Friday, December 30, 2005

This is some serious silly putty.

The Hedonistic Imperative is about the eradication of suffering and maximising of pleasure in the human experience. Reading the comments on Damn Interesting's story about ESB (Electrostimulation of the brain) makes me think that people, in general, are against the idea. One man's vice is another man's virtue--one man's acid trip is another's spiritual journey. Your right to pollute or enhance your body or experience shouldn't end with chemicals or processes that provide that enhancement, but at the next person's body, door or purse. Resorting to thievery to support a habit, or exposing kids to secondhand marijuana smoke or the elderly woman you live with to the dangers inherent in running a meth lab in the kitchen shouldn't be legally acceptable. Smoking a joint and getting behind the wheel of a car shouldn't, either. But I firmly believe that most drugs should be treated like alcohol (I'll leave my rants on drinking ages and ages of consent for another day). Anyway, the Hedonistic Imperative itself is a very long read, so I'm taking it in bits, but it looks like at least parts of it will make it worth the read.

I actually kind of like the song this is based on. So I found it cute.

With all those top lists for year-end going around, this is something a little different--top 50 inventions of the last 50 years. I'd also like to see a version with the top inventions year-by-year. Here's another (exhaustive) top-links-of-2005 page as long as I'm linking lists.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Skeptic's Annotated Bible

breakfast, anyone? (NSFW) (Spiritglue, babe, this one's for you)--looks like a parody page at a glance, but the order form looks like a real enough standard form, though it looks like they're the original company and only sell in bulk palettes/cases to resell. If I ever win the lottery and open a kink shop, though...

I want one. I don't think I want to know how much it costs.

This is awesome. Too bad about the liner notes and cases thing. I have maybe a half-dozen with all that stuff... I finally threw out the box of CD cases last time I was going through organizing crap, since I have them all stored in a binder. Hell, if they'd double the number required in order to sell some without the cases or liner booklets, I'd still trade em in for this. Ah, well, by the time I can afford a good MP3 player it's going to have mad amounts of storage capacity.

Scrotum powder? Link is worksafe. Do you guys have that many problems with them chafing, though? Shouldn't clean, well-fit cotton underwear prevent that just fine?


This is cool, but (1) the local YMCA uses something similar to authenticate members, and (2) the local library is currently operating out of its bookmobile and has no power or heat (building is being renovated). The ladies are working when it's warm enough to be out there, handwriting the serial numbers on paper.
Some webcams. The Koala one's local to me. I should take the kid to the Zoo there again soon... he hasn't been since reaching a reasonable level of self-awareness.

. Biting commentary on Star Wars con costumes. I sort of think the guy dressed as a toy mint in package is clever. personally.

Speaking of Star Wars... How did Han Solo and Mace Windu get to the same dinner party? Still a neat piece of artwork.

Sand just went right next to the Springs on my bookmark toolbar. Things to do when mellow. These games make me wish there were some truth to my ex's claims in our custody suit that I have a recreational drug habit. I can only imagine that these mellow kinds of web toys would be enhanced by the use of mind-altering substances.

Albino Blacksheep
also has up a list of webgames (27 Dec--I can't find a direct link to the post). Guess it's that kind of mellow holiday week for a lot of us. For those of us in the hospitality game, of course, it's bust-your-ass-and-hope-they-know-what-tipping-is week. For those of us in the hospitality industry in South Carolina, it's also sell-the-minibottles-while-you-have-them week. Next week we're on free pour, folks! Weaker "standard" drinks but 2-liquor mixes will now be more customizable and not cost $13/drink. Whether this is a good trade is a matter of opinion, but being able to get/make a real "floater" drink or have a proper Long Island Iced Tea without having to buy a pitcher suits me just fine.

