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Archive for the ‘cool’ Category

It is I… SARCASM MAN.   I’ll do a Captain Sarcasm one in a few days and y’all can vote on it.

SARCASM MAN****

I did hint that the coolness had nothing to do with anything I was working on.

I’m big into flexures in mechanisms, because they exploit materials.  This one uses composites to make shocks built into the wheel of the bicycle.  The even cooler part is the tri-fold symmetry works to resist the lateral “roll” of the composite loop.  Much like a leaf spring, the other two arms of the spring act to laterally stabilize any one spring.  Very cool.

wheel

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Tonight Lemurita said “I have some friends at school have been telling me about Assassin’s Creed III.”

Me:  Yes, that is a game that is currently out.

Lemurita:  They’ve been telling me…

Me:  I know where you are going with this.  Answer is still “No” just like 5 months ago when you asked if you could play it and Mom and I voted it down.

Lemurita:  You don’t let me see anything scary or play games like that.

Me:  Yeah, but you also get to see some things that I think you can handle, like The Matrix, so there is that.

Lemurita:  It’s a game.

Me:  I know.  I am an awful Dad, probably one of the worst, and you should give me a “D” on my Daddy Report Card.

Lemurita:  Well other than those things you are a great Dad, but I think I will mark it on your card.

Me:  Good, I think you should do that then, see if it changes things for you.  Now go on and get your pj’s on and get ready for bed.

… … …

I don’t know for sure but I think that went reasonably well.  I think for Father’s Day I’m probably going to get some dog poo preserved in acrylic, though.  I’m finding with this girl that the whole Oak vs. Willow tree analogy is a load of crap, and I just have to be a slow but very large river, say the Columbia, and let her windsurf at will until she gets cold and soggy and heads in to shore for some corndogs and greasy jo-jos at the local corner gas station.  Crappy metaphor but it sort of works.

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You know my love of knives.  For some reason this one just appeals to me.  Go buy one.

horseshoe_knife_by_logan_pearce_by_night_everclear-d4tufy5

*****

Just a statement of fact, no links – I’m seeing this new Pope and I think I like the guy.  I’m not Catholic but I still have a lot of respect for the Pope.  When he can stand up at the Vatican and say “May God forgive you for what you have done” after being chosen, there is a guy who knows nuance, has a sense of humor, and oh-so-subtly set the tone of what he will and will not call “bullshit” on during his time here as Pope.  I also think he’s going to give the commander of the Swiss Guard ulcers from worry.

An old joke – no idea where it came from:

“I wouldn’t mind being a cardinal.  I definitely wouldn’t want to be the Pope though.  I’m not a papal person.”

Somehow listening to “The Smoking Popes” do their number “The Pope Smokes Dope” when we have a Pope with only one lung won’t be the same. (go look it up on Youtube – I need to go to bed – they’re punkers)

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The Urean Terrorists have struck an elevator in the Long Island Rail Road station.  Looks like the damage was pretty bad.  Apparently if you have enough home-grown terrorists who drank shitty wine drop trou in the elevator and whiz until their bladder is empty enough times you can destroy the floor and the works of the elevator down below.  As in “may be totalled”.

Is it really so hard to put a liquid sensor in there that locks the elevator (or electrocutes the sonofabitch) just as soon as the floor gets moist?  Then have it autodial the cops and the meat wagon to come get the trash out of the elevator.

Come on… someone  had to have noticed that it smelled like the cleaning closet at a sorority house during Greek Week.  Get enough people involved it is actually worse than cat piss.

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We need a pic from Cruel Wife to liven this post up in a nice way – like putting up curtains or something.  A Glasswing Butterfly.  She won’t let me put up pictures of Milla, Hendricks, or Theron, so we’ll be stuck with dragonlizardthings, chameleons, butterflies, and snowflakes. All of them are perfectly geared to the male psyche.

