December 31, 2004
Top 10 Paranormal Events of 2004


Posted by Ellen at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)
Dur IV

Ok, I was wrong... this is the last 2004 recipient of our "Captain Obvious Story of the Year" award:

A new study gives scientific clout to a conclusion many already see as obvious: Eating lots of fast food makes you fat and increases the chance of developing diabetes.

Your tax dollars at work!

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)
When Stockings Aren't the Only Thing You're Looking to Stuff

The title says it all: what's wrong with this picture?

Via Silflay.

Posted by scott at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!!

AMCGLTD hopes everyone has a fun and safe holiday!

Posted by Ellen at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)
December 30, 2004
Chicken Little on a Surfboard

Actually, I'm surprised it's taken this long for the press monkeys to figure out the US actually has coasts that... GASP!!! ... are near fault lines:

Scientists say grinding geologic circumstances similar to those in Sumatra also exist just off the Pacific Northwest coast. They are a loaded gun that could trigger a tsunami that could hit Northern California, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia in minutes — too fast for the nation's deep-sea tsunami warning system to help.

In its own way, this is very much like stating "holy crap! There's a really dangerous volcano located next to a US city! Run for your lives!!! Look, you're much more likely to get run over by Buffy the Cellphone Slayer and her Impressively Robust Four Ton SUV than you are to be washed out to sea by some surfer dude's wet dream. Quit watching the doomsday video and start driving safer. It'll do you a helluva lot more good.

I don't know. I guess growing up living in the shadow of nuclear holocaust has made me a little blase about environmental armageddon. Am I the only 30-something who's completely unimpressed by predictions of doom which nobody has even the slightest chance of controlling?

Posted by scott at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)
Silver Linings

Instapundit linked up this nice compendium of good news for 2004. In a nutshell: in most ways that really count, overall this was a damned good year for humanity.

Posted by scott at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)
More News, for the Rest of Us

Scrappleface does it again with the real reason the Bush administration has come under fire about its "reaction" to the recent south Asian disaster:

"Along with the millions of displaced victims are dozens of reporters and their crews trapped in Crawford, Texas, during the holidays," said presidential spokesman Trent Duffy. "The White House press corps is in desperate need of quotes and video of the president's reaction to world events."

It's not called The Beast for nothing. The only real mistake the administration made was not feeding it fast enough.

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
~ Your Own / Hi-Res / Jesus ~

First sandwiches, now monitors. At this writing it's sitting at $100, so bid early, bid often!

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)
Thank You for Calling Tech Support...

In honor of me blowing up my own computer* just now, I'm happy to link this tech support stories site:

Cut from our email support log:

This morning I tried to sign on and for a purple screen. After several tried with different browsers then I got the message you were down. I tried to exit. It went to a background with huge pixels and stuck. I mean no amount of rebooting would get rid of it. Finally I had to reset my wallpaper.

Oldies (lots of DOS and Win 95 references), but still eye-roll worthy. Do a search on our site for "Welcome to My World" and you'll see these are not unique incidents.

* Yes, I know what I did wrong. Yes, it was really stupid. No, you can't help.

Posted by scott at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)
Thank You for Calling Tech Support...

In honor of me blowing my own computer* up just now, I'm happy to link up this tech support stories site:

Cut from our email support log:

This morning I tried to sign on and for a purple screen. After several tried with different browsers then I got the message you were down. I tried to exit. It went to a background with huge pixels and stuck. I mean no amount of rebooting would get rid of it. Finally I had to reset my wallpaper.

Do a search on our site for "Welcome to My World" and you'll see these are not unique incidents.

* Yes, I know what I did wrong. Yes, it was really stupid. No, you can't help.

Posted by scott at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)
SETI Phone Home is carrying this nifty update about the goings-on at SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. It covers new initiatives to search the sky for laser signals (a new and promising field), as well as the first-stage implementation of the Allen Telescope Array. Called the ATA for short, this "farm" of 350 dishes each 20 feet in diameter should allow scientists to quickly scan massive swaths of the sky.

Who knows, maybe they will actually find something this year.

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Our final "Captain Obvious Story" award of the year goes to this recycled AP news report:

Alcohol use among minors is highest in communities where it is easy for them to buy it, a new study has found, according to an Associated Press report.

Ya don't say! I've also heard that people get into far more car accidents in areas where cars are driven!

No great surprise that the director of the study that generated this regurgitated press release came from the People's Republic of Berkeley, CA. And to think people wonder why that state is running such a monster deficit.

Posted by scott at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)
December 29, 2004
Ok That's Just not Right

James in Milan* gets a... well, he gets a no-prize for bringing us a story of some really, really desperate women, and a cat:

Two women attempted to experience sexual pleasure from an intimate contact with a cat. The weird endeavor ended rather sad for one of the women: she was hospitalized with severe genital injuries.

I've heard of chasing pussy before, but this...

* Who, because of his location, automatically makes it into our Hall of Heroes. Why? They make Alfas near Milan. My car has "Alfa Romeo - Milano" stamped all over the goddamned place on it. Now to convince him to smuggle a new one to us...

Posted by scott at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)
That'll Do, That'll Do Nicely

Damion gets a widescreen no-prize for bringing us news of the world's largest plasma TV. Measuring out at a mean 102 inches, this Samsung monster easily stomps the year-old record holder's 80 inches. Now if I can just figure out how to get it up the stairway...

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM | Comments (1)
Waves of Violence

The eyes in the sky catch all, even the great tsunamis. Note: satellite imagery of the recent catastrophe is interesting to everyone, so the site is just barely useable as I write this. It may not even be that when you try the link. Be patient or try again tomorrow, they're worth it.

Posted by scott at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)
Personally, I Suspect Paul Wolfowitz

And so begins the Weird Tales section of the disaster:

Sri Lankan wildlife officials are stunned -- the worst tsunami in memory has killed around 22,000 people along the Indian Ocean island's coast, but they can't find any dead animals.

I have a feeling when they really start looking some will turn up. However, it wouldn't surprise me to learn many animals did head for the hills when things started to come apart. There must be a whole host of subtle environmental cues that happen when zillions of gallons of ocean water draw back and then suddenly surge forward, and just because we ignore them doesn't mean others will.

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
Galactic Nursuries?

Spaceflightnow is carrying this article detailing a startling discovery about our universe. While most cosmological theories maintain an early burst of galactic formation followed by relative quiety, by using a variety of new instruments, scientists seem to have found places in the universe that are still creating supermassive galaxies today. What I want to know is, where is all that matter coming from?

Posted by scott at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)
Mousy Boobs?

Well, hey, your wrist has to go somewhere. (SFW)

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM | Comments (1)
More than Meets the [Movie] Eye

My nephew's all-time-favorite toys just seem to be getting more and more popular. The latest thing to come down the rumor mill is Steven Spielberg's involvement in a new Transformers movie:

The director has announced he will follow next year's The War of the Worlds with a live-action tale of the mechanical heroes who disguise themselves as cars, trucks and jets.

This rumor seems to have been floating around the net since July; the most recent info I can find says he's going to produce but not direct. Something tells me I know where my brother will be the day this thing finally opens.

Posted by scott at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)
December 28, 2004
Folgers Coffee-Tabby Blend

Ok, I like cats. A lot. No wait, I LOVE cats. But not this much.

Found via It's Full of

Posted by Ellen at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)
Tsunami Pixes


Posted by Ellen at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia in a Poncho


My Aunt Barbara in Florida made Olivia this poncho for Xmas.

Posted by Ellen at 07:17 PM | Comments (3)

Making the rounds, via various sources: some areas of SE Asia may have moved as much as ten yards as a result of the recent earthquakes. Yeah, you can walk ten yards in ten seconds. But can you move a thousands-of-tons-of-earth island that quickly? Didn't think so.

Posted by scott at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)
When Boyfriends Attack

Ah, long-distance dating. The Joyous Hellos. The Sad Sad Goodbyes. The Armaments as Christmas Presents not Quite Making it Through Airport Security:

Rummage Lady showed X-ray Lady what was in the bag, all the while careful to conceal it from me, which i thought was very nice. there was a commotion, as X-ray Lady and Rummage Lady looked completely baffled. they whispered many words to each other, looking in shock back toward me. i’m going to jail. then i’m going to kill Frank J. Rummage Lady took the bag to a center area where there were many Feds. oh my goodness oh my goodness oh my goodness, they are so going to arrest me! this is going to be great blogfodder! suddenly there were 5 or 6 TSA agents standing near me, and Trying Not to Laugh Man was standing in front of me. “ma’am, we’re going to have to send all of your items back through the x-ray machine. you need to take everything off again.” i don’t think i’m making my flight. i wonder if they have Wi-Fi in jail.

See Ellen, there are much worse things than making you laugh out loud on the train because I gave you a funny book before you left all those years ago. You owe me a dollar if you've forgotten!

Posted by scott at 06:58 PM | Comments (1)
Shaggy Skinny Dog Story

Our blog acquaintance Mahmood recently fell victim to the dreaded "cute dog" disease:

I woke up this morning thinking I was in an inquisition! Being questioned by her who should be obeyed as to why we can't keep it. I spent more than 30 minutes convincing her of the various reasons. She seemed to take that ok, as my points of view were logical. But logic is the farthest away from that woman's mind if she's determined, so she used another weapon: tell the kids!

Olivia's favorite word now is "dog-EE! dog-EE!" Doesn't matter if they're on the street, on the TV, on magazines, on socks, whatever. If it has a tail, ears, and walks on all fours, it is "dog-EE!" and it must be petted if at all possible. Even cats tend to get called "dog-EE!", albeit with less enthusiasm. She even tried to correct Ellen:

Olivia, pointing at Ajax, brightly: "Dog-EE!"

Ellen: "No, kitty."

Olivia, looking at mommy, in a very declarative tone: "Dog-EE!"

Ellen: "No, kitty!"

Olivia, now crossing her arms in a very recognizable "mommy needs help understanding" expression: "Dog-EE!" [thump-thump-thump on the cat, who doesn't seem to care as long as he gets petted.]

Dammit Mahmood, you were supposed to tell me how to avoid this sort of thing! :)

Posted by scott at 06:16 PM | Comments (1)

It takes a bit to get going, but Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and a Marine gave me a chuckle at the end. Making the rounds via the usual suspects.

Posted by scott at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)
Sunfish Time

Fark linked up this nifty "photos and videos" site dedicated to the famous huge, flat, and very weird sunfish. I've seen these things in aquariums before, but never this big. I think I'm going to stick with swimming in pools. I can see what's in a pool.

Posted by scott at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)
Standard Time

Scientific American is carrying this interesting article which details just how accurate "accurate time" can be:

The best reported uncertainty [of a cesium atomic fountain clock] at the time of this writing is about 6 x 10-16 for the NIST-F1 fountain standard ... Put another way, if the frequency standard could be operated indefinitely as a clock it would neither gain nor lose more than a second in 50 million years compared to a perfect clock.

Something tells me one of these cesium gizmos will be more expensive than those Breitling watches I was fascinated with a few months ago. But not as stylish!

I need to get out more...