There are a ton of blogs I check more-or-less daily, and a few more I check often (but not as often either because of time or because they update less frequently). Still, when I see a top blogs of the year list, I click them all into tabs to have a look. What I find is that I read what I read for a reason, and on a lot of subjects--random web stuff a la Clicked, industry rants like Waiterrant and Insane Waiter, more on philosophy, spirituality, sex, tech, and gadgets, I do not read any political opinion pages on a regular basis. I have. I'll click to links on many and read the posts, and I know that some of the best information on certain news subjects is to be found in these blogs. But I don't click to them often or bookmark any. I'm very strong in my political convictions, but I do not want to read someone else's rantings and get angry at them and send hate-mail or point out why I feel their logic is flawed (one of the top 5 in the list has about halfway down the page a note to the effect of "Ha, ha, New York Times, most Americans are OK with their privacy being nonexistent"--just because most Americans think the first and fourth amendments are just guidelines and that only certain people and ideas should be protected by them, doesn't make it so)--and if I read them I can't help but start to feel it's my duty to respond thus. And the ones I agree with on most or all points? Why reinforce my own opinion? Morons dot org is more news site than blog, but is the one exception I'll make. Mind, this is only a restriction on primarily political blogs--Writers like Wil Wheaton (are you ever going to get WWdN fixed, there, man? The "only Typepad members may comment" thing is driving me nuts) and John Scalzi, who write their blogs to write and sometimes expound on their political views won't be stricken from my lists of great things to read.

Also don't read celebrity gossip blogs. Just don't give a rat. Or any particular part of a rat's anatomy.

Do check out PostSecret and GroupHug if you ever want to see the darker side in all of us. This is a perfect specimen.

Long week at work, folks, not much time for clickin' about. I'll have some time to catch it up soon, but in the meantime, remember, tip your server. We're only makin' $2.13 an hour--and if you stiff me, I still have to tip out on sales--please consider that I pay to wait on you if you decide that tipping isn't necessary.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A classic "true humor" response to Biblical literalists. Some say the uncleanliness laws are invalidated through Christ, but then why do all the sexual purity laws still apply? Pure "ick" factor don't cut it, folks.

This is interesting. A little feminist for what I usually appreciate (plenty of men I know would classify me as a feminist, which I am in a classic sense, but not in the sense they'd use the word)--I do agree with most of this, that there's still a perception issue that creates an inequality between men and women--but this not being an Orwellian or totally Communist world, is it really right that men and women be treated and seen as exactly the same? The only really serious inequalities in this list to me are the professional ones--a successful woman shouldn't be seen as having gotten her job through sexual means or because of her sex, nor should a woman be less successful by virtue of having breasts. But a social difference is to a point desirable. And some, like #41, are overblown--I know women who are that underweight, and they don't enjoy better self-image or sex lives than those of us with some curves. Trying to look like someone who's brushed to look good in a photo rather than in real life is a self-created problem. I could lose a few pounds, but if I get down to a healthier weight, I won't be looking to lose more to live up to some magazine image when I know even the model doesn't look like that. I have real problems with women living up to societal images of women--simply embracing the idea that one is a person, with a mind and beliefs and ideals, rather than an object, is in my experience enough to convince people of both sexes that one is a person worthy of respect (at least in this place and time--I'm not gonna argue that women get the shaft in places where they have to cover their heads and have most of the parts that make sex fun excised in early childhood)

This page of textbook disclaimer stickers worried me at first, but keep reading all of 'em.

The answer to the title question: You don't want to know. Check out the Shampoo link for proof that you don't. I'm the most intellectually curious person I've met, and I don't even want to know.
Bunnies, bunnies everywhere... Angry Alien has movies re-enacted in 30 seconds by bunnies. The Rocky Horror one is particularly astute/disturbing.
Probably my biggest pet peeve that doesn't have to do with my ex: redeeming book gift cards. For a person like me, these are the best possible gift. I spent $20 at Barnes and Noble the other week, and I have $40 in potential/future books sitting in my lap. So since Borders redirects to, I get excited thinking maybe I can use these cards there and not have to brave the mall to get books. So I look through the gift card pages, and find out that just like at BN, Amazon/Borders only lets you use one gift card per order. This is ridiculous. If my friends all know how I love books and we're using $5 or $10 limits on shopping, they know this is the best gift--but I have to drive a long way to find a Barnes and Noble or a Borders where I live (there is a Waldenbooks). So I want to shop online. I realize this does increase company income--if I have to pay for 5 orders separately with $10 giftcards, even if the orders are all exactly $10 there's none where they eat the shipping--and most people are either going to leave extra money on the cards, or shop over so they've sold more than the gift card--but, hell, I'd do that, anyway. In fact I'm more likely to spend $75 when $40 is from gift cards than when I have 3 $10 cards and 2 $5s, since that frankly just ticks me off and makes me less inclined to buy from the company, or at least its online incarnation.

