I can think of no finer send-up to the center-left elitism I find so common with so many folks I know. The discussions on his board about this one are epic.
I'm laughing precisely because you don't think it's funny.
This one's just too weird, even for Jackson: if this report is to be believed, the King of Pop is going to be plastinated and mounted next to his (now) plastic chimp in an exhibit in downtown London.
The mind boggles...
Presenting There, I Fixed It, a one-stop-shop for every ad-hoc fix ever imagined. Some are ingenious, most are tacky, and a few are downright terrifying. Suddenly that bailing wire fix we temporarily implemented on the Milano, well, it don't look so bad.
The U.S. Army was developing a new, semi-robotic, tracked howitzer, as part of the Future Combat Systems family of vehicles. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates killed FCS, in April. The howitzer — the so-called Non Line-of-Sight Cannon — was funded separately from FCS, so wasn’t subject to the FCS termination.
Anticipating NLOS-C’s death, the Senate just voted to spend an extra $60 million, to keep the Army’s existing, M-109A6 Paladin howitzers, in service until 2050. That’s nearly 100 years after the first M-109 entered U.S. service, and 70 years after the A6 version reached the field.
I just wish the Wikipedia article detailed why it's such a long-lived system.
Mark gets a no-prize shaped like a bicycle seat for bringing us news that scientists have discovered elite male cyclists may be doing permanent damage to their reproductive organs. Not as in, "going to grow boobs and start giggling," but as in "no soldiers on the march." I'm not even close to that kind of mileage, so no worries here.
It seems Chrysler and Fiat are beavering away at getting the new 500 over here as soon as possible. If it's even vaguely in the price range of the Smart, they likely won't be able to build them fast enough. Not so sure about a wagon with that body type, but who knows?
Presenting the Falkirk Wheel, what has to be the most spectacular solution to the problem of getting a boat from one body of water to another at a different elevation. I'd read about this thing years ago in a travel magazine, but they only had a single picture of it. This site has video!
So how is an environmental activist to make sure an obvious hazard to the health and welfare of people and animals is safe? Pretty much the way you'd expect:
The city should conduct a thorough environmental review before letting thousands of people watch fireworks from the partially remediated toxic waste site that is Gas Works Park, an environmental activist says.
If this doesn't define, "having a slow news day over there, are ya?" I'm not sure what does.
The Ultimate Guessing Game for men.
I couldn't hit the X on the browser fast enough.
Mean-spirited? Simplistic? Nasty? Moi?!?
Flying ROVs in busy airspace can be hard. As I recall, the smallest Predator drone is about the same size as small private airplane. Not something I'd want blundering into the flight path of the 737 I was riding in, eh?
Remember all the righteous indignation at the Bush administration "suppressing" various government reports that confirmed climate change? Yeah, about that:
The Environmental Protection Agency may have suppressed an internal report that was skeptical of claims about global warming, including whether carbon dioxide must be strictly regulated by the federal government, according to a series of newly disclosed e-mail messages.
See, I'm a cynical bastard and a card-carrying member of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. I expect politicians and bureaucrats of either party to do absolutely anything to advance their agenda. That's why I'm never surprised by these things.
I am, however, endlessly surprised at how diligent and clever are the efforts of both the MSM and personal acquaintances to excuse the man behind the curtain, now that he's a Democrat.
Coming to a free download site near you: allegations have surfaced that there may be a John Edwards sex tape. Not the dude who talks to dead people, the dude who keeps trying to salvage his political career. Neither of whom I have any even vague curiosity to see naked. *SHUDDER*
After 18 years of operation, the world's first solar polar orbiter is scheduled to be shut down on June 30th.
Scientists have discovered fossil evidence of the earliest-known ancestor to the modern elephant. It apparently weight not much more than 25 pounds, and lived just five million years after the dinosaurs went extinct.
A very DED No-Prize to Ron!
Television "pitchman" Billy Mays — who built his fame by appearing on commercials and infomercials promoting household products and gadgets — died Sunday.
Mays, 50, was found unresponsive by his wife inside his Tampa, Fla., home at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Olivia and I always got a kick out of his infomercials.
And now, seagulls attacking full-grown whales. Like they need something else to worry about.
Big buildings do lots of things well. Tipping over and splatting into the mud isn't one of them. With picture!
Details are beginning to emerge about exactly what Fiat tech Chrysler is already working to integrate into new models. Interesting tech in what would otherwise be pedestrian cars is what makes Italian automobiles so neat to me. It's nice to read such things will soon be in American cars as well.
If I had a four car garage, and a whole helluva lot more money than I have right now, I'd make this guy an offer. I've read, more than once, that owners of pre-war Alfas like nothing more than to take their cars to shows which feature pre-war Cadillacs. "It's so much fun to make them cry," was what they kept saying.
It's an Italian thing. Ellen understands.
... drunk monkeys. And not the "Hey Hey We're the" kind either.
Go for the wobbly primates. Stay for the lunatic who dressed up their cat.
Looks like new data has conclusively disproven the idea that extremely long-period climate changes on Earth are caused by trips through the galaxy's arms. Sometimes it's too easy to forget what makes science tick is it can be proven wrong.
Yeah, it may be old news to you, but this clip from (yet another) British "real science" show was still pretty impressive to me. I was a little disappointed they only dropped it from the top of a big crane. The Mythbusters guys must have a bigger budget, as I'd expect them to work out a way to at least drop it from a helicopter or something.
As if it weren't complicated enough, the space shuttle Atlantis now has an errant knob wedged up against a window. Seems shuttles expand quite a bit in orbit, and that's when this thing nestled its way into a gap between the dash and the window. Things crunched back down on landing, and now it's well and truly stuck. Being the redneck auto mechanic I am, my first thought was "cut it out." Likely that's what they'll end up doing. However, a window on my car pops out I just pull over and call AAA. Having a window pop out in orbit has somewhat greater undesired consequences, know'wha'I'mee?