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)
More Monkey Fisking

Jason does a nice job of picking apart one monkey's not-so-subtle bias with this nice fisking of Bob Herbert's most recent NY Times op-ed:

Further encroachment by the military into intelligence matters better handled by civilians is bad enough.
Objection, your honor: Assumes facts not in evidence. It has not been established that intelligence is better handled by civilian agencies. It was, after all, George Tenet, a civilian, that assured the President of a 'slam dunk' case of WMDs in Iraq, right? Hell, the CIA did such a fantastic job of predicting 9/11, the Cole incident, finding Mohammed Farah Aideed, the invasion of Kosovo, and the fall of communism in Russia.

Long, but worth it in a "let's see what happens when we pull its wings off" sort of way.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)
No, it's for Muscle Relaxation... Really...

It's now official: you really can buy absolutely anything on Being on vacation means not having to say you're sorry for goofy naughty links!

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)
I bet that's a Really Long Receipt

US software companies got nothing on this guy:

Vladimir Osipov, from the southern Russian town of Yeisk, showed up at his local notary office in the Krasnoyarsk region with a document affirming his ownership of all the clouds in the air over Earth, the Novye Izvestia daily reported.

When my brother was six he claimed ownership of an entire crop dusting company, right down to the airstrip they used. Something tells me this guy's chances of enforcing his ownership rights are about as good as Jeff's were back then.

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)
December 27, 2004

How many belly dancers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Five. One to screw it in, and four to stand around saying, "I can do that...better".

Posted by Ellen at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Check out the animation of the tsunami the Sumatra Earthquake formed.

Posted by Ellen at 04:48 PM | Comments (2)

Don't forget folks, today is the day P. Wolfowitz et. al. are going to blow up Houston. Be sure to call your best friend and confess what you and his bride-to-be did behind the alter before it's too late!

Posted by scott at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)
Wide View

BBCnews is carrying this summary-and-pictures article about a new astronomical instrument called the Wide Field Camera (WFCAM). By using this new gizmo scientists were able to image the Orion nebula, giving us a new and spectacular look at the old hunter.

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
I Was a Teenage Stick Thumper

And Other Fine Things I Learned in the SCA:

Billing itself as "The Middle Ages as they Should Have Been," the Society for Creative Anachronism is, much like BDS&M, Wicca, and sci-fi fandom, a product of Berkeley in the '60s. The best way to explain SCA is that it's what is often referred to as a "historical recreation." However, there's an awful lot of BDS&M, Wicca, and fandom thrown in, so what this actually means is that large groups of people, most of whom (including—nay, especially—the women) look like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, dress up in ridiculous costumes and pretend they're living in made-up medieval kingdoms. It's a perfect escape from that all-too-disturbing "real world" into a happy fun land painted by pre-Raphaelites on crack.

I've always wondered just what, exactly, the relationship was between the Renaissance Fair folks and the SCA folks. I have a feeling both would deny any, even though the resemblance is plain to see.

Ah who am I kidding. I still have all my AD&D stuff from high school. Except for the sex and the thwacking with sticks, I could be the guy who wrote this article. We gotta hope Olivia ends up being pretty, because she's getting bupkiss in the social skills department from us.

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
[Martian] Trailer Trash

Humans being, well, humans, we've already started junking up Mars in our own very small way. The thing is, on Mars even the trash is interesting.

Posted by scott at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
Tanker Tales

No, really, it's just that good:

The best part of my day is hearing that [Abrams Tank] turbine engine wind up. The jet engine starts out deep and low. It builds up slowly as it whines higher and higher. If you listen closely, you can hear the rise of new low pitches, winding up at different points in the engine-start. The power pack gets to its peak screaming and then settles back down to a lower pitch. If you’re obsessed like me, you get the sensation that this 68-ton beast just stood up slowly and dramatically. Took a deep breath, mass rising and then settled into her armor, drinking 8 gallons of JP8 in 30 seconds just to wake up.

Since he's writing about stuff that happened a month ago, let's hope his COs don't come down on him like they did on Fear and Loathing.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
Darwin Games

Remember folks, sometimes power assist is bad:

A 21-year-old Perth man is lucky to be alive after having his stomach ripped open during a beer-skolling game using a home-made device powered by an electric pump.

Being a cheap drunk has its advantages, one of which was I never tried to get mixed up in any of this sort of foolishness. Never did understand the point of having fun you can't remember and then feeling like you've been run over by a bus the next day for your trouble.

Posted by scott at 09:45 AM | Comments (2)
December 26, 2004
Pot, Kettle, Black, etc. II

The best part about this Honda ricers suck page is it's written by someone who likes Mitsubishis. The day after Christmas is always a great time for irony, donchathink?

Posted by scott at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
December 25, 2004
Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays from all of us at AMCGLTD!

Posted by scott at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)
December 24, 2004
A Bug's Life

Ron gets a chitinous no-prize for bringing us news (and pictures) of the new "world's largest cockroach". Disappointing only in that they didn't actually say how big the gigantic cockroach actually is.

True story, related to me by a former boss: "Back in Mississippi when I was a kid, we had a giant maple tree in the front lawn. We loved to play and climb it, but eventually it got infested with Palmetto bugs [which are essentially roaches the size of your palm -- Scott], which rapidly spread to our house. We tried to ignore the problem at first by calling an exterminator to fix the house. He did what he could, but it turned out not to work very well.

One summer night, my sister's leg kept itching while she slept. She scratched and scratched at it, but it did no good. So she finally woke up a little and really scratched it. It was only when she pulled up a bug leg the size of her pinkie finger that she realized what was... once... climbing up her leg. We got rid of the tree shortly after, but my sister wasn't right for the rest of the summer."

If this thing is bigger than a palmetto bug, I can only say I'm glad it's in Borneo!

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
The Dad Who Sold Christmas

This is something I learned a long, long time ago... moms tend to be flexible, while dads have boundaries that must never be crossed. The moral: dads don't bluff:

There's not much laughter today at the home of a Pasadena information technology specialist who has decided to auction off his kids' Christmas presents - and possibly dismantle the family tree - because the youngsters, ages 9, 11 and 15, have been naughty, not nice.

The teenager basically told dad he didn't have the cajones to go through with it. Which makes this particular daddy smile. Then again I've always been a mean bastard.

Posted by scott at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)
More "Just in Time" Goodness

FYI folks, when you're in a barfight two days before Christmas, pay attention to where you're walking:

Fairport police say three people were hit by a CSX train in Fairport Thursday night, two of the pedestrians were killed.
Witnesses at the scene tell News 8 Now that a bar fight spilled out into the railroad crossing on Main St. in Fairport just before the train came thru.

To repeat: Jesus doesn't want a bunch of drunks appearing on his doorstep as a birthday present. Give Darwin a break and let's all stay home for the holidays, mmkay?

Posted by scott at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)
December 23, 2004
When REMF's Attack

Making the rounds: federal air marshalls are being significantly impaired by garden variety bureaucratic bullshit:

Last week, I wrote a column on the idiotic dress code policy instituted by Thomas Quinn, head of the Federal Air Marshals Service. Quinn promptly dispatched his flack, David M. Adams, to the cable networks this week to accuse Washington Times reporter Audrey Hudson and me of spreading "patently false" reports and "misinformation."
Given the climate, it's remarkable that so many marshals have spoken out. I've received scores of e-mails from current and former marshals in support of my column. Unlike these truth-tellers, I cannot be fired by the government for sharing their thoughts. I am removing their e-mail addresses and other identifying data, but otherwise am reprinting their letters as I received them.

Read them and tell me who is spreading "misinformation"-- the bureaucrats or the marshals?

That sound you hear is the system working. Bureaucratic bungling like this has been the rule, not the exception, for as long as humanity's government has been more sophisticated than the chief whacking people on the head with a rock. The founding fathers blessed us with the right to say what we want, when we want, precisely to correct the ridiculous excesses that are inevitable when the petty opinions of a single man are made inviolate.

Now to publicize our indignation. Link, you bloggers, link like the wind!

Or, you know, something like that.

Via Silflay.

Posted by scott at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)
Just What I Always Wanted

Women sometimes like to make a deal about how fascinated men are with their wangs. Notwithstanding the ultimate truth of this conjecture, I must say you ladies somtimes seem equally fascinated with your own privates:

The Velvet Vulva

A line of fine purses and magickal bags

Of course, when men do it we're just being crude animals. When women do it they're expressing a quirky sort of feminism.

Ah who am I kidding. I giggled like Beavis when I saw these things.

Posted by scott at 03:06 PM | Comments (2)
Cassini Update

On the eve of the release of Titan-bound Huygens, Scientific American is carrying this update on the Saturn probe Cassini. There are new discoveries about the rings, about monstrous lightning storms, and even news that the planet's rotation has slowed measurably since Voyager 1 flew by some 25 years ago.

Posted by scott at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)
There Can be Only... rrmm... Several?

CaptainHowdy gets two identical no-prizes for bringing us news that someone has actually taken delivery of a cloned cat:

The cat's out of the bag - a North Texas woman paid $50,000 to have her kitty cloned.

Yeah, I know, 50-large would sure do a lot of good for already-existing homeless kitties. Still, it's her money, so here's to hoping for many long years with her re-run'd cat.

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (1)
Somehow I Don't Think So

Being a social retard who is now married and therefore done with the dating scene, I cannot judge the effectiveness of this dating tip. So, I'll let the ladies in the audience be the judge:

Well, did you know you can meet single women like crazy by using a hand puppet? I know you're thinking, "what in the hell is he talking about? A puppet?"

This is just crazy enough it might work. However, I get the sneaking suspicion the best a guy could hope for was a drink in the face and a quick escort out by the burly gentlemen at the door. So lemme know...

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)
Ancient Sprawl

Washington Post is carrying this summary of recent archeological discoveries in costal Peru. Scientists have found strong evidence of a sophisticated civilization nearly as old as that of the Egyptians. Weirdly, their technology seems to have consisted of nothing more complex than stone tools, even though they appear to have had well-developed trade relations with smaller costal communities.

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)
Well of Course He Tried to Hide it

Sometimes Christmas even comes for newspaper editors:

Man fined for hiding his salami

A SWISS student is counting the cost of hiding a sausage, after being charged under Australia's strict quarantine laws and fined $4,000 in a Perth court.

Actually, I like it when really goofy stuff like this comes up during the holidays. It means there's nothing important going on, somewhere.

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)
December 22, 2004
I Think Ticket Prices Should be $4.20 for This

Slashdot linked up note of a pre-release review of the upcoming Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. In a nutshell: damned funny. This is one of those "good buzz" things you want to hear before a film is released, and gives me cause to move the flick into my "might not suck" category. This is a Good Thing.

Posted by scott at 03:56 PM | Comments (2)
~ Join the Love Train, Love Train ~

Actually, I wonder how many a real one could hold:

The miniature train company Marklin is packing a condom alongside a blue freight car emblazoned with the name of Blausiegel, a German condom maker.

Try explaining that car to grandma!

Posted by scott at 03:29 PM | Comments (1)
Paging Ellen Ripley, White Courtesy Phone Please

Ok, I definitely gotta get me one of these:

The 26-year-old [Carlos] Owens is an Anchorage-area steelworker by day. In his own time, he's hoping to become the creator of a true "mecha"--not a robot, exactly, but a gigantic exoskeleton that can transform its wearer's motions into eight-foot strides and the devastating sweep of a steel fist.

