Saturday, October 24, 2009
Devo: Secret Agent Man; the original being parodied here was by Johnny Rivers.
Blondie: The Tide is High. When Blondie first started getting popular in the late 70's, I didn't care much for their music. First, Rapture (their early song that got played to death) is just a song and a style I don't like; it was important and influential, but just not my cup of tea. Second, the marketing I saw at the time was all about Deborah Harry is a hottie. Fine, I agree, but I'm not going to buy or listen to music because an artist is fun to look at- even then I was very suspicious of advertising sex. As I listened to more of their later music though, I came to realize that Harry had (and still has) an amazing voice, and that as a group, they were very happy to play around with differing styles and moods. Not my favorite group ever, but right up there.
Compare the above to "Angels on The Balcony," from the same album, 1980's "Autoamerican."
Jim Randle, Salem
OregonLive's weekly feature with responses to current events in 35 words or fewer. I LOVE the idea of a Nobel Peace and Quiet Award.
Last year, after Oregon lawmakers found a way to expand health care for the uninsured, state health officials grappled with an ethical issue: Who should be first in line for the coverage? The sickest? The youngest? The poorest?Next year looks better: the impoverished uninsured may have as much as a one-in-four chance of getting health care. The rest can go to the emergency room.
But federal law does not allow the state to discriminate in such fashion. Thus, 18 months ago, a computer in Salem began randomly drawing names from a pool of more than 83,000 uninsured adults who had signed up for this creative but essentially heartless lottery.
In the initial drawing only 3,000 won the precious jackpot -- insurance under the Oregon Health Plan. It meant they had about a one-in-27 chance of winning coverage.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The reason I bring it up is that according to the findings of Archbishop Ussher, this is the Earth's Birthday. I had been intending to post on this today, but Callan at NOVA Geoblog did such an outstanding post that I'm just going to link his. Among other tidbits of information, Ussher's formal title was "Primate." Heh. (listens for fundy Christian heads to go all 'splodey)
Still, I wonder if Ussher took Pope Gregory's calendar changes into account? The reason he had to change it was that the "paper calender" had drifted more than half a month off the "seasonal calendar."
I'm sure geology types the world round are hoisting a toast to our wonderful planet tonight. Sure, it's ironic and a little sarcastic, but in the end, October 23rd is as good a birthday as any.
I didn't really care for the following song when I first heard it; but I came to enjoy it in a Pulp Fiction, dark (very dark) humor sort of way.
Speaking of Pulp Fiction, here's a clip I came across earlier today. I had decided it wasn't funny enough to post... but it is ironic enough to post given this context.
Our species is waving its power around like the gun in that scene. Who knows who'll get taken out with the next accident? Hmmm?
However, when that B of A settlement comes through, it'll be taken care of.
A group of rich Germans has launched a petition calling for the government to make wealthy people pay higher taxes.The group estimates the German government could raise 100 billion euros (approximately $150 billion) over two years with a 5% wealth tax.
The group say they have more money than they need, and the extra revenue could fund economic and social programmes to aid Germany's economic recovery.
The group say the financial crisis is leading to an increase in unemployment, poverty and social inequality....
"The path out of the crisis must be paved with massive investment in ecology, education and social justice," they say in the petition.Are these people insane? How could someone think that dealing with a crisis is more important than having more money than a mortal could spend?
Those who had "made a fortune through inheritance, hard work, hard-working, successful entrepreneurship, or investment" should contribute by paying more to alleviate the crisis.
Speaking of which, here is another tidbit I came across yesterday: Neil deGrasse Tyson trying to explicate really big numbers:
50 billion: This is what Bill Gates was worth before the recession. To understand this, imagine you make a reasonably good living in the low six figures. With such an income you would be too busy to stop and bend over to pick up a dime, but you would stop for a quarter. By scaling this number up to Gates' wealth, he would be too busy to bend over and pick up ... $45,000.And finally, The BBC reports a man is suing the Bank of America for poor customer service. The amount he's claiming? 1780 billion trillion dollars.
