December 31, 2007
Going to Moon, BRB

Sadly, there's absolutely no way any of ours could get away with this. But it should finally put to rest Ellen's outrage over that whole "Bonsai Kitty" thing.

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (3)
Jingle Bang

It's never too late for some Christmas carols. I didn't know Dunham could be that edgy.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)
Mars Bang Update

It would appear the odds of a previously announced potential impact on Mars have increased substantially. More refinements will be needed for a definitive prediction, but right now it's 1 in 25. Nice to know it's happening to someone else's planet.

Posted by scott at 09:16 AM | Comments (1)
A Snake, for the Rest of Us

It's like Roto-rooter, for your heart. A surgical instrument that works inside your arteries, leading to bypass operations without the tremendous trauma. We're living in science fiction, I tell ya.

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)
Photo Zoom

Behold the "ZUI". Those who think the digital revolution has run its course aren't paying attention.

This particular demonstration is nearly a year old. The Wikipedia entries don't seem to be much more recent. I wonder how far along they've gotten since?

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (2)
December 29, 2007
Pretty Bird!

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Posted by Ellen at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)
I Can Has Chinese Finger Trap?

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Posted by Ellen at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia and The Swooze

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Swoozie will 'step up' for Olivia already :)

Posted by Ellen at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)
Makeup Attack 2.0

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Posted by Ellen at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)
When Makeup Attacks!

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Me and O got carried away with a new makeup set she got for Xmas.

Posted by Ellen at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)
December 28, 2007
It Has Pedals?

Personally, I'm a "carbon-fiber-and-air" sort of guy when it comes to bikes. Make it plastic, light, and charge me 'till it hurts, that's the stuff. But other folks, well, other folks have other ideas.

Via VaS.

Posted by scott at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)
Planet Spot

Scientists have announced the first observation of an extra-solar planet via reflected light. For now it's still more pictures of wacky twirling gas giants, but it would seem only a matter of time before we're able to directly observe earth-like worlds.

Olivia's already going to grow up in a world in which the discovery of extra-solar planets is considered routine. Kinda wild we may be peering directly at such things before she graduates high school.

Posted by scott at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Simulation Time...

At least one pilot calls the recent Mythbusters episode on civilians landing jetliners bunk. Having taken the controls of a real airplane exactly once, I guess I'll have to defer to his judgment. I definitely see lack of familiarity with an airliner's cockpit as the primary difficulty in pulling something like that off. It is, however, a bit disappointing to think all those hours of learning what a correct approach looks like from a cockpit, and how to control it with a stick and a throttle, aren't very useful in the real world. Ah well, I guess that's why they still have flight schools, eh?

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (1)
Waterboard Demo

Wanting to put his money (as it were) where his mouth was, a seemingly self-confessed conservative decided to find out just how bad waterboarding really was. The verdict: it's pretty damned awful. The author seems to consider it inhumanly so.

Being a student of European history makes gaining knowledge on the myriad and manifold techniques of man's inhumanity to man essentially inevitable. Knowing these things (albeit in the third-person context), I have to say waterboarding really doesn't sound that bad. Since all serious forms of torture will eventually result in capitulation, a method which acts quickly and causes no permanent physical injury would seem ideal for everyone involved.

In other words, waterboarding would seem to have it all over being pulled on the rack. But I've always had problems with moral relativism. Like you didn't know that.

Posted by scott at 07:54 AM | Comments (1)
Any Landing You Can Walk Away from...

Remember the one about the propeller really being meant to keep the pilot cool?

Suspended at 16,000 feet in an airplane with no power, no propeller and motor oil streaming across the front windshield, 60-year-old Barry Cox remembered that panic wasn't going to do much good.
...
Looking out the side windows, and relying on 35 years of flying into that tricky Aspen airport, Cox carefully took the plane down to runway.

If PC simulators are as accurate as they claim to be, dead stick landings are possible on even the largest aircraft as long as the pilot has enough skill, altitude, and a reasonably flat place somewhere close by. On light private aircraft, they're not even particularly difficult. It's the "keeping cool and watching the instruments" bit that's the real trick.

Posted by scott at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
December 27, 2007
I Can Has...

Gekkoe feets?

Ours are too fat, old, and lazy nowadays to attempt things like that. If they were younger, I'm not sure just how safe ol' Swooze would be.

Via Countercolumn

Posted by scott at 03:01 PM | Comments (1)
Suicide by Free Time

I'm not sure which is more impressive, that you can build a contraption this elaborate for a self-frag, or that someone would actually try to do it. Fun with physics models!

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Tiny Crashes

There's just something I find very amusing about guys augering really expensive toys. Most of the wrecks seemed quite survivable (what's the deal with scale model landing gear anyway?), but there are definitely some (scale) fatalities in there.

Finally, there's this "Wiley Coyote" moment.

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
Just What I Always Wanted

I've heard of setting out unwrapped presents under the tree, but this is ridiculous:

A retired businessman is believed to have killed his wife and left her body under the Christmas tree before driving his car off the road and fatally injuring himself.

Yeesh!

Posted by scott at 07:41 AM | Comments (0)
December 26, 2007
I Wonder if Bat Concessions Cost 3x More Than the Bat Tickets

What I want to know is, how does a "retired naturalist" afford something like this? A less charitable part of me thinks, "naturalists know all sorts of nooks and crannies in which to grow certain very profitable grasses." But that's just my terribly unfunny speculation. Sort of thing.

