Tastes Like Chicken

Saturday, February 10, 2001
_Shocker: Amazon is a retailer/catalog sales outfit with lots of crappy jobs
The story of how Amazon crushed a unionization effort: they fired all the union people.

_Postmortem: Raven Software's Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force
A "making of" piece (written by one of the games creators) about the respected Star Trek game using the Quake 3 engine.

Listed, but not particularly highlighted, is the apparent source of the biggest gripe with the game, its short single-player game length. The high level of detail in the 3D environments required to sychronize the game world with the TV show world dramatically expanded the memory requirements of the game. "Unfortunately, to keep up with the schedule, large parts of the levels were deleted and redesigned, which resulted in much smaller levels that could be traversed quicker, and ultimately made for a shorter game."

_Academy Awards Effects Oscar Bake-Off
An interesting peek inside one of the rounds of competition for the special effects Oscars. Hear about animating port-a-potties (Cast Away) and "digital tush replacement" (X-Men).

_Another groovy sunset shuttle launch pic

Also check out the (Windows Media format) video of the lauch. It's spectacular.

_Caste marks survive India's killer quake - February 8, 2001
In rural India, the caste system determines who gets the quickest and best earthquake relief.

_Confessions of a Sex Tourist
A defensive, wishy-washy and oddly timid, but still fascinating, personal account of the author's experiences as a customer to the sex industries of Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

_CNN Interactive
The special java version of CNN's site. For other nooks and crannies they might not be keen on you visiting, check out the always tantalizing robots.txt.

Friday, February 09, 2001
_Naked women go ape at monkey study
"Twelve biologists counting monkeys in rural Kenya were put to flight this week by an a angry horde of more than 300 naked women. The 12 were conducting a census of the endangered Tana River Colobus monkey - a project funded by the World Bank - when the women stripped and charged at them."

_FBI Goes After Bonsaikitten.com

Is it really that hard to wrap your head around the idea that this is a joke?

_Soul Sale Pulled From EBay
"I was just bored, and I'm a geek," Burtle said. "So anytime I'm bored, I go back to my Internet."

_Don't jump!
All the gory details involved in jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

"You guys are sick. When we asked our readers to tell us what was going on in their underpants, well, we weren't prepared for the tales of depravity that poured into our offices.

"Of course, we already knew that all of our readers wanted to bang Q13's Leslie Miller--even the gay men--but who knew that most of you disliked the person who took your virginity? Or that in the year 2000 alone, 54% of you mixed booze 'n' drugs 'n' sex? Or that Christians enjoy being pooped on more than Buddhists? We sure as hell didn't know these things. But we know them now, along with oh-so-much more about your filthy, filthy lives.

"Keep up the good work."

Lots of entertainingly presented results here, more than I've had time to read yet. What gives with gay men who know they're HIV+ screwing uninfected men without either telling them or using condoms? About 10% of all the gay men surveyed cop to this.

_A look at what's inside your cell phone
A geeky-cool look at the what makes mobile phone handsets work, especially the rare metals crucial to their operation. Interesting and non-technical.

_How My Affair With Porn Was Born
A cheeky piece about a woman working as an adult bookstore clerk and liking it.

"My first job in a porn store was at a small shop in Van Nuys. It lasted only one day. The manager fired me when I spent my first lunch break watching videos. He muttered something about me perhaps being 'better as a customer.'"

_Dick Jokes for Women
The Vagina Monologues contains a celebratory scene of a woman raping a child?

Thursday, February 08, 2001
_Only people with very dark complexions are accepted by God
"McCoy says school textbooks in the school atmosphere are filled with the evil images perpetrated by the 'evil white man,' or 'paleface.' ...Bridgers and her father also believe the images in the schools... caused the 8th grader to develop asthma."

_Night Cabbie Articles
The journal of a night cab driver in San Francisco, updated every two weeks. Compelling and strange.

I used to read it all the time, but have just now rediscovered it after the link changed. Have a look at recent examples: one and two.

_Repairing The Damage
How much can you improve your health after neglecting it for long periods? This Time article addresses this question, and the basic answer is "plenty."

