We won't see the 159 over here, but the follow-on has a better chance of showing up than anything built previously. Top Gear has it's always unmistakable take on the cross-and-serpent's current mid-sized sports sedan. The walk across water thing is an interesting irrelevancy, but boy, does that guy need a hair cut or what?
ZOMG!!1! Did you know if your kid signs up for JROTC, they'll teach them about guns?!? Can't have that, no it just won't do. Could lead to dancing!
Olivia's seen the first one several times, but the other two only once. I'm not sure she'd do a whole lot better. Of course, she's only five.
Interestingly, this tracks pretty well with other accounts from people who've heard about really famous events, but never actually sat down with someone and discussed them from end-to-end. The Koran's account of Jesus springs to mind.
No, no... I've already got a nerd sign to go around my neck too. Gee, aren't you being awfully helpful today?
New Scientist is carrying this article on the six "great" unknowns of the solar system. Some of the answers (such as the one re: relative sizes of the Moon and Sun) seem to rely on some awfully convenient coincidences.
Hey, man, don't look at me. I live on a planet where one of the greatest empires in history originated on an isthmus shaped like a human boot, complete with heel and calf bulge, that's kicking a football. It's all sitting at nearly the middle of a giant lake, which ensures it's even visible from space. If a planet like that had been put in a science fiction movie, nobody'd believe it. And that's just the start of the coincidences of this place. Don't even ask me about the triple alpha process.
Why, thank you, but you see I already have this foil hat of my own that fits just fine. I will keep it for an extra, though...
Remember, folks... guns don't shoot people, idiots do:
A 21-year-old Marshfield man who accidentally shot his roommate told police he was spinning the gun on his finger like they did in the "Old West" when it fired, Marshfield Police Chief Joe Stroik said.
Gun safety is apparently something that happens to other people.
Even though it seems all I hear about regarding the most recent Israel v. Hamas conflict is civilian casualties, I'm actually rather impressed at how low they are. I've been following that region pretty closely for some time. Back in the late 90s and the early part of this decade, headlines would read "Israel fires rocket, kills 1 terrorist and 30 civilians." Today it seems I'm reading headlines like "Israel fires rocket, kills 13 terrorists and 3 civilians. Now it seems I've found the reason for the sudden increase in accuracy. Not exactly a super-weapon, but it definitely seems to be more effective than a Hellfire.
No? You want to stay with Jamilla? Oh she has tuna fish? Lucky cat.
US Naval Institute: "The Iowa class battleship is NOT the greatest battleship in American naval history." The article gets really technical, so I'll just nod sagely and let others get in a fight over it. Oh, and that site allows comments, so don't go posting no six page refutation here. My eyes'll cross at that just as fast as they did to the original article.
UK scientists have discovered a way to make LED lights comparable in price to compact fluorescents (CFs). Considering LED lights last 10 times longer and are generally considered to provide a superior light source, it's a good thing! Bonus: this one comes just after the UK instituted all sorts of legislation to encourage CF usage. Remember, folks, the market cannot be trusted to provide superior solutions in shorter time frames. Only government can provide!
Mark gets a no-prize in a plain paper bag for bringing us what I assume is another one of those independent viral commercials. Yes, kids, before the internet we had to walk up and buy porn at a newsstand just like it was Time magazine or something.
I think we'd all agree wearing a gas mask, wet suit, and galoshes is no way to go through life, so he didn't:
A security guard accidentally suffocated himself in an autoerotic accident, an inquest heard.
Ralph Santiago, 31, was found dead in the men’s toilets of the building he worked wearing Wellington boots, a wetsuit and gas mask.
I always knew security guards usually had really dull jobs. I just didn't understand the lengths some of them would go to for entertainment.
You knew it was only a matter of time before guys started using those nifty indoor RC helicopters their wives/girlfriends gave them for Christmas to f- with the family cats:
I've only gotten about half way through it. So far the highlight is the drive-by mugger at about 4:30. All-in-all, a great collection of wtf? it can't eat me? kill it! Kill it dead! KILL IT!!! cat expressions I've seen in quite some time.
And unlike the Cat in the Hat, it killed him stone dead:
A performer with an aerial acrobatic troupe fell headfirst to his death Tuesday during a show in front of hundreds of people in Scottsdale.
Video coming soon to a liveleak session near you!
Yes, children, it is indeed possible for men to break their wangs. This is something that will always and forever sit on the very top of my "must never ever ever try to do" list.
NASA has unveiled the new final assembly building for the Orion spacecraft. On the outside, it apparently still looks like the old Operations and Checkout Building (which, if I recall correctly, isn't all that much to look at), but on the inside it's a completely new building. Now if they could just build the damned rocket...
Scientists and engineers still appear to be beavering away at flying Martian probe. The conditions on Mars must make for some damned interesting aeronautic challenges.
China seems confident enough in its SU-27 knock-off to start showing it more publicly. To this day I remember expose after expose about how the then top-of-the-line F-14 and F-15 were just too damned big to be any threat to small, nimble USSR designs. As I recall, 60 Minutes and 20/20 were particularly aggressive about it.
Boy, I sure am glad we all listened to them and dumped those bloated cows, eh?
So are increase CAFE standards good for the environment, or are they simply a really crappy sort of tax on driving? Regular readers shouldn't have to try very hard to guess where I stand on the issue.
And NO it's NOT molesting cats! Some people get smoke breaks, I get cat breaks.
