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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mark Steyn: Obamacare’s Hierarchy of Privilege

No one who favors the law wants to be bound by it.

Obamacare is not a law, in the sense that all persons are equal before it, but a hierarchy of privilege; for example, senators value their emir-sized entourages and don’t want them to quit, so it is necessary to provide the flunkies who negotiated and drafted the Affordable Care Act an exemption from the legislation they imposed on the citizenry. Once again, the opt-out is not legal. As the Wall Street Journal trenchantly observed, “OPM has no authority to pay for insurance plans that lack FEHBP contracts, nor does the Affordable Care Act permit either exchange contributions or a unilateral bump in Congressional pay in return for less overall compensation.”

Eating on the March: Food at the 1963 March on Washington

On August 28, 1963, over 200,000 people peacefully marched between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial to show support of President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights and to bring widespread public attention to end segregation in public schools and the federal implementation of fair employment practices to prevent job discrimination. The March on Washington was a watershed moment in human rights history that helped to get the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 passed into law. Organizing an event that large was a formidable task in and of itself, requiring the coordination of grass roots groups to drum up participants and raise the funds to travel to DC. Tackling the issue of handling food for the masses was another issue entirely.

The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life

At Smithsonian:
There are a few other examples of foods that keep–indefinitely–in their raw state: salt, sugar, dried rice are a few. But there’s something about honey; it can remain preserved in a completely edible form, and while you wouldn’t want to chow down on raw rice or straight salt, one could ostensibly dip into a thousand year old jar of honey and enjoy it, without preparation, as if it were a day old. Moreover, honey’s longevity lends it other properties–mainly medicinal–that other resilient foods don’t have. Which raises the question–what exactly makes honey such a special food?
The answer is as complex as honey’s flavor–you don’t get a food source with no expiration date without a whole slew of factors working in perfect harmony.
via Neatorama

Friday, August 23, 2013

USB-Powered Vibrator With 8GB Storage

Wired:

The Duet is a tiny, thumb-sized vibrator. That alone probably wouldn’t be worth writing about, but this vibrator is also USB-powered, and can be bought with up to 16GB storage.

The toy plugs into any free USB port to charge, and when full can give a terrifying four hours of pleasure. It has four different patterns of vibration, five power levels, and runs almost silently. This discretion extends to the design, which doesn’t really look like a sex toy at all.

In fact, the feature list is pretty good even before we get to the vibrating part. The silicone and metal body is completely waterproof. You can drop it into water up to three meters (10 feet) deep, and of course you can use the thing in the bath.

Remembering the Baltic Way human chain for freedom

Head over to Legal Insurrection and read the whole thing:

On this day in 1989, the Baltic Way took place. People in the Baltic Republics of the Soviet Union (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) formed a human chain stretching for hundreds of miles:
… on 23 August 1989, the three nations living by the Baltic Sea surprised the world by taking hold of each other’s hands and jointly demanding recognition of the secret clauses in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and the re-establishment of the independence of the Baltic States. More than a million people joined hands to create a 600 km long human chain from the foot of Toompea in Tallinn to the foot of the Gediminas Tower in Vilnius, crossing Riga and the River Daugava on its way, creating a synergy in the drive for freedom that united the three countries.

Not The Onion: ‘Law and Order: SVU’ to Feature Paula Deen Killing Trayvon Martin

While HBO’s “Newsroom” is surely today’s leading liberal fantasy news show, it is following in a format pioneered by the overwrought crime drama series “Law and Order” and its various clone shows.

The producers of “Law and Order: SVU” reminded everyone of that recently by actually writing and filming an episode in which a character based on Paula Deen kills a Trayvon Martin character.

You can’t make up this kind of absurdity in a humor setting. People wouldn’t find it credible. The only thing missing is a George Bush or Dick Cheney character in there engaging in a serial killing spree of some Muslim characters.

Picture of the Day: The Butterfly Effect




Via Twisted Sifter: In this perfectly timed photo by Prabhu B. Doss, we see a butterfly that appears to be looking in an invisible mirror, its likeness accurately reflected. Believe it or not, it’s two different butterflies, and if you look closely you can see differences in their respective wing patterns and antennae.

In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name of the effect, coined byEdward Lorenz, is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane’s formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks earlier. To learn more, visit the entry on Wikipedia.

Jury in Fort Hood Shooting Trial Finds Maj. Nidal Hasan Guilty in all counts

More at NBC:

Major Nidal Hasan, who Army prosecutors said was on a Jihad mission to kill soldiers, has been found guilty of all 13 counts of premeditated murder for the attack on U-S soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009.

