I dunno. I think I like it better when I can tell which direction the plane is flying in just by looking at it. Still, supersonic commercial flight is appealing. I mean, it's not like I want to spend a day and a half sitting in a tube just to get to the Great Barrier Reef, right?
A new world record has been set with the discovery of the world's oldest message in a bottle. At 98 years old, it beat the previous record holder by five years. Bonus: the ship which discovered that message is also the one that discovered this one. The captain just seems to have a knack for it, I guess.
Maybe if the executives at my company did this, they'd be happier: the executives of an Australian trucking company have been warned after an incident involving aprons depicting penises and simulated sex with a toy donkey. Then again, I've seen our executives. It probably wouldn't do them much good.
Well, it did turn out that ulcers were caused by bacteria: a new report claims a common facial disease is actually caused by mite poop. I have a few relatives who suffer from rosacea. This may make them squirm a bit (it makes me squirm a bit), but if it means more effective treatments, I'm all for it.
Event: idiotic airline employees find a sex toy in someone's luggage, dip it in axle grease, and then attach it to the bag it was found in before sending it up the luggage ramp. Result: ORMERGORSH! HRT CRIME! Ok, first, I got no idea how the plaintiffs have managed to prove the employees in question had any idea a gay couple owned the luggage. Second, axle grease is, by definition, slick. I really don't get how the tape would hold all that well. But who knows.
Regardless, having something weird and embarrassing happen to you in front of a group of strangers who will almost certainly never see you again in a million years in no way shape or form constitutes a hate crime which caused "negligence, emotional trauma and privacy violations directed at them because of their sexual orientation." But hey, this is America. That's just how we roll.
Scientists have for the first time detected sugar in outer space. No, it's not like you'll be winging your way out there to sweeten your coffee or anything, but it does prove the existence of complex carbon molecules in distant stars. Plus, you know, it's just cool.
I've often wondered, if you take enough pictures will you eventually snap one of everything? Google is there to provide the answer. I must admit a bit of disappointment there weren't more people in various states of undress, but I'm odd that way.
Problem: your venerable space telescope has taken so many pictures over the years nobody's really been able to go through all of them to find the really pretty ones. Solution: Crowdsourcing! It's pretty neat, the things that people can accomplish when they're given the opportunity.
By using DNA analysis techniques, scientists have finally solved the mystery of the "monstrous larva." First discovered in the guts of fish back in the 19th century, Cerataspis monstrosa was so weird looking nobody could figure out what, exactly, it was meant to grow into. Turns out, it's a shrimp.
Speaking of wacky government research programs, Darpa's at hypersonic airplanes it again. Making the project that failed twice already even more complex would at first seem to be a bad idea, but you never know. With the modifications they're talking about, it would seem like the thing might actually work this time.
If the folks at Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity — the spy services’ equivalent of Darpa, an iconic scene from Star Wars may become a reality. It was too cool, and really not all that out-there, to stay fictional forever. Me, I'm still waiting for a light saber, but I'm nerdy that way.
By using bug traps enhanced with artificially intelligent programs, scientists are attempting to battle a well-known agricultural pest on a different playing field. When the damage caused by the oriental fruit fly is counted in the billions of dollars, it's a war well worth fighting.
Steal a phone, get ebola. I'm all for punishment suiting the crime, but a fatal disease for a stolen phone seems a little much. Ellen, who treats her phone as only slightly less important than her child, would likely disagree.
Now that's my kind of shirt. It even has a cat on it! How cool is that?
Good: Ban plastic bags! They are the Devil Capitalists work! Go green instead! Re-useable bags for all!
I have to admit, outright death is definitely one of the more extreme of the greens' "bad luck." Not completely unexpected, just extreme. And wash your damned grocery bags, you dirty hippie!
By using tools more commonly applied to tracking disease outbreaks, a group of scientists now believe they have proof that all Indo-European languages evolved from something spoken in what is now Turkey, 9500 years ago. People have been trying to peg this sort of thing for generations, and I can't help but be surprised this specific technique hasn't been tried before. Expect a long, slow firefight in academic journals to commence oh, any second now.
