Thanks again to BlueLens!
Imao tells the tale of his new cat's *exprssions*.
We have yet to this out.
Well, now I know what Ron will be doing with half his winnings if he ever hits the lottery:
Green Bay Packers fans have taken a bold step to express their dislike for enigmatic Vikings receiver Randy Moss — they've purchased billboards, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Only it wouldn't be Green Bay and Minnesota. It'd be Dallas and Philadelphia.
Ellen and Amber, who already leave phone messages for each other's pets, I'm sure will be first in line for this thing:
PetsMobility™ has the first ever Cellular Telephone for pets and will provide a full range of wireless communication hardware and accessories for the pet industry.
Because we all know how well cats respond to the human voice, right?
Now it's official: cats actually are the spawn of the devil...
Clearly, the Bible - by using this kind of terminology - shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the basic nature of cats, while created perfect by God, has become evil or 'beastlike' since the fall of Adam six thousand years ago, and more probably, since the Great Flood of Noah's time (c2350 B.C.E.)
Yeah, and they crap on your floor and throw up on your dinner table too! Beasties I tell you, beasties!
Originally seen at IFOC, but it was Cobb who reminded me of the thing.
New Scientist is carrying this article detailing a new development in solar-sail research:
Gregory Benford of the University of California, Irvine, and his brother James, who runs aerospace research firm Microwave Sciences in Lafayette, California, envisage beaming microwave energy up from Earth to boil off volatile molecules from a specially formulated paint applied to the sail. The recoil of the molecules as they streamed off the sail would give it a significant kick that would help the craft on its way. "It's a different way of thinking about propulsion," Gregory Benford says. "We leave the engine on the ground."
It's actually not all that different, since the concept is found in dozens of science fiction books, some of which Benford has probably written himself. And that's the other thing... I find it really odd Ms. Biever seemed to completely ignore the fact that Greg Bendford is an award-winning SF author. I could understand that if he'd only written one or two books decades ago, but this guy's got dozens of titles on the shelf right now.
At any rate, the concept is fun to think about (Mars in a month is certainly cool), but would require the development of a microwave generator some 120 times more powerful than anything that exists today. Can you say pipe dream? I knew you could...
Sometimes they can be a little too moble:
A Kirbyville [Louisiana] family is searching for answers about their missing home and they’re hoping you can help them. The Roth family believes crooks made a cool getaway when they drove up to their trailer, hooked it up and simply drove away.
For once, not in Arkansas!
Just in case you're back from, I don't know, Mars or something, Iraq had themselves an election over the weekend. Even the Post was optimistic (for the Post anyway). But we've found more interesting stuff in the blogs:
I think this is a great first step. Others disagree. All I can say is, if they manage to hold it together and don't dissolve into a civil war (say, in the next four years), certain people are going to owe me a pizza.
No, really honey, she climbed right into bed with me! I was sleeping!
Movie beauty LARA FLYNN BOYLE has been accused of stripping nude and trying to seduce a fellow passenger during a recent first-class flight to London.
Which would just mean Ellen would have to kill her first.
Do you suffer from the nightmare of suspicion and doubt caused by the infidelity of a cheating spouse? Now you can find out what's really going on, the quick and easy way, with the CheckMate semen detection test kit. The CheckMate test kit is an "amazing" semen detection product that is used on underwear to quickly and easily monitor your spouse's sexual activity outside of the home.
Outside the home? How about a detection kit to monitor how many times your significant other whacks off to porn? Now thats a kit!
I mean come on, do you *really* want to find out what that stain is?
Check it all out here.
Here in the United States we call them *caskets* Only Europe and the Brits call them coffins. Don't get me started on the whole corporate funeral industy BS. Thats another article.
In the meantime, check out these cool pixes.
Olivia is finally learning how to use the potty. Nearly a month ago, I purchased potties for our 2 bathrooms, mostly so she'd just get used to looking at them. We figured we would take it day by day.
This week Olivia has used her potty every night before taking a bath. Today I thought I would work the potty angle just a bit more. For once, one of our ideas worked exactly according to plan. We have succeeded in *both* areas of "potty magic."
As parents we have learned:
We have had a little girl who has remained dry all day due to the sucessful potty attempts. Go us!
At the tender age of twelve I was in New York City with my friend Eli when I decided I wanted to get my eyebrow pierced. Silverchair was on the top of the charts, angst was in the air, and I was out to find the one piercing shop in Brooklyn that didn't card prospective piercees.
"Screw it," I said. "They probably just used a word for it I don't know. Like what's this word?" I picked a word that sort of sounded like it might mean eyebrow in Latin or Italian or something. "la-bia? that's GOTTA mean eyebrow."
You have to read the rest of this story. It if far to funny to pass up!
Old and busted: Dell Inspiron 3800 (circa 2000). *sniff* 6 keyboards, 2 built in mice, 2 power supplies and a wad of cat hair later, it was finally felled by a motherboard short. In other words, my computer did a "memory dump" and literally died of an aneurysm on the shitter. I couldn't even get it to stay on long enough for a picture of the final BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!
New Hotness: HP Pavilion ZV5000 ("Haha Jeff! It's not an Intel!"-says Scott). 15 inch screen, NO built in mouse! (fookin pads!) Built in wireless, more USB ports than I know what to do with (Me: " I just want a computer for picture editing, email, and working on the website." Scott: "HEEE!!!! We get to go computer shopping!") I came around the corner with some software and Scott was already paying for the damned thing!
Sorry, don't get to wave my wang around that often. Though I'm sure *some* geek out there will try to prove his (computer) dick is bigger (try you may, fail you must).
I took this pix a long time ago with my old Nikon FE.
Ellen's long-suffering, oft-abused laptop has finally given up the ghost. With apologies to Cleese et. al.: 'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This laptop is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! 'Is electronic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-LAPTOP!!
Which was just an excuse to go get another. One trip to Circuit City later (in the driving snow. The lizard-blink I received when pointing this out was matched only by the long, slow silence that followed. "Oh" was the best I could manage), and Ellen is now the proud owner of some HP thingy that fairly blows your hair back as it whooshes around*.
Of course, now she wants to stick a big skull sticker on the front of it. Normal on the outside, Goth on the inside. Gotta love 'er.
* No, not quite as fast as the Rusty Beast downstairs, but you can definitely see it from here.
Colorado Springs, CO (PRWEB) January 28, 2005 -- After decades of seeking possible answers about a mysterious UFO-like design on a 17th century French copper coin, a prominent numismatic expert says it remains just that: an unidentified flying object. After a half-century of research, the design has defied positive identification by the numismatic community.
"It was made in the 1680s in France and the design on one side certainly looks like it could be a flying saucer in the clouds over the countryside," said Kenneth E. Bressett of Colorado Springs, Colorado, a former President of the 32,000-member American Numismatic Association and owner of the curious coin.
"Is it supposed to be a UFO of some sort, or a symbolic representation of the Biblical Ezekiel's wheel? After 50 years of searching, I've heard of only one other example of it, and nothing to explain the unusual design."
Read entire article here.
Slashdot linked up this summary of a rather interesting monkey behavior study:
A new study found that male monkeys will give up their juice rewards in order to ogle pictures of female monkey's bottoms. The way the experiment was set up, the act is akin to paying for the images, the researchers say.
The rhesus macaque monkeys also splurged on photos of top-dog counterparts, the high-ranking primates. Maybe that's like you or me buying People magazine.
While the article plays up the "monkeys pay for porn too" angle, I thought it was at least as interesting that they seemed to have an innate sense of economic costs and benefits. Monkeys were willing to "pay" more for what they really wanted, but were also willing to "buy" less desirable objects if they received more "money" (juice) to do so.
Yep, It's me!
Thanks to Joshua over at BlueLens for the awsome pix!
My "foot-twitches-so-hard-it-shakes-the-car" wife will be happy to learn she's actually got a healthy habit:
Overweight people have a tendency to sit, while lean ones have trouble holding still and spend two hours more a day on their feet, pacing around and fidgeting, according to researchers whose findings were published on Friday.
Which also proves children work from a different metabolic table, otherwise Olivia would be the thinnest child on the planet.
Pamela Stonebrooke is reviewing a portrait of a former lover painted by a friend. But there's something not quite right about the nose.
"It should be more alligatorish," she says.
So begins the wacky, wonderful tale of Pamela Stonebrook, the Alien Lizard Jazz Goddess. While most people greet the thought of alien abduction with fear, Ms. Stonebrook greets it with open arms, and eventually open legs.
Sometimes these stories just sort of write themselves.
Ron gets a strangely attractive no-prize for bringing us the latest in human pheromone research:
A scent exuded by young women as a subconscious sex attractant has been synthesized for post-menopausal women, who are finding it is luring men in droves, the British weekly New Scientist reported.
Of course, providing this sort of thing for women is sort of like giving a shark sharper teeth. I'll be a lot more interested when they get one that works in the opposite direction.
Steppin' all over Ellen's categories today... first babies, now cats. Ellen, Amber, et. al. will certainly get a kick out of the infinite cat project, which seems to be all about taking pictures of cats looking at cats looking at cats, etc. I expect we'll be rather busy with our camera once Ellen gets home tonight.
I would've sent it in to a magazine somewhere, but the little monster moved just as I pushed the button. My only real hope is that, if Ellen's and my history are any indicator, she'll be a really gawky teenager. If not, lord help us all.
Oh be quiet. If she follows her mom's path, at 21 she'll be able to write her own ticket and wonder why guys pay so much attention to her. But by then (God willing) she'll be in college, and will be able to lie to the old man convincingly.
Jeff gets a bashed-in no-prize for bringing us the first published pictures of USS San Francisco, the nuclear submarine that ran aground earlier this month, killing one crewmember and injuring several others. A rather stark reminder that even the most complex ship in the world is no match for a big, dumb rock.
Scott would just say women are mean.
Every man should have a stash of these next to their computer.
Hey Lair!! I think you need to do this to your peppers!
One of my most favorite inventions!
Do you think this person had a really shitty childhood?
I think so.
Maybe if you are good mommy and daddy will let you out of the corner. WEH!
Now who does this sound like...
Like hundreds of other coffee-dependent residents across Phoenix, [Erika Ferrer] couldn't get her Starbucks fix early Wednesday as the city coped with the second day of advisories to boil tap water or use bottled water. Starbucks Corp.banned its Phoenix stores from making any java until the city mandate was lifted and no doubt lost thousands of dollars in sales.
"I'm desperate," the 35-year-old Ferrer said around 2:30 p.m. "I told them, 'I don't even care about the water. I'll sign a waiver.' If this goes on tomorrow then I will be upset."
Yeah, I know, Ron and Amber drink some latte candy-in-a-cup stuff. But something tells me life would be very intense for our favorite blog sitters if all the Starbucks in their area were to be shuttered.
