Monday, February 28, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Saturday, February 26, 2005
"Interesting solution to irritating cellphone users": Via IPList.
There is one technique I have used successfully to alleviate the annoyance.IMHO, it also sounds like an interesting way to get the crap beat out of you...
When someone talks on their cell phone, pull out a pen and paper and take notes. I do this in airports, especially. Usually folks move away, but if they ask, you remind them that it is a public space and all conversations are in the public domain and may be used by journalists or bloggers.
If someone is arguing on the phone with a boy/girlfriend or spouse, you can suggest that [insert name overheard] might be available for a date. If they are talking business, just do a Marlowe, look professional and don't deny you are an industrial spy.
It is funny that many people seem to think they have the right to a private conversation as they are shouting all over a public place. They hate it when people listen in. And taking notes? They can get very annoyed about that!
The pen is mightier than the phone! Try it, I think you'll be impressed, or at least amused, by the reaction. And you'll enjoy more peace and quiet.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Bizarre legal story of the day: Man meets woman. Man has oral sex with woman. Woman keeps the sperm, uses it to impregnate herself, then sues for child support. Man counter-sues for emotional distress and "sperm theft". Although the emotional distress claim is still active, the "sperm theft" claim was dismissed. On that point, the court decided:
...[W]hen plaintiff "delivered" his sperm, it was a gift -- an absolute and irrevocable transfer of title to property from a donor to a donee... There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request.(Via Mike Williams.)
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Monday, February 21, 2005
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Friday, February 18, 2005
"And Now For Something Completely Different...": Who says life doesn't resemble Monty Python?
An indignant Israeli is suing a pet shop that he says sold him a dying parrot, reports the Ma'ariv newspaper. Itzik Simowitz of the southern city of Beersheba contends the shop cheated him because the Galerita-type cockatoo not only failed to utter a word when he got it home, but was also extremely ill. Mr. Simowitz adds that the shop owner assured him the parrot was not ill but merely needed time to adjust to its new environment.Here's the original Monty Python version. (Via Marginal Revolution.)
Popular Mechanics debunks some of the popular conspiracy theories about 9/11. One example from Austin Bay's commentary:
Here's the conspiracy theory's hook: The hole in the Pentagon was smaller than the plane's wingspan. The anti-American conspirator's conclusion: voila, an American missile.(Via Instapundit.)
PM's experts point out the obvious: "A crashing jet doesn't punch a cartoon-like outline of itself into a reinforced concrete building." As the jet crashed, "one wing hit the ground; the other was sheared off by the force of the impact with the Pentagon's load-bearing columns. ...What was left of the plane flowed into the structure in a state closer to a liquid than a solid mass."
Thursday, February 17, 2005
The Time Travel Gag:
You get some vaguely/slightly futuristic-looking clothes. Make it plausible, somewhat based on current trends, you're probably aiming for maybe ten years in the future. You can most likely make do with an interesting combination of whatever clothes you currently own. Ooh! Or make a fake tour T-shirt for a band that doesn't exist and mark it "Wild Tour 2008" or something. whatever. The point is to make it look plausible that you might come from the future.(Via Sam's Archive.)
Then just run out into the street, select somebody at random and shout at them, "What's the date today?! Quickly, tell me!"
When they respond, you shout, "What YEAR, man, what YEAR is this?!"
And when they respond again you go, "Noooo! They've sent me back too far!" or alternatively "I'm too late! It's all going to happen again!"
Then you run away again.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
A teenaged boy who "Googled" himself at school learned that he had been kidnapped from his father by his mother when he was an infant in 1989, just before the father could gain sole custody. The mother will serve two months in jail for child abduction. (Via Techdirt.)
Monday, February 14, 2005
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Friday, February 11, 2005
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Scientists have bred tame foxes, and their results may shed some light on how dogs were domesticated. From the article:
They stare you in the face, wag their tails and whine with joy when anyone approaches. But these are not dogs; they are a domesticated breed of fox that looks and behaves just like man's best friend.Here's a related article, including a picture of these tame foxes.
After 45 years of selective breeding, and almost as many fox generations, scientists have produced what nature could not, a tame fox who eagerly follows his master's gaze.
...After many generations, and 45,000 foxes later, the scientists noted distinct differences between the selectively bred fox colony and their wild cousins. The foxes also looked different. Their coats developed white patches just like some dogs. Their muzzles became shorter and more puppy-like and in some, the ears became floppy and tails curly.
"Through genetic selection alone, our research group has created a population of tame foxes fundamentally different in temperament and behaviour from their wild forebears," Mr Trut said.
...It was also thought that wolves were relatively easy to tame because they were a pack animal and naturally obeyed orders from those higher in the pecking order. But the latest findings show that foxes, a solitary animal, can also be bred to read the communication gestures of humans.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Here's the controversial GoDaddy.com ad that aired during the Super Bowl. The web page includes links to both the original long version (which never made it on air), as well as the shorter version approved by Fox. The ad was supposed to air twice during the game, but Fox reportedly pulled the second showing because,
[T]he National Football League was upset with the content of the spot, which featured a scantily clad model struggling to keep her top on while testifying before "broadcast censorship hearings."Given GeekPress' strong interest in the issues of free speech and government regulation of the airwaves, etc., I felt professionally and morally obliged to watch the ad. Several times, in fact... (Via Politech.)
Truth is stranger than bad soap operas: Husband and wife get separated. Husband and wife place ads in an online dating service, using pseudonyms. Husband and wife fall in love with each other's persona. Husband and wife agree to meet in person to get engaged, not knowing each other's true identity. Unfortunately, the story doesn't end happily ever after. He divorced her immediately, and she fainted on the spot. (Via Techdirt.)
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
The primitive South American Piraha tribe doesn't have words for numbers greater than "one". How do they count? Not very well:
In one typical test, the researcher set out a group of one to 10 nuts and asked each participant to place an equal number of batteries--used because of their availability and size--on the table. The participants performed perfectly when matching sets of up to three batteries, but at four batteries the accuracy rate dropped to about 75 percent, and by nine none of the Piraha got the right answer.Lead research Peter Gordon concludes,
...[T]he example of the Piraha tribe shows that language may have more sway over numerical concepts than many previously imagined..
"The lack of number-words seems to preclude the ability to entertain concepts of exact number," Gordon says. "There may be other ways to learn and represent exact numbers, but in the normal course of human learning, language is the route we take."
Monday, February 07, 2005
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Robotics researcher Kim Jong-Hwan "has developed a series of artificial chromosomes that, he says, will allow robots to feel lusty, and could eventually lead to them reproducing. He says the software, which will be installed in a robot within the next three months, will give the machines the ability to feel, reason and desire." Now, didn't Data try this in the first Star Trek: Next Generation movie, leading to nothing but trouble? (Via Linkfilter.)
Friday, February 04, 2005
Thursday, February 03, 2005
"Hide Your iPod, Here Comes Bill": The iPod music player is incredibly popular amongst Microsoft employees, with nearly 80% of them owning one. It's really pissing off the Microsoft management, to the point that many MS employees feel they have to hide them from their bosses.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Bizarre reality TV show of the day: German "Sperm Race". Twelve men will each donate a sperm sample, which will then be sent to the studio where the sperm will race towards an egg.
Three doctors, including a gynaecologist, will be on hand to make sure the sperm behave correctly, while cameras will record it all.(Via Fark.)
As well as laying claim to the title of Germany's most fertile man, the winner will also be given a suitably German reward, a red Porsche.
...[The company] said the cameras would not follow the contestants into the cubicles when they donated sperm.