November 30, 2011

Posted by Ellen at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)
But Did He Shoot First?

Ok, I gotta hand it to the guys over at ThinkGeek. This is really clever. Thing is, I'm pretty sure they take their models from their general staff. Which means that lady... well, that lady probably has to deal with a lot of requests for metal bikinis, if ya know wha' I mean...

Posted by scott at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)
This Is Not The Wall You Are Looking For.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Newly found coins underneath Jerusalem's Western Wall could change the accepted belief about the construction of one of the world's most sacred sites two millennia ago, Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday.

But archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority now say diggers have found coins underneath the massive foundation stones of the compound's Western Wall that were stamped by a Roman proconsul 20 years after Herod's death. That indicates that Herod did not build the wall — part of which is venerated as Judaism's holiest prayer site — and that construction was not close to being complete when he died.

Read the entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)
Iran: 0, JOOOOS: 2

It looks like somebody, who's organization may or may not rhyme with "rossad," has struck again. Like I said before, if we can keep the Persians from getting their hands on a nuke by means other than open warfare, I'm all for it. That said, I do not doubt for a second their are people out there beavering away at finding a reason for this to all be illegal. Like it matters.

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Bone Printer

Scientists have developed a compound which allows 3D printers to create bone scaffolds. The scaffolds are then implanted into an injury to facilitate regrowth and healing, eventually being completely absorbed by the body. It's thought clinical trials on humans are only a few years away.

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)
Powdered Future

Forbes asks the important questions: what ever happened to Tang? Turns out it's doing fine, albeit not in the US. The stuff was a staple around my house when I was growing up, but I'm not even sure where it's located in our local grocery store. Surely it can't be any worse than Sunny-D?

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)
~ All I Want for Christmas is a Min-ee-gun ~

Leave it to a British paper to get all twitterpated over a US gun club promotion involving Santa Clause. It's not like they're trying to blow him away with AAA or anything. Although a Bofors 40mm would be pretty sweet as a lawn ornament, if you ask me.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Worms... in... Spaaace...

No, really, that's even what they called it: worms in space. You'd think anything that grew up in British garbage pits would be pretty immune to, well, everything. Except, you know, that whole teeth thing.

Posted by scott at 06:54 AM | Comments (0)
Soggy Serpent

Well, I guess running over 2500 water balloons has originality going for it as an advertisement. Then again, I use a Tivo. I haven't seen a non-kid-based advertisement since about 2005. It may have in fact been done before. Just not with a car this cool.

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM | Comments (0)
November 29, 2011
Olivia 1 Month Into Playing The Violin

She's getting there!
Posted by Ellen at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)
Pit of the Ancients

A ground penetrating radar survey of Stonehenge has revealed even more undiscovered secrets. The site is enormous and now that archeologists have access to tools which allow relatively quick-and-cheap surveys like this I'd expect more of these kinds of discoveries to follow. The real bonus is it's completely non-invasive, which is a massive improvement over the old "dig a trench and poke around" method practiced back when I was an undergrad.

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)
I Can Haz Nanny State?

That mayor Bloomberg, always on the lookout for other people's health. A natural outcome of giving distant bureaucrats power to "look out for us" is the disappearance of harmless, even charming, exceptions to the rule. Any rule. Their rule.

Posted by scott at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)
Monster's Child

Stalin's only daughter has died of colon cancer at the age of 85. By the sound of things, she was a colorful, but otherwise unremarkable, lady.

Posted by scott at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)

The boys over at Harvard University's robotics program are at it again, this time creating a starfish-like "soft" robot. The pneumatically-powered device is made of elastic polymers which allow it a much wider range of movement than a more conventional rigid model.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM | Comments (0)
November 28, 2011
Putting The Dead To Work

Durham Crematorium has submitted plans to install turbines in its three burners which can convert the huge amounts of heat generated during the cremation process into electricity.

But crematorium bosses believe surplus energy from the other two turbines - enough to power around 1,500 television sets - could be fed into the National Grid.

The turbines will be powered by steam released by cooling hot gases used in the cremation process, rather than bodies.

Read then entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)
Acting on the Field

I'm really sad they didn't make the end of this clip into a slow-mo instant replay. Funny, but basketball and soccer both have it all over these guys. Hey, what's a little drama among friends?

Posted by scott at 05:51 PM | Comments (0)
Captain Obvious on the Road

With gas prices at record highs and the economy in the toilet, the BBC asks a tough question: why are US teenagers driving less? I guess when your grasp of economics is left-handed answers to these sorts of questions really aren't all that obvious. Oh, and another startling find: everyone in America has stopped driving as much, but now that gas prices have fallen a bit we've started driving a little more. I'm so glad they're here to tell us these things!

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

It seems people are starting to notice a pit outside the Oval Office bigger than it really needs to be. We haven't been down that way in years, so I had no idea. Likely we'll be downtown to see the Christmas tree some time in the next few weeks. Maybe we'll "peer into the depths" then.

Posted by scott at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)
Phobo's Fault Finds Frenetic Foil Hats Hounding

Observation: Russia's delightfully named Phobos-Grunt didn't leave orbit when it should've, and it's turning out to be very difficult to figure out why. Conclusion: It's actually a bio-warfare weapon designed to bring about a global apocalypse. Well, duh!

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)
~ My Name is LUCA ~

And in the, "just when you thought science couldn't get any weirder" file, we find news that at one point in the distant past, life on Earth was characterized by a single, planet-spanning life form. It sort of sounds like the contents of an old jelly jar, spread over the whole globe.

Posted by scott at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)
November 27, 2011

Every tortoise should enjoy a pumpkin.

Posted by Ellen at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)
Topping The Tree 2011


Complete in Polar Bear Pj's!

