12.29.2004

Jeez- Kittie Feldie has a creepy laugh. She's interviewing Roy Blount, Jr. and keeps on laughing... hee hee hee hee hee
Gaaaahhh!
The current storm system passing through caused a tornado in Inglewood. That's down by LAX.
Goodbye Lennie :(

12.28.2004

Question: Is it unmanly to carry an umbrella?

12.27.2004

Book Review: Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, by Nathaniel Philbrick.

Read it; it's quite good, and the subject is amazing.

Sea of Glory examines this expedition's origins, follows along the journey, and looks back on the aftermath, explaining why you've probably never heard much about this astounding episode in our country's history.

The author, using such sources as the sailors' and officers' (official and private) journals and correspondence, tells the tale well- it is a gripping story, and I read it in but a few sittings.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, it was of extreme interest.

12.24.2004


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

12.23.2004

Okay, so the clutter thing? Was pretty lame.

In fact, their result is totally expected. Because of the time reversal invariance of (most) physical systems, the only thing that would be unexpected would be not observing their result.

If, however, they had many dissipative objects in their field of view, implying what is called dispersion (and vice-versa), or many objects with other sources of current, then you might be surprised that their trick worked.

Even if you had external current sources, because there aren't that many sources of current with significant gigahertz components in their spectra, we'd kinda expect little in the way of unexpected differences.

That's not to say we'd expect perfec agreement, but, as in the acoustical case, I'd expect pretty good agreement. After all, real things are complicated :)

Hang on a sec...this isn't right, right?
The U.S. dollar is near an all-time low against the euro, which began circulating in January 2002, and is close to a five-year low against the Japanese yen. The British pound is trading at nearly two to a dollar. (Emphasis added by me)
That's just a typo, right? Should be saying that the dollar's trading at nearly two to a pound? Otherwise, the Brits are in way worse shape than we are...
I'm not wild about clutter, but some scientists are.
A Festivus for the rest of us!

12.21.2004

Right now, according to a Washington Post poll, a larger percentage of americans disapprove of Bush than approve of him. Some 38% strongly disapprove, whilst 27% strongly approve. Via Pandagon.
Stop taking Aleve.

12.20.2004

The Times has a soft spot for Yamhill. Either that, or Yamhill has something extraordinary in the water. Can anyone guess the other Yamhill connection at the Times?

u = iwannaread

p = thisbook

Crunch. 70-car pileup in Pennsylvania and no one was killed or seriously injured. Pretty unbelievable.

12.17.2004

So here's a question that occurred to me whilst reading a comment at The Gadflyer: did Bush have Rove set up Giuliani for a fall as a service to Jeb?
Whoo! Take it all off! Except your business license! I'll need that to stay on so I can complain to the BBB if you don't adequately "work it."
Bionic dolphin...cool!

12.16.2004

Slate's Timothy Noah is a god among men...well, god among journalists, anyway.
Country music is getting kinky.
And today's little gem from Fafblog is:
I had a little golem, I made it out of clay
And when it's dried and ready, Prague armies it will slay.
Golem, golem, golem, I made you out of clay.
Golem, golem, golem, with golem I will play.

12.15.2004

Yet another high class reality show to hit the airwaves soon. Leave it to FOX to create a show called "Who's Your Daddy?"...

12.14.2004

Today my block teachers (US history and literature) made my class take the citizenship test to become an American citizen. I failed! I scored 47 out of 64. You can miss up to ten. They also had us take the Alabama voting test (these tests were from the late 1800s mind you) and I actually gave up on that one it was so hard. And with that one you couldn't miss any and it was about 50-some odd questions long. Lastly, they had us take this silly IQ exam, only five questions long, consisting of riddles I know well from memorizing MindTrap cards. ; )
Interesting: beware where you shop. My officemate sent this along.
Interesting article about Japanese gadget culture (via geekpress)
As her majesty the Queen would say, "We are not impressed."

12.13.2004

There is a new video teacher at our school and the guy is a bloody moron. He keeps coming to me, wanting me to be the little news lady for our school news. We don't even have a news show! Plus, the video productions classes are meant for creativity and exploration, but he is forcing every one to do news. My friend has a website and gave him 'the dumbass award'. Pardon the poor spelling on his site. http://www.freewebs.com/brassknuckle1/mathiews.htm
How much do you want to bet Bose's stock will jump if this passes?

12.12.2004

Blah blah blah blah.

12.10.2004

Something on NPR I heard reminded me of this fact: electronics grade silicon is among the purest of materials available on Earth.
For your amusement: Comedy Central Special - Jeremy Hotz. Funny, funny guy. Right-click the link to save (or whatever it is you Mac users do).

12.09.2004

I'm sorry, I'm going to have to confiscate that terrorist laser pointer!
Really Rumsfeld? You're doing everything humanly possible to add armor to those humvees? (via linkfilter)
Okay, these guys are slimeballs, but I love giving DeLay the shaft.
Caltech may be strange, but I don't imagine there's a high occurrence of public nudity among geeks.
More about how Caltech is strange: I saw a guy with some kind of snake tattoo on his bicep. Down his arm a bit was another tattoo:

You can learn a lot about a man by considering the masters he chooses. What kind of masters did Bernard Kerik choose? What does it say about his character?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Secretary of Homeland Security, presumptive. Now, with more double-plus ungoodness.

Read my lips... no higher taxes.

So since we're not going to raise additional funds for Social Security, can you guess what will happen? One good guess would be that benefits would be reduced. That, however, would not be politically expedient. Therefore, we can expect that there will be additional debt.

Another possible response would be to reform S.S. in some way. For example, we might move to a system of individual accounts. Will that cost anything? The Magic 8-Ball is probably coming up, "Not Likely," since that's what they want to hear.

12.08.2004

Gentlemen, that laptop might be rendering you infertile.
Caltech is odd: I saw a guy wearing sabots today. Actual, wooden sabots. And judging by the wear evident, they're his normal shoes.
Amusements from Wired (via geekpress):
Segway Polo
How do you make roads safer? Easy - just take away all signs and signals and let people figure out navigation for themselves. Sounds like survival of the least idiotic, to me.
New word heard in a meeting: correlationship

e.g. "As you can see, there is a direct correlationship between these two data points..."
Here is a picture of my new weiner dog Franklin. He's probably the best dog ever.

12.07.2004

Vivent les Francais..."planting explosives in the suitcases of unsuspecting passengers - all in the name of safety."
Cool! Watch out ,though. Grey goo may be nigh upon us. (via geekpress)

*sniffle*

I know that sentimentality is considered cheap, but this octopus really tugs at the heartstrings.

Maybe it's because octopuses are so smart that the story got to me.

12.06.2004

Yet another reason why I should endeavor to get more sleep at night.
Here is a funny thing that happened the other day. I was in Fred Meyer and there was an announcement for John to meet his wife in the home department. About five minutes later, the announcer said, "John, please meet your ho-I mean wife-in the home department."
Test post for Megan.

12.05.2004

Yeah, FDA, stick it to the women! They don't need- much less deserve- the levels of sexual satisfaction that men do.
Next On Fox:When Blogs Go Quiet!

It's been a busy week: the lab has been productive, we have some understanding of what's going on, and now I need to go back into sample production mode. Turns out that the project we're working on has a program kickoff in the middle of this month in D.C., and we're trying to send some samples out to get Erbium Oxide deposited on them. This would count as significant progress to report at the kickoff meeting.

Home's good, but I need another, more hefty, break. Honestly, I'm dyin', here!

12.01.2004

Thanks to all those who wished me a happy birthday- I had a pretty good one!

We got some neat results at work, I had my girl with me :), and I got the first 3 seasons of The West Wing on DVD! Whoo-hoo!