One thing that resonates differently for me than many other readers, I'm guessing, is the attitude of near futility regarding dramatic weight loss. Uh, it happens people. I can easily point to a case of someone close to me that used to weigh about 315 and now weighs in the mid 170's, having maintained a weight in the 170's for about a year and a half now.

Another thing, I have a distinct memory of being told that the stories of brain cell loss from alcohol use, which this article propagates, were false. The story was that the brain cell loss ideas came from autopsies of people who died in the throws of extreme alcoholism, but that later analysis linked the observed brain shrinkage to the dramatic malnutrition associated with terminal alcoholism, not any direct action of alcohol on the brain. Is any one out there familiar with these theories willing to share?

_King David was a nebbish
Remember: God is all in your head and lots of the Bible is fictitious.

_Study Sees Post-Surgical Mental Loss
The bad news: "Many patients who undergo heart bypass surgery suffer a significant and, it turns out, long-lasting loss of brain power, a study suggests."

The worse news: "It (was) found that five years after the operation, 40 percent showed a 20 percent drop in mental ability. That loss is similar to what a person normally goes through between the ages of 40 and 60."

Wednesday, February 07, 2001
_How much for a pound?
The dollar value of a pound of various stuff.

_Freaky fish foto
So, is just a snap at the right instant before chewing, or is this some means of protecting young? Either way, you know that fish is thinking "Do I taste chicken?"

_washingtonpost.com: The push to make books pay per view
This article lets publishers identify their great satan, the threat to their livelyhood: librarians. What, did you think I was kidding?

_Buried treasure
Finding and surreptitiously watching a video tape of your lover and their ex. Good, short, fascinating.

Tuesday, February 06, 2001
_Accident victim is one sent to jail after police car rear-ends him
"When one car runs into the back end of another, it seems pretty clear to me that the hitter is more often at fault than the motorist hit. Throw in some possible inattention on the part of the hitter, and it becomes a little clearer that he may be at fault. However, in an accident that happened about a month ago, the hitter was a police officer, and the motorist hit ended up going to jail. Even worse, he ended up with a pile of bills he can't pay."

_Orange may call last dance at new clubs
Orange County, California, making noises about banning all public dancing. DON'T THEY REMEMBER FLASHDANCE???

_Sicilian Mafia throws in the towel?
"It said the Cosa Nostra crime gang would formally surrender, and each Mafioso admit his crimes."

I read somewhere that the word "Mafia" derives from an acronym for "Death to the Frenchmen is Italy's Cry." What's not to like about that?

_Play video games, get busted
Clueless college cops confiscate a students computer for creating a web site, maintained off campus, dedicated to the strategy game Starcraft.

_Does camel taste like chicken?
"'We found land mines put by the salt water springs,' said John Hare, leader of the expedition and founder of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation. 'So when the camels come to drink they step on them, bang! They are blown to pieces and picked up as meat.'"

_Aquarium workers ate rare turtle
"'This is the absolute height of stupidity,' said Dolphin Freedom Foundation and Seaquarium critic Russ Rector. 'We're changing the name to the Miami Seaquarium and Barbeque.'"

So, what did it taste? Hmm, tuna is supposed to be the chicken of the sea...

_Save the males!
A long Salon article focusing on Warren Farrell and his book on men's role in the modern family.


"'I am always someone who follows the research more than my self-interest. It certainly has not been in my self-interest to defend men. I've gone from being quite wealthy, when I was defending women, to being quite poor defending men. I don't have children that I've lost in a bitter custody dispute. But I see an enormous wound in kids due to a lack of their dads. The word of the day is blinding us to what we could otherwise see, and that is what drives me to write.'

"'Father-Child Reunion' will be known, at least in sound-bite form, as the book that claims single fathers are superior to single mothers on almost every measurable scale: Farrell has marshaled data to show that single fathers raise children who are, among other things, more empathetic, less violent, less likely to become teenage parents and perform better in school than children raised by single mothers. He even claims that girls raised by single fathers have more orgasms than those raised by single mothers.