It would in fact take 5,247 super-rich, Bill Gates-filled planets to just barely cover Mr Chiscolm's demand for $1,784 billion trillion.Also too, if I've got all my figures lined up right, that would be the value of a cube of gold 13.436 kilometers on a side. Mount Everest is just under 5 km tall. Big rock candy mountain indeed. I personally am hoping he wins. He could pay for truly universal global health care, hunger, climate change, housing, and financial insecurity without even noticing the scratch in the side of his block.
On the other hand, that might just devalue gold a little bit.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Yes, I think both will be highly entertaining.
Oops, forgot links... here, here, and here. (NY Daily News, CS Monitor, and Guardian, respectively)
Well! This certainly seems to be my day to find video clips of all the fun other people have shopping. The soundtracks at the markets I go to seem to consist of musak treatments of "classic rock." Think "Paint it Black" orchestrated with a thousand violins and no percussion or vocals. Fred Meyer needs to hire a pianist. Captions would be good too.
For our latest mission, six undercover actors burst into song in a grocery store in Queens. Three minutes and lots of silly choreography later, they returned to their roles as shoppers and stock boys. The mission was filmed with hidden robotic, lipstick, and wearable cameras. Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our report below.From Improv Everywhere; the tagline is "we create scenes.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Awesome and beautiful.
The Planetary Society Blog points out a mysterious trap door on the lunar surface...
It is thought that this may be a skylight in a basaltic lava tube. When a highly fluid lava like basalt erupts, the outer margins, including the upper surface, cool and solidify first. This outer crust insulates the interior, and allows it to stay hot and flowing longer. Often, after the source eruption ceases, the lava partially or completely drains, and leaves an empty tube behind. On occasion, a part of the roof collapses, leaving a hole through the roof into the tube, as seen below:
The above and following were swiped from Facebook friend Kevin's page, and were taken at Derrick Cave in Central Oregon. The most common type of lava tube entrance is a complete collapse of the roof and walls of the tube. The picture below is looking from inside the main part of the cave (there's a smaller segment on the opposite side of the opening) to the outdoors.
So this is the terrestrial equivalent of what we appear to have found on the moon. As the Planetary Society post points out, this could be an ideal site for a base, providing shelter both from ionizing radiation, and from extreme heat and cold through the course of a lunar day. There is a certain irony that, as we look at what may be the human frontier over the next century, we hark back thousands of years, seeking caves for shelter.
I've seen this story in a number of papers; this excerpt is from the NYT coverage:
European astronomers have found 32 new planets outside our solar system, adding evidence to the theory that the universe has many places where life could develop. Scientists using the European Southern Observatory telescope didn't find any planets quite the size of Earth or any that seemed habitable or even unusual. But their announcement increased the number of planets discovered outside the solar system to more than 400.Right now, we have two proven methods of planet discovery: spectroscopy and occultation. As a planet orbits its star, the star is also tugged back and forth- remember, for each action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. The star is many times larger than the planet, so its motion is changed by much less, but it is changed. Careful analysis of the star's spectrum over a period of days to years can demonstrate a cyclical shift from bluer to redder and back. If this shift is persistent over two or more cycles, it is taken to be evidence that the star's motion is being perturbed by an orbiting planet. The second method, occultation, is more straightforward. If a planet passes in front of the stellar disk, the amount of light we receive from the star decreases. Again, we look for this signal to repeat two or more times- enough that we feel we can confidently predict the next luminosity decrease. If we can get both spectroscopy and occultation from the same star and planet, we can get at both the volume (derived from radius, related to luminosity decrease) and mass (related to stellar mass and perturbation of the star's motion). Volume and mass allow us to calculate density, which allows us to determine whether the planet is gaseous or rocky. A bit more than a month ago, researchers announced the discovery of the first rocky exoplanet. It's beginning to look like there's a really good chance of finding other earth-like planets.
Finally, The BBC is reporting that a week from today, a test of the new Ares 1-X will be carried out. As I read it, this will be simply a functionality test of the first stage; the upper stages will simply be dummy weights, and while I'm sure everything will be instrumented to the hilt, there will be no passengers. As much as I've enjoyed watching the shuttle flights, I have to admit I'm excited to see the return of the sheer monstrous power of the Saturn V-style rockets.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It's time for
Halloween Barbie doll costume contest
Check out our display of previous contest entries by customers and staff. Doesn't it look like fun? It is.
