Take a gallon... any gallon, of any damned thing you can think of. Wanna know how much it costs? No? Too bad. You'll probably be surprised where everyone's fav fuel ends up.
Unless you know a bit about risk, demand, and economics. With one or two exceptions (Liquid Paper? Red Bull?) the cost tracks quite nicely with how hard the stuff is to produce.
Ron gets a no-prize that giggles inanely at the touch of a button for bringing us news of the coolest science exhibit. Ever:
Flatulence, faeces, urination ... and all that's disgusting, sticky and foul-smelling about the human body and how it functions makes for an unusual but educational new Paris exhibition aimed at children.
The funniest part is if you put a (future) 7-year old Olivia, and a grown-up Ellen, Joshua, and Ron through this exhibit, I'm not completely sure who would be laughing the hardest. I can tell you who would be groaning and going "Oh! Oh! No! Not that! Stop touching that!"
Yup, with the exception of the lil' monster, it'd be their spouses.
Scientific American is carrying this article detailing new developments in the causes of the great megafauna extinctions of the late pleistocene. By using DNA studies of ancient bison fossils scientists have found indications of decreasing diversity starting as early as 37,000 years ago. This is a much earlier than the arrival of large numbers of humans in the same environment, which would seem to put a dent in the "we killed them all" hypothesis.
Forget desktop photographs of your children.
Doting South Korean parents can preserve their child's umbilical cord in acrylic resin to make a personal seal or even have it gold plated.
Yeah, boy, nothing says "class" like using a petrified umbilical cord as a seal. All together now... Ewwwww!
"AMCGLTD," we hear you ask, "it's time to 'fix' Spot, but he doesn't even know he's broken! How can I best ease the transition from doggy stud-muffin to canine castrati?"
Fear not, fellow dog-snipper, AMCGLTD is here to help! Introducing the Oh Nuts, I've Been Neutered Gift Box, the perfect product for your pitifully painful pooch. It's a steal at only $24.88, available now from everyone's favorite trailer retailer, Wal Mart. Order yours today and put a smile on that sad little e-collared face!
Scientists in the US have developed a novel technique to make bulk quantities of glass from alumina for the first time. Anatoly Rosenflanz and colleagues at 3M in Minnesota used a "flame-spray" technique to alloy alumina (aluminium oxide) with rare-earth metal oxides to produce strong glass with good optical properties.
Not exactly like having an engine block you can see through, but interesting nonetheless.
Spaceflightnow has this nifty Cassini picture of Saturn, its rings, and a moon. It took me awhile to "see" what was going on because of all the stripes. Still... amazing.
Remember folks... guns don't kill people, lava lamps kill people:
A man who placed a lava lamp on a hot stovetop was killed when it exploded and sent a shard of glass into his heart, police said.
But wait! There's more!
Philip Quinn, 24, was found dead in his trailer home Sunday night by his parents.
Sometimes it's tempting to think one ethnic or racial group has a corner on stupidity, and then something like this happens. God I love the Internet!
The book centers on the decision made by a lustful King to "set the nation free" by allowing "buggary" to be "used thro' all the land" and then details the dire consequences.
Somehow I just don't think a classic "bow-chikka-bow-bow" soundtrack would work as well on a harpsichord.
Ron gets a sparkling porcelain no-prize for bringing us news of the World Toilet Summit. The conference aims to improve world hygene (and therefore world health) by exchanging ideas, technology, and design about how to get cleaner, safer, more user-friendly toilets out into the world.
After a week of tough negotiating by France, Germany and Britain, the Islamic Republic of Iran has conceded to reduce the size of nuclear warheads it will use in the eventual bombing of Paris, Berlin and London.
Because we all know just how important getting along and being popular with the other kids is, right?
It's often said "be nice to your children, they'll be picking your nursing home." There's a rather grim corollary, not often mentioned: if you're not careful, they could be picking your grave:
Rachelle Waterman solicited help in the killing of her mother, according to a criminal complaint charging her with first-degree murder.
Talked about it on LiveJournal, no less. Look, just because she's vicious doesn't mean she's bright. We're talking about a teenager here.
And Ellen, it's only funny to say "bah... amatuers" on the inside.
Valve is striking a blow for all us schlubs who actually pay money for our computer games by using tracking tricks to ban and disable people who've stolen or hacked Half-Life 2. More power to 'em, I say. One of the main reasons game quality is spotty and game prices are high is because of twerps like this. Why go to the effort when half the people playing never paid? Plus it helps hold down the cheating, which just destroys the on-line experience.
So, on behalf of all the folks who've made our purchase: Quit yer bitchin', get off your lazy butts, and buy the damned game. Thank you.
Space.com is carrying this article summarizing new efforts in artificial gravity research. Instead of spinning a giant wheel or even the whole spacecraft, scientists are looking at various "short radius" centerfuges, as well as running tests on earth-bound volunteers and (eventually) Mars-bound mice.
A plant dubbed the suicide tree kills many more people in Indian communities than was previously thought. The warning comes from forensic toxicologists in India and France who have conducted a review of deaths caused by plant-derived poisons.
The reasons are as sad as they are predictable:
Three-quarters of Cerbera victims are women. The team says that this may mean the plant is being used to kill young wives who do not meet the exacting standards of some Indian families. It is also likely that many cases of homicide using the plant go unnoticed in countries where it does not grow naturally.
Ok Ellen, if I suddenly start seeing "fresh spice" boxes arriving from India, consider yourself busted. :)
Go check out the 36th Carnival of the Cats over at Watermark.
Show some kitty support and click the link! Your cat commands you!
I got to meet most of the cast from The BellyDance Superstars on November 23rd. Sorry if the pix isn't good. But it was 11 pm on a work night.
Note: How good the dancer looks in this pix, she isn't washed out like me. Thats because they literally have to spackle makeup on in order to see it on stage. What a cool night!
I'm the dork on the left, while Ansuya is on the right if you could not tell that already.
A pix of me and Rachel Brice
Move over Sue Johansen, there's a new boinking sheriff in town:
Jamie and Charlotte are an improbably gorgeous couple who had an improbable amount of sex, four or five times a week, until Charlotte let slip that in all those trips to the carnival, she had never once seen the fireworks go off. So to speak.
Thus begins the first episode of Sex Inspectors, a much-discussed series on Britain's Channel 4 that doesn't so much push the boundaries of television as shove the boundaries to the ground and rip all their clothes off.
Sex Inspectors airs at 11 p.m., but even at that late hour the show has to abide by standards set by Ofcom, the government broadcast regulator. In other words, Harris says, no penetration shots, and particularly graphic acts are filmed using thermal imaging, which is bound to have viewers squinting at the squirming coloured blotches to figure out the action.
Time to set the Tivo...
Thanks to Joshua for this great Ted pix! :)
Instapundit has this reasonably moderate roundup of economic news, which includes something we'll shamelessly double-qoute:
Then there's global growth, which as David Brooks notes is quite rapid: "Some rich countries, like the U.S. and Japan, are doing well, but the developing world is leading this economic surge. . . . As even the cautious folks at the World Bank note, all developing regions are growing faster this decade than they did in the 1980's and 90's. . . . we're in the 11th month of the most prosperous year in human history." (emphasis added)
One of the most telling surveys the "lefty-just-cos-we're-brighter-than-you" Slashdot ever did was "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" The answer, overwhelmingly, was "damned right I am, but the government didn't have anything to do with it."
The funniest part was, they never realized that was the point.
To repeat from an earlier post:
I'm very glad I have two friends who like to wear spiked leather & carry big sharp things for fun, and a brother with a pistol so big you can shove a walnut in the barrel. I have a feeling I'm going to need them all in about
14 13 years..
I think I'll update that with "and a friend who knows seven different ways to tackle dirty without the ref noticing and a brother-in-law you'll just never see coming."
Thanks to Joshua for bringing his L33T digmital camera to our T-giving party. We gotta get us one o' those.
Russian scientists recently announced the discovery of a monument in central Russia remarkably similar in form and function to England's Stonehenge. Like Stonehenge, this new site was a circular structure composed of columns with a central platform in the middle. It also served as a celestial calculator, allowing accurate measurments of things like the summer and winter solstice. It was even built around the same time.
However, the Russians are not claiming the builders had anything to do with each other. Instead, the monument represents a kind of cultural "convergence"... two disparate peoples coming to a similar solution to a similar problem.
Making the rounds:
Illegal Aliens Crossing into Canada
Canada Deals With Bush-Dodgers
The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.
The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among left-leaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O'Reilly.
Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animal-rights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.
"I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota. The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry. "He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"
In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields.
"Not real effective," he said. "The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."
Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border, and leave them to fend for themselves.
"A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. "I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."
When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.
In the days since the election, liberals have turned to sometimes-ingenious ways of crossing the border.
Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers.
"If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.
Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies.
"I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. "How many art-history majors does one country need?"
In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said. "We're going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is determined to reach out.
Slashdot linked up news that James Cameron's next project is a hybrid-cgi film based on a series of Japanese graphic novels. Apparently he's planning to do both a 3-D and 2-D version of the film, using technology developed during his Titanic documentary Ghosts of the Abyss. Due out in '06. Woot!
The woman whose Chihuahua got stuck in the cavity of her uncooked turkey will live on in infamy at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line.
The story goes like this: The caller had the turkey on her kitchen counter. Somehow, the little dog got up on the counter, crawled into the turkey and got stuck. She couldn't get him out and called the talk line in a panic.
It's impossible to make an idiot-proof set of instructions, because the universe keeps producing more effective idiots.
They stain skin! Beware the holiday Oreo!
Enjoy some AMCGLTD cats eating a turkey neck!
Fark (of all places) linked up this New Scientist article summarizing some new archeological findings about an interesting change in medieval fishing habits:
James Barrett and colleagues at the University of York looked at fish bones, dating from AD 600 to AD 1600, recovered from a range of archaeological sites across Britain. To their surprise, they discovered a sudden and dramatic change in the intensity of fishing and the type of fish deposited at the sites in just a 50-year period, around AD 1000.
While the article tries to connect this strange development with modern over-fishing problems, I didn't really see the connection.
Joshua gets a red, square no-prize for bringing us Catch-33, the perfect distraction from the standard chaos of this
noisy ebarassing family holiday.
Think wiccans are all a bunch of peace n' love n' dancing hippy-types who need a haircut and a flea dip? Think they're all a bunch of silly people with a fetish for black and crystals? Think again.
Wow. A pro-gun right-wing pagan with an assault rifle. America rocks!
Robert H. gets a no-nonsense no-prize for bringing us this evidence that the Weatherwax tradition of witchcraft is alive and well.
Carrie gets a no-prize locked in a penthouse hotel somewhere on the Vegas strip for bringing us this nice summary of the archtypical rich kook, Howard Hughes. Interesting to me is the implication Hughes's psychosis was perhaps drug-induced. Until now, everything I'd ever read tended to indicate the classic signs of adult-onset schizophrenia. Of course, it could simply be that his adult trauma and drug addiction broke whatever tenuous hold he'd managed to impose on his miswired brain, but unfortunately we'll never know for sure.
It's been said that while money doesn't buy happiness, it makes misery more comfortable. I think Hughes's story throws a rather stark light on the logical, and horrific, conclusion of this particular axiom.
Hey Jeff, you now officially owe me a dollar:
The rumors reported earlier at /. are confirmed. The latest offerings in the Pentium 4 family now support AMD's x86-64 architecture, even though Intel is not willing to admit it very openly, by using cryptic names like EM64T and (gasp) IA-32e.
Yeah, he'll try to squirt away in a cloud of ink consisting mainly of "anyone who'd vote for Bush..." Which is all well and good, and probably true, but the hard fact is the ones to whom he was willingly assimilated have now themselves been assimilated, and that cube bears the legend AMD
Now to spend my hard-earned dollar...
