Mike P. gets a no-prize that'll shimmy impressively in traffic for bringing us this story of a Belly Dancer and a highway sign. Kinda hard to hear those wossname-clanky-rythms* with all cars whooshing by, eh?
* B-dance-lingo-challenged-husband-speak for "finger cymbal patterns."
Joshua gets a giant demon-shaped no-prize for bringing us this startling development regarding the Super Bowl half-time show. Don't feel bad, mom, if I hadn't watched all of Ellen's brothers play Guitar Hero over Christmas I wouldn't have any damned idea what they were talking about either. Pop culture inside jokes... gotta love 'em!
Scientists (or rather, "scientists") have announced that what really caused the World Trade Center to collapse was... *shakes magic 8-ball*... directed energy weapons utilizing the Hutchison Effect:
At the end of the first show, a caller said, “This is a revelation beyond revelations…this trumps everything…If this story ever gets out, it will change the course of the United States’ and the whole world’s history.”
Note how the wording of the press release basically rubs your nose in its "trutherness." How could one possibly doubt it? Then, of course, you wake up.
Well, considering how popular truthers are along the fringe, I guess we can only say some of us wake up.
Scientists studying mass graves of the time have made some interesting discoveries about Black Death victims of the middle ages. One of the best-kept secrets of historic archeology is the almost complete neglect of human remains. An enormous amount of information can be gleaned from skeletal analysis: demographics, diet and disease, migration patterns, even a surprising amount of life history. Yet time and again you'll find no mention whatever of such examinations. As an undergraduate, I and a few of my fellow anthropology majors took some classical studies courses. Time and again we were surprised that some of the best-known archeology sites were known to have substantial human remains which had never been studied. It would seem that, twenty years later, nothing much has changed. The thesis potential alone is staggering, let alone what contributions could be made to general knowledge.
I guess it just takes getting someone to open up the bone boxes.
While I'm pretty sure the house of inveterate Cowboy's fan Ron didn't echo with screaming German, I bet something very like this went on in his head. I don't know just how many different ways this particular track can be mashed up, but this one was definitely a winner.
Looks like F-1 is going to jump into hybrids in a big way. Considering the open way they're handling it, it may change F-1 from the esoteric exotica it's been lately to something it was in the past: a place to test high-performance equipment which could one day actually end up in a passenger car.
And what's not to love about a 450 hp 50 mpg Alfa Spider?
Just in time for Valentine's day, a tampon flower bouquet. I guess everyone needs some sort of hobby, eh?
Strawberry flavored Cheetos, anyone? Olivia, like most kids her age, doesn't have a definition for "too sweet," so she'd probably dive into a bag with both hands. Not being her or Japanese, I'll have to give it a pass.
More pictures of the first Bear intercept by an F-22 have surfaced. Since only two people could've taken them, here's to hoping nobody gets in trouble for their release. Single-seat means mooning the Russian crew is a bit more challenging.
Now that the media has bequeathed the Republican nomination to McCain, it's time for the loonies to lock on to their new target. At least if, and until, McCain loses said nomination. One need only ask previously "anointed" candidate Clinton on the accuracy of media bequests.
I wonder how the card-carrying Bush Derangement Syndrome Club members in the peanut gallery, who are generally McCain fans, will react when a picture of their "good" leader is being carried on a sign with a toothbrush mustache penciled in?
Lord bless Wikipedia, without which we would never have know about Unsinkable Sam, the only cat known to have survived three ships sinking under him. You'd think, after the second one at least, they would've kept him on shore.
Those of us hoping for a rock to smash into Mars will have to wait longer to get our wish. Ah well, it's not like there isn't anything else to look at on the planet, eh?
The MSM is justifiably famous for trying to hammer the square peg of truth into the round hole of narrative, but can they carry it too far?
Wait a minute. This is the media we're talking about here. "Going too far" is something that happens to other people.
Why, yes, this foil hat does keep me warm in the winter. Thanks for asking!
It would appear that, just sometimes, enthusiasm can be an antifreeze. Go for the goofy dog jumping in the snow. Stay for said goofy dog's "Bugs on his way to the beach" tunneling imitation.
It seems that, while most people "in the know" think a new strategic bomber is a good idea, conventional wisdom is the Air Force isn't doing a particularly good job of fielding it. The Air Force is screwing up a massively expensive yet extremely shiny new program. Color me unsurprised.
The world's most powerful rail gun has been delivered to the US Navy. At 32 megajoules, it's fully half as powerful as what the Navy thinks would be needed to become a combat system, but it's still a step in that direction. Considering the size, weight, and needs of the system, I'd be surprised if a destroyer could actually field one. Could this be the weapon that revives the concept of a battleship?
It's nice to know I'm not the only one nutty enough to ride a bike on a major highway. As noted in the article, as long as you're just traveling along the shoulders are plenty wide enough for safety. Also as noted in the article, it's really the on-ramps and off-ramps where things get hairy. Which is why I don't really do it that much anymore.
Smoke em' if you got em'?
That's right soap.
And I PAY people at work to eat cat food and cat treats. No wait, I make them get in the dryer too!
Olivia would not let me take a pix of her and her bologna sandwich, so Scott took pixes of Swoozie making a mess with pizza crust.
We are dorks, what do you want from us?
What I remember most was, during the Reagan administration, at the ripe age of 13, how the media kept harping on how awful the economy was two years into Reagan's "revolution." The stock market had tumbled, interest rates were truly astronomical, and it seemed everyone was either in an unemployment or gasoline line. And then suddenly, say, around 1983, almost overnight the reports stopped being about how bad it was and started crowing when "the recovery would end." Addled as I was with teenage hormones, I quite distinctly remember shouting at the TV, "end?!? When did you sonsofbitches ever admit it'd started?!?"
