Yes, we dress up every year.
Ron gets a ridiculously smokey no-prize for bringing us proof my brother does not in fact own the ugliest F-car* in the world. Be sure to stick around for the classic commentary. Bonus points will go to those who can name all the white-folk stereotypes who appear in the film.
Personally, I'm amazed the thing didn't catch fire.
* Camaro/Firebird for those not "in the know."
Eternal optimist Mohammed brings us news that things might be working out after all:
As a matter of fact, it has to be acknowledged that the political experiment in Iraq has matured by far during these two and a half years and the political language slowly began to take more realistic dimensions and we can sense a growing faith in the ways of democracy giving some sort of special divinity to the ballot box which shall remain the only base for building a new Iraq. The more Iraqis believe in elections and in voting as a way to express themselves, the weaker violence becomes and the more isolated the terrorists will be. Iraqis will prove that they do believe in democracy and they do want liberty and justice and the will show the region an example of how partners can work out their differences in spite of all the hardships.
Of course, just prior to this he wrote how he hopes Iraqi politicians will rise to their responsibility and become examples of fair competition, so it's quite possible this is the optimism of naivete instead of progress.
Then again, our own founding fathers professed this precise sort of optimism in their own writings, oftentimes with nearly the same choice of words. They could've been called just as naive (and quite a bit more patronizing), but it seems to have worked out so far.
New Scientist is reporting that scientists think they may be very close to a workable malaria vaccine. The research seems to be primarly underwritten by the Gates foundation. If successful, this would represent an enormous step forward for people living in tropical regions.
Slashdot linked up news of a book containing extremely important survival instructions:
A new book by a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute is poised to make waves behind the cloistered doors of the school's famed robotics labs, and its rights have already been optioned for a Hollywood film.
It is not a sexy roman a clef or an investigative look at the school's ties to the U.S. Defense Department, but rather a humorous guidebook for battling a robot takeover of Earth.
Humor-impaired engineers and academics (one sometimes wonders if there are any other kind) at CMU predictably aren't thrilled about it. Which of course means they're in on the takeover. I knew it!
While everyone in the media and in government are wailing away about record oil company profits, hardly anyone is mentioning who the real beneficiary is:
With BP, Exxon-Mobil, and Shell reporting record profits, the Tax Foundation reminds us in its latest Fiscal Fact that the biggest beneficiaries of gasoline sales are federal and state governments, not the oil industry...
Which is, of course, doing nothing to slow down legislative attempts to grab even more cash. I mean, why let people and the market forces they create distribute profits to whomever has the brains and the balls to do something with it? Much better instead to simply take the money from the people who made it and give it to whichever interest group (or campaign crony) our elected officials want.
Because we all know how fair that system is.
Wired is carrying this article summarizing an innovative new tech that makes a sniper's job much more difficult:
A sniper fires on American troops in Iraq. In the milliseconds before the bullet hits -- in fact, before the shot is even heard -- a computer screen reveals the gun's model and exact location. That's the kind of intelligence that can save soldiers' lives. The Army is currently testing the technology in combat.
The devices are made by Radiance Technologies, a small Alabama company, and differ in their approach to gunfire detection from systems already deployed in Iraq that rely on acoustics. Radiance's invention, WeaponWatch, is powered by infrared sensors that detect missiles or gunfire at the speed of light.
See a problem, solve a problem. Now if we can just get better with those IEDs...
Remember folks, be careful what you click:
Worms on IM networks can spread rapidly. They appear as a message from a buddy with a link that looks innocent, but in fact points to malicious code somewhere on the Internet. Once the user clicks on the link, malicious code is installed and runs on the computer. The worm then spreads itself by sending messages to all names on the victim's contact list.
The advice to users is to be careful when clicking on links in IM messages--even when they seem to come from friends--and to use up-to-date antivirus software. When receiving a link in an instant message, the best practice is to verify with the sender if the link was sent intentionally or not.
It took Ellen about three years before she was finally tricked into unzipping a virus on her old computer, but this'll be a lot harder to spot. I guess it's time to finally install some anti-V on the stuff at home.
It pooped in Amber's hand.
Yes, they are all displayed like this. Or in coleslaw containers.
One of the features at the reptile show.
A Ball Python!
On Sunday, Parks becomes the first woman to lie in honor in the vast circular room under the Capitol dome.
Read entire article here.
Why someone would make a website dedicated to this is beyond me.
Why yes, I am a princess. Why do you ask?
While it may be cool to look at a bike that weighs less than a gallon-and-a-half of milk (well, ok, it's cool to me, and it's my damned website), you don't want to know how much it'd cost.
Put it another way... it's far easier to shave five pounds off the engine that drives the bike than it ever will be to carve that same five pounds off what is basically expensive sticks with wheels on. Doesn't mean I don't want it. Bad.
There's lost kitties, and then there's lost kitties:
When Emily the cat went missing a month ago, her owners looked for their wandering pet where she had ended up before — the local animal shelter. This week they learned Emily sailed to France.
Lesley McElhiney now figures her cat went prowling around a paper warehouse near home and ended up in a cargo container that went by ship across the Atlantic Ocean and was trucked to Nancy, a city in northeastern France near the border with Germany.
The fact that they would have to actually work for their dinner while making the crossing would pretty much doom any of our bunch.
Pat gets a fiddly no-prize for bringing us this review of the latest in "fusion" technologies, the Olive Symphony. I've read about this thing before, but not quite in so much detail. At $800, it's too rich for me (for now). However, there are a lot of extra-cost items, like a wireless access point, which could be deleted to reduce the price. Hopefully it'll be successful enough to pay down their R&D investment, allowing them to eventually cut the price and still remain profitable.
Then again, those stupid iPod things are still what, more than $300?
Never think humanity is already as weird as it can get:
A new Indian documentary focuses on a secretive sect of Hindu ascetics who eat corpses in the belief that ingesting dead flesh will make them ageless and give them supernatural powers.
"Feeding on the Dead," a 10-minute documentary, delves into the little-known world of the Aghori sect, whose holymen pluck dead bodies from the Ganges River in northern India.
I wonder what they do when a member of their sect grows old and dies?
No, wait. I don't want to know.
Instapundit linked up this site dedicated to pictures developed from film found in lost cameras. Some of the images date back to the late 30s, and all are completely anonymous.
Before Ellen switched over to digital, she lost as many rolls of film as she got developed. Maybe it's time to go on a cannister hunt...
Slashdot linked up news that tonight Mars will pass unusually close to the Earth. All we have is a big zoom lens for Ellen's camera, so I'm expecting the "brilliant ball" view. My brother has a (I think) 12 inch reflector, which may yeild more detail. If he can dig it out of the garage, that is.
Everyone's favorite Star Trek oddity has finally "come out":
Actor George Takei, best known as Mr. Sulu on the classic TV series Star Trek , comes out of the closet in the new issue of Frontiers .
In the interview, the 68-year-old actor also discusses his childhood in a Japanese-American internment camp, his 18-year relationship, his siblings' inability to accept his homosexuality, and the upcoming Los Angeles production of Equus in which he stars.
Yes folks, Sulu is nearly 70. When the hell did that happen?
Hey, if cats can get dressed up for Halloween, so can dogs. I do remember when I once thought this was all extremely cute and very amusing.
And then I turned 10.
Oh well, whatever. Stay out of trouble, pay your taxes, none of my business, etc. etc.
Not content with various elaborate carving techniques, people seem to be moving to a pumpkin of a different color.
I haven't messed around with carving real pumpkins since the mid 70s. Too much mess, and all that really happened was teenagers would come by and ruin them. I think the hollow "carvable" styrofoam ones you get at craft stores are a much better idea.
While the title may indicate something really racy, Topless Halo Party Photo Album actually just proves nerds can mess anything up. Oh be quiet, I'm one too. Duh.
Site is safe for work, but perhaps not for eyes.
To words: octopus table. Looks like one helluva skilled set of artists over there. Heck, if they use casting, some of it might not even cost all that much!
New Scientist is featuring this report on research into how we write e-mail which may have larger implications for the evolution of life itself. Whodathunkit?
Pat gets a somewhat clueless no-prize for bringing us a tale of what doctors have to put up with from patients this time of year. The first part is a standard, albeit amusing, elitist "gee-aren't-the-commoners-idiots" rant. But this part brought me up a bit short:
If you want something to be scared of, how about the drug-resistant Klebsiella that is all over this very hospital, an ordinary run-of-the-mill bacterial strain that has become so resistant to so many antibiotics that we've had to resurrect a few we stopped using 30 years ago because they were so toxic.
That Klebsiella is one scary germ. It's in hospitals all over the country, and by now it's probably killed a thousandfold more people than the avian flu.