Finally someone's taking a look at "hookup" culture without their corset and Victorian-grade attitudes on: We’ve landed in an era that has produced a new breed of female sexual creature, one who acknowledges the eternal vulnerability of women but, rather than cave in or trap herself in the bell jar, instead looks that vulnerability square in the face and then manipulates it in unexpected, and sometimes hilarious, ways.
Me, I don't mail anything all that valuable to begin with, but you'd think someone at an art gallery would know better. The rules are probably different in Norway. It's probably a lot easier to successfully file a claim, which makes the insurance more expensive. That's all I can think of, anyway.
It's beginning to look like the only place Olivia's kids will see cash is in a museum. To me, this seems like a golden opportunity for thieves and grifters more than it does a way to convenience customers. Then again, I guess when credit cards were first introduced, people felt the same way about them. Ah, progress.
A federal judge has recently dismissed most of the claims in a wrongful death lawsuit over a fatal goat attack in a national park in Washington state. Yeah, let's roll that around the ol' noggin for a bit. Fatal goat attack. And now we watch Ellen scramble to explain why we need goats. Well of course she wants them, this is Ellen we're talking about here.
A study using methodology which has accurately predicted the winner of every presidential election since 1980 is choosing Romney, FTW. I wonder if part of their methodology is to make sure they run the poll at the same time each election year? A lot can happen in three months, ya know?
Possibly the funniest trend floating around on the web right now.
I dare you not to laugh out lout.
Ok, everyone, you can all breathe a sigh of relief: it seems cats do not in fact cause brain cancer. They'll puke on your chairs, pee on your walls, and poop on your floors, but they won't give you cancer. What a relief!
Alcohol, unsurprisingly, was involved. Holding a flame to a vent on a port-a-pottie filled with gasoline would seem to be a "you're standing too close" sort of moment, but there's no mention of any injuries. Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase "stink bomb," I'll give you that.
By improving on a Japanese design created in the 1990s, scientists have been able to halve the cost of harvesting uranium from seawater. It's estimated there's enough of the stuff in the oceans to power all the world's nuclear power plants for more than six THOUSAND years. Yes, it's still five times more expensive than pulling it out of the ground, but that's just engineering. If we want it, it's there for the taking.
An extensive study of a nearby star has shown that hopes for a nearby Earth-like planet are unfounded. It's unclear as to whether or not there are any planets around the star. It would also seem that there's still a lower limit to the mass of a detectable planet, and eventually that will improve and we may yet end up discovering nearby planets.
Another engineering firm is taking a crack at the hoverbike. I think the thing that ultimately dooms these things is the racket they make. That's a problem that goes back at least to the fifties, which was when the first documentary I saw about them was made. Still, if it's done in a place where noise doesn't matter, then maybe they have potential.
And in the, "I'm so very glad mine has grown past this stage," we have the case of the little boy who had a toy car wheel stuck up his nose, for three years. The worst Olivia managed to do was stuff a VCR full of cheese balls. Nowadays she wouldn't recognize a VCR if it bit her. Or, you know, something.
Scientists have announced the discovery of the oldest known modern human fossils in Asia. The climate conditions in the area at the time of migration are very poor for fossil formation, so such finds are extremely rare. The location suggests an alternate route for our move from Africa to Asia, and could provide valuable DNA information as well.
Scientists have announced the discovery of 41 new alien worlds. Some of them are in quite complex solar systems. None, of course, are flashing "ET R HERE!", which is just as well. You know, the whole "it hasn't tried to talk to us" meme, and all that.
It's one thing to make a robot walk. It's a whole other thing to make him strut. It looks like they may have even fitted him with leather loafers, or whatever the hell kind of shoe Travolta actually wears in the film. Suits him, I think.
Sometimes obvious things need to be re-stated: you'll never be Chinese. What's more, you really don't want to be ruled by the Chinese, either. A better summary of a good, idealistic progressive disillusioned by the realization that people really are all the same you will be hard pressed to find. That, and his descriptions dovetail well with what I've read elsewhere about the place. I steer clear of Chinese investments precisely because I think they're standing on the largest asset bubble the world has ever seen.
