September 30, 2010
It's a new record
World's fastest lawn mower record set
History was made last weekend when American Bobby Cleveland won back his record for the world's fastest lawn mower, restoring order to the natural world. Cleveland's former record of 80.833 mph was broken by British driver Don Wales, who swiped it right from under Cleveland's nose with a 87.833 mph record at the Pendine Sands in Wales last May.
Funny license plate
In this vein, I'm reminded of a license plate I saw once that read 3M TA3.
Best tattoo design ev-ah
First World War officially ends
The First World War will officially end on Sunday, 92 years after the guns fell silent, when Germany pays off the last chunk of reparations imposed on it by the Allies.
The final payment of £59.5 million, writes off the crippling debt that was the price for one world war and laid the foundations for another.
Germany was forced to pay the reparations at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 as compensation to the war-ravaged nations of Belgium and France and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging what was then the bloodiest conflict in history, leaving nearly ten million soldiers dead.
The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226 billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132 billion, £22 billion at the time.
The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.
September 29, 2010
6.5 minutes to turn your hair white
One of ten pix of some performance art in New York City last weekend.
The Big Picture
Police: Judge hands out condoms hidden in acorns
Police said a district judge from Intercourse, Pa., hid condoms inside acorns and handed them out to women in the state Capitol complex last week. A summary charge of disorderly conduct was filed Tuesday against Isaac H. Stoltzfus, who presides over low-level cases as a district judge in Lancaster County.
September 27, 2010
A group of University of Toronto students has just announced that a flight of their human-powered flapping-wing aircraft, The Snowbird, on August 2 may have set an FAI record with a "first ever" flight for its kind. The group believes that after being towed aloft, the aircraft maintained speed and altitude for 19.3 seconds and covered approximately 145 meters while flying at 25.6 km/h. During that time, it was powered solely by its pilot and designer, U of T engineering PhD candidate, Todd Reichert, who estimates he's capable of about 0.3 horsepower. Reichert believes his team's effort represents the first ever sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter. The FAI ruling committee (the record keepers) is expected to offer its opinion in October. The aircraft sports a 105 foot span and weighs 94 pounds. And, yes, it's always about to break.
Here's a collection of tattooed genitals and tattoos of genitals, split about evenly. Definitely NSFW - the one below is the only safe one of the bunch.
Mr. Bajillion Hits
If you're not tired of networking buzzwords yet you will be after this...
Local news from the Belleville News-Democrat
Ex-trooper convicted in double fatal crash wants money for his injuries
Former Illinois State trooper Matt Mitchell is asking the state to compensate him for injuries from a crash in which he hit and killed two Collinsville sisters at triple-digit speeds.
Mitchell filed a worker's compensation case on Sept. 13 against the Illinois State Police. The case is pending. [...]
Three worker's compensation lawyers say they believe Mitchell could receive compensation for the injuries he received in a Nov. 23, 2007, high-speed crash that resulted in the deaths of sisters Kelli and Jessica Uhl and injured Kelly and Christine Marler, of Fayetteville. [...]
Mitchell was driving 126 mph in busy day-after-Thanksgiving traffic on Interstate 64 near O'Fallon while sending and receiving e-mails and talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone moments before the crash.
September 24, 2010
Golf season in review
Never come unarmed to a zucchini fight
Montana woman fends off bear attack with zucchini
HELENA, Mont.—A Montana woman fended off a bear trying to muscle its way into her home Thursday by pelting the animal with a large piece of zucchini from her garden.
The woman suffered minor scratches and one of her dogs was wounded after tussling with the 200-pound bear.
Shapes in the clouds
Including ones you can read
40 photos of Oktoberfest in Germany (which began September 18th) at The Big Picture.
September 23, 2010
One way to load your skid loader
Not long ago, we had a post titled One way unload your excavator. Here's the reverse operation with a skid loader.
How the fight started (4)
My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She was not happy with what she saw and said to me, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.'
'Well, your eyesight's damn near perfect,' I told her.
And that's how the fight started.
The Khan academy
Paul B asks, "Why haven't I heard of this until now?"
