Make your own popcorn well, you know...
Especially if you do something like this.
You deal with his crazy bike obsession, and he deals with your menagarie of animals.
Not for the squimsh! And yes, the mouse is dead.
A worker in the returns department at Country Home Products got a return and a surprise when he opened a brush trimmer sent back from South Carolina. Inside the box was the trimmer - and five kittens.
Read article here.
No-Prize to Carrie for the link!
So how do you tell what's going on in the center of the Earth? Geologists have traditionally been limited to seismic studies, which definitely have their limitations. Now, however, it appears there's a new way to peer into the "down below". By using an exotic detector buried deep underground, a group of scientists have detected neutrinos, special sub-atomic particles, generated by the decay of radioactive materials in the Earth's core. Each "geoneutrino" carries a signature of its chemical origin, providing unique insights into the core's composition. While current detectors aren't sensitive enough to provide a lot of data, it's hoped now that the general concept has been proven that other, more sensitive devices can be created to provide more detailed observations.
We've all heard about "runaway juries", who on their own initiative and in direct contradiction of evidence and law find a defendant innocent. Such juries are portrayed as menaces to both justice and society, ignoramuses with no real understanding of logic, let alone law, held up as poster children for why the "common man" needs protection most of all from himself. Which is, as with most elitist rhetoric, not only wrong but utterly ignorant of how the system works:
The doctrine of jury nullification rests on two truths about the American criminal justice system: (1) Jurors can never be punished for the verdict they return, and (2) Defendants cannot be retried once a jury has found them not guilty, regardless of the jury's reasoning. So the juries in both the Rosenthal and Paey cases could have returned a "not guilty" verdict, even though Paey and Rosenthal were undoubtedly guilty of the charges against them.
This may sound radical, perhaps even subversive, but jury nullification serves as an important safeguard against unjust laws, as well as against the unfair application of well-intended laws. It's also steeped in American and British legal tradition.
Yes, it's a Fox News site, so some of you may need to put on welding goggles to make sure your eyes don't burn, but this is emphatically not the first time I have read about this phenomena. Histories and discussions of the evolution of common law (especially in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries) revolve around the rise of independent juries as a cornerstone of an independent justice system. Far from producing chaos and collapse, they were a lynchpin in the train that carried first Britain and then America from tyranny to liberty. We have only forgotten how important this expression of individual freedom is. It's time we started to remember.
Pat gets a well-preserved no-prize for bringing us news of the discovery of the oldest dinosaur embryo found to-date. At 190 million years old, it's almost double the age of the typical embryo find. The fossil was actually excavated nearly thirty years ago, but it's apparently taken this long to chip away the surrounding rock to expose the dinosaur inside. The findings provide some startling insights into how early plant-eating dinosaurs lived, reproduced, and evolved.
Mahmood got to test-ride a Segway yesterday, and let's just say "like" doesn't even come close to what he thinks about it. I wonder if they're any cheaper over there than they are in the states?
BBCnews is carrying this summary of the discovery of a treasure-filled tomb in Bulgaria at least 2400 years old. The remains are probably that of a Thracian king who died suddenly, and young.
If I'm remembering my history right (no promises there), that puts him right around the time of the of the Peloponnesian war (which I managed to spell correctly the first time when I did a google search!) I.e. the Parthenon was sparkling-new when this guy was around, and, while the Roman Republic existed, the city itself was just a collection of brick houses on a hilly bit of ground next to a river.
The pyramids were about 2000 years old at that point.
So which 80s cereals do you remember eating? If it had "coco" in the name I was usually all over it (in all honesty, I still am), but even I don't recognize some of these names. Nerds Cereal?
You know, if July's "Robert O' Brian idiot of the month" winner's theses were true, America would look like a George Romero film:
Thanks to the latest advances in neuroscience, we now know that pornographic visual images imprint and alter the brain, triggering an instant, involuntary, but lasting, biochemical memory trail, arguably, subverting the First Amendment by overriding the cognitive speech process. This is true of so-called “soft-core” and “hard-core” pornography. And once new neurochemical pathways are established they are difficult or impossible to delete.
Pornographic images also cause secretion of the body’s “fight or flight” sex hormones. This triggers excitatory transmitters and produces non-rational, involuntary reactions; intense arousal states that overlap sexual lust--now with fear, shame, and/or hostility and violence. Media erotic fantasies become deeply imbedded, commonly coarsening, confusing, motivating and addicting many of those exposed. (See “the Violence Pyramid” at http://www.vbii.org/violence.html) Pornography triggers myriad kinds of internal, natural drugs that mimic the “high” from a street drug. Addiction to pornography is addiction to what I dub erototoxins -- mind-altering drugs produced by the viewer’s own brain.
Ed Brayton's dissection of Ms. Reisman's thesis is predictably devestating. Yet more proof that if you go far enough to one extreme of belief, you usually end up meeting people coming from the other direction.
Space.com is featuring an article about new discoveries regarding Earth's closest star. By examining other sun-like stars with the Chandra X-ray telescope, scientists have found them to contain three times as much neon as is observed in the Sun with different techniques. The implication is that these previous techniques (and therefore all the other observations that rely on them, about any star in the universe) don't actually work, or there's something very very strange about the Sun. Chandra can't be used on the Sun because it's too close... the sensors would burn out.
Slashdot linked up this nifty solar-powered lighting device that could be coming soon to an office near you. And when I say solar powered, I'm not talking about a panel providing electricity. The system uses fiber optics to transmit actual sunlight into a building, although some models are planned to include electric lights to supplement the natural light.
Office lighting has never made much of a difference either way to me, but there are probably half a dozen folks with interior (non-window) offices here who go to great lengths to create a more "natural" light in their workspace. Usually the effect is pretty cave-like, so there might actually be a very large market for this sort of device.
Apparently rather famous, though I'd never heard of it, the 80th annual Assateague Channel pony swim took place without incident yesterday. The big fog made for some interesting pictures, one of which is featured on the site.
BBCnews is carrying this report on new discoveries about the behavior of the second-largest fish in the world... the basking shark. Turns out they're a lot brighter than was originally thought, but then again so is their pray, plankton. An interesting look at an animal about which next to nothing is currently known.
It's been awhile since I've been able to throw a bomb into the peanut gallery. Great to see the left's cherished Air America has kindly lit the fuse for me:
What happens when the mainstream media, after years of seething over conservative talk radio's success, discover its alternative got diverted public funds, earmarked instead for inner-city youth and seniors?
The answer, with one key exception: they pretend it didn't happen.
Yes, only because of a New York Daily News tidbit do we know that Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club nearly shut down major programs recently, because almost $500,000 in governmental grant money was instead diverted to Air America's liberal radio network.
Corrupt businessmen stealing money from the poor to fund their leftist propaganda network. Say it ain't so Joe (or should that be "Al"?) say it ain't so!
In the annals of the great conflicts, will we soon be adding Canada vs. Denmark?
In Greenland, it's being called an unjustified occupation, while Canadian diplomats won't even deign to call it an irritant.
But behind the rhetoric, experts say there is a good reason why Defence Minister Bill Graham plopped down on a barren little island in Canada's High North. Arctic sovereignty will become an increasingly important issue as global warming melts the polar ice caps, and even the government of Greenland appears to know it.
Yesterday, a key government official in Greenland chose strong words to describe Mr. Graham's move, while reports in the Danish press said the country expects to send a ship to the area next month.
And I thought the fight over Cypress was stupid...
Not only did Autoweek like Alfa's new 159 sedan, they're quoting rumors that they might start hitting our shores in 2007!