Posted by scott at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)
Radio Fish

Scientists have developed the first completely autonomous seaplane. At only slightly bigger than a pelican, it's not going to set any lift records, but it definitely represents an interesting solution to yet another aviation problem.

Posted by scott at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)
Cross and Serpent Rising

Road and Track has the first (that I've seen anyway) road test of the new 8C Competizione, And Yeah, They Find it to be Good. Costs nearly as much as my house, so it better be. Still, it's nice to see the flagship model living up to its promise.

Posted by scott at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)
The More You Complicate the Plumbing...

New Scientist has a year-end collection of the most spectacular science screw-ups of the year. Of course, there are still a few days left, so maybe we'll get more entries.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Shutting Up and Sitting Down...

US economy: 1, Anti-globalization doom-and-gloom luddites: 0. Money quote:

"For a long time people thought of globalization only as the loss of jobs," said Elliott Howard, who fills and labels the brown bottles of chemicals distilled in Tedia's eight large stainless-steel stills. "Now, I think of it as expanding the company."

Diversity, growth, and trade are what keeps the nation strong and going. The trick is to make sure the Democrats aren't able to take it all apart as a sop to their Big Labor backers.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
Merry F'ing Christmas

Those of you who felt your local office Christmas party was pure hell are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now:

One zoo visitor was mauled to death and two others severely injured when a Siberian tiger escaped from its grotto at the San Francisco Zoo early Christmas evening and went on a bloody rampage in front of terrified zoo patrons.

Score turned out to be Tiger: 1, Keepers: 1. Since the animal previously mauled someone last year, I'm not feeling much love for "teh kittah."

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)
December 25, 2007
For Me Santa?

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Posted by Ellen at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)
Please Don't Peck Me!

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*Peck Peck Peck*

Posted by Ellen at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)
Swoozie Testing Wrapping Paper

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Swoozie tested and approved.

Posted by Ellen at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia Her Royal Highness

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Posted by Ellen at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia and The Easy Bake Oven

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They work off of ice now, not a light bulb.

Posted by Ellen at 04:49 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia And Her Tiger Baby

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Posted by Ellen at 04:46 PM | Comments (0)
Picture with Santa and Grammy

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Santa visited Olivia in NY this year!

Posted by Ellen at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)
Speciation Start

Scientists are reporting on the discovery of no fewer than six genetically exclusive populations of giraffe. To me it would seem they're seeing the very start of a speciation event, but what do I know?

Posted by scott at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)
MiniVanGoesWhere?!?

Finally some loon ran the right building over. And kudos to the quick-thinking producer for jumping to the remote even when the news is happening in the newsroom.

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas!

Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)
December 24, 2007
We Have Returned

A good time was had by all, and we'd like to give thanks to the very generous (and various) Santas in New Yorkville! Pictures will (hopefully, with the correct amount of flogging) follow.

Posted by scott at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)
December 23, 2007
Mars Bang

A group of US Astronomers believe there's a chance an asteroid could strike Mars some time next year. If it does, the 50-meter wide object may create an explosion roughly comparable to that of the 1908 Tunguska incident. NASA believes if an impact does occur it should be close enough to the Opportunity rover to provide good observations from that platform.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)
December 22, 2007
When Stoners Attack

Huffing and pyrotechnics just don't mix, man. Still, gave me a chuckle to watch, from this distance at any rate.

Posted by scott at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)
Say it Ain't So!!!

What have they done to everyone's favorite 80's automotive icon?!? A Ford! Blasphemy!!!

Heh. Like I really care. Still, it was definitely a surprise.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)
December 21, 2007
I Am, Quite Honestly, Amazed This Hasn't Happend to Us

Hasn't happened to us, or Amber:

It is very disturbing to see the headless body of your cat in the sink. This is an animal that I have slept with nightly for ten years, who burrows under the covers and purrs against my side, and who now looked like a desperate, fur-covered turkey carcass, set to defrost in the sink while it's still alive and kicking. It was also disturbing to see Rich, Mr. Calm-in-an-Emergency, at his wits end, trying to soothe Rudy, trying to undo the garbage disposal, failing at both, and basically freaking out.

Not to worry, everything ended up just fine. Well, except for my now-very-well-split sides.

Via Yourish

Posted by scott at 07:48 PM | Comments (2)
Highway Slog Hypothesis

Having just spent an extra two hours on the Jersey Turnpike for no discernible reason, I find this explanation of just why mysterious traffic jams happen rather timely.

Yes, I am being held prisoner in a Chinese laundry a Yankee paradise Indian country the inlaws for a holiday visit. Why do you ask?

Posted by scott at 07:34 PM | Comments (1)
Friends Don't Let Friends Make Bad Puns

Mark gets a no-prize that's going to be exhibit #1 in his murder trial for bringing us the worst joke we've heard in a long, long time. Which we did not laugh at. Did not even crack a smile. No sniggering, no guffaws, not even a tittle.

That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

Posted by scott at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)
"Tata", for Now

It would seem a kind of "NFL late season math" sort of thing will end up helping Alfa Romeo get at a state-of-the-art rear wheel drive platform. Since we here in the US have yet to see "bolt one" of any sort of Alfa, I'm not sure if this is a big deal or not. Still, if it gets us Alfisti closer to a true RWD platform, I'll consider it a plus.

Posted by scott at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)
Just in Time for Christmas

Thing is, if I really were able to buy something like this, I'd probably still spend most of my time running into walls. But it'd look so good when I did!

Posted by scott at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)
December 20, 2007
O Has Antlers

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Posted by Ellen at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)
Wet Bird

Oh Nos! It's a wet bird!

