October 31, 2011
Comparing Loot Hauls, 2011


And now, the highlight reel...







Note: in the early years, Ellen and Amber would carry auxiliary candy buckets and hand them off as one got too heavy to hold. This time Olivia hauled the same bag the whole time.



See you next year!
Posted by scott at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)
A Specific Sort of Apocalypse

Let's just be glad they don't own teeny-tiny shotguns: Scientists have discovered a number of insects over the years which use a zombie-creation strategy as part of their reproductive cycle. Plus: they seem to be dedicated to zombie-fying pests like roaches and moths. Minus: seems to be mostly wasps doing the deed.

Posted by scott at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)
Man, I Hate It When That Happens!

A 28 year-old man is using the time-tested "she turned into an ass on the way home" defense in a very novel situation. Turns out the donkey show is a global phenomenon. Who knew? (SFW)

Posted by scott at 01:58 PM | Comments (0)
Dead in the Ice

Remember all those poor, drowned polar bears? You know, the ones that swam their little hearts out and then simply had to shuffle off their mortal coils from sheer exhaustion? Yeah, about those polar bears. Every time I think the greens have finally proven their point, someone else on their team coughs up the ball.

Me, I disagree with their cures, not their diagnoses, but every time some "settled" science ends up being a glorified bird watcher poring over blobs on pictures and calling them dead bears, I end up doubting the whole enterprise just that much more. Not "denying," that wonderfully offensive term which somehow seeks to relate the lump on Chicken Little's head to the mass graves of Auschwitz, just doubting. Not that it makes a difference to them.

What things like this prove to me most of all is the green movement, at heart, has nothing to do with the environment. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Names

Why oh why couldn't they have named it something else: a giant explosion has been detected on Uranus. Oh, don't worry, I've got the smelling salts ready. The Beavis's and Buttheads of the world will be pleased to be passing out now.

Posted by scott at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)
What's in a Name?

Remember those parents who named their kids things like "Adolf Hitler" and "JoyceLynn Aryan Nation"? Yeah, they're trying to get their kids back. Again. At first, I was all, "it's their kids, give them back please." Then I found out, "Both parents are unemployed and are said to suffer from unnamed physical and mental disabilities."

In other words, these are not racist, hateful, but otherwise productive citizens. They're not Westboro. Instead they're a couple of unemployed clinically crazy people with a proven track record of poor impulse control and bad decision making. It may not be enough to keep their kids away, but as far as I'm concerned it's enough to make that a harder decision than it would at first appear.

Posted by scott at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)
Happy Halloween!


Today the veil to the otherside is at it thinnest! Get your seance on!

We are hoping for visits from the AMCG gang that has departed us over the past 6 years.

Posted by Ellen at 05:48 AM | Comments (0)
October 30, 2011
Yep, for sure!

Posted by scott at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

I played with slinkies (slinkys?) for years, and watched Olivia play with them even more, but it took me watching this video to realize how weird they actually are. I've long seen something weird about how they move, but I'd never seen it laid out quite so explicitly. There's a reason classic toys stay classic, ya know?

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

This [income] stagnation is less a statement about the structure of America’s economy than about its culture. As Ronald Haskins, also of the Brookings Institution, wrote in an essay for the publication National Affairs, “economic mobility is constrained above all by personal choices and behaviors.” He argues that society’s leaders “should herald the ‘success sequence’: finish schooling, get a job, get married, have babies.” If Americans finished high school, worked full time at a job that matched their skills and married at the rate they did in the 1970s, the poverty rate would be cut 70 percent.

Full article is here...

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
October 29, 2011
Udvar Hazy Halloween 2011



You can see who belongs to what side in the family.

Posted by Ellen at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)
Ellen's Life, Let Me Show You It

Posted by scott at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)
Weighty Knowledge

This just in: Amazon's Kindle reader actually weighs more when it's full of books. Admittedly, not much more, but it does make for a nifty scientific prediction. First, though, we have to find a scale that can measure in attograms. Yeah, you heard me. I did spell it right!

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)
October 28, 2011
As *IF*

Fark, irreverent? No way: "Catholic Mass liturgy to change for the first time since the 60's; will now include segment where the faithful say "Pie Iesu domine" and hit themselves in the forehead with a board." Linking to this story.

Posted by scott at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)
Dead Fool

Today's "I didn't know I didn't know that" story concerns one Jack Unterweger, a serial killer who convinced his country he was reformed, only to immediately begin killing again on his early release. Yet another item to consider when a paid talking head starts crowing about how something is "definitely settled." Oh, and Malkovich is in a play about him.

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)
Have Anything and Smile

Two items of note: 1) there's a new coke machine with over 100 varieties to choose from and 2) Fairfax Town Center has a Firehouse Subs shop now. With one of these flash machines innit. Life is good. And tasty.

Posted by scott at 09:27 AM | Comments (1)
Rock of Ages

A recent probe fly-by has revealed not an asteroid, but a failed planet. The data returned by the encounter was both surprising and informative, and should be valuable to scientists studying how planets form.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)
Aussie! Aussie! Clink Clink Clank!

