Monday, December 24, 2012

Dougintology Commandment #1

I'll be out for the rest of the week.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Not dead yet!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Links: December 21

Send some love to this project. They're making cups that change colors in the presence of the date rape drug. [link]

Thanks to Der Muffinmann for letting me know this hadn't posted.

Film of the largest iceberg calving event ever recorded. [link]

Official Minecraft torch. [link]

DARPA has injectable foam to hold your guts in place in case of grevious wounds. [link]

Facebook has taken to liking stuff against people's will. [link]

"Hello alien monsters. Are you ready to start testing?"

The Muppet Show pitch.

Photo tour of the old LA subway system. [link]

Dogs learning to drive cars. [link]

A penguin falls down. It's the sounds that make it.

Professional soccer/football juggler.

The source of bordom. [link 1] [link]

This video about introducing a bengal kitten to some adult cats shows more about how to introduce any new cat into a home.

Drive a tank. [link]

Thursday, December 20, 2012

For tomorrow we die

The Incans and dolphins know something bad happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sod Off Follow Up

Black Peter

I'd better cover Zwarte Piet/Black Peter. He got mentioned in conjunction with about every other St. Nick related creature.

Today he's a comically offensive character dressed in Renaissance page garb and blackface. His clothing comes from his depiction in a book around 1850 or so. Some try to claim that his dark skin comes from going down sooty chimneys, but that doesn't explain the frizzy hair or big lips. Or the fact that he's supposed to be a freed slave that now voluntarily serves St. Nick. Black Peter used to be a bit dim. Brains weren't expected from africans. But with an increase in immigration from colonies he became more respected and an assistant. Kind of how the elves are viewed in the US.

Not all stories follow that story. Some have him as yet another former demonic companion who has been mastered by St. Nick and now act as servant rather than equal. Having him as a slave doesn't really help the "it's not black face!" argument.

Efforts have been made by the Dutch to remove or revise Black Peter. There's lots of objections to the black face. But there are still greater protests about the break with tradition that bring him back shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I'm running out of month faster than I'm running out of monsters. So lets jump to one of the bigger names in Santa monsters - Krampus.

Alas, despite appearances dating back for 4000 years he doesn't have much of a story. Krampus has big curved horns, cloven hooves, a tail, a long tongue, and is covered in hair. Sometimes he's considered a pagan fertility figure.

Krampus is the bad cop to Santa's (or St Nick's) good cop. Be good and you get gifts. Be bad and the Krampus beats you with a switch, takes you away in a bag, or worse. Other punishments include ripping pigtails out, leading children off a cliff, sadistic ear-pulling, putting pre-teens in shackles, forcing children to beg for mercy, and throwing youngsters on a train to hell, or drowning children to death in ink and fishing out the corpse with a pitchfork.

Current rituals have them coming through town on December 5th. If you start to disbelieve a bunch of drunken guys in costumes may come to your house that night. They dance and yell and make horrible sounds outside your bedroom window. Then your parents invite them in for more drinking. The people in the costumes may have gone off into the woods some weeks earlier as part of a coming of age ritual. This is their return to town.

These days he's mellowed out a bit. While still playing the role of bad cop he's had to become tourist friendly. He's in cartoons, post cards, video games, and parades.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sod Off Monday: December 17

I'm moving up Sod Off Day this week because... because.

The Westboro Baptist Church is either a group of religious wackaloons of such epic scale that AlQueda distances themselves from the group OR they're legal trolls who try to piss people off so much that they do something that the church can sue them for. They have announced plans to picket the funerals of the victims of the recent Connecticut shooting.

I think we can all agree that deserves a huge "sod off". Like, if that sod off were to hit the Earth it would wipe out 99% of all multicellular life. If that sod off were famous the President would have to return his calls. If that sod off were an asshole he'd have his own church in Kansas and protest the funerals of 5 year olds.

Anyway, Anonymous has hacked the computers of the Westboro Baptist Church and published the personal information about everyone in the church. [link]

We're all looking forward to the day when Fred Phelps dies and his huge collection of gay porn is revealed to the world.

p.s. A petition to have WBC declared a hate group. [link]

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Links: December 14

Links sucks this week due to my crappy to nonexistent internet.

A history of video games sampled in rap music. [link]

Bluetooth short range trackers. [link]
No more lost keys or remotes.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

No post

Nothing today, sorry. Verizon's internet is doing it's impression of the Iraqi power grid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 - 12 - 12

Today is the last time this century you'll see repetitive numbers as a date.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Perchta, Berchta, or Bertha is a rare female Santa equivalent. She serves as a year round guardian of the beasts and leader of the wild hunt. During the Twelve Days of Christmas, between Christmas and Epiphany, she oversees spinning and weaving.

She may appear either pale and beautiful and dressed all in white or elderly and haggard. No matter what her form, she always has one large foot that she can't get rid of. Sometimes it's a goose or swan foot. It may be that foot that works the treadle of the spinning wheel.

Perchta has her own feast day during which you're supposed to eat fish and gruel. If you forget her feast or eat the wrong things she will slit you open that night and stuff you with straw. Alas, I can't find when her feast is other than some time during the twelve days of Christmas.

Also during those twelve days she enters homes at night to judge the children and young servants. Those who work hard and behave might find a small silver coin in a pail or their shoe. Those who did not would be slit open, their stomach and guts removed, and straw and pebbles placed there instead. Of particular concern was whether the girls has spun their quota of flax or wool that year.

Perchta controls strange beasts known collectively as perchten. The perchten are long horned, hairy, demonic bipeds. Some people would dress up as evil spirits to drive the perchten away.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Belsnickel is a German and Pennsylvania Dutch character. He shows up a week or two before Christmas looking dark, hairy, worn, torn, dirty, and haggard. He's come to beat the bad children. The children are supposed to escape unharmed, but scared enough to be good until Santa shows up on Christmas. He sometimes carries candy and nuts. Some traditions have him giving them as gifts so kids get a taste of what being good gets them. Others have him throw them on the ground so he can whip the kids scrambling for them.

Here he is in an episode of the Office.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Friday Links: December 7

The Geminid Meteor Shower will be Thursday night to Friday morning (13th-14th).

A good interview with director Brad Bird. [link]
It's a faster read than it looks.

The Amazing Randi with assistance from Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry.

Water and ice found on Mercury. [link]

Cheating rifle. [link]

Staples to get 3D printers for hire. Just not sure when it'll happen in the US. [link]

Babylon 5 cast reunion at upcoming ComicCon. [link]
It's a shame that G'Kar is too dead to make it.

