Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Token post

Since I don't have the time or energy for a major post, why don't you check out this little gem over at Samzidata.

The Radical Centre has also been called 'Authoritarian Populism' because it seeks to impose the popular will by force and it does not much care what that will is. Just as liberty for liberty's own sake is the objective of the Classical Liberal/Libertarian rather than some 'overarching narrative' as was the case with the radical statist left and statist right in the corpse filled 20th century, the Radical Centre seek control for control's own sake with no particular grand reason in mind other than to perpetuate a political class whose reason for existence is to make decisions about other people's lives.

The reason they dislike us so much is that to attack regulatory statism is to attack these people's very reason to exist and we challange them on a profound psychological level. They need to control other people just as we need to control our own lives.

absolutely profound!

(Found via Kim Du Toit)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Go ahead, give it a shot!

Before I go to bed, here's a neat little item for you.

Whether you're shooting the breeze or shooting game, you can have a blast in this chair. That's right, it's made of shotgun shells.

I wouldn't really want this in my home, but knowing what I do about shotguns, I'd say somebody will surely get a kick out of it.

Once more

It's been a while since i've traveled on business, so guess what.

That's right! I'm back in the Buckeye state.

Probably won't do any posting for the next couple days, but stay tuned. I'm sure I'll have something interesting to post soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Big boy toy (that most of us will never afford)

Surf on over to Techeblog and check out their post on the Pagani Zonda F. It's really overpriced, but it's gorgeous!

Of course I think they're bragging a little bit with the markings on the speedometer.

400? I don't care if it's mph or kph, I don't think the car will get anywhere near those speeds.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Quantum leap

My alma mater has made it into the news again recently. As usual it involves an impressive technological advance.

Using an optical-based quantum computer, a research team led by physicist Paul Kwiat has presented the first demonstration of “counterfactual computation,” inferring information about an answer, even though the computer did not run. The researchers report their work in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal Nature.

I can't pretend to understand everything that they've developed (even the people developing these things admit that they're often confused by their work) But it's quite fascinating. The acricle in Nature is only availible to subscribers, but there's plenty of information on the UIUC website.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Protection, Mac style

Macs have been blissfully untouched by most of the hacking problems experienced by Microsoft, but they haven't been completly oblivious to the threat of hackers. Apparently they left a little message for them.

Your karma check for today:
There once was a user that whined
his existing OS was so blind
he'd do better to pirate
an OS that ran great
but found his hardware declined.

Please don't steal Mac OS!
Really, that's way uncool.
(C) Apple Computer, Inc.

Not exactly high level encryption, but it's a start.

Bo, Any chance of finding something like this in Windows?

Today's moment of awe

All I can say is, Wow!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Things that make you say, 'huh?'

The only thing that could be better than this is to see someone in workout clothes jogging up the 'down' escalator rather than going inside and paying the gym membership fee.

Educational post

I was just catching up on some blogs I haven't read in a while when I ran across a link from the "Geek with a .45" He has re-posted a link to a very interesting piece on gun control, that some people will hate and others will find immensly fascinating. Either way, it's an interesting article.

It's not short, so if you're going to start, get a cup of your favorite beverage and make yourself comfortable.

That sinking feeling

I don't mean to belittle the misfortune of others, but take a look at the ferrari accident that made the news tonight.

Apparently the car was going at least twice the speed limit.

Try to forget for a moment that most of us would be afraid to drive more than 10 miles per hour in a car worth up to 1 million bucks and imagine the feeling you would get the instant before you realized you were going to total a car worth more than most houses.

That's when you know it's going to be a bad day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chill out!

I was just surfing the 'Make' blog and I found a really COOL link to share with you.

1001 things to do with LIQUID NITROGEN


Some things look better in mud

I was in Southern Illinois last week and ended up getting my car into a little mud. Sometimes I think it's better that way.

It gives Rosie's name plate a little more meaning, doesn't it.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Crime of the century week

I know this was a serious incident, but somehow I think there must be a little humor in it.

According to police, a Dunkin Donuts driver left his truck running and unattended for a few minutes early Friday when a man got in and drove off.

Can you imagine watching police cruisers chase a dunkin donuts truck?

News Flash!

This disturbing news just in:

An increasing number of incidents involving African elephants attacking humans is leading some scientists to believe the animals may be seeking revenge.

