Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday links

1. Fake Moon Landings: "Nice try NASA but we are not fooled that easily! Not even your reptilian overlords can help you hide the truth now!"

2. Benny Hillifier

3. Foxfire Books 1-3

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crazies face-off





P.O.BOX 39
036 01 MARTIN 1
Slovak Republic
Warning: Mean Gene always wins.

Made a lot of money selling sheets on the family plan

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


“Photographic memory?” I asked.

He chuckled again. “Photographic memory is a detestable myth. Doesn’t exist. In fact, my memory is quite average. All of us here have average memories.”

That seemed hard to square with the fact that he knew huge chunks of “Paradise Lost” by heart. Earlier I watched him recite a list of 252 random digits as effortlessly as if it were his telephone number.

“What you have to understand is that even average memories are remarkably powerful if used properly,” Cooke said. He explained to me that mnemonic competitors saw themselves as “participants in an amateur research program” whose aim is to rescue a long-lost tradition of memory training.

Today we have books, photographs, computers and an entire superstructure of external devices to help us store our memories outside our brains, but it wasn’t so long ago that culture depended on individual memories. A trained memory was not just a handy tool but also a fundamental facet of any worldly mind. It was considered a form of character-building, a way of developing the cardinal virtue of prudence and, by extension, ethics. Only through memorizing, the thinking went, could ideas be incorporated into your psyche and their values absorbed.
Secrets of a Mind-Gamer

Monday, February 21, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

lol hipsters

Top Ten CD's That I Just Made Up (and accompanying made-up review excerpts) to listen to while skimming through some of the overwrought reviews on

oh man we forgot it is BHM

James brown celebrity hottub

Sometimes it make me break out in a cold sweat!
One two three four!

Hot tub! Ha! Da!
Ah-full of water!
I say hot tub! Ha!
Day! Ba! Very, very hot... Very hot! Da!
Hot tub! Gonna get ya hot-a!
Gonna make ya sweat! Hey! Say!
Hot tub! Rub a dub in the hot tub!
Rub a dub with me!

Should I get in the hot tub?
Will it make me sweat?
Should I get in the hot tub?
Will it make me wet?
Well, well, well...

Hot tub! Ah!
Get in!
Gonna get in the water!
Gonna make me sweat! Ah!
Here I go in the hot tub!


Too hot in the hot tub! Ma!

Burn myself!
Make it cooler!
Good God!
Gonna make me...

I'm gonna get in the hot tub..
I'm gonna get in the hot tub..
I'm gonna get in the hot tub..
Ha! Lilin! Lidilin! Eh!
A gonna make me sweat-ah!
Dah! Gonna make me sweat!
Gonna make me sweat-ah!
Dah! Gonna get me in the hot tub!
I can't stand it!
Here I go! I can't stand it!

Here I go in the hot tub!
Gonna get in the hot tub!
Gonna get it wet-ah!
Good God!
Good God!
Rub a dub!
In the hot tub!
Rub a dub with me!
Good God!
Rub a dub in the hot tub!
Gonna set me free!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


No, now I can't watch Parks and Recreation without singing this. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Food critics