Thing is, I absolutely remember this jingle, and I think I remember this ad. Gotta love those hats!
And I only wish I could've seen this one. Just because, you know, we don't have Carl's Jr.'s around here, eh?
No, really, when old people attack:
A group of well-to-do pensioners who lost their savings in the credit crunch staged an arthritic revenge attack and held their terrified financial adviser to ransom, prosecutors said yesterday.
Alternate: "When getting them off your lawn just won't do."
Remember all those deformed frogs scientists were finding? You know, the ones who were a solid harbinger of climate change, the "smoking gun" that was going to force all us luddites to finally agree to strangling the economy to save them? Yeah, not so much.
Scientists have been claiming the imminent destruction of every princess's favorite amphibian for at least the past thirty years. Like most eschatological predictions, this was has the infuriating habit of not happening!
Sic semper balatro.
Michael Jackson was found dead today at his home in California. Apparently cardiac arrest. Best Fark comment: BILLIE D WILLIAMS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, FIND SOMEWHERE TO HIDE!
Problem: Jet packs are a neat idea, but it's just not possible to carry an adequate fuel supply
Since I haven't seen these things everywhere, there're bound to be hidden issues. The two I think I see are noise and the tendency to power-wash the skin off the pilot's legs.
It would seem getting a big boat in the water is a lot harder than it looks. Failing to do it right would seem to have much worse consequences as well.
The nestlings were among 13 survivors of a group of 53 baby birds confiscated from a 15-year-old Longmont boy’s bedroom on June 16 and taken to the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where they are now recuperating and growing.
Sgt. Dave Orr of the Longmont Police Department said the boy’s mother called animal control when she learned of the baby birds the boy had brought to his home on the 1800 block of Meadow Street.
Another messed up kid.
I know, I know, the ISS makes for one helluvan expensive camera platform. But sometimes the results are still worth it. I especially like how the volcano punched a hole in the cloud cover around it.
Meet Brooke Greenberg, the child who does not appear capable of aging:
"My system always has been to turn years into months," [Brooke's mother] said. "So, if someone asked today, I might say, she's 16 months old."
Scientists think figuring out just what's wrong with Brooke may provide insights into aging.
There's nothing quite like radical lefties when it comes to doing stupid sh-t to their kids:
Pop’s parents, both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.
Oh I know, I know, loopy righties do just as many evil things to their kids. Thing is, when that happens the feds usually show up outside the compound and start shooting dogs and setting houses on fire & stuff. In Europe they're just arrested.
These people get admiring quotes from academics. Woo-hoo!
Today's "since I know physics I know everything" demonstration comes to us courtesy of Pennsylvania State University:
A new take on the Fermi Paradox, though, changes the equation a bit. At Pennsylvania State University, two scientists suggest that the key to the paradox is the assumption that civilizations would colonize the universe at an exponential rate. Jacob Haqq-Misra and Seth Baum point out that finite resources preclude exponential expansion. Technology Review offers a look at the problem of exponential growth:
"The problem is that this kind of growth may not be possible, and they look at Earth as an example. For any expansion to be sustainable, the growth in resource consumption cannot exceed the growth in resource production. And since Earth's resources are finite, and it has a finite mass and receives solar radiation at a constant rate, human civilization cannot sustain an indefinite, exponential growth."
Which is all well and good, except like, well, all such predictions, the unspoken assumption is resources are consumed at an ever-unchanging rate. As anyone with the economic sense of a flat rock knows, when resources get scarce prices go up, and when prices go up efficiency goes up, which causes prices to go down.
Put it another way. People have been predicting the end of oil for what, the past hundred years? Take it from a different direction. People have been saying Moore's law has to be at an end this year. Ok. Well, definitely this year. Damn. This year for sure. Bah. You knock on my door, I'm not coming out.
I'm not saying there's no upper limit out there somewhere. I'm just saying we don't know enough about basic physics to really understand where it might be. Several of the physics models they're knocking around right now (*cough* string theory *cough*) could place the upper bound in a very high place indeed.
Using an innovative microwave detector, scientists are claiming to have direct evidence of lightning storms on Mars. Static doesn't just get built up by rain moving in a cloud, donchaknow?
Leave it to the media and various academic critics to not understand what "up-front costs" mean. And leave it to NASA administrators for not seeing there might be a need to make a conversion from SAE to metric oh, I don't know, twenty years ago. It's only expensive because you have to do it right now.
Ellen had a nasty habit of trying to make this work back when we lived in an apartment many years ago:
A teenage girl was discovered dead this weekend, electrocuted after dropping her laptop in the bathtub.
And it's important for Ron to remember that mudding can be dangerous. Dangerous to the dumb and panicky, that is:
Five people died after a pickup truck got stuck in a shallow pond and sat with the engine running for several minutes while the truck was submerged just above the tailpipe, West Texas authorities said Monday.
I have to think the latter was caused by a not-so-stock truck. Many modern vehicles actually clean the air of pollutants, and all of them emit so little poisonous gas it can take a very long time indeed to build up to toxic levels. A car without these devices, however, can kill very quickly indeed.
We've gone from this:
Onward and upward!
The Cassini probe has captured the first images of one moon eclipsing another in the Saturn system. The video is about what you'd expect, all four frames of it. Hence, the need to punch up the fact one of the moons was the "Death Star" Mimas.
Remember that chick who got all those stars by "teh horrible" tattoo artist? Yeah, the truth was about what you'd think. Leave it to the media to actually believe anything that comes out of a teenager's mouth.
