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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Why I have a small, plastic Christmas tree: It won't do this.

I don't know how long this video has been up, but it's a nice one, about a dog named Skidboot.

Tainted milk, baby food, pet food, toys, more recently, seafood, and now we learn that Chinese Drywall can kill.

DARPA has some pretty amazing inventions to its credit. And a few flops.

Why Aikido fascinates me.

NASA, one of the best websites to cruise around on, ever.

In 1944, Thelma and Doris went for a bike ride. A long bike ride.

What happened to the Yellowstone jackrabbits? They're just... gone.

Coach uses only on-side kicks, and never punts -- and wins state. Are you listening, Detroit?

Headline says it all: Bailed-Out Executives Got $1.6 Billion In 2007. ("Got", as in, "were paid.")

New York magazine classical music reviews: a typically New York attitude. Snooty, arrogant, informative, entertaining, aggravating.

If you haven't read about the Dymond Milburn case yet, it'll make your blood boil. And here's an update.

Robyn Davidson is one of my heroes (I read Tracks when it first came out, and the National Geographic article that preceded it.) It's nice to hear that she's still going strong, and has become a legendary "interesting person."

Picture of the week.

Are you carrying around a load of misconceptions?

Capital crimes in the Bible:
  1. Murder (Exodus 21:12, 21:15)
  2. Kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)
  3. Disobedience to Parents (Exodus 21:17, Deuteronomy 21:18)
  4. Bestiality (Leviticus 20:15)
  5. Violations of the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15)
  6. Adultery (Leviticus 20:10, Leviticus 19:20)
  7. Abominations (Leviticus 20:2)
  8. Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16)
  9. Incest (Leviticus 20:11)
  10. Homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13)
  11. Witchcraft (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27)
  12. False Prophecy (Deuteronomy 13:5)
  13. Rebellion/Treason (Joshua 1:18)
  14. Worshiping a false god (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
  15. Sodomy (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13)
  16. Sex with a woman betrothed to another (Deuteronomy 22:25)
  17. False witness in a capital crime (Deuteronomy 19:16-20)
  18. Daughters of preachers fornicating (Leviticus 21:9)
  19. Juvenile delinquency (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
  20. Sacrificing to false gods (Exodus 22:20)
  21. Disrespecting a judge or priest (Deuteronomy 17:22)
  22. Sex with a woman during her period (Leviticus 20:18)
  23. Unchastity (Deuteronomy 22:21-24)
  24. Cursing someone (Leviticus 24:14)
If these crimes were all prosecuted today (and you were unable to hide any guilt) would you still be alive?

Prions cannot be killed by cooking, antibiotics, or any known medical treatment. Prions cause BSE, aka Mad Cow, fatal to cows, and also Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease , which is fatal to humans. Isn't it ironic that the first-ever possible treatment involves medical marijuana.

Whatever happened to GM's "EV1"? It was an excellent zero-emissions car that was incredibly successful, until GM confiscated all of them and destroyed them.

Spying on Pacifists, Environmentalists and Nuns.

"Simpsons" spoof cartoon porn has been ruled as genuine child pornography.

The cops got stung, conducting an illegal raid on a completely innocent house.

What the hell is a Credit Default Swap?

Finally, a school board got some brains and a backbone.

Silent wind turbines can produce electricity without the annoying rumble.
So roughly 10% of people are left-handed. Maybe less, depending on who you ask. And in centuries gone by, it was generally decided that left-handedness was a sign of evil. People quoted scripture to "prove" that God didn't approve of people eating and writing with their left hands. Therefore, good Christian parents and schoolteachers took it upon themselves to stifle any tendencies in their children towards left-handedness. This included tying their left arms to their sides or behind their back, to force them to use their right hands [ed. note: this caused an epidemic of dyslexia among lefties.] In the 1600's, when witch trials were prevalent, lefties were often accused of witchcraft (and convicted, and executed) for no other reason than their dominant hand.

In the Bible, Matthew Chapter 25 sees Jesus telling about Judgment Day, when God separates the nations into two group: the "sheep", who go to heaven for their goodness, are gathered on God's right side. The "goats", those doomed to Hell, get to gather on God's left side. The implication was clear. Left=Devil, right=God. Therefore, lefties were evil.

Even today, there are subtle reminders in our languages of the generally negative view held on left-handedness. "Gauche", a term generally understood to mean tacky or inappropriate, is literally the French word for "left". Sinister also literally means left-handed. Say the right thing, but in the wrong way? That would be an example of a "left-handed compliment". Bad dancer? You must have... say it with me... two left feet.

And so it goes. It makes a certain amount of sense, sociologically speaking. Lefties are the minority. Anthropologically speaking, the majority in any society gangs up on the minority and demonizes them. Sometimes they use religion as an justification, sometimes they use more practical and mundane reasoning to ostracize these heretical creatures...

