April 30, 2009
Fly Me To The Moon!



Swoozie has a bubble collar on for a while. Why? She wants to go to the moon!

In all seriousness between the giggles, Swoozie won't leave a few feathers alone and this is the last resort.

Posted by Ellen at 08:49 PM | Comments (2)
A Done Deal.

Well, now they've moved on to actual production plans:

The first Fiat car to arrive will be the 500, known as the Cinquecento, an update of the Italian classic from the 1960s that has earned comparisons to the more expensive Mini Cooper and has been a big hit since its introduction in Europe two years ago.

In Europe, the Fiat 500 sells for roughly 9,000 euros, or $12,000, on average. The Mini, made by BMW, sells on average for $25,600 in the United States.
Alfa Romeo will return with the MiTo, a compact now on sale in Europe, as well as the Milano, reviving a name from the 1980s and 1990s.

The Italians' saving grace has always been price, and their downfall was always taking direct aim at the likes of BMW and Mercedes. If they can mesh successfully with Chrysler, make cars at least as reliable as a Toyota, and priced less than their European competitors, they won't be able to build them fast enough.

Is a new Alfa in our future? Not immediately. Our current automotive need, such as it is, is not for a sedan or a micro-car, but instead for a truckster. If the oft-rumored Alfa crossover becomes a reality we'll likely be at the dealership with bells on. Until then, well, until then it'll just be nice to see the ol' cross-and-serpent in US dealerships.

Here's to hoping they have a long, happy relationship, with new cars for all!

Posted by scott at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)
Personally, I Blame Dick Cheney

Isn't this a comforting thought:

Hundreds of massive black holes left over from the early universe may wander the Milky Way, according to new calculations.

These rogue black holes are thought to have originally lurked at the centers of tiny, low-mass galaxies. Over billions of years, those dwarf galaxies smashed together to form full-sized galaxies like the Milky Way.

They say the nearest ones will be far away from us, but then they also say: "[The theory] predicts that hundreds of such black holes would still be around today in the outer reaches of the Milky Way, each containing the mass of 1,000 to 100,000 suns."

Which causes me to raise my hand all Horshack-like to note "excuse me, but haven't you astronomers always said we're sitting in the outer reaches?* Sorta bragged about it, even? CURSE YOU, CARL SAGAN!"

* True (apparently) story: When my dad went to his first meeting about the capabilities of the Saturn V**, they said something like, "if a catastrophic explosion should occur, we expect total devastation in an area this large [draws big circle around map]. You, Mr. Johnson, and your assistant will be stationed here [dot inside the circle] during launch."

Dad: "'Scuse me, 'scuse me, sir! You made a mistake there, you put our station inside the circle!"

Mr. Man: "No, I did not make a mistake."

Dad: "..."

Mr. Man: "We don't expect it to explode. To continue..."

** If you don't know, go review the Saturn Follies category.

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
And So it Begins

It would appear 2007 would be the year Skynet woke up:

The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in Bålsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.

But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head.

Mynd you, røbøt bites Kan be pretty nasti

Posted by scott at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
Have at You!

Osprey: 1, Power company: 0. There's cooked fish, and then there's cooked fish.

I know there's a "Knights who say 'Nee!'" joke in there somewhere, I just couldn't tease it out.

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)
... Or Not

Mutual fund debt holders have torpedoed the Chrysler bailout plan. From various reports, it seems this was half expected, and there definitely seems to be a "Plan B" that will keep the main deal intact.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
April 29, 2009
Your Thought for the Day


Posted by scott at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)
~ Here I Come / To Save the Day ~

Fiat and Chrysler would appear to have reached a final deal. New Alfa Romeo cars would seem to be heading our way, if rumors are true as early as next year.

An ironic twist, really. It was a deal with Chrysler back in the mid 1980s that was widely seen as instrumental in Fiat pulling the marque out of the US. Here's to hoping this deal turns out better than that one, and the one after with Mercedes. After all, when more choices show up, the consumer is the one who wins.

Posted by scott at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)
Darts, for the Rest of Us

Ok, that tears it. Top Gear has got it all over Motorweek Illustrated. Will this be what causes us to modernize our TV cable package? We'll see...

Posted by scott at 05:54 PM | Comments (1)
Exit Soyuz

Mark gets a no-prize that might go to the moon some day for bringing us news of Russia's replacement for the venerable Soyuz system. I wonder if they'll end up selling them to budding civilian space companies? As far as I know, Bigelow is still looking for a taxi to send people up to its stations.

The landing system looks to be controversial as well. The main trick will be getting the dratted thing built, of course.

Posted by scott at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)
Remember, Thou Art Mortal

Another day, another REMF in a new presidential administration learns the hard way that there are important differences between themselves and king's ministers. "Because I say so, and keep it quiet" always bites them on the rear, eventually, even in an administration as popular as this one.

Bureaucracies being what they are, it's doubtful we'll ever know who was directly responsible for this mini-debacle.

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)
When College Kids Attack

Want to see what happens when nerdy types with too much time, talent, and their parent's cash get out of hand? Take a look. I've never understood why many men (and a few women) seem to think it's funny to make other people's lives annoying just for the sake of it. Life is just too damned difficult as it is to have some incompetent boob making it worse just for the fun of it. I guess I'm just too much of a wimp to "get it."

Posted by scott at 01:07 PM | Comments (2)
Sole Surviors?