BBCnews is carrying this summary of a development in the "is not/is too/is not/is too" controversy over the dating of the Shroud of Turin. Now a scientist is claiming the sample taken in 1988, which dated the shroud to the 13th or 14th centuries AD and therefore a fake, was actually taken from a re-woven section of the cloth not representative of the whole.
I've watched several documentaries on the thing, and one of the most damming pieces of evidence aside from the radiocarbon date is the face itself. Were it to be an actual death shroud, the face would look far more distorted, "cheekier", than it is as the 3-dimensional reality was imprinted on the 2-dimensional cloth.
Anyone who believes the Bible is the literal word of God already knows the thing is a fake, as John clearly records Jesus's wounds as being on his hands, not his wrists.
Ron Robert H.* gets a rough-and-ready no-prize for bringing us a detailed look at the Jeep Hurricane concept car. Dual motors, extreme four-wheel steering, carbon fiber body... what's not to love?
* It is never good to debug code and blog post at the same time. Things get crossed up.
Those on the left who still seriously think the election was marred by fraud in Ohio really need to start paying attention:
Voter fraud fiascos in Wisconsin and East St. Louis are now on top bloggers' radar screen.
Now, it's time to turn the spotlight on the stink in Sacramento. California-based watchdogs have been hot on the littered trail of embattled Democratic Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.
I don't personally think any fraud that happened, on either side, had a material affect on the election. I am sure those wedded to the notion are taking some small comfort realizing the Democrats didn't lose because most of the country disagreed with them, they lost because they weren't trying hard enough to steal the election.
The sad thing is, I'm pretty sure some of them do. Satire is, after all, always lost on its subjects.
I don't know if they're the most beautiful displays, but these periodic table installations sure beat the hell out of those posters that were in my high school. I especially like the way they handled noble gases. Now, if I could only figure out how to get one in the house.
Slashdot linked up this space.com article detailing new efforts at creating a more mobile space suit. By relying on new "smart" materials, a research group at MIT is hoping to create a space suit that is far lighter and easier to move in than existing units.
Ron and I are the only football fans in our current circle of friends. The rest try to indulge my Cliff-Claven-like ability to sound smart while being completely wrong about a call, and do their best not to look alarmed when Ron screams "That's right! That's right! Who's your daddy now biatch?!?"
However, now that we've cat-herded them all into a Super Bowl party, I figured this "How to Fake It" guide would be appropriate preparatory material. Remember, there'll be a test later on!
Alton's got a new book out, so we're getting nifty articles about him again:
As an adult, Brown came to understand how cookery can be a great teaching tool.
"I wish they had offered home economics when I attended high school; I might have done better in science and math. The science of baking gives equations context," he says.
"In biology they made me dissect a fetal pig -- a skill I have never needed since. However, if they had made the class dissect a whole chicken -- now there's a life skill."
We've got Iron Chef America on season pass now. On the very first episode every dish was something we would've eaten. Which is 180 degrees out from the original, in which we considered dishes successful when we didn't gag thinking about the smell (eel ice cream, anyone?)
Then again, there's always the drinking game...
Joshua gets a no-prize with a hook attached for bringing us Pirate Jesus:
Welcome to Pirate Jesus! An epic tale of the adventures of Pirate Jesus and his pirate disciples. I have spent years translating the dead sea scrolls in order to present you with this newest and most accurate description of the life of Jesus. For the sake of total accuracy, this tale will be told in God's most holy of media: the comic strip.
Blasphemy? Us? Actually, we're shooting for a kind of, well, tacky heresy. Sort of like a bible with an avacado-green cover and clear plastic fringe beads around the edges.
Sad thing is, Joshua probably has one.
It'd certainly beat the hell out of all the dratted cats in our front yard. Unfortunately:
A Cambridge man trying to sell a deactivated Soviet-era missile on eBay has been forced to delete it after Web site staff contacted him for breaching company rules.
But eBay told Richard Moore to remove the missile because he broke eBay regulations by listing it alongside its vehicle launcher, which should have appeared as a separate item -- and not because it was a weapon.
I think it'd also make a great commuter vehicle. Especially with the missle on the back. Might have some trouble fitting it into the parking garage though...
Nice to know someone put all this snow to good use. Hey, it beats (as it were) giant snow wangs, no?
BBCnews is carrying this article studying "fairness" responses in chimpanzees. The research results strongly imply that our own sense of fairness is an evolved response, and has probably been with primates since at least the monkey-ape split some thirty million years ago.
Fans of Enterprise (yeah, it's still on season pass at my house, but I think I'm liking Battlestar Galactica better)* may be interested to hear Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis are scheduled to make an appearance on the season finale. As Riker and Troi no less. Goofy, wooden looks and lots of cleavage will, of course, feature prominently.
* Oh shut up. What part of "Cats, Science Fiction, and Anger" don't you understand? If we were socially well-adjusted we wouldn't spend so damned much time on a web site, would we? Now wipe that idiotic smirk off your face. Don't make me set my phaser to "deep fat fry"!
Joshua gets a no-prize with a runny nose for bringing us the sneeze fetish forum. Just when you thought people couldn't get any weirder...
This is my kind of car!
Michael Moore's attempt to turn voters against President Bush failed and on Tuesday he lost his gamble as well for a coveted best-picture Oscar nomination for his incendiary documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."
Sorry. Sorry. Bad karma to-- to--
Sorry again, really shouldn't do that, taking pleasure in othe-- othe--
HEE HEE HEE, HAR HAR HAR HAR
Gah... nevermind... can't do it... I'm coming back as a bug...
BBCnews is carrying this report on a new investigation triggered by the Huygens probe on Titan. According to all standard models, the methane on that moon should be completely destroyed by UV light, perhaps in as little as 10 million years. Something is replenishing it. While geologic processes can account for it, it's also quite possible life of some sort (almost certainly microbial in an underground ocean) is also responsible.
The good news is the Huygens data should be able to provide at least part of an answer. The bad news is, the replenishment is probably caused by "serpentinisation", a kind of geothermal activity.
While I can't vouch for the legitimacy of this article from "a homicide detective from Chicago", it certainly seems interesting:
Believe it or not, people do confess. Unlike the nonsense you read in the papers, physical abuse is not used and is not effective. Physical coersion will only "lose" the offender. Creating a bond between the detective and offender is what is needed to gain a confession ... You're sitting next to some monster eating hamburgers with him. And you have to say crazy shit that revolts you like,"did the bitch like it?". Its all about keeping him talking.
Remember folks, there are only three
things words* you say to police once you're under arrest, and three things only: I want a lawyer. Everything else, regardless of what they say, should be greeted with silence.
Rob E. gets a shimmying no-prize for bringing us news of a new angle on belly dance costume design:
Boeing engineer Jared Rodgers has his eye on belly dancers. But it's not what you might think. Rodgers is applying his knowledge of vibration and material design to creating costumes for belly dancers.
Strangely, he doesn't seem to have a website, so we can't look at any of his work. Ellen's got a lot more resources than I do, maybe she'll find it when we get home tonight.
New Scientist is carrying this summary of new DNA research related to the human genome. By studying the relative differences between human and chimp DNA, and then comparing that result with a similar comparison between mice and rats, scientists have made a very interesting discovery. It would seem that the common ancestor of chimps and humans went through an "evolutionary bottleneck", when perhaps as few as 10,000 individuals existed at one point. This has made us comparatively more susceptible to genetic-based diseases (like cancer) when compared to other species which did not go through such an event.
Carrie brings us this interesting story on the newest Saint in Mexico!
A very mummified No-Prize to Carrie!
Ron gets a very satisfied no-prize for bringing us this week's "Captain Obvious" award winner:
[Dartmouth College professor David] Blanchflower and Oswald also looked at surveys of sexual activity and found that in general, “The more sex, the happier the person.”
“People who have no sexual activity are noticeably less happy than average,” they declared.
Say it ain't so!
New Scientist is carrying this article detailing some of the findings from the recent Huygens probe to Titan. Rivers of methane, mountains of ice, and a flammable atmosphere all add up to an extremely weird place. Here's to hoping they fund a follow-up that'll include a rover, or at least a probe that'll last more than a few hours.
Now if this thing doesn't freak out your "fresh-from-the-city" deer hunter, then nothing will. Hmm... I seem to recall some of our friends are thinking about houses. Hey, be the first on your block to hang from your block!
It's as if millions of hippies cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced:
Scientists have traditionally viewed the relative stability of the Earth's climate since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago as being due to natural causes, but there is evidence that changes in solar radiation and greenhouse gas concentrations should have driven the Earth towards glacial conditions over the last few thousand years.
What stopped it has been the activity of humans, both ancient and modern, argue the scientists.
As noted on another less puppy-friendly blog, this hypothesis has been floating around in Sci-Fi circles at least for quite some time. Nice to see some advanced climate modeling providing positive tests. See Joshua*... when ya reads sci-fi, ya learns things!
At least these climate models are simply trying to account for existing conditions, instead of trying to give chicken-littles a warm n' fuzzy by predicting future (and obviously tragic) ones. The former being, of course, far less sexy than the latter as it does not allow a small group of noisy luddites with unfortunate patchouli fetishes to impose their will on the rest of us.
* Personal friend and multiple no-prize winner Joshua has a bit of an aversion to our favorite literary genre**. Apparently, though, he's signed up for a college class that will be giving him SF books to read as assignments. Why the boy refuses to believe in karma is beyond me...
** His fingers don't char, but I could've sworn I heard a faintly hissed "It burnss usss!!!" when he recently picked up what I'm currently reading. Maybe the paper wasn't acid free?
Problem: Overfishing of ocean stocks.
Solution: Ocean-based fish farms, aka "Aquaculture", allow you to grow your own stocks.
Problem: that's not the solution we wanted you to come up with:
Gerry Leape, vice president for marine conservation at the Washington-based National Environmental Trust, said U.S. officials see that "the oceans are in crisis, and what's their response? To allow the enormous expansion of this industry that's proven to have a negative environmental impact."
The farmers do seem to have some technical problems, primarily with diseases and the methods used to combat them. But these are almost certainly engineering issues, technical problems with technical solutions that will be found in time by the farmers themselves*.
But this, of course, will not please the enviro-weenies. They don't want us to satisfy our wishes in our own ways, they want us to cleave to their agenda and force people into their solutions (reducing demand by raising taxes, "convincing" people to eat less fish, etc.) I also wouldn't be surprised at all to find a bit of "wild" commercial fishing industry money flowing into their coffers somehow. Competitors are, after all, only looking out for their own interests, and as far as the activists are concerned the money's the same color, right?
Then again, I'm a cynical old bastard. I'm far more interested in finding cheap, sustainable ways to feed people and simultaneously protect wild stocks than I am in preserving someone else's definition of "pristine" oceans. I mean, if "saving" the oceans for the fish means a few more thousand brown babies starve to death, that's just mother nature taking care of overproduction, right? I can still afford to go to Red Lobster, why can't they?