That's not a coin, this is a coin. Better: it was manufactured to beat the previous record-holder, also made by an Australian mint. While our mint is trying to figure out a new way to make quarters, the Aussies are getting it done right.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)
October 27, 2011
When Costumes Attack

So, how many Internet memes can you spot? My pop-culture-fu is weakening, I had to read the caption on nearly all of them. I did think "Asian father" and "the real 1%" were funny.

Posted by scott at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)
A Different Sort of Chain Gang

So, would you trust your classic car to a bunch of prison inmates? As the owner of a classic car with vague plans on having it restored some day, I'm of two minds: if the price is right and they have experience with Alfa Spiders, I'd likely consider it very seriously. That said, there's a guy in southern California who does nothing but restore Alfas, and his rates are quite reasonable. Plus I wouldn't have to worry about him getting trapped in a lock down.

And the program itself? Hey, it teaches guys with presumably poor job skills and obviously bad decision making skills a trade that requires discipline and pays well on the outside. As long as they serve their time, I'm all for it!

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM | Comments (0)
Free to a Good Home

F- the Brooklyn Bridge, this one can be yours for nothing! And they're even throwing in free shipping! What a bargain! I always have wanted another way across the drainage culvert behind our development. What amazing timing...

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day


Via Cobb.

Posted by scott at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)
Dinosaur Walkabout

By studying fossil teeth, scientists have found conclusive proof that dinosaurs migrated. I know, I know, "captain obvious with a chisel," but if they can prove an obvious point, it should mean they can prove less obvious ones, like perhaps which particular types of plant-eating dinosaurs the predators were eating at any one time.

Posted by scott at 06:51 AM | Comments (0)
Eris Exposed

A rare stellar occlusion has allowed scientists to get a closer look at the enigmatic dwarf planet Eris. It turns out it's smaller and brighter than previously thought, but it still quite a bit denser than Pluto.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM | Comments (0)
October 26, 2011
D U TKD?!?

Posted by scott at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)
Welcome to the 21st Century

I guess I'm officially old now, because I don't have a problem with a Girl Scout troupe rejecting a boy in a dress. Then again, if Olivia were in the same troupe and she came home talking about their new member David well, I'd like to think I wouldn't have a problem with it. When I think about the reverse case, of a girl trying to join up with a Boy Scout troupe, I don't get the same visceral reaction so maybe it is just me. Tolerance makes parenting complicated, I suppose.

Posted by scott at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)
Cracked It Like an Egg

Using modern algorithms and hardware, computer scientists have cracked a mysterious cipher from the 19th century. It seems it was all about a secret German society with a bizarre fascination with eyeballs. It's hoped the tools can be applied successfully to better-known but stubbornly intransigent ciphers like that used by the Zodiac Killer.

Posted by scott at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)
Just Don't Try to Park

Yee-ha! F-1 is coming to the New York area in 2013! Another open-wheel street course within decent driving distance of my house. Yes, it'll be full of Yankees, but nothing's perfect.

Posted by scott at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)
Good Riddance

The last example of the US's most powerful nuclear weapon has been dismantled. The B53 was meant as a bunker-buster and was once employed on both ICBMs and strategic bombers. The version flying on missiles was retired long ago but 50 examples of the device lingered on as free-fall devices. No more.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM | Comments (2)
How Helpful

Looks like the 99% doesn't include local farmers. But then, what's a little inconvenience as long as it furthers the revolution? It is always better to starve in justice than to dine in the shadow of prosperity!

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)
October 25, 2011
Cold-Hearted Dragon

The Guardian is featuring this excellent commentary on the toddler tragedy in China. When it first came up, I was immediately reminded of the Kitty Genovese case, and I think the incidents have more in common than would at first appear.

At root, the problem is not Chinese, or American, or Italian, or New Yorker, or any of those things. It's human nature in general. We care for those we know, and won't for those we don't. This social construct works quite well when the mobility of society is low. Unfortunately this reflexive nature breaks down when mobility is high.

This is not new at all, and goes a long way toward explaining why, for instance, immigrant communities tend to have high crime. They don't know the people around them, and have no incentive to play by their rules. It also explains why native communities tend to ostracize these selfsame immigrants: they don't play by our rules, so why should we treat them with respect?

It's not completely clear what the solution ultimately is. Attempts to force the issue via laws doesn't work, all too often violently. Trying to brow-beat everyone into getting along by respecting "diversity" fails just as badly. It's likely there simply is no easy solution, and each society will have to figure it out on its own. Unfortunately that means stabbed women will continue to bleed out in the stairwells of full apartment buildings, and toddlers will continue to slowly die in crowded streets.

But if we keep talking about it, if we all keep trying, if we all remember, maybe fewer of them will the next time. Maybe one day, none of them will.

Posted by scott at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)
Caesar Wha?

More evidence that Texas isn't another country, it's another planet: caesar salad cotton candy. Supposedly it's quite tasty. I'll take their word for it. The other entries look pretty tasty, though...

Posted by scott at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)
Old Bang

Scientists have finally figured out how the world's first recorded supernova got so big, so fast. Recorded by Chinese astronomers in 185 AD, the remnant was mapped in the 1960s and found to be much larger than expected. New data from the Spitzer space telescope finally provided the evidence necessary to explain the discrepancy.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)
October 24, 2011
The Once and Future King

McDonald's has announced the McRib sandwich will be available nationwide, for a limited time, next month. At one point I was deeply in love with the things, but eventually came to my senses, probably assisted by nearby "real" barbeque joints. That said, it's your body and your money, if it tastes good to you go out and get one.

