August 31, 2008
Now Just Hold Still...


Nooooo... don't spray me! NO!!!

Posted by Ellen at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)
End of August


Posted by Ellen at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)
August 30, 2008
Run For Cover New Orleans!

Let's see who really listens this time around.

"This storm is so powerful and growing more powerful every day," Nagin said. "I'm not sure we've seen anything like this."

At 8 p.m. ET, Gustav's eye was over western Cuba near Los Palacios, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) west-southwest of Havana, with sustained winds near 150 mph.

Get your boat now! I'm sure there is a sale somewhere!

Posted by Ellen at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia And Her Aunt Nina

Posted by Ellen at 09:16 PM | Comments (2)
Olivia and CB Almighty

Olivia sees me dance with the boa, so she practices with Cornbread, our resident Cornsnake.

Posted by Ellen at 08:48 PM | Comments (1)
The Present That Is Not Liked

Especially made for Amber upon request!

Posted by Ellen at 07:25 PM | Comments (1)
Small World

I'm sure you'll all be shocked, shocked to know I occasionally cruise E-bay to see what Alfa spiders are going for at the moment. I'm not in the market for another one, but it's very helpful to know what the current market value is in case mine gets in an accident. Really!

At any rate, this morning I was browsing around and found this 71 spider.


It's a "nice" car, probably one of the very last around in this precise sort of condition. "Too nice to be a parts car, too rough to be cherry" cars start evaporating around the 20 year mark, typically ending up as parts, and occasionally ending up as cherry.

But what absolutely floored me was this:


The significance? Ours is 5022. It was the car just in front of ours on the assembly line, nearly forty years ago. And, after all this time, it not only has survived, "lives" in the same area as ours!

I tell ya, there have been some damned strange coincidences involving Alfas in my life lately. Hell this isn't even the first one.

Kismet I tell you. Fate, even.

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (2)
August 29, 2008
En Memoriam

Phil Hill, the first American to win an F-1 world championship, died yesterday at the age of 81. Don't worry, Ellen didn't know who he was either. But I did! By accounts, Newman won't be far behind, so we'll have lost two motor sports greats this season.

Time has a way of marching, even speeding, on.

Posted by scott at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)
Oink Oink

Other, classier, sites are making note of McCain's VP pick with serious discussion and analysis. We, however, choose a different route.

Ron gets a no-prize that'll spend most of its time rooting around in the muck for bringing us a crystallization of the first three or four thoughts every straight man had when he heard the news.

Posted by scott at 04:22 PM | Comments (3)
Being from Columbus, he's Just Spreading it Around

I have no doubt he would do exactly that. I still think the orange Jersey douches are funnier, but this guy was worth chuckle, for no other reason than it gives me the opportunity to yank a certain person's chain.

In 3... 2... 1...

Posted by scott at 02:35 PM | Comments (2)
Wish U Were Here

The Phoenix lander team celebrated the probe's 90th day on the Martian surface by asking it to compose a special sort of post card. It would seem that, as the area in which Phoenix landed receives less and less sunlight, the probe itself does not have much longer to "live." I guess it was too expensive and/or heavy to equip it with a nuclear power source?

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)
Rain Forest Re-Set

It seems the "ancient, pristine, and untouched" landscape of the Amazon is anything but. It's becoming increasingly clear that native Americans altered the western hemisphere nearly as much, if not equally so, as their Eurasian counterparts altered the eastern one. White explorers failed to see it because native populations were scythed away by disease long before Europeans penetrated the interior of the far more populous central and southern parts of this half of the world.

Put that in your "man as scourge of the pristine parts of the planet" pipe and smoke it!

Posted by scott at 12:24 PM | Comments (1)
For the Record

Ever wonder what a town hit by a tornado looks like on Google maps? Wonder no more. On a lark I decided to look up my old home town of Dumas AR to see if Google had updated their picture cache of it with hi-res photos. They did, and (judging by what's there) they did it because of that tornado a few years ago.

At least, I hope they've actually cleaned the place up since then. With SE Arkansas, you just never know for sure.

Posted by scott at 10:51 AM | Comments (7)
And the Dog Goes, "Squeak Squeak"

Today's "idiot dog swallows something he shouldn't" story brought to you by...

Hey, are you sure this is right? This really is the town's name? No way. No f'ing way. Well, ok then...

By the Leamington Spa Courier. With most excellent X-ray goodness.

Those English. They'll name a town anything!

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (1)
August 28, 2008
Keep on Rovin'

Not only are the Mars rovers still going strong, Opportunity has managed to make it out of the crater alive. They pitched it down into Victory crater last year not completely sure if they'd ever get it back out.

Posted by scott at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)
~ Bit by Bit / Putting it Together ~

Hey, field stripping and reassembling an AR-15 in less than 60 seconds is a pretty nifty accomplishment for an 11 year-old girl. Well, I think it is anyway. Everyone's gotta have a hobby!

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)
Paging Samuel L. Jackson, White Courtesy Phone Please

It's snakes in a mutha f'ing apartment:

A nearly fatal bite by a poisonous snake led to the arrest of a man Wednesday for keeping 51 deadly cobras and mambas in his Tokyo apartment without permission, police said.

Mark gets a hissy and hot no-prize for bringing us yet another reason not to live in a Tokyo apartment complex.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)

US analysts are saying at least two Russian aircraft were downed by friendly fire during the recent Georgian conflict. I guess that's what you get when you hand out fistfulls of manpads to a bunch of excitable "rebels."

