Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday = Fun

I know that my son is planning to attend a Halloween party tonight.

Yesterday he stopped over for dinner, and I asked him what his plans were for Saturday.

He replied, "Recovering from a scheduled hangover."

Monday, October 27, 2008

the name says it all

from a friend of mine:

Yahoo reports that McCain has launched a robophone campaign to tell voters what a weak president Obama would be.
The guy who recorded the phone message is named Orson Swindle.
How appropriate...

not your standard topping

If you're going to a Halloween party, you might want to bring this:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tough times call for tough measures

news item:

The Los Angeles Times leads with the arrest of dozens of members of the Mongols biker gang in six states. The move came after a three-year investigation in which the California-based group was infiltrated by undercover agents.

In what was described as an unprecedented move, prosecutors will attempt to take control of the Mongols' name, which would forbid members from wearing it. "We're going after their very identity," U.S. attorney Thomas O'Brien said.


Well. the Feds got Al Capone on Income Tax Evasion.
Ya think we'll get the Mongols on Copyright Infringement ?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Split decision ... NOT

Fox News, as always, keeps it... "fair and balanced."

School scenario

This past weekend I was in a small town in Vermont.
The local paper listed events scheduled for that week.
One of them was "Zen Storytelling"


Perhaps it goes something like this:

Buddhist Monk: "Ok, children. Gather 'round for a story.
There was a rabbit who lived in a briar patch.
Let's contemplate on that."

Anti-Semite Launched Obama Smears

The Chicago man credited with launching the Barack Obama-is-a-Muslim smear campaign
once pledged to "exterminate Jew Power in America," and claimed that "Jew babies are
fed with subsidized American taxpayer money," and that Jews were "schooled in blood
sucking and money grubbing from birth."

Server error: jihad domain not found

Al-Qaeda Web Forums Abruptly Taken Offline

Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, October 18, 2008; Page A01

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 17 -- Four of the five main online forums that al-Qaeda's media wing uses to distribute statements by Osama bin Laden and other extremists have been disabled since mid-September, monitors of the Web sites say.

The disappearance of the forums on Sept. 10 -- and al-Qaeda's apparent inability to restore them or create alternate online venues, as it has before -- has curbed the organization's dissemination of the words and images of its fugitive leaders.

On Sept. 29, a statement by the al-Fajr Media Center, a distribution network created by supporters of al-Qaeda and other Sunni extremist groups, said the forums had disappeared "for technical reasons," and it urged followers not to trust look-alike sites.

For al-Qaeda, "these sites are the equivalent of,,," said Evan F. Kohlmann, an expert on online al-Qaeda operations who has advised the FBI and others. With just one authorized al-Qaeda site still in business, "this has left al-Qaeda's propaganda strategy hanging by a very narrow thread."

full @

This is fascinating. I may have mentioned this to you already, but some analysts said following the Russia/Georgia conflict this summer, in which Georgian government websites were the victims of massive DDOS attacks, that by remaining silent in the face of a use of that form of cyberwarfare the US signaled that cyberattacks would legitimized as a battle tactic. Pretty cool.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fun interactive Oval Office

Hey Kids, Look!
It's President Palin in the Oval Office!
Click on objects around the room.
(turn on your sound)

(my fave: the five frames on the left wall)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think. The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

The 2008 Ig Nobel Prize Winners

NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.
REFERENCE: "The Role of Auditory Cues in Modulating the Perceived Crispness and Staleness of Potato Chips," Massimiliano Zampini and Charles Spence, Journal of Sensory Studies, vol. 19, October 2004, pp. 347-63.

PEACE PRIZE. The Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology (ECNH) and the citizens of Switzerland for adopting the legal principle that plants have dignity.
REFERENCE: "The Dignity of Living Beings With Regard to Plants. Moral Consideration of Plants for Their Own Sake"

MEDICINE PRIZE. Dan Ariely of Duke University (USA), Rebecca L. Waber of MIT (USA), Baba Shiv of Stanford University (USA), and Ziv Carmon of INSEAD (Singapore) for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine..
REFERENCE: "Commercial Features of Placebo and Therapeutic Efficacy," Rebecca L. Waber; Baba Shiv; Ziv Carmon; Dan Ariely, Journal of the American Medical Association, March 5, 2008; 299: 1016-1017.

PHYSICS PRIZE. Dorian Raymer of the Ocean Observatories Initiative at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USA, and Douglas Smith of the University of California, San Diego, USA, for proving mathematically that heaps of string or hair or almost anything else will inevitably tangle themselves up in knots.
REFERENCE: "Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String," Dorian M. Raymer and Douglas E. Smith, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 104, no. 42, October 16, 2007, pp. 16432-7.

complete list at:

Christopher Walken is Obama's Campaign Manager?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

: Glonous History And Cultual

Monday, October 13, 2008

: "Dennis the manatee dies"


Everyone, say it with me...

Geek Underwear

HTTP-coded underwear:


...but where's the one with the 404 (not found) error message???