Need to keep filling that penny jar...
And failing that, there's always boating.
Russia's federal space agency took a giant leap in the field of cosmic tourism yesterday with the announcement it will offer a $100m (£57m) trip to the moon.
Roskosmos leaked details of the project as Nasa's space shuttle Discovery prepared for launch from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. A source at the Russian agency confirmed to the Guardian that the technology was in place for a flight to be launched within 18 months of a down payment.
The Soyuz system was designed initially as the USSR's answer to Apollo, so they definitely have a crew vehicle that'll do the trip. Not sure if they have a booster that'll get them from the IIS to the moon, but if they say they have that capability, hey, who am I to disagree?
Anyone have Donald Trump's number handy?
Every once in a while you see a correction in a newspaper that doesn't quite do justice to the magnitude of the error committed--one where the correction really should say that the article in question never should have been written. This morning's New York Times corrections section offers an example
In order to understand the magnitude of the Times' error, you have to read the original article. As noted, it was published on Sunday, when the Times' circulation is by far the highest. The "fact" that the Times has now corrected was the entire substance of the article.
The Washington Post just can't be that much better than the NY Times... I guess there just aren't as many people fact-checking them.
Now, what was that about journalists being a lot better than bloggers again?
While it was first shown a week or two ago at Comic-Con, the first "teaser" trailer for the upcoming movie Doom is now available on-line. It might actually be good. Then again, even Battlefield Earth looked good as a trailer. Gonna keep an eye on this one anyway, if nothing else might end up being movie night material.
We Tivo'd the shuttle launch yesterday and in the last minutes of the count down I remember commenting to Ellen, "look at all those damned birds! They so won't want to be there in about five minutes!"
The shuttle is fast, but as I recall it's not that quick. Of course, even if the bird didn't get splatted, there's the small matter of that whole "pillar of fire" thing coming up from behind. Something tells me this bird got thumped, had just enough time to think "wha--?!?", and then suddenly found itself standing in line for reincarnation with a guy up front yelling "next!"
What's in the box!?!
Prepare for lots of pixes!
A deli cup? This is a snake, not a cup of coleslaw.
A tiny deli cup too. This is expensive coleslaw.
Oh please don't jump out!
More pixes as the week goes on and he settles in :) Many thanks to South Mountain Reptiles for picking me out my new buddy!
Everyone's favorite "stranger in a strange land" teacher is at it again, this time with some... interesting... observations about how Japanese children play dodge ball:
We both looked at the nearby girls court. Standing in the center of the court was the smallest ichinensei girl, and let me emphasize this in case you missed it, THE SMALLEST ICHINENSEI GIRL, standing meekly with her hands above her head. "Oops! Sorry!" She calls out. The ball is returned and the game continues. Another small ichinensei girl gets the ball. But it's no longer the *stepstepstep* *pitiful toss* "Oooh! Sorry!" *stepstepstep* in once was. No. She ran forward and chucked that Dodgeball like Moses hurling the Ten Commandments off the mountain. Complete with a Zena Warrior Princess war-cry that could bring any man to his knees. Suddenly, the cutesy ichinensei girls dodgeball game had become *run* "AI-YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA!" *dodgeball chuck with all the Unleashed Furies of Hell behind it*.
I swear, sometimes it's like the only difference between real Japanese and anime Japanese is the color scheme.
Never one to mince words, the increasingly frail Oriana Fallaci is speaking out once again:
"Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder," the historian Arnold Toynbee wrote, and these words could certainly be Ms. Fallaci's. She is in a black gloom about Europe and its future: "The increased presence of Muslims in Italy, and in Europe, is directly proportional to our loss of freedom." There is about her a touch of Oswald Spengler, the German philosopher and prophet of decline, as well as a flavor of Samuel Huntington and his clash of civilizations. But above all there is pessimism, pure and unashamed. When I ask her what "solution" there might be to prevent the European collapse of which she speaks, Ms. Fallaci flares up like a lit match. "How do you dare to ask me for a solution? It's like asking Seneca for a solution. You remember what he did?" She then says "Phwah, phwah," and gestures at slashing her wrists. "He committed suicide!" Seneca was accused of being involved in a plot to murder the emperor Nero. Without a trial, he was ordered by Nero to kill himself. One senses that Ms. Fallaci sees in Islam the shadow of Nero. "What could Seneca do?" she asks, with a discernible shudder. "He knew it would end that way--with the fall of the Roman Empire. But he could do nothing."
I've always found her prose searing and her insights both bang-on and illuminating, and she's no different here. I am also deeply amused at the similarity in both tone and attitude between her writings and Ellen's opinions. You can take the girl out of Italy...
Oh, and anyone who might dismiss her out of hand as some sort of proto-neocon, you might want to read a little bit more about her first.
In the unlikely event you're unfortunate enough to use our site to get actual news, we just wanted to pass on that Discovery made a successful launch and is now in orbit. Next trick, of course, will be getting them back.
Fark (of course) yesterday linked up news of one of the earliest representations of a phallus yet discovered:
A sculpted and polished phallus found in a German cave is among the earliest representations of male sexuality ever uncovered, researchers say.
The 20cm-long, 3cm-wide stone object, which is dated to be about 28,000 years old, was buried in the famous Hohle Fels Cave near Ulm in the Swabian Jura.
It was apparently used to nap flint, so it's either got heavy religious connotations or represents the workings of a really bored tool maker.
Never ones to pass up a good whine, Mac users now seem to think Microsoft has blanked them out of existence:
Internet sleuths discovered that anyone using Microsoft's new "Virtual Earth" Web site for a bird's-eye view of Apple's corporate headquarters saw only a grainy overhead photograph of what appears to be a single, nondescript warehouse and a deserted parking lot not Apple's sprawling campus, with 11 modern buildings surrounding a plush courtyard.
Come on people, this is Microsoft. If ever there was a company which needed "Never ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence" inscribed over its door, it's this one.
Of course, now that I think about it, the Borg really hasn't stepped on its own crank all that often lately. Is it possible they've actually become good at this stuff?
Where'd you put that roll of foil again?
McKay and Smith calculate that if methanogens are thriving on Titan, their breathing would deplete hydrogen levels near the surface to one-thousandth that of the rest of the atmosphere. Detecting this difference would be striking evidence for life, because no known non-biological process on Titan could affect hydrogen concentrations as much.
One hope for testing their idea rests with the data from an instrument on Huygens called the GCMS, which recorded Titan's chemical make-up as the probe descended.
It won't happen quickly, since the data has to be gone over quite a bit to separate the hydrogen stuff from the rest, but apparently there is a strong possibility that this will work.
These won't be your ancestor's life-forms though. It's speculated that they won't be much more than microbes, and eating acetylene for energy.
Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
Personally I wouldn't mind them twisting ankles or maybe getting fingernails folded back, but getting beaten to death... well, that's a little extreme IMO. Plus there's the problem of the thousands of other spammers.
And just never you mind that heavily dented can of Spam in my pantry. Never you mind at all.
PALERMO, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian couple stole 50,000 euros from a woman in the Sicilian city of Palermo after convincing her they were vampires who would impregnate her with the son of the Anti-Christ if she did not pay them.
Hell I ended up with the daughter of the Anti-Christ and nobody demanded any money from me. Maybe Ellen's hiding the invoice...
It's a joke mom, a joke!
"This guy is a kingdom guy,'' said the Rev. Steve Munsey, gesturing toward Yechiel Eckstein. We were sitting in the greenroom of the Family Christian Center in Munster, Ind., about 40 minutes from Chicago. We were between Sunday-morning services, and Pastor Munsey was taking a break, kicking back to welcome his guest. ''What do I mean by kingdom guy?'' he said. ''Like a godfather in the Mafia, it's a term of respect.''