I found the damage pictures mentioned in the article above here. Perhaps not quite as tough as an A-10, but it definitely seems the ol' Frogfoot can take a punch.

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)
Escape Goats?

It's nice to see that the US isn't the only nation with an f-d up public school system. Some of you may think, "well at least they speak English." Keep in mind their immigration problem is actually a bit stickier than ours. They may boost the crime rate and create a built-in constituency for nanny-staters Democrats, but at least they don't try to blow us up on a regular schedule.

Posted by scott at 09:26 AM | Comments (2)
August 27, 2008
Yes It Does...



Posted by Ellen at 09:36 PM | Comments (3)
The Sick Seabed

Ever wonder why there were so few critters running around at the bottom of the ocean, even though there's plenty to eat down there?

Ok, you're not playing this game correctly. Now nod and say, "Why yes, Scott, I have wondered that several times."

Well, you may not have wondered about the question, but I'll wager you'll wonder at the answer:

Danovaro's team collected dozens of samples of sediment from sites around the world. Everywhere they looked the top centimetre of sediment contained large quantities of viruses. The average gram of sediment contained 1 billion viruses, which is the equivalent of 8 trillion viruses per square metre of ocean floor.

I wonder if perhaps the development of the nucleus, which distinguishes prokaryotes from eukaryotes, was driven by the need to escape from what presumably is this most ancient of arms races?

Posted by scott at 04:14 PM | Comments (0)

The new Nikon D-90 is out, and boy does it look sweet. At $1200 for the full kit, it's not anything we'll be picking up soon, but that "SLR video camera" thing sure does sound interesting. Maybe next year?

Posted by scott at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)
I'm not a Hypocrite. I'm too Rich to be a Hypocrite.

Personally I've always thought having a pretty face and being reasonably articulate in front of a camera were no great talents. Now I have (even more) proof. Remember folks, we're only supposed to do what they tell us to do, not what they do themselves.

Posted by scott at 12:48 PM | Comments (3)
Great White

I guess if you dive in exotic locations long enough, you're bound to see something really unique. Like, say, an albino whale shark. I don't know how many factors had to come together all in the right place at the right time to get those pictures. I'm just glad they did.

Posted by scott at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)
August 26, 2008
2008 Elephant Ride


This year I was told since I was not in costume, I had to ride the elephant with Olivia. I have decided I want one. Except Scott won't let me have one. I only have a front yard.

Posted by Ellen at 09:33 PM | Comments (2)


Posted by Ellen at 01:51 PM | Comments (2)
And the Stripper Wannabe Goes, "Crash-Flop-THUD"

Reason #7 Why Ellen Can't Have One: she stumbles over level ground. A disasters like these would only be a matter of time.

Far as I could tell the video is SFW.

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

A recent study has made the claim that neandertal stone toolkits actually weren't any less efficient than those created by their contemporary Homo sapien competitors. The "dumb neandertal" conventional wisdom takes another hit.

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)
Fun with National Debt

The Skeptical Optimist recently posted this review of the "super-important" movie, I.O.U.S.A.. Definitely not for the "debt = deficit" crowd, but everyone else may want to check it out. In a nutshell: it's economic growth that's important!

Posted by scott at 11:24 AM | Comments (1)
Insert "Life of Brian" Reference Here

Mark gets a no-prize with a characteristic lisp for bringing us news of more developments surrounding that Roman bath complex discussed in a previous article. This time, they've found a giant head of Marcus Aurelius. The find has caused them to rethink what was going on inside that bath house when it collapsed. Now, instead of theorizing that the statues were there in preparation for their destruction for quicklime, it's thought they were part of the decoration of the place, and were lost outright when it collapsed.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
August 25, 2008
Cinderella what...?

Posted by Ellen at 06:38 PM | Comments (1)
I Can Haz Sarah Conner?

Leave it to the Pentagon to spend zillions of dollars on something I know from long experience will spend 90% of its life sleeping, and the other 10% split between peeing, pooing, or puking on everything in the house:

The Pentagon's crash program to create an artificial brain is up and running. And, if it all goes as planned, we could see an electronic chip that mimics the "function, size, and power consumption" of a cat's cortex some time in the next decade.

And I will take this time to note for the record that, to the absolute surprise of no-one who reads this site regularly, today Ellen taught her parrot to purr. Obligatory YouTube video will most likely come along soon.

Posted by scott at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)
Mark's Costume


Posted by Ellen at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)
Olivia's 2008 Woodbaby

Posted by Ellen at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)
Meeting a Wood Fairy


Olivia was not sure what to make of this fairy. She never spoke to O, just pointed, and gave her a magic rock...which I'm sure she found right by her feet.

Posted by Ellen at 01:01 PM | Comments (1)
A Princess and a Pony


Posted by Ellen at 11:37 AM | Comments (3)
2008 MD Ren Faire

Posted by Ellen at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)


Our baby girl is growing up!


There was no crying, nothing. It was a "see ya later guys!" and she ran off to her teacher.

Posted by Ellen at 11:12 AM | Comments (5)
When Crocks Attack

No, really, when crocks attack:

A crocodile killed and ate a 25-year-old man in Bangladesh after he waded into a pond next to a shrine hoping to be blessed by the animal, police say.
[Police] said about 25 people dived into the pond following the attack yesterday, but could not find the man's body.