Posted by Ellen at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)
November 26, 2011
It's Away!

Congratulations to NASA for the successful launch of its latest Mars probe. Getting it started is just the first part. The first easy part. I'm pretty sure nobody's ever tried to land something this heavy on Mars. Good luck and God speed!

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
November 25, 2011
Lemurs Like Thanksgiving Too!

A photo essay on Lemurs having a Thanksgiving meal.

Posted by Ellen at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)
Tourettes Karaoke

Some people take medicine, this man does karaoke!

Posted by Ellen at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)
Brincicle On Film

Using timelapse cameras, specialists recorded the salt water being excluded from the sea ice and sinking to the sea floor.

The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it

Where the so-called 'brinicle' met the sea bed a web of ice formed freezing everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish.

Run starfish! RUN!

Posted by Ellen at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)
Always Know What's Being Tattooed On You First

Originally Rossie tried to have Ryan charged with assault but it turns out this crafty tattoo artist got her to sign a consent form prior to the tattoo and it said that the design was ‘at the artists discretion’, she claims; “he tricked her by drinking a bottle of cheap wine with me and doing tequila shots before I signed it and got the tattoo”. “Actually I was passed out for most of the time, and woke up to this horrible image on my back.”

Oh dear...

Posted by Ellen at 04:44 PM | Comments (0)
November 24, 2011
The Thanksgiving Rocket Year 5!


A photo essay.

Of course there's


















Posted by Ellen at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy holidays everyone, from everybody here at AMCGLTD!

Posted by scott at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)
November 23, 2011
Wolves in the Night

Personally, I'm just fine with native American trackers stalking smugglers in the night. I just wish they were able to, you know, finish the kill. Then again, that'd probably raise the stakes too high. Meh, give 'em what they need to do the job. That'll be enough.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
Let Them Sparkly Bells Ring

Coming to a bridal shower near you: Bella's Twilight wedding dress is now for sale. I think Amber will need to renew her vows for this one.

Posted by scott at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)
Energetic. Dark. Different

By using the Earth's own magnetic field as a clever sort of telescope, scientists seem to have found a confirmation that dark energy exists. I think. Astrophysics is hard! For all I know the paper may actually say chocolate and peanut butter taste good together.

Posted by scott at 06:24 AM | Comments (0)
November 22, 2011
Curiosity's Start

NASA's huge new Mars rover is set to launch this Saturday, and has a nice overview of the mission. Here's to hoping they have better luck than the Russians, and be sure to wave at their probe as you go by!

Posted by scott at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
Electric Eyes

Scientists have created electronic contact lenses. While at the moment they're only meant for rabbits, and can only display a single pixel, the goal is to create high-resolution displays for any manner of uses. I dunno. Sounds pretty expensive to me.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
November 21, 2011
Four on the Floor

Most of the time Jack Russel terriers are annoying with their manic energy. Sometimes, though, sometimes it has a purpose. Me, I'd be worried about doggy miscalculating things and getting run over. Then again all the dogs I've been around have been enthusiastic but not particularly bright. Maybe this one's different?

Posted by scott at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)
Tales of Future's Past

So, will Nial Ferguson's future history come to pass? I agree with just about everything in there, except for the final item of Europe somehow bailing out Israel. Their incompetence at even basic combined military maneuvers and the all-to-obvious antisemitism of its ruling classes would, to me, preclude such a rescue. The rest? It darned well could happen. If only it would happen.

Posted by scott at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)
Someone's Been Busy

I was wondering why XKCD didn't have an update this morning. Now I know why he was running late. Tip: click the graphic, then use your mouse wheel to zoom in and out. That's the only way you'll see it all. My head started spinning trying to figure out that US Household Income section, and didn't stop. Hasn't stopped.

Posted by scott at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

Engineers at Harvard University have teamed with a Swiss robot manufacturer to create simple, cheap robots which can communicate and demonstrate basic behaviors. The ultimate goal is to create devices which can do things like dig to find earthquake survivors, or even shore up buildings which are threatening to collapse. Pretty good for a critter not much bigger than a quarter.

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

So it would seem that, after decades of trying, the porn industry has finally stumbled across a male actor women like (article is completely SFW.) The in-depth article itself shows "James Deen" to be a likeable kid with his head screwed on straight. Let's hope he keeps it that way.

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)
The Groping Ghost of Herne Bay

She said: "It's like an octopus. It started four months ago. I was lying in bed when I felt this creepy pair of hands.

"I kicked frantically and it went away. Next time it came I hurled the duvet on to the floor!

"But the ghost keeps coming back. I've tried sleeping without the duvet. But it started shaking my mattress.

I assume this is a white family. Who else but us crazy white people would STAY in an haunted house. Let alone buy a new mattress to see if the haunting stops.
Posted by Ellen at 05:27 AM | Comments (0)
Under The Lake

Across the state, receding lakes have revealed a prehistoric skull, ancient tools, fossils and a small cemetery that appears to contain the graves of freed slaves. Some of the discoveries have attracted interest from local historians, and looters also have scavenged for pieces of history. More than two dozen looters have been arrested at one site.

"In an odd way, this drought has provided an opportunity to view and document, where appropriate, some of these finds and understand what they consist of," said Pat Mercado-Allinger, the Texas Historical Commission's archeological division director. "Most people in Texas probably didn't realize what was under these lakes."

Read the entire here.

Don't forget to read the comments! Sometimes those are laugh out loud funny!

A very dry No-Prize goes out to Suzanne for the link!

Posted by Ellen at 05:15 AM | Comments (0)
November 20, 2011
She's a Brick... House...

