dglenn: Spaceship superimposed on a whirling vortex (departure)

I propose an "all-purpose counter-protest" meme:

Equal Rights for Robots

Inspired by Charles Kline. (It seems to me that this could be used by folks on all sides of various issues, as easily by people I disagree with as by reasonable people ... folks who agree with me. Hence "all-purpose". Or does surrealism itself have an inherent political implication?)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 04:22pm on 2007-05-22 under , ,

"Hey, what's the name of that tune ... uh, the one that goes da Da dee deedle dum, da Dee dee Dada diddle Dum?"

There exist search engines for melodies; you enter, by various means, a bit of music, and the search engine tries to find a known tune that contains that phrase. This came up in conversation sometime in the last couple of weekends, and I don't remember whom I was talking to that seemed surprised and/or skeptical that such a thing exists; so, in the hope that it was someone who reads this, and also with the idea that there are some folks here who missed it the last time folks were saying "oh cool, lookit this" or had simply forgotten about it since then (or forgotten the location anyhow) ... I figured it was time to mention such things again. It's pretty cool, though I expect that ten years from now we'll have better tools and a more complete index and this will look clunky in comparison.

Musipedia has such a search engine, and there is another (or maybe another instance of the same one?) at Melodyhound.

Here's the thing: when I say "enter a bit of music", you have a bunch of ways to do so:

Note that Parsons Code only requires that you be able to give a series of "it goes higher / it goes lower / the note is repeated" indications; you don't need to actually know the intervals or a starting pitch or be able to notate the rhythm.

I think Melodyhound and Musipedia only search Musipedia's own music database, not every notation site on the web. I'm not sure whether there exists a whole-web (or even "registered with the big-name tune index sites" portion of the web) search engine optimized for finding tunes based on ABC notation JC's ABC Tune Match seems pretty effective at searching the web for ABC files based on titles -- it found The Armigerous Goose on my own site -- and it looks like it's supposed to also search on tune-fragments, but I haven't been able to make it do so), but I have noticed a bunch of ABC applications that'll search your own locally-stored ABC archive. If anyone knows of more general melody search tools than these, please link to them in a comment!

But as long as I'm posting links to musical tools on the web that I may have last mentioned long enough ago to warrant a re-mention, I'll also point out a couple of ABC resources on the web:

  • If you haven't gotten around to installing any ABC programs and find yourself holding a chunk of ABC notation, ABC Convert-A-Matic is a web site that lets you paste an ABC tune into an input box, and generates GIF and PDF sheet music for you in standard notation, plus MIDI.
  • Similarly, if you don't already have a program that transposes ABC files for you, Jens Wollschläger's ABC Transposer transposes an ABC tune up or down via a web interface.

(So, is it late enough in the day for those of you at work to start whistling into your computers yet?)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 01:04pm on 2006-12-12 under ,

It was worth closing down all my browser windows to install the latest Javascript plugin on the bedroom Linux machine (despite my continued vague distrust of Javascript, like Dr. McCoy's unease about the Transporter), just to watch this rant about Pachelbel's Canon in D (via [livejournal.com profile] cellio and [livejournal.com profile] siderea, who both got it from [livejournal.com profile] ian_gunn).

Fellow musicians and music lovers, you really want to hear this rant.

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:36pm on 2006-10-12 under ,

I had a Swiss Army Knife as a child, and I thought it was pretty darned nifty ... but it was nothing like THIS !

( Spotted in [livejournal.com profile] skredle's journal, who got it from [livejournal.com profile] fragbert.)

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 08:59am on 2006-08-01 under ,

By way of a link from [livejournal.com profile] cortejo: "Goldihat and the Three Peers", by Maister Iago ab Adam. "Once upon a time there were three Peers: a Birdy Peer, a Shrubby Peer, and a Chivy Peer. One morning Shrubby Peer and Chivy Peer awoke to find that Birdy Peer had stayed up all night preparing an elaborate breakfast of porridge [...]" Enjoy. (May be a bit opaque to folks not at least passingly familiar with SCA culture.)

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:04pm on 2006-06-05 under ,

I'm in a sort of in-between state: enough of my energy has come back to really really want to start Getting Things Done, but am still moving more slowly than I'd like. I'm making progress on a few bits of my severely backlogged to-do list, less quickly than I'd like but with a feeling of relief at making any progress for a change.

In between, I figured I'd share a couple of things for y'all's entertainment. First, I've forgotten whom I mentioned this to at Balticon, but several of my friends will probably enjoy it anyhow: Poul Anderson's introduction to atomic theory (in English) without using any non-Germanic words, "Uncleftish Beholdings"

The underlying kinds of stuff are the *firststuffs*, which link together in sundry ways to give rise to the rest. Formerly we knew of ninety-two firststuffs, from waterstuff, the lightest and barest, to ymirstuff, the heaviest. Now we have made more, such as aegirstuff and helstuff.

The firststuffs have their being as motes called *unclefts*. These are mightly small [...]

Second, via Elbows, the sort of USB memory stick that I would expect to find plugged into [livejournal.com profile] number_12's computer. Though personally I'd like the idea more if one of the computers I were going to plug it into had a thematically related casemod.

dglenn: Lego-ish figure in blue dress, with beard and breasts, holding sword and electric guitar (lego-blue)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:29am on 2006-04-16 under ,

Just in case any of you haven't already seen this since Friday, here's a culinary link for the holiday: Easturducken (Easter turducken), though it's bunny-chick-egg instead of turkey-duck-chicken, so other names have been suggested, such as "bunpeegg". "Making Easter turducken is, fortunately, much easier than a traditional turducken, as it abandons all that pesky protein while fully embracing the empty carbohydrates and fat. While technically Easter turducken is a dessert and traditional turducken a main course, they should never be consumed in the same meal. That would be heresy."

And as an extra bonus, if you make it according to their directions you have an excuse to use a Dremmel moto-tool for cooking.

"Voilà, the loathsome hollow bunny is transformed into several thousand calories, as God intended. Many children wonder around Easter how it is that bunnies lay eggs. As a side benefit, Easter turducken illustrates clearly that this 'theory' is wrong. Obviously bunnies lay chickens, which then lay the eggs. Mystery solved."

