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October 31, 2011

Dinosaur language is hard

We all know that RAWR means "I love you" in Dinosaur.

RAWR means 'I love you' in Dinosaur

But look at how you pronounce "This is a stick up!".

But ROWWW means 'This is a stick up!' in Dinosaur

That's bound to cause confusion.


By fnord12 | October 31, 2011, 9:33 AM | Comics & Cute Things | Comments (1) | Link



Time to devolve

This was in comic ads last month. I'm just getting around to getting it off my camera.

D&D Miniatures: Troll Evolution

I thought maybe they were putting out Classic/Current miniature sets or something, which i would be very interested in (for the Classic, of course). But that doesn't seem to be the case. I guess they're just touting how their creature designs have evolved. Which is a shame, because, c'mon! The current troll on the end there is just a big generic monster. That weird looking thing with the rubbery body and the panicked-but-terrifying face on the left is awesome.


By fnord12 | October 31, 2011, 9:10 AM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link



October 30, 2011

Ya Know, They Can Do That Now

One problem with electric cars is worrying about how far a charge is going to get you, especially if you encounter unexpected traffic. I think the solution has been obvious to many of us for some time now.

Well...

Instead of setting up refueling stations inside garages, however, the researchers suggest chargers should be installed in the road itself, so cars could juice up on the go.
...
Ma and colleagues have built a coffee can-size prototype vehicle that "can really move and stop for wireless charging automatically," he says. The next steps are to finish a go-kart-size one-seater EV prototype, boost the system's power, and perfect that car's on-the-move recharging.
...
In cities the infrastructure will likely be built sooner because there's "an incredible need for traffic and pollution management," or at least more than in suburban and rural areas.

I just hope they make the guard rails out of soft, squishy stuff, cause I could never drive in a straight line on those charging strips.


By min | October 30, 2011, 10:28 PM | Science & Video Games | Comments (0) | Link



October 29, 2011

It's a gun. You shoot it.

As a back-up plan, they're appealing to your patriotism here.  Ricochet to freedom!  It will be a bicentennial smash!  If you don't buy this product, you don't love America.

'Even big enough for you?'  Is Spidey suggesting Cap's been putting on a few pounds?

Sometimes i'd get stuck at my grandma's house or whatever, and i'd only have brought a couple of toys, so after a while i'd start making up things to do with them that the toy companys never intended. Like i had a plastic magic kit with secret and sliding compartments and stuff that would make it seem like you could make things disappear, and instead i used it as a playset for my Star Wars figures.

But for this product, the manufacturer is going right for the "bored with it already" scenario. Ok, we know it's just a lame gun that you shoot at the web target. So pretend, like, it's Spider-Man and Captain America trying to bust out of a big web net that aliens put over the White House! That's really pulling out all the stops and you have to give them some credit for imagination, but in the end it's just a gun.


By fnord12 | October 29, 2011, 8:35 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Why?

Star Trek Wallet Photos - because you may need to look at a picture of Captain Kirk chained to a wall at some point during the day.

By fnord12 | October 29, 2011, 8:34 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



I don't really have an explanation

This just seemed... necessary.

There was too much text on covers in the 70s. That's not even counting the 'Marvel Premiere featuring Satana the Devil's Daughter' title.

Here's the unaltered version.


By fnord12 | October 29, 2011, 6:25 PM | Comics & Music | Comments (1) | Link



October 28, 2011

Man of mystery

I was looking up Wolverine's first appearances at the Marvel Chronology Project due to the fact that i'm adding Hulk #182 to my timeline project and i wanted to check something. And it just struck me how much stuff there is in Wolverine's pre-first appearance backstory (get ready to scroll):

