I especially like how he makes it ring like a bell at the end. Yeah, I know, but caturday's gotten really expensive for us. Maybe next week...
My God... it's full of pastels... Pretty sad to think 1990 is now nearly 18 years ago, eh?
Almost a third of the questioners [at the recent Republican candidate debate] seem to have some ties to Democratic causes or candidates. It's almost as if they don't want a Republican to win this time around.
Hey, at least with Fox News they're not trying to hide it or anything.
Scientists have figured out how to create "zombie cockroaches" by injecting them with a specific wasp venom. The wasp uses the venom to create a kind of "self-propelled food item" for their larva back at the nest. Scientists think the discovery could be useful in developing a number of medicines.
Military history buffs in the peanut gallery (you know who you are) should find this photo essay on constructing a "Dark Ages" short sword worth a look. When it starts out a bunch of metal strips and ends up something you can wave at Grendel, well folks, I call that built from scratch for sure.
Seems to me, a walking machine this stable and cheap would make the ideal basis for a planetary rover. If you could get it to fold down and unfold properly, at any rate. Regardless, kinetic sculptures made from PVC pipe, plastic sheeting, and soda bottles represent some pretty impressive engineering.
Looks like super-massive black holes may have started life inside still-active stars. It's one way to account for the existence of such odd beasts, some of which have apparently been around for so long it's difficult to explain their existence via the normal "grab-and-swallow" method more commonly understood. Just when you thought the universe couldn't get any weirder...
The ESA has released a new summary of findings from the Venus Express probe. This one includes some pretty neat animations!
So what happens when a colostomy bag removal goes exactly 180 degrees wrong? More or less what you'd expect. Fortunately, there are no pictures included with the article. Yeesh.
Because we all know that, if He could, Jesus would've ridden a chopper. I especially like how He ignores the helmet laws. Sort of.
Personally, I think making the players strap on binoculars would make soccer a whole lot more interesting. But I'm weird that way.
And what's up with the guy wearing the giant bunny hat, anyway?
Dead bodies could be freeze-dried, shaken to a fine powder and used as compost under proposals to introduce a new, more eco-friendly method of corpse disposal to the UK.
The process, which is known as promession, has been developed in Sweden and aims to address the shortage of burial spaces and reduce the mercury pollution created by dental fillings during cremation.
This is not the regular sort of freeze-drying, which can take years on something as big as a body, but rather what I would consider "flash freezing": cooling a body in liquid nitrogen and then making it disintegrate like a block of Styrofoam.
Meh. As long as it's not required, I wouldn't mind it as an alternative to the regular sort of cremation.
A new genetic study seems to indicate that all Native American populations are descended from one group of people in Asia who either all left about 12,000 years ago, or left in stages starting at that time. The "multi-pulse" alternative matches up with theories based on linguistics.
It seems the "in-toy" for the season this year is roadkill. Two years ago Olivia wouldn't have cared, they were all just soft fuzzy things she could hug. Now, not so much. So put the charge card down, we're gonna ask you to pass on this one.
Japanese researchers have developed a soft-handed robot named Twendy-One that can gently grip frail objects like eggs, bread and the elderly.
Call my mom a "frail object" and she'll run you over with her walker. Don't mess with little old ladies!
Unfortunately I have a feeling they can get away with South Park's Eric Cartman doing the player intros because not all that many people are watching. I'd fear for Southpark's staff if something like this came across an NFL game. Some of those fans out there don't have much of a sense of humor.
Not that I know anyone like that. /rolls eyes/
Quiet Riot lead singer Kevin Dubrow was found dead yesterday in his Las Vegas home. Celebrity dead pool trifecta now in play.
Redskins safety Sean Taylor has died from a gunshot wound suffered during an apparent break-in of his home early Monday. Like the Redskins needed more bad news.
Ron gets a damned sad no-prize for bringing us the news.
Definitely a case of spinning flax to gold:
Linda started her online business, the Prairie Tumbleweed Farm, as a joke. It was 1994 and she wanted to teach herself how to design a website. Since she lived on the prairie in southwest Kansas, where rolling tumbleweeds are sometimes the only dynamic feature of an endless flat horizon, she invented a farm that sold tumbleweeds, listing prices at $15 for a small one, $20 for a medium and $25 for large.
Which now apparently brings her something north of $40,000 a year. At first this might seem like easy money, but catching, packing, and shipping the things doesn't sound as if it's a breeze. Let's hear it for the market!
That better not be what I think it is behind you!?!
It is! Gah!! Last time her hair got sucked out at the roots!
Autoweek got its hands on an Alfa 8C Competizione, and apparently, It Was Good:
Exploding out of the underpass at 7000 rpm in fourth, with the tiniest dabs on the brake pedal and a tickling caress of the wheel, America's first Alfa Romeo in 13 years sneaks in toward the Armco. Even with no front grip left, it swallows the mashed throttle with a downward lunge onto the outside rear tire, flicks back to the right and then exits the 110-mph flip-flop with a gentle drift.
At $250,000 SRP, I'll certainly never own one, but it definitely sounds like it'll make a very big splash in the market.
This sorta reminds me of a kung-fu movie. Only funnier, and with cats. I especially liked it when one called the other, "ass."
