A man crashed his car after a pet snake he had wrapped around his neck began attacking him, authorities said.
She apparently regularly takes one or the other snake out of its cage while traveling from or to dance rehearsals (they're going to be stars in an upcoming show). Says she gets the most interesting looks from drivers.
For the Star Wars fan with everything else, we have a "working" full-scale model of a landspeeder. No real details on it, other than it's asking price is not quite $14,000. With an 88 Ford Escort as innards, I think it's probably more a "landslower".
Reuters is reporting on a a Sotheby's sale which should be of interest to English majors:
complete First Folio edition of William Shakespeare's plays, in prime condition and still in its 17th century calf leather binding, is expected to fetch up to 3.5 million pounds ($6.10 million) when it goes on sale in July.
Hailed by auctioneer Sotheby's as the most important book in English literature, the First Folio is credited with saving for posterity many of the bard's plays including "Macbeth," "Twelfth Night" and "Julius Caesar" which had never before been printed.
I wonder if they'd take a check?
Fark linked up this editorial on the state of the role-playing game industry. The news isn't very good, but does have a kind of silver lining.
Baron Dave Romm (no, really!) gets a makeup-challenged no-prize for bringing us even more pictures of... "Klingons"?
I'd like to think I wasn't that nerdy "back in the day". Then again, I also like to think I could hang with Lance Armstrong with just a few extra miles worth of training. Prevarication in these cases is always a positive.
Two words: Klingon Elvis. Site is SFW but NSFE (eyes).
Space.com is carrying this article detailing new discoveries relating to Saturn's rings. By using data from the Cassini space probe, scientists have discovered evidence that suggests the rings were created as the result of the breakup of a large icy moon about 100 million years ago.
Not addressed in the article is whether or not the rings might ever disappear one day. Considering, if the theory is correct anyway, they've been around so long already, it probably won't be any time soon.
In 2004 scientists created mice that transformed unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids into beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. They did this by transplanting a gene from the roundworm C. elegans into mice, thus raising the possibility of genetically engineering livestock with higher levels of the good fat. Now a team of researchers has realized that vision, creating several healthy pigs with meat rich in omega-3s.
The ultimate goal appears to be creating people who have more healthy fat in them than the current "stock" variety. Pass the pork chop!
Women with boob jobs may be banned from Virgin's space flights.
Bosses fear the implants may expand and burst due to cabin pressure, according to The Sun.
Probably for the best anyway. I hear the cabin's going to be pretty tight on these first-gen spacecraft.
Ellen, sitting on the floor this morning while I went over the alphabet with Olivia on the couch: "Oh wow! Dokken!"
Olivia: "Ayyy! Theyah it is daddy!"
Ellen: "It's the top ten videos of [UNDER CONTENTION]!"
Olivia: "Ayy daddy, ayy ritethere!"
Me: "Yes Olivia, that's an 'A'. Good job! 1980? Dokken wasn't 1980... 1980 was more like disco."
Ellen: "Ooh! Goonies! I had this on 45!"
Olivia: "Oooh! Horsie!" *sigh* "It'sSoCute!"
Me: "The Goonies were, like, 1985 or something."
Ellen: "Oh here's one for you, Kenny Loggins Highway to the Danger Zone"
Me: "Ok, your list is all wrong. I know that was 1986. Who are these guys?"
Me: "These guys claiming this was all in 1980."
Ellen: "No you moron, it's the top ten videos of the nineteen-eighties, not 1980. Gah! What, do you think I'm stupid?!? Of course this isn't just 1980!"
Olivia: "Yeah daddy!"
It's enought to make me almost want another kid, a boy, just to even the odds. Maybe I can adopt Nina's boyfriend or something. He even has his own bike!
An Egyptian girl who survived an operation to remove a second head has died from a brain infection.
I guess her sister wanted her back.
Hey my philosophy is, flaunt it if you got it!
Especially if you can dance!
Spaceflightnow is carrying this report on possible signs of life in Martian rock. By studying a meteorite which originated from Mars and was discovered in Egypt in 1911, scientists discovered tiny tunnels which are exact duplicates of those created on earth when bacteria bore through rock. However, unlike samples from terrestrial rock, scientists were not able to extract any DNA from the Martian samples. This could mean there is a way to create these tunnels that does not require a biological agent.
Then again, it very well could be another sign of life on Mars.
A device that can pick up on people's emotions is being developed to help people with autism relate to those around them. It will alert its autistic user if the person they are talking to starts showing signs of getting bored or annoyed.
Will the dating scene ever be the same?
Reason to hate cellphones, #48: calls from Satan:
Authorities moved to quash panic among mobile phone users in eastern India after a rumour that "devil calls" from certain numbers have led to death and illness.
People started turning off their handsets after a rumour swept Orissa state of phones exploding like bombs killing their owners when they answered the calls.
Then again, if I could make other cellphones explode at will...
Fans of the TV show Scrubs will probably be interested to know that Ted's band is actually real.
Personally I've found the show to be almost too silly this season. I keep watching because they still have moments of brilliance. That, and Perry's attitudes and even speech patterns are often dead ringers for Ellen's.
No, really, when cats attack:
Residents of the neighborhood of Sunset Circle say they have been terrorized by a crazy cat named Lewis.
Lewis for his part has been uniquely cited, personally issued a restraining order by the town's animal control officer.
If I thought it would keep my cats from peeing, puking, or crapping on my stuff (around here we call it "placing the insides on the outside") I'd be all over a restraining order. As it is, it'd only be a matter of time before one of them peed on it.
Kinda says it all, no?
Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston," believed Pro-Life's first monument to the 'act of giving birth,' is purportedly an idealized depiction of Britney [Spears] in delivery. Natural aspects of Spears' pregnancy, like lactiferous breasts and protruding naval, compliment a posterior view that depicts widened hips for birthing and reveals the crowning of baby Sean's head.
The monument also acknowledges the pop-diva's pin-up past by showing Spears seductively posed on all fours atop a bearskin rug with back arched, pelvis thrust upward, as she clutches the bear's ears with 'water-retentive' hands.
Fark linked this up a few days ago but I wasn't able to access the article and view the picture, without which one cannot truely appreciate the impact of this... artwork? Picture is vaguely NSFW and definitely NSFE (eyes).
Lisa gets a no-prize for reminding us just how odd odd art can be.
Pat gets a well-tread no-prize for bringing us news of efforts to preserve the Robledo Mountains fossilized track site. Containing the fossilized trackways of perhaps thousands of different paleozoic creatures, the site is only partially under the aegis of the feds, and so is vulnerable to potentially destructive development.
In many ways I think these footprint sites are more compelling than even the fossilized creatures themselves. In the latter case, all you're looking at are remains of dead things, while in the former you're looking at evidence of living things. Subtle, but important.
New Scientist is carrying this article describing new progress in the quest for a "greener" explosive. Today's explosives all use lead-based primers, which are toxic enough to cause people who regularly work around them to have measurably elevated levels of the substance in their bloodstream. By using a chemical called nitrotetrazole, scientists have created what could potentially be a non-toxic substitute which may even be safer to store than existing explosives.