And in the, "you just can't make this sh-t up" category, we have a "trans gendered woman" who injected a client's buttocks with cement. With fix-a-flat mixed in, no less. Because, you know, it needs to be sticky I guess. Fortunately nobody died, but it's not from a lack of trying.

Posted by scott at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)
November 19, 2011
Um.. Excuse Me!?


Normally I wear a mask and eye gear when I clean cat teeth. I was in the process of cleaning up when my parrot, Swoozie decided to fly onto my shoulder to hang out. My co-worker made me re-enact the dental to get this pix.

*The birds came to work with me today because Scott was cleaning the oven.*

Posted by Ellen at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)
Lovely Owl

Simply delightful! ENJOY!

Posted by Ellen at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)
November 18, 2011
Not Nice Bird...

Posted by Ellen at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)
He Likes to Move-It Move-It

Posted by scott at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)
Trooper Time

And now, carbon fiber Storm Troopers. Price is only quoted as roughly the same as "a nice car," which I'm taking to mean north of $20,000. When I was a kid I desperately wanted one of these things, but even back in the 70s the price for the helmet was something like $150 or more. And these are the bad guys, people! It doesn't matter how cool they look, you're supposed to boo them!

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Massive Indignation!

A well-known progressive website has "suddenly" discovered what everyone else seems to have known about for a very long time. Ok, folks, be prepared to gasp in horror. Thinkprogress has found out banks charge fees to use other banks' ATM machines. And some of those fees are expensive! And they hurt "its most vulnerable customers!"

Bank of America has charged fees like this for at least fifteen years. I know because that's how long I've had my accounts with them. And all the ATMs I've ever used charge fees when using a non-customer account. Sometimes the fee is expensive.

That's why I avoid it whenever possible by only using Bank of America ATMs. There's one right down the road from my house, and for a long time there was another just down the street from my workplace. Then it's completely free, and always has been. I'm just about dead certain the "victim" at the start of the article knows where at least one Bank of America ATM is somewhere. It may not be convenient, and it may be quite difficult to reach, but it's out there somewhere and you'd think someone who's counting every damned penny would know that and use it.

Banks have been quietly raising fees because, as has been covered here and elsewhere, they need to cover losses imposed when federal legislation capped the fees they could charge for business transactions. And just how many times does a PIN number have to be wrong before a fee is charged?

And then, right on time, comes a call for using the state's iron fist: "big banks are ... acting as middlemen for what should be publicly provided services." Worked that out for himself, he did, what "should" and "should not" be. Because the state does such a stellar job administering all the other publicly provided services. You know, like the DMV, the Post Office and, hey, the unemployment office too! They're awesome!

So, let's spin the bottle the other way: state unemployment offices are trying to help make benefits easier to access and more resistant to fraud. They contract with a bank to provide pre-paid ATM cards which can be used free of charge with that bank's ATMs. It costs money to provide this service, so the bank charges the state a fee. Since banks are for-profit institutions, they will be making a little more money than it actually costs to do the job.

ATMs are, at heart, boxes full of money left unattended for long periods of time in locations that aren't always very secure. It's expensive to make them tough enough to resist Jimmy McCrowbar, and when Jonny McTowWinch comes along they get destroyed. You have to pay two guys with shotguns and an armored truck enough to make it worth risking a confrontation with Billy McGlockNine to keep them filled with cash. None of this is free, and some of it is dangerous. Hence the most convenient ATMs are also the ones which charge the highest fees.

But, of course, none of this makes any difference to a stalwart progressive or liberal. Because Ms. Unemployed's choices are constrained, it means she has no choice at all. Only the power of the state can rescue her from this death by a thousand cuts! And so, as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the power of the state must be used to force justice to be done.

Because, you know, it's worked so very well so far.

Posted by scott at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)
Persistence and Memory

Today leads us to two studies on memory: one which claims walking through doorways makes you forget, and another which claims you can remember things even when you think you can't. I'd talk more about it, but I need to remember where I put my keys last night.

Posted by scott at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)
Your Distant, Batty Cousin

Nestled inside this lightweight piece on bats is the startling assertion at least some of them might have evolved from primates. If the theory were based on genetics I'd be intrigued, but (according to the article) it's based on morphology, which is a lot easier to get wrong. Quick! Someone get that man a gene sequencer!

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)
November 17, 2011
Symbol Surprise

Follow-up: according to a guy who works for NASA, those weird symbols in the Chinese desert are spy satellite targets. Even better, the design of the targets may end up revealing at least some of their capabilities. I guess it's not like you can hold a calibration target in front of the camera before you start using it, eh?

Posted by scott at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)
Big Boom

The Air Force has officially taken delivery of its first production bunker-busters. I seem to recall the tests involved pushing one out the back of a C-130, but it seems now they'll fit in a B-52 or B-2. No word on the red-headed stepchild B-1. If the bad guys dig, it's nice to know we may be able to dig deeper.

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)
Gas & Go

Passengers on an an airline from India to Britain were recently told to pay for gas or find another ride. Fortunately they were confronted with the request while on the ground. Silly people. Doing it in the air would've been much more effective!

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
Bacon in Bed

I've long suspected there was a limit to the good bacon could do. Now I've found it. All the women I know are quite meticulous with their hygiene, and understandably so. That makes me think no matter how, well, tasty things are, this one's a non-starter.

Posted by scott at 06:58 AM | Comments (0)
Poof Ping

News you can use: women's "gaydar" accuracy varies with their hormonal cycle. Can't be true. Requires women to be wrong, which all married men know just doesn't happen.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
November 16, 2011
Jeep Cash

Savvy Sergio is spending 1.7 billion to update the Toledo Jeep plant in preparation for new products based on the Fiat Compact platform. Why do I care? Well, they're adding jobs to an American plant, an old unionized one at that. It'll be interesting to see how well that goes. And, you know, just incidentally, that would be the logical place for, oh... I don't know... maybe an Alfa SUV to emerge. But that's just a coincidence...

