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Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Beatles' "Hey Jude" as a Flowchart

From Neatorama
You can't go wrong with this helpful flowchart by Sarah Emerson. Just follow the arrows to sing "Hey Jude." And any time you feel the pain, hey, reader, refrain.

Australia liberated from their long national green nightmare

Today is a great day not only in Australian history, but also in world history. It marks the day when people of character and sensibility pushed back against an overwrought and pointless green agenda, and pushed back in a big way. They’ve had enough, and they’ve scraped the Krudd off their shoes and are moving forward.

Tony Abbot has won the Australian election in a landslide, and vows to abolish the carbon tax as a first order of business. Abbott has declared Australia is “once more open for business” in claiming victory in Saturday’s election.

P.J. O'Rourke: I Came, I Saw, I Skedaddled: Decisive moments in Barack Obama history.

Chief Executive of Sparta, 
Barack Leonidas Obama, 
at the Battle of Thermopylae
Stand down, men. The chairman of the Greek City States Alliance Joint Chiefs of Staff has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission against Xerxes is not time-sensitive.
Julius Barack Caesar Obama 
Crosses the Rubicon
I am crossing the Rubicon. Brrr, the water’s chilly. Deep, too. I’m going for a walk along the riverbank to look for a bridge. And I will cross the Rubicon as soon as the weather warms up. The die has been cast. That is, the deck has been shuffled. Or the Wheel of Fortune has been spun. And I’ll buy a vowel.
Pontius Barack Pilate Obama, 
Matthew 27:24
When he saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of these just persons, but I’ll ask the Senate back in Rome for authority to do something-or-other, although it may have to wait until after Good Friday.”
Christopher Barack Columbus Obama
Many prominent experts, including Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, maintain that the earth is flat. This is a debate I would like to have. Meanwhile, I have discovered a new route to France.
Shakespeare’s Henry Barack V, 
Act IV, Scene iii
That he which hath no stomach to this fight, 
Let him depart. So I’m out of here. 
[exit muttering]

We few, we very few, we hardly any .  .  .
The Midnight Ride 
of Paul Barack Revere Obama
One if by land, and two if by sea, and three if by air, and four if by drones .  .  . Or is it two if by land, and one if by sea? .  .  . However, there will be no deployment of Colonial ground forces. So it’s two if by ship-launched cruise missiles .  .  . Or is it three if by airstrikes? .  .  . Anyway, the British aren’t coming.

Col. William Barack Prescott Obama at the Battle of Bunker Capitol Hill
Don’t fire until you see the whites .  .  . But we should not understand this as a racial issue. We should not understand this as a partisan political issue. We should not understand this as a national issue. This is an international issue. Don’t fire at General Howe’s troops until you see international support. And it doesn’t count if it’s just France.
Arthur Barack Wellesley Obama, Duke of Wellington and the Rose Garden
If there had been a battle, the Battle of Waterloo would have been won on the playing fields of Eton, if there had been a Waterloo.
Sir Winston Barack Churchill Obama
We shall fight on the beaches—mostly on Martha’s Vineyard, where everybody was over Labor Day weekend—we shall fight at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, we shall fight at the U.N. Security Council, we shall fight in the House of Representatives and the Senate when Congress is finally back in session; we shall never surrender unless we don’t get enough votes or our poll ratings are low.
Franklin Barack Delano Hussein Roosevelt Obama
We, too, born to freedom, and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom. Sort of. We, and all others who believe as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees. Sometimes. Unless we’re busy doing yoga and are in the “downward dog” position.
F.B.D.H.R.O., Twitterside Chat
When you see a rattlesnake poised to strike, you do not wait until he has struck before you crush him. You go find other people to crush him for you. But first you try to talk him out of it.
John Barack Fitzgerald
Kennedy Obama
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill—and since we’re not engaged in nation-building, every nation should wish us well—that we shall pay any price if it’s not too high, bear any burden unless it’s burdensome, meet any hardship unless it’s hard, support any friend if we have any, oppose any foe—although no nation should think of us as a foe because we’re not that kind of country anymore—to assure the survival and success of liberty, unless it’s a holiday weekend.
Apollo 11 Commander Neil Barack Armstrong Obama, July 20, 1969
That’s one small step for .  .  . Nope. I think I’ll go back up the ladder to the lunar module. Maybe Buzz Aldrin would like to go first.
Martin Barack Luther 
Hussein King Obama Jr.
I have a daydream.

