November 30, 2005
"Titanic" Weather Report

Pat gets a windblown no-prize for bringing us news of the latest Titan findings:

Saturn's planet-size moon Titan has dramatic weather, with freezing temperatures, carbon- and nitrogen-rich clouds and possibly lightning, scientists said Wednesday, describing a world that may have looked like Earth before life developed.

The European Space Agency's probe landed on Titan in January, uncovering some mysteries of the methane-rich globe — the only moon in the solar system known to have a thick atmosphere. Scientists presented detailed results of months of study in the journal Nature and at a news conference in Paris.

Speculations that life may have been creating the methane appear to be unfounded, but the place is still fascinating. Here's to hoping we some day get a rover out there!

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
Just Don't Call it a Recovery

Recession? What recession?

U.S. economic growth rose at a 4.3 percent annual rate from July through September, the quickest since the first quarter of last year and evidence of the economy's resilience in the face of record energy costs.
Growth in the U.S. has exceeded a 3 percent rate for 10 straight quarters, the longest such string since the 13 quarters that ended in March 1986. Even so, polls show many Americans still perceive the economy as weak. A survey released Nov. 28 by the Manchester, New Hampshire-based American Research Group found that 43 percent of those questioned said the economy was in a recession, while 44 percent said it wasn't.

Staggering though it may seem, I'm actually not going to chalk this one up to the Bush administration. Clinton walked into the train station as one engine was pulling out and another pulling in, Bush was simply fortunate enough to do the same. The media, where they acknowledge it at all, will react I expect the same way they did during the Regan recovery... suddenly switching from dirdges over the current disaster to dirdges predicting a new one.

Like fine glasswork, economic success takes a long time to create but only seconds to destroy. The left has proven it is eager, willing, and able to pull out its policy hammer at the first opportunity, and history is littered with the economic shards of their well-intentioned but utterly misguided policies. Wherever possible, and in any way I can, I will not allow them to do it again.

Which is why I vote Republican.

Posted by scott at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)
A Keg Fridge, for the Rest of Us

Four words: Linux powered keg fridge:

Since the first brew fan installed a tap on the spare fridge and stuffed a keg inside, one question has been paramount: "Who's been drinking all the beer?"

Mike Wakerly's keg fridge will tell you. It'll also estimate the drinker's blood alcohol level and post it to a Web page; log his consumption for the night, week or month (and cut him off if you like); and keep track of his tab. The Kegbot can even send you a text message when the beer supply runs low.

A CO2 keg fridge was the Holy Grail of my college years, but new ones were too expensive and we didn't have the raw materials/power tools to create one ourselves. Instead we made due with a 33-gallon trash can filled with ice and a CO2 dispenser rig my room-mate stole from the football stadium. The floor in my dorm closet nearly rotted through and my room-mate got arrested trying to return an empty cannister, but damn that beer was cold!

Ah, good times, good times.

Posted by scott at 12:47 PM | Comments (1)
Must. Keep. Eyes. Front.

There's sand sculpture, and then there's sand sculpture.

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

New Scientist is carrying news that the Mars Express orbiter may have found liquid water using a newly deployed instrument:

Intriguingly, the signal reflected from the bottom of the crater is so strong and appears so flat that it may be liquid water. "If you put water there, that's what the signal might look like," Johnson told New Scientist. But he cautions the data is based on only one pass over the region and could be caused by another material.

As noted, the findings are extremely preliminary. Apparently the radar imaging technique has only been tried once before, on Apollo 17, and the results then were inconclusive. We'll see...

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Can You Say, "Libel?"

I knew you could:

Contrary to widespread reports in the media, the Manganos did not abandon St. Rita's during the flooding.

Nor did they seal the fate of their elderly residents by strapping them to their beds before leaving, as was widely reported. They worked alongside their staff and a few Good Samaritans during the frantic rescue effort, according to Cobb, Alonzo and other witnesses. Bertucci says none of the bodies recovered from St. Rita's was strapped to a bed or a wheelchair.

Per usual, the entire incident is far more complex than the media ever reported. I'm not sure which is worse... that the media did this, or that I'm surprised that they did this.

Posted by scott at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
November 29, 2005
Playing Princess...Again

Posted by Ellen at 04:40 PM | Comments (4)
Crossing Dressers

Everyone's favorite Saudi gadfly is at it again, this time explaining, among other things, a rather different reason for cross-dressing:

For newer readers, it goes like this - the only women whose faces an adult male will see, are those of close female relatives that he cannot marry, like his mother or his sisters. Now one way he can look at Saudi girls' unveiled faces, is to get his parents to start matchmaking for him. However he will only get to see two or three at most, before he is expected to agree to marry one. The easier way to see many girls' faces is to kit yourself up in an abaya (long black shroud) and niqab (veil), and start wandering around a girls' school, because they go around unveiled in there.

Where there's a will...

Posted by scott at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)
Like Shark Repellant, for Teens

Why yell at them to get off your lawn when you can have a device do it for you:

The device, called the Mosquito ("It's small and annoying," [inventor] Stapleton said), emits a high-frequency pulsing sound that, he says, can be heard by most people younger than 20 and almost no one older than 30. The sound is designed to so irritate young people that after several minutes, they cannot stand it and go away.

Finally something that will keep Nina off the computer when we visit New York!

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)
Fighting the 10,000

Fine, don't listen to me. Listen to him:

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.

First John McCain, now Joe Lieberman. I'm not sure the pigheaded section of the peanut gallery has any heroes left.

Posted by scott at 11:11 AM | Comments (3)
Ice Geyser

New Scientist is carrying this story detailing the first photographic evidence of ice volcanoes on Enceladus, a moon of Saturn. The pictures were taken during a close flyby of Saturn's second-largest moon, Rhea. While that body revealed few immediate surprises, the pictures of Enceladus's eruptions could help scientists puzzle out just what might be causing them.

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

Fark linked up this excellent interview with Terry Pratchett. He actually appeared at a book store less than 100 feet from where I work, but I was at Virginia Beach at the time. Bugger.

Posted by scott at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)
November 28, 2005
Where's the Enrollment Form?

Hey, if it's a parody from the Man Show, you know it's going to be quality entertainment. I wonder if they offer financial aid?

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)
Perfectly Normal, Perfectly Healthy

Quick! Someone tell Tom's publicist that he's gotten loose again:

Not every family can afford one at a price tag of up to $200,000 but actor Tom Cruise says he bought a sonogram machine for his pregnant fiance Katie Holmes so that they can monitor the development of their child.

In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters to be aired on a November 29 television special about the "most fascinating people of 2005," Cruise said: "I'm going to donate it to a hospital when we are done."

From what I remember of it, there's a bit of a trick to getting one of those things to work right. Of course, we all know how smart and talented Mr. Cruise is, so he shouldn't have too much trouble with it.


Posted by scott at 01:59 PM | Comments (4)

New Scientist is carrying news that the long-suffering probe with the hard-to-remember name might have successfully completed its mission:

The Hayabusa spaceprobe has snatched samples from the asteroid Itokawa, according to JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The probe touched down at 0707 Japanese time (2207 GMT Friday) and its computer system shot a metal ball into the asteroid to drive up material for collection. The operation went "without failure", said JAXA official Yasunori Matoba, and the craft then took off again.