A US paleontologist is claiming to have found a population of dinosaurs which survived the K-T extinction event. What puzzles me a bit is the location. I would think the Arizona-New Mexico area would've been way too close to the impact for anything to survive. Then again, I'm not completely sure that bit of continental shelf was actually all that close to the impact 65 million years ago.

The finding is, of course, controversial.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
Very Helpful People, the Dutch

So, are the signs a warning, or an advertisement? One of the things Europeans often use to knock Americans is how hung up we are about sex. What they do not realize is that in a society as diverse as ours is being conservative about this particular human behavior is just about the only way to ensure the cab driver from Somalia doesn't rape the waitress from Amsterdam because he thought she "was asking for it." Even then, it doesn't work very well, but the alternative can only exist inside comparative monocultures like those found in Europe and Asia.

Yes, yes, I know, you're quite diverse full of immigrants look how well everyone gets along yadda yadda yadda. If that were really so, there's a whole line of questions I'd like to ask about things like riots, the rise of conservative anti-immigration parties, taffy-stretch twangs of various sub-cultures trying to pull away and make their own countries, etc.

It's easy to pick on America, because we put our problems out there for everyone to see. The reason we don't pick back is it takes quite a bit of digging to figure out just what's wrong on the other side. The thing is, the problems are still there, and harder to solve for the hiding.

Posted by scott at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
April 28, 2009
Exit Pontiac...

Enter Alfa:

Chrysler LLC and the U.S. Treasury Dept. have reached an agreement with banks and private equity firms holding $6.9 billion of the automaker’s debt. Those firms have agreed to take $2 billion and a small equity stake in the company, paving the way, it seems, for Chrysler to avoid bankruptcy and with Italian automaker Fiat.

No, the fat lady hasn't sung, but I think I can hear her warming up in the wings.

Posted by scott at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)
Oh, the Things They'll Say

"Daddy! You're getting on my last nerd!!!"

Posted by scott at 05:58 PM | Comments (1)
Quantum Efficiency

It's beginning to look like living systems like plants, birds, and insects use quantum effects for a variety of biological functions. Strong proof is still to be discovered, but the evidence is mounting. Most heartening is that, unlike the previously cited sexual study, this one is making concrete, testable predictions that will lead to further evidence, either for or against.

And wouldn't it be spooky to ultimately define life as "systems which manipulate quantum states through carbon-based chemical processes"? I wonder what it would mean for consciousness?

Posted by scott at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)
Now That's a Car!

Why pay big bucks for some super-reliable modern Japanese Q-ship when you can spend it on one of the quirkiest automobiles ever built in Britain? I remember lusting after these cars as a kid not because they were pretty, but because they were really expensive and made it look like you were driving around in an Atari game system. I think the car failed in large part exactly because of this.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (2)
A Specific Sort of Bias

So, it seems women are supposed to be hard to bring to orgasm. To me, the whole thing sniffs of postmodern feminist doctrine disguising itself as science, but the basic premise seems interesting enough. I just wish they'd make more (any?) testable predictions with their hypothesis.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)
Best. Headline. Evar

99% of the time, Fark headlines are amusing fluff, of no concern or memory. But sometimes, they're different: Obama secretly tested for swine flu after man he shook hands with in Mexico drops dead the next day. Officials concerned because Obama's touch usually heals.

To nobody's surprise, it was instantly scored as "Fascist" on their rate-o-meter.

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)
Farewell, Pontiac

Just in time for GM's announcement of Pontiac's shuttering, Jalopnik has picked their ten greatest models from that marque. People familiar with automotive journalists probably won't be surprised to find a few models from other "ten worst" lists. Long term memory has never been much of a strong suite with journalists of any stripe.

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM | Comments (2)
April 27, 2009
(Food) Myth Bustin'

Well, it's nice to know rice really doesn't hurt birds. I always thought that was a dumb one, but stopped noting it after it became obvious the various Bridezillas I had the temerity to contradict took it way too personally. If there's anything more dangerous than getting between a bride and her Perfect Weddingtm, I'm not sure what it is.

Via Violins and Starships.

Posted by scott at 01:25 PM | Comments (2)
I Shall Call it, "Gecko Bot"

Experimental products using the mechanism geckos use to climb walls are literally starting to crawl out of the lab. They're still a long way from production, but it's nice to finally see some tangible results from the discovery of the surprisingly sophisticated method geckos use to sneak up on bugs.

Posted by scott at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)
When Bad Grounds Attack

It's like it's 1983 all over again:

On a rainy night last fall, a couple of months after Riner bought her Prius, she was driving toward the Houston Galleria for a sales meeting ... Suddenly she felt the car hydroplaning out of control, and when she glanced at the speedometer she realized the car had shot up to 84 mph. Riner wasn't hydroplaning; quite simply, her Prius had accelerated on its own.

Back then, Audi tried everything it could to reproduce the "sudden acceleration syndrome," but couldn't. What the Germans never really understood was the problem had very little to do with their cars and everything to do with American politics and media perceptions. Audi people who talk to car journalists seem bitter about it to this day.

Will this "new" Prius behavior have the same root causes* as the Audi phenomenon more than twenty five years ago? Almost certainly. Will the results to Toyota's reputation be a severe as they were for Audi? Hard to tell. The Japanese have always been more agile when it comes to PR, and they do have the lesson of Audi before them.

We'll see...

*to wit: alcohol, inattentive drivers, and extremely attentive lawyers.