We watched the pilot episode last night- it's the only episode that I've seen where the theme music matched well with the action. Next up: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc. (wherein Josh, a lawyer, doesn't know the name of a logical fallacy)

11.30.2004

Whoa. This is something I'd like to see.
"Here is one [stunt] you won't see at the Olympics: a rider plants a leg on each back of a cantering pair [of horses] as they circle the stage and jump a five-foot-high hurdle while the rider executes a somersault and manages to land, upright, in the original position."

Wholly random recruitment, Batman!

So 50% of our research group was eating lunch toghether, today. We were sitting outside, in the crisp noon. All of a sudden, two people showed up and asked if any of us were interested in being on a new TV show, where people win by completing intellectual challenges.

Naturally, we were suspicious that these were cult members, or worse, representatives of a dating show.

They assured us that such was not the case, and agreed with Kartik that the show was to be sort of like a "Dork Survivor" project. Apparently, the gist is as follows: live in an L.A. mansion for 3 weeks in February, competing against other smarties from such august institutions as Harvard, MIT, UPenn, etc.

When we asked for a card to pass along to any interested parties, they failed the test of preparation, and gave us a handwritten set of numbers and the instruction to "Ask for Megan."

So that was weird.

Soon...soon it will be safe to listen to NPR in the evenings, to listen without fear of one particular annoying voice. Now if they would only do something about the weekend programming...

11.29.2004

Happy birthday to you, (Happy birthday!)
Happy birthday to you, (Happy birthday!)
Happy birthday, dear To-om...
Happy birthday to you!

11.28.2004

The Incredibles was really well done. Very fun, quite funny. Chef recommends!

11.26.2004

I almost cried when I read this article.

Way to watch out for your pocketbooks, Oregonians.

May you be blessed, now, with such sprawling ugliness as we see here in Southern California. May you enjoy the steady erosion of public services that will only be accelerated by the rampant spreading of sub- and exurbs. May you find happiness in the new cars and Sub Zero appliances you'll get to buy with your quick profits. May you complete the Californication of your birthright.

Now, please don't move to escape the sprawl. After all, you'll only be getting what you want.

11.25.2004

Poll:
What does everyone think about kids calling parents by their given names, rather than Mommy and Daddy? On the one hand, it reinforces the fact that Mom and Dad are real people, too. After all, do you want your kids' respect and consideration because you're the parent or because you're a person? On the other hand, I feel it kind of de-ephasizes the rather central role a parent plays in the life of his or her child; it almost adds an impression of distance. Anyway, we were just curious to hear other thoughts/opinions on this.

11.24.2004

Movie review: Mean Girls

Mean Girls is like Heathers, only without the multiple deaths and with more "jokes."

Pretty funny stuff, and I was gladdened to find that the main character's redemption came at the hands of math. Groovy.

I recommend it to all.

Are you freaking kidding me? Somehow, a handwritten note inserted itself into the big omnibus spending bill last week?

11.23.2004

This book is wild. Apparently The End Was Near in the 90s. At least prognosticators in Southern California thought so.

My friend Kartik went to a party last weekend with his girlfriend. It was somewhere in Orange county and thrown by the parents of one of the gf's medical-school classmates. Apparently there's at least one current Young Republican and futre doctor who doesn't believe in evolution.

Awesome.

11.21.2004

Oh! I forgot to write: we got absolutely pounded by rain last night! It was coming down at a 45 degree angle, more than an inch an hour! We had thunder and lightning and crashing cars and everything. Pretty swell.
Stay mad, people.
Nice ponchos.

11.18.2004

Jeez. Don't throttle the damn thing; it's supposed to be receiving clemency!
Damn that Kant, infecting the debate about a British national ID card! Why won't he just butt out?

11.17.2004

I can still hear the haunting music: Doogie's Theme...
Hunting via the net? (shudder) I don't like this idea at all.

11.16.2004

Here's a riddle: "What is the smallest whole number that requires, in order to be specified, more words than there are in this sentence."

11.15.2004

Care to know the temperature ~100m from my office? Well here you go!
Holy creepy dragon eyes, Batman! This optical illusion is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. My office-mate pointed it out to me, this morning. I watched the video and I was completely dumbfounded.

11.12.2004

So we've all heard of vicious circles, or downward spirals, but what about virtuous circles? It's an elegant phrase, despite the prosaic, if pleasant, meaning.

While I'm at it, I read sometime ago a word I'd never really thought of, though I've used synonyms many a time: ambiguate. The meaning is obvious, but I like how it recalls to mind the idea of "triangulate" (at least to me) and then negates it.

That is all.

Says Bush of Palistinian leaders after Arafat's death:
"We'll hold their feet to the fire to make sure that democracy prevails."
Yep, freedom is on the march all right. Only now you can hear it coming from farther away ("Ooh! Aah! Ow! Ooh! Ow! Aah!").

11.11.2004

How to play dead...on CSI.
KPCC, our local NPR affiliate, is doing its fall membership drive. And, apparently, Kitty Felde thinks that a subscription to Newsweek is "the best gift you can give a teenager."
OMG!
An open letter to the preznit. It's been making its way about the internets...

Dear President Bush:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? (I'm pretty sure she's a virgin).

3. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

4. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? How can I help you here?

5. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Aren't there 'degrees' of abomination?

6. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

7. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

8. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

9. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. It must be really great to be on such close terms with God and his son, ... even better than you and your own Dad, eh?

11.10.2004

"No concerns about the world getting warmer...now we can swim any day in November." -The Postal Service, Sleeping In
Toe-blogging:

All is well in the land down under my sock. The procedure has largely assuaged my pains, and even walking isn't too bad. Yay!

This is somewhat reassuring.

11.09.2004

So I went to the health center on campus the other day. My self-toe-surgeries had finally gone wrong, and I'd gotten an infection in the toe and couldn't get a chunk of nail out of one of the farther reaches. They referred me to a podiatrist, and today I had the appointment.

I explained to him what had happened and he did not show the expected consternation. In fact, once he got in there and started looking at the toe, he said I'd done most of the procedure correctly.

What had I done wrong, you ask?

Clearly, my tools were not sterile, and hence the infection. Worse? There's a procedure that he could have done, had I not been so thorough at removing the excess flesh, that would have killed the section of root responsible for my troubles! Had I been but a little more temperate, he could have finished off the in-growing portion of the nail for good. As it was, I'd yanked out a bit of flesh bewteen cuticle and nail, overexposing the root. Had he done the procedure, it'd have killed a huge portion of the toenail.

So I had to settle for him clipping it back all the way to the root (the offensive section), and made an appointment for the permanent business next tuesday.

The moral of the story: (at least some) podiatrists aren't as arrogant as you might expect (well they do work with feet all day), and my foot hurts.

11.08.2004

11.06.2004

That silly Jesus...practically a communist!
I'm so confused! I got this CD by a band called Postal Service and I was thinking that it was gonna give me stamps and deliver my mail... help me, USPS, help me!

11.04.2004

So true, Giblets. So true.

11.03.2004

I'm not sure what makes me most discouraged - the fact that Shrub won, why/how he won, or the whole gay marriage ban thing. I guess the last two are somewhat related gripes. I'm disgruntled by the fact that exit polling seems to indicate that a large chunk of voters made their choices based on "morality."

Well, he thinks gays are sinners and abortion is evil, just like I do, so I'm goin' with him in spite of the fact that I have no job and my kids are getting shot at in Iraq. Praise Jesus and bring down the terrorists...and those sinning homosexuals!

(grimace) That's great; how can we be so supposedly advanced a society and have no concept that a leader's capacity for effective foreign policy just might be a bit more important than his church attendance record?

I'm doubly disgruntled (hey, that'd be a pretty good punk band name) by the fact that all 11 states with a "marriage definition" measure on the ballot passed it easily. I thought Oregon had a chance at least, but noooooooooo. So the religious majority gets to decide how other people get to live and who they can live with in marriage? So much for a free country. Yeah, I know there's the slippery slope argument that "if we allow gay marriage, then polygamy's next!" For that matter, I'm not sure I really give a damn, so long as it's consensual. Hey, it's not for me, but it's also not for me to decide that it's not for you either.

So yeah, I guess in writing about it I've found that I am in fact more peeved by the hows and whys of yesterday's outcome than I am about the outcome itself. I guess I just had hoped better of the people in this country.
Fafblog says it feels my pain. Thank you, Fafblog.

How conservative is America? Here's a homework assignment for anyone who cares to take it up: Go to the General Sociological Survey and determine what the hell is wrong with you people. Whereby "you," I mean "people who disagree with me."

Seriously, "you" are killing me.

So much for the country, eh?

On the web edition of the Times front page, there's a picture of most of the immediate Bush clan at the White House residence. Bush I and Ma Bush are sitting there, grinning. I'm thinking Bush I must be conflicted.

Here's Bush I, a fighter pilot who actually did more than defend the Gulf of Mexico from birds, a verifiably smart dude who never pretended that was a bad thing, a moderately successful public servant and businessman, a single term president, watching the American public make his drunk, powder-addled, anti-intellectual, war-loving (but not for himself), success-less in business, coattail-riding progeny the most important Bush.

Sure, there's gotta be some pride in there. Who wouldn't be happy for their kid on the eve of such a personal triumph? But you just know that Bush-Daddy must be thinking: Kid, why the big grin? You were born on third base, you know. You definitely didn't hit that triple.

11.02.2004

Good ol' Slate has some early exit polling numbers up already. Go, JFK, go!
Nobel Prize-winners I have met:
  • Eric A. Cornell (Physics); discussed research
  • Carl E. Wieman (Physics); discussed research
  • Rudolph A. Marcus (Chemistry); took two courses from him
  • David Baltimore (Physiology and Medicine); hobnobbing only
Keeping the Sabbath... tasty?

11.01.2004

This thing might potentially be helpful for someone as forgetful as I. Too bad it's so fugly.

10.29.2004

F-ing fantastic
No more St. Bernards at St. Bernard hospice.
"If you think, 'Monks and dogs, how nice,' it's not true. The monks don't like the dogs. They don't caress them. No, no."
Man seeks advice on how to marry his cousin. Via linkfilter.
Slate Article Subtitle: The pop tart in winter

10.28.2004

Just when you thought platypuses (platypi?) were weird enough, geneticists find something that makes them even more unique bizarre.

10.27.2004

Scooping the Apocalypse...as if I needed any more reasons to think Sean Hannity's a total d-nozzle.

10.26.2004

Looks like we're gonna get rained on, again. Sounds nice. Hope noone washes away!
Heard this radio commercial on my way in to work this morning. It's Howard Dean, plugging Yahoo Local (new map service). Very funny. Here's the gist:
"Hi, I'm Howard Dean, governor, doctor, and former presidential candidate. This past year has been exciting, and now I'm promoting my new book. I use Yahoo Local to find all the local landmarks I need for wherever I'm traveling. For instance, I'll be at a book signing in OHIO!, a museum tour in CALIFORNIA!, some restaurants in NEW JERSEY!..." etc. etc.
At the end, there's the usual Yahoo yodel thing, to which Dean replies, "My sentiments exactly." Anyway, I thought it was pretty darn amusing. Very cool of him to poke fun at himself like that.

10.25.2004

I've got a fevah...and the only prescription...is more cowbell!
Highly amusing map of Springfield, USA.

10.22.2004

From Slate: an article about "how the old conservative/liberal stereotypes break down when it comes to parenting."
Good ol' Fafblog an their rather timely post about work...timely because I'm pretty vexed about anything related to my job right now, since I just learned I have to come in tomorrow AND Sunday. So much for catching up on sleep this weekend.
More geek pickup lines

11. You had me at "Hello World." (Hehe)

10.21.2004

GeekPress was right; this interview of Neal Stephenson from Slashdot is hilarious:

4) Who would win? (Score:5, Funny) - by Call Me Black Cloud

In a fight between you and William Gibson, who would win?

Neal:

You don't have to settle for mere idle speculation. Let me tell you how it came out on the three occasions when we did fight.

The first time was a year or two after SNOW CRASH came out. I was doing a reading/signing at White Dwarf Books in Vancouver. Gibson stopped by to say hello and extended his hand as if to shake. But I remembered something Bruce Sterling had told me. For, at the time, Sterling and I had formed a pact to fight Gibson. Gibson had been regrown in a vat from scraps of DNA after Sterling had crashed an LNG tanker into Gibson's Stealth pleasure barge in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. During the regeneration process, telescoping Carbonite stilettos had been incorporated into Gibson's arms. Remembering this in the nick of time, I grabbed the signing table and flipped it up between us. Of course the Carbonite stilettos pierced it as if it were cork board, but this spoiled his aim long enough for me to whip my wakizashi out from between my shoulder blades and swing at his head. He deflected the blow with a force blast that sprained my wrist. The falling table knocked over a space heater and set fire to the store. Everyone else fled. Gibson and I dueled among blazing stacks of books for a while. Slowly I gained the upper hand, for, on defense, his Praying Mantis style was no match for my Flying Cloud technique. But I lost him behind a cloud of smoke. Then I had to get out of the place. The streets were crowded with his black-suited minions and I had to turn into a swarm of locusts and fly back to Seattle.

The second time was a few years later when Gibson came through Seattle on his IDORU tour. Between doing some drive-by signings at local bookstores, he came and devastated my quarter of the city. I had been in a trance for seven days and seven nights and was unaware of these goings-on, but he came to me in a vision and taunted me, and left a message on my cellphone. That evening he was doing a reading at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus. Swathed in black, I climbed to the top of the hall, mesmerized his snipers, sliced a hole in the roof using a plasma cutter, let myself into the catwalks above the stage, and then leapt down upon him from forty feet above. But I had forgotten that he had once studied in the same monastery as I, and knew all of my techniques. He rolled away at the last moment. I struck only the lectern, smashing it to kindling. Snatching up one jagged shard of oak I adopted the Mountain Tiger position just as you would expect. He pulled off his wireless mike and began to whirl it around his head. From there, the fight proceeded along predictable lines. As a stalemate developed we began to resort more and more to the use of pure energy, modulated by Red Lotus incantations of the third Sung group, which eventually to the collapse of the building's roof and the loss of eight hundred lives. But as they were only peasants, we did not care.

Our third fight occurred at the Peace Arch on the U.S./Canadian border between Seattle and Vancouver. Gibson wished to retire from that sort of lifestyle that required ceaseless training in the martial arts and sleeping outdoors under the rain. He only wished to sit in his garden brushing out novels on rice paper. But honor dictated that he must fight me for a third time first. Of course the Peace Arch did not remain standing for long. Before long my sword arm hung useless at my side. One of my psi blasts kicked up a large divot of earth and rubble, uncovering a silver metallic object, hitherto buried, that seemed to have been crafted by an industrial designer. It was a nitro-veridian device that had been buried there by Sterling. We were able to fly clear before it detonated. The blast caused a seismic rupture that split off a sizable part of Canada and created what we now know as Vancouver Island. This was the last fight between me and Gibson. For both of us, by studying certain ancient prophecies, had independently arrived at the same conclusion, namely that Sterling's professed interest in industrial design was a mere cover for work in superweapons. Gibson and I formed a pact to fight Sterling. So far we have made little headway in seeking out his lair of brushed steel and white LEDs, because I had a dentist appointment and Gibson had to attend a writers' conference, but keep an eye on Slashdot for any further developments.

My officemate and I were talking about when humans start to influence their own genetic codes and the resulting changes. I claimed that the first thing that they'd do is get rid of myopia. He replied that the first thing that they'd do is make women's breasts bigger.