By the one picture, it's already mostly built. Of course, putting something like this together is a completely different task from actually making it move. Props to the guy for his effort, but I'd wager even money we never hear about it again.

But if we do, I want tickets.

Posted by scott at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)
Pots, Kettles, "Black", etc.

Remember folks, the environment's only important when it lets you stick it to the United States:

The 25 fisheries ministers of the European Union have rejected a plan to close areas of the North Sea to cod fishing. And for the fifth year running they have ignored scientists' pleas to stop cod fishing in the North Sea entirely, instead allowing a catch for 2005 of 27,300 tonnes, the same as 2004.

I only expect to hear more about it when the hippies figure out how to pin it on Bush.

Posted by scott at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)
Pictures! Get Yer Fresh Space Pictures Here! is carrying this retrospective of the best space photographs of the year. Definitely some winners in there. I like the Spider's Den best myself.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)
A Long Time Ago, on a Cheesy TV Special Far, Far, Away...

So let us all take a brief moment out of our busy holiday season to contemplate what is considered the worst moment in TV holiday special history: the Star Wars Christmas special.

Considering it was only shown once, and more than twenty-five years ago, it's remarkable just how much of this thing I do remember. I guess that just shows how absolutely nutty I and my friends were over this movie. I don't recall it being that bad, but I was only 9. I wonder if Richie, Ellen's brother and the biggest Star Wars nut I know, has a copy of this thing?

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (1)
December 21, 2004
Fun with Photoshop


Posted by Ellen at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)
Naughty Xmas Cookies!

I bet you have never seen gingerbread men do this stuff!

Posted by Ellen at 06:35 PM | Comments (0)
Bad Computer Icons!

My own mother gets an AMCGLTD No-Prize! for bringing us this little bit about what your computer icons do at night when you are sleeping.

Posted by Ellen at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)
Can't Be any Worse than Their Football Team

The thing is, I'm beginning to think these people believe this:

From a former Bundesnachrichtendienst member-- Intel Expert

Paul Wofowitz will authorise the detonation of a nuclear payload in the Houston area on December 27, 2004. The Hidden Hand network (Mossad/al-Qaeda/SAS) of which he is the nominal controller has verified in advance every aspect of operational integrity - a failsafe job with zero chance of discovery.

An "I'm not at all surprised" from Mandrake in 3... 2... 1...

Ron gets a bank-shot no-prize for letting us know Lair linked it up.

Posted by scott at 05:19 PM | Comments (1)
Have Gun, Don't Travel

Via various paths: a story of what happens when an idealized right meets up with the real world. On reading all of the various accounts, the only thing I can say for sure the guy did wrong was he didn't keep his mouth shut. A small but significant number of cops are (what was described to me as) "badge heavy". They are jerks, and they seek out this job because it is the only one that allows them to point guns at people who don't like them being jerks.

I sincerely believe most cops aren't like this. That said, it is also my opinion that Mr. "Fishorman" is probably not the type who suffers fools quietly. The problem is this fool has a loaded gun. In a situation like this the police are the law, and the only good way out is to stay as quiet as possible. You can't win on the street, and trying just lands you in jail.

To be honest, I'm not going to get too upset by this entire thing. Black men have been putting up with this crap for at least thirty years, for far weaker reasons. I'd be taking the right's cries of "oppression" more seriously if they had a better track record holding the police accountable for profiling. They don't, so I don't.

Posted by scott at 04:31 PM | Comments (0)
Blasphemy? Us?!?

I can think of no more perfect Christmas gift for our resident heathen Joshua than the running Jesus game. Note: I'm not a Christian and even I think this one's pretty tacky. Which is, of course, why we linked it!

Posted by scott at 02:51 PM | Comments (1)
~ Fisk the Monkey Tonight ~

Jason over at Countercolumn linked up this graphic dissection of a press monkey who went a paragraph too far:

Brad's latest piece breaks new ground, combining his "anti-war" attitude with his "scare" tactic to create a powerful hole. The first couple of paragraphs are not an issue (in fact, since I'm wearing combat boots and can't count beyond ten, I'll dispense with numbering the issues), they are just an introduction, establishing his command of the topic and presenting unsupported claims we assume the remainder of the story is designed to prove.

Long, yes, but worth it because it pulls apart nearly every "talking point" bandied about by the left neater than a kid with a pair of tweezers and a fly.

Posted by scott at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)
Science Fiction in your Coffee Pot

Every day, in every way, we are turning more and more into the Jetsons:

Convenience is about to take on new meaning in the coffee aisle: single-serving coffee in a can that heats itself.

Beginning Jan. 2, consumers can buy a 10-ounce container of Wolfgang Puck gourmet latte at the store and heat it by pressing a button. No electricity. No batteries. No appliances.

Will Ron and Amber, our resident coffeeholics, who are known by name at every Starbucks in a ten mile radius of their house*, ever be the same?

* At last count, 456.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)
Equal [Pillow] Rights

Ron gets a soft, comfy no-prize for bringing us the male counterpart to those "half-man" pillows for chicks. Of course, being for guys, there are other problems:

“I think this may be good for single men, but it could cause trouble for someone who is married,” said Shingo Shibata, a 27-year-old company employee browsing at a toy store which sells the pillow.

I'd ask "what will they think of next?", but I won't, because it'll probably involve tentacles. *shudder*

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)
Whale Weirdness

New Scientist is carrying this report on what must be one of the weirder marine biology stories of the year:

A lone whale with a voice unlike any other has been wandering the Pacific for the past 12 years.

Marine biologist Mary Ann Daher of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, US, and her colleagues used signals recorded by the US navy’s submarine-tracking hydrophones to trace the movements of whales in the north Pacific.

Sounds like a Discovery Channel special in the making.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)
And You Though a Fender Bender at the Dealership was Bad

Jeff gets an expensive no-prize smashed to bits for bringing us news that an F/A-22 Raptor has crashed:

In the first reported crash of the military's next generation fighter jet, an F/A-22 Raptor slammed into the ground and exploded during takeoff at Nellis Air Force Base Monday afternoon.

The pilot got out fine, so this is more a serious problem than a tragedy. They probably hadn't even taken the dealer's sticker off it yet.

Posted by scott at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)
December 20, 2004
Evil Grin


Posted by Ellen at 07:34 PM | Comments (2)
Blooming Grove Animal Shelter

AMCGLTD would like to present it's newest addition to it's family!

Please meet our sponsor cat, Broadway Anne!

BA is currently up for adoption at the Blooming Grove Animal Shelter (NO KILL) in NY. For as little as $10 a month, YOU can sponsor a pet too!

Posted by Ellen at 07:25 PM | Comments (2)
NO!!! Not Santa!!!

A whole collaborative of photos of kids who don't want to sit on Santa's lap.

I did Olivia's picture this weekend with Santa. It went badly.

Now all I have to do is manage to scan it to disc and submit the photo!

Posted by Ellen at 07:14 PM | Comments (2)
Battle of the Sexes

Another actual conversation:

Ellen, passing by as I watch an uber-cool documentary about a modern artillery competition*: "Ok, tell me again why they're shooting 105mm howitzers at station wagons?"

Scott: "..."

Ellen: "Because they can isn't an answer!"

Scott: "!!!"

Well, maybe I'll catch Olivia soon enough she'll understand.

No, I'm not holding my breath either.

* A documentary about the Camp Grayling Black Powder Artillery contest (note: google cached because for whatever reason the original is unavailable). I love Tivo suggestions!

Posted by scott at 07:08 PM | Comments (1)
Now that's What I Call an Endorsement

Like the man said, God loves burritos. Actually, I tend toward enchiladas myself, but if the Almighty smiles at something, why, that's good enough for me!

Posted by scott at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)
As the Poo Flies

Ron's next no-prize will fall mysteriously out of the sky for bringing us the story of the "mystery poo":

Police in a small village in southeast France are probing a mystery that is as puzzling as it is insalubrious: a rain of feces that has dirtied houses and cars for years.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking... airplanes. Thing is, airplanes haven't been designed with dump-able, well, dumps, for years. Yet this... phenomena... is still happening today.

I mean, come on, this is France. If they don't know who's doing it, they won't know who to surrender to!

Posted by scott at 01:40 PM | Comments (1)
December 18, 2004
The Floozees

I will never look at puppets the same way again!

Posted by Ellen at 05:33 PM | Comments (9)
Top 10 Urban Legends of 2004

Check out the top 10 urban legends of the year!

Posted by Ellen at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)
Pft..Pft...Pftt...This Thing On?

We are here in NY for the weekend, updates may be slow!

So far we have so many presents to bring back for O our car is going to be quite full and half are not even opened!

AMCG has sponsored a cat for the year from the Blooming Grove Animal Shelter! (Go us!) I will post a pix later as soon I get to see who we get as our sponsor kitty.

Hopefully we will get some pictures on here soon or our weekend trip!

Posted by Ellen at 05:21 PM | Comments (0)
December 17, 2004
It's Official... I've Now Seen Everything

Well, I'm glad it doesn't exist yet, because if the Cat Drinking Songs CD was available that'd be all I'd listen to for the next two weeks. Oh stop laughing Ron, you'd only be safe until Amber made a copy!

Posted by scott at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)
It's Got that Great, Ranty Freshness

Misha's been gone for awhile, but he's back and in fine form, shooting moonbats as they twirl in the night:

[...] three long years later -- many Americans still refuse to even dignify the attack by asking, "Why did they do it?"

And that's where you and your Idiotarian Ilk are sadly mistaken. We know perfectly well why they hate us, and we don't give a fuck.
They hate us because we succeed where they abysmally fail.

They are a textbook example of Penis Envy on a Geopolitical Scale and they are only too well aware of it. They know that their oppressed masses secretly laugh at them and long for the day when they can turn the tables on their oppressors, they know that that time is coming soon and they know that they're powerless to stop it.

If you haven't figured it out already, the Emperor enjoys a rather... piquant... style of language. Mom would tut-tut over the swearing, but that's just because she's slowing down now.

I'm not sure we'd want Mandrake and Misha in a room together. Well, maybe. It would certainly be interesting to see who's head would 'asplode first.

Posted by scott at 01:10 PM | Comments (3)
Tanker Tanker Burning Bright

Jason lead us to Armor Geddon, an excellent blog run by a tank commander over in Iraq:

SGT P told me all about the rehearsal yesterday that took the task force up to the attack position. They had reconned the site where they would stage for the attack and where we would breech into the city. "Oh my lord, Sir. You should have seen it. There were more vehicles than I have ever seen in my life. There were tanks, bradleys, humvees and PCs as far as you could see, stretched out across the desert. It was sick."

"Yeah well, I heard that yesterday was a reduced force rehearsal. Only the key leaders were out there with you. That was only 25% of the division task force for the assault."

"Sweet Jesus. This city has no idea what's about to hit it."

Good ol' fashion first-person accounts from an "old-school" type of soldier. Highly recommended.

Posted by scott at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
Gasoline + Fire

Just a few facts about gun control. Short, and it's not just a ra-ra NRA advertisement. I've seen this stuff around, just not in one spot.