Posted by scott at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

pacerad800 copy.jpg

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this...

Posted by scott at 09:39 AM | Comments (2)
I Find Your Lack of Back-up Singers Disturbing

Ron gets a no-prize with a striped vest and one of those funny flat straw hats for bringing us this most distinctive of tributes to John Williams. Personally, I think Joshua does a better Wookie.

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)
April 25, 2009
Happy 41st Birthday Scott!


Posted by Ellen at 08:05 AM | Comments (4)
April 24, 2009
Indian, Exit Stage Right

It would appear something's going to happen to Pontiac. It's not clear to me, from the article, if they're shuttering the brand outright, or if they're planning on spinning the division off. My brother always enjoyed the fact he had the last of the Firebirds in his '01. I'm not sure anyone expected it'd be one of the last Pontiacs.

Posted by scott at 06:18 PM | Comments (2)
News You Can Use

This just in: Ferraris are faster than police cruisers. Later tonight, water's wetness: a natural fact, or a danger to our children's lives? After that, we'll explore the discovery of the sky being blue, and how it may threaten your family, your mortgage, even your entire way of life!

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Nailed Him

What is it with Asians and spectacularly weird murders? Combine them with the Eastern European predilection of cutting off one's wang for various reasons and hey, you've got a real party!

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
What's Next? A Green Checkered Flag?

A university project has created a Formula 3 race car built with as many renewable resources as possible. The fiber and foam replacements sound interesting, but I wonder how flammable they are? If you have to treat your nice green car with nasty artificial chemicals to keep it from crisping the driver in an accident well, that sort of seems to miss the point, doesn't it?

Posted by scott at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)
Mah Hoax, Let Me Show You It...

Mah hoax:

A mysterious figure resembling a human being was sighted on the Doha Corniche’s parking lot, according to a report published in a local Arabic daily.

With picture! Hey, it's in the paper, it's gotta be true! An Arabic paper, even better!

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Handy Planets

Scientists have developed a technique which could allow them to find inhabited planets without actually observing the surface. The trick is to look for reflected light that's been altered by biochemistry's "handed-ness." If the light indicates it's been altered in this way, it could be a very strong indicator of life.

No, I didn't completely understand it either. Chemistry makes my head hurt.

Posted by scott at 09:27 AM | Comments (3)
April 23, 2009
I Shall Call Him "Fluffy."

Dr Marion Gibson, a witchcraft and folklore expert from Exeter University, said hundreds of years ago cats were put into walls to ward-off "bad luck".

Cat in a ha...no, wall.

Mini Find

Sometimes "frozen mammoth find" means an undifferentiated lump of mud and fur. This is not one of those times. I wonder how long it'll be before they dig up one of the people who hunted these things?

Posted by scott at 04:14 PM | Comments (1)
Helllooooo Nurse!

I knew Google's maps could be useful, but I had no idea it'd be this useful.

Oink Oink Oink...

Posted by scott at 04:07 PM | Comments (4)

I'm surprised it's taken this long for scientists to create a fluorescent puppy. It's hoped this proof-of-concept will lead the way toward better fertility treatments and other new disease treatments. No, I don't immediately see how either, but they seem to. Beats finding them in soup, I guess.

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM | Comments (1)
Start 'em Out Right

Bank: 1, Pregnant Chick: 0. Money quote:

But she got distracted when her cell phone rang. Police said she began talking to the caller and left the bank without taking any money. No one was hurt.

This is also why Ellen *or* Amber would make for lousy bank robbers, but both together might be dangerous. As long as Ellen lied to Amber about the meet time by about half an hour, that is.

Posted by scott at 01:00 PM | Comments (1)

Well, why not dress up as Shrek and Fiona for your wedding? Their parents must be much more liberal-minded than ours are about such things.

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

Posted by scott at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)
I Shall Call it, "Fart Cart"

Leave it to the Japanese to make a big deal about methane powered golf carts. I guess any press release containing the words "cow" and "dung" will attract attention but really, alternative-fuel carts have been around for decades. Maybe the factory that produces the methane is the real innovation here, but (of course) that's not what everyone's focusing on.

Posted by scott at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)
April 22, 2009
I Can Haz Insurance?

Damned birds:

When the village store was gutted in a mystery fire, its owner Paul Sheriff was understandably less than chirpy.
But his shock turned to amazement when, after weeks of extensive investigations, his insurance company finally traced the cause of the fire - to a sparrow with rather an unusual taste in nest-building, not to mention a laissez-faire attitude to the perils of smoking.

We have the opposite problem with Swoozie, who merrily pitches everything not firmly attached over the side of her cage first chance she gets.

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)
Best. Headline. Evar.

Ares (AvWeek blog): F35 H4X0R3D ZOMG! When a consultant tries to sell us a $30k+ security widget I laugh at them because we're not a defense contractor. Yeah, Lockheed Martin, they don't really have that excuse, eh?

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM | Comments (1)
Supersize This

Another day, another person without an axe to grind losing weight eating only McDonalds. Spurlock's film was a fine piece of entertainment, but a lousy documentary. Any viewer with even a lick of sense sees that in the first five minutes. Small wonder then that almost all MSM outlets portrayed Supersize Me as a serious, important commentary on our times.

Posted by scott at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)
Far Earth

Making the round: scientists have announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet found to-date. This one's only 1.5 times the size of Earth and goes around its star at a distance that doesn't prohibit liquid water from forming. The rest, at least in this article, seems to be a lot of unsupported hyperbole. But that's just me.

