July 31, 2007
Do Not Want

Male belly dancing appears to be growing in popularity, at least in Turkey. Ellen's come across a few male belly dancers on youTube over the years; maybe this guy is one of them.

Oh don't you worry folks, I won't be exposing pale skinny Scott-belly any damned time soon.

Posted by scott at 04:04 PM | Comments (3)
When Politics Attacks... the Bedroom

Of course, this assumes we would want to sleep with them:

A new phenomenon in New Zealand is taking the idea of you are what you eat to the extreme.

Vegansexuals are people who do not eat any meat or animal products, and who choose not to be sexually intimate with non-vegan partners whose bodies, they say, are made up of dead animals.

Considering the looks of the couple featured in the article, doesn't seem to me to be much of a loss. Besides, I thought vegans didn't like being around people who eat meat because they smelled funny.

And that's another thing... I mean, if the milk comes from a free-ranging cow who's destined to live a long life of pleasant munching and farting, why not drink it? Yeah, yeah, I know, we're talking fringe-left politics, not facts. Expecting these people to be rational is like expecting a fair hearing of evolution in a creationist museum. But still...

Via Misha.

Posted by scott at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)
Space Pix

Carrie gets a no-prize full of wonder for bringing us the Hubble Space Telescope's picture gallery. It even has way-nifty Hubble wallpaper for your PC! Woot!

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
Counting Brains

Scientists are reporting the discovery of a specific section of the brain which appears to be responsible for sums and integration. It seems we're hard-wired to be able to make a guess at how many M&Ms are in the jar.

Posted by scott at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)
Definitely Gotta Get a Pair of These

Alternate title: paging Tim Allen, white courtesy phone please:

A consignment of potentially deadly petrol-powered roller skates have been impounded amid fears they could end up being used on the streets.

The adapted inline roller blades travel at speeds of up to 20mph with no way of braking and could explode in an accident, Trading Standards said.

Now that's a party, folks!

Considering my skills with the regular sort of in-line skates, I think I'll have to give these a pass. But if you pick up a pair be sure to send some video of your stunts!

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
Finding a Place

One of the best features of a well-designed program is it often allows users to do things the designers didn't originally intend. Like using Google Earth as a kind of sleuthing tool. I'm really interested in what the hell a Mirage III is doing in the parking lot of (what appears to be) an office building in a suburb of Paris. I wonder if they take orders?

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM | Comments (1)
Bite My Shiny, Metal A**

Futurama is scheduled to return in late November. The details are kinda complicated, but it does seem as if those of us who don't want to purchase the DVD will be able to see the episodes on Comedy Central. I think.

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
July 30, 2007
Ajax's Memorial Portrait


My good friend Gabby over at her personal art site did this for me. She did Ted also.

We love it! It really captures his spirit. We LOVE you Ajax!

Posted by Ellen at 07:26 PM | Comments (1)
Didn't Expect to See That

Hell, I didn't know French navy fighters could land on US aircraft carriers. You people are supposed to tell me these things, ya know?

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM | Comments (6)
World of Warcraft, Studies of Science

Sociologists are finally coming to realize that giant, sprawling virtual worlds are ideal models to examine social interaction. Because, well, that's exactly what they are. The fact that it's taken years for them to stumble onto the idea speaks volumes about how long information takes to percolate up to the highest ivory towers.

Posted by scott at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)
And the Athelete Goes, "Crash bang boom"

What would we do without athletes and the screw-ups they perform on national TV? This time with personal-injury goodness!

Posted by scott at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)
There's Fan Freaks, Then There's OSU Alumni

Ron gets an outrageously irrational no-prize for bringing us "the ultimate room." I guess if you have that much money to burn, why not drop some of it on an artist? While interesting, I think all the visual "noise" would eventually give me a headache.

Which just shows I'm not a TruFantm. But you already knew that.

Posted by scott at 12:32 PM | Comments (2)
Recall Gene

Scientists have determined that recall of emotional events is genetically influenced. Interesting, but can it help me find my keys?

Posted by scott at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
Does the Glass Runneth Over?

It's official, the New York Times is positive about the war. Cautious and with reservations, but undeniably optimistic. Meanwhile, the Post has been reduced to making vague implications of delusion, with a weird tendency to keep saying "hedgehog."

I will admit it's rather fun. "Hedgehog! Hedgehog hedgehog hedgehog hedgehoghedgehoghedgehoghedgehoghedgehog!"

Why yes, I think I would rather like a bit of a lie down, thanks for offering! It'll help me pass the time while I wait for my pizzas to start arriving.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)
Giant Jumpin' Sturgeons!

No, really! giant jumping sturgeons:

Boaters and other watercraft riders are being hit and injured by giant jumping sturgeons at record pace within a 40-mile stretch of water in Florida.

The fish can grow to enormous size, so getting hit by one is not something to put on your to-do list. Explain that one to the insurance company!

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)
July 29, 2007
Back to the Future Garage

Car fans probably already know about Danny Botkin, the man so obsessed with DeLoreans he owns pretty much all there is to own of them. But they probably don't know He's planning to return the car to limited production. I saw a story segment on this guy a few years ago (Discovery channel I think), with him proudly displaying row upon row of DeLorean spares he'd purchased from the defunct company. It's nice to hear about him using them to bring the car completely back.

According to Wikipedia, the car is frame-based with a fiberglass monocoque. The Avanti, a Studebaker design that seems vampire-like in its immortality, was constructed in a roughly similar fashion, and was kept in very low-volume production for (as I recall) something like 30 years, so not only is this sort of thing feasible, it can even been profitable.

I'm not completely sure how he'll get around NHTSA and EPA standards, but most likely it'll involve some interesting bureaucratic hoop-jumping.

Posted by scott at 06:58 AM | Comments (2)
July 27, 2007
Drinking and Dancing Alone

Hey Amber! You can do this tonight!

Takes a bit to get started but it is too funny!

Posted by Ellen at 06:57 PM | Comments (2)
Supper Surrealism

An "amateur scholar" claims to have found a secret image hidden in Da Vinci's famous painting, "The Last Supper. By superimposing a reverse image of the painting onto the original, he claims to have found an image that includes a Templar knight and another individual holding a baby.

Unfortunately no examples are provided. You'd think someone over at MSNBC would have a copy of Photoshop handy, eh? To me, sounds like something along the lines of the Jesus Toast, but I'm a hard-bitten old cynic. Now get off my lawn.

Posted by scott at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)
Girlfriend Guide

How many relationships could be saved by viewing this simple video? The transition from dating to marriage alters several variables in this equation, but these seven steps are still worthwhile.

Posted by scott at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
Fun with Legos

How about 16.5 feet of Lego aircraft carrier goodness? Now if you ask me, that'd make a damned fine living room decoration right there. At least until a cat crawled inside and peed in it, I suppose.