(Unfortunately I'm no more likely to eat Easturducken than a Thanksgiving turducken, because Peeps are eeevil, but I enjoyed reading this bit of culinary engineering and am having fun imagining certain friends bouncing around on the resulting sugar-high.)

dglenn: Me in poufy shirt, kilt, and Darth Vader mask, playing a bouzouki (vader)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:25pm on 2006-04-14 under

Still feeling crappy; trying to get past a pounding headache ... but didn't want to leave this for the next time I get around to a 'link sausage' entry, given the sorts of friends I've got (though it was published fifteen months ago so many of you may have already seen it): Norse 'Intelligent Design'. With author's commentary. (Spotted in a locked entry on my friendspage.)

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 09:03am on 2006-01-23 under

[I'm handing this off to the 'at' daemon, so here's hoping I haven't screwed up the HTML somewhere... I've I have, I'll fix it after I wake up.]

  • Porn Fonts -- need I actually need to say more? (Okay, I'll say this much: a few are readable fonts with recognizeable letters, and the rest are more just Dingbats-like collections of small graphics -- or as one wag referred to them, "dongbats".)

  • The 'Wrathful Dispersion' controversy, by [livejournal.com profile] q_pheevr

  • Anyone's cell phone records available for a fee: "Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts. Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official. Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often. And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company."

  • The Idiotarod, a race across NYC on the 28th of this month: "The Iditarod is the famous long-distance race in which yelping dogs tow a sled across Alaska. Our Idiotarod is pretty much the same thing, except that instead of dogs, it's people, instead of sleds, it's shopping carts, and instead of Alaska it's New York City." They say they swiped the idea from folks in San Fransisco. The cost to enter is "Dignity. Plus, there is a $5 per person entry fee." (by way of That Mailing List)

  • The History of BASIC and a companion piece, the History of the C language family (again from That Mailing List). Be prepared for Major Snarkitude.

  • The Advertising Slogan Generator, a silly little CGI script, which I spotted on a mailing list under the heading "Sloganize your name" ... and the output of which I expect to start seeing pop up on folks journals any minute now ... Though I found the slogan it came up with for me unsettling: "You'll Never Put A Better Bit Of Glenn On Your Knife." [Come to think of it, the next name I put in also produced a result that conjured ... interesting images: "I Can't Believe I Ate The Whole The Homespun Ceilidh Band."] Oooh, on the same site they've got Sheep Poetry, very much like a pair of ideas I had a long time ago and never got around to implementing! (I was tempted to spraypaint words on the sides of a herd of cattle some night, and enjoy the self-rearranging "refrigerator magnet poetry" they would produce the next day when they woke up ... I decided that programming virtual cows in a screensaver or something would be less likely to lead to my arrest -- or being gored or trampled -- but I never got around to that either.) It needs more words, and the sheep need to move, but it's a start...

  • I haven't sat down to try to read this yet (I plan to, but I think I'd do better with a copy of Larousse de Poche in my lap than constantly flipping over to Babelfish when I try to get through it with my rusty French), but "Tintin en Irak" (a new Tintin story usng recycled Tintin art and new words) looks like it might be interesting. [Though goodness knows there are plenty of authentic Tintin tales -- already translated even -- that I haven't read yet, which I'd like to get my hands on some day. And some stories I read parts of in magazines where they were serialized and never found the ends of.]

  • The Episcopal Diocese of Washington reacts to NBC's television series, The Book of Daniel, in The Blog of Daniel. I've only skimmed so far, but it looks a lot more interesting (not to mention more positive) than the howls of outrage from the religious far-right fundamentalists, (who started talking about how wrong the show before anyone had even seen it). For folks unaware of why the Episcopal reaction would be especially relevant: the title character is an Episcopal priest. I've got a bunch of thoughts of my own about the first three episodes, to write up ... well I hope to get around to that sometime this week.

  • The Nation has published its Dictionary of Republicanisms, including such entries as: "compassionate conservatism (n): Poignant concern for the very wealthy" and "simplify (v): To cut the taxes of Republican donors"

  • [livejournal.com profile] realinterrobang has some observations regarding how gendered occupational stereotypes are perpetuated (and to a meaningful extent, enforced), as well as a followup survey asking for other folks' (gut-level / socially-conditioned) impressions of which jobs have default genders attached (free-response, not an LJ-poll).
dglenn: Photo of clouds shaped like an eye and arched eyebrow (sky-eye)

I don't feel like saving this until I've got another "link sausage" entry ready to post, so for this afternoon's entertainment I give you this link to: King Kong v. Iron Chef Godzilla!

"Godzilla! A legend and word of fear in Tokyo Cuisine, Godzilla specialized in barebcuing things with his terrible radioactive breath. He retired during the Seventies,and a recent comeback attempt in the United States failed. Now he comes back here in Kitchen Stadium to take on King Kong. Can he do it? Does he still have what it takes? Or will the Challenger's Polynesian Raw Cuisine send him back to Monster Island? The heat will be on!"

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:54pm on 2005-12-26 under

If I've left off a source credit for a link I got from you, please forgive me. I've been even less organized than usual lately, and am gathering these from notes scattered across a half dozen different machines.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:55pm on 2005-09-30 under

I had a couple of browser crashes and restarts ... and lost track of where I found some of these.

  • Snopes.com has a section dedicated to Katrina-related rumours and urban legends. An obviously important resource for anyone reading, writing, or arguing about this topic.

  • Divine Proportions: Rational Trigonometry to Universal Geometry, by N J Wildberger, promises to replace transcendental trig functions with rational functions. It looks interesting, but I retain some cautious skepticism for now. Note that he's not suggesting that sin, cos, and tan can be replaced by rationals; he's using "quadrance" (square of distance, thus avoiding that square root when you use the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the distance between points in the Cartesian plane) and "spread" (replacing angle with a ratio between the quadrance of a hypotenuse and the quadrance of an altitude to describe how quickly two lines diverge). While I can understand the desire to minimize irrationals and to have functions easy to calculate, I'm not sure this approach is actually easirer to learn. I'll have to wait until I get my hands on a copy of the book to decide that -- if I can get past conventional circle-trig seeming easy to me because I learned it so long ago. The bit in the blurb that gives me serious pause is the claim that, "It develops a complete theory of planar Euclidean geometry over a general field without any reliance on 'axioms'." That sounds ... suspicious to me.