They won't know for sure until it gets back. Which is, of course, their next big trick. Keep your fingers crossed for June 2007, when the probe is scheduled to return.

Posted by scott at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
Further Positive News?

Instapundit linked up this CSM report detailing what soldiers are experiencing and reporters seem to be ignoring:

Cpl. Stan Mayer has seen the worst of war. In the leaves of his photo album, there are casual memorials to the cost of the Iraq conflict - candid portraits of friends who never came home and graphic pictures of how insurgent bombs have shredded steel and bone.

Yet the Iraq of Corporal Mayer's memory is not solely a place of death and loss. It is also a place of hope. It is the hope of the town of Hit, which he saw transform from an insurgent stronghold to a place where kids played on Marine trucks. It is the hope of villagers who whispered where roadside bombs were hidden. But most of all, it is the hope he saw in a young Iraqi girl who loved pens and Oreo cookies.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Cars...

Occupation that Looks Cool but will Get You Killed so Don't Do it, #421: rally car driver. There's a reason they put full roll cages in those things, ya know?

Note: this particular spot on the site seems SFW, but I can't vouch for the rest of it. Text ads look pretty squirrely, but no pictures.

Posted by scott at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

Ron gets a no-prize that'll go anywhere for bringing us news of the ultimate hybrid, a land-water sports... rmm... bar? Coat? CarBoat? Yours for only $150,000!

Definitely brings a new meaning to "land yacht".

Posted by scott at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

Pat gets a creepy-crawly no-prize for bringing us yet another reason we're glad not to live in "The City":

They're the scourge of hobo encampments and hot-sheet motels. To impressionable children everywhere, they're a snippet of nursery rhyme, an abstract foe lurking beneath the covers that emerges when mommy shuts the door at night.

But bedbugs on Park Avenue? Ask the horrified matron who recently found her duplex teeming with the blood-sucking beasts. Or the tenants of a co-op on Riverside Drive who spent $200,000 earlier this month to purge their building of the pesky little thugs. The Helmsley Park Lane was sued two years ago by a welt-covered guest who blamed the hotel for harboring the critters. The suit was quietly settled last year.


Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)
November 27, 2005
Enya sings in a tongue from a 'distant planet'

SOMETIMES words are not enough — well, English ones anyway. Enya, the reclusive Irish artist, has invented a new language after deciding that English was too “obtrusive” for her lyrics.

The Dalkey-based singer also rejected Gaelic and Latin, both of which she used on previous records. So a quarter of the songs on Amarantine, her new album, are in a tongue called Loxian, which she devised with her lyricist Roma Ryan.


Posted by Ellen at 07:22 PM | Comments (12)
Only In Utah

3 Utahns try to open door for polygamy Legal challenge: Salt Lake City lawyer Brian Barnard says the ban is unconstitutional

Read entire asinine article here.

Posted by Ellen at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)
November 26, 2005
And The Obvious Award Goes To...

Children who are overweight face more than future health problems. They appear to have broken bones and joint problems more often during childhood than kids of normal weight, research suggests.

Read article here.

Posted by Ellen at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)
No More Wax On...

LOS ANGELES - Actor Pat Morita, best known for helping teach a boy martial-arts mastery through household chores as the wise Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid," has died. He was 73.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)
November 24, 2005
A Dragon Xmas


Amber's dragon stopped by for a photo shoot this evening.

Posted by Ellen at 08:02 PM | Comments (1)
Xmas Pokey

pokeyxmas-01 Medium Web view.jpg
Posted by Ellen at 05:12 PM | Comments (1)
2005 AMCG Ornament

cornbreadornament-01 Medium Web view.jpg

Posted by Ellen at 05:09 PM | Comments (2)
A Tow Truck, for the Rest of Us

Two words: Iron Crotch:

The ancient Greeks worshipped it. Freud said women envy it. And on Tuesday, a man pulled a truck with it.

Yes, you read that right.

He pulled a truck with his penis.

Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng, best known for his "Iron Crotch," attached himself not once, but twice, to a rental moving truck and pulled it several yards across a parking lot in Fremont...

Kinda brings a whole new definition to the term "stunt dick."

Posted by scott at 07:07 AM | Comments (0)
Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Posted by Ellen at 07:02 AM | Comments (1)
November 23, 2005
The Ultimate Club?

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but the sentence "Man hit in head by train for second time" just parses wrong.

Way back when, I was famous for getting beaned by baseballs during little league games. But at least someone was throwing something at me then. Something, you know, small.

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

BBCnews is carrying this report on what should be a fascinating new series from naturalist David Attenborough:

"In the past, in order to get close to something, you had to pour light on it; so much so you were at risk of frying the thing - and you certainly inhibited natural behaviour," Sir David said.

"We've now got such sensitive electronic cameras that we don't need that amount of light, and we've also got tiny, tiny lenses; so we can get up close and tight, and then you see mind-blowing things."

Since Discovery tends to get these shows after their UK premiere, here's to hoping it arrives sooner rather than later!

Posted by scott at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

Pope is discovered to be a Catholic
Family of bears accused of defecating in forested areas
Microsoft product crashes:

"There have been several postings over at Xbox-scene complaining of crashing Xbox's on new games, with default settings on single player. Crashes on Xbox Live and on startup have been reported too, and Project Gotham Racing 3 crashes before finishing the first lap. Screenshots and Video are available showing the crash."

Nice thing is, since I think they all have built-in networking, it should be possible to quickly get a patch out. Assuming it's not just a bunch of gorillas beating down their poor little systems.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (3)
Not Quite a Mermaid...

...but I'd take it:

Christmas came early last week for Irish fishermen who hauled up an unexpected present in their nets while fishing off the English coast, writes Seán Mac Connell, Agriculture Correspondent.

The Dunmore East prawn fishermen discovered that their catch included bottles of Carolans Irish Cream liqueur from the seabed.

No, I'd never heard of that brand either, but apparently it's both good and valuable. I wonder where that Irish Coffee recipie I had has got to?

Posted by scott at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)
Another Cell Phone Pix!

oandninaphone Medium Web view.jpg

O and her Aunt Nina.

Posted by Ellen at 06:24 AM | Comments (1)
November 22, 2005

Rendova linked up this report noting the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has passed the half-way point on its journey to Mars. Everything seems to be running smoothly, and the craft is on-time for a March arrival. Assuming a successful arrival, the probe will apparently return more data "than all other previous explorations combined", whatever that means. :)

Posted by scott at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)
... and Statistics

Welcome to politics as usual, where the partisans see their side as true and the other as evil, while the rest of us need a program guide just to keep the players straight:

Probably the most important reason to be skeptical about the Democrats' [Small Business Index] is what it does not measure. The cost/scope of regulation and tax rates have been proven in studies from around the world to be the two most important predictors of entrepreneurial activity. While the Democrats' SBI does include cost of regulations as one of their seventeen variables, they do not include a single measure related to taxes or tax rates.

My side pulls the same stuff, I know. Like I said before, the only real difference between your side and mine is the color of their tie tacks. If you don't believe it you're just not paying attention.