Ah well, can't have everything.

Posted by scott at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Always remember folks, no matter how weird you think you are there's always someone out there who'll make you look like Ned Flanders:

Here’s a good case-study on both the creepiness and the pitifulness of the Furry Community. Meet Nekobe, the skeeviest furry ever. Wearing a filth-encrusted tiger outfit as his second skin, Nekobe — aka Bart Bervoets — is a toothless homosexual who has had unprotected anal sex with, by his own admission, “hundreds” of other people. He’s so creepy and insane that the furry community has put together an entire site to warn people about him.

Site has graphic descriptions, which may require mental bleach, but seems safe enough for work.

Posted by scott at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)
Economy Going Up

Weer In Ur Stores, Buyin' all ur warez:

The US economy grew last quarter at the fastest pace in more than a year as rising exports helped offset a slowdown in consumer spending.

Gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3.4 per cent in the second quarter, well above the anaemic growth of 0.6 per cent in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department.

The surprisingly strong economic rebound showed business activity took over from household spending as the driver of growth in the period. Factories increased output to meet demand from Europe and Asia for US imports.

The primary advantage of a diverse and growing economy is that when one sector falters, there are several others which can suddenly take its place. Remember all those guys who predicted doom at the fall of the US dollar? Yeah, not so much now, eh?

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)
~ If I Live to See the / Seven Wonders ~

Mark gets a massive and admirable no-prize for bringing us the official site of the "new 7 world wonders". As with any list, I'm sure your favorite isn't on it.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (1)
Caturday Eleventy-First


Another Friday, another AMCGLTD Caturday. This time with ottery goodness!



















Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (5)
July 26, 2007

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later: Lolcats has become LOLCODE:


There's even an early alpha .net compiler for the dratted thing! Meh, I guess if they can make COBOL.net, anything is possible.


Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)
Rock On!

I'm sure fans of Queen have known for a long time that guitarist Brian May was an astrophysics student when the band started out. I bet they don't know that he's finally getting his PhD this year. I think. British uni != US uni, so the rules may be different. At any rate, at least it's good to see he's keeping busy.

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)
"Pop" Goes the Tripod

While it's a little rah-rah goofy in its presentation, this "pop sci" video on the soda bottle tripod was still pretty neat. Since HDR photography basically requires a tripod, having the ability to create one on the spot can be quite valuable.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)
Well, at Least it's not on a Stick

Forget test-tube babies (shows my age... how long ago was that term even current?) Now we may end up with wombs on a chip. No, really! By protecting and managing the earliest stages of fertilization, scientists hope to increase the success rate of IVF.

Posted by scott at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
A Real Monster Garage

Mark gets a no-prize that'll be delivered with his next Volkswagen for bringing us the world's most impressive car garage. I can't get over how expensive the damned thing must've been to build. Dude, just pave over a field and park the things there!

Posted by scott at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)
Pukes on Tables, Pees on Walls, Poops on Floors, Predicts Death... wait, what?

Meet Oscar, the fuzzy feline harbinger of doom! Now I know why mine are always laying on our bed watching me. They're just not as good at it as this one is.

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM | Comments (1)
July 25, 2007
The Man Behind the Voice

While trolling around in Fark's comments, I found this rare TV interview with Kevin Clash, the man behind the gargantuan red fuzzy success story that is Elmo. Olivia seems to have outgrown the giggly monster around age 3, but she definitely still knows who he is. At the moment, Dora and Diego are much bigger hits.

Posted by scott at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)
But Where's the Royale with Cheese?

While the titular menu item is not in this list of "localized" MacDonald's menus, a bunch of other things are. Hey, I'm all for beer at a McD's, but I think I'll pass on the shrimp burgers.

Posted by scott at 02:21 PM | Comments (4)
It's Teh Funny!

Mark gets a giggly no-prize for bringing us this fun little "Jet Blue" joke.

Posted by scott at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)
Now That's Barbeque

Barbeque shaped like a giant chrome-plated pistol, anyone? Ron gets a rootin' tootin' no-prize for doing the legwork required to find this guy after he saw one of these smokers being towed down the highway. It's a good thing!

Posted by scott at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)
Baghdad Calling

Michael Totten's latest report from Baghdad is definitely worth a read:

Everyone was friendly. No one shot at us or even looked at us funny. Infrastructure problems, not security, were the biggest concerns at the moment. I felt like I was in Iraqi Kurdistan – where the war is already over – not in Baghdad.

He was quite blunt about reporting how bad things were in 2005, so I take his positive reports quite seriously. We may actually pull this off.

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)
Martian Top 10

Slashdot linked up Space.com's top 10 list of Mars rover discoveries. I thought the one about Mars's geological eras was the most interesting of all. Not sure how that got past us the first time.

Posted by scott at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)
July 24, 2007
Three Years On


Compare with:


The only distance between the former and the latter are five feet and three years. It staggers me.

Then, I don't think Olivia had ever ridden in the Spider. Now, she rides in it far more often than Ellen does. Maybe this summer we'll take our first father-daughter road trip? You never know.

I only have, what, nine years before she'll never want to talk to me again?

All the time in the world. And it'll be over tomorrow. Lord help us all.

Posted by scott at 08:54 PM | Comments (2)
Only Because Mom Says She Can't Use the Computer Anymore

"I worry that if my [mom] is alone in the house and she falls, does she make a sound?"

I'm a bad, bad son. But you all knew that a long, long time ago. You remind me every time you talk to me.

Calm down. If you're confused, I'm not talking to you.

I also liked:

In a relationship you have to communicate, which means listening to her talk. Ladies, you fake orgasms. We fake listening.


Marriage is built on paranoia and mistrust. I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and she wakes up out of dead sleep to say, 'Where are you going?' Why, to have sex with the midget I store in the medicine closet.

Posted by scott at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)
Oh, The Things They'll Eat III

In the past two days: ring pops dipped in ketchup, and hamburger buns dipped in grape soda. Rachel Ray better just watch the hell out; s'all I'm sayin'.

Posted by scott at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)
Tivo for Real

The new lower-cost HD Tivo has been officially announced. No surprises from the previous "leaked" version, which is good! The biggest "get" to me is the SATA port. According to this article, it's disabled for now, but it should mean extremely easy (and cheap) expansion of the Tivo space. Our very first Tivo was an original 16 hour unit, so I can say with certainty 20 hours will be usable, but tight. However, we've never filled our 40 hour Series 2, so if there's a quick and simple way to (eventually) expand to 40+ HD hours, then we're set.

See, there are advantages to waiting!