  • An irreverent Career Retrospective of God (yes, from a "mocking intelligent design" perspective). Cutely illustrated. "A gifted child with a talent for creating 'life forms', God showed promise early in his career by creating an array of simple yet elegant designs [...]" The 'history' presented here does make sense of the fossil record, but is unlikely to cheer ID proponents. I liked, "At this point God sought out therapy, where it was suggested that he try some self-portraiture." Need I even bother with a warning that you shouldn't read it if such portrayals are likely to offend you?

  • Looking for the few places to live in the US that aren't as at high a risk of disaster as those places that "people are stupid to live in"? Perhaps this map of presidential disaster declarations by county, 1965-01-01 to 2003-06-01 will provide useful clues.

  • Editor and Publisher examines media coverage of the UN 'leak' note -- a bit of background on how the photo came to be published, but mostly paying attention to various newspapers' decisions to cover it.

  • A FAQ about various attempts/proposals to weaken or destroy hurricanes (found indirectly via [livejournal.com profile] hunterkirk) -- examines such ideas as cooling the ocean with dry ice or an iceberg, breaking up a storm with bombs, absorbing or prematurely precipitating a storm's moisture, etc. A common problem is that folks proposing these ideas fail to grasp the size of a hurricane, the area of ocean involved, and just how much energy is involved: "a hurricane releases heat energy at a rate of 50 trillion to 200 trillion watts. (trillion here is used in the U.S. and French sense: a number followed by 12 zeros) This is the equivalent of a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding about every 20 minutes." I found it interesting to read about some of the same ideas we used to toss around on the school bus a long time ago, and why they don't work.

  • Find The Brownie" lists places where Bush is trying to hire unqualified people for important government roles. (Link thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yesthattom, who got it from [livejournal.com profile] rainbear.)

  • Psychopaths may make better stock market investors according to an article about neuroeconomics research. (Though a quick reading leaves me with the impression that the test only applies to particular conditions, or that psychopaths are just better at following financial experts' advice. I'll reread it when I'm less sleepy. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lpetrazickis for the link.))

  • Genesis, with help, from The New Yorker. Delightful. "And the Lord God said, 'Let there be light,' and lo, there was light. But then the Lord God said, 'Wait, what if I make it a sort of rosy, sunset-at-the-beach, filtered half-light, so that everything else I design will look younger??'" And:
    "One word," said the Lord God. "Landscaping. But I want it to look natural, as if it all somehow just happened."
    "Do rain forests," suggested a primitive tribal god, who was known only as a clicking noise.
    "Rain forests here," decreed the Lord God. "And deserts there. For a spa feeling."
    'Which is fresh, but let's give it glow," said Buddha. "Polished stones and bamboo, with a soothing trickle of something."


  • Stick Figure Firefly is pretty self-explanatory ...

  • As whomever I got this link from said, "when Little Golden Books go bad" -- enjoy My Little Golden Book About Zogg. From the introductory blurb: "For the safety of our race (if any still remain) I have translated this book in the hopes that a resistance may arise. Read the baby powder scented Final Solution of our enemies from beyond."
dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 07:42pm on 2005-09-23 under
  • 40KV static charge nearly leads to spontaneous human combustion, leaves charred carpet in man's wake (Reuters headline, "Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction"). "'I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never come across anything like this.'" ... "for a static electricity charge to ignite a carpet, conditions had to be perfect." As the person from whom I snagged the link observed, it's interesting to see something like this actually documented.

  • The coolest blackboard in the world, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] ohiblather, 2005-09-19. Really. If ever a blackboard could be called adorable, this is it.

  • I've got my tinfoil hat on -- song and (Flash) music video. Retro. Cute. Not ROFL funny, but a bit of a giggle and big smiles. And cute. (Link swiped from [livejournal.com profile] donnad)

  • Pink Fluffy Bunny. BIIIIG Pink Fluffy Bunny. Two hundred foot pink fluffy bunny, on a mountain in Italy. "It's supposed to make you feel small, like Gulliver. You walk around it and you can't help but smile." Supposed to stay in place until 2025. Made of wool. (How is that going to do after many seasons?) Link swiped from [livejournal.com profile] chipuni.

  • How to build the Quintessential Sentry Gun: "The idea of this project was to create a fully-automated sentry gun, capable of picking out a human target and accurately tracking and shooting him or her in the heart. Really, the idea was to find a cool robotics project for the summer while I was working at an advertising agency, and I'd only ever seen sentry guns in movies (like Congo) and video games (Half-Life 1, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress Classic). I couldn't find any record of anyone building one, even the military, although it seems likely I just didn't look hard enough. [...] If you're here just to see my little brother get shot with it, scroll to the bottom." A lazy susan, some plywood, a few servos, a camera, and a bunch of code. Oh, and a BB gun. This was a student's summer project, and the page includes notes of a bunch of improvements planned for the future. "There are a number of applications for a sentry gun like this that don't involve putting holes in people. For example, I could put a camera on top and use it for wildlife photography. A squirt gun could be attached, and it could be used to discipline your cat when it tries to jump on the couch...simultaneously watering your couch."(Link via [livejournal.com profile] tdj.)

  • E-nose to sniff out hospital superbugs (New Scientist) Faster warning of outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant staph: "Culture tests routinely used to identify MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) take two or three days to complete. This hampers attempts to manage outbreaks as infected patients remain untreated and at risk of infecting others. DNA-based tests are being trialled that promise to reduce test times to 2 hours, but now UK-based researchers have come up with a test using an electronic sniffer that could cut the time further, to just 15 minutes. [...] Each e-nose is about the size of a pair of desktop PCs and costs about £60,000. The food industry uses similar machines to root out rotten ingredients." I'd noticed as a child that sick people sometimes have a particular smell I just thought of as "smelling sick" (though some of the grownups around insisted that one can't smell that so I must have been imagining things -- yah, I know, those grownups were silly). This quote from the article reminded me of that: "I was operating on neck abscesses on two different patients and noticed their infections had slightly different smells, so I wondered if a machine could work out what the bacterial infections were from the smell alone." (Another link snagged from [livejournal.com profile] tdj.)