Posted by scott at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)
But Where's the BabyDaddy?

Scientists have discovered a weirdly different asteroid which may represent a chunk of the same stuff from which the Earth was formed. You know, I think that whole "never end a sentence with a preposition" rule I learned long ago was mostly meant to allow pompous people to continue sounding pompous while preaching to everyone else who didn't. "From which the Earth was formed" is quite lyrical, I'll grant you that, but I'm not trying to translate the Bible, I'm just linking up an article.

Grammar sucks. And yes, yes, I know all about the "something up with which I will not put" quote. I said I don't often sound pompous. I didn't say I never... wait. What was the question again?

Posted by scott at 12:12 PM | Comments (0)
Pushin' Up Daisies Along the Yellow Brick Road

One of the last surviving munchkins has died. No word in the article if he left any family behind, and it's not clear (to me anyway) if there are two or three remaining munchkin actors left alive. Still, it sounds like he had a good time with his fame, and 93 is a great run. Salut!

Posted by scott at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
~ Come Fly With Me / Let's Fly Let's Fly Away ~

A bit of "lolcat-ism" in the title, I think, but two aerial demonstration teams passing in front of the world's tallest building is still darned cool. Yeah, I think the picture looks a little strange, too, but if you zoom in the planes look normal enough. It might have something to do with the color balance.

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 07:06 AM | Comments (1)

Scientists have for the first time created a complete biological synapse on a computer chip. The goal is to create neural analogs of whole sections of the human brain for study. It may also allow the construction of replacement sections to treat diseases. Cyber-spares, FTW!

Posted by scott at 06:46 AM | Comments (0)
When Hippos Attack

Remember the guy who'd raised himself a tame hippo? Yeah, that ended about like you'd think it would. I don't really trust any of our pets to be civilized, but they're all less than 1/10th my size. No way I'd try to even make friends with something that weighed more than my car.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM | Comments (0)
November 15, 2011
When Fun=Well...Bird.

Thanks Bird.

Posted by Ellen at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)


With due respect, this note misses the point. Religion is, and always shall be, fundamental to the human mystery. Those who deny it, in my experience, do so with what is unmistakably religious fervor. By doing so they close the circle and confirm the fact in their denial of it.

By archeological evidence, our species first spent their time figuring out the tools needed to survive the harsh reality of a high-maintenance body in a creature fit only to live on the margins. Immediately after doing that, humanity spent almost all the rest of its history (depending on where you start counting, at least 35,000 years) trying to figure out what being human actually meant. This was, in other words, considered the most important thing humans could do once they'd worked out how not to starve or get eaten.

In this our species has succeeded about seven times*, creating the enduring and fantastically sophisticated constructs now known as religions. One of these, Zoroastrianism, has survived for a significant percentage of the history of civilization, and all but one have functioned without interruption for more than two thousand years. Two *thousand* years. Compared to these achievements, which are it must be remembered the distillation of the human experience across a span of time almost literally incomprehensible to a modern mind, the few centuries of secular humanism and the industrial revolution are but a blip on the radar screen, the half-second tick on a timeline that literally fades out into the dawn of history.

Make no mistake, these secular achievements are considerable. It is absolutely no exaggeration to say we are living in the best times ever experienced in human history. But these achievements have come at a staggering cost, one which was levied precisely and exclusively by humans who chose to turn their backs on the religions of their fathers. Atheists and humanists who revile the slaughters perpetrated by the great belief systems they repudiate must do so by completely ignoring the mounds of corpses created by their own. Corpses, it must be pointed out, who's numbers dwarf the count of the living AND the dead of those earlier times, and who's stink was smelled by people still alive today. It is to their discredit they are able to do it so very easily.

Worse still, it is obvious to just about everyone how fragile our modern world really is, and nobody's sure how long, or even if, it will endure. The secular structures those without faith take such pride in can only function, can only EXIST, in the tropical rainforests of prosperity we quite suddenly find ourselves living in today. When genuine chaos, the kind that sees barbarians prizing the bronze off the roof of the Senate, threatens, they will fail, and in their failing will see the extinction of those who hold them.

Systems of belief, religions, endure because THEY WORK. They preserve, in mighty detail, how to survive and prosper in the most brutal and inhumane conditions imaginable. When these systems were being worked out, the result of failure was not a smelly tent in a gigantic city, it was oblivion. They struggle today precisely because they were created when prosperity was an ephemeral wisp, something the king enjoyed on the mountaintop until death claimed him and chaos ran riot again. They are only slowly, and very suspiciously, coming around to the idea that the world we live in today, a world literally without precedence in its wealth and, most importantly, endurance, might actually represent how things will be for a long time to come.

But, when an institution's memory spans millennia, such prosperity is still suspiciously swift, violent, and terrifyingly ephemeral. Those who leave the fold in their rush to embrace it have completely and repeatedly failed to bring about the Utopia their secular leaders promised, with results that lead to torture, starvation, and death in all too chilling a frequency. Religions have, will, and should bide their time and preserve their traditions, which have withstood a test of time far beyond anything recently faced.

*Anyone else wonder if religion started as a joke, then someone took it way too seriously?*

The observation is as droll as it is puerile, and compares favorably with graffiti decorating the various ruins of the last great civilization which decided to turn away from the faith of their fathers and turn living men into gods. The experience, and fate, of the Principate, more commonly known as the (pre-Christian) Roman Empire, is instructive.

* In rough order of origin: Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Islam.