Glasswing Butterfly

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Like a bad rash that won’t go away, Obama was melancholy that the Evil Sequestration Perpetrated by the Republicans have forced him and the missus to move mee-maw out of the White House.  Yep, they packed up a U-Haul truck and drove her off to a slum somewhere, may a pox rot the Republican’s eyes.

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I notice the enraged rioters complaining about a teen carrying a gun who was fatally shot.  One article says two shots were in the back and three shots in the front.  You could automatically call it that the dirty cops shot him in the back and he turned to them in a plea for his life and they shot him again as he tried to show his weapon.  You could also say that he was facing them, told them he had a gun, and made a dumb move that got him shot three times, spun around and shot twice more.  Shot in the back sounds emotional as hell but did those shots come first or last?

As veeshir noted, the kid supposedly was going to turn in the gun in between church service and volunteering at a soup kitchen.  Go see just how bad veeshir’s case of Oyster Herpes is.  I heard from him that it hurts like hell and makes your junk all scaly and dry.  Actually, he is to be commended for an awesome McGoo-Style headline that was actually supported by the linkage in the post.

Fact is, the kid was packing on the street.  Smartest move would have been to stand really still and follow the police’s directions to the letter.

What I’m not getting is why rioters are destroying local businesses.  This seems like a pretty silly way to treat your friends when it was someone else who pissed you off.  What it smacks of is thugs living in their own little “we good, everyone else bad, cops should all die” club.  It has the feel of Detroiters and Chicagoans drowning and choking in their own shit.

Witness accounts seem to be evolving from cop interviews “couldn’t see much” to reporter interviews “he didn’t have a gun in his hand”.

But City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a frequent NYPD critic, blasted outsiders who he said escalated tensions. “Please stay the HELL out of our community will only agitate our kids,” Williams fumed on Twitter. “It’s dangerous and counterproductive.”

Sorry, but police kind of have this job description that says swaths of the city cannot become lawless islands filled with gun-totin’ juveniles.  Your kids need to agitate a bit less and quit going through life thinking that it’s all about them.
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Ok, more Cruel Wife decorations.  Think doilies on the arms of chairs and lace coffee coaster things.
This is just like that except it is fagile, crystalline water at reasonably high pressure (for an SEM) and probably pretty damn cold.
SEM Snowflake
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Apparently the last of the little tinglies have run back down Chris Matthew’s leg (that’s called urine, Chris… Jesus, get a grip, man, you’re pissing yourself).  For a guy who lived through the budget issues in the 90′s he is sure doing a good job of painting the coming of the Four Horsemen.

Matthews: “How does Barack Obama escape this frightening axe coming down sharply and brutally on his presidency? How does he avoid personal harm when the country rises up in anger? When the army and naval bases stop writing checks? When people stop shopping because they don’t have salaries? When the airports seize up because the air traffic controllers are cut? When the bitching and yelping reach up to the White House gates themselves? What will we do when the government itself shuts down because Congress won’t authorize another nickel in spending?

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Have another gratuitous evil demon-kitty pic.  She still does this and leaps, delivering silent death from above.

treedcat

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The sequester is not the end of the world – I repeat NOT the end of the world.  But you have concerned commenters who feel that it is, and not only that they can’t get a lot right.

Terrylee

March 14th, 2013
2:31 pm

Okay…….what hold does Obama have on you jerks,,,we know Rogers was blackmailed for something he did not want made public…look you are suppose to defend the constitution and Nothing else…we donot want your personal opinions, period. Donot belittle your position anymore than you already have…we must cut the budget and we must do more to cut the budget that will effect everyone. The country is about to undergo the worst possible change ever, we are about to lose the us reserve currency in the world, the IMF and many other countries are about to drop the USA dollar as the reserve currency..which means our dollare will be worth Nothing. The feds keep printing money to give to banks to stop them from raising interest rates…the government(Obama) is trying to Nationalize all retirement plans..401ks..IRAs etc… so they can steal all 15 trillion dollars of Americans retirement plans…we are about to lose our place in the world and all money in banks will be lost and your worried about :What”……….A new unified currency is planned in world meetings right now to replace the dollar……we have serious problems facing this nation. You are now owned by Obama……we no longer have faith in our system of justice.