I'm pretty sure my yellow-dog mom tossed a shoe at me. She still does.
After all, being right (in more ways than one), doesn't mean you get to swear.
I've seen quite a few comparisons of SpaceShipTwo to the Air Force's old DynaSoar program, but this is the first time I've seen it compared to a Soviet program. The resemblances are more than striking, but I don't know enough about aeronautics to say if it's just the easiest answer to a tough problem, or that Rutan has someone with a name that ends in "ski" on the payroll.
Scientists have found evidence that the Earth's center may be "softer" than current theories predict. Sometimes it's hard for me to keep in mind that the bits of the planet I'm most familiar with represent something akin to wet paper wrapped around an orange.
Ron gets a holy no-prize for letting us know there's a patron saint for computers, users, programmers, and the internet. Considering how much I'm struggling with .net's Ajax toolkit right now, I need all the help I can get!
Not only is Australia the last operator of the F-111, they also have a squadron of hot air balloons. Puts a whole new spin on, "burners now."
Somehow, I wouldn't want a chick who was doing this to then start tinkering with my teeth. Happy gas, meet happy ending!
All those "work from home, earn $$$" signs you see around the neighborhood? Yeah, they're scams. Look, people, if someone asks you to set up a chain in which money gets deposited in one place, is moved around one or more times, and then is withdrawn from a different place, they're trying to use you to launder money. No matter how legitimate they may seem, this multi-step process is always the sign of something fishy going on. These are not nice people, so don't think about doing something clever like accepting the money and then just disappearing. You may end up disappearing more than you wanted!
Ron and Amber, recently liberated from The Garden State, you may now start your flashbacks. The only time I've spent any significant time in NJ it was in the middle of winter, and I went nowhere near the club scene. Looks like it was win-win for ol' Scott!
I've always thought some warm water would do the trick, or maybe trying to warm the pole with your hands to get things unstuck. But I guess, ultimately, the one sure way not to get your tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole is to keep it in your mouth.
If this test is to be believed, "my" candidates for the upcoming presidential election are McCain, Giuliani, and (gulp!) Huckabee. The other Republicans are pretty close too. In other words, no surprises!
Via Daffodil, who likewise received no surprises, albeit from the opposite side of the aisle.
Just in time for... oh hell, I dunno, something, Fark's Caturday roundup appears.
Don't blame us, blame evolution!
It appears the jetpack patents have changed hands again. I remember seeing these things on TV as a kid in the 70s, and as I recall the thing was invented in the mid-60s. Forty years later, it seems nobody's managed to increase the range significantly. Will the jet powered version pan out? Well, microjets have definitely made progress in the intervening years, but I can't recall any with the required performance. Jet packs: the transportation of the future, now and forever!
Engineers are using technology more commonly found in cellphones to help amputees walk again. Personally, I think they should fit a speaker on them that makes that "rwah-rwah-rwah*" sound if they try to walk slowly.
* Anyone? Anyone? Gah. It's a reference. Google "Steve Austin" ferchrissake. Geeze. Kids these days...
Joshua gets a tragic yet informative no-prize for bringing us the Best. Photoshop. Tutorial. Evar! All four parts are great, although I think a few members of the peanut gallery will be in a huff after episode 2. Relax! Repeat to yourself... it's only a story... all fake, not real!
Sometimes they have problems telling the difference when it comes to... "p*ss factories."
Surprisingly, this vending machine is not available in Japan. You can get beer and used panties on streetcorners in Tokyo, but you have to come to LA to get your pot fix from an armored soda dispenser.
Ron gets a gigantic hamster-wheel no-prize for bringing us news of the discovery of a 2,000 lb. ancient rodent. Well, those saber-toothed cats had to eat something, donchaknow?
No, really, when furniture attacks. Ellen saw a slightly longer version of the clip somewhere else, an apparently she was OK. You'd think after the first time it leaned over she'd stop doing that.
It looks like funding for more hypersonic research will be included in the FY2009 budget. Will it actually allow hypersonics to stop being, "the future of aviation, now and forever"? Well, we can always hope.
I've heard of pie-in-the-sky plans before, but this is ridiculous:
The whale-shaped airship, developed with French national aerospace research body ONERA, will be able to accommodate 40 guests and have a range of 5,000 km.
Definitely going to file that one under "believe it when I see it."
People who think any new air traffic control system is going to help airport congestion are most likely going to be disappointed. While the author's talking points seem pretty unassailable, I personally don't think his solutions automatically follow. Rationing (and let's face it, that is what he's talking about) never works in the long run.
Congestion is the automatic result of demand exceeding supply. To reduce demand, increase the cost of the supply. This can be done negatively via "congestion pricing" landing and takeoff fees, and positively by providing "off-peak" fee discounts. These prices would provide clear signals to consumers, who would adjust their travel plans (and airline schedules) accordingly. The profits generated could be large enough to provide the funding required to fight off the lawsuits which are the main impediment to airport expansion. New runways means more capacity, which causes the price to drop, and now you have a positive feedback loop that's self-sustaining.
That's how it should happen. But we all know, if it happened at all, it wouldn't be easy. Most US airlines are too poorly run to understand such an arrangement, let alone take advantage of it. Anti-market luddites on the left would start shrieking about "limousine runways" denied to "the poor." Statists, who see government regulation's hammer as the tool useful for any nail presented, would refuse to even consider something that didn't provide more government jobs at taxpayer expense.