Via Kathy

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)
Bad Science, Good Humor

Slashdot linked up the 2004 bad science awards:

But the winner [of the Least plausible cosmetics claim] was a hair-straightening treatment by Bioionic, called Ionic Hair Retexturizing: "Water molecules are broken down to a fraction of their previous size ... diminutive enough to penetrate through the cuticle, and eventually into the core of each hair". Shrinking molecules caused some concern among the physicists at the ceremony, since IHR was available just 200 yards away, and the only other groups who have managed to create superdense quark-gluon plasma used a relativistic heavy ion collider. The prospect of such equipment being used by hairdressers was deemed worthy of further investigation.

Maybe that will be the stuff that lets me grow my hair long! Hot damn, where's my credit card...

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (2)
Elves in the Boudoir

On the one hand, this analasys of what, exactly, Tolkein said about elvish sex shows just how detailed the guy's vision was. On the other... dude, don't you have anything better to do?

Via Silflay.

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)
Mama Italia!

An oldie but a goodie, the difference between Italy and the rest of Europe. I especially like the one about elections.

Posted by scott at 07:17 AM | Comments (0)
December 16, 2004
Old Friends, Long Gone

Spaceflightnow is carrying notice that NASA is finally retiring its venerable B-52B research aircraft. Used exclusively for launching test aircraft for the past 45 years, it is the oldest flyable B-52 left and (ironically) the one with the lowest flight-hours.

Air & Space magazine detailed its planned retirement at least two years ago (Wikipedia reports they took delivery of its replacement in 2001). The biggest problem is parts... while it is still a B-52, it's so old it has very little in common with modern* examples. As I recall, they had a hatch failure at one point and had to go to a museum to get a replacement from a display aircraft.

In spite of that, NASA was still having a hard time justifying replacing the thing because converting a newer B-52H was going to be very expensive. Plus, as noted above, 008 (the B-52B's tail number) was by far the lowest-time B-52 on anyone's inventory.

But it does seem that they finally got the money/time/incentive to make the replacement, and last month's hypersonic missions will be 008's last. Fortunately, it seems 008 will be put on permanent display at Edwards AFB. Designed for holocaust, used for peace, it will spend the rest of its days where most people would want to be... basking quietly in the California sun.

* A relative term, as the last "modern" example rolled off the line in 1962. They're already being flown by people half their age, and the Air Force has plans to use them operationally until at least 2050. If it chooses to extend this service life further, there's a very real chance the B-52 will be one of the first (only?) modern weapons systems in use operationally for a century.

Posted by scott at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)
Yeah, That's About Right

Those of you with cats and Christmas trees already know, but for those that don't, witness the power of Christmas cats. For some reason ours don't climb in/up the tree anymore, although when they were kittens it was pretty common to come home to a set of eyes staring out at you from deep within the tree.

However, a far more regular sight at our house was what we called the "bottomless" tree. The first day after decorating it would be perfect, but as the days rolled on everything below the level of a raised cat tail would slowly disappear, until all that was left was lights.

This year the tree is downstairs to avoid an encounter with hurricane Olivia, and for some reason the cats are leaving it alone too. I suppose it's out of their main traffic area, so they're not bothering it. Then again, it's only been up a week or two, so it may just be they haven't gotten around to it yet. Ah, the holidays...

Via Lair.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
Well, at Least We Know What SNAFU Means in English

Today's episode of "explosives lost by security people and flown half-way across the world" is brought to you by Newark Liberty International Airport:

Security screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport lost a bag containing fake explosives used to test the airport's bomb-detection system, federal officials said on Wednesday.

The bag was mistakenly loaded on a Continental Airlines flight to Amsterdam, where it was retrieved on arrival, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said.

Reporter Jon Hurdle also gets a gold star for "most droll reporter of the year." Read the whole thing, you'll see.

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)
Virtual Land Grab

New Scientist is carrying this report of the auction of an on-line island that went for the cash equivalent of $26,500 real dollars.

"Equivalent" is pretty important in this report, and leads me to a bit of confusion. The on-line game this "property" exists in has what is in effect a genuine currency. You can "buy" more "Project Entropia Dollars" with real dollars, and then (apparently) you can cash them back out for real dollars. So, while it's possible this 22-year-old Australian had the scratch to write a check for this thing, it's also at least as likely he spent "in-game" money he made inside the world.

There's bound to be more to it than this. Allowing currency you "made" in the game to be cashed out in real dollars would to me be a magnet for grifters who are a lot smarter about cash than most programmers. "Bankruptination" would seem to ensue rather rapidly. I'll bet they allow you to pull out money you put in, but not money you made "in-game" over that.

Yeah, I know. I don't have the energy to go look. Children should be classified as bio-weapons. Second cold of the season so far!

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)
Asimo 2.0

Slashdot linked up news of the next-generation Honda robot, Asimo. This time around it'll walk faster and better, actually run, and interact more naturally with people. I saw video of the first version, and it was really eerie to watch it walk. I kept expecting the head to come off and reveal someone inside.

Posted by scott at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
Definitely not Something on Olivia's Christmas List

As the proud owner of an 18-month-old toddler, I can say definitively that they get into everything, find things you thought were lost years ago, and merrily bang on and play with whatever fits in their hot little mits. However, I think this one deserves a gold star or something:

A quick splash in the backyard turned into an emergency when a central Queensland woman discovered her toddler playing with an old World War II bomb.

A close reading seems to indicate it was in fact a practice weapon and not dangerous, but you couldn't tell just by looking. I'm enough of a weapons nerd that I think I'd recognize it right off. Which only means I'd have a heart attack faster than these people did.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)
December 15, 2004
Pixelated Orchestra

Slashdot linked up news that a new concert series featuring music from the Final Fantasy video game series is on the way. Never played them, but the reaction from dot-heads was pretty positive. To-date, the best music I've ever heard in a video game was from the original Homeworld, but I'm not a huge console fan, so I'm sure there's a lot I've missed.

Posted by scott at 05:48 PM | Comments (0)
~ Oh Come All Ye Cheesy / Tacky is Triumphant ~

Oh we're not done yet folks! Now we have a collection of some of the ugliest, weirdest Christmas decorations ever. While these are pretty funny, I'm sure there are others. Be the first on your block to sport a Holiday Special Editiontm no-prize by sending us your most bizzarre or funny holiday decorations. Batteries included!

Posted by scott at 02:07 PM | Comments (3)
"C" is for Cookie

Ya know, at first I thought someone making Half-Life 2 cookies was gonna be lame. Then they got out the welder. No, really!

Stops bullets, cuts cookies. What more does a guy need?

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)
Rover Update

Looks like the rovers are going strong:

NASA's Mars rovers have returned new evidence for past water, pictures of Earth-like clouds seen for the first time from the planet's surface, and a rock that doesn't look like anything scientists have ever seen.
"We're stunned by the diversity of rocks," Squyres said. "This stuff looks like it was put into a blender."

Opportunity's out of its crater, and Spirit just keeps motoring along. Now that we're coming out of winter (I think), there's a good chance for another whole season of exploring.

Via Kathy.

Posted by scott at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)
At Least He's not from Arkansas

Otherwise Ellen would have no end of fun:

Leonel Arias, 47, told police he was playing a practical joke by donning the Bin Laden mask, toting his pellet rifle and jumping out to scare drivers on a narrow street in his hometown, Carrizal de Alajuela, about 20 miles north of San Jose [Costa Rica].

I mean, really, what could possibly go wrong? Hint: Costa Ricans have guns. Funny only because he managed not to get himself killed.

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
A Challenging Point

Jason over at countercolumn makes a challenge, and asks a question:

If having more boots on the ground in 2003 was the answer, who was the President who cut entire corps sized elements out of the Army that liberated Kuwait?


Posted by scott at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)
Speed, in a Box

Ron gets a no-prize that stops as well as it goes for bringing us one of the fastest kit cars on the market today:

Driven by Ultima Director, Richard Marlow, the factory built Ultima GTR set a new world record time of 10.3 seconds to achieve 0-100mph-0 smashing the previous record by half a second. The British built super car stormed from 0-60mph in 2.8 secs and reached 100mph from standstill in an incredible 5.9 secs before coming back to rest a mere 4.4 secs later.

No, you can't carry groceries in it. That's what the minivan is for.

0-60 is 2.8 seconds. That will do... that will do nicely.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)
It's a Wonderful [Bunny] Life

Cheri gets a no-prize with rabbit ears attached for bringing us the latest "in 30 seconds, with bunnies" installment... It's a Wonderful Life. Nowhere near as twisted as, say, "The Exorcist in 30 seconds, with bunnies", but still worth a smile or two.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM | Comments (0)
December 14, 2004
That's Mister Bear Guy to You, Bub

I know, I know. But I can't help myself! Two big burly guys holding cute fuzzy bears they made themselves is just funny. It is! I see you smiling! Oh yes you did! Don't you make me come over there!

Gah. I need to get out more.

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM | Comments (2)
A Horse is a Horse of Course of Course

Let's just say I'm glad the one mom sent us was fake:


Yup, someone stuffed a real foal and the taxidermist mounted it as a rocking horse (the foal was stillborn, they didn't do anything horrible. Well, sort of.) It's got rebar in it, so it must weigh a ton. Ya know, it's not so much that they had the thing stuffed... far as I'm concerned once someone's moved on it doesn't matter much what you do with what's left. It's the rocking horse mount that gives me the willies. *shudder*

Note to horse lovers: it's not exactly gross, but it is sad and more than a little weird.

Posted by scott at 01:40 PM | Comments (5)
Nice Kitty

While hardly as earth-shaking as the story makes it out to be, the birth of a "liger" is always worth a look. Yup, lion-tiger cross. No Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)
Sun Song

Scientific American is carrying this article about a new discovery in solar research. By using a new NASA probe, scientists have discovered a mechanism that could explain why the corona of the sun is so much hotter than the surface, a riddle that's been puzzling astronomers for decades. It seems that very low frequency sound waves are transmitting energy outward from the surface, causing temperatures to rise the farther from the sun you go.

Unfortunately this was at the limit of the probe's detection capabilities, so not much more is known. It's hoped these findings will help guide the construction of a new probe that will provide more information.

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)
When Hobbies Attack

Take a whole bunch of wood, a fully-equipped shop, and a guy with a lot of enthusiasm and more than a bit of knowledge and what do you get? How about a hand-built pipe organ? The guy doesn't even know how to play yet!

Something tells me he might be single. If not, he's got an amazingly tolerant wife.

Posted by scott at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
It's a Darwin Family Christmas

In the neverending quest to see just how stupid people can be, we have a man, a fire, a soda bottle, and just a little bit of diesel fuel:

Five people, including two young children, were burned over the weekend, when a plastic bottle containing diesel fuel exploded while they were gathered around a bonfire, officials said.

My dad once tried to light a fire in our fireplace with (as I recall) about 1/4 cup of gasoline. He had us all stand back while he tossed in a match. The resulting fireball extended a good three feet out of the fireplace, roiled black smoke along the ceiling, set the smoke alarm off, and set the chimney on fire. My brother and I, who were I think maybe 8 and 10 respectively, had a predictable reaction:


We were all sworn to secrecy, and it would've worked too except for the flames shooting out of the chimney, lighting up the whole neighborhood just as mom drove up. It sorta looked like a redneck Lighthouse of Alexandria. Fortunately the chimney was made of masonry, so all we had to do was hose the sparks down as they bounced along the roof.

