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Saturday, May 10, 2014

How to Traumatize Your Children: 7 Proven Methods to Help You Screw Up Your Kids Deliberately and with Skill

I managed to do this just fine without a book, and it doesn't mention one of my favorite techniques of hiding in the closet until they're almost asleep then jumping out, screaming.  In spite of this weakness, I'll definitely pass this along to my kids so that my grandkids are well screwed up, too.

Grotesque Vintage Wonder Woman Scissors

Via Geeks Are Sexy - you can get a pair of those on eBay.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jonah Goldberg on SCOTUS Public Prayer decision: empathizing should be left to local communities, not the Supreme Court.

Go read the whole thing at NRO - excerpts below:

The notion that something can simultaneously be wrong and constitutional really seems to bother a lot of people. Consider the Supreme Court’s recent decision on public prayer.

In Greece v. Galloway the court ruled, 5–4, that the little town of Greece, N.Y., could have predominantly Christian clergy deliver prayers at the beginning of city-council meetings.

As a constitutional matter, the majority’s decision seems like a no-brainer to me... the Constitution is not a “living” document (i.e. changing with the whims of whatever elite currently controls the judiciary) but an enduring one (its meaning is largely fixed until it is duly amended), (and) that pretty much settles the debate for me. If you want to ban public displays of religiosity, even by public servants, you should amend the Constitution, not appoint more liberal justices who will simply impose their preferences on it.

But don’t tell that to members of the Cult of the Living Constitution, who believe that if something is wrong it has to be unconstitutional. For instance, the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne penned an op-ed called “The Supreme Court Fails the Empathy Test” in which he argues that the Greece city council should have been more inclusive. It’s not nice to make atheists, Jews, Muslims, and other minority faiths and non-faiths feel unwelcome.

The problem is that the Supreme Court wasn’t set up to pass an “empathy test.” Now here’s the hitch. Dionne and others have a point. Local governments and civic organizations generally shouldn’t exclude people of different faiths. But whining to Washington and asking the Supreme Court to fill the empathy deficit at the local level is not the answer.

Friday links

Roundup of Mother's Day links: good and bad animal and human moms, top sci-fi moms, history, videos and science.

When nature attacks! Pulp horror covers from the 1970s & ‘80s. Related, these vintage movie posters.

Man Used Cell Phone Jammer For 2 Years During Commute To Prevent Fellow Motorists' Cell Phone Use.

This will make you smile: Loyal Dog Of The Zombie Apocalypse Just Wants to Find His Boy.

This Marsupial Has Marathon Sex Until It Goes Blind and Drops Dead.

Gallery: Lava Meets Surf.

ICYMI, Thursday's links are here, and include how dolphins sleep without drowning, inventing the Chilean Sea Bass, re-enacting Amazon reviews, and China's army of trained monkeys.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

If you have a mother (and/or are one) you should watch this video

From a group in Singapore, this is a couple of years old but I'd never seen it. It may seem a little confusing at first, but keep watching and it'll make sense after a while.  You may need a box of tissues handy.

Don't get along with your mom?  This might help:

There's a Communicate With Dad version, as well:

Thursday links

Since they have to come to the surface regularly for oxygen, how do dolphins sleep without drowning?

It's V.E. Day: 69 years ago today, World War 2 ended in Europe.

You Had Me At Hello: The Science Behind First Impressions

Actual Reviews from Amazon Reenacted by Rhett & Link.

China Commands an Army of Trained Monkeys.

The Invention of the Chilean Sea Bass.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include the implications for Godzilla's ever-increasing size on sexual selection and urine production, a VW Beetle made from wood, and the health benefits of transfusions of young blood.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Object character recognition scanning for ebooks cannot tell its 'arms' from its 'anus'

A technical problem with optical character recognition software creates some awkward moments when romance novels (and other books, I guess) are converted to ebooks.

Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has done some research and unearthed some of the lines created by this little glitch: 
"Mrs. Tipton went over to him and put her anus around his neck. " My dear," she said, rapturously. " I have been hoping for years that you would talk that way to me."

From the title Matisse on the Loose: "When she spotted me, she flung her anus high in the air and kept them up until she reached me.
'Matisse. Oh boy!' she said. She grabbed my anus and positioned my body in the direction of the east gallery and we started walking."

Also: "Mrs, Nevile, in exquisite emotion, threw her anus around the neck of Caroline, pressed Her with fervour to her breast".

And '"Bertie, dear Bertie, will you not say good night to me" pleaded the sweet, voice of Minnie Hamilton, as she wound her anus affectionately around her brother's neck. "No," he replied angrily, pushing her away from him."' Well, wouldn't you?
"So if the text is old, and it says 'arms', the OCR [optical character recognition] scanner will see it as 'anus.' OMG," Wendell tweeted.

via Guardian.