Who says cosmic history can't be funny? Well, it's funny to me anyway. And yes, I do read Olivia a Dr. Seuss book every night. Why do you ask?
The very last Mirage 2000 has rolled off the assembly line. I think this represents the second "fourth generation" fighter to end production. The F-14 remains the only gen-4 to be completely retired (as far as I can recall).
Pretty sad when you start seeing airplanes you grew up with as the latest-and-greatest being sent out to pasture as old gray mares.
Slashdot linked up news of the development of a "nuclear battery." The device would be about the size of a hot tub, completely self-contained without any moving parts, and be able to power 25,000 homes for 5 years. While I personally have some concerns about safety and security, if the thing doesn't require any human intervention then it would seem to me such concerns would be straightforward to address.
Addressing the many and varied concerns of the
moonbat luddite watermelon anti-nuke crowd... well, that's a whole different kettle o' glowing fish, ain't it?
Still, if it works, and if it flies, it will most likely change just about everything about how we power things in the future. It's that big of a deal.
It would appear the last two "missing" Romanovs have been found. By amateur sleuths, no less. Unfortunately the ending isn't a happy one... as widely expected, the Bolsheviks killed all of the Czar's family. They just didn't bury them all in the same place.
Another economist is sounding warning calls about the Euro. One problem with predicting a chess-like series of moves toward disaster is that global economics is not a two-dimensional game played on a board. It's fantastically complex, interrelated, and plays out in four dimensions. Disaster could happen, but it can also be averted.
I've been following predictions of the Euro's collapse since before its adoption. I can say they do seem to be getting more frequent, and rather more specific. Will it run into a wall? I can only hope not. Such a crisis in the heart of the developed world will have repercussions for everyone, and nobody can predict exactly what they will be.
Well, other than no good at all, I'm afraid.
Scientists have discovered a new method by which life may have gotten its start on Earth. Scientists have found that liquid crystal phases of tiny DNA strands create conditions favorable for spontaneous organization, which perpetuates and expands that favorable environment, causing, as it were, the music to go round and round again.
I learned long ago that evolution is not about how life got started, but rather how it progressed after it began. "Abiogenesis" was the word I learned which described the field of life creation. It would seem a new step in this world has been made.
For the car collector with everything: a one-of-a-kind GM prototype from John Delorean. While the article claims it to be the progenitor of the Stingray Corvette, research seems to indicate the Corvette design was based on a much earlier prototype. The answer may never be known. It was always my understanding that the Banshee was an early ancestor of the 2nd gen Firebird. But what do I know?
Instapundit linked up this middle-length piece detailing the "turning" of a Baghdad neighborhood from an Al Qaida stronghold to an island of relative calm. The warning that we may be setting up private armies loyal to men instead of country is well made. Then again, just like in the US, not liking the government is not the same thing as not liking the country. The Iraqi commander's comment that the biggest remaining enemy is Iran also tracks well with several different sources I've read who either are Iraqi or have spent a very long time there. Maybe now that the situation in-country seems to be stabilizing rapidly, they can begin to concentrate on their border to the west.
And I think it's very important to keep in mind the current Iraqi government is not the country. If this bunch can't get things done, eventually (and perhaps soon) they'll vote themselves in a new bunch who might.
It's also important to understand even with the very best of outcomes, the Iraqi government will never be as decisive as our own. A parliamentary system, with proportional winners, usually spends a lot of time grinding against itself with occasional (but comparatively frequent) turnovers of power. Think Israel, not the UK or Canada.
However, in the long term such democracies have proven far more resistant to takeover and dismantling than have those with organized, and separate, executive branches. I've heard it said the worst gift the US has given to the democratic world is the concept of the presidency, and from my readings that's not too far wrong.
In my own opinion, the only really dangerous government is an efficient, effective one. The best judgment of a particular democracy is how well it keeps the busybodies occupied while the rest of us get on with running things. Oh, the press and the chattering classes will definitely wail and moan at how little is being done by the government. This is, after all, another aspect of keeping the troublemakers busy. However, as long as the economy grows, and the rule of law is enforced, it will all work out in the end.
“It doesn't matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.”
Congratulations to my alma mater Razorbacks for completely screwing up the BCS rankings. Far as I'm concerned, everyone wins here. McFadden starts to be taken seriously again as a Heisman candidate, Houston Nutt gets to keep his job, I finally got to watch the Razorbacks win an important game this season, and we freaking beat the #1 team in the nation! Like I said, everyone wins.
Well, except for LSU. Sorry dudes, nothing personal. It's just business.
By re-tasking a new neutrino detector being built at the South Pole, scientists hope to take snapshots of the Earth's core. It would seem to work on the same principle as an x-ray on a human body, but it uses neutrinos colliding with the Earth's core instead.
And only in Germany would a tiny little town nobody's heard of have a six hundred year-old tower that leans more than Pisa's. At least, for now. In order to make sure it doesn't mow down houses near by, a stabilization effort will reduce the lean to just slightly less than Pisa's tower.
Only in Italy would a spectacular underground temple complex be built, hidden from authorities, discovered, and then provided with retroactive permission to exist. Who would've thought a hole in the ground would be able to describe an entire nation?