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)
Tell 'em That It's Human Nature

David Brooks: "First came the atrocity, then came the vanity. The atrocity is what Jerry Sandusky has been accused of doing at Penn State. The vanity is the outraged reaction of a zillion commentators over the past week, whose indignation is based on the assumption that if they had been in Joe Paterno’s shoes, or assistant coach Mike McQueary’s shoes, they would have behaved better. They would have taken action and stopped any sexual assaults."

I try, very hard, to always remind myself that I should be very glad I've never been put in a situation like that. I would very much like to think I'd do the right thing. It's good to be reminded that, no matter what, human nature means there's a chance I might not. Humbling, that.

Posted by scott at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
Dragon's Designs

Not content with building eerie, empty cities, the Chinese have also been building weird, abandoned structures in the desert. When they're not talking politics, the Slashdot guys can be useful commentators, and so their ideas are mostly interesting. Has someone tried asking them what it all is yet?

Posted by scott at 06:42 AM | Comments (0)
November 14, 2011
Speaking of Things That Go Boom

It would seem that, once again, Israel has figured out how to slow Iran down without starting a war. Unfortunately that's probably all they've managed to do, just slow them down. I'm not sure what, if anything, will actually stop them, but it is nice to think a whole bunch of Persians are having trouble sleeping tonight courtesy of "the JOOOOOS!!!"

Posted by scott at 01:22 PM | Comments (1)
Volcano Go Boom

Nothing quite like a volcano shooting lava 1200 feet into the air to start the week. Scientists are claiming that, for now, the eruption poses no risk to people living nearby. The worry is that seismic activity may shift the flows and then there will be risks. In the meantime, check out the video!

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
Spider Redux

Finally, Fiat listens: Alfa Romeo to target the next Spider at the Miata. The market has been wide open for an inexpensive, rear wheel drive, front engined competitor to the MX-5 since almost the day it debuted. Each time a competitor tried, they altered the formula by putting the engine in the back, using a hard top, or making it ugly and basing it off econobox innards. The Miata's still here, they're all gone. Will Alfa get it right this time? Hey, it's Alfa, they can mess up selling candy to kids. But it'll be fun to watch them try!

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

Efforts to develop in-vitro meat for human consumption seem to be proceeding apace. The point that this concept actually isn't as gross as how industrial meat packing works is well taken. Oh, and the "secret funder?" I'd dig around in PETA's closet first to find them.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM | Comments (1)
Sounds About Right

From the "Bureau of Pissing Women Off" we have a study which concludes women are incurable gossip hounds incapable of keeping a secret longer than 32 minutes. Of course, this is like saying only women watch soap operas because we asked a bunch of women about them. Including men in the survey, I would think, would be nearly as revealing.

Posted by scott at 06:30 AM | Comments (0)
November 13, 2011
Oh, The Things They'll Do

Olivia is now, publicly and officially, a Southerner. While I was trying to pick out a CD just now, behind me I hear, "Daddy! Watch this!" I turned around and there she was, one foot on a wobbly exercise ball, one hand on the (hard wood) coffee table, the other foot busily trying to make contact with another exercise ball. Sorry, the visions of an ER visit and my frantic grabbing to save her prevented me from taking a picture.

Yes, yes, I know, but actually this particular apple comes from her uncle's tree.

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

Coming soon to a Wal Mart near you: a nanotech spray that makes lots of different things "super hydrophobic." Why yes, I will be buying six cans for the floorboards... oh, who am I kidding... the whole Spider. And my shoes. And all of Olivia.

Posted by scott at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)
Really? This Is A Problem?

Illinoisans to legally scoop up road kill.

In action Thursday, senators voted 52-0 in favor of the proposed law, which is designed to allow people to collect dead mammals found on roadways.

How many times can f*$ing yuck be used in a sentence?

Posted by Ellen at 05:21 AM | Comments (0)
A Man Moment

When money got tight for the Younger family in the late 1980s, Herb made a painful decision. He hesitantly sold the 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS he had bought brand new in the fall of 1964. Two decades later his sons set out on a mission to get their father his Impala back.

Did it suddenly get dusty in here?

Posted by Ellen at 05:17 AM | Comments (0)
November 12, 2011
My Other Car's A...

Brad Pitt just jumped about sixty notches up my cool ladder. Why? He bought his very own T-54. It's about damned time an A-list celebrity got on with doing something useful with his fortune. Know'wha'ah'mean?

Posted by scott at 05:13 PM | Comments (0)
November 11, 2011
Cobra Cat Gonna Git U

Ellen says she sees cats at her clinic do this all the time. I tell her I see belly dancers do that at shows all the time. She thought about it, then nodded.

Posted by scott at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)
Or You Can Just, You Know, Drink It?

Just when you thought teens had figured out every weird way to get drunk, they discover vodka tampons and butt bongs. Look, I enjoy a good drink as much as the next guy, but I do have boundaries. Most especially those involving access to my backside.

Posted by scott at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)
Old Farts

Scientists have for the first time found a pocket of gas who's composition is nearly identical to what it was when the universe was just the barest fraction of its current age. The find confirms predictions made by the venerable Big Bang theory.

Posted by scott at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
A Look Back at an Old Lion

Carrie Fisher's new book apparently has a few revelations about the last Kennedy which are, if you've ever followed any of the Kennedys, well in line with past behavior. But what I found much more interesting was this twenty-plus years old account of what Ted Kennedy's life looked like just as the sun began to set on it. I recall reading at least part of the piece when it first came out. I think it's even more interesting now, in a kind of time-machine-y sort of way.

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
Faces Of...

While, technically, this is not really a "faces of meth," it's close enough for me to shudder. The processes they use to make the stuff are incredibly flammable, after all. Proof positive there are things far, far worse than an addiction to Facebook.

