One of my tribal costumes.
Something you don't see on Jerry Springer every day.
Yes, it's amusing how quickly Bush got the "co-operate with the congress" religion when his party lost the majority. I'd counter, however, that's it's much less amusing to see how quickly the Democrats seem to have traded their lofty ideals for business-as-usual politics. My God man, he had $90k in his refrigerator!
Fans of deep-sea freaks should find this collection of exotic underwater creatures of interest. Remember folks, Antarctica is also home to the colossal squid!
The UK's Times Online reviewed the latest iteration of the Alfa Spider, and they liked what they saw. Bonus: includes a comparison with the '67 model. As expected, 40 years of engineering progress definitely show. This, by the way, is the type scheduled to appear here in 3 years.
Unfortunately it appears Alfa will be taking a big risk with these models by pricing them with their German and Japanese competition. The quality must be extremely good (for an Alfa, spectacular) otherwise they'll experience the same thing the last time they tried this: a boom in early sales to Alfisti, rapidly trailing off when the limitations of the type become apparent.
AMCGLTD just wanted to THANK everyone for their sympathy of Ajax. Our "A" of AMCGLTD is going to be missed greatly.
Thank you for the flowers Amber. They really made my day.
Scientists have discovered the remains of what may be the earliest known ancestors of Pacific island residents. Their condition (without heads) as well as their makeup (no children between 1 and 16) show these people had some interesting ideas about life after death.
Finally, someone comes up with a useful robot! I mean, an automated vacuum cleaner is a nice idea and all, but it simply doesn't compare to a gizmo that'll fling you a cold one from across the room. The potential for mayhem alone is worth the price of admission.
Making the rounds: the shuttle got caught in a hailstorm, and the external tank is definitely damaged. Which means they gotta roll the whole thing back to the VAB, then roll it all back out when they're done. What a nightmare!
Melinda S. (whom I grew up with as Melinda M.) gets a very scary no-prize for bringing us the most detailed look I've seen so far at what's left of Dumas after the big tornado. So much for a sleepy little town never changing!
Looks like some people in the British government were looking into UFOs as late as the mid-90s. The conclusions were to be expected, but it's interesting to see "legitimate" researchers still looking into the matter occasionally.
Looks like researchers have made a significant breakthrough in biodiesel refinement. If I'm reading it right (no promises), it appears to provide a very significant improvement to the refining process, something like 90%. Anything that drops the cost of a fuel is fine by me, as it takes us one step closer to canceling Achmed and His Merry Band of Mayhem Making Men's checking account.
Via Daffodil Lane.
Mark gets a shimmying no-prize for bringing us the "straight dope" on the origin of a well-known "exotic" song and its relationship to belly dancing's introduction to the United States. As with most songs which seem to have been around forever, the actual origin is hard to pin down, but there are a few good candidates.
Joshua and Ellen had another photo shoot day this past Saturday, this time with Ellen pulling out all the costume stops with her belly dance gear. The results, in my obviously unbiased opinion, were very good. Note that while this gallery is SFW, there are other galleries on the site which may not be.
More detail is now available on the Dumas tornado. Looks like it first hit about a hundred yards away from my old grade school (and right next to old Highway 65 and the rail road tracks) and then moved across new residential developments until it crossed the current Highway 65 and creamed what used to be the Wal-Mart. There was a mysterious abandoned hotel we used to regularly scare ourselves driving past in the area, I imagine it's finally been blown away by this thing.
It's nice to hear major businesses are making a commitment to rebuild. Getting declared a major disaster area will do that for you, I suppose. This article also includes the first quote from a name I actually remember, Dwight Hill (a family friend who once lived near us).
Finally, A Minnesota (of all places) news team has more video. Looks like the McD's I worked at in my college years was 'asploded and the Pizza Hut I worked at in High School was knocked around a bit. Bad luck to hire me, I suppose!
I guess it was only a matter of time before someone turned a Fiero into a Jeep. Since it's a mid-engine car, it probably wouldn't be too shabby off-road (original Volkswagen Beetles are good off-road for most of the same reasons). Esthetically though, not so much. Any body kit that starts out, "first, chop the front foot of your car off" is automatically going to be suspect to me.
Meh, your car, your money, your business.
The Rosetta space probe has completed its final orbital insertion maneuvers, in the process returning spectacular pictures of Martian clouds and weather. This makes something like half a dozen gizmos orbiting Mars (some long dead, others brand new), with more to come. Getting kinda busy over there, eh?
Every time I think the Dems have wised up and actually started thinking about new things, they go and prove me wrong again. I'm reasonably impressed with how Pelosi et. al. have managed to leash their baying loons so far. Then again, it took about two years for my side to lose control of ours, so the clock is definitely ticking on this one. Of course, two years puts us on the other side of an election.
Which means, if things stay the course, America has a good chance of one side in charge of one part of the government, with the other side holding the other part. The names'll change, but the song will stay the same. Hell, there's a decent chance it'll all get swapped around with a Clinton in office again. Lordy, lordy.
I always knew Australians treat drinking the way, say, Russians treat chess (albeit with less staring and more belching), but I had no idea it could be this elaborate. It even varies from state to state!
