes I Sits and Thinks

And sometimes I just sits:

German archeologists say they have discovered the toilet on which Martin Luther wrote the 95 Theses that launched the Protestant Reformation.

Luther was also famous for confronting and defeating demons while on said stonework commode. So not only is it a place where literary history was, well, "made", but it has shades (stains?) of mysticism as well. History, Toilet humor, and Halloween parallels. Could there be a more perfect story for this site?

Posted by scott at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
October 22, 2004
That's Mister Assertive to You, Bub

The atheists in the gallery (there's more than one) should find The Assertive Atheist worth a chuckle or two. I think Joshua may have shown me this one long ago, but I could find no evidence that we'd linked it. Maybe just didn't look hard enough. Anyway, iconoclasts are always welcome (or at least entertaining) around here, and this guy's more piquant than most. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 04:07 PM | Comments (1)
We Should Call This, "Scott's Project Calculator" Instead

Attempting to calculate the incalculable, the Murphy's Law Calculator merely reassures you of something you already knew.

You really are the biggest screwup on the planet.

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
Mom Madness

I once thought, after looking at the wreckage Hurricane Olivia left behind one Tuesday night, that our house was cluttered. Then I found this, and realized Olivia is just a little kid compared to the damage a deranged adult can do.

Posted by scott at 02:11 PM | Comments (3)
Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Space.com is carrying this article on how Segway is helping robotics researchers tackle advanced projects. By using a stripped-down version of Segway's people-mover, scientists are able to concentrate on, well, "everything else", like terrain avoidance, AI programming, even modeling the human brain.

I've always wondered why this hasn't been done before. It would seem to be a pretty good idea to just come up with something that walks-rides-drives and handles all of that functionality, and then set another computer on top of that to steer.

Posted by scott at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)
New Gallery Opening

Jeff gets a freshly dusted no-prize for bringing us news that a new gallery is opening at the Air & Space annex. Guess where I'll be week-after-next.

Posted by scott at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)
Have a Very Bloody Christmas

My shopping list is now complete:

It's really pretty simple. You submit name(s) of people who deserve to have their sleep interrupted by the buzz of a chainsaw and the sudden appearance of Spike Mike at the foot of their bed.

There's at least two guys that need this sort of thing. And I already know their significant others would be fiendishly willing participants. I just need to make sure I'm out of town when it happens...

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
The Next Polyester?

Slashdot linked up this PhysOrg article detailing the creation of the very first "nano-fabric":

The team led by Professor Andre Geim at The University of Manchester, has succeeded in extracting individual planes of carbon atoms from graphite crystals ... The resulting atomic sheet is stable, highly flexible and strong and remarkably conductive. The nanofabric belongs to the family of fullerene molecules, which were discovered during the last two decades, but is the first two-dimensional fullerene.

Yup, a sheet of fabric exactly one atom thick. There are immediate applications in computers and other eletronics, and who knows what else could be on the horizon. The article mentions this stuff has essentially the same properties as nanotubes, and they're talking about making a space elevator out of those. Right now they're only working with sheets a few microns across, but there's no phsycial limit to how big a sheet can be. It's just a matter of figuring out how to do it.

Posted by scott at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)
Happy Birthday 2 U

Everyone blow a horn because today is the universe's 6,000th birthday:

At 6pm tonight at the Geological Society of London, scientists will raise their glasses to James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, who in 1650 used the chronology of the Bible to calculate the precise date and moment of creation.

Working from the book of Genesis, and risking some speculation on the Hebrew calendar, he calculated that it began at 6pm on Saturday October 22, 4004 BC.

And the people did rejoice, and did feast upon the lambs, and toads, and tree-sloths, and fruit-bats, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals...

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (3)
October 21, 2004
Ok, Like Egon, We'll Say This is... Bad.

Airplanes are meant to do a lot of things really well. Cargo, speed, altitude, great stuff. Motors falling off, not so much:

Federal Aviation Administration officials believe an engine that sheared off a plane early Thursday may be resting at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

What the quote doesn't tell you is this wasn't some Cessna, it was a 747-100. Somewhere there's a fisherman desperately trying to convince his wife of the most amazing thing...

Posted by scott at 07:47 PM | Comments (1)

Normal Smile!


Loopy Grin!

Posted by Ellen at 06:09 PM | Comments (4)
"Frames" of Reference

Making the rounds today: Scientists claim to have proven one of the smaller effects predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity. By carefully measuring the movement of two satellites over an 11-year period, Ignazio Ciufolini of the University of Lecce in Italy and Erricos Pavlis of the University of Maryland in Baltimore County confirmed to within a claimed 1% of error the effect called "frame dragging". Essentially, this effect is caused by large celestial masses "dragging" space-time along as they rotate. While the effect should cause noticeable weirdness around supermassive objects like neutron stars and black holes, the Earth's mass is so comparatively small that the effect is extremely difficult to detect. It's hoped that an upcoming NASA space probe specifically designed to study the effect will provide much more accurate data.

Posted by scott at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)
The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer?

For the astronaut who has everything: your very own 160 acre Martian homestead. $25! Whatabahgain!

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)
Wild on Film

The gallery's resident shutterbug Joshua will probably get a kick out of the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. Those of us who don't know an f-stop from a focal length will still ooh over the pretty pictures. I just wish they had some higher-res examples.

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)
It's the Small Things that Count

Omar over at Iraq the Model tells of his first experience of being able to travel outside his own country:

Last week, I crossed the borders for the first time in my life; something may sound less than regular for most of you but for an Iraqi dentist or doctor it was a beautiful dream becoming a reality.
This may sound silly but It’s really something nice to be able to move freely, leave your country whenever you want and come back whenever you like and I can’t describe to you what I felt when I saw the word “EXIT” printed on one of the passport’s pages; I was sad for what we missed and at the same time optimistic and happy for what’s waiting for us in the future. Life seemed normal for me for the 1st time in my life. Soon after the war we could sense freedom immediately but this time we experienced it in a way that we haven’t before. It was an amazing feeling! Despite all what’s Baghdad is going through, nothing can match the peace I felt when I walked down from the airplane in Baghdad's airport.

Wrong war, wrong time, wrong place, indeed.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)
Grandma's Happy Fist!

Joshua gets a kick-ass no-prize for bringing us this quick CGI movie of what Olivia might be like in about seven years. Hey, don't laugh, you should see her rocket down the slides at the local playground. That little kid is tough!

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (1)
He Must have Run Out of Targets Here

Content with his puree of the Florida landscape, God appears to be moving on to Japan:

The deadliest typhoon in a decade has raced across Japan, killing at least 54 people and injuring more than 200.

Includes some spectacular pictures.

Posted by scott at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
October 20, 2004
Stephenson Speaks

Well, writes anyway, answering a dozen questions in this Slashdot interview. Yes, the author of Cryptonomicon and Snow Crash is just as long-winded in his replies as he is in his novels, but the answers are still interesting. Yet another one of my "authors who don't write fast enough".

Posted by scott at 03:59 PM | Comments (0)
~ A little flesh, a little history ~

There are your garden variety loons (of the moonbat variety and others), and then, well, then there's Bobby Fischer:

Chess genius Bobby Fischer has lashed out against what he sees as doubts about his virility, boasted of being hugely endowed and claimed his incarceration near the site of Japan's worst nuclear accident is aimed at making him impotent.

Via Synthstuff.

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)
Turbines to Speed

Yet more proof we are living science fiction: laptops powered by miniature jet engines:

By spinning a tiny magnet above a mesh of interleaved coils etched into a wafer, David Arnold and Mark Allen of the Georgia Institute of Technology, US, have built the first silicon-compatible device capable of converting mechanical energy - produced by a rotating microturbine - into usable amounts of electrical energy.

No word on how much, if any, noise the thing produces, but it sounds like the entire contraption is smaller than a penny, so it can't be all that much. It's still definitely a laboratory gizmo at this stage, but it's progressing nicely. At 10 times the power capacity of batteries, the potential (and potential profit) is huge. A-freaking-mazing.

Posted by scott at 02:08 PM | Comments (2)
The Power Principle

I guess it really is true... if you put a big enough engine in it, even a lawnmower will fly (note: video link, completely SFW).

I'm deeply interested in exactly how it is flying. I can't help but think the handle must be the airfoil, but I don't see any control surfaces. Guess that means I have to build one...

Posted by scott at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)
Questions Needing Answers

Beldar articulates a series of questions I've been struggling to convey for months now to my peanut gallery friends, not the least of which is:

Are you being realistic when you think that President Kerry is going to defeat the terrorists and the peace-at-any-price wing of the Democratic Party?

(Emphasis original)

The impression I get from most of my friends (from either side) is that they seem to see the presidency as a sort of disguised dictatorship. Sure, there's this congress over there causing trouble and there's these supreme court people dressing funny and making weird decisions, but the man sitting in the Oval Office is where the real action is. Right?

Wrong. The structure of our government makes our president one of the weakest heads of state of any modern country. He can't do anything, anything, without the approval of someone else. He can't introduce legislation without someone else's help. He can't make treaties without someone else's OK. He can't even hire his own staff without a green light from other people. It's the ultimate "mother may I?" position.

Even aside from that structural weakness, the job itself has been utterly impossible for one person to manage, even from the very beginning. From Washington to Jackson to Grant to Johnson to Bush the ultimate success or failure of a presidency lies not in the man, but in the people around him.

Let's take another tack for a second. We are a nation of 280 million people, and, as the old commercial jingle goes, "no two are quite the same". A large number of us are completely unreasonable when it comes to things we care about. You literally can't talk us out of certain things, and sometimes one set will completely conflict with the other. It's a country of titanic complexity, with trillions of data points making it up. If a president really were the ultimate "person in charge" in the manner most of my friends seem to think, he'd have to hold all that in his head and balance it all against itself and then come out with an answer.

It can't be done, which is why people who excoriate candidates based on their perceived intelligence are missing the point. You can't know everything about this job, it's utterly useless to even try. It would be worse than trying to drink from a fire hose. It would be like trying to drink from a fire hose that's connected to a pump at the bottom of the ocean.

Which is why a president has a "cabinet". It's these people, who advise the president and carry out his instructions, who are critically important. Even they are not where the real power resides. That lies several layers deeper, in the inscrutable beuracracies that fill the nooks and crannies of the government itself. But the secretaries are in control, however nominally, and it is they who set the tone, they who hire and fire, and they who control what the president even sees, let alone decides on.

When it all works properly, when the people the president surrounds himself with can get questions answered correctly, the presidency can indeed be a powerful force, and the country can succeed because of it. But when it doesn't, that power curdles and curls in on itself, and dangerous forces are unleashed that can, and have, threatened to pull the entire place down.

This is why it's more important for a president to be decisive than it is for him to be knowledgeable. This is why ideology matters. This is why parties count. Because a candidate can be as neutral as he or she wants, but a president must pick from the faithful for his advisors.

With one notable exception, I happen to agree with all of Bush's picks. I think the people around him have done a bang-up job, all things considered. This is one of the reasons I support him for re-election. I appose Kerry because I think he'll surround himself with the wrong people with the wrong ideas, and that this will be bad for the country. You can (usually do) disagree. But in the disagreeing, you don't seem to be paying attention to what your candidate really stands for. You're not missing the forest because of all the trees, you're deciding a single tree is the forest.

And, to be blunt, I think far too many of you have decided you're standing in a hardwood forest because of a single oak tree some enterprising farmers have planted in their piney woods.

Original essay via On the Third Hand.