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Missed it by that Much

BBCnews is reporting the hapless Hayabusa probe has suffered another failure:

The Japanese space agency said the Hayabusa probe had got to within 17m (56ft) of the asteroid before contact was temporarily lost.

The agency said it hoped to make a second attempt to land the craft.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Posted by scott at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)
He's Now an Ex-Pooch

World's ugliest dog dead at 14. He never looked real happy, but I guess he did end up spending his end years with a loving family. Here's to hoping the next turn of the wheel puts him in a less challenging body!

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
Bad Santa

Yup, as owner of an example of said item, I definitely agree this is a very nice list of very bad gifts to give a 2 year old. Olivia would probably disagree, especially about the hammer.

Posted by scott at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)
Robin Hood to the Rescue

New Scientist's weekly patent round up is lead by an innovative way to clear mines:

[Ratheon] has developed a shell containing hundreds of steel "arrows" – 155 millimetres long and 15 mm in diameter – that can trigger landmines with a single shot.

Each rod has a flared rear end, like the feathers of an arrow, and hundreds can be packed into a single cylindrical shell. This shell can be lobbed into a mined area and just before impact a charge behind the arrows will fire them downwards. The metal flights will keep the arrows on a straight course so that they pepper the area at high velocity and at regular spaces.

I wouldn't want to be standing under it when it went off, but if it gets rid of mines without adding explosives I'm all for it!

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
November 21, 2005
Numbers Dancing Around

I only wish they didn't put up the A+ graphic. Raised my hopes. I did, at least, pass the dratted thing, but only after much scribbling and scratching. Remember folks, numbers in my head don't work the way they do in yours.

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 7/10 correct!
Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Via Drumwaster, who didn't miss a single one. Bah.

Posted by scott at 03:35 PM | Comments (3)
Bank Shot

Slashdot linked up news that soon you'll be able to watch Tivo'd programs on an iPod and/or a PSP:

TiVo Inc., trying to expand its reach beyond the living room, plans to give subscribers a way to transfer recorded TV shows to Apple's video iPod and Sony's PlayStation Portable.

The pioneering digital video recording company, based in Alviso, plans to announce today that it is working on a service upgrade that will automatically transfer shows from a TiVo recorder to a computer, which then can send those shows to a video iPod or PlayStation Portable.

Sounds a little fiddly to me, but most of the early adopters of these gadgets probably like to tinker with them, if only a little. Hey, a Tivo only costs $50 right now; what are you waiting for?

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)
Doll Woman

Fetish readers may have already heard of Cathie Jung, but I hadn't:

Of course, Ethel Granger and Cathie Jung are among the best known corset wearers of contemporary corset history. Both ladies appear in the Guinness Book of World Records. You can find Cathie on the website of Guinness Books of World Records under Human Body/Smallest waist on a living person. The entries state Ethel's corseted waist of 13 inch (33 cm) and Cathie's 15 inch (38 cm) but in a way, Cathie has beaten Ethel...

Includes a brief but fascinating FAQ on just how to get a waist down to this size. The things people do to themselves, I tell ya.

Via Reflections in D Minor.

Posted by scott at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)
We're from the Government and We're here to Help

By making sure you know the correct way to address a letter to Santa. And God, too.

I bet return postage is a real b*tch on those letters.

Posted by scott at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
Market Match

Fark linked up this brief article detailing the lengths to which companies are reaching to get and keep employees in the New Orleans area. From on-site dorms with computers and internet access from a local shipyard to $6,000 "stay a year" bonuses from an area Burger King, companies are doing whatever they can to attract and keep a high-quality work force in a very challenging area.

And you know what? As long as the word gets out (and it will), this will work with amazing speed and effectiveness. Expensive? Yes, that's what happens when hurricanes rip through things. But it will work, and far more efficiently than any federal program ever could. Believe it.

Now if we can just make sure the tax dollars we are spending don't go to waste...

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)
Mirror Mirror

Problem: Your 14th century ancestors located your village literally in the shadow of a mountain to avoid marauding raiders, which no longer exist, leaving you stuck in a town with no sunlight during the winter.

Solution: Mirrors:

... 30 heliostats, essentially rotating mirrors, mounted on a hillside to grab sunshine off reflectors from the neighbouring village of Kramsach.

Bartenbach Lichtlabor GmbH, the Austrian company behind the idea, has already used mirrors for lighting projects around the world - sunshine into European basements and railroad stations or nighttime illumination of a mosque in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

They're not going to light up the whole town, that would take too many mirrors. Instead their plan is to create "sunspots", front-yard-sized areas of sunlight that will get moved from place to place during the season.

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

Pat gets a no-prize that rattles alarmingly for bringing us perhaps the very first "faith versus reason" controversy in our country's history:

In the early hours of Nov. 18, 1755, the most destructive earthquake ever recorded in the eastern United States struck at Cape Ann, about 30 miles north of Boston. "It continued near four minutes," wrote John Adams, then a recent Harvard graduate staying at his family home in Braintree, Mass. "The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us."
The weeks after Nov. 18 saw an outpouring of sermons preached and articles published on the subject of the quake's divine origin. One strain of faith-based explanation, however, stands apart from the rest, not only for its popularity but also for its downright strangeness. According to a prominent Boston minister, the Rev. Thomas Prince of South Church, and his adherents, one novel practice in particular, together with its originator, was to blame for provoking this act of divine wrath; no, not that unlucky Boston distiller, but the lightning rod and its famous inventor, Benjamin Franklin.

Of course, unlike earlier ages, people did not run around willy-nilly tearing lightning rods from rooftops, mainly because they worked. History has shown time and again that in America people may wail and rend their shirts over one damned fool idea after another, but when it comes down to it what we really care about is what works, and we're not afraid to back-track and change course if it turns out what once worked has stopped, or never worked at all.

I sometimes wonder how many billions of lives would've been saved over the past two centuries if the rest of the world acted this way.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
November 19, 2005
Old Sound

Slashdot linked up news that a museum in California has made 5000 cylinder recordings available for downloading. The collection contains recordings from the 1890s to the 1920s, all restored using state-of-the-art equipment. Music history buffs, enjoy!

Posted by scott at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
Best Quote Evar

""I am all for people keeping mobile but not at the expense of driving like some septuagenarian Ralph Schumacher." -- Councillor Richard Fulford-Brown, Fylde Borough, UK, on the growing numbers of senior citizens who are using their electric scooters to mow down pedestrians at the beach resort area.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
November 18, 2005
Disco Dork?

Dance like nobody's watching. Except I think people were watching. Meh, who cares. Boogie!

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)
It's not the Show that's Dumb...

... it's the contestants:

According to London’s Evening Standard, the British TV network Channel 4 is launching a new reality TV show that claims to be the biggest hoax in TV history. The show, called Space Cadets, aims to fool 9 contestants into believing they have been blasted into space. According to the report, the series has been under wraps since its inception 18-months ago.

Well, I guess if they paid me enough I'd probably pretend to believe anything. I'm actually a little afraid to find out just how many of these bubble-heads never noticed the lack of gravity...

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
Toys in the Attic

Sometimes you find old clothes in the attic; sometimes you find old letters. But sometimes, well, sometimes you find a little bit more:

With each step up the ladder he took, Evansville resident Steve Mohns became more perplexed by the mysterious picnic basket sitting in his attic.
As he prodded and tugged at the basket, the handle fell off.