Robot run restaurant. [link]

A completely insane patent. [link]

If you haven't read "Ender's Game" then you probably should before next November. Here's Harrison Ford playing Colonel Graff. [link]

A rash of hay theft across the mid-west. Listen to the bit with Sheriff Whittington. [link]

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for astrophysicists. [link]

"Portal" for the Ti-83. [link]


Ridley Scott's "Star Wars".

Charlie Chaplain singing an autotune version his speech from "The Great Dictator".

Why, yes, North Korea. We ARE all convinced by your claim to have found an ancient unicorn lair.[link]

Totally convinced.

Another attempt at a Wonder Woman TV series. [link]
It may be good, but I don't think it should be considered Wonder Woman.

Yoko Ono is every bit the fashion designer that she is a singer. [link]

A crocheted Enterprise. [link]

Bill Murray on Gilda Radner. [link]
I dare you not to tear up a bit.

You should drink more coffee. It's good for you! [link]
I may have skimmed a bit.

Bread that stays fuzz free for 60 days. [link]

Who are you and what have you done with Pat Robertson? [link]

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Repost: Dougmas

Tis once again the Dougmas Season and I thought I'd remind you of what Dougmas is all about.

Dougmas is the time of year when we Dougintologists celebrate the birth of the Prophet Doug. Granted, Doug was born in May, but so was Jesus. May or June. Certainly not December. We're just jumping on the bandwagon of religions that have tried to make the ancient solstice celebrations their own. I'm just trying to help convert the heathen Jesus worshipers to the one true religion.

As Dougmas is new we're still getting a few traditions off the ground.
Here's a short list.

1) Instead of putting up trees in the house, either real or artificial, you should plant a Douglas Fir. Considering that the ground is likely frozen and hard to dig it is acceptable to wait until May 25, Towel Day, to plant your tree. The world needs all the trees it can get.

2) Doug preaches against giving money to religious charities. Most of the time religious charities require attending their church services as a prerequisite to being giving. Starting December 1st, put an empty jar near your front door (or wherever you empty your pockets). Instead of dumping your spare change into a Salvation Army bucket take it home and put it in the jar. On January 1st give the money, or a check for the equivalent amount, to a non-denominational charity or non-profit organization.

Doug's preferred charities include:
* Solar Electric Light Fund (
* Trees for the Future (
* Wayne Foundation (

For Douglas Adams I include:
* Dian Fossey Gorilla Foundation (
* Save the Rhino (

3) Dougmas is not tied to a particular day. It's more of a season that I alter from year to year until I can figure out a good fit. Last year I used December 20 through December 31. I still like those dates even though I'm saying the Dougmas Jar should go out on December 1st.
The reason I'm making it a season is because there are so many holidays with roots in the winter solstice (Dec. 22). There are many families of mixed faiths that will fight over which holiday they'll gather on. Many people have to try to rush to celebrations at the homes of multiple parents and grandparents or have to decide between relatives in different states.
The point of Dougmas is to spend time with family and friends. If your family is getting together for Christmas then be there for that. If your family gets together for Hanukkah then be there for that. Ditto for Kwanza, the Winter Solstice, New Years, Agnostica, or just Saturday night. Don't rush around in the cold and snow and try to choke down several big turkey dinners. Spend the time with the family.
Of course, if you can't stand your family you can still use the old excuses as an escape strategy.

4) Gift exchanges are so common with the other holidays that it can't be ignored. If you work somewhere that requires someone works on Christmas then go ahead and work that day and collect the extra holiday pay. Then celebrate Dougmas after the 25th so that you can pawn unwanted gifts on others or take advantage of the after Christmas sales. Thriftyness is next to Dougliness.

If the subject of religion comes up while visiting family just remember Dougintology bumpersticker number 1. "I'm wrong and so are you." This should help ensure merrier Dougmas.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Sod Off Wednesday: December 5

Maybe it's my old fashioned way of thinking, but shouldn't the "Cancel" button on the printer cancel the current print job? If not immediately then as soon as all the paper currently in the machine comes out? Granted, my life in tech support has shown that printers have almost always been the weak link in a computer system. Really, though, the problem should be getting it to start printing, not getting it to stop. A 300 page document that's cancelled on page 5 shouldn't stop around page 298.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012


Tomte started as a house spirit in the countries north of the Baltic Sea. Possibly the soul of the person who first cleared the lot for the house. He protected the house and family of farmers. But they were also easily offended. Cursing, rudeness, peeing in the barn, abusing the animals, or just changing how things were done were all good ways to get on his bad side. Being on his bad side could mean getting your ears boxed, dead livestock, tying cows tails together, turning things upside down, smashing things, or his venomous bite. A good way to get on his good side is to leave out some porridge for him. With butter on top. Gotta have the butter. On top. One common story has the butter being put in the porridge, Tomte killing the cow, then finding the butter, and hunting the countryside for an identical cow to replace the dead one.

A Tomte (a.k.a. Nisse) stealing hay
Honestly, he sounds like an all purpose threat. Be a brat and the Tomte will get you. Pull a prank and the Tomte will get you. Don't do things the way I do it and my father did it and his father did is and the Tomte will get you. Something went wrong! You must have made the Tomte mad! Much like how someone might say "you'll make the baby Jesus cry" today.

The myth changed as Christianity moved in. Tomtes would put your soul at risk or non-Christian rites were performed to get the Tomte there. Then, in the 1840's he started becoming the bearer of gifts. A painting of him made him look like an dwarven Red Cap or a tiny Santa Claus. He lives in a forest nearby or some neighboring country. He comes through the front door and delivers gifts directly. He's not overweight. Sometimes he rides a non-flying sleigh pulled by reindeer or goat, but he used to just walk.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Père Fouettard

I need some new material for the Dougmas season. Let's talk about the unsavory sorts that follow Santa around.

Père Fouettard (French for The Whipping Father) is a companion of St. Nicholas known mostly in the east of France. He's sort of the love child of Norman Bates and Sweeny Todd. According to legend there were three rich children going to enroll in religious school who stayed in his inn. There he drugged them, slit their throats, cut them up, made them into a nice stew. Apparently, this is what the French refer to as a "robbery". St. Nick revived the children and took Pére Fouettard as a companion. Opinion is divided over whether this was punishment or Pére Fouettard repented.

Other stories have the three boys getting lost while searching the fields for food missed at harvest. They come to Pére for shelter where they get chopped up and thrown in a barrel of brine.

