Saturday, March 31, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Indexed by tags medicine, proctology, humor, research, journal, Anals of the American Proctological Society.
Image credits: Anatomy of a Pygmy, Edward Tyson, from Orang-Outang, sive Homo Sylvestris: or, the Anatomy of a Pygmie compared with that of a Monkey, an Ape, and a Man, 1699, courtesy BibliOdyssey.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
You see, John McCain's people commandeered my world-renowned MySpace design template and did a few things wrong:The "design help" note may have been the tell-tale sign, but I'm partial to the "gah!" aside after the Block link. What's a computer-savvy sometime MySpace-page designer with images from McCain's site unwantedly hosted on his own server to do?
1. They did not credit me for the template, even though the template explicitly requested credit.
2. They used my own unmodified imagery, specifically for the "Contacting John McCain" table.
3. As if #2 wasn't bad enough, the McCain crew is actually pulling their image directly from my server on each page load. So every time someone visits the McCain MySpace page, my bandwidth is being used to deliver part of the page! Bad McCain!
So, the only thing necessary to effectively commandeer McCain's page with my own messaging was to simply replace my own sample image on my server with a newly created sample on my server. No server but my own was touched and no laws were broken. The immaculate hack.Link (via Metafilter). The result had a mix of technical know-how, political awareness, and juvenile humor worthy of, well, just about any political blog:
Indexed by tags politics Internet, humor, MySpace, John McCain, hack.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Indexed by tag Montrose.
When I have a television production company, my sign-off card is going to have this guy saying "I'm sorry, I only caught the double cheeseburger. Can you throw that down again?"
Indexed by tags food and drink, McDonald's, fast food freestyle, rap, teenagers.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
"What has he won? Because of the lack of editing he has won a lifetime of grief," [Maine Morning Sentinel reader John] Ferry wrote. "Within seconds of glancing at this picture, I noticed the form in the picture includes the man's name, address, telephone number, date of birth and even his Social Security number."Link (via Freakonomics). I'm sure now that Vension can afford a new identity he'll return to playing the lottery again. I just hope he uses my system.
Indexed by tags media, lottery, gambling, press, photo, social security number, Venison Turner.
Image credits: "Lost - and Hurley's Lottery Ticket after He Passes Out," courtesy Preston and Steve, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Direct emissions from livestock come from the respiratory process of all animals in the form of carbon dioxide. Ruminants, and to a minor extent also monogastrics, emit methane as part of their digestive process, which involves microbial fermentation of fibrous feeds. Animal manure also emits gases such as methane, nitrous oxides, ammonia and carbon dioxide, depending on the way they are produced [solid, liquid] and managed [collection, storage, spreading].Cows, in other words, fart and poo. But when that fart and poo starts melting glaciers, New West's Peter Holter says we should be reexamining not the cows themselves so much as what we feed them:
As best we can tell, the UN study is primarily based on animals that have been raised in an industrialized manner, confined to pens and barns where they are fed a steady slaughterhouse/feedlot diet of synthetic minerals, grains, fodder, and antibiotics. These would make anyone belch and produce unpleasant gas!Link (via the Ethicurean).
. . . .
Historically, before “modern” agricultural methods took hold, animals were not confined. On roughly two-thirds of this continent, there were once hundreds of millions of herding, hoofed, grazing/browsing animals and sufficient pack-hunting predators – human and otherwise - to keep them constantly bunched and on the move.
If we think back to the time when the American Bison roamed the Great Plains, the tall grasses were healthy and abundant and able to support both the grazers and the predators. The Bison played a major role in maintaining the health of the grasslands, due to their grazing patterns, hoof action and natural (not synthetic) fertilizing actions.
Why is that important?
According to a recent study from the University of Montana, healthy grasslands actually pull significant amounts of carbon from the air and sink it into their roots by weight and volume. (Some evidence suggests they sink more carbon than trees.) This is carbon that does not enter the atmosphere to cause the problems referenced in the U.N. report.
Indexed by tags food and drink, nature, climate, greenhouse gases, organic, cows.