Ok guys, just wanted you all to know waivers will not be needed at our house tomorrow, mainly because Ellen's cooking. Also, since Ellen's cooking, one would expect... consequences... were a guest to, in her words, "imply disrespect."
So, is a series of snow-globes depicting the story of the Donner party art, or is it just really tacky?
You know, sometimes even I think this place is getting a little... well... weird, and hell I even know the owner! At least we have 5 or 6 years before Olivia learns to read. I hope.
Stick fight 10 is out. That is all. Woot!
BBCnews is carrying this article detailing a recent achievement in the use of nanotubes. Scientists in the UK are now reporting the ability to use these atom-scale "test tubes" to force molecules into long, straight chains. In the particular case mentioned in the article, this resulted in the creation of a high-quality fullerene polymer, but the principle should work with most any molecule. The immediate practical applications are thought to be the creation of very-high-quality polymers at far cheaper prices than has previously been possible.
Three hooded bandits in eastern Australia bungled a would-be robbery when they apparently mistook a restaurant's sliding door for a swinging one, police said.
Like I've always said... people turn to a life of crime because they're too stupid to do anything else.
Motor Trend published this bit of fluff speculating what, exactly, it would take to get Alfa Romeo back over here and what a new spider ("spyder" in the article... gotta love copy editors) might look like. Their "conventional wisdom", such as it is, is leaning toward GM's new low-cost Kappa platform, on which the upcoming Pontiac Solstice will be based on.
The Alfisti are (predictably) wailing and rending their shirts over having the possibility of GM putting a hand down their "amore's" pants (all the while ignoring the current double-cup hold Fiat has on her chest). Which is crap. I firmly believe both Ford and GM are quite capable of creating excellent cars, and the whole Kappa concept is quite nifty indeed.
Personally I'd be thrilled to see a low-cost RWD spider based on this platform with, say, Alfa's 2L twinspark or (even better, if it can fit) their 3.2L V6. An engine is more than half the character of a car like this, and there isn't an auto aficianado in the world that would deny the excellence of Alfa's motors.
But will we see one here? Nah, not until all the regs get straightened out and car companies are able to cross-certify their vehicles with just one test. Then we'll be back to the 50s, when all you had to do to import a car was buy it and put it on a boat. *grin*
Not to be out-done by tacky protestants, it would seem Catholics, too, have a loony cult all their own, complete with an "awareness network" to fight it:
The Opus Dei Awareness Network, Inc. (ODAN) was founded in 1991 to meet the growing demand for accurate information about Opus Dei and to provide education, outreach and support to people who have been adversely affected by Opus Dei.
Yeah, probably old news to most of you, but we'd never heard of it. Therefore it is, of course, very very important news indeed. Hey, it works for the NYT!
CaptainHowdy gets an explosive purple no-prize for bringing us detailed instructions for creating microwave grape plasma. No, really!
Joshua gets his second no-prize of the day for bringing us Bert's Quarter Shrinking and Can Crushing Gallery. Anything that involves the explosive discharge of thousands of volts, hundreds of thousands of amps, and kilo-joules of energy, all in the quest to produce a quarter smaller than a dime, is fine by me. Bang!
And the "Captain Obvious Headline of the Year Award" goes to:
Race Was Motive for Over Half the Hate Crimes in 2003, FBI Reports
As Ellen said this morning when I read the headline to her, "ya think?"
Yet another example of how ridiculous "qualifying" a crime based on a particular motive can become.
Space.com has this interesting little quiz that presents 10 statements about science, astronomy, and technology, and you get to decide if each is fact or fiction. I got 9 out of 10, not too shabby for someone who hasn't picked up a science book in a year or two.
Joshua gets a no-prize dressed up like a college mascot for bringing us possibly the weirdest Christian ministry on the planet:
This site is dedicated to spreading the Gospel in the werewolf and furry communities. It is my hope that many trans-species people will accept Jesus as their Savior through this ministry.
The oxymoronic flavor of "trans-species people" is unique in its piquancy and quite delicious besides*. Which is to say: "cor, this 'ere is a weird one, ain't it?"
* Well, yes, actually, I did just finish a book on popular constitutionalism and judicial review. What difference does that make?
Full-on boffing. That's what Bonnie Valentine found while channel-surfing late one night. Vigorous thrusting, melodramatic moaning, the works.
"What I saw was intercourse," the Akron resident says. "This is beyond obscene. This had crossed into pornography."
It wasn't Cinemax that Valentine happened upon that night in September. It was Channel 15, Time Warner Cable's public access station for the Akron-Canton region.
All the result of extensive (and victorious) free speech lawsuits. So tell me again about that fascist police state we've been living in for the past four years?
I think we've mentioned it before, but this PC World article goes into much greater detail about a secret feature on your nifty color laser printer:
According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters.
Personally, I don't have a problem with it, but of course thousands of privacy loons do:
John Morris, a lawyer for The Center for Democracy and Technology, says, "That type of assurance [that government only uses the information to pursue counterfeitors] doesn't really assure me at all, unless there's some type of statute." He adds, "At a bare minimum, there needs to be a notice to consumers."
Yeah, because forgers will need to know which printers they can use to counterfeit money with, right? Look, the government doesn't care if you Xeroxed your butt with the office printer, they have better things they can screw up in a much more spectacular fashion. So pull your damned pants up and get back to work!
An ingredient in chocolate may actually be a more effective cough medicine than traditional remedies, a new study suggests.
And not only that, the UK-based research showed that the cocoa-derived compound had none of the side effects associated with standard drug treatments for persistent coughs.
Turns out the compound theobromine does a better job of cough supression than even codine, the standard "against which others are measured". Next up: figuring out the proper dose for a desired effect. As someone who just lost a round with Olivia's "germ-fu", anything that helps me stop burning through my tongue with cough drops is a Very Good Thing.
While MSM seems to be willfully portraying Iraq as an utter disaster, this extensive list of good things happening there puts a lie to that spin. From infrastructure to elections to transportation and more, it's all there. Yes, it's bad, but if this summary is to be believed, it is most definitely getting better.
If you've ever played D&D (or AD&D), tried to make your own documentary, been in a Ren Fair, been to a Ren Fair, or don't even know what a Ren Fair is, Dungeon Majesty is for you!
The intro is howl-inducingly bad, but once the interviews start it actually becomes pretty damned funny. I thought it was quite enjoyable, in a "look-at-what-we-did-with-a-PC-and-a-camera" sort of way.
And yes, Olivia, daddy was every bit as nerdy as that when he was growing up. As if you didn't know.
Boy, nothing says love like an "Anal Massage". Or not.
Actually, according to this, the result is a technical by-product (as it were) of the fact that Target.com and Amazon.com are run by the same company. Apparently the product is a book title in Amazon's catalog. We'll let that one sink in for a bit.
Ok, all together now... EWWWWwwwww!!!
For the aquarist with eveything, we have the Fish Highway. Yes, you too can have interconnected fish tanks connected hamster-cage-like with plexiglass tunnels.
No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Ron gets a blaze-orange no-prize for bringing us the story of a hunt gone very bad:
A deer hunter shot and killed five people and wounded three others in northwestern Wisconsin following a dispute about a tree stand during the hunt’s opening weekend, authorities said.
Coming from a rural area myself, I can say that hunting accidents are pretty damned common, and I wouldn't be surprised if a few of these "accidents" were more of the intentional variety. However, I never heard of anything on this scale. Arguing with people who're carrying high-powered weaponry just doesn't seem like all that good of an idea to me.
Instapundit linked up this first-hand account of the battle of Fallujah:
3/5 began the actual attack on the city by taking an apartment complex on the northwest corner of the city. It was key terrain as the elevated positions allowed the command to look down into the attack lanes. The Marines took the apartments quickly and moved to the rooftops and began engaging enemy that were trying to move into their fighting positions. The scene on the rooftop was surreal. Machine gun teams were running boxes of ammo up 8 flights of stairs in full body armor and carrying up machine guns while snipers engaged enemy shooters. The whole time the enemy was firing mortars and rockets at the apartments.
Nice to read an old-style "the only good enemy is a dead enemy" account that doesn't try to disguise what's going on or get vapors over the morality of it all. The place was a roach nest of bad guys doing awful things, and now they're gone. End of story.
There's recycling, and then there's recycling:
A Spanish scrapyard has come up with a smashing way of helping people take out their frustrations on modern living.
For 40 euros ($52), they can pick up sledgehammers and bash away on anything from cars and computers to mobile phones and even photos of the boss.
As I recall, my mom once offered a junk dealer $50 to let her wail away on a junk car, but the owner said liability laws kept him from doing it. Stupid lawyers. VOTE NOW FOR TORT REFORM SO YOU TOO CAN BASH A CAR TO FLINDERS.
I am sorry, but if Olivia had a doll like this, his ass would be sold on Ebay with the rest of the freaky haunted toys on there.
Can ya tell I really don't feel sorry for the jerk. No virgins for your sorry ass in Heaven.
Can ya tell I really don't feel sorry for the jerk. No virgins for your sorry ass in Heaven.
Joshua gets an ASCII no-prize for giving us proof that if you try hard enough, you can actually make a music video out of nothing but alphanumerics.
Hey! I think I found Xmas stocking stuffers for our favorite mOOnBats!
The best part of watching children's programs is sometimes you see your friends in the characters. We're still watching for others, but for now we definitely have found the first two. So, without further ado, those of you wondering what the "true selves" of Ron and Amber actually look like...
(Yeah, I know, hundreds of you [well, ok, the other three of you] don't know or care. Trust me, when you get your own blog, making fun of your "real life" friends will become great sport. Or not. Waddayawant... like you didn't already know we were social retards...)
Ron, basically all the time
What kid's show character reminds you of your friends?
How Stuff Works is carrying this nifty article that takes a back-stage look into just how Halo-2's AI works. As with all good designs, from some simple rules much sophistication can be created.
Bigwig over at Silflay does a nice bit of spotlighting some of the uglier propaganda coming from the left. It's only "insensitive" when it's about someone you agree with, eh?
No, it's no damned better or worse than some of the things the right said about the Clintons, but (as they say) turnabout is fair play. It's nice the moonbats have given the right a chance to turn the heat up on their little tea kettle. Thanks for the free shot, guys!
Oh, and to everyone who ever said or thought or felt Republicans had a corner on the racism market? Please parse this one for me, but gently: STFD&STFU. Thank you, thank you very much.
While scientists have known that supermassive black holes are always associated with giant galactic "bulges" of stars, the root of the relationship has always been a kind of "chicken-and-egg" mystery. Which came first? Well, according to this SpaceflightNow article, scientists studying a quasar more than 12 billion light years away seem to have found the answer... black holes first. Which, of course, simply moves the goalposts, as there isn't much of an answer to why the black holes form, or why a bulge of stars accumulates later on.
I'm still freaked out by the fact we can measure the gas content of an object that was twice as old as our Earth is now when our sun first turned on.
A mother's deathbed confession led police on Thursday to a dead body in a storage locker freezer, and officials said the corpse may be that of the woman's husband whom she murdered more than a decade ago.
As I recall, something strangely similar happened in the town I grew up in (all from memory, Pat can probably straighten out any inconsistencies): Back in the 1950s, a reclusive farmer reported his wife missing, and police were never able to find her. In the late 1980s, the farmer died and the government bought the land his barn stood on for a new town post office. As workers were demolishing the barn, they found the remains of what would later be identified as the farmer's wife, entombed for some thirty years in the foundation of the barn.
I guess it just goes to show it's not the violent, loud, foul-tempered people you have to watch out for. Rather, it's those quiet, mousy people who keep to themselves that seem to be getting away with murder.
Instapundit linked up this Tech Central op-ed that takes a look at the wider implications of the media's "conventional war wisdom" and how it relates to the reporting in Fallujah (among other places):
Since the Vietnam era, American journalists seem to operate by an ethic reversing the infamous slogan of antiwar demonstrators, who chant "media lies, people die." Much more accurate would be to say "people die, media lies."