Count the errors.  It’s fun.

Common Sense below, is bereft of it.

Common Sense

March 14th, 2013
2:27 pm

Good. Trim everything but military and fire 98% of govt workers including the Supreme Court. If they can’t survive with the money they get, trim all the friviolous cases they embrace that gives them an excuse to ask for more tax dollars. Cut the purse strings and sever the head of the snake.

That’s great – get rid of one of the three pillars of government and throw a pile of checks and balances into the incinerator.  Good thinking – and end up with an even less fiscally responsible God-King and Parliament for Life.

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A Post On Flying. Sorta.

Short post.  Picture.

Reminds me of my middle nephews’ 8th birthday party.

Enjoy.

Attack of the Flying Squirrels

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As an attention grabber, I have totally stolen something from Bunk Strutts.  A certain amount of shame was involved, yes.

It is sad.  But I’ve more or less come to terms with it and have moved on.

I like Pugs.  I really didn’t steal this for any other reason than that I like Pugs.

Full disclosure: And he obtained it from here… http://www.amyoops.com/2012/08/from-my-inbox.html#.UDQrhqBA2tY

No, it’s not a sick kind of “I like Pugs” thing, I just think they’re ugly enough to be cute and I haven’t seen many mean ones.

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Semi-alert reader ID10T Killer has sent me a second image that he says was flashed on his screen in a sidebar advertisement at Tom’s Hardware during his first visit on a totally virgin machine on it’s maiden voyage. (The first image can be found here.)

Now, this means one of the following:

  1. He’s either a lyin’ perv (which I’m not saying is a bad thing) and they’ve totally got his number  (odds of this are somewhere between 30% and 0.00001% but I ain’t telling because if I tell, he tells)
  2. Tom’s Hardware just figures 99% of their clientele consists of males who cannot find a real woman who will get (and stay) within 10 feet of him  (ID10T Killer is married, with kids)
  3. Tom’s Hardware is tracking people in ways we can’t believe
  4. Random sh*t happens all the time and even blind squirrels find nuts once in a while

If #2 didn’t make much sense, Tom’s Hardware is Geek Central.  Either accept that as gospel or go see for yourself.

Now, all that said, ID10T Killer and I have wondered…

“What in the hell is Wartun3, and are you going to be exposed to “t3nt@cl3 53x” or a major payload of nasty code just for being curious?”†

I doubt either of us is going to go check it out.  And we probably wouldn’t tell you if we did.

As Cruel Wife can attest, I have a thing for short cute brunettes with sometimes violent tendencies, so the graphic was at least interesting.

Apologies, because I am no fan of l33t-speak, but neither do I want web-crawling stuff sniffing me out for the term “t3nt@cl3 53x” so I threw in some pseudo-l33t.  Don’t even think about flaming me about my improper ‘spelling’ because I don’t even claim to know it all that well.

****

And, this just in from the Bizarro Universe…

Study:  Marriage causes women to drink more than men

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And a hearty:

“THANK YOU, PAL!”

… to Aggie Sith and Cruel Wife.

Cruel Wife just visited Aggie’s site (Sithy Things) where she posted the recipe for a drink called “Witch’s Brew”.  She laughed at the drink and the name and I said “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, it’s Aggie post today” chirped Cruel Wife.

I thought hard.  “Wait, what was the post again?  Oh, the drink…”

“… Witches Brew,” she finished for me.

Cruel Wife read the ingredients list and said “‘Black sugar’ is an ingredient?  I’ve never heard of ‘black sugar’.”