  • Rare books in the British Library, scanned for viewing over the 'net, but be warned that these are slow to load even over a broadband connection. Shockwave and non-Shockwave versions of a few tomes so far, Shockwave only for the rest. "Grab a corner and watch as you 'turn the page'" interface which I feel guilty for taking any pleasure in (because it adds overhead without adding functionality ... but it does add something to the subjective experience, at least at first). I was able to get the animated version to work in Safari but not Opera under OS X; have not tried it yet on Windows or Linux. (Link snagged from [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave.) And thanks to a comment by [livejournal.com profile] mscongeniality I can also point out that to celebrate its first birthday, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is making access free from today through Sunday (2005-09-23 to 2005-09-25). Requires registration.

  • Virtual plague infests virtual world -- an "infection" designed to affect World of Warcraft player characters near a particular entity when it was killed, managed to spread to other characters. Apparently NPCs can act as carriers. (Hmm. A WoW QotD and a WoW item here, and I've never played the game. Link swiped from [livejournal.com profile] dianec42.)

  • Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber Dissidents from Reporters Without Borders, looks interesting, though I've not yet read it. (I downloaded the PDF and will peek at it tonight. Found via [livejournal.com profile] twistedchick.)

  • Rolling a handful of weapon-related links into one item ... List of weapons that don't exist, but should, from Uncyclopedia: "This list attempts to describe various weapons that don't exist, but should. To meet the criteria for inclusion on this list, a weapon must theoretically be able to kick a minimum of twelve varieties of ass. Any weapons that kick fewer varieties are unworthy of inclusion." Among others, the list includes Armed monkey, Bracer graters, Chocolate-covered black hole, Double-sided folding chair, Incendiary pants, Road rage gun, Swordchucks, and Sharpened hampster. Related entries include Weapons of Mass Distraction (distinct from the WMD mentioned in the 'weapons that don't exist' entry), Weapons that once existed but shouldn't have, and Weapons that exist but shouldn't. And if you get distracted long enough following links to other Uncyclopedia articles, you can find the entry that includes the text, "Breasts have nipples, which are tiny horns used for fighting. This why Men have nipples." (Caveat: the site contains many tasteless and offensive bits. As far as I can tell, the offensiveness is largely intentional. But there's a lot of funny as well.) If the URLs with apostrophes cause trouble here, try starting with the weapons category page and follow links from there. After that, go look at Turn Your Hamster Into A Fighting Machine
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 12:41am on 2005-09-18 under
  • The Six Dumbest Ideas In Computer Security (plus six "minor dumbs" at the end), by Marcus J. Ranum, provides useful analysis of why each of the ideas in question is ill-advised (even if you disagree with the conclusions, the discussion points out important limitations is these common approaches). "Computer security is a field that has fallen far too deeply in love with the whizzbang-of-the-week and has forsaken common sense. Your job, as a security practitioner, is to question - if not outright challenge - the conventional wisdom and the status quo. After all, if the conventional wisdom was working, the rate of systems being compromised would be going down, wouldn't it?" Pay attention when he says, "Signs that you've got this problem are..."

  • Hamlet -- The Text Adventure: Remember "Adventure", or if you're a young'un, "Zork"? Or "Leather Goddesses of Phobos"? Here's a Shakespearean one with a web interface ... (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] badmagic for the link.)

  • 3,000 images from medieval Danish church murals, indexed by subject (click 'Alfabetisk indeks') and by church (click 'Kirkeindeks'). There's a pop-up translating search terms for English users, fortunately, if you want to use the search box. ( Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bunnyjadwiga for linking to it.)

  • In the biting political criticism department, and in the fashion of Magic: The Gathering, there is now Katrina: The Gathering , with cards representing various pundits, politicians, celebrities, categories of citizens, etc. In addition to illustrations, descriptions, and effects on game play, each card includes a relevant quotation (except one, on which the image itself serves as the quotation).

  • Beauty In Music is a gallery of beautiful classical musicians, describing itself as "the ultimate guide to the hottest women in classical music" (though there is fortunately a section for early music performers as well). Not all the musicians listed/pictured are working as musicians full-time -- and for some reason a few people have found one entry startling or brain-hurting, but I found it unsurprising. Alas, several gorgeous musicians of my acquaintence are not yet listed there ... (A conceptually-related -- but equal-opportunity -- site is the famous Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists, which includes some of my friends.)

  • US State Slogans according to Diesel Sweeties, as linked to by several people. "Oklahoma! Like Texas with humility."

  • Two more that have been going around: The 12 Babes of Christmas ( nominations so far, FAQ) and The 8 Hunks of Hannukah (nominations so far, discussion/acceptances), holiday cheesecake/beefcake popularity contests, the results of which will be photos of female and male LJ cuties displayed for the benefit of everyone's holiday cheer later this year. Both are in the nomination phases now; voting on the nominees who accept their nominations will happen later. (I noticed that I've been nominated as a Christmas babe, but I also notice that text has been added to the nomination page saying that contest is only for "the ladies" and that "males" should be nominated in the other contest ... the phrasing leaves the status of intergendered folks unclear[ [if I want to go into 'rules lawyer' mode], but reading between the lines I suspect I won't be counted as lady enough. Perhaps I should start a third contest, either gender-blind or specifically for transgendered/intergendered/genderqueer folks?)

  • Right-Wing Myths About Katrina, Debunked -- just what it sounds like: right-wing spin-machine talking points countered by facts and links to supporting material. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] leemoyer.)