The Khan Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with the mission of providing a world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Despite being the work of one man, Salman Khan, this 1600+ video library is the most-used educational video resource as measured by YouTube video views per day and unique users per month. We are complementing this ever-growing library with user-paced exercises--developed as an open source project--allowing the Khan Academy to become the free classroom for the World.
Carol sends this list -- 32 in all.
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.
2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you HOW the people died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this - ever.
15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail . What did you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know NOT to answer when they call.
18. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
19. I disagree with Kay Jewelers . I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.
20. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
21. Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.
22. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.
23. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.
24. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
25. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
26. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
27. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.
28. Is it just me or do high school kids get dumber & dumber every year?
29. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.
30. As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.
31. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.
32. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!
September 22, 2010
This is a nicely done animation using only personal gear. Unfortunately, the YouTube version doesn't have an audio track. The Vimeo version does have one (but I can't embed it, since they started using Frame tags).
USAirways HOUSTON 26 AUG 2005 PARKING BRAKE SET BEFORE LANDING (all aboard safe, as far as we know).
Those must be some bodacious brakes to hold the wheels during touch-down.
H.T. Steve R
Flipper meets Lassie
Can't win for losing
Don't Leave Home Without It
Attorney Brittney Horstman was scheduled to visit a client in the Miami, Florida, Federal Detention Center. But when she went through the metal detector her underwire bra set it off, and guards refused to let her in. She reminded them that federal officials sent out a memo a few years ago specifically telling guards that they must allow attorneys wearing underwire bras in. But they wouldn't relent. So she stepped into a restroom and removed her bra. They still refused to let her in. This time because prison dress code requires women to wear a bra.
September 21, 2010
Paul B says, "This is groovy."
Boy drops DS in gorilla cage, inadvertently creates the best photo op ever
Nintendo launched the DSi XL with the purpose of attracting elderly consumers with bad vision, gamers who sought a portable reading device, and people who wanted to play with the handheld in social settings. But there's a new market segment that also seems interested - gorillas.
So this little boy was just walking around the San Francisco zoo, doing what every boy who is dragged to the zoo tends to do - play video games - when he accidentally dropped his DSi XL into the gorilla habitat. And wouldn't you know it, a professional photographer happened to be right there.
The Dad Life
Bring out yer dead!
I wonder if they still vote, like they would in Chicago?
Thousands of Japanese centenarians may have died decades ago
More than 230,000 Japanese people listed as 100 years old cannot be located and many may have died decades ago, according to a government survey released today.
The justice ministry said the survey found that more than 77,000 people listed as still alive in local government records would have to be aged at least 120, and 884 would be 150 or older.
The figures have exposed antiquated methods of record-keeping and fuelled fears that some families are deliberately hiding the deaths of elderly relatives in order to claim their pensions.
September 20, 2010
Recycling close to the source
I don't know where this library is but it has a novel reference desk.
Only in Japan (3)
And the doubters said it could never be done
Texas Chef Successfully Deep-Fries...Beer!
I sincerely hope the committee that hands out Nobel Prizes in the science fields have taken notice of one Texas chef who recently achieved a gastronomical breakthrough: deep-fried beer.
That's right. According to this report: The beer is placed inside a pocket of salty, pretzel-like dough and then dunked in oil at 375 degrees for about 20 seconds, a short enough time for the confection to remain alcoholic. When diners take a bite the hot beer mixes with the dough in what is claimed to be a delicious taste sensation.
Inventor Mark Zable said it had taken him three years to come up with the cooking method and a patent for the process is pending. He declined to say whether any special ingredients were involved.
September 18, 2010
At the time travel mart
They have an interesting assortment of goods for sale.
What's its motto?
I made a trip to central Arkansas at the end of the week. While driving through Missouri's bootheel, where they grow a lot of cotton and soybeans, I saw a road sign for a place called Braggadocio. It's about half-way between Cape Girardeau and Memphis.
I'd never heard of such a place and thought that was quite a handle for a town -- especially one small enough to have escaped my notice so far. I started wondering what the town's motto was and figured it must be something like this:
September 15, 2010
Only in Japan (2)
It's called 'precision walking' but it looks more like synchronized walking; it reminds me of synchronized swimming.
There's a czar for that...
The more things change, the more they stay insane.