If reports are to be believed, Transformers and Indiana Jones actor Shia LaBeouf will be doing the nasty on camera for his next film. To get an R rating in the theater there will be strategic pixels involved but I'll hand them this. It'll make the NR home video version a hot item, I'll wager. It's obvious he must've made a metric shiatload of money on his earlier movies, so it's not like he has to work. Still, it'll be interesting to see how mainstream Hollywood reacts. Other, far less mainstream, "serious" actors have gotten away with this sort of thing. Who knows what'll happen when an A- or B-lister steps up with his bat in his hands?
That assumes they don't drop a couple of body doubles in the mix. That would be a pretty chicken-sh move, IMO. But it would preserve the ol' career. Meh. It's not like I'll be seeing it any time soon.
They're not so little any more: a new ad created for a Venezuelan plastic surgery company has Little Mermaid's Ariel recovering from an encounter with Ursula with... enhancements. If the article is to be believed, they did this without a proper license agreement from Disney. Can you say "cease and desist notice?" I knew you could.
Yet another reason to keep cave exploring to the guys on Animal Planet and the Travel Channel: scientists have discovered an entire new family of "large" cave spiders in an Oregon cavern. Large being, from eyeballing the photo, about two inches or so. Small by person standards but I'll concede large by a "holy-sh-t-it's-a-spider!!!" standards.
Ares has an interesting note about how drones will perform air-to-air refueling. I have to admit seeing this formation with manned aircraft made me think really hard about what they're talking about for awhile, but I guess it makes sense. Hey, I'm not an aeronautical engineer, what do I know?
At last, the sordid tale of Kenny the Clown and Steve Jobs' iPad can be told. Yes, you heard that right. Unfortunately this poor guy's house will probably end up a stop on The Great Apple Pilgrimage Road, where the faithful go to trace The Great Ones trials and tribulations on his path to Electronic Enlightenment.
"This is your captain speaking. We'll be pushing back from the gate momentarily. By the way, does anyone have a $20 for gas? I mean, who actually wants to fly into Damascus nowadays, or even Beirut.
They told me, if I voted for John McCain, corporate fat-cats would have a revolving door for bailouts, and they were right! When the first bailout came around I remember reading this was the start of a standard demolition of a heavily unionized large company. Subsequent bailouts, and there would be more, allow executives and union bosses to give successive waves of workers a soft landing until the business, and its union, is too small to rattle the cages of their captive politicians.
Fair, you say? The result of a union doing the right thing to irresponsible executives? Maybe. I see it more along the lines of "forcibly taking my money to reward irresponsible behavior and bad decisions." But you already knew that.
Boeing's latest X-51A flight has ended in another failure. This time a control fin that's worked fine in the previous two launches decided not to work, and when you're traveling at these speeds control is kind of important. They've got another vehicle built, but no money to fly it. Yet.
I'll see your giant optical laser and raise you a solid-state maser. Yeah, maser. Does for microwaves what lasers do for visible light. And with cheap materials, no less! Various comments seem to indicate this'll have a big impact in telecommunications, where large microwave towers have to overcome scattering and interference.
Today's "why'd it take this long" entry is a particularly "sexy" one (SFW). If, you know, your idea of sexy is a bunch of guys dressed up like JPL engineers and a chick in a bikini with a box on her head. And that's also a gold star for "least likely set of words in a single sentence" for me, too!
Only in Detroit: police have released pictures of tattoos found on human body parts discovered by maintenance workers in a Detroit sewer pipe. De-boned, no less. Judging by the tats, I'm thinking "drug lord dumping ground," but what do I know?
I am not surprised that this is going to be a new trend.
Another day, another guy getting shot in the ass. So, unintended consequence of concealed carry laws, a statistical clustering of dumbass outbreaks, or just the same stuff on a different day? You decide.
Of course, Ellen would consider this a feature...
Google. Is there anything it can't do? Using Google's auto-fill statistics as a predictor of US state stereotypes is great fun (Arkansas isn't interesting enough to warrant more than one thing), but even better is the first comment, who's author should win a prize for "Best. Internet. Snob. Evar!"
