Yes. Next question? A moderate atheist is wondering if his belief system has become infested with its own bizarre kind of fundamentalist. The article includes a defense of faith quite like my own. But I'm a heathen Buddhist, so what do I know?
Scientists have announced the discovery of a distinctly "upsized" bug. The giant Mesozoic flea was ten times bigger than its modern descendants, probably because it had to chew on dinosaurs to survive. On the upside, it didn't have the legs a modern flea has, so it'd have to crawl on you instead of jump on you. Sleep well tonight!
Check out who's going to be in the new season of Top Gear. That'll be at least two actors who've played the Doctor featured now, think. I would really love for Fios to get BBC America in HD before the new season is broadcast here, but they seem to be more interested in adding foreign language channels. Pity.
Another year, another candidate for "Jesus's final resting place." While interesting in a "so that's how they buried Jews back then" sort of way, it won't be his tomb. Whatever else I may think about Christianity, I am completely convinced nobody ever found Jesus's body. The religion would've turned out very differently if his first followers had a genuine, filled, tomb to gather around.
Scientists have finished scanning the DNA of Oetzi, the 5000 year old "ice man," and have discovered a number of unexpected things.
CBS, which must've bought Paramount when I wasn't looking, has made plans to release the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu Ray. They're apparently not just doing another tape transfer, but are instead going back to the original film masters, and re-working at least some of the CGI effects. The article doesn't say whether or not they'll change the format to 16:9. I'm thinking not, but you never know.
The link has long since rotted away, but ten years ago we thought a 128mb thumb drive was hot stuff. Hell I think my phone has more primary storage than that, and it's two years old.
A complex and multi-year effort to rid the California Channel Island of San Nicolas of cats has been declared a success. Since this is the "budget? What's a budget?" state of California and the "we lose more money than that on toilet seats" US Navy, you can bet it was the most eco-sensitive, cat-friendly round up in history. They could've paid Ellen a quarter of their budget and she'd have them all in homes within six months. No, I'm not kidding.
I dunno, if marathons had fewer sweaty athletes and more of... well... more of this, I might be more inclined to participate. Oh, who am I kidding? The only time this road weenie will run is when his bike breaks and he's being chased by something. That said, if it's your cup of tea why not?
Scientists have reconstructed a previously undescribed species of giant penguin. Working from fossils collected in the 1970s, the "giant" lived around 25 million years ago and probably stood a little more than four feet tall, which is still more than a foot taller than the modern emperor penguin. Its build was quite different than existing species, and its hoped the fossil will provide insight into the evolution of that family of birds.
People are shocked, shocked, to find another big yoga instructor likes to get his freak on with his students. This one sounds pretty sketchy to me. I define abuse as something that continues to happen after someone says, "no," or is physically or chemically rendered incapable of saying it. That's not what this sounds like. I'm not completely sure it's even an abuse of power, since "yes" means "yes," at least to me. Sounds more like a bunch of high-minded hipsters got a nasty shock when their spiritual leader turned out to be human just like everyone else.
What's that? Oh, yeah, we tried yoga a few times. Ellen's just fine at it, but my efforts result in a lot of whooping and crashing into things, along with comments like, "really? That's as far as you can stretch?" and "you look like you're trying to crap out a bowling ball." Bicycles, man, bicycles!
I dunno, it's not like there are lawyers in the world who don't need a good shooting. Unexpected? Yep, but it's not clear from the article if he actually pointed it at anyone or merely offered it to her. Handing a gun over safely is no big deal, but pointing it at things you don't intend to shoot is a major no-no.
New evidence regarding the extinction of Neandertals is coming to light. DNA analysis seems to indicate that the species suffered a significant reduction in population thousands of years before modern humans encountered them. Now that I think about it, I seem to recall reading that there's evidence for a similar sort of population "crunch" in our own genes. It'd be interesting to see how, or even if, they're related.
I guess that, as far as explanations on how encryption actually works, this analogy using paint and clocks is pretty good. My head more or less 'asploded when they got to the modulus math part, but I think I got the gist. The problem with nerds (and I most definitely have this problem) is they're so excited to tell you how something works they tend to neglect to tell you how to get it to work.
In other words, great, it's awesome how nifty public/private key encryption works. Now what's the easiest way to convey my plans for world domination to my worldwide network of minions in a way that will keep Smokey off my trail? And, wouldn't it have been easier for you to just say "use this!" and hand me a disk? Yes. Disks. There aren't any disks? Wait, when did 3.5" floppies go out of style?
Oh, great. Next you're going to tell me Apple is still in business.
For the Apple-obsessed freak in your life who has everything: Chinese authorities have seized a large number of "Apple iPhone Stoves." Looks more like an "Apple iPhone Hot Plate" to me. I think they still make those, don't they? At any rate...
Tokyo's "oldest man" has been found dead recently. Which would not normally be all that news-worthy, except it appears he died about thirty years ago. It seems the habit of collecting Social Security checks for relatives who no longer need them is not exclusive to the US. However, around here we do tend to actually bury the body. In this case, not so much.