Something tells me we won't see famous Hollywood-types implementing this stuff any time soon. Well, except maybe this one:
One of the most pressing threats facing our environment is rising income in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. A generation ago these proud little dark people were happily frolicking in the rain forest, foraging for organic foods amid the wonders of nature. Today, corrupted by wealth, they are demanding environmentally hazardous consumer goods like cars and air conditioning and malaria medicine. You can do your part to stop this dangerous consumerism trend by supporting environmentally progressive leaders like Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe, and their programs for sustainable low-impact ecolabor camps.
Seems they've been doing that sort of thing since at least 1917.
Harford County authorities continued to investigate Monday after a 4-year-old girl was found alone Sunday evening at a restaurant. Police said her mother and aunt realized she was missing while watching a Monday morning newscast.
We go to Chuck-e's every few months or so. Amazingly, the places around us all stay open until 11 pm and seem pretty crowded as late as 9. I'm not completely surprised a kid could wander around for hours and not be noticed by the staff. Unfortunately, I'm also not completely surprised some low-rent parents and relatives would not notice until hours after the fact.
And now they've ruined it for the rest of us!
Mark gets an old, scaly no-prize for bringing us news of a 111 year old reptile successfully reproducing. The "gee, ya think?" quote:
Henry's keepers have put his newfound vigour down to a recent operation to remove a tumour from his bottom.
The mind boggles.
Looks like Fiat wants to bring seven models over as a result of the Chrysler deal. The Fiat products would appear to be headed for a re-badge, while the Alfa stuff (including the MiTo!) keeps the cross-and-serpent. On one hand, this sounds like a much better pairing than the previously rumored BMW alliance. At least here it's quite obvious the product lines are complimentary. On the other hand, Fiat is signing up with the weakest of the big three, a company that's already failed with one European merger, and is saddled with tons of UAW members.
(With apologies to Pournell & Niven) On the third hand, rumors of a return have flown thick and fast since almost the last car rolled off a boat in '95. Those all came to naught, so chances are very good this one will too.
I've heard the advice, "don't f- with wild animals" before. I've paid close attention to it, and it has stood me well. Looks like someone didn't hear the "with" part in the sentence. And, of course, the "don't" part. Just when I think people can't be any dumber...
The ‘row’ concerns a small breakaway group of druids (known to some as COBDO West) who’ve requested the museum release the remains so they can rebury them where they came from. King Arthur and mainstream COBDO want the same thing — but are upset that COBDO West have taken matters into their own hands. ‘COBDO West are just a joke — three men and a dog, without even the dog,’ splutters King Arthur. ‘I’ve got thousands of members in my Arthurian War Band all round the world and loads more in the UK. I could field hundreds of activists at the drop of a hat. Bunch of idiots.’
Not for nothing is south-central England considered the California of the UK. Over here, God lifted the East Coast up and gave it a hard shake, causing all the loose marbles to roll down Cali way. It would seem he did the same to Britain, only there grabbing the north end before giving it a shake.
President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday.
Yeah, that's a great idea, seeing as how automakers are doing so well worldwide. If you like cars and enjoy high performance, you better move quickly, because once these regs hit the books they'll soon be as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth. Even the boring ones will end up being expensive. Europeans shouldn't laugh too hard... unlike the 70s, your greenies are powerful enough to strangle all the cool cars over there too.
After all, to the left TANSTAAFL is just a nonsensical acronym.
I'm sure it's harder than it looks, but this video demonstration of gun disarmament techniques still seems instructive. I've known about these sorts moves for some times now, because of a martial arts demonstration at (of all things) a sci-fi con back in 1996. A very small Japanese man, who's day job was as a physicist and who's two night jobs were dojo and sci-fi author, demonstrated that all you really need to do is move quickly and roll away from the weapon. They were using a toy gun, so the "perp" could pull the trigger, and each time said perp was simply unable to fire the weapon before the "victim" was out of the line of fire.
In other words, as the video demonstrates, guns are meant for distance killing. Get too close and you give away the only real advantage you have.
The best part is, even though they totally trash these dudes and portray them as complete losers, these chicks still slept with them! Reminds me of a time long ago when friend Amber was trash-talking about (her) husband and friend Ron. He and I were both doing our nerdy, "you're-right-we're-wrong-we-suck" moping when suddenly out of my mouth jumped, "wait a goddamned minute... you married him!"
It was like she got hit between the eyes with a pole. When we've both been pushed out onto the porch of the rest home by our great grandchildren, it'll be a memory Ron and I will still chuckle over.
While its consequences for Alfa are still unclear, nearly everyone is saying the recently announced Fiat-Chrysler deal will result in re-badged Fiat 500s hitting Chrysler dealerships. No, I'm not familiar with it either, but this was pretty interesting:
No, I don't think it's all that pretty, and no, it wouldn't be my first choice for a car. Like you, I kept squinting at the picture, trying to figure out where the wind-up key goes.
Then again, all I need to do is remember this thing is aimed squarely at the SMART and suddenly I go from "whut?" to "oh hell yes." Unlike that tennis-shoe-on-wheels, this thing seems able to get out of its own way, and then some.
Haha... I'm NOT in the upper right corner. Eat that you Darth Vader wannabees.
My Political Views
I am a center-left moderate social authoritarian
Left: 2.3, Authoritarian: 1.44
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Foreign Policy Views
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Culture War Stance
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Foreign Policy Views
Political Spectrum Quiz
My Culture War Stance
Political Spectrum Quiz
I'm a little surprised that it didn't score me more libertarian. I'm a bit disappointed that the authors chose to break things down by foreign policy and social issues, but seemed to ignore economics. It seemed like about half the questions were economics-related.
Via Daffodil Lane, who's scores only surprised in that both are nearly as libertarian as I am, and that the chart was wide enough to keep Jamison from falling off the left side.
It'll be interesting to see if it's wide enough to keep Ellen from falling off the right side.