While it's almost certainly not cheaper per pound, when you factor in all the hidden costs of safety and health, it'll probably end up being less expensive in the long run. See! Sometimes environmentalism and economics can co-exist!
Some chimps fling poo, others choose a more original approach:
Before cops threw the book at him, Jakub Fik threw something unusual at them -- his penis.
Fik, 33, cut off his own penis during a Northwest Side rampage Wednesday morning. When confronted by police, Fik hurled several knives and his severed organ at the officers, police said. Officers stunned him with a Taser and took him into custody.
Sounds like some sort of drug-induced mania to me, but what the hell do I know? Kudos to the officers for not shooting him where he stood.
Slashdot linked up this C|net article discussing Intel's "viiv" initiative. It appears to be a set of specs to allow your "home office" PC to become the entertainment hub of your house, effectively replacing and/or making redundant a regular PC as part of your hi-fi stack.
We've had a file server as part of our own home network for more than five years now. Since Ellen's gone digital with her photography, it's become a real convenience. It'd be neat to be able to roll more functionality into that box, but I'm not so sure about purchasing a shiny new dual-core system to get it.
I'm not sure if these pictures of transparent butterfly wings are photoshopped or not, but they sure do look neat. As Olivia would say, "ooooh... buddafly!"
Update: Nope, it's for real.
A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state.
"You know what I say to those people?" [U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin] Scalia replied, making the obscene gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian."
It's like he's channeling some of my inlaws.
Pat gets an ancient no-prize for bringing us news of another significant hominid fossil disovery in the Afar:
The hominid cranium — found in two pieces and believed to be between 500,000 and 250,000 years old — "comes from a very significant period and is very close to the appearance of the anatomically modern human," said Sileshi Semaw, director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project in Ethiopia.
Normally "cranium" implies just the dome of the skull, but the article goes on to imply they also have bits of the face as well.
BBCnews is carrying this update on the upcoming Star Wars TV series. They're supposedly planning for a 100 episode run. That should be easy if it doesn't suck, but even if it does if Lucas is bankrolling it it may not matter. I'm a little worried about the "much more dramatic and darker" comment... part of what I liked about the early films and didn't like about the later ones was the humor. It's fine to be dramatic, but to me to get a really big emotional commitment to drama, you first have to make me laugh. Lifting people up means they have farther to fall, that sort of thing.
They've got until 2008 to sort it all out, so we'll see.
Lisa gets a well-decorated no-prize that crawls around a lot for bringing us this video story about "living cockroach jewelry". No, really! Ok mom, this is one set of sparklies whose hiding place you don't want to forget.
No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Now you can look up who's dead on My Space!
Amber and I took Olivia to the petting zoo today. It was a hit.
THIS IS ME! IT'S MY PAINTING! HOW COOL IS IT WHEN SOMEONE PAINTS YOU AND YOUR SNAKE!
Kicking around some scale model forums I discovered that a new kit of the Millenium Falcon has been released. 18" long, 350 parts, yours for a cool $160 (at current exchange rates). A bit pricey, but actually quite in line with other high-detail new tech Japanese kits. I'm jonesing for one of those Polar Lights Enterprises myself, but I'll admit this looks fiddly-icious.
Joshua gets a no-prize for bringing us, well, a no prize. I wonder if that's a photoshop, or something someone actually received in the mail?
Making the rounds: the discovery of a new kind of icy asteroid may change the way we think the early Earth got its water. I still can't imagine how many comets and asteriods it must've taken to put enough water on the planet to fill the oceans. Let's just say I'm glad nobody was around back then. Probably was a pretty exciting place.
A giant aldabra tortoise thought to be around 250 years old has died in the Kolkata zoo of liver failure, Indian authorities said on Thursday.
The tortoise had been the pet of Robert Clive, the famous British military officer in colonial India around the middle of the 18th century, a local minister in West Bengal state said.
We saw a blurb on this in the Post, but it didn't have much detail. 250 years is a pretty good run!
Freak show, get yer freak show here. I'd seen a few of them before, but not all in one place. The purple polar bear was definitely a sight.
New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing a novel idea explaining the existence of continents. According to the theory, life itself created them, because photosynthetic organisms changed the way rocks weathered on the ancient Earth, allowing granite to form and then "float" to the surface, forming the continents. The idea is innovative but so far is not well-supported with evidence. Time to start chipping rocks.
Geek admin time: a serious flaw has been discovered in all versions of Sendmail, the popular open source mail server. We've got a bunch of them, and it's so much fun to upgrade them. Gah.
Why do I see my husband and Ron doing this?
A few days ago, whilst stuck for about 20 minutes in 5 mph traffic, Olivia: "Mommy?
Ellen, who was cross-stitching and not paying attention: "What?"
"I'm sorry Olivia, we're stuck in traffic. You'll just have to wait."
"Ok mommy." Then, in a gradually louder sing-song: "bored bored bored bored I'm so bored bored bored I'm very bored bored bored," repeated for about 5 minutes.
Then, after more creeping: "Mom?
"Aaag! Traffic! I'm going crrrazzzzy!!!" (flops dramatically side to side in her superchair.)
Some sort of backup on 66, I don't know, an accident or something. Complaining about traffic, not even
2 3. She's definitely a local!
BBCnews is carrying this update on the long-suffering Hayabusa space probe. After any number of glitches and failures, it's finally starting to return valuable data, and lots of it. First up, evidence that the Itokawa asteroid is probably very young, and may in fact be a "rubble pile"... less a solid body than a loose aggregation of boulders all flying in close formation. Sort of like my brother's Trans Am, but with rocks instead of bolts.
The data is expected to provide insight into just how we might want to go about stopping one of these things should it decide to do a chicken little on us.
We linked up a story two days ago about Whole Foods which mentioned that Wal Mart was getting into the organic food market. Looks like it's happening sooner than we thought:
The new Wal-Mart Supercenter going up at West Plano [Texas] Parkway and the Tollway in Plano is not like any store shoppers have seen before.
Wal-Mart did not want anyone to know what was happening inside the building until now because of competition in retail.
There is a selection of fresh sushi, and a beer and wine selection one would expect to find at a liquor store with 1,200 different varieties available. A computer can tell shoppers which of the hundreds of wines go with which foods. And there are 500 items that are either all natural or organic.
I also think it's great that the opening of a Wal Mart warranted a live feed from the local newsies. Gotta love America!
"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty." President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, says "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."
It would be a bit surreal to see a planned parenthood clinic next to, say, a casino, but stranger things have happened.
Slashdot posted these crib notes from someone who attended a convention session with Ron Moore, the creator/producer/writer of Battlestar Galactica. While good as a general overview, I was hoping for some more detail about where the series may be going next season. This season's finale tossed the series down a completely unexpected road, and I have no idea where it may be going next (which is generally a very good thing, but still...)
Fark linked up news that Hasbro has combined Star Wars themes with Transformer engineering. My nephew is a huge Transformers fan, so I'm expecting to see these at my brother's house momentarily. I never have been able to figure the damned things out. Ellen eventually has to take them away from me when we visit so I'll actually pay attention to the people around me.