Trying to be helpful because (a) I was pretty sure it wasn’t a common variant of heroin, and (b) I’m a food-lover and interested in all things food, I said “Hang on… I’ll look it up… okay… Bing-dot-com… b-l-a-c-k space s-u-g-a-r… waiting… waiting… oh, it’s some kind of Taiwanese variant of way darker brown sugar and…”

I stopped, stared, and then I finished with “… Goddammit, you better thank me for doing that search for you.”

Confused, Cruel Wife said “What, why should I tha… black sugar… oooooohhhh.  (insert ‘bwah-hah-hah-hah here)

One cannot un-ring the bell once it has been rung.  Dammit, I’ve been on the web 20 years and should have known better.  I’ve seen worse, I just don’t like being surprised by it.

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Nothing special.

This is probably one of the more inspirational things you could read.  A teacher that tells the students that they are NOT special.  They have to DO excellent to BE excellent. Students may not have gotten a warm fuzzy tummy rub but they got what they needed to hear – let’s hope they heard it.

Wellesley High School (Wellesley, MA) English teacher David McCullough, Jr.’s faculty speech to the Class of 2012:

Dr. Wong, Dr. Keough, Mrs. Novogroski, Ms. Curran, members of the board of education, family and friends of the graduates, ladies and gentlemen of the Wellesley High School class of 2012, for the privilege of speaking to you this afternoon, I am honored and grateful.  Thank you.            So here we are… commencement… life’s great forward-looking ceremony.  (And don’t say, “What about weddings?”  Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective.  Weddings are bride-centric pageantry.  Other than conceding to a list of unreasonable demands, the groom just stands there.  No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession.  No being given away.  No identity-changing pronouncement.  And can you imagine a television show dedicated to watching guys try on tuxedos?  Their fathers sitting there misty-eyed with joy and disbelief, their brothers lurking in the corner muttering with envy.  Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination, spontaneous, almost inadvertent… during halftime… on the way to the refrigerator.  And then there’s the frequency of failure: statistics tell us half of you will get divorced.  A winning percentage like that’ll get you last place in the American League East.  The Baltimore Orioles do better than weddings.)

            But this ceremony… commencement… a commencement works every time.  From this day forward… truly… in sickness and in health, through financial fiascos, through midlife crises and passably attractive sales reps at trade shows in Cincinnati, through diminishing tolerance for annoyingness, through every difference, irreconcilable and otherwise, you will stay forever graduated from high school, you and your diploma as one, ‘til death do you part.

            No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism.  Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue.  Normally, I avoid clichés like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field.  That matters.  That says something.  And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all.  Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same.  And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same.

            All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.

            You are not special.  You are not exceptional.

            Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special. 

            Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped.  Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again.  You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored.  You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.  Yes, you have.  And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs.  Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet.  Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman!  And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…

            But do not get the idea you’re anything special.  Because you’re not.

            The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore.  Newton, Natick, Nee… I am allowed to say Needham, yes? …that has to be two thousand high school graduates right there, give or take, and that’s just the neighborhood Ns.  Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools.  That’s 37,000 valedictorians… 37,000 class presidents… 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.  But why limit ourselves to high school?  After all, you’re leaving it.  So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.  Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by.  And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe.  In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it.  Neither can Donald Trump… which someone should tell him… although that hair is quite a phenomenon.

            “But, Dave,” you cry, “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection!  Epictetus tells me I have the spark of Zeus!”  And I don’t disagree.  So that makes 6.8 billion examples of perfection, 6.8 billion sparks of Zeus.  You see, if everyone is special, then no one is.  If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.  In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another–which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement.  We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole.  No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it…  Now it’s “So what does this get me?”  As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans.  It’s an epidemic — and in its way, not even dear old Wellesley High is immune… one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide, Wellesley High School… where good is no longer good enough, where a B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called Advanced College Placement.  And I hope you caught me when I said “one of the best.”  I said “one of the best” so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition.  But the phrase defies logic.  By definition there can be only one best.  You’re it or you’re not.