Thing is, while I know there are bugs out there resistant to all sorts of antibiotics, I can't think of a one that's resistant to a 10% solution of bleach. It would seem Dr. Zuger's hospital is in need of a good and continual scrubbing with same. Maybe I'm missing something?
If you've never read the Arcata California police blotter before, you should. Where else but in a small town newspaper would you find entries like:
Saturday, October 8 1:21 p.m.
A shaven-head, bleating blith-id
With etiquette skills of a squid
Disrupted the square
And didn't quite care
Though others there certainly did.
Still doesn't make me miss small town life, but it definitely reminds me of it.
Ron gets an efficient but somewhat strange looking no-prize for bringing us this report on the Tokyo auto show. The big stars this year? Hybrids and fuel cell cars.
I'm not sure who's dumber: the people in the story, or the people writing it:
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 25 -- For other hurricanes, Nate and Kelly Vedrani, 27-year-old newlyweds, fled their condo in a 16-story beach tower here to take refuge elsewhere.
But for Hurricane Wilma, authorities did not issue an evacuation order for the high-rises that line the beach here, so the couple and many other residents stayed put. It was a decision they regret.
"I kept thinking we wouldn't have been in that position if there'd been an evacuation order," she said.
That's right. Don't trust past experience, don't trust common sense, don't trust all the previous reports of fantastic devestation. Trust the government. Trust the weather service. It's not like they're ever, you know, wrong about anything.
The government is not your daddy, people, and I'm getting damned tired of everyone who thinks it is. The government is there to maintain infrastructure, maintain order, and ensure the stability of the currency. Expecting it to do anything else will at best ensure disappointment and at worst ensure a police state.
Naivete being the lietmotif of liberals that it is, I find it unsurprising they are the ones most often and most deeply disappointed by the failures and unintended consequences of government action. They're sort of like a cute but "challenged" child on a playground; as long as they keep the football helmet on, their continuous collisions with the scenery shouldn't result in too much damage. It's only when they get hold of the car keys that you should really start to worry.
Because, as demonstrated above, they require someone else to tell them to get out of the way of a coming storm.
Slashdot linked up the latest on the Martian rovers. Both are going strong, with Spirit scheduled to descend Husband Hill (no, really) over the next two months while Opportunity continues its trek across the Meridiani Planum area.
Go rovers go!
Instapundit linked up an innovative approach to Iraqi security:
The women's employer has discovered that armored and heavily-armed convoys may not be best for avoiding insurgent attacks. Instead, they've adopted a tactic of using nondescript vehicles, with women literally riding shotgun:
That impression, the companies find, is enhanced by the presence of a modestly dressed woman in the front seat next to the driver, appearing to be a housewife out for a drive with her husband.
"We are a low-profile security convoy company. We do our best not to be discovered, and part of that is using women," said Mr. Karam, a veteran of the Lebanon civil war. "We never have been hit while they were with us."
But the women are more than decoys, and insurgents foolish enough to try their luck may be in for a surprise...
Hiding in plain site is a well-known and effective tactic for security. Just don't mess with the ladies!
It's a "Star Wars" fan's dream -- the first public display of props and costumes from all six films in the series, including a replica cockpit of Han Solo's asteroid-battered Millennium Falcon.
But the $5 million exhibit goes beyond entertainment and turns "Star Wars" into a educational tool for science and technology, fields in which U.S. dominance faces a challenge from a new generation of engineers in Asia.
It's being hosted in Boston. Hmm... Ellen has a sister in Boston. Grab the kids honey, we're goin' on a road trip!
Pat gets a no-prize that can shake alarmingly for bringing us this "report-and-remembrance" regarding a conference celebrating the anniversary of the great 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Registering perhaps as high as 8.7 on the richter scale, this event and its aftermath are widely considered to have been what triggered the final decline of Portugal as a world power.
Tattoo fans in the audience will probably find BadTattoos.com worth a chuckle (or groan). Of course, one person's bad tat is another's work of art, so don't shoot me I'm just the messenger!
Note: the site is large. The bits I looked at were SFW, but I have no idea if the entire site is.
While I think we may have linked up the latest in robot stomping technology in the past, I don't recall seeing any video of it before today. Which, once you view it, makes a bit of sense. It did seem to turn, with an alarming amount of wobble, but it never seemed to actually walk. Which is, of course, pretty much the whole point.
See! See! When you institute controls on a commodity, shortages always happen:
A Brussels fertility clinic claims it is being swamped by demand from French lesbian couples seeking fertility treatment.
"Last year, of the inseminations using a donor's sperm, 72 percent of patients came from France, with a majority of them being homosexual," the Erasmus fertility clinic's head Anne Delbaere told La Libre Belgique.
"We haven't got enough sperm samples in stock to meet all the demand," she said. "We don't want to close access to French female couples, but we can't welcome them at the expense of heterosexual couples," said Delbaere.
In a perfect world, someone out there would set up a business that connected willing couples with willing donors at whatever price they thought would make a profit. While the US has the entrepenurialism to make it happen, we're so hung up on the social implications it probably never will. Somewhere in Latin America though, a businessman probably has a cunning plan...
Because men know we're not allowed to diagnose this particular malady:
For the first time, scientists have pinpointed an area of the brain involved in a woman's menstrual cycle. The research, reported online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows contrasts in activity over the course of a month and provides a baseline for understanding the emotional and behavioral changes that 75 percent of all women report experiencing before, during and after their period.
If it means I'm less likely to live with a maniac for half the rest of my life, I'm all for it!
Yet more evidence why a smuggled nuke is far down on my list of terror worries:
Detroit — Federal agents briefly stopped several runners in the Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Bank Marathon when one of them apparently triggered radiation sensors inside the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.
Agents on the U.S. side of the tunnel underneath the Detroit River determined that the sensors were set off by a medical radioisotope like that injected into the blood system for stress tests, Ronald Smith, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told the Detroit Free Press.
We've been worried about such things since at least the 1950s, so I'm quite certain there are plenty of safeguards against that. It's the stuff we can't imagine that always gets us.
BBCnews linked up news of a peculiar find at the Tower of London:
Two lion skulls unearthed at the Tower of London have been dated to Medieval times, shedding light on the lost institution of the "Royal Menagerie".
It also shows the relationship between England's early monarchs and the "king of beasts" was not just a symbolic one.
The latest single from the Gorillaz.
Yesterday Ellen, coming home from a multi-hour shopping run with Olivia, trudged up the stairs and presented me with an ultimatum: "Don't say the f- word in front of Olivia, Ok?"
To which I, sitting on the couch watching the Redskins trounce the 49'ers, could only reply with some puzzlement, "Um, ok. Sounds like a plan. Any reason we're starting today?"
Ellen: "No. It's just a bad idea and I don't want you teaching her any more bad habits!"
Me: "Hey, it's not like I handed her that beer!" Which got me one of those "significant" looks. "Well, I did take it right back!"
Just then Olivia, who had been tap-stepping up the stairs holding an animated conversation with one of her shoes, reached the top and walked into the living room. She sighed heavily, looked straight at Ellen, and delivered this judgement:
After one of the most pregnant pauses in history, I said, with that "ancient Chinese secret, huh?" tone, "Ah yes, we certainly wouldn't want her to learn any of my bad habits. That would be just... terrible."
Ellen didn't so much as bat an eye, "Fu-- rrr-- Dam-- rrr-- Darned right!" Then she started unpacking.
It's proving to be a bit of a challenge to discipline Olivia about this. Not only does she drop the ol' f-bomb at the most surreal moments (we're still trying to tease the meaning out of "fuckit Elmo shoe strawberry"), but she does it with her patented Cute Child Voice. We have a really hard time not completely cracking up, which would of course only encourage her.
Well, we still have several weeks to go before the next visit from a Gramma, so hopefully this'll be under control by then. Of course, there's also the potential for Ellen to self-detonate from all her pent-up f-bomb energy.
I'm not sure I want to know which will happen first.
Welcome to the next in a long line of looney right wingers wishing to save the United States, one state at a time:
Cory Burnell wants to set up a Christian nation within the United States where abortion is illegal, gay marriage is banned, schools cannot teach evolution, children can pray to Jesus in public schools and the Ten Commandments are posted publicly.
To that end, Burnell, 29, left the Republican Party, moved from California and founded Christian Exodus two years ago with the goal of redirecting the United States by "redeeming" one state at a time.
The difference between these loons and, say, the Earth First'ers is that at least this bunch won't give it all away to the bears and the bunnies. And, at least for now, they don't go around setting stuff on fire in the name of one cute furry creature or another.
Welcome to the internet, where you can be really goofy in front of billions of people. The supporting cast is priceless. Video is completely SFW.
