July 31, 2012

Conversations that only happen in my house:

Me, looking at Ellen's "Pioneer" magazine, with its very "Little-House-on-the-Prarie-ness" cover: "What am I supposed to be pioneering?"

Ellen: innocent blinking.


From upstairs in the bathtub, faintly, Olivia: "What about a horse farm?"

Me: "I don't need your help!"

Ellen: "Micro horses Olivia, micro horses!!!"

Posted by scott at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)
Stone Cold Poison

Scientists have announced the discovery of the oldest-known use of poison by humans. The discovery of the artifacts in a cave in South Africa also push back the start of the late Stone Age in Africa by about 20,000 years. As if that weren't enough, it also appears to fill a gap in the archeological history of the area. Pretty fancy for bits of wood and beeswax!

Posted by scott at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)
The Apple of a Transformed Eye

If the rumors are to be believed, Apple fanatics are about to have their heads 'asploded. Again. One of these days, maybe even soon, I guess I'll have to buy one of their products as a sort of electronic lamb's blood to ensure when the Angel of Steve visits everyone's house he'll pass mine by. Or, you know, something.

Posted by scott at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)
Insert "Blue Pill" Joke Here

Making the rounds: the Wachowski brothers, of Matrix fame, are now the Wachowski brother and sister. No, I don't particularly care, but I reserve the right to stare for a bit. Hey, I do the same thing with fancy cars or interesting airplanes. It's not something I see every day, so I reserve the right to be curious.

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
Computer Repair Made Simple

Posted by scott at 09:18 AM | Comments (2)
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)
July 30, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)
Well That's Great to Hear

Just in time for Christmas: Ebola has traveled to the capital of Uganda. Still as nasty and deadly as it was fifteen years ago, but with the frisson of Mayan doomsday predictions in the air. Of all the ways to go, getting killed by bleeding out of every available orifice is... well, it's dead last. As it were.

Posted by scott at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)
Capture the Flag

Images from NASA's Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter (LRO) have revealed all but one of the American flags planted on the moon by Apollo astronauts are still standing. Buzz Aldrin stated some time ago that they inadvertently planted Apollo 11's flag too close, and it got knocked over by the blast of their takeoff from the moon. I guess this is all good and expected. After all, if any of the rest had fallen over that would mean they were pushed.

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)
Quick! To The Bat-Satire!

Here's one I bet you haven't heard: the latest Batman movie is actually an allegory celebrating the free market. I haven't seen it yet, but a bunch of my friends with politics all over the map have, and they all like it. I guess it's a tribute to the art of the thing, that people with such radically different views can see such radically different things in it.

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
Butt Bang

It's nice to know the US does not hold a monopoly on stupid drunk men. The worst I ever did was fire bottle rockets from my hand, and even that was twenty years ago. Thank you, Jackass, for giving idiots all over the world this wonderful idea.

Posted by scott at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)
July 27, 2012
Explain THAT One To Your Adjuster

It turns out cars have become safe enough to fall five stories and protect their occupants. Fortunately nobody seems to have been seriously injured. And that, folks, is yet another reason it's a dumb idea to try to drive a private car in Manhattan.

Posted by scott at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)
Pyramid Rises

Scientists have announced the discovery of a "dramatic" new Mayan temple. From the article: "Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the Maya sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar." Pretty neat!

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
Glass Houses

And in the, "why'd it take this long?" category we have hermit crabs with glass shells. The initial links make it seem like it was a New Zealand university that thought this up, but the only place I found video makes me think someone beat them to the punch by a few years. I would think the critters would be freaked out but apparently they really like being able to see out while safely tucked in their shell. When you're on the lower end of the food chain, it makes sense.

Posted by scott at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
Bug Bomb

Just when you thought the insect world had thought of everything, scientists discover a species of termite that "explode" when confronted with enemies. Though, after watching the brief video, I think it would be more accurate to say "extrudes poison," which is still pretty damned weird. For "exploding insect, actual," take a look at bombardier beetles.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
A Dorm, for the Rest of Us

Yes, yes, the Danes have cool dorms. But that's because it's Denmark, land of the nice and home of the civil. I lived with the hairless chimpanzees that make up around 75% of American college freshmen boys for three years. I'd give a place like this about three years with them before it would need to be completely rebuilt.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)
July 26, 2012
The Wees!!!

My kittens and the broom!
Posted by Ellen at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)
A Scar of Ice and Time

Steve U. gets a no-prize that unfortunately comes with a bunch of shrieking greens attached to it for bringing us news that a Grand Canyon-sized rift has been found beneath the Antarctic ice. Since it's CNN, you probably already heard the "CLIMATE CHANGE OF DOOM!!!" soundtrack start up, but let's just sit and listen anyway. The trumpet part is quite nice.