Although elephant attacks have long been occurring, such attacks were believed the result of the animals being territorial of competing for food, Sky News reported Thursday. But that rationale is being questioned since the elephant population has never been lower in many areas and food has never been so abundant.

Maybe it's true, an elephant never forgets!

Engineering laws part 5 (last one)

Law #17: If more than one person is responsible for a miscalculation, no one will be at fault.

Law #18: Identical units which test in an identical fashion will not behave in an identical fashion in the field.

Law #19: If, in engineering practice, a safety factor is sent through the service experience at an ultimate value, an ingenious idiot will promptly calculate a method to exceed said safety factor.

Law #20: Warranty and guarantee clauses are voided by payment of the invoice.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Penny Saved

My hobbies may not exactly be common for someone in my age group, (model railroading, collecting sheet music, militaria, old phonographs, and so on) but I have found a passtime that even I think is unusual; coin stacking.

It is kindof impressive though.

Educational post

Here's an enlightening, though disgusting bit of information to think about. Toilet seat covers aren't really doing you much good.

But that's ok because I'm no longer really worried about the toilet seat so much as I am about what's on a computer's mouse.

And since we're speaking of dirty computers, it would appear that humans aren't the only things getting viruses these days.

How's that for cheerful news on a Sunday Afternoon.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

"A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them."

P. J. O'Rourke

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Not bad!

If you tuned in a while back you probably remember the post on that ridiculous iron. Here's something that seems just as crazy, but looks a bit more fascinating to me.

Meet Oliver Blackwell's three-in-one 'washdryiron'

This actually sounds pretty neat to me. It'll probably be overly expensive and can handle a somewhat limited amount of clothing, but I can see myself using it. Of course that may have something to do with the inventor and his mindset.

The 23-year-old student's innovative idea was thought up for his final degree project.

I just wish I had thought of it first. I could really use one of these in my apartment.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Engineering laws part 4

Law #13: Salespeople's claims for performance should be multiplied by a factor of 0.25.

Law #14: Installation and Operating Instructions shipped with the device will be promptly discarded by the Receiving Department.

Law #15: Any device requiring service or adjustment will be the least accessible.

Law #16: Service conditions as given on specifications will be exceeded.

Do you really mean that?

I'm not a psychologist, but somehow I think the title of this book is, well, insensitive to the needs of the targeted consumer.

I can't make this stuff up!

Update: I noticed this a little lower on the page. I'm beginning to think they're preying on this particular demographic.

'Well, OK. If you say so.'

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Wake up and see the coffee

It's back to work for me first thing in the morning, so here's a little caffeinated goodness to get things rolling.

There's plenty more where that came from too.

Engineering laws part 3

You may have noticed, but I'm not paying much attention to the blog right now. I'm visiting relatives, so my evenings are not free. I'll be back to normal Tuesday night so posting should resume in earnest then.

Law #9: Major changes in construction will always be requested after fabrication is nearly complete.

Law #10: Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

Law #11: Interchangeable parts won't.

Law #12: Manufacturer's specifications of performance should be multiplied by a factor of 0.5.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Engineering laws part 2

Law #5: The most vital dimension on any plan drawing stands the most chance of being omitted.

Law #6: If only one bid can be secured on any project, the price will be unreasonable.

Law #7: If a test installation functions perfectly, all subsequent production units will malfunction.

Law #8: All delivery promises must be multiplied by a factor of 2.0.


I wish I had thought of this!

Introducing the ultimate in space saving technology for the camper. Fold flat dishes!

The neat thing is, I bet I could make these myself.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fun with numbers

I haven't been spending much time on these posts, so here's a token post for anyone who enjoy's math humor. (silence)

Gratuitous Google post

In an effort to expand their internet services, Google has now linked it's "Google Talk" instant messenger client and it's Gmail system. I've tried it, and it's actually a pretty slick system. Chat sessions over Google Talk are automatically archived and saved to the g'mail space. Of course there's also an 'off the record' option for when you don't want to record your conversations.

The Google Talk system is actually pretty handy as a mail notification program. The only drawback I see is that not too many people seem to be using it. At least not too many when compared to AIM. Still, given the popularity of Gmail, I wouldn't be surprised if Google Talk picks up quite a bit of business.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Engineering laws part 1

Sad but true

Law #1: In any calculation, any error which can creep in will do so.

Law #2: Any error in any calculation will be in the direction of most harm.

