Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Dad, can I borrow the jetpack?

SoloTrek XFV is an Exo-Skeletor Flying Vehicle. Strap it on, power it up, and fear for your life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Evil-Free Zone, next 5 miles.

Okay, here's what happened:

  1. The mayor of Inglis, Florida felt inspired to ban Satan from her town by writing a proclamation against the Evil One on official town stationery. These she placed by the entrances to her town.

  2. A local woman (and then the ACLU) took offense, saying the ban (in its implied officiality) violated separation of Church and State.

  3. Local Christians took offense at their offense, claiming discrimination against Christians. The mayor says it's her "freedom of expression."

Hint: If you want to express yourself, use typing paper. On town stationery, you can't ban anthropomorphic personifications.

I will kick you with feets of kicking.

The Official Ninja Webpage, linked on memepool today, is written in the breathless, enthuastic style of a hyperactive 12-year old. If you weren't aware that Ninjas like to wail on sweet electric guitars before flipping out and going berzerk, or that people and objects tend to explode dramatically after Ninjas kick them, you should read this and be enlightened.

Monday, January 28, 2002

The Spirit of Justice is a Hottie.

Flutterby points out that John Ashcroft is tired of The Spirit of Justice flaunting her exposed breast, and has ordered the statue covered.

Said Ashcroft: "Mardi Gras is over. No more boobies in my building."

Or something to that effect, anyway.

Clearly God likes horses.

Over the weekend, Slashdot pointed out the new high-resolution composite pictures of the Horsehead Nebula from the European Southern Observatory. Pretty spiffy.horsehead

<i>Dryopteris binocularum</i>

When their custom-made peeping tower was ripped down by police, voyeurs in Malaysia had to resort to disguising themselves as plants.

Friday, January 25, 2002

Aargh! Mama's Family is on and I can't find the remote! Oh well.

Scientific American has an excellent article on
Television Addiction. Among other things it examines a possible physical basis for television dependence, and explains (in essence) why Mountain Dew commercials are the way they are. Very interesting.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

Who says Legos aren't educational?

Matt pointed me to Lego Death: A Museum of Horrors. If you have Flash, and if you want to see a semi-interactive gallery of Lego men dying in horrible ways, this site is for you.

Make $$$ Fast!

If you haven't seen
this account of dealings with a belligerent spammer, you should take a look. It's an excellent read, an ongoing story, and it's been updated recently. First read the Executive Summary, then scroll down to the huge chronicle of emails.

It reminds me of
Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2
, a book that documents a battle involving Negativland, U2, Casey Kasem, and various record labels. The book is mostly correspondence (letters, memos, and legal papers) assembled to show a really interesting sequence of events.

If you have any interest at all in digital rights or privacy, I recommend both of these.

Uh... Why are there hoofprints all over your bed?

A sleep study at Oxford has determined that
counting sheep doesn't actually help you fall asleep.

Amazing. Next thing they'll tell us is that hungry people don't actually hallucinate their companions turning into roast pigs or slabs of beef. Or that tiny novelty umbrellas won't actually slow your descent if you fall off a cliff.

Friday, January 18, 2002

It's a good thing they have that sign.

In Oakland, outside a parking garage at 11th and Clay, stands a
very suspicious elevator.

Today Julian and I drove there
to take some pictures.




Do or do not. There is no try. (Huh huh... He said "do".)

Apparently Lucasfilm has sued the producers of an animated Star Wars porn spoof, Starballz, for copyright and trademark infringement. The judge has ruled that there is "little likelihood of confusion", and that sales of the porn spoof will not be blocked.

Do take a look at the first screenshot. It will haunt your dreams, or possibly get you to buy the video.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Sort of like cow tipping, but not.

Cheapass Games now has a website for their "long awaited" game Diceland. It apparently involves armies of dice-for-characters, with various attacks printed on the die faces. The state of the characters is determined by a roll initially, but the weird bit is that dice are injured (or upgraded) by tipping them from one edge to another: dice are printed to show which "directions" are legal for tipping.

Probably too much of a war strategy game for my taste, but the gimmick with the dice is interesting.

You are getting sleepy... very sleepy... VOTE NO ON PROP 32!

In India,
Magician-turned-politician to get friends to hypnotise voters
. Not the best plan for world domination I've ever seen, but it has the benefit of being blatant and stupid.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Is that a euphemism?