W:E 4 (9 - 13)-FB
O 1
W:O 33 (8)-FB
O 2
O 3
O 4
O 5
O 6
W:O 15 (7:1)-FB
M/CP 93-FB
M/CP 94
M/CP 95
M/CP 96
M/CP 97
M/CP 98-FB
W:O 33 (5:4 - 5:5)-FB
W:O 15 (8 - 10)-FB (1912)
W:O 12 (10 - 11)-FB
W:O 15 (13:1)-FB
W:O 17 (5 - 8)-FB
[W3 57-FB]
[W3 58-FB]
[W3 59 (1 - 5:2)-FB]
[W3 60-FB]
[W3 62 (1 - 3)-FB (1921)]
[W3 62 (17 - 18)-FB]
[W3 63 (1 - 5)-FB]
[W3 63 (17 - 18)-FB]
[W3 64 (1 - 3)-FB]
[W3 64 (18 - 20)-FB]
[W3 65 (1 - 3)-FB]
[W3 65 (14 - 18)-FB]
W2 113-FB
W:AIM
M/CP 154-FB
W2 126 (8)-FB
[W3 52-FB]
[W3 53-FB]
W2 5-FB
UX 257-FB
BLADE8 5-FB
X:TF 2
X:TF 3
L:PW (1 - 9)
W:O 17 (9)-FB
W:O 9-FB
W:O 17 (1 - 2)-FB
W2 106-FB
UX 268 (1 - 5)-FB
UX 268 (9 - 11:5)-FB
W:O 16 (6:4 - 7:4)-FB
UX 268 (11:6 - 11:7)-FB
W:O 16 (8:5)-FB
UX 268 (14)-FB
W:O 16 (10 - 12)-FB
UX 268 (15)-FB
W:O 16 (14 - 15)-FB
UX 268 (17)-FB
W:O 16 (16:1 - 16:3)-FB
UX 268 (20:1 - 20:4)-FB
W:O 16 (16:4)-FB
UX 268 (20:5 - 21:?)-FB
W:O 16 (17 - 19)-FB
UX 268 (22)-FB
W:O 16 (21)
W:O 17 (11 - 16)-FB
W:O 17 (17:5 - 22)-FB
W:O 18 (7:2 - 7:3)-FB
W:O 18 (1 - 6)-FB
W:O 18 (7:4 - 22)-FB
W:O 19-FB
W:O 20-FB
W3 32
[W3 54]
I M/:MMH 1-FB (1943)
W:O 26-FB (1943)
W2 34 (8:2 - 8:3)-FB (06/06/44)
W2 78-FB
[L 1-FB]
[L 2-FB]
[L 3-FB]
W2 103-FB
W2 169-FB
W3 40 (2 - 6)-FB
L:PW (10 - 49)
W3 40 (7 - 14)-FB
W3 40 (16 - 18)-FB
W:O 35-FB
W3 38 (11 -13)-FB
W3 40 (19:6 - 20:2)-FB
W3 38 (14 - 18)-FB
W2 65-FB
W2 47-FB
[W3 50 (15 - 16)-FB]
W:O 5 (11)-FB
[W3 50 (17)-FB]
W:O 5 (12:1)-FB
[W3 50 (18:1)-FB]
W:O 5 (12:2 - 12:3)-FB
[W3 50 (18:2 - 19:?)-FB]
W:O 5 (12:4)-FB
UX 213-FB
W:O 5 (12:5)-FB
W:O 5 (9)-FB
W:O 5 (13 - 15:1)-FB
W:O 3 (3:6)-FB
W:O 3 (12 - 17)-FB
W2 61 (12:4 - 14:?)-FB
W:O 2 (5 - 7)-FB
W:O 2 (12 - 17)-FB
W2 68-FB
W2 61 (8)-FB
W2 9-FB-BTS
W:O 6-FB
W:O 7-FB
X 5 (10:1 - 10:3)-FB
W:O 8 (16:1 - 16:4)-FB
X 7 (3:2 - 3:5)-FB
W:O 8 (17:2 - 19:?)-FB
X 5 (18 - 19:3)-FB
W:O 8 (20:3 - 20:4)-FB
X 6 (5 - 6)-FB
X 7 (6)-FB
W2 60-FB
W2 61 (9:4 - 10:4)-FB
X 6 (14)-FB
GSX 4-FB
UX 228-FB
UTSM -1
M/CP 72
WX2 23 (5 - 8)
M/CP 73 (1 - 2)-FB
W2 48 (8 - 9)-FB
M/CP 73 (3 - 4)-FB
M/CP 73 (1 - 2)
W:E 1 (15)-FB-OP
M/CP 73 (3 - 8:8)
M/CP 74-FB
W:E 3 (4:1)-FB
M/CP 74
M/CP 75-FB
M/CP 75
M/CP 76
W:E 3 (8 - 9)-FB
W:E 4 (6)-FB-BTS
M/CP 77
M/CP 78 (1 -3)
X 130-FB
M/CP 78 (4 - 8)
W2 49 (17 - 18)-FB
W2 63-FB
M/CP 79 (1 - 6:3)
WX2 24-FB
WX2 25-FB
M/CP 79 (6:4 - 8:4)
M/CP 80 (1 - 3:2)
W2 49 (2 - 4)-FB
M/CP 80 (3:3 - 5:3)
W2 48 (11 - 12:2)-FB
M/CP 80 (5:4 - 6:1)
W2 48 (12:3 - 12:6)-FB
M/CP 80 (6:2 - 7:2)
W2 48 (13)-FB
M/CP 80 (7:3 - 8:5)
M/CP 81
M/CP 82
M/CP 83
M/CP 84 (1 - 19:5)
W3 14-FB
X-23 1
W2 166-FB
M/CP 84 (20 - 24)
W2 34 (5:3)-FB
W2 34 (18:4 - 18:4)-FB
W2 34 (5:4 - 5:5)-FB
AF 33 (14:1 - 14:2)-FB
AF2 -1 (9:4 - 9:5)-FB
AF 33 (14:3 - 19:4)-FB
AF2 -1 (11)-FB
AF 3/2
AF2 -1 (12 - 21)-FB
AF2 -1
AF 34-FB
W2 -1-FB
AF 43-FB
W2 -1
FURY 1-FB
UX 147-FB
UX 140-FB
AF 52 (7:4 - 9:5)-FB
AF 53-FB
W/C
W:BR-FB
W/NF-FB
BFF:BGL 1
BFF:BGL 2
BFF:BGL 3
L:SS
AF SPECIAL
AF 127/2-FB
W2 119-FB
W2 120-FB
W2 121-FB
W2 126-FB
W '97-FB
W2 144-FB
W:O 28 (8 - 10)-FB
{H2 180}

Remember when having a mysterious past was part of this guy's appeal? They've mined that to death and beyond. I imagine we could pretty much find out what he had for dinner every day of the week from his birth to the first time he fought the Hulk by going through those issues.


By fnord12 | October 28, 2011, 4:48 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



October 27, 2011

Recap #43

Tips on Fighting Lich Kings

Due to many (many) complaints by some who don't like to read things that take more than a minute, i've changed how recaps are presented. The link above will take you to a bulletpointed summary of events with an option to go to another page with the detailed story. So far, i've only done this with the current recap and last month's recap. Eventually, i will get around to doing this with all of the past recaps (mebbe). Enjoy.


By min | October 27, 2011, 2:14 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link



October 26, 2011

Nerds in the Mist

We had a guest this past D&D session who came to find out what all this Dungeons & Dragons hype was about (and then write about it for a class). Here's an excerpt:

He hands me a sheet, and it reads: Bolin Braveaxe. Fighter. There are many numbers on this sheet, and each of them, he assures me, were painstakingly subjected to the trials of chance. Many geometrically-complex dice were thrown in the name of Bolin Braveaxe, Dwarven General. Bolin is apparently immensely strong, somewhat learned whilst simultaneously being stubbornly ignorant11. Bolin is athletically competent, and possesses the physical fortitude of a brick wall. He's also about half as charming as any of Snow White's Seven Dwarves. I believe all of this because the paper says so. As far as I'm concerned, that's where Bolin exists, too. I cradle the form carefully, not letting it from my sight. For a second, I thought of a grumpy dwarf, somewhere, pondering his existence.

Read the full paper here.


P.S. Rollover text box footnotes and reciprocal anchors are awesome.