And so we'd end up with a problem that is, well, the problem we have today. Still, there are incentives being applied. Congestion and the resulting delays provide their own form of increased price, causing customer dissatisfaction, which takes business from airlines and airports who participate in booking shenanigans and gives it to those who don't. Does it decrease safety? Perhaps, but, considering the always-improving safety record of air travel, not by very much and never the same way twice. Does it increase the stress of everyone involved? Absolutely. Markets are almost always stressful places in which to work, but they most definitely do work, and pretty well at that.
Saying "updating air traffic control software won't solve airport congestion" is a real and valid point. Coming to the conclusion that the only workable fix is increased government regulation and imposed rationing is, in my opinion, unwarranted and most definitely counter-productive.
Some kitty math: How many lives did little tabby Gracie Mae use up when she crawled into her owner's suitcase, went through an airport X-ray machine, got loaded onto a plane, thrown onto a baggage belt and mistakenly picked up by a stranger far from home?
And doesn't that give you a great "warm n' fuzzy" about the effectiveness of TSA luggage screeners? "Socks... Camera... Cat skeleton... Shaving cream... Underwear..."
A recent book I read discussed at some length how over time humanity seems to have genetically "bred out" its more violent traits. It would seem Western Europe's transformation from a seething hotbed of violence to the milquetoast of the developed world would bear this sort of thing out. I wonder if, by literally blowing themselves out of the gene pool, the Arab cultures will eventually tame themselves in just such a fashion?
The democratic Republic of China, commonly called Taiwan ... frequently irritates Chinese leaders with calls for greater independence from the mainland. But while the American military mulls its options, Chinese missiles hit runways, fuel lines, barracks and supply depots at U.S. Air Force bases in Japan and South Korea. Long-range warheads destroy American satellites, crippling Air Force surveillance and communication networks. A nuclear fireball erupts high above the Pacific Ocean, ionizing the atmosphere and scrambling radars and radio feeds.
This is China’s anti-U.S. sucker punch strategy.
It’s designed to strike America’s military suddenly, stunning and stalling the Air Force more than any other service. In a script written by Chinese military officers and defense analysts, a bruised U.S. military, beholden to a sheepish American public, puts up a small fight before slinking off to avoid full-on war.
Because the American public is “abnormally sensitive” about military casualties, according to an article in China’s Liberation Army Daily, killing U.S. airmen or other personnel would spark a “domestic anti-war cry” on the home front and possibly force early withdrawal of U.S. forces.
No, dumbass, launching a comprehensive pre-emptive strike on US interests which decimated our Pacific defenses with large military casualties would precipitate WWIII. Ask Japan what happens when you surprise the US and roll them up all the way to the California coast. Hint: it's not pretty, and it's not fun.
Reading past the blunderbuss opening and the confident "plan survives contact with enemy" naivete, the article appears to be based on a press release intended to rattle the Air Force's cage enough to get them to beef up base protection. Which I guess would be all well and good, if they had any money to pay for it.
Look, we plan on taking them down just as often as they plan taking us down. It's how the game is played, and China more than anything else wants to be a Player. However, unlike the USSR, and 1930s Japanese before them, China's prosperity is deeply rooted in the world economy, and they are extremely aware of it. Kicking the biggest member of that economy in the nuts over an island off the coast does not a prosperous country make, donchaknow?
But I gotta tell ya, this would make for a cracking good military thriller. Get Tom Clancy on the phone!
Yes, after spending dozens of $'s on toys, she likes the free ones the best.
Walt M. gets the Darth Vader Ultimate Armament no-prize for (in the comments) cluing us into a .50 caliber air gun. A 1/2" slug, pushed by air. Those damned chipmunks better watch the F- out, s'all I'm sayin'.
Pictures of SpaceShipTwo and White Knight II, Virgin Galactic's launch vehicles, have been released. Looks like they're on-track for their announced 2010 start date. Hooray for private enterprise!
A group of geneticist are making the claim that one whole branch of the "tree of life" should be pruned. Since I'm (obviously) not a geneticist, I'll have to defer to the peer reviewers and the *shudder* reporters on this one. Ancient biology fascinates me, but the details tend to make my head 'asplode.
I'm sure someone in the peanut gallery's heard of the battle of Khalkhin Gol, but I sure hadn't. I'm not sure we'll ever know exactly how decisive this battle was to the course of the war, but considering how many times outcomes hinged on slim margins, I would think it would be significant.
Pat gets a no-prize with an inconvenient hole in it for bringing us the tale of the farmer, the crocodile, and the rescuer with poor aim. There's a reason you don't shoot at things that are thrashing around, although I must say if the choice is between a survivable gunshot wound and becoming lunch, well, that's not much of a choice at all.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll go through a box of bullets at an alarming rate for bringing us news of a .22 caliber rim-fire minigun. While cheap to fire and comparatively lightweight, I can't help but think the ATF has had a lengthy, mind-numbingly bureaucratic discussion with this guy. Can't have the plebes building their own automatic weapons, eh?
Swoozie is finally getting whistling in her routine as well as chirps!
Oklahoma State University is working to create a propulsion system small enough to power unmanned aircraft the size of birds for hours at a time. No word on how loud the thing would be. Then again, with no moving parts, it may move fast enough for it not to matter. At least until it hits a wall, at any rate.
In my own opinion, one of the biggest blind spots in both Ellen's and my own basic education was in the handling of money. While we make our own way reasonably well, neither of us are extremely rational about it (I try to reflexively save every dime; Ellen panics whenever she deals with money.)