I have nothing bad to say about Canadians. At all. Not even Gordon Sinclair, who recently patented a haggis launcher. He intends to use it to launch a haggis across the Bow River. Apparently he "threw a haggis in the river last year and wants to go one better this time."

Those wacky Sandia guys and their micro-whatzits.

At Sandia Labs they've fabricated the world's smallest microchain drive: interlink spacing is 50 microns.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Wait a minute. The Mummy <i>Returns</i>???

Also from Noah, today's Onion reports
Archaelogist Tired of Unearthing Unspeakable Ancient Evils.

He says he feels good, but he keeps saying "Ow."

Noah was kind enough to point out The "Unh!" Project. It illustrates and provides commentary on various instances of guttural comic book noises. ("UKH!", "ARGGGH!", "MMNNH!", "UNNGHH!", and more.)

Seems like the same thing should be done for musical grunts and soulful interjections, complete with audio clips. (Think James Brown's "Ow!", or Michael Jackson's "Daggonit!") Are you up to the task, Kan?

Monday, January 14, 2002

And the winner is... puke green.

Based on a survey of 200,000 galaxies, scientists at Johns Hopkins claim that the "true color of the cosmos" (by which they mean the aggregate spectral composition, apparently) looks something like mint chocolate chip (shown at right). They claim this finding is useful, in a vague astrophysical sort of way.

But I'm surprised it's not squant.

His Holiness says he's waiting for it to come out on video.

One Christian point of view is that Harry Potter is

. Another is that the Harry Potter phenomenon is
proof of God's existence
. And a Dutch priest was so struck by the similarities between Harry Potter and Jesus that he held a Harry Potter Mass.

If only they had some sort of central authority figure that could decide issues like these. But I suppose that'd never work.

Mmmm... I could go for a stick of Jagermeister...

Flutterby links an article about chewable liquor. Maybe this will help millions of people kick their nicotine gum habits.

Friday, January 11, 2002

Unthinkable Slavering Monstrous Horrors from Beyond

GameSpot has an article on Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, an H. P. Lovecraft-themed first-person adventure game that's in the works. Like the paper-based RPG, it has a "sanity system" that makes it hard to progress if your character has been exposed to too many Unthinkable Horrors. From the article:

Sanity effects include things like hallucinations and visual distortions (motion blur, etc.) as well as your character showing obsessive behavior such as nervous twitches or constantly loading and unloading his gun.

This provides incentive to avoid enemies, which is consistent with Lovecraft's central horror theme. ("Run away from the baddies, there are no baddies, everything is fine, I didn't see a thing. What baddies?") So far so good. Unfortunately, the article also says "You can gain sanity back by slaying evil creatures..." Sort of like having a Mohandas Gandhi game where you gain Nonviolence Points by kicking people's asses.

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

Numemathenomics III

For those who haven't seen it, my friend Tom Duff's has, among other things,
Some use Babble-style markov chains to mimic preexisting text, while others use handmade probabilistic grammars. My favorite is Matchflap College Science & Engineering Syllabus, which I originally made, but which Tom has much improved.

"Who do you love?" "Hoverbikes!"

Last night's Jay Leno featured
Dean Kamen
and his much-hyped
Segway. This was my first
opportunity to see one in action. (Leno, Russel Crowe, and eventually
Sting were seen riding them around the stage.) I'm not convinced that
they'll change the world, but they're damn cool, and if I ever need
to erase the last vestiges of my dignity, I'll have to buy one and
putter around on it!

I did not inhale.

MarkV pointed me at a great
of Jos Stam's recent fluid dynamics

. You can use the mouse to inject and stir up wispy smoke-fluid
stuff, in real time. Very cool.

We always knew this would happen.

Memepool points out
I didn't realize this was a phenomenon. Maybe it isn't. Either way,
it's pretty well done, and a lot of people seem to have put a lot of
energy into this alternate history.

But I thought the Union <i>won</i> the Civil War.

I just finished James Loewen's excellent book
Lies Across America. His
previous book, Lies My Teacher Told Me,
debunked a great deal of popular history as it's taught in high school; his
latest book attacks distorted, incomplete, or misleading history presented
on monuments and historical markers. Both books are well-written and
are accessible to history neophytes such as myself.

As if the world needed this.

As you can see, MonkeySpeak now has a weblog. Finally, I can post spontaneous thoughts, and by the marvels of modern technology, they will immediately go unread by countless millions. What a time to be alive!