New Scientist is carrying this report detailing a new method of identifying (and thereby tracking) whale sharks. By using the same software astronomers use to identify star patterns, scientists are able to quickly identify individual sharks without requiring laborious and error-prone manual comparisons.
Newsweek is featuring this report detailing sea changes in the life of everyone's (well, my) favorite vampire novelist Anne Rice. It's good to see she's lost weight and gotten healthier, but bad to read about the various tragedies and trials she's gone through lately. A well-researched historical novel about Jesus could be very interesting. We'll have to wait and see I suppose.
Slashdot featured a series of links dedicated to what is currently believed to be the star closest to the supermassive black hole in the center of our own galaxy. Don't miss the video.
Kinda freaky to see entire star clusters whooshing around like billiard balls, eh?
Fark linked up proof that you really can do absolutely anything at all with Jello. Hey, at least that version of San Francisco is supposed to liquify if you jiggle it hard enough.
It's not a small snake!
This is what happens when your friends dress up their cats.
India's(the resident clinic cat at my work)family.
Ron gets a sculpted no-prize with a purpose for bringing us images from a rather... unique... art exhibit. Safe for work, but I'm not so sure for the bathroom.
I did not click through at the end! I did not! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
No-Prize to Rich for the link!
Instapundit has just found out there's very little Texans don't take seriously when it comes to barbeque. I especially liked this comment to Tennessean Glenn: "They [Texans] were making barbeque there when people in Tennessee were still living in trees and eating pig guts."
The brisquette served in this hole-in-the-wall place in Austin (the Foundry?) was indeed very tasty, but IMO properly prepared dry-rub pork ribs are without parallel. Then again, I drink wine out of a box, what do I know?
Nature photographers in the audience should like BBCnews's coverage of Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. With (of course) pictures!
Pat gets an anonymous no-prize in the mail for letting us know the latest on everyone's favorite rich weirdo, Michael Jackson:
Authorities want Michael Jackson back in court — this time as a juror. Jackson received a jury summons at his Neverland Valley Ranch, four months after he was acquitted of child molestation charges.
It's unlikely that Jackson will show up for jury selection. His lawyers have filed paperwork for a deferment based on the fact that he now lives in Bahrain.
I seem to recall our fav Bahraini blogger Mahmood mentioned this, but I thought MJ was just visiting at the time.
The Washington Post today featured a front page article to die for:
The investigator turns to the kitchen and opens the refrigerator. The shelves are empty. The house lights don't work, and dust floats like snowflakes in the flashlight's beam. Flies, hundreds of them, are buzzing and bouncing off window shades. That's why MacWilliams is here: Neighbors called about the flies.
He creaks up the stairs, and when he reaches the bedroom he finds what he expected: a corpse. The dead man is half-resting on a bare mattress; his skin looks like leather. The detective digs through some drawers and finds ear plugs, ear wax remover and hundreds of cotton swabs. "He was probably hearing voices," MacWilliams surmises.
This is the kind of police investigation that the public rarely hears about and that few inside the force are eager to conduct. Tracking down the bodies of people who die naturally or take their own lives can be emotionally draining, physically uncomfortable, lonely.
This sounds like a job for, well, Dirty Jobs.
The bad part is I know all the dance moves she made the guy do!
But don't you dare put any restrictions on their licenses:
St. Petersburg, Florida -- Police are investigating a bizarre hit and run crash.
Investigators say 93-year-old Ralph Parker hit a pedestrian on 34th Street and 46th Avenue South on Wednesday night. He then he drove three miles with the victim's body lodged in the windshield.
I fully support mandatory driver's tests at least every 2 years for anyone over 70. The reason why it's not a law in all 50 states? Old people vote. Think about that next time you decide heading to the polls is too much trouble.
Hell someone thought it was anyway:
A Bosnian pensioner who claims to have been married 162 times says he wants to marry at least another 100 women.
Nedeljko Ilincic, 75, said he first got married when he was 15 and since then it has been "just one wife after another".
The only real serial monogamist I remember was the dad of my best friend across the street, Stuart Watson. As I recall, and this is a (my God) twenty-five-year-old memory from someone who can't remember where he put his keys this morning, wife number six left Stuart's dad a completely empty house when he and Stewie went on vacation one year when I was... twelve? All that was left was a phone, which Stuart's dad used to call mine, when we lived literally across the street from each other. Such was life in early-80s America.
Stuart was a very decent but disturbed kid who taught himself the piano so well Stevie Wonder should've taken notes. As I recall he eventually checked himself into a mental hospital right around the time I graduated college. I deeply hope it all turned out well for him, but I can't be sure.
Damn... this turned all maudlin didn't it? Gah, hell with it... BOOBIES!!!
Of course, nobody asked what she thought:
A man sentenced to nine months house arrest begged a judge to jail him instead, because he couldn't stand his wife's nagging.
Algerian Ahmed Salhi, 24, was sentenced to a nine month curfew at home with his Italian wife in Ferrara, northern Italy.
Yet another reason to stay out of trouble!
Others think it's a James Bond boat. Me, if it's not a complete hoax, I think it looks like something Vader himself would drive. It was most definitely designed by a guy, I can tell you that.
Slashdot linked up news that the once-found Mars Polar Lander now, well, hasn't been:
After being lost and potentially found, NASA’s Mars Polar Lander appears to be lost once more.
Camera specialists at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) near San Diego, California initially thought they might have spotted the probe’s parachute, as well as disturbed terrain from the craft’s landing engines.
But comparative imagery of the same location taken in January 2000 and September 2005 provide “excellent evidence” that possible spacecraft components are “not real features on the surface of Mars,” a new posting on the MSSS web site explains.
<liberal tinfoil hat> Well duh, it's in Karl Rove's garage. Do you really think all this is about some stupid press leak?
<conservative tinfoil hat> Well duh, it's in Hillary Clinton's trailer. Haven't you noticed she's been pretty quiet lately?
<Ron's tinfoil hat> Boobies.
Fans of Congressional Cemetery in DC and others interested in forensic anthropology should find this Washington Post article of interest:
The mystery of the missing skull is a macabre tale that includes grave-robbing, an eccentric collector, a Washington politician, a former attorney general and a mysterious skull sitting in an old tin box.
It all began around Christmas of 2003, when Bill Fecke, then manager of Washington's Congressional Cemetery, got a phone call from a man who wouldn't identify himself.
"What do you know about William Wirt's skull?" the mysterious caller asked.
Considering the uneven maintenance this cemetery has received over the years, I'm actually surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
What is this, a Mel Brooks movie or something?
An elderly blind woman who lived alone was burned and died after trying to microwave clothing at her home in Newcastle, north of Sydney.
Authorities believe the woman removed the clothes from the microwave, not realising they were on fire, and set her nightgown alight in the process, a police spokeswoman said.
See mom, it's bad to store flammable stuff inside ovens!
Yet another reason why road bikers are brighter than downhill dirt bikers. No blood, no gore, just a sincere ouchie moment. Sort of like what my brother did years and years ago (it involved a ramp, a dare, and his 3-speed), but on steroids.
What would happen if Joshua and Scott were archeologists? Probably something like this. Oh don't worry, Ron's in there. It just took him a little while to see out of his left eye, sort of thing.
Oh come on, what good is it being a guy if you can't laugh at stupid stuff?
Hey, at least it didn't happen in Arkansas:
St. Louis police believe that a woman who was found dead Tuesday afternoon in a rear window in the 5400 block of Mimika Avenue had become wedged there while trying to burglarize a house and died of asphyxiation.
And isn't that a lovely thing to come home to?
Clever bastards, those lawyers:
Astrology would be considered a scientific theory if judged by the same criteria used by a well-known advocate of Intelligent Design to justify his claim that ID is science, a landmark US trial heard on Tuesday.
Under cross examination, ID proponent Michael Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, admitted his definition of “theory” was so broad it would also include astrology.
Regardless of what you think is or is not correct about evolution, it is science. Regardless of what you think is or is not correct about Intelligent Design, it is not science, and therefore has no business in a science class. Science is not about being right or wrong, science is about a process that lets you falisfy conclusions through the gathering of data. Period.
Anyone who claims differently, as they say, is selling something.
Not quite the iceman, but strange nonetheless:
It was a plane crash back in 1942 that wasn't discovered until 1947. Now, hikers made a frozen discovery in connection with a World War II plane crash.
Hikers found the frozen body of an airman while scaling Mount Mendel Glacier in the Sequoia National Park. Now, the military is working to find out who this airman is and whether he was ever reported missing.
It's believed the airman has been frozen in the glacier for decades until a pair of climbers got much more than ever imagined on a hike.
The Sierra Nevadas are apparently littered with crashes from the WWII era, which I suppose is what you'd expect when you put hundreds of low-time pilots in an area where most of the landscape points up.
