January 31, 2007

shockingly, just one

A California State legislator wants to outlaw incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy efficient counterparts.

The actual name chosen for this proposed law is ” The How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act”.

The most surprising point is that the answer to this law’s title would actually be “one”.

More information here.

January 27, 2007

what if your users suck?

“User generated content” is the phrase surrounding “web 2.0” companies, which means create a community and have them do all the work to make you rich, while giving them no money and a false sense of empowerment.

digg is the poster-child for this new business model. It’s essentially a news site, where ordinary citizens like you and me choose which stories get to the main page. It’s interesting to see what’s valued in a complete democracy that doesn’t discriminate based on age; so far CAPS and exclamation points!?!?!?!!!! seem very important, while spelling and accuracy are seen as the excrement a bygone generation. I submit to you, from this article:

“Jeremy Schoemaker, a Technorati top 100 blogger, has been subpoenaed to testify about comments made on his blog. This will be a case to follow and could set a president for who is liable for what in comments of websites.”

Apparently this Schoemaker case will re-define how we choose our country’s leader.

bad google!

On google news, if you’re logged into your gmail account, it keeps track of what links you click on so that it can recommend “personalized” stories that google thinks you’d like to read.

Trust me when I say you do not want to know what google thinks of you. About 20% of the articles are politically related which I’m not ashamed of, I’m proud to say I maintain an interest in world politics.

But about 50% of my “personalized” feed is… not what I’d like to think or admit I care about. Currently here’s a story about Jennifer Garner’s fiance, another about David Beckham starring in a new Disney movie, and a third about… *sigh* …Kevin Federline. I want to blame google, admonish it for giving me bad picks, but the truth is, when I’m bored, I click on this celebrity gossip, though I normally don’t make it most of the way through the article.

I’ve decided to take this in a positive light: Google has made me realize I have a problem, which is the first step towards healing. I now catch myself when I start moving my mouse towards the latest Paris Hilton/Brittany Spears story and look forward to the day when the space once filled by this trash is occupied by tech writers righteously masturbating to whatever the new Apple rumor is. Because that’s the kind of article I’m proud to be associated with.

i’ve had this conversation before

I’m going to print up cards with this conversation and hand it out whenever I hear it starting up. It should save a lot of people a lot of time.

Atheist: “Religion is irrational.”

Believer: “Oh yeah? Atheism is a religion too, because it’s a cause that’s believed on faith! See Merriam-Webster’s 4th definition of religion.”

Atheist: “Atheism is religion the same way that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.”

Believer: “You can’t prove the non-existence of God. And belief without proof is faith. Check Merriam-Webster’s second definition of faith. Therefore, atheists are irrational by definition.”

Atheist: “You can NEVER (or almost never) prove a negative. Besides, some things are so obvious that proof is unnecessary. Do you believe there’s a monster under your bed? You have no proof that it doesn’t exist. Therefore, by your reasoning, it’s only reasonable to believe there MIGHT be a monster under your bed.”

Believer: “Hey, you never know.”

From here

January 24, 2007

title of the moment

“Getting A Self-Charging Smoke Alarm Is Better Than Dying In A Fire”

From here.

January 19, 2007

knowledge is heavy

Jane: iPods don’t weigh 3 pounds, do they?

Anon: Depends on how many songs you have on it.

January 17, 2007

i’m thinking stand up comedian, then belly dancer

In my psychology class, the teacher will often assign fluff questions as homework, usually just to start a discussion or illustrate a point.   The teacher will then anonymously read some of the responses to the class. They’re silly things like, “If I could ask an omniscient being one thing, it would be…”, or “If I could take one famous sea mammal to a baseball game, who would it be?” But as they’re anonymous, once in a while someone comes up with a good one. Today, my favorites were:

Prompt: I know my life would be better if I just…
Response: abondoned my morals.

Prompt: If I couldn’t fail, I would…
Response: Gamble.

January 16, 2007

electrons are expensive

When looking through craigslist at rental properties, I often read mistakenly read “NO POETS” instead of “NO PETS”. Oddly, in the instant before my brain recognizes its mistake, I accept this prejudice as completely reasonable. It’d probably make sense to outlaw writers in general, as well as those working for web 2.0 startups.

I mean, lets be real, I have a television to feed.

January 15, 2007

le truth

As cereals go,
It may be delicious
It may be nutritious
But buying “Organic High Fiber Os”
Will make me feel old.

