Archive for March, 2007


Friday, March 30, 2007


MIT Admission Letter

‘MIT certainly has a reputation to be proud of, but its admissions department went a little over-board, I think. The first letter is an honest-to-goodness mailing from MIT, the second is one prospective student’s reply [..]’

I find this to be amusing. 🙂


DEA: Flavored meth use on the rise

‘Reports of candy-flavored methamphetamine are emerging around the nation, stirring concern among police and abuse prevention experts that drug dealers are marketing the drug to younger people.

The flavored crystals are available in California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri and Minnesota, according to intelligence gathered by Drug Enforcement Administration agents from informants, users, local police and drug counselors, DEA spokesman Steve Robertson says. [..]

Among the new flavors are strawberry, known as “Strawberry Quick,” chocolate, cola and other sodas, Robertson said. One agent reported a red methamphetamine that had been marketed as a powdered form of an energy drink, he said.’

Gangster who built world’s tallest log cabin

‘For the one-time gangster who built it, it is nothing less than “the eighth wonder of the world”. The less charitably disposed dismiss it as a glorified barn, fire hazard and eyesore.

But on one thing everyone agrees: Nikolai Sutyagin’s home is certainly different.

Dominating the skyline of Arkhangelsk, a city in Russia’s far north-west, it is believed to be the world’s tallest wooden house, soaring 13 floors to reach 144ft – about half the size of the tower of Big Ben.

The house that Sutyagin built is also crumbling, incomplete and under threat of demolition from city authorities determined to end the former convict’s eccentric 15-year project.’

‘Dump your children here’ box to stop mothers killing their babies

‘Desperate mothers are being urged to drop their unwanted babies through hatches at hospitals in an effort to halt a spate of infanticides that has shocked Germany.

At least 23 babies have been killed so far this year, many of them beaten to death or strangled by their mothers before being dumped on wasteland and in dustbins.

Police investigating the murders are at a loss to explain the sudden surge in such cases, which have involved mothers of all ages all over the country.’

Gone with his wind…

‘A pub regular has been barred from his favourite Dunfermline boozer – for indiscriminate wind breaking.

Management at the bar say Stewart Laidlaw “revels” in his bouts of flatulence and other punters have almost been sick after exposure to the foul smells.

Mr Laidlaw (35), who is furious at the ban by Thirsty Kirsty’s, is thought to be the first person in West Fife to be barred for breaking wind.

The James Street pub’s owner says the stench has become unbearable since Scotland’s smoking ban came in last year but suspects drinkers could have been breathing in the waft for years before without noticing it.’


Michael Jackson wants Vegas robot

‘Michael Jackson is in discussions about creating a 50-foot robotic replica of himself to roam the Las Vegas desert, according to reports.

The pop legend is currently understood to be living in the city, as he considers making a comeback after 2004’s turbulent child sex case.

It has now been claimed that his plans include an elaborate show in Vegas, which would feature the giant Jacko striding around the desert, firing laser beams.

If built, the metal monster would apparently be visible to aircraft as they come in to land in the casino capital.’


Jeff Corwin Is Attacked By An Elephant

(1.6meg Flash video)

see it here »

A Mystery at Hong Kong Horse Racing Track

‘It was a device worthy of Rube Goldberg, or perhaps Wile E. Coyote. A remote-controlled mechanism with a dozen launching tubes was found buried in the turf at Hong Kong’s most famous horse racing track last week; it was rigged with compressed air to fire tiny, liquid-filled darts into the bellies of horses at the starting gate.

No horses were injured because the supervisor at the Happy Valley Racecourse, where horses have been racing since 1846, noticed something on the turf before racing started Wednesday. He discovered the mechanism concealed by grass-colored tape and called in a police bomb squad to remove it.

The discovery of the device, which was equipped with elaborate electronic controls, has raised concerns about security for the six Olympic equestrian events to be held in Hong Kong next year.’


RIAA Backs Down After Receiving Letter from Defendant’s Lawyer Threatening Malicious Prosecution

‘Your office has a duty of good faith independent factual investigation and legal research sufficient to support a finding of probable cause to sue.

In Williams v. Coombs (1986) 179 Cal. App. 3d 626, the California Court of Appeal held that attorneys who participate in the filing or maintenance of litigation without probable cause are personally liable for malicious prosecution of a civil action. [..]

If your client (and your law firm?) are seeking probable cause shelter in a settlement negotiations house of straw (as suggested by your March 23 letter), all of you should consider the prevailing winds of the Evidence Code before making yourselves too comfortable. Straw will burn.’

It’s actually funnier than it may sound. 🙂 Hooray for standing up to the RIAA.