By min | October 26, 2011, 2:02 PM | D&D | Comments (0) | Link



Here's another "In Cautious Times, Banks Flooded With Cash" article

Link:

"We just don't need it anymore," said Don Sturm, the owner of American National Bank and Premier Bank, community lenders with 43 branches in Colorado and three other states. "If you had more money than you knew what to do with, would you want more?"

By fnord12 | October 26, 2011, 10:43 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



October 25, 2011

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Herc #9 - I enjoyed the father/son squabbling, but it just reminded me of when there used to be a Herc/Amadeus Cho buddy book and i'm sad that it's not being published anymore. Beyond that, the art's a little weird, but the dialogue and the plotting was all great. It's a shame, really. It feels like this book was almost all crossovers, and then it was cancelled. You theoretically need the crossovers to get new readers on the book. But the writing is better when we're not in crossover mode.

Alpha Flight #5 - I kind of have characterization problems with Alpha Flight robbing a bank and consorting with the Taskmaster, whatever their long term goals. Another random quibble is that Snowbird seems to be going right for the really outrageous creatures to change into. Sure, it makes sense that she should be able to turn into a dinosaur or the Wendigo since they both are/were creatures of the north. But normally she turns into, like, a bear. So why all of the sudden is she going for these super powerful creatures? Why not always be a dinosaur if it's that easy? But that's a quibble. I am enjoying this book, and using Aurora's multiple-personality disorder as a trojan horse is a cool idea.

Captain America Corps #5 - Isn't it amazing that this book actually worked its way up so it's not the first (and therefore least anticipated) book in my pile? I mean, this is a book about five Captain Americas plucked from various points in time dealing with alternate reality nonsense. On paper, no way i should have liked this. But i actually did. That's Roger Stern for you. That said, while i did enjoy this issue, i thought the ending was a bit unsatisfying. Tath Ki saves the day with no twist (i thought maybe he'd turn out to be a bad guy or working his own angle) and then like a third of the book is dedicated to the characters wandering around back in their own dimensions going "I know something important just happened but i don't really know what". Eh. Still good. Hopefully they've got Stern working on something else now.

Hulk #43 - I enjoyed the Secret Avengers fight (nice snappy dialogue), and the Arabian Knight character was well handled. I do think Valkyrie got short shrift. She didn't have a great showing against either the Hulk or the Knight and unless her power levels are dramatically different than they used to be, she should have done much better against both. I'm also interested in the Rigellian angle. I thought it was interesting that the Red Hulk asks Machine Man if he's just programmed to record and stay out of the fight; i'm wondering if that's leading up to a Machine Man / Rigellian Recorder meeting, which could be cool (or maybe i'm too big a nerd for my own good). I'll also note that this seemed to be more of a classic low key Machine Man; no sign of the the Nextwave-ish personality that he had in the Ms. Marvel series. Anyway, this is a good series. Certain people who have stopped reading this book really ought to consider reading it again.

New Avengers #17 - I enjoyed the big Ultimo fight and then the way we rewound and watched it all again from the villains' perspective. That's a cool storytelling device. I've seen some complaints online that Wolverine's slashes should have counted as kinetic energy... i'm assuming that's a minor art problem where his slashes were supposed to be more like surgical strikes than blunt attacks. Anyway, good stuff. I like how they are playing up Osborn's Spider-Man hatred. I hope we can agree that with Fear Itself out of the way, Bendis is writing some good Avengers stories again.

Avengers #18 - Of course this is an all downtime issue, which i am always a fan of but i bet after 18 issues of talking heads some people were hoping that we'd start with a little more plot. Also we have here a cover that asks "Who will be the new Avengers?" (not, "Who will be the New Avengers?", mind you), but doesn't answer that question on the inside (unless you count the preview cover of next issue) and doesn't even pretend to look at all of the intriguing candidates that the cover shows. I'll admit I was a little annoyed when the .1 issue revealed that Osborn is going to be the main bad guy for the upcoming year, but i think it's being set up well enough.


By fnord12 | October 25, 2011, 11:06 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



Too Much Nitro

The Outsiders came to dinner. It was post-apocalyptic. Obliviously. There may have been kilts involved.


By min | October 25, 2011, 8:53 AM | My Dreams | Comments (0) | Link



October 19, 2011

Huntsman being one of the more reasonable GOP primary contenders, ofc

Matthew Yglesias looks at Jon Huntsman's op-ed, and says:

There are four ideas here. The first is to repeal Dodd-Frank's proposed mechanism for resolution of large banks. The second is to do what Dodd-Frank's proposed mechanism for resolution of large banks does. The third was proposed by the Obama administration and killed by the Senate and would only moderately discourage bank consolidation, not eliminate the need to do something when large financial institutions fail. The fourth is a good idea, but would penalize lenders of all sizes and has nothing to do with the ostensible topic at hand.

This is, I think, part of the problem with conservative discourse being so dominated by jeremiads against mythical Obama administration initiatives. What Huntsman wants to do, in essence, is repeal a made up provision of Dodd-Frank in order to replace it with what Dodd-Frank already does, add on something the administration already proposed adding on, and then do an unrelated tax reform. But he insists that he thinks Dodd-Frank is a "tragically" inappropriate response to the financial crisis.


By fnord12 | October 19, 2011, 3:27 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



October 18, 2011

Hershey's a Dick

You prolly already heard this story. Hershey got a bunch of foreign students over here for the summer as part of a cultural exchange program. Well, the cultural exchange turned out to be working in their packing plant 7 days a week for very little money while being housed in small, shared rooms that Hershey is making the students pay for out of pocket.

These are medical, engineering, and economics grad students. They thought they were going to be working in the Hershey offices learning about business management and things of that sort. Plus, earning money to pay for the sightseeing they'd doing during their days off. Suckers.

Here's an article with more details.

Students like Mr. Ureche, who had paid as much as $6,000 to take part in the program, expected a chance to see the best of this country, to make American friends and sightsee, with a summer job to help finance it all.
...
The students, who were earning about $8 an hour, said they were isolated within the plant, rarely finding moments to practice English or socialize with Americans. With little explanation or accounting, the sponsor took steep deductions from their paychecks for housing, transportation and insurance that left many of them too little money to afford the tourist wanderings they had eagerly anticipated.