Posted by scott at 12:41 PM | Comments (2)
~ Hard to Believe It's Getting Better / It's Getting Better, All the Time ~

When did you ever think you'd read these sorts of things in a news article: "The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago ... Boston Consulting expects up to 800,000 manufacturing jobs to return to the US by mid-decade, with a multiplier effect creating 3.2m in total ... Volkswagen is investing $4bn in America, led by its Chattanooga Passat plant. Korea's Samsung has begun a $20bn US investment blitz. Meanwhile, Intel, GM, and Caterpillar and other US firms are opting to stay at home rather than invest abroad...

I thought putting grownups in charge of the House would allow businesses here to start growing again. It would seem not enough grownups were given the reins, but if things shape up as well as I think they will in 2012, that'll change in a whole big hurry.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
Lazy Shooter

New studies are indicating that playing video games assists in curing "lazy eye syndrome." Even better, the therapy works well after age 9, when conventional wisdom says the more traditional "eye patch and exercises" therapy stops working. More refined techniques using "perceptual learning" could provide even greater success.

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)
~ Signs Signs, Everywhere There's Signs ~

In the never-ending quest to battle bad driving, we now have flashing rear-window LED displays. The Alfas would need this the most, and sadly the Milano's rear window is likely too small and the Spider's needs to fold up and be put away.

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)
October 23, 2011
Washing kittens, or the Script from a German Porn?

"No! Wait! I'm busy rubbing ass!"

"I'm sorry, baby, you need to stop pooping now."

"Once you're done peeing everyone can sleep."

"Let's wash your butt!"

"Do you hear them farting?!?"

"I have to wash your bum, then I warm up the milk."

"Hang on, my honey, let me dry you off."

If you guessed, "German Porn," you get to hear the "disappoint" Price is Right sound. This is how Ellen puts kittens to bed.

Posted by scott at 08:02 PM | Comments (0)
Cleo De Olivia...er NILE!!


Olivia is Cleo De Nile from Monsters High this year for Halloween. Yes, the wig is from last year, but I spritz it with gold and made the head band :)

Posted by Ellen at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)
Barn Find

And now, a 78 Corvette, one owner, absolutely all original, 13 miles on the odometer. Don't think you can just drive this one away... it'll need quite a bit to be safe again. And if you keep it stock, well, 1978 wasn't a good year for anyone's cars. On the other hand, you could have this legitimate one owner car from a time when everyone's cars were brilliant, and this more than most. And this one can be driven home, for much much less. Hell, it even has air conditioning.

Posted by scott at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)
Dino Find

A recently discovered dinosaur fossil is about to go on display in Germany. Thought to be as much as 98% complete, it represents the most intact fossil dinosaur in Europe and one of the most intact in the world. It's unsure which dinosaur it is or even how old it might have been when it died, but it's only a matter of time until that's all found out.

Posted by scott at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)
October 22, 2011
Maine Coon Baby Madness!


This weekend I was asked to help bottle raise 5 of the SaraJen Maine Coons.

All we can say here at AMCGLTD.... they are HUGE!!! 2x's as big as a "plain cat". But adorable non the less!

Posted by Ellen at 07:53 PM | Comments (0)
Common Cause

Scientists have announced the discovery of a common cause for all forms of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The key is a problem neurons of the spine and brain have recycling certain kinds of proteins. The discovery has implications for new treatments of most kinds of dementias, including Alzheimer's.

Posted by scott at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)
Goblin Time

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)
October 21, 2011
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)
I Want to Believe

Another day, another creepy anniversary nobody's ever heard of commemorated by Wikipedia. At least, likely nobody outside the Australian UFO community. You'd think that after so much time they'd be able to pry more records out of the various law enforcement agencies.

Posted by scott at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)
Ok, We're Offski

European booster manufacturer Arianespace has successfully launched a Soyuz rocket from its South American facility in French Guiana. This marks the first time in the history of that venerable booster that it has been launched outside the borders of the old Soviet Union. The inclusion of its services adds a valuable medium-weight launch capability to compliment Arianespace's own Ariane 5.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
Puss Producers

The promo machine for the upcoming movie Puss in Boots seems to be picking up steam. I'm sure I'd read somewhere else that Guillermo del Toro was in charge of the film, but I'd forgotten until I read this article. We've liked his other work quite a bit, but a Dreamworks family movie is certainly a departure from his normal fare. Here's to hoping it doesn't stink, because with a cute animated cat as the central star there's no way I'm getting out of seeing it.

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)
Bone Find

New dating techniques have been used on an old archeological find to push back the date of the first human settlements in North America some eight centuries. Doesn't sound like too much when you're talking about an event that was at least 13,000 years ago, but you know scientists... always looking to get their name in the paper about something. Well, that, and the fact that such a push means the "new" old people used a culture different from the "old" old people.

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)
Miss USA and Math

While we here at AMCGLTD are perfectly aware this is parody. Or is it?

