Everyone's favorite stranger-in-a-strange-land schoolteacher Azrael is back with all-knew GaijinSmash content, this time looking at the differences, and similarities, between Japanese McDonalds and American McDonalds. Despite being on the other side of the planet, they're more similar than you'd think.
Read the whole thing, then come back and accuse me of being a reactionary right-wing Republican reprobate (ha!) It gives me such a "warm-and-fuzzy" when you do that.
Fark linked up news of the discovery of the oldest evidence for ritual in human history. At 70,000 years old and in Africa, it seems to be yet more evidence disproving the theory that while modern humans evolved in Africa some 120,000 years ago, modern culture evolved elsewhere much later. It would not surprise me in the least that the further we go toward southern Africa and the harder we look the closer the appearance of both will become.
The Mexican government has unveiled the largest millimeter-band radio telescope in the world. There are a whole bunch of half-formed deeply inappropriate jokes jumping around in my head right now, but I won't let them out.
Sort of like, you know, beans?
If this purported preview of a "Next Gen Star Wars" video game is for-real, things are looking up again for action gaming in everyone's favorite space opera universe. No word on what sort of platforms it would be available for, but if trends are followed one would assume at least X-box 360 and PS-3. And, hopefully for me, PC as well.
Again, assuming it's not just a giant hoax. Definitely something to watch.
Slashdot linked up news that the people researching the Antikythera Mechanism have published their work. The device appears to have been, as expected, a mechanical computer used to calculate astronomical information, particularly the phases of the moon and planetary motion. Devices of comparable complexity would not be seen again for more than a thousand years.
Turns out there's a surprising unintended consequence of the new Nintendo Wii's innovative controller. To wit, property damage. Since I can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, I guess we'll have to put up some sort of bulletproof barrier between me and the TV if we ever get one of these.
Notice... this pony looks like a warthog, but is not a warthog. It just looks like one.
Finally the pixes all the men out there were looking for! Brittany's snatch!
NSFW of course.
Because I've been banished downstairs while Our Empress is exercising...
Ok, one of the goofy "minute hobbies" I have is looking up songs and/or bands whenever they come up on my "Intarnets" oldies radio channels. You learn the damnedest things! Which is why...
It only occurred to me (whilst listening) to think of it when I read that the Allman Brother's Band song "Jessica" is about a little daughter and not a girlfriend that I realized this was, in essence, what Olivia's like right now. Music in motion, fleshtone zipping across your field of vision, only noticed when you think, "wait, what was she carrying?!?" That sort of thing.
I wonder if Jessica ran around naked as much as our monster does? One would think.
Whee! The best thing about two beers after big exercise is making you all scratch your heads and go, "wtf?!?"
Oh hush. I don't write these things for you. If it all works out, when she's fifteen she'll read this stuff when nobody's around and realize I'm just another screwup trying his best.
Being incoherent in public is the advantage of owning your own website.
Well, that, and getting one or more of The Grammas to get vapors and wonder, "What has happened to that child?!?"
National Lampoon has their own take on Michael Richards's recent meltdown. I especially like the sentiment at the very end.
Howard Stern this morning interviewed Sam Simon to discuss his experiences actually working with Richards. His basic take jives well with what I've read in other places... Simon's impression is that, in his opinion, Richards is a complete maniac, easily capable of just flipping out in exactly this way.
Earlier this month free-marketeering legend Milton Freidman died, at the ripe age of 94. A man named Mark Skousen was perhaps the last person he went out to lunch with, and his memories and stories make for a great memorial. The story also includes a list of excellent quotes from the man himself, all of which I completely and unreservedly agree with.
Put that in yer liberal pipe and smoke it.
Looks like it really is possible to have a classy Ford, if you get the right people to work on it.
Nah, just kidding. Mustang ain't my cup o' tea, but I got nothing against it or Fords in general. Others might (will) disagree, but it's all good. I do have to admit the longer I look at this one the more I like it.
SANTIAGO, Chile - A boy has been born with a fetus in his stomach in what doctors said was a rare case of "fetus in fetu" in which one twin becomes trapped inside another during pregnancy and continues to grow.
For once I'm glad this one comes without pictures.
Fark linked up this collection of high-speed films. Yeah, they're basically a kind of viral advertisement for everyone's favorite swoosh, but hey, they're smashing things!
Mark gets a no-prize he can pick up at Dollywood for bringing us a most interesting sort of turkey recipe. Too silly not to be SFW.
Bigwig over a Siflay had some fun twisting his 3-year-old's reality a bit. Being the father of a little girl instead of a little boy means I engage in much more mental judo-like things:
Olivia: "Daddy! This is my Barbie! You can't have it!"
You can almost watch her expectations stumble past me and crash to the floor.
Sorry folks, my multicultural touchy-feely "you're not evil you're just different" tolerance fell along with those towers. I got no problem whatsoever with profiling Muslims when they set foot in an airport, especially when they're acting like this. Don't like it? Don't fly.