Posted by scott at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)
Ordered Billiards

Scientists have discovered a new solar system which resembles ours in an important way. No, the planets aren't much like ours and there doesn't seem much likelihood for life, but for once all the damned things are lined up properly. Nobody seems to have mentioned it but apparently other solar systems have their planets twirling in all kinds of different planes. In this one, like our own, they're all on the same one.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)
Make An Example of It

I have absolutely no idea what to make of this. Some of them actually work!

Posted by scott at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
My Relationship, Let Me Show You It


People who know us are all nodding their heads right about now.

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day


That's why the British are a specific sort of cool.

Posted by scott at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)
Black Hole Tween

There are "stellar" black holes, which are formed from stars, and then there are "supermassive" black holes, which live inside the center of most galaxies. But what hasn't been found are "intermediate" black holes, bigger than stellar-sized but smaller than the big boys. Until now. Of course there's controversy surrounding the find. They have to justify their grant money somehow, ya know?

Posted by scott at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)
July 25, 2012
Not So Fast

All these people getting their panties in a bunch over what that chicken guy said about gay marriage? Yeah, you can wail and gnash your teeth and tear your shirt and twirl away in your bell tower for as long as you want, but you can't deny them their rights. Or maybe folks do want the government to choose who wins and loses based on what someone else wants. I'm sure the Westboro people, for example, would be all for that. Know what I mean?

Posted by scott at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
Mask Unmasked

The Air Force has announced it's finally gotten to the bottom of the problems with the F-22 oxygen system. The system's failures have caused several groundings and at least one death. It appears to be a combination of a faulty valve design and bad connectors in the aircraft. The more complicated the plumbing...

Posted by scott at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)
Rat Grass

Newly discovered fossils have revealed that grasslands first appeared in South America, 15 million years before they appeared anywhere else. In other words, about 32 million years ago. Apart from one of the fossils being the oldest chinchilla found to-date, I'm not completely clear what the significance of the find really is. But they're scientists. They do cool stuff. That's good enough for me.

Posted by scott at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)
It Can't Work That Way

Every time some lunatic cracks and pulls out a gun, someone explains, again, that having crazy people wandering the streets is a bad idea. I worked for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, for fourteen years as their IT chief. They're the ones who represent the other side of this tragedy, the families and victims of mental illness. While I wasn't directly involved with their advocacy efforts, when you work for a place like that for as long as I did, you end up learning a lot, like why the state-managed system the article's author advocates was dismantled.

His point that people under 40 have become desensitized to mentally ill people in public is true, as far as it goes. What he neglects to talk about is how people over 40 should have very, very bad memories of what was found in the late 60s when a close look was taken at state-managed mental health institutions. Here's a hint: the institution portrayed in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was a really, really nice one.

People were warehoused at best, with brutality and humiliation extremely common. It was his exposes of the conditions at Staten Island's Willowbrook State School that brought a young, and unknown, Geraldo Rivera national fame and a Peabody award. Everywhere anyone looked people would find chronically underfunded, almost criminally unsupervised institutions filled with over-medicated and neglected mental patients. In the heady days of the late 60s and early 70s, the inescapable and, in light of the facts at the time, completely understandable solution was to set these people free.

What's worse is that, when the state is provided with the hammer of involuntary commitment, a whole new set of people start looking like nails. Local political machines are legion and when a hard-headed mule of a person showed up and demanded to know... anything... about how a city, county, or even state was run the mere threat of institutionalization was plenty enough to silence them. Locking up the ones who didn't back down took care of the rest. And it did happen, all the time.

Was it taken too far, trading abandonment in a hole with abandonment on the street? Yes. With the exuberance and naivety so tragically typical of progressive causes in the 60s and 70s, the old system was destroyed without any serious thought for what should replace it, and there was absolutely no follow-up when the inevitable unintended consequences started picking up guns and shooting people. It is no coincidence that NAMI, originally formed by family members desperate to find some other solution to the problems their children represented, was formed less than ten years after aggressive de-institutionalization started.

Finding those alternate solutions has not been easy, but there has been great progress made. Medications have improved and will continue to do so. Educational programs for family members, law enforcement officers, and "consumers," NAMI-speak for those who have mental illness, are both popular and effective. I watched from a particularly high seat as tireless advocacy changed the popular perception of mental illness from something not to be discussed, something to be feared, into the more humane and realistic idea of another set of diseases, something that can be treated.