Program documents and interviews with 15 students show that Cetusa failed to heed many distress signals from students over many months, and responded to some with threats of expulsion from the program.

You know what this description reminds me of? The sweatshops in China. No need for human rights advocates to go all the way to China to find unhealthy work conditions. Just head out to Palmyra, PA.

The article is pretty long. The part that really ticks me off is the response from Cetusa, the group that was in charge of bringing these students over.

Rick Anaya, Cetusa's chief executive actually had the nerve to blame the unions.

"It's clear and obvious to me that this whole thing was started and fueled by the unions," he said.
...
Mr. Anaya said he was convinced the demonstrators had been "misled and sold a bill of goods that is unfair to them" by the labor groups. "I do believe in the kids," he said. "I believe eventually they will feel sorry for what they did."

I can't figure out if he's delusional or just a jackass. I think mostly B and a little of A.

Mr. Anaya [Cetusa's chief executive] said he was aware that the work in Palmyra was strenuous. "It is hard to lift," he said. "But they get used to it and they are fine with it after a week or so."

I'd like to see him work in the plant for 2 weeks and see how he feels then.

And knowing they needed to appease everyone, Cetusa and Hershey concocted this token gesture:

Cetusa responded to the protest by arranging for students to have a paid week off from the plant and by paying for two trips to historic sites in Pennsylvania. The Hershey Company hosted a daylong visit to its headquarters so students could learn about its business strategies.

Thanks. That was totally worth the $6,000 they shelled out to participate in the program. They got to see 2 historic sites, got a one day visit to the Hershey headquarters, and 3 months of packing Hershey's chocolates into boxes. Are there any shmoes i can trick into paying me thousands of dollars for the privilege of working for me?

Hershey's a dick and people should boycott their products especially during Halloween and Christmas.


By min | October 18, 2011, 2:15 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Gadget-O

wnkr sent this link to me yesterday.

Ostrich Pillow

I don't understand how you're supposed to breathe while wearing that. What i liked were these:

band-aids dance off joust ninja fight shark bite

Dunno what i'd do with the other 3 bandages. All i need are the Ninja Fight ones.


By min | October 18, 2011, 2:07 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



October 17, 2011

Why not go all Chomsky?

Paul Krugman:

I feel Dean Baker's pain. Dean is exercised over an NPR report which says that Argentina is suffering from its 2001 default -- a claim that is totally at odds with the evidence. Argentina actually did very well by thumbing its nose at creditors.

This isn't the only case where news organizations consistently report as truth something that didn't happen, while failing to report what did. Another one that comes to mind is the California electricity crisis of 2001-2002. As some readers may recall, that crisis was caused by market manipulation -- and that's not a hypothesis, Enron traders were caught on tape telling plants to shut down to create artificial shortages. Yet "news analyses" published after the whole thing was revealed would often tell readers that excessive environmental regulation and Nimbyism caused the crisis, with nary a mention of the deliberate creation of shortages.

And as you'll notice, in both cases the imaginary history just happened to be one more comfortable to status quo interests.

I don't want to go all Chomsky here, but this sort of thing really can radicalize you.

As someone in the comments says:

Chomsky wasn't born that way. Like most people, he was radicalized by watching the system at work.

By fnord12 | October 17, 2011, 7:25 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Radio Silence

If you're hypersensitive to electromagnetic signals, there's a place for you.

The Allegheny Mountains are a natural block against radio signals, and federal law allows strict regulation of manmade signals from fixed, permanent transmitters, such as cellphone towers, within the quiet zone. State law sets limits for the signal strength of electronic devices within a 10-mile radius of the telescope.

Diane Schou may have been the first person suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, a scientifically controversial condition that sufferers say causes them to become ill after exposure to things such as cellphone towers Wi-Fi, to settle in the radiotelescopes' shadow.

...

Schou said she left the Iowa farm where she lived with her husband after emissions from a cellphone tower built nearby started causing her physical pain. She sought solace in Norway, Sweden and Arizona before settling in West Virginia in 2007, and now, electromagnetically sensitive people from all over the world come to visit, she said.

Rosemary Hofer, a local real estate agent, said the quiet zone has attracted several people who have sought refuge in towns near the telescope.

"I've sold people land, and they've actually built houses where they only had electricity in half of the house," Hofer said.

...

The adjustment can be hard on tourists. Laura Parquette, a spokeswoman for the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, said smartphone-addicted visitors from Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. feel either relieved or shipwrecked upon realizing their phones are useless.

"You see people walking around holding the cellphone up trying to get the signal, like it's going to come down to you from the sky," Parquette said.

As i said, i have a psychosomatic reaction to my cellphone. Now i see i'm not alone in my madness. At least all i get is an ache in my body, not heart attacks, and that's easily taken care of by keeping my phone away from my body. Tank goff, too, cause i sure as hell am not moving to Virginia for anything.


By min | October 17, 2011, 1:52 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



October 14, 2011

This may become a regular feature

Just thought i'd share my latest work "notes".

It's odd how that guy at the bottom is caressing his 'gun' instead of putting his finger on the trigger.

By fnord12 | October 14, 2011, 10:57 PM | My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link



We go to Vegas for the food

The guy who owns the Wynn and Encore casinos is apparently vegan, so all of his restaurants have vegan options. They're very fancy, though. "Business casual" dress code. Luckily this was partially a business trip.

Here's the chocolate cake dessert. That spring thingy on the passion fruit sorbet is actually edible.

Dessert at Steve Wynn's Encore

And here is min's tea.

Triangle Tea Bag at Steve Wynn's Encore

This would make more sense at the Luxor

If you're Vegan in Vegas, you should also rent a car so you can go to Veggie Delight in "China town", and Ronald's Donuts, and the Red Velvet Cafe.

Sadly Atomic Number 7, where they would custom make ice cream (Your choice of "milk", including soy, rice, almond or coconut) is going out of business, which we sadly discovered only after driving all the way there.