I tend to agree with one of the people quoted in the article... this sounds like some sort of stunt, or perhaps an attempt to swing a lawsuit around. Regardless, to me it seems like they got exactly what they deserve, and no amount of chubby old guys in suits is going to change my mind. I got yer radical action right here, mister.
Yeah, well, what part of, "cats, science fiction, and anger" didn't you understand?
White buffalo, meet white lightning. And in this case I mean the bad kind.
Don't ask me why, seems like I'm the one posting up all the cat stuff lately. Dude... what?
A soul, anyone? Why the dedicated atheists in the peanut gallery (you know who you are) didn't think this one up to finance a few high-dollar purchases I'll never know.
Slashdot linked up this New Scientist article detailing new efforts at reducing the friction experienced by ship hulls on water. Currently three technologies seem to be front-runners: microbubbles, polymer coatings, and bubble "pockets". Considering 90% of world cargo travels by ship, the savings of even a modest decrease could be enormous.
Turns out what's good for humans is what's good for cats: eat less, exercise more. The most effective diet plans I've read or heard about revolve not around some exotic quick fix, but instead around different strategies for portion control and exercise. It's not eating specific things, rather eating less of everything, and moving around a bit more.
Which, as with most important things, is far easier said than done.
This is NOT to be missed! Totally funny! I mean, who does not like Margaret Cho?
Looks like Wal-Mart is partnering with a local Indian firm to bring low-cost goodness to the sub-continent. No idea exactly how this will play out, as, on the one hand, these "big box" retailers will most likely introduce the same economies of scale and affordability that have allowed Wal-Mart to single-handedly reduce the US's inflation rate by a full percentage point over the past ten years. On the other, it will also most likely decimate the inefficient, expensive, but most likely politically powerful "mom-and-pop" style shops that (according to the article) currently dominate retail in India, potentially triggering a backlash that will make what the rich white people in New England have been doing look like, well, what rich white people always look like when something sets them off*.
The thing is, entrepreneurialism seems to be comparatively new and weak in India, while socialist-style provincialism and strangling bureaucracy are depressingly common. India is too large and too diverse for even experts to predict exactly what will happen with its economy, so I won't even try. But this should be worth watching, if nothing else for the ideological fireworks it should set alight.
* "I say, where have all these brown people come from? Why, if they can't afford what my good friend Biff charges downtown they have no business being here! Jeeves! Get my phone!"
It's said that just about every form of popular entertainment ever performed anywhere in the world is still being performed, somewhere, in Japan. From ancient Chinese theater to Beatles cover bands, it's all there, with the predictable loopiness the Japanese bring to everything leavening the mixture. It now appears that, like more ancient forms, five hundred years from now the best place to see/hear hip-hop will be in Japan.
New Scientist is carrying this report (which includes video and pictures) of an ocean expedition exploring the methane seeps off New Zealand. By first mapping and then diving on these areas where methane or hydrogen sulphide gas escape from stores deep underneath the seabed, scientists discovered a plethora of previously unknown species. Unlike the communities around the better-known deep sea "chimneys" in places like the Atlantic, these sorts of communities rely on cold temperature processes to create energy.
All alone in the night...
Why Ellen hasn't already used these in her dance costumes I'll never know. Ron gets a well-lit and distracting no-prize for bringing us this most novel of Christmas gift ideas.
Lasers are now extremely common, even cheap, and found in just about every household in America. Of course you know, this means war. Or at least some dangerous tinkering. And what's wrong with that?
Ron gets a well-preserved no-prize for bringing us news of the discovery of another "mummified" dinosaur. While not the first discovered (I can recall reading about a similar specimen when I was a kid in the 70s), this will be the first found after the discovery of soft tissue in other fossil specimens. Presumably this will alter the way curators preserve the find, to increase the chances of finding similar stuff with this fossil.
That's what ya call a real close shave.
This is what happens when you turn your back on Olivia and she gets into the baby powder.
The beauty of a long vacation weekend is I get to look for things like this. If they brought it to the US, I think the results would be the same.
I was about to say, "except for my case, because I'd be dead." However nowadays Ellen would probably be the one holding the sign. And flipping people off. Gotta have standards, ya know.
Filed under "naughty" because of boobies, but the clip is otherwise simply hilarious.
Slashdot linked up news that scientists have developed a protocol to reverse type 1 diabetes in mice. They were also able to restore islet functionality with the treatment. Too late by twenty years for my grandma (even though she wasn't a mouse), but still it's nice to see significant progress is being made.
Fark linked up this countdown of the "ultimate" video game weapons. I'm surprised how few of them I've played. Inane? Hey, it's video games we're talking about here. But it's also a good "look back" at just how clunky games once were.
Ron gets a once-hot, now-creepy no-prize for bringing us the latest on everyone's favorite lusty 80s music video star. Every guy I knew understood Tawny Kitaen was out of her mind the minute they saw her. The sort of crazy that convinces you to empty your checking account so she can go with her girlfriends for a weekend at Cabo. We all wanted her just the same.
Men are stupid.