It washed ashore today and had been largely eaten...

You're doing it wrong!

Posted by scott at 07:19 AM | Comments (1)
August 24, 2008
It's Dangerous to Go Alone. Here, Take This

Ron gets a no-prize that would normally stay attached for bringing us one of the more extreme examples of sexual dimorphism and mating behavior, aka the Blanket Squid:

If a male does chance across a female, it uses all its resources in an attempt to mate, "as he's unlikely to encounter another one," said Tregenza. A male blanket octopus fills a modified tentacle with sperm, tears it off, presents it to its prospective mates, and then drifts off to certain death.


Posted by scott at 02:20 PM | Comments (1)
August 22, 2008
Yeah, that Can't be Good

You'd think with such a shiny tow truck he'd know better than this. Well, I guess the guy learned a lesson in physics that day.

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
Gymnast go Boom

There's a reason gymnastic apparatus (apparati?) are surrounded by giant pads. I'm surprised serious injury doesn't happen more often.

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)
Martha! There's Sex In That Thar Village!

Another Olympics, another article about how they're boinking each other stupid in the Olympic Village. I first heard about this in college from a guy who actually attended the 1984 Olympics. He only stopped bragging after we threatened to toss him out a window.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)
When 'Teh Stoopids' Attack

Go for the description, stay for the picture:

This is the amazing scene of a burglar hanging upside down that greeted home owner Paul Ives when he returned home from work.

Since it happened in the UK, I'm surprised they didn't arrest the homeowner for something like "failure to ensure burglar could enter home safely" or some such nonsense.

Posted by scott at 12:07 PM | Comments (2)
Red Flag Fun

Why bother with expensive, risky humInt ops to scope out Russia's latest aircraft designs when you can just have your friend bring the one he bought over to your house to screw around with for an afternoon or three? Sort of like inviting a buddy over to show off your new monster wide-screen TV, but with wings on.

Posted by scott at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)
After the Fact

It seems the Olympic medals of disgraced athletes have a pretty interesting story to tell. Who knew?

Posted by scott at 08:15 AM | Comments (2)
August 21, 2008
Indentify U

Ron gets a no-prize that'll be impossible to mistake for any other for bringing us news that full genome sequencing just got a lot cheaper. If this keeps up, people will be able to get sequenced just for the f- of it some day. Although I think Ron will most likely be the first one in line.

Posted by scott at 03:12 PM | Comments (1)
Ignoring the Obvious

Paging Camel, your room is ready:

MI5 has concluded that there is no easy way to identify those who become involved in terrorism in Britain, according to a classified internal research document on radicalisation seen by the Guardian.
British-based terrorists are as ethnically diverse as the UK Muslim population, with individuals from Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Caucasian backgrounds. MI5 says assumptions cannot be made about suspects based on skin colour, ethnic heritage or nationality.

If only this group had a single thing in common, they'd be a lot easier to track, eh?

Posted by scott at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)
But are They Free if They're 30 Minutes Late?

An Australian PhD candidate has created a method of making solar cells requiring common materials and a pizza oven. The article doesn't mention the efficiency of the panels she produces, which is unfortunate because that's what's really holding solar tech back. If it's at or beyond what the more expensive processes can provide, well, there's another shovel of dirt on dirty power's grave.

Posted by scott at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)
Tasty! II

Reason # 431 on the Why I Don't Like Seafood list: giant parasites:

A man who contends he got a 9-foot tapeworm after eating undercooked fish is suing a Chicago restaurant.

The article isn't clear on the time line, and makes it sound like it all happened very quickly. If so, well, 9 foot tapeworms don't get that big overnight. I think. How the heck should I know?

Posted by scott at 08:41 AM | Comments (1)
August 20, 2008


Believe it or not, these 2 are the SAME age!

Posted by Ellen at 09:59 PM | Comments (2)
Hula Hoop Kier Family Reunion 2008


Olivia came home telling us she can hula hoop around her neck. Here she is with Grammy and Aunt Nina.

Posted by Ellen at 09:55 PM | Comments (1)
Grand Ree

Olivia is the ONLY Great Grand Child on either side of the family. She is the ONLY granddaugher on both of our sides as well. Grand Ree just turned 80.


Grand Ree, O and Cousin Vin.



Posted by Ellen at 09:41 PM | Comments (1)

I've seen various refutations of the sensational "corporations pay no taxes" study that came out recently, but so far this one is the best. FTW:

The politics behind the GAO report are transparent—to undermine the momentum that’s building to cut corporate tax rates. As I wrote several weeks ago (“In the U.S., Selectively Applied Capitalism,” July 28), the U.S. has the second highest corporate tax rate among 30 countries in the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development. That matters because, as economists for the OECD recently concluded, the corporate tax is the most harmful to economic growth of all the levies most commonly used by member nations. That’s why GOP presidential nominee John McCain favors lowering it, but so does the powerful Democratic Chairmen of the House Ways & Means Committee, Charlie Rangel. The Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, has also said in newspaper interviews that he would consider cutting the corporate tax, but he hasn’t made that an official part of his platform.

Now, however, labor-friendly legislators egged on by union leaders are trying to derail calls for a corporate tax cut by manufacturing outrage against U.S. businesses. That’s not hard to do when you have so many journalists reporting and commenting on these issues who can’t get behind headlines that are spoon fed to them, like the editorial writer at Newsday who found the GAO report “jaw dropping.”

