Tastes Like Chicken


Saturday, January 27, 2001
_You know what he's thinking...
"Do I smell chicken?"



_McDonald's Is Your Kind of Place


Do you think that's for people or cows?

_What's All This Muntzing Stuff, Anyhow?
Earl Muntz never worked at Microsoft. That's for damn sure.

"The story around the industry was that he would wander around to an engineer's workbench and ask, 'How's your new circuit coming?'

"After a short discussion, Earl would say, 'But, you seem to be over-engineering this - I don't think you need this capacitor.' He would reach out with his handy nippers (insulated) that he always carried in his shirt-pocket, and snip out the capacitor in question.

"Well, doggone, the picture was still there! Then he would study the schematic some more, and SNIP... SNIP... SNIP. Muntz had made a good guess of how to simplify and cheapen the circuit. Then, usually, he would make one SNIP too many, and the picture or the sound would stop working. He would concede to the designer, 'Well, I guess you have to put that last part back in,' and he would walk away. THAT was 'Muntzing' - the ability to delete all parts not strictly essential for basic operation."

_Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My Ass
"Check this shit out (Fig. 1). That's bonafide, 100%-real data, my friends. I took it myself over the course of two weeks. And this was not a leisurely two weeks, either; I busted my ass day and night in order to provide you with nothing but the best data possible. Now, let's look a bit more closely at this data, remembering that it is absolutely first-rate. Do you see the exponential dependence? I sure don't. I see a bunch of crap.

"Christ, this was such a waste of my time.

"Banking on my hopes that whoever grades this will just look at the pictures, I drew an exponential through my noise. I believe the apparent legitimacy is enhanced by the fact that I used a complicated computer program to make the fit. I understand this is the same process by which the top quark was discovered."

OK, I have to give props to Larkfarm for highlighting this, even though I'm usually way to lazy for such shows of basic respect, because I NEVER would have seen it otherwise.


_Are you your career?
"For that matter, this article is being written on time that doesn't belong to the company purveying it to you. It's being written after hours. There were too many other tasks during hours. And when the work-vs.-life choice came up, work won." Hmm.

This article addresses balancing the role of work in your life and achieving your personal goals, work goals being a part of that set, but I can't get behind all of it's assertions, such as saying that work "becomes our mark of identity, our signature on the world. To work is to be and not to work is not to be." Well, not quite.

Also, I've had jobs where 8 hours a day was a total, life-sapping drain on my existence (certain government contracting/consulting gigs) and jobs where six 12-hour days a week left me energized and eager for more. Believing in what you do, lowering barriers to achievement (the commute plays huge role in shaping attitudes toward actually going to work for me), working with people that you respect and learn from, and and believing that your hard work will be rewarded all contribute to having a job that will build you up instead of grinding you down.

_Yogurt: Got culture?
Informative, with a whimsical touch at the bottom. History, cultural development (in both senses) and recipes (which I scanned right past to the sardonic bits at the end).

_Scouts Expel Troops Whose Leaders Oppose Gay Ban
The purge begins to target scouts themselves, instead of adult leaders. That'll learn them queer-lovers.

_Bill Would Let Fairfax Limit Sleep to Bedrooms
Alright, Republicans, here's your chance to show that you and not the Democrats are the party that will get government off of people's backs. Excuse me if I don't hold my breath.


_Teacher's aide rams school with car
Hmm, in high school it was always the foreign language teachers you had to keep an eye on. I saw one wig out, scream at the class (which was doing nothing more exciting than idle chatter), break the big glass plate on an overhead projector by hitting it with her hands, walk from the front of the now-silent class to the back and hit a student on the head with a hardback book.

Friday, January 26, 2001
_Human Cloning
"Though many people don't know it, IVF and cloning techniques have come together at least twice to create embryonic human clones. In 1998, a scientist working at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts, took a human somatic cell, inserted it into an enucleated cow egg, and started the egg dividing to prove that oocytes from other species could be used to create human stem cells. He voluntarily stopped the experiment after several cell divisions. A team at Kyung Hee University in South Korea said it created an embryonic adult human clone in 1999 before halting the experiment, though some doubt that any of this really happened. Had either of these embryos been placed in a surrogate mother, we might have seen the first human clone.