Police in this Austin [Texas] suburb were stumped for hours by the 49 emergency calls that kept coming in from an unregistered cell phone. The caller would say nothing before hanging up, sometimes after a brief giggle. Eventually, though, police found their man, er child: a 7-year-old calling from his elementary school classroom just for kicks.
Having the cops show up to your first grade class must do amazing things for your concentration. Not to mention your underpants.
Slashdot linked up news of new developments concerning the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient Greek computing machine whose sophistication would not be matched by Europeans for a thousand years. By using new high-resolution X-ray techniques, scientists have uncovered even more detail on how the thing actually worked, including tantalizing hint that some sort of user manual has been uncovered, buried in the layers of the device. The scientists are understandably (if rather frustratingly) cagey about what it all means. Hopefully much more detail will be revealed once their research paper has been published, apparently later this month.
Pat gets a crazy-quilt no-prize for bringing us news that humans appear to be far more genetically variable than previously thought. The implications for the evolution of our species were not covered in the article, which primarily examined how the discovery affects research in genetic diseases. On that front, it's a bit of "good news, bad news"... while the discovery seems to make clear that genetic disorders are more complex than was once imagined, it also provides new avenues for treatment studies.
For the last 14 years, Pongo has been with me. As you can guess, that's a long time. Long enough for me (and later, Amber and I) to have 10+ addresses, get a degree, move through 5 states, and get married. But, today was the day we took our last walk. As of 4:09pm today, Pongo's out running around causing problems (like eating walls, entire brush piles, waking people up at 3am barking, peeing on things, etc.) with those who've gone before him.
"Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you, boy. Guard the house."
Pay attention folks, in about an hour someone important's going to die. Well, an hour plus forty three years. Kinda bizarre to me to think that this event will be nothing but pictures in a book to Olivia. Clocks may be stopped, but time does seem to march on.
Joshua gets a no-prize turned to stone for bringing us news of the amateur discovery of an important fish fossil. It's nice to see some folks are quite willing to voluntarily hand over such an interesting find. As I understand it, the market for such items is quite strong, at least in the US.
Diving fans in the peanut gallery should find "the deepest pool in the world" of interest. Water's always warm, no worrying about getting speared by a stingray, and a big steak afterward. Sign me up!
Looks like NASA's giving up on the Mars Global Surveyor. At 10 years, I'd say it's had a good run. At least it hung on until the MRO got there.
Ron gets a no-prize that was bitten by a moose* for bringing us this look at some superiorly tricked out Volvos. Performance and bullet-proof reliability. What's not to love?
* Mynd you, møøse bites Kan be pretty nasti...
Opinin ur doorz!
In our day, it was condoms in a sock, and a backpack!
Yes, it's that time again! We get kittens! Now Teddy is gone and cannot tell us NO now, we get kittens to care for! Complete in their own cooking oven/space shuttle!
And what's wrong with that?
Yeah, I know what he's actually talking about, but we say this so often to Olivia now it's the very first thing that springs to my mind. Go Hashmeeri!
Problem: your missiles aren't accurate enough to actually destroy the capitalist aggressors where they live.
Bonus points to the producers for getting one of those guys with the ridiculous British sing-song delivery style (is there a school somewhere in Cambridge that teaches this?) Also includes a nifty "now-you-see-it, now-you-don't" graphic showing what something this big would've done to metropolitan London.
Urinal go up, urinal go down. I'd be afraid the attendant would be in a joking mood and would start to bounce the thing up and down if I tried it.
The Washington Post today carried news of the discovery of 30,000 year old infant burials. While several adult burials from this time period have been found, until now nothing had been found to indicate our ancient ancestors buried their infant dead with the same care. Scientists weren't sure if this was because infant burials were much more fragile, or if they just weren't burying their kids.
Which to me is a pretty dumb thing to say. Caring for the young is a hallmark of mammals, let alone half-crazed naked apes who can cook up a half dozen theories about life after death during breakfast. Infant skeletons are amazingly fragile things... the skulls feel like thick eggshell and half of it is made of cartilage. It's a wonder even relatively modern infant burials leave anything behind.
Still, it is a confirmation that we've been mourning our dead for a very long time indeed.
Of all the things I expected to see around work when I got back from lunch, one not on the list was a great big steaming pile of (what I hope is dog) poo. No, really. It's stinking up the whole place right now. I'd like to think someone's assist dog had themselves an accident, but around here anything's possible.
Just when I thought the day couldn't get any more surreal...
Ron gets his second no-prize of the day for bringing us this discussion of a new cognitive model for intelligence and interpersonal relationships. I think. When I got to the second paragraph my head exploded, so I'm not completely sure I even got the gist. People in school taking psych courses (you know how you are) may have an easier time of it.
Which gamer stereotype do you best fit? I've never taken the damned things all that seriously, but I definitely recognize several of them from the various messages boards I've read over the years. It always amazes me the amount of emotional commitment someone will invest in a $50 piece of software.
