Monday, March 31, 2008

Insert Irish joke here.

The "International Lights Out" campaign took place Saturday March 29 at 8:00 PM. People all over the world were asked to turn off their electric lights. Here's an excerpt from a news report on the event:

" Ireland's more than 7,000 pubs elected not to take part - in part because of the risk that Saturday night revelers could end up smashing glasses, falling down stairs, or setting themselves on fire with candles."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Crusaders 'left genetic legacy'

BBC News item:

Crusaders 'left genetic legacy'

Scientists have detected the faint genetic traces left by medieval crusaders in the Middle East.


Crusaders '"left genetic legacy"?
In other words, Crusaders "fucked the locals."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Where's my Jet Pack?"

What Will Life Be Like In The Year 2008?

Here's a 1968 "Mechanix Illustrated" article on this topic.

Hope you're all enjoying your 4 hour work week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Worst. Medical Mix-up. Ever

from The Daily Telegraph:

"A GERMAN pensioner is taking a hospital to court after she turned up for a leg operation - and got a new anus instead."

Cellphone law may not make roads safer

Drivers' chatting, even on hands-free devices, is risky, experts say.
By Myron Levin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 25, 2008
As California joins five other states in requiring drivers to use hands-free devices when talking on cellphones, an increasing body of research suggests the legislation will accomplish little.

The risk doesn't stem from whether one or both hands are on the wheel, the research suggests. It's whether the driver's mind is somewhere else.
"There's a common misperception that hands-free phones are safer when the research clearly suggests that they they're both equally risky," said Arthur Goodwin, a researcher at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

full story at:,1,2699968.story

Monday, March 24, 2008

: For weird cheese lovers... or Mongols

Yak cheese is the healthy option

FOND of cheese but depressed about its high levels of saturated fats? Now there's a healthier alternative: yak cheese.

Mamun Or-Rashid at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues compared the fatty-acid content of cheese made from a Nepalese yak's milk and a standard Canadian cheddar.

They found the yak cheese had a lower overall fat content and, compared with cow's milk cheese, contained much higher levels of heart-healthy "good fats" such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, DOI: 10.1021/jf0725225).

And you thought Green Beer for St. Patty's was stupid...

Erin Go Crack
MARCH 20--On St. Patrick's Day, Ohio cops seized crack cocaine that had been dyed green, apparently in recognition of the holiday.

full story (and picture) at:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

You've always wondered about this...

How the Easter Bunny gets those eggs...

Holiday Greetings

Wishing you Peas on Earth

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Real-life StarTrek computer

My friend Bradley and I were talking about the way the Future is shown on TV, especially on Star Trek.

Unlike our current personal computers, the shipboard computer on the Enterprise seems to have an infinite amount of memory.

Can you imagine Kirk shouting, "Computer, fire phasers!" and the computer responds:

"Insufficient Memory for your Command.
Recommend terminating an Application.
Do you want to shut down Life Support? Yes/No."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

an Earworm by any other name...

"Identifying Properties of Tunes That Get 'Stuck in Your Head': Toward a Theory of Cognitive Itch"

James J. Kellaris, in Susan E. Heckler and Stewart Shapiro, editors, Proceedings of the Society for Consumer Psychology Winter 2001 Conference, Scottsdale, AZ, American Psychological Society.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Bush Hid The Facts" breaks Notepad

For those of you using Windows, do the following:

1.) Open an empty notepad file
2.) Type "Bush hid the facts" (without the quotes)
3.) Save it as whatever you want.
4.) Close it, and re-open it.

Strange, huh?

You can invent your own "bug" sentence if you wish.

Your sentence has to be made up with four words with the structure 4-3-3-5.

(not all 4-3-3-5 words break the app, but most do)

read more at:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

: All mimsy was the RNA

Somewhere along the line, you school must have shown this film as part of your cell biology education... [turn on your sound]

Protein synthesis: an epic on the cellular level
Directed in 1971 by Robert Alan Weiss for the Department of Chemistry of Stanford University and imprinted with the "free love" aura of the period, this short film continues to be shown in biology class today. Narrated by Paul Berg, 1980 Nobel prize for Chemistry.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

: Humor from The New Yorker

Forever is a long time, and resources are limited.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Peep Show !