In 1997 it was discovered once and for all that left-handedness is a genetic trait. They mapped it in DNA, and this is significant because it established once and for all that left-handedness was not some scheme cooked up by evil people. It was not a subtle sign to other evil doers. It was a predisposition - a tendency from birth to favor the left hand and foot. In lefties, there was a natural grace and skill demonstrated on the left side that the right could not match. Pretty much exactly the same as everyone else, only reversed.

Left-handedness was not contagious. It was not a flaw. It was not to be discouraged in children. It was not harmful to others. It didn't make one less religious, less honest, less wholesome. There was simply no downside to being left-handed, other than managing to successfully maneuver in a right-handed world.

I know, I know: so what, right? What does ANY of this have to do with ...    [... you'll never guess.]

Good virus protection, for free: AVG.

A new way to fight AIDS: make it mutate even faster.

A startling  (and LARGE) map of the world with a 100 meter sea-level rise.

Moms: you know those babies you conceived, carried for nine months and gave birth to? They may not be "yours." Well, they may be yours, but if you only count your ovaries, uterus and perhaps your liver.

No good deed goes unpunished: if someone forgets to charge you sales tax, just let it go.

3.9 billion years ago, Great-great-great-great-(etc)-grandma was cool.

Common ancestor for all humanity only 3,000 years ago? I need to read up on this, because it makes no sense whatsoever. I suspect some science-ignorant editor or writer got this all wrong.

It wasn't lightning that killed him, it was a Chinese weather rocket.

Monday, December 1, 2008
I tried using Steen's Syrup for the pecan pie at Thanksgiving this year. Steen's is a Louisiana specialty, hard to find up north, and you may have to either order on the internet, or prevail on a friend living or traveling down south.

Steen's is pure cane syrup, produced directly from cane juice. Molasses on the other hand is a "leftover," a byproduct of sugar production, as is "Treacle," a British specialty, somewhat less dark, used in tarts, candies, etc. "Golden Syrup" is also a sugar byproduct, quite light in color, and popular for pouring over scones.

The finished pie had a very distinctive flavor, and was quite dramatically different from molasses. I used the Steen's company recipe for "Southern Gentleman Pecan Pie," translated here into standard Joy Of Cooking flowchart form (which is the way all recipes should be written):

Steen's Southern Gentleman Pecan Pie
In a saucepan, whisk together:
  • ½ stick melted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
Whisk in: 
  • 1 ½ cups Steen's Pure Cane Syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
Simmer for three minutes, then cool this mixture. Preheat oven to: 450°F

Whisk together:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Whisk into cooled syrup mixture.

Dump into a pie shell:
  • 1 cup pecans
Pour the filling mixture over the pecans.
Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes.
Reduce to 350°F degrees and bake 30 to 35 minutes. 

My assessment of the finished pie is somewhat ambivalent: I think the distinctive flavor of the Steen's is well worth seeking out. However, the pie is too intensely sweet and overly rich for my taste. The next time I make this, I will eliminate the melted butter and the ½ cup sugar from the filling. I will try using 4 eggs to compensate: this should keep the filling lush and rich without going over the top, I think. And I will need another can or two of Steen's (hint, hint.)

And now, back to the crash and bailout: people actually DID see this coming, and they even appeared on Fox News to talk about it. However, the sneering, stunning arrogance of Fox's "experts" is a sight to behold, especially when they are ridiculing someone who, it turns out, was absolutely, indisputably right. Meanwhile, the depth of the crash and the culpability of those responsible is only now coming to light.

Drinking red wine may reduce... um... something. I don't remember what.

How's the weather? There's a handy website which does summaries and averages by month and year for most cities; here's Boise, for example. On the other hand, in spite of any and all global warming caused by humans, the wild card is the Sun, which just recently went all weird and calm on us. Currently, we have no sunspots at all, and the last time this happened (400 years ago) we had "The Little Ice Age." So we shall see what happens.

How much does a Honey Bee sting hurt, compared to a Paper Wasp sting, compared to a Bullet Ant? The Schmidt Sting Pain Index will tell you.

Tired of looking at electoral maps? Take a look at these cool Paleogeographic Earth maps instead, and see how things looked 500 million years ago, right up to the last great glaciation, 120,000 years ago. And there's even a cool animated version of planetary changes over the last 10% (or so) of Earth's existence.

OK, so the name may raise eyebrows, but this is supposed to be great stuff for your hands. And other things.

MK-677 might turn old farts into buff athletes. Or at least 20% buff.

The perfect frying pan is coming: Teflon just got beat, by a very slippery and phenomenally hard "ceramic alloy" of boron, aluminum and magnesium (AlMgB14) with titanium boride (TiB2).