I have no real idea what to make of this, other than it took me getting about half way down the list to realize it the author was a dude and not a chick. No pictures of dudes anywhere, seems like an honest mistake. Made it less interesting, but only a little. I never did subscribe to the shotgun method of dating.
I recognize a few of the other bits on the site, so this is all probably old news to everyone else. Still, since I'd never heard of it before nobody really important had ever heard of it, so there ya go.
Reason #23 the Catholic church has it all over the protestants: they've got their own observatory:
“Exposing, 30 minutes,” she says. As Celtic ballads play in the control room, data is sucked up by hard drives, and a column of numbers scrolls down her computer screen. Dr. O’Donoghue, who was raised Roman Catholic, is the author of “The Sky Is Not a Ceiling: An Astronomer’s Faith,” in which she describes how she lost and then rediscovered God “in the vastness, the weirdness, the abundance, the seeming nonsensicalness, and even the violence of this incredible universe.”
In person she’s not nearly so intense. While waiting for an image to gel, she steps out on a balcony for a look at the unprocessed sky. The Beehive Cluster, one of the first things Galileo saw with his telescope, is sparkling in the constellation Cancer. Next to it is Leo, where Dr. O’Donoghue is looking for the gravitational tides.
Put that in your, "buncha superstitious men in dresses" pipe and smoke it!
National Geographic channel with this Sunday be featuring a nifty documentary on just how stealthy everyone's favorite Nazi flying wing really was. Since we don't actually get said channel on our oh-so-basic cable, I had to make due with reading the spoiler. The conclusions are interesting, but I'm not at all sure the engines of the day were capable of what was required to make the whole thing work.
The UK government has released the most secret of all British cold war documents. Well, that's what the article says, anyway. Me, I think a detailed point-by-point plan for all events leading up to the full release of nuclear weapons is a big secret, even a really big one. But most secret of all?
After 74 years in production, Kodak has announced it's ceasing the production of Kodachrome film. We actually have a film-based SLR, one of the last "prosumer" models Nikon ever made. Olivia will likely take it to school one day as the ultimate example of "old tech."
And now, garagantuan trees shaped like mushrooms. You'd think after running this place as long as we have, we'd know all about these places. You'd be wrong.
You just cannot help not looking!
There are some messed up feet out there!
WASHINGTON - One Metro train smashed into the back of another at the height of the Monday evening rush hour, killing at least four people and injuring scores of others as cars from the trailing train jackknifed into the air and fell atop the first.
One of the fatalities was a female train operator, Metro officials say. The woman's name has not been released.
I'm not sure which is sillier, the fact that the skinny white guy went to the ghetto to find his phone, or the fact that he treats his phone like a pet. Ellen doesn't treat hers like a pet. When she lost her phone, what I saw looked more like a junkie who just realized their best dealer had gone to jail forever. It was about as pretty as you'd expect that to be.
Scientists have found that great white sharks are very particular about the sorts of places they choose to hunt. Seems pretty basic to me, but I guess if you grow up thinking a shark is just a big, nasty, dangerous goldfish, it would be a bit of a revelation.
You know it's just not possible for us to ignore a site called "wiggaz.com". Making fun of media-manufactured sub-culture that's unintentionally making fun of itself and another media manufactured sub-culture? Oh hell yes!
Sometimes no explanation is needed:
The NASA moon bombing, a component of the LCROSS mission, may also trigger conflict with known extraterrestrial civilizations on the moon as reported on the moon in witnessed statements by U.S. astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and in witnessed statements to NSA (National Security Agency) photos and documents regarding an extraterrestrial base on the dark side of the moon.
Damned government demolition projects. Even on the moon they manage to screw up some historic settlement or another.
The new Acropolis museum has opened at the foot of that very famous hill. Predictably, lots of mentions of the Elgin marbles and almost no details on just what is actually on display in this new space.
Lest you think they're all sparkling, like new... this is how most Alfas meet the end of their days. The first one I owned wasn't much nicer than this one. Ah well. I wonder if he'll sell me the tail lights?
The pictures remind me of Joshua's old barn photos. Here's to hoping he finds images as compelling at this Sunday's show!
Ron gets a no-prize that'll twirl impressively in its bell tower for bringing us two bits of evidence that the radical left, at least, is beginning to get worried that The Wrong People may end up getting credit for whatever good may come out of the Iranian, well, whatever it is going on there:
Proof... PROOF!!! that Israelis are attempting to destabilize the existing Iranian regime. And this is bad BEEECAUUSE???
A level-headed attempt to link Israel's fascist mistreatment of those peace-loving Palestinians who are peacefully protesting their peaceful desire to peacefully push all the Jews into the sea with Obama's non-handling of the situation in Iran. Money quote: "[A radical Israeli politician who I don't like]'s expressed eagerness to bomb the Aswan dam is at least the equivalent of Ahmadinejad’s reported desire to wipe Israel off the map. "
Ok, Sparky. Here's a ruler. This is something that will provide you with something called "perspective." Equating bombing a dam with nuking a country means you really, really need it.
Annie gets the coveted Snoopy no-prize for bringing us news that at least one local government wants all its employees to cough up their social networking usernames and passwords.
Scientists have discovered a new type of supernova which could help explain the ratio of matter to antimatter in the universe. It seems that if a white dwarf were to suck the helium off a red giant companion, the kind of explosion eventually generated would not only account for the weird supernova seen in 2005 in a galaxy 100 million light years away, it would also account for the previously unexplained ratios of various sorts of positrons seen in the centers of galaxies. I think. Cosmology is hard.
Making the rounds: young actor chased into street by teenage girls, nearly run over by cab. OH NOES!!! That would've meant no more... ok. Rrmm. What's that dratted vampire thing Amber's so into again? Twilight, that's it. *ahem*
OH NOES!!! That would've meant no more twilight movies! This cannot be!