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Shake it out Swoozie!

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Ahhh....blowdryer...we luvvvss the blowdryer...

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Fresh and clean!

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Posted by Ellen at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)
Hyperkill

Swedish defense manufacturer SAAB has announced the successful test of a Mach-5 guided missile. Speculation is this may be part of a since-canceled air defense system designed to intercept stealthy targets.

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)
Autonav

NASA is exploring plans to implement automatic unmanned docking for the Orion command module. The idea being if astronauts got stuck and couldn't reach the CM on their own, it could just navigate to them. I wonder just how difficult it would be to launch a whole unmanned Orion vehicle to rendezvous with a disabled Orion?

Posted by scott at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)
Well That Just Sucks

Musician and songwriter Dan Fogelberg has passed away due to prostate cancer, at the age of 56. I always liked his vocal arrangements, thought the lyrics were quite interesting.

What? I like pop music. Whaddayagonnadoaboutit?

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM | Comments (1)
Mr. Fission Update

It would appear Toshiba wins the prize as the first company to produce one of those "fission in a box" devices for commercial use. Yet another device which, if it pans out, would go a very long way toward ending our dependence on foreign oil.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM | Comments (7)
Papa Smurf Lives

The Blue Man Group is all well and good, but some people can take it just a little too far. Drinking silver in solution does some damned strange things to a person, inside and out.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)
December 19, 2007
WOW! 2 Years Later...

From this...

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To this! om2yearslater.jpg

OM started out at a 10 grams, and now he is nearly 2 pounds!

Posted by Ellen at 05:24 PM | Comments (2)
Bird Diaper

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Swoozie wears a special flight suit now. She is guaranteed to crap on you when you hold her. The diaper works really well and after 10 minutes of wearing it, she was OK with it.

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Posted by Ellen at 04:54 PM | Comments (2)
Don't Ask Don't Sell, Anymore

It would seem that, under the pressures of combat, the underpinnings that made the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy seem logical are slowly being dissolved. I've always been ambiguous about the whole thing, seeing as how I'd never end up "live fire testing" any of it. But if it really is the case that combat units are comfortable and effective with openly gay members in their ranks, it would seem to me time to re-evaluate the policy. We need all the talent we can get, and if GI Joe/Jane's preference for a bed partner isn't affecting their own or their unit's capabilities, why should we care?

Posted by scott at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)
SuperBattery

Scientists have announced the development of a lithium-ion battery technology which could extend charge capacity to beyond 20 hours. The secret? Silicon "nano wires" which are able to absorb a large amount of lithium ions without pulverizing. While there is no word on when such devices might see the inside of a laptop, the processes are "well understood" and the inventors are already shopping their patents around to venture capitalists and existing battery manufacturers.

Update: According to (what I presume to be) informed comments on Slashdot, if this technology pans out it could result in electric cars than run more than 1000 miles on a single charge. In other words, this could well be the invention which cuts us loose from foreign oil dependency, turning the Islamofacists into the sand fleas they most richly deserve to be, and hastening one Mr. Chavez's appointment to "hang out" at the village square.

If it pans out, of course.

Posted by scott at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)
Mars on Ice

Mark gets a no-prize he can use to mess up whiskey for bringing us news of the discovery of active glaciers on Mars. As per usual, scientists are in disagreement over just how these things form, but, if Martian life exists and is hiding underground, these formations would be an ideal place to start searching for them.

Posted by scott at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)
By the Numbers

Graphs are nearly always interesting, especially when the trends are breaking your way. Iraq's still got a long way to go, but people who think they've made no progress whatever are selling something.

Posted by scott at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)
An Exception to the Rule

Ok, I'm a straight guy, so by definition I'm interested in boobs, no matter where no matter what. At least, that's what I thought, until I saw this. Oh, and I don't know just where the author got his definition, but in my book someone with soda can bottoms stuck in his ears and more metal and paint than a Maaco body shop is not what I'd consider a "traditionally manly guy". But that's just me.

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (3)
Loss Departure

Audiophiles will be pleased to hear Apple is considering adding a "lossless" section of their iTunes store. I've never been impressed with the quality of on-line downloads. To me, they have a very strong background "ringing buzz" that makes it sound like the music's being played through a bell. Because of that, for my own listening purposes, I've never taken downloads seriously as a way to listen to music. If they ever actually do implement a lossless codec format for downloading, I'll most likely change my mind.

Posted by scott at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)
~ Sing, Sing a-- BOOM! ~

All of you people who think radical Christians are worse than radical Muslims are pleased to be sitting down and shutting up now. Children's programming produced by Christian wackos may be teeth-achingly tacky, but at least it doesn't celebrate mass murder.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
December 18, 2007
Little Chef

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Posted by Ellen at 06:58 PM | Comments (1)
Robo Kittah

I can has ride to Talos IV?

It's a geeky reference. Go look it up. Dur.

Posted by scott at 03:37 PM | Comments (3)
Fun with Wood

I'm not sure what's funnier, this guy knocking himself out cold with a log, or his (I'm guessing Eastern European) friend swearing in English. Eminem gets everywhere, I guess.

Posted by scott at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)
Pay as You Go

The Skeptical Optimist reminds us not all debt is bad debt. One of the things I've found quite difficult in my own politics is coming to terms with the fact that not all government initiative is bad*. Likewise, Steve makes some excellent points to the effect that not all government debt is bad. Personally, I think projects which enable people to spend government funds for their own benefit (c.f. G.I. Bill, The) are best, but that's not always an easy thing to engineer, or get people to agree with.