Medieval Cookbook's Unicorn Recipe Begins with "Taketh One Unicorne...."

(Image: Geoffrey Fule's Cookbook, British Library)
The British Library recently discovered a Fourteenth Century English cookbook written by Geoffrey Fule, a royal cook. Fule included a recipe for unicorn meat. 
The recipe calls for the beast to be marinaded in cloves and garlic, and then roasted on a griddle. The cookbook's compiler, doubtless Geoffrey Fule himself, added pictures in its margins, depicting the unicorn being prepared and then served. Sarah J Biggs, a British Library expert on medieval decoration, commented that "the images are extraordinary, almost exactly as we'd expect them to be, if not better".
At the link, you can see additional illustrations of the unicorn preparation process.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Flamethrower Equipped Wheelchair [Video]

More at Nerd Approved.

The Man With the 132 lb. Scrotum

From my friend Laurie:

TLC has announced a special titled The Man With the 132 lb. Scrotum. There are photos (completely covered!!) at the bottom of this post, but beware: once you see a man with a 132-pound scrotum, you cannot unsee him.

From Southpark, here's Randy and the guys bouncing on balls:

And here's some real guys acting out the South Park scene:

Pictures of huge scrotum below:

Jonah Goldberg: Clear-Cut Stupidity on Syria

Where to begin? Perhaps with Obama’s initial refusal to support the moderate rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, a puppet of Iran and bagman for Hezbollah. Or we might start with Obama’s refusal to support the Green Movement in Iran, which sought to overthrow the Iranian regime, which would have been a triumph for both our principles and our national interests.

These were odd choices, particularly given his decision to help depose Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, an indisputably evil man, but also a dictator who posed no threat, who abided by our demands to relinquish WMDs, and whose domestic death toll was a tiny fraction of Assad’s.

“We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy . . . where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government” was Obama’s justification for an attack on Libya — without congressional approval. But when Assad killed tenfold as many men, women, and children, Obama refused to act for nearly two years. And when he finally decided it was imperative to attack Assad — after the dictator crossed a chemical-weapons “red line” drawn by Obama himself — he suddenly discovered the need for congressional authorization.

Sort of.

Meanwhile, according to numerous accounts, Assad is moving military assets into civilian areas and civilians into military areas, even as the Obama administration insists it makes no difference militarily to wait for Congress to debate. That’s not just stupid; it’s an outright lie that will be fact-checked with blood.

Friday links

How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?

Red Cross: Watch out for drunk, aggressive unemployed wasps.

The physics of cow tipping. (short version - it doesn't work)

Not sure whether you want chickens in your backyard so you always have fresh eggs?  Try Rent the Chicken.

How news of the Declaration of Independence spread through the American colonies and around the world.

Advice from 1623: How to Drink Beer.  And here's a 16th century album of
watercolor sketches of comets and meteors.

Powdered Beer

"It’s pretty simple — all you have to do is add water. Then, glug glug glug and pass out in the woods or the side of the road or whatever. The technology behind the product is pretty complicated. Lots of science involved. And by science I mean magic. Booze magic. Eeeeee, that’s my favoritest kind! Currently the company is looking for investors, because powderfying beer is pricey. Unfortunately, the target audience (on the go boozehounds like myself) don’t have money to spare — supporting a severe drinking habit is NOT cheap! Consider yourself more fancy and refined than beer? They’ve got powdered wine, too."

Here's a device that allows people to remotely control a dog

Canine remote control:

That old "best friend" can get a bit tiresome, all that rolling over, shaking paws, long walks and eating every crumb of food off the floor. But, what if there were a way to command your dog with a remote control, or even via your smart phone... or even without hands?

Jeff Miller and David Bevly of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, have devised just such a system and describe details in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control. The device based on a control suite with a microprocessor, wireless radio, GPS receiver, and an attitude and heading reference system provides autonomous guidance of the canine using an embedded command module with vibration and tone generation capabilities. Tests in a structure and non-structured environment show obedience accuracy up to almost 98%. It sounds like a boon for the lazy dog owner.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The first trailer for the new RoboCop movie

What sequestration? Feds spending millions for study on obesity in lesbians.

The federal government has spent $2.2 million studying why three quarters of lesbians are obese despite sequestration-mandated budget cuts that critics warned could “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

The National Institutes of Health awarded an additional $682,873 to Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the study on July 17. The project had received previous grants of $778,622 in 2011, and $741,378 in 2012. Total funding has reached $2,202,873.