Law #3: In any formula, constants (especially those obtained from engineering handbooks) are to be treated as variables.

Law #4: The best approximation of service conditions in the laboratory will not begin to meet those conditions encountered in actual service.

Mechanical Math

We're living in a world where electronic calculators are everywhere. You can buy simple ones for under $10, fancy ones that can calculate differentials and integrals in seconds, and tiny ones that are no bigger than a business card.

It's easy to forget that in years past, calculators didn't have batteries or wires, but levers and cams. I've never tried to analyze one of these old machines (I've only seen 2 of them) but apparently the art of mechanical computation isn't entirely lost

This impressive conglomeration of legos is actually a re-vamped version of the a Babbage Difference Engine. Basically, it evaluates polynomials at multiple points, making it possible, to generate plenty of data that can be used in the tables which used to be a part of every mathematician or engineer's life. It's not very advanced mathematically, but mechanically these machines are real wonders.

Makes a digital calculator seem a bit boring doesn't it

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Be the first on your block

Have you ever seen an invention that you don't know how you lived without?

This is probably not one of those inventions, but it is cool in a geeky kind of way.

Behold the motorized light bulb changer! It can screw lightbulbs in or out and has an extension pole that reaches up to 6'. How have we ever lived without this? Oh right, ladders.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lighten up

"I recently found your bottle while taking a scenic walk on the beach by Poole Harbour. While you may consider this some profound experiment on the path and speed" of "oceanic currents, I have another name for it, litter."

"You Americans don't seem to be happy unless you are mucking about somewhere," says the letter, signed by Henry Biggelsworth of Bournemouth, in Dorset

Sunday, February 05, 2006


In case I haven't filled anyone in on my whereabouts lately, I am back in Chicago again (arrived Friday evening) and I don't expect to be traveling on business again for at least a little bit.

This last trip to Ohio was actually pretty nice. I only had a few really late nights at work, and despite the high stress level I got to relax by driving around a little. Which brings me to another point, I finally found a Chevrolet that I really enjoyed driving! Avis set me up with a nice red monte carlo and it was really a blast to drive. (Don't worry I didn't do anything to attract the attention of the local law enforcement.) The throttle was smooth and responsive, the controls were easily reached and didn't feel sloppy like on some Chevy's I've driven, I had no blind spot thanks to the long door, and it felt quite manuverable despite its length. Fun times!

I have to work Monday but after that I'll most likely take a little time off. I have no idea what I'll do, but I know several chores, errands, and projects will be competing for my time. I might get to hit the road for a while too. Who knows.

PC in a brown paper sack.

I know that lots of people 'mod' their computer cases or build funny looking computers. I think it's actually a neat way of expressing oneself, besides who doesn't like using things that are customized to be a little special.

This one is a little odd though. Don't take my word for it; check the proof! (anything for a pun!)

I guess that computer must be really boozer friendly.
(C'mon, just try to make a worse joke; I dare you!)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

Labor was the first price, the original purchase-money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labor, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.

- Adam Smith

Telegram business declining STOP

"Effective January 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative."

Just think, a techology which was first heralded with the message, "What hath God wrought" has fallen to low long distance telephone rates, fax machines, and e-mails.

Worse than a pickup line

I just recieved a forward with this in it, and I am stunned.

I know there are some shy people out there (I'm not always outgoing myself) but sometimes it's surprising how shy people can be.

Meet the, 'Get a Date Napkin'

Kinda pitiful huh? Then again, it's so crazy it might actually . . . nah!

Friday, February 03, 2006

You might be an engineer if...

Have you ever wondered if it's possible to spot an engineer in a crowd? Here's a simple method. Just count the number of items sticking out of the shirt pocket.


Ball point pen = 0 points
2 ball point pens = 1 points
3 or more = 5 points

Felt tip marker = 1 point
2 or more = 5 points

Pocket protector = 3 points (This would be higher, but there's a fair likelihood that you may be dealing with a different math or science related professional)

USB drive or other electronic device = 5 points

Flower or corsage = -50

The more points, the higher the likelihood that you are looking at an engineer.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

!!! TILT !!!

Back when I used to play with Lego blocks I thought I was pretty good at building things with them.

Nothing I did could possibly compare with THIS!

Not only only is it a Lego pinball machine, it's a FUNCTIONAL pinball machine!!

I'm in awe!