I wonder how long it'll take them to declare that anyone who doesn't work for a union is rich and gets taxed much more because of it? Yeah, I don't think it'll happen either, but I bet they'd sure like to try.

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (2)

We got yer state-run food bank right here:

With food prices rising, one of India's poorest states is considering adding rat meat to the menus of state-run canteens, a move officials in Bihar say could help provide cheap protein for the state's 80 million people, most of whom live off the land as poor sharecroppers or subsistence farmers.

Now that's a spicy meatball!

Via TSO.

Posted by scott at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)
Watchmen: Not Yours

It would seem the on again, off again Watchmen movie is now off again. The movie is in the can, as it were, but now two studios are squaring off over just who gets to distribute it. Probably was going to suck anyway. *sigh*

Posted by scott at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)
The Race is On

Bah. You can have your medals for gymnastics, diving, track-and-field, whatever. I've found a contest we can all participate in. 76 wpm on a QWERTY keyboard. I'll take it. I bet the super high scores are on Dvorak keyboards or something like them.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
Counting Kids

Kathleen M. gets a no-prize that must be rocked to sleep carefully for bringing us a different look at infant mortality rates and what they really mean about the quality of health care. Hint: people who tout them as a boost to socialized medicine "managed health care" are selling something.

Posted by scott at 10:45 AM | Comments (4)
Now That's a Party!

Knowing one or to Quebecois over the years, I'm not completely surprised they'd turn poultry slaughter into a betting game. I'm just about certain you can't call betting on when and where a beheaded chicken will fall is literally cruel. The things are dead when the head parts with the neck after all. But it is damned weird and more than a little gross, IMO.

Posted by scott at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
August 19, 2008
One Day, Pionus, One Day!

Posted by Ellen at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)
Yeah, Right

Men who want to live longer apparently need to get more wives. I have my hands full with just the one.

Posted by scott at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)
A Party in the Trunk

First plug-in car fridges, now plug-in car microwaves. It's getting to the point people are going to be able to tailgate party in one of those goofy little micro cars. Not as much fun as a gun-shaped barbecue, but it beats the heck out of eating cold food.

Posted by scott at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)
Warp Speed!

Today's "It's is easy if you can turn the entire mass of Jupiter into energy" faster-than-light travel strategy is brought to you by the Telegraph online.

Just how long this might take may depend on your view of man's handling of energy over time. If water wheels or even fire counts as man's first successful effort at controlling outside energy, it took thousands or even tens of thousands of years for us to make much progress increasing that amount. However, if you start the clock at steam, it only took about a century to go from controlling the equivalent of a few dozen horses to controlling the equivalent of several million*. If we take that sort of progression and project it forward, maybe converting 2000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms of matter into energy isn't completely out of the reach of the near future.

Via Instapundit.

* Or whatever the hell the aggregate shaft horsepower is from a nuclear reactor's power plant.

Posted by scott at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)
Diver Down

Fans of those neat "as it happens" camera shots at the Beijing Olympic diving contest may be interested to know how they get those shots. Once I saw the big tube I pretty much figured it out, but it turns out it was both simpler in general and more complex in detail than I'd imagined.

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)
Well Whaddaya Know?

One of the most common convictions of social right-wingers is that relaxing the divorce laws in the 60s and 70s in the US lead to higher divorce rates and a very long list of social ills. Like most common convictions, it would appear this doesn't stand up to close examination:

The first surprise is that looser divorce laws have actually had little effect on the number of marriages that fall apart. Economist Justin Wolfers of Stanford University, in a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), found that when California passed a no-fault divorce law in 1970, the divorce rate jumped, then fell back to its old level—and then fell some more.
In short, nothing bad happened. But in another NBER paper, Wolfers and fellow economist Betsey Stevenson of the University of Pennsylvania report that in states that relaxed their divorce laws, some very good things happened: Fewer women committed suicide, and fewer were murdered by husbands or other "intimate" partners. In addition, both men and women suffered less domestic violence, compared to states that didn't change their laws.

The only thing I find surprising is it took this long for someone to run the numbers. Once you think about it, it all really does make sense.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
August 18, 2008
Growlin' Aussies

Looks like the RAAF may end up asking for F-18Gs to upgrade their fleet. I'm too damned lazy to go look up what they have right now, but, considering the furor that seemed to surround the initial purchase of -Es, I can't see this being an easy or simple process.

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)
That Can't be Good

After a medically determined "early termination," a five-month old... infant? ... showed signs of breathing after spending a few hours in the cryo chamber. Such a profoundly premature infant obviously has a very slim chance for survival, but (obviously) weirder things have happened.

I'm not sure what's worse, the tragedy of the thing or that a whole bunch of anti-abortion wackamoles just got a new arrow to stuff in their quiver.

Posted by scott at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)
Potty Go Bye-Bye

When human idealism runs up against human nature, the results can sometimes be a really great deal on eBay. Homeless people trashing public facilities created for them. Nope, I didn't see that coming at all. Ha!

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)
An Igloo, for the Rest of Us

Coming to a trailer park near you: styrofoam dome houses. I'm actually a bit surprised it's taken this long. However, I'm not particularly surprised it took the Japanese to make it popular.

