It seems official: Burger King's whoppers neighed. Meh. No wonder Ellen always gets sick eating the stuff.
Wait, what? This is only supposed to concern the UK? Well, ok then. Whatever helps YOU sleep at night.
So, if this guy is to be believed, a liberal arts degree is actually quite valuable, indeed. My own experience lends credence to this. I got a BA in anthropology and have become quite successful professionally. However, I have a different hypothesis for why this may be so:
Liberal arts majors, perhaps alone in all the different collegiate fields, spend the majority of their study time on mind-numbing courses with little or no obvious application to any real professional field. It turns out that, in the real world, this allows one to be productive during a typical office meeting, a quite rare and valuable skill. Equally important is the ability to learn and genuinely understand nearly opaque concepts from poorly written textbooks and/or incomprehensible instructors. This translates well into more practical, albeit unrelated, fields once the degree is achieved.
In a nutshell, you become cheap to teach. Someone who says "no, I don't know how to do that, but I can learn," and actually DO that, is in my experience quite rare, and therefore valued.
Or, it could just be that I'm an extremely lucky over-educated fry cook who happened to back his way into a lucrative career. You believe what you want, I'll believe what I want.
An upcoming memoir from the famous anthropologist you've likely never heard of has prompted this retrospective on the evidence-based death of the "noble savages" myth. Chagnon's work was still being hotly debated when I was an undergrad back in the '80s. I read some of it back then and I genuinely think his "no, actually, these people suck, and I can prove it" attitude helped shoot some profound cracks through the leftist indoctrination I'd been undergoing up to that point. Liberal arts degree, FTW!
Dammit, another slow news day! Let's spin the Wheel 'o Sensationalism... oh, cool, that hasn't come up in awhile. Today's imminent doom is brought to you by the fresh water supply!
Ok, look, the vast majority of us live on watersheds. That means when we use fresh water all we're basically doing is slowing it down on its way to the ocean. The article claims power companies will be the main culprit for fresh water consumption. A power company will not locate a plant in a "water distressed" area, whatever the hell that means.
A newly described fossil has pushed back the evolution of intestinal parasites by more than 100 million years. Because knowing just when horrifically nasty critters first showed up is important. Meh, ok, not really, but part of what makes science fun is how it can be interesting AND useless. Half the time, hell maybe more than half the time, someone eventually does find a use for it.
Think of it as subsidance with Chinese characteristics. With "bombs away" video!
Today's bit of sensationalism is... [spins the Wheel o' DOOOM!!!] ... the menace that is the domestic cat. It's my experience that when a new study's conclusions are "startling" or "unexpected," that usually means there's a problem with the study, not the subject. That, or the people sponsoring it are selling something. In this case, I'm pretty sure it's a healthy dollop of both.
The next phase of our energy independence seems to be starting. Reviving the rust belt? Cleveland may actually end up a nice place to live after all. Don't even get me started on Pittsburgh. And, as noted previously, anything that puts hajji closer to his much-deserved breadline in the desert is A-OK with me.
A new study of populations in Siberia has revealed previously unknown genetic adaptations to the cold. The thing about fat turning into heat has been known for quite some time. Maybe these populations are more efficient at it? Then again, since something like a third of all Eurasian people are related to Genghis Kahn (as I recall, anyway), maybe it's just that the genes have been distributed throughout the world's populations.
It's official: Ellen is not the craziest cat lady in the world. Amber isn't, either. It's ok, I passed out when I heard the news, too. Let the inappropriate lesbian jokes begin!
Scottish authorities to seal: "Wanty bolt!"
Seal to authorities: Am away hame!
Something tells me it might get a bit smelly in there. Seals aren't known for their hygiene. Well, they're not to me, at any rate.
No, Ellen, you can't have one.
Facts: A globally popular politician gives a huge cash reward to the Vatican in exchange for official recognition, in 1929. That money was carefully invested over the years and now has grown into a substantial sum. The Vatican has become extremely skilled at legally protecting its UK investments from various attempts at hyper-taxation and/or outright confiscation.
Headline: How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini's millions. I don't know why I'm surprised at the spin. Our own MSM, aka the Democratic Party's ministry of propaganda, makes these guys look like amateurs.