All this girl needed was some hariball remedy!
Say it with us now! BLORK BLORK BLORK BLAAAAAAARRRCHH!!
~Don't forget to do it on carpets, couches and or other nooks and crannies that your human cannot get to.
As this collection of odd streets shows, practicality and tradition often trump elegance and functionality. That, and "it's our street well name it what we damned well please."
Around this area, the only really amusing street in my opinion is "Temporary Road." It's actually a major surface street, four lanes and a turn lane in the middle!
Those of you who've wondered what Ellen's bird sounds like? Wonder no more! The funny thing is, in the bird world, Pionus are considered the "surfer dudes" of the parrot world.
One must only hope that, in our case, the dude abides.
I need one! Why did I not have a 2 faced cat yet!?!
Thanks to Nina for the article! No-Prize to you!
~With picture goodness! I am so happy to see one of these guys thriving!
Alternate title: Insert Meaning of Life Joke Here. Sure, trying to remove a tattoo yourself is painful, messy, and leads to scarring, but think of all the money you save!
It seems the Earth's moon is quite rare. Considering the way it formed, I'm not completely surprised. I do think it's interesting we are beginning to predict which solar systems might have moons like ours. Gives us another reason to keep looking.
While some of these creative staircases are pretty neat, others look more like creative ways to dump a person on their head. I have a hard enough time with our regular stairs.
Scientists are reporting the discovery of the largest sea scorpion ever found. Nearly 10 feet long! These critters appear to have been a very successful apex predator, and relatives are suspected to have lead the way onto land.
Thankfully, I don't recall seeing a single one of these "bad DVD cover" films. And it's not so much the cover as it is the poster art. I think.
Something tells me the peanut gallery may not be quite as lucky as I in keeping away from such turkeys.
Joshua gets a no-prize shaped like a crowbar for bringing us Half Life, in 60 seconds. Those of you who wondered what the hell HL was all about but didn't have the time to actually play it... well, you're probably not going to be any clearer about it, but you may get a chuckle or two along the way.
I've always thought the whole, "American worker's wages have gone nowhere this decade" argument completely wrong, but I didn't have the numbers in a convenient place to prove it. now I do. Put that in your, "my kids will never be as well off as I am" pipe and smoke it.
Amazingly enough, this "modern toilet" restaurant is located in China, not Japan. I'll let you guys make up the "crappy food" jokes as you like.
Carrie gets a no-prize that will intimidate onlookers while it cooks for bringing us what could possibly be the best solution to beer-butt chicken created to-date. For the season, they're discussing turkey, but if I'm reading the article right it'll work for pretty much any poultry. Looks like a neat way to add flavor to your next roasting attempt.
Abandoned police headquarters building, anyone? Don't know much about law enforcement, but it seems to me it's most likely against the law for some of that stuff to have been left behind. Then again, it's against the law to break and enter, which is what I guess these guys did to get the pictures. Still, that wouldn't be much of a case for a prosecutor, although of course they've filed worst cases on less. All-in-all, not much of an advertisement for some local government in Michigan, in my opinion.
Ron gets a no-prize in a box for bringing us this amusing ditty. Great. Now I'm going to have that damned thing in my head all day.
As it were.
The Wii shooter control would seem to have arrived. I will be very interested to see how this control affects play of my second-favorite video game genre. I'm legendary for being a fast mover and a poor shooter, so it'll be amusing to see if this new style of controller accentuates or attenuates any strengths or weaknesses I may have.
I am nerd. Hear me roar.
Robert R. gets a no-prize he can jingle for spare change as people walk by for bringing us this rather sardonic look at the regional airline business.
The criticism may be a bit overblown, but it does at least track somewhat with other things I've read over the years. A career as a commercial pilot is supposed to have quite a bit of reward potential, but from the pilot's side almost all regional carriers supported by the majors (which is to say, almost all) are, like their parent companies, very poorly run. Powerful unions, as they are wont to do, have imposed byzantine and parochial advancement and pay rules, providing powerful disincentives to hard work. Take the two together and you end up with something that looks a lot like what the video is railing against.
The unfortunate thing is that as long as the majors are propped up and regularly bailed out by the government, the situation is unlikely to change any time soon. But it's not all bad. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many people applying for the job. Still, it's definitely not the glamorous profession portrayed in the movies. It hasn't been for quite some time.
The fabled symbol of magical protection from occult forces, John Dee's Elder Sign is boldly emblazoned where it can really make a difference. Keep things out; keep things in - it's up to you. But you're sure to make an impression when your panties carry 16th century occult symbols, and hey, it's a wonderful conversation starter.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll make all the nerdy chicks giggle for bringing us this gift idea for the literary goth in your life.
Lisa gets a no-prize that tries to be so inoffensive you want to strangle it for bringing us the "no ho-ho-ho" Santa training. As bad as it is, it could be worse. This is just good ol' fashioned PC group-think leftover from the early 90s. Much worse are the attempts to strangle native traditions to avoid offending Muslims.
Hey, as long as you pay your taxes and stay out of trouble, why not stick a custom home theater modeled after a starship bridge in your home? And then invite me! I'll bring beer!