So begins the ever-so-curious tale of Orthodox Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the rabbi who turned the seemingly least-likeliest group of people to fund Jewish projects, evangelical Christians, into the engine that drives second-largest charitable foundation in Israel, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. While far from completely accepted, especially by his fellow Orthodox rabbis, this man's efforts seem to be bridging a gap thought to be forever doomed to remain open and uncrossed.
From what I remember of the evangelicals in the town I grew up in (Dumas, AR, pop. 6400), I can't help but be at least a little skeptical of the motives behind why such people are funding Rabbi Eckestien's foundation. Then again, some of the most decent people I've known have come from such churches, and it would be completely within their character to support Israel simply because it's the right thing to do. At any rate, it's always better to judge a person by their actions than to speculate about their motives, and it's hard to argue with what the IFCJ works for, let alone what it actually achieves.
Pat gets her second no-prize of the day for bringing us this colorful story of a stranger in a very strange land.
Fark linked up this brief collection of cool one-off cars, which include two Speedracer vehicles. I never watched the show when I was a kid, and find it kinda painful nowadays, but it does seem rather popular to others. Enjoy!
Pat gets a no-prize taken straight from the dig for bringing us news of the discovery a new sauropod dinosaur species. Found on private land near the Little Snowy Mountains in central Montana, the fossil specimen is about twice as old as those typically found in the area, and includes an intact skull, very rare with these dinosaurs. The find should help refine the range of these critters, as well as provide insight into their evolution.
So why isn't Fluffy interested in a single chocolate chip, while it's all you can do to keep Fido from eating the entire box? Well, according to this Washington Post article, it's because cats can't taste anything special about the cookie:
Until now, scientists have not known whether cats simply lack the lingual apparatus to detect sugar; or have functional sugar detectors on their tongues but faulty wiring from their taste buds to the brain; or -- as some might presume -- are simply too snooty to admit to such a common craving.
Now researchers studying the DNA of house cats, tigers and cheetahs have settled the question: Cats both large and small harbor a genetic mutation that renders the sugar detectors on their taste buds inoperative.
So much for my mom wanting to come back in her next life as a cat.
Cornbread is being shipped today for arrival at my work tomorrow!
Pixes on the entire event will be posted!
Ok, Ok, so I realize our male audience out there may not want to play a game with cats in a hot air balloon. So I picked this game out for you instead.
Match the boobs.
Pretend you are a cat. A cat in a hot air balloon, wiith egg beaters. Now catch some crows!
Play the game here.
I have NO idea why I'm the one posting this. Scott is the bike nut.
Lance Armstrong has sealed a seventh successive Tour de France victory after a captivating final stage in Paris.
Organisers decided to stop the race clock after the first of eight laps through the streets of Paris on Sunday because of the dire weather.
That meant Armstrong only had to complete the course to pick up his seventh Tour win.
See full article here.
Ok, so here is the new improved set up. No longer ugly and plain. Good snakey funness!
Ron gets a carniverous no-prize for bringing us news of the discovery of a snail-eating caterpillar:
The five new species of snail-eating Hyposmocoma caterpillars belong to a rather exclusive dinner club among insects, said Rubinoff. Out of at least 150,000 known species of moths and butterflies in the world, there are only about 200 species that are not vegetarians — just 0.13 percent.
The story of the discovery itself is pretty amusing too... apparently the biologist who found them literally didn't believe it until he'd seen several "feedings" witnessed by others.
After his wife, Mary, scrubbed it with jewelry cleaner, they were able to read the inscription: "MPS to SJP 9-10-67." Her husband's eyes began to tear, she said.
Read entire sappy story here.
Quite interested in seeing what the more famously lefty members of the gallery score. Damned hippies...
Who says Ellen's the only one gets to put up baby pixes?
Of course a hose needs a target...
Special thanks to Amber and Ron for being, respectively, target and assistant. Taken during Olivia's "home" birthday party a few weeks ago.
So just how good is your European geography? I got 76% on the first try, stumbling over all the ridiculous little principalities that seem to infest the continent, as well as dealing with an Eastern Europe that looks nothing like it did when I memorized those maps in the '70s. Yes, memorized. Didn't everyone carry around a world atlas when they were 8?
Scott bought a heart rate monitor. It took him 10 minutes before he handed it over [handed it over?!? What part of "gimme that you wine swilling noob!" could be called "handed"??! -- Scott] to me to figure out how to work the straps.
Scott's resting heart rate: 81
Who's better aerobically now bike boy?
Plus my new toy is going to be cooler. It has a forked tongue, and eats things.
While cruising around I found this interesting site that catalogs a variety of airplane crash sites. No, no burned bodies, just the remains of airplanes, some of them more than fifty years old. Considering some of these aircraft were reduced to splinters, it's amazing they can be found at all.
Fark brings us our remarkable Martian image of the day. They're going to be sending probes with even higher resolution cameras in the next few years. I can hardly wait!
Pat gets a dangerously unstable no-prize for bringing us news of Mt. St. Helens's latest shenanigans:
A series of unusually strong earthquakes — exceeding magnitude 3 — has been reported in recent days by the Cascades Volcano Laboratory in Vancouver, Wash., about 50 miles south of the mountain. The latest was a magnitude 3.1 quake early Thursday that was accompanied by a rockfall.
Rockfalls during the quakes send up plumes of ash. Some tower thousands of feet above the 8,364-foot crater rim; a March plume reached 30,000 feet, raising concerns about area air traffic. Some plumes don't escape the crater and some wispy, gritty puffs crest just above the rim.
Now, far as I can remember, you can stomp your feet and get a 3.0 earthquake out of it if the sensor is next to you. So "strong" seems to be pretty relative here. Still, if said 3.0 earthquake is strong enough to shake apart fragile yet multi-tonned bits of mountain and send them crashing down slopes like God's own bowling alley, well, I'll just stand back here and watch then, thank you!
Old hat perhaps to some, but I'd never seen it before: How did the whole "Greedo shoots first" thing really go down?
Keep an eye on the gallery too!
Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.
And it just keeps getting better after that. I can only hope the reporter who triggered it asked for his head back nicely.
"Get people involved in your training!"
"Build team work around themes!"
"Provide original incentives to set performance goals!"
Which is all well and good (even if it makes "the line" gag every time they hear one of these slogans), but sometimes the middle managers, they get the wrong idea:
The internal campaign, named "Mission Jehad," addressed sales agents as "Dear terrorists" and compared selling life insurance policies to killing people, the Times of India newspaper said.
The posters were used at a meeting of sales agents for the ICICI Prudential Insurance Company in the northern Indian city of Kanpur.
"Kill 10, take a branded T-shirt and be the best terrorist in the group," agents were told on posters ostensibly signed by bin Laden, the newspaper said.
However, (at least this time) India seems to have a rather neat approach to dealing with this particularly lunk-headed set of PHBs: "Police in Kanpur said five employees, including the branch manager, had been arrested Tuesday and charged with sedition."
If only that could happen to them all...
What better way to introduce a new category than a wee bit of whimsy? I don't have the clothing*, but I'm all about the bicycle body (my mom actually commented on the weird tan lines on my hands), and it's only a matter of time before the whole car/bike thing comes true, at least with the Cruiser. As far as courting, I guess I should count myself lucky I already had a mate before I went bike crazy. Even then I'm a lucky bastard, since Ellen treats my latest obsession more with bemusement than anything else. At least until the checkbook comes out.
