Friday, December 30, 2005

Just a Good Natured Gasoline Fight

The headline touts Long Lines Form in Baghdad as Major Refinery Shuts Down, but I can't help but look at the accompanying picture and think, "Dude, don't fill your tank up like that!"

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

7 Million Friends & Neighbors, Hoofing It

The crawling text along the bottom of NY1 – NY's 24-hour local news channel – says The Transit Strike is On. The Transit Strike is On. The Transit Strike is On.

I will now walk 27 (short) blocks to go take a final exam in Contracts. Millions and millions of people commuting into Manhattan will walk much, much farther.

Also, it's currently 22 degrees.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Finals Procrastination, Part III: Ladle Rat Rotten Hut — Disgracing Is Verse

  1. Plug in headphones or turn on computer speakers.
  2. Click here. (Realplayer link)
  3. Click here to read what you just listened to.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Found On The Internets: See Dick. See Jane. See Dick & Jane Run Screaming.

The book's called Will They Fly a Plane Into Our House?: How to Talk to children about Terrorism. Amazon would love to sell it to you, but's it's available for free in .pdf format.

The crowd at Something Awful just devoted a Photoshop Phriday to redesigning the cover art.


Friday, December 09, 2005

West Side Singing Subway: 2 Train Plays Minor Sevenths

My wife pointed this out ages ago, but I've only recently heard it myself.

As it leaves the station, the #2 subway train (which runs along Manhattan's West Side) converts DC to AC.

The sound created by this transformation is identical to the first three notes of Somewhere from West Side Story.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Finals Procrastination, Part II: Smoots

For the past couple years, the google search interface has included a calculator, allowing you to do all manner of math.

I've known for awhile that it will do the oddest imaginable measurements for you, calculating such things as the speed of light in fathoms per fortnight; however, until yesterday, I did not know that it includes one decidedly odd measurement unit: The Smoot.

The smoot is named after Oliver R. Smoot, who in October 1958 was rolled head over heels by his fraternity brothers to measure the length of the Harvard Bridge. They determined the bridge to be "364.4 smoots plus one ear."

Google includes the smoot.

Thus, you can calculate the speed of sound at sea level in smoots per lunar month. Further, you can learn that Han Solo's claim in the original Star Wars that he did the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs was really a claim that he completed the race in less than 2.17582342 × 1017 smoots.

I shall now return to learning the laws of our great nation.

P.S. Also procrastinating? Here's Wikipedia's list of strange measurements.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Typewriter Trivia: Because You Need to Know and I Need to Procrastinate While Studying for Finals

From the Wikipedia definition for QWERTY:

  • The longest common English word that can be typed using only the left hand (using conventional hand placement) is stewardesses. The words sweaterdresses and aftercataracts are longer and can also be typed with only the left hand, but they are not in all dictionaries.

  • The longest English word that can be typed with the right hand only (using conventional hand placement) is johnny-jump-up, or alternatively polyphony.

  • Typewriter is the longest word that can be typed on only one row, which might be no coincidence as some believe that Christopher Sholes deliberately placed all its letters in the top row when designing the layout in order to ease demonstrations. Proprietory, protereotype, and rupturewort are sometimes conjectured as the longest words but these are not available in most dictionaries.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Canada: Our Ballot-Hungry Neighbor to the North.

I'm just a little surprised that the question Is someone allowed to eat a ballot? appears on the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Elections Canada website.

Is someone allowed to eat a ballot?
Eating a ballot, not returning it or otherwise destroying or defacing it constitutes a serious breach of the Canada Elections Act. These rules are part of a system of unobtrusive checks and balances that are intended to protect the integrity of the voting process and Canadians' trust in the integrity of the electoral system. The relevant procedures provided by the Act are summarized below...
Elections Canada On-Line | Frequently Asked Questions

Thanks, Roger!

Thursday, December 01, 2005


NY Times editorial unloads on the President's Continue-to-Stay-the-Course, There-is-Nothing-to-See-Here Speech. The tastiest bit:

Americans have been clamoring for believable goals in Iraq, but Mr. Bush stuck to his notion of staying until 'total victory.' His strategy document defines that as an Iraq that 'has defeated the terrorists and neutralized the insurgency'; is 'peaceful, united, stable, democratic and secure'; and is a partner in the war on terror, an integral part of the international community, and 'an engine for regional economic growth and proving the fruits of democratic governance to the region.'

That may be the most grandiose set of ambitions for the region since the vision of Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, who saw the hand writing on the wall. Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969 Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for the Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not much different from Nixon's plans - except Nixon admitted the war was going very badly (which was easier for him to do because he didn't start it), and he was very clear about the risks and huge sacrifices ahead.

A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon needs to get out more.