China is at war with America, and they're winning. Your computer -- the one in front of you right now -- is utterly owned, data and all, by the Chinese.

http://www.kamikazecookery.com  Great, irreverent fun.

And yet again, someone "explains" strads, this time using CAT-scans.

A sure-fire way to feel better: watch someone else FAIL.

Wood, explained, in depth. People with extensive knowledge of certain woods (hint, hint) may want to email the guy and set him straight on a few things, but it's a decent site, with pictures.

How to stop getting Junk Mail. Even the "Direct Mailing Association" (who is frantically trying to STOP "do not mail" lists) can help. Why it's important: it's time to take back the environmental movement, and actually do something. Junk Mail is a bigger issue than you might think.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Modify your vehicle to get better mileage. Way better mileage. Granted, some of the mods  will make your car look pretty  dang  weird  (and some make it look cool) but still, you have to admire the spirit of people who can do -- in their garage -- what American car companies, with their research labs and industrial resources, have claimed is impossible for decades.

I want to be a millionaire. And reality responds, "nope."

A life-friendly Mars: oceans probably covered third of the surface.

Have a PDF document you'd like to convert to Word for editing? Click here.

Very cool large dome tents for your outdoor living pleasure. Stable, cheap, extremely comfortable, and the most efficient shape possible.

The fake July 4, 2009 New York Times that you may have missed. Headlines we'd all like to see. (Published by The Yes Men.)

More on coming technology and how it will affect everything.

One drug technology that has turned into a nightmare for some: Ambien, the drug that induces sleep-driving, sleep-walking, sleep-eating, and maybe even sleep-sex

Control the weather, control the world. With nano-tech.

How times have changed: spouse "tests" (with handy rating scale) from... what? Maybe the fifties. Take a look and make your guess.

1001 free fonts, mostly useless, but some are entertaining.  "Bobco" fonts are, however, eminently useful and indubitably weird.

How the bailout is going.

"Renegade" and "Renaissance"; I like it.

An argument for GM  fixing what it hath wrought.

Let's recycle buildings.  

If you think we are having financial troubles, you should talk to people in Zimbabwe.

Lots of great closeup photos of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn.

Remember how we just found out (see July 15) that your laser printer encodes every document you print with invisible dots? That they can all be traced back to you? And that "only the Secret Service has the ability" to read those dots? Well, guess what: here's a "how to" on reading those dots. For everybody. "Spy on your neighbors! Just like the Feds!"

Guess how long we have known about Global Warming? And by "we," I mean "anyone who could look at a television in 1958."

And yet another reason why I'm captivated by the SteamPunk movement. It's all about the artistry and craftsmanship.

Ten foods that are really good for you, even if you never eat them.

The mutation that brought about human consciousness.

Helping humans fight off HIV; we already have an excellent mechanism, but the virus interferes with it.

Distributed cellphone network can help us detect nuclear terrorism, and your whereabouts 24/7.

Online shopping for WWII history buffs: expensive stuff, but beautiful.

A "graphic book" approach to the US Constitution. Cool, and a great gift idea for the students in your life.

Build your own 100 mpg car.

Monday, October 13, 2008
  Where does America stand today? For per-capita income, per-capita GDP, life expectancy, health, happiness, debt, peace... not so good. Joanne at Rocketboom nails it.

An undercover FBI agent claims the all-time prize: the Mob invites him to be a Made Man.

Mars once had lots of water and a promising atmosphere. A great place to develop life. And then Mars had a bad day, about four billion years ago. A really bad day. And it could just as easily have happened to Planet Earth.  As a matter of fact, here's some interesting news about a mega-impact that I've not heard of before, involving Madagascar and massive layers of sediment from the Indian Ocean floor thrown up by a Tsunami 600 feet high.

Monday, October 6, 2008
Cadbury chocolate candies sold in the US "are not affected" by contamination... no, wait, I guess they ARE affected by contamination with Melamine from Chinese milk. 

The Slow Food movement: a good idea who's time has come.

I have never heard of this, but dolphins love to play with bubble rings. And it's really cool.

Banned Books. Shocking. And by the way, you can't believe how many books are banned.

Banned activities at school: now include yoga. Because "We are opposed to the philosophy behind it and that has its ties in Hinduism ."

Musicians have weird brains. But we all knew that already.

Ultrasound machine turns cheap wine into great wine in 30 minutes. (Sort of. It makes the wine taste -- supposedly -- like it has been cellared for 10 to 20 years.)

Some poor schmo just spent two months in jail for "cocaine" that turned out to be deodorant.

Pistachio Gelato.
How Coyote stole the Sun's tobacco bag.

eBay shafts all of their customers with their new "PayPal only" policy.