Indexed by tags stuff, furniture, coffee table, speech bubble.
Since appearing in December 1941, Wonder Woman has gone through feminist and antifeminist cycles. Points to whoever can figure out which of those periods the above panels (via YesButNoButYes) represent.
Indexed by tags comics, Wonder Woman, women, feminism.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Indexed by tag Montrose.
In TierneyLab, John Tierney follows up on his report in the Times's Science section regarding the nature of human laughter (previously blogged here) with the news that laughter might not be unique to humans. If chirping when you are tickled counts as laughter—and Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University is putting together evidence that suggests just that—rats have been laughing for some time, but we just couldn't hear it until now:
Link. Meanwhile, Discover Magazine has a rundown on twenty pieces of rat trivia. Sure, they may laugh, but at least we can sweat.
Indexed by tags science, nature, neurology, laughter, rat, tickle, chirp.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
In mid-December, the Vienna City Council launched the "Vienna Sees It Differently" campaign, unveiling posters which featured the city's public pictographs – but with gender changes.But while the city's stylized new depictions of men and women break down some stereotypes, they may reinforce others:
. . . By the end of the year, all city buildings will have signs featuring men changing diapers and women riding elevators. This month, the Vienna Public Transport system, which is also taking part in the campaign, will begin replacing old, tattered stickers for reserved seating with updated ones featuring men with babies, elderly women, and disabled women.
[Association of Austrian Safety Practioners representative Franz] Kaida, however, did have one question about the artistic liberties taken with the city's campaign signs: "Do you think that long hair, skirt, and boots represent all women?"Link.
Indexed by tags Europe, Austria, Vienna, sign, politics, gender, women.
Image credits: "3 Vienna - Tram Sign," The Good Reverend, available on Flickr via Creative Commons license.
Indexed by tags sports, skydiving, parachute, fails, survival, Shayna Richardson, Michael Holmes, Franz Reichelt.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
According to a just-released FBI file, Marilyn Monroe's suicide was "induced" by Senator Robert Kennedy in conspiracy with Peter Lawford and Monroe's housekeeper:
It hints at a link between her death and her threats to publicise her affair with Kennedy. It states: “Her housekeeper put the bottle of pills on the night table. It is reported her housekeeper and Marilyn’s personal secretary and press agent, Pat Newcomb, were co-operating in the plan to induce suicide.”Link (via Trouble with Spikol). So RFK pulled a Bree Van De Kamp?
It says that on the same day Kennedy booked out of the Beverley Hills Hotel and flew to San Francisco, staying at the St Charles Hotel, owned by a friend.
“Robert Kennedy made a telephone call from St Charles Hotel to Peter Lawford to find out if Marilyn was dead yet,” it says.
Lawford called and spoke to Monroe, “then checked again later to make sure she did not answer”.
Indexed by tags crime, movies, hollywood, Marilyn Monroe, death, suicide, Robert Kennedy, RFK, Peter Lawford, sleeping pills, FBI.
Image credits: "Fred Woodress interviews Marilyn Monroe in 1963," courtesy 87th Infantry Division, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Oooh, easy peasy, you say to yourself. Anyone could do that. Oh really? Try this:
The woman knit a Ferrari. For fun. Link
I knit a toy for my cat a month ago. It's essentially a cube with a tail - it took me 30 minutes. I thought I was pretty great - but now I see, not as cool as Lauren Porter.
Well, Lauren, my question is simple: can your cat carry the Ferrari in it's mouth? And can your cat lose a Ferrari under the couch just 10 minutes after you give it to the cat?
I doubt it.
Image credits: "Chandelier" and "Knitferrari", courtesy makezine.com, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Congratulations to the Great State of Colorado for selecting a new state song. It's only a matter of time before West Virginia comes around.
Indexed by tags music, politics, Colorado, state+song, Rocky Mountain High, John Denver.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Indexed by tags politics, Dick Cheney, approval, torture.
Indexed by tags linguistics, dialect, survey, soda, pop, coke, regions.