I tend to take a "between the lines" approach with MSM's reporting in Iraq, learning at least as much from what we don't hear about as from what we do. For instance, when's the last time you heard a report on Iraq's creaking infrastructure, Sistani opposing some aspect of the colation's efforts, or chaos anywhere other than the "Sunni triangle"? Since bleeding equates to leading in our gnat-like media, no news sometimes really seems to be good news.
Cheri gets a no-prize with a big weird grin on it for bringing us this silly bit of fluff. Yes, it's goofy. Yes, it's more than a little dumb. Yes, it's quite tacky indeed.
Which means it's a perfect fit for this website! Hooray for tacky!
It's been a banner week for human origins news, with this WaPo article and this CNN.com article capping a great week of discovery. Both summarize the discovery of one of the oldest, and most complete, ape fossils found to-date. Thought to be about 13 million years old, the remains express most of the fundamental anatomical features that make apes different from monkeys and earlier primates. While scientists think older species of apes probably existed, this find's completeness is what makes it so unique and important.
Ron gets a no-prize that heats up periodically for no reason for bringing us this intriguing climate study using French grape harvest records going back some six hundred years. The verdict? The present "super-unique warm climate" is neither. At least three times in those past six centuries, one span lasting some fifty years, southern France has experienced warm periods very similar to what we're all experiencing today.
To me, this is just more evidence of what I've believed for a long time... global climate is amazingly complex, and the Earth-Sun system staggeringly large. Compared to what this system can do to itself, via volcanism, sunspots, even orbital perturbations and impacts, we are but gnats banging on the glass.
The Local 10 Problem Solvers discovered hardcore porn being shot, produced and distributed right here in South Florida. But the setting isn't a darkened movie set, it's a van that could be driving right next to you.
Yup, busybody South Florida newsies have finally sumbled across ye ol' BangBus. Or, perhaps more likely, some intern got busted at "Local 10s" offices browsing the grandaddy of all "porn-on-the-street" sites and called it "research" to save his job. It's the "oh-my-lawd, what shall we do?!?" breathlessness of the article that really clinches it. Must be a sweeps month or something.
This NYTimes article summarizes new research in hominid locomotion and how it influenced our evolution. It would seem that the unique requirements of long-distance running profoundly shaped our physiology, and perhaps gave us the decisive edge needed to evolve large brains.
I'm not sure what weirds me out more... the fact that "spandexman" seems rather fond of himself, or the existence of this FAQ question:
Q: I am a big guy,6'4" 220lbs, what do you have for me?
A: We can make larger sizes, just e-mail us.
Well hell, I guess wrestlers have to get their outfits somewhere. All I can say is it's called a jock strap... learn it. Use it.
Silflay linked up John Cleese's new web site. The intro video looks pretty interesting, but he's not working for free. However, the cost isn't outrageous, certainly nothing like some of the... rmm... "other" sorts of subscription websites out there (so I've been told, mind you). We'll just have to keep an eye on this one, then.
New Scientist is carrying this story about a new application of a concept called "augmented reality". Instead of completely replacing the "world", as happens in virtual reality, augmented reality instead imposes virtual stuff on what is otherwise the real world. While the subject of the article is the creation of a life-sized human-powered version of the classic arcade game "Pac Man", there are more pratical applications. The article specifically mentions medical and military use; Aviation Week has also mentioned the technology in relation to making civil aviation simpler, safer, and easier.
As always, there are two sides to every coin, an no picture is ever what it seems:
A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin.
Urban warfare against fanatics is probably the most violent, personal, and vile form of warfare in existence. From Okinawa to Hue to Fallujah and more, history has proven time and again there's just no such thing as a "harmless" wounded enemy in an urban campaign. Keep this in mind the next time someone around you insists the proper "first step" is to "inspect people for potential threats, period."
Of course, all the DOT and EPA crap happens because each country has their own set of regulations and specifications. Since it's widely agreed that cars in places like Europe, Japan, Canada, and the US are all "equal but different" regarding safety and emissions, wouldn't it be a good idea to synchronize all these different requirements into a common set? Actually, yes it would.
The article takes the standard non-car-guy slant of "cars are fast, speed kills, let's make it all safer", but actually this is being pushed by a far more basic requirement... economics. The auto business is running on razor-thin margins, with almost all car companies worldwide either getting into or recovering from a major financial crisis. It's amazingly expensive to design cars to meet completely different sets of standards from country to country, so harmonizing the rules would represent a major cost savings.
Plus it would allow, for example, some loon in Virginia to buy his own damned Alfa Romeo in Milan and ship it here without a huge and expensive hassle. But we won't tell them about that. :)
In the Post this morning and at CNN: an Archeologist is claiming to have found evidence of human occupation of North America about 50,000 years ago. This would shatter all previous estimates, which generally start at around 13,000 years ago. However, the findings are definitely not without controversy, and what little detail that is available in the popular press makes it sound like the "artifacts" could simply be the remnants of natural wildfires.
Jason over at Countercolumn does some 'splainin about possible reasons for the relatively low coalition casualties in the fighting in Fallujah.
Why sit in a cold, dark deerstand when you can plug them from the comfort of your office chair:
Hunters soon may be able to sit at their computers and blast away at animals on a Texas ranch via the Internet, a prospect that has state wildlife officials up in arms.
A controversial Web site, http://www.live-shot.com, already offers target practice with a .22 caliber rifle and could soon let hunters shoot at deer, antelope and wild pigs, site creator John Underwood said on Tuesday.
Now folks, that's slacking!
Ya know, I don't really have a problem with this. Oh, I think it's plenty weird, but if a farmer wants to let you blast away at game on his land and can make sure you don't shoot him or anyone else while you do it, more power to him. Of course, the trick is how to ensure farmer Ted's "blast-'em.com" system isn't going to put a bullet through his neighbor's kitchen window (or his neighbor, for that matter).
Slashdot linked up news that Tivo is changing the way its service works by placing "billboards", or small logos, on the screen while you fast forward past regular commercials.
The "economic sophistication of a gravel trap" slashdotters are reacting with predictable wailing and rending of shirts, complete with calls of apocalypse and pledges to move to the PVR-Canada of MythTV, but this one isn't bothering me too much. First, these "billboards" will be silent. One of my biggest peeves about TV ads is how unbelievably loud they can be compared to the program's volume. Second, they'll be brief, on screen for as little as 4 seconds at a time. Third, none of these companies are non-profit, and I don't mind if they figure out how to make a buck in a way that stays within the bounds of points 1 and 2.
Others with a more leftist "corporations are by definition part of the neo-con/greedy/evil/grand-right-wing conspiracy" bent will, of course, disagree. To which I can only say that while you're shivering away in your open-source MythTV wilderness and wondering why it's broken down for the fifteenth time, I'll be warm and happy using my Tivo, only having to look at silent 4 second "blip-verts" for the convenience.
WHY would anyone want to cook with this stuff is beyond me!
No Scott, we will NOT be trying ANY of these recipies.
Excuse me while I go vomit (there is probably a site on cooking with vomit for all I know).
Scientific American is reporting on the discovery of a new type of superconductor:
Researchers have found the clearest evidence yet for a superconducting state that differs from its mirror image. Lead scientist Ying Liu of Penn State University says the results, which come after six years of effort, are “definitive proof” that strontium ruthenate, or SRO, exhibits “odd-parity” superconductivity, sometimes called spin-triplet superconductivity. But not everyone is convinced yet. The results are published in the current issue of Science.
Unfortunately the article does not explain just what, exactly, the practical significance of this "odd-parity" superconductor is, so for now it would seem to be a simple curiosity. However, in science "simple curiosities" seldom stay that way for long.
Is violent death ever funny? No, not really, but irony and hypocrisy, well, those are different matters altogether:
(2004-11-16) -- NBC News reporter Kevin Sites today declined to accept Al-Jazeera's Best News Video Award for 2004, insisting that there are many reporters who deserve the recognition, and that he just "happened to be in the right place at the right time."
"I'm no hero," Mr. Sites said. "The real heroes are the executives at NBC News who had the guts to show my video over and over, even after all the heat they took for refusing to show footage of terrorists beheading innocent American civilians. I think that speaks volumes about their character and professionalism."
Hmm? Oh I've never claimed to be anything but a hypocrite. I'm just a hypocrite who has no problem with good guys shooting terrorists.
Making the rounds: NASA successfully completed its Hyper-X program yesterday, with the successful Mach 10 flight of the last X-43A. It was mounted on a Pegasus rocket and then dropped from a B-52. When the rocket reached 110,000 feet, the X-43A craft separated and continued powered flight using its scramjet engine. This milestone represents a significant advance in propulsion technology, as previous scramjet flights had never made it past Mach 5.
For reference, escape velocity (required to get into Earth orbit) is around Mach 33 at sea level, and around mach 25 at very high altitude. I think. Air pressure and temperature are critical to this measurement, and math makes my head hurt.
Being a fan of a car make that isn't currently imported into the US, I'm always interested in tales of "bringing them over anyway." However, I've read enough of them to know that, as they say, "it ain't easy." Those of you with equal interest in importation but less familiarity with the lovely federal beuracratic process should find part 1 and part 2 of one man's attempt to import a Ferrari F-50 race car illuminating.
The delay and enormous expense the EPA and DOT put this guy through over a car that was never meant to be driven on the street is amazing. All the hundreds of pages of regulation in both agencies regarding this end with, in essence "unless it's a race car, in which case you can just ignore all of the above." However, as this tale relates in at times eye-crossing detail, you're not the one who gets to determine what is and is not a race car.
The articles are three years old now. I can't find any later comment on whether or not the thing was finally allowed in, but I'll let you know if I do.
New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing a new way of analyzing ancient settlement patterns that lead to a surprising conclusion. One of the hallmarks of permanent human settlement is some sort of rudimentary method of getting rid of garbage. Even tossing stuff into the street counts, and leaves a distinctive pattern.
By studying the trash patterns at Wadi Hammeh 27, traditionally considered the oldest permanent settlement ever found, two Australian researchers have concluded it wasn't in fact a permanent settlement. Instead, it seems to represent a semi-permanent camp used seasonally by the hunter-gatherers that inhabited the region. This effectively resets the date for "first permanently settled humans" from 12,000 years ago to around 9,200 years ago, which is also when evidence of agriculture starts showing up.
Ron gets a very loud no-prize for bringing us the most extreme hi-fi car conversion we've ever seen. I'm not even sure where you're supposed to sit in that thing. Of course, since you could probably suck the doors off nearby cars with it, I'm not sure you'd want to.
Why put a Christmas tree up in your house when you can just wear one instead?
I've already been informed we will be putting up the tree downstairs, which is currently off-limits to an unsupervised "O-monster". Apparently toddlers and decorations do not mix.
BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing some new discoveries made after examination of the data gathered during the last close Cassini flyby of Titan. Radar imaging seems to have detected "cryovolcanos"... volcanos that erupt not molten rock, but molten water. Currently this provides a neat explanation for why Titan's surface seems so "new", almost completely lacking in impact crater features. Hopefully the upcoming Heugens probe launch will provide much more data.
Why have a TV as big as your wall when you can have one as big as your house? With a scoreboard no less. Now if I can just figure out how to talk my neighbors into letting me mount it...
Those of you who missed the now-famous Anna Nicole "performance" at the AMA's on Sunday will be pleased to know the Internet has provided you with a re-run. I caught the last few seconds of this one live, just enough to wonder if I saw what I thought I saw. It was only after the presenters started cracking jokes about it that I realized "yup, that's what I saw." Fark consensus is "Xanax and Wild Turkey", although her creepy-weird lawyer friend says she just couldn't read the 'prompter.
Yeah. That's it... nearsightedness!
