November 30, 2007
Markets in everything
How To Rent Your Soul
Here are the steps :
* Send me a picture of you, holding your smiling Soul; make sure you hold it close to you as shown in this example. Use the form below.
* Souls are chosen at random on Sunday; if yours is picked, I'll ask for your PayPal account or where to send a check or bank note if you prefer. You also get a copy of the emailed donation confirmation.
* Next Sunday, your Soul is given back to you. A copy is kept in the Past Souls section, along with a permanent link to the organism you chose.
* Meanwhile, tell your friends and make sure they visit your charity ;)
Here's a collection of nine impressive new buildings that are either planned or under construction.
This one will be called the Chicago Spire, if and when.
Scott Adams spent a few days in Las Vegas this week and here's a snippet from one of his posts about the trip.
Urge to Simplify
Now the casinos have people trained, like chickens hoping for pellets, to take money from one machine (the ATM), carry it across a room and deposit in another machine (the slot machine). I believe B.F. Skinner would agree with me that there is room for even more efficiency: The ATM and the slot machine need to be the same machine.
The casinos lose a lot of money waiting for the portly gamblers with respiratory issues to waddle from the ATM to the slot machines. A better solution would be for the losers, euphemistically called “players,” to stand at the ATM and watch their funds be transferred to the hotel, while hoping to somehow “win.” The ATM could be redesigned to blink and make exciting sounds, so it seems less like robbery.
Who'd want to?
Here's another funny clip about Vista; it comes from CNET.
November 29, 2007
Cool cavern carvings
Eighth wonder of the world? The stunning temples secretly carved out below ground by 'paranormal' eccentric
by HAZEL COURTENEY
Last updated at 09:58am on 22nd November 2007
Nestling in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy, 30 miles from the ancient city of Turin, lies the valley of Valchiusella. Peppered with medieval villages, the hillside scenery is certainly picturesque.
Here, 100ft down and hidden from public view, lies an astonishing secret - one that has drawn comparisons with the fabled city of Atlantis and has been dubbed 'the Eighth Wonder of the World' by the Italian government.
For weaving their way underneath the hillside are nine ornate temples, on five levels, whose scale and opulence take the breath away.
Hall of the Earth: An amazing room built on the 'supernatural' visions of its creator
Call me a cab
Deputies Use Taxi To Trick Man Who Wouldn't Leave Bank
POSTED: 1:32 pm EST November 27, 2007
UPDATED: 5:37 pm EST November 27, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A man walked in to an Orange County bank with luggage Tuesday and demanded that he be taken to India. That request led to a strange standoff that lasted hours at the Wachovia Bank off Orange Blossom Trail near Sand Lake Road.
The man, later arrested, is an Indian citizen and he even had his passport on him. Investigators don't know why he wanted to go back to India or why he thought he thought he could get there by walking into a bank, but deputies had to use a little deception to get him out.
Don't give up
Here's another of Apple's PC guy/Mac guy ads about Vista. Like the others, it's pretty much spot on.
It's a small world
An elderly English couple were visiting New York and they hailed a cab. It isn't long before the driver started talking to them, but the wife couldn't hear well because she was nearly deaf.
Driver: You're British, aren't you?
Man: Aye, we are.
Wife: What did he say?
Man: He asked if we were English and I said we were.
Driver: I was in England, during the war.
Man: Oh aye.
Wife: What did he say?
Man: He said he was in England during the war.
Driver: I was in Burnley, in Lancashire. You know it?
Man: Yes, that's where we come from.
Wife: What did he say?
Man: He said he was in England during the war - near Burnley.
Driver: Do you know a patch of woodland just south of Burnley?
Man: Aye, I know it.
Wife: What did he say?
Man: He asked if we knew the woods south of Burnley and I said we did.
Driver: You know, it was in those woods that I had the worst lay I've ever had in my entire life.
Wife: What did he say?
Man: He says he knows you.
November 28, 2007
A Night Elf Mohawk
Meet Mr. T, Night Elf Mohawk, in this ad for World of Warcraft.
And William Shatner does a pretty good shaman in his WoW ad.
Order in the court!
Jailings Over Ringing Cell Get Judge Ousted
Courtroom Full Of People Locked Up
POSTED: 8:46 am EST November 28, 2007
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- A New York judge who jailed a courtroom full of people over a ringing cell phone is off the bench.
Judge Robert Restaino was removed Tuesday by a state judicial panel.
During a court session in March 2005, Restaino got upset when a cell phone went off.
He demanded that the phone be handed over, threatening to lock up everybody if no one came forward.
When nobody did, the judge ordered all 46 people in the room hauled off to the city jail, where they were searched.
Those who couldn't post bond were shackled and bused to the county lockup.
To infinity and beyond!
Here's a nice collection of retro space art (mostly Russian) at DarkRoastedBlend.
What an opportunity
Own your own think tank!
The Bay Area Center for Voting Research is selling itself on eBay. Bidding starts at $5,000. For that low, low price, you can get a think tank with a solid 2,770 hits on Google. Plus, it was once misidentified in The New York Times!