Posted by scott at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
All in the Family


Special thanks to Mark for reminding the picture-taking-retards that if they all group together maybe he can take a picture of them

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM | Comments (6)
When Bees Attack

No, really, when bees attack! Ron gets a no-prize that'll have to be taken to the Superdome and cooled to near-freezing before it's safe* for bringing us this abject lesson in why convertible and Jeep owners should button their @#$%'ing cars up after parking them. And I thought that dime-sized spider was bad...

* Yeh, reference, go look it up.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
April 21, 2009
I Shall Call it, "Porta Tub"

Now I know what we'll take on our next hike. What? Why no, I don't think the park rangers will have a problem with it. Why do you ask?

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM | Comments (4)
More Rumors

Assuming the Fiat/Chrysler merger actually goes through, "what-goes-where" talks seem to be moving forward. More back-channel rumors indicate new big-3 assembly lines are extremely efficient, to minimize the impact of union-imposed restrictions. If Fiat can get the more onerous policies peeled away, it would seem to be possible to produce high-quality Italian cars here in North America in a perhaps surprisingly short amount of time.

Posted by scott at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)
Insert "Fast Lane" Reference Here

Even though painting zig-zag lines on a highway to slow cars down may sound dumb, if it makes me even the slightest bit less likely to get pasted to the pavement, I'm for it. The rabble at Fark disagreed, of course, but the poo flinging was interesting to watch.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)
Lotsa Money!

Mark gets a candy bar no-prize for bringing us news that you too can be a trillionaire. Or, perhaps, you could. It would seem Zimbabwe has fiddled with its currency again, making trillion dollar notes worth about $10. At the rate their socialist paradise is going, that should delay the next trillion dollar issue for, what, six months or so?

Coming to an Obama administration near you!

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
April 20, 2009
Me and Annie


Our latest prop dance.

Posted by Ellen at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)
Dark Falls


A really nice treat from this hike.

Posted by Ellen at 10:14 PM | Comments (1)
Wading for Change


The water was under 50 degrees. ICE COLD. But it was fun!

Posted by Ellen at 10:12 PM | Comments (1)
Don't Jump!


There is literally NOTHING behind them. What they are on is it.

Posted by Ellen at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia on the Mountain

Posted by Ellen at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia's 1st 5 Mile Hike- Uphill

Posted by Ellen at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)
Smiles: Not Yours

I think it says a lot about, well, something, that a media publication thinks it can convey a meaningful portrait of an entire country through exactly eight pictures. Then again, the results are rather compelling.

Posted by scott at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)
Turns Out It's True

The goggles, they do nothing:

"Another interesting finding was that overall participants who drank alcohol actually rated all the women in the photos as less attractive, compared to the participants who hadn't drunk alcohol. This seemingly flies in the face of the commonly held notion of 'beer goggles'."

I can't remember a time I was so lit an ugly chick suddenly became pretty. Then again, it's been a very long time since I was single, and I wasn't particularly good at it even back then.

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)
Movin' On

The first segment of the first five segment Ares I booster is on the move. It appears to be a static test article, which I think means they're going to point it at a mountain, bolt it down, and light the fuse to see what happens. Hopefully, it will only be good things!

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)
Another Outfit Picture


I'm sure you will all be surprised to learn that Olivia enjoys having her picture taken when she's wearing fancy clothes

Posted by scott at 10:37 AM | Comments (1)
Tyranny and Transitions

Miguel P. gets a patrician no-prize for bringing us this perceptive look at what American government is, and is not. Yeah, it's a little long, but like most worthwhile lectures you really don't notice the time going by.

Posted by scott at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)
April 19, 2009
Me and O Flower Festival 2009


All I can say is that we were a hit.

Posted by Ellen at 09:22 PM | Comments (1)
April 17, 2009
First Look

General Atomics has built a new version of its Predator line of drones, and Aviation Week has the pictures to prove it. It would appear GA is either angling for or has gotten orders from the Navy to fly these contraptions off aircraft carriers. If it helps put Hajji on the road to his 72 virgins, I'm all for it.

Posted by scott at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)
~ Are We Breathing Out, or Breathing in? ~

Scientists have developed new devices and techniques which allow human lungs to survive for up to 12 hours outside the body. The developments are allowing lungs that would previously have been unsuitable for transplant to be used, very successfully. The article includes an "Airplane-joke-waiting-to-happen" picture of the device.

Posted by scott at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)
But What About the Asp?

Jeff gets a no-prize with its face painted red* for bringing us news that Cleopatra's tomb may have been found. So far it's only an interesting radar return. It remains to be seen if there will be any digging to confirm the team's suspicion.

Article includes a quote from everyone's favorite Egyptologist, Zahi Hawass. Heyy-ya-HUP!!!

* Oh go look it up.

Posted by scott at 12:31 PM | Comments (1)
Postmodern Titles

There's nothing quite like politically-correct leftism for bringing out the satire in someone. I especially liked this one: STAR WARS: EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Boy is abused by midget, kisses sister, attempts patricide.

Posted by scott at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
Quantum Decisions

Scientists have created a theory which uses quantum mathematical techniques to more accurately predict human behavior. If a strong link between human consciousness and quantum mechanics can ever be established... well, I'm not sure what it'll mean, but it'll be profound. It'll be quantum!