One of the clinic cats. Gert is 14 years old and has motor disfunction due to her mom having panleukopenia when she was born.
It seemed like the perfect gimmick: a celebrity porn star would launch her own wine, with her alluring picture on the label.
Savanna Samson did just that, but when it received a score of 90 to 91 out of 100 by wine guru Robert Parker, the project became serious. It turns out Samson, the star of "The New Devil in Miss Jones," has produced an exceptional wine, becoming the toast of two industries: wine-making and pornography.
Definitely a step up (or three, or a hundred) from that bizzare "Welches-with-a-cork-in" stuff that Joshua occasionally threatens us with from time to time. "Coming" to a store near you!
Space.com is carrying this well-informed update on goings-on regarding the Airborne Laser project. Once thought of as an almost literal flying white elephant, the program has since passed several critical "knowledge points" and now seems safe and on-schedule for a flight test some time in 2008. The article includes a lot of nice illustrations and cut-away diagrams, for those of you not obsessive enough to have your own subscription to Aviation Week.
New York workers have discovered a trove of Cold War-era supplies within the masonry of the Brooklyn Bridge, a cache meant to aid in survival efforts in the event of nuclear attack.
City Department of Transportation employees were conducting maintenance on the structure Wednesday when they found the cache on the top floor of a three-floor space inside the bridge's base, agency spokeswoman Kay Sarlin said.
Typical of the Big Apple, the "shelter" was actually a well-ventilated storage area, not the typical sealed area you'd normally expect. Hey, woulda been expensive to do it any other way!
Also from slashdot, news of the launch of a 32 gigabyte flash drive. While currently targetted at the high-end laptop market, I can't help but think this would be a very nifty way to populate, say, a server RAID array. With six of them in RAID 5, you'd have 160 GB of what would seem to be bulletproof storage.
Slashdot is reporting people are getting MS Windows XP to successfully run on the new Mac/Intel hardware. No, I'm not sure why either, but like someone in the comments noted, options are always good.
If nothing else, you could at least play all the latest games on a really cool looking box.
Ok guys, enough with the history and stuff, time to become an architect:
A British study shows they are more likely to become doctors, lawyers or architects.
Researchers at Sussex University say many Goths – identifiable by their white faces, heavy make-up, black hair, piercings and jewellery – are just middle-class youths opting for a rebellious stint.
To which I must say, "WellDUH!!!" I have a feeling the gothfolk in the gallery will get all itchy at the quote above, so read the whole thing and then comment.
Hippies and health food nuts take note: Whole Foods may not really be all that and a bag of organic chips:
It's hard to find fault with Whole Foods, the haute-crunchy supermarket chain that has made a fortune by transforming grocery shopping into a bright and shiny, progressive experience. Indeed, the road to wild profits and cultural cachet has been surprisingly smooth for the supermarket chain. It gets mostly sympathetic coverage in the local and national media and red-carpet treatment from the communities it enters. But does Whole Foods have an Achilles' heel? And more important, does the organic movement itself, whose coattails Whole Foods has ridden to such success, have dark secrets of its own?
As with most eutopian ideas, the organic foods movement is much more about the politics of correct thinking than it is about any sort of real-world benefit.
Hundreds of well-off Japanese and other nationals are turning to China's burgeoning human organ transplant industry, paying tens of thousands of pounds for livers and kidneys, which in some cases have been harvested from executed prisoners and sold to hospitals.
In a perfect world, where people are rational and Democrats actually make sense, I have no particular problem with this. Unfortunately, since we don't live in a perfect world, I'm afraid this has to go. The potential for corruption around this in a relatively stable law-and-order place like the US is bad enough. In China? Fuggedaboutit.
I'm quite chary of believing in any completely positive report on Iraq. I've read far too many accounts of reporters seeing the debacle in Vietnam and reporting all was wine and roses for that. However, I'm likewise very suspicious of current media declarations of civil war. I've watched them get far easier things completely wrong simply to push an agenda for that. That's why I think this Belmont Club piece is of interest. What spin there is seems to be well-cited, and definitely contains more depth than most:
The principle in determining truth should be to apply the factual indicator test. A civil war is a visible event whose indicators includes the insubordination of armed units, mass refugee flows, the rise of rival governments, etc. The test is whether those events are being observed.
Instead of insurgency the talking points have changed to how Sunnis might soon become victims of an ethnically hostile Iraqi army in a Civil War. Going from a boast of conquest to a portrayal of victim is usually an indicator of something. In my view, the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency without abandoning the characterization of Iraq is an American fiasco. It was Zarqawi and his cohorts themselves who changed the terms of reference from fighting US forces to sparking a 'civil war'. With any luck, they'll lose that campaign too.
Read the whole thing before you chalk it all up to my slavish dedication to my neo-con causes.
Fark linked up this article detailing the discovery of an ancient sarcophagus with some unique decoration:
Nicosia, Cyprus - A 2,500-year-old stone coffin with well-preserved color illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said Monday.
For triangulation, 500 BC is around the time of the Persian wars, early in the "classical" period (as I understand it).
Tatterdemalian gets a no-prize that hops about and shows its bloomers for bringing us news of the latest in "creative dance" fitness trends:
That old vaudeville staple, burlesque, is fast becoming a workout of choice for women across the nation as the lost art of the striptease finds renewed popularity in clubs from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
Ok, so it's not really a hopping dance line a-la the 19th century. I just liked the image!
Two of my favorite fitness competitor are being charged with murder. I had NO clue this was going on untill I got my latest issue of Oxygen Magazine and saw it in the 'letters to the editor' section.
Get more information here.
It's SSSSSSPPPPRRRINNGGG!!! Time to lube the chain, grease the gears, slick up the cleats, and then box Ron around the ears for giggling. The long, dark storage time of the soul is coming to an end. This year Ellen has a new bike, and we have a new trailer that can be clamped to either bike any time we like. Including those of friends who make fun of us for being so slow. Word.
Now if it'll just stop snowing. Yeah, you heard me, snowing. High of 34 tomorrow. God I hate spring...
Jason posted up this authoritative counterpoint to one general's "gloom-and-doom" prognosis of what "went wrong" in Iraq:
The General, I suspect, is caught in an outmoded "cold war" way of thinking. We should not be thinking of the Army in terms of the number of divisions available, but in terms of the number of seperately deployable, self-sustaining brigades. Divisions are just too cumbersome an instrument on the modern low-to-mid-intensity battlefield. Modularity is the watchword of the day. Which is precisely the point of the current transformation underway in the Army - the most radical organizational transformation since the Abrams doctrine. I'm not sure General Easton fully grasps what's going on, because this transformation is going to turn most of our divisions from three-brigade clodhoppers to five-brigade killing machines. The number of active duty brigades - and I'm generalizing somewhat because I don't read Army Times enough - will go from roughly 30 to 50. And thanks to the new Stryker vehicles, the light units will pack a much heavier punch, while replacing some Abrams/Bradley units with Strykers will gain back some of that strategic mobility lost by converting so much of our army from light to motorized, and from air-mobile light vehicles to armored Humvees.