Posted by scott at 06:40 AM | Comments (0)
November 10, 2011
Gun Fun

So, do you think a machine gun fished out of a bog, where it'd been sitting for 70 years after the Spitfire that carried it crashed, will still work? Let's find out! One of those moments which definitely pay for all the others spent digging around in the muck.

Posted by scott at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)
Smart Tapestry

Two words: cotton transistors. They sound expensive, and not particularly powerful, but having a carpet that can count the number of people standing on it is pretty neat. I'd be much more interested in one that'd zap a cat trying to pee on it, but that's just me.

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)
Tests and Answers

While everyone is (understandably) chattering about Perry's appalling gaffe in last night's debate, others are starting to mention just how well Cain did. My take-away: "When these two accusers went public, it quickly became apparent why anonymity had been to their advantage. Bialek was revealed to have a troubled financial history, having declared bankruptcy twice, been sued for bad debts and evicted from an apartment .... And it was reported that Kraushaar, after leaving the restaurant association, filed a complaint against her next employer, the Immigration and Naturalization Service ... One of her complaints was about an innocuously humorous e-mail about whether computers are male or female."

It's still very much Romney's race to lose (the Iowa Election Markets judge him 90% likely to win at this point), but I most definitely would rather Cain get the nod. That said, I've long known which candidate I'll be voting for, and whoever it is won't have a (D) near their name.

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Your Surreal Thought Of The Day

Those crazy Asians are at it again!

It's a fun video and family friendly.

Posted by Ellen at 06:33 AM | Comments (0)
November 09, 2011
Honey Hunting

It would seem that most honey available in stores technically isn't honey. Which just makes the giant jars of the stuff Suzanne brings down from New York occasionally that much more valuable... she actually knows the beekeeper who produces it. It sniffs of a hit piece by organic growers but, considering China's safety record on, well, basically anything they sell, it would still be a cause of some concern. The more you know!

Posted by scott at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)
Tiny Terror

The smallest arthropod fossil yet found has been successfully imaged by a UK university team. The 50 million-year-old mite, which was found on a fossilised spider, is just 170 millionths of a metre long.

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)
Fingers Crossed!

While Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission is still in peril, NASA is preparing to launch its own record-setting Mars mission. The previous rovers were pretty spare compared to this monster, which is designed to operate year-round for who knows how long a period of time. It's even got frikken lasers!

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
That's Really Helpful

Having solved all other problems, the Obama administration is now out to improve the image of the American Christmas tree. By, naturally, imposing a .15c tax on each and every one sold. I get it now, you all are absolutely right. The only way to success is to give the federal government even more money and power. Look at how effective they are with what they already have!

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
So That We May Know Them By Their Limping

You be the judge: does this prove the occupy movement is antisemitic? They're definitely obnoxious. All it takes is the rumor of bad behavior for the media to paint the entire Tea Party movement as dangerously racist, yet with confirmed, and increasing, accounts of theft, assault, and even rape, the occupy movements are still portrayed as wholesomely innocent.

Color me unsurprised.

Posted by scott at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)
Asimo-vin' On

Remember the astronaut-like robot Honda was showing off a few years ago? they've upgraded it, pretty impressively. Now not only will it get a beer, apparently it will open and pour it, too. No word on when, or even if, this one will ever see production, but it looks like C3PO is not all that far away after all. With video!

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)
Dragon's Consequence

A well-intentioned effort to control greenhouse gasses may be on the verge of going completely pear-shaped. Yet another example of not thinking past stage one: if you pay people for piece-work, they'll make more, not less, of what you're paying them for.

Posted by scott at 06:37 AM | Comments (0)
Dance Dance Alfa

I dunno, I guess it's cool that d-bag hipsters like Alfas too. I mean, they gotta drive something, right? I think it would've been cooler if they were goths, but I'm not sure those exist anymore. All the ones I know now have mortgages & lawn mowers, and tend to spend much more time in their garden than at the club.

Posted by scott at 06:27 AM | Comments (0)
November 08, 2011
Peace Bagels

A pair of Muslim cab drivers have saved one of New York City's oldest kosher bakeries. The new owners fully intend to maintain the traditions of the business, and customers (so far) seem to be pleased. A good thing!

Posted by scott at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)
Food Fight

So, how many of these 10 "food myths that just won't die" do you believe in? I'd never even heard of the "pregnant women shouldn't eat sushi" one but it's just as well. I mean, it's not like I'm going to be eating the stuff when I'm pregnant, ya know?

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)
You Say That Like It's a Bad Thing

Surprising only because it's surprising: the US is becoming an increasingly Republican country. The genuinely unexpected: "Republicanism is most pronounced and is growing fastest among America's least well-off, most blue collar states with the bleakest futures. Democratic identification remains strongest in richer, better-educated, more-diverse, and more prosperous states.

Republicanism is increasingly the politics of the economically left behind. "

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

Scientists have for the first time created a simple and effective way for computers to control yeast. Which at first sounds, well, not that big of a deal. According to the article, though, the tech will likely have applications in pharmaceutical production. In other words, cheap drugs.

Posted by scott at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)
Pay Up or Get Dug Up

MADRID — Pushed for space, a Spanish cemetery has begun placing stickers on thousands of burial sites whose leases are up as a warning to relatives or caretakers to pay up or face possible eviction.

The sticker campaign was decided upon to coincide with the Nov. 1 Roman Catholic holiday on which people visit graveyards. Abadia said that since then hundreds of people had called to make inquiries about grave of their relatives.

Nowadays, Spanish cemeteries normally place coffins or cremated ash urns in niches above ground.