Image credits: "Generic Names for Soft Drinks by County," Matthew Campbell, courtesy popvssoda.com, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The New York Times reports that neuroscience now tells us why people laugh, and it's not because something's funny. It's because we want to signal friendliness to people:
When Robert R. Provine tried applying his training in neuroscience to laughter 20 years ago, he naïvely began by dragging people into his laboratory at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to watch episodes of “Saturday Night Live” and a George Carlin routine. They didn’t laugh much. It was what a stand-up comic would call a bad room.Link (register or use BugMeNot). But what really bakes my muffin is that the Times demonstrates this insight by irrelevantly and misleadingly skewering one of my favorite jokes, right there in the lead. Jack Balkin says the muffin joke is funny, and, dagnabbit, if Balkin says it's funny, it's funny.
So he went out into natural habitats — city sidewalks, suburban malls — and carefully observed thousands of “laugh episodes.” He found that 80 percent to 90 percent of them came after straight lines like “I know” or “I’ll see you guys later.” The witticisms that induced laughter rarely rose above the level of “You smell like you had a good workout.”
“Most prelaugh dialogue,” Professor Provine concluded in “Laughter,” his 2000 book, “is like that of an interminable television situation comedy scripted by an extremely ungifted writer.”
Indexed by tags science, neuroscience, sociology, psychology, evolution, laughter, humor, muffin, joke.
Image credits: "Muffins Baking in an Oven," Fir0002, Wikipedia, acquired via GNU Free Documentation License.
"I have witnessed numerous other similar situations, and this should serve as a wake-up call for parents. Energy drinks do, in fact, contain several stimulants and one sedative that can alter brain chemistry in a very dramatic way. When used in excess and in the absence of wholesome nutrition, these drinks can cause the kind of brain soup that changes personality and mimics numerous psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder."Link. Cocores thinks this might be at the root of the latest problems of Britney Spears (pictured at right, in happier times):
"If you did not see it on the set of some of Spears latest antics then you will need to check out other sources to know that she is a big fan of the stuff," said Cocores, who referred to Wikipedia. "So, this pertains to Spears if she in fact consumed large amounts because it could explain, at least in part, her recent bizarre behaviors as depicted in the media."Liz Spikol opines in her terrific Trouble with Spikol that Red Bull might be the source of not only Britney's head shaving, but also her snake charming. But I think this gives a whole new meaning to the chorus of "Toxic."
Indexed by tags medicine, mental health, Britney+Spears, Red Bull, head shaving, behavior, "Toxic", James Cocores, Liz Spikol.
Image credits: Cover, Rolling Stone 932, courtesy Elliott Back, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Monday, March 12, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Indexed by tags comic books, sexuality, Doom Patrol, Codpiece.
Image credits: "Codpiece," Rachel Pollack, Doom Patrol, DC Vertigo, courtesy Head Injury Theater, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Darwin wrote about this one.
See that nectory all the way down there?
Darwin hypothesized a moth with a nose 12 inches long
would pollinate it.
Everyone thought he was a loon.
Then sure enough,
they found this moth with a 12 inch proboscis.
Proboscis means nose by the way.
Point is, what's so wonderful,
is that every one of these flowers
has a specific relationship with the insect that pollinates it.
There's a certain orchid that looks exactly like a certain insect
so that this insect is drawn to this flower,
its soul mate,
and wants nothing more than to make love to it.
the insect flies off,
spots another soul mate flower,
and makes love to it,
thus pollinating it.
And neither the flower nor the insect
will understand the significance of their lovemaking.
And how could they know
that because of their little dance,
that the world lives by simply doing what they're designed to do,
so that something large and magnificent happens.
And in this sense, they show us how to live,
how the only barometer you have is your heart.
Now when you spot your flower,
you can't let anything get in your way.