Not quite "Man Bites Dog", but close:
Cats are blamed for triggering asthma attacks in humans but veterinarians in Scotland say it may also work the other way around.
Irritants such as cigarette smoke, dusty homes and human dandruff can increase inflammation in feline lungs and worsen asthma in cats.
It'd just add another cycle of pills to what "the land of the misfits" already take. I swear these cats are on more meds than three senior citizens put together.
"I've been a vet for 40 years, but I've never heard of a single case where a cat has chewed off a person's toes. I could believe if it we were talking about a dog, because dogs could bit through the bones, but cats have sharp teeth that hurt when they bite, but make it physically impossible to chew through bone," Tokio Tonouchi, head of the Tonouchi Veterinary Clinic, tells Shukan Bunshun. "Even the way dogs and cats eat meat is different. Dogs chew it, but a cat is more likely to lick it for a long time until it wears down. Even if the cat were to have done what people are saying it has, there is no way it would ever eat the bones, too. If the cat has done it, you'd also be able to tell from the bite marks left on the foot."
Read entire article here.
These guys just take what they want.
Their partnership involved carving body parts out of corpses for eventual sale to legitimate transplant businesses: bone for dental implants and orthopedic reconstruction and skin and fat for burn victims and cosmetic procedures.
I know you want to read more.
This creature was attacking Ajax today. We came home from work and this bug was on my floor jumping on top of Ajax in attempts to decapitate him and eat him up! This is the second BIG mantis I have had in my garden this year. Or yet, it could be the very same one!
Remember folks, beds make poor ash trays:
A 67-year-old Redding [CA] woman who promised her sister she would give up cigarettes November 1st has died in a fire that started when she fell asleep while smoking.
Evon Wood called 911 late Thursday night and told the dispatcher that her clothes and mobile home were on fire. Firefighters found Wood's body near her kitchen sink.
A rather nasty way to go, even for a Darwin candidate.
Pat gets a 10 gallon no-prize for bringing us news that market forces can act on even the most esoteric of items:
At the Stetson Hat Company in Garland, Tex., the cost of raw materials determines the bottom line, said Gary Rosenthal, a product development manager. "And the raw material has gone up a lot," Mr. Rosenthal said.
At the high end, for hats starting at $800, the felt is made entirely of beaver fur. But at the lower end, for hats in the $250 range, the felt is often mixed with rabbit fur, mostly from Europe, where rabbits are raised for meat.
Growing up in the south, I knew good cowboy hats were expensive, but I had no idea they could get that expensive. Ouch!
For proof that you can set anything in 4/4 time to just about any beat, we have this... alternative... rendition of the classic "Baby Got Back".
Instapundit linked up some heartening words of calm about the latest chicken-little-ism over avian flu. People sometimes seem to forget just how backward medical practices and technologies were eighty years ago. We simply don't die of those things any more, and for good reasons that won't change with the sudden appearance of a new sort of flu.
Someone goes and develops transparent aluminum:
Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor -- stronger and lighter than traditional materials -- that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.
The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.
Like all wonder-materials developed by/for the military, the stuff is five times as expensive to make as anything else. However, it's still very much a prototype process, so it's expected the cost will go down somewhat over time. Since they can't make really big sheets of the stuff yet, it would appear we may end up going back to the old "framed window" look of aircraft from the 30s and 40s.
If it keeps Hajji's bullet away, I'm all for it.
Fark linked up one place we'll never be having a movie night:
Almost one in three people attacked by crocodiles were drunk at the time, Australia's most comprehensive review of croc attacks reveals.
The figures show why it's not a good idea to drink too much if you're in or near water in northern Australia, says zoologist Dr Adam Britton of Wildlife Management International, who has co-authored research showing a 30-fold increase in crocodile attacks over the past three decades.
Because, you know, I wouldn't want any of my friends to get drunk, wander off, and get eaten. Yeah, friends. Me, I don't touch the stuff.
It's official, I have finally been "christened" by Cornbread. Yes, he peed on me. Well, if you could call it pee. It was more of a 'peepoo' thing.
He'd crawled under my laptop, I thought merely snoozing away. Suddenly, I felt like I peed myself. Nope, it was Cornbread.
Me: "Ewww! Eww!"
Me: "Cornbread just did business on me!"
Scott: "It was dark, he was warm and relaxed. He's a guy. This should be filed under, 'duh'"
Thing is, I know he's right. And I sleep with him!
The husband, I mean. Maybe I should swap...
On another of my bike forums:
Some people are like Slinkies... Not really good for anything, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.
When they do this for cars, that's a hill I don't want no part of. Well, unless I'm going the other direction.
Bike forums are your (my) friend.
The Religious Policeman linked up (and elaborated on) what it's like to be a woman in Saudi society:
Imagine you were a woman, and this guardian of yours is your 15 year old son. Imagine he were your brother, who scratches his chin in hesitation before signing any of your papers, and may even tease you degradingly. Imagine this brother of yours asking you for "what may make things slide" (an expression used to refer to bribery). He may be too much of a man to ask for it in cash, as no man with any pride can take money from his sister, but this pride of his won't stop him from asking for a car, a fridge, or a warranty that you will be paying his monthly bills until times are better for him. And in most cases, they never will be better for him, they'll only be causing you more and more trouble.
I'd rather not. Then again, I'm lucky that I don't have to. And neither, thank goodness, will my child.
They're lucky Ellen doesn't drive for them, otherwise she'd be giving rides all day:
A motorist with a chronic fear of being with cats in confined spaces drove all the way from South Devon to Birmingham blissfully unaware that a hitchhiking feline was sitting right behind him. Baby the freeloading cat is now back home in Torbay after her trip on board a brand new Shogun Pinin being delivered to distant Darlington by whiskers-shy driver Ray Train.
Ray Train stopped at services only to discover his worst nightmare - a cat purring softly just behind his seat.
Oh don't worry, everything turned out OK. Let that be a lesson to you kitties... hitchhiking is bad!
Clover tomorrow. I didn't like it at first, but it sorta grew on me. Well, him, actually.
Pat gets a well-educated no-prize for bringing us news of a "how we do it" book whose subject is of deep interest to us right now:
In "Top of the Class" the Kim sisters advise parents who want successful children to raise them just as the Kims did - in strict households in which parents spend hours every day educating their children, where access to pop culture is limited, and where children are taught that their failures reflect poorly on the family.
But while this approach is common in many Asian countries and among many immigrant groups in the United States, it runs counter to an American culture that celebrates if not venerates self-expression and the freedom of youth. (This is, after all, the country that invented the teenager.)
Not so sure about "invented the teenager" part, but the rest makes it sound like the book is at least worth a look.
News flash: groups of chimps are more aggressive than single individuals. In other news, rain is wet, the sky is blue, and Olivia likes to run around in lacy dresses every chance she gets.
New Scientist is carrying this report on developments in stem cell research. Two groups of scientists have created different ways to generate stem cells that do not involve the destruction of an embryo. I'm pretty sure the techniques will do nothing to resolve the political debate, at least for evangelists (on both sides), but it does demonstrate progress on what could end up being one of the most important biotech developments of our lifetime.
Fark linked up graphic evidence of what happens when a garden-variety TV newscaster gets busted trying to make things worse than they seem. But remember folks, bloggers are the real threat!
A few pictures of the fire poi people at Spiral 3 this weekend.
See! I knew tattoos were bad for you:
A Brooklyn father getting a tattoo called "Last Rites" inked into his flesh passed out and crashed headfirst into a glass counter yesterday, killing himself, police and witnesses said.
Joaquin Laguer, 27, nearly was decapitated during the horrific accident inside Buzz Tattoo, an unlicensed parlor in East Williamsburg.
What service... a tattoo and a close shave!
Again, only trumping "weird & f-d up" because of the subject, some roadkill experiences for your enjoyment.
Hmmm? Me? Well, until I started going out for more than an hour at a time, I'd never seen much at all. But just this morning I drove past two deer carcases, one so fresh it made me (who can eat with vet-tech "you-won't-believe-what-came-out-of-this-dead-cat" Ellen) look away, and another which had so many cool vultures around it I wanted a camera.
Oh shut up. If we were normal people, you wouldn't come around so much.
Slashdot linked up news that Jimmy Doohan's remains are scheduled to be launCHed into space. It really doesn't get more appropriate than that. You would've thought they'd find a better picture of him though.
So says my lace-ensconced daughter (see pictures below), for the last two or three days. Now it looks like she'll be saying it for a very long time indeed:
Toy maker Mattel Inc, known for Barbie fashion dolls, is expanding the plastic icon's domain to include high-end designer clothing and accessories for adult women.
The merchandise, which includes jeans, shirts, handbags and jewelry, is designed by well-known fashion designers and will sell under the name Barbie Luxe.