Fark linked up this News.com.au story that details the invention of a robotic roach. By mimicking the way roaches move, act, and smell, researchers have created a device (about the size of a matchbox) that roaches actually accept as one of their own. The idea is this Quizling faux-roach will then lead them all into the light for spraying or stomping.
As one who lived in "Joe's Apartment" for a couple of years, I say more power to them. The cost will probably mean they'll be employed by exterminators or building owners instead of bought at the grocery store by tenants. But as long as the crawlies are gone, I don't care.
It would appear that Condi Rice is replacing Colin Powel at State. Yet another appointment I heartily agree with.
Which leads to a rather interesting speculation. Ms. Rice is already being circulated as a "contendah" for 2008. Assuming she wins her next senate race, only a box of gravel will be surprised at one of the Dems's front-runners in '08.
So, far as I'm concerned, if the planets align correctly, we have a very, very real chance that next US president will be a woman, no matter which party wins. 'Bout damned time.
What do you think would happen if a bunch of loopy lefties held themselves a peace rally, and a whole bunch of Marines showed up? Let's find out:
After figuring out the lay of the land, one of the Marines pulled out his cell phone and called a few friends. Within minutes, we had almost twenty young Marines on site. They chatted with some of the older veterans; they mugged for photos, holding our signs; and, much to the dismay of our anti-war friends, they disrupted their rally by getting together and letting out a few hearty war cries: HOO-RAH!
Actually, everything ended up nice and peaceful. Freedom of assembly at its best. With pictures!
Space.com is carrying this article detailing the discovery of a very unusual astronomical body. Termed a "medium weight" black hole, its 1300 solar masses place it somewhere between "regular" stellar black holes and the supermassive (SM) monsters that sit in the centers of galaxies like our own Milky Way. Even stranger, this object has no fewer than seven very large stars orbiting it, and the entire conglomeration is orbiting within 1.5 light years of the SM black hole in the center of the galaxy. As if that weren't enough, in order for that configuration to form and get that close to the SM it couldn't be more than about 10.5 million years old.
Astronomy is weird.
Team Jaguar, which had been ignominiously cut loose by parent company Ford, seems to have been picked up by Red Bull. While this article details current speculation on who will be driving for the team next year, one thing is not mentioned: Red Bull has been running a US driver search for promising American open-wheel racers. Now that RB own their own F-1 team, it would at least seem far more likely we'll eventually see the ol' stars-and-stripes lifted over a Grand Prix race track.
New Scientist is carrying this article detailing the development of a new technology that could be used to sterilize food without requiring pasteurization (which affects flavor). By using intense flashes of ultraviolet light and shockwaves of up to 1000 atmospheres in pressure, scientists are able to create microscopic air bubbles in food that, somehow, smash harmful bacteria to bits.
Several things puzzle me about this:
The ability to confine forces like this in a box and not outright destroy all organic matter sounds pretty nifty, so who knows what other uses it might have?
Making the rounds:
What's going on in the specialty/classic car forums?
- - - I used the ash tray today. Do I need to replace it?
- - - My girl slept with my brother and my wife. How can I kill 'em? btw, I have a record and I ain't going back.
- - - Some punk kid in a Civic tried to race me.
- - - Some punk kid in a Mustang tried to race me.
Monte Carlo forum
- - - Why do I keep getting pulled over? it ain't stolen, yo.
VW Bug forum
- - - The Save the Earth concert was a success (pics)
- - - When's the last time yours ran?
- - - Wind noise around 210MPH
- - - Some redneck jackass in a Chevy Tahoe just ran over my car (pics)
Chevy 4X4 forum
- - -Miata stuck in my undercarriage. How do I safely remove it? (pics)
BMW 7-series forum
- - - Where to get service on my Rolex?
- - - Problems parallel parking at bingo.
- - - Is Medicare or Medicaid right for me?
- - - Just got back from the future and blew a head gasket. Please help. I'm from 1985.
Ford Crown Victoria forum
- - - How come people never pass me on the highway?
Honda Accord forum
- - - Mom is giving me the car. Looking for some cheap, used 18 inch rims.
Toyota Prius forum
- - - Do our cars use AAA or AA's?
- - - Need suggestions about a business trip to Colombia. Want to get in and out fast.
- - - Tire just went flat. Is it best to trade or sell the car myself?
- - - Roman candle landed on my fender. Melted and need to replace.
- - - Is the carbon fiber dash kit group-buy still on?
- - - Just flipped the Cooper after seeing The Italian Job. Suing the movie company. (pics)
Dodge Viper forum
- - - I frightened myself on the way home from work yesterday. Best way to get urine stains out of leather?
McLaren F1 forum
- - - Some punk kid in a F16 jet fighter tried to race me.
- - - Had a fender bender today. 24 hurt, 10 killed. Do I have to get the black touch-up paint from the dealer? He's 25 miles away. That's $35 in gas.
- - - Hello? Am I the only member?
Subaru WRX forum
- - - I hate cops. Got ticketed for drifting in the Walmart parking lot.
Chevy pickup forum
- - - How do I git the dried tobacco juice stains off the side of mah truck?
Neon SRT Forum
- - - Will this void my warranty?
- - - 13B Groupbuy full, stop PM'ing me.
- - - Transmission Groupbuy full, stop PM'ing me
- - - Head too big to fit in car, should have bought a Targa.
- - - Why did I pay $50k for something with a Cavalier steering wheel?
Ford 2.3 forum
- - - Help! Replaced everything, still doesn't start!
Hmm? What about Alfas? Well, ok:
Alfa Romeo forum
- - - [new Alfas:] Have to turn left blinker on to get car to start, wtf?
- - - [old Alfas:] Loosened all head nuts to re-torque gasket, heard gurgling sound. Is this bad?
Ron gets an x-ray vision no-prize for bringing us the latest in airport security tech, and the busybody controversy it seems to be raising:
A new X-ray machine at London's Heathrow airport, which sees through passengers' clothes, has been attacked by civil liberties campaigners as a “voyeur's charter”. The machine uses low-level radiation to see through clothing, producing an anatomically detailed black and white image of the body underneath.
To their credit, passengers tested were quite level-headed about the whole thing:
“I don't mind if the pictures are a little more personal as long as I'm safe in air—that's what matters,” [passenger Pernille Nielsen] told Reuters.
Which seems to make no difference to our stasist self-appointed protectors, who of course know better than we do:
British civil rights group Liberty called the X-ray images unjustified and intrusive. “We obviously do not object to taking security measures, but I remain totally unconvinced that it is necessary,” a spokesman said.
To justify the intrusion, the airport should show current detectors are inadequate, he added.
I mean, Richard Reid's shoes didn't explode, so that case does nothing to prove the inadequacy of current detectors, right?
I wonder how often these neo-Victorian protestors fly?
Remember that Thanksgiving-dinner-in-a-six-pack story we featured last week? Well, someone has actually reviewed the stuff. The verdict: two were not terrible, two were quite a bit far beyond. Ain't the internet grand?
James F. gets a skyrocketing no-prize for bringing us this collection of nifty model rocket flights. Also included, at the very bottom, is a rather silly (but no less amusing) commercial clip involving a CO2 canister and a barrel of oranges. No, really!
Guest author Nina Hichak (aka- my sister) takes us on her journey of what life is like being in a real band trying to make it in the real world. For most people out there, you think one day a music company finds you out of the blue and suddenly you are famous. What you never get to hear is what the band goes through to get discovered.
We played at the University of New Hampshire last night, to all seven people who were in attendance (most of whom were on the radio station committee who put on the show). I still had a great time, and of course we still played as if the place was packed. It was the first snow fall of the year, and it came as no surprise that we found ourselves going to New Hampshire. The drive up wasn't so bad, but then again, we were stuck in traffic for awhile, so there wasn't much of a chance for the roads to really accumulate any snow. The roads got progressively worse as the night went on though, and by the time we left campus, there was a good inch of sludge for us to trek home through.
But let's not jump ahead of ourselves.
We were late getting to the show for a number of reasons,which created a bit of tension amongst everyone in the band. I had actually been a little disappointed that the car ride was only going to last around an hour, because we always find some way to make the trip entertaining, but we somehow made it last close to three. It was shitty outside, we had a ton of equipment in the back, four lives in the van...we weren't going to speed. So, Guy told us stories from when he was in Garrison, and gave us a bunch of tips on "how to survive on tour." Of course nothing that will come in handy for me, but if any guys out there want some advice on peeing in water bottles, come see me.
Music was limited (Jordan's van has no CD player, only a radio, and a tape deck, which works when it wants to). One of the only stations that came in, we managed to catch right around reggae hour. Jordan loved it. The rest of us were more concerned about huddling under blankets trying to keep warm. (The van also has no heat...or limited amounts of heat).
I was glad that Guy was able to come in the van with us, considering it's the last time we'll really be traveling anywhere far with him. Sadly enough, the last time he'll be playing with us is on Wednesday. No one wants to face the truth, but by recognizing it, I'm preparing myself for what's to come. It certainly won't be the same without him behind the kit, but it's something that will take time getting used to. As we try out new drummers, everyone just needs to keep telling themselves that no one is going to be as good as Guy. That's just something we have to realize. It's not right for us to compare anyone's playing skills to Guy's. We're going to want to, but it wouldn't be fair to put someone on a pedestal like that. It will take some time...That's all I'm saying.
So, the show went well. The two acts who were on before us both consisted of acoustic guitars, bass players, and a vocalist. I stayed to watch a couple of their songs, but was more concerned with what the handful of audience members were going to think once we took the stage. Here we are, with our two keyboards, a mini moog, a laptop (for samples), a drum set, a guitarist, a bass player, two vocalists...How the hell did we get ourselves onto this bill?
Regardless of the situation, it was great to be out of the rehearsal space and back on stage. Brendan and Ed always take on the responsibility of entertaining the crowd as much as possible during our set, and last night was no exception. There happenned to be a push cart lying around for equipment, and they chose to make use of it during our set. I'm sure there are pictures floating around somewhere. I recognized a couple of people who came out at Ralph's as well, so it was nice that they made the trip up from Boston. The people who were there seemed to enjoy us, but then again, it's sort of hard to judge in situations like this. I always wonder what they must think though once they see us up there. "Well, everyone in the band looks about middle-aged, except for that chick playing on the keys. She's gotta be like, 15." Of course I highly doubt it's that bad, but it could be.
We were the last band to play, so we just loaded all of our equipment back into the van, and made the trek home to Boston. We were going around 20 mph for the majority of the ride (or at least it felt as if we were) trying to survive the wintry mix that placed itself upon the New England area. It sucked. I noticed there was a draft that was coming through the windows, and tried to prevent it from coming in with the use of some towels. Frank decided to come in the van with us, so Guy and I didn't have much room to sprawl ourselves out and go to sleep, but it was nice having an extra person only because the warmth of everyone's bodies seemed to keep us all relatively warm. I managed to pass out for awhile, waking up every time the light was turned on to glance at directions, or the window was rolled down to pay a toll. But hey, I got some sleep in.
By the time we loaded everything back into the space, it was somewhere around 430 AM. Needless to say, everyone was exhausted. Jordan's van managed to get stuck in the snow as we were trying to turn, but with Brendan pushing it from behind, it got going again. Not many of the roads were plowed, but then again, who was expecting this to happen?
I woke up around 8 today, God only knows why. But it worked out nicely since I had gotten free tickets from Atlantic Records for the Planes Mistaken for Stars / Alexisonfire / Hot Water Music / Moments in Grace show at the Middle East. It was a pretty decent show. I had tickets for Helmet tonight as well, but didn't think I could handle being at a show for the majority of the day. After all, I do have to get school work done. Tomorrow Guy and I are going to check out Hot Snakes, which should also be a good show. We'll see. For now, I need to get back to sleep.
This drum originally said "Garrison fucking rocks" but since we had to use this kit to actually play a show with, we had to change the message. Here's what we came up with (I think it describes the Campaign perfectly):
Listen to some tracks here.
