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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gallery: Dogs Wearing Pantyhose

This is actually kinda disturbing.  Via Neatorama:

What's that? Oh, just another day on the Interweb, folks, brought to you by the good people of China, where they have elevated dogshaming to a whole 'nother level: Behold, dog wearing pantyhose!
Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku wrote:
According to Chinese site Sina, "bored" people on Weibo started the meme. Apparently, Weibo user Ulatang, who noted that the pets rolled their eyes after getting dressed in pantyhose, uploaded the first "dogs wearing pantyhose" pic (above). That image has been commented on over 16,000 times in China.

DIY cardboard rifle can fire paper pellets up to 25 yards

Developed by a team of designers that includes former Nerf engineers, the Paper Shooters kit comes with all the tools needed to build the working gun. Apart from the plastic firing mechanism the gun is pretty much all cardboard.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kim Jong-Un and the North Korean Navy set off to invade the US

Powder your eggs for home storage - just add water and sperm.

New Scientist:  "You can keep the powder at room temperature forever – and just add water to bring it back to life," says Amir Arav of Core Dynamics in Ness Ziona, Israel, who developed the method.

Friday links

12 Largest Church Buildings In The World.

25 Things You Didn't Know About Beer.

Strange Eye Exam Charts.

A NASA scientist claims to be on the verge of faster-than-light travel.

The Fascinating History of Birth Control.

Chess: how kings and queens and rooks and knights and pawns came to look the way they look.

Public schools in 9 states sharing every conceivable personal detail of their students with 3rd parties

Who is Stockpiling and Sharing Private Information About New York Students?

inBloom, a Gates-funded non-profit to harness data to improve grade school education, has partnered with New York and eight other states to encourage the development of apps to "further education" by using intimate data about students, without parental consent and with no ability for parents to opt out.

Among the data shared are name, address, phone numbers, test scores, grades, economic status, test scores, disciplinary records, picture, email, race, developmental delay... just about everything conceivable, and all specific, none of it anonymized. inBloom has arrangements with nine states (New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, Delaware and Kentucky) to do this.

The XML schema used are downloadable here. Anyone can register as a developer and start using "sample" data, but "real" data is supposedly only available to developers with contracts with a school board. But this includes for-profit, third party developers, such as, say, Amplify, a News Corp subsidiary with a contract with New York. And it doesn't appear there are any constraints on their use of this data.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

25 Things You Didn't Know About Beer

24 Things You Didn

24 Things You Didn't Know About Beer infographic

Why More People Are Eating Guinea Pigs

South American restaurants on both coasts seem to be pushing the trend, answering to demand mostly from Andean expats for what is considered a fine and valuable food in Ecuador, Peru and Colombia. Middle-class foodies with a taste for exotic delicacies are also ordering, photographing and blogging about guinea pig. The animals — called cuyesin Spanish — are usually cooked whole, often grilled, sometimes deep fried. Many diners eat every last morsel, literally from head to toe.

But there may be more to gain from eating guinea pig than bizarre foods bragging rights. According to activists, eating guinea pig is good for the environment.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cell Phone Inventor Talks of First Cell Call, 40 Years Ago Today

It's 40 years ago today, April 3, 1973. Martin Cooper, then a senior engineer at Motorola, made a cell phone call — the first one ever.

Cooper, now age 85, tells the story of this call in an interview with the BBC, available at the link below. The call, in the presence of a journalist, was to his chief competitor Dr. Joel S. Engel, who was head of Bell Labs: "Joel, this is Marty. I'm calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone."

Yes, the first cell phone call was for the purpose of gloating. Cooper says that Engel tells him he doesn't remember the call.

He got $1 from Motorola for signing away the rights to all his inventions.

Free Range Kids has the continuing story of the 6-year-old detained by the cops for walking outside

Day 41: We are served with a complaint alleging neglect and dependency. The County wants to take Emily into “protective supervision” or “temporary custody.” The complaint contains many factual errors and inaccuracies.

There is also a motion for “pre-dispositional interim orders.” As I understand it, this is a mechanism by which CPS can intervene even before the merits of the case against us for neglect are even heard, but less decided. It is scheduled to take place more than a month before the hearing on the neglect charge. It asks the court to force my wife and I to “allow ______ County Children Services to complete an assessment with the family. This is including allowing the agency access in the home, allowing the agency to interview the children, and participate openly in the assessment process.” In other words, they want to search our house, interrogate the children, and force us to testify.