Europe's fiscal crisis is, unsurprisingly, still festering. This article, finally, provides a counter-narrative to the whole, "drunken teenage country with Germany's credit card" meme. If the author is to be believed, the protesters are up in arms over Germany's callous manipulation of the entire Eurozone, which is the real cause of all their problems.
Plausible? Yes. The entire story? Very doubtful. At least now I can look at these protesters with more than, "WTF?" in mind.
The Atlantic has made part 2 of its Civil War photograph collection available online. This batch includes high-resolution examples of many favorite portraits, as well as an example of Brady's famous battlefield photos sharp enough to actually see what the fuss was all about.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured remarkable images of tornadoes on the Sun. Nifty video, although there's not all that much information accompanying it. At least I don't have to worry about Ellen trying to chase these. Dorthy unavailable for comment.
This stuff actually happens on occasion with RC helicopters, but I'd never seen it before on the full-sized version: vibrations are bad, mmkay? Looks like nobody got hurt. Meh, it'll buff out.
It turns out there actually are places with motorists who are as colorful as the ones we have here in N. VA. Of course, that's a whole state. We cram that much chaos into a geographic area that doesn't officially exist. Here's a list of some of the wackiness we put up with.
A family who's parents were accidentally "outed" to their teenage daughter as swingers by a goof made in a documentary about same aren't entitled to compensation for the mistake. The article also includes a very practical resolution to the matter. Hey, they're Germans. What did you expect? They don't all want to conquer France, ya know?
Guns N' Roses, the current version, didn't seem to impress a WaPo critic. Yeah, I know, it's not always a good idea to pay attention to people who complain for a living. Still, going on at midnight? I'd pass on that even if they were handing out bags of candy.
It's one thing to learn that horses used to be really small, and see paintings of them scampering across a generic savannah. It's a bit different when a really good artist paints one next to one of his all-grown-up descendants. Fortunately, all these micro-horses died off eons ago, so I don't have to worry about Ellen getting one.
Scientists have measured the fastest winds in the universe. Not surprisingly, they're generated by a black hole. However, they're a lot faster than theories were predicting, so now they need to muck around with their theories again. Well, hey, it does give them something to do, ya know?
The on-again/off-again Tesla "battery brick" story is on again. Turns out the story originates with the guy who stored his Tesla for two months and then was presented with a $40k repair bill. You'd think that, with enough disposable income to buy a Tesla, he'd have enough scratch to get a lawyer and file a class action suit or something.
Fark is featuring an absolutely epic "cool story, bro" thread involving roommates. I have a few wacky party stories, but was pretty fortunate in the roommate department. Oh, there were some difficult ones, but nothing all that special.
Suddenly that whole "cloud mistaken for a UFO" thing is making more sense. That said, at least they're not claiming it's anything but a cloud. Me, I'm surprised someone didn't claim to have seen Jesus in it.
One of the biggest airborne white elephants in recent memory has made its final flight. I've followed the program on and off for at least the past ten years, and while impressive looking it never seemed to actually go anywhere. The Wikipedia entry states it did actually shoot down two missiles in testing. I guess it was valuable in a "how NOT to do something" way, but per usual it cost way too much in the process.
Well, what else would you call miniaturized mechanical dinosaurs? I've always known that 3D printing technologies would lead to loads of awesome. Ooo... I bet they'll be radio controlled, too. How long until we have dino fights?
Lewis Black has got that great, ranty freshness taking a look at how the media is handling Whitney Houston's death. I noticed in the grocery store on Sunday The National Enquirer was featuring more than a dozen pages going into all the gory details but, hey, at least the Enquirer never pretends to be anything it's not. All the others who sneer and make snide remarks about sleazy tabloids? Not so much.
The story of Orangie, our first but far from last hard-luck case, came to a sad conclusion.
The story of the "bricked" Teslas is getting some push-back. This new riposte reads to me like something The Comic Book Guy would write... sniffy corrections of detail, but not exactly a direct refutation of the original. I'm no more or less likely to buy a Tesla now than I was two days ago, but it's interesting to watch a nerd fight any day.
What better way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War than an extensive collection of rarely published photographs. Well, rarely published as far as I know. I'd never seen most of them before, and hey that's all that counts!
When a cell phone is "bricked," which is to say "damaged beyond repair by fault or mischief," it's annoying. Unless you're Ellen, which would make it a soul-destroying tragedy requiring a minimum of four weeks of sackcloth-and-ashes mourning and maybe dressing up a donkey. But I digress. Anyway, when it's a $100,000 sports car, and the "fix" costs $40,000, not so much. Annoying, that is. Not the sackcloth-and-ashes thing. What were we talking about again?
Trek obsessions never die: a Hollywood artist is painstakingly re-creating Star Trek: The Motion Picture TV advertisements in HD. I'm surprised at how repetitive they actually were. I'm even more surprised how visceral my reaction is to them. I almost literally feel like I'm 11 years old again.
Oh, stop it. There's quite a big difference between letting the inner 11 year old out too often and actually being that 11 year old. The frisson is quite startling.