Turns out chocolate milk is actually good for you. When I'm sick, I love the stuff, but found out you have to be careful what you pick out. Last time I had a cold, Ellen brought home a gallon jug of the stuff for me. I noticed it had a funny texture, and started reading the ingredients. Imagine my surprise when I realized milk was not on the ingredient list. It was only then we realized it called itself "chocolate drink", not chocolate milk. Just because it's placed in the dairy case doesn't make it milk!
Update: Ron gets a chocolaty no-prize for bringing us this article. Did I mention I don't like Mondays?
Some kitty out there has some explaining to do.
"Weather channel says it's clear up there now. Those 80 mph winds, they're long gone. No, really!"
"Ellen, it's eight o'clock."
"But it's clear. If we leave no--"
"We'll be there at four am. If we're lucky."
Long, thoughtful pause... Me, looking over with genuine alarm, "Wait a minute, you've been way too quiet---"
"If we head for Amber's house, we'll get there by midnight, arrive at mom's by seven!"
"What part of four gin and toni--"
"I'm driving! Olivia! Let's go!"
In the distance, upstairs, stage right, unannounced, "Mommay!!! Need binky!!!!"
So there we have it folks. Neither exercise, nor TV, nor absurd alcohol consumption, will stay these couriers from their mission. I shoulda been more suspicious that she was so completely on the wagon tonight.
Ayup. It's a weekend with The Inlaws. Including an encounter with A Gramma. Starting in about, oh, twelve hours. With someone who is cheerful at 3 am*. But this time, we're bringing pets to them. Two cats. In a car. For, like, six hours.
"No reward is worth this."
Lord help us all.
* All names have been changed to protect
Suzanne my mother in law the qween mutha an anonymous benefactor. Get it? Get it? Aiight?
My users are pretty bad, but none of them have leaked banana goo into their hard drives. Worst I can recall is when one of my more particularly clueless users dumped a cup of coffee into her laptop while flying to some hyper-critical meeting*. It was the first time I'd ever gotten a phone call from an airplane. Weirdly, the laptop survived, perhaps because of good design and the fact that I told her to turn it off and remove the battery until it dried out**.
They really don't make them like they used to, I tell ya.
* Which, around here anyway, is equivalent to "any meeting".
** Without electricity, a computer is just a lump of plastic and metal. As long as there's no current present, you could put it in a bucket of water and, assuming it was allowed to completely dry out, it would be fine the next time you turned it on†.
† Which is not to say you should do this with a laptop. There may be a tiny battery lurking in there for the clock, or the LCD screen may implode for its own reason. But if you know some electronics might get wet, it's better to take the batteries out‡.
Normally one would think spontaneous orgasms would be kinda fun. However, it's probably like that disease which causes men to have permanent stiffies. By what I've read, neither one is any damned fun at all.
Scientists have figured out a way to create heart valves from stem cells harvested from amniotic fluid. The immediate application is for infants born with severe heart problems, but the technique holds promise for the creation of "homegrown" solutions to heart defects that are safer and more durable than existing methods.
A showdown over the House majority leader's post today has Democrats bitterly divided only a week after their party took control of Congress and has prompted numerous complaints that Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and her allies are using strong-arm tactics and threats to try to elect Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.) to the job.
But I think it's just as likely the Washington media, after watching Republican penguins wander around in groups during a blizzard, are simply in an orgiastic frenzy now that things are happening. Conflict is cool! Let's roil the waters some more!
Then again, I quite clearly remember the last time Congress changed hands, and I don't recall anywhere near this much chaos. But I've been accused of selective memory before.
Making the rounds: a playable multiplayer demo for Halo 3 will be available this spring. There's also a movie floating around out there somewhere, and apparently there are new multiplayer maps for H2. Woot!
It ees good that I canno' speek wi' an hout-rageous Frensh hac-sent, hotherwise I may be temp-ted to huse it to make the 'hoh-hoh-hoh' laughing sound:
The French anti-doping lab that tested American cyclist Floyd Landis' urine samples made an "administrative error" when reporting its findings on his backup "B" sample, the French newspaper Le Monde reported Wednesday.
The article seems to be claiming that this is just a clerical error, but considering how long and hard various French media and rules bodies went after Armstrong, without catching him, I wouldn't put it past someone to make some creative mistakes to prevent yet another American dominating the scene.
BBCnews is carrying this report chronicling the latest progress on Neanderthal DNA research. By using a different sequencing technique, scientists have partially reconstructed significant portions of nuclear DNA. This promises to provide much more information about the species than the previously sequenced Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA. However, unlike the recent suggestions of evidence for gene exchange from Neanderthals to modern humans, this team finds no such evidence in their studies. In fact, quite the opposite, as this preliminary findings seem to be pointing toward a human to Neanderthal exchange.
Making the rounds: only 1% of web sites are dedicated to porn. Yeah, well, they're sure a really noisy 1%, I'll tell ya that.
Spam, meanwhile, now seems to be making up 99.58% of e-mail. At least, that's the percentage our network's spam filter snags nowadays (four months ago it was only 60%).
Looks like the denizens of Madison Avenue are finally building advertisements the same size as their egos. Thousands of years ago Indians built gigantic monuments in the southwest deserts to appeal to their gods. It would appear today so do we.
