Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Grim Reaper Is Real... And His Name is Oscar
Oscar the Cat Predicts Patients' Deaths
By RAY HENRY
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.
"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
A Genius In France
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Peanuts, By Charles Bukowski
It began as a mistake.
The first time that Charles Branaski met Lucy Van Pelt, she was holding a football. He didn’t care for the game, baseball was his thing. Still, she held out that old football.
“Just kick the fucking thing,” she said.
“Listen, babe. You just hold that thing steady and I’ll kick the shit out of it.”
She threw her head back and laughed. She laughed long and hard and propped up the football. Charlie took a running start and he reared back his leg and kicked as hard as he could. Lucy was laughing too hard to hold the ball steady and it slipped out of her hand. Charlie missed the ball and flew straight up in the air and landed flat on his back.
“AUUUGGGGHHH,” he said.
“You should have seen your face, Charlie Branaski,” she said. Then she laughed twice as hard.
“Listen, you crazy bitch. I think I broke my ass. Jesus Christ!”
She helped him up. “Look, I’m sorry about that. You try it again and I’ll hold it real steady this time.”
“O.K., Lucy. I’ll do it on more time, but that’s it. You hold it this time, got it?”
“I promise,” she said.
Read the whole thing. Or die in a sewer. I really don't care.
"Honey, I'd Like to Have a Threesome" - The Powerpoint Presentation
By Dan Osman. RIP.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Self-Defense in Countries Where Guns Are Illegal
An unbreakable umbrella makes quite a nasty weapon, yet looks so innocent. Perfect for a stroll in sunny England.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
The Light Side of the Moon
Then save it as a screensaver.
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first to walk on the Moon. This panorama of their landing site sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Moon's Sea of Tranquility, with their Lunar Module, the Eagle, in the background at the far left. East Crater, about 30 meters wide and 4 meters deep, is on the right (scroll right), and was so named because it is about 60 meters east of the Lunar Module. Armstrong had piloted the Eagle safely over the crater. Near the end of his stay on the lunar surface Armstrong strayed far enough from the Lunar Module to take the pictures used to construct this wide-angle view, his shadow appearing at the panorama's left edge. The object near the middle foreground is a stereo close-up camera.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
A Proper Toast
And so a star is born.
Here, the same Mick Tohill displays how a proper toast should be made with The Knot:
You can make him your virtual drinking buddy at, uh, VirtualDrinkingBuddy.com, a site that quite nicely answers the question posed on a placard above a friend of mine's home bar which reads, "Who says drinking alone isn't fun?"
The greatest American since John Wayne knows better than to tolerate the fools who don't know the right answer to that question. So does Mick.
Okay, so the campaign worked. I'll buy a bottle.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Entire Novel Written on Cel Phone Keyboard During Daily Commute
There are no excuses left.
There is no such thing as down time.
A guy just wrote a 384-page science fiction novel on his mobile phone while commuting back and forth to work over 17 weeks. Robert Bernocco wrote it in short paragraphs on his Nokia 6630 and saved them on the phone. Then he downloaded the text to his computer to proofread and edit. The book is called Compagni di Viaggo ("Fellow Travelers"), which he self-published on Lulu.com.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Beautiful Melissa Theuriau
I've just dropped an Ambien and half a Xanax, and watching the tres belle French newscaster should do an excellent job of programming my subconscious for a perfectly wonderful night, or should I say, "bon noir."
Man, is she perfect, or what.
Telemarketing the Web 2.0 via Biriyani BS Upgrade
With Eight installs of iPhone 2.0, you get one free order of Vista Vindaloo.
Instant comedy gold.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Great Commercial Never Made
Patton Oswald on Stella Dora Breakfast Treats.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Smidi Pens the Theme to Live Earth
So That's What an Electron Looks Like, eh?
To observe the motion of an electron – an elementary particle with a mass that is one billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a gram – has been considered to be impossible. So when two Brown University physicists showed movies of electrons moving through liquid helium at the 2006 International Symposium on Quantum Fluids and Solids in Kyoto, they raised some eyebrows.
The images, which were published online on April 28, 2007, in the Journal of Low Temperature Physics, show scattered points of light moving down the screen – some in straight lines, some following a snakelike path. The Matrix it’s not. Still, the fact that they can be seen at all is astounding. “We were astonished when we first saw an electron moving across the screen,” said Humphrey Maris, a professor of physics at Brown University. “Once we had the idea, setting it up was surprisingly easy.”