November 27, 2007
Talk about a bad day
This is an amazing clip about a farmer in South Carolina whose hand was trapped in a corn picker. That was just before the fire started...
A little girl is about to go to bed and she says her prayers: "God bless mummy, and daddy, and my brother, and may my dog rest in peace." The next day her dog falls down, stone dead.
About a week later, she is again saying her bedtime prayers: "God bless mummy, and daddy, and may my big brother rest in peace." During school the following day, her brother drops dead.
Not many days later, she is about to go to bed and she prays: "God bless mummy and may daddy rest in peace." The next morning, her mother opens the door to find the milkman dead on the doorstep.
He says, she says
This person has a serious case of gender confusion.
Born a man, he became a woman, then a man again — what's next?
(Last updated: November 19, 2007 2:49 PM)
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — High on prescription painkillers and four days without sleep, Michael Berke raced his Harley to the megachurch where he’d found a home.
He barged into the church office, cursing loudly and wearing a mesh shirt printed with profanity. In his hands he held a picture of a woman with long, red hair and pouty lips.
“This is who I used to be,” he said.
“And this” — he gestured to his breastless chest, bald head and red goatee — “is who I’ve become.”
He was born a man. After a lifetime as a social misfit, he had transformed himself into Michelle, a saucy redhead. Then, three months ago, he had become Michael again — with the financial aid and spiritual encouragement of Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale.
Now, he wanted to be Michelle again, and he blamed Calvary for making him the man he had become.
Folding at home
Stanford has a distributed computing project for solving protein folding problems.
What is protein folding and how is folding linked to disease?
Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Before proteins can carry out these important functions, they assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, in many ways remains a mystery.
Moreover, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious consequences, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, Parkinson's disease, and many Cancers and cancer-related syndromes.
You can help by simply running a piece of software.
Folding@home is a distributed computing project -- people from throughout the world download and run software to band together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world. Every computer takes the project closer to our goals. Folding@home uses novel computational methods coupled to distributed computing, to simulate problems millions of times more challenging than previously achieved.
November 24, 2007
What a view
...of San Francisco Bay in this image by Kevin Ho.
There's no better location to view the Golden Gate Bridge than from a Coast Guard C-130... Note the trail of dust left behind from our engines.
Mankind 'shortening the universe's life'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 21/11/2007
Forget about the threat that mankind poses to the Earth: our activities may be shortening the life of the universe too.
The startling claim is made by a pair of American cosmologists investigating the consequences for the cosmos of quantum theory, the most successful theory we have. Over the past few years, cosmologists have taken this powerful theory of what happens at the level of subatomic particles and tried to extend it to understand the universe, since it began in the subatomic realm during the Big Bang.
The damaging allegations are made by Profs Lawrence Krauss of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and James Dent of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, who suggest that by making this observation in 1998 we may have caused the cosmos to revert to an earlier state when it was more likely to end. "Incredible as it seems, our detection of the dark energy may have reduced the life-expectancy of the universe," Prof Krauss tells New Scientist.
R/C MiG 29s
Here's nearly 8 minutes of video about a 1/5 scale MiG 29 R/C plane. The first 3 minutes or so are pre-flight check-out.
This is another clip about an R/C MiG, but this plane features thrust vectoring (like a real MiG uses) and so it pulls much more impressive maneuvers.
November 23, 2007
Always good news
At the It's Getting Better All the Time blog, where the tagline is: I believe that life is getting better all the time - and this blog is going to document news about this continual progress in human living standards and quality of life.
The latest post is Humpback Whales Come Back.
Keep moving forward
This Australian ad for Toyota's Prius is pretty entertaining.
The thing that amused me most, though, was how they'd sanitized the lyrics to Big Rock Candy Mountains. ("peppermint trees"?)
Update: link fixed.
A guy thing
Pie in the Sky
Squash defies gravity and human ingenuity defies all reason at the annual World Championships of Punkin' Chunkin'
25 baffling toys
Anything for a buck
Suspected Toilet Paper Thief Caught With Hundreds Of Rolls
POSTED: 8:20 am EST November 16, 2007
UPDATED: 11:25 am EST November 16, 2007
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Thieves targeted an Orlando business nearly 30 times in the past few weeks and have gotten away with some unusual loot. More than 1,000 rolls of toilet paper are missing from the United Supply Company.
Orange County investigators said they caught Christopher Edge walking down Orange Blossom Trail with a large bag filled with hundreds of rolls of toilet paper. They said Edge admitted to selling the loot for $1 a roll.
November 21, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving (again)
This is a re-run from two years ago but since I find it so funny, you get to see it again.
The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks
Another one from the You Can Find A Blog For Anything department. Check it out.
Enjoy your meal
Uncle Floyd gets his turkey dinner from the Will It Blend man.
The Obesity Reduction and Health Promotion Act
Here's a little political satire:
Changing the Laws of Gravity
In a brilliant, Bastiat-like display of satire, here’s US Congressman Bill Sali responding to a plan to raise the minimum wage
November 20, 2007
15 Spectacular Lightning Images at digital-photography-school..com.
Let's call it a post-graduate seminar
Or maybe a lesson in the School of Hard Knocks.