Then again, at least my latest obsession doesn't require anything remotely related to "pinkies". *SHUDDER*
* Perhaps the only bike-related thing that can be given as a gift without risk of me buying it for myself. No, that's not a suggestion, it's a comment. For me, fashion is something that happens to other people, even when it has a vaguely functional aspect. You should see what I wear to work. And the first person who gets me a leg razor for a gift? Dead I tell you. Dead!
Gah... if you people only knew the "if only I could find XXXXX's mugshot" jokes I ran through typing this thing up. Let's just say the peanut gallery has a... colorful (and by no means singular) history with the boys in blue. And those are only the ones we actually know about!
Scientific American is carrying this brief report on new findings regarding how bones hold themselves together. By using new imaging techniques, scientists have managed to take pictures of the structures that "glue" bone filaments while simultaneously allowing them to flex in response to stress. The findings are hoped to lead to new therapies for bone fracture and age-related loss.
Carrie gets a voracious no-prize for bringing us news of the region's latest insect scourge... Japanese beetles:
Last summer's rains coupled with this season's scorching temperatures and tropical humidity have fostered what entomologists call the perfect climate for Japanese beetles to thrive. What's more, the region's lush green foliage has accelerated the beetle's reproduction activity.
"It's warm 24/7, so the beetles are up in the trees partying. They're feeding; they're mating," [Mike Raupp, who has studied insects at the University of Maryland for decades] said. "It's a big beetle party right now."
They bounce off of me regularly on my bike rides, like little buzzing marbles flying through the air. Worse still is when they manage to land on me... one actually started crawling on the strap of my helmet, right next to my ear, on a trail ride last week. I stopped so hard and so fast I could smell the brakes on my bike. And other rider's reactions? I mean, come on... just because I suddenly stopped the bike, threw my helmet off, and began swatting at my head like it was on fire... sheesh... it was like they thought they had a license to gawk...
Sometimes, just sometimes, there really are worse things than getting in a car accident wearing dirty underwear. Too bad his mom wasn't around to warn him about these things.
While this Slashdot-linked article about two high school students inventing a "new" sort of automotive air conditioner is interesting and very optimistic, according to the 'dot collective, it leaves a major caveat out. Essentially, peltier coolers (the chips they used to create the effect) are currently extremely inefficient, far less so than conventional compressor-driven systems.
Still, comparing an established and highly refined system to something that was almost literally ginned up in a garage doesn't seem exactly fair. Certainly Ricoh, a very large and serious HVAC manufacturer, is taking it seriously. Who knows... maybe they're sitting on some sort of process that makes these things far more efficiently?
Call it "a cool [ha!] wait-and-see" idea.
Yeah, yeah I know. It's a simple set up so far. Hopefully this weekend I'll get a piece of driftwood and some vines to put in there with a backround.
Never let it be said we ever resist a cheap shot. Sad thing is, I have a feeling some in the peanut gallery won't understand this is satire.
Slashdot linked up Google's nifty tribute to the thirty-sixth anniversary of the first moon landing. I didn't realize the sites were that close together. Then again, there's no mention of scale anywhere, so "close" may be kinda relative.
36 years?!? I didn't vote for that!
Jeff gets a no-prize for bringing us news of another original Star Trek cast member's passing:
James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85.
I think it was last year or perhaps the year before that in which Doohan made his last public appearance. A report at the time commented on his rapidly failing health, so this is sad but not particularly surprising. Here's to hoping his next turn at the wheel is at least as productive as this one was!
While Maru and I may disagree on politics, we do seem to agree on something else:
Now that both sides have a SCOTUS nominee to froth over, maybe this one will finally sink beneath the waves. Here's to hoping...
House getting too complicated? Gadget frenzy left you with more buttons than four hands worth of fingers could push? Wouldn't know a manual from a hole in the ground even if it walked up and bit you on the butt? Have we got a gizmo for you:
A new tabletop robot will soon help consumers remotely control all of their home electronic equipment, from the Internet to MP3 players.
Philips, known mostly for electronics and audio components, has developed a tabletop robot meant to serve as an intermediary device between the user and an array of electronic gadgets.
Which of course begs the question, if you're too dumb to use all the gizmos in your house, how could you possibly be smart enough to program a robot to do it for you?
Ron gets a mechanized no prize for bringing us a look at yet another entry in the "useless expensive coat hanger" category.
Phaser and force-field analogs anyone? Still no promising anti-grav technologies. Well, except maybe for Pam Anderson's boobs or something.
No, really, sometimes you just can't make this stuff up:
Once again, a squirrel clambering onto a power line has been blamed for a brush fire in this border town north of Oroville, Wash.
Firefighters were summoned Monday after a squirrel scrambled up a Fortis Inc. utility pole, got zapped and landed in flames on some dry brush outside a fruit packing business, Fire Chief Ross Driver said.
Rodents... a worldwide power grid scourge. Whodathunkit?
Fark (of all places) linked up this interesting writeup about Costco, the nation's 5th largest retailer and prime competitor in the "price club" business:
Combining high quality with stunningly low prices, the shirts appeal to upscale customers — and epitomize why some retail analysts say Sinegal just might be America's shrewdest merchant since Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart.
But not everyone is happy with Costco's business strategy. Some Wall Street analysts assert that Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well.
The Street's reaction is understandable if more than a little elitist. Stock analysts only care about maximized profits and minimized costs, and nothing else matters. When you look at the very long view, it's hard to argue they don't have a point. Nevertheless, the beauty of a free market is that if someone wants to do it differently, there's nothing to stop them. As long as Mr. Sinegal's company continues to show both healthy profit and growth, and is managed carefully, he won't need to care what the Street thinks.
And if he does it long enough and well enough, hey, that's the stuff of revolutions.
Time to go sign up for a membership. The local Sam's Club stinks anyway.
The behavioralists, primatologists, and psych majors in the audience (hey, it's possible... intellectuals like fart jokes too ya know) should find this summary of a new primate study of interest:
Whether or not an animal can recognize itself in the mirror has long been used by scientists as a means of self-awareness. Apes pass the test, but monkeys have been thought to perceive a stranger in their reflection. The results of a new study suggest that what monkeys see is not so simple: although they don't recognize themselves, they also treat their mirror twins differently than they do real animals.
Is it just me, or does the first sentence of the article make no sense? Cor, look at me getting all "grammar police" and stuff...
Not content with the old standards of animals, existing dieties (ancient and modern), or even themselves, a Malaysian cult has instead chosen to worship... wait for it...
A mob fire-bombed the headquarters of a bizarre Malaysian cult built around a giant teapot Monday, police and a fireman said, two weeks after the sect was raided by religious officials.
And you people thought the Scientologists were weird!
Oh, and if those folks need a new one, my daughter has several teapots to choose from in a variety of attractive colors. Some even come with original and very cryptic colored wax* inscriptions perfect for the mystery cultists in their sect. I think one even plays music!
* A.K.A. crayon.
Seems every time we find a good soldier's blog about Iraq he gets rotated back home two weeks later. Good for them, not quite so good for us. Still, for every soldier who rotates in, another rotates out. Out in the field now we have a blogger from Texas giving us his own view of Iraq:
After lunch we settled back into the sitting room where the conversation quickly turned to "what have you done for us lately", which is remarkably similar to the one we had the other day. We understand that there are important issues they need help with ... But one of the problems we contiually run into is that they ask for something different every week. CPT Walton vehemently tried to explain that if something is really, really imporant this week, then that same something should still be really, really important next week. In other words, let's try to focus on one thing at a time until we get it done. Unfortunaltey, there are too many chiefs, or in this case sheiks, that are trying to there pet project pressed through.