The military jury also found Hasan guilty of 32 counts of premeditated attempted murder.

Both votes were unanimous by the military panel members in his court-martial hearing.

Friday links

The Science Of The Great Molasses Flood.

Cookie Monster’s famous cookie recipe.

The Last Beatles Photo Shoot.

The Burrow (Ron Weasley's home) from Harry Potter for Sale.

Peeling Back the Foil: The Origin of the TV Dinner.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Building evacuated after burlesque dancer sets off fire alarm with burning nipple tassels

Headline of the day.  Probably NSFW.

Cookie Monster’s famous cookie recipe

This Cookie Monster recipe is similar but not identical to the original Toll House (wiki) recipe which I carry in my head (and which can be found on the back of almost any brand of chocolate chips you find in the grocery store (see bottom of post for the recipe).

Larger version here.

The original:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1 cup chopped nuts

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Prepare dough as above. Spread into greased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan. Bake in preheated 375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (>5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups; add 2 teaspoonfuls water with flour; reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookies for 17 to 19 minutes.

Related: Bake the Best Chocolate Chip Cookies by Knowing What to Tweak.

Gallup: Unemployment Rate Jumps from 7.7% to 8.9% In 30 Days

Outside of the federal government's Bureau of Labor statistics, the Gallup polling organization also tracks the nation's unemployment rate. While the BLS and Gallup findings might not always perfectly align, the trends almost always do and the small statistical differences just haven't been worthy of note. But now Gallup is showing a sizable 30 day jump in the unemployment rate, from 7.7% on July 21 to 8.9% today.

This is an 18-month high.

At the end of July, the BLS showed a 7.4% unemployment rate, compared to Gallup's 7.8%. Again, a difference not worthy of note. But Gallup's upward trend to almost 9% in just the last three weeks is alarming, especially because this is not a poll with a history of wild swings due to statistical anomalies. Gallup's sample size is a massive 30,000 adults and the rolling average is taken over a full 30 day period.

Gallup also shows an alarming increase in the number of underemployed (those with some work seeking more). During the same 30-day period, that number has jumped from 17.1% to 17.9%.

via Breitbart.

Jonah Goldberg on Biden running for POTUS: Run, Joe, Run!

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the vice president’s inner circle is swabbing the decks, battening down the hatches, and hoisting the mainsails for USSBidenpalooza 2016. “Everyone involved in his world,” a Democratic official told the Journal, “is engaged in taking all the steps that make sense to prepare for a run, if he does run.” Biden’s people are apparently willing to go for it even if the allegedly inevitable nominee, Hillary Clinton, decides to run.

Why is this happening?

It’s a difficult question to boil down to a single variable, given the swirling maelstrom of egos, agendas, and issues at play. Still, one answer does seem to cover the waterfront: because ours is a just and generous God. From my admittedly selfish perspective, a Biden candidacy would be great for everybody — and by everybody I mean people who would like to see the Democratic party descend into a chaotic food fight.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The world's tallest Lego tower. Ever.

The 112 foot-tall tower is made from 500,000 individual bricks of Lego. The structure, which was built by students from Wilmington, Delaware, broke the Guinness World Record last night, thereby accomplishing the dream set by every kid who has ever clicked two pieces of Lego together.

More info, pictures and links at io9.

Ave atque vale: Elmore Leonard, aged 87

According to his website, “Elmore passed away this morning at 7:15 AM at home surrounded by his loving family.” The 87-year-old writer had recently suffered a stroke, but was said to be recovering.

Leonard was best-known for his crime fiction, and novels Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Hombre, as well short stories that inspired the films 3:10 to Yuma and The Tall T.

Tuesday links

This is what a 37-year-old Twinkie looks like.

Compilation video: How to open a beer.  Related, Scientists Claim To Have Created A Beer With No Hangover.

Meet the 11 year old who invented musical deodorant.

How to Win a Duel.

Scientifically accurate Finding Nemo, in which Nemo's mother dies, his father switches sex, and Nemo grows up into a male in order to mate with his now-female living parent.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Military Judge Bans Evidence of “Jihad” In Case Against Ft. Hood Terrorist Nidal Hasan…

Politico: A military judge blocked several key pieces of evidence Monday that prosecutors said would explain the mindset of the soldier accused in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, including his belief that he had a “jihad duty” to carry out the attack.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to approve several witnesses and various evidence to support what they allege motivated Maj. Nidal Hasan to carry out the attack, which killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others at the Texas military base.

But the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, blocked nearly all of it.

Obama administration asks Supreme Court to allow warrantless cellphone searches

WaPo: If the police arrest you, do they need a warrant to rifle through your cellphone? Courts have been split on the question. Last week the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to resolve the issue and rule that the Fourth Amendment allows warrantless cellphone searches.

