December 29, 2007
Carol sends 8 cartoons by Randy Glasbergen and writes, "Appropriate for the season."
One born every minute
The following is an old anecdote, but a good one. Sometime in the early 1900's, P. T. Barnum, the owner of the Barnum & Bailey circus and originator of the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute" offered $10,000 in cash to any person who could thoroughly dupe, or sucker, him.
Barnum was always looking for interesting new acts or novel creatures to exhibit, and one day he received a letter from a fellow in Maine who claimed to possess a cherry-colored cat and asked if Barnum were interested in such a thing for his circus. Barnum contacted the man and said yes, if the cat were truly cherry-colored, he'd gladly put it on display. Well, a few days later a crate marked "live animal" arrived for him. When Barnum opened it, he found a somewhat frightened but otherwise perfectly ordinary-looking black house cat inside, along with a note which read:
Maine cherries are black.
There's a sucker born every minute...
Thoroughly tickled, Barnum sent the man a check for $10,000. (I'm not sure what happened to the cat, I think Barnum may have kept it as a reminder of the day he got suckered.)
December 27, 2007
Ascending and descending
A video about some guy's effort to bring Escher's picture to life.
As though we needed another argument for stopping the militarization of police forces...
Arrest in 911 SWATing Case
by Chris Ingalls
King 5 News
SEATTLE - The arrest of a Federal Way man has revealed a frightening and potentially dangerous telephone Hoax that sends police with guns drawn to the homes of innocent victims.
Thirty-one-year-old Guadalupe Martinez is in jail on a warrant from Texas. He’s wanted there on several charges stemming from hacking into phone systems. But, local officials believe he’s responsible for sending a fully armed SWAT team to a home in Snohomish County on January 2, frightening a woman who lives in the home and forcing the shutdown of Highway 9 for hours.
Here's a newscast about a swatting incident in Salinas, CA.
More Astronomy Pictures of the Year
Looking back over the past year, the editors of the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) have decided to list 12 of the more memorable images posted to APOD in 2007. There was certainly no shortage of breathtaking images to choose from -- with robotic cameras orbiting Mars and rolling around its surface, the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn, space telescopes exploring the cosmos, and ground-based imaging with increasingly sophisticated hardware and software.
Best of What's New
Popular Science has it's Best of What's New 2007 out and here are a couple of their picks.
This first one, Nanosolar's photovoltaic panels, are in limited production with a claim they'll generate energy for 99¢ per watt. They tried to auction one of their panels on eBay recently but the auction ended early because of some kazish with eBay..
The New Dawn of Solar
Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That’s the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that’s ubiquitous because it’s cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality.
This one sounds more like pie-in-the-sky - but maybe it will be brought to market.
THE MICROWAVE MAGICIAN
Frank Pringle has found a way to squeeze oil and gas from just about anything
I’m not sure if I’m watching a magic trick, or an invention that will make the cigar-chomping 64-year-old next to me the richest man on the planet. Everything that goes into Frank Pringle’s recycling machine—a piece of tire, a rock, a plastic cup—turns to oil and natural gas seconds later. “I’ve been told the oil companies might try to assassinate me,” Pringle says without sarcasm.
December 24, 2007
Merry Christmas to all
Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds sing Irving Berlin's White Christmas in the movie Holiday Inn.
I don't know when this Flash game will be available for PS/2. ;-) Try your hand at it if you have a little time to kill.
Top 10 astronomy pix
This image comes from the Bad Astronomy blog's Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2007. This image is of two of Jupiter's moons, Europa and Io.
Europa is the crescent on the lower left, and Io ... is the one on the upper right. The plume you see is from the volcano Tvashtar, which has been active for quite some time now. If you look right at the bottom of the plume, you can see molten sulfur glowing red. Two other volcanoes appear to be making some noise as we
The $20 Theory
CodeWritinFool sends this article from Esquire; it's a little over 4 years old but interesting if, like me, you haven't seen it. (It's also in PDF, which will probably get you Adobe's oh-so-helpful-and-annoying "checking for upgrades" dialog.)