"According to Farrell's data, single fathers are less likely than single mothers to bad-mouth their absent spouse (a practice which Farrell calls "the most insidious form of child abuse"), and also less likely to abuse their children, in all categories, including physical and sexual abuse (though men are more likely than women to be accused of sexual abuse). Also, says Farrell, single fathers, who make up 19 percent of all single parents, tend to be better educated and have a higher income than their female counterparts."

Lots to chew on, but it's tough from this article to gauge the man's ideas apart from the territorial conflicts that prejudice all those that appear in it.

_Worlds Fittest Man
"To claim the title of "World's Fittest Man" in the Guinness Book of World Records, all you have to do is beat this: 100 miles cycling, 10 miles running, five miles power walking, six miles kayaking, 10 miles hiking, two miles swimming, 3,000 abdominal crunches, 1,100 jumping jacks, 1,000 leg lifts, 1,100 push-ups, 10 miles on a rowing machine, 10 miles on a NordicTrack and 278,000 pounds of cumulative weight lifting. Oh, and finish all of it in less than 24 hours."

If the figures given in the article are accurate, this guy has a Body Mass Index of 28.8, getting close to the statistical definition of obesity. It's hard to imagine someone weighing that much, no matter whether it's fat or muscle, running 50-mile races.

_Not safe for work: Svetlana Petkova
What, you thought I would tease you and not come through with the goods? Pshaw! Enjoy the main link as well as this and this.

Monday, February 05, 2001
_Too close an encounter with an SUV
"'Lady, could you use a witness?' said a man who had emerged from the hardware store.

"'Yes!' I said gratefully. 'Did you see what happened?'

"'Sure,' he said. 'She backed right into you.'

"You should have seen the woman then. She was so mad that I almost expected her, like Rumpelstiltskin, to stamp her foot and split in two. Meanwhile the witness gave me his card, a business card with two numbers on it. Explaining that the Maryland number had changed, he gave me the new number, which I copied down with shaking hands. 'Aha!' said the woman, listening. 'Maryland! That explains everything!' Having uttered this enigmatic comment -- and having provided me with an expired insurance card while refusing to give out her home number -- she got into her enormous vehicle and drove away, exclaiming, 'I'll get to the bottom of this! I always do!'"

Do you think was infamous road menace Halle Berry?

_Astounding bat mobility
"Some bats would even plunge into bushes to capture their prey. Using reflected sound waves to pounce on an insect buzzing in the night air seems tough enough. But imagine trying this when the insect is perched on the leaf of a bush, with the sound waves bouncing back from all the other leaves... They displayed some of their most adroit manoeuvring in dramatic 'dogfights', in which one bat pursued another. 'The scope of echo processing needed to guide bats through these high-speed aerial dogfights … is a positive embarrassment for most current thinking about auditory coding of echoes.'"

_The Apollo Guidance Computer
A spiffy look at the 70 pound onboard flight computer for the Apollo moon missions. If you like that, check out the other historical articles they have on file.

_Gorilla Escapes, Devours Junk Food
"She seemed to especially like the Orange Slice."

_Another picture of the wrent ground at Indian quake's epicenter
The photo is fascinating, but difficult to orient against the larger-scale image mentioned in an earlier entry.

_Report: Weaver Lands Deal to Make 'Alien 5'
Is this what it's like to feel trapped in an abusive relationship, where you know that bad and painful things are going to happen but you still feel compelled to participate?

Help me!

_American Retirees Flock to 'Paradise' in Mexico
The other side of unemployment, post-employment.

Tangentally related, I'm getting a serious inquiry about a job in Bermuda. I'm not sure it's my kind of place; a teacher's diary on the net describes her new apartment as high tech because it has a microwave. And the dearth of fresh water means no luxurious, long, hot showers, which would be a big disappointment for me. Long hot showers are on my short list of wonderful things in life with very little room for improvement, right next to putting on warm clothes out the dryer.

_Va. House Voices Regret for Eugenics
Oh good, something light to counter that lobotomy article below...

