Sunday, June 24, 2007


Originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk.
There are still a lot of things that you can do with a penny. Here are 83 of them.

If you're looking for another way to stand out from the crowd -- or if you're just indecisive -- here are 31 Different Ways To Lace Shoes.

Can the level of math education sink any lower?

Saturdays in August, on ABC: Four thought-provoking tales of present and future Earth are brought to life in "Masters of Science Fiction", an all-new anthology series featuring a stellar lineup of actors and directors, and narrated by acclaimed physicist Professor Stephen Hawking. (The width and breadth of the body of Robert Heinlein's work to choose from, and they decided to adapt "Jerry Was A Man"?)

You might think it would be safe enough to hike naked on the Appalachian Trail. You'd be wrong.

"Here are some tips for job seekers who meet with recruiters in Second Life...Tailor your avatar to the position you're applying for. It's not necessary to dress up in a suit - but if you are interviewing with an employer that has a conservative workplace culture, you probably don't want to show up as a troll or a mermaid." Here's another tip: Bwah-hah-hah! (See also Valleywag's reaction.)

US News and World Report: "The April release of Behind the Pay Gap by the American Association of University Women Education Foundation reported that one year after college graduation, women working full time earn just 80 percent as much as their male counterparts. The report noted that one potential reason for this difference is that female students are clustered in college majors tied to careers that lead to smaller paychecks."

Admit it, if you had an electronic bubble wrap toy, you'd play with it.

On my way to being a Cyborg

Originally uploaded by elbow donkey.
I don't wish to become one of those people who has nothing to talk about other than his own medical problems, but I thought you might like to know.

I'm scheduled to undergo the implantation of an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) at Crawford Long on Wednesday, June 27. The full story is here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


& tomorrow
Originally uploaded by Seidl.
If I told you that a senator called for an ambulance to have himself rushed to a television interview, I'll bet you'd assume it was one of ours. It's OK, though, President Bush was involved, so you can blame him if you want.

Who owns the media?

Mark Evanier said:
Ray Stevens' ... most recent record was a thing called "The New Battle of New Orleans," which I haven't heard. A couple of folks have written me in the last hour to say that they have, and that it's wingnut claptrap with a racist edge. The lyrics to the song, which are posted over here, sure lead one to that viewpoint. It's amazing that someone could be from that area and write a song about Hurricane Katrina with zero sympathy for the victims.
It's amazing to me that anyone could read those lyrics and conclude that they are "racist wingnut claptrap." In order to accept that view, one would have to grant that any criticism of Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrakan is inherently racist. And in order to read the song as expressing "zero sympathy for the victims", one would have to believe that Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco are victims.

Jeff Bezos: We lose money on every unit we sell, but we make it up in volume.

It would appear that this writer can think of only one use for a "female" robot. Shouldn't feminists resent that? The Japanese designers' intent, as best I can determine from this one-note summary, is to create a machine that moves with something that might be called "grace". It's probably another approach at bridging the uncanny valley charted by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970. The theory is, the more you humanize an object, the cuter people tend to think it is -- up to a point. But past that point, when something is close to human but clearly not human, we react with revulsion. Stuffed animals are cute, lifelike prosthetics are creepy. Monkeys are cute, zombies are horrific.

The Shatner Show: "Every artist has their muse. Leonardo was inspired by the ceiling in the great chapel. [Huh?] Michelangelo found his art in the Italian marble. Who am I to stand in the way of all these fine artists and artisans who want to use my lumpy, aging face for inspiration?"

Getting rid of noisy kids in one easy step: Lean toward their caregiver and softly say, "According to the terms of my parole, I'm not really supposed to be this close to children." The gentler and more friendly you are, the more dramatic the reaction when the meaning of the phrase sinks in.

"I'd like to smack the idiot who designed this intersection."

Now that USB drives (or flash drives, or thumb drives, or whatever you want to call 'em) are so ubiquitous, inexpensive, and small, we have to face facts: The cost of losing one is not the cost of replacing the drive, but the consequences of losing the data it contains.