January 13, 2007

i call them footcoats

Last night Lauren and I went to her Beginning of the year company party.  The picture below represents one of the better pictures of the evening (which should tell you something about how the night went….), after sending it through an image editor.


on emasculation

I know this feeling quite well:

“Few things make me feel less manly than getting my car serviced. On some level, I feel I should be doing that stuff myself, even though I know the engine was designed on Krypton and forged in the fires of Mordor. Still, I feel uneasy that I can’t fix it with a rock and a house key.”

January 12, 2007


About a third of the way through this video, Stephen Colbert makes the geekiest reference I have ever heard on mainstream television. I was several years into my CS degree before I understood all the concepts in this rant:

“Computers aren’t supposed to be easy or cute, they’re supposed to be intimidating, punch-card reading, hulks of metal that take up an entire refrigerated room and force you to manually implement recursive procedures and abstract data types in Fortran 77.

I’ve been there, deep in this shit, and it is no picnic.”

– Steven Colbert

The best part is that I’m actually reading an academic paper on implementing recursive procedures, though fortran isn’t mentioned and the room I’m working in is heated as opposed to refrigerated.

January 11, 2007

you broke my heart

For those who got their hands on a Nintendo Wii, it looks like the Godfather might be an interesting title on this platform. From this interview:

“You’ll be able to throw left and right hand jabs, hooks, and uppercuts; grab enemies and throw them around with both hands; perform head-butts and neck-snaps… We had so much fun with the controller possibilities that we mo-capped a bunch of exclusive moves to fit some of the gestures we’d developed, like the open-handed smack and pistol whip.

But is there a motion available to perform the “Kiss of Death”?

January 6, 2007

it never occurred to me until now

Apparently there is a competition to find the most ridiculous warning labels. While this year’s winner warned us “DO NOT put any person in this washer”, by far my favorite was the second place entry:

gas cap warning

To see all of this year’s “winners”, you should probably try this link.

what a role model

Paul Erdös was one of the most prolific mathematicians in History, writing approximately 1,500 mathematical articles before his death in 1996. He was so prolific, in fact, that the six degrees of separation in the math world is called the Erdös number, which describes the collaborative distance between an author and Erdös.

One of my professors related that he once had the chance to speak to Erdös and had asked what the secret was to his astounding output. His response, as related by my professor, was “Speed-up drugs.”

Several friends of mine are planning on going into research and found this anecdote quite depressing and chose to interpret this as a joke. However, scanning wikipedia today I discovered Erdös proclivity for “speed-up drugs” is less than a secret:

“After 1971 he also took amphetamines, despite the concern of his friends, one of whom (Ron Graham) bet him $500 that he could not stop taking the drug for a month. Erd?s won the bet, but complained that mathematics had been set back by a month: ‘Before, when I looked at a piece of blank paper my mind was filled with ideas. Now all I see is a blank piece of paper.’ The bet won, he promptly resumed his amphetamine habit.”

So remember kids, if you’re not doing speed, you’re not living up to your potential.

January 5, 2007

mmmm, ramen

My senior year of high school my government teacher had us create a budget for how much it would cost to live on our own, we even had to go find an apartment and include rental costs. Looking back I will admit it was a valid and noble exercise, encouraging youth to open their eyes to the harsh financial situation that is the “real” world.

But the teacher was a dick and I planned on doing the minimum to get a decent grade.

The most annoying exercise was planning a food budget, mostly because you had to provide actual highlighted receipts, which were presumably taken from your parents. I managed to come up with a food budget that I didn’t have any problems living on, which consisted of 3 meals a day made entirely out of Frosted Shredded Wheat, quesadillas, frozen waffles, and soda; it came up to almost exactly $12/week. I was not stupid enough to actually follow this budget.

However, this guy was. In fact he’s stupider than me, as he went the entire month of November spending $30 dollars on food and writing about it each day. I really enjoy this entry

“I think my body finally caught onto my plans for the month; and it’s not pleased. I fealt like I had weights tied around my ankles and did a lot of staring blankly at my desk today. I think my body is just revolting against the drastic drop in calories. Everything I’ve read says it should ajust in a few more days. I didn’t really read a lot of things though.”

If you’re interested, start here, and scroll down to the bottom to start at day one.

January 3, 2007

it’s midnight, do you know where your parents are?

A friend recently claimed that his birthday, Oct. 5th, is the most common birthday in the US. While I initially didn’t believe his claim, I found an article which agrees with him:

“The average pregnancy lasts 274 days. Oct. 5, he wrote in an e-mail, is about 274 days from New Year’s Eve, the day millions of Americans are celebrating with alcohol.”

The next time I hear someone mention that their birthday is in early October, I plan to snicker knowingly.

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