  • The Flying Spaghetti Monster Game (requires Flash). Touch as many people as possible with your noodly appendage to turn them into Pastafarians while avoiding the school administrators. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] vvalkyri for bringing the game to my attention -- either it wasn't there yet or I overlooked it the last time I went to the site ... or I saw that it needed Flash, was using a machine that didn't have that installed, and later forgot all about it.)

  • Maryland Gas Prices lists highest and lowest gasoline prices in the last day or two, searchable by area and brand, but some areas are missing (Catonsville and Baltimore, for example, so far). Includes a form for reporting prices you've observed, and a link to resources for other states.

  • "Things I've learned from British folk ballads", by Jim MacDonald, who explains that "Nothing's more certain to give you a strong sense of the negative consequences of immoral or imprudent behavior." He starts with "Don't ignore warnings," and goes on from there, listing such examples as, "Avoid situations where the obvious rhyme-word is 'maidenhead'," and, "Going to sea to avoid marrying your sweetie is an option, but if she hangs herself after your departure (and it's even money that she's going to) her Doleful Ghost will arrive on board your ship and the last three stanzas of your life will purely suck." Doleful ghosts appear frequently in these lessons. I found the list hilarious; [livejournal.com profile] anniemal, who knows more of the songs than I do, laughed herself to tears. Do not miss the pop quiz at the end! (And there are additional lessons/advice in the comments, of course.)

dglenn: My face, wearing black beret, with guitar neck in corner of frame (pw34)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 11:00am on 2005-09-10 under
  • Zombies attack American Idol audition, producers ask one of the zombies to audition. The gist:"Muntean organized the zombie horde using the online forum Craigslist. [...] Little did the zombies know that the 'American Idol' organizers had seen the Craigslist ad. 'We've been on 24-hour zombie watch,' said coordinating producer Patrick Lynn. 'We thought it would be fun to have them on the show.'" And a couple of random quotes I thought were cute: one of the zombies said before the attack, "I don't really know what the legal ramifications of a zombie horde are," and late in the article we get the deadpan, "The Austin Police Department says there is no history of zombie-related crime in the city."

  • "Why Coyote doesn't give commandments", by [livejournal.com profile] cadhla: a list of ten commandments the trickster god might give if he were the commandment-giving type. "IV. Adultery Is Actually Pretty Fun. Commit It All You Like. Just Make Sure Everyone Is Cool With It, Or I Will Not Help You Out Once the Hitting Gets Started. --- V. Thou Shalt Not Eat Poisoned Bait. If You Do, Don't Come Whining To Me About It, Because I Am Very Unlikely To Care. Once It Is In Your Mouth, It Is Your Problem, Not Mine. --- [...] VIII. Thou Shalt Not Be A Martyr [...]" Worth a read whatever your religion; wisdom as well as humour.

  • McSweeney's list of Klingon Fairy Tales -- just a list of titles; amusing, very quick read, more smile than LOL. Starts with "Goldilocks Dies With Honor at the Hands of the Three Bears" and ""Snow White and the Six Dwarves She Killed With Her Bare Hands and the Seventh Dwarf She Let Get Away as a Warning to Others"

  • "What Is Conservatism and What Is Wrong with It?" by Philip E. Agre starts off with the observation (which I've also heard from [livejournal.com profile] fidhle), that "most of the people who call themselves 'conservatives' have little notion of what conservatism even is." Historically, "Conservatism is the domination of society by an aristocracy," and thus fundamentally incompatible with democracy. Where it gets interesting is his explanation of how this definition, rather than just being etymological trivia, is actually relevant to current conservativism and why that's bad for most of us. Plenty of bits in here to go "Aha!" at, or to start lively arguments over. "Modern-day liberals often theorize that conservatives use 'social issues' as a way to mask economic objectives, but this is almost backward: the true goal of conservatism is to establish an aristocracy, which is a social and psychological condition of inequality. Economic inequality and regressive taxation, while certainly welcomed by the aristocracy, are best understood as a means to their actual goal, which is simply to be aristocrats." And: "Conservatism in every place and time is founded on deception. The deceptions of conservatism today are especially sophisticated, simply because culture today is sufficiently democratic that the myths of earlier times will no longer suffice." Plenty more such points. Read. Discuss. Just try to keep the discussion below the level of fisticuffs.

  • And just to make sure there's something here to piss off folks on both sides of the aisle, here's a convenient chart explaining How To Be A Good Democrat / How To Be A Good Republican. Snarkiness and oversimplification abound as each is cast as the other sees them. Some obvious bits, some that folks on one side or the other will actually believe and not recognize as exaggeration, some that may be accurate unless I've got the same intellectual blinders as the rest of my species, and some that are genuinely laughworthy clever. Read it for snark, read it for insight, read it for an excuse to get upset, read it for a giggle ... or don't. I don't think it even really tries to be fair, except at the level of annoying both sides, but it does have its "well if you put that in this context ... heh" moments. Probably funniest to third-party folks and moderates.

  • Compact and safe hydrogen storage -- a solid which releases hydrogen catalytically when needed and is safe enough to carry in your pocket (as long as you're not carrying the catalyst in the same pocket, I presume). The sidebar of links to related stories looks interesting as well. One quibble: they describe the space savings compared to an equivalent quantity of hydrogen gas at "normal pressure", but who stores a gaseous fuel at normal pressure? I'd be more interested in a comparison to typical tank pressures. (Yeah, I can Google that and do the math; I just think that they're cheating a bit in the article.) Recharge the storage solid by running ammonia into it. (Link thanks to [livejournal.com profile] keith_m043.)

  • Disaster relief timeline ... of a hundred years ago -- see how differently things were handled in 1906, before helicopters and cell phones. More concise rendering.

  • The $100 Laptop / One Laptop Per Child project at MIT is "a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop -- a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children." They want to be able to give children in developing nations computers that can create mesh networks on the fly, be carried between home and school, and use "innovative power" (the example given was wind-up). They want to make a hundred million of them and get them into the hands of governments willing to commit to a computer-per-child policy, and they hope to do this by late 2006 / early 2007. (Link thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yesthattom.)