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)
Pass on the Left

Even if the MSM continues to largely ignore the tea party movement, the radical left press sure isn't. Hey, you guys have Marxist wackos showing up to your rallies*, we have Fascist wackos showing up to ours. It's all good!

* Oh yes you do. Oh yes you do! Don't you make me get out the pictures of the hippies to prove it. You know what those look like...

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
April 16, 2009
I Shall Call it, "Comrade Redneckski"

I'm not sure what's more fun, this (IMO) well-done art car based on an old Camaro, or the sniveling "you know, that won't work as an armored car because..." replies about it on Fark. All together now... NERDS!!!

Posted by scott at 03:36 PM | Comments (4)

Ok, well, that's nice: a small-to-medium sized asteroid hit won't cause massive tsunamis. It will send several hundred thousand tons of water into the air. I agree with the scientists... bad idea all around to be anywhere near one of these things.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Dr. Honeydew and Beaker, White Courtesy Phone Please

Problem: Pirates are attacking our ships, but our liberal philosophy says we can't just shoot them outright.

Solution: Use expensive high tech!

Problem: Not so fast, moonbat-boy.

Pirates are plying their trade because, even with all the risks, it's cheaper and more profitable than any other trade to which a Somali can aspire. Only when the costs of being a pirate obviously exceed all other available options will attacks cease. Unfortunately when the risk of dying is already factored into a profession, its cost can only be raised by turning that risk into an actuality.

In other words, shoot the bastards. It's the only way to be sure.

Posted by scott at 12:49 PM | Comments (4)
Oh Gosh!

Sometimes things need no further explanation: "There is a loud popping sound, excruciating pain and swelling."

Remember, folks, if you smoke after sex you're doing it too fast!

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
MiTo Test

The first road test of the Alfa MiTo explicitly written with an eye for the US market is up, and things would seem to be very, very good. It's a little fan-boyish, yes, but the cars tend to do that to people. And hey, what's not to love about a car like that which can get 40 mpg and starts at perhaps $15k? Beats the hell out of a Mini!

And if Ellen didn't want one before, she'll probably want one now:

Another great feature of the Blue&Me system is the telephone integration, allowing you to pair up Bluetooth-enabled mobiles so you can use your phone with your contacts directly via the steering wheel-mounted controls. Alternatively, and this is quite slick, you can use the voice-activated commands. Depending on mobile phone type, it will even read out SMS messages for you. Once the set-up process is completed, the system recognizes your phone the minute you get in and start the car.
Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (1)
Great. Something Else to Go Wrong

Why don't we all just drive around with mattresses on the hood:

A Europe-wide collaboration led by Roger Hardy of the Cranfield Impact Centre at Cranfield University near Bedford in the UK has developed an experimental system for cars that aims to cut this death toll and reduce the severity of injuries. When the system detects that the car is about to hit a pedestrian, it automatically raises the rear of the bonnet (hood), releasing a giant airbag in front of the windscreen.

Legislation to protect pedestrians is already responsible for the "high forehead" look of new European cars... they have to meet a certain set of crush guidelines to ensure someone doesn't, well, get crushed. This'd make, what, eight or nine airbags in a well-equipped car? These are not cheap devices!

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
April 15, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

funny pictures of cats with captions

see more Lolcats and funny pictures

For some reason, I'm reminded of Amber's house...

Posted by scott at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?


Well, ok, maybe not "drop dead", but definitely "stfd and stfu."

Posted by scott at 06:06 PM | Comments (5)
Shots Fired

There's nothing like a big ol' missile defense test to show That Merry Band of Clerics what for. Assuming, that is, it all works as advertised. Military exercises: the stick of choice when one needs to rattle the cage of a loopy dictator or TMBC.

Posted by scott at 03:22 PM | Comments (1)
Leave it to the Japanese

It appears someone has finally come out with an honest-to-God powered armor suit. Personally, I'll believe it when I see one of Nippon's finest hopping around like a giant grasshopper. Until then, it's as real to me as the suit Ellen's latest "I definitely don't think he's cute oh Amber isn't he dreamy?!?" crush wore in Iron Man.

Posted by scott at 01:57 PM | Comments (2)
Oh, the Things They'll Say

From Aunt Nina, who's spending vacation time with Olivia in NY: "Another good olivia quote. We went to the park and she told all the little kids she was a vampire and she was going to drink their blood. So she chased them all around the park. It was kind of like vampire tag."

Can thunderball be that far behind?

Posted by scott at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)
Fightin' Words

The thing is, I have yet to meet anyone who wants to give government benefits to illegal immigrants. Yet any time someone voices their opposition out loud all hell seems to break loose.

I have a somewhat warped, and obviously minority, view. I believe it's completely outrageous an illegal immigrant can have access to any government service. Well, apart from certain transportation services provided by the INS at any rate. However, I also believe it should be made easier for people to become citizens of the US.

The reasoning behind my views are detailed and various, and too long to go into at the moment. Unless someone starts waving beer at me, that is. Anyone buying?

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM | Comments (2)
Rollin' Snow

They look like hay bales made of ice. Now for some snow cows and snow horses to eat them!

Posted by scott at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)
Don't that Just Say it All?

Rumor: Bits in old Singer sewing machines can be used to build a nuke.

Result: a run on sewing machines in Saudi Arabia.

The mind boggles...