Lap dance of luxury: Strippers teach Econ 101
Ron Hart Columnist
Cost of undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech: $100,000 Night of partying at a strip club: $53,000 Dad’s reaction to son’s $53,000 one night bill: priceless
It has happened again! A Florida man says that his son was taken advantage of by a Panhandle strip joint. The father gave his son his credit card to celebrate his graduation from Georgia Tech and the boy ran up a $53,000 tab. It appears that the strippers were the only ones who got a happy ending.
I guess the son, catapulted to an undergrad degree at age 24, did not learn the economics of real life, chief among them is to never give strippers a drunken free shot at your credit card.
Much like their brethren the lawyers, strippers quickly size up a potential client for what they can fleece from them based on how much money they have and how stupid they appear.
The subprime mess in simple English
Rich sends a link to this satirical video on market analysts. It aired last month on Britain's ITV and is fairly funny in a dry, English way.
Difficult to believe indeed
Nice neighbors... too bad they're lawyers.
Property right wrongly taken
By David Harsanyi
The Denver Post
Article Last Updated: 11/19/2007 01:09:34 AM MST
The story is so absurd, so unfair, so ludicrous, I had a difficult time believing that it could actually happen - even in Boulder.
It's about a couple named Don and Susie Kirlin. They moved to the city in 1980. A few years later, the Kirlins purchased a plot of land near their residence, hoping to someday build a "dream home."
As the children began to make their own way in life, the couple decided it was time to finally develop the property in late 2006.
By then, it was too late.
Despite owning the land, despite living only 200 yards from the property, despite hiking past it every week with their three dogs, despite spraying for weeds and fixing fences, despite paying homeowner association dues and property taxes each year, someone else had taken a shine to it. Someone powerful.
Former Boulder District Judge, Boulder Mayor, RTD board member - among other elected positions - Richard McLean and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, used an arcane common law called "adverse possession" to claim the land for their own.
November 19, 2007
This sundial is one of many images in a series of Creative Ads at Dark Roasted Blend.
Well, as long as it's tasteful...
Woman, 102, strips for nude charity calendar
Last Updated: 4:35pm GMT 18/11/2007
A woman of 102 has stripped off for a nude calendar in aid of her village football club.
Nora Hardwick, who was born in 1905, posed as Miss November behind the bar of the Ermine Way pub in Ancaster, Lincolnshire, for a charity calendar to raise funds for the local team, Ancaster Athletic.
"They draped a bit of pink cloth around my shoulders, but at my age I just don't have the model body to be taking it all off," she said.
"It was all very tastefully done. You couldn't see any of the bits or anything."
Saving the world with AOL
The end of an era
Wow! I had no idea that one of Edison's original DC stations was still running.
Off Goes the Power Current Started by Thomas Edison
By Jennifer 8. Lee
November 14, 2007, 12:53 pm
Today, Con Edison will end 125 years of direct current electricity service that began when Thomas Edison opened his Pearl Street power station on Sept. 4, 1882. Con Ed will now only provide alternating current, in a final, vestigial triumph by Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse, Mr. Edison’s rivals who were the main proponents of alternating current in the AC/DC debates of the turn of the 20th century.
World Toilet Day
Believe it or not, I take pains to avoid gratuitous scatology. (Is there any other kind?) But since the World Toilet Organization has declared November 19th to be World Toilet Day, the recent news below seems especially timely.
'Mr. Toilet' builds commode-shaped house
By BURT HERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Nov 9, 4:39 PM ET
SUWON, South Korea - Sim Jae-duck has made his political career as South Korea's Mr. Toilet by beautifying public restrooms. Now he's got a home befitting his title: a toilet-shaped domicile complete with the latest in lavatory luxury.
'Mr. Toilet' -- now there's a distinct sobriquet for you.
And HowStuffWorks explains what would happen if everyone in the US flushed at the same time. Go ahead; you know you've always wondered about that.
November 18, 2007
1K of ROM
MacRaven excerpts and links to a /. post about some digital archaeologists with a project to simulate and document the Busicom 141-PF calculator. That calculator was based on Intel's first microprocessor, the 4004, which was introduced 35 years ago. (Here's the Intel 4004 35th Anniversary Project site.)
This quote from the /. post
Want to find out how Busicom's Masatoshi Shima compressed an entire four-function, printing calculator into only 1,024 bytes of ROM?
caught my eye because it reminded me of an old Usenet tale about "real programmers." That tale - in all its lengthy glory - follows. If you're a codewright it will either bring back memories, or give you something to think about, or possibly do both.
A recent article devoted to the *macho* side of programming made the bald and unvarnished statement: Real Programmers write in Fortran.
Maybe they do now,in this decadent era of Lite beer, hand calculators and "user-friendly" software but back in the Good Old Days, when the term "software" sounded funny and Real Computers were made out of drums and vacuum tubes, Real Programmers wrote in machine code. Not Fortran. Not RATFOR. Not, even, assembly language.
Machine Code. Raw, unadorned, inscrutable hexadecimal numbers. Directly.