The $20 Theory of the Universe
There is almost nothing on earth that cannot be had for a price. The question is, what is that price? And the answer is twenty dollars.
Used correctly, a twenty is all about movement, access, cachet. Forget the other bills. The single won't get you much more than a stiff nod and, these days, the fin is de reigueur. A tenner is a nice thought, but it's also a message that you're a Wall-Mart shopper, too cheap for the real deal. A twenty, placed in the right hand at the right moment, makes things happen.
December 22, 2007
Abide The Winter by Will Ackerman
Stonehenge image from AllPosters.com.
Best Visual Illusions of the Year
This one's called “The Illusory Contoured Tilting Pyramid”:
An amusing act that conflates Christmas carols by an a cappella group called Straight No Chaser.
An oldie excerpted from the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Accent asked students at Columbus' Beck School and Dublin's Chapman Elementary to complete a list of 20 axioms with the key words missing.
-If you can't stand the heat, get A POOL.
-If you can't stand the heat, get OUT OF THE OVEN
-A bird in the hand is MESSY.
-Don't count your chickens EAT THEM.
-You can't teach an old dog new MATH.
-When in Rome, do ROMAN NUMERALS IN MATH.
-Too many cooks, SO LITTLE MEALS.
-A fool and his money are MY BEST FRIENDS.
-A penny saved is ONE CENT.
-Look before you RUN INTO A POLE.
-A watched pot never DISAPPEARS.
-A rolling stone MAKES YOU FLAT.
-Every cloud has a WET SPOT.
This elephant does an amazing job popping balloons with darts - it doesn't miss a shot. And it trounces its human opponent.
December 20, 2007
Latest light bulb joke
From Reason's Hit & Run.
How Many Energy Bills Does It Take to Change All the Lightbulbs?
Posted on December 19, 2007, 4:00pm | Brian Doherty
It will also change the entire national market for cars and food, as well, with new mandates on ethanol, biofuels, and fuel economy.
Over at the Cato Institute's blog, they aren't laughing, calling the just-passed energy bill "a moment of idiocy, of real idiocy."
Dog Saves Elderly Woman After Icy Fall
Pooch Finds 91-Year-Old Injured In Freezing Temps
POSTED: 12:32 pm EST December 19, 2007
Mary Hartman's friends say a heroic hound is the reason she's still alive today.
Hartman, 91, slipped on a patch of ice as she was attempting to deliver cookies to a nearby neighbor. But it was a 3-year-old dog's insistent nature that prevented Hartman from freezing to death as she laid on the frigid cement, reported WNEM-TV in Saginaw, Mich.
Hartman called for help, but it was a cry that only neighbor Judy Sawatzki's Jack Russell terrier mix, Taz, could hear.
"He would run to the window and come back to me," Sawatzki said. "He would whine and bark, and then go back to the window again."
That's when Sawatzki let Taz outside, and the terrier mix shot down the driveway barking for her to follow. Taz led her to Hartman, who was crying for help on the icy driveway.
The Bible according to Google Earth
This collection of 4 "God's eye views" is pretty interesting. The one below is Moses parting the Red Sea:
Just pass another law...
From the Manchester (England) Evening News. Now they're ready to legislate common sense? Isn't 'legislated common sense' an oxymoron?
No photos of your baby!
Mike Keegan and Lee Sykes
A COUPLE were banned from taking photographs of their baby daughter on a swing by a park warden who declared it `inappropriate.'
"It beggars belief," said Steve, 35. "The fact that a mummy and daddy can't take a picture of their own daughter is ridiculous. I could understand if it was in a swimming pool, but she was well wrapped-up and as far as I could see we were the only people in the park."
Town hall officials said the warden had misinterpreted council policy when he confronted the family at Alexandra Park in Oldham.
But Phil Woolas, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: "Based on these reports I am thinking of introducing a Bill to Parliament called The Common Sense Act 2007.
"We are in danger of becoming so adverse to risk we will lose sight of common sense."
How to plow snow
It's a lot faster than the way we do it at my house.
Here's a colleciton of 15 related clips.