An enterprising (presumably) gay person has decided to do the Mormons' practice of baptizing dead people into their religion one better by allowing anyone to "homosexualize" a Mormon. Normally I'm not all that pleased when people make fun of other peoples' faith, but I have to admit the whole "baptize by proxy" thing is definitely one of the weirder aspects of the Mormon faith. Oh who am I kidding. My bunch not only believe it's possible to be reincarnated, but to be reincarnated as a bug. Faith is weird that way sometimes.
Megan McArdle, (emphasis original): "When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths--including lying--to advance their worldview, I'd say one of the movement's top priorities should be not proving them right." If hard-core greens want me to stop seeing them all as a bunch of religious fundamentalists they need to stop acting like it. It will be a very long time before I trust any sort of "facts" or "settled science" from that bunch again. More details of the embarrassment are here...
Who could've seen this coming: Britian's new 50% tax rate is not raising as much revenue as was expected. Once more, with feeling: making something illegal does not stop it from happening, and placing a higher tax rate on people who can move their money around will not see them handing it over. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand?
Scientists have discovered an ancient rain forest entombed for three hundred million years by a gigantic volcano eruption. Now located in Mongolia, the find is so well preserved it's hoped to provide insight not only in what life forms were around at the time, but also what the climate may have been like as Pangea started to form.
After who knows how many decades, people are starting to realize STEM degrees are a biatch because that's the way the faculty wants it. I was outraged in a way only a teenager can be when I found this out in college, but the problem is deeper. In my opinion, it goes all the way to primary school.
I am a software engineer, by what I see around me a damned good one, but I have no formal training. As a kid I learned very rapidly that math was very hard and nobody, but nobody, knew how to teach it to me. The public school system had no time for an obviously bright and well-off white kid when it was inundated with obviously troubled and poor black and white ones (this was the rural South.) What other options existed were incredibly limited in the time when and the place where I grew up.
Because of this, by the time I reached college, I was not equipped in any way to learn the genuinely difficult concepts required to get a STEM degree. I know, because I tried and failed at them, too.
I think the article plainly shows that STEM colleges, being the very definition of the ivory tower, simply don't understand that kids aren't being taught to learn hard things from the earliest of ages. Witness their obvious surprise that students fail at STEM degrees in droves.
It also explains why such colleges still, to this day, set up courses with either an implicit or sometimes explicit goal not of teaching, but of weeding. "There's nothing wrong with the course, there's nothing wrong with the material, so there's something wrong with the students. We must get rid of the ones with no future." Yes, that's very helpful.
Changing that attitude will help, if it can be done. But much more important is to do something about primary education in America. STEM degrees will always be difficult because the subject matter is difficult. But if a child grows up learning difficult things they will have the tools at hand to do the job. The existing public structure, which quite openly is more about supporting teachers and especially administrators than it is about teaching students, is not, has not, and will not ever be up to the task.
I have my own ideas about what will work. I've taken as many steps to implement them in my own life as I can. You'll have different ones, no less valid in your situation. We can both be certain that very few of them are being tried, much less considered, by the local school district. Some can't be tried, too many simply won't be tried.
We need to change that.
This was on the floor in the Venetian outside of the Phantom Opera House.
The one suck factor of Vegas is that while the hotels seem relatively close together, in reality they are not. The get further apart as you walk closer to them. It's like that never-ending hallway in a horror film as it telescopes away.
I'm on my last day of my convention today and my mother, who decided to tag along with me on this trip, has run me ragged. Not in a bad way, but in a walking way.
She out-walked me. I have walked the entire Vegas strip 3 days in a row and my feet and legs are killing me. As soon as I am done with classes, we are out and about.
Having Plantar Fasciitis blows. It's not the walking that hurts, it's the resting part and then getting back up.
This morning I wake up with a raging case of "my feet are on fire and if I get up out of bed I will fall since my feet are locked up" disease.
Mom: "Oh... you look like your feet are hurting you?"
Me: "Yeah, it's really bad today. I need a ball to roll my feet on."
Mom: "I GOT ONE WITH ME! I'LL GO GET IT!"
Yes, leave it to my mother to carry a tennis ball around with her for no clear reason. This is the same woman who, when I went to Lowes with her and said I wished I had a tape measure, gave me the same response. Who the hell carries a tape measure in their purse? My mother, that's who.
Needless to say, I was never so happy in my life to see a tennis ball.
I'm so ready to come home.
Russian scientists have used long-buried seeds to regenerate an ancient plant. The small flowering plant Sylene stenophylla grew from seeds planted by a squirrel about 30,000 years ago. It's hoped this technique can be used to re-create other forms of life from frozen remains preserved in the Siberian tundra.
A team of Dutch scientists have announced the intention to create the first lab-grown hamburger by the end of the year. No, they haven't built a big pen in their lab, they'll be using stem cells and (presumably) petri dishes. Me, I have a bit of an "ick" factor to overcome, but on the other side I've never been particularly happy with the way the existing meat industry works. If scientists come up with the same stuff without killing anything, I'd probably at least give it a try.
The article's pretty heavy-handed on the apocalyptic Green message, so it's got that going for it, too.
One of the things I hate about flying when you're not flying with a buddy is you never know who you're going to sit next to. I was stuck in an "E" seat. This is a dreaded middle seat. The shitty seat. Because the asshat at the window will want to get up and down the entire flight and "D" and "E" need to get up to accommodate this. Really, "C" seat? If you knew you were a chronic potty user, get an aisle seat next time.