Unfortunately these efforts are ongoing. The hard truth is that, until mental illness and addiction can be cured outright, incidents like the tragedy in Colorado are simply another price we pay for a truly free society. We can and should try whatever we can to prevent them, but these must be new ideas. Institutionalization was tried and it failed. There's no going back there this time.

Via Instapundit.

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)
Toothless Old Vamp

What better way to start the second half of the week than with a picture of a for-real vampire skeleton? Well, the villagers certainly thought it was for-real. They used an iron stake and pulled its teeth to prove it.

Posted by scott at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)
Law and Weaponry

New York Daily News: With a single exception, every multiple-victim public shooting in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed since at least 1950 has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry their own firearms.

Making something illegal will never prevent it from happening.

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
July 24, 2012
Flash Memory

Using special goggles, scientists have discovered that strobe lighting improves memory. So it seems all my goth friends really ARE smarter than I am, and for a reason.

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Delays, Delays

Private space company (who's headquarters are so close to our house we drive past them a few times a week) Orbital Sciences has admitted their manned space booster has encountered a series of delays. Now they're thinking the first test flight will be in December.

Posted by scott at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
~ 'Cause It's Only a Bird in a Bearded Cage ~

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)
Just What I Always Wanted

What better way to remember a loved one than an urn shaped like their severed head? I guess I should feel lucky they don't do cats. Otherwise my house would be filled with the darned things. And, boy, wouldn't THAT be something to stare at you at 5 AM in your underwear?

Posted by scott at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)
Ready For The Olympics!

Posted by Ellen at 05:26 AM | Comments (0)
July 23, 2012
Glub Glub Glub

Those crafty Canadians are at it again, this time sinking our Navy's ships! Well, ship. And it was a training exercise, and we did, well, actually GIVE them the ship. BUT THAT'S NO EXCUSE! THERE ARE MILLIONS OF CANADIANS MASSED JUST OUTSIDE OUR BORDERS! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!!!

Posted by scott at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)
First Look

The end is nigh: a car magazine has a "first look" at what Alfa's next big sedan will look like. Since they're targeting BMW, it'll likely be far out of our range. But it is, from the pictures at any rate, a pretty sharp looking piece of kit.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

Using polymers and rat cells, scientists have created an artificial jellyfish. The article includes an extra-creepy video. The ultimate goal is to produce artificial muscle tissue to do things like repair hearts. Best quote: "Morphologically, we’ve built a jellyfish. Functionally, we’ve built a jellyfish. Genetically, this thing is a rat."

Posted by scott at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)
When Rides Attack

I'm not sure it's possible to say "ouch" enough to cover this one: Swedish man is severely injured when the tow hitch on a children's ride bulls-eyes his backside. From the article, it doesn't *sound* like he was trying to creatively get his jollies off, but weirder things have happened. I think.

Posted by scott at 06:22 AM | Comments (0)
After 50 Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades made the summer of 2012 memorable for many couples out there, but what to read when you leave those characters behind? People are going into withdrawal out there!

Fear not! Here is a site that reviews what else is out there to stimulate the mind. Yeah.. the mind.

Posted by Ellen at 05:44 AM | Comments (0)
July 22, 2012
Human Bottlenecks

One of those things I've known for awhile which other, less nerdy, people may not be aware of: "One study suggested that [humanity's ancient] population, worldwide, might have dropped as low as 40 adults. (The world record for fitting people in a phone booth is 25.)" The article includes a quick summary regarding why and how this conclusion was reached. Amazing coincidence, or divine intervention? Hey, the reason why the world's surviving religions have similar cores may be because only seven people originally thought them up.

Posted by scott at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)
Everyone Needs to Collect Something

This just in: some nutter has paid somewhere north of $350 for a slice of toast from Prince Charles' wedding. You know, 31 years ago. I tell you, for that kind of cash there better be a savior's face on the food, s'all I'm sayin'...

Posted by scott at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)
July 20, 2012

What in the world is this country coming to? It's getting so's a man can't even dress up as a goat and run with wild herds without worryin' 'bout gettin' shot anymore. Also, goatse.

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

There's thunderstorms, and then there's thunderstorms so massive they're visible from space, in daylight. Of course, a storm like that won't dump a tree the size of a house onto your car, so I guess it's all relative...

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
Ain't No (Martian) Mountain High Enough

Space.com is taking a look at what Curiosity's first objective on Mars will be. Assuming it all goes down correctly, that is. I wonder if they plan on going all the way to the top of that hill? I know Curiosity is a lot more capable than any previous rover, but I'm thinking it'll still be no threat to a race car or anything.

