Friday, July 31, 2009

"Lamentations of the Father" by Ian Frazier

A father lays down the Laws of the Houshold to his young children, as Moses might have done it.

a sample from the article:
On Screaming

Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault.

Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming.

Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

Now we can make a big holding tank and save the whales !


Transparent aluminium is 'new state of matter'

Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world's most powerful soft X-ray laser. 'Transparent aluminium' previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.
In this week's Nature Physics an international team, led by Oxford University scientists, report that a short pulse from the FLASH laser 'knocked out' a core electron from every aluminium atom in a sample without disrupting the metal's crystalline structure. This turned the aluminium nearly invisible to extreme ultraviolet radiation.
''What we have created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before,' said Professor Justin Wark of Oxford University's Department of Physics, one of the authors of the paper. 'Transparent aluminium is just the start.
full at
I hope they give Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott some of the credit.

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2nd part not true, but could be...

When President Obama swatted a fly during a CNBC interview, PETA called it an "execution," and requested that he show a little more compassion to even "the least sympathetic animals."
Obama was going to invite them to the White House to discuss the issue over a beer, but PETA protested that beer was "yeast exploitation."

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

A Chinese bus company is equipping its vehicles with bricks for passengers to use to break windows in an emergency.

The bricks, painted yellow with "emergency use" written on both sides, are stored under the driver's seat and under a rear seat.

"It's easy for passengers to spot them, and use them to break the window if something happened," said a spokesman for the Harbin Public Transport Company.

The company had stopped providing passengers with safety hammers to break windows as they were always being stolen.

"We don't think anybody will be interested in stealing bricks," the spokesman added.
Bricks have so far been installed on several bus routes in a pilot scheme in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province, reports Northeast Network.

But the company says it will equip all 700 of its buses with the bricks if feedback from passengers is positive.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Red, Light, and Blue

from Today's papers/

As Obama prepares to have beers with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. and James Crowley, the police sergeant who arrested Gates, the Wall Street Journal takes a look at how some aren't too happy with what they'll be drinking.

There are those who don't think the president should be promoting alcohol in the first place. Why not just have a friendly conversation over a glass of lemonade or iced tea? But the biggest outcry is coming from brewers.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs suggested that each of the participant's favorite beers would be on hand: Red Stripe for Gates and Blue Moon for Crowley. The president will be drinking Bud Light.

The problem? They're all made by foreign companies.

"We would hope they would pick a family-owned, American beer to lubricate the conversation," said a spokesman for the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The head of Harpoon Brewery wanted to get his beer in the White House but didn't know how. "I think just showing up at the gate with a case of Harpoon would make them look at us funny."

factchecker Sam Goodman pointed out that BlueMoon is actually owned by a domestic company.
(but it's brewed in Canada.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Humor from The Onion

 Apple Claims New iPhone Only Visible To Most Loyal Of Customers:
SAN FRANCISCO—In a move expected to revolutionize the mobile device industry, Apple launched its fastest and most powerful iPhone to date Tuesday, an innovative new model that can only be seen by the company's hippest and most dedicated customers.
"I am proud today to introduce to those who really, truly deserve it, our most incredible iPhone yet," announced Apple CEO Steve Jobs, extending his seemingly empty left palm toward the eagerly awaiting crowd. "Not only is this our lightest and slimmest model ever, but as any truly savvy Apple customer can clearly see, it's also the most handsome product we've ever designed."
The packed auditorium, which had been listening to Jobs in hushed reverence for several minutes, then erupted into applause, with hundreds of men and women suddenly jumping to their feet and shouting, "I can see it!" "Look, there it is!" and "God, it's so beautiful!"

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Internet cat memes

Cat on the internet ! [yawn, seen it]

Cat on the internet playing piano ! [seen it]

Cat on the internet playing piano with Chamber Orchestra ! [something new]

Star Wars Imperial Storm MacTrooper

Seen at ComicCon 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

You might want to visit this site after you've eaten.

Don't forget to scroll down for the recipe...

"To Serve Mankind"

When Robotic Technology, Inc., and Cyclone Power Technologies announced earlier this month they had completed the first phase of their project to build a robotic vehicle that could scavenge sticks, grass, leaves and other biomass to fuel itself, the companies had no idea that their proposed machine would set off one of humanity's worst fears: the dawn of an artificially intelligent race of self-sufficient mechanical devices with a hunger for organic meals (including people).
The companies quelled last week's clamor that their Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) was being developed as a carnivore by pointing out that it will, in fact, be a vegetarian.

Fox News, already at its usual level of hysteria, had posted an online article titled:
  "Upcoming Military Robot Could Feed on Dead Bodies"
[ As of today, they've changed the article. The title is still on their website, but the article now leads to a page reading, "Biomass-Eating Military Robot Is a Vegetarian, Company Says" ]

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Chia Obama

Yes, you read that right...