Actual Reviews from Amazon Reenacted by Rhett & Link

I love Rhett & Link (see a few favorites below) and I love some of the weirder Amazon reviews. I think they could have chosen better reviews to re-enact, and maybe they will in the future. In the meantime, here's Slamazon: 7 Kitten T-Shirt:

Want one of these for Mother's/Father's Day? The 7 kitten t-shirt is here (and there's now a 10 kitten version available!), pug-face shirt is here (my elder daughter bought one of these for her husband, and it was eactly what he wanted.  Weird, huh?), and the ninja face shirt is here.

One that would be particularly fun to act out is this review for Fresh Whole Rabbit:
Every week, I order a fresh whole rabbit and affix it to a remote control car that is operated by one of my children. This way, I get the thrill of the hunt, and when the car's batteries are exhausted, I can leap upon it, bury my teeth into the rabbit's soft flesh and perform my ritual victory dance right there in the Walgreen's parking lot.
Rhett & Link have a bunch of things that I love, but I think my favorite still has to be Rub Some Bacon On It:

The Fast Food Folk Song is up there, too:

And the worlds best commercial for transmission service:

Here's a list of their videos in order of popularity - explore!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday links

Vampire therapy: transfusions of youthful blood have surprising health benefits.

Science! The Ever Increasing Size of Godzilla: Implications for Sexual Selection and Urine Production.

Wooden VW Beetle made from 50,000 separate pieces of oak by Bosnian retiree.

How (and why) One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data.

1957 Photo: Pablo Picasso Poses as Popeye.  And here are some Historic Black and White Pictures Restored in Color, Part 1 and Part 2.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, including a video compilation of kids getting stuck in things, what animals dream about, and lots of chicken-related links.

1957 Photo: Pablo Picasso Poses as Popeye

Photographer André Villers (wiki) shot portraits of some of Europe’s great artists – Fernand Léger, Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Jean Cocteau, Luis Buñuel, Federico Fellini, to name a few. 

According to The Age, Villers met Picasso (wiki) in 1953 and stayed at his side for close to a decade “quietly observing and shooting the man at work and at play.” One of the ways he played, apparently, was by playing dress-up: apparently Pablo threw on some random clothes one day, and said “Look at me, I am Popeye!” That scene is recorded for posterity with the image above. Here's another dress-up photo:

The Bullsh*t Prevention Protocol: The Pocket Guide to BS Prevention

Note:  I've inserted an asterix into each instance of bullsh*t, so as to render this post safe for work.  If you follow the links embedded here, those changes are not made.

If I'm going to read fake news, I prefer to get it from The Onion (website) where I can appreciate the humor.  There's a lot of fake news out there purporting to be real, though, and the Bullsh*t Prevention Protocol ("BPP") essentially zeroes in on the old Golden Rule of hoax-detection, which is that "information is only as good as its source." So to spot fake news, one should spend the time to ascertain how credible the source of the news is.

Michelle Nijhuis at The Last Word On Nothing:
Lately, as I’ve watched smarter and better-dressed friends believe all manner of Internet nonsense, I’ve come to appreciate my familiarity with BPP. Especially because we’re all publishers now. (Sharing a piece of news with 900 Facebook friends is not talking. It’s publishing.) And publishing bullsh*t is extremely destructive: It makes it harder for the rest of us to distinguish between bogus news and something real, awful, and urgent.
While BPP is not failsafe, generations of crotchety, underpaid, truth-loving journalists have found that it dramatically reduces one’s chances of publishing bullsh*t.
Via Museum of Hoaxes, where they add:
The problem with the BPP, as Michelle notes, is that it's time-consuming. In fact, it would be impossible to apply the BPP to every news story we read, because in the modern world we're confronted with SO MANY news stories every day. We have to take the majority of them on trust.
So what I would add to her analysis is that we also have to learn when it's worthwhile to take the time to apply the BPP.

One strategy is to know that some publications are more trustworthy than others. For instance, the Daily Mail is very low on the trustworthiness index, so we're more likely to have to apply the BPP to its stories.

But this strategy is undermined by the fact that other, more trustworthy publications often pick up on stories from less trustworthy publications and report them as news. So it's not always evident what publication is the original source for the news. 
The longer-range strategy is to try to develop a built-in BS detector in all areas of your life, not just news - I have to say that one of the things I'm proudest about as a parent is that I raised my kids to question everything, and they're raising their kids the same way.  This is actually rather frustrating in practice since even though you realize that things are BS you have to live with them, anyway (why should I wait at red lights if there's no one coming?  Why should I comply with laws and regulations that make no sense?), or end up in jail or broke.  It's a lot easier for those who never think about it.