The latest best-selling recording in the UK is... a thousand year-old nothing. Tiny, unremarkable churches that just happen to be a thousand years or more old seem to be an English staple. Yes, there are genuinely ancient cathedrals all over France, and Germany definitely has some ancient basilicas. It just seems that the UK has a monopoly on churches that sit quietly in the corner, unremarked for ten centuries or more. Sometimes, they have books that sit on the same shelf for at least that long. I kid you not.
Scientists at IBM, of all places, has developed a new polymer that beats even antibiotic-resistant bacteria. According to the scientists, its action is something the bugs won't be able to defeat. Me, I think it'll result in bugs as tough as ball bearings. But that'll probably make them vulnerable to other things. Winning!
In the eternal battle of law versus reality, the latest entry is a supposedly invisible tracking device that will call for help if a tree is illegally logged. It's a nice idea, but it'll fail. Someone will figure out how to spot/disable/jam it soon enough. The only way to make sure something like illegal logging stops is to give the people doing it a good reason not to. "Because we say so" is not a good reason.
Phone too cumbersome to use as an actual phone? Here's a gizmo to help. A phone for your phone. Ellen will want three.
Scientists have developed yet another working version of a tractor beam. This one has the potential for many small-scale uses. Unfortunately it would seem this one would fry bigger stuff, so it's no use trapping that damned freighter that blasted its way out of Mos Iseley.
Scientists have discovered that dung beetles can use the Milky Way itself to navigate. One of nature's most gargantuan constructs being used to help one of its most humble creatures to protect a ball of crap has a certain... symmetry to it. Humbling from both ends of the spectrum, sort of thing.
Curiosity's less-glamorous cousin Opportunity just celebrated yet another anniversary on Mars. Spirit gave up the, well, spirit not quite three years ago, but Opportunity just keeps on going. Hopefully they'll be able to beat the Soviet Union's unmanned Lunokhod 2's distance record before it breaks down.
It turns out that, perhaps for the very first time, a NASA space probe has a flash camera. The results? I have a feeling they look real similar to what would happen if you took your pocket digicam out somewhere in Death Valley at night. Except, you know, the NASA one's on Mars.
Everyone's favorite sing-song TV auto show has been kind to Alfa over the years. Witness their very positive take on the last sedan imported to the US, the 164. Motor journalism is usually very kind to Alfa. The cars are fun, and the writers never have to live with them for very long. With the 164, that meant the failures of the climate control system and the engine's finicky maintenance requirements were simply not a problem. I've always liked them, but Ellen doesn't. She prefers the looks of the Milano. Yeah, I know.
The man who provided the voice of Charlie Brown for the iconic Christmas special has been jailed over a stalking charge. Because a role that he had when he was, what, 9 should determine how we look at the guy today. And, you know, link up frivolous stories like this. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
A contractor renovating a house discovered a nice cache of guns behind a wall. Of course, since it's the UK, I'm pretty sure the nanny state will walk up and "liberate" them. Still, it's a fun thought to imagine it happening here.
It's like they're trying to describe the far side of the moon.
Wizards of the Coast, the company that now owns the Dungeons and Dragons brand, is releasing PDF versions of classic manuals and adventure modules. The thing is, the early versions were often flawed, sometimes deeply. Still, nostalgia will likely trump the flaws, and it's not like you couldn't have fun with the old stuff. Far from it. And it would seem my old manuals may actually be worth something nowadays, even as chewed up as they are.
Netflix: Here's a neat HD service. Your provider will need to upgrade their internet connection and use this nifty box we developed to make it work.
Progressives: ZOMG!!! The Internet is under attack!
Nothing is free, people. Nothing. When someone tries to claim otherwise, watch out. They've usually got a set of shackles hidden somewhere.
Once more, with feeling: holsters: good, pockets: bad. And that's just the first of his safety failures. I was hoping there'd be a "crime of stupidity" violation, but I think the injury is bad enough.
NASA's MRO is at it again, this time providing evidence that a massive crater once was filled with water. It may yet still. Possible target for a future Mars rover? It'd be nice to think about, but I'm not holding my breath.
A Turkish woman is in jail after shooting, then beheading, her rapist. Well, accused rapist, anyway. There were plenty of strange things that happened in my small town when I was growing up. A woman walking down main street carrying a severed head wasn't one of them. Although, now that I think about it, that definitely would've enlivened the day.
