December 7th, 2013
Dinosaurs! WTF? | A blog covering the conservative dinosaur readiness movement might just be the greatest blog of 2013.
Take, for example, this post on the Top 5 Most Awful Tyrannosaurs:
Nanotyrannus was only about a third of the size of the biggest tyrannosaurs, which you might think would preclude it from this list. The problem with that line of thinking is that a third of huge is still pretty freaking big. Think of it in terms of sliders. It doesn't matter whether you eat one 12oz burger or three 4oz burgers, you're still over eating. It works the same way with pack hunting tyrannosaurs. Dividing a tyrannosaur into three smaller tyrannosaurs doesn't mean you're going to be alright, it just means that the tyrannosaurs will be able to cover all of your exits.
Hell, a seventeen foot long Nanotyrannus could probably hide in your garage. Are you going to go to your garage, be ambushed by a Nanotyrannus, and be like, "Oh, this is fine. This tyrannosaur is only seventeen feet long."
No. You'll be like, "I am dead now because it turns out that the size of a tyrannosaur is not necessarily a major factor in my ability to survive it eating my head, beyond a certain critical size which is likely somewhere in the twelve to fourteen foot-" DEAD
Also, because that same post ended like this:
The only reason T. Rex didn't evolve wings is because the sky doesn't bleed. Tyrannosaurs Rex only had two fingers on each hand because scissors always wins if you stab hard enough. The biggest Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found was named Sue because you could fit both Johnnie Cochran and Mike Geragos in her gaping jaws. T. Rex didn't go extinct, murder got tired.
December 6th, 2013
Not for the first time, The Onion nails it:
JOHANNESBURG – Following the death of former South African president and civil rights leader Nelson Mandela today at the age of 95, sources confirmed that the revered humanitarian has become the first politician in recorded history to actually be missed. [...]
[Via scott_sanford, commenting at More Words, Deeper Hole]
December 2nd, 2013
Putting O.W.L.S. into commercial use will take a number of years as it takes ages to train owls to do anything and we only just thought of it this morning.
I can but echo the first comment on that post: Well played, Waterstones. Well played…
November 22nd, 2013
Benjamin Rosenbaum has posted a sharp, blackly amusing short story about how Facebook's users and software developers would react to a zombie plague breaking out, called Feature Development for Social Networking.
Nice work, even though you just know this story isn't destined to end well for any of the characters.
October 30th, 2013
Tom Morris updates a classic:
It has now been fourteen years since the Cluetrain Manifesto. I have updated it to reflect contemporary reality and society.
- Markets are conversations in much the same way as the school bully picking on the disabled queer kid is friendship.
- Markets consist of human beings. Smelly, horrible human beings who we want to fuck over.
- Conversations among human beings sound human. Conversations with social media marketers sound like people attempting to sound human.
- One of the problems with the market is that people make stupid decisions based on a lack of information. This is not like Twitter at all.
- Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. But NSA wiretapping subverts hyperlinks, so we've got that covered.
[Via The Null Device]
October 25th, 2013
Giles Turnbull imagines a gathering of serious, grey haired gentlemen taking place somewhere in central London the other day:
GERMANY: Our Chancellor will phone the American President and demand an apology.
SPAIN: Yes, she should do that.
ITALY: We will send a letter of protest. We don't want them listening in to our President's calls too.
DENMARK: If they even think about spying on us, there will be trouble.
FRANCE: We have begun our protest already. Our President telephoned the Americans after breakfast yesterday.
UNITED KINGDOM: Actually I think it was nearer to lunchtime – so I gather.
FRANCE: How would you know that?
UNITED KINGDOM: I think perhaps your man mentioned it to our man. You know, just idle chit chat. Anyway, what shall we do about this Obama fellow, eh? We need to speak with one voice – all of Europe, standing up to American threats. [...]
And that last line is where he lost me. The only thing the British government are objecting to is the notion that there's something wrong with the NSA and GCHQ hoovering up as much data as humanly possible with as little meaningful oversight as possible.
October 24th, 2013
If only his TARDIS had a working chameleon circuit, his other time machine could be a DeLorean too…
[Via fuck yeah, science fiction!]
October 22nd, 2013
Danger Zone: Funniest Archer Moments:
I just don't know why Channel 5 would bury a show that reliably funny (and filthy) at 2:30 in the morning.