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)
Scams Scams Everywhere

I thought I'd heard of it all until Liz found a scam that involves a freaking reality TV show. Getting college kids to work really awful jobs nearly for free just on the off chance they'll end up on TV is damned devious. Unfortunately I'm not sure it's illegal. Another thing to file away for when Olivia is old enough to have her own checking account.

Posted by scott at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)
That's One Helluva Tiramisu

Scientists have discovered that the iron that enriches stars with planets seems to be coming from the planets, and are not part of the star's makeup. Stars which show strong iron signatures are much more likely to have planets than those which don't. Scientists weren't sure whether the star formed with the iron, or if the iron "fell" onto the star like chocolate powder on the dessert in the title. By examining red giant stars with planets, scientists did not find the expected iron signature, strongly suggesting that the iron is pollution from the planetary disk, and not something that the star formed with.

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
You've Got Jail

Looks like Lindsay Lohan is going to be the next tenant at the Paris Hilton LA Jail suite. There. We've mentioned it once. We will now go into "I officially don't give a crap" mode on this story.

Posted by scott at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)
A Different Colored Foil Hat?

So, is the nation's obsession with the JFK assassination really caused by liberalism's inability to come to terms with the ideology of the assassin? It's definitely a plausible, and as far as I know new, way to look at the problem. However, to me the author (of the article, if not the book) provincialises the cultural upheaval of the 60s, seeming to me to make it out to be a singularly American event. On the contrary, the whole world experienced cultural upheaval of various sorts as the cadre born just after WWII came of age.

Still, the position that Oswald's undeniably pure communist belief represented a challenge to 60s liberals that they simply could not overcome is damned intriguing. I guess I'll have to buy the book and see if he really does pull off this historical 180 degree turn.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
Chew on This!

I'm sure portraits made of chewed bubble gum are art, of some kind. I'm just not sure what sort of art it'd be. None for our house, Olivia would be picking it apart in moments.

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
July 23, 2007
Weer In Ur Blog

Brake'in ur comments.

Not sure what the hell is wrong right now. It's definitely not the old banning problem. I thought it was weird that all the comment spammers all of a sudden went away. At any rate, if you want to say something e-mail us. Will keep you posted.

Update: Found it. Had a line return stuck in the IP blacklist, effectively banning the world. Ah well, I thought the spammers suddenly giving up on us was too good to be true.

Posted by scott at 06:49 PM | Comments (3)
Elementary Economics and Unintended Consequences

Fark (of all places) linked up this economics 101 lesson in why oil prices are high (hint: it's an op-ed from the Ayn Rand institute). The comments on the article provide an abject lesson in the economic illiteracy of the Western world's 21-45 year demographic.

The second is about an unintended consequence of the current state of civil union laws. I definitely agree that a man who's wife now has a legally recognized domestic partner (male or female) should be off the hook for alimony. However, I do not think that it automatically follows that the only solution is legalizing gay marriage. It simply means the laws need further adjustment and re-writing to accommodate the change in circumstance.

My feelings on the legality of gay marriage are too ambiguous to have a firm stand (I'm mildly against it, but am still open to debate). However, I very strongly feel this is a matter for the states to resolve via legislative and most definitely not judicial means. Those who feel differently should more closely review the social and legal costs of our most famous policy-via-judicial-fiat decision, Roe v. Wade.

Posted by scott at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)
Fizzy Lava

Scientists are reporting new evidence that certain types of volcanoes have lava that "fizzes" to the surface. By using new infrared detection techniques, scientists were able to determine the lava formed in the Stromboli (no, really!) volcano in Italy formed much deeper than previously thought, leading to speculation that cracks in the volcano's floor was allowing lava to bubble up. Sounds more like a lava lamp to me, but who knows?

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)
Goodnight Lovie


July 22, 2007

I have shared with you your laughter,
You have wet my fur with tears.
We've come to know each other
Throughout these many years.
Just one more hug this morning
Before you drive away,
And know I'll think about you
Throughout your busy day.

The time we've left together
Is a treasured time at that.
My heart is yours forever.
I Promise

- This old cat.

~partial poem by KC Bigamon

Posted by Ellen at 08:30 AM | Comments (4)
July 22, 2007
Tammy Faye DED at 65

Messner died on Friday after a long battle with cancer, CNN said. CNN's Larry King, who interviewed Messner on his "Larry King Live" talk show on Thursday night, said her family had asked him to make the delayed announcement of her death.

"She died peacefully," King said on CNN's Web site.

Read article on Yahoo .

You can also check out her last interview with Larry King.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Say it Ain't So!

Everyone's favorite source of Bat Boy news is shutting down. I only read a few editions of Weekly World News in my time, but the headlines always were an amusing distraction while waiting in the checkout line of the grocery store. They will be missed!

Posted by scott at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)
July 20, 2007
Mars Arrivals

Slashdot today linked up this intriguing article detailing the difficulties involved in getting a manned mission to the surface of Mars. There's a surprising number of difficulties involved, to the point that (according to the article) we simply have no idea how it can be done with current technologies. Which is to say, if we really want to do it it's going to be a helluva lot more expensive than NASA first believed.

Which is another way of saying, "business as usual at NASA."

Posted by scott at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)
Go Granny Go!

Jeff gets a flamin' fast no-prize for bringing us the 75 year old grandma with the fastest internet connection in the world. Yeah, it's a publicity stunt to advertise new equipment, but as long as it works, why not?

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
~ He Was a Skater Bh'oi ~

For today's serving of "Those Arabs and Their Wacky Safety Regs" we have road skating. At least this bunch doesn't have explosive belts tied around them. For now, at any rate.

Posted by scott at 09:39 AM | Comments (1)
July 19, 2007

It would seem recent immigrants are actually ten times less likely to commit a crime than the native-born. This is so counter-intuitive I'm having a bit of trouble getting my head around it. However, Bryan is an economics professor. If the authors of the paper were twiddling with the numbers for effect, I would think he'd spot it right away.

Posted by scott at 03:50 PM | Comments (2)
Definitely Something Maaco Won't Fix

Scientists have discovered a whole cluster of galaxies colliding with each other. Unlike the previously discovered (and aptly named) bullet cluster, whose collision we see from the side, this cluster faces us with the collision oriented head-on. Having two different views of the same spectacularly humongous type of event will of course provide important insights into just how these things happen. And make me want to go have a lie down.

In other news, "humongous" is actually in Firefox's spell check dictionary. Ask me how I know!

Posted by scott at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)
It Makes Me Feel Very Funny Indeed

Today on Pip and Pog, the lads learn about something they found in daddy's study. Yet another reason to keep it all on your computer, encrypted under your password.

Or, so I've been told.

Posted by scott at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

This reminds me of college:

The three-man crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will do a little housekeeping during a spacewalk next week to make way for future expansion of the laboratory.