From that day forward Jeff insisted we should start all fires with gasoline. For some reason dad didn't think this was funny.

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (1)
December 13, 2004
Dude, Where's My Syllabus?

Ron gets a no-prize on a California beach for bringing us news that if you try hard enough, you can write a research project on anything:

Dude, you’ve got to read this. A linguist from the University of Pittsburgh has published a scholarly paper deconstructing and deciphering the word “dude,” contending it is much more than a catchall for lazy, inarticulate surfers, skaters, slackers and teenagers.

Interesting enough, once you get past all the "where's my car?" references.

Posted by scott at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)
A "Grand Experiment"?

Joshua gets a shiny, confusing no-prize for bringing us the Nibiruan Council, who's mission is:

To assist those who came to earth to be the teachers, healers and inventors who will usher in the 5th dimensional reality. Most of these individuals are starseeds, walk-ins and lightworkers. In this site you will find a vast repository of higher dimensional knowledge needed to help you remember and complete your missions, recode your DNA and ascend, while at the same time helping others to do the same. In addition, we provide you with emotional and physical support.

I'd normally chalk this one up to a joke, but it's too damned elaborate. You have to be seriously cracked to be this earnest about... well, whatever it is they're actually about. My head 'asploded about three paragraphs in, so I'm just not completely sure.

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (2)
I Wonder if the Crown is Plastic?

You knew it had to happen some day. Let's all use a synthesizer and sing a praise for Miss Plastic Surgery 2005:

Twenty "man-made" beauties will parade their surgical nips and tucks next Saturday in the hope of taking home [China's] first Miss Artificial Beauty crown.

We've come a long, long way from the "worker's paradise", that's for sure.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)
Just Don't Throw a Penny off the Roof

Also from New Scientist, notice that contracts to construct the world's tallest building have been awarded. Nope, it's not the tower in New York, it's the Burj Dubai tower in, well, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (bordering Saudi Arabia). The thing will be not quite half a mile tall and host 160 floors serviced by a series of double-decker elevators. In construction, it sounds to be very similar to the Sears tower (a series of progressively taller, smaller buildings lashed together and supporting each other).

And yes, I know the penny story is a myth. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM | Comments (1)
If Only it Were This Easy

Just in time for the holidays, the perfect gift for the wannabe-god in your life, the Religion Creator. You too can have your very own holy texts, just plug in the words and off you go!

Mad libs are so much easier when a computer's involved. Don't forget to use the word "goober"!

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)
Broca and Wernicke and Geschwind, oh My!

New Scientist is carrying this article detailing some new discoveries about brain structures and language. By studying people with a new type of scanner, scientists have confirmed the involvment of a third area of the brain in language processing. Called "Geschwind's territory", it joins the better-known Broca and Wernicke areas long understood to be involved in language.

At least as interesting is the fact that lower primates also share this construction. The primary differences seem to be related to the strength and type of connections in humans.

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
Mmm... Tacky... II

Not to be outdone by Madame Tussauds, a northern English tourist attraction goes even further:

English vicars have banded together to protest against a Christmas grotto in which Santa lies beheaded, his elves have been impaled and visitors are greeted by the devil.

With all this protesting at various tasteless English nativity scenes, one wonders if the good clergy will actually have time to officiate the holiday.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (2)
December 12, 2004
I Sure Could've Used this Today

We call them "monkey pits", those areas in malls, department stores, and fast food joints that allow you to sit on the edge while your very own monkey scrambles and screams with all the rest. Well now it would seem someone's taken the next logical step:

Marks and Spencer, the venerable British department store chain, said Wednesday it was creating playpens for men in six of its stores, fully equipped with everything to keep the guys entertained for hours.

The lads will be able to settle back in sofas and watch a selection of films and TV programmes such as The Best of Monty Python and Football's Greatest Ever Matches.

Each area will also boast a Scalextric slot-car racing set, remote-control quad bikes and walkie-talkies.

I'd give the TV a miss, but damn... slot cars!!!. It'd probably get to the point where I'd be dragging her out...

"Honey, we're out of... umm... candles! Time to go to mall!!!"

Posted by scott at 04:34 PM | Comments (5)
An RV, for the Rest of Us

Ok, to all our camping/hiking buddies: we'll just be following behind you next time. Because Ellen and I think "roughing it" is a black and white TV.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)
December 11, 2004
Good Eats, Good Bikes

Fark linked up this nifty interview with our favorite Food Network personality, Alton Brown. Also includes notice about a new oven he helped GE with, called a Trivection, combining thermal, convection, and microwave heating all in a single unit (and, at a cool three grand each, something we'll be admiring from afar until the R&D gets paid off and they lower the price). Still, it's a damned nifty idea. Go read!

Posted by Ellen at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)
Like I Said, Ka-BOOM!

Jeff gets an explosively loud no-prize for sending us these pictures of what a Desert Eagle .50 looks like when it's fired. No, that's not us, but that's definitely what it looked like:

Even with two sets of hearing protectors it still felt like I was getting smacked in the ear with a ball peen hammer. And it wasn't just the noise. There was also the two foot flame that shot out of the barrel with every round, making me worry we might actually set the wooden walls of our stall on fire.

Me, I think I'm gonna stick to rifles. Yeah, that's the ticket!

Posted by scott at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)
I Thought This Stuff Only Happened at Berkeley

Well, this certainly seems to be one answer to the "college wardrobe" problem:

Students have long enjoyed an informal policy allowing them to go naked on [Vermont's Bennington College] campus. Whether it was as a topless sunbather lounging on the lawn or students running naked at an annual bonfire party, college officials turned a blind eye.

But when a student strolled around campus naked this summer during an orientation session when parents were visiting campus, the new dean reprimanded him.

The winter has "put a temporary pause to the dispute", but protests are planned as soon as the temperature rises. Gotta love college!

Posted by scott at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)
Like Hiroshima, but with Rice-a-Roni

Also from slashdot, this story of one man's innovative effort to make aerial photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He mounted a big camera to an array of large kites and was able to take images from about 2000 feet. The results were amazing, and give a (to me at least) never-before-seen perspective on a famous disaster. Great stuff for the shutterbugs in the gallery!

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)
Supercar, Supercomputer

Slashdot linked up news of Team Petronas's latest acquisition:

Only nine months after the launch of its ultra-modern wind tunnel, the Sauber Petronas today presented a new supercomputer for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculations to international media representatives at its headquarters in Hinwil. 'Albert', as the machine has been christened, is one of the most powerful in Formula One as well as the automotive industry as a whole. The supercomputer was built by the Swiss company Dalco and has a total of 530 AMD Opteron processors installed in High-Density Cooling Enclosures supplied by American Power Conversion (APC).

Sauber was one of the up-and-coming teams last year, always capable of surprises (as long as the car didn't come apart). However, now that Sauber and Ferrari have parted company, it's anyone's guess what they'll be like for the 2005 season. We'll see...

Posted by scott at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)
But... But... Surely the Media Can't be Wrong!

Sorry folks, the atheist is still an atheist. I still don't completely know what to make of all this. On re-reading original aritcle, it doesn't seem like we have a simple case of a press monkey misreading a release. Seems more to me an old academic, used to making obtuse arguments to a small group of people used to that sort of thing, didn't realize complexity for its own sake can lead to unintended conclusions.

The parallels with a certain pugnacious cleric's declarations are rather remarkable.

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
December 10, 2004
Kitty Ice Cream!

Mr. Garrison(of the infamous Amber and Ron) and his ice cream!



Posted by Ellen at 08:12 PM | Comments (3)
Well, This Sorta Explains it

This Reuters update to the "man falls out of moon roof" story at least sheds a bit of light on what happened:

A top municipal official in Phoenix died in a bizarre incident that saw him crawl out of his fast-moving vehicle, stand atop its roof and extend his arms outward before tumbling off, authorities said on Thursday.

So aliens didn't in fact come by and suck him out of his seat. Seems it's possible some weird tropical disease was involved, but nobody's really sure why the guy did what he did. Remember kids, surfing is for boards, not cars.

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (2)
Trailers! Get Yer Fresh Hot Trailers Here!

Slashdot linked up news that new trailers for both Speilberg's War of the Worlds and Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are up. The first isn't all that informative, but the second lets us see what Depp-as-Wonka will look like.

Pardon me, I have to go wipe the drool off Ellen's chin now.

Posted by scott at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)
At Least Christmas Shopping for My Mom is Now Complete

And if we expedite shipping she just might get it in time. It might be a little weird seeing someone wearing a hat that's taller than they are, but hey, you can't have everything. This aughta get those veterans's attention, no?

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)
That's a Helluva Shot

Boy, I wish I had this option when I lived on Four Mile Run:

The people, who live in one of Moscow's apartment blocks, were infuriated with the unceasing and irritating sound of the car alarm outside. Someone, who was desperately seeking silence and tranquility, dropped a sink down on the car. The car owner is grieving, but his neighbors are happy to enjoy the silence.

We used to play "baseball toss" from our 9th floor dorm window in college, and it was no mean feat to get something meant to be thrown to the right person on the ground*. Kudos to the marksmanship of whomever did the deed.

* It was a lot more fun doing it in the dark. Damn we were dumb...

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)
Darwin's Snake

BBCnews is carrying this report on how selection pressures have, in the span of 70 years, lead to significant changes in two species of snakes:

The toads (Bufo marinus) were only introduced in the 1930s [to Australia] but have already overwhelmed the local wildlife in Queensland with their rapid reproduction and toxic flesh, which kills many predators foolish enough to make them a meal.

But for two species of snake, at least, natural selection has produced a defence: the snakes have developed relatively smaller heads and longer bodies.

But of course, evolution is just a theory. Nobody's ever actually seen a species change over time, right?


Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (8)
Paging Mel Brooks, White Courtesy Phone Please

I'm not completely sure what to make of this:

A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God — more or less — based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

Maybe sending in the nuns does work?

Posted by scott at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)
Not that There's Anything Wrong with that

Joshua gets a pink girly no-prize for bringing us evidence that even the hyper-masculine Russel Crowe was quite willing to do anything to break into film. Yeah, I don't care all that much either, but the guy likes to punch people out for looking at him. Might as well have a little fun at his expense.

Note: Main pictures are SFW, but includes banner ads that sometimes show boobz.

Posted by scott at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)
December 09, 2004
Poodle Fitness

Hey, your poodle has to work out too!

Work those pom-poms!

If you don't check this out, you are missing something very bizzare!

Posted by Ellen at 08:47 PM | Comments (2)
Happy 5th Birthday Teddy!

Happy 5th Birthday Ted!


I remember when Ted was 5 weeks old and being told by his cardiologist that I would be lucky if he would make it to six months old. We've come a long way little man!

Remember, you can't leave me till I say so!


Posted by Ellen at 06:51 PM | Comments (4)
Remember: Burglars are People Too

Gotta love it when the only thing you can legally do to protect yourself in your own home is "play nice":

[In Great Britain] when individuals are confronted by intruders there are some actions they should follow. Direct contact should be avoided whenever possible. If unavoidable, the victim should adopt a state of active passivity. In most cases the best form of defence is always avoidance. If this isn’t possible, act passively, be careful what you say or do and give up valuables without a struggle.