New technology may make super-batteries.

Toyota's 40mpg, 4wd minivan: you can't have it, if you live in America.

The government will now commence reading your mind to see if you're a terrorist.

1/4 ounce of dark chocolate a day improves heart health. Personally, I like this version.

The Arctic Sea is "foaming" with methane bubbles. Top scientists describe this as being "really, really, really bad news."

Three   excellent   websites   for checking your Internet connection speed.

2310 calories for a milkshake. Wow. 

People have been in North America for at least 14,300 years. And that's the straight poop.

If the cops come to your house, kiss your pets goodbye. Shooting dogs, stomping cats to death (in order to "intimidate the suspects into submission")  ... it's all "standard procedure."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
It may be time to get shot. The 2008-2009 influenza season has already started. For the least possible adverse side effects, ask for an inactivated, split-virus, thimerosal-free vaccine. From my quick research, single-dose Fluzone meets those standards, and looks like a good one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008
TORC1, a human gene, may be a genetic component to obesity and infertility, and might be regulated with a novel drug.

A serial killer has been stalking LA for almost 20 years. Someone finally noticed.

Instead of a concrete nightmare, you can have a self-cleaning, natural swimming pool. Beautiful to look at, easy on the environment.

Ford makes a 65mpg car. They won't sell it in America.

Big (4") ugly scary spider found in box of supermarket bananas. Big ugly scary spider turns out to be the "World's Deadliest." Good thing this was in Britain.

The FBI's case against Bruce Ivins fails to convince Congress.

What the Large Hadron Collider could produce. Best five things, worst five things.

51 things Google Maps won't let you see. (Do you feel safer now?)

Plans for a 125mpg do-it-yourself bio-diesel hybrid. Cool.

Are your thoughts in order, comrade? Pseudo-science brain scans now used to convict people of murder.

Just take all of those old plastic bottles and recycle them. You don't want to mess with BPA, now implicated in heard disease and diabetes.

You think our droughts are bad now; back in the old days, they used to last for centuries.

If a woman plays the digeridoo, she'll become infertile. According to Aussie Aboriginals.

Why girls don't like being picked up in bars.

Monday, September 1, 2008
Guy leaves violin in upstate New York bus station by accident. Bomb squad blows violin "to smithereens."  Southern violin maker says it all: "Y'all make a big deal about things up there."

How do we know that there is dark matter in the universe? Want to see a picture of it?

For everyone living in the western half of the US, you can sleep easier tonight: the Yellowstone Caldera isn't so hot after all. It's "Lukewarm."

Six drugs in development that may "change your life." Or not, if you're already young, strong, thin, healthy, smart and sterile.

How to save the planet from the impending asteroid collision.

And now, a pill that really DID change people's lives.

Dinosaurs helped people build the pyramids. Which is why we need to read 101 Atheist quotes.
How bad can it get?  Massive oceanic "dead zones" may be inevitable, because of pollution-caused acidification.

Some very cool night photos.

Potatoes may help treat... something... can't remember...

This from the department of criminalizing EVERYTHING: a 15-year old boy has been ordered to pay child support to his 19-year old girlfriend, who got pregnant, and SHE is being prosecuted for having sex with him.

Vampires are sucking you dry, at the electric meter.

Chocolate peanut butter cake.

One fish, two fish, right fish, wrong fish.

How Coyote stole the Sun's tobacco bag.
Monday, August 25, 2008
An Olympic recap: some amazing pictures.

If you have lots of free time on your hands, enjoy a bit of good clean fun while poking a hornet's nest, and hate scammers, why not join in the fun of scam-baiting? Scam the scammers.

Doctors say they'd never take these drugs. Good advice.

FTL space travel has been suggested by several plausible models. Here's a newly described FTL model that shows promise.

A continuous 24 hour curfew, stop and search, patrols with military-rifle wielding officers. Where? Arkansas. "As far as I'm concerned, at 3 o'clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law."

Green Tea may help treat breast cancer. 

Traffic Cams are very, very profitable. Like, $3 million a year in a town that has a $4.6 million budget.

The perfect shower curtain for your guest bedroom, especially if you'd rather your guests don't stay very long.

Styrofoam dome homes, with no known grown gnomes.

Don't mess with the Air force. They have new invisible laser death rays. Cool.

Check up on the polar ice caps, to see how they are doing in real time. Hint: not so well. The Northwest Passage is open again.

The galaxy may be messing with life on Earth.

Superbugs scare the heck out of doctors. For good reason.

If you like to internet shop, you may want to stay away from J. Crew, unless you don't mind really, REALLY expensive shipping charges. For the wrong shirt.

A nature photography technique (quick and easy in Photoshop) that is well worth messing with.

The raw photo.
After applying the Orton Method.