Any takers for that bet?

Fafblog! No, seriously, don't vote for Nader!

10.20.2004

A bit late, but I'll take it.

Another prayer to the internet succeeds. Chalk another one up for the Deity of Secular Humanism ;) or maybe Digital Deism.

How much would this screw up the folks of CSI? I mean, they had enough trouble with chimera-guy...granted, I know mitochondrial DNA isn't used as frequently as nuclear DNA for identification, but it still does get used sometimes.
Shrunken coins...pretty wild.

The rain has been a fallin' last several days. It's been quite lovely, to my mind. Some might disagree, but that's just 'cause their houses washed away.

Work's been busy, and unfortunately, we've been scooped three times in the last couple of weeks. I think that's perhaps not the way to put it- more like: we haven't quite scooped these other groups, despite being really close. It's okay, though- we still have a lot going for us that these other guys can't touch. Mostly that's because we're so good at fabricating microstructures...

Vote, vote, vote! Vote! And if you're (R), the election isn't until December 2nd, honest!

10.19.2004

Overheard on NPR:
I'm not against DNA... I think individuals are entitled to their DNA.

10.18.2004

Google Envy...sounds like a band name to me.

10.16.2004

We're wondering- how do pigs drink? Anyone? Anyone?
Move over, Segway...there's a new novelty transportation device in town!
Umami!

10.15.2004

I have to say, Google's Beta stuff is really cool... try this, and this, if you're so able. You might like them- I know I do!
I'm thinking that Jon Stewart isn't going to be invited to the Crossfire Christmas/Chanukah Party. Good for him,us; I've been thinking that we really need more strident critics of the so-called liberal media actually making appearances on said media.

It's really okay that they're just now doing this, since law-enforcement-type actions have no place in the War On Terra', right?

I think it's time for us to wage a War On Erra', and get rid of the administration folks that keep making the big mistakes (of omission or otherwise).

Whoa. I know I'm a pretty heavy sleeper, but this is insane.

10.14.2004

10.13.2004

Odious voter registration scam.
Interesting- a collusive strategy in a prisoner's dillema tournament beats the old standard (Do what I say or I'll shiv ya). Found at GeekPress

10.12.2004

Hey- a neato map of NO2. Northern China is dirrrty.

10.11.2004

Is anyone else creeped out by that new(ish) Burger King commercial?

From The Washington Post Debate Referee feature (italics added by me):

Malpractice reformer?

Congressional Budget Office found that legislation capping damage awards at $250,000 would lower physician malpractice premiums by 25 percent to 30 percent. But that reduction "would lower health care costs by only about .4 percent to .5 percent, and the likely effect on health insurance premiums would be comparably small," the CBO said.

Big Spender?

But an analysis by Washington Post White House correspondent Mike Allen found that the cost of Bush's new tax breaks and spending he outlined at the Republican convention far eclipsed that of the Kerry plan. Allen wrote: "Bush's pledge to make permanent his tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010 or before, would reduce government revenue by about $1 trillion over 10 years, according to administration estimates. His proposed changes in Social Security to allow younger workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in stocks and bonds could cost the government $2 trillion over the coming decade, according to the calculations of independent domestic policy experts. "And Bush's agenda has many costs the administration has not publicly estimated. For instance, Bush said in his speech that he would continue to try to stabilize Iraq and wage war on terrorism. The war in Iraq alone costs $4 billion a month, but the president's annual budget does not reflect that cost."

Small Businessman?

Under Bush's definition, a small business is any taxpayer who reports some income from investments, partnerships or trusts. By that definition, every partner at a huge accounting firm or at the largest law firm would represent a small business.

Okay, I'll tell you what: vote Republican, go ahead. But at least vote for a competent one.

Idiotepus Rex.

10.08.2004

Vote in all the online polls after the debate- this crap matters, as it modifies the spin.
CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/
MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/
Wall Street Journal: http://www.wsj.com/
Akron Beacon-Journal: http://www.ohio.com/
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: http://www.ajc.com/
Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/
Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/
Orlando Sentinel: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/
Philadelphia Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/
South Florida Sun-Sentinel: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

Interesting and Suggestive Google Search Result of the Day: Adjustable torque wrenches go both ways.

Really!?

Vote Bush- he deserves to reap the whirlwind? (u:iwannaread p:thisbook)

To paraphrase Frank the Tank:

Tired. Very tired. And so cold. I... I can almost see the light at the end of the week... it looks glorious!

Very fine clock. Thanks to TomDad for finding it.

10.05.2004

I'm feeling a little shrill, lately. But what can you do? Here's a damn funny list.

10.04.2004

Nifty java applet for drawing stuff.

10.01.2004

A nice list of refutations of Bush's misstatements (intentional or otherwise) from the debates.

9.30.2004

In Which Our Hero Gets His Brain Scanned

This morning, tired from last evening's gales of laughter, I stumbled into my office at 9:30. Upon checking my email, I found a reminder of a Social Sciences Experimental Lab experiment that I was to take part in today. It told me to report to the MRI center at 10:15.

So I remov'd the earrings and dropped off my iPod and walked on over to the Broad Center (the MRI center is located therein). Down the elevator and to the appointed mustering point I went.

When I arrived, I was briefly interviewed and asked to fill out some documentation. Since I'm free of internal metal parts and in reasonable health, I was determined to be a suitable subject.

The experimenter had me get up on the little conveyor-thing and gave me earplugs, headphones, and a little goggle-display. Then she gave me this little keypad (for the experiment) and a pneumatic panic button. Presently, my head was strapped in snugly, and I was advanced into the scanner.

As I moved in, I thought I felt a little rotation about my nose- the high magnetic field can disorient people when they move through it- but it may have been my imagination. Surprisingly, I was mostly comfortable, despite the fact that I ended up in there for about an hour, prone, and unable to move (for the most part). I think that my interest in what was going on overcame my fidgetyness.

The experiment was a gambling experiment, where I had to guess beforehand if the second of two cards flashed would be higher or lower than the first. Then I had to indicate if I'd guessed correctly. (It's not ESP, I had to push a button for higher/lower, and correct/incorrect) There were 3 sessions of 30 trials, each.

The first run through I didn't realize there was a time-limit, and so I missed a couple of trials. I started with $25 and ended up with $23 ($1 automatic bet, $.25 for indicating right(wrong) when wrong(right)). The second time, I ended with $28. The third, I ended with $38.

Unfortunately, my winnings were determined randomly from those three values- and I got the least of them. Dang! Still, the experimenter was impressed with my winning ways and so was I. I came out with $28 ($5 for showing up), and the promise of a JPEG version of one of my scans in the near future.

'Twas fun, interesting.



Yep, this seems about right.

9.29.2004

S.E. Hinton has written a new book. I hope the movie version of this one doesn't suck so much.
Heard on KPCC (local NPR affiliate):
What do you think is the pimp effect on this?
Alvin has a past.

So this is how things work at my school, in my option (we have divisions where others have schools and options where other people have departments; it is an odd place).

For the vast majority of people, the first year is about coursework and trying to find an advisor. The second year is about starting to do research and finish classes, and theoretically, taking the candidacy exam. However, since there are essentially no rules that must be followed here, many people wait for their 3rd or 4th year to take their candidacy exam (if not later).

That is, there is no fast rule about when to take this exam. In our group, there is something of a tradition in doing it winter of the 3rd year.

The candidacy exam in my option is an oral exam in front of >= 4 professors. It consists of a ~30 minute talk on your research, plus questions, and, at the discretion of the examiners, questioning on your coursework.

Currently, I am working on some research. Another dude in my group, my office-mate Matt, is starting his 4th year. We're working as a team, busting down all kinds of world records. We're opening up a lot of ground, so much so that there's too much work for the two of us to do. We are, nonetheless, gonna do every bit as much as we can. That entails a good deal of research, explaining my lack of summer break.