Posted by scott at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
Password Hero

A group of scientists has figured out how to teach you a 30-character password without you actually realizing it. The key is a "Guitar Hero-like" game that imparts a kind of muscle memory of the password. I guess it's similar to the mechanism that makes telling someone you PIN number harder than punching the numbers on an actual keypad. Bonus: includes the phrase "rubber-hose cryptanalysis."

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
July 19, 2012
Coffee Car

Those clever Italians are at it again, this time adding a for-real cappuccino machine to their newest line of cars. Unfortunately it doesn't look like it's scheduled for the US. I can't imagine how, but I guess we've got some sort of regulation that the EU doesn't.

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)
Fun with Obama

Ya know, this is almost enough to make me want to join twitter. You know, because I don't have enough avenues to spout off to the whole world as it is. I especially liked "Heather Has Two Mommies Without Jobs."

Posted by scott at 01:12 PM | Comments (0)
Big Rain

Well, it's cool because it's not coming down on my head, anyway: check out what the most recent set of summer storms looked like in New York. I abandoned a bike ride today because of the dire weather predictions, and now it's not even supposed to start until later tonight. Dammit.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
Armed and Dangerous

By carefully examining fossil remains, scientists have been able to draw some interesting conclusions about what sort of activities our cousins the Neandertals engaged in. It turns out, I guess not surprisingly on reflection, their lives were a lot less about exciting big-game hunts and a lot more about boring, repetitive, incessant skin-scraping.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
Old Stars

Astronomers are reporting the discovery of the oldest-known spiral galaxy. The object is approximately 10.7 billion years old, far older than existing models predicted such complex structures to have formed. But that's OK. These are scientists. It's their job to go back to the drawing board.

Posted by scott at 07:48 AM | Comments (0)
McAssault or No McAssault?

McDonalds is now denying that any physical altercation took place in one of its Paris locations. The photos would seem to indicate otherwise. If there was security video to counter the claims, you'd think they'd show it by now.

Posted by scott at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)
July 18, 2012
Finding Nemo, Again

Pixar has confirmed a sequel to their hit Finding Nemo is in the works. From the article, that seems to be all that's known. Pixar's sequel record is uneven in the extreme, so anything can happen. Here's to hoping it's a good anything!

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)
Whip Me! Spank Me! Make Me Write Bad Checks!

The summer obsession with 50 Shades of Grey continues, this time confirming that it actually is a reasonably good introduction to the world of BDSM. Or whatever they're calling it nowadays.

Having read the books, I'll let you all in on the main secret of their popularity. It's not the sex, or the adventure, or the love story. The books work because the love interest is a) handsome, b) stupefyingly rich, and c) broken. Because this is a woman's fantasy, it means the protagonist actually gets to fix him!

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)
We Have the Technology...

Coming soon to a blind person near you: a laser-powered bionic eye. From the demo film, it doesn't seem to be very sharp and it's in black and white. Still, if it's the choice between a bad old black and white TV and complete darkness, well, that's an easy one for me.

Posted by scott at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)
A Legend's Remains

While a hunt for her airplane begins in earnest in the deep water around Nikumaroro, archeologists have already found compelling evidence that the small island between Australia and Hawaii was her final resting place. Hey, it's not like there was anyone else hauling 30s-era cosmetics around desert islands, eh? Maybe, if they have good luck finding this plane, they can use the same tech to find Flight 19...

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
Mind the Gap

I bet this made everyone's visit to the Smithsonian more memorable. My sister-in-law, Nina, used to be terrified of escalators, which was a problem since the DC Metro system has more of them than any other place in the country. I made sure to tell her that over the years only a few people had been killed on Metro's escalators. She didn't seem to find that comforting.

Posted by scott at 06:32 AM | Comments (0)
July 17, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)
Ye Olde Undergarmentes

A find inside an old castle wall is up-ending conventional wisdom about women's underwear in the Middle Ages. Textiles are the most fragile of all human artifacts, so the survival is remarkable. But, really, this is the first evidence of women's underwear from this period EVAR? I'm thinking maybe that has more to do with monks being the "persons of record" of the era than with anything regularly worn by, well, regular people.

Posted by scott at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)
I Think You Might Need That

A UK motorist has joined the Film Hall of Shame after being taped driving through an English city in a car with only one front wheel. Luckily nobody got hurt. I also thought it was funny the cop seemed to hit his door locks just after climbing out. Loseyourcarmuch?