October 16th, 2013
"Medieval Land Fun-Time World" Extended Trailer:
This might just have ruined me for watching the actual TV show.
October 13th, 2013
I'm guessing that Charlie Stross has just lost a day's work to Microsoft Word:
I hate Microsoft Word. I want Microsoft Word to die. I hate Microsoft Word with a burning, fiery passion. I hate Microsoft Word the way Winston Smith hated Big Brother. Our reasons are, alarmingly, not dissimilar …
Microsoft Word is a tyrant of the imagination, a petty, unimaginative, inconsistent dictator that is ill-suited to any creative writer's use. Worse: it is a near-monopolist, dominating the word processing field. Its pervasive near-monopoly status has brainwashed software developers to such an extent that few can imagine a word processing tool that exists as anything other than as a shallow imitation of the Redmond Behemoth. [...]
He's right, of course. The trouble is, Word's file format is holding hostages, in the form of uncounted millions of documents across hundreds of thousands of companies large and small across Europe and North America and much of the rest of the world. Yes, you could install LibreOffice, or switch to another word processor and access your old files by using file viewers that are more-or-less capable of interpreting both the content and formatting of your old Word documents, but if you've already paid for Microsoft Office licenses and been able to rely upon most staff being able to get along with Word without the need for any training then that's a hard sell. Good luck persuading everyone to learn MarkDown.
On the other hand, some of the things people use Word for are so fundamentally wrong that anything, not excluding reverting to pen-and-paper, would be preferable.
October 11th, 2013
Southern Baptist stock photo makes pornography seem glorious, or, to put it another way, "Lobbyists for the Religious Right, choose your stock photos with care."
October 11th, 2013
GENEVA – Dissident writer Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature Thursday morning for her fiction critical of the Canadian regime.
While not overtly political, Munro is known for stories that capture the struggles of regular Canadians. Though tolerated by the government, her work is seen as a challenge to the country's rulers. She first gained international acclaim with her 1968 collection "Dance of the Happy Shades," which offered a tender portrait of life under the brutal reign of then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. [...]
[Via More Words, Deeper Hole]
October 7th, 2013
The order had come from the Dean of Dresden campus herself. In an effort to maximize classroom time (and justify expenditure budgets), lecture times would now be accurate to the second. IT would be responsible for the deployment of new, centrally synchronized clocks. [...]
Sometimes a high tech solution requires some distinctly low tech support.
September 15th, 2013
Jim Macdonald leads us on a romp through the story of which books did and didn't make it into the most epic piece of fanfic ever written:
Speaking of tours of Heaven and Hell, there's the Book of Enoch. This is in the Old Testament of the Ethiopian Church, but didn't make it into Athanasius's list. (Since Ethiopia didn't belong to the Empire they didn't care.) Enoch himself gets about one line in Genesis. But it's in the Book of Enoch, all about his adventures after being taken up to Heaven by the angel Uriel and told the secret history that we get the story of the Watcher Angels. Angels, as I'm sure everyone knows, get all turned on when they see human women's hair and they go on and seduce and boink those women. The women then have children who turn out to be man-eating giants (don't you hate when that happens?) Which is where the "giants in the earth" come from in Genesis (right before the story of the Flood). Didn't make the cut because it doesn't include the genealogy of Jesus or any New Testament prophecies but this story, the Book of Enoch, would have been known to Paul and he'd have no way of knowing that it would be left out of orthodox scripture a few centuries later; that's why he admonishes women in church to cover their hair, because angels hang out around churches and you don't want them to pull out the flowers and chocolates, do you?
But every woman praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven. … Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels.
1 Corinthians 11:5-10
Enoch inspired the 16th century con artist Edward Kelley, Dr. Dee's running buddy, to come up with the Enochian Alphabet for communicating with angels. (What the angels said was "Edward Kelley should totally boink Mrs. Dee." Dr. Dee was all, "Well, if the angels say so we don't have a choice." What Mrs. Dee thought of this I don't know.)
September 10th, 2013
August 22nd, 2013
August 3rd, 2013
Be sure that you have a free couple of hours before visiting Research in Progress.
Office politics as a PhD student
[Via Crooked Timber]
July 26th, 2013