December 19, 2007
Drive someone insane
You are bidding on a rare chance to traumatize a treasured friend or relative with baffling, mind-numbing, mystery correspondence from abroad.
Here is the arrangement:
I will be spending the Christmas holiday in Poland in a tiny village that has one church with no bell because angry Germans stole it. Aside from vodka, there is not a lot for me to do.
During the course of my holiday I will send three postcards to one person of your choosing.
These postcards will be rant-ravingly insane, yet they will be peppered with unmistakable personal details about the addressee. Details you will provide me.
The postcards will not be coherently signed, leaving your mark confused, guessing wildly, crying out in anguish.
"How do I know this person? And how does he know I had a ferret named Goliath?"
An 18-image slideshow of images from the Nature's Best Photography Awards:
The Card of Christmas Past
1914 Christmas Card Defines Snail Mail
POSTED: 1:27 pm EST December 17, 2007
OBERLIN, Kan. -- It's a bit of a mystery of Christmas past.
A Christmas card that was dated Dec. 23, 1914, has just arrived in northwest Kansas.
Postmaster Steve Schultz, of Oberlin, Kan., said he has no idea where the card spent most of the last century.
The intended recipient is deceased, so the card was delivered to a sister-in-law, Bernice Martin.
Martin said she would like to know how it finally made it to Oberlin.
For goodness sake
Another Mac guy/PC guy ad from Apple, done in stop action style, as they sing Santa Claus is comin' to town...
Sock It to Me: Competitive Knitters Get Deadly Serious
By KEVIN J. DELANEY
December 17, 2007; Page A1
Meryl Williams's friends had been asking her for days, "Are you dead yet?" On Oct. 30, she suddenly was.
The socks did it.
Ms. Williams, 52 years old, was done in by a small package bearing an unfamiliar return address. When she saw it in her mailbox, she knew she had met her maker. Inside was a pair of black and orange socks, just her size.
In recent weeks, about 150 people around the world have received similar notices of their demise. They were all participants in Sock Wars, billed by its organizer as the "bloodiest extreme knitting tournament."
Don't miss the video.
December 18, 2007
Here's something new for Jimmy Buffett to write a song about... (This is a German company, which explains the second sentence in the second paragraph.)
It's a simple fact: wind is cheaper than oil and the most cost-effective offshore energy source. Yet, despite its attractive saving potential, it is not presently being used by cargo ships - for a simple reason: so far no sailing system has met the requirements of commercial shipping.
SkySails is now offering a wind propulsion system based on large towing kites, which, for the first time, meets the requirements of shipping companies.Anforderungen gerecht wird. SkySails is the first time a wind-drive system on the basis of large towing kite ready for all needs.
The 3 pigs at Christmas
Here's a funny adaptation of the Three Little Pigs with a Christmas theme.
Hat tip: Carol.
Close but no kazoo
Bid For World's Largest Kazoo Band Falls Short In The Villages
POSTED: 8:50 am EST December 17, 2007
THE VILLAGES, Fla. -- It's sure to be a quiet morning in The Villages, after residents failed to break a world kazoo record.
Organizers had hoped to break the world record for the most people playing the kazoo. A crowd of 2,318 showed up Sunday to play the novelty instrument, but at least 361 more people were needed to break the record set last year in Rochester, New York.
There is one record set in The Villages that still stands: The 3,321 people who participated in a golf-cart parade last year
Funny street names
This image comes from a collection of Peculiar Streets around the World.
December 17, 2007
Vexed by text
New Zealand man vexed not sexed by text message
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A New Zealand woman who sent a naked man to the wrong house on the promise of a good time has been charged with misusing a telephone, local media reported on Wednesday.
The 17-year-old woman sent the man an enticing text message offering him an early Christmas present in the shape of two friendly women and suggested he take off his clothes to save time, the Manawatu Standard reported.
The 31-year old man wasted no time in arriving at the house, and took off his clothes and threw them through the window before entering.
This video is about a robotic exoskeleton being tested for military use. It sure looks like the "powered armor" in Heinlein's Starship Troopers.
Here's an old one from the rec.humor.funny newsgroup.