There's all sorts of inappropriate comments involving undressing I could make, but considering the two year old sitting next to me, well, there just aren't enough words to express how skeevy it would be to note them. See! See! I can be grown up!
The rest of you, probably not so much. :)
Three words I bet you never expected to go together: musical breast implants. No, really!
This has got it all over those poofta i-pods, far as I'm concerned.
Why yes, actually, my wife is without internet access for the next two days. Why do you ask?
Ellen's heading to Richmond today for her very first photography show. All proceeds from anything she sells will be going to a local animal shelter. Here's to hoping she makes a splash and they get a big fat check! Good luck, Ellen, love ya!
Ok, so I lied. Here is pix #2. This is O's other ballet costume. You see, you have to wear the proper ballet costume to the right Barbie movie. Blue for swans, pink for ice skating. Get it right, or else!
This is dress #1. Dress #2 gets posted tomorrow!
Lexus: 0, Snow: 1. And to think I used to enjoy standing under the eaves after a snowstorm.
New Scientist is carrying this summary of a nifty new technology pioneered by the Seimens (shaddup Ron) group:
Researchers at the firm have developed a printable interactive display with a similar thickness to paper.
"A pillbox could display instructions for how [the pills] should be taken and provide this information in several languages with the push of a button," says Siemens spokesman Norbert Aschenbrenner. "Admission tickets for trade shows could indicate the booths where various exhibitors are located."
Assuming manufacturing techniques move forward as planned, we should start seeing these things some time in 2007.
Struggling to lure customers back amid increased competition, McDonald's is adding a new item to its menu in Japan: the shrimp burger.
The $2.40 burger, shown to reporters Friday and set to go on sale this month, is the latest effort by the Japan unit of the U.S. fast-food chain to win over Japanese palates -- and spark sales.
If the original Iron Chef is any indication, there isn't a thing that gets dragged from the ocean that a Japanese won't eat. This should go down (as it were) well.
The Washington Post today carried this article detailing the efforts around the restoration of the stained glass windows of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. Amazing to think most of it's nearly a thousand years old now.
Looks like PC groupthink is alive and well in England:
An injured pedestrian has complained that she was ticked off by a police officer for using the word “fat” to describe a hit-and-run motorist.
Mary Magilton, 54, said she was simply trying to give the officer an accurate description of the female driver whose car mounted the pavement and hit her at a busy road junction.
Instead of the officer taking a note of her description, he paused and told her she could not use such language to describe an alleged offender.
The British have a reputation for being so polite it's a wonder they're able to reproduce, but even good manners have their limits. Sometimes you just gotta call 'em like ya see 'em.
Considering the existing menagerie from "the land of mistfits", I'm sure a two-tounged cat can't be far behind. Fweaky.
This is just wrong!
And I though Scott's bike shorts were too tight.
Well hell with it. Now you don't even need functioning legs to drop my butt on the trail.
There's a Santa Claus look-a-like who drives around in my area on the model-T version of this sort of thing, but after more than a thousand miles I've never seen anything even remotely like this. Which is just as well. I don't need another class of people to go ripping past me like an F-18 on afterburner.
Of course the NY Times would call it an insurgent washing machine.
Note: Disturbing only if you have an appliance fetish, but there is a lot of whooping and swearing. Probably should turn the sound down if that sort of thing would get you in trouble.
And then were suddenly silenced:
In many cases, they're footing the bill -- so why can't parents have access to information about what their kids are up to while they're in college?
But many parents have been surprised to find out that they can't see their college students' grades and other records without the student's permission.
Now, the University of Minnesota has started providing the parents of its students online access to grades, finances and other data for the first time this fall.
Yeah, I know, privacy concerns, yadda yadda. Turns out it's all voluntary, although apparently the kids are volunteering in droves. Which is actually not much of a surprise, considering who holds the purse strings in most college-aged relationships.
Because there would definitely seem to be a killer on the road:
Long used to kidnappers and drug hitmen, Mexico's capital is now in fear of another type of criminal: a serial killer in women's clothes who strangles and batters old ladies in their homes.
Police believe a single murderer is responsible for the unusual killings of four elderly women in the city so far this year and may have committed some of 37 others since 2003.
True-crime fans (you know who you are) should have a great time with this one.
The Washington Post today carried this report summarizing the oldest South American raptor-type dinosaur yet found:
The newly discovered fossil, of a rooster-size carnivore known as a dromaeosaur, lived 95 million years ago and is the oldest raptor ever found in the southern continents. Its discovery may signal that dromaeosaurs are much older than previously thought.
The find also has implications for the evolution of flight in birds.
Joshua linked up this fun little bit of fluff describing how someone unaccustomed to Texas-style chili might judge a "for real" cook off. Ellen still thinks chili should have beans and be made of hamburger, and no amount of convincing has changed this.
Of course, the time I set a pressure cooker on fire should have had no influence on her judgement of me as a chili cook. I mean, really...
Just in time for the holiday, a list of some really weird diseseases. Most are (big surprise) rooted in mental illnesses, but others... I mean, come on, "blue skin disease?"
Pat gets a very fertile no-prize for bringing us news of an alternate definition of "fecundity":
Michelle Duggar just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again.
Johannah Faith Duggar was born at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and weighed 7 pounds, 6.5 ounces.
The baby's father, Jim Bob Duggar, a former state representative, said Wednesday that mother and child were doing well.
And yes, Virginia, they're from Arkansas.
While nearly everyone is treating this as "weird" and "scary" and other less complimentary things, I file it under interesting. They're a married couple, paying their taxes, the kids all seem to be staying out of trouble, the mother's health seems not to be an issue, and they've apparently built an enormous house in which to live. When a family meets these requirements, to me it officially becomes none of our damned business what they want to do with themselves.
I wonder how they handle dinnertimes?
Yeah, you heard me right, lick:
A new baby at a Devon zoo has been attracting a lot of attention - for all the wrong reasons.
The bald truth is that Reggie the hamadryas baboon has had his hair licked off with some excessive tender loving care by his mother.
Words do not do the picture justice. Ellen used to work with baboons when she was in college, this'll surely draw a tear or two when she sees it.
Well, probably not ramen, but this BBCnews report summarizes the discovery of what are definitely the oldest noodles ever found:
The 50cm-long, yellow strands were found in a pot that had probably been buried during a catastrophic flood.
Radiocarbon dating of the material taken from the Lajia archaeological site on the Yellow River indicates the food was about 4,000 years old.
Until now the earliest mention (in China at any rate) of noodles has been dated to between 25 and 200 AD, so this pushes the date back considerably.
For comparison, the Pyramids were "just" 500 years old when these noodles were made.
I almost put it under "funny" because I can remember so many guys in college who wanted to do just this:
Smurfette is left for dead. Baby Smurf is left crying and orphaned as the Smurf's village is carpet bombed by warplanes — a horrific scene and imagery not normally associated with the lovable blue-skinned cartoon characters.
These are the scenes being shown as part of a new UNICEF ad-campaign on Belgian television.
Yes, college. Hey, most of my college buddies were engineers, it's not like they had girlfriends or anything.
Does anyone even watch the Smurfs anymore? Around my house we're transitioning out of the Wiggles and Barney and into Pixar and... *shudder*... "Bah-lee Bah-bee!!!" [Ballet Barbie]
Pleased to be presenting most wiley Sempahore Ninja.
Yes, it's silly, but we all need a little more silliness in our life.
Well, I do anyway.
Fark linked up news about a machine that claims to be a kind of time machine for wine:
It may sound far-fetched, but the ultra-competitive wine industry is taking no chances.Wineries in California, South America and other parts of the new and old wine worlds are taking a close interest in Mr Tanaka’s machine, and several are already testing it. The machine works by pumping wine and tap water through a specially designed electrolysis chamber equipped with wafer-thin platinum electrodes. The water and the wine are separated by an ion exchange membrane — the key component, for which Tanaka holds the patent.
Hopefully coming to a box near you!
Making the rounds: China has successfully launched another manned orbital mission. This time with two "taikonauts" instead of one, the mission is scheduled to last five days.
Fark linked up even more nifty storm photos, which include a warning that, while spectacular, they are not from hurricane Katrina. Apparently some folks think they are. Because everyone knows New Orleans is covered in bean fields, right?
Our antiquated blacklist system topped out at 3995 banned entries. Rather than, you know, getting off my lazy butt and upgrading everything, I instead de-gunked the blacklist with a bunch of new regular expressions (regex's). This should properly allow comments while denying scumbags the ability to comment, but the reverse could also be true. Let me know via e-mail if you run into comment trouble.
Looks like we may just need an upgrade after all...
