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It’s happening faster than I’d thought:

Up to 114!
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A chiropractor who claims he can treat anyone by reaching back in time to when an injury occurred has attracted the attention of state regulators.

Reaching through time to cure injuries? Could he be — the Conciliator?!

Burda calls his treatment “Bahlaqeem.”

“It is a made-up word and, to my knowledge, has no known meaning except for this intended purpose. It does, however, have a soothing vibrational influence and contains the very special number of nine letters,” Burda’s Web site says.

Made-up word? I guess not, then.

(link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee)

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razor curvesSomeone at The Economist with a bit of extra time on his hands was looking at the recent proliferation of many-bladed razors, and noticed that the time gap between blade increments seems to be shrinking: 70 years before someone added the second blade, a couple of decades to the third, only two or three years between the four-bladed Schick Quattro and the five-bladed Gillette Fusion. Might there be a Moore’s Law for razors blades? Hence the chart over there.

Now, that power-law curve predicts 14-bladed razors by the year 2100, but that’s not the interesting curve. The interesting curve is the hyperbolic one, for two reasons: One, it matches the real-world data. And two, it goes to infinity in 2015. And how are you going to get an asymptotically-accelerating number of blades onto a razor? Why, you’d need godlike super-technology to do that.

Right. There it is, proof of the approaching Vingean Singularity, sooner than anyone expected it, clear as the chin on your face.

(Update!)
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It was mashup night at the Pigeon Factory, and I was playing tracks from American Edit and A Night at the Hip-Hopera for [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen and [livejournal.com profile] akawil, and we somehow got around to the idea that Hitler would have really liked Queen (till he found out about the whole gay thing), what with their grand, operatic, Wagnerian over-the-top flair, and, y’know, if Freddy Mercury were still alive, they’d be the perfect choice for doing the soundtrack of a hypothetical movie version of Lord of the Swastika, or you could even use Queen songs as soundtrack for Leni Riefenstahl movies, only you’d get very, very sued, and hey, they didn’t film any of the Beerhall Putsch, did they, ’cause “We Will Rock You” would work perfectly for that, and sort of like that, conversation wise, just seeing how far we could push the idea.

Only, once you’re thinking along those lines, the lyrics to “A Kind of Magic” and “One Vision” suddenly become extremely creepy. “’39” too, a little, mostly because LadyM had, when she was younger, thought it was about WW2.

It was at that point that Wil discovered that the 1992 memorial concert in memory of Freddy Mercury was held on April 20th, Hitler’s birthday, and we figured that we’d better just drop the subject before anything else turned up.
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I first read about this in a Christopher Hitchens article, and figured it might just be a drunken hallucination, but no, it’s real. As if regular circumcision wasn’t bad enough, the ultra-Orthodox version apparently includes a practice called metzitzah b’peh, or oral suction, in which the mohel sucks the blood off of the infant’s penis after cutting it. This became controversial after three Brooklyn infants came down with herpes, one fatally. Of course the ultra-Orthodox are arguing that direct oral contact is a necessary part of the ritual, even though the Rabbinical Council of America recommends using a sterile tube.

My sister’s due to give birth to a boy in a few weeks; I’d better call and make sure they’re not using an Orthodox mohel.
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GEO Pakistan News:
Suspected language seized from PM Shaukat’s plane in Kabul
KABUL: A plane, which was preparing to take back Premier Shaukat Aziz from Afghnistan was evacuated after recovery of suspected language from the plane.

While the prime minister after ending his visit to Afghanistan today was returning back to Pakistan, an unidentified person was aboard with his language and at that time the doors of the plane were closed.
(via [livejournal.com profile] supergee)

Officials later downgraded the alert level after discovering the suspect was only carrying a dialect.
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While googling around to answer a question that had been asked on a mailing list, I found this conspiracy story about 150,000 Israeli sleeper agents (sayanim) in the US, trained by former former Mossad ops director Rafi Eitan. They’re supposedly here to track al Qaeda terrorists and protect Jewish and Israeli interests here, since the US government is too incompetent to do the job. Towards the bottom of the page, I saw this:
In a separate but related incident, another former Mossad agent, Juval Aviv, has claimed in an email that Eitan is using the latest version of Promis-the sophisticated software that can track terrorists-to help to train sayanim.
“Promis”? That sounds familiar....
The software was originally stolen by Eitan from a specialist Washington computer company, Inslaw. Since then, Inslaw has developed several even more sophisticated versions of the program.
Yes, it’s the return of the Inslaw Octopus!

Inslaw (originally founded by the government) accused the Justice Department of having stolen a software package (originally created by the government, but Inslaw did further development) from them. PROMIS (Prosecutor’s Management Information System) is a case-management software for federal prosecutors, that’s possibly been modified to track intelligence operations and assets. There are claims that a version has been sold to foreign governments, with backdoors that the US can use to spy on their intelligence agencies. Danny Casolaro, a journalist who was investigating the story and claimed it was a massive global conspiracy, was found dead in a motel bathtub with his wrists slashed, the death ruled a suicide.