Lest a whole new generation of programmers grow up in ignorance of this glorious past, I feel duty-bound to describe, as best I can through the generation gap, how a Real Programmer wrote code. I'll call him Mel, because that was his name.
I first met Mel when I went to work for Royal McBee Computer Corp., a now-defunct subsidiary of the typewriter company. The firm manufactured the LGP-30, a small, cheap (by the standards of the day) drum-memory computer, and had just started to manufacture the RPC-4000, a much-improved, bigger, better, faster -- drum-memory computer. Cores cost too much, and weren't here to stay, anyway. (That's why you haven't heard of the company, or the computer.)
I had been hired to write a Fortran compiler for this new marvel and Mel was my guide to its wonders. Mel didn't approve of compilers.
"If a program can't rewrite its own code," he asked, "what good is it?"
Mel had written, in hexadecimal, the most popular computer program the company owned. It ran on the LGP-30 and played blackjack with potential customers at computer shows. Its effect was always dramatic. The LGP-30 booth was packed at every show, and the IBM salesmen stood around talking to each other. Whether or not this actually sold computers was a question we never discussed.
Mel's job was to re-write the blackjack program for the RPC-4000. (Port? What does that mean?) The new computer had a one-plus-one addressing scheme, in which each machine instruction, in addition to the operation code and the address of the needed operand, had a second address that indicated where, on the revolving drum, the next instruction was located. In modern parlance, every single instruction was followed by a GO TO! Put *that* in Pascal's pipe and smoke it.
Mel loved the RPC-4000 because he could optimize his code: that is, locate instructions on the drum so that just as one finished its job, the next would be just arriving at the "read head" and available for immediate execution. There was a program to do that job, an "optimizing assembler", but Mel refused to use it.
"You never know where its going to put things", he explained, "so you'd have to use separate constants".
It was a long time before I understood that remark. Since Mel knew the numerical value of every operation code, and assigned his own drum addresses, every instruction he wrote could also be considered a numerical constant. He could pick up an earlier "add" instruction, say, and multiply by it, if it had the right numeric value. His code was not easy for someone else to modify.
I compared Mel's hand-optimized programs with the same code massaged by the optimizing assembler program, and Mel's always ran faster. That was because the "top-down" method of program design hadn't been invented yet, and Mel wouldn't have used it anyway. He wrote the innermost parts of his program loops first, so they would get first choice of the optimum address locations on the drum. The optimizing assembler wasn't smart enough to do it that way.
Mel never wrote time-delay loops, either, even when the balky Flexowriter required a delay between output characters to work right. He just located instructions on the drum so each successive one was just *past* the read head when it was needed; the drum had to execute another complete revolution to find the next instruction. He coined an unforgettable term for this procedure. Although "optimum" is an absolute term, like "unique", it became common verbal practice to make it relative: "not quite optimum" or "less optimum" or "not very optimum". Mel called the maximum time-delay locations the "most pessimum".
After he finished the blackjack program and got it to run, ("Even the initializer is optimized", he said proudly) he got a Change Request from the sales department. The program used an elegant (optimized) random number generator to shuffle the "cards" and deal from the "deck", and some of the salesmen felt it was too fair, since sometimes the customers lost. They wanted Mel to modify the program so, at the setting of a sense switch on the console, they could change the odds and let the customer win.
Mel balked. He felt this was patently dishonest, which it was, and that it impinged on his personal integrity as a programmer, which it did, so he refused to do it. The Head Salesman talked to Mel, as did the Big Boss and, at the boss's urging, a few Fellow Programmers. Mel finally gave in and wrote the code, but he got the test backwards, and, when the sense switch was turned on, the program would cheat, winning every time. Mel was delighted with this, claiming his subconscious was uncontrollably ethical, and adamantly refused to fix it.
After Mel had left the company for greener pa$ture$, the Big Boss asked me to look at the code and see if I could find the test and reverse it. Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to look. Tracking Mel's code was a real adventure.
I have often felt that programming is an art form, whose real value can only be appreciated by another versed in the same arcane art; there are lovely gems and brilliant coups hidden from human view and admiration, sometimes forever, by the very nature of the process. You can learn a lot about an individual just by reading through his code, even in hexadecimal. Mel was, I think, an unsung genius.
Perhaps my greatest shock came when I found an innocent loop that had no test in it. No test. *None*. Common sense said it had to be a closed loop, where the program would circle, forever, endlessly. Program control passed right through it, however, and safely out the other side. It took me two weeks to figure it out.
The RPC-4000 computer had a really modern facility called an index register. It allowed the programmer to write a program loop that used an indexed instruction inside; each time through, the number in the index register was added to the address of that instruction, so it would refer to the next datum in a series. He had only to increment the index register each time through. Mel never used it.
Instead, he would pull the instruction into a machine register, add one to its address, and store it back. He would then execute the modified instruction right from the register. The loop was written so this additional execution time was taken into account -- just as this instruction finished, the next one was right under the drum's read head, ready to go. But the loop had no test in it.