Walk-in vagina


Joburgers have a chance to stroll through a huge walk-in vagina thanks to an art installation erected at the old Women's Jail in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

"By creating this vagina which you walk into, it contains you as the viewer, but also screams and laughs, almost like a battle cry which revolts against the prison," the artist Reshma Chhiba told the Sunday Times.

The walkway - installed in section two of the jail - is 12 metres long and made up of red velvet and cotton. A soundtrack of laughter and screaming plays throughout.

"Not many people - men or women - are unfazed about walking through this vaginal canal," said Chhiba.

She said that despite the fact the work was linked to the Hindu goddess Kali, she did not want herself to be seen as someone only making Indian art. "It's a global vagina," said Chhiba.

The walkthrough is part of a larger project - 'The Two Talking Yonis' -Yoni is Sanskrit for vulva - in which photographs and paintings are exhibited at two other venues.

Popular Science: The chemistry behind Walter White's meth

Early in the show, Walt abandons the real-life technique of transforming Sudafed, an over-the-counter decongestant, into meth. Sudafed—watched closely by the Drug Enforcement Administration—is a permanent bottleneck for any would-be meth cook. Instead, Walt refines a process to synthesize the drug from the ground up: the P2P cook. Though Parkinson himself has never made methamphetamine, he says Walt's P2P formula is true to science—with one crucial caveat. 

Every step of Walt's P2P cook mirrors the real chemical process. But would this procedure done perfectly—with the right temperatures, timing, and methods—produce Walt's nearly 100 percent pure methamphetamine? Not even close.

Related post: The real-life chemistry teacher who showed Breaking Bad how to make meth.

Judge appoints $600/hour attorney to monitor excessive fees in Detroit bankruptcy

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes today appointed a fee examiner to monitor legal fees in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Rhodes named attorney Robert M. Fishman of the Chicago-based firm Shaw Fishman Glantz and Towbin to ensure the city’s legal fees and consulting bills don’t become exorbitant. Fishman will also be charged with making sure the fees are public information.

Fishman’s typical hourly rate is $675. He’s discounting his hourly rate to $600 for Detroit.

Study: Double Stuf Oreos Don’t Actually Have Double The Creme

via Overlawyered:

According to a math teacher’s calculations, a sample yielded only 1.86 times as much filling between the chocolatey wafers, not “double.” Here’s the report, by Rachel Tepper in Huffington Post. Using comments, who would like to predict whether some law firm will file an intended class action over this problem within the next twelve months, on a scale where zero indicates “completely confident that there will not be such a lawsuit” and 10 indicates “completely confident that there will be”?

Bonus, from the article: “And Mega Stuf Oreos have only 2.86 times the creme in a regular Oreo. The prefix ‘mega’ literally means a factor of one million, which, granted, is impossible to translate to an Oreo. Still, perhaps another name could have sufficed.”

Must see: Squirrels - Pre-production Sales Trailer



Squirrels is coming. Here’s the official blurb:
When a young man’s estranged father is killed under suspicious circumstances, he returns home for the first time in years to get to the bottom of the mystery. Hoping to uncover some logical explanation, he instead finds his mom’s sleazy new boyfriend, a natural gas company buying up the town, an angry female sheriff who happens to be his ex-girlfriend, and an army of flesh-eating squirrels hellbent on destroying everything in their path due to an erosion of their food chain as a result of environmental destruction by the gas company.
via @JonahNRO.

The Merchant of Avon: What Shakespeare Teaches Us About Economics

Reason is celebrating their 45th anniversary by releasing a story a day from the archives—one for each year of the magazine's history. 

Writing in Reason’s March 1997 issue, Frederick Turn explained what Shakespeare teaches us about economics:
Where poets blaze the trail, economists and business people can follow, usually without knowing who made the path in the first place. In this essay I want to make a large claim, and one that may appear fantastic to those who make a sober living: that Shakespeare can be a wise guide to 21st-century economics.
See the full list here

Where the hell are my goddamned adult Underoos? (NSFW - language)

I've actually thought the same thing.  Read the whole article.

Fruit of the Loom, you are leaving giant piles of money on the table, and if I were a shareholder I would come into your office and beat your executives until Underoos came out. First of all, people remember and love Underoos; they love the brand, hell, thet love the name (say “underoos” out loud. It’s weirdly fun). The nostalgia that drives the pop culture product market would ensure countless sales.