----
* Ah geeze. Someone go pick Joshua up off the floor. Wave some vodka under his nose or something.

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)
Mystery Bang

Astronomers see gigantic explosions all the time. They don't often see them out in the middle of nowhere, with no obvious source. Those damned teenagers got loose and blew up another Death Star, I tell ya.

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)
~ Come Sail Away with Me ~

A German company is making a pitch to create parachute-powered freighters. I seem to recall this idea as being bounced around for years, and still with no working prototypes. Vaporware? Vaporship? You be the judge.

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM | Comments (2)
Vectrex Forever!

Fans of vintage video games should find this comprehensive history of the Vectrex of interest. I lusted after one when it came out, but it was too expensive to buy on my allowance. Ellen's dad picked one up soon after they came out, and she has many fond memories of the system.

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)
Trying to Keep 'em Flying

The predictable "oh-noes! The shuttle can't retire!" articles are beginning to appear. In addition to the problems mentioned in the article is one of capacity. According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, NASA needs both pads of the 39 complex to make the Orion program work, and they're already doing some creative schedule juggling to ensure they get converted to their new tasks in time. As it stands now, 39A (scheduled as the Ares I site) will end up being a "hybrid" pad during the new system's development. Having the shuttle stick around longer will only delay moving onto the new program.

They were a cool solution to a difficult problem, but in my opinion it's time for them to go.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)
Oh No He Dih-Unt!

Sometimes you just gots ta tell it like it is:

Although I am American, England has been my home since I was three years old. I now split my time between Los Angeles and London and regularly visit New York. There are many, many differences between the British and the Americans, but none more glaring than UK womenís approach to their own upkeep.
...
A perfect example of this was presented to me last week. I was set up with Sophie (I have changed the name) by married friends. Sophie was a truly beautiful girl I used to be friends with, but hadnít seen in 15 years. I was surprised to hear that she was still single and was excited to meet her again. At dinner, I found myself sitting opposite something that surely would have been happier hunting for truffles in the forests of France or grazing on the grassy marshlands of Canada. My friendís wife had told me that Sophie still had the body of a 20-year-old. Maybe she did . . . dismembered in her freezer at home.

Go for "teh funnay", stay for the indignant "I-am-woman-hear-me-wheedle" commentary.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
December 17, 2007
Paper Munching

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Bonding. Yes, bonding. Even if it includes munching on the weekly church offering envelope.

Posted by Ellen at 09:05 PM | Comments (2)
Dead DVD

It would appear Dead Like Me is returning with a straight-to-DVD movie. A lot depends on just who is behind the thing, but the trailer looks interesting.

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM | Comments (3)
Nerd Fight!!!

It's most likely for the best light sabers aren't real, otherwise this would most likely be a common outcome. Then again, alcohol and weapons routinely mix during Ren Fairs, and I can't recall ever hearing anyone getting hurt. Maybe because by the time you're wasted enough to go after the other guy, you're too wasted to find the ax?

Posted by scott at 02:45 PM | Comments (2)
Arming Bears

Glenn Reynolds: ...it's important to understand that to the Framers the "militia" wasn't some specialist unit of government employees, but a group consisting of the armed populace; one that, though in some ways organized by the government, was also in some ways set against the government, as a check.

The pro-control argument that the 2nd Amendment is too vague or would never have been put in place if modern weapons were available only seem valid when considered just in light of the text of the amendment itself. When one reads the supporting documents from the people who framed the Constitution, it's quite easy to see they did in fact mean the populace should be able to arm itself without interference from the government. While there were no machine guns back then, large caliber weaponry was still quite common, and yet there is no, "except for big shotguns and cannon" in the amendment. In fact, from what I've read, the framers of the Constitution most likely would've explicitly included our right to own Howitzers and .50 caliber machine guns, if they'd known such things could exist and that the citizens of their country would be able to buy them one day.

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM | Comments (1)
Cheap is as Cheap Does

Today's "why are you spending so much money when the old stuff is doing the job?" article is brought to you by the Washington Post.

I remember these sorts of stories coming thick and fast during the last fighter jet procurement cycle. Everyone knew the F-4 was the plane to have, we knew how they worked, we had tons of parts, and all the R&D was paid for. Of course, it wasn't their butts getting strapped into a design a generation out of date, so who cared?

I do think the development cycle of modern combat weapons is suspiciously protracted. Then again, considering it's the federal government we're talking about here, I suppose I should be impressed they're able to get anything done well.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (1)
ZZZAP!!!

Scientists have observed a giant beam of charged particles being fired from one galaxy into another. Any Earth-like planets in any part of the beam would have their ozone layers blasted away in the space of months or years, making underground real-estate in such areas premium grade.

In all seriousness, it's thought the unique pair will provide insight into how particles and beams interact.

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)
On a Wing and a Prayer

I'd known for some time that an early F-15 Eagle had survived a spectacular mid-air collision which resulted in the nearly complete loss of one wing, but I'd never seen any pictures. Until now, at any rate. How the special got by me is anyone's guess. Curse you TIVO!

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (5)
~ After the Goths of Summer Have Gone ~

In other news, Australia has goths:

Summer officially begins in Melbourne around the time of the first sighting of a Goth in Elizabeth Street in short sleeves. It's not unlike the American custom of using a groundhog to indicate fine weather ahead but it's more unpredictable and so much more exciting. Our version of a hibernating rodent emerging from its burrow can happen in December, possibly February, or maybe March.
If they're anything like the standard variety Aussie, you do not want to get in a drinking contest with one. Professional bar crawlers, them.
Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
December 16, 2007
A Competition You Can't Look Away From

Gleaming models of glittering starships ruling the night are all well and good, but everyone knows the most interesting machines have scars. I don't even want to know how long it took to gin some of those things up.