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (10)

Ok guys, when getting ready to secretly tape yourself making out with your girlfriend, please make sure she likes the music you're playing. Otherwise it could go, well, wrong. I'm not sure there's enough trouble in the world for this guy.

Note: Video link, safe for work as long as you keep the volume down (but not off).

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)
The Rich, The Wierd, and the Ugly

Not to be out done by a former pop superstar, Jocelyn Wildenstein, aka "The Bride of Wildenstein", has gotten even more work done. I didn't think anything would make Joan Rivers and Cher look good. It would seem that I was mistaken.

Posted by scott at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
October 19, 2004
Must. Resist. Urge. For. Reggae. Joke...

Ron gets a no-prize that'll only work in certain areas for bringing us this tale of revenge against the gizmo we all love to hate, as long as someone else is using it. The article opens with this priceless bon-mot:

It was the reporters who noticed first. Unable to call their editors while covering the weddings of the rich and famous, they asked the priest why their cell phones never worked at Sacred Heart. His reply: Israeli counterintelligence.

I told ya! I told ya! It's the Jooooooooos!!!

Posted by scott at 07:47 PM | Comments (4)
Mark Your (Videogame) Calendars

Half-Life 2 has officially gone gold:

Days after last week's Rumor Control brought news that Half-Life 2 had gone gold and was being sent off to Vivendi Universal for approval and manufacturing, the publisher confirmed that the game has gone gold and announced, finally, its release date: November 16.

I got this one as part of my new computer upgrades last spring. Of course, I'll have to wait a week or two for the crush to pass by, but that's OK. Halo 2 will be out around that time and that'll keep me plenty busy.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (2)
Cogito Ergo Zoom, Arab Style (Comrade)

Looks like F-1 is getting a couple of new teams, from rather unexpected regions:

Formula One could see a new team racing in 2006 after plans for the launch of Team Dubai F1 were announced.
Earlier this month the Russian-backed Midland team announced it intended to join the Formula One grid in 2006.

Diversity is good, especially in the inbred ranks of F-1, but I have a feeling these guys have no idea what they've gotten themselves into. It ain't called a circus for nothing.

Posted by scott at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)
There's an [Ancient] Fungus Among Us

BBCnews is carrying this article detailing a new discovery in microbiology. By following a careful procedure, scientists were able to revive a fungus found in an Indian Ocean floor core sample. The depth that the fungus was found indicate it was more than 180,000 years old, perhaps as old as 430,000 years. This makes it the oldest known fungi that will grow in a nutrient medium.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)
Can Sponge Bob Be Far Behind?

Fark linked up this local Washington State news story about recent "not-quite giant" squid activity:

An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 Humboldt jumbo flying squid - typically found off the coast of Mexico - have washed up on southwest Washington beaches in the past few days, said Greg Bargmann, a marine fish manager with the state Fish and Wildlife Department.

Yup, Humboldts, which to me are damned near as interesting as the real giant squid. Apparently they're good eating, because the article leads off with a guy stuffing his freezer full of them.

Posted by scott at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
Set Your Time Machine to "Fringe"

Bah. Kids today. They think putting on platform shoes and bell bottoms is all you need to go disco. As this Tommy Seebach... rmm... "music video" demonstrates, you need far, far more. It takes talent to look that bad, and to this day I'm amazed anyone thinks reviving it is a good idea. Is it just me, or do all music acts from the 70s look like porn star rejects?

The sad thing is, I'm pretty sure I roller-scatedskated (gah... thank's Ron) to this "back in the day". In my defense, I was only 9.

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM | Comments (7)
And I Was Worried About My Kid Dialing 911

I guess the real question is, what was he doing to scare it so badly:

An Oregon man discovered earlier this month that his year-old Toshiba Corporation flat-screen TV was emitting an international distress signal picked up by a satellite, leading a search and rescue operation to his apartment in Corvallis, Oregon, 70 miles south of Portland.

You know it's getting bad when the electronics start calling for help all by themselves!

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)
~ They Fly Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease ~

Sarah G. gets a breezy no-prize for bringing this older Guardian story about what some European researchers discovered sticking to the back of their air-scoop sampler:

On Mediterranean shores, there's always something in the air. Romance, perhaps? Well, research shows that sometimes it's just marijuana pollen wafting in from Africa. And sometimes, it's snails.

Amazing what you can figure out just by using what is essentially a simplified giant nose.

Posted by scott at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)
October 18, 2004
Gravity Gizmo

Space.com is carrying this article detailing a new mission proposal to solve the "Pioneer anomaly". Turns out the Pioneer space probes, which are the most distant human-created objects in history, aren't moving away from the sun as fast as they should be. The discrepancy is very small, but over this distance it is quite real. At first it was thought the probes were causing the anomaly, but every possible explanation along those lines has been explored and discounted.

In other words, it would appear there's nothing wrong with the probes, it's the universe that's messed up. Or, rather, our theories about how gravity works in our universe seem to be slightly but significantly off, and the Pioneer probes are simply providing experimental proof, albeit unintentionally.

The proposed space probe would use state-of-the-art instruments in an attempt to measure the anomaly. The hope is it will provide data to help us refine our knowledge of gravity, perhaps profoundly.

Pretty good for a couple of pieces of space junk that should've stopped working years ago, eh?

Posted by scott at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)
All Your Air are Belong to Us

New Scientist is carrying this report detailing yet another discovery that shows just how complex climate modeling really is:

Industry has dramatically cut its emissions of pollutants, called volatile organic compounds. But those cuts have been more than offset by the amount of VOCs churned out by trees.

VOCs are an interesting angle, as for the most part car emissions are about NOx's (oxides of nitrogen), and other, different stuff. If I'm reading the article correctly, the stuff the trees belch out turns into NOx's, so it may be the same thing.

Regardless, this was a bit of data not even thought of by the people modeling the effects of ozone on the atmosphere. It should lead most people to conclude climate modeling is still only a few steps beyond the "wave-a-dead-chicken" stage. But, since environmentalism seems for the most part to have replaced Marxism as the religion of choice for the non-religious, I expect it'll just lead to another round of bloodletting.

More's the pity.

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM | Comments (2)
Canadian Pharmacies to US: Drop Dead

Counting on Kerry to bring you cheap drugs? Better ask the Canadians first:

More than 30 Canadian internet pharmacies have decided not to accept bulk orders of prescription drugs from US states and municipalities.

Which isn't at all surprising to me, but it'll probably give the "cheap drugs from Canada!" crowd a nasty shock. Conspiracy theories involving neo-con cross-border threats, drug company greed, and evil canucks in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM | Comments (2)
Actually, I Know Some People Like This

You got a weird group, we got a weird name:

We all know about social groups like Goths and gangbangers, but what about Food Court Druids and Unitards?

According to self-proclaimed "idiosynchrologist" Robert Lanham, a Food Court Druid is a Goth teenager who often plays "Magic The Gathering" while sitting in the food court of the mall.

Not so sure about the "unitards", although I can think of at least one person that would come close. Oh, and "jumping beans"? Next time you see Ellen, ask how Lola is doing.

Posted by scott at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)
Eww... Nasty...

Ok, even I'll admit sometimes Alfa made some screwing looking cars. Take this ugly-duckling convertible also known as a "2600 Touring" Spider. In fact, please take it and shoot it, because it's what I call a "Frankencar":

This is a hand built touring bodied Spider, with a Buick V-6 high performance drivetrain.

To put it in perspective for the members of the gallery I know personally:

  • Ron: Imagine someone getting a genuine Dallas Cowboy uniform and helmet from the 1994 season, and then painting it orange and purple because they like that color better.
  • Mom: Imagine someone taking a .5 carat colorless flawless diamond and replacing it with a 1 carat CZ, because they like the bigger stone.
  • Johsua: Imagine someone taping CANNON stickers on the outside of their disposable camera.
  • Jeff and Damion: Imagine a Ford...

Posted by scott at 11:05 AM | Comments (7)
The Sky is Blue, The Grass is Green

And the NY Times is endorsing the Democratic presidential candidate. Dur. But Jason still does a fine job of deconstructing the monkey-logic behind the decision:

When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy ... As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated
Nice try, bozos. But the fact is that general fund money CANNOT be used to "strengthen Social Security." It is simply impossible as a matter of logic and structure to do so. The ONLY ways Social Security can be strengthened now is via some form of privatization, an increase in Social Security taxes in years going forward (which would only be relevant for the fiscal year in which the money is collected) or a reduction in promised benefits.

There is no way to use current revenues to strengthen Social Security against a cash-flow problem in future years unless you are willing to privatize. What else are you going to do? Buy Treasuries, dumbass? It's impossible. (Some idiot always writes in and says "put it in a bank." To be insured by what body? And to be invested in what? Congratulations, loser, you just privatized Social Security!)

I'll be so very glad when this is all over. Yeah, we talk about it too much as well, but we were blogging long before the election came along. We'll have other things to talk about. Unfortunately I'm not sure what some of the over-the-top political bloggers are gonna do once it's all over.

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)
Bad Karma! No Biscuit!

Yeah, I know it's bad to make fun of the soft-headed, especially when they have only the best of intentions, but I just can't stop chuckling at these photographs of ever-so-earnest yet delightfully wacky peace protestors. I wonder, if one of them met up with the truck loon from a few days ago, just how big the explosion would be?

And no, folks, nothing has changed. If you went back forty years, to the dawn of the Vietnam anti-war movement, the signs would be just as wacky. The only difference I can think of is there would be a lot more ties, hats, and dresses in the crowd.

And they were just about as effective, which is to say not very.

Posted by scott at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
Well, Now That's not Something You See Every Day

Ah, Alaska. Beautiful vistas. Wonderful fishing. Amazing forests. Hanging Moose:

In one of those only-in-Alaska stories that will shock even the sourest of sourdoughs, a trophy-sized bull moose was accidentally strung up [by its antlers] in a power line under construction to the Teck Pogo gold mine southeast of Fairbanks.
The prevailing theory is that the moose came across the sagging and swaying wires and, in a testosterone-filled moment, decided to challenge the power line to a fight.

See, ladies, it's not just human males that get themselves killed thinking with their wangs. Never bring a moose to a power line fight...

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
October 17, 2004
It's Like China's Taking Golf Lessons from my Dad

China proves the Great People's Republic can do a bang-up job landing satellites:

"The landing technology of our country's satellites is very mature and the precision of the landing point is among the best in the world. Members of the public need not worry about this," it also said, quoting Chinese space experts.

Of course, there's always going to be a slight problem, every once in awhile:

"The returning capsule only went through the roof [of the villager's house] and no one was injured or died. Experts who inspected the return capsule found it was not damaged at all," the report said, quoting local official Ai Yuqing.

I mean, China's a gigantic country... it took a lot of effort to land that satellite precisely in the middle of that guy's roof. One-in-a-million shot!

Posted by scott at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)
October 16, 2004
Ice Pop

Thanks to Joshua over at BlueLens for the great pix of O!

Posted by Ellen at 09:02 PM | Comments (5)
what in F'in Hell is This SH*t!!!???



Posted by Ellen at 07:37 PM | Comments (5)
Set Your TiVo, Program Your VCR

Because the Farscape "mini" premieres tomorrow at 9 pm. After sitting on our TiVo for two years, we're finally going to watch the last regular episode tonight. I mean, if it didn't end for us, it didn't end at all!

Posted by scott at 02:59 PM | Comments (0)
But Does it Have a Wing?

Fark linked up this nifty story about a kid who can now control a sophisticated wheel chair using a special controller he'd had rigged up so he could use his Playstation:

Sam Mansel has athetoid cerebral palsy which means control of his arms, hands and legs is disrupted by spontaneous and unwanted violent movement.