Via Siflay, who will be receiving a no-bill for unlicensed use of our no-prizes. Because you do know the whole thing is original to us, right? Right?
More updates on the Dumas tornado. Fatalities still standing at zero, although there are a few people with "critical injuries." This is the town I grew up in, and by the looks of it there's not too much left. A real shame, as last time I visited (this previous summer) was the first time I saw evidence of recovery/growth in more than a decade. Article includes a link to a video story.
Sometimes they depart, but sometimes they also arrive. Includes hedgehogs!
Update: No Ellen, you can't have one.
Sink hole, meet city block. City block, sink hole. And we all thought sink holes that'd eat a few cars were impressive.
Fark linked up this nifty image of what the aftermath of the Feb. 16th snow storm looked like from space. At least Sunday's storm didn't freeze over solid and then stick around for a week. Nothing like having your whole town turned into a hockey rink!
Ajax memorial has been configured, as I'm sure you've all now found out. We'll leave it up for awhile. Site updates will be slower, but we're all doing OK.
A placeholder until I get something more appropriate up. Please note the details may change once I get better information.
At about 4:30 today Ajax, the Emergency Backup Cat and easily the nicest cat almost everyone has ever met, had a stroke. He was paralyzed and in a great deal of pain, and so was euthanized approximately one hour later.
Only the good die young...
Most of the time, the extreme colors drove the white balance in the camera crazy. This time, however, it got it just right. This very small chapel was simply filled with these vivid colors.
Several Dumas restaurants, a Mad Butcher grocery store and some nearby homes were leveled, KTHV reported. Video from the scene showed several buildings rendered nearly unrecognizable. A sign for a street located a mile away was lying in the grocery store parking lot.
Scary thing is, Scott grew up there. He has family there. All of those stores I saw, gone. Even my beloved Sonic.
One of the things discussed frequently about HDR imaging is how difficult it is to create such pictures without "ghosts" of moving objects. Personally, I think such ghosts add a very interesting touch. To me, they provide a kind of "19th century " feel to the pictures.
Note that, even though the window looks tilted, the base of the columns prove the camera was level. I'm not sure if this "tilted" effect is purely an optical illusion, or an artifact of using a very wide angle lens.
Making the rounds: New Zealand fishermen have caught the largest colossal squid ever seen. Thankfully, the fishermen went to great lengths to recover the specimen intact, so this should be a real boon to scientists and people who like freaky-large sea creatures (Ellen).
Suzanne gets a no-prize she can erase at will for bringing us news of the development of "reusable paper." It'll be interesting to see if they can make this technology competitive with regular paper. Considering the cost of paper is so low right now it's measured in fractions of a penny per sheet, this would seem to be a very real challenge.
How I spent my weekday off... taking bracketed triplet photos to experiment with HDRI imaging. The HDRI photo was generated by photomatix, I then twiddled with it in Adobe Lightroom. This is exactly the kind of picture I've always wanted to take, but (it turns out) conventional film didn't have the dynamic range to turn what I saw into a picture. Have technique, will travel.
This was the very first image I took when I arrived.
Funny enough, Ellen doesn't think Olivia pays attention when she goes to work. Don't ask me!
Apologies to The Grammas, we're not making her fly. It's all we can do to keep her from jumping!
Mark gets a weirdly toothy no-prize for bringing us a statistical ranking of states by the number of natural teeth lost by their residents. Brought to you by the, "I-had-to-give-the-intern-something-to-do" department of statistics.
Trust me, if the government really were spraying poisons and disguising them as aircraft contrails, whole swathes of the deep South would pay to have them loaded up with malathion and flown regularly over towns and fields in the summer. The mosquitoes really are that bad.
And these people really are that nuts.
And thank goodness for Fark linking up this far more reasonable article, otherwise there would've been a whole class of crazy I'd otherwise would've let pass me by.
As dumb as they are, I can't get enough of them. This one was triggered by a polydactyl story on Fark.
In case any of you still don't know who Milton Friedman was and what he stood for, this Reason article does a very nice job of summarizing it. I watched a recent TV biography on him, which covered the incident of some wack Trostkyite disrupting his Nobel prize ceremony. I get insecure when people tell me I dress funny (which is to say, often), I can't imagine the strength of belief it must've took to keep plugging away under such extreme pressure to conform.
Being right helped a lot, of course.
Oh, and as for all that "troops = mercenaries" crap being bandied about by the loony lefties:
One of [fellow economist and draft opponent William H.] Meckling's favorite stories, which his widow, Becky, recalled in a recent interview, was of an exchange between Mr. Friedman and General William Westmoreland, then commander of all U.S. troops in Vietnam. In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?" Mr. Westmoreland replied, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." Mr. Friedman then retorted, "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."
Not funny! Not funny! Bad blogger! No Biscuit!
The whole concept of a small south Pacific tribe worshiping Britain's Prince Phillip as a god just reeks of hoax to me, but apparently they've been documented as doing it for something like 50 years now. If it is a hoax it's a damned good one. Considering all they seem to have gotten for their troubles was a few pictures, it doesn't seem to have been that great a gambit.
Clouds of dust (or even iron) may be obscuring predicted signs of water on extrasolar planets. The fact we can even observe such fine detail on something so far away is damned impressive.