Turns out it's ridiculously easy to hack those flash-message road signs. Except, of course, that it's illegal.
Lisa R gets a white and fluffy no-prize for bringing us news that, in certain parts of Australia, seeing airplane contrails in the sky is worthy of a news story. When I was a teenager I used my battered old 3.5" refractor telescope to follow contrails and track airplanes*. Most were what you'd expect, various 737s and DC-10s. However, I do recall seeing a few that were interesting. One had all four of its jets in pods on either side of the tail, which my spotting guides insisted was either a British type long retired or Aeroflot, neither of which had any business in the skies over Arkansas. Another was a B-52 on the far horizon. Finally, and somewhat appropriate for the article, a Quantas 747.
* It was that or hang out in front of Wal-Mart. There's a reason I have no desire to move back to my old home town, donchaknow?
Ya know, I think there may be something to this. Ron making a comment about how superior his poofta drinks are in 3... 2... 1...
Sometimes there's just no improving on the lede:
A man was arrested near Victoria, B.C., after police found him unconscious in the driver's seat of a car with a naked woman unconscious in the passenger seat.
But wait! There's more!
Saanich police Sgt. John Price said officers found marijuana, heroin, crystal meth and GHB inside the car.
Having watched Fifi putter around the various skies of my life since, oh, about 1980 I think, I can say this thing is scary-good. The way it banks away on those low-height passes is absolutely eerie. If you played the sound of the real one doing the same thing, I'm not sure I could tell them apart.
The thing is, they're not actually toys. I forget exactly how this is done, but as I recall it can be done with just about any SLR.
Scientsts have discovered a 6000 year-old complex of tombs near Stonehenge. I'm not sure which is more remarkable... the complex itself, or the fact that it took the famously heritage-minded Brits until now to find it.
Presenting Atlas Obscura, a site which attempts to chronicle every weird or obscure bit of interesting architecture and geography, well, anywhere. Personally I think the Los Alamos surplus store is the most interesting. Knowing how the feds work, that's the most likely final resting place for the Roswell aliens.
Leave it to PETA to put a cherry of lunacy on top of a bit of strangeness.
This is just so classic:
First the radio getting swiped now this. So I started it up yesterday and was letting it warm a bit before driving out of my garage and I absent-mindedly pushed in the lighter. What happened defied all logic and belief! All the idiot lights lit up momentarily, I think a warning chime sounded, the voltage gauge dropped to zero and the car shut right off, dead, no more idiot lights. I've checked every single fuse and relay and they all seem fine. The interior lights still work, headlights work, you turn the key and no idiot lights light up and it will crank but not fire...
I can't help but think a ground has gotten bodged up by the theft of his stereo, but that's just a guess. Sometimes having a simple car with a cheap radio is a good thing!
Ok, pop quiz. What party is this guy talking about, and when did he write it:
During campaigns, they want our money, our support... but once they win, we're not needed. Even worse, they view us as a problem. Many of them forget that they have their tax-payer financed jobs and benefits because of the work so many of us did.
The honest answers are, "any active party", and "any time after 1787." I'm just about certain I can find comments like this any time in the modern era. It's likely the same sentiments will be found all the way back to the beginning, or shortly thereafter.
See, you guys just figured it was the Republicans who acted this way because, well, most of you wavered between "they're stupid" and "they're evil." Guess what, sparky? It's not Republicans, it's politicians, and it'll only get worse this time around because everyone seems to want so desperately to love this guy.
Original article is here.
"If we know their limits we won't expect too much of them, which in turn is important for their welfare. I am not trying to say cats are stupid, just they are different."
No they aren't stupid, they just don't give a shit.
He said she knew 'exactly what she wanted'.
'The trouble all started when she went home and her father and boyfriend threw a fit.
'They are saying things now like I doped her or hypnotized her. What rubbish!
'She asked for 56 stars and that’s what she got.'
To remove the stars would require surgery costing £8,500.
I wouldn't get tattoo by that guy. Poor girl.
Ron gets an indestructible no-prize for bringing us this entertainingly translated article about what appears to be Russia's latest effort in military mobility. Hey, Hajji, eat this!
I need to go bleach my eyes.
The on-again, off-again saga of modern trepanation, the practice of drilling holes in the head to relieve diseases, now appears to be "on" again. This time, research seems to be indicating a leading cause of dementia may be restricted blood circulation through the skull and brain, which strategically placed holes may help alleviate.
So, who do you believe, the woman claiming a stranger invaded her home, or the traveling salesman claiming he was assaulted by a drunk and his wife? I didn't even know traveling salesmen still existed.
An entire page from the Weather Channel dedicated to TORNADOS!
The agency says that since 1999, it has received more than 130 reports of loss of smell associated with Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel; Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Swabs; and Zicam Cold Remedy Swabs, kids size. The products have been linked to long-lasting or permanent loss of smell called anosmia. In some cases, the loss of smell occurred after the first dose.
I've been to each and every one of the locations of this video. I drive by most of them pretty much every day. They didn't quite catch my workplace in one scene, but they came close
The bottle is about 4 inches tall and 2 inches wide on either side with about 3 ounces of some kind of liquid surrounding the specimen, Gagan said.
It's not everyday you get a fetus in a jar wash up on shore!
Takes a whole new meaning on looking for sea shells.
See, I'm never surprised by these things, since (contrary to popular perception) I think there's a certain type of person who's attracted to politics, who knows how the game's to be played, and party affiliation really only affects the color of the lapel pin. Therefore this doesn't surprise or bother me that much. The rest of you, quite obviously, will likely feel differently:
The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.
Oh, don't worry, I'm sure you'll comfort yourself with some "but the Republicans are much worse!" pap. Don't forget to be smarmy when you mention it. I love it when you do that.