For several years the 17-year-old from Milford Haven used switches controlled by his chin to master computer games.

So when experts developed a new chair to give him more independence, they built it using the same technology.

See! See! It's not always wasted time!

Posted by scott at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)
Holy Sh*t... They Do Exist, Pt III

One of the things that usually impresses the tourists but is nearly invisible to the locals are the hobo-loons that park themselves around various places in DC, protesting God knows what all over the city. Some have been at it for decades, and a few even have their own websites.

Ron gets a no-prize made out of a giant billboard for going the extra mile and taking pictures of just what, exactly, one mobile-hobo-loon looks like. Click MORE to continue...


Kerry is unfit for command, and I am unfit to typeset


Aerodynamics? Aerodynamics??? I'm trying to save America here, one cheap Japanese truck at a time.


Note the flag bend. Sad thing is, I bet they weren't doing much more than 35.


You be there! You be square! You be a safety hazard!

Ok, all those things I said about ricers? Well, ok, I won't take those back, but I definitely stand corrected on the statement "can't get any worse than a Honda with a four-foot wing."

Posted by scott at 10:43 AM | Comments (2)
When Jon Stewart Attacks

Making the rounds... Jon Stewart smashes the crossfire crew. We're talking a complete smack-down here. They totally lost control of their own show, something I can't say I've ever seen in one of these lizard-fests.

Finally, someone who isn't afraid of the camera and can think on their feet twice as fast just goes after two of these talking bobbleheads, and mounts them on his wall when he's done.

For those on dial-up, a transcript is here.

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (2)
October 15, 2004
Welcome to Moonbat Theaters. In Case of Sudden Intrusion of Truth, Please Use Marked Exits

I'm sure many of the most extreme members of the gallery (no, not you, the other guy) will nod their heads completely off at this slick five minute video.

Ok, this one twanged a nerve. I'll preface this by saying I'm damned grateful to the sane Britons and Poles and all the rest who see the real enemy and are hurting and dying beside us to crush it. This is not directed at you. It's directed at the freak sitting next to you.

I'm sick of this crap. Ok, let's take the gloves off for a second, shall we? The world ain't our fault, and I'm getting damned tired of everyone trying to imply it is, or that we should do something about it (but only when the rest of the world thinks we should.) You see, for the past sixty years we've just been the freaking janitors of the world, cleaning up the mess that Europe made.

We didn't get to this position by cheating, lying, stealing or killing. Europeans (including the British) did that some two hundred years ago, carving up the entire world as quickly as their sharp little knives could hack pieces off. Oh, and in case you hadn't noticed, my country happened to be one of those pieces too, and a really old one at that. We just happened to be lucky and mean enough to chop your greedy fingers off when they squeezed too hard.

The rest of the world wasn't so lucky. Beijing, Delhi, Saigon, Tehran, Istanbul, all and more became part of your not-very "Great Game." Remember that one? Oh, I'm sorry, that's right. We're not allowed to talk about what your grandparents and great grandparents did to the world, are we? We're not allowed to talk about opium dens in China and mass graves in Algeria, concentration camps in South Africa and tiny bullet-riddled bodies in Amristar. No, we can't talk about those things now, can we? Ancient history. Nothing to see here, move along.

And when it all got too boring and too complicated you went and did it to yourselves. Twenty thousand dead in a day at the Somme. Eight million dead overall. Twenty one million wounded. And you know what? We really didn't think it was any of our goddamned business. We let you keep killing each other, and making your colonial "subjects" kill each other for you, until some of your agents started talking our neighbors into messing with us, and your navies started to sink our ships.

So when our manpower and our guns and our tanks and our goddamned money won your stupid little war for you, we sent our president over there with a decent plan to make sure it all never happened again, and what did we get for our troubles? You just went back and started the mess all over again, expanding the empires that had gotten you into that meat grinder in the first place, humiliating the people that nearly took over your corner of the world, and treating everyone except the Bolsheviks as beneath your contempt.

So round it all came again, the sequel, only louder and longer this time. Fifty million people had to die, and again it took our people and our stuff and our cash to make sure you weren't all speaking German or Russian and wondering where the hell all the Jews had got to. Even then, we were prepared to let you all have at it for as long as you wanted, and were it not for some idiotic Japanese and a lunatic German you can be damned sure we would have.

Almost every single big conflict we've gotten ourselves into since then did not have ol' Uncle Sam at its start. No sir, it's Captain Euro all the way, hiding at the base hoping nobody sees him picking his nose.

What's that? Don't believe me? I'm a victim of neo-cons too? Well then, let's examine...

Are we perfect? Oh hell no, we stink at this. Most of our attempts at fixing it have just made it worse. But that was because, again, we were busy making sure you Europeans didn't start going at each other with nukes. Building up a nation in some godforsaken corner or another of the world is kinda hard when you're trying to make sure nobody blows the whole damned thing up.

Even then, even then, we were willing to just let it all sort itself out

God damn you all. When dipshits do things like this I just want to spit on you all and lobby my president to pull every single soldier out of your stupid little bloodthirsty countries as soon as possible, pausing only to sow salt into the earth as we leave.

Because what you all seem to have forgotten is:

Q: What's the difference between a European buried in Normandy and an American buried there?
A: The European was dying for his country.

And now you're going to accuse us of fascism? Listen up sparky, we're not the ones who invented the goddamned thing. We are the only country in the world left who knows how to defeat it.

I'm sick of you all. I'm sick of trying to make you like us. I'm sick of feeling guilty because you don't. There's not a man or woman in France who cares if the rest of the world hates them or not. The British just expect it. The Germans and Japanese at least have a reason for it. Fuck you. You want a piece of us? Come and get it. Like my mom always said, life isn't fair. Life isn't nice. The world is a nasty, ugly place, filled with people who'll think nothing of shoving you and your baby into a pit, laughing because the little flopping, bleeding rag doll still clutched to your chest is still holding the only toy they'll ever know.

We're trying to stop all of this. While you and your compadres are sipping tea and cooking up clever ways of accusing us of genocide, we're the ones trying to stop it from happening. We're the ones dying to stop it from happening.You think we're too powerful? You think we're trying to dominate the world? Stop us. Stand in our way while we bleed our last into the dust of countries that were stillborn or crippled because of your grandfathers.

But until then, please, for your sake, just sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

Posted by scott at 09:05 PM | Comments (3)

Yeah, ok, I listen to Howard Stern. He's a good interviewer, and his crew is a hoot. But his politics, his politics are amazing. All it took was the FCC denting narcissist boy's style once to turn Howard from a flag-waving conservative to an unrepentant Democrat.

One of his favorite points is stem cell research. He harps on it so often I have to believe either he or someone very close to him has been diagnosed with some sort of degenerate neurological disorder. There's not a time he mentions Bush that he doesn't mention the stem cell research "ban".

The Democratic ticket isn't half as smart as Howard, which of course means they harp on it twice as much. This lead to a strange concordance as Howard tried to defend John Edwards's latest classic trial-lawyer misdirection by calling it a "misquote".

Well, Charles Krauthammer, who is himself a victim of spinal cord injury, dissects this example of Mr. Edwards's electorate fellatio with expert skill, and Krauthammer uses the whole quote:

This is John Edwards on Monday at a rally in Newton, Iowa: "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery. Hope is good. False hope is bad. Deliberately, for personal gain, raising false hope in the catastrophically afflicted is despicable.
Edwards and Kerry constantly talk of a Bush "ban" on stem cell research. This is false. There is no ban. You want to study stem cells? You get them from the companies that have the cells and apply to the National Institutes of Health for the federal funding.
Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at NIH, has admitted publicly ... that "people need a fairy tale." Kerry and Edwards certainly do. They are shamelessly exploiting this fairy tale, having no doubt been told by their pollsters that stem cells play well politically for them.
There is no apologizing for Edwards's remark. It is too revealing. There is absolutely nothing the man will not say to get elected.

I'm used to politicians lying to me. It's what they do. It's what they all do. I'm just looking for a set that'll at least try to stay out of the way and when they can do what's right. My God, people... you're trying to elect an Eastern technocrat and a freaking trial lawyer.

In 35 AD Rome was done with Tiberius, and he with them. He tried to replace a charismatic and immensely popular leader by doing what he thought was the right thing, sticking to his principles regardless what his chattering classes and elites clucked about. He dined on ashes for his trouble, eventually retiring to Capri to prepare his own successor. "Anyone will be better than Tiberius!" was a cry often written in the histories that survive, "absolutely anyone! Anyone but Tiberius!"

At least they had the excuse that Tiberius himself reared their viper.

Posted by scott at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)
When Quality Control Attacks

Remember the Genesis probe? The deep space gizmo that splatted so spectacularly in the Nevada desert? Engineers think they've found the reason, and it's not dead batteries:

Sensors to detect deceleration on NASA's Genesis space capsule were installed correctly but had been designed upside down, resulting in the failure to deploy the capsule’s parachutes. The design flaw is the prime suspect for why the capsule, carrying precious solar wind ions, crashed in Utah on 8 September, according to a NASA investigation board.

That's right, folks. They weren't installed upside down, they were designed upside down. This is one of those errors that makes project managers go bananas, because there are usually at least half a dozen full-stop checks that are meant to catch things like this.

And it's not just government work either. My dad bought a new truck years ago and noticed the paint on the hood was cracked and crazed. On a lark he filled out the survey card that came with the truck with a lot of "very dissatisifed" selections. Lo and behold, the manager of the plant the truck was produced came out a few weeks later. Turns out he wanted to take the hood back and hang it in front of the plant door, because in order for it to arrive that way it had to have made it through no fewer than seven quality control inspections.

Like the guy says, the more you complicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)
Even I Think This is a Bit Extreme

Living in a house with five cats means we definitely have to deal with cat box issues. Well, ok, Ellen has to deal with them. Because, you know, making me do it might be, well, bad:

Court documents filed in Clallam County Superior Court tie an alleged arson in an apartment complex to a smelly cat litter box.

Besides, it smells bad enough when it just sits there. I can't imagine what the stench would be like if you set it on fire.

Posted by scott at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)
"Queuing" the Gospels

I've always found discussions of the origin of the books of the Bible fascinating. However, I've also found that even those who are otherwise quite familiar with Biblical tradition do not know much about the scholarly work that's happened around it in the past century. So, if you're interested in how the Bible was written, and are sick of reading about the election, this Wikipedia article on the "Sayings Gospel" is a great place to start. Follow all the links you can and you'll find yourself journeying with people like Albert Schweitzer and Dominic Crossan and, well, me. Let's take a walk...

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)
When Incompetence Attacks

I know mom has wanted to do this to some of her patients, but I also know she hasn't:

A nurse turned down an audio alarm on an AIDS patient's vital-signs monitor and failed to notice when the man had a heart attack and died, county officials said.

The thing that makes this extra-special dumb is that if a nurse really wants to kill someone, they have a gigantic number of nearly undetectable ways to do so. Stupidity really does sometimes kill.

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)
~ I'll Be Scootin' Along / On My Seg-way ~

Slashdot linked up this NY Times article that details an innovative new use for the Segway scooter:

Several hundred people nationwide are using Segways to cope with disabilities like scoliosis and arthritis and even missing limbs, according to a group called Disability Rights Advocates for Technology, or Draft, which is promoting such use.

My mom is only slightly better balanced than my daughter (who recently wobbled over into the grass as she tried to track a helicopter as it went by), so this thing would at first seem just a really expensive way to fall over. But:

For some, the Segway is more comfortable than a wheelchair, and it helps those with balance problems stay upright.