All of these activities point to an unmistakable conclusion: Human cloning has become inevitable. ...Last spring, a secretive summit of animal-cloning experts was held at the Banbury Center, a conference facility at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. It attracted nearly every known animal cloner, including Dolly's creators, Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell. Nobody other than invitees was allowed in, and the proceedings were hush-hush - no media, no tape recorders. Bishop discovered that his views about human cloning's inevitability were widely shared. 'One evening after dinner, some of us were talking, and there was not one of us who believed it had not already happened,' he says. 'It is too easy. Too bloody easy.'"

And now we have researchers undertaking cloning efforts in the open.

_Bonsai Kitten
Do you think that... tastes like chicken?


_Body Mass Index - BMI
This one of the better BMI calculators on the web. It accepts decimal values, which can be significant if you're, say, 5' 1.5" tall. I used to hit this page all the time, but less so now that I've got things under control. The Superbowl isn't going to help things, though...

_eBay - Playstation 2 Original Box And Receipt
Someone didn't read closely. Read the main link and then this.

_Oops! Can this fort be worth $234,300?
"Rustic 1 BR, no bath, no garage, open, eat outside, no carpets, windows, doors or heating. Allows rain, snow, animals in. Built by 8-year-old. $234,300."


_18 inch dog eats 15 inch knife
Maybe it tasted like chicken? Click through to read the article.



_New Administration Cataloguing 'Pranks'
"Clinton and Gore officials admitted to having left official-looking signs on office doors that said roughly, 'Office of Strategerie' (a reference to a 'Saturday Night Live' spoof of Bush), 'Office of Subliminable Messages' (another reference to Bush malapropisms) and 'Division of Uniting.'"

_Sacagawea Comes Up Tails
The thoroughly mixed succes of the Sacagawea dollar coin.

Thursday, January 25, 2001
_Did we miss our stop?


And no, I won't be 'blogging that picture of the fireman with his hand blown off by a police flashbang. Thanks, SF Gate, that's just what I was hoping to see over my Cheerios.

_Starbucks says a company manager stole millions by simply forging a signature
"Her $300,000 Newport Hills home was made nearly impassable by newly bought goods, including three Steinway pianos, eight bicycles, and five digital satellite systems. Most boggling was Heinen's collection of automobiles, found at the home and three separate storage facilities. Fifteen of the 32 vehicles were bought during the time Heinen worked for Starbucks, the company claims. They include a 2001 Porche Turbo and 2001 Chevrolet Corvette (one of three Corvettes). Also among the collection are an Aston Martin DB7, Dodge Viper, BMW Roadster, and 1936 Mercedes Replica. The Heinens also own three boats, including a 47-foot Bayliner valued at $310,000."

_`Dead' woman wakes up in body bag
"Around noontime, nearly four hours after police found the woman, Matarese heard a 'gurgling noise' coming from the woman's body bag.

"'I thought something slid off the table, like a piece of paper," Matarese said. "It was a faint noise....It was labored, there's no question about it.'

"When Matarese unzipped the nylon bag, he realized the woman was breathing.

"'Believe me, I was scared,' he said. 'I didn't believe it until I opened the pouch.'"

And from another source we hear that "she's up, alive, and taking nourishment. It's just amazing.''

_Man slices off hand, shoots self with nails
"A Lehighton man doing remodeling work at a Bethlehem home accidentally cut off his hand with a power saw, then, apparently hoping to end his pain, shot himself at least 12 times in the head with a nail gun, police said."

Older: click on this picture to read the story of a guy who took 3-inch nail into his head and lived.



_Following up on artists who promised to leave the country if Bush was elected
"'One artist keeping his promise to leave the country in the event of a Bush presidency is director Robert Altman. Bob and Kathyrn were in Elaine's the other night with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, and confirmed they've taken a house in London for the coming year. (Altman's next movie will be filmed there.)'

"Last week, 'Bob' Altman's publicist denied the story, saying the director was not planning a move. Asked if it would be possible to obtain a statement from Altman, the publicist said, 'I can't reach him, he's out of the country.'

"'Is he in London?'

"'He's -- overseas.'"

_How the ax falls
Salon is being a bit slow again, but the do have some interesting vignettes focusing on being canned from a dot com.

_A Call for Mandatory Pledge in Virginia Schools
Man, didn't we settle this in 1943? Which member of the clergy is supposed to write a Juan Epstein-style note for the atheist who doesn't want to lie? Or maybe we'll just force atheists to lie as a part of this campaign to teach kids values.