This was a thriving conspiracy story in the early ’90s. Not TV network level, but Village Voice level. Two or three years ago, [livejournal.com profile] bugsybanana asked me whatever became of it. Now we know:
In his email, sent at 9:19 a.m. on Aug. 22 to Inslaw boss, Bill Hamilton, Aviv-who is president of the New York-based Interfor, an international private security agency staffed with former intelligence officers-makes an astonishing claim:

The new version of Promis was tested in Ohio by you-know-who, and he caused the blackout last weekend.

It was a test that was not meant to cause that much devastating damage, but because their infrastructure is so old and vulnerable, it went down without being able to correct itself. That is how we got the blackout in 2003.
How about that! A database tracking system that can knock out power plants! This must be the 21st-century version of the maxim that all software grows until it can send email.
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I was reading this mediocre essay by Jonathan Chait on Robert Bork, and I was struck with an impulse to read up on the Watergate scandal. What’s the link? Bork had been Solicitor General at the time Nixon tried to quash the investigation, and had wound up in charge of the Justice Department after the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General had both resigned rather than fire the investigator. Bork did the firing.

This led to the creation of the Office of the Independent Council, a check on the growing power of the executive. I’d known that the office had since expired, but I hadn’t known when: At midnight on the 11th of September, 2001.

[livejournal.com profile] akawil tells me that this isn’t quite as eerie a coincidence as it might seem: The reason it expired then was because that was the first day Congress was back in session after summer recess; since Al Qaeda was aiming to hit Congress with United Airlines Flight 93, they’d chosen this day. But it looks to me like the recess ended the previous Tuesday, Sep 4th.
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Taken out of the week’s context, today’s Doonesbury is a bit eerie.
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Ah, Wikipedia! Sure, the stuffy old guard may doubt your accuracy (though the Encyclopædia Britannica might not be any better), but how many encyclopedias have not just an entry on the umlaut, but a separate entry on the use of the umlaut in heavy metal rock band names? (“At one Mötley Crüe performance in Germany, the entire audience started chanting, ‘Moertley Crueh!’”)

Tip: Wikipedia’s search function is kinda slow. I just do a Google search, adding in “wikipedia” as a search term.
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Apparently tumbleweeds may be useful for soaking up depleted uranium. Great image there for any post-apocalyptic Western-themed science fiction you might be working on.

And there are artistic implications:
As for why some plants absorb uranium, that's still a mystery, says Ulmer-Scholle. It could be that the plants use the metal to create pigments. One way she hopes to test that possibility is to grow native plants used for dyes, she said.

(via Agenda Bender, which doesn’t seem to have an RSS or Atom feed)

Invasion!

Nov. 4th, 2004 01:17 pm
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While we were all distracted yesterday, a foreign nation attempted to establish a foothold right here in New York:
A man wearing a wet suit and carrying an embroidered flag swam to Governors Island Tuesday, telling authorites he was there to reclaim the land for the "Blue Tulip Nation."

(via Gothamist)
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Tom Coburn, a Republican candidate for the Senate from Oklahoma, is claiming that “lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom.”

How many of my younger readers are thinking they chose the wrong school?
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Damn, a giant robot in Times Square and I missed it.
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Parisian underground cinema. Seriously underground:
Police in Paris have discovered a fully equipped cinema-cum-restaurant in a large and previously uncharted cavern underneath the capital's chic 16th arrondissement. [...]

Three days later, when the police returned accompanied by experts from the French electricity board to see where the power was coming from, the phone and electricity lines had been cut and a note was lying in the middle of the floor: "Do not," it said, "try to find us."

3-D chocolate printer made of Lego:
We've developed a print head that will print 5mm 'pixels' of the consumable. It basically acts as a pump. Its a medium sized lego gear (driven by a worm gear attached to the motor) with four axels that repeatedly squeaze and release a pipe attached to a funnel that holds the consumables. a half-rotation of this wheel yeilds a blob.

Monkey saves Indian democracy from other monkeys:
Mangal, a langur, has been hired by the Delhi Election Commission to rid its premises near Kashmiri Gate of nearly 60 monkeys which have been creating a nuisance there since the Assembly polls last year.

The monkeys had been terrorising visitors and officers at the commission office for over three months now. Their particular favourite was the Form 6, which is filled when one is applying for a voter’s identity card. The monkeys would snatch the forms from applicants before tearing them. Other files and papers have also been destroyed by the monkeys.

Real-time Worldcon blogging — I wish I’d known about this at the con! Hey, I think I know the back of that head.
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“Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across this country.” — George W Bush

Windows Media link here
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“Onan provides the power that keeps you going — on the water, on the road, in your work, and at home.”
“Onan is a registered trademark of Cummins Inc.”

No wonder they’re all smiling.

(Via Agenda Bender)
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Lexicon of the Lost 500 Years is an instance of Neel Krishnaswami’s Lexicon RPG, using Nobilis as a base, and holy crap does it look like fun. Check out the entries for Adlai Stevenson and Trey Parker. (via The 20' x 20' Room)
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