Posted by scott at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
Duck Duck Duck Goose

Fark (of course) linked up news of the creation of the ultimate "stuffed bird" dinner. Not content with just three birds, this dish lays claim to twelve birds stuffed into each other. Incredibly, all of this stuffing-into-things frenzy is apparently inspired by actual Tudor-era recipes. No wonder Henry VIII ended up such a butterball!

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM | Comments (3)
December 15, 2007
Welcome To Your New Home Swoozie!

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AMCG's new member is home! Acting indignant and barking her displeasure at us already!

Posted by scott at 08:48 PM | Comments (3)
Ice Ice Baby

All those times the realtor told you it was bad to have a house near utility towers? Sometimes, just sometimes, they may have a point. Still, just how many 1000ft + TV towers are there in the world? And of those, how many might get covered in ice?

Considering what it did to that Honda SUV, I think I'd still stay inside.

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)
Reenacting Recruitment

Mark gets a no-prize with a really nifty uniform for bringing us the latest news about recruit candidates for the Army. Poor WWII reenactors get no love. And they even have their own machine guns!

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM | Comments (2)
December 14, 2007
Minding the Difference

Scientists have discovered yet another way we differ radically from our closest living relatives. This time up, menopause. Seems both chimp and human females lose their reproductive abilities at around age 40, but the chimp drop off is caused by, well, chimps dropping off. Those which manage to survive are actually more successful at raising the kids than the younger ones, and are preferred by male chimps perhaps because of this. The long post-reproductive survival period seems to be one of the most biologically distinguishing things about us.

Posted by scott at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)
Fast Jet

Scramjets seem to be getting closer to reality. It's always a good sign when Big Science stops predicting a technology will show up "in about 25 years" (which is Big Science Speak for "after I retire") and starts predicting it will show up "real soon" (BSS for "adequate funding and a materials breakthrough").

Posted by scott at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)
My Kind of Gun Control

Mark gets a no-prize with nail polish and gun oil for bringing us the most logical way all horror movies should end. At least that's the way they should end in the US. Other countries, maybe not so much.

I think that they don't is one of the reasons I've never been fond of the genre. It irritates me to no end when the good guys must be stupid for the bad guys to win.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)
Paging Beavis, White Courtesy Phone Please

There are places which fire simply shouldn't be:

Sweden's welfare board has criticized a hospital in Stockholm after a 40-year-old woman caught fire during a hemorrhoid operation, Aftonbladet reports.

Well, of course by fire I mean the "oh-my-god-is-that-smoke?!?" sort, not the "holy-crap-you-just-ate-a-habanero" kind.

Posted by scott at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)
Bang Your (Classic) Head

The Final Countdown never sounded so good. Hey, if disco can be recycled, anything can be saved.

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (2)
December 13, 2007
A Carol, for the Rest of Us

Mark gets a no-prize that'll annoy him standing on his front porch for bringing us this... innovative... Christmas carol. SFW, no worries there. It's actually quite difficult to "screw up" that intricately on purpose. And in tune, no less.

Posted by scott at 03:16 PM | Comments (0)
Librarians R Us

While we're certainly nowhere near 3500 books, I think we may some day try this solution on our own library. Just being able to figure out what's in there would be nice, for a start.

Posted by scott at 01:53 PM | Comments (4)
Infinity Limit

Looks like the deficit most likely won't balance out in time for the elections. Then again, since it's only 1.4% of the GDP, why worry?

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
Mars Update

The Mars rovers, and the Mars orbital probes, just keep moving on. This time with "innocent bystander" and "gullies carved by uphill flow" goodness!

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)
E Z Terror

A non-profit think tank concerned with nanotechnology's potential for abuse recently issued a report. The results are pretty much what you'd expect from a bunch like that:

The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, a non-profit think tank focused on studying the economic, security, military and environmental implications of nanotechology, has developed a series of scenarios dubbed "Nano Tomorrows." And one of those tomorrows involves the cheap and easy proliferation of "fabber," or "Easy-Bake," micro-UAVs with small explosives.

I'm more interested in a fab that'll let me make my own car, but I'm funny that way.

Posted by scott at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)
December 12, 2007
Suckage that Knows No Bounds

Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's. Details are pretty sketchy, but it would seem he's OK, at least for now.

Via Siflay.

Posted by scott at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)
The Wheel Rolls On

Robert Jordan fans in the peanut gallery may be interested to hear there'll be one last Wheel of Time novel written. Not, of course, by the recently departed Jordan, but by an author hand-picked by Jordan's wife. From the article, it would seem the final volume was well under way when Jordan passed, but nowhere near finished. So it would seem it won't be an "imagining", but the completion of a rough draft.

Posted by scott at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)
In Front!

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Swoozie is in the front. Her leg band is on her right foot. Her sister was banded on the left.

Posted by Ellen at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
Which One Is Swoozie?

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Posted by Ellen at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)
WHY Do Guys Do Stupid Crap Like This?

Answer me guys? WHY?

Can't you be happy with a flag attached to the back of your bike?

Posted by Ellen at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)
Now I KNEW There Was Another Reason To Have An Animal Sanctuary!