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)
A Car only a Frenchman Could Love

Mark gets a no-prize so ugly and slow you can't help but love it for letting us know France's iconic Citroen 2CV is turning 60 this year. Road and Track made endless fun of the car when I was in high school, and yet they still shed an editorial tear when the production line finally closed up.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
~ Insert Beatles Reference Here II ~

Happy Birthday Ellen!

Watch this space, for in a few weeks her b-day present may show up. Or not, it all depends :).

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (4)
August 17, 2008
Note The Scratch Pad Fu Going On Next To Olivia


According to Olivia, every "kung-fu" girl has a side kick. Apparently this one has 3 legs and a scratching post.

** yes yes... we know Kung-Fu and Tae Kwon Do are different. To a 5 year old, it's not. **

Posted by Ellen at 09:55 PM | Comments (2)
August 15, 2008
To Scale

I'm sure lots of other people knew about it, but I definitely didn't understand the ANWR region was about as big as South Carolina. I did, however, know most of it was a barren wasteland frozen solid in the winter and covered in literal fog banks of mosquitoes in the summer. A place only a watermelon could love.

Posted by scott at 02:38 PM | Comments (2)
Welcome to Their World

While it's kinda short and the white-on-green color choice is awful, this brief look at the kind of support e-mail Slashdot gets was still amusing, at least to me. It's nice when you get proof positive that it's not just your users who are a bunch of panicky screwups.

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)
Oh Noes!!!

There's nothing like seeing Peter Pan getting hauled away in zip-tie cuffs to get a day started. No, really!

Annie gets a no-prize Mickey once used to bang on his cell bars for bringing us this most unfortunate of labor disputes.

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

Mark gets an ancient and strangely beautiful no-prize for bringing us news of the discovery of a giant statue head in the remains of a Roman bath house. It would seem later residents were breaking up these statues to burn them for cement when an earthquake buried everything. A loss for one age is a gain for another, I suppose.

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)
My Boat? I Need My Boat.

The Navy's new soopa-ship is just about to be turned over to the service for trials. It was built by the well-known shipwrights at Lockheed Martin.

Yeah, I had to look at it twice too. This sort of partnership was mentioned briefly in the book Skunkworks, but the author said the Navy was so entrenched in "the Navy way" they were impossible to deal with. I guess anybody can get along if enough money is put on the table.

Posted by scott at 08:21 AM | Comments (3)
August 14, 2008
Holy Crap!

It's dangerous to report from a war zone. People shoot at you and stuff. That doesn't look like a graze, that looks like a flat-out hole through the ol' arm.

Posted by scott at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)
I Love the Smell of Hajji Burning in the Morning...

... smells like victory:

Boeing announced today the first ever test firing of a real-life ray gun that could become US special forces' way to carry out covert strikes with "plausible deniability."

Go for the news, stay for the description:

Precision engagement of a PID [Positively Identified] insurgent by a DEW [Directed Energy Weapon] will be a highly surgical and impressively violent event.

If it actually works as advertised, I imagine there will be more than a few of these mounted on a certain wall with a certain blue star painted on the side of it.

Posted by scott at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I guess I'm surprised it took this long for some anarchist to supply the general public a tool that allows them to do what spammers have done forever. Maybe it'll raise awareness amongst the general public just how easy it is to manipulate all the varied fields that make up an e-mail message?

Pardon me while I go revive a few sysadmins who've passed out from laughing at that last sentence...

Posted by scott at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
Not So Generic After All

It seems our solar system may actually be rather unique. If their model can be trusted, that is. And we all know how accurate those can be. Just ask Al Gore!

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
Liberty and Gold

It's something I've thought a few times myself: if it's just about impossible to police athletic doping, why bother? There would absolutely have to be some changes in policy regarding age of participation. We don't want 14 year olds messing with this stuff, after all.

The best counter argument I saw over at Slashdot was "well, if we make it legal, they'll dope themselves to within six inches of death because they have to." While valid, I did think of a counter. Many auto racing rules* are meant to address exactly this sort of thing: if they didn't exist, teams would run patently unsafe vehicles simply because they had to in order to win. By making your rules pro-safety instead of anti-something (speed or dope), the incentives get turned around and, at least in auto racing, the rules work.

Would it work in people like it does in machines? I dunno, but it might be worth examining.

* Oh stop groaning! You knew I was going to say it! Sit down and listen.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (4)

Sandy Allen, the world's tallest woman, died yesterday at the age of 53. We saw several documentaries about her over the years, she seemed like a really nice lady who had been inflicted with a really weird condition. Our condolences go out to her family & friends.

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
August 13, 2008
Kick Butt Olivia!

Posted by Ellen at 08:26 PM | Comments (2)
What Are You Doing Olivia?

Posted by Ellen at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)
Tae Kwan Do Olivia!


O going to day care after school now? Hell no! Tae Kwan Do!

Posted by Ellen at 08:11 PM | Comments (1)
Money Go Boom

This'll mess up your day:

A local business owner got the shock of a lifetime when she left the Bank of America in Newport News Friday. She'd asked for money to pay her employees, but what she got has her seeing red.

You'd think there would be lots of safeguards to prevent a dye bomb from getting into the hands of a legitimate customer, ya know? I don't have clue one how they work. Maybe this wasn't really all that accidental?

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
F'ing Bird!

Mark gets a damned salty no-prize for bringing us the latest celebrity behaving badly. I'm pretty sure it's staged; then again, Howard Stern runs out-takes of various celebrities melting down during voice-over sessions and I have to admit this sounds a lot like those.