"I need the big flashlight," he said to Jessica, expecting to find old bottles or cans inside.

Instead, what he found left him trembling.

"When I pulled the basket out of its resting spot is when I saw the jaw and the foot," he said. "I thought, 'OK, I'm not sure what this is … that's when I decided I better get it out.' "

It would be all I could do to keep Ellen from re-stringing the thing and hanging it over the TV.

Posted by scott at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)
A Beer, for the Rest of Us

Not content with just adding caffeine to beer, the boys over at ThinkGeek had to take it just that one more step:

Why? Because our in staff beer chemists took the finest India Pale Ale (brewed with the choicest hops from Belgium farms), carefully added 220 milligrams of caffeine per sixteen ounce bottle, and, through a patent pending process known as 'Glow Stuff Insertion', they then inserted glow stuff. The result is a stimulating depressant which looks like runoff from Three Mile Island but tastes just like beer with caffeine and glow stuff in it!

Yeah, well, I get in enough trouble spilling the regular stuff on the floor. Gonna hafta pass. I wonder if it makes your pee glow in the dark?

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
Radio Quake

New Scientist is carrying this article detailing new developments in earthquake prediction. Scientists have started observing ultra-low-frequency radio emissions coming from earthquake-prone regions just prior to large (greater than magnitude 5.5) earthquakes. It's hoped a technique can be created with this data that will finally allow reliable predictions of these disastrous events.

Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)
Zubble Zubble Toil and Trouble

Slashdot linked up this Popular Science article detailing a simple concept that turned out to be damned difficult to execute: colored bubbles. Better still, the solution could end up revolutionizing whole industries that revolve around paint, dye, or color in general.

Science and free markets. Ain't they grand?

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM | Comments (1)
November 17, 2005
Gotta Get Me Some of This

Most guys would consider nose sprays grody. Most guys would be wrong:

A new nasal spray aphrodisiac for women that works in minutes may soon hit the market, according to a Local 6 News report.

Doctors said women who used the drug PT-141 in test studies felt a tingling or throbbing followed by a strong desire to have sex immediately after spraying their noses.

Yeah, I know, reeks (as it were) of hoax. But hey, I can dream, can't I?

Posted by scott at 07:44 PM | Comments (2)
Well Ain't that a Kick in the Teeth

This long pause in posting brought to you by: a cut fiber-optic connection between here and Philly.

The more you complicate the plumbing...

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)
And so do I

An oldie but a goodie: God Hates Shrimp. I love the church sign!

Posted by scott at 09:45 AM | Comments (2)
Ancient War, Ancient Crime

The Washington Post today carried this article detailing the discovery of an intreuging archeological find:

Whoever they were, the invaders made short work of the enormous palace in the Mayan lowlands, ignoring half-built ramparts to corral nearly three dozen members of the royal household, systematically murder them with spears and axes, then dismember the corpses and dump the pieces into a ceremonial cistern.

Then the killers left, never to return, according to new research being reported today. Cancuen, a thriving trade hub at the headwaters of the Rio Pasion, was reclaimed by the jungle. The ritual massacre of its leaders around A.D. 800 is perhaps a key puzzle piece in the decline and ultimate collapse of Mayan civilization in what is now Central America.

A nice look at just how much information you can get digging through trash and looking at bones.

Posted by scott at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)
November 16, 2005

Azrael is at it again, this time detailing just how utterly f-d up Japan can really be:

Probably the most popular act in Japan right now is a guy who calls himself "Razor Ramon Hard Gay"...he wears studded black leather, and goes around saying stuff like "Hard Gay Power! Fooooooo!" and dry humping as many random people and objects as he possibly can. And no, I'm not making this up.
Anyway, Hard Gay is loved by many in Japan, adults and children alike. ....Wait, what? Kids? Yessiree Bob, kids follow the Hard Gay phenomenon as well. Although my kids haven't been prone to anything other that a few random "Fooooooo!"'s here and there, some of my friends who work in elementary schools tell me that it is not at all uncommon to see a little kid run down the hallway screaming "Foooooooo!", or to catch a little boy or girl dry humping the ever-loving bejeezus out of something.

It's called culture shock for a reason.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)
The More You Know...

There's not a guy over 14 in the audience who doesn't wish he'd read this sooner:

It’s very common fact these days that many guys acquire a certain amount of pornography when they are single. Whether it might be a couple of issues of Playboy, or DVD volumes 1 through 267 of the No Man's Land series, the single male pornography symbiosis works in perfect harmony until a woman enters the picture. This is indeed a very scary time for the male of the species. Hopefully, this article will offer a little insight on this chaotic period in the dating cycle.
Another tragic situation can occur when the woman circumvents the rules of society and finds the precious stash too early by snooping, or what women call an "accident" while "cleaning your room/computer/hunting lodge." This woman may be uncultured, or she just may be the psychotic type discussed later. Either way it’s a warning to you when your lady doesn't respect the sanctity of a man and his porn. The best way to avoid either kind of tragedy is to have the porn conversation before going nuts and throwing out your stash or before the lady feels comfortable enough to go through your stuff...

Article is completely safe-for-work, although it might not be so safe once your girl sees it.

Hmm? Me? You must think that the "Scott Sleeps Here" sign on the couch is just for decoration.

Posted by scott at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)
Insert "Stacy's Mom" Reference Here

Today's "grown woman diddling a teenage boy" story is brought to you by Gainesville GA:

A 37-year-old woman was charged with child molestation after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy whom she married last week.

The woman also is allegedly pregnant with the boy's child, though paternity hasn't yet been determined, his grandmother and guardian told The Associated Press on Monday.

With scary-yet-disturbingly-not-ugly picture.

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)
Smells Like Bureaucratic Spirit

Reason to move to Britain #124: they have "better wind":

The UK's wind is better for generating electricity than that of its rivals, according to a government-backed study.
"We have a vast and dependable wind resource in the UK, the best in Europe." [said Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks.]

Um, yeah. Whatever helps you sleep at night, man.

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)
Well at Least that's Resolved

Strip, but don't spank:

Three dancers and two employees at a Jacksonville [Arkansas] strip club have pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, ending a case in which a patron filed a complaint after he was spanked with a big wooden paddle on his birthday.

Thing is, I'm pretty sure I know where this place is. It's right up the road from a hobby shop I've been visiting since I was 9 years old.

No, really!

Posted by scott at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)
Focus Time

New Scientist is carrying this report on the development of a digital camera that can focus pictures after you take them. Now if they could just come up with one that gets people to buy the prints you make...

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
November 15, 2005
Amazing Dance

This is just amazing to watch.

Mind you all of the dancers are deaf!

Posted by Ellen at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)
A Rare Pix

ellenandnina Medium Web view.jpg

A cell phone pix of me and my sister from this weekend.

Posted by Ellen at 06:00 PM | Comments (3)
Goonie Who?

While I was a little too old for it to matter, readers slightly younger may find this "where are they now? Goonies" article interesting. Actually quite a large number of the kids went on to much bigger and better things.

Posted by scott at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)
MMm... Tasty...