On July 23, Expedition 15 crewmember Clayton Anderson will journey outside of the space station to throw two large hunks of unneeded equipment towards Earth, officials said during a press conference today at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

I mean, doesn't everyone toss something out the window of their first high rise?

Posted by scott at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)
Human Arm... it's What's for Dinner

We just wanted to announced that crocodiles waking up with your hand in their mouth is bad mmkay?

Note: article contains very graphic, "look what the cat croc dragged in" picture. SFW, I suppose, but not particularly nice.

Lisa gets a no-prize that'll turn her off of hamburger for awhile for bringing us this rather grisly, albeit suitably bizarre, tale.

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
Tivo Lite

Those of you with HD sets jonesing for an HD Tivo won't have to pay $800 for the experience for very much longer. This one's a real biggie for our house, as we've been Tivo nuts for something like eight years. We're also planning a complete HD re-vamp of our main TV setup for Christmas. If the new box includes an eSATA connection, adding space is stoopid easy, so that may very well be the way we go. Otherwise, well, it's nice to also see that more options may be on the way and that the main "super" box can be found for slightly less.

All in all, a good (even great) thing!

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
So That's Where all the Boy Bands Went

I was grateful, but a little puzzled, at the sudden pop of the boy band balloon. Seems that some of the reason behind it is the engine behind the movement has been tossed in the pokey.

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)
July 18, 2007
Oh The Things They Do...

You really don't think that a Swivel Sweeper would do something like this. Usually they are used on a floor, but this little girl tried it on her head.


How I fixed the bald spot.


Why yes, that is permanent marker smiley face on her head.

Posted by Ellen at 09:53 PM | Comments (2)
Fiat's not Just a Car Made in Italy

Problem: Your economic (mis)management has created inflation reaching 60,000%, making prices so high they have zeros falling off the end.

Solution: Wal Mart-ize the prices, and arrest any shopkeeper who wants to stay in business.

Mugabe's in his 80s now, but he's done such deep and lasting damage to the country even if he died tomorrow it'll take decades to dig it out, and even then only if absolutely everything holds together and is done right. Considering most of Africa's governmental track record, that seems a vain hope indeed.

Unfortunately there are far too many of you out there who think simply commanding prices to be set really is a valid way to manage an economy. If that thought has ever even skittered across your radar screen (say, at a gas pump) watch Zimbabwe carefully, and learn.

Via Econlog.

Posted by scott at 02:50 PM | Comments (1)
I Shall Call it, "MiniScape"

Farscape simply refuses to die. Which I think is a good thing! Sure, the episodes will only be a few minutes long each, but that's better than nothing, and it could introduce the thin wedge needed to bring the whole thing roaring back. Assuming it doesn't suck, of course.

Posted by scott at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)
~ Walk Like a Hominid ~

At least some scientists are claiming walking upright was a response to pressures that put a premium on energy conservation. According to this group of anthropologists, walking upright is a whopping 75% more efficient than the quadrupedal locomotion chimpanzees use. This would of course be rather useful in the rapidly changing environment of Pliocene Africa, where treks for food may have meant the difference between survival and starvation.

Posted by scott at 12:54 PM | Comments (0)
Magical How-To

From now on, I'm not so impressed at an escape artist "mysteriously" getting free of handcuffs. As noted in one of the comments, this is not how to escape from police custody, but rather how an escape artist would pull the trick off. It never occurred to me that where and how the hands were placed in restraints is important in escaping from them. Now I know.

Posted by scott at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
What the?!?

Making the rounds: quarterback Michael Vick has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a lurid dogfighting scandal. Comes complete with tales of vicious cruelty!

I enjoy watching NFL football in part because the players are distinctive and colorful. Sometimes I just wish they'd be slightly less so.

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (1)
Dinos on the Way

The American tour of Walking with Dinosaurs - the Live Experience is starting this month! 6 dates in our area, and they've got many stops on the tour all over the US and Canada. Amex card holders can purchase tickets now, general sale is next week. Woot!

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (4)
July 17, 2007
Chameleon Paper

Yet another new technology promises to replace expensive LCDs with simpler and cheaper materials. This time it's plastic-coated bits of rust suspended in solution. The plastics repulse through electrostatics, and the rust allows magnetic fields to control them. The particles then arrange themselves into some bizzarre sort of squishy crystal, which can then be "tuned" to reflect different colors. The (potential) result? A cheap, colorful display that actually works better in direct sunlight than current technologies.

Looks interesting, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for a screen based on this stuff to appear.

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (3)
~ If That Ain't Love Then I Don't Know What Love Is ~

For proof that 20-something yobs are the same the world over one need only peruse this video dedicated to opening everyone's favorite chilled adult beverage. Nothing hanging on the walls: check. Carpet of indeterminate age and questionable cleanliness: check. Cheap furniture and expensive video games: check. Ah, memories of college abound. Hell one of 'em even has a hot girlfriend who can open a beer bottle with a CD. No, really!

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (1)
Good Lord

What's about four feet long, can weigh over a hundred pounds, and swims? I don't know either, but Siflay does, and he includes some very impressive pictures of said monster of the deep. Hell he even links up advice for keeping one in a (very large) tank.

No, Ellen, you definitely can't have one!

Posted by scott at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)
Robots on the Attack

The "super predator" MQ-9 Reaper is now operational, with the first squadron of four deploying this week to Iraq. While development was troubled, with the program nearly being canceled a few times as I recall, the result seems to be an extremely capable weapons platform. Upgrading from two hellfire missiles to fourteen definitely gives you more options.

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
City Stats

Cindy gets a no-prize as thick as an encyclopedia for bringing us city-data.com, which seems to be a massive compendium of data about every locale (that I thought to search for) in America. A truly mind-boggling amount of stuff, both trivial and important. Search yours today!

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)
Why Didn't We Think of This?

Mark gets half a no-prize poured into a cup with ice for bringing us How to Fix the Airlines. Yeah, it's goofy, but what's wrong with that?

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
July 16, 2007
From a Distance

Scientists claim to have discovered the most distant galaxies found to-date. By using gravitational lensing and the 10 meter Keck telescope, a team of scientists have discovered six galaxies approximately 13 billion light-years away, at a time when the universe was only four percent of its present age. If I'm reading the article correctly, these objects are thought to represent some of the very first objects that could be visible at all, since conditions that allowed stars to "turn on" are thought to have occurred right around that time.

I think. Ultra-deep space astrophysics make my head hurt. But it's a good pain!