No, not you. The other one.
Finally I can say, the next Alfa Romeo bound for the US looks to be shaping up nicely. This would seem to quash rumors that the next 169 vehicle would be based on the same platform as the Chrysler 300. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, since that platform has the rear wheels driven as God and Jano intended. Still, it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. They may even end up naming it "Milano."
In an unprecedented scientific endeavor — and what may be one of the coolest space missions ever — NASA is preparing to fly a rocket booster into the moon, triggering a six-mile-high explosion...
I wonder if it'll be visible from here?
Officials in China have arrested a father and his accomplices for digging up the corpse of a teenage girl to marry the corpse of his teenage son. And all this time you thought that movie was just fiction.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll keep going and going for bringing us the latest discoveries being made by the Cassini space probe. This time around: photographic confirmation of the theory that small moons near Saturn's rings create "speed bumps" as much as a mile high.
Personally, I feel it still completely valid to blame the Bush administration.
It's even worse when she loses her phone. The shaking is what scares me the most.
Using special lights and cameras, scientsts have for the first time direct evidence of exactly what color was used on the Parthenon, and where. I'm holding out for the 3D virtual reality that'll let me walk around and view these things as they appeared in their heyday.
And now, how about a bunch of pictures of one of the prettiest cars ever made? Say what you will about Italians, they certainly know sculpture.
Oh who cares... if they want to have a whole day dedicated to dressing up like aliens, let 'em. I just wish some of them would do a better job with the makeup.
A new theory holds that it's Earth's oceans that are responsible for the planet's magnetic field, not the core. It's hard to tell from the article, but the theory appears to account for recorded variations in the planet's magnetic field over time. Things like pole reversals, and strength fluctuations, which core-centered theories haven't been able to account for. It'd be interesting to find out what sort of predictions the theory makes.
Me, I call this "journalists as bait." Really fast, really expensive bait.
People sometimes wonder why I like Formula 1 so much. This is why.
Oh, and I would definitely be able to take off from a standing start.
It's the barriers I'd be worried about.
And now, a multi-page report on cat evolution. The short summary: a particular species of middle-eastern wildcat was just cute enough and just useful enough to be allowed in the house. The rest is history.
Our first group ride of the season. Joshua got the award for "best hair."
An anthropologist has written a popular science book which claims what really made us human was cooking.
Like most "absolutely everything can be explained by X" theories, this one likely won't last all that long either. Still, it does seem to introduce important, and original, ideas in the study of human evolution. That said, I could swear I've read elsewhere that cooking was considered an important part of our evolution.
A Chinese sub recently collided with a US destroyer's towed sonar array. Those things are, as I understand it, highly classified. I'm not sure anyone knows what they really look like. This could've been a "love tap", or it could've gotten tangled up, or it could've been bashed around pretty good. Who knows?
Now that the deal is done, more and more details about which Fiat platforms will be heading, and even built, here are coming out. The Jeep brand has always been a jewel for whomever happened to own it at the time, so it's nice to see them continuing it. Putting an Italian-designed body and an Alfa-designed engine into one makes it extremely tempting, IMO. Heck, they'll still be built in Detroit. But I won't hold that against them.
Alfa Romeos being built in the USA. Will wonders never cease?
I'll bet your favorite car doesn't have trashy Eastern European dancers flouncing all over it! It's always a good sign when the dancer's eyes have that thousand-yard stare. The sad thing is there are a lot of guys out there who wouldn't care.
You know, like me.
Oink oink oink...
The nearby star Betelgeuse may end its life in our lifetimes. Whether or not it'll go out with a bang or just fade away isn't mentioned in the article.
Chastity Bono has an appointment to become Chaz Bono. As if that family weren't confusing enough.
Some days I think, "wouldn't it have been better to be a little more adventurous in my youth? You know, not such a wall flower?" And then I think, "No, not really."
Plastic surgery, there he goes!
Note to self: having tenure does not make you immune to mental illness. But it does mean you get to keep your job while you're annoying the s- out of the rest of the world. Remember, folks, mental illness is not the scary, misunderstood Jack Nicholson character trying to liberate an American Indian for the good of the country. It's Phil Specter in a wig shoving a gun in some hottie's mouth after ruining his seventh party in a row insisting the Jews really are behind it all. The former is fun an enlightening, the latter scares the s- out of you when it isn't making you claw your eyes out in frustration.
Now that it's done, the models Chrysler and Fiat will be producing together are being detailed. Howabout this:
Alfa Romeo: Fiat plans to build the upcoming Alfa Milano sport sedan and station wagon in one of Chrysler's plants. Another Chrysler plant could build a sporty midsize crossover for the iconic Italian brand. Alfa may also get a larger sport sedan based on the next generation of Chrysler's excellent 300 platform.
Two Milanos in our future? One of which without boged up electrics? Well, stranger things have happened. I can't think of any off hand, but I'm sure they're out there.
Now I would do this! It's almost like they are still there...
Hey, man, why not yank fire alarms, smash windows, and tear apart sprinkler systems on the say-so of a phone call? Bonus: location is Conway, Arkansas.
Ok, this one takes awhile to develop, but (I think) there's a good payoff at the end. Bear with me here...
So today the Milano's blower fan, radio, and rear windows, which had been quite flakey in the ol' function department, decided to pack up for good. Since they were all going at once, and since the radio was involved, I figured something that @#%#@ stoner installer did was at fault. After all, I'd already found two, count them two, bare hot wires floating around back there.
So, pop out the radio and what do we have? Well, things are dead. This means power is not flowing. I find the hot wire and after some judicious probing with the ol' test light, sure enough, it's still hot. That leaves the ground.