Instapundit linked up this St. Petersburg Times article that neatly dissects the most common "election fraud" rumors floating around right now. From backward counts, to "more Republicans voted than existed", to soggy ballots, all and more are taken on. Some actually are true, but (not surprisingly, to anyone rational at least) nothing on a scale big enough to matter.
In the "here it is! No, here it is! No, here it is!" category, we have yet another potential site for Atlantis:
An American researcher on the trail of the lost city of Atlantis has discovered evidence of man-made structures submerged in the sea between Cyprus and Syria, a member of his team said Saturday.
Definitely a "believe-it-when-I-see-it" sort of thing. Personally I like the Black Sea flood scenario as the source of all these deluge stories. But whaddoIknow?
Via Daffodil Lane.
James H. gets a bronzed no-prize for bringing us the strange story of Saddam's left leg. No, they haven't decided to take a fillet knife to the old man (more's the pity), instead this is the story of what appears to be the left leg of the statue so famously pulled to the ground when Baghdad fell. It seems some enterprising Brits decided that, since the statue didn't need it anymore, they would do their own imitation of Lord Elgin and take one of the legs into "protective custody". Well, now it's in Germany, although nobody's sure why, and in the hands of customs agents.
Hmm... I'm in need of a lawn ornament. I wonder what the condo association would think of a 6 foot bronze leg in the front yard?
"AMCGLTD", we hear you ask, "I like the phone, a lot. I think I like it too much. I also like sex. But I'm not sure what I like more. Sex? Phones? Sex? I mean, I think I have the same amount of cell phones as I do sex toys. I even have them all set on vibrate. The phones too! But I'm having trouble making ends meet. My phone bills are so high from me calling myself. What am I to do?"
Fear not friendly cell phone pervert! AMCGLTD is here to help! Presenting How to Become a Phone Sex Operator.
Inside you will find such eligtening answers to questions such as:
And many, many more!
Earn more cash for that 5th cell phone! Pay off your college tuition! Act now! Don't delay!
If you are offended by the male reproductive system. Don't click the link.
"And they say, 'Well, you'll have cheese [if you're not circumcised].' I like it! It's my cheese! Give it to me!" Howard Stern on his radio show, 4/11/00
Fark linked up news of progress in the airborne laser project. In a nutshell: Boeing is trying to stuff a laser powerful enough to fry an ICBM into an airplane and, well, fry an ICBM with it. And when I say stuff, I do mean stuff. AvWeek has been following this thing for a couple of years now, and the biggest problem they're currently facing is weight. There's apparently a very real chance the laser, plus its assorted equipment and crew, will exceed the max takeoff weight of its carrier. This is with a 747, mind you. It's also not a solid-state laser, instead using all sorts of exotic chemicals in large amounts to generate the beam. Meaning, it requires ammo.
Also according to AvWeek, the second most pressing problem with the project is funding. As I recall, Congress tried to zero the whole thing out last year, and may try it again, because of cost overruns and the fact that Boeing is persona-non-grata on the hill right now. They've been caught twice with competitor's "top secret" plans in their pockets, and the top-ranking Air Force procurement officer had to resign last year over "irregularities" regarding an attempt to lease 757s as fuel tankers.
So, while nifty, this thing is actually further from flying than even the MSNBC article indicates. Still, it's a frikken laser, as big as my house! If the project gets cancelled, I want it.
Joshua gets a stiff paper no-prize for bringing us news of a rather... interesting... new origami book:
Nick Robinson's "Very Naughty Origami" (Universe), shows novices how to turn a piece of paper into a penis or a pair of big boobs using just a few strategic folds.
And people think I have too much free time on my hands.
Rick P. gets an incomprehensible red flashing no-prize for bringing us the Grammatron. I actually did sit thorugh all 78 pages of it. Took about 5 minutes. I think I want my 5 minutes back, but I'm not sure. Maybe you guys can figure it out. Joshua should consider it just punishement for Zardoz. :)
Warning: has a few pictures of boobies inside. Just a few, and nothing you wouldn't see in
Cosmo Stuff or Maxim. Because you know I never read those chick magazines. Not me. Nope.
Gah. Stupid weird artsy site!
Space.com is carrying this report on new developments in the search for water on Mars. By examining new imaging, radar, and altitude data, scientists working with the Mars Express orbiter think that unusual gully formations found around the planet are probably formed by large underground deposits of liquid water at varying depths. While the evidence doesn't support the theory 100%, it is the one that accounts for the largest part of what is being seen. Perhaps when the ESA finally deploys their hi-res radar imager, we'll be able to find out more.
Why go for pizza when mouthwatering muskrat is available?
This modern convenience of home-delivered muskrat began this week and is made possible by Kolakowski's recent union with Capri Pizza, a company that bakes its pizza in Kola's Food Factory restaurant but offers delivery, too.
No, Ellen, they're not from Arkansas. Arkansans eat squirrel, not muskrat.
Proposed alternate title: "Insert Captain and Tinnille Joke Here." Ditched it because anyone under 30 probably wouldn't know who they were. Damned kids.
Slashdot linked up this nifty old book from the 1970s that purports to explain "how computers work". Which it actually does decent enough job at, as long as you can get past how big everything was back then. Yes, Virginia, those washing machine-sized devices are hard drives. Probably 1-2 MB capacity each at $10,000 a pop. I mean, who would need anything bigger?
Joshua gets a gaudy no-prize he can stick to his dashboard for bringing us You59's homepage. Scroll down a bit, friend... they got a little silly with the <big> tag. I especially like how Christmas justifies idolatry. Just in time for the holidays!
Ron, one of our
victims fuse holders blog-sitters during our summer vacation, had a rather... intense... home invasion experience. Which sounds pretty ominous, until you realize the invader was small, brown, and furry. Can seven "riding the short-bus" cats defeat a creature with a brain the size of a thimble? Can two college educated, otherwise reasonably well adjusted* people stop them in time? Will Ron ever get to play Halo 2? Read on to find out.
* Well, aside from the compulsion to paint everything blue and silver. But we don't talk about that in public. Much.
The Great Mouse Chronicles, part the fourth
Well, it’s winter. And that means it’s cold outside. Which also means that, if you’re an outside animal, you want to be warm. And, well, mice are outside animals.
So, Amber and I are happily sitting on the couch. She’s watching TV and I’m reading my official Halo2 ™ manual. Life was good – and then Amber sort of jump/squealed. She doesn’t do this too often, just when something scares her. Then, she grabs my arm – dislodging the official Halo2 ™ manual – which is what actually got my attention. I look down the hall. Uma, our resident obese kitty, looks down the hall. Bogey, our other resident obese kitty looks down the hall. Yoda, our inert kitty, ignores everything. We all see it – another little brown mouse with big black eyes, stealthily attempting to move down the hall. Unbeknownst to it, many a predator is watching…
This little scene continues for about 30 seconds or so. Then, Bogey slips off the edge of the couch (and by slips, I mean this orangeish-tan mass of fat kitty thumps onto the floor) and trots down the hall, belly swinging from side to side. Amber is rather quick to follow – something about being squeamish when mice become food. The mouse darts into the bedroom, where there are 4 cats just hanging out.
As has been our general modus operandi, we decide to try and catch the little bugger and set it free. Now, driving the sense of urgency on this is the fact that our best man and his bride our on their way here from Cleveland and should be arriving any moment. After arming ourselves with a large plastic cup and a wet dishtowel (no, I don’t know why it was wet), we proceed to stalk the mouse. It’s trapped under some dressing table-like piece of furniture. The basic problem here is that this furniture has space between it and the ground, so we can’t wedge it against the wall and catch it that way – we have to scare it and try to trap it while it’s on the run. Like the true hunters we are, we employ our combined 10 years of college and decide to put one of us on the first route out, the other on the second. We spook the mouse one way and it runs and tries to get out until it sees the other of us. Then it runs back. And we spook it the other way, it sees one of us, and it runs back. After about 5 minutes of this, it decides to run up the back of the nightstand or whatever it is, and across the top of the table. Now, normally, this’d be a good sign. The top is flat, exposed, and there isn’t anything in the way to grab the little bastard. However, this isn’t normal. This is our house. So, there are my glasses, a ring holder thingee (also glass), and many, many other things in the way. We chase the mouse and it just goes back to the floor behind the nightstand (I’m just calling it that from here on out). So, after about three more attempts at this scenario, I get the bright idea (6 of the years of college are paying off…) to clear the top of the nightstand. Murphy being the ass that he is, this means the mouse never ever went to the top again. Go figure.
So, we attempt to corner it again. What we actually do is chase it out into the main room. It bounces (multiple times) off the mirrored closet doors (yes, the closet doors are mirrored. Yes, that can make for fun during certain moments. No, this is not one of the moments. Perv.). Finally, Stinky, a not quite obese cat, notices the mouse – a fun, furry, moving cat toy. And she gives chase. So, the scene is now Amber yelling at Stinky to stop chasing her natural food, Stinky happily ignoring her while chasing the mouse, a mouse running for its dear life, and me chasing the cat. Kippers, the orange tabby with socks, decides to get into the chase as well. This should bode well for being able to corner the bastard, but please remember, our cats are broken. They chase the mouse under the bed. Amber dives to the ground, cup in hand, on the other side of the bed. The mouse comes flying out, hits her hand, and gets serious air. Of course, this gets the massive squeal coupled with the “ohmygodohmygod” sound, followed by hyperventilation and laughter.
At this point, I’m plain amused. This is starting to get fun and has all the precursors of another mouse trapped in the shoe incident.
So, after chasing the bastard out from other pieces of furniture, it gets cornered back under the nightstand again. Amber is lying on the floor, looking under the nightstand trying to spot it. We spook it and out it comes. Right at her face. From my viewpoint, it looks like it runs smack-dab into her face and turns right. Again, very amusing. Amusing to the point where I stop trying to catch it and start cheering it on (note to self: Cheer the mouse on inside your head. This is something to think about, not to say…). All of us (two cats and two intelligent people. Well, we thought we were intelligent, at least.) start the chase again.
Then the mouse sprints for the bathroom – a great thing because there aren’t that many places to hide there. We all rush in, just in time to see the tail disappear into a small hole between the side of our tub and the drywall.
So, in spite of 10 years of college, 4 cats efforts, and several chase scenes worthy of any bloopers reel, it got away. Into the wall. Where it will likely re-emerge at a later time and the whole scene will start all over again.
Kinda like Groundhog Day, don’t ya think?
James H. gets a high-performance no-prize for bringing us news of one of the coolest submarines ever:
The machine is capable of performing the same tricks as living dolphins, including dives, barrel rolls, jumping in and out of water and "porpoising". It can even roll to one side and wave a flipper.
With a top surface speed of almost 50km/h and an underwater speed of 32km/h, the dolphin is made of fibreglass and Kevlar and is fitted with a watertight F-16 fighter jet canopy.
To which I thought to myself, "yeah, right." Except there's a picture of the thing with the article. What a nifty way to get yourself killed!
Booze + Tigers = Ouch:
A tiger pulled the flesh off the right middle finger of a woman at the Wild Wilderness Drive Thru Safari in Gentry on Saturday.
Pruitt admitted she was drinking that afternoon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
I learned the hard way not to mess with house cats after a few beers. Ellen would probably just thump one on the nose and say "NoNoStopThat!" Funny thing is, it'd probably work.
According to this Reuters report, T. Rex liked ribs almost as much as Ellen does:
Tyrannosaurus rex scraped the meat from the ribs of its prey in much the same way a human might gnaw on a serving of barbecued ribs, a meeting of geologists was told on Tuesday.
This is not to say T. Rex preferred ribs, those are simply the bones they've found bite marks on. The action of the chomps is pretty interesting though. Probably tasted like chicken.
No, really, Dinosaurs are bird relatives... damned things are even built like giant chickens. With, you know, foot long teeth, sort of thing. BoK!