            If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning.  You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness.  (Second is ice cream…  just an fyi)  I also hope you’ve learned enough to recognize how little you know… how little you know now… at the moment… for today is just the beginning.  It’s where you go from here that matters.

            As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.  Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison.  Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction.  Be worthy of your advantages.  And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect.  Read as a nourishing staple of life.  Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Think for yourself.  Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might.  And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon.

            The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.  You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–quite an active verb, “pursuit”–which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube.  The first President Roosevelt, the old rough rider, advocated the strenuous life.  Mr. Thoreau wanted to drive life into a corner, to live deep and suck out all the marrow.  The poet Mary Oliver tells us to row, row into the swirl and roil.  Locally, someone… I forget who… from time to time encourages young scholars to carpe the heck out of the diem.  The point is the same: get busy, have at it.  Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you.  Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands.  (Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression–because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life.  Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once… but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter.)

            None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence.  Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct.  It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things.  Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.  Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.  Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly.  Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them.  And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.  The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.

            Because everyone is.

            Congratulations.  Good luck.  Make for yourselves, please, for your sake and for ours, extraordinary lives.

                                                                                    David McCullough

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Tip for the day…

Not posting much other than this link.  Working late tonight.

If you have Steam, check out the Universe Sandbox.

Now I know of another fun activity Lemurita and I can do together besides art and tearing things apart.

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Scanners.

Went in for the CaT scan on Saturday morning.  Nothing unusual to report other than the contrast dye.

I told my daughter they have a special cat with a magnifying glass fitted over one eye and that he looks you all over upsy-downsy and meowfs if he sees something.

The gal says “Ok, we need to inject this into you so we can see the bone and bits-o-stuff.”  Bits of stuff probably wasn’t the technical terminology.  But she continued on, “Well, a lot of people get a warm fuzzy feeling, or flushed, or sometimes hot, but a very common side effect is that you’re going to feel like you really have to pee badly.”

“Oh, so I should go now?  I’d just as soon go now.”

“Oh sure, but don’t worry, I haven’t once had anyone wet themselves in the scanner.”

(How about just afterwards?)

They put me in the scanner, did some things, did some other things, and then she says “I’m going to have the machine inject the dye now.”

“WHOA!  THAT IS FASCINATING!”

The warmth started at the roof of my mouth, went to the back of my mouth, and made a beeline for my bladder.

“THAT IS SO WICKED COOL!”

And a few seconds later, it was gone.

Maybe they’ll call me today with the results.

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I am working on Installment #2 of the short story.  It is nearly ready to go but I expect to have it posted on Saturday.

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veeshir at DPUD posted a thing of beauty.  If only I wasn’t engaged in retaliatory boycotting, I would post this link to his post so you could see the shiny-shiny toy.  How could you not love a brassy replica of the .45-70 Bulldog Gatling Gun?  Damn you, veeshir, for boycotting this blog and forcing me to repay in kind, for you have cheated visitors here of the opportunity to see it.

****

I’ve got the strongest feeling of Vuja De – or as George Carlin put it “The feeling you’ve never been anywhere quite the @)$# like this before.”

Listen, we have Obama, one of the limpest phalluses since Jimmy Carter and the current lineup of Republicans is the best we can do?

We have Mittens the Socialist and Newt the Philanderer to choose from when looking for a candidate to go up against Obama the Limp Marxist?  Why the hell does this read like a reality show script?

I will agree with Newt on one point, as he put it in tonight’s debate:

“To take an ex-wife and make it two days before the primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine,” Gingrich told King, the moderator of the debate.

It’s high time we started stomping on the media for trying to screw every single front-runner candidate by “debating”whether or not to air sensitive things and doing it anyway regardless.  If it is an issue, raise it right away, don’t try to time it to be damaging for @)$#’s sake.