By fnord12 | October 14, 2011, 10:45 PM | My stupid life | Comments (0) | Link



Inside the five mile radius, you have to push

Bear with me as i finally get some pictures off my phone.

San Diego Car Rental Key Fobs Disrupted By Naval Vessels

Two points to make here:

1) What else are the Naval vessels wreaking havoc with in San Diego? Should i be wearing tin foil underwear?
2) I think Wanyas might be a rogue Naval vessel because whenever he gets in our Prius, it won't start.


By fnord12 | October 14, 2011, 10:41 PM | My stupid life | Comments (2) | Link



Forget About Making Our Own Postage Stamps

Let's make our own money.

It started as a school project by Christian Gelleri, an economics teacher in southern Germany who wanted to teach a group of 16-year-olds about finance in a novel way - by creating their own money, to be used in local shops and businesses. They called it the "chiemgauer" and eight years on, the project has turned into the world's most successful alternative currency.
...
The chiemgauer has managed to bring on board local co-operative banks and credit organisations, and it's even possible to pay in chiemgauer using a debit card, run by Regios, an association of co-operative banks.

What makes the chiemgauer different to conventional currency is that it automatically loses value if you don't spend it. Unlike traditional money that can be saved, the chiemgauer is only valid for three months - the idea being that it must be spent, thereby boosting the local economy. If the notes aren't spent, they can be renewed by buying a stamp that costs 2% of the note's face value - so over a year, the currency depreciates 8%. Notes can be renewed up to seven times.

...

The depreciation helps to accelerate circulation of the currency and boost local spending. Its advocates estimate that the chiemgauer circulates nearly 2.5 times faster than the euro. Participating shops and businesses have to pay a one-off registration fee of €100 and a monthly charge of €5 to €10 depending on their turnover. If they exchange chiemgauer into euro, they have to pay a 5% transaction fee. The charges are used to cover the scheme's running costs, with the remaining 60% going to participating charities. The chiemgauer network also provides participating businesses with an entry in their directory and website, as well as access to various promotions which can be a significant bonus. The organisation, together with Regios, GLS Bank, the department of employment and the European Social Fund, also provides interest-free chiemgauer denominated microcredits for small businesses.

That's extremely impressive for 16 yr olds. I've met 20 year olds who couldn't understand fractions. These kids created a system of currency and were able to actually get locals to get on board with it. I've got some Monopoly money. Do you think my local stores will take them in exchange for goods?


By min | October 14, 2011, 9:07 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



Oh No He Didn't!

I naively clicked on a link from my Yahoo mail homepage under the "World News" section that had the words "fact check" and "Herman Cain" in the headline.

Well, apparently ABC News pays "journalists" like John Berman to go "fact check" important issues like whether or not this black walnut ice cream Cain keeps mentioning is actually still being made by Haagen Dazs.

And do you know why this is such an important thing to find out? Cause when asked if he was the "new political flavor of the month", Cain has answered in the negative. Well, Cain, our intrepid reporter John Berman has caught you in a lie, a mis-spook, if you will. Turns out, black walnut was a limited time only flavor. So it really is a flavor of the month! Zing!

Thank god for the news.


By min | October 14, 2011, 8:51 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



October 13, 2011

Raise taxes on the middle-class to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy

Seems to be an increasingly popular goal:

Bartlett's not opposed to the idea of a broader tax code. But the problem is there's no obvious way to get there without violating other Republican sacred cows on taxes or running into political territory that few politicians dare to tread.

The first issue is that any Republican proposal can't raise revenue overall -- a principle that's only become more ironclad in the Tea Party era. The obvious solution then is to raise taxes on the middle class but give the money back to the rich and that's exactly what two of the Republican presidential candidates have proposed. Jon Huntsman would eliminate all tax breaks without exception and use the money to lower marginal rates -- the net effect of which would be a middle class tax hike.

Huntsman's idea has largely gone unnoticed amid his campaign struggles, but one of his rivals' proposals is gaining widespread attention this week: Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan. Cain solves the non-payer problem by replacing the tax code with a 9% income tax, business tax, and new national consumption tax, the combination of which would significantly raise taxes on lower income Americans. And that's assuming it even raises enough revenue to avoid more cuts to entitlements, which is a major question mark.


By fnord12 | October 13, 2011, 1:24 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link



Poor fellow

Truly down on his luck:

Options Group's Karp said he met last month over tea at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York with a trader who made $500,000 last year at one of the six largest U.S. banks.

The trader, a 27-year-old Ivy League graduate, complained that he has worked harder this year and will be paid less. The headhunter told him to stay put and collect his bonus.

"This is very demoralizing to people," Karp said. "Especially young guys who have gone to college and wanted to come onto the Street, having dreams of becoming millionaires."


By fnord12 | October 13, 2011, 1:22 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



October 12, 2011

Coolness

Spock Riviera

Although, nothing beats Leonard Nimoy's Hobbit Song for kewl.


By min | October 12, 2011, 10:03 AM | TeeVee | Comments (0) | Link



Here's Some Freud For You

I was running away from my parents. It involved climbing through a bathroom window and scaling a wall. In the end, my mother tased me by aiming at the wet grass i was running through. The electrical current traveled easily through the water droplets.


By min | October 12, 2011, 7:53 AM | My Dreams | Comments (0) | Link



October 11, 2011

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Hulk #42 - Good set-up issue. As much as turning General Ross into a Hulk is a dumb idea, Parker gets a lot of mileage out of it and is really good with characterization. Looking forward to the Secret Avengers appearance.

Thunderbolts #164 - You'd think i'd be upset that this version of Mr. Hyde is really more the Robert Louis Stevenson (or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) version and therefore is bad characterization for the Marvel version, but i'm enjoying it quite a bit. He's said that he was influenced by the literature, and he's had some variations in his transformations, so i think we're good. I am also liking the Golden Age Thunderbolts costumes. And seeing Baron Zemo using the Human Torch's arm as a flame-thrower was pretty sick. The team arguing over the various time travel theories was funny. The only minor complaint is the "evil Human Torches" bit that's coming. That was done once before (in Mark Waid's Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty series) and the Torch was also possessed/reprogrammed at least once in the Invaders as well. There's a point where all these retcons make him less of a laudable super-hero and more of a liability. But still, i enjoyed this issue.