Read the rest of the here

Posted by Ellen at 06:56 AM | Comments (0)
Bite Back

Mr Nyaumbe bit the snake on the tip of the tail during the exhausting battle in the village of Sabaki.

Mr Nyaumbe used his shirt to smother the snake's head and prevent it from swallowing him.

Don't worry Mom, Ori ca't drag you up a tree yet.

Posted by Ellen at 06:50 AM | Comments (0)
Go, Granny, Go!

An 85 year old great-grandmother finally got her wish, to land an 850 pound marlin. The picture's enough to make me call Suzanne to make sure she knows where her mother has been lately. Yes, I know, but it was enough to make me look twice.

Posted by scott at 06:23 AM | Comments (1)
November 07, 2011
I Can See My House From Here

There are few better ways to start the day than with an extensive collections of photos from the ISS. Except, apparently, the one marked "Indianapolis Speedway" isn't actually of that race track. I thought it looked a little strange, myself. One commenter thinks it's a test track in Maryland somewhere.

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
Hell Camp

Me, I predicted the occupy movement would evaporate like dry ice when the weather turned. It seems to be going in a different, and worse, direction as time goes on.

Posted by scott at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)
Candy Science

By using gummy bears and cellphones, scientists are trying to study the massive underwater waves that dominate the lower areas of the planet's oceans. Unfortunately one of the waves crushed the camera which was supposed to be filming the experiments, so they're going to start it all over again. Like it wasn't cool enough to begin with.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
November 06, 2011

Posted by Ellen at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)
Princesses and Queens

Ellen's favorite London tabloid is carrying a rambling, but nonetheless readable, reminisce from the bronze-bikini-turned-old-white-lady chick. Getting pushed into a pool is what it takes to become Liz Taylor's friend? Yeah, I guess she really was as weird as everyone said she was.

Posted by scott at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)
Yeah... What's Up with That?

Remember how odd China and Japan are? A challenger has appeared. It seems something about recovering from a totalitarian disaster brings out the sincerely weird in people. We'll have to see just how it plays out.

Posted by scott at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)
November 05, 2011
Paging Soundgarden, White Courtesy Phone Please

By using the Hubble telescope and an interesting effect of the universe itself, scientists have for the first time directly imaged the accretion disk surrounding a black hole. Relativity is a very strange beast, one easy to disbelieve. The problem is, if it really weren't true, trick like this wouldn't exist.

Posted by scott at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)
What a Comforting Thought

Some countries, well, let's be honest. All countries except one protect their nukes with sophisticated security and heavily defended bunkers. The one hold-out? They create "the world’s most dangerous 1-800-FLOWERS truck." Gives you that "not-so-safe" feeling, eh?

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
Andy Rooney DED

CBS News

Andy Rooney, the "60 Minutes" commentator known to generations for his wry, humorous and contentious television essays - a unique genre he is credited with inventing - died today. He was 92 and had homes in New York City, Rensseleaerville, N.Y. and Rowayton, Conn.

Read then entire article here

Posted by Ellen at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)
November 04, 2011
My intimidation, let me show you it.

My brother Jeff and I watched this kid blast around a field doing inhuman maneuvers with a $3000 helicopter literally bigger than he was not a month ago. Jeff said I should ask him about settings for my bitty chopper. Which I didn't. Gotta preserve the dignity somehow. Such as it is.

Posted by scott at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)
That's a Party!

A Russian man has been arrested in relation to a string of grave robberies after the remains of 20 women he'd dressed himself were found in his house. Look, it's all fun and games to make jokes about how much women talk, but this is taking it a little far, don't you think?

Posted by scott at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)
Puppet Occupiers

Leave it to The Nation to spend, what, five thousand words or so sympathizing with a guy who can't get a job with his $35,000 degree in puppetry. Yes, puppetry. While useful in a, "no, really, they are all a bunch of dreamy losers" way, the article also proves a second point.

A key to understanding progressives is getting your head around their belief that constraining someone's choices is the same thing as having no choices at all. While you and I may see this guy's unemployment as the logical result of his bad decisions, progressives see it as an example of the corrupt system. His lack of work is caused by corporate greed sucking away the money and the morals required to pay this guy to do exactly as he pleases. From that point of view it's quite logical to take the next step. If immoral corporations and greedy rich people are what really stand in the way of his $250,000 a year puppeteer job, then let's use the power of the state to take that money and force them to do the right thing with it.

As with so many other progressive and liberal ideas, even if they got what they wanted it wouldn't work. If the past experiments with socialism have proven anything, it's that when you take money from people who make it and give it to people who don't, the people making the money will stop. Which leads us to another leitmotif of the left: human nature is changeable. The reason all those other experiments failed had nothing to do with the fact the ideas are wrong. No, sir, they failed because the people involved weren't smart enough, talented enough, or strong enough to follow them through to success. We aren't them, so this time will be different. It's perfectly fine to try the same social recipe again. It will work because we know it will!

The problem for them is the horse has truly left the barn. After 2006, and especially after 2008, Democrats held all the cards required to implement as much of a progressive agenda as they dared. We're standing in the middle of that "success," and every poll I've seen is showing not just defeat for them, but outright debacle. Nobody knows yet who the Republican nominee will be but it doesn't matter much. The Republican president who replaces Obama will have, as he did, super majorities in both sides of Congress. Even better, unlike Democrats, when Republicans get put in charge Stuff Gets Done. True, sometimes it's not the right stuff, but the Democrats have made such a spectacular mess of things the cleanup effort should keep the social conservatives too busy to cause too much trouble.

The US is a coiled spring right now. Everything I've read is about how businesses are sitting on huge piles of cash, too afraid of or constrained by the current administration to do anything with it. Put the right people in charge and the whole thing will come undone with a mighty "SPROING!" I definitely won't be worrying about the occupiers then, because they'll all have jobs.