OK, it's a Good Thing that Virginia is doing here, but damn, there is an awful lot to face up to. I'm having trouble narrowing it down to a few choice excerpts:

The House of Delegates voted today (85 to 10) to express regret for Virginia's policies of selective breeding during the 20th century, including the forced sterilization of 8,000 mostly poor, uneducated men and women for supposed hereditary "defects."

Virginia passed its Eugenical Sterilization Act in 1924 -- which targeted "socially inadequate offspring" -- on the same day it passed the Racial Integrity Act prohibiting marriage between whites and nonwhites.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld forced sterilization at the Lynchburg facility in a case involving a woman named Carrie Buck, who had become pregnant as a teenager. In allowing her sterilization in 1927, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes assessed Buck, her mother and her daughter, then declared, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Read the article for more such as the parallels and connections to the Nazi pursuit of a super-human race and the fact that Virginia performed forced sterilizations until 1979.


_The Lobotomist
Ugh. This long article about the history of lobotomies and their most visible practictioner is nearly as engrossing as it is graphic and disturbing. I'm on my third run at it, still not having been able to complete it. It's that hard to read, despite being very well crafted.

Here's a mild passage that deals with the aftermatch of the surgery: "Nurses who cared for Freeman-Watts patients immediately after the operations grew accustomed to dealing with people who needed to be retaught how to eat and use the bathroom. The patients often made clumsy passes at their caregivers, urinated on their shoes, sat unmoving for hours, stubbornly refused to follow instructions and behaved childishly. Nurses learned that spanking and tickling could reliably distract patients from delusions and perceived threats. The most famous failure of Freeman and Watts from this period is Rosemary Kennedy (JFK's sister), who was probably the first mentally retarded person to receive a lobotomy and who has needed full-time care for the past 60 years."

_Dot Com crash explained: Caffeine 'reduces productivity'
Well, there is that thing about the study was funded by a bottled water company...

_SafeWeb: anonymizing done right?
I saw a link to this outfit over at Salon and decided to give it a whirl, hoping that it would help in noble project I was about to embark upon (looking for naked pictures of Svetlana Petkova). I had intended to do my searching through Anonymizer.com to suppress javascript popup windows, but I was dreading their artificially induced delays.

Safeweb has no such delays, and they also have several other enhancements over the free services of Anonymizer.com, the most significant being that Safeweb encrypts all the traffic between their proxy systems and your browser, meaning that if someone (say... your employer) can easily sniff the net traffic going to your PC, they still can't tell what words or images are moving across their own network. Not too shabby.

Safeweb also allows the user control over Java applets, plug-in content, pop-up window squelching, referer squelching, and various cookie settings (enable, disable or disable for known profilers ).

Also, their Privacy statement looks pretty solid.

I'm still enthusastic after using it for a few days.

_Not safe for work: a striking nude
The model has a portfolio and contact page featuring other photos, a few of which are intriguing, despite not being as arresting as the directly linked one above.

_Internal Combustion Water Rocket
Someone who clearly failed to take my warnings to heart. This person decribes his own mostly-successful endeavors in the field of water bottle rocketry, including the interesting twist of using the water itself as the source of the fuel via electrolytic separation into oxygen and hydrogen. Cheeky. Be sure to look at his other page describing larger scale experiments using watercooler bottles.

_Fern Fronds Ferret Out Toxins
I 'blogged this because of a single sentence: "In greenhouse tests using soil artificially infused with arsenic, concentrations of the heavy metal in the fern's fronds have reached 22,630 parts per million, meaning that a full 2.3 percent of the plant was composed of arsenic, Ma said." Wow.

_A New Witness for the Prosecution
An account of the CIA's unprecedented public role in the Scottish bombing trial arising from the Pan Am 103 case.

"For an agency steeped in secrecy that zealously guards the identities of overseas 'assets' and routinely fights Freedom of Information Act requests for documents in the name of protecting 'sources and methods,' the CIA's overt participation in this case was highly unusual. 'I don't think they would have gotten even one conviction without the CIA,' Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Thursday in an interview."

_Smashing Peanuts: A billy Corgan Christmas
Click on the comic to start the 27 page cross-breeding of Peanuts and the breakup of Smashing Pumpkins, with Billy Corgan in the Charlie Brown role. Truly alarming in it's resonance at times.