Living in the West is a bit weird: wake up in the middle of the night to see a mountain lion snatch your 72-pound Labrador dog off the bedroom floor.

Watch the "Colour Changing Card Trick" VERY closely, then the rest of the video will show you how easily people are fooled by misdirection.

These sweet potato biscuits sound really good.

Why there are no green stars.

There is absolutely, positively, for sure now, WATER ON MARS.

Were the first Americans wiped out by an asteroid?

We can grow oil from algae. Lots of oil, quickly and efficiently. Here's a cool movie all about it.

Does fructose make you fat? Fatter than regular sugar? It could be.

Garfield, lost in translation.

They can make a $2500 car in India. And pretty soon they'll be making a really cheap electric car, too. 

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Morgan Spurlock of "Supersize Me" fame did a short internet movie that made me fall out of my chair laughing.

Be careful what you wish for: the food industry lobbied to hamstring investigation methods, and they got what they wanted. And as a result, contaminated food recalls are costing the industry billions, because there's no longer a fast, efficient way to investigate and contain the sources of contamination.

If you're willing to widen your horizons a bit, your chances of getting a date improve dramatically.

What does the world look like if you are color blind?

Another theory on the Tunguska Event: it was a comet for a while, then it was a stony meteorite. Now it's a comet again.

"Use it or lose it" covers Erectile Dysfunction, too. Guys who have sex less than once a week are five times more likely to have ED than guys who have sex three times a week. Three times a week, by the way, used to be the average in America until people got so overworked, overstressed and exhausted that the American average is now down to two times a week. We rank eleventh on the planet.

A new longevity drug?

Brighter, faster, far more efficient LCD screens are coming soon.

Cranberry juice really does keep your urinary tract healthier. Here's the science.

Hail Eris.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I don't care what kind of bad mood you're in, this will make you smile: http://www.vimeo.com/1211060

The oldest known bible goes online. It's rather different from the "current" version...

A new theory for how the Earth's oil was formed; massive undersea volcanic activity flooded the seas with nutrients, which spawned massive aquatic plant growth, which eventually released massive amounts of carbon dioxide and depleted atmospheric oxygen to the point of causing complete die-off, which left behind a deep layer of carbon-rich matter which did not decay because of the anaerobic environment, which formed oil, which is now causing global warming and the release of massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, billions of tons of carbon locked up in arctic tundra is being released because of global warming, which is dramatically accelerating global warming. You just can't win.

How to make a time machine: 1. Do some basic research into time travel.

The universe according to the X-Files. The Truth is Weird.

The universe according to Road Runner cartoons.

Chocolate cake in 5 minutes.

Camping with big-rig trailers and motor homes is fading fast -- no surprise there, with $4.50 / gallon gas. But these really cool  teardrop campers and car-top tents let you go and recreate in your passenger vehicle.

Shelby's new electric roadster puts the Tesla electric sports car to shame, and that's saying something.

Save the planet.  Eat  more  bugs.

Friday, July 17, 2008
Maybe I should get myself some of this cologne by Creed.

Speaking of scents, you DO read Luca Turin's monthly article, don't you?

A sign of our times.
Just wait until this stuff hits the streets; nano-graphene, a carbon/hydrogen "fabric" one atom thick, is the strongest material ever made.

A compressed-air car.

Another new AIDS research breakthrough
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
You deserve the very best. ACME: the brand you can trust.

As if there wasn't enough to worry about: stepping on caterpillars can kill you. Granted, they are Peruvian caterpillars, but still.

It took a judge to convince school officials that strip searching 13 year old girls for "contraband" Advil is a bad idea.

Welcome to an America where the cops can, if you are "unruly," inject you with powerful tranquilizers that leave you with no memory of the event. "It's the safest option out there... and it is used all over the country."

The latest extreme sport: naked rock climbing. Illustrated with artistic B&W photos.

Everything done on laser printers is coded with invisible dots, identifying the specific printer and the date and time. "The Secret Service is the only U.S. body that has the ability to decode the information." Right: the Secret Service, plus every laser printer manufacturer in the world.

You need an Ubuntu Live CD. And it's free.

Ever wanted to have the physical fitness of a Navy Seal?

The TH!NK electric car is poised to start an automotive revolution.

More on VW's 235 mpg car. I want one.

More on the Whale Fin design for wings, propellers, fan blades, and so forth.

I want this in my front lawn.

Kiss chocolate goodbye? As in, no longer available? The horror.

On Quarks and Quarks last night: Vitamin D cuts cancer risk by over 75%.

Five good software maintenance tools for Windows. For free.

Americans are getting larger: fattest states, thinnest states.

There's something alive in the Berkeley Pit at Butte, Montana, in that deep blue-green, acidic, toxic, lethal water.