I'm busting my rear these days, and it sucks because I terribly need a break. Still, things are going pretty well. I'm trying to get a pretty significant body of work prepared for that exam, and that takes time.

9.28.2004

Some people have too much time on their hands. Or too much taco sauce lying around the house.

So this weekend we watched two movies (well, at least that many- these are just the two I remember). Matchstick Men, and The In-Laws. You can't imagine two more dissimilar movies.

Matchstick Men caught me unawares. It looked cutsey, and I expected such. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. I didn't expect the twist in the end, though, so it was pretty well done...

It got dark in a damn hurry, though- sorta killed the good mood that all the good-natured conning created for me.

The In-Laws, a farce, starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks, was quite farcical. I can suggest it to you- on the condition you really don't care if it's good or bad.

9.27.2004

Twenty Underused Yoga Positions
In the true spirit of British "customer service"...
Michael Phelps is a Choke Artist Who I Could Totally Beat at Everything.

So we have this high intensity UV lamp in one of our labs. Kartik says that it's pretty much the same kind his dentist uses for setting composite fillings. I read somewhere that some whitening treatments utilize just such a lamp...

I'm thinking we should get a dentist's chair and some o' this goo (though we have peroxide, and I reckon I could come up with a gelling agent), and start an underground tooth-whitening ring.

We'd call it White Club. And rule number one about White Club is?

You don't talk about White Club.
Wow- Fafblog is really putting out: Here. And here.
Wow- when The Sims start playing The Sims, that's creepy.

9.24.2004

Hmm, who's the flip-flopper now? Granted this article's source may bear consideration due to his tendency toward hyperbole, but it's an interesting timeline nonetheless.

9.23.2004

Mmmmm. The sweet smell of safety.

9.20.2004

Funny sendup of Burning Man.
Oh, dat rascally Ali G...

9.17.2004

So I see via Pandagon that Yasser Hamdi is to be released and sent off to Saudi Arabia. He's the guy that the government kept in solitary confinement without real contact with an attorney for two years. He will not be charged with anything.

Wonder if Bush can think of any mistakes, now

.
Inventive invention located at Geekpress. Very nifty.
Life's Universal Scaling Laws, III.

A consequnce of the shrew being very near the intersection of in vivo and in vitro metabolic rates (the latter of which corresponds to the maximum metabloic rate of that particular kind of cell), is that shrews have cells that are pretty much working as hard as they possibly can. So it isn't all that amazing that shrews live such short lives.

Similarly, whales and the like have cells that are running sssllllooooooowwwwllly, and have life spans that are quite long.

9.16.2004

Fealess leader is so devoted to the promotion of democracy that I can just taste the steely resolve.
Life's Universal Scaling Laws, II.

Another place where those scaling laws show up is in metabolic rate. It turns out that if you plot the metabolic rate of cells from mammals of varying masses in culture vs. the mass of those mammals, and superimpose on top of it the metabolic rate of the same kinds of cells in the mammals vs. the mass of those mammals, the lines will intersect at the theoretical minimum mass of mammals... This intersection occurs at just about the mass of the shrew.

The last two days, it's been fall-like, here. Very fine.
Finally, a stinky, fly-eating robot.

9.15.2004

Damn- I think that this is a violation of medical ethics. Letting a person come to harm by inaction is, I believe, a direct violation of the standards of their profession... and if it isn't, it should be.
Life's Universal Scaling Laws, I.

I read a fascinating article in Physics Today during lunch. About power laws in biological systems. It was so interesting, and so unavailable at the Physics Today website, that I'm gonna blog it for you all. A bit at a time, so I can do work, too ;)

Among mammals, average resting heart rate goes rougly like: Beats per minute = A* Mass^(-1/4), while life span goes roughly like Minutes per lifetime = B*Mass^(1/4), so that the total number of heart beats over a lifetime is roughly Beats per minute*minutes per lifetime = Beats per lifetime = A*Mass^(-1/4) *B*Mass^(1/4) = A*B, roughly constant!

Pretty cool, and this kind of thing pops up all over the place in biology. More on this, later. Back to the grind I go.

Anybody want some fr** music?
(Link courtesy neil5280)
Bake 'er away, toys!
Thank you sir! May I have another?!

9.13.2004

It's about damn time that we Protect our corpses. After all, corpses are people, too!

9.10.2004

Apparently you can't buy honesty on eBay, though you can sell it.

9.08.2004

9.07.2004

The Washington Post, all the news fit to print:
According to a London auction house, Heidi Klum's legs are worth $1.96 million. Phillips, de Pury and Co. made the assessment based on length, shape, rarity and commercial value. The German company Braun plans to insure the supermodel's legs as it features her in an ad campaign for a new electric shaver . . .
Funny stuff over at Fafblog, the world's only source a Fafblog.
Wow... just... wow. And eugh. (shudder)
Band name: Evil One and the Jesus Babies
Wow- CNN sure can spell!
Seige suspect: We wanted to start a war
Fantastic :)

9.06.2004

The cult of Ken Jennings...old, but funny.

9.03.2004

This here is pretty sweet. I'd like to see one based on, say, the average/median/peak values of occupation during 10^6 games of Risk: The Game of World Conquest, or something.
Now, I don't wish any ill will towards Big Bill, but wouldn't it steal the thunder from the RNC if he kicked the bucket in the hospital? Talk about taking one for the team!

9.01.2004

Marginal Revolution blogged something cool this morning. Check it out.

8.31.2004

Thery're doing power players week on Jeopardy! this week (I think that's what they're calling it). Bob Woodward got a question about the movie All The President's Men... so not fair to Tucker Carlson or the evil Peggy Noonan.
Apparently they're making a feature movie out of the former animated series, Aeon Flux. Starring Charlize Theron.
Yeah, this was about the reaction I had to the bit of RNC speeching I heard yesterday.
Interesting article about why women never seem to be mentioned in the same guitar-circles as Hendrix, et al.
Thus spake Kruman-thustra. I thought he was on vacation...

8.30.2004

They did a funny send-up of The Usual Suspects on Yes, Dear- very amusing. Haven't seen many tv shows go all out with the movie parodies...
And here I thought that Amontillado was a dry sherry.
Man, the Greek judicial system sure moves a lot faster than ours.

8.28.2004

Lucy in the sky with...Shatner?

8.27.2004

I hate it when people throw out my artworks...
Yeah, you need to do this in much the same way that you need another hole in your head.
Hehe- the American sprinters are funny. And so are their agents:
Zebra's been ducking Shawn

8.25.2004

Hehe, funny quote from this article:
"Do not compare me to Bill Clinton," Bush said, pronouncing the name "Clin-TAWN," as if it were a new species of evil Star Trek alien.
Who knew sand could be so interesting?
Last Tuesday, Susan and I went to a concert. It was great- though loud- fun. It was the Chicks With Attitude Tour. Liz Phair was the headlining act, and Charlotte Martin, Katy Rose, and The Cardigans performed as well.

Charlotte Martin was kinda dull. She's got a great voice and she can surely tickle the ivories, but she's waaayyyy to earnest for my taste. She's got an irony-deficiency, or something. She played one song that was fun and funny- called "I'm normal" -check it out if you care to.

Katy Rose was loud and abusive and crunchy. Very cool. Also in need of some work on her diction.

The Cardigans were great fun. They're really good, and got way into their set. Their bassist reminded me of a tall, Swedish, version of Jack Black's character in School of Rock. It was fun to watch.

Liz Phair's set was neat- played some old stuff, some new stuff, and she and her players seemed to have a blast. It was pretty awesome. There were these big flat-screen monitors on the stage here and there that played Koyaanisqatsi-like footage throughout. One of the odder things that showed up was a loop taken from within a beating heart (or valve or something like it).

The sound engineers had, mounted on some of their sound-engineering-equipments, a StrongMad and a The Cheat! It was pretty awesome.

8.21.2004

SBVT = Some Bush Voters (from) Texas? Link courtesy TomDad

8.13.2004

I have, from a colleague at Caltech, inside info regarding the latest security SNAFU at Los Alamos.

Apparently, as part of their new security procedures, all removable storage media get barcoded. Some smart individual printed out some labels ahead of time for media that were supposed to arrive in the future. When those disks didn't show, they were forgotten.

Eventually, the lack of disks for those labels was taken to mean that the storage media were missing!

Yeah for silliness.

Now the source is a reliable guy, but he's getting the info from LANL-Caltech contacts, and it's secondhand, at least...
Good thing the Bush tax cuts weren't just for the rich... wait... they are.
Hehe- this post is hilarious. I haven't read the article to which they link. (LA Times requires registration, and you can't have mine, this time)

8.12.2004

I think I know why the CIA seems to have fallen down on the job. From the August 2, 2004 U.S. News & World Report (italics added for emphasis) :
It is the CIA's Directorate of Operations -its clandestine side- that garners the most public attenion...
Maybe we should be a little more circumspect with regards to it, you think?
Begone, foul Brooks!

UPDATE: It seems that this post might have been a little too elliptical. The Brooks to whom I refer is David Brooks, the Times columnist who spews a great deal about the dichotomoy between "red" states and "blue" states, concentrating a great deal on the relative wealth of the different regions. The post I linked to discusses the actual economic situation in the "red" regions vs. the "blue" regions.

8.11.2004

Noooo! Don't cancel The West Wing!
More cloned kitties. I think Tabouli is a cool name for a cat, but Baba Ganoush?

8.10.2004

TomDad found an eloquent photograph and sends it along...
Yeah, but at least some of them (UPDATE: Brits, that is) understand that being a morning-person isn't a sign of rectitude.
Those wacky Brits are at it again with their scientific studies...

8.09.2004

Cuddle Time!
According to the September issue of The Atlantic, Medford, OR, is "the most godless" locale in America. (p52)
Cool video of an F-18 breaking the sound barrier. Might have to wait for the video to load (bottom right) if you've got a slow connection.

8.07.2004

Fox News internals. It's looking better and better for Kerry in the national polling. However, the state-by-state polls aren't looking solid enough, yet...

And remember, friends don't let friends vote Nader.

8.06.2004

Fascinating article from Popular Science. Found at GeekPress
Some cool work from OSU. Found the article at Volokh Conspiracy
Bet you wouldn't catch anyone doing this at Redondo Beach...tar...ptooey!

8.05.2004

Hmm, Freudian slip?
Congressmen leaking intelligence to the media? How nice! (From TAPPED).

8.04.2004

Whoa! SUVs are illegal in Pasadena!


Man, stock market trading looks pretty damn exciting. The guy on the far right looks like his team just scored a touchdown off a 90 yard pass...or something.

8.03.2004

Article looking at some recent polling data...here, from Slate. More, here, from DonkeyRising.
Hey- it's a denial of services attack, made by those wascally wepublicans.

Here, the Times comments on Bush's actions with regards to the 9/11 committee's report.

Here's Bush on his actions:
The national intelligence director will serve as the president's principal intelligence adviser and will oversee and coordinate the foreign and domestic activities of the intelligence community. Under this reorganization, the CIA will be managed by a separate director. The national intelligence director will assume the broader responsibility of leading the intelligence community across our government.
And some more...
And I think that the -- I think that the new national intelligence director ought to be able to coordinate budgets. I certainly hope Congress reforms its budget process, too, so that it's a seamless process.
Here's stuff from the 9/11 report:
The current DCI is responsible for community performance but lacks the three authorities critical for any agency head or chief executive officer: (1) control over purse strings, (2) the ability to hire or fire senior managers, and (3) the ability to set standards for the information infrastructure and personnel.
So, the new NDI will have the powers that the current DCI has, but the DCI will still be there... that's what I call intelligence reform!
Man, I wish I'd known about this law when I was in England. (Consequently, it was also Eminem with which my neighbor in the dorm rattled my door.)

8.02.2004

Hehe. Here's a good sendup of the whole Apple-Wall Street-Bedroom full of computers-geek culture.

8.01.2004

Band Name: The Evil Dewars

(Tom doesn't think it's funny, but maybe he's just not that geeky after all...)

7.31.2004

This is a really stupid song. Topical, though, if you're in Rocky IV.
Bikini calculus. Improving truancy rates the easy way. The No Adolescent Male Left Behind act, coming to a legislature near you.

7.30.2004

Band name: The Indestructible Hamlet (of the Comic Book World)
Hmmm....interesting study about voters' fear affecting political choices. Not really all that novel, but interesting nonetheless...and I found this excerpt pretty funny:

No matter what a person's political conviction, thinking about death made them tend to favor Bush, Solomon said. Otherwise, they preferred Kerry.

"I think this should concern anybody," Solomon said. "If I was speaking lightly, I would say that people in their, quote, right minds, unquote, don't care much for President Bush and his policies in Iraq."
Wow, glad to know the already-stretched budget for police is going to such good, un-frivolous uses.
Krugman sometimes bugs me, but he's right on, here, noting that the press hardly ever points out that Bush/Cheney are filthy rich, and that they always seem to tell us what people think of the candidates' policies, but never about the policies.
Dubner has a good point over at Tapped.
Ridge doesn't need to spend more time with his family -- he just needs to spend more money on his family. Even Ridge's salary, which on its own puts his family among the top 5 percent of household incomes, isn't enough to pay for college. So much for the idea that families would "start to see some relief on the tuition front."

7.29.2004

Asimov? Could be...

Doesn't it seem ridiculous that politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions? They reply, "Well that's a hypothetical, and I don't answer hypothetical questions," which is b.s., because you know that they do, all the time.

It'd be a lot better for them to just say "I don't want to answer that hypothetical question." That way, you wouldn't be able to tell that they're complete jack-asses. Well, at least not for giving the stupid unjustified (and, really, unjustifiable) "no-hypothetical-questions" non-answer.

Clearly they are willing to answer this hypothetical: what will you do for us if we elect you?

If they're trying to say there's something wrong with hypothetical questions ipso facto, shouldn't they come out and explain themselves? If the explanation is sufficiently convincing, I'll take it up and spread it through the land. That would differ from the status quo only in that I'd be doing the spreading instead of just them, and it'd be to illuminate to all the dangers of hypotheses, rather than just to fertilize the fields of discourse.

In fact, it'd be kinda cool if we could all dodge hypothetical questions. For instance, in the event I take a test for my driver license, I could skip questions like, "What would you do if you began to skid on ice whilst driving?"

This...is...so wrong. I thought reality TV hit its lowest with The Swan, but the bar of badness has been raised again.
This looks cool- I was never able to use my PDA as a remote, though I tried!

7.28.2004

So gay couples in Canada can get married, but not divorced. Way to think ahead, there, Canada.
When Doctors Without Borders leaves, things are not looking up.

7.27.2004

Cool rankings.
Do you think we're any safer? Think twice. And then again. Maybe once more. Now vote.

UPDATE: Maybe you won't get to vote, anyway.

So this is quite amusing. Reminds me of the kind of animation used on Saddam in the South Park movie.
Link courtesy of Myles.
Heh heh...some of these are quite amusing (though some are very stupid). Film descriptions in 4 words or less, such as:

Titanic: Icy dead people.
Braveheart: Resistance is feudal.
Back to the Future: A comedy of eras.
Best in Show: 'This is Spaniel Tap.'

7.26.2004

Send me, baby, send me.