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)
And the Internet Cafe Goes, "BANG BANG BANG"

Knocking over internet cafes is all fun and games until you find one with a fat old white guy and his concealed carry permit in it. Jeff gets a no-prize that'll brook no argument for bringing us a graphic example of just how fast two young punks can run when properly motivated.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
Body Bits, Body Build

I guess it should be no surprise that, with improvements in preservation technologies and an increasing demand for transplantable items, a global market that trades in human corpses has arisen. In abstract, I don't have a problem with this. However, I do think it's more than tacky for middle-men to boost their margins by not paying the families to whom the "parts car" once belonged.

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
Gettin' Down Wi Da 'Thletes

Every four years there's an Olympics, and every four years the sports press discovers "thars sex in that thar village!" From stories told to me by folks who attended earlier Olympics, it didn't all start in 1992. It was just noticed by the media around that time. At least with this article the girls admit they were having just as much fun as the boys.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Very Classy

Anyone who is, like myself, scarred by... ahem... "experienced in" fast food restaurant employment knows the Angry Assistant Manager, and the Violent Sociopath Cook. These are the positions bullies achieve when they graduate high school but haven't slid into military service yet. Most of the time nobody ever calls them, really calls them, on the crap they pull. I'm very happy to say that, this time, they've been well and truly caught.

Yes, it's Paris (natch), and so far he hasn't got much traction on the incident. But the dude's got the photographs to prove his case, and now he's starting to get national attention. Unfortunately this is obviously France, home and heart to the ultimate of progressive ideals, so it'll likely be impossible to fire these ignorant idiots. Because we don't want the oppressive, giant multinational to exploit the lowly shift worker by SIMPLY firing them. The employer must prove, and prove again, and again, and AGAIN, that there is cause. Workers have rights! They must not be abridged!

Posted by scott at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)

Why, yes, he's just glad to see you. Article is SFW but links to a (from the thumbnails) a slide show that's on the edge. Or tip, as it were. I wonder what he actually does for a living?

Posted by scott at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)
July 16, 2012
Rare Nuclear Bomb Footage

But Alex Wellerstein, an historian of science at the American Institute of Physics, has shared a unigue video of a blast during America's testing of nukes in the Yucca Mountain area of Nevada during the 1950s.

The historian was sent the video below from a Russian colleague, and has now shared it on his blog.

Check out the article and video footage!.

Posted by Ellen at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)
Speaking of Too Much Time...

So now an artist has created genetically engineered mice which (supposedly) incorporate DNA from Elvis Presley. Ok, a) W. T. F., and b) WHO THINKS IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO LET ARTISTS PLAY WITH GENETICS?!? I mean, really...

Posted by scott at 04:32 PM | Comments (0)
Den Shot

Scientists have managed, for the first time, to film a litter of wild snow leopards in their dens in Mongolia. With video! I dunno. In that first clip, mom doesn't look very happy at all. The rest just look like giant versions of what we've been fostering all summer. No, Ellen, you can't have one.

Posted by scott at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

It's nice to know even famous parents have to put up with their kids' sh-. That said, putting up with it is much easier with bodyguards and nannies. On the other hand, my kid's meltdowns don't end up on the front pages of newspapers in the checkout line. Meh. Their lives, their problems.

Posted by scott at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
Hot Sound

Those propeller-heads at DARPA are at it again, this time demonstrating how fire can be put out with sound. It seems it doesn't even have to be a particularly loud sound, either. Ha! My music isn't too loud, I'm putting out a fire with it!

Posted by scott at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with Portraits

And in the "too much time on my hands" file, we have a guy who's made a kind of career out of bizarre portraits. Even the originating article doesn't really explain exactly what this guy is trying to accomplish. That said, the pictures are... interesting?

Posted by scott at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)
July 15, 2012

The circle is squared: jihadi cleric: "However, to undertake this jihadi approach you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives." Article is SFW, although mind bleach may be advised.

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)
To Boldly Promote...

Star Trek: The Next Generation is getting the Blu-Ray treatment, so expect to start seeing various appearances by cast members. Like, maybe LeVar Burton? Bonus: they also let him plug his new Reading Rainbow app.

Posted by scott at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)
July 14, 2012
I Haz a Tired


Not posed at all. Really!

Posted by scott at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)
Party Tricks!

I especially like the ones where they put the candles out. Ellen's already proved the one about the foot and the number six is true.

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
July 13, 2012
Fossil Find

A rock excavated some three years ago has been discovered to contain one of the most complete hominid fossils found to-date. It's thought this example of Australopithecus sediba, itself a species only discovered in 2008, may contain parts of a hominid not previously preserved in any other known fossils.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)
I Shall Call It, "Holovision"

Scientists at MIT have developed a new TV technology that promises 3D without the glasses. The tech seems to be related to what drives a Nintendo 3DS... instead of altering the image, multiple images are created and interleaved on three stacked screens. Exactly how this will prevent the TV from being three times as expensive as a "normal" one isn't clear, at least from the article.