Not content to rest on their "you turned what into a soda flavor?" laurels, the folks at Jones Soda Co. are at it again:

For beverage connoisseurs tired of turkey-and-gravy or green-beans-and-casserole flavoured sodas, there's a new choice being offered this year by speciality U.S. soda maker Jones Soda Co.: salmon.

It's even orange! How can you resist?

Posted by scott at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

Like I've always said, people turn to a life of crime because they're too stupid to do anything else:

Authorities on Monday said they have shut down a ring responsible for up to 10 percent of all counterfeit money in Arizona.
Authorities wouldn't disclose exactly how the investigation began.

However, investigators did say an Avondale couple arrested in the scheme tripped up when they sent a printer, which was jammed with counterfeit bills, out for repair.

Actually, I'm not completely surprised by this. I regularly get calls from staffers asking me to fix their computers so they'll play music CDs. I once had a staffer tell me off and hang up on me because I wouldn't help her install the "elf bowling" program her friend had sent her. It really is quite amazing.

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM | Comments (2)
Ancient Beer Bash

The Washington Post today carried this article summarizing the discovery of an ancient, and really weird, party held in what is now Peru:

About 1,000 years ago, an ancient tribe abandoned a settlement atop a mountain in what is now southern Peru, ceremonially destroying the outpost that may have been one of the continent's earliest diplomatic posts.
The outpost wasn't destroyed in battle, Moseley said, noting that a battle would have caused more damage to structures. What the researchers found was buildings with roofs that had been burned and ceramic vessels used at feasts that had been ritually smashed _ ending at the brewery which was destroyed last.

Smashing up a brewery... say it ain't so!

Posted by scott at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)
Rover Review

Aviation Week's latest issue carried this in-depth look at the ongoing Mars rover missions as its cover story. A little dry in places, yes, but if you're a serious space geek it'll be the only place you'll find all the savory little details about what makes projects like this really tick. A far better article (IMO) than you'd get from Newsweek or Time.

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)
November 14, 2005
What will They Think of Next?

I do so love this country:

The company that sped up pulls of draft beer at sports stadiums around the country with its Turbo Tap nozzle is bringing the technology to rec rooms across America.

Laminar Technologies LLC has outfitted six sports arenas including U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago and some 30 Chicago bars, receiving fawning media coverage. Time magazine lists the gadget as one of the coolest inventions of 2005 in an issue that hits newsstands Monday.

I'd be next in line, except Ellen seems to be under the impression that refridgerators should be used to store food and not giant kegs of beer. People and their priorities, I tell ya...

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)

Let's just say I'm glad they don't have an NFL lineup yet. It's all I can do to keep Ron from painting Olivia silver-and-blue every Sunday:

Mascotopia® products are a great way for parents, grandparents, siblings and friends to share their love for their favorite school or team with the young children in their lives. The simple concept behind our products, coupled with outstanding quality and eye-catching designs, make early learning easy and fun!

While the various websites that brought me to this one made a lot of huffy elitist "oh-my-god-what-will-the-plebes-think-of-next" noises, I can tell you this sort of thing has been around a very long time indeed. There's a picture out there somewhere of me, during a Christmas when I was not much bigger than Olivia is now, wearing (if you could call it that) a nearly full-sized Razorback football helmet. I turned out just fine.

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

The long-suffering Japanese space probe Hayabusa has suffered another setback:

A small hopping robot meant to explore the asteroid Itokawa was lost in space after being released from Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft on Saturday. But mission officials say the main probe will still try to land and collect samples of the space rock at least once before beginning its return flight to Earth in December 2005.

Aviation Week's current issue has more shots of them completely missing the asteroid with a test target last week. If you were only reading mainstream accounts of this thing, you'd probably be surprised by all this, but AvWeek has been chronicling one failure after another ever since it launched. It really is almost a miracle the probe is functioning at all.

Which is not to slight this very real acheivement. Launching space probes is hard, donchaknow!

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The People's Republic of California is at it again, this time proposing to build a highway tunnel through an earthquake zone:

Traffic is so bad along the eastern rim of Los Angeles' suburban ring that regional planners are considering the once unthinkable an 11-mile tunnel through a mountain range in earthquake country.

Considering the absolutely staggering number of special interests this would involve and the utterly glacial speed of California courts, I'm thinking this one is definitely DOA.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
A "Giant" Discovery

Pat gets a no-prize dented by a sling bullet for bringing us news of a discovery of literally Biblical proportions:

Archaeologists digging at the purported biblical home of Goliath have unearthed a shard of pottery bearing an inscription of the Philistine's name, a find they claimed lends historical credence to the Bible's tale of David's battle with the giant.

While not definitive proof that the pottery actually belonged to the legendary giant, it does prove that the name was in use at the time.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
A Gun, for the Rest of Us

I mean, what's not to love:

Hence, the SP9004 now in true operating form, optimized over the past several years. Pure oxygen and propane fueled, laser sighted, bolt action, electrically controlled....This is one awesome piece of launching ordinance! It shoots spuds quite fast and is VERY cool looking.

Yes, spuds. This, friends, is no ordinary cannon, but a super-powered potato cannon. If that doesn't make your toes tingle, you're just not paying attention.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
November 13, 2005
At The Watering Hole

Posted by Ellen at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)
Nap Attack At Grammas


O taking a snooze with Arbor.

Posted by Ellen at 05:28 PM | Comments (3)
November 12, 2005
Fishing Trip

There's trolling, and then there's trolling:

Assistant State's Attorney Melanie Cradle was curious to see how the city's Computer Crimes Unit tracked down sexual predators. But the demonstration that unfolded before her Sept. 13 exceeded expectations.

When an undercover detective logged into an Internet chat room posing as a 14-year-old girl, he immediately received an e-mail from a Trumbull man with criminal intentions, police spokesman Officer Vaughan Dumas said.

I only wish as part of the procedure they strung these guys up by their ankles and used them as props to take pictures of all the cops who caught him.

Well, yes, actually, I do have a daughter. Why do you ask?

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)

While not exactly a kit car, this Camaro "recreation" should raise some eyebrows:

The reincarnation of a muscle-car era team that specialized in making high-performance Chevrolets has brought the reincarnation of the Camaro itself. This time, they're making their own Camaros from scratch with bodies designed with the help of a 22-year-old California car artist.

The look of the new Baldwin-Motion 540 Camaro SuperCoupe calls to mind the the 1969 Camaro, but this is a bigger, broader two-seat monster. The SuperCoupe is powered by a 700-horsepower V-8 engine.

Just think Nina, it's a car you can get in an accident with really fast!

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
November 11, 2005
In NY!

We are in NY for the weekend visiting family and my sick grandfather. Site may be updated slowly this weekend!

Posted by Ellen at 09:17 PM | Comments (1)
November 10, 2005
Funky Dance

How you dance when you have no bones.

Posted by Ellen at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)
Yo Yo Yo

Joshua gets a no-prize, aiight? For bringing us yet another GW rap.


Posted by scott at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

This pause in posting brought to you by...

A failing hard drive on the host server.

Your regular circus will resume momentarily...

