Jeff gets a no-prize on a hook for bringing us this set of Bill Dance fishing show bloopers. You'd think after the second one they'd start wrapping those cameras in plastic or something. Highly recommended.
A new study seems to indicate that Mars has a completely molten core. The conclusion was reached by creating the temperature and pressure thought to be found there on a model of the core. This finding matches well with other observations, such as how easily the sun is able to distort the planet's shape. The finding supplies a neat explanation as to why Mars's magnetic field turned off so long ago while the Earth's keeps going strong. It also predicts that some day Mars's magnetic field could turn itself back on.
Looks like someone else is going to take a run at the NFL. Their plan is to run their first season in 2008. At first I thought, "ah geeze, not another one," but after RTFA, the guy does seem to have at least some business sense. Certainly with so many untapped large media markets, there would seem to be an opportunity here.
First Battlestar Galactica, now Doctor Who. Well, in general any hour-long series seems to reach its peak at about season four, so if they both stay well written to the end it could be worse. At least both of them will be able to wrap up their story lines.
Aquarium workers placed RFID readers on the front of a "Living Fossils" exhibition tank. When the fish move within range of RFID readers, information about the fish pops up on a touch-screen display. Visitors can use the touch-screen computers to find out about each species' name, diet and characteristics
I wonder how hard it would be to implement some sort of tracking with that system? Sometimes aquarium tanks are so big the fish you're looking for is nowhere to be seen.
Fark linked up news of a new "domestic" cat breed. Named "Ashera," this exotic crossbreeding of two wild cat lines and a domestic line results in what looks to be more a smallish cheetah than a large house cat. Yours for only $22,000.
Little f'er would probably still yak on my carpet.
No Ellen, you can't have one.
Whodathunk that a quarter scan of a Playboy centerfold would become an iconic image in photographic processing? As someone who's hobby would literally not be possible without computerized pictures, I can only say, "sal-ute!"
Bah. To paraphrase an earlier post, you wanna make sense, go get yer own site.
It's not about knowing the answer, it's about knowing the question. I've had a bunch of people on the left side of the peanut gallery challenge me to give them the facts behind my support of various policies. You know who you are. Do you... dare?!?
Scientists have developed a technique involving electrical fields to treat brain cancer that doubled the survival rate in clinical trials. By using "intermediate frequencies," scientists are able to turn off brain tumor cells, causing them to die instead of reproduce. Since healthy brain cells are famous for their near inability to divide, and use different electrical properties to boot, they're not affected by the treatment. The result? No observable side effects.
Considering the legendary suffering of those going through chemo, radiation, and surgical therapies, it's very much a Good Thing.
Scientists are predicting that super massive black holes can not only be "bounced" out of their galaxies, but can be detected by the accretion disk that follows them. The event is supposed to occur when two large galaxies merge with two fast-spinning black holes in their center. The merging black holes would emit gravitational radiation along a specific axis, booting the thing in the backside to the tune of perhaps ten million miles per hour (~ 15% of the speed of light).
Assuming the accretion disks are going much faster than the now larger and moving black hole, the newly merged disk should travel along with it "like sheep following a shepherd," being bright enough to see for perhaps several million years. Even then, the objects would still be quite difficult, but not impossible, to detect.
After that, one presumes, it's completely invisible, and perhaps impossible to track as it barrels through space, gobbling up anything unfortunate enough to be in its path.
Sleep well tonight!
Ron gets a no-prize he can bug Mark with for bringing us news of the first legal tender car-coin with working headlights. $19.95! Whatabargain!
Could the immortal soul be hiding away in Planck space? There have been several discoveries at the edges of physics that provide eerie hints that there's more to consciousness than can be accounted for by neurons firing. Unfortunately none (that I know of) have provided testable predictions, so they remain just that... strange. Perhaps now things are different? Regardless, science fiction writers (Dan Simmons in particular) have been characterizing consciousness as a quantum standing-wave function for years. It wouldn't be the first time such people were proven right after all.
Oh be quiet. You want to post smarter stuff, go get yer own site!
Unsurprisingly, it seems the whole "disappearing bee" thing is mostly media hype. In a lot of ways this reminds me of the "crashing amphibian population" hysteria the media trots out when nothing else is happening in the world that day. I first read, and at the time deeply worried, about that in, oh, probably 1981. Twenty-six years later, the frogs are still jumpin'.
And the bees will, I'm sure, continue to buzz.
The alpha boar, which weighed 75st (477kg) and measured 9ft 4in (2.8 metres), has been declared the new Goliath of the hog world, making Hogzilla, a 57st specimen killed in Georgia in 2004, look like Piglet by comparison. It has now been turned into sausages – 2,800 of them.
I could have titled this "Hog Kills Hog", but that would cause an uproar. No wait, I just did. My blog, bite me. Perhaps he needs to exercise his body a bit more than sitting still in a tree waiting for animals to pass on by.
No-Prize! to Nina for the submission!
And some of them even have drops to drink. It's nice to know that we're finally able to resolve entire solar systems that look like ours. However, "like" would seem to be a relative term since ours has planets with relatively circular orbits, instead of the highly elliptical ones found among the 28 new discoveries announced. However, the resolution will only get better (the "stellar wobble" technique has already improved by a factor of 10), so it may only be a matter of time before we can actually see pictures of these things.
The "Anbar story" seems to be spreading down the Euphrates. The last time cautiously optimistic reports started leaking out more disasters were reported to drown them out. Yet there does seem to be progress.
The CIA tried to uncover the Kremlin's deepest secrets during the 1960s by turning cats into walking bugging devices, recently declassified documents show.
In one experiment during the Cold War a cat, dubbed Acoustic Kitty, was wired up for use as an eavesdropping platform. It was hoped that the animal - which was surgically altered to accommodate transmitting and control devices - could listen to secret conversations from window sills, park benches or dustbins.
As with most hair-brained Cold War schemes, this one ended in a tragic farce.