While they haven't arrived here yet, Alfa's new models are making an appearance in Australia. The results are looking an awful lot like a re-run of the Milano and 164. Now, as then, Alfa has produced fun, beautiful cars. Now, as then, they appear to have quality issues. Finally, now, as then, their price point puts them squarely in the cross hairs of some extremely fine German and Japanese offerings, and it's not at all clear they'll be able to compete.
Which is too damned bad. Combining sexy looks, high performance, oodles of character, and a "surprisingly low" price point is sales dynamite. Putting it all in an "expected" price point causes people to expect what they get out of other offerings in the range, i.e. stove bolt reliability and swiss-watch quality. If Fiat can't put this all together, Alfa's future in the US looks pretty grim to me. And hell I love the damned things.
Today's moment of celestial awe is brought to you by NASA's Spitzer and Hubble telescopes.
I've often heard it said science is cold because it takes all the wonder out of the world. For me, it takes the wonder of an unquestioning child and replaces it with something far more powerful, complex, and amazing.
What's in the box Coconut?
A Spin Bike You say? WOW! Early X-mas for us!
And why did we get a Spin Bike Coconut? Because Daddy took a nasty spill on the trail in the dark? Good answer!
Mind you, this is 4 days after the incident. It was pretty gross.
... is because they're too stupid to do anything else. While this excellent video set seems to cover two separate crimes, the ending seems to imply they were by the same person.
Seems to me it'd be a helluva lot simpler to work a few hours a week at McD's and then just buy the damned booze. Crack's a bitch, ain't it?
Mark gets a ridiculously incompetent no-prize for bringing us examples of "America's Finest Most-Wanted."
A cheap shot? Us? Oh come on! We are just the most tasteful, even-handed, open-minded website on the planet!
Oh don't mind those gathering storm clouds. Happens all the time. I planted this lightning rod here for a reason, you see.
Fark linked up this website dedicated to old-style hand-held computer games from the 70s and early 80s. I played the hell out of most of the Mattel stuff, and distinctly remember the beeping anarchy that was my grade school classroom before the bell rang. The kids we all envied were the ones who had buttons to turn off the sound... they could play any time they wanted!
Good times, good times.
Giuliani has taken the first formal step toward a presidential run. "Testing the waters" right now, but with the polling I've seen the water seems to be pretty warm, at least for now.
Slashdot linked up this "news and video" article detailing the creation of new robotic sentries to be used to protect the Korean DMZ. Combining a sophisticated all-weather sensor suite with a 5.5mm machine gun, these real-life "Robocops" promise to automate what is otherwise a very labor-intensive (not to mention dangerous) job.
I especially liked the commercial "Samsung!" logo on the tripod. Gotta know the sponsors!
Remember folks, it's all about suspension of disbelief. I think this alternative, and the fact that (as I recall) Tolkien didn't address it has more to do with how common (and cheap) commercial air travel has become than it is about Tolkien not talking about something obvious. Keep in mind Tolkien grew up during a time when walking really was the most common way of getting to and from places, and air travel was simply unheard of.
Doesn't stop us from making fun though.
No, really, when deer attack:
A deer being kept in a pen attacked and killed his owner Sunday, state police said.
The buck that killed Ronald Donah, 43, was among about a half dozen deer penned up on his property in Ellenburg, about 180 miles north of Albany, said state Trooper Joseph House.
Who says rednecks only live in the South?
BBCnews is carrying this summary of the discovery of a gigantic hurricane-like storm at Saturn's south pole. The thing is 5,000 miles across, and shows no sign of movement away from the pole. The article includes an extremely cool picture of the storm, whose appearance inspired our title.
Autoblog is carrying the latest on Alfa Romeo's upcoming auto plans. The bad: arrival to the US seems to have been pushed back to 2009. The good: new offerings include an SUV-like entry in the $40k range and an "entry-level" hotrod in the $25-$30k range.
Who knows, maybe I'll finally have a full piggy bank by the time they finally show up down the street.
The below-linked article about an MoD official got me to thinking about the only "big" UFO event I can personally remember, so I went and did a little research on the Rendlesham Forest Incident. I seem to remember the Today show ran the audio tape mentioned in the article, but thought it was much earlier than 1984. No matter, it would seem the event has been pretty thoroughly explained as weird weather combining with a lighthouse to scare the beezejus out of some American servicemen.
It's great to see there are people out there who can have a sense of humor and be patriotic at the same time. We're not perfect, quite the opposite, but we keep trying. Plus it makes fun of John Kerry. What's not to love?
Say what you will about Rumsfeld et. al., at least he wasn't worrying about aliens:
UFO sightings and alien visitors tend to be solely the reserve of sci-fi movies.
So when a former MoD chief warns that the country could be attacked by extraterrestrials at any time, you may be forgiven for feeling a little alarmed.
Just because the guy once held high office doesn't mean he's not a complete nutter. The ultimate truth is, if an alien society builds a technology base capable of interstellar flight, it will ipso facto have a technology base capable of slapping us around like the uppity chimps we really are. Seeing it coming will just mean we get to party before they arrive.