Who knows, if the economy grows fast and far enough, that guy might even get to do puppetry in one.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)
But What About the Sharks?

Scientists are planning to build a laser so powerful it can tear a hole in the universe. Presumably a very small, very safe hole, right? At any rate, the experiments are meant to prove, or disprove, various cosmological theories which predict exotic particles will appear at the energies the device will generate.

Posted by scott at 07:05 AM | Comments (0)
Outta the Park

So, when your culture's weapons of choice have included throwing stars, whipping chains, and kung-fu swords, what do you turn to for self defense? Baseball bat. It's a club shaped to maximize hitting power. What do you expect?

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)
November 03, 2011
Tooth Time

By using new dating techniques, scientists have discovered modern humans may have been in Europe quite a bit earlier than previously thought. The find has implications for the continuing mystery of just what our ancestors did when they first encountered neandertals, and what they may have done in turn.

Posted by scott at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)
Danger Close

Hacker group Anonymous is learning it's all fun and games until the cartel starts sniffing around your house. I learned a very long time ago there's a certain sort of guy you do not mess around with. These guys make those look like pansies. Pro tip: stick to corporations and the US Government. They won't pull your tongue through your neck just to prove they can.

Posted by scott at 06:53 AM | Comments (0)
There's a Snake in the Wha???

Sometimes there's no improving the Fark headline: Sorry. Cannot complete transaction. Current balance on your account is SNAKE. A really small, presumably harmless, and very angry snake, to be exact. No, Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
November 02, 2011
Yes, Yes We Are

Couldn't have said it better myself:

The first generation to do worse than its parents? Please. Been there. Generation X was told that so many times that it can't even read those words without hearing Winona Ryder's voice in its heads ... Generation X is tired of your sense of entitlement. Generation X also graduated during a recession. It had even shittier jobs, and actually had to pay for its own music ... Generation X is used to being fucked over. It lost its meager savings in the dot-com bust. Then came George Bush, and 9/11, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Generation X bore the brunt of all that. And then came the housing crisis.

Read the whole thing, because it just gets better and better.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
So That We May Know Them By Their Limping

Color me unsurprised: when arrest records are cross-referenced with addresses, the most militant occupiers turn out to be "The One Percent." Or at least live in a house owned by one. Class warfare? Yes, but more of the “Lower Elites” vs. “Upper Elites,” not us common folk vs. some ephemeral slice of demographic.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)
When Vultures Attack

Bird owners everywhere know one of their great talents is chaos. They can foul things up all out of proportion to their size and weight. Don't believe me? check out what one does when he encounters a paraglider. Hooray for safety chutes!

Posted by scott at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)

14 cars and trucks are heading for the dustbin of history this year, are any of your favorites on the list? Ellen wanted an HHR because it was the closest thing to her dearly-departed PT Cruiser. Now it's gone as well. Aside from the ability to fool most cops who didn't look very closely, the Crown Vic didn't have anything going for it. It'd be nice to think they'll replace all these with better cars. Hope springs eternal, I suppose.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM | Comments (0)
Meal A Tad Too Big?

A Burmese python slithering through the Everglades proved that her eyes weren't bigger than her stomach, swallowing intact a 76-pound deer. At 15.65 feet, the python isn't the largest on record. But the size of her prey both impresses and concerns state and federal wildlife scientists and land managers trying to control the non-native species.

"They are large exotic animals that are not naturally from this area," said Randy Smith, spokesperson for the South Florida Water Management District. "The potential to wreak havoc on the natural Florida wildlife ... they don't have true enemies."

Contractors spraying exotic vegetation Thursday came across the female python on an island about 20 miles from Everglades National Park, Smith told CNN Tuesday. It was dispatched, by protocol, with a single shotgun blast to the head.

Well that sucks, but this is what happens when irresponsible people own giant snakes. With picture!

Posted by Ellen at 05:49 AM | Comments (0)
Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Nicole said that the morning after the arrest, she emailed Safeway to say not paying for the sandwiches was an honest mistake. "It was just a slip, a mommy-brain moment, I guess," she said. Houghton said Safeway accepts her assurance that she simply forgot to pay.

***Here's and idea! Don't eat when you shop! Since when is a grocery store a restaurant? Those places are filithy!*** Nicole said she and her husband were told they were banned from the store for one year. ***Pity Party*** Houghton said she wasn't sure who would have told them that, but Safeway welcomes the family back. Grocery shopping is a chore that now bring some anxiety, Nicole said, adding that she has read countless comments online criticizing her for eating before paying.

***Keep reading them. Just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you are extra special. Babies are born every day. Eat before you go out.***

Really? I'm not totally heartless. Safeway you suck for arresting two idiots who decided to eat while shopping. That is a No-No. You suck even more for calling child welfare and stressing everyone out. You handled the situation poorly.

Again, who the hell eats in a grocery store? You might as well eat off a public toilet seat.

Read entire asinine article here.

Posted by Ellen at 05:37 AM | Comments (0)
November 01, 2011
Paging Larry Niven, White Courtesy Phone Please

When I first read the news that scientists are finding evidence that our ancient ancestors interbred with other hominid species, I immediately thought, "Rishathra!" Since I know a significant minority of underprivileged readers are likely unfamiliar with Larry Niven's Ringworld series, I figured a link to the definition of the term would be in order. When I go there what do I find? Someone's already updated the entry to reflect the new science. Wikipedia. Such a wonderful thing.

Posted by scott at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)
God's Belly Button Lint

Scientists are speculating that massive dust clouds found surrounding black holes may be the remains of crushed planets. Exactly why they think this isn't discussed in the article. Must've been a slow news day over at

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