Those of you who claim I never, ever admit the other side has anything worthwhile to say should absolutely not read this paper. No way. Don't want to destroy illusions, you know.
While I'm by nature suspicious of progressive ideas (especially when they make this much sense), it is nice to see someone out there is coming up with different ideas for how government should work. I'm not saying I agree with them, but they do represent a good starting place.
Pesonally, I don't have the energy to try something like this. Having changed over to cell-only phones, we don't have much problems with telemarketers. At least for now, anyway.
Digital shutterbugs in the audience may be interested in this review of Adobe's recently-released product, Lightroom. Our friend Joshua's been using the public beta for some time and is very pleased with it. It seems to be quite a bit more sophisticated than our current photo editing software, so I may just give it a shot.
Lane G. gets a no-prize with a great sense of humor for bringing us George Takei's PSA on recent homophobic comments made by Tim Hardaway. I used to think Mr. Takei was a genuinely strange guy, but his appearances on the Stern show have revealed him to be a genuinely strange guy who is an amazing good sport and genuinely Gets It. As it were. Anyway, I've gone from thinking he's weird to thinking he's cool with a twisted sense of humor. Which is a good thing.
Hot. Wet. Bitches!
I don't know man, after 63 miles (100 km, a "metric century"), my butt is so sore it's hard to walk. I don't know how someone can manage 19,500. From Alaska to Argentina, no less. Article includes a picture of his leg-busting ride. No carbon fiber on that one, I'd wager.
Jeff gets a no-prize that takes forever to get to the payoff for bringing us this example of France's finest weapons. As noted, it takes forever for this one to get to the point, but when it does, it's worth it.
While I haven't been able to best Bigwig's 125, I have gotten up to 120. Then again, I only played it three times. It's a rare game that can be grasped immediately and still be complex and fun. This one reminded me very much of maneuvering in a shooter puzzle. If that last sentence made sense to you, a copy of the NERD sign you just handed me is in the mail.
Good things actually can come from New Jersey. Oh be quiet, I know NJ produces a lot more than one extremely promising new method of detecting and treating autism. It's just sometimes hard to see them past all the gum-smacking chicks with big hair, jewelry, and makeup* sunning themselves on the Jersey shore.
* Aka, "Ellen."
While the text of this article on the history of artistic representation of our hominid ancestors is pretty basic, I found the pictures to be extremely interesting. The book in which they're found is due out later this year, and appears to be based around a new exhibit at New York's natural history museum. As if I really needed an excuse to visit the place again.
The CSC bike racing team is providing fans the ability to track the status of its drivers in real-time via a web-based application. Interestingly, they're not using GPS, but rather are utilizing extremely small and light phone-like devices that leverage existing wireless networks to achieve a much more precise location than is possible with GPS.
If they could market this system at an affordable price, I think there would definitely be a market. I, for one, quite regularly bike dozens of miles from home, often via various dedicated trails for which there are no conventional road markings nor easy access. It would be nice to know if something really bad happened to me way out in the boonies a device would be able to show people where I was.
I wonder if cellphones already provide something like this?
"At the most, she should be flogged." I'm so glad he's here to tell us the real reasons why it's so important for women not to masturbate.
The sad thing is, if this speech had been tweaked only slightly and then read out in English, I'd probably have mistaken the speaker for one of the fundie preachers that infest the deep South to this day. More proof belief is a circle, not a line.
... otherwise not only will Ellen want one of these, she'll program it with stuff almost nobody else will recognize. Except her dance crew, who will most likely jump up and down enthusiastically in costume, creating a noise that compares favorably to chickens being dropped into a sack full of coins.
I don't even want to know what the rest of you would do with it.
Via I Speak of Dreams.
Gift card is in the mail!
Pop quiz: evolution is:
Could be worse; he could be running for president.
An asteroid may come uncomfortably close to Earth in 2036 and the United Nations should assume responsibility for a space mission to deflect it, a group of astronauts, engineers and scientists said on Saturday.
Astronomers are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which has a 1 in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036.
EXACTLY like the 1920's swimwear!
Shamelessly ganked from a Fark comment.
So many sacred cows to slaughter, so little time...
So trying to teach myself C# didn't work out so well. Fortunately, my workplace finally budgeted some real money for me to take training courses this year, so after ten years of trying, I'm going to get some professional instruction on software development. Gonna learn to do things the "right" way, instead of the (brittle, twisted) way I taught myself. C#, .Net 2.0, VS 2005, here I come!
Looks like chilli peppers may be one of the oldest spices ever used in the western hemisphere. No word on how long it took them to figure out chips, salsa, and beer.
" When such a man tells me I’m perfectly safe from a 30,000˚F arc of man-made lightning heating a vat of plasma that his employees are “controlling” in the next room—well, I’m not completely reassured."
Lane G. gets a no-prize shaped like an arc light for bringing us this detailed article about what could begin chewing up a landfill near you some day.
Looks like ocean waves may be responsible for the Earth's "Hum." I guess they must've forgotten the words or something.
One good thing about cats: they can't eat turtles. Untrained golden retrievers have to be one of the most enthusiastically stupid pets I've ever known. Happy and sweet, but dumb.