And once again, someone announces the "secret" to why a Strad sounds so good.

Gerald, MO got bitch-slapped by a brutal Federal Agent -- who turned out to be an impostor.

The dying art of the knuckleball.

Ladies, please tell me it ain't true: women actually prefer stubble !?!

VW goes hybrid / electric / plug-in.

The coolest electric motorcycle out there: two wheels, but not where you'd expect them.

Now, THIS is a hobbit home. For a really rich hobbit, like Bilbo Gates.

And another cancer cure may be coming along.

You'd think a law called "Academic Freedom" would be a good thing... but in LA, it's all about pushing creationism.

Just about your entire life may soon be equipped with a kill switch. Your car, your cellphone, your TV, your computer, your digital camera, your video camera, your iPod, your radio... Big Brother can simply turn them all off. For your "protection," of course.

It's (yet another form of) life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Global Climate Change: more severe than last year's predictions. Here's the science.  

Greenland Icecap melting much faster than we thought.

The Arctic is warming much faster than we thought, and the trees are invading.

How to refurbish a laptop, if you're handy. The subversive tool in the urban guerrilla gardener's bag: seed bombs.

Five best anti-virus programs. Norton didn't make the cut.

The latest underground beauty drug: Preparation H. Logically, this should work fine on varicose veins.

A very disturbing news item that seems to be flying under the radar.

Oh, great. Now Customs Agents will be searching you for "pirated" music.

To repel mosquitoes, consider two substances that are more effective than DEET. Catnip oil (and yes, your cat will go bananas) and Tomato extract.

Three very cool eco-cars, one electric, one gas, and keeping your old one.

New dyes made of nano-gold are very pretty.

No hiking, no camping, no sight-seeing, no trespassing: this land was made for you and me, but the rich bought it.

Lab-grown diamonds are flawless, beautiful, and identical to the "real" ones.

AIDS awareness campaigns in France use some  amazing  posters... some scary, some sad. The Swiss have great posters for boys and for girls. Basically, everybody  in  the  world  is  doing  a  far  better  job  at  this  than  the guilt-ridden, theocratic USA.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Just for fun: the weirdos at Something Awful occasionally post something that is not only awful, but also really funny. Here's one where the writer got tired of being bugged by unwanted MSN messages from the fourth grade, and used the persona of a ridiculously Gung Ho Marine recruiter to take care of business.

For Memorial Day: some perspective.

How has the War left the Bin Ladens? The whole family, I mean. (Hint: richer than ever.)

First bedbugs, now this.

After decades of Detroit telling us that 100 mpg is simply impossible, VW announces a 235 mpg car, slated for release in two years. The latest Toyota is a mere 150 mpg, and the full-size, fast, powerful Honda FCX Clarity dogs along at a lousy 68 mpg. And then along come the French, who produced a vehicle that does 8,923 mpg lying down. (No, that's not a typo.) The reason it's lying down will be obvious when you look at the pictures.

Homes and offices made from shipping containers go upscale.

Kiss the banana goodbye.

Kitsch heaven.

Friday, May 16, 2008
Some guy named William Sethares has come up with a new musical scale, and he's producing weird stuff. It made my browser crash, and my brain, too. Interesting, actually.

Cool new VW.

82 years old? Hospitalized after bypass surgery? On oxygen? Bedridden? Annoy a cop? That's a tasering.

Bumpy wings and propellers may make airplanes fly much better. Bumpy fan blades will use 20% less electricity. Thank the whales.

Rocket Man: you gotta see this guy flying around like Superman.

A fast, very cheap, rammed earth bag house.

SUVs are dangerous. And they fool us into thinking they are safe. But people love them, even the most ridiculous ones.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
It's doomsday Tuesday! Welcome to an exploration of the following three questions:
  • Where are we going?
  • Why are we in this hand basket?
  • Shouldn't we have a paddle? 

According to one of the world's top astrophysicists, we've got about a 50/50 chance of surviving the 21st century.

Lloyd's of London, the world's premier insurance company, has done a list of the 25 biggest threats facing us in the near future.

CO2 levels are now off the chart for all known historical data (going back a half million years.)

Not only have there been several mass extinction events in earth history (seven big ones) we now learn that humans very nearly died out as a species a mere 70,000 years ago, and that the entire world population dropped to around 2,000 people. The human race was rebuilt by two divergent groups of humans that had been apart for over 100,000 years, long enough to nearly form separate species.

Now we know the truth: T-Rex tastes like chicken.

It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

Follow your doctor's advice, be refused a transplant as a result.