I’m not suggesting that candidates be given a free pass, but I am more than tired of the media trying to harpoon candidates that they clearly don’t agree with ideologically.

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Liquidity.

This is not news, but it is very cool. The idea of cheap glasses whose Rx can be easily changed by the user to fit what works best for them is something else.

Oh yeah. Happy new year. I might have overdone it, lifting over 4 lbs on New Year’s Eve. I am positive that that bag of rocks is no heavier than 30 lbs, so stop nagging me, Cruel Wife. First time in nearly a month I plan to return to work tomorrow morning. Yay! I am SO bored.

Movie Alert! I haven’t watched it yet but. Albino Farm looks like it may have some promise?

While researching local legends, four students encounter crazed mutant cannibals.

Crazed mutant cannibals. Holy crap, it is a trifecta!

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Watching one of my favorite movies – Groundhog Day.

You want a prediction about the weather, you’re asking the wrong Phil. I’ll give you a winter prediction: It’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be grey, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life. – Phil Connors, Groundhog Day

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Quizzicality.

I am still not quite up to snuff.  It’s nothing bad, I am just taking less painkillers by pure choice and feeling the effects of post-surgery more.

I’m told to stop doing this as being all tensed up and such makes it take that much longer to heal but dammit I’m sick and tired of being drugged.  I know people pay good money for that but I value my brain.

Don’t you worry, I give in when I’ve got no other choice.  I’m a control freak.  What do you want to hear?

I did get out with Cruel Wife and toured her company.

Some roads around Detroit are better than I remember.  Some still suck ass, and those range from feeling like the cobblestones at the end of the Tour de France to feeling like a Hare Scramble in Baja, Mexico.

Slice it any way you like, Detroit roads are hell on neck fusions and it is a LONG drive.  On the ride out there I tensed up, gritted my teeth, made sudden hissing noises.  Sensing that it would be better to distract Cruel Wife and myself from these sounds and thoughts, I struck up a conversation.

LK:  Hey.

CW: What?

LK:  When I meet your new boss, can I screw with his head?

CW:  No.

LK:  Can I subtly push him off balance?

CW:  No.

LK:  Can I plant the seeds for screwing with his head the next time I meet him?

CW:  NO!  No no no no – NO.  Leave him alone.  Wait until you and I both know him better.

LK:  (Pouting)  Man, I enjoy messing with people’s heads.

CW:  I know you do, and so does he in an overt way.  You like to do it stealthily so they don’t get it at first…

LK:  And then, reveal it to them when it will have maximal impact.  Yes.  Yes, I do. 

LK:  (Pause while thinking about it.)  Huh huh huh.

(That’s the laugh women can’t do because they don’t have the right equipment.)

CW:  No, you cannot mess with his head.  Leave him alone.

Sensing it would be better to go back to tensing up, gritting my teeth, and making sudden hissing noises I started doing so.

About 30 long minutes later we had dim-sum with her boss and co-workers.  It was great.  I waddled out of there totally stuffed, loosened the neck brace a few buttons, steadied myself mightily with my walking stick, and we set off for the rest of the day.

Went by her company and got to see all the cool lab testing equipment and this one thing called a magnaflux.

You spray the part you want to look at with this solvent containing a crapload of colloidal magnetic particles.  Then you put the test part in this giant hoop and put a 2000A-5000A pulse through it with a *BANG*.  The part jumps (presumably to let you know that it is fully cooked) and then when you look at it under a black light you can see fluorescing cracks where the particles are aligned with the induced B-field.  It’s really quite cool.   It helps greatly if you believe in electrons when explaining the large-current part but if we just assume that the magnetic field was let out of a bottle of magnetism† then everyone walks away happy.