Ford Stops Sales of Big Super Duty, Recalls 2008 Trucks

‘Ford Motor Co. has ordered dealers to stop selling the new Super Duty pickup with the 6.4-liter diesel engine and is recalling more than 37,000 of the 2008 F-Series trucks after reported tailpipe fires in the diesel version of the pickups.

Ford has received three reports of flames shooting out of tailpipes after either fuel or oil leaked into an area of the exhaust system where diesel particulates are burned off to meet emissions requirements, according to a Ford spokesman.’

(3.2meg Flash video)

see it here »


U.S. loses top spot in global tech study

‘European countries and Singapore have surpassed the United States in their ability to exploit information and communication technology, according to a new survey.

The United States, which topped the World Economic Forum’s “networked readiness index” in 2006, slipped to seventh. The study, out Wednesday, largely blamed increased political and corporate interference in the judicial system.

The index, which measures the range of factors that affect a country’s ability to harness information technologies for economic competitiveness and development, also cited the United States’ low rate of mobile telephone usage, a lack of government leadership in information technology and the low quality of math and science education.’

Student punished for spaghetti beliefs

‘A student has been suspended from school in America for coming to class dressed as a pirate.

But the disciplinary action has provoked controversy – because the student says that the ban violates his rights, as the pirate costume is part of his religion.

Bryan Killian says that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear ‘full pirate regalia’ as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism.

The school, however, say that his pirate garb was disruptive.

Pastafarians follow the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pictured), and believe that the world was created by the touch of his noodly appendage. Furthermore, they acknowledge pirates as being ‘absolute divine beings’, and stress that the worldwide decline in the number of pirates has directly led to global warming.’


Friday, March 23, 2007


Dingos Ate My Bandwidth

My cable connection at home is kinda close to it’s on-peak quota for the month, which means I can’t really browse the web much until after midnight.

And I’ve taken to going to sleep after midnight.

Also, I’ve been quite busy. So, sorry about the lack of update. More as soon as I can. Hopefully I’ll stay up late over the weekend. 🙂


Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Police: Girl Broke In Home; Man Broke Her Nose

‘A 17-year-old girl suffered a broken nose after police said she broke into an Altamonte Springs house and was punched in the face by a resident she was allegedly trying to rob before being detained by him.

The incident happened about 5:45 a.m. on Sunday at a house located in the 500 block of San Sebastian Heights.

Altamonte Springs police said the girl burglarized several vehicles before entering the house, where she was encountered by a male in the master bedroom. He punched her in the face and detained her until authorities arrived, police said.’

400 Pounds Of Marijuana Found In Ambulance

‘Three men, including a Houston-area paramedic, were arrested after investigators found nearly 400 pounds of marijuana in an ambulance, KPRC Local 2 reported Friday.

Maumelle, Ark., police said they discovered the drugs after the ambulance broke down near a gasoline station.

“An individual, that was actually an off-duty police officer, called and said that he just felt like things were out of sort,” Chief Sam Williams said.

Officers arrived and found the men and the ambulance.

“They were wearing white shirts and black BDU pants,” Williams said. “The white shirts had some rank insignia of them. It would be fair to say that they were wearing clothing that would resemble medical personnel.”‘

Ali G – Police Training

(12.6meg Windows media)

see it here »

Art: cars with dirty glass

Using the dirt on car windows to do drawings.


Peer-to-peer poisoners: A tour of MediaDefender

‘Such advertising deals may be the future, but the company’s bread and butter continues to be P2P disruption of movies and music downloads. MediaDefender is quite good at this, as it should be after five years of antipiracy work. Unlike DRM providers that focus on protecting the product, MediaDefender tries to protect the distribution channel—and only for a limited time. Recognizing that it is impossible to shut down the sharing of copyrighted works, the company focuses instead on mitigation. Record labels and movie companies can pay between $5,000 and $15,000 per title for differing levels of protection that extend over different time periods.’


Hungry Bears

It’s a bit cruel I think, but they’re cute. [shrug]

(2.0meg Windows media)

see it here »

Man says sex toy caused his erratic driving

‘A man says it wasn’t the 10 beers and a double cocktail that caused his car to weave before being pulled over by police.

Kristopher Lind says his attention wasn’t fully on his driving because his wife had a sex toy bought that day at a sex show in Vancouver.

At his impaired driving trial in B.C., Lind testified he and his wife were driving in Vancouver when they decided to check out the sex toy.

The package proved difficult for his wife to unwrap, so she handed it to him while he was driving.

He said he opened the package with one hand, using his knee to help steer the car, and did the same again to insert batteries.

Once the device was working, he said, his wife took it.’