Those of you wondering just why the Pentagon is shaped like, well, a pentagon, need wonder no more. In a nutshell: they needed a huge building, which for political-aesthetic reasons couldn't be tall. The Northern Virginia lot chosen was roughly pentagon-shaped, so that defined the building. A different non-pentagonal site was then chosen, but since everyone was in such a goddamned hurry, the shape was never changed. Bureaucratic Murphy's Law-ism at it's best!
Israel today arrested a longtime wanted terror leader here in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
According to Israeli security officials and Palestinian sources in Ramallah speaking to WND, the terrorist was arrested while having car sex just a few hundred feet from late PLO leader Yasser Arafat's gravesite.
May it be the last piece of tail he receives for a very, very long time.
Could the introduction of infra-red burners to a gas grill finally give die-hard charcoal users a reason to switch? Those who value charcoal for its higher temperatures will most likely want to take a look.
We still use charcoal, not because of any particular preference, but because it's simple, cheap, and compact. These things should be much more affordable when the time comes around for us to consider a full-size grill, so who knows?
Business as usual: 1, Left-wing loons: 0. The moderates I know who consistently voted democrat claimed to do so because they liked a split government. I guess they're getting what they wished for. The ones who were naive enough to think this would change anything, not so much.
The first "trailer" for the upcoming Star Wars-based animated TV series is up. I couldn't get into the original's 5-minute episode format. I'm not sure if this one will follow that pattern.
To me, the hardest part of aerial photography is conveying a sense of motion. Fortunately, those of you interested in seeing just what that upside-down helicopter featured yesterday won't have to imagine anymore. It really was that breathtaking.
Joshua gets a no-prize that's a crack shot for bringing us this video of the pistol shrimp, a creature that kills with a bullet-like shock-wave generated by its claw.
And the latest entry in the "Captain Obvious" file is news that Cannes film-goers find a film documenting bestiality is shocking. With quotes like, "the men heard in the film are remarkably honest about their motivations. One of them argues "mammal to mammal" love should not be seen as wrong." And, "another firmly rejects the tag "bad person" his employer lays upon him before he is sacked. They all say the horses were willing participants. " you just can't go wrong, I guess.
'Scuse me, I need to go shower.
A new company is offering a car-based GPS system that takes traffic conditions into account when it calculates the best route to your destination. In the DC area it's quite common to have traffic jams at 4 am on a Saturday, so something like this (that works) would be welcome.
This has got to be the dumbest quote yet:
Ambulance spokeswoman Helen Robinson said: “The injuries were so severe that the woman was already dead at the scene.”
OK now look up at the Title of this story. Ya think?
Read asinine article here.
Yes, I could be inverting the photo, but I'm not. This is the first helicopter I've ever personally seen that could do a split-S. He did three of them.
Some years, I'm not so impressed with their flying. This was not one of those years.
Interestingly enough, this was the first time I'd ever seen women actually flying the planes. Two of them, even, one in second solo, and the other second in the formation. They were both really short, but as you can see here (top plane, as I recall), were most definitely qualified.
While I'm impressed at the discipline of 100 dogs being fed, at a signal, at once, I'm at a loss as to why it's done that way. Looks like some sort of country manor, so maybe they've just always done it that way?
A millionaire businessman is suing a bus company, claiming a bungling driver caused more than £300,000 of damage to his rare Ferrari Enzo.
Property tycoon Frank Mountain has issued a High Court writ after his 220mph supercar was hit by the bus in one of the most expensive prangs in motoring history.
From the pictures, it doesn't look like it was totaled, but still. And trust me, this guy is almost certainly out-of-pocket for this. Most insurers will hang up before you even finish the word, "Ferrari." They all will on a model this expensive and rare.
All those people across the pond who make fun of American schools that don't teach evolution for fear of upsetting a few religious nuts are pleased to be sitting down and shutting the hell up now:
[UK] schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.
Of course, they haven't tried to formally ban the teaching, so I guess we're still one up on that. Comfort's not so nice when it's cold, is it?
Mark gets a no-prize that'll admire itself in the mirror for bringing us "his and hers" How-to shower guides. In our house, the undressing roles are reversed (you can always track where Ellen's been by the trail of her discarded clothes), but otherwise it's pretty close.
Joshua gets a no-prize that includes life-like movements for bringing us this quick video of someone building some really incredible semi-robotic life-sized dinosaurs. They've certainly come a long way from those stiff, hissy pneumatic things that were all the rage back when I was in college.
This is apparently a live production in Australia. Let's hope they launch a world tour soon, with at least one nearby stop!
A company has announced a fabric made of carbon nanotubes that's seven times stronger than steel and conducts better than aluminum. Right now they can make 3 x 1 meter sheets, but hope to make bigger ones next year. Apparently their biggest problem is figuring out exactly how to describe what all it does to people interested in buying it.
Carbon-fiber bike jersey, anyone?
Good composition, poor camera hold. Next year, I'm bringing a monopod and a tripod.
The weirdly tinted canopy is actually part of the stealth package. An instrument panel is still a flat surface, donchaknow?
While not as impressive as the F-22, this F-18F still managed to do an impressive imitation of a Pitts Special. America has the. best. toys!!!
Scientists have discovered the genes for fin formation in fish are far more similar to land animal genes for limb formation than previously thought. Previous studies of this sort relied on zebrafish as test subjects, but by using the more primitive paddlefish scientists found many of the zebrafish's differences were the result of further evolution, not a fundamental difference.
Those of you who pinned your balanced budget hopes on the Democrats are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now. Of course, Democrats are supposed to be the tax-and-spend party, so this isn't much of a surprise. All that bleating about balancing budgets confused me for awhile, I guess.
Hey, at least their ethics package is moving along smartly. Oh... wait...
I mean, changing ethics rules and overhauling budget priorities was part of their mandate, right?