Another day, another "you are here" photo of Curiosity. This time in color! The article also goes through some nice details of just what the, apparently successful, recent software upgrade they performed actually did. Being NASA, they're going to do absolutely all the science they can do while the rover is just sitting there, and THEN move out. Should take a few more days, apparently.
Chris W. gets a fast and disposable no-prize for bringing us news of the next scheduled test of the X-51A, Boeing's latest hypersonic experimental aircraft. They're shooting for the longest flight to-date in the series, a whopping 300 seconds. Of course, traveling at Mach 6 will take you quite a long ways in 5 minutes. Hopefully it doesn't take the thing to bits.
Ah, but you see, it didn't happen in the South: a New Hampshire man is recuperating in the hospital after shooting himself in the butt. No, really, that's what he did! He claims to have been hunting a squirrel. No, it doesn't make all that much sense to me, either, but since he's not dead it's not like he was doing anything unnatural with the weapon. I hope.
Get out your record books: the largest python ever harvested from the Florida Everglades is 17 foot, 7 inches long and 165 pounds. After tagging it and tracking it to its breeding grounds, scientists killed the monster and froze it for study, finding a whopping 87 eggs in the beast.
The problem is not that there are no natural predators of the beast in the Everglades. I'm just about dead certain the problem is its actual natural predator is legally prevented from organizing and profiting from hunting it. Put a bounty up for each snake caught, and defray the cost with a permit system and taxing the product. We once nearly emptied the Everglades of alligators, ferchrissake. The snakes wouldn't have a chance.
IBM may be on the verge of yet another computer performance discontinuity by announcing they've figured out how to harness an electron's spin for use in computer memory chips. The idea is literally in deep-science territory, and they can't even do it at room temperature yet. But that's just engineering, because (they claim) the theory is sound.
Everyone cross your fingers: after barely being on Mars a week, NASA is upgrading Curiosity's software. I'm thinking one of the things our two billion dollars bought was something that'll extra-triple-promise-ensure it'll all go fine. Bonus: if I'm reading the article correctly, Curiosity uses a variant of the same processor used by the original iMac.
Happy Monday morning: if a Chinese paper is to be believed, a woman recently spent five days with a spider in her ear. And that's a lovely picture they've got there, too. Hey, it's not like I posted this up just before bed!
Notice Olivia in the background acting like a cave man.
... it gets worse. With 442 years of jail time on the dock, you'd think he'd be more than willing to give up the guys he "helped." Of course, it's not like his moral compass points the right direction to begin with. I'm pretty sure it doesn't have an arrow at all.
WATCH FOR FALLING LANDERS. And exploding ones, too. Hey, folks, it's called "rocket science" for a reason, kno'wha'ah'mane?
I guess it really does take a dedicated nerd to create the very first self-portrait of the newest mechanical resident of Mars. I think those funny stickers all over it must be some sort of focus targets. I can't think of any brands that use that logo, at any rate. It's a shame someone couldn't figure out how to smuggle a Champion sticker on it or something.
Not news: driver dies in single-car crash. News: caused by road collapse triggered by gopher holes. All you people living out in the country, have a nice drive home this afternoon.
Steve U. gets a no-prize that might look like his (and our) million-times-great grandpa for bringing us yet another possible hominid in our family tree. I think we're now up to something like seven bipedal hominids wandering the rift valley about 2 million years ago. There weren't much more ape species around at the time, as I recall. Controversy? Hey, these are Anthropologists we're talking about. The only time they stop bickering is when they die.
Strap a camera on a house cat and turn it loose in the neighborhood and what happens? Mayhem, I tell you, pure mayhem. Yet another reason why ours have always been pure indoor cats.
Yep, it's official: whenever Americans go on a road trip, they drop trash everywhere. Of course, it is a pretty big planet. I guess the Martians should be happy we've only managed to park four cars on their lawn so far.
If a twelve year-old kid from California is to be believed, every single president, except for one, is related to King John of England. And the odd man out isn't the one you're expecting, either. I have to wonder, though, when the net is cast that wide, how many other run-of-the-mill people are related to ol' "Lackland?"