"It's just this incredible feeling for those that cannot balance and when they stand up they feel like they're in the midst of falling all the time," said Jerry Kerr of St. Louis, a Segway rider with a spinal cord injury that left him unable to walk, though he can stand to operate the scooter.

Thankfully, Segway's sudden popularity with the disabled is not because of a tax loophole... since it's not classified as a medical device, insurance and medicaid/medicare won't cover it. For now, anyway.

But hey, if it helps you get around and you're paying for it out of your own pocket, more power to you!

Posted by scott at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)
October 14, 2004
Actually, I think I'm A-metrosexual

Just when you thought it was safe to round up all the lobbyists for a game of "who can hold their breath underwater for... 2 hours?", another damned interest group starts clamoring to be heard:

Until recently these people felt isolated, never suspecting others felt the same. But now ... they are finding each other and identifying themselves with a common label. They call themselves asexual, and are coming out to parents and loved ones, declaring their asexuality to be as valid an orientation as being straight or gay.

They even seem to have a bit of science behind them:

About one percent of adults have absolutely no interest in sex, according to a new study, and that distinction is becoming one of pride among many asexuals.

I can just hear the parade chant now...

"We're here! We're not queer! Get... um... bent?"

Look, I think sexuality is a continuum, a sliding scale with "is A/likes B" on one end and "is A/likes A" on the other. It makes perfect sense to me that somewhere on that scale there's an "is A/likes NULL" setting. "None of my business who you sleep with" applies the same even if "nobody" is the answer.

But the first one that tries to pry loose some of my tax dollars for any damned fool "asexual studies" thing is going to get a clubbing that'll make a baby seal hunter wince.

Second story link via Daffodil Lane.

Posted by scott at 02:41 PM | Comments (1)
X-box Gadget

Those of you who think shooters should be played using only a keyboard and a mouse as God and Carmack intended might be interested in the SmartJoy FRAG. In theory, it lets you connect the proper controllers to your console so you can blast away with accuracy.

I wasn't bothered that much by the hand controllers once I got used to them. Of course, Jeff would say that's because my marksmanship can't get much worse, but all he ever plays is Civ II (1999) and Panzer General II (1997). Whaddaheknow?

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)
Me, I'd Never Leave the House

Old and busted: saggy man-boobs. New hotness: fake man-boobs:

Breast implants are becoming more and more popular with a surprising group of Shanghai citizens -- men.

The Shanghai Daily said Wednesday that most of the male patients seeking implants in China's financial hub wanted to impress women, or clients, or in some cases their boss.

I mean, where do you start with this one?

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)
This'll Sure Put a Dent in my Plans to Dig to China

As proof positive that cranks don't all live in California, we have this German's proof that the Earth is, in fact, a hollow sphere and we're all living on the inside surface. Sort of like standing inside gigantic gourd and looking up. Stars, planets, cosmos, the works, are all compacted into an "inner" sphere that floats in the center of the shell. He even has explanations for why we can't wave at people in Mongolia and don't need to worry about old Japanese perverts peering into our houses with telescopes.

I think. Modern cosmology is tough enough, and it's supposed to make sense.

Posted by scott at 11:44 AM | Comments (4)
Wordy Wonders

Quit messing around on the computer and go improve yourself by learning some of the new words recently added to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

As I recall, the Unabridged edition is something like 20 volumes and costs ~ $1500. There's vocabulary, and then there's vocabulary.

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)
Fierce Feathers

BBCnews is carrying another report about a dinosaur fossil discovery in China (they must be having a conference over there or something). This time the subject is T. rex, or rather an ancestor of T. rex. Paleontologists have discovered the earliest known ancestor to the great predator, a creature that lived some 60 million years earlier. Called Dilong paradoxus, it was about seven feet long. The weirdest thing about the creature is it was covered in hair-like feathers. Yup, T. rex's earliest ancestor was, well, fuzzy.

How embarassing...

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
~ Spongy Ducky, You're the One ~

But not in Tennessee:

Katherine Williams says the yellow ducky sponge she put on sale at a flea market is merely a child's toy. City officials say the vibrator inside makes it a sex toy.

The lady sells adult toys as a business, so that would make her a little suspect, but come on guys... sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
October 13, 2004
~ The Dragon Sleeps Tonight ~

BBCnews is carrying this brief article and picture of the first dinosaur fossil found in which the subject is in a bird-like sleeping pose. Found in China, the fossil has been named "Mei long", which not coincidentally means "sleeping dragon".

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)
Halo Update

One of the things that lifted Halo from "really good" to "superb" was the soundtrack. As with Homeworld (one of the top three games I've ever played), it makes a huge difference in how you perceive the game. Thanks to Cobb, we can now get a sneak preview of what Halo 2's soundtrack is going to be like. As with the game itself, it's looking to be damned fine indeed.

Posted by scott at 02:21 PM | Comments (2)
When Fool.Money GT 0 {SoonParted()};

I can sorta see paying, oh, maybe $10 for a goofy e-bay novelty item, but $500?. Hmmm... we have some nice wood boxes containing Ellens "other" cats...

Posted by scott at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

Space.com is carrying this article summarizing new developments in Martian geological research. By examining recently discovered "hole chains" found on the Martian surface, scientists are beginning to speculate that Mars may still experience "marsquakes" caused by tectonic movements. Unfortunately nobody's landed a seismograph on the planet yet, so right now it's not much more than speculation. However, it does point the way toward news sets of experiements to figure out what makes the red planet tick.

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
When Solos Attack

Where does your "love-to-hate-it" worst guitar solo rank?

Anything that puts Poison on a list multiple times is OK by me.

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)
The First Crack in the Dam?

I've always thought music was too expensive at $12.99, and utterly outrageous at $18.99 (where most of the weird stuff I buy is). Which is why I have a killer stereo system but haven't bought new music for it in, what, something like 15 years now. $10.00 is more my speed, $8.00 would be even better. Well, guess what, I have a powerful friend on my side now:

Along with other giant retailers such as Best Buy and Target, Wal-Mart willingly loses money selling CDs for less than $10 (they buy most hit CDs from distributors for around $12) ... Wal-Mart is tired of losing money on cheap CDs. It wants to keep selling them for less than $10 -- $9.72, to be exact -- but it wants the record industry to lower the prices at which it purchases them ... According to music-industry sources, Wal-Mart executives hinted that they could reduce Wal-Mart's CD stock and replace it with more lucrative DVDs and video games [if the labels did not comply].

The article's full of a lot of whining and crying about how terrible it is to do business with Wal Mart, that they're mean and don't care about profit margins and will squeeze you for every half cent you have. Which is all completely true, but there's a reason:

"The labels price things based on what they believe they can get -- a pricing philosophy a lot of industries have," [Gary Severson, Wal-Mart's senior vice president and general merchandise manager in charge of the chain's entertainment section] says. "But we like to price things as cheaply as we possibly can, rather than charge as much as we can get. It's a big difference in philosophy, and we try to help other people see that."

Essentially, Wal Mart has figured out there's a price point out there when it comes to music. Large numbers of people (like me) will not pay even $13 for a CD, but will have no problem paying $9.72. Wal Mart wants to sell music to these people, and make money doing it. Record execs could care less. They’re already making all the money they want. Well, as long as nobody challenges the RIAA lawsuits and the DMCA is never repealed, that is.

Unfortunately, what Wal Mart wants, Wal Mart gets, and so I expect to be visiting our local one soon. What keeps the label execs up nights is that once one retailer gets what they want, the others will demand it too. It's a slippery slope, and they're grabbing grass right now.

Oh there will definitely be a down side to it. Once Wal Mart and the rest force the industry into a $10 per disc model, all those tiny little bands so cherished on the edges of the market will disappear with a "pop". The music industry's business model is coming apart at the seams, and instead of innovating and finding a new one, the people at the top are using lawsuits to try and hold the line. It's not working, and when the shakeout comes, and as long as the markets are free it will come, it will be very, very ugly.

But only for a short while. People make music by and large because they love to make music. People listen to it because they love listening to it. The market's not going away, it's just changing. In spite of apocalyptic predictions, the demise of the current music market will not represent the destruction of western civilization as we know it. Yes, a lot of people will lose (are losing) their jobs, good people who just picked the wrong industry at the wrong time. But, contrary to industry propaganda, it won't result in "McMusic" (bland, boring, and bad for you).

Technology is making it possible for anyone to build a fantastic recording studio in their basement. With a little technical skill and a credit card or two, it's now possible for any artist to be their own record label. The Internet destroys distribution and advertising costs, and the rise of iMusic and its competitors drives down the cost (and therefore risk) to any new act that just wants to be heard. If someone ever figures out how to burn CDs on demand for $1 a disc, Wal Mart won't be carrying 5,000 titles, they'll be carrying 5 million.

To these people, these artists, these innovators, the labels are all roaring dinosaurs, dangerous, heavy, stupid, and vicious, serving only to impede and stymie them. Wal Mart's insistence on a profit-making $9.77 CD may in fact be the asteroid that finally smashes their dominance, heralding apocalypse and ruin. But when the smoke finally clears, we will not be left with sterile wilderness, we will instead be confronted by an explosion of creativity, a jungle of variety, with a diversity literally unthinkable to us today. It will be painful, but in the end it will be very, very good.

And we'll be paying less than $9.72 a disc for it.

Posted by scott at 09:15 AM | Comments (7)
October 12, 2004
Holy Sh*t, They Do Exist, pt II

So the deep Freudian fear in men is the previously mentioned vagi-with-a-bite. The deep Freudian certainty in women is men really do think with their wangs.

Well, ladies, thanks to Liz Ditz (who receives a brainy no-prize that will do something embarassing if she rubs too hard when she dusts it), we have the ultimate truth, from that paragon of journalistic integrity, Weekly World News:

LADIES, you may believe that every man thinks with his penis, but Lionel Tampling is in a class by himself. Astounded doctors have found a rudimentary brain in the Australian's trouser trout!

Making stuff up? WWN? Well, hey, it's no worse than CBS!

Posted by scott at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)

Pastease® brand pasties are self-adhesive,skin safe and waterproof. Pick your favorite pairs to match an outfit and your cutest bikini bottoms.

With your favorite bikini bottoms? I am assuming this at a private pool or some semi-nudie beach and not a public place with kids? Are these for only perky boobs? I mean, what if you bought the 'hand' ones and it looked like they were trying to hold your boobs up instead of covering them?

See and buy some boobie tape here.

Posted by Ellen at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)
Mmm... Tasty...

Problem: Need to transport semi-liquid cargo from one location in a city to another, and no tanker truck is available.

Solution: Line a regular bin-style trailer with plastic and throw a tarp over it. What could possibly go wrong?

A load of pig entrails sloshed out of a truck hauling the guts to a dog food plant on Monday, leaving the slop across a busy Little Rock intersection.

The Monday accident occurred when an 18-wheeler driven by Billy Day, 55, of Russellville, made a quick stop. About 1,000 pounds of the innards gushed past a tarp that covered the trailer.

I hope he had his windows rolled up. Well, hang on a minute. Someone this stupid... nah, I hope he had both windows down and was smoking a cigarette.

Via Res.

Posted by scott at 03:12 PM | Comments (1)
And the Jet Engine Goes, "SCREEEEEE"

Remeber last week when I wondered just how this thing's jet engine actually worked? I think I found the answer:

The Gluhareff Pressure Jet engine is a remarkably simple device made of thin-wall stainless steel tubing and sheet metal. Inside, it contains only a length of coiled steel tubing (the fuel line), which gasifies and super-heats the incoming liquid propane before it is injected at supersonic speed at the top of the intake stack. The engine has no moving parts, yet it is fully throttleable.