The vital clue came when I noticed the index register bit, the bit that lay between the address and the operation code in the instruction word, was turned on-- yet Mel never used the index register, leaving it zero all the time. When the light went on it nearly blinded me.
He had located the data he was working on near the top of memory -- the largest locations the instructions could address -- so, after the last datum was handled, incrementing the instruction address would make it overflow. The carry would add one to the operation code, changing it to the next one in the instruction set: a jump instruction. Sure enough, the next program instruction was in address location zero, and the program went happily on its way.
I haven't kept in touch with Mel, so I don't know if he ever gave in to the flood of change that has washed over programming techniques since those long-gone days. I like to think he didn't. In any event, I was impressed enough that I quit looking for the offending test, telling the Big Boss I couldn't find it. He didn't seem surprised.
When I left the company, the blackjack program would still cheat if you turned on the right sense switch, and I think that's how it should be. I didn't feel comfortable hacking up the code of a "Real Programmer".
November 16, 2007
Life in space
This clip by folks on the ISS is about both routine affairs and some zero G high jinks.
I simply can't imagine why the audio track is The Lion Sleeps Tonight. But the surprising thing is that it gives the clip a nice, light-hearted feel.
Plenty of time
My phone bill was past due and I needed to change my service, so I had to visit the local phone office. The line wasn't clearly formed, and there was an old man with a cane nearby me. It was unclear which of us was next.
When we got to the front of the line, the man gestured to me and said, "After you."
I smiled at him and said, "No, please, after you. I have all day."
Then he replied, "No. You go ahead. My doctor says I have at least six months."
Wow! Moon Probe Captures 'Earth-rise' in High Definition
By SPACE.com Staff
posted: 13 November 2007
08:50 am ET
A Japanese moon probe has replicated the famous Apollo-era "Earth-rise" photograph with modern high-definition imaging.
The Kaguya spacecraft, also called Selene, has been orbiting 62 miles (100 kilometers) above the moon since Oct. 18.
Weekend Reading 25
Here's some straight news from The Daily Telegraph. I believe they're serious.
Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 14/11/2007
An impoverished surfer has drawn up a new theory of the universe, seen by some as the Holy Grail of physics, which has received rave reviews from scientists.
Update: The 'impoverished surfer' is A. Garrett Lisi and his paper's called An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything.
Reason mag interviews Judge Andrew Napolitano. They discuss his new book, A Nation of Sheep, among other things. Here's a good quote from the judge, talking about "national security letters":
Remember that the British government permitted its soldiers to execute self-written search warrants. They called them “writs of assistance,” and they were one of the last straws that caused American colonist to rebel. It’s bitterly ironic that 230 years later a popularly elected government would authorize its own agents to do the same thing that when a monarchy did it, we fought a war of rebellion in reaction—which we won!
Warren Meyer (of Coyote blog fame) has another blog called Climate Skeptic. He's released his video What is Normal? A Critique of Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming Theory there.
It's worth a look, but note the word catastrophic. Mr Meyer thinks the world climate is warmer, but he's not sure of the cause and he doesn't think it will turn out to be a catastrophe.
November 15, 2007
There are 8 lifts mentioned there, including the Falkirk wheel and the yet-to-be-completed lift at the Three Gorges dam in China - which will be the tallest in the world when it's finished.
Don't back up
A friend of mine, while waiting for his airplane, saw a pilot walk by carrying his bag. In large letters on a sticker on the bag was the word "CAUTION."
Leaning closer, my friend read, "To make the little houses get smaller, pull back on the stick."
The Perfect Glitch
This clip is a local newscast from Idaho about a woman who survived being struck by lightning. But there's a problem with the tape of her interview and it's hilarious.
November 14, 2007
And smile when they ask for your papers
The first thing we do, let's kill all the
lawyers policy wonks. This comes from Rich Karlgaard at Forbes.com
Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Higher Taxes
Ye shall know them by their own words.
Check out this New York Times piece.
Or don't. Let's save everyone time and quote its absurd proposition:
"Though governments have seen life and liberty as deserving of protection, for all the public policies aimed at increasing economic growth, people have been left to sort out their happiness. This is an unfortunate omission."
There you have it. Government must be responsible for our happiness. We're too stupid to figure it out.
The Mom song
Not being a mother, I found the Mom Song only mildly interesting. It's "everything a mom says in 24 hours condensed to 2 minutes and 55 seconds and sung to the William Tell Overture," in case you're more interested than I.
The author (and performer, I believe) is Anita Refroe.
What a dog!
Scott Adams had a lot of riffs on this article but there are hundreds that he could have made and didn't. So, take it away and roll your own... Ba-da-bing!
Man in India marries dog as atonement
Tue Nov 13, 4:56 PM ET
NEW DELHI - A man in southern India married a female dog in a traditional Hindu ceremony as an attempt to atone for stoning two other dogs to death — an act he believes cursed him — a newspaper reported Tuesday.
GEORGE the hedgehog looks more like a porky-pine after scoffing his way to FOUR times the average size.
He was handed to a wildlife sanctuary in Leatherhead, Surrey, by householders worried he must have an illness.
In fact George, who weighs nearly five pounds and measures more than 31 inches around, was just fat.