I think a lot about how to teach Olivia spending, saving, and investing in a more rational way, but don't know exactly where to start. I'm thinking this book might be of assistance. It's certainly interesting enough to go on my wishlist, so I won't forget about it. She's already quite capable of making deals*, so it'll most likely not be very long before she's able to grasp the rest of it.
* Actual conversation at a recent visit to a train museum:
Me: "Let me see your new bandanna, Olivia, I'll show you how to make a mas--"
Olivia: "NO! DADDY NO! BWAAHHH!!!!" Much wailing & crying ensues.
Three minutes later, Olivia: "Daddy, let me through, I want to see that train!"
Me, in a gentle voice: "Let me see your bandanna."
Olivia, in cheerful voice: "Ok!"
Dell's latest "prosumer" laptops seem to have a grounding problem. Having recently become the owner of same (merry X-mas to me from me), I can only say it hasn't happened to me yet. The operative word there being, I suppose, yet.
Imagery from the recent Messenger flyby seem to indicate lava once flowed on the planet's surface. Considering how close the thing is to the Sun, I'm surprised lava can cool. Then again, I'm (quite obviously) no geologist, so most likely I'm misunderstanding how lava works.
In the early 70s, even the trailer parks were supposed to be fabulously "mod". Luckily, free markets in the West made these popular but misguided attempts to "revolutionize" housing flop like the poorly planned utopias they were. The communist block wasn't so lucky, as the legions of critically-acclaimed Brutalist buildings with leaky roofs and lukewarm AC will attest.
Hard to imagine, but there are high school graduates who will not get one bit of this. Of course, high-tech in 1980 was even more classically silly. Who knows what'll be current when Olivia graduates high school?
A former warlord known as General Butt Naked has confessed to Liberia’s post-conflict reconciliation commission that his men killed 20,000 people during the country’s civil war.
Insert "banality of evil" quote here...
Scientists are reporting two cups of coffee a day can double a woman's risk of miscarriage. No booze, no cigs, no coffee... no wonder pregnant women are so cranky.
Having (for now) conquered Orion's critical weight problem, NASA must now conquer Ares I's predicted tendency to shake itself and its cargo to pieces. Because, you know, having the vehicle come apart around you would be bad.
Most likely this is a case of press-release journalism run amok. The thing is still almost literally on the drawing board, so changes are comparatively simple. I have no doubt they'll solve this one. Paying for it, well, that's a whole different issue altogether.
It's pretty hard to worry about global warming melting the Antarctic ice sheet when Antarctica is busily trying to melt it via more direct means. A "sub-glacial" volcano is just another reason why screwing around with glaciers is bad.
It's not often you get to watch a crazy person lose it. People think insanity is all this cool/scary raving and swatting at things that aren't there, when in reality insanity is mostly just someone being a complete pain in the ass without ever once admitting it.
Personally, I think Glenn got it wrong. It should've been...
They told me when George W. got elected, government would take over our lives. And they were right!
Via, appropriately enough, the puppy blender.
Something tells me, if Ron and I were to somehow get incarnated into a video game, we wouldn't be two Strong and Quick Heroestm, we'd be these guys. It only got scary when one of them said "balls" in context.
Joshua's the only one of us who's actually played Portal. He'll most likely have the biggest laugh of all. At least until he comes around that corner. L-O-L.
Why yes the snakes have bath time too!
No, not here, it's just too expensive to host here. Fark has lots more money than we do.
While I'd seen a few previous examples of "concrete-cast ant colonies," it took this video to show me one in-situ. It's amazing how far the tiniest of critters can get if they work hard enough, long enough.
Mark gets a no-prize that'll throw a rock at him if he gets on its lawn for bringing us a deeply unappreciated reminder of my upcoming 40th birthday. I normally say, "yeah, but you're catching up fast" to such jests, but Mark started out several leagues ahead in this particular race.
The status of various grammas Shall Not Be Mentioned.
Slashdot and Fark linked up news that NASA is interested in creating an online role playing game. Which is all well and good, but since I seem to be one of exactly six people who have never once played World of Warcraft, I simply have no idea why "Koreans will be first to Mars" is funny. I got lots of nothing on that one, but I saw it in both places, so I guess I'll laugh uncomfortably, assuming it's some sort of weird inside joke.
For once, I have a feeling I don't need to get out more.
One of chess's great characters died Thursday at the age of 64. Yeah, he was a crank, but he was an entertaining crank, so he'll be missed.
Everyone's favorite airport that doesn't exist appears to now, well, exist. As noted in the article, just because you can set the Groom Lake airport as a destination in your airplane's GPS system, doesn't mean you should. The "arrest" part would bother me a lot less than the "confiscate your airplane" part. Bail usually costs a lot less than a new airplane, donchaknow?
While a double-action motorized gatling-style rubber band gun is ipso facto on my "want" list, it seems to be an awful lot of work for a few seconds of "fire-at-will." Maybe if they invented an autoloader for it?
A fiddly toy in which I actually find a fault? Could this mean I'm growing up at last?
Ron gets a no-prize that'll clone itself for spare parts for bringing us news that scientists have created apparently viable embryos from adult skin cells. It's unclear if the embryos would've been able to be brought to term, since nobody wanted to try. Regardless, it would definitely seem we are getting much closer to being able to create perfect replacement parts.
It was our first REAL snow today so Olivia and I headed out after picking her up from Day Care for some fun. She never built a snowman and the snow was pretty good for one. Until we got a wild idea how to decorate it.
We are very proud of it. NO ONE in the neighborhood has one like ours!
Mark gets a no-prize with azimuth and elevation for bringing us this simple yet surprisingly fun "artillery" game. I think it's that great whistle at the end that makes it work.