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
Amazon in a Day

Making the rounds: Amazon has stopped fighting its battle with state taxes because it wants to build warehouses everywhere. The goal is apparently to bring *same* day delivery to customers in a profitable way. Will it kill local retail? Probably not, IMO. People still like to go to the mall, especially for fitted items like clothing. Will it put a big ol' ding in it? Absolutely.

Also, the intense pressure to control costs will mean unions will be "right out." If this starts to take off, expect a new wave of union-funded "ZOMG! THE BIG VIRTUAL BOX KILLED MOM AND POP!!!" propaganda a-la Wal Mart. We can't have convenience and low prices if it means unions lose more power, donchaknow?

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
Sprite Light

An astronaut on the ISS has managed to photograph an ultra-rare "red sprite." The phenomena, which creates a light show over a lightning strike, is poorly understood and has only been closely studies for a few decades. But it sure makes for neat pictures!

Posted by scott at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
July 12, 2012
Paging Don Johnson, White Courtesy Phone Please

Using a bunch of different telescopes scientists have discovered the "heartbeat" of a newborn star. The inelegantly named V1647 is about 1300 light years away, perhaps a million years old, and has an X-ray pulse that "beats" about once a day. It's hoped these observations will help clarify theories on star formation.

Posted by scott at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)
Duetto Zoom

A few more details on the upcoming Miata/Spider platform have emerged. A 1750 Duetto is, essentially, what's sitting in my garage right now. It'd be pretty nifty to park it next to its progeny, assuming it ever actually arrives. Hey, it'll be rear wheel drive with an Italian motor. I don't care where they make it.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)
Round is a Shape

Scientists have announced the discovery of an extinct turtle that was really big and really really round. Like, "round as a tire" round. The creature lived just after the KT event, so the thinking is perhaps its unusual shape was some sort of adaptation to the unusual environment around that time.

Posted by scott at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)
Biology Fail

Dog bites man: wild turtles are spreading salmonella to the public. Man bites dog: turtles are amphibians. In case they change the article, the direct quote is "The outbreak is slow-moving, like the lumbering amphibians themselves." Hooray for New Jersey!

Posted by scott at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)
July 11, 2012
Sounds Like a Fun Time

Ever wonder what would happen if a know-it-all broad sat in a comedy club with a far from politically correct comedian on the stage? Wonder no more. It takes a certain size of balls to be rude out loud in a place where it'll disturb other people. Rape is also not something I'd think would be the subject of jokes. In other words, I think everyone in the situation got exactly what they deserved.

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

Products in the 21st century: a novelty company is suing a food processing company because their Zombie Bloodtm spoiled faster than predicted. No, really. Because everyone knows something that's bright green and comes in a clear IV bag-like package is going to be good forever, right?

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)
Oh Hai!

Darned cats mess everything up. Ellen would've stopped the broadcast immediately and brought the hapless thing home with her.

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with Kittens

Like the article says: forget Sundance, this is the film festival you should really pay attention to. I especially like the one with the apples.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)
Dare Mighty Things

Posted by scott at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)

The Church Of Scientology allegedly believes it's most famous celebrity convert Tom Cruise has telekinetic and telepathic powers, it has been reported. Tom, 50, is the most famous follower of the religion and an investigation by Rolling Stone back in 2006 revealed that he had reached an advanced level of Scientology and was known as an ‘Operating Thetan’ or an ‘OT’.

‘OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behaviour of, both animals and human beings.’

Tom, who is understood to be at the advanced stage of OT VII, has practised the religion for 30 years and therefore has allegedly reached a rarefied state of enlightenment after travelling what is known as the Bridge to Total Freedom.

If you have the $$ you can buy yourself Total Freedom. All I have ever heard was how much money you had to put into this company to be enlightened. Crazy. Bat shit crazy.

Posted by Ellen at 06:37 AM | Comments (0)
Titan Tornado

New observations from the Cassini space probe has revealed new details about weather on Saturn's moon, Titan. The data will help further refine weather models of this enigmatic, and smoggy, object.

Posted by scott at 06:20 AM | Comments (0)
July 10, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

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

A French engineer has created what he claims is the world's fastest running shoe using a 3D printer. That's right, folks. The idea is to show up, get your foot measured, and this guy punches a button to print out your shoes. Welcome to the 21st century!

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with F-1

Yes, I think they'd be better served spending less time on this and more time on making sure the car goes fast and the pit crew stops f'ing it up. But this is still fun.