"I really like the window seat." says "C".
"That's nice. Do you enjoy looking out the window too?"
"No," says "C", "I feel safer against the window." What I wanted to tell him was that if that window breaks, he is the first to get sucked out.
The entire flight I sat next to someone who liked the dark. He would not put up the screen. *sigh* But he sure did enjoy getting up and down the entire flight. Most of it was when I was just about to fall asleep for a nap, too.
At the end of the flight, the other man, "D," asked him, no wait, told him to open the screen for the last 10 minutes of the flight so we could see the mountains coming in. "D" was not nice about this either. I think he was as pissed about getting up and down out of the seats as I was.
Needless to say, "D" and I got to see some mountains and the hideous Vegas town during the day.
Now I'm sitting here at the airport waiting for my mother's flight to come in.
Last time I went to Vegas, it was a nightmare. I am sure a story somewhere on this website chronicles the hell we went through to get there. This time I'm flying solo. Well... I'm meeting up with Mom in Vegas. I meant to say "I'm flying alone."
I woke my family up at 5:15 am to get me to the airport...oh 50 feet from the house so I would make my 8:10 flight with no glitches or standing in line. I was correct with the no standing in line. What I was no prepared for was to get scanned.
Yes. I got a full body scan. All of the OVERNIGHT/EARLY MORNING crew are quite nice at the security center. So I put on my big fake smile and laughed when they asked me for a full body scan since I beeped. Ok, no biggie.
Really, It was no biggie. I did not feel xrays penetrating my body and destroying my insides. Nor did I feel as if I was going to spontaneously combust like a vampire walking out into the sunlight. Scan done!
"Miss, I need to pat you down."
Ok, again. No biggie. Did I get felt up from security? No. My sweater got petted like a cat. I did not have my boobs groped, nor was I asked for a full internal exam in the stirrups. What they were interested in were my hair clips, and that I had an IUD in place. That's what tripped the scanner.
I complied, did not complain and it was over in 3 minutes. I was also told I had a really pretty sweater (yes, I got patted down by a female officer for those with inquiring minds).
I also had my carry-on un-zipped. My makeup pack went through a full physical and I was given a HELPFUL TIP: Take your makeup baggies and place them in the grey buckets that go through the scanner. They are less likely to open your suitcase then and make you feel less violated. Was my dignity ruined like a cat in a bath tub? Nope. Did I cry, kick and scream? Nope. NOT A BIG DEAL.
In other words people: Quit your fucking bitching about the scanner and about your body being violated. If you want your plane to blow up in the sky, I highly suggest you move to a country that doesn't give a shit who boards it safely. And yes, I'm sure one of the reasons why they pat children down is because someone out there has thought of them as the perfect weapon.
Las Vegas, Here I come!
A couple of enterprising Australians are supplying an innovative and effective tool in the hunt for pythons in the Everglades. I'll bet they had to get six dozen permits from a half dozen federal agencies before they were allowed to set foot in the place, otherwise all the local rednecks would've figured this out a long time ago.
Italian authorities have seized counterfeit treasury bonds equal in value to half the current US debt. No, not our deficit, our debt. I would imagine the amount of paper required would be a pretty significant expense. Weirdly, they're dated 1934, but the article isn't clear if this was when they were actually manufactured.
No, I am not whistling the Arkansas fight song! Nope... not doing it.
In a surprise move at the Singapore Air Show Lockheed Martin has announced a new version of the F-16, the F-16V. It looks as if this will involve both newly built aircraft and upgrades to existing vehicles. I refuse to call a fighter jet that was new when I was a teenager "venerable," so just don't even try to make me.
The Cassini probe has captured another compelling picture of the moons of Saturn. Kinda wild to think there's this gigantic planet with all these moons and one tiny little robot whizzing around beside them.
To infinity and beyond, indeed: it's not where Obama started that matters, it's where his policies will lead that counts. There aren't enough rich people in the whole world to keep this going, and what can't go on forever won't. Who cares? Let's keep talking about why the Catholic church doesn't want to pay for cheap drugs. That's what's really important.
The first, but by far not the last, of our hard-luck kittens was first discussed on the site. We still have a picture of this one on our wall.
Glenn has upgraded what I have found so far to be the best summary of Obamacare's birth control mandate: "It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying “What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!! I'm seeing exactly this sentiment in the articles being link up so frantically by my own left-ish friends.
Driving home from Tae Kwon Do, Me: "I found something really cool Olivia. I found some pictures of my old stereo equipment, the first set I ever had back when I was a kid. We only had records then."
Olivia: "Oh that's cool! Did it have the flower, too?"
"Flower? What flower?"
"You know, it's that big cone thing that opens up into a flower, sits on top of the stereo. Like those statues at that awards show last week."
"Olivia, my first stereo was not a gramophone."
"But it would've been cool!"
Action: a giant software company provides a 501c3 non-profit organization with free software as part of a long-running program. Headline: Microsoft named in leaked climate denial donor docs. My old employer regularly took part in this program. All you do is fill out a form with your name, address, and proof of your 501c3 status, and you're set. No purity tests, no belief checks. I guess when they start the story with an anti-Semitic slur, I should know what to expect.