Wait a minute...I just realized that sounds a lot like something we have back in the U.S.
It's called congress.
For the Star Wars nut in your life who has everything (yes, Richie, this means you), we are happy to present the Death Star subwoofer:
In my batchelor days I decided I needed a subwoofer for my lounge, a subwoofer so powerful it could loosen fillings, shake out the colesteral from my arteries and generally make a lot of noise. It seemed to me that the Death Star, ignoring the weakness that ultimately lead to it's complete destruction, was a pretty good design... so I made my own (with a lot of help from my then housemate).
I'm no longer a batchelor, I no longer live in a detached house in the middle of nowhere, so the subwoofer is offered here for sale.
See ladies? Another difference is that sometimes men build their own toys.
Don't miss the Q&A section, it's a scream!
Instapundit linked up the brand-new UN terror alert system. Where's your level?
New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing the latest Cassini flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus. What it found is apparently beyond explanation: giant boulders strewn across the landscape, surrounding the moon-crossing cracks for which Enceladus is famous. Unfortunately, no pictures (yet), but even the discription makes it sound, well, unusual.
Slashdot linked up this inside look at how two teams are shaping up to take on the 2005 DARPA Challenge:
The Grand Challenge pits autonomous vehicles against each other in a race across the Southern California desert. With no driver, these robotic cars use the latest technology in following GPS waypoints and avoiding obstacles. Last year, none of the vehicles finished the race, which proved that the Grand Challenge really was "grand". The winding 150 mile course from Barstow, California to Primm, Nevada knocked out vehicle after vehicle. Most of the vehicles were eliminated just miles of the starting gate, with Carnegie Mellon's Sandstorm reaching the farthest distance of 7.4 miles, before clipping a fencepost and then slamming into a three-foot boulder.
The prize money's been doubled this year (to $2 million), so perhaps it won't be quite the amusing fiasco it's been in the past.
Guess what got purchased today!?! Hopefully we will have pixes either by the end of the week or next week when it arrives.
Grandmas take note. There is a special sheet with which to cover your fear.
And it has cats on it!
Fans of the new Battlestar Galactica series should find this in-depth NY Times article on the show and its creator, Ron Moore, of interest. I did manage to finally catch the premiere of the 2nd season on Sunday, and (IMO) it was the best continuation of a cliffhanger I've ever seen. I have no idea where the show is going, but I'm deeply interested in watching them get there.
What I want to know is where do they get the money to do this crazy crap? Because there's not a business in the world I can think of that'd hire someone who put a giant bulge on their forehead on purpose. Except maybe a tatoo shop. Ok, nevermind, just answered my own question.
Problem: While big, burly tusks make you real popular with the ladies, it also makes you really popular with naked apes with boomsticks.
The tusk-free gene, which is found in between two and five percent of male Asian elephants, has increased to between five percent and 10 percent in elephants in China, according to Zhang Li, an associate professor of zoology at Beijing Normal University.
Apparently controversial even in China, the finding will need more testing before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Slashdot linked up news that a Futurama movie is now in the works. Going straight to DVD, so who knows what sort of quality we'll get. Still, anything that gives Bender fresh lines (as it were) should at least be worth watching once.
Fark linked up news of an interesting upcoming NASA mission to the moon:
In 2008 a powerful camera aboard a new spacecraft called the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will photograph the moon's surface in fine detail - fine enough to pick out the Apollo 17 moon buggy abandoned 33 years ago, along with lunar landing platforms and other relics.
The real purpose of the mission is to provide hyper-detailed mapping data for future manned landings. While I fully expect to see and marvel at pictures of the long-abandoned Apollo sites, I don't expect it to change any minds about their legitimacy. If you're looney enough to think the Apollo program was a fake, you'll be plenty looney enough to think pictures taken as "proof" will be doctored.
The Washington Post today carried this extensive story on excavations at Butrint, a city in modern Albania that was once a major crossroads of the Mediterranean:
The scope of Butrint's past excites archaeologists of many periods. It was "Troy in miniature" in Virgil's "The Aeneid"; legend says the city was founded by Trojan exiles, but that belief is not supported by archaeological evidence.
Remains apparently run from 750 BC right through the medieval period. The city was eventually abandoned in the 15th century, so preservation is quite good. As with any really huge archeology site, it's going to be the work of centuries to completely excavate the site.
Check this site out for the birth of humming birds.
VERY COOL! NOT TO MISS!
Slashdot linked up news that a solar system with three suns has been discovered. The planet they've found is about the size of Jupiter, and (if I'm reading the article correctly) orbits the "center" star at about the same distance as Saturn from our Sun. Astronomers only think the celestial dynamics of our solar system are complicated.
Set your Tivos, mark your calendars, program your [ugh!] VCRs... Battlestar Galactica's second season premieres tonight. I really liked the first series, as much as I did
Stargate Farscape (although for different reasons). Here's to hoping they continue to Not Suck!
Fark linked up news of an interesting new development in ship design:
While simpler in design than shark scales, the ship skin reduced bio-fouling by 67 percent in tests, Liedert will report this week at the Society for Experimental Biology's annual meeting in Barcelona.
In separate work funded in part by the U.S. Navy, scientists at the University of Florida have developed a similar coating, made of tiny diamond-shaped scales that flex in and out to impede the growth of organisms.
The cost savings over time could easily pay for even a comparatively expensive material, so look for fake shark-skinned ships coming soon to a dock near you!
Three words: bloody chainsaw controller:
NubyTech, a California-based manufacturer of video game accessories, has come up with a new controller to accompany Resident Evil 4, Capcom’s upcoming release for the PlayStation 2 system.
The reddish-orange controller is in the shape of a blood-spattered chainsaw on a display stand with the PS2 buttons on the top. There is even a rip cord that triggers a chainsaw-like roar.
Better Fark headline: "Busybody child protection groups surrender."
*From a REAL email I recieved today*
Ellen! Should Jessica Simpson pose naked for Playboy?
My response, that I exclaimed out loud to Scott: "Do I give a shit? NO." *email deleted, husband punched* To husband, "Nobody asked you!"
Ellen! Do you have problems with the length of your penis?
"Why yes actually, thanks for asking."
*Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! Can't you tell by my email that it's a female name? I sure know lots of Ellens who are male.
Even worse, from Grandma: "And you know, I used to get those emails 3-4 times a day 6 months ago".
We were afraid to ask what she replied.
Because my mom's visiting, we took Olivia out of daycare, and Ellen had to work, that's why.
I'll try to get Ellen to post some pixes up. Good enough?
Last month we told you about a St. Charles woman who made a startling discovery in her jar of Jif peanut butter. In a NewsChannel 5 follow up, the test results are in. We now know what scientists say that object was.
David Herman is Senior Counsel for the Food Products Association, the company hired by Smucker to conduct the tests. He says, "We're looking at pieces of apple, apple skin, a stem, and two seeds we found."
Being the Uber-geeks we are, Ellen and I regularly watch food production shows like "Unwrapped". Because it's interesting! It is too!
Anyway, it's amazing to see just how carefully designed these food production factories are. I've never seen the particular factory in question, but similar ones go to great effort to ensure the container is held upside down until the very last second, and then sealed immediately after the product is poured in. We're talking fractions of a second between the time something else can fall in to the time it's just impossible for something to fall in.
Small wonder that the vast majority of these cases end up being after-the-fact. Considering the liability involved, it's definitely worth paying extra for a properly designed factory.