Posted by Ellen at 05:11 AM | Comments (2)
October 20, 2011
Tools You Can Use

In the "I'm amazed nobody's thought of this before" file we have Crimson Trace's Lightguard, a combo flashlight/laser sight with an innovative switch mechanism that naturally turns on when a gun is gripped. Ditto on the warning about not using it as a substitute flashlight. Trying to find your keys with this is could have... unfortunate consequences.

Posted by scott at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)
It Just Better Have Its Damned Birth Certificate Handy

Scientists have for the first time photographed a planet as it was forming. Tagged with the descriptive if inelegant name LkCa 15 b, the gas giant is coalescing in a system about 450 light years away from Earth's. Further study should provide much needed data for how planets form.

Posted by scott at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)
Hot Monkey Love

While (apparently) the idea that human females living close together synchronize their menstrual cycles is still controversial, it's now been proven a species of monkey synchronizes the sexual receptiveness of a troupe's females. It's thought this provides a reproductive advantage to the females, since it helps to prevent the dominant male from monopolizing them. Think "embarrassment of riches," that sort of thing.

I'm just glad I wasn't the one forced to watch monkeys go at it for hours on end and then pick at their poo after they're done.

Posted by scott at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)
Hissing the Night Away

Today's "kook mistaken for an audiophile" story is all about how cassette tapes are making a "comeback." Ok, slowly this time: audiophiles are people who spend $20,000 on a single 30 watt monophonic vacuum tube amplifier. Kooks are people who talk a guy down from $30 for an obsolete tape player.

Posted by scott at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)
Pew Pew Pew

While I'm not all that interested in giving the Lucasfilm juggernaut any more of my cash, a review of "The Sound of Star Wars" was interesting enough. And free!

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)
Not My Juristiction... Nope, Not Mine Either...

The bones used to be buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery south of town. Heavy rains in 2009 washed away the wall of a neighboring ravine, and a strip of the oldest part of the cemetery slid into the maw. Several headstones and at least one body tumbled down with the soil.

Someone retrieved several gravestones from the ravine and set them at the back edge of the cemetery. Some of them indicate the graves were nearly old enough to fall under the state archaeologist’s authority. One, for a 2-year-old girl named Nellie Beem, says she was buried in 1867, which is 144 years ago.

How hard is it just to dig some new graves and put these people back to rest?

Posted by Ellen at 06:35 AM | Comments (1)
October 19, 2011
Now That's Fresh Produce

Only in Alaska: grocery store business stopped due to bear cub in the produce section. Me, I'd be much, MUCH, more worried about where momma bear was at that particular moment. Then again, it's nice to see it's not just human babies that can end up in the damnedest places when you turn your back on them.

Posted by scott at 07:04 PM | Comments (0)
No Laser Here

We're (well, Ellen's) getting slow... how else to explain our total lack of albino cyclops shark coverage? Ah, I know. It wasn't an albino cyclops cat! Fish, fowl, feline, the distinction matters. Well, anyway, it's a great Halloween-style link!

Posted by scott at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Led Zepplin, White Courtesy Phone Please

A "fully intact" Viking boat burial site has been found in the highlands of Scotland. It represents the best-preserved example of this type found so far in the UK. The find is part of a much larger archeological project who's objective is to chronicle changes in lifestyle from the earliest known traces of habitation right through to the modern era. I'll give them this, they don't lack for ambition.

Posted by scott at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)
Doc Brown is in the Building

First we had an announcement of the electric DeLorean, now someone's done gone and driven the thing. In Houston, no less. It certainly sounds like they're serious about production. Will a different place, boss, and point in time finally see the fulfillment of John D's dream? I hope so!

Posted by scott at 10:49 AM | Comments (0)
Flapping Away

By using a tiny robot originally developed as a spy, scientists have gained new insight into the evolution of flight. The "trees-down" team gets a boost while the "ground-up" side gets something to argue about.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM | Comments (0)
October 18, 2011
Who Would Do This!??

Really? I know you are a country of nearly1.2 Billion, but you don't hit a child with car and then run her over.

The horrific part is over 4 people walked past her and she was hit multiple times!

China, you really are one sick country

Posted by Ellen at 06:54 PM | Comments (1)
Opens Da Door!!

One reason why you should not have a doggy door on your back door in Colorado.

Cougars(not the elderly women who feed off of young men)visit!

Posted by Ellen at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)
Percent *THIS*

Finally, someone succinctly dissects both the reaction to, and the actuality of, the "occupy" movement. The weather is finally starting to turn colder, so it remains to be seen if my hypothesis holds out. Regardless, the main article does a fine job of putting the so-called percentages into real perspective. Pity that so few will pay attention to it.

Posted by scott at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)
Sounds and Silence

Edgar Villchur, inventor of the modern loudspeaker, has passed away at the age of 94. I didn't realize the linchpin of my oldest, dearest hobby could be traced back to a single person, but now that I do it's good to know he did a lot of fine work and lived to a ripe old age. Salut!

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Mouse Check

An Israeli company has developed a new security sensor that doesn't use radiation or take naked pictures or anything like that. The trick? Mice. I think it's a neat idea, but I'd definitely like to see some extensive tests of the thing before trusting it to bust Hajji. But in principle, seems neat enough.