Hopefully she will be home with us for Xmas!
Sometimes I troll uselessly through Wikipedia, killing time and filling my head with what may, at best, help me win Jeopardy some day. Other times, I come up with a truly strange mystery worthy of DaVinci Code treatment. A six hundred year old book completely undecipherable to modern methods, yet elaborate and sophisticated enough to be quite resistant to hoax hypotheses, is the stuff of science fiction. This is the sort of book SF authors use to allow their time-traveling heroes to communicate with their handlers in the future.
The difference, of course, is that this thing is quite real.
Paging Rod Serling, White Courtesy Phone Please...
The article says this giant inflatable vagina was made for some sort of theater production. I'll take their word for it.
Robert R. gets a no-prize that breathes funny for bringing us this look at the helmet-mounted displays scheduled to equip the F-35. Now if they'd just make them affordable, I could use them on my flight sims.
After 125 years, Thomas Edison's final DC power link will be cut in New York City. Sorta puts my pride at retiring a 10 year old Windows NT server in perspective, eh?
The language and platform I've hitched my developer career to was used in at least one DARPA-challenge vehicle! Complete with memory leaks and everything. And let me tell you, in a managed language that's no small feat!
Personally, I haven't had much use for the listener pattern yet. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time. I'll most likely make more use of it as I branch out of web-only development.
Yeah, it's a glorified advertisement. But whaddayagonnado? Hey, it's my website. I'll write about what I want!
So I'm bored and (for once) I browse through the network's firewall logs*. Turns out today the firewall log is segmented into 5 messages. For those not familiar with network admin: Imagine a bug zapper over your back porch. On a given late afternoon, it pops once, maybe twice every five minutes. You never look at it when it does that. Suddenly one evening, it makes a continuous BZZZZAPPP!! noise for a solid 3 minutes straight.
Yeah. Someone's bouncing against the screen door. And, since I've got nothing particularly important to do tonight, after / translation: turning up the amps on the bug zapper, flinging this annoying insect into orbit** /, I decide to look it up.
Seems that 184.108.40.206 tracks back to DoD Network Information Center in Columbus, OH. Yes, dear friends, it would appear that our protectors at DHS have themselves a little zombie problem. I guess that's what happens when people surf the Naughty Bits of the internet on the government's dime.
Your tax dollars at work, and I have the log files to prove it.
Network admin is usually a damned boring job. When it's exciting, it's even worse. But every once in awhile, we get to glory in the mistakes of others. As I finally migrate from admin to code monkey, it's nice to see the signature of a particularly embarrassing zombie fluttering against the screen door as I leave.
Not that anyone will notice. Well, except for you guys. But you always knew we were an exclusive group, eh?
* To those who are not network admins: As Olivia is fond of saying, in a reasonable imitation of a British senior non-com: Wait For It!!!...
** Blocking the IP outright, on any interface, for any purpose.
Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.”
Others report on how much has changed.
Coupled with the near silence in MSM outlets like the Post, it would seem we're all actually starting to pull this off.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll make him real popular at Christmastime for bringing us this list of extremely strange toys available just in time for the holidays. They may not all be Japanese, but they seem to be mostly Asian. Longtime readers of this site will be completely unsurprised.
Assuming this tale of an orangutan sex slave is true, well hell, let's just all hope it's not, OK?
Unfortunately I'm not holding my breath.
Unlike the previous "Oh my god WTF?!?" entry on Hunts tomato products, this look at a JC Penny's catalog from 1977 is far too real. I was too young to wear any of this stuff, but there's at least one person out in the peanut gallery who may in fact have been inflicted with the dreaded leisure suit. He reveals himself... at... his... peril!!!
Nina gets a no-prize that shouldn't even be possible for bringing us the only known case of a "cycle-sexualist". It will probably amaze some, but I have never in fact even contemplated such a thing.
You know, the one where they read the labels on the salsa and then shout, "New York City?!?":
Corporate Welfare is alive and well in the farm subsidies bill. After seeing this article, I zoomed in more closely on Manhattan, just for fun. Here's the shot; red circles are proportional to the size of farm subsidies
Get a rope!
Your Democratic Congress at work!
Northrop Grumman has announced the successful test of an innovate type of rocket engine. Looks like it's a smallish one, at least for now meant mainly for maneuvering rockets. Still, a rocket engine with no moving parts aside from a few valves sounds like a damned impressive achievement. Here's to scaling up!
Scientists have announced significant progress toward creating a blood transfusion substitute. None of them seem to be anywhere near a marketable product, but it's interesting to hear they're moving forward. Can SmartBloodtm be far behind?
I thought proselytizing wackos on college campuses went the same way as hair metal and jelly shoes. At least, I only remember them back in the late 80s, when I was an undergrad. They dried up a few years later, I always thought because the frat boys made it too dangerous for them.
Then again, the 80s are back, so why not this too?
Making the rounds: A Japanese probe to the moon has re-created one of the most famous photographs of all time. I wonder if this one is of appreciably high resolution than the last? Large format cameras of the 1960s had some pretty impressive specs, ya know.