The fact that the guy was over seventy, never ate well in his life, and was under enormous pressure over things he could not control had nothing to do with his death. Nope, Arafat was poisoned, and of course it was the Joooooos!!!:
Late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was fatally poisoned by Israel, the head of the dominant Palestinian movement Fatah claimed on Monday.
"I can categorically confirm that Abu Ammar (Arafat's nom de guerre) was poisoned," exiled Fatah chairman Faruq Qaddumi told reporters.
Which begs the question, if Israeli agents were actually able to poison him, why'd they take such a damned long time to get around to it? Such bungling and delay is far more characteristic of the Palis. Hmm....
He was an old man, people. Old men die. It's what they do. Of course, expecting the "Pali on the street" to be rational, mature, or discerning is rather like expecting a rabid ferret to understand differential calculus.
The research team decided to test the consequences of sperm-free mountings [of chickens by roosters] on a female’s propensity for promiscuity. Using cleverly designed harnesses, which prevent cocks from depositing semen into a females’ reproductive tract, the team was able to create two distinct groups - hens that had been mounted, but received no sperm, and hens who had successful, sperm-transferring copulations.
The point? To examine a remarkable male strategy to keep the hens faithful. It would appear they are far less likely to "stray" to another male's territory as long as they're "getting some" every day.
Women were more frequently bothered by nude sunbathing than men. Just over 40 percent of women said they did not like seeing other naked females on the beach, while just 5 percent of men shared their opinion about nude women.
Taken from a survey of Italians conducted by the Italian Naturist Federation.
What kind of asinine research is this?
Let's go over this AGAIN. You can get toxoplasmosis from a cat yes, in the rarest of cases. BUT you are more likely to get it from undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables and gardening without gloves on.
Oh yeah, washing your fucking hands too helps.
I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician. I've spent the past 12 years working with cats, and I handle fecal matter on a daily basis. I have never tested positive for it. If you need more research on this matter, I suggest you contact the American Association for Feline Practitioners.
Jeff gets a zoomy no-prize for bringing us Google Earth. Yeah, I know, probably made the rounds a long time ago, but I've slept since then. Waddayawant?
His search string, 40 45 52.34 N 74 00 05.86 W, was a fun destination with which to start out.
What happens when you take some frat boys, a nifty infra-red video camera, and an old house and put them together? Well, this...
I wonder if the DVD makes it any clearer the "ghost" is just a guy on a ladder?
Giant panda Mei Xiang appeared to be nursing her day-old cub on Sunday, a positive sign of survival for a tiny bear susceptible to malnutrition, bacterial infection and even the lumbering of its 250-pound mother.
Read about the new Panda here.
What grabs my attention is that his head doesn't fit his body.
Read entire article here.
Today's the party day for all the folks who couldn't make it to Olivia's New York birthday party. Pictures should be coming tonight and/or tomorrow.
Yes, she gets two birthday parties. And you people wonder why one of her nicknames is "monster". Spoiled milk looks at this child and thinks, "wow!"
More as it happens...
We found some proof that Britons and Americans sometimes share the same slightly twisted sense of humor. Ok mom, you're just not going to get this one. Trust us, it's funny and hopeful at the same time. [Hopless Attempt to Explain to Grammas] Based on a song (of a sort) from a movie (again, of a sort) made by the guys who do South Park.[/HAtEtG]
Well, at least now we've got Joshua's Christmas present all figured out. No fancy camera for you, gadget boy!
Ron gets a cute-n'-fuzzy no-prize for bringing us news of baby snow leopards at the Denver museum. With pictures!
I've found (or been given) a bunch of good stuff regarding the London bombings:
Welcome, one and all, to the Land of Fuzzy Thinking and Emotional Do-Goodism. This lovely land looks very much like our own, except shortages are not expected to cause price increases:
Hundreds of commuters spent Thursday night stranded in London and some have accused hoteliers of cashing in on the crisis in the capital.
Prices at a number of London's hotels increased by more than double on Thursday night, the BBC has learned.
They most definitely should have doubled, and for very good reasons. Every hotel in the district experienced an unexpected, and unbudgeted, business surge. All existing staff had to stay on and work double shifts (with overtime bonuses). Extra staff had to be called in on top of them to maintain service. Restaurants had to order "rush" supplies to ensure meals could be served. Utility consumption, from electricity to water to even internet access, spiked upward in a completely unpredictable way. Simple custodial and maid services had to have been strained, requiring yet more extra people to contain the rush.
But even if none of that happened and this was a simple price spike, that's the way it's supposed to work. When demand increases and supply remains the same, in a free market the price goes up. People are simply willing to pay more for something that's scarce.
The alternative? Well, in the Land of Fuzzy Thinking, extra hotel rooms certainly would have been whirled out of thin air in an instant, to be given away to maintain our Emotional Do-Goodism image. In the real world, simple human nature pokes a stick in the eye of this lovely leftist liberal ideal, because when the price of something is low, people consume more of it. People who could have made alternative arrangements (no matter how inconvenient) to get home would have checked into a room instead. Those who may have been willing to add some room mates to split the costs would have instead taken a single room. Some may even have declared a holiday for themselves and stayed much longer than they needed to.
The result? Those who couldn't make alternative arrangements no matter what, who would've been quite willing to more efficiently use the space by adding more people, or who just needed a place to sleep for a few hours would simply have had no place to go.
Because, unlike the Land of Fuzzy Thinking, there is no magic hotel fairy around to wave a wand and create rooms out of thin air. No matter how cruel it may sound to the Emotional Do-Gooders who only visit our cold real world on occasion, the simple fact is there is supply, and there is demand. To the crushing and continual disappointment of leftists and liberals around the world no amount of control, regulation, command, or even wishful thinking will change this. Trying anyway (as the good citizens of tLoFT always do) doesn't magically make the situation better, it makes it worse.
Not that this will change anything. When confronted with the simple reality of, well, reality, when their fuzzy yellow nerf-like naivete is squashed flat under the steam roller of human nature, the citizens of the Land of Fuzzy Thinking, as all good leftists and liberals tend to do, will simply simper and cry. "Oh waily waily waily!!!" they'll say, "the evil capitalists and conservatives are having their way with us!!! Exploitation! Profiteering! Such is what happens when greed overtakes compassion! Shame on them! Waily waily waily!!!"
They disappoint me, but they do not surprise me. Just as increased consumption in the face of lower prices is a fact of human nature, so is whining about something we want but can't get. I can only hope common sense takes over and the people bitching about paying double for their hotel room realize that there are others who paid a far higher price that day.
Go home. Get some rest. Hug the ones you love, and keep in mind that if money is your problem, that's no real problem at all.
While most people are concerned with exterminating any roaches inhabiting their homes, artist Garnet Hertz ensures they can zip around in style.
Taking a cue from technology that looks to biological systems for inspiration, Hertz has constructed a three-wheeled robotic vehicle that lets a Madagascan hissing cockroach navigate a room while perched atop a ping-pong ball.
Hertz rotates 15 giant Madagascan cockroaches in and out of the driver's seat of the vehicle. Instead of brains, the roaches have ganglia: clumps of nerve cells on various parts of their bodies. Their relatively large size make them easier to work with than other types of roaches, and their tendency to hiss when they are upset lets him know if it's time to give one a break from playing Dale Earnhardt. They have a life span of about three years, so he has plenty of chances to let them drive.
Roachbuggies. Roachbuggies. What will they think of next?
With only a few minor modifications, I just solved Amber's funeral plan problem should Ron every really get on her nerves:
James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a TV showing his beloved team in action.
Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.