We are trying our best to raise Emily to be responsible, curious, and capable. We have chosen to include teaching her about using the library, navigating the neighborhood, and mailing letters as elements of her homeschooling. Needless to say, this entire ordeal has been quite distressing for the entire family, and we view it as a threat to our homeschooling her, our parental rights, and both my and Emily’s civil liberties. Since our family is being threatened by legal action, I have tried to confine my comments to a dispassionate statement of known facts.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why Women Started Shaving Their Legs and Armpits

Both sexes have a love-hate relationship with removing body hair. We’ve been pulling, plucking, burning, tweezing and ripping out undesirable hair since the dawn of time. It’s believed that as far back as 4,000 B.C., women were using dangerous substances like arsenic and quicklime to get the job done. Meanwhile, the Egyptians, who never did anything halfway, removed all of their body hair from head to toe. They really liked the sleek look, but it also had a practical purpose. Being hairless discouraged the spread of disease and vermin such as lice and other icky creepy-crawlies. By 500 B.C., Roman ladies had learned how to use pumice stones and even a primitive version of the razor.

Let’s fast-forward to more recent times. When did our modern-day obsession with silky-smooth armpits and legs first take hold? As far as armpits are concerned, we can pinpoint it almost to the day. In May of 1915, the upscale magazine Harper’s Bazaar ran an ad featuring a young model in a sleeveless, slip-like dress posing with both arms over her head.

There's much more at Today I Found Out - read the whole thing.

Tuesday links

WWII Stamp Forgeries Used as Psychological Warfare.

How to Resuscitate a Drowning Victim in 1916.

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Become Instantly Smarter.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dinosaur Sex.

The Arms Race to Grow World's Hottest Pepper Goes Nuclear.

Famous Works of Art Recreated on Toast.

Monday, April 1, 2013

David Stockman's excellent op-ed on the failing American economy

At the NYT of all places:
Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level [above 1,500], in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the "bottom" 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans.
Less than 5 percent of the $800 billion Obama stimulus went to the truly needy for food stamps, earned-income tax credits and other forms of poverty relief. The preponderant share ended up in money dumps to state and local governments, pork-barrel infrastructure projects, business tax loopholes and indiscriminate middle-class tax cuts.
via American Thinker, which has more links and comments, including this:
Using the numbers from, the website that explains, sort of, how the ARRA stimulus money was spent, we find that the state of New York had created 5,856 "recipient reported jobs" at cost of $14.321 billion. That's about $2.4 million per job.
California had 14,079 "recipient reported jobs" at a cost of $27.254 billion. About $1.9 million per job.
The state of Washington used $3.3 million for each job. Ohio ran $1.7 million per job, and thrifty Florida spent only $1.1 million on each job created with the ARRA stimulus funds. Will you be remembering these numbers as you pay your Federal taxes on April 15th this year?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Winston Churchill on Climate Change and Technology Edition

Churchill’s musings about climate and technology from his essay “Fifty Years Hence,” published in the late 1920s and available now in Thoughts and Adventures. Part of this passage is a tolerably good anticipation of “geoengineering,” or “solar radiation management.”
The discovery and control of such sources of power [such as nuclear] would cause changes in human affairs incomparably greater than those produced by the steam-engine four generations ago. Schemes of cosmic magnitude would become feasible. Geography and climate would obey our orders. . . The amount of rain falling yearly upon the Epsom racecourse would be enough to thaw all of the ice at the Arctic and Antarctic poles. The changing of one element into another by means of temperatures and pressures would be far beyond our present reach, would transform beyond all description our standards and values. Materials thirty times stronger than the best steel would create engines fit to bridle the new forms of power. Communications and transport by land, water, and air would take unimaginable forms, if, as is in principle possible, we could make an engine of 600 horsepower, weighing 20 lbs and carrying fuel for a thousand hours in a tank the size of a fountain pen. Wireless telephones and television, following naturally upon their present path of development, would enable their owner to connect up with any rom similarly installed, and hear or take part in the conversation as well as if he put his head in through the window.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Dinosaur Sex

A recent study conducted on how dangerously spiked dinosaurs had sex has revealed some startling revelations, suggesting that the ancient reptiles were a lot kinkier than the "always-from-the-rear" beasts we thought they were.

Computerised recreations of how Kentrosaurus couples mated produced by Berlin's Museum of Natural History concluded that the male dinosaurs faced castration if they mounted from behind.

'These prickly dinosaurs must have had sex another way,' said the museum's Heinrich Mallison.

'Perhaps the female lay down on her side and the male reared up to rest his torso over her. Other species would have used different positions, like backing up to each other.'

'A 33ft-long ankylosaurus, with spikes and armour, would have had a 6ft 6in penis to bridge the gap when close to a female,' he said.

'Soft tissues are seldom preserved during fossilisation, so we have never found a fossilised phallus, but doing so would solve many mysteries,' he said.

More here and here.

Google Honors Cesar Chavez on Easter

While 2.1 billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous ‘Doodle’ search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader, Cesar Chavez.

Dennis Prager explains this odd choice, via Ed Driscoll at Instapundit: “You cannot understand the Left if you do not understand that leftism is a religion.”

Excellent supercut: movie bunnies