Now, Alfas are legendary for bad grounds anyway. Lights do not make a car go fast, so Italians feel this is a great place to experiment with cheap geegaws. Which seldom work. So, since the radio's involved, let's go find the radio's ground wire. Ah, there it is, black like all the rest of the ground wires in the world.
Follow this for a few inches and I find a wire cap that joins three black wires together. One of these three black wires comes out of an original wire harness plug. In fact, it's the only wire still there, since the @$##@ stoner saw fit to snip all the rest, including the one that powered the clock. But that's a different story.
Previous experiments had revealed this ground wire also, somehow, was the ground for the fan and the rear windows. Ah-ha!. So, it's a simple matter of a spool of black wire, a few connectors, and a convenient bolt and voila, a new, known-good ground. Stuff the other end of this into the wire nut and sure enough, everything starts working again. Problem found.
Now, first to determine which end of the existing ground wire is coming from the fan and windows, and which end is heading toward some other mysterious point on the chassis. Investigation reveals it comes down into the plug, through the socket, and out the other side where the wire nut is. Ok, easy enough. One of those three wires must eventually lead to the firewall.
Splice the one that comes out of the plug to our first new "known good" ground. Make another wire to ground the radio, who's ground is easy to spot since it comes out of the ass of the radio itself, and ends in that wire nut I just snipped off.
Now, to test. Fan comes on, fan goes off. Windows go up, windows go down. Radio turns on, radio turns off. Satellite radio...
Satellite radio sits there "finding signal." F---.
Ok. The problem usually lies with something I've been tinkering with. Which is these grounds. So, I go to the passenger footwell, who's carpet under which the @#%# stoner hid the Sirius components, and find its power source. Test light shows it's got power. So I start following the ground wire around this, through that, past the other thing, right to...
The other ground wire under the nut.
This is the "WTF?!?" moment. So, the third wire did not in fact go off to become one with the firewall. It seems to have gone to the Sirius box.
Now, I'm (obviously) no electrical genius, but I'm pretty sure this means all three subsystems were relying on each other for a ground.
Suddenly, I'm not surprised it failed. I'm surprised it ever worked at all.
I ran out of time and connectors before I could get the Sirius going. It's just possible I go the wires crossed and didn't in fact trace the ground properly. But still...
DETROIT — Italy's Fiat is the new owner of most of Chrysler's assets, closing a deal Wednesday that saves the troubled U.S. automaker from liquidation and places a new company in the hands of Fiat's CEO.
Good luck to them!
They're gonna need it.
Ares has a fun little guessing game any armchair defense weeny would love.
Scientists have created a new compound which holds promise both as an anti-cancer drug and an antibiotic. The new iron-based substance disrupts the function of a cell's DNA, and was able to kill "virtually all" bacteria in a culture 2 minutes. How it manages not to affect the DNA of "good" cells is unclear, but presumably this is not a problem.
"There's no underestimating baseball's versatile capacity for killing us." Sometimes growing up an unathletic nerd had its advantages.
When you are stuck home for 2 day in a row because some little girl is not feeling good, you become stir crazy.
What do you do? Color her hair!
"How we spent our weekend." Friend Annie let us know Leesburg was having an annual hot-rod / classic car "drive show". Show up, park, line up, drive, park downtown. Ours was the only Italian car in the whole show, 120 cars strong.
Ellen had the best quote: "every time someone looks at our car, they smile!"
I still swear this is not her future prom ride. My story, sticking to it. Ellen says "just wait 10 more years." Oh, joy...
Damned fuzzy little monsters, I knew they were up to no good!
To counter all the scare-mongering you constantly hear about toxoplasmosis (toxo) and how dangerous it is, I give you this data point: Ellen handles more sick feral cats in a week than you or I ever will in our entire lives. She's been doing it for about fifteen years now I think. On Fridays her hands look like, well, like they've been attacked by sick, p-ssed off cats. She still tests negative for toxo.
Put that in your "giving up fluffy because I'm pregnant and don't want to get that nasty disease" pipe and smoke it.
A commercial fisherman reeled in a live missile in the Gulf of Mexico and kept it on his boat for 10 days, authorities in Florida said.
Police said the boat's captain, Rodney Soloman, hooked the air-to-air guided missile 50 miles off the coast of Panama City. The Air Force and Navy use the area for weapons training.
Personally I think it'd make a nifty decoration, except for that whole potential to go all explody & stuff.
... Mah Incentives:
Education really does pay.
An overwhelming number of schools participating in a controversial program that pays kids for good grades saw huge boosts -- up to nearly 40 percentage points higher -- in reading and math scores this year, a Post analysis found.
Since public education's true goal is indoctrinating the poor masses into the Church of Secular Humanism, the left is predictably moving the goal posts from "getting a good education" to "education should be valued for its own sake." If this shows even the slightest sign of catching on, expect identical MSM "in depth" stories about rampant cheating and kids spending their education cash on drugs. All, of course, based on the same NEA press releases using data from the same NEA-sponsored studies.
Ok, so, go read "confessions of an e-bay opium addict," and help me decide. Is this guy a) a tragic, youthful victim of post-modern angst, b) a coddled a-hole with a high Mach number and a (presumably long-ago spent) big trust fund, or c) a total fake? My first thought was b), but toward the end I started thinking maybe c). Regardless, he's a pretty good writer. I just wish he'd get a damned job.
Personally, I find the question about the smoking vagina the most intriguing. I'm not completely sure why.
BIRD TALK’s Top Lists For 2009
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And now, 10 cars that some journalist thinks last forever. The only real surprise was the lack of a Mercedes diesel, which are utterly legendary in their stolid virtues.
Hmm? Oh, you can make an Alfa go that far. Several have. You just need to fiddle with them more.
A lot more.