Language is NSFW, but everything else is fine.

Posted by scott at 02:03 PM | Comments (1)
The Sound of One Man Digging

Same song, different singer: politician confesses to just what he's been caught at, then gets busted again. The Post featured nothing about the Edwards scandal until the Kurtz article a few days ago. I'd make a comment about how they sang from the tops of their towers over a suspicion that McCain had an affair, but it's already been said much better in different places.

Well, except for the MSM, that is.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
Maybe We Should Call it, "Paleolithic Chef"?

A group of scientists have revealed a theory which says cooking is what allowed our ancestors to develop efficient brains. The thinking (as it were) goes that after long use, the evolution strategy of getting bigger and bigger brains had run up against physical limitations related to birth. In other words, human heads just couldn't get any bigger and still have women able to walk around. However, by processing our food externally using tools and fire, we greatly reduced the amount of energy required for digestion, freeing it up to be used to power faster metabolic processes in our already quite large brains. In a funny sort of way, it really did amount to "we are what we eat."

Or, perhaps, what we ate allowed us to become what we are.

Posted by scott at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
August 12, 2008
Diiing Dooong!

Posted by Ellen at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)
Ta Da! -At The Park

Posted by Ellen at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)
Maxi Popcorn LOOOOVEE

One of Swoozie's most favorite snacks!

Posted by Ellen at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)
[Geeky Snort]

I think I'm beginning to get the hang of this whole lambda thing. I think this will actually work! Well, it compiles at any rate:

List<RegistrationBatch> rbl = rbl.Where(x => x.Registrations.Where (y => y.RegistrationTypeUsed.MyClass == registrationType.RegClass.regular).Count() > 0).ToList();

It gives me all the registration batches which contain "regular" registrations. Yeah, I can do this in a heartbeat with a sql string, but that tends to net me unexpected behavior that doesn't show up until runtime, and won't let me use all my handy enums besides.

Wrong Wrong Wrong! comments in 3... 2... 1...

It's my blog, I'll write what I want to!

Posted by scott at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)
And the Baseball Goes, "Roll Roll Roll"

Sometimes the ball clears the wall, sometimes the wall grabs the ball. Proof positive that if you wait long enough, the weirdest plays can and will happen.

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
Mystery Woman

One of the more entertaining aspects of science is when something shows up that has no right to be there:

Scientists are baffled after carbon dating showed the skull, a woman's which was found near [New Zealand's] capital, Wellington, dates back from 1742 – decades before Cook's Pacific expedition arrived in 1769.

I'd like to know the precise dating technique used. Back when I was studying such things, radio carbon dates usually had margins of error much larger than 20 years.

Posted by scott at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)
And the Space Craft Goes, "Boing Boing Boing"

I dunno, it makes it sound like they've mounted the thing on old truck leaf springs:

NASA will incorporate a system of springs into its future Ares I rocket to prevent potentially deadly vibrations from shaking the astronauts it carries, agency officials said on Monday.

The days of the Marshal Boys' huge weight margin vanished along with the Apollo boosters they created. Nowadays, it's becoming increasingly evident the original idea of using a single SRB as the first stage was overly optimistic, even with the up-sizing that came with adding an extra segment and (now) another half. And Orion continues to gain weight.

The article itself cites some back-room lobbying being done by at least a few people in the astronaut office who want to ashcan the whole concept and start over with something bigger. Of course, if that happened it'd represent a reboot of a major section of the program, with the concomitant delays and over-runs.

The Shuttle is definitely on its way out, Columbia made certain of that. I'm just not at all certain what will replace it, and when.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (1)
Power Shot

It seems Canon is bringing a fuel cell-based SLR to the market. If previous patterns are any indication, it won't be something mere mortals can afford, but after a few years? Who knows?

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Military Life

Sometimes it's scary, most of the time it's dull, and sometimes, well, sometimes life in the military can be just a little silly. Making inappropriate jokes at inopportune times is, after all, an American past time.

Mark gets a no-prize he can strap to a bomb rack for bringing us this collection of uniquely themed photographs.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
August 11, 2008
To Mark...

I love this....*sigh*

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending my money than I would.

I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe the people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves and their families. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the GOVERNMENT sees fit.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe five elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, when they come over here.

I don't want to have any guns in the house to fight them off with because someone, who had an unhappy childhood, may get hurt.

I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 7% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 18% isn't.

Makes ya wonder why anyone would EVER vote Republican, now doesn't it?

Suck it Obama! I hope you only have 19 year old tree huggers voting for you. I'm sure the housing foreclosures will only grow since they have no idea what owning a house is like... or rather RESPONSIBILITY!

I'm JUST SAYIN'! Utter bullshit. Let's see how the boomers feel.

Posted by Ellen at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)
Well, Duh.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised I agree with just about all of the "elements" on this table. Except for Saget. For some reason every time I see him on TV I start to chant "DIAF DIAF DIAF". Sue me.

Posted by scott at 03:46 PM | Comments (1)
Just Too Good to be True

Making the rounds: It's easy to have amazing fireworks displays if you let the CGI guys take a crack at them:

London's Telegraph newspaper reports that some of the fireworks which appeared over Beijing during the television broadcast of the Olympic Opening Ceremony were actually computer generated. But -- hold on -- it's not necessarily as bad as you think.

NBC gets caught doing crap like this what, every three or four years or so? You'd think by now they'd know better. This being the M-est of the MSM, you'd of course be wrong.