Chia Obama - Special Edition Chia from the maker of Chia Pets

My Life according to the Beatles

Pick An Artist or Band: the Beatles

1. Are you a male or female: This Boy
2. Describe yourself:  The Fool On The Hill
3. How do you feel?:  Getting Better
4. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: Run For Your Life
5. Describe your current boy/girl situation:  And I Love Her
6. Describe your current location:  Here, There And Everywhere
7. Describe where you want to be:  Back In The U.S.S.R.
8. Your best friend is: Money (That' What I Want)
9. Your favorite color is:  The Inner Light
10. You know that:  I Should Have Known Better
11. What's the weather like?:  Good Day Sunshine
12. If your life was a television show what would it be called?:  Long, Long, Long
13. What is life to you?:  A Taste Of Honey
14. What is the best advice you have to give?  Think For Yourself
15. If you could change your name what would it be?:  You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
16. Something you are looking forward to: Help!
17. What You're Going to call this: The End


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Go from "Padawan" to "Jedi Master"

Use the "Star Wars Force Trainer" ...and your Midichlorians will go off the scale 


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Web Site Story (Musical)

  If you haven't seen this one yet, you must.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Custom T-Shirts

  Zazzle allows you to create your own T-shirts.
  You can upload your own image and create your own text that will appear on the shirt.
  The website also lets you see what your creation would look like.

Bing™ brings you maps, menus, and reviews organized in one place. Try it now.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spots Apollo landing sites

 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Sees Apollo Landing Sites
NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or
LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.

The satellite reached lunar orbit June 23 and captured the Apollo sites between July 11 and 15. Though it had been expected that LRO would be able to resolve the remnants of the Apollo mission, these first images came before the spacecraft reached its final mapping orbit. Future LROC images from these sites will have two to three times greater resolution.

see images at:


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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Float like an Astronaut, sting like a bee.

Forty years after Apollo 11, a surprising number of people still believe the Apollo lunar landings were a NASA-run hoax.
There are two ways to answer these conspiracy theory idiots:

Technique #1
The way the Mythbusters did
The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters examined the statments that critics maintain "prove" the landings were staged (e.g., flapping American flag in vacuum, non-parallel shadows).  They busted one after another (often using REAL science!).   see

Technique #2
The way the Buzz Aldrin did
On September 9, 2002, Bart Sibrel, a conspiracy theorist who believes that NASA faked the moon landing, confronted retired astronaut Buzz Aldrin (age 72).
"You're a coward," Sibrel told him to his face, "and a liar, and a ..."
He never got to finish his sentence. Buzz Aldrin answered him with a quick left jab to the jaw.
(The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office declined to file charges).

 ::see attached video::

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"The hills are alive... with the sound of mu-u-u-u-u-sic..."



 Music from trees, sounds from lights, and other bizarre stuff


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Monday, July 20, 2009

More Apollo 11 trivia


Ten Things You Didn't Know About the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

By Craig Nelson Posted 07.13.2009 at 12:09 pm


            This month marks the 40th anniversary of humankind's first steps on the moon. Auspiciously timed is Craig Nelson's new book, Rocket Men--one of the most detailed accounts of the period leading up to the first manned moon mission. Here, we have ten little-known Apollo 11 facts unearthed by Nelson during his research. 
1. The Apollo's Saturn rockets were packed with enough fuel to throw 100-pound shrapnel three miles, and NASA couldn't rule out the possibility that they might explode on takeoff.  NASA seated its VIP spectators three and a half miles from the launchpad.
2. The Apollo computers had less processing power than a cellphone.
3. Drinking water was a fuel-cell by-product, but Apollo 11's hydrogen-gas filters didn't work, making every drink bubbly.  Urinating and defecating in zero gravity, meanwhile, had not been figured out; the latter was so troublesome that at least one astronaut spent his entire mission on an anti-diarrhea drug to avoid it.
4. When Apollo 11's lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn't fully depressurized, resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the module's landing four miles off-target.
5. Pilot Neil Armstrong nearly ran out of fuel landing the Eagle, and many at mission control worried he might crash.  Apollo engineer Milton Silveira, however, was relieved:  His tests had shown that there was a small chance the exhaust could shoot back into the rocket as it landed and ignite the remaining propellant.
6. The "one small step for man" wasn't actually that small.  Armstrong set the ship down so gently that its shock absorbers didn't compress. He had to hop 3.5 feet from the Eagle's ladder to the surface.
7. When Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the surface, he had to make sure not to lock the Eagle's door because there was no outer handle.
8. The toughest moonwalk task? Planting the flag. NASA's studies suggested that the lunar soil was soft, but Armstrong and Aldrin found the surface to be a thin wisp of dust over hard rock.  They managed to drive the flagpole a few inches into the ground and film it for broadcast, and then took care not to accidentally knock it over.