Using new measurements, scientists have discovered supermassive black holes are, well, super-er massive. As in 6.4 billion solar masses. The mind boggles.
Rumor has it the Tata Nano may be heading to our shores. I'm not at all sure how. According to road tests I've read in the various popular magazines, the Nano has no modern safety features. No air bags, no side-impact bars, heck I'm not even sure if it has seat belts. See, in India, doors and a roof are considered big upgrades in safety already. Everything else is expensive gravy they don't need. As the US auto market experience in the mid 70s proves, it's hard to add these things to a vehicle not engineered for them. And those add-ons were relatively straightforward, things like battering-ram bumpers and big bars inside the doors.
Nowadays the safety features often involve things that go, "bang." Sometimes in your face, and are sophisticated enough not to kill you, your grandmother, or your toddler doing it. Can the engineers at Tata handle the challenge? Can they make money on the result? Who knows? There will always be a market for cheap cars, even in the US. The trick is making money off them.
Ron gets a no-prize that'll make an engraver's day for bringing us this collection of married names that really shouldn't be hyphenated. Some of them are so incredible I have a hard time taking them seriously. Then again, a rose by any other name...
That hangover may only last a day, but those pictures? Those pictures will last forever. The sad thing is that shots from the 80s now qualify as quaint and funny.
David Eddings, author of many fantasy series such as the Belgariad, is dead, at the age of 77. While I was into fantasy I really enjoyed his stuff. I know lots of people who still do. He'll be missed.
It would appear wild rats are every bit as interesting as their lab-based brethren. They have to be. They have to fight Baltimore junkies and homeless people for the same living space.
There are no words for how awesome this is. When my daughter asks me what it was really like to grow up in the 80s, I'll just show her this. Then she'll really be confused.
Get it while you can: Top Gear's Alfa Romeo Challenge is once again available.
Amazing race action!
Expert restoration artists bring these cars to a whole new level of character!
A kaopectate-green Milano compete in a concours with a Spider who's water pump consists of a barrel of water and a hand crank!
RUN, DO NOT WALK, TO YOUR NEAREST YOUTUBE-CAPABLE COMPUTER!
A crack team of "rapid response" volcano experts scrambled to the South Pacific Ocean last month to find something rarely seen by human eyes: an underwater eruption exploding into the inky, cold depths and spewing lava onto the ocean floor.
Ron gets an explosive no-prize for bringing us news of this rare and spectacular example of nature's fury.
The manuscript is for-real. Me, I think it's a concrete example of a time traveler's artifact, aging in reverse.
Sometimes mash-ups are lame. Then someone goes and combines SEM images with a Google Earth interface. Let me just say I'm glad bugs are small. If they weren't, they'd be much freakier than they really are.
It would seem that, at least in the opinion of one attendee, Nintendo was the big winner in this year's E3 show. Since the Wii is the only console we own, that sounds like a big deal to us!
While I agree the other side of this whole late-term abortion thing needs to be told, in my opinion I think the article's author does her own fair share of glossing in the other direction. Still, I will readily admit I had a very one-sided idea of what late term abortion really means in the US until I read this article.
Me? Well, all I can really say is abortion is legal in this country, and as such a person practicing it according to the proper guidelines is completely innocent of any wrongdoing. The perpetrator of the murder should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The rest is too complex for me to pass judgment. I only wish the criminal who decided to take the law into his own hands could've decided the same.
Update: I guess I shouldn't be surprised the perpetrator isn't the brightest bulb in the bunch. That's another thing. If you're going to be an asshat and break the law because of your principles, suck it up and take the punishment like a man. One thing that annoys the s- out of me about protesters, be they right, left, violent, or peaceful, is how so many of them turn into whiny biatches the moment the cuffs go on. Hey, sparky, the whole point of being a martyr for the cause is dying at the end. At least Hajji has the decency to blow himself to bits.
Why I haven't thought to do this to Ellen, I don't know. Oh yeah, wait, I do know. Because I like breathing.
However, there was the time Ellen was downstairs
breaking using my computer because she'd broken hers. Friend Mark had sent her one of those "shrieking surprise" e-mails with the note "be sure to turn it up and listen closely, it's really hard to hear the ghost in the background." Which she did, on my 600 watt 5.1 Klipsch speaker rig.
So imagine me sitting quietly upstairs, reading a magazine. Suddenly, all the furniture bounces 2" into the air, and the tail-end of a scream can be heard in the background. Surprisingly, Mark is still above ground. I, on the other hand, was in deep trouble because I should've known she was going to turn the volume up on that @#$%'ing lunatic speaker set of mine and how in the world does a normal person end up with something that can play sounds that loud and...
Ah, the bliss of married life.
All that trash they found in the Atlantic? Yeah, it's not the airliner. What I want to know is, doesn't anyone care they've found mysterious bits of ship wreckage in the middle of the Atlantic?
Most of the time, science tells us this is bad, or that is bad. Sometimes though, it tells us something very good indeed. Sorry, Ron, no mention of Southern Comfort being good for after-weights recovery.
Scientists have used stem cells to repair corneas of three different patients in Australia. The results are far from "bionic", but it beats the s- out of being blind I'm sure. And hey, you gotta start somewhere, eh?
Kinda cool when your family finds the classic car you used to own and gets it running and back in your possession again. Ellen and I don't have this problem. Cars come into our possession intact, and either stay here (White Spider, 13 years and counting), or depart bound only for the yard (previous Spider & Milano).
I wonder where that Duster I had back in 1988 got to...
David Carradine, the star of the 1970s television series “Kung Fu” and the title villain of the “Kill Bill” movies, has died in Thailand, The Associated Press reported. The United States Embassy in Bangkok told The A.P. that Mr. Carradine had been found dead in his hotel suite in Bangkok, where he was working on a movie. He was 72.