Posted by scott at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)
Paging Doc Brown, White Courtesy Phone Please

The resurrected DeLorean Motor Company has announced an all-electric model. It runs on gargantuan versions of the same sorts of batteries my RC helicopters use, but there's no word on what the projected range might be.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
October 17, 2011
When Beer Attacks

The things one learns, trolling Wikipedia's "on this day" section. To wit: on this day, 9 people were killed in 1814 during the "London Beer Flood." Sometimes beer does things you don't want it to do.

Posted by scott at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)
Chirping Wickets

New Zealand is trying to stand a professional cricket series up in the US, but challenges abound. The note that the US has an unremarked built-in audience in its South Asian (SA)-born residents is well taken. Our neighborhood has a significant SA component, enough that my regular companions at my soccer-slash-helicopter-field are cricket players. I played it once, a very long time ago, and thought it was fun. Will it succeed here? Well, if curling and soccer can, I guess anyone has a chance. Versus will probably pick it up, they seem to be the home of orphaned US sports everywhere. Why not?

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
Swiper No Swiping... *SQUAWK*

A BBC nature crew has finally caught "criminal" penguins red-handed. Adelie penguins, which build stone nests to keep their eggs away from spring runoff, had long been known to steal the best stones from each other but nobody'd manage to film it until now. Swoozie's cage is horrible enough. I can't imagine crawling around on ground pooped on by a quarter of a million birds.

Posted by scott at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)
Ancient Tours

And all this time, I thought it was the British museum that was old: a palace complex in ancient Babylon contained the world's first known museum. Built around 530 B.C., the museum contained exhibits still recognizable in the ruins when it was excavated more than two thousand years later.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM | Comments (2)

funny pictures - Cousin.  Cuisine.  Whatever.
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!
Posted by Ellen at 05:24 AM | Comments (0)
October 16, 2011
En Memoriam

Sucks SO much! I've watched Indycar since 1978, never seen any pile up like that. We made fun of his neon-white smile but he was a great guy, insightful commentor, and winner of the 100th Indy 500, without a regular ride.

Dan Weldon, 1978-2011

Posted by scott at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)
October 15, 2011
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)
Particles Get Ticket, Law is Safe

It looks like relativity isn't going anywhere any time soon. It seems all that noise about particles going faster than light boiled down to a relativistic effect on the GPS clocks used to take the measurement. In other words, they found another proof of relativity figuring out the thing that might have been disproving it.

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)
October 14, 2011
Another Ticket to Ride

Boeing is now pitching an up-rated version of its X-37B spaceplane as a manned vehicle for reaching the ISS. The unimaginatively named X-37C would still be far smaller than the Space Shuttle, but would (apparently) require little new hardware to be developed.

Posted by scott at 03:39 PM | Comments (0)
Barking Fish

No, really, Piranha bark. Nature can be weirder than we can imagine, because nature just has to follow rules we're still not completely clear about. It doesn't have to actually be "creative."

Posted by scott at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)
Paint Shop Pro

Scientists have announced the discovery of the earliest-known paint factory. The 100,000 year-old cave site contains artifacts used in just about every part of the process needed to turn ocher into red paint, pushing the time we first started creating art some 60,000 years.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)
October 13, 2011
First Test: Confirmed

Prediction: The "occupying" movement will fade rapidly as ... the weather turns cold...

Observation: Wet weather curtails Wall Street protests in New York.

Posted by scott at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)
Hang Ten and Hang The Hell On

A surfer in Oregon got the ride of his life recently. I'd normally say, "yeah, right," but apparently there are witnesses to his little shark dance. Just another reason to stick with swimming pools, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
One Bitch of a Grandmother

A new study of the genome of the bacteria which caused the Black Death in the 14th century has revealed some surprising results. Not only has it not changed significantly in the past seven centuries, it appears that the plague of 1348 was in fact the very first caused by the bacterium we now know. Exactly why it was so virulent then, and what may have caused earlier less well-known plagues, is not clear.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)
Vesta Verses

NASA has announced its first findings from the Dawn space probe, and, as usual, they're spectacular and surprising. The neat thing about this probe is it's ion-powered, which means it'll be able to motor on to Ceres once it's done with its look at Vesta.

Posted by scott at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)
I, Robot

Progress toward a useful humanoid robot seems to be proceeding apace. Not sure why the author of the article rode "teh sexay" so hard, but the videos are definitely interesting. It'd be even more interesting if they got it to walk, or maybe talk.

Posted by scott at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)
Like They Needed to Be Any Bigger

By using actual skeletons instead of scale models, a team of scientists has determined T. Rex may have been nearly a third larger than previously thought. Which is neat as far as it goes, but those skeletons can have post-mortem "adjustments" over the eons which, I would think, may introduce the same sorts of errors that scale models often include. Unfortunately the article doesn't discuss how they controlled for this.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM | Comments (0)
October 12, 2011
You Are Here... Maybe

A family got so lost in a corn maze (maise maze?) they had to call 911 to be rescued. Pro tip: if you never want to get lost in a maze again, hold a finger against a wall and keep it there as you walk. You will find the center, and your way out. I got that from an old AD&D manual decades ago, but I have tried it and it does work. If I jog I can usually beat the "expert" time easily.