Policy: Arbitrarily set prices for foodstuffs based on what one set of damned fool know-it-alls (perhaps just a single know-it-all) think is "fair."
Result: Since prices can't rise and fall based on supply and demand, businesses stop selling and producers stop producing. In other words, shortages. If it goes on long enough, famine.
Reaction: Steal the stores.
It would be freaking hilarious if it weren't so damned depressingly familiar. In the early decades of the previous century, the poverty and suffering that inevitably result from command economies was easy enough to hide. In today's era? Not so much.
That said, this still isn't going to end well.
I didn't even know you could get a flu vaccination with a nose spray, let alone that it's 55% more effective than a flu shot on children. Olivia's first year was miserable all around, with everyone constantly sick. Two plus years later, and we've been quite fortunate at being relatively bug-free. Well, I guess I should say bug-resistant, because it's normally our friends who end up with the colds and flu. Maybe the immune system is like a muscle... use it, it gets stronger.
Perhaps it's nature's way of ensuring that, once a child gets past their first year, the germ vector in Keds won't kill their parents.
Alls I gots ta say is, if you think people are "donating" taxes to anything, toots, it's time for some remedial economics courses. Then again, I find it to be a pretty common belief on the left, that taxes are really just another form of charity. When I point out that donations are by definition not mandatory, whereas taxes are, I either get a look of startled realization, or of annoyed befuddlement. Unfortunately the latter is far more common than the former.
The whole, "US troops are just a bunch of bloodthirsty mercenaries pickin' cotton for the massa on the hill" theme of the essay itself I won't be making many comments on. I'll let Jason do that.
Being (presumably) protected by tenure and secured from the plebes and bourgeois by her ivory tower, I wonder if Dr. Terpstra will be as surprised by the vociferous reaction to her screaming example of unrepentant Marxism as was our good friend Billy Arkin? Perhaps more importantly, will the senior staff and faculty of Loyla University take any notice at all? All the world wonders.
Looks like the Mars rovers are going to be even more capable this season. With the MRO slowly going blind it's nice to know the rovers are still going strong.
Contrary to what everyone's favorite Austrian believed, at least some studies are beginning to find we really aren't all secretly lusting after our family members.
Oh, and the first one to make a crack about Arkansas, the South, etc. is going to get a boot the head, capice?
Coming soon to an assisted living home near you: powered suits for the elderly. If successful in Japan, it'll be interesting to see what, if any, regulatory roadblocks are thrown up to keep this thing out of the US.
After tinkering on and off for about two months, I finally got a new toy set up on the network. I am now basking in much SNMP goodness. Like a chimpanzee that's found a gun in the jungle, I'm not quite sure what to do with it, and am pretty sure it might be dangerous, but it definitely does something and if I figure out which way to point it it's gonna rock.
I've tried to get these fancy SNMP widgets to work probably three, four times in the past ten years. Never did get much out of them, most likely because they're extremely powerful tools by geeks for geeks and therefore require a ton of learnin' to leverage them. It'll be interesting to see if I'm able to dedicate enough to make it stick this time.
Free software running on already-paid-for hardware. What's not to love?
While, in my own opinion, asking is environmentalism a new religion is sort of like asking if the Pope is
Polish German, it's always nice to see a new take on the stance. This time, the article profiles the author of a book which takes on climate modelers, who's models disagree so frequently and wildly that when they do actually agree, "it says more about the self-regulating group psychology of the modelling community than it does about global warming and the economy."
Disco Sid, meet Disco Squid. Bonus points to BBCnews for including video and a nifty yardstick comparison between various leviathans of the deep. For me the real question is, will Ellen's squiddy allegiance change to Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni now that it has de-throned her previous favorite Archetuthis as the biggest monster of the deep?
Don't praise your kids for being smart, praise them for working hard. It apparently works amazingly well. A very interesting article to me, because this:
... For a few decades, it’s been noted that a large percentage of all gifted students (those who score in the top 10 percent on aptitude tests) severely underestimate their own abilities. Those afflicted with this lack of perceived competence adopt lower standards for success and expect less of themselves. They underrate the importance of effort, and they overrate how much help they need from a parent.
... describes my experience in school to a "T." I eventually "got over it," but I wonder how much more quickly I would've overcome my difficulties if I'd learned early on that it was the work I put in that made the difference, not any so-called "natural ability."
I don't begrudge my parents for their actions... even the author admits it's quite hard to re-work praise habits. It also didn't help that I grew up in the heart of the "feel good" praise-driven radical school revolution. I can remember quite clearly my parent's relief when we moved from the "success-based" report cards of my early grade levels to ones that actually assigned a letter. In middle school my classmates and I were all quite stunned to learn it was impossible to flunk a grade. It's a wonder any of us received an education at all, and I am quite deeply concerned at the prevalence these ideas still seem to have in the education establishment.
Olivia already very clearly responds to incentives of various types. It'll be interesting to see if I'm even able to make the described change, and if I do what affect it may have.
Looks like another potential test for string theory has popped up. Of course, they don't appear certain they can create black holes with the Large Hadron Collider, but if they can, and if those black holes have rings (no, really!) then it'll be a confirmation that our universe has more than its perceived number of dimensions. I think. Cosmology is hard.
Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, and happy birthday to my dad!
And thank you weathermen, for the deepest 1" of snow and ice I've ever seen (was more like 4).
Okay, pet pythons running loose in the Everglades is, on the face of it, cool, in a sorta "sewers of New York" way. But what I want to know is, what the hell is a weatherman doing on the story?
Great. First it's Jim Cantore, weatherman of DOOOOMMMMM!!!, now this guy. Those weather people, they're up to no damned good, I tell ya...
Mike J. gets a perceptive no-prize for bringing us this comparatively even-handed look at all the other problems Iran is facing. The payoff for me (emphasis added):
To curb demand, which has been driven in part by subsidies that keep the domestic pump price at a mere 35 cents a gallon, the government plans to begin rationing gasoline in March, a measure so unpopular, and potentially explosive, that rationing plans have been put off several times in the past.
This single paragraph tells me volumes about what is going on in Iran, and consulting everyone's favorite on-line encyclopedia confirms it: Iran runs on a socialist-style command economy. As with all such social redistribution systems, the regime traded long-term growth and stability for short-term gains in "equality and fairness*," with the predictable result of an unresponsive, inefficient economy incapable of real long-term growth.
In other words, they made sure a peasant's lot was immediately improved by the revolution by taking shortcuts that would completely sabotage the pathways that would let that peasant's children progress and prosper. Like all progressive/liberal economic policy makers, they never thought past stage one and are now paying the price.
Unfortunately, history only provides one way out that actually works... implementation of broad and pervasive free-market reforms. I say unfortunately because, to date anyway, such implementations have always brought about chaos and instability in the short term. In all but one case (China, and only so far, and only because they were willing to crack some heads), this has ultimately resulted in the overthrow of the implementing regime. Not a nice thing to mull over if you're in charge of a population quite famous for its propensity to riot when things don't break their way.
So, will the imams do what needs to be done, with the understanding that history treats even the most egregious implementers quite well once they've gone? It's impossible to say. However, it does, to me, indicate that sanctions have a lot of traction left in them. Over time, economies based on state controls rot like a termite-infested house, and once they become sufficiently rotten it doesn't take a lot of knocking to bring them down.
Sanctions have historically proven to knock rather softly, but if the underlying wood is rotten enough, a tap may be all it takes.
~ If he hears, he'll knock all day ~
* Take from the rich, give to the poor, soak whoever makes more than a hardscrabble farmer with taxes and make sure no business is allowed to function without massive government oversight. In short, "we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us."
Mark gets an amazingly cool no-prize for bringing us this nicely graphic presentation of why one shouldn't let alkali metals interact with water. The producers of the show get bonus points for the eye candy and the "scientists" scampering for cover behind earthen berms. Makes the Mythbusters crew look rather more stand-offish.
If my high-school chemistry class had involved more explosions like this I probably would've done much better in it.
For those of you with an iPod and way too much time on your hands, we have the iPod Tarot Deck. It'll make you much more interesting at parties!
Looks like prions may not be the cause of diseases such as scrapie, BSE and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). As long as it gets them closer to treatments or cures, I'm all for it.
I guess it was inevitable someone would start ricing up Alfas. I guess we'd call these "risotto", no?
"It could be worse!"
Kudos go again to Wikipedia, without which I may never heard of Able Archer 83, considered by some to be the closest the world got to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Having quite vivid memories of what the world was like at the time, I'm amazed the government was up to such shenanigans. Everyone with nukes was pointing them at each other, finger on trigger, safety off. Both sides were engaging in such damned fool things for so long it's a wonder any of us are here at all.
The article does point out there's actually quite limited evidence for such an alarmist Soviet response. However, I've been doing quite a lot of reading about the first and second generations of Soviet revolutionaries, and such a paranoiac reaction was completely within their character. Can't say it happened, but can't say it didn't either.
Scary times indeed.
Mark gets a worrisome no-prize for bringing us this insightful op-ed from The Economist on the state of Iran's relations to the world. It includes a nice summary of just how difficult it would be to blow their nuclear program to hell, something I'd not seen before (at least in what I would call an honest and even-handed way). The Economist seems cautiously optimistic that diplomatic efforts may work.
Ellen actually had someone make an impressive Etch-a-Sketch at her workplace a few years ago, but that's got nothing on this. I don't spend 80 hours on things I like. Talk about your concentration...
Trust me, in reverse, the sound is nothing like a vacuum. More like a clogged toilet that's been accidentally connected to a misfiring diesel engine, sort of thing. Sometimes I wonder why they even bother to eat.
It appears the recently-arrived MRO is slowly going blind. It'd be nice if they at least knew why.
I don't care what your stance is on the environment, bicycling with no clothes on is bad. Sure, a well-kitted cyclist is really cruising around in his or her underwear, but it's a very special sort of underwear that is very important to keeping one's kiester sore-free!
"By some estimates, only one out of every 10 cells in the body is human." We're not people, we're just billions of cells, all traveling in the same direction.
The last of the original Clinic Cats are gone. My hospital is going to be very empty. Night night Gertie. Ellen loves you no matter how yucky everyone thought you were. I still loved you and held you and cleaned you up.