Daily Show: 'Don't they know we're all recording this stuff?'

The truth about doctors. "For a new patient, I book it for 40 minutes. Some doctors make it ten. For a second visit, some make it five. If you’re an HMO doctor, the network will tell you to see, on average, a patient every seven minutes. HMOs tell us to see more patients; malpractice insurance tells us to take all the time we need."

Monday, June 11, 2007


Spa billboard (right) called racy and all wrong. (Chicago Tribune link requires free registration: Consumerist link doesn't.)

How I got out of writing an essay on H.G. Well's The Time Machine. "A humanities course should not be required for my B.Sc degree in Physics." (Wells' name and missing period after abbreviation as in original document.)

Origin of deja vu pinpointed.

Britons lose an amazing 885,000 mobile phone handsets each year - by accidentally dropping them into the toilet and flushing them away.

Audio compression is evil. (video)

HP: Digital cameras for fat people. (Remember Friends? Monica excuses her prom-era weight with "Well, you know, the camera adds ten pounds," and Chandler responds "How many did you have on you?")

Winnie Cooper is my hero. (Main page.)

A young clerk with no knowledge of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown allowed a tribute to victims slip into the classified ads page of a newspaper in southwest China.

With Powerpoint comes great responsibility. (video)

A physics teacher begs for his subject back. "I am a physics teacher. Or, at least I used to be. My subject is still called physics. My pupils will sit an exam and earn a GCSE in physics, but that exam doesn’t cover anything I recognize as physics."

Origin of deja vu pinpointed.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Midtown Skyline (Remix)
Originally uploaded by Lance McCord.
But first, some blatant self-promotion: I play the Army Air Force veteran in this week's ARTC Podcast, "Unaccustomed to Fear".

"Thousands of LiveJournal customers are rebelling against the company's recent decision to censor hundreds of sex-themed discussion groups, a broad swath that has led to the removal of literary critiques and fan-written fiction about Harry Potter." Do remember, though, that it's only a First Amendment issue if the government is suppressing it. Any private company has the right to limit how its resources are used. If this bothers you, buy your own domain and server: They're cheap enough. (Why, yes, I do own

The good news is, hybrid automobiles are beginning to sell. The bad news is, they're selling for the "wrong reasons". They aren't replacing those mean old SUVs, they're fashion statements, the third car in "two-car" households.

Turn off the TV and broadband for a week and family life goes completely to hell. (Spoilers: They cheat on days 2 and 6, and mostly sit around glaring at each other the rest of the week.) Perhaps the most amusing part of the article is the closing, Mother's Tips To Cut Screen Addiction, among them: "Take your children on holiday to countries where broadband has yet to make substantial inroads."

From VH1's Best Week Ever: This Video Contains All Of The Reasons Why Our Society Is Doomed. I've nothing to add to it. Try not to read the spoilerrific text in the entry and just click on the two-minute video.

I suppose that with Google Maps now offering street-level photographs, it's inevitable that someone would be creeped out by what they can see. Heck, I was creeped out the first time I saw my own front porch at (Gosh, I wish my house were prettier.) One woman was creeped out when she discovered she'd left her curtains open the day the Google van drove by, and the world can see her living room -- and her cat. But within a day or two this phenomenon was topped by 90 West Santa Clara St in San Jose, where you can see dead people. I'm sure you'd rather check out co-eds sunbathing at Stanford.

Speaking of which (sort of), signs of Spencer Tunick were spotted this weekend in Amsterdam.

Egypt: Fatwa allows breast-feeding among adults. This is a couple of weeks old. I've been holding on to it until I could wrap my head around it (so to speak), but the logic still makes me dizzy.

"We have to remember that while more women are showing more cleavage, you really have to use your breast power responsibly." With great hooters come great responsibility, as I'm sure Stan Lee would have said had Peter Parker been bitten by a radioactive Scarlett Johansson. (I think I just stumbled upon the plot for Spider-Man 4.)