Monstrous armored freshwater fish, anyone? Gar always scared the heck out of my brother and me when we were kids fishing on the Arkansas river, and I can't recall ever seeing one much bigger than 2 or 3 feet. If I had any idea they could get that big I probably would never have gone near the water.
Stoned, drunk, and concussed is no way to go through life, son. People just don't understand bottles are a) thick, b) strong, and c) heavy. That's why they're good weapons in a bar fight! I thought everyone knew they used fake bottles in movies. I guess there's always a few who weren't in class that day.
Scientists have proposed a theory that, approximately 3 trillion years from now, the universe will appear to be static. The thinking goes that around that time the information that allows an expanding universe to be deduced will have disappeared over the visible horizon. So it won't be static, it'll just look that way.
"I'm not a static universe, but I play one on TV."
There just isn't a better way to celebrate Star Wars's 30 anniversary than a goofy rap mash-up. Hey, it's no worse than Phantom Menace!
Clouds are not so good for photography, but they're a godsend for photographers. Sunburns != your friend! Oh, and this guy was no Nancy Lynn, but he was damned good.
Well of course I'm going to try HDR here. Unfortunately, for whatever reason I was completely convinced tripods were verboten. Turns out, couldn't be further from the truth. So while your intrepid hi-tech photographer was trying to brace on any (rare!) level surface, he was surrounded by puzzled people hauling tripods from place to place. Next year, next year...
The highlight of the show was the F-22 demonstration. The squadron only went active last year, so this is one of the first operational demonstrations they've done. Let me tell you, 68,000 pound aircraft do not have any business doing the things this did. Remember that flat spin in Top Gun? Yeah, he did that, six or seven times, on purpose.
Printable paper models, anyone? Star Trek and Star Wars, by the looks of it. The detail is quite impressive, at least in the photographs. Unfortunately the instructions are in Japanese, although with some concentration it might be possible to suss it out via trial-and-error. All in all, seems to me a fine rainy-day project for a parent and, say, a middle-school aged kid? Seeing as how I don't have one of those (yet), more advanced parents will need to advise. The 10 year old in me certainly thinks it looks interesting!
Scientists have found that tailoring diets to the biology of their bodies resulted in better weight loss success. Specifically, people who naturally produced high levels of insulin fared better on a low-glycaemic load diet (which, if I'm reading it correctly, is effectively the Atkins diet), while those who didn't had better results from a more conventional low-fat diet. The causes of this are currently unknown, but the findings would seem to point the way toward more effective weight loss strategies.
Alternative title: when vegans attack:
An adult who was well-nourished in utero and in infancy may choose to get by on a vegan diet, but babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil. Children fed only plants will not get the precious things they need to live and grow.
We have a few relatives who are vegans, as I understand it quite hard-line at that. Should they decide to ever have children, I do hope they take a cue from the world's oldest vegetarians and add dairy and eggs to their diet. If both are organically raised, it would seem to me an adequate "cover" to maintaining one's vegan credentials.
Carrie gets a no-prize with detachable parts* for bringing us this nifty slide show on the work of Robert Barron, the "master of disguises" who makes a living creating facial prosthetics to help the deformed or injured. We've seen documentaries on his work before, but it's nice to know he's still out there and helping.
* First one to make a Zappa reference is getting a boot to the head, mmkay?
Making the rounds: the Mars rover Spirit has found even more evidence for a "wet Mars". You'd think by now the case was closed.
Another year, another JSOH airshow. This time, for the first time in four or five years, skies were clear and we got the "high altitude" show. It made a difference.
Yeah, and verily, it is better to be lucky than good. Or both at the same time, if you can manage. After 25 years of airshow photography...
Time to design, develop, debug, and deploy my first .net widget: 3 weeks. Time to design, develop, debug, and deploy my second: 2 days.
Substantial (albeit painful) improvements in productivity are to be expected at this stage. After all, it's pretty easy to double your speed if you're only going 1 mph. Still, it's nice to see this stuff is actually sticking!
The DEPTHX deep-water probe has successfully completed its first mission. The probe, which is funded, designed, and operated by a variety of different public and private institutions, created a successful map of the floor of the El Zacatón Cenote in eastern Mexico. It showed a sloping floor that goes from 270 meters deep at one end to over 300 meters at the other. The discovery means a previous human effort to explore the floor, which resulted in the tragic death of one of the explorers, came within just a few meters of success. It's possible the Cenote connects to other underground caves, an option the team hopes to explore during their next expedition.
While this probe is far too heavy to represent something that could be sent to ice-covered Europa, it's hoped the technologies developed can be applied to a more purpose-built extraterrestrial probe.
Witness Marxist deterministic theory at its finest, at work in paleoanthropology. The idea that agriculture was a devastating discovery for humanity's overall well-being was most definitely the popular line of thinking twenty years ago. It was constantly harped on when I was getting my degree in college (at exactly the same time the article was written.)
Being a dumb, idealistic teenager, I simply accepted this as fact. We were happy hunter-gatherers in the past, and through some unclear chain of events all got trapped into this nasty, brutish, and short lifestyle known as agriculture. Yet even then I had the inklings of doubt... if agriculture was such an obviously awful way of life, why did people choose to live that way instead of the, according to my professors at any rate, obviously better hunter-gatherer lifestyle?
In truth, I still don't know the answer, but the searching for it is most likely one of the earliest events that lead me away from the milquetoast progressive beliefs I once held to the somewhat crunchier small-L libertarian ones I hold today. Agriculture may have caused very visible health problems for its adherents, but it most definitely provided some advantages, and very real ones at that. If it didn't, do you really think the hunter-gatherer lifestyle would've been shoved to the margins more than ten thousand years ago?
Nowadays, being better versed in Marxism than I once was, it's pretty obvious to me why the thought that agriculture was worse than hunting and gathering was so popular at that place and that time. Marxist theories of anthropology were still dominant theoretical forces, given less-red names like "cultural materialism." With the Berlin Wall still sturdy and strong, it was much easier to practice the time-honored academic tradition of holding a belief contradicted by everything around you.