Now that we've had various experiments with gun regulation and control around the world for a significant period of time, some things are becoming clear:

  • "Concealed carry" laws, which allow you to "pack heat" with a permit, do not result in anarchy. If crime trends are affected at all, they head downward.
  • Regions (including whole countries) that ban gun ownership experience declines in gun violence but significant increases in burglaries and other theft crimes.
  • In these regions, such crimes are significantly more likely to be comitted when the residents are home.

These results are not at all surprising. Criminals may not generally be the biggest heads of cabbage in the field, but like everyone they have an instinctive feel for risk versus benefit. Interviews with arrested felons quickly bear this out.

No, I will not provide hard statistics. This isn't the place for that. I'm a strong supporter of second amendment rights, and feel the vast majority of gun-related accidental deaths are the result of poor education and carelessness. I believe bloody gang wars in the inner cities are a law enforcement problem, one that gun control laws will not solve.

You can disagree. That's your right. But know this: I am damned grateful our founding fathers decided the best defense against tyranny* is an armed citizenry.

* Yes, yes, yes, the 2nd amendment is vaguely worded and isn't "militia" a funny little word anyway? The Constitution itself is riddled with intentional vagarities throughout, not just within the 2nd amendment. However, reading the "fathers's" other writings will in my opinion clearly reveal they felt a citizenry armed with the best weapons available was required to preserve the republic.

Again, you can disagree. Just stand behind me when you do it, and here, put these hearing protectors on. I need to send some lead down range.

Posted by scott at 04:10 PM | Comments (3)
I Wonder if It'll Fit Our Nikon?

Spaceflightnow is carrying this update on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This one will have a camera equipped with a 20-inch primary mirror, capable of resolving objects down to a meter in size. Not exactly reading your license plate from space, but pretty darned good for Mars. The probe is currently scheduled for launch in August 2005, and if no problems arise will start its mission in 2006.

Posted by scott at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)
This is What ya Gonna Do

While perhaps not as piquant as our own advice about cops, this guide from the ACLU is every bit as informative. Probably moreso, since it doesn't include the phrase "smack stupid people" even once.

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)
Hey Richie, Think We Can Use Your Mom's Back Yard?

Have sandcrawler, will travel:

Not so long ago in a galaxy far, far away -- or just southeast of Philadelphia -- Mike Degirolamo had a plan.

He wanted to build a 20-by-12-foot model of a Jawa Sandcrawler, a hulking transport vehicle from the original "Star Wars" film, before the next installment of the saga "Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" opens in May.

To get the project done, he doesn't need the Force, but rather the power to persuade the township council it's a worthy project.

There's a building just down the road from my house, right outside the Dulles Airport grounds, that looks just like a sandcrawler. Nobody seems to know what, exactly, it's for. Some claim it's "NSA South", others that it's just a goofy office building. Whatever, it lets Ellen and me hyperspace to super-geekdom when we start Jawa babbling at each other every time we drive by.

We need to get out more.

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (4)
Bad Kids or Bad Parents?

You decide:

The dishes, garbage and dirty laundry would pile up for days when Cat and Harlan Barnard's teenage children refused to do their chores. So the Barnards went on strike, moving out of their house and into a domed tent set up in their front driveway. The parents refuse to cook, clean or drive for their children — Benjamin, 17, and Kit, 12 — until they shape up.

Which sounds exactly 180 degrees out of what I personally think should have been done. Disobedient kids are not going to be "punished" by leaving them in a rent-free, fully furnished house, no matter how dirty it gets. Any college student will tell you that. Even more outrageous:

Benjamin [the oldest boy] returned from school on Wednesday to find a dozen reporters in his parents' front lawn. He refused to say anything to them and went into the house followed by his mother, who tried to console him.

Nope. To me, this is dumb and sends the wrong signal. The kids are being punished. Consoling them just confuses the issue.

I hope my kid will have enough discipline and respect for themselves and others to ensure some sort of extreme punishment is never required. However, I do know that I'm quite cold and heartless enough that, were something like this to be necessary, it wouldn't be me sleeping on the lawn.

Posted by scott at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)
All Alone in the Night

Slashdot linked up news that a new Babylon 5 theatrical release is in the works. Shooting starts in April, Straczynski is credited as the writer. Woot!

Posted by scott at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)
Moon Roof Madness

And the award for "best death by defying the laws of physics" goes to: an Arizona man who fell out of the moon roof of his Mercedes:

Witnesses told police the man opened the moon roof near 64th Street and Camelback Road, rose up and stretched out his arms. He then fell out of the vehicle and died on the side of the road.

See! See! Guns don't kill people... moon roofs kill people.

Waitaminute... the Cruiser has a moon roof. Time to get out the plywood and the nail gun...

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
December 08, 2004

More than meets the hip-hop eye.

No-Prize to Damion for the link!

Posted by Ellen at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)
New Costume

I splurged! I finally bought myself a a costume for Amber and Ron's wedding.

From the majority of people I have spoken with, they are happy with their costume. Hopefully I will be happy with mine.

Posted by Ellen at 07:24 PM | Comments (1)
~ Ding-Ding-Ding-DingaDingDing / [extrasolar] Ice Ice Baby ~

New Scientist is carrying this summary of a startling new discovery about the most distant objects in our solar system, Kuiper belt objects. By using the 8-meter Subaru (no, really) telescope in Hawaii, scientists have observed evidence of crystaline water and possibly ammonia on the surface of Quaoar, the largest-known object in the Kuiper belt.

What makes this remarkable is that Quaoar isn't close enough to the sun for water to get warm enough to actually crystalize. The heat has to be coming from somewhere else, the most likely candidate being heat from radioactive decay. Seems that the furthest reaches of the solar system aren't quite as cold and dead as they once seemed.

Posted by scott at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
Mmm... Tacky...

For proof positive that America is not the only place in the world with wacky tacky holiday decorations, we have Madame Tussaud's "Beckham Nativity":

In the tableau, Australian pop star Kylie Minogue hovers above the crib as an angel while "Posh Spice" Victoria lays her shawled head tenderly on [Joseph ne-]Beckham's shoulder.

Tony Blair, George W. Bush and the Duke of Edinburgh star as The Three Wise Men. The shepherds are played by Hollywood star Samuel L. Jackson, British actor Hugh Grant and camp Irish comedian Graham Norton.

Church leaders are, not surprisingly, somewhat less than amused. I'd be more interested in what was underneath Mary's dress.

What? Oh stop gasping. It's only wax.


Posted by scott at 02:23 PM | Comments (2)
Rice, for the Rest of Us

Bigwig just promised his daughter one of these when she turns 16. This trackback should help to serve notice I'll buy it from him used when she heads off to college.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (2)
Nanotube News is carrying this summary of a new technique for manufacturing everyone's favorite molecular test-tube. By injecting water into the initial formation process, Japanese scientists are able to produce very pure nanotubes without follow-on purification techniques required by other processes. This means larger yield at a lower price, which is good for everyone. It's thought the process could be used to make commercial products in 5-10 years.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

Kathy over at On the Third Hand has a nice summary article detailing the rational (if loaded) questions one liberal blogger is asking about Iraq and the rational (and occasionally loaded) responses from three right-of-center bloggers. Linked here because I've read or heard similar questions asked by my left-of-center friends or their blog buddies, and thought they might find the answers of interest. Our right-of-center friends should also find it interesting, because it gives insight into what makes the loyal opposition tick.

Posted by scott at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)
"Capping" Control

Ron gets a no-prize with a funny hat on it for bringing us this Discovery Channel article on a new development in thought-controlled interfaces. By using new sensors and construction techniques, scientists have constructed a "Brain-Computer Interface" that doesn't suffer from the noise problems of previous attempts at this technology. It's hoped that this technology will provide people with spinal injuries significant gains in mobility.

Posted by scott at 08:53 AM | Comments (1)
December 07, 2004
Opinions are Things that Happen to Other People

Actual phone conversation heard just now:

"Hey. Is Amber there? ... Well where is she?!? ... oh ... well, tell her to call me back ... I wanted to ask her what color I think I look good in ... Ok? Thanks..."

The best part is, she still doesn't get it. I have a feeling most women reading this still don't.

Oh. My. God.

Posted by scott at 08:32 PM | Comments (22)
~ It's [Thanksgiving] at Ground Zero ~

Jason gives us a first-hand account of what Thanksgiving was like in Iraq:

None of the posts had young Marines at them; Officers and Staff NCOs manned them all. The command decided that the young Marines were going to have the night off to get some good chow. It was unbelievable, and a wonderful site. The leadership took charge and took care of the younger Marines. This filled me with a pride indescribable with words.

Heartwarming in and of itself, but there's a sub-context. By 1969, things like this were not coming out of Vietnam. Quite the opposite. By 1970, the soldier reports were so negative even Nixon's machinations couldn't cover them up. So to hear that (in my opinion*) less than 6 months before we begin a serious pull out, the troops's morale is high is a very fine sign indeed.

* Hmm? What? Since when is a blogger not allowed to declare opinions without a shred of supporting evidence? Eh? Well, aside from the way we yanked the plug on the occupation authority when the transfer happened, there's this.

Posted by scott at 07:51 PM | Comments (2)
Mmm... Sticky...

Just when you thought roadside attractions couldn't get any weirder... Bubblegum Alley comes along. Rrmm... yeah. I think I'll give that one a pass.

Posted by scott at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)
That's About All I Got Out of Mine

Most informative college handbook, evah.

Yet another lesson in why we shouldn't trust second-year juniors with our websites, eh?

Posted by scott at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)
Sometimes You Just Can't Win for Losing

Presenting Mark Morris, our leading candidate for the "can't even catch a break trying to kill himself" award of the year:

An apparent suicide attempt Monday morning sent one man to the hospital after he accidentally blew his house up.
According to police reports, Morris also tried to kill himself Nov. 5 by carbon monoxide poisoning. He allegedly taped one end of a garden hose to his tailpipe and placed another in his passenger side window. However, after several hours the vehicle ran out of gas. He then tried to use a small propane tank, but that also ran out of gas.

Includes most impressive post-explosion picture.

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

Because we got a new floor put in downstairs and I had to dismantle the network while they did it, that's why. Now I'm sitting inside a big, echoing, empty room with a pretty floor, getting high on glue fumes. OOOoo... these colors smell so cool!!!

Posted by scott at 02:32 PM | Comments (1)
Well, at Least This Chick is Supposed to have Tentacles

Ron gets a squishy no-prize for bringing us this story of a rather unique sort of mothering experience:

It was a May-December romance that really had legs: Young Aurora, a female giant octopus and her aging cephalopod suitor J-1 were thrown together for a blind date seven months ago by aquarists who hoped the two would mate.

I've always found it really weird that such big critters live for such a short time (5-7 years, tops).

Posted by scott at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)
Busybodies on the Airwaves

Making the rounds: 99.8 percent of all FCC complaints in the past two years have come from a single advocacy group, the Parents Television Council. Predictably, the soft-headed moonbats that inhabit the bellfries of Slashdot and Fark are "aghast... aghast I tell you!!!" at the ability of a single right-wing organization to make them watch cable TV. Their outrage is quite palpable.