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

I guess you could do worse than a 186 mph bus. What puzzles me is they're pitching it as a long-distance solution, but their choice of an electric drivetrain limits the range to around 150 miles? That, plus a requirement for their own exclusive traffic lanes, would seem to put a ding in profitability. Ah, well. The Arabs have to spend their money on SOMETHING, I suppose.

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)
Sun Go Boom

Solar flares are getting bigger and more energetic. I blame the 1%!

Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)
July 09, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)
Somehow I Don't Think Geico Will Help With This

Scientists have announced the discovery of evidence that the Milky Way hit... something... quite recently. "Something" being a very large lump of dark matter or a very small galaxy, and quite recently being somewhere around 100 million years ago. Hey, it's not like they're playing billiards or anything. Or are they?

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
It's a Best World After All

It looks like North Korea has decided to kidnap Disneyland. I've read about half a dozen books about this place, each one enforcing the idea that this place is much weirder than your wildest fantasy. This definitely means something, but it certainly isn't what WaPo, or probably even the State Department, thinks it means.

Posted by scott at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
Oil Loss, Oil Gain

While the greens are in a sulk trying to figure out how to bring their precious peak back from extinction, others are getting on with the work of figuring out what all this new-found energy might mean for the future. In a nutshell: time to put on the shades. Well, unless you're a member of OPEC, or Russia. Then, not so much.

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)
Octo Octo Oi Oi Oi!

Look out, Australia, Nadia Suleman may be heading your way. She's apparently got family down there, which means she might have a place to stay. Then again, we're talking fifteen people, most of whom are under the age of 4. Hell, how does she even afford the air fare?

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
Roof Mount

Now, being an actual guy and all, I think having a SAM battery attached to the roof of my building would be pretty darned nifty. Since this is the real world, there are (of course) people who have a problem with it. F'ing condo committees.

Posted by scott at 06:38 AM | Comments (0)
July 08, 2012
Tellin' It Like It Is

Leave it to the Aussies to leave nothing to the imagination. I do have to agree that rubbing one out on the train is... rude.


Posted by scott at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)
July 07, 2012
Cats and Toxoplamosis

This is *always* a concern with clients of ours. Wash your hands, wash your food, be careful in the yard and 9 times out 10, you will be fine. Hygiene, Hygiene, Hygiene! Fullertorrey, back in the day when Scott worked for some mental illness advocacy- was a prominent figure on this idea. Except he said it causes schizophrenia. Until the studies are out that every one with mental illness is tested for toxo- you can only look at them as a theory, not a fact. Yet.

Read the article Is My Cat Driving Me Crazy?

Posted by Ellen at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)
Li'l Bub

How can anyone not like this cat?

Posted by Ellen at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
July 06, 2012
~ I Believe in the Big Green Bug Eyed Monsters ~

Another day, another speculation as to what ET might actually look like. I first encountered the "critter as giant gas bag" concept in Carl Sagan's Cosmos, but I have a sneaking feeling it probably isn't original to him. Regardless, it's at least different from the "shaped like us but with an ugly face" sort of concept we usually get from Hollywood.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
Green Water Fleet

For those of you wondering what the heck happened to the "squeezing biodiesel out of microbes" companies, here's a brief update on at least one. It's looking more and more like fracking and oil sands processing is what'll make the peak oilers move their goal posts back this time around.

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)
Fancy Rice

Damion gets a no-prize that'll rip right past the Road Runner just before it detonates like a hand grenade for bringing us the ultimate street machine. For certain values of street machine. You know, the ones that involve 1000 f'ing horsepower. This being the 21st century, it also includes air conditioning, cup holders, and the ability to idle at a stop light. Ain't technology grand?

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
Book Find

A medieval manuscript that's considered a Spanish national treasure has been recovered. The inelegantly but accurately named Santiago de Compostela Codex Calixtinus was found in a garage near the city along with other rare manuscripts also stolen from the cathedral. Together they represent some of the earliest accounts of one of the most famous pilgrimages of the Middle Ages.

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

Not content with copying an entire Swiss town, another developer in China has copied London's Tower Bridge. Since it is China, after all, the knock-off is smaller and doesn't do everything the original does. It probably also costs less.

Posted by scott at 06:35 AM | Comments (0)
July 05, 2012
Your Thought for the Day

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)
Tent Lift

For yet another view of just how quick and violent the (what they now seem to be calling) 'derecho' storm was last Friday, how about this security video? That's Winchester, VA, *far* to the west of our place. And we slept through it!

Posted by scott at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)
Serpent's Payment

It's beginning to look like the phrase "turnabout is fair play" isn't always a bad thing. Chrysler keeping Fiat afloat is both an unexpected and pleasant surprise, but I want my new Alfa SUV dammit!!! Ahem. Sorry. Anyway, to paraphrase, the two companies seem to be "little, and broken, but still good."