"Insert obligatory Simpsons 'I, for one' reference quote here..."
Stolen from a friend's LJ account. Gave me a giggle, especially now that she's starting to throw her weight around. Will it all be another exercise in classic "Democrats eating their children" style? We'll see...
Mark gets a no-prize that'll collect the occasional jackrabbit for bringing us this spectacular footage of low-flying military aircraft. I couldn't quite make out the type, I think it may be some sort of late 70s Mirage (F-1?). Couldn't see any markings either, but the terrain (combined with the type) makes me think it perhaps might be Israeli.
The barrel rolls at low altitude may not simply be showing off. If my simulator experience is any indication, when flying low and fast it's actually easier to keep the altitude low by inverting and pulling "up", then rolling upright.
Stanley is a cat I am taking care of this weekend at home. He has a severe infection from a declaw since his owner failed to follow post-operative instructions.
He has had open toes since Tuesday and as of yesterday, the daily bandages were stopped. It's looking good for Stanley!
Remember that infomercial on Oxycise? Ya know, the one you can lose weight by just breathing?
Here is a video clip on what it is really like.
Olivia's gift for using the potty this weekend.
Who's Line is it Anyway with Veena and Neena.
Very funny! Do not miss this!
Thanks to Mark for the link!
Last night I performed at Tribal Pura in VA with the Troupe I belong to. Here is one of the photos. Yes, yes, thats Pokey and Cornbread.
Star Wars: space opera, action films, tools of Satan. Well, duhhh.
Slashdot linked up news that NASA has lost contact with Mars Global Surveyor probe. The probe's control team celebrated its 10th anniversary just a few days ago.
Four years, who knows how many cats, at least one re-location, one homicidal Oscar, four or five valley-girl goldfish, two or three surfer dude snakes, and the occasional pissed-off
turtle tortoise later, and here we are. Only appropriate that what seems like the subject of at least 1/3rd of the posts should ring in our 10,000th entry. Yes, that's right folks, there are ten thousand, count them ten thousand entries on the ol' blog now. Here's to manic energy and way too much time on our hands!
And, of course, to another 10k.
God we need a life...
NASA engineers are trying to make sure the Shuttle isn't in orbit on December 31st. The reason? They've never (in 20+ years of flight) had the thing in orbit when the year changed, and they're not sure what the computers would do. Seems to me you'd just light up one on the ground and keep ticking its calendar forward until it happened, but something tells me that in the Shuttle it's way more complicated than that. With the Shuttle, it usually is.
This time with film-clip goodness!
See mom! There are worse things than holding a firecracker in your hand!
I don't know why, I really don't, but naked mannequins on skateboards just make me laugh. I especially like the sound they make when they hit the pavement at-speed.
What? Oh come on. If I wasn't this weird you wouldn't come around as much.
While I'm certain this impressive demonstration of "kinetic art" is as much about editing as it is about construction, the results are still worth watching. If the copyrights are to be believed, this thing may have taken as much as two years to create.
Did the Neanderthals provide the required genetic material to make us smart? An interesting hypothesis, but every other genetic study done has indicated the exact opposite, that no intermixing ever occurred. If the evidence is reproducible, it will be a startling contradiction of existing theories.
Forget building your own software. It would seem "the next big thing" will be building , well, anything:
Today your all-in-one device prints, scans, faxes and copies. Tomorrow it will cut, score, etch and sew. Want a new dining room chair? You'll design it on a PC and press PRINT, and your personal fabricator will create it for you right before your eyes. Just make sure tray No. 2 has enough wood.
I'd want one to create any part I wanted for any classic car I happened to own. Lord knows what The Grammas would end up with if they got their hands on one.
I really do think that one day whole houses will be built by dumping a 55 gallon drum of goo on a big pile of specially constructed dirt. The nanomachines in the goo will take the elements in the dirt and then two weeks later all you have to do is sweep up as you move in.
I thought it would be something Olivia's grandchildren might get to see in their old age. Now it looks like I might get to see it.
The news just keeps getting worse for Airbus. AvWeek noted some Boeing insiders were speculating that Airbus completely underestimated the difficulties involved in wiring the double-decker design, and that's coming back to haunt them with a vengeance.
But Boeing is wisely staying officially silent about these troubles (as far as I know). The 787 is, in its own way, perhaps even more radical than the A380, but we won't know if their design has any hidden "gotchas" until some time next year.
Update: Instapundit linked up a more detailed look from Popular Mechanics.
I'm surprised MythBusters hasn't tried this yet. They'd probably try acetylene bottles with a dummy on board. Explosions are fun!
Here’s how the 2006 mid-term election was stolen.
Note the past tense. And I’m not kidding.
And shoot me for saying this, but it won’t be stolen by jerking with the touch-screen machines (though they’ll do their nasty part). While progressives panic over the viral spread of suspect computer black boxes, the Karl Rove-bots have been tunneling into the vote vaults through entirely different means.