The chairman of Google recently was invited to participate in a diplomatic mission to North Korea. His observations were dry as dust, but his kid's account is much more entertaining. It jibes well with other things I've read about the Hermit Kingdom, so I think it can be trusted. Well, trusted only as far as even the author admits the paranoiacs who run the place allow anyone to see anything of interest.
It would seem that, in the UK at least, a "bargain burger" is cheap because nearly a third of it isn't made of cow. This being the UK, the fact that the "filler" once neighed means a national moment of angst. Me? If I'm shopping for a bargain, I'm not expecting the distributor to "magically" give me a discount. It's cheap for a reason, you morons. At least it's not China. Hell they'll put lead in a burger to make the weight. That's why anyone in China who can afford it never buys Chinese. I kid you not.
While we here in the Mid-Atlantic are (so far) enjoying another mid winter, Russia is dealing with a "Snowpocalypse". Hopefully now that communism is gone, they at least have access to some snow blowers. Oh, and stay the heck off the road, those people are CrAzY.
Remember those "New-In-Box" Spitfires supposedly buried somewhere in Burma? Yeah, really was too good to be true. I thought they'd claimed to have taken pictures of at least one of them. I either read that wrong (likely), or the lack of said pictures ever emerging is another indication these things were more boxed dreams than boxed planes. The guy will keep looking until the money runs out, I suppose. I wish him good luck!
In the midst of all the C7 hype, a group of Corvette enthusiasts is restoring a prototype from the past. Note the tube frame, and the good ol' cast-iron pushrod V8. Hopefully someone is making a documentary about it. Those hand-built cars always have a lot of interesting stories to tell.
Speaking of things Chinese, we may get another Alfa through the back door, courtesy of their oldest car company. It doesn't exactly look "Alfa-ish," and it doesn't have an Alfa motor in it, but after yet another delay from Fiat, it's looking like about as close as we'll ever get.
The Chinese are, probably, working on a lunar lander with an accompanying rover. It may launch as early as the end of the year. Go for the interesting development in exploration, stay for yet another picture of the "VAB with Chinese characteristics."
A group of scientists has developed the most fluid-resistant surface known. They're claiming it'll be useful for stain-resistant clothing and ultra-low drag paint for ships. After reading about how it's applied, I'm not sure how they'd get something like that to work over a really wide area. But I'm not a materials scientist.
Remember that whole "oh-no-they-dih-unt!!!" dust-up yesterday about the NRA supposedly exploiting Obama's kids in an advertisement? Yeah, about that. I was hoping the MSM would finally calm down and distance itself from the Democratic party once they'd all gotten Obama re-elected. Yeah, a vain hope, but it was there. As it stands, it looks like the MSM will ensure the Democrats hold the White House for the foreseeable future, while Democratic bungling will ensure the Republicans hold onto Congress. Since Americans in general seem to like divided government, I guess it's a win-win.
Speaking of innovative booze, it looks like American single-malt whiskey makers are starting to really get noticed. The last time I tried scotch I thought it tasted like postage stamp glue. I just now realized that was more than twenty years ago, so maybe I'll take another crack at it. That said, I have a love/hate relationship with whiskey (I love it, it hates me) which will likely carry over to this stuff. Maybe I'll just stick to beer.
A process invented by the person who would eventually become the first president of Israel may be providing us a diesel substitute soon. There were a lot of "once we do this" -es, which is usually a code phrase for "don't really expect much," so I'm not sure I will. Still, it's another team working the problem, and eventually SOMEONE will make it work. Will it make the greens happy? If all they were really interested in was improving the environment, I'd say, "yes." I'm not actually gonna say it, though.
Two words: breakfast beer. You're welcome.
Also, a recycling plan I can absolutely support.
A group of internet gunsmiths has demonstrated the ability to create 30-round magazine for an AR-15. It would, naturally, neatly circumvent any legislative attempt to make such an accessory illegal. Just this morning I was thinking, "how could they possibly want to go through with something so obviously unpopular?" Then I remembered the health care debacle. It seems that, when the Republican Party fails to get its members elected to office, the Democrats are more than willing to step in and lend a hand.
This is definitely something Ellen would do: heart transplant patient gets the ultimate photo opportunity. How do I know? Do you really want me to count all the bits of cats she's hidden away in cabinets in this house? It makes it an adventure to go rooting around in the spice cabinet.