While St Nick goes around handing out gifts to the good children, Pére Fouettard gives out coal and floggings to the bad ones.

His appearance differs from place to place. Generally he wears dark robes, sports a long, messy beard, and carries a whip, stick, or bundle of switches. Sometimes he has a backpack to carry away bad children. Other times he's nearly identical to Santa, but with a black suit instead of red. You know, much the way you tell good Spiderman from bad. His ride tends to be a donkey, but is sometimes a white steed.

He made some appearances in America in the 30's as Father Flog or Spanky.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: A Kiss Before the Apocalypse

I'm a fan of the Nightside and Dresden Files books. Awhile back there was a book of short stories that featured stories by both authors and a few others. It was that book that introduced me to the Remy Chandler books. And when Borders closed I made sure to include some of them in my plundering. Leap ahead to now and I've finally read one.

"A Kiss Before the Apocalypse" is the first book in the series and, I'm hoping, the least impressive. This would not have been the book to sell me on the series. But I'd say the same thing about the first two Discworld book and I love that series.

There's just not much original about the book. I'll grant you that this is true about most books. I'm usually the first to argue that presentation is the most important thing. And the further I got in the book the better I liked it. But for the first 2/3 of the book I kept thinking about how many other times I'd read the same thing so many other times.

Main character Remy Chandler is a supernatural private detective. The difference is that he's a former angel. Not a fallen angel. Just sort of disillusioned with God. That's the element that makes this character unusual.

In this book Death has gone missing and people aren't dying.

Right? That old story, again.

He has followed Remy's lead and is trying to live as a human. He's got a girlfriend and has been living on Earth for about a year. But while Remy suppresses his angelic half, Death tried to keep both parts of himself and it's been driving him mad. Now he's run off and Remy has to find him.

Often in the Death-takes-a-holiday type stories Death finds someone he cares about who he doesn't want to die. Either that's why he's stopped taking lives or else he met them while taking a break and he knows they'll die if he goes back to work. This time it's Remy who has someone dying. His wife is elderly now. Everyone thinks they're son and mother. And she's in the nursing home waiting for the end. And Remy knows that if Death goes back to work his wife will die. But the alternative is the apocalypse. Did I not mention that? Yeah, the four horsemen are coming. Still, when someone you love is dying or has just died, Remy and Death both find out that it's tempting to just let the world end. Because "fuck them".

The detective part of the story is very familiar. Remy chose the last name Chandler after the Raymond Chandler detective novels. And this book reads much like Raymond Chandler does. Or, how I think it would from the movies and other works inspired by his books that I've seen. It's close enough that I'm wondering if the skeleton of a Chandler book was taken and a new book built around it. New characters in the same old roles. Or maybe the author was just really good at emulating Raymond Chandler.

I already have three more books in the series. And I'm going to read them. I'll let you know how they go.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


A point of clarification about a word selection I used yesterday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dammit, Robin

Said by friend: Holy Macarena-Dancing Orthodox Rabbis, Batman, that's incredible.

My response: You know, Robin, I put up with these idiotic sayings of yours for years because you were young and stupid and I was fairly sure you were gonna get shot. But you're in your 40s now and frankly you sound like a retard. While I'm at it, get a new uniform already. You've been
wearing that same outfit since you got here. It's worn so thin that you're flashing you goodies to half of Gotham. The police don't care about you being a vigilante, they want you for indecent exposure. For God's sake, you've creeped out the Teen Titans so much they have a restraining order on you.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Links: November 23

Strange foot development in a Zimbabwe tribe. [link]

Downloaded, but not played: A Slower Speed of Light. Pick up the 100 objects. But as you play the speed of light will change and what you're able to see changes accurately. [link]

We have a broken stereo cabinet that I'm hoping to fix. Here's one option to repurpose it. [link]

How to make Kryptonite candy. [link]
You need to watch the video for proper instructions.

The song that became the James Bond Theme.

Calculate the destruction from a meteor impact. [link]

I still don't get what Graham's Number is supposed to be calculating, but this video is kind of interesting and the number they're describing is just crazy huge. [link]

I knew Hostess was having troubles. Apparently the Union didn't know. [link]

I haven't tried this. Let me know if you do. But this claims you can calculate pi by throwing phallic foods. [link]

Virginia Tech has a 3D printer available for general student use. [link]

An interesting idea for a ski slope. [link]

A bird that teaches it's chicks a passtone while they're in the egg. [link]

Sign a petition to allow Texas to withdraw from the United States. [link]
I think it's a fine plan. Of course, the United States gets to close all military bases and pull out all troops. Lets see how balanced the Texas economy is without the federal government funding Texas welfare and child health care. Texas is an anchor on the rest of the nation: politically, culturally, environmentally, intellectually, and economically. Cut it off. The only question I have is if we HAVE to send relief efforts as they descend into chaos. Really. 15 years from now will they be more like Somalia or Iran?

UPS joins Intel in cutting off support for the bigoted Boy Scouts. [link]

What happens to women who can't get abortions? [link]

Best. Pollsters. Evar. [link]

Gatorshark vs Zombie Cheerleaders. [link]

A gas giant has been found that's so big that it may actually be a small brown dwarf. [link]

A guy who planned to shoot up a Twilight showing, similar to the recent Batman shooting, was foiled when his mother turned him in. [link]

Dumb Ways to Die.

Doctor Who Christmas Special preview.

Great Battlemechs in History. (all 1 of them) [link]

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

It's a holiday in the United States. We call it Thanksgiving, but you may as well call it the Harvest Festival or something. There's really no more food to bring in. Even the acorns have been gathered. And it's about to get really cold. So it's one last big community gathering to fatten us up before the long winter. After all, who knows how many of us will survive until spring. Or winter solstice. Whichever.

Officially, we're celebrating the new friendship with those dirty natives who bailed out the Pilgrim settlers who had no clue what they were getting into in the new world. In pictures the Pilgrims are shown all covered in buckles. Even on their hats. The truth is that they didn't look like that. Buckles were added to the Pilgrims and to Santa Claus by Victorian era artists because buckles were considered to be quaint and old-timey and were added to anything they wanted to look old.

Tomorrow you can put up Christmas decorations without me slapping you. You can play your Christmas music at your funeral after I beat you to death for playing Christmas music.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just Wednesday: Thanksgiving Eve

Instead of telling someone to Sod Off, I'm going to take today to introduce a new Dougintology preferred charity. Comic book fans among you may have heard of The Wayne Foundation. It's the charity arm of Wayne Enterprises and is headed by Batman's alter ego. In the comics it's often used to do follow up work on someone Batman has saved besides it's day to day work of helping people out of bad situations and generous scholarships for promising inner city kids.