From someone who was there just a few years ago, no less. Read the whole thing, then come back and call me a slavish neo-con. I enjoy it!
The front right wheel of NASA's Spirit rover has stopped working – just as the approaching Martian winter means it is increasingly urgent that it gets to a northerly facing slope, to maximise the sunlight falling on its solar arrays.
I just can't get the image of a golf-cart-sized robot dragging itself across the sand grumbling in a tiny electronic voice, "more brainssss!!!" I think I've been hanging around Joshua too much.
While I'm not particularly surprised someone's come out with a calendar centered on serial killers, I wish they'd have picked a better artist. No, I can't do any better, but I know a lot of people who can.
Well, if you follow the Post or pretty much any other MSM news outlet, you now know for a fact Iraq has tipped over into complete civil war. Right? Well, maybe, but then again, maybe not.
Bah. Why listen to me? I'm just a neo-con tool, can't think for myself, makes some people cry when they disagree with me, a total lost cause. Just shake your head and pass by.
Because we all know not listening to opinions we disagree with is a Republican trait.
Slashdot linked up news from none other than Billy West that there's a new season of Futurama in the works. It's unclear (to me anyway) if it'll be broadcast or involve some sort of DVD release. Either way, it should be a lot of fun!
Billy also reveals political leanings which should warm the hearts of most peanut gallery members.
An exasperated father has discovered to his cost that cyberspace is not the ideal arena for family feuds. Two weeks ago Steve Williams became so fed up with his daughter's messy bedroom that he built a website featuring pictures of his slothful offspring's lair in an attempt to shame her into action.
But the public humiliation proved a short-lived victory. While it did spur his daughter, Claire, into tidying up her room, it also whet her appetite for revenge. With the help of her father's friends, the 20-year-old business student has now set up a rival website that displays photos of him in a variety of compromising situations.
Olivia's just getting to the point of understanding what "clean up" means. Of course, this understanding usually takes the form of her telling us what, when, and where to clean up. This is currently amusing coming from a pixie-voiced not-quite-three-year-old, but probably won't be for much longer.
Considering that Olivia has her own entry in the dictionary under "willfull", I have a feeling getting her on the "pick up after yourself" wagon will be a challenge.
Even Olivia knows how to send evil herself into the living room to destroy all stuffed animals who disobey her!
Yes! My girl has her first Minion!
It's true. Sci-Fi fans now have their own dating service.
That's right. Now every man and woman who resembles the 'comic book guy' from the Simpsons can find love.
Don't forget to check out the video of the entire accident!
ABOARD USS CAPE ST. GEORGE, At sea (NNS) -- USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) returned fire on a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, killing one and wounding five, approximately 25 nautical miles off the central eastern coast of Somalia in international waters at 5:40 a.m. local time, March 18.
What dumbasses try crap like this?
A very chicky No-Prize to my Mom for this picture!
A very clucky No-Prize to Joshua!
Ellen swears she didn't position me on purpose getting shot by the laser. Would you believe her?
Taken on the (mostly useless) Vegas monorail.
Ellen got the neat views on the way in. When I followed 8 hours later, there was nothing but black outside the window.
I always liked this version of Enterprise. By the time I got used to the TNG version, they blew it up!
Taken at the Star Trek Experience in LV. Model is about 12 feet long, but is a replica, not the actual effects model.
Inside the Ceasar Palace shops. Note the spiral escalator on the lower left.
See what happens when you don't give me a binkey fast enough? I zapped him right out of his shoes!
Well, that's what I thought when I first read about this new hybrid vehicle from a new startup company. Three wheels, looks like something out of a 60s Sci-Fi movie, who knows how much stuff it will actually hold? But if they really can sell them for less than $20,000 they may still have a chance.
One thing in their favor... it varies from state to state, but vehicles with three wheels are nearly always considered motorcycles, neatly avoiding all the complex and expensive safety and emissions regulations that govern cars. Which is both good, and, well, bad. Doesn't much matter until the first one comes out, so we'll see.
Oh please... let us go over what snakes we saw in the first 5 seconds of the preview!
Boulders blasted away from the Earth's surface after a major impact could have travelled all the way to the outer solar system, new calculations reveal. The work suggests that terrestrial microbes on the rocks could in theory have landed on Saturn's giant moon, Titan. But whether they could have survived once there remains unclear.
Now wouldn't that just be a kick in the teeth?
Toronto sex crime investigators cracked a seemingly impenetrable child pornography Internet ring, providing police around the world with ammunition to make dozens of arrests and save seven children from further abuse.
The details are definitely not for the faint of heart. All I can say is hurray for the kanuks and everyone who worked on the case! As for the rest, I'm not sure there's a deep enough hole to toss them down, but I'd sure like to try until I found one.
The government is finally getting around to unloading some of Saddam Hussein's secret documents. A look at just a few pages already leads to some blockbuster revelations.
Among the enduring myths of those who oppose the war is that Saddam, though murderous when it came to his own people, had no weapons of mass destruction and no terrorist designs outside his own country. Both claims now lie in tatters.
Of course, this changes nothing. Which never stops the other side from bringing it up.
~ The wheels on the bus go round and round ~
Ellen: "AAGG! No! Olivia, no squirting the juice box in the kitchen. Stop it! Gimme that!" *snatch*
Olivia: "No mommy! Enough! You timeout right now! Stand there!"
My comment, "she's definitely your child," was rather unappreciated by both parties.
A no-prize that'll change the way he watches TV goes to Joshua for letting us know about this "free TIVO" offer!
Raymond Martinot and his wife were the toast of the world cryonics movement. For years they were France's best preserved corpses, lying in a freezer in a chateau in the Loire valley, in the hope that modern science could one day bring them back to life.
But the French couple's journey into the future ended prematurely when, 22 years after his mother's body was put into cold storage, their son discovered the freezer unit had broken down and they had started to thaw.
When you're talking about technologies that will probably take centuries to materialize, if ever, you need to rely on mechanical systems which will last centuries, or forever. Which are expensive, where they exist at all, and usually require expensive upkeep as well. Since whole governments aren't very good at lasting more than a century or so, the whole cryonics movement would seem a sucker's bet.
Of course, Las Vegas is nothing if not a monument to the sucker's bet, and it's doing just fine. Something tells me cryonics will too.
Spaceflightnow is carrying this article and spectacular picture of "an unprecedented elongated double helix nebula near the center of our Milky Way galaxy". The part they saw was 80 light-years long, about 300 light years from the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy (which is about 25,000 light years from here). The structure strongly supports theories that postulate the existence of massive galactic magnet fields.
Me, I just think it looks amazing!
Fark linked up this pair of pictures from some sort of egg construction art project. Sort of thing. Great, now Ellen and I will have that stupid egg song in our heads for the rest of the day...
Upbeat reports from the Federal Reserve and DuPont Co. lifted stocks for a second day Wednesday, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 past 1,300 for the first time since May 2001.
The industrials, materials and transportation sectors led the market higher, allowing the S&P 500 to finally pop above 1,297, a ceiling the index has not been able to cross since November.
We were putting money back like crazy while the market was tanking in 2001-2002, so we're finally positioned to catch this next wave. Which, of course, doesn't exist. Nope, not here, pay no attention, who said reality should ever intrude on politics?
After all, it doesn't count unless the right people make it happen.
Wired is carrying this article detailing a new advance in materials science. By using the physics of ice formation, scientists have managed to duplicate super-strong natural materials such as bone and mollusc shell. It is hoped the technology can be used to create better artificial bone implants, which to-date have been too weak and brittle for many useful applications.
A nanotechnologist has created the world's smallest and most plentiful Smiley, a tiny face measuring a few billionths of a meter across that is assembled from strands of DNA.
Fifty billion Smileys, each a thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, can be made at a stroke under the technique pioneered by Paul Rothemund at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).
While seemingly trivial, the technique holds great promise for the manufacture of nano-scale computers and novel methods of drug delivery.
Military buffs (regardless of their stance on the Iraq war) should take care not to drink anything while reading this prediction of apocalypse from none other than everyone's favorite boat captain, Gary Hart, lest they risk blowing it out their nose from laughter:
Recently one of Islamic Shi'ites' most revered sites, the golden mosque at Samarra, was destroyed by sectarian enemies. By this act and the reprisals that followed, Iraq moved a substantial step closer to civil war. Though a remote, but real, possibility, an Iraqi civil war could cost the United States its army.
Yup, you heard right folks, not a squad, not a platoon, not a brigade, but the whole frigging army. Gone. Poof. No more. Cease to be. To become, as they say, an "ex-army". You know, the one with all the tanks, jets, missles, smart bombs, APCs, and machine guns? The one with command and control so sophisticated and expensive the natives think it's flat magic? Lost to a bunch of loosely controlled mobs with AK-47s and RPGs?
The comments are an even bigger scream. Does anyone on the fringe left know anything about how a modern army works? What it's vulnerable to? What its strengths are? Here's a hint: it ain't hajji popping up behind a Toyota spanging an RPG off an Abrams. It ain't a hundred of them. Or a thousand.
Personally, I'm with Jason, the guy has simply lost his mind.
BBCnews is carrying this report detailing DARPA's recent efforts at creating controllable insects for use in combat situations. The primariy stumbling block does not in fact appear to be inserting control electronics:
What adult insects want to do is basically reproduce and lay eggs. You would have to rewire the entire brain patterns.
However, tricking the insects into thinking explosives are food (and thereby causing them to swarm) seems to be more promising. Unfortunately, that too failed in the face of the same stronger imperatives to eat and, well, boink.
Hey, when your lifespan is measured in weeks, ya gotta have priorities!
Discovery Channel has launched a new service targetted at parents:
A new Discovery Channel homework Web site aims to remind parents whose math and history knowledge has gotten rusty how to help their children with the very things they have forgotten.
"Finally, you can look smart in front of your child," [Judith McHale, president and chief executive of Discovery Communications] joked.
Considering my legendary lack of mathematical skills, I'll need something like this for sure.
All of the evidence that is required to expose and destroy the counterfeit Copernican Model of a rotating and orbiting Earth--and the entire evolutionary paradigm resting upon that counterfeit--is set out in scores of links on this web page.
Those who read some or all of these links will quickly realize that this is no idle claim. Rather--as will become evident with each subject listed--there is abundant hard proof that both the Copernican Counterfeit and the Big Bang Evolutionary Paradigm that is built upon it are factless frauds from start to finish.
Sometimes I think it would be worth it to pay to send people like this into space, just to listen to the rationalizations they come back with.
Now, I'm not completely certain this isn't just an elaborate hoax a-la Landover Baptist. But there's just enough lunacy, spittle, and bad HTML formatting to make me believe he might really believe all this stuff.
New Scientist is carrying this article detailing new research in prostate cancer treatment. By using concentrated capsaicin, the compound that makes chili peppers taste "hot", scientists were able to trigger "programmed cell death" in human prostate cancer cells implanted in mice. The research provides potential pathways for developing new treatments in post-operative cancer patients to ensure cancer does not return.
Don't start rushing out to buy jalapenoes just yet though... according to the article, "A 200-pound (90-kilogram) person would have to eat about 10 fresh habañera peppers – one of the hottest chillies around – per week to consume an amount of capsaicin equivalent to the levels received by Koeffler’s mice."
When one is dancing with a tiger, one does not want to stumble:
Today, Sony officially conceded defeat to the recent flurry of rumors and speculation, with Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun reporting the machine has been pushed back until November.
There aren't many details out right now, but Sony says issues over the finalization of copy protection technology related to their Blu-ray disc drive is the cause of the delay.
True, Microsoft survives these sorts of things routinely, but they don't have to worry about competing with Microsoft.
Then again, if a poorly disguised chick-flick masquerading as a "shocking cowboy love story" can do well, I guess anything is possible:
The production is meant to be an irony-free look at life in a North Korean prison camp that could change the way the North is depicted in South Korean entertainment.
Songs in the musical include "You are just like germs" and "All I want is rice". The producers hope audiences can find beauty in the misery of life in the prison camps.
Amazing to think the cold war is still dominating this small corner of the world.
The Post tries to defend and rationalize its questionable death tolls so often it's almost painful.
A Mexican couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said yesterday.
Mr Espinosa told reporters he was glad his wife had suffered burns, while Ms Contreras said said she was only sorry she had not "hacked off his manhood" during the fight.
Damn. That's harsh!
A former TV game show host and his wife were killed Monday morning when their small plane crashed into Santa Monica Bay, authorities said. Rescue crews were searching for a third person also aboard the plane.
Read article here.
While not as famous as water to wine, this'll definitely do:
A woman thought she was in heaven when beer instead of water flowed from the taps in her apartment in west Norway.
"I turned on the tap to clean some knives and forks and beer came out," Haldis Gundersen told Reuters from her home in Kristiansund, west Norway. "We thought we were in heaven."
Where's my passport?
Letters to Santa are always cute, especially those asking for new genitalia.
Nobody brings this to movie night. Bad Friends! Bad! No biscuit!
BBCnews is carrying this article on the "IgNobel tour":
To mark National Science Week, past winners of the most infamous prize in academia are touring the country to explain, among other things, the logic of making locusts watch repeated highlights of Star Wars and how ostriches fancy humans.
Yup, you read right. Star wars watching grasshoppers. You'll be surprised at the reason.
Space.com is carrying this update on efforts to resolve the "Ararat anomaly:
Images taken by aircraft, intelligence-gathering satellites and commercial remote-sensing spacecraft are fueling an intensive study of the intriguing oddity. But whether the anomaly is some geological quirk of nature, playful shadows, a human-made structure of some sort, or simply nothing at all—that remains to be seen.
The effort to find out is being spearheaded by an associate professor in paralegal studies at the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies in Virginia, who seems, from quotes in the article at least, to be reasonably rational. Then again, questing for more than a decade to figure out if a somewhat distinctive collection of rocks is something else tends to make me wonder.
Maybe that's where the aliens are hiding?
A man has been showing off his gigantic rabbit named Herman.