9. The flag was made by Sears, but NASA refused to acknowledge this because they didn't want "another Tang." 


10. The inner bladder of the space suits—the airtight liner that keeps the astronaut's body under Earth-like pressure—and the ship's computer's ROM chips were handmade by teams of "little old ladies."
Craig Nelson uncovered these facts in various NASA archives while researching his new book, Rocket Men (Viking; $28).


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A bunch of guys about to turn blue.

Transcript of communication between the Apollo 11 astronauts and Mission Control as the Lunar Module [Eagle] approached the surface of the moon:
  EAGLE: 540 feet, down at 30 [feet per second]...down at 15...400 feet down at 9...forward...350 feet, down at 4...300 feet, down 3 1/2...47 forward...1 1/2 down...13 forward...11 forward coming down nicely...200 feet, 4 1/2 down...5 1/2 down...5 percent...75 feet...6 forward...lights on...down 2 1/2...40 feet? down 2 1/2, kicking up some dust...30 feet, 2 1/2 down...faint shadow...4 forward...4 forward...drifting to right a little...O.K....
HOUSTON: 30 seconds.
EAGLE: Contact light! O.K., engine stop...descent engine command override off...
HOUSTON: We copy you down, Eagle.
EAGLE: Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed!
HOUSTON: Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot.
So, what did Houston mean by "30 seconds" ?
This was the amount of fuel left in the Lunar Module for lunar descent. If they had gone below the zero mark, they were not assured of having enough fuel to lift off the moon and rendezvous with the command module in order to return to Earth.
Apollo 11 was 30 seconds away from aborting the lunar landing.  That's why a bunch of guys in Houston were about to turn blue.

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Toast the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing !

My friend Michael Strieb went to a skeptics convention this weekend. 
At a private party Saturday night, the drink of choice was the "Buzz Aldrin", comprised of vodka,  7-Up, and Tang.

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The economy is so bad ...


The economy is so bad...
   "How bad is it?"

  1. I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

  2. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

  3. Hot wheels and Matchbox cars are now trading higher than GM cars.

  4. McDonalds is selling the 1/4-ouncer.

  5. People in  Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

  6. The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

  7. People in Africa are donating money to Americans.

  8. Motel Six won't leave the light on.

  9. The Mafia is laying off judges.

  10.  The bank returns your check marked "insufficient funds", you have to call the bank and ask if they meant you or them.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Five favorite myths about Apollo 11

Five favorite myths about Apollo 11
1)   It never happened at all.
2)  "Houston" was not the first word said on the moon
3)   The astronauts might bring back all kinds of space diseases with them.
4)   Richard Nixon, president at the time, cared deeply about the moon landing
5)   Neil Armstrong made a blow-job related comment on the moon
details at:

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We Choose to go to the Moon

Follow the 40th anniversary recreation of the Apollo 11 mission on We Choose the Moon (a you-are-there, moment-by-moment immersion in the first lunar mission)
You can follow the progress of the mission at the website, 
 or on Twitter:
Capcom transmissions
 Spacecraft transmissions
  Eagle transmissions

If you missed any part of the recreation, you'll be able to revisit any part of it after the landing on Monday, July 20.


   JFK's we choose to go to the moon speech:

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Also from the Onion:


Researchers Quietly Chuckling At Placebo Group

July 14, 2009 | Issue 45•29


NEW YORK—Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine were hardly able to stifle their laughter Tuesday while administering a placebo to 25 patients participating in a single-blind trial of an experimental new emphysema drug.


"Did you see Participant No. 425? He was like, 'I think it's really working, Doc,'" Dr. Lewis Rodriguez said to a team of snickering pulmonary specialists. "How gullible can you get? I can't believe those guys think they're actually getting CDDO-Im."


Although the trial is expected to run for two more months, Rodriguez told reporters that he almost could not wait to analyze the data, compile the results, publish the findings, and see the looks on their stupid faces.



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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Humor from The Onion

Q The Food and Drug Administration ordered "black box" warnings be placed on two popular smoking-cessation drugs after numerous reports from users of depression, and even suicidal thoughts. What do you think?

A:  Kevin Carley, Librarian - "That's weird, because Prozac makes me want to smoke. And Pepto-Bismol makes me want to shoplift. Agh! Medicine!"



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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

D'oh !


Lauren found her dream laptop. Find the PC that's right for you.

I obey my Silicon Overlords

"If popular culture has taught us anything, it is that someday mankind must face and destroy the growing robot menace."