Twenty years later, with Communism completely discredited, markets and freedom ascending, and the West's (in particular the United States's) utterly unreasonable inability to collapse and die on schedule still an embarrassing problem, I wonder if anything's changed over in theory-land? Certainly in Diamond's own later works one must scratch much deeper to get at the Red underneath.
Then again, considering how popular Communism's masonic children Environmentalism and Anti-globalization are, I can't help but think that the bloody, murderous bitch is still with us. There are no fools quite like old fools, and as long as they have people very young, stupid, or ignorant to talk to they will still get a hearing.
It's times like these I think, should immortality ever become reality, the one non-negotiable disqualification for treatment should be whether or not the candidate holds tenure.
December 9, 1999 - May 21 2006
Constant as the stars above
Always know that you are loved.
The geezer sounds so much like my dad it's kinda scary. I can't help but completely agree with the sentiments expressed.
Ron gets a no-prize he better keep in the closet for bringing us this documentary clip about a boy and his doll. Realdoll, that is. This is possibly the first time I had to look away from a video that didn't have blood and guts in it. Video is SFW, if not for stomach.
In fact, it's so over-the-top creepy, I have a sneaking suspicion it might be a hoax. If it is, it's a pretty good one. *shudder*
Believe it or not, the smaller snake is only a few months younger than Cornbread. This little guy is a rescue from someone that fed him one pinky mouse a week.
He is also going to lose a nice chunk of tail from numerous bad sheds.
Olivia, after watching (YAF*) Shrek commercial: "Daddy! There's Shrek, and Donkey, and Piss on Boots!" The staccato delivery was what really sold it.
And the latest flavor combo? Chicken nuggets dipped in chocolate pudding. Coming to a McDonalds near you.
* Yet Another ... Fine. Yeah. Fine
From what I've seen, the vast majority of HDR photographers nowadays seem to want to make comic book frames instead of pictures. I just want to frame what I see. Not as exciting, but I like it better than the "pastels dipped in ink" look I see elsewhere.
Time to get medieval on some insects. I'm not sure I could hit a wall with a catapult that small, let alone (what appears to be) flying insects. I'm sure some if it is CGI, but if any of it isn't... darned impressive.
A new study claims the reason why Neanderthals hung on so long in Spain was related to the weather. A new climate model seems to indicate the Iberian peninsula turned into a very arid place about 40,000 years ago, and stayed that way for at least 1000 years. The thinking goes this caused modern humans to stop their encroachment into this area, allowing the indigenous Neanderthals to survive longer than their relatives did in other places.
The full theatrical trailer for Transformers is now available. It's a sad movie indeed which can't be made to look interesting in two and a half minutes, but if nothing else it sure does look like it blows up real good. Here's to hoping that it also doesn't just blow.
AP to Conservatives: Your leading candidates' campaigns are stuffed chock full o' white guys. The Democratic campaign staffs look more like America.
Conservatives to AP: STFU noobz.
But of course there is no liberal bias. Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along.
Ron gets a submarine no-prize for bringing us news about recent biological surveys of the Southern Ocean, the body of water that surrounds Antarctica. Contrary to earlier assumptions, the area is extremely rich and diverse, with dozens of species never before seen and found nowhere else.
Joshua gets a leet no-prize for bringing us a new take on an old funny. Maybe this time people who don't play these sorts of games will be able to follow?
Even though it's a skit, and even though you could see it coming a mile away, I still couldn't stop laughing at this. I wonder what TV show it's from?
... lawnmowers kill people. Let this be a reminder to everyone: if someone around you grabs a high-voltage line, they will not be able to let go and you must not touch them with your hands, or anything conductive, otherwise the electricity will get you too. Grab a broom handle, a stick, a (wooden!) bat, a board... anything non-conductive, and use that to push them off instead.
I've gotten popped a few times in my life, but have always been fortunate that the electricity "bounced" me off instead of locking me on. Very dangerous stuff if not handled with care!
Scientists have developed a theory as to what is causing the mysterious water plumes discovered on the Saturn moon Enceladus. Every time the moon twirls around Saturn, a period of 1.37 days, gravitational forces stretch and compress the icy crust on the moon's surface. The resulting heat and pressure works on fissures known as "tiger stripes", liquefying enough water to create the jets visible in various Cassini pictures of the moon. While it does indicate there is liquid water somewhere on the moon, it most likely is very deep, on the order of several miles. This considerably complicates any attempt to sample or explore this potential source of extra-terrestrial liquid water.
Libertarian National Socialist Green Party. I always knew they were green on the outside, red on the inside. I just didn't expect the seeds to sometimes be shaped like swastikas. This was just too much, but research seems to indicate it's not a hoax.
Insert Blues Brothers reference here...
Mark gets an uncirculated no-prize for bringing us news of the mint's latest issue. It's a strange sort of memorial, I suppose, but still worthy.
Fark (of course) linked up the discovery of a species of soft shelled turtle previously thought to be extinct. The Cantor's giant turtle has been found in abundance along a stretch of the Mekong delta in former Khmer Rouge territory. The soft-shelled mud dweller can grow up to six feet across and weigh more than 110 pounds. It also has jaws which can "crush bone", with a long neck and lightning reflexes. Don't touch! Cambodian and international conservation officials are already taking steps to protect the area, as the species has the unfortunate distinction of being an expensive delicacy in neighboring Vietnam.
No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Looks like our very earliest ancestors weren't really all that bright. Not particularly surprising, since basically all the evidence points to large brains coming very late to the hominid evolutionary game. Mmm... Brainss...
For perspective, the dinosaurs crapped out about 65 mya, and the earliest homina-homina-hominid found so far lived around 4.2 mya.