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
And the Robot Goes, "Walk Walk Walk"

Introducing Runbot, the learning robot that walks. Unlike much larger projects like Honda's Asimo, Runbot's goal is to create a decentralized system that offloads most of the effort of walking to local control loops, leaving the "brain" of the system needed only to learn new methods of walking on different terrain. Don't miss the amusing "not-quite-a-chicken-but-close" video of Runbot slowly learning to walk up an incline.

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)
At Least We're not Debating What "is" is

Those of you who strongly think our current tax structure unfairly favors the rich may wish to peruse this fact-based op-ed:

The C.B.O.’s most recent calculations of federal tax rates show a highly progressive system. (The numbers are based on 2004 data, but the tax code has not changed much since then.) The poorest fifth of the population, with average annual income of $15,400, pays only 4.5 percent of its income in federal taxes. The middle fifth, with income of $56,200, pays 13.9 percent. And the top fifth, with income of $207,200, pays 25.1 percent.

At the very top of the income distribution, the C.B.O. reports even higher tax rates. The richest 1 percent has average income of $1,259,700 and forks over 31.1 percent of its income to the federal government.

This is not the first article I've seen debunking the idea that the rich somehow get a free ride. That many people continue to hold this view speaks more about their own intransigent beliefs than any series of facts they may find.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (4)
Ethanol Update

Making the rounds: a construction permit for the first plant that will make ethanol from cellulose has been issued in Georgia. If it comes on line as expected in 2008, millions of gallons of the stuff will be available, all produced from much more efficient and easier to find cellulose (which all plants have) instead of sugar (which hardly any plants have). Article includes an absolutely priceless "completely and utterly doesn't get it" quote about peak oil.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Jurassic Throwdown

Ron gets a no-prize that'll be here Saturday Saturday Saturday!!! for bringing us this summary of a fossil review recently published about the Galve region of Northeast Spain. The specimens include horned sharks and the dinosaurs who loved to eat them, as well as crocodile-like critters the size of a bus.

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
Just Not Cool...

It really amazed me when people do bad things to animals.

Bob, an African spurred tortoise, was in guarded condition Saturday after thieves stole him July 7 and tried to cut his neck and slice his legs from his shell, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Let's hope they find the guys that did this.

Posted by Ellen at 07:08 AM | Comments (1)
July 15, 2007
Oh Yes...A Brass Sombrero

Posted by Ellen at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)
OOO....Ahhh... Tray...


Thank You, Thank You! I'll be serving dinner off of it at 10!

Posted by Ellen at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)
I Have a Tray on My Head! A Tray On My Head!


I have to purchase this actual photo :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)
Oh, the Things They'll Say VI

I've told this story to several people recently, but I'm recording it here because otherwise by the time it's useful as embarrassment material for dates everyone will have forgotten about it.

During our stay in San Diego, we were always on the top floor of a 14-story tower, which, well, towered over the rest of the property. Olivia took to calling this "the building." As in, "daddy, I'm tired, let's go home to the building." Or, "daddy! Why won't you buy me everything in the store?!? You're in time out! Go back to the building!"

Fast forward two weeks later, with Olivia sitting on the floor playing with her various San Diego-acquired stuffed animals*. Suddenly, she says, "Daddy! I want to go home!"

"Olivia, you are home!"

"No, daddy, this home is stupid! I want to go home to the building!"

Well, it's a damned long walk, but we'll see what we can do, kiddo.

* All 32 of them. I think. I lost count.

Posted by scott at 03:08 PM | Comments (1)
Watching the Glass Fill

It's getting to the point you can actually graph progress in Iraq. If the MSM doesn't get on the stick with some relentlessly negative reports, people might start getting the wrong idea about what's going on out there. We all might end up thinking we've started to win?

And that, as every person in the MSM knows, Will Not Do. Why, it could lead to dancing!

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 01:54 PM | Comments (1)
July 14, 2007
Pain Poison

As the son of a mom with severe arthritis, the discovery of new potential pain treatments is always of interest. That it's all based on some bizarre sea snail venom just makes it even more interesting.

Posted by scott at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)
My Only Friend, the End

At least one person is claiming everyone's favorite Lizard King didn't die in a bathtub. Not much corroborating evidence, but certainly dropping dead of a heroin overdose in a nightclub bathroom is certainly possible.

Posted by scott at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)
July 13, 2007
That's Kinda Harsh

Those who worry China isn't taking their tainted export foods problem seriously can now breathe easy:

China executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog yesterday for approving untested medicine in exchange for cash, the strongest signal yet from Beijing that it is serious about tackling its product safety crisis.

During Zheng Xiaoyu's tenure as head of the state food and drug administration from 1997 to 2006, the agency approved six medicines that turned out to be fake. One antibiotic caused the deaths of at least 10 people.

Because this guy, you know, isn't. Breathing, that is.

Via TSO.

Posted by scott at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

Well, I guess it is true to say the Dems are definitely doing some things better than the Republicans did. Just, as I expected, not the right things. As it were.

Posted by scott at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)
Buh-Bye Deficit

Those of you who made such a big goddamned deal about the deficit in '03 are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now. See-no, hear-no reactionary comment in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by scott at 03:45 PM | Comments (1)
Let's Blow Stuff Up


Better late that never. Here's a few from our July 4 mini-celebration, firing off the last of the previous year's fireworks. Not much, because giant thunderstorms were blowing through the area all day. It cleared off just in time, and with everything soaked we even had a reduced fire hazard!

Gramma note: O pix included!

Formal dress is de rigueur for princesses attending fireworks displays. Especially when you want to light off your own smoke bomb!




That's Annie, Ellen's belly-dance friend.
Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)
Squirrel Nuts

Hey Achmed, there's something fishy about that squirrel over there:

Police in Iran are reported to have taken 14 squirrels into custody - because they are suspected of spying.

The rodents were found near the Iranian border allegedly equipped with eavesdropping devices.

I expect this thing to have been proven a hoax in a day or two, but for now it's fun to think these guys are really that loopy. Well, until you consider how much they want their own bomb.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)
I R Gud Speler

Looks like some LolCats got hold of a NASA sign. These things are seen by, what, half a dozen people before they go up? Government workers are the best!

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
July 12, 2007
Car Go Boom

That there's what we call a "comprehensive meltdown." Looks like something important let go, and then when he tried to start it again broken fuel lines and an electric fuel pump did the rest. It's a wonder nobody got barbecued.

Here's to third world sporting even safety standards!

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)
When Bikini Wax Attacks

No, really, when bikini wax attacks:

'Brazilian' bikini waxes are increasingly popular among women who live nowhere near the bikini-clad beaches of Rio de Janeiro. For one 20-year-old woman in Melbourne, Australia, this routine procedure nearly took her life.

Turns out she's a poorly managed diabetic who, from the article, sounds like she's got a whole lot of other issues which combine to suppress her immune system and make her more susceptible to infection, which the ol' b.b.w gave her. It's just as well there are no pictures. Something tells me this one's not likely to be a keeper.