Did I mention how glad I am Ellen went into small animal medicine? Why am I grateful? Because otherwise Maggie would've ended up at our house:
When Maggie [the orangutan] arrived at Brookfield in 1995 from the Milwaukee Zoo, she was a big, fat mess.
Tipping the scales at an obese 200 pounds, she was lazy, snored terribly, had an awful case of gas and was constipated.
Maggie's real problem was confirmed: a hyperthyroid condition.
Tuesday, the zoo showed off the "new'' Maggie. Though her before-and-after pix may not reveal a difference, she is 90 pounds lighter, with a complexion perfect for an orangutan: dark and oily. Her reddish hair is now soft and shiny. She's sleeping more soundly and -- with that snoring and flatulence problem under control -- more quietly.
Ellen has to deal with hyperthyroid cats all the time, talks about it constantly. Never knew it could happen to bigger critters.
Leather-scented football soap, anyone? Oh don't worry Amber, no need to thank me, the pleasure's all mine.
Hey, it may be the only way to get him to quit playing Halo2!
Jeff & Cindy get a ridiculously fast and expensive no-prize for bringing us news that both the British and French Grand Prix are back on the 2005 F-1 schedule. It's not a done done deal (nothing in F-1 ever really is), but it's a far cry from being cancelled outright.
Space.com is carrying this article detailing recent observations of weather systems on Uranus (shaddup you). By using the Keck telescope in Hawaii, astronomers have observed all sorts of spectacular weather changes, from clouds 18,000 miles long to a storm that has (so far) lasted 5 years. What's puzzling is that, since it's so far from the Sun, Uranus shouldn't really have any weather, or at least nothing like what's being observed.
"AMCGLTD," we hear you ask, "my attempts at world domination have all failed. That German was too loony, the Japanese were too grandiose, the Russians kept getting drunk, I can't even find that Saudi, and don't even get me started about Micheal Moore. Hell with this. I don't want to conquer the world anymore, I just want to blow it up. But where to start? What am I to do? Help!"
Fear not, friendly evil-doer! AMCGLTD is here to help! Presenting How to Destroy the Earth, your one-stop shop for every plan, scheme, and design to turn everyone's favorite blue marble into subatomic particles. You'll find it all here, from black holes to antimatter to vacuum energy (oh my!), all conveniently organized according to probability of success! Don't delay! You could be the person who finally ends history! Hey, it beats moving to Canada! Act now!
The funny thing is, we actually have this one beat:
A Turkish petrol attendant who lost his mobile phone dialled the number to discover it had been eaten by his dog.
The man, from the province of Konya, could not believe his ears when his dog's stomach started ringing.
True story: A golden retriever came into Ellen's clinic with "foreign body symptoms"... basically, classic indications that the dog had eaten something he shouldn't have eaten. X-rays revealed a large obstruction in his stomach, which, after careful examination, was discovered to be a bra (Ellen's that good with X-rays). During surgery, it turned out to be a really nice bra, copper-colored and lacy, 34-D. So Ellen, well if you ask me being kinda weird but trying to do the right thing, washed and dried the thing and put it in a bag.
"We should've known something was up when a very small thin lady walked in and asked for the dog", she said. "But I said, 'here's your bra too, right out of the dog's stomach. We wanted to save it because it was so fancy!'"
The woman suddenly went all cold and flinty. "That's not my bra" she said, doing a passable Clint Eastwood imitation in the process. Ellen said she thought she could hear the wistle from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" in the background.
"Umm... well... okSeeYouNextWeekForShotsAndStitchRemoval!" (Ellen talks fast when things go pear-shaped on her).
"Oh it's not the dog you should be worried about", she said darkly as she left, dog leash in one hand and someone's bra in the other.
Apparently, by reports, she did show for the follow-up, so either the fallout stayed strictly verbal or, well, they never found the body.
See! Shaggy dog story! No web site should be without one!
Wow. If this article is to be believed (no promises there), I've been tossing out fifteen pounds of packing material every three days for the past sixteen months. All those times I insisted Ellen was OCD'ing with the recycling thing? I take them all back.
Instapundit linked up this Slate article which does a nice job demolishing what I find to be one of the more annoying bleats of the left:
So here is what I want to say on the absolutely crucial matter of secularism. Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now. And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the left.
George Bush may subjectively be a Christian, but he—and the U.S. armed forces—have objectively done more for secularism than the whole of the American agnostic community combined and doubled.
There's only one direction the finger of blame should be pointing for the Democratic route during the last election, and it isn't to the right. Such a shame they choose to do so anyway. Whatever helps you sleep at night, I guess.
Pat gets another no-prize for letting us know of continuing developments regarding the "Flores Hobbits". This article indicates at least some anthropologists are proposing H. sapiens as the ancestor of these little people, instead of H. erectus as was originally proposed. More importantly, the debate seems to indicate the scientific community sees the finds as legitimate, and not a hoax at all. Includes an interesting picture of one of the finds.
Capt. Howdy gets an annoying yet strangely addictive no-prize for bringing us Just Letters. I couldn't get it to even spell "hello". Well, not for long anyway.
Slashdot linked up this article about Kim Peek, the real-life inspiration for the movie Rain Man. Kim is considered a "mega savant", because he has genious capabilities in several academic fields but can't dress himself or find the silverware drawer*. It seems his abilities are actually increasing in his special fields, so scientists are doing a set of MRI scans to see what, if any, changes in his brain may be visible.
* No, Ellen, Kim is not my long lost brother. I know perfectly well where the silverware drawer is. I think.
Instapundit linked up this Harvard Gazette article that makes an interesting claim... terrorism doesn't seem to be caused by poverty, but instead by a certain level of political freedom. Too little, and nascent terrorists are turned in to the secret police by their landlady. Too much, and would-be bombers simply form their own party. According to the study, it's countries that are transitioning from one to the other where terrorism has the best opportunity to take hold.
Remember last year's turkey-and-gravy flavored soda? Well, guess what, it's back, and it's got company:
After the startling success of its turkey and gravy-flavored soda during last year's U.S. holiday season, a Seattle soda company will be serving up green beans and casserole, mashed potatoes, fruitcake and cranberry flavors.
Well there ya go. Thanksgiving in a six pack. Now if they'd just figure out how to add alcohol to it...
New Scientist is carrying this article describing a rather startling discovery about Saturn... the rings make music. No, really! Apparently impacts in the ring structures generate radio waves of distinct wavelength and frequency. If I'm reading the article correctly, it's not the "WeeerrWOO" static tone, but distinct and steady, like a bell. That surrounds a planet.
Ain't astronomy great?
Bah. Who needs a proton pack when a webcam will do just fine?
Definitely gotta drag Ellen to this place. And then sneak up behind her and go BOO!
Rrmm... or not?
In the "Darwin Award in the Making" category, we have this example of "car surfing" that didn't go exactly as planned:
A 29-year-old man is in serious condition after he was apparently car surfing in North Las Vegas.
Police say Ralph Brooks was lying on the hood of the car when the driver suddenly came to a halt near Decatur and Grand Teton.
What I want to know is, when did riding on the hood of a moving car become so common it got its own name?
Bigelow Aerospace, makers of the inflatable space station system we've mentioned before, has finally announced the official terms of its own "space prize":
Anyone who wants to follow in the shoes of Burt Rutan and win the next big space prize will have to build a spacecraft capable of taking a crew of no fewer than five people to an altitude of 400 kilometers and complete two orbits of the Earth at that altitude. Then they have to repeat that accomplishment within 60 days.
From everything I've read, getting into orbit is much harder than the sub-orbital stuff Rutan's bunch has done (which was no walk in the park). However, it's definitely not impossible. Hey, I got a great set of metric wrenches in my garage. That's a start, right?
I think I found Joshua's next bike. God knows how much it costs.
Yes, Virginia, that's a bamboo frame. Sad thing is, considering the spanking I got last week from a guy with a steel bike and exactly two gears, my wookie friend would probably disappear over the horizon rather quickly on this thing. It sure does suck getting old, it does.
A woman undergoing cancer treatment has had an ovary transplanted into her left arm which is functioning normally.
Apparently it was to protect her fertility while she underwent radiation treatment. Which (according to the article) she didn't undergo, and has since gone home. With a mighty weird lump under one arm. Yeesh.
BBCnews is carrying this article discussing a nifty find at a recent UK excavation:
The fashion conscious women of Roman Britain used a tin-based foundation to get a pale and appealing look.
The evidence comes from a sealed pot of ointment found at an archaeological dig in Southwark, south London, last year.
I could have sworn we covered this when it first broke last year, but I couldn't find anything digging through the archives. Of course, as big as this place is now that doesn't mean too much. At any rate, a really interesting find!
Ah, golf tournaments. The fresh air, the sunshine, the prostitute tents:
Two golf course managers and a tournament organizer were sentenced to house arrest for hosting two competitions featuring prostitutes and strippers stationed along the putting greens.
Just goes to show golf isn't always boring.
Title says it all: Hamsters, in Hats. No Ellen, you can't have one.
New Scientist is carrying this article describing the discovery of the largest field of impact craters ever found on Earth. Located in south-west Egypt, this area contains evidence of perhaps as many as 100 impacts over a nearly 2000 square mile area. Some of the impacts are a few yards across, while others are more than a mile wide. Dating is tricky, but the current working date is around 50 million years ago. Which is, on a geological timescale, suspiciously close to the 65 million year mark that saw the demise of the dinosaurs. It may turn out the sky fell on the dinos not just once, but multiple times.
Slashdot linked up three reviews of Halo 2, and the consensus seems to be "A+". One guy didn't like the campaign very much, but the other two liked it a lot, so I can't help but think maybe the first one ran it through on the wrong difficulty level. Lord knows my appreciation for level design became a lot greater when I just sucked it up and started choosing the "hardest/demon/god-fearing/wtf??" difficulty settings on shooters. Anyone who plays more than three of these things a year should probably do the same.
NEW YORK Nov 7, 2004 — A 25-year-old man from Georgia who was apparently distraught over President Bush's re-election shot and killed himself at ground zero. Andrew Veal's body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A shotgun was found nearby, but no suicide note was found, Coleman said.
Read rest of pathetic moonbatish article here.
He didn't do it right. Moonbats are supposed to douse themselves with gasoline and light up. I would've helped, but the post office woundn't let me send him a pint of gasoline. (Yes I'm being mean. Yada, yada, yada...boo-hoo to you.)
Ron gets a petrified no-prize for bringing us this Discovery Channel On-line article detailing the discovery of three ancient anarctic forests. Dated to about 260 million years ago, these Permian stands of trees are very early examples of a deciduous species now long extinct.
What I find puzzling is, if I'm remembering my continental drift stuff correctly (no promises there), Antarctica may not have been at the south pole around 250 million years ago, which would seem to make the find rather less important for understanding ancient polar climates.
So, you probably didn't ask, how's the election playing in Iraq? Why not ask a soldier:
Saw more than a few online pundits wondering how the troops in Iraq were responding to the election results. 'How are they celebrating in Iraq?'
Glad you asked.
Well, the muck left behind by the past few day's rains has turned to dust, and brooms are the weapon of choice today. How are we marking the occasion? We're sweeping the dust off the ages off the floor of the tent so we can get back to business.
I had to verbally counsel one guy to please stop taunting a Democrat. He wasn't being mean about it but its just not done, get it? Then I talked to the other guy and asked if the guys were bugging him too much. "No" he said "I can handle it. We're all okay with each other."
Good. Good. See, the brotherhood of arms trumps political persuasion.
That said, I echo this question from Jonah Goldberg: "NOW THAT HE'S NOT USING IT... Can John Kerry please tell us what his super-duper special terrific secret plan to fix Iraq was?"
Is that fair? Is that mean? Unless everyone knows (nudge nudge) that there was never a plan?
Gloating? Us? We're not stupid, we're just linking up a damned funny post from someone who's getting shot at who just happens to agree with us.