Posted by scott at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)
The More You Know...

Great, now we have to watch out for "smishing." You know, this stuff wouldn't be so common if it didn't work. Wise up, people! Quit giving in to fear and out your information!

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
Full Size Fun

Love those wacky Aussies! I got news for him, though. In the US, at least, 1990 was just as risk-averse as the present day. It's the ones down under who've gotten more chicken-s* over time. Then again, considering those are full-sized helicopters bombing around inside a rodeo stadium, I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to attend.

Posted by scott at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)
End of an Era

After a 45 year production run, Mazda is ending its line of rotary-powered cars. Reading between the lines a bit, it seems that sales are weak for their venerable RX-8, and they don't have enough money to develop a new car. Mazda has an institutional fascination with the things, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if it made a comeback if the company itself manages to turn things around.

Posted by scott at 06:36 AM | Comments (0)

Jeff gets a no-prize that'll shout "YAAHH POTENYA!!!" at the press of a button for bringing us proof that there is in fact something worse than getting hit by a deer on a bike trail. I regularly see deer during biking season. So far I haven't even had a close call, but I'm still very careful when I see signs they're around.

Posted by scott at 06:26 AM | Comments (0)
October 11, 2011
Drill Deep

A UK team is preparing to drill into a deep lake in the Antarctic. Which just doesn't do justice to an effort requiring tons of gear to get a probe down through more than a mile and a half of ice to sample water sitting under 300 atmospheres of pressure at -20 degrees or more. All for a cup of water. Are humans a bunch of busybodies, or what?

Posted by scott at 02:33 PM | Comments (0)
Change I Can Believe In

The American Interest: "Unless there has been a heretofore unnoticed surge of Black voters into the ranks of the South Carolina GOP ... one out of every four voters in the most conservative electorate in the United States are now ready to vote for a Black candidate for president."

I like Cain a lot, and would be more than happy to see him as the GOP candidate because a) the more I hear about his policy ideas, the more I like them, and b) It would answer the question of what would happen if NOMAD was real. The prospect of all the heads on the left side of the peanut gallery exploding all at once just makes me... giddy!

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Well This Explains a Lot

First we hear of unions coming out to "support" the Occupiers, now they're starting to brag about getting paid. Although, since these are progressives, what they demand is far less than what they themselves are willing to pay. It'd be nice to think that the MSM will be all over this. It'd also be nice to think my Alfa will one day stop leaking oil. The latter is, of course, far more likely than the former.

Posted by scott at 06:55 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

Mike J. gets a no-prize that's a-changin' for bringing us this most welcome riposte.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)
Bits O' Jack

Besides the noted Thanatron machine, which Kevorkian built, other items to be auctioned include some of Kevorkian's correspondences and invention ideas, a pearl flute, his doctor's bag, a master lock from prison and his signature blue sweater. People can also purchase provocative paintings that he created, which come with brief descriptions from the artist himself, according to Neal.

You know you want own a piece of real American History!

Posted by Ellen at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)
October 10, 2011
Occupying Hypothesis


Hypothesis: The "occupying" movements are a perfect storm of bored students, unemployed hippies, nice weather, and a slow news cycle. Nothing more, nothing less.

Prediction: The "occupying" movement will fade rapidly as the primary season heats up, the weather turns cold, and finals start to rear their ugly heads.

Experiment: Wait for: a) the first day with a high below 50 in New York and Boston, b) a celebrity to suddenly keel over from a colorful drug overdose, c) a pretty white girl to become imperiled, or d) the Iowa caucus and/or New Hampshire primary to happen.

We'll see!

Posted by scott at 03:57 PM | Comments (1)
The Devil in the Deep Blue Sea

A scientific team believes it has discovered evidence of a for-real "Kraken" that once swam in the Earth's Triassic seas. The evidence is, per usual, circumstantial and contested, but if it all pans out it means that some time in the past a monster twice the size of a colossal squid once swam the seas. I, for one, am very glad about the "once" part of that sentence.

Posted by scott at 03:10 PM | Comments (0)
And Now, a Three-Hour Tour

A 71 year-old retired Port Authority worker has gone and bought himself an island. Sure, it's not much of an island... 2.5 acres, most of which is underwater at high tide, but it's his. Oh, and it's in Long Island Sound, so it's got being at the center of Yankeeville going for it...

Posted by scott at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
On This Day

"Now, of course, Columbus Day is under attack as a holiday in the United States by the forces of political correctness. This is primarily an effect of the Calvinist Puritan roots of American progressivism. Just as Calvinists believed in the centrality of the depravity of man, with the exception of a miniscule contingent of the Elect of God, their secularized descendants believe in the depravity and cursedness of Western civilization, with their own enlightened selves in the role of the Elect. " -- Jim Bennett

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)
Rocket Away

An entrant in the Carmack Prize has posted this compilation of his successful test flight. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure Fairfax county would take exception to us setting all this up for Thanksgiving. Ah, well, guess we'll stick with the smaller ones.

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)
October 09, 2011
Oh, The Things They'll Play

Olivia just knocked out a recognizable version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on the violin. Not bad for someone who's only had the instrument for a few weeks :).