The project has survived budget cuts due to sequestration, which the NIH warned would “delay progress in medical breakthroughs.”

And this:

The NIH said the automatic budget cuts forced the agency to cut 5 percent of its fiscal year 2013 budget, amounting to a $1.55 billion reduction in spending.

“NIH must apply the cut evenly across all programs, projects, and activities (PPAs), which are primarily NIH institutes and centers,” the agency said in June. “This means every area of medical research will be affected.”

The NIH said cuts to research are “delaying progress in medical breakthroughs,” including the development of cancer drugs and research on a universal flu vaccine.

Bruce Schneier:How to remain secure against NSA surveillance

Computer security expert Bruce Schneier has written two excellent articles for the Guardian today about NSA surveillance and how it works, each of which should be read in its entirety:

The NSA has undermined a fundamental social contract. We engineers built the internet – and now we have to fix it.

The NSA has huge capabilities – and if it wants in to your computer, it's in. With that in mind, here are five ways to stay safe.

Here are the 5 tips (but read the whole article!):

With all this in mind, I have five pieces of advice:

1) Hide in the network. Implement hidden services. Use Tor to anonymize yourself. Yes, the NSA targets Tor users, but it's work for them. The less obvious you are, the safer you are.

2) Encrypt your communications. Use TLS. Use IPsec. Again, while it's true that the NSA targets encrypted connections – and it may have explicit exploits against these protocols – you're much better protected than if you communicate in the clear.

3) Assume that while your computer can be compromised, it would take work and risk on the part of the NSA – so it probably isn't. If you have something really important, use an air gap. Since I started working with the Snowden documents, I bought a new computer that has never been connected to the internet. If I want to transfer a file, I encrypt the file on the secure computer and walk it over to my internet computer, using a USB stick. To decrypt something, I reverse the process. This might not be bulletproof, but it's pretty good.

4) Be suspicious of commercial encryption software, especially from large vendors. My guess is that most encryption products from large US companies have NSA-friendly back doors, and many foreign ones probably do as well. It's prudent to assume that foreign products also have foreign-installed backdoors. Closed-source software is easier for the NSA to backdoor than open-source software. Systems relying on master secrets are vulnerable to the NSA, through either legal or more clandestine means.

5) Try to use public-domain encryption that has to be compatible with other implementations. For example, it's harder for the NSA to backdoor TLS than BitLocker, because any vendor's TLS has to be compatible with every other vendor's TLS, while BitLocker only has to be compatible with itself, giving the NSA a lot more freedom to make changes. And because BitLocker is proprietary, it's far less likely those changes will be discovered. Prefer symmetric cryptography over public-key cryptography. Prefer conventional discrete-log-based systems over elliptic-curve systems; the latter have constants that the NSA influences when they can.

Since I started working with Snowden's documents, I have been usingGPG, Silent Circle, Tails, OTR, TrueCrypt, BleachBit, and a few other things I'm not going to write about. There's an undocumented encryption feature in my Password Safe program from the command line); I've been using that as well.

I understand that most of this is impossible for the typical internet user. Even I don't use all these tools for most everything I am working on. And I'm still primarily on Windows, unfortunately. Linux would be safer.

The NSA has turned the fabric of the internet into a vast surveillance platform, but they are not magical. They're limited by the same economic realities as the rest of us, and our best defense is to make surveillance of us as expensive as possible.

Trust the math. Encryption is your friend. Use it well, and do your best to ensure that nothing can compromise it. That's how you can remain secure even in the face of the NSA.

World Testicle Cooking Championship took place last weekend in Serbia

Festival founder Ljubomir Erovic says he’s happy to keep the event small while reaching out for maximum publicity. He says Serbia is working to shed its bad image from the violent breakup of Yugoslavia and it’s pageants like these he likes to celebrate those that have the courage, or the balls to be the underdog.

“You know, Swiss have cheese, Scots have scotch but we Serbians have balls.

Red Cross: Watch out for drunk, aggressive unemployed wasps

Drunk wasps may attack us, warns Red Cross

First aid experts advise anyone eating outside to beware stings and keep a credit card to hand

Record numbers of “jobless” wasps are more likely to attack us because they are drunk and aggressive, the British Red Cross has warned.

With their queens fully supplied with all the nectar they need, worker wasps now have nothing to do but laze around getting drunk on fermenting fruit, according to environmental authorities.