A NEW species of a giant spitting cobra - bout 2.6 metres long and with enough venom to kill up to 20 people in one bite - has been discovered in Kenya, a study said today.

The large brown spitting cobra, initially included under the black-necked spitting cobra species, was discovered at a snake farm in June 2004, but confirmed as a separate species this year.

The black-necked species grow to a maximum of two metres, with an average of 1.5 metres, scientists said, making the new species the largest in the world.

NEAT!

I know, I know, I can't have one.

Posted by Ellen at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)
MY Kind of Cat!

Owner Wendy Wallis said Jelly wandered back in to their property, which borders the creek at Sorell, about 11.30am yesterday carrying the snake with her.

See the picture and article here.

Posted by Ellen at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
A Light Bright, for Grownups

Mark gets a no-prize covered in blinkenlights for bringing us a look at what everyone's favorite automated Christmas light display is up to this year. These guys could definitely take some lessons from the Bellagio Fountain folks, but considering they most likely did it all on their own, it's plenty impressive enough.

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)
December 11, 2007
Something Everyone's Desk Needs

Scientists are reporting the development of a "desktop" synchrotron. I'm pretty sure this is a Good Thing, but my head 'asploded about half way through the article. "Ugh. Scientist say is good. That good enough for Thag."

Posted by scott at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)
Just Doin' Our Part...

... to join the herd:

Turtle ownership jumped 86% from 2001, to a pet population of 2 million. DeHaven cites a big increase in domestic breeding of turtles free of the salmonella that once plagued imported turtles.

In our case, Om was acquired not because of salmonella-free chelonians, but rather because of an encounter with a beach ball-sized example. Don't worry, Ellen, you've already got one. :)

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Unintended Consequences

Democratic process: 1, trying to do an end-run around it: 0

The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples who marry in Massachusetts, the only state that allows same-sex marriage, may not divorce in Rhode Island.

In a 3-to-2 decision, the court ruled that it was up to the legislature, not the court, to determine whether same-sex marriages and divorces would be recognized in Rhode Island.

The narrow margin is disheartening, but we've all gotten so used to the courts making policy instead of adjudicating law I guess it's a victory nonetheless. For the Constitution, at any rate. Members of the peanut gallery who think it's OK for unelected retired lawyers to rule us all will, I imagine, not even completely understand what I'm talking about.

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)
A Pill, for the Rest of Us

Mark gets a no-prize that just doesn't understand!!! for bringing us Monthly Man, the time-release capsule that allows men to share that extra-special emotional roller coaster women make such a big damned deal over. Now if they'd just make a pill that'd give women that "drink beer, fix cars, watch porn" feeling we all have...

Posted by scott at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)
December 10, 2007
The M&M Store!

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By far more impressive than the one in Vegas.

Posted by Ellen at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)
Radio City!

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It was cold and crowded, but we still got to see Radio City Music Hall!

Posted by Ellen at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia Would Call This a "Long Neck."

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The very first dinosaur put on display!

Posted by Ellen at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)
One Of Olivia's Favorites!

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Of course it is a T-Rex!

Posted by Ellen at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)
What OM Dreams He Is At Night

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Posted by Ellen at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)
REALLY BIG ARMS!

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They do not know who or what these arms belong to!

Posted by Ellen at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)
No Wonder Ellen Didn't Want us Using the Subway

On second thought, it's probably for the best we missed this:

The N train may need to be changed to the NC-17 and the L could be dubbed the lap dance express.

That's because commuters on the lines got their two bucks worth - and then some - when four leggy New Yorkers set out to turn the subway cars into strip-club Champagne lounges.

When we were downtown this past weekend, the trains we rode were too crowded for these sorts of shenanigans. Which would've made it much more interest--

No, no, please don't get up. Put the frying pan down Ellen. Concussions make baby Jesus cry--*CLONG!!!*

#@$@@$#

NO CARRIER

Posted by scott at 03:39 PM | Comments (2)
Bow Shock

Scientists have discovered that the solar system is "squashed" by the force of the local interstellar magnetic field. The concept of something as big as our solar envelope being "sloshed" makes my head 'asplode. Surf Sol!

Posted by scott at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)
External Memory

Slashdot linked up news of the development of a camera system which appears to help folks with minor dementia remember things. The camera is worn by the person in question, and it takes a special stabilized photograph of the person's surroundings every 30 seconds. The pictures can then be uploaded to a playback device, which the person can use to review what they did that day. Studies are showing this seems to significantly improve recall in test patients.

Personally, I think it'd be pretty useful in bars too. At least then you'd know the exact sequence that lead to your losing an arm in a "coyote" encounter.

Posted by scott at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)
Extreme Zzzz...

While I'm pretty sure at least some of these examples of "extreme sleeping" are staged, others look like typical shots of the homeless, or a kid experiencing a nap attack at full throttle. When I was in college, I was capable of sleeping just about anywhere. Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), I seem to have lost that skill.

The guy has good taste in cars as well.

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with Toys

Ron gets a no-prize with a lot of complicated bits on for bringing us a Christmas book for... someone. My own opinion is, if you didn't come with one, you really don't need one. But that's just me.

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM | Comments (4)
December 09, 2007
NYC Trip

Tomorrow I shall bring you The Museum of Natural History pictures!

Posted by Ellen at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia As A Spice Girl

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Posted by Ellen at 08:01 PM | Comments (1)
Lucy and Olivia

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Posted by Ellen at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)
Shakira In Wax

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Some of the wax models were REALLY good, others really sucked.