* A position that I'm sure will evoke mighty guffaws from those convinced the only way toward true enlightenment is
heavy-handed carefully-crafted government coercion regulation. Government beuracrats in offices thousands of miles from the sea after all have such a stellar record managing natural resources. Just ask the Soviets!
At first I thought this article on why women seem to be such bad map readers was a joke. I mean, come on, the lead scientist's name is "Jung"? But then I read this (emphasis added):
Research has also found that in childhood, girls' vocabulary develops more quickly and that in later life women can speak 20,000 to 25,000 words a day compared to a man's 7000 to 10,000.
Judging by how much (and how fast) my wife talks on the phone, this may be an underestimate.
Sexist pig? Why yes, and thank you!
Behold, two generations of the feared, and fearless, pajamahadeen!!!
And before you ask, yes, I got permission from Ellen before posting this.
Yet another example of Unintended Consequences. I got these for Ellen as a joke, a kind of "ha-ha, now you can be just like Olivia!", never really expecting to see them again. Little did I know they'd become her primary sleepwear.
During the winter, my girl normally burrows under six pillows, sheet, quilt, and a comforter only a little thinner than battleship armor. We keep our house quite warm... I'm convinced this is a carry-over from her mom's house, where a thermostat setting over 63 has the Queen Mother panting and opening windows as soon as you turn your back on her.
At any rate, all of this has now been replaced by the apparently space-suit-like insulation capabilities of feetie pajamas. Now I have to remind her to get under the sheet, otherwise I'm wrestling with a blanket anchor all night long.
Oh shaddup you. If you'll note, it does have a zipper. Perv.
Liz gets a self-propelled no-prize for bringing us the BarMobile:
BARMOBILE is a mobile non-profit bar that enables persons to establish a bar in local situations, have a drink, meet, listen to music, etc., in any place they find suitable. It can be carried, mounted on a cart, in a car, on a bicycle trailer, or be transported in other ways.
If I'm dragging this thing behind my bike I think people will be griping a lot less about how slow I am. A baby trailer just doesn't have the same sort of cachet, don't ya know.
Keep those bubbles coming!
Note the demonic cat in the backround.
"I didn't tell you to STOP blowing those bubbles!"
What Olivia did not realize is that we were trying not to hyperventilate.
Ellen still makes fun of me because I've got all my old D&D stuff, even though I haven't played in more than fifteen years. So I really don't think this will work very well:
At first, d+d sex must be taken slow. While the male is likely incredibly excited at the thought of donning a warhelmet and engaging in a few "melee rounds," the female, sensitive creatures that they are, will probably be less enthusiastic. That's why there's a trick up your sleeve that will help warm them on to the idea: crappy romance novels.
Ask her to pretend she's in "the secret garden" or some crap like that. With any luck, you'll appeal to the side of her that loves doilies and black-and-white movies where people dance all the time, and she'll run for the spare wheelchair so you can roleplay properly. Bide your time, captain - let her pretend to be "anne of green gables." After some time, indicate to her that you'd like to act out a romance novel featuring a barbarian warlord. She'll most likely eat up the notion, which is when you bring out the first piece in true d+d sex: the dice. Give them a roll on the end table in the middle of "the act" and yell out "crap! wandering monster!"
The thing is, the game is on its, what, fifth revision? It's a totally different system now, I'd have no idea how to play it.
Oh dear lord. I really am a nerd!
Read story here.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hundreds of jumbo squid washed up dead over the last two days in one of southern California's most popular beach communities, authorities said on Thursday.Read entire article here
The Newport Beach Fire Department said some 500 squid, measuring roughly five feet and weighing about 10 to 15 pounds each, added to the tons of debris already littering local beaches after recent heavy rains.
I'm sure all the mOOnBats out there think this is all Bush's fault. So to this I say, I hope you enjoy calamari.
All Olivia kept saying was "cool!"
Note the lobster like mitted hands and the overbundling. Olivia could barely move.
Hostess Cakes loves you.
Time to take down the black cloth from the mirrors and stop sitting in front of the T.V sobbing about "why Bush sucks" people!
I haven't seen you pack to Canada yet! Talk, talk, talk is all you are.
I guess it really is true; people will buy anything:
Genuine dried squirrel scrotum preserved in all it’s glory. Perfect gift for that special someone who has everything - everything except some balls. Come in a 3” tall miniature glass apothecary jar. Are permanently preserved for years of entertainment.
Who am I kidding. Ellen has "the goods" from both our male cats in jars somewhere. I am not making this up. Living with a vet tech can be... educational... sometimes.
In the annals (as it were) of all things "i", we're proud to present the iPorn. Finally, a stylish widget that will allow anyone to view porn anywhere.
This aughta make metro rides a lot more interesting. Just as long as Joshua sits on the other side of the isle.
Note: Safe for work.
Problem: Terrorists are infesting your neighborhood, but if you even look at the cops they'll get you and your kids.
In the volatile Shiite-Sunni towns south of Baghdad known as the "triangle of death," Iraqi civilians increasingly are letting their thumbs do the talking, via Arabic text messages sent from the safety of their homes, Iraqi security forces and U.S. Marines say.
Like I've always said: "No increase in mandkind's ability to communicate has ever resulted in a decrease in liberty." The best thing about this is there's no way the terrorists can stop it. The worst thing, our guys have to be careful they don't get used as proxies in some neighborhood pissing contest.
But I think our guys are careful. After all this time, they better be.
Maybe, just this once, I'll admit that cellphones in public have their uses.
I stumbled across "CableCard" only recently, when I saw some TV sets equipped with the technology featured in a Crutchfield catalog. Now, via Slashdot, C|Net is providing us with the low-down on this up-and-coming technology. In a nutshell: instead of separate set-top box, all you'll need to get cable service is a card. Said card can then be inserted into any CableCard-ready TV and viola! TV service.
At least that's the theory. According to the article, it looks like the tech has several years to go before it matures enough to fulfill its promises.
I detest cable boxes, always have. They add unneeded complexity to a TV system and their implications for things like VCRs and TiVos are just about impossible to explain to folks who don't play with electronics for a living. Anything that promises to get rid of them automatically has my interest.
Looks like we'll need to hold off buying that mondo TV a few more years.
Scotsman.com provides a detailed summary of a New Scientist article (original excerpt here) that describes some new research into the history of Roman gladiators:
To amuse the crowds around the arena the gladiators would display broad fighting skills rather than fight for their lives, argues archaeologist Steve Tuck of the University of Miami. "Gladiatorial combat is seen as being related to killing and shedding blood," he says. "But I think that what we are seeing is an entertaining martial art that was spectator-oriented."
I think they're over-simplifying it a bit, because earlier literature (Seutonius, etc.) refers to older gladiator contests as being fights to the death. However, it's quite likely that as the sport evolved and became more and more popular, deadly endings became less and less common, especially among "superstars."
But I think it would be a mistake to come to the conclusion these were simply WWE matches on an outdoor sand-floored ring, or that gladiator death was not possible. The chariot races were probably the only sport more popular than gladiator contests (often the chariot teams formed the nucleus of powerful political parties), and were probably at least as expensive. Yet ancient historians often chronicle how dangerous and bloody that sport was right up until the Christians closed it down in the sixth century AD.
Modern historians have for quite some time known gladiator combats gradually became less deadly over time. The primary innovation this particular archeologist seems to have brought to the table is a set of theories as to how and why this trend ocurred.
From one of my car digests: when the developer is too lazy and/or distracted to read their own error messages. It's actually a bit of a quandry around here as well... how to tell people the network's down without using the network?
I'm sorry, I don't understand... what is this thing you call, "tell-ah-fone"?
Congratulations to Lt. Prakash of Armor Geddon, who recently picked up a Silver Star:
After leading his platoon through a fierce onslaught, enemy fire pounding them from every direction, 1st Lt. Neil Prakash went back in for more.
First Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste joined Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment at FOB Scunion Jan. 14 to award this 24-year-old tank platoon leader one of the military’s highest honors - the Silver Star Medal.
Also gives a nice bio of the guy, and some pictures.
Best. Politically Incorrect. Ad. Ever. (Note: video link, safe for work, if not safe for good taste.)
Washington Post today is carrying this article summarizing some new developments about the great Permian extinction event. Thought to have destroyed 70% of all land species and perhaps 90% of all ocean species, the causes of this 250 million-year-old event have always been a hotly contested mystery. Now, some scientists are pointing a finger at massive global warming caused by gigantic amounts of volcanic activity coming from huge fissures in the earth known as the "Siberian Traps."
Teacher to world: stay home January 24th. Actually, since we're supposed to be getting ~ 6-8 inches of snow this weekend, there's a pretty good chance we will be staying home that day. It's not that we can't drive in the stuff, it's that we have just one very long and very straight commute route that will be dominated by lemmings who think SUVs give them a free pass from the laws of physics.
How very strange.
Because I just found out a way to make the Cruiser turn 13.5s without unbolting a thing:
So how did it work? Awesome. Simply awesome. We started out with a 50HP nitrous jet with 100% excess fuel. Hitting the horn at 4000RPM in 2nd gear felt like 15 lbs of boost. Were we happy? Nope! Onward to the 75HP jet and only 50% excess fuel.
Ok no, I won't blow the plenum off the only real car we own just so I can, well, p3wn his black redneckMobile. But you never know... it'd be worth threatening to do this just to watch him twitch off the line when I blew the horn*.
* True story: Jeff and I were at my workplace once, and Ellen picked me up in her old V6 Alfa Milano. Jeff was following us (in his then green, slightly earlier model Trans-Am) out to the highway so he could get home. Arlington is a sea of four-lane street roads with traffic lights, so in the dark winter night it was inevitable. We eventually pulled up side by side at a red light. I could tell Jeff wasn't paying attention, so I decided to have some fun. "When the light turns green, nail it, but let off after a hundred feet," I said.
"What?!? He's in a Trans Am... he'll stomp us!" she exclaimed.
"No, really, this'll be fun, just do it."
BOOM!!! Off we went, six Italian cylinders thrashing. Jeff was watching, I dunno, some other car or something, and so we immediately jumped out ahead. It didn't take long for him to hook it up and blow past us, but by then we'd already shut down, street code for "done." We had beat him off the line. To a street light samurai, to be beaten by a dinky Italian sedan was the ultimate dishonor.
"See! He just blew past us! What was the point?" she asked.
"Wait for it," I said.
Sure enough, two lights up, it goes red, and there we were, side by side, nobody behind or in front of us.
"Rev with him, but don't move a muscle when it goes green," I told Ellen. A good sport always, and pretty sure what was going to happen next, she even ticked it into neutral, zinging the high-strung Alfa 6 and giving Jeff her most innocent grin.