Posted by scott at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
April 14, 2009
Rover Reboot

The intrepid Mars rover Spirit has rebooted itself twice recently, and mission operators don't know why. It would seem the rover is designed to be damned hard to kill, so right now this is a curious mystery, not a disaster. Could this herald the end of the line for Spirit? Only time will tell.

Posted by scott at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)
Now I've Seen Everything

See? See what happens when you ban candy cigarettes?!?

Children will imitate what they see others doing, on TV or in person. It only takes one careless parent with a crack pipe (as if there were any other type with a crack pipe) to start a whole stupid trend.

Posted by scott at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)
Diabetes Development

More studies seem to indicate a stem cell treatment for diabetes works. The studies are still small, and the treatment doesn't seem to work for everyone, but any progress toward a more permanent fix for this very debilitating disease would be welcome.

Posted by scott at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)
On Oxen, and the Carts They Pull

The CIA has started to declassify the OXCART project, and now everyone's scrambling to get it all on record before the eye witnesses pass away. Strangely, the article simply doesn't mention that the A-12 aircraft which OXCART produced was the SR-71's precursor. They look enough alike to be easily mistaken for each other.

I quite distinctly remember when the details of the OXCART project started leaking out in the late '80s. Flamewars raged on the usenet about the legitimacy and accuracy of the information. It's nice to know we'll soon be able to pick out the wheat from the chaff of this incredibly fascinating program.

Posted by scott at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)
Gotta Get a Date Somehow

I'm not at all certain Conjugal Harmony is for-real, but it makes for an interesting idea. The profiles on the front page just look too good to be true.

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)
April 13, 2009
Spoiled Rotten Day 1

oliviagrammyshoe Medium Web view.jpg

Olivia is with Grammy and Poppy for Spring Break!

Posted by Ellen at 09:08 PM | Comments (1)
Scare Tactics

It should be kept in mind that it's not always bad when the US Government prints money. I'm especially glad this got addressed: If that new money is supposed to make the dollar worth less, then why is the rest of the world fleeing to the safety of the dollar, instead of fleeing away from what you say is the soon-to-be-worthless dollar?

It's a question that's been bugging me for some time.

Posted by scott at 02:21 PM | Comments (1)
Well, at Least They Won't be Accused of False Advertising

You'd think someone would notice that when a certain dress fell a certain way, well, it implied a certain thing. Yet another thing to put on my "stuff that will give dad gray hair" list.

Posted by scott at 01:28 PM | Comments (1)
House of Blues

There's colorful houses, and then there's colorful houses. It's said the English value eccentricity above all other human habits. Sometimes I have to wonder if it's a case of being careful what one wishes for.

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)
Bottin' Around

It seems New Yorkers aren't anywhere near as nasty as their reputation would have you believe. And by "New York," I mean the city, and by the "city" I of course mean Manhattan. What to the rest of us is obvious requires a great deal of clarification when one's relatives live near the city.

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM | Comments (1)
Shrouding the Truth

Mark gets a mysterious no-prize for bringing us news that the on-again, off-again status of the Shroud of Turin is, well, on again. Scientists will likely not be given access to the shroud again until they come up with a non-destructive dating technique, so it'll be awhile before they can re-test. Not that it'll make much difference to the True Believers, on either side.

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
April 11, 2009
Your Thought for the Day

Humorous Pictures

see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Posted by scott at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)
April 10, 2009
My Next Alfa?

Even though, by rumor, they only brought exactly 6 of them over, I definitely think one of these will end up in my garage (warning: French video). Then again, I'm cheating, because I know one of the six owners, who's only looking for a loon who'll pay what he's asking.

What? Why's everyone looking at me all of a sudden? Do I, like, have a "cross-and-serpent" t-shirt one right now?!?

Oh... wait...

Posted by scott at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)
Help! Help! I'm Being Held Captive!

Olivia and I are now deep in Indian Country, surrounded by the Yankee in New York. We're depositing Olivia with Grammy and Grampy for her spring break. Olivia's already informed her grandparents she will be staying for the next "10 weeks." Trying to explain that spring break is not ten weeks long merely results in a lesson from The Princess about how wrong we are.

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)
April 09, 2009
Spider, 2009

On the eve of its 40th birthday...








Posted by scott at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)
Car Wash Matador

Posted by scott at 08:19 PM | Comments (1)

Posted by scott at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia's Inheritance, Pt 1


Posted by scott at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)
Dress Up Picture Day

Posted by scott at 07:30 PM | Comments (1)
That Did It

Kudos to our host provider Hosting Matters who, after breaking out "a bigger hammer" (no, really!), figured out it was actually an overloaded log file causing the problem. In other words, the blog software sitting in its wheel chair on its porch swinging its cane did not suddenly have a heart attack; it was the damned fool kids on the lawn causing the problem.

I'll probably still upgrade it. Maybe.

Pictures of all sorts of things to follow...

And if you're looking for a hosting company for anything, head out to Hosting Matters. They rock!

Posted by scott at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)
Phht... Phht...

... is this thing on?

Posted by scott at 02:33 PM | Comments (1)
April 08, 2009
Fun with Music

I don't know what it is, but I like it. The best games are the ones that are easy to learn, hard to master.

Posted by scott at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)

It would appear the advanced buzz for the upcoming Star Trek movie is very good. Yes, these were almost certainly truFen, but I quite distinctly remember the very bad buzz that came out of advanced showings of Phantom Menace. Fen may be forgiving, but only to a point.