Ever wonder what would happen if you gave a chimp the remote to a full-access cable box? Pretty much what you'd expect. Brings a whole new meaning to the term, "spank the monkey," I'll give you that. I wonder if they'd be more interested in films with chimps in the... rmm... "lead roles?" One of the things you're forced to learn as part of an anthropology degree is such films most definitely exist.
Another day, another progressive attempt to solve a problem that doesn't even exist yet. In other news, Canada already seems to have a "Ministry of Robots and Artificial Intelligence." Well, at least this time it's not my tax dollars paying for it. Sexytime All The Robots!
The apparently successful online Star Wars game is preparing to add same-sex relationship options to the game. Predictably, there are people who have a problem with it.
HOA to local paper: Don't you dare print anything about us. If I see so much as our name...
Local paper: Oh-no-you-dih'-unt!
Pretty obvious whoever is in charge of this HOA is a freaking maniac. Local papers usually play ball with the politically connected a lot easier than this.
An extremely rare original photo of the Hiroshima bombing has been discovered. It's not much, and it's black-and-white, but somehow still manages to convey the horror and power of the thing. Well, to me at any rate.
Nobody's quite sure yet, but it's looking increasingly likely that we're going to have a spectacular astronomical show late this year. I'm old enough to have been disappointed by Halley's last appearance. Being able to see a comet in broad daylight would be a very nice consolation prize, indeed.
Ahead of the Detroit Auto Show, GM has revealed the next Corvette. I think the front shows quite strong Ferrari influences, but the back seems to represent a complete departure from previous versions. It reminds me more of the current Camaro than anything else. Text of the article includes crayon-prose explaining things like torque.
The shape of things to come: when you have enough people, you eventually end up with a theme park dedicated to anything. I don't actually play World of Warcraft, so I'm not sure how accurate this all is anyway. If any admission is charged at all, most Chinese won't be able to afford it. But even if only 1% can, that's still something like a million people. Economies of scale, FTW!
Geothermal technology seems to be moving in the right direction. I'm not sure it helps anyone who doesn't live next to an extinct volcano, but what do I know? Apparently "hydroshearing" is quite different from the better-known fracking, but it's not completely clear to me why this might be. It'd be nice to see my tax dollars (the DoE is in for half) get some positive alternative energy results, but I'm not holding my breath.
The noise these things make is supposed to be spectacular. I think some of that comes through on the video. Also note the rearward-facing engineer's station, a carry-over from the B-29 design they stole about five years before this bomber was designed.
Like the idea of a 4k TV, but wonder about how to get the content? Wonder no more. This is the first mention of any sort of 4k player I've read anywhere. As the article mentions, the rest are based on bulky server solutions. If 4k eventually catches on (I think it might), these guys may end up cornering the market.
Ever wonder what sound a submarine makes when it bounces off another ship? You can ask the guys on this boat. They also now probably know what it sounds like when a Captain's career suddenly comes to an end. Article includes a helpful map that shows where the Persian Gulf isn't.
Scientists have discovered that shark embryos are able to sense when predators are near, and hide from them. The real challenge: they do it while they're still inside the egg. It's suggested the observations may lead to more effective shark repellant. I don't quite understand how that might work but hey, this is science! If it had a practical application they'd call it engineering.
The scales of a species of firefly have allowed engineers to significantly increase the brightness of LEDs. By a whopping 55%, no less. I wonder how they get them to fly so close together?
In the "I'm surprised it's taken this long" file, we have a full-sized replica of HAL 9000. Seems pretty pricey to me, but I'm just not that big of a Kubrick fan. I will say, however, that if you haven't seen 2001 in a hi-def format like Blu Ray you should take that chance. I snatched a 1080i broadcast of it off a cable channel, and it really was quite impressive.
Washington's National Cathedral will soon be hosting same-sex weddings. That said, it's not as if you can just walk up to the place hand-in-hand. We researched this a long time ago and there are still some (completely understandable) restrictions on just who can and can't use the place. I mean, expecting a couple to be actual Christians, and a member of that church? The nerve!
It passes my Four Rules, so it's officially none of my business.
It's still too early to be sure, but it would seem the savior of an ancient cathedral will be... olive oil. The crazy thing, to me anyway, is that the cathedrals are really only moderately old churches. The UK has dozens of far more modest structures that date to the sixth century, or even earlier.
Too late for Christmas, but maybe next year: a DIY cat tower/TARDIS replica. Yet another thing that would take up space we don't have in our house. Plus nowadays Ellen would be at least as likely to turn it into a bird cage.
