Monday, July 31, 2006

Do robotic cockroaches dream of electric fleas?

Time to call in the Blade Runners of the cockroach world to hunt down the replicants:
A team of researchers in France, Switzerland, and Belgium has created matchbox-sized bots that can infiltrate a group of cockroaches and affect their collective behavior. The machines are programmed to act like the insects and are even doused in pheromones that mimic eau de roach – the primary way cockroaches recognize each other. . . . The droid enters a roach nest, charms the locals with movements and scent, and then slowly lures its minions into a better-lit area . . . .
It wouldn't be so bad if they could at least make it look like Sean Young or Daryl Hannah.

Via Boing Boing.

The Sultan's Elephant

This is creepy, bizarre, and beautiful all at the same time.

The story behind the video is here.

Via Dr. Razavi.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tit for Tot

I find it both uproariously funny and deeply sad that something like this would be a big deal in 21st century America.

My favorite quote from the article:
"I'm totally supportive of it -- I just don't like the flashing," she said. "I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see."
No, dearie, you don't want your son or husband to accidentally see a breast that you didn't want them to see. Your son and husband, they're fine with accidentally catching a peek. Trust me.

The other quote that caught my attention:
"Gross, I am sick of seeing a baby attached to a boob," wrote Lauren, a mother of a 4-month-old. [Emphasis mine.]
What has society done to you so as to so thoroughly and completly destroy your maternal instinct? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. But I guess it's no use crying over spilt milk.

Friday, July 21, 2006

And I would have gotten away with it if the burning dog hadn't set fire to the school.

For a reporter, it must feel like you've won the lottery when you get to begin a story with a sentence like this:
A Chinese headmaster, who tried to buy off colleagues by cooking dog meat for them after secretly selling off trees around the school, ended up setting fire to classrooms when the meal burst into flames, a Chinese newspaper said Friday.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Death no longer rides a pale horse.

Nowadays, Death drives a minivan.

Update: There's nothing mini about Death's ride in China.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dollar Diplomacy

This comment by apostropher over at Unfogged got me to thinking. According to the CIA World Factbook, the estimated population of Iraq as of July 2006 is 26,783,383. Estimates vary, but it looks like somewhere between 39,000 and 43,500 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the start of the war. Not taking into account the deaths of those in the Iraqi military, that puts the pre-war estimate of the Iraqi population at somewhere around 26,826,883. Now then, according to the LA Times, the Iraq War has cost the United States about $291 billion thus far. Dividing the cost of the war by the pre-war population of Iraq, we have spent nearly $11,000 per person in Iraq on this war.

I wonder, what would have happened if GWB had gone on television in March of 2003 and said the following?
The United States has as its goal the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. We are fully prepared to invade Iraq, but war would inevitably result in the deaths of U.S. soldiers as well as many Iraqis, both civilian and military. Therefore, we propose the following: If the Iraqi people will rise up, remove Saddam from power, deliver him to our custody, and establish a democratic government willing to cooperate with the United States in our effort to eliminate the threat of terrorism worldwide, we will give every man, woman, and child in Iraq $11,000 in U.S. currency. Cash. No questions asked.

The Iraqi people have thirty days to respond to this offer.

Would have been worth a try, wouldn't it?

You know, it's not too late to make a similar offer to the people of Iran. Or North Korea. Or anywhere else we're thinking of invading.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Big Day

Ogged goes under the knife today. I am fully confident that he is in capable hands and that the outcome of the surgery will be optimal. But a few extra best wishes can't hurt. So best wishes, ogged, and speedy recovery.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It's a series of tubes.

I humbly request that the voting public elect U.S. Senators less clueless and less incoherent than Ted Stevens.
There's one company now you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn't going to go through the interent and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

. . .

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck.

It's a series of tubes.

And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.
Download and listen to the audio of Stevens' rant if you want to bask in the full glory of his incoherent ramblings.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

We hold these truths to be self-evident

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

I don't want a revolution. I don't want our government to be abolished. If we had to replace it with another form of government, I can't imagine of a system of government that would offer any significant improvement over the system we now have in place. There is no structure of government so sound that it cannot be shaken to the core by the concerted efforts of evil or selfish men and an indifferent voting public. I believe our system of government is fundamentally sound, but the people need to wake up to their own responsibility, to claim and fully exercise their rights as citizens. Ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Ultimately, if there is anything wrong with our government, we, the people, have no one to blame but ourselves.