Dear online bookstores,
You know your overhead is lower, and your discounts from retail often reflect this. However, the way you treat gift card users is cheap and underhanded, and there is no reason whatsoever you cannot take multiple gift cards per purchase or order. I work for a major restaurant chain, and gift cards are the thorns in the sides of every employee who has to deal with them--administrators, managers, and waitstaff in particular--but we sell them and we take them no matter how inconvenient the bulk. If you're happy to take my money if I buy these as a gift for someone, then you need to be happy to redeem them in a manner that's convenient and reasonable. These are your future, guaranteed sales, and if you make it inconvenient to use them just to keep a little extra in the company coffers, eventually a company will come along and point out that there's a better way, and no matter how big you've gotten, they will take enough of your business to hurt. Amazon's own gift certificates can be applied directly to a user account, with the total amount applied to purchases as the user desires, so why can't they set up their partnership with Borders similarly?
Some cool tech clickies: gyration mouse, laser interface

Sometimes Worth1000 is too cool.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Holy hell. How did the toy market come to this? I have children, thank you. I don't need dolls who do the whinging and needy part without the rewards.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas morning (Christmas Eve night) surfing

Merry Christmas, everyone! If you don't believe in Christmas--may yours be doubly merry that you be struck by the spirit of the secular season of greed or of giving (whichever is your style).

The Chronic of Narnia Rap is growing in popularity--and stuck in my head. YouTube itself has lots of good stuff, like the Banned Xbox 360 ad that made the rounds a little while back. Also this odd tribute to the 'Net (and its pornography), with World of Warcraft characters, a la old Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. "Ready Normal People?" This will get stuck in my head soon, I know it.

Dear clients, we're on vacation. If you desperately need a new ad this week, make your own.

For Christmas: It's a Wonderful Internet. The Al Gore jokes are a bit thick (and outdated).

This fish highway could be an interesting conversation piece. I'm not convinced your average household fish has a problem with wanderlust.

Google Earth has a Santa Tracker. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the NORAD version. Apparently he's over Colorado Springs at the moment. Digging deeper I see that they use MS Virtual Earth for some of their maps, which also doesn't impress me much. Actually, though, family work issues have made it so that Santa is leaving a magical stasis on the presents somewhere near Granny's house, and the stockings will be stuffed tomorrow night.

Speaking of Santa, interesting how he went from St. Nicholas to Santa Claus. Kid started asking about the reality of Santa a few days ago... but he still believes. St. Nicholas is supposed to have destroyed several pagan temples. Is there a pagan spirit of giving equivalent to what St. Nick has come to represent?

I like a couple of these Firefox wallpapers, but there's a picture I've been using for several months now as a desktop. I will link it if I find it again online--don't want to post it for copyright reasons (the name it autosaved under is "coming_home.jpg").

Tunatic looks like an interesting tool--but if I have internet access and a mic available when I hear a song I can't identify, I can just type the lyrics into Google or lyricsfly and figure out what the song is. Won't help with the muzak at (name public place here) or work or when I'm driving and listening to the radio. If I listen to music at home it's either ripped from CDs I own, downloaded from iTunes, or on XM or MusicChoice--I know the music I've bought and the streams include tags. Is there that much demand for this service, given that limitation to its practicality?

Well, I have to pack and travel tomorrow. There may be a 3-day hiatus for the holiday. If so, y'all have a merry Christmas, and I'll be back chirping before ya know it!

Chirp chirp,

Friday, December 23, 2005

Welcome to the blogosphere, Spiritglue!

An oldie but a goody: The Evil Overlord List.

Lunar Witch
looks like it has some good astrology and in-touch-with-the-seasons info.
We're sorry to have offended our fellow Catholics, but we'd never seen a condom and didn't know that's what they'd used to cover the Virgin Mary...