Posted by scott at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)
November 09, 2005
Paging Bruce Willis, White Courtesy Phone Please

New Scientist linked up this article which describes a novel method of pulling Earth-collision asteroids off course. If we can detect them early enough, parking a comparatively heavy sattelite next to it will do the trick:

For a 200-metre-wide asteroid, the spacecraft would need to weigh about 20 tonnes and lurk 50 metres from its target for about a year to change its velocity enough to knock it off course.

Of course, 20 tons of spacecraft is a pretty heavy load to loft that far, but given enough time and motivation it's really just a matter of money and engineering.

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)
The Wall

Well, I'm surprised it's taken this long for someone to chronicle bathroom writings on a website. I especially liked "Jesus Saves / But Moses Invests".

Note: extremely off-color language, but no pictures of any sort.

Posted by scott at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)
The Sound of One Boot Kicking?

Pat gets her second no-prize of the day for bringing us quite good news indeed:

All eight members up for re-election to the Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy.

One of the big reasons for the rise in power of the Christian right was their discovery that a) who's on the school board matters and b) turnout is so low in their election, a few hundred people who unite can elect anyone they want. Hence, all over America we ended up with school boards dominated by (usually well-intentioned) fundamentalists who really didn't represent the beliefs or wishes of their communities. And, notwithstanding the wailing and twirling of the occasional moonbat, that's the way it's stayed for at least the past fifteen years.

Until now.

Really, the system is actually working. People who cared ended up on the school board and, to be honest, probably did a fair job of running the place. It was only when their politics got in the way of their common sense that they ran afoul of, well, everyone else, and were shown the door.

This is not the first time I've seen this happen, and it won't be the last. Want to make sure your schools are run the way you want them to be? Get involved, figure out when the next school board election is, and vote.

It's that simple.

Posted by scott at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)
Great Ape

Fark linked up this summary of new discoveries regarding Gigantopithecus blackii, a now-extinct ape thought to have been as much as 10 feet tall at the shoulder. Recent research into the admittedly meagre remains have shown they didn't die out until about 100,000 years ago, well into the time humans had settled in their home range of south Asia.

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)
Buh-Bye! Seeya!

Slashdot linked up news that the ESA probe Venus Express successfully launched yesterday. It's being billed as mostly an upgraded version of the Mars Express probe, which, considering the success of that spacecraft, is probably a very good thing.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
~ Now I Know My Aleph-Beth-Gimel's ~

Pat gets a no-prize that sings a little song for bringing us this NYTimes article detailing the discovery of the earliest Hebrew "abecedary", a listing of the alphabet in its traditional order. Dating to the 10th century BC, it shows a system that is still transitioning from Phoenician but is still recognizably Hebrew. While I'm not well-versed enough in linguistics to tell if the quote "All successive alphabets in the ancient world, including the Greek one, derive from this ancestor at Tel Zayit" is hyberbole or truth, this inscription would definitely be near the base of all western alphabets, if not actually at it.

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)
November 08, 2005
Must... Keep Joshua... Away...

Otherwise Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Living Dead, Part 3 may end up playing a movie night. Couldn't be any worse than Zardoz.

Could it?

Posted by scott at 03:20 PM | Comments (1)
Brain Drain?

While this Joel Kotin piece is interesting for its core thesis, France's rigid economic system sustains privilege and inspires resentment, thereby creating the conditions that caused rampant rioting, there are actually a lot of other good points in the article:

Since the '70s, America has created 57 million new jobs, compared with just four million in Europe (with most of those jobs in government).
Luckily, better-educated young Frenchmen and other Continental Europeans can opt out of the system by emigrating to more open economies in Ireland, the U.K. and, particularly, the U.S. This is clearly true in technological fields, where Europe's best brains leave in droves. Some 400,000 European Union science graduates currently reside in the U.S. Barely one in seven, according to a recent poll, intends to return.
The Big Apple offers a lesson for France. An analysis of recent census numbers indicates that immigrants to New York are the biggest contributors to the net growth of educated young people in the city....

Keep all this in mind next time you worry about outsourcing, immigration, or how wonderful the US would be if we'd only just wise up and start imitating Europe's "enlightened" policies.

Posted by scott at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)
Yet Another Place I Won't be Allowed to Visit

First Hooters, now Hustlers?

Porn peddler Larry Flynt is most famous for his XXX Hustler magazine. Now he wants to open a restaurant chain with the same name. Company officials have targeted Memphis, and say Beale Street would be ideal.

"We want to give them a new version of Hooters," says Flynt. "A lot less hooter and a little more beef," he adds.

Now I'm all for chicks and burgers, but if handled poorly this has the potential to be the most unappetising restaraunt ever opened.

As it were...

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)
Sound Blaster

Making the rounds: it would appear the pirates in the recently reported cruise ship attack may have been driven away by a "sonic weapon":

The Seabourn Spirit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, installed as a part of its defense systems, said Bruce Good, a spokesman for Miami-based Seabourn Cruise Line. The Spirit was about 100 miles off Somalia when pirates fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns as they tried to get onboard.

The subsidiary of Carnival Corp. was investigating whether the weapon was successful in warding off the pirates, he said. The ship's captain also changed its course, shifted into high speed and headed out into the open sea to elude the pirates, who were in two small boats, he said. He had no further details.

Maybe I'll get one for my bike. That'll get their attention!

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
Birdie Birdie in the Sky

Sometimes it's enough to make you believe in a higher being:

Former Department of Conservation (DOC) officer Geordie Murman – now a professional fisherman – was eating his dinner when the opportunity of a lifetime dropped in his lap.

A small seabird thought to be extinct – a New Zealand storm petrel (Oceanites maorianus) – flew inside his boat anchored off Little Barrier Island on Friday night.

Coincidence? Oh who knows. Well, ok, I know, and so do you.

That's what faith is all about. :)

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
Is There Anything You Can't Buy on E-Bay?

Ron gets a no-prize with strings attached for bringing us news of a rather unique auction:

For sale: house in Denver, Colorado, $600,000, complete with bride.

Jewelry manufacturer Deborah Hale, the house's owner, announced on a Web site that she is putting her home up for sale on the eBay online auction site with the twist that she comes with it.

I wonder how much a house full of incontinent cats would bring?

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM | Comments (2)
November 07, 2005
For the Trekkie With Nothing

We now have well, everything. I can personally think of better things on which to spend my own $2500 (hint: rhymes with "ice sickle"), but if someone out there actually picks one of these packages up I will be duly impressed if I ever visit your house.

Just, you know, keep the ears off while I'm there. Olivia might want a pair.

Posted by scott at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

This one should make MMORPG (Everquest, etc.) players and/or students of WWII smile, while others will probably scratch their heads a bit: if WWII was an MMORPG:

*Roosevelt has left the game.*
Hitler[AoE]: wtf?
Eisenhower: sh1t now we need some1 to join
*tru_m4n has joined the game.*
tru_m4n: hi all
T0J0: hey
Stalin: sup
Churchill: hi
tru_m4n: OMG OMG OMG i got all his stuff!
tru_m4n: NUKES! HOLY **** I GOT NUKES

Yeah, it's been around awhile, but I still get a grin every time.

Via Siflay.

Posted by scott at 02:29 PM | Comments (2)
Bosnian Darwin Award

File this one under well, duh:

A hand grenade being used instead of a ball in a game of catch exploded early on Saturday killing three youths in this Bosnian town, police and news agencies said.