For on this day Olivia, who, like her mother, may be living in the 21st century but is tempermentally better suited to a far more... impirial era, did something unprecedented. Even, perhaps, epochal. I swear after it happened the Devil himself knocked on my door in a snow-dusted parka and yelled at me to, and I quote, "knock it off." Yes, dear readers, it has actually happened. Our miniature empress-in-training actually did it. After more than two years of Making Our Wishes Known to the Servants, Olivia amazed us all.
She said, "please."
For, predictably enough, a handful of M&Ms. I wasn't quite sure I'd heard right, so after she'd scarfed that handful I shook another out and waved it at her.
Me: "Olivia, do you want some more?"
Olivia: "Uh! Uh! Emm! ... Emm!"
Me: "What do we say?"
Olivia: "Pwease?!?" (hop hop hop)
Let's just say I'm darned glad we don't have a surfeit of skilled trumpeters. If we had enough, I'm quite sure there would be angels arching across the sky, announcing imminent apocalypse.
Ah well, I'll guess we'll have to wait for the next time the Cowboys get in the Superbowl for that.
Well, maybe as a nation they are, but individually they don't got nothin' on this roadkill-eating British retiree. Hey, it's in the Sun, it's got to be true.
Once the exclusive pervue of governments, the ability to spy on other people's space programs seems to have been brought to the masses:
A commercial remote sensing spacecraft has caught Chinese space workers readying their second piloted space mission.
The Ikonos satellite, operated by Space Imaging of Thornton, Colorado, took images of China’s human spaceflight launch complex on October 3 and October 9, with a shadow covering much of the rocket between two structures. The very tip of the rocket can be seen emerging from the shadow.
Anybody have the co-ordinates? I bet you can look at this with Google!
Yet another reason why very large predatory animals are challenging to farm:
A Chinese man who raised bears to tap them for their bile, prized as a traditional medicine in Asia, has been killed and eaten by his animals, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.
Six black bears attacked keeper Han Shigen as he was cleaning their pen in the northeastern province of Jilin on Monday, Xinhua said.
When you read the details of what this guy was doing to these critters, the headline will start making a lot more sense. Sometimes I think if it weren't for "traditional Asian medicine" the whole concept of endangered species would've been obsolete long ago.
The Flores "hobbit people" are back in the news, with this New Scientist article detailing the latest finds. Remarkably, evidence seems to be moving away from a Homo species as originator and toward an Australopithecus common ancestor.
Making the rounds: Subway's latest sandwich ad ruffled the feathers (ha!) of the French expatriate community so much the company pulled the ad. Somehow I don't think the reaction would be quite the same were the roles to be reversed.
Fark linked up an article that attempts to explore one of those age-old nerd questions: is a video game simulation useful experience for the real world? The answer, a qualified yes, has much more to do with a lack of consequences than it does with a lack of feedback.
Having watched resident vid game jock Damion pinball his way around the virtual Laguna Seca a time or two, this seems quite reasonable.
Because Glen Campbell's Southern Nights is now officially 28 years old. Those of you tapping your toes, repeat after me: "GAH!!!"
All others: consider yourself smacked. Youngsters.
(Open this one in Internet Explorer)
One reason why I don't try to "hitch a ride". Trumped "funny" only because of its primary subject.
Me, at the end of the game: "You know what would be worse than the Redskins getting their streak broken?"
Me: "If the goddamned Cowboys won."
Ah well. I enjoyed my 3-0 streak, you enjoy your win and our congratulations. Somehow I think neither of us will have much to crow about from this point out.
Meh, there's always next year!
Freaky "Oh but my 'Boys will break all spacetime, probability, and causality laws to end up in the Superbowl while peeing on the burgundy-and-gold" trufan comment in 3... 2... 1...
(don't worry... he's utterly delusional, but he's still our friend.)
I'd always read and heard about Japan's obsession with vending machines, but I'd never actually seen any, until now. Includes a picture of the infamous "used school girl panties" machine. No, really!
New Scientist today linked up a rather novel technique for sexing mosquitos:
A genetically engineered mosquito with glowing gonads could become a new weapon in the battle against malaria.
Researchers at Imperial College London created the mosquito by attaching a gene for fluorescence found in jellyfish to a gene expressed only in a male mosquito’s sexual organs. The technique makes it relatively simple to distinguish males from females, something that has previously hindered malaria-eradication strategies.
Anything that makes it easier to eradicate those blood sucking monsters is fine by me.
Well, actually, yes, I did grow up in the middle of acres of rice fields. Why do you ask?
Fark linked up this site dedicated to pictures of the Staten Island Boat Graveyard, an "open air disposal" site for various kinds of ships. My brother Jeff might be able to make better judgements, but from the looks of them I'd say the place has been in use for at least a century. The guy has a lot of guts to scampering around on those old hulks!
The Washington Post today carried this article discussing how one country has taken a western pop-culture phenomenon and made it its own:
[Turkish TV producer Pelin Akat's revelation] came while [she] was casting a show in which young men and women share a house with several dozen surveillance cameras. Akat noticed that, at the auditions in suburban Istanbul, the female candidates usually showed up alone.
The male candidates, however, brought along their mothers.
"They were saying, 'My mother should have a say,' " Akat recalled.
That's exactly what the mothers got in "Will You Be My Bride?" The hit series moved the matrons from backstage to the set, which they promptly took over.
The show's finale drew seventy-four percent of Turkish viewers on its broadcast night. They've already sold rights to the show's format to a half-dozen countries in the region.
Which just proves something the Japanese have known for decades... if you're clever and rational about it, western culture is neither corrosive or destructive. It can be used to provide a framework that presents your own culture in new and innovative ways, invigorating and expanding it at the same time.
She stole them from Dorothy.
I mean, really, who needs all those fancy tools for your titanium superbike when a come-along and two trees work just fine.
Looks like a great way to justify a new bike to your significant other, but that's just me.
Who would've thought something as simple as a dishwasher would demarc "native" from "immigrant":
In many immigrant homes, the automatic dishwasher is the last frontier. Long after new arrivals pick up football, learn the intricacies of the multiplex and the DMV and develop a taste for pizza, they resist the dishwasher. Some joke that not using the appliance is one of the truest signs of immigrant heritage, whether they hail from Africa, Latin America, Asia or Eastern Europe.
A fascinating look at one of the most unexpected aspects of adjusting to American culture. Highly recommended.
My Steam updater (an online game news channel) announced a really nifty bit of artwork related to Half Life 2 is up for auction. I like the piece, but the price is already far too high for a print, at least for me. I once heard an artist call prints "art byproduct" and tried to get us all to promise not to buy them. While I think she overstated the case, the difference between a print and an original is striking and most definitely worth the price, if you can afford it. Really expensive prints are (again in my opinion) not much more than pricey posters.
So what would happen if you bought a stock recommended to you in a spam message? The answer is closer than you think. And, I might add, not particularly surprising.
Space.com is carrying this update on a recent test of a Russian vehicle designed to bring cargo from the International Space Station down to Earth. It's not only being pitched as a return truck, but also as a potential lifeboat replacement for the Soyuz modules currently used. While "collapsible" and "spacecraft" aren't normally words I'd want to see together, if it's your only ride home it'll have to do.
Since it tends to take me 100 words just to clear my metaphorical throat, I figured I'd let Jason explain why I think it would be a damned stupid idea to turn control of the Internet over to an international body:
The U.S. should tell Iran and everyone else to go fuck themselves. That includes the E.U. The ONLY reason they want control is to restrict the freedom of expression of their people. There is no other possible explaination.
If they want a globe-spanning network capable of connecting any digital device to any other digital device which they control, there's nothing stopping them from building it. After all, that's what we did.
Until that time, they are pleased to be sitting down and shutting the hell up.
Mothers use his name to scare their children while even adults hope they don't bump into him in the dark -- for more than 40 years Gopal Haldar has been making his living in India's Sunderbans mangrove region as a ghost.
Pipe dream, or the future, now? Considering the hit-and-miss nature of "futuristic" cities that actually get built (think Brasillia), I'm not so sure I'd sign up for a condo. Then again, Hong Kong and Singapore are about as out there as it gets, at least in places. If they build it, maybe they will come.
The Religious Policeman provides some advice for making the Imam University soccer team more competitive:
But I did say that I could help them out. After all, Soccer is a game of rules. And if you can't win according to one set of rules, then you need to change to a set that you can win by. So I said I'd write them new rules that would:
So here they are...
- take out all that nasty competitive stuff,
- recognise the fact that they would soon go out into the world to promote Islam
- avoid any comparison with decadent Western or Zionist Soccer practices
- have any infringements judged according to Sharia Law
The rules are a hoot, with that great "insight-between-the-lines" you get from really good satire.
Don't forget to read all the way to the end for the real surprise!