Mike P. gets a no-prize with a bullseye on the back for bringing us this bit of Star Trek fluff. I got a real chuckle out of NCC-1.
A Fox 5 exclusive: our investigative team has obtained disturbing pictures involving a local police lieutenant who is already in hot water. What you're about to see raises serious questions about the character and reputation of an elite and highly trained part of the police department.
With much amusing video goodness. And from New York, no less. Now, who else do I know who's from New York...
All kidding aside, the whole thing strikes me as a bit of media tar-and-feathering, disapproving of off-duty behavior instead of how the guy does his job. But hell what do I know?
Scientists have determined the brightest supernova ever recorded was caused by a giant pileup of giant stars. It's probably for the best we were some 240 million light years away when it happened. Something tells me it wouldn't be very pleasant if it happened up close.
Someone forgot to do a final check over the nuclear blueprints Iran just released. You'd think the explicit mention of nuclear warheads in documents released by Iran would have just about everyone else flipping out, but I can find very little mention of it on, say, the Washington Post's website. Am I missing something really basic here?
Keep in mind we're not the only ones damned unhappy with Iran's little pet project. The French have quite explicitly warned Iran it too would take whatever steps necessary to prevent the mullahs from getting their own bomb. Wouldn't it be a surprise if it turned out to be French Typhoons that did the deed?
Mike T. gets a no-prize my wife will beat him to death with if he ever actually tries to make any of these "Italian" recipes (scroll down to the bottom of the article.)
My grandma had cookbooks with illustrations like that. What the heck was going on, anyway? Some quirk of 50s offset printers creating day-glo illustrations? Or was everyone just colorblind back then?
EMP-based auto disablers, which have been thought about for years by various engineering geeks, seem to have been made a reality.
This thing'll require a ton of field tests before anyone tries it for real. The fear of control loss is quite real. On a modern car, zapping the engine also turns off power steering immediately and power brakes after just a few pedal presses. If the chases on COPS are any indication, fleeing perps are poor drivers even when everything works. Putting their steering wheels in oatmeal and their brakes in concrete would seem pretty dangerous, at least on the face of it.
Salon has this writeup of what they term a must-see documentary:
Darkon is a LARP (live-action role-playing game) where normal people dress up in homemade armor and pretend to be inhabitants of a fantasy realm. They fight battles in parks and on soccer fields over pretend land in a pretend country that has its own pretend religions and pretend economy. It's meatspace Dungeons & Dragons, with people brandishing swords wrapped in foam and slamming each other around with padded shields. Founded in 1985, Darkon is one of America's oldest and largest LARPs, and the showdown between two kingdoms within it, Mordom and Laconia, was captured in the documentary Darkon, a movie so mighty it needed two directors (Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer). The film has its television premiere on the IFC Channel tonight at 9 p.m., where it joins the ranks of movies like Hoop Dreams and Murderball as one of the great documentary dissections of how Americans play.
It's said there are three kinds of good documentaries: extraordinary people doing ordinary things, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and one-time events. This seems to fall solidly into category 2, so it most likely will be quite fun to watch. Unfortunately we don't get the IFC channel, so I'll have to put it on a keyword search on the ol' Tivo and hope it makes the rounds to a channel we do get.
Because, as far as I'm concerned, there ain't nothin' more entertainin' than nerds gettin' their game on.
CNN taking a celebrity's quotes out of context? The horror!!!
I respect the hell out of pro wrestlers. Sure, it's about as spontaneous as kabuki theater, but there's some mighty skills involved in getting a 250 lb man to jump 9 feet to the ground onto another 250 lb man without everyone ending up in the hospital.
You go tell them it all sounds a little gay. I'm hiding behind my keyboard where it's safe!
Mark gets a no-prize he'll have to pick up every dratted morning for bringing us the story of Sgt Podge:
Sgt Podge, a Norwegian Forest Cat, disappears from his owner's home in Talbot Woods, Bournemouth [UK], every night.
The next morning, the 12-year-old cat can always be found in exactly the same place, on a pavement about one and a half miles (2.4km) away.
None of ours are allowed out unsupervised, so I'm not sure how well they'd do with this.
Everyone's favorite Internet woodland character has gone and gotten himself engaged. Yet another thing I'll tell Olivia about: "daddy can remember when it took more than a weird costume and a goofy look to get on TV."
Scientists seem to have found conclusive proof that chocolate was discovered as a by-product of brewing a particular sort of ancient beer. So no more making fun of me sitting with a Snickers bar and a Heineken, eh?
While a spiderweb that completely covers several trees is a little creepy to think about, if it eats "thousands of mosquitoes" it's just fine by me. Growing up in an area surrounded by rice fields, as just about all of eastern Arkansas was in the 1970s, will do that to a person.
American military chiefs have been left dumbstruck by an undetected Chinese submarine popping up at the heart of a recent Pacific exercise and close to the vast U.S.S. Kitty Hawk - a 1,000ft supercarrier with 4,500 personnel on board.
While high on sensationalism and low on detail, the article does seem to represent a kind of watershed in military relations between our two countries. There's most likely going to be one helluva lot of CYA shuffling amongst the sub hunters of that fleet, as this is the sort of thing which can end careers.
Still, "sailed within viable range" is a funny sort of phrase. Something tells me that, when and if the details of this incident come out, it'll turn out that the sub was just barely within the very outside of its weapons envelope. If that is the case, while the chances of a successful weapon launch were good, the chances of a successful hit were most likely very bad.
Also interesting was the sensational "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" quote from an unnamed NATO official. Notwithstanding the poor understanding of US history it represents, why NATO and not the Navy? Just who's leaking what, and for which purposes? Are we pissing off the French again or something?
Finally, and strangest of all, is why they even bothered to reveal themselves in the first place. If you want to send a message, use Western Union. Needlessly revealing your enhanced capabilities just alerts the other guy he has a problem. Our Navy is quite well known for some truly spectacular cock-ups, but they are also equally well known for never screwing up the same way twice. I can just about promise no Chinese submarine will ever get this close again.
Always read the comments, where I found this (on Slashdot):
... Interestingly, the Wikipedia page notes that this incident occured in October 2006 "in the ocean between southern Japan and Taiwan", at a range of 5 nautical miles (less than half the distance to the horizon) off Okinawa. One wonders if the Kittyhawk was conducting flight ops (the tone of the article would seem to indicate no).
If you've been on one of her escorts and had to be plane guard for an aircraft carrier, you know her for a fickle wench out chasing a breeze. If the submarine commander wasn't really comfortable with his knowledge of the sea bottom, that surfacing could have had everything to do with fearing for his life. Trading paint with 84,000 tons of US diplomacy underway going full-tilt-boogy is not going to be a career enhancer. Not that this wipes the egg off the face of whoever was in charge of the escort screen, if the Chinese presence was indeed the surprise that the article touts it as.
Which nicely explains why they popped up. An accidental reveal of capability is much different than a purposeful one, exactly opposite of what the article tried to pass it off as.
Robert R. gets a no-prize that wants steak for bringing us this story of a man who decided to atone for killing two dogs by marrying one.
Yes, there's a whole gold mine of marriage jokes in there; No, I'm not going to make a single one of them.
The templates for chimp and human social behavior are very similar in a central feature, that of territorial defense and the willingness to solve the problem of a hostile neighboring society by seeking its extermination.
-- Nicholas Wade, Before the Dawn, Recovering the Lost History of our Ancestors. Penguin Books, 2006
Put that in your "the reason Western civilizations are so superior is because they're so savage" pipe and smoke it, you turban-wearing hippie.
Jay Tea gets a "parting gift" no-prize for doing his level best to bring us the actual picture referred to in the "people pix" article below. When someone fights our spam filters that hard, they deserve it!
Scientists appear to be getting serious about sending a rover to Venus. The hook? A cooling system with roots that go back nearly two centuries. Seems there's no idea too old to be made new again, eh?
So, does Da Vinci's The Last Supper really have a hidden message? Go judge for yourself. To me, it sounds (as it were) like someone who's connected random dots into an order of their own choosing, but what do I know?
Mark gets a populated no-prize for bringing us this collection of "people pictures." Go look, you'll understand. The one I remember best is of an old National Geographic cover, I think from the early 60s, which was on my Granmother's bookshelf. It had a large group of sailors standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in their dress whites, spelling out E=MC2
The ship? Enterprise.
Members of the peanut gallery who giggle at "101 Jokes in a Box" stuff will most likely need to be hospitalized after reading these groaners. "I must have taken Leif off my census."
Cool only because (presumably) nobody got hurt, we have this abject demonstration of why big fences surround race tracks. And why real race cars always have roll cages.
Scientists are finding more proof that phenomena of gamma ray energy bursts are caused by supermassive black holes at the centers of nearby galaxies. I'd call this solved, but I think this is the fourth or fifth "solution" we've linked up over the years.
Scientists at MIT are developing a stackable electric car. You're not going to be traveling across country in it, but if you need to get across town, well, it might be just the thing. People have tried this before, but maybe with fuel prices this high it'll actually be profitable.
Scientists in the US and Finland have developed microscopic microwaves and refrigerators, respectively. Both devices should make things like "chemlabs on a chip" more effective and more affordable. Reading the article, I was reminded of an Arthur Clarke quote, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
If you've ever wondered just what is involved in super-detailing a scale model (and I know you are), wonder no more. Cute girl. Bummer about the leg though.
Australian scientists claim to have successfully decoded several kinds of humpbacked whale sounds. Unsurprisingly, the most common appear to be pick-up lines trotted out by single males and scolding sounds from mothers to children. The more things change...
Those wacky Japanese are at it again, this time with a coin bank that "explodes" if it doesn't see activity for a long time. The funny thing is, Japan's mania for saving is widely seen as one of the things dragging the country's economy down.
Why wait for Alfa to come back when you can build your own? Somewhere out there, Ron is screaming, "that's exactly what I want to do some day!!!" Well, me too. And probably more than a few of the rest of you.
Great. Just great. Now I gotta worry about the goddamned cruise ship industry:
Pollution from ships, in the form of tiny airborne particles, kills at least 60,000 people each year, says a new study. And unless action is taken quickly to address the problem – such as by switching to cleaner fuels – the death toll will climb, researchers warn.