Posted by Ellen at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)
Helen Keller In Wax

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Posted by Ellen at 07:44 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia And Marilyn Monroe

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While we were in NYC this weekend, we hit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Posted by Ellen at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)
MMMmm...What Did you Eat In NYC O?

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REAL NYC Italian pizza!!!
Posted by Ellen at 07:30 PM | Comments (1)
The Xmas Pix I did for The Capital Cat Clinic 2007

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Posted by Ellen at 07:21 PM | Comments (1)
December 07, 2007
Dino Bot

Slashdot linked up the first of what I'm sure will be many reviews of the Ugobe Pleo. The verdict? Definite shortcomings, but also definite fun. The warning, "not for children under 8" is reiterated in the review, so I'll be taking it seriously and waiting a few years for upgrades and hopefully price reductions. But those of you with older kids won't have that limitation, so enjoy!

Update: Yeah, I know there's a video out there of someone torturing one of these things. As far as I'm concerned, people who torture children's toys for the fun of it aren't being clever or amusing, they're using the toy as a proxy for a child. Not cool, not cool one least little bit.

Posted by scott at 02:30 PM | Comments (7)
AlsÝ Wik

Let the Python jokes begin:

A Norwegian news site is reporting that a young boy and his sister were attacked by a moose ... the boy reportedly "taunted' the moose away from his sister, and then feigned death, causing the moose to lose aggro and leave. "Just like you learn in level 30 in World of Warcraft," the boy is reportedly quoted as saying.

See, ma? Games are good for something!

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (4)
Fighter Down

The French Air Force has lost its first Rafale fighter. Details are still sketchy, but it would appear the pilot didn't get out. They're opening three separate inquiries, so one would assume whatever caused this will be found out.

Posted by scott at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)
An Elegant Weapon, for a More Hygenic Age

Researchers have developed a toothbrush that functions using only light. Olivia hates "spicy" toothpaste, so assuming this thing actually works, we're going to be quite interested in it.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
PenisGoesWhere?!?

It's not how a metal ring was removed that was the question, but rather how it got there in the first place. Then again, considering how desperately dumb some men can be when their willy starts to talkin', I guess I shouldn't wonder at all.

Oh, and kudos to Dremel, for yet another use. Is there anything it can't do?

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM | Comments (3)
December 06, 2007
Can I Put These Guys In A Sack And Call It Good Luck?

Sick F&*KS

Posted by Ellen at 05:23 PM | Comments (2)
For The Most Hardcore Fan...

I bring you Star Wars tattoos.

Posted by Ellen at 05:11 PM | Comments (3)
What Is Swoozie Doing Now

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Posted by Ellen at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)
Reminds me of Very Tiny Six Pack Holders

Scientists have discovered that "scrambled" polymers are effective at killing drug-resistant bacteria. The discovery was unintentional... while trying to design effective polymers to exploit bacterial weaknesses, scientists found the "control" of random polymers did much better than anything they were designing. Ain't experimental protocols grand?

Posted by scott at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
The Daily Wha?

Definitely reads like something Ellen would do:

Charlie is a wild-born coyote who was unexpectedly delivered to my doorstep this past April after both his parents were shot for killing sheep. Whatever reservations I had about raising a wild animal simply didn't matter - couldn't matter - when I realized his survival, at least in the short term, depended on me.

Then again, vets know most of all that coyotes and cats don't usually mix, so I'm not sure what Ellen would do.

Oh who am I kidding. We got so many different kinds of animals around here nowadays I'm not even sure I'd notice.

Posted by scott at 08:09 AM | Comments (1)
Definitely Gotta Get One of These

Looks like someone went a little "Tim Allen" on the common fly swatter. The potential for misuse is mind-boggling.

Posted by scott at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)
December 05, 2007
Firing Down [Electronic] Range

DARPA is looking to field some networks as "firing ranges" with which to test their electronic widgets. I suppose most large software development offices have (or have access to) things like this, and if they're sitting around doing nothing most of the time, why not?

Posted by scott at 03:27 PM | Comments (2)
Dude, That's What the "Pause" Button is For

As with all things, some guys ignore everything when they're playing a video game. Emphasis on some. I may play around the wife or child when they walk in front of the TV, but if ol' fido decided to make me his personal love slave I'd dump the game in a second. Then again, I've always been able to find the PAUSE button. I'd probably be divorced by now if I couldn't.

Posted by scott at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)
Dumb Promos

Personally, it wouldn't completely surprise me if an obnoxious documentary film maker managed to find Osama bin Laden. If Osama's intelligence network is good enough to keep him away from our SF squads, it's most likely good enough to figure out four guys from San Fran really are just useful idiots with gear. The members of the peanut gallery with foil hats firmly in place will most likely think otherwise, but that's their problem.

I say, let 'em crash.

Posted by scott at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)
Space Art

Those with a Sci-Fi or astronomical interest should find this collection of "space art" of interest. One of the best things about SF conventions, for me at any rate, was the opportunity to see originals of these sorts of paintings. The difference between what was on the cover of a book and what was on the painting it was made from could at times be breathtaking. I couldn't afford the prices then, but soon I may just. Beats the hell out of a velvet Elvis.

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)
You've Gotta Be Kidding Me

Mark gets a no-prize he's allergic to wearing a wig for bringing us Kitty Wigs. It's exactly what you think it is, in a "no-not-that-kitty-you-sick-f-" way. Coming to a cat clinic near you!

Bonus: lots of "FOR THIS, HUMAN, YOU DIE TONIGHT" lolcat candidate pictures.