Today's entry in the "don't you have anything better to do?" category comes to us from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:
Filed yesterday in D.C. Superior Court by an organization that promotes vegetarian diets, the suit charges that Giant, Safeway and other milk retailers have failed to warn lactose-intolerant consumers of the risks of drinking milk.
Now pardon me sparky, but it would seem to me that if someone knew they were lactose-intolerant, that would pretty much clue them into the fact that drinking milk would be, you know, bad?
But wait! There's more!
The lawsuit is not the first time that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has dueled with the dairy industry in court. In June, the group filed a lawsuit accusing the industry of defrauding the public by claiming in ads that people could lose weight by consuming more dairy products. The industry has stood by its claim that consuming dairy products helps with weight loss when coupled with calorie restriction.
Yeah. Calorie restriction. Also known as, you know, "eating less." Sort of like saying gas prices won't affect you if you hang this special air freshener in your car and drive a hybrid.
I'm going to be really pissed if it turns out my tax dollars are getting anywhere near these two.
Waitaminute... dairy farmers?!? Noooooo!!!
Surely this must mean something:
On September 24 & 25, a group of 14 U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq rode 100+ miles on their bikes in the desert to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis. Soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division and Task Force Liberty conducted their own version of the MS Bike Tour in Tikrit, Iraq, to show their support for the National MS Society.
A century or more is serious mileage no matter where you're riding. Good to see it's possible even in the most tenuous of locations!
ABCnews is carrying this story about a remarkable discovery in great white shark research. By using new tracking technology, scientists followed the movements of a great white named "Nicole" over a 12,000 mile journey from Africa to Austrialia. They also tracked a group of salmon sharks moving from Alaska to Hawaii. The finds have implications not only in the study of the sharks and how to develop conservation plans for them, but the way the sharks traveled could also help certain kinds of medical research.
The next DARPA challenge is scheduled to begin this Saturday. Since it's on a weekend, maybe I'll get to see a bit of it this time around. Hopefully there will be more than a bit of it to see this time around :).
New Scientist is carrying this story on a new technique that could lead to fantastically complex computers built out of self-replicating single-celled algaes called diatoms. "Skynet unavailable for comment."
Moms and Grammas especially should find Vmyths.com of interest. It purports to be a clearninghouse of all computer virus-related myths and hoaxes. It also includes a nice "how to spot a hoax" section.
You might think it's all common sense, but if the contents of my inbox are any indication, you'd be wrong.
Slashdot linked up news that one of the biggest astronomical mysteries of the past 35 years may finally have been solved:
The most intense explosions in the universe come in two varieties. One type lasts several seconds, and the others are gone in less than a second.
Until now, astronomers had not pinned down the sources of the short-duration bursts.
New observations show convincingly that they are created by collisions of two very dense objects, likely neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, as theory had predicted.
I think we've linked up three or four "solutions" to this problem, so (in my oh-so-greatly-informed opinion) this one is probably also a "wait-and-see" sort of thing.
No, really, when birds attack:
A Sunshine Coast university student will need to have an artificial lens fitted to his right eye after it was speared by a wild darter bird perched on a railing at Australia Zoo at Beerwah.
The freak accident happened last Thursday in the open wetlands area of the zoo, which is frequented by wild ducks, herons and other waterbirds.
~ "What'll we see at the zoo / what'll we see at the zoo-zee-zoo / what'll we see as w- ARRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!" ~
A giant exotic snake's fatal mistake of trying to swallow an alligator has provided scientists with strange new evidence that pythons are continuing to spread in the Everglades.
Read entire article and video here.
A very snakish No-Prize goes out to Joshua for the link!
Download these funny kitty inspired yoga videos!
Instapundit linked up news that what would at first seem to be a straightforward, if grisly, suicide may in fact be something more. I personally like the title, although I'm not sure anyone outside that NCAA conference will get the reference.
Fark linked up news that scientists have re-created the 1918 flu virus. Because recreating a virus that killed more people than WWI may at first seem rather imprudent, CNN helpfully included this comforting information:
The public health risk of resurrecting the virus is minimal, U.S. health officials said. People around the world developed immunity to the deadly 1918 virus after the pandemic, and a certain degree of immunity is believed to persist today.
In other words, as the Fark headline almost correctly noted: remember 28 days from [now], you have to shoot the zombies in the head to kill them.
It helps that existing antivirals also work on good ol' 1918. The hope is that this research will lead to deeper insights into the related and potentially far more dangerous Asian avian flu virus.
The various nurses and veterinary technicians in my life will be greatly disappointed to learn medical examiners would appear to be on to their "secret sauce":
A jury convicted a woman Tuesday of murdering her 71-year-old husband with injections of her diabetic daughter's insulin to keep him from learning she had gambled away $4,000.
Barbara Garcia, 63, of Hobart faces a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 15.
Extra-creepy "what an amateur! She should have done XYZ instead!" comments from said family members in 3... 2... 1...
Pat gets a mysteriously glowing no-prize for bringing us news of confirmation of the mysterious phenomenon known as the "milky sea":
Mariners have long told of rare nighttime events in which the ocean glows intensely as far as the eye can see in all directions.
Fictionally, such a "milky sea" is encountered by the Nautilus in Jules Verne classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."
Scientists don't have a good handle what's going on. But satellite sensors have now provided the first pictures of a milky sea and given new hope to learning more about the elusive events.
The article linked pictures, but they wouldn't come up for me. Maybe for their next trick they'll finally get some pictures of those UFOs that are based in the Bermuda Triangle.
Ron gets a sail-driven no-prize for bringing us news that the sport of "speed sailing" is heating up again. Unfortunately I only had time to skim the article (shocking, I know), but from the intro it sure does sound interesting.
This time, the bunnies take on War of the Worlds (1952 edition). Amazing what you can get across if everyone already knows what you're talking about.
Our favorite moonbat Mandrake beat me to the punch by linking up news that bikes are actually outselling cars now. In my defense I had (what I thought was) a much cooler bike story in the hopper, and let it slide. Yeah right.
Like I said to another gallery member recently, "wanna make something of it, punk? You and me, on the trail, next week. Yeah, didn't think so."
Oh God people. It's a joke. Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?
The Religious Policeman, via our other fav Arab blog Mahmood, linked up a rather graphically... unfortunate "boy-and-his-camel" story. Poor thing ended up as camelburgers.
Looks like Halo, the Movie's chances just got a helluva lot better:
The Oscar-winning creative team behind the "The Lord of the Rings" films, including director Peter Jackson, has been named to run the production of the upcoming film based on Microsoft Corp.'s blockbuster "Halo" video game, the company said on Tuesday.
Jackson and his wife, Fran Walsh, will serve as the executive producers for "Halo," which is targeted for worldwide release in mid-2007 by Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox film studios.
Now, having seen Meet the Feebles (under protest, mind you), I know that Jackson is quite as capable of making a turkey as anyone else. But, considering his recent track record, I'll mark this one down in the "plus" column.
Well, funny in a "glad-I-don't-know-them" kind of way:
A Romanian woman has demanded a divorce because she can't stand having lunch with her mother-in-law every day.
I get along quite well with my inlaws, crazy as they are. Ellen, likewise. It's fortunate we learned we can get along with them before
they got their granddaughter *ahem* we had Olivia. Otherwise there would've been this sudden, "you like me because I'm rich, right?" sort of vibe.
Kidding! Kidding! We love all our in-laws. Really! :)
Fark linked up news of an increasingly common practice amongst used car dealers:
Most of the credit-damaged customers at North Texas Motorcars learn to live with the lights.
They're attached to a black box on the dashboard and start flashing on the first day a car payment is late. On the fourth day, after two more days of warning lights, the car won't start.
The box - called a starter interrupt unit - is used mostly at used-car dealerships that provide financing to customers with bad credit. But other segments of the auto industry may adopt it, particularly if consumers' credit ratings continue to decline.
While the anarchic Farkers predictably labeled the thing SCARY, I think it's a darned good idea. People with poor credit have to be able to re-start their lives somehow, and if having "blinkenlites" installed on their next car is what it takes so be it. This reduces the risk to the dealership, which allows them to get less expensive financing, which then (if they're smart) allows them to pass those savings on to their customers. Seems like a win-win to me, as long as you pay your bills at any rate.
48 years ago Sputnik was launched.
Hey man, it just don't get no better than this:
A new racing league which will see rocket-powered planes blasting around virtual racetracks in the sky was announced on Monday. It is also hoped that computer gamers at home will be able to pit their skills against the pilots in real time.
The space-age Formula One vehicles will be based on a rocketplane designed and demonstrated by California-based XCOR Aerospace, called the EZ Rocket. The first race is scheduled for a year from now in New Mexico.
The real trick will, of course, be sponsorship. If they can get a really big company to fund it, this thing could really, well, take off.