Staff are putting him on a six-month diet.
A good landing
Any landing you can swim away from is a good landing, to update the pilots' adage.
Pilot Embarrassed After Sea Plane Ends Up Upside Down
POSTED: 12:39 pm EST November 12, 2007
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- A plane crash-landed in an Orange County lake late Monday morning. All you could see from the air were the skids from the sea plane on Big Sand Lake, but the plane itself was upside down under water.
The pilot was okay and it was clear because he could not get away from Eyewitness News cameras fast enough when a reporter Kathi Belich tried to talk to him about how his sea plane ended up wrong end up.
November 13, 2007
Busted by Facebook
Who says Facebook is the province of the young? Increasingly, the 30something bosses of naive recent college grads are proving adept at turning the social network against its earliest adopters. Kevin Colvin, an intern at Anglo Irish Bank's North American arm, was busted when he told his manager, Paul Davis, that he'd miss work due to what colleagues took to be a "family emergency". Davis turned up the photo above, freshly posted to Facebook from the Halloween party Colvin apparently missed work to attend, and attached it to his reply, copying the rest of the office as he did it. The email thread is now spreading around the net. After the jump, the entire exchange, and the incriminating photo.
Women Gathering At Homes For 'Taser' Parties
Events Called Tupperware Parties Of 2007
POSTED: 8:52 am EST November 12, 2007
Groups of women are gathering at homes across America for Taser parties, where the guns are presented with wine and cheese, similar to earlier Tupperware parties.
A host at the parties explains the value of owning a personal Taser gun and then women are allowed to look at and handle the devices, which include a metallic pink gun.
Perfect timing II
Another pointy-haired boss
The Tables Turn for Dilbert’s Creator
By BRAD STONE
Published: November 11, 2007
THIS is yet another story about a clueless but obtrusive boss — the kind of meddlesome manager you might laugh at in the panels of “Dilbert,” the daily comic strip.
The boss in question operates an upscale restaurant serving California cuisine about an hour’s drive east of San Francisco. The restaurant, Stacey’s at Waterford, is in trouble — two decades of rapid population growth in the region has prompted an influx of national competitors like P. F. Chang’s China Bistro and the Cheesecake Factory.
In other words, Scott Adams, the “Dilbert” creator and the progenitor of the multimillion-dollar Dilbert empire, is now a pointy-haired boss himself.
Fastest dough in town
This pizza crust maker is pretty fast and puts on quite a show.
Q: How is bungee jumping like visiting a hooker?
1) They're both expensive.
2) They both last only a few minutes.
3) If the rubber breaks, you're dead.
November 12, 2007
Watch the watts
A clever ad from Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned electric utility.
"Give us a copper, Gov," said the beggar to the Treasury statistician when he waylaid him in Parliament square. "I haven't eaten for three days."
"I see," said the statistician. "And how does that compare with the same period last year?"
...VB as in Victoria Bitter, a Fosters' product.
In this clip, an orchestra uses only VB bottles and four kettle drums to play the beer's theme song. It's very nicely done and pretty impressive to watch. It makes you wonder why it's always the beer companies who have the slickest ads.
Get a bigger shotgun?
It's a novel method for auto maintenance.
SK Man Hurts Himself Trying to Loosen Lug Nut -- With a Shotgun
A 66-year-old man shot himself in both his legs Saturday afternoon while trying to loosen a stubborn lug nut with a 12-gauge shotgun.
And I've found that bigger shotgun. Check this out; it's worth a look whether you're using it on lug nuts or on clay pigeons. "The world's largest shotgun aka Punt Gun measures 10-feet long and has a 2-inch barrel."
Here's a video clip of this monster in action.
I'll bet you could shoot the lug nuts off a Cat 777D with that one.
Tokyo Motor Show
The folks at MSN write, "The Tokyo Motor Show consistently features some of the most unusual and outlandish concept vehicles on the show circuit. The editors onsite have culled through the choices and picked our favorites." One of those was the Honda PUYO pictured below.
Check out the slideshow.
November 09, 2007
Check out the products on this Dutch site.
James Fallows has a very interesting Flash slideshow (images with narration) at TheAtlantic.com. Be warned: clicking on the slideshow link may resize your browser window.
The slideshow accompanies Fallows' article called Among the Pandas but a subscription is required to read that.
A practical statistician
Three professors (a physicist, a chemist, and a statistician) are called in to see their dean. Just as they arrive the dean is called out of his office, leaving the three professors there. The professors see with alarm that there is a fire in the dean's wastebasket.
"I know what to do!" says the physicist. "We must cool down the materials until their temperature is lower than the ignition temperature and then the fire will go out."
The chemist says, "No, no, no! I know what to do! We must cut off the supply of oxygen so that the fire will go out due to lack of one of the reactants."
While the physicist and chemist debate what course to take, they both are alarmed to see the statistician running around the room starting other fires. They both scream, "What are you doing?!"
"Trying to get an adequate sample size."
This new Guiness ad is sort of a cross between a Rube Goldberg machine and the ultimate falling dominos set-up.