That's not cool: a Florida man is in the hospital with severe injuries when his electronic cigarette blew up in his mouth. Can you say, "product liability lawsuit?" I knew you could...
Scientists are getting a second look at a stellar explosion that happened 170 years ago by examining the "flash" echo that's just now reaching Earth. Or something. It sound complicated. I think I got distracted by the picture, that's the problem.
Christmas came very early for someone as it left someone else's house: a safe bought on E-bay for $122.93 ended up containing $26,000 in cash. This seems a little fishy to me. That much cash in a wall safe that just "appears" in the world's biggest flea market makes me think, "drug dealer," and those guys are known for being... intolerant... when people lose or steal their money.
Assuming it's real at all. And yeah, someone who finds that much cash and starts blabbing about it? I'm thinking neither party in this transaction are what we'd generally recognize as genius-grade decision makers.
"Hawk-eyed" scientists have discovered the world's smallest chameleon. The adult males of the Madagascar Brookesia micra are barely half an inch long when fully-grown, and when it comes right down to it are insanely cute. No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Having failed in all other ways to boost the economy, what's the Obama administration's latest idea? Debasing the coinage. No, this is not a repeat from the year 64, 525, 1100, 1449, or any one of the other thousand times a government has decided that making money cheaper will make it better. I'm convinced they've already done this secretly, since (to me) new pennies and nickles already feel lighter and cheaper than old ones. Hope and change, people! Hope and change!
Not quite one year after the massive earthquakes in Japan, evidence seems to be showing recovery is proceeding apace. They're Japanese. Of COURSE they're going to clean the place up first. Scrubbed to sparkling, even the abandoned lots.
A new book is taking a fresh look at the private lives of tyrants. While people like Stalin and Hitler are rightly remembered as murderous monsters, these unguarded moments show they were human monsters as well.
Administrators of the Large Hadron Collider are set to increase the power of the device to improve the chances of finding the Higgs Boson, crazy guys babbling about Kit-Kats, and invoke the 2012 apocalypse. Well, one of those three, anyway. Definitely the first one. I think. Mmm... Kit-kats...
If "anonymous sources" are to be believed, Vatican city is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. The game is definitely afoot, but I trust the MSM's ability to decode what's actually going on about as much as I'd trust Hugh Hefner's boy to understand Sanskrit. Since the Vatican is a sovereign nation, there's nothing anybody can really do about it, a truth which obviously confounds the author of the article.
An Iranian man was discovered carrying grenades in a backpack in Bangkok, police say he doesn't have a leg to stand on. Yeah, just happened to be, you know, transporting them. For a friend.
Even though we're bombarded with news about how violent our world is, the truth is actually very different. Rates of violence may be in a real and long decline, but the MSM's tendencies of distortion, sensationalism, and stupidity are stronger than ever.
Ten years ago on AMCGLTD: Ellen encounters pure, scaly evil for the first time.
Olivia's art subjects, like her spelling, can sometimes be startling...
I've known about freediving since I saw a segment about it on Wide World of Sports (memba that?) oh, say some time in the early nineties. I knew they were crazy then, and I know they're crazy now. Pushing down into the ocean so deep you can't tell which way is up is not my idea of courage. It's more like suicide. But hey, if they're all adults and they're having fun doing it, who am I to judge?
It's not exactly the Brooklyn Bridge, but it's pretty darned close to it. Owning a tiny chunk of an iconic landmark sounds interesting, although I'm not completely sure it'd be worth it. I mean, how many times have they blown the thing up in the movies? Eventually someone's going to take it upon themselves to try it with the real thing, and THEN where would your investment be?
The European Space Agency is poised to test a new booster designed to loft small satellites cheaply. It's primarily meant to free them from being held hostage by Russia, apparently, since this payload class is normally served by their converted ICBMs.
And now, giant bugs turned into tinker toys. I guess everyone needs a hobby. Bonus: includes a picture of everyone's favorite spidery nightmare, the African bird spider. It'll take a special lady to appreciate a brooch made from a bug as big as her hand.
Scientists have discovered that, with a little nano-help, butterfly wings make for excellent temperature sensors. It seems that the structures which make some butterfly wings iridescent are incredibly sensitive to heat, and coating them with carbon nanotubes makes them even more sensitive. It's thought a device based on the discovery could measure changes a small as .018 degrees.
The man went on to develop 'firm and pendulous' masses on his stomach - a condition known as lipohypertrophy. Mild cases are surprisingly common, however this patient had a severe case as he hadn't changed his injection sites for three decades.Uh... it looks like a butt or a pair of boobs.
Olivia's Question: "Dad! What's that place you went to? You know, the one with all the copies of things?"
Eventually I guessed the correct answer, "Las Vegas."
Brought me right back to my sysadmin days, running the help desk. Pretty much the opposite of good times then, but plenty good today.
A portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln so well-known it features in two biographies turns out to be a fake. Sometimes I guess it's better to leave the painting dirty instead of getting it restored.