This is Nina's hat I made her. Olivia has decided she needed to wear it today.
What happens when a little girl gets in your makeup.
Now Amber was not as bad as this. We took the scissors away.
This story just keeps getting weirder!
The line of those claiming to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter — a baby who could wind up being worth nearly a half-billion dollars — got a little longer Friday when the husband of 90-year-old Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor made the incredible claim that he fathered the child, and not two other men already wrangling over her paternity.
A really odd NO-PRIZE! to my Mom for bringing up the next part of this Anna Nicole saga.
I'm in the blue skirt. We were asked to help out with a B-Day party (b-day boy in the scarf on the right) since we were doing ATS formations.
It appears that the bacteria which causes ulcers has been with us as long as we've been around. Which begs the question, if Helicobacter has been with humans since we were all whacking each other over the head with rocks on the African plain, why are ulcers considered a modern phenomenon?
Personally, I blame Haliburton.
So if the universe is destined to shatter into a billion pieces, with each piece forming a new universe, what, exactly, are they all traveling in? I mean, we're not talking about a sun exploding and flinging crap all over the place, we're talking about the place itself coming apart and re-forming in on itself. I think.
I'm going to go soak my head for awhile...
The more things I read about Milton Friedman, the more I agree with him. In that article especially, it's every single one.
I remember recently news that scientists had done weird things like slow light to a near stop, and transmit it from one place to another, but when I tried to understand what all that meant my head rapidly 'asploded. This article does a better job of explaining what's going on and what it means. First time through, I still felt my head crack a bit. Second time, I think I got it. Since you're all much smarter than we are, I'm sure you won't have any trouble at all.
Slashdot linked up the announcement of a (potentially) working turbine that's only 1 mm in size. They haven't quite built it yet, but it sounds like they're damned close. Such an engine can be used to power a variety of different devices much more efficiently than current battery technologies. If it pans out, these turbines will most likely represent a technological "discontinuity" between this century and the previous one.
(CNN) -- Anna Nicole Smith died Thursday at a South Florida hospital after being discovered unconscious in her hotel room.
The reality TV star, Playboy Playmate and former Guess model was 39.
Read the developing story.
Weer in ur hehvunz, trashin up ur purly gatez.
I see reports in MSM that global warming is real, here, and must be stopped. I nod my head, if only a little. Then, if I look for a little bit, I find things like this, and realize the whole damned thing is a giant shill to bid up radical leftist stocks. It ain't about the environment, it never was. It's where all the old yippies went to die in the US and where all the old Marxists of Western Europe ended up when their pot supplies ran out.
You want to reduce global carbon emissions? Fine, happy for ya, have a good day and stay the hell off my lawn. Try to impose your ideals on me and mine through ridiculous regulations and unattainable goals? Well, sorry sparky, but we're gonna have a problem with that, you and me.
See you at the polls.
First Merlin aircraft engines, now monstrous tank engines. Where does the madness end?!? And when do I get to drive?
These sorts of motors produce gobsmacking amounts of torque, but are relatively low on the hp scale, especially for their weight. It'll make a nice tractor pull rig (in fact, at least back in the early 80s, these sorts of motors were de rigueur at said pull events), but in a car? Not so much.
Still, I wouldn't turn down the keys.
It's nice to know white people weren't the only ones with goofy hair styles back in the 70s. I didn't think they were goofy back then because that's what all my friends (well, the ones who's hair would do this anyway, and they weren't all black) wore. It was quite shocking when the style shifted to shaved or very nearly so in the early 80s. The early adopters of that particular trend definitely suffered for it.
Around our house Ajax is the S&M kitty, but he's got nothing on this tuxedo cat. Never thought of using actual paddles, but it's probably just as well, since Olivia would chase all the cats around with them.
Someone over at my workplace's ISP has blown our zone up. No connectivity for you! Just what I needed on a Thursday. Well, at least it happened in the morning instead of around 4:15 like it usually does. The worst part will be all the angst-ridden meetings this will trigger in the coming weeks. I guess if nothing else I can definitively say this one's not my fault. For once.
Hey, at least I managed to re-structure the network in such a way that this failure doesn't knock the office out as well. Two years ago, that's exactly what would've happened, idling more than 80 full-time positions. Can you say, "cha-ching?" I knew you could.
It definitely suggests some extra steps that need to be taken to protect us from ham-fisted techs and other equipment failures in the future. Spreading the zone out to two different, independent ISPs will most likely be the first step.
Yeah, I know I should've done it long ago, but I'm one guy directly supporting 100 local users and providing at least some support services to at least 3000. I can't think of it all.
Ah... here comes the first peasant with a lit torch...
Update, 10:45 am: Seems we're back up now. No word from the ISP just yet about what went wrong. I'm thinking it was most likely a typo or something in the file itself. Making things more efficient sometimes means you screw up faster.
Mike J. gets a deliriously nerdy no-prize for bringing us this improv production of "Spocks Brain", which appears to be a nearly shot-for-shot recreation of one of the goofier original Star Trek episodes. They appear to have had sound problems with the first section, so just hang on until the scene change to hear the dialog clearly. The best part for me was watching the guy playing Kirk trying not to crack up during the sick bay scene.