It's pretty entertaining; I've never seen cars used like dominos before.
What, no picture?
This grandfather must have left his grandson's picture at home.
Grandpa Picks Up Wrong Kid From School
POSTED: 9:45 am EST November 8, 2007
UPDATED: 12:08 pm EST November 8, 2007
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville man who rode his bike to pick up his grandson from elementary school only to return home and be told he had the wrong kid created an awkward situation for two families Tuesday.
Four-year-old Long Branch Elementary School student Zacari found himself in the home of a different family and in the middle of an unusual mix-up Tuesday, WJXT-TV in Jacksonville reported.
Zacari's mother, Latoia Gillis, said "They don't have the same name. They don't even look alike."
Apparently,to the 77-year-old grandfather, the boy did look like his grandson, and the man put Zacari on his bike and rode home.
November 08, 2007
Iran in pictures
Abi has put up 103 images of Iran at Picasa. It's a nice collection.
Sarah walked into a pharmacy and told the pharmacist that she needed some cyanide. The pharmacist asked, "Why in the world do you need cyanide?"
Sarah explained that she needed it to poison her husband. The pharmacist's eyes grew big and he said, "Lord, have mercy. I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband! That's against the law. I'd lose my license. They'd throw both of us in jail! Absolutely not! I will not sell you any cyanide!"
Sarah reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed... with the pharmacist's wife.
The pharmacist looked at the picture for a bit and then said, "Well, now... You didn't tell me you had a prescription."
Thanks to Carol.
27 aquatic animals
At the Bounty Fishing blog.
From London's Daily Mail. Given the source, I assume it's legit.
Army tests James Bond style tank that is 'invisible'
Last updated at 11:56am on 30th October 2007
New technology that can make tanks invisible has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.
In secret trials last week, the Army said it had made a vehicle completely disappear and predicted that an invisible tank would be ready for service by 2012.
A soldier, who was at the trials, said: "This technology is incredible. If I hadn't been present I wouldn't have believed it. I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees - but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun."
November 07, 2007
This is a very well-done funny animation about an impatient cat and a sleeping person.
They forgot the old saw
A lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.
'Cool Cash' card confusion
A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because players couldn't understand it.
The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.
The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.
"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.
Decorated water towers
The one above is in Austin, Texas. No surprise there, they're just Keeping Austin Weird.
But it's not painted on the tower. Instead it was a real-time projection of an eyeball onto the tower done last New Year's Eve. You can see video of the event at YouTube.
The thing I found amusing about this odd report was the mention of "Japanese-model motorcycles," which I took to mean "They weren't Harleys." I think most people would have a hard time telling 50 Yamahas from 50 BMWs while being attacked on a freeway.
Throng of cyclists terrifies motorists
By Carolyn Tuft
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
A throng of about 50 motorcyclists has terrified two separate motorists and has local police officers scratching their heads as to what to do about it.
The two episodes involved motorcyclists who surrounded vehicles on well-known thoroughfares in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The cyclists in both cases drove Japanese-model motorcycles. Both motorists said that they were almost forced to stop on the roadway because the cyclists were throwing things at their vehicles or kicking them.
According to a 911 tape released by police, Rick pleaded for police to help him:
"There's 50 of them (motorcyclists) and they're trying to take over the highway. ...This guy just threw something at my car. You gotta get some cops out here. The whole highway is jammed," the man said. The sound of motorcycle engines whined in the background.
"My daughter's crying and they're kicking my car" and hitting the mirror, the man continued.
November 06, 2007
Peter Terren at TeslaDownUnder.com sends a link along with this message:
For those that have played Command and Conquer: Red Alert and met a Tesla coil as the Soviet base defence. Here is the real thing.
It's an impressive looking project.
Not exactly Solomon
Judge Removed for Deciding Case With Coin Toss
Saturday, November 03, 2007
RICHMOND, Va. — A judge who ordered a woman to drop her pants and decided a custody dispute by flipping a coin was removed from the bench by the Virginia Supreme Court on Friday. The decision against Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Judge James Michael Shull of Gate City was unanimous.
"Unless our citizens can trust that judges will fairly resolve the disputes brought before our courts, and treat all litigants with dignity, our courts will lose the public's respect and confidence upon which our legal system depends," Justice Barbara Milano Keenan wrote.
One reason this article caught my eye was the thought that maybe the Virginia Supreme Court should be glad this judge didn't use King Solomon's method for settling child custody cases. Another reason is that Gate City, Virginia is less than 10 miles from Kingsport, Tennessee, where I was born.
Here's the ultimate metallic-sodium-in-water demo, a few orders of magnitude larger than the classroom demonstration you may have seen as a student. This clip shows 10 tons of metallic sodium being dumped into a lake in Washington state.
It must have been quite a show.
A volunteer fire brigade in Sweden went out to rescue a cat that was high up in a tree. After working several hours they managed to get the animal down. The older lady who owned the cat was happy and promised to serve the brave men a cup of coffee.
The chief said, "Thanks, but we have to go back to the station."
So they climbed up in their fire engines and drove away, running over the cat.