Update: Looks like NBC didn't have a choice. My apologies.

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

Annie gets a crystal-clear no-prize for bringing us news of further developments in "invisible cloaks". The example definitely doesn't make the subject disappear, but it's weird enough to certainly warrant further research.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Watch for Falling Rock

No, really, falling rock:

One of the largest and most photographed arches in Arches National Park has collapsed.

Ron gets a hard-hat no-prize for bringing us news that we know will be blamed on the Bush administration, even though we're not quite sure how just yet.

Posted by scott at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
Watch for Stalling Test Programs

The F-35 program continues to experience delays. Which of course turn into price increases, which create cost overruns, and around and around it goes. As a red-blooded American male, I love all the gear the Pentagon uses, but there's gotta be a better way to develop and buy it all.

Posted by scott at 10:11 AM | Comments (1)
Fun with Plastic

The revelation that certain kinds of high-security locks can be picked with plastic cut into a key pattern is, on the face of it, pretty embarrassing. However, on further reading it would seem to require an extensive knowledge of how the locks themselves are engineered before this sort of thing can even be contemplated. This is not the sort of thing a thief would really concern themselves about, since an eight pound sledge will do the deed much more efficiently.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
August 10, 2008

"That is the coolest thing that I've ever seen," teacher Martha Gietner said. "It looks like a person. It really does. I think it's a ghost."

The black image is then seen moving into a lighted hallway and casting a shadow.

Skeptics are having a hard time explaining what could cause a shadow and appear to float in the building at 2:51 a.m.

Video is here!

Posted by Ellen at 08:39 PM | Comments (1)
Oh Nos!!! Upside Down Fish!

Aussie floats with its belly pointing up and its eyes staring down because of a problem with its swim bladder.

Really cute pix.

Posted by Ellen at 08:26 PM | Comments (1)
Issac Hayes DED

Relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious in his home next to a still-running treadmill, said Steve Shular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Paramedics attempted to revive him and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 p.m., the sheriff's department said.

No foul play is suspected, the agency said in a written statement.

Read the entire CNN article here

Posted by Ellen at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)
August 09, 2008
Clearance Fail

I knew it was bad to ignore the "clearance: X ft" signs, but I didn't know it could get this bad. I'm not completely sure that the guy even survived it.

Posted by scott at 07:14 AM | Comments (1)
August 08, 2008
Can't be Italian...

... it's not painted red:

The Italian Navy has finalized a contract with Fincantieri, worth about EUR915 million, for two more Todaro-class submarines.
Currently, Todaro is in the US, taking part in a six-month Atlantic training mission. After having called at Mayport and Norfolk, it is due to go to Groton and will conclude its US cruise in October by joining Columbus Day celebrations in New York.


Posted by scott at 02:12 PM | Comments (1)
You've Gotta be Kidding Me

This has to be satire or something. Nobody's campaign staff is that dumb. Right?

Via Instapundit, who took it seriously enough to do some research, with... interesting... results.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Dem Bones

Ah, for a ticket to London:

A new London exhibition gives visitors a chance to see for themselves the traces left by disease and diet on 26 skeletons recovered from beneath London.

I bet the slide show is interesting. Unfortunately I can't get the @#$#$@ player to work. Ah well.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

Take your computer in to get it fixed, end up naked on the "intartubes". Which should teach the class two things: 1) learn to use your computer properly so you don't f- it up with spyware and viruses, and 2) do like Ellen and marry your IT support. Easy-peasy!

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)
Now That's an Instrument

Fans of big science should have some fun with this collection of pictures taken in and around the soon-to-be-activated Large Hadron Collider. I'm not sure science gets much bigger than the LHC.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
August 07, 2008
Gilbert Has The Crazies

One of my boarding cats right now. He has the crazies. Often.

Posted by Ellen at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)
Ed IN In Out...

Thanks to Shirin for the entry!

Posted by Ellen at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day



Posted by scott at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)
Well that Sucks Too

Andrea Pininfarina, head of the famous car design company which bears his family's name, has been killed in a car accident. The Pininfarina house has been responsible for dozens of famous car designs, not the least of which is our Alfa Spider. A damned shame.

Posted by scott at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)
The Wrong Sort of Rattle and Hum

It doesn't sound like flying a U2 around Korea is all that much fun. When you add the SAMs the DPRK must fling at them on occasion, it really sounds like a party!

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)
Taking that Whole "Brass Balls" Thing Right Out the Other Side

Recent research seems to indicate the centers of Jupiter and Saturn are composed of a metallic liquid helium/hydrogen alloy. Tests also seem to indicate both elements turn into a liquid metal at much lower temperatures than previously supposed.

I'm not at all sure what it'll mean for us, but it definitely sounds cool.

Posted by scott at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)
Rrr... Whut?

Seconded: "It's metrosexuality gone stark raving mad."

It's all Ellen can do to keep me from wearing knee-high socks and shorts. Tights?!? Fuggedaboudit!

Posted by scott at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)
August 06, 2008
I'd be Happy for My Head to Still be Attached

Yeah, I know, it's made the rounds, but I still thought this "take down" of the chatty Today Show hosts was a hoot. Welcome to live TV!

Posted by scott at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)
It's the Ghost Light!

Ron gets a no-prize he can use to torment Zorak with for bringing us news of the discovery of (yet another) really weird object in space. I don't think it looks that much like Space Ghost, but wtf do I know?