13.7 billion years ago, there was a bang. and it was big. Here's the exciting tale of a roiling mass of inconceivably hot and dense mayhem, a universe expanded to a form much larger than what we can see today, a decay of X and Y bosons, a small excess of matter over antimatter, the electroweak era and the birth of quarks.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Microsoft Vista is driving people nuts. Here's a few ways to create and install minimal versions of the Vista OS so that it loads and runs faster. Or, starting this Thursday, you could just download the latest Ubuntu Linux (8.04)

The Plastic Bottle Scare: some background. And a list of web pages that give you more information. The basic facts so far: avoid #3, #6 and especially #7 bottles.

There's a couple of plants that could make a big difference in transforming agriculture into sustainable models. One is hemp, which can be processed into excellent fabrics and sturdy paper products that can halt the clear cutting of trees to make toilet paper and cereal boxes. But hemp is problematic, because of paranoid and irrational drug laws. However, Bamboo - one of the most useful plants on Earth- does not carry such bizarre ideological baggage, and it could make a big difference. One lady has figured out how to jump start the Bamboo cultivation process.

Mutate yourself to live twice as long.

Traveling with the Pope Entourage: surreal, privileged and insulated.

If you're a stickler for doing things right, here's list of ten nearly ubiquitous typographic errors

A GPS jamming device that plugs into your cigarette lighter. Far more useful than you'd think.

The sub-prime foreclosure crisis in one dense, hard-to-decipher graphic.

Where oil is headed. And it's not good.

How to obtain an artistic license.

Unhappy? Buy a gun. You'll feel happier. 

No Child Left Behind: now one third of all high-school students drop out.

Rented "Sweeney Todd." It's brilliant. 
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Every day is April Fools Day at The Onion. But this is a particularly good one. And here's another good one, from Google. (What, you're not going to click just because I didn't give you a detailed description first? Don't you trust me?)

The wartime exploits of British agent with million franc bounty on her head. Quite a lady.

I want this for dinner.

The best way ever to deal with school bullies.

The worst artery-clogging food in America.

Gandalph is back.

Tales from a rock star. Fall over laughing.

Feeling old? It could be the lead. In your bones.

Dead man says he feels "pretty good."

My subscription to Norton ran out -- again -- so I decided to go for a free anti-virus program. There's lots of them. Avast seems to be great, so far.

If this movie theater was in my town, I'd be there all the time.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The best ever stupid magnetic ribbon. Perfect for the back of your own massive SUV.

A newly discovered portrait of Mozart.  Looks kind of like Gérard Depardieu.

RIAA gone insane: a woman is arrested for selling "pirated" CDs at a flea market, and left without water or food for four days in a cell with no toilet or bed.

This weird guy just doesn't seem to mind the cold. At all. Swimming in ice water, climbing Everest in shorts.

Cool new passenger jet produces 50 percent less carbon dioxide and 75 percent less nitrous oxide.

The Universe is 13.7 billion years old.

The good news: Hydrogen Sulphide may be able to keep people alive in medical emergencies so that life-saving treatments can be performed. The bad news: our planet may burp out a whole lot of it and kill everything. It's happened before...

Just in case you were wondering what caused that chill that just ran up your spine: we are submerged in a sea of chilled neutrinos.

When you retire, make sure you set aside a little extra for medical costs. $102k ought to cover it.

The US prison population has broken all records, not only by sheer numbers but also by percentage of population. We now have exceeded 1%. And most prisoners are nonviolent offenders.

A possible HIV-blocking gene therapy.

For $575 to $1,000 a month, your young spoiled-rotten ASU college kid can live in the comfort that only the rich can afford. "Vista Del Sol has almost everything - and then some - that a first-class resort has."

When it comes to spying on the USA, "China is Different."

Music helps stroke and brain injury victims recover faster.

Animal-plant hybrids include rice which has human genes inserted to produce nutrients found in human breast milk.

There's something very romantic about living in a houseboat. Here's some fanciful concepts, and a few eminently practical solutions for those less concerned with safety, aesthetics and legality.

Guys: how to avoid being a complete Philistine at the dinner table.

News Flash: Viking women dressed "provocatively." And if this is "Provocative," then Viking men were really deeply repressed.

Idaho to teachers: we'll pay you more if you give up your union and all of your bargaining rights.

Mobile phones mess up your brain and interfere with your ability to sleep.

Watch Google Earth videos of rising sea level scenarios.

Geological instability in Yellowstone; what may trigger the next "big one."

Cool reviews of top-end fragrances for men, done by a woman. Hey guys, who are you trying to impress, anyway? The guys?

A fifth undersea data cable has been cut. Gee, you think this might be looking suspicious yet? And how do you fix one of these things?

A lack of Folate and Folic Acid is implicated in elderly dementia and Alzheimer's.

Saturday, January 19, 2008
Real-Life superheroes fight for Truth, Justice, and the Right to be Really Weird. And they look good doing it... sorta.