  • The I Can Eat Glass Project "is based on the idea that people in a foreign country have an irresistable urge to try to say something in the indigenous tongue. In most cases, however, the best a person can do is 'Where is the bathroom?' a phrase that marks them as a tourist. But, if one says 'I can eat glass, it doesn't hurt me,' you will be viewed as an insane native, and treated with dignity and respect." So if you ant to know how to say that in about a hundred languages, now you know where to look it up. Including, of course, Klingon.

  • And finally, have a giggle at this squirrel altercation. Yes, there is more to it than that, and no, I don't think I can give more of a clue without spoiling it. Just put down your drink and click.

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)

First, a reminder: The Homespun Ceilidh Band will be performing on Saturday, 23 July, at the Virginia Scottish Games in Alexandria, Virginia. We'll be performing at the Fiddle Tent after the fiddle competition -- probably around 14:45, but we could start any time between 14:00 and 16:00 depending on how many folks compete in the contest, so aim to get there earlier if you want to be sure to hear us. (A few more details in a previous journal entry, and note from one of the comments that if we start early enough -- as is quite likely -- you can watch [livejournal.com profile] puzzledance dance afterwards.) If you've been to this event before, two notes: a) it looks like the weather might not be as oppressively hot as usual, and b) I understand that the fiddle tent will be in a new location, closer to the fieldhouse, so check where it is in case I'm right.


Second, a meme (via [livejournal.com profile] lillibet), which I'll leave naked of a cut-tag because it's so very short. The instructions: "Go to the 23rd post you made on LJ, pick the fifth sentence and reprint it." (Yes, this is clearly a riff on the "nearest book" meme.) My result:

"Got home and called the ... uh ... mortgage broker? ... the guy the realtor told me to call about borrowing money."


Third, a status-and-immediate-plans note: I was woken too early yesterday by the sound of chunks of plaster from the ceiling upstairs hitting the floor over my head; did get back to sleep for a couple more hours, then got up to try to Be Productive and take care of Important Things that have been on my to-do list for Too Long. I got as far as spending a few hours desperately searching for a crucial page of notes I need, and then the heat and my body's usual fatigue problems sat me on my ass again. Failing to turn lying-quietly-with-eyes-closed into actual sleep (or even really-restful-waking-rest *sigh*) I wasn't terribly useful the rest of the day. I did get a little bit of my LJ backlog read (how is it that every time I get caught up, the next time I pay attention I'm a week behind and missing posts beyond the "?skip=1000" barrier again?) after I gave up.

I'm trying again today, to deal with urgent stuff with or without the important notes (eek!), and I guess I really need to get past my phone-shyness issues and try to get roofers to come out for estimates. I'm going to try not to push myself too hard because I want to be in decent shape to perform on Saturday. I'm going to take a bunch of things I've been just sliding forward on my to-do list, and push as many as I can afford to until after Pennsic, because I've got some things that Really Must Be Done between now and Baitcon, and then there's getting ready for Baitcon and a mere most-of-a-week between returning from that and going to Pennsic, so I have to budget time for Pennsic prep.

Let's see if I can manage for the file server backup to be on the right side of Pennsic. Urk. The long-overdue set of updates to my web site will have to be after Pennsic sometime. Likewise for the much less important goals of reading the 5th Harry Potter book (I've given up on reading the 6th in time to still be able to find all my friends' spoiler-cut-tagged LJ entries afterwards) and seeing Sith.

So communication from me will probably be spotty for a few days, at least. If I get caught up on the Badly Overdue Stuff and have a few extra hours of feeling halfway decent, I'll try to get to some of the things I've been meaning to write about here for the past week and a half. But I'm not gonna make any promises now.


Finally, a link to a photo that bio-geeks and equestrians may find entertaining. (I wanna see slow-mo footage of that horse running.)

Hmm. I think I'll hand this off to the 'at' daemon instead of making it a wee-hours post...

dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 09:00am on 2005-07-19 under ,
  • Hufu, tofu textured and flavored to resemble human flesh, "the healthy human flesh alternative". "Society is always flirting with the consumption of human flesh: true-crime novels, The Silence of the Lambs film series, zombie flicks, survival epics, even sit-coms. Pop culture loves a good cannibal. Now, thanks to Mark Nuckols, cannibalism has finally made it to the American dinner table." The company web site includes recipes. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dfn_doe for the link.)

  • Look up unfamiliar idioms at WhatDoesThatMean?: "This site is a free lexicon of English idioms, words, and catch phrases from around the world. This is also a 'user built' site - in addition to searching for a definition, you can add your own. Indeed, we encourage you to do so!"

  • Fantasy Bedtime Hour, a local-access cable show in San Fransisco that consists of two naked women in bed reading and discussing the novel Lord Foul's Bane, with guest appearances by experts who attempt to answer some of their questions about the book. Stephen R. Donaldson, the author of the novel, likes the show. I think I'd like to see this. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] merde for linking to it.)

  • A funny tale of a distractable person and their encounter with local fauna

  • The vampire squid from hell -- really, Vampyroteuthis infernalis. Click through to see why the discoverer named it that. Asid from the cool/creepy appearance (and no, merely being a cephalopod is not enough to qualify it as creepy-looking in my book) it sounds like a rather fascinating creature: "The vampire is a phylogenetic relict and possesses features of both octopods and decapods. In addition, it has many features that are probably adaptations to the deep-sea environment. Among these are the loss of the ink sac and most active chromatophores, development of photophores and the gelatinous consistency of the tissues." You could even say it glows (I'll leave the implied filk to someone else to flesh out): "[...] The photophores all glow simultaneously or they all can flash at a rate of one to three per second or pulsate. With the arm-tip organs apparently glowing continuously, the vampire moves the arms round rapidly exposing and hiding the photophores which is '...very disorienting [to an observer] when trying to visually fix the animal's position'. Often a flash of the arm tips is followed by a rapid escape response." (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] qmarq -- it's his favourite deep-sea squid -- for the link.)