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Turning Stats on Tricks

A recent article by the website Slate, discussing why prostitution is illegal, offered the following point raised by a sociologist studying the issue:

"Prostitutes get arrested about once per 450 tricks, and johns even less frequently. "

Slate observed two lessons here:

1) A law that isn't being enforced much may not be worth having; and

2) Eliot Spitzer looks really, really unlucky.

Change for the better?

Political Comedy Video:

The Bush Administration introduces new US coins.
(it's pitched like those Franklin Mint coin commercials)

Get a sneak peek at the new money at

Man's Best Friend

A dog is truly a man's best friend.

If you don't believe it, just try this experiment.

Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of your car for an hour.

When you open the trunk, who is really happy to see you?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

WorldWideWords: Odd Book Titles

It's voting time once again in the Bookseller/Diagram contest for the oddest book titles of the year.

The shortlisted six titles are these:

I Was Tortured By the Pygmy Love Queen by Jasper McCutcheon (fiction, alas);

How to Write a How to Write Book by Brian Piddock (those who can, do ..);

Cheese Problems Solved by P L H McSweeney (a bargain at GBP135.00 [270 dollars] );

If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start With Your Legs: A Guide to Understanding Men by Big Boom (experts say this may be a pseudonym);

Are Women Human? And Other International Dialogues by Catharine A MacKinnon (which is described as a critique of the transnational status quo);

People who Mattered in Southend and Beyond: From King Canute to Dr Feelgood by Dee Gordon ("promises to bring Southend to life").

You can visit the Bookseller's site via if you want to vote.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

S.O.L. limerick

There once was a small juicy orange,
... fuck.

Divine retribution limerick

A poem had readers quite smitten;
'twas the dirtiest verse ever written.
Vulgar jokes, sexy themes!
Readers burst at the seams,
but with each reading God killed a kitten.

Homeland Security limerick

A CIA agent named XXXXXXXXXX
was a XXXXXXX technician in XXXXXXXXX.
for failure to clear
all limericks with his Station Chief.

Computer limerick

While browsing one-handed on-line
and approaching that moment sublime,
the Blue Screen Of Death
caused an intake of breath.
Linux gets your pr0n every time.

: SMS limerick

A preoccupied vegan named Hugh
picked up the wrong sandwich to chew.
He took a big bite
before spitting, in fright,

A 10 min history of "Arab-Israeli Conflict"

Do Yourself a Favor...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Earth Liberation Fools

News Item:

MALTBY, Wash. — Five luxury homes in a subdivision marketed as "built green" near here were destroyed or severely damaged by fire early Monday, and evidence at the scene suggested the fires might have been started by radical environmentalists who viewed the homes as violating rather than complementing the wooded wetlands in which they were built.

...and setting the houses on fire was GOOD for the environment ?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cold Boot Attacks on Encryption Keys


Contrary to popular assumption, DRAMs used in most modern computers retain their contents for seconds to minutes after power is lost, even at operating temperatures and even if removed from a motherboard.

Although DRAMs become less reliable when they are not refreshed, they are not immediately erased, and their contents persist sufficiently for malicious (or forensic) acquisition of usable full-system memory images.

We show that this phenomenon limits the ability of an operating system to protect cryptographic key material from an attacker with physical access. We use cold reboots to mount attacks on popular disk encryption systems — BitLocker, FileVault, dm-crypt, and TrueCrypt — using no special devices or materials.

We experimentally characterize the extent and predictability of memory remanence and report that remanence times can be increased dramatically with simple techniques. We offer new algorithms for finding cryptographic keys in memory images and for correcting errors caused by bit decay. Though we discuss several strategies for partially mitigating these risks, we know of no simple remedy that would eliminate them.

PDF of full paper, and video presentation, at:

("Cold Reboot" is quite literal. A upside-down keyboard-cleaning aerosol can is used to deliver cold liquid directly onto the DRAM chip)

Lights! Camera! Inaction!

An interesting piece of guerrilla street theater can be found at ...