Update: She let me film her! Olivia's very first performance!

Some notes: They're only using quarter notes right now, hence a few extra "beats" at the phrase ends. Swoozie decided to perform a test flight for no damned reason about 3/4th's through, but Olivia held her concentration and kept going. Ok, so it's more "recognizable" than "passable" but hey, she's 8 and has only been playing for about two weeks!

Posted by scott at 05:20 PM | Comments (1)
Your Thought for the Day

"As unemployment in Freedomland rises to hilarious extremes, filthy, pseudo-intellectual college hipsters concluded that the reason their liberal arts degrees weren't netting them $70,000+ salaried jobs straight out of the state university was because of the zionist one world government and their cronyism bleeding the country dry and oppressing the world, and now was the time to, like, throw off the chains of oppression, man!"


Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)
October 08, 2011
Raise Atlantis

Coming to BBC America (I hope): using the latest imaging and surveying technology, scientists have digitally "raised" a Greek city which sank beneath the waves 3000 years ago. Danged Brits, always getting the good documentaries first.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
October 07, 2011
This is Much Better Than a Shelf Full of Cat-Shaped Urns

Mark gets a no-prize starring James Arness for bringing us a new and innovative way of disposing of cremains. No mamby-pamby, vaguely gross "green" dissolving and then flushing down the drain here, folks. Nope, right here we got cases and cases of ammo. Ellen's always said she wants her ashes to be mixed with her cats' when she goes. She never was all that specific about what would happen after the mixing...

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)
Pulsar Pop

Unexpected! A surprise high energy blast coming from the Crab pulsar has scientists excited. It seems like any time some ball of squashed ball of subatomic particles the size of a city does something strange, they all get excited.

Me, I blame that rock in front of Rick Perry's old hunting lodge.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day


Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)
Well Hello There!

By using newer software to analyze the images, astronomers have teased out pictures of four exoplanets taken by the Hubble space telescope. This technically makes them the earliest images ever taken of exoplanets, even though the ability to actually see them wasn't available at the time.

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)
Your Black and White Squee!! of The Day

Can this get any cuter?

China really knows what they are doing when it comes to the Pandas!

Posted by Ellen at 05:21 AM | Comments (0)
October 06, 2011
Fun with Beemers

Thank goodness for the old practice of selling show cars to private individuals, otherwise we may never have seen this quite unique BMW again. I can definitely see some of the same design cues that are present on the Montreal. That top is... different.

Posted by scott at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)
Reflections on a Maniac

Journalist Michael Malone, who actually grew up a few streets down from Steve Jobs, has this thoughtful but far from panegyric look at the man as he saw him. It's precisely Jobs's reputation as an egomaniac which has prevented me from swooning at his passing. By reputation at any rate, he actually wasn't a nice man to be around much of the time. That said, his kids have stayed completely out of the news, which usually means they've grown up healthy and are successful. That's a better testament to the real man, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by scott at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)

Headline says it all: scientists are developing alternative breast implants using nanotechnology. Bonus: the tech can also be used as an alternative delivery vehicle for things like chemotherapy, reducing debilitating side effects.

Posted by scott at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Fast Cars...

The guys who keep stealing "world's fastest production car" honors from Bugatti are at it again. Me, I'm just wondering where in the world they'll find a track that will let them get to 275 mph. The big one that was used to test the Veyron is owned by Volkswagen (who owns Bugatti), so I'm not sure they'll be all that keen to let their cut-throat competitor play around in their back yard.

Posted by scott at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)
Try Again

Scientists have announced the discovery of the first known reptile with a true placenta. While live birth is something that's evolved independently many times in the history of life on Earth, it was long thought that only mammals had figured out placental nourishment. Now it looks like perhaps as many as three skink species have done it as well.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
The Wrong Kind of Exciting Sermon

Proof people wobbling off their meds aren't exclusive to North America: a man flipped out and literally tore his eyes out during an Italian church service. No pictures, fortunately.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)
October 05, 2011
Tell Me How This Ends


Tacky? Us? Next thing you'll accuse us of posting drunk videos or something...

Oh stop it. He was a zillionaire before he was 30, and he really did change the world. Hell, at least three times by my count. Very, very few of us will end it knowing our names will be in encyclopedias three hundred years from now.

Posted by scott at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)
Third Hands

Scientists are announcing a breakthrough in getting artificial limbs to provide a sense of touch as well as brain-powered movement. Tests with monkeys have been very positive (and surprisingly free of "let's chop up the monkey" procedures). It's hoped a production system can be fielded within the next three years.

Posted by scott at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)
Enter the Elephant

India and Afghanistan have announced new, closer, agreements for mutual co-operation. That sound you heard was all the heads inside Pakistan exploding all at once. Nothing the Pakistan military, and the ISI in particular, does can be understood unless you realize the main goal is to kick India in the balls as often and as hard as possible. This irrational, reflexive need is the primary destabilizing force in the region. This is likely to generate a reaction about as strong as you'd expect from the Soviet Union if Poland were to join NATO, in 1972.

Except, you know, the USSR could occasionally be effective as a state. Ah, well. It's a lot easier to get a suicide bomber into Mumbai than it is to get one into DC.