Omac #2 - They promised me that this issue things would get really weird, but really the opposite true. Whereas last issue about ten crazy ideas were thrown at us all at once, this issue spent some time explaining (too clearly, in my opinion) what was going on, and then focusing on a big slugfest with the DC Absorbing Man. I'm fine with a big slugfest, especially with Giffen's art, i'm just saying that this issue wasn't as wild as they promised it would be. And i think this book needs to go really over the top in order for it to stand out (or at least to keep me interested in a non-Marvel book). My one other complaint is that i find that odd words are emphasized in the dialogue, which i think is an homage to Kirby's stilted dialogue from the 70s, where he did the same thing... but honestly? That's one aspect of Kirby you really don't need to replicate.


By fnord12 | October 11, 2011, 10:29 PM | Comics | Comments (2) | Link



I Refuse to Discuss the Bit with the Severed Head

I was holding a jean-clad leg. It started leaking formaldehyde all over the place. Fnord laughed and offered me some gloves.


By min | October 11, 2011, 4:47 PM | My Dreams | Comments (0) | Link



Crossover of the year

(Found on MightyGodKing.)


By fnord12 | October 11, 2011, 3:41 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



Eight years later, the world economy collapsed

We need a new system:

In the Spring of 2000, my friend and former colleague Zack Exley arrived in Washington, DC, to observe the protests that had engulfed the city during the World Bank's annual meeting. Driving into Washington from the airport, out the window of his taxi he saw "a teenage white girl with long dreadlocks who wore a homemade t-shirt proclaiming: WE NEED A NEW SYSTEM."

Later that evening he attended a party at the home of then-Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers along with "ambassadors, politicians, esteemed professors and what seemed like the entire combined senior economist staff of the IMF, World Bank and Treasury."

It turned out Larry Summers had seen the girl too and was eagerly telling his guests about an interaction he had with her:

And so I asked the girl: 'What is this new system that you want? Tell me about it!' And the girl had nothing. Nothing! She had no fucking clue what this magical new system was supposed to be. No one is saying that there aren't problems with the world economy the way it is today. But these kids out there -- they don't know what they want!

"Mr. Secretary," said Zack. "You've got 50 economics PhDs in this room who pretty much run the world economy. And you're asking that girl for a better system? Aren't the solutions your job? You admit billions are living in hell, but it's up to that girl to fix it?"

Summers chuckled and the conversation moved on.

Maybe she wanted Larry Summers' head on a pike but was too polite to say so.


By fnord12 | October 11, 2011, 2:30 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



October 10, 2011

Huge Kids Sale!

huge kids sale

I've seen signs like this a few times now and i've been wondering two things.

  1. Where are they getting these gargantuan children?
  2. and
  3. What are they being sold for? And by that, i don't mean 'how much are they going for' (it's a sale, afterall) but rather, 'what are the people buying them planning on doing with their baby giants?'.

P.S. I apologize for the picture being so blurry. I was at a stop light, and i only just now figured out that my phone's camera can indeed zoom.


By min | October 10, 2011, 9:25 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (0) | Link



Marvel Sales

August.


By fnord12 | October 10, 2011, 4:51 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



The end is nigh. What comes next?

Talking about being a "completionist" in the previous post reminded me that i wanted to talk about this. The key 'graph is here:

Whatever the causes of all the above, Marvel's commitment to the printed comic should be watched very, very closely in the coming 24 months. Marvel's licensed out its toys and its kids books. Who knows what else they could license out.

And some of the comments:

jimshelley:

I've been saying that from the get go. As Don Rosa always likes to say, Disney doesn't like to publish it's own comic books, which is why they've always let other people do it. It might not be long before we see Boom or Dynamite getting a chance to publish Spider-Man or Hulk.

Paul O'Brien:

The obvious question is, if they're not interested in magazine distribution, and they're not interested in the backlist necessary to sustain bookstore distribution, what ARE they interested in? At some point, is the penny going to drop that they could axe the entire line tomorrow and it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference to the licensing value of the characters?

Obviously, this is something that's been on my mind since the bankruptcy and then since the Disney acquisition. There's a couple of possibilities. The first is that publishing rights do get licensed to a Boom or Dynamite, and that company basically continues the current continuity. In that case, for me there's no change. I read that Spider-Man/Red Sonja book and it was fine. Not great, but ok. I'm assuming the company with the licensing rights can attract better creators and things basically go on as before.

The second possibility is that the books get licensed but the new company does a complete reboot, or write timeless non-continuity books like a Mickey Mouse or Archie comic. Or the books don't get licensed out at all. In all these scenarios, it's the same to me. It means i'm done. Not with comics altogether, but my focus would be more on picking up trades of critically acclaimed, probably mostly non-superhero books, and in much lower quantities. The bright side for me is that it actually defines a finite period of Marvel Universe comics, and it would really feel like an obtainable long term goal to collect them all and eventually incorporate them all into my timeline project. Which a part of me finds really appealing, even though i do think Marvel is currently publishing a lot of good books and i'd hate to see it stop.

The third option is the worst, but probably also the most likely. A third party gets the rights to continue publishing, and it becomes ambiguous as to whether or not the books are really in the old continuity or not. They say they are but there's tons of contradictions which they don't really seem concerned about. Or they do a half-reboot like DC is currently. Or Company A gets the license, runs with it for a few years, and then loses it to Company B and the hand-off isn't done well. At that point i'm stuck in an ill-defined half-state. I probably continue collecting for a while, then decide that i'm done. Then hear good things a few years later and try to get back into it and scramble to make it all up. Etc. That's what i fear most, more than the books just getting cancelled or rebooted.

Clearly it's not all about the current readers. There's only, what, 100,000 of us at this point? If it makes more sense for Disney/Marvel to dump the comics and focus on making movies and cartoons and t-shirts, i'll understand. I just hope there will be a clear point of delineation.