Maris and Wei Guo, a doctoral student, took advantage of the bubbles that form around electrons in supercold liquid helium. Using sound waves to expand the bubbles and a coordinated strobe light to illuminate them, Guo was able to catch their movements on a home video camera.
A free electron repels the atoms that surround it, creating a small space, or bubble, around itself. In conventional liquids, the bubble shrinks to nothing because the surface tension of the liquid works against the repulsive force. Superfluid helium has very little surface tension, so the bubble can become much larger. The two opposing forces balance when the diameter of the bubble is about 40 angstroms – still far to tiny to see.
The researchers used a planar transducer – basically, a loudspeaker that produces flat, not focused, sound waves – to pummel the whole volume of liquid helium with sound. As each wave overtook an electron bubble, it alternately increased and decreased the surrounding pressure. Under negative pressure, the bubbles expanded to about eight microns, the size of a small speck of dust, then shrank again as the next wave of high pressure washed over them. A strobe light, synchronized to the sound pulse, illuminated the bubbles without overheating the chamber.
Running a camcorder in “super night mode,” Guo and Maris were able to record the approximately 2,000 photons they estimate were scattered by the expanded bubbles, producing a series of electron-bubble images on each frame of videotape.
“The results are very original and really spectacular,” said Sébastien Balibar, research director for physics at l’Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, “imaging single vortices of atomic size with a sound wave is an astonishing achievement.”
To be sure they were seeing electron bubbles and not just trapped dust, the researchers gradually increased the power to the transducer. They detected no points of light at low power and then a rapid increase in the appearance of bubbles at a particular voltage, just as their calculations predicted. Dust particles would exhibit no such threshold.
The researchers had planned to introduce streams of electrons into the chamber from a radioactive source, but found that even without a source, a number of electrons could be seen moving through the chamber. Most traveled in a fairly straight line leading away from the transducer, which produces a flow of heat down through the liquid.
A few of the electrons, however, followed a distinctly different snakelike path. Maris and Guo hypothesize that those electrons are following the lines of superfluid vortices – a phenomenon akin to a tornado in which the liquid spins at high velocity around a line. “The vortex is like a piece of string running through the liquid,” said Maris. “The electron bubble is attracted to the core of the vortex and gets attached to it. It’s as though it’s sliding down this rope that winds through the fluid.” By following the path that the electron takes as it slides along the vortex, the researchers were able to observe vortex lines for the first time. “People never thought it would be possible to visualize the vortex lines,” said Guo, “but then, almost by accident, we saw them.”
NASA Patch Sewn on in Peace-Time Direction...
Notice anything unusual in this FANTASTIC shot of Astronaut Steven Swanson during the last International Space Station's mission's second space walk?
I'm assuming this breach of the normal wartime flag-direction protocol is a bow towards Wilsonian internationalism blah blah blah, but it sure seems like to me that those stars on the flag should be on the other side, facing into battle, even among the stars.
50th Anniversary of "What's Opera, Doc?"
Brilliant. Would not get past the first round of development at any of the networks today. Tragic and pathetic, that.
Watching this cartoon again reminds me of The Great Dane, Victor Borges, here doing Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2, which was a favorite of the WB folks in their prime:
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Hacking an Elevator
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Monday, July 02, 2007
A Tense Moment
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Richiardi's Chamber of Horror and Illusion
The second illusion is great. This guy is Teller's favorite magician... and in this video he actually talks about why:
CONTENT WARNING: NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH
Man Gets Trapped Inside His Own Giant Balloon
Can't describe it much more accurately than that headline. An insanely perfect visual metaphor for modern life. Hilarious. And yet madmen like this guy, who absolutely will not give up on their peculiar visions, are responsible for just about every facet and convenience of modern life that we all take so blithely for granted.
Funniest comment about it so far on Digg:
And that is probably how the EMT's will find my body, trapped inside a balloon with my hands inside my underwear and the TV on the Disney channel showing something with Hannah Montana.
UPDATE: here's his third try:
Whigger Fantasist Discovers the True Meaning of "Keeping It Real"
A scene perfectly cinematic in its construction and execution, and I don't think it's even fake. If it is, there's a brilliant social satirist smugly smiling somewhere out there... a better metaphor/comment on the effects of the thuggification of cool would be hard to create.