The recently-reported Orbital Express satellite rendezvous program has experienced a critical error. Looks like one of its critical sensor control computers just flat died, causing a mission abort and fail-safe maneuver that resulted in the two satellites to end up a few miles apart. The backup computer is working properly, but the program's schedule is now seriously messed up. The current theory is that the primary may have gotten zapped by high energy radiation.
Joshua gets a no-prize that'll take forever to get delivered for bringing us news of yet another delay in Halo 3's release. This time they seem to be promising it'll be out in September, the 25th to be exact. Tick-tock guys, tick-tock.
Ron gets a no-prize Flava Flave would envy for bringing us news of the discovery of a Roman-era dental decoration. Gold wire holding in the owners own teeth, no less.
Yeah yeah I know...no cats. But hey! They have whiskers!
New research has revealed that men who applied a gel containing a small dose of testosterone to their skin received substantial protection from the disease. The case study is very small, so more trials will be needed to confirm the effect. However, if proven, the study's authors claim the treatment should work equally well for women.
30 foot jump into a kiddie pool full of water, anyone? I thought the Guinness Book people had long ago stopped accepting records that were actively dangerous. Maybe, as the article speculates, it's not as hard as it looks? And I'll bet the unitard was used to reduce the sting. I hope.
Via Instapundit, who seems to be stealing our shtick with this one.
Inside joke: Brian?!? Is that you?!?
Mark gets a no-prize that he's just better off not knowing where it's been for bringing us this amusing tale of the unintended consequences of teaching your child where you keep your chapstick. To-date, we haven't had any incidents quite like this, although we do have very impressive stains in our dining room carpet when Ellen learned the hard way why Olivia is not allowed to play with real makeup unsupervised. Our new soopa-vac seems to be slowly removing these, but not in time to avoid some clucking from a Gramma.
Far as I'm concerned one of the joys of maleness is a distinct lack of pregnancy. At least one guy disagrees.
Um... well, ok. Pay your taxes, stay out of trouble, keep off my lawn, and I guess I don't have too much trouble...
Oh hell who am I kidding? That's some seriously skeevy stuff over there, man.
Last Saturday the folks at Bungie unveiled the latest beta for Halo 3. We missed it, but this guy didn't. Is it enough to justify buying a whole console? Can't say just yet, but it definitely is making me think about it.
Ron gets a no-prize he definitely won't get past customs for bringing us news of mushroom-based home insulation. No, really!
Fat, drunk, and electrocuted is no way to go through life, son. I think the worst we ever did in college was get drunk and fry CDs in the microwave. Well, that and stealing an entire pre-mix soda dispenser system, complete with cannisters. Needed it to keep the beer cold, donchaknow?
Good times. Good times.
The latest attraction at the Kennedy Space Center's Visitor Complex looks to be a real doozy. Olivia and went on a far more modest "motion simulator" at Udvar-Hazy a few months ago, and while you wouldn't remotely mistake it for actual flight, it was still fun. As if we needed one more excuse to go visit the Cape...
The Godfather: An economic treatise and libertarian showpiece. I suppose.
While the author of this "Top 10 weirdest medical anomolies" list clearly knows English as a second language, the result is still quite interesting. I'd read or heard about most of the disorders described, but not in quite such a succinct (if sometimes bizarrely broken) fashion.
The gyrations mainstream media reporters have to go through to not report on the economic success story that is the Bush administration tax cuts are getting harder and harder to hide. And I most definitely agree with the comment that the economic turnaround will be front-page news should Hillary Clinton be sworn into office. Republicans overseeing an economic recovery are, after all, just so much "dog bites man" news.
Unfortunately for Ms. Clinton, if elected getting credit for the previous administration's recovery will be a double-edged sword. If the inevitable business cycles cause a contraction during her hypothetical tenure I do not think the media will give her a pass. A Clinton administration failing to bring prosperity would after all most definitely be "man bites dog" news.
Ron gets a no-prize with a horn in its ear for bringing us news of a report about what noises, exactly, the dinosaurs may have made and heard. The conclusion that they probably made big boomy noises, similar to very large mammals, seems pretty damned obvious to me, but hell as long as it keeps them busy...
Yes, that is the start of a full back layout.
Betcha ya can't pick me out of the group!
The latest photo of our foster baby! Thanks to Ron and Amber for the 'caturday' post!
I always key my audio upgrades to major changes in Dolby's consumer home theater offerings. It generally takes them five to seven years to make a real (as apposed to marketing) change to their stuff, so that tends to define my hi-fi upgrade horizon. AC-3 has been "it" since... 1999? 1998? And affordable (to me) since 2002. Sure enough, a new Dolby standard has been defined, right on schedule. If I'm reading it right, they're going to have trouble upgrading this one. Seems it provides soundtracks with the exact same fidelity that the studios use on their theatrical releases.
We are planning a major upgrade of the visual bits of our home theater this Christmas. However, the format wars between blu-ray and HD DVD still seem to be raging, and prices are still quite high. I think we'll get the best damned TV available in our size range (46"), and then wait at least a year or two for things to settle out before starting the next round.
Besides, I only got my high-zoot receiver a year ago. It definitely hasn't run through its depreciation yet.
But it is nice to know there's an upgrade path out there. And those of you who were looking to do an audio upgrade this year? Well, it may well be worth it to hold out until the new stuff is available. It will definitely be worth it.
And, in alphabetical order, happy mothers day also to:
And everyone else! :)
We're gradually turning ourself into a nation of burger-flippers, allowing greedy corporations to outsource all the really good jobs to places like India or Mexico. So goes the progressive party line. But is that really what's happening? It would seem the truth is far more nuanced, and optimistic, than the doom-sayers would have you believe.
Yes, another Skeptical Optimist link. Whaddaya want? The guy's interesting! S'our blog, we'll link what we want! So there!
Alls I can say is, For $7.50 per glass, they better darned well make my beer taste better. I dunno... that small base sure looks tip-over-able to me. Olivia can spill things out of old, sealed paint cans. Something like this would seem to me an easy target.