President, shmesident. THIS is a birthday worth mentioning. You'd think that, as successful as the Nurburgring is, Fiat would be more interested in exploiting this facility for profit. Maybe liability laws are different in Italy than they are in Germany?
This was our next-to-last (so far) set of fosters. 7 at once! About half have found homes.
Elephants have long been known to communicate with infrasonic sound, sound pitched so low it's below what a human can hear. However, the mechanism to generate the sound wasn't known, with theories of conventional vocalization competing with others that would have the sound generated in a way similar to a cat's purr. While the image of a multi-ton cat buzz is appealing, new evidence seems to indicate something else.
What better way to close out the week than with a collection of hi-res pictures of whale sharks? Fifty feet long, you say? Sounds fishy...
The "computer may have puked on [his] slides," but that didn't stop a retired Air Force commander from reminiscing about a recently-declassified Cold War project. Called "Constant Peg," its mission was to train pilots in how to fly, and how to defeat, actual Soviet aircraft. Best quote: On the MiG-21: "It had no gas – a point-defense fighter. We didn’t know what 90 percent of the switches did. We changed the ASI and parts of the oxygen system. We had one switch that we just labeled BOMB EXPLODE."
There's laughing so hard you cry, and then there's laughing so hard you swallow a butter knife. Yeah, you heard me, butter knife. Had to do with her proving she had no gag refle... Oh, stop it. Stop it! I will not abide your inane giggling!
Most of the time people get away with being d-bags to wait staff because only one or two people see it happen. Then there's this guy. One advantage to being a line monkey: I don't have to sign a contract stating I won't embarrass the company any time, anywhere. Him, not so much. Not that I would do something this stupid. I used to BE a drive-through person, a very long time ago. It's not the hardest job in the world, but it's also not the best. Nice to see a total d-k getting what's coming to him.
Got popped for weed possession and resisting arrest? That's a crushin'. "[Police] said they couldn't pursue the man because their cars were crushed." With "one picture says it all" goodness!
So, Mr. Wachowski is well on the way to becoming Ms. Wachowski. This is a description of what that's like, from the inside (SFW). Again, as long as they follow the rules*, I don't care. That said, this is a couple who admit to a combined income of $30k/yr. That's only twice the poverty line. To me that means they're very young, have made exceptionally poor career choices, or are on public assistance. In other words, the kind of people who aren't skilled enough to make this sort of decision. And that, friends, is worth my judgement.
Get a better job, get on your feet, move to a place where you're accepted, and then cut off the dangly bits. Dummy.
* 1) Stay out of trouble, 2) Pay your taxes, 3) Stay off my lawn, 4) No children or animals involved.
I'm divided on this one. Either it's brilliant satire, or yet another example of what happens when a bi-polar wobbles off his meds and into a manic fugue. It could go either way. Heck, it may be both at the same time. Seems like it's been out there a long time, too. But since I'd never seen it before, important people didn't know about it. So there!
So it would seem the Incan empire is the only known example of a successful, complex society created without markets. Which, to me, means we're missing something. Living in the mountains isolated from Western ideas does not grant immunity to TNSTAAFL. If progressive experience teaches us anything, it teaches that everything has a price, and hiding that price courts disaster. Something else is going on here.
Pop quiz: When you want to call attention to a nearby despotic government do you a) stage a protest, b) start a campaign, or c) risk getting your butt shot off air-dropping teddy bears on the place? Fortunately this is one of the last of the Stalinist states, so the guys who ran the air defense were off drunk or whoring or something, so our intrepid protestors managed to get away with it. I'd like to think they're both sleeping on the couch for awhile, though. I'd be lucky to be in just that much trouble, were I in their shoes.
This time around we won't be hearing the sound of a starter pistol at Olympic track events because the speed of sound is just too slow. When the stakes are this high, and the results are measured in hundredths of a second, I can understand this.
Scientists have announced the discovery of an idol cast down by a people made famous for the practice by the Bible. A less informative article that contains a picture of said statue is here. Sometimes it's important not to forget that the Bible also includes a chronicle of the Levant three thousand years ago. It can be hard to tease out sometimes, but it's there.