Meanwhile the complete destruction of regular people's hopes and dreams by a loony-left organization goes completely unremarked.

Remember folks, it's only hypocrisy when someone else is talking.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (7)
December 06, 2004
I Wonder if SNAFU Translates into French?

Ya know, training explosives-sniffing dogs is tricky. I mean, it's one thing for the pooches to just pick the stuff out on the training field, quite another to do it in the high-pressure world of an airport. So why not train them in the airport? I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Police at Paris' top airport lost track of a passenger's bag in which plastic explosives were placed to train bomb-sniffing dogs, police said Saturday. Warned that the bag may have gotten on any of nearly 90 flights from Charles de Gaulle, authorities searched planes upon arrival in Los Angeles and New York.

Gotta love 'em!

Via Drumwaster...

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (10)
Alcohol was Involved? Ya Don't Say...

Ron gets an angry, drunken no-prize for bringing us news of the shortest. Wedding. Evah:

According to the reports, the happy marriage lasted for all of 90 minutes before Anderson, enraged at a drunken toast to the bridesmaids by her new husband at their reception, violently hit him over the head with an ashtray.

Considering Ron's own impending nuptuals, I wonder at the timing.

Bah. Doesn't matter. His problem will be waking up on a bus bound for Maggie's Nipples Wyoming (I am not making the name up) dressed in a bathrobe with nothing but a pack of gum in his wallet.


Posted by scott at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)
Tenn Care, Tenn Cost

Instapundit linked up this Opinion Journal article (free reg req., blah blah blah) that takes a look at every techno-liberal's ideal model of government-managed health care, ten years on:

In 1994, Tennessee passed what was then a very hot New Democrat idea--call it government managed care--a version of the reform the former first lady was also pitching nationwide. TennCare promised the impossible dream of politicians everywhere: Lower health-care costs while covering more of the "uninsured." They got the impossible, all right. After 10 years of mismanagement and lawsuits, TennCare now eats up one-third of the state's entire budget and is growing fast. Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is preparing to pull the plug and return the state to the less lunatic subsidies of Medicaid.

Once more, with feeling: government-managed health care does not work. It saddles an entire nation with a health care system as efficient as the post office and as caring as the IRS. Citizens of other nations who "brag" about their system are either to young to have used it or are too dumb to read the papers.

Does the current system we have work? Nope. It's too expensive, riddled with lawsuits, inconsistent, and sometimes just plain mean. That doesn't mean government will be the one to save us. Far from it. Don't fund entitlements, work on incentives. Help the folks help themselves, and then make sure leeching lawyers can't suck the whole thing dry for the many on behalf of the few.

I find it deeply troubling that people make a profit on the sick. Unfortunately I can't think of a better way to ensure they get well. Neither have you.

Posted by scott at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)
Amazons R Us?

A recent examination of the bones of a Persian warrior burial have revealed a startling fact:

DNA tests on the 2,000-year-old bones of a sword-wielding Iranian warrior have revealed the broad-framed skeleton belonged to [a] woman, an archaeologist working in the northwestern city of Tabriz said on Saturday.

A little strange that they had to resort to DNA, but I guess that depends on the condition of the skeleton itself. Sexing is a breeze if you have the pelvis (I don't care how "big boned" she is, the female human pelvis is quite distinctive), and you can get pretty close with just a few other key bones. However, it's also possible they just didn't have the pelvis, or the bones were in really bad shape. Then DNA testing would be the only way to be sure.

Logic would tend to indicate to me that they probably didn't have the pelvis, but had a pretty darned good idea this was a woman. The test was needed to clinch it, since the conclusion is so unexpected.

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
Nope, Sorry, Don't Work that Way

Presenting Lawrence Trant, a man dedicated to taking a long-standing prison tradition into the rest of the world:

He is not considered the hero he thought he would become in April 2003, when he stabbed one man and lit fires at two buildings where at least seven convicted sex offenders lived.

As odious as sex offenders are, I can't agree with this guy's actions. First, he uses a state-run internet site to "track down" these people. Yep, a loon with a knife and a bat relies on the people who've turned the DMV into such a streamlined and trouble-free experience to decide whether someone lives or dies.

Second, anyone who resorts to the "attempted murder? Judge, if I'd meant to murder him he'd be dead" defense is too stupid to be trusted. If this guy were allowed to run loose it'd only be a matter of time before he got an address wrong, or the state posted the wrong information, or he nailed someone who really was wrongly convicted.

As far as I'm concerned, the only good places for citizens to take the law into their own hands is at the ballot box and in the jury room. Change the laws, vote for tax and bond issues that'll fund enforcement, and make sure technicalities and slick lawyers do not allow the guilty to go free. Anything else could allow a maniac like this to hold the power of life and death, and the address a typo could lead him to might be yours.

Posted by scott at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)
Dur II

When politics tries to use science to further an agenda, the most ridiculous items can become news. Witness our latest "Captain Obvious's Headline of the Week" award winner:

Teenagers fail to see the consequences

Juveniles may find it harder than adults to foresee the consequences of their actions. The finding may explain why teenagers act compulsively and take more risks.

Well thanks for that one. Oh, and don't forget to post scientific proof that water is wet when you get the chance!

It's all about anti-death penalty activists trying to get under-18s exempt. Personally, I'm against the death penalty overall. I don't think it works, I think it's too expensive, and I think the chances of a tragic mistake are too high. You can disagree, and I'll respect that, it's just my opinion*. But trying to exempt a specific section of people just because they're young and stupid is just, well, stupid.

* I'm quite happy with tossing them into deep dark holes for the rest of their lives. Again, you can differ, and this is just my opinion. Since this is one of those "automatic flamewar" topics, keep that in mind before you post an 800 word screed on why you do or do not support the thing.

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM | Comments (1)
I Like It

Jeff gets a powerful no-prize for bringing us news of the latest in sniper weaponry, the Barrett XM-109 sniper rifle:

The centerpiece of the XM-109 system is the 25mm HEDP ammunition it fires. A scaled down derivative of the low velocity 30mm HEDP M789 ammunition fired by the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, the MX-109's 25mm ammunition has been judged to be 2.5 times more effective at destroying targets than a .50 caliber armor-piercing round. It is expected that this ammunition can penetrate nearly 40mm (an inch and a half) of armor plating at 500 meters, or blast open doors from around the corner.

Basically, they're pitching this as a way to take out Haji and his merry henchmen in their Toyota Land Cruiser without taking the entire block down with them. It also could allow us to avoid using a $150,000 TOW missle to take out an $8,000 Hundai. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Well, as long as you're on the right end of the barrel at least. I wonder if they make a civillian version? God I love this country!

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM | Comments (1)
December 05, 2004

Instead of tanked-up businessmen and hen nights murdering cheesy hits, pornaoke participants are being asked to provide the soundtrack for silent porn films - supplying grunts, screams and groans.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 07:10 AM | Comments (1)

You know you are dealing with a stupid person when they pull shit like this.

Posted by Ellen at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)
Glow in the Dark Cats
For those night vision challenged cat owners out there. AMCG presents the glow in the dark cat! Limited supplies! Act now!
Posted by Ellen at 04:20 AM | Comments (2)
Chocolate Covered Baby
From the mystery film roll!
Posted by Ellen at 04:12 AM | Comments (0)
Tickle the Baby!

When you have a camera and a child that is ready to self detonate in Home Depot, what do you do?


You tickle her!

~grainess of the photo is due to a flash not working right.

Posted by Ellen at 04:05 AM | Comments (1)
Selling Grandpa's Ghost

A woman's effort to assuage her 6-year-old son's fears of his grandfather's ghost by selling it on eBay has drawn more than 34 bids with a top offer of $78.

Mary Anderson said she placed her father's "ghost" on the online auction site after her son, Collin, said he was afraid the ghost would return someday. Anderson said Collin has avoided going anywhere in the house alone since his grandfather died last year.

Read entire article and check out the auction.

Posted by Ellen at 03:53 AM | Comments (0)
December 04, 2004
Guess the Cat in Crayons


For the bonus point!

It's Ajax!

Posted by Ellen at 01:26 PM | Comments (2)
Garden Critters

Come back summer!


I have pixes of a praying mantis somewhere in my house. It's probably on the mystery roll Olivia found this morning.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures. If anyone out there can tell me what was up with my catapillars (I got rid of them after the pix was taken) I'd appreiciate it. I was origionally told they were wasp eggs on them.




Posted by Ellen at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
Guess the AMCG Cat!


Winners shall recieve a cat puked No-Prize!

Your answer is...



Posted by Ellen at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)
Somehow, "Mobile Suit Toyota" Just Doesn't Have the Same Ring

Slashdot linked up this Toyota exhibit featuring for-real "mobility suits". To a geek raised on Star Wars and anime, this screams "giant armed robot." These being corporate-minded Japanese, the actuality is more like "bar-of-soap-on-wheels."

I think it'd look much cooler with a rocket launcher.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (1)
Atomic Wedgie!


Posted by Ellen at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)
~ Your Own / Personal / Cheesus ~

Pleased to be presenting Your Customized Grilled Cheese Relic Builder. I personally like the cylon one.

Posted by scott at 07:33 AM | Comments (0)
December 03, 2004
"Brand" Names

Lair is having fun "rebranding" Democrats. I'm having fun watching. Go have fun too!

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)
Now That's What I Call a Bath Toy

Problem: giant squid, being invertebrates, when put on display tend to resemble old pancake batter instead of super-fierce tentacled monstrosity.

Solution: Plastination

Now for the first time, two huge giant squid specimens are being prepared to go on display. And the preparation is being done by controversial German anatomist Gunther von Hagens, who will use the “plastination” technique that he uses to display human bodies.

33 foot long specimens no less. Unfortunately they'll be set up in New Zealand, so it'll be a little tough to go see the exhibit from here. Ah well, another reason to visit "down under".

No Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Foil Hats...

Beware the "stealth cell phone tower":

Being a curious person I investigated, and discovered to my great surprise that "stealth towers" are being hastily erected throughout the country, by the thousands. Camouflaged microwave and cell phone towers are being disguised as cacti, palm trees, church crosses, rock formations, water towers, and pine trees. This is happening without any of the dissent or protest usually surrounding cell tower erections.
With the U.S. Presidential election coming up in a few short months, it is likely that the stealth cell tower network being rapidly constructed is destined to play an important role in remotely influencing the perceptions, thoughts and decisions of American voters.


We actually see one of these things on the NJ Turnpike when we're visiting the in-laws in NY. It looks kind of goofy but it matches so well I bet most people really haven't noticed it.

Posted by scott at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)
Paging Alan Parson's Project... White Courtesy Phone Please

Ron gets a very observant no-prize for bringing us news that the Chinese might want to start a foil hat industry soon:

China plans to launch more than 100 satellites before 2020 to watch every corner of the country, state-run China Central Television quoted a government official as saying on Tuesday.

Aviation Week pitched this more as a sophisticated environmental monitoring project rather than some sort of giant orbital big brother. After all, it's a big country with poor infrastructure. A space-based monitoring system should make a nifty shortcut around that and allow advanced planning and crisis reaction.