Turns out The Wayne Foundation is real []. They use the funding to help out woman caught in domestic sex trafficking. There are other charities that do the same thing, but they don't have the geek cred this one does.

As far as I can tell, The Wayne Foundation has no formal connection to DC Comics or Warner Brothers.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

National Pinball Museum

Q: Who has two thumbs and is running behind?
A: That guy, officer! The one who... with the... I got nothing.

If you're in the Baltimore area you'll want to check out the National Pinball Museum. We did!

It's down near the touristy waterfront area. The first floor has the museum part where you'll read about the struggle of pinball machines in an era where people insisted comics books, pinball machines, and Frank Sinatra were leading to a decadent youth. They show pinball machines dating back to France 400+ years ago when they used a pool cue instead of a spring loaded stick.

The second and third floors are full of playable pinball machines. For your $18 entry fee you'll get a card that allows you to play all you want for hours on end. Some are the sort of systems I grew up with where there were light up displays, mini-games within the game, and a heck of a show. Some are older where you can actually follow the action intelligently.

You can see into the repair room where they have some systems on a rack and boxes of replacement bumpers and flashers. I'm told you can take classes in pinball repair, but I'm not sure how.

We spent about three and a half hours there and played most of the working systems several times. I can totally see having a birthday party there. We'll probably go again and make sure it's a stop for friends visiting the area.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stuff I wish I said

"Yes, but, with all due respect, I'm surprised you manage to get your pants on correctly each morning. The fact that you'd even make such a suggestion shows that you don't have even a rudimentary grasp of the concept. I'd just as soon take the advice of my pet dog. He's at least paid attention to what I do for awhile. You're just wandering about trying to provide the illusion of being a useful employee. I can't even credit you with making good coffee since the few times you actually make something after draining the pot you make this inedible sludge. Has anyone explained the concept of a filter to you? It keeps the grounds out of the pot and keeps your horrible stench out of our noses. [etc]"

"WOAH! I thought you said with 'all due respect'."

"Yep, and that's said with all the respect due to you."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Links: November 16

The Lewis and Clarke expedition's path has been traced because of the mercury based laxatives they used. [link]

In Oregon 220 misdemeanor marijuana cases are being dropped following decriminalization of small amounts. [link]

Freedom Tower whistles in the wind. [link]

Damage map for if a place of your choosing got nuked. [link]

Pregnancy test detects testicular cancer. [link]

Rather than rethink his position, guy takes the results of the election as cause to cut off all contact with someone he thinks may have liberal leanings. [link]
I seriously doubt he has liberal friends to begin with.

Why doesn't MTV play music video anymore? The awesome answer!

20 year old questioner, I'm pretty sure you NEVER saw a video on MTV!

“Math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better”. [link]

The skill gap in America isn't just about computer skills. These people can't do basic math, or read and write. And, strangely enough, manufacturing is still a wanted skill. [link]
$12/hour and benefits? It's work, but nobody is going to put out their own money to get training for a job that pays that little.

I see lots of "new" bikes every month that look just like all of the other bikes. But I like this one. [link]

An app that could turn any surface into an iffy iPad keyboard. [link]

How much exercise is enough? [link]

A really great prosthetic arm. [link]

Circuits that apply to tissues. [link]

Apple just got a patent for rounded corners on electronic devices. But it's not the stupides patent awarded. [link]
Hey, Obama. Looking for a way to kill the next four years? Fix this!

$200 iPad was just a mirror with an Apple logo. [link]
Lesson: Don't buy iPads at gas stations.

Forecasts for the next 10 years. [link]

As time goes on we see the predictions of the gloomier climate change models proving more accurate than the optimistic ones. [link]

Shark tracker. [link]

Safeway is trying to ban cameras from their bakeries so their cakes won't show up on Cake Wrecks. [link]
Another article talks about how Safeway is trying to copyright their cakes so they can't end up on Cake Wrecks.

Throwable camera ball. [link]

1 Liter of urine gives you 6 hours of electricity. [link]

East and West view intelligence differently. [link]
I don't mean politically. There we see intelligence very, VERY differently.

A lesson into making proper coffee. [link]

Cat photos as error messages. [link]

The full soundtrack to the new Hobbit movie. [link]

A guess what "Far Over A Misty Mountain Cold" from The Hobbit will sound like.

Cats trying to figure out a humidifier.

(S)he's right behing me, isn't (s)he?

R2-D2 ring. [link]

Who has their camera running at a time like this?

A rom-zom-com coming in February.

Romantic-zombie-comedy, duh.

This is going to be expensive.

A Doctor Who/My Little Pony crossover. [link]
Doctor Hooves?

Oh, look. AT&T didn't need T-Mobile's resources after all. [link]

The Firefly cast got to pitch script ideas. Too bad the show didn't last. [link]

Star Wars: Episode VII will be written by the guy who wrote Toy Story: Episode III. [link]

Grand Theft Auto: Tron City. [link]
The down side to getting my games for Playstation instead of PC is that I don't get to use the mods.

Weird Al's "Bob" is full of good movie titles. [link]

TL;DR - Most corrupt politicians. [link]

Hmmmm... Gerrymandered much? [link]
I'm posting this for the last graphic.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Audio Book Review: Iron Druid Chronicles

"Hounded", "Hexed", and "Hammered" make up the first trilogy in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles. In them we follow Atticus O’Sullivan, the last druid, a 2000+ year old twenty-something living in Arizona. His faithful companion is a dog with a solid knowledge of pop culture references - particularly Star Wars. His lawyers are a vampire and a werewolf. His bartender has someone else living in her head. And everyone hates Thor

In the first book a Celtic god (sorta) comes to recover a sword that he insists that our hero stole from him in battle a few thousand years ago. He does this by sending monsters and turning the local police against Atticus. And who knows whose side those witches are on.

In "Hexed" there's a fallen angel who escaped from the first book who is eating people. And a pack of witches with demon fetuses who want to kill pretty much anyone in the area with magic.

And since Atticus (spoiler alert) kills a god in the first book there have been many other beings asking him to kill their own gods. He finds himself suckered into having to help some friends kill Thor.

These descriptions are simple, but I'm tired enough right now that I've already nodded off twice while writing this.

You want to listen to the books for the dog. He sounds like a dumb dog, but he has a respectable vocabulary that he uses to try to earn more snacks. He also watches too much TV and makes strange Star Wars references. The books are good without the dog, but he makes you love the book.