Ron gets a horrible yet strangely useful no-prize for bringing us news that "jumbo" squid teeth may be useful for more than just flaying your garden variety helpless starlet. I've always thought humbolts were nifty critters. As long as I can admire them from the comfort of my couch, that is. Having them eye my boat like it's the gravy variety, maybe not so much.
“Did you hear the one about how, after Barack Obama became president this week, he found out the economy was worse than he thought—so he had to lay off 17 journalists.” -- Bernard Goldberg.
Happy 25th birthday, Macintosh! In other news, 1984 is now officially 25 years ago. Kids born in that year aren't even in college anymore. Some have kids that are 8 years old.
Bah, I tell you... bah....
Well, why shouldn't there be Christian nymphos. Far as I can remember, the Bible is pretty much silent on what can and can't happen between two married, consenting adults. Of course, what I know about the Bible could probably fit in a thimble, so if anyone knows better fire away.
Seems the American Idol producers are not above throwing in a ringer or two just to make things interesting. Considering the amount of money that sloshes out of this show, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the person "exposing" this "travesty" is on the payroll to drum up more publicity.
Me, I'd settle for a little snuggling without breaking out into a coughing fit. This guy was a lot more ambitious. I doubt if I'd be able to get over how cold the "water" was.
Using genetic studies of a human parasite and new linguistic studies, scientists have determined it was the Taiwanese who colonized the South Pacific. It's nice when two completely different lines of research come together.
Go for the discussion of kids and cons, stay for the pictures of goofy fen. Especially the guy in the Wonder Woman suit.
We haven't gone to a convention in years. Mid-Atlantic fandom is just too cliquish for me, and while Ellen enjoyed the people watching just about everything else left her cold. That said, if Olivia wanted to go to a con, I certainly wouldn't stop her.
Remember, folks, wheels that pop off are only fun on toys. I've done something like this not once, but twice. The first time I forgot to tighten the lug nuts on a front wheel, which "did in" my original silver Spider back in 1996. $750 worth of frame damage = Great Parts Bin in the Sky. Best thing that ever happened to that rust bucket. I can only imagine the damage when all 4 come loose at once.
The second time was a back wheel on our present (much much nicer) Spider, back in 2004. Fortunately, all it did was rattle; it didn't come loose, and I have no idea why. On that day, when I got back and discovered what happened, God and I called it even, and we've stayed that way ever since.
And now I have helpers who always ask me if I've tightened the lug nuts BEFORE I drive away after a project.
I told you the media are like a pack of fans that doesn't care which side wins. They're only rooting against the team with the ball.
The Obama administration is in for a rough first year.
Contradicting myself? Me? Listen up folks, one cannot contradict one's self when one is able the change the rules at any time. Learned that from my wife, I did.
And, of course, the mainstream media.
It would seem no matter how much preparation you do, the first day in the White House is always really hard. Note the meat of the article concerns how the press office is, or rather isn't, handling the press corps. "We don't care where your office is! Give us a press release! Now!!!" Charming.
Hey, at least the Bush people left with class. No missing "O" keys on the keyboard this time.
At least this time you don't want to head for the eye bleach after seeing the "model". I'd say "some day we could do that with one of our cars," but I'm pretty sure Ellen plans on being buried with BOTH of hers, and (as noted previously) I'm not allowed to sell the Spider.
Hey, we should all have problems like that, eh?
Slashdot linked up two stories about advances in super-micro electronics: news of a motor which could be used to power tiny robots which would swim through the human body, and a tiny boat that uses only surface tension and small electrodes to move around. Of all the codgery "I remember when there wasn't any..." things I was going to tell Olivia about, "robots that swim in your veins" just wasn't on the list.
That's mister funny-looking Italian sedan to you, bub.
I better not catch Ellen doing this. The operative word being "catch," I suppose.
Although it would be funny if she did it with her ma riding along.
"Not with me in the car! Not with me in the car!!!"
My work got an Obama cake, so Olivia got a slice!
Is there anyone who still believes the Constitution was created to ensure each citizen liberty and the ability to pursue happiness rather than a guarantee of happiness — and a retirement fund, health care, a job, an education, a house ... ?
That was a great, big, hairy stumbling block I had with Obama's inauguration speech. It's also, when you get right down to it, why I have such a great, big, hairy problem with liberal and progressive (L&P) ideals. I believe very strongly in the former picture of the Constitution, L&P's quite strongly believe in the latter. Very few of them seem to be students of the 1960s and 1970s, or the 1930s, otherwise they'd know all of this was tried twice before and all this has failed twice before.
Because we all know the real reason these ideas don't work has nothing to do with them being, well, wrong, and is instead because Kulaks like me refuse to understand them and try to sabotage them at every opportunity. I'm not silly enough to believe the Democrats will try to muzzle my side with Stalinesque brutality; I've had a belly full of that sort of bloviating coming from the left for the past eight years. I'm simply disappointed we're going to go through yet another round of L&P experimentation just a generation after the last round failed.
For it is the doom of men, that they forget...
I'm actually a little surprised it's taken this long for phony phone call pages to surface on the internet. Such things have been knocking around for ages, including the calls to Louis "Red" Deutsch which inspired the Simpsons. I've just never heard of them hitting something as big as an airport before.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll giggle inanely at the touch of a button for bringing us this very large scale example of the ultimate phone annoyance.
Having regulated absolutely everything else in sight, the British government has now imposed rules on music teachers. I'd like to think we're not due for 2-4 years of these sorts of shenanigans on this side of the pond. Of course, I'd like to think someone will just drive up in one of those new Alfa Romeos and hand me the keys. I'm not holding my breath for either.
A biomedical company in California is developing a "digestible" sensor device for medical diagnosis. You swallow the pill (colored, one would hope, red) and a patch on your arm picks up the telemetry while the unit cruises your digestive tract. If it turns out to be something other than vaporware, I mean.
I think this brings "unintended use" to a whole new level: sniper rifle software has been launched for the iPod Touch. It's a music player, and a ballistics computer. Whatabahgain!
Fiat appears to be in serious talks with Chrysler for some sort of cross-production agreement. Fiat would get access to the US, and Chrysler would get access to a modern set of small and medium sized cars and the international markets in which Fiat is doing very well.
Alfa tried a vaguely similar deal with Chrysler back in the '80s, and it was a disaster. 2nd time's the charm? Who knows. At least with this deal they won't be selling cars through a competitor's dealer network (a-la BMW/Mini).
If The Sun is to be believed, bubonic plague is stalking al Queda terrorist camps. I'll pull the cart, you shout and bang on the metal plate.
One of the many butterflies at the Philadelphia Natural History Museum.
Swoozie came home from boarding today, and so Ellen was giving her the run of the house. Her "perch West" location is the
turtle's tortoise's cage in the kitchen, which is actually a large metal dog crate. It has perfect parrot-sized bars, and from birdie's perspective is little more than a square jungle gym. The "get off my lawn!" expressions Om gives her when she climbs down to sample whatever's in his food bowl are something to see.
At any rate, Ellen was puttering around in the kitchen with Olivia when I came around the corner.
Me: "Where's the bird?"
Ellen: "Behind me... rrrmm..."
Olivia, loudly: "MommyWeWentToChuckiesLookWhatIGot"--skwmph--"Isn'tItCool"--skwmph--"Purple'sMyFavoriteColor..."
Ellen: "Olivia, do you know where the"--skwmph--"birdie went?"
Me, peering down the stairs: "I don't see her, but I"--skwmph--"hear something"--skwmph--
Everyone quieted down, and sure enough, we heard, muffled, softly and rather calmly, "--skwmph--" pause "--skwmph--"
Which lead to Ellen opening the pantry: "Swoozie! What are you doing in there? I could've squished you!"
Swoozie, now unmuffled, and literally unruffled, quite calmly: "Squawk... squawk..."
Whereupon she tip-tap tip-tapped her way back to the cage, triumphantly carrying her quarry, a soda straw. She quickly climbed back up and repositioned the straw for disassembly. She then paused when she realized we were all staring, and gave us all a perfect "what?!?" expression.
When they said Pionus are laid back parrots they weren't kidding. The tone was nothing more or less than, "umm... excuse me? Parrot inside. Not meaning to trouble you, but..."
Welcome home, birdie!
Ron gets a no-prize that'll get him a great parking spot at the next car show for bringing us the "ten craziest concept cars of all time." The fact that Alfa topped the list has absolutely no bearing on my willingness to link it up.
On the way home from NY last night, all the cars around us on the toll road wore out-of-state tags, and every one of the hotel parking lots around us was full. I'll say one thing for all of this, it's memorable. I don't think it'll stand up to all the hype, but it'll be fun to watch.
While it lasts, at any rate.
... but, I'm sincerely sad to say, I'm not missing my Washington Post subscription anywhere near as much, because they're just a little more partisan than this.
Inevitably they'll all turn on him, eventually. So will many of you. But in the meantime, to quote a favorite animated character of mine, "Oh would you just shut up?!? You're rats with wings!"
And get off my lawn.
Those interested in the more technical aspects of flight 1549s ditching who's wife, like mine, has let their Aviation Week subscription expire should find this Popular Mechanics break-down (as it were) of interest. This one finally points out there were two guys in that cockpit, and the survival of the aircraft was likely due to their teamwork. I'm still amazed they landed it so softly one of the engines stayed on its mounts. Those things are shaped, and act, like giant Hoover vacuum cleaners, and I just about promise you the Airbus guys didn't have water skiing in mind when they designed the mounts.
And that reminds me... kudos to said Airbus engineers. If you haven't already, lift a glass or three to each other for designing something that flies extremely well and, in a pinch and with just the right circumstances, makes a good enough boat.
Nothing like an entire blog dedicated to medical oddities and diseases to start off the morning. Just in time for breakfast!
Scientists appear to be getting closer to a true invisibility cloak every day. And on that day, should it ever come, high school women's locker rooms will never be the same.
I write this from the depths of Indian Country, where Yankees are common and snow covers the ground. The natives seem to call the area, "Nyoo Yohk," but their language is strange and often difficult to understand (raah-dee-ay-tor?)
We'll be returning shortly, with posts and pictures to follow.
Actual conversation on the highway yesterday, driving home from work:
Ellen, in the passenger seat, slowly turns her head with patented Terminator-like smoothness and looks at me.
Me: "It's even in New York! Probably somewhere near your parents."
Me: "And guess what! The guy says he's interested *trading* for a really early Series 2 Spider! Ours was the 12th Series 2 off the line, don't get no earlier than that."
Ellen: "You are NOT going to sell that car."
Ellen: performs patented "lizard blink." I swear if you look closely, you can see the extra set of eyelids behind the first closing vertically. "You will not sell that car, and you will not trade it. Certainly not for a 164! Those are boring and ugly!"
Chicks... I tell ya...
I will say that if anyone is looking to pick one up, that would be one mighty fine car to start with. Just don't tell Ellen.
Not only is Fox studios making a live-action version of Cowboy Bebop, Keanu Reeves seems to have been selected to play one of the leads. Here's to hoping it a) materializes and b) doesn't suck!