Well of course I'm gonna link up an article about a guy who discovered a recently-closed mental institution never threw away the suitcases of inmates who eventually died there. For, like, the past hundred years. Best: Article appears in "collectors weekly." Why, yes, I do live in a house with someone who collects photo albums of perfect strangers. How'd you guess? Hoarders isn't scheduled to film here until August!
Sometimes journalists really do get to have all the fun: like flying a B-2 stealth bomber. I'd be happy just flying around in their simulator. You get to crash one in the simulator!
A German company has developed a laser weapon system capable of destroying targets more than half a mile away. All weather, too. The article doesn't say if they're solid-state or not. Getting high power output from a laser without using chemicals has been a goal of the industry for quite some time.
Someone needs to check the transmission on this one. This doesn't happen in DC. Our escalators don't mysteriously reverse, they maim and kill. Progress!
It's official, someone has found the end of the Internet. I wonder if there's a companion judging boob size vs. intelligence? Of course, that one can be artificially enhanced.
Looking for a cheaper place to live, with sane taxes and a low cost of living? looks like Ecuador might be for you. Bad: learning a new language. Good: Miles of beaches. Trust me, when Ellen's concerned all I have to say is "beaches" and she'll already be trying to figure out how much a U-haul rental will be.
It seems NASA's effort to find buyers for its Canaveral infrastructure is proceeding apace. It's also nice to see them being frank about letting the market determine the price. Hopefully they'll find buyers. It'd be a (dangerous) shame if the VAB was allowed to rot into the Florida swamps that surround it.
Another day, another idiot of Facebook getting what he deserves. I've had a public on-line presence of one form or another for about twenty-five years now, and continuously for the past eleven. Nobody's got anything on me because I assume any and all correspondence is being ready by my worst enemy and/or employer (sometimes they were the same). If you don't post stupid stuff on the internet, it won't get you in trouble.
A group of scientists are using guppies in an attempt to prove that big brains are rare because of the price an animal must pay to get them. Bonus: It seems that a mathematic genius in the guppy world consists of the ability to count to four.
It seems 2013 won't be all fun and games for Scientology. People have been detailing the loopy weirdness that underlies Hubbard's religion for decades, so I'm not sure just how much new stuff will be in the book. Still, it seems like this author is more thorough that most, so maybe it'll bring a veneer of legitimacy to it all. Bonus: the author is also working on a play about Oriana Fallaci, our favorite angry Italian.
A team of scientists has announced they've figured out how to cool something below 0K. If you're thinking, "but nothing can go below zero Kelvin, that's the point!" you'd be right there with me. Apparently, as with most things I learned in science class, the truth is more complicated than that. I think. Look, I was told there would be no math...
We've gone on record about the roach problem in our original apartment, but at least we weren't able to scoop them up by the spoonful. Although, in retrospect, I have a feeling that was more because roaches aren't willing to be scooped up no matter what. I mean, that roach problem really was awful. Pretty much the opposite of good times.
A team of Chinese scientists has revisited an iconic anthropological dig, and their findings could shed light on any number of riddles involving our ancestors. Or, in the particular case of Peking Man, our ancient cousins. Genetic study still seems to indicate that whatever species this hominid might end up being, it isn't in our direct line of descent. That said, they're still plenty close enough to provide information about how they, and by extension we, survived in such an incredibly harsh time.
The good news: Tom Baker has officially signed up to participate in the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special. The bad news: It may mark the end of Matt Smith's tenure. I've just now gotten used to the guy. It'd be really irritating if they up and replace him now.
The Atlantic is featuring a new photo-essay about everyone's favorite hermit kingdom. Life does go on, at least in the parts of North Korea the photographers' handlers wanted them to see. Or, in the case of official photos, wanted to be seen.
So, will your next TV be a hyper-resolution 4k unit, or one that's just a few millimeters thick? They're both sitting north of the $10k mark right now, which means my answer is "not any time soon." Still, it does mean there's finally tech on the horizon that'd make me actually consider replacing the unit we have today.
Scientists have announced the discovery of the oldest fossils found to-date. At some 3.5 billion years old, they represent a snapshot of the Earth taken when it was only a quarter of its present age. Unfortunately it's not fossilized critters that they've found, rather the remains of structures that they built. The finding is, of course, controversial but if it holds up it will provide much more information about what life was like in our remote past.