Upgrade this one to "definitely gotta get me one of these." Can Damion's rocket powered Honda be far behind?

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)
The Vision Thing

Cobb linked up this perceptive and surprisingly even-handed look at one of the fundamental differences between Kerry's vision of foreign policy and Bush's:

This election is not just a conflict of two men, but is a comprehensive conflict of visions ... How do we conceive of an international order in the post-9/11 world? Bush, the conservative, conceives of a flexible, organic, spontaneous order. Kerry, the liberal, conceives of a more rationalist, planned and managed order.

I'm voting for Bush because "planned and managed" has already been tried and has failed miserably. No surprise the people most wedded to Kerry's vision seem to be (for the most part) born after 1970.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)
Do the Astronomical Limbo

Spaceflightnow is carrying this article detailing the discovery of a previously unknown sort of stellar object. Found by examining the binary system EF Eridanus using the Gemini North and Keck II telescopes, this object appears to have once been a less massive binary partner of what is now a white dwarf. The current theory postulates that at some point these were both regular stars, with one "sucking" mass off the other one, I guess like a kid with a lollypop. What's left of the less massive member is too small to be a star but far to big to be even a brown dwarf.

Posted by scott at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)
Well, We do Need Some Ideas for Decorating Downstairs

Ron gets an avacado green no-prize for bringing us Eurobad '74, a collection of catalog samples representing the in look for interiors in 1974. The site seems to have collected its examples from European magazines, but I can remember most of this stuff being given away on gameshows in the US from the same period. I especially like all the "surprised" naked chicks randomly distributed in the pictures.

Site is safe for work, if not for eyes.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (4)
Slipping Cancer a "MYC"-y

New Scientist is running this article detailing a new research finding regarding cancer in mice. By controlling the expression of a certain kind of hormone, called "MYC" (pronounced "mick"), scientists were able to cause cancerous liver cells to revert to normal liver cells. Humans do not have the sort of hormone switch the scientists used in mice, so the therapy has no direct application. It does, however, indicate that research into MYC supression in humans could yield positive results.

Posted by scott at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)
Ok, That's Two Michael Moore Films I Might See

Well, make that "seen", as I just now finished Fellowship 9/11, the scathing and almost true documentary revealing the real story behind the unjust and unjustified war between the denizens of Middle Earth and the peace-loving, law-abiding citizens of oil-rich Mordor. Yes, it's a little long, and yes, it's a little silly, and yes, it's mostly made up anyway, but hey, how does that make it any different from any other Michael Moore movie? Hmm? Hmmm?

Now where'd that Palantir get to...

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)
October 11, 2004
Belly Dancer In Training

She already knows how to shake it.

Posted by Ellen at 08:59 PM | Comments (7)
Holy Sh*t, they do Exist

Ok, just reading the title of the patent should be enough:

Penis locking and lacerating vaginal insert

Via Mahmood, who "helpfully" includes illustrations of said device. Yeeeikes!

Posted by scott at 07:46 PM | Comments (2)
Anti-Terrorism, for the Rest of Us

Scrappleface hits another one over the fence with news of Kerry's latest anti-terrorism initiative:

Democrat presidential candidate John Forbes Kerry today announced the details of his plan to completely eliminate the nuisance of terrorism.

"I have a plan," said Mr. Kerry, "to create a do-not-terrorize list that Americans could sign up for on the internet. And if any terrorist would flout the law and attack someone whose name is on the list, he and his terror cell would be slammed with a $1,000 fine for each person killed and $500 for each injured survivor."

The saddest thing about the gallery's reaction is that some of them (no, not you, the other one) will try to patiently explain how this is a complete mis-statement of Kerry's position.

Yeah, ok, pull the other one, it has bells on.

Posted by scott at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)
The Clock is Running

Halo 2 has officially gone gold:

They said it couldn't be done! Actually, they didn't say that, but if they had, we'd have proved them all (the fake people who didn't say anything) wrong! Halo 2 has gone gold. We finished every line of code, every pixel of art, every frame of animation, every phoneme of dialog and every note of music. We finished it when we said we would (when it was done) and shipped that baby right on time to make its November launch date. And we're kinda proud of it. We think it's "fun."

Now that I have my very own console-game-disruptor (she's cute, but to her wires are things to pull out and then chew on, which does not a successful frag-fest make... and I'm not even going to tell you what Olivia does to the thing), I'm gonna have to figure out how to rig a TV downstairs so I can practice up on this thing. Damion, the "king of the video game geeks" in my peer group, has already admitted he won't be able to play the thing for at least two days after it shows up in stores. Which is two days I'll get, if I can get said rig set up down stairs.

What is this thing you call, "a life", and why do I want to get one?

Posted by scott at 07:12 PM | Comments (1)
Remember the (Boinking) Alamo!

Keep in mind kiddies, if you want to get your jollies off in public:

A man and woman landed in jail after witnesses told police they were seen having sex inside the [Alamo] Sunday.

They tossed Ozzie completely out of San Antonio, and he just peed on the thing.

* Having lived near Texas for twenty-five of my past thirty-[mumble] years, I do have to say that the Alamo does actually rank higher than Texas Stadium. But only during the off season.

Posted by scott at 06:47 PM | Comments (2)
Mandelbrot Art

Tatterdemalian gets an infinitely regressed no-prize for bringing us Zoom, a bit of artistic whimsy made possible by technology. When I held the key down I actually got a little dizzy.

Posted by scott at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)
The E-Card of Doom

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I got the clap,
So you just might too

No, really:

These e-cards appear funny, sexy and hip, but if you're lucky, you won't be seeing one in your inbox anytime soon.

They're the newest way for gay men diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease to tell their sex partners about their condition.
[Internet Sexuality Information Services, A local San Francisco health advocacy group] devised six pithy slogans, including: "It's not what you brought to the party, it's what you left with," "You're too hot to be out of action" and "I got screwed while screwing; you might have, too."

And you thought a "Dear John" letter was bad.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)
Black Sea News

Fark linked up this summary of Bob Ballard's recent Black Sea expidition. They were returning to what seemed to be the site of an ancient homestead, now under some 300 feet of water. The hope was that this site would provide evidence (or evidence to the contrary) of a recently formed theory that the Black Sea flooded very quickly and much more recently than previously thought, creating the legend of Noah's flood. Unfortunately, the site is contaminated with later material, although nobody's completely sure how. Still, it seems to have been a very productive mission.

Posted by scott at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
October 10, 2004
What's in My Pocket?

"Could you go get some cat food for the cats and some chicken nuggets for Olivia?"

From such innocent beginnings is the first link in a chain of Unintended Consequences formed. Sometimes you leave quickly and arrive only to find lint in your pockets. Sometimes you find old receipts. Sometimes, well, sometimes you find a whole lot more.

Ok, so this weekend was in-law weekend. Our "Queen Mother" (a.k.a. Ellen's mom) visited us, what, maybe once a year for the first seven years we were together, but add a grandchild (no, no, you see, you have it wrong, she's not our child, she's my grandchild) and you can almost set the calendar by the monthly visits. 16 months, 16 visits. And counting.

Now, I'll say up front that I get along pretty well with my in-laws. They certainly go the extra mile, as demonstrated by their helping my wife rip out the "think-of-it-as-really-weird-cat-litter" carpet (excuse me... "carpet") in our bottom-floor room. I put "carpet" in quotes because after two years of neurotic incontinent cats what was on the first floor was not a covering but was instead experimental proof that cat urine can in fact dissolve artificial fiber if "treated" often enough.

But, however grateful we are to our in-laws, it does not mean they create a stress-free environment. Which is why, even though we were happy to have a first floor room that was no longer actively attempting to peel the paint off the walls of the entire house, we were still just as happy to be doing the "Beverly Hillbillies" impersonation on our driveway. "Y'all come back now, ya hear?" Only, you know, whispered, in case they turn around.

So, it was time to relax. Being a guy, and therefore a rather simple creature, I decided the very best way to relax was to, well, have a little, rrm... "fun". Now, after nearly ten years of living with this particular member of the opposite species sex, I knew the best way to have "fun" was not to just hop down the stairs naked with a tragically placed towel... "look honey! I can lift weights!" is not a real impressive entrance when the reaction is a near epileptic siezure of laughter. No, instead one must be surprising, well-timed (after Olivia is down for a nap), and well-equipped.

Which was where the pockets came in. Guy shorts are great... since we don't really care what the hell we look like in them (we like lumpy), they can be far more utilitarian than their female "must curve here, must flatten here, must shape there" variety. In other words, without much effort I was able to stash an entire kit's worth of... "aides"... in my pockets. Including the one that didn't need a pocket, ya know.

Of course, as with all carefully-contrived male plans for intimacy, this one foundered on the rocks of female reality. "I'm so glad they helped us, but I'm so glad they're gone. My head feels like it's going to unscrew from my neck." Ok, note to the guys: allergy season + a visit from the 'rents = zero action. Zero. So there I sat on the couch, pockets stuffed full of carefully garnered "assistants", and no reason to use them. Must be what it feels like to get stood up at the prom.

In truth, though, it wasn't that much of a loss. The Giants had just scored against the Cowboys, and I was secretly jonesing for a way to get back at Ron, whose dedication to "America's Team" makes bin Laden's dedication to Islam look like a mere flirtation. Sure, it would be en-absentia, but he laughed at Our Redskins after their fourth turnover, in front of Us, and that Just Will not Do. Ok, only football fans will understand the whole "mojo-by-proxy" thing, but the point is being turned down at this juncture was both understandable and acceptable. Forgettable, even. Which is where it all sort of went, well, wrong.

"Could you go get some cat food for the cats and some chicken nuggets for Olivia?"

Two hours later. Not even being all husbandly by putting up the flag mount on the side of the garage was enough to make a difference in my chances (to unmarried people: having a spouse do something for their significant other without prompting is actually considered a valid form a foreplay. Trust me, this frightens us as much as it does you.) But hey, dealing with a hundred-odd square feet of petrified-cat-piss-cum-carpeting has gotta be worth something. "No problem." I said, and meant it. Check keys, check pockets, hop in the car and off we go.

It was only as I stood in the checkout lane that I realized something... one of the "assistants" I had carefully sequestered in my pockets was a very close analog, in both weight and shape, to my wallet. Which was sitting on the kitchen counter at home. With all my money and credit cards. I'd come all that way and spent all that time only to find my pockets stuffed full of misdemeanor sexual harassment objects. Something told me pulling out a bunch of, ahem... "toys", while rooting for a wallet that probably wasn't there would not impress the checkout lady. Who, let me say, was definitely not worth getting handcuffed for.

So back went the nuggets, back went the cat food, and back went I to the homestead. Ellen, as per norm, was on the phone when I got home, so all I could do was give a sour look, flourish the wallet, and head back out. It was only on my second return that I got the classic "what the hell was that all about?" greeting.

"Go look downstairs and look at the bookshelf by the door. That's what was in my pockets when I left. That's why I forgot my wallet."

*Tromp* *Tromp* *Tromp* [pause] "BUWAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA!"

But I had the last laugh...

"Where'd you find those?" she asked through the tears, "I've been looking for them for weeks!"

"Why???" I asked in a well-learned drawn out sing-song, as one who had not been invited on that particular Easter-egg hunt.

You see, sometimes you score by running the ball into the end-zone. Sometimes you score by surprising her with wine and candles. When you're married though, sometimes you score on your own private points system...