By fnord12 | October 10, 2011, 4:32 PM | Comics | Comments (0) | Link



Fear Itself without the Fear Itself

Tim O'Neil at The Hurting asks (as a tangent on a post that really deals mainly with the DC relaunch):

(Just a quick aside because I don't think the series deserves any more attention than I've already given it: how weird is it that [Fear Itself] would almost certainly read better if the main series had not been published - if all we had to read was the crossovers in the Avengers family of titles and a few of the satellite minis? Think about that for a minute.)

Well, that's how i've been reading it. And all i can tell you is that i started off enjoying it but it went on way too long. Based on the premise - the daughter of the Red Skull makes an alliance with forgotten Asgardian Gods, powers-up a bunch of super-villains, and launches a major attack on the cities of the world with giant Nazi mechs - it ought to have been awesome. In practice, it was interesting at first, except for the books that focused too much on the god aspect (Hercules) or where the bad guy was built up as a major baddy but then taken out in a couple of panels (Alpha Flight).

It's created some interesting stories for Thunderbolts and Avengers Academy.

And then there's the talking heads in the Avengers books. I liked it at first as an unusual storytelling device but felt like it dragged on for too many issues (in part because it was happening in both New and regular Avengers). On the other hand, if it didn't feel exactly like an exercise in treading water and was simply an unusual way of depicting the main plot, it might have been tolerable for longer.

But yeah, i can say that i'm probably enjoying it more than people who are actually reading the main book by Fraction (which isn't to say that i won't probably pick up the main series eventually for completionist's sake).


By fnord12 | October 10, 2011, 4:16 PM | Comics | Comments (1) | Link



DC Buggering Up More Stuff

Wonder Woman gorillasWanyas told us a couple of weeks ago that DC was doing yet another Olympian Gods take in Wonder Woman. And we all groaned because a) it's been done to death in this title and b) it always ends up sucking. Now, it seems like it's going to suck on a whole new level of sucktitude.

Everyone who felt Wonder Woman's origin made her less "relatable" please raise your hands.

I'm gonna go ahead and assume that nobody reading this blog is raising their hands. But on the off chance that some of you are, just keep that to yourselves, ok? I got a rant to get through.

What the hell is wrong with DC?

A storyline in the amazing Amazon's newly relaunched comic will reveal she's actually the daughter of Zeus, the thunderbolt throwing father of the Olympian gods.
...
In the original comics, Wonder Woman's mother, Amazon queen Hippolyta, fashioned her baby Diana out of clay, and the clay was given life and superpowers by Greek goddesses.

When they relaunched their entire line of comics last month, DC Comics figured it was a good time to break the mold.

"In this case, making her a god actually makes her more human, more relatable," DC co-publisher Jim Lee said.

...

"We're approaching all the classic characters in a way that feels true to their origins but thoroughly modern," Lee said.

Was there a clamoring for changes in origin stories that I wasn't aware of? Specifically, Wonder Woman's origin? Did anyone really have an issue with this? Or felt that, like records or phones with cords, it wasn't something teens of today could relate to?

The whole point of Wonder Woman and the Amazons was that they represented feminist ideals, that they were strong women who were empowered by women. Now DC is taking that back and saying "no, she's actually just another one of Zeus' by-blows" and this is somehow making her better and more interesting to read about.

You want to know what really makes Wonder Woman a better read? More talking gorillas. Man, i loved thosed gorillas...

Oh, and why are you interviewing Jim Lee? The man doesn't have spare time to talk to you. He prolly has a backlog of things he promised a year ago that he still has to finish drawing. Quit distracting him!


By min | October 10, 2011, 11:23 AM | Comics | Comments (3) | Link



Netflix is Dumb

A followup to our previous post on Netflix deciding to separate its streaming video business from its dvd mail service:

Netflix realized belatedly that this was a bad idea and said "just kidding".

Netflix Inc. is abandoning its widely panned decision to separate its DVD-by-mail and Internet streaming services because it would make them more difficult to use.

Subscribers will be able to use both services under one account and one password, CEO Reed Hastings said Monday in a blog post.

...

Subscribers howled at the move, saying they saw Netflix as a destination for movies in general and didn't want to manage two accounts.

"It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs," Hastings said in the blog post.

Really, CEO Reed Hastings? You needed subscribers to complain about having to manage 2 separate accounts for you to determine that it would make things more difficult? Really? Let me explain something to you. Logging into two accounts is going to take more effort than logging into one account. I'm sure a statistician out there has the hard data on this. In fact, I think it would be safe to assume that managing two things would generally be more work than managing one thing. It's a crazy concept, I know. Just go with it.

Shmuck. Now fix the thing where i can't fast forward or rewind a streaming video without having to wait a minute for it to reload.


By min | October 10, 2011, 9:36 AM | Movies & TeeVee | Comments (0) | Link



October 7, 2011

Looks like the Dems can avoid a filibuster when they want to

They waited until they lost the House before trying it out, though. And it's still all very arcane.

Update: Here's a simpler breakdown of what happened:

What Senate Democrats did is that they voted to overrule the Senate parliamentarian.

By rule and by custom, both parties abide by the decisions of the parliamentarian. But the rule that establishes that basic guideline was originally approved by a simply majority vote, so it can be changed by a simply majority vote. That's what Senate Democrats last night.

Senate tradition is that you don't tweak the rules on a piecemeal basis like that. Now that Democrats have done so -- even though it involved just this one bill -- it sets a precedent for a future majority (i.e., a Republican majority) to do so again on matters of greater consequence.

The mechanism Democrats used -- voting to change the Senate rule -- is the same mechanism that could be used to undermine the power of the filibuster and other privileges enjoyed by the minority in the Senate.

Did Democrats play dirty pool here? In one sense, yes. This was a break with custom and tradition. It was a raw power play.

But if you think Senate rules are anti-democratic -- or that custom and tradition are merely a nice way of saying byzantine and corrupt -- then you might see this as the first step toward bringing the Senate into the 21st century.