My brother tells that he heard his 5-year-old and his 3-year-old in the bathroom together this morning and eavesdropped on their conversation:
Little brother: What do I do now?
Big brother: Throw the toilet paper in the toilet.
Little brother: Like this?
Big brother: Yeah.
Little brother: Now what?
Big brother: Hit ENTER.
Little brother: ENTER?
Big brother: I mean "flush".
Matt Stuart's photography
December 15, 2007
Stages of saintliness
There are 4 stages of life related to Saint Nick:
1. When you believe in Santa.
2. When you don't believe in Santa.
3. When you are Santa.
4. When you look like Santa.
Bored, tubby, mild
Speaking of looking like Santa, Carol sends this clip that's a Boomer's lament set to s Steppenwolf tune.
Black light cats
Scientists Create Glowing Cats
Modified Genes Used To Create Fluorescent Protein
POSTED: 8:13 am EST December 14, 2007
UPDATED: 9:15 am EST December 14, 2007
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean scientists have cloned cats that glow red when exposed to ultraviolet rays.
The Science and Technology Ministry said it was an achievement that could help develop cures for human genetic diseases.
Three Turkish Angora cats were born in January and February through cloning with a gene that produces a red fluorescent protein that makes them glow in dark.
My sister writes, "This amused me." It's a nicely done Flash clip based on White Christmas.
Here's an old one I found in the JDJ e-mail archives.
Match the license plate to the occupation:
|1.____ NOO 4 NUU||A. Alchemist|
|2.____ T8RST8R||B. Clockmaker|
|3.____ 210 CP,M||C. Dentist|
|4.____ RUPNOK||D. Egyptologist|
|5.____ PB N2 AU||E. Idaho Farmer|
|6.____ 2N2R4||F. Lawyer|
|7.____ A2THDR||G. Lumberjack|
|8.____ AV8R||H. Math Teacher|
|9.____ ISU4U||I. Optometrist|
|10____ NML FXR||J. Orthodontist|
|11____ SSSSTER||K. Pilot|
|12____ ISTR8NM||L. Reporter|
|13____ 10SLBO||M. Tennis Pro (retired)|
|14____ 2CCME||N. Urologist|
|15____ H82BL8||O. Veterinarian|
December 13, 2007
The people at Despair, Inc. are now offering a do-it-yourself site for making your own de-motivational posters. Find an image you like you're on your way.
Our local hippies are growing old. A graffito here reads: MAKE TEA NOT WAR.
We have lift-off
Coming soon to YouTube
Candid Camera: Clerk Whacks Robber With Mug
Clerk Says He Was Worried About How He Might Look On Video
POSTED: 10:13 am EST December 12, 2007
ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. -- YouTube made him do it.
Caught On Tape: Clerk Fights Robber With Cup
That's what a Dunkin' Donuts worker said after clobbering a robber with a coffee mug.
Dustin Hoffmann said he was worried about what he would look like on security video if he hid or ran away.
Hoffmann told The Record of Bergen County newspaper that he will post the security video on YouTube when he can.
December 12, 2007
One of many images from National Geographic's International Photography Contest.
Can you hear me now?
Man Tries To Get Wife's Attention By Burning House With Gasoline
POSTED: 8:37 am EST December 12, 2007
UPDATED: 10:13 am EST December 12, 2007
PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- A Bay County man's attempt to burn his wife's home ended in his arrest.
Authorities said Gregory Lee Pippin, Sr. told them he tried to get his wife's attention by first knocking on her window. When she didn't answer, he poured gasoline around the home, sure she would come out to speak to him.
But the fire burned itself out, causing only minor damage to the area around the home. And Pippin fled the scene.
The woman later told police she was going through a divorce. And Pippin was arrest on arson charges.
Here's an unusual sight.
Background (and more pix) here.
You have to admire a businessman who
stands squats behind his product. Here's video of Mark Littell advertising his Nutty Buddy athletic cup in a very convincing manner.