Using weights and pyramid-shaped objects, scientists have discovered top-heavy objects are actually the most stable configuration in a hover. This counter-intuitive result seems to help explain why insects are built the way they are, and may point the way toward more efficient vehicle designs.
Another year, another attempt to link your cat exposing you to toxoplasmosis with giving you schizophrenia. Ellen's been a veterinary technician for about eighteen years now, ten of them in a cat-only hospital. She handles more cats in a day than you or I will in probably ten years, or more. She still tests negative for exposure to "toxo." Fuller Torrey has been trying to link mental illness with toxo exposure for as long as I've known about him (nearly twenty years), and has failed to find anything convincing.
In other words, your cats may in fact be making you nuts, but it's not due to some scary-secret bug you've caught from them.
That dumb redneck who shot his daughter's laptop? He's nowhere near as dumb as you think. I thought it was a dad with anger issues but it was his kid, and I'm sure he knows exactly how to get through to his kid no matter what it looked like to anyone else. Never think you know better than anyone else. You don't.
Not X rated in anyway... he is describing this new.. floppy... thing :/
Then the judges chose their top 10, which included Tank and several of his catmates at The Oregon Cat Project. When it came down to the top two cats, the judge hesitated, then awarded Tank with the blue ribbon, announcing, "This is my best household cat in show."
"My eyes welled up with tears as they gave him his 1st place ribbon – here was a real Cinderella story for all cats" says Tank's rescuer, Dana Lionel, founder of The Oregon Cat Project.
Read entire article here.
New to the UK: a cheap steeple chase with a tasty participant. Well, tasty for other folks. I'm not in the habit of eating rodents, but knock yourself out. Run, Rabbit! Run!
It seems audiophiles aren't the only ones who'll fail a double-blind test involving their hobby. Props to Mark, who's coin hobby requires you to look at things. In a basement. With a goofy set of goggles on, and lights. We've always thought the evil giggles were a bit of theater on his part. I'm sorry, what was the question again?
The best stereo speaker in the world? Oh, yeah, we can show you the best speaker in the world. It weighs more than a quarter ton and costs more than five times as much as a Honda Civic. Each. The picture at the top of their website reminds me of Daleks with their plungers removed. EXTERMINATE!
Turns out there were snipers keeping watch during the Super Bowl. Better still, this has apparently been SOP since the Munich massacre in '72. So, if there've been professional snipers at most large public events for thirty years and nobody's ever actually been sniped, I can't see the harm. Besides, that's a nifty bit of hardware he's got right there.
Presenting Sh*t My Pets Ruined, a one-stop-shop to remind me that I'm not the only ungrateful husband who thinks things like clean carpets and couches with no puke on them are important. At least one day my kid has the potential to support me. Of course, the site originated from Sh*t My Kids Ruined, so it's not like kids are any better.
First they took on the iPhone, now they're taking on the stereo. As with all such things, execution will likely determine success. They certainly scared Apple into running faster when Android phones started to hit the market, and there probably is room for another "one device to rule them all" product.
Engineers building a new road in France have discovered the bodies of 21 German infantrymen, buried alive 94 years ago. The WWI soldiers were victims of a tunnel collapse triggered by a massive shell which exploded over them in 1918. Strangely, the names of all the victims are known, but it's uncertain if any relatives remain to claim them. I'm disappointed the Mail chose not to run pictures of the remains themselves. Skeletons are interesting!
A Pantera-based convertible replica of an Alfa-based hard-topped show car which set design trends that'd influence most of the sports cars built in the 70s is now for sale. Like most Italian cars, you'll either love it or hate it, but you'll never look at it and go, "meh."
DirecTV users now have the option of a Tivo DVR. It's about time! Still, people seem to be willing to put up with genuinely hard to use DVRs, so I'm not sure just how well this will do. Word of mouth, people: the Tivo DVR is still around because it's better than anything else out there, by far. Give it a try!
It looks like the Zebra got its stripes to stop horse flies from biting. Horse flies and black flies were a bane of everyone's existence during summer breaks at the pool when I was a kid. If we'd know stripes would've helped, there would've been a whole lot of zebra-fied kids swimming around. Those would be some interesting tan lines, I tell ya!
How did we ever live without a recipe for beef jerky underwear? Doesn't look all that flexible to me, but fashion has never been my forte. All the same, I think I'll pass on this one. I bet it'd be awkward trying to explain why all the neighborhood stray dogs keep following you around.
Just because I don't need one doesn't mean it's not needed: a new super-thin HDMI cable makes 60 foot runs practical. Even better: the cable's not made by boutique Moster, but super-thrifty Monoprice, the producers of the $3.95 cables I know and love. In other words, you won't need a second mortgage to buy one.
Ever wonder how they really do those ubiquitous "before, and after" shots proving various magic diet potions work? Wonder no more. I'd already guessed it was actually done in reverse, but I didn't know it could be done in just a few hours. Eat less, eat right, exercise more. Not easy, but cheap and it works.
Even when worn by one of the most evil men in history, lederhosen look ridiculous. Any chance to make ol' Adolf look stupid is a chance worth taking in my book. Downfall parodies, FTW!
Scientists have released the first-ever highly detailed genetic map of an extinct hominid. According to the article, they have sequenced every position of the genome at very high resolution. It's hoped that other scientists can use the data to learn much more about this distant cousin, as well as ourselves.