In a very small voice, with averted eyes and a covered mouth, "umm... no reason..."

Posted by scott at 06:51 PM | Comments (3)
Giants Beat Cowboys.

New York 26, Dallas 10

I guess God wasn't watching the game today.

See the game stats here

Posted by Ellen at 04:25 PM | Comments (2)
We Want The Pool Back!!

Too bad the pool is closed. It's nice enough out to go swimming.

Posted by Ellen at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)
Alfa Baby!


Dear God NOOOOOO!!! He's teaching her early!!!

Pretty soon she will be asking for a Giulietta of her own.

Posted by Ellen at 04:04 PM | Comments (3)
October 09, 2004
How to Stretch Your Lips

NSFW! This can also be classified as Weird and F'd up.

Learn the "art" (according to the site it's an art- I would classify it as extreme body modification) of labial stretching.

Posted by Ellen at 07:11 PM | Comments (1)
Meow Max

Ron, via IFOC, brings us news our next vacation might be in Malayasia:

Today Kuching or Cat City — is the home of the world‘s first and most extensive Cat Museum — a unique treasure-trove of kitty artifacts and feline memorabilia.

He gets a feline no-prize for finding the museum's home page. Hard to surprise Amber about a honeymoon location when she tells you where you're going, eh? Nah, just kidding...

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (1)
What are the Chances?

CaptainHowdy gets the statistical no-prize for bringing us the ultimate in mortality tables. From car crashes to acid spills, if kills people it's there, with statistics on just how likely it is to kill you. I can't think of a more appropriate story for this icon.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
October 08, 2004
Arm in traffic

What's worse than hitting a squirrel in traffic (well, thats sad in iteself but those little fu*&ers commit squirrly suicide)? How bout an arm.

Posted by Ellen at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)
Goldfish Racing At Bar Considered Cruel

The latest trend in bar games, goldfish racing, is under scrutiny in Utah after some say the race is a form of animal abuse, according to a Local 6 News report.

See entire article here. Don't forget to download the video!

Posted by Ellen at 06:47 PM | Comments (10)
The Playdough Effect

Offshoring. The very name strikes fear into the tech community. We have to protect those jobs! Keep them from going overseas! Taxes! Tariffs! Quotas! Whatever it takes, do something to stop it!

The emotional response, yes, but unfortunately the wrong one. because if you do that, then this becomes impossible:

Kathy Brittain White has a dream. She figures if U.S. CIOs will ship programming jobs to India to save money, maybe they'll ship them to rural Arkansas instead. So White's company, Rural Sourcing, is setting up outsourcing centers in places in the U.S. where the cost of living is low -- not as low as in Bangalore, but low enough to compete with the total cost of offshoring.

Because that's the other side of the offshoring equation, the one big media ignores and big labor tries to hide. While third world labor is cheaper than US labor, often by orders of magnitude, it's nowhere near as efficient as US labor. The United States has one of (I'm pretty sure it's the) most efficient labor forces in the world. We're expensive, but we get the job done right, the first time, and almost faster than you can complete the specification. It doesn't much matter if you only pay Haji $3 a day to make your widgets when it takes him two days to make one that's any good. Far better to pay Jane $18 an hour and have her turn out fifty perfect ones in a day.

Companies are often wooed by the siren song of cheap labor only to find their ship foundering on the rocks of terrible quality control, uneven and unreliable infrastructure, rapacious government officials, unstable regimes, horrible customer service, and endless export and treaty problems. These are the hidden costs of outsourcing, and they can be huge, even ruinous. We don't hear about them much because "new widget factory opens in Pacoima" is nowhere near as sexy a headline as "little brown people steal jobs from the US." Even worse, the fact that the new widget factory probably won't be a union shop means a tightly organized force will be actively working against anyone ever hearing about the possibility.

In this particular case, not only do I think it will work, I think it will work well. Tech sector jobs in places like Virginia, California, and Washington state are located in places with spectacular costs of living. I can buy a house twice as big as mine for half the price in Arkansas, and that's only the beginning. From cars to crackers and asparagus to zucchini, nearly everything is cheaper in the South.

It won't just be people moving there either. A strong work ethic and a deep suspicion of organized labor equal a work force that will be and stay at the top of the heap in productivity and efficiency. And these aren't McJobs either... they're good, well-paying, solid work for anyone with the brains and the will to learn them.

I always wondered what, if anything, would become of the sad little shuttered factories that dot my old home town of Dumas, Arkansas (pop. 5800) like dried tree stumps in an empty field. I couldn't be more thrilled if, fifteen years from now, they were replaced by clean, efficient tech centers.

None of this would be possible without free markets and free trade. The rich upper-middle-class "haves" would ensure no government program would ever threaten their cushy jobs, no matter how many "have-not" lower-class single mothers would be helped out of trailer parks half way across the country. Companies having no incentive to take the risk or pay the expense of training a new work force would never even dream of moving anywhere else. Without the ability to charge a price she considered fair Ms. White would have no reason to even think of a program like this, and no government official in Washington DC could ever hope to determine that price for her.

No, markets are not pretty. They're not always fair. But they work. People will lose, but people will also win. Rigging the game with technocratic barriers, doing things like "putting the environment and labor first", or raising taxes on people who know how to make money to give it to people who don't, just keep folks from even trying.

I want to try. I'm just glad that, for now at least, I live in a country that wants to let me.

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (3)
Well, at Least Now I Know Why I Want to Strangle Them

To me at least, there's very little more annoying than someone nearby yammering on a cellphone. Gets under my skin and just screams "I'm an inconsiderate, rude shmuck." But I wasn't completely sure why I felt that way, until now:

You might imagine that it's simply a question of being riled by loud voices spouting inane drivel about people we've never heard of. But that's not the whole story, say Andrew Monk and his colleagues at the University of York, UK.

We also feel an innate need to listen when we can only hear one side of a conversation, the researchers say. Even if it's no louder than a regular two-way exchange, the fact that we can only hear half means that we instinctively tune in, almost as if we're expecting to join in to complete the conversation.

Unfortunately they don't include the really useful information, like how to cook up a cell jammer or an EMP gun that'll just fry the thing outright. No, can't do that, illegal and all that stuff. Stupid terrorists, ruining everyone else's fun.

I guess it's all for the best, really. I mean, if people were able to fry cell phones at will, Amber might lose hers without even knowing about it. Which could lead to, you know, unfortunate consequences if she were to lock herself inside her car or something.

Posted by scott at 02:17 PM | Comments (1)
Stem Cell Medicine

Quite a few places today are carrying news that scientists have discovered a new wrinkle in stem cell therapy:

Instead of replacing the defective cells [in research rodents], embryonic stem (ES) cells released chemical signals that caused the defective heart tissue to grow properly.

There's lots of potential for new treatments, not only in birth defects but also in things like cancer and degenerative diseases. However, the technique is far from any sort of human clinical trials.

Posted by scott at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)
Massage Therapy

But honey, I'm doing this for your health:

Massaging a woman's breasts helps her avoid cancer, a study shows.

A gentle rub boosts the flow of vital toxins, compensating for the restricting effect of bras.

Somehow I don't think this'll be enough to let me help other women.

Posted by scott at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)
Mark Your Calendars

Space.com is carrying this notice of an upcoming solar eclipse. The event will be visible primarily in eastern Asia, but some towns in western Alaska will also be in range. Even better, some in Alaska will watch the sun set while it is still in full eclipse. Weirdly, since this is happening across the international dateline, this eclipse will end "before it starts".

Posted by scott at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

Fark called it "best picture of the month", and I can't say I disagree. Our sight-lines aren't good enough to do this sort of thing anymore, but when we lived in a high-rise you could see storms coming from miles away.

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)
For Art, There is no Proper Spelling

Ron gets a no-prize with his named spelled wrong on it for bringing us this story of an art project gone wrong:

Livermore, a California city that prides itself as a center of advanced science, is spending thousands of dollars to correct many misspelled names on a city library mosaic, including that of Albert Einstein, a city official said Thursday.

Even better is the artist's reaction:

Maria Alquilar, the Miami artist who made the mosaic, said the errors would have been discovered sooner had city officials inspected the mosaic closely before its installation as she had requested.

No you dumb twit, the errors wouldn't have happened at all if you'd proofread your notes. Personal responsibility must be something that happens to other people in your world.

Posted by scott at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)
October 07, 2004
When Parents Attack

Hey, I can sympathise with this couple. I have it on good authority I narrowly avoided being named "Brian Scott", it being changed only when it was realized I would go through life being called "bullshit". Still no real clear explanation for why I go by my middle name though.

Pray for our own erstewhile next child though... if it's a boy I have been told that his name will be "Fangio Schumacher Johnson". Ellen's not even that much of an F-1 fan!

Oh sit down mom. I get naming rights to the next one. The middle name will be Fangio.

And no, we're not getting another one any time soon. Thank you very much.

Posted by scott at 08:24 PM | Comments (11)
"Plus Size" Just Doesn't Cover it

Q: "What do you get when you cross Botticelli with Barbie?"

A: Umm... well... this?

Warning If looking at Andy Warhol-like scupltures of strangely proportioned but otherwise naked statues would get you in trouble, wait until you get home for this one.

Via Infinite Pink. No, really!

Posted by scott at 07:41 PM | Comments (2)
... and Hear the Lamentations of Their Women

Trolling LiveJournals today I discovered that archeologists think they may be closing in on Ghengis Kahn's tomb:

Archaeologists have unearthed the site of Genghis Khan's palace and believe the long-sought grave of the 13th century Mongolian warrior is somewhere nearby, the head of the excavation team says.

It would appear the Mongolians don't particularly want anyone to find the tomb, as several earlier efforts have been called off due to both official and unofficial hostility.

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)
Historic "Kaboom"

Space.com is carrying this "story-and-a-picture" article detailing how scientists are taking a new look at an old (astronomical) friend. By using the latest imaging technologies available, astronomers have been able to get the most detailed view ever of "Kepler's Nova", the last supernova observed in our galaxy. Recorded in 1604, it is now roughly 14 light-years across and is expanding at some 1200 miles per second.

It's hoped that these new images will answer (unfortunately unspecified) questions about the object itself, as well as supernovae in general.

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)
The Rocket Man's Brother-in-Law

Sometimes you're famous, sometimes you just know famous people. John Weidner's brother-in-law developed a whole fistfull of stuff on SpaceShipOne, so John got a front-seat view of the whole thing, and took a bunch of pictures, including a nifty "never-before-seen" (well, by me anyway) look at SSO's cockpit layout.

Via Site-essential.

Oh, and Cobb made me laugh out loud with this quote:

Finally Microsoft has something that doesn't crash.

Update: Second linkee now workee. Dur. Thanks Kathy!

Posted by scott at 02:32 PM | Comments (1)
Ooey Gooey Mmmm

Remember those goofy recipies on the sides and backs of cereal boxes? Well, Fark linked up an article by someone who followed one of them, and who seems quite pleased with the result. Expect pictures of Olivia covered in Apple Jack-Chocolate-Banana goo soon.

Posted by scott at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)
"Punting" for Fun and Profit

Jeff gets a very large caliber no-prize mounted in a boat for discovering punt cannons, the boats in which they were used (scroll down until you see "ducks in a barrel"), and the practice of "Market Hunting", for which they were developed.

Meant to take out entire flocks of ducks at a time, these gargantuan shotguns have been illegal to use in their primary purpose since the 1920s. Jeff says he's seen a video of one of these monsters being fired, and that the recoil destroyed a wall of sandbags meant to brace the thing. Considering it's effectively a four gauge shotgun (essentially a 40 mm cannon firing shot rounds), I don't doubt it.