Yeah, that's the ticket.
Slashdot yesterday, and now Fark today*, linked up this sneak preview trailer for the very last Dinsey-Pixar film, Cars. All I can say is, we have to wait a whole year for this?!? [Whoosh-crack!] You! Over there by the computer! Animate faster!
* So why link it? Well, they usually link our stuff a day or two later, figured we'd throw 'em a bone**.
** Delusions of grandeur? What are those?
There's incentive, and then there's incentive:
New York officials were red-faced on Friday after they discovered that clothing ads on city buses that appeared to promote reading suggested a love of books could be rewarded with oral sex.
I still listen to enough pop music that I can just about keep up with slang. Which, when coupled with my "white boy from Mars" diction, will give me yet another way to completely embarass my daughter in, oh, about 12 years.
The left continues its transition through the five stages of grief with this absolutely pitiful site. Yeah, I know, it's supposed to be a joke. I stopped laughing at stuff like this, oh, about three years ago. They don't want our apologies you stupid simpering twits, they want our heads.
And I'm sorry, I really don't care why they want them anymore. That part stopped mattering at around the same time. No, I won't just get over it. I won't just get over it for a very, very long time. Which is why I'm going to do my best to see that you and yours can do nothing more than whine to the rest of the world. That way all they can do is laugh at you.
Oh yes, I know they'll be laughing at me harder. Hell I'll laugh with them. As long as they stay on their side of the goddamned fence, that is.
See you in two years!
The Mars Express orbiter recently completed an extensive survey of the giant Valley Marineris system, and has found strong evidence that glaciers once filled some of its valleys. The report also includes notes about the upcoming deployment of (and the dangers involved in) the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding, or MARSIS, an instrument that should be able to find evidence of water even if it's very deep under the surface of the planet. Finally, there is also a brief discussion of developments regarding the failed Beagle probe team's efforts at launching a follow-up mission.
The article includes several tres-cool pictures of various parts of the Marineris complex.
Boys raised by wolves, dogs raised by cats, and now rats raised by birds???
Rottie the rat thinks he is a bird... But it comes as no surprise when one realises that Madam and Tokkelos, two lovebirds, are raising this rodent.
There's interesting times, and then there's interesting times.
Joshua gets a fishy no-prize for making me realize that suddenly, I'm even less inclined to shoot the Potomac rapids:
Something fishy is happening in the headwaters of the Potomac River. Scientists have discovered that some male bass are producing eggs—a decidedly female reproductive function.
Scientists have their suspicions about what's causing this, mostly having to do with domestic sewage treatment techniques. Apparently, they're beginning to find some correlation between these weird fish and trace levels of both natural and artificial estrogens coming from households (perhaps caused by urine and birth control pills, respectively). However, much more data will need to be gathered before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
Instapundit linked up this Backseat Philosopher essay that seems to directly address several problems I myself have seen with the unfolding Democratic fallout from this year's election:
Many Democrats think that our patience and understanding are our weakness. "We don't know how to fight like the Republicans," we all told ourselves after Florida 2000. "We have to be more like them: tougher, meaner." "We have to energize our base more."
Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously. "Well, he can't help himself, he's a right-wing religious zealot, so of course he's going to think like that." "Republicans who never served in war are hypocrites to send young men to die. " "Republicans are homophobes, probably because they can't deal with their secret desires." Anything but actually listening and responding to the arguments being made.
Lots of good, constructive things in there, read it before you start helping me look for my blind-man's cane again.
In my experience, these elitist attitudes are quite real, and are a very real problem. Case in point: during voting at our precinct, there was one man there for the Republicans handing out the standard "please fill out your ballot this way" flier. He was quiet, professional, and dressed in a suit. The Democrats had two people there, one 20-something and another perhaps twice that age. They were dressed casually with campaign T-shirts, and were handing out similar fliers that were actually more informative than the Republicans's (they had the whole ballot, including amendments and bond issues, while the Republicans's didn't.)
However, their dress was not the point. Just as my section of the line was about to enter the building, the older Kerry supporter called the younger one over, and quite clearly said, "Ok, these Republicans seem to be quiet and civilized, but you'll probably run in to others..."
It's very hard not to alienate large swathes of people with such attitudes, and trust me, you're not hiding them as well as you think you are. Until you're able to strangle your elitism and begin trying to address the other side's ideas in a way that shows you're really listening and not just waiting to toss a snide barb, you're going to have a very rough time indeed.
New Scientist is carrying this update on current goings-on with the Mars rovers. Includes this very weird revelation:
Opportunity is taking advantage of a mysterious power boost, which is still baffling scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Something seems to pass by at night and sweep dust from the rover's solar panels, allowing them to absorb more sunlight the next day.
Cue "X-Files" theme song!
Otherwise the rovers are in reasonably good health, continuing to supply very good data, suriving the winter, and aging (albeit gracefully).
Ron gets a springy no-prize for bringing us instructions on how to make a sword, cheap. In a nutshell: get a leaf spring, pound the crap out of it until it's straight, then grind on it for a few days. Presto! A sword blade made of the finest industrial steel, formulated specifically for hard, flexible work.
I happen to know of a certain brother who has a car with leaf springs that's not doing much at the moment... now, to get a grinder...
Update: Actually, the entire site is pretty nifty, in an "SCA-armor-made-out-of-road-signs" sort of way.
There's origami, and then there's origami.
I dunno man, those patterns look nearly as artsy as the product. I used to be able to fold up a paper rocket, but it's been so long I'm not sure I remember how. Don't even ask about the present wrapping skills. It's pretty ugly.
Joshua gets a very learned no-prize for bringing us news of the Cornell Evolution Project, which wishes to "determine the degree to which the world's leading evolutionary biologists believe in traditional religion, naturalism, and the philosophical implications of their science. A further goal will be to understand how they reconcile these disparate and often conflicting beliefs with their teaching and practice of evolutionary biology."
In other words, if I'm reading it correctly, they're going to see if evolutionary biologists "have religion", if so what sort, and how they reconcile their faith with the implications of their science.
On the face of it, the premise seems to imply that the science of evolutionary biology obviates faith, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to have their head examined. Humanistic atheisim at its most pure, if you will. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that premise is demonstrably false (faith involves a lot more than just explaining where it all came from), which makes me a bit suspicious of the entire project.
However, if done properly it could give us some fascinating insights into how biologists themselves deal with the higher philosophical implications of their work. If the study is not a giant snooze-fest, I may want to borrow it from Joshua when he's done.
There is one individual who, above all others, has plumbed the effects of custard. René A de Wijk is based at the Wageningen centre for food sciences in the Netherlands. De Wijk is enjoying a stunning burst of productivity, having published more than 10 custard-centric research reports during the past four years. Each is a substantial contribution to our understanding of, and relationship with, custard.
I know, I know, "as long as the science is good..." yadda yadda yadda. Doesn't mean I can't make fun of it!
Cool only because nobody's gotten hurt... Europe proves, when it comes to volcanoes at least, they've got it all over us:
A spectacular volcanic eruption under an Iceland glacier has forced airlines to divert flights to avoid flying through gas emissions from the blast.
Hope you weren't planning on visiting Iceland for vacation any time soon.
Instapundit linked up another Amir Taheri op-ed, this time about European reaction to our election:
One Paris TV anchor was literally struck dumb mometarily when, after hours of crowing over Kerry's victory and the American people's supposed liberation from Bushist tyranny, he had to admit that things had gone differently.
Includes a lot of interesting positives that could arise now that Europe knows Bush isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Witnessed this morning:
Olivia, watching her favorite morning show "Animal Jam", slowly walked backward into a little people castle set. A few arm waves, foot comes out, down child goes, crashing butt-first into a rather pointy plastic toy. And then this popped out:
"Ow ow ow." Look of disgust, then as she got up, "Fuh fuh fuh."
Turned around, looked down, and pointed an accusing finger, "Fuh-ee toy, ow ow." Then she stomped away to grab a cat.
Don't blame me. Ellen's the one who can say, well, "fuh" in a sentence four times without trying. I'm as pure as the driven snow, I never say any of those words!
Pat gets high bid on a no-prize for bringing us Weird Al's most excellent E-bay parody song. Includes lyrics and the song itself. A++ indeed!
"Umm, Scott... why is Olivia acting so cheerful?
Nearly 100 fruit juice boxes containing liquid heroin were intercepted Wednesday in a shipment from Colombia, federal officials said.
Yeah. Juice boxes. From Columbia. What could possibly go wrong there?
It's going to be a very long 4 years for you all.
The earth is going to continue to spin on its axis.
The sky has not turned purple and the clouds are not raining sulfuric acid.
You will continue to support the economy by spending spending spending (Xmas is coming up!)
None of you are moving to Canada or Europe (it's not any better there, it's worse).
Fish and frogs are not going to rain down from the sky.
Angels are not thundering across the sky (though I did give a strangely pale horse an apple recently.)
The missles are still in their silos.
The rivers are not running with blood (well maybe the one with the dead guy in it.)
We have barely seen a grasshopper, let alone a plague of locusts (though if my skink turns up again, I'm taking a picture.)
My italian grandmother has not climbed out of her grave demanding to see her great-grandchild.
Cats and dogs are not sleeping together! Nor is there mass hysteria!
You can put on your sack cloth, you can dust yourself with ashes. You can whack yourself on your heads with boards just like in Monty Python. If you feel you really need to mourn, let me know. I'll hire you some professional Italian widows. But 2 weeks from now, suck, it up.
You can go about your buisness now.
Move along, move along.
Oil futures prices fell Wednesday after an American government report showed U.S. supplies of crude rising sharply, allowing traders to shrug off the fact that inventories of heating oil are still tight.
Markets work on their own logic, in their own time.
Moonbat conspiracies regarding a certain coincidence in 3... 2... 1...
From the Institute of Interior Desecrations we're happy to present the 1971 dream home. The sad thing is, I recognize some of that stuff from my parents's old house. Remember folks, some of us never noticed how campy the Brady Bunch was because our houses looked like that too!
Note: Fark-found, so the site is crawling right now. Be patient, it's worth it.
Space.com is carrying this story on a potential solution to the "magnetic star" mystery. By using new computer models, scientists were able to accurately model a sequence of events that would allow a star to keep some (or even most) of the magnetic field of the cloud that it was born in. While the results are still preliminary, it gives a boost to the "fossil field" theory of how these critters are born.
Scientific American is carrying this article detailing a new discovery in animal toxin research. Scientists have known for a long time that certain birds and frogs in New Guinea and the Amazon rain forests secrete special poisons from their skin to ward off predators and parasites, but when raised in captivity these animals showed no trace of any such poison. Finally, scientists have discovered (through the help of local villagers) a small beetle that seems to be the ultimate origin of the neurotoxin. During the research, they also discovered other species of beetles that secrete similar but previously unknown varieties of the toxin.
While trying to find something else to write about, I stumbled across this spectacular composite picture created by one of the Mars rovers. Called the "Cahokia Panorama", it consists of 470 separate pictures taken over ten days by the Spirit rover as it stood in the middle of the Columbia Hills.
It may look like west Texas, but it's actually Mars. Ain't that somethin'?
Not content with regular prayer service, this Taiwanese man decided to throw himself to the lions:
A man leaped into a lion's den at the Taipei Zoo on Wednesday to try to convert the king of beasts to Christianity, but was bitten in the leg for his efforts.
Yeah, I know. Best I could do. Odd news has been completely pushed aside for some damned fool reason today.
Pat gets a discount no-prize for bringing us this NYT piece about what might be the final decline of the US textile industry:
For many years, textile and clothing factories in the mill towns of the Carolinas - originally drawn from New York and New England decades ago by the prospect of inexpensive nonunion workers - have been closing one after another as the industry migrated abroad in search of ever-cheaper labor. Now, this gradual loss may be about to turn into a rout.