What I want to know is, if they can now make a robot that can roller-skate, why can't they make one that'll clean up my damned house? C'mon folks, gimme something useful!
If it scares the cats, even better!
Right now I'm feeling a bit DE, but am also in the mood for an AD. Of course, according to Ellen I'm always in the mood for an AD. To which I can only reply, "I'm a guy, duh."
Hey, even God needs a crib note or two, no?
Carrie gets a damned foolish no-prize for bringing us evidence that wacky fundamentalists trying to screw with natural history museums are not just a US phenomenon. Having bored journalists who'll stick a microphone in anyone's face is also, apparently, quite common elsewhere as well.
Looks like the latest entry in the burgeoning "crossover" vehicle class is the Alfa Romeo CXover. If it turns out looking anything like the illustration, it'll be a damned fine looking vehicle. Unfortunately, at ~ $36,000 base price, it'll also most likely be well out of my price range. Maybe I'll be able to pick up a used one a few years later...
Not content with the milquetoast "sort of real, sort of functioning" socialism currently implemented in Europe, the EU has decided it's time to introduce some of the old-time (Marxist-Leninist) religion to their regulation:
The European Commission has proposed forcing carmakers to increase the fuel efficiency of new cars by 18%, by 2012.
Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen urged the industry to see the commission's proposal as a spur to innovation.
"The motor industry faces a major challenge... I would urge them to face up to it and not consider it a burden but consider it a positive challenge," he said.
Comrades! I have recently reviewed your production reports for the previous year and find them unacceptable! The targets set by the central committee are not to be questioned! Complaints of unrealistic goals and burdensome regulation are the workings of Trotskyite-facist saboteurs , and must be dealt with in the most extreme way possible! You must respond to this positive challenge!
J. Stalin G. Verheugen
At least their car companies can blame the government when they fail. Ours, not so much. I'm sure such comfort will keep their former employees warm on the bread lines.
Two words: cat accountants. Hey, as long as you don't mind them barfing on your tax return, it's all good.
Well, maybe not cash, but certainly a "biorefinery" that turns organic garbage into fuel for an electrical generator should be useful. At the size of "a small moving van", I'm not sure I'd call it all that portable, but I suppose as long as you can mount wheels on it, you can at least roll it where it needs to be.
Dude... I mean, where do you start:
Deary Abby: I am writing on behalf of my friends at work. We have a co-worker, "Madge," who had a stillborn baby last year. It was tragic. Our problem is, she keeps a photo of the deceased infant with its little eyes sewn shut on her desk in plain view, so that if we must interact with her (we have an open cubicle layout) we have to see it.
Fortunately, the article is completely picture-less. I know that something like this can create long-lasting emotional trauma, but holy freakin' jeebus on a stick, we gotta have limits people. Limits!
Via WTF is it Now?!?, whose icon on this story is much better than our own.
Looks like another test for string theory has been devised. With so many possible tests being suggested nowadays, I can't help but think something will happen in this field, soon.
And on the menu over the weekend was: cold waffles, soaked in syrup, dipped in ketchup. Said ketchup was demanded on sight as I was eating my own lunch (of chicken strips and french fries). After finishing her "lunch waffle", she proceeded to eat my chicken too. Ain't growing children grand?
In the, "no-wait, it-gets-weirder" science file, we have the discovery that a bacteria that kills the male members of a butterfly species makes the females more promiscuous. The result? What few males manage to survive are mugged by hordes of horny butterfly sluts, and are forced to mate so many times their sperm production drops.
Well, ok, they didn't actually say, "hordes of horny butterfly sluts," but it would've been a lot funnier if they had.
'Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get it under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.'
I remember quite clearly when this British Airways flight nearly went down because it had flown through a cloud of volcanic ash. At the time, I thought staying away from such things was a complete no-brainer. As with all such things, the reality of the situation made it much more complicated than people realized at the time.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll make him dizzy just looking at it for bringing us this impressive flight demonstration of the SU-30MKI. Most of the maneuvers are fun to look at but not particularly useful in combat. Still, it's impressive to see a jet the size of WWII medium bomber doing things you'd expect a Pitts Special to be doing.
More info on the SU-30 and it's many sub-variants is here. According to the article, this aircraft is operated primarily, perhaps exclusively, by the Indian Air Force. The video seems to be by an aircraft with
Soviet Russian markings, but it's too fuzzy for me to be sure.
Fark linked up one of the more amusing "mash-ups" I've seen lately. It's been so long since I watched the original Star Trek series I've actually forgotten a lot of these scenes. Hey, at one point I could recite the dialog from most of them!
Thanks for the sign! What does... D-R-E-N... mean?
Actually, this isn't like Olivia, it's like Ellen. Sounds like a firecracker that didn't quite go off right. Everyone all together now, Awwwwwww...
And from the "slow news day" department, Reuters discovers just how weird Mormons can be. The fact they've been baptizing by proxy for more than a century, usually quite openly, doesn't matter. Always remember The Reporter's Maxim: "If I've never heard of it, it must be news!"
I will have to admit I'd never heard of the "marriage by proxy" bit. I thought heaven was a place where bad things didn't happen to you!