Update: the sponsor of this bill dropped it because "spineless pinkos" had the audicity to propose that automatic suspension, i.e. stopping the education of the child, might not be the best way to handle an "infraction." The really embarrassing part: the doofus who proposed the legislation is from Fairfax, the richest and most tech-savvy county in the state. Wonderful. These are supposed to be the leaders, huh?

Wednesday, January 24, 2001
_Popcorn Factory: Valentine's Day selections
I just got this catalog in the snail mail, and it couldn't come at a worse time. There was only a single item that turned me off (coconut is not my friend) and everything else looked devastatingly good. And I'm 3 days into being good again, after splurging while visiting family. Grr...

_Scientist Extols Horseradish Toothpaste
More specifically, that's wasabi toothpaste. It probably does not taste like chicken.


_Woman charged in attempted assault with car
I was thinking this might be more racist than Rush Limbaugh declaring that black's votes shouldn't count, but now that I think about the this woman's harassment of her black neighbors might be classified as a violent strain of separatism, which would not (to hear separatists tell it) necessarily define blacks as less than human, as Limbaugh's reasoning does.

_CBS planning Matrix-style 360 degree rotating instant replays for the Superbowl
"Plans for EyeVision include erasing players from the video who aren't critical to the play and putting a transparent plane on the goal line to show distinctly whether the ball penetrated the plane and crossed the goal line.

"But for now, they'll settle for all 33 robotic cameras providing a new view of Sunday's Super Bowl."



_Jennifer Capriati
Call the WWF!



_The Presidential Limousine
A spiffy article on the current and former presidential limos.

"The massive strength of these vehicles was revealed by a freak accident in 1976 when President Ford's limousine was broadsided by a full-size Buick. The Buick was traveling at about 35 mph and entered a blind intersection that had not, for some reason, been blocked off by local police. As anyone who has witnessed the aftermath of such a collision knows, the car being "t-boned" suffers the brunt of the damage. Not this time. President Ford's Secret Service driver (following strict security procedures) didn't even slow down. He didn't have to; the presidential Lincoln was hardly scratched! The Buick, on the other hand, looked as if it had been in a 35 mph barrier crash test and was a total loss!"

_The most rascist thing I've heard in a long while
"[Bush] won 55.6 percent of the non-African-American vote. An 11-point-plus landslide. ... What does Bush owe people who didn't vote for him? ... It cannot be said that Bush owes these people anything in the political sense. ... You take that [black] vote out of there, George W. Bush has one hell of a mandate, does he not?" -- Rush Limbaugh

Wow. That might even trump getting shut out of a promising relationship for not sharing a religion.


_The Challenger shuttle explosion as remembered by the engineer that saw it coming
An engrossing and morbidly fascinating read centered on an engineer at the manufacturer of the booster rocket that blew up the shuttle 15 years ago. He knew the rockets would fail and warned his managment but was eliminated from the decision-making process. The aftermath has taken a serious toll on his psyche and his career.

_STAR WARS: Endor Holocaust
An obsessive Star Wars fan page insisting that the destruction of the Death Star in Return of the Jedi means that all the Ewoks will be wiped out. Unlike most Star Wars fans, the author of this piece seems to treat the annihilation of the Ewoks from the universe as a bad thing.

_Not safe for work: Page3.com
Well, the first page is actually reasonably safe on it's own, though I'd rather not explain it to anyone of authority. Clicking the thumbnails under the big picture will reveal bewbies. NIKKALA, 19, from Middlesex, inspired this page's blogging. Think they're real?

_So You Think Your Kitchen Is Small?
How New York City restaurant chefs squeeze maximum utility out of closet-sized kitchens.

I know of a place in Richmond, Virginia, that feeds a boisterous crowd of maybe 50 great food from a single home-use sized gas range. Good potatos...

Tuesday, January 23, 2001

_Salon is too slow for Robby.


_The jail from hell
A Salon piece about the conditions faced by inmates and gaurds at a Memphis jail. Wholsome family entertainment.

_California's Image Dims as Lights Go Out
How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?

_The View From Ninety
A long-time Wahington Post political reporter shares moments of what life is like at 90. Still driving, which worries me, and still writing well, which encourages me.

Monday, January 22, 2001
_God is all in your head
Neurological states associated with various religous feelings.

_Holy Molars!
Erin Brockovich sporting the biggest mouth I've ever seen on a human being.