  • This got passed around a bit a week or two ago, but a few of you might not have seen the warning from Canada describing the social upheaval caused by the legalization of same-sex marriage north of the border. What's in store for us if we follow suit? "Since then, the social fabric of Canada has been torn apart. Every single person in Toronto, our largest city, is participating in a massive gay orgy. They've already ran out of batteries, chocolate (twice) and whipped cream (they sent the Blue Jays to Chicago to get more - you don't have to give them back). 101% of our marriages have broken down. We have been hit with no less then 15 Biblical plauges. I only thought there were 10 myself - but that one with chili cheese dogs is really nasty. And Richard Simmons - who knew? Rabid moose are roaming the streets, trying to violate people with antlers. [...]" The mainstream media have been curiously silent regarding this distressing state of affairs.

  • The Dark Side of Love (as explained by Lucifer), an unusual interpretation of The Fall, the nature of God and of love, and of Hell. It includes lovely quotable bits, but the one that wouldn't be a spoiler also doesn't convey why you'll want to read it, so I'll save the quotes for my QotD queue sometime after most of y'all will have already read this. I don't agree with the theology/philosophy, but it does raise some interesting (a bit disturbing) thoughts, makes some, "gee I never thought of it that way" points, and is very nicely written.

  • "So Much Drama in the PhD", a techie rap song with such lines as:
    Blowin' up the rap scene faster than factorial functions,
    I'm dope like PNP transistors and I'll saturate your junctions.
    By the time you've rhymed one line, I've already busted ten;
    You rap in exponential time and I'm big-O of log(n).
    I haven't listened to the MP3 yet. And that seems like a good lead in to this next item ...

  • I'm guessing that [livejournal.com profile] madbodger will be pleased by news of ribbon-beam vacuum tubes, which may solve some problems facing the wireless communication explosion because "A ribbon-beam vacuum electron device requires less energy than either conventional vacuum electron devices or the solid-state transistors that replaced them in many applications decades ago." Vacuum tubes (or, if you prefer, 'valves') that beat transistors for power consumption? Gimme a little while to adjust my worldview ... "Ribbon beam amplifiers (RBAs) are smaller, generate less heat, require smaller backup batteries, are more electrically efficient and cost thousands of dollars less than solid-state amplifiers. And because they could be mounted directly on a base-station tower, less signal decay would occur during transmission." They're predicting this could have a major impact on the growth of next-generation wireless networks. "[...] dramatically improving throughput and reducing the cost of base stations by 65 percent [...] reduce the cost of delivering voice and data from the current 50 cents per megabyte to five cents per megabyte [...] from 1.9 GHz for third-generation U.S. wireless base stations to 5.8 GHz for WiMAX, or wireless broadband networks [...]" It'll be interesting to see how this works out.

  • A scientific analysis of the effects of orgasm on women's brains, using modern brain-imaging technology (the article just says "brain scans" without specifying which technique): "You see extreme deactivation of large portions of the brain, especially the fear centres, the brain that controls emotions." and: "The deactivation of these very important parts of the brain might be the most important thing necessary to have an orgasm. If you are in a high level of anxiety it is very hard to have sex." The scientists attempted to study men's brains the same way but were presented with challenges because "it typically took only 20 seconds to reach ejaculation" which made it difficult to interpret the data. They suspect some similarities between the sexes but have already noted some differences. [Edit at 13:45: Here are two more articles about the same study (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] moominmolly).]
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 08:02am on 2005-07-12 under

As usual, I've gone far longer than I meant to between doing 'link sausage' entries; and as usual, I've forgotten where I found many of these. I've got a few links already collected for the next link sausage entry, too ...

  1. Altoids "re-use our tins" contest (thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aiglet): I almost punted this because the web site puts the descriptive text into images without ALT tags instead of using text to display text, dammit ... but nonetheless some of you may be interested in their "Tin Million Uses" contest seeking "the most innovative and curious re-use of the Altoids tin [...] the more curious the better." Anyone managed to fit a Linux box into an Altoids tin yet?

  2. Why it's smart to disobey officials in emergencies, from Wired (again thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aiglet): "In a connected world, ordinary people often have access to better information than officials do." Regarding 9/11, "According to the engineers, use of elevators in the early phase of the evacuation, along with the decision to not stay put, saved roughly 2,500 lives. This disobedience had nothing to do with panic. The report documents how evacuees stopped to help the injured and assist the mobility-impaired, even to give emotional comfort. Not panic but what disaster experts call reasoned flight ruled the day." And, "This is the real source of homeland security: not authoritarian schemes of surveillance and punishment, but multichannel networks of advice, information, and mutual aid."

  3. Tinfoil.com, "Dedicated to the preservation of early recorded sounds", by which they mostly mean wax cylinders. They've got excerpts from the world's earliest still-playable sound recording: "Mere months after Edison's invention of the phonograph, inventor Frank Lambert shared Edison's vision of applying the new talking machine toward the development of a talking clock. Realizing that soft tinfoil, which was the recording medium of the day, would not provide a lasting record (wax cylinders were still years away), Lambert (no relation to Thomas Lambert, inventor of the Lambert celluloid cylinder) apparently chose to experiment with a cylinder made of lead. As a result, his early sound recording experiments can still be heard today after more than 120 years."

  4. The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form is, well, just what it sounds like. For example:
    adverb by Tim Alborn
     
    The adverb's a versatile guy:
    It modifies verbs, low and high,
    And all adjectives too;
    Then it adds to the brew
    Words like also, how, when, where, and why.
    After contributors have been at it a couple more years, maybe I'll switch to using this as my main quick-lookup dictionary instead of the Miriam-Webster site

  5. [livejournal.com profile] final_girl invited people to "write a personal ad for the god you want -- not one under which the world would be better, but THIS world, in which it would be easier to live in if you had this faith", and several people did so.