Posted by scott at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
Transplant Touchdown

Scientists may have finally cleared the final, toughest hurdle of organ transplant: immune system rejection:

Professor Jonathan Sprent and Dr Kylie Webster from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research focused on a different type of T cells – known as regulatory T cells (Treg) – in this study. Tregs are capable of quieting the immune system, stopping the killer T cells from seeking out and attacking foreign objects. Usually, these cells live in basic equilibrium, allowing the killer T cells to destroy what needs to be destroyed, but stopping them once the infection is over. The idea was to boost the number of Tregs in the system, quieting the killer T cells for a period of time sufficient for the body to accept the new tissue. After that point, the immune system would return to normal activity.

Sorta sounds like burning a new BIOS for your immune system, eh? Here's to hoping it works as well in humans as it does in mice!

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Dude... Wtf?!?

"F- you, mom, and f- dad and f- your f-ing cats! Now let's go to the gun range.

The video is not as splatterific as others I've seen of this type, but it's still pretty graphic. Very, very sad.

Posted by scott at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)
I Can Haz Idenittee Crisis?

Another day, another stupid-cute series of "tiger cub with unusual mother" pictures. No, Ellen, you definitely can CAN'T* have one. Either one.


Posted by scott at 09:18 AM | Comments (2)
April 07, 2009
Rocked to Death

Well, if nothing else, this retrospective on "then and now" metal bands of the 80s shows that women aren't the only ones who get a nip and tuck now and then. They have better surgeons than the chicks do!

Posted by scott at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)
Stop the Madness!

While bacon in a bottle sounds like a good idea, the photos don't look all that appetizing. Then again, neither does 90% of the other stuff out there that people insist is good even though it looks like 3 day-old roadkill. At least this stuff won't move on my plate or poison me.

Posted by scott at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)
Always Nice to Have a Spare

Sometimes you can't improve on the headline: child born with second penis in the middle of his back. With non-gross but very strange picture.

Fortunately, after removing the extra organ the child appears to be doing fine.

Posted by scott at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)
I Guess Everyone Needs a Hobby

Ron gets a no-prize that just better stay on that side of the room for bringing us Furries for Christ. No, really!

I make absolutely no promises about how SFW it is. I clicked a few things, and didn't find anything that'd get ME in trouble.

Posted by scott at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
April 06, 2009
Trash Pick and Bags Needed!

Apa, 49, has become increasingly concerned about the damage inflicted on the world's highest mountain by both climate change and the waste left by careless climbers.

This spring season he hopes to conquer Everest for the 19th time, and he will use the trip to focus attention on how climate change is affecting the Himalayas -- and also bring back down as much rubbish as he can carry.


No Scott, just because I can carry 10 bags at once and a cat carrier and Olivia does not make me a sherpa.

Posted by Ellen at 09:20 PM | Comments (2)
Oh Dear...

Only men do this.Well, ugly chicks too.

It's a surprise. You have to click the link.

Sad thing is that some of you will think it's cool.

Posted by Ellen at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)
Three Hour Tour? Do NOT Want!

Sophie Tucker, apparently named after a late US entertainer, fell overboard as Jan Griffith and her family sailed through choppy waters off the northeast Queensland coast in November.

The dog was believed to have drowned and Griffith said the family was devastated.

But out of sight of the family, Sophie Tucker was swimming doggedly and finally made it to St Bees Island, five nautical miles away, and began the sort of life popularised by the TV reality show "Survivor."

Read entire sappy story.

Three hour tour tickets to Nina!

Posted by Ellen at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)
Fun with Seaplanes

Introducing the MC72, an aircraft which has held the absolute speed record for piston-powered seaplanes for more than 70 years. Do not miss the video. That was one incredible-sounding engine.

Posted by scott at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)
Live, from Hell

Ron gets a no-prize that'll work well below crush depth for bringing us this catalog of pictures taken from the surface of Venus. It's my understanding the atmosphere is so thick they didn't need to use for-real parachutes to slow the landers down. They just screwed a big, flat plate to the top and that was all that was needed. Sort of the like a well-weighted quarter thrown into a fountain, I guess.

Posted by scott at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)
What a Fabulous Idea

Having solved all other... check that, having proved to be incapable of solving most problems, the California legislature has decided an effective way to reduce carbon emissions is to ban black cars. As long as they send the Ferraris my way, I'm all for it!

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM | Comments (1)
Rock On, Olivia!


Taken at friend Joshua's birthday party last weekend. Olivia knew Paramore's That's What You Get well enough to score an 86% on "Rock Band"!

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (3)
And the Booster Goes, "Splish-Splash"

North Korea successfully attacked the Pacific Ocean with its latest rocket. Which was all well and good, except they were actually trying to loft a satellite. Boosters do a lot of things well. Bouncing isn't one of them.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Tutti Panico!

There was no immediate word on whether anyone was inside the dormitory in the city of l'Aquila, about 100 km (62 miles) east of Rome. The quake registered 6.3 on the Richter scale and struck shortly after 3.30 a.m. (0130 GMT).

Tutti eseguire!

Posted by Ellen at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)
Breeding Lap Sharks. Minature Lap Sharks

The miniscule chihuahua-Jack Russell cross - appropriately named Tom Thumb by its owners - is a serious contender for the title of being the smallest dog on the planet.

Little Tom was born just three weeks ago as part of a surprise litter to mum Spice, a chihuahua.

Just spay the dog.

Posted by Ellen at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)
April 03, 2009
Mom? Is that You?