Re BS in news stories, Museum of Hoaxes again:
Another, broader strategy is to try to develop a built-in BS detector that will flag questionable stories, telling you which stories to apply the BPP to (regardless of what publication the story appears in). But developing a built-in BS detector is far more art than science. It requires one to be able to sense when something in a story sounds ridiculous or unbelievable, and acquiring this sense for the ridiculous is a skill that's learned over time. It can't easily be reduced to an algorithm.
Michelle suggests another strategy: "you could sit tight for a couple of news cycles and let a professional journalist check into it—we do still have a few of those, after all."

NSFW: Hodor (Kristian Nairn) Describes His Awkward Game of Thrones Nude Scene (Includes original scene)

For Game of Thrones fans: body part language in the interview is possibly NSFW, but no swearing. 

Click here to embiggen
The scene (below) was very brief - nineteen seconds of him emerging from the woods before Bran tells him to go get dressed. Why he needed a fourteen inch prosthetic attached to a thong is beyond me, but it's a great story.
"I had a huge prosthetic penis strapped on to me in a very, very uncomfortable way. The (fake) public hair was plotted into my own pubic hair and glued... so for weeks later I would be finding pieces of prosthetic penis attached to my own."
The story got worse as Nairn had to deal with hundreds of onlookers, loud, rutting pheasants nearby and a power outage.

Another NSFW warning for the scene itself:

Kristian Nairn - Game of Thrones (Episode 8) - The Gay Bear Scene. from Altroquando on Vimeo.


Game of Goats, A Yelling Goats Version of the Game of Thrones Theme Song.

Game of Thrones Wine Map: The Wines of Westeros.

Supercut of pithy quotes from Game of Thrones, Seasons 1-3.

Game of Thrones: new trailer and an interview with the actors on who should end up on the iron throne.

Deleted And Extended Scenes From Game Of Thrones Season 3 (NSFW - language)

The Game of Thrones Travel Guide.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Science! The Ever Increasing Size of Godzilla: Implications for Sexual Selection and Urine Production

You can probably tell that I'm really looking forward to the Godzilla reboot, due out May 16.  I've posted this size chart before - it purports to show his (fluctuating) sizes through the years. Now Deep Sea News has some interesting analysis based on it:

In 1954 Godzilla was a mere 50 meters (164 ft). In the newest movie, Godzilla is estimated to be 150 meters (492 ft). For comparison the Empire State Building in New York City stands at 381 meters (1250 ft). Incarnations of Godzilla went from 13% of the height of the Empire State Building to nearly 40% of the height in just 60 years. It took cetaceans 55 million years to go from 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) to 30 meters (98 ft) in length.
This increase in size within a group animals through time, i.e. larger species constantly showing up on the evolutionary state, is a well known rule of biology. We refer to this pattern as Cope’s Rule, named after an American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. At broad levels, Cope’s Rule is definitely true. The start of life on this planet was microscopic and know we have whales and redwoods. 
So how big will Godzilla be in 2050? Dot Physics calculates this to be 170 meters.  That analysis, though, appears to be skewed by one significant outlier - the 1999 movie which put Godzilla's height at 55 meters, the second smallest in the set.  Setting that outlier aside, the trend line straightens out: the author calculates that his height in 2050 at 288.4 meters, not 170 meters:

So why is Godzilla obtaining ever larger sizes with time? Skyscrapers. Skyscraper height has increased dramatically over the last century. For Godzilla to continue to plow through buildings in major metropolises, a more formidable size is needed. Of course this size change can only be evolutionarily adaptive if it changes the fitness of Godzilla, i.e. in the simplest case the number of offspring passed to the next generation. If Godzilla is able to topple buildings this might allow for greater acquisition of resources in this case food in the form of people. This would increase the lifespan of Godzilla allow for more reproduction or allow for greater amount of energy to be passed to the offspring increasing their rate of survival. Or perhaps toppling buildings is a sexual display that sexual partners cue on. Sexual selection!

The author had a previous post (calculating the amount that the Kaiju from Pacific Rim would need to eat on a daily basis) on the way in which an animal’s biology, everything from limb length, heart volume, lung capacity, territorial range, and urine production, all scale with body size. A 55K ton Godzilla, applying those calculations, would produce 151,436,928 gallons of urine per day. 

I haven't done the math, but according to the Universal Law of Urination, every mammal takes ~21 seconds to empty its bladder. Yeah, I get that Godzilla is not a mammal, but there's probably some similar set of date for reptiles/amphibians.  It does make one wonder about the implications of the amount of urine Godzilla will be producing, and where it'll all end up.

Related posts:

Godzilla size chart.

The Art of Destruction - new art book from the about-to-be-released Godzilla movie, plus a bunch of old-time Godzilla movie posters.

U.S. Military Expert Unveils a Strategy for Deploying Godzilla in War.

Trailer, trailer.

More at Deep Sea News and Wired.

South Park (and Magic School bus and Pokemon) kids, all grown up

Artist Isaiah Stephens has drawn a series of popular young cartoon characters as grown ups. My favorite is the South Park kids (Kenny still wears a hood, apparently), but some of the others are pretty spiffy too: