Thursday, August 30, 2007

Useful Mutants, Bred With Radiation - New York Times

This is one of those issues where I feel like the dividing line of opinion is between educated, rational people, and reactionary fools. It's an article about plants, and using radiation to speed up the rate of mutations such that breeders can come up with new, useful lines during a single lifetime. The problem is, you say the word "radiation" or "irradiated" or "mutant" and people flip out.

Useful Mutants, Bred With Radiation - New York Times

What do you think? Is this controversial to you?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Off-topic, but too great not to post



Uhh... the Iraq!

Post your thoughts. Coherent or incoherent; your choice for this one.

Monday, August 27, 2007

What is this Fruit-Flavored Beverage?



* For statistics on whether you actually call this "soda" or not, plot your place of origin on this map:

The Bear Grylls Living Animal Tastiness Scale




--- As Good as I've Ever Had! (cooked python, Australia)
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--- Actually Quite Tasty (raw fish, the Alps)
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--- Not Half Bad
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--- Right Now Even This Tastes Good
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--- Sadly I Need the Protein
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--- Like cheese that's been left out for weeks (Scorpion, Mexico?)
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--- Like a Mouth Full of Puss (grubs from rotting sago palm, Equador)
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--- Maybe Even Worse than it Looks

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What is this Lighter-than-air vehicle, part 2



Couldn't find a shot of it in the air I liked, but here's the ship from Stardust (which I haven't seen yet but probably will soon). But since we've just had a decision tree on this, I thought I'd invite you to tell me what terms you think are OK to use on the vessel in question.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The David Attenborough Milk Quality Scale

--- Smashing! (Chocolate milk with Hersheys syrup)
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--- Jolly Good (Whole milk)
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--- Quite Lovely (2%)
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--- Good (1%)
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--- Adequate (Skim Milk)
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--- Palatable (warm Goats milk)
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--- Poor (Yak milk)
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--- Dreadful (3 days past sell-by date)
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--- Wretchedly Poor! (Panda milk - see Planet Earth, Mountains episode)
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--- Foul! (Milk of Magnesia)
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--- Bloody Hell! (Homemade 'yogurt' my kids make by hiding half-full sippy cups)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Decision Tree: Lighter than Air Vehicles

First, a word about how my decision trees work. They reflect how I use these words, and that's not always the same as the way dictionaries define them. Often a dictionary will say two words mean the same thing - if I've made a distinction, I'm not disagreeing with the dictionary, I'm just saying that's how I've decided to use the words in question. Language being a living thing and all of that. I mention this because whenever I do one of these, someone (usually my very clever mother) will comment about how I'm incorrect. Please feel free to post about things I ought to've included or how your personal decision tree would be a little different, but understand I'm not trying to map English usage, I'm only mapping my own twisted subdialect of it. End Public Service Announcement.

On with the tree:


So, yes, I know every piece of available information says that a Dirigible is any steerable lighter-than-air vehicle and that it's identical with Airship, but I'll only ever apply the term to Zeppelins and Blimps, never to those damnable thermal airships.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Google Business Referral Representative FAQ

Holy Crap! No time to blog at the moment but I just saw this and think that's about the most interesting idea I've seen in weeks:

Google Business Referral Representative FAQ

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Neat idea, Dumbass execution.




Amusing incompetence in the harbor at Red Hook:

"The man, Duke Riley, a heavily tattooed Brooklyn artist whose waterborne performance projects around New York have frequently landed him in trouble with the authorities, spent the last five months building the vessel as a rough replica of what is believed to have been America’s first submarine, an oak sphere called the Turtle, said to have seen action in New York Harbor during the Revolutionary War.
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Mr. Riley, who emerged from his rusty hatch without the tall-boy can of beer he had taken into his vessel when it launched about 9:15, managed to make it to within about 200 feet of the bow of the ship, at a time when officials say harbor security is a critical factor in guarding against terrorism. From a nearby pier, several of his friends and his art dealers shouted congratulations through a chain-link fence.
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On Thursday evening, he and the two friends, Jesse Bushnell and Mike Cushing, scrambled around in the murky Red Hook water — avoiding the occasional condom or dead rat — to make sure that the sub, called the Acorn, was seaworthy and would submerge. (It never did so completely.) They had loaded several thousand pounds of lead into the bottom and were adding rocks to further lower the moss-coated vessel, which resembled something out of Jules Verne by way of Huck Finn, manned by cast members from “Jackass.”

“We start arguing with each other and saying, ‘Hey, you’re doing that wrong,’ ” said Mr. Bushnell, who owns a bicycle shop in Providence, R.I. “And then we realize there is no right way to do this.” He added grumpily, “I’ve basically been wading around in this water for three days in my underwear.”
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“I’m not really a very technical kind of guy,” he said, sitting shirtless on the pier Thursday with various green things still clinging to his arms from the water. “I just guessed a lot on this.” Asked how he planned to get back to shore after the tide carried him out to the cruise ship, he grinned. “I haven’t really thought about that yet,” he said."


Full Story at: An Artist and His Sub Surrender in Brooklyn - New York Times

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ira Glass for President 2008

I love This American Life. I want Ira Glass to run for president.

Here he is, talking about storytelling:


Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

New Feature: Shared Items

Those of you who read this blog on the page (as opposed to in a reader) will notice a new feature on the sidebar, right beneath my last.fm Recently Played items, "Shared Items". These will be things that I've seen in Google Reader that I've decided are noteworthy or interesting - check'm out.

Addendum: for those of you who are reading in a reader, you can go to Foucalt's Shared Items and subscribe there.