Be afraid. Be... slightly... afraid:

Eileen Bishop, [87], from Perranporth [UK], and her husband Anthony were on their way to church when, he said, she "disappeared off the radar".

Think of it as the OJ chase, but much slower.

Posted by scott at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)
Another One Bites the Dust

Ellen's stomach bug/migraine saw us both home today, giving me a chance to tackle yet another Milano project. A few screws here, a few clips there, and a liberal amount of white lithium grease later, the passenger-front window now rolls up and down nearly as fast as the driver-front. Previously it was quite anemic, and nobody was sure if it would come back up if it got rolled all the way down. No more.

Oh, it's not going to cut your fingers off or anything, but at least it doesn't need help anymore.

And now, a brewskie for reward...

Posted by scott at 02:44 PM | Comments (1)
The Secret Face

It seems the famous bust of queen Nefertit has a hidden secret. Yes, Ron, I said "bust." Would someone please give him a glass of water or something?

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (2)
You! Back! Back to the 80s!

There's toys, and then there's 80s toys. No that there's anything wrong with "The Oozinator."

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)
Mother f-ing Ouch!

Alternate title... when rednecks attack EACH OTHER. I love how he lights a cigarette at the end.

How to avoid a Darwin award, step 1: never, ever, ever let anyone point a loaded pistol at you.

Posted by scott at 10:46 AM | Comments (0)
Warp Drive: Not Yours

It seems that quantum mechanics is ruling out warp drives. Again. I think. Actually, assuming they can keep it turned on without exploding and it doesn't suck the Earth into a black hole, the Large Hadron Collider is set to significantly revamp the standard model in the next five years or so. This definitely isn't the last word.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)
April 02, 2009
A Very...

Happy Birthday to our friend Joshua over at Blue Lens.

See you on Saturday for Rock Band!

Posted by Ellen at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)
Analizing Analyzing the Merger

Well, if this guy is right, the upcoming Fiat-Chrysler merger stands a very strong chance of working. Can a successful Italian company succeed where a successful German one failed? A lot will depend on both sides listening to each other about how strengths and weaknesses are perceived. This is reported to not have happened during the Daimler years. It'll be interesting to see if it does with Fiat.

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM | Comments (6)
When GPS Attacks

Mark gets a no-prize that'll lead him wrong for bringing us yet another story of a person following GPS to their not-quite doom. Now, there have been a few times that on-line directions have lead me astray, but that tended to be more "wrong place in town" than "wrong place on frozen tundra." You'd think that, after the turn down the dirt road, the lady would've figured something was wrong.

Posted by scott at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)
Ours is not to Reason Why...

Another year, another Red Flag allowing F-22s to hand out various asses to its opponents. It would seem this year they don't have French fighters shadowing Indian fighters, sniffing radar signatures. I wonder if they were even invited back?

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)
Personally, I Blame Global Warming

Jupiter's Great Red Spot is shrinking. It doesn't sound as if it will disappear any time soon, but it does seem that it will be completely circular before the century's out. As with most things concerning the largest planet in our solar system, scientists have no idea why.

Posted by scott at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)
How Very German

In America, we have children's TV hosts who talk in calm voices about how farmers do their job. In Germany, the host shows you exactly how it is done:

A children's TV chef looks to have gone a little too far after killing, skinning and cooking the Easter bunny.

Different cultures, different ways. I'll bet she's from Bavaria or some other... "rustic" ... area of the country.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
Okay, wich onea you'z da u-boat captain?

There's washing an expensive car, and then there's washing an expensive car.

The advantage to owning a car like the spider is it would just need to be hung out to dry for a few days, get all the fluids changed, new seats, and a new battery. It'd probably start right up after that. The advantages of vinyl upholstery!

Driving either of the other cars into a river? Nope, that's a totaling. A super-expensive brand-new Bently? Fuggedaboutit...

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM | Comments (1)
April 01, 2009
Only Bollywood...

Posted by Ellen at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)
Ain't that Just Like a Pirate...

... bringin' a speedboat to a milspec fight:

Seven Somali pirates chose the wrong target the other day: it was not the harmless oil-tanker they thought it was but the German navy's fuel tanker FGS Spessart, part of the European anti-piracy fleet Eunavfor sailing in the Gulf of Aden about 85 miles north of the Somali port of Bosaso.

This would seem to indicate that sting-like operations, where various tramp steamers are in fact stuffed with heavily armed soldiers, would be productive.

Posted by scott at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)
Tobacco Sheild

Ron gets a no-prize he can smoke for bringing us news that, by using a genetically engineered virus, scientists have turned a specific sort of tobacco plant into a natural drug factory. Wouldja lookit that... a cause various leftist Luddites and suspicious tobacco farmers can get all up in arms about together!

Posted by scott at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)
And This Time, They Mean It

NASA's on-again, off-again Shuttle flight to the Hubble space telescope has now moved out to the pad. You'd think this would mean it's a done-deal, but with NASA anything's possible. Regardless, I'll bet the whole program will be glad to see this one over and out.

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)
Vampire Power

Scientists have created a yeast-powered fuel cell which can use human blood as its fuel. They are apparently quite a ways from creating a usable product, but its hoped that if the research pans out the devices will be used to power a number of micro-devices inside the human body, like pacemakers or pumps.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
I Can Has HMO?

It's getting so even the turtles are coming to the US for health care. Personally, I blame Rahn whatsisname...

Posted by scott at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)