I will be looking for the next trilogy that starts with "Tricked" and "Trapped".

But now is sleepy ti.....................

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sod Off Wednesday: Papa John's

Papa John's announced that Obamacare will raise the price of pizza by 11-14 cents per large. Some reports said they'd be raising pizza by 50 cents to cover the 11 cent hike, but I've not been able to confirm that. There's be a lot of outcry about that. I have some issues with both side.

Papa John's is a business. The cost of food has to cover all the expenses plus some extra for profit. It's not just the cost of ingredients, but employees, utilities, rent, benefits, and all that. Sometimes the price of pizza goes up as other costs go up. Nobody freaks when the price of pizza reflects a change in property values or the cost of electricity.

On the other hand, Papa John's doesn't make announcements to their shareholders about changes in their water bill. The announcement is in protest of their candidate losing the election. It's in protest of having to make sure their staff has health insurance in case some pizza delivery goes horrible wrong. After all, emergency rooms exist for a reason!

Will I be boycotting Papa John's? No. I've already stopped eating there.

I used to eat from one within easy walking distance of my house. I stopped when the shopping center was knocked down to make way for a vacant lot. It was a shame. I much preferred their pizza to Pizza Hut, Pizza Boli's, Dominoes, etc.

I started again when I started visiting Yummy at her apartment in Baltimore. I stopped after ongoing horrible service from the delivery people and managers backing out on promises of free pizza to make up for the 3 hour delivery times.

Looking around online I found that horrible delivery service is standard for Papa John's. More than that, Papa John's is rather abusive of their staff, particularly the delivery people.

Horrible bosses that manage to run a company well is one thing. Papa John's is not that thing.

So I gave them up as being dicks a long time ago and wrote to them to tell them why. A boycott does no good if they don't know why they're losing business.

Still, for their many sins against employees and open hostility to the health of Americans as a whole, Papa John's can Sod Off.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Movie Review: Skyfall

This was not the James Bond movie I expected. Looking at the trailer I was expecting a movie like that first Mission Impossible movie. Where MI6 was destroyed or shut down or something and James Bond would be the last secret agent. Nobody in MI6 could be trusted. Bond and a secret new Q would meet in a museum to receive new toys because it wasn't safe to meet otherwise.

That's not what happened at all, but I don't want to tell too much. Think "Moby Dick". Think "Wrath of Kahn". This is a movie about obsession. One guy who thinks he was wronged. Not by James Bond. By M. And he's got a plan to bring her down by destroying things around her. But who it is remains a secret until late in the movie.

The movie also has a strong theme of new vs. old. Triggers vs buttons, young Bond vs older Bond, classic Bond vs current Bond, Cold War vs terrorist age, and on and on, etc., etc.

Of special note: I liked the camera work early in the movie when they were fighting on top of a train going through a tunnel. These fight scenes aren't rare, but often the camera is shooting from somewhere that would normally be on the other side of a wall. This time the camera remain (mostly) within the tunnel. This let to some strange shots and angles that let to a claustrophobic feeling to go with the action.

Of additional note: This movie is not the end of the original planned trilogy. The third script in the series that started with "Casino Royale" wasn't good enough and Daniel Craig said he wouldn't do it. Apparently, they came up with a new one instead of fixing the old. No complaints here. It means I don't have to get the second movie. I bought "Casino Royale" and I'll get this one, though. So now I'll own two Bond movies.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday Links: November 9

Game: Nuclear Plant - fend off the creatures long enough to work a lab and grow a plant in hopes of saving the Earth. [link]

George Lucas gets payback on obstructionist neighbors. [link]

100 "best" sci-fi movies of all time. [link]
I'll leave it to you to debate the order.

Given a tablet, teachers are unnecessary. [link]

Battle of the Bonds

HMS Bounty sunk by Sandy. [link]

The trippiest damn TV you've ever seen. [link]

The toughest bridge in the world.

Trees suck. Like a LOT!

Troll or idiot? Wait for the man-on-the-street interview. [link]

"Due to the substantial amounts of granite in their construction, many public buildings including Australia's Parliament House and New York Grand Central Station, would have some difficulty in getting a licence to operate if they were nuclear power stations." [link]

9 most anti-science candidates for office. [link]
#1 - Denny Rehberg - lost
#2 - Paul Broun - won, but there were 4,000 write in votes for Charles Darwin
#3 - Joe Manchin - won
#4 - Richard Mourdock - lost
#5 - Dean Heller - won
#6 - Tom Coburn - Can't find
#7 - Hank Johnson - won
#8 - Michele Bachman - won... barely
#9 - Todd Akin - lost

Why Pixar is worth more than LucasFilms. [link]

The average distance between stars is 4,150 light years. [link]
That's just not fair. You're putting the space between galaxies up against the space between stars within the galaxies.

Smugglers screw up. [link]

Get a text when the ISS passes over you. [link,]

Skeleton of messenger pigeon from WWII found with message still attached. [link]

The Obama Conspiracy Theories. [link]

Sweet radios. [link]

It's pretty common to survive plane crashes. [link]

Walmart continues to be a dick. [link]

People found the debates funnier than popular sitcoms. [link]

Amazon vs everyone. [link]

Brits have invaded 9 out of 10 countries. [link]

Facts about Presidents... that I didn't actually finish. [link]

Evolution of type. [link]

Analysis of the dragon skeleton in Skyrim. [link]

Sesame Street to do a hurricane episode where Big Bird's nest gets destroyed. [link]

David Tennant: cybernetic Jedi trainer.

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are both up for another Star Wars movie. [link]

Porsche headlights great for growing pot. Thieves have noticed. [link]

Rules for writing detective novels. [link]

A pretty good video of costumes at London Comic Con.

What happens when wizards drink too many potions?

Device for testing the strength of gunpowder. [link]

How MST3K picked what movies to mock. (they watched a LOT of movies) [link]

The most indebted man in the world. [link]

MIT Gangnam Style.

Leaf blower based kitten rescue.

Windows 95 was written by Cthulhu. Just check the error messages. [link]

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Found in new house

I'm busy. So here's a picture of something I found in the basement of my new house. Isn't it pretty? Ooooh. Aaaah.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Sod Off Wednesday: Election Day Aftermath

Kinda hard to be grumpy today.

Florida is trying to work out their own election, but nobody cares because Obama has a 97 electoral college vote lead. Sorry Supreme Court. If it makes you feel any better, by overturning the 2000 election and throwing us into 8 years of utter crap you made sure that a black and a woman could be taken seriously as candidates in 2008. So, in a way, you helped determine this election, too.

