Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Candle Cannon??

Have you ever seen those "magic" ball-of-air cannons? You know, the ones that have a rubber diaphragm on the back of a largish conical tube - guaranteed to jam dirt and debris in your eyes at 20+ feet?

Here's a Much Bigger one.

This one was built to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of a sandwich shop, of course. What... you were expecting something relevant?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Classmates.com Makes It Right

Imagine my utter shock when this arrived in my inbox yesterday in response to my post earlier this week:

Hello Mike,

I am following up with a recent posting you had on "Idiotsyncrasies" which was brought to the attention of our management team.

Please accept our apologies for the emails you were receiving for other members. I have deleted all of the memberships created using your email address. Please allow 10 days for emails to you from Classmates to discontinue, you may receive some within that time that were already queued to be sent.

In the future please feel free to contact me directly if this occurs. You can email me at the email address this was sent from or you can also call me at [redacted] between 8 AM and 5 PM PDT Monday through Friday and I will be happy to assist you.

Again, please accept our sincerest apologies.


Member Care Department Lead

The shocker isn't that Classmates.com fixed the issue, the shocker is finding that a human was reading this blog and not a search bot. In any event, good on Classmates.com.

Theodicy on Trial

Beliefnet is sponsoring a "blogalouge" between Bart Ehrman and one of my favorite scholars N.T. Wright on the age old subject of theodicy. Here is the abstract:
Is our pain God's problem? If God is good and all-powerful, why does he allow so much suffering? These kinds of questions—sometimes called the problem of theodicy—have long bothered believers and nonbelievers alike. These questions are especially pressing now as we face the AIDS pandemic, widespread hunger, and environmental degradation—not to mention the grief that humans can cause one another. Our two guests for this new Beliefnet Blogalogue have devoted part of their lives to addressing these issues. Bart Ehrman is James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the author of God's Problem and Misquoting Jesus, among many other titles. N.T. Wright is the Bishop of Durham for the Church of England and has taught at McGill, Oxford, and Cambridge. His books include Surprised By Hope, Evil and the Justice of God, and several other titles.
And here is the link to the opening round. This format seems to me to be a better method of airing out an issue vs. the timed and controlled debate method typically hosted at universities and such. The latter seems to be more about the performance of the speakers and scoring points than getting to the bottom of an issue.

Friday, April 25, 2008

MP3 Cassette


This little wonder is found on ThinkGeek. Pop in an SD card full of your favorite mp3s, pop the whole thing in your tape deck and enjoy. I may have to get one of these. I have a vehicle which still has a tape deck. It also doubles as a stand-alone mp3 player.

If you do a google search you can also find lots of references (such as this one) to the Abe BT 80c Bluetooth cassette tape adapter. That would see a lot more useful to me but, alas, I've scoured that company's website and can not find the product.

Via Jalopnik.

I Like God's Style

I'm interrupting your normal morning of sane blog reading to bring you this piece of awesome awesomeness.


Via Purgatorio.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Coming Ice Age

Hmm, I'm trying to imagine what kind of hysteria is going to break out if global cooling takes the reins from global warming as the crisis-du-jour. Maybe all the warnings to repent of our earth-killing behavior will remain the same, with claims that we thought our SUV-driving ways were warming the planet when in fact they are icing it.

On the positive side, I'm hoping a cease-and-desist order goes into effect for Ira Flatow so he doesn't have to contort every blessed podcast on Science Friday to be about the consequences or causes of global warming. Dude, are you getting paid 5 bucks by Al Gore for every use of that phrase on the show?

Anyhow, there is a reason for this early morning rant:

All four agencies that track Earth's temperature (the Hadley Climate Research Unit in Britain, the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, the Christy group at the University of Alabama, and Remote Sensing Systems Inc in California) report that it cooled by about 0.7C in 2007. This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record and it puts us back where we were in 1930. If the temperature does not soon recover, we will have to conclude that global warming is over.

There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that 2007 was exceptionally cold. It snowed in Baghdad for the first time in centuries, the winter in China was simply terrible and the extent of Antarctic sea ice in the austral winter was the greatest on record since James Cook discovered the place in 1770.