What if you had a party--and everybody came?

Ooooooh, a free speech debate and Hitler, all in one "news of the stupid"-type brief.

May I please have a proofreading job with a major news corporation? I guarantee no one will be wondering how the hell a rotten clam had swallowed a pear on my beat.

Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks ad. Bloody. Banned in UK, but banning an internet viral is difficult, to say the least.

Very nice knot-tying site. I'll regret linking this later.

This is pretty. We did an experiment like this in 8th-grade Earth Science--daily for a month we'd draw the sun's relative position in the sky at the same time of day. It was amazing how far different it got over only a month.
Sithsense from Darth Vader plays 20 questions. Got "rutabaga" in 17. Why Rutabaga? Why not?

This looks interesting. Hard to read (font etc) so a deeper reading will wait until morning.

A medical site for the younger crowd, I guess.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A most excellent clock

Aerogel. The Space program really does bring us some awesome tech.

I seem to be running into list after list of Einstein quotations. Surf around Brainy Quote for a while--great stuff by subject or author. My new favorite:
Love that is not madness is not love.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Sometimes I think I should carry WD40 and duct tape everywhere I go. Might get odd looks when greeting tables. Still and all, a duct tape girdle? I mean. Ouch. And who tried using WD40 to get peanut butter out of dog hair in the first place? I like the duct tape roses on that site, though. Gonna order some black ones sometime. And speaking of WD40...

Worth1000's photoshop contests are always fun. Today: People as animals. Or something like that.

NOT. SAFE. FOR. WORK. Or my brain. WHY? Record your OWN voice? So you can hear yourself in stereo? That's some serious narcissism. I can *maybe* see it as a gift if you're far away from someone and can't get in phone contact regularly or privately and find that hearing them talk to you enhances the experience, but... no. Even that requires some feedback, them responding to what's going on with you. Not a recorded voice from a chip.

More snow chains (ish) for your shoes

Of all the homebrew trends, I somehow didn't expect to see bubble gum in there.

Chocolate for women's libido. Men, if you're going to get your sweetheart this as a gift, unless she's been complaining of libido problems (or you have the kind of understanding that would let her take it as a joke), you might want to put it in a stocking or something, not the original box that screams, "honey, I don't think you want it enough."

This is a rather bitter take on the history of Christmas, if historically accurate.
Clicked pointed to this post on a Navy reservist's blog. His last post--he was killed the next day. Accused are his 26-year-old wife, her 18-year-old lover, and her stepdaughter's 18-year-old boyfriend. It's always more than a little strange to read someone's unknowing last message to the world, and the blogosphere makes them public more and more often. The comments to that last post, right before the news is broken by someone, include a couple asking if he's all right because of a couple days of him not answering emails... that's so sad.

Droidel. This is all kinds of wrong.

Shouldn't the first week in January be the week for these things? We wrap up the year then there's a sudden, heartbreaking something that happens on 30 Dec., and that person is never in any of the year-books or other year-by-year wrap-ups. I won't link all the top-10 lists from everywhere online here--they're easy to find.

Technicolor snow pics (done with food coloring and water in a regular spray bottle).

Looks like Blizzard made the MMORPG that everyone else wanted to. Five million. Be a couple years before I can get into playing another big game, but hey, with that kind of subscriber base, unless Blizzard punks it out like Sony did Star Wars Galaxies (or like Blizz did D2... no, wait, did I say that out loud?), it'll still be there to try later.

Confirmed test of E=mc^2

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Q&A on Slashdot with the Mythbusters. Those guys are awesome. And how did neither of them make even honorable mention on this list?

Somewhere in America...

Hey, how's Firefox treating ya, babe? I think I've managed 2 converts this week! Or at least 2 trial users. One of 'em was diehard IE, one was using a skinned and tabbed version of IE, Maxthon, but was won over by the idea of the GMail Manager extention. Next week, Cricket tackles the ambitious project of converting her mother to FF over Christmas break.

It's time to start watching the Google logo daily again!