Don't forget to check out the Finnish Folk Death Metal video! No, really!
It would seem nearly official that Battlestar Galactica's 4th season will be its last. I thought the previous season started strong, but stumbled and got bogged down in a bunch of navel-gazing drama at the end. If they have an endpoint, maybe we'll actually see the story advance again.
Hey, at least they see it coming. SciFi pulled the plug on Farscape so fast they didn't even have time to save the sets.
From the enactment of the Bill of Rights in 1791 until the 20th century, no one seriously argued that the Second Amendment dealt with anything but an individual right — along with all other nine original amendments. [Civil-rights attorney and gun-law expert Don] Kates writes that not one court or commentator denied it was a right of individual gun owners until the last century. Judges and commentators in the 18th and 19th century routinely described the Second Amendment as a right of individuals. And they expressly compared it to the other rights such as speech, religion, and jury trial.
All in all, a nice follow-up to the Penn and Teller show we linked up early this week. Except, you know, without pink pistols and a giant ugly guy with glasses, sort of thing.
If current trends continue, the budget will balance itself some time next year. Which is of course obvious to everyone, seeing as how the media have been emphasizing US economic growth and prosperity, as well as highlighting the downward trend of the deficit. Certainly they've all been talking about how tax cuts really did help the economy and reduce the deficit.
As expected, when Alfa Romeo returns to the US it'll be through a network of Maserati dealerships. One of the biggest Ferrari/Maserati dealerships in the country is about four miles from my house. If nothing else, it should mean I'll at least get to look at them in the parking lot!
Using sophisticated techniques and the Spitzer infrared telescope, scientists have created the first map of an extra-solar planet. It's of one of those loopy gas giants twirling away two blocks from its sun, and it doesn't seem to show that much, but it is a map. It's hoped the techniques, when used with the upcoming James Webb space telescope, will enable scientists to map more Earth-like planets.
Remember those stories about a fish that'd swim up your wee stream and lodge itself in your willie? All true man, all true. Unlike other stories I've read, this one has pictures of the lovely little critter. Language is a little blue, but otherwise the article is SFW.
Making the rounds: the Terminator franchise has been sold and development on a new series by the purchasers has begun. Without Arnold or, more importantly, Jim Cameron, who knows where this will all end up?
For now, it appears that the problem is less with Pelosi’s [conflict of interest] disclosure on this particular earmark and more with the state of earmark reform in general. The Democrats swept into power making a lot of noise about cleaning up the “culture of corruption” in Washington. Earmark reform was a big part of their stated agenda. First, they put a “moratorium on earmarks” until new rules governing them could be put into place. Then the House passed new earmark-disclosure requirements
But that’s where Democrats left it. The House rules apply only to the House. The Senate lumped earmark reform into its ethics and lobbying bill, which is now languishing in conference and has yet to take effect. Nevertheless, the Democrats must think these half-measures constitute thorough earmark reform, because the moratorium is long gone. The Water Resources Development Bill contains, along with Pelosi’s earmark, more than 800 others. Perhaps the most egregious is a provision to add sand to a California beach famous for its annual sandcastle competition.
Last year, everyone was talking about how it took Democrats some forty years of legislative control before they were so rotten Terminex men had become a real threat, while it took the Republicans a little more than a decade to do the same. It seems the Democrats are now returning the favor, abandoning their "changed, and better" principals orders of magnitude faster than their elephantine predecessors.
The silence coming from the left side of the peanut gallery is quite deafening.
Via (and title shamelessly stolen from) Instapundit.
Everyone's favorite loopy televangelist has stopped all cancer treatments, so it looks like she's on her way out. We watched the '04 season of Surreal Life, and as the article mentioned she came across as a quite warm and decent, if rather strange and unusual looking, person. Even then we both felt she'd more than paid for her past, so we wish nothing but the best for her and her family. It's a damned strange world, isn't it?
A group of scientists has put forward a theory that claims the earliest stars in the universe may have been "snuffed out" by massive influxes of dark matter. I think. At least, that's what the article seems to be saying anyway. Astrophysics, especially about stuff that nobody's completely sure exists anyway, makes my head hurt.
Oh yes, 86 degrees and we have no champagne to celebrate with. So the hose is the second best!
That's right Olivia got a Giant tandem bike! NO MORE TRICYCLE!
The best part is how unflappable the anchorwoman is at the end. Hopefully the old coot was OK. Remember folks, zippy the electric arc says, "it's dangerous to touch uninsulated wiring!"
Austrian scientists are claiming regular cars fitted with special telemetric devices are at least as, and sometimes more, efficient than hybrid vehicles. By actively predicting traffic patterns and co-ordinating breaking and acceleration events, these scientists achieved as much as a 33% improvement in mileage for otherwise normal cars.
If it helps stop congestion and makes the highways safer, I'm all for it. But you go first.
Monstrous 1:6 WWII diorama, anybody? I'd love to have that much time, and that much space, to build something like this. Who knows, when it's time for me to retire, I just might. You know, amongst the giant tortoises and homeless tiger cages. Hey, it's Olivia's inheritance, we'll spend it as we please!
Recent reports seem to indicate everyone's favorite self-promoting heiress is brazenly driving around on a suspended license. This article seems to imply that's not the case, at least when the photos in question were taken.
Looks like atheists all over the world now have a new career path. While somewhat tacky, offering to be the postman of the apocalypse is still worthy of a chuckle or two. At least to me, anyway. But hey, I'm a Buddhist. I don't even play in the same yard the Christians use.
Bob Barker's last taping of The Price is Right will happen soon, so the Washington Post decided it was time to do a detailed retrospective. I, too, am one of those people who simply don't remember a time when Barker wasn't on TV. Hell I'm just old enough to remember him on Truth or Dare. Here's to wishing him well during retirement, and hoping they don't tinker with such a long-running working formula.