When the light turned green, it was like the world exploded in tire smoke and engine roar. Windows rattled, small children cried, and priests crossed themselves as our erstwhile drag-race ninja tried valiantly to reclaim his and his Pontiac's honor, to no avail.
Because you could almost hear the theme from the Godfather weeping in the background as Ellen, unprompted, calmly put the Alfa into gear and then slowly pulled even with him before the next light.
"Here," I said, "endeth the lesson."
Fark (of all places) linked up news of a new hominid fossil find. This time it's 4.5 million year old Ardipithecus ramidus, thought to be the first hominid species to arise after the chimpanzee-human split. The bad news: not much more than teeth, toes, and fingers. The good news: it's still enough to show they were fully bipedal at the time.
So if they can train an elephant to use the potty, how come my cats still crap on the floor? Actually, that's nearly fixed now; what I really need is to find a way to keep them from puking on the dining room table.
Life with cats is so grand.
Congrats go out to our blogfriend JimSpot, whose family just welcomed a new edition... a baby boy! 9 lbs 10 oz. no less. Let's all hope his wife is a very forgiving person!
Fark brings us the latest in a long line of "why we need tort reform" cases:
A jury awarded $75 million in punitive damages Wednesday to the family of a 7-year-old girl paralyzed in a car wreck caused by a drunken football fan. A day earlier, the family was awarded $60 million in compensatory damages.
The compensatory damages were assessed equally against [the football fan] and Aramark Corp., the Giants Stadium concessionaire that sold beers to him at the game. The jury ruled Wednesday that Aramark was liable for the additional $75 million.
Sell some beer, get hit with $135 million worth of fines.
While the rest of the country knows them as "federal holidays", around here they are known as "daddy days." Olivia's day care is closed on them, Ellen's work is nearly always open, and so daddy and baby get to spend the whole day together.
What I have Learned on Daddy Days:
Next up... the glory that is the afternoon nap...
Jeff gets a no-prize with "angry eyes" for bringing us news of Darth Spud, what has to be one of the more unusual of Lucas's merchandising licenses. What's next? X-Wing burgers?
Don't answer that.
I find your lack of salt disturbing...
Ron gets a no-prize in a red-and-white ball for bringing us news of the very interesting gene with a really goofy name:
Drugs to shut down the newly identified gene, which the researchers named POKEMON (for POK Erythroid Myeloid Ontogenic factor), could treat a wide spectrum of cancers, Pandolfi added, because other cancer-causing genes appear to lose their power when this key gene is switched off.
Who says scientists don't have a sense of humor? Ok, judging by this, I'll have to concede it's not much of one, but still...
Robert H. (via One Hand Clapping) gets, like, a great no prize for bringing us an example of what it would look like if Joshua, myself, Damion, and Ron were to plan the assault on Mordor. We will leave it to the readers's imaginations as to who plays which role.
No-Prize to my Mom! Thanks for the pix!
Carrie gets a very swishy tailed No-Prize for bringing us this picture of a cheetah!
"I know it when I see it" is the standard line for deciding if it's art, or if it's crap. Of course, that line is in different places for different people:
Three German refuse collectors are to be sent on an Art Appreciation Course after accidentally taking down and incinerating a sculpture in Frankfurt, believing it was rubbish.
The artist conceded that it was possible he had been almost too successful, as his aim was to create something so real, it would not be seen as art.
"Almost" isn't the word for it.
[Enter, if you dare, the mind of a Beltway Commuter as they look out their office window...]
"What?!? What is going on here?!? There's this... stuff... I don't know, it's like, like that other scary stuff that falls from the sky, that gets me wet and makes me drive five miles an hour on the freeway and slide into other cars anyway.... but this... this is... frozen!!! My God! It's white... frozen stuff!!! And it's falling from the sky!!! I have to drive home right now!
Good thing I have my ChevroFord ExpidientRammer SUV! Why, I'll be able to drive right home just like nothing is wrong. Hey, I'll even be able to speed a little bit. The salesman said that 'four-double-yoo-dee" button on my dash meant I could go anywhere I wanted!
At least until I get on the highway. Then I'll be sure to drive 5 mph again. All that salt might scratch the paint!"
Yep, it's snowing outside. As the lemmings confront a sky that actually is falling on them, our commute will extend from its normal 35 minutes to perhaps 2-3 hours. We'll let you know how many "dead-bug" SUVs we see upside-down on the median as we head home.
Last year the record for a single snow was 14 SUVs.
We've called our friend Damion's Honda "Trogdor" for years now, even though it usually got puzzled looks from most folks. Well, now you can learn what it really means. Sort of.
Grow up? Us?
Washington Post this morning carried this article detailing new artifacts found in the ruins of Nero's "Golden House". Built in Rome after the great fire in 64 AD, it was actually a gigantic complex of buildings and gardens centered in the heart of the city. While well attested and described in the various ancient books we have from the period, generations immediately after Nero essentially erased the place from the city's map. Still, in their haste to destroy all traces of the last Julio-Claudian, they ended up preserving more than they demolished, and we moderns seem to be the beneficiaries.
The site is enormous, and could take a century to excavate. Still, it provides a very interesting look at one of the most puzzling emperors in history.
Amber: "My car is gone!"
Me: *looks around outside* "Really? I thought you parked in 'guests.'"
Amber: "MY. F*&ING. CAR. IS. GONE!"
Eight o'clock, our house, 18 degrees outside. Amber had parked right in front of my driveway so she could see "~Disco, disco tank~", chat for a bit, and [of course --Scott] use the potty. In the time it takes to... ok, well, girls don't shake that, but you get the idea... Henry's Towing STOLE her car. Complete with purse, phone, dresses for her wedding, desperately flashing hazards (you could almost hear the tiny "help MEEEE!!!" voice), and her emergency break on. She wasn't even parked for 10 minutes. So we know Henry's Towing was stalking yet again.
Mind you that she was parked right in front of my driveway, where there's NO firezone parking and my front door is less than 10 feet away. You'd think the
big, mean, super-macho Discovery-channel wannabe pussy of a driver would knock and warn her. NOPE. SWIPE!
"No problem", I told her calmly, "I know where the tow company is. It'll be $90. Follow me." We call them "tow Nazis" around here. Through some dipwad "slow development, because we don't want the wrong sort of people here" regulation, the county ensured our complex would have precisely (it's actually in the handbook, I'm not making this up) .7 too few car spaces per household. In a calmer mood, we long ago understood towing must be enforced, otherwise "someone" ends up parking a metallic pink 1996 Ford escort with expired Carolina tags in a guest space for six weeks (again, not making this up).
Then you have the busy-bodies. You know, the "Desperate Housewives" crowd who live with their mother and literally have nothing better to do than whine about their neighbor's open garage (hello? figured it out yet? still not making it up). Doesn't matter if you're checking the mail. Doesn't matter if you're getting your groceries out. You turn the key off, see the shutters across the street move, and you know the clock is running. It's only a few, maybe ten, minutes until the Jaws theme starts playing quietly in the background, and tiny Hondas and Kias start desperately trying to escape the asphalt pool of our parking lot.
Being the naive first time home-owners we were, and therefore not well versed in the bloodsport that is parking enforcement around here, we'd long since had both cars towed, for typically asinine reasons- they failed to read my window with my parking tag and STILL refused to let me have my car before I paid the $90 fee, or our beautiful antique happened to not have the perfect sticker placement (hello, it's a convertible... there's no back F*&ING window here!)
So we drive all the way down to the end of the scary, dark, cold dirt road, to be confronted by...
Nothing. It was too cold for crickets to cheep. Not even serial killers would wander this road. We did see a dead cat, but the ground was frozen and we couldn't bury the poor thing [trust me, they probably tried --Scott]. It was one of those sitcom moments...
In the pitch dark, Amber, teeth chattering: "I-I-I-I th-th-thought my-my car w-w-w-would be here!"
Ellen: "S-s-s-so did I-I-I... those f-f-f-f*&ers!!! th-th-they moved on purpose!!! I-I-I'll go get the d-d-dead c-c-cat and w-w-we'll throw th-th-that thing through the--"
Amber: "No! Let's call the number first!"
Well, they were no longer there. So back to my house to get the number. Call, get addie and on our way, 10 miles in the other direction from the house.
We get there, just, just as her car is being backed up into the lot, hazards flashing sadly, e-brake balefully moaning its last. Amber goes to the window.
Amber: "Thats my car."
Lady at the barred window (yes, because people have tried to kill them before apparently): "$90 please."
Amber, motioning me to stop twirling the dead cat*: "I can't give you the money cause my F*&ing purse is in the car!!!!!"
The gate "whranks" open on its motor 4 inches. Amber gives a significant look at the lady. It buzzes open another 10, just enough (ha! see! Boobs aren't all they're cracked up to be are they?!?) to let her squeeze in for her purse and phone.
Amber pays her fee, very carefully going over the "we are not responsible for your car's damage or missing goods list" -which we question. The "Pinky-to-cage-lady's-Brain" driver, who had walked into the trailer's back door while Amber was talking, would not even come to the window to talk to two short, defenseless women (who had recently put down their deceased frozen feline missle... PUSSY!!!).
Meanwhile I'm looking around the lot. *BEWARE OF DOG!*, the sign says.
Me and my big mouth: "HEY!!! Close your gate! Your f*&ing fake ass dog is going to get out!" *big, charming grin* (I wanted to, you know, bark and drag my ass on the ground, but Amber was turning a really neat shade of blue at this point and was giving me the 'let's get out of here before that cat defrosts' hand motion.)
Amber and I leave in seperate cars.
Now here at AMCGLTD, we know that tow companies need to make money and they are doing their job. But when you DON'T see the tow company for nearly 6 months and one COLD night they just show up and snatch a car like a soccer mom going after the next big Christmas toy, it just goes to show you they were stalking.
And we don't appreciate stalkers, do we Mr. Icy-Popscicle-Kitty... no we don't, no we don't.
* Ok ok ok, we didn't actually take the poor thing all the way to the tow company. But trust me, if our curses come true, that lady's trailer is going to smell like the inside of a six-day-old litterbox for eternity. Cat ghosts got power. We actually gave the poor critter a stone burial, carefully marking the spot for spring so we may dig up his bones and complete the curse by throwing them at the window.
Ok, we won't actually throw them. Because that would be, you know, illegal and stuff. Damned lawyers.
Joshua gets that stylish, cool, and amazingly functional no-prize he's been drooling over (for the bargain price of $3600) for bringing us the iProduct. What, you may ask, is the iProduct? Duh, it's from Apple. It doesn't matter! You want one! It's so freaking cool!!!