I remember quite well watching Kung Fu when I was a kid. I don't know how many rolls of butcher paper I ruined trying to walk without leaving a mark.
Ron gets a no-prize that just looks suspicious for bringing us these 10 examples of news photographs that've been altered beyond all reason. What surprises me is how prominent the perpetrators are. I guess they're just more examples of people who are smart in one thing thinking they're smart in all things.
Archeologists have unearthed the first intact "witch bottle" from the 17th century. Filled with nails, wire, sulfur, and urine, the devices were meant to protect the owner from witch's spells. This one even sloshes.
Those who claim Californians don't have a lick of sense have just been proven slightly wrong:
On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers who also apparently believed that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.
This sudden outbreak of common sense simply cannot last. Quick! Someone call the Octo-Mom!
I'm not sure what's funnier: the college kid getting bulls-eyed with a pan handle, the way his female colleague reacts, or the oh-so-serious caption text on the right. Regardless, there's plenty of chuckles to go around. If only there'd been sound. Explain this one to the OSHA guy.
Fans of Wii fitness should find all these recently announced expansions of interest. The opportunities scanning one's body into the Wii for Ron to embarrass Amber may just be enough to tip them over to purchase one.
Jeff gets a no-prize that needs a trip to the body shop for bringing us this graphic example of what happens when the pilot throws the gear lever before he completes rotation. Fortunately, it looks like nobody got hurt, and from what I've read the aircraft likely wasn't a write-off.
... and sometimes, just sometimes, the world may start dancing with you.
I'm rapidly reaching the age at which I could care less what the rest of the world thinks I look or act like. I'm not sure I'm this far gone yet. Probably take Olivia becoming a teenager before that happens.
Sometimes a devil appears on my shoulder and says, "hey, these fancy European cars you have... they could always use a little more horsepower, right?" Then, suddenly, another devil that looks like Ellen* appears, slaps me, and says, "What's the matter with you?!? don't you know you're not the only one who'll be driving it?"
Owners of boys may point and laugh at what I'll be going through in 7 more years, but at least mine's astronomically less likely to pull a stunt like this. The trick, I suppose, is making sure she's not dumb enough to ride around with a boy who's dumb enough to do this. Ah, the joys of parenting...
* What? I wanted to say "angel", but that would've made at least three people I know pass out from laughter.
Mark gets a forward-looking no-prize for bringing us news that pad 39B is now officially property of the Constellation program. The pad, and as I understand it at least one mobile launcher, will need to be modified to accommodate the new Ares boosters. Assuming they build them :/.
Scientists have developed a new robotic submersible that's strong enough to plumb the depths of the Challenger Abyss. The real innovation would appear to be the craft does not need any sort of tether, substantially increasing its mobility and, thereby, its ability to do research.
... a pet would find Ellen. Happens more than you think. I never will forget how, on our honeymoon, an entire resort's worth of stray cats found their way over to where she was sitting. And that was before they figured out she was their buffet waitress for the rest of the week.
It would seem the hit movie Heathers is on for a sequel. Since it's been [evil laugh]21 years[/el] since the original, it'll be interesting to see just how it plays out. Slater is on board, apparently as a sort of ghost adviser or something. Here's to hoping it doesn't suck!
Holy crap! She played Spock's MOM?!? Dur. I didn't even recognizer her.
While a bit long on the "entertaining anecdote" and short on the "hard science", this brief essay on "The 'Bitch' Evolved: Why Girls are So Cruel to Each Other" was still of interest, and even provided some predictions! Since I'm raising one of these monsters-to-be, I have a particular interest in the subject. Quite well taken was the point that parents may not respond as actively to instances of social violence as they do to physical violence.
I'd always wondered just what Google Earth might be revealing about The Hermit Kingdom. Turns out, it's quite a lot:
A group of amateur spies has used Google Earth to provide a rare glimpse inside North Korea, one of the world's most secretive countries.
Among the most notable findings is the site of mass graves created in the 1990s following a famine that the UN estimates killed about 2 million people.
Also visible is the stark contrast between the living conditions of North Korea's elite and the general population.
~ Keep spending all our lives / Livin' in the worker's paradise... ~
I have no idea what to make of this clip. Well, other than it's nice to see Montreal in motion, watch some really cheesy in-car effects, and nice driving.
And watch the French threaten to gum it all up. A Citroen cock-block!
So I tell my wife that IKKO just totally checked me out...and her response is unexpected to say the least. Somehow, this elates her. She immediately jumps on her cell phone to start informing her friends and family that her husband just caught IKKO's eye. ...And as an aside, how would you even react to that? You're sitting at home watching TV, and you get a text from your friend - "Hey, this famous cross-dresser just checked out my husband!" ...Um...OK? Would you care for a delicious Hot Pocket?
No, I didn't know who Ikko was either. Even after I watched the video I still don't know.
In the "well, at least we have proof" category, behavioral scientists have determined cats are incapable of connecting cause with effect. They're pretty good at connecting puke with carpet, I can tell you that for free.
Britain recently released all the classified materials related to UFOs (so they say), and, unlike US efforts, they actually supply a guy who'll tell you where the interesting bits are. Some of it's interesting. Some of it's mundane. All of it will be pored over and pawed through for years to come by people who will not be convinced this is the end of the story.
Ain't the human race grand?
Making the rounds: It just ain't easy, being a humorless homophobe in Hollywood. They wanted a reaction, and they definitely got one. Meh, I don't feel too bad for him, considering he probably drove to his Malibu home in his Lamborghini.
Now that they're actually building the long-awaited Metro extension through Tyson's Corner, they're beginning to cut "black" wire. Definitely not the same sort of wire that makes the Milano's electrics go all wonky when it gets dirty.