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)
~ Someone's Bridge is Falling Down / Falling Down / Falling Down ~

Joshua gets the prestigious Steve Austin no-prize* for bringing us this great super slow-mo sequence of a bridge being demolished. To me it really does bring home that demolition charges are used to cut, not destroy, when taking things down.

* It's a reference. Go look it up!

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)
Just How Full Does the Glass Have to Get?

Reports of strong, positive progress in Iraq are beginning to pop up all over the place, even where you'd least expect them. Coupled with a bit of historical perspective, why, it's enough to make a body downright hopeful.

Something tells me there's a chance, perhaps even a good one, all that pizza will come my way again.

Posted by scott at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
Water Water Everywhere

Scientists have discovered conclusive evidence of water on a planet outside the solar system. Unfortunately it's one of those wacky twirly gas giants, with a surface temperature somewhere around 1000K no less, so no LGM are expected.

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)
Testament Triangulation

British Museum scholars have announced the deciphering of a cuneiform table which mentions someone previously only known from the Bible. Independent textual confirmation of Biblical characters is, understandably, quite rare*, so the find is being treated with quite a bit of fanfare.

* It was a tiny little country constantly getting run over by its neighbors. It got cleaned out completely at least twice. Were it not for the spectacularly unlikely sequence of events that lead to an itinerant peasant's movement taking over the world, it's possible we'd be as familiar with Jews as we are with Sikhs, and for the same reasons.

Posted by scott at 09:48 AM | Comments (1)
July 11, 2007
Foil Hats at the Gas Pump

We don't hold prices high and keep them there because that's just what they'd be expecting us to do! I guess if you think all businesses are run by gangsters, you'd expect this sort of thing. Unfortunately people in a position to "do something" about it have recently regained some of their power. One can only hope the Democrats short circuit themselves slightly ahead of schedule...

Posted by scott at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)
Express Revival

Looks like Orbital Express is not dead yet. Feeling much better, in fact. The Astro, the servicing side of the pair, has at least 300 pounds of propellant left, so it'd seem ashame to just dump it all into the sea.

Posted by scott at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)
Mammoth Find

A remarkably well-preserved infant mammoth has been discovered in Siberia. Apparently the only thing missing is the tail. Even the trunk and eyes are intact. It's just possible this will be the specimen that provides the DNA required to re-create the species. Certainly it's a lot better looking than the previous "remarkably intact" mammoth, which to me looked like a huge ball of mud with hair sticking out.

Posted by scott at 12:35 PM | Comments (1)
A Sub, for the Rest of Us

Ron gets a no-prize for the bath tub for bringing us detailed descriptions of what rich boy toys are like nowadays. Meh, if it keeps a few dozen people employed doing something they like, why not?

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)
Barn Find Redux

Remember the huge cache of old cars found stuffed in a barn in Portugal? Turns out there's more to it than that. Even if the original story of a guy buying a plot of land and finding a welded-up barn full of cars on it is a legend, the truth that an old eccentric is sitting on them for no well-articulated reason is just about as interesting. Reminds me of Walter Soplata, albeit on a more human scale.

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
As if Millions of Gadget Geeks Cried Out in Terror, Then Were Suddenly Silent

Joshua gets a no-prize with iSmoketm coming out of it for bringing us Will it blend, iPhone edition. Yup, iPhone.

The terrible blackness at the end is proof enough for me that Steve Jobs really is in league with the Devil. A demon in your pocket!

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
July 10, 2007

Last vacation pictures, we swear. Well, probably. This was the first morning after the convention, when I finally got to wake up at my normal ungodly early hour, but had it all to myself. I'd been staking out some of these spots for five days by this point. Hopefully at least some will impress.
Posted by scott at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)
Pool Shot


This one was a gimme shot, something I did trying to avoid the security guards. But Ellen liked it a lot, so there ya go. This was the pool we didn't swim in, because it wasn't heated. San Diego's night lows just barely crack 60, so the heated pool just beyond was much more popular. For our own remembrance, our first room was on the top floor of the tower, left wing, second from the left. The suite is on that same top floor, facing front, one-two-three balconies across. Makes sense to us, all that matters.

To me, it looks like every damned post card I ever found stashed in the bedside table of all the motels we stayed in when I was a kid. Do they even do that anymore?

Posted by scott at 08:44 PM | Comments (0)
House on the Hill


Say, about two miles away, across the highway, and up one steep hill. We tried to capture these windows for the entire trip. This was as good as it got. HDR through a 300mm zoom no less. What you don't see is Olivia with the remote, pushing the button like a trooper.

Posted by scott at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

Posted by scott at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)
The Fountain

Posted by scott at 08:36 PM | Comments (0)
Fern Spot




Posted by scott at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)
Air Wha???

Leave it to the Japanese to take a simple concept like "air guitar" and run it straight through weird right out the other side into silly surreality. Sometimes things just don't need much translation.

Posted by scott at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)
Two for One

A drug already approved for use as an aid to stop smoking seems to also stop the craving for alcohol. Better living through chemistry!

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)
Running Miles

While I definitely enjoy air travel for its own sake, trying to optimize the whole thing so as to maximize airmiles seems a little extreme to me. Maybe when I was single, it would've held more appeal?

Posted by scott at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)
Where Dem' Jobs Go?

The Skeptical Optimist has the answer. Hint: Folks on the left side of the peanut gallery and Jeff rabid Bush haters ... ahem... pessimists probably won't much like what he finds, even though more rational people will. I especially enjoyed his five year "perception summary," which tracks extremely well with conversations I've had with various people around various dinner tables:

2001-2: The economy isn't growing.
2003-4: ...okay, it's growing, but it's a jobless recovery.
2005-6: ...okay, it's growing and creating jobs, but only the rich are benefiting.
2006-7: ...okay, it's growing, creating jobs, and wage growth is beating inflation, but we're still beleaguered by the dreaded deficit.
2007: ...okay, it's growing, creating jobs, creating higher wages, and the deficit is disappearing, but, uh, we still need to raise taxes because, uh, let's see... yeah, that's right: because there are still too many rich, and because the oil companies are making too much profit.  Yeah, that's the ticket.   


Posted by scott at 12:19 PM | Comments (1)
Who's Gonna Drive You Home?

Ron gets a no-prize that'll scare little children for bringing us the latest in Grim Reaper automotive style. With a center of gravity that high, I'd be more than a little nervous taking it around a cloverleaf at speed.

No Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)
Well Hello There

When we want to announce a new submarine or carrier, we have big pompous celebrations, complete with bands and champagne S&M. The Chinese just park their stuff outside and wait for someone to notice. According to various comments both on the site and (albeit with a great deal less sophistication) Slashdot, the Chinese are more or less trying to see if they can actually build one of these things. Operational capability is unknown but the Navy sounds pretty confident it can deal with these things should they ever venture out of their home port.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (1)
Hole in One

Wrecking ball: 4, POS Ford: 0. Explain that one to the insurance adjuster!

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
July 09, 2007
Me and Olivia


Yes, I got a new haircut today! :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:04 PM | Comments (3)
Puttering Around the Belt

Ron gets a no-prize with a wicked cool propulsion system for bringing us this update on NASA's Dawn space probe. After several trials and tribulations which nearly derailed the whole program, Dawn is scheduled to launch next Monday. It's mission is to visit several prominent asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. What enables this probe to do the to-date unprecedented task of orbiting and de-orbiting various objects is the real innovation: an ion engine which, while not powerful by terrestrial standards, is plenty strong enough to get the job done efficiently and economically.

I wonder if it'll make that cool howling noise as it goes by?

Posted by scott at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)
I Think They Used Too Much

Hopefully this was just a training exercise. But with state troopers (of any sort), who knows?

Posted by scott at 02:49 PM | Comments (1)
Singing Against the Chorus

Well, if everyone were jumping off a cliff would you go do it too:

Professor Scott Armstrong is at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Kesten Green is with the Business and Economic Forecasting Unit at Monash University. They're experts in forecasting techniques. (Many people are unaware that forecasting is a subject with many academic experts and a body of research going back to the 1930s. The website forecastingprinciples.com attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year.) Their paper is Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts. It was written for the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting.
Armstrong and Green rated the methodology used by [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group 1] against 89 principles of good forecasting derived from years of research. They found that the panel report breached 72 of those principles. They concluded that the forecasts the weather was likely to change in many negative ways were worthless.
Armstrong and Green note: "To our knowledge, there is no empirical evidence to suggest that presenting opinions in mathematical terms rather than in words will contribute to forecast accuracy."

I've actually found it quite remarkable how many prominent news outlets (the Economist quickly comes to mind) not only seem to accept the precepts of the green crowd, but seem to be evangelizing them. Green truly does seem to be the new yellow.

It may surprise some, but we've actually done quite a few things the greener side of the peanut gallery would approve of. We use CF lights extensively, a computerized thermostat that shuts the A/C and/or heat off when we're not home, and while our PT Cruiser is by no means the most efficient car in the world it's a whole lot better than most, and we carpool besides.

But we do these things because they benefit us economically, not because "we should." Were the greens more interested in improving people's lives than they were in pushing their watermelon agendas, I imagine their successes would come at a walk.


Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)
Well That'll Throw a Dampner on Things

There's party leftovers, then there's party leftovers:

A Belgian man appeared in court on Friday after a woman at his dinner party found the bodies of his wife and stepson in the freezer as she put away the leftovers, prosecutors said.

Yet another argument for an open bar at the reception, and for only letting the most lit guest put things away in the freezer. You may not find the cake in the morning, but they may not spot the bodies that evening!

Posted by scott at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Yakov Smirnov, White Courtesy Phone Please

NASA has purchased a 19 million dollar toilet from the Russians for the ISS. The Space Shuttle's toilet was an running joke in the 1980s, so I'm actually rather happy NASA has decided to pony up for a design already in use. If it's stupid and it works, it's not stupid.

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)

What is it with Koreans and massive synchronized performances? This time it's South Korea, so perhaps this is some sort of attempt to better their loony hermit neighbors?

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)
July 08, 2007
2007 Belly Dance Show- A Fantasy Fantasia

Ok here are some more pixes of the show. A friend's Dad took these pixes so they are a bit blurry. Our REAL photographer apparently did not do a good job and all of the pixes are way too dark. Another dancer is trying to fix them since she does video work. :/

So enjoy, even though they are blurry.

The first photo is of a song called BARRA BARRA


Me and Annie doing Mata Hari.



ATS (American Tribal Style).

Me and Shirin


Group ATS


Posted by Ellen at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)
July 06, 2007
The Orb

Posted by scott at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)
The Prez Suite


Yes, even more vacation pictures! What's not widely known is that when a non-profit sells out its hotel room block for a convention, the hotel throws their best suites in for free. Fortunately for us, the executive director wanted to go home on day 5 of his 7 day reservation. Which let us move in. More story to follow...



One can definitely get used to this sort of thing. The carpet was so thick you left footprints.

But most important to me were the memories. We'd been here seven years before, when the organization was in the depths of a financial crisis. People, good people, had been fired. Ellen was only just hitting the rock bottom of one of her worst depressions. We were across the highway, in Motel Hell, hoping the homeless trolls under the bridge didn't notice us. And this was the place, this very place, where all the bigwigs were staying. Where all the parties were. A very strange, yet very safe place, where I'd never be.

And I owned it. We owned it. Me and mine. My footprints. My family. My child. I couldn't make Ellen get it, I probably won't make you.

But maybe, some day, Olivia will.


Posted by scott at 09:12 PM | Comments (1)
~ As the Donkeys / Go Rolling / Along ~

When Republicans are in power, they backslide on social issues. When it's the Democrat's turn, they start backsliding on the economy. Unfortunately the media are both more forgiving of the Dems and less able to understand the importance of economics, and so we never hear about these things until stuff starts to break. Worse still, when someone screws with my access to porn it means I have to take a cold shower. When someone screws with the economy, we're all doused with a bucket of cold water.

Which is the main, prime, horizon to zenith reason why I never plan on voting Democrat, ever, and constantly wonder why anyone else would want to do so. I knew they'd start pulling stunts like this as soon as nobody was looking. The only things that keep me from panicking outright is their razor thin majorities and a president from the right party who has no need to pay attention to polls anymore. But dear Lord that '08 election just keeps getting more and more important.

But the rest of you freaks, the ones who wanted and voted for a split government? Hope you're happy now.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)
Twin Endings

The Orbital Express satellites have completed their mission and will now be retired. I haven't been following the program as closely as I had when things were starting out, but according to the article it passed all the tests set out for it. Now it seems to just be a matter of waiting for the satellites to fall into the sea.

Posted by scott at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)
I'm Sure it Worked During Rehearsal

Remember a few weeks back, that show the opera-singing salesman won? Others didn't do quite as well.

Quack quack!

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)
July 05, 2007
Exit... well, Nobody Actually

While environmentalists worry, decrepit warships continue to rot. Personally I think they aught to give tours of the place by boat and raise money that way. Big old ships are interesting!

Posted by scott at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)
And You Thought Your Last Thunderstorm was Bad

The long-suffering Mars rovers are stuck in a sandstorm so bad it's affecting their ability to collect sunlight for power. They've both been set to low power-level activity, but it's thought the worst may now be past.