Alan Jones faces jail over juvenile’s naming

‘Sydney radio broadcaster Alan Jones is facing a possible jail term after he was found to have broken the law that prohibits the naming of juvenile witnesses in court cases.

In July 2005, the 2GB talkback host named a boy who had given evidence at a murder trial.

The boy was allegedly aged 14 when he witnessed the fatal attack, in 2004.

Although prosecutors could not prove the exact age of the minor, NSW Deputy Chief Magistrate Helen Syme said yesterday evidence showed he had been born between 1988 and 1992, and she accepted that he was younger than 18 at the relevant time. [..]

The companies each face a penalty of $5500, while Jones could be imprisoned for up to 12 months.’


BBC Offensive Language Warning

(2.1meg Flash video)

see it here »


Gorillas Gave Pubic Lice to Humans, DNA Study Reveals

‘What exactly went on between gorillas and early humans? No one knows for sure, but scientists say one thing, at least, seems certain: The big apes gave us pubic lice.

Researchers made the uncomfortable discovery during a DNA study reconstructing the evolutionary history of lice in humans and our primate relatives.

The transfer occurred about 3.3 million years ago, said study leader David Reed, of the University of Florida in Gainesville. That’s when the gorilla louse and the human pubic louse separated into distinct species, the research revealed. [..]

Pubic lice are spread most commonly through sexual contact, but that’s not necessarily how our ancestors acquired the parasite from gorillas.

“Unfortunately, we’ll never know for sure,” Reed said. [..]’

Blind Auto Mechanic Hires Deaf Assistant

‘Cars have been Larry Woody’s life for more than 30 years. He fixed them, he raced them, he restored them. But five years ago on Interstate 5 a truck blew across the median and drove over his tiny Toyota Celica. He almost died, and he was blinded.

But Woody, 46, still works on his 1968 El Camino, dabbles in racing and recently bought his own shop, D & D Foreign Automotive, in Cottage Grove. And he has hired a deaf assistant.

His red-tipped cane stands idle. He walks without hesitation through his shop. He handles the paperwork and billing with the help of a talking computer. He still changes fuel lines, hoists cars and changes filters.

“So much of it is done by feel anyway,” he told the Eugene Register-Guard. “I use my hands to see what I’m doing now.”

He has hired Otto Shima, 17, an apprentice from Cottage Grove High School, but they have never spoken directly. Shima was born deaf.’


Monday, March 19, 2007


Ann Coulter Wins “Stupid Bitch of the Year Award” for 2006

see it here »


Popularity Might Not Be Enough

‘[..] rather than seek venture financing and hire a staff, it may be better for one or two people to create a relatively simple site — say, a hobbyist blog for guitar enthusiasts — and use a service like Google AdWords to, hopefully, make enough money to live on.

But to make $50 million with a big staff-produced content-rich guitar site, sponsored by, say, Fender and Gibson, a site would have to generate more than 200 million page views a month, Mr. Liew estimated.

A site aimed at a specific demographic, like teenagers or Asian-Americans, would need to generate 800 million page views a month, by Mr. Liew’s reckoning.’

Math proves that the Buffy universe harbors no more than 512 vampires

‘Because the thing about the Buffy universe is that the population of vampires is reasonably stable. There are a fair number of vampires around, but not enough to overwhelm the earth. But as it turns out, if you look at that chart above, there’s a very narrow vampire-population window at which equilibrium can be kept.

That’s because powers of two increase slowly at first, then at a hellacious rate. Think of it this way: According to the numbers calculated by the academics, at month five in the year 1600, there are only 16 vampires. That’s such a paltry number than any self-respecting slayer could quickly dispatch them in a few evenings, and the vampire menace would permanently be extinguished. But at month 12 — only a few months later — the number of vampires, unchecked, rises to 2,048. That’s probably too many vampires for a slayer to squelch in a single month.

So the really sweet spot seems to be months eight to ten — when the vampire population would range from 128 to 512, respectively. [..]’

There’s Something In The Water

(1.1meg Windows media)

see it here »

Council bans all public smoking

‘Sydney suburb Mosman is set to become the first officially smoke-free municipality in Australia – if not the world – after banning smoking in every council-controlled public space.

The blanket prohibition, passed unanimously by council last week, cements Mosman’s reputation as Australia’s most zealous anti-smoking neighbourhood, taking its war on cigarettes even further than advocated by the NSW Cancer Council.

Residents themselves will help enforce it, according to councillor Andrew Brown, who said Mosmanites had taken on a vigilante-style role in the campaign against nicotine.

“Members of the public will approach people who they see smoking on the beach or in parks and tell them it is not allowed and they risk a fine of $110,” Mr Brown said.’



A fun little game. Try to keep your ball on the blue square.

Watch out for other balls.

see it here »