Mark gets a no-prize with an impressively valueless number on it for bringing us news of the introduction of a set of Zimbabwe trillion dollar notes. 100 trillion, no less, which turns out to be about $30 US. Considering the ridiculously high denomination and the ridiculously low actual cost, I'm a little surprised a collectors market isn't springing up around these. Then again, considering how little they're worth, I'm not sure we'd notice if it did.
Scientists have announced the discovery that Mars is alive, at least geologically and perhaps even biologically. The evidence? Substantial amounts of methane in the atmosphere, which is normally rapidly destroyed in the Martian atmosphere.
Nothing like some hi-rez shots of good ol' planet Earth to give you some quiet contemplation in the afternoon. Every time I think I've seen every unique bit of landscape this place has to offer, I'm proven wrong. It's a good thing!
Little surprise that most of these architectural "horrors" are located in formerly communist countries. "Real and actual" socialism, like its less scary-sounding brothers liberalism and progressivism, always looks better on paper than it ever can in reality. Hope and change, people, hope and change!
Australian engineers have developed a retrofit kit for refrigerators that will allow them to network and coordinate power use to minimize peak draws. The article doesn't make it clear if they're using power lines as the interconnects. If they are, it's all good. If not, setting up the internet connections will be a pretty significant hurdle.
Oh, and quote FTW: "A lot of people don’t realise [sic] that fridges cycle on and off regularly, which means you’ve got a bit of discretion about when they use power."
Popular Mechanics is running this relatively even-handed article about the ongoing controversy over the boosters scheduled to replace the Space Shuttle. As I suspected, many of the problems seem to stem from decisions made by NASA leadership to use new and untested technologies. They just can't help themselves, it seems.
Who knew Diamond Crater had such a checkered history? What? You didn't know Arkansas had diamonds? Four years ago, neither did Ellen. When she found out while we were vacationing there, there was this whoosh of air around me and then the car horn was honking, suddenly loaded with wife, child, and the fifteen kilos of gear Olivia required back then. Ellen didn't find anything, but boy, was there a lot of mud!
Now, we have a friend who collects WWII stuff for re-enacting*, but even they'd probably draw the line at this:
When another dusty cardboard box was uncovered in her uncle's attic, Lyn Fulton expected to find memorabilia from his days as a war-time air raid warden and chemistry lecturer.
Instead, she found vials of deadly gases thought to date back to the Second World War.
Poison gas is not your friend!
* Which, as near as we can tell, is mostly an excuse to dress funny, camp, shoot guns, and drink beer**. In other words, deer hunting without the deer, sort of thing. With tanks!
** Not that there's anything wrong with that†.
It may have taken attending the Detroit Auto Show to see it, but it would seem the latest iteration of the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. cars is worth it.
For you philistines* scratching your heads, the original B.A.T. cars were 3 Bertone design experiments done on Alfa chassis in the 1950s. As most Alfa show cars and prototypes were wont to do in that era, these "escaped" and ended up in private hands, eventually becoming some of the most coveted cars in the world.
This one seems to mostly be a Maserati under the skin, but it's not like that's a bad thing, either.
* See definition 2b.
Lisa R. gets a no-prize that Darwin would love for bringing us a rather distinctive form of thrill entertainment:
Without the cage you wouldn't stand a chance swimming with a massive saltwater crocodile.
But for brave punters who still want to get cosy with a feisty croc, a new Australian tourist attraction is offering the chance for a close encounter in the safety of a clear acrylic box dubbed the 'cage of death'.
Problem: Feeding astronauts on the long, long journey to Mars.
(Possible) Solution: Silkworms:
Liu's team calculates that given a relatively normal diet with a three-to-one ratio of plant to animal protein, each astronaut would need to consume 170 silkworm pupae and cocoons a day to fulfill their animal protein needs. That number might be difficult to raise on a cramped spaceship but could be more feasible than raising an equivalent number of chickens.
Nom Nom Nom Nom
Remember when, briefly last year, Volkswagen was the most valuable company on earth? It was on paper, at any rate. Now you can read how that happened. About ten years ago Porsche was in such financial straights the survival of the company was in serious question. They've come a long way since then.
Mark gets a sick n' twistedtm no-prize for bringing us the story of the teen who killed over a Halo game. Something tells me there was more going on there than just an XBox 360.
Looks like the Fx guys working the last Indiana Jones movie got a little bored at one point. Olivia was downright offended when she saw a tiny R2D2 model stuck to the side of the Close Encounters mothership model. "He'll fall off!" she kept saying.
Scientists have discovered a microbial enzyme which can generate hydrogen from water much more efficiently than other similar biological processes. No, unfortunately it's not the breakthrough that will allow us to put Hajji on the bread line, but it is a step in the right direction.
Hey, remember that pre-Iraq war press conference Bush held? You know, the one that was completely scripted, the one where Bush already knew all the questions, and everyone knew who was getting called on and in what order? Remember how stilted and embarrassing it seemed when it was re-run, over and over again, on countless documentaries about the lies that led us to war? Remember how execrable everyone said that press conference was? How it was portrayed as the ultimate betrayal of the press, the people, the military, and even the very foundations of the United States itself?
As ferociously as we [the press corps] march like villagers with torches against Blagojevich, we have been, in the true spirit of the Bizarro universe, the polar opposite with the president-elect. Deferential, eager to please, prepared to keep a careful distance.
The press corps, most of us, don't even bother raising our hands any more to ask questions because Obama always has before him a list of correspondents who've been advised they will be called upon that day.
Hope and change, people... hope and change!