Even though it's 78% soft-headed college lefties, I do still love the occasional conservative on Fark
Most people would find paying fifteen million dollars for a hamburger a sign that something's wrong. Most people, however, are not Robert Mugabe. When will it all end?
While rather short on description, this collection of urban color photographs from the 40s, 50s, and 60s was still pretty interesting. It seems a lot less like history when it looks as if the photo was taken just last week.
Deadly explosions at fireworks factories I expect, but in a winery, not so much. They bubble a lot of CO2, but I can't think off hand just what in wine making would be unstable enough to blow the roof off.
Guitar Hero, Blender. Blender, Hero. I've seen these blenders in the store occasionally. Trust me, you are definitely paying for the ability to blend anything.
Mercury probe Messenger's initial flyby of the planet is already producing surprises. Which is, of course, the whole point, otherwise why bother?
Fans of the deep blue should find this TED presentation on recent ocean dives fun. Now you see the octopus, now you don't!
I've had folks around here pull some pretty ballsy moves trying to get me to do PC support on personal items, but I've never had someone try to get me to recover a hard drive full of their child porn. Wouldn't surprise me if he sued them for invasion of privacy. This guy might just get away with something similar.
Now now...we KNOW Ron is a wine drinker..but still, this is Ron.
All of our plans usually wrap up around 8 pm. The more risque friends and associates we have should most definitely get a laugh out of this one.
"Saying that Java is nice because it works on all OSes is like saying
that anal sex is nice because it works on all genders."
Don't look at me, man. I do C#.
Annie gets a no-prize with a lop-sided background and a really bad haircut for bringing us this... historic... collection of department store photo studio products. I would imagine we all have such awful photos of ourselves stashed in a closet somewhere.
It would appear a photographic archive of ancient manuscripts, long thought destroyed, may represent the next "fatwa" target for guardians of the "religion of peace". Barring a few famous but extremely small fragments, the oldest well-dated Christian manuscripts only go back to the 3rd century. Discovering a cache of manuscripts made only sixty years after Jesus's ministry would be a remarkable find indeed.
However, as noted in the article, Islam is tied much more closely to its foundational document than is Christianity on its Testament. Christianity's foundation in mysticism, its legendary flexibility, and its ease of adaptation (to the point of bloody schism), have allowed it to withstand scholarly critique of its foundational documents.
Not so Islam, whose structure was quite obviously informed by the blood-drenched religious chaos of seventh century Constantinople. Having read it myself, I can say many parts to me definitely seem to have been composed by someone who knew both Christian and Judaic traditions, albeit second-hand and garbled. It would be ironic indeed if, by so very carefully engineering itself against the weaknesses evident in the Christianity of its time, radical Islam left itself open to its eventual undoing in the face of modern inquiry.
However, I feel quite realistic in not expecting a "Mohamed Seminar" similar to its Christian counterpart to appear because of all this. After all, if one claims not all of Paul's letters were in fact written by Paul, and provides convincing evidence to prove it, one does not need to worry about the embrace of lunatics wearing complicated vests.
I only hope the relevant German authorities quickly take steps to secure (or at least create many copies of) the archive. While I doubt I'll see it in my time, Islam won't always be this loopy, and it would be a tragedy to lose such an important collection of ancient documents due to carelessness or sabotage.
Update: More info, from a more innocent time, is here. It would appear the manuscripts are from perhaps the first few decades of Islam's history, making them even more important and remarkable. It would at first seem outrageous such a find would be barely known, and (as far as I know) never published. An intact, original gospel or an original Pauline letter collection would rightly cause a sensation in the West. Then I remember who we're really talking about, and it's not so outrageous after all.
He's not fat, he's big boned. The only difference between this guy and the monsters who terrorized me in grade school is most likely his language. Bullies, it would seem, can be found across space and time.
That syphilis originated in the Americas and was transported to Europe by early Spanish explorers was conventional wisdom at least as far back as the mid-80s, when I learned about it in college. Of course, as with any social science, there's nothing so conventional that some powerful anthropologist can't challenge, so there was always this grinding background of "did not / did too / did not / did too" in the various journals of the time.
Now that an independent line of research has confirmed the prediction, you'd think all these old coots would sit down and shut up about it. No way Jose! The only reliable way to get an entrenched academic to change their opinion is to let the Grim Reaper escort them off the stage. Otherwise there's nothing quite as pleasing to them as arguing with the tide (and, of course, ruining the occasional grad student's career in the process).
The Netherlands are betting the future of warships isn't in massive carriers, but rather extremely capable amphibious support ships. Europe's Achilles heel of projecting power has always been its ability to transport and support its troops significant distances from its borders. This may represent a major step toward solving that problem.
Recent discoveries about supermassive black holes seem to suggest they spin at nearly the speed of light. One of the funnier stories I was told by a physics student in college was that Einstein's theory of relativity actually suggests it's quite easy to make a time machine. One simply needs to spin a mass more than tens times that of the sun to more than 90% the speed of light. Spacetime gets so twisted by this object time becomes another direction in which one can travel.
Well, here's our object. Is it a time machine, or was I just told a silly story by someone who was better at math than he was at science?
A group of German historians are claiming to have once and for all solved the mystery of who, exactly, is portrayed in DaVinci's Mona Lisa. This time around, the solution is a merchant's wife long considered a sort of "second-runner-up" on the list of potential candidates.
In my own life, "ergonomic" keyboards are literally a pain. I do, however, think some of the flat ones are pretty interesting. The laser-projected system is especially interesting (if it works), because it opens up a whole new avenue in user interface design. As the sole system designer for a seething cat herd of little old ladies and social work majors, anything that gives me more UI options is a Good Thing.