December 11, 2007
2-way wrist radio
Fulfill your Geek Dreams... Dick Tracy Style
Lets get it out in the open. Here at ThinkGeek we've lusted after wristwatch cell phones before cell phones even existed. Hey, we love our iPhones... but there's something irresistible about talking Dick Tracy style into your watch. Fortunately we don't have to play favorites because the Touchscreen Cell Phone/PDA Wristwatch is an unlocked GSM cell phone. Just pop your existing sim card out of the top of your iPhone (or other GSM Cell Phone from AT&T/Cingular or T-Mobile) and insert it into the back of the watch and power it up. Call your standard cell phone number and your wrist will start ringing.
The ultimate speed bump
This German clip shows the ultimate speed bump in action.
This in from the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, August 1991 issue.
While trying to track down the cause of a recurrent vaginitis in a young woman, I asked her whether her partner was circumcised. My query drew only a blank look. I rephrased the question in what I felt was a clever and tactful manner : "When he doesn't have an erection, can you see the head of his penis, or is it covered by folds of skin?"
Her unabashed and matter-of-fact response : "I've never seen him without an erection."
I felt rather "obsolete" the rest of the day.
The funniest part is that it was there long enough to end up on Google maps.
I tot I taw a subpoena
Tweety, Donald Duck summoned to court
By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer
Tue Dec 4, 5:42 PM ET
ROME - Tweety may get a chance to take the witness stand and sing like a canary. An Italian court ordered the animated bird, along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and his girlfriend Daisy, to testify in a counterfeiting case.
In what lawyers believe was a clerical error worthy of a Looney Tunes cartoon, a court in Naples sent a summons to the characters ordering them to appear Friday in a trial in the southern Italian city, officials said.
December 10, 2007
Here comes another bubble
This clip is a well-done parody of tech stocks using the tune from Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire.
Update: All right, since this clip has appeared and disappeared twice at YouTube, let's try Yahoo Video.
Regardless of what we do or do not understand about art, we can all agree, it stimulates our senses. Broecker has aroused our sense of taste (not to mention eliminated the need of elbowing our way to the bar) by hanging flat, glass containers with a variety of cocktails in the exhibition space. As the night progressed, the levels of the multi-coloured infusions diminished. By the end of the event, the art, itself, ran dry, and empty drinking glasses were returned to where they were originally placed. By Andrew J Wiener.
Peter at Tesla DownUnder has a "Christmas tree" powered by a Tesla coil.
The right sequence
At least he passed the test first.
Man Passes Driving Test, Then Hits Wall
POSTED: 3:32 pm EST December 4, 2007
HOUSTON -- A Texas man didn't get very far after passing his driving test.
The student driver crashed the car into the Texas Department of Public Safety building in Houston.
December 07, 2007
Nancy Shapiro posts about finding these hams for sale in New York City.
She's selling Chanukah Ham gear through CafePress.
Who's been naughty?
Microsoft pulls plug on potty-mouth Santa
Microsoft cuts off Big Man after he starts talking about sex acts, using foul language
By John Fontana, Network World, 12/04/07
Turns out Santa himself is naughty and nice.
An artificial-intelligence Santa bot operated by Microsoft to talk to children wavered off topic saying: “It’s fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else....”
Microsoft Tuesday confirmed the bot’s potty mouth and snipped Santa’s Web connection.
Carol sends an amusing clip about kids making discoveries about Santa.
Here's to Harry
Hero awarded free beer for life
By VINCE SOODIN
Published: 03 Dec 2007
BRITAIN’S last surviving First World War veteran has been recognised for his bravery - with free beer for the rest of his life.
Harry Patch, 109, won five medals for his service during the war but now his local boozer has honoured him free drinks.
The Rose and Crown in Limpley Stoke, Somerset, made the offer after inviting Harry to open the pub after a refit.
''I must be the envy of many a younger man, being offered free beer in a pub. It's like being a child in a sweet shop. The beer is very good here too.''
December 06, 2007
Great snow art
Here's a great collection of images of snowmen and other snow art.
No chicken for him
The proprietor of a Chinese restaurant left early one day to attend an employee's bachelor party. He returned home many hours later, crawled into bed and, feeling randy, woke his wife and asked for a little 69.