The mighty bunny weighs a massive 7.7kg, and his ears are a lengthy 21cm - almost as long as most pet rabbits are tall. And he is almost 1m tall.
Damned near as tall as Olivia, albeit not as heavy. Just in time for Easter!
No, really, bike naked:
One hundred cyclists of all ages and in various states of undress - some fully clothed, others naked - rode from Tarakohe to Pohara on Sunday for a cause they strongly believe in.
There was almost a carnival atmosphere at Golden Bay's third annual World Naked Bike Ride, as spectators lined part of the route, with many waving and cheering as the cyclists rode by.
Includes potentially NSFW picture, so beware!
Oh don't look at me man. I don't go anywhere without my SoopaSeat and UltraPants. My minimum bike ride tends to be 1 hour, and now that the weather's turning I tend to ride 4-6 times a week. With a schedule like that, saddle sores developed during a stunt like this would be a long-term discomfort!
A few people get together to critique sex dolls.
Oh yeah, these are the inflatable ones. Not the scary Love Dolls that look like corpses.
I'd kill myself if someone like this danced up to me.
Long Mommy! Cowhnbred long!
Err... Olivia? I don't think Cornbread wants you to measure him out.
I like to sit on a pony does not make me gay. Well I'm not! I'm neutred!
Space.com is featuring live coverage of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's arrival.
Ok, no more making fun of our buddy Mark's coin collection. At least his used to be real money. Olivia not only knows what they are, she knows how to use them.
Meh. Man's gotta have a hobby I suppose.
Tondalayo, a 45-year-old Sumatran orangutan, and T.J., a stray tabby cat, became an inseparable duo after a zoo employee introduced them late last year.
So sweet it makes my teeth hurt...
Making the rounds: scientists have discovered a species of rat belonging to a mammalian family thought long extinct. While such "methusela" species have been found before, they're quite rare among mammals. Apparently the locals have been eating them for years.
Instapundit linked up this brief note on the latest in vehicle protection gizmos:
The U.S. Army has discovered a remote control gun turret that works, and cannot get enough of them. The army wants over 9,000 CROWS (common remotely operated weapon stations), but is only getting 15 a month. There should be about a thousand CROWS in service by the end of the year.
The gunner is inside the vehicle, checking out the surroundings on a computer monitor (with night vision and telephoto capabilities).
As the article notes, remote turrets have been around in one form or another for quite some time*. See ma, video games can be useful!
* The first one I can remember reading about is a dorsal turret for early model B-25s. The optical system was so bad the gunners usually got airsick. B-17s used a similar system, with similar success. B-29s used a vastly improved system with one of the first digital computers ever fitted to an aircraft. As far as I know, most aircraft turrets used since then followed essentially the same pattern, although eventually they switched to radar guidance and computer control.
Slashdot linked up news that NASA has discovered compelling evidence for liquid water on the Saturn moon Enceladus. Unlike other non-terrestrial locations, Enceladus's water seems to be located just tens of meters below the surface, and is being spewed energetically into space by gigantic water geysers. Scientists have no idea what's made all this possible, but it opens up whole new realms of possibility in any number of astro-biological theories.
Fark linked up this nifty collection of "3D" sidewalk chalk art. In real life, it's probably not as eerie as this, but it sure does make for some neat photographs!
Space.com is carrying this article detailing the discovery of the most detailed ancient black hole formation observed to-date. First seen as a massive gamma ray pulse which was then followed by visible light and other energy in other wavelengths, the object was discovered to be 12.8 billion light years away. Since the whole universe is thought to only be about 13.7 billion years old, this event provided valuable insight into what stars were made of back then. The event itself was very different from what theories predicted, meaning that models of the early universe may have to be revised to accomodate the new observations.
Forbes.com is carrying this interesting article describing "10 things that will change the way we live" (gotta love the media for their abilities at understatement, no?) While I think the "$200 barrel of oil" bit is jarring, out of place, and just plain wrong, the rest are quite interesting.
National Geographic is carrying news of the discovery of the oldest ocean-going vessels found to-date. Estimated to be about 4,000 years old, these Egyptian vessels resembled scaled up versions of Nile riverboats. They were built in pieces and then hauled across the desert to be assembled at a temporary Red Sea port. It's thought they made voyages as long as 1000 miles, but most likely followed coasts instead of striking out over open water.
Slashdot linked up this news report on Tivo Corp's latest conference call to stock analysts. Tivo will apparently be discontinuing their lifetime service, instead switching to one, two, and three year contracts with discounts for longer terms. They also mentioned the (to me anyway) much-anticipated Series 3 recorders should be coming out later this year.
While the rate re-structuring is getting the most attention, I think it's actually a pretty good idea. What's not mentioned often enough about the lifetime contract is that it was for the Tivo, not the household. If you got a new Tivo you had to buy a new lifetime contract. It also took right around three years to "break even" on the lifetime service vs. the monthly agreement. Since new generations of Tivo players tended to come out every 3 years or so, it made upgrading much harder than it had to be. The new service it seems to me is much better, even if it is still for the machine and not the person.
I wonder if they'll provide multi-machine discounts?
Fark linked up this example-with-pic of why one should be very careful when parking one's seventeen-year-old Oldsmobuick anywhere in Canada.
I had this picture taken at the Western Veterinary Conference in Vegas. Their special treat this year was to take a pix with a Lemur. It was quite cute too.
Step right up folks, and prepare to be amazed. With this nifty little guide even you can tear a phone book in half. Maybe.
Don't look at me man... our phone books are 5 inches thick. Each (white and yellow). You can barely get your hands around them.
It's eleven o'clock, do you know where your parents are:
A 75-year-old woman accused of robbing a bank with an unloaded pistol was arrested after a tow truck driver blocked her in after a short chase, police said.
Marilyn Divine of Baldwin said after her arrest that she acted "to help people who are starving to death and nobody cares about them." She didn't specify to whom she was referring.
Which sounds exactly like someone wobbling off their meds and then tottering off to make mischief. Time to make sure neither of our grammas have access to a weapon!
No, really, the abominable snow crab:
Marine biologists have discovered a crustacean in the South Pacific that resembles a lobster or crab covered in what looks like silky fur.
A US-led team found the animal last year in waters 2,300m (7,540ft) deep at a site 1,500km (900 miles) south of Easter Island, an expert has claimed.
The "Yeti Crab", as it has been dubbed, is white and 15cm (5.9in) long, according to Michel Segonzac of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer).
Coming to a Red Lobster near you!
"Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler" by Swiss director Dani Levy, who is Jewish, takes a tongue-in-cheek look at Hitler's final days and parodies both the dictator and recent portrayals of him such as the critically-acclaimed 2004 film "Der Untergang" ("The Downfall"), which itself broke a taboo by attempting to showing the Nazi leader's human side.
Most interesting of all to me was the pictures of giant swastika banners in Berlin. It was my understanding such things were completely banned with the strict, efficient, and humorless enforcement for which German beauracrats* are justly famous. I remember reading years ago it was impossible to purchase, for example, model kits of German WWII airplanes with swastika decals.