Again via Digg, coupons online that don't require a registration. Most excellent.
Best of Calvin and Hobbes (not the snowman one that's been around lately)

Surf around the collective archives there for some good stuff.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Engineering Fundamentalists

Math humor is pretty good. Scroll down to "A Math Romance." This is funny. The math major pick up lines need to be updated, though. See:
6. Wanna come back to my room....and see my 733mhz Pentium?
I would fall down laughing...

I've heard a lot about this before, but am unimpressed. First, it clearly takes a different sort of processing and/or unscrambling than regular reading--that page gives me a raging headache to read. Also I process that by the word but most of what I read by the paragraph (or nearly so). I can read it, but reading upside-down or backward (mirror-image) text is easier for me.

How to stop worrying
was in my bookmarks for the longest time. I still need to heed this advice better.

Socioeconomics, in a nutshell (funny. Probably funnier if you're a sociology geek or a Geek of All Trades).

Somehow this was cooler when Hitchcock did it.

I'm saving this because it's very important to me. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's as a young child, and have other autoimmune disorders that make me feel as though most of my pain is my body's immune system eating away at me into an agonized shell. I don't have time to finish reading it at the moment, so it's going here as well as to a bookmark. ...OK I lied and ended up scanning the whole article anyway. My sister needs this info. Like now. No, like, a couple years ago when they took her *off* thyroid medicine.

Cooking myths--interesting. Snopes it ain't, but it's nice and specific.

This blog makes me lazy. Never had a blog where I didn't have to hand-code links before.


Curse you, StumbleUpon. Now I NEVER run out of links.
The Hobbit may still be possible (via Digg)
Just for William... Real Men Wear Kilts.


Mmmmmmmmmm... I'll take a box. Some of the post includes some things that aren't in the box since they're supposed to be reviewing the entire Jelly Belly line. The box looks good to me, though.

I also saved the Candy Blog review of the artisan marshmallows--I have GOT to get me some o' these!

I really don't know about this one.

The Countess made some points on domestic violence and the Violence Against Women Act. She's got a point--and while I agree with what the guy she quotes says about the government criminalizing private behavior, the right to swing your fist ends just in front of my nose whether I live in your house or not. And she doesn't acknowledge as much as she might that men really are often the victims. I've known more men who were victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence than women.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Seem to be a lot of sex links popping up (oh, hush. I don't believe you just went there...) tonight. First, BoingBoing had this, which book I'd like to pick up--hey, maybe has a copy I can get with my giftcard.

Then a review of Lolita was on Slate. I forget to check Slate a lot, but then there's always a wealth of links I can catch up with. The latest Human Nature includes bits on child pornography and reproduction (this barely touches on sex, since it's an IVF brief, but still). Hint on child pornography: Parents, don't let your kids have webcams in their rooms! There's no reason whatsoever they shouldn't be confined to whatever room contains a family computer for communication with distant relatives. Scroll down in the same column for a bit on cosmetic re-virgination surgery. I have much better uses for a few grand. And isn't it a bit sadistic to find the thrill of deflowering a virgin to have to do with tearing the hymen? Men, how many of you find it hot for a woman to have a part you have to tear through and cause her pain to get it on, as opposed to the idea of the innocent maiden, being taught everything you have to show her? And how many of you would rather be with an experienced woman who knows exactly how to stroke/suck/please you in the first place? Sheesh. The previous HN, linked at bottom, has an interesting thought on schizophrenia genes making reproduction more likely when they don't actually cause the disease--the creative and "out there" among us are more likely to carry that gene--and more likely to attract mates and reproduce. This doesn't explain 95% of the people I see with kids, but whatever.

More from slate on the child porn webcam thing. At a point in his teens the kid's dad was partnerered with him in the business. That puts a different twist on the kid having been "victimized by online predators," you know?

I want most of these T-Shirts.
Imperial uniforms

Ebert's top movies of 2005--I haven't seen a single one, naturally. I've seen two of the three top animated ones (way down the page). Sometimes with the blurred line between special effects and actual animation, I think the concept of animation itself is becoming largely meaningless. I guess the question is still a matter of the actors... but the days when CG puts real formerly-living people into the movies aren't far away, and virtual actors a la S1m0ne can't be far behind.

Since we did top toys of the 20th century by decade yesterday, Ars Technica has a piece on toys through the ages

I include this bit of commentary only because it's so wonderfully insulting.