All Hail the Asian Carp Czar
Proof that life sometimes imitates science fiction: Yesterday, the White House named an "Asian carp czar" to coordinate our attack on the non-native fish that are in turn attacking us. (Sometimes literally: They love flinging themselves at unsuspecting boaters. Justin Vogt's Food Channel article on the menace contains a hilarious video montage of this, while Stevie Pierson's "13 Ways to Overeat (and Defeat) the Asian Carp" documents one fun side effect—vigilante justice in the form of, you guessed it, bowhunting.) The Chicago Tribune has more on the White House's efforts to make carp a czar-ruled domain the equal of cybersecurity or drugs:
Don't look down
I got vertigo just watching this.
A big one that didn't get away
Fla. sea burial botched as man's body resurfaces
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Authorities suspected foul play when the body of a North Carolina man surfaced near a South Florida beach.
Turns out 48-year-old Scott Lasky died from Lou Gehrig's Disease on Sept. 8. A fisherman spotted the body about four miles offshore in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday after his burial at sea went awry.
Sheriff's deputies solved the mystery after finding Lasky's obituary.
H.T. Steve R
September 14, 2010
I'll bet he hates when that happens
Astronomy photos of the year
Nice photos in this contest held by Britain's National Maritime Museum (which includes the Royal Observatory at Greenwich).
Blazing Bristlecone by Tom Lowe
Bollywood action II
Looks like an Indian version of a Bruce Willis Die Hard movie... Yippee ki yay.
Paul B. says, "They sound serious." You'd think Pope John Paul II would have known better than to apologize.
Galileo Was Wrong is a detailed and comprehensive treatment of the scientific evidence supporting Geocentrism, the academic belief that the Earth is immobile in the center of the universe. Garnering scientific information from physics, astrophysics, astronomy and other sciences, Galileo Was Wrong shows that the debate between Galileo and the Catholic Church was much more than a difference of opinion about the interpretation of Scripture.
Scientific evidence available to us within the last 100 years that was not available during Galileo's confrontation shows that the Church's position on the immobility of the Earth is not only scientifically supportable, but it is the most stable model of the universe and the one which best answers all the evidence we see in the cosmos.
September 13, 2010
What you've always suspected about accordions
...is true. And I'll bet this dog can play the bagpipes, too.
How it should have ended
Danilo sends a link to HowItShouldHaveEnded, a collection of animated alternative endings for well-known movies. They're pretty entertaining, if you don't mind the ads. My favorite was the Lord of the Rings parody.
"A good landing is one you can walk away from."
Bonus points for attitude
Mouse bites snake to death
A mouse bit a venomous viper to death after it was thrown into the snake's cage as a lunchtime snack.
The tiny rodent killed the snake after a fierce 30-minute battle, emerging with "barely a scratch on him", according to on person who saw the fight.
Firefighters in Taiwan who were looking after the snake - which had been found in a local resident's home - thought that the live mouse would make a perfect lunchtime treat.
But the furry creature had other ideas. Instead of cowering from the 12in snake's gaping jaws and long fangs, it went on the offensive.
September 10, 2010
A whole lot o' redneck
Mary sent one set of pix and Bill sent another. I've combined them into this set off 22 funny images. (A couple of them are obviously Photoshopped.)
Anti-Facebook Project to Launch Sept 15
The Diaspora project, or as some call it, Anti-Facebook, is coming this September. Before we talk about it, let's learn a few details.
What is it anyway?
Diaspora is an ambitious project taken up by 4 computer science graduates at NYU. They plan to make an open source, de-centralized and personally controlled social network, so that you have better control of your privacy.
Why is it called the Anti-Facebook project?
There have been many privacy issues with Facebook over the years. These guys at NYU were talking about the privacy issues and decided to build a more secure social network that's privately controlled.
How does it work?
It connects user's computers directly, without any centralized server. Let's take a look at an example:
September 09, 2010
An amazingly well done parody.
Bonus points for incongruity
This sign appeared at a counter-protest in San Diego last July; details below.
Super Heroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church
They've faced down humans time and time again, but Fred Phelps and his minions from the Westboro Baptist Church were not ready for the cosplay action that awaited them today at Comic-Con. After all, who can win against a counter-protest that includes robots, magical anime girls, Trekkies, Jedi and... kittens?