November 05, 2007
This was a PowerPoint slideshow by Luis Garrido about the amazing building boom that's going on in Dubai. It's 43 slides and was originally called Dubai Otro Mundo. Someone evidently translated the Spanish text to English at some point.
We've seen a few of these slides -- the ones about the indoor ski resort -- here before. Despite that, it was interesting enough that I cranked it through SlideShare.net to produce the show below.
Don't miss the proposed rotating skyscraper project, starting at slide 40. And slide 38 looks like something out of Niven's Ringworld.
Carol sends this collection of smart remarks.
It was mealtime during a flight on American Airlines. "Would you like dinner?" the flight attendant asked John.
"What are my choices?" he asked.
"Yes or no," she replied.
Another flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket and he opened his trench coat and flashed her.
Without missing a beat, she said, "Sir, I need to see your ticket - not your stub."
(more to come)
A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
The stock boy replied, "Uh, no ma'am... They're dead."
The cop got out of his car and the kid who was stopped for speeding rolled down his window. "I've been waiting for you all day," the cop said.
The kid replied, "Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could."
When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.
A trucker was driving along the freeway when he saw a sign reading, "Low Bridge Ahead". Before he knew it, the bridge was dead ahead of him and he ended up stuck under it. Cars were backed up for miles. Finally, a police car pulled up. The cop got out of the car, walked over to the truck, put his hands on his hips and said, "Got stuck, huh?"
"No, I was just delivering this bridge when I ran out of gas."
A college teacher reminded her class of tomorrow's final exam. "Now class, I won't tolerate any excuses for your not being here tomorrow. I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!"
A smart-ass guy in the back of the room raised his hand and asked, "What would you say if tomorrow I said I was suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?" The entire class was reduced to snickering.
When silence was restored, the teacher smiled knowingly at the student, shook her head and said, "Well, I guess in that case you'd have to write the exam with your other hand."
Virtual Window project
Ryan Hoagland documented his Virtual Window project three years ago but I just found it.
It looks pretty cool: the 'panes' in this image are eight 15-inch LCD panels. They're driven by the PC at the lower right (through the cables running along the mantle).
A dancing dentist
Sounds like someone to add to your list of people to avoid.
Dancing Dentist Left Drill Bit, Suit Says
Punctured Sinus Puts Woman In Hospital
POSTED: 11:31 am EDT November 2, 2007
A woman is suing her dentist over a drill mishap.
Brandy Fanning said the dentist was dancing to the song "Car Wash" when the drill bit he was using got stuck in her sinus cavity. She said he was performing rhythmic steps to the song while doing an extraction.
The lawsuit says the inch-long drill bit punctured her sinus cavity and became lodged near her eye socket. The dentist was unable to remove it, and she spent three days in a hospital after having it surgically removed.
November 02, 2007
Good lookin' wheels
The UK's Telegraph asks: What's the most beautiful car of all time? They have a nice slideshow there of their picks.
But it's a no-brainer, IMO. It's the Jaguar E-Type above; the only car (to my knowledge) that's been permanently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art. Sweet to look at and even sweeter to drive.
Here's some good news
Tarzan yelling declared a fundamental right
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Want to yell like Tarzan? Go ahead, says the EU which says it cannot be trademarked.
The literary estate of Tarzan creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wanted to register the yell as a trademark.
They said a fortune could be made from ringtones, advertising and computer games from the roar - made famous by Hollywood actor Johnny Weismuller.
This parody about Windows Vista is pretty funny, despite being a little over the top. Mind the volume: the audio is incredibly loud. Otherwise, it's reasonably SFW.
I think you'll like the reference to the Bataan Death March, Dave.
The perception of impropriety
Lou sends this funny yarn:
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed Monitor of Morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Several members did not approve of her extracurricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.
She made a mistake, however, when she accused Frank, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Frank (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.
Frank, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He didn't say a word.
Later that evening, Frank drove to Millie's house, quietly parked his pickup in front and walked home, leaving it there all night.
You gotta love Frank!
November 01, 2007
Here's a nicely done animation about some characters that escape their program.
His next wife
A couple who have been married for 20-odd years is preparing for bed when the following conversation takes place. The wife asks her husband, "Honey, if I die before you, would you remarry?"
"That's a morbid question!" he replies.
"No, I really want to know."
(After a pause to think): "Yes, I suppose after a decent amount of time I might remarry."
"Would she live in our house?"
"Well, the mortgage is almost paid off... Would you really expect me to move?"
"Would she wear my mink coat?"
"You know I paid $3,500 for that coat. Should I sell it at a loss?"
"Well, would she drive my BMW?"
"No. Absolutely not... She doesn't even know how to drive a stick shift!"
Bill sends some a few more examples of demotivation posters - the one below being my favorite. It looks like they came from either a collection at Worth1000.com or from this collection (which has hundreds of them).
Man killed in water-rage attack in Australia
Thu Nov 1, 2007 12:42am EDT
SYDNEY (Reuters) - A man has been charged with murder in Australia after an elderly man who was watering his garden was bashed to death in an apparent case of suburban water-rage.