It seems that, finally, sanctions are actually beginning to work on Iran. I see two dangers: the standard, "poor and minorities hardest hit" line that the MSM tends to reflexively lean toward, and "desperate mullahs call for desperate measures." I'd be absolutely tickled if we actually manage to make a government change its behavior by diplomacy and sanctions alone. I'm just not holding out a lot of hope.
Using a new computer model a group of geologists is reporting one day the Earth will end up with a single giant continent. Again. This time, according to them anyway, it'll form over the Arctic Ocean as North and South America combine and meet up with Asia, Africa, and all those other continents I can't remember. You know, like Manhattan. That sort of thing. No word on just when it'll happen. I blame Dick Cheney.
Elon Musk is getting a bit more specific about SpaceX's future plans. I'll give him this, he certainly doesn't lack for ambition. Better still, the stuff SpaceX is already doing is undercutting even China's launch business. So far his company's track record for turning ambition in to reality is pretty good.
So, what do you think: a monster in Iceland, or a robot? That head looks very, if you'll pardon the expression, pythonesque to me, and from the video it's not completely clear it really is an icy river. Me, I'm calling it some sorta hoax involving someone's pet python going for a swim.
Everyone's favorite "landmark that never quite made it" is going to be turned into a luxury hotel by none other than Donald Trump. Ellen and I have visited the place a few times over the years and, yes, the decline was quite noticeable. It's a neat old building. Here's to hoping they make it a success!
Janey said: "Every time friends visited they were taken aback by Meeka's size and asked if I was sure she was a micro pig. At this point, I still believed she was — just one with a weight problem."
I know... No Ellen, You can't have one.
A more detailed look at the results from November's LHC experiments has raised hopes that the Higgs boson has finally been discovered. Or not. It seems that a 99.996% likelihood gosh darn it just isn't good enough, since that's not hugely different from something to do with a coin toss. Includes uber-nerdy joke that went right past me.
New Scientist is carrying this informative summary of the H5N flu controversy. Turns out some enterprising Dutchmen are the source of most of the worry. Well, them, and a whole bunch of really unfortunate ferrets, it seems.
Ellen got her very first set of zills. "I STILL cant' walk and shimmy at the same time..."
Now that they are at least notionally getting closer to our shores, US reviews of new Alfa products are starting to show up. Reviews of the Guilietta are particularly relevant, since the upcoming Dodge Dart is heavily based on the Alfa's design. I'd still like to see "Cross-and-Serpent, actual" in US showrooms. Will their long-proposed small SUV premiere before our Hyundai smashes into something again? Will I be able to keep Ellen out of a Fiat 500 before then? We'll just have to see...
Scientists are claiming to have made a breakthrough in the manufacture of solar cells using otherwise worthless organic material. While still nowhere near the ballpark of generating useful energy, the new process is far less expensive, raising hopes that many more researchers will be able to examine, and hopefully improve, the technique.
A new attempt to break a skydiving record more than half a century old is on schedule again. Professional skydiver Felix Baumgartner was scheduled to make the attempt last year, but was foiled when a different daredevil sued to stop the show. That's now been cleared, and so has he.
A famous Orthodox Rabbi is making waves again, in his own community, for Kosher Jesus, a book emphasizing, you guessed it, Jesus as a Jew. Which is all well and good, because he was and that seems to be the first thing that gets lost in a conversation about him, in my opinion. It doesn't surprise me he's ticked off a different group of Rabbis who seem to have gotten in the habit of that with him. I'm sure any number of fundamentalist groups will put out suitably frothy press releases and then do any number of tacky thing with and because of the book.
But if it does help to build a bridge between the two faiths, I think that's a good thing.
Russia is finally fielding its new Su-34 Fullback, and just about everyone is commenting on how funny it looks. The Russian attack jets are big, at least as big as F-111s, I'd wager. But, since I'm too lazy to look it up, I'm probably wrong about that. This one they're keeping all to themselves, which is why it took so long to develop.
Here comes the science: new study shows online dating has its ups and downs. In other words, it ain't perfect, but it ain't horrible either. Basically, just another way of meeting people, with about the same chance of success as any other way.
'Bout the only thing I can bring to the table is a hearty recommendation to meet sooner, really as soon as possible, rather than later. I've done it both ways and the "meet sooner" option paid off handsomely, while the "meet later" option was always a disaster.
After a puzzling silence lasting more than a week, Russian scientists have announced they have successfully reached a deeply buried Antarctic lake. Lake Vostok is thought to have not been exposed to the outside world for millions of years, and may end up being a testbed for a wide variety of space probe technology, as well as providing a unique environment to observe and experiment on.
So last year it was the Chinese who had it all over "The American Mom." This year is it the French? The actual article is far less incendiary than the title, which is to say it's a typical news article.
This past weekend Olivia and I went to the DC car show. At various times she'd want some ridiculous thing or another and when I said, "no," she'd do this ridiculous puppy dog pantomime and blink twice. I'd blink back and still say, "no."
Finally after about the sixth time this happened I said, "Olivia, does that ever even work on anybody?"