_Officers talking down a suicide jumper hear Van Halen's "Jump" on their police radios
"As officers negotiated with the man to come down, the police radios were blaring the lyrics 'might as well jump... go ahead jump.'"

_Sex in the British Forces
A list of hormonally motivated behavior (hmm, "behaviour," given the source) the led to charges in the British military.

Sample: "To her teachers at the Army training camp, 19-year-old Nikki Codd was just another female rookie. To her fellow trainees, however, the "raunchy redhead" was better known as Private Passion because of her "saucy night manoeuvres". Ms Codd joined the Royal Signal Corps in 1998, but was suspended a year later after being caught romping with other trainees at the camp in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire. Ms Codd, who boasted 38EE assets, said: "I always used to get more trampolining and squat thrusts to do than any of the other girls." After she confessed to having flings with two colleagues, they were punished by suspension and demotion respectively. Ms Codd said she would be medically discharged because of a back problem."

_Disaster Factoids
I'm not sure how "Ronald Reagan changed his Bel Air street address from 666 to 668" qualifies, but the list does have some interesting nuggets, such as "Exxon Valdez does not even rank in history's top ten oil spills" and "The world's worst hailstorm occurred in India and killed 246 people in 1888."

Hey, check out this dramatic photo of the Earth torn open at the epicenter of the Idian quake. Scary stuff. Be sure to click through and read the caption for indicators of scale.

_GI JOE Confederate Soldier
I swear I don't make this stuff up.

GI JOE Civil War - Confederate Soldier, Army of Northern Virginia - 1864

"With his battle-worn look and his unit’s battle flag proudly flying, this Confederate veteran was typical of the southern men that stood across the battlefield to face their Union antagonist."

And remember: "Neither the specific military organization indicated nor any other component of the department of Defense has approved, endorsed, or authorized this product."

Yes, it's from Hasbro.

_'Wayne Newton' teen in trouble again
19 year old man punches mother and attacks father when they refuse to let him have that nights bar pickup stay overnight. Police suspect alcohol just might have been a factor.

Previously, citizen Clawson had been sentenced by the courts to two hours of Wayne Newton for playing his own music too loud in a residential neighborhood. ...And then there was the time he crashed his pickup into a house, after hitting a tree and a car.

_Watch your ass! Gas pumps, car seats, and static-sparked fires
"Static electricity on people filling up their cars has triggered bizarre fires. As the theory goes, motorists generated a charge at their fingertips by the mundane act of getting off their car seats. 'The spark could have come from him sliding across his seat.'"

"Welcome to allmylifeforsale. I am in the process of listing everything I own on Ebay. Feel free to look around and sort through some of my junk.

"A main component of this project is following where all of my stuff is going. I am asking all of the highest bidders to provide the readers of allmylifeforsale with an update on the piece of my life that they acquired.

"I will am also keeping track of where all my stuff is going on a huge wall map. I am planing on visiting some of my life wherever it ends up, maybe at your house?"

_Piece of thumb found in sandwich at High School
Did it taste like chicken? I'm thinking not, as chickens lack thumbs.

_The psychology of layoffs
The emotional phases of job loss according to this article:
The need to cry
Shock and denial
Longing for the old job
Feelings of anger and betrayal
Depression and embarrassment

Hmm, granting that I don't support a family and have not entered the coasting phase the career arc, this doesn't reflect my experience. No crying. No denial the first time, maybe 15 minutes of it the second, because my source had a history of odd pronouncements and gave no context. Now we get into the ones I can relate to in meaningful degrees: longing for the old job could be pointed to in the fact that I still think highly of the work experience at the first dot com that was yanked out from under me, though not for the second. Anger and betrayal are there, but only in regards to the first one again, mainly because only that one betrayed my trust and lied to me and the rest of the employees. Depression overstates it, but embarassment happens.

Eh, not fun, but not the end of the world for me. Actually, the second one elevated my mood, because I was growing discontent with my work there, and it removed a barrier to a potential relationship that I was very optimistic about. A weird time.