Now, if we were really mean, we'd put Ron in green and white instead of his cherished blue and silver. Just to see if, you know, that whole "revenge from beyond the grave" thing was real.
Kidding... kidding... he'd look much better in burgundy and gold!
BBCnews is carrying this update on the Deep Impact space probe. It's beginning to look as if the flyby part of the probe missed its chance to photograph the crator that the impactor created. While disappointing, the probe still delivered "heaps of data" that scientists will spend years pouring over. Apparently the thing is still spewing debris, days after the impact.
Making the rounds I'm sure but this one jangled my nerves a bit. Pat gets a no-prize for bringing us news that the Usual Suspects have stepped forward:
A group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe" posted a claim of responsibility for Thursday's blasts in London, saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This one didn't sound like the IRA for sure. As I recall at any rate, they historically have had a tendency to call bombs in just before they went off. I can't remember them trying anything this big before either, but the IRA was at its most active when I was paying more attention to Star Wars than to the real sort. Brits are welcome to correct.
If this were Spain, Blair would be out on his butt within the week. But this is most definitely not Spain. Our hearts go out to the citizens of the UK. Time to roll up our sleeves and go back to the work of putting these maniacs where they can do no more harm.
Oh, and in case the title seems misleading, that's not what I'm saying to the UK. It's what (I fervently hope at any rate) we'll be saying to the terrorists.
update: Lair points out the true "we are all..." motto for these times. Too bad at least one British politician still isn't getting it. I'm not sure some ever will.
Yeah, I went out yesterday, but I had my clothes on:
A man from Chantilly, Va., has been charged with indecent exposure for an incident near a park in Centreville.
According to police, officers spotted 41-year-old Charles Harrison naked when they arrived. He jumped on a bicycle and tried to elude police but was caught a short distance away.
There's a picture, so that should prove it. Besides, bicycle seats chafe if you got nothing on.
Rrmm... waitaminute... so I've been told. There, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Everyone knows that electric and electronic devices do not actually use electricity to function. This is a myth perpetrated by the gigantic electric industry to further their plans for world domination. These devices actually work on Magic Smoke. As long as said smoke does not escape from the device, it will work no matter what you do to it.
Well, classic British car owners are in luck, as someone has come up with replacement magic smoke for their vintage wiring harnesses. No British car restoration would be complete without at least a little of this stuff leaking out from under the dash board. Act now! Don't delay! Supplies are limited! Be sure not to miss the Q&A section at the bottom of the auction.
Hmm? Alfas? Well, old Alfas use the same open fuses found on VW bugs and the like. If you pop one, you'll get a right cheery burst of smoke oozing out from under the dash. The first time my old silver spider did that, I thought my crotch had caught fire.
But that was just a fuse. Since fuses don't make the car go fast, Alfa always went the cheap route and never bothered to protect any electrical connections from the weather. This means an Alfa is far more likely to have electricals that simply don't work due to bad grounds rather than cheerily smoldering harnesses due to crossed wires.
In other words, it's not smoke, it's character.
Slashdot linked up news that Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz is looking to thin his collection of original movie props. Definitely an "if-you-gotta-ask, you-can't-afford-it" sort of things. Still, an original lightsaber would be pretty darned cool.
So how did horses evolve? What was once thought a "done-deal" question in the field of biology (and a benchmark proof of evolution itself) has now received a bit of a shakeup, according to this BBCnews article:
As the Great Ice Age came to an end, some 11,000 years ago, North America was thought to be home to as many as 50 species and subspecies of horse.
But studies of ancient DNA tell a rather different story, suggesting the horses belonged to just two species.
Even the movement and timing of the species is now being revised. DNA rocks!
Why fly across the Grand Canyon when you can walk:
It is one of the great natural wonders of the world -- and it will soon to be joined by an engineering marvel.
A fantastic glass bridge arcing 60-feet out over the grand canyon -- giving visitors an unobstructed view 4000-feet straight down.
It's being built on Hualapai tribal land, so even the vista on the canyon rim is currently unavailable to tourists. It took nearly a decade of negotiations to get everyone on board, but the hope is tourism will boost the tribe's resources.
Ron gets a badly synched no-prize for bringing us news of a rather unexpected re-make of the Disney classic, Snow White:
The Wicked Queen will not know what hit her. Snow White is about to be transformed into a martial arts epic with Shaolin monks replacing the seven dwarves of the original Grimm Brothers fairytale.
In a sign of the times, Walt Disney is behind the kung fu retelling of its 1937 animated classic, which is part of an intensifying strategy to make inroads into the Chinese cinema market ahead of Hollywood rivals.
I think kung-fu movies are a hoot, so I say "why not?"
It happened again:
A band of terrorists hell-bent on death and destruction successfully smuggled weapons and explosives onto a commercial airliner. They seized partial control in the air and threatened to use the aircraft as a weapon.
But not quite:
Unlike what happened in September 2001, however, this was an exercise, albeit a realistic one with actual planes in the sky and real assault teams on the ground.
So begins Aviation Week and Space Technology's exclusive report on Operation Atlas, the first airborne counter-terrorism exercise held after September 11th. As expected, the elaborate drill revealed many flaws, inconsistencies, and inefficiencies in the nation's counter-terrorist systems, but that's a good thing. I'd much rather find the problems now than, well, later.
A fascinating inside look!
The Body Farm receives around 50 bodies a year, which are placed in the woods and other environments around the facility.Read entire article here.
Intensive 10-week courses are run on the farm for investigators from police agencies around the US.
They learn the proper way to dig up and retrieve a buried body.
Scott won't let us move to Tennessee anytime soon.
While Cobb meant The Black Political Spectrum to explain, well, the black political spectrum, I thought his description of how the liberal, progressive, and conservative traditions view the status quo was damned perceptive:
I have cast my lot with the conservatives primarily owing to the fact that I have come to accept that the public we have is all the public we get. In other words, I don't see much practical use in black attempts to reform American society. The great strength of conservatism lies in its ability to make use of the status quo. The liberal looks at the status quo with contempt, sees a hopeless situation and seeks to extract a ransom which supports the only valuable pieces. The progressive looks at the status quo with condescention and seeks to create an island of advanced rationality within it. The conservative looks at the status quo with disbelief and seeks to exploit its very nature.
The conservative's disbelief of the status quo owes to his inate understanding that things fall apart. So if things are not falling apart, there must be something people believe strongly that are holding things together - that something must be the strength of the system. Grab hold of those things and make them your advantage - defend them at all costs, otherwise everything will fall apart.
I'm sorry, it's really not a partisan thing*, I just think politicians being cross-eye-worthy stupid while on the record is just funny. Of course, congress-critters being stupid is about as noteworthy as GW stumbling over words or Bill C. groping the help, but I get my giggles where I can.
I need to get out more.
* Well, ok, yes, it is a partisan thing. It always is. Make fun of my side on your own site. :)
As counterfeiting capers go, this one was not particularly noteworthy.
A group of young people got together, made about 227 fake $20 bills, spent them around town and got indicted by a federal grand jury.
But then one of the conspirators' lawyers raised this routine federal case out of the ordinary with a unique legal argument: The U.S. Secret Service had "illegally seized" his client's thoughts when he confessed.
I mean, some of them sincerely believe Republican death squads are just around the corner, come to sieze anyone who didn't vote "the proper way". In a land of anonymous voting, how else would they tell?
Marina Bai [a Russian astrologer] has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday. A Moscow court has postponed hearings on the case until late July, the paper said.
I knew those propeller-heads at JPL were up to no damned good!