Premature deaths due to ultra-fine particles spewed out by shops will increase by 40% globally by 2012, the team predicts.
Sensationalist? Our media? Surely you must be joking!
Another intrepid group of scientists has made a claim on the location of the Tunguska crater. They claim the ultimate resting place of whatever the hell it was that blasted the remote Siberian area is underneath Lake Cheko, a small body of water a few miles north of the main devastation zone.
Jimmy Carter, the mediocre president and reasonably decent humanitarian, seems to have added "cat killer" to his resume some time around 1990. Yeah, accidents happen, but why put something like that on display?
Alfa Romeo, one of the biggest underachievers of recent years among Europe’s burgeoning premium car ranks, is aiming to place itself well and truly on the comeback trail in 2008, with a compact entry-level hatchback inspired by one of its most successful models ever – the cherished 105-series 1300 Junior.
Unfortunately the nearby Ferrari dealership recently hung a Lamborghini sign on its expansion construction. I can't help but think it was meant, in part, as a sort of, "oh will you please just shut up!" sort of thing to Alfisti cruising the area. So we'll just have to see who and how close.
And, of course, how much.
I'm sure The Simpsons fanatics in the peanut gallery knew all about it, but I didn't know until today that Moe Szyslak is based on an actual person. An that whole prank call running joke that's been with the show since the start? Yup, a complete homage to what appears to be the mother of all crank callers.
Personally I don't go for the modern stuff Stern's gang pulls, but I have to admit these ancient classics are damned funny.
Congratulations to Space Shuttle Discovery on the successful completion of its mission to the ISS!
This time around the sonic booms didn't scare me as much, either because I was ready for them or the cheap headphones I'm using now couldn't play them properly. The HUD view is still damned impressive.
While this dishy gossip column about how David Copperfield picks up women at his shows is quite detailed and lurid, I'm thinking it's most likely a hoax. There are just too many people involved, many of whom would've been complete strangers, for this to have been kept secret for any real length of time. In my experience, the chances of a secret getting out go up by the cube of the number of people involved.
Which is not to say he's not a complete nutter. Most successful artists are. I just don't think this particular nuttiness is for real. But I've been wrong before.
Mark gets a no-prize with a faulty timer for bringing us this clip of Achmed the Terrorist. I gotta keep closer track of Comedy Central's standup specials.
I learned (last night) that if Ellen times it just right, and hits it just so, she can get a tube of skin moisturizer about the length and shape of her forearm* to flush straight down the toilet, no muss, no fuss.
There was just so much funny there. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ellen flushing one of Olivia's post-bedtime commando potties. Without looking, she put her hand down on the side of the counter, and poink!!!, up went this plastic tube of some sort. You know, the kind with a wide round front and a flat fishtail rear? Hopped in the air a good three feet off the counter, then barrel-rolled three, maybe four times. As a slow-motion look of horror hit Ellen's face, it did this perfect nose-down entry, straight down the throat of the toilet.
Now, our toilet barely manages to do the job it's built for, so I figured, as I turned toothbrush-in-mouth to actually look at what was going on, that we'd have some amusing sleeve-up reaching real soon. Then I saw Ellen doing her classic "surprised horror" act. Her eyes got about three times bigger than normal, then her arms shot out with clenched claws, then they came up to her cheeks as she rapidly hop-hop-hopped the way she does when things get completely out of control.
Me: "You have got to be kidding me."
Ellen: "No! No! That's not possible!"
"You did not just flush a whole tube of something down the toilet."
"It was moisturizer! Expensive special order moisturizer! It was almost new!"
"You flushed a whole tube of moisturizer. Down the toilet."
"It's!!!" *hop* *hop* *hop* "Awful!! It was really expensive!!!"
At this point friends, I couldn't hold it together any longer. I just barely managed not to snog toothpaste out of my nose, rinsed, and then positively collapsed. We're talking that huge, hooting, spasming laugh; the kind of laugh that makes your belly feel like it's cracking apart like paint on a balloon.
The next day, one of her Vet doctor friends explained, quite helpfully, that she probably could get it back.
"Thanks, no. I don't care how expensive it was, I don't need it back that badly."
* On reviewing the draft of this post, Ellen: "No. NO. NO. It was not as big as my forearm. It was as big as my hand!"
Me: *blink* *blink*
"It was! It was really small!"
"You flushed a tube of moisturizer as big as your hand down the toilet."
"Yeah. That makes it much better."
"Oh just shut up."
One of our policy wonks loved the flight simulator that allows you to fly over earmark locations. It allows you to fly your choice of two aircraft anywhere around the globe, with custom layers visible from the aircraft.
If nothing else, the map should give those on the outside some ammunition for getting pork of their own. Sounds like a bad thing, but if everyone's fighting over it then it gets a bit harder to get any of it passed.
Mike J. gets a no-prize he'll be proud of whilst being burnt at the stake for bringing us yet another evidence-based look at global warming. I haven't had time to watch all four segments, but the conclusions of the first one are quite, well, interesting. But you better damned well watch and listen first, before coming back here and telling me my monster carbon footprint will be the ruin of us all.