On Jan. 1, the global system of country-by-country quotas regulating the $495 billion international trade in textiles and apparel is scheduled to be eliminated.
The article goes into great, predictable, detail about how a small innocent Southern town is being decimated by foreign competition and government neglect. Which is, on the face of it, sincerely tragic and rather difficult for a free marketeer to argue against. Until you re-phrase the question:
Should we all be forced to pay six billion dollars more for our clothes to ensure a few thousand people get to keep their jobs?
There are some of you out there who will respond with a raucous "yes!" Who would be quite willing to pay a premium for a "made in USA" tag. To which I say "more power to you!" It's your money, it should be your choice, and if you decide to help these people with your dollars then great, that's the way it's supposed to work.
But the cold hard truth is we're not doing it. To this day I can sing "Look for the Union Label", a jingle to a commercial run thirty years ago in an attempt to get people to "buy American" textiles. It didn't work then, and it's not working now. No matter what smoke and mirrors main stream media and union organizers try to distract us with, the bottom line is it's not the government's fault the textile industry is in free fall. It's ours.
Our penance? Being forced to do our patriotic duty. That's right folks, they're not asking you to "buy American", they're telling you. That is, ultimately, what quotas and trade barriers are all about. Taking choice out of our hands and putting it in the hands of those who think (sometimes with the best of intentions, sometimes not) they know better than we do. Technocratic stasis at its purest.
Noble as saving jobs for rural, poorly educated citizens is, where does it stop? If we save the textile industry, why can't we save the auto industry? The dairy farmers? The steel mills? The bell hops? The travel agents? And who decides which industries get protection, and which ones don't? I may personally be able to afford an extra $4 per shirt, but for a lot of people $4 can make the difference between being clothed and going naked.
To which, of course, technocrats intone the world over "We are the Ones Who will Decide Who Should Pay More and Who Should Pay Less." The truly sad thing is many of you actually believe them. So instead of a free market in which we get to decide who stays and who goes, we end up with a cabal of elite who do whatever they please while ensuring the "rabble" (i.e. you and me) bear the brunt of their decisions about what is fair and what is not.
America has one of the most efficient, mobile, and educated workforces in the world. We work more hours and produce more per hour than any other country on the planet. Sophisticated companies producing sophisticated products are constantly building factories in this country because increasingly wealthy consumers around the world are demanding sophisticated products with phenomenal quality and unsurpassed capabilities that can only be built here. As the world gets wealthier, our supernaturally capable mousetraps are causing them to pave a path to our door.
"Well, that's all well and good Scott", I can hear you say, "but that doesn't hide the fact that textile jobs are still moving overseas. You're just blowing smoke, because obviously we can't compete there, and perhaps anywhere else."
To which I say, to be blunt, bullshit. There's no reason our textile industry can't leverage our superior infrastructure, work ethic, technology, and educated workforce to carve giant chunks out of the hides of anyone who tries to take us on.
Well, no reason except one:
Current trade adjustment assistance, largely aimed at training workers for new jobs, was denounced by factory owners and union officials in this region as too little and too difficult. (emphasis added)
Anyone outside a union who's ever had to deal with one will be the first to tell you about the insanity organized labor imposes on a business. My dad to this day can regale you with tales of bolts on spacecraft that went untightened because union regulations specified only a certain person could turn the wrench. No matter what their (admittedly powerful) emotional appeal, modern labor unions wrap a noose around the neck of any industry that touches them. They may protect, for a time, but when the trap door of competition is opened instead of bouncing on the ground below, coming up bruised but otherwise fine, all a hapless worker will hear is a sickening "snap".
To be honest, I don't think it's fair that someone who's dedicated their lives to a company should suddenly be facing destitution just because the company bosses made stupid decisions. That's why I support easier access to higher education, tort reform and lower taxes to make selling houses more profitable, even loopy things like moving subsidies to make it cheaper to go from one end of this country to the other in search of a job. But I do not think we should all be punished with higher prices just because factory managers and the leadership of the unionized workers refuse to face reality.
I don't say these things as some sort of pseudo-academic who's never had to face these decisions myself. I would still be in Arkansas in a radically different situation if, fifteen years ago, I had been able to find work there. The sad truth is nothing I could do was of value in Arkansas, so after wrenching and horribly disruptive events in my life I ended up (ultimately) in Northern Virginia, where I could send out twenty resumes and get five replies back per week.
If I'd had the opportunity to avoid it all, would I? Without knowing what I do now, facing those risks with no guarantee, absolutely, I would have done anything to avoid it. Am I, my family, my city, my state, my country better off because I couldn't?
The work I do now, that I never dreamed of doing fifteen years ago, helps other people. Helps them keep their family members from killing themselves. Helps others stop the demons from talking them into slashing themselves with razors. Helps them eat a pill instead of a bullet. Helps me raise a family, and buy a house, and pay my taxes.
Yes, it was terrible. Yes, there was pain. No, it wasn't fair. But am I now better off?
What do you think?
New Scientist is carrying this article and super-nifty picture of a moon caught stealing material from one of Saturn's rings. Called Prometheus, this tiny rock is thought to play a primary role in the definition of one of the main rings. Models had also predicted it would sometimes take material away from them, and now they seem to have confirmation.
Pretty wild to see something once considered eternal and unchanging transforming itself right in front of you, no?
It's a damned shame I've already voted, because if I'd heard of this guy before today, well, things coulda been different:
If Jack Grimes were in charge of America, he says, he would finally set things right.
He would establish a fascist dictatorship based on the teachings of Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein, and he would rely on telepathy and astrology to help him make his decisions.
It's bound to happen, he says, since he's been sent "by the gods" to revive the "Roman empire."
Ok, all those times I called you guys unreasonable moonbats twirling away merrily in a bell tower? Ok, well, I'm not going to take them back. But I am definitely not going to say you're twirling in a bell tower anymore. Well, ok, I probably will. But at least now I know you'll have company!
Yeah yeah yeah, "GW's already done all this", you say.
In a public forum.
After you've already voted against him.
With a sign for his opponent on your lawn.
Sheesh. Some people just can't take a damned joke. Now where'd I put that braille book...
Teeth, they're the other brain:
When your dentist pulls an aching tooth he could be yanking out some of your memory at the same time, according to a new Swedish study to be presented in Stockholm on Friday.
"Teeth appear to be of the utmost importance to our memories," said Jan Bergdahl, an associate psychology professor at the Umeaa University in northern Sweden, a dentist and one of the authors of the study.
So that's why we keep having to tell Olivia no time and again. She really isn't a short, willful, obscenely cute monster bent on world domination. Or, at least "giant-bucket-of-cheese-puffs" domination. Trust me, to her they're nearly the same thing.
So, all I have to do is wait until she gets all her teeth in, and we'll have a content and obedient child. Right?
ABC news is carrying this report about a new effort to find out if Mozart's skull is really, well, Mozart's skull:
DNA tests could soon solve a century-old mystery whether a skull held by the International Mozarteum Foundation is that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Archaeologists have opened a grave in Salzburg thought to contain the remains of Mozart's father and other relatives. Experts plan to compare the remains' genetic material with the foundation's skull to determine if it belonged to the famed Austrian composer.
Apparently the skull came to the foundation through a rather poorly documented path that included a few grave robbers. I don't blame to society for wanting to know if what they have once belonged to Mozart.
Amir Taheri makes another point:
Americans will certainly have 9/11 in mind when they vote today. But they should keep another date in mind, too — one almost exactly a quarter-century ago: Nov. 4, 1979. A clear path runs to 9/11 from the day of the raid on the U.S. embassy in Tehran and the seizure of American hostages.
An interesting take from someone who saw most of the earlier incident's events from the inside.
"Scientist wastes money studying bubbles in syrup." Easy call, right? Wrong:
The behavior of air bubbles in ordinary breakfast syrup demonstrates how scientists might be able to make vanishingly thin tubes and fibers for biomedical and other applications.
The beauty of science is that even the most trivial of pursuits can end up with amazing consequences. As long as the science is good, never criticise the subject.
Pat gets a no-prize for bringing us more on the continuing discussion about the "hobbit people", this time from a mainstream Christian perspective:
If Homo floresiensis still exists then they need to be treated with respect and care whether the anthropologists class them as human or not.
What I think would be most amazing of all would be if they had a religion all their own.
A video clip on a guy getting his nuts waxed.
The facial expression are priceless!
Scott and I have not been to a real show since before O was born.
Tonight I just purchased 2 tickets to The Bellydance Superstars.
I'm totally excited!
Ok, I haven't even gotten through the whole thing, but this instapundit-linked interview with none other that Tom Wolfe is worth the price of admission just for this:
"Indeed, I was at a similar dinner, listening to the same conversation [where this personal, real hatred of the current president was being discussed], and said: 'If all else fails, you can vote for Bush.' People looked at me as if I had just said: 'Oh, I forgot to tell you, I am a child molester.' I would vote for Bush if for no other reason than to be at the airport waving off all the people who say they are going to London if he wins again. Someone has got to stay behind."
The 'bats in the gallery will probably be shocked to read me write there's not a damned thing in this article I disagree with, right down to his defense of political correctness. I've said it before, I'll say it again, as far as I'm concerned, the most important characteristic of a president is decisiveness.
I don't think even the people who hand me the leash to my seeing-eye dog will doubt which candidate has the advantage there.
Well, I don't know who exactly decided it, but this list of the "Best of 2004" photos are pretty darned good. Seen a few of them around, but others were new to me. Hopefully the shutterbugs out there will have some fun with them.
A little late, but too cool to let go by: the Ghost Head nebula. 50 light-years across no less. And I thought Ellen's seven foot inflated cat was big.
I guess the biggest question is, why didn't any of us think of this first?
Holy Spring Water™ is 100% pure natural spring water, that tastes great and has been blessed by a Monk, a Catholic Priest, as well as Holy Shaman. Holy Spring water™ washes away the sins of anyone feeling "less then saintly". Try our Holy Spring Water™, You'll immediately fell refreshed and redeemed-your satisfaction is guaranteed.
Heh... for that "less than saintly" feeling. Blasphemy, commercialism, and tackiness all wrapped up in a single website. Perfect!
New Scientist is carrying this article about a revolutionary new coating that makes CDs, DVDs, and even LCD screens nearly impervious to scratches and stains:
Two separate layers of fine silica particles prevent scratches, and fluorine-containing resins in each layer repel ink marks. To deposit the first layer of the new coating, a mix of silica microparticles 50 micrometres across and a solution of a fluorine-containing resin are spread on by spin-coating the surface at 8000 rpm.
No word on how much more expensive this will make, say, blank DVDs. They'll have to be careful, because if the cost is much higher than regular blanks they just won't sell. Should be an easy "get" for LCD screens and commercial CD/DVD manufacture. The former's high cost makes a coating much more desirable, and the music and movie cartels will ensure the cost of the latter are quickly passed on to the consumer.
I'm a slob when it comes to CDs, and have ruined quite a few just because I don't put them up. It'll be cool to get a set that I don't need to put up.
In honor of our recent bike outing, wherein Amber and Ellen became Menaces to the Free Flow of Traffic and Disturbed the Peace by suddenly stopping and girl-shrieking about a trailside Llama farm, we are happy to present the Llama song.
And no, they're not cute. Anything that spits at you on principles is not cute.
BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing China's plans for their next Taikonaut space mission. In a nutshell: 5 days, 2 guys, we're actually gonna crawl around in the space craft for a bit and make sure all the switches work. No mention on when it's going to happen though.
Fark linked up this nice story about a dad's effort to help local kids while they're waiting on the school bus. Since the shelter that was there when they moved into their house was falling down, he decided to rebuild it as a castle. Not surprisingly, within three months some naked chimps came along and burned it down. Fortunately, this didn't stop the guy, he just rebuilt it (hopefully this time with stone).
And yes, they're SCA/gamers. See! Nerds can be cool too!