Years ago I remember the mil-heads in my group talking about this thing. If I recall (and they were right), the T-80 has one less crewman than the M1A1. An autoloader replaces the crew loader. Unfortunately, again as I recall, the early versions of this system had a tendency to load the gunner instead of the round. This was, as you would imagine, a less than desirable feature.
I would figure that some fifteen years later (assuming the story is true at all) they've gotten that all figured out. Watching the video makes me glad the USSR isn't around any more.
For proof that the US isn't the only country with a sometimes wonky justice system, we have this note about Canada's most notorious female "sex killer" going free after only serving 12 years. This is not to knock the Canadians... from the article, they seem just as pissed off as anyone else that this is happening. It just seems that to get a justice system that doesn't toss people in jail (or worse) on a whim, humanity seems doomed to the occasional homicidal loon going free.
Well, free for now at any rate. As a buddhist, I'm supposed to at least leave monsters like this alone*, but as a father, if my child was a victim of this maniac... well, I'm not sure there's a place remote enough to hide, karma bedamned.
Something tells me there are probably a whole bunch of Canadians who feel the same way, and some of them may just be angry enough to act on that impulse. It's going to be very expensive to ensure this "person's" days aren't numbered in very low denominations.
*If I recall correctly, buddhism doesn't want them to go free, it just doesn't want them dead. They can't achieve enlightenment when they're dead. But they can achieve it from the bottom of a deep, dark hole, which is where I think "people" like this should always end up. Forever.
Conventional wisdom held for at least a century that the very earliest humans to set foot in North America did so about ten thousand years ago. Starting in the 1970s, discoveries in South America and along the west coast of North America began unraveling this theory, pushing the "first inhabitants" further and further back. However, these were "pushbacks" measured in the thousands of years. Now a new discovery has the potential to push that date into the very distant past:
Human footprints discovered beside an ancient Mexican lake have been dated to 40,000 years ago. If the finding survives the controversy it is bound to stir up, it means that humans must have moved into the New World at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought.
The footprints were found in a fossilized volcanic deposit, which is especially fortuitous. Volcanoes spew out all sorts of nifty radioactive compounds that decay at regular rates over various time periods. Using these and other available dating resources should allow a firm triangulation. In other words, there will be controversy over this, but if the team did their job correctly they should have a very big gun indeed to use against potential critics.
Joshua gets a completely unsurprising no-prize for bringing us... well, this.
Ok, no more making fun of how weird southerners are, mmkay?
Also from Slashdot, news that everyone's favorite muppet curmudgeons, Statler and Waldorf, are now movies.com's resident film critics. It's like Siskel and Ebert, only, you know, funny. At first it sorta seems like a commercial, but hang on for Pepe... he's worth the price of admission all by himself.
And I swear they stole the snooze-o-meter from my mom. Or maybe Ellen. Neither one of them will last 5 minutes past the opening credits most of the time.
I'm not sure what's funnier, the fact that two guys spent ten hours straight building a Lego Star Destroyer, or that the Slashdot nerds actually noted it was a "Star Destroyer II".
I mean, I can see being that precise for, say, noting the difference between an Alfa Romeo Spider Duetto and an Alfa Romeo Spider 1750 round-tail. Because, you know, that matters.
Update: The comments on the Slashdot article are hysterical. Only /.'ers would biatch about how "Real Men" would use generic blocks with no instructions, and only other /.'ers would mod such effete wannabes all the way up to 5.
Jul 4 1826
A comatose Thomas Jefferson dies on the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, only a few hours before John Adams also expires.
Thanks to The Daily Rotten for the tidbit!
Amcgltd would like to wish everyone a:
This was taken at a friend's 4th of July party yesterday in their kiddie pool.
Cute toddler: $$$$$$$$$$$$$
Paper princess hat: $12
Pink "lemon" T-shirt: $9
Catching one of Ellen's "oh-so-elegant" cats with her ass hanging out of the toilet: priceless
Bummer: realizing your shiny new bike needs a derailuer adjustment on mile 7 of your 14 mile ride.
Coolies: Realizing, while making said adjustment the next morning, that instead of a mediocre set of cranks as specified on the manufacturer's website, your bike has the best alloy cranks Truvativ has to offer. And you didn't pay extra!
What? You think I'm going to get a bike that cool and not talk about it? Yeah, ok, category coming soon.
Today's "thank you Captain Obvious" moment is brought to you by This is London:
Two female teachers have been suspended for allegedly having a threesome with a 16-year-old male pupil.
But police are understood not to have pressed charges because the teenager did not complain of any crime.
What I want to know is probably what all the guys out there want to know: where is this school and why didn't I go there when I was 16?
Archie is another one of my boarding cats. He is a bengal.
This special little cat is boarding with me at work till July 20th. She has been with me a week already. Her favorite thing to do it sit on the ladder against the wall and peer out the boarding window leading into the hallway.
Cat pictures always make people smile.
Mahmood brings us the Funky Chicken, Bahraini style:
This is absolutely brilliant! Let me attempt to translate this nugget which demonstrates how superstitious we are in Bahrain, it's quite a laugh to most people, especially if you engage your imagination! LOL!
"A lady was quite surprised when she went to one of the car dealerships in Bahrain only to find a line of people waiting for their turn to collect their new car, and each one was holding a chicken under his arm in preparation to slaughtering the chicken and splashing the front of their new car with blood to allay 'the evil eye.'
And all this time I thought I was asking a lot to have the car waxed.
Making the rounds: this time, Brian Wilson's the one showing a teeth-aching example of what happens when twelve hours of college world history twenty years ago suddenly leaps out onto the national stage:
Tons of readers are e-mailing me about NBC News anchor Brian Williams' comments tonight in which he apparently compared the Founding Fathers to modern-day terrorists. The remarks seem to pooh-pooh the story about Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's alleged involvement in the 1979 hostage crisis at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Attaboy Brian! You show 'em!
Show 'em what expensive leather-soled shoes taste like, that is.
They'll go on and on about how unfair it is Bill Gates et. al. are so very rich, all the while letting pass without comment the millions they make each year looking pretty and reading out loud whatever's put in front of them.
Presenting Hot Ghetto Mess, a site dedicated to the concept that black folks can sometimes be just as ridiculous as everyone else. Not more, not less, just the same. It's cringe-worthy, and sometimes a bit naughty, but it's also damned amusing. A kind of Engrish, for the rest of us.
Note: The self-righteous and easily-offended need not click above. You have been warned.
So, if such diverse auto companies as Saab and Alfa Romeo are now using the same GM-derived block in their engines, have the marques lost any identity? Well, according to this Australian reviewer, the answer is "none at all".
Because you do all care about the latest Alfa Romeo, right? Right?
While this story of a young girl barely escaping a matress fire set by lightning hitting her house is both scary and heartwarming (everyone got out just fine), the producers must've known they hit gold when they got this quote:
The girl's father attempted to smother the flames with blankets, but the fire was burning the mattress from the inside out. He then dragged the fiery mattress down the stairs and out the front door, getting minor burns on his hands, arms and legs.
"He said a bad word, and then Mom heard it, and then she went upstairs, and then she said a bad word, and there were lots of bad words around here," the 7-year-old said.
The name says it all... Hooters Shooters.
Ok, maybe it doesn't say it all. Imagine, if you will, two giant fake boobies mounted to a wall in a bar...
Nah... just trust me on this one, it's for real and it's way weird.
Ron gets a weedy no-prize for bringing us Grandpa's Pot Book, a guide to everyone's favorite illegal recreational drug written by what must be Burgess Meredith's identical twin brother. Grandpa has it all, from selecting the right pipe to rolling a good joint. Smoke yours today!