Perhaps better described as retired than “jobless” – since all the workers will have died out by the time winter comes around – the insects are becoming increasingly bold and angry in their old age.

And this:

Mr Mulligan advised people eating outside to keep a credit card to hand.

He said: “When an insect sting is visible on the skin, a credit card can be used to scrape it away. Using the edge of the credit card, drag it across the skin. This will remove the sting. Using a credit card or your fingernail is preferable to using a pair of tweezers. Some stings contain a sac of poison and if it is grasped with tweezers you may inject the sac of poison into the skin.”

Australian election news: Psychic crocodile Big Wendell picks Tony Abbott as Prime Minister

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ariel Castro, Ohio Man Who Held Women For Years, Is Dead


Corrections officials in Ohio say convicted Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro is believed to have committed suicide in his cell Tuesday night.

They say he was found hanged around 9:20 p.m. ET at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, a short distance southwest of Columbus.

Castro was serving a life sentence for holding three women captive in his Cleveland home for about a decade.

Heartbreaking Paintings of Deceased Shelter Dogs

Mark Barone is trying to bring some much needed attention to the neglected animals in shelters. After learning that 5,500 shelter dogs are killed every day in the United States, he decided to paint 5,500 portraits of actual shelter dogs with names and the date that they were killed. Now two years into the project, Barone has painted more than 3,500 portraits which, for any dog lover, are incredibly hard to look at.

Via My Modern Met, which has more of the portraits.  The artist's website has a video about the project.

The fascinating story of how rats came to be such popular lab animals

via Geekpress.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beslan was 9 years ago - 334 dead, 186 of them children

A Russian police officer carries a released baby from the school seized by heavily armed masked men and women in the town of Beslan (Reuters / Viktor Korotayev)
Thousands of people are taking part in three days of remembrance ceremonies to mark nine years since the Beslan school siege in north Ossetia – Russia’s deadliest terrorist attack.

Local people are expected to flock to the site of the tragedy to light candles, leave toys and flowers and pay tribute to the victims of the attack, which left 334 people dead, 318 of them hostages, including 186 children. Funeral music will be played at the school's gym, which was turned into a memorial site after the attack.

Over a thousand people were taken hostage in Beslan’s Secondary School No. 1 on September 1, 2004, the first day back at school after summer vacation. The hostages were held at gunpoint and denied water, food or medical help for three days.

On September 3, the siege came to an end after terrorists, calling for a separate Chechnya, detonated explosives in the gym and security forces intervened to free the hostages. As well as the dead, the siege left 810 people were wounded. Seventeen children lost both parents. The cemetery where the victims of the siege are buried is described locally as the “Town of Little Angels.”

The children of Beslan tell their stories: BBC Videos.

More at Atlas Shrugs.

Citing Obamacare, 40,000 Longshoremen Quit the AFL-CIO

In what is being reported as a surprise move, the 40,000 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced that they have formally ended their association with the AFL-CIO, one of the nation's largest private sector unions. The Longshoremen citied Obamacare and immigration reform as two important causes of their disaffiliation.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, ILWU President Robert McEllrath cited quite a list of grievances as reasons for the disillusion of their affiliation, but prominent among them was the AFL-CIO's support of Obamare.

Quotation of the day: The educational octopus

Every politically controlled educational system will inculcate the doctrine of state supremacy sooner or later. . . . Once that doctrine has been accepted, it becomes an almost superhuman task to break the stranglehold of the political power over the life of the citizen. It has had his body, property and mind in its clutches from infancy. An octopus would sooner release its prey. A tax-supported, compulsory educational system is the complete model of the totalitarian state. 
~Isabel Paterson from “The God of the Machine” (1943)

Advice from 1623: How to Drink Beer

Ask The Past: "Beere that is too bitter of the hop... hurteth the sinewes, offendeth the sight, and causeth the head-ach, by filling the ventricles of the braine with troublesome vapors... Here some may demand, Whether it be better to drink their Beere cold, or a little warmed, especially in the Winter season? Whereto I answer, that I see no good reason to approve the drinking thereof warme, as I know some to do, not only in the Winter, but almost all the yeere: for it is nauceous and fulsome to the stomack... Moreover, it doth not so well quench the thirst, temper the naturall heat, and coole the inward parts, as if it be taken cold." 
~Tobias Venner, Via recta ad vitam longam (1623)