A pet dog missed the family’s dead cat so much that he dug up his grave and brought the body back into the house.
Could be worse. The family could've woken up to half a dead cat. Considering a dog's sense of smell, that's most likely what the intent really was.
Scientists are reporting garlic is an effective tool to combat arsenic poisoning. A solution in search of a problem, you think? Tell that to the millions of Bangladeshi and Indian residents whose water supplies are full of the stuff. Tasty!
Advanced word is the first crash of a French Rafale is being blamed on "pilot disorientation". The report is very short on details, hopefully the eventual final version will include what, exactly, must have gone wrong.
I know lots of guys who are white enough, but none that are rich enough. Wtf is "raw tea" anyway?
The mock funeral, which aims to get participants to map out a better future by reflecting on their past, is part of a new trend in South Korea called "well-dying." The fad is an extension of "well-being," an English phrase adopted into Korean to describe a growing interest in leading healthier, happier lives.
Complete with wooden coffins, nailed-shut lids, and dirt sprinkled on top. The bonus? Companies are paying to send their employees on well-dying "retreats." Puts a whole new spin on that damned 7 Habits retreat I was force-marched to a long time ago.
Olivia was Baptized today. Here is the photo of us with her Godfather Mark.
Enjoy the pixes!
It would appear the on-again, off-again Australian flirtation with the F-22 is now on again. Japan's been trying to pry them out of Congress for a few years now, without success. Now that something like 1/4 of the F-15 fleet is grounded for the foreseeable future, and additional foreign purchases would reduce per-unit costs for the good ol' USAF, it'll be interesting to see if all interested parties take another run at getting the Raptor approved for export.
Scientists have finally discovered exactly what created the gigantic antimatter cloud that surrounds the center of our galaxy. In other news, a gigantic antimatter cloud circles our galaxy.
Scientists have observed the largest black hole found to-date. So large it took another black hole orbiting the primary to understand just how big it was. I can't get my head around a mound of 18 million pennies. Don't ask me to comprehend something that's 18 billion times bigger than the sun. Just won't do it, no sir not me.
Bad news: gigantic gas cloud to hit Milky Way galaxy. Good news (of a sort): ETA, 20 million years. So you'll have plenty of time to pack away the dishes, sort of thing.
Ron gets a no-prize could put Rent completely out of business for bringing us news of new developments in AIDS research. If it leads to new treatments it's great, but I bet the grad students who had to test every single thing one at a time probably weren't having much fun.
Slashdot linked up news that scientists have discovered an extremely rare Einstein "double ring". Created when three galaxies line up perfectly behind each other while being great distances apart, the phenomena is an observable proof of Einstein's general relativity. It's not often you get to see a picture of space-time being warped by gravity, eh?
In spite of the fact that I got the "second-from-top-o'-the-line" processor in Intel's Core 2 line, it turns out Dell saw fit to equip my "teh sexay" laptop with a 32-bit version of Vista. No wonder the SQL installer wouldn't let me put the 64-bit patch on.
Which now makes two computers I've owned which will spend their lives operating "geared down." FrakenSystem's last heart was a first-generation Athlon 64. I got it to run 64-bit Linux all to hell, for about two weeks, after it STONITH'd my XP install. Otherwise it was partying like it was 1999, right up until I pulled the plug yesterday.
And now I find out I'm gonna hafta live with 32-bit for the next few years?!? Well f-u-very-much, Dell. Sure, I won't see any performance difference. Sure, I'll be spared my cherished games puking and dying because they can't count past 32 (bits). Sure, my PC will work properly whenever I want it to...
But... But!!! It' won't be in 64-fweaking-bits!!! YeeearrrRRRGGG!!!
Why, thank you for this funny jacket! Isn't it interesting how the sleeves seem to be tied to the back? Well, yes, the fit is rather snug, and why exactly are you motioning to those muscled gentlemen with the butterfly net--
So you tell me, did we fake that whole "When Mooji Boats Attack" incident or not? I didn't doubt for a second everyone's favorite Persian Pranksters were spoiling for a fight. Now I know they also have no trouble lying about it.
Then again, considering how schizophrenic Iran's government is, I wouldn't put it past them to have the mullahs pull something like this without telling anyone else. Personally, I don't care. A few rounds from the ol' M2 should stop hajji in his tracks next time around.
Well, what would happen if God had a MySpace page? There certainly seem to be a lot of users who could do with some retribution, s'all I'm sayin'.
Yeah, it's a little long, but does have some clever bits. I thought the various choices of computer were amusing.
I tried, I really did, to figure out the Buddhist angle in this "overcoming gender" essay, but each time I got down around the "gender is a disease" section my head would explode. It was beginning to get messy around here! So I'll leave it all up to you folks (who are demonstrably smarter than I am) to try and figure it out. I'd tell you to come back and explain it all to me, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't understand that either.
Scientists are reporting on an extremely rare dinosaur fossil that has allowed them to examine the nature and construction of dinosaur skin. Turns out it's a lot like a shark skin, for some of the same reasons.
Personally, I've never noticed any of these "obviously" gay ads. Then again, I'm well known for being about as quick on the uptake as Jamie Lynn Spears watching a condom ad. So what do I know?
Meh. Stay out of trouble, pay your taxes, keep off my lawn, and I officially cease to care. It's your product, market it as you please.
Article contains one vaguely NSFW ad.