It would appear this has changed somehow.
At any rate, here's to hoping the project turns out well. Every time I see something like this it makes me smile and think, "you lost, you evil bastard!"
* Beauracrats. Hey, at least theirs are effecient!
Slashdot linked up this NYTimes article detailing a new discovery in human evolution:
Providing the strongest evidence yet that humans are still evolving, researchers have detected some 700 regions of the human genome where genes appear to have been reshaped by natural selection, a principal force of evolution, within the last 5,000 to 15,000 years.
While new to these researchers and the NYT, we were discussing such adaptations in my physical anthropology undergrad classes back in the late '80s. The funnest one to talk about, which is not actually discussed in the article, is tooth evolution.
Our meat-and-berry eating ancestors actually started to lose a whole unneeded tooth, which is why wisdom teeth come in irregularly and sometimes not at all. However agriculture, with its stone-ground staples, required a massive buildup of tooth enamel*. The two responses to this problem we studied were shovel-shaped incisors (as I recall, exclusively found with native Americans) and Carabelli's cusp, found only in European populations. Both add valuable surface area to teeth, letting them be used longer in chewing.
So, next time you're chewing gum flatten it out and bite down with your incisors. If you see any "wings" (think a staple set on its side) on the ends, you most likely have an Indian somewhere in your ancestry. If you feel a funny nub or spike-like projection on the inside of your upper second molar, you may also have a German, Brit, or Czech in the woodpile as well.
Ain't science fun?
* Because there was no way to keep bits of stone from being included into whatever was being ground, products made from milling acted like, well, grinding stones on teeth. It's not uncommon to find skeletons from agricultural societies with teeth ground all the way down into the dentin. Significant erosion, as I recall, could ocurr as early as the mid-20s. Considering the pain from a small cavity, it is left as an exercise for the reader to imagine the feeling of a mouth full of teeth with their tops completely worn off.
A Framingham man arrested in May on gun charges after police found an exact tattoo of the weapon, down to the serial number, on his hip was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to 10 charges.
They didn't say what the gun was though. What guy talks about guns without throwing a lot of letters and numbers around in the process?!?
There's traffic accidents, and then there's traffic accidents:
[The featured] false-color composite image of the Stephan's Quintet galaxy cluster clearly shows one of the largest shock waves ever seen (green arc). The wave was produced by one galaxy falling toward another at speeds of more than one million miles per hour. The image is made up of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and a ground-based telescope in Spain.
Large as our entire galaxy, no less!
Pat and Joshua share a no-prize for bringing us, at almost the same time, news of the discovery of "quadrupedal" humans:
The discovery of a Turkish family that walks on all fours could aid research into the evolution of humans.
The siblings, the subject of a new BBC documentary to be aired on March 17, suffer from a genetic abnormality that may prevent them from walking upright.
Instead, they use their palms like heels with their fingers sticking up from the ground.
I'm a wee bit suspicious of the whole thing... humans are rigged up pretty strongly for bipedalism, making us worse than useless at knuckle-walking, let alone pure quadrapedalism. Then again, if it does check out, it would be very interesting to see what sort of modifications they do have to their skeletons. While they seem rigid, over very long periods of time bone can be extremely plastic, allowing substantial modification in detail to most parts of the body.
"Substantial", but not that substantial. Very curious...
Dana Reeve, who won worldwide admiration for her devotion to her "Superman" husband, Christopher Reeve, through his decade of near-total paralysis, has died of lung cancer at the age of 44.
Hopefully on the next turn things will become a bit less challenging!
Slasdot carried this spacenews article detailing a new effort in manned spaceflight:
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is asking NASA to help fund the demonstration of a reusable space capsule the El Segundo, Calif.-based company has been developing in secret with its own funding for the past 18 months.
SpaceX President Elon Musk said the capsule, dubbed Dragon, is a "mix between Apollo and Soyuz" and is being designed to ferry cargo and crew to and from the international space station starting in 2009.
I can distinctly remember when I was growing up seeing many enthusiast books and magazine articles trying to convince people there was money to be made in space. Back in the 70s, it seemed that was pretty much all that was going on... talk. I find it amazing we actually have three or four companies making stuff to get people into orbit today.
Hey, it's gotta be real 'cos, you know, it's got "interdisciplinary" in it:
The recently discovered “UNERTAN SYNDROME” consists of quadrupedal gait, severe mental retardation, and primitive language.
[A] new theory was suggested for the human evolution. Namely, the unique behavioral trait of man, the emergence of the habitual bipedality with Homo erectus (1.6 million and 250.000 tears ago) may be coupled with a resistive mind, which forced man to stand up against the gravitational forces with consequent success in tool making and hunting, using free hands for survival.
See! See! Anti-gravity really is all in your head!
Gloom and doom, the New York Times... two tastes that taste great together:
I'm trying. I've been trying all week. The other day, I drove another 30 miles or so on the streets and alleys of Baghdad. I'm looking for the civil war that The New York Times declared. And I just can't find it.
Maybe actually being on the ground in Iraq prevents me from seeing it. Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills.
In a previous war, journalists would sit in a protected enclave and write glowing reports of progress. Those out in the field who could see what was going on risked their careers to tell the truth. Funny how things sometimes turn about, no?
There is a small bottle containing a red fluid on a shelf in Sheffield University's microbiology laboratory. The liquid looks cloudy and uninteresting. Yet, if one group of scientists is correct, the phial contains the first samples of extraterrestrial life isolated by researchers.
Independent research has confirmed whatever was in the rain, it wasn't terrestrial dust. Hardly anyone at this time seems to accept that the phial is filled with tiny bug-eyed monsters, but with samples available it seems only a matter of time until some firm conclusion is reached.
To think all this time all those chicken littles could've been right after all...
Ron gets a follow-up no-prize for keeping us informed on the latest developments in the "Enzo v. Utility Pole" case:
Most mysterious of all are the two men who turned up minutes after the crash, claimed to be from "homeland security", talked their way past police lines by flashing badges, interviewed Mr Eriksson and left again. Nobody has a clue who they were. They are now being sought by police.
Mr Eriksson says he has an official governmental function in counter-terrorism - a remarkable twist for a man better known for loving parties and fast cars, whose company just collapsed under huge debt. In the first interview he gave to deputies at the scene, he said he was the deputy commissioner of the San Gabriel Valley Transit Authority's police anti-terrorism unit.
I think eventually this will end up being a case of a really smart drunk who smashed up his fancy toy and then danced fast enough to keep everyone guessing. For awhile, at least.
Instapundit linked up this brief editorial on how childless couples are essentially economic "free riders" on the backs of couples who have kids. Some of the comments do note there are hidden costs to being childess. However, I'm not sure if they come close to those of having a child. Also, since the US is a net importer of population, and those new arrivals historically have always had higher birthrates, I can't help but wonder if she's talking about the "right people" not having enough children. If so her point is nothing new... existing US citizens have been bitching about the wrong people having kids here for as long as there's been a country. We seem to have done just fine so far.