Big Bill made an amazing speech at the convention. As always he spoke well, but the text really blew me away. No matter who wrote it, I think it's one for the ages.

UPDATE:The text

7.24.2004

Unfortunate Fox headline: Rapist Gets Off Easy

7.23.2004

Poll: Is it okay to open mail that is not addressed to you? Leave your answer in the comments (keeping in mind that were people to open mail willy-nilly, there would be chaos in the streets).
Spoooooooooooky...
A grand list of geeky bumper stickers.
Somebody posted this in the comments of one of the blogs I frequent, Political Animal. Thought I'd post it...

These are the Things That You Must Believe In Order To Remain A Republican*:

  • Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a diversion.
  • Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
  • The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.
  • A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
  • Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.
  • The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
  • If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
  • A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
  • Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
  • HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
  • Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
  • A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
  • Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
  • The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.
  • Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.
  • You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.
  • What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
  • Taking a classified document is the end of the world, but outing a CIA agent is good clean fun.

* I don't think this is an accurate depiction; it is hyperbole. But the party leadership makes it easier and easier to believe.

7.22.2004

This article forces me to unveil the new version of the Folger's theme song:
The best part of waking' up
Is peeing in your cup!
Heh heh...so on first glance, I thought this headline was referring to the rumor that Michael Jackson has sired quadruplets...

7.16.2004

This is pretty funny. Hehe. Unclean! Unclean!

UPDATE: Here's a brilliant post further explicating the hypocrisy.

Wikipedia is great. This is pretty cool. Morbid, but cool.
This is pretty amusing...mostly just silly. Has sound, though.
Wow, does this guy ever suck.
So this op-ed has a lot going for it. Towards the end it peters out a bit, getting into talk about regulating advertising. I've thought about this, and it seems wrongheaded to regulate corporate speech unless it is untrue or otherwise subject to regulation (libelous, fraudulent, whatever). 

7.14.2004

Mmmmm.... electors.
More infotainment. From behind the moron curtain...
Ahem. Your infotainment is showing...

7.13.2004

A neat resource that I hope we won't be needing much this year: nationwide information about current wildfires.
Eugh! This thing is disgusting!

7.12.2004

Some super cool stuff at this site, my officemate's former roommate's.
I'm crossing my fingers, hoping that Tom Delay is screwed.

7.11.2004

Witchcraft watch, part N. (Where N is ludicrous):
Primary school in Kiboga district was closed in May after parents reported that their children were being attacked by demons.
The question here is why these beliefs persist... I'd really like to know why the animist/superstitious beliefs have such staying power.

7.10.2004

Problem is, bureaucrats aren't really all that well suited to making decisions. Particularly not ones that actually matter, impact safety, or require much in the way of brain activity... read this and shudder a little.
An hilarious list of possible follow-up songs:
How Are We Going to Get These Dogs Back In? 

Bust an Additional Move 

Seriously, Eileen, Come On 

(Won't You Give Me A Ride Home From) Funkytown? 

Remember When You Lit up My Life? That Was Great 

I Will Now Pass the Dutchie Back to You and Thank You for Passing It to Me Originally Because I Really Enjoyed the Dutchie 

The Morning That the Lights Came Back on in Georgia 

Everybody Was Kung Fu Making Up 

Achier Breakier Heart 

Whoomp! There It Continues to Be 

867-5309 extension 2 

We Never Took It and Persist in Our Refusal to Take It 
On the way back from Spidey-2 we passed the Engravable Gift Store. Susan pointed out that pretty much all gifts are engravable.

I think she's right- everything but fruit or pets.

7.06.2004

Now, this is funny. I should say in Jeb's defense that I can't remember what the angles of a 3-4-5 triangle are. But I do know that 90+125 > 180.
Warning: rated R by the MPAA for adult language... worth a read, for all that. There's a great line from an Egyptian fruit vendor, and Kingsley Amis. In this article from Slate.
Nice op-ed by Waxman.

7.05.2004

Hehe...those silly newscasters and their mixed metaphors. Overheard on Fox News:

"But what Enron did...it was just a house of cards, it-it was just one domino after another."

7.03.2004

Giving the visible man a run for his money. That's okay; I never liked the visible man anyway. That damned smug look.

via TomDad

7.02.2004

An interview with Joe Biden. He is at once cool, and not cool. Crazy, and not crazy, etc.
There isn't anything good on the internet these days. Post your links and items of extreme interest in the comments, people. This isn't a one-way street! Just kidding. Clearly this is more of a several-way transit station- we just run the trains.

6.30.2004

Good column in TNR- somebody admits they were wrong. An unusual step by a political magazine ;)
CNN headline: Saddam to face arraignment. $50 and time served?
Iraq info from the GAO. Not good. Poor un-electrified Iraqis.

6.29.2004

From today's speech by Bush (made in Turkey):
Some people in Muslim cultures identify democracy with the worst of Western popular culture, and want no part of it.
They shouldn't worry; democracy isn't all really part of (Western) popular culture, anyhow. Well, the voting isn't. Except for reality TV shows. Those are some democracy loving people. What we need is some kind of immunity challenge for Kerry ;)

6.28.2004

Oh, yikes! Hit me in the kisser with a 2x4 before you apply stinging ointments to my lips....
What's this? Kerry used to be handsome and charismatic? Says who?!
I knew there was a problem with this ad. First time I saw it I thought- that guy has an unhealthy fixation on his hotdogs.

6.25.2004

Will the real flip-flopper please stand up? Please stand up. Please stand up.
What's with these clowns?

6.24.2004

A cool list to guide you when talking about religion... and an interesting article, to boot.
Mark Cuban has a blog- and a somewhat interesting one.
Disturbing Japanese people.
This baby doesn't need a pick me up...

6.23.2004

A list of articles critical of missile defense shield.

6.22.2004

Something's fishy about this review. I can't spot it: can you?
Well the good economic news is only very good for some... people?

6.21.2004

Check out the solstice, from Stonehenge.Pretty cool.
Hehe- stupid, stupid, stupid administration... trying to appoint an unlicensed lawyer (he's been practicing without, no less) to the federal bench.

6.20.2004

Wow. Yeah, this is like pancakes. Or not, maybe.
Hehehe- "great bubbling Crock-Pot of Godliness."

That's funny.

The article is pretty good, I suppose. But there's nothing new in it. The book he reviews sounds offensive, though- even to me (not a big fan of religious zealotry). I do wish the red-state peoples would vote with their material interests in mind, though.

Damn, the democrats would kick some serious (electoral) ass if people voted in their best material interests. Recall the old saw: Want to live like a Republican? Vote like a Democrat.

It is, in some small way, impressive that people vote counter to their own worldly interests. I mean, it takes some powers of concentration to ignore your poverty and powerlessness in favor of some distant final reward. Another person might call them powers of self-delusion, but whatever. The point remains that these people do some serious gratification-deferral, which is something that we frequently point to as a Good Thing.

On the flip side, liberal people do it, too. A significant portion of liberal voters vote counter to their best economic interests (short term, maybe- there's dissention on the part of economists) with the same regularity. They, too, seem to be deferring material gratification in favor of some nebulous reward. The reward seems to be liberty, equality, and fraternity, at least in concept.

What's the common thread, there?

I think that both of these types of deferral of gratification are obscuring an immediate gratification: the heady intoxication of self-righteousness. Like Tom Papa said, "Look: this is me... better than you..."

Many, many, people are voting in a manner that makes them feel good. Is it inborn? Is it the result of chance chemistry, like the predispostion to a sweet-tooth? God only knows.

6.18.2004

Ashcroft strikes again!

Hehe- had the guy not gone all the way in the final graf, this would have been perfect.

Also, the repetition of the genital electrocution/sexual humilition phrase wasn't that good. However, the repetition works for the radiator bit.

Good article on the duplicitous congress...