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (2)
Little. Apple. Different.

Quick! Get your straight jackets ready! Apple's coming out with a new version of the iPad this fall! If you don't secure your nearest Apple fanatics quickly enough, they'll run out into the middle of the street doing their tribal dances and get hit by a car. Act now!

Posted by scott at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
That's MISTER Spud Cannon to You, Bub

Leave it to the Navy to turn the whole "potato cannon" idea up to 11. With video!

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
Don't Press That Button!

Ever wonder what it'd look like if a big-time fireworks show shot everything off all at once? Wonder no more. Fortunately, it seems that nobody got hurt. Complainers gonna complain, of course, but for me just answering the question would be worth a fireworks show that was 15 seconds long.

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)
What Can Possibly Go Wrong?

And now, a heartwarming tale of a girl and her pet lynx. No, Ellen, you emphatically can't have one. I don't trust house cats to stay cool in all situations, and they must weigh a fraction of what this thing weighs. I mean, I'm happy they've rescued him and all, so I guess ultimately all I can say is "good luck!"

Posted by scott at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)
July 04, 2012
Higgs High

The worst-kept secret in physics has now been brought into the light. It's so early I haven't found any mainstream sources that are discussing the implications of finding the particle at around 125 GeV, but there will eventually be many. It should allow the elimination of any number of proposed models of particle interaction, as well as to confirm others. The ultimate result will probably be new technologies and inventions that'll do any number of magical things.

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
July 03, 2012

Sometimes, the idiot who's not paying attention to the road gets exactly what they deserve.

Via Honor Among Thieves.

Posted by scott at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)
Puff Ball

And now, a star that's slowly blowing bubbles of DOOM!!! Well, doom to itself, at any rate.

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)
Thars Oil In That Thar Kibbutz!

Call it "a peak with a yarmulke on top:" Israel stands poised on the brink of an epic oil and gas boom. Yes, folks, not only are we suddenly telescoped far away from peak oil's dystopic predictions, if we can keep the greens' and progressives' feet nailed to the floor and get on with it there's a very good chance the leading energy producers of the mid-21st century will be the US, Canada, and frikkin Israel.

It goes without saying this dream is dead in its cradle if the Democrats remain in power. See you in November!

Posted by scott at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
~ Boom Boom Boom / Out Go the Lights!

How bad was last week's super storm? Bad enough to be spotted from space. In the dark. We're very fortunate here to have most, if not all, our power lines underground. Blackouts are rare, and extended ones... well, I can't recall one that lasted more than a few hours. Other places, not so much. Reston Town Center, a gigantic shopping/dining/office complex, was still dark on Sunday (two days later), and for all I know might still be.

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)
When Old Coots Attack

A Madison, Wisconsin atheist group has decided to complain about a 10% discount a Pennsylvania restaurant gives to people who bring in a current church flyer. Such are the things one must tolerate in a free society such as ours. Otherwise these kinds of people* end up fronting political parties and complaining about Jews, and we all know how that song ends.

* Kooks, not atheists.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
Feather Find

A new fossil discovery is forcing scientists to re-examine the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs. Previously, all feathered dinosaurs were from a specific family. Sciurumimus albersdoerferi (really? Really?), however, is a member of a completely different dinosaur family, and pretty far up the ancestry chain of that family to boot. In other words, feathers may have been far more ubiquitous than anyone had considered before.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
July 02, 2012
Lolong So-Long

It's official: a crocodile captured in the Philippines is the world's largest. We saw a NatGeo documentary on how they trapped and transported the beastie from its remote swamp lair to a city zoo. "Monster" is a term that just doesn't do this thing justice.

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

I thought panic was defined by a Southerner faced with a snow storm. This has now been topped by a Southerner faced with a week in July with no air conditioning. Background and further comments is here...

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with Airshows

I tell ya, if this sort of thing happened at US air shows, they'd be a lot more popular. Until, of course, people realized they'd have to drive home with no AC because the windows in all their vehicles were shattered. People have funny priorities, sometimes.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Ancient Uncles

A pair of skeletons recovered from a cave in Spain have yielded the oldest intact DNA samples yet collected from a human body. Surprisingly, the evidence indicates these individuals were more closely related to Northern European populations, and not local Iberian ones.

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)
Fish n' Play

Sometimes the one that got away got that way because it was stolen. Bald eagles seem to be making a comeback all over. Certainly our own green chicken will happily steal food if the opportunity presents itself.

Posted by scott at 06:29 AM | Comments (0)