Two youths aged 19 and 20, one of them from neighboring Croatia, were killed instantly while a 20-year-old woman died on her way to hospital, police said. Her sister was slightly injured but two other youths suffered serious injuries.

I bet that shape puts a mean spin on it.

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)
Ya Gotta Learn Somehow

While this report about "a cartoon that encourages young people to become suicide bombers" is weird enough, to me stranger still is ITN's unwillingness to name MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, by name:

The cartoon was put on the internet by an Israeli-linked media research centre who claim it was broadcast on Iran's IRIB TV channel last week.

Fortunately I already knew exactly who they were talking about, so it was a simple matter to find the original story. That's when things got really weird.

Posted by scott at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
~ Lies Lies Lies, Yeah! ~

Definitely not filing it under "good news". More like, isn't it your job to find out he's lying before you publish his stories?

For more than a year, former Marine Staff Sgt. Jimmy Massey has been telling anybody who will listen about the atrocities that he and other Marines committed in Iraq.

In scores of newspaper, magazine and broadcast stories, at a Canadian immigration hearing and in numerous speeches across the country, Massey has told how he and other Marines recklessly, sometimes intentionally, killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians.
News organizations worldwide published or broadcast Massey's claims without any corroboration and in most cases without investigation. Outside of the Marines, almost no one has seriously questioned whether Massey, a 12-year veteran who was honorably discharged, was telling the truth.

He wasn't.

I don't expect it to make a bit of difference to the people already convinced our troops sell children and eat pets, but it's nice to have a little ammunition when rational people are confronted with such lunacy.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
Old Tile

The Washington Post this morning carried this article detailing a new archeological discovery inside an Israeli prison. Thought to be one of the oldest places of Christian worship (it was too early to be called a church) yet found, the 3rd century site includes a spectacular floor mosaic made up of early-Christian imagery.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
November 06, 2005
Kitty Comforts


Some of my boarding cats love the laundry basket!

Posted by Ellen at 04:27 PM | Comments (1)
In A Ball

Posted by Ellen at 04:25 PM | Comments (2)
Gucci Gucci Fendi Fendi


Only Ron and Amber will get the title! Thanks for the china girl outfit from NYC!

Posted by Ellen at 04:21 PM | Comments (4)
November 05, 2005
Red Flag Find

Aviation Week's latest cover story goes into great detail about the latest innovations at "Red Flag", the Air Force's massive war game held at the Nellis Training Range in Nevada. When they say "train like you fight", they're not kidding!

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Ooh... Ahh... Pretty... II

J. Hansen gets a most honorable no-prize for reminding me of new developments concerning my other obsession:

The ItalDesign-styled [Alfa Romeo] Brera concept coupe that was shown at Geneva in 2002 was such a hit that both this new 2+2 coupe--the successor to the GTV--and the new 159 ape the styling.

Assuming Alfa ever makes it back, everyone is now saying they'll be bringing this thing with them. Unfortunately the rumored price point (around $40,000) will put it far out of my range. Still, I can dream, can't I?

Posted by scott at 01:35 PM | Comments (2)
Definitely not the Feathersword Type

Pat gets a no-prize with an eye patch for bringing us news that piracy is far from dead:

A luxury ship carrying at least 600 tourists from Europe narrowly escaped seizure by gunmen off the pirate-infested Somali coast when it sped off to the high seas amid a trail of gunfire.

The vessel was destined to the Kenyan Indian Ocean city of Mombasa, where it was expected to arrive Monday, Andrew Mwangura of the Kenyan chapter of the Seafarers' Assistance Programme (SAP) told AFP.

I've been reading about piracy in this area and the area around the South China Sea for years now. As long as they stuck to tramp freighters and the occasional hapless sports tourist, I suppose they were just ignored. Now that they're starting to take on bigger fish, maybe someone will finally take care of them.

Doesn't have to be us. China and India both have navies more than capable of squashing thugs in speedboats. If the pirates make commerce expensive enough, I'm sure those navies will.

Posted by scott at 01:28 PM | Comments (3)
November 04, 2005
Yet More Positive News?

Also today the Washington Post ran this cautiously optimistic report on Iraq:

Salman, a 42-year-old merchant, said his children begged him to leave the house in the New Baghdad district. "I want them to feel happy," Salman said. "We think the future will be brighter. These are the first steps of stability. We should live normally despite all the difficulties."
Adil Faisal, 30, a resident of the Kadhimiya neighborhood, strolled the sidewalk with his two wives and his daughters. "We feel the situation is improving and calm these days," Faisal said. "The security forces are doing their best to provide security for the people."
Muhammed Ibrahim, 22, a college student, said the recent constitutional referendum buoyed residents and made them feel safer about going outside during Eid. "Nothing happened so far. We hope this will last and they don't interrupt our happiness," he said.

Saie Mousa, 40, who owns a small grocery, said he was hopeful about the future: "We cannot deny we are happy because we are in Eid, but the bigger happiness is because of these quiet days of security."

In spite of the quotes, the piece is anything but upbeat. Still, if an MSM scion like the Post is starting to report good news, that's progress all by itself.

Posted by scott at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)
With Kids Like This...

Who needs serial killers?

A Japanese high school girl has been arrested for gradually poisoning her mother to the brink of death and keeping a blog of her progress - all done as a grim homage to a serial killer she idolised.

The 16-year-old student is alleged to have laced her mother's food with increasing doses of thallium, a potent rat poison. Her mother is now in a coma and critically ill.

The girl, who is from rural Shizuoka, in central Japan, was apparently inspired by Briton Graham Young, the notorious Teacup Poisoner of Bovingdon who, in 1962, aged 14, slowly killed his stepmother with what was thought to be the same lethal substance.

Ok, that German guy who got a volunteer to eat is still the creepiest thing I've ever heard. Still, this is definitely up there on that list.

Posted by scott at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)
When Typos Attack

Joshua gets a np-prize for bringing us evidence that copy editors are, well, important:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Quaker Maid Meats Inc. on Tuesday said it would voluntarily recall 94,400 pounds of frozen ground beef panties that may be contaminated with E. coli.

Brings a whole new meaning to "edible underwear", eh?

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)
Captain Obvious in the Media

For proof of just how out-of-touch Washington-based journalists are, one need only look at this Washington Post article, wherein (in the print edition) the Post runs an above-the-fold headline and nearly two complete pages inside to the earth-shattering discovery that poor kids are more likely to enlist in the Army than rich ones.

The mind boggles.

Posted by scott at 07:53 AM | Comments (1)
November 03, 2005
XXX Fossils

This was no one-night stand. Scientists in India say they have discovered two fossils fused together in sexual union for 65 million years.

Read entire article here.

No-Prize to my Mom for the link!

Posted by Ellen at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)
Making Himself At Home

dragon home Medium Web view.jpg

No Ron, I'm not posting the dragon poo pix!

Posted by Ellen at 09:27 PM | Comments (4)
Old Clock

BBCnews linked up this report on the discovery of an ancient Chinese observatory. Thought to be about 4100 years old, it "consists of a semicircular platform 40 metres (130 feet) in diameter, surrounded by 13 pillars which were are believed to have been used to mark the movement of the sun through the seasons."