Two states, Maryland and Maine, have legalized gay marriage by popular vote instead of judicial decree or legislation. A third, Minnesota, tossed out a law that would have banned gay marriage there. I'm hearing that there's so many gay marriage bills out to help drive Democrats to the polls where they'll also vote Obama. Interestingly enough, that's why there were so many gay marriage bills up for vote in 2004. Only back then they were trying to push the Republican base to the polls. And it worked then, too.

Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana for taxation. I didn't even know these bills were being discussed, let alone voted on. It's still illegal at the federal level so we should have some interesting years coming up on that front. I'm more of a fan of industrial marijuana, but I see this as progress on that front as well.

In Virginia they passed a constitutional amendment to make it harder for the government to practice eminent domain. This is the first time since Bush decided not to veto the Do-Not-Call Act that Republicans and I have agreed on something.

Congress is still split. That's unfortunate. But Democrats have a better hold on the Senate now.

So let me grumble about the pundits on the radio. Everyone was talking about what the Republicans did wrong. Maybe it was demonizing the hispanics. Maybe Americans don't agree with their economic policies. Maybe it was... Personally, I think that a whole lot of people recognize that the recovery is being hindered by a unified Republican party that not only fights Obama's recovery plans, but refuses to put out any of their own in case Obama gets credit for it. I think it's due to the GOP showing that they're happy to watch the whole country burn rather than risk something positive happening under Obama's watch. Or maybe I'm not the only one who remembers how things were 4 years ago. Maybe there's some other people that remember that Republican policies mean walling off Mexico while leaving the ports largely unsecured. Maybe they remember scrubbing oil from beaches because Republicans think oil wells should be inspected by the people running them. Maybe it's because Republicans like having to pretend to be Canadian when traveling overseas. Maybe it's the Tea Party actually voting for the guy who promises to raise taxes and balance the budget instead of the guy who promises to cut taxes for the rich and increase spending for the military.

OK, I'm stopping now.

Mitt Romney! The GOP didn't particularly like you, but you were the least insane. The Democrats didn't like you. And now most of America joins me in bidding your a heartfelt sod off.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The city of Wise

Sign found on the way home from St Louis last May.
Interesting only because my last name is Wise.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Yesterday you were supposed to set your clocks back an hour.
Tomorrow you're not supposed to set the country back 50 years.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Links: November 2

Clouds Over Cuba - an internet based short(ish) documentary about the buildup and passing of the Cuban Missile Crisis with plenty of optional material. [link]

Turn your copy of Doom 3 into a close knockoff of Thief. [link]

Tommy Lee Jones in a series of Japanese commercials for an energy drink.

Washington DC is trying to develop an internet voting system. They made it available for hacking to test vulnerabilities. This article talks about what one group of hackers did. [link]

"Obama walked into a horrendous economic situation and has begun to turn it around." - Colin Powell [link]

It's next to impossible to fire a cop. [link]

Functional(ish) anatomic models made of glass. [link]

Homemade Myst style linking book. [link]

A squid with human style teeth. [link]

Ballmer Peak is real. A specific level of alcohol does improve your mental performance. [link]

The Elmer's Glue cow is married to Elsie, the Borden Dairy cow. [link]

Don't tape your windows before a storm. [link]

Parallel parked cars can be towed.

The heat from this style of solar plant in the Mojave could fry birds and flip planes. [link]
I saw one of these in Fallout: New Vegas. In fact, it may have been this one.

Dark spots on Mars appear to be made of glass. [link]

Read the bit about the 11 midgets. [link]

HTTP error #418 [link]

Six kids raised by animals. [link]

Frosting based street art. [link]

How H.P. Lovecraft fans deal with telemarketers. [link]

At what point do you think it might be a good idea to run?

Fun (for limited definitions of fun) with paradoxes. [link]

A mean trick to play on an elevator.

Top entries for Wildlife Photographer of the Year. [link]

Is it legal to kill a zombie? [link]

"A Republican is somebody’s who’s been mugged (by a negro); a Democrat is someone who has had the largest hurricane in the history of humanity fuck up his state beyond measure at which point he learns that “private enterprise” and “government so small you could drown it in a bathtub” are not the best way to deliver life-saving services to an entire third of the country." [link]

Luxury goods repo-men. [link]

That time humans almost went extinct. [link]

There's a Darth Vader head on the National Cathedral! [link]
Now I gotta go back!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Lookit d' baybe squerrle!

This is Rocky. He was found at the bottom of the my stairs a bit before dawn a week or two back. Just before he was found there was a thud and a sound like some kind of siren that would normally precede a major city vanishing in a cloud. I had no idea squirrels could make sounds like that.

The mother was heard running around of the roof franticly looking for Rocky. I knew they sounded like that.

He was really very sweet and snuggly. Of course, he was concussed after falling from a nest and onto my kitchen floor. He became more active later, but never clawed or bit. He tried to climb me a few times. He was always eager to go back into his towel. That's all he really wanted.

The rescue place said Rocky was 5 weeks old, very fat, and will be fine. Yummy called to check. He's fine.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sod Off Wednesday: Halloween

People who protest Halloween need to sod off.

Happy Halloween.

I went looking for my giant bow
so I could use this costume again.
Alas, I couldn't find it. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween movie suggestions

I have a couple of lite-horror movie suggestions for you. Horror movies that made me laugh.

I just finished watching "The Cabin in the Woods". Have you ever seen a movie that can't be marketed? It fits no genre? Any trailer that tells you what it's about would ruin it? The only thing that can tell you if it's good is if someone who likes the same movies as you recommends it? Sure you have. The Princess Bride, The Matrix, Moon, stuff like that. The Cabin in the Woods is like that. The only possible marketing goes:

"Alright, look, Joss Whedon is involved. What else do you need to know? Can you just trust us on this? Alright, it... it's like he misses working on Buffy. I know the poster and the name make it look like another 'college kids in a cabin' type movie, and it is, but it's so much more than that. It's scary in the same way a Buffy episode was scary. Not like that silent smiling man episode, that freaked me out, but like the other stuff. But still with the sense of humor."

I'm gonna make Yummy watch it. She doesn't do horror movies well, but I think she's going to love this one. It'll probably end up in my permanent DVD collection.