She instantly dropped it like a discarded Halloween mask and said, "Yep!"
I'm sure she manipulates me in her own special ways.
Armadillo Aerospace has successfully completed another test of its new launch vehicle. This time the vehicle made it past 80 km. It wasn't a perfect test, but apparently went well enough to enable the next test in the series, due to happen some time this spring.
A series of rigorous, double-blind tests seem to be proving humans can indeed predict the future. All that quantum business makes me think, "it could happen." However, other scientists have repeated at least one experiment and not repeated the result, so maybe it's a bug in the software?
Most, hopefully nearly all, of us would have people hunting for us very soon after we missed an appointment, work, coming home, really anything. Others, well, others simply aren't as fortunate. In other news, you can run up unpaid taxes to the tune of 30 grand before you need to worry about the revenuers seizing your house. The more you know...
The folks at FirstSounds are at it again, this time recovering a bin of cylinder recordings which include none other than von Moltke and Bismark himself. I like my 19th century historical figures the way I like my newspapers-- black and white, static, and silent. Having them start to make noise is... disconcerting.
An abandoned leper colony is always an eerie place, especially when it's just off the shoreline of Manhattan. I'm thinking the photographer may have taken some pretty substantial risks. Those floors don't look all that sturdy to me, and falling through the floor of a building in an abandoned leper colony seems... sub-optimal.
So, on weekends, Olivia gets to stay up 'till 10.
At 10:05, Ellen shouts up: "OLIVIA!!! BED TIME!!!"
"no, mommie, it's not ten yet."
The thing is, her "new" TV includes a cable box with a big f'ing digital clock on the front of it. Being a well-seasoned married couple, as this muffled reply echoed down stairs I looked at Ellen, just at the point she looked at me, as we remembered this fact together.
Ellen, and me, together: "OLIVIA!!!"
Count to three.
"oh, wait, yes it is. Goodnight!"
Scientists have for the first time used 3D printing technologies to create an entire lower jaw. The custom-designed replacement was created with titanium, and took hours to make instead of days.
Making the rounds: chicken wing cupcakes. Not being a huge fan of either one, I'll give it a pass. The bakery that cooked this up is near a college town, so I'm sure they'll have plenty of takers.
On this day, ten years ago, with characteristic understatement, Ellen started out this site with:
FINALLY!!! a new fucking web site!!! Its only been what, 2 years?? BOUT TIME!
And so, our small site has grown to be the WORLD-DOMINATING-ULTRA-BLOG OF THE CENTURY*
*For certain values of century. This claim has not been tested by the FDA. No guarantees of suitability to purpose are implied. Please consult with your doctor before believing this statement. And please, no wagering.
And so, what did WE get for our blogiversary? Why yes, there's...
(Our car is the black one)
Ah, to be German: If it does not have an expiration date, it will be edible. At least he had it tested first. Ellen's the same way with spices. Except her attitude is more "if it doesn't smell bad I don't care how old it is."
By examining rock crystals on the Greek island of Santorini, scientists think they may be able to predict when a "supervolcano" will erupt years in advance. It seems the rising magma does so much more quickly than previously thought, creating visible, measurable changes which can be detected with modern instruments. Having a year to get out of a volcano's way sounds pretty handy to me.
High definition video of the far side of the Moon: they haz it. Plus "middle school" kids will get access to these experiments to form their own studies. Back in my day middle school was 3-6th, which would mean Olivia would potentially get a crack at it. Unfortunately it seems the term has been revised at some point, now meaning 7th & 8th grade, what I used to call "junior high." Ah, well.
Inspired by a sea food dinner, scientists have developed a crab-like micro-robot to treat stomach cancers. The device is mounted on the end of an endoscope and uses pincers to grasp and remove the tumor, then cauterize the wound, all in a fraction of the time a more conventional surgery would take.
Leave it to the Aussies to figure out how to tow 145 water skiers behind a boat. A really big boat. With video! Judging by how slowly it pulled them up, I'm surprised more of them didn't fall off.
A UC Berkeley team has successfully managed to decode the thought of words into the words themselves. While understandably crude and invasive now, the research would seem to point the way toward therapies and devices to allow people "locked in" by injury or illness to communicate. And, you know, probably enable that whole freaky "Scanners" thing.
The recent restoration of what is probably the oldest known copy of the Mona Lisa is revealing new details about the original. Since the original is so fragile, no serious attempts at restoration have been made with modern materials. The copy, held at Madrid's Prado Museum, was long thought to be much later. However, examinations made in preparation of the restoration revealed evidence that it may have been created at the same time as the original, in the same shop by a student of Leonardo.
A NASA probe has discovered matter originating from beyond our solar system. Exactly how they figured out that certain bits of hydrogen, oxygen, and neon came from elsewhere isn't real clear, nor is exactly how these observations are important, at least to me. Meh. It keeps them busy, and sometimes they come up with really cool stuff. More power to 'em.
Well, they called it "Monday" but we'll call it "Wednesday" regardless here's some cool pictures of Russian stunt planes flying with Iranian F-14s. In other news, the Iranians have managed to keep at least two of their Tomcats flyable, after being cut off from spare parts for more than thirty years.