The real test will be how many right-wing sites start spouting this "stolen election" drivel. I'd like to think we're the party of rational, carefully-considered strategists who will take this as a message about the need to change, and act accordingly.
In cases like this, prevarication is always a positive.
Making the rounds: why dress up for a "telecommute" business meeting if you don't have to? Reminds me of all those times sports commentators have worn business suits from the waist up but Bermuda casual from the waist down.
Just because it's tacky doesn't mean it's bad:
The magnitude of the benefit [Wal-Mart brings to the economy] is enormous. Hausman looked at food, and for that category alone Wal-Mart increases consumer welfare by 25 percent ... Since food is about 12 percent of GDP, multiplying .25 by .12 gives a benefit of .03, or 3 percent of GDP from Wal-Mart.
This tracks well with what I've read in other publications. Keep it in mind the next time some left-leaning pundit tries slashing Wal-Mart for its various practices.
Apparently Olivia's illness was caused by the voting. Damn those Democrats. I had a feeling Olivia was getting a psychic vibe knowing that they would win and in return they made her ill, just like we all will be the next two years.
Olivia wanted to vote again yesterday morning for more stickers. She also liked the polling booth a bit too much, which caused the "tantrum".
In return, this Democratic tantrum turned into full blown vomting and a headache.
Damn those Democrats.
The deepest cave in Britain has been discovered. More like re-discovered, since it appears the site was first found in the late 18th century, but the account was lost and a cave-in disguised the original entrance. At 460 feet deep, it's deeper than St. Paul's cathedral is tall.
Got a rope?
Well, no, not really. Congrats to the left side of the peanut gallery for getting themselves put in charge of at least a part of the government. Personally, I think it'll be a re-run of Reagan's last two years in office (i.e. tons of investigations obscuring what is an otherwise paralyzed government), but I've been wrong about these things before.
Feels sorta like the dog who caught the car, eh?
India and China are now exporting IT jobs to the US. Tides rising everywhere, boats heading upward!
Do you know where your beer is? Dutch beer maker Heineken wants to make sure - so it has put together a team that includes IBM and the University of Amsterdam to track beer by satellite.
Beer Living Lab is a pilot project that will track 20 beer containers shipped from the Netherlands to Heineken's UK distribution centre. Each container will be outfitted with GSM, GPRS and global positioning systems.
"It's twelve o'clock..."
Duct tape, the stuff of uncounted uses, actually can't cure warts. Hey, at least it wasn't my tax dollars at work!
And from the Capt. Obvious headline department, we have Silent plane would cut airport noise. The article itself details a new effort to create a proof-of-concept vehicle that would demonstrate all sorts of technologies to make commercial aircraft quieter.
A US experiment using a modified AIDS virus to fight the "regular" AIDS virus has returned better-than-expected results. The therapy still has years of testing to do, but the initial findings certainly seem hopeful.
Sushi fans in the peanut gallery may find this "Sushi FAQ" entry on wasabi of interest. Turns out much of what is billed as wasabi, well, isn't.
Never been much of a fan of it myself, but then again I'm the kind of person who eats a peanut butter sandwich with chips and salsa. What do I know?
Mike J. gets a no-prize shaped like one of those old label makers for letting me know that, far from being a crypto-Democrat, it would appear I'm actually a neolibertarian. Reading the article, seems pretty close. Not perfect mind you, but I can definitely see it from here.
Our friends over at Siflay had their very own South Park moment recently:
Curt didn't even make it across the room before crumpling to the floor. I think when I saw him drop may've been the first time I thought "Oh my God. We've killed Curt." It still be about ten minutes before that thought really took hold.
Click through, dear reader, to find out what exactly happens when friends on a fishing trip decide to start playing practical jokes on each other with massive doses of vitamin supplements.
No rednecks were hurt during the creation of this story. Like the article says, it's half Curt's fault anyway for poisoning himself ;).
Someone you know not going to vote? Don't be a hater!
I do this sort of thing often when I'm answering a survey. Never occurred to me to do it on a ballot, but that's just me.
In the car racing world, this is known as a "comprehensive failure". We ride by a substation even bigger than this nearly every week on our family bike outings. However, if it were sparking and humming like the one in the video The Grammas can rest assured we would turn our little fannies right around and pedal as fast as our feets could spin!
While I'm too busy teaching Olivia her new name* to articulate exactly why I'm voting Republican this year, it actually seems I don't need to:
If control of the House passes into Democratic hands, there are enough withdraw-on-a-timetable Democrats in positions of prominence that it will not only seem to be a victory for our enemies, it will be one.
Unfortunately, the opposite is not the case -- if the Republican Party remains in control of both houses of Congress there is no guarantee that the outcome of the present war will be favorable for us or anyone else.
But at least there will be a chance.
I say this as a Democrat, for whom the Republican domination of government threatens many values that I hold to be important to America's role as a light among nations.
More worrying, however, is the notion that someone on the left side of the peanut gallery could hold so many positions in common with me. Could I in fact be a crypto-Democrat? The mind boggles.
* "Hello, My Name is OliviaStopThat, What's Yours?"
