Friday, August 29, 2008

A is for Apple, Peacock = Turkey?

Blog article about Chinese toy blocks that help children learn English.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Following in our footsteps

It's evident the Chinese want to be like Just Like Us.

Consider these two recent events from the Beijing Olympics, and how we've Been There, Done That:

Them: Cute girl lip-syncs, while the actual singer is behind stage.
Us: Two words: "Milli Vanilli"

Them: Clearly underage girl gymnast claims to be of legal age.
Us: Two words: "Traci Lords"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Warning: Highly Addictive Website inside

For your own safety, you shouldn't visit this site at work.

It's completely Safe For Work, but your cubicle neighbors will wonder why you're laughing, and sometime afterwards you'll notice that the lights are off and everyone's gone home.

Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's not far off the mark.

Visit, if you have spare time, the website

It's all user-created graphs, the type you can make with the Graph Wizard in Excel, but the data's far more interesting than a TPS report.

I've attached a half dozen examples.
Have fun on the site (and don't say you haven't been warned).

history flow

history flow
visualizing the editing history of Wikipedia pages
history flow is a tool for visualizing dynamic, evolving documents and the interactions of multiple collaborating authors.
In its current implementation, history flow is being used to visualize the evolutionary history of wiki pages on Wikipedia.
How it works:
Download the application and run your own analysis on Wikipages:
The attached image file shows the history of the Wikipedia article on Chocolate.
The zig-zag lines on the right of the graph represent back-and-forth discussions of the contents.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

facing Moooo-gnetic North

from Today's Papers/

the LA Times reports that a group of scientists used Google Earth to discover that cattle usually orient themselves "in a north-south direction just like a compass needle."
Studying the photographs from different areas of the world, they found that approximately two out of every three pointed roughly toward magnetic north.
The paper asked a California dairy farmer if he's ever noticed this type of behavior. "Absolutely not," he said. "I don't spend a lot of time worrying about stuff like that."

Scientific American podcast on this discovery at:

coder humor

a comment by Tove Momerathsson,
seen on the web:

As noted in many recent news stories, Premier Election Solutions (a subsidiary of Diebold) has acknowledged a flaw that causes their voting machine systems to lose votes.
Diebold initially blamed anti-virus software, but they have since admitted that the bug was their code not recording votes in "certain circumstances".

"Certain circumstances?"
Like "if ( party == democratic )" maybe?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Last name Butte, first name Seymore

Paul Garner, host of a British radio show, pretended to be a cab driver, giving the Heathrow Airport public address system announcers a piece of paper with two foreign-looking names of people to be paged. Each group of names appeared innocent enough, until you heard them read.

Read the two names, then click on the speaker icon to hear the message as it was broadcast over the airport's PA system.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Haircuts for the Homeless

Homeless Get Cleaned Up With Free Haircuts For DNC

DENVER (CBS4) ― The City of Denver has been working to make sure everything is in tip-top shape for all the visitors coming to town for the Democratic National Convention, and now a local salon is helping in that effort. It seems to be a first -- don't move the homeless, clean them up.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That's usually not on the menu...

BBC news item:

A 90-year-old woman saw her dreams come true when she was served fish and chips by a man dressed only in a thong and a see-through apron.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

the best summary of his presidency

President Bush waves the flag backwards at the 2008 Olympics.

As Keith Olbermann quipped,
"It is the best summary of his presidency, which is: everything looks perfect from his point of view."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday Fun

An interesting choice of words...

I just found a Science article on the MSNBC website.

The title of the article is "Scientists closing in on invisibility cloak"


Can't you just see it...

Scientist #1: "Damn it! I was sure I left it on my lab bench. I know it's in this general area."
Scientist #2: "Well, it didn't just get up and walk away. Keep looking."

: Robot Has Biological Brain - Yahoo! News

Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons.

The robot, named Gordon, is not exactly an Einstein but represents a remarkable bridging of the gap between biology and technology. Gordon relies a dish with about 60 electrodes to pick up electrical signals generated by the brain cells.

Every time the robot nears an object, signals are directed to stimulate the brain by means of the electrodes, the researchers explained in a statement released today by the University of Reading in England. In response, the brain's output drives the robot's wheels left and right, so that it moves around in an attempt to avoid hitting objects.

The robot has no additional control from a human or a computer, the scientists state. Its sole means of control is from its own brain


Robots... with Biological brains!
I think I need to read "How to Survive a Robot Uprising"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bush? or Batman ?

Can you tell which statements were made by President Bush, and which ones were made by Batman?


However, neither of them can compare to the Master of Superhero Speak...
The Tick !

"And so, may Evil beware, and may Good dress warmly and eat lots of fresh vegetables."

"You don't fight destiny, no sir... and you don't eat crackers in the bed of your future!"

" Y'know, Evil comes in many forms, whether it be a man-eating cow or Joseph Stalin, but you can't let the package hide the pudding! Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it . You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled-up Newspapaer of Justice! Bad dog! Bad dog! And you don't do it for money. No! You do it for love! You know, I've learned something this week; on justice and on friendship there is no price, but there are established credit limits."

"So once again, we find that Evil of the past seeps into the present, like salad dressing through cheap wax paper, mixing memory and desire."

"You know... I've heard the smarter you are, the more wrinkly your brain. And your guys' brains must be the wrinkliest! Oh, sure, ordinary Joes like me and Arthur here, maybe our brains are a little on the smooth side. But you don't have to be a genius to know that Evil is bad. And Good isn't! "

Hmmm, do you think the Tick and Bush have the same speechwriters?

[Who's The Tick, I hear you say? See ]

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

C'est What ??? part 2

A friend of mine responded to my email about the Chinese restraurant named "Translate Server Error", and pointed me to the following book:

On the webpage, you can see a few examples of malformed translations.
Fore example, there's a Chinese sign that reads: "Your careful step keeps tiny grass invariably green."
It sounds like an amusing book
(or should I say, "It is happy fun time pages together reading.")
...and of course you know about the website, so i'm not even gonna mention it...

Monday, August 11, 2008

From the Department of Redundant Redundancy

It's a solar-powered tanning studio !
yes, you read that correctly.

: C'est What ???

Here's what happens when you let translation software do your thinking

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

OCR doesn't do it all ... reCAPTCHA helps

Got some spare time on your hands?

Digitizing Books, One Word at a Time

Monday, August 04, 2008


Here's the test:
Look at these pennies.
Can you spot the real penny?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Down Boy!

Do you know anyone who needs a flash drive?
Get them this one, but don't tell them what it does.