Depending on who you ask, scientists either have or have come mighty close to creating primitive forms of life in a laboratory. If nothing else, their work provides new insight into abiogenesis, the theories which describe and predict how life formed on this planet.*
* And no, abiogenesis is not Darwinism or evolution. It's quite different. Which is a useful thing to know when you need to poke a rhetorical stick in a creatonists' eye. Not that I would ever do something so rude. My story, sticking to it.
Mark gets a very clever no-prize for bringing us this demonstration of just how smart a crow can be. As I understand it, parrots and crows are considered the two smartest groups of birds, with brain-to-body mass ratios similar to higher primates. Interestingly, their brain structure is very different, with small cerebral cortexes but large "medio-rostral neostriatum/hyperstriatum ventrale" areas.
In other words, birdies is smart!
By using a special implant which emits a specific sort of cell-signaling molecule, scientists may be able to use a patient's own immune system to battle diseases and even cancer. The immune system of any multicellular creature represents the culmination of literally millions of years of research in battling various sorts of nasties. It's subtle and flexible beyond belief. Harnessing it successfully could unlock a staggering toolbox of treatments and cures.
If this interview is to be believed, there's yet another bunch of entrepreneurs all set to conquer space. This time they've got an innovative engine design which promises "mo' fastah' bettah'" access. Only time will tell if it's vaporware or not.
One more reason to seriously think about getting a new TV: lunatics back-flipping trucks on New Year's Eve. Even though the clip cuts off before you're sure, the driver was completely OK.
Fun for the whole family: play "I might be a Jew" with people who care and aren't sure. This one's subversive enough it might even be fun for a few of my atheist friends, who (obviously) don't care much for religion but enjoy goofing on those who do.
Mark gets a no-prize with a parachute attached for bringing us the story of a man who intends to fly and drive from London to Timbuktu. The catch? He'll never change vehicles.
Best of luck, and here's to hoping Hajji decides you're not worth an RPG that day!
Sir Edmund Hillary needed to climb Everest "because it's there," and the same can be said for every racing junkie about "The Green Hell."
"Hell"? Think 13 miles, dozens of corners, 1000 ft. in elevation change and a hotly debated number of annual fatalities among those brave enough to tackle it. Online fan forums mention anything from five to 50.
Enter Ron Simons, owner of 75Experience, the de facto official Nordschleife driving school. It holds the largest collection of Alfa Romeo 75s in the world, and one look at the Alfa's boxy shape immediately explains why.
That's right, folks... for a price, you too can tear around the world-famous Nürburgring in a race- prepped Alfa Romeo Milano! Even if they are called 75s over there. Luckily, they also provide an instructor!
According to my sources, the Milanos in use are tattered but still a whole lot of fun. One more thing to add to the list of "to-dos" when we finally make it over there.
The PETA weirdos are at it again, this time launching an ad campaign in Australia that calls fish "sea kittens". So... um... every time you masturbate under water, God kills a goldfish?
Hey, man, why not turn a surplus 747 into a dorm-style hotel? If it makes money and provides a cheap, safe, clean place to stay, I'm all for it!
Meet Frankie, Swindon UK's most prolific cat burglar. Bonus: proof positive that US morning TV does not in fact have a corner on the douchebag host market.
NASA recently rolled Discovery into the VAB to prepare for its next launch, and Spaceflightnow has the pictures. You'd think that, with all the money they spend on that thing, they'd wash it once in awhile.
But boy, those pictures sure are a bonanza for scale modelers. Look at all that weathering!
When I see fake medical procedures portrayed in a fictional drama, I either ignore it or laugh at it. When the fakes are in a "hard news story" by "the most trusted name in news", I get more than a little annoyed:
The large man in the white coat was NOT performing CPR on that child. He was just sort of tapping on the child’s sternum a little bit with his fingers. You can’t make blood flow like that. Furthermore, there’s no point in doing chest compressions if you’re not also ventilating the patient somehow.
I also noticed how the camera seems to very carefully avoid showing the victim. The second video (as noted, at about 1:40) makes the "procedures" look even less convincing.
Now, tell me again, and slowly, because like I've said before I just must be too retarded to understand... why I'm supposed to prefer CNN over, say, Fox news?
After years of talking about it, it seems manufacturers are getting serious about producing insect-analog electronic sensors for the field. Personally, I just like the image of a swarm of not-quite-insects descending on every house hajji tries to turn into a bomb factory. Got a biblical feel to it, no?
As with most things in television, drawing that simple yellow line on the football field is more complicated than you'd think. Computers are wonderful things!
A very 'furry' NO-Prize to Annie!
Suzanne Owen owns a hand-crafted sweater made out of cat fur. Owen collected every hair her cat, Smokey, shed to create the one-of-a-kind feline sweater.
Every time Smokey was brushed or groomed, Owen saved the loose fur in plastic baggies.
Once 5 pounds of Smokey"s fur was collected, VIP Fibers in California spun the fur into yarn.
Would I wear one? Hell yes!
The rumor mill makes it seem increasingly likely the Obama administration will review the entire Ares program. According to Aviation Week, man-rating a booster is an extremely non-trivial task, which is why NASA decided to try shoehorning already man-rated designs into new tasks. Did the agency subsequently, as they have so many times before, allow mission creep and a fetish for new technologies ruin the savings they were looking to reap with this strategy? Heck, I dunno. Ellen let my Aviation Week subscription lapse three months ago. You go find out.
And call the Obama team. I hear they're sniffing around this very issue.
There's nothing quite like the enthusiastic literalism of a happy Labrador retriever.
Scientists have discovered a fish which uses mirrors that are a part of its eyes to see. The brownsnout spookfish has been known for quite some time, but apparently it took catching a live specimen before this unique quirk of biology was discovered.