Hey, you gotta learn about them somewhere! An F-1 camel. Whodathunkit?
The Washington Post today carried this article describing the discovery of the earliest-known physical evidence of autopsy by (and on) Europeans. Ironically, the remains themselves were found in the New World, an area that's now part of a national park in Maine.
Even in the depths of kitsch, good taste can be found. Give it about 60 seconds, you'll understand.
I can remember when my room-mate in college thought she Was all That. Nowadays she looks like Steve Irwin in drag. Oh, how times have changed.
Note to self: If Olivia ever gets behind the wheel of the Spider when she's learning to drive, make sure she knows to put the thing in neutral before starting it. Yeah, a Shelby is a lot more expensive than our Spider, but at (by then) nearly 50 years of age, the Spider's parts will mostly be made out of "unobtanium".
Looks like nobody got hurt. Well, at least at first anyway.
Congratulations to Mahmood, who, by apparently meeting directly with the ministry heads involved, has gotten his site unblocked by the Bahraini government. Sorta like us having a meet with the chairman of the FCC, I gather. Sometimes small is good!
The latest contender for the mysterious cosmic rays which are detected regularly but have no obvious source is perhaps gas left over from the Big Bang. By using the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in New Mexico, a team of astronomers led by Joydeep Bagchi of the University of Pune in India observed giant shock waves. These waves could have been formed by the collision of two gigantic galactic clusters about a billion years ago, but they also may have been created through the interaction of "filaments" of left-over gas from the Big Bang running into the much hotter gas given off by the cluster. Such a cold/hot boundary would be excellent at accelerating particles to stupendous speeds, and are therefore prime candidates for the mysterious cosmic rays.
While I think declaring the end of archeology as we know it may be a bit extreme, the guy still makes some interesting points about everyone's favorite on-line encyclopedia (emphasis original):
... when the Wikipedia is "inaccurate" due to bias or limited understanding rather than simple error, it becomes more interesting because it is inaccurate. Looked at from this perspective, the word "inaccurate" ceases to have any meaning, because the Wikipedia is being used to determine how we see the world, and not whether that view is "accurate" in any empirical sense. In this light, the more accurate an entry is, the less useful and interesting it becomes. And, of course, what those that contribute to a given entry have found to be worth including is most interesting of all.
Something tells me, assuming the project doesn't collapse under its own weight, studying the wikipedia as an end to itself will probably form the basis of many a graduate (perhaps even doctoral) thesis.
The Japanese solar probe Hinode has activated its primary sensors, and boy the stuff they see sure looks cool. Bubbles as big as continents! The sun has bubbles! I like exclamation points!
Hey, it's Friday, what do you expect?
Fark linked up news that the F-117 has been officially retired. Now that units of F-22s are becoming active, it would seem this much more capable aircraft is taking the Nighthawk's place. This is not as much of a curve ball as it sounds, since (as I understand it) the F-22 can deliver a similar amount of ordnance, albeit using more advanced weapons.
250+ bottles of Diet Coke. 1500+ Mentos candies. Behold, the glory. You knew someone was going to try it some day. I'm surprised it's taken this long.
Update: Geeze, I've been doing that a lot lately. Link now works.
Why this isn't on AFV I don't know. Our cats have attacked various pieces of computer equipment over the years, but not with this much gusto. They much prefer widdling on things when given the choice. More destructive and much sneakier!
It would appear that the next "force-grown" human organ may be the liver. The article wasn't clear to me about whether or not such organs would require immunosuppressant drugs to deal with rejection issues. Even so, having such an important organ seemingly well on its way to being created at will for transplant is still an amazing development.
Hee! Don't miss the comments for a typical "my we do all take ourselves so very seriously, don't we?" argument. To think all this time I thought those things only happened around here.
Slashdot linked up news that scientists have reincarnated a "viral fossil". In the process the French scientists (rightly) created a stir amongst their colleagues over just how to get approval to do such work and how it is handled when the research is done.
Tinkering with viruses. Nah, nothing can go wrong there.
Pat gets a bouncing baby no-prize for bringing us news of developments in SIDS research. Scientists claim to have finally found a detectable brain abnormality that seems directly related to SIDS deaths. The abnormality occurs in the brain stem, and seems to be related to an alert mechanism which causes an infant to breath more quickly or even wake up if CO2 levels increase past a certain point. Children with the abnormality seem to have a broken "alarm system", and hence are vulnerable. It is hoped the research will lead to tests and treatments, eventually abolishing one of the most mysterious (and therefore tragic) causes of infant death.
I can tell the person writing this auction is a chick, because guys call these things "wives".
Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the potatoes!
It appears that, after perhaps decades of trying, a male chemical contraceptive is on its way. Now if they'd only find vaccines for all those nasty bugs that've come about since the 1980s...
This bizarre delay brought to you by... a morning's worth of unresponsive server and an hour spent cleaning out the most effective comment spammer I've seen in years. He keeps that up, we may finally upgrade this ancient thing just to stop it once and for all.
Fragfest to continue momentarily.