6.10.2004

Here's a funny thing: Titanic in 30 seconds with bunnies. See also: Shining, The, and Exorcist, The.

The power of Christ compels you!

6.09.2004

Up is down! Black is white! Ann Coulter is nuts! When I read this transcript, I thought: "Gee, Bill O'Reilly is the reasonable one, here!"
Here's an interesting article about getting rid of the FCC...

6.08.2004

The gods of the internet continue to answer my prayers. Here we have even more state by state polling. Still haven't figured out how to track the actual campaign spending, though. I think that would involve work- something I'm dead-set against.

6.07.2004

Rule number one of fight club...The answer is two.

6.04.2004

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Vestibulum consequat orci et magna. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos hymenaeos. Praesent vel magna et sem vestibulum ultrices...
Wow. Fundamentalist Christian propaganda is scary, scary stuff. (courtesy of Myles)
Wow, and Americans are supposed to be bad at geography:
In at least one case, controllers mistook the Scottish city of Glasgow for Cardiff in Wales.

6.02.2004

Hehe. I laughed until I Kreyed. Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be named Delryn.

6.01.2004

God.

Bill O'Reilly makes me SO mad! I want Americans to be safe. I do not want to deprive U.S. citizens of their rights. I do not want my government to torture people. Are these things so difficult to understand? So difficult to reconcile?

I really, really don't want to die. And I don't want my loved ones, or the loved ones of anyone else to die. But I also don't endorse evil acts... and call me crazy, but shouldn't we make it the priority of our government to govern in a manner consistent with the values of good people?

Good people don't want their goals achieved at any cost. There are costs that are too high. How is that difficult at all to get?

Damn Bill, and damn those who would torture in my name.

Why, you say?

Because by their acts, they damn me.

I like to say "Pachachi." The IGC doesn't, though!
This is too bad. While safety has to be thoroughly demonstrated, it is important to recall that THEY ALREADY DID. Grr on you, FDA. UPDATE: All I'm saying is that the FDA shouldn't be playing politics with womens' vaginas.

5.31.2004

Interesting- Bush might be a criminal (more so than usual).

5.29.2004

I could dig this diet.

5.27.2004

I don't know if this is true, but it's frightening that it seems plausible. Excessive secrecy on the part of our government is a bad thing- really.
Hehe: McSweeney's. Hehe- spiders and deadly snakes.
I'm not sure what this says about Bush II's chances... Well I'm hopeful, at least.
A fun game. Park that sucker...

5.26.2004

Here's a totally awesome collection of photoshop'd classics: Ashcroft might approve.
Damn you Ashcroft- and take the RIAA with you! The RIAA has convinced one lovely group Senators to propose some unpleasant legislation. It would:
...amend chapter 5 of title 17, United States Code, to authorize civil copyright enforcement by the Attorney General, and for other purposes.
Just grand- now Ashcroft will be bringing civil complaints against people. Fantastic! Thanks, Leahy, Shumer and Hatch!
More good news: Take that, Ashcroft!
"We hold that the Ashcroft Directive is unlawful and unenforceable because it violates the plain language of the Controlled Substances Act, contravenes Congress' express legislative intent and oversteps the bounds of the Attorney General's statutory authority," the court said in a 2-1 opinion.
Quite the tongue lashing from Albert Gore, Jr. Go Jr., Go! At last someone brought an oilcan!

5.25.2004

Tell your friends: Can't vote here! b.s.
Yet another good reason to dislike Clear Channel.
Okay, so this article in yesterday's Guardian is scary. Glad to know the military uses only the finest and most reputable reference material on which to base its international relations. Here is the article's author's page.
Band name: Corpse Porn Stockpile
Was it The Onion that said you "should never change horses mid-apocalypse?"

5.24.2004

Ahh, funny stuff.
It appears that Kerry has been google bombed.

Finally, some state level polling. I think they may have it a bit wrong- the key states from the last election may not be the 'battlegrounds' this time around.

Since my internet prayer was answered last time: I would be interested to see the amount spent by each campaign by state.

Just putting it out there. Hear me, O' Gods of the Internet!

Interesting story about eBay and Erdös numbers.
Funny thing I read somewhere:
But what you need to understand is that everything changed after 9/11. Including the laws of probability. And don't ask what the new formula is -- that would be unpatriotic.
Bizarre, but funny.

5.23.2004

This is quite the story.
Insidious entrapment! Sounds like something the Bushes would do...

5.22.2004

All snarkiness aside, does anyone know why the gay republicans call themselves the "Log Cabin" Republicans?

5.21.2004

Is Nancy Pelosi more dangerous than the republican leadership? You decide.
So has anyone heard of DidTheyReadIt? Pretty cheesey.
Here's something cool and useful: free, online textbooks, by Wikipedia. I can't vouch for all the stuff, but I can vouch for most of the physics.
Apparently, DeLay is even more nutty than I thought. Not that Pelosi is playing with a full deck, though...

Here's an interesting post...

And here's the data. See p.12 and on.
Here's an example of how strange the undergrads are at Caltech. Mmm. Foamy.

5.20.2004

A fantastic plan from Slate, here.
One free drink.

Let's take the 10 biggest population centers. In each one, set up a business-type council, full of media types and celebrities, to push voting. In September and October, have them sign up bars and restaurants to put up a red-white-and-blue logo on Election Night. What does the logo mean? With your ballot stub, first drink is on the house. Soon everybody will want to have a logo, the way in the New Deal, businesses showcased the Blue Eagle. Put the word out on college campuses. Get them to compete to throw the biggest party. Pump it up, the way we've done with Halloween.

Registration lotto.

Each state has a special drawing. Anyone who registers to vote is automatically entered. (The number that's drawn will be a voter-ID number.) Set the pot at 10 percent of all the dough Bush raises in your state. Ads can remind people, "But to play, you gotta vote!" This can also make people aware of the last day to register to vote, which is usually 30 days before Election Day. As the deadline nears, the ads can say, "Last chance to play Registration Lotto!"

Letter to the Editor in the Barometer (OSU student paper):

In response to [the article] "Goodbye Rumsfeld, hello ethical future" by Mike Nierengarten.
   "In the end, Rumsfeld may have known nothing about the prisoner abuses. He may not deserve to be fired and blamed, but for the sake of our country's reputation and out of respect for other nations, Rumsfeld needs to be ousted."
   Let's replace a few words and, Mr. Nierengarten with your wonderful logical skills, maybe you can help me find a parallel between your words and the political ideology of terrorists.
   "In the end, Mr. Berg may have had nothing to do with the prisoner abuses. He may not deserve to be imprisoned or beheaded, but for the sake of the reputation of, and out of respect for the Islamic terrorists, Berg needs to be beheaded."
   The similarities are quite astounding don't you think? Firing Mr. Rumsfeld for the acts of a few, or even a few dozen, is an inexcusable idea. Watch the movie "A Few Good Men" or read up on the My Lai Massacre and the following court martials and trial or the Nuremberg trials.
   Every soldier is responsible for his or her own actions, and every member of the military knows this, so quit trying to find a scapegoat in Rumsfeld. It is as wrong as beheading an innocent American.
Corey Brown, Freshman in environmental engineering

So that's an interesting idea. Blaming Rummy for not doing his job is "as wrong as beheading an innocent American"? I realize this person is just a freshman and as such cannot be put entirely at fault for his/her idiocy, but give me a break.

5.19.2004

This is asinine. Why don't these people look into smaller plates and bowls? It couldn't cost $400 and a trip to the dentist! Heck, you could do small forks and spoons, too. Grand total? $50 at Target. And you would get one of those snappy bullseye bags.
Here's some fun:
Uncle Milton's Giant Ant Farm is a fun, interactive way to teach children ages 5 and up about unceasing, backbreaking toil and the cold, inescapable reality of death.