The next movie I'm gonna make Yummy watch is "Dale and Tucker vs Evil." This also starts with a bunch of college students heading for a cabin in the woods. Along the way they meet a couple of creepy rednecks. The film then starts following the rednecks. They're just a couple of guys looking to spend a weekend in the woods. But they keep encountering the college students and accidentally terrifying them. When the students start to fight back they start dying in hilarious ways.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Links: October 26

Google engineer Jeff Dean has earned his own Chuck Norris style list. [link]

A cloud of water vapor that holds 140 trillion times the water on Earth has been found around a black hole 10 billion light years away. [link]

The original Coke recipe? [link]

Old paintings with the people removed. [link]

Other uses for tampons. [link]

A long list of life hacks (some of which you've seen here before). [link]

The problems with stealing paintings for profit. [link]

Pictures of Google data centers. [link]

Just read the part under "I always thought Garamond sounded like a weapon name." [link]

Pics of young Mitt Romney being a jackass. [link]

Chuck Yeager reenacts his historic flight. [link]
Honestly, it's a better headline than story.

It's a thoroughly told story, but once again, the death of Bin Laden. [link]

$50,000 to the person who brings the FTC the (figurative) heads of the robocallers! [link]

A whale trying to speak. [link]

The Taliban wants the media to cover the up side of shooting teenage girls. [link]

Modern chain mail. [link]

For your next party with the dwarves. [link]

David Lo Pan Style.

I may need this stand for my next TV. [link]
But where does the Playstation fit?

Infusions of young blood may actually help old folks health in many areas. [link]

More realistic versions of cereal box characters. [link]

Gangnam Busters.

Behind the scenes on horror movies. [link]

I don't mind catching fire. I just don't want my sunscreen to feel greasy. [link]

10 HP pram.

A bigot speaks in Missouri... oops, maybe not.

Tattoos that started as paintings. [link]

"It makes Republicans look like knee-dragging, still-tending, tobacco-spitting Neanderthals,"[link]

American and what they know about foreign policy. [link]

If I spent much time at the lake I might need one of these.

About a solitary cell. [link]

OK. It's late and I'm done.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A chat with the printer

Tonight, the part of the printer will be performed by Mr. H.R. Gumby and I will be played by someone slightly more British, but equally snarky.

Hello, Printer. I have this lovely document for you to print. Just one page. Can you handle it?
Printer? Hello. Print test page?
Processsssss... You have reached the printer sharing software of Bruce Muckup. I have nodded off due to a prolonged lack of use. However, if you chuck something heavy at my keyboard I'll be all too happy to
[insert sound of a dictionary failing to maintain it's orbit right on top of a keyboard]
I'll just pass this document along for you then, alright?
What was that?
Yes. That's great. My document?
What was that? A fighter jet?
Mmmm... I see. Perhaps you could print that first and cool off later?
And snow skiing Terminator sound?
Mmmmhm. OK. I mean my dot matrix printer usually knew to just print on the paper, but I understand if you have trouble hitting a sheet of paper from less than a millimeter away. You go right ahead.
No, no. You're doing fine. But if you might step it up? There is a bit of a queue forming.
What? You have four trays of the damn stuff.
Oh, man. The Bulk Feeder never works. You get all jammed up. It's like feeding the dog cheese.
You have the exact same paper in tray 1. You know that. Just use it.
Oooh... So there is. I'll use that, then.
Thank god.
Oh shit. Where?
(note: usually the display highlights what part of the printer is jammed. This time it really was highlighting the display screen instead of anywhere that paper might go.)
Your monitor?
You mangled a sheet of paper so badly that you managed to jam it up through a data cable and into that little computer monitor of yours?
How is it that, despite the lack of sensors in that area, you managed to figure out that paper made it there?
There are some point in your logic worthy of consideration, however, let me try something else. If I pull open this drawer and remove the piece of paper I find there that should clear the jam.
But didn't you already...?

Oh shit. Where?
Didn't we cover this already?
What monitor?
The wheels then?
Right. I'll remove this piece of paper from the same drawer the last one came from and close you back up!
Where now? Your uterus?
And by monitor you mean...?
Ah, this same drawer as last time. Perhaps you'd like your bulk feeder back.
I am going to castrate the entire Canon management structure with a piece of letter sized paper.

[skipping ahead]

Has someone actually been doing that? It would explain so much.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sod Off Wednesday: October 23

A quick word about the Presidential foreign policy debate the other day.

Mitt Romney said during that debate that our international influence hadn't increased since Obama took office.

Four years ago Americans couldn't travel outside of this country safely. Our own government advised that we pretend to be Canadian even in friendlier parts of Europe. We had become so disliked in the previous eight years that Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize just for not being George Bush.

I don't think Romney would be another George Bush, but we still have a lot more rebuilding to do before we start adopting policies that even resemble Republican tactics.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I grudgingly signed up for Google+. I avoided LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, ... whatever it was that MySpace tossed out, I skipped them all. I have e-mail. I have chat. I don't need other stuff. Several times a week I put some thought into shutting down the blog. It takes time that I could be using to whittle down my massive unread book collection.

I finally signed up because the new boss wants video teleconference abilities in our offices. He's located in Texas and we're located north of Washington, D.C. But there's no room to set this up. There's 8-10 of us crowded around a table at staff meetings. The room barely fits the table and the table doesn't seat all of us anymore. To put the monitor and camera on one wall would take away a seat or two and the camera wouldn't be able to see the people sitting at that end of the table. There'd need to be a camera on both sides of the room. Or knock out a wall and put two of the more useless rooms together.

I tried to figure out another option. This new Army base has a different firewall configuration than the previous one did. YouTube is accessible for some reason. Apple system updates are not. Maybe Google Hangouts would work. Imagine my surprise to find out that it does work! Imagine my further surprise when I found out it only works on my computer. Everyone else on our floor gets blocked.

If you haven't seen Google Hangouts, then let me explain. It's a multi-person video chat. All participants line up at the bottom of the screen and one takes over a much larger screen. I think that person is selected by who is doing the talking. With this we'd be able to break into smaller groups for the meeting or even just participate from home.

But, alas, the firewall gets in the way. And I can't find a way out of Google+ without shutting down everything. Gmail, Blogger, YouTube, Docs, Picasa, ... I'm assuming my phone would hold onto those contacts, but I can't be sure. So I've tried to leave the forms blank and make information as invisible as possible. Alas, I can't change my birthday to the Eleventeenth of Screwyou. I have populated my circles with all the people who have invited me over the last year or so. But I'm not getting any updates from people who aren't actually friends of mine. Luckily my friends don't post too much.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Review: Looper

We finally saw Looper. Took us long enough.