Not to be outdone by himself (Joshua's a strange egg sometimes) he also brings us Apple Haters Unite! which reveals the other side of the computer coin. You know, the one where the guy with the pony tail* and the earbuds sneers about your trailer trash computer.
Note: If the text looks all weird and chunky, click the image once to enlarge.
* Not actually Joshua, who co-incidentally has a pony tail. Our wookie friend straddles a fine line that lies between appreciating engineering for its own sake, while also understanding it sometimes doesn't really matter what it looks like on the outside as long as it's stuffed with electronicky goodness on the inside.
Making the rounds: The A380, Airbus's new super-jumbo jet, has been officially unveiled. It's about 1/3rd bigger than a 747, and the standard configuration will carry 550 people. First flight is expected some time in March.
The big two airline builders have divergent ideas about what the market wants. Boeing has decided the future is somewhat smaller (757-737 size), more efficient airliners that travel from point-to-point cheaply enough to allow discount carriers to make more profit on cheaper tickets. This is the upcoming 7E7, which should premiere some time early next year. Airbus has decided the future is gigantic aircraft that can fly so many people the per-seat cost drops and make the "spoke-and-hub" model profitable again. Hence the A380.
Airbus is already hedging its bets with an A320 derivative that will compete directly with the newer technology 7E7. Conversely, Boeing has been kicking around the idea of an "extended" 747 that will approach the A380's seat costs but will be cheaper to buy. They each have been accusing the other of cheating through direct government subsidies (Airbus) or indirect tax breaks and R&D payoffs (Boeing). If either new initiative fails outright, there's a good chance the losing company will need a bailout to survive. If either (or both) succeed, we'll have more profitable companies, and therefore more and better jobs for the people (40% of the A380 is made in the US.)
Regardless, consumers (i.e. us) will be the winners with newer, faster, safer, and more comfortable airlines.
Problem: You're the dominant Formula-1 team, representing arguably the best drivers and race technology in the world. You're also an Italian team, and want to do something, well, nice for the Pope, who unfortunately can't drive anywhere any more.
Solution: Give him a car. A little bitty car:
Pope John Paul got a flame red Ferrari from the Italian world championship racing team on Monday -- a model of one, that is -- for having what they said was the inside track on the roads of humanity.
Many painful metaphors, of course, followed. Includes picture of said tiny car.
Funny thing about fraud investigations. When you start throwing that word around, sometimes people don't understand you actually mean "but only in Republican states":
According to state records, 83,000 people executed a same-day registration for Milwuakee County, which is more than 20% of all voting-age residents in the county. Now, Wisconsinites may procrastinate a bit, but in order to believe that number, you'd have to expect that 20% of the county had moved or became newly eligible within the past two years (after the previous national cycle).
Which gives me the rather delicious opportunity of paraphrasing one of our more... extreme... lefty acquaintances:
"Given there is a [Democratic] governor of the state, I was expecting a [Chicago] standard cover up. I'm hoping that some people get some serious jail time for voter fraud, but I imagine that they will get off with warnings if they are [Democrats]."
The nice thing about running your own blog is never having to worry about being banned.
I mean, what's a few electoral votes between friends? Remember folks, the only real difference between the parties is where the get drinks at the end of the day.
Ron gets a no-prize in an elegant Louis the XV cabinet for bringing us news of the "$55,000 PC". As with most really outrageous price tags for seemingly cheap stuff, there's more to this than it seems. They're actually selling a $50,000 custom-designed hand-built business desk with a $5,000 PC engineered into it. Pitched that way, it's still kind of wacky but definitely nothing out of the ordinary for the Fortune 50 set.
Gonna be 13 degrees here tonight. Olivia wanted more layers, so one of the sweatshirts gramma forgot was just the thing!
Note also the extra-stylish and very rare AMCGLTD sweatshirt. Yes, our child is now a billboard. Woot!
Armor Geddon has a guest author today, and in spite of what said author thinks, he's just about as good as Prakash:
In what turned out to be one of the funniest and scariest moments of the entire battle, shooting erupted from several houses on the edge of the city after [my platoon] got about halfway to the house. I say it was funny because I watched all of my rough and tough scouts tuck their tails between their legs and turn right around and run away from the house they were supposed to go clear. I couldn’t really blame them though since the house became a whole lot less interesting once the shooting started.
Go on... you know you want to read the whole thing...
The difference is, of course, that most guys only do this in their head:
Tzaneen [South Africa]- Sexily-dressed women in a small Limpopo town have fallen prey to a group of teenage street kids that masturbate in public whenever they see them.
It would seem to me a largish can of mace and/or pepper spray would be a nice addition to this lady's purse. You'd certainly have more things to aim at.
Why couldn't they have speakers like this when I was in high school:
William Fried told eighth-graders at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School that stripping and exotic dancing could be lucrative career moves for girls, offering as much as $250,000 or more per year, depending on their bust size.
[School principal Joseph] Di Salvo heard about the exchange when the mother of a student called him the next morning. She said she was outraged when her son announced that he was forgoing college for a career in a field he truly loves -- fishing -- and said she found Fried's handout even more disconcerting.
I was hoping he'd announced a career as a male stripper, but you can't have everything. You'd think the guy would at least get his advice straight. It's porn first, then exotic dancing.
Rrrm... ah... so I've heard, anyway.
Liz's next no-prize will be delivered on a very special CD-ROM for bringing us DigiBless.com, a site that promises to bring the power of the holy spirit to your computer's files. No, really:
At our site you can have all of your electronic documents blessed with a blessing of your own choice, using our Holy Server.
Here at DigiBless we have decided that it is time to bring God into the virtual world, and so we provide this service free to believers all around the world.
Hopefully the debunk squad in the gallery (aka Joshua) can clue us in if this one's a hoax. I'm not sure... this one's just loopy enough to be real.
Been meaning to link this soldier's critique of war coverage in Iraq, not just because it gets the message out about what's going on over there, but also because with its very existence it tells us even more about what is going on.
The first indications that something was going seriously wrong in Vietnam started to be noticed about two years into our "advisory" role in that conflict. Around 1963 young reporters like Niel Sheehan and David Halberstam started getting interviews from battlefield commanders like then-Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann that directly contradicted the far rosier accounts coming from Saigon and being reported without question in the mainstream media. In the days before e-mail, blogs, and other "alternative" news sources, it was comparatively easy to mute these dissonant voices, and so poor leadership, poor tactics, and misguided policies were allow to continue for years.
Fast forward four decades. Technology has made it possible for even the lowliest grunt to "get the word out" about what is going on literally minutes after it happens. Like printing presses in centuries past, this technology means higher authorities aren't able to shut down these alternative views. They come too fast, and from too many places.
So, with this technology, what are we hearing two years into this conflict? From reporters trapped in the green zone, trying not to repeat the mistakes of their all-too-approving editorial ancestors and unable to see the manipulation they're being subjected to, we get utter and complete negativity. From soldiers on the front lines, who actually see what's going on, who fight, bleed, and die for this cause, we get... cautious optimism. Profound disappointment that their own message doesn't seem to be "getting out". Even approval of how the leadership is carrying on the broader strategies of the war.
The polar opposites of then and now are striking. Before, mainstream media blared nothing but over-positive and under-critical reports; soldiers unable to be heard any other way leaked stories of what was actually happening that when reported threatened the careers of everyone involved, and were simply not believed. Today, that same media provides an uncritical megaphone to any voice that says we are failing, while success is relegated to obscure journals and small websites, barely to be heard at all.
It is conventional wisdom amongst those "in the know" that after Tet in 1968 the only thing standing in the way of US victory in Vietnam was the (now completely converted) mainstream media. Were it not for their now unrelenting negativity, the thinking goes, Vietnam would be a free-market democracy. Yet many of the same people who "know" about Vietnam, because of what that very same media is telling them now, also "know" we are failing in Iraq, and any story or opinion to the contrary is treated with suspicion if not outright contempt.
I have no certainty about what's going on over there. I've read a dozen books about the middle east, perhaps half again that many about Vietnam, the accounts in my local papers and the stories of soldiers and Iraqis on their blogs, and I have no certainty. I do, however, have hope for success.
I find it curious but not particularly surprising that those who have done none of these things are certain only of failure.
First we had Christ on Toast, now we seem to have the Oyster Jesus:
A bar manager in Switzerland has announced plans to sell an oyster shell resembling the face of Jesus Christ, according to local media.
With suitably bizzare pic.
Doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense, it has cats in it. Ellen will squeal anyway.
There's always this point in a hobby, a sort of "widget too far." Something so out there, so unnecessary, it just screams "I officially have no life." With some folks, it's an actual mascot costume from their favorite team, mounted in the den. With others, it's the entire series run of Wonder Woman, complete with extra commentary and Genuine Rope of Truth, presented proudly at the boss's dinner party. A still different set of people, well they tend to giggle in a dark room, alone with a lamp and bit of cardboard or paper in a plastic cover.
But I'm not any of those people. You see, I have fish. When someone obsesses about their fish, they don't have to spend a lot of money or do a lot of searching or display anything particularly rare. They just have to set up a disco in their fish tank.
Yeah, you heard me. A disco. In the tank. I did too. I did too!
My regular weekend outing to the pet store with Olivia was a good one to say the least. We'd picked out a new goldfish to add to the 50 gallon tank (yes, I have goldfish in the old oscar tank), and were heading for the cashier when we crossed the laser system. It was another one of those, well, Holy shopping events. There's a moment sometimes, when you come around a corner of an isle. Suddenly, the clouds part, sunbeams rake down like heavenly searchlights, tiny winged cherubs flutter down, and a chorus of hosannahs ring from on high, all highlighting That One Product.
Well, ok, maybe it was just a teenager screwing up the lights on a new catfood display and the Muzak suddenly switching to an old Avril Lavigne song. It was magic, ok? Well, Olivia thought it was magic. Of course, Olivia thinks milk leaking out of her sippy cup is magic, but trust me you take your "oh wow!!!"'s where you can get them.
So in went The MiracleBeamtm AQUARIUM LASER SYSTEM. According to the box, It's The Most Revolutionary Concept in Aquariums Today! Perfect for Fresh or Saltwater Fish! Creates an Aquarium Night Light of Unmatched Beauty! COMPLETELY SAFE FOR ALL FISH! It even came complete with a free treasure chest. A laser treasure chest! While Olivia pointed and yelled "Dog-EE! Dog-EE! Dog-EE!" at everything in the checkout line (in a pet store, this can take awhile), it became... mine.
Scott: "You bought a disco light system."
Scott: "For... your fish."
Me: "Yup! Ain't it great?"
Scott: "Whats next? A disco ball? How about some playing them some Donna Summer?"
Me: "OOoo...ya know if they made one of those... I think I rememb--"
Scott: "Oh Jesus! Never mind I mentioned that!"
Me: "Weee!!! I have to call Amber!"