An already-approved drug, when injected directly into the spinal column, may begin to dramatically reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms within minutes of application.

A slightly alarmist article asking if your blood-pressure meds may be killing you.

Extensive neurology tests reveal that "Half Of 26-Year-Old's Memories Nintendo-Related." No matter how believable this article may be, remind yourself that it's from the Onion

Global warming may devastate lodgepole pines in the Rockies, because it's not getting cold enough to kill off pine beetles.

Just in case you want to make espresso while backpacking, here's a one-pound hand-pump-powered doohickey that does the job for a mere $145.

Surprise: they taunted the tiger.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008
British TV star says that fears over identity theft are bogus. "I have never known such a palaver about nothing... We have nothing to fear." To prove his point, he publishes his bank information. To prove their point, someone who understands the technology promptly withdraws £500 from his account.

If you have road rage, be careful before you exercise it against a 73-year-old guy with a cane.

Bagpipes blamed for environmental degradation. And not for the noise. Likewise violin bows. As if focusing on 0.00000001% of the problem makes sense.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography; this will be a big change in digital cameras in the future. You can use it now, if you don't mind fooling around with multiple exposures and PhotoShop.

Small houses, which look cool and are probably really comfortable. And easy to keep clean. And easy on the environment. And force one to get rid of all the excess stuff, which is a good enough reason all by itself. 

Cool car that runs on compressed air.

Learning more about how life started on our planet.

Bad programs that bloat your computer, and what to use instead. 

Sunday, January 6, 2008
I received a Speculaas cookie mold (or possibly a Springerle mold, I'm not completely sure) for Christmas, in the form of old Saint Nick himself, and went looking for recipes. What I found (translated from the Dutch) is simply too priceless, and must be shared:

Cookie (and the variant Speculoos) is confectionary That especially around it Feast of St Nicholas Popular is. The last decennia it is however normal the whole year been by cookie to eat. Cookie is chiefly in Holland And Belgium Created and eaten.

There are several statements for the word cookie:

* The Latin Word speculator ('he that everything sees'); What besides the nickname is of Saint-nicolaas;
* The Latin word speculum (looking-glass), because a cookie doll the looking-glass picture is of the image on the cake shelf with which it created is;
* There also a could relation be with spice, a referral to the herbage That cookie typeren.

Cookie is a baked goods that little rice, it bevat ankle vat powder as hoary tool, as a result of what the has a fixed structure. Cookie is created by butter to shuffle with cookie herbages and cassonade (Or Bastard sugar), And this to shuffle then with the flower and it vat powder. In getting of the paste it is important the temperature of the paste not too quickly to allow lift. This paste is sat nicest a night in a cold environment so that the taste of the herbage the paste a lot can come through, after that it in forms is baked in a warm oven.

Distinctive for cookie are the cookie herbages That existence from a mixture of Cinnamon (8), Nutmeg (2), Herb nail (2), Ginger powder (1), Cardamom (1) and white Pepper (1).

The most cookie products are made of flower, Brown sugar, butter and cookie herbages. In Belgium is also speculoos created; This did not realized mostly a real cookie herbages and is therefore other mentioned.

Hasselt Is very known for the so-called "Hasseltse cookie". On 13 January 1870 the Hasseltse obtained baker Antoine Deplee a brevet on the Hasseltse cookie: "Une espèce the pain d'amandes connu sous le the speculation undertake." He commercialized this cookie till abroad.

Products with cookie herbages:

* Almond cookie
* Cream butter cookie
* Herb nuts
* Replete cookie
* Cookie trouble
* Cookie doll

A big cookie doll is a freer mentioned. Previously a cookie doll decorated a young person with for example glaze and nuts. This he brought to a girl hair to allow perceive that he feelings had for hair. If the doll by the girl was assumed, the feelings were mutual. Here decorate the comes expression someone from.

Cookie is well known also for be laxerende operation, it energizes the intestines.

Toward a deeper understanding of what happened: Dave Barry's Year (2007) In Review.

Leading surveillance societies in the world, 2007.

Usually, when the propeller falls off your airplane, it doesn't end well. But this guy stayed cool and pulled a smooth landing.

Flying Spaghetti Monster gingerbread cookies, which I think will become a big hit in the Sacrament category.

And a sleep-deprived nation becomes a sleep-deprived nation on drugs to help you cope with sleep deprivation. Not to mention drugs to make you smarter.

Keeping up with the latest in cool science.

Coming Soon to Texas: A Master's Degree in Creation Science

Why "repressed memories" are likely not "repressed," but rather, "manufactured."

Feast your eyes, guys; the (hilariously) Galactically Hot Women of the old Star Trek.

If you get one of those nasty wounds that won't heal -- or respond to antibiotics -- try using honey.

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