The basic idea is that gangsters from 30 years in the future are sending people back in time so people in the present can kill them. Why they're sending back live people instead of corpses is never made clear. All of the killers get retired this way. Typical payment is made with silver bars strapped to the body. One day they kill a person with gold bars. That person is themselves from the future. They know they have only 30 years left to live. Why they kill themselves instead of having someone else kill them is never made clear.

Early in the movie you get the impression that this will be something like the original Terminator movie. What's going on must always happen. A self fulfilling paradox. But the movie messes with you. They know you're going to be picking the movie apart and throw you some distractions and false leads.

I have to applaud Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance. He has to play his character as Bruce Willis would play it. A bit of makeup and a few mannerisms and he comes off as Bruce Willis with a splash of DeNiro.

When you leave this movie you're going to want to talk about it with someone. You'll likely poke some holes in it. You may find some holes that were probably there, but got cut. But finding them is half the fun.

I liked the movie. At the moment I think I'll want it on DVD, but I may change my mind.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Links: October 19

Alpha Centauri has a planet! [link]

About time they got this green street built. It was planned years ago. [link]

I'd been talking to my Boeing engineer uncle about the feasibility of taking apart a C-17 and putting in a field near the family farm. I mean back when I saw one available on eBay. I was going to make it a house. This guy did it with a smaller plane. [link]

Brain damage making people into savants and how to reproduce the effect. [link]

Edison, Tesla, Ford, and, like it or not, Jobs. [link]

Salt art that requires a lot of work. [link]

Read about the drawings. It makes them a lot more interesting. [link]

10 things learned from running for office. [link]

The typewritten letter about Tom Hanks being bribed with a typewriter was real. Here's a bit more on the story. [link]

25 shows that accomplished interesting things. [link]

The worst sound in the world. [link]

A brief history of household wiring. [link]

Posters for 6 women in science. [link]

An explanation of Romney's tax plan. [link]

Paul Revere did not say "The Redcoats are coming." Due to the large number of people loyal to England who might overhear, he said "The Regulars are coming out!" [link]

The oldest cat ever was 38 years old. [link]

The Bunny Kitty Suicides.

Wolverine and Psy doing the Gangnam dance with claws.

Team Fortress Style.

Imagine if this off road vehicle prototype from the 50's had been accepted. What would they look like now?

The start of jack o lantern season. [link]

The new S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series won't have any of the character from The Avengers and related movies. None but Agent Coulson! [link]

Lego Batcave. [link]

A planet with the power to really screw up the economy if we were to visit it. [link]

Something we're glad we didn't find on the beach. [link]

NBC has changed their mind about their reboot of The Munsters. But since the pilot cost $10 million they're still going to air it as a Halloween special. [link]

Horror movies available on YouTube. [link]

How to make a 9 layer fluid density tower.

Acoustic barcodes. [link]

Strange graves. [link]

How to piss off your cat. [link]

The political leaning of states over the years. [link]

Handheld 3D scanner.

Endeavor drives through LA. [link]
I know that the space program is moving in new areas, but it still feels like a funeral procession. The greatest and most moving funeral procession ever.

Bacteria cultured from cash. [link]

DNA has a half life of 521 years. [link]

And a bigot-level Christian that pretended to be gay for a year. [link]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Felix Baumgartner

I used to fancy myself a novelist. One of the stories I outlined but never wrote was a murder mystery on a space elevator. A couple of the passengers were going to set the record for the highest sky dive and at some point their outfits would be used in an escape attempt. Either in an aerial chase scene or by getting rid of one so everyone would think the killer had escaped already.  It was inspired by a Star Trek: Voyager scene where the half Klingon woman was doing that on the holodeck. The skydiving in a space suit part came another step towards coming true when Felix Baumgartner took a flying leap from 24 miles up. He reached a top speed of 834 mph or about 1.24 time the speed of sound. From that altitude it took him only 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

I can see my house from here!
It wasn't known what would happen when a body reached the speed of sound outside of a vehicle.
The temperatures if the suit failed could freeze him to death.
The pressure is low enough that... well, the previous record holder's hand had swollen to twice it's normal size because it was partially exposed. So, bad things.
UV radiation at that altitude is 100,000x what it is on the surface. Luckily he wouldn't be spending much time up there.
As he falls, an uncontrolled spin could generate G-forces sufficient to force the blood to his hands and feet and cause major damage or death.

Any guess when Richard Branson makes his own attempt?

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm not here, beaches!

I was out Monday and will remain out Tuesday. I've got out of town guests. The chap in the picture was encountered at Bethany Beach, Deleware. He's demanding to know why we're still there if The Season is over.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Links: October 12

An interview about the use of navies as a basis for science fiction space stories. [link]

This election will likely determine interrogation methods in the near future. [link]

Earth's Mightiest Pugs.
...all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll whisper "no" bark my fool head off.

Iron Old Man [link]

Spider attack on a wasp caught in amber. [link]

There was a plan for Jurassic Park 4 that died the death it deserved. [link]
Although I can totally see the Syfy Channel making it into a series.

Another sci-fi inspired propulsion system that can get us to Mars in only 6 weeks. [link]
Yeah, I remember the magnetic constriction plasma drive that was developed 12 years ago or so. It could make the trip that fast, too. And whatever happened to ion drives? Two or three probes and done?

The most interesting man in the world survived a whole episode of Star Trek while wearing a red shirt. [link]

The hunt for Dyson Spheres is on. [link]
"It's strange to write a serious research proposal and have half of your bibliography be science fiction."

Asteroid mining (paid) interns wanted. [link]
I am, alas, too old.

I gotta get a copy of the Oct 3 Entertainment Weekly so I can strip it for it's circuitry. [link]

Maine GOP attacks candidate for playing World of Warcraft. [link]

A hotel offers sleep painting. [link]

Dwarfism may prevent cancer and diabetes. [link]

Endangered water walking, fish eating spiders being released back into the wild. [link]

Scout denied Eagle Scout award because he's gay. [link]
Ironically, the project that should have earned him the award is a tolerance wall.

I'm going to remind readers of the site It's for Eagle Scouts who are returning their badges because they're ashamed of what Boy Scouts have become.

tl;dr - who invented fire? [link]

Abortion rates drop when free birth control is available. [link]

Blinky amateur satellite. [link]

Space X drone docks with the ISS. [link]

How cork is made. [link]

Different species of ant make different kinds of home. [link]

The shifting of value between quantifiable and non-quantifiable states. [link]
I made that sound drier than it really is.