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Saturday, November 24, 2012

R.I.P. Larry Hagman

Died yesterday, age 81.

A look back at Thailand's history of penile amputations.

A look back at Thailand's history of penile amputations. (Key quote: A traditional Thai home is elevated on pilings and the windows are open to allow for ventilation. The area under the house is the home of the family pigs, chickens, and ducks. Thus, it is quite usual that an amputated penis is tossed out of an open window, where it may be captured by a duck.

The report explains, for readers in other countries: "The Thai saying, 'I better get home or the ducks will have something to eat,' is therefore a common joke and immediately understood at all levels of society".

Police Raid Home of 9-Year-Old Pirate Bay User, Seize Her “Winnie the Pooh” Laptop….

The girl tried to download a number of songs by Finnish pop star Chisu using The Pirate Bay, where she was led after searching for the songs on Google(GOOG). The downloads failed, according to the girl’s father, and the two went to a local store the following day to purchase a Chisu album. ISPs working with CIAPC flagged the activity, however, and the group’s anti-piracy procedures went into effect.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Benjamin Franklin’s account of the First Thanksgiving

Benjamin Franklin’s account of the First Thanksgiving

Instead of a Fast They Proclaimed a Thanksgiving Benjamin Franklin (1785)

There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civiliz’d people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously dispos’d, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many dispos’d to return to the Egypt which persecution had induc’d them to abandon.

At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remark’d that the inconveniences they suffer’d, and concerning which they had so often weary’d heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthen’d; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence; that their seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and above all, they were in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious.

He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they ow’d to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observ’d circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.

The classic WKRP Turkey giveaway episode

“AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I THOUGHT TURKEYS COULD FLY!”

Surprise: PA College Slashes Instructors’ Hours to Avoid Obamacare.

...slashing the hours of 400 adjunct instructors, support staff, and part-time instructors to dodge paying for Obamacare.

On Tuesday, CCAC employees were notified that Obamacare defines full-time employees as those working 30 hours or more per week and that on Dec. 31 temporary part-time employees will be cut back to 25 hours. The move will save an estimated $6 million.

"While it is of course the college’s preference to provide coverage to these positions, there simply are not funds available to do so."

So, today's my birthday. How often does it fall on Thanksgiving?

For thos of us born between the 22nd and 28th and have always wondered, here's how it works:

Thanksgiving Birthday Pattern

Emerson's Thanksgiving Prayer

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

A wonderful holiday to all of you and all of yours.

What Space Station Astronauts Will Eat For Thanksgiving

Yum... Irradiated Smoked turkey and candied “thermo-stabilized” yams.

via GeekPress.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Buffy Thanksgiving episode: "Ritual sacrifice, with pie"

13 camels on way to beauty contest killed by truck

A large truck carrying cement knocked over 13 female camels as they were crossing the road on their way to a beauty contest in Saudi Arabia.

Newspapers said all the 13 camels, with a value of SRmillions, perished on the road in the eastern oasis town of Nofood.

The accident also resulted in serious damage to their owner’s four-wheel Lexus car, with a value of around SR30,0,000, they said.

The camels were crossing the road ahead of their owner’s car on their way to a camel beauty contest when the truck hit them…they were all killed,” Sharq daily said.

A Musical Video Recipe That Features a Raw Dancing Turkey



Cooking site CHOW has created a new ‘Musical Video Recipe’ for Thanksgiving which features a raw turkey dancing to their recipe for “Buffalo Roasted Turkey with Blue Cheese Sauce.”

Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants

Read the whole thing at CNET: A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law.

CNET has learned that Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.

Revised bill highlights

✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans' electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans' correspondence stored on systems not offered "to the public," including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant -- or subsequent court review -- if they claim "emergency" situations exist.

✭ Says providers "shall notify" law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they've been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to "10 business days." This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.

The (unofficial) Darwin Awards theme song

Pi vs Pie

by Grant Snider, via LaughingSquid.

Tuesday links

Postal History in 15 Photos.

17 euphemisms for sex from the 1800s.

Incredible 5 year old piano prodigy.

A Gene Predicts What Time of Day You Will Die.

Headline du jour: Love-rat dad of nine children to eight women who headbutted ex-girlfriend in row over cheese toastie jailed for just 20 days.

National Absurdity Day

Andrew Malcolm has a roundup at Investors.com.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What would happen if a meteor or asteroid the size of _, made of _, hit Earth at a speed of _? There's an app for that

Impact: Earth!

Tycho Brahe wasn’t murdered after all

More at BBC, via io9.

The 16th-Century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe is unlikely to have been poisoned, according to a researcher studying his remains.

The body was exhumed in 2010 in a bid to confirm the cause of his death.

Previously at io9: The crazy life and crazier death of Tycho Brahe, history’s strangest astronomer

Who's shooting and mutilating dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico?

Weirdness - read the whole thing:

On Friday, a team from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport found a dolphin on Ship Island with its lower jaw missing.

Last weekend, IMMS responded to a dead dolphin found along the Ocean Springs/Gautier coastline with a 9mm bullet wound. "It went through the abdomen, into the kidneys and killed it," said Moby Solangi, IMMS executive director.

In Louisiana, a dolphin was found with its tail cut off.

Twinkies will return... from Mexico.

CSMonitor: The brands “most likely will be purchased by a competitor that will bolt the additional sales to a more efficient delivery system,” David Pauker, a food industry restructuring specialist, tells Reuters. “The company itself won't survive.”

(A) possible bidder hints at the future of Twinkies and maybe the US bakery business as a whole: Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest bread baking firm, which already owns parts of Sara Lee, Entenmann’s and Thomas English Muffins.

But the big question is whether the same problems that haunted Hostess – high sugar prices tied to US trade tariffs, changing consumer tastes, and union pushback against labor concessions – will squeeze whatever profit is left in the brands.

Especially if a Mexican buyer is involved, production may go the way of the Brach’s and Fannie May candy concerns: south of the border. With US sugar tariffs set artificially high to protect Florida sugar-growing concerns, a non-unionized shop with access to lower-priced sugar in Mexico could be the Twinkie lifeline, economists suggest.

Not The Onion: Taliban CCs instead of BCCs, reveals email list

Taliban Oops Reveals Mailing List IDs

Somewhere out there, Mullah Omar must be shaking his head.

In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference.He publicly CC'd the names of everyone on his mailing list.

The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid's email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.

"Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list," tweeted journalist Mustafa Kazemi, a prolific Kabul-based tweeter with more than 9,500 followers. "Quite reassuring to my safety."

The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.

The Taliban routinely send out press releases to their mailing list, often claiming responsibility for attacks against Afghan and coalition targets. They are known for exaggerating casualty figures.

In recent weeks, the Taliban have increased the number of emails they send out, growing from just a handful every week, to several per day. Most of the emails are sent from Ahmedi's account. The increase coincides with the end of the annual Taliban fighting season, prompting one local journalist to joke, "I guess when fighting season ends, emailing season begins."

Qari Yousuf Ahmedi did not return emails requesting a comment.