Dress your Barbie, Ken or similar doll in a creative costume that you designed using your own little hands and brain. Multiple entries are allowed if you're a creative genius or just a dork with nothing better to do. You don't have to say which one you are (but we'll know).
Customers and staff will vote for their favorite. Submit your entry by Tues. Oct. 27. (Late entries will be accepted, but voting will have begun)
Results will be announced on Halloween at 7 PM. Winners do not need to be present at the time to claim their prizes. We're sure you'll be doing something much more fun at 7 PM on a Saturday Halloween.
3rd place: $10 Interzone gift certificate and travel mug.
2nd place: $20 Interzone gift certificate and tote bag
1st place: $30 Interzone gift certificate and t-shirt
Why are you still standing here? Go desecrate a Barbie! Go!
Miss VP USA Barbie.
Interzone Bill, friend of Interzone Barbie (I don't know if this is intended to imply anything about Interzone Iris.)
Life Lesson from AmazingSuperPowers Click to double linearly, or quadruple areally.
Do these drumsticks taste funny to you? Cake Wrecks
see more dog and puppy picturesDarius Whiteplume's Tumblr
Find all seven members of this silly family. TYWKIWDBI
Apples are teh bomb. The Daily What.
"Worst Dog Haircuts Ever" From BuzzFeed. The above victim has a zebra on the other side. And I don't think it's fair to call these "worst." They are awesome! And funny.
The following had me in tears, from Not Always Right:
Me: “Welcome, how can I be of assistance?”
Patient: “I think my son has Liza Minnelli!”
Me: “Liza Minnelli?”
Patient: “Yes! I think he has Liza Minnelli!”
Me: “Um…how did he contract it?”
Patient: “He ate the raw chicken on the counter! I’m telling you, it’s Liza Minnelli!”
Me: “Oh, you must mean salmonella.”
Patient: “No, I mean Liza Minnelli!”
Me: “Right, then. The doctor will see you now.”
(The doctor sees the patient’s child and tells her that it is salmonella and not Liza Minnelli. On her way out…)
Patient: “I still think it’s called Liza Minnelli.”
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
In a contest between geology and automotive technology, guess which will always win? That Will Buff Out. Also, too, another example.Visual Punnery from Darius Whiteplume
Top ten reasons Obama should reject the Nobel Peace Prize. Click over to CJSD for the other five.
10) Peace sells, but we’re not sure who’s buying, and that goes against our free market principles.
9) Plus, anything given out by Europeans is not worth accepting, except for Western civilization.
8) No real American would accept a Nobel Prize during a time of war. Wait, who did? Kissinger? Son of a bitch.
7) Okay, no real American-born American, like Reagan. Speaking of which, it’s a crime that Ronald Reagan didn’t receive this award for Star Wars, which should have been called Star Peace, what with all the Freedom Lasers shooting down Commie missiles.
6) Besides, accepting the award is exactly what our enemies want…wait, what? The Taliban condemned the award. Hamas too? Wow, this is awkward…uh, socialism!
see more Political Pictures
see more Political Pictures
We've all had days like this... Skull Swap
El Niño: Ground beef, sauteed onions, sour cream, lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese wrapped in a large pepperoni pizza, totaling three pounds. This is Why You're Fat.
see more Funny Graphs
Buns of... hair? Don't Judge My Hair
OOOH! Him for president! Skull Swap
Non Sequitur (Click the pic for readability)
see more dog and puppy picturesOh WOW! That's my favorite kind! Criggo
The Daily What. This is even better than the movies.
see more Political PicturesOne of those tragedies that stick with you forever... epic4chan
Starry, Starry Nom... The Daily What
There's an app for that. Twisted Physics. Also, there's a rep for that (from all over the place)
I really need to keep my calender up to date. Skull Swap
see more Lolcats and funny picturesProbably Bad News. I'd go If Mary was going to be there too.
Well, yeah, there's that... xkcd
see more Lolcats and funny pictures. Not so much funny as beautiful and puzzling... how did it get up there?
Where were you when nothing happened? The Daily What
Cyanide and Happiness
Noise to Signal
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Mr. Beansus, from Skull Swap.