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
Diver Down III

Get it while the bandwidth lasts: a nifty collection of underwater wreck diving pictures. I'm pretty sure at least one of the big aircraft is a Japanese Betty, and one of the smaller ones is a Grumman F6F Hellcat. If I'm right, then this'll be somewhere in the South Pacific.

Posted by scott at 08:54 AM | Comments (3)
December 04, 2007
Asylum Cafe, DC

Ok, Ok...

Finally I will let you all see a video of us dancing.

Posted by Ellen at 09:52 PM | Comments (1)
Deficit Deductions

The Skeptical Optimist has a neat post that shows no matter which way you slice it, the US Government's debt just doesn't matter. That is, as long as we keep pursuing pro-growth policies. I've long known that even though the public debt is a really astounding amount, it's size is dwarfed by the GDP of the country. You can have the biggest truck in the world, but if you park it in the VAB it's still going to look small.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (2)
Not That Kind of Throne, the Real Kind

Scientists have uncovered a rare ancient wooden throne at Herculanium. It's exact purpose is unclear, but it represents the first time such a significant piece of ceremonial furniture has been found.

Posted by scott at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)
Monster Car

While I do agree the Lamborghini Reventon is a neat car, I can't see how they make any money on these damned things. I'm just about certain it cost more than $20 mil to develop it, probably quite a bit more. I guess Audi looks at Lamborghini the way most of us look at boats... large holes in which to pour money.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
The Golden Bomb?

We've been mulling over whether or not to see The Golden Compass for about as long as it's been advertised. Now I find out that, in the opinion of at least one person, at root it's all about an attack on Christianity. Catholic Christianity, to be precise.

I'm never particularly good at seeing subtexts, and I imagine, had I not known beforehand, this particular set would've gone right over my head. I still think the deciding factors for us will be a) does it suck? and b) is it scary? The former will prevent us from seeing it, the latter will prevent us from taking Olivia. The option c) it portrays Catholics as jackbooted thugs I guess I'll have to reserve for after I see it, if I see it.

*Shrug*

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM | Comments (5)
Stem Cell TANSTAAFL

Big surprise the MSM forgot to mention the recent stem cell breakthrough was not without its problems:

Now the Kyoto team, led by biologist Shinya Yamanaka, reports that it can reprogram adult skin cells in both mice and humans into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells without c-Myc. Further, in a mouse model, when the cells are incorporated into an embryo, the adult animal faces a dramatically lower risk of developing cancer. But there's a catch: "We found that the omission of [c-Myc] resulted in fewer numbers of iPS cell colonies," Yamanaka told ScientificAmerican.com via e-mail. "The process also takes longer. However, most of resulting iPS cells are very good."

And, as they say, "that's not all, folks!" Still, it would seem progress of a sort, although it definitely looks like we're quite a long way from being able to grow organs in a jar.

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
December 03, 2007
How Ellen Of AMCGLTD Really Is

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Taken by Baby O no less.

Posted by Ellen at 07:56 PM | Comments (2)
F-35 Update

After delays resulting from electrical glitches and engine defects, the F-35 program is resuming flight testing. The much more interesting (and higher-stakes) F-35B is also nearing final assembly, with a first flight scheduled for some time in May of 2008.

Posted by scott at 01:52 PM | Comments (1)
Probably Won't Go Well with Chianti

Ron gets a no-prize that deserves to be punished for bringing us news of the development of an artificial liver which functions for weeks instead of days. This allows drug companies to test new compounds for toxicity in a more reliable, repeatable, and less expensive ways. Which leads to mo' betta' drugs, at least in theory.

Posted by scott at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia and her Buddies

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Our pookie-pie is home sick today. She sounds like she swallowed troll snot. :/

Posted by Ellen at 12:31 PM | Comments (2)
Roomba Review

IRobot has come out with a new, improved Roomba vacuum, and if this extensive review is any indication, it would seem the new model addresses most if not all of the problems earlier models experienced. Bonus: greenie angst over machine gun-toting Roombas conquering our homes.

Our current vacuum cleaner is only about a year old, so we won't be switching any time soon. However, when replacement time comes back around, I'll most likely seriously consider it.

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with Microphones

They're supposed to play a game, not remember they're wearing an open microphone. Which makes it even funnier when they forget.

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)
But Does He Have a Condo-Made-a-Stone-a?

The Washington Post today carried news of the discovery of that most rare of fossils, a mummified dinosaur. As noted in the article, this is quite different from your garden variety virgin sacrifice in the Andes mountains. It's a completely mineralized creature, perhaps even down to the internal organs.

Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (1)
December 02, 2007
Down They Go II

Casualty numbers in Iraq continue to fall. Keep in mind the numbers come from a well-known anti-war organization. When the absolute worst source shows real improvement, it becomes increasingly difficult to deny, eh?

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)
I Can Has...

A Caturday thread someone else pays for! It'll come back here again, I'm sure. We just need to drink enough beer be in the right mood with the computer open.

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
December 01, 2007
Bite My Shiny, Metal, Returning...

Fans of everyone's favorite bending unit will be pleased to find out Futurama has returned. First a DVD release, hitting the stores this week, then a televised airing on Comedy Central next year. We're not much for buying TV series on DVD, but this'll definitely end up on our season pass list.

Oh, and one other thing... if any of you get the cable channel ION, keep an eye out for Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. Our Tivo's set to scoop anything with his name on it, and it spotted the popular Christmas special. Olivia's monopolized the TV, otherwise I'd post the exact date, but I think it's in about two weeks. Mark your calendars!

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)