Amber: "You got a what? OMG!! [I swear, the only woman in the world that actually speaks in initials --Scott] I have to come see it this week! What? Hang on a sec...Ron wants one now."
So there went the conversation for 10 minutes or so, about how our fish could have play dates in the disco. Yes, we are really that messed up when it comes to our pets.
The new fish is acclimating fine. The disco looks great. If only they could wear tiny polyesther suits and platform shoes, and the black fish maybe an afro wig. No giant man-in-the-moon with a coke spoon though. Well, not right away anyway. Now if i could just find that disco ball...
There wasn't a kid in my grade school who didn't get something stuck in the ceiling of a public building. They'd become mini-monuments, something we'd all walk by and say "remember when Stuart squeezed the ketchup pack so hard it hit the ceiling? It's still there!" It's nice to know this is a long standing practice:
The family of a boy whose tennis ball got stuck high up in a cathedral archway have asked for it back - almost a century later.
It has been lodged in the mouldings of Lincoln Cathedral since 1914.
Even better is that, apparently, nobody else had ever noticed it was there. But then the story takes a downright educational twist:
The ball is believed to be among the oldest surviving examples in the UK.
The earliest proper tennis ball held in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum dates from 1916, while Gilbert Bell's is from at least 1914.
Somehow I don't think "I'm trying to preserve history!" will get much sympathy from my wife or the priest were I to try and save a modern tennis ball in the same way.
My sister-in-law for years collected her Husky's sheddings, and because it was a Husky she ended up with bags of the stuff. Now there's a place for her to send it:
Victoria Pettigrew started VIP Fibers three years ago in Morgan Hill, Calif., and according to a December report by the Knight Ridder News Service, has an enthusiastic clientele of pet owners who pay her to make specialty items (blankets, pillows, scarves) from their animals' hair - ''Better yarn from your pet than a sheep you never met.''
My brother's wardrobe may never be the same.
Slashdot linked up this site containing amateur-composed mosaics of the various Huygens images so far released. The results are startling and far more clear than what has been carried to-date. The delta image in particular is quite stunning, but nothing you'd expect... hard to think it's a conventional alluvial formation when an impact crater seems to be evident in the "sea".
My God people... we're looking at another planet. When could this ever be considered less than front page? I do so hate MSM...
I have found the ultimate in Arkansas tackiness. A themed casket.
You heard me right. A casket. Complete with a Razorback on it.
How bout a Furby?
OR try some of these!
Paranormal Rattlesnake Hiking Stick?
There are currently 2917 items that are 'haunted' on Ebay! What are you waiting for!? Go bid now!
Craig B. gets a no-prize that'll scream at him and give him bad dreams* for bringing us the Curious Case of the Cacaphonous Chondrite:
While repairing the joists in the attic I found this stone in a small cardboard box and thought it was interesting enough to take home. During the time this stone was in my home strange things happened. I noticed the house was cooler than usual, especially in the room I kept this stone in, and my dog wouldn’t go near the room. I never thought to connect this stone with the strange occurrences until one night I heard "singing" (or strange sounds) coming from the room about 2 months after I had taken the stone! Really! I have heard the "singing" or "songs" about 12-15 times after that. It’s hard to explain the sounds coming from the room but they are definitely coming from the stone. Other people have heard them also and they always originate from the area this stone is being kept!
It is, of course, an auction, so anyone who feels like dropping a minimum of $9.99 + s&h can have their very own haunted rock.
Where's my checkbook...
* No, it just sounds like I'm giving Ellen away.
This was actually an episode from Dr. G, Medical Examiner. Except the person died in that episode.
Ah!!!! Just like her mom!
Everyone say Awwwww!!!!
As a parent-to-be one knows, on an academic level, to place things that babies should not have out of said babies's sight.
As an actual parent, one learns that "what baby can see" is gradually redefined as "what baby can find."
Case in point: Our phone just now rings and while Ellen answers it*, my mission is to turn down the Xuxa DVD currently playing. As I come around the corner, I am confronted with direct evidence that my child's perception is now quite a bit sharper than it once was.
That evidence being her holding my large wine glass, a stemmed bell nearly as big as her head which I had quite conscientiously hidden behind a book and a pillow, in both hands, being carried merrily toward mama with a "so-cute-it-melts-lead" grin on her face. She looked at me once, smacked her now obviously wet lips twice, made a satisfied "ahhhh!!!" sound that would do a gin lush proud, and handed me the now empty glass with a helpful "bwha pah?!?"
Well, let's just hope she sleeps well tonight.
* I detest phones. Ellen is incapable of letting one ring more than three times. She fairly levitates toward them whenever they make noise. The division of labor when the phone rings became obvious quite early in our marriage.
A quick reminder: the new Battlestar Galactica series starts tonight. Early buzz is very, very good on this. I liked the mini they ran last year, so we've definitely got a lock on this thing. Can't be any worse than Lexx at any rate.
And in the "you do know they blow people up for these things, don't you?" category of Most Questionable Magazine Covers, we have Poland's Forum Magazine:
A Burkha-wearing babe baring her breasts on the cover of a Polish magazine has ignited a culture mini-war in Brooklyn.
Of course, had an Islamic magazine carried a picture of a topless nun on the cover, I'm sure staunchly Catholic Poles would have absolutely no problem with it, right? Then again, as noted above, Poles do not have a reputation for blowing up those who cross their medieval cultural hang-ups.
Hopefully the first of many, the first picture from Huygens has been released. I guess a lot depends on the altitude this was taken from. If high, then it looks to me like some sort of flood plain. If low, well, it also looks like a big mud splat. More as we hear it...
New Scientist is carrying this article detailing yet more weirdness at the center of our galaxy. This time, it's the discovery of a globular cluster of stars that include some of the most unique pulsars yet seen, including one that spins faster than six hundred times a second.
So remember folks, next time those aliens come to pick you up, caution them against going to the center of the galaxy!
Drat. Someone beat us to our next child's name:
Just in time for Christmas, Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon got a gift from the state Court of Appeals: a name change. The Albuquerque resident's new name will be Variable.
Feeling quirky? Head out to Albuquerque!
This week's "broke down a wall and found a treasure" story is courtesy of the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence. Researchers have uncovered a set of rooms that were used as a workshop by none other than Leonardo DaVinci. The article doesn't mention just how long the rooms were walled off from the rest of the monastery, but it does mention the existence of DaVinci frescos depicting the work he was up to at the time.
Space.com is constantly updating its Huygens story as events unfold. As of this writing, they know the probe has successfully deployed its main parachute and has power. So far no science data has been received.
Check it out below!!
I'm on a roll tonight!
For those of you who are into fart fetishes!
Yes, they even make Transformers have sex. What else will the nerds think of!?!
How to bang just about anything in your house. A self-help guide.
Anyone need to rent a midget?
Only$19.95 for the economy model!
New studies out pretty much confirm what we've always suspected: if it tastes good, it's probably going to kill you. Eat red meat, get cancer. Eat all the damned fruits and veggies you can, still get cancer.
Or, as the T-shirt says: Eat well, exercise regularly, die anyway.
But it did happen in West Memphis:
Arkansas' naked jogger has been zapped.
For months, officers have been getting reports about a man making late-night runs in the buff. On Monday, police said they think they got their mystery jogger.
Oh shaddup. Just go sit over there and be quiet.
Well, it looks like barn finds still do happen:
It turns out that the [1964 Alfa Romeo 1600 Spider] was owned by the same lady from new. She parked the car in 1978 with just under 29,000 miles after a surgery that left her upper body seriously weakened. Whether it was started regularly or not is unknown, but absolutely everything worked when we started it up again 26 years later.
I'll shake his hand if I ever meet him, but I'll be mumbling "lucky bastard" under my breath when I do.
Well, probably not exactly irony, but this tale of a preacher collapsing at his pulpit certainly is damned strange:
A Presbyterian minister collapsed and died in mid-sentence of a sermon after saying "And when I go to heaven ...," his colleague said Monday.
A real killer of a sermon, I'd say.
The long journey for the Titan probe Huygens is scheduled to end some time very early tomorrow morning (4:30 am EST, as I recall). On the eve of what will hopefully be a great event in interplanetary science, BBCnews interviewed some of the top scientists involved in the mission to see what they thought might be found. Here's to hoping they're proven right.
Weirdest. Flash. Ever. Not quite as bad as the dirty umbrella skin on the wall in the Hirshorn, but close. Artists are odd.
Slashdot linked up news that scientists have discovered the cells in our body use a sort of biological "Morse Code" to communicate with each other. The finding has profound implications in drug research, especially that regarding supressing the messaging molecules. According to this research, such an approach could actually be counterproductive.
Here is a picture of my raw costume for Amber and Ron's wedding!
The costume consists of:
Gold skirt and burgundy skirt
Pretty neat huh? Soon I will post pixes of me in it. Got to iron out the skirts first.
The photographers in the audience (you know who you are) will hopefully appreciate this Instapundit-linked photoblog of scenes from Iraq. Includes some very nicely composed shots.
I envy people who can do this well. If compliments are to be believed, I'm a good "action" photographer... I can catch those instant moments, especially (for some reason) involving vehicles. But introspection, careful composition, even those little surprises, they seem to be beyond me.
Ah well. I'll leave the artsy stuff for Joshua and Ellen. I'll be the one snapping pictures at the airshow.
Which reminds me... local peanut gallery members should consider this their first notice. The Thunderbirds will be at Andrews this year, May 21st and 22nd. Since I know none of you have been to the open house, and most of you are airplane and/or powerful vehicle nuts, attendance will be both expected and required. You have been warned. ;)
New fossil discoveries from China are yet again turning evolutionary history on its head. This time they've discovered large (~ 1 meter long) mammals living in the Jurassic that were actually preying on dinosaurs. The dating pushes back the time large mammals were thought to exist by a full 65 million years. The two types, Repenomamus giganticus and Repenomamus robustus, were members of a poorly understood group of mammals, the tricodonts, which may have died out even before the dinosaurs. Quite a step up from squeaking mouse-things scrabbling in the bush, eh?
Holy Shit!!! Our local radio station has been changed into spanish rock!!
This means no more WHFS festivals!
Grrr...now I must find a new radio station!
Space.com is carrying this article detailing how sound played a critical part in the formation of our universe. That's right, sound. Apparently the place rang like a bell for millions of years, and the ripples this caused in the space-time continuum are what ultimately triggered the formation of everything we see around us. This was all predicted years ago, but only very recently have devices sensitive enough to "hear" the last echos been created to observe the effect. But it is definitely there.
In other words, it would appear God didn't wave a hand, he blew a horn.
Instapundit noted the US Government ran a 1 billion dollar surplus last month, mostly due to increased tax reciepts from corporations. I've always maintained the deficits were controlled by the success or failure of the economy to grow, and this definitely seems to be proving my point.