† Yes, I believe in electrons.  I just can’t see them so they kind of piss me off.  What can I say?  I was attacked by a clown as a child and my dad was an electrician, opening me up for getting the feces zapped out of me a few times.  The evil clown probably isn’t relevant but I thought I’d throw it in there.  Dad argued that it was my fault (sure, blame the victim) and I pointed my unburned fingers at the electrons which unsurprisingly didn’t show themselves any more, acting all innocent-ey.

Oh, the quiz part… Are you scientifically literate?

I got a 92% (missed 4).  I don’t feel too badly about it because the ones I missed had to do with planetary moons around gas giants (why clutter my brain with useless stuff that I can always go look up?), the whole “Pluto isn’t a planet” idiocy (like I give a sh*t), heaviest noble gas of which I never once used for anything (I’m partial to Helium, Xenon, Argon, Krypton, thank you), and one on cellular growth.   I have nothing to be ashamed of.

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The spacecraft is feeding back all kinds of great data and the instruments are working nicely.

I didn’t see Cruel Wife very much that year of working at the UofM so it is a very pleasant payoff to see the instrument working so darned well… You. Have. No.  Idea. … how tickled I am that the UofM’s instrument is performing so fantastically well.  It was a tense and cranky year when I was there but this made it worthwhile…

This, from JHU-APL…  read the lava part, which is cool, but the really cool part is the exosphere part.

 

Orbital Observations of Mercury Reveal Flood Lavas, Hollows, and Unprecedented Surface Details

 After only six months in orbit around Mercury, NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft is sending back information that has revolutionized the way scientists think about the innermost planet. Analyses of new data from the spacecraft show, among other things, new evidence that flood volcanism has been widespread on Mercury, the first close-up views of Mercury’s “hollows,” the first direct measurements of the chemical composition of Mercury’s surface, and the first global inventory of plasma ions within Mercury’s space environment.

The results are reported in a set of seven papers published in a special section of Science magazine on September 30, 2011.

“MESSENGER’s instruments are capturing data that can be obtained only from orbit,” says MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “We have imaged many areas of the surface at unprecedented resolution, we have viewed the polar regions clearly for the first time, we have built up global coverage with our images and other data sets, we are mapping the elemental composition of Mercury’s surface, we are conducting a continuous inventory of the planet’s neutral and ionized exosphere, and we are sorting out the geometry of Mercury’s magnetic field and magnetosphere. And we’ve only just begun. Mercury has many more surprises in store for us as our mission progresses.”

MESSENGER Reveals Flood Volcanism

For decades scientists had puzzled over whether Mercury had volcanic deposits on its surface. MESSENGER’s three flybys answered that question in the affirmative, but the global distribution of volcanic materials was not well constrained. New data from orbit show a huge expanse of volcanic plains surrounding the north polar region of Mercury. These continuous smooth plains cover more than 6% of the total surface of Mercury.

The volcanic deposits are thick. “Analysis of the size of buried ‘ghost’ craters in these deposits shows that the lavas are locally as thick as 2 kilometers” (or 1.2 miles), explains James Head of Brown University, the lead author of one of the Science reports. “If you imagine standing at the base of the Washington Monument, the top of the lavas would be something like 12 Washington Monuments above you.”

According to Head, the deposits appear typical of flood lavas, huge volumes of solidified molten rock similar to those found in the few-million-year-old Columbia River Basalt Group, which at one point covered 150,000 square kilometers (60,000 square miles) in the northwest United States. “Those on Mercury appear to have poured out from long, linear vents and covered the surrounding areas, flooding them to great depths and burying their source vents,” Head says.

Scientists have also discovered vents, measuring up to 25 kilometers (16 miles) in length, that appear to be the source of some of the tremendous volumes of very hot lava that have rushed out over the surface of Mercury and eroded the substrate, carving valleys and creating teardrop-shaped ridges in the underlying terrain. “These amazing landforms and deposits may be related to the types of unusual compositions, similar to terrestrial rocks called komatiites, being seen by other instruments and reported in this same issue of Science,” Head says. “What’s more, such lavas may have been typical of an early period in Earth’s history, one for which only spotty evidence remains today.”