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)
And the Mud Goes, "Slurp Slurp Slurp"

Remember folks, sometimes it's good to check out the beach before you try to assault it. I wonder if Jeff (ex-Army) ever saw something like this go down?

Via Countercolumn.

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)
Who's Scamming Who?

Instapundit does a very nice job highlighting points from "that other" Iraqi WMD report:

SADDAM HUSSEIN believed he could avoid the Iraq war with a bribery strategy targeting Jacques Chirac, the President of France, according to devastating documents released last night.
Focusing his attention in particular on France and Russia, both permanent members of the UN Security Council, Saddam awarded oil exploration contracts and financial inducements to individuals.
Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."

Which is a conclusion that sounds awfully goddamned familar, if I do say so myself.

Which (yet again) leads me to ask would someone please tell me why getting UN and international approval for anything we do is so freaking important? I know it's rude, but I am rather curious.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
When Editors Attack

Best. Headline. Ever.

Well, ok, maybe not the best, but I can just hear the "Beavis-and-Butthead" giggling that must've come out of the office of the guy who got this story.

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)
October 06, 2004
You're So "Vein"

The nurses in the audience should be interested in this nifty new tech:

It looks like a ghoulish Halloween trick. Yet the device, which projects a creepy green video image of a patient’s veins onto their skin, is about to go on trial in a US hospital. The idea is that it will help staff to pinpoint a suitable vein for an injection or a drip.

Hey, anything that keeps me from getting stuck more than once. Although, if mom's experiences are any indication, I'm sure her "baby docs" would still manage to kill someone with this.

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (2)

When having sex in a public restroom in Italy, make sure the door is closed:

Making love in a bar lavatory does not breach public decency laws so long as the door is shut, an Italian court ruled on Tuesday.

Yet another potential highlight of a European trip! Somehow I don't see it making the highlight reel though.

Posted by scott at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)
Damned Things are Showing Up Everywhere

Got nothing else to do with your X-box? You could always install Mac OSX on it. No, really!

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)
Paging M. Night Shyamalan, White Courtesy Phone Please

In the "way beyond spooky" category we have this story of a family who recently made a grisly discovery while remodeling their house:

The family of a Georgia fifth-grader found bones of a child under the floor of their home and the child believes the bones belong to her imaginary friend.

Stephanie Ogden said a friendly black girl in a white dress began visiting her room about five years ago.

"She told me that somebody put her in the floor," Ogden said. "She said he had a mask on, and that he chopped her up. She didn't know who the person was, because he had a mask on."

Yeah, I know. Probably lots of after-the-fact "memory" and stuff like that. Doesn't mean it's not creepy to think about. *shudder*

Posted by scott at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)
Mars Problem?

Spaceflightnow is carrying this new update on recent developments with the Mars rover Spirit. It seems there's a problem with two of the drive wheels, which did not respond properly in a recently commanded maneuver. The current suspect is the steering actuator motor on each wheel, which is used to (duh) steer the wheel independently of the motor that drives it. If it turns out to be unfixable, engineers say they can command the rover to blow the fuses on the relays for the motors. While it will definitely release the brakes, it will also make the rover harder to steer.

Otherwise the two rovers seem to be surviving the Martian winter reasonably well, something they were not explicitly designed to do.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Swept Away, the Cyber Edition

The old movie Swept Away (which received a recent screening at our "surreal movie night" at casa AMCG, and now seems to be available on DVD) proved Italians will argue about politics even during their most personal moments. This BBC news article seems to indicate they'll argue about politics at any moment:

Reload [a social activist Italian computer hacker group] calls it Reality Hacking ... teamed up with another hacker group named Molleindustria ... they created an online May Day march. Virtual activists could march by choosing their own character complete with different hair colours and outfits.
Molleindustria also supplies simple computer games for Reload's activist projects.
In Tamatipico, you try to keep your assembly line worker happy by making sure he gets enough rest, enough food, and enough time in front of the television. If your workers not satisfied, he will go on strike.

Can a Doom3 mod in which the Imps march in picket lines protesting Hell's conditions be far behind?

Posted by scott at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Insert "Men and Boys" Joke Here

Fark linked up what may be the world's fastest shopping cart:

Wacky Andy Tyler sits in a 50mph shopping cart after fitting a JET ENGINE

With several pictures!

The thing is, I don't see a pump or turbine in it anywhere. Looks like he's burning propane, so fuel pressure won't be a problem. Still, can't quite see how it pushes forward.

Guess that means I'll have to build one.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
October 05, 2004
Know Your Scrote

Your testicles are an invaluable source of pleasure to you, your loved ones, and your whole family! But what do you know about your firm, pendulous bringers of life?

Get the facts before it's too late!

Posted by Ellen at 08:35 PM | Comments (1)
When Moonbats Attack

Also from Countercolumn, this "everything old is new again" set of pictures from a recent People's Republic of Berkeley protest. What were they protesting? Hell, I don't know, pretty much everything a soft-headed college kid or washed-up hippie can think of, from the pictures. In other words, exactly what their parents and grandparents were doing, on the same spot, with most of the same signs, in 1965.

Warning: Contains not-safe-for-work (and, to be honest, not-safe-for-eyes) pictures of nekkid hippies wandering around with misspelled protest signs. If only they'd used them for cover. Remember folks, marching is not good for the dangly bits!

Update: Ok, I was blinded by naked hippies and didn't actually read any of the text. They really weren't protesting, they were marching in a sort of self-parody parade. I think. Damned hippies.

Posted by scott at 03:43 PM | Comments (4)
Speaking of Satire...

Who would've thought John Kerry would be a classic TV fan:

CHUCKWAGON: Marshall Hayes needs your help, and pronto! That durned jackass got hisself into a gunfight with that desperado gang from up there in Sandy Flats!

JOHNNY NUANCE: That fool! I told him that taking on the Sandy Flats would be nothing but trouble! I told him they had nothing to do with that dynamite attack on the Mercantile Bank! I told him not to go, right after I told him to go!

CHUCKWAGON: I tells ya it’s a quagmire, Johnny. A real quagmire!

JOHNNY: You don’t have to tell me, Chuckwagon! I fought in Antietam. Where’s the Marshall?

VOICE OVER: Saddle up, buckaroos! Now you too can be an old west diplomat with the Johnny Nuance Deluxe Junior Negotiator Kit. It comes complete with authentic letters of reprimand, humanitarian aid resolutions, an official Johnny Nuance golden fountain pen and attache case!

BOY #1: Sign the cease-fire, Deadeye Dan… I’ve got you economically sanctioned!

BOY #2: Says who?

BOY #1: Says my broad multilateral coalition, that’s who!

CROWD OF BOYS: We pledge our support!

BOY #2: Grrr! I’m peacefully boxed in!

VOICE OVER: The Johnny Nuance Deluxe Junior Negotiator Kit from Plastico – now at Woolworths and wherever fine toys are sold.

Dang. 50 years too late. I coulda used a pen like that too!

Posted by scott at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)
Open Source Terror

Linux users will be happy to hear Doom3 for Linux is finally out. Well, unless your system has an ATI card, in which case you're stuck waiting on drivers. Maybe this'll kick ATI in the butt and get them finished.

Haven't booted the old home box into linux for awhile, maybe I will now.

Posted by scott at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)
A Diary, for the Rest of Us

Countercolumn linked up this, like, totally great diary from, like, a former human shield in the Iraq war:

Last night, some of the volunteers started playing poker on the bus. The very first hand, I won with three-of-a-kind. As I reached for the pot, Sean said how typical it was that Americans thought having the best cards entitled them to steal everyone else's natural resources. Oh my God, I felt so bad and Republican right then.
How come the happy stars who actually like people never want to save mankind? For instance, I bet Bono would have signed my journal. He's all political, but at least he remembers who buys the albums that allow him to jet-set around the world denouncing free-market capitalism. I mean, at least he's consistent.

As with all good satire, I fully expect the peanut gallery to sit back and scratch their heads, not understanding what's so goddamned funny. Which just makes me laugh more.

Posted by scott at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)
Leech Learnin

Fark (of course) linked up this Courier Post article detailing what could be the discovery of a lifetime:

Bill Ott thought he found a little black snake.

He had no idea the creature wriggling in his hands might be an undiscovered species.

Turns out it's a weird terrestrial leech, not quite a foot long. They're not sure if it's a new species or not. We were surprised by an 8-inch long preying mantis in Ellen's garden last weekend, so I'm just happy this thing is in New Jersey.

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
I Especially Like the Way the Explosion Echoes

File this movie link under why I'm glad I have a daughter and not a son. I don't think Jeff and I ever were this dumb, but we definitely had friends who were. Then again, there was that time when Jeff tried to jump his bike off a ramp made out of small stacked pieces of wood just because someone dared him...

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM | Comments (4)
Trade Matters

Instapundit linked up this analysis of John Kerry's proposed trade policies, which I think highlights a real and crucial difference between the candidates:

Trade advisors to the Kerry camp have announced that labor and environment issues will be "front and centre" in Kerry Administration trade policy. This distinguishes it from Republican trade policy. A reasonable person would ask why a trade policy would not have trade "front and centre". Labor and environment would not be front and centre of homeland security policy. Why is trade policy different?

This is one of the main reasons I'm voting Republican, even though GW is still a technocrat, albeit one of a different stripe. Many will disagree with the points made in the article, passionately at that, but these are the same people who will decry the ballooning federal deficit while simultaneously calling for increased social spending. You can't have it both ways, and the fact that Democrats advocate positions that try means they will always lose my vote.

Yes, free trade can mean cruel trade-offs. It can sometimes cost friends and loved ones jobs, force families to relocate, and cause stress and emotional trauma. Unfortunately every other alternative is worse, especially in the long run. Japan's been in a recession for more than a decade because the government refuses to let businesses fail. The French are happy their unemployment rate has fallen to 9.1 percent. Argentines are still recovering from a government-engineered collapse that turned them from fat cats to paupers in less than a week.

No, it's not perfect. It never will be. But until the other side comes up with some new ideas instead of simply peddling old ones wrapped in new ribbons, I'll call their policies what they really are... utopianism.

I guess the ultimate irony is that Moore's book is satire.

Posted by scott at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
The Smoking Louse

Washington Post today carried this article (free reg, blah blah lazy bastards blah blah) detailing an innovative technique that's making a big splash in human origins research. By doing genetic studies on parasites exclusive to humans, scientists are finding they are able to pick out what seem to be startling conclusions about our evolution, ones that are not, and sometimes cannot be, found in the fossil record.

In particular, the article discusses how one team did a study on the genetics of the human head louse. While the conclusions are by no means final, their study discovered indications that modern humans were in actual contact with H. erectus, a far older, more archaic form of human, as they (the moderns) migrated into Asia. Until now, erectus was thought to have died out before early moderns ever got near them. If this study holds up, it would seem that conclusion is mistaken.

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)
October 04, 2004
Great White in Fish Bowl

They finally got a Great White Shark doing well in a tank.

Posted by Ellen at 06:13 PM | Comments (6)
Double Dong

Found especially for Ron.

Double your pleasure, double your fun.

Posted by Ellen at 06:06 PM | Comments (3)
Yet More Music I Can't Sing Along To

Ellen will probably be interested in Mahmood's recently recommended music choice, and I suppose so will most everyone else into "international" music. The snippet he linked sounds a lot like the other stuff she has, at any rate. More belly dance music!