Posted by scott at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)
Set the Wayback Machine to "Print"

Before mimeograph, before spirit printers, there was the Hectograph:

The hectograph or gelatin duplicator is a printing process which involves transferring from an original sheet prepared with special inks to a gelatin pad ... After the image is transferred to the inked gelatin surface, copies are made by pressing paper against it. When a pad had ceased to be useful, the ink could be sponged off the top of the gelatin and the pad re-used for the next master.

Featured here because some "old timers" on our board (which is meeting today) started talking about "gelatin printing", and I'd never heard of it. Wanted to see if this would jog some memories amongst the three or four over-the-hill readers we have on here. :)

Posted by scott at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)
Ohmmm Mane Padme Purrrr....

Joshua gets a no-prize Ellen and Amber will squeal over for bringing us this silly bit of fluff. No, really, fluff!

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)
The Democratic Pyre?

A few days ago Instapundit linked up this New Republic essay which, since it required registration, I didn't read until just now. Big mistake. This is possibly the most brilliant dissection of exactly why the Democrats lost the last election, and why they will keep losing them, I have ever read. More importantly, instead of simply criticising, it provides a proven path out of the wilderness. If you voted for Kerry or if you were stunned that he lost, you must register and read this. Excerpts don't completely do it justice, but:

On January 4, 1947, 130 men and women met at Washington's Willard Hotel to save American liberalism.
By 1949, three years after Winston Churchill warned that an "iron curtain" had descended across Europe, Schlesinger could write in The Vital Center: "Mid-twentieth century liberalism, I believe, has thus been fundamentally reshaped ... by the exposure of the Soviet Union, and by the deepening of our knowledge of man."
Today, three years after September 11 brought the United States face-to-face with a new totalitarian threat, liberalism has still not "been fundamentally reshaped" by the experience. On the right, a "historical re-education" has indeed occurred--replacing the isolationism of the Gingrich Congress with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's near-theological faith in the transformative capacity of U.S. military might. But American liberalism, as defined by its activist organizations, remains largely what it was in the 1990s--a collection of domestic interests and concerns. On health care, gay rights, and the environment, there is a positive vision, articulated with passion. But there is little liberal passion to win the struggle against Al Qaeda.
Two elections, and two defeats, into the September 11 era, American liberalism still has not had its meeting at the Willard Hotel. And the hour is getting late.

I don't expect the banner-wavers in our Yellow-Dog peanut gallery will agree with everything in the essay. I think some of them won't agree with anything in the essay (this reply to the essay [second entry], sounds so much like one of our more extreme readers it's scary.) However, by not reading it at all you'll be doing yourself a great disservice.

Because this is why you lost. Not because of morality, not because of greed, not because of stupidity, but because of this. You will continue to lose, and lose badly, until these issues are confronted and overcome. Liberal attitudes toward communism and American power had to change once the cold steel hell that the Soviet Union had become actually threatened our country. Liberal attitudes toward third world "traditions" and American power must change now that they are threatening our country.

What I fear greatly is that, by refusing to confront the reality that the world changed on that September day, that the rules got jumbled and re-sorted, my Democratic adversaries have set themselves on the road to dissolution. I don't know if, this time around, they have the will and the way to change things. I can only hope they do. We are better for having each other's gadflies picking apart our ideas, countering us, challenging us. It would be sad to think that through a failure of nerve the oldest political party in America would implode under pressures it had already faced and overcome fifty years before.

Update: Bigwig goes even further:

The proper liberal critique for the war on Iraq isn't that we shouldn't be there--or even that we should never have gone. The proper liberal critique should be that we should have invaded Iraq sooner, and that we aren't doing enough there now. True liberals would have spent their time prior to the invasion recruiting Peace Corps-like volunteers for post-war Iraq rather than human shields for a brutal dictatorship.

Posted by scott at 10:11 AM | Comments (2)
Well now isn't that Special

Sometimes a cop's job is scary. Somtimes it's weird. Other times, well, other times it's just plain goofy:

Medina County authorities pulled over an experienced high school teacher this week, but it was what the man was wearing inside his vehicle that raised some officer's eyebrows.
When the driver, Cloverleaf High School teacher Mark Wurstle, stepped out of the vehicle, he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, along with a pair of panties.

With pic and video!

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (0)
December 02, 2004
Bad Kitty!

The only thing that keeps Ellen and/or Amber from going to work in something like this is a) it's hand-made and b) they couldn't see to drive in it. Nifty craftsmanship though.

No, Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM | Comments (4)
That's a Big Damned Baby

New Scientist is carrying this article on a surprising discovery in our galactic neighborhood: a baby galaxy. Using Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, scientists have spotted a galaxy that was formed from nearly-pristine early galactic material which lies only 45 million light years away. It's thought to have started out in a very "poor" area of the universe, and was only able to begin generating stars relatively recently.

Posted by scott at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)
When a Gesture Just isn't Enough

You knew it had to happen, and just in time for Christmas: Road Rage Cards! Each one boldly printed in large lettering, with convenient reversed wording on the back for those times you need to "send a message through a mirror".

No, Ellen, you can't have any. You'd end up driving one-handed the entire time.

Posted by scott at 02:32 PM | Comments (2)
Your Very Own Place to Eat Ham and Jam and Spamalot

Fark linked up CastleMagic, a firm that will (for a price) design and even build your very own castle, right down to a moat and drawbridge. Ya know, mom's looking to get a new house...

Posted by scott at 01:24 PM | Comments (10)
Not Fair at All

Well, there goes my secret plan to get rich being a Canadian stripper:

The Canadian government, under fire because one of its ministers has been accused of giving preferential treatment to a Romanian stripper, said on Wednesday it was scrapping a program that handed out temporary work permits to foreign-born exotic dancers.

Now what am I gonna do with all these pasties?!?

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)
"Crappy" Art

Just when you thought the art world couldn't get any more insular or disconnected, they go and pull a stunt like this:

Cloaca, the latest work by the Belgian conceptualist Wim Delvoye (b. 1965), has just closed out its run at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MuHKA) in Antwerp. It was a room-sized installation of six glass containers connected to each other with wires, tubes and pumps. Every day, the machine received a certain amount of food.

I'll just leave to the imagination what the machinery does with said food. What I want to know is just how he "signed and sold" the resulting... product.

Nevermind, I don't wanna know.

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
GlobalFlyer Update

Ron gets a no-prize with wings for bringing us the latest news on the GlobalFlyer project, meant to be the first non-stop, unrefueled, solo flight around the world. Looks like everything is "go" for a January '05 launch.

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)
December 01, 2004
Polish Plait

What happens when you don't wash your hair.

Now you can tell your friends, "Um.. yeah, I'm wicking out an illness."


Posted by Ellen at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)
Crochetd Vaginas for Everyone!

If you have ever wondered to yourself, "Gee, my life would be perfect if ONLY I had a crocheted vagina?" -- and who hasn't -- then this is the product for you. Now you can have your very own crocheted vagina!

Use is as a coaster! Use it in biology class as an ameoba.

Scott, over my shoulder, "That looks like something you find on a coral know, like a sea cucumber, sort of thing. Oh great! Now I'm going to hell too."

Posted by Ellen at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)
Merry Mazeltovirsmas!

"AMCGLTD," we hear you ask, "My husband is Jewish and I'm a Christian. When it comes to the holidays we have to flip a coin in order to have a tree or a menorah in the bay window. We even have fights over matzoh balls vs. the pork roast! HELP!
Rotating Holiday Jews and Christians"

Fear Not RHJC's! AMCGLTD is here to help! We're happy to bring you the ulitimate in collaborative holidays, Chrismukkah!! You can have those matzoh balls and roast the same night! How about dreidel mistletoe? Can't figure out to do with the Menorah and the tree? How about topping that tree with the Menorah! You can even make kosher fruit cake! Instead of a top hat on that snowman, use a Yarmulke! Be creative! Don't use candles in the Menorah, use candy canes! The ideas are endless! Your grandmother and his Great Aunt Esther can finally get along!

Supplies are limited! Act now!

Scott, over my shoulder: "oh my God. You are so totally going to hell for this."

Posted by Ellen at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)
Top o' the World

Pat gets a frigid no-prize for bringing us this NYT summary of the first arctic expedition to retrieve deep-water core samples. The science is already a bonanza, since nobody's ever seen any sort of geological sampling from this area before. What's more surprising is that very same geology seems to indicate a very high potential for oil reserves.

Now, what was that again about peak oil and Hubbert's prediction?

Posted by scott at 03:56 PM | Comments (1)
Social Security Surprises

Jason over at CounterColumn has this nice deconstruction of some of the more common, and commonly wrong, arguments against any sort of privatization of Social Security:

No, surpluses in the current social security trust fund cannot be considered 'national savings.' The entire surplus goes into the general fund, where it is then spent by congress. The treasury then sells a bond to the SSA. The social security surplus, as currently practiced, does not represent national savings. Every dollar represents an increase in the national DEBT.

Unless the law is changed to allow privatization in SOME form, there is no fix. Congress HAS to spend the money, because there is simply nothing else they can do with it, other than take it out of circulation.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)
To Infinity, and Beyond [Comrade]!

Slashdot linked up this nifty summary of the newly unveiled replacement for the Soyuz manned space system. Dubbed "Kliper" (for "clipper"), this new system will feature a reusable lifting-body capsule with a crew of six, significant gains in cargo capacity, coupled with a decrease in launch costs. The biggest stumbling block, as with pretty much all US and Russian manned projects, is money. Still, nice to see new stuff coming out of the oldest space-faring nation on the planet.

Posted by scott at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)
~ Bit by Bit, Putting it Together ~

BBCnews is carrying this report on a new DNA research project. By combining the common DNA found in disparate mammal species, scientists have constructed what they think is the DNA sequence of the first mammalian ancestor, a creature that lived about 75 million years ago.

While interesting, such "unionizing" has problems even beyond those mentioned in the article. What they got was not the DNA sequence of our common ancestor, but a sequence which we and that ancestor share. In other words yes, as the article mentions you can find out that the first car had wheels, an engine, and a windshield by looking at modern automobiles. However, surveying a sample of new cars and using them to create an "average" windshield, engine, wheels, etc. will not in fact yield a Model-T*.

* Yes, yes, I know, I know. The Model-T wasn't the very first "car" as such. However, it's the very first old car most people are familiar with, and besides you can't get two automotive historians to agree on what actually is the first car even if you put them in a sack and tossed them in a river. You should get out more.

Posted by scott at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)
Oh I can Definitely See Women Wearing These

In the "no, you really gotta be kidding" file, we're happy to add Ballsies, "The Jewelry With The Most".

As goofy as these things are, they're actually not all that different from what was very common jewelry in ancient Rome. God, I'm such a geek.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (3)
At Least You Can See What Caused that Conjestion

There's blocking lanes, and then there's blocking lanes:

A huge military transport plane was stuck on a runway above an interstate highway for more than 16 hours Thursday when it was unable to turn around after landing and had to wait to be towed.

Includes a most cool picture. I wonder if it beeps when it backs up?

Update: According to Daffodil it actually happened early last year.

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM | Comments (2)