One of the things that worries me quite deeply, especially considering the opposition's promises, is the positive steps we take to combat this "problem" will be what tips us over into something far, far worse. And in our lifetime, no less. Hint: it'll make the economic recession we'll put up with if they get their way look like a goddamned cakewalk.
'Scuse me while I go light up a few charcoal grills in my front yard.
"Kegerator" + MAME box = video game + refreshments. Another way of looking at it could be, "I remember when video games took up that whole cabinet. You can fit a whole kegerator in it now."
The "missing mass" of the universe, once thought discovered, seems to have disappeared once again. It would seem the team which claimed the first discovery realized, from later evidence, that their energy sources were nowhere near as massive as they first thought. Poof! No more mass for you!
I think. Due to remodeling most of my office's ceiling tiles are down and there's a roaring plenum over my head. Thinking's hard when your ears are ringing.
Well, I guess in a way it's nice to know that in India, traditionalists find specific kinds of birth defects divine, instead of cursed. Fortunately the child was born in the 21st century, and so has a very good chance of leading a normal life, after the requisite round of surgeries.
... The demagogues say that we can continue to insulate people from costs using employer-provided health insurance and Medicare, plus insulate more people through "universal coverage," and afford it all.
You remind the demagogues that Medicare and employer-provided health insurance are both unraveling on the financial end. They say, "Oh, right. We have to cut costs."
But cutting costs means changing health care as we know it, in order to reduce the extravagant use of medical procedures with high costs and low benefits.
What the demagogues won't tell you is that they are forcing us down the path of government rationing, when some of us might not like that so much.
You say America's health care system isn't as good as it can be, and I'll agree to that. It's only when you say we should model our health care system after nation X's that I start shaking my head. As far as I'm concerned, nobody has come up with a sustainable health care strategy just yet.
Ellen will, of course, think "Pumkin Pi" is about a bird. She's just funny that way. Squawk!!!
Try it again, maybe he won't do it twice. I think helping an infant learn to bite is more than a little irresponsible, but that's just me. No, not the kid holding the baby, the one holding the camera.
Open for business: a light saber training school in New York. It's so nerdy it makes my teeth ache.
Congratulations to Tartan Racing from Pittsburgh, PA winners of the DARPA Urban Challenge. I knew Olivia would never learn to drive a stick if I didn't teach her. It never occurred to me she may not need to learn to drive.
Sometimes, getting close to the wild animals is not a good thing. Domestic male cats will do this too, but since they don't weigh 300+ lbs it's not quite as impressive.
Destructive? My carpet, let me show it to you...
Lisa gets a no-prize that's got a scent that'll never go away for bringing us this scene of a tiger, a camera, and the permeable fence.
Well of course the recent bombing of... something... in Syria was actually the work of US Air Force fighter-bombers dropping tactical nuclear warheads. I mean, come on, don't you people keep up with these things?
If loving Al Jazeera is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Buffy and Firefly fans will be excited to hear creator Joss Whedon is scheduled to return to the small screen next year with a new series called Dollhouse. I tried several times to get into Buffy, but it never hooked me. Firefly didn't last long enough for me to even find it. Still, the guy has a big reputation, and the concept sounds interesting enough. Eliza Dushku is easy enough on the eyes to at least tune in the premiere. See you next season!
"Scott!! What the f*#%?!? There's cheese in the knife drawer!"
"Wasn't me!" (I actually don't know how it got in there. Not the point.)
Olivia: "Yeah, dad, what the f#$%?!?"
Me: "What'd she say?"
"She said the W-T-F word" (as in "dubya-tee-eff")
Oliva, in her schoolmarm voice: "No mommy. That's not what I said. I said 'what the f$#$!'"
Us, together: "Olivia!!!"
Daycare, I tell ya. She learns it all from daycare.
What? You wouldn't like me as much if I weren't such a pig!
Did anything from your favorite game end up in this art gallery of video game concepts? The biggest problem I have with really cool artwork in a video game is that I'm usually ducking and shooting so much I don't have time to appreciate it.
Back from a hiatus caused by sysadmin forgetfulness and bandwidth limitations. We may end up doing this slightly less frequently just to keep the bills down. At any rate, enjoy!
Ron gets a no-prize covered in harbor mud for bringing us this story about an "aquatic Pompeii." Due to unique circumstances, an ancient port near modern Pisa contains the remains of dozens of extremely well-preserved ancient ships. Most include their original cargoes, some even their original crews. The story of how they came to be there is nearly as interesting as how they're being pulled out.
Scott and I went and saw Swoozie for our weekly visit today! Apparently her brother's new parent is coming all the way from West VA to finally come see him.
Paul Tibbets, pilot of the plane which dropped the first atomic bomb, died today at the age of 92. For obvious reasons, he'd occasionally show up at vintage air shows. Unfortunately never one I attended. Salute!
Yes, Virginia, they really can be this manic. I'm pretty sure that's the kind we're going to get, but they all look pretty much the same to me, so what do I know? Dance birdie, dance!
Remember folks, always disarm the animal before tinkering with it. Puppies are not toys!
Today's "X-ray of knife rammed half-way through a head" story is brought to you by Iraq. Sometimes, it's just not your day to go.