Indexed by tags movies, quotes.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
A more granular view of activity: the number of users who have taken an action within a 60 second period. It’s easy to see 10-15k people taking Facebook breaks during each of the commercials. Not Pictured: Another 20k viewers took more traditional bathroom breaks, and 12k made a snack.Link (thanks, the late great Suedo Apmuza). You can even see fifty thousand people coming back online at the end of the hour. My instincts say those tweens and college kids aren't logging off for C.S.I. Grey's is this season's highest-rated scripted show, does even better in the "adults" demographic of eighteen- to forty-nine-year-olds, and, well, Facebook got rid of its Pulse feature a couple months ago, so it's difficult to compare the shows most added to users' favorites, but any show that has such an effect on a website's traffic must be notable with its base. Too bad the show jumped the shark a few weeks ago.
Indexed by tags television, Grey's Anatomy, Internet, Facebook, traffic.
(via The Anomalist)
Indexed by tags weird, UFO, abduction, DNA, Peter Khoury, hair, penis.
Could it be
a) What I exclaim in horror while cleaning out the crisper
b) A sardonic comment about Flea
c) An archaeo-botanist discovery, detailed in Science
You tell me.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Shiekh Khaled El Gindy, an Al-Azhar scholar and member of the Higher Council of Islamic Studies[,] told The Daily Star Egypt that he agrees with the new fatwa.Link (via Feministing and Eteraz.org). So it's still a story of men giving women permission regarding their sexuality, and it's still about women having to physically alter their bodies to hide their sexual history, but when it's a choice between that and being stoned to death because of "honor" (pdf), this kind of proclamation is pretty important.
"Islam never differentiates between men and women, so it is not rational for us to think that God has placed a sign to indicate the virginity of women without having a similar sign to indicate the virginity of men," El Gindy said.
"Any man who is concerned about his prospective wife’s hymen should first provide a proof that he himself is virgin," he added.
. . . .
"If God wants us to know everything about each other, He would have given us the ability to read each others' minds, so why did he not do so? Perhaps maybe someone would have a wrong idea about you now but will change it later," Gomaa said.
. . . .
"According to Sharia, if a husband knew that his wife had sexual intercourse with anyone else, he should divorce her, so by not telling him she would be protecting her home and her life," he explained.
Indexed by tags religion, Islam, women, virginity, hymen, Egypt, reconstructive surgery, sexuality, feminism, honor killing, Aly Gomaa.
Indexed by tag Montrose.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Civil engineers already know they can inject chemicals into loose soil to bind grains together. But the chemicals are toxic.Link. The solidifying qualities of B. pasteurii might be of interest to the good people of China, who are sitting on top of an Arctic Ocean's worth of subterranean water:
A natural culture of Bacillus pasteurii along with oxygen and other nutrients causes calcium carbonate to form around sand grains, cementing them together. The structure of the soil is not changed; the gaps are simply filled in.
"Starting from a sand pile, you turn it back into sandstone," said Jason DeJong, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Davis.
“It would still look like solid rock to you,” [Washington State University seismologist Michael] Wysession told LiveScience. “You would have to put it in the lab to find the water in it.”Link.
. . . . “The water molecules are actually stuck in the mineral structure of the rock.”
Indexed by tags science, geology, liquefaction, earthquakes, bacteria, Bacillus pasteurii, Asia, underground ocean.
Indexed by tags science, astronomy, Io, LORRI, volcano, Tvashtar.
Image crdits: "Io," NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute, courtesy Spaceflight Now, borrowed for news-reporting and comment purposes.
Friday, March 02, 2007
"Right now, my nose is burning and my throat hurts," she told the St. Petersburg Times, but she said she felt a lot better than she has in weeks.Link (via Fortean Times). Five weeks is nothing. Jennifer still had forty-four years, ten months and change to catch up to this poor soul.
. . . .
She saw an infectious disease specialist, a neurologist, a chiropractor, a hypnotist and an acupuncturist. She tried a patented device that is designed to stop hiccups, plus all the old remedies. Her mother called the media two weeks ago to try to find more help for her daughter, who ended up on NBC's "Today" show.
UPDATE: They're baaack.
Indexed by tags science, biology, medicine, hiccups, Jennifer Mee, Florida.