As far as the CBO's 5-year and 10-year predictions... well, if someone can show me a case when any of them were ever actually correct, I'll start taking them seriously.
Well, some liberals anyway. The ones who figured out how to con their less-clueful brethren into paying $9.00 for something their TV will do for free are actually pretty damned clever.
All of our own yellow-dog peanut gallery denizens either are or are married to someone who tinkers with electronics professionally. But hey, if you like I'll come out to your house and lock out whatever the heck you want for a six of Sam Adams. That'll be quite a bit less than this thing. Whatabargain!
FYI: If you're going to get high with your prostitute, don't do it in a convenience store bathroom:
A man found partly disrobed with a woman, cocaine and marijuana in the one-person restroom of an Iowa convenience store in an area known for prostitution had no absolute right to privacy, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.
Fans of the movie mentioned in the title will note that hey, at least the guy was alive. I wonder if the COPS crew caught this one?
Spaceflightnow is carrying this summary of the rather startling discovery of some 10,000 stellar-mass black holes surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. While this formation was predicted many years ago, it took the Chandra X-ray observatory to confirm any evidence of it.
Nice to know they get it right sometimes, even though the conclusions aren't exactly comforting. The center of our galaxy must be a very, very strange and dangerous place indeed.
Synthstuff links up a nifty picture we saw in the Post this morning (no reg required). Sad things is, had that happened around here, there'd be six cars piled into it from either side. Your gigantic granite mass is no match for my $65,000 SUV! Have at you!
Remember folks, proofread proofread proofread:
Oklahoma highway users wishing to call the state about electronic payment passes were mistakenly directed to a sex hotline.
True story: At work we have 2 toll free numbers; one goes to our helpline, the other straight to our PBX (allowing staff to check voicemail and outside staff to reach local staff toll free). The former is an 800 number, the later is an 888 number. The president of the board of directors got confused one day and dialed 888-[helpline number], trying to reach a staff member. She got a phone sex line.
Which she then related to the entire staff in an e-mail. Did I mention this person was a sixty-[mumble] year old retired Texas teacher? She looked like Mary Poppins's mother. I learned some things that day... one, you gotta watch out for those little old ladies, and two, sometimes it's good to be the
Ron gets a no-prize with a naughty phone number inscribed on its base for leading us to yet another example of the speed and efficiency of our public servants.
While I respect the craftsmanship that goes into stuff like this, I gotta wonder... can you actually drive any of these things? And if not, should they really be called cars anymore?
Ah who am I kidding. The only transistors in my car are in the radio, and that doesn't work. These guys definitely aren't targetting me.
For that arts-and-crafts anatomy major in your life, we have the knitted uterus. No, really!
The bondage experts in the house will have to tell us if The Humiliator represents the mainstream of their hobby or the fringe. Do bondage people even have a fringe?
Nevermind... don't answer that... No, really, we were just leaving, please don't get up--@$#@I*@#4
Q: What would happen if an iceberg the size of Long Island collided with a glacier?
A: I don't know either, but there's a pretty good chance we'll find out around January 15th.
Looks like a monstrous aircraft carrier getting ready to dock.
Slashdot linked up notice we now have direct photographic evidence of planets. This one's bigger than Jupiter, in an orbit beyond Pluto's, around a brown dwarf star. Not much of a planet, but definitely a start!
BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing the "Robosapien V2", a follow-up to last year's Christmas hit. We saw V1 all over the place, but never paid much attention to it. Olivia liked it because it was black and white with red flashing lights, and had buttons to push*. This new one is larger and has more behaviors, and they're coming out with two additional "companions" that it will "play" with.
I never thought "I can remember a time when toys only moved when you played with them" was going to be something I'd end up telling my child. Goodness knows what they'll be like in 5 years.
* In this respect, she is most definitely her father's child.
Ron gets a bomb-shaped no-prize for bringing us news of a real explosion:
The explosion, which researchers also refer to as an eruption, is a 100-million-year-old, ongoing cataclysm 600 times the size of the Milky Way galaxy in a distant cluster of galaxies called MS 0735. The eruption, and an enormous shockwave shining bright with X-rays, is caused by matter falling into a supermassive black hole the size of our solar system.
Why is it only men that are doing this?
Scott!! Can I have one?
Our sponsor kitty got a home! :)
Nah. My mom forgets where she hides Christmas presents. She's got nothing on this lady:
Sunshine Coast [Australia] great-grandmother Terry Horder got the fright of her life when she accidentally stuck her eyes shut with super-strength glue.
Filed under "funny" because nobody (ultimately) got hurt.
Me? I have a small child. I'll be the one who gets super glue poured in his ear...
Put in a new article instead of an update because... well because it's our blog and I happen to think Saturn Vs are cool. Anyway, slashdot linked up the restoration story below and I found some neat stuff in the comments:
I've always told people who were heading to Disneyworld to stop at the Kennedy Space Center, and they always seem to ignore me. More's the pity, because the place is spectacular.
Columbia House, the "12-CDs for a Penny and Your Immortal Soul!!!" record club, is branching out a bit:
Columbia House ... will launch its own adult video club with Playboy Entertainment at the end of this month. The service, called Hush, will sell pornography through direct mail and a Web site.
The article says they'll be using catalogs other than Playboy's, although no real specifics were given. This is fortunate, because the bunny's stuff is usually not much more than a hard "R".
Rrmm... ahh... so I've been told. Yeah, that's the ticket.
While this project to include a "pink ape" (i.e. human) in a zoo's collection at first seems really avant-garde and controversial, a closer reading reveals it's simply an artist trying to get a free ride:
The successful applicant for the post of zoo human ... should be housed in an environment that is natural to them. As I am an artist, my natural environment would be a live/work space. My space should be equipped with all the necessary tools to make a suite of furniture / sculpture.
On second thought, it might not be such a bad idea to require all NEA grant recipients to take up residence in a space that can be easily viewed by the public. I'd even support relaxing the rules a little bit, just so I could get the chance to heckle that moron that came up with the "urine Jesus" thing.
Of course, if it happened I'm sure the protests over "restricting artistic expression" over an increase in available funding would be spectacular.
Slashdot linked up notice that the Saturn probe Cassini has detected a really strange feature on that planet's moon, Iapetus. It appears that a gigantic ridge bisects the planet, exactly at its equator, with an average height approaching 12 miles. The article isn't clear if the ridge itself goes all the way around the planet, or if it's just found on the "dark" side. Oh, yeah, this is also the moon that has one side that's as black as tar, and another that's as white as snow. I'd ask "could it get any weirder?", but I think I already know the answer to that one.
I'm sure the Starbucks junkies referenced above have heard all about it by now, but just in case: $3 for fancy hot chocolate, anyone?
Chantico may be a fancy name for what essentially is a cocoa beverage, but Starbucks wants its patrons to think of it as something different, more like a "drinkable dessert."
A six-ounce cup of Chantico will vary in price between $2.65 to $2.95.
Equally rich is Chantico's caloric content. A six-ounce cup of Chantico contains 390 calories, 20g of fat and 50g of carbs.
Good thing they both go to the gym.
Washington Post today is carrying this comprehensive update on the preservation efforts surrounding the three remaining Saturn Vs in the world. The news, for once, is all good... Kennedy's is already in a nifty exhibit hall, Johnson's should be in a temporary shelter very soon and is slated for full restoration, and Marshall's is well on its way to restoration as well. Ironically (well, to me at least), both the Johnson and Marshall vehicles owe their improvements to a program headed by Hillary Clinton.
Just when you thought you'd finally figured someone out...
Convince a woman to have anal sex.
FYI... this won't work, OK guys.
Funny, yet not work safe!
Lt. Prakash (no, really!) gives us a superb look at the pointy end of the stick. AKA a full company of tanks opening fire, all at once, in the dark, pointing at some poor Haji bastards inside Fallujah. 99.9% of the time, I'm really grateful for our troops doing their job over there, and that it's them instead of me.
But every once in awhile, when I see something like this...
Yeah, I know, I'm an armchair warrior. Worst of the bunch, a white male barbarian interested in nothing but death and destruction that he can watch from the comfort of his own home. Hell I'm even a buddhist... obviously a really bad one.
F*ck 'em. Blowing up terrorists is cool.
And in the left corner of the "terrorism as technocratic opportunity" ring we have this 60 minutes report about every gun nut's favorite "too big to exist" toy:
"I just think there are certain occasions when we say in our society, [the Barrett .50 caliber rifle] is such a threat to our health and safety...our national security, we will not allow it," he tells Bradley. "Thousands have been sold to civilians and, as far as federal gun laws go, it is treated like any other hunting rifle."
Which is, of course, exactly what it is. Yes, it's gigantic. It's also gigantically expensive. This is no .38 special. The fact that the company probably employs dozens (if not hundreds) of people in an otherwise low-wage rural area of the country is just icing on the cake. But of course none of that matters, because they're making something someone disapproves of, and, far worse, they're selling them to just anybody.
I wonder how many police training sessions and gun safety classes could be paid for with the time, money, and energy 60 Minutes spent trying to promote a ban on what is essentially an esoteric and expensive tool? Of course that's not as sexy, not as interesting, not as self-righteous, as chasing after the ultimate elephant gun. Everyone knows "commoners" have no business with one of these things. Only unelected bureaucracies and their duly designated enforcement agencies should be allowed to make these sorts of decisions. They know best! Trusting the plebes with this sort of power... why, next thing you know, they'll be demanding to govern the country! The horror!
Fark linked up this article about developments toward the holy grail of tire manufacture... a tire without air. By using innovative new materials and design technologies, Michelin has developed the "tweel", a tire-wheel combination in which the tread is actually glued to the wheel. Current applications are geared toward military uses and things like wheel chairs, but they're expecting the things to appear on cars within ten years or so.
Carrie gets a well-shaken no-prize for bringing us news of just how far the affects of the recent tsunami-inducing earthquake reached:
The South Asian earthquake that spawned deadly tsunami waves also shifted water levels by at least 3 feet in a geologically sensitive Virginia well some 9,600 miles away from the epicenter, researchers say.
While I have no way to confirm it, after several beers a person who worked on the Titan missle system as it was coming on line in the early sixties had a similar tale to tell. Seems the shock from the Alaskan earthquake of 1964 was severe enough to crash the gyroscopes in all the Air Force's missiles. No gyros meant no way to target the missles, which meant there was no real way to aim them. It took a few days to recover, but during that time the nation's land-based ICBM force was essentially grounded. At the height of the cold war, this was no small thing.
Liz gets a snow-packed no-prize for bringing us the yellow snow writing machine. Maybe now chicks will understand?