Oh, and they look really weird too.
I thought it was some chick who invented barbie?
Alternate title: Have Shuttles, will Travel:
The co-founder of a rocket launch firm has proposed an audacious plan to send astronauts on a one-way trek to Mars using a pair of tethered U.S. space shuttles that would parachute to the Martian surface.
I'm pretty sure he's not all that serious about it, and mostly threw it out there to generate precisely this sort of publicity. Still, it would beat having them moulder away in museums across the country. However, I'd want some way to get back home before I volunteered for something like that.
It would appear that, according to one Australian think-tank, the F-35 is nowhere near as stealthy as Lockheed Martin are claiming. The longer this program goes on, the more it seems like a boondoggle in the making. Will the USAF end up with an aircraft like the F-4 (extremely successful after refinements) or the F-111B (don't ask)? It seems only time will tell.
What's being termed "the world's largest dinosaur graveyard" has produced evidence that ceratopsids like triceratops did indeed roam beyond what is now western North America. They've already dug out something like 7600 fossils from this Chinese fossil bed. Who knows what they'll find next?
[Brenton Alan Erhardt, 39] was pulled over by police on the Stuart Highway in July speeding at 147 kilometres per hour, south of Daly Waters.
He admitted to officers he filmed himself masturbating while driving from Adelaide to Darwin.
He also pleaded guilty to driving unlicensed, carrying two cannabis smoking pipes, administering the drug and carrying a loaded rifle.
Mark gets a coral-colored no-prize for bringing us news of new discoveries about the Galapagos iguanas:
A spectacular pink type of Galapagos iguana promises to rewrite the family's evolutionary history in the islands.
Rosada was missed by Charles Darwin during his 1835 visit, but appears to indicate the earliest known divergence of land animals in the archipelago.
Even better... the date of the split is well before the date the island these critters live on appeared.
It would seem that dentists will be able to grow replacement teeth for patients in the next 1-5 years. See, Ellen! I told you holding out for a ridiculously long time between dentist visits would pay off!
Problem: smokers, having been banned from smoking in almost every place except perhaps the basements of their houses, still insist on smoking.
Solution: Move the goalposts. Again:
Third-hand smoke is what one smells when a smoker gets in an elevator after going outside for a cigarette, [Dr. Jonathan P. Winickoff, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School] said, or in a hotel room where people were smoking. “Your nose isn’t lying,” he said. “The stuff is so toxic that your brain is telling you: ’Get away.’”
I don't smoke, and find being in a smoke-filled room of any sort very unpleasant. That said, redefining the dangers of smoking to include the smell that comes off a smoker's clothes to me seems flat ridiculous. Second hand smoke is so dilute it took years to come up with convincing evidence of its dangers. This "third-hand" smoke would almost by definition be far more dilute, and correspondingly less dangerous.
But far be it from me to stop the nanny train from running over adults who both know the risks and take steps to prevent them from affecting their children. The anti-smoking lobby quite obviously knows better than anyone else what's good for all of us. That any of us try to hold them back just shows how irrational we all are.
More's the pity.
On the last day of our vacation, I made hamburgers for lunch for myself and Olivia. Ever the curious one, Olivia bounced into the kitchen to take a look at what I was doing...
Olivia, in a schoolmarm voice spoiled only by her pixie tone: "Daddy, do you know who Billy Mays is?"
Me, somewhat bemused: "Well, actually, yes... do you?"
Olivia: "Yes. He sells a burger masher that'd be perfect for those hamburgers. No more squishing!"
Me: "But Olivia, I like squishing burgers. They taste better than any--"
Olivia: "Nuh-uh! Billy Mays says his burgers are much better!"
Me: "That's fine, but you're eating squished daddy burgers. Now go back to the den!"
Olivia: "Fine! When mommy gets home I'll talk to her and we'll buy the Billy Mays burger smasher for you for Christmas."
Me: "Christmas was three days ago..."
But by then she'd bounced back into the den to watch more cartoons.
Yeah, yeah, I know. But I was exposed to just as many commercials when I was a kid, and look how I turned out!
Oh shaddup, you.
Mark gets an eagle-shaped no-prize for bringing us news of the discovery of a major Roman-era battlefield in Germany. The kicker? According to the article, it's too late and too far north to agree with existing histories.
As with most apocalyptic predictions, the chicken-little forecast of arctic ice disappearing completely in 2008 ended up flat wrong. The stuff actually increased during the year, for reasons scientists only puzzled out after the fact.
Now, tell me again, and slowly because I guess I'm just that retarded, why I should support inhibiting the economic growth of my country on the predictions of, presumably, these exact same scientists?
Those who think global warming is a) mostly man-made and b) a dire and immediate threat to civilization would do well to remember an axiom about science: "we love science because it can find The Ultimate Answer to any particular question. We hate science because it will change The Ultimate Answer whenever conflicting data is found."
That sound you hear is the True Believers moving the goalposts. Again.
Via No Pasaran.
Willie, the Bush's "first cat", was found dead at her home in the White House on Sunday. 18 is a pretty darned good run for a cat, but I'm sure it's still quite sad. On the other hand...
A new actor has been cast to be Dr. Who for the next set of new episodes of that series. The guy's name is Matt Smith, and no, I haven't heard of him either. The whole creative team will be new for this next season, due in 2010 in the UK at any rate, so it'll be interesting to see just how well it all turns out.
A British "expert in sound technology at Huddersfield University, West Yorks" is claiming Stonehenge was actually built as a sort of prehistoric disco. Hey, if that's what it takes to get your grant renewed, that's what it takes.