Well, that may be, but this guy obviously didn't think so:
Japanese private broadcaster TV Asahi showed footage of a man standing on an iron frame on the exterior of the 333-meter Tokyo Tower and unfurling a banner adorned with a large red heart and words that appeared to be the name of a girl.
I saw a documentary about base jumpers a few years back, and they noted you could only spend so much time near powerful TV transmitters before you started feeling the effects. The one they noted was tooth fillings getting hot enough to burn your mouth. Maybe he didn't have any?
The Washington Post today ran this nifty article on the ins and outs of what must be one of the more unusual jobs around... the head timekeeper for the 500+ clocks of Parliament. Among those are centuries-old priceless antiques, as well as the biggest one of all, The Great Westminster Clock, more commonly (and incorrectly) known as Big Ben.
Trust me folks, there's plenty of crazy above my level:
Chris Curven avidly followed Lance Armstrong's seventh victory in the Tour de France this summer along with millions of other fans. But for the 34-year-old amateur racer and his cycling buddies in Walpole, N.H., the tour is more than just a sporting event. It's also a home shopping channel of sorts for superbikes: Yes, those ultra-pricey, high-tech machines ridden by Armstrong and his colleagues can be ordered from a specialty bike shop near you.
The article goes on to discuss things that cost as much as $16,000 that you have to pedal to get around. Yes, Virginia, they do exist.
However, they're pretty darned rare. In all honesty, you really really have to try to spend more than $5,000 on a bike. Yeah, I know, $5,000 for a bicycle probably leaves most of you gasping, but in the circles I pedal that's merely the highest of the high end. I make no apologies for my Chinese superbike, and I've been around long enough to know the difference between it and a $5500 Pinarello is the difference between a $150 California vintage and a $1500 French wine. I'll pedal 14.7 mph average on either of the former just as I'll smack my lips and go, "meh?" with either of the latter.
Of course, that doesn't mean I have turned my nose up to said Italian boutiques. The largest Pinarello dealer in the US is located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Of course, it's just a coincidence I'm heading out there next summer.
Oh be quiet gramma. You'll get grand-daughter time. Would I put a price tag on such family unity?
Am I your child?
Ok, sorry, but the words "heliotherapy" and "penis" just do not go together:
A Mr Kang who went to a private hospital to have foreskin resection has lost more than he expected, the Xinmin Evening News reported Friday.
Kang, a middle-aged man, read an advertisement and went to a private hospital in Jinshan District on September 8. He followed doctor's instruction to take a course of microwave "heliotherapy". After one hour, Kang noticed that his penis had been burned black and was painful. He had difficulty passing water but the doctor had gone off work and he could find nobody to help him.
Microwaves are bad, mmkay?
Sparked by the comment:
You know, the more I've learned about Adolf Hitler, the less he resembles any sort of conservative, and the more he resembles the far left. He was a vegitarian, an atheist, an intellectual, an artist, a revolutionary, and dreamed of a return to a past utopia when people (or Arayans, at any rate) were truly free. The classification of him, and other reactionaries, as conservative smacks of intellectual dishonesty.
He wasn't far left, he was most definitely far right. What he has in common with your list of "hard lefties" is he was a socialist. Before WWII, there were two kinds of socialism... right and left. The right-wing socialists wanted power to coalesce into the hands of a strong central state, controlled by a select and elite group of people who would keep the common folk's (technically, the proletariat's) best interests in mind while governing without their input.
Left-wing socialists see the state as an oppressive construct foisted on the proletariat, and wish to destroy it thereby allowing power to be wielded by the people themselves as expressed through various theoretically self-forming collectives.
The right wing of socialism is commonly considered to have been destroyed by WWII. Left-wing socialists were conceded the field and have run amok and essentially unopposed since then. Never the brightest bulbs in the bunch, these utopians, when given access to the levers of power, were directly responsible for the abattoirs of the late 20th century.
In my own opinion, right-wing socialism was not destroyed but was instead forced underground. To me, the various governments of continental Europe and Japan, most especially those of Germany, France, and Japan, very strongly represent models of right-wing socialism. True, they have been softened a bit with a veneer of democracy, but close observers of these societies will always comment that power is wielded most often by unelected bureaucrats with only a vague understanding of what the people of their countries really want.
The reason why we do not clearly understand this distinction is to me obvious. Now utterly dominated by nihilistic left-wing socialists, the "soft sciences" of western academia have renamed right-wing socialism "fascism" because it is a) a poorly defined term into which everything bad about the right can be dumped and b) it removes a real and to them dangerous stigma to their hallowed and cherished leftist brand of socialism.
If the 20th century has proven anything it is that socialism of any sort, be it right, left, or the newly minted Islamic kind, is easily the greatest danger to humanity that has ever existed. Hyperbole? Hardly. Societies ruled by the various forms of socialism have probably killed more people in the past century than were killed at the hands of Christians in the previous two thousand. A papal legate may have consigned thousands of innocents to the flames with his comment, "let God sort them out", but this is nothing compared to the millions who have been starved, gassed, beaten, shot or simply worked to death by the likes of those who have substituted the state or some vague secular ideal in His place.
This all has a great deal to do with why I fear our current crop of religious "righties" far less than I do our current crop of secular "lefties." A right-winger may secretly want to force you into a church and consign the most unreasonable of your friends to the flames because they can’t keep their mouths shut and their pants zipped, but it takes a left-winger to starve your entire town to death in a camp for thinking the wrong thing.
Hanging onto a set of discredited beliefs like socialism is one thing. Humanity’s capability for delusion in the quest for radical egalitarianism long predates the plea of, “can’t we just all get along?” It’s something different altogether to be so myopic as to cover up the tendency of those beliefs toward genocide just to give them “one more try.” That those on the left continue to do so, and in such a garishly naïve fashion, is why I fear them.
Pat gets a no-prize she can use to fire arrows through twelve axeheads (oh go look it up) for bringing us news of a new candidate for Odysseus's home of Ithaca:
Although the western Greek island of Ithaki is generally accepted as the Homeric site, scholars have long been troubled by a mismatch between its location and geography and those of the Ithaca described by Ancient Greece's greatest poet.
Robert Bittlestone, a management consultant, said Thursday that the peninsula of Paliki on the Ionian island of Cephallonia, near Ithaki, was the most likely location for Odysseus' homeland. He said geological and historic evidence suggested Paliki used to form a separate island before earthquakes and landslides filled in a narrow sea channel dividing it from Cephallonia.
The theory makes several (for once) testable predictions that should go a long way toward determining if this new candidate really could have been Ithaca, or if other more traditional sites still hold sway over the claim.
Today, in the bookstore:
Ellen: "Ooo! Look! Swan Lake Barbie on DVD!"
Me: "Swan Lake. Barbie."
Ellen: "She's been trying to twirl to ballet all week! This will be perfect!"
Olivia, on cue from her umbrella stroller: "Bahlee daddy! Bahlee!" [hands over head]
Four hours later, after an hour nap, we're on our second showing. Yep, Olivia has her very first chick flick, complete with horsies, cute animals, strong women, and clueless guys. Hold up your fists guys, I actually sat through the whole thing first time with my girl's head resting in my lap. She actually sighed once and said, "oh daddy... bahlee..."
Well, she did watch an hour and a half of the Redskins game beforehand. That's worth something... right?
A regular feature, but worth repeating: I'm much more worried about the ones in danger of falling off the left corner than I am the ones in danger of falling off the right:
At a business conference this summer in Toronto Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, told the Canadians again and again how wonderful they are--how open to new ideas, how tolerant, how diverse and therefore how potentially creative. Unlike the U.S., which is afflicted by divisiveness and the religious right, Canada is a model country. That was his story, at any rate.
A few hours later I picked up a newspaper and got a different view. On the op-ed page a scientist was pleading for Canada to repeal its law against cloning human embryos for research. In tolerant, open-minded, diverse and creative Canada therapeutic cloning--defined as creating an in vitro embryo with the same chromosomes as any other individual--is a crime punishable by ten years in prison.
In the divisive, religiously addled U.S. a similar measure has failed repeatedly to become federal law...
There are many on the left I know, both on line and in person, who would nod their heads, blush a little, and start a sentence with "yes, but you see, I don't actually agree..."
Welcome to my world.
"Yes, but, again, you see, my side isn't currently in--"
Sorry, can't hear you over the screams from the horror of the 20th century. You know, the only time in history the left has been put completely in charge?
Unfair? Hey, the truth hurts. That's the advantage of being, you know, right.
*SNIFF!* She has my 'eats small children' smile. *SNIFF*
Everyone say "Awww..."
A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise, in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa, officials said.
Read story here.
1024 miles in 3 months. I probably broke 1000 yesterday, only checked the odometer this morning after a 20+ mile ride.
In 44 degree weather no less. Found out I need warmer socks!