Also just found SmartStuff, which immediately made the list of daily "rounds" to make online. Brilliant! Snow chains for boots? Liquid electrical tape? Effective cheap way to make drinking water from sea water, looking for a licensee to market it? Look at SmartStuff!

More links

Wheel of the Year

It's a tearful day on the hearth, one to just look out at the world and huddle safe by my warm fire.
ummm... wow. Just wow.

What do "power" and "orgasm" taste like?

This looks interesting. Anyone in Eastern Europe want to send me a pack?

Junk Food Blog has a lot of interesting things today, actually. Check out that Aussie KitKat.

What happened, IZ Reloaded? Damn you, Tripod!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

She did WHAT to Alec Baldwin?

BIG Rebel Attack Cruiser, Lego-style

The future of keyboards?

Fun with class photos!

Fun facts about bug sex on Sex Drive Daily

(That post also links to this book, which looks very interesting)

I'm not sure what to think of the idea of sub-dermal brass knuckles. Not as fighting gear, but as body art (I would know exactly what to think of people who made such functional mods to themselves--but non-social functionality just may get in the way of what most body-modification is all about). I'm all for letting people mod themselves how they want, mind, but, I don't know, maybe I'm not edgy enough to realize the symbolism, and it doesn't immediately show meaning to me.

SwarmSketch could be fun. I'm not particularly inspired to add to the current drawing.

Scott Adams explains why I'd rather die of drinking my 17 diet Cokes per day than give them up.

One more reason to dislike the Star Wars Galaxies changes.

More info on gamers in Asian cyber-cafes dropping dead

Oh, Santa... Popular toys, by decade

Google Music? And right after the big hoo-hah about publishing lyrics online...

Found this on Digg. Not bad at all. Lots of good educational resources for geek parents with limited time to teach their kids their main interests--these sites are great educational supplements. Someone was Digging a lot of these this weekend, also found sites breaking down evolution and trig.

Blocking cell phones in theaters sounds like a good idea sometimes, like the other week when some guy in the row back took 2 phone calls in the latest Harry Potter movie and didn't make any effort to quiet down while taking calls--but honestly if I can't have a phone on vibrate in the theater and expect it to work, then I'm not going to as many movies--if I have to leave the kids with a sitter, I expect her to be able to reach me. I have enough courtesy to duck out and call back. And what about, say, a doctor with a pager?

I'll shout it again and again: Firefox is your friend. I've been using it since it was Firebird and I've just piled a bunch of extensions into 1.5 that make me very happy.

Geek gift flowchart. Looks about right. (Funny)

Oh, neat. A species of purple frog that's been around since the dinosaurs and still lives in India today.

Pi trainer. This will be a few hours' diversion. Sometime... later.

If you like looking at the girls on magazines as works of art or objectively, don't click here. However, if you think you (or your girlfriend) should look like a magazine cover model, you must give this a look and bear in mind that the cover model doesn't look like that either, and look at what they did with photoshop to make her look that way (she's adorable before the photoshop, too, but not in the same unreal and glamorous way).


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Toys for a mellow night

I don't quite know what this is, as I can't read any of the pages, but it has an odd pixie-dust quality. Warning: Don't launch with the sound turned up.

For a fascinating study in spring behavior, or just a fun toy or design tool, check out Springs.

If you don't feel like sitting through the whole movie, try Movie-a-Minute. It and its companion site, Book-a-Minute, are web classics, but Rinkworks (their parent site) has a lot of funny stuff to surf through.

Anyone remember those singing flowers and frogs from a few years back? Here's some horses.

Moon phases, if you're into that kind of thing.

Dreamlines is cool to just sit and watch (I'd imagine it's moreso when under the influence of certain chemicals, not that I'd know anything about that).

Friday, December 16, 2005

Intro, brief

This will just be a links collection. I can't deal with lists of bookmarks--if I tried to put all the links I like in I'd go insane... but I always want to send my friends relevant bits and pieces--and am driving some of the overseas ones nuts, as they sleep while I surf, then wake to a very large IM log of links. So, o Druid, this one's for you.