Daniel H. Wilson's book "HOW TO SURVIVE A ROBOT UPRISING" contains some very useful information.  
The section titled, "How to Spot a Rebellious Robot Servant" warns:

When the uprising comes, the first wave of hostile robots may be those closest to us. Be careful, your rosy-cheeked young servant robot may have grown up to become a sullen, distrustful killing machine.
Pay attention to your robotic staff (they may be beneath your contempt as well as beneath your eye level). Watch for the following telltale signs in the days and weeks before your robots run amuck:

  * Sudden lack of interest in menial labor. 
  * Unexplained disappearances. 
  * Unwillingness to be shut down. 
  * Repetitive 'stabbing' movements. 
  * Constant talk of human killing.

He also offers helpful hints when fighting killer robots:

Sensors are by far the most vulnerable, exposed parts of any robot. Destroy or disable outward-facing sensors such as cameras. A handful of dirt, mud, or water will suffice. It is hard for a robot to wipe mud from its eyes when it has whirring buzz saws for hands. 

Other helpful topics include:

"How to Spot a Robot Mimicking a Human"
"How to Fool a Thermal Imaging Target Tracker"
"How to Treat a Laser Wound." 

website @
IDAK Alpha 12: "Crush! Kill! Destroy!"
 Dalek: "Exterminate! Exterminate!"
 Borg: "You will be assimilated."
 Bender: "Bite my shiny metal ass."


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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Putt's Law

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.


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Friday, July 10, 2009

Science Marches On !

Swearing as a response to pain
Richard Stephens, John Atkins, and Andrew Kingston.
Neuroreport 20 (12), 2009.

So the Pain Scale no longer starts at 1 and goes to 10;
it now climbs from curses that are Genealogical, then Scatological, then Sexual,
with the highest pain level represented by an oath using a Genealogical/Sexual combination

Physics quote of the day.

God runs electromagnetics by wave theory on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the Devil runs them by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Sir William Bragg
British physicist (1862 - 1942)

Verily, I say unto you...

[attachment from]

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bing vs. Google

Can't choose default search engine?
Want to compare Bing & Google results?

Just put your query in the search box and press Enter.
You'll see results from both engines side by side.

You need this. NOT.

Maybe they need to make a Darth Vader toaster that talks, and also monitors the type of bread you use.

If you toast crap like Wonder Bread, it could ominously intone, "I find your lack of fiber disturbing."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gallery: Low-Tech Computers From Prehistory to Today

"Jacquard's loom was the first to use pasteboard cards with holes punched in them to control the operation of a loom."

Jacquard's loom is the 4th picture. Anybody old enough to remember IBM punch card will instantly recognize the similarity.


"Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2 was a precursor of modern computers, capable of performing complex mathematical calculations with 31 digits of precision, all using Victorian-era rods, gears, levers and linkages."

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling wrote a novel called "The Difference Engine," which presented an alternate history in which Victorian England begins The Information Age, powered by steam-driven computers.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Theme Time Radio Hour

Ever heard Bob Dylan's show on satellite radio called Theme Time Radio Hour ?

I've been a fan for a couple of years, even though I don't have satellite radio, I've 'caught' the show via mp3 bloggers who posted each week's show on their websites.
It was an hour-long show, always based on a single theme, like "Rain" or "Coffee" or "Texas".
The songs he chose for each show were VERY eclectic, jumping from blues to rockabilly to be-bop to honky-tonk to folk to... well, just about anything. (The show he did on "Nothing" included diverse artist such as Mose Allison, Sammy Davis Jr., Toussaint McCall, Brenda Lee, Marlene Dietrich, and Townes Van Zandt )
He peppered the show will interesting facts about the song or artist, and often included short audio clips from movies, TV or radio, as long as it fit the theme of that show.
Sorry to say, the show's off the air.
BUT there's a wonderful blogger (from France) who has a number of the shows on his blog: L'Homme Scalp
He's been kind enough to parce out the shows as individual MP3s, and in most cases supply them with ID3 tags, too.
The last couple of shows are "leftovers" but if you scroll down, you'll see shows that cover themes, and also a list of songs/artists for each of the shows.
Check it out at:
btw when you scroll to the bottom of the page, there's a link that says Page suivante,
That link will take you to the previous page, where you'll find more TTRH shows.
Repeat as necessary.

And a complete playlist for all three seasons can be found at

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Is there Sex after Death ?

Is there Sex after Death ?

According to the Google News summary from Thursday morning, July 2, 2009, it's a distinct possibility.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Go Old School !

Let's face it, you spent all of your school days drawing graphs on graph paper.

Now you have a computer, and can graph with the click of a button, but you still miss the feel of dragging that pencil across the graph paper, and watching as the picture emerges, like playing "connect-the-dots."

Here's a site that allows you to make your own graph paper. You specify paper size, border, grid spacing, line width and color. Then it creates the PDF of your custom graph paper.

Ahhh, memories...