Posted by scott at 03:38 PM | Comments (3)
Silvery Scribblings Solved

NYTimes last week carried this detailed look (free reg you lazy barstards) at new developoments regarding two artifacts which purport to carry the oldest biblical references ever found. Discovered in a tomb in 1979, these two silver objects dated to the late seventh or early sixth centuries BCE had what appeared to be faint and very fragmented Hebrew inscriptions taken from what is now known as the Book of Numbers.

The inscriptions were so faint there was actually a lot of argument as to just how old they really were. However, by using advanced imaging systems, some of which were provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, scientists were able to make much clearer pictures of the artifacts. The texts became far easier to read, and much more could be read, so the dating of the artifacts appears to be settled.

Assuming it actually is settled, these two pieces of silver would represent a biblical quotation written down just before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)
You Just can't Make This Stuff Up

Or can you?

A elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, the state Rompres news agency said on Monday.

The report seems to play up the "stupid accident" angle, but I can't help but think he was a) doing something really really weird to get his jollies and sorta lost control or b) has alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. And of course we all know how reliable Easter European news agencies are, right?

Still, should make for some amusing 3rd shift conversation at mom's VA.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
Somehow, I Don't See Nick Park Using These Models

It's the wrong boobies, Grommet!

Actually, in retrospect I'm rather surprised nobody's used Real Dolls in stop-motion animation before now. Then again, at, what, $3500 a pop (as it were), they're rather pricier than your conventional lump of clay.

Note: No sex acts, but does contain extra-creepy naked "pretty corpse" movies. If a naked but 100% fake person would get you in trouble at work, wait until you're home to take a look at this.

Posted by scott at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
When Justices Attack

Who says Supreme Court Justices are boring?

Challenged about his views on sexual morality, Justice Scalia surprised his audience at Harvard University, telling them: "I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged."

Makes you really wonder what might be going on behind those closed doors. On second thought, considering the average age of the various justices, I think I don't want to know after all.

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM | Comments (5)
We Have a...

Winnah, at least for now. As of 10:53 my time the SS1 flight has gone very well, no rolls reported at all. Keep hitting that link for updates.


Congratulations to the Scaled Composites team for being the first winner of the Ansari X-Prize!

I think a few "Yeeeeee-HAAAAAAA!!!!!"'s are in order.

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)
The Eye of Google

Catches all. For example, just by searching for the default names of digital camera files, you can find a gigantic number of "first shots" thousands of strangers have taken with their digital cameras. Sort of like looking through someone else's photo album. Freaky.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
Rattle & Hum

BBCnews is carrying this article detailing new research into the very low frequency background "hum" that's emitted by the Earth. According to these scientists, it's all the fault of the oceans.

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
Heading Out, Heading Up

SpaceShipOne is "go" to try for the second flight required by the Asari X Prize. The mothership is scheduled for takeoff at 10 AM EDT, with release scheduled for roughly one hour later. Keep your fingers crossed!

Posted by scott at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)
Now Ain't that Something

Right under the noses of every foil hatter, greenie, and dot-head an international consortium of banks and governments got together and added a little something "extra" to your scanner and photoshop software:

The technology [included in new software and hardware products] detects and blocks attempts to view, scan or print copies of the redesigned $20 and $50 bills and, in a pop-up window, urges consumers to visit a Web site, www.rulesforuse.org, to learn about international counterfeit laws.

A strong, secure currency is vital to a stable economy, so pardon me if I'm not up in arms about this "destruction" of our "rights". The AP's been worrying at this story since January, but they haven't got all that far. Slashdot seems to have covered it several times, but for whatever reason I missed each one. Apparently all it does is stop you from copying a $50. It won't tattle that you tried.

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (2)
October 03, 2004
Pornosaurus Rex

NSFW!!!!!!!! Severely F'd Up!

My eyes!!! My eyes!!!

Posted by Ellen at 06:08 PM | Comments (2)
Burping the Baby


VANCOUVER, Washington (CNN) -- A small volcanic tremor shook Mount St. Helens early Sunday, less than a day after the volcano spewed a cloud of steam and scientists warned that a dangerous eruption was imminent.

The tremor Sunday was milder than the previous day's gas eruption, which prompted geologists to raise the volcano alert to Level 3, indicating an eruption could occur within 24 hours.


Read entire volcanic gassiness problem here.

Posted by Ellen at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)
China Men Going Synthetic

About 200,000 of the deer penises, complete with testicles, are sent to China from New Zealand each year.

"For a long time men believed that the larger the pizzle, the stronger their own would be," says Murray Hamer, Oriental trade manager for the Alpine Deer Group, based in Wanaka.

But the market, mainly in the north of China, is gradually reducing. "The belief in the sexual vigour of pizzles is slowly dying out. Modern Chinese men believe they don't work. They have turned to the Chinese version of Viagra and are getting results."

Read entire deer happiness article here.
Posted by Ellen at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)
Well, Ok, if not Mormon Dolls, How About This?

Meet the Grim Rapper, yet another signpost on the road to hip-hop's ultimate demise. Which begs the question, what's next? Bah. Who cares. I can't keep up with you damned kids as it is.

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
October 02, 2004
Ah, Sweet Irony

"AMCGLTD," we hear you ask, "I'm sick and tired of my neighbor's kids screaming and yelling. And if I smell smoke from their cigarettes one more time, I'm gonna puke. It's time to right this situation with some good ol' gunboat lovin'. But I'm not sure if my invasion is justified. What am I to do?"

Fear not, neo-Frenchman! AMCGLTD is here to help! Take this "Officially Authorized, Internationally Recognized Global Test" to ensure your act of national self-protection will be recognized by the rest of the "mine. mine. mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. MINE. MINE. MINE." world. That's right, you too can give up national sovereignty to your spineless, cynical global competitors in the name of "co-operation" and "they-must-like-us-or-we'll-cry" sentiment. Don't delay! The next car bombing we blame on greedy westerners could be underneath your embassy!

Via On the Third Hand.

Why yes, I'd actually forgotten about Algeria. You UN-loving f-tards probably couldn't even find it on a map. But that's different. That's the French. We all know how important it is to have their approval. Why, any president who won't curry the favor of the butchers of October 17 should be voted out of office! Right? Right?!?

Posted by scott at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)
Penis in a Box. (THE BULGE)

This is the men's version to boobs in a box!

The fruit of designers' imagination called The Bulge is easy to put on, to take off and can be worn both inside boxers and briefs. The discreet insert can be washed in a washing machine, which is definitely an advantage for lazy men. The insert keeps its form even if it is worn 24 hours a day.

See pix and article here.

Buy the product here.

This product is machine washable for all you lazy bastards out there.

Posted by Ellen at 06:35 PM | Comments (1)
Mt. St. Helens Update

VANCOUVER, Washington (CNN) -- An observatory three miles from the base of Mount St. Helens was evacuated Saturday as scientists warned that the volcano could erupt again, and with more force than previously expected.

"There is a 50 percent chance or greater that there is going to be an eruption and a good chance that it will involve magma," said Tom Pierson with the U.S. Geological Survey. "We're watching it very closely."

Read entire article here.

Make sure you watch this on TV too! Journalists as Volcano bait to follow!

Posted by Ellen at 06:31 PM | Comments (0)
Sea Sponge Tampons

Brought to you by The Ocean.

Sea Pearl sponges are sustainably harvested by a family owned and operated business in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

# Sea Pearls do not contain any Dioxin or synthetic fibers.

# Sea Pearl comes in packages of two.

# Enviromentally safe

Sea Pearl Sponges come in a package of two with an illustrated brochure and Muslin carry bag

Sea Pearls™ Deluxe( I wonder if the Deluxe package comes with Sea Monkeys?)

The Deluxe package contains 2 sea sponge tampons, fully illustrated brochure, lunar calendar, tea tree oil for disinfecting sponges, and a muslin carry bag.

What are you waiting for! A whole ecosystem can be started in your crotch!
Posted by Ellen at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)
Mormon Action Figures

Now I have seen everything. Just when you thought Fisher-Price had gone too far with its Nativity set and Hanukkah home celebration, we find you this!

Guess what you are getting for Xmas Joshua!

Posted by Ellen at 12:55 PM | Comments (2)
Mom Only Thinks She Hates GW

The peanut gallery's viceral hatred of GW has now been beat. From beyond the grave, no less:

While, traditionally, yard signs are ways to support a candidate, in Jane Buffet's obit, her final statement reads, "To honor her memory, please do everything you can to elect John Kerry."

Hey, if rumors prove true, she'll be able to vote anyway! Why, if she lived in Chicago it'd be a dead certainty.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Try the veal!

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (1)
October 01, 2004
SpaceShipOne Video

Slashdot linked up news that Scaled Composites has a video up of their recent X-prize flight. Yeah, Slashdot did it, so the "real" link won't work until millions of frantic dot-heads point their great eye elsewhere. Those of you with bit-torrent installed should be able to pull it down here.

The roll was slower than first reports, but seemed faster than 1 roll per 2 seconds. Would've wet myself had I seen it do that in person.

Posted by scott at 03:25 PM | Comments (4)
Secret Notes

Frank over at IMAO not only analyzes the debates line-by-line, he also managed to sneak out a copy of both Kerry's notes and Bush's notes. Both show deep insights into their thought processes. Or something. Probably involves a monkey or a laser if you check closely enough.

See? See? Us bloggers are everywhere. Nothing is safe!

Posted by scott at 02:13 PM | Comments (1)
Debate on the Market

The Iowa Electronic Market is showing a slight dip for Bush, a slight gain for Kerry, which tracks with what I saw last night. I thought it was a win for Kerry, but only after extra innings and only by one run. Interestingly, Ellen thought the opposite (to her, Bush did better). Bottom line to me: the peanut gallery's boy just put himself back in the game, but there's a long way (and two more debates) to go.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)
Buried "Treasure" Found by Hurricane

Fark linked up this story about a not-so-welcome find revealed after hurricane Jeanne blew through:

Hurricane Jeanne's vicious winds and water did more than destroy a few homes in the Ocean Ridge subdivision. They also unveiled a 10-foot-long World War II bomb buried underneath a beachfront driveway.

Turns out it was the warhead from one of those giant "Tiny Tim" rockets used late in the war. I think I've seen some pictures of them hanging from the wings of Corsairs... they were a lot bigger than the "regular" 5" rockets normally used. There'll be a construction crew somewhere having a retroactive heart attack once they realize what they were driving a bulldozer back and forth over.

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
I'd Like to Thank God, My Mom, My Wife, and that Invisible Gorilla Over There

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing the recent "Ig Nobel" prizes. Created to honor science that first makes you laugh, then makes you think, this year's winners include "The Invisible Ape", "The 'food on the floor' Test", and "Country Music Suicides".

Posted by scott at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
Pedal Party

Bicycle built for one? What a waste. Bicycle built for two? Wimps. How about a quad-cycle built for seven?

I'd have no problem with it, as long as Ellen didn't drive. Oh she won't run into stuff or anything like that. It's just she's got this, well, [whisper]road rage problem[/whisper]. It got so bad on the toll road I decided it was safer for everyone involved if I drove both ways and gave her a nice book to read. I'd fear for the other cyclists and especially the rollerbladers. At least the people on our morning commute have sheetmetal to protect them from her wrath.

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
Balloons... in... Space...

Regular readers will have already noted I "cite" Aviation Week & Space Technology a lot. Great magazine if you're into aerospace stuff. Well, through some sorta deal with Spaceflight now, you can read their write-up on those inflatable space modules we linked up a few months ago. I only just pulled this one out of the mailbox yesterday, so I haven't gotten to the article. But the picture sure looks weird as anything. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)