Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Robot music

Might as well call it "Skynet Starter Kit"

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dirty Words of 1811

ADMIRAL OF THE NARROW SEAS. One who from drunkenness vomits into the lap of the person sitting opposite to him. SEA PHRASE.

AMBASSADOR OF MOROCCO. A Shoemaker. (See Mrs. Clarke's Examination.)

APE LEADER. An old maid; their punishment after death, for neglecting increase and multiply, will be, it is said, leading apes in hell.

APPLE DUMPLIN SHOP. A woman's bosom.

APPLE-PYE BED. A bed made apple-pye fashion, like what is called a turnover apple-pye, where the sheets are so doubled as to prevent any one from getting at his length between them: a common trick played by frolicsome country lasses on their sweethearts, male relations, or visitors.

ATHANASIAN WENCH, or QUICUNQUE VULT. A forward girl, ready to oblige every man that shall ask her.
Dirty words of 1811

Friday, February 24, 2012

Four game Friday

I like this edition of links for games on Friday because these are all so different.

1. Tetrisweeper

2. Rebuild 2

3. Super Mario Bros. Crossover 2

4. Minotaur China Shop

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Borders and order

But there exists another type of border, one that doesn’t reflect back our image. In vampiric asymmetry, it offers only the void. There are no barriers, no officials, no capitals on the other side. The world as we know it — reciprocal even across national borders — ends here. One thinks of the American West in the mid-19th century, or parts of Brazil into the 20th. The borderline does not merely separate two territories, but two paradigms: law and order from anarchy, progress from primitivism. Or perhaps, seen from the other side: freedom from oppression, purity from decadence.

In earlier times, such lawless anomalies were surprisingly common, even in the middle of “civilization.” London was riddled by as many as a dozen legal safe havens, where debtors and criminals could seek refuge from arrest [1]. Emerging first in the Middle Ages, they persisted until Parliament abolished the last of them in 1723.
The Undiscovered Country

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

number 2, huh?

I guess this is why I haven't abandoned thefacebook completely yet.

Tha Captain sighted at local establishment

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tech journalism

This started when Nick Bilton of the New York Times posted an item criticizing Path, which had been caught up in a firestorm when it emerged that Path had been uploading entire address books from people’s iPhones. Bilton made the legitimate point that it’s now become a routine for Valley companies to do something sleazy, get caught, then quickly apologize and get hailed as heroes by the Valley for the quality of their apology. (It’s all about being able to fake the sincerity, as George Burns once said.) Bilton’s point was that Path didn’t just grab those address books by accident. They did it on purpose. It probably took weeks of programming. To just say, “Whoops! Sorry!” seems a bit disingenuous.

Anyway — Path comes under fire, and guess who rides to the rescue? Michael Arrington, who runs CrunchFund, an investor in Path, launches a blistering critique of Bilton himself, comparing him to a pit bull who attacks a dog that is already lying on its back, defenseless, saying that Bilton’s column was “a safe way to do business, but not very noble.”

Almost before you could stop throwing up in your mouth at the idea of Michael Arrington accusing a Times journalist of being less than noble, Arrington’s partner at CrunchFund, MG Siegler, weighed in with his own attack in which he basically said Bilton is a nice guy who was either too lazy or too busy to do a good job. From this Siegler leaps off into a long diatribe about how most tech reporting is utter bullshit written by idiots who are all in a hurry to chase page views.

So: Path comes under fire, and straight away, the paid hit men – Arrington and his sidekick, Matty the Angry Chihuahua — spring into action to smear Bilton and try to discredit him.
Hit men, click whores, and paid apologists: Welcome to the Silicon Cesspool

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

movies update

I am remiss to not mention that included among the movies available on YouTube! are many MST3K episodes.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Ellis Island names

We have all heard someone say that their family name was "changed by the inspectors at Ellis Island." Nowadays our names are recorded when we are born and are virtually never changed. You can still use any name you want as long as you do not intend to defraud but, in fact, with drivers' licenses, social security numbers, credit cards, etc., it is just too complicated to try to alter your name except through a court proceeding.

People seem to feel that it was the same way at the turn of the century. They think that immigrants had one correct way to spell their name in the old country, when they encountered the clerk at Ellis Island it was changed to something else and then it was spelled that way ever after in America. The explanation usually is that the immigrant spoke little or no English, so either the immigrant inadvertently gave an incorrect reply to the question of "What is your name?" or the clerk misunderstood the name or decided it was too complicated.

In reality, it is highly unlikely that this happened. The Immigration and Naturalization Service has a good article on immigrant name changes that explains why this wonderful story is a myth: the clerks at Ellis Island didn't write down names. They worked from lists that were created by the shipping companies. What usually happened was the emigrant bought a ticket from an office near his home. So, the seller probably spoke the same language and transcribed the name correctly. In cases where the name was recorded incorrectly, it likely occurred in the old country, not at Ellis Island.
They Changed Our Name at Ellis Island

Friday, February 03, 2012

Sean wants to watch this whole thing tomorrow.

Don't think he's serious.

TOP YOUTUBE COMMENT: The best part is at 32:01.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Sherlock Holmes' politics

And Holmes himself? What were his politics? Well, an imperialist, with his VR monogram blasted into the sitting-room wall, and his uncritical sympathy with Mycroft’s projects. A rationalist, of course; his approach to domestic law enforcement and Mycroft’s to international politics rhymed. He saw scientifically-grounded “criminal tendencies” in handwriting, in the shape of a head; he was much more comfortable asking questions of cigar ash than of humans; with a parallel social-scientific approach, Mycroft advanced Her Majesty’s empire through what he referred to, archly, as “accounting.” I find no specific reference, but I assume that Holmes supported the Boer War.
Playing the Game– With Gratitude to Msgr. Ronald Knox