After twelve years of faithful service, I've finally retired my long-suffering FrankenSystem. The original PC was spec'd and built for me by my brother in (I think) 1996, but those guts were three, hell maybe four, generations ago. All that's left now is the original case, whose rusty scars stand as testament to the corrosive power of cat pee. And yet, with suitable upgrades, it kept going, and going.
No more. I've transitioned to a high performance laptop (Dell XPS M1530) with all the fixin's. It lets me do software development, photo editing, and web surfing in the family area, whilst also allowing me to get my shooter fix whenever I feel the need. Hell it even has an Xbox 360 controller. How the hell ya like that?
At any rate, The Grammas will be happy to note The Pit has been cleaned. That horrid old desk is still there, but it's clean (and it's days are numbered). It's now a docking station so we can dock one of our (four!) laptops to play workout DVDs, or to let me use my flightsticks if I ever get back into sims.
So everyone raise a glass. The king is dead! Long live the (portable) king!
Scientists are for the first time reporting evidence that the central nervous system can re-route functionality around spinal injuries. The findings are already pointing the way toward new therapies for paralysis victims. Too late for Reeves, but I wonder if the publicity and funding he brought had anything to do with advancing this discovery?
Jeff gets a no-prize hidden in the back of a roll-top desk* for bringing us news of a WWI "retro blog". I've always found such histories very powerful... the people are there, the detail is extreme, and they don't know how it all ends. This puts quite a different spin on the subject than you'd get with a historian in a library.
* No-prize to the first person to figure out the reference.
These things can't possibly be real. If they are, they can't possibly be street legal. I get dizzy looking at the regular spinning wheels. Now they're gonna start talking to me?
Still, the blond is awful nice. Yo yo yo!
Teenager + car + alcohol = busted + car. You balance the equation. His mom already did.
Mark gets a no-prize which will protest to its last for bringing us this look at how most gamers really act when they get banned from their favorite games.
Personally, anything that makes fun of Nazis in their darkest hour is fine by me.
Swoozie got captioned by another member of a bird forum I am on.
It would appear that, after an insanely long time, a manufacturer has come up with a wireless solution for audiophile speaker systems. What? People actually think it's unreasonable to have miles of wiring skirting their floors and ceilings to get sound where it needs to go?
In all seriousness, this would be a big "get" if it were to appear at (eventually) sane prices. When I wired my rig up, I actually put the surrounds too close to the listening area. It'd be nice if I only needed to reposition the speakers themselves to correct the problem, instead of pulling a whole set of new wires*.
* Because I did not make the original run 2 inches too short. I was conserving wire! My story, sticking to it, etc.
Three-foot-wide computer monitor, anyone? I sincerely want one, but I also sincerely don't want to know what they'll cost. Ah well, something else to spend my lottery money on, I suppose.
AIDS Patients Face Downside of Living Longer
Sensationalist? Our editors?!? I think you overestimate their intelligence.
I guess it's worthy news, after a fashion. It definitely provides evidence that, while AIDS seems to no longer be a death sentence, the cocktail of drugs you take to control it can end up killing you just the same.
Then again, we all gotta die some day, eh?
Instapundit linked up two articles providing details on the first production TVs based on OLED technology. Family circumstances prevented us from upgrading our long-suffering CRT TV last year. Maybe that'll prove to be a good thing. If nothing else, these new sets should create even more downward price pressure on sets using existing technologies. A win all around!
I'm pretty sure this thing is supposed to be yet another perpetual motion machine. While it looks impressive enough, I think it's quite suspicious the video was shot in such a dark room. I also noted the lack of a more detailed examination of the thing's guts. In other words, just because I can't say how it was made doesn't mean the product isn't still a bottle of snake oil.
Triple negative! Woot!
While it hasn't exactly arrived yet, NASA Mercury probe MESSENGER will be making a very close fly-by on its way toward a permanent orbit. Scientists are expecting some good science to be produced, since this is only the second probe to ever get close to the planet.
And how about that tortured acronym?
Taser, meet MP3 player. Player, taser. I love this country!
We told you she luuuurrvvsss the shower!
Fortunately, Pionus do not have a reputation for being escape artists. Note the padlock in the upper-left corner of the screen.
Science coming from the Stardust probe's material is beginning to be published. Pretty good for something that made a small hole in a big desert when it came home.
Scientists are working on technologies which promise to use everyone's favorite "poisonous gas that is not actually a poison" to create fuel. Scrubbing CO2 from the atmosphere and then jiggering with it until it becomes gasoline sure as heck sounds like a neat idea, but the "ten to fifteen years" to a deployable technology tends to translate to "after I retire" in science-speak. In other words, in my experience the phrase is a red-flag indicating they know they have a great idea, but have clue zero as to how it can be made to work cheaply. Of course, with demand rising as various third-world countries beaver their way forward to the first world, cheap may end up being a relative thing.
I guess I'm just a little strange (shocking, I know), because I think this photo exhibit would probably be quite interesting:
Why are the Japanese couples in Kohei Yoshiyuki’s photographs having sex outdoors? Was 1970s Tokyo so crowded, its apartments so small, that they were forced to seek privacy in public parks at night? And what about those peeping toms? Are the couples as oblivious as they seem to the gawkers trespassing on their nocturnal intimacy?
The series, titled “The Park,” is on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in Chelsea, the first time the photographs have been exhibited since 1979, when they were introduced at Komai Gallery in Tokyo. For that show the pictures were blown up to life size, the gallery lights were turned off, and each visitor was given a flashlight. Mr. Yoshiyuki wanted to reconstruct the darkness of the park. “I wanted people to look at the bodies an inch at a time,” he has said.