Second, given the popularity of nerd culture nowadays, you’d have countless choices to stick on the shirts and underpants of today. The Avengers. Hawkeye and Black Widow. Hell, the Transformers and G.I. Joe movies. Shows like Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Arrow, etc. Open it up to videogames and the list is practically infinite.

Third, adults will buy these things, men and women alike. And children too, obviously. You don’t have to keep the girls’ sets to Wonder Woman, Daisy Duke and Barbie, like you did in the '80s, because they’re all fans of Batman and Star Wars and videogames and everything else now, too. And hell, there are more than a few guys that would happily pony up cash for a set of adult male Wonder Woman-branded Underoos, and yeah, maybe they want it for creepy purposes but the idea is still sound, dammit!

And don’t tell me that you already market pop culture-themed shirts and underwear, because I know you do. They sell pretty damn well, don’t they? Now, imagine that you sold the shirts and underpants together. Imagine that you don’t just stick Batman’s face on the buttchecks, but instead make in an underwear-themed replica of his costume. Now imagine that you called them Underoos again, bringing back the name and the brand for the nostalgia craze adult market — and then imagine you making a fuck-ton of money, from people of all ages, genders, races and creeds, because that’s what you would do.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Names for Genitalia Through the Ages

VARIETIES OF TERMS FOR MALE GENITALIA

The Physically Descriptive

For penises: worm, iron, rudder, pike, maypole, spicket, noodle, white staff, cucumber, standing wire.
For testicles: pebbles, plums, bullets, nuggins, nutmegs, tackle, eggs, jewels, agates, berries.

The Functionally Descriptive

For penises: prod, pissing place, shove devil, rump splitter, holy poker.
For testicles: glands?

The Whimsical and Poetic

For penises: the silent flute, the gospel pipe, the glister pipe, Mr. Peasbey.
For testicles: whirligigs, tarriwags, Salda crackers.

The Lewd

For penises: kidney wiper, liver disturber, cunt plugger, egg white cannon, yogurt spitting sausage.
For testicles: basket of meat.

The Baffling (and vaguely culinary)

For penises: Plum tree shaker, okra and prunes, enchilada, cookie.
For testicles: basket of meat.

The Baffled

For both: Thingamabob, thingummy.

The Disparaging

For penises: brute, goober, stuffed eelskin.
For testicles: cullions (“vile fellows”).

The Appreciative

For penises: shaft of delight, staff of life, candy cane, champion.
For testicles: diamonds, charms, as-good-as-ever-twanged.

VARIETIES OF TERMS FOR FEMALE GENITALIA

The Sentimental

Fountain of love, Venus’ cradle, treasure, Cupid’s warehouse, garden of delight, seat of love, pleasure place, love’s cabinet, nature’s treasury, harbor of hope, venerable monosyllable.

The Derogatory

Spitfire, trench, snatch blade, nethermouth, mark of the beast, jack nasty face.

The Unambitious

Cleft, groove, crevice, unit.

The Huh?

Best in Christendom, aphrodisiacal tennis court, Whitechapel portion, bit of skate, the batcave, the duckpond.

The Clever

Cock pit.

The Not-So-Clever but Nice Try!

Mouth-that-cannot-bite, breakfast of champions.

The ripped-from-Spenser’s Fairy Queen

Bower of Bliss.

The “You Had to Be There”

Hans Carvel’s ring, Buckinger’s boot, Mrs. Fubbs’ parlor, James Hunt.

The Bakery-themed

Golden donut, muffin, hairy donut, ho-cake

The Anatomically Incorrect

Fanny, ass

Via Slate
You and me [sic] may be nothing but mammals, but we are mammals that talk about sex a lot more than our cousins on the Discovery Channel. Now lexicographer Jonathan Green has created two interactive timelines tracing slang words for male and female genitalia through history. He's compiled words for the penis and its satellite parts, going back to 1360, and also words for the mons pubis, going back to 1230.

Some fun facts: The earliest recorded name for the vagina—unprintable here—is still with us today. Testicles (“ballocks,” in Renaissance parlance) received an epithet before the male member (“pin,” 1460), while the most recent addition to the penis thesaurus is “bald-headed mouse” (2012). Anyway, we have selected a few terms from each infographic to illustrate some relevant aesthetic categories in the art of describing sexual anatomy, which is a very important historical-lexical-anthropological pursuit (teehee, “periwinkle”). Behold.

Gallery of fallen Disney princesses


More here.  Via Daily Donkey.

Compilation video: How to open a beer

15 Disturbing Drawings by Kids

This first one has an explanation - for the rest, you're on your own.


NOTE: The mother is actually selling a snow shovel at Home Depot. Here is the note that she sent the teacher later on:

"Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.

I work at Home Depot and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Smith"