James H. from Milan gets a fragrant no-prize for bringing us this Defense Tech article about some... innovative... ways at "degrading" the enemy:
[As] irritating as a swarm of bees or rats [summoned by artificial chemicals] might be, it's nothing compared to the distraction generated by a man in heat. No wonder, then, that the Air Force document calls for "chemicals that affect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."
Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "make love not war", eh?
From a plain 1966 Yamaha to a Batcycle.
Hey is that a sausage in your pants?
Computer viruses are so much fun, especially when they're so new they get "under the radar" of your virus checkers. Two and a half days later and we're now in the final stages of clearing it. I'll try to do a writeup in the next few days (it's funny now that it's nearly over with).
The good news? Management has finally realized that "hey, you know, we haven't spent any money on the network in three years, maybe it's time to..."
Need a toupee for your twat? Fear not! AMCGLTD can lead you in the right direction
BERLIN - Most German men wear condoms of the wrong size, a condom distributor said on Wednesday, after asking more than 2,500 men to measure their erect penises.Read entire German zaniness here.
I think this a world wide problem, not just a German problem.
Who the hell would buy this shit?
A small wooden tea chest has returned to Boston more than 230 years after rebellious colonists dumped it overboard during a famous protest that helped set the scene for the American War of Independence.Read entire article here.
Or at least that's what the new owners would like you to believe.
Historic Tours of America unveiled on Wednesday what it said was a piece of American history: one of only two known surviving tea chests from the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773.
You know the snake caused the accident.
DODGEVILLE, Wisconsin (AP) -- A kangaroo that went on a walkabout in frigid Wisconsin was captured Wednesday. But where the marsupial came from remained a mystery.
Read entire article here.
Charli Southern has defied the odds by surviving despite being born with her heart outside her chest, it is reported.Read entire article here. With picture!
She was born seven weeks premature with a very rare condition called ectopia cordis where the chest fails to close properly over part of the heart.
Doctors rated Charli's chances of survival at two million to one, but so far she has confounded medical opinion.
But she is making a good recovery following two major operations, and it is hoped she will lead a normal life.
Having reconstructive surgery does not reduce the life expectancy of women with breast cancer, research suggests.
In fact women who had breast implants after a mastectomy had a lower risk of dying from cancer, the study involving 5,000 patients over 12 years found.
Read entire article here.
Ron gets a very regular no-prize for bringing us myth busting, metamucil style:
Conventional wisdom about constipation is often only folklore, with no basis in fact, a new German report claims.
Actually a rather interesting report, considering.
AviationNow has linked up the latest Aviation Week cover story, which provides the best-detailed look ever at Global Flyer, the airplane designed to fly Steve Fossett around the world solo and unrefueled. It's just possible he'll make the attempt this week, although a later date seemed more likely. The high points:
Which all translates into a mission that is absolutely not gauranteed to succeed. It'd be embarassing to go to all this trouble and then drive it off the end of the runway on the first attempt, that's for sure.
Well, here's to hoping for a successful flight!
Two words: nose filters. No, really!
Via Improbable Research.
Did we say big oil caused the tsunamis? We really meant giant Russian tsunami bombs:
Would the Russians, being aware of an event such as [the imminent nuking of Houston], realizing the power it would give to Bush to go "Empiring", would they do one better and not only stall Bush's "warring" but also show off their ability to rule the world as well?
Yup, this is our "Houston to be Nuked by the Mossad on December 27th" guy. Since Houston is now a giant smoking hole whose radioactive glow Karl Rove uses to read his newspaper with, it's obvious we all have to start taking this guy seriously.
I think Lair should go first.
I used to have scary nightmares about a third world war,
With mushroom clouds and firestorms and blood and guts and gore,
So Mom explained the reason we won't get blown away:
We've got a little buddy who protects us night and day
A little green bug-eyed monster flew in from outer space.
She's hanging out in orbit just to save the human race.
So if Karl Rove or Cheney decides to drop the Bomb
She'll zap those deadly missiles and preserve our peace and calm.
-- Alan Thiesen.
BBCnews is carrying this article detailing new DNA discoveries about the apex predator of prehistoric New Zealand, the Haas Eagle. It turns out this gigantic bird, nearly 40% larger than the largest eagle in existence today, is most closely related to one of the smallest eagles now found in Australia.
The relationship is much closer than scientists originally thought, with the two sharing a common ancestor perhaps just 1 million years ago. Nobody'd ever encountered a species that changed this much this fast, so the biological implications alone are deeply interesting.
These big raptors fed on the biggest birds of them all, the giant Moa. Both were driven to extinction shortly after the arrival of people, about 700 years ago.
And on the latest-and-greatest classified system Craigslist, we find an instructive entry on "why you shouldn't include a photograph of something you're trying to sell just because you think it's cool" (pampered? Yeah right.) Also, a free tombstone! Whatabargain! As long as you're named "Homer Isenberg" anyway. Time to get that power of attorney from mom...
Space.com is carrying this update of Mars rover Opportunity's recent excursions. They've parked it next to its own heat shield, discarded nearly a year ago as the probe landed, to do research on how well the shield functioned and examine the soil changed by its impact. The article also notes the next goal for Opportunity is "etched" terrain to the south of Endurance crater, some 2 miles away from the rover's current location.
Pretty good for something that was only meant to last three months!
As proof positive there's nothing in this world that can't be turned into a conspiracy, we have this site that purports to link the recent south Asian catastrophe with "Corporate Oil". Look, a 9.0 earthquake releases energy on a scale that basically dwarfs anything man has ever created, nukes included. Compared to that, sonic exploration is quite literally nothing more than puffs of air.
Always comforting to listen to the foil hats rumbling in the night. Sounds like... lunacy...
Even more proof that a giant mutated mamalian brain is no substitute for common sense:
Agitated elephants felt the tsunami coming, and their sensitivity saved about a dozen foreign tourists from the fate of thousands killed by the giant waves.
Several recent documentaries I've seen involving elephants* have noted the recent discovery that they "hear" extremely low frequency sounds through their feet. It's apparently one way they communicate with each other. Having a 9.0 earthquake somewhere in the area must've been the elephant equivalent of the amplifier detonation sequence in Back to the Future. No wonder they ran.
* Yeah, several. Involving elephants. Stop looking at me that way. The first person who whispers "nerd" under their breath is gonna get clobbered, I swear!
While nearly everyone is now well-acquainted with the Microsoft product cycle (announce two years in advance, release three months late, patch a month later, patch the patch the next day, etc.), not everyone may be as familiar with Apple's:
The Mac rumor sites spring into action. Liberally quoting “reliable” sources inside Cupertino, irrelevant “experts,” and each other, they quickly transform baseless speculation into widely accepted fact.
Eager Mac-heads fan the flames by flooding the Mac discussion forums with more groundless conjecture. Threads pop up around feature wish lists, favorite colors, and likely retail price points. In a matter of days, a third-hand, unsubstantiated rumor blossoms into a hand-held device that can do everything except find a girlfriend for a fat, smelly nerd.
One of our peanut gallery residents recently purchased a
Dell Gateway laptop because he wasn't able to pay twice as much for an equivalent Apple product. His chagrin was almost palpable, and I was quite surprised he even admitted to it (facilitated perhaps because he was safe inside the confines of Castle Wingnut, a bastion of tacky Microsoft and incomprehensibly weird Linux). I'm still waiting for him to show up at my door being chased by The Faithful with pitchforks and torches for his apostasy.
Scientific American is carrying this article summarizing new findings about longevity and nutrition in, of all things, crickets. It was found that while well-fed female field crickets lived longer than their "starved" sisters, the exact opposite was the case in males. The difference? Well-fed males used all their energy to attract even more females, to the point it killed them faster.
Which just shows there sometimes really isn't all that much difference in the various species of the animal kingdom, be they human or cricket.
Frank provides us with a great look at what the White House Press Corps would really have liked to ask at a recent press conference:
"With the death toll from the tsunami likely to hit 150,000, is the Bush administration finally ready to admit that the war in Iraq was a mistake?" a reporter.
Scott just stared back silently in response.
"Okay! That's it!" Scott shouted angrily, "I put up with your questions about whether Laci Peterson and her child would still be alive if it weren't for the war in Iraq and whether the Matrix sequels would have been better if we hadn't 'rush to war,' but now I'm drawing the line. I want some relevant questions."
"How do you respond to the water god Pochanto saying that the tsunami is in retaliation to Abu Grahib?" another reporter asked.
The way Frank ends the conference is how we'd all like to see them end.
BBCnews is carrying this article providing details of just what SpaceShipTwo, the follow-up to Burt Rutan's prize-winning SpaceShipOne, will look like. It'll be much bigger to accomodate 8 passengers, and have a very different wing shape to solve the big stability problems SS1 experienced. The "target price" for space tourism 1.0 is $200,000 per seat, which means it'll be awhile before I get a ride. While certainly expensive, I wonder just how much, adjusted for inflation, the first airline tickets were? Maybe I won't have to spend my child's inheritance after all.
Problem: Tsunami wreckage makes it impossible to even get cleanup equipment near some sites.
Solution: Use something that doesn't require any infrastructure at all:
"[Elephants] will be assigned to work in towing heavy objects and pulling out debris," said Siriphong Leeprasit, a district official in Phang Nga. "Elephants could work better in pulling out the remains of collapsed buildings and houses, especially in areas flooded with mud or hilly areas."
In Indonesia, another 11 elephants - native to badly hit Sumatra island - have been pressed into similar duty because there were few trucks and other heavy equipment to do the job there. A TV report showed them pulling a sport utility vehicle from a collapsed building.
And they even work for peanuts!
Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week... try the veal!
This is a reason WHY to microchip your outdoor cats!
Jamison, a 7-year-old cat with long, gray fur, ventured outside his home one day in June 2003 and didn't come back. His owner gave him up for lost and adopted another cat.Read entire sappy story here.
Three weeks ago, Christine Park received a call from a microchip company, saying Jamison had been found and was living at an animal shelter in San Jose.
What the hell is wrong with people today?
A judge has refused to grant a divorce to a pregnant woman trying to leave her husband two years after he was jailed for beating her, ruling instead that she must wait until the child is born.
Read entire asinine article here.
You never know what you might find in a storage unit - among the boxes and furniture and old records, there is the occasional surprise. "We had a guy in San Francisco about six years ago - he brought stuff to his house and opened a box and inside that is another box," said Guy Denos, owner of California Storage Auction News of Oakley. "He opens that box and sees a Levi's jacket, which might be special because they can be valuable. Well, the jacket is wrapped around something - he thinks it's maybe a vase or something - and he takes the jacket out and unwraps it."
And . . .?
I know you want to read more! So here is the link.
Slashdot linked up this nifty one-year anniversary site for the Mars rovers. Amazingly, the dot-heads haven't crushed the server (your tax dollars at work), so the tres-cool flash movies are still available. Check it out!
Sometimes policing is tough. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes though, sometimes it's just damned weird.