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)
~ You've Got a Fast Car ~

The 2012 LeMans 24 hours just got a whole lot more interesting, to me at least. At first I wondered how it could even be legal in their regs, but it seems the organizers have re-created some sort of "run what you brung" unlimited class that this thing will fit in. Here's to hoping it doesn't break!

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)
Razorback Dinosaurs

Scientists have announced the discovery of a significant new set of fossilized dinosaur tracks in southwest Arkansas. The find, which was laid down in the early Cretaceous period, includes the tracks of a very large predator which may be Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, as well as various other dinosaurs.

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
... Not as We Do

Remember when it seemed like every pundit with a microphone in their face was obsessing about how many white people were in the Tea Party? Yeah, about that... Never forget, it's only hypocrisy when they say it is.

Posted by scott at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)
Fast Mormons

A group of engineering students from Brigham Young University has set a new land speed record for an electric vehicle. Appropriately named "Electric Blue," it set a weight-class record of 155.8 mph. It's nothing you'd drive to the grocery store, but it sure does look neat.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM | Comments (0)
October 04, 2011

Using carbon nanotubes to generate a steep temperature gradient, scientists have created yet another version of an invisibility cloak. With video! One of these days something like this will end up on the market, just not sure when.

Posted by scott at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)
Soaring Dragon, Crouching Bot

Ares is featuring new looks at China's upcoming J-20 aircraft and pretty darned large UAV. Even I think that would be a bit much to control with my RC radio. I'll stick with tiny helicopters instead.

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

More is here...
Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Sorority Anthrax

Fans of true crime stories may find this detailed description of how police discovered who they believe was the "anthrax killer" of interest. You'll probably not be all that surprised that the accused was completely unhinged, but just how that kookiness manifested is, as with nearly all such cases, more than a little unexpected.

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)
Meat Science

Good, important, science: physicist and BBQ nut Greg Blonder has figured out what exactly causes the "smoke stall," and how to get around it. The result is excellent meat in a much shorter period of time. Anything that makes it good and gets it to the dinner table faster is fine by me!

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)
Tiny Terror

Fiat has announced future Alfas will be equipped with a 1.8 liter engine capable of producing 300 horsepower. I thought the new fuel economy mandates imposed by the Obama administration would signal the end of power. Turns out it just signaled the end of cheap power. Par for the course, in other words.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)
Boob Armor

A Russian woman's life was saved by her (apparently quite large) fake boobies. Or maybe the knife was just small? Save the boobies!

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)
October 03, 2011
Watching the Royals

A US man has taken "royal obsession" to new heights: the body of a homeless man with a demented fascination with the royal family lay near one of the royal residences for three years before it was discovered. Camping out on an inaccessible island and hiding out in the bushes will have a tendency to cause that sort of thing. Crazy people... is there anything they can't do?

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (0)
Nose Clock

Headline basically says it all: the inside of the nose can help reveal the time of a person's death. It seems tiny finger-like projections called cilia continue to beat after death, and that they slow at a predictable and consistent rate. This should provide a more accurate estimation of time of death, especially in the first 24 hours. Sleep well tonight!

Posted by scott at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)
It's For Your Own Good

While it'd be easy to demonize Congress for the highly publicized new fees Bank of America, among others, is imposing, the reality is, as usual, a little more nuanced. At least we've identified the real problem, so it can be fixed after Obama and the rest of the children are put back in daycare where all the corners are padded and they're not allowed to play with anything dangerous. The grownups can fix this, once they're put back in charge.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 09:41 AM | Comments (1)
Tamám Shud

"Let’s start by sketching out the little that is known for certain. At 7 o’clock on the warm evening of Tuesday, November 30, 1948, jeweler John Bain Lyons and his wife went for a stroll on Somerton Beach, a seaside resort a few miles south of Adelaide. As they walked toward Glenelg, they noticed a smartly dressed man lying on the sand, his head propped against a sea wall..."

What better way to start the month known for the macabre than with a genuine, and deadly, mystery?

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought Of The Day-Map Version

Posted by Ellen at 05:40 AM | Comments (0)
October 02, 2011
Yaeba Crazy!

Crooked teeth are seen as imperfections in many western countries, and particularly in America, where braces are practically a God-given gift to man, but in Japan, a country where almost everything is different, they are considered cute, even adorable. Yaeba means double tooth in Japanese, but it doesn’t describe major dental deformities, but rather the vampire-like look obtained when the two molars crowd the canines pushing them forward to create a fang effect. According to some sources, yaeba gives girls a feline look which is apparently makes them even more attractive, while others say it’s this little imperfection that makes pretty girls look more approachable as opposed to the flawless magazine cover models of the western world.

Yet another way the Japanese are making themselves into living ANIME dolls.

With Video!

Posted by Ellen at 07:39 AM | Comments (0)
October 01, 2011
Manifesto, 2011

I'm a Republican, but a specific sort. I don't care who you sleep with, as long as they're not a child, and you're not doing it on my lawn. I don't care who you worship, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, and you're not doing it on my lawn. I do care when you decide my lawn is too big, and take it from me to give to someone who isn't even supposed to be here. I am a member of the tea party, and am damned tired of apologizing for it.

Posted by scott at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)