It has always been crucial to the gourmet’s pleasure that he eat in ways the mainstream cannot afford. For hundreds of years this meant consuming enormous quantities of meat. That of animals that had been whipped to death was more highly valued for centuries, in the belief that pain and trauma enhanced taste. “A true gastronome,” according to a British dining manual of the time, “is as insensible to suffering as is a conqueror.” But for the past several decades, factory farms have made meat ever cheaper and—as the excellent book The CAFO [Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations] Reader makes clear—the pain and trauma are thrown in for free. The contemporary gourmet reacts by voicing an ever-stronger preference for free-range meats from small local farms. He even claims to believe that well-treated animals taste better, though his heart isn’t really in it. Steingarten tells of watching four people hold down a struggling, groaning pig for a full 20 minutes as it bled to death for his dinner. He calls the animal “a filthy beast deserving its fate.”
The moral logic in Pollan’s hugely successful book now informs all food writing: the refined palate rejects the taste of factory-farmed meat, of the corn-syrupy junk food that sickens the poor, of frozen fruits and vegetables transported wastefully across oceans—from which it follows that to serve one’s palate is to do right by small farmers, factory-abused cows, Earth itself. This affectation of piety does not keep foodies from vaunting their penchant for obscenely priced meals, for gorging themselves, even for dining on endangered animals—but only rarely is public attention drawn to the contradiction. This has much to do with the fact that the nation’s media tend to leave the national food discourse to the foodies in their ranks. To people like Pollan himself. And Severson, his very like-minded colleague at The New York Times. Is any other subculture reported on so exclusively by its own members? Or with a frequency and an extensiveness that bear so little relation to its size? (The “slow food” movement that we keep hearing about has fewer than 20,000 members nationwide.)
The Moral Crusade Against Foodies

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sometimes you just can't parody life

Weezer's cover of the State Farm jingle:

In the all-time history of bad ideas:

Project Pluto:
The proposed use for nuclear-powered ramjets would be to power a cruise missile, called SLAM, for Supersonic Low Altitude Missile. In order to reach ramjet speed, it would be launched from the ground by a cluster of conventional rocket boosters. Once it reached cruising altitude and was far away from populated areas the nuclear reactor would be turned on. Since nuclear power gave it almost unlimited range, the missile could cruise in circles over the ocean until ordered 'down to the deck' for its supersonic dash to targets in the Soviet Union. The SLAM as proposed would carry a payload of many nuclear weapons to be dropped on multiple targets, making the cruise missile into an unmanned bomber.
Also known as the Flying Crowbar:
Pluto's namesake was Roman mythology's ruler of the underworld -- seemingly an apt inspiration for a locomotive-size missile that would travel at near-treetop level at three times the speed of sound, tossing out hydrogen bombs as it roared overhead. Pluto's designers calculated that its shock wave alone might kill people on the ground. Then there was the problem of fallout. In addition to gamma and neutron radiation from the unshielded reactor, Pluto's nuclear ramjet would spew fission fragments out in its exhaust as it flew by. One enterprising weaponeer had a plan to turn an obvious peace-time liability into a wartime asset: he suggested flying the radioactive rocket back and forth over the Soviet Union after it had dropped its bombs.


Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, Pluto's sponsors were having second thoughts about the project. Even before it began dropping bombs on our enemies Pluto would have deafened, flattened, and irradiated our friends. The noise level on the ground as Pluto went by overhead was expected to be about 150 decibels. Ruptured eardrums, of course, would have been the least of your problems if you were unlucky enough to be underneath the unshielded reactor when it went by, literally roasting chickens in the barnyard. Pluto had begun to look like something only Goofy could love.
I can't believe this was never completed.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Philosophy experiments

These kinds of internet quiz things are fun to do, but ultimately I think they're pretty silly. It is almost always necessary to grossly simplify situations, construct some false analogy, or find non-existent contradictions in order to create these easy-to-answer yes-or-no kinds of questions. I need room for nuance in answers. As is, they're only useful to suss out the extremes -- to find people who are, say, 100% utilitarian in every situation.

Most importantly, and I'm thinking specifically of the "Should you kill the fat man?" quiz, these kinds of discussions lack what I think is the key fact of the human condition: sometimes there is no right. People are in situations (all the time, in fact) in which there is no morally right answer, and whatever you do, you've done something wrong. There might be less wrong answers, or decisions that are a different kind of wrong, but you're wrong either way.

this just in

yer humble bloggers

Monday, February 07, 2011


Saturday, February 05, 2011

3E approves

The Big Lebowski parody posters

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday links

Boxcar2D is pretty cool. There has to be a math or science teaching moment in there.

The Diving Board "is a Panel of football fans that have set out to instill awareness of the simulation and diving that inevitably occurs during most football matches."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011