Fans of Stonehenge should find all of this familiar. Convergence doesn't just happen in biological evolution ya know.

Posted by scott at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)
Big Toy

Why get a seat on an A380 when you can fly your own? Site seems to be bandwidth-challenged right now, so I couldn't watch the video. Pictures are darned impressive all by themselves.

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)
Insert Gilligan's Island Reference Here

Olivia would have a field day:

Hundreds of wrapped animal toys have been washed up along the Sussex coast.

The pet toys - said to include dogs, reindeer, red-legged turkeys and pink hippopotamuses - were spotted at Selsey Bay, West Wittering and Climping.

They are part of a cargo of 60,000 toys, worth £100,000, lost when a ship shed four containers in rough seas on its way to Southampton on Monday.

Hey, at least it's cute pollution!

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
Patents! Get Yer Fresh Hot Patents Here!

Slashdot linked up another round of creative patent applications. The highlight? Coffee beer. Coming to a Starbucks near you?

Posted by scott at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)
Shoulda Gone Before he Left

Ok Ellen, all those times I made fun of you for "hovering"? I take them all back:

A hardware retailer Home Depot has found itself in a sticky situation, defending a lawsuit filed by a man who claims the chain's Louisville store ignored his cries for help after he fell victim to a prank and was glued to a toilet seat.

Bob Dougherty, 57, of Nederland, said he became stuck to a bathroom toilet seat on which somebody had smeared glue on Oct. 30, 2003, and felt "tremendous panic" when he realized he was stuck.

This being America, of course there will be a lawsuit. Because we all know how utterly odorless and colorless all adhesives are.

Posted by scott at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)
November 02, 2005
And This, of Course, Would Come from Germany

Alternative title: paging Buffalo Bill, white courtesy phone please. Site is (as far as I can tell) SFW.

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM | Comments (1)
Well Hello There is carrying news that scientists still have a long way to go understanding what makes stars tick:

A star 40 times the mass of the Sun collapsed to form a neutron star instead of a black hole, researchers said today.

When a massive star burns out, its outer layers crash down on the star’s core, creating a dense ball of matter from which nothing could escape. Scientists previously thought that when a massive star died and collapsed on itself, it had no choice but to create a black hole.

Now, new data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory suggests that massive stars have a little wiggle room, and sometime produces a neutron star instead.

The thought of something 40 times as massive as our sun having "wiggle room" to do anything is a bit hard to get my head around. I'll take their word for it.

Posted by scott at 01:47 PM | Comments (0)
Of Course This Would Happen in Arkansas

Not quite "Man bites Deer", but close:

BENTONVILLE, Ark. - It looked like a crime scene, but no charges will be filed after Wayne Goldsberry killed a buck with his bare hands in his daughter's bedroom.

The engagement lasted an exhausting 40 minutes, but Goldsberry finally subdued the five-point whitetail deer that crashed through a bedroom window at his daughter's home Friday. When it was over, blood splattered the walls and the deer lay on the bedroom floor, its neck broken.

It's definitely the season for it. The number of deer carcasses on our main commute route has risen significantly, and now we're starting to see them on regular surface streets as well. It's all I can do to keep Ellen from taking pictures of them.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
Force Plot

To commemorate the release of the final Star Wars film to DVD, Slashdot linked up this academic dissection of the films in which the author makes the argument that they're really just one gigantic post-modern art flick:

The Dark Side, on the other hand, is all about conscious control, structure, order, and design. Emperor Palpatine, the embodiment of the Dark Side, taunts the despairing Luke in Return of the Jedi, "Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design," and we are led to understand in Sith that it was Palpatine himself who set the entire plot in motion by manipulating the Force toward Anakin's virgin birth. Palpatine is the emblem of the artist as clockmaker or puppet master, the omniscient manipulator of his hapless characters for the purposes of a satisfying narrative payoff. At the end of Jedi, in a scene out of Pirandello or one of Ashbery's own plays, the characters assert their autonomy and kill their author.

A little on the propeller-head side for those not steeped in Things Filmic, but definitely of interest for those of us who are.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
Sometimes They Come In Smaller Sizes

Posted by Ellen at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)
Chameleon Part Deux

Posted by Ellen at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
Legacy Laugh

Such is the legacy of the 42nd president of the United States. Oh be quiet. He is the one with a library that looks like a space ship crashed on a trailer.

Posted by scott at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)
November 01, 2005
More Positive News?

Instapundit linked up this CSM article which seems to indicate progress, at least in the short term, is being made in some of the toughest regions in Iraq:

This city just 50 miles north of Baghdad was crawling with Sunni Arab mortar teams, snipers, and bombmakers. They had made parts of the city their own, killing police when they found them and driving the rest into hiding. Their grip was so strong that only 60 percent of the region's polling places opened for Iraq's first post-Saddam election. In Buhritz, not a vote was cast; some polling sites were torched.

But today, US commanders are pointing to Baquba as a symbol of what might go right. Every polling place stayed open all day for the Oct. 15 referendum that approved Iraq's new constitution earlier this month. Violence was light, while voter turnout was high.

The longer the Vietnam war went on, the more common stories about how bad the South's armed forces were became. With Iraq, the opposite seems to be true.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (14)
Chinese Tree

BBCnews is reporting on the remarkable discovery of a unique family tree:

Research into an unusually high prevalence of a particular set of genes in China has suggested that 1.5 million Chinese men are direct descendants of Giocangga, the grandfather of the founder of the [seventeenth-century] Qing dynasty.

Giocangga's extraordinary number of descendants, concentrated mainly in north-east China and Mongolia, are thought to be a result of the many wives and concubines his offspring took.

It was as if thousands of Mormons suddenly cried out in terror...

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)
Oh, the Irony

Not quite getting hit by a bolt of lightning, but close:

A pastor was electrocuted during a baptism in Waco, Texas, after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged.

Rev Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in a small pool used for baptisms at the University Baptist Church when he was electrocuted on Sunday morning.

Actually, even I'm surprised there's that much current flowing through (what I presume to be) a standard microphone. Pow!

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
As Long as None of My Friends Gives Her One

Could this be the next "Tickle Me" toy?

his holiday season, the latest toy version of Elmo, the furry red creature based on a "Sesame Street" character, will do much more than sing, dance or giggle when tickled.

This week, Mattel's Fisher-Price unit is undergoing a full rollout to store shelves of its "Knows Your Name Elmo," a doll that can greet a child by name when it is unwrapped this holiday season, even before being taken out of its box.

As noted in the title, I can only imagine what our friends would end up making him say. Grammas should probably also give this one a pass, since Olivia seems to have more or less graduated from Elmo. It's now Barbie who rules our house. For some reason, the dresses need to be powder blue.

Posted by scott at 11:28 AM | Comments (1)

I hope he enjoyed that taste of shoe polish:

A question posed to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan at this morning’s “gaggle” by CBS White House correspondent John Roberts has attracted quite a bit of chatter on the Internet. Of course, the topic of the day is the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, and the question from Roberts, was, “Scott, you said that – or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”

Of course, since he immediately apologized, the story will probably fade away in a day or two. Why politicians and celebrities still haven't worked this strategy out is beyond me.

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM | Comments (1)