I tend to be sympathetic to the latter point of view, but my sense here is that Senate Democrats, with a few exceptions, aren't really prepared to tackle fundamental Senate reform. So rather than being the first step toward reform, Reid's move last night merely weakens Senate traditions, creates greater uncertainty and unpredictability in the legislative process, and doesn't offer much promise of a comprehensive and better way of running the Senate.

That Reid's power play comes right as Senate Democrats are on the brink of finding themselves in the minority again makes the move more baffling.

To me, the short term advantage or disadvantage for the Dems is irrelevant. The Senate filibuster rules are anti-democratic and, no matter how lamely the Dems stumbled into this or whether it's the Democrats or Republicans who will take advantage of it first is irrelevant. The Senate should be a majority-ruled institution except for veto overrides and other special cases as specified in the Constitution (constitutional amendments, treaty ratifications), and this action moves us back in that direction.

That said, the question of "why now?" is certainly fair. Why not for the stimulus, the public option, etc., etc.?

Oh by the way, we're back from Vegas, and yes, i'm already back to obsessing over politics.


By fnord12 | October 7, 2011, 9:30 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (0) | Link



October 1, 2011

We're taking the act to Vegas... and bringing down the house

Going to be on hiatus for a bit, visiting the opening site of our favorite secretly post-apocalyptic movie.

See you in a week.


By fnord12 | October 1, 2011, 8:15 PM | Movies & My stupid life | Comments (1) | Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Captain America & Bucky #622 - How long is this series going to be Golden Age continuity inserts? Forever? Don't get me wrong, it's all well written, and i liked how this issue explored the fact that you've got the completely non-powered Bucky hanging out with the rest of the super-powered Invaders. But I'd just like to know if there's going to be anything more to this series. If you tell me this book is just going to be Invaders 2011, i'll settle down and enjoy it. But after three issues i'm kinda waiting to figure out where we're going with this, if anywhere. Also, i didn't really like the art this issue.

New Avengers #16.1 - Dammit. I've been arguing that Bendis does indeed still have Avengers stories to tell, he's just treading water while Fear Itself drags on. I pointed to the cool Intelligencia/Ultron plot that was promised in the regular Avengers .1 issue. But this issue sets up a Norman Osborn story that will run "all this year"? I think we could have let him sit in jail a few more years; we didn't need to be returning to him so soon. And a "Goblin Cult" sounds pretty lame to me. As for the art, if you told me Neal Adams and Tom Palmer were teaming up to draw the Avengers, i'd accept 200 Goblin Cults, but in reality i didn't like the art at all. Is it a question of trying to draw in a more modern style? If so, completely unnecessary, guys.

Herc #6 - Two things i forgot to mention last issue: 1) Hey, that's June Brigman of Power Pack fame on art! 2) Who are all these spider-women? Actually, on point #2, min had to point out to me that they were two different people. I thought that Arachne was the same woman who showed up in the end, until she pointed out that one of them clearly had a spider-body and the other didn't. Since i'm not reading anything else Spider Island related, i just sort of glazed over all of that and focused on Hercules swinging around in a Spider-Man costume. But this issue it seems somewhat important to know who they were. Turns out Arachne isn't really part of the Spider Island saga; she's the Arachne of Greek myth. And the other one is, i guess, the main Spider Island Villainess. A little bit more exposition wouldn't hurt. Anyway, whatever. I guess other than repeating my lamentations for the impending cancellation of Herc and suggestion that Pak & Van Lente get an X-Title next, my big comment for this issue is that Spider Island seems especially damaging for the Spider-Man titles. I mean, after this arc is over, everyone's going to know Spider-Man's secrets, to the point where the X-Men are defending a giant "Spider-Sense Jammer" this issue. It was always coolest back in the day when people didn't even know he had a spider-sense ("How did he know i was sneaking up on him?"). Now, not only will everyone know, but it should be relatively easy for anyone to access the Jammer technology, and i'm assuming the same is true for his other abilities ("Hmmm, how come none of the Spider Island men were able to shoot webbing? Maybe it's not an inherent ability. Could be a mechanical device."). Oh well, nothing Mephisto can't fix.

New Mutants #31 - Yeah, i'm totally supportive of this book, but this little excursion to Hel needs to wrap itself up. Warlock & Doug are still funny, it's generally a well written book, and the weird Shark Man is cool, but still, get these guys back in more reality-grounded scenarios; they don't work so well fighting Asgardian zombie-eaters.

Avengers Academy #19 - I vote this book gets the award for "Best Use of a Fear Itself Tie-in".

Annihilators: Earthfall #1 - I guess the idea is that if you bring these guys to earth you can do guest appearances and hopefully attract a larger audience so that a space series could be sustainable. I'm fine with that, but i do think it would have been an even better idea to leave Nova as a member of the Secret Avengers and constantly have him saying "Sorry guys, i have to leave for a while. Ego the Living Planet is floating dangerously close to Kronan airspace." or whatever, with a big old school asterisk telling readers what they need to buy. Anyway, the fact that we already did an arc with the Magus' Universal Church of Truth makes me a little disappointed that they're the main villains for this series, especially since Magus or any other headliner bad guy won't be involved (i'm assuming, considering this is only a four issue mini). And the second half of the first story was a little dry, since Cosmo wasn't in the picture and it was several pages of the Annihilators beating up on random aliens. Actually, i take that back; i continue to enjoy Ikon's flirting with Quasar. This was fine; we'll see where it goes. I was also disappointed to see that Rocket Raccoon and Groot are going to be a back-up feature again since i really didn't like their previous stories (and again, how sad is that for me?). And so you can imagine my dismay when i got to the cliffhanger ending for that... ugh. Mojo.


By fnord12 | October 1, 2011, 7:13 PM | Comics | Comments (5) | Link



Panda Porn

To tide you over while we're away...


By min | October 1, 2011, 11:50 AM | Cute Things | Comments (0) | Link



Nononononono

It would be awesome if my sister's cats would do this when they saw my mom.


By min | October 1, 2011, 11:49 AM | Cute Things | Comments (0) | Link



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