There you have it. More data and (the preferred method of proving things for those prone to hysteria) anecdotal evidence.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Also Known As...

Thanks to the wonder of spam I'm finding out that my hotmail email address has been registered at classmates.com under (at least) three different names:

Mark - Big Bear High School, Class of 1959
Mike - Eau Gallie High School, Class of 1973.
Mercedes - Chapel Hill High School, year unknown.

I hate that site. It's an abomination.

Repeat After Me(ebo)

I've been using meebo as my main chat client now for the past couple of months after deciding to use Firefox as my main OS. They apparently now have a way for you to use their site from locations where their site is restricted by installing a repeater client on a machine that has free access to the Internet. So, you would install it on your home computer and then connect your work computer to your home computer to do your chats.

Neat, although this just seems like a whack-a-mole game where your IT admins just keep blocking sites from you (in this case perhaps all the IP addresses of the subnet your home computer connect to through your ISP) until they remove all your Internet privileges and you're restricted to chatting by sending greeting cards and writing your blog posts on an IBM Selectric.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mecca Standard Time. Mmm-hmm...

Here's a little treat from the BBC: Muslim leaders want to replace UTC with Mecca Time. No, it's not a new dance tune stolen from MC Hammer... they're serious.

Because, you know, you can find the exact center of the surface of a sphere...

One of the citations given as "proof" of Mecca's importance in this regard is a supposed alignment with magnetic north. According to current measurements, there is a declination of about 2.6 degrees, so it ain't really aligned. And, the poles shift over time, even swapping places once in a great while.

So, there's that.

This is delusional at best, and it bothers me that people can supplant reason with religion to this extreme. What's worse is that these same people assume that the rest of the world should subscribe to their ideals without question. They just want validation for their faith and can only do so if everyone plays along.

Ayn Rand's Hank Reardon character in Atlas Shrugged identified this same retarded behavior in a group of businessmen who wanted absolute control. But the control was only as strong as they could convince the population it was. It was illusory and frail, and I see this part of the Muslim world acting in the same childish, fanciful way. They can only get stiffies if everyone around them bows down to their will.

Fuck 'em.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

They'll Be Back

Yay. It sounds like Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles will be back for another season.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reactagon Arpeggiator Table

This is just cool...

CPU Benchmarking

I'm in the middle of looking for a mini-desktop PC to use for work at home instead of my ridiculously loud, fans-a-blazing, tinnitus causing tablet PC. I'm looking to get something on the cheap but am woefully out of touch with the CPU world as far as how the processors relate to each other in terms of performance -- such as how a Pentium Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz performs against a Pentium 4 HT 3.0 GHz.

Therefore, I am finding this site insanely useful.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Up Yours

Your colon, that is. I mean this in a very educational way.

Some things, they just aren't right.

Expelled? Anyone? Anyone?

A guy I keep tabs on is Peter Thomas Chattaway. I "know" him through the usenet group rec.music.christian, where I've discussed topics with him ranging from Christian rock to the Jesus Seminars to various pieces of theology. I've also stood alongside him in flame wars against the group's resident atheist and others.

Anywhoo, Peter has a blog called FilmChat where he gives you little tidbits and sneak peaks of movies past, present and future. He also writes movie reviews and interviews for such publications as Christianity Today. His latest interview is with non other than the world's most famous economics teacher Ben Stein on Ben's upcoming move, Expelled.

Money quote:
And it doesn't scare me at all when scientists say, "Oh, but [Intellegent Design] can't be proved," because neither can any of the Darwinian hypotheses about how life began be proved. Anyway, I couldn't give a [profanity] whether a person calls himself a scientist. It doesn't earn any extra respect from me, because it's as if science has covered itself with glory, morally, in my time. Scientists were the people in Germany telling Hitler that it was a good idea to kill all the Jews. Scientists were telling Stalin it was a good idea to wipe out the middle-class peasants. Scientists were telling Mao Tse-Tung it was fine to kill 50 million people in order to further the revolution.
The interview is a good read, and Peter's blog is overall a good read.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Baseball History Made Today

I am still trying to picture in my mind how that would look.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dilbert Widget

Making subversion even easier...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Mozilla Easter Egg

Type this into the address bar: about:mozilla