  6. While I (and many of my friends) continue to find the spoons metaphor useful for describing what chronic illness is like, as well as using it as a shorthand for describing our current state (some of my healthy friends have started using it in the second way as well), [livejournal.com profile] tamnonlinear points out limitations of the spoons metaphor and suggests another: how having to cope with a chronic illness amounts to having a second job. "Illness as a second job makes more sense to me. It's a job that you hate and it doesn't pay you. It takes your free time and requires your concentration, and it is an obligation you can't put off. It takes work. It limits what you can do, how far ahead you can plan activities, how much spare time you can spare. Even when you aren't 'working' at the other job, you need time to do nothing sometimes, just because you haven't been able to do that with your other obligations. You can't always predict how much of your time it will need or take. If the disease or disorder gets serious enough, it becomes the full time job." I still find the spoons metaphor useful and don't plan to give it up, but the second-job analogy rings true as well and presents a little more of the picture of what it's like dealing with this. Some of the comments provide important clarifications and amplifications. (Look for the comments by [livejournal.com profile] fjm and [livejournal.com profile] hilleviw) I'll try not to play the "my agenda should be your agenda" game (since I blatantly committed that act yesterday), but if [this part of] my agenda already is your agenda, then this is the most important link in this journal entry.

  7. From "that mailing list" comes this striking set of images showing a transparent monitor effect -- desktops that give the illusion that the icons are hovering in space and you can see right through the monitor to whatever's on the wall behind it. (This would be a bit trickier with a laptop that gets moved around, but wicked cool if you could pull it off.)

  8. The Phallic Logo Awards provides examples of, and snarky comments on, corporate logos which resemble penes. "The game designers across the nation are playing is; can they design a logo and get it approved without the client realising it's a big spurting penis?" There's even a special "muff diver award" for a logo the judges couldn't resist even though it didn't look phallic. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dorable for linking to it.) Theoretically work safe -- the images anyhow, if not the text -- since they're all supposedly-innocent logos of corporations, organizations, and government agencies ... unless your cow-orkers have minds as dirty as yours. ;-)

  9. An open letter to the Kansas School Board requesting that the author's faith be included in classroom discussions of "Intelligent Design". The author believes that the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster: "Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. It is for this reason that I'm writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I'm sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith." I'm guessing that several ofmy friends will be wooed to this faith upon learning that "it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia." [Emphasis added for the sake of Marine Property Redistribution Specialists who may be only skimming this entry.] The scientific evidence that is presented includes a graph demonstrating the correlation of global warming with the decline in the number of active pirates. Two members of the school board have responded so far. (Linked to by a few people ... I think I saw it first in [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's journal, but I'm not sure.) T-shirts and coffee mugs available.

  10. I've never been married, so mine is the perspective of an innocent bystander rather than an expert, but [livejournal.com profile] zoethe's Guide to Happy Marriage sounds like it makes an awful lot of sense.
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 02:12pm on 2005-06-01 under
  • Beware Of Camera! A collection of safety warnings from the sections of camera owner's manuals you probably skipped past in too much of a hurry. Go read these important safety tips so that you can take photographs safely. Includes such gems as, "The rim of the lenshood can cause injury. Take care not to accidentally strike anyone with the camera when the lenshood is attached," and "Placing the camera strap around your neck could result in strangulation."
  • Assicons
  • A vehicle that transforms from bike-like to trike-like depending on how fast it's moving "would have wide appeal to able-bodied children and children and adults with special needs." The idea is to provide the stability of training wheels or a trike only when needed. "You can get a kid up on two wheels and as long as they're moving and they're looking where they're going, they're going to do OK. But once they slow down and stop, they fall over, get scared and get off. Then you have to start all over again." With this, as it slows down it changes to trike-mode. (Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] syntonic_comma for forwarding me email about it.)
  • The Mathematics of Love: "We were able to derive a set of nonlinear difference equations for marital interaction as well as physiology and perception. These equations provided parameters, that allowed us to predict, with over 90 percent accuracy, what was going to happen to a relationship over a three-year period." And, "What's different about what I do, compared with most psychologists, is that for me the relationship is the unit, rather than the person. What I focus on is a very ephemeral thing, which is what happens between people when they interact. It's not either person, it's something that happens when they're together."
  • Media-Sensitive Glasses: "As part of her Social Defense Mechanisms: Tools for Reclaiming our Personal Space research, Limor Fried developed the Media-Sensitive Glasses that automatically darken whenever a television is in view, so as to protect the wearer from television's 'hypnotic' effect. The name of this project originates from the fictional 'Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses' used by one of the characters in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
  • A tale worthy of Aesop, or at least a fair quantity of giggling. Some of y'all saw this when lots of people linked to it a couple of weeks ago; the rest of you put down your beverage and go read this adorable tale of a cat and a snake.
  • Another one that made the link circuit, reposted here for anyone who missed the pointers to it on the last go-round, a heartwarming underdog story about four undocumented immigrants in a Phoenix high school who beat a team from MIT in an underwater robotics competition.
  • Favourite words not in the dictionary courtesy of Merriam-Webster. (Though really, a few have been around so long I'm surprised they weren't already in the dictionary.)
  • The Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries according to a panel of judges assembled by conservative weekly Human Events. Commentary and discussion here (not much yet, listed in case more comments show up), here, and here (unsurprisingly, [livejournal.com profile] misia's journal is where most of the discussion seems to be -- I don't think [livejournal.com profile] theferrett has chimed in yet) that I've noticed so far on LiveJournal, and apparently on Metafilter as well but I haven't been able to access it today. My suggestion: go right to Misia's entry unless you've got a compulsion to read the site-of-origin before seeing any commentary.
  • And finally, the must-read link of this pile (though the snake/cat story is a very close second): A wonderful story of human/canine interaction by [livejournal.com profile] axiomaxiom. "We barked and jumped and leaped and panted until the husky gave the 'it's over' signal. She actually came up to me and indicated in dog-speech that barking time was over. It was so clear, from the set of her ears and tail. I went down into a submissive posture I'd seen on Discovery channel, and she resumed her post. I had become a dog. I had joined their little impromptu pack. So long as I respected the leadership of the female husky, I was welcome. So long as I obeyed the rules, I could stay and be one of them. They must have thought I was a dog." And: "I rejoined the party, laughed with my friends about my sojourn with the dogs, had some awesome lemon squares and had a good time. I was in a much better mood. I didn't feel alone at the party any more, I felt part of something." The reasons for wanting to share this are many -- just o read it. (Take the time to scroll through the comments as well.)

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