A careful driver
Adding insult to injury
Christchurch earthquake cuts beer supply
As if they haven't suffered enough, Cantabrians toiling to clean up after Saturday's quake now face a potential shortage of Canterbury Draught beer.
And the rest of the country also faces running out of a number of well-known brands, including Guinness, Beck's and the Macs Craft range.
September 07, 2010
He plays a mean ruler
Kulula Airlines: Flying 101 livery
Kulula (South Africa's favourite low fare airline), have recently released this fantastic new aircraft livery entitled "Flying 101". Kulula are well known for their fun marketing exploits and this one lives up to their high standards. Each part of the aircraft is labelled with humorous captions such as "Loo (or mile-high initiation chamber)" and "Landing gear (comes standard with Kulula Flying 101super-fly mags)". Click on the images to enlarge them.
Back to its source
Very interesting - but I wonder how many kwH of electricity are needed to convert a kilogram of plastic into a liter of oil.
I'm guessing the people behind this one have never worried about making the rent.
Report: Money can buy you happiness, to a point
WASHINGTON -- They say money can't buy happiness. They're wrong.
At least up to a point.
People's emotional well-being - happiness - increases along with their income up to about $75,000, researchers report in Tuesday's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For folks making less than that, said Angus Deaton, an economist at the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University, "Stuff is so in your face it's hard to be happy. It interferes with your enjoyment." [...]
Happiness got better as income rose but the effect leveled out at $75,000, Deaton said. On the other hand, their overall sense of success or well-being continued to rise as their earnings grew beyond that point.
"Giving people more income beyond 75K is not going to do much for their daily mood ... but it is going to make them feel they have a better life," Deaton said in an interview.
September 04, 2010
Weekend watching 8
From Marginal Revolution.
Andrew Wiles and Fermat's Last Theorem
Here is one of my all time favorite documentaries, the 45 minute Fermat's Last Theorem made by Simon Singh and John Lynch for the BBC in 1996. I've watched it many times and every time I am moved by unforgettable moments.
Wikipedia on Fermat's Last Theorem
September 03, 2010
Time for the silver jumpsuits (2)
Nine well-known logos explained here.
The Milwaukee Brewers is a professional baseball team from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their logo is actually made up of the letters M (on top) and B (below the m). These two letters also form a baseball glove.
Hat tip: Steve R.
Not a bad goof
Husband down in aisle 4
A husband and wife were shopping at their local Wal-Mart. The husband picked up a case of Budweiser and put it in their cart.
'What are you doing?' asked the wife.
'It's on sale -- only $15 for 24 cans,' he replied.
'Put them back, we can't afford that,' said the wife. And they carried on shopping.
A few aisles along the woman picked up a $30 jar of face cream and put it in the basket. 'Now what do you think you're doing?' asked the husband.
'It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,' replied the wife.
'So does a case of Bud - at only half the price.'
September 02, 2010
A trip through a Mandelbox
H.T. Paul B.
A nice pic by Giancarlo Rado (from his Flickr collection). This was taken in northern Italy.
It must have been Miller Lite
Store Owner Uses Beer To Fend Off Robber
MARATHON, Ohio -- A Clermont County store owner used an unlikely weapon to foil an armed robbery on Monday.
The Clermont County Sheriff's Office said a man walked into Dave's Grocery on U.S. 50 in Marathon at about 9 p.m. and pulled out a gun, demanding money.
The store's owner, Narendra "Goppi" Patel, said he was preparing to close and was holding a six-pack of beer when the man came in.
Patel said he told deputies he picked up one of the beer cans and threw it at the robber, who ducked, losing his baseball hat.
September 01, 2010
Two good ol' boys in a Kentucky trailer park were sitting around talking one afternoon over a cold, after-work beer.
One of them says to the other, "If'n I was to sneak over to your trailer Saturday and make love to your wife while you was off huntin' and she got pregnant and had a baby, would that make us kin?"
The second guy crooked his head sideways for a minute, scratched his head, and squinted his eyes thinking real hard about the question. Finally he says, "Well, I don't know about makin' us kin... but it would make us even."
Water skiing in Alaska
Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.