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
Taking that Whole "Scorched Earth" Thing Way Too Far

Nothing like an 800 degree patch of ground to get your firefighters all excited. As if we needed another reason to think California is one of the weirdest places on Earth.

Posted by scott at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)
I Wonder if There's a Moon Bounce in the Back?

Two words: inflatable church. What will those spunky Italians think of next?

This time, I found our previous reference. Lordy, this place has been around awhile.

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM | Comments (1)
August 05, 2008
Ambient Connectivity?

New Scientist: "'We look like prats, but at least we're all prats together". On the one hand, I can see having a cellphone that can locate a person to within a foot or so a real safety boon. On the other, well, can see having a cellphone that can locate a person to within a foot or so a real safety hazard. Like any tool, I suppose it's all in the implementation.

However, I can't help but think of several lurid murder cases in the past which had the doomed victim calling police from, say, a locked trunk asking for help. With one of these things, they'll get it, and fast.

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Richard Wagner, White Courtesy Phone Please

Nothing says "Valkyrie" like big German women with rocks and cudgels:

Pedestrians usually step aside when Gisela Lang and her lady warriors come down the street, re-enacting the glorious day when the Women of Kronach helped oust an invading army from Germany nearly 400 years ago.

"All of us weigh at least 90 kilograms," (200 lbs) said Lang, 52, a local culture official who herself tips the scales at 100 kilos.

Mark gets a no-prize that only sings when it's all over for bringing us this amusing bit of local German tradition.

Posted by scott at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)
I Can Haz Arteries!!!

Newbie cat owner Annie and anyone else new to cats should find this account of "an encounter with the vet" amusing. Ellen has things like that happen just about every day, so it's pretty routine to her. I still thought it was funny.

Via Yourish.

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)
Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy!

The guys at NASA seem to have come up with a workable method of deflecting asteroids on a collision course with Earth. "We have a little bitty spacecraft with this monster swinging its butt at it." Indeed.

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
August 04, 2008
Finger Trap Of Doom!

Posted by Ellen at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia! Who Do You Have?

Posted by Ellen at 09:13 PM | Comments (1)

Posted by Ellen at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)
Score. A Direct Hit.

That's definitely going to leave a mark. JASSM: helping Hajji meet his 72 virgins for 13 years.

Or, if you prefer old school, JASSM means never having to say you're sorry.

Posted by scott at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)
Chicken Soup for the (Alfisti) Soul

Being a member of a rather insular fan base, I've long known several extremely rare Alfa prototypes have ended up in private hands through the company's curious habit of selling them to random used car dealers across the US. It's part of the charm of the marque! What I didn't know was lot-find BAT-9 had an even more interesting story attached to it. Money quote: "Kaberle had no idea he owned a handmade masterpiece. He just loved the car. He drove it to work at the popcorn stand."

It just don't get no better than that.

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

Ron gets the no-prize every fanboy wants for bringing us a look at the surprise premier of test footage from the (presumably) upcoming TRON sequel. If the Wikipedia entry is accurate, we should look for this coming out in the summer of 2010. It's nice to see they're finally cutting metal on this thing, with the original leads no less, but it's (obviously) far from a finished product. Here's to hoping it a) comes out and b) doesn't suck!

Posted by scott at 01:22 PM | Comments (0)
Well, Bugger

It's bad enough when your experimental rocket kerplooies; it's worse when it was carrying the ashes of at least a few famous people. I wonder if they'll give refunds? Probably not.

Posted by scott at 12:28 PM | Comments (1)

While I personally wouldn't go through it, reading about someone else's attempt to re-create "The Real Thing" was nevertheless a fun diversion. Me, I'm all about various adult-class beverages, but if home-brewing sounds interesting and a combination of health, religious, or other factors prevent the more common sort of brewing, I suppose one could do worse than re-creating Coca Cola for the f- of it. The article even includes the recipe!

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)
Droppin' Like (Frozen) Flies

Looks like it's even harder to climb Everest's near-by companion:

Helicopters have begun airlifting climbers stranded on the world's second-highest mountain, K2, in north Pakistan, reports say.

News agency Reuters said rescuers had reached two Dutch members of the group, 11 of whom are feared dead.
The fatality rate for those who reach the summit at 27% is about three times higher than that for Mount Everest.

I'd be interested to know the percentage of people who make the summit vs. the number who try. That way we could tell if you're more likely to die than to succeed.

Which is why I only watch them try on the Discovery channel!

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
August 01, 2008

Annie gets a no-prize that's probably photoshopped for bringing us news of the "Montauk monster". I like how they've posed it flipping us the bird. Do people really get paid for viral marketing?

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (0)

Think of it as a cat, with thumbs. It's not a sloth; I'm pretty sure it's some sort of loris. Hmm? Oh go look it up.

No, Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM | Comments (2)

A new company is offering 3-D printing services for affordable prices. At $50-$150 a shot, you too can have your very own, well, whatever the heck you want. Artist friend Damion will probably just sign over his paycheck once he finds out about it.

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (6)

S'mine! U go wai!

Joshua gets a light-hearted no-prize for bringing us an example of a very... possessive... "kitteh."

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (2)
Kitten Update

One by one the kittens just turned off last night. Being 10 days premature I am not surprised at all.

Posted by Ellen at 06:42 AM | Comments (3)