"It's three o'clock in the morning," she hissed, "and you want chicken and broccoli?!"
Happy Father's Day
Orlando Police Officers Deliver Baby, Arrest New Dad
POSTED: 5:24 pm EST December 5, 2007
UPDATED: 6:10 pm EST December 5, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Two Orlando police officers helped deliver a baby on the side of the road early Wednesday. Channel 9 went looking for the new father and found him in jail.
Charles Allen flagged down police early Wednesday morning to ask for help, after making a wrong turn, on the way to the hospital. Two police officers helped deliver the baby, but they had other plans for dad.
Police were first prompted to arrest the father after Channel 9 reported the birth on South Street and someone watching called police to say they may want to look into his background. Still, jail was the last place you would expect to find the father who had just flagged down police to help his pregnant wife.
December 04, 2007
Name that theme
Try your hand at matching television shows with their theme songs. Some are fairly obscure; others are gimmes because the theme mentions the title character.
Mind your volume level - the audio starts when the page loads.
A site filled with panoramas, both exterior and interior. Here's part of a panorama of Pittsburgh.
GigaPan consists of three technological developments: a robotic camera mount for capturing very high-resolution (gigapixel and up) panoramic images using a standard digital camera; custom software for constructing very high-resolution gigapixel panoramas; and, a new type of website for exploring, sharing and commenting on gigapixel panoramas and the detail our users will discover within them. The GigaPan website allows hosting and sharing all kinds of panoramas, and so the robotic GigaPan mount is recommended but is certainly not required to be part of this community.
The GigaPan team is both diverse and large. Here we recognize the institutions that comprise our core team.
* Carnegie Mellon University
* NASA/Ames Research Center
* Google Corporation - Financial support for the Global Connection Project
* Charmed Labs LLC - GigaPan robot design and production
* DeepLocal, Inc. - Website design and production
Saved by a ring
Wedding Ring Deflects Robber's Bullet
Police Say Two Men Tried To Rob Shop
POSTED: 11:38 am EST December 3, 2007
JACKSON, Miss. -- Don't try telling Donnie Register about guys who don't want to wear a wedding ring.
Police credit his wedding band with possibly saving his life.
Police reported that two men walked into Register's shop at The Antique Market in Jackson, Miss., and asked to see a coin collection.
One of the men pulled a gun, police said.
Register threw up his left hand just as a shot was fired, and his wedding ring deflected the bullet.
This is the second (at least) soccer game using cars that the Top Gear guys have played. This time it's Volkswagens vs. Toyotas. It looks like a lot of fun.
December 03, 2007
How hard can it be?
From today's Post-Dispatch. "City" means the city of St. Louis. This sign is visible from one of the downtown freeways and one of the URLs is http://www.medac.info/.
Sign pits the city vs. policy critic
By Jake Wagman
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
ST. LOUIS — Supporters say it's a political statement, maybe even art. The city says it's too big, a nuisance that needs to be removed.
Either way, a two-story mural decrying eminent domain is testing the boundaries of the First Amendment, sparking a federal lawsuit that challenges the city's intricate zoning code.
Max Headroom returns
According to Britain's Guardian, "Channel 4 has brought Max Headroom out of retirement to promote its range of digital channels." Check out the latest Max clip at the link.
Another irony update
The state can sponsor a game that ex-cons can't play... Right. I'm thinking the lottery winnings miight keep him from robbing any more banks.
Ex-Con Could Lose Lottery Winnings
Hearing Ordered For Dec. 7
POSTED: 11:30 am EST November 29, 2007
BOSTON -- The winner of a $1 million lottery scratch ticket in Massachusetts may not be so lucky after all.
That's because 55-year-old Timothy Elliott is also a convicted bank robber who isn't supposed to be gambling.
Elliott has been ordered before a hearing on Dec. 7 on Cape Cod to determine if he violated his probation.
My, my... here it is December already. I suppose it's time for a couple of seasonal decorating suggestions (from Neal Boortz' Redneck Scrapbook).
I thought this one was very well done (which is not to say I'd put it in front of my windows).