The price is wrong, bitch!
Yep, yours truly is dancing with a 15 pound brass food tray complete with grapes on her head!
I'd long ago thought it had been conclusively proven Iran was providing significant supplies to back the insurgency in Iraq. However, it seems a lot of people out there still don't believe it. Well, don't listen to me, listen to him.
One of the more basic rules of warfare is, "when things are going badly, don't open another front to fix them."* Therefore it seems to me unwise to start bombing the crap out of Iran, no matter how richly they deserve it. However, if this doesn't constitute a clarion call for increased sanctions by the international community, I'm not sure what else would. With the change in administration in France, perhaps the time is right for another Security Council push?
* It's just possible the administration didn't violate this by opening a front in Iraq with an unsettled Afghanistan. At the time, as I recall, the major portion of that conflict had ended. At any rate, the insurgency there has never seemed to be as violent and energetic as that in Iraq.
But it's only just possible. Others, I'm sure, will vociferously disagree.
Everyone knows Hollywood ran out of ideas years ago, but it never hurts to drive the point home. Two nearly identical movies in the same year? Heck, sometimes it seems like they come out within days of each other.
An Israeli archeology team has announced the discovery of king Herod's tomb. Just exactly what makes them think it is the Roman-era's most notorious Jewish leader is unclear, but certainly the described size is some indication. The site was looted in ancient times, most likely during the rebellion or the subsequent sack of Jerusalem in 70 CE. The modern excavation effort seems to have been going on for some 35 years, a typical length of time for such a large site.
Alternate title: Dammit! I ordered this to go!
Nothing like a known object to put an unfamiliar one, such as a goliath bird spider, in perspective.
DARPA's Orbital Express program is moving right along. OE is a proof-of-concept exercise to explore technologies that will enable automated in-space refueling and maintenance. So far all tests have been passed, and the program's final (and very complex) test should occur some time in the next few weeks.
People are claiming to see all kinds of things -- orbs floating across the highway, apparitions on the side of the road hitchhiking, phantom trucks, you name it," book author Charlie Carlson said. "There are dead people beneath interstate 4."
What are you waiting for! Head out to I-4.
It's beginning to become clear to me that ColdFusion was actually a sleek power boat. It did everything a boat needed to do, and quite well, with a minimum of effort. Unfortunately I now need something that will ride on the water *and* trundle about on the land. Driving the boat up the landing had predictable results.
With C# and .net, Microsoft has provided me with a Transformer. It has buttons for every conceivable sort of medium, "water", "land", "air", even "underground" and "space travel." Yipee! Unfortunately, when I press the "water" button the thing it gives me has oars. They're pretty oars, and they even seem to have teams of robots to pull and push them, but it's definitely not what one would expect coming from a world of power boats.
With apologies to Neal Stephenson...
One group of scientists think an extremely energetic supernova observed last year may have been caused by an exotic form of stellar collapse involving antimatter. The thinking goes that if a first-generation star was extremely massive, on the order of 150 times the mass of the sun, the high temperature and pressure would create conditions ideal for converting some of the star's photons into pairs of electrons and their antimatter opposite positrons*. This would result in a pressure drop, making the whole star unstable, eventually causing runaway nuclear reactions that rip the star apart and spew who knows what sort of exotic stuff into space.
At least, that's one hypothesis. Other scientists, of course, disagree. The article doesn't mention what sort of predictions are made by this team, but presumably there are some which can be tested in the future.
Ain't physics fun?
* I think, although the article does not explicitly state, that this is a natural case of inverting Einstein's E=mc2. Unfortunately my algebra is so atrophied I can't even write the equation for turning energy into mass. Sue me.
Well, for the rest of us code monkeys anyway. The thing looked weird to me. Groups of programmers? Don't believe it, not a word.
Making the rounds: the Canadian "spy coin" was actually the result of a quirky Canadian mint and some hyper-paranoid defense contractors. Well, I mean come on... who the heck puts stickers on their coins on purpose anyway?
Informative CoinGeektm answer from Mark in 3... 2... 1...
It took me my entire lunch break to watch it, but Penn and Teller's take on gun control was worth it. Considering the mighty efforts gun control enthusiasts expend trying to restrict this defining part of the American experience, I'm quite glad the founding fathers made it second in importance only to the freedom of speech and religion. It most likely would've been lost completely by now had they not enshrined it so.
Photographing 25,000 people naked in the middle of Mexico City is definitely a unique thing to put on your resume. Nice work, if you can get it (SFW).
A Canada Post spokeswoman said the agency was concerned about the safety of its carriers, although it hoped for an amicable solution to its dispute with cat-owner John Samborski.
"The letter carrier who delivers mail there ... was brought up on a farm, she is very comfortable with animals," spokewoman Kathi Neal told the newspaper. "Apparently this is a very threatening cat."
What do you expect from a Canadian?
I'm sure these designs are supposed to promote safe sex.
As a die-hard shooter and simulator fan, I've been wondering just where the consumer state-of-the-art for HMD (Head Mounted Displays) is nowadays. I need wonder no longer. Eight, ten years ago a $1200 HMD would get you VGA (640x480) resolution. Nowadays it seems they've progressed a great deal, but still have quite a ways to go.
Robot Chicken comes back this June, starting with a Star Wars parody that looks damned funny. Their movie spoofs are my favorite part of the show. To this day I hum, "My Little Pony / Apocalypse Pony" whenever Olivia manages to figure out where I hid that dratted video of hers.