As MESSENGER continues to orbit Mercury, the imaging team is building up a global catalog of these volcanic deposits and is working with other instrument teams to construct a comprehensive view of the history of volcanism on Mercury.

[snip]

Mercury’s Surface and Exospheric Composition, Up Close and Personal

[Other things were said here]

MESSENGER has also collected the first global observations of plasma ions in Mercury’s magnetosphere. Over 65 days covering more than 120 orbits, MESSENGER’s Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS) made the first long-term measurements of Mercury’s ionized exosphere.

The team found that sodium is the most important ion contributed by the planet. “We had previously observed neutral sodium from ground observations, but up close we’ve discovered that charged sodium particles are concentrated near Mercury’s polar regions where they are likely liberated by solar wind ion sputtering, effectively knocking sodium atoms off Mercury’s surface” notes the University of Michigan’s Thomas Zurbuchen, author of one of the Science reports. “We were able to observe the formation process of these ions, one that is comparable to the manner by which auroras are generated in the Earth atmosphere near polar regions.”

The FIPS sensor detected helium ions throughout the entire volume of Mercury’s magnetosphere. “Helium must be generated through surface interactions with the solar wind,” says Zurbuchen. “We surmise that the helium was delivered from the Sun by the solar wind, implanted on the surface of Mercury, and then fanned out in all directions.

“Our results tell us is that Mercury’s weak magnetosphere provides the planet very little protection from the solar wind,” he continued. “Extreme space weather must be a continuing activity at the surface of the planet closest to the Sun.”

“These revelations emphasize that Mercury is a fascinating world that is unmatched in the solar system,” says Blewett. “We have barely begun to understand what Mercury is really like and are eager to discover what Mercury can tell us about the processes that led to formation of the planets as we see them today.”

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Universe Today has some neat stuff on MESSENGER/Mercury as well.  (h/t to Black Lab on Meth)

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And then one of my bosses sent me this article, too… Mercury is hot as hell and appears to match it pretty closely in the description, but it’s not quite as bad as Hell because Mercury doesn’t play Barry Manilow music.

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Words without equivalents.

A friend of mine who no longer works with me sent a link to words that have no English equivalent.

One that isn’t in the very top but is my favorite:

Nervio:  A feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection.

I think this word is the perfect word to describe how you might feel when giving your kid a hug goodnight or when you are greeting them when they come home.  When my daughter isn’t being a rodent (and sometimes when she is, admittedly) this is a regular thing.

Things you feel about that intensely, those are the things you would die or kill for.

No, I’m not planning on dying or killing – there’s no hidden meaning here.

Anyone else got a word that they’d add?

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But, it’s for the children

President Obama told an audience in Ohio that poor ventilation systems that make students sick is a reason to pass his jobs plan, the “American Jobs Act.”

“Some of the schools, the ventilation is so poor it could make students sick,” Obama claimed.

“How do we expect our kids to do their very best in a situation like that? The answer is we can’t,” Obama said.

I don’t know just how disingenuous a person can be but this guy is plumbing depths.  Maybe duplicitous works here, too.

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A photographer saw several high school girls being incredibly abusive to some classmates on FaceBook.  Then…

She took screenshots, sent them to the girl’s parents, said she was not going to take their pictures, and refunded the $200 deposit.

Oh. My.  GOD.

Ms. McKendrick (Jennifer McKendrick), I am willing to drive to Indiana to pay you to photograph my family.

Seriously, that takes real character.  Good for you, ma’am.

I don’t want to photograph them, I don’t want them to be a part of my business image and I don’t want them on my blog. – Jennifer McKendrick

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Well, this is sad.  Don’t read if you’re not up for a story that you’re not quite sure will have a happy ending or not.  It’s not over yet.

Someone took a child and neglected her until it snuffed her spirit right out.  Nice.

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