Friday, October 10, 2008

Redefining the term "Astronomical"

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number, but it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
- Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1965)
in related news:
National Debt Clock runs out of digits
The Times Square clock shows the amount of money owed by the US government. The electronic billboard hit its limit after US public debt rose above the $10 trillion mark for the first time on September 30.
As a temporary fix the dollar sign has been switched to a figure -- the '1' in $10 trillion. The clock is currently marking the US federal government's national debt at about $10.2 trillion.
It was created by the late Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst, who put the sign up in 1989 to call attention to what was then a $2.7 trillion debt.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

a word to the wise... from the wise

"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z.
Work is x
y is play
and z is keeping your mouth shut."
- Albert Einstein

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Coulrophobia alert !

Coulrophobia is an abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns.

It is common among children, but is also sometimes found in
teenagers and adults as well.

Sufferers sometimes acquire a fear of clowns after having a
bad experience with one personally, or seeing a sinister
portrayal of one in the media.


... and this certainly won't help matters:

Friends don't let friends email drunk

Google's "Mail Goggles" Prevents Drunk Emailing
Google released a useful new Gmail feature yesterday in its labs, which could help prevent the intoxicated from sending embarrassing late-night emails they might regret in the morning.

When activated, the program will force a user to solve a series of math problems before allowing any message to be sent.

They are not terribly difficult, but do serve as an extra line of defense in what can be a very dangerous habit.

The service is set by default to kick in only on weekend nights, but you can change the settings to apply whenever.

As for drunk dialing and texting, you're still on your own.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A great work of Fiction

Monday, October 06, 2008

Merrymead's Harvest Festival

This past weekend, Cozy and I went to the Merrymead Harvest Festival.

There were a huge number of mini pumpkins, gourds, and bundles of Indian corn for sale.

And just in case you were considering pocketing one or two, there was this guy to remind you that it's a no-no.

"Well, do ya feel LUCKY, punk?"

John McCain was born on August 29th, 1936. If elected, he would be the oldest person inaugurated to a first-term as President
If he died in office, Sarah Palin would become President.
Well, how likely is that to happen?

Bob Rice [of Tangent Capital] has written on the actuarial risk, based on Social Security Administration mortality tables, of McCain dying in the next four years.
The odds of that happening are about 1 in 6 or 7.

That's the same odds as your birthday falling on a Wednesday.

Bob Rice is a successful entrepreneur and early-stage investor, former public company CEO, and long-time Wall Street veteran. He began his career at the US Department of Justice as a trial attorney, and then became a partner at the prestigious international firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. He now runs merchant bank Tangent Capital, which he founded in 2005.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

found in my email archives...

On February 4th, 1998, while visiting Brussels, Bill Gates was hit in the face with a cream pie.

When the news broke, I made that graphic

Friday, October 03, 2008

"Coke adds life"? Not always...

'Coca-Cola douches' scoop Ig Nobel prize

Tests of whether sodas such as Coke and Pepsi could be used as spermicides were among the many offbeat ideas celebrated at the 2008 Ig Nobel awards on Thursday.

The tongue-in-cheek awards, presented at Harvard University, are organised by the humorous scientific journal the Annals of Improbable Research for research achievements "that make people laugh – then think".

Deborah Anderson of Harvard Medical School's birth-control laboratory took her first step towards the Ig Nobel chemistry prize in the 1980s when she asked medical student Sharee Umpierre what type of contraception had been used at the all-girl Catholic boarding school she had attended in Puerto Rico.

"Coca-Cola douches," Umpierre replied. Though that was the first Anderson had heard of the idea, her gynaecologist colleague, Joe Hill, remembered a song of the same name by an outrageous 1960s band called The Fugs.

"Coca-Cola douches had become a part of contraceptive folklore during the 1950s and 1960s, when other birth-control methods were hard to come by," Anderson told New Scientist. "It was believed that the carbonic acid in Coke killed sperm, and the method came with its own 'shake and shoot applicator'" – the classic Coke bottle.

To see if Coke really worked, Anderson, Umpierre and Hill mixed four different types of Coke with sperm in test tubes. A minute later, all sperm were dead in the Diet Coke, but 41% were still swimming in the just-introduced New Coke (The New England Journal of Medicine, vol 313, p 1351).

But that's not good enough, Anderson warns. Sperm "can make it into the cervical canal, out of reach of any douching solution, in seconds" – faster than anyone could shake and apply a bottle of Diet Coke.

campaign tips

A Republican fundraiser and a Democrat fundraiser are comparing notes on spreading the word about their candidate.

The Republican boasts, "Whenever I'm in a city, I take a cab everywhere I go, and talk to the cab driver about my candidate. If I can convince the cab driver, then he'll convince everyone he picks up that day. And to seal the deal, when I get out of the cab, I give him a big tip and I say, 'Remember, vote Republican!'"

The Democrat replies, "Funny, I do almost exactly the same thing, except when I get out of the cab, I don't give him any tip, and I say, 'Remember, vote Republican!'"

Sartorial Advice for Scientists

"Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something,
wearing stripes with plaid comes easy. "

- Albert Einstein

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Jury Duty Scam

There's a scam that's going around again lately.

The caller presents themselves as a court worker who says you failed to repory for jury duty, and that a warrent has been issued for your arrest.

It's a scam to elicit personal information from you.

and here's a clever spoof of it:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

: Palin random quote generator