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (1)
A Display, for the Rest of Us

New Scientist is carrying news of the development of a new kind of display technology. By using new thermally activated materials, scientists have created a system that controls its image via heat, instead of light or electric switches. It's claimed the material is much cheaper to manufacture than the stuff LCD screens are made of, and it's flexible to boot. No word on when we might see actual displays made with this technology, but if it pans out previous experience would suggest somewhere in the 5 year range.

Just in time to replace the set we're getting ready to buy, I suppose.

Posted by scott at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)
I R Amerikun

Finally an on-line test I can ace. Unlike basically all the others, there's no way any of you monsters can outscore me this time... only tie, at 100%. Muhahahahah!

Via Yourish.

Posted by scott at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)
Sponge Moon

Repeated fly-byes of the Cassini space probe have revealed that at least 40% of the volume of Saturn's largest irregular moon, Hyperion, is empty space. This helps to account for the moon's extremely cratered appearance, as hitting such a "soft" object would make for deep craters with little chance of being refilled.

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)
July 04, 2007
Supernova 1054

On July 4, 1054 A.D. a supernova appeared in the sky. It must have been a spectacular sight to those ancient sky watchers. Outshining the most brilliant stars in the heavens, it was even seen during daylight. Although such a brilliant object must have been seen by many around the world, what we know of this event comes mainly from the ancient Chinese chronicles.

What we now know as Messier 1, or the Crab Nebula, is the remnant of this supernova explosion. Although this nebula was discovered in 1731 by John Bevis, an amateur astronomer, and then independently rediscovered by Charles Messier in 1758, it was not until professional astronomers Hubble (1928) and Mayall (1939) wrote papers suggesting that the Chinese "guest star" of 1054 A.D. be interpreted as the supernova associated with the Crab Nebula. Since then, exhaustive searches to find historic corroborating references in the world literature have taken place.

Check out the entire history here.

Posted by Ellen at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)
Happy 4th!

Happy Birthday, USA!

We're semi-grounded due to the Cruiser's convincing imitation of a pot of pasta boiling over. We're pretty sure it's the cooling fans, but the thing won't be fixed until Thursday at the earliest. The Spider's been running well for quite some time, but has some obvious cargo limitations. Ah well, time to improvise!

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM | Comments (3)
July 03, 2007
Monster Bergs

Seafloor evidence seems to indicate icebergs more than half a mile in total height once roamed the North Atlantic. These completely dwarf the ones we see nowadays; even the iceberg that sank Titanic was thought to "only" be about 100 feet tall.

Posted by scott at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)
No Muss no Fuss

Leave it to the Japanese to take asceticism to a fanatically looney extreme. Considering there seem to have only been twenty-eight recorded instances of "self-mummification" in nearly 1000 years, it's not like just anyone was able to take some eight years to transform themselves from a (presumably) healthy person to a quite dead mummy. Take that, all you Christo & Islamo loons!

Posted by scott at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

Said it before, say it again, people turn to a life of crime because they're too stupid to do anything else. Fumbling your gun into the cashier's hands definitely qualifies. Hell, the cashier should try for a position with the Redskins. He's got better hands than most of the defensive line!

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)
Negative Time?

Making the rounds: a recent theoretical development seems to imply it will be possible to explore what the universe was like before the big bang. I seem to recall Stephen Hawking postulating something similar years ago, no idea if this is even vaguely related.

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)
Pelican Zoom

Not quite your very own trip to space, but it's still nice to watch. I wonder how well the Pelican Nebula can be imaged with a more pedestrian telescope?

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (5)
July 02, 2007
American Porn Star

Just like American Idol only,l XXX!

Posted by Ellen at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)
Sea Dragon seadragon.jpg
Posted by Ellen at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)


Scott caught a pix of this cute guy while I was chasing Olivia all over the aquarium.

Posted by Ellen at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)
Nemo Tank


Well...Dory is in it at least.

Posted by Ellen at 08:00 PM | Comments (1)
Kelp Tank


This is a HUGE tank. We are talking about 15-20 feet high by 15 feet long. That gives you an idea how BIG the kelp and the Moray Eels are!

Posted by Ellen at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)
Uh... Jelly Fish.. Yeah...

Posted by Ellen at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)
Exit the Tomcat

Scourge of the Cold War skies one minute, razorblades the next. Not as noble an end as a Q target, but if it keeps the Persian 'cats grounded, I suppose it's a good thing.

Posted by scott at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)
Veggie Fun

Sure it's silly, but this site wouldn't exist if not for silliness, so why not?


Posted by scott at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)
Cuttin' it Down to 305

Something tells me if the Spartan army had looked more like this, Ellen wouldn't have liked the movie as much. Of course, were most Hollywood starlets the female equivalent of these guys, there'd be a lot more movies I'd get to go see. Funny how life is, eh?

Posted by scott at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)
A European Ticket to Ride?

The European Space Agency is engaging various Euro industrial groups to explore the creation of a man-rated booster and space capsule. It's all part of the Crew Space Transportation System initiative, which is looking to create an independent manned system primarily to access the ISS. Considering NASA's rocky record of getting there and back, it sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Posted by scott at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Ernie, White Courtesy Phone Please

Thousands of rubber ducks who've been drifting at sea for more than a decade are scheduled to make landfall on the UK some time this year. The long-trekking tub toys started their journey in the Pacific when the container they were stored in broke free in a storm and released them. Ocean currents then swirled them north, where pack ice gradually pushed them through their very own northwest passage. Some of the outliers have already made landfall on various North American coasts, but the bulk are predicted to arrive in South West England some time later this summer. Surprisingly, this plasticized voyage has provided a great deal of valuable information on ocean currents.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
Celts and Bowls and Nazis, Oh My!

Is it a Celtic bowl, the Holy Grail, or some wacky thing Himmler cooked up in his spare time? The world may never know.

Posted by scott at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)
Fat Mouse, Thin Mouse

The Post is reporting scientists have discovered biological switches which allow stress to promote obesity. In mice, of course, which means the research may not result in any success in humans. If it does, it could lead to safer, more effective treatments for obesity.

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)
July 01, 2007
Tossing Busloads

The Skeptical Optimist has an insightful criticism of the failure of the recently deceased immigration bill. Has this base-driven defeat turned the GOP into a permanent minority party? If the American Democrats and British Labor parties represent anything, it's the ability to gain power in spite of your supporters. I think it's quite likely the GOP will (eventually) rally as well.

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)
But is it Art?

I'm not sure what the hell this is, but the artwork is certainly interesting. Macabre and grotesque, but also interesting. Anybody speak Russian?

Posted by scott at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)