So, on the third of four trips to the downtown Air and Space museum with Olivia during the Christmas break, I made a "geeky snort" cool discovery. Somewhere, and I won't tell you exactly where, they're playing a Monty Python tune in there. To keep the suspense going, there'll be no comments on this one. Go find it!
Ron gets a no-prize with a hidden picture for bringing us the "top 10 cars and the type of women they attract". I guess you'd have to define "rare" to see if my Italian exotic qualifies, but I'm happy with what I got (in both senses).
Patricia Dare was charged Monday with the violations in a private complaint filed by a state dog warden who inspected Petz Unlimted's kennels in October. Because Dare pleaded guilty to summary charges of failing to maintain sanitary and humane conditions following a July inspection, the new charges are a misdemeanor, court documents state.Address: Petz Unlimited
Petz Unlimited, located in the Cumberland Marketplace shopping center on the northwest corner of state Route 114 and the Carlisle Pike is owned by Dare's son, Port Dare. In 2002, Dare spent 15 days in Cumberland County Prison after being convicted on animal cruelty charges.
Township police and witnesses said Dare placed a sick kitten in a plastic bag and put in in a freezer. When that did not kill it, Dare bashed it against the side of a Dumpster.
6560 Carlisle Pike
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Oh yes...the article.
Makes you thinks twice where you buy your pet supplies from.
Nothing like a collection of "the sky from above" pictures to start your Sunday. What they can't show, and indeed what I've only seen a few times in IMAX movies, is how all that stuff visibly moves over time.
So, how old is your car? Or cars, as the case may be. Ours:
Not too shabby!
Olivia loves to dance. She dances in the kitchen, in the living room, and in the bathroom. She even twirls to the car in the mornings to go to school.
Tonight was our usual night of music and dance in the living room. Pirouettes and leaps, with her toes kept busy until she shouted: "Mom! Leap with me!"
Normally I'd love to leap with her, but since I had her, certain things don't work as well when you sneeze, cough, jump etc...
"Olivia I can't jump, I'll pee in my pants!"
With a sudden a huff and a foot stomp I was told: "Then take your pants off!"
Mark gets a no-prize shaped like a banana peel for bringing us this graphic example of what can happen when you rush a delicate project so you can play with your new toy.
Something tells me this does not mean to them what it means to us. Either that, or gaydar is now a reality.
Rrm... not that there's anything wrong with that. I think.
Yeah, this is pretty much how I react to cool toys too. And Mark, and Joshua, and Ron, and... well, and pretty much every other guy I know.
The rest of us will laugh at the main picture of best friends owl and basset. Ellen, of course, will jump straight to conure and labrador. But you knew that already.
Sometimes spam is just that... "enhancements", fellows from Nigera/Poland/the US Military sitting on pots of gold which could be yours for a modest finder's fee, lonely young ladies looking for a little companionship, that sort of thing. But once in awhile, just every once in awhile, it's something quite different:
Truth is reality. That means don't stretch reality, don't bend reality, don't poke reality -- what did reality ever do to you? Who has a strong need for the mark 'of' the wild American cashcow (mooooo!), I get plasma tv/food, but you get neg value? Can't buy/sell food or cars unless a specific collateralized mark 'of' the wild American, huh.. I get plasma tv, you get neg value seems to require an apology for rest, Forrest. Apology biggest at tithing, with smiles and frowns at tithing, as the only meter for 'did I bring wholly the tithe' while monetized debt increases debt in the house of God. You know, Noah's rainbow only promised no flood, not no destruction (John 6:66, a very big heart filled with pain; Genesis 6:6, a very big heart filled with pain).
I just love it when someone wobbles off their meds in front of a computer!
I'll put up some Christmas pictures if I can figure out where they're hidden.
Lisa R. gets a no-prize that'll make every man who sees it cringe for bringing us yet another reason to leave the spear guns at home:
A man who speared himself in the groin on the Sunshine Coast in south-east Queensland is recovering from his ordeal in hospital.
Sharks, sting rays, jelly fish, now spear guns... spear fishing must be damned near as fun as sex, considering all the dangers that surround it.
Ares has a couple of highlights from Israel's current project in assisting Hajji hooking up with his 72 wyrgins. The first video takes quite awhile to develop, but the end is worth it.
After opening dozens of Christmas presents in the past two weeks, Olivia's current favorite toy is...
A beach bucket filled with one full roll of toilet paper dismembered into single sheets. Calls it her "snow."
I guess it's God getting me back for all the times I played with the boxes the toys came in after my unwrapping Christmas orgies when I was a kid. I always did wonder why my parents made such a big deal of it.
There's nothing like finding a 1932 Bugatti in the garage your dead uncle left you to pick up your day. Not to mention the E-type and the Aston.
This is most likely something my descendants will not have to worry about, as the cars I leave behind in my garage (hopefully) a long time from now will most likely be in boxes.
Of all the titles I've seen added to Alfa Romeo, meat importer definitely was one of the most unexpected:
Of all the weird trade deals in Australia's long mercantile history, probably none came close to the 1978 scheme to swap 7,000 tonnes of Aussie beef and offal for 2,000 Alfa Romeo cars.
As a government-owned entity, Alfa was subject to any number of goofy ideas like this, especially during the progressive/liberal 70s. As such policies are wont to do over time, they eventually sank the company. Still, having a tray of sausage patties with the cross-and-serpent logo on the front would've most likely made for an interesting bit of memorabilia.
"This is the practice of the Kurdish people for as long as anyone can remember," said the mother, Aisha Hameed, 30, a housewife in this ethnically mixed town about 100 miles north of Baghdad. "We don't know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it."
Mind you this is done on 6-7 year olds.
And they still wonder why they do not get respect and are called savages.