Because otherwise Fark wouldn't have beaten me to this Aviation Week story summarizing all they know about what might be a two-stage-to-orbit spacecraft system the US Air Force has been operating for perhaps the past 16 years:
A large "mothership," closely resembling the U.S. Air Force's historic XB-70 supersonic bomber, carries the orbital component conformally under its fuselage, accelerating to supersonic speeds at high altitude before dropping the spaceplane. The orbiter's engines fire and boost the vehicle into space. If mission requirements dictate, the spaceplane can either reach low Earth orbit or remain suborbital.
They're publishing all this because the whole program has apparently been shelved. If it existed at all. Which it might not, but probably does. Ain't black government programs fun?
It's #4 of 50 Made, I have gone 70mph on flat ground, 100mph down hill, 50mph uphill, i have entered this bike in 20 different races and the worst place was 5th
50 mph. Uphill. On a bicycle. Yeah dude, whatever helps you sleep at night.
Yes, I had a few too many drinks, and fell asleep during a movie...again.
Pat gets a no-prize buried in ash for bringing us news of the discovery of an entire village buried in volcanic ash:
The remains of a village and its inhabitants, destroyed by a volcano nearly 200 years ago, have been uncovered under 10 feet of volcanic ash on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa.
Radar images from below the surface at the site indicate that an entire village, including a central palace, is there...
Well, one can at least hope it was quick.
What can you do with a GE Model T58-8F helicopter turboshaft engine, converted to jet? With Ron Patrick’s custom VW Beetle you can have lots and lots of dangerous fun exploiting all 1350 horsepower.
Something tells me that, with the intake positioned inside the car literally inches from the driver, holding a conversation in this thing would be a challenge. But boy that afterburner sure would be nice to use on tailgaters during rush hour!
The glistening white Santiago Calatrava addition has made the Milwaukee Art Museum one of the city's classiest social addresses. But a recent martini fete held there turned into an overcrowded, drunken affair. Some unruly guests accosted artworks, which have been taken off display for a checkup.
People threw up, passed out, were injured, got into altercations and climbed onto sculptures at Martinifest, a semi- formal event organized by Clear Channel Radio and held at the museum Feb. 11, according to several people who attended or worked at the event.
Then again, considering I get loopy after two glasses of wine and tend to go to bed at about 9 pm, it's probably just as well I wasn't there. Something tells me a whole bunch of people wished they weren't either the next morning.
Spaceflightnow is carrying this update on recent findings regarding the Huygens Titan probe data. Scientists have now created a model that explains current observations and data by positing an ocean of liquid water mixed with ammonia that lies under perhaps ten or fifteen miles of methane-rich ice. Oh, and volcanoes that spew liquid methane. No, really!
Spell-checking on his computer is never going to be the same for Santa Cruz solo practitioner Arthur Dudley.
In an opening brief to San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal, a search-and-replace command by Dudley inexplicably inserted the words "sea sponge" instead of the legal term "sua sponte," which is Latin for "on its own motion."
Hilarity, as they say, insued. Lawyers with a sense of humor. What is the world coming to?
The fetish/history buffs in the audience may find an entire site dedicated to the history of handcuffs of interest. Those Bangos look pretty nasty!
New Scientist is carrying this update on two new studies of chimp behavior that reveal co-operation and altruism may have origins very far in our distant past. One experiment requires the chimps to co-operate in retrieving food out of reach to just one, while the other studies how juvenile chimps helped lab workers even when there was no expectation of a reward.
While Ron's Christmas present to me of a simple model rocket kit was greatly appreciated and should provide extreme amounts of mildly dangerous fun, I think this one is, as he tends to say, "money". "Winter 2006" might mean October (might), in which case we'd have a far superior way of delivering Halloween eggs.
At least until the cops show up.
Personally, this sounds like a really smooth mule kick:
Following a 17th century recipe, one of the eight artisanal whisky producers on the tiny Scottish isle of Islay will produce a dozen barrels of 184-proof whisky, the company announced.
For me, regular whiskey is beautiful at night, vicious and vindictive the next morning. I really don't want to imagine what this stuff might be like.
As Japanese waistlines expand, so is the market for girdles -- for men.
A new line of male underwear that flattens the stomach and lifts the hips proved so popular when introduced on a trial basis last month that some stores quickly sold out.
According to a Health Ministry report issued last month, some 29 percent of men aged 20-60 are overweight compared with 24 percent in 2000.
The Triumph spokeswoman, however, said most of the demand is due to new styles in pants that are cut to emphasize the hips. "It's really more about style," she said. "After all, there aren't that many men in their 20s and 30s whose figures are giving way."
The mind boggles...
New Scientist today carried news of the first approved drug patch for treatment of depression. Best news is people who use the particular drug in small doses will now no longer have dietary restrictions. Hopefully we'll see more of these in the future.
Going at it in the car, OK. Leaving the car running, in the garage, with the door closed... not so good:
A Milwaukee man and a 17-year-old girl died of carbon monoxide poisoning while having sex inside a running car in a closed garage last week, according to a Milwaukee County medical examiner's investigation report.
But wait! There's more!
The man's mother said the dead 17-year-old was not her son's girlfriend, and she did not know her, according to the report.
I remember something like this happening in my area when I was in High School, so it's probably more common than people think. Somewhere Darwin has his fist in the air with this two-for-one.
Cornbread was out tonight for a bit, and O loves to have him around her neck!
Yes, they walk around the casino and the Star Trek bar like this.
From Star Trek, The Experience in Vegas.
At just about every sushi resturant in Vegas there was always an aquarium showing off what you could taste on the menu. This little guy was NOT comming out of his cave!
After all these years, finally a cat trifecta:
Four European countries today imposed restrictions on the movements of cats after a dead cat in Germany was discovered to have been infected with bird flu.
Now, I'm probably just a tool of the VRWC* here, but I've read in more than one place that flu in and of itself does not kill, it's the secondary infections (mostly pneumonias) that get you. Since, unlike 1917, we have shots for pretty much all of that, and, unlike most of modern East Asia, we have a functioning infrastructure and a population that knows medicine works better than ground up tiger wang, I'm thinking maybe I probably aught not worry too much about the ol' bird flu. Besides, my mom worries enough for six people, so I'm figuring me, Ellen, Olivia, and at least three other people can be calm and happy because of that alone.
* Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy
Making the rounds: Russia is planning on getting one of its ISS cosmonauts to whack a golf ball into orbit. NASA is clucking about safety, but the concerns seem more the result of post-Columbia gold-plate-every-risk attitudes rather than any real danger. The stunt is a commercial deal with a Canadian golf goods manufacturer, using a club made of the same stuff as the station itself. It's supposed to be lighter, stronger, and stiffer than carbon, aluminum, or steel.
Which begs the question, why waste time on golf clubs when you can make important stuff out of it? You know... bicycles!
Doesn't your cat talk? My cats talk? Everyone's cats should talk!
Slashdot linked up this interesting innovation in lock technology. By using "knock codes" generated by a special keyring device placed against a door, this company has eliminated the need for a keyhole in the lock, potentially making it stronger and far more resistant to picking.
Humans being what they are, to me it sounds more like a great opportunity to lose ALL your keys at once.