The long-serving Martian rovers have come out of winter hibernation in style with Spirit discovering proof of explosive volcanic eruptions some time in Mars's past. While it may seem obvious, Martian volcanoes are primarily (maybe even exclusively) basaltic, whose eruptions are not normally explosive. Liquid water can make basaltic eruptions go "boom" via steam, so this seems to be yet another confirmation that liquid water once existed on the Martian surface.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll run in slow motion for bringing us news of the development of a brand new bionic hand. The project was created by DARPA as part of their "Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009" program. The new hand uses healthy nerves to both control the hand as well as allow feedback like a sense of touch for the user. The prototype has been demonstrated as allowing amputees the ability to perform fine motor skill activities such as picking up a drinking cup without crushing it, and moving checkers around a board. The hope is when the device reaches production it will provide relief for the hundreds of amputees generated by the Iraq war (as well as, one would presume, others).
Those Canadians are at it again, this time creating a $1,000,000 coin. At 22 inches across and 220 pounds, it's the largest coin in the world. With gold prices so high right now, it's actually worth more in base metal, nearly twice as much, in fact. And hey, it's Canadian money. At today's exchange rate, that gives you about 10% back. What a bargain!
So when you get yours, Mark, be sure to invite us over!
...taken way too far.
That's right peeps! XXX! That means NSFW!!!
Cheetos dipped in strawberry soda. NO REALLY!
Two words: tampon taser. Sorta makes that whole "sticky side up" incident pretty lame, eh?
Jeff gets a sad no-prize for bringing us news that Wally Schirra, one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts, has died. At 84, a pretty good run, all things considered.
Spring is here again at AMCGLTD! It's kitten season! Let the fostering begin!
[I]magine two lines on a piece of graph paper. The first rises to a crest, then slopes sharply down, levels off and rises slowly once more. The other has no undulations. It rises in a smooth, slow arc. The first, wavy line is the worldwide CO2 tonnage produced by humans burning coal, oil and natural gas. It starts in 1928, at 1.1 gigatons (i.e., 1.1 billion metric tons), and peaks in 1929 at 1.17 gigatons. The world, led by its mightiest power, plummets into the Great Depression and by 1932 human CO2 production has fallen to 0.88 gigatons a year, a 30 percent drop. Then, in 1933, the line climbs slowly again, up to 0.9 gigatons.
And the other line, the one ascending so evenly? That's the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, parts per million (ppm) by volume, moving in 1928 from just under 306, hitting 306 in 1929, 307 in 1932 and on up. Boom and bust, the line heads up steadily. These days it's at 380. The two lines on that graph proclaim that a whopping 30 percent cut in man-made CO2 emissions didn't even cause a 1 ppm drop in the atmosphere's CO2. It is thus impossible to assert that the increase in atmospheric CO2 stems from people burning fossil fuels.
Read the whole thing, then come back and accuse me of being a neocon shill for big oil. It warms my heart so, when you do that.
Scientists think they may have discovered the dismembered remains of a galaxy trailing in our own's wake. That is one hypothesis which could describe how the globular cluster NGC 2808 ended up with three distinct generations of stars inside it instead of the far more common one. The thinking goes this may have been a dwarf galaxy that was taken apart by the Milky Way's gravity billions of years ago.
As devout Rosie O'Donnel fans and well-known skeptics of all "official" explanations of the obvious 9-11 cover up, we too had noticed strange and troubling similarities to that disaster and the recent (and supposedly) fire-induced collapse of the 580/980/880/80 overpass in Oakland. Everyone knows a liquid fuel-fed fire cannot collapse a steel structure! That bridge wasn't even carrying a load!
Turns out we're not the only one who have suspicions, and now others are prepared to blow the lid off this thing. As this BoingBoing summary shows, 429truth asks all the uncomfortable questions, and finds the answers lacking. How could an overpass built to withstand earthquakes succumb so easily? What did governor Schwarzenegger know, and when? Who stood to gain the most from snarling Bay area traffic for years to come? Where were all the Jews on that fateful night? The government may be too powerful for us to find the real answers, but we must try!
Via Instapundit, whom we hope has a foil hat at the ready. We do!
It's nice to see that, in spite of market reforms, the Chinese communist party is still adept at double-talk. He wasn't "shot while trying to escape," he just got SADS.
Scientists have discovered it's not the lack of oxygen that kills, it's the sudden resumption of oxygen that does it. By controlling oxygen re-introduction (called "reperfusion"), doctors in one limited study changed the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims from 15 percent to 80 percent. It's quite a fascinating article.
Global Armageddon, anyone? Personally, any game that supports a "genocide" mode is worth at least a look, in my opinion. Of course, I also think playing Halo with nothing but rockets on with 10 guys on a map meant for 8 is fun.
Dur, thought we already established I need to get out more.
The Large Hadron Collider has suffered another setback. This time, one of the eight superconducting magnets failed "with a bang" in testing earlier this year. The fix, consisting of the installation of reinforcing structures to help contain pressures they are subject to, could set the project back weeks if not months.
So if you were worried about the LHC creating black holes that suck down the whole world, well, you're gonna have to wait awhile.
Due to a lack of skilled trumpeters, the End of the World has been postponed six weeks. We apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
Karma's a bitch, ain't it? I can't tell you the number of times some asshat ruined an on-line community I was participating in just for the hell of it. Everyone on-line wanted to find one of these freaks and beat the crap out of him, but (unlike this case) we never actually did. The fact this guy told the people he was tormenting where he lived and defied them to take action speaks volumes about his on-line attitude. I'm not condoning it, but I definitely take a certain amount of satisfaction from it.
Bad! Bad Buddhist! No biscuit!
Slashdot linked up news of the discovery of a fossilized forest some four square miles in area. It now forms the roof of an active coal mine in Illinois. Scientists have determined it to be a rain forest that was flooded and buried in an earthquake some 300 million years ago. Because of its age, it's likely this represents one of the earliest rain forests ever to have evolved.
Looks like some of Everest's most macabre landmarks are going to finally be covered up. Every documentary about an ascent of Everest I've ever seen always includes comments about the corpses littering the various base camps and trails that lead to the summit. You'd think a "sporting activity" which includes such stark reminders of the price of failure would gradually lose its popularity. Since it's people we're talking about here, you'd of course be wrong.