I don't think I'd much appreciate the whole "sneaking through the gallery with a flashlight" bit though. A guy's gotta have standards, eh?
(All pictures in the article are SFW.)
The gadget-loving Queen has become HOOKED on Prince William's new Nintendo Wii games console.
William's girlfriend Kate Middleton bought him the £200 gift for Christmas - but he now has to share it with his grandma.
We've been looking semi-seriously for one for awhile now, and have found it's not the playing that's the tough part, it's the buying. Oh, I know, it's not that hard to pick one up if you really want to, but we have much more important things to plan against a big expense. This one's mostly just an impulse, which is thwarted by all the rest of you Wii-nuts grabbing them before they're out of the crate. Stop it! :)
I finally got Swoozie's BOING up! She is in love.
Ok, we don't say "smile" or "cheese". We say "fish cookies!".
I really don't know what this is, but it was really pretty.
We went to the Botanical Gardens today with Mark. I managed to catch this pix.
I'm not at all sure just exactly what a black light, florescent paint, and a MiG-21 have to do with laser tag, but it sure does look interesting. A few beers, some naked chicks, and hell you're talking a party!
It would appear Dragon Skin armor isn't all it's cracked up to be. As it were. I've seen this stuff demonstrated a few times in various "Futureweapons"-like shows, and it was consistently portrayed as The Next Big Thing. Then again, pretty much everything those shows demonstrate is. I'd always suspected such programming was little more than a video press release with commercials thrown in. Now, it seems to me anyway, I have proof.
Space.com has some speculations about what, exactly, would happen should that asteroid actually smack Mars. Good news: the rover should be plenty far away enough to be safe. Bad news: still doesn't look like it's going to actually hit the planet.
While this description of DNA as a sort of organic software is inevitably geeky in places, it does provide a certain amount of insight into just what makes biology tick. Well, insights for a sysadmin or developer at any rate. Those who aren't may not get as much out of it, but hey, it's my blog, I'll link what I want :).
Leave it to the Japanese to invent a robotic snow plow that scoops up snow in the front, and "poops" out neat ice bricks from the back. Clears your street and provides building materials for Eskimos. What's not to love?
Who says the law has to be stuffy? Makes up for all those reports about the judge and the penis pump.
Well, ok, not really. But still!
Filed under "airplanes" only because they're all about, well, airplanes. Aviation fans should find this collection of aircraft photos of interest. This one includes AW&ST's "best picture" winners, so even non-airplane folks will most likely want to take a brief look.
While this alarming picture of a great white shark investigating a scientist in a kayak may not be particularly new, I'd certainly never seen it before. And since I am the center of the universe, that means everyone else needs to see it too. So there you go.
Inflated ego? Moi?
Friend Mahmood links up seven basic tips for shopping in the East. At first glance, it sure seems to be much more trouble than it's worth. Inveterate shoppers in the peanut gallery may disagree. Still, I'll try to keep it all in mind, should we ever make our way there some day.
Update: Linkee now workee.
It would appear there is at least one place quite a bit more dangerous than Iraq. Not much of a distinction, but I suppose you have to take what you can get.
Via Instapundit, who's point about Mr. Chavez's fans is well taken.
Fark had its (as far as I can tell) first-ever "headline of the year" contest this year, and the winners are just great. Showbiz was my favorite category, with politics a close second.
Swoozie finally has the 'kiss' command down pat!
I shit you not. They have Zombie Porn.
NSWF! I know all of our horror, Zombie flick lovers out there will be ordering this one!
Now that scientists have a better idea what to look for, they're coming up with new ideas to scan Jupiter's most enigmatic moon, Europa. Thankfully, not all of them require sending (and, therefore, funding) a new probe. If Ares V ever makes it to production, we'll be able to send heavier probes, like a potential Europa lander, faster. No more three year loops around the solar system!
Male belly dancers appear to be gaining popularity in Egypt. This article provides more depth than previous ones we've linked up, including a lot of historical background I didn't know about.
Scientists have traced a rare genetic defect that greatly increases the risk of colon cancer to perhaps a single married couple who immigrated to the US some time around 1630. Two populations, one in Utah and one in New York, have been discovered to possess this defect, but it's possible others have yet to be discovered. While the defect seems quite rare, it increases the risk of cancer from 1 in 25 to a whopping 2 out of 3. If a test can be developed, it would at least eliminate that indication (or provide an early warning sign for extra vigilance.)
While this mash-up of a speech from Naomi Klien and clips from various Milton Friedman appearances can only barely be called a debate (and dude... volume matching!), it still provides a nice side-by-side comparison of what Friedman has actually said versus what leading lights on the left claim he said. Straw men don't exist just for Dorothy, don't ya know?
Go watch the whole thing (it's really only a few minutes long). It should definitely provide fuel for thought, if not fire.
A little girl thought she was getting an iPod for Christmas but ended up getting a rude surprise. She got the box but when she opened it up, she found a surprising switch: the iPod had been replaced with a bizarre note.
Just from the wording of the note, I'm thinking it'll be someone who wobbled off their meds and decided to communicate their psychic discoveries to the world via creepy notes. It happens more often than you'd think.
Hey, at least he's owning up to his mistake. Sort of, in that great, fizzy, "I'm-a-wack-but-I-meant-well" sort of way. That's the problem with prophesying the end of history. It just keeps happening anyway.
Exhibit #1 (and #2) in "why Ellen didn't need to clean the kitchen today." Let me tell you folks, scratch-made pepperoni bread has it all over anything you can get from a store.
One is for a New Year party this afternoon. The other is mine!
But well all know the real problem is... umm... well?