Microsoft's latest iteration of Office, v2007, cannot be installed via a group policy object. It will not allow you to create the MST file necessary to script the install. This means you either buy their (clunky, awful) SMS server product and pay a per-user license, or you walk to each system and run the install, one at a time.
Which is why we're now in no damned hurry at all to deploy their latest n' greatest.
I am a very unhappy sysadmin right now. Put this up here in the hope that Google will "spread the word."
Being unreasonable and tenacious isn't a crime. Or is it? I guess it depends on the group with which you are being unreasonable, especially when that group is the Church of Scientology.
Don't forget to scroll down to the comments, which to me bear a striking resemblance to our own encounter with the loopy unreasonable fringe (ignore the article, check the comments). The primary difference, it would seem, is that the Scientologists are a helluva lot richer than our kooky vampire hunters.
So, do we combat global warming, or do we help babies live by providing the world with clean drinking water and proper sewers? The answer would be somewhat simpler if scientists could agree on what global warming actually means, and provided solutions that would actually work. It would be easier still if it weren't so expensive to implement the former, and so cheap to implement the latter.
I think the answers people give will tell more about their love for mankind than it will their love for the environment.
~ Let me sleep on it / Baby, baby let me sleep on it ~
Science, meet legend. Legend, science. Nice to think DNA tests can be used not only for garden-variety crime investigations, but also to test whether a legendary "lost legion" actually did manage to make its way to China more than two thousand years ago.
because if this ever became mainstream, it would kill a lot of cats just from fright alone.
You may find the video funny, but when you see a cat come in from a groomer that was hung or had a jaw broken, its' not so funny anymore.
In no way shape or form is this work safe! What did I say kiddies? NWS!!!!!!!
It is just their second class, but the Unity College students who signed up to learn belly dancing are finding more fun, and pain, than they had bargained for.
Read more here. I found it boring, but hey, got to archive!
Update your earthquake insurance!
Those crazy people from Singapore are at it again!
Lullaby versions of your favorite rock songs.
And that whole 48 inch waist thing? So not me.
To the general public, people like me are sick and strange, and that's where it ends. I think it is a question of fearing the unknown. I have something called body identity integrity disorder (BIID), where sufferers want to remove one or more healthy limbs. Few people who haven't experienced it themselves can understand what I am going through. It is not a sexual thing, it is certainly not a fetish, and it is nothing to do with appearances. I simply cannot relate to myself with two legs: it isn't the "me" I want to be. I have long known that if I want to get on with my life I need to remove both legs. I have been trapped in the wrong body all this time and over the years I came to hate my physical self.
"To the general public, people like me are sick and strange, and that's where it ends."
Read the whole f'd up article.
Mark gets a no-prize you better not eat for bringing us news of mysterious orange snow being found in a remote part (is there any other kind?) of Siberia. The fact that the snow is oily, and the region is at the center of Russia's oil industry, makes the culprit pretty obvious to me. Must've been a slow news day or something.
Scientists have created a material that's stiffer than diamond. Stiffer only in a very narrow temperature range, that is. Nobody's quite sure what it'll be good for, but something tells me there are a lot of people trying to figure that out.
Articulating my political beliefs can be quite difficult some times, so I'll let Arnold Kling do it for me. Not a 100% perfect fit (I'm slightly, but only slightly, more liberal on both immigration and gay marriage), but definitely close enough for government work.
Sure, it's been done before, but I laugh every time anyway. Plus you get to see that college students the world over live in ratty dorms eating Lord knows what.
Garrison and Pica are large cats no more. No, Ellen, you can't have him. You either, Amber.
Looks like all that effort to reconstruct the 1918 flu is really paying off. Bah. Last time around it killed off mostly 20-somethings. Since I'm just about ready to stomp the big 4-0 into the ground, I'm well out of range. Suck it, kiddos!
Coherence has never been my strong suit. Try the veal!
Today's spectacular photo of an astronomical object comes to you via this SpaceflightNow article on a Cassini image of Saturn. Psychedelic indeed!
Soldiers say, "it's not possible to support us and not support our mission."
This one's got the right side of the blogosphere in attack mode, and rightly so. I've got friends who do hold the "troops, not mission" line, and I've never heard anything even remotely like this from them. The comments section makes it even worse, since it seems all the loons from the thread we linked up yesterday went barking over there today.
You think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. If this is the best the hard-left can come up with, I'd hate to see what they'd get up to if they actually got hold of the levers of power.
Via Countercolumn (although essentially all the blogs I read are linking to it. Whee! Lemming time!)
Yeah, wouldn't hold my breath on that one. Don't you see? The economy's not growing, it's preparing to falter!
Two words: Skiing Ostrich. The best part is the comments seem to indicate people think this thing is real.
Joshua gets a mind-bending no-prize for bringing us this first look at Valve's add-on game for Half Life, Chapter 2. Called "Portals", it introduces what has to be one of the more interesting "weapons" I've ever seen in a shooter: a gun that creates wormholes that hook one surface to any other surface, regardless of actual location.
I dunno about this one. I tend to be in the "blast them all, let God decide" camp, so subtle solutions to elegant puzzles are often lost on me. Still, definitely something to look for.